Part of Pokemon Retold. Find it on A03.
not, Leon, your pristine record is about to end—when I beat you here today!”
“You know I don’t
lose battles, Raihan! Charizard—DYNAMAX!”
stay still in her seat. It was always a treat whenever Raihan and Leon
battled—which, to be fair, was quite often even outside of the gym challenge
seasons—due to just how intense both were. Raihan had an almost feral air about
him once he got into battle, and Leon had such unbidden confidence. Though she
was miles and miles away from where they were really battling in Wyndon, as she
clutched the little Rotom Phone in her hands, she swore she could feel the
crackling of the tension from the two in the air.
A harsh slam!
pulled her nose from the device. Throwing a look over her shoulder and the back
of the couch, she saw Hop rubbing his head and slowly closing the door behind
him. She supposed he had ran into the doorframe. Giggling, she raised a brow at
him. “Everythin’ okay over there, you Rapidash?”
“Haha, very funny!
But hey, you better hurry up and come with me!” Hop exclaimed. He deftly
rounded the corner of the couch and gestured for her to get up. “Oh, you’re
watchin’ Lee and Raihan’s exhibition,” he said, “well, just record it! That’s
what I do with all of Lee’s matches. But come on, come on!”
had now entered the room. She put her hands on her hips and cocked her head.
“Now Hop, what on Earth’s got you so riled up?”
“Oh!” Hop whirled around to face her. “My bad,
miss. You see, uh, well… My brother Lee said he’s goin’ to give us both a
Pokémon today! If that’s alright…?”
fell over the back of the sofa trying to climb over it to reach him and her
mother. She grabbed Hop’s hands and made him face her. “Really? We’re—we’re
getting a Pokémon today?”
let out a hardy laugh. “Yes, that’s fine, children. Just be careful, don’t hurt
yourselves. Gloria, don’t forget your bag and phone.”
Hop grinned from
ear to ear and pulled his hands free from Gloria’s grasp. “Yes! Come on,
Gloria, get that bag of yours and let’s go! No time for dallyin’!”
Gloria nodded and
scurried upstairs to find her backpack. She was already dressed for the day,
and just needed to get that to carry some things in. Her mind was swimming. A
Pokémon! She had avoided getting one up to this point since she felt she would
have nothing for it to do and would waste its potential, but, well, if Leon was
going to hand one out, she certainly wasn’t about to say no. No idiot would say
no to a handout from the champion himself!
downstairs, Hop began to laugh hysterically. “What?” she demanded. “What you
laughin’ at me for?”
“That bag!” Hop
rasped. “That thing looks like it’ll pull you to the floor!”
Gloria rolled her
eyes. The bag had belonged to her mother during the gym challenge she had
embarked upon during her teen years. It was massive, but at least it had room
for everything she could ever want to fit inside it. “So, we goin’ or what?”
“We got to go get
Lee from the Wedgehurst Station, he’s rubbish with directions and says his
Charizard’s tired,” Hop said as he wiped amused tears from his eyes. “C’mon,
the sooner we get him, the sooner we get a Pokémon!”
“Good luck, you
too!” Gloria’s mother called. Gloria waved goodbye and ducked out the door in a
As soon as their
feet hit the dirt and they no longer had to worry about her mother overhearing
them, Gloria and Hop started chattering to one another. They were more excited
and louder than a whole flock of Rookidee on an early Sunday morning.
“So, how’d this
come about?” Gloria asked.
apparently visited yesterday while I was away at Wedgehurst,” Hop said. “And as
I was comin’ back from helpin’ at the station, he just started talkin’ to me
and was like, ‘Hey, I’m goin’ to come back tomorrow. Want a Pokémon?’ Of
course, I said yes!”
“Did he happen to
say what they were? Maybe a Yamper, or a Skwovet? Rookidee would be awesome!”
Gloria beamed. “Corviknight is just the most majestic Pokémon!”
questioned. “Thought you said Rookidee?”
“Don’t be silly,
come off it!” Gloria laughed. “Corviknight evolves from Corvisquire, which
evolves from Rookidee.”
Sorry, blond moment there I think,” Hop apologized and rubbed the back of his
It wasn’t long
before they arrived at Wedgehurst. The two towns might as well have been one
town, seeing as they were separated by just a short walk down an uninhabited
route. You could practically throw a stone from one to the other, but
Wedgehurst stubbornly remained outside of Postwick’s jurisdiction, and was home
to its very own train station, a Pokémon center, a clothing shop—anything one
could need, just about. Gloria and Hop found that today, its typically plain
streets were brimming with movement, and it didn’t take long to see why.
A brilliant glow
emanated from the center of town. It threw orange and red lights across the
gathered crowd. The fire being blown sky-high was of course from Leon’s
Charizard. Leon himself was standing ahead of the formidable Fire Pokémon,
striking his unmistakable pose. Everyone nearby, including Hop and Gloria,
mimicked him, throwing two fingers into the air. Hop took it just a step
farther, however, showing how he had perfected the pose over the years.
“Galar has got the
strongest trainers in all of the world!” Leon was bellowing across the crowd.
“And I want to keep it that way! So, as always, I want all of you to train as
hard as you can! Come after me in the Major League if you can! We can keep
showing the rest of the world how to have a champion time!”
followed. Gloria flinched a little from the sheer noise. She had seen Leon and
his fans that seemed to converge from the woodwork whenever he was around
before, but that didn’t mean she ever started enjoying the crowds he drew. They
were noisy and people acted so strangely around him. She loved him too, but she
was nowhere near confident enough to stride up to him and demand his attention
like others did.
“Oh, and if it
isn’t my biggest fan!” Leon locked eyes on Hop and casually strode over to his
little brother. He ruffled Hop’s hair and winked at him. “You’ve grown taller,
“Lee! You just saw
me yesterday!” Hop remarked, moving Leon’s hand off his head. Leon’s Charizard
landed behind Leon and appeared to be watching the gathered crowd carefully.
His tail swayed irritably. Gloria acutely became aware of how the Charizard
never seemed relaxed. It always seemed so tense and anxious…
Leon turned his
attention back to the gathered Wedgehurst mob. “Thank you, thank you, everyone!
Now, I’ve got some family business to attend to, so I’ll be seein’ you later!”
He waved the people goodbye, then whispered something to his Charizard. And
with that, Leon, Hop, and Gloria began to walk back to Postwick. Leon’s
Charizard brought up the rear, following much more slowly.
Leon, please don’t go just yet! Please let me have an autograph!” A feminine
voice practically screeched behind them. Gloria heard Leon’s Charizard growl
and turned just in time to see it flare its wings wide and stand tall over the
woman that had decided to try to follow them. Gloria couldn’t see the woman or
Charizard’s face from where she was standing, but she was quite certain the
woman’s eyes were bulging from intimidation, and that Charizard had embers
curling from the edge of its muzzle.
Leon said sternly. “No autographs today, I’m afraid. Really, I’ve got to be
home for a while.”
rumbled to emphasize his trainer’s point.
woman choked. She pattered away back into Wedgehurst’s borders.
“Man, Charizard is
so cool,” Hop said breathlessly. “And so protective!”
Leon didn’t seem
to have much of a response for that. Gloria looked up at him with a bit of a
frown, wondering why he had nothing to say about such a comment. Leon’s
expression was suddenly very unreadable and stoic. She shook her head and
silently followed, listening in as Hop and Leon talked a bit here and there.
But even Hop didn’t seem to be able to carry a conversation with him. Leon
always had lots to say in public, but Gloria always found it extremely hard to
actually talk to him in the few times she had met him in private with Hop. He
was so… unyielding…
Back at Hop’s
front yard, however, Leon’s bright and sunny persona resumed. He joked a little
with them both before chucking three Pokéballs from his belt to the grassy
terrain. Hop and Gloria both gazed in wonder at the three creatures that
emerged. They had only ever seen these kinds of Pokemon on TV!
Hop had never seen
Pokémon like these in the flesh before! He had heard of them, of course, and
seen their evolved forms in matches on TV. They were incredibly exclusive to
Galar itself. Sobble, Grookey, and Scorbunny; the deceptively adorable
pre-evolutions to the monstrous Inteleon, Rillaboom, and Cinderace
respectively. The Sobble in front of him quickly found its way to a small pond
that had formed in their yard, where it settled in and began to lazily paddle
about. The Grookey scampered over to the tree overlooking the pond and
clambered high up its branches. It grabbed hold of a stick with a few leaves
clinging to it, and waved it about happily, spinning in circles. The Scorbunny
rapidly tapped its powerful feet against the dirt of the battlefield in their yard,
and then started to jog in place. Jogging quickly turned to a full-blown run
and small embers kicked up behind the Pokémon’s paws. Nobody was all that
concerned, as the flames quickly died out.
Hop copped a smirk
and crossed his arms. He looked at Gloria. “Why don’t you go ahead and choose?
I’ve got my Wooloo already, after all.”
practically spat before he had finished telling her that. “Sobble. It’s so
Leon laughed and
gestured for her to head over to the Pokémon. “Sobble’s all yours, Gloria.”
bounced over to the pond, where Sobble gave a start from her sudden movements.
Gloria extended an arm slowly toward it, and the Sobble warily moved closer to
inspect her hand.
“You goin’ to
choose now, Hop?” Leon asked.
“Of course! I’m
goin’ to go with Grookey!”
“Oh, you little
git, you tricked me!” Gloria gave Hop a disbelieving smile. “You wanted me to
pick first so you could get the starter that’s super-effective on mine!”
“You got it!” Hop
snickered as he got closer, urging the Grookey to come down from the tree. It
earnestly bounced down the trunk and landed on his shoulder, where it
accidentally jabbed him with its favorite stick a few times. “Hey, ow—”
about the yard with a bit of confusion, and then its gaze settled on Leon
himself and the massive Charizard standing at his side. It seemed to cower a
little bit as Charizard leaned down to sniff its ears. “Haha, come now
Charizard, you’re scarin’ it,” Leon said, walking over to the little Scorbunny.
He scooped it up in his arms and scratched between its two ears. Its left foot
began to kick rhythmically against his chest. “Charizard’s strict, but kind.
It’ll be alright,” he reassured it.
Hop couldn’t help
but smile wide at his brother. He was just so perfect with all Pokémon he came
across. He seemed to know everything one would ever need to know about them and
always made fast friends with new ones. He looked over at the Grookey currently
chilling on his right shoulder. “I hope you and I will be good friends too,
y’know,” Hop said. “You and me, buddy. Just like Wooloo. I’ll let you meet her
Grookey gave a
happy squeak and bashed the stick against Hop’s shoulder a couple more times.
“Well, that kind
of hurts… maybe I’ll get used to it,” Hop muttered to himself.
“So!” Leon clapped
his hands and brought everyone’s attention back to him. “Everyone satisfied
with their choices?”
Hop glanced at
Gloria and saw she was cuddling her new Sobble tight against her chest, much to
the creature’s apparent dismay. “Definitely!” she replied without ever looking
up at them.
vigorously. “I like Grookey!” Grookey seemed to emphasize the point by jabbing
Hop in the ear with its stick. Hop cringed and gently pushed the stick away
from his head.
starved. I’ll get the barbecue goin’, what you think?” Leon asked, slapping a
hand to his stomach. He had handed his Scorbunny off to Charizard, who was
doing its best to keep his tail flame away from the curious little Pokémon.
“Yes, please!” Hop
begged. “I’ll go tell Mum and Dad!”
good, I’ll get the grill goin’,” Leon said.
jab to the neck and Hop finally lost his patience. He gently removed the
Grookey from his shoulders and set it to the ground. He blocked its advances to
get back on him. “Look you,” he said, “you’re cute, but that stick bloody
hurts. Stay off my shoulders or stop jabbin’ me, would you?”
It huffed at him
and prodded his Wooloo laying next to them. They were outside still and had
gathered beneath the shade of the big tree next to the shallow pond. Away from
everyone else, Hop enjoyed talking to Wooloo, so he decided the best way to
start off his relationship with his new partner would be to talk to it as well.
Wooloo was less than affected by Grookey’s jabs. Her thick layer of wool meant
the stick barely fazed her. She looked as unaware as ever.
“You know, it’s so
weird havin’ Leon over,” Hop said, petting Wooloo’s head gently. He glanced
past the two Pokémon over at his brother. He was leaned over the grill. He had
begrudgingly removed his cape to prevent it from getting caught in the grill’s
stray flames and had even pulled his hair back. A few people were gathered
around him and Charizard was laying nearby, lazily flicking its tail to keep
Leon’s Scorbunny busy. It appeared to be dozing off on occasion, but every time
it did that, its tail would fall flat against the ground, and Scorbunny would
seize the chance to land directly on it. In turn, Charizard would jolt awake,
causing its tail to lash and throwing Scorbunny from on top of it. Scorbunny
must have seen it as a game since it kept coming back.
Hop kind of wished
he could have been over there talking to Leon, but some reservation kept him
planted in place with his two Pokémon. He always found it hard to talk to Leon
whenever it wasn’t private or with just immediate family. Leon had a slightly
different persona when others were around and sometimes he could say things
that didn’t quite make sense. Hop also couldn’t shake the feeling that he came
off as annoying to his brother. Leon had to be dealing with people constantly,
all day, every day; having your irritating little brother at your side
constantly begging for attention probably wasn’t very fun.
He jumped as
Gloria sat down next to him. “Oh, h-hey, Gloria!” he stammered.
“So, why you think
Lee gave us Pokémon, anyway?” she asked, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “Do
you think Lee’s goin’ to… endorse us?”
“Shut up!” Hop
gasped. “You think he’s goin’ to endorse us?”
“I dunno, really,”
Gloria giggled, “but why randomly give us three super rare Galarian-exclusive
Pokémon if not to give us a head start on the gym challenge, hmm?”
“You’ve got a good
point…” Hop said, rubbing his chin. “Man, I hope he does!”
Gloria fell silent
for a moment as she looked over at the grill. “Who even are those people?” she
asked about the small throng of people gathered around him.
Hop shrugged. “I’m
not sure to be honest. But I’m sure they’re just good friends to him or
sighed. “Yeah, sounds about right.”