Wayyy too long in coming, this chapter is. I thought I would ressurect this old thing, even if some of the ideas I had for it back in January which were original then have since been used in other stories by other people, and even by me.
I changed the name of Furetori - Team Rocket's boss - to Fitori (fire bird) because it sounds less... awkward.
Hmm, some cliched characters for going into the final matches, but... *shrugs* Also, I have no idea how the system worked, ignore plot holes please, I waited too long wasting time on this chapter to care about trifles. ^_^.
And this chapter really does suck. ^_^;; I just had to write it to get to the next part. Some people say I'm too hard on my work; that's not really true. There are some I write and think "wow, that wasn't bad, Leets", but this is truly not one of them, and nor have most of my latest ones been.
Oh, and this chap was too long, so it's been split in half.
Part 15 - The League
"Feels weird to be on the road again," said Ash.
Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu and Togepi were all continuing Ash's journey once more. But now it was Misty's journey too. They were going to the Indigo Plateau, where the Pokemon League competitions were all held.
Togepi had gotten a little bigger in the time out, and was capable of travelling by itself, although it did get tired fairly easily.
"Pika pika pika!" said Pikachu, bouncing up and down. No translation is required of what it said because the words themselves were meaningless, they just were an expression of happiness.
"I can't wait to battle too!" agreed Ash.
They'd had a lot of practise battles, but there was no element of excitement in them; they were purely strategy. Ash would always order Pikachu to stop attacking just before Misty's Pokemon fainted. There was no victory.
"I think we're here, guys," spoke up Brock.
Brock had been disappointed to leave the Hanasea house, especially since he was 'making progress' (in his mind, anyway) but after Ash and Misty's encouragement (Ash: "we really want you there, Brock!" Misty: "Lara Laramie and Nurse Joy will be there!") he decided to tag along.
And he did feel as though he was tagging along. At the beginning of his journies it was Misty that was the third wheel - a bicycle wheel, at that - but now him. He wasn't sure what'd changed exactly.
"Gee Brock, I'd never have guessed," grinned Ash. A huge banner exclaiming "POKéMON LEAGUE!" hung between two trees, and up ahead there was a great amassing of people, Pokemon and video cameras.
Ash's eyes sparkled. He'd seen the Pokemon League competitions on TV and had always dreamed of this day.
'My father would be proud of me,' he thought. He caught sight of his mother standing, looking a little lost, several metres away.
She turned. "Oh Ash, there you are! I'm so proud of you... this is your big day!"
She hugged him and Ash blushed. "Mom, you're embarassing me."
"That's what mothers are for." She grinned. "Hi Brock, Misty. How have you been? Are you ready?"
"Of course! I'm gonna be a Pokemon Master, remember?"
"Yes, Ash... anyway, it's so great to see you again. Every time you're gone you seem to get older."
"I act older?" He shot a little glance at Misty, who always called him immature.
"Uh... just do your best, okay?"
Ash sweatdropped a little and nodded, then headed down to where the competitors were gathered.
"Finally, I'll get to be a Pokemon Master!" Ash shouted. He pulled his cap backwards and started showing people the badges he'd collected. Misty and Brock hung back and pretended not to know him.
Pokemon League, a contest held twice every year, to determine which three competitors were the ultimate Pokemon trainers, and who would earn the right to be called Pokemon Masters.
The trainers first had to battle four past High Pokemon Masters. Known as the Elite Four, each aspiring Pokemon Master had to prove they had skill and fittingly powerful Pokemon to be worthing of competing. Because winning a badge through studying at Pokemon League or passing Pokemon Admissions Examination were not always the best indication that a person was actually capable of truly mastering Pokemon.
"Hahaha!" said Ash happily as he exited the Elite Four building, waving his victory happily. "I got the Leaguebadge! I tell ya Brock, they were the easiest battles I've ever faced!"
Brock, who was holding Togepi while Misty was battling, raised an eyebrow. "Really..."
"You bet! Pikachu wiped out Lorelei, Agatha, Bruno *and* Lance's Pokemon! It didn't even work up a sweat! What a great trainer I've become!"
Pikachu may not have worked up a sweat, but it did look rather battered. It didn't appreciate Ash's comment either.
"KaCHUUUUU!" (Stop BRAAAAAGGING!")
Ash was electrocuted and sweatdropped. "See, all that and it's still got electric power left."
"Toge?" Togepi looked a bit disturbed.
"Pika pikachu," muttered Pikachu to Brock. "Pika..." (He used Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charizard and Pidgeotto too.)
Brock laughed. "You know Ash, he can't help making things sound more impressive than they really are. Let's wait for Misty and then go to the Pokemon Centre."
"Why, so you can look at Indigo Plateau Nurse Joy?"
Brock smacked Ash over the head.
Brock, Ash and Pikachu lay on the grass outside the Pokemon League building.
"I think Misty won," guessed Brock.
Ash rolled his eyes.
"Hey guys, I won!" cheered Misty, running out to them.
"Really?" asked Brock.
"Of course really!" She smacked him over the head.
"All that stuff I bought from Cerulean Pokemart must've really worked! Because, look at this!"
She threw down a Pokeball and an unfamiliar Pokemon appeared.
"What's that?" asked Ash, and pulled out his Pokedex.
"Golduck," it said, helpfully, "the evolved form of Psyduck. It tends to be less difficult to control, and does not suffer from headaches."
"You're still consulting that thing? Boy, and you BEAT the Elite Four?"
Ash groaned. "Not you..."
Gary grinned. "The one and only!"
Behind him, his fanclub waved their pompoms and sang "Gary Oak's the next Pokemaster, now he can beat ya so much faster!"
One of the girls was missing.
Ash rolled his eyes. "That's a terrible cheer."
One of the girls, the one with long wispy red hair graded down the side of her face, smacked him over the head.
"Excuse me, I came up with that one!"
Brock went starry eyed. "Hello, gorgeous..."
"Did you beat the Elite Four?" asked Misty, ignoring Brock.
"You bet I did! Did it just like *that*, too! That Lance's Pokemon were pitiful. My Dragonite THRASHED his. If he's a Pokemon Master, there's no way I won't be."
"He WAS a Pokemon Master, 15 years ago," snapped Misty, "and he doesn't battle much any more. Your competition today's not as easy as you think!"
He looked at her critically. "And I take it you're among the competition!"
She smiled and struck a pose. "You bet!"
He laughed. "Well, a scrawny little -" She smacked him over the head with a mallet.
"Don't call me that!"
"A SCRAWNY Cerulean trainer won't be much of a challenge. I beat Cerulean Gym's Pokemon just like *that*!"
"Stop saying that," snapped Misty. "Besides, you fought my sisters. My sisters suck."
"How'd they become Pokemon Masters then?"
"They're not, *I* am!"
He looked at her with something like respect. "You were a Pokemon Master?"
"Right! And I'm going to WALLOP you Gary Oak! Don't forget that!"
She stuck out her tongue, took Togepi from Brock's arms and marched away, well irritated. Ash grinned and ran after her, Brock close behind.
"Stupid jerk," she muttered. Ash laughed.
"You said it!"
Brock agreed. "I don't know what's wrong with that guy."
The battles began. The Elite Four battles had sorted out the able trainers from those who were lucky occasionally.
The battling Nurse Joy knew much about Pokemon but her own weren't at high enough levels to make the grade. Duplica, who was surprisingly there, had passed the first three of the Elite before her Ditto ran out of transforming power. Joe, the boy from Pokemon Tech, had his strategy greatly improved, but his Pokemon still weren't strong enough.
Of those remaining, there were a number of strangers and a number of familiar faces. AJ, the wild Pokemon tamer, had gotten in, as had Damien, Lara Laramie, Giselle and Dario, the Dodrio trainer. They recognised some friends too; Lara Laramie was there with her fire Pokemon. Brock thought he recognised one girl from Celadon Gym, and Snap was standing quietly in the sidelines, hoping to get some good action shots.
Gary's fanclub gathered around him, offering encouragement. He grinned at them and said "Thanks ladies! I won't disappoint! But now, I have to do this by myself."
They nodded and melted into the crowd, bar one.
Alyssa took her trademark sunglasses from where they rested on her forehead and fingered them nervously.
"Uhh, Gary, I guess I should probably tell you now. Sorry I was late before, but I was kinda busy."
She silently held up her own Leaguebadge.
He blinked. "Alyssa!"
"I was always a trainer. I joined your fanclub so I could watch you and get tips. Well, that was one reason..."
"I didn't even know you had Pokemon!" he sputtered.
She sweatdropped. "Well, you see -"
Alyssa and Gary turned to see a cute girl running up to them. Fortunately, Brock was now gone.
"Oh no," groaned Alyssa, "not her."
Alyssa's sister ran up to her and grinned. "Long time no see! I see you've gotten a Leaguebadge! *That's* hard to believe! Hahaha!"
"Giselle," snapped Alyssa, "get lost."
"Oh, was I interrupting a sweet moment between you and your BOYFRIEND? You have a thing for younger guys, I suppose! Hahaha! I suppose you must be getting DESPERATE after all this time, when all the guys were chasing me, right? Hahaha!"
Gary sweatdropped. "What are you talking about?"
"You know who I am, right? Any self respecting trainer would!"
Gary looked right through her and said "I have no idea who you are but you're really starting to annoy me."
"You have no idea who I am... and you have a Leaguebadge? Must be a fluke.... Oh no!... my brother-in-law is becoming annoyed by little ol' me? Hahaha! Hey sis, I'm amazed you managed to get this far with your poor taste in Pokemon! Hahaha! But you see, I got into Pokemon League too, and I did it in style, not through awful hunting up wild Pokemon and getting all dirty. I got it through being the top graduating student from Pokemon League! Yup, it was me, Giselle! Hahaha!"
"Buying your Pokemon is cheap," snapped Alyssa, "any self respecting trainer catches their own."
"And your loser boyfriend here, has he -"
Gary smacked Giselle over the head. "Will you shut up!"
"I'm in full agreement!" said Alyssa.
"Oh, I think I've been insulted! And by my big sister too! That's hard to take!"
"I'm getting tired of your theatrics," snapped Alyssa, "if you don't have anything nice to say, get lost."
"Hahaha! All I have to say is... see you at the competition! We're up against each other, you know!"
Giselle strolled off, laughing to herself. Alyssa growled.
"I'd like to smack that little, stupid, obnoxious..."
Gary sweatdropped. "And I thought my sister was bad."
Gary suddenly remembered what they'd been talking about before, but before he could bring it up again, they were interrupted. Again.
Above the arena flew a large golden Fearow with a red banner trailing behind it bearing the Pokemon League symbol.
"It's starting!" said Gary, all other thoughts flying out of his mind. His dream was about to become true. Maybe now the people watching back in Pallet wouldn't doubt him so easily. And he could see his grandfather sitting in the front row of the bleachers - a position of honour - attending for the first time in years because his grandson was competing.
"I won't let him down," muttered Gary. "I won't let myself down. I'm ready for this, and so are my Pokemon."
He was aware subconsciously that he was being melodramatic, but all trainers seemed to be, so he accepted it as part of his skill as a trainer.
Pokemon League wasn't in a traditional stadium, it was outside in a terrific open space. Past experiences, what with Pidgeot blowing the walls down, Lapras flooding the gym or Charizard setting the building on fire, made this an understandable course of action.
After one of last year's champions, an Onix, had smashed down one of the walls, Pokemon League Committee decided not to bother rebuilding it, and instead created a new arena.
So that there would be no unfair pairings or situations in which one person was disadvantaged constantly, Pokemon League contestants had to battle every other trainer in the competition, and then the six who won the most would be grouped according to skill to battle for first, second and third place.
In that way, the trainers who couldn't cut it were weeded out. The League battles took place over a few days though.
Most of the battles were fairly uniform. And the days passed. The trainers who couldn't stand up against other excellent trainers gradually were taken out of the competition. Until there were six left.
And then some interesting battles took place, between friends or rivals...
Giselle and Misty stood at opposite ends of the arena, the first fighters of the day.
"It's the weak Cerulean gym leader who I thrashed last time! You remember that, right? It was great, right? Hahaha!"
"Why are some people so annoying?" Misty asked herself, but refused to let Giselle throw her concentration.
Pokemon battles could be dangerous, especially between people who didn't like one another. The referee blew his whistle, and then moved well out the way.
"Giselle calls.... Cubone!" Giselle struck a pose and threw her Pokeball. She made sure the pose showed a lot to the cameras recording her.
"Misty calls... Starmie!" At the same moment, Misty spun in her traditional pose and threw her own Pokeball down.
"This'll be easy," grinned Misty.
"My Pokemon is at a much higher level than yours!" boasted Giselle.
Misty retorted with "Starmie, hydro pump!"
Cubone found it a little difficult to do that while in a swirling funnel of water.
"Booooone!" it wailed as it flailed around helplessly inside the whirlpool before being flung to the ground.
"Bone," it choked, and dropped its bone.
"Don't give up that easily!" snapped Giselle. "Oh alright. You did your best... I think. Return! Pokeball, go!"
An Electabuzz appeared.
"Tackle it, Starmie!"
"Don't take that! Thunderpunch attack!"
Starmie spun through the air and butted Electabuzz in the stomach, sending it reeling backwards. Its antennae sparked.
"Quick Starmie, before it can do its attack, use... um, swift!"
Misty had a quick thinking trainer's mind. She didn't want to conduct electricity, but at the same time, it was dangerous for Starmie to get too close to Electabuzz.
Starmie twirled around until it was a flashing disk, then shot a volley of sparkling stars at the enemy Pokemon.
"I'm not losing! Thunder!"
Electabuzz glowed all over, before a huge electric beam shot down and hit Starmie square on.
The water Pokemon gurgled as it was struck, and weakly fell.
"Give it a water gun!"
Starmie didn't even have to get up, just shot a beam of water from one of its legs and Electabuzz was out.
Giselle glared at Misty. "I won't lose to you! You love water Pokemon, so try this! Now, Vileplume!"
"Excellent." Misty's eyes gleamed. "Pokeball, go!"
"What?!" sputtered Giselle as Fearow appeared. "You're not supposed to have non-water Pokemon!"
Misty rolled her eyes. "Fearow, drill peck!"
"Graveller, go!" shouted Giselle.
"Fearow, fury attack!"
"Ha, that's not going to..." Giselle trailed off as Graveller fainted.
"You said yourself, it's not a matter of advantages, just the Pokemon's level."
"Go, Persian!" tried the Tech student.
"You can't beat this one! Go, Scyther!"
"Why can't I beat it? I have the advantage!"
"But not speed, quick attack now!"
Scyther flew through the air, blades shining, and slammed into the bird, sending it to the ground, dazed.
"Fearow, mirror move!"
Fearow glowed slightly before mimicking Scyther's movements. It then slammed into the bug Pokemon.
"Agility! Do it again!" yelled Misty, getting excited.
Fearow rammed Scyther several times.
"Don't just take it, Scyther, SLASH!"
Giselle was getting worried, more because she was looking bad in front of an audience from all over the country than anything else.
"Drill peck again!"
It was a fairly quick battle.
"There's more to Pokemon than studying," said Misty, but she couldn't hide her smile.
The two girls walked to the Pokemon Center that was thoughtfully positioned a couple of hundred metres from the arena.
Misty had made it to the final.
Gary and Ash faced off.
"Finally," said Ash. "This is what I've been waiting for!"
"What, a crushing defeat?"
"You shut up!"
The ref blew the whistle and the battle begun.
Gary kissed his Pokeball before throwing it out. "Go Nidoking!"
"Go, Pikachu!" responded Ash. Some members of the crowd laughed.
Brock, from the audience stands, buried his face in his hands. "Gotta love that strategy..."
"Pikachu, Thunderbolt!" yelled Ash, relishing the chance to be dramatic in front of a crowd. This was how he'd envisioned himself for all those years.
Gary laughed. "I'm not even going to comment! Nidoking, horn.... drill?"
Nidoking had fainted.
Gary just stood there, jaw hanging for a moment. "Electric... ground... electric... ground. Have I missed something?"
"Don't underestimate Pikachu!"
"Okay, I won't. Go, Dragonite!"
The enormous Pokemon took up most of its half of the arena. The audience was impressed. A few Team Rocket members, in disguise as audience members, carefully took note of Gary's Pokemon.
The Pokemon flew into the air and its eyes glowed a brilliant white. It opened its mouth, and a huge beam of golden energy burst out.
Pikachu was nervous but determined.
The hyper beam hit Pikachu just as it managed to send lightning through the air. Both attacks hit home, both Pokemon went reeling.
"You're doing good, Dragonite," encouraged Gary, "now go for Dragon Rage!"
Dragonite, in better condition than Pikachu, flapped its wings and began to spin.
"Don't let it getcha, Pikachu," called Ash. "go for James' strategy! Go underneath!"
Pikachu ran so it was standing directly below the attacking Dragonite, and as with James' Weezing, was fairly well unharmed.
Pikachu's attack, while textbooks would call it 'not very effective' certainly had some sort of merit because Dragonite crashed to the ground - right on top of Pikachu who was still underneath it.
"Pika," groaned Pikachu, weakly crawling out from under the huge Pokemon. "Pika pikachu..." (Bad move there...)
Gary could see that Dragonite would faint before long. He could also see that Pikachu was in no condition to fight. "Return! Go, uh, Lapras!"
Lapras slapped one fin on the ground and glared at Pikachu. Pikachu, weak from Dragonite's unintentional slam attack, shrank back.
"Pikachu, return!" decided Ash. "Go, Krabby!"
Krabby appeared, and blinked at the huge water Pokemon.
"Go get it, Krabby! Crabhammer attack!"
"Krab, krab..." (You're joking, surely.)
"I'm not joking! Crabhammer!"
Krabby swallowed and nervously scuttled along until it was right next to Lapras.
"Lapras, body slam."
Lapras reared up, about to drop and crush the crab when -
"Krabby, return!" A beam shot out and pulled the relieved crab back to safety.
"Cheap shot," snapped Gary, "you can't use that Pokemon again now!"
"Squirtle, I choose you!"
"Squirtle!" said the water Pokemon. It was well ready.
"Lapras, another body slam!"
Lapras slapped the ground again and then slid towards Squirtle, its horn directed at it. The water Pokemon was undaunted. It turned to Ash.
"Get it with your Bubble attack!"
The bubbles flew into Lapras' face, confusing it and slowing it down.
The water Pokemon was faster on its feet and easily dodged Lapras, before fainting it with a blast of water.
"Okay then," tried Gary, "go Magneton! Thunder!"
"Squirtle, water gun!"
Magneton was faster and got in first. Squirtle went down without a murmur.
"Hm, maybe it's stronger than it looks. Then again, James' Victreebell beat it. So, Bulbasaur, I choose you!"
Gary laughed. "A Bulbasaur! Are your Pokemon at such low levels that they can't even get to the next stage of evolution?"
"Vine whip," Ash simply replied.
The 'weak' Bulbasaur caught the electric Pokemon in its vines and smashed it into the ground.
"Ne...ton..." buzzed the Pokemon, but it didn't feel anything. It wasn't alive, after all.
It was a weak attack, but well aimed. One of Magneton's magnets slashed into the grass Pokemon's bulb.
"Bulbasaur!" cried Ash, "hang in there!"
"Bulba," muttered Bulbasaur with some anxiety, as pollen started slipping from its bulb to the ground.
"Quick, Bulbasaur. Use your razor leaf!"
"Magneton, dodge it. Thunder wave!"
Bulbasaur trembled as it was paralysed. Some more pollen fell from its bulb. Ash was suddenly nervous.
"Bulbasaur, are you okay?"
"Bulb..." It tried to nod its head reassuringly, but found itself fully unable to move. It stood in a small mound of yellow pollen.
"Pollen... that's from a flower, is it?" asked Ash.
"Bulbasaur," confirmed Bulbasaur.
"Use Sonicboom," ordered Gary, ignoring the other two.
"You have a flower growing in that bulb?"
"Don't you know *anything*, Ash?" scolded Gary, as his Magneton sent a wave of energy out, causing the grass Pokemon to fall down in pain. "As Bulbasaur grows, so does its bulb, and when it evolves, the bulb starts to sprout."
"I knew that," muttered Ash. "You show-off. Bulbasaur, give that Magneton whatever you're capable of!"
Bulbasaur tried to nod. It didn't want to lose its first Pokemon League battle. Its bulb began to glow, and the pollen around it glittered.
"Solar Beam?" muttered Gary, and then louder: "quick, Magneton! Get out the way!"
But Bulbasaur was not doing Solar Beam. Something else was happening.
"It's... evolving!" gasped Ash, "but I thought it could only evolve at the Mysterious Garden! And that place closed after last time!"
Gary gaped. "You know about the Mysterious Garden?"
"I've been in it, hah!" Ash couldn't resist saying. "But Bulbasaur refused to evolve. So all the other Ivysaur got angry at it, but Bulbasaur still refused to evolve."
Gary looked impressed despite himself. "Well, it's evolving now. But it's taking a long time."
Magneton looked to Gary for orders, but Gary wasn't paying attention, just watching Bulbasaur.
Its bulb glowed a brilliant green, brightening, finally becoming almost blinding. Everyone looked away slightly, and the cheering crowd fell silent.
The glowing faded. The crowd looked at the grass Pokemon in amazement. A magnificent yellow flower had sprouted from its bulb. It looked vaguely like a large daffodil, if you can envision such a thing on a grass Pokemon's back.
"Bulbasaur!" said the Pokemon happily.
"It didn't evolve!" said Ash.
"I've never seen anything like that before..." said Gary. "Evolving physically but staying as the same Pokemon. Is that what happens when a Bulbasaur doesn't evolve at the level it's supposed to?"
"Do you have to analyse everything?"
Its bulb was now intact, but Bulbasaur was still a bit dazed from its odd 'evolution'. Gary saw that.
"Magneton, return! Go, Arcanine!"
"AAAAR!" The flame Pokemon howled and pawed the ground.
"Woah, Bulbasaur, you'd better return!"
The grass Pokemon, although it knew it was probably outmatched, refused to return. "Bulbasaur saur!" (I can win this!)
"Great," said Gary with relish, "Arcanine, flamethrower!"
Bulbasaur's leaves were charred somewhat, but the grass Pokemon recovered well, and launched at the fire Pokemon without fear.
"Great stuff, Bulbasaur! Bite it!"
"Now that it's close, Arcanine, use your ultimate attack! Fire Blast!"
Arcanine's fur blazed up, in a sheet of pure flames. Gary clearly wasn't messing around. Bulbasaur couldn't get near it, and when it tried, was badly burnt.
But it hadn't even begun. An arc of fire surrounded it, growing increasingly brighter and larger. Finally, it all melted down into one small Bulbasaur-sized ball, and that ball engulfed the grass Pokemon.
Bulbasaur, new and improved or not, didn't have a chance.
When the smoke faded, it had fainted.
"Woohoo, way to go Arcanine!" cheered Gary, happy to see that the odds were steadily evening.
Ash's mother and Professor Oak watched with mounting tension from the stands. In fact, everyone who knew the two trainers was.
"C'mon, Ash..." muttered Misty.
"C'mon, Gary..." muttered Alyssa.
"Bulbasaur, return! Charizard, I choose you!"
Gary gave a thumbs up. "That's more like it. A challenge, finally!"
Ash sweatdropped, but decided to just take it as a compliment.
"Alright, Charizard, use your... uh... rage attack!"
"Arcanine, take down!"
The two flame Pokemon lunged at each other. Charizard had the advantage of flight, but Arcanine had the advantage of speed and its fur was made of flames, which made contact with it difficult. It was a pretty even battle.
The two Pokemon attacked one another repeatedly, and both were clearly weakening. Ash gritted his teeth hard. He thought Pokemon League would be pretty easy, but Misty had been right. Maybe he wasn't up to this.
As he thought this, Charizard faltered, and Arcanine bit its tail hard. It howled.
"No," whispered Ash, "I can't let myself think that. This is it."
His thoughts picked up, and Charizard, as his Pokemon, reflected that in his performance. However, Arcanine was reflecting Gary's thoughts too, and was attacking doggedly without faltering.
Neither of them gave up, but finally, Arcanine's last take down was too much for both of them, and they couldn't get up, although their pride made that hard to accept.
"Back to the way it was," said Gary. "Go, Magneton! And what's your last Pokemon, Ash?"
Ash threw out the ball, almost reluctantly. Everyone could see why after it appeared.
"Pigeoooo!" cawed his last Pokemon, striking out into the air.
Gary laughed. "Almost too easy. Thundershock!"
Gary's mistake was underestimating the opponent and using his Pokemon's weakest move. If he'd taken Ash more seriously, he'd have fought with all his strength. As is, Pidgeotto was dazed but managed to shake off the attack.
"Alright!" cheered Ash, "give it your gust attack!"
Magneton was whirled around and finally smashed into the ground with Pidgeotto's attack.
It beeped, becoming weaker.
"Another gust! It's weakening!"
"Thunder attack, Magneton!"
Pidgeotto's gust had never been so dramatic. Lightning surged through it as the Magneton was swallowed up, and Pidgeotto as well.
The two trainers watched, holding their breaths. This could be the end of the match....
Finally, Pidgeotto fell from the sky. Ash swallowed hard.
Magneton, also, fell from the sky. It beeped pitifully as smoke came from it.
There was a long silence, before Gary said, unnecessarily, "I have one Pokemon left."
Ash's Pokeballs were all dark, signifying they couldn't be used. The referee moved forward, but was interrupted.
"Pikachu, you can't fight, you're not in any condition to, and I don't want you to get hurt."
Pikachu winked. "Pika pika." (No problem.)
Ash bit his lip. "Do your best, then. Well, Gary, what's your last Pokemon?"
Gary pulled out his last Pokeball. "This isn't an ideal match-up, but I'm going to use my strongest Pokemon!"
Ash groaned. "You mean your Dragonite or Magneton or Arcanine wasn't your strongest yet?"
"This one's the first Pokemon I got. Gramps gave it to me so it's the best I've got."
Professor Oak watched intently.
"Final Pokeball, go!"
A Pokemon appeared, and everyone held their breaths as the red faded.
"Jolteon!" it squealed. It was unnaturally small for its kind, but still looked intimidating enough.
Ash blinked. "A Jolteon? How'd you get that for a starter Pokemon?"
Gary didn't answer, just looked levelly across at his rival. Ash swallowed. A Jolteon would be one of the toughest opponents for Pikachu... it was spiky and couldn't be closely approached as such, and electricity would have a low effect.
But, nobody can give up, especially not at such a vital time. This was to decide their futures.
"THUNDER ATTACK!" both trainers shouted in unison.
Electricity flashed through the air as both Pokemon used their most powerful attacks. In the end, both Pokemon were still standing, but Pikachu somewhat shakily.
"Pikachu's no ordinary Pikachu!" said Ash with resolve, "Team Rocket said so. Nurse Joy said so. Even Misty said so, and that's saying something. So we won't lose to some Jolteon."
"This isn't any Jolteon. I got it as an Eevee and it's strong. This is my Jolteon. It's my best friend. We won't lose to some Pikachu."
The trainers from Pallet glared at each other, although Ash was a little surprised that Gary would be friends with any of his Pokemon. The reporters crowding around the arena were thrilled. This was making great film, and to go down to rivals from the same town, down to the last Pokemon, both starters, both their best Pokemon, and both electric types... perfect drama.
"Pikachu, thunder wave!"
"Jolteon, double kick!"
They attacked again, Pikachu's attack merely slowing the Jolteon down as it kicked out with its quick legs.
"Pikachu, Supreme Thunder!"
Ash was getting a little carried away. "Sorry, Pikachu. Just a normal thunderbolt!"
"Pin missile, Jolteon!"
Jolteon's attack struck again, as did Pikachu's. The electric mouse was clearly getting very tired, as all its opponent's moves hit home.
"Jolteon, give it a quick attack! Use the electricity!"
Pikachu's lightning surged around Jolteon. The Eevee evolution seemed in pain, but the electricity surged around it doubly bright as it charged toward the mouse.
There was a brilliant flash.
Alyssa couldn't stand to watch, it was too tense - for everyone it was, but especially for her, because she knew how much Gary wanted to win.
She turned away, and found herself face to face with her competitor.
"Hey Alyssa, can't wait until this match is over, right?"
"Oh, hi AJ. Nice to meet you."
"I'm gunna beat you."
"Uh, good luck."
"Hey! Ain'tcha gonna get intimidated?"
"By someone with hair like that? Not likely!"
AJ looked like he was about to come back with something, but the whole crowd around them suddenly rose to their feet.
Alyssa turned around and saw the light fading, and a huge dark crater in the ground.
Next half of the chapter