Revenge is simultaneously simple and complex. It has one direction: it travels singularly and unquestionably toward retribution. Real revenge requires meticulous planning and hard work. I knew this journey would not be easy, but I took it any way because a flickering hope can always be rekindled into a greater fire.
With Bro and Hepha, I knew I’d need to gain levels immediately. There were no more areas left to capture new Pokemon, so my only hope was to hit Norman’s Gym with all the might I could muster.
This meant turning every stone in the land for trainers I had missed or intentionally skipped. This meant a second journey across Johto, only a much more somber one. As I wandered the countryside once again, my thoughts never drifted far from how little a chance I stood.
Being the lowest level, I let Bro take the lead first. We traveled and battled and rested. Of the few close calls we had, Hepha was always there to bail him out.
Then I wandered along Route 117 and remembered all the stress that had once drawn me into the game as a kid. I met a Breeder who wanted to battle me with all six of his Pokemon.
Few things strike fear in my heart as a Pokemon trainer, but seeing six lit up slots versus my two made me truly fear that I’d lose to a simple Breeder. When your team is so small and so limited, even a bunch of significantly weaker Pokemon can pose a threat. It’s a war of attrition and my job was not letting a single teammate fall.
The first Breeder wasn’t a problem. In fact, he was really good experience, and the ease in which I dispatched him gave me a false sense of confidence. Like many battles before, the illusion that I was a master of Pokemon fighting from my prior experience misled me to believe that no mountain could not be climbed.
After resting, I engaged a second Breeder with a second full party. Unlike the prior trainer, this one came to town with my biggest fear: Water Pokemon.
If you aren’t familiar, Hepha is a Fire/Ground Pokemon and Bro a Rock Pokemon. Water Pokemon are strongest against exactly three other types: Fire, Ground, and Rock. In other words, there are no Pokemon I should fear more.
The fight wasn’t as bloody as the Zangoose in my father’s gym. In fact, Bro’s heroic last stand where he barely escaped that fight would be mirrored here. Saving Hepha’s life and prolonging this run a little longer, Bro nearly gave his own for the cause, but held onto his few remaining HP to see the other trainer fall.
It was a brilliant moment, but we were still nowhere near ready to take on Norman. In need of stronger challengers, I took my team north, ascending the mountain from which Hepha had descended, to continue our tale of revenge.
One such challenger ended up being a fellow Numel, like Hepha, who I opted to have Bro fight. It didn’t go well. The beauty of a good Numel is its immense special attack, coupled with the firepower of Fire attacks and the earth-shattering might of Ground attacks. Both of those strengths were potential weaknesses for Bro, but I had to protect Hepha at all costs if I wanted to at least challenge Norman.
Bro inflicted serious damage, but he and my chances were melted away by the enemy Numel. Never as strong as he could be, Bro kept my chances alive – I can’t thank him enough for the honor.
With my final Pokemon, everything seemed so much clearer. I must continue this path of righteous destruction, extract from the land all the might which I can carry, and evolve Hepha into her true form. Only then would I be ready to challenge my Father and exact my wrath.
Combined, Hepha and I lit Johta in a blaze of broken hearts and burnt Pokemon. It didn’t matter what challenges I had to face, I was taking them. Every enemy trainer would meet the wrong end of Hepha’s greatest attacks or we’d both die trying. We descended on resort beaches where we challenged children. We rode the bicycle lane and took out athletes. We scoured the desert for scientists and archaeologists who weren’t smart enough to run.
Hepha was on the doorstep of true evolution. She was ready to take on a new form which would be the weapon worthy of fate’s demands.
And then we met an Ace Trainer whose renown would live long past our own. On his team of nearly equal strength Pokemon, he had this guy:
In a single attack, his Brine washed away all hope, all possibility, and all potential. He swept Hepha away from this mortal plane and drowned my destiny in a torrent of pain and agony.
Hepha never reached her true potential, nor did I.
Goodbye, Hepha. Goodbye, Johto.
Project Murflocke is a written Let’s Play series where I play Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire with certain limitations. Known as a Nuzlocke Challenge, I am also incorporating three community voted rules into the mix. Here’s everything I am self-enforcing.