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The Corei Quest...rewritten!

Which Corei Starter would you choose?

  • Mongle

    Votes: 10 33.3%
  • Fryger

    Votes: 10 33.3%
  • Aquari

    Votes: 10 33.3%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


shove 'er in! ;O
After a gazillion years, the great AD finally updates lol

<Calculations and analysis of our distance to destination and current transportation velocity depict our estimated time of arrival to equate...> a series of mechanical beeping ensued from the boy trainer’s right. <One hour, forty seven minutes, twenty one seconds and... forty four microseconds from the end of this update.>

Exhaling slightly, Sapph turned to what looked like a cluster of hovering magnets and said grimly, “Well, your evolution certainly didn’t affect your nature much, buddy.”

<What did you expect, Sapph?> A small violet quadruped called up sunnily as it made its way towards them, stopping short of the rail. <At least he isn’t commenting on the glorious weather we’re getting!>

<Atmospheric conditions are: temperature, twenty three degrees Centigrade. Rainfall, zero millimetres. Wind speed: three kilometres per hour, thirty one degrees north-northeast. Pressure; one point oh-one-three bars per hectopascal ,optimuuuuuuuuummmmmmm.> Mighty droned instantly.

Sapph turned towards his sweat dropping team mate and said drily, “You were saying?”
HAHA. Mighty Might is love<3, dare I say he's sounding even more sophisticated now?

“On your guard, Blitzkrieg! Lapras, use Psychic!” Haley commanded in a panic as she saw a purple and gold-streaked hue the size of a ten foot tall pokéball begin to form in the mist.
Should be Tempest, no? I know that it's a Lapras, but it just seems kinda weird that Haley would call it by its species name when it already has a nickname...especially when she calls Voltog by his nickname in the sentence before.

“Poor heathen,” he murmured, propping Shrader up against the post near the crate before lowering the gun to the incapacitated captain’s temple and said in a voice matched in coldness only by the gleam of the light off his Ray bans “Imagine them doing my work for me. Time to wrap up here...”
Damn son, Light agents are swagged out haha.

Haley's battle with Don and Mac was pretty epic. Blietzkrieg was really showing his stuff there, good on him for upgrading Vital Throw to Stone Throw. Tempest has quite the arsenal of lethal attacks as well (naturally of course, Surf+Tbolt+IceBeam+Psychic dang). Haley's getting more and more suspicious of Sapph (doesn't help that he disappeared), and speaking of which, Mr. Manson has been developping quite the reputation since his gauntlet on the ship haha. That scene with Lord Theologos was pretty cool too, I wonder what Team Shadow has planned next.

Anyways, don't wait another half a year! Looking forward to more,



Who did this to me!
can i pwease on the pm list??
i just finished reading everything. Sorry i cant help u and give u advice cause im a reader and anything i read is good Q.Q.
Wow it's been a long time since I have read anything on serebii but I'm glad to say that the new chapters of TCQ don't disappoint.

Something I have noticed though is that most if not all of the links to photobucket for your fakedex are conning up as having no account attatched to them. I was wondering if I missed an update somewhere.

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Just so you know I'm here...

Time to show some love and get around to the errors...


Yes, the Tempest error was a slip up. Quite embarrassing. I'll work on that as soon as possible. As a matter of fact, after this upcoming chapter, I think going back to the beginning and fixing ALL errors would be a decent move, no? ;)

Also, yay and thanks for liking the battle! I was worried it might be a little too Deus Ex in Haley's favour... True, I wanted her to win, but not to make it that easy...


Thanks so much for the review! You ARE on the list! Don't worry about errors, even if I spell 'the' wrong, let me have it! It's why I put the story up here, as well as letting the world have something small to appreciate when the days are crap.


Yeah, about the Photobucket links, I've noticed they've been updated from my last upload, so the old links are kinda messed up. I have to really work on those soon too.

Which brings me to my two announcements: Firstly, I'm making impressive progress on the next chapter (funny what the internet playing up on your machine will do to you without Fakemon to sketch :p ) I'd say, if I kept this pace, I should be ready by the weekend/beginning of next week!

And secondly: we've come a pretty long way over the yonks, forty two chapters and three specials (what on earth is wrong with this E key?! :O ) People have corrected anything and everything, and I think it's about time I responded. Once Chapter 43 comes out, I'm going back to my grass roots and effecting ALL corrections! If I review other and act all Grammar Nazi on their butts, the least I could do is make the time you all put in worth it.

Now this isn't my PC and I'm on call today. Yup, I'm back from the study trip and work is beginning to put on the pressure...

LAST UPDATE: In my revamping information to ensure it all ends up consistent, the Corei League finals are "extended" allowing more people to enter OCs for the tournament! The deadline for this one has to be tight though, so I'm giving this a three week deadline (October 19th, the original TCQ's opening date) so if you're STILL interested, now's the time to bring it on!

Once again, the rules and format:

1. One OC per user.
2. Each OC should have at least six pokemon. NO Legendaries.

Name (the character's name of course)
Region (His home region. Home town would be nice too)
Description (again, for the character. his physical, behavorial quirks and quips go here)
Battle style (there are a few here: dark horse, unpredictable, diverse (uses more than one style), gun-slinger (pulls a powerful move when least expected. e.g. Travis dePaul III), power-hitter (favours powerful moves that miss often), defensive, annoyer-type user/tactical, give and take (either avoid opponents attacks or takes them head on and retaliates) Your own battle style is also allowed, although a brief description would be required.
Lineup (six pokes or more here please. a move pool would be cool too, but i may not follow it especially if you give a battle style. I'll reup the corei list soon so you can pick from that if you like.)
Achievements (Previous laurels for your character go here. keep them realistic please!)

Knew I forgot something. :p

Last edited:

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
This can't be, can it?

You better believe it is. :D

OK, OK, I'm four days off schedule, so sue me. It's still a much more pronounced improvement, right? Right?

Well, someone has lit a fire somewhere I will not share with you and this chapter is actually closer to being off-schedule that any other chapter I've written in a long while! The Internet needs to mess up on my laptop more often, hunh?

A couple of disclaimers before we get to the meat:

1, Tempest is property of Legendarian Mistress on Pokemon 2000 Forums. (I may have that username wrong again, but I want this chapter out there.)

2, Andrew Howard is property of Divinity_123 and Daniel Sector is property of Shadow Lucario. Hope I got the protrayals right!

3, There are some old characters returning in this chapter. Cookies to anyone who spots one! :p

4, As it should be no surprise by now, some deaths will be... reported. And some swearing will be sworn. Readers discretion is advised.

Well, I think that's everything. Let the mayhem... resume!

Chapter Forty Three: Water Battle, Full Throttle

The ocean made mournful rumbling sounds as the sun began to set beneath the roof of the warehouse, within which at least thirty hooded individuals assembled. The robes they wore were an immaculate white and each member had their eyes concealed behind a pair of Ray bans. A stage stood before them, several floodlights bathing the fixture in light as the group waited with hushed whispers and mutterings.

“So, what do you think?” One voice said to another.

“About what?” The Light operative replied brusquely.

“This new superior we’re meeting,” the first went on. “Can she be trusted?”

“Why not?” A third operative hissed.

“Do you suppose she really murdered her Golbat to prove her allegiance to the cause?” One individual whispered to another.

“She was Team Shadow before then,” the other replied. “She must have done a lot more to convince Their Lord and Ladyship.”

A hooded figure climbed the podium and removed their own shades before addressing the crowd, not that this made them any less visible in the glare of the spotlights. “Is everyone assembled?”

One operative said in a clipped voice, “All operatives in question present and accountable for…”

“Two of our brothers are still incarcerated,” one voice called out, interrupting the operative who answered. “What will be done about them?”

“Our Lord and Lady will decide their fate,” The voice went on, lowering their hood and letting a wall of black hair cascade down her back. Stepping forwards, her hazel eyes glittered in the light as she went on, “Their mission was done to divert the AGENTs attention from our operation here…”

“And they have no idea of what we are plotting?” one of the mutterers said dubiously.

“None,” the woman went on. “At least, this is what Our Lord and Lady believe. Our mission has been declared for us. And everybody knows their role?”

Several heads nodded although a few mutinous looks still interspersed the crowd.

“Very good,” the woman went on, her voice decisive. “Some of you may doubt my position here amongst you all, my brethren. But Our Lord and Lady believe in my worth.”

“Even if you belonged to the heathen Team Shadow faction?”

Much muttering broke out at this outburst, quelled as a silenced shot rang out and the dissident fell backwards, a neat circular hole oozing blood from his right knee.

Smoke issuing from a handgun the woman held in her hand, the woman hissed quietly, “Do you dare doubt Our Lord and Lady of the Light?”

Silence seized the crowd as they watched their brother squirm and moan, too overcome with pain to scream.

“While it’s true I belonged to Team Shadow,” the woman went on, causing a few more muttered protests to ring out. “My loyalty lies with the side that can provide me with power. A grunt can only get so much respect with Team Shadow.”

“So that story about you slaughtering your Pokémon,” the man groaned as the woman descended from the stage and walked up to him. “It’s… not a story?”

Grabbing the operative by the cloak, the woman placed her gun under his jaw and whispered, “As we are on the same side, you won’t find out just how far I’d go to get power. Fortunate, isn’t that?”

The man gulped as she dropped him and standing up, announced to the operatives nearest her. “Get him out of here. Our operation begins in a week and every man is important. Any more questions?” She added nastily, looking around.

The mutterings died away as every other head shook no.

“Excellent,” the woman concluded. Holstering her gun and walking back onto the stage and raising her hood once more, she announced, “Then we proceed on schedule. The world will tremble at our might. Light shall prevail over the shadows.”

“Light shall prevail over the shadows,” the voices echoed, recognizing the dismissal and, leaving the warehouse, scattered into the night.


The UAS Hydro had since then been making its way east and in the late morning has dropped anchor off the coast of Eastern Isle. Haley and Roni had commandeered a small landing craft and made their way to the island, a brisk breeze playing with the reddish blonde bangs Haley had left free of her hair tie.

Roni did his best to steer the craft in between clusters of huts and the random fishing boat without staring too much at Haley as she closed her goose grey eyes and enjoyed the wind. “So, this is your last challenge before the finals, hunh?”

Opening her eyes impatiently, Haley turned to the Junior Sea Ranger and said, “Naturally. And considering the tournament is only two days away, this may be the last chance to get one of those emblems...”

Clearing his throat as he pulled into the harbour and he and Haley got off, Roni said, “What will you do if you lose?”

Sparing Roni one last look of disgust, Haley lifted her cowboy hat off the back of her neck and, placing it on her head, began walking inland saying with a firm sense of finality, “I won’t lose.”

Somehow catching the hint in spite of himself, Roni fell silent as he jogged to catch up to Haley. Falling into step besides her, he took one look and noticed something distinctly off about her. When they had first met in Nightspatk City a little over a season ago, she had a temperament that let everyone know she had a job to do and was determined to do it. But then again, she also had a... ‘softness’ to her that one could clearly see at certain moments, like when she had cooed her then-Aquari. Now, however...

The Haley Kent of today, the young girl who walked besides him up the sunny street packed with vendors and wares of all colours and origins; had lost that kindness, that spark. She was still the brave, intelligent girl he’d met back then. But the gentleness was gone. It was like everything and everyone was a means to an end, and nothing was going to get in the way of achieving that goal. Like her Pokémon, she had evolved. But it wasn’t exactly the Metapod-to-Butterfree kind of evolution.

Just what had happened to her? Roni thought, as they took a right turn at the end of the street and walked on past the red-roofed Pokémon Centre. Women are not meant to be that... crabby. “So,” he said aloud, in a valiant attempt to break the silence. “D’you know where the dojo is?”

“Why else am I not asking for directions?” Haley replied acerbically, nudging a couple of citizens out of the way as the street crowd of hawkers and their customers seemed to thicken. “How does an island this small hold so many people?”

Finally able to answer a question, Roni cleared his mouth pompously and said, “There are actually many small off-shore communities in the surrounding waters. It’s why we took the landing craft out here. You did notice the clusters of huts around, did you not? Eastern Isle...”

“Yeah, that was a rhetorical question, genius,” Haley interrupted curtly, causing Roni to splutter into silence. “You’re the one who was all “You need supervision, blah blah, blah...” Where is Sapph meant to be, anyways?”

The question caused Roni to halt in place as a memory from this morning came back to him...

UAS Hydro, about two hours ago

“Manson? You in there, Manson?” Roni whispered from outside the boy from Cherrygrove Town’s room aboard the ship as the crew bustled about on deck, dropping anchor. With Shrader in the hospital wing and Tony boarded up in his quarters, Roni was the one who had decided to accompany Haley while she was on Eastern Isle. By extension, this would usually include Sapph Manson, as much as he didn’t want to take along a third wheel when trying to ‘woo’ Haley Kent.

Roni let the door open a crack and saw Sapph Manson’s bed empty. The sound of the shower running told him all he needed to know. Backing out of the room and chuckling to himself, Roni close the door with a genteel snap and winced slightly as Sapph’s voice rang out, “Hello? Is anybody out there?”

Crap, Roni cursed as he half-crept, half-slunk into an empty cabin halfway down the corridor, ducking out of sight as Sapph’s door opened and the young man’s head poked out and looked around, curious as to who it could have been. After a minute of looking around, Sapph shrugged to himself and ducked back into the room, locking the door behind him.

In the darkness of the empty cabin, Roni exhaled and relaxed, muttering to himself, “Damn, that was way too close!” Slipping out of the room, he straightened his red and yellow jacket and grinning to himself, made his way to the deck, whistling tunelessly...

-End Flashback-

Scratching the back of his head, Roni chuckled nervously, “Who knows? Probably training on the ship, or something...”

All Haley said in reply to this was a unconcerned “Huh.” And you’re meant to be investigating him? Please...

“What should it matter?” Roni recovered. “We’re both here. We should make the most of it, and maybe get lunch after the match...”

“OK, let’s get a few things clear,” Haley said coldly, stopping abruptly and turning on the spot to face Roni, her ponytail whipping him in the face. “I don’t need anyone else... especially you,” she said, punctuating the last word with a finger poke to the redheaded boy’s chest, “to plan my ternary for me. Heck, I didn’t need a bodyguard or chaperone or anything. I’ve got this. You can go back to the ship, for all I care. I do not need ‘surveillance’,” she said, voice dripping with sarcasm as she sketched quotation marks in the air. “I don’t need another voice second-guessing my judgments, and I don’t... need... you.”

What an attitude! Roni thought angrily as Haley turned away and continued on her way. Women should not be that assertive...that was Zayina’s problem... His thoughts of his ex came to a sudden stop as he walked into Haley’s back and with slight grunt, backed away and said, “Why on earth did you stop?”

Haley wordlessly shot him a backwards glance of scorn and jerked her thumb at the large, bamboo-fenced wood and stone structure they had stopped outside of. A clear eighteen feet high, the building resembled a rural meeting hall if not anything else, with its high-placed glassless windows and large double doors, the same green colour as its roof.

A gaggle of young children ran past them as Haley made her way towards the gate, one particularly obese lad puffing to keep up with them as they ran around the corner. A positive choir of voices were raising all manner of incoherent debate as they came closer. Haley was about to push the gate open when a voice called out, “Now you’re an unfamiliar face. What are you doing here?”

Turning around to face the speaker and the young man who stood by her, both laden with shopping bags, Haley introduced herself curtly, “Haley Kent, Olville Town. I’m looking for the Trigello Crew leader of the area.”

The speaker, a seemingly middle aged lady in a soft pink one-piece summer dress with white floral print, raised a hand to her shoulder length greying hair and said, “He’s away. What’s your business with him?”

Now what would anyone be looking for the Trigello Crew member for? Haley asked herself sarcastically. Aloud, she said confidently, “A battle, naturally. Where is he?”

Raising an eyebrow quizzically as the girl’s brash attitude, “Like I said, he’s away. The qualification period for the Trigello finals actually ended yesterday. Where have you been?”

Gritting her teeth in anguish, she let loose a stream of expletives and said, “I’ve been through hell and back for this! Where’s his substitute? I’ll take them on!”

The man answered for the woman, placing a hand in the pocket of his tropical printed shorts. “Didn’t you hear? The qualification period is over. Why are you so insistent?”

“What, are you the substitute?” Haley said shortly. “They feeling scared of one little battle?”

The man’s brown eyes flashed angrily and opened his mouth to retort when the women raised a muscular hand and cut him short. Lowering the arm, the lady fixed Haley’s goose grey eyes with her light blue eyes and said thoughtfully, “You know something, Conrad? I recall the records announcing they were one short for the knock out stage of the tournament... Haley, was it?”

“That’s what I said,” Haley said quickly, hardly believing her luck. “Does that mean I get my battle anyways?”

“Why not?” The woman said, a sudden breeze playfully ruffling the edge of her simple dress. “You certainly seem driven, if anything...”

“OK!” The man interrupted loudly, breaking the mounting tension the women shared. “Can I have a quick word over here?”

Beckoning the middle aged woman over a short distance away, the man called Conrad rounded on the woman and said “What’s the game, Florence? You know as well as I do Ollie submitted sixteen names for the tournament...”

“Oh, come off it, Conrad,” the woman called Florence winked playfully. “One more battle won’t hurt, will it?”

“This is you we’re talking about here,” Conrad said with an eye roll. “Battling was the last thing the League thought of when they recommended a break here...”

”No need to be such a stick in the mud,” Florence said confidently. “It’s just one battle. And I’m sure the League Commission will work something out...”

“Like you care,” Conrad said sarcastically. “You just want to battle!”

Smiling once more, the woman turned back to Haley and Roni and said cheekily, “Your problem?”

Face palming himself, Conrad groaned and followed her over, just in time to hear her say, “The name’s Florence, by the way. Are you ready?”

“Born.” Haley replied with a confident smirk.

“Right,” Florence said, hitching her basket further up the crook of her arm. She then handed her bags to the spluttering Conrad, saying sweetly, “Conrad, dearie, would you send these to the house and meet us at the cove off the southeast shore? You know the place.”

Sighing once more, Conrad accepted the bags and set off back into the swarming crowds. Roni watched him go with a sad shake of his head, thinking Man, talked about whipped...

“We using the dojo, then?” Haley asked as Florence adjusted the bangles on her left wrist.

“Nah,” Florence said. “They’re holding rehearsal for the Harvest Festival play now. We’re going to a special place to have a battle. This way,” she added, bowing them on their way.

After a few minutes, Haley, Roni and Florence left the bustling market place behind them and began a short march along the beach, a variety of dugout canoes and fancier yet no larger fishing boats scattered out to sea and interspersed amongst the various settlements out at sea around the shopping island.

“By the way, Haley,” Florence asked as she led the youngsters on. “Which type do you specialize in?”

“Water,” Haley replied succinctly, the prospect of obtaining a battle against the substitute almost assuring her what she believed an easy victory. Catching Florence’s smile widen, Haley asked, “Why?”

“Oh, nothing,” Florence said, the expression fading away and leaving a ghost of a smirk on her slightly weathered, yet no less attractive face. “Just thinking how much fun this will be...”


“I’m telling you,” Tony said into the computer screen on his desk. “Investigating Mr. Manson is a waste of time!”

The shadowy face on the screen said in a garbled voice, “Don’t be too quick to judge in his favour, Captain. I know he’s your childhood friend, but there’s no guarantee he’s clean...

“There’s no guarantee he’s in cahoots with Team Shadow, either,” Tony said resolutely. “Honestly, what do Ridlowski’s superiors think?”

The same as I’ve been saying,” the shadowy figure replied. “Mr. Manson being recovered in Team Shadow uniform near their then Dragon Cove operation is suspicious enough, even if his story IS believable.

“And what do you think... Ocean?” Tony inquired stiffly.

What I think doesn’t matter,” ‘Ocean’ said in a low voice. “What does matter, Captain, is that Mr. Manson remain under surveillance until you reach Southern Isle. We have an operative in the area, and he will carry out the investigation in your stead.

“Another operative?” Tony asked sharply. “The same one who helped Shrader back on Western Isle?”

I’m not at liberty to say...” Ocean began, before Tony interrupted.

“’Not at liberty to say’? That’s rich, coming from one of the top commanders of the AGENTs,” Tony scoffed. “My subordinate’s life was put at risk. The least you could do is divulge that information.”

And to what end, Captain Parito?” The voice went on, the note of challenge unmistakeable.

“We know The Light’s plotting something on Southern Isle,” Tony said acidly. “If Sapph isn’t involved with Team Shadow, which I doubt you believe, I want to make sure the island’s populace is secure.”

Who said I believe Sapph is involved?” Ocean said calmly. “I only said he requires a close watch. His story checks out with Herbert Sr. In any event...

“You believe his story?” Tony interrupted again. “Sorry,” he added, the silence his correspondent proffered him icy.

As I’ve said, his story is believable. And you know how strong a sceptic I can be.” Clearing their throat, Ocean went on, “Team Shadow has been quiet since the Dragon Cove incident, and The Light are still killing off operatives...

“Those deaths in the mainland have been confirmed as those of operatives, then?” Tony blustered, forgetting himself once again.

More silence. “So it seems. Andre von Blauss... Ingrid Spense... Tobias McGuffie... all Team Shadow operatives.

“What of Mia Huang, of Pampa City?”

A bystander,” Ocean said heavily. “She only stumbled on McGuffie’s murder and you know how much The Light loves a witness...

Tony felt a chill at this news. “And you’re sure one operative is enough to handle The Light’s conspiracy?”

They aren’t there to handle that,” Ocean said dismissively. “The earlier mentioned operative is there to keep tabs on Mr. Manson. Therm’s sending a squad to deal with The Light.

Tony let out a dry chuckle. “Bet they love that. Isn’t Therm a bit extreme for this assignment?”

We’re dealing with terrorists, Captain,” Ocean said shortly. “Terrorists with guns. I don’t think we’re overplaying our hand here.

“Ah, got it.”

By the way,” Ocean went on. “Where is Mr. Manson now?

The door to the infirmary opened and a boy with a mess of shaggy dark brown hair popped in saying, “Time for my ‘check-up’. Hey, Shrader.”

The head medic and his patient looked up as the boy came nearer, his bandaged hand by his side as he had the other pocketed in his short black overalls.

“Ah, Sapph. Right on schedule,” the head medic said in appreciation as Shrader propped herself up in bed and nodded a greeting at Sapph.

“We have Might to thank for that,” Sapph said sarcastically. Turning to Shrader, he added, “So, there’s still no chance of you telling me what you were up to back on Western Isle?”


Sapph groaned. “I hate it when you people get all secretive on me,” he said in a tetchy voice as he sat down at a table nearby and handed his bandaged hand over to the medic who sat opposite him and opened a first aid kit nearby.

“Comes with the job, I’m afraid,” the medic said unsympathetically, cutting the bandages off of the younger boy’s hand. He then raised the limb and examined it carefully as Shrader leaned in and said, “So I heard you got Tentis back from Professor Yew’s Observatory. Are you planning on training him?”

“And get poisoned again? Not a chance,” Sapph said acidly. “This isn’t like Zen’s disobedient streak where he just wanted to be free. Or Hunter, who just was too proud and stubborn to take orders before evolving. Tentis enjoys others’ pain a bit too much, and after Northern Isle, it doesn’t look like anything I can do will change that. He’s willing to kill for his kicks.”

Shrader gulped as goosebumps formed on her skin. “So why did you take Tentis back?”

“Gotta set him free,” Sapph muttered as the medic finished tying on the last of the bandages and giving his hand a pat. “Away from other people and Pokémon. He can’t be controlled and no other Pokémon needs to suffer his wrath.”

“I see,” Shrader said as Sapph rose to his feet and ran a hand through his hair. “I thought you liked a challenge.”

“I do,” Sapph said as he left the clinic. Stopping at the door, he added, “I just know my limits.”

Sapph left the sobering Shrader and the medic behind to head up to deck, thinking to himself as he went: It’s probably for the best. There are quite a few uninhabited islands between Southern Isle and Sage City. I’ll probably release him there... hello?

Sapph walked onto a battle taking place on the deck and stood back to watch the combatants go at it. On one end of the ‘field’ a blue and white creature with long, rabbit ears and a black zigzag tail jumped backwards away from the other, a grey, muscular Pokémon with red streaks running along its arms and a gold belt with a red P on it around its waist. The first Pokémon curled itself into a ball in midair and started rolling; hitting the ground with a sound reminiscent of screeching tires and barreling towards the larger Pokémon.

Not batting a red eye, the other creature crouched down on powerfully built legs and raised its meaty hands and took the blue cannon ball full on, the screeching becoming muted as its palms began to smoke and redden from the friction the impact was creating.

The grey creature grit its teeth as the attack went on, the skin on its palms getting rubbed raw in its race to endure the Rollout attack. After a couple more seconds the attack suddenly stopped and the rabbit’s Trainer sweat dropped and gulped.

Smirking broadly, the other sailor gave his Pokémon a command at which the powerhouse gripped the ball tightly and leapt into the air, windmilling his arm as he reached the zenith of his jump. The speed of his arm’s spinning increased as they began to descend, the creature letting out a long, low growl as they fell.

Smashing the poor bunny’s head into the deck on impact was too much to take, promptly knocking the hapless rabbit out cold. A third crewmate who was officiating the match stepped forwards and announced, “Azumarill can no longer battle! Machoke is the winner!”

“Yes!” The victorious sailor grinned as his Superpower Pokémon began to flex its bulging muscles. Noticing Sapph stare at them, the beefy sailor said in a gravelly voice, “What are you looking at, Kid? You want some of this, hunh?”

Watching the defeated Trainer return his Azumarill, Sapph walked up to where he stood and withdrawing a single pokéball from his holster, enlarged it and said, “As a matter of fact, I do. Think you can spare some time?”

“Your funeral, Kid,” the sailor chuckled. “Let’s take this one down too, Machoke!”

Smiling slightly, Sapph threw his pokéball forwards and announced, “Let’s battle, Cloude!”

Sapph’s tiny Castform took form in midair in front of the baffled opposition. “That’s what you’re going with, Kid?” The sailor spluttered half indignant, half amused. “This won’t even last a minute!”

Watching Cloude yawn long and loud, Sapph replied, “Yeah, well, ten Pokédollars says this will only take one move.”

“A bet!” The sailor grinned, the thought of easy money making his eyes twinkle. “How about we make this interesting? A thousand on Machoke to win?”

“Wouldn’t want to empty your wallet, but if you insist,” Sapph said in a mock concerned voice. “Ten to me if I win; a thousand to you if I lose.”

Laughing out loud, the sailor bellowed, “Now it’s on! Machoke, end this quickly with a Karate Chop!”

The Machoke let loose a roar and raising a knifelike hand above his head, began to rush the much smaller Pokémon, the limb beginning to glow white with power.

“Let’s dance, Cloude! Dodge ‘em all like we practiced last night!” Sapph cheered.

<OK, Sapph, dude,> Cloude said lazily as the first blow came down swiftly, aiming to cleave him in two. Cloude lazily drifted to the right and the force of the attack created a small gale that Cloude rode to safety.

The crowd gasped in awe as Machoke came up empty and Cloude floated around it unscathed. A blank look seized the Fighting type’s face as its Trainer yelled out, “It’s behind you! Get the little landlubber!”

“Keep the dance going, Cloude!” Sapph commanded.

The Machoke swung his arm around in a vicious, side-chopping motion and Cloude simply allowed himself to ride the winds up and away from the incoming attack. The Machoke then went on a rampage, taking swipe after furious swipe at the nimble Castform, each attack hitting nothing as the Castform simply seemed to dance away from each Karate Chop.

“Why won’t you hit?!” The sailor grated as the Machoke continued its seemingly pointless exercise. “It’s got nothing on you?”

<Dude, ever try catching a cloud?> Cloude said calmly, his blue eyes calm and composed. <It ain’t easy, but I suppose you’ve noticed that.>

“You know, back on Northern Isle, I faced a guy and his Hitmonchan who didn’t know his Pokémon’s limits,” Sapph told the irate sailor. “Cloude learned a new trick during that match. Wanna see it?”

“Why, you arrogant little...” the sailor grunted in rage, watching the Machoke’s last attack seem to slip through the white Pokémon and send it skywards. “Get it now, Machoke! Seismic Toss!”

“Cloude, Hurricane!”

Cloude quickly inhaled and expanded his chest as the Machoke stretched out a hand to grab the little cloud Pokémon. Exhaling forcefully, Cloude unleashed a torrential wind funnel upon his larger opponent, dropping the Machoke back into the deck like a ton of ash coloured bricks, slamming it down onto the deck screaming as the powerful attack tore into the Fighting type’s gut.

“Three things,” Sapph said to the disbelieving sailor. “One, heal your Pokémon after every battle. Two, a type advantage isn’t always a sure victory. And third?”

The sailor’s growling reduced to whimpers as the winds finally died down and his Machoke was not getting back up. Sapph smirked as his Castform floated back down onto his shoulder. After a nod from his Trainer, Cloude said, <You just got served.>

Leaving the sailor to pack up and hand him his ten Pokédollars, Sapph looked around and said, “Well, who’s next?”


Florence led Haley and Roni along the shore, the sea making low rumbling sounds to their right. Palms and black rocks dotted the landscape as they walked along, Wingull and the rarer Pelipper and Banduck drifting overhead through the clear blue sky.

“Why are we going all the way out here, Florence?” Haley piped up after a while. “Wasn’t that the official dojo we met you outside of earlier on?”

Florence looked backwards and nodded once. “Yes, but it’s a bit cramped for my taste. Besides I am only filling in for now,” she added, her eyes lingering on Haley before looking away again.

Haley regarded the woman with narrowed eyes. Was the League seriously letting someone this lackadaisical step in for the ailing leader? Seemed like an easy win to her.

After a few more minutes, the trio came to what seemed like a wide oval bend in the shoreline and Florence raised the shades from her eyes to her hairline and announced, “Well, here we are! Now all we need to do is wait for... oh, never mind.”

A loud noise like an engine of sorts seemed to swell from somewhere up ahead as Roni turned to watch the young man who had taken Florence’s shopping from them in front of the dojo approach them riding a white and blue quad. Haley’s attention, however, was only taken for a moment before she turned away back to the ‘battlefield’.

The shoreline seemed to be made up less of sand and black jagged rock which not only outlined the entire portion of shoreline, but seemed to rise above the rolling waves at irregular junctions, creating a set of platforms at varying heights and shapes. More stones rose and formed a loose barrier at the mouth of the bay which was close to forty feet in diameter along its greater ‘axis’.

“Any problems, Conrad?” Florence asked as the man drew up to them and killed the engine in the quad allowing the sea and birds to return to full volume.

Conrad shook his head and rose off the bike, stretching himself fully. “None, Florence. Are you and the challenger ready?”

“The rules should be explained by the judge,” Florence asked with a toothy smile. “Right?”

Haley could hardly see what Florence was being so seductive about. She wasn’t that appealing. OK, maybe if you were into slightly chubby women, no matter how well they were tanned... but maybe Conrad was just weird like that.

Nodding, Conrad beckoned Haley over and began dictating the rules of the match: “Each of you may use four Pokémon to battle, with only Haley Kent being allowed to substitute as soon as the dojo leader Florence has executed at least one attack. A Pokémon is declared unable to battle after a count of ten or if, in my judgment as referee, is officially knocked out. Any questions?”

Both ladies shook their heads to show they understood entirely. With a smile, Conrad indicated two large, flat rocks on either end of the bay and said, “If you will then, ladies...”

Giving Florence one more up-close glare, Haley turned to walk towards the rock Conrad had pointed out while Florence did the same on the other side. Conrad and Roni moved towards the center mark which would give the former the best view possible, walking with Haley a little of the way. Before she splintered off from them, Roni leaned in close and whispered in her ear, “Good luck, then.”

Haley closed her eyes as she walked off and with a small smirk on her face muttered, “Don’t need it.”

“I hope not,” Conrad said with a slight chuckle.

Within two minutes, Haley and Florence faced off on either side of the bay when Conrad raised his hands and announced, “Will both combatants release their first Pokémon?”

Nodding, Florence pulled a pokéball from the waist line of her summer dress and throwing it forwards towards a rock on her end of the field announcing, “Here is my choice! Poliwrath!”

Haley studied her opponent’s first choice carefully as it burst out of Florence’s first pokéball and formed itself upon two sturdy feet. The Poliwrath looked quite muscular beneath the mucus its dark blue skin excreted. Its eyes narrowed as it punched one white fist into the other palm, growling slightly.

Looks strong, Haley mused, running her finger along her pokéballs. According to research, Poliwrath is best known for its defense. In that case... she decided, plucking a pokéball off her belt.

“My choice is you, Vapor!” She called out, releasing her Vaporeon into the fray. Bursting free in the customary flash of white light, the second Water type raised his head above the cresting waves and shook his webbed ruff free. Glancing blearily at the Poliwrath, he gave a loud yawn and said, <Hey, Haley. What’s cool?>

“’What’s cool’?” Haley echoed as the referee raised his hands and announced “First round: Poliwrath versus Vaporeon. Begin the battle!” “You’re taking this lightly.”

“How about you, for starters?” Florence said coolly. “Ice Punch attack!”

Her Poliwrath gave a guttural sign of assent before charging up arctic energy in his clenched fist, leaping straight into the air.

“They can’t hit us from there, can sh-,“ Haley began before Roni yelled out.

“Haley, make Vapor move now!” the redheaded boy called out in a panic as the Poliwrath came back down aiming for the water of the bay.

Realising the Poliwrath’s intent, Haley’s goose grey eyes widened considerably before she screamed, “Vapor, dive NOW!”

<Right!> Vapor said in agreement diving as the Tadpole Pokémon’s fist hit the water and a trail of ice sped from the point of impact directly towards the Vaporeon’s direction. The ice hit the rocks between itself and Vapor, ending on the one the latter was resting in front of with a great splintering noise and Poliwrath opened him eyes to survey the effect of his attack, a clear line of frozen chaos separating itself from its quarry.

“That, Haley,” Florence said quietly as the younger girl blanched, “was the wrong way to dodge that attack. Poliwrath, why not go get her Vaporeon for her with Submission!”

<That won’t be necessary,> a slow voice drawled from between Florence and her Pokémon, causing the two to spin on the spot, looking for its source and Haley to look triumphant.

“Way to outspeed them, Vapor!” Haley cheered. “I knew you could do it!”

‘Knew he could do it’? What a crock, Roni thought to himself drily.

“Now use Toxic!” Haley commanded while Poliwrath still looked around furiously for his quarry. A loud splash from directly behind him caused him to turn, although it was too late. Vapor’s dainty fangs had taken on a sickly green tinge and with a snarl; the Bubble Jet Pokémon sank both deep into the stunned Poliwrath’s shoulder before itself could regain itself.

“Shake him off, Poliwrath! Now!” Florence commanded.

“Good job, Vapor! Don’t let go!” Haley countered.

The Poliwrath flailed desperately as Vapor clung to it like a Lileep, sinking more and more poison into the suffering Tadpole Pokémon. After a weird sort of dance atop the black rock in which Vapor’s body danced through the wind like a blue and green flag, Poliwrath was left with one option and, with a nod from Florence, rolled off backwards towards the ice, taking Vapor with it.

“OK, Vapor let go!” Haley commanded a second before they both hit the ice and shattered it into floes which bobbed up and down along with the waves their crash made.

Haley and Florence kept their eyes glued to the point of the arena where their fighters had submerged, a flurry of bubbles disturbing the surface as they watched.

“Hmph, so Haley chose Vapor to poison Poliwrath, lowering its already strong defence,” Roni muttered from the shore. “I could have thought of that.”

“Come on, Vapor, get out of there,” Haley cajoled nervously as the bubbles seemed to diminish in volume. Florence likewise barely breathed as the bubbles suddenly started up again, the fact that she couldn’t switch in this battle beginning to weigh on her mind and hoping Poliwrath could at least complete the last technique she had ordered it to perform.

A great splash and a blue blur pelted from the water’s depths and four paws alighted onto one of the rocks in the middle of the bay, their owner panting hard.

“Vapor!” Haley called out joyously. “You ok?”

<I’m cool, although I barely got away from him down there,> Vapor panted, shaking his head hard. <Another second or two and Poliwrath would have nailed my head on the shore with Dive...>

“That was Dive?” Haley started, staring at Florence, who shrugged and replied, “You were expecting a verbal command, Haley? My team and I have been around each other long enough to make that a redundancy, like a true Water type master would.”

Haley scowled at this as Florence went on “But if it makes you feel better... Poliwrath, Hypnosis!”

“Say what?” Haley gasped as Vapor looked around at the water frantically for where Poliwrath would rise from. “Vapor, guard up!”

Vapor could barely make out anything from the waters’ murky depths before a flurry of concentric rings burst from the water and surrounded the rock on which Vapor stood, catching the Eevee evolution completely off guard. Vapor’s eyes, which were already droopy, sagged shut and he dropped to the rock in a deep sleep.

“From the water?” Haley gasped as Florence chuckled and said, “And that’s not all! Poliwrath, take ‘em out with Submission!”

The Fighting type hybrid burst from the water a second later, its limbs and eyes a brownish red colour as it targeted the sleeping Vaporeon, helpless to defend itself.

Pulling off Vapor’s pokéball and pointing it frantically at her Pokémon frantically, Haley cried out, “Return for now, Vapor!” as the red tractor beam began a desperate race against the falling Poliwrath, a war bellow resounding from its gut as it thrust its fist forwards.

*continued next post*
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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
No words can describe this... TCQ Chapter 43~2

*continued from last post*

The flat rock exploded into shrapnel and dust as Poliwrath collided with it, the Pokémon growling deeply as the beam returned to its source, taking a sleeping Vapor with it. The moment Haley’s pokéball managed to succeed, the Coreian girl dropped to her knees and groaned in exhaustion “That... was.... way too close!”

“Will the challenger please select another Pokémon, please?” The referee announced. “If one is not chosen in fifteen seconds, Vaporeon will be announced as unable to battle.”

“Sheesh, keep your hair on!” Haley scolded, dragging herself to her feet and drawing out a second pokéball. This one white, with a blue tear drop and centre line, gleamed in the early afternoon sun as Haley reared it back and threw it forward yelling, “Go, Bubbles!”

Bubbles’s traction beam seemed to take an age to form after playfully bounding among the boulders around Poliwrath, who had started to pant as Bubbles formed fully before the Tadpole Pokémon, flexing her short yet powerful arms across her sky blue chest.

<Like, it’s been a while, Haley!> Bubbles said cheerfully. <How’s the battle going?>

Giving a terse shrug of her shoulders, Haley said “In a nutshell, Vapor’s poisoned her Poliwrath, and got put to sleep with Hypnosis. No knockouts yet.”

<Well, then,> Bubbles said, turning her right arm in a windmill as she crouched down. <How about we, like, score a first?>

The referee raised both arms and announced the matchup: “Second match: Poliwrath versus Aquala! Begin the battle!”

“Unlikely,” Florence breathed quietly. “Poliwrath, Submission!”

Stretching her hand out, Haley countered, “Dodge it, Bubbles!”

Poliwrath leapt from his rock towards Bubbles, his fists alight once more with power. Bubbles eyes narrowed as she followed the Poliwrath’s more or less straight path from rock to rock towards her. One rock away, Bubbles took off to her left drawing the angered Poliwrath after her and away from Haley.

Sweat joined the mucus surrounding Poliwrath as he let loose with a storm of powerful strikes, each one determined to lay Bubbles out flat. Due to her smaller size and daintier physique, Bubbles put up an awesome display of dancing around her charging opponent, switching directions after every other rock. Poliwrath’s reactions were dulling tremendously as it went on, Bubbles’s tinkling laughter trailing her along with the maddened Poliwrath as the chase wore on.

“This is going nowhere,” Florence scowled to herself. “Gotta stop her movements... Poliwrath, go underwater and use Hypnosis again!”

“Not gonna happen, Florence! Bubbles, follow them in and use Double Edge!”

Both Pokémon followed orders and leaped into the foaming waves as the last of the ice dissolved.

“Thanks for playing my way, Haley,” Florence said with a smirk. “Now you’re right where I want you. Poliwrath, switch to Ice Punch!”

Oh, nuts! A feint! Haley thought in a worried voice as the golden glow of the Water/Fighting Pokémon’s normally white belly faded out and an Ice Punch began to form on its fist instead. “Bubbles, get out of there now!”

A loud slamming noise, however, resounded with the sound of the tide and the rocks on which both Haley and Florence stood on shook horribly as a fearsome blow was struck underwater. The white spot died away and two dark shapes seemed to rise up the side of the rocky ‘platform’ to the surface accompanied with a rough grating sound.

A few seconds later, Bubbles and Poliwrath both burst from the water and flew up a short distance into the air. A nasty shade of green highlighting Poliwrath’s dark blue; his fatigue due to the poisoning now obvious. Bubbles, on top of her opponent, shoved her shoulder as hard as she could into Poliwrath’s belly as gravity overtook their ascent and their combined weight and Bubbles’s effort caused them to slam heavily into the rock in question, causing it to split from the point of impact in all directions across its surface.

Bubbles rose to her delicate white feet and stepped backwards off and away from Poliwrath, the swirls in its eyes telling the story as Haley let loose a quick exhale and smiled a small smile.

How’s that? She asked with a bit of swagger as the referee raised his hand towards her end of the bay towards the Aquala who’d just stop shaking and announced, “Poliwrath is unable to battle! Aquala wins the second round!”


Next time we meet, it’ll be at the League finals... I’ll find out the truth and expose you for the man you truly are then. Don’t wimp out... Manson.

Back at the market place, Kamren Kent opened his goose grey eyes, raised a half eaten rice ball to his mouth and took another meditative bite. The noise never seemed to abate as shoppers haggled and store owners peddled their customers out of a decent price all around him.

The volume of the activity around him did nothing to distract his thought process as he exhaled and leaned backwards further under the bright red parasol that matched his long reddish blond hair. A lock here and there made his normally well-groomed mane slightly unkempt as he closed his eyes once again and chewed.

His last meeting with his Johton rival felt somewhat... odd. Sapph had always been up for a challenge, even if he wasn’t quite as aggressive as he himself...

EverWood Town Pokémon Centre, four months ago

Kamren had just come in from a hard day’s training in the forest, Carla, Calvin and Dex in tow. As if it had been agreed amongst the friends before they had set off from Olville Town, Kamren had trained apart from the only other Trainer in the group at the time. What seemed like a blur of green flew across their field of vision and, turning towards its source, saw a boy with slightly messed up hair sitting at a table while a red insect of sorts tried to appease an obviously-aggravated Chansey. Recognizing his rival, Kamren felt a need to aimlessly aggravate his rival.

“Awww, if it isn’t widdle Sapphire,” cooed a mocking baby voice.

Sapph became rigid as he turned around. He knew who was there, but the knowledge of this didn’t make Sapph relieved in the slightest to see Kamren standing there with Calvin, Carla and Dex.

“Hi, widdle Kammy,” Sapph retorted, “Who’re the widdle losers, who’re the widdle losers?” he added, looking around the group.

Carla opened her mouth and Chaz started towards Sapph, but Kamren stopped them both.

“Never you two mind, I’ll take him on, unless he’s chicken!” Kamren taunted, rolling Burner’s shrunken pokéball between his fingers.

“I’m no chicken…” Sapph began.

“Besides,” a younger Nurse Joy said, joining them at the table and keeping Chansey from further injuring Mongle (who had just picked himself off the wall and let off a rude comment about Chansey’s girth), “Ledyba and Mongle have just eaten, they can’t fight you now, no matter how much…”

“…I’d love to whup you and Burner’s…” Sapph protested.

“Yeah, right, chicken boy! That rat can’t even fight off a wussy Chansey!” Kamren taunted.

Chansey couldn’t take the night’s rudeness anymore, and stalked off once more to look for the senior Nurse-on-Duty to hand in a request for transferral to another Pokémon Centre away from spitting Mongles and egotistical redheaded blonds in the cause of protecting her over wounded feelings.

“Why, you…”

”Leave it, Sapph!” Nurse Joy Jr. pleaded.

<Yeah! We’ll settle them later!> Mongle growled, rearranging his face and glaring at the foursome.

<Who’re ‘they’, Mongle?> Ledyba queried.

<Dirt.> Mongle answered, his eyes still fixed on the source of his trainer’s anger.

“Like I said, ‘Yeah, right!’” Kamren laughed, turning to leave.

-End Flashback-

Things weren’t much more different between us at the time, Kamren thought to himself as he continued to lounge and munch on his lunch. Man, Carla’s taking her time, he went on, opening his eyes lazily and watching his childhood friend argue with the sales clerk of the costumier’s store across the street. What is she doing, buying the whole store?

Then, barely three days later, the two boys met again and had their first actual match-up... and something was slightly different. At least, to Kamren it seemed that way...

Nightspark City Battle Ring, four months ago

Kamren was pretty much on a roll, decimating every opponent who had come across his path. He had earned two badges in vicious fashion and was making the most of shaking down his victims for some extra cash when he had appeared again from the Pokémon Centre...

“If it ain’t Sappy Sapphire!” Kamren crowed, looking around to see who’d spoken. The kids on either side of him backed away as though he had the plague.

“Sapph!” Haley cried out, running towards the dark-haired boy. “Boy, am I ever glad to see you!”

“Oh… hey, Haley,” Sapph said, turning to smile at a speeding fist which looked for and found Sapph’s nose. The resulting dull thumping sound that followed caused the bullies to wince in empathy, though not much. Haley rubbed her knuckles, which had left a red fist mark right in the middle of Sapph’s face.

“OW! Not again, Haley! What was THAT one for?”

“Letting me lose Bubbles in that terrible forest,” Haley said calmly, now blowing air onto her knuckles, not looking perturbed by the fact that she may have just shattered Sapph’s nose.

“I’m frankly surprised you made it this far with a Mongle, Sappy,” Kamren taunted.

“Yeah?” Sapph snarled, flaring up. “Well, let’s see how cool you are after me and Mongle whup your guys stupid in a two on two, right here, right now.”

“Pfft…as if. Anywho, let’s get it on. I was getting bored with the local zeroes… not that you’ll do any better.” Kamren snorted.

“We’ll see who’s a loser after I whip your butt raw,” Sapph retorted, readying a pokéball for battle.

-End Flashback-

Back at the beginning of their journey in Olville Town, Kamren had just been poking fun at the new arrival. This had led to the two arguing over who would get the Fire-type Fryger from Professor Yew the next day. Kamren had won that round and Sapph had seemed angry at everyone and nobody over it. A week later, Sapph seemed to have grown past the rage and forged a bond with the Leaf Squirrel Pokémon. Getting even with him for his sneaky trick was behind him as he threw down the gauntlet then.

He must have felt like being something out of a hero comic then, Kamren snorted in his mind. Pathetic...

Yet, it could not be denied that owning Burner was a thing of the past to Manson then. Even when he reached Appleburn City, he heard all the talk about how he had bested the gym leader in a dramatic battle with his Growlithe.

Yes, Manson had grown stronger. And it wasn’t like he had been avoiding another confrontation with him. Their last encounter was under considerable stress from forces neither could control. And yet his promise remained... and somehow, somehow... he knew it had been accepted.

Olville Town... Nightspark City... Pampa City... the Dragon Cove... every time they had met, he’d been the superior, the one looking down. But this was a facade. By the time both had left Utopia Island, Kamren had become the challenger, the one looking for the fight...

... and, whether he knew this fact or not, Manson had accepted. The dark-haired boy hadn’t said a word he heard as he escaped the AGENTs, but Kamren Kent knew that he had...

“Earth to Kamren Kent, do you hear me?”

“Hunh?” Kamren blinked twice as he rubbed the daze from his eyes. Looking up, he saw a very blonde girl look down at where he sat, her green eyes twinkling with fun as she placed her hands on her hips and begin to pout. “Hey, Carla,” he said, jumping to his boot-shod feet and stretching himself out fully. “All done?”

“You know, you could have come in with me,” The girl continued to pout; her companion knowing all too well it was only an act, and that there was no way he would accompany her into such a store. Jabbing a long finger at the boy’s chest, clad in a black tee and red highlights, she added, “I’m sure we’d have found something perfect for you.”

Stepping into the sunlight and straightening his khaki coloured jacket and cargo pants, Kamren sighed and said, “Pass. You know I hate dress up.”

Giggling slightly, Carla passed her shopping over to him without preamble (Kamren had to think fast and catch them before their contents hit the dirty street) and said, “I know, but imagine how cute you would look...”

“Definitely never doing it, then,” Kamren replied, stony-faced. “Let’s go, the ferry to Southern Island leaves the northern pier in about an hour.”

Carla looped her stoic companion as he went on “Say, why are we taking so long in the Trigello Islands anyways? You should be able to easily win the Southern Isle ribbon. You’re not afraid of anyone, are you?”

Stopping abruptly, Carla turned on Kamren and stuttered, “I-I-I’m not afraid o-of R-Ru-Rubin Manson!”

“Who mentioned Rubin?” Kamren asked, a bit surprised at this revelation; Carla slapping a hand over her mouth, ashamed she had given herself away.

Noticing her shame, Kamren actually decided to apply a kinder tact, which (knowing Kamren) is totally uncharacteristic. Lowering his voice, he said in a totally nonchalant voice, “Look, Rubin Manson is a nobody. All he’s got are a pretty face and a title no one here really cares abou...”

“He has got skills too, Kamren,” Carla whispered dejectedly. “I noticed that when we travelled together through the north of the continent. In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, again,” she added in a smaller voice than ever. “He scares me. Or, at least he did...”

Remembering how scary the boy and his Wooper were in one-shotting Burner back in Nightspark City, Kamren felt the same. However, betraying this weakness would not help Carla’s confidence. Her latest words, however, sparked a distinct curiousity in him.

Looking at Carla, he enquired, “’He did’? Doesn’t he still?”

Shaking her long, blonde-haired head from side to side, she said, “Not as much as I did before White Cliffs. I dunno if I told you this, but it was winning the contest in front of him that pretty much made him decide he needed to knock me out of the race. Pity I only need one ribbon,” she added, cutting Kamren off. “He’ll get his at the Grand Festival. We’ve never competed together in the same contest, you know? By the time it’s over, though,” she ended; a manic glint in her eyes as she raised her hands and clenched them into fists. “We’ll make him wish never to even think of doing it again.”

Kamren could only stare at her. Had he said the same thing to her, he would only be bragging or trying to raise her spirits in the name of their recently repaired friendship. But as he heard Carla Witkins make this declaration, he felt no fear come from her. There was only confidence. Sure confidence in herself and her Pokémon that they could not only take the Ribbon Cup, but beat Rubin along the way.

“What?” Carla asked defensively, giving Kamren a fishy stare. “Why are you smirking?”

Quickly rearranging his face into what he hoped was a smoothly blank face, Kamren retorted, “I’m not smirking. Come on,” he said turning around, a businesslike look hitched on his visage. “We have a ferry to catch. No to mention training to do, right?”

And walking towards the northern pier, his mind on his promise...

...and, thanks to Carla, his heart set on victory.


Back at the cove, things had suddenly shifted from giving Haley momentum to her opponent gaining second wind. Following her Poliwrath’s defeat, Florence had calmly switched it out, muttering something about fortifying its defences more and sending out her second Pokémon, a Lanturn. Haley and Bubbles lost no time in attacking with another Double Edge and actually scored a clean and easy hit, pinning the poor fish to the rocks.

Florence, however, had other plans.

Haley and Bubbles weren’t the only ones who had apparently thought ahead and as the blue and yellow fish gasped and struggled to escape, Haley called their next attack hoping to end it early.

“Lanturn, calm down and use Confuse Ray!” Florence had commanded as the Water Hare’s fist had begun charging with Megacite energy for a Mega Punch attack.

The Lanturn’s wild eyes behind its saffron ‘mask’ markings instantly mellowed out and one of the two beacons its species are popular for began to glow with a sinister glow, firing off a winking point of light that caught Bubbles full in the face as it looked down at her mark.

Eyes glazing over, the Aquala’s attack came short and hit the rock between them causing it to shatter into many tiny pieces of shrapnel and propelling the combatants apart, Lanturn flopping into the water with a splash and Bubbles back into a nearby rock behind her.

Haley blanched as the Aquala rose shakily to her feet turned and gave her a loopy smile and wave not even Blitzkrieg could managed as the Lanturn peeked out of the water, its giggle tinkling like little chimes. A slight blue aura took over the yellow parts of her body and shone brightly even beneath the waves and Florence’s smiled widened, their training paying off.

Realizing her mistake and subsequent disadvantage, Haley did the only thing she could and called Bubbles back before she did any more damage to herself.

On the sidelines, Roni noticed the Lanturn’s giggles and renewed vigour and muttered, “So, Florence has had her Lanturn trained to use Aqua Ring from the outset of the battle without a single command. And with Vapor asleep and Bubbles just cured of confusion, Haley has to choose a fresh Pokémon to gain back the momentum. That lady is smart... although I’ve seen guys like Herbert do better.”

Conrad heard the spectator and sighed to himself as he watched Haley select her third Pokémon. Raising his flags he announced “Fourth match: Lanturn versus Urchane! Begin!”

Florence’s voice boomed out, “Confuse Ray, again, Lanturn!”

“Don’t look at it, Mace!” Haley bawled in retaliation. “Wait for my mark and dodge!”

What looked like a large angler fish of sorts, complete with two ‘beacons’ that sat atop its head on stalks flitted in between the outcroppings of rocks as a large green ball of spines sat atop one near the ring’s centre, turning on its stumpy legs in an effort to keep his wily adversary out of sight.

“Closing your eyes won’t help you here, Haley,” Florence called out as one of the beacons on the Lanturn’s head, which resembled a mini-strobe light began to flash ominously as the Urchane did everything he could to look away.

“You never know until you try, Florence!” Haley retorted, annoyed that this woman’s silly-looking fish was giving her this much trouble and making it look like a game.

“Well, then... let’s find out!” Florence commanded as Haley saw what seemed to be the Lanturn’s red eyes just beneath the surface of the water at her Pokémon’s twelve and said, “It’s right in front of you! Jump back and use Pin Missile!”

A tiny sun burst out of the water winking sinisterly as Mace, trusting his Trainer’s instinct, used the tiny balls he had for feet and sprang backwards off the rock, his innumerable spines glowing white. A second later, multiple projectiles exploded from his body and flew towards the startled Beacon Pokémon, its Confuse Ray just missing its mark.

“Lanturn! Dive down just as we practiced!” Florence commanded. Lanturn chirped once in understanding and with a flick of its yellow fin dived deeper into the water as the surface churned and frothed with the force of many impacts.

There’s no way we missed her then, Haley thought. Mace’s Pin Missile spray is too wide-spread. But just to make sure...

Raising her voice to a command, she yelled out, “Don’t let up, Mace!” Blow up the rocks around the area with Water Gun and bury it!”

The Urchin Pokémon’s eyes narrowed maliciously and it fired round after round of pressurized water jets at the black semi-submerged monoliths, breaking off large jagged portions and actually destroying a couple entirely. The stones splashed into the water and Haley shot her foe a triumphant smile, stunned to see the older lady still smiling beneath her wide-brimmed straw hat.

Mace’s feet finally touched down on another rock just in front of Haley and the tinkling sound of the Lanturn’s laughter rang out again. Mace whirled about awkwardly as well as angrily as the sound not only felt magnified, but was multiplied into a positive chorus of giggles.

<Oi, what gives?> Mace yelled to his Trainer as Haley seemed to struggle with comprehending Florence’s strategy.

“Surely you can figure this out, Haley?” Florence grinned. “Lanturn is already an expert at using light as a distraction and sonar when hunting prey...”

Haley took a step back and murmured, “So that means...”

Nodding, Florence took over, “Between the water and the rocks, Lanturn’s voice is not only distorted, but magnified and, well, multiplied by the rebounding echoes.”

Roni turned his shocked look into one of indifference and said to the referee “So that’s why she relocated the battle to this cove, hunh?”

Conrad smiled at the battlefield as he answered “Smart, hunh?”

“More like duplicitous,” Roni drawled. “I’d never resort to using tricks like this. Battle’s all about facing forward and slugging it out ‘til one person falls.”

Conrad gave Roni a sad stare and shook his head in disbelief as he turned back to the field to watch Haley command her Urchane to hop from rock to rock, “Haley’s a Water type user too, right? She’s perfectly capable of using the same strategy if she just trained towards it. But she probably follows your philosophy for battle too, I reckon,” he ended as the foaming spray of the waves upon the rocks caused the Water and Grass type to lose his footing and take a tumble into the waves.

“Oh, and one more thing...” Florence said to Haley as they both watched Mace rise to the surface and bob along like a cork, his smallish green leaves waving atop his head in the wind as the Lanturn’s giggling finally subsided into eerie silence.

“What?” Haley replied tersely, the quiet all but unnerving her.

“Thanks for waiting long enough for Lanturn to recover. Signal Beam!”

Oh, sh- Haley blanched mentally as a stream of psychedelically-coloured blocks burst from the water and struck the floundering Mace square in the face, blowing his out of the water and back onto a rock painfully, bouncing on his ‘back’ and landing on its feet again, clearly winded from the effective attack.

“Confused as well? Quite the lucky break,” Roni muttered to Conrad as Lanturn reappeared at the water’s surface, its giggles finally no longer a cacophony of sound as it glowed once again.

“Will anything any of them do not be ‘lucky' to you?” Conrad hissed, his patience obviously wearing thin.

“Should be on its last legs now,” Florence uttered as she watched the Urchane slump over. “Time to end this.” Aloud she commanded “Lanturn! Rise from the water and end this with a final Signal Beam!”

The laughter rose in volume as a great splashing noise announced Lanturn’s arrival, its beacon alight with energy flashing in many hues as it prepared its last attack.

“We were waiting for this,” a low voice muttered. It took Florence a second too long to realise Haley was grinning from beneath her cowboy hat and the leaves atop the Urchin Pokémon’s head begin to spin rapidly. “MACE, USE RAZOR LEAF!”

Mace looked up with a sinisterly identical grin and plastered the stunned opposition with as many leaves as it could muster. Florence simply gaped at her childish mistake as she watched her Pokémon squeal in hysterics as the bombardment continued.

Conrad in similar fashion just stared as the punishment Lanturn received finally began to subside and a weary Mace ended his attack. Lanturn belly flopped feebly back into the water and after a few seconds rose again, lying on its side and definitely out cold. Without even waiting for the count, Conrad raised his flag towards Haley and announced, “Lanturn is unable to battle! Urchane wins the fourth battle!”

Returning her defeated Beacon Pokémon with a murmured word of thanks, she also selected her third Pokémon thinking to herself, “This challenger isn’t too bad, and although mixing things up on the battlefield did throw her game for a while. Time to build some momentum...”

Wordlessly, she threw her third pokéball out, which split open along the seam, releasing onto one of the still-standing rocks an odd sort of creature, even by Pokémon standards. It was certainly large, and once you got past the duck bill and large, serrated lily pad atop its head like a sombrero, it looked like it could be a threat. The goofy being, however, let out a low bellow and began to shake its shaggy yellow body from side to side in a slightly rhythmic sway.

Ludicolo, the Carefree Pokémon, Haley’s Pokédex beeped in recognition. Ludicolo are said to become empowered when festive music is played. Ludicolo is a Watera and Grass Pokémon, and the final form of Lotad.

‘Carefree’ is right, Haley thought as it looked into its happy go lucky eyes and watched its long green arms sway with its motions. Conrad announced the fifth battle as her mind went on: It doesn’t look much brighter than Blitzkrieg...

Raising her voice to a shout, she called out, “We’re not here to samba, Florence!”

<We’re here to win, you blob!> Mace jeered at the swaying Pokémon who ignored the jibe magnificently.

“But if you want to dance, allow us to let you feel the ‘beat’! Mace, use Pin Missile and end this!”

Florence simply looked on as the Urchane’s spines began to charge up again and smiled to herself. “Nature Power, Ludicolo.”

Ludicolo gave a single bellow of assent and raising his hands in the air, waved them around for a second and slammed them into the rock, hard. On the other side of the field, Mace stumbled a bit due to the shockwave that the attack had created. Before he could right himself fully, several large explosions erupted around the rock he was standing on.

Shielding her eyes from the spray kicked up, Haley saw several shadows above her battler and looking up; saw something that made her heart leap to her throat. Mace, ready to fire, was too focused on the job at hand to notice the incoming threat...

Several things happened in such rapid succession then that they seemed instantaneous: Mace unleashed the first salvo of needles which all found their mark and blew the Carefree Pokémon off the rock. Haley’s throat finally unstuck and let out a warning shout to her Pokémon, who suddenly felt a boulder slam into its way, barring the second salvo from following the first. Ludicolo hit the water with a splash as several more boulders seemed to fall magically from the sky and bury Mace in a Rock Slide attack Haley was too late to stop.

Florence’s grin widened as the last boulder landed atop the rock pile smothering Mace with a thud. Ludicolo also surfaced with absolutely no change to its look, a few cuts and bruises highlighting its brown-striped body but otherwise not bothering it at all.

“She shouldn’t be able to work her way out of that,” Florence said more to herself than to Conrad. “You going call it, Conrad?”

“Didn’t we tell you,” Haley murmured as Ludicolo clambered out onto a rock in front of its last attack’s aftermath, “that we’re giving you a ‘beat’? Mace, use Water Gun, dead ahead!”

“On your guard, Ludicolo! Make sure they stay put with Ice Beam!” Florence commanded sharply.

Sweat trickled down the Trainers’ cheeks as Ludicolo readied a ball of frozen power between its palms. All eyes were on the pile of rubble which stayed as ominously still as a grave.

“Come on, Mace! You can do it!”

“You really are a sore loser, aren’t...?” Florence began as a small sprig of water began to gush out of and trickle down the side of the small mound without her notice. “Let it rip, Ludicolo.”

Ludicolo released his attack with a third bellow as a tremendous deluge of water blew the rock apart, sending one careening towards the Ice Beam attack like a missile. Florence gasped as the two attacks collided and detonated the boulder into shrapnel which flew everywhere and knocked Ludicolo off his stumpy green legs once again and back into the churning waves.

“Ludicolo!” Florence called out in worry.

“We gotta keep our advantage, but it’s gonna be risky...” Haley muttered to herself as her Urchane took a gasp of air after nearly drowning itself.

Looking back at Haley’s pensive face, Mace read his next command clearly and said, <Booyah! Time to make this party go ‘Boom’!>

With a second gasp of air, the worn-out Urchin Pokémon dived into the water and began to sink towards the floundering Ludicolo.

“Ludicolo!” Florence called out again. “Brace yourself, it’s coming!”

“Too late,” Haley murmured. “Explosion.”

“She’s joking, right?” Conrad gasped. “If she used that here...”

“Urchane would be out of the running,” Roni completed. “Seeing that Mace has little health left, she’s decided to take Ludicolo out with them. Kinda brash... not bad, but brash.”

Under the water, Ludicolo finally righted himself as he saw a ball of light shaped like his opponent come closer. Ever the curious one, Ludicolo swam towards it, barely registering his Trainer’s yell and the ball shine brighter and brighter.

<Let’s see you dance now, Pineapple Face,> Mace’s voice said from the light as they drew nearer to each other.

<What-?> Ludicolo began before the light reached a crescendo of brightness and a voluminous explosion rocked the entire cove. Back above the surface a tremendous blast of water rocketed into the sky obliterating all the ‘platforms’ and knocking Haley and Florence off their feet.

The two ladies, Conrad and Roni all got drenched as the fragments of stone from the platforms (now all destroyed) created a seemingly endless cacophony of splashes. A severely burnt-looking one fell into the water as well as Mace’s natural buoyancy raised him back to the surface, swirls for eyes and chuckling with a slightly deranged sense of glee.

“Guess that’s a double knockout, Florence,” Haley said as calmly as she could, returning Mace without a word. “Call Ludicolo back and let’s finish this fight.”

Florence looked at the burned-out Pokémon, saw something that made her smile and caused Haley to face fault as she said, “Who do you think you’re talking to? Ludicolo, Rest.”


“I want a word with you, Sapph Manson!”

Sapph and his five Pokémon looked up to see the harried ship medic storm out of the gangway and stomp over towards them. Noticing Diamond’s startled expression at his hailing turn into menacing growls, Sapph quickly returned the pacifist Mystic Pokémon before things got too out of hand.

Looking up at the medic who’d reached them in a towering huff, Sapph hitched up a breezy smile and said, “Anything the matter?”

“I’ll give you ‘Anything the matter?’!” The medic raged. “At the rate you’re going, no one on this ship is going to be fit enough to battle!”

Sapph raised an eyebrow in surprise. “How do you mean?”


Sapph looked nonplussed. Turning to Lavender he murmured, “Isn’t that kind of his job?”

“Don’t get smart with me, kid!” The medic bawled, getting (if it were possible) angrier by the second. “Can’t you take it easy or something? What if we were under attack? I had to send the surplus to the Pokémon Center in town for more supplies because of you and your Pokémon!”

Sapph looked up at the medic and saw the man was ready to burst. Turning to the others he adopted a stern gaze and said, “Now look what you all have done! Giving the poor man more work than he could handle... you should be ashamed!” The playful twinkle in his eye, however, betrayed the humour he felt at the situation.

<Don’t look at the glorious Hunter,> the Icoeti sniffed dispassionately. <It’s not my fault they’re that weak...>

<Indicators suggest an increased state of agitation in subject Harold Wessons, occupation: Head Ship Medic aboard the UAS Hydro. Might he be interested in sampling an infusion of herbal refreshment? Studies have shown...> Mighty droned in his ever-impressive display of lifelessness.

Lavender couldn’t be trusted to speak, as she rolled about the deck already breathless with laughter.

<Hey, man... your aura is, like, totally murky,> Cloude said in his slow and purposeful voice, his beady blue eyes twinkling with concern. <Should you be making fun of the situation, Sapph, dude?>

<...as well countering the bowel cramp disorder that may result from one of his occupational field from not obtaining enough roughages in the diet. Might I suggest...>

<Defend the Hydro? Ha! The magnanimous Hunter would not deign to consider those urchins up to the challenge of keeping such a resplendent craft safe from such forces...>

Tears of mirth were now streaming from Lavender’s unseeing eyes as she choked and gasped for air, her legs kicking about like crazy.

“Ahoy there! Is there a ‘Sapph Manson’ aboard?” A loud voice called from over the side of the Hydro.

Holding up a finger to the spluttering medic, Sapph rose to his feet and said “Hold that rant.” Leaving Wessons in a blubbering state and moving towards the port rail, he looked down at the ocean and saw two boys standing in a boat that rocked gently with the waves. “That depends,” he called back. “Who’s asking?”

The one nearest to the ship raised a hand to his grey eyes and hollered back, “Just a couple of trainers looking for a battle. Permission to come aboard?”

Sapph gave the deck a sweeping glance with his sapphire blue eyes and noticed very few people left on deck to actually stop them. Turning to the medic who still looked gobsmacked, Sapph turned back to the pier and said, “Don’t see why not.”

“Excellent! Hmm,” the other boy called out, pumping his fist in excitement. The two boys made their way up the ladder Sapph had lowered for them and onto the deck.

“So what brings you both out here?” Sapph said slowly, looking the boy who’d spoken second’s dark brown hair, grey jacket and black trousers over. “I kinda have a bad rep with the local Battle Ring circuit around here...”

“Rep, schmep,” the first boy said, waving the words away with a pale hand dismissively. “You’ve caused quite a stir at the island’s Pokémon Centre with all the sailors that have been showing up...”

“And since we didn’t want any trouble for you showing up to the Battle Ring, we decided to come here to see just what you got,” the other lad said, who was now bobbing up and down, his dark brown hair shaking hither and thither as he began to do squats.

“Look, I’m sorry the sailors are getting in the way at the Centre,” Sapph said apologetically. “I’ve just been spoken to about restraint. We’ll be... why is he doing squats?” Sapph asked, distracted as the boy continued pumping his legs up and down as he intoned, “Eight... Nine... Ten... Eleven...”

Looking him over as well, the other boy pushed his wavy black hair away from his freckled face and answering Sapph’s quizzical look, said, “Don’t ask me. He does that before every battle at the ring. Andrew Howard, by the way,” he added, proffering his hand. “Rustboro City, Hoenn.”

“And... I’m... Daniel... Sector... twenty! Hup!” The other boy said, completing his squats and fixing Sapph with a challenging glare. “We’re not fussed about the sailors, mate! They mentioned your name and we want to go a couple of rounds with you!”

Sapph raised his eyebrows in surprise as Lavender managed to hiccough herself back into seriousness and walk over to the small group, Hunter alongside her. “I dunno...” Sapph said uncertainly. There isn’t really an official judge aboard...”

“I can suffice,” a familiar voice said. Turning towards the ship’s navigational cockpit, everyone on deck saw Tony Parito come down the stairs onto the deck his brown, bespectacled eyes surveying the nearly deserted ship around him. “So that’s why this place looks so deserted...”

Scratching the back of his head, Sapph apologised “Sorry, Tony. Guess I overdid it...”

“As usual,” Tony replied knowingly. “Well, if it keeps you out of trouble, I suppose I can fill in. We don’t ship out until Roni and Ms Kent are back at least.”

“All right! I’m going first!” Daniel said, his green eyes alight with a fire to battle. “Let’s do it! Yeah!”

“Slow down, hot head,” Andrew said calmly. “I think I’m going first.”

“No you’re not! No you’re not!”

“Yes, I am.”

“No you’re not, no you’re not, no you’re not, no you’re not, no, you’re not!”

“Guys, guys!” Sapph yelled, raising his voice for attention. “I’m fine with a double battle! Really!”

“If you two can stand working together long enough,” Tony added slyly.

Andrew and Daniel sized each other up, grey and green eyes softening despite themselves.

“Don’t slow me down, slick,” Andrew said reaching out for a handshake.

“Only if you don’t get in the way, Sparky... Hmm,” Daniel retorted, taking the handshake firmly.

Turning to Tony, Sapph muttered, “Aren’t they meant to be saving their aggression for me? This is Dopeak City all over again.”

Tony shrugged with a chuckle and indicated a spot about twelve feet away for him to get ready while he sorted the others out.

It wasn’t long before both sides were ready to battle, Daniel and Andrew facing Sapph off, who already had his choices made. The sun Pokémon’s forked tails swished from side to side as she turned her lilac head towards her partner and said, <Ready to go, Wolfie?>

<Don’t I seem ready to you?> Hunter replied stoically.

<That’s strange,> Lavender said, a sly look arresting her elven face. Batting her blue eyes she said, <No third person?>

The Icoeti blushed faintly as he responded, <You’re an exce- no comment,> going even redder as he stopped himself brusquely.

<Riiight...> Lavender replied snarkily, a slight tinge decorating her cheeks herself as Wessons, Mighty and Cloude sat (or hovered) on the sidelines to watch and their opponents discussed strategy.

“This is a double battle between Sapph Manson and Andrew Howard and Daniel Sector. Both sides may use two Pokémon only! Will the challengers please select their Pokémon?” Tony announced.

The challengers, hunh? Sapph thought to himself as he saw the boys unclip a single pokéball each and lob them into the air. That’d make me the challenged. There’d be a first...guess I’m too used to doing the challenging to be challenged...

Two flashes of white light formed on the field before them and solidified into beings on the battlefield, neither one a problem to identify.

The taller one was definitely more familiar; it stood as a hulking tower of blue and yellow fur, ignited. Easily the tallest Pokémon on the field, the creature’s hands were rubbed together, creating sparks that danced in the air before its face.

Andrew’s Pokémon was much less impressive-looking, looking little more than an inverted pokéball with mean little eyes and a naughty grin plastered across the lower half of its face. Sapph had been told from his parents’ experience that that smile meant nothing but grief if the spherical creature was given its way, and it had the speed to take it.

For a hurriedly thrown together combination, they sure work well together, Sapph thought to himself. Aloud he said, “Think you two can take them?”

Lavender turned to Hunter and cooed, <No worried, Sapph! I’ll keep our widdle Wolfie cub out of danger.>

Hunter groaned and said, <You just had to get the last word in, didn’t you, Lavender?>

<Yup!> She replied brightly.

“Oh, boy,” Wessons groaned.

<What's wrong, dude?> Cloude asked laconically, his twin bangs wafting in the wind as he turned to look at the medic.

Mighty however answered, again out of turn, <Sensors indicate several bio-organic life forms approaching the vessel UAS Hydroooo... several Pokémon detainment devices detected alongside them...>

“I can’t heal this many people,” Wessons moaned as the babble of several more trainers came closer. “Where are those supplies?”

“Cool, an audience!” Daniel declared, watching a few more trainers undeniably from the Pokémon Centre coming aboard and noticing the impending battle. “How did they all know I was here?”

“We followed Andrew here, not you.” One of the trainers said, a girl with vibrant purple hair. Turning to Sapph, she added, “You don’t mind if we watch and wait our turn, do you?”

Sapph smirked back as Tony raised his hands and announce “Begin!” and said, “No problem. This won’t take long...”


“That’s... not fair,” Haley said in a faraway voice as Ludicolo let out a rasping snore and its wilting lily seemed to rejuvenate before her eyes.

“Eight seconds, Haley,” Conrad reminded her, snapping out of the shock the Explosion attack had wrought to remind her of the fifteen second switch-in rule.

“Oi,” Roni said shakily. “What the hell was that?!”

“Haley tried to blow Ludicolo up and it didn’t work,” Conrad muttered without looking at him. “It thought it was obvious...”

“But... it got hit with an attack akin to a depth charge,” Roni blurted out. “How did it survive?! There has to be a trick here... no way is she... no way can a woman...”

Conrad wheeled on Roni and snapped, “Shut up, you little chauvinist. Do you know ANYTHING about Florence, you little turd?”

“What do I need to know?” Roni retorted as Haley sent her Vaporeon back into the fray. “She has to be cheating, right?”

“For your information, you mewling wimp, Florence is actually here to stand in for the real final member of the Trigello Crew who’s taking her place back in Ruova,” Conrad hissed in venomous tones. “She’s actually a gym leader, one of the top three of the region, and has only lost eleven out of the hundred gym battles she’d had last season!”

“Conrad!” Florence called the referee to attention, as she watched her Ludicolo regain the last vestiges of perfect health and Vaporeon snooze on, the Hypnosis still under effect.

Snapping out of his battle, he turned towards the field and called out, “Sixth battle: Ludicolo versus Vaporeon! Begin!” as Roni stuttered, “eleven out of a hundred? That’s not possible...”

“Break time’s over, Vapor!” Haley commanded firmly. “Wake up and use Toxic!”

However, Vapor snoozed on atop the floating debris, completely oblivious to the going-ons around him.

“Our turn, Haley,” Florence said, sweeping her silvering hair out of her eyes. “Ludicolo, time for Energy Ball.”

Haley relaxed a bit and laughed, “You’re wasting your breath, Florence! Look at the situ- what the hell?!” She screamed like a banshee as Ludicolo was up on its feet and a growing ball of green energy swelled into being between its hands, aimed at the defenceless Vaporeon.

Florence sighed and smirked, “Honestly, Haley... haven’t you heard of Chesto berries? Just because I can’t sub, doesn’t mean I can’t use held items.”

“She was actually too strong for the Ruova League, so they gave her an official holiday here away from her native Corablue City to work off some of her tension,” Conrad went on to a disbelieving Roni as Ludicolo fired the attack at the snoozing Vapor, still unaware that his Trainer was pleading with him to wake up. “Guess it was too much to ask a former champion body builder to relax... she’s been training her Poliwrath and Lanturn since she got here last month. They were just a Poliwhirl and a Chinchou then...”

The attack hit home with devastating accuracy and Vapor let out a subconscious scream of pain as the Grass type attack sapped the last of his strength, knocking him out in one shot.

Raising his flag towards Florence’s end of the field, Conrad announced, “Vaporeon is unable to battle! Ludicolo wins the sixth match!”

“Score’s level again, Haley,” Florence said nonchalantly as Haley returned Vapor bitterly. “What’s next? Round two for your Aquala?”

“Not quite,” Haley said coldly, switching pokéballs on her holster. “I’ve had enough of you, and this ends NOW! Let’s get them, Tempest!”

“Haven’t you heard of the word ‘surprise’?” Florence muttered in exasperation as she watched Haley’s Transport Pokémon take a corporeal form in the water. “Now I know what’s left. Has anyone told you how hot-headed you are?”

“I am not HOT-HEADED!” Haley screeched, steam literally blowing out her ears. “Ice Beam attack, Tempest!”

“Uh, yeah, you are,” Roni said in an undertone. Just how did I lose to that girl anyways? He thought in a lost soliloquy.

Sighing once more, Florence commanded her Ludicolo, “Use Nature Power again, Ludicolo.”

Ludicolo gave another bellow as he raised his hands up above his head and waved them again, seemingly to give the Lapras a better target. He then brought his hands down once more as Tempest finished gathering energy to her single horn and fired off what seemed to be a bolt of blue lightning, creating a pair of splashes.

The very water churned as a giant wave rose out of the water in between the Ludicolo and the Ice Beam attack as well as above the latter’s caster threateningly. Tempest’s attack nearly faltered but before Tempest could cancel the attack and dive away, Ice Beam and Surf collided.

“Excellent block, Ludicolo,” Florence commended her Pokémon. “Now use Energy Ball.”

Ludicolo grinned and made to remove his hands from the water but found himself pulling up short. Looking down and letting loose a frightened quacking sound, Ludicolo and Florence saw that the ice from Tempest’s attack had actually overpowered the Surf attack, freezing it (and by extension half of the cove and Ludicolo) fast. The Carefree Pokémon worked its arms furiously as the ice trapped his legs and crept its way up his body.

Ludicolo let loose one final bellow as the ice completed its job and shut Ludicolo in a solid casing of ice.

“Such power...” Florence said in wonder as Haley declared one word: “Psychic.”

Ludicolo and Tempest’s coffee coloured eyes glowed with an ethereal blue light as the Lapras let loose a devastating attack which against the immobilised Water and Grass type worked as effectively as a Fire attack on a Scizor, despite the lack of type effectiveness. Ludicolo was shattered and thrown free from his icy confines across the ring and slamming the brown top of his hat on the rock on which Florence stood, not even noticing the swirls in her Pokémon’s eyes as she returned her valiant Ludicolo with Conrad’s “Ludicolo is unable to battle! Lapras wins the seventh match. Florence has one Pokémon remaining!”

Returning Ludicolo’s pokéball to her waist and letting her fingers run along the top of her pokéballs, Florence let a look of sudden concentration seize her middle-aged features. Smiling at Haley in a devious way, she muttered, “Yes, looks like Empoleon’s my best bet...”

Haley started at the revelation of her opponent’s last battler and turning to Conrad in worry, said, “Isn’t she out of time yet?”

Conrad looked back at her from his watch and said, “She still has seven seconds. And you could swap if you wanted...”

Not wasting a second, Haley raised the pokéball she had gotten from Rachel Savina back on Utopia Island and hastily recalled her Lapras. With a muttered, “At least she could weaken it,” she switched her Pokémon once more and after throwing a white pokéball forwards, Florence’s grin widened as she threw hers.

Haley’s choice was pretty much an obvious call. What wasn’t, however, was Florence’s.

Aquala took to the field once more, treading water as the white beam from Florence’s pokéball formed on the ice revealing what looked like a Lapras, save for a few differences.

For starters, the new Pokémon lacked the Transport Pokémon’s shell or horn. Its eyes were white and a yellow stripe ran through them, meeting on the crown of its head which it turned this way and that. Said stripe ran down its neck and back, stopping near what could be its bottom and dividing its body into brown and pink halves.

Haley’s mouth opened in rage as it squelched forwards on six pink appendages, its ‘ears’ flapping in the early afternoon sun. Giving Haley a cheeky smile, Florence muttered “I can’t believe I actually got you with that one...” and Conrad announced the eighth battle: “Eighth battle: Gastrodon versus Aquala! Begin!”

<Like, what’s wrong, Haley?> Bubbles asked curiously as she watched her Trainer seethe.

“That was just dirty. You knew I never had a choice...” Haley fumed angrily.

“What a cheap shot,” Roni said in distaste. “That shouldn’t be allowed.”

“Florence hasn’t broken any rules,” Conrad overruled them.

“And you did have a choice,” Florence went on for her referee. “You could have shown some faith in Lapras and kept battling. Hasn’t Mekki taught you to be prepared for anything? Honestly!”

*continued next post*
Last edited:

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Been a while since I triple posted, hunh? TCQ Chapter 43~3

*continued from last post*

The deck of the UAS Hydro was now abuzz with activity. Wessons’ supplies had arrived with a junior nurse from the Pokémon Centre, who had been called in by Andrew (using his indescribable charisma) to offer Wesson assistance as the battles waged on upon the ship. Sapph had battled Andrew and Daniel to a series of furious draws, and all his Pokémon had been administered treatment several times over.

Sapph had never been the focus of such attention since his battle against Dwayne at White Cliffs. The last time there had been a crowd at one of his battles, they had wanted him gone. And now, every trainer worth their salt (and a couple who weren’t) flocked to the ship to battle him. Between them, Lavender, Mighty, Cloude and Hunter battled Andrew and Daniel (the latter insisting on battles with his entire team after his tag match with Andrew while the former organized the battlers into a line of sorts) they had taken on a wide variety of opponents ranging from Pokémon he recognized like large and powerful winged Pidgeots, to creatures he hadn’t even seen before.

On the sidelines, several of the sailors had come out on deck after receiving assurance that their Pokémon would all make full recoveries, started cheering on the battlers, a few even wolf-whistling as young female battlers stepped forwards to challenge Sapph.

Tony leaned against the side of the ship, next to the table at which Wessons and the aide from the Pokémon Centre sat, saying, “Well, this is becoming quite the event, isn’t it?”

“Speak for yourself,” Wessons grumbling, handing another roll of bandages to the nurse. “At least he’s giving me time to attend to the wounded now...”

“I’m sure you’d get triple time for today, so stop griping,” Tony replied with a smile, watching Sapph command Cloude to use Blizzard on his opponent. The target, however, quickly opened one red and white claw and fired a stream of bubbles at Cloude, running sideways on six blood red legs to avoid Cloude’s attack.

The bubbles pelted Cloude, sticking to the tiny Forecast Pokémon and exploding like mini-grenades. Cloude gave a loud yell and tried to hover up out of the lobster-like Pokémon’s range.

“That’s no good, Cloude!” Sapph called out. “Don’t ascend, dive and hang a wide left!”

“Don’t let them, Clawdus!” The Crawdaunt’s Trainer countered. “Run it and use Knock Off!”

Well, I wouldn’t call it security-wise to have so many Trainers on board like this, Tony thought, watching the Crawdaunt power forwards and raise its pincers high, both becoming hard and black as it closed in on the diving Castform. But he can’t use the Battle Ring at the Pokémon Centre and no one foreign has been here. Thanks to Wessons and Shrader. Gotta hand it to her... even in the infirmary she can work efficiently.

“No sale,” Sapph said with a grin. “Cloude, forget going left and use Weather Ball to defend!”

Cloude let out a squeak and a sphere of dense humidity began to swirl around him as the Crawdaunt brought both claws down on its head. Despite Cloude successfully putting up the barrier, it wasn’t enough to completely stop the Ruffian Pokémon’s Dark type attack, which passed through the Weather Ball and hit Cloude like a pair of clubs, although weaker than they would have with the barrier absent.

The impact blew both Pokémon apart, Clawdus shaking its claws and wincing beneath the large yellow star on its forehead and Cloude’s Weather Ball attack dissipating, the Normal type completely wiped out.

“OK, we give! Great job, Cloude, return!” Sapph called out, returning his Castform without a second thought.

A smattering of applause went up for Clawdus’s Trainer as he took an embarrassed bow and turning to Sapph, say, “We didn’t knock you out, though.”

“You would have, if we had kept battling,” Sapph conceded. “Besides, that last Knock Off attack showed me we still have some work to do on that move before we can apply it to real combat.”

“So this was a test for you?” The other Trainer said in wonder.

“Sshh..” Sapph hushed his opponent with a wink. “Not so loud.” In a louder voice he said, “Next!”
A tall girl with purple hair and matching irises stepped forwards and said, “Eva Edwardssen. Pleased to beat you.”

“Zayina’s sister, hunh?” Sapph said in some surprise, watching her pluck a pokéball off of her white Capri pants and maximise it in between her fingers. “Don’t think it will be so easy!”

“So you know little Zaza then,” Eva said with a knowledgeable smirk. “Met her during the Gatonda tournament?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Sapph said as Clawdus was returned and its Trainer moved towards Wessons for treatment. “She has quite the reputation though.”

Flicking her hair out of her eyes, Eva remarked, “Be that as it may, I’m a cut above my sister. Let’s see if you can keep up.”

“Let’s see,” Sapph agreed, releasing Might into the warm afternoon sun, his six magnets sparkling slightly.

“Ooh, a shiny,” Eva said in admiration, taking in the lifeless Electric type’s rusty appearance as it fixed its three eyes on Eva and announced: <Health at one hundred perrrrrrcent… awaiting battle protocoooolllll...> “I’m flattered.”

“Don’t be,” Sapph replied in cheeky banter. “You haven’t lost yet.”

Letting out a laugh, Eva threw her pokéball up into the air and it hit the deck, splitting open to reveal its contents after bouncing once.

The new creature before Sapph stood well over five feet, and though it bore some similarities to a simian species of Pokémon call Aipom which were native to his home region, he also knew Aipom did not have four tails.

“Just what is that thing?!” Sapph asked as it blue eyes (similar to Lavender’s) looked up at Might, the wind blowing through the two long strands of purple hair that stood out on its head. All heads on deck turned to face the odd creature as Sapph pulled out his trusty Pokédex and scan the new arrival.

Unaspected species, Sapph’s Pokédex droned. No available data... Unaspected species, no available data...

“No data?” Sapph echoed. “Seriously?!”

“My area of expertise is Pokémon evolution,” Eva replied nonchalantly, as the monkey clasped all six hands together and crack its knuckles. “Bit weird, considering Zayina hates evolving her Pokémon, hunh? Anyways, meet the evolved form of Ambipom... Atalepom!”

“Atalepom, hunh?” Sapph said with a grin. “Well, this should be educational...”

“You should see what else I have on my team,” Eva said with a grin. Pointing up at the Magnet Pokémon, she yelled, “Atalepom! Begin this fight with Comet Punch!”

Uh, oh... Sapph said as the monkey’s six fists each lit up with power and the monkey crouched down low. This could be bad... “Might, gain some air!”

“Too slow...” Eva said playfully as the Atalepom leapt into the air so quickly, Might had no time to ‘follow protocol’ and got hit repeatedly with a flurry of painful punches, each one, though slight, doing decent damage.

“Might!” Sapph called out as the Magneton put some distance between himself and his aggressor. “Can you go on?”

<Health levels diminished... by approximately sixty three percent...> Might blipped and droned. <Awaiting counter measurrrre proto...colllllll...>

Sighing in relief, Sapph ignored his Pokémon’s alien way of speech and called out his next command, “OK, then... counter with Shock Wave!”

<Energy levels at a satisfactory output capacity,> Might droned, the electricity around his magnets now visible. Forming a web of electrical pulse around himself, Might droned on. <Counterrrrattack... initiateeeeeeeeed.>

“Get back, Atalepom!” Eva called out urgently, swiping a hand through the air to emphasize her point.

“That’s no use,” Tony said to Wessons as the sphere exploded into an expanding pulse of violet and gold lightning that knocked the large monkey back to the ground hard. “Shock Wave is a sure-hit move. Talk about a smart manoeuvre. Sapph must have toned down its Zap Cannon attack from Green Hill...”

“Now we have a game on our hands!” Sapph called out as Might descended, but kept wary of the rising Atalepom’s reach. “You may be fast, but nothing can dodge Shock Wave!”

“Maybe,” Eva said as Atalepom rose to his feet, its red-tipped fingers twitching and its smile showing it was eager for more. “Let me show you why I call it the ‘Spider Monkey’ Pokémon...”


Gritting her teeth slightly, Haley fumed a minute longer at her opponent’s trick, and then took a calming breath as she allowed herself to catch up with the situation at hand.

“Ready to go, Haley?” Florence called out.

“Whatever,” she said, smirking slightly. “Gastrodon is still part Ground type, and Ice typed attacks will definitely wipe you out.”

“Why else do you think I tricked you into switching?” Florence countered with a smirk of her own.

A vein snapped in Haley’s temple. “Oh, that’s it... Bubbles, Blizzard!”

Bubbles reared back, her small chest expanding greatly as an icy white hue seized her irises.

“Use Mud Bomb,” Florence replied in a much calmer voice, crossing her arms as the Gastrodon’s body started to ripple in places, contracting and convulsing unpleasantly.

Bubbles expelled a frigid gale at Gastrodon, whose icy surroundings would make it even harder for most Pokémon to move around, let alone escape. The Sea Slug Pokémon, however, didn’t even seem fazed as it looked up to the sky and seemed to hock up a great filthy mass of sticky mud and fire it into the air. The force of the attack’s release forced a great amount of pressure onto Gastrodon’s body, forcibly flattening him out just as the Blizzard attack would have made contact.

Haley screeched angrily as the flattened brown and pink blob that was Gastrodon evaded the Ice attack effortlessly, hitting the ground just behind and freezing a wall of ice rising five feet into the air. “Damn it! Well, we won’t miss the next one, you getting boxed in like that. Bubbles-“

“Neither will you, Haley,” Florence replied coolly, causing the Coreian Trainer to falter in her command. Her Aquala’s shadow seemed to enlarge oddly and looking up, Haley saw why. A second later the Mud Bomb attack fired earlier slammed right on top of the Water Hare Pokémon’s head, having the dual effect of stunning the Aquala and exploding a sickly sticky dollop of mud all over her.

<Eeeurrrgh!> Bubbles groaned as the mass slid all over her and held her fast to the ice that was slowly shrinking. <Like, totally gross! Get it off me!>

“And now, Gastrodon... Sludge Wave,” Florence said firmly.

In a manner matching its Trainer’s firm voice, Gastrodon rose off the floor and convulsing once more, the bumps this time adopting a purple hint, threw its head and neck downwards and spewed out what seemed to be purple water, only smelling of sewage and all manners of rot. The ‘water’ splashed into the ice in front of Gastrodon, causing the area around it to splinter and crack, as a great wave of poison rose into the air and engulfed the still struggling Bubbles in shadow.

“Bubbles, forget the muck! Get out of there!” Haley screamed at her starter Pokémon.

<Like, I can’t, Haley!> Bubbles moaned, still trying to unstuck her entire body from the mess. <What’s going on-?>

The tidal wave of poison hit the hapless Water type with a vengeance and shattered the ice she stood on, plunging her into the murky depths of the water with it.

Gripped with a fear oddly unconnected to her Pokémon’s welfare, Haley called out, “Bubbles, get back up here! Come on!”

Gastrodon floated upon the surface of the water-poison mixture atop a floe of ice as several more scattered and spread across the rolling liquid as her trainer said to herself, “We’ll need to get the purifier team out here soon to clean this up. Conrad, contact-“

Her command to the referee was lost in her mouth as the ice beneath Gastrodon smashed apart and her Pokémon was thrown up and into the air by a blue, furry missile trailing gold streaks in its wake.

That’s... a Take Down attack! Florence thought to herself as she watched Bubbles end the attack and Gastrodon slam onto another patch of ice painfully. So they can call for such attacks without a command too, hunh?

Haley’s Aquala landed upon another ice floe facing Haley and immediately went down on one knee, purple static coursing all over her body and a sickly hue visible under her now-extremely mussed up fur.

Still, poisoned though, Florence added in a satisfied soliloquy. Aloud she told her Gastrodon, “While she feels the recoil, use Recover!”

“No!” Haley gasped as the Water and Ground type began to glow with a golden light and light green bubbles seemed to rise off of its body sparkling as they popped. Gastrodon’s wounds also seemed to fade away as it gave a low bellow and raised its ‘horned’ head to the sky, the attack replenishing his health.

“Gotta stop that technique,” Haley said hurriedly. “Bubbles, you have to use Hydro Pump on Gastrodon before it recovers!”

<Can’t, Haley,> Bubbles moaned as she raised her face and both Trainers saw that the Gastrodon’s first attack had adequately gummed her eyes closed and she was still struggling to prise it off weakly, the fatigue from her Take Down attack and the poisoning taking their toll.

Gastrodon’s technique was finally complete and it let out a bellow from atop the small berg it was latched onto. “This is our chance, Gastrodon,” Florence called out. “Use Sludge Wave again!”

The second wave of poison shot off from Gastrodon’s mouth rebounded off the ice again, splintering it off entirely. Only Gastrodon’s Sticky Hold ability kept the frazil together as Haley’s Aquala was once again engulfed in a smelly swamp of waste and forced under the water once again.

“BUBBLES!” Haley screamed out as the toxic wave forced her first Pokémon out of sight. “BUBBLES, CAN YOU HEAR ME?!”

Beneath the murky waves, Bubbles form sank lower and lower beneath the waves, her Trainer’s voice garbled in her ears as the poisoning gripped her again.

<Like, I hear you, Haley,> Bubbles thought weakly. <I hardly have anything left to answer though... this totally, Like, you know, blows...poison... hurts...>

Bubbles raised her arm towards the surface as she slipped away from it, her consciousness fading.

<We’ve always been together, huh, Haley?> Bubbles went on, the water around her clearing somewhat as she slipped past the poisonous layer and hit the rocky bottom. <Since the first day...>

Yew Observatory, four months ago

The flash of bright white light that rushed forth filled the whole room. At the same time a streak of blue light bounced playfully around the room before coming to a rest on the table, where it took shape.

Its fur a light shade of blue with a white underbelly, Aquari had white and black paws which upon seeing Haley hid its face from her with a squeak.

“Don’t be scared, uh...” Haley started to say, suddenly noticing that she didn’t even know her first Pokémon’s gender.

“Girl,” Prof. Yew said smiling slightly at Haley.

“Yeah, girl! I’m your new trainer now, so hi!” Haley said oblivious to how lame she sounded.

The Water Hare kept its face hidden.

“Hmm, how about nicknaming your Aquari?” Prof. Yew suggested, his hand rubbing his clean shaven chin thoughtfully.

“Great idea, professor! Thanks!” Haley said cheerfully. “So! How’s Bubbles?”

The Aquari, finally coming out of its guise of shyness looked up at her new trainer with a puzzled expression. Had someone else with a bubble entered the room? Unsure, she looked up at the smiling girl and pointed a finger at herself to ask if that was her new name.

Her smile even wider, Haley nodded and said, “Yes that you, little Bubbles!”

<Me? Bubbles?> the Aquari squeaked, looking into Haley’s silver grey eyes as Haley looked into her brown ones.

“That’s right! And I’m Haley, pleased to meet you!”

<Hewo, Hawey! I’m…pweeased to wheat you tooo!> Bubbles said cheerfully.

-End Flashback-

<Hell, my evolution came about as a way to save you from drowning. After all...> she went on blearily, darkness gathering on the periphery of her vision, her arm still outstretched. <You’ve protected me all this while...the least I could do was, like, return the favour.>

Rocky Path, three months ago

Bubbles had spent most of the trip down screaming hard. When she noticed the river beneath her, she inexplicably calmed down right away. Straightening her body, she hit the water with the grace of an expert high board diver a second after Haley’s ungraceful landing. Noticing Haley’s form going limp, she used the force of her dive to shoot towards Haley, grabbing her shirt and trying to pull her trainer up towards the surface before she drowned.

Bubbles tugged with all her might, but to no avail: in her youthful form, she lacked the physical strength to pull a human, let alone through water. Thinking desperately, she closed her eyes briefly as she adopted a look of pained concentration as her bubble tail glowed a brilliant white. Opening her eyes again, she began to glow…

-End Flashback-

<And I’m meant to be your strongest Pokémon,> Bubbles finished. <Well, even if I can’t knock that darned thing out,> Bubbles concluded. <Least I can do...> her smallish hand closed into a fist which began to get lighter, despite the gloom around her. <Is making a real mark.>

Above the water, the murkiness of stone, mud and poison effectively blocked Bubbles from Haley’s sight. Across the bay, Florence and Gastrodon let loose a sigh of relief.

“Believe it or not, Gastrodon, that was the easy part,” Florence said to her Pokémon. Turning to her opponent, she went on, “You best return your Pokémon before...”


The ice beneath Gastrodon exploded as a fist of Megacite energy slammed into the Sea Slug’s pink underbelly and catapulted it off the broken floe and back into the now-chilly water. Bubbles’ dainty feet met another icy patch and she doubled over again, hacking and wheezing as the purple static intensified once again.

<Dunno why they never see that one coming,> Bubbles muttered to herself, the grime nearly all washed away from her eyes.

“Bubbles,” Haley murmured, watching the Mega Punch energy in her fist not die down. “C-can you - ?”

<This battle’s important, right, Haley?> Bubbles interrupted.


<Is it?> The Pokémon insisted.

Gulping back a lump in her throat, Haley could only nod.

“Man, does that Aquala try hard or what?” Conrad said in wonder from the sidelines.

“Of course it does,” Roni said. “It did manage to beat my Pokémon, after all...”

“Wasn’t asking you,” Conrad bit back, resolutely not looking at the redheaded Junior Sea Ranger.

<W-w-well, then...> Bubbles croaked, the energy from her fist spreading all over her battered body. <Like, ‘nuff said.> and with this, the light surrounding her overtook her and her body began to double, nearly triple in height.

Bubbles’ tail was the only part of her body that seemed to shrink, almost as if receding back into her rear as Haley’s eyes widened at the phenomenon unfolding before her. Florence was likewise speechless as the Water Hare Pokémon’s arms, legs and ears all visibly elongated.

The light finally gave one last pulsation and then died down, blowing off her new body into a cascade on many winking lights, the gleam of a few dancing off the teardrop ‘bubbles’ on Bubbles’ elbows, knees and forehead. Her emerald green eyes narrowed as Gastrodon reappeared on the surface of the water, looking the creature’s enhanced form.

Bubbles swung large white forepaws around and crossed them over her blue chest a few times, working out any kinks despite her laboured breathing. The past minute needing no explanation from those assembled, Haley wordlessly pulled out her Pokédex and scanned Bubbles new evolution.

Aquazou, the Water Hare Pokémon, Haley’s Pokédex recited. Aquazou is a Water type Pokémon and the final form of Aquari. Aquazou possess tremendous strength in their limbs which comes in handy in saving their young from danger of drowning when they're very young or predators like Mightyena.

Still fatigued from all she had done up to and including her evolution, Bubbles simply said. <Like, it’s go time.>

Piling power into her left forearm, the whole thing began to radiate strength from within. This energy took on a reddish hue which began to flicker for a couple of seconds before burning bright in earnest. Shooting off the berg like a rocket, she had crossed the battlefield in a heartbeat, laying a clothesline across Gastrodon’s elongated neck, sending it looping over itself and deeper into the water.

“Hammer Arm?” Florence gasped as Bubbles hit her much larger white feet and white forearm against her platform, the former shuddering slightly on contact with the wall. Her whole body followed as the static electricity denoting her opponent’s poisoned condition danced over her body again. “Let’s not give her another chance. Gastrodon, use Muddy Water!”

“Bubbles, move!” Haley commanded her Aquazou as a wave of filthy water seemed to rise from the cove’s depths and swallow Bubbles up in its shadow. Powering her legs again, Haley’s Water Hare Pokémon leapt for the top of the wave as it began to descend. Managing to clear the wave despite the fatigue she had suffered, Bubbles raised her fists above her head and readied another Hammer Arm at the water below her, trusting gravity to handle the power needed as her strength was all but spent.

Gastrodon had other ideas, and getting hit with another Hammer Arm was not one of them. Haley, looking up at her Pokémon’s form noticed a stripe of yellow amongst the muddy waters and realized with a jolt that Bubbles was aiming figuratively at air.

“BUBBLES! IT’S IN THE WAVE!” Haley bellowed before it was only too late. Hearing Haley’s shout, Bubbles turned around in midair and received a second shot of Mud Bomb from the wily Sea Slug Pokémon who’d ridden the wave up and out of the water until it was level with its opponent.

Bubbles let out a loud retching groan as the Mud Bomb slammed itself right into her face and shot her towards the base of Haley’s platform. The Aquazou’s large body slammed into the side of the cove head first and she slowly slid down it and back into the waves, twitching in an almost comical fashion.

A single tear slid down Haley’s cheek as she watched her faithful starter rise to the murky surface once more, completely unconscious. Almost immediately afterwards, she wiped it away impatiently and returned her Water Hare Pokémon to its white pokéball as Conrad announced, “Aquazou is unable to battle! Gastrodon wins the eighth match! The challenger has one Pokémon remaining. This will be the final round!”

Florence watched this display apathetically as her Gastrodon came to rest in the water once more and began another Recover technique without prompting. “No tears to shed, Haley? Seems a bit harsh considering what your Aquazou went through.”

Raising Tempest’s pokéball up and holding it out, Haley said quietly, “There will be time for tears later. Now, I have a battle to win! Let’s do this, Tempest!”

Tempest took shape in the water and immediately felt a distasteful sensation in its flippers. Looking down into the poisoned depths, the Lapras looked up with narrowed eyes and said coldly, <Is this your doing? How dare you defile the environment?>

“Mud Bomb, Gastrodon.”

<I’ll make you suffer for thi-> Tempest went on, a third pile of mud and mess slamming her in the face like a meteor fired from its much smaller ‘doppelganger’, scoring a clean hit while she was on her tirade.

“Hey!” Haley shouted in protest. “No fair!”

Florence’s face looked bemused as she replied, “What, attacking my opponent is unfair? How naive are you? Recover again!”

“Tempest, we can worry about the ecology of this place later!” Haley called out to her Lapras, who was furiously shaking her head, trying her hardest to shake the slime off. “Use Ice Beam on it!”

Calming her agitated movements, the Transport Pokémon began to gather icy power to the horn that stood out on its forehead as the Gastrodon began to shine gold once more. With a roar unlike anything Haley had heard from her, Tempest fired another beam of arctic energy at the Gastrodon, while it was still recovering from its dance with Bubbles.

The mud that had covered its eyes, however, caused the Ice Beam attack to veer off course and fly towards the platform Florence stood upon. Noticing this, Florence jumped back and shielded herself as the Ice attack hit the platform and create an icy wall between herself and the cove, shutting herself out of the battle.

“Whoa, watch it!” Florence yelled, moving her hands from her face as she saw Lapras’s handiwork and her Gastrodon finished healing itself.

“Don’t look at me,” Haley said with a nasty smirk. “It’s not my fault you lowered Tempest’s accuracy...”

“Oh, I apologize,” Florence countered, not liking Haley’s tone. “Allow me to clear that off for you. Muddy Water!”

The smaller Gastrodon gave another bellow as the waves of the cove churned and rolled themselves into another wave of filth. The mud-filled curl rose between them as Tempest continued to struggle with the mud, assuming that her first attack had hit.

“That’s your idea of ‘cleaning it off’?!” Haley moaned as the attack rose in ferocity. “Tempest, your last attack missed! MOVE IT OR LOSE IT!”

Tempest looked up in time for the great deluge of dirt and water to hit both her and her Trainer. On the plus side, the water had caused the mud to begin running down the Water and Ice Pokémon’s cheeks. However, the dirt from the Muddy Water attack had joined in on the Mud Bomb’s secondary effect, causing Tempest to groan wildly and shake her head furiously as her visibility went down even further.

It also didn’t help that Haley had gotten caught up in the technique as well. Filthy and sopping wet, she rose back to her feet and said in a low voice, “So, it’s like that now, is it?”

Florence ‘looked’ back through the sheet of ice and replied snarkily, “Maybe.”

“That’s it,” Haley said, wiping muck off of her face. “Tempest, blow up everything in the water with Psychic.”

Behind the muck, Tempest’s brown irises began to glow with their ethereal blue light once again, all the water in the bay, and Florence’s Gastrodon, following suit. The brown and pink sea slug’s eyes seemed to rove around in its head as it got lifted up out of the water.

Her lips forming a dangerous smile, Tempest said in a malicious voice, <Got you.> And with not another word, she used her psychic grip to slam Gastrodon as hard as she could into the poisoned water and into the dirty floor of the field. The explosion of water the first impact created blew all the surrounding water away, leaving little resistance to the second blow which blew up even more dirt than the water held before.

Conrad gulped as he watched Gastrodon seem to take an age to surface once again; its perfect health a thing of the distant past, if its battered appearance and laboured breathing were any indication.

“Damn, almost forgot how powerful that Lapras is,” Florence grumbled, even feeling the effects of the psychic technique through the icy wall. Aloud, she commanded, “Gastrodon, if you can, use Muddy Water, once more!”

“Not happening, Florence! Tempest, counter it with Surf!” Haley retorted in fury.

<Where do I aim?> Tempest called out, the lack of visibility causing her worry as Gastrodon began to whip up another wave of muddy water.

“Two o’ clock, Tempest! Hurry!”

Following her Trainer’s directives, Tempest splashed the water and a wave of water rose from the cove’s waters, miraculously clear of any impurities. Rising high, it began a furious race with Gastrodon’s muddied variety which had reached its full height of twelve feet and was ready to be released.

With a war cry, Gastrodon released its wave just as Tempest’s reached an equal height. Without a prompt from Haley, Tempest’s curly ‘ears’ picked up the Sea Slug Pokémon’s cry and fired her attack as well, both Trainers gritting their teeth as the waves raced towards each other and collided with the force of Mace’s Explosion attack earlier.

The resulting explosion of water created such a spray rain seemed to fall on the battle field, blurring Gastrodon’s vision dreadfully as the choppy waters tossed the lighter Pokémon around the cove towards Florence’s end of the battle field.

Time to end this for real, Haley said to herself. Raising her voice to a yell, she commanded, “Tempest! Flash freeze the entire cove with Ice Beam!”

“The entire cove?” Florence echoed in disbelief. “Have you been aiming at all?!”

“Not really,” Haley replied as Tempest began to charge up energy for a final icy assault in the ‘rain’. “Tempest’s aim was really horrible when we first met, so we’re just attacking the entire area. You should talk to Mekki,” She finished, lowering the brim of her cowboy hat as Tempest gave a cry and a bright white flash filled the air, blinding Conrad and Roni to the happenings on the field. ”He’ll give you the details.”

The light seemed to take an age for the boys’ eyes to acclimatise to. When they could finally see again, a scene of winter wonder met their eyes. The rain from a second before now fell as snow and the cove’s waters were frozen over entirely. The Lapras seemed soothed by the change in settings despite being frozen stuck in her own attack.

Gastrodon was much worse off. After a minute or so of looking around the now icy field, Conrad spotted a block of ice almost as large as Tempest, the poor Water and Ground type stuck clean in the middle. Roni winced as he saw Gastrodon not even have the space to shiver as the Ice Beam attack did massive damage to it.

“G-Gastrodon?” Florence replied feebly, unsure if her Pokémon could even respond.

<Aw, poor baby,> Tempest cooed nastily. <Shall I get you out of there?>

Matching her grin, Tempest’s Trainer said in a voice to match their mood, “Do it.”

Tempest’s nodded once and her eyes glowed once more, the cyan light enveloping the chuck of ice that held Gastrodon hostage. The boulder rose off the ground about half a yard off the ground before the Transport Pokémon decided to literally drop the hammer on Gastrodon, shattering the ice into a million or so tiny shards and splattering the hapless Gastrodon onto the ice, everything about it from its swirling eyes to its body beaten black and blue saying it was spent.

Gulping slightly, Conrad raised his hand towards Haley and her Lapras and announced, “Gastrodon is unable to continue! The winner of the ninth round in Lapras, and the winner of this match, and the Pacific Emblem, is Haley Kent!”

Walking around the ice and the cove towards the centre of the shoreline, Florence returned her defeated Gastrodon with a word of praise. She then reached into the basket on her arm, frisking around for something as Haley echoed her movement, returning Tempest with an arrogant smirk as she walked forwards to meet her vanquished foe.

“Who’s the better Water user now, hunh?” Haley queried of her opponent as they reached Conrad and Roni and faced each other once again.

“Well, the results of our battle clearly showed you as the superior one,” Florence said, finally finding what she was looking for and pulling out a royal blue badge of sorts, which looked like three waters drops imposed on and diverging from the centre of a white circle. Presenting the trinket to Haley, she went on, “Your attitude to battle, however, would beg to differ. Especially after some of the battles I’ve had even this season. Remember that Rae girl, Conrad?”

“The one who went on to win the tournament at Pendrakken Citadel?” Conrad replied. “Yes, I remember her. Now that was a cool customer...”

“Ahem?” Haley said impatiently. “Anything else you’re meant to tell me?”

Looking slightly affronted at Haley’s smug attitude, Florence composed herself and solemnly said, “Ah, right... with this Pacific Badge, you should now have a total of three emblems, making you eligible to compete in the Trigello Tournament finals scheduled to begin the day after tomorrow on Southern Isle.”

“You sure cut it fine, Haley,” Roni said in an offhand voice. Draping an arm around her shoulder, he leaned in to give Haley a peck on the cheek and felt his ribcage cave in.

Ignoring the groaning and slumping Junior Sea Ranger, Florence went on, “You’re actually the last challenger to make it through the gate. I can close the qualification period here. Earning the badge automatically qualifies you, so you don’t need to worry so much about getting to the venue early. The other competitors will be waiting for you at Azura City, the regional capital of the Trigello Islands. Be careful, they are all pretty strong.”

“Naturally you’d say that, considering they all beat you,” Haley replied calmly, her cool grey eyes, badly hiding the contempt she had intended. Turning around to walk off, she turned to the feebly stirring Roni Ridlowski and after a moment of deliberation, reached down and lifted the ailing boy into a half slump. As much as she wished to leave him to grovel in the sand, she needed the guy to get to Southern Isle in time for the event.

Looking down at the pathetic form, she warned him, “Try to kiss me again, and I’m leaving you to swim back to the Hydro. Got it?”

Haley then made her slow march back to the UAS Hydro, her mind on the challenge ahead as she passed an assortment of white-washed villas and straw-topped huts. So she was the last challenger to make it through. That was a bit too close for comfort. But the euphoria of making the cut seemed to make this a minor smidgeon in the way of proving her preferred type’s worth. They had quite the training regime ahead of them if the tournament was everything Florence had warned it was.

A slight hum from her pocket informed her that her PokéNav was ringing. Dropping the semi-conscious Roni unceremoniously on the cobbled street, she took out the device and noticed the letters ‘B.C.’ flashing across it in black letters. Flipping the device open, she placed it near her ear and said, “B.C.”

A voice on the other end replied in a sunny tone, “White Seraph. Congratulations on your win.

“Thanks, B.C.” Haley replied. “Anything I should report?”

I dunno,” Black Cherub’s voice answered. “Is there something to report?

“Well, Sapph was incommunicado all day long,” Haley muttered more to herself than to the boy on the other end of the line.

Never mind that,” Black Cherub said consolingly. “With the lieutenant out of commission, there was little chance Parito would let Mr. Manson out of his sight.

“I suppose so,” Haley replied, watching Roni groan and stir feebly on the ground a few feet away and out of earshot. “What have you turned up? Do I continue keeping an eye on Sapph?”

Not for now,” Black Cherub replied. “A contact on Southern Isle will monitor Mr. Manson for us. I’d rather you focus your attention on the Trigello Finals for now, White Seraph. Our intelligence has actually gathered that there’s actually a Team Shadow operative among the fifteen other finalists assembling on Southern Isle. So watch your step.

“Another Team Shadow operative?!” Haley whispered in a panic. “How is that even possible? Do you know who it is?”

Sadly, no,” Black Cherub said once more in his consolatory voice. “However, it seems that your father, Damian Kent, will try to contact them during the tournament...

“My father?!” Haley squealed in shock. Composing herself, she said in a rush, “Will he do it in person?”

We aren’t certain,” Black Cherub said quickly. “However, as much as we are on the lookout for Team Shadow, another terrorist group may be on the lookout for them as well.

“The Light?” Haley queried softly, noticing a few late evening shoppers who were passing by giving her fishy looks.

The same,” Black Cherub responded. “While we’ll do our best to make sure Professor Kent comes to no harm, we don’t want to force The Light into tipping their hand. Can we count on your discretion, White Seraph? Knowing who this operative is could help us reunite you with your father.

Haley stayed silent as this information washed over her. Her father... her father was nearby. This was all too surreal... it had been years...

White Seraph?” Black Cherub’s voice said over the PokéNav. “White Seraph, do you copy?

Coming to herself and noticing Roni do the same, Haley quickly placed the PokéNav back to her ear and say “Yeah. Yeah, I copy, Black Cherub.”

“Very good,” ‘Black Cherub’ said, the room in which he sat completely devoid of light save for the few candles standing in the corners of the room. “Just keep your focus on discovering the identity of that Shadow operative and leave the rest to us. Oh, and White Seraph?” He added, leaning forwards on the table between himself and a figure seated across from him and flanked by two others, all of them in shadows.

...What is it?

“Good luck in the tournament. Black Cherub, out.”

Ending the call with a click, Orion turned and smiled at the shaking man in the seat, tears filling his brown eyes behind grimy round glasses. “Lovely girl, isn’t she? You must be so proud to have such a devoted daughter.”

Gripping his messy reddish blond hair which was liberally streaked with grey in anguish, Damien Kent moaned, “You promised to leave her alone. You promised...”

“Shut up, you!” One of the shadows grunted impassively, rearing back a hand to smack the professor around the head.

“That will do,” Orion said silkily, and the shadow lowered his hand slowly. Turning to the second shadow, he said, “Will the assignment be difficult for you?”

Green eyes looked up and shone through the gloom as a female voice spoke up this time and said “Shouldn’t be a problem.”


“That was quite the workout session!” Sapph said loudly, stretching his arms upwards as the sun kissed the horizon.

“I’ll say,” his last opponent for the day said cheerfully, returning her Pokémon and her friends gathered around. “You’d actually be someone to watch during the League finals!”

“Are you flirting with him?” One of her friends asked, sweeping her blonde hair out of her eyes knowingly. “Whatever will Grey think?”

Flushing to the roots of her purple hair, the girl spun on her friend and retorted hotly, “I am NOT! I just respect his ability as a Trainer!”

“Of course you do,” her second friend said laconically, her short black hair whipping around her pale face. “Quit teasing her, Abbey.”

Abbey said, “Well, you did lose to him.” Winking, she added, “Besides, you know I’m just messing with you, right?”

Trying not to blush at the attention the girl’s comment had warranted, Sapph coughed nervously and said, “Well, my team is catching up to the rest of the team. Hopefully their physicals will be done soon.”

“So that wasn’t even your best?” Abbey gasped, gawking at the boy Trainer. “Man, you must be amazing!”

“Stop, please,” Sapph said, his blush betraying his insincerity. “You’re exaggerating things.”

The three girls giggled again as Sapph returned his Pokémon to their pokéballs and the third girl said, “Abbey, you said the same thing to that kid at the Pokémon Centre... Rubin or something...”

“What? Rubin’s here?!” Sapph interjected, his brother’s name causing all three girls to jump at his outburst.

Composing herself, the first girl said, “Well, he was. He left for Southern Isle yesterday. You know him?”

“He’s my brother,” Sapph said quietly.

“Must’ve gotten the looks then,” the girl mused, her forehead crinkled in thought. Catching Sapph’s stony expression, she went on hastily, “Only because you may have gotten the skills, if that wasn’t your A game... uhm... err...”

“Real smooth, Lacey,” the third girl said acidly, rolling her dark eyes.

“No, it’s fine,” Sapph said in a hollow voice looking away towards to the bridge as the sailors were back at work, preparing the ship to move on to Southern Isle. “I’m used to it.”

“I’m sorry,” Lacey muttered again, abashed at her lack of tact.

“It’s fine,” Sapph repeated, with a wave of his bandaged hand. “I’ll catch him up anyways.”

“Well, erm,” Lacey said, uncertain what to say next. Abbey, however, came to her rescue. “Guess you guys are gonna set sail soon. Good luck at the finals, Sapph!”

“Yeah, I’m, uh... rooting for you!” Lacey said, a sad smile forming on her face as the trio made their exit.

“Thanks,” Sapph said calmly, sensing the sincerity behind the apology, waving them on their way with a smile. Lowering his hand, he noticed Haley flouncing past him to the infirmary below deck, pointedly not looking at him.

“Hey,” Sapph said calmly, placing his hands in his pockets. “Have your match?”

Haley did not even acknowledging the Johton’s question. Without a word she flounced off towards the gangway leaving Sapph gaping at her back. Shaking himself, Sapph made to follow her below deck when he noticed Roni slumped against the ship’s railing, clutching both sides and sopping wet.

“We’re about to set sail for Southern Isle, people,” Tony announced coming down from the bridge and walking towards Sapph. “Let’s get this ship... what on earth happened to him?” Tony asked Sapph, drawing level with his friend and pointing at the injured Roni who’d fallen aboard and lay wheezing.

“No idea,” Sapph replied coolly, walking away from them as several Junior Sea Rangers rushed to help their captain below deck. Ambling towards the railing, Sapph leaned against the fore rail as the UAS Hydro pulled away from the island and began to head south, not keen to visit the infirmary with Haley there anymore.


Name: Zayina Edwardssen
Date of Birth: June 30, PA 2002
Hometown: Azura City, Corei
On Hand: Buizel, Roselia, Vulpix, Pidgeotto, Koffing
In Storage: Not known
Likes: Her Pokémon
Dislikes: Machinery and technology
Contemporaries: Roni, Reg
About Zayina: A firm believer of the old school of handling things, Zayina became a powerful force to be reckoned with at the Gatonda Tournament. After failing to win it for the third time running, and succeeding in bagging a boyfriend, her plans for the future are unknown, but heavily suggest following in Sapph and Reg’s footsteps and competing in the League finals.


Next up: It’s time for another entry from the Corei-Dex!

126 Whirlobe (Sorry, no colour image online! I'll have one up as soon as possible!)
Type: Normal
Species: Orbit
Height: 2’08”
Weight: 82lbs
Habitat: Rare
Evolution Line: Does not evolve
Name Derivation: WHIRl + gLOBE
Notes: The spheres that ‘orbit’ a WHIRLOBE’s main body can be launched, along with other loose debris in the vicinity, at hunters in defense. They lead elusive lives in the wild, presumably in groups.

And for those who want to see what Atalepom looks like... here you go.


Next time on The Corei Quest... rewritten: Having qualified for the finals of the Trigello Tournament on Southern Isle, Haley runs into Slate, Sky, T.J., Calvin, Dex, Reg, Nicola and Zuzana, who have all qualified. Sapph meets up with Carla, who is triumphant about winning her fifth ribbon and qualifying for the Grand Festival scheduled to take place in a week’s time and Nora, who’s there to show Sky her support as well. The tournament looks to be shaping up to be a rumble no one’s going to forget in a hurry. The Trigello Tournament finally begins in Chapter Forty Four: Drawing a Blank, coming soon.

Well, I'm out again... time to go back to the beginning and rewrite the errors out of the chapters.

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Shadow Lucario

Lone Vanguard
Two TCQ updates in the same year?! WHAT????? All kidding aside that was a most excellent chapter. And don't worry. You got Daniel right on the nose.

“She was Team Shadow before then,” The other replied.

This was the only mistake I saw. I don't need to explain myself.

(the latter insisting on battles with his entire tea after his tag match with Andrew while the former organized the battlers into a line of sorts)

No wait I lied. There was a missing letter here. Must! Resist! Urge! To make! British joke!

“The entire cove?” Florence echoed in disbelief. “Have you been aiming at all?!”

This is my favorite line. I don't know why, but it just makes me laugh. Maybe it's because of the fact that not aiming sometimes works better than aiming and how unfair that really is. The punctuation really helps too. I can hear the inclination in Florence's voice and then the raging question asked afterwards. Kudos to you AD. Kudos.

“Try to kiss me again, and I’m leaving you to swim back to the Hydro. Got it?”

Why are women so scary? -__-

Excellent chapter! Very little mistakes. Nothing grammatically wrong here. Great length, great content, and great interactions. Maybe we'll be treated with another TCQ chapter in this month? :eek: I'm looking forward to it. Keep it up man! Almost at the fifty mark! Just keep on truckin! Until next time.

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
(the latter insisting on battles with his entire tea after his tag match with Andrew while the former organized the battlers into a line of sorts)

No wait I lied. There was a missing letter here. Must! Resist! Urge! To make! British joke!

Damn my M key... missed another one. -_-; I'm mortified.

I actually AM British, to be honest. This keyboard is just wrong at times (Not the one I'm using at this moment, the one on my laptop)

Maybe we'll be treated with another TCQ chapter in this month? I'm looking forward to it.

Well, since the internet is still not working on my laptop and the next chapter is somewhat on the shorter side, it just might happen. *Le shock* :O And hopefully that's not all you'll have to look forwards to...

Thanks for the grammar check! I actually spotted some more omissions throughout the chapter thanks to them! All cleared up (I hope.) Now to go correct the other 42 chapters (and three specials. :p )

EDIT: The corrections are ALL done! Barring errors made for the sake of underlining the characters' personalities more, it's finally done! The next four chapters are all planned out too, so yay! :p

NEWER EDIT: So, I lost the last scene and a half of Chapter 44 while backing up and have to start over. I hate it when this happens!! X(

EWER EDIT STILL: If you ca read this message the I guess you kow what's wrog with my keyboard ow... -_-

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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Is this a dream? Well, it's late for one thing...

Yes, yes... It's the self-professed "TCQ Month" and I'm five days behind schedule. Words simply can not express my mortification. However, the next four- oops, sorry... seven chapters chronicle the much-foreshadowed Trigello Tournament, and now that I have a co-operating laptop on me and the training department are back in Accra after three weeks away, I had a bit of leeway to pound this out.

However, before this chapter unfurls, a few disclaimers/credits:

1, Josephine Harris, Rachel Savina, Paul Oak and Zurax are intellectual property of Legendarian Mistress on the PokeCommunity forum boards (Darn, it's been ages since I updated there...)

2, Brian and Eaves, who appeared in the early chapters of this fic, are the property of MerlockVonBrian, and old fan of my work.

3, Yadmon Eli Banner (the first :p ) is the OC of Divinity_123 and also makes his first appearance here! True, Daniel Sector is his OFFICIAL OC, but I missed this one and decided to use him here.

All aboard!

Chapter Forty Four: Drawing a Blank

Sapph’s slightly tanned hand pulled away from the phone as the young Trainer’s hesitation began to well up within him. It had been a week since he had left half of his Pokémon in the care of the resident Pokémon professor, Prof. Theodore Yew for check-ups and for the intellectual to further his research on their respective species. Picking up the phone, however was proving to be a task the boy was seemingly not quite up to.

It wasn’t fear, holding him back. Sapph was certainly no coward. It was the uncertainty of missing yet another milestone in his Pokémon’s growth.

Out of his eleven Pokémon, he had only witnessed one’s evolution. The sight of his Leaf Squirrel rising out of the wet mud and glowing with power when they needed it most still remained etched in his mind as a talisman proving what determination could do.

Since then, five more of his companions had evolved, and some to their final forms. One had even obtained the Pokérus virus and become a shiny Pokémon in his absence, and missing that had definitely put a dent in his happy bubble.

His journey through the Corei region was certainly not devoid of adventure so far. He’d been kidnapped, (literally) fallen from great heights multiple times, escaped a domestic fire, been held at gun point, been assaulted by a black cat, living vegetables, a giant cobra, his own jellyfish and an afro buffalo. He had even travelled through space and time once. But most of these things should have happened to a twelve year old boy. The biggest achievements of his career would have been to watch his Pokémon evolve, and grow along with them. But this he was denied. The biggest moments of a normal journey where what was kept from him; it was almost unfair.

Sapph stared at the videophone for a few moments more, the reflection of blue eyes framed by a shaggy mess of dark hair staring back, before a crisp voice broke in on his thoughts, “Have you gotten bad news, Mr. Manson?”

Starting, Sapph looked up to see his friend Tony Parito’s lieutenant Shrader look back at him with a concerned look upon her face. A white shawl was draped over her shoulders and failed to hide the light green pyjamas she wore.

“Did you just call home?” Shrader went on as she tugged the shawl closer to her body and Sapph looked away.

Sighing deeply, a look of reminisce clouded Sapph’s eyes as he said, “Not really, Lieutenant. That ship kind of sailed...”

Entover City Pokémon Centre, three months ago

Well done, Sapph! You’ve taken your first step to the championships! Have you told your parents?” Mrs. Kent congratulated.

Sapph hesitated for a second then said “Not yet.”

Mrs. Kent seemed to understand.

Alright, Sapph. But promise me you will, OK?” she said, fixing Sapph with a look he deemed reminiscent of the one his mother used demanding who took the last cookie from the jar without permission when he and Rubin were six.

Sapph’s face darkened a little, but brightened at once. “Um, sure, Mrs. Kent! I’ll tell ‘em!”

Mrs. Kent smiled, “Thank you dear. Now you must get some sleep. I’m about to do the same now. Goodnight!

“Goodnight.” Sapph replied, cutting the videophone connection.

I’ll tell ‘em all right, Sapph thought to himself, his new Web Badge held aloft and reflected double in his eyes, but only when I win all eight of these badges!

-End Flashback-

Well, I don’t have all eight badges, so that would make any boasts redundant... Sapph thought to himself. Maybe I’ll tell them when I qualify for the tournament... they won’t care if I don’t have all eight badges then...

Shrader’s blonde eyebrows contracted slightly as she said, “Sailed?”

“Not important,” Sapph said hurriedly, before the lieutenant asked more questions on the topic. “I wanted to call the Yew Observatory, but...”

“You’re afraid...” Shrader began before Sapph bit back in a bristly voice.

“I am NOT afraid!”

“...of missing another milestone.” Shrader completed her statement as though there was no interruption. “Correct?”

Sapph felt his throat constrict slightly as he realised he’d been totally exposed. Not to mention slightly ashamed of his rude outburst.

Seeing that she had hit the nail on the head, Shrader cleared her throat and said in a gentler voice, “From what the captain has informed me and what I’ve seen, you have missed quite a lot. But you haven’t missed it all, have you? You and your Pokémon have only begun your journey together, there’s an entire lifetime ahead. Trust me,” she added as she gestured herself. “I’d know.”

Looking up at the older woman and smiling despite himself, Sapph said, “Thanks for cheering me up, Lieutenant. How are the bruises?”

“Much less painful now, Mr. Manson,” Shrader replied in a crisp voice. “Thank you for asking.”

“Were you making a call yourself?” Sapph added, looking around at the extra videophones lined up against the walls next to his.

“Yes and no, sir. I was actually looking for you.”

“Looking for me?” Sapph queried, an eyebrow arching upwards.

“And Ms Kent,” Shrader nodded, and Sapph groaned. Smiling at the gesture, she went on, “We’re about an hour away from Southern Isle and the Captain wishes to have a final debrief before we make landfall and go our separate ways.”

“...’Separate ways’?” Sapph echoed in a questioning tone. “You’re not staying until the end of the tournament?”

“Afraid not, Sapph,” Shrader corrected. “Our duties require us to part ways with the Hydro after you disembark at Southern Isle. Sorry, but our destination is classified,” she ended with an apologetic voice when she saw Sapph open his mouth to ask further.

“Should have guessed it’d be,” Sapph said after closing his mouth and sweatdropping.

“Plus I doubt you’d be thrilled to hang around Captain Ridlowski for the festival as well as Ms. Kent...” Shrader added slyly with a knowing smirk.

A dark look arrested Sapph’s face as he said in a dead voice, “Obviously. Why would you even think that I’d like that?”

Shrader let out a laugh and backed out of the communications room. “Excuse me then, Sapph. I’ll need to return to the infirmary. Since I may not be able to see you off the ship, this is goodbye for now.”

Standing up and saluting, Sapph replied, “Goodbye then, Lieutenant. It’s been fun.”

Returning the salute, Shrader closed the door of the communications cabin behind her.

Turning back to stare at the black videophone screen, Sapph gave the mission up as a bad job. Heading towards the door himself, he decided to head for the debriefing first. With his luck, Roni would be there, too. If not, being in the same room with Haley was bound to put him in a sour enough mood to call the professor.


About a short debriefing (Sapph was more relieved than normal when he found that Roni was unable to attend) and a phone call to the Yew Observatory later (Sapph was relieved to find he hadn’t missed anything important and that the test were currently going on without mishap), Sapph and Haley walked down the gangplank of the UAS Hydro and into a sprawling metropolis that seemed to take up every square inch of the large island. Sapph has tied his bright red hoodie at his waist by the arms so as to spare himself the heat of the glaring sun.

“Well, here we are, then,” Sapph said, shielding his eyes as he watched the masses mill around the harbour. “Azura City; capital city of the Trigello Islands, and the site of the Trigello Tournament finals!”

“Sapph,” Haley said irritably, raising a hand to tweak her wide-brimmed ten-gallon hat. “I know where we are. I’m not stupid.”

Turning to stare at the young girl who stood beside him in a red sleeveless top, short white jacket with full sleeves and yellow biker shorts, Sapph’s smile seemed to slide off his face. Coughing slightly, Sapph tried hard to swallow his temper and continued as civilly as possible, “Right. So let’s find the Pokémon Centre and get logged in. Tony did say...”

“Sapph, look around you,” Haley cut Sapph off rudely. Blinking in surprise, Sapph obliged as the girl went on, “I’m willing to bet at least eighty percent of the people here are tourists, here to watch the tournament. The Pokémon Centre’s bound to be full by now. Why don’t you find a hotel somewhere for us to rest,” she said, punctuating the ‘you’ with a firm poke to the chest. “While I find the Pokémon Centre to get some provisions and my team rested for tomorrow?”

Sapph simply gaped at Haley as the girl rolled her grey eyes and saying, “Talk about slow. Must I think of everything?” flounced off towards the busier inner streets of the city.

Closing his opened mouth, Sapph watched the young Coreian march off into the milling crowds around him and gave a deep sigh - half with exasperation, half relief. Looking around his immediate surroundings, Sapph turned to make his way towards a group of burly sailors who were taking a break amongst some crates to ask where the best place to find a hotel was, resolving to ask for two rooms when he found one. He enjoyed his privacy aboard the UAS Hydro too much to share with Haley, least of all now that she was being so... aggravating. Sapph shook his head at her attitude and the fact that he knew such a long word.

A pair of brown eyes watched him go, their intent hidden behind dark glasses and an impassive face. Their owner wore a black lacoste shirt with the top button free and baggy purple cargo trousers and he lounged back slightly in his cafe chair as he noisily slurped some more of his Nomel berry juice. A medium-sized dog with sea-blue fur and a white muzzle lay at his feet, its long tongue out in a pant as the boy raised a device to his mouth and spoke into it, “This is Paul Oak. Target acquired.”

The boy cut the call and, rising up to pull out his wallet and pay for the drinks, his PokéNav rang again. Putting the money down, he answered the call and heard his ‘friend’ Rachel Savina’s brash voice call over the phone, “Oi, nuisance! Where are you?”

“Not around you, thankfully,” Paul muttered back, returning Zurax to his pokéball. Clipping zurax’s pokéball to his belt, he raised his sunglasses and watched Sapph thank the sailors and head inland. “What do you want?”

“Jo and I are done shopping,” Rachel’s voice went on loudly over the noise that accompanied it.

“Well done,” Paul said sardonically. “What do you want, a medal?”

“Zip it,” Rachel replied curtly. “We’re currently looking for the Swablu Nest. Weren’t you meant to make reservations?”

“Me? I thought that was Josephine’s job.”

“Well, it wasn’t,” Rachel said coldly, she and Josephine surrounded by a positive flood of shoppers moving around the girls as they stood outside the mall, laden down with white shopping bags. “We’re heading there now. And there’d better be reservations, Paul Oak. Or you’re gonna get it!”

And with that, Rachel firmly ended the call. Turning to her friend, she exclaimed, “Can you believe that jerk?”

“I’m still trying to ‘believe’ you,” her friend said, tugging slightly at her blue sleeveless top and sweating in the intense sunlight. “Can you and Paul ever get along?”

Putting her phone back into the pocket of her blue shorts and pulling a face of intense thought, Rachel said, “Hmm... no, I don’t think so. Now let’s go. The clerk said the Swablu Nest was this way...”

Shaking her head in mild exasperation, Josephine followed her impulsive friend up the street, while at the docks; Paul did the same and followed Sapph into town. He was too used to Rachel’s threats by now to be remotely scared of them by now.


In a hostel found among the many two-storied houses which housed the city’s middle-class citizens, a young girl stood in front of a mirror and studied her reflection in the full-length mirror fastened to the white door.

“You know, sis, it’s a shame you can’t show off for your boyfriend,” the tall blond boy seated on the chair by the desk said, a cheeky inflection on the word ‘boyfriend’.

The girl’s green eyes narrowed slightly but chose to let the rebuff slide as her pale hands brushed over her red shirt and the large buttons of her blue dungarees, the latter stopping a few inches above her thigh-high white-with-black-trim socks.

“I mean, sure, our intelligence said he docked this afternoon and that the crew of the UAS Hydro are no longer accompanying him,” the boy went on, rolling a shrunken pokéball in between his fingers. “But he has got Ms. Kent watching him like a hawk, and you know how... ah, jealous, she can be...”

The girl continued to ignore the boy’s talking and raised a hand to examine the job the brown hair dye had done to her trimmed crimson locks and eyebrows, which now framed her freckled face; the surplus done up in two pigtails that curled upwards, defying gravity itself.

Watching the young girl carefully, the youth sighed, and closing his eyes, he placed his hands on his knees and pushed himself to his feet. “You’re not listening to a word I’m saying, are you?”

Slipping her white-clad feet into red loafers, the girl merely tapped the toes of each shoe on the ground a few times and said nonchalantly, “No, Gawain. No, I’m not.”

Gawain opened his mouth to retort when a slight beeping interrupted him. He irately plucked the offending device off his belt and glared at the screen impatiently. Whatever he saw seemed to have tamed his temper, the girl noticed out of the corner of her eye as she fussed about with her bangs. Looks like the hair dye wasn’t completely effective, either, she thought to herself. Red ends... at least the blending’s good.

Smirking despite his sister’s earlier “rudeness”, Gawain moved towards the door and said, “Well, either way, just watch out for Ms. Kent. Intelligence says she’s a formidable Trainer, especially when provoked... I’m called back to base.”

At this cryptic note, Gawain closed the door behind him as the girl reached for satchel which she slung over her left shoulder and a white Gatsby, its most prominent features being a very prominent crown and a red ribbon matching her shirt drawn around the tang and tied up in a large bow on the side. Placing the cap on her head and adjusting it for a minute longer, she looked up and studied her reflection one more time.

Satisfied that the hat would hide her face from anyone she didn’t glare directly in the eyes at, Zeta gave her appearance an appreciative nod and reached for a roll of Chap Stick to apply to her lips. Bringing it to her lips, a sudden memory caused her pause as she held it an inch away from application...

White Cliffs, two weeks ago

Zeta was trapped.

Her quarry, Sapph Manson was back from the beach earlier than anticipated. Obviously, his noisy travel companion didn’t hold him up long enough or he didn’t even cross her path (not that Zeta could blame him. She was a case and a half).

However, her sympathies were fixed solidly on herself as she watched the boy come to a crazy, far-fetched explanation as to what she was doing outside of his room.

“Wait a minute,” Sapph said slowly, thinking hard (Zeta’s heart missed a couple of beats at the serious tone of his voice), “I know what’s going on...”

That was enough to start freaking Zeta out. Hoping her panic wasn’t obvious, she clenched her eyes shut as Sapph came to his deductions.

“You like me, don’tcha?”

Those four little words totally threw her off-balance. The answer Sapph had come to was so insane; so ludicrous... there was absolutely no way that was what was going down. Was he that big of an idiot?

Her expression seemed to give her shock away as Sapph assumed a puzzled look in those blue eyes (Legendaries, he had blue eyes... honest, blue eyes) and asked, “What? Am I wrong?”

Zeta was locked in place, her mind a Rapidash on the plains as she struggled to come out of this encounter without incident. She could still save her cover if she distracted him... and the way he said it. That she liked him... even if it wasn’t true, the reciprocal might have been true.

But was it? She couldn’t lie to herself. Sapph was cute... in a gangly, scruffy sort of way. And his journey was showing itself in his physique, plus he said he kinda had a girlfriend. That was either a yes or a no, right?

Argh, too much thought, Zeta scolded herself. Just get out of there!

Grabbing his face and hoping this never happened again, Zeta pulled him in and kissed him. About a few seconds later (to her), she pulled away and opened her eyes to study Sapph’s completely bewildered expression. Satisfied he would completely forget what she was doing there now, she managed to cool her flushed face.

“Something to remember me by,” she said playfully, licking her lips slightly, looking cuter by the second. “You like?”

“Woo-er?” was all Sapph could utter, completely lost and looking like he didn’t mind being there.

Giggling, she slid away from the door and sauntered down the corridor, saying, “See you around, Blue-Eyes.”

-End Flashback-

‘Something to remember me by’? What a crock, Zeta scolded herself as her face began to grow hot again. Why would I want to see those dark locks, that gentle smile, those blue eyes... oh, dear.

Coming to herself and grateful that Gawain wasn’t in the room to see her reddening cheeks, she applied the Chap Stick quickly and quickly left the room, stuffing the article into her bag.


Untying his red anorak and hitching it higher onto his thin shoulders, Sapph arrived at the sprawling market centre the sailors at the docks directed him to and began to look around for a local to enquire about the local hotels and their locations. The fact that this was the biggest island in the Trigello Islands and that the whole island was this city alone suddenly hit him and he cursed his not getting this information from Tony or Shrader before disembarking.

Wondering what he was going to do, a familiar voice broke in on his thoughts for the second time that day, “Hey, there. You lost or something, Sapph Manson?”

Spinning around, Sapph’s face came close to a sizeable bust clad in a purple and white tank top and he immediately took a couple of steps back, apologizing profusely, his face red as a Tamato berry.

A great tinkling laugh came from the tank topped girl as the voice went on in a sly, seductive tone, “You are an innocent one, aren’t you, Sapph Manson? I like that. It makes you easier to embarrass.”

Taking a look at the tall girl’s purple hair and matching irises looking at him naughtily, Sapph felt like slapping himself for embarrassing himself. “Darn it, Eva! You nearly scared me the heck out!”

As the girl replied with continued laughter, Sapph folded his arms grouchily and said, “So what are you doing here?”

“Believe it or not, Sapph, I live here,” Eva hiccoughed after getting her giggles under control.

“You do? That’s great!” Sapph replied, brightening at once. “Can you help me find a hotel?”

“Hotel? What, you mean a love hotel?” Eva replied with a sly look almost identical to the one Lieutenant Shrader gave him earlier.

“Wh-What? NO!” Sapph, half-yelled, going crimson once more. “I’m staying to watch Haley Kent at the tournament!”

“Hmm, well, I think there may be a vacancy in the lower districts,” Eva said, pretending not to hear Sapph. “But this tournament is quite popular. Almost everywhere is full, even in the slums. You could stay at my place, but whatever would my boyfriend and parents think?” She added, blushing theatrically.

“Oi, are you listening to me?!” Sapph hissed, getting more embarrassed by the minute as people began to stop and stare at Eva’s soliloquy.

“What? Oh, sorry, Sapph,” Eva said, pretending to just notice Sapph’s embarrassment. “Were you saying something?”

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” Sapph seethed.

“Oh, I guess I can show you to a hotel, then...” Eva relented. Then, with a wicked glint in her eye, she added, “for a kiss.”

Sapph stared aghast at the girl as she leaned in, a blush on her cheeks as she closed her eyes and puckered up.

Stopping a passerby, Sapph asked, “Excuse me, sir, can you direct me to the ‘lower district’?”

Opening her eyes, Eva pouted and grabbing Sapph by the scruff of his t-shirt, frogmarched him away, muttering, “You’re no fun, Sapph Manson.”


After asking around for directions and twenty minutes walking through the busy industrial district of the island city, Haley finally found the Pokémon Centre for the city, which was one of the largest she had seen to date. Easily six stories tall, the building was only dwarfed by the skyscraper standing behind it and the coliseum in which the battles were to take place, which seemed to be a mere five minutes’ walk away.

Walking up to the glass and concrete structure, the doors slid open for her to admit her arrival. Just as Haley was about to enter, a shoulder bumped into her, knocking her slightly off-balance. Barely glancing back and muttering a hurried “Excuse me,” the girl made towards the reception desk where (unless Haley’s eyes were deceiving her) there stood no fewer than half a dozen near-identical, each one showing a single difference that set her apart from the other nurses.

Incensed at the girl’s apparent lack of manners, Haley bristled and reached out with one hand to drag the young woman back and demand an apology. She barely got two paces done before a larger girl with her dirt brown hair done up in a waist length plait and a green half jacket done up over a long black dress crossed her path, and, with a gloating voice and sneer, announced, “Well, look who finally showed up. You took your time, Haley Kent.”

Haley took a step back and looking the girl from head to sandal-clad toes, gave an aggrieved twitch of her head and said disdainfully, “Nicola... surprised to see you here. Didn’t I last see you recovering on Utopia Island?”

“I told you I’d catch up,” Nicola replied smugly. “I already had the Shuriken and Barnyard Emblems before you and Sapph even made it to Utopia Island. Speaking of, where is Sapph?”

“Finding us rooms,” Haley said dismissively with another shake of her head. “Why do you want to know?”

Frowning slightly, Nicola replied, “What business is that of yours? Can’t a friend just say hello?”

Staring the older girl down a couple of minutes longer, Haley gave up the conversation with a facial expression akin to finding a particularly nasty artefact stuck to the underbelly of a lavatory seat, and moved around her. Moving towards the reception desk, Haley looked back and muttered, “I’m just here to heal my Pokémon and wait here for his call. I don’t have time to settle this with you now. The opening ceremony’s tonight anyways...”

Making to follow the Water-type enthusiast, a slight beeping alerted the older girl to a message coming in on her pager. Barely looking back, Haley wend her way through the numerous pink Chansey and Blissey orderlies as they waddled up and down the expansive lobby, tending to the huge crowd amassed inside.

Reaching the desk, Haley handed six small capture spheres to one of the matron, who instead of roseate pink hair braids, had her mop of light brown hair tied in a simple ponytail, which flowed down to the back of her knees. “Can I have these checked up on for tomorrow? I’m competing in the Trigello tournament finals.”

“Name, Pokédex, hometown and emblems, please,” the nurse asked back in a much more mature voice that failed to hide her exhaustion, passing the pokéballs onto one of the chubby Egg Pokémon for her to check them then.

“Haley Kent, Olville Town, Corei,” Haley replied shortly, reaching into her jacket and pulling out three small badges and handing them over to the young woman together with her pink identification device, which also served as a growing encyclopaedia of all things Pokémon and a banking card.

The nurse picked up the Pokédex first and then each badge in turn, passing a handheld scanner of sorts over them, checking each one for authenticity. The scanner giving a slight beep as she passed over each one confirmed that they were the general article. Putting the device away and reaching under the desk for a key card, she passed the Pokédex, badges and the card to her, saying, “They all seem to check out, Ms. Kent. Your room is on the third floor, room seventeen. Would you like me to show you the way?”

“Wait... my room?” Haley replied in a startled voice as another voice, sounding almost like a female Sapph, said, “Well, duh. All the contestants get their own rooms here at the Pokémon Centre. Didn’tcha even know that?!”

Groaning to herself; Haley turned around and looking back at the young girl who had made the statement, said calmly, “Go away, Sky. Can’t you see we’re having a conversation?”

Sky Wingams adjusted the headband that kept her chestnut bangs out of her eyes and said huffily, “Well, excuse you, jardo! That’s the last freebie you get from me! Prepare to lose this tournament!”

Pointing at Haley dramatically, Sky turned her pointing finger into a thumb which she jabbed at her chest, declaring, “The world’s gonna see the pure awesomeness of Flying types win it all this year! Just wait and see!”

Stalking off and out of the Pokémon Centre, Haley watched the girl go impassively. A soft sigh escaped the lips of a purple-haired young man, who had walked over to the desk from a booth. Pinching his large nose in embarrassment, he said, “That Sky Wingams... what on earth does she get from making an embarrassment of herself everywhere she goes? That’s anything but proper.”

“I dunno,” another voice that also sounded distantly familiar to Haley Kent floated through the air from an attractive sixteen year old boy with a serious affinity for black; not only was his neatly-coiffed hair the colour of night itself, his jacket, t-shirt, dirty jeans and trainers were all part of a matching hue. “She seems intensely passionate about her choice of Pokémon to me. She seems like quite the opponent, right, Haley?”

Facing the second boy, Haley’s jaw dropped as she recognised the tall boy and spluttered, “B-B-Brian?!”

Laughing to himself at her reaction, the Kazutan proffered a two-fingered salute and said, “Yo, Haley. How have you and Sapph been?”

The Johton boy’s name triggered something in the young girl, who pulled out her PokéNav and said quickly, “I’ll deal with you in a minute, Brian. I’ve gotta make a call first...”

Before she could dial Sapph’s PokéGear phone number, a second nurse, glancing at the computer screen in front of her, looked up and, coughing slightly, spoke into a small microphone at her station, “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention for this announcement?”

Haley and the two boys looked up and at the chubby nurse as the general hubbub in the Pokémon Centre died away, all eyes looking in her general direction.

“Corei Meteorology has just announced a low pressure approaching Azura City from the southeast sea,” the nurse continued with her announcement. The proclamation was met by a sound of buzzing as people began talking about the announcement amongst themselves. “It is bringing a summer storm which, at its current speed, will be hitting the entire archipelago within the next two hours. You are all advised not to leave the Pokémon Centre for the remainder of the day as the storm if predicted to last all night long...”

“Aw, man!” Sky exclaimed angrily, literally a footstep away from exiting the Pokémon Centre to go train as the nurse went on.

“...however, if your lodgings are nearby, and you are done waiting for your Pokémon to be healed, we advise you to make your way back to your residences as soon as possible. The Trigello tournament finals opening ceremony will therefore also be postponed until tomorrow morning at nine o’clock sharp,” Several faces seemed disappointed at this announcement, and a few faces, like Sky’s actually showed open dislike for the news. “Thank you for your attention.”

“Well, that’s this evening dampened,” Brian chortled at his choice of words. Turning to the youngest of their group, he added, “Care to join us for a milkshake, Haley?”

Haley looked Brian over and faltering under his charming smile, Haley nodded, and closing her PokéNav again, followed Brian and Slate to the milkshake bar at the far side of the lobby, keen to hear what Brian had been up to since they parted ways in Dinocanyon City.


Sapph wiped some sweat off his brow as he and his guide walked down a street which looked alarmingly like the ones back in Olville Town, only the houses were slightly narrower and thatch-roofed. The houses had nicely manicured lawns and most of the residents (at least those who were home at the time) were senior citizens of varying ages, whiling away the day relaxing in easy chairs by the windows of laying pies out on the windowsill to cool. More than once, Eva beamed and waved at them as she passed, greeting each person she did by name.

“Is this your neighbourhood, Eva?” Sapph asked as they walked past, each house owning a species of canine Pokémon sleeping on the front step or in a small shelter made neatly for them. The occasional house did have a Skitty purring sleepily in the sunlight as they napped on the windowsill.

“My uncle’s,” Eva said, glancing back as they walked on past a small general store. “An additional plus is this convenience store. It’s just about three buildings away from the inn I’m taking you to. Most of the stuff here are much cheaper than at a Pokémon Centre because, well, you’ve seen the demographic here...”

Sapph looked lost at her last word and she quickly explained, “The age group of the people here. People are most on their pensions here, so stuff is made cheaper so they can afford it. It’s also more convenient to shop here than go halfway across the island for a simple loaf of bread.”

Sapph saw the logic and nodded, asking, “Isn’t it a bit unfair to segregate the older generation in one area of the town?”

“No, the people here are very well-cared for by their families and the city council,” Eva said conversationally as they arrived outside of a three-storey building with a wooden signboard hanging off and above a wrought iron doorway reading ‘The Raticate Burrow’. “Besides,” she went on, “half of the residents here are live-in house-sitters for their younger family members who are currently at work. Others sometimes babysit their grandkids for the parents while they’re away on business or just getting away from it all.”

Nodding again, Sapph gave a preoccupied, “Mm-hmm,” as something came to his attention. Noticing another three-storey inn across the road from it, Sapph smirked as Eva’s intentions became clearer to him. Clearing his throat, he asked innocently, “You said the... ‘Raticate Burrow’,” he said purposefully, reading the sign carefully, “was owned by your uncle, right?”

“Yeah, and I could probably get you a discount too,” Eva said with a smirk. “What, you thought I was only bringing you here because I get an advertiser’s bonus or something?”

“I never said you were,” Sapph replied, his grin getting bigger.

Realizing she was caught, Eva reddened for a moment and, grabbing Sapph by the collar again, frogmarched him inside, announcing loudly, “Hey, Uncle Rob! Got another guest for you!”

A middle-aged man with sandy brown hair looked up from the immense ledger he was poring over and noticing his niece, gave a big smile and revealed a grizzled face beneath a receding hairline, “Thanks a lot, Eva!” This is the fourth one today! We’re almost fully-booked for the tournament!”

Thought so, Sapph thought with a smirk as he looked around at the modest furniture, upholstered with deep green flannel, and the whitewashed walls. Various old photographs of Azura City’s hot spots graced the walls and the oaken skirting boards and doorframes looked sturdy.

“Hello, customer! Welcome to the Raticate Burrow!” the man said jovially, clapping his hands cheerily. “We only have two rooms left as of now, each one costing a mere five hundred pokédollars a night! We have a tournament package as well for tourists who are staying only for the Trigello finals at one thousand, two hundred clams a pop for the whole tournament! Can I tempt you?”

Sapph found himself charmed by the receptionist’s charisma, although the prices were causing him disquiet. Turning to Eva, he hissed, “I thought you said you could get me a discount?”

Caught off guard, Eva supposed she owed him that much and relented. Sidling over to the clerk, Eva leaned close to his ear and whispered, “Hey, Uncle. This guy’s a family friend. And with the summer storm coming in and the Swarthy Walrein just across the street, this is actually an opportunity for you! Think you could cut it down a bit further for him? For me?!” She added, battling her eyes at him innocently.

Looking slightly disgruntled, ‘Uncle Rob’ stroked his stubbled chin and muttered back, “I swear, girl... you and your charitable promises will be the death of me!” Sighing once more, the man straightened up and said, “Tell you what, kiddo... take both rooms and I’ll cut the cost down to two thousand pokédollars for the whole tournament, but only if the full amount is paid up front. Can’t do better than that, I’m afraid. This is a business, after all!”

Sapph closed his eyes and pretended to ponder his possibilities. Smiling and opening his blue eyes, which matched the clerk’s, he said, “Deal. I needed the two rooms, anyways. Do you take credits?”

“Off a card?” Uncle Rob said cheerfully, referring to the debit card built into Sapph’s Pokédex that kept track of the boy’s expenditure. “But of course! Let me have my reader brought in so we can sort it out!”

And with that, the man raised his voice to a shout and announced, “Steffi, guests!”

A raven-haired woman Sapph assumed was Eva’s aunt bustled into the room, slightly chubby but with a good-natured smile and bright brown eyes dotting a tanned face, she said, “Why, hello there, Eva! Heard from your sister recently?”

“Hello, Aunt Stephanie!” Eva replied as the woman handed over a handheld reader to her husband and he took Sapph’s Pokédex to assume the payment. “No, not since she called to say she was training for her challenging the Utopia Island Gym!”

“So Zayina’s fighting Herbert Sr. then?” Sapph said with nostalgia as he took back his Pokédex and a couple of keys off the board behind the clerk and his wife. “He’s a tough one, but I’m sure she’ll be fine!”

“So you know little Zayina too, hunh, lad?” Rob said in surprise. “I suppose this is what you meant by a ‘family friend’ then, Eva.”

“Told you,” Eva said with a smirk. “I gotta go now, Uncle Rob, Aunt Stephanie! Take care! Maybe we’ll run into each other while you’re in town, Sapph!”

“That wouldn’t be too bad,” Sapph said with a challenging smile. “Cloude and I still owe you and Atalepom a rematch from last time! Take care!” he said, waving farewell. The older girl returned his challenge with a smile of her own and made her exit.

Smiling a smile of relief at acquiring the last two rooms, Sapph raised his new PokéGear to his mouth and said, “Dial ‘Haley’.”

Marvelling at how convenient the voice command feature of the device was, Sapph waited patiently as the phone rang. After a couple of rings, the PokéNav beeped, signalling that the call had connected.

“Hey, Haley!” Sapph announced brightly. “Got the last two rooms for a decent place called the Raticate’s Burrow! Only fifteen minutes away from the stadium!”

A few seconds’ silence issued from the PokéNav’s speaker before Haley’s voice replied, “Wait... the Raticate’s Burrow? How crappy is it to have a name like that, Sapph?”

Wincing at Haley’s remark, Sapph said defensively, “It isn’t crappy, Haley. Not even a little. It is small, but cosy, too!”

“Well, hurrah for the Raticate Burrow,” Haley said in a dole voice, several Trainers milling around making small talk about or arguing about who would win the upcoming tournament. “I’m happy for it.” A young girl in a large white cap slurped up the last of her Rawst berry milkshake and, sliding out of the next booth, headed out the door swiftly.

“OK, Haley,” Sapph said evenly, trying to play her comments off as a joke. Grateful the receptionist couldn’t hear them, he went on, “This... attitude thing of yours is honestly getting a little old. Ever since we reached Utopia Island, you’ve been even more annoying than normal...”

“’Annoying’?” Haley echoed, her voice rising shrilly over the noise in the Pokémon Centre. Although not as loudly as to warrant curious bystanders. “Is my getting tougher that much of a problem for you, Sha- uhh,” she rectified; horrified that she nearly gave away her suspicions of him in her anger, “I mean, Sapphire Manson?”

Sapph stared in shock at the phone in the lobby. Voice quivering heavily, he went on as calmly as possible, a tic going off near his temple and his right fist spasming, “OK, Haley. Let’s all just calm down. Why don’t you come down here, get your key so we...”

“’We’?” Haley’s voice said with a cold laugh. “Not this time, Mister Manson. I’m staying at the Pokémon Centre. Contestant privilege, you know. You can stay... wherever it is you are...”

“But I just rented two rooms, Haley!” Sapph spluttered into the blue and gold PokéGear. “Two! What am I gonna do with the extra room, then?”

“Heck if I know,” the girl’s voice said over the portable device. “Ask for a refund. Must I always think for you?”

Gritting his voice, his patience all but gone, Sapph snarled into the phone, “I can’t get a refund on the room, Haley. I pretty much paid for these rooms out of my pocket up front to secure them! Are you going to pay me back for the room?”

“Of course not,” Haley seemed to scoff. “Do I look stupid to you?”

“No, but you sound it.”

A moment’s silence rang through the Raticate’s Burrow as Sapph glared at the PokéGear on his wrist, almost as though he were staring at the young female researcher’s face. Haley’s voice finally replied in an icy voice, “I’ve gotta go. Blame your own rotten luck and lack of forethought for this. Good night.”

A slight CLICK told Sapph that the call had been ended on the other side. Were it not for the fact that the PokéGear was a new gift from his family, he would have taken it off and thrown it against the far wall as hard as he could. Instead he gripped the device as hard as he dared, his knuckles turning white as he did so. Taking a couple of steadying breaths, he turned towards the reception to try returning the key to one of the rooms when a finger tapped him lightly on the shoulder tentatively.

Already in a lousy mood, Sapph spun around and was about to verbally lash out in anger when he noticed the girl’s red hair and said, “You know, I’m in a really... wait, I know you! You’re Josephine Harris, right?”

The girl beamed and pulled the sunglasses away from her hazel eyes as she nodded and said, “That sounded intense! Girl trouble?”

Keen not to get into this conversation with another girl that day, Sapph grunted with a non-committal, “Yes and no. If you’re here, then that should mean...”

“You said ‘Haley’ on the phone,” another girl said, appearing on Sapph’s other side and with Josephine effectively flanking him. “You didn’t mean Haley Kent, did you?”

Sapph closed his eyes as though praying for patience and said, “Nice to meet you again too, Rachel. Fancy running into you two here...”

Laughing, Rachel placed an understanding hand on his shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Sapph. She has that effect on everyone she meets. Are you travelling around with her?”

Closing his eyes in a grimace, Sapph nodded and Rachel sighed, “You have my condolences. Question: did I hear you mention you got an extra room?”

Scratching the back of his head sheepishly, Sapph said in a now-normal voice, smiling to the girl and tutting slightly, “Eavesdropping now, are we?”

“It was kinda hard not to overhear,” Josephine chirped, before Rachel could retort. “I think the entire lobby could hear you.”

Now Sapph’s embarrassment was fast becoming obvious. “My bad,” he said awkwardly. “Have you gotten a place to stay yet?”

“Well, that was the last room in the Raticate’s Burrow,” Josephine said calmly, smiling slightly.

“So, whaddya say, Sapph? You won’t let two pretty girls stay out in the cold, will you?” Rachel said, hugging Sapph’s arm close and batting her eyes at him. Sapph squirmed awkwardly, trying to get free. “How about you give us the extra room? Hunh? Pretty please?”

“Come on, Sapph,” Josephine said, cottoning on and grabbing his other arm tight. “You’re a gentleman... surely you can let us have it?”

“Uhh... erm...” Sapph said, his face reddening from the ‘affections’ being shown. Before he could wrap his mind and tongue around an answer, Rachel snatched one of the keys from him and, letting go, said brightly, “Thanks, Sapph! You’re a pal!”

Sapph blinked foolishly for a few seconds before he heard Josephine’s voice over at the reception desk, “Excuse me, sir, but can we get another bed in this room?”

“Oi, what about me?!” A brusque voice said loudly, its source a boy of Sapph’s height with his auburn hair up in spikes upon his head.

“Oh, hush, Paul,” Rachel said sharply. “You can sleep in the park. Thank you, sir!” She added with an uncharacteristic giggle at the clerk as he reassured Josephine they would indeed be able to add another bed to their room. “Our friend here will cover the cost!”

“Hey!” Paul protested to no avail; Rachel and Josephine were already out of the lobby and halfway down the hallway leading towards their room. “There’s a freaking summer storm on tonight! No way can I sleep out!”

Sapph watched this exchange and shook his head at how low women seemed capable of going. Sighing to himself, he walked up to the receptionist and asked, “Hi, could you make mine a double bedroom too, please?”

As the clerk went to inform the two bellhops about the room rearrangements, Sapph turned to Paul and said, “There you go. I am getting the cash from you la- hey, where did he go?” he asked, whirling around looking for the boy who seemed to have vanished. Frowning, Sapph resolved to have Keynid out of his pokéball just to keep an eye on his curious ‘roommate’.

“Understood,” the voice over Paul’s PokéNav said in a garbled voice. “I’ll have the funds credited to your account. Keep an eye on him.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Paul said unenthusiastically, ending the call. Looking up and seeing the figure of a young girl, her face hidden under a white cap enter the Swarthy Walrein, the young boy sighed to and, walking back into the Raticate’s Burrow, thought, that should be easier than you think...


As the dusk wore on, Azura City’s lights began to flicker to life. People all over the city began to receive word of the incoming storm and sought to find shelter. At a particular public park near a popular bistro, though, a sizeable crowd found themselves mesmerised by a battle unfolding between two male Trainers. The younger one raised a long-fingered hand and pointed it at the opponent’s large pink Pokémon as his opponent continued to sweat under the sandy brown fedora he wore.

“OK, Burner! Finish that thing off with Fire Punch!” he called out in an emotionless voice.

<BLIS-SEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!> A large pink Pokémon shrieked as the large tiger Pokémon under his command slammed into it with a powerful fist wreathed completely in flames. Flight would be the last thing anyone expected of the Normal-typed Pokémon, but it still went soaring twelve feet through the air and slammed down in front of an equally portly, middle-aged man wearing a tan-coloured vest over a red sweater.

“Oh, no, Blissey!” the man exclaimed, his beefy hand going straight for his mouth in horror as his Pokémon passed out from the punishment it had received. The large tiger paid no heed and was bearing down on it to administer even more pain when a snapping of fingers stopped it cold. His opponent, a young looking boy with an utter mess of reddish blond hair and cold grey eyes, sighed theatrically and, lowering his right hand, announced, “So, you were the best at the tournament last year. Are you sure that was your strongest Pokémon? What a disappointment.”

The man began to sweat profusely at the insane strength that this young boy’s Pokémon had displayed. No, ‘strength’ wasn’t the word for it. ‘Outright ruthlessness’ would be more accurate. Not just anyone could topple his Happiness Pokémon, and yet, this youngster’s Volcat had not only done so, but was about inches away from ending her life. However, as he returned his Blissey and looked into the boy’s cold eyes, an involuntary shiver ran down his spine. The boy sparing his Pokémon wasn’t an act of boredom; he merely deemed the act as a waste of his time.

*continued next post*
Last edited:

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
TCQ Chapter 44~2

*continued from last post*

“Seriously, this won’t be enough to kill time, Mr. Current Trigello Champion,” Kamren Kent went on, placing his hand back in the pocket of his purple and red-trim tracksuit. “If they weren’t competing, I probably wouldn’t waste my time...”

“There you are, Kamren!” A sunny voice called out behind him and turning towards the bistro on the edge of the park, Kamren saw a young girl with sunshine blonde hair dyed orange in the sunset, running up to him; a smaller tiger sporting its cowl-like mane in a Mohawk at her heels. Exchanging a look with his own tiger, Kamren caught the smirk on its face and swiftly returned his Pokémon without another word. “Who are you bullying now?”

“OK, a, it isn’t bullying when your opponent’s meant to be the Current Trigello ‘champion’,” Kamren countered, his fingers sketching quotation marks around the last word, “b, this wouldn’t happen if you had decided to not spend all day finishing off your meatballs...”

“Hey, I just won my fifth Contest ribbon today!” Carla replied huffily, her green eyes flashing as she placed her fists on her hips and pretended to pout. “Oh, and way to be a gentleman and waiting for me to finish!”

“Don’t complain, Carla. I did foot the bill,” Kamren sighed, playing along as the ‘bad boyfriend’ to appease her. “Or were that and the roses not congratulations enough?”

Carla pretended to pout a bit longer, although the playful glint in her eyes gave the act away. “So, who’s this gentleman?”

“Koriyama Nishino, the reigning Trigello Champion,” Kamren scoffed. “Honestly, they make anyone a champion these days. Burner didn’t even break a sweat...”

“You used Burner?” Carla gasped as her Pokémon gaped at the young male Trainer. “No wonder he didn’t last, I thought you were giving Burner a break from battling?”

“I am,” Kamren conceded, with a shrug, “but I just got my top battlers back from the professor and thought Mr. Champion here could at least provide a challenge...”

“Well, it’s obvious he couldn’t. I hope you didn’t scar the poor man,” Carla said, giving Nishino a sympathetic smile. “Well, either way. There’s apparently a big summer storm coming tonight. I think we’d best be heading back to the hostel now...”

“Guess so,” Kamren conceded, scratching the back of his neck and turning to leave as Carla retrieved her Therline and made to follow suit. “Oh, and Mr. Koriyama?”

The man just stared dumbfounded at Kamren and Carla’s retreating backs, but responded to his name. “Yes, what is it?”

“I’d forfeit this tournament if I were you,” Kamren said remorselessly. “If you enter, you’re only going to get torn apart worse than I did today.”

With that, Kamren gave the man a stern, no-nonsense nod and turned to leave. Carla also gave the profusely-sweating man a backwards glance as she followed suit, catching up and walking besides her quarry as they walked towards the Azura City Stadium.

“Kamren? Hey, Kamren!”

“What is it? You’re so noisy,” Kamren grumbled. At a fork in the road, Carla grabbed his hand and pulled him down the left path, which lead towards their hostel.

“What was that message you gave Mr. Koriyama?” Carla asked curiously. “You’re not competing in the tournament tomorrow, are you?”

“Not after his display of what he calls ‘power’,” Kamren said acidly. “That was just pathetic.”

“Well, you did use Burner back there,” Carla commented, walking with her hands behind her back, the dusky colours reflecting twice in her eyes. “But again, you’re not competing. So, why...?”

“It’s true that there’s next to no equal to Burner and I, but we both Haley’s not me... if she made it,” Kamren cut in brusquely. “You could say I’m merely raising their chances of victory, that’s all.”

Chuckling to herself, Carla laughed, “Geez, Kamren... I dunno what Haley would do if she found out you did that for her: slap you, or hug you. Oh, yeah...” she added as they reached a fork in the road. Grabbing the boy’s wrist before he could turn right to the coliseum, she pulled him down the left fork towards the hostel.

“Hey, whoa!” Kamren protested, startled by the abrupt change in direction. “I thought we were heading for the coliseum. Wonder why everyone is closing up so early, though...” he added as they walked down a market street, the owners all boarding up their windows and bolting their doors shut around them as he was hustled down the street.

“If you’d stuck around in the restaurant a few minutes longer, you’d have heard about the summer storm forecast to hit the island tonight,” Carla said shortly, continuing to tug on his arm. “The opening ceremony was also postponed until the morning.”

“A ‘summer storm’?” Kamren repeated as he slowed their trot and pulled the blonde girl around to face him. “Tonight? I thought that those things were impossible to predict.”

Almost impossible to predict, Kamren,” Carla corrected. “Almost. And it’s a good thing they did catch this one. Remember the last one we were in? Dracya’s still recovering at the Pokémon Centre.”

Goose grey eyes bugged out and complexion paled as a brief spasm of worried reminisce crossed Kamren’s face at the memory of the last squall. “Yeah... let’s get back to the hostel. Now.”

Both Trainers half-walked, half-ran all the way back to the hostel as storm clouds began to gather overhead.

The next morning saw weak sunlight breaking up the storm clouds from the night before. The sound of grumbling could be heard coming down the hallway towards the lobby where Josephine Harris and Rachel Savina sat conversing animatedly. The sound of Paul Oak’s curt replies made both girls look up at the door leading towards the rooms.

“I’m telling you, it’s crazy to be up this early,” a grouchy-sounding voice complained, punctuated with quite a loud yawn. “Don’t you know today’s a Saturday?”

“Yeah, a Saturday that the Trigello Tournament was rescheduled to begin on because of last night’s summer storm,” Paul replied disdainfully. “Didn’t you mention that a friend of yours was competing?”

“Yeah, and? Look, Paul, it doesn’t start ‘til nine. And last I checked, neither one of us are Espeon,” Sapph replied sourly. “Give me one good reason why we have to leave this early.”

“Here’s one,” Paul said in reply. “If we wait any later, we won’t get into the Coliseum until, say, ten o’clock: in time to watch the first match ending. And you may not care, but we have a couple of girls in tow who’ll make life even more miserable for me if we’re late.”

“I still don’t see why you couldn’t let me sleep in,” Sapph continued to grouse as both boys finally appeared in the lobby fully dressed and (in Sapph’s case) looking like he was pulled backwards through a bed of barbed wire.

Smirking evilly, Paul replied shortly, “Hey, no way will I let you leave me to suffer alone.”


“What’s up?”

“I hate you.”

“I love you, too.”

“About time you two showed up!” Rachel called out, getting to her feet and tossing her hair back angrily. “Have either of you got any concept of time?!”

“I do,” Sapph replied in a curt undertone to Paul. “This one’s called ‘too early to be awake’.”

“Well, whatever,” Rachel went on, clearly not listening to what Sapph had just said. “Let’s get going already!”

And without preamble, the purple haired Trainer was out the door and off down the street. Shooting the boys an apologetic glance, Josephine got up and followed her friend out of the door and towards the open-air stadium where the opening ceremony was to be held.

“Don’t you just hate girls like that?” Paul asked Sapph rhetorically as they made to follow suit.

Sapph only swore.

The foursome made their way through the streets of the coastal city inland towards the Coliseum, with much grumbling from Sapph along the way. Josephine tried her best to strike up conversation between Rachel and Paul, but the latter’s lousy attitude soon made her give the mission up like a bad job and stuck to walking ahead with Rachel, leaving the boys to bring up the rear.

The young Johton did notice the activity in the streets become more frantic as the sun rose steadily in the east. The crowds around the stadium were definitely becoming thicker as they walked along, and more than once, Sapph was forced to not look back into Rachel’s smug face and flip her off every time she looked back at them (which was happening quite a lot as the approached the gates).

Sapph looked up as the Coliseum began to cast them in shadow at a structure that looked like it hosted gladiatorial battles in the past. Sapph could almost see why hosting the opening ceremony in the structure was such a big deal. Not only was the building so old it seemed to be made from history itself, its white washed stone walls and even the ivy that grew up and around the pillars that framed each gate exuded a sense of deep solemnity and tradition.

A small crowd was already forming in front of the gates and Rachel threw one last I-told-you-so look over her shoulder (Sapph was presently rubbing his knuckles and imagining all manner of horrible things happening to her and Paul Oak) before stepping forwards and showing one of the ticket managers her pass. Wordlessly, Josephine, Paul and Sapph followed suit.

Sapph, Josephine and Paul followed the young girl down along a stone corridor that seemed to make its way around the perimeter of the centre of the arena. Several doorways were interspersed at regular intervals along the corridor, each one leading to a flight of stairs which presumably led people to different levels and stands in the arena.

“You know, I heard this place was called “The Ring of the Gods” when it was first used,” Josephine said valiantly, giving conversation one more chance. “They changed the name when the Sterling City stadium was made one hundred and seventy-five years later.”

“Really?” Sapph said, the brisk walk reviving him slightly. Not that it mattered much to him; the battles ahead were keying him up much more. “That’s... interesting.”

The redhead shook her head exasperatedly and said “...and you do not care, do you?”

Sapph worked his face into an apologetic smile and said, “Sorry, Josephine. I do not.”

“’Section 14’... this is us, guys,” Rachel cut in then and continued to lead the way up two flights of stairs and out of another short tunnel into quite a sight. People began to file into rows and seats all over the stadium, which was divided into at least sixteen sections, each one five stands deep. Sapph and his party emerged into the middle stand of their section of the stadium, which was barely empty. The seats were a bright yellow in colour and arranged in ten rows of nine. Sapph must have guessed the arena looked like a great golden ring when seen from above and devoid of people.

Shuffling along the front-most row which was presently empty, Rachel plonked herself bang in the centre seat and spread herself out, pulling a pair of purple shades over her eyes as she lounged. Josephine giggled at her friend’s laid back appearance and sat in the seat next to her, mimicking Rachel with her own dark glasses. Noticing three seats left, Sapph leapt forward and sat heavily in the middle one of the three seats, throwing a dirty smirk at Paul and indicated the seat next to Josephine flippantly. Paul’s face darkened and as he shimmied past Sapph to the left seat, flipped him off. Sapph returned the gesture with a broad smile and sat back to watch the stands around them fill up with spectators who didn’t have people like Rachel and Paul to pull them out of bed at the crack of dawn.

The sun rose steadily and the noise began to swell as Sapph took the centre of the arena in. In some mild surprise, the battlefield drawn with white chalk in the precise centre that took up at least half of the space was utterly plain. Sapph supposed that element-specific fields were used, although he supposed doing so may give some Trainers like Haley and Slate a distinct advantage. Then again, the way the field was now, he supposed Flying type experts like Sky would be able to dominate here.

Speaking of Sky, Sapph wondered as the seats behind him began to fill. I wonder if she...

“Excuse me,” a soft voice piped up. “Is this seat free?”

Distracted, Sapph looked up and saw a young girl wearing a fairly form-fitting blue and white shirt which flared out at the waist and blue trousers which also became baggy at the knees going down. Looking into coffee brown eyes that widened with something akin to recognition, Sapph’s double-take was cut short abruptly.

Slumping back in his seat, he told the brunette. “Uh... sorry, I thought you were someone...” Sapph’s voice faltered as she pulled off a dark brown wig to reveal coral blue hair which matched her outfit and blinked fast, popping red contacts out of her eyes, which also had a sea green hue, “...else.” The boy’s jaw slackened as the girl fluffed out her now shoulder-length bob of hair and smiled warmly.

“Hi, Sapph,” Nora greeted shyly. “Been a while, hasn’t...”

The rest of her words were lost in her throat as Sapph jumped up and gave the Nightspark City local a huge hug. Holding the girl tight, the boy murmured, “You really don’t need the disguise, do you?”

“N-no,” Nora replied in a flustered voice, red creeping into her face. “But it did help surprise you didn’t it? Also...”

Not listening to the next part of her statement, Sapph pulled apart and, giving her hair a cheeky ruffle, laughed saying, “Guess not, you little scamp. So, Sky made it too?”

“So did Reg,” Nora said tremulously. Sapph’s face fell as she continued, “Sky sent me a message when he arrived with his flunkies two nights ago. That’s also why I’m wearing the disguise. If he finds me...”

“Let him find you,” Sapph said firmly, snatching the wig and contacts from her hands. “I’ll teach him just who won the last Gatonda tournament if he tries anything. And stop crying,” Sapph added uncomfortably, noticing the tears of joy welling up in her eyes. “Anyone who treats their sister the way he did is definitely on my list.”

Nora’s smile seemed to slide away as she looked at Sapph’s angry face. So that’s it, Sapph. You don’t...

“But hey, forget him, right? You wanted this seat, right?” Sapph said with a fair stab at bravado as he returned to his and gestured the one next to him which as at the end of the row.

Nodding slightly and hitching a smile back on her face, Nora nodded and sat down next to her.

“Hey aren’t you gonna introduce us, Sapph?” Josephine said brightly as Paul and Rachel looked up expectantly. (The latter had even raised her sunglasses to get a better look at Nora.)

“Oh, right. Sorry,” Sapph said briskly. “Nora, this is Josephine Harris, a friend of mine. You can ignore the other two.” Rachel and Paul bristled in unison at Sapph’s total brushing off. “Josephine, this is Nora Saunders. Her grandmother and I helped her escape from her home in Nightspark City twice.”

“Did you?” Is he your boyfriend, Nora? Hmm?” Josephine said slyly prompting both of them to blush heavily.

“Uhm... Ah...” Nora stammered before Sapph stepped in and said, “Of course not, Josephine! Nora’s like a sister to me!”

“Yeah, yeah!” Nora quickly agreed while she mentally face faulted at the word ‘sister’.

“Oh, hey look, the contestants are coming out!” Sapph said quickly, diverting the others’ attention to a group of mismatched Trainers making their way out of the concourse and out onto the centre ring. A loud cheer of seven thousand plus fans screamed out towards their favourites and heckled others they either didn’t like or looked just plain unpopular.

“Hey, look! There’s Sky! And Reg,” Nora said, her voice becoming quite small as she recognised her older brother.

“And there’s T.J., and Slate and... and... son of a gun,” Sapph faltered as he saw another boy with black hair and eyes who despite the rising temperature in the stadium looked at home decked out in black. “Is that Brian?!”

“Brian’s here?!” Nora squealed, also looking among the contestants and finding the young teenager from Kazuto’s neatly combed hair among the Technicolor medley as he turned to blow kisses into the crowd. A small black foxlike Pokémon with red and gold rings noticeable even from their height walked at his heels, the only Pokémon out and amongst the throng of humans. “And look, Sapph! Eaves evolved into Umbreon, just as he wanted!”

“Sorry, but who’s Brian?” Josephine asked, nonplussed. “I’m guessing ‘Eaves’ is his Umbreon, but...”

“Oh, sorry. Brian is a friend of ours. He joined Haley and I back in Nightspark and travelled with us for a while,” Sapph smiled. “Man, Haley and I owe him and earful.”

“So you mean the guy with the Umbreon’s your friend?” Rachel commented offhandedly. “He’s kinda cute, although he also seems quite stupid.”

“Wha-stupid?” Sapph bristled as Nora stayed a steadying hand on his wrist and looked for an explanation. “What does that mean?”

“The Trigello tournament is supposed to be a monotype tournament, right?” Paul said, looking down as the Trainers made a lap of the tournament. “Wouldn’t not revealing your type specialty so blatantly give you an edge in the battles ahead? That’s kinda basic, mate.”

“Maybe so,” Nora said calmly before Sapph could rebuff. “But that could also mean he’s just that confident. And I have seen Dark types take down Fighting types before,” she added with a half-smile at Sapph, remembering Mogshex and Rumboo’s bout at the Gatonda Tournament.

Sapph looked at Nora in some marvel. He always knew his friend mostly detested confrontations outside of battles, but her skill at defusing them seemed to have gone up tremendously since they last parted. Though, he supposed with a smile, travelling around with Sky would call for a fair amount of backbone.

A few sections closer to the centre on the other end of the stadium, Kamren and Carla were also regarding the Trainers with some interest as well, the former with his arms crossed.

“So, little Haley actually made it. Guess that means Manson’s here,” the boy said, watching his sister walk around the stadium and acknowledging the cheers. “I wonder how much stronger he’s become...”

“Really, Kamren Kent... ‘Manson’ again? Geez, you know how to make a girl feel special,” Carla looked up from the centre ring and made a mock-pout. “You know; your sister’s qualified for a major tournament. Could you at least be interested?”

Seemingly coming out of some sort of reverie, Kamren turned to Carla and asked, “Sorry, what were you saying?”

Sighing, Carla closed her green eyes and mumbled, “Never mind.”

Kamren gave a non-committal shrug of his shoulders and scanned the entrants again.

“So, Calvin made it, did he? As expected,” the reddish blond haired boy told his companion. The sight of a hulking boy walking next to the tiny mousey blond boy piqued his interest somewhat. “...and Dex, eh? Either the Trigello Crew weren’t worth much or Dex is way stronger than I gave him credit for.”

“Did he?” Carla said scathingly, looking down at her brother’s form wistfully. Kamren caught sight of her gaze and said, “So, he still isn’t talking to you, is he?”

Carla shook her head forlornly and Kamren sighed. “That little brat... what does he think he’s doing pretending to be tough?”

“At least he’s well,” Carla said, wiping a solitary tear from her cheek and smiling again. “I have been speaking to Dex, though. He’s remarkably good at taking care of him.”

“Of course he is. I didn’t leave them together if he wasn’t,” Kamren said quietly. “One thing does bother me, though...”

“Is this about Sapph Manson again?” Carla deadpanned. “You two should just get a room.”

“Uhh, no, it isn’t,” Kamren said warily. “That fat guy from yesterday... Nishino...”

“What about him?” Carla asked, with her eyes narrowed slightly.

“You remember he’s the ‘defending Champion’, right?” Kamren explained as the Trainers finished their lap and approached a stage of sorts erected at the centre of the area. “Yet I don’t see him among the contestants at all. Hope I didn’t totally crush his morale last night...”

“Yes, because you care so much about how others feel,” Carla said, a bit more acidly than she had intended.

“Well, not all the time,” Kamren said in an aside as he watched the finalists approach the podium where three men stood with their backs to Kamren and Carla’s side of the stadium.

Carla looked over at Kamren, a faint tinge on her cheeks. In an attempt to cover the flush, she dug a finger into her ear as though she didn’t catch what he’d said. Rubbing it around for a few seconds, she said, “I’m sorry, what was that, Kamren Kent? I didn’t hear you.”

Coming to himself, Kamren coughed and, pointing at the jumbo screen, said, “Huh? Oh, nothing. Looks like someone’s making a speech...”

Carla just smiled and looked towards the screen as well, a short man with a very impressing mane of white cascading down his front. Stepping up to a microphone that had been set up in front of the small crowd of Trainers before him, he spread his thin arms wide and said, “Ladies, gentlemen, children of all ages! And most especially to our seasoned Trainers representing the pinnacle of those who choose to follow the path of raising a single element of Pokémon, I am Alexander Goodshow, president of the Global Union of Pokémon Leagues, and I wish you all welcome! Welcome to the one hundred and twenty fourth edition of the Trigello Cup Tournament Finals!”

A great cheer resounded from the crowds and filled every inch of the stadium and seemed to spill over into the surrounding area. What seemed like sky rockets burst from the upper walls of the coliseum and exploded fifteen feet above the coliseum, plumes of coloured smoke bursting from each one’s explosion, the sky becoming a rainbow of colour.

“Wow, that’s some cheering!” Nora exclaimed, turning to Sapph who had clapped his hands over both ears.

Sapph turned back to her and mouthed the word, “What?” clearly to emphasize the effect the noise was having on people’s hearing.

Raising his arms and revealing the striped t-shirt he wore under the beard, the crowd slowly fell silent as he went on.

“Ahem...” the man coughed and silence more or less fell once again. “Thank you. Now, the Trigello tournament is more than a stage to determine the best element. It is actually a platform to which you can show the world the very best of what the world of Pokémon has to offer, regardless of their origin or typing. And to show the true bond which can be achieved through the union of Trainer and Pokémon. This is the true aim of any tournament, and I hope that regardless of your preference in type or Trainer, you will give all our contestants your full support and undivided support for the next four days!”

The crowd were murmuring, probably all, as Zeta thought as she sat back in her seat, that the brevity of Goodman’s speech was about as off-putting as his attire. Forget President of all the Pokémon world’s Leagues, the old man looked more like Santa Claus at the beach, complete with a blue baseball cap tilted backwards in the most unorthodox way possible.

“Ahem... and now, I’d like to introduce you to your co-hosts: Kenny C, who will bring you the colour commentary for this entire tournament...”

A young looking man who was very familiar to Sapph and Nora stood up and addressed the masses, “Hello, Azura City! Are you ready for some battling?”

A few people let out cheers, Sapph and Nora amongst them.

“I can’t hear you!” Kenny C continued to yell. “I said... ‘Are you ready to see some battles’?!”

The crowd let out a roar as Paul said, “Well, someone seems pumped.”

“He was commentator during the Gatonda Tournament as well,” Sapph informed the others. “Guess he’s a really popular choice.”

“...and our special guest for the day, from the Utopia Island Pokémon Centre, Nurse Joy!”

“Hmm... she seems popular with the male contestants, at least,” Nora noted as a fair number of the men threw the pretty nurse roguish winks as she raised a hand in acknowledgement.

Alex Goodman stepped up to the mic once more and calling for calm once more, said, “Because we’re starting this affair a bit later than we planned, we will immediately pair our contestants for the first round as I hand you back to Kenny C to explain the format for the first round battles!”

The auditorium let loose another loud yell of acknowledgement and another round of fireworks were let loose into the sky and a cloud of balloons were released from a compartment behind the podium and into the sky as Goodman handed over the microphone to the commentator.

“Thank you, President Goodshow! Give it up for the man, people!” The man bellowed into the microphone, eliciting even further cheers. “If you would all direct your attention to the big screens,” Kenny C’s face was replaced by the faces of each of the sixteen combatants’ pictures arranged in four rows of four.

“Strange... is Nishino missing or something?” Kamren mused when he realised the portly man’s photo was missing.

“The first round will be one-on-one single elimination matches,” Kenny C explained to the murmuring crowds as the pictures seemed to enter a ‘whirlwind’ of sorts. “Each match up is computer generated and completely random. The time duration for each battle is twenty minutes. A Trainer is deemed disqualified if their Pokémon is knocked out; they received outside help, or forfeit the match.”

“Who the hell would forfeit a match after coming this far?!” Paul asked incredulously.

“Someone who cared about their Pokémon’s well-being, that’s who,” Rachel said scathingly. “We don’t all have ice water running through our veins, Paul Oak.”

“In the case of a tie,” Kenny C went on, and Paul and Rachel were left with nothing more to do than glare daggers at each other. “The timer will be paused, and both Trainers will be asked to select a second Pokémon to fight it out with the remaining time for the match-up. If none can be provided, or if time runs out, the decision will be left to our judges.”

“So, basically a winner has to be declared in twenty minutes or it’s left to the judges,” Sapph mused. “That sounds harsh.”

“I doubt that will happen, though, Sapph,” Nora said thoughtfully, as they watched the contestants throw challenging glares all around them. “It doesn’t look like anyone will let it get that far, does it?”

“You have a point,” Sapph mused, taking a look at the scary scowl on Haley’s face and gulping.

“And without further ado,” Kenny C announced, “I present to you... the first round brackets!”

The pictures on the screen suddenly stopped spinning around and paired up, each card showing a pokéball motif on the back before all sixteen of them being flipped over simultaneously.

The contestants looked up at the screen and studied their opponent’s pictures with mixed reactions.

“Who is this joker?” A man with a flaming red Mohawk and saffron eyes looked up at the board and scoffed.

“Great, of all the people to fight,” a tall young woman in a red and yellow form-fitting jumpsuit said in mild disgust, looking at the board with slanting eyes. “So much for a challenge...”

“So, that’s who Calvin’s facing, hunh?” Kamren said thoughtfully. “This should be entertaining.”

“So it’s you and me, hunh?” Haley said with a gloating smirk. “Sounds about perfect... time to end this feud once and for all!”

“So, you’re first meat, hunh?” Reg said with a grin as he adjusted his glasses and popped a fresh lollipop into his mouth. “I owe you one, anyways. Expect no mercy.”

“Oh, great, those two, off the bat?” Sapph groaned. “Guess you were right, Nora. No way is THAT match ending in a judges’ call.”

“Just my luck,” another man also decked out in black said in disappointment. “This will not be easy...”

“With the match-ups decided, will all but the first two battlers, please return to the waiting room to wait for their turn to strut their stuff!” Kenny C bellowed to a stream of loud cheers.

The fourteen Trainers whose pictures were not displayed on the big screen began to walk back to the concourse from which they came, leaving a middle-aged man wearing a tartan sweater and long white scarf and trousers and another young teenager wearing long dreadlocks beneath a vibrant Rastacap.

“Ladies and gentlemen, kiddies of all ages! Our first match-up will be Zane Feldspore from Mistralton City, Unova...” the crowd let out a loud cheer as the older man raised a fist and gave a broad grin to the crowd, “...against Yadmon Eli Banner, from Slateport City, Hoenn! Will both Trainers take their positions for the first match of the tournament to begin!”

There was a fair amount of applause for the droopy Black boy as he and his stockier opposition gave each other a quick handshake and moved to opposite ends of the arena. A woman in a sky blue top holding two flags had arrived, for the most part, unnoticed at the sidelines, and had every appearance of a regulation referee.

Sapph wondered why the crowd seemed slightly less ecstatic to see Yadmon. Was he that unpopular? Not that it mattered to Sapph: he’d been the least-liked competitor before, and it didn’t stop him winning the whole tournament. However, this crowd was clearly five times bigger than the ones he’d battled before at least, and it would take some nerves not to cave under the pressure. And as he watched Yadmon’s serene, almost detached face on the big screen, he found his admiration for the young man growing.

“Unlike Feldspore, who made it to the semi-finals of the last four consecutive tournaments, and the quarterfinals the two editions before that,” Kenny C seemed to read off a slip of paper, “this is Banner’s first appearance at the tournament. However, thanks to the random pairings, no one has had any chance to prepare adequately for any specific opponent. And not even I know which type of Pokémon our younger competitor specializes in. This promises to be a red-hot encounter!”

“’Red-hot’ is right,” Sapph heard a spectator behind him mutter to the gentleman beside him. “Our man Feldspore’s going all the way!”

“So, an old fan favourite, hunh?” Rachel said to the others thoughtfully. “No wonder he received more cheers.”

“Trainers, release your Pokémon in three... two... one!” The referee announced, raising both her flags on ‘one’ to signal the beginning of the match.

“Let’s start this one strong, lad! Vuurrott, it’s time to burn!” Zane yelled, throwing his first choice forwards. In tandem, Yadmon flicked a pokéball back lazily and said in a slow, meaningful drone, “OK, Gla-lie! It’s time to par-tay!”

Both Pokémon formed themselves into corporeal shapes from the clouds of light released from their pokéballs: Yadmon’s looked like a large sphere of solid ice, with large blue eyes, a sneering mouth and two black horns rising from its (there wasn’t really much more to this Pokémon) head.

Zane’s Pokémon, however, looked something of a cross between Nora’s Marhot and T.J.’s Polaroo, with a few noticeable differences. For one thing, it was at least two feet taller and lacked the stringy tail. Like Polaroo, its head and torso were clearly distinct, but instead of blue boxing gloves, stark white fur coated its forepaws, stumpy knees and tail and cheeks, creating a stark distinction with its otherwise shaggy red fur.

The ‘Vuurrott’ raised itself up on its small hind paws, raised a loud cry and ignited its tail and ears simultaneously, creating a dazzling display of fire, to grand cheers from the crowd.

“Vuurrott?” Sapph said in a puzzled voice, reaching for his Pokédex. “What’s that?”

“One of the evolved forms of Marhot,” Nora replied before he even opened the device to scan it. “Fire type Pokémon, obviously. This fight won’t be easy for Mr. Banner...”

“’Won’t be easy’?” Paul interrupted loudly. “Try ‘impossible’. No one can beat a Fire type with an Ice type like Glalie. It just isn’t happening.”

“Yeah, they can, Paul. Shut up,” Sapph snapped back. Turning back to Nora, he said in a calmer voice, “So Marmy can evolve into a Vuurrott, hunh? Guess we both have more to learn from this tournament,” he said, turning to watch the Vuurrott fire a stream of red hot flames at the large Ice type Pokémon, his thoughts lost in the cheers and on the battle.

“Hey, you. Pretty boy with the Umbreon.”

Brian and Eaves looked up from the large screen in the waiting room which showed Yadmon’s Glalie create several stalagmites of ice from the ground to deflect a Flamethrower that was bound to hit otherwise and saw a young man, a few years older than the Kazutan, address him. The man was shrouded in a deep purple cloak and had blood red eyes, raven black hair and deathly pale skin.

“Who, me? Do you want something?” Brian asked curiously.

Pointing at Eaves, the man went on, “Not that it matters to me, but as a veteran, I wouldn’t advise showing what type you use to the opposition before your very first battle.”

“Eh? Why on earth not?” Brian said calmly. “It’s not like I’m completely without options. Besides, the matchups for the tournament are completely random. I could face easy opposition all through the tournament...”

“Or you could be beaten by a Bug or Fighting specialist in the first round,” the man with the red Mohawk countered, coming over. “Whichever way you slice it, the kid’s right, mate. You just put yourself at a major disadvantage.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Brian said, turning back to the screen. “Either way, I have faith that Eaves and the rest of my team can cut the mustard.”

“Where are you going?” A young boy in an orange shirt and blue cargo shorts asked another bespectacled youngster. “Aren’t you gonna watch the match?”

“No need,” Calvin said laconically. “The results of this match doesn’t matter to me, I already know what types all of the competitors specialize in,” the crowd let out a gasp as the Vuurrott got blasted into a pillar by a pulsing blast of water fired by the hulking Face Pokémon, who looked much more at ease in the now-icy battlefield than his opponent did. “I need to prepare for my first round opponent. And I do have at most two and a half hours before my bout. My Pokémon needs some... tutoring.”

“So that Glalie knows Water Pulse, does it?” Haley murmured to herself as she watched a second watery assault collided head-on with a stream of fire creating a great cloud of mist. “Smart choice.”

“Not only that,” a pompous voice which turned out to be coming from Slate as he stood just behind her. “Freezing the field over like it has is also a masterstroke. Watch.”

Sky came over to stand beside Haley as they watched the steam seem to crystallize and whip about in a frenzy creating a mini-hailstorm on the battlefield. Zane and his Vuurrott blanched at the abrupt change of weather, the latter even beginning to tremble as Glalie seemed to recover slightly.

“I don’t see it,” Sky said impatiently. “What are we meant to be seeing?”

“That Banner, he used the ambient temperature of the field to force the warm air around the stadium up, leaving the mist to freeze over into hail!” Haley answered before Slate could. “That Glalie obviously has to have the Snow Cloak ability. Its ability to dodge attacks just went up thanks to all the ice and snow!”

“Well, well,” Sky said in surprise as Slate nodded in a mollified way. “Who’d have thunk that that Banner was a thinker?”

“He doesn’t look like one,” Haley said bluntly as Glalie hit the Vuurrott from the side with an Ice Beam attack. “It must have been a plan to counter Fire types that he’s had up his sleeve all along.”

“It shows just how prepared people can be to fight under any conditions,” Slate said thoughtfully. (Brian gave the men with a purple mantle and red Mohawk a smile). “This truly is a battle of type specialists.”

Slate nodded to the Vuurrott on the screen that seemed to have had enough of the Glalie’s pot shots and raised the temperature of the battlefield to insane proportions. The Face Pokémon cringed at the sudden discomfort it felt and the ice pillars around them as well as the icy floor melted simultaneously.

“And Zane Feldspore’s Vuurrott has finally managed to negate the disadvantage!” Kenny C roared into his microphone as the crowd seemed to have forgotten all about their local hero’s rep and were giving it everything they had for them both. “But can he regain his early pace?”

“That won’t be easy,” Goodman was heard to say. “The steam must be uncomfortable for Vuurrott as well, considering the high humidity. And Banner orders a final Water Pulse! Can Feldspore retaliate?”

Feldspore’s Pokémon in haste fired off a last spurt of flames which met the watery attack at the centre of the pitch and created a violent flash of light and smoke which engulfed the whole field and both Pokémon.

“Oh, my, word!” Kenny C raved. “That was a last resort Flamethrower! But was it enough?”

The smoke and steam seemed to take an age to settle, but in next to no time they cleared showing that both Pokémon were down and clearly out of commission.

“DOOOOWN! Both Pokémon are down! Ladies and gentlemen, what an upset!” Kenny C roared, barely audible over the mass hysteria that filled the arena. Both challengers returned their Pokémon as the announcer went on, “The timer is paused here to give both Trainers the time to select fresh combatants to resume the match within the eleven minutes and thirty-four seconds left for the match! Banner has shown us already that no one is to be taken for granted!”

*continued next post*


Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
This is getting ridiculous... TCQ Chapter 44~3

*continued from last post*


The eyes of every person in the coliseum was glued on the action taking place in the middle of the ring, which was becoming much less intense that it was a few minutes ago. Zane and Yadmon had summoned new Pokémon; Zane’s looked like a dirty brown sackcloth doll with glowing red eyes and a bright plume of golden flame sparking out from the crown of its head. It opened its serrated mouth as it hovered a couple of inches off the ground and fired yet another plume of fire at the medium-sized, pale blue bird that gracefully looped around it and continued its loop of the field on dark blue-tipped wings, trying (and failing) to find a gap in the wall of flame to counterattack.

“Doesn’t look like Zane’s giving that Yadmon feller time to pull off that last stunt again,” Kamren said to Carla conversationally. “Yup, there you... whoa,” he gasped, unfolding his arms and staring as the ‘grounded’ Pokémon crossed its arms at an unheard command from Feldspore and began to glow a bright white.

The crowd made a great amount of noise as Feldspore’s Pokémon seemed to double in size in every part of its body, from the flame atop its head to its dainty feet, which grow enormous as it touched down on the field and stayed there. Only its head seemed to stay the same size as the light of evolution died down, revealing the Pokémon’s body to have changed colour from dirt brown to that of charcoal.

“Wow,” Carla gasped, pulling out her Pokédex as the crowd and Yadmon looked on in shock and awe. Zane smirked slightly almost as though he had anticipated this happening all along. “A mid-battle evolution? That’s almost unfair,” she said, pointing her device at the larger Pokémon who no-longer hovered, but stood upon the battlefield, looking up at the now unnerved-Ice Pokémon, who with a word from its Trainer continued to loop around the battlefield. “Wonder what it is?”

Haurame, the Candle Pokémon and the evolved form of Infleist, Carla’s Pokédex recited. Haurame draw the heat from their surroundings to maintain their flames. Because of this, prey struggle to find warmth near it, only realizing their fates too late. Haurame is a Fire and Ghost typed Pokémon.

“That’s not all Feldspore seems up to,” Kamren also noted, watching the Haurame’s head flame grow even larger and the entire ground within the chalk lines of the field crack and flare up under Zane’s Pokémon’s feet and great tongues of fire shot up into the sky. “He’s... he’s turned the field into molten lava? Just what was that technique?” He gasped, pulling out his Pokédex and scanning the field as great amounts of steam rose into the air above the battlefield and the newly evolved Pokémon, who was larger, heavier-looking and looked completely charred in its own fiery assault.

Oho! That was an Inferno attack! The Pokédex bleeped in its posh, upper-crust voice. Naturally a Fire type attack of tremendous power, and guaranteed to burn anything it hits, that and its long wind-up time make actually connecting with anything quite a chore!

Carla shook her head in disbelief at how bad this battle had become for the Hoennite Trainer. Elsewhere in the stands, Zeta looked down at the field, the sinister incandescence the field gave off reflecting off her pale face and muttered, “An evolution and no chance to change the field’s weather condition... how will Yadmon deal with this?”

“At least he’s not so much at a disadvantage now, using an Ice and Flying type like Chilay against a Fire and Ghost type like Infle- sorry, a Haurame,” Paul noted as Sapph also slid his Pokédex shut, watching the icy blue bird fly in circles over the scarecrow-like Candle Pokémon, its beak, feet and crest matching the colour of its wing tips. “Zane must be looking for payback on Yadmon for using such a tactic earlier and embarrassing him. He has to do better than that, though. Doesn’t he know hot air rises?”

“It’s the same tactic Herbert Sr. used again me during my fight for the Herb Badge,” Sapph informed Nora as they watched from beside him. “That Yadmon sure knows how to use science in his battles... even if he looks like a complete space case.”

“That’s wasn’t nice, Sapph,” Nora chided, smiling in spite of herself at his jibe. Zane had apparently had enough of waiting and ordered his Haurame, who seemed a bit more encumbered with its new bulk, to shoot the Jay Pokémon down with more Flamethrower attacks. Each shot was a beat too slow to catch the bird Pokémon, whose rotations just sped up. “If that Chilay keeps flying around like that, it’ll only get faster. Then...”

Apparently, Nora didn’t need to finish her statement. The Chilay let out a slight cry as the air above the ring began to condense into clouds which grew steadily darker the more it flew around.

“Three minutes left on the clock, folks!” Kenny C informed the now-pensive crowd. “Time’s running out for both competitors! Both have enough for one last trick!”

A faint rumbling began to sound out throughout the arena and people began looking at the sky above the stadium for the source curiously, wondering if another summer storm was on its way. Zeta’s green eyes, however, flicked lower towards the air above the arena where the cloud cover became even darker and the occasional flash of light could be seen.

“Of course,” she muttered, her hair becoming even bushier from under her cap. “Yadmon’s having his Chilay gather all the cooler air into a concentrated mass, which when built up to a great enough pressure, results in cumulonimbus... thunder clouds!” Smirking to herself, she watched the cloud approach critical mass and more people began to notice the phenomenon and make a great amount of noise. “That Yadmon Banner... he’s good.”

A loud peal of thunder rang out throughout the stadium and a tremendous thunderbolt fell from the cloud and struck the battlefield, creating another immense explosion as the molten field and the lightning reacted with violence.

“No way... a Thunderbolt?” Several fans yelled out in shock.

“Can’t be,” one woman told her husband a couple of rows ahead of Zeta. “Chilay can’t learn Thunderbolt!”

“An Electric type attack,” Zane gasped as his Haurame’s typing did nothing to shield him from the massive damage the explosion was doing to him. “Is there nothing you haven’t prepared for?”

Yadmon gave his opponent a baleful look and said, “Hey, man... tha’ Thunderbol’ ain’t ma attack, ya hear? This one be ma attack... yo, Chi-lay! Drop an Aerial Ace on this man’s Pokémon right sharpish, would’ja, love?”

The explosions finally subsided and the Haurame was still miraculously standing, although looking incredibly battered. “Haurame, that Chilay’s coming! Prepare another Inferno technique!”

“Idiot,” Kamren scoffed. “Inferno’s accuracy is already horrible, and his Pokémon is weakened by the abrupt evolution. How the hell did he make it past eight first rounds before? Must have gotten lucky...”

The Haurame struggled to gather its wits about it, but before it could summon any form of resistance; the Chilay slammed itself right into the Candle Pokémon’s gut and blew it off its feet and clear out of the arena and into the wall behind its Trainer. Zane whipped around to see the Ghost Pokémon slump from the crater in the wall and crash into the ground, utterly defeated.

“DOOOOOWN! And game, ladies and gentlemen!” Kenny C exploded himself, as the referee raised her green flag and pointed it towards Yadmon’s side of the field to declare him the winner. “Despite a clear disadvantage, Yadmon Eli Banner has overcome a mighty contender and claimed victory in the first round on the very brink of a time out! Folks, this has to be the battling you wanted to see!”

“That was quite the battle indeed, from both our contestants,” Goodman applauded as the crowd roared its approval. Zane’s picture on the jumbo screen faded out and Eli’s took up the whole screen. The word ‘WINNER’ flashed across the bottom and what looked like confetti seemed to run down the screen.

Feldspore and Banner both returned their Pokémon with words of encouragement, and with a hearty handshake (Sapph quite admired both men’s sportsmanship) headed down into the tunnel as the damaged arena seemed to sink into the earth and the halves of a fresh one seemed to come together over its place.

“With that pulse-pounding bout behind us,” Nurse Joy finally said, after the crowd had kept the noise up for several minutes and finally began to die down, can we please see which of our seven remaining bouts is next?”

With that question asked, Banner’s picture and the word ‘WINNER’ seemed to fade away and two new cards popped up onto the screen as the last of the electronic confetti passed. The cards flipped over simultaneously and two more faces showed up on the screen.

Down in the locker room, another Black boy looked up at the screen and seeing his face look back at him on the left side of the screen, said, “So, it’s finally my turn, hunh? Talk abou’ a tough act ta follow...”

The girl with long black hair and sharp, purple eyes also got up from her seat and made her way towards the concourse alongside the boy, pointedly avoiding eye contact and walking as far apart as possible.

“Finally,” Sapph said eagerly as the crowd seemed to share in his excitement. “It’s T.J.’s turn! This’ll be good!”

“’T.J.’?” Nora asked quizzically, watching Zuzana ignore T.J.’s attempt at a handshake and walk off towards her side of the field. “Friend of yours?”

“Yeah,” Sapph said. “We met him at White Tower University after you went home with Reg.”

“Like Banner, this is the first appearance for both our next competitors,” Kenny C announced as they emerged from the tunnel and into the bright stadium. “Can you help me give it up for Tyrone Jamal ‘T.J.’ King from Pacifidlog Town, Hoenn and Zuzana Marsh, hailing from Saffron City, Kanto! Mr. Goodshow, your predictions for this battle?”

“Well, Kenny C, it’d be pointless to suggest who’d have the advantage after that last battle!” Goodman announced as both teenagers took their places and, with a command from the referee, released their Pokémon in unison. “All we can expect is one sizzling battle!”

Both Pokémon solidified into shapes, and Sapph had no trouble guessing what the one in front of Zuzana was. The violet fur, forked tail and dainty demeanour were all a carbon copy of Sapph’s very own Espeon, Lavender. Remembering how T.J. fared when at a disadvantage, Sapph turned to take in the other Pokémon T.J. had summoned.

Standing six feet two on red and gold legs that could easily clear a skyscraper, T.J.’s Pokémon was obviously the evolved form of his Combusken, Phoenix. The plumage that now covered his chest and head was a stark white and grew down from the back of his head to his waist as two ‘wings’. The creature opened its blood red beak and let out a great roar to match the crowds as it’s seemingly less muscular arms ignited at the wrists for a moment and clenched both fists in anticipation of a good battle.

The Espeon barely blinked its jewel-like eyes as it rose off its haunches and began to walk up and down slightly, ready for the battle begin.

“Tyrone Jamal King versus Zuzana Marsh,” the referee announced as T.J.’s Blaziken Phoenix relaxed his fists and crouching down raised his hands to chest level and exhaled. “Twenty minutes on the clock, and... battle begin!”


Name: Zuzana Irene Marsh
Date of Birth: September 2, PA 1997
Hometown: Saffron City, Kanto
On Hand: Alakazam, Grumpig, Beldum, Metagross, Purlyte, Espeon
In Storage: Abra, Spoink, Taebrawl, Medicham
Likes: Not clear...
Dislikes: Fighting types
Contemporaries: T.J.
About Zuzana: The daughter of legendary psychic master Sabrina, Zuzana is the spitting image of her mother, from her raven black hair to her outfit. As beautiful as her mother, she is equally proud and due to a childhood incident with the Fighting dojo next door to her mother’s gym, has developed a deep fear of fighting types and men. This isn’t helped by the unconscious attraction felt towards her from the young fighting type master in the making, T.J. King, who sees her as the ultimate rival to his Fighting type style, and quite an attractive young woman.

Zuzana is calm, rational and adept at planning several steps ahead of her opponent, making her a worthy foe on the battle field. Her telepathic abilities and unapparent empathy make her all the more formidable.



#111 Infleist

Element: Fire/Ghost
Species: Candle
Pronunciation: IN- fel- AEST
Height: 3’01”
Weight: 32lbs
Habitat: Rough-terrain
Evolution Line: Ignook –(16)->INFLEIST-(36)-> Haurame
Notes: A popular prank played by these Pokémon is when they decide to vanish, leaving their flames visible. This creates the illusion of living, dancing flames which are so hot they can pretty much freeze nearly anything they touch.


And now... a word from the Author...

Cripes, is anybody else sweating after that? Just me? OK, maybe I'm just lazy, then. The point still remains that I'm overdoing this a bit. When I finished this chapter, I was looking at two posts. Then the foreword came in and messed that all up. So I'm thinking shorter chapters, so as not to overburden you guys in the future.

Next time a long chapter's sure to come up, I will let you know, although I will put my best effort into shrinking these chapters in the immediate/near future...

With this in mind, I'm also splitting Season 2 into... well, two. Hopefully that will help the chapter list become cleaner in any event.

And as a footnote... Next time on The Corei Quest: The first round of the Trigello Tournament Finals continue, and things are going to reach a fever pitch as Haley takes to the field for her bout. Who will she face? And can she pull off a victory? The answers all lie ahead in Chapter Forty Five of The Corei Quest: Game On. Coming soon!

And with that... L@er!
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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Would you believe this? It's TCQ Chapter 45!

Well, it's safe to say this isn't an April Fool's prank, given the date... and I know I botched TCQ Month AGAIN (trust me, it hurts me way more than it could hurt you)

But this time I'm able to keep up with my "chapter-a-month" plan, and have actually COMPLETED the next chapterage before the "month" ended!

Now, before I get down to business, it's time for appre... wait a second...

Disclaimer: As with the last chapter, Josephine Harris, Paul Oak and Rachel Savina are intellectual property of Legendarian Mistress on PokeCommunity Forums and Brian and Eaves are the property of MerlockVonBaron. If anyone was badly represented, please let me know so the changes can be effected as soon as possible.

And now, on to the record...

Chapter Forty Five: Game On

“Well, Kenny C, it’d be pointless to suggest who’d have the advantage after that last battle!” Goodman announced as both teenagers took their places and, with a command from the referee, released their Pokémon in unison. “All we can expect is one sizzling battle!”

Both Pokémon solidified into shapes, and Sapph had no trouble guessing what the one in front of Zuzana was. The violet fur, forked tail and dainty demeanour were all a carbon copy of Sapph’s very own Espeon, Lavender. Remembering how T.J. fared when at a disadvantage, Sapph turned to take in the other Pokémon T.J. had summoned.

Standing six feet two on red and gold legs that could easily clear a skyscraper, T.J.’s Pokémon was obviously the evolved form of his Combusken, Phoenix. The plumage that now covered his chest and head was a stark white and grew down from the back of his head to his waist as two ‘wings’. The creature opened its blood red beak and let out a great roar to match the crowds as it’s seemingly less muscular arms ignited at the wrists for a moment and clenched both fists in anticipation of a good battle.

The Espeon barely blinked its jewel-like eyes as it rose off its haunches and began to walk up and down slightly, ready for the battle begin.

“Tyrone Jamal King versus Zuzana Marsh,” the referee announced as T.J.’s Blaziken Phoenix relaxed his fists, and, crouching down, raised his hands to chest level and exhaled. “Twenty minutes on the clock, and... battle begin!”

With the referee’s signal, T.J. called out, “Alrigh’, Phoenix! Open up with Fire Punch!”

Sighing, Zuzana closed her eyes and announced, “Don’t wait for the gap to close, Espeon. Just use Psywave on it.” A laughing sound caused her to open one violet eye, and, seeing her opponent cover his mouth to hide his snicker, asked brusquely, “Something funny, King?”

Composing himself as Phoenix drew his hands through the air in a slow, small circle, gathering flames around themselves, T.J. closed one of his own eyes in a wink and replied, “Well, not for you, Zuzana…”

“Who gave you the right to use my first name, you savage?!” Zuzana barked back in clipped tones. “I hate men like you who have to use violence for everything they do!”

“Whoa, whoa, Zuzu…” T.J. gasped, quickly raising his arms in protest. “I can call you ‘Zuzu’, right?”


Sweatdropping, T.J. just said, “OK, then. But don’ go living life off ‘a ya preconceptions! Phoenix, do it now!”

Raising a blazing right fist in front of him in a pure right stance, Phoenix switched his stance in a heartbeat, throwing his left fist forward and unleashing a stream of fire as powerful as a Flamethrower across the field right at the Sun Pokémon’s head. Only the Espeon’s quick thinking enabled it to roll to its left out of getting barbecued and harm’s way.

Up in the stands, Zeta’s eyes widened beneath her white cap at the sight, “Fire Punch is a physical move, isn’t it? To use it in a long range variety…” she marveled to herself. “There’s surely no shortage of talent at this tournament! No wonder gym leaders are chosen from the contestants at times!”

Zuzana blanched as the attack scorched the field black where her Pokémon stood a minute ago. Her Pokémon broke its roll and growled at its larger opponent. Phoenix didn’t blink as, shifting his weight onto his left leg, he took a sliding step to the right and launched a second long-ranged Fire Punch without instruction also at the Psychic-type’s head.

“Tch, enough of this,” Zuzana growled as the flaming meteor closed in. “Espeon, leap forward and use Psychic.”

On the other side of the field, the Espeon didn’t even blink, but, ready for it this time, sprang forward, keeping as low to the ground as possible as the fiery comet whizzed overhead. Narrowing its gel-like eyes, the red gem nestled in the centre of its forehead began to glow and an invisible wave of energy seemed to distort the air between them as a wave of indescribable energy swept through the battlefield towards T.J. and his Blaze Pokémon.

Narrowing his yellow and blue eyes, the large chicken didn’t even seemed fazed, but at the last possible second, bent both of its powerful legs and sank into the floor, leaving the winds to blow over his head and into the stands as T.J. sidestepped the Psychic attack without much effort. Zuzana’s Espeon couldn’t afford to be stunned by T.J.’s superhuman ability to evade invisible attacks as his Blaziken sprang upwards on his leading right foot, flipping forwards as he did so, flames gathering around his left foot.

Noticing this, the Espeon gathered its wits about itself and conjured up a light green bubble to surround itself as Phoenix brought its flaming left foot around and slamming it into the ground, released a wave of flaming energy that raced across the field and crashed into the large bubble surrounding Zuzana’s Pokémon and exploded into a shower of embers that made Carla’s eye light up in the stands.

Noticing his companion’s reaction to display as the Blaziken slid his left foot back and rose to a standing position identical to his Trainer’s, Kamren smirked and said in a snarky voice, “What are you getting all goo-goo eyed for? This isn’t a contest battle, you know…”

Blushing as she came to herself, Carla turned her face away indignantly and retorted, “I know that! But you cannot deny the possibilities for a Coordinator like myself! Tora and Burner could both learn a technique like that!”

“That T.J. guy’s certainly putting on a show,” Nora commented to Sapph as they also watched. “They’ve just shown that Zuzana relying on distance isn’t going to help her at all!”

“And Pokémon like Espeon are not the kind to get into close combat fights with Fighting types like Blaziken and escape unscathed,” Sapph muttered back. Catching Nora and Paul’s curious gazes, he added, “Personal experience. T.J.’s mastered the game of pressuring his opponent nicely.”

Blaziken and Trainer swiped a thumb across their beak and nose respectively and Phoenix lowered himself into a left stance and raised his arms in an orthodox boxer’s posture as T.J. called out, “Just because Fighting types are weak to your Psychic types, doesn’t mean we’re gonna stand our ground and trade hits! Fighting types are renowned for their ability to dodge special attacks. Besides,” he went on as Phoenix ignited both his wrists, “who said we had to get up close to hit ya Espeon? Or that I use violence for everything, Zuzu?”

“Didn’t I tell you not to call me ‘Zuzu’?” Zuzana called back, her cool still intact despite her angry tone.

“An’ didn’ I tell you not to live life based off ya preconceptions?” T.J retorted evenly. “Phoenix’s is a Fire and Fighting type Pokémon, or have you forgotten? Here, let us remind you… Phoenix, Blaze Kick!”

Down in the waiting area, Haley’s attention was torn between her friend’s battle as it played out on the big screen present and the treacherous glares her first round combatant threw at her from across the room. As she was about to choose ignore the latter, a voice cut into her thoughts, “That T.J.’s putting up one hell of a fight, isn’t he, Haley?”

Blinking a couple of times, she looked up from under her ten-gallon hat at the tall form of her friend Brian. Turning back at the screen and bowing her head, she muttered, “He has to. I know T.J., and while his Pokémon are fast and brimming with offensive power….”

“…he basically fails at defense, right?” Brian completed lightheartedly, while the Espeon knocked the larger Pokémon back with an invisible wave of energy to those watching, clearly doing a fair bit of damage.

Nodding, Haley went on, ignoring Eaves pawing at her knee for attention, “Well, at least he did back in Dopeak City… hopefully, he worked on that flaw…”

“I’m not sure he did,” Brian murmured, as T.J.’s Pokémon took another heavy hit and went skidding across the field towards Zuzana’s end of the pitch. Looking at the Blaziken’s utterly woebegone appearance, he added, “But there’s more than one way to train a Pokémon…”

“What do you mean by that?” Haley countered, giving the Umbreon a quick scratch behind the ear to appease his pleas for attention.

Giving Haley a deeply disgusted look, Eaves slunk off back towards his Trainer’s legs as the Kazutan noticed the flames around Blaziken’s wrists adopt an even more intense look and said, “Well, you either strengthen your weakness… or magnify your strengths.”

The remaining contestants looked up in shock as the Blaziken let loose a terrifying roar and slammed a fist so hard into the ground it sank down past the wrist and the entire field took on a glowing red hue. The Sun Pokémon looked around frantically for a way out before the entire field with up in flames, the Psychic type’s screams drowned out by the roars of the crowd.

“Was that an Inferno attack?!” Nicola gasped in shock as the flames continued to rise above the ground and scorch everything in range. “It looks even more powerful than Feldspore’s! Man, am I glad I didn’t get paired with him!”

“Can’t be,” Sky told her through narrowed eyes. “It looks like the entire field got burned, but it was actually a magnified Fire Punch attack: giant fists of flame rising from the field so quickly the timing to tell them apart is almost impossible!”

“You could see each attack?!” Carter squealed at the attack finally began to die down. “That’s amazing!”

Her face adopting a smug expression, Sky said knowledgeably, “Well, my preferred type is renowned for their amazing eyesight. What else do you expect from a master, kid?”

“And it looks like that Zuzana saw it, too,” Slate said quietly, not tearing his eyes from the screen as she appeared to beg her Espeon to stand up. “I doubt it’ll work again.”

“Not to mention it looked like Blaziken’s trump card,” a voice sounding like it came from a text book said from the rear of the room. A few people looked away from the screen to see Calvin walk back into the room, watching T.J.’s Pokémon fall onto one knee, looking utterly spent yet willing to continue. “He can’t do that again.”

“Calvin!” Dex said happily, jogging over. “You came back!”

“Yes, whatever, Dex,” Calvin said uninterestedly looking around the room. “How did Feldspore and Banner’s battle end?”

Before Haley could rebuff the boy rudely, Dex stepped in and said, “Banner won it. He’s a tough one.”

“Did he?” Calvin said in surprise. Pointing at the screen, he announced, “Well, looks like this battle’s nearly done. Look.”

The Trainers present looked back to the screen to watch the Blaze Pokémon pull his fist out of the ground and fix Zuzana’s Espeon with a glare, the tough guy effect marred by his laborious breathing.

Will this match end in a double knockout?” Kenny C’s voice roared through the public assembly system to the fans. “Will there be an upset?! The next techniques will reveal it all!

“Phoenix doesn’t look like moving any- MY WORD!” Nicola gasped as the Blaziken suddenly vanished from sight. “Did that thing just vanish?”

“Course not, Blaziken are not that fast!” Slate gasped as well.

Sky merely looked on as the Espeon and its Trainer looked up and gasped. Zuzana seemed to yell something to the Espeon, who nodded wearily and with a flash of its eyes seemed to multiply in front of the frenzied crowd.

“So… a Double Team, hmm?” Calvin said calmly, seeing the four Espeons look up as the sun, which masked its opponent perfectly. “Pretty shoddily done, too, judging by the number of clones…”

“Every little bit helps against Hi Jump Kick,” Sky muttered as Phoenix fell back to earth; his right foot burning red with power. “That T.J. must be using gravity to increase the power of the attack… wow!” she gasped as the Blaziken landed in the middle of the cloud of Espeon, and, thrusting his right foot out a second from impact, smashed into the ground, crushing all the clones in the area along with the field itself. “Talk about power!”

“Well, that seals it… wait,” Brian said, his eyes narrowed as the Blaziken let loose an unearthly howl of pain, clutching his right leg in pain. “Something’s wrong!”

“He missed,” Haley said quietly, pulling the brim of her hat down over her eyes to mask her face as the Blaziken blacked out, the last of his energy spent. “It’s over.”

Nodding, Sky added, “That Zuzana… using Quick Attack on top of Double Team as a defense? That’s impressive,” as the contestants watched the Espeon reappear behind the now-unconscious Fire type, its lilac pelt completely covered in burns and one jewel-like eye closed with the effort of staying awake for the judge to rule the match in its favour.

“You don’t seem entirely disappointed, Haley,” Brian commented, watching his friend’s reaction. “I thought you two were friends.”

“We are, but now, we’re also rivals,” Haley said calmly. “There can be only one winner.”

Nodding, Slate said, “Haley’s right, Brian. T.J. did well. Just not well enough.”

Haley closed her eyes in reflection for a few minutes thinking back on the match. T.J. had purposefully waited for Phoenix’s Blaze ability to manifest and attempted to end it in one move. She couldn’t allow any mess ups like that. She wouldn’t allow it…

“Hey, Haley!” Brian’s voice blasted through her consciousness, jolting her awake. “Looks like you’re up.”

Looking up at the screen, the results of the last battle had been cleared from the field and screen and two more faces had lit up, the one on the right hers. Smiling slightly as she stood up in tandem with her opponent, Haley gripped the brim of her hat as her opponent straightened her short green coat, and said “It’s about time.”

“This year’s tournament seems to be chock full of rookies, folks!” Kenny C roared as two young women walked out of the concourse and onto the fresh battlefield to wild cheers and wolf whistles. “This also happens to be Haley Kent’s first appearance at the tournament! That’s very commendable for our youngest competitor so far!”

“You seem excited,” Sapph observed, watching Rachel Savina lean forwards in her seat eagerly.

“Of course I am,” Rachel replied. “This is the match I was waiting to see!”

“You mean Haley’s the only competitor you actually know,” Paul said with a devious grin. “You did trade your Lapras for her Browler, after all…”

“…Oh, shut up, Paul,” Rachel replied without looking at her male travel companion.

“So, she got Tempest from you, hunh?” Sapph said knowingly. “Interesting…”

“How’s it doing so far?” Rachel asked Sapph.

Thinking for a few minutes, Sapph, suddenly realized he hadn’t seen a single one of Haley’s qualification matches. Sweating nervously, he said quickly, “Oh, the Lapras? It’s doing great! Just great!”

Without much recognition to her opponent and the crowd, Haley merely turned away and walked towards one end of the battlefield, matching her opponent perfectly. “Our other competitor, however, has clearly garnered a solid fan base for what I understand is her third appearance! Particularly amongst the male population, eh, Mr. Goodshow?”

“Well, she certainly is quite attractive,” Goodshow said appreciatively as both Trainers turned to face each other at last, and, with a word from the referee, the older girl threw a pokéball up in the air. “If I were thirty years younger…” he muttered, eliciting gale of laughter and groans from the audience.

“I hope you’re ready for this,” her opponent called out as her pokéball span out of her hand and into the air. “This Pokémon was trained specially for you. Never thought I’d be using him this early, though…”

Hitting the field once with a metallic clink, it burst open and released a flash of white light upon the field, forming itself into a solid-looking shape before dying away. A large, lime green rabbit standing on large, three-toed hind feet appeared on the field, holding its huge forepaws by the sides of what looked like its pants, which was actually a thicket of shrubbery that grew to cover its entire lower body and back with dark green leaves.

Haley looked into the huge rabbit’s orange eyes and watched its long ears twitch and the yellow markings on their ends, its face and belly begin to glow in the sunlight and pulled out her Pokédex to scan the weird creature.

Creebit, the Sunlight Pokémon, Haley’s Pokédex reported, Grass and Fighting-typed Pokémon. Creebit’s yellow patches constantly take in sunlight, a sign shown in the lush nature of its shrubbery. Creebit’s possible abilities, Chlorophyll and Solar Power, amplifies its stats in sunny weather.

Like the weather right now? Haley thought dourly, looking up at the scorching sun and closing the Pokédex with a snap. Great… now what can I use to fight her? Ento?

A sudden vision of Haley’s Scubug twitching on his back weakly while Nicola’s Creebit raised its fist in victory suddenly sprang into her mind. Shaking her head vigorously to dispel it, Haley thought, Right… definitely NOT Ento… what about Mace? Nah… the most he could do is manage a draw, and that’s if we’re lucky. And we’ll be back to square one, with less time… Tempest?

“Ahem,” the referee coughed as the crowd began to murmur impatiently. “Will Ms. Kent please choose her first Pokémon now?”

Well, she has the most offensive possibilities, but thanks to Creebit’s half-Fighting typing, she has no defensive typing to hide behind. And it’ll take too long to prep the field in her favour, she added, thinking of her battle against Mekki on Northern Isle and Mac and Donald on Western Isle. Blitzkrieg? Even worse. Grass types resist Electric attacks and Fighting types resist Ice type moves. If only I had a Flying type hybrid…

“She’d better not be choking down there,” Kamren said darkly, watching his sister’s inactivity on the field as the referee announced, “Thirty seconds more, Ms. Kent.” “Good thing’s Mother’s not watching this now…”

It basically comes down to Vapor or Bubbles. And while it would be awesome to show off his progress to Rachel, she thought, her eyes sweeping the crowd for the purple haired Trainer who traded her Lapras for her Browler, she went on, Nicola’s certainly not the type of Trainer who’d appreciate that. Best go with my number one then… she concluded, plucking a pokéball off of her belt as the referee reached ‘Five’ on her countdown and threw it forwards, releasing her Aquazou onto the pitch to more mutters than Nicola and Creebit received cheers.

“And it seems to be bunny versus bunny in this third first round match!” Kenny C yelled above the tumult as the white light died away at Haley’s side of the battle, revealing an equally large rabbit on her end of the field, crouched down and ready to battle upon hearing Kenny C’s announcement. “This ‘Brawl of the Belles’… Nicola Brambles from Utopia Island versus Haley Kent from Olville Town, both of Corei! Twenty minutes on the clock, and… Battle begin!”

Surprised at Haley’s choice in Pokémon, Sapph uttered, “Haley evolved Bubbles? Wow, wonder when that happened…?”

Shaking her head, Nora turned to Sapph, and, fixing him with an incredulous stare, said, “Really, Sapph? How come you didn’t know? You travelled together, didn’t you? What do you two talk about anyways?”

Falling silent, Sapph reflected on his relationship with the young Water type Trainer, Sapph realized he’d spent most of the last week just staying out of her way as much as possible. Even Bubbles reaching her final stage was news to him. Turning sheepishly to Nora, he was about to concoct another story when Kenny C’s voice blasted over his own faltering one, “Whoa! And Haley has her Aquazou start off with a colossal Hydro Pump attack! But it’s evaded with ridiculous ease! How will Haley fight back now?”

Well, that seals that. It has the Chlorophyll ability, Haley thought to herself. “What next?”

<Like, that’s my line, Haley,> Bubbles replied, surprised at the speed her bulky opponent showed in effortlessly ducking past her powerful Water attack. <How do we catch them now?>

“Answer, you just sit back and let me end this quickly,” Nicola replied as her Creebit reappeared in front of her. “Now, Creebit! Get in there with Close Combat!”

Nodding once, the Sunlight Pokémon brought his large forepaws up in front of its orange nose, and, peeking over the top of its fists, took off like a leafy missile straight towards a seemingly-flatfooted Aquazou.

“Wow! Now that’s fast!” Josephine said in surprise as the crowd saw the Grass rabbit charge its fist with blood-red power and rear back a powerful fist. Bubbles’ coffee brown eyes widened in shock as the Creebit pulled its fist back, a twisted smile on its face. However, in the midst of her panic, a shadow of sorts appeared in front of her eyes, its pointed face and darker green fur whipping around as it wore a smarmy smile on its face.

Despite the impending danger mere inches away from her face, Bubbles seemed to relax in spite of herself and planting her large white feet firmly in place, she smiled in reply and leaned forwards into the leading punch, timing her head slip perfectly and leaving the audience and her opponent totally baffled.

Recovering quickly, Nicola’s Pokémon pulled its fist back and threw another blazing hook where Bubbles’ head had wound up. Still smiling, Bubbles took a step forwards, and with a graceful pirouette, spun along the fist’s path and out of harm’s way. Ducking and weaving her head, Bubbles made each one of the Creebit’s quick attacks hit air in what seemed to be a highly intricate dance.

Flabbergasted, Nicola stared at Haley’s face, who had also begun to smile and demanded, “How is that Aquazou doing that?!”

Up in the stands, Rachel, Josephine and Paul were equally stunned as Sapph merely smiled at the spectacle. From where she was sitting, Zeta also leaned back, the brim of her cap all but hiding her smile as she thought, So, getting your butt handed to you by Sapph and his Squirrage daily is finally paying off, hunh?

Realizing what had happened, Haley said back dismissively, “Did you really think you were the only speedster we’ve faced before? Bubbles, use Blizzard!”

Back at the Pokémon Center, a large flat screen television was set up for competitors healing their Pokémon to watch the matches they’d otherwise be missing. T.J. thanked the brown eyed nurse who took Phoenix’s pokéball and turned to watch the TV screen. Though he didn’t hear Haley’s voice over the transmitted shrieks of the crowds, he recognized her facial expression and groaned.

Hearing the command, the Water Hare Pokémon ducked under another whiffer and using her footwork, created space between herself and her aggressor, throwing her head up and back, her white chest expanding as far as the portly Creebit’s belly.

“Not so fast, Haley,” Nicola announced. Pointing one finger towards her rival’s Pokémon, she also issued a command, “Creebit, use Solarbeam!”

Creebit also sprang up and backwards, raising his hands in front of him and to his side as he fell back to earth.

“This is bad…” Carla said grimly, watching the space between the airborne rabbit’s palms begin to fill with a ball of shining solar energy as Haley’s Aquazou unleashed a torrent of arctic breath to cover the entire field.

Nodding, Sapph murmured on the other side of the pitch as Nora voiced the same worries, “Yeah, but for who? Solarbeam needs no charge time in this weather… and with the amount of energy that thing’s outputting, hitting it will be…”

Sapph didn’t need to complete his sentence as the Creebit’s Solarbeam attack swelled to double its volume in the harsh sunlight and before even hitting the ground, fired its attack, with a thrusting forward of his palms, in the form of a large yellow-white beam with green spots dancing around within it right at the Water Hare’s head.

Noticing the tactic, Haley hollered at her Pokémon, “Bubbles, you need to direct your attack skyward! As in NOW!”

Noting the urgency in her Trainer’s voice, Bubbles did as she was bidden and tilted her neck upwards, the chilling spray following. Both Ice and Grass type attacks struggled for dominion as the Creebit found its feet on the battlefield and poured more energy into the attack. Just as Bubbles began to run out of steam, the attacks resulted in a voluminous explosion, Bubbles taking the brunt of the damage as it occurred in her half of the field.

Creebit looked over with a smirk as Bubbles was flung away from the expanding sphere of smoke and power, small lacerations peppering her sky blue coat. A second later, it shuddered involuntarily and began to dance on the spot, Bubbles’ icy assault spreading a thin layer of frost on his end of the battlefield.

Watching her Creebit continue its odd steps, Nicola suddenly had an idea. Raising her voice to a shout, the Grass type Trainer said, “OK, Creebit! Use your steps to get your rhythm!”

“Bubbles!” Haley called out, urgency dripping from her voice. “You need to get up and try again!”

<Like, try what?> Bubbles wheezed, finding her feet as her opponent’s steps fell into a steadily-accelerating quick step.

Gritting her teeth, Haley realized they were already out of options. With its speed, Creebit could easily evade her Hydro Pump and Blizzard attacks, she thought worriedly, and rushing in with Hammer Arm or Take Down would be met with a souped-up Solarbeam. And there was the time limit to worry about…

<HALEY!> Bubbles yelled, snapping her Trainer out of her troubled reverie. <Like, are we attacking or what?>

“I’m thinking, Bubbles!” Haley retorted, their situation beginning to grate on her nerves. She watched the speed of the Creebit’s steps and marveled at its balance. A second later, her gaze shifted to its feet and her eyes caught something amazing.

Wait, is that…? She thought, a gleam seizing her eyes. This is it! “Bubbles! Fire another Blizzard attack at the ground, now!”

<I hope you know what you’re doing, Haley,> Bubbles thought worriedly as she inflated her chest again and spewed frigid air all over the battlefield at the Creebit’s feet.

Laughing at the Water type Trainer’s ‘feeble’ attempts, Nicola threw back her head and commanded, “Is that it, Haley? I’m disappointed. Creebit, use…. Why have you stopped moving, Creebit!?” She demanded as the Sunlight’s Pokémon’s movements became even slower and its shivering increased proportionately.

<I-I c-ca-can’t… m-move!> Creebit said through its chattering and Bubbles looked surprised that what seemed like a last-ditch attempt to attack worked so well at sealing her opponent’s feet in solid ice.

“My word, ladies and gentlemen!” Kenny C exclaimed into his microphone to mixed cheers and boos from the crowd. “Ms Kent is showing us a variation of our very first competitor Banner’s strategy by freezing the fleet-footed Creebit in its tracks! What will she have her Aquazou use now?”

“Can’t count on that forever…” Haley muttered as her Aquazou caught its breath. “But it gives us time to try getting rid of that pesky Chlorophyll… Bubbles! Prepare another Blizzard attack, but don’t fire it!”

She’s stalling, Nicola thought. But that won’t hold us forever! We have a match to win! “Creebit!” She commanded. “Break that ice with Close Combat and prepare a Solarbeam!”

<Uh, Haley? Sitting Psyduck here!> Bubbles thought worriedly, her cheeks bulging with the effort of keeping her Blizzard technique under wraps as her opponent’s palms adopted a reddish hue again and began to hammer into the ice-encrusted ground.

Working on it, Bubbles... Haley seemed to mentally reply. We’re almost there… as the Creebit finally freed itself and brought its palms to its side once more, potent sunlight gathering between them.

“Just a little more…” Nicola and Haley seemed to murmur in tandem as the crowd began to hold its collective breath.

“NOW, BUBBLES! Spray that Blizzard all over the field, but slowly!” Haley commanded, throwing Nicola off guard at the repeated command. She wasn’t alone in that worry as Bubbles eyes seemed to pop, whether in surprise from the command or from the pressure of holding the Ice attack in her mouth. Nonetheless, Haley’s starter obeyed the command to the letter and released the Blizzard with a sinister hissing sound, a solid white vapour filling the air and totally obscuring the battlefield from everyone’s sight.

<What the-?> the Creebit uttered, its large eyes darting around its now completely blank surroundings, the sunlight in its hands dimming. <Where did this fog come from?>

“It’s not fog… cheeky brat!” Nicola gasped, looking at Haley’s direction and imagining her triumphant smirk through the ‘steam’. “She had her Aquazou mimic Mist! Now the sunlight’s blocked out, weakening Solarbeam and cancelling out the Chlorophyll effect!”

And that’s not all, Nicola,,, Haley thought, her grin widening. I dunno about that Creebit, but we’ve fought in zero visibility before. Prepare to get schooled! “Hammer Arm!”

“Creebit! Guard up!” Nicola yelled worriedly upon hearing Haley call out a command. Her Pokémon tried to follow by dispelling its last attack and stepping back, raising its large hands to its facial height. Its feet suddenly gave out under it as its foot landed on an icy patch and threw its body off balance and its mind into a full panic. Before it could correct its footing, something that felt like a cruise missile slammed into its side with a sickening crunch, upending it and sending it crashing into the ground.

“Wow… how many steps ahead is that Kent girl thinking, anyways?” Zeta said to herself in an impressed voice. “Masking her Aquazou’s presence and that of the icy patches of the field in addition to everything else? It can’t have been a thought-out plan, considering how panicky she was a minute ago…”

“Darn… we can’t fight like this!” Nicola groaned to herself, the sound of cracking ribs reaching her ears.

“That plan was simply genius!” Nora said in awe, clutching at Sapph’s sleeve in excitement as the crowd continued making a great deal of noise all around them. “If she had managed that in out fight…”

“The result may still have been the same as it was then,” Paul replied for Sapph, cutting him off. “Assuming you won, of course…”

Glaring at the auburn-haired boy, Sapph’s nodding seemed to distract her entirely. Following the JOhton’s blue eyes as they barely picked out the fallen Creebit struggle to its feet once again, he added, “Looks like their advantage was only temporary. Nicola won’t let it happen again…”

Staring into the mist bleakly, Nicola somehow spotted her rival’s Pokémon’s outline skid into a one-eighty and prepare to attack again, and, as the temporary nature of the field conditions struck her, she grinned. “Creebit, if you can hear me… it’s time to reveal our secret weapon!”

<What?> Bubbles gasped as she struggled to stay steady upon the ice.

“You mean there’s more?!” Haley completed in shock as her opponent’s Creebit smiled as well, clenching its right ham-like hand into a fist and gathering sunlight into it once more. “Whatever it is, we won’t let you do it! Bubbles, this time use Take Down!”

“And Kent now orders a kamikaze charge into the surrounding blankness!” Kenny C roared. “Your impressions on this foolhardy strategy, Mr. Goodshow?”

“Well, Ms. Kent’s certainly putting all her eggs into this basket with Take Down!” Mr. Goodshow replied. “Considering its earlier damage, it must be terribly risky using such a self-damaging move! Will it be enough, I wonder…”

Whatever you say, old man, Haley smirked to herself as Bubbles charged into the mist once more, trailing gold streaks in her wake. We’ll take this victory now…

“She’s getting arrogant,” Kamren said in slight surprise, not unfolding his arms regardless. “She never was this way before. However, there’s no other explanation for her not noticing the fog dissipating…” he ended, his blonde companion only shaking her head at Kamren’s poor observation when it came to his little sister.

“This won’t end well…” Josephine said to herself as the Aquazou threw herself into a dangerous tackle with her left shoulder out.

“Well, at least it’ll avoid recoil damage,” Paul said in mock concern as Bubbles’ eyes widened upon missing her mark and what seemed to be a miniature sun embedding itself into her left kidney, upending her and throwing her into a painful barrel roll that sent her bouncing over and over herself back into her end of the battlefield like a stone skipped on a pond’s surface.

“BUBBLES!” Haley screamed, watching her first Pokémon crashing to a stop on the white line outlining the field. “You gotta get up, Bubbles! Stand up NOW!”

<Hmm…. Not enough contact on that one, Miss Brambles,> the Creebit said conversationally, studying its left fist, which began to lose its sun-like glow. <It wasn’t as effective as when we trained with Master Breloom and your grandfather back home…>

“The effects still are impressive,” Nicola replied, watching the Water Hare Pokémon clutch its side and retch violently.

“Just what WAS that attack, Nicola!?” Haley screamed at her opponent from across the arena. “Bubbles, stand UP!”

“Good, wasn’t it? I call it ‘Sunday Punch’,” Nicola told her rival confidently. “Did you like it? It’s on par with Grandfather’s Breloom’s Iron Tail!” Glancing at her foe’s Aquazou, throw up and pound a large forepaw into the ground and force herself up painfully, she went on in some surprise, “She’s still conscious, though. And while that gains my respects, I know better than to leave a job half-done.”

Creebit recognized his cue, and as the last of the mist dissipated, it clenched its right fist and began to gather sunlight into the limb.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot tell you all what happened,” Kenny C announced in an astounded voice to the equally-stunned masses. “But Brambles has had her Creebit counter Aquazou’s Take Down and suddenly turned the tables once again! And, although only ten minutes have elapsed, the end looks to be in sight!”

<You won’t survive this one, Aquazou,> the Creebit announced darkly as it began to walk over leisurely to where Bubbles struggled to stand, every inch of her body aching from the damage she had taken so far. <For the battle…> he added, beginning to sprint in to drive the glowing fist into his downed opponent. <You have my respects. Now…. stay down!>

No… Bubbles can’t even move any more, Haley thought angrily, watching the Creebit cover the last few steps at a full-out gallop and rear the powerful attack back at Bubbles’ head. How can you justify a win like this, Nicola? “Stand, Bubbles! You gotta get up now!”

“Isn’t that girl overdoing it?” One man said to his companion in a few rows behind Sapph and his crew. “She should forfeit now and try again next year…”

“True,” the man next to him said, watching the Sunlight Pokémon drive its fist forwards. “Like Kenny C, said, this match’s over.” Sapph ignored their commentary and watched the hammer fall silently, waiting for the curtain to fall.

<That’s it…> Bubbles thought, clenching her right fist and willing her shaky limbs to let her use one more attack. <Take… THIS!> And leaning into the punch as she did a few minutes ago when faced with Close Combat, she miraculously slipped her head to her left and felt the searing heat of the ‘Sunday Punch’ graze her cheek, her right fist alight with bright white power rising as far as she could push it.

Nicola’s jaw dropped and Haley’s face worked itself into a triumphant grin as they saw Bubbles’ impromptu Hammer Arm attack meet the speeding Creebit’s face in the worst way possible. The speed and force behind its punch affected an awful cracking sound as the Aquazou’s white arm shattered the Grass and Fighting type’s jaw and the Water type’s fist in unison; blowing the somewhat obese bunny clean into the air in a shower of blood, clearly knocked out before it even hit the ground on its back.

The crowd who had supported Haley during the fight (in contrast to Nicola’s admirers, nearly every female in the stadium) let out a great roar as the men watched the death match’s conclusion with sullen expressions and many a groan.

“I… can… NOT believe this, folks! Kent’s Aquazou has perfectly countered Brambles’s Creebit’s final attack with a life-risking Hammer Arm! I’m still wigging out here, ladies and gentlemen!” Kenny C raved from the speakers as the referee raised the green flag in her left hand towards Haley’s end of the battlefield, signaling the younger Trainer’s victory. “We’ve seen yet another upset that simply defied the rules of type match-ups in this tournament! And I can assure you that there are many more to come!”

“Bu- but… Sunday Punch was a Grass type move!” Nicola spluttered desperately as Bubbles winced and nearly blacked out with the pain of her fractures. “You shouldn’t be even able to get up, let alone fight back!”

Returning her victorious Pokémon before Bubbles completely blacked out, Haley merely snorted and said once again, “News flash, Nicola: you aren’t the only Grass type we’ve faced before! Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

Watching her opponent walk off towards the concourse and Pokémon Center, Nicola bowed her head slightly, and, with whispered thanks, returned her Pokémon as well, still stunned that she had lost with a type advantage of all things. Clearly, she thought to herself as she walked out of the arena, waving her thanks to the cheering crowds, she had much apologizing and work to do.

Up in the stands, Carla exhaled heavily and said, “Well, she got lucky… she must have gotten a lot of experience from fighting Sapph and Anuvi so often… Kamren?” she added, slightly worried at the dark look that had overcome Kamren’s face at the mention of his rival’s name.

So, that Mongle Manson got is now faster than that Creebit? The boy thought as he watched the field sink into the earth, a fresh one replacing it once again. Hmm… looks like this League finals just got interesting…

Over in Section Fourteen, Sapph got up and, stretching, turned to Nora, saying, “Well, shall we head down and congratulate them both on the good battle?”

“But, Sapph,” Nora said with a start, looking up at him from her seat. “You didn’t seem too supportive of Haley back then. Now you want to congratulate her?”

“What, back then?” Sapph asked in a bemused voice. “I was only being objective. Haley’s gotten awfully competitive lately, to be honest. But I’m still supporting her in this tournament, so it’s the least I could do.”

“OK, that aside,” Nora said calmly, trying to curb Sapph’s trademark impulsiveness. “What about the next match?”

“Oh, if we’re quick, we’ll catch them before they even leave the stadium,” Sapph said dismissively. “We’ll be back before the match ends for sure. Come on!”

And ignoring her protests, Sapph scooched up his row past Nora and hurried down the doorway towards the ground level of the coliseum.

“Hey, Sapph! Stop! Wait!” Nora exclaimed, getting up to give chase.

*continued next post*
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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
A two-post chapter? Man I think I overdid it a bit... TCQ 45~2

*continued from last post*


“I’m sure the waiting room is around here somewhere…” Sapph mused as he and Nora ran down flight after flight of stairs, keen to catch Haley before she made it out of the coliseum.

“It’s this way, Sapph,” Nora said, racing to the right down the corridor and halfway down another flight of steps, Sapph hot on her heels; running smack into Nicola, who looked too dazed at her loss to avoid the collision.

“Whoa, easy there!” Nicola said, coming to herself as Nora fell back on top of Sapph, the two of them falling flat on the floor.

“What’s the holdup up there?” A loud voice said from behind them as Sapph and Nora struggled to disentangle themselves. “Can you give a winner way to pa- wait, is that…? What do you think you’re doing down here? With her?!”

Sapph looked up and only saw a flash of reddish blonde hair whisk around the corner and out of sight before anyone could fully regain their wits. Pulling himself to his feet and offering Nora a hand up, Nicola said wryly, “Looks like your girlfriend’s upset with you, Sapph…I didn’t know you and Nora were… acquainted.”

“Ow…” Sapph groaned to himself, rubbing his head. “A, Haley’s not my girlfriend. Neither is Nora. B, you and Nora have met?”

“Yeah, on Utopia Island when she challenged grandfather for the Herb badge. It was immediately after your battle, actually,” Nicola said thoughtfully. “I was impressed, Nora,” she added, turning to the blue-haired Trainer, who blushed scarlet. “I would have never thought that that Pentabloom would evolve…”

“Flora evolved?!” Sapph said in an impressed voice. “You gotta show me what into!”

Smiling in spite of herself, she said quietly, “N-not yet, Sapph. Not today…”

“Bleah,” Sapph said in a mock bratty voice. Turning to Nicola, he asked, “Say, Nicola, are you from the waiting lounge? We got some other friends to see, if Haley’s not in the mood for congratulations…” he ended darkly, watching the top of the staircase around which Haley disappeared.

“Trouble in paradise?” Nicola chuckled. Noticing Sapph’s face, she smiled apologetically and pointed down the stairs, saying, “Yes, just go down the next two flights of stairs and down the hallway on the left. It’s at the end.”

“Thanks,” Nora said as Sapph nodded and walked off down the stairs. “Good battle, Nicola.”

“Thank you,” Nicola said graciously, turning to walk off up the stairs after Haley to the Pokémon Center.

Nora smiled and trotted off down the stairs, catching up with Sapph, who sauntered along with his hands stuck in the pockets of his black denim half pants, one flight down.

“’Not today’? Since when did you get so secretive about your team, Nora?” Sapph pouted slightly, closing one eye as the younger girl fell in step besides him.

Walking alongside the indignant boy, Nora bowed her head and mumbled, “Sorry, but it was Sky’s idea. She said we’d meet in the finals, and I can’ give you the-the edge if you knew what I had…” she broke off abruptly as a larger hand found itself on her head, ruffling her hair fondly.

“Oh, relax, Nora,” Sapph said with a laugh. “I’m only teasing. Look, here we are.”

And missing the intense flush that had seized the young girl’s face, Sapph strode towards the door at the head of the corridor and was met by a young man dressed all in black squatting in front of a small black quadruped. Smiling at the sight of the pair, Sapph raised his voice and announced, “Hey there, Brian! And look at you, Eaves! Where have you two been?”

Looking up, the boy looked up and seeing who it was, Brian’s face split into a broad grin and he exclaimed, “Well, lookit who it is! Well, howdy, Sapph, Nora!”

Eaves rolled upright to his feet and bounded towards the young girl, who giggled as he bounded into her arms and gave her cheek a quick and affectionate lick.

Sapph smiled at the sight for a moment before turning to Brian and saying seriously, “This is heartwarming and all, but what happened? One second we were in Dinocanyon City, the next day you were gone!”

Nora looked up from scratching Eaves’ belly to watch Brian as he exhaled heavily.

“Ya know, Haley didn’t even ask once herself, and I met her yesterday,” Brian said heavily. “Something up with her?”

Waving his hand as if to chase off an irksome fly, Sapph merely shrugged and said, “Heck if I know, pardner… she’s been in a funny mood since…. Since… I dunno… girls are just weird like that, I guess.”

“Excuse me?” Nora said indignantly, standing up to stare the boys down, and doing a scarily good job of it.

“OK, OK, Nora! I’m sorry!” Sapph remarked, sweating profusely as she seemed to tower even over the giant Brian.

“Either way,” Brian said, trying to defuse the situation quickly. “Didn’t my note say something came up with my family back home?”

Turning his attention back to Brian, Sapph said thoughtfully, “Well, the note did mention some sort of ‘family reasons’… what’s the matter?”

“Well, I had received a call from Quartzstone City after we left the Dinocanyon City gym,” Brian explained. “Apparently, the family gym was being passed on to me. And I needed to be there for the handing over.”

“Wow,” Nora said appreciatively. “So you’re a gym leader now?”

“Well,” Brian said calmly. “I would be, but some members of the family were against it, considering my Pokémon weren’t up to snuff… that, an’ the Pokémon my Pop gave me decided to evolve and act up during the assessment…”

“Pokémon acting up?” Sapph said worriedly, thinking briefly of Tentis. “Which one is it?”

“Well, he’s a Pupitar now,” Brian said, “And since we specialize in Dark types at the Quartzstone gym, I couldn’t be a gym leader ‘til ah evolved him to a Tyranitar…”

“So they took away your right to be a gym leader?!” Nora gasped, clapping her hands over her mouth.

“Now, hold y’all horses, little lady,” Brian said calmly. “I’m temporarily relieved. Not all my family thinks ah’m too young fer the post!”

“So, what are you up to here?” Sapph asked as he bent down to pet Eaves fondly.

“Well, the Trigello Finals’ve always been a hunting ground for prospective gym leaders,” Brian explained brightly. “If I can do well here, or evolve that ol’ Pupitar during the tournament, I can go back and take over the gym without any confrontat’in!”

“No?” Nora said in an awed voice. “Really? No wonder you let the others know which type you specialize in! It must have been a challenge to the people watching from Kazuto!”

“Tha’s right, little lady,” Brian said with a smile and a wink. “A gym leader’s specialty ‘s also common knowledge to the smart Trainers in any region to boot!”

Seriously awed now, something Brian said suddenly struck Sapph and he was about to ask another question, but loud cheering from the crowd echoed down the stairs just then, distracting him and Nora both. “Oh, shoot! The match! Nora, we’re missing it!”

And that’s the fourth match, folks!” Kenny C’s voice seemed to swell even the corridor. “Carter’s Scizor proved absolutely no match for Lucain’s savage Garchomp! The team of Lucain Strykarr and Garchomp totally dominated this match!

“Hmm… sound like y’all missed the match,” Brian said quietly, trying to look apologetic at Sapph’s plight, an effort Eaves failed miserably at, rolling all over the floor laughing at the boy’s expression.

“Best get ready to see who’s next,” Brian said calmly, recalling Eaves calmly. “Anyone else, y’all want me to call?”

Giving Nora a quick glance, Sapph raised a hand and said wearily, “No thanks, Brian. Good luck in your match!”

Giving the pair a two-fingered salute, Brian walked back into the room to see what the screen said.

“Listen, Nora,” Sapph said at the Coreian girl’s side as they walked back up the stairs to their seats. “I didn’t get anything to eat this morning, and I’m famished. You go on ahead, I’ll catch up. Pecha and popcorn OK with you?”

“I dunno, Sapph,” Nora began. “I could do with a snack, but you might miss more match… Sapph?” her coral blue eyes blinked twice a couple of times as she noticed Sapph was gone in the milling crowds. Sighing to herself, the young girl made her way back up the staircases to Section Fourteen alone.


Zeta watched the crowd go crazy over the fourth match which ended in only one move with mild interest as the shattered arena sank into the ground, a new one taking its place.

This crowd’s getting too hyped over that match, Zeta thought dully. Any Fire attack can put a Scizor away… at least those who watched saw he uses Ground or Dragon type Pokémon. Maybe he can be helpful…

A figure slumped into the empty seat next to her and muttered in a voice nearly masked by the surrounding noise, “Report.”

Without batting an eye at the stranger who wore dark glasses and a matching grey trench coat and fedora, “Not much to report… Feldspore and Strykarr are definitely potential recruits… even if Feldspore lost to Banner.”

“So why would you recommend him?” The man muttered as the crowd appeared unable to settle down and hear Goodshow announce a thirty minute intermission before the fifth match began. “Surely you’d recommend Banner over Feldspore? Winning would make Trainers more appealing targets, wouldn’t they?”

“True, he won at a type disadvantage, but something seems… off about him,” Zeta said thoughtfully, her chin in her palm. “Strykarr is an interesting prospect indeed, though… running into Banner in the second round will make for an interesting match, not to mention a clincher as to whether either one would suit our cause.”

Nodding in agreement, the shady character then said, “What of…?”

Knowing who they were about to ask of, and keen not to blow their cover, Zeta cut in curtly, “She also won her opening match. Not to mention she’s already been… recruited. Taking over her assignment is a pain in the rear, though. Why don’t you do it?”

“Because it’s more fun for a superior to delegate tasks to junior staff,” the figure sneered.

We’re the same rank, fool! Zeta snapped in her mind, her expression souring. Keen to end the conversation quickly, she asked, “Does the mission proceed?”

“In the absence of complications, obviously,” the shadow responded calmly. “You have the record?”

“Obviously,” Zeta parroted, reaching into the pocket of her overalls and pulling out a small black box. Placing it in their palm, she muttered, “Not get out of here before someone…” turning to her partner and noticing an empty seat besides her. “…spots you. Hmph, not bad…” she smirked, as the crowd began to build up a fair furor in anticipation of the fifth match the main screen now built up as two new placards showed up.

Well… back to work… Zeta thought as two young men’s faces lit up on the screen, both having dark hair and eyes although one smiled back winningly and the other had an expression on as dull as his complexion was deathly pale.


“Ah, this was exactly what the doctor ordered!” Sapph declared loudly as he sidled past Nora and flumped back into his seat. “But what was with those darned kids knocking all the refreshments to the floor and running off? When I get ahold of those kids…”

“Stop laughing, please, Paul!” Nora protested as she received a bag of popcorn and Pecha berry drink from Sapph, Paul doubling up and laughing incessantly at Sapph’s mishap. “It must have been horrible!”

“Someone spilt everything you bought all over the floor, Sapph?” Paul gasped, wiping away tears of mirth as he hiccoughed himself back into sanity (Rachel and Josephine threw their ‘friend’ deeply disgusted looks) “That’s freaking priceless!”

“Go choke on a hot dog, Paul,” Sapph responded moodily, watching Slate’s image on the screen with the word ‘WINNER’ emblazoned on the electronic screen fade out of sight. Turning to the blue-haired girl, Sapph gave his thanks and said, “So Slate won his battle, huh? Which battle was that? The sixth?”

Giving the boy an apologetic glance, Nora shook her head and announced, “No, Sapph. That was the seventh match.”

Sapph took a handful of popcorn and munched meditatively, mumbling, “I see…. Seventh match, hunh-? Wh-what!? SEVENTH MATCH?!” he gasped, choking on the kernels as he accidentally swallowed them in his shock. “How long was I (cough, cough!) in that… (hack, wheeze!) queue for?”

“About an hour and thirty five minutes, Sapph,” Josephine answered, while Nora busied herself with helping relieve Sapph of the pressure the popcorn was placing on his breathing with some well-placed thumps to the back. “The fourth match was over in a heartbeat, that Carter’s Scizor stood no chance against Lucain’s Lizeu. It was over in one move.”

Rachel continued as Sapph spluttered, gasping for breath, “The fifth match was your friend Brian’s match. His match took a while, despite having a clear advantage over that creepy Edgar guy’s Ghost type Pokémon…”

“Oh, come on, Rach,” Josephine said calmly. “He did use a Spiritomb first and gained a double knockout on Brian’s Sneasel…”

Shrugging her shoulders dismissively, Rachel merely said, “Too bad he didn’t have another Dark and Ghost type to deal with that Umbreon. Now that thing was powerful…”

“I missed Eaves fighting?” Sapph groaned, burying his face in his hands. “Oh, man…”

“Yeah, it took down some Pokémon called a Roghoul,” Paul went on, deliberately making his commentary as vivid as possible to mess with Sapph. “Fighting and Ghost Pokémon, apparently… it was that intense! You should have seen…”

“You missed Sky’s bout as well,” Nora interrupted sharply. Throwing Sapph an apologetic glance, she smiled sadly as she went on, “her match was sixth and she totally messed Reg up…”

Sinking into a depressed funk, Sapph’s groans became more pronounced. He was so depressed he even missed the slight smile on Nora’s face as she told him of her brother’s match.

“That purple-haired kid… Slate, right?” Paul went on, ignoring Sapph emotional state. “His match was also fairly quick. He silenced some middle-aged guy called Delorian and his ‘Pilepux’ quickly enough…”

“’Pilepux’” Sapph asked, looking up. “Never seen that Pokémon before… what type is it? How did it do?”

“Does it matter? It lost anyways,” Paul replied uninterestedly. “But this last first round match,” he said, sitting up as two boys’ faces took the screen and the boys themselves had come out of the tunnel and faced each other across the newly-replaced battlefield, “promises to be a good one. You two know either of them?”

Nora shook her head and said “No,” while Sapph said with a still sullen look on his face, “Yes.”

Nora and the others looked at Sapph while the young Johton explained, “What, they’re a couple of Kamren Kent’s – that’s Haley’s older brother,” Sapph explained to Nora, “flunkies. I didn’t think they were this good. The Trigello crew must have gone soft on them…”

“Guess this is the match you were waiting for, eh, Carla?” Kamren said, his arms crossed as he sat back in his seat and watched the referee give the instructions to release their Pokémon to the boys.

“You too,” Carla replied, a complete contrast to the boy next to her as she hung on the edge of her seat watching the two boys step out onto the field. “Aren’t you curious about how far Dex has come?”

“Not really,” Kamren replied calmly, watching the referee call for the contestants to release their Pokémon. “I know Tank and Keno have both evolved to their highest forms. The main issue here is… ah,” Kamren nodded as Calvin and Dex’s main Pokémon took shape on the battlefield, the silver gray plating on several parts of the latter’s hulking, near-seven foot frame gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight as the former twirled two silver spoons between its golden yellow fingers.

Carla raised her eyebrow at Kamren as Kenny C announced, “And now, ladies and gentlemen! The eighth, and final first round matchup: Ambrose Michaels from Legendio City and Calvin Witkins from Olville Town, again both representing Corei! Despite this, only one can advance! Twenty minutes on the clock… and battle… BEGIN!

“’The main issue is’ what, Kamren?” Carla said challengingly. “Look, nothing on Dex, but this match is obviously Calvin’s!”

“Sure you want to do this, Dex?” Calvin called smugly across the field as a slight breeze fluffed his Pokémon’s handlebar moustache. “I know that Tank’s every move and weakness… and I’ve been preparing Keno for this since the matchup was announced. You’ve officially lost.”

Dex’s small eyes narrowed and he merely raised a hand and said, “Tank, get in close.”

Calvin let out a laugh and said, “Like we’d let you. Keno, strafe right and fire Focus Blast!”

The yellow creature stopped twirling the spoons in front of him and, dashing to the right with impressive speed, began gathering several balls of sparkling light into the air in front of its spoons it had crossed in front of him. Keno’s smirk matched his Trainer’s as Tank lumbered to a stop and turning on a dime, began to barrel towards his left. Confident the Aggron was too far away to catch him, Keno stopped moving and continued to gather energy into a large sphere of lights.

Wow, Michaels’ Aggron is alarmingly slower than normal, folks!” Kenny C announced to the crowd as a few members winced in anticipation of a heavy hit. “What’s your take, Mr. Goodshow?

Well, Focus Blast is not known for its accuracy,” Goodshow’s voice blared over the watching masses. “But if Calvin’s Alakazam can land its mark, this battle will pretty much be resolved in one shot!

“Looks like that tub of lard’s Pokémon’s too slow,” Paul said dismissively, watching the Aggron march forwards resolutely despite the spectators’ heckling. “They qualified with THAT speed?”

“Don’t be rude, Paul!” Rachel and Nora said in unison while Josephine and Sapph merely watched with narrowed eyes as the Alakazam unleashed his attack which streaked towards the Iron Armor Pokémon while it was still about six feet away.

“Paul’s right, though. That Ambrose certainly had rotten luck matching up with an Alakazam,” Josephine murmured distractedly. “Everyone who knows their Pokémon knows Focus Blast is a special technique, Alakazam’s forte. That and Alakazam’s speed seal this ma… what the-?!”

The crowd were making a tremendous amount of noise as, with a command from the older Trainer, Tank crouched lower and digging his leading foot in, rocketed forwards under the powerful attack, and closed the gap in a heartbeat, his iron claws wrapped and glowing with ghostly purple energy. The aura surrounding Tank’s left hand sharpened into grisly claws and rising up to his full height bringing the Shadow Claw attack up with him, its aim obviously to take the Psi Pokémon’s head clean off.

Keno’s pupils shrank even faster than he or Tank had moved, and relying on his instinct (which he rarely resorted to), sped away back to his left, barely escaping the deadly assault. Tank’s attack ripped through the air full swing and left gouge marks ominously in the wall behind and to Kenny C’s left, who yelped in fear as the attack blew past his ear.

Smiling all the way to his light blue eyes, Tank turned to the Psychic Pokémon and his blond, bespectacled Trainer and said, <That fast enough for you, Keno?>

<Holy…> Keno gasped, looking at the wall where the Ghost-typed attack struck the wall, his pointed head awash with cold sweat. <If I didn’t move in time…>

A-and just l-l-like that, folks,” Kenny C stuttered into his microphone as the crowd’s intensity went up through the proverbial roof. “We have a match on our hands! One thing’s for certain, ladies and gentlemen… this match is NOT over yet!

<Yo, Dex,> Tank called to his Trainer. <Looks like that trick won’t work anymore. What’s next?>

Dex had his eyes on his suddenly uncertain opponent and said, “We haven’t got anything else, Tank. Let’s keep the tempertar on them!”

Sweat dropping, Tank thought, <The word’s ‘temperature’, boss... Not to mention I think you want to use the word ‘pressure’ there, instead…>

Sapph and Kamren smiled from opposite ends of the stadium and told their companions in tandem without looking at their flabbergasted expressions, “Who’s got this match again?”


Sorry, no character personality this chapter!

… PSYCHE! Double whammy! :p

Name: Calvin Arthur Witkins
Date of Birth: March 20, PA, 2005
Hometown: Olville Town, Corei
On Hand: Keno (Alakazam)
In Storage: None
Likes: Research, chances to share opinions.
Dislikes: Betrayal, abandonment
Contemporaries: Carla, Kamren, Dex, Brian
About Calvin: Calvin is the opposite of Dex; emotionally turbulent, sharp-witted and incredibly studious, Calvin believes he can easily deal with life alone, especially after Carla leaves the group with Rubin. His knack for constantly correcting his friends’ misinterpretation of facts and figures does tend to wear a little thin on their patience, but seeing as he’s rarely wrong, he’s usually forgiven for being ‘too smart for his own good’.

Name Dexter ‘Dex’ Ambrose Michaels
Date of Birth: May 23, PA 2001
Hometown: Legendio Town, Corei
On Hand: Boom (Weezing), Tank (Aggron), Kessie (Kestade)
In Storage: None
Likes: his friends, family and Pokémon
Dislikes: Being alone
Contemporaries: Calvin, Kamren, Carla, Brian
About Dex: The fourteen year old is one of those characters who’s mostly the butt of many a dumb joke but is too emotionally basic to care what others think about him. He’s usually fine when his friends get along together, but becomes lost and confused when they fight.

He’s usually very cheerful, but can be prone to be hurt by overt animosity, something Kamren doesn’t show to his biggest friend. Their friendship was and apparently still is one of a gangster and his thick yet easily pleased sidekick. However, beneath this external show of ‘master-slave’ interrelation, Kamren respects his friend and values his input, no matter how childish it may be and often is. If there’s one thing Dex is good at, it’s making things simple, and that more than anything is what makes him invaluable to the turbulent Kamren Kent.


#048 Creebit
Element: Grass/Fighting
Species: Sunlight
Pronunciation: cree-BIT
Height: 5’08”
Weight: 492lbs
Habitat: Forest
Evolution Line: Arrowbit –(20)-> Raleaf –(Leaf Stone)-> CREEBIT
Notes: When in sunlight, its yellow patches of fur blaze white and it gains the power to punch foot-wide holes clean through mountain bases.

#135 Kemery
Element: Fire/Poison
Species: Chimera
Pronunciation: KEH-MEH-ree
Height: 1’11”
Weight: 71lbs
Habitat: Mountain
Evolution Line: KEMERY –(31)->Chemiroar
Notes: KEMERY prefer to nest alone, away from prying human eyes. This elusive nature is the result of generations having to hide away from humans, who hunted them to near extinction for the medicinal purposes of their venom, hair, hooves and scales.


Man, six posts in a row? Wow, that is a lot. Hopefully, I can get the next chapter down to one post...

Now, before I sign out... next time, on The Corei Quest, rewritten: the first round matches are finally over, but there seems to be no time to rest for any competitor! Haley finds herself paired up against Banner in the final eight and whether she can clear the quarterfinals more easily than the first round in only one of the mysteries the Trigello Tournament coming up. This battle is only just beginning to heat up in Chapter Forty Six of The Corei Quest, rewritten: Round Two... Fight!

OK, people... L@er!
Last edited:

Shadow Lucario

Lone Vanguard
You're doing a lot better than I thought buddy. We're almost there! Keep on truckin'!

Goodman announced as both teenagers took their places, and with a command from the referee,

The way I'm reading it, this and belongs before the comma. Does that make sense?

“There’s surely no shortage of talent at this Tournament!

Lowercase unless you want to throw Trigello before that.

“Phoenix doesn’t look like moving any- MY WORD!”

Perhaps insert a he's in there.

“If I were thirty years younger…”

Keep dreamin old man!

That's all I really saw. Now onto the good stuff! So much action in so little time. This tournament is starting to heat up. I was surprised to see Blaziken lose. It's such a strong Pokemon and I thought TJ would be able to utilize all the strengths of Blaziken. A little shorter than your usual chapters, but that's okay. I forgive you. I feel like the second round is going to be even more intense and for that I can't wait. You're almost done buddy. If the league is the final part of TCQ then we're nearly there. Just a little longer. You can do this!


good reader
Haven't you thought about continuing in a new thread?

It could make the history a little easier to the reader. or not?

p.d: great chapter.

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Reviews! OK, time to roll out some appreciations!

@Shadow Lucario: Thanks for spotting those errors! They've also all been corrected. Well, except for the last one. Considering Phoenix is the Blaziken's name, you could replace it with "he", and the sentence would still make sense (probably more sense too) Thanks for reading, and this League finals is something of a closing of sorts... *devil smilie*


Haven't you thought about continuing in a new thread?

It could make the history a little easier to the reader. or not?

Hmm... interesting suggestion. We may have to see what the end of this season may bring. Thanks for liking the chapter!

Now Chapter 46 is moving along at a reasonable pace. Looking forward to serving you some hot new chapterage soon! Until then...



Active Member
Haven't had the chance to read your last two chapters yet, thought I might re-read the entire story so I know everything that's going on :p Great that you're posting chapters again!

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Here we go, here we go! It's chapter time!

@Evil_Lord: Well, I'm glad I haven't lost too much of my fan base. Every comment is more motivation to keep on truckin'! Hope you catch up soon!

Well, it's another month, and things are proceeding very nicely indeed. So nicely, the next chapter of The Corei Quest is ready to roll! Before we get to the meat, though, you have to pass through the buns that hold everything together, so...

Big ups to everyone who has contributed to this chapter with their OCs (MerlockVonBaron, Divinity_123 and Legendarian Mistress of the PokeCommunity Forums). Hope everything passed muster!

And to everyone else, hope this chapter is action packed enough to make up for the length (One post?! Holy cow!)

Chapter Forty Six: Round Two… Fight!

“Tank, Shadow Claw!”

“Focus Blast, Keno!”

The last thirty seconds on the clock trickled away as both boys gave their final orders to their battered Pokémon. Blood ran down both of Calvin Witkins’ Alakazam’s arms as sizable dents and cracks peppered Dex’s Aggron’s horned head.

Keno raised his arms and with a tremendous effort raised his arms and readied a sphere of golden aura with the last of his energy as spectral energy gathered around Tank’s claws and the iron behemoth turned around once more and fixed the Alakazam’s one open eye with his own.

Tank rushed the Alakazam in slow motion as Keno gathered the energy he hoped would be enough to win his Trainer the match.

Shaking his head up in the stands, Kamren muttered, “That Dex… if he’d noticed Tank’s Shadow Claw doesn’t have to ‘make contact’ to cause damage, this fight would be over. Calvin’s lucky Dex is a little slow…”

Turning to the reddish blond boy angrily, Carla countered, “Calvin’s doing his best, too! He isn’t the annoying little tag-along he was at the beginning of our journey! None of us are!”

“I never said he was,” Kamren said quickly, raising his hands in surrender. “He’s clearly trained that Alakazam well. If he’s picked a more accurate move to handle Tank and let Keno practice it longer, it’d be his battle…whoa!”

A violent burst of smoke, dust, sound and fire masked the field as Shadow Claw and Focus Blast collided. Many spectators covered their ears and shielded their eyes as Kenny C gasped, “That was insane! Their power’s completely equal! Who could have survived this final impact?! Mr. Goodshow?”

“Well, my money would be on Aggron, given their specie’s incredible defenses,” Mr. Goodshow’s voice responded. “But anything can happen it this tournament, as the first seven matches have shown! All we can do is watch and wait!”

“All the battlers today have shown incredible strengths,” Nurse Joy exclaimed. “This battle is truly worthy of such a prominent tournament!”

The smoke finally began to clear and the crowd, muttering loudly, saw the prone figures of Keno and Tank splayed out on the ground, clearly out of gas as the buzzer sounded out. The referee raised both her flags above her head and announced, “Both Alakazam and Aggron are unable to battle! This match is a tie!”

The crowd let out a great roar as Calvin stamped his foot in anger and returned his Alakazam angrily. Kenny C’s voice blared out over the masses, even more frenzied than usual, “Ladies and gentlemen, the battle between Witkins’ Alakazam and Michaels’ Aggron has ended in a double knockout just and the twenty minutes expired! We now go to Mr. Goodshow to tell us what happens now!”

Coughing slightly, Mr. Goodshow announced into his microphone as he watched Dex pull off Tank’s pokéball and return him without a fuss, “Well, in the case of a tie, both Trainers must send out a second Pokémon to continue the fight in the amount of time left. As there is no time left, ten additional minutes will be added to the clock and the match will go on until there is only one winner.”

“And there you have it, folks!” Kenny C roared as Sapph stopped applauding to watch the combatants’ next move. “Now, at the referee’s signal, both Witkins and Michaels will release their second Pokémon!”

On the field, the referee looked between the two boys and announced, “Well, come on, then. Will both Trainers release their next Pokémon?”

“We can’t,” Calvin said, his head bowed. “We only have one Pokémon apiece…”

“OK,” came Dex’s gravelly voice and Calvin’s head whipped up to watch him pull a second pokéball off his belt. Giving his opponent a scathing look, Calvin snapped, “Dex, you entered the tournament with a Steel type, remember? Boom is a Poison type, not a Steel type!”

Calvin’s smug look slid off his face as Dex released the Pokémon within with a simple, “I know. Meet… Snap.”

The red light faded away to reveal a short feminine-looking Pokémon with deep red eyes and black hands and feet jutting out of her mostly yellow body. It almost looked adorable, until the creature looked up at its Trainer and, noticing the crowd, gave a determined chirp and hopped forwards towards a stunned Calvin, the black ‘ponytail’ growing out of the top of her head split down the middle and revealed itself to be a second, gaping mouth with vicious teeth and a long tongue.

“But… when… how?” Calvin gasped staring at the small creature, its second mouth snapping fiercely in his direction, waiting for his opponent. “Wasn’t Tank your only Steel type?!”

“I caught her on Northern Isle,” Dex explained. “Actually, I helped her after she got caught up in our training while you went to the toilet. She didn’t want to leave after she was healed. I wanted to show you, but you didn’t want to hear… hey, wait!” Dex called, as Calvin turned on his heel and stormed off, clearly holding back tears.

Watching the younger boy run off, the ref sighed, and raising her green flag towards Dex and announced, “Witkins is unable to produce another Pokémon! Michaels wins by default!”

“And that,” Paul said to Nora smugly, “is what overconfidence can cost you.”

“Shut up, Paul,” Rachel said coldly as Kenny C announced the first round matches were finally over and that the second round double battles would begin the following afternoon, and bid the audience a good night.


“So, that was an exciting first day, hunh?” Sapph said to the group as they left the coliseum with the droves of spectators, excited talk about the matches on every tongue around them. “Anyone hungry for burgers?”

“As much as I love a slice of pie,” Rachel commented with a pronounced yawn. “I’m utterly exhausted. I’m going back to the inn for a power nap. Anyone coming along?”

“Come to think on it, I’m quite tired too, regardless of the time,” Josephine concurred, also stretching. “Plus, all those matches wiped me out…”

“And that’s all you can think of as to why we’re all exhausted?” Paul Oak asked incredulously. “Nothing else comes to mind? Like how you dragged everyone out of bed so damned early?!”

“Oh, don’t whine, Paul,” Rachel said snappily, walking off towards the Raticate Burrow alongside Josephine. “I didn’t wake you two up that early…”

Following them, incensed, Paul interjected, “Excuse you? ‘Not that early’? I dunno about you, but-“

Sapph and Nora watched the threesome disappear into the throng, Paul and Rachel’s argument lost in the surrounding noise.

“Sapph, just how did you meet those three again?” Nora wondered aloud, her eyes wide.

Shaking his head, Sapph answered, “Not worth talking about, to be honest. I’m wondering how they scammed a free room out of me…” he said, scratching his head as he and Nora walked off down another street towards the docks.

“Hmm...” Nora replied in a subdued voice, her head drooping as she stopped her stroll alongside Sapph.

“Huh? What’s up, Nora?” Sapph asked, stopping as well and giving her a surprised look; surprise that deepened as he took a good look at the girl walking besides him. “You have your wig on again? Didn’t I tell you if that ‘brother’ of yours shows up again, I’d handle him?”

Nora, whose mind was back at the stadium, looked up as Sapph said the word ‘brother’ and asked, “Sapph, did you mean the things you said back at the stadium this morning?”

“Hunh? What things?” Sapph asked, completely nonplussed as the conversation Nora and Sapph had with Josephine and the others replayed itself in her mind:

“Did you?” Is he your boyfriend, Nora? Hmm?” Josephine said slyly prompting both of them to blush heavily.

“Uhm... Ah...” Nora stammered before Sapph stepped in and said, “Of course not, Josephine! Nora’s like a sister to me!”

“Yeah, yeah!” Nora quickly agreed while she mentally face faulted at the word ‘sister’.

“You know,” Nora said in her usual cautious tone. “That I was only a ‘sister’ to you…”

“Well… yeah, I did, I guess,” Sapph said, cupping a hand and placing a fist in it. “You are like a sister to me… is that a problem?” he added in a concerned voice, as Nora began to visibly tremble.

“Am I… can I… mean nothing more to you?” Nora muttered through clenched teeth.

Giving the now-dark haired girl a mystified fish eye, Sapph asked her, “Nora? Is something the matter?”

Now angry, Nora replied shortly, “What should it matter to you? I’m only a ‘sister’ to you, after all…” And feeling tears begin to well up in her eyes, she broke away from Sapph and ran off before the clueless boy could actually get a grip on what had just happened.

Letting his hand drop limply to his side, he accidently knocked loose a pokéball which hit the ground and burst open. A flash of white light erupted from his hip as a small, dirty white Pokémon hovered in the air at his shoulder. Looking between the distraught girl’s back as she rounded a corner and Sapph’s gobsmacked expression, Cloude let out a long sigh and drawled, <So, like, table for one, Sapph dude?>

Sapph could only shake his head, still completely at sea as to what happened.


Elsewhere on the island, three pairs of feet drummed an urgent beat on the asphalt as their owners ran up a crowded street, a blonde girl in the lead.

“Are you sure Calvin’s this way?” Kamren asked tall raven-haired boy running alongside him. “Wasn’t he in his room back at the Pokémon Center?”

“No, the old nurse Joy told me he never went,” Dex answered as they entered the bustling mall together. “Said she dropped Keno and left the Center…”

“OK, so what makes you think he’s here?” Kamren said to Carla as the trio headed towards the nearest escalator. “It’s a big island, he could be anywhere…”

“Calvin always drinks a Belue berry milkshake when he’s upset,” Carla said, looking around for the local Mr. Shakes, a popular milkshake bar as they stepped off the belt together. “When Mr. Shakes opened a branch in Olville, it was the happiest day of his life…”

“Well, it looks like your guess was right on the money,” Kamren said, pointing towards the store they sought and seeing a short blond boy sip a blue milkshake morosely.

Holding back her relief, Carla broke into a sprint and grabbed her brother around the neck, nearly throttling him in a tearful hug. Kamren and Dex gave each other a look and walked up to the siblings as the younger one straightened his glasses, and, seeing who it was, pushed his sister away angrily.

“What do you want- OUCH!” Calvin demanded in a sulky voice before a ham-sized fist rapped itself over his head. “What the hell, Dex?”

“That’s my line, you little squat!” Dex roared back so fiercely Kamren, Carla and Calvin were all taken aback. “She’s your sister, for gut’s sake! You haven’t seen her in months and that’s the first thing you tell her?”

Carla was about to intercede, but Kamren placed a hand on her shoulder and held her back, shaking his head slightly.

“You keep out of it, you idiot!” Calvin exclaimed sharply, tears of pain in his eyes as he rubbed his now-sore head. “She left us, remember?”

“And now she’s back! What, you think you’re so special?” Dex retorted. “We were all on a journey, do you demember that?! She went to do what she wanted to do, and now she’s here doing what she has to do! Be your sister!”

“Calvin, I know I hurt you when I left to go with Rubin,” Carla said softly. “But I am back, and I’m here to stay…”

“Who asked you to come back then, hmm?” Calvin said scathingly, looking at Kamren. “Him?”

“That’s right, Calvin. I did,” Kamren replied calmly, his hand still on Carla’s shoulder.

“So? Who made you leader of our group?” Calvin answered rudely. “I can handle myself!”

“And I just kicked your bum today, so you better listen!” Dex cut in, causing another spasm of surprise to pass across his friends. “My dad had an argument with his sister when they were on their journeys years ago, and when I was three, he left me with my Nana and finally went to see her and apologize, and he and my ma died before they could make up!”

Carla clapped her hands over her mouth in shock and Calvin blanched. Kamren only bowed his head.

“Why do you think my Nana raised me? She was devastated! What if you never saw Carla again? What if, years later you were sorry, and never got the chance to apologize?”

Calvin tried to speak, but his throat was stuck, and he could only shake his head, his face red.

Stepping aside and nodding to Kamren, who took the hint and released his hold on Carla, Dex simply jerked his head towards Carla and said, “Now, try that again.”

Wordlessly, Calvin slid off his stool and, walking over to his sobbing sister, grabbed her around the middle and let out a loud wail. Carla returned the hug and joined in the noisy reunion.

Kamren circled the siblings to where Dex stood, and patting his best friend on the back said, “I know you hate talking about your parents like that. How’re you holding up, buddy?”

“Thanks, Kamren,” Dex said, smiling a watery smile as he watched Carla and Calvin reconcile. “But I’ll be OK. Besides, it was wall it…”

Letting out a dry chuckle, Kamren replied, “’Worth’ it, buddy. It was ‘worth’ it.”


The next day had dawned and had become as swelteringly hot as the last as Haley yawned and studying how the outfit Black Cherub gave her fit in the mirror, left the room and headed down to the Pokémon Center lobby for breakfast.

“Morning, Haley!” Brian said cheerfully from a booth halfway down the lobby. Holding up a plate of sausage and egg, he asked, “Breakfast?”

“Thank you,” Haley said, sitting down next to the older boy and grabbing a slice of toast. Looking around, she said, “Kind of empty in here today, isn’t it? Are the losers from the first round already gone?”

Brian emptied his mouth and answered, “Nope. Tournament rules state that Trainers knocked out of the competition have to wait for the closing ceremony the day after tomorrow. Besides, the second round matches aren’t ‘til this afternoon. What happened to you yesterday? You never came back after your match.”

Haley merely shrugged and he went on, “I know you know what I’d be packing if we met this afternoon, but what if you run into Lucain? His Lizeu was nasty…”

“Lucain?” Haley asked curiously after she swallowed. “The guy with the purple cape? Who else qualified? And a Lizeu, eh? That means he trains either Fire or Dragon types…” she muttered to herself.

Sighing to himself, Brian speared another sausage and, munching on it, said, “Yeah. Well, Banner and Zuzana qualified before you did. And I just told you Lucain qualified as well…”

“And yourself,” Haley interrupted as another voice said pompously, “Someone mention Banner? I passed his room and smoke was passing out from under the door. The matron’s on her way up there now.”

Haley and Brian turned to see Slate Endlethorn standing in front of them, wearing a plain white shirt over dark green cargo trousers. Pointing next to the space across the table from Haley, he asked, “May I?”

After both Trainers nodded, he slipped into the booth and added, “Well, I think Banner’s a bit of an odd bird. Half the time I can’t decide if he’s outright mellow or just plain slow… he’s certainly got battle smarts… or smarts… ugh, he’s impossible to read!”

“Well, y’all right there,” Brian said modestly, scratching his Umbreon behind the ear as he leapt up onto the couch. “The only two people you don’t know qualified then are Sky Wingams, Ambrose Michaels and…”

“…myself,” Slate said calmly, buttering a piece of toast and taking a bite. “Michaels was clearly matched in his bout… a shame Witkins couldn’t provide a second Pokémon to battle.”

“Michaels… wait, DEX qualified?!” Haley blanched. “I thought Calvin was a shoe-in for that battle!”

“Guess you should have waited to see what happened in the remaining matches, shouldn’t you have?” Slate admonished her smugly. “It’s common in this tournament to see what your potential opposition is capable of, isn’t it, Brian?”

Brian gave a non-committal grunt and took another piece of toast.

Not a fan of being talked down to and detecting a long winded discourse coming, Haley quickly slipped out the booth and, as a bawling matron led a sheepish Banner into the lobby, said to the two boys, “Gee, guys, thanks for the breakfast, but I’ve got to get going. If the second round’s this afternoon, I’ll need a strategy… I’ll meet you at the coliseum later!”

Waving cheerfully to them both and walking away briskly, she mentally exhaled and thought: That was too close! Good thing I got away! Well, Bubbles can’t fight in the second round after yesterday, and if I can’t use her…let’s go over who qualified again…

Haley continued her soliloquy as she stepped out into the warming sun and promptly ran into a figure slighter than hers and squeaked in a feminine voice.

“Oof! I’m so sorry…” the researcher started as she took in the girl’s dark brown hair and brown eyes. “Are you OK?”

Allowing herself to be helped up to her feet, the girl gave Haley a nervous look and nodded mutely.

Sighing in relief, Haley let her hand go and turning away from the coliseum, she said briskly, “That’s good. Sorry I can’t stay, but I’ve got the second round to plan for this afternoon and I need to think… cheer me on!”

Walking the girl walk away briskly, Nora looked through her wig’s brown tresses at her retreating back and she thought, didn’t she notice that that was me? This disguise is great!

“Nora? What are you doing here in disguise?” Nicola Brambles asked curiously as the older girl came around the corner, in higher spirits considering her defeat yesterday.

Guess I stand corrected, Nora thought sheepishly, sweat dropping as she turned to face her acquaintance. Maybe I should consider glasses…

So where was I? Haley said to herself. Oh, yeah… Banner, Brian and Dex aside, Lucain, Sky and Slate are all weak to Ice and Water attacks, so Tempest is a given. Guess she team up with Blitzkr- Oof!

This time it was Haley who went sprawling on the ground as she walked right into a larger body while lost in thought. Rubbing her sore bottom, she held a hand out and said, “Excuse me… help a lady up?”

Looking up into bespectacled grey eyes and watching the middle aged man’s mouth fall open in recognition and shock, the man took one amazed look at the curious look that had taken the girl’s eyes and, noticing something over her head, looked terrified at bolted down the street.

“What the-? Hey, wait!” Haley gasped as she leaped to her boot-clad feet and gave furious chase after the man.

Reaching for her PokéNav, she furiously dialed Black Cherub’s line and, not waiting for a greeting, yelled down the phone, “I’ve seen my dad! He’s on Southern Isle! I’m giving chase now!”

“You have?! Excellent! Where are you…?” Black Cherub’s voice seemed to exclaim before Haley cut him off.

“Sorry, but I don’t need the AGENTs on this one!” Haley yelled back into the phone as people darted out of her way and Damian Kent continued to bowl people and tables out of his way as he hung a sharp right, Haley hot on his heels. “This guy’s mine!”

and you’re not getting away either, Daddy, she finished in a furious thought as she cut the line and watched him vault a low chain link fence and hesitate a split-second. Seeing his daughter bear down on him, he looked behind her and quickly dashed down to his left.

What’s going on, Daddy? Haley thought as she pulled herself over the fence and gave chase. Why are you running?


The day had worn on uneventfully as Sapph, after waking up in the most muddled of moods, found seats in the lowest box of Section Three next to Paul and the latter’s female companions that afternoon. The quarterfinal draws were announced, and the first of these matches, a two on two double battle featuring Zuzana Marsh and Lucain Strykarr, was underway.

The match had lost its earlier bite after both Zuzana’s blonde Jynx and Lucain’s violent Garchomp has knocked each other out in a violent head-on collision in which Luciain’s Mach Pokémon took on both of Zuzana’s Pokémon single-handedly. Lucain’s second Pokémon, which had so far stayed out of the battle, was now dueling with the daughter of Saffron City’s fairly exhausted Pokémon, who after struggling to take down Lucain’s Garchomp alongside its defeated battle partner, was fast running out of options.

A mass of green gel hovered around the arena’s edge in front of the worried girl, which was closed off within a large, Technicolor room of sorts, much faster than it seemed to earlier, burns and scratches peppering its large green body, its white face within paler than usual.

Lucain’s Pokémon, on the other hand, looked utterly at peace despite the disadvantage it was presently in. If, by ‘at peace’ one would mean looking utterly demented and ready to destroy its opponent. The blood red eyes on the heads that replaced its hands were somehow trained on the jittery Psychic type as it struggled to find a blind spot on the larger, six-winged Dragon Pokémon.

“I dunno about you, but I wouldn’t have my Pokémon move around so much against that thing,” Josephine said worriedly. “Doesn’t that thing…”

“…’see anything that moves as an enemy and attack, devouring anything in its path’? Yeah, that’s what the Pokédex said,” Sapph replied anxiously, the tension even briefly distracting him from the spectacle that had occurred last night after the first round matches had ended. “It also called it a ‘Hydreigon’ or something… Dark and Dragon type.”

“And thus, the worst matchup for Zuzana’s green blob thingy,” Rachel said dismissively. “Or any Psychic type Trainer… despite using Trick Room to gain the speed advantage. And I just don’t mean type,” she added, giving its purple and black body another look-over and shudder involuntarily. “That ‘Hydreigon’ thing freaks me out.”

“It’s called a ‘Reuniclus’,” Sapph replied evenly, watching the Multiplication Pokémon bring its hands in front of itself, the many smaller orbs in each arm flashing in a rainbow of colour. Turning back to the battlefield, he went on, “And I wouldn’t exactly call it beaten yet, considering Hydreigon has a whole bunch of weaknesses, according to this thing’s new update: Fighting, Ice, Dragon and…” he smiled reminiscently as the Reuniclus spread its ‘arms’ wide and released a beam of rainbow-coloured energy upon its opponent, “Bug type.”

On the battlefield, Lucain watched the Psychic type’s Signal Beam score a clean hit on his Brutal Pokémon with narrowed eyes. Raising his voice, he said to his opponent, “That was your last chance to surrender, my dear. Hydreigon doesn’t like being attacked, and after that,” he said as the smoke began to clear revealing the Hydreigon still standing and an evil gleam overcoming both Trainer and Pokémon’s blood red eyes, “I think you upset him.”

Laughing at Lucain’s words, Zuzana said coldly, despite her Pokémon’s exhaustion, “Surrender? Us? Maybe you missed the last five minutes, but thanks to Trick Room, we have the…” her eyes suddenly widened as the walls enclosing the three-headed hydra and giant cell began to dissolve. “…advantage?”

A cruel smile twisting his sallow face, Lucain swept away a lock of black hair from his face and asked mockingly, “Did you, perchance, mean that Trick Room?”

Alone in Section Eight, Zeta gripped the brim of her white cap and muttered “This can’t be good for that green thing. Now that their speeds are back to normal, Lucain’s Pokémon clearly has Zuzana’s out-typed and outmatched.”

Gulping down her fear, Zuzana marshaled herself and yelled, “Reuniclus, use Tri- NO!” She ended in a scream as the Brutal Pokémon lived up to its name and, speeding in towards the exhausted Psychic type and seized one its green hands in each of the mouths that replaced its fingers and pulled its arms wide apart. The Reuniclus screamed in pain as its limbs were stretched to breaking point as Hydreigon’s attack threatened to end the match right there.

“Give up yet?” Lucain said with a horrible laugh. “It could have used Crunch, but you did hit it first. And no one attacks my Hydreigon…” he ended ominously as the Hydreigon let loose a feral snarl and opened its main mouth wide, three orbs of red, yellow and blue energy filling the space between their faces. “…and gets away unscathed.”

Watching the events unfold wildly, Zuzana wailed, “No, Lucain, stop! Please! I give-”

The rest of her plea was drowned out in a rush of sound as Lucain’s Pokémon fired a point-blank Tri-Attack into the ailing Psychic type’s body… without letting go of its hands. The crowds winced, yelled and heaved uncomfortably as the Reuniclus’s body got blown clear of its arms and slammed into the ground, shrieking in pain as it was burned, frozen and electrocuted all at once.

“That’s just… brutal,” Carla said weakly from her viewpoint in Stand One seated between her brother and Kamren Kent, watching the Reuniclus’s arms, drip green fluid ominously onto the pitch.

“Crunch and Tri-Attack, back to back?” Calvin exclaimed in hollow appreciation, watching the Psychic Pokémon regrow its limbs and stir feebly upon the ground. “If that Reuniclus didn’t use Protect when it did, this match would have ended then.”

“The match is already over,” Kamren said in a disturbed voice as his goose grey eyes narrowed as he watched the Hydreigon close in on its defenseless opponent. “So what is that thing doing? That’s overkill!”

The Witkins siblings gave the teenager a fish-eye glance and the younger one said incredulously, “’Overkill’? Never thought I ‘d hear empathy from you of all people!”

“You’re lucky Carla’s sitting between us and I can’t reach you,” Kamren said darkly, giving the younger Witkins a dangerous look. Turning back to the arena, Kamren went on, “Burner and I are ruthless, that I won’t deny. But to go after an opponent who’s clearly had enough? That’s not our style… anymore,” he added, noticing Carla and Calvin’s disbelieving looks.

“And Strykarr’s having his Hydreigon charge up another Tri-Attack!” Kenny C roared into his microphone. “I dunno about you, folks, but this looks bad for Zuzana and her Reuniclus!”

Zuzana, watching the Hydreigon bear down on her Reuniclus, she fumbled about for its pokéball, screaming amidst tears, “Please, Lucain! I beg you! Stop it!”

Lucain gave her a haughty look and asked innocently. “Stop what? I’m not doing anything.” Looking at his dragon gather fire, ice and electric energy in front of its three mouths, he added nonchalantly, “Hydreigon’s the one about to kill your Reuniclus.”

Tears now streaming down her normally-composed face, Zuzana forgot all about the pokéball and made to dash out onto the pitch when a white, grey and blue figure appearing from out of nowhere between her downed Pokémon and the aggressive Brutal Pokémon stopped her cold.

She wasn’t the only one surprised, either; the entire audience seated at her end of the battlefield began to murmur amongst themselves as they studied the new Pokémon raise a blue hand in front of it as if to command the Hydreigon to stop. Gusts of violent wind began to whip around themselves into a ball of air as the Hydreigon pulled back a minute, taken aback at the new creature’s entry.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like a fifth Pokémon has taken to the field!” Kenny C’s voice roared through the arena informing the half of the arena that couldn’t see what was happening. “Do you recognize it, Mr. Goodshow?”

“If Ah didn’ know be’er, ah’d say it was the legendary Legaeria!” The voice of the day’s special guest, Donald from Western Isle, declared. “But tha’s right impossible!”

“What Pokémon is that, Sapph?” Josephine asked Sapph as the blue plumage covering its head began to blow back in the gale it was constructing, Paul and Rachel unable to take their eyes off of the phenomenon.

“Hmm… Pokédex says it’s called a Hawrior,” Sapph said, examining its golden talons and spindly upper limbs. “Fighting and Flying type Pokémon?! Wow, that’s rare! Also says here that it’s ‘reputed as the herald of Legaeria’… What’s it doing here?”

“I think there’s your answer,” Rachel said weakly, pointing at a tall Black boy in a sleeveless white tracksuit standing in front of Zuzana. Looking up, Sapph saw T.J. raise his face and say something incoherent amongst the bemused babbling of the masses around them. The Hydreigon gave a terrible bellow and recharged up its attack, but the winds in front of the ‘Hawrior’ exploded into a vicious mixture of air condensed into a powerful beam which engulfed the Brutal Pokémon and sent it flying skywards.

“What was THAT attack?!” Carla exclaimed, gripping Kamren’s arm in surprise as Calvin fell out of his seat in shock as the assault carried on into the sky above the coliseum.

“It looked like an Aeroblast technique!” Calvin exclaimed, finding his seat, “But I thought only the legendary Lugia could pull off that technique!”

“Doesn’t look like it,” Kamren said, wincing as Zuzana landed a slap on T.J.’s face which upended the larger boy and caused him to cartwheel. “So what happens now, Calvin? Zuzana clearly lost the match, but Lucain showed no desire to rein in his Pokémon’s behavior…”

Pushing his glasses back up his nose, Calvin watched the referee cross her flags in front of her chest and Zuzana return her Reuniclus bitterly. He was about to open his mouth when Kenny C voice answered for the audience’s benefit from the speakers dotted around the ring: “Ahem… well, folks, according to the rules, Lucain Strykarr is disqualified… and under arrest,” a great deal of muttering erupted from the crowds at this announcement as two policemen rushed onto the pitch and restrain a defeated Lucain and Hydreigon, “for excessive use of violence and attempted murder of an opponent’s Pokémon he had clearly beaten. Zuzana Marsh, on the other hand, received outside help despite her Reuniclus showing the will to continue battling. This is also an infringement of the rules, and is also disqualified. The first quarterfinal of the Trigello Tournament, therefore, has no winner. And as T.J. King lost to Ms. Marsh on the first day of the tournament, the first semi-final slot is allotted to… Lewis Carter!”

A great deal of muttering met this announcement as the dainty-looking yet powerful Hawrior walked over to its Trainer and patted his shoulder sympathetically.

“That idiot,” Paul Oak said scathingly as he rose to his feet. “What was he thinking?”

Rachel and Josephine threw him a disgusted look as Sapph merely shrugged, determined to find out later as Lucain was marched off and the field sank into the earth, to be replaced with a fresh one for the next match. Not even Paul’s leaving the stands was an important enough detail to draw Sapph’s attention away from the next match.


Haley chased her father as the latter rounded yet another corner in the packed market place, flinging two chattering women out of her way as she barreled past downhill. The masses of people crowded her on all sides as she hit the junction and Damian Kent’s reddish blond head of hair seemed to vanish without a trace.

Cursing violently, Haley doubled over, and, slamming her fist into her knee, growled, “Oh, great! I lost him! If only I had a Flying type to keep track of his movements from the air! And there are too many people around to track him by scent…”

Haley was so exhausted by her frenzied chase of her father, the noises around her all blending together confusingly, that she had next to no warning before she was roughly grabbed around the middle and flung towards the side of the road.

Haley’s world spun wildly before a sickening pain exploded at the back of her head and everything began to fade. Before she lost consciousness, she heard something crash loudly ahead of her even over the noise of the people pressing around her; some people clamoring for an ambulance while other marveled at how narrow an ‘escape’ she’d had.

Haley couldn’t make heads or tails of what was happening before her world went black. The pressure that was around her waist was gone long before she lost her senses; its source ducking down a side alley casting off its trench coat and raising a hand to don a black fedora.

“Well, you’re both way more trouble than you’re worth, aren’t you, Doctor?” The youth seemingly said in a tired voice to a black trench coat on the floor, a large yellow insect with green diamond wings and eyes watching it closely. “Running around like that… you’d think your daughter knew she should look both ways before crossing the street. Lucky I was able to save her from that runaway cart. Too bad that by the time they found out at the coliseum, she’d be disqualified.”

Pulling the coat off of the floor and on to himself, he revealed the squirming, bound and gagged form of Damian Kent. However, the older man’s glasses were the only thing missing.

“Now… I wonder how long she’ll wonder why it looks like her dear father saved her from an accident yet never stuck around to see her to a hospital?” the boy said sardonically as he pulled a PokéNav from his pocket, and dialing a number, placed it near his ear and announced, “That’s right, Captain… yes, sir, I have him detained here with me now… my apologies for allowing his es… th- the Trident, sir?... Yes, sir, Captain Kahn, sir. Right away. Gawain, out.”


“I still can’t believe Dex lost that match!” Calvin continued to complain to whoever would listen. “He had the clear type advantage! If I were him, I wouldn’t have…”

“Yeah, well, you aren’t him, so keep quiet,” Kamren said shortly, the crowd continuing to cheer for the combatants who were drawn for the third match as they battled it out. Mentally, the older blond added, but against an opponent like that Slate Endlethorn, he did well…

“So, Slate and Carter are through to the semis,” Carla said, holding up two fingers, “and this match pretty much looks to be in that ‘Brian’ fellow’s pocket now…” as the audience saw what looked like a medium-sized blue artillery shell glow a blinding white and begin doubling in size. “…that that Pupitar is finally evolving.”

The grey rock shell in front of Brian glowed white and swelled to nearly three times its size and as its evolution completed and it hit the ground on sturdy green legs, raised itself to its full height above the dust clouds it has kicked up and bellowed.

On its side of the battlefield, Brian swept a lock of black hair out of his eyes and grinned, “There you go, Sky. Shell’s a Dark type now. Happy now?”

“Not really,” his opponent replied with a pained grimace. Wiping away sweat that her headband couldn’t keep away and said “OK, Leafy! It’s still a Rock-type, so your Grass type attacks will still leave a mark! Jump up into the air out of reach and use Razor Leaf!”

Not so fast, Sky… Brian smiled as his Armor Pokémon opened its mouth. Opening his own mouth to give a command, he began, “OK, Shell, rush him with Ch- what the-?!” he blanched as a colossal beam of red light exploded from his Pokémon’s mouth and rushed the airborne light green Spring Chicken Pokémon.

“Hyper Beam?! That’s no good,” Sky muttered. About to call out a warning too late, she watched as her Plumowl took matters into its own… erm, dark green beak and, opening it, fired a bubble of green light back at the Tyranitar, creating a voluminous explosion of fire and smoke as the two attacks collided.

“And Hyper Beam collides with a powerful Energy Ball in a flashy, violent manner in this power-packed quarterfinal match here at the Azura Coliseum, seconds after Brian’s Pupitar evolves to Tyranitar!” Kenny C yelled into his microphone for the audience who were listening through their radio sets throughout the continent. “The action just won’t stop in this match, folks!”

“Shell, calm down!” Brian called out urgently as Shell’s eyes glassed over and it prepared another Hyper Beam, despite not seeing where the Plumowl was.

Has that Tyranitar lost all self control? The referee wondered as they watched the Armor Pokémon fire off a second attack and, giving a horrific bellow, prepare a third attack. This is getting dangerous… I need to…

Something dark green seemed to streak out of the dust cloud at that moment and with a sickening cracking noise smashed right in the center of the Tyranitar’s forehead, causing the last light of consciousness to fade from its eyes.

The third Hyper Beam died away as Shell teetered backwards. At the same time, Sky’s Plumowl fell back out of the smoke and rolled away with a yowl of pain, its leg at an odd angle.

“Shell!” Brian yelled, pulling out the Pokémon’s pokéball and returning it promptly before was overcome by its ‘Beam Berserk’ again.

Looking between the two competitors, the referee raised her red flag towards Sky, who promptly ran onto the pitch to inspect her victorious Pokémon as Kenny C’’s voice raved, “And with a brave Rolling Kick, Sky’s Plumowl has toppled the ‘Mon Mountain, earning the win! Our third semifinalist this afternoon is Sky Wingams, from Chinooka City, Corei!”

The crowd let out a great cheer as Sky’s portrait took up the whole of the jumbo screen and the customary word ‘WINNER’ filled the screen. Returning her Pokémon after a quick whispered conversation, she proffered her hand and shook Brian’s, both with honest appreciation of each other for the intense battle.

“Well, your friend Brian seems to take defeat well,” Rachel observed with respect as she watched Brian raise Sky’s hand in victory as they left the arena side by side. “If only Haley did the same…”

Nodding in spite of himself, Sapph said, “Ain’t that the truth. Speaking of Haley, her match is next, right?” Looking around with the crowd as a fresh field had appeared and Banner slouched out of the concourse onto the field alone. “Where could she be?”


Paul stretched his arms out fully as he came around the corner and, breathing deeply, turned to his large sky blue canine companion, said drily, “OK, you’ve taken your whizz, Zurax. Now can we go back inside?

<Hey, you had to go too, remember?> Zurax countered snippily as he pulled his lolling tongue back into his mouth. <’Two birds with one stone’ and all that jazz, right?>

“Hey, at least I could do mine inside the coliseum,” Paul said defensively. “D’you know how embarrassing it is for someone’s Pokémon to pop out while he’s trying to concentrate on something like that?! I had to go change my pants!”

Zurax gave a long, mirthful giggle and Paul went Tamato berry red. “It’s NOT funny, Zurax!”

<Actually… yeah, yeah it is,> Zurax continued to chuckle. Glancing at his Trainer’s flushed face, he went on, <Besides, it’s not like I haven’t seen you in your birthday suit before. Your pe->

Zurax’s colourful remark was cut short as he was forcefully absorbed into his pokéball and Paul Oak spluttered, “Oi! That’s overdoing it!”

Walking back towards the coliseum, he made to walk past the Pokémon Center when a white medical van drew up and parked on the kerb. Two of the local Nurse Joys stepped out and walked back into the building.

Paul, who stopped short to allow them to pass, was about to continue on his way when he heard one of the nurses mention ‘Haley Kent’, a name that caused him to curiously listen in as sliding doors opened to accept them.

“So what did they say happened to Ms. Kent?” The taller one said shyly, her long blue hair held back in a single, waist-length ponytail.

“Apparently, one of the contestants in the Trigello Tournament nearly got run over by a damaged goods cart,” the shorter, freckled brunette answered. “They wanted confirmation as to who she was considering she wasn’t a local.”

“So, someone saved her from a motor accident?” the giant of a woman said, impressed.

“Funny way of saying it, considering she got a concussion as a result,” the other nurse said drily.

“Why didn’t they stick around, though?”

Giving a non-committal shrug of her shoulders, the shorter woman answered, “No idea. All I know is that, given her condition, she’d better have had her match already. She may be up by tomorrow evening, but she’s not going anywhere with that concussion…”

Haley Kent, a concussion? Paul thought grimly as the doors slid shut behind the two nurses. And her match is the last of the day… a loud cheer erupted from the coliseum another ten minutes away. Picking up the pace, Paul sped up towards the arena, hoping that that was the second match of the afternoon.


Meanwhile, back inside the coliseum, the crowd began to grow restless as the clock dwindled into its last minute. Most of the crowd (those with a conscience, it seemed) were wondering where Haley Kent was for the past quarter of an hour that the clock had been counting down. The remainder filled the air around Sapph, Rachel and Josephine with talk of how much time they were wasting waiting.

“If she keeps the crowd waiting much longer, she lose by disqualification,” Nora said worriedly to Nicola, as they sat in the bleachers together in Section Five. “D’you think something’s happened to her?”

“I dunno,” Sapph admitted worriedly to Josephine, who had asked the same question from their section of the stands. “Haley would probably drag herself her on crutches if she could…”

“You think Banner did something to her?” Rachel said darkly, her eyes behind the shades fixed on the dark-skinned beanpole of a youth slouched on his end of the field, an inscrutable look on his face. “Who knows what that guy’s up to?”

“I doubt it, Carla,” Calvin said curtly, answering the blonde’s echoed accusations from their side of the field. “Banner’s pretty much the last person anyone would suspect of foul play. He’s too lazy off the battlefield for one thing… the guy could be a doctor if he wasn't interested in...”

"...and, according to Dex, he was first to the locker room this morning after the near bedroom fire incident earlier," Kamren added, cutting Calvin short.

“Besides, look at the guy,” a voice said behind Sapph, Josephine and Rachel, causing their heads to turn around. Paul Oak had returned. “He may not seem to enjoy battles much, but he’s certainly got the aptitude for it. Has the aptitude for a lot of things, actually…” he ended on a mutter.

“Where are you coming from?” Sapph asked in surprise. “I never noticed you were gone.”

“You wouldn’t,” Paul replied smugly, resuming his seat. “How much longer has she got left to get here?”

“’Get here’? From where?” Sapph asked, looking at him in surprise. “D’you know where she is?”

“Never mind, looks like time’s about up,” Paul replied, watching the referee check her watch as the buzzer sounded to signal that the allotted time had elapsed, they raised a green flag and announced, “Haley Kent has been unable to arrive in time for the battle. She is therefore disqualified, and the winner of the fourth quarterfinal match is Eli Yadmon Banner from Slateport City, Hoenn!”

“And Banner secures the final semi-final slot through his opponent’s inability to show up in what could be the most controversial victory so far!” Kenny C called into his mic, his voice barely audible over the storm of catcalls and boos raining down on the droopy lad’s back, who raised a hand and scratched the back of his head under his massive Rastafarian cap.

“So that means our final four competitors: Lewis Carter, Slate Endlethorrn, Sky Wingams and Eli Banner,” Kenny C’s voice went on, despite the continued heckling, “will be paired up and will duke it out for the two spots up for grabs in two electrifying three-on-three semifinal matches tomorrow morning! From Kenny C, and Mr. Goodshow, it’s ‘good-‘… Mr. Goodshow?”

Kenny C seemed to trail away as Mr. Goodshow picked up a PokéNav upon receiving a message, and, scrolling down, frowned deeply and stood up.

“Ahem, ladies and gentlemen, a moment of your time, if you please…” Mr. Goodshow announced gravely. Kamren’s eyes narrowed as the old man continued, “I have just received word that Ms. Kent has had an accident in the marketplace earlier this afternoon and although not grievously injured, is presently unconscious at the Azura General Hospital with a concussion.”

Sapph stood bolt upright at this news, and was out of their section and halfway down the stairs to the exit before Mr. Goodshow could continue his announcement.

Carla grabbed Kamren’s arm in a vice grip and, her face chalk white, she watched the League Commissioner turn to his colleagues and deliberate amongst them as the referee hurried over to join in the discussion. Turning back to his microphone a few minutes later, he coughed a few more times for silence, which washed over the muttering masses instantly.

“Now, according to the rulebook, the referee’s ruling is final, and despite our referee’s wholehearted agreement to overturn their decision, Ms. Kent’s current condition, although not life-threatening, doesn’t allow her to continue in the tournament. Our decision still stands, and Mr. Banner still qualifies for the semifinals tomorrow morning. We take this moment to advise all present to watch themselves on the roads and be careful at junctions. Good night, and take care.”



Name: Frau Hiyori
Date of Birth: Not known
Hometown: Olde Teake Town, Corei
On Hand: Molumo
In Storage: None
Likes: Not known
Dislikes: Not known
Contemporaries: Sapph, Nora
About Frau Hiyori: The mysterious shaman has had a heavily shrouded past, parts of which have been lived as a celebrated Elite Four member of Pertru. The proof being her sole surviving Pokémon, Molumo. She returned home after many years of fame to await death in peace. Her death, however, was anything but peaceful...



#084 Barbozore (Primal Forme)
Type: Grass/Steel
Species: Steel Thorn
Pronunciation: bar- BOH- sore
Height: 4’06”
Weight: 513 lbs
Habitat: Rare
Evolution Line: Barbozore (Normal Forme) <-(Undiscovered)-> Barbozore (Primal Forme)
Name Derivation: BARB (pointed projection) + O + ZORE (Corruption of the suffix ‘-saurus’)
Notes: Known for their savagery and powerful spines and muscles, they were the main hunter Pokémon species before GENESECT appeared. Their relationship to their gentler Normal Forme is still a mystery to this day.


Next time on The Corei Quest, rewritten: Reg's position in his gang is on shaky ground after his defeat in the Trigello Tournament. To get his position as leader back, he tries to get a stronger Dark type to reassert himself. And when he sets his eyes on Hunter, will anyone be there for Sapph? Find out in Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade, right here on Serebii Forums.

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Active Member
Great chapter, glad I've finally caught up! I believe sometime earlier in the fic you swapped Dex and Calvin's characters accidentally... but apart from that, nothing bad I could see.

Sad to see Brian and Lucain out of the tournament, along with Hayley of course, but hey I'm not the writer :p Maybe Haley will realize Sapph isn't a member of Team Shadow when he's the first face she sees. Either that, or she'll get more suspicious, believing it was him who stopped her from chasing her dad etc. Very much looking forward to Chapter 47.