When we became the Pokemon League Champions I was so proud of us. The combined effort of every member of the team pulled through and claimed victory. But I could not shake the feeling of failure, having lost Victoria the Victreebel at the last moment.
After the celebrations held in our honour my path led me to Lavender Tower where I would lay her soul to rest. I could only go alone, not wanting my new-found fans to witness me crying again. The channellers assured me she would be peaceful in the afterlife which comforted me, slightly. She would be at peace and I knew she would forgive me; but I wasn't sure that I could.
Victoria had originally joined me north of Cerulean City where she lashed out from a patch of grass, angry that I had interrupted her beauty sleep. I liked her spunkiness so I brought her onto the team in preparation for our match against the water type gym of Cerulean. Her stay on my team originally only lasted for that gym challenge, as I already had a grass type in Viper, the Parasect. But as I worked through my adventure Viper began to be more of a burden than a blessing, and I wound up keeping him stabled with Professor Oak. This meant that Victoria would have a chance to join us once more and I knew she would not disappoint.
Suffice to say she did not, despite originally being much weaker than her teammates. She was determined to make me proud; knowing that I had chosen her to be the replacement of a pokemon I had spent so much time with. After evolving into Weepinbell we both knew that at any moment of time she could evolve again to become more powerful, but she insisted on waiting until she had experienced life in her current form. She wanted to master one stage before moving onto another, just to make sure she was perfect for me and the friends she had gained while training. When Bella the Beedrill died; Victoria would let Edward sleep on her big leafy body when night came, trying to comfort him. In some ways I suppose she became the mother figure of the team, despite starting out as a princess.
A day before we were set to head into Victory Road she decided that in preparation she wanted to evolve. Having learned how to control and master her current abilities she knew it was time to take the final step and become our V for victory, Victreebel. At last she had finally caught up to her friends, as they had all reached their last evolution long ago. Victoria was sure however that her patience would prove effective, and that she had gained much more from waiting rather than rushing into evolution. It didn't even matter at that point though; she had earned a permanent place in the hearts of myself and the rest of our little gang. Nothing could ever fill her place.
When we finally were set up to face the Elite Four; Victoria and I worked on a new strategy that would take our opponents by surprise, and devastate them. In harsh sunlight her body would work double time and increase her speed twofold while also allowing her to unleash the sun's fury in a Solarbeam. I knew it was something special to match her own natural radiance. Not wanting to ruin the surprise factor we kept our plan hidden until the perfect moment: Gary's first pokemon, Blastoise. The harsh sunlight would weaken its attacks while empowering Victoria; it was the perfect plan. After summoning the sunlight Victoria used its strength to empower a Solarbeam against Gary's massive turtle which left it brutally wounded but not quite finished. His natural bulk left him barely standing, but strong enough to do a dance that pushed aside the sunlight and caused it to rain heavily. He would do everything in his power to please Gary, knowing his pride was on the line.
The Blastoise put his fury into one attack boosted by the rain and the torrent within him. Victoria having been weakened by putting her all into one attack, and slowed by the lack of sunlight, could only watch as the burst of water destroyed her. Despite how much she had prepared, she could not stand up to a beast fueled by the rage of his trainer.
A familiar friend woke me from my memory; Arianna resting her big head on my shoulder. Having been by my side since day one she knew exactly how to cheer me up... by way of lifting me in the air and bear-hugging me with her tiny yet powerful arms. The look she gave me told me all I needed to know and I wiped my tears away. We may have been cut down to five teammates but we were still together. A trainer and her five best friends, newly Pokemon League Champions and ready to take on whatever laid ahead. That's how it would have to be, five instead of six. I wouldn't -couldn't- even dream of filling up that sixth slot.
Victoria would always be the final member of our family.