B4 — 8. Slugfest

PoV:

1:  Maya (Our Steely Girl Looking For A Win!)

2:  Rhea Everhart (Our Blonde Bombshell Future Supervillain!)

3:  Nova (Our Star and Fluffy Fashion Queen!)

Pokemon Map: 

I loosely follow this map as a visual guide; the creator made it in paint?!?!  It’s insane!  Some errors here and there, but I follow its design for the most part.  Areas can be further apart, some cities are in the wrong places or not listed, and the regions aren’t nearly so close.  The best map I’ve found, though!

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1:40 p.m. October 19th, Monday, 106 PH (Post Hoopa Event).  Day 132.

Events:  Rhea and the girls are on a Badge Hunt, trying to get all the Kanto Encrusted Badges before time runs out!  Our girl started her journey on the 9th of June, and the end of registration for the Winter Indigo Cup is December 5th (46 days away).

The colossal stadium opened up around Mya as she exited her Poke Ball, hearing the shouts of the crowd and announcer overhead.  Lights shone upon her, ready to engage the Psychic opponent that would try to batter her mind with attacks; she was ready for some tricky teleporting menace or Confusion-based foe that would attempt to befuddle her senses.

“Let’s go!”  she roared, power building inside her as she drew upon Rhea’s Fortitude and expelled her intimidating pressure to collide against her rosy-skinned, sparkling combatant.  Both of Mya’s jaws slackened upon seeing the male Wobbuffet salute her.  “What?”

“Greetings, my sweet fanged friend.  My name is Tim, and I hope to have a lovely joust this fine afternoon!”

Mya’s second mouth swung around, lips peeling back to snarl at the nice introduction the Gym Pokemon gave her.  She’d expected a straight rush into combat like the other Gym Battles they’d done, yet Tim only continued to smile at her, eyes closed and salute in place.

“What game are you playing, bud?”

A light blue sword materialized in her hand, boosting her Attack; she held it up to use as a club.  Tim didn’t move, giving her that same derpy smile that made her nervous.  Rhea had gone over a ton of Pokemon that they could face; this one hadn’t been much of a focus, but Rhea’s emotional state said this was really bad.

“Don’t attack, Mya!”

Huh?  What do I do, then?  Lower his Stats?

Her sword vanished, and she wasn’t sure if Rhea wanted her to retreat or stay at a close range.  A growl rumbled in her throat, sound waves focusing on the derpy Pokemon to lower its Attack further, yet she jumped back when a light blue field surrounded the Wobbuffet.

“He’s a Counter Pokemon like Hector, only totally built for it!  He’s weak to Sucker Punch, but we can’t use it since he probably has no attacking Moves, only counters.  He might have Astonish as an Egg Move.  It’s not likely, though.  I think…  I think we have to bite the bullet on this one.”

What do you mean—what’s he doing?!

“Hey!”  she shouted, teeth gleaming as he waddled forward.  “Keep your distance, bud!”

“Hmm-hmm!  Hmm-hm-hmm,” he hummed, holding up his fists as if trying to box her.  “C’mon, put ‘em up, tough girl!”  Tim made a few jabs, hopping left and right while drawing near at a very unimpressive speed.  “Show me a good right hook, sweet fang!”

Rhea?!

“It’s fine…  He can’t actually do anything.  Unless…  Muk.”

Mya held up her arms to defend herself, nervous jitters in her gut as the pink boy came in, ducking left and right.  She had Protect ready, only to not have to use it upon receiving a non-charged, totally powerless jab to the front of her steel jaws.

He danced left, performing an uppercut, right for a jab, and tried to fake a left haymaker before tripping and falling on his face to roll across her shadow.  A sudden shiver ran up Mya’s frame as a red beam connected to her, yet she wasn’t pulled into her Poke Ball, a ghostly film coating her frame.

“What?”

Flipping around to look up at Rhea, she saw her blue-eyed trainer glaring up at the smiling Gym Leader.  “Shadow Tag…  This is mean, Sabrina!”

“Yeah!  I got you on the ropes!”  the Wobbuffet chimed, spinning in circles on the ground to flip upright, weaving his hands wildly in what Mya presumed was supposed to be some kind of threatening way.  “Am I coming from the left?  No, the right!  The ol’ under the chin knockout!  Aaaahhh!  The crowd goes wild!”

“Uh…  What is going on?”  she mumbled, somewhat stunned as Rhea mumbled through their connection about the trap Sabrina had sprung on them.  “Do you… have any Moves?  Why aren’t you trying to lower my Stats?  Not that lowering my Attack will do anything in the first place,” she mumbled, considering she had Hyper Cutter.

“Oof—the counter trip!”  Tim choked, falling on his face again while trying to advance and getting laughter from the audience and announcer.  It was like Miky’s fight against the Slowpoke, only it felt very different as he taunted her, yet did absolutely nothing.  “And he’s back on his feet!  What will Tim the Turner do next?!  His opponent is shaken, trying to retreat, but the Tuner Tim has prevented the recall!  Aaahhh!  The crowd goes wild!”

Out of everything Mya had expected from this intimidating battle, this was not one of them.  She looked up at the clock, seeing the timer counting down, second by second.  They couldn’t win this in a draw; none of them had actually done any damage to the other.  What was this kind of battle?

“Fu-fu-fu.  My sugar tooth friend, why would I want to dampen your flaming passion?!  Let us have the dazzling show of perpetual blows until we both go down in a blaze of glory!  Wait, who are you?  Hello, pretty lady of fangs!”

Mya mirrored his cocked head, and confused expression as another aura of light surrounded him, only this one was white.  The announcer overhead snickered, excitement turning to humor, which somewhat agitated her.  This was supposed to be her awesome moment!

“Tim uses Safeguard and Amnesia, preventing any Status shenanigans while throwing off his opponent without even using Status Conditions!  Haha.  He boosted his Special Defense, which is an… interesting Move against a Mawile.  Haha!  Wow.  What a match, Greg!  Rhea seems flustered, and who can blame her?  What do you think?”

“Mya’s Intimidation, Sword Dance, and Growl combo is certainly a heavy opener, Ted.  Tim the Turner is sitting at -2 Attack while Mya is +2, but we’ve seen this strategy from Tim before.  Rhea couldn’t have come up against this kind of strategy on the open circuit; Shadow Tag is such a tease at Silver-tier, when most Gyms are trying to teach Trainers to swap Pokemon during hard match-ups.

“Not wrong, Greg.  You have to admit it’s a perfect counter for Mya!  Hehe.  Literally!  Tim just loves a good ol’ Slugfest and is discouraging Special Attacks.  Look at Tim move!  I think our Mawile’s had enough, though!”

She breathed out a low growl as the Wobbuffet hopped up to her again to send more powerless jabs to taunt her.  Jaws opening wide as he neared, the Wobbuffet froze when her teeth clamped over his head, though without its usual energy, and lifted the squirming Pokemon in the air, tail and feet squirming.

“H-Hey!  This is no sporting way to do a proper joust!  Aaaahhh!  The world is spinning…”

She twisted him in circles, dully waiting as Rhea confirmed the absolute disaster of a match this was; the red beam of her capsule once again failed to bring her back.  Mya wasn’t particularly concerned about returning, but Rhea seemed agitated by it.

“Mya…  I can’t change your position or save you from any surprise attacks by swapping you out.  Sabrina has basically forced you into a Null Round.  You need to surprise Tim by swapping between Attack and Special Attack Moves.  Ugh.  Safeguard stops the slow Burn route, as well.  And I bet he’ll have Encore.  Dodge what you can, but expect to be taken out with him.  I’m a little scared of what she has in store for Nova.”

A small smirk brightened Mya’s face as she flung the pink Pokemon into the air, watching a red glow encompass his body; he’d expected her to use Seismic Toss.  The joke was on him.  A light brown glow lifted off her frame, collecting into four rough stones that she sent rocketing at the falling Pokemon.

Got it, Boss!  Leave it to me.

All four rocks peppered the Patient Pokemon, sending him further into the air and making the crowd hush.  Yet, Mya could be patient, too.  Holding her hands behind her back, she smiled while skipping forward, watching Tim roll across the floor without much damage.  As expected, he lifted his hands above his head, laughing and clapping them together.

“Oof!  Oof!  Hehehe.  The ol’ trap card, sweet fangs!”

Mya’s smile didn’t falter as she looked up at the spotlights that appeared above her head, confetti streaming down around her that twinkled into oblivion; all her Moves were locked out, excluding Ancient Power, and that was fine.

Coming up to the recovering, grinning Wobbuffet, she held out her hand with a charming grin.  “So, you’re the type of guy that never punches first, huh?”

“Oh!  Thank you,” he chirped, taking her hand.  “Yes, I try my best to—eh?”

Power flooding her limbs, Mya flipped him over her head to slam face-first into the stone, making the crowd wince.  “Okay!  Let’s have some fun.  Hehe.”

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Throwing him into the air, he surrounded himself with a multi-hued light to repel her follow-up Special Attack.  Instead, she twirled in a sharp circle, the blunt side of her steel second mouth catching him full in the chest to punt him halfway across the stadium and making the announcers wince.

“Ack!  Ack!  W-What are you doing?!”  Tim asked, tumbling to a stop to lie on his back.

Rhea’s excitement grew, fear tumbling away.  “Nice, Mya!  If you don’t use any more Moves, we could win based on score in the end… but we might be disqualified if we don’t use a Move within a minute for inactivity.  Bite is your best Move against him!”

Greg snickered as the rainbow light around the Wobbuffet dispersed.  “I think Tim is getting a taste of his own medicine!  No way he’s going to overpower a beefed-up super-Mawile, and if she’s going to play ping-pong with him, what can he do to stop the bullying?”

Mya had no intention of letting a Move go unused within a minute, though.  She just had to fake him out.

“You know, I have this friend named Hector that uses Counter,” Mya said conversationally as she slowly skipped after Tim.  “Tera, my other friend, always complains about it, but she also told me a few tricks she’d learned to deal with it.  Mirror Coat is a rough one, though, but I’m used to Alice using Magic Coat, and she’s sooo much faster at using it.  You’re super slow.”

“Ho-ho!  Is that a challenge?”  Tim asked, picking himself up and puffing out his chest as she neared.  “Are you afraid of my Counter?”

Rhea gave her a new strategy, making Mya’s eyes narrow with glee as she flipped her mouth around to peel back her gums to lick her glistening teeth.

“You may be fast at reacting to close-range attacks, Tim the Turner, but, hehe, I think you have trouble with Special Moves.  What happens when you can’t see them coming?”

“Huh?”  Tim’s face blanked, head cocking to the side, moving around in a seemingly random pattern as twinkling pink fog began to froth out of her gullet.  “What were you saying?”

Ted hummed over the speakers.  “Our Wobbuffet aggravates with Splash!  It may not be a Taunt, but it looks like he’s having fun!   Meanwhile, our Mawile spreads Misty Terrain across the battlefield.  Is Mya looking for a surprise attack?  She slipped into the fog!  What is our little Deceiver Pokemon up to?  It is a solid Terrain here in Saffron Gym, countering Sleep and Confusion tactics.”

Slipping through the sparkling haze like a ghost, Mya moved around the derpy pink blob; the big eyes of the Wobbuffet’s black tail, his true body, scanned the mist, trying to find her.  The fog changed to a light-blue color at times before shifting to yellows, greens, and purples, mixing with other shades the more she released.

Drones spun down from the ceiling to filter past her haze, projecting her movements on the big screens that only the audience could see.  Tim didn’t appear all that confused, though, and Mya’s smile brightened when Encore faded, allowing her to use other Moves.

Yet, she chose another Special-based Move, spinning in a sharp circle to project a cyclone of Fairy Wind at the Patient Pokemon; a rainbow coat caught it, returning the blast of wind at twice the size and scattering her mist into a swirling mass.  Mya winced as she took the hit, but it wasn’t a ton of damage, which was perfectly fine; her terrain was spreading due to the action, preventing him from locking onto her with Encore.

“Hmm.  Interesting tactic, Ms. Fangs,” Tim mused, hopping left and right, trying to spot her.  “I expected you to be blown off your feet with that kind of wind.  Impressive.  Impressive.”

“Thank you!”  she returned, quietly jogging around him to reposition.

She swapped mists; Sweet Scent entered the fog, camouflaged by the twinkling haze.  Typically, it would cause the Pokemon to get a little lightheaded, but she learned against Alice that it made her opponent relax instead under the effects of Misty Terrain, providing her with an opening.  She figured it would be super effective against a Pokemon already patient and calm like a Wobbuffet.

“You got that Mirror Coat out a lot faster than I thought you would.  Hehe.  It’s weird getting hit by my own wind.  I wonder if you can catch this?”

Darting forward, she saw the Wobbuffet’s black tail eyes dart to her as her wide jaws exited the mist, moving to close around his frame.  She snickered when a red aura encircled him.  Putting him in a vice grip, she twisted him upward and let go, throwing him into the sky and spinning in another sharp circle.

“Huh?  I swear I saw you charging—uh-oh…”

Mist and Fairy-enhanced wind carried him toward the ceiling, obscuring him in the fog so he couldn’t see her to counter with Encore.  A light brown force lifted off her frame, condensing into rocks, and Tim predicted it, rainbow light coated his body, yet she wasn’t going to hit him with the Fast Attack.  Surprisingly, she hit the 10% chance, Stats boosting, which was a welcomed surprise, and Mya was preparing something else for his descent.

Taking a deep breath, she focused a large amount of Rhea’s energy into her next attack, with Tim waiting for her next long-range strike as he fell.  Rhea was right that Bite would do Super Effective damage and have a luck-based chance to Flinch the Counter, but she had a much stronger Move against the Wobbuffet in her kit.

+3 Attack, and +1 of everything else, due to Ancient Power, she felt the power welling up within her as the mist spiraled in a circle; this was it.  He’d just used Mirror Coat, he shouldn’t be feeling all that threatened due to the Sweet Scent, and she’d only used Special Attacks up to this point to throw him off.

Tim exited the upward rush of Fairy Energy, spotting her; darkness erupted from her frame as she threw every last ounce of strength she’d gathered into this decisive blow, aiming right at the big-eyed black tail.

Mya grinned as Tim’s gaze sparkled with a devious glint—he had no idea how strong this was—a sinister, shadowy aura surrounding his entire frame that transferred to her the second she struck; on contact, she felt the punching bag’s defensive matrix shatter, her Dark force entering his body to be amplified by his enhanced Stats.

“Game Ov—”

Her heart froze as a ghostly presence dislodged from her own body as an ominous cloud around the Wobbuffet dispersed into a dark cloud before shooting right to her core like a nail lodged into her chest.  All strength left her body.

Tim launched all the way across the stage to hit the force field, falling limply on the stone floor as Mya sank to her knees, the world going hazy as a chilling hand gripped her heart and squeezed all warmth from her core.

Greg was on the edge of his feet.  “Fairy Wind carries the mist and Tim to the ceiling!  A misread from Tim brings out a premature Mirror Coat—a +2 Punishment with +3 Attack!  It’s over—”

“Destiny Bond!”  Tod shouted in unison.  “Tim gets a last-second Destiny Bond!  It’s over, folks!  We have a draw for the first round!  What a combo from Mya, though, and all those fake outs, trying to trap Tod into the wrong Counter.”  

How did he use a Move so fast?  I was doing so well…

* * *

Rhea leaned against her console with a sharp growl, hitting her head against her forearm as Mya took a colossal amount of damage from the cursed attack.  The crowd was on their feet, watching Mya’s combination of attacks and deceptive tactic of using Misty Terrain as a smoke screen that she had to use against Alice’s fast-paced style.

Sorry, Mya.  I can’t believe he managed to get that in the last second…  No, it can’t be a coincidence.

She lifted her head to level a scowl at the smiling black-haired woman across the stadium, showing an entertained tilt to her mouth.  Her hovering Ultra Ball activated on its own from beside her, flying further into the arena to recall Tim, who had fainted right under Rhea’s platform.  She did the same for Mya, mouth tight as her Pokemon seethed at her internal thoughts.

It had been a bit too easy for a Gym Battle of Sabrina’s reputation, despite the puzzle and problems the Wobbuffet posed to Mya; they hadn’t even used the teleportation tiles still floating around the stadium.  Perhaps that was just a showy ploy to hide the true challenge of this battle.

Pressing the button to speak over the intercom, Rhea tried to keep the bitter note out of her voice.  “You were giving Tim commands, weren’t you?  You’re showing me how things can go wrong when everything should have gone right… because you have more experience and can turn a bad situation around.”

Mumbles and excited whispers passed through the throng as all eyes went to the large display, showing the cross-legged Psychic smiling down at her.  Looking as poised as an evil queen, Rhea could see why so many movie studios sought after Sabrina for that particular role in films.

“Hmm-hmm-hmm.”  Sabrina’s illuminated pink eyes narrowed as she directed Tim’s ball into the transporter to receive Center care.  “I only had to give him one command at the end in the tiny gap you left for him to counterattack.  Would you believe that the Ancient Power Stat increase was the reason for our draw in that particular strategy?”

Rhea’s fingers clenched at her console, and she sucked in her bottom lip, feeling Nova and Alice burning with a desire to jump into the ring.  Lulu had taken control of Mya’s Poke Ball, huffily taking it to the Center care machine while sticking her tongue out at the Psychic Grandmaster.

“It… caused Mya’s Fairy Wind to push Tim higher than we anticipated since we don’t use the Move that often when +1.  Haaa.  Yeah, I can see why that slight miscalculation made a difference.  And us battling you at Rank 8+ means you can bring in Gold-tier elements.  Hehe.  That was a dirty trick, though, Gym Leader Sabrina.  A Wobbuffet, really?”

Sabrina shifted her legs to the opposite side, leaning against some invisible force while resting her cheek against the back of her hand.  “How often do Trainers face an opponent that will not attack first?  It is very rare.  Also, for Trainers to know that if they do attack, there could be extreme consequences in retaliation, which makes them freeze up and make mistakes.  You handled it… decently compared to others whom I have given this particular challenge.”

She lifted her other hand to direct her toward the still active clock, now down to 7 minutes left from their 15-minute given time.  “It is not very often that I lose… and even rarer that I have a draw in a match.  So, congratulations there, Rhea.  Your next opponent could choose to be challenging, yet as I have heard through the grapevine, your brother has been working on using this particular strategy as of late.”

“Huh?!”  Rhea felt as if she’d been punched in the chest, the crowd now getting excited.  “Sabin… is trying to break into Master-tier!  What kind of strategy is he working on that is still Gold-tier level?”

A sly twist came to the beautiful woman’s face as she directed her Poke Ball to hover at the ready.  “I’m sure Nova will find this battle particularly interesting.  You best be cautious of your time, Rhea; in war, your opponent will not give you leeway to analyze your mistakes and refocus.  Begin.”

Locking her jaw at the woman’s foresight that she’d use Nova, Rhea took out her jumpy Eevee and prepared to throw her into the arena.  She could still feel Mya’s disbelief and frustration; her Mawile could never get a break or clean win in a Gym, and it was her fault for not preparing for something cheesy like a Wobbuffet.

“We’re going to win, Sabrina!”  she shouted, aiming Nova a bit further back than where Mya had exited.  “No matter what you’re plotting or have foreseen, we’ll adapt!”

Sabrina’s low, feminine voice was almost a whisper in her ear, making her shiver.  “I look forward to it.”

* * *

Nova materialized out of her Poke Ball, raring to go as she instantly drew upon Rhea’s energy to form bright yellow stars, firing them right at her opponent.  Only, Nova’s resolve momentarily faltered, and she almost tripped on her face as she got her first look at the pretty, lilac-furred, split-tailed cat that solidified.

Almond, purple eyes creasing with amusement, a twinkle shone in one of her pupils as the stars raced toward her, and she gracefully slipped under or between each projectile.  They curved around, yet the split-tailed cat elegantly slipped by them again before a burst of white energy rocketed the Sun Pokemon right toward her.

“Oh, this is practically Gold-tier at this point, people!”  Greg yelled, Tod following.

“Our graceful Espeon, Istar, vs. our unique evolving Eevee, Nova, folks!  This is sure to be a hype match, with them sharing so many abilities and Moves, but Istar has her ace Ability!  Istar dodges the undodgeable with Detect, with Swift still in pursuit as Quick Attack takes her right on top of our young superstar!”

Nova felt stunned at the show; even she couldn’t dodge every Swift star with Detect.  She activated her own Move, a twinkle coming to her eye as her senses expanded and the world slowed, yet panic flooded her breast when Istar’s entertained smirk met her everywhere she looked.  She couldn’t find a good direction to escape after her slight hesitation.

A burst of energy erupted out of her as flames overtook her form, tapping into the fire within her core to ignite her unstable genes.  A blunt force collided with her transforming form, making her wince; it was so much stronger than most attacks she tanked by using her evolution, yet no one had broken through it so far, and Istar was no different.

“Ooh.  Hehe.  Quite the defensive play, Little One.”

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Nova smiled as the Espeon’s motherly voice flipped over her, using half of the momentum she’d gained from the Quick Attack to keep herself mobile while Run Away allowed her a swift retreat.  Her mouth fell, fur bristling as she saw her own pursuing stars coming right for her; Istar had put her right into their path.

She only managed to dodge two before three more peppered her back; it hurt a lot more than other people’s Swift, making her curse her own Adaptability.  Yet, the most mind-spinning part was the calm Espeon looming over her as she flipped upright.

Protect activated, her heart now racing at how ridiculous this woman was, and all Istar did was direct a pretty smile at her before blowing on her protected nose with a short giggle.  “It’s good to find momentum but try not to feel overwhelmed, darling.  I’ll give you a little space, but no more freebies,” she winked, dancing back as Nova did the same.

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Nova tried to calm the rapid thumps in her chest.  Yeah, this was a whole different level than what they were facing in the other Gyms; Rank 8+ was no joke, and it showed what awaited them in Gold-tier.

She let the rapid exchange calm as the announcers settled down, talking up her elegant opponent, who was apparently well-known for her predictive nature; she hadn’t lost once in over two years.  That being said, some commenters thought she’d grown cocky due to her dominance since she was often cited to be quite helpful in giving comments to her opponents.  If that was the case, Sabrina had placed them together to teach her something very important.

Showing a strained smile, Nova puffed out her stress, releasing a bit of flame as her tail flickered with a bit of fire and her fluff poofed a little.  “I hope to be a good student who will be the first to beat you.”

“Aww.  You’re so sweet, cute, and adorable!”  Istar chimed.  “I must thank you for having a good attitude about our battle.  It is uncommon for me to find positive opponents, especially someone more talented than myself.  Hmm.  We only have about five minutes, which is sad, so let’s make the most of it!”

Rhea’s cautious voice entered her mind.  “She has a Gym Ranking, Nova—a real reputation—but the Gyms censor any online data about their Pokemon to challenge Trainers.  I don’t know what she has, but people who fight her get super pissed.  Ugh.  I should have looked up more matches to try and see her battle.”

Nova set her ground, preparing herself as Rhea gave her the gut-tightening news.

“She’s strong, Nova.”

It’s okay, Nova reassured.  I’m strong, too!

Istar probably was nearly as gifted as her in genetics and had far more experience.  She had to listen to Rhea’s advice carefully and watch how Istar fought because even if she did lose, she could already tell there was a lot she could learn from this elegant Espeon, and it made her want to evolve into one as soon as possible.

“Let’s have some fun!”


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