In Her Image: a Pokémon RP

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Hitmonchan's ball was not in the air for longer than a second before Daria had launched her own high in the sky. A burst of white light shot to the ground, and materialized in a fierce combatant.

"Lee-Lee-Lee! Hit! MONLEE!"

Jet opened up stretching his legs with a flurry of ghost kicks so fast the audience saw naught but a blur. Daria brushed a fist across her nose and yelled "KICK IT OFF, LEE! MEDITATE, THEN DIVE RIGHT IN WITH A DOUBLE KICK!"

Tom had been completely engrossed in Daria's match. The two opponents were pretty equal in terms of strength, which honestly didn't surprise him. Of course he was mainly trying to figure out if there would be any possible way to defeat Daria, and... well it didn't look too possible. Meanwhile both trainers had sent out their last pokemon.

Surprise, surprise.. Both of them are fighting types... Great. More to worry about.. I gotta get a flying type. I gotta get a Natu. Not like I'd ever find one all the way out here though. They tend to hang out at the ruins.. Well anyway, The match is gonna start up again soon, so this'll probably get interesting.

Tom's wide smile grew back over his face.

I gotta show team spirit after all!

"Ah, hello Ryan, good to see that you've joined us. I trust your Mightyena is feeling better?" He asked politely. "He's fine, aint ya boy?" he said. Mightyena wagged his tail. "So, anything important happen?" he asked, not really expecting an answer. It was obvious everything was going fine. The crowd felt a little more tense than usual, but that was to be expected after what happened. What Ryan was really focusing on was what he was going to do from now on. He was sure he wanted to train Mightyena until he could beat every Pokémon in the nation, but that costed time, and lots of it. Now where would be the best place to start...

"So, anything important happen?"

"Nothing big, Daria's Charmeleon just went head to head with...something I'm not sure it is, Fire/Fighting type I'm guessing, and ended it in a draw. Now it seems this is the final call, Fighting types, Lee and Chan, against one another."

Whismur came out of her shell a bit more, interacting a bit with the Luxray, hesitantly touching his coat before petting it twice and scrambling back to Darius' lap.

Charmeleon and Monferno fell to the ground and in the west side of the stadium Rupert let out a breath that he hadn't realized he had been holding. He had expected a fierce battle but Daria had a way of going above and beyond expectations. Watching her fight was a bit like watching a tornado tear through a house: it was terrifying to behold and you felt a twinge of guilt over admiring its sheer destructive prowess.
Rupert wiped away the fine film of sweat that covered his forehead. What really got to him though wasn't Daria's fighting talent. No, it was the fact that this Forte was keeping up with her. Heck, he was doing more than that; they were completely evenly matched. The very thought that Daria was not unique as a trainer, that there were others out there as monstrously strong as herself made Rupert queasy.


To say that Hoothoot was deeply impressed would be an understatement, she was in awe. She had been following the match intently. In fact, Rupert was pretty sure that she hadn't blinked since the fight began. Her enormous red eyes were wide open and as she stood on Rupert's shoulder he could feel the tension in her body. Suspecting that he knew what made her so nervous he hesitantly stretched out his hand and started stroking her.

"H-hey, it's okay. Don't worry. It will be a while before you take on anything like those two Fire-types down there. B-baby steps, right? I don't expect you to jump right into the deep end. We'll get there gradually."

Hoothoot seemed to calm down a bit. Apparently Rupert had been right on the money in suspecting that she was scared of fighting the likes of Charmeleon and Monferno. He felt a strange kinship with the Owl pokémon now; after all, he was scared of fighting the likes of Daria and Forte.

Rupert kept stroking Hoothoot as Daria and Forte let out their Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee respectively. He wasn't used to much tactile interaction with his pokémon, but he found the act oddly comforting. Cubone would sooner take of his skull mask than let anyone stroke him. That would be demeaning. And Haunter... Well, putting Haunter's personality aside Rupert was fairly sure that stroking a Ghost-type was physically impossible.

Matt winced as Speigel and Monferno collided in one last explosive impact, each of them putting their all into that last exchange of blows. The air itself seemed to ripple as the Pokemon laid into each other, and it came as no surprise, especially considering their damaged states, that the Fire-types collapsed simultaneously. Truly an amazing display on strength, on both the Pokemon and their trainers' parts, one that Matt would have loved to see firsthand.

However, the TV in the prep room, while not quite as good as being in the stands themselves, provided a pretty decent view. In HD too!

"I've got one healthy Pokemon left. And so do you. Ready?"

As Daria and Forte readied their final fighters, the fighting seemed to enter a bit of a lull. No doubt the battle would resume its typical ferocity once the Pokemon were out, but for now Matt was more than happy to take advantage of the break. Collapsing into one of the room's plastic chairs, the trainer reached for the four balls strapped to his belt. "Alright guys, come on out!"

A quartet of flashes lit the room, before condensing into a handful of corporeal forms and one gaseous shape.




While the rest of the Pokemon gathered around their trainer, the Wooper only glanced around the room, a confused expression on her face. This wasn't the park, or any of her other usual hangouts. In fact, she didn't recognize this place at all! Where on Earth was she?!

Wandering around the room didn't exactly reveal any hints as to her location. So far as she could see, there weren't any exits readily available, and there wasn't anything she could use to orient herself. The few chairs and magazine racks that decorated the small area were as uninteresting as they were uncomfortable and useless; no way any of those things would be helping her. Yeah, there was no doubt about it, she was lost.

"...really got a match this time! It's not gonna be a false start, like the one yesterday, I promise."

Turning around, the befuddled Water Fish Pokemon stared at the only other living things that seemed to occupy the tiny chamber. There was a human, sitting on his heels and saying something about teamwork and perseverance. For some reason, he looked pretty familiar; the Wooper couldn't shake the feeling that she knew him from somewhere. Regardless, he looked nice enough, even considering the fact that he was clearly nervous about something. Moving on, there was a trio of Pokemon clustered around the young man, a Pidgeotto and a couple of others she had never seen before. The Flying-type seemed to be ignoring whatever the human was saying; he had perched on the back of one of the chairs, and was apparently more focused on making sure his feathers were straight than whatever his trainer was trying to tell him. However, even though he tried to hide it, the Pidgeotto would flash the occasional glance over his shoulder, his keen eyes briefly focusing on the human. Yeah, even if he was trying to fake indifference, he was clearly listening.

The first of the other two Pokemon was obviously a Fire-type. Either that, or he just had yet to notice that his back was on fire. Unlike his larger, winged companion, this Pokemon made no attempt to disguise his immersion. It was obvious, from the way he stared at his trainer with half-shut eyes and his anxious, excited posture, that he was hanging onto every word the human said, nodding emphatically every few seconds.

The last of the Pokemon was another the Wooper couldn't recognize. He... she... it looked more like a darkly colored fog than a Pokemon, its vaporous body constantly shifting, spreading, and changing. Like the Fire-type, it was clearly paying close attention to the trainer. But there was something else about this stranger, a sensation of fear that instinctively arose in the Wooper's mind as she stared at the gaseous cloud. She didn't think she liked this one very much, even though she wasn't sure why...

"...can do it! Just because we haven't had the best of luck so far doesn't mean that we can't win today, and I know that you guys will be giving it your all, just like me!"

It looked like the human was concluding whatever it was he was saying. The excited tone in his voice had apparently spread to the rest of his body as well; his words were now accompanied by grand, sweeping gestures, that seemed to irk the Pidgeotto as much as they energized the other two Pokemon. Whatever it was he was talking about, it was apparent that the Trainer felt pretty strongly about it.

"So what'd ya say, guys? Think we can win it?"

The Pidgeotto, while he continued to maintain his silence, was at least looking towards his trainer now.

"Alright, thanks guys. I'm not gonna let you down; promise."

With a slight grunt, the human rose to his feet, stretching out his arms and back as he rose. "Now, for the next order of business."

Reflexively, the Wooper shied away as the lad began making his way towards her. Upon seeing her reaction, the young man quickly brought up his hands, palms open in a sign of non-aggression. "Woah, don't worry. I'm not going to hurt you, okay?"

Although she tried to keep away from the slowly approaching stranger, the Wooper found herself cautiously making her way towards him. It was as though some bizarre sensation was overriding her natural caution, like a sense of loyalty had suddenly been implanted into her head. It wasn't really a bad thing per say, but there was no denying that it was a little weird.

Soon, the young lad was crouching down in front of her, a gentle grin spreading across his visage. Ignoring the thin, sticky film that coated her tiny frame, he gave her a few affectionate pats on the head, his voice soft and kind. "Guys, say hi to our new teammate. I know it's been a while since we've gotten someone else, but I'm pretty sure she'll be great."

As he spoke, the rest of the Pokemon appraised the Wooper, staring at her with curiosity, friendliness, and (in the Pidgeotto's case) a bit of annoyance. Soon, they approached her and began to speak, their tones civil, if a little questioning. "Quil quil? Cyndaquil, cynda cyn. Quil cyndaquil?"

"Gas-gastly! Ga-ga-gastly. Gastly gas?"

"Heh, alright, wait a minute guys. Let's give her some air, alright?"

With a bit of an abashed air, the Fire-type backed off, squeaking an apology. The other, scarier Pokemon merely cackled a bit, albiet in a somehow friendly way, before swooping off. The the Pidgeotto hadn't even bothered to move in the first place, and he continued to maintain his stoicism.

"Hmm..." the lad continued, staring down at the Wooper with a slightly bemused look. "They do have a point though. Can't really just go around calling you Wooper all the time, now can I?"


"Well, I mean, I guess I could. It's not like I'm gonna have another Wooper anytime soon, now will I?" The trainer laughed a bit, not noticing the confusion that marred the Water-type's face. "Nah, I just like giving you guys nicknames. Makes it a little easier to talk to you, I guess."

"Woop woop?"

"...You're a little ditsy, aren't you?"

The Wooper may not have really understood what the young man was talking about, but judging by the smile on his face it was probably a good thing.

"So, what would you like to be called? Could go with Thetis, or maybe Kairi? Or maybe something easier, like Aqua or Fishy? Or would you like something more like..."


With that, the battle was underway, with the Kicking Pokémon closing his eyes and attaining peace of mind, allowing him to concentrate on the opponent's weak points. Knees, lower back, back of the neck.

"Hitmonchan. Vacuum Wave. Counter that Double Kick."

Hitmon. Moooooonnn. CHAAN!

Hitmonchan complied with the obedience one would expect from Forte's prize fighter. Charging something by reaching backwards with his fist, the Punching Pokémon let fly with an amazing left corkscrew cross that made the air spiral towards Jet like a small hurricane. Having had his share of meditation, Jet took the attack head on and while it was certainly something, it only pushed the Hitmonlee back slightly.

Jet jumped into the air and as he came down delivered the first kick. Hitmonchan blocked it, but the strength of the kick was enough to do damage to the Punching Pokémon's jaw. With a split second turn, not even touching the ground after delivering the first hit, Jet managed to deliver the second kick to his opponent's ribs. Clean hit! If he kept up like this victory was h--


Holy Tauros! What a wallop! Did you see that, Andy?

Sure did! Just when Hitmonlee least expected, Hitmonchan used Counter, smashing his kicking counterpart to the ground. That must've hurt!

That was an understatement. A crushing smash came seemingly out of nowhere after Jet's second kick and floored the Kicking Pokémon. Jet quickly got up, however, and jumped back for more orders.

"Hitmonchan. Don't let up. Mach Punch. Then Counter. Then Revenge."

"Who are you and what do you want! King. Ready Ember!"

The young man in front of Kayla shifted his severe gaze from the raging battle between the two Hitmons and onto the would be challenger.

The man sighed as he slicked his hair back, as if it wasn't already.

"Calm down girl. You, and your pooch. Name's Anthony. Just watching the fight here. That girl's got a lotta spunk. But she'll lose."

The sweatjacket clad man could hardly hide a bit of an enthusiastic smile as he watched the battle unfold down below.

Matt was trying to decide on a name for his newest partner when he was interrupted by a banging at the door.



Jack, Matt's upcoming Hoennian opponent burst in followed by his Machop. The boy re-adjusted his Sharpedos cap as he made his way toward the Johto native.

"Ay brotha, just wanted to wish ya luck for our match. I want you to come at us with all ya got. Right?"

Jack's grin was damn near viral as he offered a hand at Matt before noticing his new friend's Wooper.

"Whahuh!? That a Wooper ya got there? You got 4 Pokémon brotha? Damn! I only gots 3 myself..."

Jack quickly got over the numerical disadvantage and commented further.

"She's a ditzy looking lil' thing ain't she? Nhahahahahaaa!"

That girl's got a lotta spunk. But she'll lose."

"NO WAY!," Kayla yelled. "Say what you will with that greasy hairdo and ugly jacket but Daria will win! Hitmonlees are better than Hitmonchans any day!"

Jet's face hit the ground with such force the crowd wouldn't have been surprised to see chunks of rock and dirt flying from the impact. Daria grimaced at the blow. Jet could take it, but that was still way worse than she needed it to be. But she had a plan. She pointed at her Pokemon and shouted, "ROLL OUT OF THE WAY OF THAT MACH PUNCH!"

Reeeaaally starting to hate that move. Wonder if I should just teach everybody Disable, so I don't have to worry about it anymore?..

Jet moved quickly, trying to recall the training he had done with his trainer. Flexibility in combat, fluidity of motion... move effortlessly from one attack to the next.

Meanwhile, Daria already had her next move planned out. No strike for the Counter. Don't give that smug boxer the opportunity. Instead, she'd take an opportunity of her own, and give a Super Potion to Slagger. She had a sinking feeling he'd be needed. She called out, "WAIT FOR THE REVENGE, AND ONLY THEN, GET TO HIM FIRST WITH A ROLLING KICK!"

If she was lucky, the Hitmonchan would flinch, and Jet could get some hits in before the next Counter came up.

"...Or if those aren't any good, then there's always-"


There was no mistaking that voice, even when hearing it through a two-inch door. Before Matt could even give an answer, let alone an invitation, the door slammed open, Jack exploding through the aperture with the ever faithful Chopper trailing behind.

"Ay brotha, just wanted to wish ya luck for our match. I want you to come at us with all ya got. Right?"

"Oh, uh, h-hey Jack." Even if he had been slowly growing used to the Hoennian's bombastic ways, Jack bursting into the room like that was nearly enough to send Matt leaping out of his skin. As it was, the young lad had to settle for trying to simultaneously jump backwards and behind the nearest piece of furniture. Needless to say, it didn't exactly go well.

"I, um, well, uh, g-good luck to you too!" he said from his awkward position, having managed to sprawl himself out on the floor like some kind of giant Staryu. Taking Jack's hand, Matt pulled himself up from the ground, dusting off his clothes even as his new companion moved onto the next thing. "Whahuh!? That a Wooper ya got there? You got 4 Pokémon brotha? Damn! I only gots 3 myself..."

"Yeah, just caught her this morning..." Matt trailed off as Jack began staring at the Water-type in question, the gears in his head clearly turning beneath that baseball cap. The Wooper, meanwhile, seemed to paralyzed by a mixture of astonishment and confusion; she was certainly having an interesting day.

"She's a ditzy looking lil' thing ain't she? Nhahahahahaaa!"

"I said the same thing, actually." Matt tried to chuckle at the coincidence, but was unable to keep a slight tinge of annoyance out of his voice. He had been trying to give his team a pep-talk, and having someone else interrupt like this wasn't exactly ideal.

Still, it wasn't like the young trainer would ever be able to muster the guts to ask Jack to leave. No point in being passive-aggressive; might as well try and be friendly. "So, three Pokemon? Obviously you've got Chopper," Matt began, gesturing to the Machop in question. "Mind if I ask what your other two are?"

"So, anything important happen?" Asked Ryan, after his Mightyena wagged its tail, symbolizing that it felt better.

"Like Darius said, the fight between Forte's Monferno, and Daria's Charmeleon ended in a dead heat." Caleb remarked, only just realising that he made a bad pun.

"Now its a battle between Forte's Hitmonchan, and Daria's Hitmonlee. And it certainly does appear to be an interesting engagement. Here we have two highly trained and skilled warriors, fighting for a chance at victory." He then added, giving his thoughts to the battle that played out before them. Raiden meanwhile still kept a careful watch over the surrounding area; but could feel its black fur being stroked by someone. Turning his head briefly, he noticed that it was the Whismur that Darius owned.

Ray. Raiden said in appreciation, showing the Whisper Pokémon what he would call a smile.

"Its quite alright Whismur, Raiden here doesn't mind, in fact judging from the smile on his face, he liked it. You're welcome to stroke him again if you'd like." Caleb remarked, before stroking the mane atop Raiden's head.

As Forte's Hitmonchan rushed towards Jet while in a peek-a-boo stance. He wasn't going to fall to the same attack as his teammate. The Fighting-type rolled out of the way just as Forte's fighter punched a hole in the ground. Jet used his spring like legs to quickly make his way through the battlefield and away from his assailant. But Hitmonchan was not giving up easily. His legwork was impressive in its own right as he kept up with his more mobile counterpart, throwing punches at Jet as he got close enough. It was to no awail.

As Jet put his training to full use, Daria used the moment to slip a hand into her bag and dig out a Super Potion. She then connected the muzzle with the port on Slagger's PokéBall. This did not go unnoticed by Forte.

Hmm... A Super Potion? Must be that Golem. Hardly a threat. But I can't risk it.

"Hitmonchan! Do not get sloppy. Hitmonlee is not your only opponent. Finish this quickly."


There was nothing to Counter and it seemed Jet was content just jumping around in circles. That is until he jumped in and faked a kick. By the time Hitmonchan figured out what was happening it was too late, he had already let out a Revenge in the form of a flicker punch. While it connected with Jet's face, the Kicking Pokémon was free to lean back and reduce the damage. Now, it was his turn. Jet turned around himself and let fly with a Rolling Kick, hitting Hitmonchan in the ribs and sent him reeling backwards. The Punching Pokémon was resilient enough not to flinch, however.

"NO WAY! Say what you will with that greasy hairdo and ugly jacket but Daria will win! Hitmonlees are better than Hitmonchans any day!"

The angry man's face twitched slightly at Kayla's words as he tried to hide an annoyed smile.

"Look kid, maybe you and the puppy should get back to your seats. I'd like to enjoy what's left of this show in peace."

"So, three Pokemon? Obviously you've got Chopper, mind if I ask what your other two are?"

Jack stopped fidgeting with Matt's yet to be named Wooper, got up and rubbed his neck for a moment.

"Nheeehhh... I kinda wanted to keep it a surprise... But seeing as I came here to hassle you right before ya big moment... Nah, what the hey! Come on out guys!"

Jack threw out his two other PokéBalls, revealing their occupants.

"Ya already know Chopper!"

Chop! Maaachopp!

Chopper flexed his muscles for all of the room's occupants to see.

"This 'ere's my pal Swell."


Jack's Swellow let out a squawk and landed on a ceiling lamp, sneaking peeks at Ventus.

"Last but not least is my good ol' #1 Kip."

Tomp. Tomp! MARSH!

Kip entered the scene just as bombastically as his Trainer would. As he loudly announced his presence to the others, it became clear to camp Matt that Jack and his starter were two of a kind.

Looking over his flock, his chest swelling with pride, Jack said.

"That's the team, brotha. We' seem ta have a lot in common. Nhihihihiii!"

"That's the team, brotha. We' seem ta have a lot in common. Nhihihihiii!"

"Aye, no kidding," Matt replied as he appreciatively stared at Jack's Pokemon. He'd seen Machops before, but the Swellow and Marshtromp were something new. "They look like some pretty tough guys!"

The Johto native was a bit amazed at the startling similarities between the two teams; both he and Jack had a starter (albeit of wildly contrasting types), a Flying/Normal-type (both of them evolved, no less), and a third, seemingly arbitrary member (again, with wildly contrasting types. Doesn't get much further apart than Ghost and Fighting.) It was a little bizarre how alike and yet different their Pokemon were. Matt found himself almost asking what order Jack had caught his Pokemon in, before deciding that such a query would probably be a bit too personal.

While Matt admired his opponent's team, Spike, Ventus, and Persephone each found themselves drawn towards one of their eventual foes. After all, if their trainers were getting friendly, then why couldn't they?

"Cyndaquil. Cynda!"

Spike was a little cowed by just how much bigger his counterpart was. Kip stood at almost a full foot taller than the little Cyndaquil, which, when combined with the Marshtromp's natural type-advantage, was more than a little intimidating. Not to mention Kip's natural energy and, well, loudness. All things considered, the Water-type was a far cry from the docile Fire-type. And Spike was made almost painfully aware of the difference in strength between them...

Still! Might as well try and make friends! "Quil, cynda! Cyn cyndaquil?"


Though Ventus didn't attempt to engage Swell in anything remotely resembling conversation, the Pidgeotto at least gave his fellow Flying-type the courtesy of an appraising stare. One didn't need a Pokedex to sense that the Swellow was strong, and, for the first time in a long while, Ventus felt as though he just might have found an equal. Keyword there being "might"; he'd have to see Swell in battle before he made any final judgement.


"Gas, gastly!"

No matter how hard Chopper looked, he was unable to find the source of that poorly concealed laughter. He knew that it was coming from somewhere nearby, but he was unable to pinpoint the exact location.

Then, suddenly, there came a tap on his right shoulder. Reflexively, the Machop turned his head around to try and spot who/whatever had tapped him, only to have something simply explode with laughter behind him and to his left. Turning again (the correct way this time), the Fighting-type found himself eye-to-vaporous cloud with Persephone, who was cackling nonstop at her prank's success. Personally, Chopper didn't see what was so funny about just tapping someone on the wrong shoulder, but apparently the Gastly found it hilarious; still laughing, she attempted to pantomime Chopper looking over his shoulder (doing a pretty good job, considering she was a poorly defined fog), only to dissolve into ceaseless giggles.



The Wooper just had no idea what was going on. She really was quite ditzy.

"Look kid, maybe you and the puppy should get back to your seats. I'd like to enjoy what's left of this show in peace."

Kayla's face went red with anger but before she could start King started barking, little bursts of fire coming between each bark. His owner and friend had been insulted and he wasn't going to stand for it. He was about to charge angry man, when Kayla grabbed his fur.

"Hold King. Hold," Kayla put her head against King's and whispered, "Thank you. I couldn't ask for a better friend. But he isn't worth protecting me from," lowering her voice even more, "If we really need to hurt we'll do it later. Okay?"

King barked again, letting go of his flames just so that they dispersed a foot away from the angry man, before turning around, his tail and behind high and his front low to the ground and wiggled it a few time before walking off with Kayla back to their original standing spot, intent on watching the match once again.

Daria grinned as the Hitmonchan felt the pain. She wasn't out of this fight yet. She knew she had to press the assault, but that Counter would destroy her team if she wasn't careful. She needed a way to overcome it. She just didn't know how.

A good Counter requires at least SOME concentration, right? Or is this guy quick enough that it doesn't matter? Agh, damn it I don't know what to do... but maybe HE does!

Time to see how far his training had come.

"JET!" she called. The Hitmonlee turned to his trainer during the lull in combat, eager for his next move. After a moment's hesitation, she nodded her head. "It's your call, Jet. Do whatever you think's best."

Jet's eyes widened by a sliver, the closest the Pokemon could get to shock. But when his trainer held out a thumbs-up and shouted, "MAKE ME PROUD!" all he could do in response was cross his arms and bow to her.

"Hitmonlee." He turned back to the match and returned to a fighting stance. Make her proud. Yeah, he could do that.

"It's your call, Jet. Do whatever you think's best."



Did she just...?

Yes she did. Daria had just basically given her Pokémon free reign. Something that almost never happens among Trainers, simply because 99% of Trainers train their partners to be dependent on their owners. Daria was different.

Forte was visibly surprised. He most definitely did not expect this child to be capable of such a method.

"Hm. Heheh. Very well then. Hitmonchan! I shall instruct you no further, fight this Hitmonlee as you see fit."

No way! Forte just issued the same command!!

This is a very rare thing to see, especially at this level. You see Terry, this kind of tactic is quite difficult to pull off, even at Gym Leader level.

Jet and Hitmonchan measured each other for a moment. Jet had taken slightly more damage, but Hitmonchan wasn't doing much better. There was a noticeable lull in the action as both Hitmons took a second to weigh their options. Hitmonchan then assumed a peek-a-boo stance and motioned for Jet to move it.

Jet took off, running towards his opponent and jumping once he was halfway there. Double Kick. First one hit Hitmonchan in the hands, no damage. Second one hit the back. The crack of bones. He felt that one. Here came the Counter, just as expected. Jet backpedaled toward Hitmonchan's left, causing the Counter to miss. The Punching Pokémon wasn't about to just lay down and take it, though, and quickly caught up with the evading opponent and laid on him with Mach Punch, delivering a flurry of punches as he danced around Jet.

Jet then doubled back and closed his eyes. Concentration was the key here. Hitmonchan had the edge on the defense. Focus Energy would add a little something to Jet's already superior attack and allow him to penetrate that wall. Hitmonchan wasn't having that, however, and unleashed a Vacuum Wave to push Jet back. Daria's Hitmonlee had what he needed though, and jumped up high towards Forte's fighter.

Brick Break! A crushing downward kick would not only hit that defense it would drive it right through Hitmonchan's face. This was it. Victory was at hand.


Time seemed to slow down. The last thing Jet saw was Hitmonchan weaving to the right. He felt his foot going right through the ground. He swore he could hear his Trainer biting her lip.


Revenge. Hitmonchan's arm was like a whip on steroids as a flicker punch bore its way into Jet's face. Damn, not like this... Not against him... Not...

And Hitmonlee is down! Forte's Hitmonchan wins!!!

Indeed he does, Terry. But let's not forget that Daria still has a Golem left, even if victory at this point does seem unlikely.

Right, Andy. Can't wait to see the exciting conclusion to this bout!

At the Red corner's prep room, Matt's and Jack's Pokémon were quickly getting to know each other as their Trainers looked on, Jack with a wide grin and Matt... well... Matt.

Kip didn't mind being the recipient of Spike's adoring gaze. He flexed and posed as the small Fire-type looked on in awe.

Tomp. Marsh Marsh Ma, Tomp Marshtomp!

The little one was being lectured about the benefits of timely evolution as the Marshtomp continued his posturing.

Swell stared back at Ventus and gave him a curt nod. The Kanto Flying-type was definitely an opponent the Swellow wanted to face.

Ma, Machop, Chop! Chop!

Chopper was quickly growing weary of Persephone's games. His dismay was only heightened by the fact that it had became painfully clear to the Fighting-type that he could not actually touch the gaseous being. This did not bode well for the battle ahead.

Jack turned to Matt after having had his fill of inter-Pokémon tomfoolery.

"So, hey! Didja name yer new friend yet, brotha?"

At the North end of the stadium, Kayla and king had left the suspicious man alone after exchanging some words, the Johto girl apparently assumed he didn't hear.

Heh, chick's got some guts. If she's got the skills to back 'em up, this evening might turn out to be fun, after all...

At the South end, Remy and Savannah were busy looking on as Daria's heated battle with Forte raged on.

"Damn. So Jet lost in the end, huh? I would've put my money on him, too..."

Suddenly a voice with a peculiar softness to it adressed Savannah.

"Excuse me miss, is this seat taken?"

A somewhat tall and lanky man, dressed in black slacks, a white tank top and a black suit jacket over his shoulders was hunched over what was Matt's seat a while ago. His face was even more striking. Narrow slit-like eyes accompanied a smile that seemed friendly, but felt weird. Like there was no warmth to it.

Remy just looked at the man for a while.

Weird lookin' guy this one.

Zangoose was captivated by the stranger's face as well. There was somethin eerily familiar about it...

"That's our friend Matt's seat. He's battling up next, though, so you're free to use it 'til he comes back. That is, if Savannah doesn't mind. Do ya?"

A hush fell over the arena. Daria could hear cheering, booing, shocked gasps and the screaming voices of the narrators, as if they were coming from headphones ten feet away. It was muted, dull. She chewed her lip, helpless to do anything as Jet was buried into the dirt. The Hitmonlee struggled to stand, but no push its arms made could raise him higher than an inch. Her mouth opened a crack to tell him to stop, but no words came. She looked away, unable to watch. No longer looking at the broken Pokemon, a red beam called him back. Her mind felt like it was swimming, dunked in a vast ocean both chilling and warm in its vastness.

Her hand limply grabbed her last Pokeball, and hefted it, feeling the weight.

Slagger has more health, even higher defense. Maybe... maybe Rollout, and a Toxic... no... Brick Break with... no...


She put the ball back on her belt.

She looked up at the ref. "Call it."

"So, hey! Didja name yer new friend yet, brotha?"

"Ehehehehe... that'd be a no," Matt said as he bashfully rubbed his neck, an apologetic grin etched onto his face. He wasn't really sure what he was apologizing for, or to who, but the expression stayed put.

"Eh, I'm sure that we'll settle on something... soon... enough..." The lad's words slowly trailed off as his eyes were drawn to the room's TV, the camera zooming in on an unconscious Hitmonlee for a few seconds. "Hold on, did Daria just lose?!"

After a few seconds, Matt was sickened to see that he was, in fact, quite correct. "But, she still has Slagger, doesn't she?! I mean, yeah, the odds aren't exactly in her favor, but still... That Hitmonchan's gotta be almost out of it; there's no way he could take more than a couple hits!"

But it was to no avail. As the rest of the stadium reacted to Daria's unexpected decision, Matt found himself frustrated, confused, and more than a little disappointed. But he couldn't quite shake that familiar feeling, that there was something else he was forgetting...

"Oh shoot," he exclaimed, jumping to his feet as he realized what this meant, "we're up, aren't we?!"

Unbidden Butterfrees began to dance in Matt's stomach as he realized just how close he was to marching back out onto that arena, with all of those people staring down at him. Even knowing that his new pals were up there wasn't enough to banish the nervousness that ran rampant through his mind, and the trainer found himself on the verge of hyperventilation. Again.


A toasty nudge against his shin brought Matt back to reality. Glancing down, he locked eyes with Spike, an encouraging smile spread across the Cyndaquil's face. Then there came a flap of wings, and a hefty weight settled on the trainer's shoulder. Before the lad even had time to turn his head, a sharp, stinging pain slammed into his skull, Ventus somehow managing to be both chiding and encouraging at the same time. Persephone, unable to actually touch her trainer, still did her best to raise his spirits, floating at his shoulder level and offering him a gentle grin. Even the Wooper, motivated by some sense of duty she didn't fully understand, wobbled over.

"Heh, right..." came the quiet whisper.

With his Pokemon still clustered around him, Matt turned to face Jack once again, flashing a thumbs-up and an energetic grin. "Hey, Jack, it's been fun, but it looks like it's just about zero-hour. I'll see you in a few minutes, kay?"

"Call it."

The general reaction at first was unanimous. Daria was flooded with boos from the crowd.

"Don't be such a sore loser, man!"

"Keep it up!"

"You still got one right?"


Hitmonchan glanced back at his Trainer. Forte just scoffed.


INCREDIBLE! Daria Pace has forfeited the match! Surely she could've... Certainly Golem had a... This is just... SO SAD!

H-Hey Terry! Hey man, don't start crying on me now! That's unprofessional! Still, this has been quite the dram- Wait! Forte is making his way towards Daria!

As Forte reached Daria he started to talk.

"You... *sigh* I didn't expect you to forfeit, child. In a way I am disappointed. I wanted you to give me your all. But then, sometimes it takes true clarity of mind to know when to back down. You surpassed my expectations for you, ch-- Daria Pace."

Forte offered his hand in greeting, before turning back and leaving for the tunnel he had come in from. He stopped once again and spoke over his shoulder.

"Heal your friends now... I sense something foul in the air tonight..."

The boos from the crowd gradually changed their tone as Forte left. Becoming cheers and joining Daria's new friends in jubilation.

"That was awesome!"

"We love you Pewter Fist!"

"You come back next year, now!"

"Take on the Elite Four you crazy bitch!"

A-And that, *sob* was Daria Pace, everybody. Give her a great big hand as Forte makes his way to the finalists bracket!

We'll be right back with Matt Seras and Jack Almond, after these messages!

At Matt's prep room, both him and Jack had witnessed the whole thing on TV. Jack couldn't help but keep grinning through Matt's distraught reaction to Daria's loss.

"That was great. That was awesome! That Daria chick is really tough. And Forte is cool as heck! Almost as cool as my big bro! I wanna fight 'em both one day."

"Oh shoot, we're up, aren't we?!"

"Yup, sure are."

"Hey, Jack, it's been fun, but it looks like it's just about zero-hour. I'll see you in a few minutes, kay?"

Jack returned the friendly gesture and began making his way towards the door.

"Yah. Gotta run towards the Blue corner gate, too. It'll be a good warm-up for me and the boys. Don't let me down now brotha!"


Rushing towards the Blue gate, Jack almost slammed against the exiting Forte.

"OH S-! Forte! Hey brotha! Totally watched your fight! You we're totally awesome, dude!"


"Yeah, you gotta teach me some of 'em moves one day, man! Anyways, gotsta run! See ya in the finals brotha!"

Forte looked on as the energetic Hoennian made his way toward the arena. Then he heard her.

"FORTE! Come here! Don't think I didn't see you shake hands with that succubus! Fraternizing with the enemy, are we!?! You're gonna treat me to Kalbi for that!!"


Welcome back Ladies & Gentlemen! With that emotional bout over and after a calming glass of wh- FRESH WATER! It's time for our next battle.

Indeed, this'll be the first battle for Matt Seras from Violet City since winning by default against an absent Kayla Denit. Let's hope he has the goods too.



The crowd was positively psyched as Jack and Matt exited onto the arena. If Matt concentrated, he could hear a particularly vocal Remy rooting for him somewhere in the stadium.

Jack had Chopper in tow as usual, the other two Pokémon back in their PokéBalls.

"I'ma start with good ol' Chopper here, brotha. Bring it."


"I'ma start with good ol' Chopper here, brotha. Bring it."

"With pleasure."

Matt's reply was drowned out by the countless cheers and cries that filled the air, but there was no missing the determination that burned in his eyes or the smile that was set into his face. Only the most observant of onlookers would have been able the see the slight tremble in the trainer's hands as he reached to his belt, the only outward sign of his omnipresent nerves.

The young lad's choice in Pokemon was a fairly obvious one. After all, at this point there was no need for subtleties or complex stratagems. It was time to just charge headlong into the fight.

"Ventus! Let's go buddy!"

"Alright, you know what to do! Double Team, followed by Aerial Ace!"

"You surpassed my expectations for you, ch-- Daria Pace."

Daria accepted the handshake and returned it with vigor, before turning and making a swift--though not rush--exit from the arena, and make her way to a Pokemon Center. She needed to get back quickly for the next match.


"Aw shoot, did I miss Matt?!"

Remy and company's attention was directed to the newcomer at the box, Daria, who looked disappointed as she stepped into their box. "I was gonna wish him luck in his match, but--"

Her eyes suddenly caught sight of a stranger sitting with them. A strange, affable-yet-unsettling man. She felt her stomach turn just looking at him.

"Uh... I don't think we've met, Mr..?"

Indeed, this'll be the first battle for Matt Seras from Violet City since winning by default against an absent Kayla Denit. Let's hope he has the goods too.

"He must have been the one who I was supposed to fight. I guess we should cheer him on. What do you think King?" King barked in agreement. "Right. Lets cheer for him!"

Kayla took in a deep breath and yelled as loud as she could "GO MATTIE BOY!!! YOU BEAT ME! YOU CAN DO IT!" King joined in for a bit. When Kayla stopped to take a breath she switched over to a chant, "MATT! MATT! MATT! MATT! MATT! MATT! MATT! MATT!" Hoping the chant would be taken up by the entire stadium.

Seeing as his offer had gone unnoticed, and no one had called him out for his bad pun earlier; Caleb had noticed that Daria had forfeited the match. Initially, this had met with an angry audience, with which he partially feared a repeat of what happened to Darius; but all that changed once Forte had given some rather sound advice.

'Interesting, given the attitude she presented earlier, I thought that Daria would've gone all the way through the entire match; but given the state of her Slagger, it was a wise choice to make. Well done Daria.' Caleb thought to himself, but a smile appeared in public. Meanwhile, the next match between Matt Seras and that rather boisterous Jack Almond was beginning to get under way.

"Go on Matt, knock him down; I have faith in your battling skill." He then said aloud, cheering the Johto native on.

INCREDIBLE! Daria Pace has forfeited the match! Surely she could've... Certainly Golem had a... This is just... SO SAD!


As Daria forfeited the match following Hitmonlee's defeat all color, what little there was of it, drained from Rupert's face. Daria, THE Daria, the Pewter Fist, the girl he feared even looking at lest he drew her gaze, was surrendering? 'Daria forfeited the match', that statement didn't even make sense in Rupert's head. It was like saying 'this smells blue' or 'the Magikarp won'. There was something fundamentally wrong with the sentence.

"Don't be such a sore loser, man!"

"Keep it up!"

As people started hurling abuse at the trainer, Rupert just felt numb. This confirmed his worst fears.

I could never be good enough for professional pokémon training! If Daria isn't good enough a trainer then I stand an Oddish's chance in hell of ever being good enough. This is utterly futil... huh?

As Daria walked out of the arena Rupert took notice of her face. It didn't look like the face of a loser. She was saddened, sure, but she seemed as vigorous as ever. There was still fire in those eyes.

"You still got one right?"

Wait... then she...


... I'm an idiot.

Amidst all the booing and heckling Rupert stood up and frantically started clapping. This loss didn't make Daria a worse trainer. In fact, it was a testament of her skills as a trainer. She had lost entirely on her own terms, and forfeited the match not out of despair over her own ineptitude. No, that would be petty. She had forfeited for the sake of her team.
Yes, not going all-out in a battle was doing a disservice to one's pokémon. This was exactly what Rupert was guilty of and it ate at him. If your team was willing to give everything it had for you, then you had to be willing to do the same. But prolonging a pokémon's suffering in a battle that was already lost? That was surely just as bad.

You already came to this conclusion, remember? "It's not about being the best. It's just about doing right by your team." Daria is way ahead of you...

Daria didn't see any point in prolonging a match already lost, because she truly cared for the team. To say that Rupert admired this trait in her would be to put it mildly. The seeming lack of consideration for the pokémon horrified him in tournament level fighting. To see such compassion in a trainer of Daria's caliber... why, it downright touched him.

Rupert kept on clapping, even after the commentators and the crowd slowly came to Daria's side, and didn't stop clapping until everyone was done cheering. He then sat down resolutely and marveled at how much his hands hurt.

Seeing as Savannah was either too engrossed in Matt's match or catatonic, Remy gestured for the stranger to take a seat.

"That's Matt's seat. Matt being the guy down there. You're free to sit there 'til he gets back."

The man smiled as he thanked the two for the offer.

"Ah, that so? Then don't mind if I do. I've been... waiting up there for a while now so I thought I'd sit down since it seems it'll be a while before I have to go."

Remy had a strange feeling about the guy. And so did Zangoose, although neither could put a finger/claw on what it was.

I don't like this guy... But he doesn't look suspicious as much as he's just weird.

Remy's line of thought screeched to a halt when he heard a familiar voice.

"Aw shoot, did I miss Matt?!"

Remy looked up. It was Daria. In the wrong box. With no one in hers. What was she thinking?


"I was gonna wish him luck in his match, but--"

So that's what it was! Better get her on her way befor she--

That's when Daria's eyes met Anton's. There was a weird silence as the pewter native examined the man occupying Matt's seat.

"Uh... I don't think we've met, Mr..?"

The man stood up. He was tall, looking down on Daria with what seemed to be some kind of trademark smile. An arm made its way out from the suit slung over his shoulders.

"Oh, weren't you the child that just fought that burly fellow? It was a shame that you lost. I liked your spirit. Ooop! How rude of me! I should introduce myself, heheheh. Name's Wilson, lil' Miss. Anton Wilson."

Daria was extremely proficient at reading others. After she'd battled them. As it stood, calling her oblivious wouldn't be far off as she cheerfully shook Wilson's hand.

"Uh, thanks mister! Pleasure to meetcha!"

Her moment of hospitality gone as quickly as it came, she leaned over to get a view of the battlefield. "Machop vs. Ventus, huh? Good choice."

She slapped Remy on the shoulder as she started to leave. "Let Matt know I stopped by, 'kay? And tell him he did awesome and I'm totally proud!"

She rethought her statement and added, "Maybe tone it down a little bit if he loses."

With a casual wave, she stepped out of the box and returned to her side of the stadium.

Tom hadn't expected that. He had been concerned that Daria would not be able to defeat Forte from the beginning, knowing that even the pewter fist herself would have a tough time against one of the more powerful Veilstonians. But a forfeit? It was strange, but Tom realized that without Jet, she would have to throw in Slagger, who was tough, but no match for a fighting type. Especially not one as powerful as that Hitmonchan. Accepting this he joined Rupert in giving Daria a standing ovation for the amazing battle. She definitely deserved it, especially with the all the booing she was getting from almost everyone else.

Oh wait. I've got a possibility of facing Forte in a battle soon... Crap. I'd even rather battle... I dunno Daria? I'd definitely rather battle Ada, at least I won't realize how bad I'm doing through that infatuation. Although I don't know which i'd consider worse. Losing to Forte smashing my team in, or losing because I can't think straight due to a small, well I guess huge, crush.. Luckily she's not in this tournament. Well, if she is, there's no chance she's up against me. Oh Dialga! Now I'm hoping she is! Stupid crush. You stop that.

Tom could feel the warmth of his face flushing just as Matt walked into the arena. Kusari gave him a strange look as he stood up.

"I'm just going to get some fresh air Rupert. Uh.. Maybe a snack too. I'm feeling a bit.. Uh.. Peckish. That's it. See ya soon!"

With Kusari clinging to him for dear life, Tom raced out of the stands, and surprisingly was able to not run straight into anyone. Reaching the food court he looked around to see only about seventy or so people milling about, and eating. A few were hurriedly placing bets on Matt's battle before it started officially.
Going straight for a drink stand, he decided to get a pinap berry soda, his favorite flavor. He also looked around for some kind of pizza stand. He was slowly calming down.

"Alright, you know what to do! Double Team, followed by Aerial Ace!"

"Awwwright, Chopper! Start with a Karate Chop! Follow that up with a nice Seismic Toss!"

Chopper nodded in agreement and rushed towards Ventus, who was already flying all over the stadium in seemingly random patterns at an amazing speed, leaving afterimages in his wake.

Not enough to fool me, must've been what Chopper thought as he brought down his hand on Ventus' neck.

Missed. Chopper hit air as Ventus prepared to strike, diving down from high up in the sky and slashing at the wide open defenses of the Fighting-type. As Chopper got up from what had to have been a damaging attack, his Trainer adjusted his baseball cap as he thought for a second. He then looked up, grinned and said something that would rock Matt's world for years to come.

"Hmmm. I think it's time ta switch condiments, cause that weaksauce ain't helpin'. Chopper, come on back brotha!"

A somewhat disappointed Chopper returned to his Pokéball as Jack took out his next combatant.

"Go get 'em Swell!"

"Use Quick Attack and then Double Team! Follow up with a Peck."

"Let Matt know I stopped by, 'kay? And tell him he did awesome and I'm totally proud! Maybe tone it down a little bit if he loses."

Remy waved Daria goodbye as the stranger called Anton continued to talk, much to Remy's chagrin. He was generally a people person, but this guy just irked him.

"Heheh. People really love Pokémon battles, don't they. All this fanfare, billions of Pokédollars worth of endorsements... The most popular sport in the world. Hehheheh. Not my cup of tea though you know..."

Remy looked at the suspicious man as he cautiously asked him:

"Hm? What do you mean?"

Anton looked at Remy and Savannah as his smile widened a smidgen.


As Tom munched on some pizza and drank his Pinap Berry Soda and nervously thought about his encounter earlier that day, he was startled by a VERY familiar voice.

"Tom! Tom Relict! Thank Celebi I found you on time!"

It was her. Ada.

"Use Quick Attack and then Double Team! Follow up with a Peck."

Matt's grin spread even further as Jack's new Pokemon took to the air. Things were getting off to a great start; that hit had to have done some serious damage to Chopper. Time to see just what Swell was made of...

"Ventus!" the trainer cried out, clenching his fist and swiping it through the air. "Show them the meaning of haste! Match their Quick Attack with one of their own, then use Aerial Ace to slice through that Double Team! Once you've got Swell reeling, hit 'im with another Quick Attack!"

"Rrrrroooooo!" came the answering shout, and Ventus flashed through the air, dashing towards the Swellow with incredible speed.

As Kayla roared from the stands, the din of the biggest crowd in the region gathered all around her, one voice drowned out the others as if they were whispers.


Daria was down at the railing, yelling a few words of encouragement before trying to track down her new friend.

"GOLEM GOL GOL!" shouted Slagger, happy to join in the excitement. Her other Pokemon, already out of their Pokeballs, had scattered. Jet was nowhere to be seen, and Spiegel had found an empty seat and taken it for himself, trying very hard to ignore the hammer Gemini was idly swinging around his face.

Satisfied with her own team spirit, Daria jogged up a few flights of stairs and rejoined Miss Denit. The smile on her face was reality-defying in size, as was to be expected, and seemed to lack the negative emotions a sane human being would be expected to have.

"Hey," she said, almost laughing it in her incorrigibly positive mood. "I heard ya cheering earlier; thanks."

She looked down at the field, watching the Pokemon trade blows. Her eyes lit up as she watched the birds flit through the air. The grin was growing, apparently impressed. It was almost an afterthought to ask about her friend's opponent; she was learning things far more important than a name just by watching him fight.

Still, she did so regardless. "Any idea who the crazy fella is?" she asked Kayla, hoping she'd been paying some attention to the announcers. Daria certainly hadn't.

"Tom! Tom Relict! Thank Celebi I found you on time!"


Surprised completely Tom had, at the same time, spit out and absorbed his soda into his lungs. Starting to cough, he said with a strained voice, "Oh hey there *cough* ada!.. I uh hi..."

He tried to hid his blush with the slice of pizza, but that just made him feel sillier.

"so uh um... What brings you all the way here?"

Oh no! how come this is happening! This isn't good! This is not one bit of good at all! What's she doing here?! I gotta get outta here! I have to... Ugh.. this is idiotic. just try too keep it down and listen to what she has to say to you. Calm down Relict, just calm down and stay focused...

"Um I think the announcers said his name. Started with a J. John? Joe? Jacob? Oh I got its Jill! COME'ON MATT BEAT JILL'S ASS TO THE GROUND! " Kayla turned back to face Daria. "I think his name is actually Jack," Kayla grabbed her three other pokeballs and rolled them around in her hand. "Are you sure that you should be letting your pokemon wander around? I mean they did just fight a pretty tough battle," Kayla tossed her three pokeballs on the ground realesing a Fearow, a Scizor and a Luxio.

Luxio started to immediately attempt to have a glaring contest with King but King just ignored him preferring to watch the fight between the two bird pokemon as their battle soared around the stadium. Eventually Luxio got bored and looked around for another rival, his eyes spotting Spiegil.

The Fearow spread her wings and flew above the stadium and looked down at the two battling birds, almost wishing that she could be in there too, mad at the thugs who had made her and her partner late.

The Scizor found an empty seat and lounged in it, enjoying being out of her ball after the long trip here.

Kayla rested on the railing and sighed, "Man I wish I was down there. I was really looking forward to this."

Ventus was read to execute Matt's orders when...


Swell was but a blur as he disappeared into thin air. the Pidgeotto was no doubt aware of the amazing speed Swellow were blessed with but this was ridiculous. Ventus didn't even have time to process the idea of trying to dodge the attack when Swell hit him from below, sending the Flying-type hurtling down towards the ground.

Ventus quickly regained stability, however and quickly flew off to counter Swell's Quick Attack with one of his own. Swell took the attack in stride and upped the ante by using Double Team, making the next hits more difficult to connect.

Matt wasn't going to give up though, and he had the right idea. Aerial Ace. The seemingly erratic pattern of the move ensured a hit and this time Jack's Swellow felt the pain. As he recovered from Ventus' strike, the Hoenn Flying-type went in for a Peck, only to have it miss and his foe to appear from behind with another Quick Attack.

Swell wasn't taking that lying down though. Using his own Double Team and speed, the Swellow made Ventus' Quick Attack miss.

"Nheheh. Looks like we've got a real awesome battle going on here brotha! Swell! Use Pluck, then Double Team and then a Quick Attack!"

"Can't keep up, huh?" Matt muttered to himself as Ventus tore through one of Swell's after images. Well, it was only to be expected; Swellow was one of the fastest Pokemon around, at least according to the Pokedex.

"Alright, if we can't beat them in speed, we're gonna have to do it with strategy!" The trainer listened closely as Jack shouted out his commands, then threw together a few of his own. "Ventus, hit 'em hard and fast! Use Aerial Ace, then Double Team, then Ace again!"

Matt allowed himself a grin as Ventus reoriented himself, readying his beak and talons for the next attack. Aerial Ace was one of Ventus' best attacks, and its incredible accuracy would tear through Swell's Double Team like it wasn't even there. Meanwhile, using a Double Team of his own would up the Pidgeotto's evasion, hopefully enough to dodge that Quick Attack...

"Come on buddy, you got this!"

As Ventus prepared for his next run, Swell was already on top of him. With no time to make an evasive maneuver, Matt's Flying-type had no choice but to endure the barrage of beak that came with his foe's Pluck. Once that was done, however, it was Ventus' turn.

Expecting Aerial Ace, Swell immediately bolted away, trying in vain to avoid the attack. But Ventus' feint did its job and the Aerial Ace found its target, causing Jack's Pokémon to feel the pain again, despite his use of Double Team.

Fighting through the hurt, Swell sped up again, using a second Double Team. Ventus did the same. The audience could be heard letting out a few ooohs and aaahs as both Flying-types showed off their aerial prowess, zipping all over the stadium's airspace. Then, Swell attempted a Quick Attack, rushing towards his opponent at amazing speeds.

Only to fail. Swell saw Ventus do a backflip halfway before slashing down with another Aerial Ace. That was it. Swell couldn't go on and began falling down towards the ground, all the while Jack just stared at his defeated Flying-type somewhat disappointedly.


AND SWELLOW IS DOWN! That makes Matt the winner of this first batt--



The audience and the announcers were all silenced by what seemed to be a tremor. I might well have been quite a fall, but surely Swell's light body wasn't to blame for the seismic event.


On the South side, Remy had just burst up from his seat and grabbed Anton by the lapels of his shirt, his eyes roaring with anger. Whatever the strange man had said, it had made Remy very, very angry. Anton simply chuckled. He didn't resist. He just stood there. Smiling.

That's when Zangoose realized what was so wrong about the man. A Seviper. He looked and felt just like a--


"Heheheheh... You heard me boy."

Anton now freed himself from Remy's grip and laughed somewhat disturbingly as two degenerate looking men joined him in dark suits. It now dawned on Remy and Savannah that Anton and the men that had joined him were the very same men they were supposed to stop.

"Damn it... You..."

"Ah yes, yes. That's right! We're not exactly men of good social standing. That there's the sign I've been waiting for. Now I get to have some fun!"


On the North end the spectators were startled by what must've been a bellow rivaling anything ever done by Daria. Kayla would recognize him as the weirdo with the tracksuit.


The young man pointed at himself with his thumb, breathed deep and continued.


The man flashed a bewildered smile. He was ecstatic

In the West end Duskull and Hoothoot both sensed danger. But it was too late. A veritable crowd of degenerates in suits came busting in. Ordering everyone to give up their Pokémon or face the consequences. Lee found himself with two grunts on each side, but Rupert was even worse off, with no less than four of them around him. Where was Tom?

"So uh um... What brings you all the way here?"

"I came here because you dropped Kalmia's Pokéball on the field we battled on earlier. Thought you'd need her for your next--"


In seconds there was pandemonium everywhere. That's when Tom remembered what he should be doing.

On the East end, Mightyena and Raiden were growling at the grunts staring their Trainers down. Whismur was far too busy having a minor panic attack. There were a lot of them. Seven in total. It was fight or flight.

Matt and Jack however had it the worst. The tremors intensified until...


An enormous hole blew wide open in the middle of the stadium, showering Matt and Jack in debris. An angry looking, bald man with a Garchomp tattoo on his head came out. It was him. It was Eres.

Eres' eyes quickly caught a glance of Matt. He slowly walked towards the boy with murder in his eyes as he spoke.

"Well then. How'd you like to be the first to surrender your Pokémon, kiddo?"

Ventus tried to swoop in in defense of his Trainer but was easily swatted away by the monstrosity that had blown open the hole.


The monstrous roar filled the stadium as Eres' Pokémon came into view.

"I'll ask you again, kid. You have something for me?"

The audience was panicking in fear, the announcers had fallen silent and the authorities were proving incapable to handle the situation.

For 10 young Trainers, this was going to be a long night.

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