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Chapter 7 - A Brand New Start - Iris
Night had long since fallen over Unova’s Route 10 by the time Iris and her Axew finally ended their training for the day. A local martial artist had been their last sparring partner and her brave little dragon Pokemon had left his Troh battered and bruised before finally claiming victory. Their turtle-like opponents had been excellent practice material for Axew’s Rock Smash, which he now mastered to such a degree where it could actually cause cracks in even the toughest Wartortle’s shell.
For now though, both Axew and Iris had retreated to a clearing under a big tree, near the foot of a nearby mountain. Using a spark from Axew’s tusk, the bushy-haired girl had quickly constructed a campfire, over which a few strips of bacon were now happily sizzling. Axew, in the meantime, was eating his fill on berries, which it first smashed using his tusks before slobbering the sweet goo away with its mouth.
“You did really well today, Axew!” complimented Iris as she checked her bacon. The small dragon answered with a quick “xew!” and continued munching on his berries, a big smile on his face.
“You’ve really got the hang of Rock Smash now. How about we start working on Dragon Claw and Dragon Rage from now on?” Iris urged while she took some berry goop and hand-fed it to her partner. Immediately though, Axew went into a coughing fit, spraying the grass around him with tiny blobs of berry goo. Dragon Rage was still a touchy subject when it came to Axew, even though his use of the ability had improved over the years, he still did not fully master it. Only yesterday had he tried to use the ability last. It had spiraled out of control, knocking Axew on his back which allowed his opponent Absol to land a critical hit on his belly. Even now, the result of that hit was still visible as a raw red line reaching from his right hip diagonally up to the left shoulder. It was a shameful reminder of how little progress he had made over the years in mastering the technique. Once Axew recovered from his coughing fit, he turned away from Iris with a pained look and a bright red blush on his scaly face.
The young Pokemon trainer sighed. She really didn’t like having to ask Axew to do something he didn’t want to do, but Dragon Rage was an important ability for every dragon-type. She’d never wanted to force her little friend to do anything, but in its current form, Dragon Rage was capable of hurting not just Axew himself but everyone around him as well. Besides that, it was Axew’s dream to evolve into a Haxorus one day, and Iris would like nothing better than to help her friend evolve.
But… how was Axew ever going to evolve if he couldn’t properly master the Dragon Rage move?
She inched a little close and scratched Axew behind his neck. “Axew… I know you don’t like using Dragon Rage, but it’s a really important ability! We talked about this before, buddy. If you want to evolve, you’ll need to learn how to master your abilities. You know I’d do anything to help you, but I need you to help me too, Axew”, she finished with a plead in her voice and moisture in her eyes.
“Look, how about we set up a training schedule?” she offered, twisting Axew around so that he looked at her and she had his full attention. “Starting tomorrow, besides our usual training, we’re going to practice on Dragon Rage for 10 minutes every day. 10 minutes, that’s all I ask. I won’t make you do more, but I won’t let you do less either! We’ll work on this together and I’ll be with you every step of the way. How does that sound?” She extended her hand and looked him in the eyes. Axew looked back into her brown orbs with a sad frown contemplating her offer. Looking up and down a few times, switching between her face and her outstretched hand, he sat on his behind and folded his arms.
“Axew?” Iris asked with a hint of uncertainty, “do we have a deal or not?”
What if he refused? What other options would she have then? She didn’t want to think about it. Luckily for her, she didn’t have to, because Axew’s frown suddenly lifted as he got a serious look on his face. With a short but determined “Axew!” he placed his right paw in her hand and shook it after she had enveloped his paw in her fingers. Iris smiled, “Thank you, Axew. I’ll be with you every step of the way! Now, munch up! You’ll need your strength tomorrow.” Smiling happily Axew returned to his last 3 berries, quickly crushing them up before gobbling down their gooey contents.
Meanwhile, Iris got out some bread and lettuce from her bag. Taking the fried bacon off of the fire she started on her own dinner. Before she could get more than two bites down though, she was roused from her dinner by the sound of her Pokegear beeping. Stuffing another large bite in her mouth, she flicked the device open, revealing a new message from May, a Pokemon coordinator who had been a travelling partner of Ash’s before he came to Unova.
I don’t know if you’ve heard yet, but there’s going to be a big Pokemon tournament on Vulcan Island in a few weeks!
If you ask me, this is the perfect opportunity to get a certain knuckle-headed Pokemon trainer we all know out of his self-imposed retreat. I’ve got a feeling he’ll have been invited for the tournament. Even if he hasn’t been invited, we should all still go there. For old time’s sake!
If we all meet up at the edge of the forest on the south side of the island, we can make the trek through the forest together. It’ll be all sorts of fun!
Let’s meet up on July 31st. That should leave us about 4 days to get through the forest and into the stadium.
Hoping to see you there,
Editor/Photographer – Pokemon Fashion Magazine
Seaside Avenue 42
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So, they were going to undertake another attempt at getting Ash back into civilization? Iris could remember the last time they tried it well. About 2 years ago, May had set up a meeting, gathering most of Ash’s travelling companions. A lot of people had shown up, from the calm determined Brock, to the enthusiastically sketch artist named Tracey. Together they had recorded a heartfelt video in which each of them wished Ash all the best and asked him to come back to civilization. Surely, there was a better way to deal with losing in the Unova league than going into isolation for years? In the end though, Ash did not return. He sent back a video message, explaining his motives and requesting them all to stop trying to convince him to come back. He claimed he needed to do this, and being the bone-head that he was, he was going to go through with it.
And now, with this new tournament, May thought they were finally going to lure him out of hiding? Well, if there was anything capable of getting Ash to move, it would be a chance to become a champion. And if she knew Ash, she knew he wasn’t going to waste this opportunity.
As for herself, a journey to Vulcan Island wasn’t exactly in the planning, but seeing Ash and the other girls again was something Iris definitely looked forward to. Besides, Vulcan Island was known to house some pretty powerful Pokemon and it would be teeming with even stronger trainers as the tournament drew nearer. Iris figured it would be the best spot in the world to get some serious training done with Axew.
“Axew? Looks like there’s a change of plans!” she said as her dragon Pokemon turned his head towards her, “what do you think about meeting up with Ash, Misty and the other girls again?” Axew gave an excited yip and rubbed his head against his trainer’s thigh, indicating his approval. “All right, it’s settled then! Starting tomorrow, we’ll make our way towards Vulcan Island!” Iris finished as she sent May a reply, confirming her participation. “But don’t think we’ll go easy on our training, just because we’re travelling Axew!” she remarked in a bossy tone, staring her companion down. Axew merely sniffed as though he had been offended before he playfully head-butted his trainer in the stomach. Rolling over, both Pokemon and human were laughing out loud as they playfully wrestled about in the grass.
When their playful battle ended, Iris was lying on her back with Axew resting on her stomach, his face resting atop her breasts. Iris looked at him fondly, stroking him behind his neck again. “You know, Axew…” she pondered, “I’m really lucky they gave you to me back then. You’re a great friend, Axew”. Axew responded with a log rumbling growl, keeping his eyes shut and slowly drifting off to sleep. "Yeah,” Iris chuckled, “I love you too Axew”.
And with that, Iris quietly returned Axew to his resting place on top of her head, hidden between her massive amounts of hair. She then put out the remainder of her campfire before she deftly climbed the nearest tree. Hidden among the branches, she got herself comfortable before drifting off to sleep. Already, her dreams were filled with great Pokemon battles, powerful trainers, and a certain spiky-haired boy.