"Hey, Jack!" exclaimed Buttock with his typical doofus grin. "I was looking forward to seeing you, Jack."
"My rival should be strong to keep me sharp."
"While working on my Pokedex, I looked all over for Pokemon."
"Not only that, I assembled teams that would beat any Pokemon type."
"I'm the Pokemon League Champion!"
"Good for you. Bite me."
"Jack! Do you know what that means?"
"It means Bacchus and I are about to smack you around like a chump."
"I'll tell you. I am the most powerful trainer in the world!"
"You killed Stalker. You killed Wumbo. You killed Leviathan. I am going to rip that title right out of your hands if it's the last thing I do."
Just like always, the battle started with Minato vs Pidgeot. It was down in one shot. I desperately needed that. We were out-leveled and out-numbered, and I couldn't afford to lose more of my friends to this troll.
Buttock sent his Rhydon out next. Minato wouldn't stand a chance, so I sent out Bacchus, knowing that my oldest friend could take it on without a problem.
I watched in agony as my best friend died right before my eyes, and all I could do was send out a level 40 Primape to avenge him.
I can't even describe the emotionless void that spread inside me as I sent out Craig to finish the Rhydon off. I wasn't sad. I wasn't even angry. But ever-so-slowly the grief began to seep back into my soul as ally after ally fell in battle.
Buttock sent out an Exeggutor next. Craig obviously didn't stand a chance, so I swapped him out for Ferry, the level 25 Lapras.
Dead. I barely even got to know her.
I sent out Minato next to try and deal with this walking palm tree of death, but after a Light Screen, a Full Restore, an Egg Bomb, and a Sleep Powder, my Pokemon was in rough shape.
I procured a Full Restore from my backpack and healed Minato just as he took another Egg Bomb from the Exeggutor. Luckily for us, though, the Light Screen fell at that point and Minato took it out with Bite the very next turn. But then the Alakazam came.
I feared that Alakazam. I feared what it could do. It knew I feared it, too, as it wasted no time in attacking with Psychic. I used I Max Potion on Minato just as he took the attack, bringing him down to just above half health. The two Pokemon traded blows the next turn and the results were in my favor.
The Alakazam readied its Psychic. Minato charged its Thunderbolt. But in the end, it was the faster Pokemon that came out on top.
Speed matters. It mattered again when Minato one-shot Buttock's Gyarados while he remained within an inch of his life. It mattered even more when Minato got the first hit on my opponent's Charizard to finish him off.
Almost. Speed simply wasn't enough. My Jolteon fell to Fire Blast. It was now one vs one.
I sent out Craig while Buttock's Charizard ate its Sitrus Berry, restoring a small portion of its health.
I was now at the most important decision of my life. Rock Blast was sure to take it down, but only if its 80% chance of hitting the opponent succeeded. Double-Edge, on the other hand, was almost sure to hit, but I couldn't be certain that it would finish our opponent off. I couldn't afford to make a mistake. That Charizard was faster, and its Fire Blast was capable of decimating over half of Craig's health. But I made my decision.
"Charizard, use Fire Blast!"
"Craig, use Rock Blast!"
Both attacks missed. That's not even a joke, that is actually what happened. Buttock and I sighed audibly in unison.
"Charizard, really use Fire Blast!"
"Craig, really use Rock Blast!"
His Charizard soared into the air and fired off the most vicious Fire Blast I had ever seen. The roaring flames engulfed my Pokemon, severely burning him.
"Craig!" I called out in desperation as my last friend began to fall. But before he collapsed to the floor, the stream of fire ended and Buttock's Charizard plummeted to the ground below. Got it.
The award ceremony took place immediately. The Pokemon League officials probably expected it to go by quickly. I only had one Pokemon left to give an award too, after all. Nevertheless, I insisted on placing the ribbon on the neck of each of my fallen allies, a request that they would not dare to deny me.
After the ceremony was a parade through Pallet Town. It was a bit too extravagant for my liking, but it was expected of me to come. Eight of the nine people in town showed up, after all. By the time it was all done, I was exhausted beyond belief. But I was not ready to rest yet. There was still something I had to do.
"Ferry," I began. "I can't say really say you were there to witness Stalker's death. You weren't there when Hachiko accidentally burned a building. You weren't there to see Extinction strand Bill on a tiny island in the middle of the sea. But you were there at the end, and that's what counts. You died for this adventure. Because of that, you are and always will be my friend."
"Bruce," I continued. "You were a fighter, through and through. Against insurmountable odds, you went all the way from Route 22 to the Indigo Plateau. I was right to bring you back to the team. I only wish I could have kept you alive long enough to see the victory you helped attain."
"Hachiko," I said through choked tears. "I've never had more fun burning things to the ground than I did with you, and I know that won't change for as long as I live. Just like how I know that I'll see you again when my time comes. I hope you'll be there to greet me."
"Minato," I began, but immediately stopped to wipe my tears. "Minato. You were always at the front, leading the charge against whoever we faced. You probably beat more tough foes than anyone else on the squad. I'm so sorry, I realize that what you never got to do was rest. But now is your chance to do that. Rest easy, Minato. Your battle is finally over."
"B-Bacchus," I stuttered. "B-Bacchus. This was your dream just as much as it was mine. And you were there for it all. You saw Vermin die. You battled Misty. You helped save Silph Co., defeat Giovanni, and followed me all the way to the Pokemon League Champion. You know, 'followed' isn't even the right word. We walked side-by-side to the Pokemon League Champion, just like we walked side-by-side through this whole journey. I said it before and I will say it again: you are my oldest friend and my best friend. If I could only have one wish, I would make you able to see what we accomplished together."
I gently stroked the wilting flower on my Venusaur's back.
"Goodbye, Bacchus. I'll miss you, my friend."
And so Craig and I dried our tears and walked out the door together to go buy copious amounts of wine.
The End (maybe).
Note from ActionJ4ck: I would just like to say thank you so much for reading my adventures so far. I hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. It means so much to me to be able to bring even a little bit of joy into somebody else's life through Pokemon, games, or writing. I hope you'll continue to visit my website and see what other things I write about, which might even include another Jacklocke challenge sometime in the future. Again, thank you so much for reading. I just have one final thing left to say:
This Jacklocke is dedicated to the brave Pokemon that gave their lives in battle to ensure that ActionJ4ck's journey could continue.
Vermin, the Rattata
Stalker, the Meowth.
Wumbo, the Snorlax
Leviathan, the Gyarados
Hachiko, the Arcanine
Bacchus, the Venusaur
Bruce, the Primeape
Ferry, the Lapras
Minato, the Jolteon
So long for now.