As Silus continues his journey towards Safflower City for his third Hora League badge, our heroes make their way to the Ancient Ruins, just outside of Sage City, for a day of training in anticipation for Silus' Gym battle and Clair's next Contest.
"So, Silus," Clair began. "Have you thought about what strategies you are going to use in your next Gym match?"
"Yeah," Silus replied. "I have a Pokémon I'm going to train specifically for this match."
"What is it, Silus?" Nathan asked, joining them.
"Its a Gastly." Silus replied. "I caught it back during my training in Mimosa City, but already had six Pokémon at the time, so I let it stay with Professor Changi."
"Why is Gastly so important?" Clair inquired, now genuinely curious.
"Well, its more that I want to test Gastly and get it ready for my next battle with Jason." Silus answered truthfully.
"Jason? You mean your rival?" Nathan pressed.
"Yeah. I beat him last time, but I think that may have only been because he didn't use his Charizard. You see, he won in our battle in Monkshood Town because of Charizard. So I need to plan a strategy to give the upper hand against powerhouses like that." Silus explained further.
"So, you plan to use a Ghost-type for that." Clair concluded.
"That's the plan." Silus agreed. "I've got a strategy that I'm going to try out. But first, we need to get to a Pokémon Center so that I can get him sent over here right away."
Gastly, the Ghost-type Pokémon
"Oh, its you, Silus." Professor Changi announced once he appeared on screen at the Pokémon Center. "How is everything going on your Pokémon journey?"
"Just fine!" Silus replied with a grin. "You won't recognize the Chimchar you gave me! Its an Infernape now!"
"That's quite impressive!" Changi replied. "You're the first, of the group that left Eden Town this year, to have fully evolved his starter Pokémon. Anyways, I'm sure there is a reason you called me?"
"There is, Professor." Silus confirmed. "Awhile back, I captured a Gastly and it was sent to your lab. Do you have it?"
"I sure do." Changi replied, looking perplexed. "Its quite the playful little critter. Do you have need of it?"
"I do. And I have just one slot left on my team to fill. Can you send it over for me?" Silus asked politely.
"Absolutely! Also, while I have you here, I have an upgrade for your Pokédex." Changi mentioned as he placed Gastly's Poké Ball on the transporter.
"Upgrade?" Silus asked, confused.
"Yes, a new upgrade just came in from Professor Sycamore in the Kalos region. Its a region very far from here, but I've just gotten clearance to give out the Kalos starter Pokémon in Hora, so it will be good to upgrade your Pokédex with the new information."
"Kalos... region, huh?" Silus pondered. "Alright, Professor! Send over that Poké Ball and I'll let you upgrade this bad boy."
The transporter suddenly lit up and, within seconds, a new Poké Ball was sitting on Silus' end of the communications. He then promptly picked it up, shrunk it back to its travel size, and pocketed it along with his other Poké Balls.
"Alright, now if you'll just set your Pokédex on the transporter, this won't take long." Changi instructed.
"You've got it, Professor!" Silus replied, setting his Pokédex down where the Poké Ball was just seconds before.
In another flash of light, the handheld machine was gone. The professor then disappeared from the screen for a few moments, though he could be heard shuffling around in the background, before promptly returning and setting a new Pokédex down on the transporter. The light, for the third time, flashed brightly, revealing Silus' new Pokédex. Silus picked the machine up, noticing how it now looked like some sort of cellphone.
"It looks different." Silus noted aloud.
"Its a newer model." the professor replied. "It should have an account of all the species of Pokémon discovered in the Kalos region."
"Thanks, Professor!" Silus waved, and then the transmission was cut.
Training With Gastly
"Well, we're here." Mewtwo noted, still in its transformed state so as to avoid attracting attention. "The Ancient Ruins."
"Alright, Silus." Clair stepped up. "I told you back when we met that I'd train you, and I've yet to give you a lesson. So its time to give you a lesson in strategy."
"I'm listening." Silus replied, obviously excited.
"Most Gyms use a three-on-three Pokémon battle rule. So, the first rule to a good strategy is to know the rules that bind you. The second is to know what you're up against. Nathan?" Clair continued, giving Nathan the floor.
"Right." Nathan said, opening the guidebook. "Lorraine is the Gym Leader of Safflower City. She specializes in Water-type Pokémon and usually has four Pokémon on hand at anytime. Two of these Pokémon are dual types, meaning along with their Water-type, they have another type. That being said, the other two are pure Water-types."
"Right!" Clair continued. "That means that, while accounting for the Water-type, you also have to prepare for the possibility of at least two Pokémon being of another type. Now, based on that description, what three Pokémon do you plan to use as of this minute?"
Silus thought for a moment before giving his response, "Probably Abomasnow, Braviary, and Gastly. They'd have the most advantage on my team." he finally replied.
"Good choices." Clair conceded. "Since the other two can virtually hold their own, send out Gastly and let's do a little training."
"Come forth, Gastly!" Silus declared, tossing his newly obtained Poké Ball.
The ball opened up, releasing a flash of light which then formed into a sphere of gasses.
"Gastly!" the Gas Pokémon cried.
"Now then," Clair went on. "What moves does your Pokédex say that Gastly has in its arsenal?"
"Psychic, Will-O-Wisp, Hypnosis, and Dream Eater." Silus read looking on the screen of his brand new Pokédex.
"Well then, this will be easy." Clair replied. "From now on, see Psychic as Gastly's main attack. It will be the cornerstone of all of your move combinations for now."
"Alright." Silus complied.
"Psychic is an extraordinarily powerful move if you learn to use it correctly." Clair explained. "For example, tell Gastly to control its Will-O-Wisp with Psychic and you'll see what I mean."
"You heard her, Gastly!" Silus commanded. "Will-O-Wisp, then use Psychic on it!"
Complying, Gastly ejected several blue flames from its mouth, which then circled around it in formation. The Gas Pokémon then activated Psychic, signified by its eyes lighting up with blue energy. Slowly, through gradually getting faster, Gastly began to maneuver the blue flames, until the spun rapidly around its body, creating a Counter Shield.
"See that?" Clair noted. "Its a Counter Shield with Will-O-Wisp. Anything that comes into contact with that will be burned."
"Brilliant!" Silus exclaimed. "Another Counter Shield variant."
"But that's not all." Clair interrupted. "You need to learn to use Counter Shield for offense. For instance, see that small boulder over there? Have Gastly direct the Counter Shield directly at it."
"Gastly, send Counter Shield at that boulder!" Silus commanded.
Suddenly, the Counter Shield levitated off of Gastly, controlled by Psychic, and the Gas Pokémon hurled the now spinning disk of flames at the designated boulder, which was hit dead center, causing the entire display to burst into flames, shattering the boulder in the process.
"Did you see that?" Clair asked. "Will-O-Wisp is usually not a physical attack. It only burns. But when used together with Psychic, in your Counter Shield strategy, not only does it inflict burn, it will also do damage!"
"That's amazing, Clair." Silus repeated, clearly pleased with this new method.
"Now then, you've learned the practicality of using offensive and status moves in tandem to get better results. Now, its time to make use of Gastly's specialty." Clair continued.
"Specialty?" Silus questioned.
"Gastly are known for their ability to use Hypnosis, a Psychic-type attack that causes the receiver to fall asleep. They then use Dream Eater, while the opponent sleeps, to restore their stamina. This strategy will land you as a very dangerous opponent in battle, even against fully evolved Pokémon, like your rival's Charizard." Clair explained. "Now, its time to turn Hypnosis into a Counter Shield."
"Into a... Counter Shield?" Silus gawked.
The Hypnosis Counter Shield
"Yes, a Counter Shield." Clair repeated herself. "You see, the weakness of Hypnosis is that it can be dodged and leave the Ghost Pokémon in question open. Just as you did with Will-O-Wisp, you're going to control the waves of Hypnosis and and form a Counter Shield. Give it a shot."
"Right." Silus replied. "Okay, Gastly, we can do this!"
"Gastly!" the Gas Pokémon replied enthusiastically.
"Gastly, use Hypnosis and then combine it with Psychic!" Silus commanded.
Gastly, complying with Silus' demands, began to emit red waves of psychic energy from its eyes in a Hypnosis attack. Its eyes immediately switched to a blue glow, which seized command of these waves, bringing them into orbit around Gastly, in a similar fashion to the Will-O-Wisps.
"Excellent!" Clair applauded. "Now, you can't use this Counter Shield like you did with Will-O-Wisp. If you hurl it, it can be dodged. You need to learn to expand it."
"Explain!" Silus implored.
"Well, if you continue to have Hypnosis spin around Gastly, and then gradually expand the energy with Psychic, it will radiate outward in a spinning, ever-growing shield. It not only forces your opponent's Pokémon to keep their distance, but it also allows you to attack while keeping Gastly at a safe distance from any close-up attacks." Clair finished.
"Then let's do it, Gastly!" Silus declared. "Expand your Counter Shield!"
"Gast!" the Gas Pokémon chirped.
With the Hypnosis energies now spinning violently around it, Gastly used Psychic to begin stretching this energy, expanding it into overarching loops which orbited around itself, until it was nearly stretched out to where Nathan and Mewtwo were sitting and observing several feet away.
"That's it, Gastly!" Clair applauded. "Just like that. If you can remember how that feels, you should be able to do it in a battle situation."
The Ferry to Safflower City!
By evening, the group had left the ruins and ventured back to the city, specifically the docks, where they were currently boarding a vessel that was to take them across the ocean to the next part of the Hora region, and Safflower City. Silus immediately ran towards the front of the boat, taking in the cool sea breeze as the sun faded across the horizon.
"Alright!" the boat captain announced over the PA. "This is the last ferry to Safflower City. We will be arriving by morning, so cabins, below deck, have been provided for all our guests. We hope you will enjoy your voyage with us."
With that, Clair and Nathan joined Silus at the bow of the ship, smiling as they looked off into the distance. Slowly, and with a growl, the boats engines fired up and the vessel began to pull out of the harbor and steam across the bay towards the open sea, and Silus' next Gym badge.
So, with his training finally behind him, Silus is now one step closer to his third Hora League badge!