“I want one.”
Sidney stopped halfway across the room and eyed the article with undisguised scepticism. “Really?” He slumped down into a squashy armchair with a sigh of relief. After spending the day running around checking on Gyms, it was nice to catch a break. Even if it did mean dealing with his very odd friends.
Phoebe rolled her eyes. “It’s a dual Ghost/Fairy-type, of course I want one.”
“The last thing you need is another way to beat Dark-types,” Sidney shot back. “Besides,” he jabbed at the accompanying photo, “that’s just weird.”
He glanced at Glacia, reclining in an armchair opposite, for support. She raised an elegant eyebrow, but drew the magazine towards her. “It is a rather peculiar Pokémon,” she agreed. “Curious that we have never heard of it before.”
“It is a Ghost-type,” said Phoebe with a shrug, as she took the paper back. “They’re not exactly the most flamboyant Pokémon, and these are supposed to be even more shy than most. Apparently it’s rare to see one, let alone catch one.” She tapped the rolled up paper against her leg. “I wonder if Steven would let me go to Alola for a few weeks.”
“Nope,” said Sidney immediately. “He’d think it’s a terrible idea.” Both women looked at him, and he held up his hands. “All right, he’d be fine with it, but that doesn’t mean you should.”
Phoebe rolled her eyes again, but Drake chose that moment to join them. The Dragon-type specialist looked tired, but very pleased with himself.
“Well, that was productive.”
Sidney groaned. “You got Altaria’s Mega Stone working, didn’t you?”
“That we did,” said Drake proudly. “Going to take him a while to get used to it, but it’ll be a surprise for challengers.”
“Why is everyone getting Fairy-types?” Sidney exploded. “How does a Dragon/Fairy combination even work?”
Drake raised an eyebrow at Glacia, who just shook her head. “They’ve discovered a Ghost/Fairy Pokémon in Alola-”
“I want one.”
“-And he’s not taking it well.”
Drake chuckled. “Can’t say I blame him. Still, they make things interesting.”
Sidney slumped down in his chair and folded his arms. “Glacia will be trying to teach Froslass Dazzling Gleam next.”
“I already am,” Glacia told him.
“Can she even learn that?” Phoebe asked, over Sidney’s splutters.
“She knows Draining Kiss, so she can produce Fairy-typed energy,” said Glacia with a shrug. “I see no reason why Dazzling Gleam, or even Moonblast should be beyond her.”
Phoebe grinned. “Sableye’s just about got Dazzling Gleam down herself, so if you need any tips-”
“No,” said Sidney flatly. “Everyone needs to stop doing Fairy things.”
“Okay, what is the problem with Fairy Pokémon?” Phoebe demanded. “You don’t get like this about Fighting or Bug-types.”
Sidney scowled. “Dunno. They're just…embarrassing.” They were all so cute.
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a long time,” Phoebe told him bluntly. “And considering your Absol and Mightyena both know Iron Tail, Zoroark knows Toxic and Venoshock, and Shiftry and Scrafty both have Poison Jab, I think you’re fine.”
“You forgot Mandibuzz knowing Steel Wing, but that’s not the point.”
Phoebe sighed. “Sidney, you know what you’re doing, and you’re more than prepared for Fairy-types. Stop panicking.”
“Not panicking,” Sidney muttered, but he couldn’t quite hold back the beginnings of a smile. Phoebe nudged him.
“Just think of it as a challenge.”
“Precisely,” said Glacia. “You earned your position with us, Sidney. This is not beyond you.”
Warmth rushed through him, and Sidney found himself grinning fully now. Glacia was a terrible enemy, but a damn good friend. Drake nodded his approval, and Sidney settled back into the cushions. “Well, thanks.”
“Don’t get used to it,” Glacia warned quickly.
Sidney snorted. “Wouldn’t dream of it.” Then he smirked at her. “Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me.”
Glacia rolled her eyes. “I’m sure.”
She looked like she had more to say, but before she could do so the door opened and Steven came in. He looked even more exhausted than Drake, but smiled at them as he dropped his bag against the wall.
“Steven,” Phoebe greeted him with a smile. “We weren’t expecting you back ‘til later.”
“Neither was I,” Steven admitted. He stretched, letting out a satisfied sigh as his back clicked. “Fortunately the two sides managed to come to an agreement.”
Glacia raised an eyebrow. “By that do you mean that Aggron got bored and located the ruins herself?”
“In her defence, she did put up with the bickering for a good two hours before she intervened,” said Steven ruefully. He sank into the chair next to Sidney and rubbed his eyes. “It stopped them quarrelling while they raced to get there first, at least.” He glanced round. “I hope everyone else had a more interesting day.”
Drake grinned at him. “Next challenger to get to me’s going to have a Mega Altaria to deal with.”
Steven brightened. “You got it working? That’s excellent. Congratulations, both of you.”
“You found the stone,” said Drake gruffly. “Glad we can get some use out of it.”
“You’ll have to give me a battle with it sometime.”
“Of course you can say that,” Sidney muttered. Steven glanced at him, and he coughed. “So yeah, I went and paid Liza and Tate a surprise visit. Panicked a bit when I showed up, but they did fine once they calmed down.”
Steven nodded. “I’m glad to hear it. They’ve asked me for a few tips, but they seem to be managing well.”
“Yeah,” Sidney agreed. “They could do with a few more Pokémon so they can give more tailored challenges, but I’ve got no issues.”
“And Norman is dong equally well,” said Glacia. “He’s settled in now, and everything was running very smoothly. I was quite impressed.”
Sidney frowned at her. “You feeling all right?”
Glacia eyed him somewhat warily. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“Well, you just wholeheartedly approved of someone. That never happens.”
“Thank you both,” Steven broke in, before the bickering could escalate. “Phoebe?”
Sidney avoided Glacia’s icy stare as Phoebe sat up a little straighter. “Well, I talked to the person who wants to start a Grass-type Gym,” she said. “He’s got some good ideas, and works well with his Pokémon, but he’s a bit sketchy when it comes to the logistics of actually running a Gym.” She shrugged. “I told him to visit Erica or Gardenia for a bit, but he looks promising.”
Steven nodded thoughtfully. “That sounds reasonable. Keep an eye on him, will you?” Phoebe nodded, and he rolled his head round with a sigh. “Well, it sounds like everything’s fine.”
Phoebe caught Steven’s eye and grinned. “Actually, there was one other thing I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Don’t do it,” Sidney warned. Phoebe pulled a face at him before turning to Steven.
“There’s a Pokémon, a Ghost-type, that’s just been confirmed in Alola.” She handed the article to Steven, who scanned it and raised an eyebrow.
Phoebe nodded. “It’s a Ghost/Fairy-type,” she explained. “It would be perfect for throwing off unprepared challengers.”
“It certainly would.” He studied the somewhat blurry picture and smiled. “It certainly looks like a fascinating Pokémon.”
“Says the Steel-type specialist,” Sidney muttered.
Steven raised an eyebrow at him, but Phoebe blew out an exasperated breath. “He’s been sulking all evening.”
“What would you call it then?”
“Anyway,” said Steven wearily, “I assume you would like to pay a trip to Alola?”
Phoebe nodded enthusiastically. Sidney gave an exaggerated sigh until Steven caught his eye. “You could always accompany her,” he added. “I’m sure you could find a Litten without too much trouble.”
Sidney brightened at the thought. A resistance to Fairy and an advantage over Bugs? Phoebe sighed.
“Did you have to say that?”
“Agreed,” Glacia muttered. “All those Steel-type moves he’s got are bad enough.”
Sidney smirked at the pair of them, but Steven coughed. “Well, I thought it might soften the blow.”
That earned him several confused looks. Even Drake looked up from his paper. “What are you up to, lad?”
“I’m not up to anything,” Steven corrected. “I may have already done something.” He rubbed the back of his head. “Or rather, caught something.”
Sidney stared at him for a moment before it clicked. “You didn’t.”
Phoebe, however, looked like Christmas had come early. “Please tell me you did.”
Steven just gave a slightly sheepish smile and glanced at the Pokéballs on his belt. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” he said, “but would you like to come out and say hello?”
There was a pause, then the newest of the ‘balls burst open. The light resolved into a small, stocky form that was entirely incongruous with the enormous pair of false jaws that hung down its back. It cocked its head and stared up at them.
“Oh, come on!”