After being defeated by Lorelei in the first battle, Drew sought to forfeit the match, running away immediately after.
Gary is now in a predicament against an ill-tempered scientist, Ein, with his Electivire knocked out. How will the battle develop?
- Use Dark Pulse, Umbreon!
The Pokémon’s shady voice echoed across the arena to form a dark energy field around it, and its rings shone within the darkness before releasing a powerful purplish wave, dragging everything with its power until it reached and shoved the Rhyperior to the ground, still recharging from the last move that left Electivire down.
- Wow! Look at the size of that Dark Pulse! - Ash gasped at the power that the move packed; it had to be very powerful to throw such a big Pokémon down.
- Gary must’ve trained that Umbreon really well!
- Don’t stop! Use Psychic to finish him off! – Gary ordered yet again, not willing to lose that fight at any cost.
The ring marks over Umbreon’s body glittered again in a golden color before releasing such a fierce power at Rhyperior, it distorted even the space it crossed to cause an explosion where the Drill Pokémon stood, throwing debris into the air.
Ein didn’t react. He was strangely calm; he had a strategist look upon him, even when he called his Pokémon back without saying a word.
- Clean shot! He swiped Rhyperior out in no time!
- If he keeps like that, he’ll beat Ein in no time!
- Ein’s Rhyperior is unable to battle! Gary is the winner of the second round! – The referee declared, blanking another square in the team screen.
Gary’s look got even more confident after the declaration. He felt like there was a chance now.
The scientist said nothing once more when he threw a Pokéball into the air, releasing a Lucario. Just like the Rhyperior, its eyes seemed to be covered by a lavender cloud, swirling around its glowing yellow iris. The bluish flame that usually took its place around the hands was no longer blue; instead, they became shrouded in a deep black fog, appearing even more threatening than it seemed before.
Gary was curious about the physiology and aspects the Lucario had. It was also overly tall, more than any Lucario he’d seen before.
But he wouldn’t let himself be intimidated by the appearance. While Umbreon and Blastoise were still by his side, he knew he could have a granted victory.
- Use Dig, Umbreon! – Gary commanded at the Pokémon, who instantly dug its way underground, disappearing from the crowd’s sight.
However, not from the Lucario’s.
- Use your Aura… find that black thing and kill it off.
Ein’s terms were starting to get into Gary‘s nerves. He treated his team like machines, and the other teams as dispensable beings.
His concentration was broken when Lucario’s eyes shimmered for a second, leaving Ein with a devilish smile.
- Use Aura Sphere. – The scientist dryly ordered.
- Use Psychic and get outta there!
The urgency Gary had called Umbreon with wasn’t pointless; the sphere that grew between the Lucario’s hands was like a black hole, sucking even the light into its core, where it was simply vaporized into dark energy.
An explosion erupted beneath the Lucario’s feet, but that didn’t stop him, and not even the psychic move’s power was enough to stop the orb from growing. Even the dust from the ground was now swirling inside it, which made clear for the Pokémon to see where Umbreon had jump off to after blowing away the tunnel dug to strike Lucario with.
It didn’t hesitate: still airborne, Lucario immediately shot the powerful move at the foe with such power; it even caused the Pokémon to be launched backwards in the air, about the same power it hit and even seemed to annihilate Umbreon with, which left Gary speechless about the Pokémon’s performance, much like the awestruck crowd watching as the sphere dug deep into Umbreon’s body to propel it far from its place.
Umbreon was obviously unable to move, and anybody in the audience could’ve felt the pain it would have been for the Pokémon to be hit with such an enormous power.
The impact caused a crater in the wall behind Gary, who stood immobile even when the Pokémon went flying past him.
Ash’s eyes stopped in the referee. The bald man, garbed in a nifty tuxedo with a Pokéball pattern, looked at the Umbreon with an afflicted look. It wasn’t a situation where he had much of a choice declaring victory or defeat. A drop of sweat crossed his forehead, landing on the piece of paper where many trainers were registered in a wide table.
Gary didn’t wait for the man’s decision, calling Umbreon back into the spherical object.
The square with Umbreon’s profile also faded away, leaving only Blastoise in the team.
- U…Umbreon is unable to move. – The judge finally announced, though stammering. – Ein is the winner.
Some in the crowd whistled in celebration for the victory, clapping loudly to cover the gloomy atmosphere that had suddenly crept from the spectators.
- It’s your turn to decide, Gary. – Ein finally spoke. But unlike Lorelei, Ein didn’t use a comforting tone; it was obvious in his voice that he wanted Gary to quit, even the lousy smile in his face told the same story.
And Gary was falling for it. Manectric was the last choice Ein had, and if he managed to defeat Lucario, the Pokémon would probably be just as overpowered.
…it was time to get back to old times.
His hand threw the Pokébal in the air and let it spin before grabbing it again.
- I’m no quitter.
Ein narrowed his eyes at the confidence Gary had pronounced his last word.
- Then I guess I will have to throw you down just like I did with your two previous Pokémon.
The trainer snickered and released Blastoise, putting the two Pokéballs away.
- Fight! – The secondary referee announced, raising both flags.
- Use Hydro Pump, Blastoise!
- Detect. – Ein automatically replied to the order.
The two pumps took no time to appear on the shell’s surface and even lesser time to power up and fire a long jet of water flying towards Lucario.
For a moment, the Pokémon’s eyes glittered, and all of its body became enveloped in a black light that completely consumed all of its color to turn it into something like a two-dimensional figure, of which its depth was not clear.
The purpose of this became immediately clear: the jet of water simply dissipated into nothing after touching Lucario, much to Gary’s surprise. The fact that left his heart racing was that Ein didn’t even think when he issued the move; as if it were picked randomly… or in a remote chance, Ein knew what Gary thought.
- Earthquake, Blastoise!
The stage’s safety barriers immediately rose and limited the move’s reach to the field only, just in time for the Shellfish Pokémon to jump and heavily fall on the stage again to cause a shock wave sent crawling beneath the ground to cause cracks in its way, propelling jets of dust in the air.
- Stop the Earthquake with Aura Sphere again.
Lucario joined his hands in front of himself and swiftly readied a sphere, firing it at the ground to blow apart much of the battlefield’s soil, stopping the shockwave just in time to avoid the hit, which exploded in the air.
What was left of the chunks of rock that made the arena rained over Lucario in a filthy cloud of dust, creating an eerie scenario when the Pokémon’s eyes glittered enigmatically in a golden color, leaving an atmosphere of suspense over Gary and Blastoise.
And just before Gary could blink, an overwhelmingly large sphere crossed the stage and hit Blastoise directly, sending it hovering past Gary just like Umbreon had. A pointy object, like an arrow about the size of a hand flew by, painfully craving itself into the Trainer’s left arm. Gary cried out in pain, automatically grabbing the item. The pain he felt in the arm didn’t allow him to pull it out just yet, even if his right hand’s palm was already covered in a dark-red liquid.
Taking the hand off it, Gary noticed what the object was: a shard from Blastoise’s shell, sharp like a spear, though covered in blood.
- The battle is over! Ein is the winner of the second battle! – The referee declared when the third square in the screen finally faded away, as well as Gary’s profile picture.
Ein gave a short laugh and called Lucario back, silently walking out of the arena.
David took a quick glance at the scientist. His face showed a mischievous grin, and part of it was covered by a shadow, giving him an even darker, suspicious look. He suddenly lost of him in the crowd that was starting to get up. Distracted, David hadn’t heard that the referee had declared a short break before the next battle so people could “get some fresh air”.
Gary still hadn’t moved much from his position. The white robe’s sleeve was slightly soaped in a crimson color, but he had yet to pull the shard from it.
Most of the people simply went away, ignoring the trainer’s complaints, assuming it was only a case of a bad loser.
Blastoise was still unconscious against the wall, but Gary knew the Pokémon hadn’t suffered too many injuries, except or the impact of the Aura Sphere. He also knew the shell had protected the Pokémon because of the same shard tightly stuck in his arm.
- Someone help me here! – He finally shouted, grabbing the spire.
Most of the people had already left, though. There were but a select few in the audience, but he recognized one by the color of the hat he wore.
- Ash! Help me here! – He staggered towards the sidelines, dragging the latent arm at cost.
- Gary! Nice battle there! – The trainer answered, jumping down the rows of seats with Misty and Brock by his side. – But why are you covering your arm?
Gary reluctantly removed the hand from the shard for a moment but immediately grasped it again. The short glimpse of the wound left Misty nauseous.
- He’s bleeding, Ash! – She immediately stated, grabbing the younger trainer’s collar and shoving him away. – Get somebody, quick!
Ash gravely nodded and started to run off, followed by Pikachu, who had gone much further ahead.
- Let me see that…
Brock grabbed the arm very carefully and took Gary’s hand away from it. Though covered in fluid, he could see that the spire had dug deeply in the skin, possibly affecting a tendon inside the limb. But he was no doctor, so he silently watched over the injury with a serious look, pretending to be healing it with his eyes.
“I hope I’m wrong…” He thought, analyzing the sprite from up to the incision. “If he did… he might not use this arm.”
- I found someone! – Ash’s voice was heard calling, and once the three raised their heads, the young boy could be seen running back to them with a small team of what appeared to be doctors. – He’s there. – He added one last time, stopping to take a break from all the running.
Brock slowly let the arm in a man with large, round spectacles, a red emblem imprinted in a pocket of the suit.
- …This looks bad, kid. Looks like you’ve got some serious trouble with this arm. – The doctored man made a swift move with his hands and two other men joined him. – We’ll take you to the restroom so we can get a closer look at that. Call your Blastoise back.
With what strength Gary had left in his other arm, he called the creature back into the spherical object, placing it back in the belt.
- Come on, kid. – The previous man called, escorting him away.
- Wait! Ash! – Gary forced the doctor to let him go and carefully turned around. – If you’re gonna fight that guy… Watch it. He’s a real maniac. I saw it in his eyes, he’s obsessed in winning. – Gary’s eyes narrowed. – A senseless, emotionless trainer.
- I wasn’t expecting something like this… We’ll need something for a regional anesthesia. – The apparent leader instructed, walking away with Gary and the other doctors.
- We’ll see what we can find, sir.
- He’ll be operated… - Misty gasped very low, turning away.
- Don’t worry, it’s not that serious. Something around it and he’ll be as good as new. – Brock comforted, placing his arm around her and making his way to the hallways.
- I hope so… Thanks for the advice…
Ash lowered his hat and followed his friends, leaving behind the empty arena. The seats were completely empty, and not even the judge was at his sitting place anymore.
May found Drew in the ship’s farthest edge, leaned over the safety barriers. He had his head lowered; sadly gazing at the fast waters below… the copper layer from last night had vanished into a clear blue veil, startled by the ship’s turbines.
The coordinator took a cautious approach, slowly leaning over the grates to share the waters that went by, faster than ever.
- I… I lost. To her. H-How…?
- She’s an Elite Four, Drew. It wouldn’t be easy anyway. – May soothingly replied, placing a hand on his back.
- Still… She took me down with only one Pokémon. She didn’t even blink when she beat me… And then I had to give up on it. Dang! I’m so stupid…! – Drew punched the iron rods that made the fence, shutting his eyes as much as he could.
- You did what was right. You were compassionate. If you had gone ahead, it would have been worse. You spared your Pokémon from a lost battle. That’s exactly what a coordinator would do.
For a moment, Drew felt her close, landing a warm kiss on his cheek.
- Come on, the third battle’s about to start. – May got up and moved, but quickly noticed Drew wasn’t following her. She knew how he felt, but seeing him like that grieved her. – Just forget that battle. This is the Pré-Cup, remember? It doesn’t count for your collection of Emblems.
- I guess… - He sighed, getting up as well. – I guess you’re right. Go ahead without me… I’ll join you shortly.
- Got it! – May happily nodded before running back inside the ship.
Drew raised his head, gazing lazily at the seagulls passing near the ship, letting his hair dance in the wind’s flavor.
May had helped him recover from a loss he thought to be shameful… but she was right. Losing against an Elite Four… he could bear with it. For now, at least. This was the Pré-Cup, and nothing out of what happened back there would even count in his progress through the Orthan kingdom.
Better, it did count: it made him ever confident about the need of practicing and training before aiming as high as beating the Pokémon League of a foreign region.
Such thoughts left a confident gaze embossed in his face. There wasn’t much to do now but watch Lorelei’s performance in her second battle. It was a spectacle he wouldn’t afford losing, much like he wouldn’t be able to handle her defeat.
At most, in his mind, there could only be a SINGLE trainer two steps above him.
With that in mind, he discreetly snickered, assuming his cool attitude, the same he had before the battle happened. With hands in his pockets, the arena was his next destination.
- Confidence, Ash! That’s the key to victory! – Misty advised in a supporting voice, patting him in the back.
The next battle was his; the referee himself had declared that when both met in the hallways. In the five minutes prior to the beginning of the call, Ash had been alone with his selected team in their cabin, focusing on the battle only.
But apparently, Barry was roundly wrong about Ash’s match being against him, because that same hyperactive boy was sharing his hyperactivity with the staff between shouts of indignation.
It wasn’t embarrassing, it went over that to become funny and relaxing for the trainer whose battle approached.
Full house again: all of the seats were taken, but no sight of Gary anywhere, nor of the mysterious scientist. Misty and Brock had a permission to stand inside the arena, outside the tiers, but they would have to stay quiet under the penalty of invalidating Ash’s battle.
So they sat quietly in their own bench, watching as the lights started to fade after the referee came in and sat down, removing his high hat.
- The third battle of the Pré-Cup tournament is about to begin! I must unfortunately communicate that Gary Oak, who previously fought in the last battle, was gravely injured in his left arm and is now attending medical cares. I am certain all of us wish his fast and efficient recovery. – The judge stopped for a moment and sighed. – But it is time to move forward! Lorelei proclaimed herself winner of the first battle, and Ein has taken the place of winner in the second! We will now witness another promising battle! I call Ash Ketchum to the stage!
- It’s time, Pikachu. We’re gonna make it now! – Ash reassured, closing his fist.
- Pi-ka! – The Pokémon mimicked the trainer and release a few sparks, jumping to the ground.
- Then let’s do it!
A trainer in black clothes was seen entering the arena, followed by a yellow spotlight from the hallway to the position in the stage, where a Pikachu stood already.
In the screen many meter above them, three squares became filled with pictures, and a bigger square showed Ash’s picture, with Barry idiotically placed behind him in the distance. Below Ash’s disastrous picture, though, the crowd saw a Grotle, a Staraptor, and a Pikachu filling in the squares, respectively.
The other trainer’s profile remained empty, though. And the judge was hesitating over something while scrolling through the paper with his eyes.
Until another boy was spotted walking into the arena, his clothing fairly similar to Ash’s, except in a red and white version.
- And… er… Maxwell C. Smith!
Dawn nearly fell back. At last, the crowd saw Max’s face: silk black hair falling down to a pale face, apparently bothered face with light blue eyes narrowed into tiny, glittering shells in the bottom of the sea.
His list of Pokémon threw Ash to the ground like the Rhyperior had done before. A Typhlosion seemed to be the first kill in the entire team, followed by a Dusknoir and ultimately, a Tyranitar whose eyes seemed to penetrate into Ash’s mind.
A chill crossed his spine up to his head, but it wasn’t time to think about the consequences now. And Grotle had to be sent out with no alternative.
- Trainers! Assume your positions! – A sideline referee ordered, raising the flags. The two gave a step forward, but did not talk. – Release your Pokémon!
- Show that Typhlosion who’s the boss here, Grotle! – Ash taunted while throwing the Grass Pokémon’s Pokéball, which opened itself automatically at a certain length from the trainer to reveal the Grove Pokémon to the field.
Max, on the other hand, released “Flame” without a word, much like Ein had done.
This attitude rised Ash’s first doubt about the trainer. What if he was another maniac like that Ein person was shown to be for Gary?
But Ash wouldn’t commit to defeat just yet: the battle hadn’t started, and his chances were balanced.
- Use Fire Blast! – Max almost yelled in unison with the referee, and before the flags were lowered, the fire move was already striking Grotle hardly. The crowd gasped in amaze before the speed with which Max and Flame thought.
And Ash’s speed of thought wasn’t very satisfying in contrast. Grotle was nearly put aflame, and the young trainer’s mind was too confused to start processing the move.
- Use… huh… Use…!
- As-…! – Misty shouted, but before she could say the last part, she was blocked by Brock’s hand.
- You’ll get him disqualified if you do that!
Misty could see that Brock was meaning it. Still, she couldn’t avoid but think about how hard it was being for Ash to decide what to do. The type matchup hadn’t started well for him.
And while the two thought it over, Grotle had made his own move: a spontaneous Rollout to attempt dousing the flames.
- Use Fire Punch to stop it! – Max commanded with a cold, imposing voice. However, it didn’t demonstrate hatred; it demonstrated a rare sense of leadership over Typhlosion.
And indeed, Flame, as he affectionately called it, speedily prepared a blazing fist which dug into the Grotle’s shell. However, the Grove Pokémon wasn’t that weak, and it dragged Thyplosion for quite some distance before it ultimately stopped and was thrown back by a second punch, flailing aimlessly in the air with occasional, painful crashes n the ground.
- And now let’s finish it with Flame Spin!
A ring of fire surrounded Typhlosion, controlled by its mighty roars of power, gradually expanding itself while rising in the air.
Eventually, the ring of fire became a true wall of flames, abruptly sent flying at Grotle; Ash closed his eyes, this was as far as he could tolerate any of this.
Surprisingly, though, the fire did not reach for Grotle, but instead surrounded it in tall, mercilessly flaring wave.
To Ash’s added surprise, Typhlosion walked inside the ring, its fists burning in flames again. Rubbing its hands, small cinders flew from it, igniting the ground in fire. Grotle started to recoil, watching as Flame towered over it, as if it were ready to snap in punches at any moment.
Instead, its eye started to glow with an intimidating red flame that seemed to set fire to everything its look rested upon.
The opportunity Ash sought for had come: he couldn’t let it go.
- Use Body Slam on Typhlosion!
Despite having a colorful effect, Grotle’s fright vanished at his trainer’s command.
It had been just like Misty had said: confidence was the key.
Stepping back some more in swift steps, Grotle charged against Flame and shoved the Pokémon to the ground, readying yet another Body Slam without Ash’s command.
- Keep going, Grotle! You can do this! – Ash spoke from outside the flames, which started to shrivel with so much movement inside the ring.
With the confirmation from his trainer, Grotle slammed as hard as he could on Flame, throwing it out of the ring.
Ash’s watch crossed the stage and stopped in Max’s eyes. That confident look… it was over him ever since the Typhlosion started to deliver the powerful moves. Why stop now?
- Finish that Typhlosion with another Body Slam! Get him out of the stage! – As much as he wanted to yell out for Max to tell him what the hell just happened, the victory depended on this.
- Use Fire Punch! – Max suddenly woke and Flame suddenly got up, and in the same motion of events, the two took a swift punch; although Flame’s punch flung Grotle into the ring again, trapping it once more.
The Typhlosion walked inside it as well, and the flames on his back were growing bigger, even above the Pokémon’s head, and far behind him.
- Use Eruption!
- Gah?! Eruption?!
- PHLOSHUN! – Flame fiercely roared and its back’s fire ring exploded in a powerful blast of energy that seemed to have the ability to instantly annihilate anything in its path, including the Grotle, which was so close to the Pokémon.
Ash covered his eyes to avoid staring directly into the light, much like most people in the crowd did.
High above, Rhyan leaned over the chair to take cover, while Mr. Eldes stood in place, gazing into the sphere of fire.
- That is a powerful trainer down there… Would you be kind enough to gather all of the data about him? – Mr. Eldes’s quiet voice startlingly stood out in the middle of the cries.
- Who?! Ash?!
- No… I have no use for him. I am referring to Maxwell.
- Ah, Max! – Rhyan yelled, getting back to his place. – He’s the son of a Gym Leader somewhere in Johto, I think!
Mr. Eldes’s grin grew wider.
Between the cries and screams, Ash heard his Pokémon’s pain in the middle of the fiery storm. He knew it was painful, but there wasn’t much he could do.
A crystalline drop of water fell across his face, humidifying the sleeve. And like a rainstorm, many others followed down…
That bright light between his arms… who ever said brightness was good? Or darkness, evil?
It was starting to cease, nonetheless, it was starting to fade away into a simple flare.
Before long, the crowd saw that Flame was still grabbing Grotle, and had forced the Pokémon to withstand the entire brutality that had been the Eruption move.
The Typhlosion growled and stepped back, leaving the Grotle on the ground, knocked unconscious.
The referee raised the right flag and lowered the left flag.
- Max is the winner of the first round! – The judge announced, lowering both flags again.
- There is no use in crying. Ash, it’s your name, right? – Max’s voice finally spoke. – Crying is a desperate way of getting rid of pain. Turn that pain into energy. Confidence.
But the Pallet Town boy wasn’t listening. It didn’t matter what his opponent said now, of all times, after making his Pokémon go through that much.
Ash called Grotle back into the Pokéball, putting it away without a word. His hat was lowered, covering his face with a slight shade. Grotle’s square faded away into black.
- Ash is in trouble, now. – Brock stated, sitting back.
Another ball was already on his other hand. He would take this to the end.
- Staraptor! I choose you! – Letting his catchphrase echo, he pitched the Pokéball to the arena and released the proud Predator Pokémon to the field.
- Use Close Combat! – Both trainers ordered in unison, and both of their Pokémon propelled against each other with their wings and fists ready. Surprisingly, the collision was a tie where Staraptor’s paw met Flame’s fist, instantly turning into a hurricane of movements in high speed, each one desperately trying to control the opponent with its own, swift move.
- Stop it and use Fire Punch!
Flame blocked one last move from Staraptor and immediately countered with the other fist.
However, the Pokémon wasn’t slow; Staraptor flew slightly higher and then dropped down again, shoving Flame to the ground after avoiding the blow.
- Nice job! – Ash commended after watching the evasion – Now use Aerial Ace!
Flapping its wings to rise even higher in the air, Staraptor lowered its beak and dropped at high speed, drilling into the Typhlosion’s back with a rough strike that left it immobilized for a few moments.
- Finish it with Close Combat again!
- Not so fast! Use Fire Blast while he’s close!
- Phloshun! – Flame rolled on the ground with Staraptor nearly on him, readying its talons to claw the Typhlosion apart.
Just when the first scratch reached Flame, Staraptor was thrown backwards by a wicked burst of flames from the foe’s Pokémon’s mouth; it had been a direct shot against Staraptor.
- Not yet you’re not! Use Close Combat on Typhlosion again!
- Use Close Combat on Staraptor!
- Star!/Phlo…! – The two Pokémon’s cry echoed throughout the arena when their moves once again collided with brute strength, a match to decide which of the two was the strongest.
- Flame Wheel!/Brave Bird! – The two trainers ordered in unison, and after a lengthy backwards jump, Flame immediately curled, igniting its back and rolling towards Staraptor while the Flying type Pokémon became covered by a shining blue veil as it folded it wings and dove into the Flame Wheel move, nearly parallel to the ground.
The amazing speed each one wielded was dissipated upon impact, where fire met fire to create an incredible explosion that covered the arena in smoke and dust, forcing the protective barriers to appear and block the cloud from spreading out.
Each trainer tried to call their Pokémon from within the cloud, hopping that the move had been enough to knock the opponent out.
Ash, though, was mainly concerned about his own: the move Brave Bird would have a prejudicial effect on Staraptor.
But it had been done, and there was no turning back now.
The judge crossed his arms and sat back, enjoying the match’s progress. The leaflet on the desk was nearly empty, but it seemed like the entire cruiser’s trip wouldn’t be enough to clear all the trainers.
- Hum, sir. – Someone called from behind, placing a hand on the referee’s shoulder.
- Hmm? What is it, Seth? – The judge recognized the security guard by its voice, and didn’t even turn around to look at him; especially because his haircut and wardrobe made him look like a clone of all the others.
- We found something troubling. You should come. – The guard’s strict voice answered, removing his shades to reveal his serious, clear gray eyes.
- Me? Aren’t the ship’s issues dealt with Rhyan?
- I’m sorry sir, but you are the one closest.
- Damn you, boy! Why must you bother me because of such a stupidity?! It’s probably nothing! If you wanna argue over it, argue with Rhyan, not me! – The protests from the referee left Seth speechless for a moment, while he put the black glasses again.
- …Yes sir. Excuse me, sir. – Seth deeply apologized, even though it was only protocol behind every word. Quietly, the security guard walked away, disappearing behind an automatic door.
- Humph. Stupid security guard. No wonder the world’s the way it is. I can’t even time these matches.
- Jessie! – A man with his hair dyed blue called from the deck. – Are you done yet?!
- Would you just shut up?! I’m trying to get these untied! – Jessie replied from the water’s surface, undoing a bunch of knots in the ropes that hung a life raft that gently balanced with the water’s current.
James sighed and took a closer look at his wristwatch.
- If you don’t hurry up, we’re gonna go down like them! – Meowth added to James’s complaints, which only helped Jessie’s fury.
- Then you come down here and undo them yourself! – Jessie made a lasso from the untied ropes and threw it up, reaching for Meowth with incredible precision.
With a swift pull, Meowth was sent crashing into the water, then pulled into the raft again.
- You wanna come too or would you rather stay and watch?! – Jessie yelled up when she noticed James was still distracted with the wristwatch. It hadn’t been bought, but that was not new. James had managed to steal it from an old codger with a high hat, all classy looking, when the two met in the hallways. The watch was decorated with diamonds and other jewels, which only called James’s attention even more.
- He ain’t listenin’! We’d rather leave’em be and go away while we can!
- Just cut those ropes and be quiet! – Jessie suddenly stormed over the cat Pokémon, retreating back to a corner.
- Gah, alright! – Meowth took his claws out and pulled his arm back, instantly slashing away most of the ropes that kept the raft connected to the cruiser.
After the last rope was cut, the raft fell in the water with a short “thump!” and was now sailing away from the hold, slowly cast away by the waves.
- Now jump down! – Jessie ordered to the Rocket member on the ship.
James, though, had other ideas, and less dangerous, too.
Instead he ran over to the anchor and slid down using the cord.
Reaching the water, he swam to the raft as fast as he could, eventually landing on the plastic surface.
- Okay, now let’s get the heck outta here!
However, the three idly looked at each other, and the trio seemed to be as puzzled as the three Goldeen that had stopped at the water’s surface to watch Team Rocket.
- …James? Where are the paddles? – Jessie asked in a monotonous voice.
- I thought you had them. – James quickly answered in the same tone.
- WHAT?! Ya mean we’re stuck in this raft ‘till som’one comes?!
- Or until we’re dragged into the bottomless ocean with the ship… - James hypothesized, thinking about the tragic accident.
- Or until a wave comes and swallows us alive… - Jessie added to the scenery in a creepy voice.
Meowth’s eye twitched at the dark cloud over the two burglars.
- Are ya nuts?! I’m getting’ outta here, even I have to use my own hands to do it! Now row before I kick you two out! – The cat commanded, showing its claws in a threatening way.
Jessie and James retreated to the other end of the raft, and immediately jumped to its side and started paddling using their arms.
The Goldeen watched carefully as the three flailed and failed at getting away from the ship, since the water’s current was flowing against them.
“They’re really stupid.” One of the fish commented.
“Come on, let’ go back before they see us.” The other one said, and the three dove again.
- Watch your step, Mr. Rhyan. – Seth warned, as he entered a very tight stairway.
- I say, Seth, thank you for getting me out of that place… I thought Mr. Eldes was something else, but that guy freaks me out!
- I understand, sir. Please be careful now, we are reaching the hold.
Rhyan suddenly stopped Seth with a hand on his shoulder.
- Wait. Don’t you hear anything? – The manager inquired, quieting down.
Seth concentrated on his surroundings, trying to listen to anything abnormal.
The only audible sound was that of a quiet pond of water where some drops fell like tears, but it was close by.
However, something else echoed in the tunnel.
As if water was rapidly flowing, crashing against rocks and then retreating again while dragging something along in its current.
- Could it be… - Rhyan started, but the two were already running down the stairs by the time the manager stopped speaking, disorderly jumping many steps to reach their objectives faster.
Seth suddenly stopped in the end of the stairs with a gasp, covering Rhyan’s fall after a terrified look struck his face.
The hold was completely flooded, and a part of the wall menaced to tear itself apart due to the water’s pressure. The crates that were placed on the ground were now floating about, and whether there were only accessories or even Pokémon in there… there was no salvation left for them.
- We must take action! Mr. Rhyan, go warn the judge to suspend the matches and move all trainers to the safety rafts! If possible, send them in their Pokémon so they can fly to Orthan themselves! I will warn all of the security guards aboard to evacuate all rooms!
- Got it! – Rhyan replied, running back up with Seth following behind.
Now in the halls, the two took separate ways, but stopped for a moment when Rhyan suddenly called the security guard.
- Seth! – The guard turned around, his heart racing to the speed of his step. – Good luck. You’ve served your duty well.
- Thank you, sir. Much obliged. Good luck.
The two restarted their race, each following a different stairway with a different objective, but a common goal: to evacuate all of the trainers aboard.
- Staraptor and Typhlosion are unable to move! The second round is a tie! – The referee announced, lowering both flags.
- Darn! – Max complained, calling Flame back into the Pokéball.
- You did good, Staraptor. You’re deserving a rest. – Ash commended, standing straight up. It was Pikachu’s entry, now.
- Release your Poké-…
- HALT THE CHAMPIONSHIPS! EVERYONE MUST STAY CALM, NOW! – Rhyan’s voice echoed through the arena.
- Mr. Rhyan, are you insane?! – The judge protested, punching the table after getting up.
- Shut up! – Rhyan’s voice stood over the other man’s, forcing it to sit down again. – Everyone stay calm! – He added after seeing everyone in the audience getting up. – We have discovered a breach in the ship’s hold! The situation may become serious, but we will sort this out if everyone cooperates!
- You mean… we’re sinking?! – Misty suddenly yelled loud, grabbing Brock firmly with a gasp.
- I am afraid so. – Rhyan admitted in a depressed voice. – Everyone with Pokémon that can use to fly should head to the top of the ship to receive further information on Orthan’s coordinates. Any other details will be given there! Time is running out, but do not panic! You will be saved, and if your Pokémon can take more than you, than please carry them! We must save as many lives as we can!
Only some trainers jumped down from the tiers directly to the ground, waltzing away into the hallways between cries of joy.
- What about us?! – A random trainer called out in the crowd.
Rhyan’s voice became suit of a leader.
- You will be taken to the life rafts. You must form groups and enter the rafts while you are allowed to do so.
Rhyan needn’t say anything else, and all of the trainers in the crowds ran away between screams and cries. Rhyan knew the situation was far from his control.
- Staraptor… - Ash mumbled, falling on his knees.
- Ash! Come on! We’ve got to hurry before they run out of rafts! – Brock called from the beginning of the hallway, running with Misty by his side.
- You, get up. Quick. – Max’s voice called from above, offering a friendly hand. – Follow me. There’s no time to waste.
Ash accepted the hand and ran with him, leaving even his hat behind, lying on the arena.
But he felt something was missing. He felt like there was something he wasn’t bringing along…
- Pikachu! – He suddenly screamed, preparing to run back. However, Max’s hand abruptly halted the trainer in his tracks. – Let me go! I’m not leaving without him!
- You’re coming whether you want it or not! Your Pikachu wasn’t in the arena, so shut up if you want to come out of this alive! – Max roughly scolded, dragging Ash with him.
Despite the desperate face, Ash had one last hope: that his loved companion was by Misty and Brock’s side…
The situation became complicated aboard the S.S. Quest… Could there really be such a danger as sinking with the lack of life rafts? Would anyone be left behind? And what happened to Gary and the doctors, who, taking the injured trainer, went deep into one of the cabins? And Pikachu? Could the Pokémon be with Brock and Misty…? Or had Ash’s companion have been lost…?
Questions unanswered needing desperate responses…
I'll edit with the credits later.