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[Pokémon] The Stairway to Heaven

  • 25,614
    "Edith, Charge Beam!"

    The Jolteon barked excitedly, sinking into her knees slightly to steady herself against the push of her powered-up attack. A moment later, the striking yellow electrical blast launched from her maw towards Gwen's Lucario.

    Without instruction, Anubis stepped to the side, leaning back slightly. The movement was just enough to cause the powerful beam to sail past he and his trainer. Once the attack dissipated, he straightened back up to his original posture with a confident smirk.

    "Fine," Layla said, grinning fiercely despite herself. "I knew it wouldn't be that easy. But try dodging this. Edith, Swift!"

    From her half crouch, Edith sprung up directly into the air. As she moved, a swarm of golden stars blinked into being around her before raining down on Anubis. Layla watched with anticipation. It was very hard to dodge swift, so Gwen and Anubis would have to counter it directly if they hoped to avoid being blitzed.

    "Extreme Speed, Anubis!" Gwen instructed.

    Or there's that option, Layla thought to herself as, with a savage growl, Anubis shot forward at a speed her eyes struggled to keep track of. The stars sailed past the Fighting type, crashing into each other as they tried to correct trajectory. Anubis was too fast for the attack though, reaching Edith in less than a second as slamming a hard kick into her side. Edith was knocked tumbling across the dirt, coming to a halt with a skid that left marks in the battlefield.

    Anubis watched carefully as the Jolteon climbed back to her feet.

    "Don't space out now Anubis," Layla taunted with a wink, "Stored Power!"

    With a surge of energy, Edith reared back as the ribbons of light swirled together into a ball at her open maw. As her feet slammed back down to the ground, attack erupted into an enormous multi-coloured blast of light.

    "Psychic to counter it, then Work Up!" Gwen responded.

    As the attack shot towards Anubis, he raised his hands forward, palms facing the blast. His eyes glowed blue and the appendages at the side of his head rose up with a rattling motion. The Stored Power seemed to meet an invisible wall, as a shade of blue was added to the colours of the attacks.

    For several moments, the blast struggled against the psychic power holding it at bay. Then, Anubis thrust out his arms to the sides and, as though he had physically ripped it apart, Edith's attack was torn to shreds by his Psychic. Immediately after, Anubis shut his eyes and became outlined in a familiar red-orange glow.

    Perhaps she should have been alarmed by the increase in Anubis' power, but Layla saw only the opportunity.

    "Quick, Edith, Swift!"

    Edith's fur bristled as the stars flashed back into existence, each streaking towards the Lucario. For a second, Layla held her breath in anticipation of a counter strategy, but none came. Anubis was buffeted by a hundred stars, each exploding against him into a golden glitter. Each impact pushed him backwards, until the last few finally knocked Anubis off his feet. The Lucario grunted, rolling into a crouch with a wince as his Work Up came to an end.

    "Alright, Meteor Mash!" Gwen commanded.

    Shooting off from his crouched position, Anubis dashed for Edith with a fist at the read. As he ran, his fist began to glow with an orange-gold and strands of shimmering blue streaked off of it. Edith readied herself for her orders as he closed the distance, leaping the last few feet towards the Jolteon.

    "Discharge!" Layla shouted triumphantly. Gwen had strode right into the attacks most devastating range.

    Electricity crackled across Edith's body and then erupted out in all directions in a wild electrical display, bolts of lightning flying off of her in all directions.

    Anubis shouted as he was caught in the indiscriminate attack, his attack cancelling out as he was struck by supercharged electricity. As the lightning faded, the Lucario dropped to his knees, thin strands of smoke billowing up from his body.

    Layla looked across the battlefield to see her friend wincing, looking almost apologetic. She smiled brightly at Gwen, she wasn't done yet.

    "Charge Beam!"

    Edith turned to face Anubis as he slowly made his way back to his feet. Before he could make another move, she launched her attack and blasted him with the sparking Charge Beam. This time, Anubis was blown clear of his feet and sent sprawling across the battlefield. Electricity ran over Edith's fur as the attack came to a conclusion, her power had increased yet again.

    "Come on, Gwen." Layla smirked. "You should be smarter than that."

    "I guess so," Gwen replied, sheepishly gripping her own arm. "You just got one up on me that time."

    Layla felt her spirits soar at the remark. She wasn't just holding her own, she was in the lead and had just scored a major hit on Gwen's most powerful Pokemon. She'd thought it earlier, but this battle really was going unbelievably well.


    "Wait…" Layla said, surprised to find she'd said it out loud and even more surprised that she had yet to see a counter attack. It was during that secondary moment of surprise, that she finished connecting the dots. Like an arctic wave, a cold realisation washed over Layla and every infinitesimal hint of the pride and elation she had just felt washed away from her. "Gwen…"

    Of course it was going unbelievably well, because she couldn't in her right mind believe that everything that had happened was coincidental. All the boosts she had gotten in, the easy win over Ceres, the apologetic look Gwen had given Anubis, the missed opportunities to attack and the openings left to Edith, all of it made perfect sense when Layla stopped looking at it with suspended disbelief.

    If she needed any further confirmation, the look of wide-eyed horror that had overtaken Gwen's face upon realising what Layla had just figured out was more than enough.

    "You're going easy on me."

  • 25,614
    Stand Up and Fight
    "I'm not!"

    "You are," Layla replied icily, "It's written all over your face. Don't even try to deny it. You've been leaving yourself wide open, not capitalising on opportunities like you normally would and ignoring just about every lesson you taught me. Anubis isn't even really using his aura sense."

    "I can explai -"

    "Damn right you can," Layla interjected, cutting Gwen off.

    "This was your chance!" Gwen exclaimed, "This was your thing. I didn't want to do this and risk taking it from you. So when you pushed me into doing it…" Gwen trailed off, unsure of how to complete the sentence. Between the two trainers, Anubis stood stoically with his arms crossed whilst Edith bristled, her mood a reflection of her trainer's.

    "You decided to humiliate me," Layla answered for her, not even trying to hide the bitterness in her tone.

    "Of course not!" Gwen gasped, looking as though the words had physically wounded her.

    "What else would you call this?" Layla snapped.

    Gwen didn't respond, with every passing second she looked progressively more agonised. A dip in an acid bath might have produced a similar expression.

    "No more, Gwen." Layla fought to steady her voice. "No more. You're going to give it everything from here on out and we'll deal with this later."

    "But-" Gwen stammered, but Layla cut her off again before she could finish mounting her protest.

    "Full effort," she said. It was an instruction, not a request.

    Gwen took a moment before nodding slowly.

    The battlefield stood in silence for several moments, and although Layla could not make out the hushed voices of the crowd, she could hear in her mind what they would be saying. There was no mics on them to have transmitted the conversation, but arguments didn't tend to break out in the middle of televised tournaments.

    Layla took several slow breaths, making an attempt to calm herself and across from her, Gwen made a failed effort to do the same.

    "Right," Layla began, "Edith, Charge Beam!"

    Edith barked angrily, hunching down and unleashing the bright electrical beam. It shot forth from the electric type. In response, Anubis closed his eyes as the protrusions on his head rose up.

    "Psychic!" Gwen commanded.

    Much as with the Stored Power, the Charge Beam was infused with blue light as Anubis made a tearing motion with his hands. At the same moment, the beam was ripped to faintly glowing shreds and dissipated into nothingness.

    "Extreme Speed!" Gwen followed up, switching instantly to offence.

    Anubis was impossible to track for a moment as he blitzed across the battlefield. One moment he was standing there, the next his foot was slamming into Edith's side as she yelped in surprise.

    Before the Jolteon could be smashed away, Anubis' arm shot forward, catching Edith by the leg.

    "Discharge!" Layla called.

    "Aura Sphere!" Gwen countered.

    Even as the electricity crackled up over Edith's body, a bright blue orb of energy formed in front of Anubis' outstretched free hand. The lightning shot out in all directions, engulfing Anubis in the Discharge.

    He grunted, taking the attack as he positioned his arm over Edith and fired the powerful attack at close range. His brief exposure to Edith's move ended that instant, the Aura Sphere detonated against Edith and slammed her into the ground, leaving a cracked crater beneath her. The Jolteon lay twitching at the bottom, unable to go on.

    Layla felt herself shake, as with a few words of appreciation, she returned Edith to her ball.

    Layla was surprised by the ruthless efficiency. She had only seen it to that level once before, in their very first battle when Anubis was still just a Riolu. Ever since then, she had known Gwen had been pulling her punches slightly, but she had never expected that she'd ever go as far as attempting to just let her win.

    She felt the anger boil up in her anew as she reached for Florence's ball. Releasing her strongest combatant to face off against Anubis.

    Florence emerged in a flare of light, bouncing lightly on her feet, confident and completely unaware of what had just transpired.

    "That's right, Florence. This time we've got them!" Layla snarled. "Baby-Doll Eyes!"

    "Calm Mind, Anubis." Gwen reacted instantly.

    Florence's eyes flashed blue, and although the familiar reflectory flash couldn't be seen through Anubs' closed lids, Layla knew the attack had taken effect. It didn't matter much, in the next instance, a blue glow of his own making outlined the Lucario. Florence had dropped his physical attack power back to normal, but between Calm Mind and the earlier Work Up, his Special Attack was scarily boosted.

    "Jump Kick!" Layla ordered, gritting her teeth as Florence immediately rushed into battle, not showing a hint of concern.

    The Buneary sprinted forward several steps before leaping up to a great height. She followed through on the jump,coming down towards Anubis to deliver a powerful kick.

    Anubis deftly sidestepped the attack, causing Florence to slam into the ground. Stubbornly, she refused to cry out, but it was clear that she'd paid a hefty toll in recoil damage. Gwen immediately gave the order for Anubis to retaliate.

    Orange light, further enhanced by long streaks of blue, flared into being over Anubis' clenched fist. As Florence made to stand, she was immediately slammed back into the ground by the Meteor Mash, leaving a dent below her.

    "Roll and use Charge Beam!" Layla instructed.

    Florence rolled onto her back, opening her mouth and shooting Anubis with the familiar beam at close range. With his enhanced Special stats, the damage was reduced, but Florence was powerful in her own right and it was plenty enough to send the Lucario stumbling back.

    "Now Jump Kick again!" Layla called.

    Florence wasted no time in following through, flipping back onto her legs and immediately leaping up. This time, she caught Anubis on the upward trajectory, her foot slamming into the underside of his jaw and knocking him clean off of his feet. Anubis slammed back down into the dirt, skidding across the battlefield until he could roll into a crouch.

    Layla could feel her heart in her throat. She could tell that Anubis hadn't taken as much damage from the attack as she'd have liked, but Florence was still getting good hits in. She felt herself reaching for a win. If she attained victory against Gwen here, with her friend finally pulling out all the stops, she'd really have proved herself to both Gwen and the world at large.

    "Quick Attack, Florence!"

    "Bun!" Florence replied the affirmative, becoming a blur as she dashed forward for Anubis.

    "Extreme Speed!" Gwen replied through deep breaths.

    As fast as Florence's Quick Attack was, it was a fraction of the speed Anubis' moved. Her attack was cut off by a sudden uppercut and, with a splutter, Florence was hurtled up into the air.

    "Follow up with Psychic!" Gwen instructed, looking as though it caused her physical injury to say the words.

    Florence's upward momentum ceased in an instant as she was outlined in a blue, psychic glow. Then, as though spiked for a great hand above her, she careened straight down, smashing into the ground with explosive force.

    It took several moments for the dust to clear, revealing Florence somehow on her feet, wobbling in the middle of her own impact crater. The Buneary was breathing heavily now. She might have been the cream of the crop for her kind, but there was no denying that Florence had just taken an obscenely powerful attack. Compared to Florence, Anubis was a titan.

    "Finish it up with Aura Sphere," Gwen said, her voice somewhere between a whisper and a whimper.

    Anubis nodded. Without looking back at Gwen or opening his eyes, he raised his hand, palm out, in perfect alignment with Florence. The orb of blue light expanded into existence. Then, it fired.

    "Charge Beam!" Layla yelled desperately. Florence wobbled in place.

    The attack closed in, it seemed as though Florence was spent. Moments before the attack collided though, Florence reacted, unleashing a vividly bright beam of electrical energy into the attack.

    The orb was held in place, struggling against the beam as Florence desperately poured every ounce of her remaining strength into the counter attack.

    Layla looked past the collision of attacks, her eyes meeting Gwen's. Gwen still looked wounded, but what was worse, she looked apologetic. She looked apologetic and Layla knew it wasn't because of what she had done earlier.
    "Meteor Mash on the Aura Sphere."

    Anubis dashed forward, the familiar Steel attack taking shape. Instead of a closed fist though, he kept his palm flat. He pulled back, thrusting his hand into the Aura Sphere and with the added force behind it, it rocketed through Florence's desperate counterattack.

    The Charge Beam practically shattered as the Aura Sphere was launched forward into Florence. The Buneary was blasted across the battlefield as the attack detonated against her. She flew well over the borders of the field, landing with a floppy tumble where she remained still.

    "I'm so sorry," Gwen muttered, her voice barely carrying across to Layla.

    "Don't apologise," Layla commanded, walking over to Florence and scooping her fallen Buneary up into her arms. "We'll get you next time."



  • 6,391
    Not surprising Gwen was still holding back there. And when she does her full effort Gwen defeats Layla easily. Hopefully they'll resolved this after.

    Hm, I feel three chapters for a 2 vs 2 battle kinda breaks the flow a bit. I might understand if it's 3 vs 3, but 2 v 2 tend to be not long battles. That's probably me prefer battles in one chapter though lol.
  • 25,614
    Not surprising Gwen was still holding back there. And when she does her full effort Gwen defeats Layla easily. Hopefully they'll resolved this after.

    Hm, I feel three chapters for a 2 vs 2 battle kinda breaks the flow a bit. I might understand if it's 3 vs 3, but 2 v 2 tend to be not long battles. That's probably me prefer battles in one chapter though lol.

    I originally planned it to be a 2 chapter battle like the one before but it was starting to get a bit long and I'd hit a good cut off point.
    Otherwise did you find it enjoyable?
  • 25,614
    Day Dream
    There was another spattering of applause as Gwen and Layla returned to the trainers' room. Eloy strode over, trying to decide how to handle the situation. He very much wanted to goad Layla for her loss, but he wasn't sure how to do so without undermining Gwen's abilities. In the end he reluctantly settle for focusing on congratulating Gwen.

    "Nicely done, Gwen," he said, eventually managing to get to the girls. "You were incredible."

    "She sure was," Layla said, although her tone sounded off to Eloy. He had expected that she would be proud of Gwen given how much she had talked her up in their previous encounters.

    "You sulking?" Eloy jibed.

    Layla responded by giving Eloy a death glare that would put an angry Gyarados to shame. Thankfully, he was spared from her wrath by the arrival of the usher.

    "Eloy and Lauren, we're just about done cleaning up the battlefields. If you could follow me."

    Lauren came up beside Eloy, smiling appreciatively at both Gwen and Layla. She gave them both congratulations of her own before turning to Eloy.

    "Shall we be off then?"

    Eloy nodded and the pair of them followed the steward out through the now familiar hallway towards the arena. Lauren seemed quite content to be alone with her thoughts as they walked, which gave Eloy plenty of time to think as well.

    He thought back to his first encounter with Lauren and her previous battles in the tournament. He knew her battle style. She liked to inflict nasty status conditions on her opponents and then stay back while they were gradually weakened. He looked at her out the corner of his eyes and found himself grinning. He knew exactly how to deal with that sort of opponent.

    "Eloy Chance and Lauren Ipsum!" The announcer called, snapping Eloy back to the moment as they walked out into the daylight, the crowd cheering them on.

    "Good luck," Eloy said to Lauren as she past him to head to the other side of the battlefield.

    "Likewise," she responded.

    Soon they stood facing each other and the referee was asking Lauren to select for a coin toss. She chose tails and the referee flipped the disk into the air, the coin catching on the sun on the way down.

    "Heads," the referee announced, "Eloy will choose first."
    After how well he had performed in the first tourney match, it was an easy choice for Eloy. He released Ronin from his ball, the Farfetch'd making his usual sweeping bow with his leek as he awaited his opponent.

    "Your Farfetch'd again," Lauren said, "I'll use Phantom then."

    Eloy had been curious to see what Lauren's third entered Pokemon was and his curiosity was soon rewarded. From the flash of light emerged a ghostly purple Pokemon whose hands floated separate from his spectral body; a Haunter. With that, the battle began.

    "Ronin, Peck!"

    Ronin shot forward, catching his leek in his beak and flying at Phantom like a dart. Without a command from Lauren, Phantom immediately went into evasive maneuvers. He easily looped over the top of Ronin, twirling on the spot and raising his floating hands like a gymnast at the end of a vault.

    Ronin rounded on the Haunter again, trying to catch him from behind as he played to the audience. This time, Lauren intervened.

    "Phantom, Dazzling Gleam!"

    There was a flash of bright, faintly pink light. Unlike an ordinary Flash attack though, there was force behind this. Ronin was slammed back by the attack, flapping hard to stay airborne as with a showboaty twirl, the Haunter rounded on him.

    "Hypnosis!" Lauren called.

    Phantom's tongue lolled goofily out of his mouth as he grinned wickedly at Ronin. His eyes glowed an eerier blue and, in an instant, Ronin was asleep.

    The Farfetch'd plummeted from the air, hitting the ground with a loud thud, sending up a thin cloud of dirt.

    "Wake up!" Eloy yelled, wincing. Not only was Ronin now vulnerable to attacks from his ghostly adversary, but he had sustained damage when he fell to the ground. Eloy hadn't thought about it until that moment, but Sleep seemed like an especially effective condition to afflict an airborne Pokemon with.

    Lauren looked at Eloy, frowning slightly.

    "Sorry, Eloy," she said, "Phantom, use Giga Drain!"

    Strands of green lights lashed out from Phantom, striking the downed Farfetch'd and releasing a gloud of glittering emerald lights that flowed back to Phantom with the retracting tendrils.

    Eloy yelled for Ronin to wake up again, repeating his calls to little affect as Phantom continued to attack with more Giga Drains. The Grass attacks didn't do that much damage to a Flying type like Ronin, but Eloy was all to aware that small amounts of damage could add up quite dramatically over time.

    "He'll wake up soon," Lauren said from across the field, and indeed Ronin was starting to stir in his induced slumber. Unfortunately for Eloy, Lauren took this as a queue. "Use Dream Eater!"

    Phantom's eyes shone a vicious red and an illusory imitation of him shot forward towards Ronin, bearing the same evil red eyes. The false Haunter bit down on Ronin, pulling a similarly phantasmal Farfetch'd out from the real one. Both exploded into a glowed of sparkles that were absorbed into Phantom the same as the green ones had and Ronin's eyes flew open.

    "There we go!" Eloy crowed, "Ronin, Leaf Blade!"

    Ronin flung himself recklessly into the air, his leek still clasped in his beak as it glowed a vivid green. He spat the leek from his bill as he reached Phantom, catching it between his finger-like feathers and slashing at the Ghost type.

    Once more, Phantom flamboyantly looped over the top of Ronin. This time though, Ronin was ready for it. He whirled around as he fell through the air, rotating onto his back as he sliced up with a backhand motion. This time, he caught Phantom with his attack, smacking the Ghost further into the air. He finished the maneuver by rotating back to the correct way up, letting his leek sword fall easily into his beak as he made to regain lost altitude.

    Ronin flew in a wide arc as he climbed, Phantom tumbling back into an upright position as he did so. Now at an even level again, Ronin made a B-line for his opponent.

    "Dazzling Gleam again," Lauren instructed.

    "Shut your eyes and use Poison Jab!" Eloy countered.

    Once more the bright glow pulsed out from Phantom. Ronin shut his eyes against the light as he flew into it, his weapon now glowing a toxic purple in his beak. He swung his head up, breaking through Phantom's Fairy attack, shattering the Dazzling Gleam into a million shimmering flecks and letting the leak slip from his mouth as he did so.

    Ronin caught the leek with his wing as he did so and swatted Phantom down with a continuation of the attack, the Ghost now letting out a yelp of surprise as he was knocked down towards the ground.
    "Peck!" Eloy called and Ronin went into a dive.

    Phantom was starting to get control of his downward momentum when, suddenly, Ronin's follow-up attack smashed into him from above, driving him the rest of the way into the ground with a weirdly light impact on account of Phantom's barely tangible form.

    "Once more!" Eloy called out excitedly.

    "Hypnosis, Phantom!" Lauren rallied.

    Phantom rolled and leaned up, his eyes glowing blue as Ronin reared back. Ronin's head shot forward like a bullet, striking the flimsy Ghost type at close range. The Farfetch'd staggered back, revealing Phantom. The Ghost type was still on the ground, having fainted at the impact.

    Eloy let out a whoop of celebration as Lauren returned Phantom to his ball, but the sound died part way out of his throat. Ronin abruptly sagged, slumping back onto the ground with his eyes tightly shut. Ronin may have defeated Phantom, but the Hypnosis had taken affect. The Farfetch'd was asleep again.

    "Well done," Lauren called from across the battlefield, "But it looks like you shouldn't count me out just yet."

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven


  • 6,391
    Hypnosis and Dream Eater can be a nasty combonation there. Oof though Ronin sleeping again, so who knows if they'll be awake again.
  • 25,614
    Stop This Train
    Eloy stood on one side of the battlefield, Lauren on the other. Between them, Ronin lay slumbering on the ground as Phantoms last act of retaliation against the bird.

    "I know better than to ever really count you out," Eloy responded to his opponent's earlier remark.

    "The compliment is much appreciated," Lauren said, withdrawing her next pokeball, "I suppose I'll have to try hard to live up to those expectations."

    With a light toss, Lauren released her second and final Pokemon for their battle: Mortimer the Duskull took to the field. The Ghost type looked at the sleeping Farfetch'd across from him quizzically, tilting his head to the side. Then, accepting the situation, shrugged.

    "Well, since poor Ronin is at our mercy, Dark Pulse!"

    Mortimer brought his stubby arms forward, the swirling black and purple forming between them and then shooting out at the defenseless Ronin in a helix.

    "Ronin!" Eloy yelled in a last ditch attempt to wake up his sleeping Pokemon, but there was no success to be had and the powerful attack slammed into the bird and sent him flying across the battlefield like a skipping stone.

    The impact of Mortimer's attack seemed to have done what Eloy couldn't though, on the ground, Ronin was stirring. Using his leek to steady himself, he was climbing to his feet.

    "Sorry about this, Mort, Dark Pulse again!" Lauren commanded, apparently not intending to give Ronin the opportunity to fight back. It was a more aggressive move than Eloy expected from his friend, but he would be forced to admit it made sense. Still, he wasn't going to just take it.

    "Deflect it with Leaf Blade!"

    The nefarious energy shot across the battlefield as Ronin's leek, still supporting some of the bird's weight began to glow a vivid green. The Dark Pulse closed in and Ronin swung up wildly with his weapon, no longer in much of a state for is usual finesse.

    Dark attack met Grass attack with a pulse of force that seemed to radiate across the battlefield and with a cry of great effort, Ronin managed to break the incoming attack in a thousand glittering shards.

    "Okay, Will-o-Wisp," Lauren instructed.

    Mortimer lobbed an ominous blue fireball at Eloy's panting, dishevelled Farfetch'd. Eloy shouted for Ronin to dodge, but he was no longer capable of pulling off the maneuver fast enough. The attack struck Ronin and he was engulfed briefly in a bright blue flame that left his feathers singed. Ronin sagged, but he refused to go down, no matter how much he was struggling.

    "You're Farfetch'd is quite the fighter you know," Lauren commented, "Not a lot of Pokemon would have the tenacity to still be standing in that state though. Are you sure he can go on?"

    Eloy looked down at his newest Pokemon. It was true that he was in rough shape, but Eloy knew from personal experience that Ronin was fierce, tough and would not at all appreciate being made to forfeit his round. Besides, the referee would step in before things could get dangerous.

    "Ronin's tough, he's got this. Peck!" Eloy called, ending the response with a sudden attack command.

    Ronin nodded, placing his leek in his beak and flapping, forcing himself shakily into the air even as his burn sapped away at him. Then, through sheer force of will, he launched himself at Mortimer like a speed javelin.

    "Okay," Lauren replied, although she still looked concerned. "Protect!"

    Eloy bit his tongue to prevent himself saying something very inappropriate in front of the referee. This was a standard Lauren strategy and he'd missed his chance to switch to a Pokemon that could pull back in time. She'd even taken pity on them and given them the chance.

    The now familiar sphere of glowing green sprang up around Mortimer and Ronin crashed right into it. The Farfetch'd fluttered back, landing inelegantly on the ground as the protective barrier dropped. He started forward, intent on finishing what he had started, but he never made it there. He succumbed to his burn and fell to the dirt.

    "Sorry Ronin, I messed that up." Eloy grimaced, returning his fallen warrior. Now he was down to his last Pokemon too.

    "There was no way out of that in his state," Lauren said from across the battlefield non-judgmentally. "It's easy to get caught up and miss things like that."

    Eloy grimaced, a berrating would have hurt his pride a lot less than the pity did. Now he absolutely could not afford to lose.

    "Deacon, you're up!"

    The Nidroan practically exploded out of the Pokeball, appearing on the battlefield with a bounce and bristled fur. Eloy wasn't sure if he should chalk it up to his natural energy, or to his long time companion sensing Eloy's own determination. Either way, he was glad Deacon was in top form.
    "Ready, Deacon?" Eloy called, though he knew well the answer.

    "NI!" Deacon answered back.

    Eloy couldn't help but notice a smile spread to his opponent's face, apparently Deacon's energy was infectious.

    "He sure seems like it," Lauren said.

    Eloy chose to answer with an attack.

    "Deacon, Poison Sting!"

    The tip of Deacon's horn lit up with a toxic purple as he bounded forward at top speed. Having just used Protect, Lauren would be forced to have Mortimer try to avoid a different way, this was an opening they could capitalise on.

    "Shadow Sneak!" Lauren called in response.

    Without a sound, Mortimer sank into the ground, joining his shadow. And shooting across the battlefield at blinding speed. Fully committed to his forward charge, Deacon skidded as he tried to avoid the sudden attack. He managed to swerve, barely avoiding Mortimer as he rocketed up out the ground.

    "Nicely done, now behind you!" Eloy encouraged.

    "Will-o-Wisp!" Lauren retaliated.

    Deacon whirled on Mortimer, only to receive a blue fireball to the face. Deacon cried out in pain, staggering back several steps and hopping about frantically as for a moment he was engulfed in the flames as Ronin had been. The fire faded quickly, but as always, left the Nidoran burned.

    "Dark Pulse! Came the follow-up from Lauren.

    Sure enough, without a moment of hesitation, and no expression, Mortimer blasted Deacon with the spiralling Dark energy and sent him rolling back along the battlefield. That settled it for Eloy, while the similarities were definitely still there, something was different with how Lauren was battling.

    "You've changed your battle style," he commented.

    "Well," Lauren replied, "You've seen me battle several times now. You know I prefer to battle more defensively. So it made sense to adopt a few more offensive maneuvers here to catch you off guard given your more offensive style."

    The confirmation was like a knife to Eloy, he had been relying on the knowledge that Lauren would prefer a slow paced and defensive battle to inform his own strategy and she had turned that against him with the simplest of tricks. He has been relying on prediction, but as it seemed as though he was the one who was predictable.

    "Peck!" Eloy called out, hoping to swing the momentum of the battle back in his favour. At a word from Lauren though, the shining green bubble of Mortimer's protect barred Deacon's way and the Nidoran was knocked sprawling back.

    "Disable, Mortimer!" Lauren commanded, taking advantage of the gap in Eloy's defenses. A blue light shone out of the eye sockets in Mortimer's skull face, the same glow enshrouding Deacon as he sprung to his feat, looking confused at the sensation washing over him. He had never experienced a move like this before.

    "No." Eloy groaned. This left him with only Poison Sting that Deacon could use against a Ghost type like Mortimer, and, unfortunately, Ghost types resisted Poison. He was going to hope for a lucky poisoning and turn Lauren's own strategy against her if he could. Which was easier said than done with Deacon's health already being slowly sapped by his burn.

    "Now, Haze!" Lauren instructed, finishing up her torturous combination.

    "Poison Sting, quick!" Eloy yelled.

    Deacon dashed forward towards Mortimer, lunging for the Ghost even as a deep, dark fog began to emanate from around the Duskull. Mortimer floated casually back though, avoiding the reckless dive. Within moments, the battlefield was blanketed in a thick, black cloud. Eloy could hear several members of the audience complain irritably. The lack of visibility was providing a much more pertinent issue for him than entertainment though.

    "This is very bad," Eloy said through gritted teeth, "You okay, Deacon?!"

    "Ni ni!" His partner replied, frazzled and hurt, but determined.

    Despite the Nidoran's determination though, this was no longer even close to a battle in Eloy's favour. He had made a crucial mistake and been caught off guard by Lauren's sudden and brutal offensives. Now he had been caught and drawn into his opponents preferred pace. Lauren was well and truly in control of the battle.

    "Charge up and down in lines, Deacon!" Eloy instructed, feeling desperation clawing at him. "Mortimer has to be in there somewhere. We'll find him methodically." This was the best Eloy could muster, but in the back of his mind he knew it was going to be ineffective. He only had a move Mortimer resisted to use against Lauren and Deacon was on a timer.

    Eloy strained his ears, listening for the sounds of Deacon blindly crashing into Mortimer. He did not hear any impacts though, only the scuffing of tiny Nidoran feet on the compacted dirt battlefield and the occasional yelled complaint from an audience member who was annoyed they couldn't see the action. Not that it seemed like there was a lot of action to see.

    "Ni!" Deacon barked with frustration, "Ni ni!"

    Time had been going on, Deacon losing more and more of his strength to the burn and yet nothing hit. Something was wrong. Mortimer shouldn't have been able to see either. With both of them stumbling blindly about, surely an impact was inevitable?

    "Don't tell me…"

    The very troubling thought that Mortimer was able to float had just occurred to him. Sure enough, moments later, as the fog began to fade, the shadowy form of Mortimer slowly became more visible in the air over the frantically charging Deacon. Even more alarming, Deacon was clearly beginning to slow down. The burn had nearly used him up.

    "I guess it's time to finish this then," Lauren commented, breaking their silence. "Dark Pulse!"

    "No!" Eloy yelled, his heart hammering with frantic, desperate anguish. "Move, Deacon!"

    Deacon threw himself to the side, narrowly escaping the helix swirl of Mortimer's attack. Mortimer adjusted his aim, sweeping the attack to the side and this time there was no avoiding it. Deacon was blasted aside, tumbling across the battlefield and skidding to a halt at Eloy's feet.

    There was a moment of silence. Then, the crowd began to cheer and applaud despite their previous annoyance and the referee announced the result.

    "The victory goes to Lauren!"

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven


  • 6,391
    Going have to agree Eloy's offensive style there is predictable. Lauren went more aggressive as mentioned and used that to her advantage, it was no wonder Eloy lost. Still an enjoyable battle there, can't win them all I guess haha.
  • 25,614
    Dazed and Confused
    Lauren stood next to Gwen, the pair of them waiting to exit out into the sun for the final battle of the tournament. It seemed surreal to her that she was there, but she knew she had worked hard for this moment. Gwen was a fierce opponent, but she was a hair's breadth away from first place and she had too much riding on her shoulders to lose now.

    "Good luck out there," Lauren said to the other girl, "I'm looking forward to our battle."

    "Good luck to you too." Gwen looked uncomfortable to Lauren, almost like the nerves were getting to her. It made her want to offer words of encouragement, but she couldn't do that. Gwen didn't need a boost, she was clearly the most naturally gifted trainer in the competition.

    A moment later, the pair were directed out into the stadium to a roar of applause from the audience. Lauren took a deep breath to steady herself, taking her place at the nearer side of the battlefield. Across from her, she saw Gwen going through a similar ritual.

    "You know the drill," the referee called out to them, "Lauren you call it."

    "Tails," Lauren said. The referee flipped the coin and soon after announced that Lauren had called wrong and that Gwen would make the first choice. This was fine by her. It was easy to be fooled into thinking that winning the coin toss was a good thing, but in actuality it was the trainer who chose second who had the advantage.

    "Okay then," Gwen said to herself, taking several more calming deep breaths. "Ceres, let's go." With a light toss of the pokeball, Gwen's Roselia had taken the stage.

    Lauren smiled to herself, she knew exactly who her first Pokemon would be then. She released Echo, the Golbat immediately taking to the sky. While she had seen Ceres overcome a major type disadvantage against a Heatmor earlier, Echo had a clear advantage: from what she had seen, Echo resisted all of Ceres' attacks as well as having an offensive type advantage.

    The time for contemplating was quickly over, with a whistle and a shout from the referees, the battle's beginning was announced. Despite that though, neither trainer made any calls for quite some time.

    I have the advantage here, so I'll take this at my pace. I don't want to annoy the crowd, but you're going to make the first move. Lauren thought to herself. Apparently, Gwen resigned herself to this fate soon after.

    "Sunny Day, Ceres!" With practiced grace, the Roselia raised her arm up and shot a ball of light into the sky. The move radiated outward, increasing the glow of the sun onto the battlefield. "Now Growth!"

    Ceres began to glow, taking in the sunlight to amplify her own power. It was true that none of her attacks were naturally effective against Echo, but after enough boosts, that wouldn't matter anymore. The simple maneuver was forcing Lauren out of her preferred battle style.

    "So much for taking this at my preferred pace," Lauren remarked grimly, "Air Cutter!"

    Echo flapped her wings and a gale whipped up, carrying with it silvery blades of air that rushed towards the Grass type opposing her.

    "Counter with Giga Drain!" Gwen commanded. Tendrils of grin light whipped out from Ceres striking the blades out of existence.

    Lauren chose to press the attack while she had an opening. "Wing Attack!"

    With a defiant screech, Echo dived at Ceres with glowing wings. She nimbly weaved past the defensive Giga Drain and slammed one of her wings into the Roselia, knocking her to the ground.

    Lauren took the chance while the Roselia couldn't dodge to order her next attack; Confuse Ray. This was her chance to draw the battle back into her preferred tempo. Echo released the golden ball of light, the attack striking Ceres as she climbed back to her feet, briefly irradiating her. The effect was instant, causing her to suddenly start to sway in place. Ceres staggered forward, looking about for Echo, but struggling to stay on her feet through waves of dizziness.

    "That's a powerful Confuse Ray," Gwen commented.

    "Echo's pretty proud of it too."

    "Come back, Ceres." Gwen's response to that was to withdraw Ceres back into her Pokeball.

    Lauren eyed her opponent. The question now was would Anubis be taking the field, or Gwen's unknown third Pokemon.

    "Somnus, your turn." Gwen tossed her ball, and from the flash emerged a small, slightly chubby Pokemon. It was blue with pointy ears and a large head; a Munchlax.

    "Munch!" The Normal type exclaimed, immediately following this exclamation with a yawn.

    "Didn't see that coming," Lauren admitted.

    "Stockpile!" Gwen called. A faint light immediately began washing over Somnus. That was a concern for Lauren. She couldn't let more than one of those happen or Somnus' already impressive defenses would become nearly insurmountable for Echo. Once more, Gwen was drawing her into a fight.

    "Poison Fang!" Lauren instructed.

    Echo's fangs glowed a venomous purple as she struck out for her newest opponent. The Golbat quickly crossed the battlefield, opening her mouth wide and slamming it shut on Somnus' shoulder.

    The Munchlax grunted, but took the attack, standing its ground. The effect of Stockpile was truly effective. Unfortunately, so was the effect of its next move too.

    "Lick it!" Gwen said.

    "Move!" Lauren called, alarmed.

    Echo flapped, hard, disengaging from Somnus and pulling back. She didn't have time though. Somnus turned his head and his long tongue shot out, sliding over Echo with a whiplike motion that made her shudder. At once, Lauren could tell that Lick's secondary paralysis effect had taken over.

    "Pull back, Echo!"

    The Glbat did as instructed, her flight noticeably strained and slow on account of the Munchlax's lick. Lauren exhaled sharply, she needed to get things back under her control, but she didn't want to risk Phantom or Mortimer taking a literal Licking from Somnus either. Lauren was used to being the one ahead of her opponent in terms of strategy, she had worked tirelessly to achieve that. But with a few careful moves, Gwen had pulled her out of her comfort zone and crippled Echo's ability to put her preferred evasive style into use.

    "Belly Drum, Somnus," Gwen instructed.

    Once more, Lauren felt alarm bells ringing in her head as Somnus began pounding on his belly, a red glow spreading over him from where he hammered away at himself, each repeat causing the glow to amplify… and it wasn't happening slowly either.

    Now's my chance. I'll hit him with Confuse Ray from a distance. She's playing a risky game making Somnus' stronger and simultaneously lowering his vitality when Echo can turn that against him.

    "Quick, Confuse Ray!"

    With a much greater effort than usual, Echo launched the golden orb at Somnus. The attack was aimed perfectly, the gold glow of the Confuse Ray overtaking the red of the Munchlax's Belly Drum. The light faded and whilst Somnus had increased his strength fourfold, he was now also swaying in place like Ceres had been.

    "I just have to keep you at a distance now," Lauren said, "Air Cutter!"

    Echo flapped hard, trying desperately to stay in the air, she was struggling to muster any semblance of the attack. Meanwhile, Somnus was groggily staggering in her direction. Lauren had a simple choice now, she could have Echo land to have a better shot at attacking or she could have her stay in the air and risk the Confusion wearing off.

    "This is frustrating," Lauren said, "You've really pulled me out of my tempo."

    "Thank you," Gwen said, her tone subdued.

    To Lauren, it seemed almost like her success was causing her discomfort. She couldn't afford to be distracted pondering Gwen's oddness though, she had a job to do. She made her decision and called her next instruction "Land and use Air Cutter!"

    Echo dropped. It wasn't a graceful landing, but on the ground she had a much easier time forcing out the attack. It started a bit sluggish, but soon the wind whipped up and the shimmering crescents were flying at Somnus in a barrage.

    "Keep it up Echo!"

    Somnus kept going forward, stumbling on like a determined drunkard, occasionally being pushed back by the bombardment against him. He had already shored up his defenses early on though, almost as though preparing for this very moment. Step by uncoordinated step, the Munchlax was closing in on Echo and Lauren was feeling the tension now. Did she keep at it or did she follow her better nature and pull back?

    Lauren grabbed Echo's ball and returned her in a beam of red light.

    "Sorry Echo, but you're going to have to take a break." She couldn't let herself be thrown off balance. Gwen's strategy had successfully broken her rhythm and forced her into making more reckless moves than she would normally have made. That battle style may have been Eloy or Layla's forte, but Lauren wasn't about to take unnecessary risks. "Phantom, you're up!"

    The Haunter exploded onto the scene with an enthusiastic twirl.
  • 25,614
    Highs and Lows
    Gwen took stock of the situation as the Haunter made his appearance. Somnus was at a disadvantage, with only Lick being able to damage the Ghost type. From what she'd seen in Lauren's battle with Eloy though, Phantom had access to several moves that could prove problematic for her Munchlax. What was more, Somnus was still staggering about in his confusion and returning him to dispel it would also mean he lost his boost from Stockpile and his opportunity to use Swallow to recover the health he'd lost from Belly Drum.

    Looks like I'm staying in then. Sorry Lauren, but I have to do this properly. Layla told me no more holding back and I can't let her down again.

    "Somnus, Lick!"

    Somnus lunged forward erratically, missing Phantom as the Ghost type twisted out of range with a flourish and falling forward to smack his head on the ground. The Munchlax groaned, but a bump on the head was the least of his problems. Lauren pressed her advantage.

    "Hypnosis!" She ordered.

    Gwen winced. She had known it was coming, but she had hoped it wouldn't be so soon. Unfortunately, she hadn't been able to get a single hit in before Lauren had gone after her with Phantom's most troubling move. Somnus was instantly overtaken, flopping the ground in a deep sleep. Gwen knew the other girl was no push over, and she didn't expect her to go easy when she was so close to the goal she was after. That didn't make Somnus' affliction any more pleasing.

    "Dream Eater!" Lauren called, continuing her combination. A hazy apparition of Phantom detached from his body, swooping down over Somnus and biting into him. The false Phantom the pulled back, pulling out a similarly phantasmal Somnus before both exploded into a cloud of red sparks, floating back to the real Phantom who absorbed them.

    Somnus twitched on the ground, but showed little other sign of waking up. It looked like he'd have to take more of a beating before he was back on his feet. Sure enough, Lauren gave the order and the ghostly version of Phantom swooped down again.

    Twice more, Somnus was subjected to Phantom's potent Dream Eater. Each time, the Ghost type absorbing a chunk of Somnus' vitality into itself through the cloud of red lights the attack produces. Gwen watched and waited, she had raised Somnus herself and new well how much he could take. He was still safe for the time being, but he couldn't tank the Dream Eaters forever.

    "Again!" Lauren called out. Once more signalling the descent of her Haunter's apparition. Yet again, a dream Somnus was pulled from the real one before exploding into a cloud of glowing red. This time though, Somnus woke up.

    Gwen breathed a sigh of relief. She knew Somnus had it in him, but that didn't change the fact she didn't much like seeing him defenseless and taking hit after hit. She couldn't help but smile a bit though when she saw something else. Somnus wasn't staggering anymore.

    "Hypnosis again, quick!" Lauren ordered, looking to regain her advantage over the powered-up Munchlax.

    "Out the way and then Swallow, Somnus!" Gwen countered.

    Phantom's eyes glowed a mystical blue, but Somnus was already dashing forward on a diagonal and moving out of the range for the attack's influence. As Somnus ran, a faint white light ran up his body, coalescing into a glowing ball in front of his mouth. Somnus opened wide and swallowed the light. He flashed brightly for a second, some of the damage he'd taken instantly vanishing.

    "Lick!" Gwen instructed, switching to the offence.

    Somnus leapt after Phantom with surprising strength, easily reaching striking range of the levitating Ghost.

    "Dazzling Gleam!" Lauren cried out.

    A pinkish light burst out from Phantom as Somnus' weaponised tongue lashed out. Somnus' attack broke through the Dazzling Gleam, exploding into a shower of glitter as his tongue slapped into Phantom's side with incredible force. The Ghost type was rocketed out of the bounds of the battlefield into the ground behind its trainer. It didn't rise back up.

    Lauren looked from Somnus to the downed Haunter behind her. Then, resigning herself to the outcome, she returned Phantom to his ball, thanking him for his efforts.

    "One hit," she said to Gwen, "It only took one hit. Belly Drum's power is insane."

    "It's not without its risks," Gwen replied, "But I can trust Somnus to use it well."

    "Seems like he could say the same for you," Lauren said, causing an uncomfortable sensation to wash over her opponent. "We're still in this though."

    Lauren selected her next ball and tossed it up. It burst open and Echo materialised back into the fight. The Golbat screeched, signalling her will to fight.

    Makes sense, Gwen thought to herself. Somnus would have a hard time reaching such an agile fligher and this would leave Mortimer fresh for fighting Gwen's remaining Pokemon later. Unfortunately for Lauren, Gwen could see the way forward clearly. "Take a break Somnus."

    Somnus was recalled to his ball in a beam of red. Gwen then selected a new opponent for Echo, releasing Anubis onto the battlefield. The Lucario materialised, standing still with a calm confidence.

    Across the battlefield, Gwen saw a grimace form on Lauren's face and felt a guilty pang in her gut. She knew the other girl could see the dilemma she was in now. If she left Echo in, she was going to have to fight a battle she was ill-equipped for. However, if she switched to Mortimer there was every chance of leaving a thoroughly drained Echo to a three versus one battle.

    "Confuse Ray!" Lauren opted to do as much damage as she could.

    Echo shot the golden attack at Anubis. Without a word from Gwen, the Fighting type pivoted around the attack, causing it to harmlessly sail past his trainer behind him.

    "Sorry Lauren," Gwen said, "Extreme Speed!"

    Anubis moved so fast it almost looked like teleportation. One minute he was standing casually in front of Gwen, the next he had leapt into the air behind Echo and spiked her down into the ground hard.

    The Flying type yelped as she hit the battlefield below her. She was strong-willed though. She was already struggling back to her feet as Anubis landed nearby.

    "Confuse Ray!" Lauren ordered again.

    "Psychic!" Gwen countered.

    Once more, Echo fired the attack at Anubis. The Lucario reacted just in time, a blue encasing the gold of the Confuse Ray and stopping it in its tracks just before it struck him. He made a swiping motion with one of his hands and Echo's attack was ripped apart.

    Lauren was ready for it, as the Confuse Ray broke, she ordered an Air Cutter. Echo leapt into the air as hard as she could and started flapping. She generated the strongest wind she could, unleashing several shimmering blades upon Anubis.

    Anubis braced against the attack, raising his arms to guard his face as the crescents of Echo's Air Cutter rushed into him. Gradually he was pushed back by the attack, and yet the wind only grew stronger. Then the wind suddenly stopped as Echo pulled back her wings and thrust them forward.
    Two shimmering blades shot forward, each larger and more potent than those in the Air Cutter barrage, glowing slightly with a tangibleness to them the attack before had lacked. The Air Slash struck the unsuspecting Anubis and knocked him off his feet. Echo screeched triumphantly.

    Anubis climbed back to his feet. Echo's victory cry died out and Gwen felt the stab of guilt in her gut once more. She didn't like to rain on anybody's parade, but she told Layla she'd give it her all and she wasn't going back on that.

    "Psychic," she said quietly.

    Gwen saw Echo's eyes go wide with horror as the blue light encased her and she was blasted into the ground nearby her trainer.
  • 25,614
    The Clash of the Titans
    "Okay Mort, this is going to be a tough one." Lauren released her Duskull, the Ghost type materialising to float impassively before her. "No pressure, but it's one on three."

    Lauren knew better than to expect a reply, instead she turned her mind to strategising. To say she had an uphill battle ahead was an understatement. In truth, she had solid ideas for how to beat both Somnus and Ceres, but only vague notions of how she was going to deal with Anubis.

    "Will-o-Wisp!" Lauren instructed. Her best bet would be to cripple Anubis' offenses as much as she could.

    "Extreme Speed," Gwen called in response.

    Mortimer launched the eerie blue fireball for the Lucario, but before the attack made it even halfway to its target, Anubis was gone. He Appeared an instant later, off to Mortimer's side. He couldn't damage Mortimer with Extreme Speed because of the Duskull's Ghost typing, but it still proved plenty effective as a means of dodging other attacks.

    "Meteor Mash, Anubis." The Lucario's fist glowed with a deep orange light as he shot forward towards Mortimer, raising his arm to deliver a devastating punch.

    "Shadow Sneak!" Lauren yelled.

    As Anubis swung his fist for Mortimer, the Ghost type dropped. Mortimer sunk into the ground below, merging with his shadow. Then, an instant later, he rose up behind Anubis and rammed him. The Lucario was knocked forward, but Lauren wasn't done yet.


    Mortimer once more launched the ball of blue flame for Anubis. This time, the attack struck home, hitting Anubis in the back. The Fighting type was engulfed in a blue flame for a moment, coming out of the attack singed. For the first time Lauren could remember in the tournament, she saw the stoic Pokemon wince.

    "Smart move," Gwen said. It struck Lauren again, how weirdly okay Gwen seemed to be okay with that. Once more, she put that out of her mind. Just in time too, the other girl was making her counterplay. "Meteor Mash!

    Anubis swung the attack at Mortimer with a sudden backhand. The Ghost type barely managed to float back out the way, feeling the breeze as Anubis' arm swung past. The Lucario wasn't done though, he immediately darted forward, repeating the attack with his other hand.

    "Protect!" Lauren called.

    A green glowing barrier exploded into being around Mortimer as Anubis closed in. The Meteor Mash met the Protect with an audible crash. A crack formed in the barrier, but it held strong.

    Lauren gave her next order as the barrier disappeared. Mortimer immediately attacked, unleashing the purple and black helix of his Dark Pulse into Anubis at close range. The Lucario was forced back by the sudden attack, allowing Mortimer to put more distance between them. The Dark attack wasn't very effective on Anubis, but Mortimer was powerful enough that he still felt it. Lauren just had to keep him at bay long enough for the Will-o-Wisp burn to do its work.

    We can still do this, Lauren thought to herself.

    "Holding up okay, Anubis?" Gwen asked. Her companion grunted, nodding his confirmation. "Psychic then!"

    "Disable!" Lauren countered.

    Mortimer's eyes lit up blue. A second later, the rest of his body followed suit as Anubis' Psychic took hold. Then, Anubis' himself glowed similarly for a moment before the light faded from both Pokemon.

    "Gotcha," Lauren said confidently.

    "I have to give you that one," Gwen admitted.

    Lauren had been paying attention to Gwen's battles. She knew Anubis' moveset and what moves posed the biggest threat to her. Extreme Speed and Aura Sphere couldn't hurt. Psychic was dangerous for its power, range and versatility. However, with Psychic safely Disabled, that just left Meteor Mash. As long as Mortimer stayed out of Anubis' way, eventually the Lucario would succumb to his burn and then it was just down to the injured Somnus and Ceres.

    "Well, you haven't exactly left us with a lot of options," Gwen said, "Anubis, Work Up!"

    Anubis became outlined by a red-orange light as the move increased his power. Gwen followed this up with the command for a Meteor Mash and the Lucario shot forwards again.

    "Protect!" Lauren instructed.

    Once again, Anubis' Meteor Mash smashed against Mortimer's Protect, blocked by the potent defensive move. The bubble wouldn't hold forever though.

    "Dark Pulse!" Lauren ordered again.

    "Aura Sphere on the ground below it!" Gwen countered.
    Lauren was caught by surprise. As Mortimer's barrier faded away, the Ghost type launched another swirling Dark Pulse. As he did so, Anubis blasted the ground beneath him with a blue energy orb. The Aura Sphere detonated against the ground, creating a shockwave and a hail of debris that threw Mortimer off-balance, causing his attack to miss.

    "Meteor Mash!"

    Anubis leapt forward, his fist colliding with Mortimer and sending him spiralling through the air with a yelp. The Duskull came to a halt not too far from where he'd started, his momentum ceasing as Gwen commanded a second Work Up.

    Once again, Anubis became outlined in a red-orange glow. This signalled a dramatic rise in power for the Lucario. Unfortunately for Gwen, Mortimer had the perfect move to deal with that.

    "Haze!" Lauren commanded. Instantly, a deep, dark fog began forming. The move spiralled out from Mortimer, blanketing the entire battlefield. The attack wouldn't do anything to hinder Anubis' aim since he could just switch to his aura sense, but it also had the effect of totally negating his earlier stat boost. Lauren followed up on the rest by going on the offensive. "Dark Pulse!"

    Mortimer floated up, shooting the attack across Anubis' general position with a big sweeping motion. As he did so, an Aura Sphere shot out from the thick Haze, colliding with the attack and exploding it into shimmering particles.

    That didn't matter to Lauren though. She didn't need to hit Anubis, she just needed Anubis not to hit Mort. It had been a long time since the Lucario had been burned, and while he wasn't expressing signs of being on his last legs, she knew it was taking a toll.

    "Extreme Speed up," Gwen said, "Aim with Aura Sphere."

    The next instant, there was a disturbance in the Haze as Anubis shot out of the fog. He appeared high in the air a split second later, having made an incredible leap in Mortimer's direction.

    The Ghost type instinctively floated further up, making sure Anubis wasn't in range to hit him. Lauren wanted to make doubly sure. "Dark Pulse!"

    Mortimer attacked, releasing another Dark Pulse for the airborne Lucario. To everyone's amazement however, Anubis' whirled in mid air, putting his back to the attack and raising his hands.

    Anubis unleashed a powerful Aura Sphere towards the ground, allowing the momentum to force him through the air in the other direction. He sailed over the top of Mortimer, clear out the way of the Ghost type's attack.

    "Meteor Mash!" Gwen called.

    "Protect!" Lauren yelled.

    Anubis thrust his orange-glowing fist downwards as Mortimer once more triggered his defensive shield. There was a crashing sounds and an audible whoosh of air as the attacking and defending moves collided, releasing a shockwave felt by the audience.

    However, Anubis planted his feet on the green glow of the barrier and jumped up, using it as a platform. The Protect dispersed as Anubis came back down and the Lucario drove a second Meteor Mash into Mortimer, smashing him down towards the ground into the dwindling Haze.

    Mortimer impacted the ground, hard for such a light Pokemon. Not long after, Anubis also dropped back to the Earth, landing in a crouch.

    Lauren squinted through the remains of Mortimer's Haze. She could see that Anubis' return to a standing position was much more sluggish than before. Even his stoic demeanour couldn't hide that the burn he'd taken had worn him down a great deal at that point. Unfortunately, as Mortimer also floated back up into a ready position, Lauren could also see that her Duskull was running out of steam, especially after taking that last hit.

    "Just a little longer, Mort," Laured called across to her Pokemon. The Ghost type gave her a slight nod, indicating he had heard.

    The remaining Haze faded away as both pairs faced each other down. Lauren wanted Gwen to make the first move so she could use the appropriate reaction to keep the right distance between them.

    "Is it back?" Gwen suddenly asked.

    For a moment, Lauren had thought the other girl was talking to her. Then she saw Anubis nod and saw that Gwen had instead been talking to her partner. The question seemed odd. It was a second later she realised, to her alarm, what Gwen had meant. A second too late.

    "Pull him in!"

    Mortimer suddenly glowed with a mystical blue and went flying uncontrollably towards Anubis, caught in the influence of the Lucario's newly returned Psychic. The blue glow around Mortimer faded as Anubis' fist began to glow with a Meteor Mash.
    "Shadow Sneak!" Lauren yelled.

    Reacting just in time, Mortimer dissolved into darkness, merging with his shadow on the ground and slipping underneath Anubis as the Lucario's attack swept through empty air. Mortimer rose up from the ground behind his opponent as Anubis swung back with a backhanded attack instead.

    "Dark Pulse!" Lauren ordered in alarm.

    The attacks exploded against each other with a boom, blowing both Pokemon apart. Anubis was knocked sprawling along the ground while Mortimer spiralled through the air. They nearly simultaneously came to a halt equidistant from each other. Both combatants were looking exhausted now. Mortimer had taken a tremendous beating and Anubis had spent the entire battle constantly being worn down by a burn. Neither had much steam left. Lauren knew that Mortimer would persevere as long as he could though. She wasn't about to give up.

    "Extreme Speed, Anubis," Gwen said.

    "Protect!" Lauren countered.

    Anubis' disappeared from Lauren's sight as the green light of Mortimer's Protect flared into being around the Ghost type. There was no sound of impact though. It didn't immediately register why. Then, to her horror, she saw that Anubis was behind Mortimer. Behind him inside the barrier.

    "Psychic!" Gwen called.

    "Dark Pulse!" Lauren cried out.

    The Protect exploded in a swirl of green glitter, black, purple and glowing blue. A cloud of of dust and debris was blasted up over the battlefield, obscuring the vision of both trainers. Nobody was entirely sure what had happened in that split second. Nobody would know the result until the air cleared.

    Lauren could hear her heart thundering halfway up to her throat as she waited painstaking minutes to be able to see something. Eventually, the fallout dispersed enough to see the outcome of the detonation. Both Mortimer and Anubis were lying unconscious on the ground. The thundering stopped as Lauren felt her heart sink. A whistle blew a second later.

    "Both Pokemon are unable to battle. As Guinevere still has two Pokemon in reserve while Lauren has none, she is the winner!"


  • 6,391
    "Munch!" The Normal type exclaimed, immediately following this exclamation with a yawn.

    "Didn't see that coming," Lauren admitted.

    I admit to not seeing that either, heh.

    Looks like I'm staying in then. Sorry Lauren, but I have to do this properly. Layla told me no more holding back and I can't let her down again.

    Gwen does seems uncomfortable giving her all at the beginning at the battle. Shortly after sending out her Munchlax she decides to not hold back, though she still feels some guilt going hard at Lauren.

    The final part of the battle both Mortimier and Anbuis put up a good fight there. Kinda amazed Mortimier was able to stand up against Anbuis for that long. Congrats to Gwen for winning. I think this is the end of the tournament, then? Been a while since I last read haha.
  • 25,614
    I admit to not seeing that either, heh.

    Gwen does seems uncomfortable giving her all at the beginning at the battle. Shortly after sending out her Munchlax she decides to not hold back, though she still feels some guilt going hard at Lauren.

    The final part of the battle both Mortimier and Anbuis put up a good fight there. Kinda amazed Mortimier was able to stand up against Anbuis for that long. Congrats to Gwen for winning. I think this is the end of the tournament, then? Been a while since I last read haha.

    It's technically the end yeah. There's the exhibition with Nora and some decompressing posts to do, but after that we move on to the next part of the story at last xD
    The amusing thing about Somnus, is that there actually is a recurring trend in Gwen's team if you pay enough attention - and I don't just mean her naming scheme.
  • 25,614
    There was a weird energy in the trainer's room and Eloy found himself wondering if he was the only one who sensed it. The room itself was far emptier now, after the waves of congratulators had finally dispersed and left a very uncomfortable Gwen alone, many had gone to the stands to catch the upcoming exhibition battle with Nora. This left Eloy sitting on the floor in the middle of the room in a loose circle with Lauren, Layla and Gwen, with a few stragglers and those who didn't have stadium tickets hanging around just a little too closely.

    All of that wasn't so bad in and off itself, but the group he was with was radiating something uncomfortable as they sat largely in silence. Lauren seemed lost in thought, her eyes glazing over as she focused on something far away from the room. Gwen was constantly fidgeting, ringing her hands or playing with the hem of her tunic. It wasn't hard to empathise with the shy girl, all eyes were about to be on her while she attempted to battle one of the most powerful trainers in the region. Strangest of all was Layla, normally loud and boisterous, she seemed in a sour, almost sulky, mood. It was strange, she had bragged about how good Gwen was back on the cable car, and again before the first rounds. It didn't add up that she was this disappointed about losing to Gwen, yet there she was, glowering at the floor. She had seemed genuine enough when she had congratulated Gwen earlier, but now she adamantly refused to even look in the other girl's direction.

    I don't get it.

    Eloy himself had been feeling pretty good, all things considered. Sure, he'd lost out to Lauren in the end, but he'd come a long way from remote study in his room in Citri Town. He'd earned himself two badges, caught two new Pokemon and evolved one of them and he'd put on a solid showing in the tournament. Not only did he make it through the Battle Royal, the same one Gwen had been in even, but he'd beat the condescending Niall and his team fought well against Lauren in the semi-finals. Perhaps he wasn't jubilant, but Eloy had felt content. He'd done himself proud.

    Now though, the disquieting vibes in the room were starting to eat away at his armour of positivity. Several times he opened his mouth, intending to address the uneasy feeling in the air. The words never came though, he couldn't tell why.

    He looked over the group again and was surprised to find his eyes locking with Lauren's. It seemed she had returned to the room from wherever her mind had been before. She smiled weakly at Eloy and he slightly shrugged his shoulders. Not a word had been spoken, but he was pretty confident some sort of wordless conversation had just passed between them.

    "I'm going to go get some fresh air," Lauren said, standing up, "You should probably go wait for the exhibition match, Gwen. I'll wait with you for a while before I head back to the trainer's room to watch."

    "Okay." Gwen sighed, also getting to her feet. Slowly, as if she was reluctant to acknowledge any of it was actually happening, Gwen followed Lauren out of the room. The door shut behind them and for a moment things returned to silence.

    Eloy turned to Layla. Sure enough, she seemed to have relaxed ever so slightly when the other girls departed. Eloy took a deep breath, allowing him just a moment to wish Lauren had left him with Gwen instead of Layla. He had no idea how the hell he was supposed to approach her.

    Oh well, time to do a service to a fellow trainer I guess.

    "So, you want to tell me why the air in here was thicker than Muk slime until Gwen and Lauren left? I'm assuming it's not just eagerness to be alone with me." Eloy said.

    Those were not the words I wanted.

    "Not in your wildest dreams." Layla looked up at Eloy, her familiar smug smirk returning to her face for a moment, before faltering. An awkward silence returned to them again. Finally, with a frustrated sigh, Layla relented. "Okay, okay. She tried to throw the match."

    "Gwen did?" Eloy was pretty sure that isn't something Lauren would do. Nor could he see a reason for it to upset Layla if she did.

    "Obviously." Even through the discomfort of the conversation, Layla managed to roll her eyes and look at Eloy like he was a moron.


    "Because, as smart as she is, she's an idiot."

    "I could use some more information than that," Eloy commented.

    "Why? It's got nothing to do with you."

    "I'm just trying to help a friend out."

    Friend? Eloy questioned himself. Seems like a stretch.

    "Fine, fine." Layla seemed to make a point of ignoring what Eloy had just acknowledged. "You saw it yourself, she's a prodigy. The best at raising Pokemon and the best at battling. I wouldn't be totally surprised if she actually beats Nora. But she's got this weird guilt complex because she has no intention of being a battler. That's my goal though, I've worked hard for it. She feels like by beating me, she's taking something that belongs to me."

    "I guess I don't really get where she's coming from either," Eloy admitted, "It sounds like you're lucky to have a friend who wants to support you that much though."

    "You're missing the point," Layla snipped, "I appreciate how much she helps me, but that wasn't help, it was pity. She was looking down on me. She had decided I couldn't beat her on my own and that I couldn't take that step to get to my goal if she had to get in my way."

    That, Eloy could understand. He couldn't have taken it if someone had tried to throw one of his matches either. He wanted to earn his success. It was meaningless to just have someone hand you everything you ever wanted, you had to pry it from their grasp.

    "I get you," Eloy said. "I wish I could offer advice, but in the end, you're just going to have to talk with her about it. I don't know her like you do, but she seems nice - way nicer than you - she'll probably be receptive if you can just discuss it openly."

    Layla laughed. "Well, it's no surprise that you're no help. I know I'll have to talk to her about it eventually. I just don't really know how."

    "I sincerely hope we never have to have this kind of conversation ever again."

    "Seconded," Layla replied. Then, she grinned at Eloy and the two of them found themselves laughing again.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • 25,614
    Closing Ceremony
    The noise behind Gwen and Lauren disappeared and a new cacophony sprang up ahead as they reached the end of the corridor, the battlefield ahead of them being drowned in the excited chattering of the spectators.

    Gwen wasn't entirely sure why Lauren had offered to keep her company. The other girl hadn't said a word since they had left the trainer's room. She wondered if Lauren had noticed the tension between herself and Layla. She wasn't about to ask though. For the time being, she just enjoyed the silent company and tried not to think about her upcoming battle with Nora. She let out a deep sigh, seemingly finally attracting Lauren's attention enough to cause a break in the silence.

    "Nervous?" the taller girl asked.

    "Sort of," Gwen replied.

    "You already won the tournament, and there's no pressure to beat a member of the Elite Four, just relax and enjoy the experience."

    It was solid enough advice. The trouble was, it wasn't relevant advice either. It wasn't the possibility of losing that bothered Gwen. She was more concerned with her argument with Layla and with her continued participation in an event she had no business being a part of. Although she would never voice the concern out loud, there was also the possibility of actually winning - that was a terrifying thought that Gwen was quick to push from her mind.

    "I'm not even sure what I'm doing here," she finally admitted. "It should probably be you out there."

    "I wouldn't be so sure about that." Lauren smiled weakly. "If you didn't want to join, why did you?"

    "Layla talked me into it," Gwen said, "She's… hard to say no to."

    "I can see how she could be a bit forceful."

    "It's a little more complicated than that," Gwen replied, her voice wavering slightly, "But you're not wrong."

    The two girls fell back into silence for a while, and Gwen took to reflecting. She certainly had a lot to think about, and she couldn't help but notice the peculiarity of Lauren's earlier "I wouldn't be so sure about that."

    She left it be though. Gwen had never been the sort to pry anyway, but she certainly wasn't going to do so while Lauren was doing her the solid of not asking any more questions herself. Instead, the pair defaulted to silent accompaniment.

    The minutes ticked by and the noise from the crowd outside grew and grew as their anticipation mounted. Until, finally, the spectators erupted into a roaring cheer. Looking out onto the field, Gwen could see Nora standing on the battlefield, waving at the audience. She sighed again.

    "Looks like it's time for me to head back," Lauren said, "Good luck."

    As Lauren turned and started making her way back to the trainer's room, Gwen heard the announcer calling her out into the stadium. Reluctantly, she walked out into the fading afternoon sun to stand across from Nora.

    The older woman smiled at her in an almost motherly way. Gwen found that, strangely, something about the warm aura Nora exuded was somewhat comforting. Hardly enough to drive all her worries away, but she'd take it.

    "Nice to meet you," Nora said, "You were very impressive in your battles earlier. I'm sure I'll be seeing you in the professional league eventually."

    "Thank you, but I'm not really looking to become a professional battler."

    "Oh? Interesting." Nora raised an eyebrow, curious. "Then I'll make the most of this opportunity while I have it. Best of luck."

    Gwen thanked Nora again, and they each took their places opposite each other with the referee positioned between them. He looked like his energy was starting to drop to Gwen. She supposed that his job was draining after doing it all day.

    "This is a one on one exhibition battle. There will be no coin toss. Nora has elected to choose first."

    That made sense, Nora seemed the sort to want to give a less experienced challenger their best chance.

    "Okay," Gwen said to herself, "Here we go."

    Nora pulled out a Pokeball and released her chosen fighter to the battlefield. From the familiar light, a large bovine creature with enormous horns and an impressive afro emerged. The Bouffalant snorted, pawing at the ground with one of its hooves.

    "This is Henry." Nora introduced the Pokemon, "He's going to be your opponent today."
    "Hello Henry," Gwen said, smiling at the creature before releasing Anubis onto the battlefield. "This is Anubis."

    Anubis stood with his arms crossed, giving a slight incline of his head in acknowledgement.

    "Whenever you're ready," the referee interjected as the announcer announced the beginning of the battle to the roaring of the crowd.

    "Work Up!" Gwen commanded. She had to dig deep for it, but she found her resolve to do her best in the upcoming battle. After all, she'd promised Layla that she would.

    A red-orange glow outlined Anubis' body as the appendages on his head stood up to the side.

    "High Horsepower, Henry!" Nora called from the opposite side of the battlefield.

    The Bouffalant snorted, then charged. He picked up speed as he closed in on Anubis, a faint yellow glow washing over his body and getting brighter the more his charge picked up speed.

    "Psychic!" Gwen countered.

    The yellow shine on Henry was suddenly washed over by blue, the colours mixing in place to form a corona of green. Suddenly, the Bouffalant's charge was halted. Then, to Gwen's amazement, he started moving forward again. It wasn't a full blown charge like before, but step by step, Anubis' psychic was being overcome.

    "Incredible," Gwen said as Henry started to pick up more speed.

    Then the Psychic broke and Henry was charging Anubis at a breakneck pace again.

    "Extreme Speed!" Gwen called.

    As Henry reached him, Anubis seemed to just about disappear. One moment, he was on the verge of being trampled. The next, he was behind the Bouffalant.

    "Good work!" Nora called over, still smiling widely. "It's clever using a normally offensive move for defensive purposes. Taking advantage of maneuverability is smart too."

    Gwen nodded her acknowledgement of the praise. She would have said more, but she had to focus if she wanted to keep her promise. "Aura Sphere!"

    Anubis shut his eyes as the growths on his head flared up again. He raised his palms to Henry as the Normal type turned to face him, unleashing an orb of vivid blue light. The attack rushed forward, colliding with Henry in an explosion of azure light and dust.
    Astoundingly, despite a vulnerability to Fighting moves, Henry had barely budged. The battle had not been going on for long and already Nora and Henry were displaying raw power and durability unlike anything Gwen had experienced before.

    For many, this may have been disheartening, but Gwen felt relieved. A smile was creeping onto her own face.

    "Okay Anubis," she found herself speaking without realising, "Let's give her everything we've got."

    "That's what I like to hear!" Nora commended Gwen before launching into her next order. "Close Combat!"

    Henry shot forward, moving even faster than he had before. The Bouffalant unleashed a rapid flurry of strikes with his horns, headbutts and hoof strikes. Anubis kept his eyes shut, relying on his aura sense as he ducked and weaved, narrowly dodging each attack.

    "Meteor Mash!"

    As Anubis dodged another attempt to gore him, his right hand erupted with a blazing orange light. He drove his fist down onto the top of Henry's head with all his strength, slamming it into the ground hard enough to leave a crater.

    Henry grunted before thrusting up, forcing Anubis to stagger back away from his as he got back to his feet.

    "Not bad," Nora said, her motherly smile never faltering. "Our turn again now. Lash Out!"

    Henry suddenly dashed forward, closing the distance between himself and Anubis, he swung his head to the side, slamming Anubis with an overwhelming amount of force that sent him tumbling through the dirt.

    "Calm Mind," Gwen instructed.

    Anubis rolled into a crouch, blue light emanating from his as he powered up his Special abilities.

    "Wild Charge!" Nora instructed, not giving Anubis much time for powering himself up.

    Crackling electricity exploded out from Henry, sparking out from his body and engulfing him. This was already a powerful move being used by a powerful Pokemon, but given how likely it was Henry possessed the Reckless ability, she was pretty sure she could expect even greater force than she might have otherwise.

    Henry rushed down Anubis, closing the distance before Gwen had a chance to decide on her counter strategy.

    Thankfully, Anubis was plenty practiced himself. He dived to the side, avoiding the worst of the attack, although taking a slight shock from the electricity radiating out from the Bouffalant.

    "Aura Sphere!" Gwen instructed.

    Anubis immediately raised his hands, blasting Henry in the side with a powered-up orb of aura energy. This time, the flash of blue and subsequent explosion of force was even greater than before. Henry's legs buckled and he dropped onto his knees.

    Gwen took the chance to order another Work Up, the angry red-orange glow now replacing the calmer blue of the earlier Calm Mind as Henry climbed back up, shaking off the attack.

    "You have excellent timing," Nora commented.

    "Thank you," Gwen said.

    "Still," Nora said, "Even after all those boosts, Henry's not going down easily. Swords Dance!"

    Henry stomped his foot hard into the ground as his horns lit up with a sky blue light. A wave of unseen force seemed to radiate out from the Bouffalant as his physical power increased.

    "Extreme Speed!" Gwen called, intending to interrupt the process.

    Anubis shot forward faster than the human eye could easily follow, delivering a kick to the side of Henry's head with enough force to knock him clean of his feet and send him flying several feet across the battlefield.

    "Aura Sphere!"

    Anubis followed up the physical attack with another blast. He formed the largest, Aura Sphere yet between his hands and shot the potent attack at Henry whilst he was still down. The attack impacted, detonating in a bright flash and a pressure wave that nearly blew Gwen off her feet. Dust and debris was thrown up into the air, obscuring Henry from view. Anubis frowned, sensing what his trainer could not yet see.

    As the air cleared, Henry could be seen getting back up. It was a slower process now, he'd clearly taken a heavy hit. However, it was clear to Gwen and Anubis both that the Bouffalant was far from defeated.

    "Time to wrap this up," Nora said conversationally, "Head Charge."
    Red light radiated out from Henry's afro, streaking out over him in strands as he started running for Anubis until his entire body was awash with a surging crimson aura. So much power was pulsing out from Henry as he moved that Gwen could physically feel it in waves and see the ground cracking and breaking around the Normal type as it ran.

    "Psychic!" Gwen called.

    Anubis' blue glow encased Henry, briefly dying him purple. Henry didn't even slow down. The Psychic shattered, becoming a rain of faintly glimmering particles as Henry completed his charge, slamming into Anubis and sending careening across the battlefield.

    Anubis came to a halt, not able to stand back up. With that, the event was over.

    As a bonus, I commissioned this a while ago and it finally came in.
    Spoiler: The Main Cast
    The Stairway to Heaven


  • 6,391
    Not surprising that Gwen almost threw in the fight due to her complex feelings over Pokemon battling. Hopefully she and Layla will have that talk.

    Gwen and Nora's battle was fun. Seems like Gwen was actually enjoying herself and had the upper hand a couple times. Unfortunately Nora was just that good. Also that was nice commissioned art there!
  • 25,614
    Leave the City
    A cool breeze blew through Eloy's hair as he walked down the wide road. On either side of him was a sea of tall green grass, ripples running through it like waves with each renewed gust. Eloy was greatly enjoying this change of scenery.

    He had left Techniti City in high spirits, but he couldn't deny that he'd felt claustrophobic in such a cramped place with such a dense population. Now that he was in the open again, the air was cleaner and the environment more pleasing. Eloy felt his whole body relax, releasing a tension he hadn't even been aware of as he drank up the view.

    His team were enjoying the departure from city life too. All three of Eloy's Pokemon were outside of their balls. Deacon was running about further ahead, stopping only to let Eloy catch up before he dashed off again, disappearing into the tall grass and popping out onto the path further ahead. Ronin was airborne, leek clutched in his bill as he gilded on the breeze, stretching his wings. Maestro remained by Eloy's side, plodding along contentedly, but always alert.

    This was much more Eloy's speed, and it looked like he'd be able to enjoy it for some time. His new destination was Jaspern City, one of the most central locations in Sigia, and to get there he was travelling along the region's longest and straightest single road.

    Eloy pulled out his PokeGear and opened the map function. The now familiar blinking light indicated his current position. He'd been walking a long time, but had found that surprisingly enough he didn't seem to be that far out of Techniti. He turned around and looked back the way he'd come. Sure enough, the towering skyscrapers were still just barely visible.

    Maybe it was because of the straightness of the road, or the effects of spending so much time in the city where a bunch of prominent landmarks were all within walking distance, but Eloy felt as though the looming presence of Techniti should have long since vanished behind him. He was done there for the time being, but it still haunted the horizon like a phantasm.

    "Well Maestro," he said, "Looks like I've got to readjust to my natural habitat a bit more."

    His insectoid companion chittered in response, looking up at him. The sound was musical and pleasant, making it clear to Eloy that his most timid team member was enjoying the walk with him. Eloy smiled back at the Bug.

    A beeping noise returned Eloy's attention to the device in his hand. A message had come through from Lauren, Eloy having exchanged contact details with her, Layla and Gwen before they parted ways. It was a picture message of Marion harassing an unfortunate weedle.

    I thought things might quiet down without you and Layla around. I was clearly wrong.

    Eloy laughed at that. Although, he suspected Marion was in the process of being scalded. The comment made him think back to their last day in Techniti. He didn't think that things had been mended between Gwen and Layla yet, but they'd seemed in a better mood. He figured they'd have plenty of time to work things out anyway. They were remaining in Techniti for a while longer while he headed west and Lauren north.

    It'll probably be a while until I see them again. Eloy thought, finding that the notion was oddly melancholic. He was used to not being around others his age much thanks to his upbringing, he wasn't entirely sure when he'd transitioned into finding the presence of the three girls normal.

    "Oh well," Eloy said out loud to Maestro, "You guys are all the company I need really."

    Maestro looked up, confused. Although he started humming with enjoyment as Eloy started stroking his head.

    As they walked, a patch of shorter grass around a glistening lake took shape ahead as Techniti finally disappeared from behind them.

    "Hey!" Eloy called out. Deacon made a hairpin turn and came barrelling toward Eloy, skidding to a halt in front of Maestro - cutting it so close to colliding with the Kricketune that he helped. A few moments later, Ronin landed nearby and waddled up to complete the group.

    "I know it's not been that long really, but let's take a break there." Eloy pointed at the lake.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven


    Say it with me (Vray-gun)
  • 420
    Chapter 8: Money, Money, Money
    Hmm, okay, so this is the eighth chapter. So I know I haven't visited this story in a while, but surely Gimmie is like every writer here and unproductive as hel-

    Chapter 44: Leave the City
    The Stairway to Heaven

    Segwaying back to the review, yeah this was a short chapter. I'm honestly kinda surprised you felt you needed to have it in. The stuff about worldbuilding and seeing Eloy is fine and all, but it does seem to jank up with the paceing slightly, I said the 'P' word and no one can stop me!!! EDIT: I mispelled that 'P' word and I wish someone stopped me. However, I don't think having this chapter in and of itself is bad, just that it's a bit short. For example, since we had two thrilling gym battles, this chapter would be fitting as an interlude, but could also give us a chance to have Eloy reflect on this battle and give closure to things. You did that a little in the chapter in the form of planning a route and snackabobs with sandwhiches, but considering how close and honestly lucky Eloy was in that match, I would have expected him to evluate what happened.

    Also, gonna be that guy and,
    He as a league trainer after all, not a tourist.
    When Words Written Without the 'W' When they need it, makes me Wonder What Went Wrong.

    Although, the only other thing I would say about this chapter would be I'd like it if more of the "info reasoning" like the map route was thought in Eloy's head or had some action we could attach to it. So it's less the narrator pointing it out to us, as much as it reinforces Eloy studying the map as he decides where to go, kinda like the end where he puts his reasoning of the chance to run into Miss Chatter.

    With a sigh, Eloy pushed himself to his feet, he'd only packed enough supplies for the trip to Rosaste originally, there was only so much room in his bag afterall. That meant he'd need to stock up.
    I believe this would be a spot for a semicolon, as well as having a but before the "there", and no period before That nor comma. #OxfordCommaRules!

    All in all, short but nice chapter, and it's nice to get back into it. Since stuff be busy like bees without holiday, I hope it's not too long for my next visit here. I mean...there's 44 chapters....aheheh....with interludes....ahehehehe

    crying makes the pain just hurt more, AAAAHHHHHHHHH HAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! Also, screw the numer eight for making me have to look up how to spell that version of it, Nidorans in a Basket!

    But yeah, good luck in the drafts and continue to make us jealous of your progress. I wish you well!
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  • 25,614
    Interlude Seven
    Niall stood in front of Saladin, looking down at the vile of clear liquid in his hand. Pengju and Leonidas stood at either side of him. His new Corvisquire, Galahad, was perched on a tree nearby.

    He thought he had been fully committed, but there was still a small amount of hesitation lurking within him.

    If we get caught, it's probably game over.

    He thought back to the events of the tournament in Techniti only a few days prior, and to the encounter he'd had soon after. He took a deep breath to steady himself. Those were not pleasant memories. If there was one thing Niall couldn't stand, it was losing - especially when everything indicated he should have won.


    Niall turned around, the voice hadn't registered to him as familiar, but something had told him the person behind him was talking to him. As it turned out though, the voice had come from a man he had indeed seen before.

    It was the guy in the lab coat with the sandy-coloured hair. Walking beside him was the unpleasant ponytailed woman who had tried to sell him something earlier.

    "That was some match. Don't you think?" the man said.

    "It was okay," Niall said defiantly, "She was never going to beat Nora, but unlike a lot of the other chumps who were just getting lucky, she was actually talented."

    "Chumps like that Eloy kid?" tha main asked, raising an eyebrow and grinning.

    The smile irritated Niall, but something compelled him to keep listening for the time being maybe. "Maybe."

    The man just continued smiling. "No need to be subtle with us, we're experts on Pokemon development and ability. We could see that he was outmatched in raw power and potential."

    "You saying it was my fault?!" Niall snapped, earning him a few glances from people who were still filing out of the stadium.

    "Not at all," the man said, "We all have bad luck sometimes. I'm just telling you that we can help take luck out of the equation."
    "With vitamin solutions?" Niall scoffed.

    "Hey, don't knock the benefits of concentrated Protein and Zinc." The salesman laughed, his smile never really faltering. "But, that's not exactly what I had in mind."

    "What if we told you, we could make sure you never lost again. That we could unlock so much of that power and potential that chance would cease to be a factor in your battles." It was the woman who spoke this time, a vicious smirk on her face. It was like she thought they had him hooked on their pitch already.

    Well, maybe they did. He had no interest in another humiliating public defeat. "How?"

    "Well," the man said, "My name is Clancy and my coworker here is named Bronwyn. We're representatives from Mythic Labs and doing just that is our speciality."

    "Why don't we go talk somewhere a little less crowded?"

    Niall had found the exchange suspicious, naturally. He had not, however, anticipated that they were going to be crossing the line into flat out illegal territory. Still, he had goals that he absolutely had to accomplish, nagging doubts or not. Thus, there he was, with a vile of highly illegal, and very expensive, biological material in his hand.

    "You sure about this?" Niall asked.

    Saladdin growled and nodded the affirmative. That was all Niall needed to cross that threshold. If Saladdin was ready for it, so was he.

    "Alright, listen up," Niall said to his assembled team, "They said that he might get a bit wild for a moment after the injection. So get ready to jump on him."

    As his other Pokemon readied themselves, Niall took a step forward. He unstoppered the vile and attached a needle tip. Then, taking a deep breath, he jammed the needle into his Gabite's neck.

    Instantly, Saladdin roared viciously, terrifying a group of Pidove that had been resting nearby and scattering them into the air. Niall jumped back as his Gabite slashed at the air in a frenzy. His other Pokemon leapt forward.
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