Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
How do you handle the battle between Thingummy’s Pidgey and your Minun, Nancy the Negator?
– Bring Pidgey down with Thunder Wave and fight it on the ground.
You scan the valley floor where Nancy is facing off against Sapphire’s Pidgey, flapping its wings energetically to stay in the air. Nancy can’t directly blast Pidgey with a Thundershock or something – as far as you know, she just doesn’t know the techniques – and she isn’t going to be able to fight an airborne opponent effectively with basic physical attacks. There are a lot of stray boulders, and Nancy can gain some altitude by scaling the wall of the gorge, but this will still be tricky. So… don’t fight it in the air. There’s more than one way to skin a Meowth, after all.
“Pidgey, use Tackle! Go!” Sapphire calls, seizing the initiative. His bird Pokémon darts forward and down, narrowly missing Nancy as she jukes left. You order Nancy to spin and hit Pidgey with a Quick Attack before it swoops back upward, scoring a glancing blow as it gains height. Well, this isn’t going to work. You wait for Sapphire to command another attack, and then tell Nancy to throw out a Thunder Wave as Pidgey gets close. A crackling ring of electrical sparks bursts from her cheek pouches, striking Pidgey full in the chest and leaving a haze of flickering lights around its body. Pidgey loses control of its dive, but barrels right into Nancy anyway, sending them both tumbling over each other and sprawling on the rocky ground. Both Pokémon take a moment to pick themselves back up, and you call out to Nancy to make sure she’s still good to keep fighting – you get an affirmative, defiant squeak in response. Pidgey tries flapping its wings, but can’t get the speed and regularity that it needs for flight while plagued by the lingering sparks from Nancy’s Thunder Wave, and starts hopping back and forth like a boxer instead.
Nancy and Pidgey start to circle one another on the uneven floor of the gorge, with you and Periwinkle watching for openings and calling attacks as you spot them. This is Nancy’s kind of fight now – she’s faster on the ground and should win if this keeps up. Glancing up at Periwinkle, you can see that he’s realised the same thing. As Pidgey stumbles over a rock, you call for another Quick Attack. Nancy darts forward, but Periwinkle calls a command to Pidgey and it flaps its wings – not enough to fly, but just enough to spring backward and dodge the attack. Then, with Nancy off-balance and up close, he shouts another order.
“Sand Attack!” Pidgey kicks at the ground and beats its wings, raising up clouds of choking, blinding dust from the valley floor. Nancy takes a full blast in the face and staggers backward, pawing at her eyes. You order her to dodge as Pidgey goes on the offensive again, but the bird Pokémon is emboldened by its success and Nancy can’t read its movements well enough to dodge properly. With time and patience, you know, great trainers can communicate with their Pokémon so effortlessly that the human can effectively be the Pokémon’s eyes in situations like this, making evasion almost as quick as thought. It takes most people years to get there, kid; don’t beat yourself up over it. Nancy recovers and gets in another Quick Attack on Pidgey, but the damage is done; blinking and squinting from the grit in her eyes, she eventually falls to the ground as Pidgey continues to jab at her.
I really mean it, though; don’t beat yourself up. Training counts, smart tactical decisions count, type advantages count, but luck counts too, and sometimes your opponent’s just gonna pull something out of their butt. And hey, it could literally always be worse – you get unlucky against a powerful wild Pokémon in an isolated forest or a dark cave, and you’re gonna have to deal with more than just a smug rival.
“Yeah!” yells Ultramarine, seeming almost surprised at his victory. “Are we great, or what?” He and Squirtle hurry forward to pick up Pidgey and see to its injuries; you and Scallion likewise tend to Nancy. You congratulate him on the win – you think that could easily have gone either way, and his Pidgey is already responding well to his commands. Nancy looks up at Pidgey, who is now perched groggily on his shoulder, and echoes your sentiment with a cheery squeak. Pidgey puffs up its chest and makes a satisfied cooing noise. You and Ultramarine both take another moment to look over your Pokémon and check for any serious injuries, and you splash some water on Nancy’s face to get the dust out of her eyes.
“I heard the Pokémon league is crawling with tough trainers,” Ultramarine muses. “It’ll take a lot more tough battles like that if I want to figure out how to get past them. We should both quit dawdling and get a move on – I need a strong rival if I’m gonna win it all!” You smile and remind him that it might not be him that wins it all. He laughs at that, but you feel like it’s a good-natured laugh. Maybe there’s some potential for a friendship here after all?
“Smell ya later!” he calls out, as he and his Pokémon turn and head back in the direction of Viridian City. Then again… maybe not. Scallion barks a farewell to Squirtle, waving with one of his vines, and Squirtle returns the gesture. Well, at least those two get along.
You take a break to let Nancy have a breather and recover her strength. Low-level Pokémon can’t do serious damage to each other yet, so she’ll be back in action soon. You take the opportunity to think about how to spend the rest of your day. Several obvious choices present themselves.
By training with one or both of your Pokémon, you’ll make them stronger by practising their techniques and basic combat skills against wild opponents, but also learn more about them and their unique potential, which might lead to interesting ways of developing their abilities in the future. The value of that seems pretty obvious. You could also stomp around the area for a while and make it clear that you’re interested in challenging and recruiting wild Pokémon. It shouldn’t take too long to find a Pokémon you can battle and catch; again, that’s pretty clearly worthwhile. On the other hand, if you spend some time on a basic ecological survey, you’ll learn more about the environment and the Pokémon that live here, including potentially rarer and non-native species. You’ll advance your knowledge of Pokémon ecology, and your data will help Professor Oak’s research, but you’re less likely to meet a wild Pokémon that wants to battle you if you act like you aren’t looking for a challenge.
You could keep travelling west. Based on what the other guy told you, you’ll hit a wall soon – literally – when you reach the Pokémon League gatehouse, but it might be interesting to talk to the staff there and learn a bit more about qualifying for League events. And… well, from there you could keep going further and look for roads less travelled into the mountains, but… look, kid, we talked about this. Finally, you could just return to Viridian City early and poke around. You aren’t all that hopeful of finding out more about the mysterious closed gym, but it’s worth a try, and you could pick up other rumours or interesting information in the process.
[NB: “Keep going west” and “return to Viridian City” are mutually exclusive, so if they are the top two options, one of them will be ignored.]