13th July 2007, 3:24 AM
So, here we are, the beginning of the end. For those of you wondering what the hell I'm talking about, I suggest clicking on the following links in order, and returning to this thread later:
Here's the list of shippings this fic is likely to contain. Please note that this list is subject to drastic change at any time.
That's all my stuff for now, but I usually forget things so watch this space.
Chapter 1: A New World
Chapter 2: Way Out West
Chapter 3: Book of Brilliant Things
Chapter 4: The Messenger
Chapter 5: Back On Line
Chapter 6: Forgotten Years
Chapter 7: Creating Monsters
Chapter 8: Runaway Girls
Chapter 9: Dreamworld
Chapter 10: Company of Strangers
Chapter 11: Two Princes
Chapter 12: The Boys Light Up
Chapter 13: All Tomorrow's Parties
A New World
January 25, 2009, 2:00pm
I’d been to thirty-nine other Gyms, but I couldn’t put it off any longer. If I wanted to enter the Stralis League Competition, I would have to defeat the Point Noir Gym Leader and get the badge. It was ridiculous – Dante hasn’t been the Gym Leader here for at least two years, but I still just felt creeped out by the building. I didn’t want to go in. I walked right past it five months ago, getting the badges from all the other Gyms, hoping to boycott it completely, only to find out that Stralis only has eight Gyms. Point Noir was supposed to be the seventh Gym that challengers faced. In Dante’s time, it had been a Dark-type Gym, but now, under the new management, it was a Steel-type Gym.
Oh well. No sense in just standing on the outside. Standing around doesn’t get you badges. And I did want this badge.
I entered the Gym to find myself in almost total darkness. Squinting around, I saw two staircases on either side of the doorway, a shadowy figure sitting on each.
‘Welcome to the Point Noir Gym,’ said the one on my left.
‘Er… thanks,’ I said nervously.
‘I take it you’re here to Challenge the Gym Leader?’ said the other.
‘That’s right,’ I said.
‘Interesting,’ mused the first. ‘Ordinarily, you would have to defeat both of us before facing the leader.’
‘And today will be no exception.’
A handful of lights came on above me and I saw that I was standing in the middle of a slightly undersized Pokémon Battle Ring that included the entire area between the two staircases.
‘You battle both of us at once, and it’s a double battle. You use two Pokémon, we use one each. Are you ready?’
‘Check,’ I said.
‘Let’s go then,’ said the other. ‘Go, Scizor!’
‘Go, Lucario!’ the first one added. The two Pokémon appeared on either side of me. That was when I decided to back out of the arena, leaving my two choices.
‘Gallade, Flareon, go!’
They took their places, Gallade facing off against Lucario and Flareon against Scizor.
‘Okay Flareon, fire spin on both of them!’
Gallade ducked down as Flareon spewed fire in all directions. Lucario jumped up onto the banister of one of the staircases but Scizor wore the full force of the attack. It let out an awkward cry and collapsed. Its trainer returned it to its Pokeball immediately and sat down, clearly disappointed. I looked away from him just in time to see Lucario run up the banister into the darkness.
‘Gallade, follow Lucario! Flareon, light the way with sunny day!’
Flareon sent out her solar flares and Gallade rushed up the stairs but not quick enough as Lucario unleashed a devastating metal claw on him.
‘Flareon, use fire spin again! Gallade, confusion!’
The confusion hit first, immobilising Lucario for long enough for the fire spin to hit. Robbed of all defences, Lucario collapsed onto the ground. Its trainer returned it to its Pokeball.
‘Congratulations,’ said the Scizor’s trainer, a trace of bitterness in his voice, ‘you’ve earned the right to battle Dante.’
‘Who?’ My stomach sank as the house lights came on and I saw him, standing in the middle of the main arena.
‘Good afternoon, Max, and welcome,’ Dante said smoothly. ‘I wondered when you would pay me a visit.’
‘This isn’t a social call,’ I said. ‘I’m here to challenge you, win the badge, and leave.’
‘Of course,’ he smiled. ‘Arthur, the rules, if you please.’ He addressed this to one of the two I had just battled.
‘Certainly,’ said Arthur. He was the one with the Scizor. ‘We acknowledge and accept the challenge of…’
‘Petalburg City, of the Leader Dante at the Point Noir Gym, for the possession of the Foundry Badge. Both trainers will use all six Pokémon. The challenger will use four at a time, whilst the leader may only use three. Both competitors are free to switch Pokémon at any time.’
A three on four Pokémon battle? I’d never heard of anything like it before. I had to admit it was intriguing.
‘Leader, please select your three Pokémon now.’
Dante plucked three Pokeballs from his belt and tossed them silently into the arena. They opened up to reveal his Skarmory, a Bastiodon, and a Magneton.
‘Gym Leader Dante has selected Skarmory, Bastiodon, and Magneton,’ Arthur called out. Challenger, please select your four Pokémon now.’
‘Okay, Flareon, Gallade, Manectric, Totodile, do your stuff!’
My four Pokémon arrayed themselves in front of me.
‘The battle will be divided into two fifteen minute halves. If the battle is not completed after thirty minutes of elapsed battle time, the trainer with the most remaining Pokémon is the winner. Do you both understand these rules, as I have read them to you?’
‘Yes,’ Dante said amicably.
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘Kata form four,’ Dante bellowed at his Pokémon immediately. I’d never heard of that as an attack, and I soon realised why. It wasn’t an attack he was ordering, it was a strategy that he had rehearsed with his Pokémon, and given that name. All three of them knew their part.
Straight away Bastiodon used dig and burrowed underground, while Skarmory scattered spikes all around the centre line of the ring. Magneton seemed to be doing nothing at this point.
‘Manectric, use Thunder on Skarmory. Flareon, go underground and intercept Bastiodon. Totodile, jump into the hole after Flareon, and Gallade, keep Magneton away from Totodile!’
Manectric opened with his thunder attack, which Skarmory, I’m ashamed to say, dodged remarkably easily. Before Manectric could adjust his aim, he was being pelted by swift, fired form Skarmory’s beak. Magneton still wasn’t doing anything, but Gallade was watching it very carefully nonetheless.
Then I heard a rumbling underground and Bastiodon burst out of the ground directly underneath Manectric, who was launched high into the air. Skarmory swooped on him straight away and grabbed him in its talons, flying down until they were level with Magneton. Gallade didn’t realise until it was too late and Magneton had already fired the supersonic attack at Manectric. But it was Skarmory who went crashing to the ground, paralysed from prolonged contact with Manectric, who was now staggering around, confused and disoriented.
‘Snap out of it, Manectric!’ I yelled as he lurched towards Bastiodon. He seemed to see Bastiodon but at the last moment turned and launched a devastating thunderbolt that went right into Gallade. After a few moments Gallade put up a light screen and stepped back – right into Bastiodon’s take down attack. They charged straight through the light screen – which shattered – and into Manectric before Bastiodon turned off and Gallade and Manectric fell into a crumpled pile on the ground. Before I could even call out an order, Magneton was upon them, charging something up. At first I thought it was a zap cannon attack, but just too late I realised it was a hyper beam as it launched and engulfed my two Pokémon. When the dust cleared, both had fainted.
‘Manectric and Gallade are unable to battle,’ Arthur called out.
‘I know that!’ I snapped. ‘Sableye, Exeggutor, fix this!’ I had already lost a third of my team and now had no reserves. Dante, meanwhile, had suffered nothing worse than paralysis of his Skarmory.
‘Come on, Max,’ Dante called from the other side of the arena. ‘Stop thinking so much and let your Pokémon improvise.’
‘Improvise this!’ I yelled savagely. ‘Flareon!’
Flareon dug her way out of the hole just next to Skarmory and used an immensely powerful fire blast attack that knocked the iron bird to the ground in a one-hit knockout.
‘Excellent!’ Dante said, sounding genuinely happy. ‘Now you’re getting there. Bastiodon, avenge Skarmory. Empoleon, join the fight!’
Bastiodon made a rush for Flareon, who nimbly jumped to the side just as Totodile popped out of the hole behind them.
Totodile conjured up a giant wave which Magneton deftly avoided by hovering higher. Exeggutor locked himself down and allowed Sableye to climb into his leaves for shelter. The wave rushed after Bastiodon, who seemed to realise his eminent exit from the bout and decided to take Flareon with him. With a fresh burst of strength and speed, Bastiodon threw itself forwards into a mighty body slam, landing hard on Flareon’s tail just as the wave swept over both of them.
I was so busy watching Flareon and Bastiodon that I hadn’t noticed Empoleon ride the wave in and hack away at Exeggutor with a metal claw that completely dislodged his strength and knocked Sableye down into the water.
Most of the water dispersed, revealing that both Flareon and Bastiodon were knocked out. We returned them simultaneously and Dante threw in his next Pokémon – a Probopass.
Dante was watching the battle very shrewdly. He was looking very carefully at Magneton, then at the rest of the Pokémon.
‘Empoleon, jump!’ he called out suddenly.
Empoleon obeyed immediately, just as Magneton fired a zap cannon attack into the ankle-high water. Totodile, Sableye, Exeggutor and Probopass found themselves shocked by powerful electrical current – though of course Probopass was immune. By the time Empoleon landed, Magneton hat cut the attack off and the water was safe again. Totodile was floating, face up, eyes spiralled, in the water. I returned him to his Pokeball and realised with a nasty jolt that I now had two Pokémon left to Dante’s four, one of which was unused, while both of mine were critically weakened.
‘Exeggutor, giga drain!’ I didn’t even tell him a target, I was so nervous. Luckily, he picked Probopass, who writhed and twisted as the super effective attack sucked all of his fresh energy and replenished Exeggutor to full health. Probopass was looking pretty weak now.
‘Come on, Sableye, sunny day!’ I called. Empoleon seemed to have anticipated this and was skating towards Sableye, a metal claw attack at the ready. But before Empoleon reached him, Sableye used dig and disappeared down a hole, firing up his solar flares as he went. Suddenly the Gym was insanely bright, I could hardly see anything, but I knew what I had to do.
‘Exeggutor, keep firing solarbeams!’
The first on hit Empoleon, knocking him off of his careful balance and pushing him hard into the wall. The second solarbeam went straight for Probopass and knocked him out instantly. The third went for Empoleon again, and knocked him out of the battle too.
But Exeggutor didn’t stop there, he kept firing them at Magneton, who consistently dodged them. But as Magneton dodged the seventh or eighth solarbeam, Sableye burst out of the ground and grabbed onto one of its magnets.
‘Focus punch!’ I directed instinctively. Sableye complied and Magneton came crashing to the ground. Dante looked around at the arena. All three of his Pokémon were unconscious.
‘Bravo, Max,’ he said, returning all three of them. ‘All those solarbeams…’
For a moment I dared to think I had won, but then Dante tossed another Pokeball in to the arena, and I remembered he had one left.
His Steelix erupted from its Pokeball with an earsplitting roar, and immediately threw itself onto Exeggutor in a powerful slam attack. It wasn’t quite enough, but it managed to paralyse Exeggutor. Steelix seemed content to leave Exeggutor in place, and turned her attention to the Sableye that was darting around, looking for an opening to exploit.
‘Okay Steelix, we don’t have many options here,’ Dante said from the sidelines. ‘Use screech, and follow with Crunch.’
At once the entire Gym was filled with a horrible wail as Steelix used her screech to lower Sableye and Exeggutor’s defences. Then she dived in at Sableye, using a devastatingly powerful Crunch attack that put Sableye right out of action. I returned her to her Pokeball anxiously, and looked across at Exeggutor, the Pokémon upon whose shoulders lay all my hopes of victory today.
And when I looked across at him I could have cried.
Exeggutor, genius that he was, had used rest the moment Steelix had turned away from him, and was now completely healed.
It didn’t even have to charge – the light from Sableye’s sunny day was strong enough to blast Steelix right in the face. She fell heavily to the ground – but wasn’t finished yet. I was just about to order another solarbeam when-
‘Half time!’ called Arthur. I looked at my watch. Fifteen minutes had indeed passed. ‘During this break you may use healing items on your Pokémon, but no substitutions may be made and no revives may be used. You have five minutes.’
‘Use rest, Steelix,’ Dante said softly, then turned to face a red-haired girl who was walking towards him, a baby in her arms.
I told Exeggutor to use rest too and set about trying to eavesdrop while pretending to be checking Exeggutor for injuries.
‘I’ve tried everything that normally works, Dante, but she just won’t go down. And I don’t think that screech attack really helped things, you know.’
‘I know, I’m sorry. But this kid is putting up a hell of a fight. He may even get the badge.’
‘About time somebody did. You’re too strong for this place. Have you thought about that Elite Four position?’
‘We’ll talk about it later,’ Dante said, glancing in my direction. Then he turned back to the baby. ‘Come on, Holly, be good for Auntie Flan, alright? Just go to sleep.’
‘Wow, I never would have thought of telling her to sleep,’ said the girl with a laugh. She patted Dante on the shoulder and made to go back upstairs, but Dante caught her arm. He whispered something at her, and they both looked at me, and then she and the baby sat down on a bench at the sidelines.
‘Challenger, ready?’ Arthur suddenly called out. I kicked Exeggutor awake and nodded.
‘Gym Leader, ready?’
‘As ever,’ Dante said lazily.
I was more determined than ever to win this battle now. ‘Exeggutor! Keep up with the solarbeams!’
Exeggutor fired beam after beam, and they kept missing as Steelix wormed her way around the arena, before one finally hit – a glancing blow to the tail but enough to slow her down. Steelix came crashing down and Exeggutor fired one more, right to the face. Steelix closed her eyes. She accepted it. She had lost.
Arthur blew his whistle.
‘I declare this battle over, in seventeen minutes. The winner is the challenger Max, from Petalburg City!’
Dante nodded at the girl with the baby, who stood up and walked our way as Dante came over to me, hand outstretched.
‘You’re the first person to win here since I took over again,’ he said warmly, shaking my hand. When he let go, I found that the badge now sat in my hand.
‘That’s the foundry badge. You’ve really earned it, he said. ‘And this, he said, retrieving a TM from his jacket pocket, ‘is zap cannon. Teach it to your Manectric. You’ve seen what it can do.’
I nodded, just as the girl arrived at his side. With a jolt I realised who it was. Flannery, from Lavaridge Town.
‘And this,’ he said, taking the baby from Flannery’s arms, ‘is you niece. Holly, this is your uncle Max.’
Chapter two up soon.
Last edited by Zubeon; 8th June 2008 at 11:12 AM.
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