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September 20th, 2009 (1:29 PM).
Audi Famam Illius, Scriptor!
Morning breaks into the ship’s rooms, but all resting was left behind: everyone is eager to start the tournament and give their best shot at the opening battles for the Orthan challenge.
- Sign here and here. – One of the many employees instructed, pointing at two points in the parchment in front of the trainers. – Include the team you will be using…
- Only three, huh…? – Ash commented, seeing as only three spaces were available. He’d have to think well about the team to take.
The first name he automatically wrote was Pikachu, in the third line.
“Staraptor… just to make the type matchup.” He thought, inscribing the bird Pokémon in the second line. The attendant raised an eyebrow at how he was filling the form. “One left, then… I’ll put Grotle.”
With the last one entered, he signed the top and gave it to the man, walking away without a word after receiving a new ticket.
Brock and Misty were already sitting in one of the many available chairs spread around the large arena in the middle of the lobby. May and Dawn were also there, but Ash knew Dawn didn’t sign up, since she didn’t even enter the line. He also suspected that Brock didn’t enter either.
- I guess all we have to do now is to wait. – He said, sitting by Misty’s side. Piplup and Pikachu weren’t there; instead, they were playfully running around the area, causing mischief to some of the trainers that came by.
The trainer’s eyes scanned the hall, watching as the seats were slowly taken by other trainers who would most likely enter the tournament.
Many were accompanied by their team’s main Pokémon, too: Ash had already seen a Scizor following an Ace Trainer, while a lazy Munchlax stayed behind while the trainer was already on the other end of the hall.
- Looks like we’re in for some tough competition. – He commented, relaxing back on the seat.
- I’ve seen trainers from all regions here. From Kanto to Hoenn and Johto to Sinnoh. Even some I’ve never heard of before. – Brock added. A pretty trainer had already caught his eye: she was just across the hall, sitting next to a Blissey.
But with Misty and May by both of his sides, he wouldn’t take his chances and get up, or he’d clearly be smacked on the head.
Instead, he retreated in his seat as much as he could, trying to architect a plan to reach that lady.
May was drifting in her own thoughts, searching for a single trainer in the entire room. So far, she’d seen four Thyplosions, but none belonged to Max. She had seen him signing up, and a Thyplosion was by his side, but she never saw him again. She was feeling rather anxious to know who she’d battle with, though. Having signed up with Blaziken, Glaceon and Wartortle, she’d have a rough time since she wasn’t able to change Pokémon during the battle.
- Got everything set? – Barry came into view, sitting near the group.
- No surprises there. You’re entering, right? – Ash asked, knowing the obvious answer.
- Yup. Can’t tell you who I’m using though, or you’ll have the advantage over me.
Ash narrowed his eyes at the answer.
- You mean…
- That’s right, your battle’s with me. – Barry reduced his voice and approached Ash. – I took a look at the tournament table, and your battle’s with me.
- Er… okay…
- Shadix! Whadda’ya know? – David’s voice interrupted the teenager’s trance. She had been looking around the lobby, inspecting the crowds very slowly.
The trainer sat by her side, followed by Mightyena. He also noticed Shadix wasn’t alone: Max and a Geais were also there: Max didn’t seem the least concerned about having to battle, but Geais was acting in his usual cool attitude, showing off to every single girl that went by.
- Say, David, did you see a green haired boy, green eyes…? – Shadix suddenly asked, trailing off when he raised an eyebrow. – You know what, never mind. I’ll find him myself.
- Ah, no you won’t. – David grabbed Shadix’s shirt and forced her to sit down. – The battles are going to start.
- And your greeny guy is the first challenger. – David pointed out a green haired boy walking to the arena, three Pokéballs swinging in his belt at each step.
Shadix didn’t notice her mouth was still open when she sat down, watching Drew go to the battle arena.
- Come on, stand still or you’ll cause us trouble. – Ash called his partner, who swiftly jumped to his hat. He was actually trying to concentrate on his strategy, or he’d have very little chances of getting past the first round.
- Hey, isn’t that Drew? – Brock was the first of the group to point out the trainer.
Ash and May immediately woke up from their strategies, raising their heads at the arena.
- You’re right! What’s he doing here?
- Drew must have gotten an invitation like us, Ash. – May replied to the rhetorical question. Her worries were raised a little. Drew being here meant she’d have to battle him if she went through the first round…
- Grr, guess what. Inscriptions closed now. – Gary appeared out of the blue, and once Ash noticed, his rival was already sitting one level above him.
- Lemme guess, you did get your inscription. – It was a morbid enjoyment for Ash to say that to Gary.
But it had an even more sinister taste to reply in Ash’s face:
- Too late, Ashy-boy. I was one of the first to get into the tournament. While you were still sleeping with your girlfriend, I was already here to fill out the papers!
- Girlfriend?! – May and Dawn simultaneously yelled, forcing Misty and Ash to blush and recoil into the chair.
- Nice work, Gary. – Brock added sarcastically, folding his arms. – Who told you that anyway?
The Oak gave him a triumphant smirk.
- My sources. – He replied confidently, sitting back. – Now shut up, I want to watch this. Drew battled me once in Johto, and I wanna know what I’m up against!
- Wow, you seem really confident… how do you know you’re going to get through the first trainer? – Ash didn’t need to ask it, and despite knowing it wouldn’t scare Gary even a little, he wanted to test his rival’s confidence.
- Come on, none of these losers have a chance against me.
- Same old Gary… - The original Kanto trio sighed, sitting back as well.
The lights in the lobby slowly faded away. Some, curious about the effect during the day, looked around.
All the windows were being locked and sealed as well as the exits, and the dome in the top of the area disappeared over a metallic cover.
- Ladies and gentleman! May I have your attention please?
A pair of Pachirisu in the center of the arena launched a few sparks, giving some light to the lobby.
Then suddenly, the sparks became large thunders, revealing two Togekiss crossing the air while releasing radiant silver dust around the crowd, flying through it and flapping their wings to create a beautiful Silver Wind, contributing for the crowd’s awe as they watched the thundering force combine with the hoary breeze.
- Thank you for appreciating our show! – The announcer said as soon as the spotlight moved over to him. – In the Royal Family’s stead, we of the S.S. Quest staff welcome you, trainers for your bravery in accepting this challenge! As you know, the elections in Orthan have ended! The new king has been selected, but I will not reveal his name, for neither I nor anybody aboard – perhaps, not even in Orthan – know the face of the true king. But we will know one face! The face of the winner of the S.S. Quest tournament, titled Pré-Cup! You will, as you know, battle with three Pokémon at hand, and will not be allowed to switch out! You will be allowed to forfeit the match at anytime, however.
A new spotlight appeared, pointing to a higher balcony in the lobby, one barely anybody had noticed, where two persons sat, to gaze down at the battles. They were both somewhat old men, although one was wearing glasses – more like goggles, with thick, gray lenses that seemed to not even let the own man look through them. The other one had a rather relaxed look, wearing informal clothes, almost as if he had just returned from a trip to the beach. His face seemed immaculate, and not even a trace of age seemed to have gone by the man, despite being a little fat, unlike the man who stood at his right, who looked thin and tall. The latest wore a bluish tuxedo, unlike the regular black color. His face looked consumed, just like the blue hair, completely combed to the back of his head, was missing from his forehead.
- Those, ladies and gentleman, are our hosts! Rhyan, to the left! The owner of the luxury liner S.S. Quest! – The announcer pointed at the chubby guy, who happily got up and waved at the applauding crowds. – And to the right, the president of the Orthanian Mega League! Welcome Mr. Eldes Verich!
As Rhyan sat back, he could see that Mr. Eldes didn’t stand up like him, and instead just smirked and waved with his left, skinny hand.
- Come on, it’s a party day! Get up and show’em your spine to rule the Mega League! – The ship’s owner tried, but Mr. Eldes simply stopped waving, the smirk never leaving his face.
His hands now grabbed the seat’s arms, respectfully coughing before talking.
- I do not think “rule” is the appropriate word, my fellow Rhyan. – Mr. Eldes’s voice was husky and cold, and the large glasses only added to Mr. Eldes’s gloomy aspect as he got up.
- Making a speech, huh…? – Rhyan mumbled, preparing to hear the older man’s words.
- I am afraid I cannot see any of you. – Mr. Eldes said, loud and clear, through the microphone. – Indeed, the sad truth is that I am blind. Thus the use of these horrible glasses. But that is not what brought me here. I am here today to witness the rise of a prechampion. Adequate to the name of the cup, the trainer who shows himself winner will have its training ready. Consider this Pré-Cup your first challenge in the Orthan Mega League, the first challenge you must take as seriously as the second, the third, and the last. Whichever is the path you choose, you will be forced to travel to far and away… Orthan is not a small kingdom, I’m afraid. Those among you who consider themselves unable to go forth… may leave the day we arrive. They will not be grudged. It is comprehensible. Not always is Men ready to face his challenges. As I said, I cannot see you. However, I can hear you perfectly, and I can tell apart the trainers who shall sweat to conquer their goals… and those who have everything planned, and are ready to face anything that might cross their way. To any of these… I wish good luck.
Mr. Eldes raised his arms and looked up, as if he knew where the dome was located previously.
- LET THE PRÉ-CUP TOURNAMENT
– He roared in a mighty voice, causing euphoria amongst the trainers; no, amongst the entire crowd!
- Trainer Drew from the respectable city of LaRousse stands by my side! – The announcer took Mr. Eldes’s place, announcing the first trainer. – Your challenger will be… Lorelei! Of the powerful Elite Four of Kanto!
Indeed, the woman descended from the crowd to the stage, the three Pokéballs hanging from her belt, according to the rules.
The trainers’ three Pokémon appeared in the two large screens over each side of the crowd, showing the trainer’s photograph and a picture of the teams. Drew’s team showed a Roserade, a Flygon and an Absol, while Lorelei’s team showed a Slowbro, a Lapras and a Dewgong.
- What?! They show the teams over there?! That ain’t fair! – Barry immediately protested, as he tried to hide his team from Ash until their fight began.
- Calm down, it’s not that serious!
- Look who’s talking… - The trainer replied to Dawn, crossing his arms.
When the two looked again, the announcer had already left the arena. Right now, he was mixed with a crowd of respectable people, sitting in a table of his own, with a pair of microphones and another commenter.
- Tsc. Predictable. – Drew commented, referring to Lorelei’s team.
- You’ve just got part of the advantage, hon. The rest’s with me!
- Assume positions! – The referee declared. Drew and Lorelei made a few steps forward, readying their first Pokéball. – Release your Pokémon!
- Go, Roserade! – Drew called his Pokémon, throwing the Pokéball to reveal the Bouquet Pokémon, Roserade, performing a quick spin as an intro.
- Slowbro! You’re first! – Lorelei threw her own Pokéball, releasing the Hermit Crab Pokémon to fight. It didn’t move, and simply stared blankly into Roserade’s defying eyes; they shared this trait with Drew’s.
- The first trainer to choose its move is Lorelei! Le the battle begin! – A gong was loudly heard in the lobby, and Lorelei made her first choice.
- Hah! You’re standing still? Even better! Use Mega Drain on the Slowbro, Roserade! – Drew imposingly commanded, and the Roserade, heeding the order, joined its bouquets, preparing a powerful force that could be felt emanating from the bunch of petals, just before firing a glowing green beam at Slowbro, draining its energy from its body.
- Drew made the first real move of the battle, and made the exact right choice! Mega Drain seems to be affecting Slowbro!
, it doesn’t. – Gary lazily commented to those near him. – Those Pokémon take a lot of time to
pain, so how can the guy even tell?
In fact, Slowbro didn’t even move, and the same vacant stare didn’t leave his eyes even while Roserade was attacking it. Lorelei grinned, enjoying the rough start.
- Now use
! – The Elite Four pointed at the Roserade with confidence, and surprisingly, Slowbro moved, creating such a powerful energy around him it distorted even space, speedily launching the psychic blast at the Bouquet Pokémon.
! – Drew cried as his Pokémon was submitted to an intense power, so great it threw the Pokémon to its “knees”, let alone bear the rest of the body.
- Lorelei wasted a move to up Slowbro’s power… that must be why it’s having such a strong effect on Roserade… - Brock commented to himself.
- So that’s what Calm Mind does… - Said the trainer by him, previously unable to understand what such an odd named move would do.
- Not just that, Ash. Slowbro’s also more resistant to any strike from Roserade. That’s probably why it hung on like that when Drew used Mega Drain.
- Finish him off with
Just after a short grunt was heard, Slowbro was seen join his hands, still wielding his empty, mouth-open look, forming a chilly breeze around them before strongly clapping them to release an icy beam that trespassed the grass Pokémon’s body, freezing it upon contact.
! – Lorelei coldly taunted, clenching her fist, much to Drew’s disgust.
Roserade stood immobile, still capsule inside a frosted container.
The referee still waited. He didn’t say anything, only waited to see if the Pokémon would break the ice and move.
Only two words echoed in Drew’s mind…
- Tsc. What a weakling. That guy’s gonna be swiped outta there in no time. – Gary dryly commented.
“He’s being more a referee than the referee himself.” Misty thought, frowning at Ash’s rival. “He really hasn’t changed even the least.”
At last, something changed in the battle.
Unfortunately, it was for Lorelei’s side.
The referee coughed and announced in the microphone:
- Pitiably, Roserade is unable to battle. Slowbro is the winner of the first round.
- That’s right, hon. You might as well give up now. – Lorelei teased again, crossing her arms and raising her head to seem mightier than Drew, watching him through her glasses.
But the young trainer wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
- Not so fast. – He called Roserade back while throwing a new Pokéball. – Absol! Let’s turn the tide of the battle!
The cry of war was the crowd’s source of excitement, with a large number of people supporting Drew and his Absol.
- Whatever you say, babe! You’re not taking the best of me! – Lorelei added, albeit being aware of her type disadvantage.
- We’ll see about that! Absol, use Night Slash!
- Sol! – It growled, promptly concentrating energy.
The Pokémon’s front paws immediately shone in a bright white color, just as it darted toward Slowbro and jumped, commencing a long session of various strikes, eventually making the slashes look more like a big flash between the two Pokémon.
- That won’t leave a scratch! Use Brick Break, Slowbro!
?! – Ash, Gary, Brock and Drew could be heard shouting in unison when the Slowbro actually pulled an arm back and fiercely punched the Absol in its stomach, flinging it across the stage while rolling in the irregular terrain.
- That’s it! Now use Focus Blast!
A sphere grew between Slowbro’s hands, quickly being shot at the Absol to deal massive damage that knocked the Disaster Pokémon unconscious with a single strike.
- My, the battle isn’t good for the “green” corner! Absol is unable to battle! – The judge made its decision, and another square went black in Drew’s team on the screen. – Slowbro is once again the winner!
Drew’s face seemed like it couldn’t get any more terrified; his last Pokémon was Flygon. He had been beaten up ‘till now, with no chance of even striking back!
- Drew. – The referee spoke honestly. – Do you wish to forfeit the match?
- He’s in a tough situation… Drew’s Pokémon is in a clear disadvantage against Slowbro.
- Drew… - May quietly cried, somewhat concerned.
- Give it up! You’ll be wasting your time! – Gary suddenly screamed behind the group.
Although Ash wanted to tell Drew to not give up and go on, he knew as well as everyone in the crowd – and reluctantly, Gary – that Flygon was no match to Slowbro’s power.
Drew gave one last look at his Pokéball; a desperate look, nonetheless. Even Lorelei seemed touched by the trainer act, judging from the way she was standing, her eyes no longer challenging but soft and caring.
- Listen, Drew. – Her voice wasn’t cold and harsh anymore. – Do not go on. Flygon will be battling for a lost cause. I am not trying t make myself win through bluffing, but you’ve seen it as well as I do.
But he didn’t want anyone’s mercy! He wanted to go on and fight, but…
It was final.
- I… I forfeit the match.
A unison gasp was heard throughout the audience. For a moment… everything seemed to have a solution. But then, it had been bad luck.
Drew put the last Pokéball away after calling Absol back. He turned and walked away without breathing a word.
- Whatever. – He mumbled only to himself, starting to run from the arena to disappear into an unsealed passageway to the ship’s halls.
The guards were about to move, but the referee spoke.
- It is unfortunate, my friends… “A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.” Drew has chosen to resign… – He simply said. – This battle belongs to Lorelei. She is the winner of the first round’s first battle.
The Elite Four wasn’t expecting applauses; maybe before the battle, she was. But now, all she wanted was to call Slowbro back and go back to her seat.
She did, and she became silent like stone, in her place, meditating. Nobody spoke with her either.
- Drew… - May repeated again, running after the trainer.
Her way was blocked by the guards, though, who pushed her back to the lobby.
- You must keep inside the lobby until orders stating otherwise. – May wasn’t really listening; she was actually watching as Drew walked away in the hall, disappearing into the elevator, and how she was helpless to do anything. – We’re sorry. But these are official orders.
- Quite the battle, huh, Mr. Eldes? – Rhyan asked, actually amused at how the battle turned out.
- He is weak, Mr. Rhyan. His heart does not understand it, but he failed to conquer it. Training is not based upon one’s heart, but upon one’s ability to battle. – The Verich said, cold and serious. – He does not qualify for the League…
- Come on, give the kid a chance. I bet he’s gonna get a lot better in Orthan.
- People don’t change like that, Mr. Rhyan. – His voice suddenly got higher. – But this is only the beginning. There are more battles I wish to see before reaching a conclusion.
Rhyan’s eyes were locked in Verich’s triumphant grin.
A smirk that seemed to fear nothing… not even death itself. His blindness seemed like a simple obstacle to overcome.
Mr. Eldes suddenly turned his head at Rhyan, still wielding that expression, which was actually a scary thought that led Rhyan to jump in fright.
- Gah! Don’t stare at me like that! – He jolted, retreating in the chair.
It had been as if he had been cornered there with a vampire. It wasn’t respect, it was real fear he was feeling now.
- And now… the second battle for today! Please greet Gary from the peaceful Pallet Town and Ein from the Gateon Port in Orre! – The referee announced, and the spotlight moved to two distinct places in the audience, far from each other.
- Hah! I’m gonna show these guys how you really battle! – Gary victoriously chanted, jumping over the gang and landing on the stage. His team appeared on the screen: Electivire, Umbreon and Blastoise, just below Gary’s Trainer Card picture.
Ein, on the other hand, didn’t speak, and calmly came from his seat to stand on the other side of the arena. He was wearing an odd variation of a scientist’s outfit, almost like a complete tunic with various blue stripes, in a gray tone, wearing small sunglasses with orange lenses. However, what Gary found most nerve-racking about that guy was the fact that a thin yet long part of his hair curiously rose in the air, balancing forward instead of simply falling down on his face, and that his left hand never left his chin, as if he were always intrigued by what he was seeing.
- Ein, huh? – Gary mocked, taking the first Pokéball from his bag. – Who cares! You’re gonna get the beating of your life!
The man, however, simply laughed.
- You talk too much, I’m afraid. – He said, showing his teeth in a wide, mischievous grin. – But that matters not. For I have the team to defeat you with ease.
Ein then pointed at the screen, showing his team’s order in comparison to Gary’s. The scenery harshly struck Ash’s rival:
The “scientist” was using a Rhyperior, a Lucario and a Manectric, and the three types were equal super effective matches against his own Pokémon.
- Wow, that guy guessed Gary’s team out of nowhere!
- He’s gotta be pretty good to know all that stuff about people! – Dawn added to Ash’s exclamation.
- Maybe he was watching Gary. – Hypothesized Brock, assuming the exact position Ein had.
Gary was in a tight situation. He knew it, but he knew many other things: he hadn’t come so far by relying on luck.
“He can’t switch during the battle… but I can. This’ll be piece of cake.” He confidently thought, proceeding forward when the referee gave the order.
- Release your Pokémon!
- Let’s make it electrifying, Electivire! – Gary threw the Pokéball and the Thunderbolt Pokémon was released, showing its readiness by clenching and smack its fists into each other.
Ein, though, didn’t say anything. He disdainfully threw his Pokéball, releasing Rhyperior into the field. The Pokémon was just as passive, and it simply stared into Electivire’s eyes, its horn rotating as a sign of being prepared.
Ein’s inertia was leaving Gary nervous, though. He didn’t seem like a trainer, he seemed more like a statue that was placed there on purpose just to study him.
- Let the battle begin!
- I’m done waiting! Use
on Rhyperior! – Gary immediately commanded, and the Pokémon’s tail glowed in a silver light before jumping at the Drill Pokémon and attempting the tail strike.
And despite not being commanded, Rhyperior was able to grab the tail with its powerful hand, stopping the attack just before it was able to hit.
But Gary wasn’t going to give up easily, and a triumphant smirk came to his face.
- Use your other tail, Electivire!
It was a morbid pleasure to enjoy Ein’s horror struck face when Electivire spun on its first tail to throw a mighty Iron Tail at Rhyperior, hurling it away from the Thunderbolt Pokémon after being unable to grab it.
- Wow, amazing job! – Ash commended, starting to enjoy the battle. Could it be because it was his rival fighting?
- You will not surpass my knowledge! Rhyperior! Use
! – Gary ordered right after the Drill Pokémon did a quick leap in the air and threw two powerful punches in the ground, sending power waves crawling through the ground until they reached and exploded into Electivire.
However, there was no dense cloud of detritus to block their sight: Electivire was indeed protecting itself inside a greenish sphere, fending off the attack and nullifying its effects.
- Now go and use Iron Tail! Don’t stop!
Letting the protection dissipate around his body, the Thunderbolt Pokémon made use of its speed and dashed towards Rhyperior with two glittering tails. The Drill Pokémon did try to protect against them, but the harsh hits kept coming, no matter where it put its long, resistant arms; and as a final hit, Electivire did a quick spin to pitch the Pokémon across the stage, nearly unable to battle.
Ein could barely believe what was happening: he was losing to an Electric Pokémon while using a
ROCK and GROUND POKÉMON
! – Rage was visible in the scientist’s face; its shades fell from his head when it shook it in wrath. -
that annoying beast with
As if sharing its rage, the Rhyperior’s eyes shone in a deep purple color, and out of nowhere, the Drill Pokémon pulled out a huge boulder, holding it firmly in its hands before launching it at full force into Electivire’s massive body.
Gary gasped in surprise and horror, much like most of the crowd, once the enormous rock hit the Thunderbolt Pokémon, and consequently tossed it backwards along with it, flying towards a wall where Electivire was smashed between the barrier and the boulder.
It eventually crashed in the ground, and Electivire was able to come out of the slim space, with one disastrous consequence: he fell directly on the ground, unable to move.
Gary looked at the screen in panic. One of the squares in his team was no longer lit.
He had lost the first Pokémon. He didn’t have many choices left.
With one Pokéball, he called Electivire back.
With another one, he threw it to the arena, the flashing explosion blinding many in the crowd.
But he knew one thing: he would
“Giving up… that’s for pansies like that Drew guy! True trainers like me fight to the end!”
- Go, Umbreon! – He announced, setting his second Pokémon free.
Ein was rather curious about the sudden change of strategy, but he said nothing.
- What’s his plan…? – Ash asked to himself instead.
- Why didn’t he use Blastoise? He’d clearly have a type advantage against it. – Misty added to the intrigue.
- He wants to knock Rhyperior out first with Umbreon… but then he’ll have to face Manectric with Blastoise in case Umbreon faints… and he’s still got Lucario on the way.
- Maybe… but isn’t his strategy filled with flaws? I mean, he can’t do it right all at once… right? – Ash didn’t know if he made sense to himself either.
- We’ll just have to wait and see…
Brock’s watch was turned to the defiant look Gary had in comparison with Ein’s relaxed expression. There had to be a trick behind it…
Drew is out of the PréCup… however, Gary is in a tight spot, and has little options to win the battle… Will his strategy overwhelm Ein’s psyche? The battle must go on to know…
To be continued…
Maxwell C. Smith belongs to user Kcx
Shadix Arua belongs to user Salimus
David Lawride belongs to me.
Geais belongs to user darkbahamutneo.
Any other characters belong to the creators of the anime and whatsoever. In any case, I don’t own them.
Additionally, Mr. Eldes Verich and Ein are not of my creation. You might know who they are with a little research, but that’d be spoiling it, right?
Joined Jul 2009
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