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Sneasel Plushie!
Sneasel Plushie!

~Dragon Dance~

Vulpix By My Side
     About a mile outside of Blackthorn City, a trainer sits in the still woods with his back against a tree. It is late morning, still quite cold in this mountainous elevation, but his greatest friend Vulpix sleeps in his lap, keeping him warm with it's inner-fire. As he looks to the sky he reflects upon the battle of the previous day. He had been spending much more time in Blackthorn than he had in any town for a long time. The Gym Leader, Clair, had 'invited' him to face her at the Blackthorn Gym. Despite his general disinterest toward badge collecting, he was never one to turn down a good challenge. Tamaro had spent hours studying up on Dragon type Pokémon and Blackthorn's dragon history. He had also spent many afternoons battling Blackthorn trainers who used Dragon types.

     "I had everything going for me except for experience with Dragon types," he said to himself and to Vulpix if she happened to be listening, "and I did everything I could to learn about Dragons before I went and challenged her..."

     Of the badges he had collected over his travels, the Rising Badge was not among them. Clair had offered it to him after their match ended in a draw. She had complimented him on his skills and how well he worked with his Pokémon, but in his eyes he had lost. It was a draw, and she had held the advantage for most of the battle.

     "Oh well," he said, wiping it from his mind. He released all of the Pokémon he currently had with him to give them some fresh air and a chance to play around for awhile. Vulpix got off his lap but remained with him while the others played. Now he held one final Pokéball in his hand, a little reluctant to open it. After a moment he released it. A fearsome Sneasel he had caught just before he reaching Blackthorn popped out of its ball.

     "Hello Nyuura," he said as it stared intently at him, "How are you feeling?" His nicknamed Sneasel refused to answer, but did not show any signs of aggression as he feared it might. Strangely it only stood and stared at him, and to that he did not know what to say. After a few minutes he decided to take the opportunity to pull out his sketch pad. The Sneasel stood all the while as he sketched a beautiful picture of it. Then he stood up and moved to sit under another tree. Vulpix followed him, and Nyuura stayed put. Tamaro shrugged and looked intently at his drawing.

     "Dark and Ice." Tamaro thought. He knew very well that Dragons were weak against Ice types. He knew very well that his Sneasel was incredibly strong for a non-trained Pokémon. Using Nyuura would have made all the difference in the battle against Clair, he was sure of it. However, too many times he had seen trainers win Badges because they took their Pokémon that had advantages over the type the Gym Leader used. That was all fine and dandy if you were out to collect Badges, but Tamaro didn't fight Gym Leaders for the Badges, he fought them for the challenge, and there wasn't much challenge in giving yourself an automatic type advantage.

     Vulpix took note of the serious look on her trainer's face and nudged his leg. He looked down, smiled, and picked her up in his arms.
     "Why do I care so much anyway? I've lost plenty of battles, I'm not out to be the best, and I don't care about the Badges..." and then he realized something. This was the first Gym Battle he had ever prepared for so much, and this was the first Gym Battle he had ever lost. "That's it! A Gym Battle is different than an ordinary battle. Any other battle you have to make due with which Pokémon you have when you meet the trainer on the trail, you have to be prepared for anything they might send out, you have to adjust to the terrain around you..." he paused for a moment, "Whereas a Gym Battle, you know your opponent, you know your battlefield, you know which type your opponent will use, which Pokémon to take with you, and you decide the time..." he paused again and looked at Vulpix, "I trained so hard and studied so much to prepare for what I knew was coming. I forgot about the importance of instincts, improvision, and battle tricks... I think it's time for a rematch. I played a perfect text book style match last time, this time I play from the heart!"

     With that decided he recalled his Pokémon to their balls and ran steadily down the trail to Blackthorn with Vulpix along side.

The Cave of Dragonflies
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