In Her Image: a Pokémon RP

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"Mmm-pbfffff--BWAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA--"

Before anyone present could do anything to save her, Daria had fallen out of her seat. The young woman rolled back and forth across the floor, laughing her lungs out with the sheer resounding force of her cackles. She could scarcely enunciate, forced instead to point at the self-digesting Skorupi to designate the target of her elation.

Slagger, sensing a moment of jubilation, began to laugh alongside his trainer. It all became too much for the Graveler, and he very quickly fell over and started rolling right along with Daria. This, however, was a mistake; a few changes in direction later, and one bit of unnecessary force on Slagger's part, and a Rollout attack gone wrong smashed directly into any and all trainers to his right; specifically, Remy, Darius, and their teams.

Tom could only watch helplessly as Kusari staggered around. Being lost in thought had let Rupert attack first, and the confuse ray was successful.

"CHOMP"

"Owch! That has gotta hurt... Kusari, just keep trying to snap out of it, and if you feel like you can land an attack use it! It won't matter what, it'll help us out somehow. Oh! And try to dodge anything that comes your way!"

However the poor pokemon stayed confused, and started attacking the ground. Meanwhile Rupert's Haunter was cracking up, and Rupert had a very confident expression.

Well, I can really only watch what will happen, but confusion is pretty temporary. Hopefully Kusari will break out of it before she takes too much damage. A couple of bites should take it out, but who knows if I'll even hit it?

Haunter's laughter had now evolved into roaring guffaws as he gleefully watched Kusari gnawing on its own pincer.

"Hau hau hau haunter!"

Rupert on the other hand didn't quite know how to feel. Okay, that worked. But laughing at Kusari like that is just rude, Haunter. She has barely even done anything to hurt you - yet. That can very easily change with that Bite attack of hers though. I have to remain in control here. That's the only way we can win.

Win. It wasn't that Rupert was convinced that they could win. This was just about showing his team and himself that he could give it his all when necessary. The main thing holding his pokemon back in the past had been himself. To change this meant learning mastery of oneself from Cubone, and learning to master Haunter. The Gas Pokemon had never been easy for Rupert to control. Haunter sometimes needed to be ordered very differently from Cubone.

Well, now what? Hypnosis? That might put Kusari out of commission for a while. But then that Confuse Ray would be essentially wasted. Toxic? No, she is Poison/Bug type. And Haunter isn't exactly the most durable 'mon, so we need Kusari gone soon. At least Haunter is far faster than her.

"Haunter! Um... Why don't you play ball?"

Haunter seemed to think this an excellent suggestion and immediately created a ball of black shadowy stuff and then threw the Shadow Ball at the Skorupi.

As Kusari kept givind the ground what for, Haunter was charging a Shadow Ball. A crackling shadowy ball of dark energy formed between the Gaseous Pokémon's hands until it was time to release it.

The Shadow Ball hurtled towards Kusari, impacting and widening to twic its original size, engulfing the target. As it dissipated, the small Skorupi came tumbling out, struggling to get onto its legs. Fortunately it had also gotten rid of its confusion, it was time to strike.

Making use of its multiple legs, it quickly made its way towards Haunter, launching itself at it and bearing down with its pincers for a Bite.

*CHOMP*

Success! Haunter was feeling the pain as a pair of pincers and a row of serrated fangs now refused to let go of their prey. It wasn't until it made its way through the ground that Kusari was forced to stop. Coming back up and looking very annoyed, Haunter was done playing. No more Mr. Friendly Ghost.
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Meanwhile, in the podium, Remy was suffering from Daria-related pain for the second time in two days.

"...owwwww. You mind keeping your Pokémon from maiming me every two seconds? I might have to start keeping Primeape out of its ball if this keeps up..."

Remy said while getting up from underneath 230 pounds of rugged rock, holding his pained back.

Darius saw the Graveller start a rollout before Remy and stood in front of Knuckles, and got hit with it instead. He fell on top of his Sandslash, who was more than a bit annoyed by this and dug his way out, demolishing the rocks with his claws and pulling the few bits of stone on Darius, off of him.

"You think you could rein it in a bit, honey?" He said as he was forced to tapped some more tobacco into it,"I've only got this one pipe and I'd rather not have to leave here looking for one, not when there's all this fun happening."

"...owwwww. You mind keeping your Pokémon from maiming me every two seconds? I might have to start keeping Primeape out of its ball if this keeps up..."

"You think you could rein it in a bit, honey?" He said as he was forced to tapped some more tobacco into it,"I've only got this one pipe and I'd rather not have to leave here looking for one, not when there's all this fun happening."

"Er, sorry!" Daria exclaimed, looking somewhat amused but not without a hint of shame as she retrieved Slagger's Pokeball, calling him back before he could cause any more trouble. "Really, I am; he gets a little out of hand sometimes, but he doesn't mean it, honest!"

She stood back up and sat back down into her seat. She looked very nervous, even a bit... awkward as her face twitched a bit. She was searching for some kind of topic to distract from yet another embarrassing incident on her part. She fixated on Darius and his tobacco. "Hey, uh, Smoker? Ya smoke."

Spiegel leaned forward a row in the bleachers, on the other side of Darius from his trainer's view, to give her a deadpan stare.

Daria realized suddenly just how stupid a statement that was, and nervously grinned even wider as she scratched the back of her head. "Well, I mean, obviously ya do! But, is there a reason or something? Doesn't seem like a lot of people do anymore."

Haunter's Shadow Ball had found it's target but so had Kusari's second Bite and with a Dark type advantage it was plainly obvious which had been more effective. This was especially obvious in Haunter's sudden silence. It wasn't laughing anymore. It wasn't even smiling anymore. Instead Haunter stared at Kusari with an expression that emanated genuine anger and something almost like betrayal.

Oh crapbaskets. Haunter is nothing like Cubone. Cubone faces anything no matter what the odds. He is fearless. Haunter on the other hand always needs to feel that he has the upper hand. When he doesn't he gets nervous. And when he gets nervous he gets angry. Haunter didn't expect Kusari to posses Dark type moves. This makes him nervous. I have to stay in control!

"H-Haunter! Use Hypnosis! Send Kusari to sleep! Then fire every Shadow Ball you can muster!"

Nothing. Haunter just continued to stare at the Skorupi indignantly.

"Haunter! I said..."

"HAUNTER!"

Haunter opened its eyes wide and they radiated a dulling yellow light, even while he charged a Shadow Ball with one outstretched hand.

*CHOMP*
Leaping out of the dust cloud from the enemy's shadow ball, Kusari's jaws had hit the target.

"Great job Kusari! Just keep trying to bite that ghost! Two more hits and it should be out like a light!"

"H-Haunter! Use Hypnosis! Send Kusari to sleep! Then fire every Shadow Ball you can muster!"

"Oh we can't have that, now can we Kusari?"

"Skor!"

"Exactly! So keep your eyes closed, use acupressure, and try to dodge every shadow ball you can! But keep trying to get close to it! And when you're close to it, use bite! Now GO!"

Kusari managed to avoid Haunter's Hypnosis in the nick of time. Using Acupressure, it could feel its offensive capabilities being heightened and dodged the first Shadow Ball. Haunter was still angry, however, and started charging more of them. Kusari made a break for it. With its Attack heightened, one Bite was all it needed, the only problem was getting through the Shadow Ball barrage unscathed.

The small Skorupi made for a difficult target as it waved in between the Haunter's powerful blasts of shadowy energy. Kusari was close, now it was just a matter of jumping and getting the hit.

Haunter's charging another Shadow Ball... The Skorupi jumps...

Tension fills the air. This could go either way.

.......

THE SHADOW BALL MISSED! BY A HAIR'S LENGTH!!! And Skorupi connects with the Bite!

Haunter howls in pain as the Dark-type attack takes it down. Unable to keep going, it faints.

That's it folks! TOM RELICT IS THE WINNER OF THIS MATCH!

What a spectacle that turned out to be! A Cubone with amazing spirit, awesome show of skill by the Sinnoh native Relict. I tell ya Terry, keep an eye on this kid!

Will do, Andy. Group 14's remaining matches are next, so don't touch that dial, folks! We'll be right back after these messages.

TOM RELICT IS THE WINNER OF THIS MATCH!

"ALRIGHT!" Tom shouted as he jumped and punched the air. Kusari shook herself off and jumped onto his shoulder, where her trainer patted her on the head.

"All of you guys were amazing! That was a great battle!"

"Skor..."

"Right. You're right. Hey Rupert! That was an amazing match! You're really strong! Keep training and we'll have a rematch in the future, ok? Uh... Sorry about your pokemon... I'll go with you to get them healed up alright?"

He ran over to where Rupert was standing and offered his hand.

That's it folks! TOM RELICT IS THE WINNER OF THIS MATCH!

As Kusari sprang back after her Bite, the gaseous Haunter fell down to the earth without a sound. It was over. Rupert had lost. And yet it didn't feel that way. Rupert had never considered himself much of a trainer, although his peers back in Lavender Town insisted that he was a natural. He just never had much of an interest in it. When challenged to a battle he would hesitantly oblige and usually win. But even then battles had always been something to just get over with, almost a necessary evil of having combat-ready pokemon. But this? This was the first battle where Rupert felt that he had actually achieved something.

I wasn't being fair. I always relied on Cubone and Haunter to finish things almost on their own. I was little more than a passive bystander. But that wasn't fair. Against trainers like these, trainers like Tom, I can't do that. I need to be more active. I need to support my team as they have supported me.

Rupert returned the unconscious Haunter to his pokeball. "Don't worry. We'll get even better, the two of us."

The mad cheering of the crowd brought Rupert back from his own little world, and he hunched over with the though of all the people watching him. Rupert looked over to the beaming Tom who was congratulating his pokemon and felt the need to cross the arena. He had to speak to him, he had to congratulate him, and most of all he really needed to thank him.
After trying and failing to take a few steps towards Tom, Rupert abandoned this plan. He just couldn't do it in front of all these people. Instead he turned and without a word hurriedly made his way to the tunnel. Halfway there he had to turn around again because he had forgotten his discarded coat in the blue corner. The embarrassment that burned in his cheeks gave him the appearance of a bizarre half human half tomato hybrid.

Once there though Rupert stopped dead in his tracks. Tom had come over with an outstretched hand.

"Hey Rupert! That was an amazing match! You're really strong! Keep training and we'll have a rematch in the future, ok? Uh... Sorry about your pokemon... I'll go with you to get them healed up alright?"

"I-I... Thank y... B-but I really wanted to t-thank... And that's r-really not um necess... Oh! And I'm sorry t-too. A-about your..."

Rupert was completely tongue-tied. He though that he would have a bit of time to formulate his thoughts before speaking to Tom. Stopping for a moment to take a deep breath Rupert blurted out:

"Yesthankyouthatwouldbeniceshouldwego?"

With that the two trainers walked of, coat retrieved to the tune of a few faint laughs from the audience.

Smooth, Rupert. Real smooth. And you were doing so well.

Rupert actually couldn't help but feel a bit proud. Not because of the battle per se, he had done his best but he knew that his best was nothing amazing, but rather because of his behavior in battle. He had managed to speak clearly for the most part, and even engaged Tom in some in-battle banter. It was almost like he had become another person out there. Rupert thought that he might like that person.

That's it folks! TOM RELICT IS THE WINNER OF THIS MATCH!

What a spectacle that turned out to be! A Cubone with amazing spirit, awesome show of skill by the Sinnoh native Relict. I tell ya Terry, keep an eye on this kid!

Will do, Andy. Group 14's remaining matches are next, so don't touch that dial, folks! We'll be right back after these messages.

"Well that was certainly fun and interesting match. Mr. Relict will certainly be an interesting opponent to face, should I pass this first hurdle. Now the bell tolls for me, and time to teach that ignorant Nicolas Tagnoni a few things about manners." Caleb muttered to himself, thinking on the final moments of the most recent match to finish; realising his bout with Nicolas was due to start. He then faced his team of Pokemon.

"Right then guys, it seems that we are about to be called to the field of battle, everyone get into their Pokeballs." He announced to his team, giving off a joyful smile as he plucked each Pokeball, and activated the return, his team disappearing in a red light. Caleb then noticed the recent combatants coming down the blue tunnel.

"I must say to the both of you, Tom, Rupert, that your match was splendid, and a pleasure to watch, do hope you'll enjoy mine." He remarked, as he stood next to the tunnel entrances, waiting to be called.

*Meanwhile at the Grey Residence...*

The youngest child of the Grey Family, Ciel, watched with amazement at the match, clutching her Lopunny doll tightly, a present from Caleb when he toured Sinnoh, as it came to a close. Her eyes even lit up with more excitement as the next match was announced, it was now Caleb's turn. She immediately began calling out to her parents.

"Mom! Dad! Its big brother Caleb, he is about to battle."

"Really? Well then, we must see this for certain. Hope our boy does us proud Amelia." Evan remarked to his wife, as they both made their way towards their daughter Ciel, who was already getting herself comfy on the sofa.

"Oh you know he will Evan." Evelyn replied with, as she sat next to Ciel. "Go on Caleb, you've got your family rooting for you."

And welcome back to the folks at home! Our next battle is up and it's without a doubt going to be a good one! So without further ado, welcome to the field, in the Red corner, from VIRIDIAN CITY, KANTO, NICOLAS TAGNONI!!!

Nicolas stepped into the arena, followed by Antoine, his butler. The crowd cheered, for the most part, with some unhappy betters shouting things like "GIMME BACK MY GIRLFRIEND!" and "YOU SUCK, TAGNONI!".

Aaand in the Blue corner! From Lilycove City, Hoenn! CALEB GREY!!!

Caleb's entrance was not punctuated by boos nor hisses, in fac, it seemed that a particularly excited group of young women in the stands had come here just for him.

"IAAAAAHH! CALEB! CALEEEB!"
"OH HE'S SO DREAMY! CALEEEB!"
"CALEEEEEEB! MARRY MEEE!"

Well it seems our contestant has a fan club with him Andy.
So it seems, Terry. Apparently they're from his region of Hoenn. That's the kind of excitement I like to see, LET'S GET STARTED!

Back in the Red corner, Nicolas was not so impressed.

"Bah, enough of this ridiculous buffoonery! Send out your Pokémon so that I might crush you in front of your loyal fans! PERSIAN! GO!"

Antoine throws one of his master's Pokémon, revealing a Persian.

Puurrrrrrsiannn

"Your move, Mr. Grey."

Caleb could only but smile with joy as his little fan club cheered him on. He then watched as his opponents butler tossed out a Pokeball which were sitting on a tray. As the red light faded, it turned into a Persian.

"Your move, Mr. Grey." Nicolas spoke in a rather angered voice, most likely jealous of the female supporters that Caleb. Caleb himself then removed one of his own Pokeballs, it had a fiery pattern emblazoned on it, and began throwing it up in the air, catching it in one hand.

"What is the matter Nicolas, jealous? In any case, go Raphael!" Caleb shouted, tossing his Pokeball in the air, out came a bright red light, which formed into his Combusken.

"Commmbusken!" Raphael squawked, displaying a series of punches and kicks, finishing off with a burst of flame. The grace and style of the swings seemed to wow the audience, and Caleb could hear one of the girls faint with joy already.

"Raphael, lets start this battle, with Brick Break."

"Com." Raphael chirped in response as he charged into the Classy Cat Pokemon. As he got closer, Caleb gave out another attack.

"Empower it with a fiery burn, Ember."

That's it folks! TOM RELICT IS THE WINNER OF THIS MATCH!

Daria leaned forward in her seat, looking at the two combatants as they exchanged congratulations with each other. He chewed her lip a bit, thinking about the proceedings. "Tom's good..." she said to the others. "...but he had that victory in the bag. He didn't have to be so playful about it."

She cupped her face in her hands, still conflicted about that match, when the next combatants were announced.

Our next battle is up and it's without a doubt going to be a good one! So without further ado, welcome to the field, in the Red corner, from VIRIDIAN CITY, KANTO, NICOLAS TAGNONI!!!

Then, she perked up. She sat back up straight in her seat, watching the arrogant noble walk out. "Tagnoni? I know that name. Hot-shot rich family in the city next to mine. He came up for a Gym challenge once... he's a complete a--"
Aaand in the Blue corner! From Lilycove City, Hoenn! CALEB GREY!!!

"Never thought I'd say this, but GO CALEB! WOOOO!"

She stood up, clinging to the railing as she threw up a fist to cheer on the strange man from Hoenn. "Rather ya win than THAT wet blanket, c'mon!

"Phah, jealous my foot. Persian, use Fake Out and move in for a Fury Swipes!"

Persian sets off to meet Raphael half-way, dodging the Combusken's attempt to pellet it with Ember. As they meet, Persian fakes an attack, which causes Raphael to flinch and throw its claw out at air, trying in vain to still catch its nimble foe.

With an arrogant purr, Persian extends its claws and pounces on its prey, clawing at the pinned down Raphael until it succeeds in swatting Persian away.

"Hahahahah. How'd you like that one Grey?"

For all his boasting, Persian's Fury Swipes didn't do all that much damage. Raphael was up and eager to keep fighting.
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Meanwhile, Caleb was getting support from his hotel aquaintances as well

Rather ya win than THAT wet blanket, c'mon!

Remy on the other hand had just returned with some soda pops.

"Ahhh... Nothing like a cold drink. Oh look, it's Grey. Anyone want a soda? Kid?"

"Hahahahah. How'd you like that one Grey?" Nicolas asked, starting off with a laugh. Caleb could only smile.

"Hmph, such a pitiful attack, doesn't look like it did all that much damage, then again, Raphael is a good type match up against your Persian." Caleb remarked, commenting on the weak nature of that attack, and briefly discussing elemental types. He then thought over his next move, chuckling ever so slightly, as he gave off a sinister grin.

"Raphael, gave him a taste of the shadows with Night Slash!" Caleb requested, as he looked over to his guests hotel, one in particular was rooting for him, the 'Pewter Fist', Daria.

Well well, it seems that my support grows with each second. But back to the battle. Whilst Persian is faster, it lacks the powerful attack and special attack statistics that Raphael has, combined with that he has a Fighting for a sub-type, I have the advantage for the moment.

That's it folks! TOM RELICT IS THE WINNER OF THIS MATCH!
That's a pity. But I guess it can't be helped. Rupert wasn't convinced if himself. Tom was. When Rupert and Tom passed him he laid a hand on his shoulder and congratulated Tom.

Ryan than returned to his seat. Aaand in the Blue corner! From Lilycove City, Hoenn! CALEB GREY!!!
Two physical pokemon. This is going to be exciting.

"Bah, you talk big, but let's see you win first. Persian, use Fury Swipes again! Bite it when you're done!"

Perrrsiannn!

Persian growled as it once again pounced towards Raphael. Seeing its opponent in the air, the Young Fowl Pokémon leapt in the air as its claws began to glow with a dark glow. Persian extended its claws to attack, but this time, without the element of surprise afforded to it earlier by Fake Out, Combusken's focus didn't falter.

Raphael's claw connected with its target's side, sending Persian plummeting to the ground. Raphael lands in front of its Trainer, clearly satisfied with its work, while Persian slowly gets up with a pained look on its visage.

Great move by Caleb and his Combusken! That looked like it hurt!

Yes indeed! Great, acrobatic performance by the Fire/Fighting hybrid. Can't wait to see its next move!

"Hmph. Persian, use Swagger and finish it off with a Fury Swipes! Don't you dare fail me now!"

Purrrrrrrr, perrrrrrrrsiannnn

Persian complied and started licking its paws and cleaning itself, as if to taunt Raphael, the point of Swagger being to taunt your opponent, making it go berserk and thus confused.

Caleb watched as the cat began licking its paws, using Swagger to confuse Raphael. From what he could tell, it seemed to work, but was unsure, so he gave an attack order.

"Raphael, focus yourself, don't be fooled by this cat. Dodge the attack if you can, then counter it with Brick Break." Caleb asked, knowing that if this attacked failed due to confusion, it might mean Raphael gets knocked out, and with him being Caleb's strongest Pokemon, he couldn't afford to lose that advantage.

"Com." Raphael nodded with, as he prepared to dodge.

Persian's attempt to confuse Raphael failed miserably. The Young Fowl Pokémon knew that it had the upper hand and simply ignored its foe's pathetic last ditch effort. Its pride wounded, Persian once again leapt at the Combusken for a Fury Swipes. It was too slow.

Raphael didn't even need to dodge. As the Classy Cat Pokémon came at it, Raphael took a fighting stance and focused its energy, before throwing a sideways chop at its opponent.

Per--? SIAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNN!!!

The Brick Break sent Persian flying towards the side of the arena, smashing it against a wall. It was definitely down for the count.

Ohhhhhh, that's gotta hurt. That Persian stood no chance against Combusken's Brick Break!

Absolutely! Lemme tell ya, that Pokémon ain't no chicken... Heheheh... ANYWAY! Persian is out cold and Nicolas is down to his last Pokémon.

"Rrrrgh... Damn you! Persian might not have been up to the challenge, but Silvio will obliterate your ridiculous bird. SILVIO, your turn!"

Antoine sent out the last of his master's PokéBalls, the crimson light revealing an elongated shape that hissed out, ready to attack its newest prey.

Ssssssevippaaaaaaaa

"Hahhahha! Let's see you defeat this one! Silvio, Wrap that chicken up!"

Caleb watched as Raphael sent Nicolas's Persian flying into a wall with a well placed Brick Break, even he had to admit that it hurt. He watched as the butler tossed out the final Pokemon that belonged to his master, the Fang Snake Pokemon, Seviper; for whom he called Silvio. It began to slither its way towards Raphael.

"Hmph. One down, one to go it seems." Caleb thought to himself as he quickly thought up his next move.

"Raphael, you ready to go another round?" He asked to his feathered friend.

"Com!" Raphael replied with, clenching his fist, willing to carry on.

"Alright then, if you wish. Try and dodge that Wrap, then give that snake a lick of flames. Ember!"

"Anyone want a soda? Kid?"

"I'm good, Remy. So long as the Graveller keeps from getting so excited, I'm ha-"

Rather ya win than THAT wet blanket, c'mon!

Crap. So much for that.

Darius positioned himself and Knuckles away from Daria and her pokemon, just in case it happened again. The fight wasn't one that particularly interested him, the Persian never had that much of a chance against the Combusken, everyone seemed to have one of the region's starters except him, not that he regretted leaving Pallet with just Knuckles, he got Daffy and Numel and Whismur in exchange, and that was good enough.

As for the Seviper that just came out, this would be an interesting fight, with the Combusken weakened from the Persian, if he played it right, and struck the right balance between being careful and aggressive enough, the guy with the butler just might pull this off.

Walking through the Blue tunnel Tom and Rupert came upon a well dressed bearded young man walking in the opposite direction. Rupert was sure that he had seen this man before. He had been sitting at the rowdy table in the hotel just yesterday. Apparently he was going to his own match, but he stopped for a moment in front of the pair.

"I must say to the both of you, Tom, Rupert, that your match was splendid, and a pleasure to watch, do hope you'll enjoy mine."

The gentlemen (which was what he registered as in Rupert's mind) seemed nice enough, but Rupert only managed to give him a nod that he hoped hadn't been too rude. Knowing that there were strangers that knew his name made Rupert uncomfortable. The man didn't seem to take offense, however, and made his way past them to his match.

Darn it. Now it seems a bit rude not to stay and watch. Should I stay? He seemed like a pro too. Maybe I could learn something by watching. But I really wanted to heal Cubone and Haunter first...

Rupert fidgeted a bit in place while pondering this. He decided that he should heal the guys but be quick about it. Maybe he could catch the end of the match. 'Is there a place to heal your team here though?', he wondered.

"I must say to the both of you, Tom, Rupert, that your match was splendid, and a pleasure to watch, do hope you'll enjoy mine."

"Oh! Thanks! Good luck with your match! Have a good battle, that's what really matters in this tournament!"

Tom noticed that Rupert was deep in thought, most likely about what he should do.

"Hey, why don't we run off to get everyone healed. Hopefully we can get back fast enough to see this match. Besides, then everyone can watch and have a good time. It really isn't a good idea to leave your pokemon hurt for too long. Does that sound like a plan?"

Looking around the tunnel, Tom saw that there were one or two trainers waiting for their own battles.

"Excuse me?" He asked, "But do any of you know if there's a place to get pokemon healed in the arena area?"

He hopefully looked at the others for answers.

Silvio was leagues above Nicolas' Persian in terms of fighting prowess. In an instant, it had closed the gap between the two and wrapped itself tightly around Raphael, seemingly undeterred by the Embers that managed to lick its scaly skin.

"Heheheh... That's it Silvio! Now seal the deal with a Glare!"

The Seviper trained its icy cold stare on Raphael's eyes. At first, the Combusken felt nothing, but then, a wave of pure terror washed over it.

Not only was Raphael being hurt by Wrap, it was now also Paralyzed.
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In the Blue Tunnel, Tom spotted two trainers. One of them was tall, over 6 feet and muscular with a thick ginger beard and a stern expression. He seemed busy grunting battle instructions at his Donphan and didn't even bother answering.

"There is a PokéCenter near Gate 8C. I suggest you take them there."

The second Trainer proved more helpful. A tall, gaunt and pale man, with blonde slicked back hair and a white lab coat that covered the black shirt and pants underneath. While helpful, his words had a distinct lack of warmth to them. He then turned to walk away, but not before throwing a frosty stare at the two boys.

Caleb watched as Raphael was beginning to be squeezed by the Wrap attack from Nicolas's Silvio. Instead of the look of that Nicolas wanted to see from his opponent, Caleb remained remarkably calm, an expression that Raphael tried to retain, despite being under a fearful Glare.

"Don't give up Raphael, this maybe a risky move, but sometimes the unexpected is called for. Raphael, try attacking Silvio's body with Peck, all the while trying to shake yourself free." Caleb called out, hoping the Young Fowl understood what was asked of him.

Meanwhile at the Grey Residence...

"Woo hoo! Way to go big brother, you showed that classy cat what for." Ciel screamed at the television with joy, as Raphael had finished off the Persian with a well placed Night Slash. She then watched as her brother then tangled with a poisonous Seviper, who had got the bird all wrapped up.

"Come on Caleb, you can do it!" She called out, spurring her brother on.

"That Combusken of his is certainly determined, it'll be even more so when it becomes a Blaziken." Evan remarked as he watched the battle with interest.

"There is a PokéCenter near Gate 8C. I suggest you take them there."

Although the man was helpful he replied in a seemingly annoyed tone. However this went unnoticed by Tom, who only registered the directions.

"Thank you! That's great! Thanks!"

Tom shouted after the man who just coldly walked away. He and Rupert then ran as fast as possible to the center, where everyone's pokemon were healed, and then back up to the stands where Tom had seen the rest of the patrons of The Sleeping Sunkern.

....Try attacking Silvio's body with Peck, all the while trying to shake yourself free."

"Yes! We made it! Just in ti-AAAH!" Tom shouted as he tripped over one of Slagger's arms.

Try as it might to attack or wiggle free, Raphael's paralysis didn't allow him to do so. Again, it could feel Silvio's body coiling tighter around it.

"Hahhahahha! That is the power of Seviper! Your Pokémon is utterly trapped. Silvio, finish this! Use Poison Tail!"

Ssssssevippaaaaa

Silvio uncoiled, releasing its prey for its next move. It lifted its tail and launched it like a spring at Raphael who took the attack in full, sending it sliding backwards. The move didn't manage to poison the Young Fowl Pokémon but it did seem to be in a lot of pain. Slowly, the air around Raphael started shimmering.

What a bout this is turning out to be eh, Andy? Seviper un-Wraps Combusken to deliver it a crushing blow!

Absooooolutely, Terry! That Combusken has seen better days. One one hand Blaze has been activated, while on the other, this might be its last move. What will Caleb Grey do? Risk a last ditch effort to take down Seviper? Switch out? Very exciting indeed!
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Menwhile at the stands, most of the Sleeping Sunkern patrons were following the action too. Remy, in between sips of Soda Pop offered his view.

"I'd probably risk it. A Pokémon coming in from a switch would probably just get the same Wrap/Glare treatment."

That's when Tom and Rupert came over in bombastic fashion.

"Yes! We made it! Just in ti-AAAH!"

"You okay there kid? Good battle by the way. You two are naturals."

Remy said, offering Tom a helping hand.

Caleb watched as the shimmering golden aura flowed around Raphael, as the announcer was saying that Blaze had been activated.

So, this is the Blaze ability. If I can recall, once a Pokemon's health points reach a critical level and has this ability, Fire type moves gain a bonus of 1.5. As he said, this could be Raphael's last move, and it would be a shame for it to not be utilized. Better make this strike count. Caleb thought to himself as he began to formulate a strategy. He saw that Raphael was still standing, but was not too long before it fainted.

"Raphael, you still with me?" Caleb asked.
"Com... busken!" Was the triumphant reply, showing he still had some fight left in him.
"Alright then, better make this our final strike, and make it count. Charge at him with Night Slash, then follow up with Ember."
"Com!" Raphael responded as he made his move.

Better prepare my next Pokemon in case things turn to folly. Raiden or Angelique. Caleb thought, making plans in advance.

"Bah, your last ditch effort is quite laughable Mr. Grey. Silvio, finish this chicken with a Poison Tail! Follow that up with a Poison Jab!"

The Seviper lay in wait for Raphael to rush right into its zone. The Young Fowl did just that and Silvio brought its tail down on its foe. Raphael managed to dodge the first strike and landed another Night Slash on the Fang Snake Pokémon.

S...Sssevipaaa!

Raphael turned back towards the enemy it had just slashed and let out a barrage of Embers, made bigger by its Blaze ability.

Sssssssssssevipaaaaaaaaaaa!

Angry and in pain, Silvio rushed through the Ember, bringing its poisonous tail up again. With a flurry of jabs, Silvio's attack found its target. Combusken was in no condition to dodge the attack, it had fought valiantly but this was all he could do for its master. With a last glance at the opponent that had bested it, Raphael fell to the ground.

And that's a victory for Nicolas and his Seviper!

That it is! Another gutsy Pokémon who singlehandedly takes on multiple foes and gives them hell until the last minute! Can't wait to see what Caleb has for us next, Terry!

Caleb applauded his partner's final stand as Raphael collapsed to the floor after taking on several Poison Tail attacks. He pulled out the flame emblazoned Pokeball, and activated the retrieval function, watching the Young Fowl return to a beam of red light.

"Well done Raphael, you performed with distinction and honour. Enjoy your rest, for you have certainly earned it." Caleb said with a smile as he returned the Pokeball to his belt. He then looked at his opponent, and sighed with disgust.

"It seems your arrogance and uncouth nature knows no bounds Nicolas, that is why your family isn't so well received by others. You think that just because you were born into wealth and privilege, that people of a lower social status than you are nothing by comparison. Yet, I also detect jealousy and bitterness in your voice, jealous of my family because of our social standing. The reason we are liked, is that we treat people of all classes with kindness and respect. The second your stop acting like a fool, and act like a gentlemen with diligence, then the world will accept you." Caleb remarked, offering advice to the ignorant Nicolas. He then removed his sword, planting it into the ground next to him, and hanged his coat off of it, allowing his light grey hair to shine, which caused another of the girls from his unofficial fan club to swoon.

"But enough talk, for we are here to battle. You forget Nicolas, I still have three Pokemon to play with, whilst you are on your last legs." Caleb remarked with a devilish smile as he tossed a Pokeball with a lightning pattern on it.

"Come on out, Raiden!" He shouted as he tossed the Pokeball into the air, and out came the Spark Pokemon, Luxio.

"Lux, Lux, Luxio!" Raiden roared as he entered the stage with applause.

"Well, your certainly full of charge. Lets give Silvio a shock with Thunderbolt."

With their pokemon healed Tom and Rupert made their way towards some available seats that Tom had spotted next to some patrons from their hotel. Rupert had quietly tried to find the right moment to speak to Tom, but these attempts were interrupted as Tom fell over what appeared to be a agitated Graveller. Rupert nearly fell down the nearby stairs in shock.

"You okay there kid? Good battle by the way. You two are naturals."

A young man with full red hair helped Tom back on his feat. Rupert recognized him from the previous evening. Almost everyone from the Sleeping Sunkern was here in fact. This included the girl known as Daria the Pewter Fist. Upon spotting her Rupert immediately tried to avoid eye contact with her, due to equal measures of fear and embarrassment.

Rupert was fairly sure that the red haired man was Remy Oliver, who had fought in the first match. Rupert almost returned Remy's compliment before remembering that he hadn't actually seen Remy's battle, and so settled for a sheepish "Ah... Thank you."

Determined to catch the rest of the day's matches Rupert sat down and was somewhat surprised to see Caleb retrieve his fainted Combusken.

And that's a victory for Nicolas and his Seviper!

Is he losing? Hang on, was that his first 'mon in the ring? Is his opponent on his last 'mon? Aw man. I wish I could have followed the battle from the beginning.

Caled seemed to take it all in good stride though.
"You forget Nicolas, I still have three Pokemon to play with, whilst you are on your last legs."

Ah. Well, that clears things up. Go Caleb!, Rupert though as the elegant combatant sent out a fierce Luxio. Rupert couldn't help but be somewhat taken with someone who carried themselves with so much social grace. He also couldn't deny a small pang of jealousy.

Daria's cheering was made all the louder when the arrogant little noble from Kanto and his Seviper took a particularly brutal hit from Caleb's Combusken. A good Pokemon match on top of watching a snobby little brat getting shown up was almost too much for her senses to take. Her smile was practically ready to rip itself off of her face and do a little dance.

Then, Caleb started to talk.

"It seems your arrogance and uncouth nature knows no bounds Nicolas, that is why your family isn't so well received by others."

"...Heh?"

"You think that just because you were born into wealth and privilege, that people of a lower social status than you are nothing by comparison. Yet, I also detect jealousy and bitterness in your voice, jealous of my family because of our social standing. The reason we are liked, is that we treat people of all classes with kindness and respect."

"Er..." her face faulted, going from a beaming grin to a bit of confused revulsion. This was compounded when the cape came off, and the "gentleman"'s hair began to glimmer in the sunlight. As a fangirl, somewhere, screeched her head off, Daria felt something else rising up within her.

Her lunch.

Feeling suddenly very ill, she settled back down in her seat. "You know what? I think I'll just let this match take its course."

"Yes! We made it! Just in ti-AAAH!"

"What the--" Daria's head turned, to see that Slagger had managed to trip an incoming trainer. "--didn't I put ya back in your Pokeball?!"

The Graveler shrugged and threw its arms in the air in resignation. Daria sighed and called him back to his ball for the second time. She walked over to Tom, awkwardly trying to smile as Remy helped him up. "Sorry about that! He's just curious, gets in places he shouldn't be! Great match, by the way!"

Caleb's words made Nicolas feel a varied range of negative emotions on the inside, but outside, he kept a cool facade, throwing his brown ponytail over his shoulder and retorted.

"Heh. As expected from a Grey. You try to make others look like the antagonist, while sitting on your high horse. Silvio might be my last Pokémon but he is more than enough to crush your feeble team."

As Raiden charged its attack, Silvio was issued its new orders.

"Silvio! Paralyze this ridiculous creature with a Glare, then Crunch its lights out!"

Sssss. Ssssssevipaa!

Silvio once again trained its gaze on Raiden, aiming to paralyze the Luxio as it had done with its teammate moments before. This time, however, it didn't work as Raiden simply stared back with a defiant air before letting out a bolt of electricity. Silvio barely dodged the first hit and made its way towards the foe, mouth open and ready to sink its fangs into Raiden's hide.

Raiden would have none of it. With a roar, it charged another Thunderbolt and as Silvio was just about to latch on to its prey the electric-type attack came down on the Fang Snake Pokémon, slamming it to the ground and frying it unconscious.

Vvvvippp... Vipppaaa...

Is that it? Yes! Yes it is! With what I can only describe as amazing control, Caleb's Luxio zapped that Seviper out cold after only seconds out on the field!

That is some amazing work by Caleb and Luxio, right there Terry. You can see that this Pokémon has been trained well! And with that, Caleb Grey is the winner of this round!!!!

The crowd cheered as yet another Sleeping Sunkern patron had made his mark on the tournament, leaving Nicolas dumbfounded.

"I... Wha... Rrrrgh! Damn it to hell! Antoine, recall that useless scaly worm and let us vacate this wretched arena. At once!"

"As you command, Master."

Said the young butler as he recalled Silvio into its PokéBall and followed his Master into the Red Tunnel.
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Up in the stands Remy cheered for Caleb's victory.

"Wooo! Way to go, Mr. Gentleman! Awesome Luxio moves! By the way... Darius, Savannah, shouldn't you get going? Your battle is almost coming up."
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On the opposite side of the stadium, a young man with an insanely loud Hoennian shirt and a Slateport Sharpedos baseball cap surveys the group with a pair of binoculars, stopping to look at the one with a green hat and light brown eyes.

"Nhihihihi! So that there feller's Matt Seras, eh? Can't wait to see 'im in an actual hoedown, right Chopper?"

Mach, mach. Chop!

"Eeeyup. Me too, brudda, me too."

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