Soon enough Litleo picked up some interesting scent. He was sniffing the ground intensely and keeping his nose down as he walked. His tail wagged playfully. Jillian trusted his nose and followed, looking around on her own. Primrose was still not very convinced about all this.
Many minutes later, Jillian was starting to doubt, too. They still hadn't found anything, maybe aside from single birds or other flying Pokemon that passed over them or some distant shapes. Either way, it was nothing they could interact or fight with and yet Litleo was searching with the very same intensity. He wasn't giving up, that much was for sure. Jillian, on the other hand, strayed from him on the first opportunity, as soon as she saw something of interest. On the mostly empty plains, she spotted a round shape of red and white... A lot like a pokeball. She changed course to head straight for it. Litleo finally looked up from the ground to check where she was going and what in the world could be better than his tracking. His ears twitched in curiosity and he ran after her.
As Jillian was growing closer, she was getting less and less enthusiastic about that object she had spotted. It was definitely not a free pokeball. It was round, but a little flattened and too big for a pokeball... And it was too high. By the time she stood over it, she was certain that it was some strange Pokemon or plant. She frowned, trying to analyze this strange being. Was it an inspiration for the pokeball design? There wouldn't be any logical reason why this Pokemon would want to disguise itself as an item, so it had to be that.
"What's that, human? Found a snack? This one doesn't look very tasty," sounded the childish voice of Litleo. The cub tilted his head, looking at the mushroom in confusion.
Upon hearing voices, the strange creature started shaking. Jillian instinctively took a step back and Litleo jumped away, startled. He began growling at the strange creature, showing off his fangs. The mushroom danced on, releasing colorful spores that filled the air above it, but fortunately, the trainer and her Pokemon were out of its reach. All of a sudden, the mushroom opened its eyes. It was then that Jillian noticed it even had a face.
"Aha! You fell for my trap!" Foongus cackled victoriously. Litleo gasped in shock, but Primrose, who had only then caught up with them, frowned at it in disappointment.
"What trap? We're all fine," she spoke up uncertainly. She wasn't one to argue, but their advantage in numbers gave her a tiny bit of courage.
"Oh yeah! That's true," Litleo noticed cheerfully, pouncing forward and lowering the front of his body in preparation for a jump attack.
The mushroom pouted. "Maybe so! But you haven't seen all of my tricks yet!" it threatened in a shaky voice. Its initial attempt at intimidating them failed and it was a strong blow to its confidence. It knew very well that Litleo like this one could be pretty painful...
"It doesn't look like something we can eat... But maybe it has other uses? Eh. Do whatever you like," Jillian commented, waving her hand dismissively. Litleo took note of the gesture, but he didn't need it. He had already decided to go ahead and play with the strange thing.
"Fear the king of the plains!"
The cub sounded a roar, releasing a barrage of small bolts of fire. Foongus squeaked and tried to jump away (Jillian was surprised to notice that it could even move), but it couldn't outrun the incoming flames. Each of the fireballs hit its head. The panicked mushroom covered its eyes with tiny arms.
"Eek! What was that for?"
"Asserting dominance," Litleo answered proudly. He wagged his tail victoriously.
The smile washed off his face when the mushroom suddenly pointed at him with the top of its pokeball-shaped head, releasing a red beam from the "button". As it collided with the lion, it started draining his energy - not a lot of it, but enough to surprise the cub, who jumped backward.
Primrose was fidgeting nervously. "This is enough, isn't it? We don't have to fight," she tried to reason with Litleo, but he was already growling angrily.
"No! Now it's on! I'll show you why you shouldn't mess with me!"
"Oh, okay," Primrose's weak voice signaled her defeat.
Litleo and Foongus, on the other hand, were not backing down. Both of them jumped forward: Foongus somehow rolled itself up and somersaulted, while Litleo charged head-on. The two collided and the lion was tossed aside, but Foongus kept rolling.
"Is this move some kind of a trend around these parts?" Jillian mumbled, observing the battle with arms crossed on her chest. She recognized Rollout right away. It gave her a reason to add this mushroom to her team, just to suit the strategy that most of it used, but... She was not interested. It looked kind of stupid and they hadn't really come here to make friends.
Litleo hissed at the rolling opponent, noticing with visible dismay that it was coming back to him, growing faster with each roll. Jillian not only recognized the move, but also knew that Litleo was weak to it. She had to make use of type advantages - that was often the most reasonable strategy. After all, it followed simple logic and knowledge. A mushroom could be a plant, which meant fire should be strong against it.
"Litleo, use fire!" she commanded, stepping in.
In other circumstances, the proud lion would argue, but as the opponent was closing in, he took the advice. Once more he opened his mouth, sending more flames at the rolling mushroom. A pained squeak sounded, implying that his attack was effective.
"Good! Keep going!"
The impact from Ember held Foongus back. Its rolling slowed down to the point that it couldn't reach Litleo before he launched more tiny blasts of flame. The mushroom's movement were getting even less fluid as the attack was striking it, until it finally ceased and the wild pokemon unrolled, collapsing on the ground. It was not moving.
"Well. That was intense," Jillian admitted, staring at the mushroom's body. Was it done for? Litleo was young and weak, but if she had estimated correctly and this thing really was weak to fire... Then it couldn't have survived so many scorching attacks.
Litleo stepped over to the fallen opponent and stepped on it with one paw, declaring his victory with a proud grin.
"Yeah, good job," Jillian gave him the praise he seemed to want, reaching down to pat him on the head. He gracefully accepted this gesture, feeling that he deserved some kind of a reward, even if it was this lame. Primrose sighed. "Alright, little guy, we're going to name you... Cinder. A pretty, fire-based name. It fits you, right?"
Cinder roared victoriously, unaware that he was being named. He was certain that the trainer was praising him - after all, that would make the most sense considering his heroic efforts.