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Joshua kept silent as Dawkin voiced his confidence that Amelia could get over whatever obstacle might hold her back. Short of a blessing from Arceus or Xerneas, he wasn't sure that would ever happen. Keeping such throughts to himself though, he evaluated the pokemon Dawkin had caught, thinking about what he knew of each of them.

"Well, your starter is definitely a powerful one. In it's current form, it's physical defense and it's physical attack are about equal and it's best attributes. And in terms of typings, you only need to look out for Fighting, Ground, and Water Type moves. Thanks to this guys Steel typing, you'll never have to worry about poison." He said before looking at Dawkin. "In terms of evolutions though, you got a long road until this little guy evolves. That being said, he does have a third form and Aagron is a fearsome beast. That main things that are it's downfall are it's slow speed and it's weaknesses, since it's Special Defense is... well, rather bad and even with it's physical defenses, Fighting Types will hurt a lot."

He then turned his attention to Wooper.
"As for this guy, his only weakness is Grass, so most match-ups you'll be fine, though some pokemon can learn Grass-Type moves without being Grass-Types. This little fella does evolve but there are stronger pokemon out there. That being said, this guy will definitely serve you well down the road so long as you use him smartly. He won't learn a lot of offensive moves on his own so you should keep an eye out for TMs that you can use on him. It can learn a high number of offensive moves of various types with those things.."

Looking at Pichu, he smiled.
"Hard to find is a rather loose thing to catch pokemon off of. What's rare in one region might be fairly common in another. Anyway, this is a Baby pokemon, so if you're hoping it'll be powerful, you got another thing coming. If you want to evolve it, you need to become very close to the little guy. Then you need a Thunder Stone the evolve it to it's finally form. Overall, an average pokemon, but since it's only weak to Ground-Types, not a bad one to have for a while at least."

Finally, he turned to Tyrunt and gave a slight 'hm' before speaking.
"Now, this one, will be one of your more powerful pokemon. It's a Dragon Type but it's also a Rock Type. Unlike your Aron, whose Steel Typing helps it resist more types, Dragon does not. You need to watch out for Fighting, Steel, Ice, Ground, Dragon, and Fairy Type moves, most of which are favored by more experienced trainers. That being said, it's a physically offensive powerhouse and not one that should be underestimated."

His evaluation of each individual done, Joshua leaned back in his seat as their drinks arrived. He took a sip of his water, thinking.
"You're team is more well rounded then most at your level. You got a variety of types and several difference match-ups that are to your advantage or disadvantage. Long term, some of your pokemon are more useful, but if you can utilize them properly, you'll be able to use all of them throughout your journey."


Amelia's cheeks turned bright red at Dawkin's compliments and she quickly lowered her gaze to the ground while mumbling her thanks. Her pokemon seemed to sense her slight discomfort and moved over to her, Shuppet getting under her chin while Driffloon helped Litwick get on his usual perch on top of her head. Phantump and Pumpkaboo took up positions over either of her shoulder's and nuzzled her, causing the young girl to laugh and smile again.

Joshua watched this with a smile on his face but a look of concern in his eyes.
"While she is indeed a good student and her potential is high, there are, sadly, somethings she possesses that might get in the way and that she might not be able to overcome." He said to the young man solemnly while Amelia was distracted by her partners. Joshua in turn was distracted when their server arrived. He ordered a simple glass of water while Amelia ordered a cup of hot tea. After they were given their menus and their server left, he turned back to Dawkin. "Mind if I see you're pokemon Dawkin? I'm frankly curious as to what you've caught so far."


"Saying Amelia has an affinity for Ghost-Types is like saying I like black. It's a pretty massive understatement." Joshua said, indicating his completely black outfit. Odd for someone spending time in the desert, but whatever suited him. "As for seats, I got us some outside. So follow me."

Leading them out to the section of outdoor seating, he took them towards their table, taking his own seat, relaxing back into it.
"So, I guess you're not gonna specialize based on what you say Dawkin. Nothing wrong with that, it can make you rather adaptable. So long as you catch the pokemon you need to get you through the situation." He said, addressing the young man. "Specializing gives you limited options, but you know you're strengths and weaknesses and are forced to adapt with a limited set of tools. Not specializing gives you a lot more tools, but you're strengths can be so varied that they end up not becoming as strong as someone who specializes in a certain type or a certain strategy. You just gotta pick what works for you. Follow what you think is right."

"As for you little lady." He said, turning to address Amelia, who suddenly looked a bit worried. "Care to show me what you've caught so far?"

"Oh... sure." Amelia said, sounding relieved. She grabbed her pokeballs and released her pokemon, letting Dawkin see the rest of her team alongside Phantump.

"Shup?" Shuppet said, looking around.

"Pumpka!" Pumpkaboo said excitedly.

"Litwick!" Litwick said, his flame burning brightly.

"Loooon." Driffloon said, sounding like it was waking up for some odd reason.

"Tump!" Phantump said before snickering when she spotted Dawkin, remembering his reaction to being scared.

Joshua examined them all for a second before letting out a laugh.
"You said you'd catch a shiny Phantump. I should not have doubted you given your..." He paused, glancing Dawkin's way briefly. "Particularly strong affinity for Ghost-types."


Amelia looked up at Dawkin when he began talking and asked about how she had met Joshua and become his student. She was silent for a minute, debating on how to answer his question without revealing too much. She honestly wasn't sure how he would take her revealing her gift with Ghost-Types, given how serious and realistic he was.
"Well, I guess the simple version is, he caught be being somewhere my parents didn't want me to be and turned me in. However, he found out about my circumstances shortly after and decided to teach me about pokemon to make up for it. He also helped me get to the Professor's place by letting me ride on his Honchkrow." She said, finishing just as Joshua returned.

"Whatcha talking about?" He asked.

"How we met and why you began teaching me."

"You mean by turning you in and as a result, causing every ghost in the cemetery to go into town at night to look for you because you stopped showing up?" Joshua said, causing Amelia's face to go a bit red.


Joshua listened as Dawkin spoke, smiling in amusement at the boy's admission to not minding a free meal, if only because he was hungry due to spending too much time for information gathering. At the boy's questions though, he raised an eyebrow, though again, this was more in amusement then anything else.
"Yes, I exclusively use Dark-Type pokemon. However, as a result, I use a lot of others. For example, I have Greninja as one of my three Water-Types, Bisharp as a Steel-Type, Honchkrow as a Flying-Type, Cacturne as one of my two Grass-Types, and so on and so forth. So while I specialize in one type of pokemon, it has many secondary types that I can use to cover my bases.

As for why... well, like most other trainers who choose what kind of pokemon to use, I just like them. They're kinda like me when I was your age or younger, misunderstood. On top of that, they tend to be fast, aggressive, and adaptable attackers, something that mixes well with my battle style, as I enjoy keeping the offensive with some mix-ups and tricky moves to make things harder on my opponent.

And now for your last question, that right there is a very special stone. Took me two years, combing the Kalos region to find this and the other one I needed. Even with the help of anyone I met along the way. I won't tell you much more then that, not till you're a little stronger at least. If you earn three gym badges, I'll tell ya about it. Sound like a deal
?"

Regardless of his response, once Amelia returned, Joshua led the way to the pokemon center in town to get his Geninja taken care of. While it was in their care, he asked some of the locals about the local eateries that were open at this hour before hearing of one that sounded decent and that wouldn't be too rowdy. Once he knew where it was at, he led the younger two over to it's location before going to see about seating.

"So, what do you think of my mentor?" Amelia asked Dawkin as they waited.


Joshua smiled at the little interaction between Amelia and Dawkin, seeing that his apprentice had made at least one human friend. At Dawkin's words though, he frowned.
"Well, even if you didn't do much, you did more then some people around here did, despite seeing the scene in front of them." He said, nonchalantly attacking the girl and her group. "So, even if was only a little, it meant something in the long run. You caused them to pause long enough for my pokemon to reach the scene and take over. Speaking of my pokemon, I should get Greninja to a Pokémon Center ASAP. She aint knocked out but that Energy Ball hit her rather hard. If you two are willing the accompany me, I wouldn't mind buying you both a meal. Hopefully there are places still open at this hour though."

"I wouldn't mind a meal." Amelia said.

"Alright, but if that little guy in your arms isn't yours, I suggest you return it to the gardens."

"O-oh. you're right." Amelia said, sounding a bit embarrassed. She rushed back to the gardens and entered them before turning Shedinja around and letting go of it. She then kneeled down to the pokemon's level. "Well, I guess this is good-bye. I'm sorry for bothering you, please don't hold it against me. But take care and be good. Maybe we'll meet again."

With that, she returned to Joshua and Dawkin, though it was definitely possible for Shedinja to follow her if it wanted to accompany her.

While she was dropping the Shedinja off, Joshua turned back to Dawkin.
"Well, even though she already did so, I guess I'll introduce myself again. Joshua, of Ecruteak City in the Johto region. A pleasure to meet ya. And this here is my partner Absol." He said. Absol looked up at Dawkin before huffing and turning away, the grey gem attached to his horn swinging around with the movement. Joshua laughed at the Disaster pokemon's demeanor. "Don't mind him, he doesn't like strangers. He'll warm up to ya. By the way, don't be afraid to ask questions."


Joshua turned towards the women when she addressed him, only to shrug in response.
"Nope, nothing other then exchange a few words." He said dismissively, obviously not concerned by what had happened during the encounter. He then turned to Amelia and Dawkin and smiled as his apprentice and her companion as both of them seemed to be unharmed. He watched the boy, who was either tense or distracted, it was hard to tell. But when the boy turned to leave, Joshua grabbed his shoulder to stop him, but didn't put enough force to stop Dawkin if the boy really wanted to leave. "Just because you can't be useful, doesn't mean you can't stick around. You tried to help out Ame here, so I would like to thank you, if you would give me the opportunity."

Amelia also turned to Dawkin and gave him a kind smile.
"Yeah, thank you for helping out. I guess it's a good thing you came along when you did." She said.
Still alive... I think.


Amelia looked at Dawkin in surprise for a second before turning back to the confrontation going on down the street.
"I don't really know the woman, I just encountered her a few years ago. She was bullying my friends so I don't really have that good of an impression of her, so when she came to likely do the same to the pokemon here, I figured I would try to stop her. She was likely after pokemon like this little one." She said, looking down at the Shedinja still in her arms at the last sentence before looking back up. "the man's name is Joshua. He taught me about pokemon and how to battle before I went to the Professor. He even helped me get to her. He's a veteran trainer and a Dark-type specialist."

Just as she finished, she felt the change in energy around the battle sight and gasped at the explosion caused by the Dark Pulse, her expression growing worried.

Meanwhile, Joshua was rather shocked when his hand passed through Angelique and he quickly withdrew is and jumped back a bit. Something was wrong here, very wrong indeed. Not a second later, a powerful Dark Pulse flew out of the girl and his eyes narrowed as he saw a Spiritomb from around her.
"Well, aren't you being a troublemaker." He said to the pokemon, his tone no longer amused and rather serious. After a second or nothing, he relaxed his stance and stared at the pokemon until he was sure it wouldn't act hostilely again. At the girl's words, he turned his attention back to her before returning to his more casual, friendly tone. "Ah, so you can speak modern English. That's good to know. Try speaking it more often, it'll be easier to make friends. That goes for your... many other associates as well."

He watched the girl leave as Absol and Bisharp watch Cofigrigus. After she was far enough away, he turned to the floating Ghost.
"Hey, gold leaf. You can relax now, I aint gonna bother her, assume that's the one you're actually loyal to. If I were you though, I'd go back to her side before someone else disturbs that Spiritomb." He said before returning Bisharp to her pokeball and walking away, Absol glancing at the floating coffin one more time before following.

Joshua walked over to where Amelia and Dawkin where standing, giving the other trainers a glance but otherwise paying them no mind.
"You two okay?" He asked.

"Yes... thank you Sensei." Amelia replied, smiling at him.


The young man's smirk only grew as Angelique approached him, clearly having struck some sort of nerve within a woman. As she gave her speech, he watched as Drifblim was knocked out before Cofagrigus released it's Trick Room. His smirk never faltered, even when Greninja was almost knocked out and sent flying towards Absol, who dodged using Quick Attack to negate the effects of the Trick Room. Apparently both Trainer and Pokémon had some experience fighting in this environment.

"Cheap tricks are only as good as the fools who fall for them. Sadly, no such fools here." He said to her calmly before she turned to leave. He returned Greninja to her pokeball before closing the distance between himself and Angelique, grabbing the neck of her shirt and holding her in place. He then spoke to her in a tone one might use while gently chiding a child. "Hey, you owe me some money. Cause while I knocked out one of your tools, you didn't manage to knock out a single one of my partners. Now, pay up and I'll let you leave. Come on now, be a good little girl."




Meanwhile, Amelia stopped where Dawkin did, looking back in the direction of the two battling trainers. She was a little out of breathe but otherwise fine.
"It seems he stopped the Explosion." She said after a few seconds of waiting. It was only after she relaxed that she finally registered the presence of others around them. She quickly moved closer to Dawkin, her expression nervous as she watched the individuals around them, unsure if they were friend or foe.
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