Northeast Lilycove City - Hoenn
Inside a small poké mart in the northeast part of Lilycove City, a shelf in the backroom creaked as a secret door swung open. Five aqua haired individuals all dressed in street clothes stepped out of the passage. In their hands were identical metal briefcases. One of the individuals shut the door and was rewarded with a click as the lock engaged. The room now looked like an ordinary stockroom with shelves crammed full of assorted merchandise and boxes of even more merchandise on the ground.
“You know our task, right?” a woman asked.
“Capture Palkia and Lugia. Assassinate Cynthia Shirona,” the others chorused. Luckily for them, the stockroom’s door was closed and it was soundproofed so no one heard them.
The group then exited the storeroom and stepped out into the bustling store. They exited the store without anyone giving them a second glance.
While northeast Lilycove City was superficially quite beautiful, it held a dirty secret; many of the small “mom-and-pop” stores that graced the neighborhood were run by the crime syndicate Team Rocket – the poké mart that the aqua haired group came out of was no exception. As a result, this was the main conduit for contraband goods – everything from stolen pokémon to illegal weapons was yours to buy if you had the right connections.
Palkia and his group reemerged at the entrance of Pier 35 – the swanky waterfront district of Lilycove City. There were several nice restaurants overlooking the sea. Not to mention, several expensive boutique stores sold everything from exotic automobiles to pokémon accessories. Several people with Persian, Meowth, Glameow, Purugly, Milotic and other “cute” pokémon were present.
Palkia took a moment to stash his hover skiff inside his digital bag. He was quite grateful for his spacial powers.
Johnny Mac looked at a blue haired woman sitting next to them with a Glameow wearing a jeweled collar. The woman was carrying a black designer handbag and wearing a very elegant red dress. “This area’s too stuffy for my taste,” he muttered.
“Ugh,” Zekrom muttered. She hated being around fancy things. She finished off her keg of beer and belched, not caring that she attracted several hostile stares.
“Zekrom! Please have some decency!” Johnny Mac scolded.
“Plebes. Come, let us leave these uncouth ruffians,” the Glameow said to her master. Even though the Glameow’s words were not understandable to her master, the meaning was clear as the woman shot a dirty glare at Johnny Mac and Zekrom before she walked away.
James, Garchomp, Wukong, Ferrum, Quartzon and Cynthia were not having an easier time. The dirty clothing that James was wearing attracted a lot of stares and hushed whispers from the high society individuals present. He silently cursed the translation field for letting him hear what the other pokémon were saying about him. If anything, they were far less polite than their trainers.
Like their trainer, Wukong, Ferrum and Quartzon attracted lots of whispering and stares from the pokémon and their upper class trainers. Of course, Ferrum’s habit of cursing out the pokémon who insulted him did not help matters.
“Ferrum! Please, let it go.” Quartzon pleaded. “You’re making a scene!”
Ferrum did not hear her as he was screaming at a Meowth wearing a red ribbon around his neck. “Hey you! Come back here and apologize for that remark!” he shouted.
He got no response.
“Hey dipshit! I’m talking to you!” he shouted.
The Meowth turned to him with his nose turned up in the air as if Ferrum had an offensive odor. “Come back to me when you learn to stop swearing,” he said. He then led his trainer away.
In contrast, Cynthia and Garchomp were mobbed by a horde of adoring fans and paparazzi who hounded her for photos and autographs. The questions bombarded her relentlessly.
“How was your battle against Paul?”
“What’s your secret to raising strong pokémon?”
“Is it true you once helped guard the adamant orb?”
“Is it true you’re romantically involved with Garchomp?”
Cynthia’s head spun from all the questions she was asked. “Please, leave me alone,” she pleaded. She quickly shoved her way through the crowd. “Being a hair over six feet tall and incredibly strong really helps getting away from nosy people”, she thought.
She then sprinted over to where James and the others were. James had recalled Ferrum on the advice of Wukong as fight had nearly started after Ferrum insulted Dome Ace Tucker, who remembered him from a month ago when he lost to his Salamence.
Needless to say, it got worse when Tucker’s Milotic got involved. And this Milotic was as narcissistic and flamboyant as his trainer. And of course, Ferrum just had to say something about a “fruity Milotic”. Granted, most of the Milotic he met tended to be rather feminine – even the males. He figured that obsession with beauty was hardwired into the Milotic brain.
“Ugh, let’s get to the convention center before something else happens,” Wukong said.
James nodded as he placed Ferrum’s ball back on his belt.
Garchomp literally crawled out from beneath the pile of adoring fans. “Ugh, let’s never come here again,” she said. She picked up her fedora, which had been knocked to the ground by the horde, and put it back on.
The group then sprinted over to the entrance of the contest hall. The contest hall was a large open air arena. A banner that read “Lilycove Welcomes Zekurom Industries!” festooned the entrance. A large crowd lined up outside the entrance. An attached building normally served as the training area but for the expo, it was used as a place to showcase Zekurom Industry’s products.
The group then stood in line and waited to be admitted.
Zekrom belched again as she stood in line. Reshiram yawned.
“Next,” the ticket agent called. James was next in line. He paid 650 poké for his ticket and entered the arena.
He sat next on a bench and waited for the others to pay. He glanced around; posters advertising Zekurom Industry’s wares were plastered all over the place. There were some vendors selling assorted “street foods”. His stomach growled, reminding him that he had not eaten for nearly an entire day. He went up to a vendor and bought himself some rice balls.
He then took a seat next to Palkia, who was also eating some rice balls.
“Palkia can I have a word with you?” James asked.
Palkia said nothing but nodded.
James cleared his throat. He had finally recovered from the shock of learning about Palkia’s plan. “Are you fucking crazy!? You’re getting the navies of three different regions involved in this! Do you know what’ll happen if you screw up!? And what about myself and Cynthia and Johnny Mac?! You could have hired some soldiers but no, you had to pick three people who have no combat experience to help you save the world! And on top of that you potentially get three different governments involved in this mess!”
Palkia glared at James. “You said you wanted to join us,” he replied coolly.
James ground his teeth. “But Cynthia and-”
“I never forced them to join. I just told them of what I learned and Cynthia said she’ll help bring Cyrus to justice.”
“What of Mac?”
“Oops. Oh well, I’ll ask him tomorrow or something.”
James shook his head as he went to buy a snack. The Legendaries were at times completely inscrutable but he dared not say anything lest he offend them.
After a few minutes, the others arrived.
“So ready to look around and see what they’ve got?” Garchomp asked.
“Let me finish my meal,” James replied between bites.
The others sat on the benches.
When James was finished, Wukong handed him a directory. “Blah, the only thing interesting here is the 2021 costume section. And judging by the amount of space devoted to it; it looks like their biggest seller,” James said.
“Sure,” Palkia said. He then noticed an arrow sign that read “2021 costume section” and pointing to what he knew to be the training building.
The group then headed towards the building and judging by the large crowd going with them, it seemed that James’s guess was right.
When the group entered, they were struck by how clean everything was. The main entrance bore elegant red carpet and was decorated with beautiful bronze sculptures of classical Greek heroes. The centerpiece was Palkia’s reinterpretation of Hercules slaying the Stymphalian Birds with Hercules as a Machamp and the Stymphalian Birds as Skarmory. The craftsmanship was so good that one could almost see the sculptures coming to life and doing battle before their eyes. A bronze plaque bearing a statement from the artist and his signature was affixed to the guardrail that surrounded the installation.
Palkia looked admiringly at his sculpture. “Ah yes, the Stymphalian Skarmory. It took me five years to make it,” he said with a tear in his eye. Out of the many sculptures he made, this one and the heroic nude statue of Dialga outside the Eterna City Museum in Sinnoh were his favorites. Not surprisingly, many people took pictures of the statue.
“Erm, we came here to see those costumes, not Palkia’s artwork. Though I do admit; it is very nice,” Garchomp said.
“Right,” Lugia added.
James was looking at his directory. “Well, it looks like this entire floor is dedicated to the 2021 costumes.”
The group then entered a room labeled “The Power Inside: How They Work”. The room itself was a training room that was converted into an auditorium. Garchomp noticed the four disc-shaped antenna arrays in the corners of the room. Those antennas projected the shield that protected the room from damage.
As soon as they took a seat, a silver haired man stepped onto the stage. “Welcome, I am Dr. James Miardan, head of the 2021 research division,” the man said.
Dr. Miardan took a moment to adjust his glasses. “Today, I am here to demonstrate the inner workings of a 2021 costume. Feel free to ask questions as well. Of course, due to trade secrets, there are some things I cannot tell you,” he continued. “And let’s start things off by examining the power source.”
He then hoisted an assembly roughly the size and shape of a two SCUBA tanks with a large tin can welded between them onto the table. Two reinforcing struts linked the two side tanks together both above and below the “can”. A filling pipe protruded from the top of the right tank and several wires protruded from the “can”. “This is heart of the costume,” Dr. Miardan said proudly. “Yes, you,” he said, pointing to a pink haired woman.
“What is its fuel?” she asked.
“I was getting to that,” Dr. Miardan said. “The two large side tanks hold liquid hydrogen. The canister in between the two side tanks is a palladium-hydrogen fusion reactor. The reactor in question is specifically made for this costume. It produces roughly twenty kilowatts. Now then, if there are no more questions about the power source-”
He was interrupted by a blue haired teen raising his hand.
“Question?” Dr. Miardan asked.
“Yes,” the teen replied. “What cools off the reactor and keeps the hydrogen liquefied?”
“I cannot get into too much detail about the cooling system as it is proprietary but I will say that the fuel also serves as a coolant. Nevermeltice insulation keeps the fuel from boiling away,” he replied. “Now then, let’s examine the attack generator. Well actually, I cannot show it to you as it is, again a trade secret. But I will say that the attacks are generated by stimulating certain materials, causing them to emit energy as the electrons fall back to their ground state.”
Zekrom was leaning her head against Reshiram and was sound asleep. Reshiram then poked Zekrom. “If I have to sit through this, then so do you!” he said.
Zekrom yawned and sat up. In a few seconds, she was asleep again.
Apparently, Dr. Miardan’s lecture was starting to bore the listeners as several people got up and left.
When the group was safely out of Dr. Miardan’s soporific lecture, they decided to plan their next move.
“Ugh, talk about boring,” Quartzon said. “It’s like watching Slowpoke move.”
Apparently, Quartzon’s sentiment was echoed by the throngs of people exiting the room. Most of the people were not talking about how amazing the technology was but about how boring Dr. Miardan was.
Suddenly, the PA system blared to life.
Attention please, anyone interested in entering the contest must report to the main contest arena to sign up.
“Hey, cool! A contest! Let’s enter!” Quartzon chirped.
“Need I remind you that we’re trying to stop Cyrus and we can’t be wasting time on a contest?!” Wukong chided.
“Actually, Quartzon is onto something,” James said, reading from the brochure he picked up from an information booth. “It looks like part of the expo is a costume contest. You pick out a costume from their lineup and you participate in a contest and a battle but the roles are reversed – the trainer becomes the pokémon and the pokémon becomes the trainer. It looks like it lasts a total of three days.”
“We don’t have time for that.”
“Wukong, let me finish,” James scolded. “First place winner gets a free 2021 costume, their choice of model. Second place nets an electronics grab bag worth one million poké. Third place nets 250,000 poké. And of course, all the participants get a pretty damn nice looking ribbon and badge.”
“All well and good but that’s not going to help us catch Cyrus!” Garchomp snapped.
Cynthia absorbed the information that James had given her and grinned. “Yes, it will.”
Garchomp’s jaw dropped. “Are you going to battle Cyrus’s goons dressed up as a pokémon?”
“Not quite. If we win, we can hock the costume and hire the ships that Lugia mentioned,” she replied. “Though I have to admit, I am a little leery about this plan,” she added in a whisper.
“One problem,” James said. He then glanced at the brochure. “Okay, two problems. First, how do we know that we will even win? Second, the entry fee is twenty five thousand poké per entrant. Just where are we going to get that kind of cash?”
Nobody said anything as James just completely shot down Cynthia’s plan. Seconds and people passed by as the group just stood there.
Palkia put his hand on his chin and started thinking. “You know, Lugia and I have twenty five grand between us,” he said.
“But don’t you need to eat?” James asked.
Lugia shook his head. “We’ll manage on berries and other things we can scavenge. If worse comes to worse, we can simply not eat as Legendaries don’t need food to live,” he said.
“I’m completely broke,” Johnny Mac replied. He had spent all his pocket money on lunch for the pokémon and himself.
“We should have two people entering to increase our chances of winning – even if that increase is slight,” Cynthia said. She then pulled out her wallet and looked in it. “But I’ve only got fifteen thousand.”
Zekrom reached into her bag and pulled out a ten thousand poké bill. She looked somewhat displeased at doing so. “Here,” she said, handing the bill to Cynthia. “Be grateful, that was my beer money.”
“Zekrom! Be nice!” Reshiram scolded.
Lugia handed Cynthia the cash as well. “All right,” he said. “So who’s entering?”
“I’m not,” Johnny Mac said.
“Why not? You’re a sure hand with Energy Ball and I’m pretty sure you can pull off Psychic or at least Confusion,” Garchomp countered. She had to admit, Johnny Mac’s Energy Ball was pretty damn strong. She toyed with the idea of suggesting that he teach himself Thunderbolt or some other elemental attacks. But she dismissed the idea as she recalled hearing about people dying after using TMs on themselves or in the process of using the attacks.
“Because, I have no idea if my powers can work inside that costume and if I wreck that costume, I’m going to be shelling out big bucks to replace it. Not to mention, I’ve never had pokémon so I don’t know what to do.”
Cynthia nodded. “Well, I guess that leaves me and James to enter,” she said. She then turned to James. “You want to enter?”
James nodded. “It’s for a good cause,” he said. “But I have to admit, I’ve never done anything like this.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll love it. Role reversals are always interesting,” Garchomp said, placing a claw on James’s shoulder.
“Speaking of which, let’s enter before they close!” Cynthia said. She then dashed out the entrance and headed for the contest arena. Apparently, the Sinnoh champion was also a track star.
“I’ve seen slower Ninjask,” Garchomp said, her jaw agape. “Wait up!”
She then ran after Cynthia.
Lugia took to the air and flew after her while the others ran after the two.
There were seven registration tables set up in the arena to help speed things up but the lines at each table actually snaked up into the stands. Throngs of spectators and other assorted people and pokémon were wandering around, trying to get to various destinations or were just simply taking a break from all the walking. The arena was in fact, open air and looked like pretty much any other sports stadium. Except for the four large antennas at the corners of the rectangular field. Those were the shield emitters that prevented spectators from getting injured by stray pokémon attacks. Smaller emitters hidden underneath the field protected the judges and trainers.
Cynthia and James got in line for the seventh table just before they closed off the line.
Palkia, Johnny Mac, Lugia, Reshiram, Zekrom, Garchomp, Quartzon and Wukong sat on one of the stadium seats.
Palkia put his feet on the back of the seat. A Machoke sat next to him but paid him little heed.
“We’re going to have a lot of time to kill,” Johnny Mac said with a sigh.
Over an hour later, Cynthia and James returned. By this time, Zekrom and Reshiram were arguing about something. Palkia, Quartzon and Garchomp were all napping. Wukong and Johnny Mac were in another part of the stands and trying to earn a bit of cash with a street performance. Lugia was listening to his music player.
“Hey, we’re ready,” Cynthia said. She had a rather thick book tucked under her arm.
Palkia, Quartzon and Garchomp awoke. Somehow, they slept through the bustle of the crowd but awoke at Cynthia’s voice.
“So where are your costumes?” Garchomp asked.
“We’ll have to pick up them later.”
“And where are we going to live?” Palkia asked. “I can’t warp you all across the city repeatedly. Besides, James’s apartment isn’t big enough to fit everyone.”
Cynthia opened her rulebook. “Well, the arena has a pretty nice hotel on the grounds and an onsite pokémon center that coordinators can live in while they compete. We’ll stay at the hotel,” she said.
“So what did we miss?” Wukong asked. He and Johnny Mac were the last to arrive.
“We’re staying at the onsite hotel. And what were you two doing?”
“We were trying to earn some money. So far, it looks like we got enough for a really cheap meal from a street vendor.”
Everyone sighed. Street vendor fare was a good way to get the local “flavor” of an area but it was not exactly that healthy and it got repetitive after a while.
“Well, let’s hope the hotel is at least decent. The last contest arena hotel I stayed at was unspeakably disgusting,” Lugia said. He shuddered as he recalled the revolting hotel in all its tacky-wallpaper-with-mildew-and-musty-odor-and-stained-carpet glory.
“Well only one way to find out,” James said. “Follow me.”
James then led the group through one of the exits. A temporary sign labeled “Contest hall hotel” helpfully pointed the way.
After a short walk, they arrived at the hotel – a twenty story building with gargoyles carved on its concrete façade. A large crowd of tourists and contestants milled about the hotel’s entrance. Two marble Salamence statues flanked the entrance.
“It looks decent,” Lugia said, examining the building. He wanted to fly up and peer inside one of the rooms to see what it was like but decided that would be impolite.
“Well, let’s check in, get our costumes and practice,” Garchomp said.
“One problem, I look like I’ve gone through a war and all my clothes got destroyed in the fire,” Cynthia said.
“I have some spare clothes,” James said. He then examined Cynthia head to toe and realized she was six inches taller than he was. “But I don’t think you’ll fit them.”
Cynthia scowled. “Don’t call me fat.”
James quickly backed away and apologized. If it was one thing he learned quickly, it was to not make Cynthia mad, seeing as she picked up her two hundred plus pound Garchomp like she weighed nothing and that kind of strength was not to be trifled with.
“We could just go buy some new clothes,” Wukong pointed out.
“We’re broke,” Palkia said.
“Let’s check in first; I could use a nice hot bubble bath after all that flying,” Lugia said.
Everyone stared at him. Zekrom whispered something to Reshiram who snickered madly. Garchomp crossed her two hand-claws in front of her mouth trying to hold in a few snorts of laughter.
“What? Male Legendaries can’t take bubble baths?”
“I never knew Legendaries were so like us,” Cynthia whispered. She recalled taking romantic candlelit baths with Garchomp but found it difficult to imagine Lugia doing the same.
Wukong shook his head. “Guys, check in then you can do whatever you damn well please.”
The group then filed into the hotel’s lobby. Lugia’s assessment of “decent” was a gross understatement. Several simple but tasteful black steel and glass end tables scattered around the lobby. An elegant vase – each filled with an assortment of brightly colored flowers – rested atop each table. Paintings ranging from basic pokémon portraits to dreamy landscapes adorned the wall behind each vase. A single halogen light spotlighted each pair of vase and painting.
Several surprisingly simple but elegant ceiling lamps, consisting of a frosted glass bowl dangling from the ceiling by a brushed metal stalk, illuminated the lobby.
“Nice place,” Palkia said.
“We’re going to go broke,” Lugia whispered. He glanced around at the lavishly decorated lobby. “I mean look at this place. It’s got to cost several thousand poké a night.”
“Remember, we’re Legendaries. We can stay for free at any hotel in the Pokémon Continent.”
Lugia nodded. “Yeah, but Arceus said not to abuse that privilege and we’re supposed to be on our best behavior when we do that,” he said.
“Got it. Let’s take a seat.”
Lugia sat on the ledge of the hotel’s pride and joy: the dazzlingly beautiful marble fountain in its lobby. A Milotic – carved from cloud-white marble – formed the right side of the fountain. It was arched as if leaping to the sky. A graceful arc of water jetted from its mouth and landed in the pool below it. A Gyarados – carved from red marble – formed the left side of the fountain. The statue was carved so it appeared to be rearing up, mouth agape in a silent roar. From its mouth issued not the golden lance of a Hyper Beam but a gentle rush of water. Not surprisingly, several people were taking pictures of the fountain. Others threw coins into the fountain.
Johnny Mac sat next to Palkia. Both of them were sitting on an oddly out of place flame-red couch and nearly sank into its plush upholstery. “Wow. Fancy place,” Johnny Mac said, looking at the elegant sculpture.
Reshiram and Zekrom sat next to him.
Wukong, Quartzon and Garchomp sat on the couch to the left of the one that Johnny Mac sat on.
It was then Garchomp noticed that there was no clatter of footsteps thanks to the plush “Giratina black” carpet underfoot.
Cynthia and James went off to get a room. Luckily, the ID cards they got granted them and two guests free room and board as long as they were contestants. Unluckily, it looked like the hotel was going to be nearly packed with contestants and tourists.
Cynthia and James returned to the couches only to find everyone asleep. Lugia was reading a brochure about the amusements the city offered.
“Hey, we’ve got our rooms so let’s head up and-”
James was interrupted by the loudspeaker coming to life. The loudspeaker woke everyone else up.
Attention all contestants. Please head to the Sky Tower conference room for an informational meeting.
“Looks like we’d better get going,” Cynthia said. “Oh, Palkia and Lugia; Garchomp and I will be sharing a room with you.” She then tossed the two their room keys. “Head up and make yourselves comfortable.”
James tossed the room keys to Reshiram, Zekrom and Johnny Mac. “I’m next to Cynthia’s room. You’re rooming with me. Feel free to go in,” he said.
“I’ll help the two pick out their costumes,” Palkia said.
“Perhaps, you’d better let me do this,” Wukong said. “No offense, but you don’t know him quite as well as I do.”
“Reshiram, Zekrom, Mac watch Quartzon and make sure she doesn’t watch anything inappropriate and make sure Ferrum doesn’t pick more fights,” James ordered. He then tossed Ferrum’s poké ball to Reshiram, who caught it and placed it in his bag.
Wukong silently swore. How did James know about that incident in Altomare?
Palkia, Lugia, Reshiram, Zekrom, Johnny Mac and Quartzon all followed the people heading to the hallway right of the check in desk. This hall led to the elevators. James, Cynthia, Garchomp and Wukong went the opposite way of the others. This led to the assorted amenities of the hotel, which included a restaurant, gift shop, small battle arena, gym, swimming pool and of course, the ballroom.
Palkia opened the door to his room and turned on the lights. The room had wall to wall carpeting in “Giratina black” and one of Lugia’s paintings hung above the couch. A flat screen TV hung on the wall opposite the couch. A fully stocked minibar was placed in the corner. The other corner of the room held a simple but elegant wooden desk with an internet connection. A luxurious twin bed occupied the space near the window. A room connected to the main room had another twin bed along with a dresser.
“Well, this is nice place,” Lugia said. His eyes lit up as he spotted the posh bathroom. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go soak my wings.”
He then dashed into the bathroom and shut the door. The sound of water running could be heard.
Palkia shrugged and pulled the skiff out of his bag. He glanced at the battery gauge; he had just barely made it, a few more minutes of flight would have depleted the battery and forced him to glide to a landing. He plugged in his skiff, sat on the couch and turned on the TV. To his enjoyment, they actually paid for the premium cable channel, Swordsmanship Today.
“Well, I could always brush up on my swordsmanship,” he said, drawing his spacial sword. He had tuned it so it was merely a beam of light, lest he damage the furniture – despite the shielding system integrated into the hotel, it only affected the walls and attached furnishings.
The hum and crackle of his sword as he parried, thrust and slashed alongside the instructor on TV drowned out the moans of pleasure coming out of the bathroom.
Johnny Mac opened the door to his room and let Ferrum out of his ball. The room was an exact copy of the room that Palkia and Lugia stayed in. Except the bedroom had two single beds instead of one twin.
Reshiram and Zekrom flopped down on the couch and turned the TV on. They were watching a local channel that highlighted the events around Lilycove City. Zekrom went to the minibar and grabbed a bottle of bourbon. She opened the bottle and took a long swig.
“Drink?” she asked, offering the bottle to the others.
Reshiram looked at the bottle and frowned. “I hope you can pay for that,” he said, fiddling with the remote.
“I don’t drink,” Johnny Mac replied. He then picked up the complementary issue of Champion from the computer table and started reading.
“I’ll take some!” Ferrum said. He was standing on the floor.
Zekrom shrugged, poured some of the liquor into a glass and placed it by Ferrum who started drinking. She then continued drinking the liquor.
Ferrum perched on the chair. “Hey, where’s Quartzon?” he asked.
“Right here,” Quartzon said. She was under the desk.
In the ballroom, a vast quantity of metal crates were scattered on the dance floor. Each of the crates contained one 2021 costume and a user’s manual. A placard attached to each crate detailed the type of pokémon, the gender and the attacks programmed into the costume. Of course, the contestants were forbidden from altering the rental costumes in any way, shape or form.
There were several representatives scattered about the floor to answer questions. Several tourists and real pokémon wandered the floor in addition to the horde of cosplayers. Granted, most of the tourists had arrived first because the cosplayers had to watch a safety video before they were allowed to choose their costumes.
James examined a nearby crate. A five foot tall Sableye walked past him followed by an equally large Mismagius. He shrugged; after all they were probably cosplayers like he was. He did a double take as he realized the Mismagius cosplayer was actually hovering along the ground.
“With all the technology stuffed into them, no wonder they’re so expensive,” he thought.
“You got a costume yet?” Wukong asked. He was wearing what appeared to be a small radio headset.
“No,” James replied. He noticed Wukong’s radio headset. “What are you wearing?”
“Translator headset. The pokémon that will be commanding their trainers in the contest and battle will wear one so the trainers can understand them. Another fine product from Zekurom Industries.”
James cracked a smile at what Wukong said. “What, you their latest advertiser now?”
James then spotted a crate with a Dragonite costume and examined the list of attacks. “Hmm. Moveset of Dragon Pulse, Thunderbolt, Fire Punch, Dragon Rush, Fire Blast and Ice Beam.” he said, reading from the placard. “And I’ve always wanted to soar through the skies! I’ll take it!”
James then picked up the surprisingly light crate and carried it over to the checkout table. When he placed the crate on the table, the clerk scanned it and his ID and recorded the information on a laptop.
“Just so you know,” the clerk said. “All flight capable costumes have their flight systems disabled. It’s a security thing.”
James sighed. “On second thought, I’ll take another costume,” he said. He understood their rationale (Zekurom Industries can’t have someone flying off with a multimillion poké costume) but it still put a dampener on his dreams of flight.
The clerk punched something into the laptop and placed the crate aside where another employee carried it back to the floor.
Cynthia and her Garchomp were in another section of the ballroom looking at additional costumes. An abnormally tall Gabite passed by them.
“Erm, was that a real Gabite?” Cynthia asked.
Garchomp glanced at the Gabite for a moment and nodded “Looks like it,” she replied, adjusting her radio headset and fedora.
They were proven wrong when said Gabite approached a representative, pressed something on its side and removed its head, revealing a black haired woman. She then asked where the bathroom was.
Cynthia examined the row of crates near her. Each one of the crates held a Garchomp costume. “Looks like Garchomp costumes are a hot commodity,” she said. Several people were examining the crates as well.
“Probably due to us being here,” Garchomp replied. She then examined a nearby crate. “Oh, here’s a good set.”
“What is it?”
Garchomp read the placard aloud. The costume was programmed with Dragon Claw, Dragon Rush, Dragon Pulse, Dragon Rage, Slash and Outrage.
Cynthia shook her head. “Nope. No coverage against ice-type attacks.” A Weavile cosplayer followed by a real one passed by her. “And we’ll need it.”
Garchomp sighed and examined the next crate. “How about this one?” she asked.
“What’s it got?” Cynthia replied, examining another crate.
Cynthia read her placard first. The costume she had chosen had Earth Power, Sandstorm, Flamethrower, Brick Break, Draco Meteor and Dragon Pulse as its moveset.
Garchomp shrugged and read her placard. Her costume’s moveset was Stone Edge, Shadow Claw, Swift, Flamethrower, Giga Impact and Dragon Rush.
Garchomp placed a claw on her chin. “Hmm. Both of the costumes have attacks which counter the ice type weakness,” she said, tapping her chin in thought. “But the Sandstorm in the first moveset seals it for me. Sand veil will really help in the battle.”
Cynthia nodded. “Well, I’ll take the advice of a real Garchomp,” she said, picking up the crate and heading to the checkout table.
When she got there, she stood in line behind a man holding another crate. She hoped no one would give her a hard time about her costume choice.
She placed her crate on the table as the employee scanned it and her ID card. “Enjoy your costume, Champion Cynthia,” the employee said. “The dressing rooms are at the rear of the ballroom. Or you can take the costumes up to your room.”
Cynthia smirked; she had some “other” uses for the costume. “Thanks, I will,” she said. She and Garchomp headed over to the dressing rooms and stood in line. Luckily there were several stalls, which helped keep the lines short. And of course, quite a few cosplayers chose to change in their rooms.
Garchomp looked around. “We’re going to have some really stiff competition,” she said, watching a Milotic cosplayer slither out of one of the stalls.
The stall for Cynthia’s line opened and a Zangoose cosplayer came out. At the same time, the stall to the right opened, revealing a Seviper cosplayer.
The Zangoose cosplayer glared at the Seviper cosplayer. “We have a score to settle,” he said coldly. The costume was so sophisticated that the mouth moved in sync with the words.
“Bring it!” The Seviper cosplayer replied, flicking his forked tongue out.
The two then headed off to the on-site battle arena. Several other undressed cosplayers looked at the two. They wondered if they were merely acting or if the two actually had a rivalry…and happened to choose the appropriate costumes.
Garchomp looked at the two with admiration. “Wow. They even act like the real thing!” she said. “I hope Cynthia doesn’t start thinking like a Garchomp," she thought. “Actually, if Cynthia starts thinking like a real Garchomp, then…” She then smiled deviously and rubbed her two hand-claws together.
Cynthia was next in line and she disappeared into the stall with her costume. Garchomp waited outside with a smirk on her face.
Meanwhile, James – in a full Breloom costume – was sitting in the lobby along with some other costumed cosplayers. Several curious tourists took pictures of him and the others. In fact, some of them mistook the cosplayers for real pokémon and vice versa.
“What’s taking Cynthia so long?” Wukong asked. He then examined James head to toe. He had to admit, Zekurom Industries really had an eye for detail; James looked exactly like a real Breloom – save for the fact that a real one was 3’11” and James stood at 5’6”. Of course, he wanted to see the costume’s much hyped “true attack system” but it was too crowded to do so.
“Dunno,” James replied. “It shouldn’t take too long to put the costume on.”
“I hope you read the instruction manual.”
Meanwhile, in the dressing room, Cynthia was reading the costume’s instruction manual – like she had been for the past fifteen minutes. A box for her clothing was sitting on the bench. A black wetsuit-like garment with several silver discs stuck to it was hanging from a hook on the door. A small power cable trailing over the stall was connected to it.
“The rulebook is shorter than this manual,” she muttered, closing the manual and placing it aside. She then stripped off her clothing, including her hair decorations and tossed them in the clothing box. She then donned the suit (which was actually a men’s size thanks to her six foot frame). The suit in question was a skintight bodysuit that allowed the user to control the costume with their thoughts. This technology was first developed in Japan by the famed cyberneticist Hikari Oku. However, it was refined and modified for the 2021 costumes by Kevin Gantz, one of the many scientists who worked in the 2021 research division. Obviously, the suit was named after the two but no one ever called it the “Oku-Gantz suit”; it was too long. So they usually called it the “Gantz suit”.
As soon as she zipped up the suit, several electric blue lines lit up on the feet of the bodysuit and the middle of discs suddenly glowed blue while the power cable automatically disengaged. “Gantz has really strange fashion sense.”
To her surprise, she suddenly felt stronger and her reflexes seemed to be sharper. Not to mention there seemed to be a shimmering field around her. The Gantz suit projected a concussion dampening field that protected the wearer from injury and it also slightly augmented their strength and reflexes. The catch was that the integrated battery could only hold a charge of roughly thirty seconds. Luckily, it can hook up with the costume’s palladium-hydrogen reactor which granted it an essentially indefinite power supply. At least as long as there is fuel left in the tank.
As she looked in the mirror she had to admit she looked like the spitting image of a certain fictional female bounty hunter – right down to the blond hair and toned, yet feminine body. All she was missing was the armored Power Suit.
Cynthia grabbed the fueling line that dangled over the edge of the stall and plugged it into the valve hidden under the costume’s lower right spike on its thighs. The miracle of poké ball technology allowed the guts of the costume to be safely tucked away in a space not much larger than a beer can. Thanks to an ingenious teleportation system and an advanced electrolysis system, the costume can actually divert a portion of water the wearer drinks and convert it into hydrogen to fuel the costume.
As soon as the line popped out, indicating that the tanks were full, she stepped into the lower part of the costume. To her surprise, it started expanding upwards until it reached her armpits. “Wow, this is seriously high-tech.”
The lights on the Gantz suit winked out, indicating that the suit’s batteries were drained but that was irrelevant. Cynthia then donned the middle part of the costume – which looked a lot like a jacket. Almost immediately, the “jacket” and lower part of the costume seamlessly merged together and closed up with the soft click of latches engaging.
After a bit of struggling (thanks to the fact that she now only had two hand-claws like a real Garchomp) she managed to get the headpiece on. Again, she was treated to a symphony of clicks as the latches on the costume engaged.
She looked at herself in the mirror. Her Garchomp would be pleased; she looked exactly like the real deal!
“Wait till the others see me,” Cynthia said with a chuckle. She then stepped forward to open the door but she was not used to being a Garchomp and she ended up falling backwards and hitting the costume’s tail on the bench. To her surprise, she actually felt the impact…but she had no actual tail.
She then got up and tried to knock on the door, only for the fin on her right arm to glow white and accidentally smash the door with a Brick Break. She then waddled out of the room.
“Sorry about the mess,” Cynthia said sheepishly.
The representative rolled her eyes and gestured for some employees to come over. One of them unscrewed the remnants of the door while others got to work cleaning up the rubble and yet others installed a new door. Judging from the large number of doors and prefab wall panels leaning against another wall, mishaps like Cynthia’s were not uncommon.
Cynthia then stumbled towards the ballroom exit; in the process, she tripped and landed flat on her face. A Flygon cosplayer helped her get back on her feet. A shimmering blue Aura Sphere accidentally fired by a Togetic cosplayer narrowly missed the two. Luckily, as this hotel catered to pokémon trainers and coordinators, shield generators and emitters lined nearly every square inch.
“Man that cosplayer’s a disgrace to Garchomp and Garchomp trainers,” another cosplayer said. This cosplayer was, not surprisingly, dressed as a Garchomp.
Her friend – dressed as a Salamence – nodded.
Little did they know that cosplayer was the premier Garchomp trainer – Sinnoh champion Cynthia.
Her own Garchomp facepalmed and followed her trainer.
Lugia had finished his hot bath and was lounging on the couch. He was reading Palkia’s abandoned issue of Champion. Speaking of Palkia, he had been sent on an errand a few minutes ago by Lugia. The two Legendaries always had a few thousand poké around for emergency purposes.
The door opened and Palkia tossed the plastic bag on the ground. He did not look pleased. “If I see my face in Champion with the headline ‘Master of Space needs diapers?’ You. Will. Pay.”
Lugia shrugged. “What are you talking about?”
“You know damn well what I’m talking about!”
“How about we just forget this whole thing, meet up with James, Mac and Cynthia, run through a practice battle and have dinner?”
“I’d like to finish up my swordsmanship exercises first,” Palkia said, turning the TV on to the Swordsmanship Today and drawing his spacial sword.
Lugia said nothing as he retreated to the other room to read his magazine.
Meanwhile, Cynthia and Garchomp had met up with James and Wukong in the lobby, which was now crowded with costumed cosplayers, real pokémon and curious tourists.
“Nice costume, Cynthia,” James said.
“I’m her Garchomp,” Garchomp replied. She then pointed to the Garchomp next to her. “That’s Cynthia. She’s the Garchomp who’s not wearing a fedora.”
Cynthia nodded. “So what do you think?”
“Very realistic,” James said. “Oh no, I need to-AACHOO!”
Unfortunately, since James was still a novice at being a Breloom, a puff of golden dust shot out from his mushroom cap as he sneezed and involuntarily used Stun Spore.
The crowd backed away from him, lest he paralyze or poison them.
Cynthia backed away from the cloud of spores but she was not quite used to being a Garchomp yet and she ended up falling on her face – again – and landing on the tail of a Sazandora.
The Sazandora turned to the Garchomp and roared.
“Oh hell no,” James said. The costume mirrored the shocked expression on his face.
Everyone held their breath as Sazandora were very violent pokémon and it took very little to cause them to start attacking.
Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, the Sazandora spoke. It spoke in a very coarse male voice that sounded like it had been smoking most of its life. “Hey, watch where you’re going!”
“Sorry,” Cynthia replied, picking herself up.
“Look at me asshole!”
Cynthia glared at the Sazandora. “Sorry,” she said. She did a poor job at hiding her anger.
Unfortunately, the Sazandora interpreted this as an insult and shoved her with one of his hand-heads.
Cynthia staggered back and growled at the Sazandora. Several people backed away as the growl that issued from the costume was frighteningly realistic.
“You wanna fight, bring it,” the Sazandora replied, beckoning with one of his hand-heads.
“Now there’s no need for violence,” James said, getting between the two. Wukong stood alongside his trainer.
“Fuck off!” the Sazandora shouted, snapping one of his hand-heads at James. He then charged up a glowing blue sphere of energy between his two hand-heads and aimed at Cynthia.
By now, people were starting to run as they did not want to get caught in the crossfire of the battle.
“Call pokémon control!” an old man shouted, running from the two.
The Sazandora’s charge instantly vanished. “I’m a cosplayer, douchebag!”
“Don’t use that word around me!”
The Sazandora cosplayer hovered up to the man and glared at him. He then extended a hand-head and snapped it menacingly. “Stay out of this!” he growled. “Unless you want to eat a Charge Beam.”
The man ran away.
“Now where were we? Oh, that’s-”
He never got the chance to finish as Cynthia jumped into the air, her costume’s right arm fin glowing and smashed it into his head with a Brick Break. “You want a fight, you got it!” she cried.
The cosplayer struck the ground and tried to bite Cynthia with one of his hand-heads but she ducked it. His other hand-head connected with the fin on her right arm.
She screamed in pain as the bite connected…despite the fact that the fin was part of the costume and not actually part of her body.
James frowned. “That does it. I’m taking him down before he hurts someone else or wrecks the hotel.”
“James, wait!” Wukong shouted. It was too late; James had already leapt into the air attempting a Dynamic Punch. His right fist was wreathed in a brilliant white glow. Suddenly, the glow vanished and his tail suddenly turned a steely metallic grey with a heavy clunk, like the sound of a blast door closing; he had inadvertently switched to Iron Tail.
“James! Flip! You’re not going to hit him!” Wukong screamed. He had to shout over the sound of a Charge Beam striking Cynthia – to no effect – and Cynthia’s retaliatory Dragon Pulse striking the wall and being dissipated with a crackling buzz. Cynthia tripped and fell again as she tried to dodge the black helical blast of a Dark Pulse, which narrowly missed a bystander who screamed and ran away. While she was lying on her side, she fired another Dragon Pulse his way.
James did a flip but in the process of doing so he accidentally switched to Seed Bomb and spat out a white sphere that burst into many smaller white globules that rained down at near point-blank range on the Sazandora.
The Sazandora screeched in agony as the globules detonated. At the same time, Cynthia leapt into the air and tried using a dual Brick Break but at the last moment, she accidentally switched to Dragon Pulse. A shimmering green orb appeared in front of her mouth and she essentially spat it into the Sazandora at point blank range. A massive explosion echoed through the air as the sphere struck.
The Sazandora screeched again as he sank to the ground and stayed there. Cynthia quickly ran over to the downed Sazandora and quickly ran her claws over the costume looking for the release switch. She needed to get the man out of the costume before it rebooted and the fight started over again. She found the release button on the left, hidden underneath the neck frill of the costume. She heard several soft clicks as the latches on the costume disengaged. With the help of Wukong, she removed the costume, revealing a bald, scarred up man wearing the same type of black bodysuit that she was wearing under her costume.
The man was completely unhurt, thanks to concussion dampening field projected by the bodysuit and the shield generator in the suit. He then glared at Cynthia. “You! Apologize!”
He then stomped towards her only to be stopped by James, who had the roiling green sphere of an Energy Ball cradled in front of his open mouth.
The man quickly backed down; the concussion dampening field was only effective against pokémon attacks when paired with the shield generator in the costume. An Energy Ball attack without the costume’s shield generator could kill him.
An Officer Jenny and several representatives from Zekurom Industries finally arrived.
“You are under arrest for assault and battery!” Officer Jenny shouted. She had her taser out. “Put your hands up!”
The man smirked and approached her.
The next ten seconds were a blur. The man was tasered, stripped naked, handcuffed and led out of the hotel.
The industry representatives picked up the costume and bodysuit and carried them off to be cleaned.
James fired his Energy Ball at a wall; thanks to the hotel’s shielded walls, no damage occurred. “Well, that’s a relief.”
Wukong shook his head. “Maybe it’s just me but those costumes are too realistic. I mean that guy had the personality of a real Sazandora.”
“Nah, he was just a prick,” Cynthia replied.
“Speaking of pricks…”
“Don’t even go there!” James scolded. Yes, he had seen the man’s genitals when he was led from the hotel but he had the decorum not to say anything about it.
“Yeah and I need to go to the bathroom,” Cynthia said. She then tried to take off her costume’s headpiece only to find out that it remained fixed in place. “Uh guys, some help?”
Wukong quickly ran his hands over the costume. To onlookers, it looked like he was fondling the Sinnoh champion-turned-Garchomp but he was really looking for a release switch.
He then found the release button hidden underneath a panel on her side. When he pressed it, the latches on the costume disengaged with a symphony of clicks and whirring electric motors as the lower part of the costume shrank back down to size, disengaged from the headpiece and the “zipper” on the “jacket” of the costume opened. Cynthia then stepped out of the lower part of the costume, shucked her jacket and took off the headpiece, which she placed on an end table.
Suddenly, it seemed like a magnet was turned on and hordes of adoring fans flocked towards her. Quite a bit of the fans were in costume as well. Luckily, James and Wukong managed to sneak away before they were swarmed by the crowd.
The six-foot blond form of Cynthia Shirona was soon buried by the crowd. Several members of the crowd were instantly enamored with her; the skintight black body suit made her even sexier. Some in the crowd even fainted from her beauty or were dragged off by their love interests before they could come onto her. Some of them tried – and failed – to suppress laughs when they realized it was Cynthia inside that costume; apparently, the tabloid reports were true; she had a hardcore Garchomp fetish.
A nearby bellhop stopped to ogle Cynthia’s body. Luckily, the luggage in the cart hid the growing bulge in his pants.
She then looked at the mass of adoring fans, many of whom were waving pens, pencils, notepads and other things for her to autograph at her. She facepalmed.
“Help me,” she muttered as she autographed a little girl’s Garchomp plushie.
James and Wukong ran into Garchomp by check in desk. She had a basket full of pokéblocks slung over one arm. Several other guests with bags of merchandise from the gift shop or other assorted goods passed by her.
“Pokéblock?” Garchomp asked, spearing a red one and gulping it down. “Made them myself.”
James frowned. “Erm, they’re for pokémon.”
Garchomp smirked. “Well, you’re a pokémon now, so try it.”
James chuckled. “I may look like a Breloom, attack like a Breloom and even smell like a Breloom but I am not a Breloom.”
“Oh come, James, it’s not going to hurt you,” Wukong said. He reached into the basket and pulled out a gold one and munched on it. “Mmm. Nice and cooling with a slight sourness. Besides, why not go all the way?”
James shrugged. “Fine but just this once.” He reached into the basket and grabbed a black pokéblock. It was no small task for him to hold it without dropping it thanks to his two clawed hands but he managed.
He then took it to his mouth and swallowed. Amazingly, when he bit into the block with his costume’s mouth, the piece appeared in his own mouth. Suddenly, he screwed up his face as his mouth was assaulted by an indescribably horrible flavor. He tossed the half eaten block into the nearest garbage can and choked down the rest in his mouth. “Gross!”
“Was it that bad?” Garchomp asked, eating another red pokéblock.
“It tastes like a dead Zigzagoon! Get me something to kill the taste!”
Garchomp speared a yellow pokéblock and James immediately ate it off her claw. She wondered how James knew what a dead Zigzagoon tasted like.
“That’s better,” James said. The sourness of the pokéblock was not offensive but actually quite refreshing.
Wukong ate another gold pokéblock and noticed Cynthia getting swarmed by the horde of adoring fans. “Shouldn’t we help Cynthia?”
Garchomp shook her head and popped another red pokéblock into her mouth. “She’ll be fine.”
The two then watched as Cynthia was practically buried under the crowd of screaming fans and crawled out beneath them. She then bolted for the bathroom.
Several minutes later, Cynthia returned from the bathroom. She looked utterly frazzled. “That’s it! I’m not taking off this costume unless I have some privacy.”
She then grabbed her discarded costume and quickly donned it, morphing back into a Garchomp.
At this time, Palkia and Lugia emerged from the elevators and met up with them.
“So we heading to the battle arena?” Lugia asked.
“Let’s see if Johnny Mac and the others want to come,” James said.
As soon as he spoke, Mac, Ferrum, Quartzon, Reshiram and Zekrom emerged from two elevators.
“Great! Let’s head to the arena!”
The group then headed towards the arena.
When the group arrived, the reinforced glass doors automatically slid back, admitting a brisk and warm sea breeze.
The hotel’s arena was actually a massive field built on an oil rig-like platform over the sea. Two towers containing strobe lights to warn approaching ships away from the platform rose from the rear fence. Several designated battle areas like the ones found in public parks dotted the area. Several benches, garbage cans, water fountains and decorative lamp posts were scattered along the brick walkways. Several assorted salt resistant plants were growing in the field. Some pay binoculars lined the rear fence.
Several people were busy having battles, running around or simply enjoying the sea breeze. Not surprisingly, most of the “pokémon” battling were actually costumed cosplayers.
Palkia sat in a bench and leaned back. “Well, how about that practice battle?”
“Sure!” Cynthia said, stepping into a small arena.
James followed suit.
“This is a one on one battle between Champion Cynthia and Trainer James,” Lugia said, getting onto the referee stand.
As soon as he spoke, all heads turned towards him and the battling stopped.
Suddenly a cacophony of voices rang out.
“Oh! The Sinnoh champion’s here!”
“Squee! Oh, she’s here!”
“Maybe I can get a few tips from her!”
“Maybe she’ll give me an autograph!"
Suddenly, the scene in the lobby began to repeat itself as a veritable tsunami of guests surged towards the battle area that James and Cynthia had occupied. Most of them were expecting the pokémon to be battling each other – a change from the cosplayer battles they had previously seen.
Thinking quickly, Palkia blocked their way. “Cynthia is busy right now. Please leave her alone.”
Thankfully the crowd stopped moving forward, seeing as they were speaking to the Master of Space who could, if he wanted, kill them instantly or teleport them – naked – to Times Square, thousands of miles away.
“Okay, shall we continue?” Cynthia asked.
Garchomp adjusted her fedora and nodded. “Wukong? Ready?”
Wukong nodded. “Ready, Garchomp!”
At those words the spectators sighed. It was going to be another cosplayer battle. Granted, cosplayer battles looked exactly like real pokémon battles but at their core they were just two cosplayers in high-tech costumes trying to force the other’s costume to shut down by pummeling each other with simulated pokémon attacks. Of course, as evidenced by the safety video all cosplayers were forced to watch before renting the costumes (a skinny guy in a lab coat putting on the Drapion costume and chopping up a new car into a scrap metal and Aura Sphere at a ballistics gel dummy and blowing its head and half of its torso into a shower of ludicrous gibs were just some of the notable demonstrations), these costumes could be extremely dangerous if misused.
“This battle will now begin!” Lugia shouted.
“Cynthia! Use Sandstorm!” Garchomp ordered.
Of course, seeing as Garchomp already spoke English, the headset was pretty much redundant but she still wore it anyways.
Cynthia nodded and twirled her right arm as if she were holding a lasso. Almost immediately there was the shrieking of wind followed by a massive wall of sand. The sand was contained by the shields built into the arena but it still rendered the two combatants invisible to the crowd and their “trainers”.
“James!” Wukong shouted. “Break through with Energy Ball!”
James opened his mouth and a roiling green sphere formed in front of his mouth. Oddly enough, despite the fact that it was the costume’s advanced technology generating the attack, he could actually feel the power running through him as it charged. It was not painful; on the contrary, it was quite pleasant. He attributed it to the Gantz body suit and its mind-link capabilities.
James then fired the energy ball blind. He was rewarded with a grunt of pain as the ball smashed through the veil of sand and struck Cynthia with a loud boom, enveloping her in a cloud of black smoke tinged with green sparkles. The veil of sand immediately dispersed and rained down on the battlefield.
“Charge while she’s stunned and hit with a Sky Uppercut!” Wukong ordered.
“Hang in there, Cynthia!” Garchomp shouted. To her surprise, she realized she was starting to sound like Cynthia! Maybe Cynthia’s battling style was starting to rub off on her.
Cynthia shook her head. Even with the costume’s shield generator and the Gantz suit’s concussion dampening field, the Energy Ball attack still stunned her. And she had to wait for the costume to clear itself. She then saw James charging towards him with his right hand drawn back and wreathed in a white glow and preparing to deliver a Sky Uppercut.
Garchomp then saw the gap close between James and Cynthia. Ten meters, then down to nine, eight... She realized that all of her other attacks would take too long. “Cynthia! Block and hit with a Brick Break!”
Cynthia used her left arm fin to parry the attack and her right arm fin glowed. She then smashed it into James, sending him flying into the air. She had barely even thought about it and she had managed to execute a perfect Brick Break. She smiled; the expression mirrored itself on her costume. Maybe she would get the hang of not only training a Garchomp but actually being one.
“Follow up with a Dragon Pulse!”
James quickly did a flip and landed on his feet. At the same time, Cynthia opened her mouth and the viridian sphere of a Dragon Pulse began to grow in front of her open mouth.
As the sphere of Dragon Pulse grew in front of her open mouth, James’s jaw dropped. Wukong was taking too long to think of a counter! He’d have to take things into his own hands! Without waiting for his “trainer’s” command, his mouth opened and the roiling green sphere of Energy Ball materialized in front of his mouth.
“James! What are you doing!?” Wukong shouted.
“Oh, it looks like James has decided to disobey his ‘trainer’!” Lugia said. By this time, the battlers had attracted a large crowd, which was being held back by Palkia, Resihram, Zekrom, Johnny Mac and Ferrum.
James ignored Wukong and shot the energy ball at Cynthia, who released her own sphere. The two collided with an explosion that rattled everyone’s teeth – even through the shields that kept the spectators from getting liquefied by the shockwave.
James staggered back as the shockwave struck him. Cynthia did the same. Both of them were breathing heavily as a result of the mind-link with their costumes.
Wukong quickly analyzed the situation. “James! Stun Spore!”
James’s mushroom cap vibrated, sending billowing orange clouds of the spores towards Cynthia. Again, the moves felt so natural – like they were really part of him and not generated from some costume.
“Cynthia! Burn through with Flamethrower!” Garchomp shouted as she adjusted her fedora.
“Dodge!” Wukong bellowed.
James leapt into the air as Cynthia unleashed a torrent of red fire, causing a small explosion as the dust burst into flame. The flames licked at his feet but he had cleared both the explosion and jet of fire.
James’s tail turned to into a deadly looking mace with a heavy clunk. He was now at least ten feet above Cynthia and falling quickly.
Garchomp glanced. She had to think fast or else James will reach the proper distance, flip and deliver a punishing blow with his now mace-like tail. She suddenly recalled what Cynthia did in a previous battle similar to this one. “Cynthia! Flamethrower! Full power!”
Cynthia took a deep breath and opened her mouth as a roiling orange-red fireball began to grow in her throat. James was getting closer as she charged her attack. Six feet, five feet…
And just when the Iron Tail was about to connect, she unleashed it. A veritable pillar of orange-red fire engulfed James; the fire actually continued upwards for several feet until it harmlessly splashed against the arena’s shield.
The spectators held their breath as the column of fire continued swirling around James.
When the column of fire died, James collapsed to the floor. His costume was scorched but otherwise undamaged and he lay still as his costume rebooted itself.
Lugia raised his right wing and addressed the crowd. “James is unable to battle. Victory goes to Garchomp and her pokémon, Cynthia!”
Everyone laughed at the last part.
Wukong entered the arena and helped James up. “Nice battling. Now let’s go and dinner a bite to eat at the café.”
“I’m not hungry,” Lugia said.
Palkia shrugged. “Sure, see you in a little bit.”
“We’ll meet up with you in a little bit,” Garchomp said.
Cynthia and James exited the arena. This time, a Blaziken cosplayer and a Torterra cosplayer faced off against each other. Their trainers were a real Blaziken and a real Swampert, respectively.
The group headed to the lobby, ignoring the sounds of battle coming from the arenas.
After a few minutes, Cynthia and Garchomp were inside their room with Lugia. He was lounging on the couch, having a bottle of lime soda.
Cynthia took off her costume and placed it on her bed in the other room. Garchomp took off her fedora and radio headset and placed it on the end table. Cynthia closed the door to give herself some privacy.
As Cynthia stretched out her sore muscles, Garchomp could not help but ogle at how the skintight Gantz suit showed off her trainer’s sexily toned muscles – especially her buttocks. She wiped off a bit of drool that came from the corner of her mouth.
“Garchomp, could you throw my clothes in the bathtub?” Cynthia asked, continuing her stretches.
Garchomp immediately snapped out of her trance and exited the room. Cynthia then got a look at herself in the mirror. She had to admit, the bodysuit accentuated her toned muscles and her long, blond hair. She stopped her stretches for a bit to blow a kiss at the mirror.
The door then opened with Garchomp carrying Cynthia’s clothes in the metal box she had put them in when she first donned the costume. Garchomp then entered the bathroom and tipped the whole box into the bathtub and turned on the water and poured in some shampoo. The water actually began to turn black as the ash and soot caked onto the clothes during their escape from Altomare began to loosen.
Garchomp then stuck her head out the bathroom door. “Cynthia, I just realized something.”
“What?” Cynthia replied, finishing up her stretches.
“You can’t take off your costume in public. And you can’t be referred to as ‘Champion Cynthia’.”
Cynthia scowled. “I noticed that.”
“So how will battle announcements be made?”
Cynthia ignored Garchomp and flopped down on the bed. Her Garchomp was really enjoying her role as the “trainer”. Not that she wasn’t enjoying her role as the “pokémon”.
James exited the bathroom – which had a line of costumed cosplayers in front of it. His costume was being held by Johnny Mac. He knew that the Gantz suit’s formfitting shape was to ensure maximum contact with the skin and allow communications with the costume itself but he could not shake the feeling that the suit’s formfitting shape had other purposes.
“Something bothering you?” Mac asked.
James looked at the suit. It was not as flattering on him as it was Cynthia thanks to his lack of muscle. “Gantz was one kinky dude. I mean, look at this suit! It’s practically a high-tech gimp suit!”
Johnny Mac laughed as James quickly transformed back into a Breloom and returned to the café.
Cynthia and Garchomp left the room. Lugia was on the couch, apparently asleep. As soon as he heard the door click shut, he immediately leapt from the couch and started digging through his messenger bag. He found one of his diapers and his container of baby powder. He opened the diaper, lay down on it and powdered himself. He then quickly got the diaper fastened around his waist, making sure to get the third tab for his tail. He sighed; he loved how a fresh diaper felt against his skin. He had to admit, the diapers he wore were pretty comfortable. Granted, some might think it strange but Lugia figured that if he has to wear diapers, he might as well enjoy them or at least have a little fun with them.
He then stood in front of the mirror in the main room. The diaper he was wearing had little sky blue reptilian claw prints all over it and the tapes were sky blue. He chuckled; diapers made him a lot cuter and more childish.
He then decided to pose in front of the mirror just for giggles. Hey, he had just escaped an aerial bombing; he needed to goof off a bit.
He was so into his posing that he failed to hear the door click open.
Cynthia and Garchomp had decided to return to the room to fetch Cynthia’s costume and Garchomp’s fedora. They were instead treated to the sight of Lugia in a diaper and trying his best to look childish/cute in front of a mirror.
Cynthia’s jaw dropped as she stared at Lugia in shock and horror. Garchomp, on the other hand, was doing a horrible job at trying to hold in her laughter.
Cynthia entered her bedroom and closed the door. Garchomp was still staring at and laughing at the diapered Lugia.
“Strut that diaper, baby!” Garchomp said with a grin. She then collapsed on the floor, laughing hysterically.
Lugia turned his head towards the noise and spotted Garchomp practically convulsing with laughter. This caused him to turn bright red.
“G…G…Garchomp…What are you doing here?” he stammered. He backed away behind the table in a vain attempt to hide the diaper he was wearing.
Garchomp was too busy laughing to hear him.
Just then the bedroom door opened and Cynthia in full costume exited with Garchomp’s fedora in hand. “Okay, let’s get dinner and give Lugia some privacy,” she said quickly before grabbing Garchomp and bolting out of the room.
Lugia shrugged and decided to watch TV. He had to go to the bathroom thanks to drinking all that soda but he decided to ignore it; after all, he was wearing a diaper. On second thought, he liked wearing them but hated using them. And of course, getting diaper rash was a good way to cramp his vacation – and make him the laughingstock of the group.
He bolted from the couch and ran into the bathroom where the sound of the diaper’s tapes being opened was heard.
The rest of the group was waiting by the restaurant entrance. Several costumed patrons filed past the group into the café. A sign with letters designed to evoke a hybrid of ancient Rome and the Ruins of Alph hung above the glass fronted door, which was flanked by two columns.
Palkia examined the columns. He subtly grew a little larger so he could examine the volutes on top of them. He shook his head in disgust; the columns were cast of concrete – including the volutes. Not only that, the designers had the bad taste to cover it in stucco that badly mimicked the legendary green and white veined marble of Fiore. “For a nice hotel, some of the furnishings are really tacky. I mean, this fake marble wouldn’t be out of place in a trashy Vegas hotel.”
Ferrum said nothing for he was perched on a bench and apparently asleep. Quartzon was attempting to engage Reshiram in conversation, to no avail.
Johnny Mac was playing with his telekinetic powers by levitating a coin. He casually pointed his finger and launched the coin into a light fixture. “What are Cynthia and Garchomp doing?”
Zekrom belched as she finished off her soda from a vending machine. “Probably grinding or fingering each other in bed.”
She said it loudly enough that several passersby stared at her. Wukong and James gave her a dirty look.
Luckily Quartzon was unable to hear Zekrom’s profane comment. Wukong and James were not going to enjoy explaining lesbian sex to her.
James and Wukong then got back onto the topic of pokémon battling tips.
“When are we going to get food?” Palkia asked. His stomach gave off a loud growl as he shrunk back down to size.
“When Cynthia and Garchomp return,” Reshiram replied.
As if on cue, Cynthia – in full Garchomp costume – and her Garchomp arrived.
“Well, let’s get dinner,” Cynthia said, entering the restaurant.
Not surprisingly the restaurant was packed. The strains of easy listening music percolated through the speaker system. The group was sitting in the waiting area which was decorated quite nicely with “Arceus white” tiles and some elegant potted plants and even a small fountain that depicted a Gardevoir as the goddess of victory, Nike.
James tapped Palkia on the shoulder. “Hey, Pallie, is that your sculpture?” he asked pointing to a six foot tall heroic nude statue of Sootopolis City gym leader Juan in the center of the room. Luckily, it was oriented so the genitals were not facing the entrance A Milotic was coiled around his nude form and it looked like both of them were rising from water thanks to the splash carved at Juan’s feet. A plaque at the foot of the statue identified the creator as certain “Victor Winstrate” and the material as genuine Greek marble.
“I don’t do heroic nudes but I have to admit, it is pretty nice. Victor Winstrate captured the fluid splash of water in his sculpture. Not to mention, look how realistic the statue is; it’s like Juan was transformed into marble.”
“Yeah while he was naked!” Zekrom quipped.
Reshiram facepalmed. His counterpart had no appreciation of the arts.
Johnny Mac threw a coin into the fountain in the corner of the room.
Palkia rolled his eyes at the Unown hieroglyphs on the faux-weathered marble walls. The hieroglyphs were actually meaningless gibberish. “The least they could do is make the hieroglyphs say something,” he thought.
Johnny Mac was leaning against a sign that read “Cosplayers are forbidden from using their attacks.”
“Welcome, how may I serve you?” a waiter asked.
“Table for six,” Johnny Mac said.
“Follow me please.”
The group followed the waiter through the crowded restaurant. The sound of clinking plates and conversation drowned out the easy listening music.
“Please, sit down.”
The group sat down at a faux weathered stone table. Or at least those who could sit down did. A waiter passed out plates of pokémon food to Ferrum, Quartzon, Wukong, Garchomp and Cynthia. Another waiter placed a basket of bread on the table. A third waiter filled their glasses with ice water.
Cynthia handed the plate back but it suddenly disappeared and appeared in front of Palkia. Garchomp handed the plate back as well. Ferrum and Quartzon on the other hand were devouring the food.
James grabbed a piece of bread and stuck it in his mouth and chewed. Again, thanks to a miniaturized teleportation system, the costume’s mouth essentially became his mouth.
Cynthia and Garchomp each speared a piece of bread and fed each other.
“Aww, how cute!” Reshiram said as he watched them feed each other.
Zekrom rolled her eyes and drank some water.
Wukong was busy eating the bread.
A man with brilliant green hair approached them. “Hello. My name is Antro. How may I serve you?”
“Just give us a moment,” Johnny Mac said, levitating the menu in front of his face while sipping some water.
“Some Lavaridge beer for me,” Zekrom said. “And California abalone platter.”
“Zek! Do you know how much that costs!?” Reshiram hissed at his counterpart. He was eating the bread.
Zekrom shrugged her armored shoulders.
“Zekrom, we’re running low on money. Buy the cheapest food you can,” Palkia said. He was actually eating Cynthia’s share of pokémon food. Granted, it didn’t taste that good but he was more concerned about their financial situation than treating his tastebuds.
Antro looked at the Zekrom, Reshiram and Palkia. “I will be back with the Lavaridge beer.”
Zekrom glared at Palkia but nevertheless continued looking at the menu.
Several minutes, three refills of water and a new breadbasket later, Zekrom’s bottle of beer arrived. She eschewed the glass of ice it came with and started drinking it straight from the bottle.
“Are we ready to order?” Antro asked.
“Yes, we are,” Mac said. The group handed back their menus.
“Well, all we can do is wait for the food,” Garchomp said, adjusting her fedora.
Zekrom belched as she finished off her beer. This earned a facepalm from Reshiram and several stares from the others.
Many minutes later, their food arrived: pokémon food for Ferrum, Quartzon and Palkia; bread for Wukong; sashimi to be shared by Garchomp and Cynthia; blackened catfish for Reshiram; roast Pidgey breast in red wine sauce for James; pasta with marinara sauce for Zekrom and a five ounce grilled Tauros steak with Kentucky bourbon sauce for Mac.
“Well… Let’s eat!” Reshiram said. His mouth watered at the savory flavor of the food.
James tentatively cut his roast Pidgey breast. “I hope this doesn’t wreck the costume,” he muttered, placing a piece in his mouth.
“Hey, it practically got blowtorched during the battle with Cynthia. A little food’s not going to hurt it,” Palkia said. Since he was eating pokémon food and not human food, he was permitted to use his hands. Granted, he did know how to use a knife and fork (Arceus insisted that each Legendary learn to use utensils properly).
“I hope you’re right; I don’t wanna be staring down a six figure repair bill.”
The rest of the dinner was uneventful save for a Gardevoir cosplayer being asked to leave for using the costume’s Psychic attack to remove a waitress’s dress – much to the amusement of his slightly inebriated friends who hooted and clapped.
After paying for the meal – an act that left the four Legendaries with just enough cash for the next two days – the group sat in the lobby. By this time, many of the gawkers and tourists were starting to head home but there were still many of them present.
“So now what? We’ve got three hours to kill before I head off to bed,” Palkia said.
“Well, I guess we can watch more battles or participate,” Wukong said.
James looked at the costumed cosplayers around him. “Well, I could use the practice.”
“Sure. I’ve got nothing better to do,” Cynthia added.
The group then headed to the arena out back.
When they arrived at the arena, it was the same as it was a few hours ago only not as crowded. Not to mention bright metal-halide lamps lit up the area with intense white light. The ocean breeze was cooler than before but it was not uncomfortable.
Palkia suddenly had a flash of inspiration as he recalled seeing street performers all over Lilycove City. “Garchomp, can I borrow your fedora?” Palkia asked.
“Why?” Garchomp asked.
“I’m going to need it to earn a bit of cash.”
Garchomp nodded and handed him the fedora. “If you ruin or lose that; you’re buying me another one!”
“Don’t worry about it.”
Palkia stepped into one of the arenas to practice his swordsmanship and earn some cash.
“Well, let’s do it,” James said. He got into one of the empty arenas and waited for his opponent. Wukong stepped into the trainer’s box while Cynthia stepped into the referee’s box. Quartzon and her Garchomp sat on a bench near James’s arena. Zekrom had decided to step into one of the arenas for a battle of her own. Johnny Mac, Ferrum and Reshiram were her spectators.
James didn’t have long to wait as a Flygon cosplayer and her “trainer” – a real Flygon – stepped up to the challenge.
Cynthia looked at the two competitors. “This is a one-on-one battle between James and his trainer, Wukong and Fiora and her trainer, Aria!”
“Start off with a Fire Blast!” Aria the Flygon shouted.
Fiora complied as a roiling orange-red fireball began to form in her open mouth.
“Dodge and counter with an Energy Ball!” Wukong shouted.
James shot about ten feet straight up as the cruciform fireball passed underneath him and spattered harmlessly against the shield. He opened his mouth and the roiling viridian sphere of Energy Ball began to form in front of his open mouth. As he was falling, he shot it at Fiora.
“Protect!” Aria shouted, gesturing with her right arm.
Fiora shimmered green for a moment before a green shield appeared in front of her. The sphere struck the barrier with a thunderous boom.
“Give her your best Dynamic Punch!” Wukong shouted
James landed and drew his right fist back, glowing with white energy. He charged towards Fiora.
Aria smirked. This was just what she was planning. “Faint Attack!”
Fiora leapt into the air. Her costume’s flight system was disabled but she could still leap very high and glide down.
James’s fist connected with empty air and lost its white glow. He looked around for her but the glare of the metal halide lamps made it hard to see into the night sky.
Wukong saw something rapidly descending. “James-“
He was cut off as Fiora struck James with a Faint Attack, plunging down from the sky like a black meteor and driving him into the ground.
Fiora kicked off James as the black aura around her disappeared. James lay in a small crater and tried to push himself back to his feet.
“Finish it with Earthquake!” Aria shouted, flapping her wings.
Fiora glowed white as she leapt into the air and did diving stomp into the ground with a sound like a building collapsing. A visible white shockwave sped across the area, causing the pebbles to jitter. Even the spectators outside the protective barrier felt the shudder.
“James! Get up!” Wukong pleaded. His hands were clenched into fists. He hoped this would not be second battle he lost.
James staggered to his feet and rocketed nearly twenty feet up in the air just before the shockwave struck. The spectators gasped as he recovered from the powerful attack.
“Hey James! Go for a Stun Spore!”
James’s mushroom cap vibrated, covering the arena in a glittering orange dust.
“Burn the spore away!” Aria commanded.
Fiora opened her mouth to burn through with a Fire Blast but she inhaled the spores and tumbled to the ground, twitching as the spores scrambled the costume’s artificial neurons.
“Let’s finish with Dynamicpunch!” Wukong shouted, thrusting his fist into the air.
James’s right fist glowed white as he charged forward, rapidly covering the distance between the two.”
“Get up and counter, hurry!” Aria shouted.
It was no use. Just as Fiora’s costume managed to clear itself, James delivered a vicious right hook that sent her tumbling across the arena. She lay still at the opposite end of the arena as her costume rebooted itself.
“Fiora is unable to battle! James wins!” Cynthia shouted, raising her right arm in the air.
Aria entered the arena and helped Fiora to her feet. At that moment Fiora reached behind herself and pressed a button at the base of the costume’s right wing. Soon, the costume’s latches disengaged and Fiora removed her costume to reveal a man. Several spectators gasped in shock. The man ran a hand through his sandy hair and flashed a thumbs-up to the crowd.
“Hope you enjoyed the battle. And James, nice battling!” he said, putting his costume back in its box. He then led his Flygon back to the hotel. All of this while dressed in the black Gantz suit.
“He must have a lot of balls to wear that techno-gimp suit around,” James muttered, sitting on a nearby bench.
A Sceptile cosplayer commanded by a Blaziken faced off against a Blaziken cosplayer commanded by a Sceptile. Cynthia got off the referee stand as the Sceptile cosplayer’s friend decided to referee the match.
Palkia returned with Garchomp’s fedora which was full of cash.
Garchomp took the fedora and looked at it. “What did you do?”
“Put on a show that combined my vast array of attacks and my swordsmanship. In any case, let’s divvy it up when Zekrom and her group get back. Speaking of which, where is she?”
Zekrom was battling Armando, a cosplayer in a Machamp costume, in an arena on the other side of the park. Reshiram was serving as the referee. Johnny Mac and several others were watching the battle with great interest. Several boulders littered the battlefield from Armando’s previous attempts at using Rock Slide.
Zekrom jumped into the air as Armando slammed his fist into the ground, unleashing the distinct white shockwave of Earthquake. She landed just as the last of the shockwaves dissipated and Armando charged towards her, both of his right fists wreathed in the blue glow of a charging Focus Punch. Arcs of blue-white electricity danced all over her body as her tail-generator revved up, making the spectators near her cover their ears at the high pitched whine. She then launched a massive blue sphere that had lightning bolts writhing within like enraged Ekans at him. The sphere struck him and detonated with a flash so brilliantly white that everyone nearby closed their eyes lest they be blinded. That flash was followed by a thunderclap that one spectator (who was a former sailor on said battleship) described as “like all six of the Craydaunt’s 16 inch guns firing at the same time”. When everyone’s vision and hearing had recovered, they saw Armando on the opposite end of the arena, motionless as his costume rebooted itself and Zekrom standing triumphantly at her end of the arena.
“Armando is unable to battle! Zekrom is the winner!” Reshiram declared as he stepped down from the platform.
Zekrom walked off the area as Reshiram and Johnny Mac followed her. They then met up with the rest of the group.
“What did you do?” Johnny Mac asked, looking at the fedora full of cash that Palkia had.
“Street performance. Now let’s divvy up the cash,” Palkia replied. Despite the fact that the fedora was full of cash, each of the six got just enough to buy some fast food.
James yawned – a rather amusing sight given the fact he was in a full Breloom costume. “Well, I’m ready to go to sleep.”
Palkia looked around the “park”. It was mostly empty save for a few people still using the arenas. He then entered the hotel through the doors. The lobby was now devoid of gawkers and tourists but a few cosplayers were still around. And of course, there were some people checking in. Including a group of five aqua haired individuals with metal suitcases.
He paid no heed to them and entered the elevator. Thankfully, the elevator was capable of holding them all. Soon, they had reached their floors and dispersed to their rooms.
Palkia, Garchomp and Cynthia entered their room. The lights were dimmed and Lugia was eating some complementary poffins. Garchomp and Cynthia entered their room and shut the door.
Palkia then pulled out the foldaway bed from the couch only to find that it was broken. “Damn it! The sofa bed’s broken!”
Lugia grinned. “I’ll be happy to share the bed with you.”
Palkia refused to share a bed with anyone, let alone another male Legendary. Not to mention he suspected Lugia had some ulterior motives for being so willing to share a bed.
“No!” Palkia exclaimed. “And I am especially not sharing a bed with an incontinent Legendary!”
He then telekinetically shut off the lights, put the sofa bed back and flopped down on the couch. “Good night!”
Lugia shrugged and re-diapered himself using the same diaper that he had been wearing before. Hey, he hadn't used the diaper and he decided not to be wasteful. He then slid under the covers and fell asleep, dreaming about Dialga.
Garchomp and Cynthia – still in full costume – were lying on their bed and cuddling. The lights were dimmed to add a romantic ambience.
“So shall we?” Cynthia asked, running her claw along Garchomp’s chest.
“Let’s,” Garchomp replied, kissing her on the cheek. She could barely keep herself under control. Garchomp-form-Cynthia had always been her hottest fantasy and now it was going to become a reality.
The two then locked lips. Their tongues explored each others’ mouths as they rubbed against each other and moaned in pleasure.
Cynthia could feel waves of pleasure wracking her body as Garchomp’s rough tongue slid over her teeth, gums and lips. Even though Garchomp’s interactions were actually the costume, it felt as if Garchomp were actually kissing and rubbing against her.
After a few minutes, they broke apart, their faces aglow with pleasure.
“So, shall we continue?” Garchomp asked with a grin.
Cynthia said nothing but spread herself on the bed as Garchomp lowered her head to Cynthia’s crotch.
Meanwhile, in the other room, Palkia was covering his head with a cushion to drown out the erotic talk and moans of pleasure as Cynthia and Garchomp went at it.
After trying for several minutes to sleep, he finally lost his temper and opened their door, which they had forgotten to lock.
He grew taller until his head barely touched the ceiling so he could intimidate them into stopping.
Not surprisingly, Garchomp and Cynthia were so into their activities that they failed to notice that the Master of Space was watching them.
Palkia cleared his throat. “I MUST ASK YOU TO BE QUIET! I AM TRYING TO SLEEP!”
The loud, booming voice of his larger form did the trick. Garchomp and Cynthia -completely embarrassed and both holding active vibrators – looked up at him.
“Sorry,” Garchomp said sheepishly as she turned off her vibrator.
“DON’T LET ME HEAR YOU AGAIN!” Palkia ordered as he closed the door.
Cynthia and Garchomp shrugged and resumed their activities but a little more quietly.
Palkia flopped down on his couch. He knew that these next few days were only a temporary diversion from the goal of stopping Cyrus. And of course, he remembered the talk he had with James back at the convention center. He was going to need to talk to Johnny Mac the next day.