The rather-bulbous Electric-type charged Monferno
with one hand holding the many volts of electricity that Electabuzz could conjure, making a somewhat impressive leap-of-fate toward the incoming Playful Pokemon. The thunder-charged move collided with Mach Punch, bringing out a magnificent explosion so powerful a large cloud of dust covered the whole battlefield. As the debris gradually subsided it revealed both Pokemon still standing, not for long though as Electabuzz let out a cocky smirk and Monferno hit the ground. As time went by, Paul saw Ash walking over to comfort his newly evolved Pokemon for its well-fought battle, he was definitely broken after that fight.
As Paul walked with purpose toward his next destination he replayed the scenario in his head several times. Who was Ash to challenge Paul's philosophy for training and his Pokemon? He wasn't entirely, heavily bothered by Ash at first. Only seeing him as a rather average trainer, a pathetic
trainer was more like it. That all changed when that traitor joined him. Paul didn't know why he suddenly cared about Chimchar
or rather now, Monferno. The Pokemon he had released during the Hearthome Tag Battle Tournament, he hadn't meshed well with him at all as the same could be said with Ash. Though had Ash Ketchum done what he couldn't? Taken Chimchar and brought out its true power?
It bothered him so much, especially when Monferno jumped around upon evolving. Staying true to the species' name, playing and acting giddy. Even sending a gust of wind toward him that rustled through his hair with the newly-learned Mach Punch, as if it was flipping Paul off. Electabuzz had maintained a near-flawless defensive battling style the whole time, as did most of Paul's Pokemon. It was an easy way to deal with Ash's Pokemon which focused more on speed. Had Ash managed to control Blaze as well?
As Paul continued his trek, he realized his opinion on that always-cheerful trainer was changing. He was beginning to recognize there might be some worth in Ash, there might be some worth in Monferno now. Paul had managed to make the battle a blow-out, winning by a nicely-sized margin. So, why did he care so much? Why did he feel a bit of a threat in Ash? The stoic young man stopped as he pulled out a red-and-white, ping-pong-sized capsule. Pressing a button in the middle he enlarged the metallic red-and-white sphere and tossed it.
"Electabuzz, standby!" The Electric Pokemon appeared from the burst of light in a battle stance but was surprised to see no opponent and Paul simply facing it.
"Monferno," Paul said sternly. "You saw the strength it showed after evolution."
"Eleele." The black-stripped Pokemon concurred.
"You are not to lose to Monferno, I am not to lose to Ash Ketchum. Do you understand?"
"Ele." The Pokemon responded as he continued to stare down his Pokemon.
Paul had recognized Ash now, he was rival. Monferno was Electabuzz's rival as well. The strength of both of them, it couldn't be ignored. If Ash had battled with a clearer head and less emotion, maybe that would have changed things? Paul had learned that from battling Pyramid King Brandon at the Battle Pyramid back at Snowpoint City. If Ash Ketchum could do something with Chimchar, he couldn't did that mean he had the means to defeat him? Did it mean Ash had more? Did it mean Ash had something he didn't to bring out Chimchar's latent strength? Paul could have worked himself into a coma pondering. For once, he had felt like he had a rival in Ash. The emotion and compassion of Ash and Monferno was the same and was mirror image of him and Electabuzz.
"Electabuzz, you better not fall behind." The Electric Pokemon silently nodded as Paul returned it to its Pokeball. He didn't believe in leaving Pokemon out for things like walking and traveling in the same way Ash did with his Pikachu
or that diminutive Coordinator did with her Piplup
. Believing that would be the way to spoil them and make them weak. There was no room for that on Paul's party.
"Ash." Paul frowned but somehow felt a burning fire in his stomach. His fire had been ignited, he had found someone of worth.