So this is a fic that I'm porting over from the Writer's Workshop.
I'm attempting to capture a Porygon
Mon Capture: Porygon
Character Count: 49,551
When you think about a Pokémon battle in the simplest of terms, it is amazing how barbaric we as trainers seem. We send our pets… our close friends… out onto a battle field. We tell them to stare at someone else’s dear companion… and we tell them to fight each other until they cannot fight anymore. We watch them bleed. We watch them suffer grievous injuries…
We tell Pokémon to send sharp rocks at each other. We tell Pokémon to shoot jets of flame at each other… and yet… victory is something that is glorified. Now I know you are probably saying that I shouldn’t be complaining about something like this… and you’re right, I shouldn’t be. That’s why I’m not complaining about it, but simply making an idle observation. That’s one of the many things that keep me awake at night. Realizing all the pain I’ve put my team through… even though they would never hesitate to jump into battle for me… their loyalty is nothing short of remarkable. I’ll be blunt: I don’t deserve it. In fact, I probably deserve them breaking out of their balls and mauling them in my sleep. I couldn’t hold it against them if they did. Not after all the shit I put them through.
Six Pokémon on a trainer’s belt at one time; It sounds like such a small number. But what those six can represent, the doors they can open for their trainer, it brings me back to that fateful evening three years ago. The Pokémon battle that changed my entire life.
“James, I have been expecting you. It’s a pleasure to see you.” I hadn’t even made my way completely into the room, yet Jet was speaking to me. Jet Mayweather, one of my childhood heroes. Jet Mayweather, the man who had given me a Tyrogue egg at the age of fifteen. Jet Mayweather, the Cielo Islands League Champion. Before responding, I took a few moments to look around, to give the reality of the situation a chance to sink in. The room I had stepped into was a large boxing ring, large enough to hold a regulation Pokémon battle. There was a spotlight shining on the center of the ring and this light was bright enough to illuminate the whole room. In the center of the ring, the champion was standing with a confident smile on his face. The light from above shone on his bald chocolate-colored skin, skin that was flawless and covering a body that was at the peak of physical fitness. Jet was wearing a red and gold robe and his boxing trunks of the same color were labeled in shimmering silver with his last name.
“Mr. Mayweather, sir.” I was still in awe at the whole scene. After all, I was just a twenty-one year old kid. I brushed my messy, light brown hair out of my emerald green eyes and smiled at my idol. “I’m surprised that there’s no one in here… I was expecting a crowd.” I admitted softly. My usual unwavering confidence had slipped away under the spotlight. It didn’t help that I felt overdressed because I was wearing a black cashmere sweater and a pair of grey dress pants.
“As much as I like people…” Jet flashed a bright white smile and held his hands out in front of him, his palms facing upward in a cordial gesture. “Some things aren’t meant to be a public spectacle.”
I nodded in understanding as I ducked under the ropes in order to enter the ring. With my head held high, I walked over so I stood face to face with my opponent. Even though I’m over six feet tall, I had to look upward slightly to stare into his eyes, emerald green looking into coffee brown. “Like the ‘twist’ you mentioned in your challenge. The ‘twist’ you still haven’t told me about,” I said with a slight hint of annoyance in my voice. I had been unable to sleep for the past three nights because of the ‘twist’ that Jet had mentioned, a twist that he promised would have a major effect on our battle.
In response to my statement, Jet just let off a booming laugh that echoed throughout the entire chamber. This brought a frown to my face because I didn’t think he was taking my concerns seriously. “James my boy… surprises are one of the things that make life so great.” Jet pointed out to me. “After all, do you really want to go through life knowing everything?”
In my mind, I was thinking ‘You know what Jet, I would love to go through life knowing everything.’ But I wasn’t about to say that to a League Champion, especially one that I had looked up to since I was ten. Instead, I replied, “I guess you’re right… so… should we get started?” Jet flashed another bright smile and nodded. He motioned with his hands to the back of the room, where a platform emerged from what was seemingly a solid rock wall. Standing on the platform was the official for the battle, holding a gold flag and a silver flag. I knew that Jet’s color was gold and mine was silver because of the color motif that the champion was wearing at the moment.
“You know the rules of engagement of course,” Jet stated. “But they are slightly different in here… it will be your normal six versus six… but there will be no switching by either the champion or the challenger.” This caused me to raise my eyebrows. “Instead, after every knockout, both trainers will bring a new Pokémon in until one of us is out of usable fighters.” I felt dizzy when Jet told me this. I knew that this was the twist that he was referring to. And I wasn’t expecting something like that. “And after every two Pokémon rounds… you and I will give our loyal friends a break by stepping into the ring ourselves for a one minute round.”
My jaw dropped through the floor and my stomach shot right through the open hole. While I was quite a physical specimen due to the fact that I worked out with my Pokémon every day, there was no way I could match up against Jet Mayweather, who was a famous mixed martial arts champion. He was known for having a devastating right hook that I could easily picture breaking my perfectly symmetrical face and sending me to the canvas for an hour or three. The fact that I was wearing a designer sweater and dress slacks certainly didn’t help matters. Not only would I be forced to go toe to toe with a professional fighter, I would be doing it in clothes that were suited for a night out or a business meeting, not a boxing ring. “So I have to fight you…” I said softly. I wasn’t even considering winning this battle now; I was just hoping to escape without permanent brain damage or worse. “That doesn’t really seem fair.”
“Oh but I believe it is far,” Jet said after a moment. His voice had gone softer than his usual booming confident tones. He sounded oddly introspective. “Think about it James… our Pokémon step into the ring and sweat. They bleed and feel pain for us… shouldn’t we do the same for them?” I thought about this for a long moment. It made a lot of sense; because after all, our Pokémon sacrifice so much for us, and yet we barely do anything to return the gesture.
“I’ve never thought about it like that.” I said to Jet as I slowly walked into my corner of the ring. Thinking quickly, I peeled off my sweater just as Jet removed his robe. I looked across the ring and smiled. If only Jet’s fangirls could see this; he and I, two young men at the peak of physical fitness, both shirtless and ready to wage a battle for the title of Champion.
I looked down at my belt for what seemed like an eternity. It seemed like an impossible decision; which of my Pokémon to lead with. Should I lead with Rocky, my Arcanine and my starter, The Pokémon that had been with me every step of the way? Or should I go with Dominic, my Dragonite? My enforcer that intimidated almost every Pokémon he had faced in the recent past. Or how about any of my other Pokémon, all of which I trusted implicitly. Ultimately, I knew there was only one Pokémon I could start the battle with. Reaching onto my black belt, I plucked off a worn and scratched red and white sphere. “Rocky, let’s start off hot.” I muttered to myself as I held the ball in my hand. I waited for Jet to select his own Pokémon before tossing the sphere out into the center of the ring.
“Arcanine versus Gallade.” The referee said from his safety platform that was currently suspended high above the ring. “This battle will be a six on six match. The winner will be crowned Champion of the Cielo Islands League.” The official announced in a piece of clarification that wasn’t needed in the slightest; Jet and I knew exactly what was at stake in this match. “Let the battle begin.”
I looked out at the psychic / fighting dual type in front of me. I knew that Gallade’s most powerful attacks would come from the lethal looking green blades that extended from his small arms. I had to formulate a strategy that allowed Rocky to avoid those blades at any cost. I looked across the ring at Jet, who appeared cool, calm and collected. I envied him because I knew this was far from the first time he had defended his title, so there was really no reason for him to be nervous. But I on the other hand was nearly crippled due to anxiety. Sweat was beginning to drip down my forehead and I felt flushed under the bright spotlight. And then I realized that the spotlight was nothing but an intimidation tactic; that its only purpose was to make the challenger feel exactly how I felt right now; nervous, anxious, and confused. It was a small victory, but it was also something I needed. “Rocky, Flamethrower! Stay back from those blades!” I shouted in a tone that belied my rising confidence. My powerful and loyal Arcanine howled loudly in an attempt to intimidate Gallade before opening his mouth and sending a powerful jet of white-hot flame at the green and white fighter. The flames came closer and closer to Gallade and I was sure that he could feel the heat… and then right when I was sure the flames were going to score a direct hit, the psychic type vanished. ‘Damn… it used Teleport…’ I thought to myself. “Rocky! Cut the flames!” I shouted as Gallade reappeared directly behind my Arcanine. “Spin! Extremespeed!” I shouted quickly as Gallade began to charge Rocky with his blades fully extended. The powerful cutting weapons took on an ominous purple hue as Gallade approached. Rocky the Arcanine crouched on his powerful back legs for a moment before powering himself into the air and he began his charge at Gallade.
An Arcanine’s pure athleticism at full speed was simply breathtaking, and being that Rocky was incredibly well trained, he could cover massive distances in the blink of an eye. In this case, the distance was the fifteen or so meters between himself and Gallade. Gallade crossed his blades in front of himself, but he was simply too slow to start the Psycho Cut attack that Jet had ordered. Rocky slammed into Gallade’s chest with a powerful shoulder tackle which propelled Gallade hard into the ropes less than five feet from me. Out of pure instinct, I quickly retreated to the corner in order to make it much less likely I took a direct hit from either Pokémon. Gallade quickly hopped up and my movement to avoid getting hit by a stray attack caused me to lose my chance to attack the Gallade while it was stunned from hitting the hard ropes of the boxing ring. I turned to look at my Arcanine and I noticed that the Gallade’s action of crossing his blades in front of himself at the last moment had caused a small cut to open up on the shoulder which Arcanine had struck Gallade with. I knew that the wound wasn’t serious, but it could possibly slow Rocky’s unparalleled speed. This worried me immensely because it would be hard to snipe Gallade down with ranged attacks because it could easily elude them by teleporting. As I thought about my next move, I realized that Jet had beaten me to the punch. Gallade was on the move, dashing to the left and right with his blades coated in black shadows as he charged Rocky. Twenty five meters was the gap between Gallade and Arcanine, and that distance was shrinking quickly. I didn’t have much time to think of an attack. “Flare Blitz!” I shouted without really thinking. Rocky howled once more as he coated his entire body in red and white flames before beginning to charge Gallade. The Gallade had learned from his mistake in the last clash and started his slashing attack much earlier and to my horror Rocky ran directly into a powerful uppercut slash from Gallade. But Rocky was simply too powerful and too tough for one slash to stop his attack and the flame-coated Arcanine slammed into Gallade with an impressive amount of power. Once again, Gallade was sent hard into the ropes. Meanwhile, Rocky slid to a stop. His face was now cut as well, but luckily the cut wouldn’t impact his vision because the cut was on the underside of his jaw. A few drips of blood began to fall from both the cut on his face and on his shoulder, but I knew that Rocky had taken far more punishment than that and continued to fight. Rocky shook his head quickly to clear it after the hard strikes from the Flare Blitz of his own doing and the Night Slash attack that Gallade had used to score a direct hit. “Flamethrower!” I shouted and Rocky unleashed another powerful jet of flames. But this time, Gallade was in no shape to dodge the attack or teleport out of the way. In fact, Gallade was barely standing, using the ropes on the side of the ring to keep himself upright. The red, white and green head of the unfortunate Pokémon was drooped to the side and it was clear that the only thing keeping the Gallade up was the ropes it was leaning against. Gallade lifted its head slightly just as the jet of flames struck it directly in the chest. After only a few moments, I nodded once in a business like manner to make it clear to Rocky that he should cut off the attack. The loyal Arcanine behaved just as I expected and stopped the flames that were currently coating the Gallade. I watched with an almost sad expression as the Gallade stood up, staggered forward for three shaky steps and then fell hard on its face. It was clear that it wasn’t getting up.
“Gallade is unable to battle. This round goes to Arcanine.” The official announced from high above the ring as he held up the silver flag in his left hand. “Challenger, please recall your Arcanine and then select a new Pokémon for the next round two.” I nodded and motioned for Rocky to return to my side.
“You were fantastic out there.” I told Rocky as he reached my side. I smiled brightly as I scratched him between the ears, causing them to prick up and his tail began to wag in a content manner. I reached over with his ball and tapped the return mechanism, sending Rocky back into his ball in a flash of red light. Deep down I knew that I would be needing him for the end game, so I placed the ball gently onto the back slot of my belt. Being up 6 -5, I had a difficult decision to make. The constant switching after every round was a tactic that I wasn’t used to. It took me a minute before I finally made a decision. “Gelata.” I said softly to myself as I plucked another ball off of my belt. “You’re up.” Tossing the ball out into the center of the ring, I slowly realized that I was in serious trouble. Because standing across from my Glaceon was a rather angry looking Infernape. Can you say worst type matchup ever?
“This round will be Glaceon versus Infernape.” The official announced loudly from his perch. “Begin.”
I knew that my only chance in this matchup was to use status moves and wear the Infernape down. “Attract!” I ordered quickly just as Infernape began to charge at my Glaceon with his entire body covered in flames. Geleta sat down on her back legs and looked Infernape right in the eyes and I could see a smirk cross the female Glaceon’s face. She fluttered her eyelids and looked up at Infernape with a playful smile. The effect on the Infernape was immediate and the flaming monkey slid to a screeching halt five meters away from Glaceon. ‘Thank Arceus that Infernape is male’ I thought to myself as I planned my next move ‘Otherwise Gelata would have been in for a world of pain…’
“Infernape!” Jet shouted from the other side of the ring. “Focus!” I looked over at Infernape, which was now shaking its head rapidly to try and get Geleta’s charm out of his mind.
“Shadow Ball!” I ordered Gelata to go on the offensive right away. She nodded and opened her mouth to release a purple ball of ominous energy that shot at Infernape, which was still under the effects of her spell. I was sure that the Shadow Ball was going to score a hit from such a close range, but it was not to be. When the attack was less than a meter away, Infernape’s eyes flashed red and he jumped over the Shadow Ball. “Back up!” I shouted to Gelata, but it was too late. Infernape closed the small distance between himself and my Glaceon in the short time it took for me to tell her to back up. Before Gelata could even turn to take a step in the other direction, Infernape drew back a flaming fist and threw a powerful right hook that caught Gelata on the left cheek. She was sent sliding into the ropes hard which caused me to cringe. Steam was coming off of her body; a result of hot flame hitting an ice cold Pokémon like Glaceon. Infernape began to charge at Gelata again, dashing left and right in order to make himself a more difficult target. “Ice Beam!” I shouted in a panicked fashion. Deep down I knew this was a bad move selection, but I didn’t have time to come up with anything else. Gelata hopped up onto her paws and released a powerful light blue beam straight in front of her. Infernape, in order to attack Gelata head on, dashed straight into the path of the beam. The ice slammed into Infernape’s right shoulder, spinning the monkey around. Showing off the incredible agility and athleticism that his species is known for, Infernape didn’t fall and managed to right himself and continue his charge at Glaceon. “Ice Be-” My order was cut off due to the fact that Infernape had knocked Gelata into the ropes with a brutal spinning kick. I watched helplessly as Infernape pounced on Gelata and drove her into the ropes over and over again with a brutal combination of kicks and punches. And then, after what seemed like an eternity, Infernape backed off and strode back to Jet. Gelata didn’t even try to stand, her face battered and bruised. Ducking under the ropes, I walked over to Gelata and picked her up carefully.
“You’ll be okay girl.” I said softly as I ran my hand over her ice cold fur. “You did good out there… I threw you into a pretty bad matchup.” I conceded before returning Gelata back to her ball and placing it on my belt.
“Glaceon is unable to battle. This round goes to Infernape.” The official announced in an odd sounding voice. When I looked up at his platform, I noticed something peculiar; the platform he was on was slowly dropping towards the floor. Figuring something odd was happening, I looked into the center of the ring where the platform was going to land. Except the center of the ring was now a blank space; the floor had opened up when I wasn’t looking.
“We need the official down at our level when you and I spar.” Jet explained as he stepped into the ring. He was now wearing thin mixed martial arts fighters gloves. I looked to my left side and noticed that a pair of gloves for me was sitting on a platform that hadn’t been there moments ago. Knowing I had no other options, I slid the gloves onto my hands and stepped into the ring. I kept my head held high as I joined Jet and the match official in the center of the ring.
“This will be a one minute round.” The official told us and we both nodded. “No shots below the belt and I want a good clean fight.” After slamming our fists together in the traditional way, Jet and I headed to our respective corners. In my head I was starting to formulate a plan. Since the round in which I would have to fight was only one minute long, I could stay on the defensive and avoid taking too much damage. If I focused on dodging and parrying Jet’s blows, maybe I could prevent myself from seeing stars.
My thoughts were interrupted by the loud echo of a ringing bell, signaling that the round had begun. I stepped out of my corner slowly and brought my fists up to protect my face. Jet shot out of his corner and went on the offensive. I barely had time to flex my abdominal muscles before his right fist slammed into the left side of my ribcage. Pain shot through my entire body as I stepped back from him, only to be greeted to another bone-shattering body blow. I felt a rib crack from the second punch and I knew that staying on the defensive would only cause me more pain. So, going against every instinct, I stepped forward and threw a hard right hook at Jet’s jaw. The champ was caught by surprise, expecting me to attempt to stay on the defensive the entire time and just try to weather the storm. He took a step back from me to prevent me from turning one lucky blow into a dangerous combination.
“You know James… you’re the first challenger I’ve ever had that actually landed a punch.” Jet remarked with a smile before stepping forward and aiming a snap kick at my stomach. His right heel scored a direct hit and I staggered back from the hard blow. I could feel blood beginning to trickle from my mouth so I turned my head to the side and spit. Seeing a mouthful of blood spill onto the canvas was never a good sign, but I knew that I only needed to last about twenty more seconds before the round would end and the battle would shift back to conventional Pokémon battling. Knowing I couldn’t just sit back and take punches and kicks to the body any longer, I ran at Jet and unleashed an all out attack. It was almost as if I was flailing as I wildly threw punches as fast as I could. A trained fighter, Jet eluded or blocked every single one with ease. I quickly began to tire from the effort and my attacks began to slow down. My last punch was a wild and powerful uppercut aimed at Jet’s jaw. He sidestepped to the left and unleashed a jab with his left fist that caused my head to snap back from the impact. I was seeing stars and I was sure that he was going to knock me out…
I shook my head rapidly in an attempt to wake myself up. Hearing the echoing bell, I realized that the round was over. I had made it through the first minute that I would have to spar with Jet. I watched Jet confidently trot back to his corner as the official’s platform began to rise back up towards the ceiling. I spit up another mouthful of blood before walking slowly back to my own corner. My head was still spinning as I took a moment to decide on my next Pokémon. “Creed, you’re up.” I said softly after a few moments before flicking his ball onto the canvas. Jet countered with his Heracross.
“This round will be between Heracross and Hitmonchan.” The official announced. “Let the match begin.”
I took a long moment to think about my tactics for this particular matchup. Both Heracross and my Hitmonchan had to get up close in order to use their best attacks. There would be no hit and run tactics; this was going to be a straight up street fight. “Creed! Ice Punch!” I pointed at Jet’s Heracross, which was already flying in a straight line towards Creed, ready to strike a powerful blow with his signature horn. The horn was glowing a bright green, a color that I recognized as a Megahorn attack. Creed saw exactly what I saw, so he quickly feinted to his left, causing Heracross to lunge in that direction. Creed then took a powerful jab step to his right before bringing his right fist up and firing off a crisp jab with his frozen fist. The jab scored a direct hit on Heracross, who was still trying to bring his horn back in the direction of Hitmonchan. Unfortunately, Heracross kept moving even after being struck by the powerful icy punch, something that neither Creed nor I expected. With a powerful swipe, Heracross took out Creed’s legs, sending him hard to the canvas.
“Fire Punch!” I shouted to my downed fighter. I knew that he would be able to get up on his own and that he would strike with the next attack when he was ready. Creed watched Heracross carefully, waiting for the right time to move. The opportunity came when Heracross attempted to strike with another Megahorn attack from point blank range. It stabbed downwards with its deadly horn. I watched as the horn got closer and closer to Creed’s torso. When it was only inches from causing grievous injury, Creed rolled to his right. Heracross’ horn stabbed through the canvas, causing the bug type to be stuck for a moment. This gave Creed the time he needed to hop to his feet. “Now! Strike while Heracross is immobilized!” I ordered without hesitation, still angry about how brutal Infernape had attacked Gelata during the previous round when she was pinned up against the ropes. “Fists of Fire and Ice!” I ordered the attack and Creed nodded. As Heracross struggled to pull his horn out of the bottom of the ring, Creed pounced on the helpless bug with his right fist covered in flames and his left covered in ice. With an unbridled fury, Creed lashed out with a powerful combination of rights and lefts. The defenseless Heracross had no chance. Just as it managed to pull its horn free, Creed struck home with a vicious flaming uppercut, sending Heracross sprawling to the mat. Creed stared at his downed foe for a moment before raising his fists in celebration.
“This round goes to Hitmonchan. The champion is down to four Pokémon while the challenger has five remaining.” The match official announced as I called Creed over to my side.
“Something tells me I really should regret giving you that egg six years ago.” Jet told me with a smile that made it clear he was joking about his ‘regret.’ I couldn’t help but laugh and nod in agreement.
“I guess so…” I grinned. “But really, you couldn’t have found a better home for Creed here.” I laid a gentle hand on the punching Pokémon’s shoulder.
“Suppose that’s true.” Jet said and I could see that he had already returned Heracross and that he had already selected the next Pokémon that he would use. I thought about my decision for a long moment. I had already used Arcanine, Glaceon and Hitmonchan. I wanted to save Dragonite for the end. This thought process only took a matter of moments, and then I made my decision.
“Drago, you’re up.” I said as I released my Charizard. Jet grinned cheekily at me as he revealed his selection; Poliwrath.
“Damn.” I gritted my teeth in annoyance. This was not going to be an easy win. Not by any means.
“This round will be between Poliwrath and Charizard. Let the match begin.”
“Up in the air!” I shouted to Drago and he took off in a flash. Between the referee’s platform high above the arena and the slightly raised floor of the ring itself, I had about twenty meters of clearance. Plenty of room for Charizard to get up high in the sky and work on wearing Poliwrath down from range. Drago quickly reached a height of fifteen meters and began lazily circling Poliwrath. “Air Slash!” I shouted and Charizard roared before flapping his wings, sending a powerful burst of air down at Poliwrath. I watched as Poliwrath nimbly rolled under the attack and countered with a powerful burst of water. “Flamethrower!” I shouted and Charizard’s powerful burst of flame struck the rising column of water. A spreading cloud of steam began to fill the entire chamber, causing the temperature to rise and making it a bit harder to see what was going on. “Sunny Day!” I cried out and Charizard nodded. He held out his wings and a large ball of yellow light emerged, floating high above the arena. I began to sweat profusely from the heat and I noticed that the steam quickly began to dissipate. I was about to order another attack when I noticed Poliwrath use another powerful water attack. Charizard didn’t have time to dodge and the jet of high-pressured water struck his right wing. Drago shook off the super-effective attack and flew a bit lower, wanting to get closer to Poliwrath. “Solarbeam!” I shouted as Charizard began his dive. The diving dragon opened his mouth and roared before releasing a bright white beam. Poliwrath was caught off guard by the sudden attack and he was driven into the ropes. Charizard roared triumphantly as he pulled up from his dive and got high into the air once more. Based on the success of the first diving Solarbeam attack, I figured that it would work again. “Dive and Solarbeam again!” I shouted and once again Charizard dove, roared and released a powerful white beam of energy. However, Poliwrath was ready for the attack this time. It dodged the beam and then managed to leap high enough into the air to strike Charizard with a fist glowing with electric energy. Charizard didn’t have the ability to pull up this time and he crashed into the canvas hard. As electric shocks ravaged his body, he stood up and glared at Poliwrath angrily. “Shake it off!” I urged Charizard. “Charge and hit him with Outrage!” I shouted and Charizard took off and shot like a bullet towards Poliwrath. When he got into range, I noticed something that was going to be serious trouble. Poliwrath had prepared a Stone Edge attack when I wasn’t looking. And with the anger in his eyes, I knew that Drago wouldn’t pull out of the Outrage attack. Just when Charizard got up close to Poliwrath, the water type flung a barrage of sharp rocks at Drago, causing numerous slashes on his body. Drago roared angrily and began to attack Poliwrath with unbridled fury. A swipe of his tail sent Poliwrath careening into the ropes. A vicious headbutt had Poliwrath seeing stars. And then the finisher; Charizard used both of his claws to slash wildly at Poliwrath. And then abruptly, the light faded from Charizard’s eyes. He had released his anger in one spree of attacks. The dragon stumbled back and then, finally succumbing to the two deadly super-effective attacks it had taken at point-blank range, fell to his back.
“This round goes -” The official started, and then he looked at Poliwrath. The water / fighting type had finally managed to free himself from the ropes. However, he was looking worse for the wear. He managed to stumble forward a couple of steps and I could clearly see the deep, bloody scratches on Poliwrath’s face. And then, the tadpole Pokémon fell forward onto its face. “Both Pokémon are unable to battle.” The official corrected himself. This means that the champion is down to three Pokémon and the challenger has four remaining.”
I took a deep breath and stepped into the ring myself; it was time to attempt to survive another minute with Jet trying to take my head off with his fists. My mouth was still bleeding from the first minute and there was a small part of me that doubted whether I’d be able to last through the next one.
“Round two between the champion Jet Mayweather and the challenger James Dalton… begin!” The official shouted before ringing the bell that signaled the start of the fight. Jet quickly approached, appearing ready to go on the offensive once more. In the back of my mind, I was counting off the seconds until the bell would ring again and I would have escaped another round.
*Fifty-five… fifty four…* I counted off as Jet reached me and snapped off a one-two jab combination at my face; leading with his left fist and backing it up with the right. I quickly brought my hands up and managed to deflect both of the blows, preventing them from messing up the face that I was so proud of. I quickly countered with a right hook, but missed because Jet ducked back to avoid the blow.
*Forty-eight… forty-seven…* Jet came at me again, this time leaping in the air just a couple of inches and firing off a snap kick at my sternum. This time, I wasn’t able to defend myself. His heel slammed into my chest bone and I was sent back into the ropes.
*Forty-three… forty-two…* Pinned up against the ropes, I put both my hands in front of my face because that was the one thing I wanted to protect most. Unfortunately for me, Jet was perfectly happy to punish my body. Striking quickly and powerfully, he rained punch after punch on both sides of my rib cage. I felt multiple cracks and I could just tell every single one of my ribs was going to shatter if I didn’t do something.
*Twenty-nine… twenty-eight…* I was gasping for air at this point as blood streamed out of my mouth from the blows to the torso I had taken. I began flailing wildly with both fists, desperate to fight my way off the ropes. I was throwing punches with both fists blindly and eventually I felt one hit home. Jet staggered back a bit and I took this chance to get around him, finally escaping the trap.
*Seventeen… sixteen…* The body blows that I had absorbed had slowed me down. I could barely raise my hands, let alone attempt to avoid Jet’s powerful punches. He was throwing three and four punch combinations that I simply could not keep up with so I didn’t even bother trying. All I tried to do was protect my face, which shockingly hadn’t taken any serious damage thus far. And then out of nowhere, one last shot to my ribs took all the air out of my lungs and I fell to my knees.
“One! Two!” I heard the official shouting by my side. “Three! Four!” I didn’t realize what he was shouting about, and then I realized; he was counting me out. “Five! Six!” I gasped, attempting to fill my battered lungs with air so I could get up off the canvas. “Seven! Eight!” I began to rise up off of the ground and I looked at Jet, who had turned away from me. It was as if he didn’t expect me to get up. Defiantly, I spit a mouthful of blood out on the mat and rose shakily to my feet. “Are you okay to continue?” The official asked me and I nodded. There was no way in hell I was letting him stop this fight. Just as he was about to resume the match, the sound of the bell resonated throughout the room. I continued to gasp for air as I limped back to my corner. I couldn’t even stand without using the ropes to support my weight.
“Challenger, please select your next Pokémon.” The official brought me back to the present with a gentle reminder. Seeing how bad shape I was in, I knew that I needed to end this battle as quickly as possible in order to have any chance of winning. “Dominic. You’re up.” I said weakly, still clearly shaken from the beating I had taken moments earlier. I flipped a worn Poké ball onto the battle field which after a flash of red light revealed my Dragonite. I wiped the blood off of my mouth with my sweater as I watched Jet reveal his next selection; Hitmontop. The fact that I had ruined an incredibly expensive piece of clothing by using it as a rag for my bloody mouth didn’t even cross my mind as I leaned against the ropes and sent Dragonite up into the sky.
“Alright Dominic, let’s bring it down! Blizzbolt!” I shouted confidently across the ring at the Hitmontop, which was eyeing Dominic carefully. Blizzbolt was a deadly combo that Dominic and I had invented while training in the howling winds of the Snowpoint mountains. To start the move, Dominic opened his mouth and flapped his powerful wings furiously sending a furious storm of snow and howling winds at Hitmontop. I began to shiver from the temperature in the room dropping nearly fifty-five degrees in a matter of moments; from a balmy 75 to below freezing. I watched with a smile as Hitmontop attempted to knock Dominic out of the sky with a Stone Edge attack. Not only did the stones get knocked down by the wind, they were frozen solid by the blizzard. “Now finish it!” I shouted. The one negative aspect of Blizzbolt was that Dragonite, being dragon and flying type, really, really hated the cold. So I had to act fast or his wings would freeze in place and he would plummet to the canvas.
Once I told Dragonite to finish his attack, Jet looked very concerned. He knew that Hitmontop was powerless in a ranged fight. He also knew that there was no way I was going to bring Dragonite anywhere close to the ground. With a great roar, Dragonite sent a trio of lightning bolts down into the storm towards Hitmontop. The heat from the electricity melted the snow in mid air, effectively turning the blizzard into electric rain, which fell down on Hitmontop in one deadly burst. Visible shockwaves could be seen coursing over the fighting type’s body and it only took a matter of moments before it fell to the canvas face first. Once Dragonite saw his foe fall, he let off a victory roar before landing a few feet in front of me.
“Excellent Dominic. Return.” I told Dragonite happily before returning him to his ball. Once Dragonite was stored away, the Blizzard stopped and the room gradually began to warm up again.
“Hitmontop is unable to battle. The champion is down to two Pokémon while the challenger has four remaining.” Four on two with one Pokémon from each of us still to fight in the first round… my odds were looking good.
*As long as I can stay standing when I have to fight.* I was forced to remind myself, a reminder that came from the fact that I was still dripping blood from my mouth. Once again, I used my designer sweater as a rag to clean the blood off. Why I didn’t just use my undershirt and save the sweater… well now that I think about it… Shit. I couldn’t help but laugh. I looked up and saw a look of confusion on Jet’s face. I stopped laughing after a moment and didn’t bother explaining. He was holding a Poké ball in his hand and he looked a bit impatient. “Right. Sorry.” I nodded before sending the sixth and final Pokémon in my party out to fight.
“This round will be between the champion’s Machamp and the challenger’s Porygon.” The official announced. “Begin!”
“Achilles, Nasty Plot!” I shouted as soon as round began. There was enough time for the normal type to take a moment to boost its special attack to sky high levels. After all, Machamp had to cross the ring in order to strike. “What?!?” I shouted as I surveyed the scene. Achilles was glowing a bright silver, showing that his attack levels were still rising. But Machamp had somehow crossed the distance between himself and Achilles in a matter of moments. The angry fighting type’s six burly fists were all glowing an ominous burgundy color as he leaped at Achilles. “Achilles! Abort and Evade!” I shouted in a panicked manner, but it was too late. Achilles attempted to hover above the Machamp but the powerful and flexible six-armed brute simply hopped up and used two of his fists to slam Achilles downwards. I cringed as Achilles slammed face first into the canvas.
“Get up Achilles!” I urged before spitting out another mouthful of blood. “Quick!” But Achilles, the great warrior, was not destined to win on this day. As soon as the normal type managed to hover shakily back into the air, Machamp was on him. Six fists slammed into Achilles in rapid succession, pinning the computer virus against the ropes. Random snippets of code flew out of Achilles’ mouth… ominous red and black digits of some language that couldn’t possibly be of human origin.
And then, mercifully, it was over. Achilles had fallen. I had a forlorn look on my face as I returned my fallen partner to his ball. Time seemed to speed up as I was forced to spend another minute in the ring with Jet.
“Ding!” I had managed to make it though the last sparring session I would be forced to endure. But I certainly didn’t look like I had made it out very well. My entire torso was covered in bruises and there was a vicious looking cut on the right side of my chest. Blood was dripping out of my mouth now like I had left the faucet in my bathroom running. And even if I closed my mouth, it took only seconds for it to fill up with the crimson liquid. So I basically said fuck it and let the blood drip out of my mouth freely. It wasn’t like anyone besides Jet and the match official could see it anyways. And I had a one mon lead, so if I managed to hold on and win the entire thing… well the broken ribs would be a small price to pay for eternal glory.
“Challenger, would you please send out your first selection for the second part of the battle?” I shook my head rapidly to get myself back into the battle. The shots to the head that I had taken were causing my mental faculties to drift away from the battle in front of me rather quickly. Being an athlete who had left it all one the field before, I knew that I had suffered yet another concussion, the fifth of my short life.
“Right. Sorry.” I apologized meekly before groping at my belt randomly. The blood dripping into my eyes from the cut on my forehead made it hard for me to see where I was grabbing. A moment later, I felt the familiar feeling of one of the spheres on my belt. I tossed it into the ring, revealing Creed the Hitmonchan. Standing on the other side of the ring was the Infernape that had earlier abused my Glaceon so thoroughly that I was going to have to take her straight to the nearest Pokémon center when the battle was over.
“This round will be between the champion’s Infernape and the challenger’s Hitmonchan. Begin!” The official shouted before ringing the bell, signaling that the fight was back on. Infernape started the fight with a Flamethrower attack that I was slow to respond to. The white-hot flames streaked towards Hitmonchan as I attempted to come up with a counter. But nothing was coming to me. All I could think about was how much pain I was in at the moment. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Duck.” I said softly and Creed dropped to one knee just in time. The flames passed mere inches over his head and harmlessly out of the ring. Well, at least I thought they were harmless. Because I hadn’t seen Jet’s follow up. He had used my lack of field awareness to get his Infernape in a close attack position. And I realized it too late. “Creed! Up and - ” My desperate instructions were cut off when I saw Creed absorb a vicious uppercut to the jaw, sending my punching Pokémon careening into the ropes. However, at this point, I had started to wake up. “Spring off the ropes. Mega Punch!” I shouted quickly and Hitmonchan did as I instructed. He threw his body hard into the ropes and rocketed towards the surprised simian Pokémon. Hitmonchan threw three quick punches with his powerful fists, driving a right hook into Infernape’s stomach followed by two left jabs to the monkey’s jaw.
Infernape was driven back a few steps, allowing Hitmonchan space to return to the center of the ring. “Great work Creed. Go in for the kill! Close Combat!” My confidence had completely returned with Hitmonchan’s one successful attack. However, I was to pay for my hubris. Because Jet was ready for Creed’s blind charge. Creed dashed towards Infernape, both fists flailing powerfully. But just when Creed was about to connect with a devastating right haymaker to Infernape’s jaw, the flaming monkey slid to the floor and kicked Hitmonchan’s legs out from under him. Creed crashed to the mat and was sprawled out on the canvas, clearly stunned by the turn of events. Infernape didn’t give Creed a chance to turn things around. I looked away as I heard the monkey’s wild, enraged cries. It was only a matter of moments before I heard the confirmation from the match official that Creed was defeated and that the match had become a draw once more.
“Good job Creed.” I whispered quietly as I returned the fallen fighter to his ball. Unlike last time, I had no indecision on who to send out next. And it was only moments before I had thrown another ball onto the mat, revealing Dominic the Dragonite’s return to the fray.
“Dom! Up to the skies!” I shouted as soon as I heard the bell that signaled the start of the round. I wiped the blood off of my chin, which of course was a losing battle due to the fact that it was equivalent to using a piece of gum to stop the Mississippi River from flowing past New Orleans. “Blizzbolt once again!” I was prepared for the precipitous drop in temperature this time, so I didn’t begin shivering when the room began to freeze. However, Jet was also prepared for my tactic. I cringed as he used an Overheat attack, the rapidly expanding dome of magma sending the temperature of the room skyrocketing once more. I went from being ice cold to sweating buckets in the time it took me to brush my bloody hair out of my eyes. And just to make things worse, the attack had both prevented Blizzbolt from being a viable tactic and it had also struck Dominic. The powerful fire type attack made the dragon waver for a few moments, and his flight pattern began to become just a bit erratic.
“Dominic! Settle!” I shouted and the legendary dragon above took my words to heart. Well at least I think he did. Because he calmed down and returned to gracefully circling the ring. “Good, now rain down on that Infernape’s parade! Draco Meteor!” I shouted, clearly sick of seeing that monkey ruin my carefully laid out plans. Dominic roared loudly before holding out his wings and sending blue and white flaming meteors down from the sky, coating the entire ring. In fact, both Jet and myself were forced to dive out of the ring in order to avoid being struck by the attack. The rattling of my broken ribs, which caused me to cough up a large amount of blood, was worth the end result. Infernape simply had nowhere to escape to, and he had been struck by one or more of the meteors. And it was clear that the monkey wasn’t getting up; the exhaustion from taking on half my team over the course of the battle had finally taken its toll.
And I had just reached the unthinkable. The champion was down to one solitary Pokémon and I still had my starter and my dragon available to me. Everything I had worked for since I blew out my knee on that football field at the age of eighteen was about to be worth it. I was minutes away from becoming the Cielo Islands champion as long as I kept cool.
“Well James, I have to admit… this isn’t a situation that I’ve found myself in before.” Jet said to me as he sent out his Machamp. I looked into his eyes and I could see that he was not panicking, he was not worried. Even down to his final Pokémon, he was still completely convinced that he was going to come out on top. But I was completely convinced that I was going to win as well, so one of us was going to be proven wrong. “The closet that any of my other challengers have gotten is getting me down to my final three mons.” Jet told me.
I wasn’t sure if he was being honest or not, so I just nodded and said, “Well I guess that’s a good sign for me then.” This wasn’t the response that he was expecting, as he turned back to the battle without another word.
“Alright Dominic! Get down there and hit an Outrage attack!” I shouted confidently. “Let’s take this straight to the bank!” I added with a smile and Dom dropped out of the sky, rocketing towards Machamp with a blue aura surrounding his entire body. I could hear Dominic roar as he plummeted towards his foe. But something struck me as odd. Machamp wasn’t even attempting to dodge. And neither Jet nor his Pokémon were panicking at all. In fact, the pair both looked coolly confident as usual. When Dom was mere feet from striking Machamp with a devastating blow, I could see why. Machamp’s six fists were all glowing ice blue.
“PULL UP!” I shouted even though I knew that Dom was far past the metaphorical point of no return. Dominic and Machamp slammed into each other and the collision caused a flash of blinding blue light. My eyes felt they were on fire because a side effect of a concussion is sensitivity to bright light and I was blinded for almost a full minute. When I was able to see again, I was treated to the sight of my Dragonite out for the count. And I felt sick to my stomach because Machamp was still standing.
It was down to Arcanine versus Machamp. The winner would be the champion.
“Rocky… you’ve been with me since the start. I know you can do this.” I told the canine confidently before sending him out into the ring. Now, looking back on this moment, I should have realized that this battle wasn’t actually going to be dramatic at all. But then again, I was minutes from passing out due to blood loss and the Grade III concussion that I had suffered due the blows that Jet had been showering on my head all night. So you couldn’t blame me for not really seeing the situation clearly. The truth was that Dominic’s Outrage attack had thrown Machamp into the ropes with such force that the body of the burly fighting type had shattered one of the turnbuckles holding the ropes themselves in the air. This blow had sent Machamp to the brink, and Jet’s last hope was barely standing.
“Flare Blitz!” I shouted immeaditely and Rocky began his charge at Machamp. Machamp didn’t move from the spot he was standing, but instead began winding up powerful punches with all six of his fists. It was all or nothing on this one attack. Rocky’s entire body was coated with red-hot flame as he slammed into Machamp with his right shoulder. Rocky’s awe-inspiring speed and power sent him through Machamp’s six fists of fury and the rare fire type just kept going. The force of the Flare Blitz catapulted Machamp out of the ring and sent him flying into the stone wall behind the battle. The rock wall chipped from the force of the impact and the bloody and battered Machamp fell to the floor defeated.
I was the champion. I had done the impossible. I didn’t know what to do, so I threw my bloody gloves into the air and ran out onto the mat and threw my arms around Rocky’s neck. “We did it! We did it! We did it!” I was shouting deliriously because my brain had shut off completely at this point.
What I didn’t know was that the only thing I managed to do that day was set in motion the events that would ruin my life.