After his rescue, Aldern invited Petra and Li to have dinner with him the next day — but, for now, they were tired.
After a good night’s rest, the two friends met back up at the Pokemon Center. They were not supposed to meet Aldern until 5pm, so they decided to spend the day relaxing at the beach after the trials of the night before. They changed into their bathing suits and walked down to the Sandpoint Beach, where they spent several hours splashing in the water, watching the wingulls fly overhead, and playing with their new pokemon.
As they played, Li spotted what looked like a half-built sandcastle and a plastic shovel left behind by some previous beach-goer. When he approached it, the sand-mound animated and reared up, opening its gigantic sandy maw. Li quickly sent out Cuberry to intercept it, a few scratch attacks and three pokeballs later, and Sandygast had been added to Li’s team.
Later, one of the many wingull that had been wheeling over the sea flew in and landed briefly. Petra sent out Eevee to attack it, but it flew away, squawking angrily. It continued to circle them, but never got close enough for them to catch.
When Li and Petra finally decided to head back to town for lunch, they noticed a shadow pass over them. The wingull was following them, and a large rain-cloud appeared to be massing above it. They sprinted for the Pokemon Center, followed by their own personal raincloud.
They ran into the Pokemon Center, dripping wet, and went to the small cafe to have some lunch. When they had finished eating, it was still raining outside, but only on them. “Wow,” Nurse Joy said when they brought it to her attention, “that is an unusually powerful Rain Dance.”
They waited another fifteen minutes, but the rain had not abated. Li told Petra that he wanted to take on the Glassworks Gym before dinner and decided that he was just going to make a run for it. Saying goodbye to his friend he stepped outside and looked up to see the Wingull perched on the gutters of the Pokemon Center, looking down at him angrily.
“What are you still doing here?!” he asked.
“Wingull, gull wing wingull!” the bird spat back. Li tried his best to understand, but had no idea what the pokemon was saying, so he ran. The wingull took off after him, gliding along and keeping the raincloud just above his head. Finally Li slowed to a walk, resigned to being soaked through and lamenting being out of pokeballs.
Finally Li reached the Glassworks Gym, still being drizzled on by the wingull. The gym was a massive brick building and in full operation that day. A dull red glow emanated from the inside and the rain sizzled when it hit the hot brick edifice. Poking his head in, Li was hit with a wave of heat — huge vats of molten silicate sat over equally massive burners, a metal catwalk bearing the logo of the Pokemon League ran directly over them. He could see eight men and women, dressed head to toe in protective gear, hard at work. “Hello,” he called, “is the gym leader in?”
One of the men set the glass ball he was blowing down back into a furnace and walked over to the door. “Funny,” he remarked, “it wasn’t supposed to rain today.” He stepped out and looked up at the wingull, allowing the rain to cool him. “Leader Tsuto is in his office upstairs, but we’re supposed to challenge you before letting anyone see him.” He stuck his head back in and rang a big bell beside the door, “Break Time!” he yelled, “we’ve got a challenger!”
Meanwhile, as soon as the wingull had left chasing Li, Petra went out of the Pokemon Center and wandered over to the Water Tower that Li had sabotaged the night before. Expecting to find some pokemon inside, she climbed up, squeezed through the hole where the water had busted out, and flipped on her flashlight.
There was nothing.
Then she heard a shrill “piiiiiii” from outside. Looking out, she saw a Pidove had settled onto the rail of the service platform around the tower. “Poochyena, go!” she yelled, throwing a pokeball. Poochyena howled, the Pidove simply growled back and did not move. This went on for a very long time — howl, growl, howl, growl, howl, growl.
Finally fed up with her pooch’s inability to power up, Petra yelled, “Tackle it!” The Pidove was knocked from its perched and bore to the ground by the dog, hurting both of them. Before the pidove could right itself, Petra tossed a pokeball and caught the bird.
Back at the gym, Silas found himself faced with eight adult trainers. The first he’d been talking to explained the rules: “You have to beat each of us, one at a time. If you do so, we’ll let you up to the catwalk to face Leader Tsuto. You ready?” Silas nodded. “Then let’s begin. Sandygast go!”
Silas sent out his own Sandygast in response. His was the faster, and lead off with Absorb. The worker’s sandygast responded likewise. It went back and forth for a bit — absorb, absorb, absorb — but Silas’s sandygast proved stronger.
The next worker sent out a Sandshrew. Silas responded with Cuberry, who immediately used Thrash. A single super-effective Poison Sting from the Sandshrew nearly finished Cuberry, but a second round of thrashing made Silas the winner.
The third worker sent out Numel, who also took a thrashing, but which quickly finished Cuberry off with Ember. Silas’ Tepig came out next and KO’d Numel with Fire Pledge, along with an obligatory “Fight fire with fire,” quip from our hero.
The fourth sent out Machop, which began powering up with Focus Energy. Silas’ tepig got scared and retreated to its pokeball, so Silas sent out Sandygast. When the machop’s only other move, low kick, failed to do anything to Sandygast, the battle’s conclusion was foregone and the fourth worker yielded before Machop could take too bad of a beating.
The next sent out a Sandshrew, which Tepig cleared away with a couple of tackles and some well-timed dodging. Followed by Litwick, which was taken out with a single critical hit from Sandygast’s Astonish. The seventh had a Numel, which was dispatched with similar ease.
The eighth sent out a Skrelp, which reduced Sandygast to a single hit-point with one weather-boosted water gun attack. Li withdrew Sandygast and sent out his only remaining pokemon, the already injured Tepig. Tepig managed to tank the next water gun, barely, then finish off Skrelp with tackle.
The eight workers praised Li’s fighting skills and showed him the stairs up to the catwalk where the official gym match would take place. Li used potions to heal up Tepig and Sandygast and headed up. The heat was unbearable. At the far end of the catwalk, an office door opened and Tsuto, the Glassworks Gym Leader, strode out.
“Welcome,” he said. “Our gym uses standard rules — a three-on-three, the challenger may choose his pokemon first…”
“But I only have two pokemon,” Li replied.
“Then I wish you good luck, you’ll need it…”
“Alright,” Li said, “I choose Sandygast.”
Tsuto sent out Sandshrew in response, who immediately used Sandstorm, whipping up a swirling cloud from the mounds of loose silicate stored in the glassworks, and boosting Sandshrew’s speed. Li’s Sandygast responded with Absorb, dealing a serious blow to Sandshrew and topping off Sandygast’s health from the previous fights. Sandshrew then used rapid spin, which did no damage to Sandygast, but allowed it to move behind him for a Bulldoze. Sandygast retaliated with absorb again, then began to Stockpile, sucking up the billowing sand. Sandshrew spun and unleashed a fury cutter. The two went back and forth, stockpiling and fury cutting, slowly whittling down Sandygast’s hit points as it shored up its defenses. Finally Li laughed triumphantly as Sandygast used swallow, healing itself fully, but didn’t realize that Fury Cutter’s power grew with each successive use. One more hit from Sandshrew wiped Sandygast out completely.
“Tepig go! Use _Fire Pledge!”_ Li yelled, but Tepig’s attack missed and the pokemon was immediately KO’d by Sandshrew’s bulldoze attack.
A worker, who was standing as judge, raised his hand and said “The challenger is out of pokemon, the challenger los…” Before he could finish, the Wingull flew in through an open window and landed right between Li and the Sandshrew. The wingull’s stormcloud followed close behind, drenching everything in the gym and sending huge clouds of steam up from the vats of molten glass. “Wingull!” it said trimphantly.
“It seems that it wants to fight for you,” Tsuto translated.
Li looked astonished, “Ummm…okay. Wingull attack!” The wingull flapped its wings and froze the sandshrew in place with an icy wind.
“Sandshrew is unable to battle,” the judge yelled. Tsuto sent out Numel, which wingull promptly soaked, changing its type to Water and removing its STAB bonus just in time to make numel’s ember practically useless. Li, starting to get a feel for the Wingull’s moves had it use wing attack on the numel, hurting it badly, but numel retaliated with body slam, knocking the wingull out.
“The challenger is out of pokemon,” the judge said again. Tsuto looked at the wingull, “It’s hurt pretty bad, you should use this,” he said, tossing Li an empty pokeball. Li tapped the pokeball to the wingull and officially added it to his party. “Consider that your consolation prize,” Tsuto said.
“What’s does ‘consolation prize’ mean,” Li asked.
“It means you’re not getting a gym badge today,” Tsuto replied. “Now get that pokemon to a Pokemon Center. Come back when you’ve trained up a bit…”
Li gathered up his injured pokemon and headed back to the PC to meet Petra.