Plot: It was certainly an exciting story. The idea you had was not only creative, but it gave you a really good story to write in terms of action. Not only that, but the Poliwag's epiphanies at the end (where they realize they actually enjoy the Contests) was a great element of the story. I intend to ramble on a lot about those later in the Climax section where it's more appropriate.
As for the main body of your story, here's what I think. It's definitely a good story. You have key elements in there that make it exciting. I feel that you really incorporated a "mission" feel into your story through the conventions of a typical covert-ops style story, ranging from the language used to some of the little things in the story. In particular, I felt that the usage of Smeargle (which, in all honesty, wasn't completely necessary as what Smeargle said could have easily been covered up through some other method that required less work out of you, such as a letter) was a nice touch. Having the ability to find conventions of a form and then utilising those conventions to mimic the form is a really helpful storywriting ability.
Your story was exciting as well. All the events in the story, coupled with the very engaging style of the story, really made me enjoy the story for the action. I feel that you did a great job making this story an interesting one to read.
With that said, there are things I would like to talk about. The main one is that, in general, your whole story feels a little rushed. That in turn makes your story feel less realistic at times. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
The problem is when she realized she had been fighting wild Pokemon. I understood she encountered Gastly earlier, but that doesn't necessarily mean she would know the Poliwags were wild. That could have been explained to greater length, and that would be something that would really help your story's realism. Not only that, but (and I feel strongly about this) there was essentially no reaction to this. This girl just had some sort of realization, shouldn't she have a reaction as well? Compassion feels out of place - something so sudden shouldn't immediately lead to compassion. If you had explained some of the girl's thoughts to help slow the process down and get some information across to your reader, it would have made things feel so much more natural.
That’s when the girl snapped out of her shocked state. She realized that, somehow and for some unknown reason, she had been fighting wild Pokémon. She felt compassion for them seeing as they were now alone and walk towards them. The Poliwag looked a bit scared, but they just waited there.
There were more slightly rushed sections like this through the story. Another example was at the beginning where Noctowl asked "Are you the two Poliwags assigned to this mission?" or whatever and then immediately launched into detailing his plan. I'm not going to going to break that one down as well because it would be a waste of both of our times, but you get the idea. Some of these rushed sections were in succession, and that resulted in the story feeling sometimes disjointed. Typically, proofreading will fix rushed sections like this, as they should stick out to you as you read it and make you think, "Oh, that's sounds kind of awkward, doesn't it?" Proofreading is probably a very unappealing option since this isn't exactly a university paper, but really, why not do a quick 2-minute skim of something you poured hours into? While I strongly condone proofreading, I can also understand why you'd be like "Nah, this is just URPG, idgaf", so something else that works is to just make sure that when you're typing up your story, make sure to explain everything you want to get across to the reader in the most efficient way possible. Ideally, that means you won't be rushing anything, but you won't be adding all kinds of irrelevant information. You'll be including all the necessary information, and doing it in a consistent flow.
Speaking of irrelevant information, there were a few areas in your story where you had some things that I felt were completely irrelevant to the story. For example, the italicized thoughts in the story (of the girl). I felt that those were actually pointless. Sure, it gave us some insight into how the girl thought, but so what? Instead of helping with the story's realism, it interrupted the flow of the story's events, and ended up just being in the way. Maybe if the thoughts led up to something, like the girl putting the pieces together and realizing what was going on (and that'd probably be pretty cool), but having them just there kind of distracts me as a reader and makes me wonder "why was this included?".
Don't get it confused with the Smeargle thing, which was an unnecessary method of explaining things. That was good because it contributed to the story, and made things seem more realistic and exciting. The thoughts were just there, and didn't contribute at all. As a writer, you should ideally understand the difference between unnecessary yet helpful garnishes, and unnecessary information that simply doesn't contribute.
Overall, well done. Some noticeable flaws, but ultimately, it was an enjoyable storyline. That's something that I often feel gets overlooked by Graders, but it's certainly true here. :)
Grammar: Generally clean! The only recurring grammatical mistake I would like to point out for you and ask you to fix is stuff like this:
You had a couple of these mistakes in there. Basically, in situations where a character talks to someone and refers to him by a name or title (any kind of name or title, be it their actual name or something like dude, my dear, etc.), you need to set off the name with commas. Like so:
"Yes sir mister Noctowl."
"We hold a Pokémon Contest at the first sight of snow to celebrate sir."
Gastly also shouted, “Go Poliwag!”
Something else I noticed quite a bit were typos. I actually found a numerable amount of typos in your story. Among them:
"Yes sir, mister Noctowl."
"We hold a Pokémon Contest at the first sight of snow to celebrate, sir.
Gastly also shouted, “Go, Poliwag!"
The only thing you can really do about typos are either force yourself to focus 100% while writing (which makes writing an asshole of a task), spellcheck (which is helpful but oftentimes not perfect, as it would have caught none of the three examples I listed), or proofread (y). Again, I repeat: I strongly encourage a quick proofread. I find it incredibly helpful to just skim through my finished product and weed out any mental errors. A quick 2-4 minute read will always reduce your errors by 99.9%. ;)
“Go Poliwag!” shouted Gastly as the two brothers headed for the middle of the wring.
At that moment, Gastly flew straight towards a wall a disappeared.
“I’m sorry, but we go by alpha...” the lady to right left began to say when she looked into Gastly’s eyes.
Oh, and there was this.
Girl should be female in this instance. Girl is referring to a female being, while female is better suited to be used as an adjective. I'm not sure if this was a genuine mistake or just a mental error, but I'll include it either way.
The girl coordinator looked at the Poliwag stunned.
So, I stand by my original assessment: generally clean! Well done. :) Make sure to at least make a mental note of the comma thing, because as simple as it may seem as times, grammar is something that can really influence a Grader as they read your story.
Description: Like the other areas in the story, a generally good job here. Your descriptions were written out intelligently. For the most part, I had a decent idea of what was going on in my mind. Your descriptions during the second round of the contest were nicely done. They were quick and unobstrusive, but done well enough that I could clearly imagine what was going on my mind. For obvious reasons, nailing down descriptions during battles are important - as good as the battle itself may be, it takes a good description of the moves themselves to make the battle an appealing one to the reader.
Another area I felt you described well was in the introduction of your story (first four paragraphs) when you described the setting. The language you used was really good, and set the table for the whole story right off the bat.
With all that said, I can only consider your descriptions as decent at best. As fundamentally solid as they were, I found them to be a little uninteresting and almost disengaging. In my opinion, other than your introduction descriptions, many of your descriptions used relatively standard language. For example:
I could definitely imagine the scenario you were trying to describe, but the problem lies in that the way you did it was, to put it bluntly, boring. In a contest sequence, of all things, describing to make sure the scene is as exciting as it can be is important. Here's something along the lines of what I have in mind:
The Poliwag quickly rolled to each of their rights attempting to dodge the other’s Mud Shot while still trying to strike with their own. As they did, the found themselves creating a ring of mud in the floor right around them.
That was a rushed example, and in my opinion, not the greatest one. However, I'm sure you get the general idea. The language you choose is crucial to your descriptions - you want to set the mood by using the proper words.
Upon hearing the command, the Poliwag immediately dove to their right. They rolled sideways to avoid the other's Mud Shot while continuing to try and land a hit. The trails of mud left from their attacks formed an almost perfect ring pattern on the floor.
One other thing I would've liked to see out of you may perhaps have been more descriptions of how Gastly and the Poliwags felt during the course of this mission in relation to the mission. You had this in your climax (as I mentioned earlier) and it was done very well, but it was lacking in other areas of your story. Imagine being on a covert-ops mission in real life, where you had to do something similar to this. That would be a pretty dangerous thing, and would definitely get you "on the edge". It would be the same for these Pokemon, no? If you had described their feelings about how they felt and how the adrenaline was pumping through them at key points, I felt that would've been something that would've dramatically improved your story and really helped it connect with your reader. What I'm looking for is something like this:
What I added in the italics is a reaction from Gastly, describing how he feels with the most nerve-wrecking part of the mission. If that had been added in various areas (mainly, major points in the story - when the Poliwag took the initiative would've been a good time to explain how they felt and maybe even slip in a subtle hint at their developing affection towards Contests), your story would've been a much more impacting story to read.
They headed back towards the arena just in time because only seconds after they took their seats again, the man in dressed in a black suit in the middle of the arena grabbed his microphone and said, “And now for our last performance of round one, we have a new contestant! Don’t let his looks fool ya! He’s new to the Pokémon Contest world, but who knows what fresh ideas he may have? Let’s have some applause for Mr. Gus Lee!”
Gastly took a deep breath. They would be going on stage now to perform for the crowd - the most nerve-wrecking part of the mission. As distasteful as this was to him, Gastly knew he couldn't slip up. With his heart threatening to leap out of his throat, Gastly walked out into the spotlight.
Still, a nicely done job. Some of the things I pointed out were maybe above the fundamentals of describing stuff in stories, but I would really like to see you expand and develop your descriptions in the future. :)
Length: You're in the clear, good job.
Climax: This was by far my favorite part of the story here. The climax of the story was wonderful, in my opinion. Let me start with the epiphanies the Poliwag had. I've been itching to go on about them this whole time. xD I absolutely loved it. It was an out-of-nowhere turning point that I had not expected, and it really shook things up. There were a few subtle hints during the story that I noticed in retrospect, but if anything, that makes it even better. It's kind of like that feeling where if you re-read a book knowing how it ends, you catch a few things you didn't notice before that hint at what happens at the end.
The reactions I was asking for in the Description section were perfectly executed at the end. The Poliwag talked about their experience during the Contests, and how much they enjoyed it. How it was done with the two Poliwag taking turns was a nice touch, if a little overplayed.
Another element that I thought was really nice and complimented the epiphanies was how Gastly was revealed. It made the ending bittersweet, and a bittersweet ending is one of the best. Not only that, but the way Gastly was revealed was cool. It was a complete accident, and another out-of-nowhere turning point that was awesome. It would've been nice to add one of those reactions I was talking about earlier when Gastly heard the opponent command Foresight, but either way, it was a good element to add to your climax.
As much as I liked your climax, it certainly wasn't perfect. One of the main things that bugged me was this:
Right after a very nice scene where the Poliwag explained how they felt, this part seemed all too abrupt. What I think is missing here is some of Gastly's thoughts. How did he feel about what the Poliwag just said? It's another one of those reactions I was talking about. Having a character react to another character revealing something can really help your readers understand what's going on, and maximize the impact it makes. As part of the climax, I'd say it's actually a necessary part to include.
Gastly seemed worried, but he closed his eyes, turned around, and said, “I understand. I hope I’ll see you again my friends.”
“Goodbye!” exclaimed the two Poliwag.
At that moment, Gastly flew straight towards a wall a disappeared.
Not only that, but the ending seemed a little too rushed as well. When the female coordinator asked the Poliwag to join her, that felt out of place. Saying she just felt pitiful for them right off the at doesn't cut it, especially since, from her perspective, they belong to a mysterious Gastly/human thing. It just seems unrealistic. A more natural reaction is for her to be wary (if not scared). You could've used that to your advantage, and had her (finish the) battle the Poliwag. Then, you could've had her capture them while using a multitude of reasons to explain why she did it. For example, you could have had the Poliwag show themselves to bear no ill intent (not through speech obviously, but through something else, such as a message sent through their eyes), and then capitalize by repeating that she had wanted Pokemon that could complete her stolen combination in the first place. It would not only be a much more logical way to end it, but it would also put the otherwise irrelevant information to use. The key thing is to make sure that the actions of characters are realistic and logical.
Despite the somewhat big flaws, I still loved your climax. The epiphanies were genuinely touching, and I'll be honest - it was a great way to end a story. I hope you can learn to avoid the flaws I pointed out for next time, and continue to write amazing endings. :)
Outcome: Overall, your story was good. As I have pointed out, there were many flaws marking your story. Those need to be remedied, and I hope that this Grade will help you in your future writing. For now, I'm going to say one Poliwag Captured! To get the other one, I suggest adding some character reactions, and/or adding some more to the climax. For my convenience, I'd really appreciate it if any text that you add in is bold-faced.
Don't let this discourage you, though. I feel that you understand key elements to add to a story, you just need to work on supporting them and putting them together nicely. Hopefully, if you learned anything from my Grade, it'll help make you a better writer. Anyways, PM me for a regrade, and enjoy your one Poliwag for now.