As the group first set foot in the gym, Shalanai immediately was taken aback. Much had changed since their first visit. The gym had morphed from its former craggy aesthetic into a humid jungle. Every muscle in his body tensed up in anticipation of disaster.
Almost on cue, the Grovyle emerged from the shadows.
Edge...that mongrel. How could he do this?"
He prepared to lunge at their perennial foe but was stopped by a silky voice that sent shivers down his spine.
"Remember me, sweetie cake."
Oh no...not thi...
A sharp whelp escaped his throat as the razored teeth pierced into his back and pinned like a vice. The pup wrenched his neck to look into the eyes of his attacker.
The Purrlion stared back coyly. It was the same look that had almost driven Shalanai to fits of violence back at Oak's Lab. The cat was as arrogant as he was graceful; as suave as he was dangerous. Everything about his personality both terrifying and infuriating to the Houndour.
"You...of course it had to be you."
An Ember erupted from Shalanai's mouth as the entire gym erupted into violence. His foe recoiled and hissed, releasing his grasp on the dog's back. Shalanai rolled to a more defensive posture and faced his attacker.
His mind raced. There were no advantages to be had in this environment for him. He was agile but his opponent would always have him beat in that regard. The terrain offered no true advantages without endangering everyone in the building. As he stood, he knew that the best he could do was fight this to a stalemate.
As the combat around them grew more intense, the two beasts circled each other. They seemed entrapped in their own little world, a thread of order woven into the surrounding tapestry of chaos.
And just like that, the cat sprung.
Shalanai rolled but caught a claw in his haunch. Another yelp pierced the air and was followed by another ember. The cat dodged handily and batted ferociously at his opponent. Shalanai took the full force of the swipe to the face, causing his whole world to spin.
The Purrlion grinned wickedly.
"It seems as though our little game has already come to an end. How disappointing."
Shalanai closed his eyes and tried to focus. There had to be some way out. There just had to be...
The explosion rocked the entire gym as Eric's Hyper Beam tore through the Shadow ball. The Purrlion hesitated ever so slightly.
That's all I need.
Shalanai exhaled a thick dark cloud, temporarily blinding his opponent. As the cat recoiled from the shock of both the blast and the sudden counter attack, Shalanai charged his opponent and pinned him to the ground. For a long moment the two simply stared each other down fiercely. Finally, the shady cat relented his gaze. He knew that today he had been beaten.
"Next time...you're not getting this lucky."
The building had already begun to collapse around them. Shalanai hopped off of his opponent and rushed for the doorway. The cat quickly found his footing and escaped through a nearby window.
As the pup entered the fresh air his entire world became a blur. Straight physical conflict was an area where Shalanai had lagged far behind his peers. He knew that he could hear frantic voices all around him but he could quite make out what they were saying. Something about...Luna?
Shalanai's entire world began to darken. As he crashed to the ground, one phrase crossed his mind before he completely lost consciousness.
I got lucky...