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Chapter 1: That old story of boy meets bear

"Well, here I am" thought Jerome as he stood outside Professor Whitebeam's immense laboratory. it had taken him 2 hours to walk from home in Fairhampton, but he had enjoyed every step as he marvelled at the countless Pokémon that surrounded him. He had only just closed the front door before seeing a zebstrika munching on his mother's prized rhododendrons. "Mum's right, everybody round here loves those plants" he joked before gently shooing it away. On his journey he saw: a pair of patrat chasing each other around a rock, a trio of skiploom drifting overhead, an arbok dozing on a tree stump, a chatot pecking at a pinap berry tree, a simisear practicing acrobatics, and a haunter laughing as it tossed pebbles at an infuriated medicham; at one point he thought he even heard the distant clashing of a kommo-o. Jerome pressed the buzzer, turned around and waited as he watched a weezing pass by. Just as he was about to wish it good morning the door slid open. Jerome saw a man who was about his mum's age, he had brown eyes, and his short curly hair and goatee were yellow. Under his lab coat he wore a light green sweater with brown stripes, grey trousers and blue sneakers. "Hello there, young man. how may I assist you" the gentleman asked cheerfully. Jerome grinned and said "Now stop me if you've heard this one but I'd like to get my first Pokémon please." The man chuckled and moved aside "In you come then my friend, but please don't touch anything. I've only just cleaned up". So Jerome stepped inside and his eyes widened at the wonderous sight; the lab was huge, filled with countless computers making weird beeps and whizzes, stacks of boxes everywhere, a whole wall lined with cupboards and a large flat screen TV at the far end. But the youth's eyes finally rested on a massive table in the room's centre, for on it lay 24 red and white circular objects. "Oh wow, there they are! " he whooped, before rushing over to stare at them while rubbing his hands with glee. The older man approached him and smiled. "Hey now, friend, don't you want to know what each Pokeball contains," he said as he took a booklet from his coat pocket. Jerome looked at him and grinned. "No thanks sir, because I honestly believe that all Pokémon, no matter their typing , are all equally stupendous". The prof looked him square in the eyes for several moments before the largest smile Jerome had ever seen a person make formed on his face. "Well my boy, with that attitude you're sure to make any Pokémon you catch an excellent trainer" he said putting the booklet away. "In fact, you've given me a great idea. Please follow me outside". So the duo went behind the building to a group of large bushes. "Good morning little one, I've brought someone who'd like to meet you. He's perfectly harmless I assure you", the prof said as he took some berries from another pocket. Just as Jerome was about to speak a figure appeared from behind the furthest bush. It had a small, stubby body covered with brown fur, beady black eyes and a yellow crescent on its forehead. "Aah, it's a Teddiursa," Jerome gasped, gesturing to the prof for some berries. "Ursa?" the beastie queried, as it neared and sniffed the teen's hand. Then it moved a tiny arm, snatched the fruits and gobbled them down. "Haha," laughed Whitebeam as Jerome watched the cub, "it must be really comfortable with you to do that. Actually, that's why I brought you out here". Would you like this to be your starter?". "Wh-what Sir," Jerome stuttered, "do you really mean that? but why do you ask?". The professor frowned and sighed. "It's really quite sad. You see, it's already had a trainer, he got it in a trade but he gave it to me when he found out it was a female. Apparently he has a reputation as a tough guy, and he feared it would be ruined if folk found out as they'd never stop laughing at him. The poor thing was so distraught it was some time before it finally trusted me. Jerome shook his head. "Oh I don't know, he said, "there really are some daft people in the world". You know what, I'll do it. How about it buddy, will you come with me on my journeys?". The cub looked at him for several seconds, blinked, then gave a hearty "Teddi", and tapped Jerome's leg. "well I think that's settled the matter," said Whitebeam happily before leading the group back indoors. He opened a cupboard and took out a belt with six pokeballs attached. "Here you are mate, these are for your first captures. Take this too" he said handing Jerome a small orange device. "This is your pokedex. It holds information on every officially recognised Pokémon species in Eurpax. Just point it at any you see. It will also tell you which moves they currently know". And remember, if you need to buy anything else you must beat other trainers in battle for money". "I'm ready for anything", said Jerome confidently, "I'll be fine with my new friend. Oops, I haven't given her a name yet". He crouched before the cub and looked it in the eye. "What do you say little one, how'd you like it if I called you umm, Grizz?". The furball immediately waved its arms and squeaked "Tedteddi" and pointed at a pokeball. "Oh well, if you insist", said Jerome as he picked it up "let's do this". Then he gently bopped Grizz on the nose & watched as the ball opened to swallow her in red energy. The ball shook and beeped several times, then clicked shut. "Hooray I've done it! I've got my first pokemon", yelled Jerome as he lifted the ball in the air. "Congratulations dear boy, said Whitebeam, "I'm sure she's the first of many new friends you'll make as you traverse our great land". Then they shook hands and Jerome left for home. He returned to find his mum was still out. "Oh that's a shame, I really wanted mum to meet Grizz before I left" he said while packing some sandwiches, drinks and a sleeping bag into a rucksack. Jerome sighed "Well Grizz, we're on our way. We've got some interesting times ahead of us". He left the house, locked the door and set of down the lane. He could never have guessed just how interesting those times would be.

Chapter 2: More Pokemon, less speed.

A while later Jerome came to a fork in the path with a signpost displaying directions for three towns. "Umm which way shall I go, Jerome pondered scratching his head, I haven't been to any of these places on my own before. Aah let's go there" he said pointing to the sign for Umbarton, it was a nice place. He followed the new path for a bit until he came to a large clearing. At one end was a red-headed man dressed in an orange tracksuit and grey sneakers doing various exercises. Jerome watched him for a bit, then the guy noticed him and frowned. "What're you looking at you little weirdo" he barked, walking over to glare down at the boy. "Ah Um s-sorry sir stammered Jerome "I was just curious that's all". Then he recovered and had a thought. "Excuse me but I've only just started my pokemon journey. If you don't mind, may I take you on in my very first pokemon battle?". The man's left eye twitched, making Jerome wonder if he should scarper."Very well, said the man with a sly grin. "I, Otto, will oblige, but only if you beat me in a race. " This made Jerome stare at him. "Umm okay" he said finally, putting his rucksack on the dirt, how will it work?". Otto looked around and saw a huge boulder several hundred meters away. "How about up to that boulder and back to your stuff" he said, it shouldn't be too hard, not even for a runt like you". Jerome then felt somewhat offended, but he just shrugged his shoulders. "Alright then Mister, lets do this". So the two lined up, each with one leg forward and fists clenched. "Ready, steady... go!" Otto shouted, and fifteen seconds later was well ahead of the boy, who suddenly felt quite weak. However, Jerome grit his teeth, sped up and eventually drew up just behind Otto. But Otto got even faster, got to the boulder and tapped it. "I'm halfway there buster, he said as Jerome approached him, "see you at the end". You know, I'm not too fond of him Jerome thought as Otto was now a third of the way to the finish. But then he saw Otto catch his left foot on something stuck in the ground, causing the man to stumble and fall spread-eagled and face-first in the grass. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, Jerome thought naughtily as he passed Otto to finally reach the end. He watched as Otto arose, wiped himself clean and limped towards him with a face like thunder." See what you've done squirt, you're gonna regret making me fall" Otto said shaking his fist. "Don't blame me, said Jerome innocently, You are the one that suggested it". Otto scowled and folded his arms "Either way, get ready for a pasting runt". "At least let me check my pokemon first" Jerome said as he took out Grizz's ball and pointed the Pokedex at it. The machine bleeped and began speaking in a high-pitched voice. [Teddiursa the Little Bear Pokemon. This pokemon likes to lick its palms that are sweetened by being soaked in honey. Ability: Pickup. Current Moves: Scratch, lick, metal claw, sweet scent.] Sounds good to me thought Jerome. "Now how does it go? Ah yes. Gooo Pokeball! he shouted and flung it to the ground. The ball flashed open and Grizz landed on the turf with a happy "Ursa!". "Ha, is that supposed to impress me, taunted Otto as he took a pokeball from his left pocket. He clicked it and it opened to reveal a small, pudgy green creature with yellow spikes and pink petals. "Maractus" it shrieked, waving its limbs furiously. The two beasties then glared at each other, eager to begin the tussle. Then the humans gave their first orders. "Absorb"."Scratch". The plant then raised up one arm which started to glow. Grizz ran to it with claws out but suddenly yelped as green orbs of energy left it's head. "Hah, good start squirt, Otto taunted. Jerome said "again quickly". The cub ran towards its foe and swiped its nails in the plant's face. As it fell back Otto grimaced "Drain punch". It then flexed its right arm which turned light brown. Jerome said "dodge it and use metal claw". Grizz jumped away as the limb hit the ground, made its claws turn silver and slashed the enemy's middle. "Aagh you little jerk Otto shouted as Maractus shrieked in pain, "hit back with poison jab". Its claws became purple and it poked its foe in both shoulders. Grizz yelped and teetered badly as its arms began to ache. "No Grizz hang on girl, Jerome yelled in despair "you can do it". "Oh no she can't, scoffed Otto with a sneer "end this with bounce". Then Maractus bent down and leapt 100ft into the air to hover over Grizz, grinning at her. "Get ready girl said Jerome. Then the plant gave a shrill cry & began to fall headfirst. Both trainers shouted together "You've lost shrimp"! "Metal claw"! Just before they collided Grizz managed to raise both arms and slashed her foe between the eyes." Nooooo howled Otto as his creature collapsed on the grass. Jerome dashed over to Grizz and caught her as she wobbled about. "Oh well done missy he said before returning her to her ball. "I do believe you have to give me some money", Jerome said as he walked to Otto. He glared at the teen, but took out a wallet and placed some notes in Jerome's palm. "There you go runt, I hope you get mugged" sneered Otto. After Jerome watched him limp away he hurried to where the man fell. He saw a spiky orange object and picked it up. "Aah, I know that. Its a sun stone, said Jerome as he put it in his rucksack, " Now Grizz, let's go to Umbarton and get you healed up".

Chapter 3: Enter Team Rascal.

"Here we are Grizz said Jerome as he stood outside a huge building on the outskirts of Umbarton. It had large sliding doors above which was a big red letter P. He stepped in to see a large hall filled with benches and potted plants. On the left side there were some tables and snack machines, and stairs leading to some guest bedrooms. On the right side was a small shop advertising all manner of pokemon-related items. At the back of the hall was a wide counter with some computers and a door behind it. A young pink-haired lady in a nurses uniform stood there smiling at Jerome. "Good evening sir, she said bowing as he came near "How may I help?". "Could you please heal my Teddiursa for me, Jerome said handing over Grizz's ball "it was poisoned winning our first ever battle together". "Of course I will young sir, said the nurse putting the ball on a tray, "it'll soon be right as rain". She then went into the room behind and Jerome decided to get some shopping. He went over to pick up a basket and went along the shelves and chose 6 potions, 2 full heals, and 1 escape rope. "Greetings friend" said the shopkeeper as Jerome approached the counter "want anything else". "No I'm good thank you" said Jerome handing over the cash, "in fact it's time for bed". So he put his stuff in his rucksack and went upstairs for the night."Aah that's better Jerome said stretching after a good night's sleep "Time to get Grizz". Then he dressed and went to the main counter. "Good morning sir" said the nurse giving him the ball "here is your friend". "Cheers miss" he said and took the ball. He then exited the centre and breathed deeply. "Now then let's explore". He turned right and strode down several quiet streets until he finally reached the town centre. He was shocked by how crowded it was, many people & their pokemon walking in every direction as they joined long queues for countless shops. Fairhampton was never like this thought Jerome as he saw most people were barging into each other without apologising. Among them were: a fancily-dressed young girl stepping into a large car while a machamp was loading a mass of bags & parcels into the boot; a man playing a flute as two herdier merrily danced on their hind legs; and people laughing at a bald man chasing a zigzagoon that stole his wig. Jerome eventually made his way to a small park enclosed by hedges with a pond in the centre. Beside it there was a bench on which sat an elderly lady, knitting as a small red bug lay dozing beside her. There were also several rows of flowers with many Bug pokemon flittering about them, collecting pollen or munching on leaves. "What a wonderful little place this is, Jerome said and released Grizz onto the path "Go on girl, have a run around". She dashed over and dove into the flowers, rummaged around and ran straight back holding a small yellow lump. "Oh you've found a balm mushroom, said Jerome as he took it "I'll keep that. I hear it's worth a tidy sum". Suddenly they were disturbed by a loud cry of "Ooh help me someone please" behind them. They turned to see the old lady clasping her hands as a teen boy stood before her, holding the small bug by its yellow horn. He wore a blue cap, yellow shirt and green shorts, he was accompanied by a small, grey fierce-looking canine. "Cheers granny, I'll take good care of your wurmple" he taunted "besides, you've not got long left anyway". He was just about to scarper when Jerome rushed up and shoved him, making him drop the bug. "Ursa" Grizz cried as she fell forward, the creature landing on her soft back. "Yeeegh!" cried the boy as he splashed into the water, who did that!?". "Are you okay madam" said Jerome as he carefully lifted the creature and handed it back to the lady. "Oh thank you young man, she said while stroking the beast "If only all kids were like you". They watched as the boy staggered out of the pond, absolutely drenched and covered with weeds, his face beet red with fury. "Grrr I'm gonna trounce you for that you berk, he sneered "No one messes with Kevin of Team Rascal and lasts long. Poochyena, lets do this". The dog ran to him and growled at Grizz. "Very well. Grizz, let's teach him to show our senior citizens some respect", Jerome said as he rubbed her head. Kevin pointed at Grizz and said "Tackle it". Jerome replied with "Metal claw". The dog charged and rammed the cub as Grizz's silver claws grazed its shoulder. The two retreated and shook themselves, eagerly awaiting new orders. "Use lick" said Jerome. "Bite" said Kevin. Grizz lunged at her foe with her tongue stuck out, but yelped in pain as it dodged and bit her left ear. "Haha you're hopeless" Kevin laughed, watching Grizz shake her head. "A-are you okay" Jerome stammered, reaching into his rucksack. "Ted" she replied with a nod. Jerome sighed in relief and commanded "Now try Sweet scent". "Sweet what?, asked Kevin "sounds stupid, but if you really want to lose lemme help. Thunderfang now". The pup charged at Grizz, its open mouth crackling with electricity. Quickly the bear leant forward and breathed out several pink and green waves which flew up its nose. "Hey what's wrong with you" Kevin shouted as his dog halted, blinked and wagged its tail." That's the power of sweet scent, Jerome smirked "its pleasant smell distracts the target". "C'mon snap out of it you dozy fleabag" Kevin shouted, jumping up and down and waving his arms "Beat it up already!". But the beast simply looked at him and began to roll in the dirt. "Go on Grizz, finish him with another metal claw" said Jerome trying not to laugh. Grizz nodded, charged and smashed her right paw into her enemy's face. "Pooch-eek! it yipped as it was sent flying into a nearby rubbish bin." Aah sod it" Kevin swore as he put his mutt into a Pokeball, "I'll tell the team about you. Then you'll be for it!". As he fled the lady put the bug down and opened her purse, a huge smile on her face. "Oh my dear child, how can I ever repay you after this" she said, bringing out some notes. "Please don't" Jerome said shaking his head, "Just seeing you two safe and happy is reward enough. Take care now, me and Grizz have some healing to do". They made their way back to the Pokecentre, Jerome quickly handing the nurse Grizz's ball. He then moved to the shop and chose 2 revives. "These please "he said putting the items on the counter "by the way, who are Team Rascal?". The seller sighed and shook his head. "You don't know? Well, Team Rascal are a gang that's divided into groups who can found throughout most of Eurpax. They commit countless crimes but are mostly known for vandalism, extortion and pokemon stealing. You'd better keep away". "Too late" Jerome sighed, I've already met one. One more thing, are there any good places for catching Pokémon nearby?". "Let's see" the man said rubbing his chin "I suppose you could try the small wood beyond the west side of town. There are countless grass types to be found in it." Jerome thanked and paid him, sat down, and had dinner before going back to bed. The last thought he had before he drifted off was I've a feeling I'll be seeing a lot more of Team Rascal before too long.

Chapter 4: Nab that Nuzleaf

"What a magnificent place this is" Jerome said as he strolled along a dirt track through the trees, thoroughly refreshed "I bet there's loads of pokemon in hiding spying on me. Come on out Grizz". As soon as the cub was released it squeaked and skipped along, constantly looking into the shadows until it hopped right and retrieved a little gold nugget. "Ah thanks mate" said Jerome as he took it and put it away "I'll soon be a millionaire because of your ability ". After another hour of trekking Jerome halted and sighed. "Oh Grizz, I'm starting to think that man lied to me. We should have seen some pokemon by now". He returned her, moved to lay down in a clearing and fell asleep. He was soon rudely awoken as something bashed into his head. "Ow hey who did that? he shouted, holding his noggin while looking around. His eyes rested on a tiny brown being with a grey hat and yellow eyes and feet. "Seed" it piped before it bumped his arm twice. "Hey now little one, what are you doing that for" said Jerome as he stood up brushing himself off "I was enjoying that kip". It then began moving back and forth squeaking madly. "What, you want me to follow you?" the boy asked scratching his head "Okay then, lead on mate". For a good twenty minutes the thing led him through thick undergrowth, Jerome twice tripping on tree roots and once banging his knee on a rock. Suddenly it froze before a huge mass of bushes, nearly making him step on it. "Is this it friend?" Jerome asked crouching to make a hole in the leaves. He saw three more of the small beings bunched together, trembling as a larger brown biped stood over them."Nuznuz" it growled shaking a small fist at them. Jerome's guide suddenly burst through to stand between them. "Seed" it said, stamping a foot. The bully's eyes widened in shock at such impertinence, then it gnashed its teeth and raised both fists. "Oi" shouted Jerome as he scrambled through the greenery "stop right there boyo". I won't let you hurt them". "Leaf" it snapped flexing its arms. "Alright then you asked for this" the teen said releasing Grizz "Say missy, how about we teach this meany a lesson?". "Ursa" it said and thumped its chest. Suddenly the biped ran up and slammed a palm into her face, making her cringe and stumble back. "Hang on girl" Jerome shouted "use scratch on it". "Nuz" her foe cried as her nails cut its cheek. "Keep using scratch" said Jerome, the four tiny creatures watching from behind his legs. So the cub carried on swiping, but only half hit home as the enemy shuffled about like a boxer. It leapt back and raised an arm, sending several glowing leaves to cut into Grizz. "Metal claw now" Jerome shouted while she gingerly touched the grazes. She charged and gave the bully's chest a mighty cut, making it cry as it dropped to its knees. "Use sweet scent" Jerome ordered, Grizz sent out the wafts which made her foe sigh and droop its arms. "Finish this with multiple scratches" said Jerome, so she went up to deal it seven cuts which made it fall to the ground breathing heavily. "You know what Grizz" Jerome said as he chose a pokeball "I'm gonna catch it. So as the saying goes... Gooo Pokeball!". He flung it and saw it bop the creature's tummy, red light surrounded and absorbed it, then sucked it into the ball. The two watched eagerly as the ball rolled and jiggled about for several seconds, but eventually it stopped and bleeped. All the pokemon looked at Jerome who was frozen, but they jumped as he spread his arms, put his head back and whooped "Yeeehaaah I've done it! I've caught my first ever truly wild pokemon!". Then he ran and leapt in circles until he was worn out. "Oops, sorry about that friends" he said breathlessly while holding his chest "I'm fine now." At that the brown things winked and giggled as he brought out Grizz's ball. "Come on girl, let's get you better."