Quartz shut the door of her gym, locking it. There’s been strange reports around the city recently, she thought, waving at the people passing by. I better patrol, or else I’m not doing my best as a Gym Leader.
Pushing back a strand of her long, golden hair, Quartz opened up her Gliscor’s Pokeball. “Look around Catto City, as much as you can,” she instructed. “I’ll be doing the same thing.”
The Fang Scorpion Pokemon nodded, and then glided off in a western direction. Quartz watched her Pokemon for a moment, but then started to move in the opposite direction, her pace increasing to a slow running speed.
Within minutes, the ground-type specialist had reached the outskirts of the city. She hadn’t seen anything suspicious on the way there; although that would be due to the fact that Quartz had been moving too quickly to really see anything out of the ordinary.
Well, I'll just watch the city’s limits for now.
In the distance, Quartz could see a group of kids walking as a group toward her and Catto City. They’re certainly not from Catto City, Quartz thought, squinting at the group. At the very least, I’ve never seen any of them around.
Once the four children were close enough, Quartz greeted, “Hey.”
The group stopped, and a glance was exchanged between the only male and green-eyed one.
“Welcome to Catto City!”
A girl holding an Espurr blinked, looking startled. “T-Thank you, I guess,” she replied softly. Her big, blue-gray eyes widened. “Wait… I think I’ve heard of you… are you Quartz? The ground-type Gym Leader of Catto City?”
Quartz grinned. “So you’ve heard of me! Yup, that’s right, I’m the Gym Leader of this place.” She put her hands on her hips, and asked, “What are your names?”
Each one of the four introduced themselves as Time, Natalie, Gulfstream, and Lector respectively.
“Alright, good to meet you all. Is that other girl over there a part of your group?” Quartz queried, pointing at a fair-skinned teenager.
“Huh? What?” Gulfstream replied, snapping her head around. Seeing who it was, she narrowed her eyes.
Quartz winced. I guess Gulfstream’s not on friendly terms with that girl over there.
It wasn’t just Gulfstream who didn’t seem happy with the girl with the “starry” hair-- in fact, Time and Natalie were giving the teen strange looks as well. Lector seemed just as confused as Quartz was at her friend’s reactions. The blue-eyed girl sighed, and walked towards Quartz.
“Aren’t you the girl who pushed Gulfy down in Piato?” Time asked, his tone accusing. Gulfstream’s cheeks turned ever-so-slightly pink, but Quartz couldn’t tell if it was from her anger or the nickname.
“So what if am? Pushing isn't a crime,” she retorted, crossing her arms.
“You admit you did it on purpose, then?”
“Hey, hey!” Quartz shouted, trying to prevent the brewing fight. “Fighting won’t change everything, and it’s not productive. Why don’t you guys-”
“Listen,” the teen snapped, “they provoked me. Just because I pushed ‘Gulfy’.”
Gulfstream bristled with annoyance. “You can’t call me Gulfy!”
Lector exchanged glances with Quartz. It looks like she isn’t too happy about having this argument, either.
“Hey, your name’s Nova, right?”
The entire group, including Nova, blinked, turning around to face Natalie, the source of the statement.
“How do you know that?” Lector asked, tilting her head.
“You said it earlier, right? Back at Piato Town,” Natalie explained. “Are you following us?”
“What? Why would I follow you guys in the first place?” Nova paused, narrowing her eyes. “What gives you that idea, in the first place?”
Natalie shrugged. “I felt like we were being watched, ever since we crashed into you back in Piato Town.”
Nova shook her head. “I have no interest in stalking you guys. I’d only be wasting my time.” She turned to Quartz. “You’re the Gym Leader, so will you accept my challenge? I need to get stronger.”
“Oho, a Pokemon battle? Is that what you want?” Quartz inquired, thinking, This’ll be fun. “In that case, I accept. Let’s have it right here, okay?”
Nova smiled, and opened up a Pokeball. A Fletchinder having the same expression as Nova appeared, its sharp eyes glancing over the others.
“Wait,” Gulfstream protested, “I think Time said he was planning on challenging you, Quartz! And I was too!”
Time nodded in approval of Gulfy’s statement. Nova sighed, her Fletchinder looking quite annoyed.
Oh boy, Quartz thought, I can see only one good way to resolve this. Actually, it’s a great idea, and it’s the best one I have. I’ll do it.
“You guys are fighting on who should battle me first, right? Well, I’ve got an idea as to how to decide,” Quartz stated, putting her hands on her hips. “You have a Pokemon battle. Since Gulfstream is the one who brought it up, she can have a one-on-one with Nova.”
“Sounds fair,” Nova replied, shrugging. “Beating Gulfstream will be easy.”
Gulfstream bristled with anger, and snapped, “Hey! Take that back!”
Nova opened her mouth just as Quartz blew on her whistle in frustration. In most cases, the whistle was used to call over her Pokemon, and sometimes, Quartz used it when she had to referee battles. However, in this case, she had used it to grab the attention of the bickering teenagers. “Stop! Gulfstream and Nova, take out the Pokemon you’re going to be using,” she commanded, “so we can begin. There will be no substitutions.”
“I’ll be using Fletchinder. What about you, Gulfy?” Nova taunted. Gulfstream’s face turned red, although Quartz couldn’t tell if it was from anger or embarrassment.
The blue Pokemon appeared at Gulfstream’s side. So that’s her partner Pokemon, Quartz thought, grinning. Not bad!
“Start!” Quart shouted, signaling the start of the battle with a slashing gesture made with her arms. The gym leader barely blinked as Nova and Gulfstream began to yell out commands.
“Fletchinder - Wing Attack!”
“Come on, Shinx! Use… uh, Spark!”
Quartz noticed that while Natalie’s eyes were fixated on the battle going on, Time was cheering Gulfstream on encouragingly. His own Pokemon, a Charmander, was at his side, apparently doing the same thing. Lector cheered along with him.
The two Pokemon darted around the vicinity, desperately dodging attacks while attempting to cause damage to the opponent. As Nova’s Fletchinder lunged at Gulfstream’s Shinx, the Shinx would roll away, and them quickly try to land a counterattack. Quartz could see the passion on both Nova and Gulfstream’s faces; both of them were eager to win, to show the other that they were better. Competition will help these girls improve.
Around fifteen minutes later, neither side had given up, but both looked beat. Not only were Shinx and Fletchinder exhausted, but Quartz saw the energy in the girls’ faces fade away. Even Natalie, who had seemed so interested in watching the battle before, looked bored. This won’t get us anywhere, so I might as well end this.
Quartz blew on her whistle, and put her hands on her hips. She called out, “Alright, that’s enough! The battle ends in a tie!”
Nova wiped the sweat from her face, while Gulfstream gave a sigh of relief. Quartz blinked in slight confusion. “Are you guys really that tired?” she asked as Natalie, Time, Lector, and Gulfstream all walked up to her. Nova stood where she was, returning Fletchinder to its Pokeball.
“It was my first Pokemon battle,” Gulfstream admitted, twirling a lock of her hair.
Quartz took a step back, surprised. “Really?” Wait a moment. Could these trainers be the ones that Professor Pine sent? If so, I was lucky to run into them so quick.
Now Lector blinked. “What’s wrong with that?” she asked.
“Nothing. Hey, did you guys get your Pokemon from Professor Pine?”
“Professor Pine?” Time echoed. “Yeah.”
Quartz’s eyes lit up. “That’s great! I was told to send you guys straight to Har City. Apparently Professor Pine wants to meet you guys there, so I guess our battle has to wait.”
“Aww,” Gulfstream groaned, looking disappointed.
“Come on, Gulfy, we can come back to Catto City later,” Time pointed out.
“Plus! We get to see the professor again,” Lector chimed in.
Natalie nodded. “That’s right.”
Gulfstream immediately cheered up. “Okay! Let’s go!”
“That was quick,” Quartz chuckled. “Har City is to the north of here. Follow the signs, and I’m sure you won’t get lost.”
“Thank you,” Natalie replied. The group waved to Quartz goodbye, leaving Nova behind. Quartz approached the starry-haired girl.
“Don’t you have any business to tend to?” Nova asked, her voice razor sharp.
“Woah, calm down,” Quartz said. “Weren’t you going to challenge me to a match?”
“Yeah,” Nova admitted. “Can we do it now? If not, I’m leaving. I can’t stay here for another day. Even if you don’t have anything to do, I do.”
Quartz sighed. “I’m sorry, but we can’t do it now. All Pokemon League facilities are closed by now. And since that includes Gyms, our battle has to to take place a different time.”
Surprisingly, Nova looked disappointed. She really wanted to battle me, huh… Quartz thought, but there’s nothing I can do.
Nova gave a curt nod and then walked northward. “Goodbye, then.”