"You mean like a Pokemon gym?" I remarked.
"Challenging Falker may be too difficult if you haven't gone through their training."
"Again, is that not the purpose of the gym itself?"
"Ha ha ha!"
"Did I say something funny?"
I sighed and made my way to the northeast corner of Violet City where I saw a traditional-Japanese-looking tower looming far overhead. I entered and was greeted by the sight of two statues in the form of Bellsprout.
I looked to Lockjaw and Newcraig and said, "Boy, I hope that they don't use nothing but Bellsprout here."
They used nothing but Bellsprout there.
I spent the next hour of my life watching a low-level Zubat only use Leech Life on low-level Bellsprout only using Vine Whip, which is not dissimilar to watching a pair of rocks wait for the other one to erode to death. At least I caught a Rattata named Varmint.
I slowly (yes, slowly), ascended to the top floor of Sprout Tower, where I met...
...some guy. I forgot his name. He gave a brief soliloquy about how he wants strong Pokemon and then warped out of the building with an Escape Rope. To be honest, he seems like a bit of a tool. I shrugged my shoulders and approached the elder of Sprout Tower.
"So good of you to come here!"
"I can't say I had much of a choice."
"Sprout Tower is a place of training."
"Much like a Pokemon Gym, yes."
"People and Pokemon test their bonds to build a bright future together. I am the final test."
"Much like a Gym Leader, yes."
"Allow me to check the ties between you and your Pokemon."
"Much like a gym battle, yes."
My team cleared away his Pokemon without incident. I was about to turn and leave after the battle, but the sage closed his eyes and began to speak again.
"You have lost much in the past."
I turned back to him and replied, "Actually, I've never lost a single battle."
"I mean your Pokemon."
"Oh. Yeah, I can't deny that."
He opened his eyes again and stared through me, saying, "You will lose much in the future as well."
"Whatever, Nostradamus," I called back from across the room as I began to depart from his company. What can I say? I had stuff to do, namely kicking Falker's feathery butt up and over the clouds. Unfortunately, my crippling fear of heights meant that our showdown had a bit less epic of an aesthetic than I would have liked.
"Are you sure you're okay up here?" Falker called out to me from across the platform. "We can take this downstairs if you really want."
"Psssh," I waived him off as I sprawled on the ground like a lizard, tightly gripping any crack that the creaky wooden floorboards would offer me. "Heights, schmeits, let's get this show on the road." I continued with my eyes clenched shut.
"If you say so," I heard him called out from the other side. The sound of his voice reverberating downward did not help my mental state. "I'm Falkner," he resumed, "the Violet City Pokemon Gym Leader! People say you can clip a-"
"No, I'm serious, let's just do this!" I interrupted, eager for this ordeal to be over. I gripped the floorboards even tighter than before with my left hand while my right reached to my belt for Newcraig's Pokeball. I carefully placed the ball in front of me and pressed the release button for fear that throwing it would somehow create so much momentum in my arm that I'd sweep myself off the ground and over the edge of the platform. It could happen.
I heard him send out what sounded like a Pidgey, so I, with my eyes and rectum still clenched shut, ordered Newcraig to nail it with a Rock Throw. I assume that knocked it out in one hit, because I then heard the sounds of a Pidgeotto being released from its ball.
"Just keep doing what you're doing, Newcraig!" I called out. Not too loudly though, for fear that a large release of air from my lungs would create just enough of a wind in this building to lift me up and off the platform. And yes, I understand that that's totally irrational. I just don't care.
After several rounds of sounds of continuous combat intermingled with cowardly whimpering, Falker exclaimed, "For pity's sake! My dad's cherished bird Pokemon..."
"Does this mean I won?" I opened my eyes, remembered where I was, and then quickly shut them again.
"But a defeat is a defeat. All right. Take this official Pokemon League Badge."
"Um, if it's alright with you, would you mind bringing it over here instead?"
He sighed audibly and strolled across the walkway to me.
"This one is the Zephyr Badge."
"Fantastic, would you mind putting that in my pocket for me? I really appreciate it."
To be continued...