In Her Image: a Pokémon RP

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"Mhahah... Hahhahahhahahhaahhahahah! Such guts! Well done boys! Well done!"

The back of Matt's neck was sent crawling as Eres' laughter rang across the battlefield. The empty Revive and Super Potion containers clattered to the ground as the young lad looked up, unable to keep his hands from trembling with trepidation and fear. Why was he laughing? His Pokemon had just become outnumbered and flanked; he should be cursing or scheming, not laughing! Why was he laughing?

"I really like ya both. So young, and you probably got more guts than all my guys combined. Haaahhhh... Ain't gonna help ya though. See I got a job to do, and I'm not the type 'a guy to do a half assed job. Come on back boy."

Matt's heart plummeted as he watched the gangster withdraw a pair of Pokeballs, one of which the Steelix was quickly sucked into. Eres was acting like his next Pokemon was an ace in the hole, and the boy couldn't help but shiver as he imagined the foe he was about to face. He had already faced a literal ton of living steel; what could possibly top that?!

"Sorry kids. It's been fun, but now it's time for y'all to give up yer Pokémon. Don't be sad though, I'll give you a hell of a show for 'em.

"GO! GARCHOMP!!"

GAAAARRRRHAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

Unconsciously, Matt rose to his feet and began to stagger backwards. His breath caught in his throat, and his knuckles whitened as they reflexively clutched at Ventus' Pokeball. This was... What even was that monster!?

"I... I..."

Unable to even verbalize his fear, it was all Matt could do to remain upright and conscious. The roars and shouts that filled the rest of the stadium faded into the background, and pure blackness started to appear on the edges of his vision. He was supposed to fight that? No, there was no way; that was impossible. He had to... Going to lose... Couldn't run...

What the hell was he supposed to do!?

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Letting out a terrified scream, the young trainer clasped his head in both hands, barely noticing Ventus' Pokeball as it dug into his skin. Clenching his eyes shut, Matt willed himself to wake up from this horrendous nightmare. He wanted to find himself in his bed, heart pounding, drenched in sweat, and mercifully safe. He didn't want to be here anymore, he wanted to forget that this had ever happened. He wanted to-

"Quillllllll!"

Matt's eyes shot open as Spike's pained cry tore through his ears. Desperately, the lad scanned the battlefield for any sign of the Cyndaquil, finally spotting the familiar bundle of fur and flames cowering behind some rubble. Spike's physical state may have been almost fully healed by that Super Potion, but there was no way the healing could have prepared the Fire type for this; his back was barely lit, only the slightest hint of embers showing that he was still conscious.

"Spike..."

The whisper had barely escaped Matt's lips before the trainer clenched his eyes shut again. But there was no silent begging, no terrified pleading this time. Instead, after giving his head a vigorous shake, the lad forced his eyes open, staring at the chaotic scene before him with a mixture of terror and desperation. There was no way he was going to get rid of his fear, but still... Eres had threatened to steal his Pokemon. Spike, Ventus, Persephone, even Ditzy... As much as he wanted to run away, he didn't think he'd be able to live with himself if he did so.

Which only left him one choice: Fight.

Stowing Ventus' Pokeball, Matt scrabbled for another two. "Spike!" he called out, extending the engraved, red and white sphere in his left hand. "Return!"

The Cyndaquil vanished in a flash of red light, just as the trained hurled his other Pokeball. "Persephone, I need you to stay calm, okay?!"

"Ga-gas..." the Ghost type stammered in response, trembling as she stared up at Eres' Garchomp. Please, Persephone, Matt thought, clenching his empty fist, hold on.

"Alright, use Hyp-"

"Gooooooolem!"

Matt found himself cut off as a massive sphere of rock crashed down next him, leaving a small crater in the stadium. A small tingle of relief tickled the back of the trainer's skull as he realized he recognized the Golem; it looked like he would be in control of Slagger for a little longer. Thinking back to the previous night, Matt tried to remember the moves Daria had taught the Rock type, attempting to formulate a strategy on the fly.

"Alright, listen up!" he cried, barely noticing that his voice was cracking. "Persephone, hit that thing with Hypnosis until it passes out, okay? I mean it; don't let up until it's out! Slagger, hit it with a Smack Down, then with a Brick Break!"

Kayla gritted her teeth as Frankie's three remaining pokemon advanced on her. She wanted to finish this fast and help Daria but the mindless pokemon had to come first. They were a danger not only to themselves but anyone who was in their path. They had to be knocked out or put back in their balls.

Just then a barrage of stars flew over Kayla's head, flying towards the Kingdra.
"KING! Use Ember on the Dustox! Skylar use Sky Attack on Kingdra!"

King opened its mouth and let loose a furry of small fire balls at the Dustox, shortly before the Golem hit it.

Skylar flew high into the air, gathering silver energy around her body. Flipping in the air she dove back down charging at the Kingdra, beak stretched out to attack.

Kayla spun around looking for the balls that Frankie had dropped. A large Ursaring was roaring over Daria, with only a Hitmonlee ready to fight it.

"Adelpha! Use Flash Cannon on that Ursaring!"

The Pincer pokemon turned to face the large bear, ready to attack. She bobbed her head around, mixing it in with her claws, trying to confuse the Ursaring. She gathered light around her two claws and fired twin beams of energy at the Hibernator pokemon.

Turning once again Kayla saw a red top lying on top of a pile of rubble. Racing to it, she began to dig out ball, only to find that it had been broken off from its bottom half. Franticly looking around she saw two more balls lying to the side of the rubble, diving towards it she grabbed them. One had a crack across its top, the other thankfully was in perfect condition. Pivoting she saw the Pelipper advancing on her, it's beak open, its dead eyes staring at her.

"Milan!" Kayla yelled, "Use Spark!"

The young, blue lion pokemon just sat there, licking its paws, ignoring it's owner's orders, watching the Pelipper attack it's trainer.

"Come on Milan! King would have attacked! And he would have taken this pokemon down with ease!"

The Luxio's fur stood on end as Kayla taunted it. It WAS stronger than that stopped Puppy pokemon. And if that stupid woman didn't think so, then it would prove it. Blue electricity jumped up from its fur, charging it up. It ran at the Water Bird Pokemon, jumped up and tackled it, surrounding the two of them with electricity.

Caleb watched as Auron was focusing his psychic talent, enveloping a bright blue glow over the seemingly defenceless Magikarp and then sent it flying into the stands, flopping around aimlessly for a moment before becoming eerily still. The grunt who was commanded it look like he was silently cursing himself.

"Damn it... Even a lil' runt like that can toss 'em around like ragdolls. What a load..." He said in a annoyed tone. One of the jokers from before stopping their incessant howling for a moment to taunt his unlucky associate some more.

"Hahahah, Just give it a rest Brian. Let the big boys take the-" His insults were cut short almost instantly as the supposedly defeated Magikarp was glowing, but it wasn't blue like the Confusion from Auron. Caleb however knew what this it meant, it was evolving. The Fish Pokémon was rapidly increasing in size, becoming more snake like in the process.

"This isn't good, not one bit." Caleb said to himself, also sounding scared, but remained confident as the red glow of evolution faded, and what was originally a rather useless Magikarp, now stood tall as a menacing Gyarados.

GYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRHHHHHHHH!!!

".......AWESOME!!!! NOW WE'RE TALKING!!! Gyarados use Bi-GBUH!!" Brian was trying to order, but got quickly shoved aside with a quick and simple flick of the Gyarados's tail, which soon began to charge towards Auron, who would no doubt get crushed under the colossal weight of the Atrocious Pokémon, let alone the rubble it was firing out due to its uses of Thrash.

*CRASH* *RUMBLE* *THOOOM*

The first strike missed, only serving to send Auron tumbling backwards into the rubble. As Gyarados managed to get its head unstuck from underneath the debris, it sent out a mighty roar throughout the entire stadium, or what was left of it by this point. It then charged straight ahead to Ralts again, this time intent to finish the job. Caleb quickly grabbed Auron, and rolled out the way to avoid more rubble that was being thrown about. He soon looked at the little Feeling Pokémon with a smile.

"Sorry Auron if this isn't what you had in mind for your first battle. Anyway, time to return." Caleb remarked as he pulled out Auron's Pokéball, and watched as the little Psychic type disappeared in a red light. He then stood up and dusted himself down before pulling out another Pokéball.

"Raiden, I choose you!" Caleb said as he hurled the ball in the air, and out came the Luxray who already had sparks coming off of it.

"Sorry to pull you out of rest so soon Raiden, but we have a bit of a situation. That Gyarados is out of control, and we need to stop it. Take care to avoid the rubble its creating from its use of Thrash, and when the time is right, call down a mighty Thunderbolt." From the moment Caleb finished speaking, he could hear the sounds of thunder and lightning coming from outside, and soon saw the rainfall.

"Perfect." He thought. "Looks like luck, or rather the weather is on my side."

Lee felt that the will-o-wisp was excessive but duskull merely cackled away as it watch the pokemon burn. Octillery sat smugly, not that anyone could tell by the soulless stare it had. 'all right duskull confuse ray and will-o-wisp barrier again' don't mess with what works, thats what lee was thinking. Octillery decided that if tyrouge decided to even try to get close he would knock him off balance or path with bullet seed.

*CRUSHHH*

Cubone punched through the concrete floor itself to deliver a direct hit to the Piloswine's gut. It was as impressive a display as ever, convincing Rupert that Cubone could handle this. This didn't abate his sense of guilt though. Cubone shouldn't have to handle this. Not like this.
Even through his cloying self-condemnation, however, Rupert heard Tom's warning shout.

"Hey! Rupert! Be careful, That thing is part Ice and Cubone's gonna be at a disadvantage!"

"Part Ice?!"

Too late. The Piloswine's white-glowing tusks smashed into the Ground-type's small body, sending it hurtling to Rupert's feet. That smarted.

"Cubone!"

Rupert instinctively dropped down to help his pokémon up, to help in any way. Cubone wasn't simply fighting a match right now; he was trying to save Rupert, the team, and himself from forces that wished to harm them. He was stepping up to a challenge that Rupert had been unable to, and the Kanto trainer's sense of guilt was damn near debilitating.

"Cu!"

Cubone swatted away his trainer's hands and got back up on his feet, though not without a barely suppressed whimper of pain. In their close proximity, however, trainer and pokémon couldn't help but catch a glimpse of one another. Cubone turned immediately and started rushing the Piloswine right back, a low battle cry reverberating inside the skull mask.

What was that?

Rupert had seen something in Cubone's eyes in that instant they locked eyes. The Ground-type had refused to look at Rupert ever since the battle began, and the trainer had assumed that Cubone was furious with him; that Cubone might even have given up on him once and for all. That wasn't anger Rupert had seen in the Lonely Pokémon's eyes though.

Cubone, what are you...?

*BASH*

Piloswine flinched in response to Cubone's Headbutt. The mammoth-like pokémon had a thick skull, but it was no match for Cubone's two layers of cranium. The Ground-type allowed itself a small sigh of relief as its opponent was down for the round - which was exactly when the Cacturne struck. Cubone never saw the Faint Attack coming and fell to the ground.

Damn it. Damn it, damn it, damn it, damnit, damnit, damnitdamnitdamnit dammit!

Rupert was working fast. Even as the pokeball was flying through the air to retrieve Cubone he was digging through the bottomless pocket of his greatcoat for Haunter's pokeball. His eyes were watery and his mind was full of fear: he feared for Cubone, who had been harmed by his ignorance; he feared about controlling the unruly Haunter in battle; he feared about what he was going to do if the ghost-type was defeated too, as Pineco and Hoothoot weren't experienced enough for these combatants. Most of all, even more than losing his entire team to the goons, he feared disappointing the downed pokémon who had taken up the fight when he couldn't.
All these fears were, however, expelled immediately at the sound of the great *THWAK* that resulted from the meeting of pokeball and thighbone. Cubone hadn't returned. Instead, against all reason, he had risen again and had then smacked the metal sphere out of the air with his bone club. His pokeball was resting at his feet now, open and with a noticeable dent in its upper half.

"Cu... Cubone, what are you doing?"

Rupert felt numb at the sight of his Cubone. The little Ground-type was utterly wrecked. He shouldn't be able to stand, let alone continue fighting as was seemingly his intention. The only thing keeping him up was sheer power of will. He was staring at Rupert.

"Cubone, s-stand down! You're not going to keep fighting like that. Y-you could get s-seriously hurt... o-or worse! I'm not letting you... I..."

Rupert fell silent as his insides suddenly felt icier than the heart of a Froslass. Cubone was finally looking directly at him, and he saw what was in those eyes. It wasn't anger as he had feared. It was much worse: it was resentment, bitterness even. Quiet, seething bitterness aimed at the trainer that forced the small pokémon to act on his own due to Rupert's own lack of spine. Cubone didn't say a word but his eyes spoke volumes to the pale trainer. 'If you can't take charge then I will. If you're not willing to put yourself on the line then I will. But that also means that I'll be roughed up from time to time. If you can accept that then let me do what I do best. If you cannot, then man up and do something.'

Cubone turned from Rupert and started limping back to where Aoulus was fighting the Cacturne and Piloswine on his own. Rupert was in shock. He had been a neglectful, even involuntary, trainer for years. This had led to Cubone taking charge numerous times over their partnership. But he had never suspected that Cubone resented him for it. Nothing like this had ever happened before, but then they had never faced opponents against whom failure was not an option. They couldn't go on like this. He was losing Cubone.
If Rupert let Cubone fight then he would lose, and Cubone would be taken from him. Even if Cubone by some miracle came out on top in this fight his resentment would build, fester, and then he would truly be lost to Rupert. There was only one course of action for Rupert, no matter how it ran against his nature: he would have to take charge.

The pokéball flew over Cubone's head, and the next second he felt himself lifted up into Rupert's embrace where he soon went limp. Rupert's eyes were watery, but they held a steely conviction not unlike that usually seen in Cubone's own. Out of the pokéball came not Haunter, but Pineco who went spinning and careening into the battlefield.

"Pineco! Don't worry about damage! Just keep Aoulus safe, so he can finish this! Protect, Bug Bite Cacturne, and Protect again!"

I really hope Pineco is as sturdy as Caleb said. I'm taking charge, Cubone. This could go horribly wrong, but I would sooner lose you in battle than lose your respect.

Savannah watched on, as her beloved Bass Pokemon stood resolute in the face of crippling adversity, in the form of the imposing figure of the brainwashed Heracross as it lowered its horn, poised to attack.

"Hmph... Useless. Heracross, Horn Attack, Brick Break. End this farce."

The Single-Horn pokemon complied dutifully, stampeding towards Feebas with all its speed and strength, the Fish all but but doomed to take the hit...

Or not.

*CRASHHH*

Whether it was the light reflecting of Feebas scales, or the comatose Pokemon momentarily coming to its senses, this singular instant of non-focus was it all it took for the rampaging Heracross to miss , it's massive horn burying itself in the ground meters behind it's intended target.

Either out of recognition of her foes misfortunes or out of sheer sluggishness, Feebas took this moment of opportunity to mount its counter-offensive. Obeying it's Trainer's orders, Feebas summoned all the wealth of charm and allure at her disposal, launching herself glistening into the air with uncanny grace, eventually culminating in an unprecedented last-ditch effort, all in order to Attract it's opponent.

"BASS...! "

It was sadly not to be. All the cajolery and bedroom eyes in the world was not enough to Attract the zombiefied Heracross to the tatty Fish-Pokemon. Feebas sunk in a bout of disappointment, as its foe collected itself to continue the assault.

The thug's Heracross showed no mercy, dashing towards the Pokemon in a burst of speed, before crashing down right in front of Feebas, sending it hurtling through the air flapping it's fins like an impromptu flying fish.

The look on Feebas face was not one of terror however, for beneath its seemingly glassy eyes stirred an all too incomprehensible cocktail of emotions and epiphanies, bubbling over to overcome the Bass in dazzling light that emanated from the fin holding the Prism Scale.

The fish in the midst of the blinding glow did not merely flop to the ground.
As the profound metamorphosis occurred, the figure slowly descended like an angel, gently coming to rest hovering a few inches of the ground.

As the light began to fade, shards of mirror-like scales fell to the earth, revealing the evolved Pokemon's heavenly serpentine form.

Savannah stared at her now breathtaking companion. It's amazing transformation not only dumbfounding her, but also becalming the thug and his Heracross.

"Feebas... You're beautiful..."

Milotic gazed back at her trainer with the kind of insightful look that meant nothing more need be said. As it did so, a clap of thunder reverberated around the arena, before bringing with it a bout of rain that poured over the battleground, slowly increasing with intensity. The squall intensified the power of Water and Electric type moves. It seemed that everything was now on Sav's side.

However, Milotic's calming influence was not enough to restrain the brainwashed Heracross forever, it's addled mind was still focused on attacking the target at hand. The thug commanded, and the puppet obeyed.

"Feebas watch out!"

The sprinting Heracross lunged forward with a glowing horn, aiming a Brick Break right at the Tender-Pokemon. Milotic noticed it's attacker, reacting in an instant, whipping it's tail to fling an orb of wind at it's opponent, forming into a powerful Twister mid-flight.

The thunderclaps outside made Aeden tear his eyes away from the TV. He looked outside to where he knew the stadium was. A few moments passed as the water drummed out a steady rhythm on the roof before he made his decision. "Come on Lyra, let's finish herding the Pokemon out of this rain." He had towards the back door when his Golbat flew over and started tugging his shirt in the other direction. "Flit! Cut it out, I have work to do." The Golbat didn't stop, only flapped his wings harder. Soon, his other two Pokemon had joined in, pulling and pushing him in the direction of the front door. It wasn't long before he knew what they wanted. With a sigh, he stopped resisting. "Sorry Lyra, it seems like I've got to blow off work today! I'll make it up to you, I promise!" Without waiting for a reply, Aeden was sprinting out the door, his Pokemon keeping pace or jumping on for the ride. Whatever was happening in the Stadium, his Pokemon didn't want to miss out, and as he jumped over the quickly forming puddles and splashed through the mud, he realized he didn't want to either.

Tom watched in astonishment as Cubone took a thrashing. That skull was tough, but it wouldn't be much help against two pokemon at once. Cubone had other plans however, and started limping up to where Aeolus was frantically dodging an assault of attacks.

Rupert, you gotta do something! You can't let Cubone do that! I know you care, Stop him please!

As if he had heard Tom's imaginary shouting, Rupert dashed up to Cubone and grabbed him. The Boney pokemon collapsed in his arms, completely wiped out. Even though Aeolus had the benefit of being fully evolved, he was still Cubone's level, and Tom could tell he was starting to wear down.

"Pineco! Don't worry about damage! Just keep Aoulus safe, so he can finish this! Protect, Bug Bite Cacturne, and Protect again!"

"Rupert! Thanks!" Tom's huge grin came back over his face.

"AEOLUS! THROW PILOSWINE UP IN THE AIR AND GIVE IT A GOOD ICE FANG ON ITS STOMACH! THATS ITS WEAK POINT!

Aeolus Vaulted over the fluffy brown pokemon and grabbed its tusks, preparing to life the ice type

"GATOR"

"Yo! Ganging up on a lady isn't nice, go even things out Gemini, okay?"

"Slagger, you're Matt's until this is over. Ya don't let that thing touch a hair on the boy's head. You're not allowed to die, even if he kills you. Got it?"

"Go, I've got this."

Hearing the resolve in their Trainer's voice, both Slagger and Gemini complied, leaving their master's side to help their new friends.

Anthony simply waited to see what the girl from Pewter had up her sleeve.

"That Hitmonlee of hers is her last Pokémon. I'm sure she's gonna use it against Ursaring..."

"You've got a good Ursaring, Silver. It looks like you've trained it well. But you and your folks have just gone and made a big mistake by putting my friends in danger. So if you'll excuse me, I'll have to beat your ass into the dirt fast so I can go back them up. But don't worry. Your bear will have a playmate. Jet! Waste these jerks!"

"UP THERE!! Ursaring, dodge!!"

Too late. Jet wound up a devastating Rolling Kick from quite the height, crashing down onto Ursaring's thick neck. If this were a videogame, a critical hit message would no doubt come up, as the Bear Pokémon crumpled to its knees from the intense pain it was now feeling.

Ur- Ursssah...

That was Daria's cue. She rushed at Anthony and let fly with a left hook aimed straight at the Saffronite's jaw.

"Let's see what you've GOT, Jag!"

"Hmph!"

The Saffron Jaguar dodged with only a millimeter to spare. He then grabbed Daria's arm and used a reversal, throwing the girl's lithe frame to the ground. Every ounce of strength she had put into that swing was turned against her. She could feel the wind escaping her lungs.

"Fool... Take this! ORRAAAHHHH!!"

An elbow aiming to take Daria out of commission. She put a hand out to grab it and use it to get out of the way, quickly getting back to her feet. Then she jumped at Anthony, winding up an axe kick. The attack hit Anthony in the shoulder. Unfortunately though, it didn't seem to hurt him as much as Daria thought it would've.
The thug proceeded to strike Daria's exposed abdomen with an open palm, but the girl adapted to the situation quickly by wrapping herself around the man's arm, dropping down and using a low kick to drop him to the ground.

*THUD*

"Ghhh..."

As Daria got up, Anthony did too.

"Feh... You're not half bad, kiddo. Looks like you put your money where your mouth is."

Anthony nodded towards the battle behind them. Despite Ursaring's advantage in level, Jet was making quick work of his foe. Ursaring tried Giga Impact first, but had missed. After Jet's Rolling Kick counter, Ursaring couldn't move due to having to take a breather after such a strenuous attack. A dumb move but it wasn't trained to fight without its Trainer.
Hitmonlee proceeded to jump into the air. The first kick landed into Ursaring's gut, it began to crumple onto the ground. A second kick to the back of the head slammed the opponent's face into the concrete.

That was for Spiegel.

Anthony closed the distance between him and Daria in a flash. Daria had no time to react before a savage headbutt slammed her face first to the ground.

Jet's eyes widened considerably as he saw his Master go down. Lying there, unconscious.

"Stay down there for a while, girl." He snarled.

"I'll have a chat with your Hitmonlee."

Anthony returned to his spot in the battlefield, recalling Ursaring and calling out to Jet.

"Oi, you! Good job with Ursaring. Gotta say, you exceeded my expectations! Ya know, I love you Fighting-types? Yup, sure do! And I'd hate for you to get all fucked up with that brainwashing shit. So tell ya what."

Anthony dug out a PokéBall and summoned its contents.

JOIN ME.

The words rung in Jet's head.

"Join me now and I'll let her go. I'll even spare her other Pokémon. Or fight Ringstar here. And lose to your second Hitmonchan today. Except then you'll lose more than a tournament. You'll lose yourself."

Anthony took a look at the unconscious Daria behind him, then turned back towards Jet.

"So? What'll it be?"
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A flurry of bright star-like particles flew over the overwhelmed Kayla's head and hit the Kingdra in front of her.

"KING! Use Ember on the Dustox! Skylar use Sky Attack on Kingdra!"

King barked as he showered the mindless Bug-type with small balls of fire, causing massive damage to his opponent. Meanwhile, Skylar flew up high above the stadium, onlookers might've caught a glimpse of a glowing shape shooting upwards towards the skies.

"Adelpha! Use Flash Cannon on that Ursaring!"

The Scizor in question complied with haste, taking aim and firing a metallic beam at Jet's assailant, hitting the Ursaring in the shoulder and making it miss its Giga Impact, later granting Jet an easy win.

As the girl from Cherrygrove frantically searched for Frankie's lost PokéBalls, she stumbled upon the brainwashed Pelipper.

"Milan! Use Spark!"

After some cooing, convincing and psychological warfare, Kayla's pigheaded Luxio finally relented, tackling the dead-eyed Pelipper with a Spark. Instantly KO'ing the dual Water/Flying-type. He looked very proud of his achievement too.

Meanwhile the other two drones were on the move, starting with Kingdra, who began to spin at blinding speed until it had created a massive Twister that, mixed with the rain and stormy winds, wreaked havoc for Skylar up in the air. She was so high up it was impossible to say whether she'd been KO'ed or not. Dustox attacked as well, shooting a Psybeam that hit King, damaging him somewhat but not taking him out.

Kingdra was about to attack again, this time setting its sights on Gemini but...

RRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOWWWW!!!

A glowing Skylar descended from the stormy skies like a thunderbolt, slamming her beak into Kingdra with such force, it projected the Dragon-type clean through a wall into the hallways behind it. Kingdra was down. Only a half fainted Dustox remained.

HYA! HEYA!

Gemini used her newly learned BubbleBeam on Dustox, taking it out. It then turned towards Kayla and her Pokémon to flash them a thumbs up. With no thumbs. It then looked up only to be faced with utter shock. Daria! Lying on the ground unconscious and Jet alone against Anthony and his newly revealed Hitmonchan. On the other hand Slagger, helping Matt on what was sure to be a lost battle. What was a Staryu to do?

What was a girl to do? Kayla was faced with the exact same conundrum. On the one hand Daria, down with her only remaining Pokémon defending her. On the other, her new friend's friend, who looked like he could use all the help he could get.

This was going to be a bitch.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

In the East wing, the now pouring rain had put out Darius' pipe. Knuckles didn't much care for the rain, although Daffy seemed to be energized by the downpour.

"Knuckles, switch. Finish the Linoone, Crush Claw. Daffy, Confuse the Golbat. Both of you switch again, Knuckles, Swift on that Golbat, Daffy, drench this Rocket with Water Sport. Cool him off. There's gotta be something still in there that's Pokemon!"

Golbat was off first, letting off a Supersonic screech at Darius' Sandslash. Only to fail. Knuckles' turn. He dashed towards the Linoone, coming down on it with his claws with crushing force. The Normal-type buckled under the attack and fainted. Only the second grunt's Golbat remained.

Daffy was about to change that. Concentrating all of his Psychic abilities, he let loose another Confusion, enveloping the part Poison-type in a blue aura, and slamming it to the ground. The damage was visibly massive, but not enough to take it out. Knuckles spun around, releasing a Swift at the battered Poison-type, taking it down.

The Grunt had been defeated, but Daffy couldn't resist carrying out his Trainer's last order, soaking the already soaked thug with a Water Sport.

"Hey! You lil'! Why I oughta-!"

"Get outta the way runt!"

Darius' last opponent made himself known. He was a mean looking bastard. Burly with a big scar on his face.

"Go on ya critters."

Last round for Darius and his team. Could he score a flawless game?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Nearby things were looking bright for Caleb and his Pokémon. Yes, the hapless grunt's second Magikarp had evolved mid-battle into a most imposing foe, but with Raiden back out on the field and the storm now in full swing, this battle seemed poised to go Caleb's way.

The bewildered Gyarados was on the move once more with its Thrash attack, careening towards Raiden. The Electric-type was too agile for such a clumsy attack, though, and easily avoided both the attack and the rubble being flung about by Gyarados. As he landed behind his opponent Raiden turned to face him, electricity fully charged and ready to go, when...

GYAAAARRRRAAAHHHRRRHH!!!

*CHOMP*

Gyarados had turned in the blink of an eye and dove toward Raiden, snatching him in its jaws. Stifling a pained roar, Raiden struggled to keep it together as he charged up again.

*BRRRRRRZZZZZAAAAAAAAAAZZZZZZTTTT*

Taking advantage of the painful point blank range he'd been afforded, Raiden discharged every ounce of juice from his body into Gyarados. Thoroughly frying the bastard in one hit. The foe's mouth opened, releasing Raiden, who just about managed to land on his feet before faltering slightly.

One of the two remaining grunts stepped up, visibly angered by Caleb's victory.

"Yer one luck sonnabitch, ain't ye! Let's see ya take on these!"

This grunt was certainly not playing fair. A double battle would be in order. The type combinations, however were not to Caleb's favor. Could Raphael be the answer, or would the rain and the presence of a Psychic-type be his downfall? What would Caleb do next?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

"Pineco! Don't worry about damage! Just keep Aoulus safe, so he can finish this! Protect, Bug Bite Cacturne, and Protect again!"

"Rupert! Thanks! AEOLUS! THROW PILOSWINE UP IN THE AIR AND GIVE IT A GOOD ICE FANG ON ITS STOMACH! THATS ITS WEAK POINT!

Pineco spun onto the battlefield with a ferocity one would hardly expect from such a low level Pokémon. Especially when that species is usually content just hanging from trees all day. As Cacturne moved to attack Aeolus again, Pineco rushed in to block the Grass/Dark-type's assault and deployed Protect precisely as ordered, slamming into the concrete and enveloping himself in a wide barrier, which completely absorbed and nullified Cacturne's attack.

That was the cue for Aeolus to get moving. Although a beast of his size and mass could not exactly "vault" over a Piloswine he sure as hell did a fine job of toppling the Ground/Ice-type as he tried. Not that it mattered. Piloswine was in Aeolus' cluches. The Water-type flung his opponent up into the air and prepared to chomp down on its stomach with his icy maw.

*GAWMP*

Tom's Feraligatr let go of his quarry, a fainted Piloswine, as Pineco spun towards Cacturne at high speed, bearing the spike on the top of his head at his foe. The Bug Bite connected with Cacturne's side as Pineco's spike drilled its way into the last opponent. The Grass/Dark-type had already taken quite a beating from Aeolus. That, coupled with its crippling weakness to Bug-types resulted in a somewhat surprising result for Rupert, as Cacturne fell. The boys had defeated their first two Grunts. Only another pair to go.

The other two quickly took the place of their defeated comrades.

"Well, looks like you kids got some moves!"

"Yeah... They do. But it ain't gonna do squat against us two!"

The second pair of thugs wasted no time in pleasantries before two new Pokémon were on the field.

Jolteon seemed to be more or less on par with Rupert and Tom's stronger Pokémon, although it was clear that Bronzor was quite a bit weaker.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

"All right Duskull, Confuse Ray and Will-o-Wisp barrier again"

"Delcatty, use Payback on that sucker!"

"Tyrogue, use Tackle on Octillery!"

Delcatty proceeded to run towards Duskull, who'd already put up a spinning wall of ghostly fireballs around him. Delcatty was not about to be fooled, however. It jumped up into the air and came down from above, hitting Duskull with its claws and pouncing away from him unharmed. Duskull tried to use Confuse Ray on Delcatty as a counter but it failed as well. His old tactics weren't working on this new and troublesome foe.

As Tyrogue was running towards Octillery to Tackle him, a Bullet Seed hit it in the foot, causing it to fall and hit its face in the ground. A nice distraction but not terribly damaging.

Between Duskull's recent failure and Octillery toying with his enemies, Lee wasn't getting much headway in his battle.

"Feh... Finish this already, Delcatty! Use Payback on that Ghost-type again!!"

"Use Tackle again, Tyrogue! Beat that Octillery!"
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

In the South side yet another serpentine Dragon-like Pokémon had joined the ever growing collection. This one, though, was a thing of pure serenity and grace. Savannah must've been holding back tears of pure joy as she contemplated on how that trade with Luvdisc was now probably starting to pay off.

"Feebas watch out!"

The tender moment didn't last long, as the thug's Heracross tried a sneak attack at the recently evolved Milotic. The beautiful Water-type didn't hesitate to showcase her new-found power, however, and swiftly released a powerful Twister that quickly caught the attacking Heracross and spun it around in its gale, before dropping it down to the ground. The Bug/Fighting-type wasn't down for the count just yet, though.

"Heracross, keep going at it with Brick Break."
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Nowhere were things as grim and hopeless as in the center stage, where Eres had just unleashed Garchomp, his most powerful Pokémon onto Matt and Jack. With both the boys paralyzed with fear, it seemed they were moments away from saying their farewells for good.

But then.

"Spike! Return!"

Matt had snapped out of his near-catatonic state and recalled Spike, sending Persephone out instead.

"Persephone, I need you to stay calm, okay?!"

Matt's new-found resolve had also had an effect on Jack who'd also decided he wasn't just going to lay down and lose.

"Swell! Get in here!" He yelled, returning his Swellow in to his Pokéball. "Kip, yer up brotha! Keep yer distance from that creep wit' Water Gun and Mud Shot. If ya get a chance give 'em a good Mud Bomb!"

On the other side Matt was about to give his instructions to Persephone when Slagger came careening in with a Rollout. Matt wasn't so much surprised as incredibly relieved at the sight of one of Daria's powerhouses.

"Alright, listen up! Persephone, hit that thing with Hypnosis until it passes out, okay? I mean it; don't let up until it's out! Slagger, hit it with a Smack Down, then with a Brick Break!"

And they were off! Eres seemed to not give Garchomp any orders whatsoever. Probably just taunting his adversaries by "giving them a head start". Kip went first, shooting Mud Shot at the Dragon-type to keep it occupied as it tried to fend off the annoying barrage of muck. This afforded Slagger the chance to get close to it, rolling straight at his fearsome foe and managing to smack it in the knees and roll to relative safety before it could counter.

Persephone then rose from the ground, having opted for a covert approach. Kip relented his muddy assault just so Garchomp could open its eyes straight into Persephone's. A faint blue glow emanated from the Ghost-type and captivated the ferocious Dragon's gaze. The lull was unbearable for a moment until...

"ZZZZzZZZzzzzZzZzzz"

The two boys couldn't believe their luck. Garchomp fell asleep.

"YYYYYYEAH! That dere's the ticket!! Kip use that Mud Bomb, GO!!!"

Kip was off, bulldozing a ton of dirt into his flippers and shoveling it all into his mouth. He mulled it all around for a while before spitting out a big ball of condensed mud and flung it straight at Garchomp, covering it in dirt.

While Persephone hovered around in wait for Matt's next orders, Golem rolled towards Eres' ace in the hole again, this time jumping up into the air and coming down and landing on Garchomp's head.

The boys were doing good. Amazing even. At this rate this battle was going to be over in a flash! They were going to save the day!! But... Something was off. Matt could feel it in his gut. I couldn't possibly be this easy...

ERES! He hadn't even flinched when Garchomp fell asleep! Even now with the veritable beating it was taking, he just stood there... Smiling!

Matt tried to get a warning out but it was too late.

"GARCHOMP!!! TIME TO PLAY!!!"

Garchomp's eyes flew right open and before Persephone even noticed it, her foe had ripped her gaseous form to shreds with a Fire Fang. Matt's heart might've sunk for just a second before Persephone's body re-appeared at his feet. She was alive, if KO'd.

"Kip, same tactic! Keep yer dista-!"

Too late, Garchomp was already rushing towards Kip at what must've been at least Mach 2 speeds, leaving behind a trail of rubble before coming down on the helpless Water/Ground hybrid with a vicious Dragon Rush. Kip never stood a chance. Jack recalled his downed partner and hurriedly sent out Chopper.

"Damnation, this guy is strong! But not even big feller like him can stand up to the power of good ol' fashioned FRIENDSHIP!! YO MATT!! WHAT NEXT!?!?" Garchomp had turned away from Jack for now. It now eyed Matt and Slagger with anticipation. What did they have for him next?

"So? What'll it be?"

The question rang in Jet's mind like the tolling of a heavy bell. Backed against the wall. Daria was the strongest human the Hitmonlee had encountered, and she was on the floor, out like a light. His first thought was revulsion aimed towards Anthony. A cheap shot to win his match. He was confident the pathetic creature would be under his trainer's bootheel if he hadn't done it. And that Hitmonchan, glaring at Jet, mocking him. A petty thing. A win for an individual wasn't a win for the species. No honourable fighter would willingly join a man like... this. What was it Anthony had said? About brainwashing? The Hitmonlee wasn't particularly excited about the fate in store for him under people like these, even if protection was, supposedly, offered.

But Daria... it was his duty as a Pokemon to ensure the safety of his trainer. No matter the cost to himself. As the slimeball postured, Jet could see movement behind him. Gemini had made quick work of its opponent, and was there alongside some girl, likely the one Daria had been chatting up. The Staryu looked unsure of what was happening, or what to do. With a glare, Jet held it in place. He couldn't be interrupted. He looked back at Anthony and was silent for a time.

"Hitmonlee."

He stepped forward, head bowed. There was nothing he could do like this. Anthony's malicious grin sunk into Jet's sullen eyes, and he let out an unpleasant chuckle. "Fehehe. I knew you'd see reason. Now c'mon and--"

Jet shut him up with a single finger, raised up. With all the hatred and accusation he could pack into his eyes, Jet fixated a gaze on him and raised up his hand. He wanted more than his slick words. He wanted Anthony's honor on the line. Neither Daria nor Jet's friends would come to any harm. They would be let go. Anthony shrugged, blowing off the seriousness of the moment with a cool expression. "Yeah yeah, whatever. All right, if it'll make you feel that much better."

He stepped forward and grabbed Jet's hand firmly. And then Jet grabbed him back harder. Much harder. Silver was first aware something had gone wrong when the Hitmonlee flipped him over its shoulder and slammed him as hard as it could into the floor.

When dealing with a crook, Jet could play dirty too.

Stunned, Anthony was brought back to his feet and felt a hand cup around the back of his head. He was yanked down into a rising kick and took it straight in the jaw. Released, he was flung backwards and took the second half of Jet's Double Kick attack right into his abdomen, lifting up from the ground and catapulting away, rolling on the hard floor of the stands. Jet wasn't quite sure if humans counted as Normal-types, but that certainly looked super effective. Maybe just this one was Dark-type.

No longer even bothered to look Anthony's way the Fighting-type Pokemon sprung off the ground and came down with a Brick Break against the Hitmonchan. It was time to teach this smug fool a lesson about the variances in power between different members of a single species. And how Jet wouldn't get a fluke loss twice in one day.

Even distracted as he was, Jet wasn't particularly concerned about the battered trainer off to his right. At the moment, Gemini was speeding through the air, screaming its odd battlecry and spewing bubbles at him.

"HYAAAA!"

Darius looked at his opponent's pokemon, one a Rhyhorn, the other something he didn't recognize, but considering that it had wings and looked akin to Zubat, he had a somewhat good opinion on the type being at least flying, but the wings were much too small to support that (comparatively) huge body with a stinger the size of a Venusaur's tooth. And although he'd heard the roar of the Garchomp earlier, he had not bothered to notice it. Until now.

It was huge, menacing, and obviously a fully-evolved Dragon-type, that in itself was grounds for the split-second lapse of attention to his own fight at hand, but it did give him new insight into their real enemy, and an idea. And it was not positive in any sense of the word. He pulled a pokeball from his belt, but kept it hidden behind his back, clutched in his fist.

"Daffy, Knuckles, get ready,"He said in a steady voice,"NOW! Knuckles, Dig down! Rip into that Rhyhorn from below and come back with your Sand Attack, blind him, finish him with Crush Claw! Daffy, throw every Water Pulse you can at the bat, knock it back, confuse it, beat it into the ground!"

"And finally,"Darius said, quickly moving after the attacks were completed, and throwing the pokeball as far into the stadium as he could,"WHISMUR!"He called out as the light began coalescing into her form,"Trust me! Don't be frightened, you're better than that Dragon-type! Astonish! You remember that don't you?! We worked on it for three weeks, now you get to use it in a battle! I'm sorry, I should've made you battle earlier than this, but do it now! For every Pokemon and trainer here! Matt needs your help!"

The battle was looking like it was on course for a victory for Caleb. With Raiden out in the midst of a rainstorm, his Thunderbolt would become stronger; however, the grunt's Gyarados would also receive the same benefit, that is, if it survived long enough to take advantage of the weather.

Gyarados made a head long charge towards Raiden, intent on bringing the pain with its Thrash. Caleb watched as Raiden deftly avoided such a headstrong attack, along with the rubble that was being thrown about as a side effect. Raiden had skillfully managed to get behind the enraged Atrocious Pokémon, his fur positively charged with electrical energy, poised to deal a mighty blow when...

GYAAAARRRRAAAHHHRRRHH!!!

*CHOMP*

Caleb watched in fear as Raiden was snatched up in the Gyarados's jaw; but he could see that his Luxray wasn't about to suddenly give up. He could see Raiden charging up again, then let out every single volt of electricity within his body.

"Hitting that Gyarados at such a close range, must mean its going to fall, and hard." Caleb thought to himself, his confidence in his furry friend restored as he saw huge sparks coarse through the Atrocious Pokémon as its jaws opened up, letting Raiden fall free, who just barely managed to regain his balance upon impact; that bite must of really hurt. Without a moments rest, the next grunt stepped up to challenge Caleb.

"Yer one luck sonnabitch, ain't ye! Let's see ya take on these!" The grunt said in a cocky manner, as he let two Pokéballs fly, and out came a Lunatone and a Magneton. Caleb could clearly see that Raiden was in no fit state to battle. He immediately called for Raiden's return, and watched him fade away in the red beam of light that emanated from his Pokéball.

"Well done Raiden, you've certainly earned a rest now my friend. Good job!" Caleb said with a reassuring smile as he already pulled out his next two battlers.

"You know, I haven't thought in a Double Battle for a little while now. Let's see if I've still got it. Go Raphael! Go Sebastian!"

As the two were released, they already assumed a fighting pose, with Raphael performing a series of punches and kicks finished off with flames; and Sebastian stood there with a fierce look of determination in his eyes.

"Alright guys, this is how we're going to do it. Raphael, be careful of that Lunatone, its Psychic type will put you at a disadvantage; and whilst I would normally have you use an Ember against that Magneton, the recent weather has meant it won't be as effective, instead I want you to use a Brick Break. Sebastian, concentrate your attacks on that Lunatone, specifically using Shadow Ball. But both of you be careful of all this rubble."

Lee didn't know what to do, any direct damage attack duskull had was ghost type, useless against delcatty 'any ideas duskull' duskull chuckled under its breath, yet another chance to show its natural ability to cause suffering, making sure to keep up the will-o-wisp flames duskull brought himself closer to the ground. The moment delcatty left the ground he would shadow sneak into the ground while bring the flames together into one large flame, leaving delcatty no way to avoid jumping straight into it and then onto the concrete floor below, which it would hopefully do with some force as it would have to dive at duskull from above like it did previously.

Octillery noticed he liked rain, he had normally spend his time below water watching to seaweed to relax, so he hadn't experienced before. He wanted to spend more time enjoying it but he knew the tyrogue would try and stop that, octillery readied to shoot tyrogue in the eye with an octozooka, that should keep him busy.

Kayla was torn. On one hand her new friend, the intense Daria, was in trouble. On the other there was some sort of Dragon tearing up the Stadium, putting everyone in danger. Looking over at Daria she saw the Hitmonlee fighting to protect Daria. The choice was simple. She had to help stop that Dragon type.


"King, Adelpha, Milan! Return" Kayla called back three of her pokemon and started to run to the edge of the level. "Skylar! Fly me down there!" Skylar flew above Kayla, letting Kayla grab her leg.

Together they speed down to the floor of the stadium and into battle once again. Kayla let go as the flew over the dragon.

"KAYLA DENIT TO THE RESCUSE!" Kayla yelled as she fell onto the dragon, wrapping her arms around its neck attempting to distract it from the other trainers. "Skylar use Hyper Beam!"

The fearless Fearow spun around in midair and charged at the stranger looking pokemon. Bright energy gathered around her beak and she launched it at the enemy's stomach before twisting away, drained.

"Damnation, this guy is strong! But not even big feller like him can stand up to the power of good ol' fashioned FRIENDSHIP!! YO MATT!! WHAT NEXT!?!?"

Matt had no answer for his panicking ally. And even if he did have one, there was no way he could have verbalized it; he was too caught up in his shock, staring silently at Persephone's passed out form at his feet.

One hit. Just one. That was all it had taken to take her out. She and Spike were almost the same in terms of health, while Ditzy was even lower. Ventus had a little more, what with being evolved and all, but even with that... If he was willing to sacrifice every last one of his friends, how much time would it buy him? Four rounds? Three? What could he possibly do in that amount of time? Try to put Eres' Pokemon to sleep again? Actually try to knock him out. Tch. Yeah right. What were the odds of that happening? He couldn't win this. There was just no way.

He had to get away. That was all there was to it. He would not stand here and watch his only friends be beaten to the brink of death, stolen, and brainwashed. But how could he escape? Eres and the Dragon-type were staring right at him, ready to counter whatever he threw their way. How could he possibly get away from them!?

...Well, there was always Jack.

Matt's stomach suddenly threatened to lunge up into his throat, and he reflexively clasped a hand around his mouth. The acidic taste and scent of bile ran over his tongue and filled his nostrils, but the trainer forced himself to swallow the caustic fluid. Even thinking about this course of action filled him with dread and loathing, but... Yeah. It would probably work. And it wasn't like he had any other ideas.

Besides, if he was really honest with himself, if he had to choose between his friends and Jack... Well, that wasn't even a choice.

"Slagger." The whisper that left Matt's lips was barely audible; even the Rock-type, standing mere feet away, struggled to hear him. "Run back to Daria, okay? I... I'll be fine."

Mechanically, the lad fiddled around with his Pokeballs. There were two flashes of light, one red and one white, and when they finally cleared, it was Spike, not Persephone, that stood by Matt's side. Trembling, the Cyndaquil stared up at the Dragon-type in front of him, the flames on his back hardly more than embers. "Qu-Quil..."

"Spike," the lad dully intoned, his voice devoid of feeling or emotion, "I need you to listen carefully, okay? Put down a Smokescreen around us, one that stretches in all directions. Make sure that Eres can't see us, but... but make sure it doesn't cover Jack. Got it?"

The Fire-type stared up at his master, not quite sure he had heard him right. "Cyn... Cynda cyndaquil?"

"I know!" Matt almost screamed back, balling his hands into bloody fists. "Just do it!"

The Cyndaquil stood there, silent, for a moment, before squeaking out a quiet reply. "...Cynda."

A cloud of thick, dark smoke began to pour off of Spike's back, wafting through the air and slowly rising higher and higher. In a matter of seconds, it was already up to Matt's chest, and soon it would cover him entirely. As the smog drifted up to his neck, the trainer finally looked across the arena, his deadened eyes meeting Jack's disbelieving gaze. "Jack," he whispered futilely; there was no way the boisterous man could hear him from this distance. "...I'm sorry."

Then, bending down to scoop up his first and oldest friend, Matt took off into the smoke, desperately trying to leave the chaotic scene behind him.

"Hey! Whaddaya think you're doing?"

Hardy puffed up with indignation at his partner Laurel. The nerve of that blundering beanstalk. The nerve.
Laurel offered no response beyond a mildly confused expression.

"That little one with the bone was mine! I had him! Why did you hafta take him out?" Hardy continued, prodding a thick finger into Laurel's thin chest for emphasis.

"But you said I should defeat the Cubone with my Cacturne."
"You idiot! I said 'watch me beat it alone and you'll learn'!"

Hardy's fat hand came down on the back of Laurel's head with a *smack*. Without skipping a beat the thinner man retaliated by picking up Cacturne's empty pokéball and clamping it onto Hardy's sizeable nose like a vice.

"OOOOUUUUUHHH! That's it! C'mere you! Stand still!"

*GAWMP*

The mismatched duo stopped their bickering as they realized that during their infighting the actual battle had ended. Aoulus had taken out Hardy's Piloswine whilst, somewhat surprisingly, Laurel's Cacturne had been beaten by Pineco.
The two men looked at each other and Hardy was first to break the silence.

"Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As if to mark the culmination of the battle the dark sky had started pouring. The heavy drops were flattening Rupert's unwieldy shock of hair as he looked at the aftermath. Aoulus and Pineco were standing tall over their defeated opponents. Well, Aoulus significantly more so than the far smaller Pineco but still.

Wow. Didn't expect Pineco to take out that cactus thing. Guess I shouldn't underestimate him. He's got a lot more going on under the surface than the bark shell would suggest.

Rupert's eyes shifted downwards to the unconscious Cubone in his arms.

I guess he's not the only member of the team with more going on below the surface.

The Kanto trainer suppressed the pang of guilt that rose up within him upon just looking at Cubone. He knew that he was responsible for the Ground-type's current state, and that didn't just refer to the cuts and bruises adorning him. That Cubone had harbored a resentment towards his trainer had shocked Rupert, but that would all have to wait. This was neither the time nor the place. The sky above them only seemed half as dreary as Rupert's current state of mind.
Upon finding Cubone's pokéball the trainer was for a moment scared that it wouldn't work any more. The dent in the upper half that marked the spot where Cubone had smacked it with his club was pretty darn deep. When pressed to the Ground-type it worked fine though, and the pokéball with occupant was returned to Rupert's trainer belt.

GAAAARRRRHAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

Rupert instinctively drew himself together and turned towards the center arena where there was no more giant metal serpent to be seen and yet the situation had not improved in the slightest. How did that happen? How could the subtraction of 'giant metal serpent' not improve any situation?!

"Oh no no no no no no. No. What is that? What even is that?! How many monstrosities is Eres hiding in his pockets? Calm down, Rupert. Calm down... Take charge, remember..."

The arena was fast becoming even more chaotic than when the Steelix first burst through the ground. A number of trainers and pokémon were converging there. Tom and Rupert had no time to lose. They needed to move. Whether they needed to help the others or if they needed to get the heck out of here Rupert hadn't decided on, but nevertheless they needed to move.
This was easier said then done as Tom and Rupert's path was blocked by another pair of goons.

"Well, looks like you kids got some moves!"

"Yeah... They do. But it ain't gonna do squat against us two!"

Oddly enough Rupert found that he was not intimidated by these two in the least. Perhaps it was the sobering experience with Cubone, or maybe his fear of that landshark monster below drowned out his fear of the goons. Funny how fear worked like that.

"T-Tom, you ready?"

Seeing as Pinecone was already out and seemed to be ready to take on the newcomers Rupert let him hop over to intercept the Jolteon and Bronzor. He did however retrieve Hoothoot, who he had momentarily forgotten was out, considering her crippling weakness against Electric types.

"Pineco, um... j-just keep Bug Biting that round one! Same strategy as last time: stay in the game for as long as you can. Use Protect if you get hurt too bad."

Savannah watched on in bliss as her now-Milotic let loose a powerful Twister, sending the goon's puppet Pokemon tumbling across the arena ground. She could hardly believe at just how powerful her old friend had turned out to be, and how glad she was that it had happened to evolve in her time of need.

"Wow Feeb...I mean Milotic! I guess you've learnt some moves? I'll have to check you out"

Savannah reached into one of her particularly deep pockets, pulling out her trusty Pokedex, looking just as new as the day she first got it. She quickly pointed it at her newly evolved friend, trying to work out just what she was now in control of.

"Milotic, the Tender Pokémon. The evolved form of Feebas. It is said to be the most beautiful of all Pokémon, and is quite skilled in battle."

Whilst she was reading the Pokedex entry, her opponent began to stir. The Heracross slowly rising to it's feet, evidently not finished yet, determined to carry out it's masters orders until it could no more.
However Sav was well aware of this fact, and in fact had been counting on it. She knew the only way that that poor brainwashed Heracross was going to find any kind of peace, it would be purely in a lack of consciousness. She had noticed that the rain had slowly been getting heavier as the fight had progressed, and the light shower had become as heavy a deluge as it was probably going to be this time of the year.
This added precipitation clearly put Milotic at a distinct advantage, and looking at her new moveset, Sav knew just how to capitalise on it.

"Heracross, keep going at it with Brick Break."

Savannah waited for her foe to bark his commands to the addled large beetle Pokemon, which complied once again without hesitation, rushing at her friend, new form or no.

And then it happened. A flurry of glowing leaves flew past with great speed, slicing water droplets as the passed through the air. They seemed to form a makeshift shield, obscuring Savannah's view of her opponent and it's oncoming attack.
As the leaves dropped to the ground, a lone figure was now amongst their now lifeless forms.

"GROVYYYYYLE!"

Sprig's green visage stood resolute, locked against Heracross's horn with it's own Leaf Blade on it's head, having taken the Brick Break himself, he now found himself head-to-head with the brainwashed bug. Sprig looked deep into his opponents eyes for any sign of yielding, but all that answered him was a blanket stare that chilled him to his core.

"Grove...?"

Savannah was relieved to have her beloved friend back where she knew he was safe, but right now he was being unnecessarily headstrong, thinking he could take on the world by himself.

"Sprig! Me and Milotic have got this. You don't have to worry!"

The Wood Gecko Pokemon turned it's head slightly, listening to his Trainer before carefully considering her words. Truster Savannah's judgement, Sprig gave way and allowed himself to be returned to his Pokeball, out of harms way.

"Milotic, use Water Pulse!"

"T-Tom, you ready?"

"Huh?"

As if snapping out of a trance, Tom realized that he had been cheering on Aeolus for his second victory for quite a while. He had barely noticed that the grunts had sent out new pokemon. And one was most definitely... An electric type. Having lived in Ecruteak, Tom had seen his fair share of the Eevee sisters, and he knew how tough Jolteon could be.

"Aeolus, you'd better fall back! You're not in the condition to fight this one, so lets swap in Trapic, ok?"

Aeolus nodded and in seconds he had switched places with the small saurian pokemon.

"Ready Trapic? The guy's pretty fast so we'll need to get him distracted. So metal sound then dig!"

"Don!"

"Rupert, let's make them pay for this!"

*THWOCK*

Jet's Brick Break landed on Ringstar's left shoulder with a resounding thud. He then backpedaled in anticipation of the inevitable Counter. But it never came. Instead, Ringstar raised his right fist and started spinning it around like Anthony's Electabuzz before him. Once he grinded to a halt, the Hitmonchan revealed an electrified glove. ThunderPunch. He one one of those...

Ringstar became a blur as he closed the distance in a flash. Jet barely had time to avoid the attack as it hit the ground, smashing a crater in front of the Hitmonlee, fist crackling with leftover juice. Jet didn't waste any time countering with a Rolling Kick, hitting Ringstar squarely in the jaw and sending him flying down a couple of rows.

While this was happening, Anthony slowly woke up, mostly thanks to Gemini's Bubblebeam.

"Ug-ugh... Agh... GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE YA DAMN STARFISH!!!" The man yelled as he staggered to his feet, Gemini taking the opportunity to spin towards its own downed Trainer.

"ARGH! SHIT!! My ribs are killing me here! Where the hell are those two!?" Anthony asked himself as he limped towards the sounds of two rare Fighting-types going at it. As he peered over the railing at the bleachers below his eyes widened.

It was Jet. Panting, exhausted. Standing victorious beside a downed Ringstar.

"NO! How can this b-!!!!??!??"

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

The resounding sound of a tidal wave crashing down into the center of the stadium drew Anthony's eyes towards where his boss was.

"A-aniki!?! Where'd that attack come fr-" The Saffron enforcer's question got its answer as he spotted the Trainer behind the sudden deluge.

"Oh fuck..."

Meanwhile, Daria was slowly waking up to the same crashing wave, with Gemini staring her right in the eyes, gem gleaming.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"And finally, WHISMUR! Trust me! Don't be frightened, you're better than that Dragon-type! Astonish! You remember that don't you?! We worked on it for three weeks, now you get to use it in a battle! I'm sorry, I should've made you battle earlier than this, but do it now! For every Pokemon and trainer here! Matt needs your help!"

As Whismur's PokéBall released her down into the stadium below, the grunt's Gligar used Quick Attack, rushing towards Daffy and hitting him, sending him rolling backwards somewhat. The Water-type waddled back to his feet, clutching his now hurting head again.

Knuckles crushed his way beneath the concrete floor, Digging towards Rhyhorn. Daffy on the other hand formed yet another Water Pulse in his bill, shooting it at Gligar, who went down in one solid hit. Must've been a weaker Pokémon. Daffy looked somewhat surprised too.

Meanwhile, Rhyhorn was futilely trying to Stomp the ground in an attempt to unearth the elusive Sandslash.

"Damn it, ya damn oaf! Stop doin' that and evade that Dig!!"

*CRHUSHH*

Too late. Knuckles burst out of the floor, his claws doing massive damage to Rhyhorn's exposed underside. This wasn't enought to take down the massive Ground-type though. It got back to its feet and was now readying to charge Knuckle's in its rage.

"Now, Rhyhorn! Use Horn At-!"

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

"WHA!!?"

The battle was suddenly interrupted by the crashing sound of a tidal wave in the middle of the stadium. All combatants were drawn towards the now overflowing battle area. One thought rushed to the forefront of Darius' mind.

He'd just thrown Whismur in there!
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Alright guys, this is how we're going to do it. Raphael, be careful of that Lunatone, its Psychic type will put you at a disadvantage; and whilst I would normally have you use an Ember against that Magneton, the recent weather has meant it won't be as effective, instead I want you to use a Brick Break. Sebastian, concentrate your attacks on that Lunatone, specifically using Shadow Ball. But both of you be careful of all this rubble."

*CLONGG*

The sound of Raphael's clawed forearm hitting Magneton's Steel body resonated in the air as it recovered from the hit it'd just taken. Sebastian meanwhile, charged a Shadow Ball and released it at Lunatone, the shadowy blob doing massive damage to the half Psychic-type.

"Magneton! Use SonicBoom! Lunatone, Psywave!"

Magneton complied first, shooting a vacuum of air at Sebastian, knocking the Eevee back, before he regained his bearings and gracefully landed on his feet, ready for another Shadow Ball. Lunatone's eyes started glowing a muted pink as it released a peculiar psychic wave at Raphael. Caleb didn't seem phased though. Raphael soon understood it too.

The wave, while doing damage, didn't actually devastate the Fighting-type as the grunt had no doubt expected. Psywave was one quirky technique.

Before Caleb's duo could counter-attack, however. The sound of a huge wave interrupted them, drawing their attention.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What would undoubtedly draw both Caleb and Darius' attention as well, though were the cries some bleachers below from theirs.

"N-no! NO! MIGHTYENA!!!"

It was Ryan. The farmer boy from Sinnoh and his trusty Mightyena had lost. The boy was now helpless on the floor after the grunt had tossed him aside, obviously vying to imprison the defeated lad's Pokémon. He was just about to grab the Dark-type when...

*ZZZBBBBZZZZZTTTT*

Out of the blue, both the Grunt and his Pokémon were electrocuted into unconsciousness.

BzBZbZzbTONBzbzZZbBMAGNETbzBZTON

It was a Magneton, an insanely strong one at that. But whose was it?
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"T-Tom, you ready?"

"Rupert, let's make them pay for this!"

The two boys were just about to attack their foes when...

"TOM!!"

Both Trainers and the grunts' attention was drawn to the direction of the voice. It was Ada!

"Thank goodness I found you! I wanted to return Kalmia to you! You dropped her Pokéball back on that field! Here!"

Ada threw Kalmia's ball back to Tom with all her strength. Too bad the thugs facing them wasn't about to afford the boy the chance to bolster his team.

"Oh no ya don't! Jolteon!"

Jolteon pounced, aiming to snatch Tom's Pokéball for a free Pokémon. No dice.

Pineco spun recklessly into Jolteon's path, putting up another Protect, which Jolteon promptly smashed its face against, allowing Kalmia to fly safely into Tom's hand. Ada cheered for the brave Pineco, maybe a tad too oblivious to the chaos surrounding her...

Pineco jumped back into the heart of the action, ready to take on Bronzor and Jolteon with Trapic when...

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

"Whut in darnation is going down over there!?!?"

"Ey... Ain't that where Eres-aniki was supposed to be??"

A huge wave had just inundated the center of the stadium where the boys knew for a fact Matt was facing a most fearsome opponent. Was he okay? If they squinted, the boys could just make out forms from the middle of the fading smoke and the water. Who was that man standing next to Matt?
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*BWHOHHH*

Delcatty flew backwards to the floor as its body was severely burned by Duskull's successful tactic, while Tyrogue lay unconscious in the ground from Octillery's Octazooka. What was originally meant to just blind the wee Fighting-type had actually gone and knocked it out. Well, at least he'd get to enjoy the rain in peace right?

Yeah right, Tyrogue's unlawful owner was already digging out his next Pokéball.

"I'll show yous!!"

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

"HEEEEEH!!!!???"

Octillery could recognize that sound anywhere! It was a wave!
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Milotic, use Water Pulse!"

And she sure did! Charging a gorgeous sphere of sparkling water in front of her mouth, Milotic let fly with a Water Pulse that slammed into the Heracross like a runaway Piloswine cart, sending him flying backwards into the stands below. No need to go check. It was down for the count. Milotic had just won it's first battle since... EVER!

Savannah was no doubt eager to celebrate, but her newly evolved partner quickly shifted her attention down towards the arena. Something big was about to happen.

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

The grunt she had been facing turned to look at the action as well. What was that? Surf? Waterfall? How strong would a Pokémon be to pull off a Water-type technique of that magnitude? Was Matt alright? What about Remy, who was fighting that creepy man right above them?
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"This ain't going too well, huh buddy?"

Sn-sneeeh... Sneah...

"Eeeeh? What's the problem, kiddo? Yamime giving you trouble, hmmmm? That Dark/Ghost combination proving to be a bit tricky? AHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Things were grim for Remy, in an attempt to defeat Anton's Sableye, he'd switched Tentacool in, only to lose. Primeape was useless here so Sneasel was his only choice, but even he was having a tough time against the impish little foe. He looked to his right to see how Matt was doing to see...

"...SmokeScreen, what's he? ...Oh... Oh man..."

While the smoke might've rendered him invisible to Eres and Jack, up from where Remy was, everything was clear. He could see Matt leaving the scene hastily. He saw the big picture all too clearly. He saw... He saw...

He saw Matt stop and talk to a man in the smog?

"OI, OI, OOOI!!! D'ya really have time to be daydreamin', ya damn cur?!?"

Remy snapped out of it only to see Yamime dissolve into its own shadow for another sneak attack.

"Sneasel behind y-!"

*SLASHHH*

Yamime never made it over to Sneasel, as someone, rather something else had cut its attempt short. Yamime was KO'd and in front of Remy and Sneasel was a...

"A Weavile???"

The Weavile had just taken out Anton's Pokémon in one Metal Claw. Sneasel's evolved version looked back at Remy's Dark-type and winked confidently. Anton was less than ecstatic.

"Ah shit... He made it after all, eh?"

Remy was puzzled.

"He?"

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

"What the... Matt!!!"
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Aeden had finally reached his destination. His lungs were on fire, he was soaked to the bone and he was utterly overwhelmed at the chaos at the scene.

Spectators, victims of the attack, screaming, lost, crying over their stolen Pokémon. Police officers, International Police agents scurrying around with some arrested thugs in nice suits, some of them unconscious. Reporters and TV crews trying to get their story.

The young man quickly spotted an opening and took it, sneaking inside the stadium. His Pokémon were already eager to fight these wrongdoers. They were going to be disappointed. The halls were pitch-black from the power outage, only the emergency lights just above the floor were there to show Aeden the incredible scene inside.

Thugs. Thugs upon thugs with their weird, blank eyed Pokémon laid unconscious on the floor. Someone had taken them all out already, but who? Aeden was startled by an eerie laughter that filled the empty, dark space he was in as it echoed through the hallways.

GHAHAHAHGHEGHAGEHGEGHEHGEHEGEH!!

He followed the laughter, guided only by his morbid curiosity until he found it. A large, purple, gaseous being hovering over his last victim, one of the thugs. It slowly turned around towards the boy and flashed a face splitting smile that threatened to impale its blood red eyes.

Gehehehehh... Geeeeeennnnggaaaaaarrrr...

The Gengar phased through a wall, even though there was a door only 2 feet to its left. Aeden opted for the door in question to follow the Ghost-type, and found himself in the North section of the arena where he saw everything.

The thick smoke in the arena, a dozen or so Trainers engaged in battle with the attackers. And mostly WINNING, too. And immediately to his left, a girl whom he recognized as Daria Pace from the battles on TV earlier, coming to from some sort of injury, being tended to by her Staryu. A ways further a menacing looking man in a tracksuit following the action below. And... The owner of that Gengar...

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"KAYLA DENIT TO THE RESCUE!"

Kayla swooped in and promptly dropped onto Eres' Garchomp much to the annoyance of both the massive Dragon-type she was now molesting and its Master.

"What the hell..."

There was also a Whismur thrown into all of this insanity but she only made it halfway towards Garchomp before Matt put his final plan into action. Slagger shooting one more look of utter disappointment at Matt before rolling to Jack's position. The Hoennian was completely and utterly confused.

"Daria's Golem? What're ya doin' here brudda?? Matty-boy's the one who needs ya!"

Slagger just shook his head.

"What the..."

"I know! Just do it!"

In seconds, Matt and Eres, along with Kayla and Garchomp were completely covered in a thick cloud of smoke. As Matt took one last look at Jack, it hit him.

"M-Matt? What're ya? ...Hey... You wouldn't... GET BACK HERE BRUDDA!!! WHAT THE HELL D'YA THICK YER DOIN'??!? YA YELLOW-BELLY DUNSPARCE!!! HOW CAN YOU DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS?!?! HOW CAN YOU JUST RUN AWAY!?!?"

Darius' Whismur used the pained cries of the Hoenn native to find her way out of the smoke. She stuck close to Slagger, deducing that he was the best chance she had of getting back into her breeder's arms in one piece.

"Skylar use Hyper Beam!"

Kayla's order was now pretty useless. Skylar couldn't attack, not knowing where her target was. Instead, she tried to fly higher to spot her trainer. As she did so she swooped down and grabbed her by the shoulders, taking her up, saving her from the middle of all the chaos.

As Jack's screams rung heavily in the now fleeing Matt's ears, he suddenly grinded to a halt as he felt a presence right next to him. Was it Eres? Had he found him? How!? No. No, it wasn't him. This person exuded a totally different aura. If Eres was a raging earthquake, this guy was an icy waterfall.

"That loud kid is right, you know... What you're doing... It's really quite pathetic."

The mysterious man spoke to Matt, his harsh, icy words piercing deep into the boy's soul.

"I get that you love your Pokémon, but to protect them like this? Running and cowering behind a wall of smoke? This makes you no better than the very people you're trying to protect them from. What good are your partners to you, if you don't trust them to protect you?"

Something else was there with Matt, Spike and the man. It was large scaly and felt immensely powerful.

"Surf."

Suddenly the creature stirred, its eyes glowing blue as it opened its mouth and started charging immense amounts of water.

"I used to not trust my Pokémon. To me they were just tools. But with time I learned to appreciate them, trust them, see them as my equals. Who knows... You might too... In time. But before that can happen, you must expose the darkness in your soul."

The man's Pokémon released it all in one huge wave. The wave washed it all away, Garchomp, Eres and Matt's cover, but left Kayla, Jack and Matt unharmed. Eres got up, furious.

"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!!?! WHO DARES INTERFERE IN MY BUSINESS!?!?!!"

With the smoke cleared, the man and his Pokémon were now in full view. To those up in the bleachers it was clear that this was the "partner" Looker had been expecting. The one whose Magneton had saved Ryan and Mightyena. Whose Weavile had saved Remy and Sneasel. And whose Gengar had single-handedly taken out all those grunts.

He was in his mid 20s. He wore a dark blue button-up shirt with red details, a pair of nice, black slacks and white and red tennis shoes. His face was stern. Cold and calculating, while at the same time, cocky and confident. His most distinguishing feature, however, was his long red hair, that reached his shoulders.

"I'm a man whose past has haunted him since birth. My father's sins have always followed me, wherever I went. I vowed I would never let those with criminal agendas use Pokémon to further their dark causes."

The red-haired man motioned to his Pokémon, a Feraligatr to attack. He complied without hesitation, rushing towards Eres' Garchomp before pouncing on it, Ice Fang at the ready.

*GHAWMP*

Feraligatr's fangs dug deep into the Garchomp who let out a pained roar before fainting. No one could believe it. The monstrosity that NO ONE was able to even inconvenience. Down. In one hit.

"I AM AGENT SILVER K. GIOVANNI, CAPTAIN OF THE INTERNATIONAL POLICE JOHTO BRANCH, AND YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!!!"

Caleb let a smile slip as the sound of Raphael's clawed forearm resonated with the metallic body of the Magneton as it floated aimlessly midst the battlefield that was once a respectable stadium. It was then the turn of Sebastian who launched a violet and black colored blob of shadowy matter at the Lunatone, who was sent back a bit, reeling from the hit. Now it was the grunt's turn to strike.

"Magneton! Use Sonic Boom! Lunatone, Psywave!" The grunt shouted out. Soon the Electric/Steel type fired out a vacuum of air at Sebastian, who was sent tumbling back a bit before regaining his bearings and landing gracefully on his feet; looking as though he hadn't taken much damage. Lunatone's eyes then glowed a muted pink color, as it released a strange wave of psychic energy at Raphael. Both he and Caleb realised it hadn't done much, if anything at all to the Young Fowl.

"Well, it looks like that wasn't what you were expecting I take it? My move, Sebastian, atta-" Caleb was about to say attack, but was interupted by the sound of a huge wave behind them, which drawed their attention. As the water cleared, Caleb could seem the few remaining embers of a large smokescreen dissipating, and what looked like a Garchomp trapped in the icy maw of a Feraligatr. He then saw a man in his mid 20s shouting at a man who appeared to be the leader of these grunts.

"I AM AGENT SILVER K. GIOVANNI, CAPTAIN OF THE INTERNATIONAL POLICE JOHTO BRANCH, AND YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!!!"

"Well well well, the famous, or rather infamous depending on your point of view, Silver K. Giovanni. You've certainly done well for yourself. You must be the partner that Looker was telling us about earlier. I must say, what a time to make an entrance." Caleb said to himself as he turned the grunts.

"It appears that your trump card has been put out of commission with a timely arrival. Now then, how best to proceed. Ah, I know." Caleb said as he snapped his fingers, then proceeded to send out all of his Pokémon, even Raiden who looked a bit more with it after his battering from Gyarados.

"Surround them!" Caleb shouted as his team took positions behind the grunts, he even saw fit to withdraw his sword, and pointed it at the grunts.

"Now then, unless you would like to receive a sound thrashing from my friends here, I'd advise you get down on the floor, and put your hands behind your head where I can see them. No funny business. Understand?" Caleb ordered with a commanding presence.

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

Time began to slow. The wave rushed out onto the stadium floor, where Whismur had just been let out. No longer caring for his own safety, Darius vaulted the railing and out into the ten foot drop from benches to floor. He watched as he and the wave slowly made their way towards the young pokemon. Fortunately the breeder hit the floor before the wave crashed into Whismur, who had begun climbing the wall to escape the quickly approaching water.

As soon as he had stood however, he was pushed back down by the force of the wave and into the wall, pushing Whismur up as far as he could while he was thoroughly soaked. The force behind the wave reached its zenith, sending Darius and his head crashing completely into the wall, where he immediately blacked out.

"I AM AGENT SILVER K. GIOVANNI, CAPTAIN OF THE INTERNATIONAL POLICE JOHTO BRANCH, AND YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!!!"

Seconds later, Darius came to, his entire body at the least aching in some way. Slowly standing, he looked around at the field, where the grunts were busy surrendering or being rounded up. Neither particularly concerned him however, as his frantic eyes searched for Whismur. And there she was, holding onto a Golem. Keeping the wall within arm's reach, he ran to the pokemon and scooped her up in his arms, where she nestled a moment before reaching out, grabbing his nose, and violently shook his head around.

"Whis, mur. Whissss MUR"

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, back at the seating area of the arena, Daffy and Knuckles were celebrating their, more or less, complete victory over the grunts and their addled pokemon. Knuckles stood silently over Darius' opponents, claws crossed over one another.

Daffy was another matter. He'd found a fan amid the chaos of the benches and had laid down, fanning himself before getting an idea.

Psy! Psyduck! Psy-psy-psy-psy-psy!DUCK!" He exclaimed to Knuckles proudly, headache somewhat forgotten, as he held the fan up above his head. And promptly brought it down on the previously soaked grunt's head. Not really injuring him, but it surely added to his shame and humiliation.

"Psy-psy-psy-psy-psy-psy-psy-psy-psy-psy-psy-psy-Psyduck!"

Knuckles took Daffy's uncontrollable laughter as an opportunity to steal the fan away from him, smacking the grunt with the fan again, at which point Daffy stopped laughing and jumped atop Knuckles' back. And they began to struggle for who had the honor of slapping the grunts with the fan first...

"TOM!!"

Four sets of heads whipped back to see who had spoken up, and Rupert's was among them. Who's the chick in pink?

"Thank goodness I found you! I wanted to return Kalmia to you! You dropped her Pokéball back on that field! Here!"

Not only did this girl seem to know Tom, she even had Kalmia's pokéball with her. However, in her attempt to return it to the bespectacled boy, Jolteon sprang forward intending to snap the sphere out of the air. Luckily, this merely resulted in the Lightning Pokémon smacking headfirst into Pineco's shimmering barrier with all the grace of an overexcited kitten still unfamiliar with the transparent nature of glass.

"Wow! N-nicely done, Pineco!"

Rupert only had a few moments to wonder who this girl was, how she related to Tom, and how she had gotten through the hell storm that was the stadium to return Kalmia before every neuron in the Kanto trainer's brain suddenly decided to focus on processing the insanity that was happening in the arena. This was at least the fourth time today the spectacle down there had demanded his attention. It was like a successive chain of disasters that just wouldn't stop.

Thick, black smoke covered a fair part of the arena now. Rupert had been too preoccupied to see who had unleashed the smokescreen, but from his vantage point he could still make out figures in the dense fog. About the only thing he could see clearly was the towering Garchomp, whose impressive frame made it seem like it was wading in a pool of smoke, and...

Is that a girl riding that Dragon abomination?

Rupert's eyebrows flew up and didn't stop until they were nestled somewhere deep in his locks of fringe hair. There was a dark-haired girl, no doubt in possession of more bravery than sense, clinging onto the vaguely annoyed Garchomp's back. The situation was getting out of hand. Tom and Rupert didn't have time to deal with these goons. They needed to... did she just order her Fearow to shot a Hyper Beam at the Garchomp she was currently straddling? Scratch that, the situation was getting out of hand fast.

Hang on. In the dissipating smoke Rupert counted a few new arrivals. Who was that down there? Was that Matt talking to someone? And what was that big shape next to them. It looked like a...

"H-hey, Tom. Is that a Feraliga..."

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

The arena had facilitated a fair few displays of power these past two days. Daria's Charmeleon had made it rain fire, Caleb had sent sparks flying as Luxray evolved, and Darius had shaken the foundation itself with his Sandslash. None could compare to this. The stadium itself shook as what was veritably a Feraligatr unleashed what could only be described as a tsunami. The massive tidal wave put an end to all hostilities as no one present could deny its power. Rupert couldn't understand how, but somehow it seemed that the only ones targeted by the torrent was Eres and his Garchomp. He was furious as he got back on his feet.

*GHAWMP*

And just like that the Garchomp that had scared everyone witless was down. With speed that belied his bulk the Feraligatr had taken it down with one singular Ice Fang. As the pseudo-legendary came crashing down the arena went quiet as the grave, as everyone took in what had just happened.

"By the salient sables of Scyther..."

Rupert could barely believe what he was seeing. He was well aware that when properly trained pokémon could become inordinately powerful. But this? This went beyond that. That Feraligatr wasn't a fierce combatant; it was a force of nature.

"Pine-pin?"

Pineco had abandoned the slack-jawed goons where they stood, and hopped over to his trainer. There he looked up at him inquisitively, seemingly wanting to know who this red-headed new arrival was.

"I-I don't really know, Pineco, but... I think he's the cavalry."

"Hyaa?"

"...Wuh, oh, Gem. Hey, girl."

The little starfish served as a reasonably stable prop as Daria dragged herself off the floor. The trainer grabbed one arm with each of her hands and pulled herself up into a crouch. She blinked a few times as consciousness slowly regained hold, though for the moment the world seemed about two shades lefter than usual. She could hear the swirling sounds of the ocean, which she realized was actually the sloshing blood in her head. Except it wasn't actually the blood. It was the water sloshing around the stadium. The remnants of one heck of a Surf attack were slipping away, leaving anyone below this specific trainer drenched. She touched two fingers to her forehead, against the raw point of impact and came back with a healthy dot of blood, the rest that was still flowing going down the bridge of her nose and slipping off to the right, connecting to her front lip in an unblemished red line.

Feeling a bit steadier as she examined her surroundings, Pace stepped back up and stood. This was in hindsight a tremendously poor idea and caused her to slam her torso against the railing separating her from the lower floors. Down in the stadium, she could see a man with red hair declaring himself to be one Agent Silver. She'd heard the last name, Giovanni. Only one guy in Kanto had that name, and he wasn't the most reputable citizen. The boy himself was an unknown to her. He appeared to be right about her age, though. Mind that this was only a guess, as Daria was approximately three hundred feet up and away from this young man, and was so screwed up in her senses that the color red might have been a cardinal direction by her reckoning.

She heard a man whimpering behind and above her. She turned and looked to watch the Saffron Jaguar known as Anthony gaping like a moron at the mess playing out below. Daria squinted and stared at this man for a few seconds. Her brain was definitely trying to inform her of some goal involving this fellow. She listened to its eloquent little speech as it laid out a compelling scale of pros and cons to ensuring that the shady man did not abscond.

This is a lie. It actually told her to crunch his face with a tire iron.

Daria respected the little organ's wisdom.

"YO, JAG!" she screamed, pointing a shaking finger at him. A face of frozen, fuming insanity was slapped over her skull. "Ya... dirty bastard, ain't done with ya yet! Get down here... like headbutts so much?! Gonna shove your head right up your own--"

She attempted to take a step forward. Another tactical error. She slipped from lack of coherence and balance, and only jamming her hand to the floor first stopped her head injury from getting significantly worse. She took a panicked breath as she realized just how close she came to significant pain, and ground her teeth together as she thrust her torso back into the air.

"YA HEAR ME, JAG--"

He was gone. Not a trace of Anthony Silver could be found. Where he had once been standing was air--particularly thin air, at that. Daria's eyes were as blank and devoid of reaction as particularly dull tea saucers, and her arms slumped to her sides, mindlessly twitching her fingers as a bold summation sat heavy in her mind.

HE GOT AWAY

It took a second for the disoriented trainer to process this. But like a time bomb, a delay does not mean a loss of volatility. Her hands clenched into shaking fists, and the girl that was ready to trip and die a second before was now less of a human and more along the lines of a freight train, blasting up the steps and roaring insults at the coward that had just slipped into the shadows.

"You... you BASTARD! YELLOW-BELLIED BEEDRILL GOES FOR THE HEADBUTT AND THEN HE FUCKING RUUUUUUUUUUNS?! You are so DEAD, Jag! Ya hear me! You have ceased to be! You are to be referred to exclusively in the past tense! YOU ARE LATE, A STIFF! YOU ARE AN EX-BLOODY-PERSON!"

She was at the top of the stairs and still moving like a Tauros for the Miltank fields. "I swear on my ancestors, when I find you I'll tear your balls right out of your scrotum, if you had any to begin with, and serve them to you over-easy ON TOASTED CIABATTA! DO YOU HEAR ME, JAG?! A GODDAMNED TESTICLE PANINI!"

And like the ghost exorcised from its victim the strength left Daria in one rush. The girl collapsed onto the nearest chair front-end first, groaning in pain and exhaustion as the world began to spin. She was still muttering mean-spirited gibberish, but proper words had left her at this point. She might have been there for some time if it weren't for the timely arrival of Jet, who limped over to his trainer and fished a Revive from her bag, feeding it to the only filled Pokeball on her belt. One press, later, and Spiegel had rejoined the conscious, rubbing his aching chest but otherwise no worse for wear.

"Lee-lee, Hitmonlee," said the fighting-type, slyly pointing a thumb at their woozy trainer. Spiegel didn't so much as look, hiding his shamed face beneath his claws.

"...Rrrrrr... Char. Char, Charmele Charmeleon. Meleon?" He posited a question pertaining to the current whereabouts of the other two stooges. Jet pointed back over his shoulder, at the center of the arena. Gemini, seeing the situation handled, had spun down to the center of the arena to get up close and personally appreciate the carnage of the brutalized Garchomp. Slagger had never left the zone, now soaking wet and a little worse for wear, but still enthusiastically cheering over the stomped dragon-type.

Spiegel was not surprised. Merely disappointed. He waved at their slumping Slugma of a trainer, asking for a bit of help propping her up. Jet complied, and the two got her properly balanced, one arm over each of their shoulders. It was slow-going, but they managed to find a clear path down to the floor of the arena, dragging their bamboozled companion up to ground zero. By this time, she had regained a few of her faculties and was stepping with them instead of just dragging her feet. She gave a weary wave, smiling goofily at the others.

"Heeeeey, evreebuddee... We win?"

Spiegel couldn't stand the shame any longer, and released her. She stumbled forward into her Golem, who happily picked up the slack from the Charmeleon.

"Slagger! Knew ya could do it!"

"Gol gol!" he proudly replied. His face faltered, as he realized that she probably hadn't seen what really happened with Matt. She paid him no mind, though, even as he tugged at her arm, and traipsed over to Silver.

"Awesome moves, new guy. Would you be the guy Looker mentioned?"

Daria was a very nice distraction for the officer, albeit unintentionally. At the moment, Gemini had taken the liberty of playing doctor with the KO'd Garchomp, by way of smashing various parts of its body with its wooden mallet.

Lee watched the feraligatr with his jaw dropped, the sheer power that pokemon had, it was something you would expect from a legendary. After taking it all in he turned back to the two grunts and said with a smirk 'so you have three choices, try and run and hope my duskull and octilery can't catch you, stay and fight that' Lee said pointing at the feraligatr 'or you can just sit down and accept the jig is up' While lee was sure duskull would catch the grunt with enthusiasm, maybe too much enthusiasm. He was bluffing as far as octillery was concerned, there was no way octillery would find shooting the grunt a challenge, unless the grunt ends up making it a challenge.

"TOM!!"

Tom turned around so fast that he almost fell down, and when he realized who was talking, he nearly jumped out of some mix of joy and fright.

"Thank goodness I found you! I wanted to return Kalmia to you! You dropped her Pokéball back on that field! Here!"

Ada threw the pokeball, but the enthralled Jolteon wasn't going to let any more reinforcements enter the fray. Luckily for Tom, thats when Rupert's Pineco struck. With the Jolteon distracted, Tom was able to recover his missing teammate.

"Thanks Ada! I owe you one! I mean uh.. Yeah!"

Turning back to the battle, Tom noticed that everyone else seemed to be looking at the center of the arena. Tom hadn't really been paying attention to what had been going on over there, but something weird seemed to be happening.

"Gator.."

Aeolus seemed to be agitated by something in the middle of a gigantic dust cloud that had just started to settle. He had gotten into an attacking position as if there was a threat to his territory. As the obstruction cleared, Tom could clearly see Matt, as well as three other people, a Garchomp, and a huge blue pokemon. One of the people seemed really familiar to Tom for some reason, and his pokemon there seemed to be getting ready for something big...

"H-hey, Tom. Is that a Feraliga..."

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

As the wave of water started to rush towards Tom and Rupert, Tom instantly grabbed Kalmia's pokeball, Put Trapic in his, and then jumped onto Aeolus' back. Even then both pokemon and trainer were nearly knocked over.

After the flood had passed Tom climbed down from Aeolus and Released his team. Then he looked over to Rupert to see if he was alright. He seemed fine, but Tom walked over to him anyway.

"I-I don't really know, Pineco, but... I think he's the cavalry."

Tom took a closer look at the guy Rupert was talking about. Then it clicked.

"Its better than the calvary! That red hair, that Feraligatr! Do you know who that is? That's Silver, One of Johto's three legendary trainers!"

Savannah saw Milotic's Water Pulse overwhelm it's foe, and she began to wait for any sign of the Heracross's stirring, only for it to remain down for the count. She was positively euphoric at the victory, jumping for joy in celebration of Milotic's amazing performance, emerging triumphant against all odds.

"That was amazing Milotic! You're amazing!" she exclaimed, giving her a warm pat on the head.

*BBBWHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHH*

These celebrations were, however, cut short, as a thunderous crash erupted from the opposite side of the stadium, Milotic's head turning sharply, as she too was drawn to noticing the arrival of the group's mysterious saviour.

"I AM AGENT SILVER K. GIOVANNI, CAPTAIN OF THE INTERNATIONAL POLICE JOHTO BRANCH, AND YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!!!"

Sav struggled to stay upright, as the floodwaters caused by the monster's attack became knee-deep rapids that threatened to sweep her away. In a moment of intuition, Savannah waded through the waters towards her serpentine friend, before trying to climb on it's back.
Milotic saw her trainer struggling in vain trying to climb aboard, and after understanding what exactly she was trying to do, she decided to other a helping hand. Her long, elegant tail wrapped itself around her trainer, raising Savannah out of the waters almost effortlessly, before lifting her up and planting her firmly on her back.

"Good girl..."

Savannah let out a sigh of relief, incredibly exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Milotic seemed to understand, having an almost empathic link with the girl. Sav directed Milotic to press forward against the draining torrents, the pair swimming upstream to eventually find themselves amongst the pandemonium that had befallen Matt.
As she approached, Savannah saw the Feraligatr that must've belonged to Silver standing over the unconscious body of a thug's Garchomp, the former not having a scratch on it.

This guy sure means business... A trainer with such dedication, to raise and inspire such strong Pokemon...

Sav looked on in awe of Silver. His imposing Feraligatr standing resolute; a testament to his might as a trainer; his red hair billowing in the wind; his commanding presence as he announced himself... She couldn't tell if it was from exhaustion or infatuation, but she felt a little weak in the knees.

"M-Matt? What're ya? ...Hey... You wouldn't... GET BACK HERE BRUDDA!!! WHAT THE HELL D'YA THICK YER DOIN'??!? YA YELLOW-BELLY DUNSPARCE!!! HOW CAN YOU DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS?!?! HOW CAN YOU JUST RUN AWAY!?!?"

It hurt. It hurt Matt, hearing Jack's words, hearing the disbelief and the absolute anger that filled each and every one. Every word, every syllable was like a knife in his back, a twinge of pain and regret that coursed through his entire body. Shame, fear, hate, loathing, and so many other emotions pulsed through the lad's head as he heard his fri... As he heard Jack condemn him. It hurt.

But the thought of losing his Pokemon hurt even more.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...

Clenching his eyes shut in an attempt to hold back the tears, Matt kept running, away from Jack and away from the danger. Even with Spike's limp form weighing him down, it shouldn't be that hard to make it to the exit, only a few dozen yards away. And if he could just make it over to there, then maybe he could put all of this behind him and-

"Oof!"

Matt's eyes flew open as he stumbled to the ground, bouncing off the strange figure he hadn't seen through the smoke. Wrapping his arms protectively around Spike, the trainer looked up in fear, his breath unsteady as he gaped at the red haired figure above him. Was this another one of Eres' minions? Someone else sent to capture him? No! It wasn't fair; it couldn't end like this! Not after he... Not after he...

"That loud kid is right, you know... What you're doing... It's really quite pathetic."

The back of Matt's neck crawled as the newcomer's cool, assured words flowed over him. "Wh-what?"

"I get that you love your Pokémon, but to protect them like this? Running and cowering behind a wall of smoke? This makes you no better than the very people you're trying to protect them from. What good are your partners to you, if you don't trust them to protect you?"

Even if Matt had unlimited time, he wasn't sure he could come up with an answer to that question. Not that it mattered; hardly a second had passed before the stranger spoke again, speaking to the hulking creature that stood next to him. "Surf."

The boy barely had enough time to get Spike in his Pokeball before the wave of water rushed over him like, well, a tidal wave. The rushing liquid engulfed him entirely, burying him beneath who-knew how many feet of cold, crystal clear water. He was sent rocketing backwards, carried along by the force of the rushing water, until he slammed into the stadium's wall, the impact sending another lance of pain through his back. Unable to keep his mouth shut through the pain, Matt gulped down a mouthful of the stuff. But, just as his lungs began to burn, the water began to recede, leaving him soaking wet and gasping for air, but alive. And, as luck would have it, the wave had just happened to deposit him by the exit. Granted, his hat was missing, but that was relatively unimportant at the moment.

"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!!?! WHO DARES INTERFERE IN MY BUSINESS!?!?!!"

The shout sounded far away, like Eres was standing at the other end of a long tunnel. Unsteadily, and not bothering to stick around to hear the response, Matt unsteadily struggled to his feet. It took him two or three attempts before he actually managed to remain standing, but he got there in the end, using the wall as a support. Stumbling into the tunnel, the trainer moved forward, slowly at first, then faster and faster as his physical faculties slowly returned to him. Soon, he was sprinting down the corridor, choking down air and wiping away his tears, but moving ever forward. He didn't even look back as one last call echoed around him. "I AM AGENT SILVER K. GIOVANNI, CAPTAIN OF THE INTERNATIONAL POLICE JOHTO BRANCH, AND YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!!!"


Just outside of the stadium, hundreds of people were flocking to the scene. Curious and horrified onlookers, emergency personal, more police officers, they were all hustling and bustling in an attempt to get closer to the chaotic scene before them. But though the crowd was large and thick, not one of its members had eyes for the young lad shoving his way through them, his clothes soaking wet, his hat missing, his cheeks stained by dirt and tears, and his eyes dead and emotionless.

Kayla coughed as she was covered in the smokescreen, letting go to cover her mouth before realising her mistake. As she fell backwards, she felt Skylar's claws grab her and pull her out of the mess of pokemon and trainers, to high above the stadium.

"Come on Skylar! I wanted to ride the dragon," Kayla whined.

Fearow. Fear. Fear. Fear.

"Come on Skylar. What are you my mom?

Feeeeearow. Fearoow

"Well yes you do look after me but I can take of myself sometimes."

Fearow. Fear Fear Fearow

"I knew what I was doing. I'm not that much of a clutz!"

Fearow

"Yes I planed to fall. I mean I would have been hit by Hyper Beam if I didn't?"

Fearow

"Hmph fine don't believe me!" Skylar just shook her head and let go of Kayla. Kayla plummeted towards the stadium, screaming. Skylar circled around, dived and grabbed Kayla by the seat of her pants.

Fearow

"Okay! Okay Okay! I'm sorry! I won't be so insolent!" Kayla looked down to see what was going down in the stadium, just in time to see a wave crash throughout the stadium. A red hair man stood tall and proud behind a powerful looking Feraligatr. The Garchomp was knocked out and the chaos seemed to have settled.

"Hey Skylar isn't that Silver?"

Fearow. Fearooooooow

"Yes it is. I mean you had that crush on his Honc,"

FEAROW FEAROW FEAOR FEAROW FEAROW

"Hehe. Comeon, lets go down and see if they need any help." Skylar descended towards the stadium. As the pair got close to the ground, Skylar let go of Kayla, dropping her into a puddle of mud.

"SKYLAR!!!!!!" Kayla yelled, as the Fearow just, poked her ball on Kayla's belt and disappeared in a flash of red light. Another red flash revealed King, who let himself out because he really needed to go. Spotting the downed Garchomp, he walked over, jumped on top and settled himself on top of it's chest, feeling around with his claws for a comfortable spot.

Kayla, busy wiping mud off her face, feeling like a big disgrace, spotted an injured Daria, being carried by two of her pokemon. Over joyed at seeing her friend okay, Kayla ran and wrapped her arms around Daria in a crushing hug.

"YOUR OKAY! I WAS SO WORRIED ABOUT YOU!" Kayla cried, as King looked on, sitting on top of the Garchomp.

Aeden watched the agent in awe. He hadn't seen the Gengar fight, but that Feraligatr was incredible. Had he been much lower down, the waves would have washed over him just like it had the others. It was that thought that reminded him of the girl he'd seen earlier, Daria from the tournament. From how she had been sprawled out, she wouldn't be getting up anytime so--

"YO, JAG!"

What?! She was standing already, and even shouting. Perhaps standing wasn't the proper term, more like... slumping.

"YA HEAR ME, JAG--"

Aeden wasn't quite sure who she was yelling at, but it seemed she'd realized that whoever it was was no longer there. He prepared to go up to talk to her, when she opened her mouth once again.

"You... you BASTARD! YELLOW-BELLIED BEEDRILL GOES FOR THE HEADBUTT AND THEN HE FUCKING RUUUUUUUUUUNS?! You are so DEAD, Jag! Ya hear me! You have ceased to be! You are to be referred to exclusively in the past tense! YOU ARE LATE, A STIFF! YOU ARE AN EX-BLOODY-PERSON!"

He could only stare after her, mouth slightly open as she charged after him, too shocked to offer her any aid when she collapsed into a chair. It was only after her Pokemon helped her away that he was able to clear his head of the matter. He shook his head. "So that's what a tournament level trainer is like," he mumbled under his breath. Aeden walked down to the balcony and looked down upon all the other trainers, none of which had seemed to notice him yet. He was about to turn away and leave, putting it all behind him, when he saw a sopping wet hat, left behind by a trainer. He recognized it, though he'd only seen it briefly on the head of one of the trainers battling the criminals. He scanned the crowd but didn't see anyone who even remotely looked like the owner. Perhaps he'd had to chase after an enemy. Aeden shrugged and began his descent down to the stadium floor. The least he could do was give it back to the owner. He picked it up tenderly, and though it was sopping wet, didn't wring it out. Then he stood awkwardly by the wall, waiting for a good time to ask someone about the owner without interrupting their celebration.

The punishing battle was effectively over. As Silver swiftly demonstrated his superiority over Eres, his crew had lost any and all will to fight back.

"Gh... Damn it all to hell..."

The grunts that had been apprehended by Caleb and his Pokémon decided it was best to just accept their defeat and go quietly. A group of IP agents would later take them in for questioning. Ryan sheepishly joined Caleb, with his Mightyena limping in behind him.

"G-glad that's over with..."

The grunts detained by Daffy and Knuckles had managed to escape, using the two Pokémons' moment of distraction to their advantage.

Tom and Rupert's opponents had just bolted as well.

Savannah's thug left as soon as she made her way down to the heart of the action.

Remy stood in awe of the whole situation. The name Silver was familiar. He'd been grabbing headlines a couple of years back. Having joined the International Police with his dubious background, he quickly rose through the ranks, solving a bevy of crimes that had other, older agents flabbergasted.

"Heh... Looks like it's over for you and your bunch. Now come qui-!?!"

Anton had disappeared into thin air. He'd just vanished without a sound.

Shit. How'd he do that? "Well done Sneasel, come on in and get some rest." Remy praised his Dark-type companion before he disappeared into the Dusk Ball's dark light. With that done he made his way down to the arena grounds.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There was a lot going on down in the arena. Lots of people were flooding in, screaming and hollering at each other. It was all just a bit too annoying for Silver's liking.

THESE are the deputies Looker mentioned? Bunch of noisy kids if you ask me. And that cowardly kid too... Looker always was a terrible judge of character...

Magneton came down to his master, informing him that the Mightyena boy was safe. His Weavile did the same. Anton had been vanquished but had escaped.

"Well done, you two. Get back in here." Silver then raised his voice, ignoring all the hubbub around him. "NOW! Throw your Pokéballs on the ground! Surrender! Come quietly and we'll get to the bottom of what it is you're after!"

Eres had lost his cocksure demeanor. This was a situation he had not anticipated.

Shit. Shitshitshit! No one told me there would be one of these assholes in here... Didn't hear that braniac warning me about THIS! And where's that smug asshole, Dante anyway?? Shit. This is a disgrace...

Eres smirked.

"Hahahah... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!! Screw you, pig!!!" Eres yelled, smashing one of his PokéBalls into the ground.

STTTTEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLIIIIIXXXXXX!!!

*BRABABABABROOOMMM*

Steelix came crashing out of its confines, instantly blowing another hole in the ground. Eres didn't wait to hich a ride.

"Damn it! WAIT!"

Silver knew he was powerless to stop Eres' underground escape, and decided to focus on getting the 11 people that were still on the premises back to the safety of the inn.

"Feh... I'll get you later..."

Remy came out the tunnel at that same moment, spotting a stranger holding Matt's hat. He seemed to be about Matt's age, too.

"Hey! You there with the hat! Where'd you get that?"

The boy jumped slightly. It seemed Remy had startled him somewhat.

"Oh! Uh... I-I f-found it here. I thought I'd return it to its owner. Why do you ask?"

"I'm a friend of the kid who owns it. Looks like he might've hightailed it back to our inn. You wanna return it to him, right? Tag along if you want. Looks like you wouldn't be the only new addition anyway..." The Sinnoh native said, taking a glance at an unfamiliar girl hugging Daria.

Aeden quietly agreed and stuck with Remy as they made their way out of the stadium.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*DING, CHATOT, DING, CHATOT, DING, CHATOT*

The clock at the Smiling Sunkern rang. It was 3 in the morning as 12 worse for wear Trainers, Looker and Silver sat/stood/laid in the lobby. Looker had just finished his debrief, thanking the group for a job well done. While the main perpetrators had escaped, some grunts had been apprehended and were going to bring invaluable information to the investigation.

"Only time will tell, if these entry-level hoodlums will present us with any leads of worthiness. But I feel we might need the help of a group like you still. We will see about this as more comes to light."

Looker paused for a moment, taking a look at the weary bunch in front of him.

"But enough of this for today. Now, rest, as tomorrow shall bring us new challenges, no doubt. Tonight... Tonight was dangerous. Maybe too dangerous for you, even? Myself and Mr. Silver will convene here tomorrow at 09:00 hours. If you still wish to help me with this task be here then. If not, you are free to leave. Well then."

Looker took his leave, Silver following close behind. As he went to close the door behind him he turned to the Trainers inside.

"He is right, you know. That was too much for you kids to handle. If I were you, I wouldn't bother showing up at all tomorrow. Goodnight."

With that, Remy, Daria, Darius, Lee, Caleb, Rupert, Tom, Savannah and Ryan were left inside the inn. Matt was nowhere to be found. Additionally, two mostly new faces were with them in the room in the form of Kayla and Aeden. A heavy silence floated in the room until Remy spoke up.

"So... that just happened. Where the hell did Matt disappear to? And who would you two be?"

"So... that just happened. Where the hell did Matt disappear to? And who would you two be?"

Kayla, still caked in mud from the neck downwards, stepped forward, stood up straight, hands on hips and declared, "My name is Kayla Denit! I am the one who will enjoy life to its fullest! I don't want to catch them all. I don't want to be the best there ever was. I don't want to be a pokemon master. I just want to enjoy life with my partners and friends," nodding her head, arms now folded across her chest, "I enjoy crab cakes and rice balls. I like to snack on Rage Candy Bars, though I also like Lava Cookies. I enjoy biking and hiking and sleeping until noon. My favourite pokemon is Growlithe though I think Pichu is the cutest pokemon EVER. My favourite town is Olivine City. I love the view of the sea from there. Not to mention the boat is the best!"

Kayla took a step back and bowed, "Please take care of me." As she stood up again, her stomach growled loudly and she went beet red.

"PSY-!"
"SLASH!"
"-DUCK!"
"SAN-!"
"PSYDUCK!"
"SANDSLASH"
"DU-!"
"-SLA-!"

The two had continued their little brawl until they both had a hand(or claw, in as the case was) on the fan, completely oblivious to the grunts that had taken the fortunate(for them) time the pokemon had chosen to fight over a fan that was more a stick with the remnants of what might have once been the symbol of the Johto gym circuit. Neither willing to give up their grip on the prize, they began a tug of war game, albeit one that had followed three battles and their own little scuffle. In essence, each felt incredibly drained, and the measly tugs they used reflected it.

"PSY-PSY-PSY!!"
"SAND!"
"-DUCK PSYDUCK!"
"SANDDUCK!"
"PSYSLASH?"
"SAND?"
"DUCK?"
"SLASH?"

The fight stopped as suddenly as it began, as both began to ponder the linguistic implications of what they believed the other had just said. The fan was dropped and both held their heads in confusion, though in Daffy's case, it was a mix of confusion and an oncoming migraine.


Darius stumbled up the steps to his pokemon again, Whismur having jumped out of his arms due to his treatment of her earlier with the Garchomp, and she was suitably angry over the whole ordeal. Unfortunately, her small body and legs were barely able to keep up with her trainer as the two ascended the stairs, and he was in no condition to bend over to pick her up again. He was barely standing as it was. Reaching the top, he found Daffy and Knuckles looking around the area in confusion, the grunts long gone, and Darius not caring, as his head was still ringing from the stadium.

"What are you guys doing?,"He asked as he plopped down on what was left of a stadium bench, which broke from the force, sending him sprawling down onto the wet floor. Not that it mattered, he was still soaking, and it was still drizzling. Go figure...



The debrief had completed and Darius was in better shape and spirits. He'd waited for the meeting to be over before going to his room and retrieving another pack of tobacco. His other had been on him in the stadium, and for obvious reasons, it was unusable now. Returning back downstairs after he'd packed his pipe, he lit it and sat back down, just as Kayla finished her introduction. Daffy and Knuckles sat to his left on their own chairs, Whismur, who was still ignoring him, sat on another table nearby, and Numel was busy staring at the fireplace.

"Darius,"He waved to Kayla and the new kid,"Breeder in town for a bit of fun and some stuff you can't get in Kanto. Got roped into this mess because...I really don't know now that I think about it,"He clicked his teeth against the stem of the pipe,"Anyways, good to meet ya. There's probably some food around here somewhere."

Caleb watched as a group of International Police agents to apprehend and took away the grunts who he and his Pokémon had been keeping at bay. There was a few suspicious looks when the agents noticed the sword, but decided not to pay it any heed, as they had bigger problems to deal with at the moment. He soon sheathed the blade, and looked around at what was left; the arena, once a proud and elegant building, had now become a sort of wasteland from all the battling.

Raiden had decided to lie down in front of Caleb, still feeling worn out from the battle. The electric type was soon joined by Sebastian and Auron, who thought that Raiden deserved some company. Raphael meanwhile stood beside Caleb, observing the aftermath of the confrontation. Angelique was roosting on a nearby railing. A little while later, Caleb could make out the forms of Ryan and his Mightyena, who was limping behind its trainer.

"G-glad that's over with..." Was all Ryan could muster for the moment.

"Indeed, it is good to see that at least some of those hoodlums have been brought to justice at least, and that peace can once again reign over this arena. No doubt it will be a while before it can be restored to its former glory." Caleb remarked, commenting on the outcome.

"It is good to see that you and your Mightyena have come out of this relatively safe. We should probably reconvene with the others, and return to the Sleeping Sunkern. There is likely much that needs to be discussed." He then added, before looking at his team with a smile, before returning them to their Pokéballs. Today they had all done well, even the newcomer Auron had shown his mettle, he was certainly going to be a welcome addition to the team, of that Caleb was certain.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*DING, CHATOT, DING, CHATOT, DING, CHATOT*

The bell had just tolled 3 o'clock in the morning for the patrons of the Sleeping Sunkern, and around the lobby, everyone was looking tired with regards to what they had just been through. Looker had just finished his debriefing, along with a thank you to the whole group; but made mention that they may still need help from a group like them. Both he and Silver soon made their leave, with Silver turning to look back at the trainers.

"He is right, you know. That was too much for you kids to handle. If I were you, I wouldn't bother showing up at all tomorrow. Goodnight." Silver said as he soon left the Inn as well. That last comment annoyed Caleb somewhat.

"Children? You listen here Silver, just because you've had years of training, doesn't give you the right to tell us what to do." Caleb said to himself, calming himself down soon after.

Raphael, Raiden, and Sebastian had joined Darius's Numel by the fire. Raiden simply wanted to get some sleep in someplace comfortable, Raphael was simply watching the fire, as it always helped him relax after a long day; whilst Sebastian was hoping the fire would help dry his fur off. Auron was up on the counter with Caleb, looking at all the new faces, seeing if they would be friendly or not. Angelique was back in her ball, not wanting the place to be overcrowded.

One of the two new people to this collective 'group', was a lady who had introduced herself as Kayla Denit. Darius had already made his introduction, Caleb thought it was time to do the same.

"Greetings Miss Denit." Caleb said with a friendly wave. "The name is Caleb Grey, a native of the Hoenn region, more specifically Lilycove City. It is also a pleasure to be making your acquaintance. I was in town mainly for the tournament, though given current events, thats put a monkey wrench in the works. Hmm, I seem to recall that you were the one that our currently displaced colleague Matt Seras was to supposed to do battle with. Unfortunately, we've seen hide nor hair of him ever since that Smokescreen appeared. Wonder where he got to?" He then asked rhetorically, sounding concerned for the trainer.

"Where the hell did Matt disappear to?"


The streets of Goldenrod were all but deserted, thanks to a combination of terrorism, panicking citizens, and the unrelenting deluge coming from on high. Aside from the occasional police officer or courier, the usually bustling thoroughfares and boulevards were devoid of human life, though a few Rattata and the occasional Hoothoot had taken to the streets in their place. The billboards, neon signs, and brightly flashing advertisements that typically boasted Low, Low Prices and various brands of lemonade were tucked away or turned off; they didn't really seem to be appropriate, not when the city was under a threat such as this. Even the streetlamps, normally stalwart bastions of light, were dim and muted. Still, it was to be expected, what with the power plant under repair.

Without fail, the city's roads had been converted into tiny streams and rivers. The pouring rain had continued to fall for the last few hours, running off of awnings and racing down gutters into the streets below. Luckily, though the clouds overhead were dark and heavy, they were mostly silent; aside from the occasional, far-off peal of thunder, they were content to merely drop water onto the metropolis below.

Anyone with any amount of sense stayed inside where it was warm and dry, or rushed to their next destination wearing hoods and clutching umbrellas. They had no desire to stay outside, not tonight.

Well, one soul did.

A slim, haggard looking lad, his clothes and backpack soaked beyond belief, staggered along aimlessly, mindlessly putting one foot in front of the other. Even with his jacket's protection, the boy's shirt was sticking to his chest like a second skin, its chilly dampness forcing him to shudder uncontrollably. His shoes had long since been saturated with water; his socks were soaking wet as well, and he could feel his toes pruning up more and more with every step he took.

The youth's arms hung lifeless by his sides, streams of water running down their sleeves and pouring off of his slightly curved fingers. His legs moved forward mechanically, again and again, each mindless step sending up a small splash. His shaggy brown hair had been plastered to his brow and face hours ago, almost like some kind of garish Halloween mask; it was a wonder the lad could even see where he was going. Tiny rivulets of liquid, possibly rain, ran down his cheeks, their trails almost instantly being erased by the pattering rain.

A quartet of Pokeballs was strapped to his waist. All were occupied.

Soundlessly, with neither an umbrella or companions to make the journey easier, the boy wandered through Goldenrod's streets, some part of him silently rejoicing in the solitude that had swallowed him.

It was going to be a long night.

Daria Pace was unusually quiet as Looker and Silver took their leave. The circle of trainers gathered in the lobby were all looking a little rougher than they'd started. Jet, Spiegel, Slagger and Gemini were clustered together in a little ball by the fire, all contentedly asleep. The only one who looked uncomfortable was the Charmeleon, whose heavily lidded eyes observed the crackling flames. Their trainer was on the opposite side of the room, hunched down against the wall, chewing on a large bite of apple. The blood had coagulated and the wound on her forehead had scabbed over, leaving her a little unsightly, if only for how casually she carried the scar.

The others spoke back and forth, introducing themselves to those whom they had not yet met. And in the midst of it all, as said before, Daria was strangely silent. Her eyes were trained on the back of the Charmeleon in question, who was slowly wriggling his way away from the others. Silently the lizard slipped between a few legs and was up the stairs with no one the wiser. Pace braced her back against the wall, rising up to her feet and feeling the slow burn as her aching muscles revved back into gear. As it happened, as she stood Caleb took a look and noticed that one of their number was gone.

"Wonder where he got to?"

Daria stepped past him, moving for the stairs with a noticeable limp. "Who knows," she muttered back. "If I run into him I'll let ya know."


Spiegel's face was pressed against the cool glass. It felt good on his injured flesh, still reeling from the day's blows. He could feel the tiniest percussion as a thousand raindrops pattered on the other side of the windowpane. Goldenrod City was dark outside. A few golden lights illuminated the wet streets below, but not many. After the night's terrifying events, life had died down. People were snug and snoozing back in their beds, happy to forget the scary world outside their doors. Spiegel was supposed to be afraid of the rain, but it soothed him on nights like this. It felt peaceful and relaxed, like this was all their was to the world. Just him, sitting in an alcove with a window watching the world dream. He felt good, letting his mind relax into numbness. His thoughts did not feel like wandering on this evening, and kept coming back to the same place.

UUUUUUUUUUUURRR... SSSSAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRHHHHH!!!

A single, brutal impact. That was it. No struggle, nothing.

The Charmeleon cringed, and buried his face further into the glass until his eyes were pressed up so close he could no longer see.

Useless.

He heard a doorknob turning behind him, and could feel a slight draft as the door from the hall was opened. Quiet, cautious steps intruded into the room, but he didn't bother acknowledging them. He felt no right to. A warm weight on his back told him of her presence, he could feel his trainer's eyes on him, pleading for him to just turn around and look at her. He would do no such thing. He felt no right to look her in the eye. Useless.

In the silence, all he could hear was the rain. Not even his trainer's breath was audible over the snarls of the ursine monster in his head. But one small noise reached out and caught him, the shifting of weight and stress on the floorboards beneath the carpet. He could feel his trainer step closer, crawling into the alcove beside him.

And then he heard a click as the lock was removed from the window. The cool glass was slowly pushed away, and the gentle sound of rain on a lonely street brushed by his ears. He looked up at Daria, who was crouched beside him with the hood of her jacket drawn up over her head. Her smile was as gentle as it had ever been, and her hand was extended out to his.

"C'mon. I know what'll cheer you up."

If Spiegel's face could have reddened further, it would have. By his pride as a Charmeleon, there was no way on earth he would--and before he could even complete his thought, he found himself clinging to Daria's back as she threw herself from the window and began to scale the side of the hotel. Cool, refreshing rain splashed on his face as they ascended, Daria's legs swinging back and forth from outcropping to outcropping. She moved up the building as gracefully as the water came down it from on high. She reached the roof, grunting in exertion as she pulled herself up and swung her feet to the top. She stood up quickly, taking a few quick breaths as she chuckled. Spiegel clambered a little higher, sitting on her shoulders as she laughed at him.

"You really have grown, Spiegel. It was never this hard to carry you before."

Spiegel frowned for a moment at the comparison to his old weight, but he stopped mid-thought. Old memories he barely knew he carried came back to him. He began to cringe at the thoughts of those days. But then a strange warmth overcame the embarrassment. It hadn't really been so awful then.


"Chaaaar! Chaaaa-haaa-arr..."

The little lizard began to cry as it fell back onto its rear, its aching feet able to carry it no farther. They'd been walking for hours, and the creature could no longer stand it. He was tired, and hungry, and... and the pricks on his face told him that it was starting to rain, too. The little infant began streaming tears as his trainer stopped mid-stride and looked back at him. The girl dwarfed the little lizard. And to tell the truth, that wasn't even the part that scared the Charmander. The moment he'd seen her smile, he'd desperately tried to crawl back into the arms of the loving old man who had been there when he hatched. But the tree man had just handed him right back to her. Told him she was his trainer now, and that she'd take care of him.

But she was a demon. A terrible fey mood overtook her in battles, and he feared that she would start fighting other Pokemon herself. She'd tried to train him herself, and nearly knocked his head off with her first kick. How was something like this supposed to--

"Aw no, what's the matter little Spiegel?"

The Charmander stifled its tears for just a moment, sniffling as it stared up at Daria. His trainer was crouched down in front of him, face so low that she was looking him near in the eye, wearing the warmest smile he'd ever seen on her lips. She'd named the little salamander "Spiegel". And Spiegel, as he was named, watched in surprise as Daria's face creased with worry, picking him up and cradling him in her arms as she inspected him for injuries. She frowned, cringing as she got down to the bottom of his feet, bruised and tender. "Oh, poor widdle guy. Ya can't walk like this, can ya?"

Spiegel yelped in surprise as Daria scooped him up and set him down on her shoulders. He clung for dear life to the back of her head as the water came pouring down. His trainer just made a small huff of laughter at his panic. "Don't worry, little guy, I gotcha! Now hang on tight, okay? I'm gonna show ya something cool."

The little creature wondered what she could mean, but found out almost instantly as she shot liked a rocket for the nearest tree. Sputtering and screaming in terror, the little Charmander dug his claws into Daria's hair as she shot up the trunk of the tree. He clamped his eyes shut, begging for it all to stop. He felt like crying again... and suddenly, he felt his body lose momentum. A finger prodded his side. "Open your eyes, Spiegel, take a look!"

He did so, reluctantly at first, only inching his eyelids apart a millimeter. But as he opened further and further, he felt a sense of awe overtake him. The little creature was dumbstruck as he realized they were at the very top of the tree, balanced on the highest branch. And stretching in every direction, all of Viridian Forest was beneath them. The little Pokemon's mouth dropped open as Daria crossed her arms, admiring the view of the horizon. She glanced over her shoulder at her little companion. "Pretty wicked, huh?"

"Chaaaaaar..." Spiegel was so amazed he couldn't even articulate a response. Daria took that to mean he agreed.

"All right now, keep holding tight. This is where the real fun starts."

She stretched her arms out to either side, and without a moment's hesitation took a swan dive off the tree and began to plummet. Spiegel was screaming in terror again. Daria was either deaf or ignored him, because after descending maybe half the distance to the ground, she extended her arms forward and grabbed hold of a branch. She did a full flip around the limb once before releasing and somersaulting forward. She landed feet-down on yet another limb, crouched down, and used the release of the muscle tension to propel her even further. She began swinging from branches like a Mankey only wished it could, swinging her feet up to the point where she was horizontal in the air, parallel with the ground beneath and slammed her feet into a tree trunk. She began skipping from tree to tree like this, pure power and agility keeping her in the air. The little Charmander on her shoulders was no longer scared, no longer shutting his eyes. He could hardly even blink as he was now. He was entranced by this impossible feat, feeling the force of ever-shifting motion as his trainer carried him high above the trail.

And then, uninvited at first, little fits of giggles roiled in his stomach. First a little burst he forced back down. Then a stronger one that he could not resist. And then they grew longer, and more pronounced, until the infant was lost in a fit of giddy laughter that Daria couldn't help but join.

"Haha! Having fun yet, Spiegel?"

"Chaaaaa-ha-ha-har!"

"What's that ya say?! Faster?! Well, okay!..."

Daria clasped her hands in front of her face and stretched out, diving out into the open air...


...And began to holler as the clothing line she'd re-appropriated drew taut, sending her and her passenger flying high into the air.

"WOOO!" Daria released her grip, spinning up into the air with little visible control of her trajectory.

"Char! Char Char Char!!"

"I know, I know!" Just as the trainer began to descend, she shot her hand out and caught the corner of a building, pulling herself onto the roof. Letting out a big puff of air, Daria collapsed onto her front and started laughing wheezily. Spiegel climbed down off her shoulders, woozy as he fell onto his back, laughing as the rush spun his head around like a loose joint. Daria, still panting for air, beamed as she shook a finger at the lizard. "Theeere's the Spiegel I remember! Told ya it'd cheer you up!"

The Charmeleon looked down at his feet bashfully. Having none of that, Daria grabbed his chin and moved his eyes up to look at hers. She smiled the same smile Spiegel remembered from the Viridian Forest. She told him, "You did great today. No question. Okay?"

"...Ch-Char!" Unsure of how to respond, her Pokemon nervously threw up a salute of all things. Daria just laughed and hugged the little lizard. "Lighten up!"

After they separated, Daria held up a finger, digging into one of the pouches on her side. "Hold on, check out what I've been working on." She retrieved two grooved batons, holding them tightly in her hand as she showed off her handiwork. "Eskrima sticks. Something to give me a little edge in the future, so... today doesn't happen again, ya know? But I was thinking they might have other uses." She nodded her head over at the corner of the roof, where a line of cables ran from a pole down across the street to another building, and from there to yet another. "Whaddaya say, Spiegel? Up for some ziplining?"

The little lizard couldn't nod quickly enough, clambering back onto his trainer's shoulder as she dashed off into the rain once more.

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