We picked up a whole bunch of friends!
We beat our first Gym!
Everything goes better than expected!
Our party at the outset of this episode is:
- Sheldrake (Squirtle, M, lv15) – knows Tackle, Water Gun, Bubble, Withdraw. Favourite move: Bubble. Best friend: Bobross. An aspiring academic, Sheldrake travels the land searching for knowledge of all kinds. Sheldrake is also overconfident right now, due to getting the last hit on Brock. See the rules for what this means.
- Mercury (Pidgey, F, lvl14) – knows Tackle, Sand-Attack, Gust, Quick Attack. Favourite move: Tackle. Best friend: Sheldrake. Having escaped a life of dirty deeds, Mercury hopes to be a role model to youngsters who might otherwise choose the wrong path.
- Willow (Rattata, F, lvl10) – knows Tackle, Tail Whip, Quick Attack. Favourite move: Tackle. Best friend: RuPaul. Chef by lineage, artist by nature.
- Bobross (Kakuna, M, lvl8) – knows Poison Sting, String Shot, Harden. Favourite move: TBD. Best friend: Willow. Cool, calm, collected, infinitely in awe at the beauty of the world.
- RuPaul (Metapod, M, lvl8) – knows Tackle, String Shot, Harden. Favourite move: TBD. Best friend: Bruce. RuPaul’s always been a Butterfree at heart, and soon he’ll be one at wing as well.
- Bruce (Spearow, M, lvl6) – knows Peck, Growl. Favourite move: TBD. Best friend: Mercury. Bugs are friends, not food.
We have a full party, y’all! It’s cool, but a bit scary. We could easily start losing some good friends out there soon. It also means that the next ‘mon we catch is gonna end up going to the PC, but depending on what it is we may have to swap someone out, which could be heartbreaking. Everybody’s getting a bit stressed, actually; they all love each other, and none of them wants anyone to leave! I’m trying to reassure them, but it’s hard knowing that I might have to make some tough decisions for the good of the party.
Oh, and you’ll notice that some ‘favourite moves’ are TBD. I decided last time that it was a dumb rule and too hard to keep hold of, so after reading some suggestions in the comments, I eventually decided that a Pokémon’s favourite move will default to the one that’s second in their move list (i.e. top right in the battle menu) for ease.
Anyhoo, next stop is Mount Moon, which we’re gonna make the trek through and hopefully have a good time.
This is the first Pokémon I encounter in Mt Moon, which means it’s the only one I can catch here. So I do.
Geoff is a Zubat with minimal eyesight but maximum heart. When other Pokémon who’ve been wounded in their eyes, or lost their vision due to illness, wander into Mt Moon, Geoff takes them in and teaches them that being blind as a bat is really no disadvantage at all. Under Geoff’s tutelage, anyone – no matter what their visual range – can dream big, and make it there to boot. He’s also got a fondness for golf, but isn’t very good at it. It’s just sort of something he’s heard about and would like to try one day, really.
So Geoff’s off to Someone’s PC, and there he shall unfortunately remain for now. Sorry, Geoff. It’s just that as far as I can tell, he’s not got much to add to the lineup right now, so until we need to start calling on the reserves, Geoff’s on the sub bench.
We trundle on through Mt Moon; we encounter a Bug Catcher or two, of whom Mercury and Bruce make short work. They’re quite the team, actually, and they get along pretty well, what with their shared passion for being a friend to all things. I wonder if there might be some romance blossoming? Hmm. Anyway, continuing on through the cave, we come across a ladder. I’m not sure whether this is the right way yet, but I head down, and what should I find but Team Rocket? Those nefarious evildoers!
Sheldrake takes out the Grunt’s Sandshrew pretty handily (albeit without using any Water-type moves, since his current overconfidence rules against him using any super-effective moves until after the next gym), then our foe sends in a Rattata. I decide to pit like against like, and send Willow out. I mean, they’re about the same level, Willow’s pretty cool, no super-effective moves should cause any trouble… it’s all good, right?
Then this happens.
Too close. Critical hits are major, y’all.
Mercury wraps up the rest of the battle with no difficulty, but that was a scary moment. And all I get to show for it is a lousy Star Piece; then I have to go back up the ladder, because there’s nothing else down here. Lame.
Onwards we go, then, and there’s not too much else to report as we wander around Mt Moon a bit, finding a few items, having a few battles, all that good stuff. Until we meet a guy with a Magnemite, that is, and things go to shit pretty fast.
See, my team’s strongest members are a Water-type and two Flying-types (both weak to Electric). Then I’ve got a Normal-type who can’t do any real damage to Magnemite’s Steel, and two low-level Bugs who can realistically do very little here. I’m having to switch between Pokémon, doing as much damage as I can without taking too much, then swapping again, burning a couple of Potions… and then the worst happens.
Bobross is gone. Our Zen little painter friend, snatched away just like that. This presents a double-triple problem, in fact, because as per rules 6 and 7, none of my Pokémon can now use their favourite move (which, as covered above, is the one second in their movelist) for the rest of this fight, and Sheldrake, whose best friend was Bobross, will not accept any kind of healing until we complete three more battles. I’ve decided I hate Magnemite.
Finally, Willow gets the job done, and we all rejoice, but it’s not over yet, as the Super Nerd still has a Voltorb in his pocket. Fortunately, it doesn’t use anything except Screech (really fortunately, since it got the chance to Screech three times and lower Willow’s defence to almost nothing) and we’re done.
Super Nerd Jovan beaten, we can finally mourn our dear friend Bobross. Sheldrake is so filled with rage and grief that he actually turns into a Wartortle. We make our way back to the Pokémon Centre outside Mt Moon; Bruce easily dispatches three wild Zubat along the way, which means Sheldrake’s now eligible to accept healing again. So we heal everyone up at the Pokémon Centre, except Bobross. Because Bobross is gone forever.
With Bobross gone, Geoff takes his place in the party. It’s… kind of a weird atmosphere. Everyone’s just sort of in disbelief that Bobross isn’t with us any more; I have to actually have ‘the talk’ and explain what death is to them, which sucks. Poor Geoff, as he joins the party, can’t help but feel a bit of an outsider, what with everyone thinking of him as the inferior replacement for a beautiful man they’re still grieving over. Sheldrake, though, recognises Geoff’s vulnerability, as well as his desire to join the team and help, and decides to take Geoff in. The others see this and welcome him too, despite their sadness. Sheldrake’s best friend is now Geoff; Geoff’s best friend is Willow, who he spots cooking a delicious meal (cooking is a rare thing for Willow to do, remember) in memory of her friend, and he’s in awe of her talent. He loves seeing a promising young ‘mon, does Geoff.
Back to Mt Moon we go, again. I wander around pretty much the whole place, at least as much as I can get to, picking up a few more items (including a couple of TMs) and facing some more opponents without much difficulty. RuPaul levels up, and…
He’s finally as fabulous as he was meant to be! All his friends, but Willow and Bruce especially, are super proud of Ru for realising his fully phenomenal self at last; he’s always been a Butterfree on the inside, and now he’s showing it to the world. It’s beautiful.
Making our way through the cave, we stumble across a whole horde of Team Rocket goons. This won’t be a problem, though: I send out Mercury, who I’m sure can deal with a Rattata a couple of levels below her. A Rattata that… knows Hyper Fang… and Mercury flinches… and then a critical hit…
Christ. This is, er… not a good chapter of the challenge, huh? I got too cocky, thinking Mercury would be fine, and this is what I get for it. A dead friend. Bruce is absolutely heartbroken and won’t accept any healing for three more battles; nobody can use their favourite move for this battle (and of course Sheldrake still won’t use anything that’s super-effective), but it’s… fine. We mop up the Grunt with no problems. I almost wish we had more problems; at least then losing Mercury would seem justified, but… it isn’t.
While we’re down here, the team want to push through and finish what we started, so we make it through the bunch of Rocketeers and get a lousy Dome Fossil for our trouble. We emerge into the sunlight on Route 4 – the path to Cerulean City – and without catching anyone in this area just yet or talking to anyone on the way, we make our way straight to the Pokémon Centre to do what needs to be done.
Ugh, that one hurt. I was so excited for her to see the world, become a full-fledged Pidgeot, pass on her wisdom to all sorts of young ‘mons so that they’d find the right path, but… I guess it isn’t going to be that way, huh? Her friends say a few words, though it’s hard for most of them to accept what’s happened. Geoff, as our new pal who’s not yet been in the party when we’ve lost anyone, is pretty shook up, but he has Sheldrake and Willow to remind him that we’re doing good stuff here, and that Mercury would want us to carry on.
Yeah, I think I’m gonna leave it here for this chapter; too many feels for one instalment, I think. Next time, we’ll go make a new friend in that one patch of grass on Route 4, then we’ll sort out our stuff here in Cerulean and maybe even have a bash at earning ourselves another Badge.
Chapter Closing Stats
Pokémon gained: Geoff
Pokémon lost: Bobross, Mercury
- Sheldrake (Wartortle, M, lv18) – knows Tackle, Water Gun, Bubble, Withdraw. Best friend: Geoff. An aspiring academic, Sheldrake travels the land searching for knowledge of all kinds. Sheldrake is also overconfident right now.
- Willow (Rattata, F, lvl12) – knows Tackle, Tail Whip, Quick Attack. Favourite move: Tackle. Best friend: RuPaul. Chef by lineage, artist by nature.
- RuPaul (Butterfree, M, lvl11) – knows Tackle, String Shot, Harden, Confusion. Best friend: Bruce. RuPaul’s always been a Butterfree at heart, and now that’s the self he gets to show the world too.
- Bruce (Spearow, M, lvl13) – knows Peck, Growl, Leer, Fury Attack. Best friend: TBD (I’ll sort this next episode, in the aftermath of Mercury’s unfortunate departure). Bugs are friends, not food.
- Geoff (Zubat, M, lvl10) – knows Leech Life, Astonish. Best friend: Willow. Fan of disability awareness and also golf.