The Dratini Trial Letters
(STORY OVERVIEW: When Clair of Blackthorn Gym refuses to let trainee Cody Manwe use legitimate Dragon-types, he takes up a quest to prove himself worthy. This short story about a Johto journey follows the unorthodox format of a series of exchanges, in which the main character never speaks a word. *STATUS: COMPLETE) Transcript: Dragon’s Den, Temple of Testing, May 18 The following is a record of the spoken exchange that took place between Master Rodney Wataru and Gym Trainee #002, Cara Tsukiko, during the trial to determine Trainee #003’s worthiness to possess a True Dragon. Rodney: Please state your name and position for the record, if you would. Cara: Tsukiko Cara, sir. I’ve been a trainer under the Blackthorn Gym for two years and three months. Rodney: Thank you, my dear. Now, uh . . . if I understand, you are here today to vouch for your colleague Cody Manwé’s character? Cara: Yes, sir. I know that Clair’s already rejected him out of hand, and that going over her head is frowned upon- Rodney: It’s all right, Cara. You are not in trouble for doing this, and you don’t have to be nervous. This is what the Council is here for. Now then, how long have you known Cody? Cara: Thank you. Two years and three months, sir. He was already a trainer here before I started. Rodney: How did he strike you as a person? Cara: Assertive . . . but friendly enough. He’s the kind of guy that made you want to try harder in life just by talking to him. Rodney: Ambitious? Cara: Yeah, I guess so. But not in a selfish way. Like I said, he’d bring everybody up along with him. I think it’s why Blackthorn’s gym personnel is higher-level than any other in the land. Rodney: An interesting testimony. Would you consider Cody a friend? Cara: Um . . . up until now, he was more of an acquaintance. But yes. He can be bullheaded at times, but I’m glad to call him my friend. Rodney: I see. Alright. Now . . . what if I told you that the council had heard complaints about your friend Cody? Specifically, about that bullheadedness you just mentioned? Cara: I’d say that I have a good guess about who complained. What did she say? Rodney: She- ahem- THEY said that Cody was impatient and too eager for power, and that is why he has thus far been denied the right to possess a True Dragon-type pokémon. They said that the risk was too great that it would go to his head. Having known him for two years, what do you say? Cara: I say that two years training under Clair is quite long enough. I’m testifying on his behalf, but for the record, I honestly think I’M overdue for a True Dragon at this point. Rodney: Well, that’s a separate matter. But I’m starting to see what you mean about Cody’s ambitious nature rubbing off on his associates. Cara: It’s a necessary trait for any Dragon Tamer. God knows how much goes into raising them. Rodney: I think we all do. Very well; your testimony is noted. Have you anything else to add? Cara: Well . . . I don’t know if this is possible, since diverse Dragon-types are so rare around these regions, but the issue is power versus responsibility, right? Isn’t there a way Cody could have a Dragon-type pokémon that won’t be a power risk, like Vibrava or Altaria from the Hoenn region? Rodney: Oh? Well, now, this is a bit unprecedented. Cara: Ah-! I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to overstep my bounds! Rodney: No, no, it’s okay. You have given me much to think about, and I may have arrived at a solution that will satisfy all parties. Thank you for your testimony. *** Passenger Pidgey Note: From Falkner of Violet City, June 2 Clair, Allow me to get straight to my point, without mincing words. I don’t like you. I’ve never liked your high-and-mighty attitude, and your underhanded suggestions that Dragon-types are the superior race to all other pokémon. You’ve always been a bitch, but at least until now, you’ve been a subtle bitch. Then, this morning, I battled a kid who bore the mark of your gym, with a Dratini and everything. He damn near killed my Pidgeotto with one Ice Beam, and I had to stop the match then and there for fear of sending any of my other birds to their deaths. I gave him a badge as standard procedure, but you’d better believe that’s not the end of this. What are you doing, sending one of your minions to my gym with a Dratini that knows Ice Beam? I can hazard a guess. You’re thinking “Oooh, look at me, look at my cape! I’m Clair, leader of the eighth and highest gym in Johto! Let’s humiliate that pansy Falkner in the first gym by sending the weakest dragon there is to own his ass!” I’ll not stand for it this time. I’m reporting you to the Dragon Master, but I thought I’d let you know directly, since I’M not a sneak about doing things. Eat a dick. -Falkner *** Delivery Dragonite Note: From Clair of Blackthorn City, June 3 Falkner, Go ahead and report me to the Dragon Master. I’m sure you already did, but if you’d bothered to check your email instead of relying on Before-Christ communication methods, you’d have seen that this was all HIS idea. You’ve got the money, you moron, buy a computer. Clair *** Excerpt from Traveler’s Journal: Diary of James Pyrite, June 1 Hi, Diary! My name’s Jim, and I used to be a Camper- turned certified Pokémon Trainer as of three days ago! It’s so exciting! Because I’d gotten the highest scores at Earl’s Pokémon Academy, Professor Elm let me pick first among the three starter pokémon. Of course, I chose Cyndaquil, ‘cause he’s the best one. That’s why Gold picked him, and I’m totally gonna follow in Gold’s footsteps! Okay, well maybe not exactly, because I want a traveling companion on my trip. The other two trainers said they didn’t want to travel with me, they just want to travel together. Of course they do. Jade and Cy have been lovers since the fourth grade, and now they want to have alone time while they journey. Yeah, there’s gonna be a third kid in their group before they’re done, and it won’t be me. It doesn’t matter though, because I found my companion just before I got to Violet City. He said his name’s Cody, and he’d just come down from the mountain through Dark Cave. He’s the one who gifted me with this diary, and now I’m writing to record my adventures, and . . . *** Email Letter (“ATTN: Clair”): From Bugsy of Azalea Town, June 10. Dear Clair: I had a rather interesting thing happen to me today, and as per your request, I will tell you all about it. First of all, yes, he beat me. That’s what happens when you send a Dratini that knows Flamethrower against a Bug-type gym. Ah, but surely you knew about that? I guess you were wondering if a Dratini that began its journey at level 1 could hold its own against a level 17 Scyther and two other leader-trained bugs. Turns out it can, if it’s the only pokémon being trained in the party. Or at least, I think that’s the only pokémon Cody has. Relying on a single basic-evolution pokémon only gets you so far. Is that what your vested interest is about? Seeing how far your disciple can go? Yours truly, Bugsy *** Excerpt from Traveler’s Journal: Diary of James Pyrite, June 11 Hey Diary, I’ll bet Cody’s glad he’s with me, now! We both beat Bugsy (try saying that five times fast), and I’m super happy that I evolved Quilava first. But when we were making our way through Azalea Forest, we couldn’t get past a path of brambles until I had my pokémon use Cut. Cody says he can’t use any pokémon besides Dratini, and Dratinis can’t Cut. Who ever heard of a pokémon trainer that only uses one pokémon? I thought the whole point of having six was so you could win with type advantage. I couldn’t have beaten Falkner without Mareep. Cody’s Dratini knows Thunderbolt and the other elemental moves, but what’s he gonna do when he has no super effectives? Man, and I thought my journey was going to be hard. *** Instant Messenger Archive: Conversation between MooMooHart and Queendra230, June 17 MooMooHart: hi Clair Queendra230: hi Whitney MooMooHart: just got done fighting that Cody kid Queendra230: and? MooMooHart: I won! MooMooHart: Miltank was amazing as usual Queendra230: congrats!! MooMooHart: thanks MooMooHart: question MooMooHart: why did u want me to go all out against him? Queendra230: can I confide something in u? MooMooHart: sure Queendra230: Codys a brat Queendra230: I told him he couldnt train a dragon type till hes ready Queendra230: he went to my grandfather behind my back MooMooHart: not cool Queendra230: and he said cody could use dragons if he did this challenge Queendra230: ikr MooMooHart: what challenge Queendra230: he has to win 5 of 8 badges Queendra230: he can only challenge gyms once Queendra230: and he can only use dratini MooMooHart: can he evovle dratini Queendra230: no MooMooHart: ouch Queendra230: yep MooMooHart: so he can only lose 2 more gyms after me? Queendra230: ya Queendra230: 1 down 3 to go MooMooHart: … Queendra230: what MooMooHart: he actually tried reely hard Queendra230: maybe Queendra230: but hes too full of himsefl Queendra230: its teaching him a lesson MooMooHart: u want him to fail? Queendra230: hes obv going to fail Queendra230: unless ppl baby him Queendra230: which they shouldnt MooMooHart: it still feels wrong Queendra230: u dont know him like I do MooMooHart: g2g, trainer challenge *** Excerpt from Traveler’s Journal: Diary of James Pyrite, June 17 It’s me again (who else were you expecting?) So I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that I won my third gym badge! Quilava did amazing against Whitney’s Clefairy, just like I knew he would. The bad news is that Cody didn’t get his badge, and now he’s all sulky and stuff. It’s a little strange, because I’ve never seen him as anything other than cheerful. Like, usually he’s whistling while cooking and cleaning, telling funny stories as we walk, brushing Flaaffy’s wool, wearing Dratini like a scarf- that kind of thing. Guess I can’t blame him. I hate to admit it, but I totally got the easy battle against that pink pillow, Clefairy. Cody had to take on a mad cow that was trained to run over everything. I tried cheering him up afterward and encouraged him to try again tomorrow, but he said he can’t do that. Like, ever. Huh. Anyway, tomorrow we’ll be shopping for supplies, and hopefully that’ll help in future battles. I don’t want to lose either. *** Email Letter (“ATTN: Rodney”): From Morty of Ecruteak City, June 24. Dear Master Wataru, I am writing to inform you of Cody Manwé’s defeat against my gym. I honestly expected it to be overkill; his Dratini shouldn’t have lasted so long against my Gengar. Nevertheless, it went as anyone would have predicted, and as per your request, I will deny Cody any rematches for as long as his challenge is still in effect. Just so we’re clear, I suspect the match would have gone differently if that Dratini had been a Dragonair. It was certainly at a high enough level to evolve by now. Sincerely, Morty *** Email Letter (“RE: ATTN: Rodney”): From Rodney of Blackthorn City, June 24. My Dear Morty, Thank you for honoring my wishes, and for having patience with this particular challenge. I know that what I’ve asked of you runs contrary to the nurturing nature of gym leaders in general. Though we don’t hold back against our challengers, we all wish for their success. Well . . . almost all. As to your comment about the level of Cody’s Dratini, I’m sure you are quite right. Pokémon obtained in trades gain experience at a faster rate, so it’s only natural. Yes, I traded Cody my Dratini temporarily, in exchange for his Seadra. I figured it would give him a badly-needed edge in his fight, and the conditions we settled on never forbade me from doing at least that much. Most sincerely, Rod Wataru *** Handwritten Letter: From Chuck of Cianwood City, June 30 Hello Clair, My chubby hubby isn’t feeling too good at the moment, so he asked me to write this letter in his place. It's just as well; his hands are made for striking, not writing. Anyway, I watched the battle between him and your boy, and it was a real sight to behold. Chuck won, which of course I am happy about, but it was close. I’ve never seen a stage-1 pokémon take down Poliwrath before, and it makes me wonder if Cody could have picked up a badge if he’d had others besides Dratini to work with. At this stage of the journey, the odds seem pretty well stacked against him, and it’s only going to get harder. Just my two cents on the matter. Regards, Mrs. Norris *** Pokegear Email (“Decision Time”): From Clair of Blackthorn City, June 30 So . . . How’s the journey treating you so far, cool guy? Are you having fun? Are you enjoying playing “Dragon Tamer” like a big boy? Well, savor it, because the dream’s almost over. Word through the grapevine says that you bungled your matches for the last three gyms in a row. Don’t forget: the deal was that you had to win a MAJORITY of the matches. According to my math, you’re out of the game if you lose to one more gym. But let’s say, for sake of argument, that you eat your humble pie and beg the next two leaders to let you win out of sympathy. It won’t matter. You’ve got to face ME now, buddy. Your one Dratini versus my three Dragonairs and Kingdra. Even you aren’t delusional enough to think you can win just ‘cause you have Ice Beam, right? The way I see it, you’ve got two choices. Scenario 1: You give up now, admit that I was right, and that you weren’t ready to be a proper dragon user. I already realize this. The question is, did the journey teach YOU to realize it? If so, we go back to the way things were, with you being a little wiser for the experience. No harm, no foul. Scenario 2: You continue this pointless endeavor. You prove yourself stupid beyond all comprehension, and worse, insult ME with the suggestion that your Dratini stands a chance against my team. Do this, and in the unlikely event that you even reach me, I will utterly shame you with defeat. That is, assuming you’re capable of feeling shame. It’s decision time, Cody. *** Excerpt from Traveler’s Journal: Diary of James Pyrite, July 1 Jim here. Well, it took us a couple of tries, but Quilava and I earned our Storm Badge! Chuck’s Machoke never saw that Fire Blast coming until it was right on top of him. I’m really glad that Cody’s with me! Not only did he pitch in with that TM38, but he also taught us how to do speed training on those Raticates. It’s a shame that we keep winning, but he doesn’t. He seemed really bummed out by that last loss, and I don’t blame him. It’s strange, though. Cody’s been great about cheering me on throughout our travels, and I gotta say, it’s made a difference. Even when he doesn’t win, he seems to take comfort in my successes. I don’t know if I could do that if our roles were reversed. *** Email Letter (“ATTN: Clair”): From Jasmine of Olivine Port, June 6 Dear Clair, How are you? It’s been so long since we last talked about anything non-business-related. I’m all right, and Amphy’s in tip-top shape, though Steelix isn’t doing so well tonight. He’s recovering from a tidal wave that swept in from the ocean during the gym battle I had with Cody earlier today. You must be proud . . . normally, wouldn’t those creatures have to be Dragonairs before they could control the weather? You’ve done an amazing job tutoring Cody in the ways of the dragon. He’s got my badge, and my support. Warm regards, Jasmine *** Excerpt from Traveler’s Journal: Diary of James Pyrite, July 6 Hi, Diary! I have big news to report! Six badges down, two to go! Boy, this summer is flying by, but I called home and Mom told me I was moving at a really good pace. Guess what, Quilava evolved during the gym battle today! That’s right, now I have Typhlosion! I know, I know, lots of exclamation marks, but this is a big occasion! Cody won too, so tonight we’re celebrating at the classiest establishment our money can buy. McDonald’s! *** Handwritten Letter: From Pryce of Mahogany Town, July 14 Salutations Clair, I hope this letter finds you well. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that Cody arrived today, and we had a doozy of a battle. I know you told me not to hold back, and I assure you that I did not. But I tell you now, he’s put some kind of work into that Dratini of his. It’s not just his use of strategic elemental attacks, but also the fact that he’s driven it through some intense Speed and Special Attack training. It’s a good thing too, because nothing less than a maximum effort would have given a Dratini victory over an Ice-type gym. Even then, I admit that some luck was involved. If that one Thunderbolt hadn’t paralyzed Dewgong from counterattacking, I know Dratini wouldn’t have survived Piloswine’s Avalanche. What can I say? Even after all my years of living, there are times I continue to be surprised. You think you’ve seen everything, but that’s just God’s ongoing in-joke. Yours in earnest, Pryce Willow Strider *** Excerpt from Traveler’s Journal: Diary of James Pyrite, July 15 Dear Diary, Cody and I parted ways today. I heard that my friend Vince was in the area, and I wanted to explore the Lake of Rage later, but Cody was determined to move on. He said that his home lay ahead, and it was calling to him. I guess I’ll see him when I get there. I gotta say . . . man. I am beat. The Johto journey is way harder than I ever thought possible. I’ve been walking almost nonstop for most of the summer, and I’ve probably lost about fifteen pounds. Every day, I’ve given a hundred and ten percent because of Cody’s prodding and urging, and that would become my new hundred percent, until I pushed past it again. My legs feel heavy as iron, but now they also seem to function as iron robot legs that can keep walking forever onward. I am in shape, boy! Cody said that if I ever apply for the Pokémon Rangers, I’ll most definitely get in now. All this time, I’ve been looking to the growth of my pokémon, but I’ve only now realized that I’ve been growing too. Hehe. I wonder if Kris will notice. *** Pokegear Email (“Your Fault”): From Clair of Blackthorn City, July 15 You’ll see this message just before Ice Path or after, since you won’t get any reception in caves. Not that it matters, I guess. It looks like you decided to be stubborn after all. Surprise, surprise. Here I was, trying to save everyone from the trouble of dealing with you, but you just can’t seem to help yourself. We’ll be face to face in another day or two. Then our gym population, my grandfather, the locals you see every day- everyone will witness you fail your last challenge against me, firsthand. And here’s the amazing thing: they’re going to feel sorry for you. They’re going to think, “Oh, that Clair is such a bitch, spoiling all the work poor Cody did this summer in a ten-second match.” You hear me? You’re going to make me look like the villain, here. If you’d fought me for a Dragon-type two months ago, before all this “Dratini Trial” nonsense, nobody would have batted an eye. But now, you’re going to be an object of pity for the rest of your time in Blackthorn, and I, an object of scorn. If that was your goal, it wasn’t a very honorable one. Just so you know, this won’t change my plans. I still intend to fight you at my fullest power, and firmly lock you out of Dragon Tamer status. At least then, you won’t have a reason to stick around anymore, and perhaps you’ll leave and become someone else’s problem. When you reflect back on this in your time of self-pity, never forget that you were the cause of all this. Not me. You. *** Handwritten Letter: From Rodney Wataru (“Open When Ready”), July 23 My Dear Clair, I decided it would be for the best if I gave you some time to cool down before I elaborated upon my decision. If you’re reading this now, I assume you’re ready to listen. So, let us reflect upon what happened. We all saw the match. Your Dragonair decimated Dratini with one Dragon Pulse. You left without a word. Cody knelt over Dratini and administered first aid with shaking hands. It was difficult to watch for all of us. Next, as you found out later, I brought out Cody’s Seadra, and lifted a discarded Dratini scale from the floor. Right then and there, we exchanged pokémon. Yes, so that Dratini returned to me, and his Seadra became, well, a Kingdra. As of that moment, Cody officially became a recognized and true Dragon User of Blackthorn. You must understand, Clair, that Cody’s trial was never about getting five badges. What good are any less than eight badges in the eyes of the League? Rather, the challenge was a test to determine whether Cody was willing to train a dragon pokémon, with the knowledge that he would never be able to utilize its full power. I was ready to accept him from the moment he started packing his socks for the journey. But he went above and beyond, overcoming several impossible gym challenges that he was never intended to beat. Anyone can burn through the Johto gyms with a Dragonite, or even a Dragonair. It takes a special talent to get that far with a lone Dratini. Furthermore, the Leaders never failed to speak glowingly of his efforts, and their testimony is not lightly given. Clair, you are my granddaughter, and you know that I love you and only want the best for you. But this summer proved too much like incident with Gold. The world is overrun with self-confident pretenders and braggarts who overestimate their potential. Even so, there are also those who really can live up to their dreams, and to be a Gym Leader is to distinguish between the two. Accept no mediocrity. Yet talent will prove itself, if you let it. Most truly yours, Grandpa Rodney
I like creating audio books of pokemon fanfics on YouTube. My name there is "Pokemon Fanfiction Novels."
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