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  1. #241
    Rocking the Lucario Thundagere's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Homecoming Prt 4

    Damn, Gold's Pokémon are on steroids now? This just gets better and better.
    You know what I'll say about the last couple of chapters. They were amazing. Great description, emotionally as well, and you've finally managed to make me like Kris. :) I'll say this though, if Spike gets Salamence, I'm siding with him. Just saying. So...Mence, come on out!
    I'd say grammar was fine, and I can't wait!

    Made by Blue Dragon!

  2. #242
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Homecoming Prt 4

    I am very pleased to see you enjoyed it, and very pleased to see I have converted you into liking Kris :D Spike won't appear in the next part though, just so you all know, as he will stay at Dragon's Den, but he will appear again before the end of the series :) And yes, Gold will do all he can to win, but that's all Im going to say ;)

    ^^^^ The GalacticVerse Bibliography (Thanks to Blazaking for Banner) ^^^^

  3. #243
    Banana eating Gengar GengarEatBanana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Homecoming Prt 4

    80 Gold you sneaky bastard!

    C'mon Kris and Spike, beat Clair!
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  4. #244
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Homecoming Prt 4

    The penultimate story! :D I hope you have enjoyed the ride and enjoy this one as well.



    This is it... There’s no turning back now… I’m nearly there…

    Kris stared at the exit, the last thing standing between her and the Johto League Stadium. Through the open rocky mouth in front of her stood the complex that she had always dreamed about entering, always dreamed of one day standing at the top and holding the winner’s trophy up high. After all these weeks, months of travelling, all the stuff Kris had gone through with her family and Gold… she was nearly here.

    And Kris couldn’t be more excited.

    Battling Clair had been a great build up battle: a powerful six on six battle. Seadra had insisted on evolving, so Kingdra fought it out against Clair’s Kingdra and two Gyarados before falling to a Dragonair. It took some combined effort from Meganium and Miltank to take that Dragonair down, and then Meganium and Espeon took the second down. But Clair’s Dragonite swept through Espeon and Noctowl and left Kris with only one Pokemon left to win. Dragonite and Latias fought brilliantly and brutally, the sheer power of their battle nearly destroying the gym. However, Latias proved superior with her delivery of the moves, and Kris ultimately won.

    Sadly, she had to farewell Spike, and they had a moment alone together as they bade each other goodbye for now, though Spike promised he would make it to the Johto Champion’s Stadium in time for her battle with Lance. Kris then departed on Noctowl, bypassing New Bark and heading towards Route 27. Kris didn’t want to be held up at her hometown, having giving them her goodbyes. She needed to focus on winning now and moving forwards, not moving backwards and let Ruby’s true death consume her.

    Kris enjoyed walking past the sea route, training her Pokemon and helping them get stronger and ready for the battles as she passed through. The sea and sky and tall cliffs and tall forests were a perfect backdrop, and Kris savoured walking through Route 27 and then 26 for a little over a week to truly absorb in the scenery, and truly build up towards the last leg of her journey.

    Victory Road.

    It had been a while since Kris had ventured into a cave, and this was one like no other: an intricate series of caves and tunnels connected together in a way to test whoever was trying to get through it. If you struggled solving the puzzles and tricks that had been built in, than chances were you were not ready to take on the Elite Four. Trainers were left feeling claustrophobic and frightened, but it was the perfect test before the biggest one of them all.

    Kris had managed to make it through. She had clambered over rocks, slid down slopes, slipped through boulders and been forced to camp for the night twice in the darkness, only her Pokemon for company. Her clothes had tears in them and parts of her still stung from being scratched, but Kris had pulled through and managed to survive, and was now at this final point.

    I can’t believe I’ve finally made it through… Kris thought. She was tired and sore, but the fact she was so close to the League was astounding. The sounds of some Flying type chirping sounded in the silent cave, and Kris could feel a breeze coming in and brushing against her body. She stared around at the large boulders, the multiple stalactites and stalagmites, all the rock formations she had gotten used to for the past few days for the last time. Kris took a deep breath in and stepped forwards, ready to finally get out of Victory Road and face the biggest challenge of her life.

    “I’ve been waiting for you.”

    In an instant, Kris’ excitement, determination and hope shattered as the five words washed over her. She froze up, a tinge of anger rising up in her but she repressed it, not wanting to let it get control of her. But to come so close to putting things behind her, only for the familiar voice to perk up once more… it was disappointing and annoying to say the least.

    “Why are you here?” Kris said huffily, taking a deep breath in order to control her temper. She looked around for the voice behind her, but heard something move in front and turned back around. Kris watched as Gold slipped out from the side of the exit, a wide smirk across his face, the sort Kris had not seen in a long time. He looked filthy: torn clothes, dirt and blood across his face and arms, the wind pushing an odour across to Kris that nearly made her gag. Yet Gold was still smiling despite the state he was in, and she thought she knew why.
    “I’m here for the same reason you are,” he said as he stepped out from some rocks, moving into the entrance and pushing his unwashed smell towards her. “The Johto League Complex is just behind us, isn’t it? I have not come all this way to simply enjoy the view that Victory Road has to offer.” Gold laughed at his own little joke, and Kris simply smiled and nodded. Gold was now standing between her and the exit, once again becoming a blockade in her plans of moving forwards. She didn’t want to get in any fights with him, and simply would have to wait out whatever he had to say.

    “So, how have you been since you blew up my house you nasty bitch?” Gold asked with a wide smile, and began laughing again. Kris took several more deep breathes, ignoring the insult, but remembered back to the last time they had met. She had been so busy training that she had forgotten all about: her and Gold’s dramatic showdown at his family home, leaving it badly damaged and the tension between them thicker than ever. Kris was surprised Gold was not challenging her to a battle straight away, clearly eager to bring her down a peg.

    “Gold, I am sorry about what happened, I didn’t intend things to turn out that way,” Kris explained. “I was just annoyed about Ruby, and…” but Kris stopped there, thinking about what she had just said: she had a right to get grumpy with Gold for the death of her best friend being covered up, having the false truth fed to her and her memories manipulated. She had apologised enough, and didn’t need to give him anything else.

    “You destroyed my home,” Gold snarled, a smile still across his face. “I really don’t care what you have to say at all.”

    “Your parents accepted my apology.”

    “I don’t give a fuck what my parents say,” Gold snapped, the smile fading as he glared back at Kris. She was rather shocked by this outburst, but was getting use to the fact that Gold’s behaviour was becoming more and more erratic as the meetings went by. The mention of his family seemed to have struck a chord, and Kris remembered how Harold had asked her to knock some sense into him: had there been some sort of family drama before she blew the front door down?

    “Gold, listen: your filthy, you’re injured, you smell terrible,” Kris said, realising quickly this was not the best way to try to talk sense into him, “and I think you haven’t slept. I don’t know what you have done since New Bark, but I am not going to battle you or anything until we both have had a nice long shower, cleaned up and had a rest. I might battle you tomorrow once I’ve had a decent rest, alright?” Kris went to move around, but Gold moved to the spot, pulling two PokeBalls out of his bag.

    “Actually, that does not suit me at all,” he snapped. Kris stepped backwards; rather repulsed and frightened by the way Gold was acting.

    “I said I am NOT battling!” She insisted, but Gold moved forwards, looking psychotic.

    “I am not moving aside until we have had a battle,” he growled, “and if you try and get past, I will just send my Pokemon out and we will battle anyway!” Kris was shocked, and moved further backwards, wondering what had happened to Gold to make him so angry, and why he was being so forceful all of a sudden…

    ***


    Gold had been out on the land, on his own, ever since fleeing from his family’s home. Though he had been living on his own for a while now, Gold was slowly beginning to snap, and it was effecting the decisions he made. He stopped using his tent, and continuously was leaving supplies behind. He had not slept for the past three days and it was beginning to play with his mind a bit. He was hungry and hadn’t bathed, and only remained hydrated by drinking water from the lakes and rivers, not knowing if it was clean or not and not caring.

    Gold’s breakdown was rapidly getting worse. His confrontation with his parents had not helped things, and he knew that he would never set eyes upon them again if he could so help it. Gold did not even want to go back to New Bark Town again, the foul memories it held, the things he had done…

    A long time ago, Gold had regretted what he had done to Ruby. He use to spend weeks tossing and turning, the image of the car striking Ruby never leaving his mind. His parents had tried a variety of counsellors and therapists, but none of these things seemed to work. It wasn’t until a few years ago, after hundreds of session his parents had insisted on, hoping to cure him and erase this nasty mark on their lives, that Gold simply realised something: he didn’t care.

    It was not his fault the car had hit her. It was merely his fault that she had fallen: the driver had done the rest of the damage. And Ruby had pushed him into the pool… he had nearly drown… it only made sense that he get his revenge… it just didn’t end quite so well for Ruby as it did for him. Gold had seen his parents wheedle out of multiple incidents in their lives, so it only seemed fair that he was able to put this all behind him and move on with his life. And moving on meant only one thing: becoming Champion.

    Gold had dreamed of being the Johto League Champion since he was a little boy. He remembered watching Hayden Soul taking part in a battle when he was five, and Gold could remember watching in awe and in excitement, wondering how he could some day become like him: standing on the top of the podium, swinging a trophy, getting money and fame and admiration. Gold knew he would eventually set out on a journey one day, and would defeat the Elite Four and the Champion in a battle that people would remember long after his grandchildren had died. It had been Gold’s dream, and for a long time he knew he could succeed.

    That was until Kris came along.

    When Gold walked into Professor Elm’s lab on the first day of his journey, he was glad to see Kris was there: she was poor and lonely, clearly the signs of incompetency, and Gold knew he could best her in every way possible to prove he was the best Champion and prove himself as more than the son of Harold Hartley.

    But than Kris defeated him right there and then… and then the next time outside Cherrygrove… than the cave, Goldenrod Tunnel, besting him at the Pokeathlon. For a while Gold began to doubt himself, wondering if he could actually succeed in his dream. But than he defeated Kris twice in a row, and his confidence returned at double the power: Gold would do this, he could defeat Kris and send her crying back to her poor dying mother and deadbeat father. What Gold hadn’t expected was for Kris to bounce back, tearing him apart at the Whirl Islands and getting a legendary boost at Mahogany Town, crushing his dreams once more.

    All of his dreams were fading away, and it was all because of Kris. Gold needed to sho the world what he could do, but couldn’t prove himself if some poor, run-of-the-mill girl kept ruining things for him. It was annoying and made Gold angry every time he thought about it. Since than though, Gold knew what he would have to do to win. He needed to destroy Kris, needed to annihilate her and her Pokemon and make so she never battled again. Gold knew they would meet in the Champion’s Stadium, one way or another, and he would knock her back down to the poverty line. Her Pokemon may be stronger, but Gold had a secret weapon she would never even dream of, and he knew it was the key to his success.

    All he had to was bring her down a peg beforehand.
    Last edited by AceTrainer14; 7th December 2011 at 02:03 AM.

    ^^^^ The GalacticVerse Bibliography (Thanks to Blazaking for Banner) ^^^^

  5. #245
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Double Everything Part 1

    Only a two parter this time! :D Hope you enjoy their epic battle


    Kris and Gold were locked in a staring contest, though it was more the two of them trying to judge the other. Kris had no idea what had gotten into Gold, but she could see that he was serious with his threat and would stop her in she tried to past. But her Pokemon were not as strong as they could be, having been weakened from all their training. Kris was running low on supplies and was hoping to heal then when she arrived at the Johto League, and wondered if they could even survive a double battle, which seemed to be what Gold wanted. Her rival was smiling back at her, clearly aware that he was managing to break her down and get what he wanted. Kris was annoyed with herself, but she knew there was no other way.

    "Fine, I'll battle you!" She huffed, and Gold simply nodded, looking very happy with himself. "A single double battle: two on two, alright?" Gold nodded again, and Kris fished into her bag, which was much dirtier after her time underground, and grabbed one Poke and one Ultra Ball from near the bottom. She had used some of her last supplies to heal these two, and they would be the only ones fit enough for battle.

    "Are we fighting here?" Kris said, and Gold nodded once more, his PokeBalls divided between his hands and a determined look on his face. Kris assessed the conditions quickly: limited space above due to a low roof dotted with jagged rocks, and the surrounding area was not much better. There were a lot of boulders to crash into, and thinking back to past battles at her aunt's theatre in Ecruteak City and at the Hartley's Manor, Kris knew that their Pokemon could get quite easily thrown around.

    Good luck to you two, Kris thought. She was not sure how this battle would turn out, but Gold had been very violent to his Pokemon and her over their last few meetings, so Kris knew it would at least be violent. She did not know how hard Gold had trained, if he had trained, or if her training would be enough. Kris just wanted to get this over with and move on, the next challenge far more important.

    "Ready to lose?" Gold asked cockily, his smile remaining.

    "Only if you are," Kris replied, and Gold laughed a cold, heartless laugh. "It seems like so long ago we were back in Professor Elm's lab, Chikorita and Totodile battling it out with only two moves between them. That was rather cute, wasn't it? And now look where we are now! I really can't believe that –,"

    "Kris, will you just shut up?" Gold snapped suddenly. "I am not here to take a little wander down Memory Lane. I am here to battle, so can we get on with that?" Kris sighed angrily at the outburst, but didn't want to get him any angry and figured it was best to just get this started.

    "Fine, let's send then!" Kris grumbled, and half heartedly threw her PokeBalls forwards. Gold threw his with much more vigour, and all four burst open at the same time: from Kris' side, the red and yellow energy formed into the Magcargo and Miltank, who sparkled and shimmered due to her shininess, while Gold's Ariados landed next to a roaring, flexing Ursaring.

    "Interesting pairings," Kris said, and smiled to herself: Magcargo had a large advantage over Ariados, and Miltank had some powerful moves at her disposal that would make her a force to be reckoned with against Ursaring. Hopefully this match would end quickly, and than Kris would be able to finally rest and relax.

    "Feel free to send first," Gold said. He also appeared to be smiling, though Kris wasn't sure and wondered if he knew the disadvantage he had with Ariados. But she was happy to send first, and found Miltank and Magcargo staring at her, both wearing determined faces as they waited for their orders.

    "Good to see your both ready for battle!" Kris said with a smile, and the two nodded. "Let's put all this training to use: Brick Break Ursaring and Flamethrower Ariados!" Kris commanded, hoping to get an early lead.

    "Strength her, Sucker Punch him!" Gold shouted suddenly, and Kris was stunned at the volume of the order, which echoed all around the cave. But what was more stunning was the sudden speed: Ariados shot forwards as if he had just been shot from a cannon. Magcargo was struck with a leg that came out of nowhere and shot backwards, shooting the Flamethrower from a far.

    "Move!" Gold ordered, but the fiery jet managed to catch half of Ariados' body, causing him to collapse to a heap.

    "MIL!" Miltank called as she ran forwards, fists raised and ready to fight. She brought her arm down on Ursaring's stomach, making the beast grumble slightly, but he quickly fought back: his strong arms grasped onto Miltank, and in a single motion he sent her flying backwards. Kris moved aside to prevent herself being crushed, and watched as Miltank obliterated a rock formation and rolled towards Magcargo. The attacks had been so quick and so brutal that Kris didn't know if they had actually happened, and could see Gold smirking triumphantly out of the corner of her eye.

    "Are you two alright?" She asked.

    "Mag Mag," Magcargo said, only looking slightly beaten as he straightened up. Miltank nodded, but she did not look strong, another attack possibly able to knock her out.

    "Miltank, you use Milk Drink. Magcargo, you use Fire Blast on Ursaring!" Kris commanded. Ursaring had a lot more power in him and could cause a lot more damage, and needed to be taken out. Gold looked disappointed, a possible strategy ruined, but he quickly recovered and went back to his scowl.

    "Sludge Bomb and Strength Magcargo!" He shouted. Ariados stayed back this time, clearly not wanting to get caught up in the flames again, and fired a series of purple balls of slime towards him. Kris leapt aside to avoid getting hit, but than leapt aside again as Magcargo slid forwards on his lava body, mouth open wide.

    "CAAAAAR!" He yelled, firing the five balls of fire that stretched out in a star. Ursaring had been running forwards to use Strength, but was hit directly by the Fire Blast.

    "URSAAA!" He roared as he was sent flying backwards, crashing up against a boulder. Gold looked horrified as his Pokemon slumped onto the ground, and Kris couldn't help but clap her hands in delight. Miltank was beginning to stand up, her body glowing white as she initiated Milk Drink, and she finally got back to her feet with her determined face back on.

    "Great work!" Kris said, and Magcargo smiled widely. The two Pokemon moved back to be beside Kris, and they all stared at Gold. He was clearly annoyed, the confidence he had beforehand fading away from the battle. Whatever his strategy had been, it wasn't working, and Kris knew how to shake things up for him.

    "You want to continue?" She called. Gold made a snarling noise Kris would have expected a Pokemon to make, but he nodded all the same. "Alright then: ThunderPunch Ariados and use Stone Edge on Ursaring, aim for his ring!" Kris commanded. Gold looked annoyed once more, the switch up in targets clearly annoying him. But than the corners of his lips curled up, and Kris once again repulsed by a sickening smile.

    "Ariados, you use Giga Drain on Miltank but scale the rocks. And Ursaring, ready Focus Punch but run forwards!" Gold commanded. Kris watched as Ariados suddenly shot off, leaping quickly on the rocks and jumping between them, his many legs never stopping to move. Miltank stayed frozen as electricity wrapped around her right fist, watching as Ariados leapt from rock to rock, not staying still long enough.

    "Done some speed training have you?" Kris asked, sounding stunned, and Gold laughed heartlessly once more.

    "I've trained more than just speed," he said, and pointed at Ursaring. Kris watched as the tall brown Pokemon began to quiver and shake, red energy glowing from the core of his body and moving towards his hands, a vicious, murderous look on his face that. She wasn't surprised that Magcargo looked intimidated, and felt bad for putting him into this position.

    "You can do it Magcargo! You need to hit him to make sure he doesn't hit you," she cried, and Magcargo nodded. His eyes glowed brown, and rocks suddenly shot from the ground. But it was at this point that Ursaring began to run forwards, and Kris let out a loud 'NO!' of despair as the Normal type spun around, the rucks colliding with a stalagmite behind him.

    "URSAAAAAARING!" He roared, his fists now glowing a powerful red that lit up the area around him. Kris could only watch in horror as the Focus Punch was thrust into Magcargo's face. The Lava Pokemon was thrown backwards so fast that he couldn't even make a noise, and all anyone could see was a large grey blur with red coming out from behind. Magcargo crashed straight through a row of stalactites, causing the jagged rocks to crash to the ground, before he struck a boulder and slumped to the ground.

    "MAGCARGO!" Kris gasped, and went to rush forwards, but suddenly Ariados was in front of her, purposely blocking her way.

    "ARIA!" He called, a green all formed between his front legs, and a second ball shot towards Miltank and struck her stomach. She began to convulse as green balls of energy were pulled from her body and travelled between the two balls. Ariados moved backwards, the chain of energy keeping Kris from getting to Magcargo, and she turned to see Gold laughing at her.

    I can't let him get to me, Kris reminded herself as anger built up over his nasty strategy that prevented her from checking on her Pokemon. She could see Miltank was trying to withhold having her energy drained, but the Giga Drain was becoming too strong.

    "Miltank, run forwards and jump!" Kris shouted. "Put all of your weight behind the punch!" Miltank nodded, and she began to run as fast as her large frame allowed. Ariados tried to move backwards, but he was too far back to escape.

    "TAAAAAANK!" Miltank yelled as she leapt into the air and began to dive forwards, ThunderPunch at the ready. The green chain was broken as Miltank punched Ariados in his abdomen and landed with the punch. Ariados squirmed and flailed as electricity engulfed his body, but Kris was more focused on Magcargo and his safety.

    "Are you alright?" Kris asked once she got to him. Magcargo's eyes were still open, but it looked as if he was oozing out of his shell, which looked more cracked than it had a few moments ago. "You just use Recover, Miltank can deal to those two for now," Kris said with a smile, and Magcargo nodded weakly. Kris got back to her feet to find Miltank standing a few feet away from Ariados, glaring down at Ursaring who continued to flex. Gold looked rather annoyed, and Kris thought she knew why.

    "Your Pokemon don't have healing moves, do they?" She asked, and Gold simply made the growling noise again. "You should have them prepared, they are good for your Pokemon and for – ,"

    "SHUT UP!" Gold roared, and silence fell between them, the two words echoing around them. "You think you're so special just cause you have a legendary and you've won a few battles! None of that matters anymore! I will defeat you in the end, and all your past wins will just be worthless!" Kris was rather taken aback by this outburst, and could see that Miltank was stomping at the ground, clearly enraged over it.

    "There is no need to get snappy Gold," Kris replied. "You're the one who challenged me to this battle, so get upset that you're not winning! I was just offering some advice, but I can see it was wasted!" Gold looked like he was going to retort, but he simply growled again.

    "Ice Punch and Sucker Punch!" He yelled. Kris was meant to send first and was going to say something, but than she realised he could use this to her advantage.

    "Ice Punch on Ariados once he hits you and charge with him!" She yelled. Gold looked a bit stunned, and Kris hoped her gamble was going to pay off. Ariados moved forwards with his Sucker Punch at another lightning fast pace, and Kris knew that Gold was expecting her to use the turn to recharge rather than fight back. But as Ariados drove his fist leg into Miltank and Ursaring began to run forwards, roaring and his fist glowing an ice blue, Miltank struck up with her ThunderPunch.

    "MIL MIL!" She yelled as she began to run, and Ursaring was too in the zone to realise what Kris had planned. He swung his fist, unaware Ariados was still trapped on Miltank. Gold cried out as the Ice Punch was forced into Ariados, Miltank still using ThunderPunch. Ariados' body spasmed and his legs flailed, but it still took Ursaring half a minute to realise Miltank was smiling.

    "Ursa Sa!" He gasped, moving his fist backwards. Miltank let her attack stop, and Ariados landed, slightly smoking, to the ground between them. Ursaring stepped backwards, looking between Ariados and Gold in shock, not understanding what he did. Gold looked like he had just been punched, and Kris couldn't help but feel a little satisfied as Miltank walked back to her, and Magcargo slid up next to them looking rejuvenated. Ariados remained unconscious between the two sides, the force of the two attacks to strong for him to withstand, leaving behind smoke and a heavy amount of tension.

    "That was just… devious…," Gold hissed, staring down at his unconscious Pokemon, and he looked up at Kris as if he was seeing her in a new light. "I didn't know you had it in you! I underestimated the darkness within you Soul, highly underestimated."

    "What?" Kris said, looking repulsed. "It was a battle move, I was not trying to go dark! Ariados needed to be eliminated, and I thought I would make it more of a low blow for you after you snapped at me." Gold simply smiled widely, not taking in a word she said.

    "I knew you must be a little stuffed up from all your family drama," he said with a wide smile, "you know, your daddy dying, mummy's illness, that sort of thing. And I can imagine that fact that little revelation about Ruby is playing on your mind. All that anger has to go somewhere – I didn't see you going for channelling it through your Pokemon."

    "SHUT UP!" Kris yelled, and could see Gold smiling widely, succeeding in pushing her over the edge and out of her calm state of mind. Miltank and Magcargo were reflecting her rage on their faces, and Kris simply wanted to run forwards and slap Gold as hard as she could. "That was uncalled for Gold and you know it! If this was an official battle you could be penalized for verbal abuse!"

    "I was just offering the truth, but I can see it was wasted," Gold hissed as he stole wore his smile, and began to laugh once more. Kris felt like she had been slapped, having her excuse manipulated and thrown back into her face. Though Gold was down one Pokemon, he was gaining the upper hand against her by toying with her emotions. She never wanted to have this battle, but for the first time in a while, Kris wanted to defeat Gold as best as she could and wipe the smile off his face.

    "Flamethrower, Brick Break, go!" She yelled. Ariados remained on the ground, Gold too focused on his mocking to bring him back, and Miltank had to leap over him as she charged towards Ursaring, who was once again flexing.

    "Hold her off and take the Flamethrower, than use Strength on them!" Gold shouted. The order stunned Kris, who had no idea what any of it meant, but as the fiery jet was released from beside her, an important fact suddenly struck her, and she remembered when Ursaring's ability was.

    "STOP, HE'S USING IT AGAINST US!" Kris yelled hysterically, but it was too late: Ursaring was holding Miltank back with a single palm against her, somehow withstanding her power and the weight behind it, and reached out with his other hand, almost as if accepting the attack. The Flamethrower washed over him and engulfed most of his body, and moments later Ursaring's entire body was dancing with flames.

    "URSAAAAAAAA!" He roared, dust trickling down from the roof. Gold clapped and whooped with delight, and Kris was left horrified at what had happened, Ursaring's Guts being activated. "RING!" He cried, and with a single movement he whacked Miltank aside. Guts boosted his attack power, but no ability gave him the power Ursaring seemed to have: Miltank soared backwards and crashed into a boulder, shattering it into pieces. Ursaring hadn't even used his full power, the Strength being saved for Magcargo.

    "DODGE IT!" Kris bellowed. If Magcargo was struck with that Strength, his entire shell would shatter. Magcargo, however, was too frightened to move, and Kris couldn't force him aside without disqualifying herself from the match. Suddenly, she could feel warm breath wafting over her, and stared up in fright as Ursaring appeared over her.

    "URSAAA!" He yelled, and bent down and grabbed Magcargo with both hands. Ursaring swung around at such speed he became a blur, but one thing Kris did see coming was a large hairy elbow: it collided into her head, and she cried out as she was knocked several metres aside, landing on another boulder. The wind was knocked out of her, and Kris could feel blood trickling down her face. But she ignored the pain and watched in shock as the part of the cave above Gold was suddenly shattered. The amount of rock that was destroyed was about the same size as Kris' tent, and the grey rock simply crashed down. Gold stood there, still laughing as the rock crashed down at his feet, staring out towards the route ahead. Though blood was beginning to come over her vision, Kris could see something in the distance striking the ground.

    "MAGCARGO, NO!" Kris screamed. She leapt to her feet, wiping the blood out of her eye, but wobbled as she regained her balance, her stomach panging with pain. But Kris ignored it and hobbled forwards, shooting Ursaring a nasty look as she passed. Miltank was getting back to her feet, still conscious, and moved behind her trainer.

    "That was quite the show, wasn't it?" Gold laughed as Kris passed. She paused by the rock that lay in front of her, looking up at the larger exit in front of her. Kris turned back to Gold, stared at his smirking face, and slapped with as hard as she could. Gold was forced backwards by it, and Kris felt some satisfaction as she and Miltank stepped out into the Johto League Complex.

    Kris had forgotten how long she had been underground. The sunlight nearly blinded her, and she had to cover herself as she stumbled over the fallen rock. She moved slowly forwards, staring only at the ground in front of her. Eloquent red brick carved through fields of green grass, and Kris had never appreciated the beauty of something so simple as a blade of grass before in her life. As her eyes adjusted to the light, Kris could see that rows of trees stretched off around them, before Mt Silver on one side and the peaks separating Johto and Kanto to the other. The Johto League Building would be in the distance, but as Kris went to look at it, she would something grey up ahead.

    "Magcargo!" She cried and rushed forwards, Miltank rushing along side. Even from afar, Kris could see fears had come true: Magcargo's shell had broken to pieces, unable to withstand striking the wall at that speed and strength. She collapsed to her knees and reached out towards Magcargo, his red lava-like body pouring across the rock. Kris wanted to pick him up and hold him, but even as her hand hovered over him, the heat was too strong, too intense for her to touch him. She bit back the pain and patted her shell, which was like touching the bonnet of a car on a hot summer's day.

    "I am sorry I put you through this," Kris whispered, and she pulled out his PokeBall. Miltank let out a mournful 'moooo' as Magcargo was brought back, and Kris knew she would have to send him back to Professor Elm, where he will be fixed alongside Ampharos… hopefully.

    "You really must admit your dark side Krystal. A good girl couldn't muster a slap like that," a cocky voice called. Kris wiped a tear away from her eyes as she stood up, not looking at the league building, and simply turned around. She thought she saw someone by the trees, but Kris didn't linger long enough to find out. Her attention focused entirely on Gold, who stood about twenty metres away outside the Victory Road exit. He had sunglasses on to shield his vision from the suns rays, though hadn't given the same courtesy to Ursaring.

    All Kris wanted to do right now was to grab one of the fallen rocks and hit Gold with it, hit him like how the car had hit Ruby. She wanted to run forwards and release all this rage she was trying to surpress in order to keep Latias healthy, though it was not doing much good for her health. Kris stared at Gold's cocky, arrogant smile, listened to the words mill around in her head, and knew all she needed to do was to get revenge. Get revenge for Ruby, for Magcargo's broken shell, for Ampharos and how she couldn't use Electric moves, get revenge for everything Gold had ever said and done to her, her Pokemon and his own Pokemon.

    It was time.

    "You are a nasty, cruel, arrogant little boy Ethan," Kris hissed, putting acid into every word she said. "I have never liked you, and I never will. You should not be allowed to keep Pokemon, you should not be allowed to go anywhere near them. I have seen how cruelly you treat them, and no respectable trainer would ever harm another trainers Pokemon in such a disgusting way in a simple battle." Gold's smile faded off his face, quickly replaced with a snarl.

    "You are just sad you aren't going to win this!" He growled, grabbing Ursaring and pushing him forwards to only reinforce Kris' words. Miltank stepped forwards at this, cracking her fists and shaking her muscles. "You want every to perfect and nice and happy, but your own damn family is a sign that life sucks and you need to get over that! I just savour being able to defeat you and sending you back to that windy hovel of a town so you can learn that lesson." The tension was heavy between them. Kris wasn't going to retort, knowing that this battle could only be settled by their Pokemon, not by their words. Gold raised his glasses up, and their eyes connected like that had so many times in the past, yet now both of them were filled with unimaginable hate for each the other and Kris wanted to end this battle now.

    It felt as if an hour passed, yet it was only a second moment, a single heartbeat, a single pause between their words before their final blows were unleashed.

    "HYPER BEAM!"

    "GIGA IMPACT!"

    Instantly they reacted. Miltank drew in energy from around, absorbing it into her mouth. Ursaring suddenly charged forwards, his yellow ring glowing white before the energy wrapped around his entire body, turning him a powerfully blinding side of white. The two attacks were opposites, and Miltank's Hyper Beam glowed and shone with the same power of Ursaring's Giga Impact. You could see the energy quivering above their bodies like the heat emitting from a flame. Ursaring leapt upwards and dived down, a fist outstretched, a glowing white missile.

    "URSAAAAAAAAA!"

    "TAAAAAAAAANK!"

    Miltank fired the Hyper Beam just as Ursaring reached her.

    For a moment, things hung in the balance. Only light shone from the two, nearly blinding Kris, and she began to take a step backwards, watching the quivering glowing mass in fear and uncertainty, the outcome unknown.

    Than the attacks exploded.

    The scream was unable to leave Kris' mouth as she was blasted backwards, unstable due to her moving backwards. All she could see was white, and all she could feel was raw power engulfing her. Kris seemed to soar through the air for a few seconds and many metres before finally landing, crashing into the red brick and rolling, more blood seeping from the wound on her head. Kris shut her eyes against the blinding light, not knowing who had won or what the outcome would be.

    It was all over quickly. The blinding whiteness was burnt into her eyes, but there was no longer a feeling of the energy washing over her. Kris simply lay on the red brick, unable and unwilling to move, not wanting to open her eyes and see who won. The only thing she could hear was footsteps: soft, slow footsteps, aching closer and closer towards her. Somehow, these footsteps spelt bad news, and Kris tensed up as they stopped only inches from her face.

    "You are a weak, pathetic, silly little girl Krystal. I have never liked you and I never will. You should not be allowed to keep Pokemon, you should not be allowed to go anywhere near them. I have seen your failures and your inability to win, and no respectable Pokemon would ever want you for a trainer. I may abuse my Pokemon in your eyes, but that's how I've gotten this far, and it's how I am going to keep on winning. See you at the finish line, if you can make it that far." Kris finally opened her eyes in time to see Gold move away from her, smirking. Ursaring thumped past him, moving slowly and clumsily, clearly weakened.

    "Miltank…," Kris whispered, and she could see her body shining in the sunlight a few metres away, half embedded in a large crater. Kris tried to move, but she was too weak, both physically and mentally. Gold's words have torn into her as if he had scratched them there, and she was too hurt to move. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps picked up again, and Kris slumped back to the ground, wondering if Gold was back for more.

    "That child seems like a right little monster," a soft, calm, feminine voice said, and hands topped off with purple nail polish appeared beside her. Kris reached out and grabbed the hand, getting lifted to her feet. A woman was standing there in a yellow jacket and white denim jeans, black sunglasses resting on her grey-blue hair that hung down to her hips.

    "Your Karen… Elite Four… right?" Kris mumbled, rubbing the blood from her head, and the woman nodded, staring towards Gold as he walked off.

    "I don't have to battle that boy, do I?" Karen said, and Kris nodded, smirking slightly, and the Dark type trainer rolled her eyes. "Ugh… just what I need. I did watch your battle though. Imagine my surprise when I came out here for some piece and quiet, and suddenly a Magcargo smashes into the ground in front of me. I was going to intervene, but I realised I could be facing the trainers involved soon, and I decided to sit back and watch the show."

    "Any rave reviews for my performance?" Kris said, giving it to the blood and grabbing a shirt that got torn the other day from her bag and placing it against her forehead. Karen paused for a moment, clearly mulling over her words.

    "You both fight with passion, but I am not sure if that is simply because you are fighting each other or if that is how one or both of you fight," the Elite Four head said. "But clearly you both have powerful Pokemon, wheter you want to admit it or not, but your personalities are going to get in the way. That boy, Ethan, you said, yes? Anyway, he has a darkness none of my Pokemon have ever shown, and I would not want to be on the other side of him when he fights, especially if he abuses Pokemon as much as you both said he does. But you… I am not sure, but I feel as if something is holding you back," Karen said with a sort of sigh. "I think you need to let yourself go more, unleash all of your feelings and not worry about the consequences. Let your passion course through your veins during the entire fight and keep it steady, rather than letting an outburst snake in here and there. I do not believe in categorizing a Pokemon by their strengths or weaknesses, or by how much power they have: let your passion by your Pokemon's strength, let it be there power."

    "You think so…," was all Kris could muster, letting the words wash over her. She could imagine what Latias would have to save on the subject, but she did dislike Gold as well: should Kris let all of her emotions out rather than holding them back… was that the key?

    "I'd better head off then that thing is coming my way," Karen said, and Kris smiled once more. "Make sure you are ready, both your Pokemon and you, before you take me and my team on. You seem look a good trainer, just like your mother, so we'll be expecting only the best. Ciao," Karen said, and she walked off smiling before Kris registered what she had said.

    "I'm not as good as her!" Kris called, but Karen simply waved her hand and walked upwards towards the League Building. It was then Kris realised she hadn't noticed it yet: a building painted the richest of reds, with large blue glass windows sparkling high above. It was the size of a two storey structure, yet the power it presented was more grasping, much large and more extravagant. Kris felt like she was in the presence of some mighty being she was meant to bow down to. She watched as Karen climbed up a set of stairs, flanked by four columns with a fifth built in to the doors. Gold and silver statues of Ho-oh and Lugia respectively flanked the heavy oak door that creaked as Karen opened them, and closed with a heavy, echoing thud.

    Kris walked back to Miltank and cradled her for a while, staring at the building as Gold and Karen's words whispered in her ears, mixed with those from gym leaders, Hanoko, her aunts, her mother, Professor Elm, Spike, Bill, the Dragon Elder, Harold, Leaf… practically everyone she met was whispering in her head, and Kris was not sure what to think. The only straight thought she could come to was by staring at the Champion's Stadium in the distance. You could walk a quick path from Blackthorn City to get to it or simply fly there, but was to only access the sides. In order to access the South entrance, you had to defeat the Elite Four.

    I will defeat them. Kris told herself. I have not come this far for nothing. I will defeat each of them, and than I will defeat whoever is waiting for my in the stadium. Wheter it be Lance, Gold or someone else, I will fight them with heart, I will fight them with soul, and I will fight with passion.

    Whatever happens, I am not losing that battle. The name Krystal will join Persephone and Hayden in the Hall of Fame… this is my time. I have not come all this way for nothing. My Pokemon and I will conquer Johto, and I hope to see Gold in the process.

    It will only make things sweeter.


    Next Time: Passion
    The final duel between Kris and Gold shall occur. The final battle between them that will see one crowned Champion and one taking a very different path. Look out for the grand finale for Kris vs Gold!

    ^^^^ The GalacticVerse Bibliography (Thanks to Blazaking for Banner) ^^^^

  6. #246
    Rocking the Lucario Thundagere's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Double Everything Last Part

    Wow.
    That was epic. I'm going to get Gold nightmares :).
    At any rate, great chapter! Now, guess who my favorite character is!
    Spike :) What, it's a Salamence to be! I hope he returns soon.
    I like Kris, but I like Gold's team better. I mean, Ursaring was beast.
    This chapter was really nice, it conveyed exactly whom Gold was and revealed a lot of the indecision in Kris. I really enjoyed it, but I even more so want to see who becomes the champion! I'm expecting a great battle, judging by your standards!
    Oh, and I take it you're doing the same thing with the Elite Four battles as you did with Claire?

    Made by Blue Dragon!

  7. #247
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Double Everything Last Part

    I am glad you enjoyed it :) And yes, I will skip through the Elites battles mostly, though highlight the winning moment of Karen's (Fans of Red vs Leaf will have seen this with Leaf vs Lance)

    ^^^^ The GalacticVerse Bibliography (Thanks to Blazaking for Banner) ^^^^

  8. #248
    Banana eating Gengar GengarEatBanana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Double Everything Last Part

    @AceTrainer14,

    SO. EPIC.





    ...Yeh...


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    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Double Everything Last Part

    Thank you :P I always appreciate feedback of any kind

    ^^^^ The GalacticVerse Bibliography (Thanks to Blazaking for Banner) ^^^^

  10. #250
    Back to KM Kantomasta's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Double Everything Last Part

    Wow, just read the last few chapters, trying to catch up, and i cant wait for the end. I want to see what happens to gold and Kris. Overall, very good. :)
    My 3ds FC: 0018 2172 7225 Safari: Rock Feel free to add me! I can only get on wifi maybe once a week at most though!
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    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War Double Everything Last Part

    Here we are everyone: the finale! One of my favourite series has reached its conclusion. I hope you have all enjoyed the ride, and I hope you all enjoy this battle which is definitely one of my most epic battles ever written. It is a long ending, but I hope you all agree it is worth it.


    Passion



    Finally… I have made it…

    Kris stood directly in front of a pair of golden doors, the only amount of colour in an otherwise drab, empty hallway. Her footsteps had echoed all around the confined space, but now that Kris was still and silence hung in the air she almost missed their presence, a form of comfort before she took the biggest step of her life.

    It had been a long hard week of training building up to this moment. Kris had let herself become fully absorbed in her training, barely sleeping or eating but ensuring her Pokemon had long rests and had plenty to feast on. Professor Elm had ruled Miltank and Magcargo out of strenuous training following the intense battle with Gold, but Kris was pleased with her remaining Pokemon: Meganium, Noctowl, Ampharos, Espeon, Kingdra and Latias. It was a team she knew well and a team she could trust to face the Elite Four. Kris devised new moves for them all and practiced from directly after practice to long after she should have had dinner. The Pokemon practiced all their Stats and Kris used Leaf's lessons of move combinations and adding a little extra to your attacks that things started to build up. They were completely cut off from the rest of the world, and Kris didn't care that she had no contact with anyone asides from the nurses who would heal her team whenever she needed it: Kris wanted to focus entirely on her training, and that was all that was important to her. Losing to Gold had shaken her confidence, and she could see his smug face and hear his cruel words every time she trained, but they only made her want to work harder, and she would instead focus on Karen's: let your passion by your Pokemon's strength, let it be there power.

    After she was certain that she was ready, and with some encouragement from her Pokemon, the nurses and good luck calls from Professor Elm, her mother and Hanoko and her aunts in Ecruteak, Kris walked through the giant doors at the end of the entrance way, and she emersed herself into the Elite Four challenge. Kris walked in with sweat pouring from every possible place and her heart beating painfully against her chest, her mind giddy with excitement: after all these years building up, she had finally reached this point and was ready for the excitement that awaited her.

    First up had been the Psychic trainer Will, set on a multi levelled room with purple tiles and elegantly designed. Kris' nervousness wasn't helped by strange things being projected as floating in the air and dark pit on either side, but Will's costume almost looked like he was going to a party rather than battling. Espeon's Signal Beam proved effective in defeating his Slowbro and Exeggutor, but she needed help from Kingdra's Ice Beam and Surf to defeat his Jynx and two Xatu.

    The second Elite was Koga, an ex gym leader turned Elite who had specialized Poison. His room was purple as well, but a lot darker and was covered with foliage to match his type. Again Espeon had to play a huge, teamed with Noctowl to unleash Psychic attacks that tore through Ariados, Muk, Venomoth and Crobat. Forretress proved a bigger threat, his attacks weakening the two severely and forcing Kris to risk Ampharos' Focus Blast, which paid off and provided a large bang.

    Kris was becoming more confident as she entered Bruno's room, but was taken aback by the heat coming from a pool of layer beneath the brown tiled floor and several flaming pots. It was boiling, but Bruno seemed rather relaxed as he sat waiting for her in long pants, bare, sweating torso on display. Meganium took care of his Onix and weakened his Fighting types of Machamp and the three Hitmon's, but kept getting struck with Blaze Kicks and Ice Punches, leaving a recharged Noctowl and Espeon to again sweep the field. Finally came Karen, the friendly Elite that had cheered Kris up after her defeat against Gold. Kris was surprised to find her room was a lot darker than the Elite had seemed, with rich purple tiles with star like designs, and sharp but beautiful crystals jutting out on either side. Karen seemed impressed that Kris was there, and Kris felt as confident as ever as their battle began: it was furious, but room shaking explosions as moves collided. Ampharos' Ice Punch took out Vileplume and Murkrow before she was poisoned, leaving Kingdra to defeat Houndoom. Meganium got rid of Umbreon with a variety of combination moves, but Gengar proved difficult, poisoning and Destiny Bonded many of Kris' Pokemon throughout the battle. Eventually Latias was forced to be used, and a powerful Mist Ball nearly sent Gengar crashing through the roof.

    "You battled well, but I am still not feeling the passion," Karen said as she had stood asides, leaving the space clear for Kris to move on. "If you want to defeat the Champion, you are going to let your walls down and just let you passion fuel your battle – that is how you will win."

    Now Kris was here at the golden doors, the Champion waiting for her on the other side. A variety of medicines had been used to heal her six girls up, and now Kris was left with nothing to hold her back from walking through… nothing except herself.

    Can I even do that? Kris thought to herself, thinking about Karen's words. She had always thought that she had let her battles be filled with a little bit of herself, especially whenever she faced Gold. Whenever Kris thought about Karen's words during her training, she had used them to inspire her but had never truly digested them: was she holding herself back, trying to hard to make the battle normal, and not letting her emotions show? The battles with Gold were they had shouted at each other for most of it had been reasonably painful, so had this stopped Kris from being passionate? Should she stop worrying about the outcome of the battle or trying to stay calm for her Pokemon and just put her heart and soul on her sleeve?

    Body shaking and mind racing with confusion, Kris grasped a PokeBall in her pocket and pressed the button: the red light and energy briefly lit up the hallway, only to disappear seconds later as Meganium formed alongside. Before the Herb Pokemon had a chance to speak though, Kris had flung her arms around her trusted friend's long neck.

    "Gani?" Meganium asked, bending her neck around as Kris let out a sob.

    "Please stay with me," Kris said, looking up and brushing away tears. "I am ready for whatever awaits me on the other side of this door, but just promise you won't leave my side until I need you in battle?" Meganium was beginning to well up as well, but she gave her green head a nod and Kris broke into a smile, giving her another long hug. "Alright then, shall we move on?"

    "Mega!" Meganium said. Kris turned and face the golden doors, brushing away the tears and readying herself. She wasn't going to go in with tears streaming down her face and acting like the little girl that had left New Bark Town all those months ago: Kris was going to enter confident with her head held high and ready for the most important battle of her life, no matter the outcome. With a shaky step forwards, Kris turned one of the Dratini door handles, allowing the doors to open wide and to allow the two to enter.

    Both jaws dropped as Kris and Meganium stepped in, staring around the Champion's Room: everything seemed to be made of gold. The walls were gold, the ceiling was gold, the floor was gold, everywhere seemed to sparkle in the colour of the precious metal. Kris was taken aback by this, and didn't even notice the doors were closing behind them until both slammed shut with an echoing bang. It startled her, but she quickly recovered in order not to look foolish. She and Meganium continued forwards along a velvet red carpet, three golden Dratini statues on either side, until they reached the end of the carpet. The golden floor before them was the size of a normal battle field, though gaps around the outside showed the floor was to pull away, leaving a proper field beneath. Kris' heart was pounding with nervousness that she couldn't control, and needed a reassuring nod from Meganium before stepping forwards.

    "Hello?" She called, her voice echoing. "Lance, are you here? … Hello?" There was no response and Kris turned to Meganium and shrugged, no idea what was going on. But suddenly there was a laugh. Kris turned around, wondering where it was coming from, but than froze as she heard it again: it was familiar… too familiar.

    "No…," Kris said, eyes bulging and turning around desperately, hoping she was wrong but still hearing the laugh. "No… fuck no… no, anything but this!" The laughter was getting louder, and suddenly a second set of doors opened in front. Kris backed up to Meganium, feeling shock and anger building up as the last person she expected or wanted to see walked through the doors.

    "Krystal darling, have you hade your shower yet?" There was another burst of laughter as Gold walked into the room that seemed to match his name, laughing loudly and shrilly. He was wearing what appeared to be a tuxedo, with black jacket and matching pants, a crisp white shirt underneath and a gold and black tie around his neck. Kris had no idea why he was here instead of Lance, and refused to accept what could be the obvious answer.

    "What do you mean have I had a shower?" Kris hissed, but it took one second staring into Gold's smug eyes that it hit her: a week ago when they had last met she had suggested they wait to have a shower and clean up before battling. "Of course I've showered." Gold shrugged and gave a little tut, looking Kris up and down as he stepped onto the opposite side of the field.

    "Really? You don't look like it, but than again, you are as poor as –,"

    "Why are you here Gold?" Kris interrupted, beginning to lose her patience and not needing to hear an unfunny joke about her wealth. Gold gave her a confused look that lasted a few seconds, but than he burst into laughter again.

    "Are you serious?" He said, snorting and barely breathing. "You're actually serious, aren't you? You've been training here all week; I've been watching you from my new room! I don't you must not have a television at your house, but there are a few here, allowing with something called the Internet and newspapers, you easily could have check these for –,"

    "Are you the Champion?" Kris asked, her voice cracking as she spoke the words that nearly made her tongue curl up and fall out. Gold's laughter died down to a silent smirk, and he simply gave a little nod that made Kris' world collapse. Her legs wobbled and Meganium adjusted herself so Kris wouldn't collapse, but Gold had noticed and let out a single laugh. Kris just wanted to leave: she hadn't prepared for this, she didn't want to see him. Kris had no idea what was going on, but her confusion and desperation seemed to make Gold happy.

    "It was fairly easy, I didn't need to bother with all that training nonsense you've been doing," Gold said with a smile. "I just used my Pokemon and swept them all away with barely a scratch on any of them. I was following your progress and I thought you weren't going to make it a few times, which would have been a bit of a disappointment: I was hoping you would be my first challenge, and it looks as if my wish has come true!" Kris felt sick staring at his overly smug expression and the lack of dignity or grace, and Meganium seemed to be scowling as well.

    "I am not going to battle you," Kris said with a filthy look, but Gold didn't look bothered in the slightest and was already smiling.

    "Ah, but I have already spread the news that I'll be having a very large battle tonight," he explained. "It is going to be free for people to come to the stands, and there'll be news crews playing it across Johto and every other region! You can't disappoint people now, can you?"

    "This isn't meant to be some sick show for you to get your kicks!" Kris said with a scowl. "I am not going to battle you: not now, not tonight, not ever! If you think I am going out there your dreaming!" The laughter died from Gold's face and was replaced with a look that was a cross between being bored and anger.

    "Now why would you ever be part of my dreams?" He hissed, taking a step forwards so he and Kris were a lot closer. "I dream about victory and proving myself by crushing thousands of nameless foes. Why would I dream about some pity little orphan girl? The only time you'd ever appear would be as the monster in my nightmares."

    "I'm not an orphan," Kris said with a growl, and a flicker of smile reappeared on Gold's face.

    "Dying mother, dead mother, it's all the same in my book," he replied with a purr. Kris was shocked and disgusted and wondered how someone like him could have become Champion. She wanted to reply, but her words would be useless as nothing was coming to her. Anger flowing through her, Kris raised her arm and moved, readying to slap him across the cheek. But Gold seemed to have anticipated this and a hand shot up, grabbing her arm and holding it tightly.

    "Now listen here," Gold growled, moving up to Kris' ear as she gasped as pain moved through her arm. "You are going to put on a nice little outfit so you look good for the cameras and than in two hours you will join me on the field. I have waited a long time to face you in that arena Krystal and nothing is going to ruin this moment for me. And if you even think of leaving or not taking part, than I will make it so that you never get a chance to battle here again and you'll just lie in the gutters for the rest of your pathetic, miserable life."

    "GANI MEGA!" Kris felt relief in her arm as Meganium moved forwards, his head striking Gold in the stomach and sending him backwards. Kris looked down at him, wondering where the trainer was that had left New Bark Town with her, wondering how he had turned into the animalistic creature opposite her: Gold had his clenched teeth bared and an almost murderous look on his face. He quickly recovered and put on a smile, straightening his tie and turning around.
    "See you in a few hours," he called, and walked smugly out of the room. Meganium walked forwards, staring at his departing body with a growl, but turned back towards Kris with a softer look.

    "Megani Ganium Mega?" She asked, looking at her arm.

    "Its fine… it's not my arm I'm worried about," Kris said, watching Gold leave as well. She had entered this room expecting a battle with Lance, but somehow Gold had won and she hadn't found out about it. Her entire confidence and plan of attack had been thrown upside down, and now had a deadline of two hours to ready herself for an entirely new challenge she hadn't expected, an unfair threat dangling above her.

    "I am sorry to say this Meganium," Kris said, "but it looks as if in order to become Champion, we are going to have to battle Kris." The Herb Pokemon nodded and both of them fell silent. Kris was annoyed at this surprise, but she quickly began to compose herself, having always imagined battling Gold when she was Champion, but defeating him when he was in that role would be a much greater feeling.

    It was time for their final battle, and Kris simply hoped the outcome was in her favour.

    ***

    Two hours later, the stage was set.

    Over the time since Gold had made the announcement, over a thousand people had shown up for the free event. A limited number made their way to private boxes belonging to various companies, but most piled into the stands that could seat the entire population of New Bark, Cherrygrove and the surrounding routes two times over. More people waited around the Johto League Complex, setting up to watch the battle on the big screens. A helicopter was getting ready to fly overhead and record the battle, multiple television crews were setting up cameras, commentators were preparing themselves and last minute touches were being made to the field.

    This is all too perfect, Gold thought to himself as he watched from a mostly empty room on the opposite side of the stadium to where it met the Elite Four building. He had a perfect view of the crowd gathering as he perched on the edge of a table, a blender whirring behind him. The crowd was nearing capacity and the entrances were being closely watched to prevent too many people entering. Gold couldn't have asked for a better field.

    It had been months building up to this moment, ever since Chikorita defeated Totodile back in New Bark Town. Since that moment, Gold's dreams of having some amazing journey where everything went his way had been crushed. Every time he began to believe he was the best, Kris would appear and trip him up. All Gold had wanted was to prove he was different from his rich parents, smart brother and beautiful sister, the entire worthless lot that hadn't thought he could make it Well, not entirely useless, Gold thought with a smirk, staring at the blender. If it hadn't been for Chantelle and her smoothies I probably wouldn't be sitting here right now, even though I could TOTALLY have defeated Lance anyway. But Kris… she is something else.

    But in a short amount of time, Gold hoped that things would finally be changed: finally, he would show his parents, Kris, Elm, the whole world that he was the greatest trainer that had ever lived. All the gruelling work, the abuse of his Pokemon, the relentless training would be worth it, just to see Kris get destroyed in the greatest settings.

    "You'll be with Ruby soon," Gold whispered and began to laugh, but was interrupted as the blender beeped to signal it had done. He quickly leapt around and took the lid off, knowing he was cutting it fine to be doing this this late but had to anyone. Gold quickly poured the amber liquid into a plastic bowl, and placed it alongside another five, each with a different coloured liquid.

    "Alright you lot, it's time for your pre game treat," Gold whispered and began to laugh as he threw his six PokeBalls onto the ground, excited and ready for what would be the greatest moment of his life: watching Krystal Soul crumble before him.

    ***

    "Wow… that really is a lot of people…"

    Kris and Meganium stood by a window, almost directly opposite Gold, though he wouldn't be able to see them. Apparently it had been Lance's office, though he had quickly taken his items out and left, though had left instructions that Gold couldn't have it yet. Kris wondered if the ex Champion was just being bitter as it didn't seem like he had left anything behind, but she was too shocked by the growing crowd below her to notice. She had never battled in front of a crowd this large before, nor had she ever been on television or in the paper to her knowledge. Soon she was expected to be out on the field that still hadn't been unveiled yet, but Kris couldn't imagine stepping out in front of all these people, them all watching and seeing wheter she won and became their new Champion or lost and forever became a loser.

    In her nervousness, Kris thought back to all of her past dealings with Gold: Professor Elm's lab, Cherrygrove City, Union Cave, the Goldenrod Underground, the Pokeathlon stadium, the Kimono Sisters Theatre, the Glitter Lighthouse, the Whirl Islands, Mahogany Town, Dragon's Den, Hartley Manor, and finally Victory Road. Many of their battles had resulted in insults, with serious destruction to the area around: shattering all the glass in the Glitter Lighthouse, destroying her aunts courtyard, leaving a crater in Mahogany Town. It had been a rivalry that Kris imagined hadn't been seen for quite a time: she hated Gold and at the end of each battle left feeling worse and never wanting to take part again, but somehow she always found herself facing opposite him as their Pokemon fought for them. Their battles had become a ground for their personal hatreds with each other to be put on display, and their Pokemon had been like opposing armies. Kris wanted to have the courage to face him properly, but she knew that today would be the end of it: no matter the outcome, Kris planned on never battling Gold ever again, even if it meant she could never become Champion. She wasn't putting herself through this all again.

    "Knock knock," a voice called, and Kris turned away from the window as the door swung open behind her. Her jaw dropped as three people walked in she wasn't expecting at all: the first in was Leaf, wearing denim jeans a thick green coat, smiling widely as she let go of the handle. The second was Spike, wearing his usual black coat but this time minus the staff, and finally was her mother, smiling widely and wearing a long green dress patterned with flowers and a matching bandanna that made her seem brighter. Kris couldn't believe these people were here, and quickly rushed forwards to give each of them a hug, moving quickly but lasting a few extra seconds with Spike.

    "What are you all doing here?" She said with a gasp as Meganium came forwards, smiling widely and earning a pat from Leaf.

    "We've come to cheer you on of course!" Persephone said, pulling her daughter into yet another hug that nearly lifted her off the ground. "As soon as I heard I was so happy and so proud: I always knew you would make it this far, and I have always wanted the chance to see you battle! I called Hanoko and your aunts and they are nearly here, and all of the Hartleys are here and Professor Elm! He had some friends over as well and they've come along – Bill, and… um…"

    "Jericho and Alexis from that contest," Spike finished. "They have been helping Bill and Elm with research and they wanted to come and cheer you on. I called Clair and she's got a gym battle but might make it as well." Kris was in shock from all these people she knew turning up, almost making the stress of the impending battle go away.

    "I think most people are rooting for your Kris," Spike added with a smile. "Gold doesn't have a great reputation amongst the gym leaders according to Clair, and none of them want him to be the symbol of the league. Even the Elites don't like him!"

    "I'll keep that in mind, but I had no idea that he was even Champion, none of the Elites mentioned it during our battles," Kris said, laughing at her remark, but something quickly settled in her mind. "Surely this has been big news… why didn't you tell me when I called?" Kris said, turning to her mother. "It was only this morning!" Persephone stared down at her feet, and it was only when Spike looked away as well that Kris knew something was up.

    "I'll take it from here," Leaf said, unfurling something with a red handbag. Persephone and Spike quickly left, leaving Kris staring over at Meganium, just as confused as she was. "I heard Gold wants you to wear a dress, and while I don't want him to think he has control over anyone, I thought you might like this." Kris was thrown as Leaf held up a sparkly silver dress that was short at the bottom but looked like it would fit.

    "It is really pretty, thanks," Kris said, smiling as she took the dress and got an approving nod from Meganium. "I appreciate this, but I want to know what is up: why wasn't I told Gold was the Champion?" Leaf sighed a little bit and grasped Kris' hands, pulling her down to the floor in a sitting position.

    "I really liked you when we met," Leaf said. "I thought you were quite a brilliant trainer and showed massive potential, but I felt you were holding something back. I caught up with Steven Stone while he was in the area and it turned out we had both met you – oh, he's here as well by the way – anyway, he told me about Gold and I remembered you mentioning him to me before we battled. I have plenty of free time since Red disappeared, and as I have no idea where to find me and most of the league is searching anyway, I decided to take some time out on you." Kris was overwhelmed at the fact Steven was here, an ex-Champion watching the battle the last thing she needed, but was also stunned at what Leaf had just said.

    "Why me, what makes me so special?" She asked.

    "I see a bit of myself in you," Leaf replied with a smile. "I was eager for greatness last year as well and always at odds with people, but your rivalry with Gold… that is seriously something us. I don't even think I hated Team Rocket as much as you two seem to hate each other."

    "I don't really hate him… well, I do, but I don't want to," Kris admitted. "He killed my best friend and his family manipulated my mother into manipulating me, tricking my memory and making me think it wasn't his fault. I despise him for that and all the awful things he has said to me, but I just don't want to deal with him anymore… he is just too annoying and too time consuming and such an awful thing that I can't believe I have wasted so much time with him!" The last words had come out in a jumble and Kris was breathing deeply, but Leaf understood and gave her hands a reassuring pat.

    "Meganium Ga Mega Nium," Meganium added, and Kris and Leaf both smiled.

    "That is exactly why I didn't let you know he defeated Lance," Leaf said. "I have been talking to people and I got the feeling that if you knew you'd have to face Gold again, you'd put of battling him until someone else came along. I have dealt with plenty of annoying people, believe me, and I wouldn't want to battle any of them if they'd become Champion, but those hatreds aren't nearly as severe as yours for Gold. I didn't want your dreams of becoming Champion to be squashed by him, so I managed to convince people to make sure you didn't know so you weren't put off." Kris had been surprised as Leaf had said, but by the time she finished talking she began to see her point, and she knew that deep down she wouldn't have taken the challenge if she had known Gold would be waiting for her.

    "I guess it was a nasty shock to see him," Kris admitted, "but I am over it and I just want to get this over with. I have promised myself that it ends here: no matter how it ends, I am not going to deal with Gold again after tonight. He will become my past in whatever outcome, and I am just going to move on, though preferably being on the winning end of course." Leaf began to laugh and Meganium smiled as well, and both girls got back to their feet.

    "That is the spirit!" Leaf said, pulling her into a tight hug. "We better head back to our seats, but if he ever makes you want to back out of this battle, look to us, we're on the left, and we'll make sure that you get our encouragement."

    "Thank you Leaf, for all this: not just tonight but for what you taught me on that beach," Kris said. "Those skills are going to pay off tonight, I guarantee it." Leaf nodded and gave a final quick hug before rushing out of the door. As soon as it closed, silence fell in the room, the crowd silenced. Kris took several deep breathes to ready herself before turning towards Meganium, the Herb Pokemon smiling widely.

    "Thank you for coming on this journey with me," Kris said. "I always knew I would pick a Chikorita, but I never knew it would become my best friend and my closest confidante. Thank you for always being at my side and making me feel happy when I needed and giving me a nice long neck to cry on, and thank you for fighting the battles that I am too weak to do myself."

    "Gani Mega Meganium!" Meganium said with teary eyes, and Kris pulled her into a tight hug as her own tears spilled. Kris found this warm and reassuring, but she knew that they had to get out there and battle and forced herself to pull away.

    "Come on: let's go kick Ethan Hartley's ass!"



    I will post the battle as one whole thing in a few hours, though caution: its a bit long

    ^^^^ The GalacticVerse Bibliography (Thanks to Blazaking for Banner) ^^^^

  12. #252
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War - The Finale: Passion Part One

    "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…. WELCOME TO THE JOHTO LEAGUE CHAMPION'S STADIUM ON THIS FINE STARRY NIGHT! WE ARE HEAR TONIGHT FOR THE SIX-ON-SIX CHAMPION BATTLE BETWEEN THE REIGNING CHAMPION ETHAN 'GOLD' HARTLEY, AND THE CHALLENGER, HIS RIVAL AND TOWNMATE, KRYSTAL 'KRIS' SOUL. THIS BATTLE WILL BE FOUGHT ON THE MULTI-PURPOSE FIELD: THERE IS NO TIME LIMIT, NO USE OF MEDICINES OR SIMILAR ITEMS, AND WHEN ONE SIDE HAS LOST ALL SIX POKEMON OR FORFEITS, THE BATTLE IS OVER. NOW PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER FOR OUR COMPETITORS!"

    The noise from the stadium could be heard from New Bark Town in Johto and Viridian City in Kanto, a combination of the thousands inside the stadium and the roughly three hundred throughout the complex that had come to absorb in the atmosphere. Over two dozen spotlights shone down on the field that everyone was staring at, and it was a truly spectacular field at that.

    Based on the field at the Indigo League Champion's Stadium, the Johto Multi Purpose field was not as grand but was certainly spectacular. It was a field that was mostly grass, which was seen as an even footing due to most Pokemon living in grassy areas in the wild. In the very centre was a large pool for Water types, though its sized was confined by having to have an on either side for Pokemon to pass. Dotted throughout were extra things to adapt to different Pokemon: several metres of raised rock, sandy patches along the outside, a boulder in the middle, trees and bushes, and even an ice platform in the pool. High in the sky were two floating metal platforms on either side of the field, giving any Flying types belonging to each trainer a place to rest. It was an expensive stadium to use and was mostly used for exhibition battles to not cause much damage. However, Gold had insisted on using this public field, and his wish was granted as the two trainers stepped onto the field.

    Kris had seen battles like this her entire life, but never had she thought the noise would be like this. She walked nervously out through a walkway, light reflecting off her silver dress, shaking so much she was afraid she might fall to bits. The noise was extreme, but it would soon be deafened when the barriers went up to prevent attacks from killing the patrons. Meganium remained by Kris' side, but she was just as put off by the noise as her trainer.

    "Just ignore them, focus on the battle and the field," Kris said, both to Meganium and herself. However, glancing at the field made Kris' jaw drop and she came to a stop: never had she battled on something like this before. It was more like a work of environmental art than a battle field. "How am I supposed to battle on this?"

    "Megani Mega," Meganium said, reasonably unhelpfully, and Kris just forced herself to take a deep breath and walk into the rectangle that was her designated spot. She looked around the stadium, at the three screens she could see and the one that would be behind her. It was all overwhelming, but Kris couldn't quite believe she was here in this field, surrounded by thousands of people, all about to watch to her battle the Champion, even if it was Gold.

    "Are you ready for this Krystal?" Gold called out. The two battlers had been given microphones so they could hear the other's voices. Kris was annoyed at having to hear Gold even louder, but wasn't going to let him have any satisfaction.

    "I'm always ready to defeat you," Kris called back, and Gold laughed into his microphone. Music that had been playing as they entered stopped, and the crowd began to fall silent as the screens directly above the battlers changed: it showed both Kris and Gold's faces in a circle, surrounded by six PokeBalls that represented their Pokemon and would show who is still in the battle, who had fainted and how many Pokemon they had left.

    "LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, NOW THAT OUR COMPETITORS ARE HERE, IT IS TIME TO START THE BATTLE!" The commentator boomed. Kris felt nervous, but looked at one of the other screens and saw a shot panning across the Hartleys, Persephone and Hanoko. Persephone waved happily, and Hanoko mouthed something that Kris couldn't make out, but she was brandishing her cane so could only imagine it was anti Gold and laughed. "IN JOHTO LEAGUE RULES, BOTH COMPETITORS WILL SEND THEIR FIRST POKEMON OUT SIMULTANEOUSLY. NOW, LET THE BATTLE BEEEEGIIIIIIN!" The crowd let out a roar, but it was silenced moments later as the invisible barriers went up.

    Good, Kris thought to herself, staring over at Gold at the opposite end of the field. Without all of the noise, it seemed like just another battle between them. Both of them choose their first PokeBall, and the screens flashed to signal to throw. Kris froze for a second, needing another deep breath, but she was ready for this and quickly moved.
    "GO ESPEON!" She shouted.

    "UMBREON, YOU FIRST!" Gold boomed. Two identical beams of red light shone in the brightly in the lit up arena, and Kris cursed her luck as Espeon formed a few metres in front and Umbreon on the opposite end. Gold was smirking into his microphone, and Kris was annoyed that the ball was in his court.

    "He may be using Umbreon but don't let that put you off, we can still win this!" Kris called to Espeon, covering the microphone. The pink Pokemon nodded and turned back towards her twin, a look on her face to show she was just as serious. Kris was pleased at her Pokemon's tough nature, but knew they had to get started: the battle had only just begun.

    "COMPETITORS, LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!"

    "Signal Beam!" Kris commanded.

    "Sucker Punch!" Gold shouted gleefully. Kris cursed, knowing she should have seen this coming. Espeon began forming the multi coloured beam on her jewel, causing a blur over near Gold. A second later Umbreon had appeared, swinging his tail and sending his twin rolling through the grass. Espeon rolled for several feet, but she was quick to recover and fired the beam. Umbreon was still on their side of the field and was hit square on by the powerful attack, blasting him back towards a series of rocks to the right of the pool.

    "Lucky break," Gold growled. "Dark Pulse, go!" Kris was pleased at the outcome, but didn't want to put Espeon at much more risk and knew they'd have to get moving.

    "Signal Beam again, move closer if you have to!" Kris ordered. Espeon nodded and rushed forwards with the glowing green jewel as Umbreon got back to his feet and stared towards her.

    "BRE BRE!" He yelled, energy swirling around his feet. He rose up onto his hind legs and than smashed his front feet into the ground: a powerful shock wave of purple-black energy was released, racing towards Espeon and would cause serious damage if Kris didn't act.

    "Fire through the attack!" She yelled. Espeon nodded, and the Signal Beam was fired just as the Dark Pulse washed over her. It clearly still caused a large amount of damage to the Psychic type, but the Signal Beam lit up through the darkness and Gold's curse sounded through the microphone. Kris and Meganium both looked ecstatic, and though they couldn't see through the Dark Pulse they could watch the screens: Umbreon was blasted through the air, rolling through the grass and only stopping when he hit a boulder.

    "That was brilliant Espeon!" Kris called, and Espeon gave a little nod, though looked fairly shaken up by the Dark Pulse. Gold's heavy breathing could be heard through the microphone and Kris was stunned he was already at his angry phase, and could only wonder what was coming next.

    "GIGA IMPACT!" He roared. Kris and Meganium exchanged looks, surprised by this attack: they didn't know Umbreon knew this, and were fairly surprised. Umbreon got to his feet, and everyone watched as the yellow ring on his forehead began to glow a powerful shade of white. Energy poured out of it, engulfing the Moonlight Pokemon.

    "UMBREEEE!" He yelled, and suddenly began to run forwards at an alarming speed, tearing up the ground and moving straight towards them. If the attack hit it could mean the end for Espeon, and Kris was struggling to think of an idea until she saw the grass moving beneath Umbreon's feet.

    "I knew this move would pay off," Kris said with a smile. "Espeon, Grass Knot!"

    "Espe!" Espeon said, and her jewel flashed green. Gold's shocked face shown on the screen as Umbreon pounded forwards, unaware of the grass moving in front of him. Kris was afraid the attack wouldn't work and Espeon was even backing away, but she let out a cheer as Umbreon suddenly flipped around.

    "EEEEE!" He yelled, crashing into the ground. There was a white flash and an explosion, forcing Kris to shield her eyes as mounds of dirt flew up towards her. The mounds thankfully didn't hit them, collapsing into dirt alongside, and the smoke quickly cleared to revealed the outcome: Umbreon lying in the middle of a small crater, not unconscious but fairly dazed and not moving.

    "WHAT A BRILLIANT USE OF GRASS KNOT BY KRIS!" The commentator said. "UMBREON MAY NOT BE OUT, BUT THE GIGA IMPACT MEANS HE WON'T BE ABLE TO MOVE JUST YET, LEAVING KRIS IN A PRIME POSITION."

    "How did you do that?" Gold growled once the commentator had stopped speaking. "Doesn't that thing know any Psychic moves?"

    "Espeon did, but I was thinking things over and I knew that only Ariados would be affected majorly by Psychic type's moves, so I figured I would broaden Espeon's horizons for whoever came up," Kris explained, feeling more confident now that the first turn was going her way. Gold let out a little angry cry, but Kris didn't care as she stared down at Espeon, who was smiling widely. "Hyper Beam, go!" Espeon nodded, a white ball of energy quickly forming on her jewel. Gold screeched this time, and Kris couldn't help but see the funny side of his overreaction.

    "ESPEEEEEEEEEEE!" Espeon cried, swinging her head and fired a powerful beam. It was bright and Kris had to shut her eyes briefly, but opened them again just in time to see Umbreon flying into the air and spinning across the stadium. The Hyper Beam diminished and Espeon shook slightly from the power of it, but Kris and Meganium watched as Umbreon landed on the ground, damaging the earth and clearly unconscious upon landing.

    "NOW UMBREON IS OUT, LEAVING KRIS IN THE LEAD AFTER THIS FIRST ROUND HAS CONCLUDED!" The commentator said, and Kris could see people clapping and cheering on the screens, a shot showing the Kimono Sisters all applauding with their own Eeveelutions surrounding them. Kris was overwhelmed at this first victory, and Meganium smiled widely at her.

    "Great job Espeon!" Kris said, but the Sun Pokemon merely nodded, too tired from the attack to say anything. Kris looked across at Gold, who had brought Umbreon back and was switching for another PokeBall. Kris thought he was angry, but was stunned to see a smile on his face.

    "You shouldn't have told me that Kris," he said, laughter rising up as he enjoyed her folly. Kris was confused, but watched as Gold threw the ball. "I can defeat your little pink friend there and than destroy the rest of your team." Kris and Meganium exchanged looks, but they watched as the PokeBall opened, light and energy pouring down onto the field and forming a black Pokemon that would have been disguised by the night if the spotlights weren't on.

    "Hoooooun-DOOOOOOM!" Houndoom howled, his grey horns and forked tail a threatening figure across the field. Kris gasped, releasing the mistake she had made: Espeon had moves designed to take down Dark types, but what use would Signal Beam be on a Pokemon that is part Fire? Espeon had to recharge as well, so Kris could not pull her out if she wanted to.

    "CRUNCH, GO!" Gold yelled gleefully. Kris stared down at Espeon with hands over her heart, shocked by what was about to happen and couldn't quite believe she'd put a Pokemon in this position. Houndoom was racing forwards, leaping across the pool and using the boulders to spring himself forwards. He arrived in no time, and Kris could only watch as he opened his mouth.

    "Dooom!" He yelled, grabbing Espeon by the tail and tossing her across. Kris wasn't sure if this had actually happened, but was certain something was up when Houndoom bounded forwards and sunk glowing black teeth into Espeon's stomach: Bite and Crunch were powerful attacks, but she had never EVER seen them be used this brutally before.

    "Espeeeee!" Espeon screamed, the noise horrific and heart wrenching.

    "Tell your Pokemon to back off Gold, this is too brutal!" Kris yelled, but Gold simply laughed.

    "If your Pokemon can't handle a little bite, than they really shouldn't be here!" He cackled, but seconds later Houndoom backed off, walking around Espeon with a hungry look in his eyes. Kris remembered how brutal Ursaring had been in that last battle, throwing Magcargo so hard that half a cave wall collapsed. Espeon struggled to get to her feet, not bleeding but obviously severely shaken by the attack, only one more move in her. Kris felt sick staring at Houndoom, and needed to do something that would affect Gold's team, even if it wasn't that strong.

    "Future Sight!" She called, trying not to let defeat enter her voice or face.

    "FLAMETHROWER!" Gold yelled in delight. Espeon's jewel quickly flashed white, sending a ball floating up into the sky where it simply hovered. The ball had barely risen up before Houndoom opened his mouth, a jet of fire shooting out.

    "Espeon Es!" Espeon cried, breaking Kris' heart as she became engulfed in flame. The flaming figure appeared on the screens, and Meganium nuzzled up to Kris as Espeon simply burned. The flames disappeared after half a minute, leaving a charred, unconscious Espeon behind and a smiling Gold.

    "AFTER TWO BRUTAL ATTACKS, ESPEON HAS FAINTED, LEAVING BOTH TRAINERS AT FIVE POKEMON EACH," the commentator said. A shot on the screens showed Persephone and Harriet Hartley exchanging shocked glances, and Kris wondered if they had been as appalled by the brutal Crunch as she had been.

    "Thank you Espeon, I appreciate all that you did," Kris said as she brought her Pokemon back. It seemed a cruel way for Espeon to be defeated, but Kris knew that she had to keep going. Houndoom was moving backwards, though his demonic eyes remained on Kris and Meganium, a scowl on his face that could only match Gold's.

    "Poor little Espeon, boo hoo," Gold sneered. "It doesn't matter who you send out next, my Pokemon will just tear them down! You might as well put Meganium out of her misery now." Kris looked up at Gold and gave him the foulest look she could manage, even though he wouldn't see it: she had a feeling he was up to something and only wanted to defeat him faster. However, she was uncertain of which Pokemon to use: Kingdra was the obvious choice, but Gold could simply send someone else out against her. If she wanted to defeat Houndoom, Kris would have to use something that wasn't too obvious.

    "Ampharos, it's your time to shine!" Kris yelled, and threw her second PokeBall forwards. There was a flash, and soon Ampharos stood proud and tall in front of Houndoom, staring around in awe at the lights around.

    "KRIS HAS SETTLED WITH HER AMPHAROS: A RISKY MOVE ACCORDING TO SEVERAL SOURCES, WHO SAY AMPHAROS HAS BEEN SUFFERING FROM A PROLONGED HEALTH PROBLEM," the commentator explained, and this made Gold's face lit up. Kris was annoyed at this, knowing that Ampharos' continued inability to produce Electric attacks made her risky to use, but Kris had faith in her and knew that Focus Blast was key to this.
    "Ampharos, do you think you can handle this?" Kris asked. Ampharos had defeated Houndoom before as a Houndour, and when the Light Pokemon turned around she had a determined look on her face.

    "Ampha Ros Ros Pha!" She said, bunching up fists and beating the air. Kris could only smile and nod, knowing that Ampharos had been eager for a powerful battle for a while.

    "Alright then, let's prove them all wrong!" Kris said with a beam. "Charge forwards and use Focus Blast from close range!"

    "Hit her back with an Overheat!" Gold ordered, sounding confident. Ampharos quickly began to run forwards, making the red ball of energy form between her hands. Houndoom, on the other hand, remained perfectly still, his eyes glowing a deadly red and looking murderous.

    "DOOOOM!" The Dark Pokemon growled, and his mouth opened wide. Fire shot out, but not in a way Kris knew it: it was more wide spread and seemed to swirl, with touches of white in the very middle to show its heat. It looked powerful and dangerous, and Kris simply gasped as the Fire move engulfed Ampharos.

    "ROOOOOS!" She wailed, and Kris herself had to step backwards from the heat wafting towards her.

    "Turn around so it's only hitting your back and then use your tail to help throw the Focus Blast around!" Kris shouted. She wasn't sure if the order would work, and began to worry if Ampharos should have gotten more training before being thrown into such a high stakes situation. However, there was a red glow coming from the flames that clearly wasn't from the Overheat.

    "PHA!" Ampharos cried, and suddenly the ball was flying out from the continuing fire, her long tail sticking out as it added to the attack. Kris clapped and saw the crowd cheering as the Focus Blast moved around, but saw it wasn't going to directly hit Houndoom: instead, the attack fell short and crashed into the ground, still releasing the same amount of energy but not as directly.

    "HOU!" Houndoom yelled as he was blasted off his feet, flying through the air and eventually crashing into the ground and rolling towards some rocks. The Overheat stopped instantly, and the flames quickly diminished, leaving behind a shaken Ampharos.

    "That was excellent!" Kris called, trying to smile but was getting nervous: Gold had improved and the two seemed almost evenly matched, meaning they were in for a long and hard battle. On the other side of the field, Gold remained unfazed at the failed attack: Kris may have gotten an attack in, but he still had the upper hand and there was little she could do about it.

    "Go in for a Crunch!" Gold shouted. Kris was thrown, not wanting another Pokemon to be brought down by the brutal and powerful Crunch. She needed to try something, as Focus Blast's were unreliable and Ampharos' Ice Punch wouldn't do anything.

    "Charge!" Kris cried, crossing her finger and simply hoping that Ampharos finally managed an Electric attack. The Light Pokemon looked nervous at the order, knowing what would come next, but began to glow yellow anyway. She shut her eyes and became so focused on absorbing energy that she didn't notice Houndoom leap forwards.

    "Houn Houn Doom!" Houndoom cried, grabbing Ampharos' tail and sending her flying. Kris wondered if Gold had trained Houndoom to do this two part Crunch as it was the same as with Espeon: the Dark Pokemon jumped forwards and sunk his teeth into the white of Ampharos' stomach, making her writhe with pain but she held it in.

    "You're doing good!" Kris called encouragingly, but Ampharos was now near the pool and probably couldn't hear. She looked at Meganium, needing a supporting ear, but the Herb Pokemon was looking upwards.

    "Gani Mega," she said, and Kris turned in surprise: the Future Sight was glowing a bright white and growing, beginning to move towards Houndoom. The two turns were up, and Kris fel some delight as the ball smacked into Houndoom as he tried to back away from Ampharos. Gold looked briefly cross as Houndoom was knocked aside, but he quickly leapt back onto his feet, staring down at the wounded Ampharos.

    "Another Crunch so do it," Gold called with a smile. "Aim for the neck." Kris' jaw gasped, and there was a ringing sound from the speakers, possibly the commentator dropping his microphone in shock. Kris couldn't believe Gold had just given that order, and a look around showed the crowd had fallen silent in surprise. Houndoom was leaping forwards, clearly glad at the order, and Kris grasped for a PokeBall, needing to prevent this. But as she raised it up, she saw something that shocked her but warmed her heart at the same time: Ampharos shook her head, a steely look on her face. She was going to take the attack, clearly planning something. Kris had no idea what, but than noticed something else: Ampharos was still glowing yellow, sparks flying from her as if she was a machine. Could this be….

    "AMPHAROS, THUNDER, NOW!" Kris bellowed, her throat straining but not caring, leaning towards the field to see if this move would finally work. Gold and Houndoom didn't seem to think much of it, and the Fire type leapt onto Ampharos, raising his head and opening his jaw.

    "Ampha… Ampharos… Ampha," Ampharos said, her body beginning to glow a blinding yellow. Houndoom froze staring down in shock as sparks flew from Ampharos' long body and the light got brighter. "AMPHA AMPHA ROS ROS AMPHAAAAAAAAAA!"

    "DO IT!" Kris screamed.

    And than Ampharos exploded.

    Kris had not being keeping track of how long Ampharos had not used an Electric attack, but all she knew was that it had been a long time. Professor Elm had tried everything to draw the electricity out of her, but nothing seemed to work. Kris had been wondering if it had been an emotional thing that prevented Ampharos from doing it, such as disappointment at her loss at the Glitter Lighthouse combined with the electricity being shot back into her. But whatever the reason, many weeks of electricity had built up inside Ampharos, being contained with no way of being released, and it had finally been released.

    People could only watch in shock as what seemed to be the world's largest ever lightning bolt shot into the air. Ampharos continued to scream as her Thunder rose up: above the field, above the stands, above the entire stadium. Several spotlights fizzed and exploded, sparks and hot glass being shot into the sky, but all Kris could see was the giant yellow bolt shooting into the night sky. She had to shield her eyes from the sheer power of the attack, and her arm brushed against several strands of hair that were rising up on end. It was the most beautiful and most powerful attack Kris had ever seen, and it was simply glorious to watch the attack.

    "Good for you Ampharos," she whispered, wondering how happy the Light Pokemon felt and imagining the look on Gold's face. The Thunder began to stop, and Kris was able to open her eyes and watch as things seemed to return to normal, but with a few changes: Ampharos was standing, sparks still flying and looking fairly serious, though there was no sign of Houndoom anywhere.

    "Oh great," Kris mumbled to Meganium, "Ampharos finally gets to use an Electric attack but she killed one of Gold's Pokemon in the process." Meganium sniggered, and Kris managed a smile as well and gave Ampharos a big thumbs up. However, the Light Pokemon didn't respond, a Focus Blast instead forming in her hands. There was a distant howl that was getting louder, and Kris and Meganium looked up as Houndoom began to fall from the sky.

    "Oh my god….,' Kris mumbled, shocked at the sheer power of the single Thunder. Ampharos had heard Houndoom as well, and all eyes in the arena except hers were focused on the falling Dark type. However, just as Houndoom came close to landing on the ground, Ampharos turned around and shoved the Focus Blast out. It hit Houndoom directly before he hit the ground, and there was an explosion as he was sent soaring in the opposite direction. Kris watched as a stunned Gold ducked, leaving his Houndoom to crash directly into the stadium walls behind him. There was a pause for a moment, everyone staring towards the large crater in the wall, but than Houndoom fell out and landed on the ground, clearly unconscious.

    "AND AFTER AN AMAZING TURN AROUND, AMPHAROS HAS DEFEATED HOUNDOOM AND BROUGHT KRIS BACK TO THE LEAD!" The commentator shouted, and Kris could hear the cheer from the crowd: Houndoom's near brutal attack on Ampharos seemed to have won the crowd over for their side, or maybe they were just cheering, but either way Kris was ecstatic and leapt up and down, hugging Meganium and than hugging Ampharos as she made her way over.

    "That was so amazing!" Kris said, holding her tightly despite the sparks making all her hair stand on end. "I didn't know you had it in you! I am so proud of you!"

    "Ampharos Ampha!" Ampharos said with a smile, and Kris pulled her into a tight hug. Opposite to them, Gold stared down at Houndoom's unconscious body, refusing to believe what had just happened. How had Kris managed to do something like that he had no idea, but Gold felt furious and spat down on Houndoom.

    "You should have done better," he hissed, not knowing the scene had been caught on camera by a film crew a few feet away. Gold looked up as he brought Houndoom back and saw a shocked reporter. "What are you looking at?" He roared, and then replaced Houndoom's PokeBall with another one. Kris was winning the crowd over and gaining an advantage, so he had to move quickly to destroy her.

    "GO SCIZOR!" He yelled, and threw the PokeBall into the field. Kris let go of Ampharos, allowing her to move back into the field as the new opponent formed. Scizor looked just as threatening as always, but now his metal body shone under the light, making his claws look ferocious. None of Ampharos' moves would be particularly effective against him, and unlike Espeon she still had a lot of life left in her.

    "Do you mind coming back?" Kris said. Ampharos looked a bit disappointed, but knew she wasn't much of a match for Scizor and gave a respectful nod.

    "That's right Kris, run away!" Gold sneered. "Scizor, use Iron Head on whoever comes out!" Kris simply rolled her eyes as she brought Ampharos back, quickly switching her for another PokeBall. Ideally she would have used Magcargo, but as he was unable she had the second best option and knew this choice would be just as effective.

    "Go Noctowl!" Kris called, setting her second oldest companion into the sky. Noctowl let out a cry as she soared up into the air, doing a beautiful piece of aerial acrobatics before flapping her wings and hovering above the scene, staring down at her old rival.

    "AFTER A QUICK CHANGE KRIS HAS SENT HER THIRD POKEMON NOCTOWL ONTO THE FIELD, LEAVING AMPHAROS BEHIND FOR LATER: WILL THIS MOVE PROVE EFFECTIVE?" The commentator asked, and Kris simply hoped it did, though she had the upmost confidence in Noctowl.

    "ZOR ZOR!" Scizor cried, and suddenly shot forwards, his head glowing a silver that lit up the areas now darkened by the burst spotlights. Noctowl was rather stunned to be sent out directly into a move, but it wasn't difficult for her to spread her wings and take off, therefore avoiding the attack. Kris and Meganium ducked as Scizor flew over their heads, aiming straight for the wall. He would crashed into it if he hadn't turned at the last moment and pushed off before fully hitting it, forcing them to duck once as Scizor flew back and landed elegantly in the grass.

    "Flying around isn't going to save you," Gold sneered. "Why don't you try battling rather than using height to your advantage?" Kris didn't want to fall for his games, and knew that coming close was not an option: Scizor's claws were dangerous and a lot of his moves were Physical, meaning entering his territory was a bad idea.

    "I'd rather do things my way," Kris said with a smile, and Gold simply scoffed.

    "And where exactly has that gotten you in life?" He retorted back, but Kris didn't want to start arguing with him, simply wanting to focus on battle.

    "Noctowl, start off with an Air Slash!" Kris called.

    "Alright then Kris, we'll do things your way: get up there and use Night Slash!" Gold roared. Scizor nodded and flexed his muscles, the wings on his back beginning to flutter furiously. Kris knew that Scizor used his wings to do slashing attacks and it gave him a temporary flying ability, but was stunned to see how quickly he was moving: one second he was there, the next Scizor had shot into the air with wings beating as fast as Noctowl's.

    "Noct Noct!" Noctowl hooted in shock and quickly flew forwards, needing space to initiate her attack. She tucked her wings in and dived down towards the ground, but Scizor copied the same movement, looking like some streamlined plane as he chased after. Kris and Gold watched as Scizor chased after, Noctowl desperate to get away but not getting enough space. Scizor had the speed but Noctowl was better at moving, her twirling and fast turning allowing her to continue evading, but it was going to be a long match until someone moved.

    "Noctowl, stretch your wings out and twirl into the sky: make your attack that way!" Kris ordered, needing to try something to end this and have someone score a move, and Gold was so stubborn and unimaginative it would never be him.

    "Owl Noct," Noctowl said, and she quickly dived down before shooting upwards. Her brown and cream wings extended out as she began to twirl around, the wind swirling around her and beginning to form on her glowing wing tips.

    "GRAB HER, NOW!" Gold suddenly yelled. Kris and the crowd all gasped as Scizor suddenly extended a claw, grasping it around Noctowl's right talons. The Owl Pokemon squawked as she had still been turning, causing her leg to twist painfully as it remained in Scizor's grasp. But the Pincer Pokemon pulled her down and let go, only to allow himself to execute the attack properly: there was a sudden movement, and than a spotlight caught Noctowl as she fell.

    "NOCTOWL!" Kris screamed in shock, starting to move forwards in order to catch her. However, her fears Noctowl would crash into the ground were cancelled as the Flying type moved her wings frantically, allowing her to slow down and safely land. Scizor came to a smoother halt on a rock, remaining in a crouching position in order to send out his next attack. "Are you alright?" Kris asked, almost in tears.

    "Noct Owl Owl Noct," Noctowl said, putting on a smile despite the fact her right leg was wobbling in an unsafe way.

    "I don't want you to battle if your –," Kris began, but Noctowl shook her head and then turned it around 180 degrees, staring across at Scizor as he looked ready. It was a similar look Kris would have given Gold, and it made the trainer glance over at her opponent as he smiled widely at the attack. "I can see you want your revenge, so don't worry, we'll make them pay."

    "Owl Noct Owl," Noctowl said with a happy nod.

    "This is too easy Scizor, so let's use Iron Head again and see how she takes that," Gold called with a slight laugh. He was getting more and more confident, despite the first two losses, and knew that it was only a matter of time before Kris' strategy failed. However, he didn't expect to see her smiling.

    "You should know to give your Pokemon a little extra spice," Kris said. "It always helps to know a few extra moves that might just come in handy. For instance, Noctowl, use Heat Wave." Gold's jaw dropped and Kris smiled at Meganium as Noctowl rose up into the air in order to get the best aim. Scizor had his legs bent, ready to shoot forwards and strike Noctowl down before she could initiate the attack. It was going to be a close call, but Kris crossed her fingers and remained confident.

    "NOOOOCT!" Noctowl yelled.

    "ZOOOOR!" Scizor yelled simultaneously. He pushed himself forwards with his head glowing silver, but Noctowl had the advantage of it being a Special move and being airborne: her body glowed a faint orange and she tucked her wings in. Scizor appeared, only a metre away and ready to strike, just as Noctowl spread her wings. The air turned orange and a blast of heat wafted out, stopping Scizor in his tracks. He raised his claws to try and protect himself, but the force of the attack and his double weakness sent him flying away, the heat continuing to waft and providing extra punch to push Scizor forwards.

    "Excellent!" Kris yelled, clapping in delight. Scizor's body looked like it was suffering from the heat, and he could barely move without wincing, showing he was weak. Gold just looked shocked, unable to comprehend what had just happened, and giving Kris and Noctowl a perfect opportunity. "Air Slash now!"

    "OOOOWWWWLLL!" Noctowl cried, and she quickly spun around. Gold was too shocked to order a retaliation, and a ball of wind formed uninterrupted on Noctowl's left wing. She tossed it with all her might, and the pained Scizor could only lay there as the Air Slash exploded on his chest, blasting him towards the pool. The splash echoed all around and Scizor seemed to sink to the bottom. Kris was so delighted, and knew Scizor would have fainted as steam rose up on the surface.

    "OUR UNDERWATER CAMERA HAS SHOWN THAT SCIZOR IS UNCONCIOUS, MEANING THAT THE CHAMPION GOLD IS DOWN THREE POKEMON AND KRIS HAS FIVE POKEMON ON HER TEAM," the commentator explained. A jet of bubbles pushed Scizor back up to the surface, giving Gold the chance to bring him back.

    "That was excellent Noctowl!" Kris said and gave the Flying type a hug as she came down. "Now, are you sure your foot is alright?" Noctowl gave a little nod and Kris smiled. "Get up on that platform then and let's see who your next victim is."

    "Megani!" Meganium added, and they watched as Noctowl flew up to the floating metal platform about ten metres above Kris' head. Kris looked at Meganium and gave her a strong hug. "Mega Ni Ni?"

    "I just felt like it," Kris replied. She was feeling more confident now, and hoped that their streak would continue. A quick look to the screen showed the hug for a second before cutting to Gold, who was glaring in Kris' direction. He was furious at how he had now lost half his team, leaving Kris with a huge advantage over him. Noctowl was going to be tough to beat from the ground, so Gold decided to go with the only way to fight her back.

    "Skarmory, go!" He yelled, though without the glee or twisted enthusiasm he had possessed before. Kris had thought Gold would go with this strategy and so wasn't surprised when the metallic bird formed above him, and was actually rather impressed that he had gone with a smart move.

    "I hope this doesn't drum up any feelings Kris," Gold called out, his eyes gleaming as he thought of an idea. "Your father owned a Skarmory, didn't he?" Kris' impression faded as fast as it had come, and looked at Meganium to see if he had actually just said that.

    "Did he just?" She said, and Meganium nodded, looking just as disgusted as she felt. The screens were showing Persephone, Hanoko and the Kimono Sisters exchanging shocked looks, and Kris turned back to Gold with rage running through her. She had been holding herself back a little bit, but now she could hear Karen whispering in her head: put passion into it, don't let him get away with this.

    "Noctowl, Extrasensory, give it everything you can possible give it!" Kris said with venom in her voice.

    "Flash Cannon," Gold ordered slyly, feeling pleased to have annoyed Kris. Noctowl remained on her platform, her eyes glowing a shade of pink and staring directly towards Skarmory as she floated below.

    "SKAAAAR!" She squawked in her horrible screech, body twisting and flailing from the Psychic attack. She twisted her body and managed to break free, opening her mouth wide: a ball of glowing silver energy formed, a move Kris wasn't familiar with.

    "SKAAAAAA!" Skarmory yelled. The flash came as a beam of light appeared behind the ball, blasting it forwards. It speed across the field and through the air, but being on opposite sides gave Noctowl a brilliant chance to take off into the sky, the silver cannonball exploding against the roof of the stadium.

    "Air Slash!" Kris yelled, not wanting to mess around, furious at Gold for his jab.

    "Fly there and use Slash, quickly!" Gold commanded. Noctowl had been flying after the attack, but began to steady herself and her wings glowed as she began to turn around. However, Kris was shocked to see a silver blur out of the corner of her eye and gasped as Skarmory began flying through the air as great speeds: it seemed Gold had greatly improved his Pokemon's speed as well as strength as Skarmory was barely visible as she moved through the sky.

    "Noctowl, quickly!" Kris shouted. Noctowl had amazing eyesight and could see Skarmory coming, and quickly readied a weaker but still sturdy Air Slash. But before the ball of wind could be fired, Noctowl was stunned to find Skarmory was already there, left wing glowing white with the Slash to counter Air Slash.

    "Skar Skar!" Skarmroy sneered, her outstretched wing colliding with the Air Slash. There was an explosion of wind that sent both Pokemon flying backwards: Skarmory wheeled backwards through the air, looking like airborne shrapnel, while Noctowl was sent crashing into the barrier, the camera highlighting the shocked expressions of the audience. However, neither Pokemon seemed shaken by the attack, and Noctowl was able to push herself back up into the air and Skarmory quickly stopped moving.

    "Your father was in this position a long time ago, wasn't he?" Gold said, putting on a confused voice and putting his finger to his lips with a face to show he was mocking being in thought. "It's funny what happens to Champion's after they get defeated, isn't it? Say, what is your father up to these days?"

    "Heat Wave!" Kris ordered stiffly. She didn't want to fall into Gold's trap and refused to get into a shouting match, instead letting the battle be fought with their Pokemon. Gold looked a bit disappointed, but quickly recovered and went back to looking angry.

    "Fine then, we'll do things your way," he growled. "Rock Slide!" Noctowl moved back to her platform and tucked her wings, beginning to glow orange. However, Skarmory lowered herself to the ground and spread her own wings wide, her eyes glowing brown. The rocks and boulders on the field began to shake, and Kris gasped as rocks seemed to emerge out of them, rising high into the sky in order to strike Noctowl.

    "NOOOOOOOCT!" Noctowl screeched, leaping forwards on instinct and opening her wings wide. As the rocks began to fall, Noctowl propelled herself forwards as the Heat Wave emerged. It managed tos trike Skarmory before she could move out of the way, knocking her into the ground, but it didn't stop the rocks from falling. Kris needed Noctowl to move out of the way as the rocks were falling towards her, but if she lingered she would get hit.

    "NOCTOWL, MOVE!" Kris yelled. "Forget about her, just MOVE!" Noctowl continued to release the Heat Wave, but turned her head and saw Kris looked worried. Reluctantly, she tucked her wings in and began to move down, but it was too late for the boulders: one smashed into her back, sending her spiralling into another one that hit her wings. Kris and Meganium gasped as Noctowl crashed to the ground, the rocks falling alongside but breaking instantly to dust. Both Pokemon lay on the ground, still twitching and moving, but it was clear that they both were weakened by the super effective attacks. Kris was stunned that Noctowl was able to move, getting slowly back to her feet, but knew that another attack could be it. Skarmory would be easy to defeat, but Kris needed to make sure the next attack worked.

    "If you can do it Noctowl than fly up into the air and ready a Sky Attack, but I want you to spin and twirl around and gather as much energy as you can!" Kris yelled. She looked across and saw Gold was thinking hard for once, trying to decide upon a move to counter this one.

    "Flash Cannon, stay low!" He ordered at last. Noctowl looked strained as she took off into the air, but managed to move effortlessly anyway as she spun around above the stadium, white energy engulfing her. Skarmory seemed to want to just lay down, but she raised her head anyway and readied a Flash Cannon. It was blasted out almost silently, and Kris could tell that the next one to get hit with an attack wouldn't make it out. Noctowl's spinning allowed her to completely miss the metallic cannonball, this time the attack melting away into the air.

    "Dive down and keep spinning!" Kris shouted.

    "Move up to avoid her and than come down with a Brave Bird," Gold said, "and keeping spinning as well!" Noctowl didn't cry out at all as she dived down, too tired from the battling and wanting to focus on move. Skarmory bent her legs and sped up into the air before Noctowl had had a proper chance to get down, the only sign of the Armor Bird Pokemon being the lilac flames erupting in mid air.

    "Turn around and fly directly towards her," Kris cried. Noctowl's spinning allowed for the sudden turn to happen effortlessly, and she flew up with the white energy still growing as Skarmory shot down like a giant lilac spinning torpedo. The crowd and the trainers were tense, watching to see what would happen: it was bound to be a head on collision, and no one knew who would make it out.

    "NOOOOOOCT!"

    "SKAAAAR!" The two cried, now only inches from each other. Kris winced as her spinning Noctowl directly hit Skarmory, expecting the owl to fall down, but was shocked at what happened next: the two Pokemon both remained afloat, but energy seemed to be forming between their heads. Neither of them was willing to back down, and the result was their moves beginning to merge together as both tried to push the other out of the sky. Kris swelled with pride, stunned that Noctowl was so willing to win despite being extremely weakened.

    "THIS IS AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SIGHT," the commentator yelled. "THESE TWO POKEMON ARE PUTTING ALL THEIR ENERGY INTO THESE ATTACKS AND I CAN'T POSSIBLY PREDICT WHO IS GOING TO WIN!" But just as the commentator stopped speaking, everything changed: a wave of energy, a combination of the Sky Attack wind and Brave Bird flames, blasted out from between them. There was a second explosion moments later, lilac flames engulfing the two. Kris gasped as Noctowl fell from the sky, body limping and not even trying to stop herself from falling. She landed with a sickening thud near the pool, just as Skarmory flew backwards and crashed into her platform. The floating piece of metal was unable to hold her up, and Gold backed away as the Steel type landed with a ring rather than a thud at his feet.

    "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I AM ASTOUNDED: BOTH NOCTOWL AND SKARMORY APPEAR TO HAVE FAINTED AS A RESULT OF THE ATTACKS, MOST LIKELY SKARMORY'S BRAVE BIRD TAKING THEM BOTH OUT THROUGH THE ATTACKS RECOIL EFFECT. THIS LEAVES THE CHAMPION GOLD WITH ONLY TWO POKEMON LEFT WHILE KRIS HAS FOUR!" The commentator explained excitedly. Kris was shocked by the sudden change of things, but was too proud of Noctowl to care.

    "That was brilliant," she said to the PokeBall once Noctowl was back inside. "Thank you for fighting so hard." Across the stadium, Gold was glaring down at Skarmory, holding her Great Ball in his hands. He was frustrated that he know only had two Pokemon left on his team, meaning that Kris had an overwhelming advantage over him.

    "You shouldn't have let the effects take you," he snarled at the limp bird in front of him. Gold was tempted to kick out, but the camera crew were watching him suspiciously and didn't want them to have any reason to judge him. As he brought Skarmory back, Gold thought hard about his last two choices: they were the two that were his toughest and most brutal, the ones he had trained to try and withstand anything. As long as he pulled this off properly, Gold could manage to win after all.

    "BOTH TRAINERS WILL NOW SEND THEIR POKEMON SIMULTANEOUSLY ONCE MORE AS THE EXPLOSION MEANS A WINNER OF THAT ROUND CANNOT BE PROPERLY DETERMINED," the commentator said. Kris felt calm about this as she went and grabbed her next PokeBall: Gold only had between Feraligatr, Ursaring, Ariados and Pupitar left on him, while she had Meganium, Ampharos, Kingdra and Latias left on her. Thinking about it, Ampharos had the best chance of coming off well: Focus Blast worked against Ursaring and Pupitar, Thunder would easily defeat Feraligatr and those moves and Ice Punch would work well with Ariados as well. Gold had selected an Ultra Ball, so Kris knew what to expect.

    "GO AMPHAROS!" Kris yelled, throwing her selected PokeBall onto the field.

    "GO TYRANITAR!" Gold yelled only a second later.

    "Alright, I wasn't expecting that," Kris said in a meek voice, eyes bulging as yellow light formed on the opposite end of the field. The beast that formed was nothing like the small shelled Pupitar that Kris had expected: Tyranitar was one of the biggest, tallest and scariest Pokemon there was, like an angry movie monster that had just arrived on the field. He had a thick moss green shell with a silvery blue diamond in the middle and black gaps in his armour that seemed strategic. His arms were reasonably small but he had thick legs and a long spiked tail, the spikes continuing up Tyranitar's back and head.

    "TYRAAAAAAAAN!" Tyranitar roared, and Kris could see the barrier protecting the patrons shook with the cry. He weighed twice Ampharos' weight and was two feet taller, so it was no wonder the Light Pokemon turned back around and gave Kris a 'seriously?' look.

    "Sorry, I was ordering the medium, not the extra large," Kris said with raised hands of apology. She had hoped a simple Focus Blast would knock Pupitar flying, but it seemed Kris was going to have to use a few more. Gold could see the fear and surprise in her face and clapped with delight: the ball was back in his court.

    "Did you seriously think I would take on the league without having this beast on my side?" He said gleefully. "Get ready to lose Kris, cause there ain't nothing that will take Tyranitar down! Start things off easy with a Stone Edge!" Kris didn't want to satisfy Gold by appearing weak, but Tyranitar was huge and she had no idea how to counter. However, she suddenly realised something she should have remembered earlier.

    "Tyranitar's part Rock, part Dark!" She said with glee. "How could I have been so stupid! Focus Blast, go!" Ampharos looked rather relieved, and she quickly set to work forming the red sphere.

    "Hang on for a second: she needs to see this," Gold told Tyranitar, though Kris could of course hear. She was stunned, wondering why Gold was holding back on the order, but Ampharos hadn't noticed and sent the Focus Blast flying. Tyranitar stood strong and silent, glaring across at Kris and her team and not noticing the attack that was four times effective against him flying across the pool. It was only when it got within a metre that Kris had a feeling something was up, and this was confirmed as the Focus Blast hit: it exploded, the red energy pushing Tyranitar backwards slightly, but a few seconds later it was as if nothing had happened.

    "What… how… what the…," Kris stuttered as Gold burst into laughter.

    "That was too good!" He cackled into the microphone. "Alright Tyranitar, continue."

    "TAAAAAAAR!" Tyranitar suddenly screamed, making Kris and Meganium jolt. He raised a glowing fist and smacked it into the ground with enough force to shake the entire stadium. Ampharos stumbled, leaving her unbalanced as a series of jagged rocks burst out of the ground and shot suddenly towards her.

    "Try and dodge!" Kris cried, but it was too late: Ampharos' stumbling body was hit square on in the chest, the stones sending her flying backwards. Kris and Meganium were forced to move as Ampharos was sent flying back towards the wall, crashing into it and fall forwards to the ground.

    "Ampharos, no!" Kris gasped, quickly rushing forwards. She was certain for a second the single move had knocked her out, but there was a soft groan and Ampharos raised her head, looking sore but still moving. "Oh Ampharos, you had me worried! Are you going to be alright to continue? I can bring you back if you –," but Ampharos shook her head, getting back to her feet and brushing herself off.

    "Ampha Ros Ros Pha Ampha!" She said, pounding her fists together and staring over at Tyranitar. Kris could understand why she wanted to keep fighting as Tyranitar needed to get hit, but there was little Ampharos could do. Kris thought about all she knew, staring around the field and at Tyranitar, trying to think of something, but all that came to her was Leaf's unconventional moves and Karen's talk of passion.

    "Hang on…," Kris said, the two coming together. "You may not be able to defeat Tyranitar, but you definitely could make him weak for the next opponent. Ampharos, are you willing to sacrifice yourself?"

    "Pha Pha Ros," Ampharos said with a nod, and Kris swelled with pride once more. There was a cheer from the crowd as Ampharos stepped back forwards, looking sore but determined all the same.

    "Are you going to keep trying? How cute," Gold sneered. "You should know when to give up, a lesson your mother should know!" Kris was shocked by this, the comment making her feel sick, but she wasn't going to give into Gold, and knew that this strategy would throw him.

    "Alright Ampharos, run forwards and clung onto Tyranitar and than use Focus Blast under his legs!" Kris shouted. The order was so bizarre that Gold looked shocked and froze, giving Ampharos time to rush forwards as fast as her legs would carry her. By the time Gold had snapped out of it Ampharos was moving along the edge of the pool, and no one seemed to notice her tail was glowing a different sort of red.

    "Earthquake!" Gold yelled, though his voice strained due to the confusion of the situation. Tyranitar turned to face Ampharos, but she was only a metre away and smiling happily.

    "TYRAN RAN RAN!" The Armour Pokemon yelled, and he raised his right leg and tail up, looking to Kris like a tree trying to move.

    "Pha Pha Ampharos Pha!" Ampharos said, leaping forwards and wrapping her arms around as much of Tyranitar's neck as she could manage. Tyranitar was so stunned that he didn't notice Ampharos' tail shooting underneath him, just as he brought his foot and tail down.

    With a force like a real natural event, the entire stadium shook. Kris screamed as she fell over, watching as the spotlights and screens jittered, the barriers vibrating and failing to protect the audience from the attack. It was an Earthquake, but it was more than just a move: Tyranitar was making the entire complex shake as if the ground was truly moving, and it was only Ampharos holding onto him that prevented her from instantly fainting.

    "PHAAAAA!" She screamed, barely audible above the roar of the ground, and she smashed her tail onto the earth. There was an explosion of red and Tyranitar let out a furious roar as the Focus Blast exploded beneath his feet. It was enough energy to send him toppling, and Kris and Ampharos were ready.

    "Use your tail and throw her off!" Kris shouted. Gold, who had fallen over as well, could only watch in shock as Ampharos moved her tail and used it almost as a spring: she struggled to hold onto Tyranitar's weight as he begun to crush her, but was able to use her powerful legs combined with her tail to send him spiralling over her.

    "TAAAAAR!" Tyranitar yelled as he fell forwards, unable to stop himself from splashing into the lake. Gold's jaw dropped and Kris punched the air, and even Ampharos managed a smile before collapsing onto the still shaking ground. It stifled the electricity flowing through her, and Kris watched with a touch of regret as she succumbed to the Earthquake, which stopped a few moments later. Kris breathed a sigh of relief as the ground stopped moving, but the damage was clear: one of the screens had cracked, two more spotlights had fallen, a number of the audience had been injured and a number of cameras were now broken.

    "WELL FOLKS, THAT WAS CERTAINLY A SHAKER!" The commentator said, trying to make a stab at humour but the disgruntled audience didn't find it funny. "KRIS' AMPHAROS HAS FAINTED, LEAVING HER WITH THREE POKEMON TO GOLD'S TWO," he continued more seriously.

    "Thank you for your sacrifice," Kris said as Ampharos came back, and she watched as Tyranitar flailed about in the water, barely able to stay above the surface due to his excessive weight but unable to pull himself out.

    "That is a low move!" Gold shouted, looking furious.

    "How is it lower than you trying to tear chunks out of my Pokemon?" Kris snapped back. "Besides, it was more luck that Ampharos managed to hold his weight up and send him into the water anyway!" She glared back at him and Gold let out a furious cry: he had been relying on Tyranitar's strong defence to help them, but it seemed things had changed.

    "Well, now that we got that that worked," Kris said with a smile, winking at Meganium whose thick legs had kept her sturdy during the attack, "I think we should put his situation to use, yes?"

    "Gani Nium," Meganium nodded, and Kris smiled as she pulled out her own Ultra Ball.

    "KINGDRA, GO!" Kris yelled, throwing the ball with all her might towards the pool. It burst open and the yellow energy poured into the water, opposite from Tyranitar. The Dragon Pokemon pushed her long, thing head out, staring across as the flailing Tyranitar as he wasn't even there. Gold cursed his luck, and Kris couldn't help but feel happy. "I saw we be nice to Tyranitar: throw him out with Surf!"

    "Dragon Dance!" Gold yelled, sounding a tad desperate, but the flailing beast didn't seem to hear as the water began to move more violently underneath him.

    "Kingdra Dra Dra," Kingdra said elegantly, eyes glowing blue. A wall of water rose up beneath them, completely engulfing Tyranitar. The wall turned into a towering wave that began to crash onto the ground. Gold was too late in realising he was in for a soaking and tried to move, only to get hit by the water and fall forwards. Tyranitar landed alongside, still conscious but still trying to shake off the water.

    "Great job Kingdra!" Kris called as Kingdra and returned to the pool, which was already beginning to go calm. Kingdra merely nodded, staring towards her opponent. Tyranitar was so shaken that he couldn't muster up the Dragon Dance, laying weakly besides Gold. The trainer got to his feet, suit completely soaked and looked furious. Kris thought it was funny for a moment, but was shocked as Gold suddenly kicked Tyranitar.

    "GET UP!" He yelled. "I GAVE YOU AN ORDER, NOW MOVE!" Tyranitar probably wasn't feeling the kicks, but the verbal abuse was obvious and loud and Kris was shocked at the abuse. "HURRY UP, WE NEED TO FIGHT!"

    "ETHAN!" Kris gasped, and Gold turned around and glared at her, almost as if he didn't know she was there or thinking she couldn't have heard. "That is no way to treat your Pokemon! You should be kind and respectful, and –,"

    "Oh shut up Kris, I don't give a fuck at what you have to say!" He snarled. "Just focus on your own damn Pokemon for once! Now Tyranitar, get up and use Crunch, NOW!" Kris was appalled at the behaviour and almost felt bad about having to defeat Tyranitar, but she realised that if Tyranitar was in his PokeBall he would be out of the way of abuse.

    "Hydro Pump, go!" Kris commanded. Kingdra had been taken aback by the violence as well, but she had a duty to keep battling and raised her long snout up. A second later a powerful jet of water was fired across the field, directly hitting Tyranitar in his blue diamond as he tried to stand up. Gold growled as Tyranitar was pushed backwards, crashing into the crater left behind by Houndoom.

    "GET UP! USE CRUNCH, GO!" Gold shouted. Kris had seen this angry side of Gold before, but it seemed more sadistic and cruel that she had ever seen before, and shots from the crowd showed his family looked rather terrified. It was a mental battle for Kris: did she continue attacking a Pokemon getting verbally abused, or did she stop the battle and try and sort this out? However, what if it was all a plan by Gold: trick Kris into thinking he was abusing his Pokemon, and than use his last Pokemon to tear through her team while her Pokemon went soft on his in pity?

    "Another Hydro Pump!" Kris commanded, and a glare on Gold's face seemed to confirm her suspicion.

    "Kingdraaaa!" Kingdra cried, and another Hydro Pump was unleashed. Kris made a mental note that the grass on Gold's side of the field must be extremely muddy as she watched the jet of water strike Tyranitar and push him back against the wall. Kingdra exerted as much water as possible before the attack died down, and Tyranitar slumped forwards, fear of the beast disappearing as he lay on the ground unconscious.

    "THIS IS GETTING INTERESTING FOLKS: THE CHAMPION GOLD IS NOW DOWN TO HIS LAST POKEMON WHILE THE CHALLENGER KRIS STILL HAS THREE ON HER SIDE! IT IS ANYONE'S MATCH NOW!" The commentator yelled, but his enthusiasm was not shared: most of the crowd seemed shocked at what had happened, and Kris was trying to work out what they were angry at: Gold for abusing his Pokemon, or Kris for continuing to fight. Gold, on the other hand, was furious: it was only his first battle as Champion and he had easily been brought down to one Pokemon. He had meant to have destroyed Kris early on and ruined her, but now she had the upper hand and Gold was in serious risk of losing.

    No matter, he told himself reassuringly, bringing Tyranitar back as silence continued throughout the stadium, none of her vermin will be able to withstand my final choice… I still have a chance.

    "Gold, I think what you did to Tyranitar was disgusting," Kris said. She wanted to hold her tongue, but her anger was spilling over. Gold snapped out of his thoughts and smiled back at her as he brought Tyranitar back.

    "Oh boo hoo, I am sure the Armour Pokemon really had he's feelings hurt," Gold sneered back. "Besides, you're the horrible person who finally defeated him: how does that make you any better?"

    "I wasn't the one that shouted abuse and kicked him!" Kris gasped. "You need to get your act together Gold, because I don't know what ahs you so angry but it can't be good for you or your Pokemon!"

    "Do you seriously think I give a crap about the overly emotional views of some pathetic little near-orphan tart?" Gold hissed, pulling out his final PokeBall and glaring across at his rival. "Just shut your bloody face and focus on your own damn problems, like where you are going to live after you lose this match! FERALIGATR, FINISH THEM!" Kris could feel her heart pumping furiously, but she needed to focus for the sake of her Pokemon and to not fall for his tricks. She had been expecting his starter to come out along, and was pleased to finally see it: her three Pokemon all stood a chance of defeating him. Kris smiled over at Meganium, but the Herb Pokemon looked nervous.

    "Ganium Mega Mega," she replied after Kris gave her a curious look, and the trainer turned back towards Feraligatr: the Big Jaw Pokemon had formed near the pool, flexing his muscles and staring over at Kingdra. His body seemed a lot thicker and muscular than when Kris had last seen the Water type, and she had no idea a Feraligatr could put on muscle. His teeth also flashed in the remaining spotlights, looking quite prominently sharp and dangerous.

    "I can see your point," Kris said nervously. Feraligatr definitely looked more fearsome for some reason, and it continued to fuel Kris' wonders about Gold's methods of training his Pokemon. "Hang in there Kingdra!" Kingdra turned back towards Kris and nodded, but her eyes stared nervously at the tall beast nearby. Gold could see their worry and smiled to himself, glad that he was putting them off.

    "If your getting nervous now, I can't wait to see you in a few moments," Gold laughed. "Ice Fang, now!" Kris snapped out of the nervousness and tried to think of a move, knowing that Ice Fang wouldn't be as effective as Gold would think.

    "Ice Beam, go!" Kris ordered. Kingdra nodded and turned to face Feraligatr, who stayed where he was. He was moving his fingers in and out of a fist, smiling widely as he stared sadistically at Kingdra. Kris didn't like this, and knew that Kingdra was limited by the size of the pool and diving beneath wouldn't stop another Water type.

    "GA!" Feraligatr cried and suddenly sprung forwards. Before anyone could register what had happened, Kingdra's scries filled the arena: Kris watched in horror as Feraligatr pushed the Dragon Pokemon against the wall of the pool and feasted on her neck. He was like some sort of vampire, ice blue teeth wrapped around her neck. The look on Kingdra's face and her screams were breaking Kris' heart, and she reached for the Ultra Ball in order to pull her out.

    "KINGDRAAAAAA!" She cried, a ball of ice blue formed in her snout. She drove it against the side of Feraligatr's neck and fired. The Ice Beam was powerful enough to blast Feraligatr backwards, sending him crashing into the ice platform and shattering it.

    "Kingdra, are you alright?" Kris yelled, though she could tell she wasn't: Kingdra's head was on an odd angle, the pain in her neck unbearable. Kris felt a tear stream down her face and raised the Ultra Ball, but Kingdra turned her head around and shook it, making her wince. "This isn't the time to be courageous! He could kill you and probably wants to!" Kris shouted desperately.

    "Dra King King Dra Dra!" Kingdra said, and a ball of blue flame suddenly erupted at her snout. Kris was worried for her Pokemon being so close to Gold's mental Pokemon, but couldn't help but continue to be blown over by her team: they wanted to defeat Gold just as much as she did, their constant battling seeming to strike a rivalry between the Pokemon as well. Kingdra wasn't leaving until she had fainted or Feraligatr had been defeated.

    "KINGDRA IS DECIDING TO CONTINUE BATTLING, EVEN READYING A POWERFUL OUTRAGE ATTACK TO USE AGAINST FERALIGATR!" The commentator cried. Gold was frustrated to see the Ice Fang hadn't been a one-hit-knock out, but he had more faith in Feraligatr, having furiously trained him to defeat each one of Kris' team.

    "Your vermin just don't give up, do they?" He snarled, staring at Feraligatr as he stood confidently up on the ice platform. "SUPERPOWER!" Gold roared, and Feraligatr let out a roar himself, a ball of red energy forming in his hands and crossing throughout his body.

    "DRAAAA!" Kingdra cried, and fired a torrent of blue fire towards Feraligatr, her eyes matching the colour. Feraligatr didn't look scared though, continuing to smile creepily and charging forwards, thrusting the ball into the flames. Kris was left shocked as there was a furious explosion: the blue flames rose into the air, tinged purple from the Superpower. The shockwave had been released towards Kingdra, and now the Dragon Pokemon was sent rolling through the grass, head being horribly battered due to her ability to turn it 360 degrees. Feraligatr, on the other hand, leapt easily backwards and would have landed elegantly if it hadn't been for the mud.

    "Kingdra!" Kris yelled, watching hopelessly as Kingdra slid towards her feet. The horrible wound around her neck was visible now, blood clearly pouring down across her body. Tears fell faster from Kris now, who couldn't believe how Gold had ordered the injury. "Oh Kingdra, I am so sorry, I never should have put you up against him!" Kris said, reaching out and stroking Kingdra's face.

    "KINGDRA HAS BEEN KNOCKED OUT BY THE FORCE OF THE EXPLOSION, LEAVING KRIS WITH TWO TO TAKE ON FERALIGATR," the commentator said. "MEDICS ARE COMING TO TAKE KINGDRA AWAY FOR EMERGENCY TREATMENT UNDER JOHTO LEAGUE RULES, STATING A POKEMON THAT HAS FAINTED AND IS SERIOUSLY INJURED IS ALLOWED TO BE HEALED IN NON-MEDICAL AIDE BATTLES." Kris didn't know that this rule existed, and she managed a relieved smile as two men in white uniforms rushed over and lifted Kingdra onto a stretcher.

    "Don't worry Miss Soul, we'll take good care of her," the front one said with a smile.

    "Please do!" Kris said. "We'll be thinking of you Kingdra!" She wiped her final tear away as Kingdra was taken away, but once she had disappeared through an archway Kris had to turn back to the battle. Gold and Feraligatr were wearing nearly identical grins, clearly pleased at the attack and Kris knew more like it were coming. Meganium moved closer to Kris, wearing a steely look on her face.

    "Megani Mega Ni Gani," she said, making to take a step forwards, but Kris held out an arm, shaking her head.

    "Not yet," Kris said. "You are a valid asset Meganium and I know you want to defeat Feraligatr, but I think he is trying to psych me out and, to be honest, it is starting to work. Seeing that injury on Kingdra was heartbreaking, but if he did that to you I don't think I could make it through." Meganium looked tearful, but Kris gave her a hug to stop the waterworks before they'd even started. "Let's just see how our lovely Champion enjoys this next move," Kris said, holding up an Ultra Ball and turning back to the stadium.

    "Gold, you may think you've broken me by nearly killing one of my Pokemon, well… nearly killing a few, but I am telling you that you haven't beaten us yet!" Kris shouted, raising her voice to make sure it was loud even without the microphone. "You may have Feraligatr, but what you don't have is the passion I have to win this properly, and that will be your downfall! Now, COME ON OUT!" She yelled, and threw the Ultra Ball into the air. It rose high into the air, higher than even Noctowl's had, and the crowd began to clap and cheer and it burst open. A brilliant blue spotlight of light formed, a ball of energy of matching colour soon rising from that and morphing into a shape. Gold knew who it was, and cursed his luck, having wanted Meganium to come out. But the Pokemon that had nearly fully formed definitely wasn't Meganium…

    Oh… it's that one… how lovely. Kris laughed as the crowd split in half: half stared in awe at the legendary Pokemon, while the other half clapped and cheered, thinking it was best. Latias simply smiled at them all before elegantly descending to the field, eyeing Gold and Feraligatr before turning to Kris. And how did he become Champion?

    Don't ask me, Kris replied, a smirk appearing on her face before turning more serious. Please be careful though. Gold and his Pokemon have been quite violent tonight, and Feraligatr made Kingdra bleed, and I don't want that to happen to you.

    Don't worry about me, I should be alright, Latias said with a soft smile before turning back towards the field. Feraligatr's confident smile was faltering from the sudden appearance of Latias, and Kris gained the confidence back on her side. Gold, on the other hand, was furious, staring angrily at the Eon Pokemon as if she had knocked down his house… again.

    "IN ALL MY YEARS OF COMMENTATING, NEVER HAVE I HAD A LEGENDARY POKEMON APPEAR ON THE FIELD BEFORE ME!" The commentator explained breathlessly. "THIS IS TRULY A WONDERFUL SIGHT FOR US ALL!"

    "She may be a legend but so are we!" Gold hissed. "Use Surf, now!"

    "Dragon's have a bit of an advantage over Water attacks, just so you know," Kris called out. "Latias start this off with Draco Meteor!" Latias nodded, her eyes glowing a mixture of purple and orange. Feraligatr looked stunned and turned towards Gold, but he angrily pointed a finger at the pool and the Big Jaw Pokemon sighed as his eyes turned blue and he raised his arms.

    "FEEEER!" He screeched as the wave rose up into the air, pointing his arms towards Latias and sending the wall of water after her. Latias merely smiled as the triangle on her body glowed the same colour as her eyes and a matching ball formed from it.

    Try this for size, Latias thought and sent the ball flying. It remained whole for several metres as the Surf came closer, but it suddenly broke apart into smaller but still large bits. The Draco Meteors hit the wave, the powerful attack completely obliterating the attack. The orange-purple balls continued onwards as the Surf receeded back to the pool, and Feraligatr stared fearfully up at them.

    "INTO THE POOL!" Gold yelled. Feraligatr managed to snap out of it and slid forwards, using the mud to add to his speed and turning him completely into a blur. Kris, Latias and Meganium all cursed as the attacks exploded on the field, sending pools of brown water and mud into the air but failing to strike Feraligatr. Water rose up as he fell in, but the Big Jaw Pokemon broke through the surface smiling once more.

    "EXCELLENT!" Gold yelled excitedly. "Now use Hydro Pump!"

    "Counter with Dragon Pulse!" Kris shouted.

    With pleasure, Latias replied more calmly, and a ball of purple energy formed in her mouth as water gathered in Feraligatr's. "LATIIII!" She cried, a beam shooting from the ball and moving directly towards Feraligatr as he unleashed the powerful jet of water. It seemed like another edgy moment and Kris kept leaning forwards so far from her tensity that she nearly fell over. Her eyes were fixed entirely on the two similarly coloured attacks as they shot towards each other, their natural glows being added to by the powerful spotlights.

    Just like with Noctowl and Skarmory, the attacks collided into each other. The two attacks were powerful and the combination led to an explosion: the Hydro Pump exploded near Feraligatr as the Dragon Pulse managed to linger longer but ultimately the draconian energy turned into a shockwave, nearly blowing Kris' dress up and pushing Latias back slightly.

    That was unfortunate, Latias thought as she used her natural abilities to halt herself.

    Extremely, Kris agreed, watching as Feraligatr skulked back to the other side of the pool to get further away. We need to get him out of that pool otherwise it will be too hard to go after him, agreed?

    Agreed.

    "Latias, use Waterfall!" Gold was annoyed the attack hadn't hit, but his face lit up at this order, knowing it would play into his favour more than Kris realized. Latias moved swiftly, her hands glowing blue as she dived down towards the ground and smashed them against the field. Vividly blue water moved across the surface of the grass until it hit the pool, which suddenly began to shake violently. Kris smiled widely as the water rose up, pushing Feraligatr high into the air.

    "TURN THE TABLES, USE SURF!" Gold shouted, and Kris gasped, realising that she should have seen this attack coming. The non cracked screen zoomed in on Feraligatr's grinning smile as his eyes glowed blue, the control of the water beginning to change.

    Don't count us out yet, Latias said, and her eyes flashed blue to match her hands as she rose them against the attack. The water suddenly began to convulse violently, Feraligatr being thrown around on top but he snarled as he tried to gain control. I am trying to keep control of my Waterfall, but there is something about Gold's Feraligatr that is exceedingly strong, Latias explained, and Kris could feel pressure on her own brain that signalled Latias was concentrating extremely hard.

    Don't put yourself under too much stress, Kris warned, but as she said it the water seemed to give up: the giant tower collapsed upon itself, water spreading out to the side and crashing into the barriers and the rocks and trees to the sides as it fell back to the pool.

    "ALIGAAAA!" Feraligatr yelled as he fell towards the field. Kris could tell it would be painful and began to wince for him, but that changed as the Big Jaw Pokemon ducked his body in and began to roll.

    HE'S COMING FOR YOU! Kris thought, and Latias realised the same fact too late: she turned to try and fly away, but Feraligatr extended an arm and his claws dug into her back. Latias gasped as she was dragged down and pulled backwards, allowing Feraligatr to his second claw above the other one and dig them in.

    "Aaaaah," Kris gasped, clutching her own back in pain. She knew she should be focused on Latias, but the pain in hers was getting so strong. She watched as Feraligatr rose his legs and their sharp claws up as well, digging them into Latias' front, and Kris moaned with pain as it shot through her legs.

    "Megani!" Meganium cried, rushing forwards as Latias failed to stay up, sending her and Feraligatr landed with a loud thud against the ground. Kris looked up, worried for Latias, but couldn't believe the own pain throughout her body… almost in the same places as Latias.

    Are we sharing pain? Kris asked as her back began to feel like it was being snapped in two. Latias turned towards, her face clearly showing the pain in her body, and gave a grim nod as Feraligatr continued to hold her down. Kris was stunned, not knowing the physical connection had got this strong, but she was in so much pain she couldn't think straight.

    "Gold, tell Feraligatr to let go: Latias and I are sharing the pain," Kris shouted, a moan escaping at the end. Gold was stunned by this information and glanced between his rival and the legendary, noticing how both of them were wearing nearly identical faces. But his confusion led to a smile: this was his opportunity, his one and possibly only chance to finally destroy her.

    "Ice Fang," he ordered, the two words ringing in the silent stadium. "Aim for the neck." A collective gasp rose up as Kris felt tears brew in her eyes: why was he doing this, why was he attacking them like this? She watched as Feraligatr raised his jaw and wrapped it around Latias' neck. Her scream echoed and Kris' added to it, feeling as if Feraligatr was biting her own neck, cutting off her airway and making it difficult to breathe.

    "Mega Gani Gani!" Meganium cried, tears streaming down her face as Kris sunk to the ground, trying to breathe in despite the fact it was getting so much harder. She looked to see how Latias was doing and was stunned by the sight: the Dragon was floating up into the air, trying to pull Feraligatr off her neck but for some reason failing. Her face was screwed up in concentration, and her eyes were shining a powerful pink.

    "You can try and float away, but that isn't going to do anything!" Gold called, clapping with delight and going back to watching Kris squirm with pain, wondering how long before she finally gave up. But as Gold began to clap, he suddenly stumbled over. He landed against the ground with a body juddering shake, and had no idea what the cause was before something exploded in his head. "AAAAAAHHH!" He screamed, clutching his head and shutting his eyes, trying to fight back the pain.

    Are you doing that? Kris asked, hearing the screams sounding through the microphone and clutching her own head with one hand as she reached for Latias' Ultra Ball with the other.

    He may be causing us pain, but he is about to have a whole other experience, Latias said bitterly. It is time we showed Mr Hartley what passion is all about, though hold on – this is about to get ugly. Kris had no idea what, but suddenly her vision turned entirely pink and her head felt like it was exploding. Gold saw the same as well and began to scream, but his began to turn black, and suddenly both trainers were in a completely different place…

    "We need to cover this up," a younger Harold Hartley was saying, walking briskly around an old fashioned version of their living room. Gold was sitting in the corner shaking, tears and mucus streaming down his face. Henrietta was crying as well, looking at her husband for advice. "That Soul girl, she was there, wasn't she?" Gold nodded and Harold let out an angry roar and turned to his wife. "We need to go and talk to her, convince her that it was all an accident."

    "She was right there Harold!" Henrietta gasped, but Harold shook his head.

    "She's a child in shock. We could tell her Lugia swooped down and pushed the little tart in front of the car and she will have to believe us: no matter what she protests, we'll say that it was her imagination until the little bitch represses the memory!"

    "Harold!" Henrietta gasped, but Harold shook his head before roaring again and turning towards Gold, who broke out in a fresh lot of sobbing.

    "HOW COULD YOU HAVE BEEN SO FUCKING STUPID!"

    The scene changed: it was the same room but with different furnishings more similar to its latest lot. Gold was watching from behind the sofa though as a tired Henrietta was led in by Harold, a small child clasped in her arms. Winston and Chantelle were there, and Gold's younger siblings gathered around excitedly. But Gold glared at the new child: another brat to show him up, another being to get all of their attention, leaving him pushed further into the background…

    "Do you really think the boy will do well?" Gold was peering into the living room from the entrance hall, his parents drinking wine in candlelight. The husband and wife looked the same as they did now, though Harold was laughing.

    "I doubt it. He has never done any wonders, especially around Pokemon: remembering when we went to the petting zoo? I do for the whole it left in our bank account after what he did. I only said yes to humour him: I expect he'll be home in a few weeks." Harold and Henrietta laughed, but they froze as Gold turned around and ran across the tiles. Henrietta called out, but Gold was beginning to cry as he rushed up the stairs…

    Now they were in an alleyway, the tall buildings and noise showing it was Goldenrod City. Croconaw sat on a dustbin in front of a pacing Gold, looking rather fearfully at his trainer.

    "STUPID WHORE!" Gold suddenly yelled, grabbing a bin and shoving it over with all his might, sending food scraps pouring across the ground. "HOW DOES SHE KEEP DEFEATING ME?" He continued to yell, grabbing items from the bin and throwing them down the alleyway towards people at the end, who ran away nervously.

    "Naw Croco Croc," Croconaw said, standing up and looking worried, but visibly regretted it a moment later as Gold turned towards him and grabbed the metal lid from the bin.

    "Next time we battle, YOU need to win!" Gold warned, pointing a finger towards him. "And if we don't, than I may just have to ensure I do next time!" And he moved forwards with the lid, Croconaw raising an arm but it did nothing to stop the metal from crashing down on him…

    Water crashed into the ground nearby, and Gold glared at the wide ocean for a few moments before turning back towards Route 27, staring at Feraligatr, Tyranitar and Ursaring as they chopped wood with their claws: their hands were bruised and bleeding, but Gold still wasn't satisfied as the wood failed to properly chop.

    "Disgraceful!" He growled, and threw another piece at each of them, whacking them on the shoulders. He began to laugh a cold, cruel, high pitched laugh that didn't do wonders for his mental state. "We'll just have to try something else, won't we?" He turned back towards a table, which had a large bowl coated with green liquid. He used his mashing stick to tip it out, and than looked at his ingredients: Rare Candies, berries, herbs, lava cookies, evolutionary stones, and the row of six vials he had stolen from Professor Elm, only the POKEMON STRENGTH bit remaining. Gold knew he was going to make this work, and quickly began working on the next lot as his Pokemon collapsed from exhaustion alongside.

    "I don't hear chopping," Gold sneered as he began mashing Cheri Berries, imagining each one was Kris' face and wondering how great it would be to do this for real…

    "LATIAS, RETURN!"

    Kris struggled to hold the Ultra Ball up, but as she finally felt relief she knew it had worked. Once the Ball had clicked she collapsed forwards, breathing deeply as the pain left her neck, back and legs, but still feeling an odd pain in her head. The memories she had just seen had been painful to view, and her mind was racing as she tried to decipher them: all had been through Gold's eyes, of course, and she knew the first three had taken place at Hartley Manor. The first must have been after Ruby had died, and confirmed how the Hartley's had covered up the incident and tricked her into believing what they wanted them to believe. But as Kris wondered about the others, mainly Gold abusing his Pokemon and mixing together some weird mixture, there was a loud thud. She looked up to see Feraligatr had just fallen from a great height, his knees crashing painfully against the side of the pool and leaving him dazed.

    "Good old Latias," Kris mumbled, and knew that the Eon Pokemon must have known Kris would bring her back and had planned for Feraligatr to fall after she turned to energy. Kris managed to glance up at the screen above Gold and saw that Latias' face remained on the board but surrounded by grey, while there were four other circles that were just completely grey. The sixth had a yellow background and Meganium's smiling face, and Kris' heart skipped a beat as she realized this was it: it was time to send her final Pokemon into battle.

    "Meganium Mega Mega Gani?" Kris looked up to find her starter standing above her looking terrified.

    "I'm alright, don't worry about me," Kris said, managing to get to her feet by herself, though wobbled slightly and clutched her head. "Latias sure knows how to give you a headache," she added, and Meganium smiled weakly. The two friends stared at each other, both aware of how important this moment was. Kris wanted to give a huge long speech, but she at the moment just wanted to get out there and defeat Gold and knew Meganium did as well. "Make sure you put your passion into every move, and make sure you kick his ass," Kris said finally, and the two managed a teary laugh before she pulled Meganium into a brief hug before stepping aside and letting her walk onto the field.

    Gold shook violently as he stood up. He couldn't believe those memories had been pulled out, displayed for Kris to see. He felt invaded and disgusted, and stared with as much anger as he could towards Kris as Meganium walked onto the field. If Gold had focused on the battle more than just Kris, he would have noticed on the screen that Latias had only been brought back rather than fainted like he was presuming, but didn't care about the Eon Pokemon as he wanted this battle to end.

    You are dead Krystal… dead! Gold thought viciously, watching as Feraligatr got to his feet. The Big Jaw Pokemon saw the Herb Pokemon standing in front of him, and instantly the two fell into a glare: their rivalry had been as long as their trainers, and they knew the importance of this next round of battling. The two girls stared at the two boys, and the two boys stared back at the two girls: silence had fallen between them, not a single word, not a single insult being exchanged. Kris was disgusted at Gold for what she had just seen, but now wasn't the time for arguing: it was time for one of them to win and the other to lose.

    "Seed Bomb," Kris ordered.

    "Ice Fang," Gold hissed. Meganium had a second to register before Feraligatr appeared before her, sinking his ice blue teeth into her neck. Her thick legs wobbled as she tried to resist the pain but found it too strong, and instead she focused more on forming the giant seed: energy rose from her neck flower and formed a giant glowing ball in her mouth.

    "Gani!" Meganium snapped and thrust the Seed Bomb down onto Feraligatr. The Water type cried out as he was blasted backwards, the powerful attack sending him right back to Gold's muddy side of the field. Meganium was happy for a moment but collapsed forwards, wincing from the wound around her neck. Kris could see it was close to bleeding but needed to focus rather than get emotional, and ignored Gold's proud grim as she crafted a move. She noticed Feraligatr slipping on his side of the field, struggling to get up in the mud. If Kris could keep him there, then maybe…

    "Meganium, Sunny Day!" Kris called.

    "Ice Fang again!" Gold said, getting a bit worried. Meganium's flower suddenly glowed a fiery colour and radiated light as she got back to her feet: she tipped her head back as a ball of fire rose up her throat, and she fired it up into the air. Kris watched happily as the ball soared above the spotlights, bursting open and unfolding, letting an orange wave form above the stadium. Light shone down on them brighter than any spotlight, and Kris was pleased and relieved at the success of the attack. She was even happier as Feraligatr struggled to get up, his feet sinking in the mud and therefore preventing him from using his attack.

    "Get to her and use Superpower!" Gold growled, furious at the failed move as the sunlight made him sweat beneath his tuxedo. Feraligatr finally seemed to have his footing, but Kris needed to keep him back there.

    "Charge towards him and use Solarbeam from close range," she ordered. Meganium was surprised at the attack but began running anyway, his petals quickly glowing green as particles of light came down. Feraligatr was struggling to move as quickly on the mud but had the red ball formed in his hands, and smiled as Meganium came closer as he reached solid land.

    "FEEEEEER!" He yelled, leaping forwards and slamming the Superpower into her, just as Meganium opened her mouth. A powerful beam of green energy engulfed Feraligatr, making him yell and would have blasted him backwards if he hadn't sunk glowing red claws into Meganium's back. The Superpower struck Meganium as her Solarbeam struck Feraligatr, and waves of energy shook from the two.

    "Gani Mega!" Meganium growled, and shook her body as furiously as she could. One of Feraligatr's claws came loose, scratching her side as it moved, but allowed the Solarbeam to properly blast Feraligatr directly back into the mud. Kris was feeling terrible at putting Meganium through this, but her plan was starting to work. Gold was looking nervous, annoyed that Meganium was able to easily push his Physical moves aside.

    "Surf, go!" Gold yelled, and Kris smiled to herself, her plan working perfectly.

    "FRENZY PLANT!" She yelled, and gasps echoed everywhere: one from Gold, one from the commentator, a collective one from the crowd: Frenzy Plant was the most powerful Grass type move in existence, learned exclusively by the Grass type starters and the equivalent to Blast Burn and Hydro Cannon. Kris smiled at the shocked expressions, knowing that this little surprise would come for everyone, having resisted using it during the Elite battles. After Meganium had used it at Hartley Manor, Kris had spent weeks perfecting it, and now it would pay off: Kris watched as Meganium's eyes glowed green, and the wavy green engulfed her entire body and began to flow through the ground. Feraligatr looked scared as the grass began to glow a luminous green, but he quickly began to raise the Surf before it was too late.

    "NOW!" Kris yelled.

    "GAAAAANIIIIII!" Meganium shouted. The ground shook as dark green vines poured out of the ground: there were dozens, possibly even a hundred, rising up into the sky and thrashing about. Gold's jaw dropped as the Frenzy Plant moved down towards Feraligatr, just as the Surf rose up. For nearly a minute the entire field began engulfed with vines, neither Meganium nor Feraligatr visible but the Water type was yelling out underneath. But eventually the vines began to sink back into the ground, leaving a very battered Feraligatr behind and a very tired Meganium. Gold looked nervously down at Feraligatr, but it turned to a high pitched laugh as his starter began to move.

    "Oh my god Kris, your Pokemon is so weak they can't even knock mine out with the strongest move it knows! Hydro Pump, hit her while she can't do a thing!" He laughed, clapping his hands together. He looked towards Kris for a reaction, but was stunned to see she was smiling.

    "I never intended for Frenzy Plant to knock Feraligatr out, as that would have been too easy." Kris replied, watching as the Big Jaw Pokemon stood up. "I told you before about adding a little spice to your moves: it makes things more interesting and far more grand. Of course, you have added a little spice to your Pokemon, haven't you? A normal Water type that has received the damage Feraligatr has taken would have fainted by now, but I saw what you were doing in that memory: you were mixing together ingredients to make your Pokemon stronger, weren't you?"

    "Errr…. I-I-I-I have no i-idea what your tal-talking about!" Gold stuttered as the cameras focused on him. Feraligatr unleashed his Hydro Pump, but it was a lot smaller than before and Meganium barely register as she gained back her energy.

    "There's no denying it, and while you're here I can imagine they'll be going to search your room and will test your Pokemon," Kris said with a smile. "But back to my moves: I have actually been observing the battle, and I noticed how much muddier it was getting around Feraligatr. I knew it would be hard for him to move so quickly if he was stuck in the mud, but I thought that Sunny Day might add to things and dry it out around him. Solarbeam but swallow it."

    "Hydro Pump again!" Gold spluttered, staring shakily down at the ground around Feraligatr: the mud was indeed going hard under the hot sunlight, and Feraligatr struggled to move under in it as he fired another weak Hydro Pump. Meganium smiled as her leaves glowed green, and her body began to shake and she held back the powerful solar energy. The Hydro Pump hit her, and Gold gasped as her eyes suddenly turned green.

    "Another part of my plan was for Meganium to take Feraligatr's attacks, as the weaker she became the more powerful her Grass moves would become, and it seems the gamble has paid off," Kris said with a smile, nodding at Meganium as the Overgrow activated throughout her body. "Of course, Sunny Day makes Water moves a lot weaker as well, so I knew I wasn't taking too big of a risk against your drugged up Pokemon."

    "No… this can't be happening… why…," Gold mumbled, collapsing down to his knees as Meganium continued to shake.

    "Gold, I am sorry that you weren't adored by your parents and you didn't get as much attention as you wanted, and I am sorry they were rude," Kris said more seriously, her voice ringing as the passion filled her entire body. "But you are a nasty, cruel little boy who can't accept the wonderful life you lived as a child. You are abusive to your Pokemon and have a temper unlike anything I have ever seen before. You are deliberately cruel and manipulative and take pleasure in the pain in others, but can't accept it yourself when you lose. You have won this title through cheating and than nearly killed my Pokemon and nearly killed me, just for some sick little game. You deserve everything you've got, and I hope that one day you will finally learn this." Kris felt stronger than she had ever felt in her entire life, clenching her fists and feeling a strange surge of power: it was the passion for what she was saying and what she was doing, and she knew it was time for the change.

    "Meganium, combine your Solarbeam with Seed Bomb," Kris ordered, her voice ringing in the silent stadium, "and do it for Ruby." Silence fell across the entire stadium as everyone leaned forwards in anticipation: balls of energy rose from Meganium's petal and formed around her mouth. Her entire body shook as the Solarbeam surged inside the forming seed, green power radiating almost like a nuclear bomb.

    "MEEEEGAAAAANIIIIUUUUUM!" She yelled and fired the Seed Bomb forwards. Feraligatr stood there helplessly, unable to move and his attacks worthless under the sun. Gold lay on his knees, his dreams crashing down around him as the SolarBomb soared towards them. There was nothing that could be done, and Feraligatr shut his eyes as the attack struck him.

    The attack was like nothing ever seen before.

    The Seed Bomb exploded, unleashing the Solarbeam's energy across the stadium. Kris gasped as all she could see was green light, and a second light felt the powerful wave wash over her. The entire stadium was shaking again, and this time Kris had to brace her legs to stop her from being bowled over backwards. It was pure energy unlike anything Kris had experienced before, yet she somehow felt serene, as if a huge weight had just been lifted off her shoulders.

    It was all over before it had truly begun, and Kris ended up slipping slightly after the need to brace left. She looked up at the field, not sure quite what to expect: everything was still silent, but every person in the stands was on their feet, looking down at the battle and wondering what to make of it. The first thing Kris saw was that Meganium had fainted, lying on her side sadly.

    I am sorry you couldn't see this until the end, but thank you, Kris thought, and than let her eyes follow to the opposite side. Gold was still on his knees, staring down at a crater in the middle of the mud. Kris couldn't see as well, but a camera showed things on the screen: Feraligatr lying unconscious in a layer of mud, limbs at an odd angle. Gold stared at him for a few seconds, and then he began to laugh. Kris was surprised, watching as he got to his feet and laughed.

    "Both Pokemon fainted!" He laughed, clapping his hands in the silent arena. "It is a draw: you didn't win! HA HA HA, suck it you self important bitch! Looks like you weren't that great after all!" Kris was surprised, and she grabbed the Ultra Ball from her pocket. Gold kept laughing right up until the ball of blue light formed overhead, and he remained still and silent as Latias rose overhead. She smiled down at him and turned to look at the audience, and suddenly they knew what this meant.

    "THE CHAMPION GOLD HAS BEEN DEFEATED," the commentator yelled as a roar suddenly erupted from behind the barrier. "KRYSTAL SOUL OF NEW BARK TOWN SURVIVES WITH HER LATIAS, MEANING THAT SHE IS THE NEW CHAMPION OF THE JOHTO LEAGUE!" Kris had been so taken aback by Gold that she hadn't registered it herself, and began to wobble slightly as the news broke. But by the time Latias had flown down and scooped her up, Kris was breaking out in a smile, unable to believe it: after all of this time, she had finally made it. A dream that seemed ruined a few hours ago had become a reality… she was the Johto League Champion.

    "WE DID IT!" Kris yelled as Latias spun her around, pulling a PokeBall out and bringing Meganium back. She clutched all her PokeBalls and hugged them tightly, wishing her Pokemon could be here to join her in celebration. But Kris simply smiled and nudged up alongside Latias, who took her up above the stadium did a victory lap before coming down towards her side.

    People were rushing forwards, ranging from medic workers offering to take her Pokemon straight to the Pokemon Center to reporters asking for questions. Kris felt overwhelmed, but than saw the people she wanted to see: Persephone, Spike and Leaf were in the lead, with Elm, Bill, Steven Stone, Jericho and Alexis coming up behind and the Kimono Sisters surrounding Hanoko as she hobbled forwards, knocking a reporter aside with her cane.

    "Oh honey!" Persephone said tearfully, and Kris pulled her into a tight hug. Latias grabbed the PokeBalls and passed them over to one of the medics, who held them tightly as if they were babies and rushed towards the same arch the previous medics had gone with Kingdra. "I am so amazed you won! I mean, I always knew you would, but now that it's happened I am just so happy and so proud of you!"

    "Thanks mum," Kris said, tears beginning to stream. She turned towards the others, overwhelmed to see them all smiling: from Elm and Spike who she had spent more time with, to people like Jericho and Alexis she had only met once, they were all here for her and it was amazing.

    "KRYSTAL!" The happiness shattered in an instance, and Kris turned around to see Gold storming towards her. He looked murderous, and had his fists clenched up as he moved forwards. It was clear he was angry, but Kris was rather afraid at what he might do. "YOU STUPID BITCH, YOU RUINED EVERYTHING! I WAS MEANT TO DESTROY YOU AND STAY CHAMPION, BUT YOU JUST HAD TO COME IN AND RUIN EVERYTHING! I HOPE YOUR WHORE MOTHER DIES AND YOU GO DOWN WITH HER!" He made to run forwards and Spike suddenly moved in front as Leaf pulled out a PokeBall and advanced forwards. However, it was Latias who put a stop to it, moving down and raising a hand that froze Gold in his path.

    Ethan Hartley, I believe in peace, love and kindness, but quite frankly you're a... what is the youth say these days… you're a dickhead, and I think there is a special place where dickheads like you go when they break the law. Latias smiled widely and clapped her hands together: Gold's arms and legs seemed bound together, and he bounced on the spot as two burly security guards came forwards.

    "The police are waiting to talk to you," one of them said angrily. "Something about a rumour you used drugs to improve your Pokemon's performance."

    "No, you can't take me, I'm still Champion!" Gold protested as they scooped him up under his armpits. "I am Hartley, you can't do this to me! I'LL GET YOU BACK FOR THIS KRYSTAL! ONE DAY I WILL GET MY REVENGE!" Gold continued to scream until Latias clicked her fingers, making him remain quiet. Kris was shaken for a moment, but she held her head high and put a smile on.

    "At least he's going where he belongs," she said, and those around her cheered. "Thank you Latias: it is about time you had a rest."

    Whatever you say, Champion, Latias said with a bow, and Kris laughed as she brought her back and passed the PokeBall over to a medic. She turned back towards the crowd, but Leaf put her hands on her shoulders and spun her back around towards the middle: the pool had become covered by a raised platform, where a group of well dressed men and women were standing, along with the Elite Four.

    "Time to get your crown," Leaf whispered, and Kris felt her heart drumming against her chest. She walked forwards a few steps before turning and hugging Leaf.

    "Thank you, this is all because of you," Kris whispered, and Leaf merely nodded with teary eyes, giving her a hug back. Kris broke off and began hugging everyone: a speechless Elm, a proud looking Bill, a crying Alexis, Steven Stone who reluctantly accepted the hug as he whispered 'glad to see the stone worked for you'. Kris reached Spike, who held his arms out wide and smiled widely.

    "I knew you could make it!" He said gleefully. Kris went in for the hug, but she suddenly imagined Meganium next to her, giving her a knowing look that said now was the time. Her heart was pumping furiously, and Kris decided to take a chance: she ran forwards and planted her lips on Spike's. It seemed to take him by surprise, but he embraced it and the two stayed this way for nearly a minute as the crowd continued to cheer and her supporters whistled.

    "About time!" Hanoko scoffed. Kris finally stopped at this, unable to neither contain a laugh nor stop her cheeks going bright red. Spike blushed as well but burst into a smile and gave her another kiss on the cheeks. Kris waved to the others as the crowd was getting noisier, chanting her name and clapping. She ran towards the platform, not sure which was more shocking: the fact she was now Champion or that she had just kissed a boy. But either way, everything seemed a blur as Kris stepped up on the platform, staring around at the lights flashing in her eyes and the screens all showing her name and the label Champion, her six Pokemon's faces all around. People Kris didn't even know were shaking her hands, than she shook the Elites, ending with Karen who hugged her and passed over a bouquet of silvery flowers.

    "I knew you could once you let your passion out," she whispered, and Kris blushed again as she turned towards the Johto League Chairman. He put a sash over her that said Champion and passed over a shining golden trophy. Kris thought the colour was ironic, but she smiled brighter than she ever had in her entire life and lifted up the giant trophy. Everyone was cheering for her, and Kris couldn't believe that this had all started with a battle between a Chikorita and a Totodile in a tiny lab in New Bark Town. Now Kris the Champion of Johto, and she couldn't quite believe it and shut her eyes, allowing her to take it all in, thinking about Gold and her Pokemon and the gym leaders, the battles, the explosions, the moves, the journey…

    In the end, Kris simply smiled: she had finally won the war.




    Thank you to everyone who has stuck with this story until the very end, and I hope that you find a way to be happy for the result. I know a lot of people were displeased with my portrayal of Gold, but I have had my reasons: I've seen too many stories where the male is the hero and becomes Champion, and I wanted to focus on a small town girl venturing on a powerful quest against a sadistic villain. I have always planned on portraying Gold as a symbol of the new age of battling that has come from the WiFi and online battling: he starts off wanting to prove himself and does want to enjoy his battle, but becomes too obsessed in the end with winning and making his Pokemon the most powerful there is at no matter what the cost, and no matter who he hurts. The drug smoothies were sort of a symbol of the EV training and obsessive stat raising a lot of people focus on rather than enjoying the game, and Kris is the trainer who actually enjoys what she is doing and simply wants to focus on becoming on Champion. I am sure this description will annoy people as well, but why can't we have cultural discussions about the Pokemon community rather than the extended world? :P If you can view these characters as these two representations, I can only hope your views may be changed. I understand if they don't, but this was how I intended to portray them. I didn't want them to be friends as I have done too many stories where the main characters are all best friends and it is something the games have done too many times (especially with the whole your rival being your best friend thing which severely annoys me.)

    Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this ending and the series itself. It has been a great series to write and I have enjoyed writing all the characters: Kris, Gold, Persephone, Elm, Leaf, Steven, and especially Hanoko, my quirky little grandma, and even enjoyed writing the Pokemon, who were just as fun to develop. All these characters will appear around the GalacticVerse again in the future, and I have an epilogue chapter planned but that will not be for a long time. But once again thank you to everyone for your support, and until next time, farewell.

    ^^^^ The GalacticVerse Bibliography (Thanks to Blazaking for Banner) ^^^^

  13. #253
    Rocking the Lucario Thundagere's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War - The Finale: Passion Final Part

    Man....
    I never actually thought this story would end. I was hoping it would continue forever, and...well, we can't have it all.
    Nevertheless, I'm not going to give you a boring usual review for this. All I can say is...wow. And I want Kris to appear in future.

    Made by Blue Dragon!

  14. #254
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Kris vs Gold: A Tale of War - The Finale: Passion Final Part

    Thanks for your comment @Thundagere, I appreciate it :) And sorry largely for the very very very VERY VERY late response!

    Hello all! It has been a very long time since the tale of Kris and Gold concluded. I hinted at an epilogue back then, but when I was thinking of a Christmas story to do for 2012 (a bit late now...), I realised there was a part of Kris' story that needed to be told first before the epilogue. So here it is, a little Winter special sharing what happened to Kris after she became Champion and how the title has affected her life...



    Snow

    "Are you sure you're ready for this?"

    No, but I don't have much choice, do I? "Of course I'm ready… why wouldn't I be?"

    "You seem nervous – you're shivering."

    "Funny that, as it is snowing. Shouldn't you be cold yourself, Dragon Boy?" Spike laughed, and Kris glowered at him, not in the mood for laughing. She turned and looked towards New Bark Town, which now only about three kilometres in the distance. A snow covered, frosty wooden walkway stood between her and her home town, with the frozen waters of Route 27 splashing up against the supports. Kris and Spike stood on one side of the bridge, feeling the constant winds as they crept into any uncovered or unprotected part of their bodies, sending chills through their spines. They should move on, but Kris had found herself unable to carry on. She stared almost mournfully at the distant wind turbines and little cottages, imagining her mother bustling about, preparing the house with Hooty, waiting for Kris to arrive…

    "Shall we get a move on then, isn't lunch set for one' o'clock?" Spike said, shivering slightly himself as the wind roared all around them. Kris gave a reluctant, almost robotic nod in response, knowing that if she did not keep moving soon, then she would stay here and simply stare at her town, dreaming of her past life as the snow piled high around her.

    "What exactly is it that's holding you back?" Spike asked as gave her a gentle push to start moving, and together the two set off again across the damp wooden path. "I know it has been a while, and things have changed quite a bit, but your mother wouldn't care, would she?"

    Things have changed… that's an understatement, Kris thought bitterly. Several months had passed since Kris had faced Gold in their battle to be Champion, a brutal fight to the finish that she had come so close to losing, but had ultimately and finally emerged victorious. Kris had spent a few days in a daze, lost in the shock of finally achieving her goal and the sudden change she was thrust into. She was given amazing new apartments, a ceremony was arranged for her proper coronation as Champion, there were prizes, trophies, interviews, everything she had ever dreamt of come true.

    But after the initial glory, everything turned sour: death, accusations of cheating and undeserved titles, abuse and ridicule, constant criticism. It had become too much for Kris to handle, and had it not been for the soothing influence of her Pokemon, she may have collapsed under the pressure weeks ago. She had been given the chance to live the life she had always wanted, but it was nothing like Kris had expected. Her mother had known, she had tried to warn her in the days after the battle. Foolishly, Kris had ignored her, thinking she could handle things. Now, several months later, Kris felt guilty as well as tired and frustrated, having put off contacting her mother, wanting to use the holiday season to try and fix all the problems that had piled up around her.

    However, when it came to Christmas, there was no avoiding Persephone Soul.

    "It was so nice of your mother to invite me to Christmas," Spike said as the two trumped along the wooden path, trying his best to make conversation. "At the Dragon's Den, we usually just have a big buffet styled feast in the House, but it doesn't feel as homely as having a nice quiet meal with only a few people."

    "My mother knows we're friends, and she probably thought that if you were invited, it would pressure me into coming," Kris said gloomily, but quickly realised that this implied Spike wasn't really wanted and she changed her tune. "I mean… you were friendly when we last visited, so… my mum probably thought… um… that you could…" but Spike cut her off with laughter, and Kris laughed herself, quickly relaxing.

    "It is fine, I am sure that is why she invited me, but I am not bothered," the Dragon trainer said with a smile. "It beats having to fight over the last piece of meat with a dozen other people." Kris laughed again, and could not help herself from carrying on as they stepped off the long wooden path and back onto solid, snow covered ground. During all of her stress over the past few months, Spike had always been there for her, largely as he had nominated himself to be the messenger between the Johto League and the Dragon's Den over the issues with Lance. They had spent a lot of time together wandering through the gardens and surrounding mountainous paths of the Johto League Complex, talking things over, and while Karen had made several jokes when she and Kris had met up, the two remained friends. Kris had feelings, and there had been the kiss after her battle, but with the stress she was under at the moment, throwing a relationship like this into the mix was too much. But Kris could not help but feel something every time they were near, and she wished Spike had fought more for a relationship to blossom.

    "Here we are," Spike said five minutes later, as they left the wide, empty snowy field behind them and moved into the limits of New Bark Town. The snow began to thin away, presumably from young boys who were always paid around this time to keep the main paths clear, though Kris doubted they would be working with Christmas only a day away. She glanced around all the houses that had turned white from the snow, and noticed that trees that had been fully in bloom during her last visit had lost all their leaves, making them look like skeletal hands sticking out of the ground.

    The whole town was silent except for their footsteps, the creaking of the wind turbines and the gusts that powered them. It was a ghostly as moving across a war zone, and Kris began to feel unnerved again as they turned left down a road and made the way towards the Soul household. She moved closer to Spike, who linked his left arm with her right, and Kris considered sending a Pokemon out, but she did not want to draw any attention to herself. They simply moved quickly, and Kris tried not to let the fears that had plagued her this whole trip come back to her, knowing that if they did, she could probably turn around and fly back to the Johto League before Spike could stop her.

    Finally, after three days of walking and sleeping in freezing snow, they arrived at her home.

    Kris instantly felt better as she stared at the quiet little cottage. The mix of purple, blue and lime green colours jumped out from the snow, giving some brightness back to the world and making Kris instantly feel as though she was home. She saw figures move behind the frosted over windows, and suddenly Kris found herself running forwards, stumbling through deeper patches of snow but without a care in the world. After her last few months, Kris was desperate to be back somewhere that she knew was familiar, welcoming and safe, a place she had not been for far too long.

    "Mum!" Kris shouted as she burst through the door, and screams of delight erupted from the living room. Without taking her shoes off, Kris rushed inside the small room, instantly seeing a tree that nearly touched the ceiling twinkling in a corner, but her attention went towards the figures she had seen from outside.

    "Oh Kris, it has been so long!" Persephone Soul cried, rushing forwards with tears already streaming down her face. Kris found herself crying as well, and she pulled her mother into a mutual hug, getting hit with a waft of nutmeg and chocolate from the apron tied around her neck. It was so warm and welcoming, and Kris felt as though she would never be able to let go, silently letting her emotions pour out. For a moment, all the stress of the past few months disappeared, and Kris thought she would be able to pour her heart out and reveal everything that had been happening, and beg for forgiveness and the advice she should have taken months ago.

    After a few moments, a breathless Spike emerged behind them, and mother and daughter broke apart. Kris finally got a chance to examine her, and struggled to hide her shock: Persephone was much thinner than she had been at Kris' coronation, her skin pale and looking as though it had been pulled tight over her bones. A red and green bandanna was tied around her head, and there was a gaunt expression in her eye's that sent a worried chill through Kris' spine.

    "You have no need to worry!" Persephone said with a smile, an expert in reading people's facial expressions. "I know I look awful, I had a stomach bug last week and it played havoc with me, but I swear I am feeling fine!"

    "Alright," Kris said and forced a smile, though she was doubtful: her mother had not looked this bad for months, as she was supposed to be beating the cancer, and she could not help but be worried.

    "You've been here two minutes and you still haven't given me a hug!" An angry voice said from behind her. "Are you too much of a Champion to care about your family now?" Kris turned as Hanoko waddled towards her, laughing at her own dark wit, and Kris brightened up as she gave her grandmother a hug, completely taken aback by her appearance.

    "I had no idea you were going to be here!" She said, overwhelmed with emotion once more. "I thought you would be spending it in Ecruteak."

    "Do you seriously think I want to spend another year watching as office workers drunk on brandy and their own sense of self worth gawk over my daughters?" Hanoko scoffed. "It happens every day, mind you, but having dozens of them trumping through as part of their office do's is just plain annoying! So I thought I would come and see the rest of my family, but don't worry, your aunts made me bring you enough presents to make up for all these past holidays and not making it to your coronation!"

    "I did miss seeing them there, but at least you made it," Kris said, smiling warmly, but more fear began to settle on her. What if Hanoko had come out here to help look after her mother? It seemed daft when she second guessed it, such an elderly woman looking after someone much younger than her, but the way Hanoko had spoken and a slightly tense atmosphere made Kris wonder. Persephone and Kris were the family Hanoko had never had the chance to know, so was she making up for that by caring for a sick daughter in law?

    "Hello, Merry Christmas!" Spike said, breaking the sudden tension that had erupted in the living room. He pulled a plastic bag of wrapped presents out of his back pack and placed them alongside the other piles before moving in to quickly hug Persephone. "It is freezing out there, it feels wonderful to be back indoors!"

    "You two must be cold, I'll make you some hot chocolates," Persephone said, glancing away from Kris and getting back into her culinary state. Hooty flew in, her eyes glowing pink and with a plate of Christmas themed cookies floating in front. Kris suddenly felt hungry and she and Spike quickly scooped some up, just as the smell of cooking meat wafted in through the kitchen.

    "That smells divine Mum!" She called out, and Persephone's laugh echoed back to her.

    "You'll be able to taste it in about fifteen minutes once you've stopped scoffing cookies down!" She chuckled. "Wash up and then help set the table, there is a job for everyone!"

    "And people say I'm tough!" Hanoko grumbled, and Kris laughed, finally feeling relaxed for the first time in weeks, but she could not rid herself of the nagging voice in the back of her head. Part of her knew that she should discuss the issues she was having with her mother and get her take on things, lessen the burden that she had been left with, it was what she would have done in any other situation. But Kris could not shake her worries over her mother's unhealthy state, and knew dumping all of the issues with Gold, Lance and Kanto could be unwise in such a state

    Maybe after lunch, Kris told herself, but even that seemed doubtful, and she could not help but let her gloom creep back and consume her once again…

    ***

    An hour later, after eating all the delicious food Persephone had prepared and opening several of the presents that were piled high under tree, Kris noted that the snow had finally settled outside, with thin bursts of sunlight shining through the murky clouds. It seemed like the perfect time to go for a walk, so Kris and Spike made their way to Professor Elm's laboratory with a present for him.

    The small town looked nicer now that the sun was shining, making the snow glow beneath their feet. It helped to lighten Kris' mood, but she still felt a bit glum as they trudged through the snow that seemed unwilling to let them pass. Her worries for her mother's health had grown when Persephone had barely touched her plate, and Kris hoped that a walk and some fresh air would help clear her head.

    People had moved outside now that the snow had stopped, mostly kids or families having snow ball fights in their back yards. Spike marvelled at the sight, having never experienced it in his years spent deep within the Dragon's Den, and Kris could tell he was eager to join in. She would have liked to as well, but when people saw her and recognized her, they paused in what they were doing and stared at her in awe. It had been a while since Kris had actually gone out in public, having been trapped within the Johto League Complex and within endless meetings that served to simply crush her spirit. People were weary about approaching her, but Kris smiled, waved and greeted them all, and as they got nearer to Professor Elm's, many people began to cheer or shout out their congratulations.

    "Ah, to be Champion!" Spike said, giving her a cheeky nudge that made Kris laugh. "How glorious it must be to have everyone in the world fawning over you, savouring the very air you breathe, crying out to their neighbours of how you gracefully stepped on their hydrangeas!"

    "Oh shut up!" Kris said, pushing him sideways, and then laughed harder as Spike lost his balance and landed in the snow. He blushed from embarrassment, and quickly scooped up some flakes and threw them at her. Kris screamed as the snowball exploded against her, but quickly laughed and set off, forcing Spike to scramble to his feet and chase after, throwing snow balls every few seconds. This carried on until they reached the laboratory, where Kris dived down near the stairs and grabbed as much snow as she could, and quickly flung it behind. Spike was caught off guard, and Kris was able to move on from the snow soaking through her warm pants as she jumped up laughing at Spike's stunned, snow covered expression.

    "That's what you get for abusing the Champion!" She shouted joyously, and ran the last few metres to Professor Elm's. It was here that her journey had first begun, and Kris' laughter died down as a sense of nostalgia settled in. How long ago that seems, she thought, remembering how excited and nervous she had been, how wonderful that first win against Gold had felt at the time … if only she had lost that first battle, things may have ended so differently…

    "Ah Kris, hello my dear! I was wondering if I would be seeing you sometime this week!" Professor Elm exclaimed as a once again reclusive Kris walked through the sliding doors. "Merry Christmas, my glorious little Champion!"

    "Merry Christmas to you too!" Kris replied, forcing a smile and letting the Professor hug her, the doors sliding open again as Spike came in. "This is for you," she added, and passed the present across. Professor Elm gave a little squeak of delight, and as he tore through the wrapping paper, Kris glanced around at the lab: it was very familiar, with the same mess of papers covering their desks around experiments and equipment. There appeared to be nothing new, with only a small bit of tinsel up as decoration. For a moment, no one else seemed to be about, but Kris could heard voices coming from behind a partition and wondered if they belonged to scientists or members of the Elm family that lived upstairs.

    "Oh thank you Kris, this is lovely!" Professor Elm said, and held up the gold plated plaque that Kris had given him, which had the words 'ELM – CREATOR OF CHAMPIONS' emblazoned across the surface, drawing her attention back.

    "You're welcome! I had to do something to thank you for all the help you gave me, and something materialistic just didn't seem right," Kris replied with a smile and gave him another hug. "Though I thought the fancy chocolates would be nice as well."

    "They look divine! My wife and I will probably finish them off in five minutes," Elm laughed, and Kris and Spike joined in. "Would you like me to examine your Pokemon while you're here? My wife is busy baking and the kids are watching a movie, so I have a few minutes to spare."

    "Oh, sure!" Kris said, and fetched the six PokeBalls she had on her out, while Elm went over to the PC so he could retrieve the seventh. What she presumed to be Magcargo's PokeBall sat on a shelf to the side, looking lonely amongst all the paperwork. "I have never really trusted the doctors they have up at the Johto League. They seem to focus more on fixing the Elite Fours then caring about mine. They probably think…" but Kris trailed off at this, looking glumly at the tiled floor as the dark thoughts came in, and Spike moved closer and put a reassuring hand around her shoulder.

    "Magcargo is doing a lot better since you last saw him though," Elm said as he returned with Noctowl's PokeBall, grabbing Magcaro's on the way. "His shell has fully sealed itself, and in most places the outer layers have grown back as well, so he is well on his way to being able to battle again."

    "Excellent!" Kris said, and in order to try and shake herself from her mood, she excitedly released all six of her Pokemon, followed by Noctowl and Magcargo as the others all formed together. Meganium, Ampharos, Kingdra, Miltank, Latias and Espeon were all smiles when they had formed, and quickly reunited with their fellow team mates as well as greeting Kris, Spike and Professor Elm.

    "Oh Magcargo, you look so wonderful!" Kris cried, getting emotional as she went down on her knees and beamed at the Lava Pokemon. Magcargo's shell had been badly shattered during his last encounter with Gold, and Kris was pleased to see that, though it was mismatched in thickness and colour, it was nearly fully healed, and Magcargo was smiling once more.

    "Ma Ma Cargo Ma!" The Fire type said with his dropping smile, and Kris dared a burn in order to give him a tender hug. The other Pokemon descended upon them, and Kris and Magcargo became crushed as the female team showed their affection for the lone male, and Magcargo was overjoyed with the attention.

    "I remember when you hatched from your egg, I was so happy, and I knew for that moment that you would be a powerful Pokemon!" Kris said, wiping the tears away. "Once you have healed properly, you will be able to battle with us again, and you can help me defeat my next challenger!" The Pokemon all cheered, and Kris smiled with them all, even though on the inside she felt sick in the stomach, the worries of her future coming back to her.

    "Kris, Kris Soul?" A voice called out, and Kris looked over her Pokemon in surprise, staring at a brunette teenage girl standing in the middle of the lab, a beam across her face to match the bright red and blue of her outfit. "Oh my gosh, it is you!"

    "Lyla Christopher!" Kris cried, and rushed forwards to give her old acquaintance a hug. "I don't think I have seen you since the New Year's Day markets! My god, that seems like ages ago! How are you? How did your journey go?" Kris immediately regretted the question, as she realised that if she had become Champion, than Lyla, who was older and had started before her, had failed in her journey. But her old idol continued to smile, brushing it aside.

    "Oh, it was interesting, you could say," she explained. "We became caught up in a bit of what Team Rocket was doing, so that was all sorts of crazy, but I managed to earn all of my gym badges! I have not faced the Elite Four yet, I wanted some time to unwind and to train my Pokemon, so we are working towards the next Johto League instead. Then when I win, I get to battle you, you big old Champion!"

    "That is if I can hang in that long!" Kris laughed, though no one noticed the awkwardness in her stiff chuckle. "I would love to battle you at some point, maybe in a month or two? Just an unofficial thing, a spot of fun –"

    "What about official?" Someone said from behind, drawing everyone's attention. Kris had forgotten that she had heard two voices, and saw that the second person was another familiar face, a good looking, dark haired boy of Lyla's age: Charles Golden, Lyla's travel companion and another school peer of Kris'. She had never really spoken to him, but in such a small town like New Bark, it was easy to know everyone's names.

    "Hey Charles, how are you?" Kris said, trying to sound friendly, but she saw a determined, almost angry look in Charles' eyes behind the smile he was wearing, one that instantly worried her. It was noticeable, as she felt her Pokemon draw closer, and heard Spike move forwards, whipping his staff out from his coat.

    This one is angry, not purposefully with you, but with the fact you are Champion, a voice whispered, and Kris felt the familiar chill of Latias entering her mind. It appears he battled the previous Champion… Lance, that is… and suffered a severe loss, I can feel his rage. He wants to battle you.

    But I can't, Kris thought, and she struggled not to shake as Charles moved forwards.

    "I'm good, how are you?" He replied, looking tense, and ignored Lyla as she moved forwards fearfully to grab him. "Since you're here in town, is it possible for me to challenge you to a battle?"

    "A friendly one?" Kris asked nervously, but Charles shook his blonde head.

    "No, a Championship Battle!" He said eagerly, the light showing in his eyes. "I lost to Lance a few months ago, probably around the time you started your journey, from the sounds of things. I went to Kanto to train, and returned to find two people had become Champion during that time, so I became more determined! So, will you do me the honour of accepting my challenge?"

    "I am sorry, but I am not sure I am allow –"

    "It is acceptable for any trainer with all the badges that previously defeated the Elite Four to challenge the Champion should they be encountered in public and there is a proper battle field nearby," Charles explained. "It is in the Johto League Rulebook."

    "There is no battle field around here," Spike said, stepping forwards now so that his presence was known. "A Johto guidebook stated how the town is lacking in facilities for Pokemon and trainers except for this lab."

    "The local school has a new battle field that opened just last week," Charles explained with a smile. "I believe your winning money went towards it, Kris."

    "That was Gold's," Kris said, stepping backwards. "His parents did not want the reminder, so they donated it to the school and various charities, I believe… but none of that is important, I am not accepting your challenge, I am sorry. You can battle me –"

    "You have to accept my challenge though, that is in the rules as well!" Charles said huffily. "Professor Elm, do you have a copy around? The Champion needs a refresher."

    "Hey, leave her alone!" Spike snapped, whipping his staff around at lightning speed and held it a metre in front of Charles as a warning.

    "It is the holidays, it is my time off, I am spending time with family and friends," Kris said, beginning to shake worse now, Meganium rushing towards her looking concerned. "I am sorry Charles, but I cannot battle you!" Charles instantly looked stroppy, and it was clear that 'no' would not work.

    "Why do you get any time off when you haven't even battled anyone since Gold?" He snapped.

    "I said lay off her!" Spike snapped, and he smashed his staff against the tiles, leaving a crack.

    "No need to fight!" Professor Elm exclaimed.

    "You may be fancy with a big piece of wood, but let's see how well you go against my Pokemon!" Charles snapped, advancing forwards with a PokeBall appearing in his hands. Spike smiled and pulled his lone one out, and Kris knew that the two would descend into a fight if left to it.

    "There is no need to battle him!" Lyla said, pulling Charles backwards, but he shook her free.

    "I know there isn't, but Kris is refusing to battle me for no reason –"

    "I AM NOT ALLOWED TO BATTLE!" Kris screamed, and everyone fell silent. She was not aware of the amount of noise that there had been, and it was almost overwhelming at first, but the gates had opened and now she could not stop. "I am technically not even Champion! They are letting me keep the title and the apartments for the moment for the necessity of having one, but there is a large possibility Gold cheated when he battled Lance, so until the investigation is complete, I am not officially Champion. That means I cannot battle ANYONE, except, funnily enough, for Lance, who is arranging a massive battle that is going to be televised worldwide, as he wants to prove that he is still the true Johto Champion! I should be putting all my attention into this, but a gym leader in Kanto that just happened to be Red's best friend died a few weeks ago, so Red has disappeared to mourn and there is no Champion for the Indigo League, and they are trying to get me to sort everything out even though I am not technically Champion, and I just can't take it anymore! So excuse me for not wanting to battle you Charles, but I have had a hellish year fighting a lunatic that I probably created in order to get a title that has blown up in my face, so sorry that I want to spend the FUCKING HOLIDAYS IN PEACE!"

    Kris paused for a second, letting what she had just said sink in for everyone, and giving herself a moment to realise what she had done. Then she turned and ran towards the doors, leaving the shocked trainers and Pokemon behind. The doors quickly slid open, revealing it was lightly snowing once more, and Kris stumbled out into the snow, her head starting to spin slightly as the sick feeling in her stomach reared up once more. She was not supposed to have told anyone all of that information, especially not two basically random trainers, and Kris wanted to rush in and take it all back, but no one was going to believe it was a lie, not when she was borderline crying.

    "Kris, wait up!" Spike yelled from behind, and Kris turned back as she struggled through the fresh layer of the snow, her feet slipping and sinking into the wet patches. The Dragon trainer ran forwards, moving at lightning speed, while Kris' Pokemon poured out after them. "Kris, stop, we need to talk about what happened!"

    "Why bother?" Kris snapped, struggling to hold the tears back now. "There is nothing to talk about! It was a mistake, I never should have said any of that, and I certainly cannot keep talking about it!"

    "I know, but you did, there is no taking it back!" Spike said, and caught up to her and grabbed onto her shoulder in a tender way to stop her moving. Kris turned towards him and saw that he looked genuinely concerned, causing her feelings to stir once more. "Why didn't you tell why you weren't being allowed to battle? I knew about the stuff with Lance, but I did not know it was getting this bad, or that stuff with Red and the Indigo League. You should have come to me!"

    "What was I suppose to say?" Kris cried, shouting it louder than she had intended. "I went on this journey to become Champion, thinking it would make everything in my life better. Instead I just fought a lunatic who tried to destroy me at every opportunity, and it turned into some quest to outdo the other. My whole fight with Gold poisoned my journey, and it has seeped into this Championship. He may as well have stayed Champion with all that has happened since I won! I have not had a proper battle since I defeated Gold, even though I yearn for something to get rid of the taste of that sour victory, and I want to talk to people about it, but who can I? I kept talking to you in the gardens because I knew they'd be listening to my complaints if we stayed inside, but I never knew just where they were following me. And what can I say to my mother? She knows the stress of being involved with the Championship, she tried to warn me and I ignored her. I can't turn back now and beg for her advice, especially now that she looks like she is dying all over again! Everything is just one giant mess, and I can't take it anymore!"

    A moment later, Kris, breathless and tearful, collapsed forwards. Spike caught her, and the two sunk to the ground together. She wrapped her arms around him and let her emotions pour out, unable to hold them back any more. She heard the sound of feet crunching snow, and Kris felt the presence of her Pokemon as they came towards her. Meganium's head nuzzled against her shoulder, Ampharos gave her a brief hug, Noctowl stroked her with her wings: only small things, but each one made Kris feel a little bit better. Yet nothing would remove the crushing, dreadful weight of what her dreams had turned into. Finally, after what felt like hours but must have only been a few minutes, Spike lifted Kris up to face him, smiling kindly, and he brushed away the tears.

    "You cannot let them control you or do this to you," he said. "For now at least, you are their Champion, and you should be able to do what you want, when you want! A bunch of people who probably couldn't even train a Sentret have no right to take away your rights and privileges and make you feel this terrible, while at the same time trying to make you into a Champion for a completely different region!"

    "What choice do I have?" Kris moaned. "I can't come back here, I can't tell my mother what happened, but if I stand up to them, they can easily strip me of my title and banish me from the Complex and end themselves of the stress I am causing!"

    "You are stronger than they are," Spike said, and leaned in, his voice becoming barely a whisper. "Fight back, and you are bound to win." Kris wanted to reply, but Spike turned and planted his lips on hers, and she instantly fell silent. The Pokemon gasped and whispered in shock, but Kris ignored them, entering a world where it was just her and Spike, with none of the issues and none of the drama, just the two of them alone at last. She embraced their second kiss, and let the sensation spread throughout her body, never wanting it to end. However, after an eternity, Spike broke away, a nervous smile across his face, leaving a warm tingling on her lips.

    "Risky move," Kris said, feeling her face blush just as brightly. "I am the one with all my Pokemon out and surrounding us. If they didn't approve, you'd be in for a world of pain." Spike laughed quietly, and Kris leaned forwards, giving him a quick peck on the cheek. "Luckily, I approve, so they must do as well."

    "Gani Mega Mega Niuum!" Meganium said, and the Pokemon all laughed. Spike looked nervous, but Kris smiled and got back to her feet, and extended a hand to help him up. She felt brighter now, overwhelmed with delight at that kiss, but the depression of all her issues lingered. Spike seemed to notice this, and smiled brighter, a twinkle in his eye.

    "You are a fighter Kris, you have the strength to stand up to anyone, and it is time you remembered just how powerful you are!" He said. Kris raised an uncertain eyebrow, but Spike simply laughed and grabbed onto her hand, pulling her forwards through the snow, and Kris let herself run after. All eight of her Pokemon chased after as well, ignoring the falling flakes that landed on their bare skin, all of them wondering just what Spike had in store…

    ***

    "I am not going to do this."

    "You have to, it is the only way!"

    "Surely there is someone else I could do this with. Why am I not facing you Spike?"

    "Oh, don't treat me like I'm some delicate little flower! You may be Champion missy, but I can beat your behind into the next century!"

    Kris was taken aback by this, but Spike simply laughed as Hanoko banged her walking stick into the snow. Leafeon and Glaceon stood before her, looking just as determined as their trainer as Espeon and Miltank moved forwards. Kris had wanted to use Magcargo as he and Miltank had not been able to face off with Gold during the last battle, but the Fire types shell was still too weak, so sending Espeon against other Eeveelutions was a sensible alternative.

    Though Kris was still not certain about the battle. Spike thought that a new battle and a possibly win would help rejuvenate her and get her back to her old self, but Kris was doubtful, especially facing her grandmother. While Hanoko may be made of tough stuff, her Pokemon had certainly seen better days, with Kris only seeing the Verdant and Fresh Snow Pokemon using their attacks once on Gold. Hanoko appeared determined though, and Kris knew she could not really back out of this.

    "Alright then, let's try this," Kris said, stepping forwards half heartedly. There was no one about except for her remaining Pokemon and Spike, who stood between her and Hanoko, serving as the referee. The snow had picked up again, forcing the rest of the small town inside. Kris knew her Pokemon would rather be somewhere warm and had offered to withdraw them all, but they all wanted to stay and support her, which already had lifted her spirits. From the frosted window, Persephone was watching with a bowl of warm soup, Hooty at her side, stating that she had to listen out for the timer as she cooked the dinner. Kris was doubtful, wondering if she was staying warm for her health, but shook the thoughts from her head as Spike began to speak.

    "This is a two-on-two double battle between Kris Soul and Hanoko," he said, smirking slightly at his over seriousness. "The first person to defeat both of the opponents Pokemon will be declared the winner. In order to give her an advantage over the Champion, the challenger Hanoko shall move first! Let the match begin!"

    "Advantage? Pah, who needs that!" Hanoko scoffed, though she still focussed on her granddaughter, gearing up to move first anyway. Kris knew that she would have sent the first order whether it had been her turn or not, and chuckled to herself. "Wipe that smile off your face missy!" Hanoko snapped. "I won't take your insolence! Glaceon use Hail, and Leafeon use Swords Dance!"

    "A defensive ploy, interesting," Kris said with a nod. "Espeon, you use Future Sight on Leafeon, and Miltank, you can use Brick Break on Glaceon!" The Future Sight would work best on Leafeon, as she would be weakened by the Hail by the time the attack would be initiated, though Kris wondered if the Grass type would survive until then. She appeared a bit weakened as she spun around, swinging her tail and legs, building up strength throughout her body.

    "Glace!" Glaceon said, a small ice blue ball forming in her mouth. She fired it up at the already grey clouds, and the ball opened and spread across, adding a frozen sheen to the clouds. Chunks of ice began to fall across the battlefield with more power than the snow, and Espeon and Miltank began to look uncomfortable.

    "Miltank Mil!" Miltank said defiantly, and she marched forwards, left arm raised to strike Glaceon down, leaving Espeon to fire a glowing ball from her jewel into the sky, forming the future attack. Miltank crossed the field uninterrupted, and raised her arm even higher as she approached Glaceon. The Ice type simply stood there, staring patiently up at Miltank, and Kris tensed up, wondering if she would fall already.

    "TANK!" Miltank yelled, and brought her arm crashing down. However, at the last moment, Glaceon jumped backwards, and Miltank stumbled forwards without a target to strike. Hanoko laughed as Kris looked stunned, and she suddenly realised what had happened.

    "Snow Cloak!" She gasped. The ability caused the ice within Glaceon's body to react with the falling hail, allowing her to move swiftly in order to evade attacks. Kris should have remembered this, as it was Glaceon's only ability, but she had been too focussed on what she thought would be an easy battle.

    "Sorry sweetie, but you'll have to try better than that!" Hanoko laughed. "Blizzard Miltank and Leaf Blade Espeon!" It was as a switch had suddenly been switched, and Kris was left awestruck as the two Eeveelutions lunged forwards: Leafeon and Glaceon moved swiftly into their positions, looking rejuvenated and ready to fight. Kris realised that this was all a trick on Hanoko's part, making Kris think that her Pokemon were weaker than they truly were. Leafeon looked completely different as she leapt across the snow, her tail straightening like a sword and glowing a bright green that glittered off the hail. Miltank and Espeon looked just as stunned, but Miltank became distracted as she watched Leafeon fly past, forgetting her own fight.

    "WATCH OUT!" Kris cried, but Glaceon was already upon Miltank, mouth opening wide. A frozen storm erupted out, engulfing Miltank with snow and ice. Kris had to shield her face from the onslaught, and did not see Leafeon again until she was right near Espeon.

    "LEAF!" She cried, swinging her tail around before Espeon could move. It cut across her and sent her sprawling backwards through the snow, disappearing amongst a flurry of white flakes. Kris was stunned, not quite sure what to think of this sudden turn around, and Hanoko's laugh cackled from across their makeshift field.

    "That's what happens when you think little of your opponent!" She laughed. "Imagine if Steven Stone challenged you to a battle and you had no idea who he was! You'd get slaughtered in seconds underestimating someone like him, and you are just damn lucky that I am going soft on you!" Kris had never really thought she was being ageist, but now that it had been put out there, she could find no other way of describing her actions. She stared ahead, wondering where Miltank had gone, and was stunned to find a giant block of ice right where she had just been.

    "Miltank!" She gasped, staring at her frozen Pokemon as Glaceon emerged smiling from behind. Kris knew how bad this looked, and stared across at Spike and her Pokemon, their stunned reactions proving her theory. I should not have underestimated Hanoko, that is not what a real Champion would do, Kris thought, looking across at the battle as Espeon struggled to get up as hail continued to pelt her. If I want to keep my title, I really need to learn to focus more and think more of my opponents… maybe this battle won't be as pointless after all.

    "Kris has run out of time to give her command, so the turn goes back to Hanoko," Spike said, and gave Kris a look that basically said 'get it together!' Kris smiled and nodded at him and stared back towards the battle. She took in that Leafeon was close to Espeon, with Glaceon standing further back by Miltank as if waiting to pounce upon the ice block.

    "Let's see if you learnt your lesson! Leaf Blade and Shadow Ball on Espeon!" Hanoko cried. Kris nodded to this, having expected a Special move from Glaceon, and stared down at Espeon. The Sun Pokemon looked concerned, but Kris smiled at her, hoping to instil some confidence.

    "We can do this, don't worry! Use Psychic to get rid of Leafeon," she commanded. "Miltank, if you can defrost, use Milk Drink to get your strength back!" There were no signs of the ice breaking yet, so Kris focused back on Espeon. Leafeon was racing towards her, seemingly unafraid of the potential attack to come. Espeon was poised, ready to move at any moment in case her attack failed.

    "ESPEEE!" She cried, her eyes flashing the brightest pink. Leafeon paused, suspended in mid air as if frozen in time, a slight pink outline around her body. Then there was a flash: Hanoko gasped as Leafeon soared back towards her, landing with a thud and rolling through the snow. For a moment, Kris beamed with victory, but than Glaceon leapt forwards, ready to take up the next part of the fight.

    "Eon Glace!" She cried, and a ball of black-purple energy shot from her mouth. Espeon had no time to get away and was hit directly in the ribs, making her cry out as she was pushed through the snow. Kris was concerned about how weakened she looked already, but was satisfied to note that Leafeon was not struggling to get back to her feet as well.

    There has to be some sort of way to stop both attacks, Kris thought, looking around at the field, but all she had to work with was all the snow and Miltank's frozen body. However, looking between the two, an idea quickly formed, and Kris' face lit up with delight.

    "Shadow Ball and Leaf Blade again on Espeon!" Hanoko cried. She clearly did not see Miltank as a threat as she was now frozen, and Kris knew that this would be her downside.

    "Espeon, jump behind Miltank and then use Psychic on the snow, pushing it towards Leafeon!" She shouted. Espeon pushed herself back to her feet and quickly understood what Kris was planning, and ran towards the safety of Miltank before either of Hanoko's Pokemon could react.

    "Peon Esp!" She cried once she was in position, and her eyes flashed pink. The glow extended across the blanket of snow and ice, and suddenly it was lifted up, rising up like a frozen tornado, and Leafeon stopped dead in her tracks, the glow fading from her tail. Suddenly, the snow shot forwards like a torpedo, striking her where she stood, releasing a gust of wind that made Hanoko cover her face for a change. Kris was delighted with the success, and was even more proud when she saw Glaceon's Shadow Ball explode against Miltank, unable to phase through her body.

    "Interesting move," Spike called out. Kris smiled and did a fake curtsey, and was pleased to see that Leafeon looked dramatically weaker, and Glaceon appeared irritated and confused over the situation. Hanoko frowned, but her eyes twinkled, and Kris knew that the old girl was not done yet.

    "Leafeon use Sunny Day, and Glaceon use Blizzard on Espeon!" She cried. Kris was taken aback: why change the weather when Leafeon had the strength of her Swords Dance and the Hail was allowing for perfect Blizzards? It seemed mysterious, but Kris refused to let it get to her, and already knew how to work things to her advantage.

    "Espeon, I want you to take the Blizzard but use Signal Beam on Leafeon," she commanded. Espeon looked shocked, and the rest of Kris' Pokemon murmured in similar feelings, but Kris gave her a tiny wink. "Trust me! Miltank, if you de-thaw, Brick Break Glaceon again!"

    "Leafe!" Leafeon cried, and an orange ball formed in her mouth. She raised her head to the sky and fired it, where it soared up and spread out exactly like Hail, except this time it with an orange-red glow like fire. The Hail instantly stopped, and glorious sunshine was unleashed upon the field, so realistic that Kris was tempted to remove her winter coat that was suddenly suffocating her.

    "Espe!" Espeon cried, and her jewel lit up like a rainbow. A second later, a strong beam was unleashed, and Leafeon was blasted once more off her feet by the Bug-type move. Kris was delighted, but even more so when she heard a loud cracking noise, and looked around to see Miltank breaking free from her frozen prison. Glaceon looked worried as the ice shattered, no longer having the protection of Hail and Snow Cloak to save her, and she quickly unleashed her Blizzard. Kris tensed up, watching as it curved around Miltank and went straight for Espeon. The snow storm struck and Espeon skidded through the snow as she stood her ground. This time, the attack did not freeze its target, which was both a relief and a slight disappointment for Kris.

    "TANK!" Miltank cried, and she brought her fully functioning again arm crashing down, hitting Glaceon on the head and pushing her backwards. At the same moment, there was a bright flash, and the Future Sight suddenly dived down, hitting the already battered Leafeon. The explosion caused snow to fly across both of Hanoko's Pokemon, covering them, and Kris, her team and Spike all watched, wondering if either of them had fainted. However, once the flakes had settled, both Leafeon and Glaceon were standing once again in their starting positions, looking entirely unfazed.

    "Impossible!" Kris gasped as Hanoko laughed croakily.

    "My Pokemon are much stronger than you may think," she purred. "They have fought plenty of battles and know my strategy by heart! I have spent decades tricking my opponents by changing the weather, making them think I am planning one thing when I go in a different direction!" Kris could remember Steven Stone commenting on this when they met him in Olivine, and smiled, pleased to see her grandmother was spritelier than she had imagined.

    "And I see you told Espeon to take the Blizzard," Hanoko said. "You thought that if Espeon became frozen, her Synchronize would freeze Glaceon as well? Well, if a Pokemon is asleep or frozen, than Synchronize does not pass that along, so you were being very foolish!" Kris was shocked, not aware that her strategy was not only obvious but incorrect. What sort of trainer had she become? She should have known these things! Hanoko's smile faded as she contemplated her next move. "I am sorry to have to do this, my dear, but I feel as though you may need it. Blizzard and Solarbeam, go!"

    That's what she used on Gold, Kris thought instantly, and she quickly grasped the seriousness of the order. "Milk Drink and Psychic, protect yourselves!" She cried, but it seemed too late: as Miltank glowed white and tried to regain her strength, Leafeon absorbed in sunlight and Glaceon readied her Blizzard. Espeon moved forwards with glowing eyes, hoping to protect them both, but Kris knew it was futile.

    The two attacks were fired simultaneously, one a glowing, dazzling beam of concentrated heat, the other a snowstorm originating from the depths of Glaceon's Ice-fuelled body. They moulded together, twisting and entwining, very different attacks merging together. Kris was forced to jump as the combined attack exploded largely into Miltank, but the resulting shockwave was enough to create a flurry of snow and blast of heat that struck Espeon. The blast hit Kris, and she cried out as she landed in the snow and rolled backwards, her eyes burnt by the strangely mixed explosion, and it was nearly a minute before she could get back to her feet.

    It became quite clear that Miltank and Espeon had been overwhelmed by the attack: both Pokemon were slumped on the ground, struggling to get back up, and their injuries were hidden by the snow that had landed on them. They both looked unlikely to survive another attack, and Kris felt terrible, knowing that this was her fault, knowing that she should have never underestimated Hanoko. But Kris knew that this loss went back further: she had let the stress of the last few months get to her, and it was affecting her Pokemon. She had been unable to train properly, especially over the last month, and the signs were definitely showing. Spike was right… if I am ever going to be able to fight back against the Pokemon League, than I need to remind myself how strong I am.

    "Looks like you were right Spike," Kris said, moving towards her Pokemon to help them get up. "I really did need this fight." Miltank and Espeon looked wearily at her as they stood, and Kris' guilt grew as a result. "Don't worry, we can pull through this, as long as you still want to battle."

    "Mil."

    "Esp." The two smiled and nodded, and Kris beamed back, proud at their commitment, and she stood and stared back at Hanoko. It was clear that the only way to beat their combination moves was to fight back exactly the same, though Kris had not thought of any combo moves in months, as all her battles from now on were meant to be single battles.

    "Megani Mega Ganium!" Meganium shouted out from the sidelines, and the rest of the Pokemon let out a chorus of cheers, urging their trainer and comrades on. Kris smiled warmly back at them and managed to catch Latios' eye. The legendary was floating slightly above and away from the others, most likely deep in thought. She smiled at Kris and gave her a wink, her other eye flashing a bright pink, and suddenly Kris knew what she had to do.

    "Tough Pokemon you've got there!" Hanoko called. "Let's see if they survive the next hit! Same move, go!"

    "Miltank use Hyper Beam, and Espeon use Psychic to strengthen it!" Kris shouted. Spike and her Pokemon all looked stunned, though Kris did not let it get to her, hoping it would work. Solarbeam and Blizzard were quickly readied by their respective Pokemon, and Miltank moved determinedly forwards, opening her mouth wide as white energy started to form. Espeon's eyes flashed pink, and the growing ball began to glow as well.

    "MIIIILLLL!" Miltank cried and she unleashed the beam at the same time as Glaceon and Leafeon initiated their attacks, which instantly fused together. Kris watched tensely as the pink and white beam soared across the field, and gasped as it collided with the SolarBlizzard. There was a bright explosion, followed by a shockwave that shook the window from which Persephone was watching from. The other Pokemon became lost behind a glowing sphere of light and energy that formed in the middle from the radiating attacks, a sphere that quickly began to swell. Miltank and Espeon stepped backwards as the mixed attacks approached them, and suddenly it burst like a bubble, unleashing a second, multicoloured shockwave that nearly knocked Kris flying. A low rumble like that of an airplane sounded, and Kris was concerned, wondering what exactly this attack had created.

    It faded as quickly as it had appeared. Kris straightened up, quickly seeing her Pokemon were still standing, yet the bright glow hid the fate of Hanoko's Pokemon. She blinked to clear the white spots that had burnt their way into her eyes, and began to make out two figures before her, but were they standing or lying down, she was not certain…

    "Glaceon and Leafeon are both unconscious!" Spike exclaimed. "The battle goes to Kris!" Kris was taken aback, and for a moment she was not sure entirely sure what to say, or think, or even feel. But then a feeling of joy and celebration spread throughout her body, and Kris leapt up into the air, cheering and whooping with her Pokemon, and rushed forwards to hug Miltank and Espeon.

    "You two were brilliant!" She shouted, and they cried out in their ways and hugged her back, nearly pushing her backwards into the snow. Kris simply laughed, savouring their emotions that she had not felt for months. "You are both definitely getting a Christmas present tomorrow now!" She said, and her other Pokemon all cried out in shock at what she was implying, which only made Kris laugh more. She began to wonder if she looked a bit insane laughing so much, but Kris simply did not care, and let her laughter reach up to the snowy clouds above.

    "Well done dear, I knew you could do it!" Hanoko said, appearing suddenly over her. Kris' joy dimmed at this, feeling sorry for her grandmother, but it must have shown on her face as Hanoko scoffed. "Do not pity me, deary! I have battled plenty of Champions before in my time, and none of them have shown such an amazing turn around like that before!"

    "Your Pokemon just seemed so strong though!" Kris said, and Hanoko laughed croakily.

    "I have trained them to appear that way!" She said. "If your Pokemon look weak at the wrong time, than your opponent will know that victory is certain and will have no fear in facing you. You thought my Pokemon still had plenty of life left, and that made you nervous. Just another one of my little tricks, one you should look into when it comes to facing the only slightly stronger opponents you will see in the future." Kris was stunned at all these tricks of Hanoko's, but she laughed and pulled the small women into a hug, nearly swinging her around in her delight.

    "Thank you, I will remember that!" Kris said, and turned to Spike: he was beaming brightly, clearly pleased at how well his idea had gone, and Kris had to agree now that it had been a wise idea. "And thank you Spike, I think a battle was just what I needed to clear my head and get me thinking straight again!"

    "I really just wanted to see you smiling again, to be honest," Spike said, blushing slightly and making Hanoko scoff indignantly, "but if you're feeling better as well, than that is really an added bonus!" Kris struggled not to blush herself, only imagining what Hanoko would say, and instead she turned away from them all.

    And that was when she saw a limousine.

    Only one family in the entire town would ever have need of a limousine, and Kris was well aware of whom that was. Her joy slipped away as she watched the car slide through the ice before turning away towards the giant mansion to the north, and she almost began to feel sick again. However, Kris knew that she could not appear weak, just like Glaceon and Leafeon, and she was not about to let her happiness be taken away again. She had only just cleared her head, and now it was time that she fixed the mistakes of the past.

    "Where are you going?" Spike cried as Kris began to walk forwards without a word. She glanced back briefly and flashed him a smile as she signalled for her Pokemon to follow.

    "It is time I faced my demons."

    ***

    Kris had been in awkward situations before, but not like this.

    She sat on a couch opposite Harold and Henrietta Hartley, feeling under dressed against his three piece suit and her sparkling red dress. The Champion had caught them in the middle of their preparations for a Christmas gathering, the limousine Kris had seen bringing family members up from the small jetties that bordered New Bark Town and Route 27. The two both looked nice, but their faces were a mix of anger, surprise and the same feeling of awkwardness Kris felt, which was perfectly acceptable considering she had blown up their entrance hall on her last visit. It was a miracle they had even let her inside the house and property, but it seemed Henrietta had made Harold allow her in, as long as she came alone and did not cause any trouble.

    "I love what you've done with the place," she said, trying to break the ice. She glanced to the right at the entrance hall, which had been redone in a largely black and gold theme that encompassed the tiles, the banisters, the artwork and even the chandelier. The living room had been redone as well, painted a very contrasting cream white with black wooden fixtures and black and gold furniture. A Christmas theme spread throughout the house and property, largely through oversized decorations, enough tinsel and lights to decorate every house in New Bark and Cherrygrove, and so many trees that Kris could tell a large number of Hoothoot, Pidgey, Spearow, Sentret and Rattata would be going cold in the nearby forests.

    "Ah yes… it is quite nice," Henrietta said, almost as if she was being forced to say the words. "We have some lovely contractors who did the work in only a few weeks. Of course, we had to pay extra, but we have the money." She stopped, paused for a moment as if considering her next words, and suddenly kicked into hostess mode. "Do you want something to drink Krystal? That coat looks far too thin to provide much warmth. I can make you some tea, or maybe a hot –"

    "Shut up for five seconds Henrietta!" Harold suddenly snapped, and his wife felt quiet like some tamed Chansey, reverting back into her awkward state as if she had never said a word. Kris instantly felt worse about being here, especially now that Harold was glaring up at her with thin, beady eyes, a look that could send a Tauros fleeing for the hills. I am the Champion, I have faced worse… you defeated the son, now face the father…

    "What exactly do you want?" Harold asked coldly. "We are very busy at the moment with the rest of our children and family all here for the holidays, as well as the issues we are having with Ethan. Just say what you want to say so you can leave us alone before you blow our house up again!" Kris had expected hostility to some degree, but the anger Harold possessed was rather overwhelming, and she was beginning to wish she had never come. But she knew that if she left now, she would never be able to come back, and she needed to say her words in order to move on.

    "I just want to say that… I'm sorry," Kris said, forcing herself to stare the two directly in the eyes when she spoke. "I have no idea how much of a role I had to play in Gold and his breakdown, but I know that a lot of it is my fault. Maybe if I had let him win more often, or I had pointed out his deterioration to someone that could have done something about it… there are a million things I feel I could have done, and even though I hated Gold, I do not wish what had happened to him upon anybody. So… I am sorry, I wish I had done more to help him… somehow." Silence followed her words as Kris waited for them to say something. Harold did not change his expression in the slightest, but Henrietta briefly managed a half smile as her eyes began to get watery, staring down at the coffee table before them.

    "So what, you came here to clear your conscience, is that it?" Harold asked with a touch of venom. "We don't need your pity, Krystal! We spent years trying to protect you from what Ethan did to that Ruby girl, but as soon as you worked it out, you went and destroyed everything! The reason why Ethan fought so hard against you was because you were a constant reminder of what he had done, something he had tried for years to make amends for. All the therapists we sent him to told us so, and when I consulted some of them over the past few weeks, they all agreed that your appearance in such a big stage of his life would have been damaging to his recovery and could have led to his breakdown!"

    Kris felt as though she had been slapped, and could not quite take in what was being thrown her way: was he actually blaming her for everything that had gone wrong with Gold?

    "Darling, we should not blame the poor girl for… everything," Henrietta said, giving Kris a judging look. "Ethan went too far by drugging his Pokemon, and that happened before he fought Lance, that had nothing to do with Krystal. I think that Ethan is just a bit disturbed or upset, and he took his emotions out on the wrong people."

    "Don't be ridiculous!" Harold snapped, leaping to his feet and staring angrily down at his wife. "Of course it had to do with the girl! He wanted to be better than her, and becoming Champion had to do with that!" Kris was not going to sit there and take all the accusations flying her way, and she stood up herself, trying her best to look intimidating.

    "I may be partly to blame, but you cannot throw it all onto me!" She said, keeping her voice calm. "I know that Gold felt out of place amongst this family, being in some awkward position where he could never live up to his older siblings or get attention away from his younger siblings. Maybe if you two didn't pop out more children than was necessary, Gold would have not thought it necessary to try and prove himself by going on his journey. The only reason why I would be to blame is because Gold saw me as the one person that stood in the way for him completing his goals, and he did his best to try and destroy me. Like I said, if I had lost a few more times or been more helpful, than he might not have become as obsessed –"

    "See, your admitting you're to blame!" Harold shouted, face turning as red as the baubles on the tree behind him, veins popping out in a festive green. "How DARE you try and blame us, when Ethan clearly wanted to defeat you and would go to any lengths to do so!"

    "It is not as if I forced the drugs down his Pokemon's throats!" Kris snapped back, struggling to keep her cool. "Gold made his own decisions, I made my own choices, but the decisions you two made all those years ago, with Ruby, your children and your treatment of him!"

    "I WILL NOT HAVE YOU SAYING THESE THINGS IN MY HOUSE!" Harold screamed. "GET OUT YOU MISERABLE, UNGRATEFUL BRAT! GO BACK TO THAT DYING MOTHER OF YOURS AND LEAVE US ALONE!" Kris was taken aback by this, and before she could stop herself she swung a fist.

    "FATHER!" Someone yelled from behind as Harold went tumbling back to the couch, clutching his face. Kris wondered who had done it before she noticed the pain shooting up from her hand, and saw a group of people stampeding in, briefly recognizing Chantelle and Winston in their own fancy dress.

    "Bitch!" Harold snapped, clutching his bleeding nose and staring viciously at Kris. "Looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! Your father was always rotten –"

    "Same goes for you and Gold!" Kris hissed before she could stop herself, making the gathering family members gasp. Harold pointed a blood covered finger towards Kris and readied his next statement, but Henrietta suddenly stepped forwards.

    "ENOUGH!" She screamed, her voice echoing shrilly inside the confined space, and everyone fell silent. The matriarch looked haggard, suddenly looking a lot less glamorous than she had when the conversation had begun. She stared between Kris and her husband, struggling to fight back tears, and instead turned to her family. "All of you, out, now! I won't have our Christmas tarnished by this!" Henrietta flailed a pointing finger back towards the other rooms, and most of the party left. Chantelle and Winston lingered though, moving to the archway that divided the rooms, waiting to hear what had to be said. Henrietta noticed them but ignored them, turning back to the two before her. Kris tensed up, wondering if she was about to be yelled at again, regretting coming here. However, she was completely taken aback as Henrietta began to cry.

    "She is right Harold, this is all our fault!" She wailed, clutching her head in her hands. "We never did truly love Ethan, did we? Not after what happened to Ruby! We got him out of any charges, it seemed like the right thing to do, but how could I look him in the eye after that…"

    "Henrietta, pull yourself together!" Harold said, almost scoldingly, but Henrietta continued to weep, the tears streaking down her hands. Kris felt uncomfortable, not sure if she should comfort her or not, and was relieved when Chantelle rushed towards her mother, while Winston passed some tissues over to his father.

    "You can't blame yourself Mum!" Chantelle said as she hugged her mother. "No one could have predicted how Gold would have turned out! And he wouldn't have known how you felt anyway, so –"

    "He did," Kris said, knowing the reaction it would get, but she knew that she had to say something now if she ever hoped to leave her achieving her original intention. "During those last few minutes of battle, Latios made some sort of psychic connection with Gold, and I was able to see some of his memories. You doubted he was ever going to succeed in his quest, didn't you? Don't deny it, I saw it, which means Gold saw it to." Henrietta stopped crying for a moment and looked up at Harold, whose face was largely obscured by blood soaked tissues, but his eyes showed shock and, for a moment, remorse.

    "I came here today because I want to make amends for any mistakes I have made this past year so I can go into the New Year with my head held high," Kris explained. "I know that I am partially responsible for pushing Gold towards what he did, and I need to get that feeling of guilt off my chest. But Gold…" Kris paused for a moment, shutting her eyes as the memory of what had happened two weeks ago came back to her: a wide, crowded room, cameras flashing, dozens of people separating the two of them… yet Gold had managed to see her…

    "I cannot say what I want to say to Gold's face," she said, forcing herself to carry on. "There is something wrong with Gold, there probably always has been. It is just that his journey… I guess you could say our journey… it managed to bring it out. It could be our fault, it could be your fault, but mostly it is Gold's fault: he made his decisions; he cannot give us all the blame. I just wanted to let you know that I am sorry, and I hope you do not blame yourselves too much either. None of us will be able to move on if we give ourselves all the blame." With nothing left to say, Kris turned and moved towards the entrance hall. No one tried to stop her, the four Hartleys all frozen as her words washed over them. Kris was not quite sure how to feel, wondering if they were going to react, but refused to look back and demand a reaction. It wasn't until she had nearly opened the door that she heard a noise from behind, and Kris glanced over her shoulder to see Henrietta had gotten to her feet, moving slowly and uncertainly towards the archway.

    "Kris… thank you…." The look on her face was awkward behind her smile, and Kris could tell that there was more she wanted to say but could not quite find the words. Yet Kris knew what she meant, and she smiled at her as she swung open the door, walking out of their home with a lot less weight on her shoulders than she had entered.

    In her own way, Kris could now be at peace with Gold.

    ***

    It was getting dark as Kris and Spike arrived back at the Soul household, with Meganium walking alongside for comfort. Kris was keeping her other Pokemon inside their PokeBalls for protection from the snow, but Meganium was happy to be near her trainer and friend, and Kris enjoyed having her about. A chill hung in the air, and the snow was still falling, albeit lighter than before, yet Kris felt warmer inside than she had in weeks. Her talk to the Hartleys had not gone according to plan, yet Kris felt as though part of the burden she had carried for so long had been lifted, and knew there was only one thing she had to do to clear her mind.

    "You are going to have to talk to your mother," Spike said as they crunched over frozen grass, their faces illuminated by the living room lights shining through the window.

    "I know," Kris said, but she did not feel as afraid anymore. She knew how it felt now to face your fears and get words off your chest, and knew it was the only way for her to move on. Kris wanted to form her words first before she spoke, so she paused by the door, stroking Meganium, staring across at the snow covered ornaments, various thoughts crossing her mind. Spike reached out and grabbed onto her free hand, a slight smile appearing across his barely lit face.

    "You can do this, there is nothing to be afraid of anymore," he said, and Kris smiled and nodded, and leaned in for a kiss.

    "Not when I have you and my Pokemon with me," she said as they pulled apart, tasting his warmth on her lips. Kris let go of his hand and gave Meganium a hug, and then opened the door and stepped into her house, determined to fix things.

    "There you are dear, dinner's nearly ready!" Persephone said as she saw Kris walking in to the kitchen. "I just need to finish roasting the vegetables and warming the bread up, and things will be done!" She shoved the trays into the oven, closed the door, and turned smiling to face her daughter, but paused when she saw the serious, uncertain look on her face. "What is it, what's wrong? Did Harold and Henrietta react badly to what you had to say?"

    "No, nothing like that, they… she was understanding," Kris said with an awkward smile, and she moved towards her mother and wrapped her arms around her, pulling her close. "I am sorry for not talking to you over the past few weeks, I should have called, I should have –"

    "Oh Krystal, you have nothing to apologise for!" Persephone said, laughing slightly. "I do read the newspapers and watch the telly, I know some of the stuff you must be going through! And you have been gloomy all day, so I had to suspect something was up!"

    "I should have been the one to tell you," Kris said, pulling away from the hug with tears in her eyes. "You warned me what it was going to be like to be Champion, and I ignored you, thinking it would be easy. And then everything turned to crap, and I could not call you and admit I was wrong… I didn't want to burden you with all of it, and for a time I did think I could handle it, but I can't… not on my own!"

    "Krystal, you can always call me, and you know I will never point out your mistakes!" Persephone said, brushing the tears away. "I am your mother, it is my job to leave you to work out what you've done wrong yourself!" Kris laughed, and Persephone managed a warm smile as well. "Come on, we have a few minutes before the food is done, so if it'll make your feel better, tell me everything!" Kris took a deep breath, controlling herself once again, and then she opened her mouth and let everything spill, and could not stop when she began.

    She explained about how Gold was being investigated and likely charged with cheating and potential abuse of his Pokemon. This had led to an inquiry as to whether he should have ever become Champion, and if Kris should therefore remain in her role, which was causing Lance to arrange a public battle against her but Kris was not allowed to help plan it. While this was all happening, the Indigo and Johto Leagues were in serious discussion as Red, the Kanto Champion, had disappeared following the death of one of his friends, and they wanted Kris to Champion over both regions until he had returned, even though the investigation meant she could not formally battle anyone until her Championship was confirmed.

    "It is all just so stressful, with them trying to make me do things but won't let me do others, turning me into a puppet that they have to use rather than want to use," Kris said after five minutes of straight talking, her throat getting sore from her leakage of information. "I have lost the will to battle, to train, to do anything except let myself be dragged around to meetings where I have to sit and listen, or remain in my room and wait to be given my fate. It is too much to handle really, and no one thinks I am deserving of the title! The doctors ignore my Pokemon as they see me as some sort of visitor, all the journalists are doubting whether I deserved it, even though I busted a gut battling Gold…" Kris paused for a moment, letting her mother, who had to sit down at a kitchen stool, process all the information. Gold… the key to all of this, isn't he?

    "I have only seen Gold once since the battle, asides from on TV," Kris continued, talking slowly, thinking her words over first now. "He had to come in to answer questions directly to the Board. There were all these journalists there trying to get a photo of him, I think it was first public appearance for a few weeks. He was being led by two burly security guards across the main building, the one that has all the offices and leads to the Elite Four Battlefields. I stood at the top of the staircase, as I had nothing else to do and I wanted to see Gold for myself, basically to double check he was a real person… He looked up at me, looked past all those guards and the people surrounding him, through the flashing lights, ignoring everyone else… he sensed me, looked up at the staircase and smiled… It was sadistic, it made me want to throw up the way he smiled: it was such a triumphant smile, as if he had just won something, but his eyes… they were just so… evil! He was happy to see me, happy to see what his issues had put me through, but he still hates me, he wants me dead, I can tell…"

    "Honey, don't speak like that!" Persephone said, getting up again and pulling Kris into a hug. "Don't let Gold get to you! He cannot hurt you anymore! He is a disturbed little boy that has a lot of issues to work through, and you cannot let him get to you. Don't blame yourself for anything he did."

    "I don't… not anymore…," Kris said, hugging her mother back. "It just pains me that I let all of this get to me, that I let him take control of my journey and turn it into this… this thing were my life has been flipped upside down, where I make myself ignore you for weeks to hide my guilt and failure, even though your –" Kris paused, realising what she had been about to say and stopped before she did. However, Persephone smiled sadly and gave a very brief nod.

    "I am getting worse, I am sorry to say," she said, her voice cracking slightly. "The doctors are not entirely sure what has brought it on, but it is possibly just some sort of virus that is upsetting my body. You do not need to worry, I am sure it will pass! I wanted to tell you, but, rather ironically, I could not bring myself to call you, not when you should focus on securing your hold on the Championship and getting past all of those horrors!" Kris smiled, sick of talking and unable to think of anything else to say anyway, so she simply kissed her mother on the cheek and gave her a hug.

    "Thank you for being so supportive," she said.

    "I will always be there for you dear, no matter what happens!" Persephone said. "Now you know I love you, but I am pretty sure I've burnt the bread while chatting to you!" Kris laughed as her mother rushed to the oven, and she moved back to the living room, smiling to herself as she nestled down on the couch.

    "Megani Mega?" Meganium asked, and Kris nodded, stroking her starter up and down the neck, the one friend who had been through it all with her.

    "Never better," she replied, and leaned against her as she watched Spike and Hanoko bickering over who deserved the prize in a Christmas cracker. It seemed so simple, something so childish, but to Kris, it reminded her simply of home.

    She knew that there were people who didn't want her to be Champion, thousands of people thinking she was undeserving, wanting it to go back to Lance. Kris was certain that some people even wanted Gold to go back to his title, idolizing him too much in the few short weeks they had known him and turning the idea of their golden Champion into something he was never going to be. But as long as she had her friends, her family and her Pokemon by her side, nothing that they said or did would ever get through to her. Kris had settled her demons, she had put Gold in the past, and she had the strength and courage again to stand up for her rights. She had fought hard to be Champion, and she was not going to let a few judging people stand in her way.

    A clang came from the kitchen, and Kris, Meganium, Spike and Hanoko all turned around, wondering what it was.

    "Persephone dear, are you alright?" Hanoko called out. They waited for a response, but nothing came, an eerie silence filling the house.

    "Mum?" Kris cried, getting nervously to her feet. She rushed towards the kitchen, fear spreading throughout her body with every beat of her heart. The first thing she saw was the oven door was hanging open, letting the warmth into the kitchen. Kris' eyes went to the tray of vegetables upside down on the floor, they food crushed and gathering dirt. Shaking, horrified, Kris turned around, her eyes travelling up her mother's outstretched legs, her apron lying crumpled at a strange angle to her body, her hands out as if too break her fall…

    "Mum…," Kris said, whimpering. Spike pushed her aside as he rushed in, yelling at Hanoko for help as he went down on his knees. He turned Persephone on her back and cried out questions, trying to get her to respond, but his words faded into nothing. Kris stared at her mother, laying there as if she was sleeping as Spike began to push down on her chest, praying that she had only fainted or collapsed, that this was not serious… but Kris was never that lucky.

    "Mummy…"




    Our proper epilogue will not be out for a while, but I do hope you all enjoyed this one, and a Merry Belated (or really early!) Christmas to you all

    ^^^^ The GalacticVerse Bibliography (Thanks to Blazaking for Banner) ^^^^

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