Welcome to A Tale of Two Trainers, a series where Features & Trending Editor merritt k and Fanbyte Contributor Eric Thurm play through Pokemon Sword and Shield as very different trainers with very different priorities. In this installment, our two trainers — Hunter and Eric — kick off their adventures and make their way to the city of Motostoke.
Today I began my journey to become a Pokemon Master. My friend Hop’s older brother Leon, the reigning Champion, returned to our small village of Postwick and gifted us each a Pokemon of our own. I chose the powerful Grookey, naming him Tuba. Hop, in the first of what would prove to be many poor decisions, took Sobble. He then brazenly challenged me to a battle. Did he not even know about the very basics of Pokemon battling, like Type advantages?
No, it seemed he did not. My faith in Tuba was rewarded as he crushed both Hop’s Sobble and his Wooloo handily. Seemingly unfazed by his brutal defeat, Hop then led me on a wild goose chase into the Slumbering Weald to recover a lost Wooloo. I followed, but only because I would likely never hear the end of it were he devoured by a wild Pokemon. The fool.
Who could have expected that something would go wrong in an area fenced off as dangerous and forbidden? Not Hop, that’s for sure. We were ambushed by a spectral Pokemon who seemed impervious to my attacks. And then we passed out.
I awoke to the sight of Leon and his Charizard, who had apparently found both us and the stray Wooloo. He commended us on our bravery — tacitly encouraging his younger brother’s idiotic behavior. Once we’d recovered, Hop suggested we visit the Pokemon Research Lab to obtain Pokedexes. His behavior is erratic, unpredictable. And for all his stupidity, that makes him dangerous. When Leon suggested we become rivals to spur each other on to greater heights, I agreed only in order to keep an eye on him.
We obtained our Pokedexes from Professor Magnolia’s granddaughter Sonia and then set out to the Professor’s house. My mother had given me a gift of Pokeballs, and I used them on the way there to capture a Wooloo, Rookidee, Nickit, Yamper, Zigzagoon, Grubbin, and Chewtle. Upon arriving at the Professor’s house, Hop insisted on another battle.
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Again, he confounded me. Why use only three Pokemon when Galar Trainer Regulations allow for us to carry six at a time? Why not switch his Pokemon during the battle to engineer better match-ups? I cannot understand him. Needless to say, I eviscerated his Pokemon — but again, he seemed not only unbothered, but excited. After the battle, Leon gave us his endorsement to pursue the Galar Gym Challenge.
The next day, our mothers bid us farewell as we boarded the train to Motostoke. I was surprised by the enthusiasm with which my own parent sent me on my way. Did she want me out of the house? I had expected an argument, but she seemed all too ready to send her only child out into the world with only a half-dozen monstrous pets to accompany me. Curious.
Hop chattered endlessly on the train about his dreams of becoming a Pokemon champion. It was actually a relief, then, when we were stopped by a flock of Wooloo on the tracks. We would have to make our way to Motostoke through the Wild Area. I pulled my hoodie up and trudged through the rain and mud towards the city in the distance. The cold and wet were unpleasant, but I took them gladly over Hop’s inane babbling.
By the time I arrived in Motostoke, I had added a number of Pokemon to my collection. An encounter with a particularly strong Onix nearly knocked out my entire team, but we persevered. Tuba evolved, gaining a second stick with which to poke our foes.
Rather than head immediately to the gym, I decided to get myself cleaned up. I believe in taking care of myself. And so, I visited the salon and the boutique, spending a great deal of my money. It didn’t bother me. When you look good, you feel good. And I felt very good indeed staring down the opening ceremony of the Gym Challenge.
From the journal of Pokemon Trainer Hunter
Today, I began my Pokemon journey through Galar.
I am delighted to open my letter with this fantastic news: Leon, The Champion of Galar, whom you may remember from news items about his cool Charizard, has endorsed my attempt at the region’s Gym Challenge — a journey that will certainly end with me becoming the new Champion. I know you will be proud.
Let me give you some context: my acquaintance Hop, who I’ve mentioned in past letters, is Leon’s brother. When Leon came back to Postwick, where I’ve been living with Mom while you’ve been away working, he offered us the choice of three Pokémon. I knew, finally, it was my chance to make something of myself.
Of the three Pokemon Leon had with him — Grookey, Sobble, and Scorbunny — I selected Sobble, and named my new partner Lenny. For you. With a powerful Water-type Pokémon in my party, I immediately defeated Hop in a two-on-one duel, knocking out his new Scorbunny and the Wooloo he raised from an egg. You would have loved it. You would not have loved the following incident, in which we were ensnared in a forest and briefly encountered a Pokémon that Lenny (the Pokémon) was unable to damage.
You will be surprised to learn that, after we came to, Mom finally gave me something — a few Pokeballs, which I used to catch several Pokemon that I almost never use in battle. (I will admit that Bow Wow Wow, my strapping Lamper, reminds me a lot of Spot, the dog we considered adopting.) One curious thing I’ve learned since you left: in Galar, all Pokemon in a trainer’s party acquire experience each time you defeat or capture a wild Pokemon. Why bother relying on others?
Hop and I learned this lesson again when we attempted to take a train to Motostoke, which was delayed by a ridiculous group of Wooloo. It’s like you said on my first day of kindergarten: If the Wooloo didn’t want to be run over by a train, they should have stayed off the tracks.
We had to traverse through the Wild Area. Thankfully, Galar’s Pokemon expert Professor Magnolia gifted me a new set of camping gear, which I knew how to use from the plans I drew up for the many weekend trips we have planned to take together over the past few years. And the time I spent practicing making food for myself has paid off — I managed to throw nothing but a few berries together into a filling, spicy lunch of curry for myself and my Pokemon.
Once I arrived in Motostoke, I promptly registered to compete in the Gym Challenge, only to encounter members of Team Yell — dreadful hooligans blowing loud, multi-pronged horns. Don’t worry. I defeated them handily with Lenny (the Pokémon), and managed to get a good night’s sleep. This morning, I set out for Turffield, where I will win my first gym badge.
I look forward to your reply.