Top Down Training!
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The New Pupil
"Ugu!?" Having been sleeping peacefully, Jason was awoken by several loud raps on his room. The group had spent the night in the Pokémon Center after Jason's pitiful loss, and he was now being rudely awoken. The raps on the door grew louder and he fumbled for the clock; upon seeing it was 2:00 AM, all drowsiness was replaced by something new; irritation. The knocking simply grew sharper in their intensity, and the boy resigned himself to the fact that whoever it was wouldn't be going away.
"Hold on!" He called out, shoving the heavy sheet off and dragging his feet to the door. "Who could it be at this time of night?" He thought, firmly gripping the door knob and pulling the door open, to be confronted by the face of his new teacher, Dawn.
"There you are." She smiled. "Glad to see you're awake."
"It's 2 AM, Dawn." The boy said, sleepily. "What is it?"
"It's time to start your training." She replied, seemingly positively at ease despite the ungodly hour of the morning. "Early risers are successful, as they say."
"Isn't this...early?" Jason mumbled, rubbing his tired eyes. He could practically fall sleep on the floor right now.
"You haven't seen early yet, but you will." She flashed a bit of a grin. "If you think this is bad, you wouldn't survive under my own teacher and we haven't even started. Now come on." She walked off down the hall, and Jason, reluctantly, grabbed a sweater, and his Poké Balls, and trudged after it.
It was with great irritation that the boy stepped into the crisp, early morning air, and the first thought that crossed his mind was, "I already hate it." He was certainly not a morning person.
Dawn gave off a serene smile as she inhaled. She seemed to be enjoying herself immensely. "Alright, Jason. First things first. Before I begin teaching you anything, let's establish what type of battle style works best for you. What do you excel in?"
"Well..." Jason frowned. "I like Contests!" He blurted it out; perhaps being awake this early made him careless? "If I had to say anything, I'm really good with appeals, and combination moves."
"Hmmm..." Dawn cast him a thoughtful look. Despite what he'd said, she hadn't seen any of that in his last battle; in fact, he was far too impatient to do anything but rush in.
"Why, though?" Jason asked curiously. "Are we going to find what Pokémon I work best with, or something? Weeding out weaker Pokémon?" He suddenly felt very defensive; Pichu wasn't seen as the strongest thing around, what if she tried to make him get rid of Pichu?
"No." Dawn replied quickly, and she suddenly seemed stern. "People who undergo training like that aren't fit to become trainers. There are no weak Pokémon in a Pokémon battle. There are only weak trainers. Find the good in every one of your Pokémon, and draw out the unique strengths they possess." It was obvious Dawn felt this was important; her expression was set in stone as she kept her own gaze locked onto Jason's, but it soon melted into a warm smile once more. "After all, effort in battle is a representation of the love between the Trainer and their Pokémon."
Jason blinked, stunned by this.
"Now, its right where you want it!" Silus screamed. "Finish it off! DRAGON PULSE!"
With the claw still firmly in its mouth, and enhanced with the power of Work Up, Deino gathered draconic energy at the back of its throat, and quickly released it at point blank, creating a brilliant explosion in the process, filled with greenish-blue smoke which engulfed the arena. Now Silus would just keep his eyes glued to the results of this strategy.
When the smoke cleared, Zoroark was still standing, weakened and battered. There was, however, something odd about it's stance. The arm that Deino hadn't bitten was free and extended, but the aura it had before was now gone. In addition, even Deino looked a little worse for wear.
"What...just happened?" Amelia blinked in confusion. "Did Zoroark do something?"
"Yeah, it did." Ivory confirmed. "People tend to forget, Pokémon have their own personalities and can very much think for themselves. They aren't tools of war, they are partners we instruct in battle, and can do as they want if they please. From the looks of it, Zoroark reacted, the instant Deino had to open it's mouth — thus releasing it's arm — to release Dragon Pulse, using it's remaining arm, which was still coated in the so called "Shadow Slash", as a means of defence! The aura protected Zoroark's arm, and halved the damage from the explosion due to the interruption from his strike when it tried to force it back into Deino's own mouth. Not only that..." She flashed a small grin when she looked at Deino. "The explosion, from such a close range, backfired on the poor little Deino as well. It, as well as Zoroark, felt the pain from that Dragon Pulse when it exploded. I think Jason's determination is rubbing off on Zoroark. It doesn't want to lose."
" ROWR! " Zoroark let out a mighty roar into the heavens as it cast a glare at Deino.
"Zoroark..." Jason was shocked. He hadn't expected Zoroark to be so determined to win. "You...you really want to win, don't you?"
The Illusion Fox Pokémon vocalised it's agreement, and then began to glow white.
"What...what now!?" Jason couldn't handle much more shock or stress.
Zoroark, complete with it's new white glow, propelled itself forward at Deino, white light spiraling around it, aiming to connect with Deino from this very close range.
"This...it's Aerial Ace!" Ivory practically stood up in her own excitement. "In desperation, Zoroark just learned Aerial Ace!"
That's right...back in his battle with Silus, Zoroark had accomplished so much, and gone so far, out of their mutual bond as trainer and partner Pokémon. His love for his Pokémon was what brought out Zoroark's strength that day.
"I see you've experienced it before." Dawn noted from his expression that he was remembering something from the past. "The rush that happens when you and your Pokémon synch in a battle; when your feelings bring out strength in your Pokémon that you didn't know was there. That's part of what we'll be working on — bringing out the bond between the Pokémon you have, as well as unique battle strategies you can employ...and also working on your impatience."
These two were about to get busy.
"Alright, send out every Pokémon that you currently have in your party."
Jason heeded the request, throwing five Poké Balls into the air. A flash of white light bright enough to be blinding erupted from the balls and hit the ground, morphing into solid shapes; Seviper, Zoroark, Krabby, Aipom, and Phanpy. Pichu leapt down from Jason's shoulders, filling up his current line-up of six Pokémon.
"Hmm..." Dawn looked the entire team over, her eyes resting immediately on Krabby and Phanpy. "These two are young." She could tell just by looking at them that these two are infants. "These little ones don't show the kind of experience your other Pokémon have. Even Phanpy, who seems to have seen battle at least once or twice, is still new to everything."
Jason blinked, confused. "Y-yes, that's right. Krabby only recently hatched, and according to the Professor, Phanpy itself is a recently hatched Pokémon; it probably hatched only a few weeks before I caught it."
"I see. That much was obvious." She looked over his team again, her eyes scanning the six and taking them all in. "You don't have much in way of type coverage; the usual wisdom is the more types your team covers, the better chance you have of winning a match. However, that can be made up for with creativity and ingenuity."
"Huh?" Jason didn't seem to be following, which caused the older woman to let out a drawn out sigh.
"You need to be clever." She said, emphasizing the last word. "As a Coordinator, your greatest strength is your creativity; it's how you use not only your moves but your Pokémon's individual talents that win the battle, not simply a type-advantage, and this applies to any battle, not simply Contest Battles."
"I see..." Jason was taken aback by this. What Dawn was stating was only common sense, and he had to remember he did employ this thing unconsciously in appeals rounds, but he'd never thought of using a Pokémon's unique traits in a battle before. He had always been so focused on his moves. He couldn't call himself anything but a failure right now.
"Beating yourself up inside won't help." Dawn said gently, placing her slim hand on the boy's shoulder. "I know what you're thinking right now. You feel like a failure, and you're questioning your status as a trainer. Don't." She said firmly, a look of determination in her eyes. "We all make mistakes. I've made more than I care to remember, like that one time I tried a combination move in a Contest without any practice and it backfired."
"Y-you've made mistakes?" Jason croaked, his voice seemingly non-existent. "But I've seen you battle, you're awesome!" It was getting clearer and clearer that this woman was his idol.
"I've told you before, I'm not that good." She smiled weakly. "I've simply managed to take the experience from my own teacher's harsh training and employ it in my style. And that's what we're going to do with you."
Dawn reached for a Poké Ball, throwing it into the air. With an echoing pop, it opened, releasing a flash of white light into the air, which formed into the solid Yanmega.
Jason, being the type of trainer he was, immediately rushed for his Pokédex, and the robotic voice chimed into the night.
"Yanmega, the Ogre Darner Pokémon. The beat of its wings is so powerful that it accidentally dislodges full-grown trees when it takes off in flight. By churning its wings, it creates shock waves that inflict critical internal injuries on foes."
Jason blinked, stupefied. "I don't want a piece of that. But why Yanmega?"
"One common thing many Flying-type Bug Pokémon share, Jason, is scales." Dawn replied calmly. "Do you have a Bug Pokémon?"
"A Butterfree!" Jason replied eagerly. "It's with the Professor, but I have one!"
"Excellent. Then watch closely. Yanmega, flap hard and scatter the scales from your wings around you!" Dawn's order was simple and Yanmega obeyed, flapping it's wings furiously, scattering small, sparkling particles into the air around it. "Now, use your Silver Wind!" From Yanmega's wings, a glowing silver light began to shine as it blew this gust into the air. It mixed in with the scales, illuminating the area like a beautiful gem; Jason had to squint his eyes to even see anything.
"It's...it's an Appeal!" He gasped as the light died down, but Dawn shook her head.
"No, and I can see we'll need to work on that was well. In any Appeal, your Pokémon is the focus. A move like what I just performed, where the Pokémon is lost amidst the shine, isn't fit for a Contest if they can't see our Pokémon work hard. That move was a combination move meant for battle." She smiled. "Every Pokémon species has a unique trait you can use to turn the tide of the battle in your favour. Tell me, what purpose would the move I just showed you serve?"
"A distraction?" Jason offered helpfully, and Dawn was pleased.
"Exactly! Not everything in battle is about offence; supplementary moves as well as diversionary tactics can come in very handy." Dawn was very pleased to see Jason understood what she was talking about, and unconsciously moved her hand through her hair, straightening it. "We're going to spend the next three hours working with each of your Pokémon that you have, and we'll strengthen your bond with them as well as teaching you how to best use each of their skills."
And so three hours quickly passed, and Jason worked with each Pokémon in turn, until he didn't even notice the sun rising. It was only when the warm light hit his face that he realized how much time had passed...and then his stomach let out a loud growl.
Dawn chuckled in spite of herself. "I think it's time for a break. Come, I've got breakfast ready for all of us." She and Jason quickly laid out several mats onto the ground, and she came back from the Pokémon Center holding two large picnic baskets. "I think this will be enough for us and our Pokémon!"
They set out various articles of food from the picnic basket, including rice balls, egg-salad sandwiches, sushi, and even watermelon, among other things. She also set out several bowls of food for the Pokémon. Jason's own Pokemon began to eat happily, and Yanmega landed next to one of five bowls.
"You put out extra spaces." Jason noticed. "Are your other Pokémon going to eat as well?"
"I suppose it's a bit anticlimactic to reveal them all in this way, but..." Dawn threw five additional Poké Balls into the air, which popped loudly and released multiple streams of white light which formed into five additional Pokémon; Dusknoir, Empoleon, Abomasnow, Garchomp, and Zorua.
Jason gasped, practically squeeing like a fangirl. "T-these are your Pokémon!" He immediately scrambled for his Pokédex in his excitement, and scanned each Pokémon in turn.
"Abomasnow, the Frost Tree Pokémon. Abomasnow live quietly on snow-covered mountains. It is also known as 'The Ice Monster.'" Jason flinched at that one; the 'Ice Monster'? Would he have to look out for this Pokémon in the future?
"Empoleon, the Emperor Pokémon. It avoids unnecessary disputes, but it will decimate anything that threatens its pride." Once again, another frightening Pokémon, though Jason felt he'd read that somewhere before. Perhaps in a has-been manga series?
"Garchomp, the Mach Pokémon. Its body is covered in fine scales that reduce drag, enabling it to fly at high speeds." Looking at Garchomp, Jason's eyes were positively sparkling. "It's so cool!" Whatever depression had ailed him with Silus was gone now; the very presence of Garchomp filled the boy with an immense energy as he quickly closed in, looking the Pokémon over with infectious excitement. "It's really Dawn's Garchomp!" Obviously uncomfortable with the boy being so close, Garchomp snarled briefly, flashing him a warning look that clearly said "Step back".
"Don't irritate Garchomp." Dawn warned Jason quickly. "She doesn't like strange humans getting too close to her; irritate her and our training will be cut short quicker than I'd like."
Jason gulped quickly and took a step back. Garchomp relaxed, and began to eat, while the boy quickly moved closer to Dawn out of fear for his own safety.
"You mentioned before that you're a researcher?" Jason inquired as he took a bite out of a rice ball, enjoying the sensation of food hitting his stomach.
"Of a sort, yes." Dawn nodded, elegantly drinking some of the tea. "As I mentioned before, I research Pokémon Mythology, though many researchers consider such topics 'deviant'. It is, after all, myth, not always grounded in true fact. Even my own teacher has earned more respect as a Pokémon Trainer than as a Pokémon Researcher."
"You seemed to be on good terms with Professor Oak." Jason said, surprised to hear this.
"Professor Oak?" Dawn smiled, surprised to hear this name from a native of Hora. "The Kanto Professor is a bit more open minded than others. In fact, the only other Professor I know who shares such a similar mindset is Professor Rowan, a good friend of Professor Oak and myself. It's a bit difficult to have an educated discussion about mythology in the scientific community with anyone but those two."
"I see..." Jason frowned, chewing slowly. He hadn't expected someone as famous as Dawn to get such little respect in the researching community when she was famous for her skills as a Champion Trainer.