Author's Note: Ok, so this is my first story in a LOOOOONG while. Whether the capture is successful or not, please give me lots of constructive criticism. I feel there were some things i could have done a lot better with this, but I'm not sure what they are.
Pokemon to Capture: Croagunk
Rank: Medium (10-20k)
Character Count: 10152
The fifth round had just ended. The stadium was dark, with a heavy smell of stale cigars and packed bodies wearing dingy old suits with Mothim holes in them. The ring was bright. Spot lights bombarded the canvas with heat; the canvas reflected the heat back onto the fighters. The air in the ring was cleaner: the clean smell of sweat, present not due to crowded conditions, but earned through physical exertion. A drop of that sweat streamed down the Tyrogue’s brow. It passed a small cut over his eye, and stung; it rolled into his eye, another sting. With a quick blink, the droplet was sent flying, just in time for a new one to start the journey.
The Tyrogue tried taking deep breaths, but occasionally all he could muster was a short, sharp huff. He glared at his opponent. The Tyrogue was a clean fighter. He had practiced every day of his life, at least as far as he could remember. He practiced humility, he held respect for his opponents. He had only ever fought in sanctioned bouts before, but this time was different. His Pa was hurt, too hurt to work, and someone had to pay the bills. One day the food ran out. The next day, Don Corvo, the Head Honchkrow of the local underworld, showed up at the front door with bread, milk, meat, and a proposition.
No, the Tyrogue had always respected and admired his opponents, but that was a different world, a different life. The opponent facing him now was no warrior, no sportsman. He was a fighter, an assassin, the kind of opponent that follows no rules but “Survival of the Fittest”. He had no technique, no discipline, but he had cheap shots, and dirty moves that no self-respecting referee would’ve allowed. But this was Don Corvo’s ring, and self-respect had no place here.
When the fight began, what seemed so many lifetimes ago, the Tyrogue thought it would be an easy win. His opponent was a mess: slouched shoulders, skinny arms with no muscle tone. His flat purple face had two bright red cheeks on it, cheeks that would make easy targets for the Tyrogue’s jab and right hook. The Croagunk’s stubby little legs looked barely capable of supporting his own weight, let alone establishing any kind of agility advantage. If there was any sign, any warning of what was to come, it was the frog’s disinterested gaze and shit-eating grin.
The bell rang, and everything changed. Those stubby little legs were FAST, and before the Tyrogue knew what was happening, two light jabs had clocked him clear across the jaw. Before the Croagunk’s second punch had fully recoiled, he was already circling, arms up, but loose. The frog had a strong Southpaw stance, his right arm forward. His senses returning, the Tyrogue got his own arms up. Slowly rotating in place, always with his eyes on the Croagunk, the Tyrogue reevaluated the situation. Obviously, this guy knew more of what he was doing than his posture had let on. Fighting a Southpaw, particularly such an agile one, would be tricky. Luckily, the Tyrogue had trained himself to be able to fight left handed as well as right handed. As he shifted his stance to match the Croagunk’s, the frog’s next assault began. A quick flurry of jabs kept the Tyrogue’s right hand up, protecting his face. Suddenly, mid-jab, the Croagunk changed his stance, caught the Tyrogue’s right hand with his left, and sent a devastating right hook to the Tyrogue’s jaw. Thinking quickly, the Tyrogue moved to shift back into a right-handed stance, only to find his foot pinned to the canvas by the Croagunk’s foot. The Croagunk snickered, and threw another right hook at the Tyrogue’s face, his glove leaving a bright red gash above the Tyrogue’s left eye. The bell rang. The Tyrogue backed away, a sharp stinging pain radiating through his whole face, his head on fire. The Croagunk snickered again, found a small smear of the Tyrogue’s blood on his glove, and licked it off with his long purple tongue.
Shocked, the Tyrogue spun to the ref, expecting a foul to be declared. The ref returned only a blank stare, and an emotionless gaze that said quite clearly that nothing would be done. This wasn’t a fight, and it wasn’t a contest. It was a spectacle of carnage, a good show for those with depraved minds and deep pockets. The pokemon in the stands didn’t want to see sport. They wanted blood.
And blood they got, round after round after round. Although the Tyrogue now knew the nature of the game, he couldn’t fight his discipline. He had too much respect for the rules. His opponent, on the other hand, had none, and dished out enough bruises, cuts, and broken bones to show it. The fifth round had just ended.
The sixth round began.
In a flash, the assault had resumed. Once again, the Tyrogue found the Croagunk’s jabs raining down like so many needles. He tried to guard, but his arms felt as heavy as lead. Suddenly, as his arms dropped completely, the Tyrogue didn’t care anymore. This wasn’t his sport. This wasn’t the art he had spent so many hours, days, years mastering. This was a beating. He could stand there, and take it, and die, and leave his family starving in the streets... or he could win.
The Croagunk went in with a strong right reverse, but before he could connect, he found himself flying across the ring, an unholy throbbing pain in his right cheek. He landed, and looked to the Tyrogue, only to see him standing there, arms hanging limp at his sides, but with his right foot still hovering where the Croagunk’s head had been a moment before. The crowd gave a cheer; they didn’t care how the blood was spilled, so long as it was spilled. The Tyrogue set down his foot, and looked the Croagunk straight in the eye. The Croagunk gulped. The look in the Tyrogue’s eye was one to make the toughest ‘mon faint, a look that told of vengeance to come. Suddenly, the Tyrogue flashed across the ring. The Croagunk sprang to his feet, only to to get kicked back down by his battered adversary.
Kick after kick, the Tyrogue threw at the cowering frog. With each hit, with each strangled croak, the Tyrogue came closer to regaining his senses. His bloodlust washed away, the Tyrogue looked down at the pitiful creature in front of him. Bruised, bleeding, and broken, the Croagunk’s grin was nowhere to be seen. The Tyrogue was disgusted. Disgusted with the frog, disgusted with himself, and disgusted with the people who made this thing happen, the pokemon sitting anonymously in the dark stands. Suddenly, a blinding white light enveloped the Tyrogue. The light was followed by an excruciating pain, as his limbs stretched out to twice their old length. Similarly, he could feel his head shrinking down into his body. Then, as quickly as it started, the process stopped. The light faded, and the Tyrogue looked down at his body; no, he was no longer a Tyrogue. The Hitmonlee took a second to appreciate his new form. His muscles, in an instant, had become far more toned than his training had ever made them. He then looked down, down at the huddled mass of the Croagunk. From his new vantage point, the Hitmonlee could see the Croagunk for what he really was: a kid, in way over his head. He picked the poor crippled body up in his arms... and heard booing. In all the commotion, he had forgotten about the crowd. Their bloodlust was not satisfied, would not be satisfied until one or the other was dead. With a snort of disgust, the Hitmonlee lifted his right foot high into the air. The air around his foot started to ripple, and suddenly his foot burst into flame. With a swift downward kick, the blaze spread, engulfing the ring, and several rows of the audience. Screams and shouts filled the air, as those in the front rows starting pushing and shoving their way back out of the stadium. The fire spread quickly, and soon embers were falling from the rafters. With all of the exits blocked by fire, the Hitmonlee took his own special shortcut. He crouched, and with tremendous force jumped up off the ground, the Croagunk still in his arms. Right through the roof they crashed, landing in the street outside the arena.
With long, powerful strides, the Hitmonlee quickly ran through the city streets, until he arrived at the local Pokemon Center. His own wounds mostly healed by his transformation, the Hitmonlee left his former opponent with the nurses, and ran back into the night. His opponent had been beaten, and the site of their torment had been destroyed. But there would be other opponents, and other tortures so long as the ‘mon behind the brutality was free. It was time to meet with Don Corvo.
It was well known that Don Corvo lived in a penthouse suite at the biggest hotel in town. The Hitmonlee found him there with a Swanna on each arm. The day after the fight, the top stories of all the newspapers were the same: Don Corvo, beaten and broken, found by authorities tied up on the steps of the police station, on a bed of evidence capable of putting him away for several lifetimes.
Meanwhile, the Hitmonlee found that with new strength, comes new opportunities. He found a job with a local construction company, carrying heavy loads and occasionally helping in the clearing away of old buildings. The new job kept food on the table long enough for his Pa to heal, and go back to work himself. Each day after work, the Hitmonlee would go to the Pokemon Center, and check in with the Croagunk. A harsh beating had knocked some sense, and some humility into him. He decided to stop fighting, and to go back to school. The day he was to be discharged, the Croagunk thanked the Hitmonlee for what he had done.
It wasn’t long ago that the Hitmonlee had been just a Tyrogue, with sweat in his eye, and lungs that couldn’t properly hold a breath. Broken bones, mottled bruises, and bloody gashes. Smoke, and stink, and heat, and light. His was not the tale of the faultless hero, the shining knight that sticks to their creed to the bitter end, who fights and dies by the principles they’ve lived by. His is the story of one who was pushed to the brink, fell over into the abyss, and yet pulled himself back up. His is the story, not of the hero, but of the ‘mon who refused to become a villain. His is the story of the Warrior. His story is told.