B1 — 39. Pewter Gym 2
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PoV:

1:  Mallory

2:  Gables (Our smooth Froakie)

3:  Mallory

Pokemon Map: 

I loosely follow this map as a visual guide; the creator made it in paint?!?!  It's insane!  Some errors here and there, but I follow its design for the most part.  Areas can be further apart, some cities are in the wrong places or not listed, and the regions aren't nearly so close.  The best map I've found, though!

Recap:  

Amira took her first Encrusted Badge after a hard battle!  Now, what awaits our Unovan Protag?  Let's get this Encrusted Gym Challenge kicked up!

I'd like to thank my patrons for continuing to support me:

Tjark, Sebastian Larsen, Kiraga Brian, Name Pending, Foo, Ianitos, Ryan Devine, and my other Patrons!

Family Tree / Characters

Spoiler

Rhea Everhart (Swablu) - Main Character.  Long blonde hair, coral blue eyes.

Maya (Mya most of the time) - Mawile, female.  Hyper-aggressive competative personality.

Nova - Eevee, female.  Very impressionable and seems to have taken a rather attention seeking personality from Rhea showing her off.  Can turn into all Eeveelutions.

Mother - Christie Everhart (Very Low Master-tier Trainer, renowned Breeder, and Scientist; a daughter to Drake and Glacia; younger sister of Cynthia)

No Pokemon Listed

Father - Keith Everhart (Grandmaster Trainer; family not mentioned yet)

Franky - (Main Team) Gengar, male,  Keith's Starter.

Jeffery - (Main Team) Fearow, male.  Keith caught him when starting the Hidden Master Village.

Vilora - (Main Team) 5”11 Butterfree, female.  Knows Teleport.

Frisky  -  (Main Team) Medicham, female.  Very shy about meeting new Pokemon.

Sabin - Rhea's older brother by 3 years, a Platinum-tier Trainer.

Atreyu - (Main Team) Houndoom, male.  Sabin's Starter that he caught with his father, Keith, near Mt. Silver.

Luna - (Possibly Main Team) 4”11 Mismagius, female.  Sabin recently caught her in a secret cave near the edges of Mt. Silver.  Knows Imprision.

Unnamed - Kangaskhan that beat Katelin’s Roserade

Cynthia (Cindy) - Rhea's aunt and one of the Top-Tier Legendary Trainers of the world.  She's the Active Champion of Sinnoh, tutoring Dawn to take over the position in time.  Age - Late 40's.

Lila - (Back-up Main Team) Spiritomb that is on the average level of her main team.
Esfforia - (Main Team) Her 14”7 Garchomp, female.
Melina - (Main Team) 50”11 Milotic, female.
Unnamed Togekiss - (Main Team) 8”11 
Unnamed Lucario -  (Main Team)
Unnamed Roserade - (Main Team)
Unnamed Eelektross - (Main Team)
Unnamed Gastrodon - (Back-up Main Team)
Unnamed Braviary - (Back-up Main Team)
Unnamed Glaceon - (Back-up Main Team)
Polic - Unknown Pokemon.  Weaker Pokemon that Cynthia brings on visits to help push Sabin.

Bianca - Rhea's cousin, Master-tier Trainer, and Cynthia's daughter.  Age 26.  Having a difficult time living away from a major city with making exotic and new dishes.  Rhea's pretty close to her.

Unnamed Stoutland - 4"6 at shoulders.

Hilbert - Bianca's husband, Former Champion of the Unova League (replaced by Iris).  Rhea believes he's kind of clumsy. 

Grandpa Drake - Rhea's Grandfather, Cynthia and Christie's father, and Glacia's husband.  Apparently, he's a Former Legendary-tier Trainer.  He's lost a lot of his former strength over the years but is still a terror if he's serious.  Owns a boat that he built himself as a young man.  Married to Glacia; Active Hoenn E4, Rank-1, but Glacia is trying to get him to retire.  He won't until someone worthy can take his spot.

Grandma Glacia - Rhea's grandmother on her mother's side.  She is a match for Drake, although, the type advantage might play a role in that.  She's still easily Champion-tier in her youth and holds an E4 position.


Amira Rocket (Mew) - A part of  Rhea's Team.  She is the granddaughter of Giovanni and Ariana Rocket, and the daughter of Lyra and Silver Rocket.  She's really reserved about friends, very responsible, and shy.  She has a habit of putting on her sunglasses to adopt a persona to protect herself from criticism and rude behavior.  She loves her family dearly.

Lyra Rocket - Amira's Mom.  Her daughter classifies her as a stalker that went after her dad.  She's very hyper-active and doesn't know when to not push boundaries.  A High Champion-tier Trainer, she traveled with Legends like Ethan and Kris.

Zelri - 4"11 Porygon-Z, female.

Silver Rocket - Amira's Dad.  Not much known other than him being a caring father that works for his father.  High Master-tier.

Ariana Rocket - Amira's grandmother on her dad's side.  She's the highest-ranking Administrator in the Rocket conglomerate.  Possibly between Master and High Master-tier.

Giovanni Rocket - Amira's infamous grandfather on her dad's side.  He's gone through a lot since his criminal days and now has a legitimate business that has built up the Viridian, Pallet, and Pewter City-States to their current glory.  Grandmaster-tier Trainer and the Gym Leader of Viridian.  No one has been able to beat him since Chase, the current Champion.


Mallory (Lori) Medina - Rhea's final teammate.  Not much is known about Lori so far, except that her parents died when she was young and Grimsley took her and her sister in.  She takes after the bright, devious side of her step-dad.  Seems to have some subtle attention needs from her sister since she was always too busy to hang out.

Shauntal Medina - Mallory's older sister, and Unova E4, Rank-4 Member.  She's an author, too.  Grandmaster-tier.

Grimsley Brooks - Mallory and Shauntal's step-dad and Unova E4, Rank-2 Member; High Grandmaster-tier.  He's in many underground circles.  Married to Karen Brooks, but they don't live with each other.

Karen Brooks - Wife of Grimsley Brooks, notorious party-girl, and Kanto's Active E4, Rank-1 Member.  She's Mallory and Shauntal's step-mom and Casey Brooks' mother.  High Grandmaster-tier.

Casey Brooks - Mallory and Shauntal's step-sister.  She's in the Starter Award Program with Rhea's team.  Casey is a notorious national party-girl mess that streams herself doing stupid and ridiculous stuff, taking after her mother. 


Jason - Rhea's best friend growing up in the Hidden Master's Village.  He's pretty outgoing and cheery.

Katelin (Kate) - Jason's older sister by 3 years and Sabin's girlfriend.  Rhea used to really dislike her for taking her brother's attention away but started to warm up to her recently.  Platinum-tier Trainer with an Encrusted Platinum Soul Badge to her name.

Jace - (Main Team) Noctowl
Fabio - (Main Team; Lead Pokemon) 6”10 Ampharos
Noral - Male Roserade that was beaten by Sabin’s Kangaskhan

Annila - Jason and Katelin's mother.  She's a picture fanatic and obsessed with Gym Leader Viola.  Master-tier Trainer.

Unnamed - (Main Team) Yanmega
Reon - (Main Team) 6”8 Poliwrath

 Kent - Jason and Katelin's dad.  Not much known, but assumed within Master-tier.


Lucian Allard - On a team with Jason and Lenard (Len/Lenster).  He's a very cocky boy that has something to prove to his parents.  He's rude and insufferable to most.

Diantha Allard - Lucian's mother, Siebold's wife, and Active Champion of Kalos.  She's supposed to be a decent Trainer within the Champion-tier bracket.  She doesn't have a lot of time to spend with her family between being Champion and an actress.  She's not on good terms with Rhea's family right now.

Siebold Allard - Lucian's father, Diantha's husband, and Kalos Active E4 Rank-3 Member.  Grandmaster-tier.  Owns a 5-star restaurant.

Ludovic Malet - Siebold's nephew and Lucian's cousin.  Seems to somewhat look up to Lucian and follow his mannerisms ... just not as insufferable.


Lenard (Len/Lenster) Hart - Best friends with Mallory and on the same team as Jason.  He enjoys creating music and partying, just not in the same way as Casey.

Elesa Hart - Len's mother, Gym Leader in Unova, and cross-regional musical superstar.


Blue - Legendary-tier Trainer that appears to have a deep hate for Giovanni.  He had some unknown tragedies that happened during the Ultra War that caused him to turn to alcohol to cope.  He's married to Leaf, and they had some ups and downs with their relationship, but seem on the recovery.  Rhea dislikes him for ruining her 8th birthday and the special card her mother made.  He works with Red in Alola at the Battle Tree.

As much time as I have at the moment to make this; I'll continue to increase the data in time.

[collapse]


1:15 P.M. June 23, Wednesday, 106 PH (Post Hoopa Event)

Events:  The Preliminaries for the Joint Kanto and Johto Indigo Summer League have concluded; 105 Trainers and their Pokemon have advanced from Bronze to Silver.  A week of celebration is to follow, marked with events put on by the Indigo League, after which the Summer Round Robin Cup will begin, to crown the best of each Tier among those that advanced.  The battles begin on the 27th.  Rhea started her journey on the 9th of June—she’s been a Trainer for 15 Days.

 

Mallory drew in a deep, apprehensive breath while passing her redheaded teammate.  Amira was likely screaming at the top of her lungs inside—she was the reserved type, but she’d been around the girl long enough to know she was just as animated as Mallory was; she just hid it a lot better.

A swarm of Butterfree was in her stomach, tightening her gut, and yet she’d never run away from something like this—this was exciting!

This is it, Gables!  Miky!  We’re at the first big wall!  Are you ready to smash it with some style?

Her two Pokemon gave an internal cheer, and the spotlight swapped from Amira to her as the announcer introduced them.  Mallory wasn’t paying attention to him, though; her focus was entirely on the sharp-dressed Gym Leader.

The sound of the crowd filtered out of her head as she focused; it was the same at clubs when she was in the zone, just feeling herself, and she took out her headphones from her pocket, putting them in to help handle her pent-up stress.  She was entering the big stage.

Miky, Gables, and her could all share the music and vibes; her poor Impidimp wanted to show his stuff, too, since he hadn’t had a lot of opportunities to shine over the last few days.  Unfortunately, a Rock-type Encrusted Gym Challenge didn’t work too well for his Moveset.

Don’t worry, Miky.  I know you’re itchin’ to dance on stage and give it your all, and you’ll get your chance.  This is Gables’s stage, though.  You’ll get a ton of opportunities on our way to the next Gym, and Cerulean City’s has your name on it!

He cheered up, and Gables somehow got him to calm down a bit; he soon chilled to the music with them as they made it on stage, and Mallory took out an earpiece to set things up.

Her focus fell to the damaged field before rising to the Gym’s Leader; there were rock fragments strewn across the ground from the little roaring monster that had terrorized the dirt mounds and stone pillars.

Forrest was way different than she expected, having met his older brother through Rhea’s troubles.  This man held a dignified demeanor that he’d probably gained from having dealt with Rocket over the years, as the mutually beneficial relationship Pewter and Viridian developed—at least, that was Lori’s headcanon.  In truth, he reminded her of Cheren … maybe a bit less school teacherish and more upper-class, now that she thought about it.

His tone was patient and charming.  “Are you ready?  You’ve scheduled a single’s match, as well…”  Forrest whispered, staring at the screen in front of him.

The announcer was going crazy, talking about dance awards and other random things that didn’t mean all that much to her; in fact, she wondered how he’d even come across those tiny events she was in when younger.

She did her best to ignore the overblown introduction, forcing a smile at the Gym Leader’s tone.  “Eh … Did ya expect a Double-Battle, or for me to use both of my Pokemon?”

Forrest kept a formal posture as he shook his head.  “I allow the Trainer to set my expectations within the battle; although, it has been quite a while since a Bronze-tier Trainer has tried to break the mold.  Perhaps I was hoping today would be a change of pace.”

“Ah, well, sorry to disappoint,” she mumbled, activating Gables’s pokeball to twist it around her hands.  “I’m here to win—And not underestimate you.  It’ll be tough enough to win a one-on-one.”

He sighed, but a smile was on his face.  “Understandable.  Normally, it is fairly simple to decipher what tactic a Trainer will implement at the Bronze-tier.  Things grow more interesting in Doubles, and when facing famous individuals, such as your group, sadly, I am spoiled on which Pokemon you use.”

Muk…

Mallory winced.  “Heh—so … Against  Amira?”

He shook his head, focus shifting to the redhead, standing beside Rhea.  “In fact, Amira gave me a pleasant surprise.  I thought she would use her Fennekin; although, the Comfey was a nice change of pace, given the Pokemon that normally see my Gym walls.”  His gaze returned to her.  “Seeing as she managed to obtain a decent 2nd Pokemon to face my Gym, I was hoping you might throw a curveball at me.”

Muk … Gables, we might be screwed…  She mumbled, scratching her forehead.  “Eh … Heh, ya really gonna do me like that?  I mean, you could always show off your skills by choosing a Pokemon that’s weak to me!  Right?  Think about the show!”

The crowd laughed at her comment, and Forrest’s features brightened.  “Unfortunately, this is a test of you and your Pokemon’s skills, and not mine.  However, a lot of my decision depends on how your Pokemon places in the League Power Scale Equalization System.”

“Right…”  Mallory sighed, placing her worried Froakie and Impidimp in the machine to analyze their strength.  “Still, we didn’t come here and drop 3k—not to mention, borrow money—to get on this stage!”  she proudly announced without a hint of shame.  “I won big, and all that isn’t going to go to waste!”

Forrest glanced down at the drawer that opened before him.  “... Ah, well, this might be interesting, after all.  Katie rarely gets to see much action.”

Lori put her earpiece back in as the announcer got ready to begin the match.

Okay, Gabs!  You ready to take out this Katie girl?

 

* * *

 

Gables hissed as Mallory plucked his pokeball out of the console; the little banter between the Gym Leader and his Trainer was probably another part of the entertainment factor that got the crowd hyped.  Man, I’m gonna give it my all, but it’s gonna be rough.  He totally knows we’re goin’ with the water strat.

“I know, I know…”  she whispered, absently twisting his capsule around her fingers.  “Think about it, though … He didn’t know about Amira’s Comfey, yet still chose a Rock-type that wouldn’t be that affected by Grass or Water.  If he knows what’s likely to come … Is he going to use a Rock/Water-type?  We still have good Moves to rely on … Muk, we just don’t have another option.”

She got into a posture to throw his ball as the announcer called for them to get ready.

“Mi bad, Gabs,” Miky whispered.  “Mi thoughts mi be better … Mi was strong in forest.”

No, no, you’re good, man!  Gables growled.  It’s like Mallory told you earlier; you just don’t have the right Moves for the job right now.  You’ll get there and be a total beast, though!  Umm … we’re starting already?

“Countdown is countdown…”

Gables tried to loosen up in the few seconds he had before making his appearance on the field below.  Okay, let’s get this going!  You got my back, Miky?  He landed on the hard rocky surface of the stadium, Mallory’s Pop Music calming him down a bit.

“Mi watch!  Mi watch!”

The Pokemon that was revealed caused Gables’s mind to blank for a moment; she was gorgeous.  Long neck, colorful flared wing-like lashes, and a phenomenal light-blue sheen to her skin—those eyes were like the ocean.

“Whaaa…”  Mallory was stunned by the choice.  “He knew, yet … Is he taking it easy on us?  I think I know that Pokemon … One sec, I’ll look it up—We saw one like that in the museum, so it must be another Fossil Pokemon.”

Katie had an angelic voice that was in some ways similar to Amber, but the Fire Fox was his friend, and he didn’t see her like that; this girl was like gazing at the moon in the night sky.  “Hello, I’m Katie.  It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.  Richard said, your name was Gables.  Correct?”

“R-Richard?”  Gables asked, regaining his bearings as Mallory used the introduction phase they were in to look more into the Pokemon.

“The announcer,” she giggled, tilting her head up to the ceiling.  “He’s one of the boisterous ones.”

“Ah, okay, yeah … Umm, yeah, my name’s Gables.  Nice to meet you, Katie.”

She gave him a heavenly smile before her deep blue eyes scanned the field.  “I don’t get to battle often.  I’m really looking forward to enjoying this match, Gables.”

Amaura is 4x weak to Fighting and 2x to Water … Seriously, why did he choose her—Is he mememing on us?  Maybe he hasn’t seen the viral videos of you memeing in that one fight … She has like … six weaknesses!”

Katie looked up, smile falling a little.  “I suppose it’s time to start.”

He used Camouflage, blending into the environment as Katie’s smiling eyes found him, a white aura surrounding her body.

“Oh,” she whispered, “You have an extraordinary Move, Gables!  Please, show me again!  I want to see you blend into the environment.”

He jumped to the side as the shimmering sphere shot from her head, curving right toward him.  “Why is she attacking if … Can she see me?!”

Gables pushed off the stone pillar, doing a flip in the air to try and dodge, yet the ball struck his leg, causing a distinct white outline to surround his entire frame—every Move he had was instantly sealed … all except Camouflage.

Miky was panicking.  “Leg!  Leg!”

“Encore!”  Mallory shouted.

Cold sweat pushed out of his pores; it was the same ability Chary, Len’s Chimchar, used to lock Mya out of everything but Sucker Punch.

“H-How did you predict where I’d be?”  he asked in astonishment; the white outline exposed him, even when using camouflage.

Katie gave him a forced smile.  “Sorry!  It was just the closest place you could jump to—You could have tried to the rock over there—a place I might not expect or can reach,” she added in a helpful tone.

Muk!  Distance, Gables, she’s charging another Move.  I’m looking at her Moves and Abilities right now…

Gables’s chuckle faded as a yellow outline enclosed the Rock/Ice Pokemon, causing sparks to generate across the Amaura’s frame, and she was lifted into the air.  “Heh, I hope your as slippery as you look, Gables, because you’re gonna need it.”

“Run time would be nice!”  Miky mumbled.  “Make like shadows, Gabby!”

Jumping back, Gables tried to hide behind a stone pillar.

“What’s up with Gym Leader Pokemon?!”  Mallory huffed.  “She’s a Rock/Ice-type, not an Electric!”

Katie’s speed increased dramatically as she hovered through the air, sparks dancing across the ground as she disappeared behind a rock formation, weaving through the jagged field while blowing snowflakes from her mouth toward the ceiling, making a gentle veil that would fill the atmosphere.

Gables shivered as the first flake hit his skin—it was an area attack, designed to do minimal damage yet be near impossible to dodge.  Each ice crystal ate a tiny fraction of his spiritual matrix away.

Mallory was swiftly breaking it down.  “Encore to buy time and see you, Powder Snow to slowly freeze and create footprints she could track his movements through.  We have a mega effective move, but she’s going to keep distance and freeze you out!”

“Flee!”  Miky shouted.

I can’t, Miky; if I run, the snow will ruin me; it’s not that effective since it’s so spread out, but I can’t dodge it like this…

“Mi cover eyes!”

Trying to get into the groove of a song passing through Mallory’s connection, Gables chuckled, trying to keep his composure.  Didn’t you say you’ve got my back?  C’mon, man!  He started charging the one Move that could take this fight into easy-mode territory.

“Eh … Eh … Mi … mi try!”

He flipped around the rocks, swiftly gaining on the pretty Tundra Pokemon; she was fast with the electricity supporting her, but he could still outmaneuver her, and soon, his fist illuminated with red light.

Katie wove between rock formations, keeping her distance while continuing to cover the field in the falling frost, yet there was a happy smile in her eyes; she was practically dancing in the air with the electricity and snow falling around them.

His energy matrix was taking tiny bits of damage every time a certain amount of Ice-type energy struck him; he had to admit, she was gorgeous with her twirls and Move combination—without a doubt, she would have won the Contest they’d entered, and she was so lighthearted and friendly.

At last, he came within striking distance; Encore ran its course, and he had just enough time to pull enough energy to use Power-Up Punch.  However, a shiver ran through his connection to Mallory, dread in his Trainer’s heart as she continued to research their opponent.

“Gabs, attack the nearest rock and use it as cover!”

He instantly reacted, given the fear coursing through Lori’s bond with them.

The orange explosion of force rocketed to the side, destroying the base of a tall stone pillar and sending most of it crashing toward him.

Gables managed to see another yellow glow illuminate Katie’s frame, and the electricity intensified as the pillar came between them; arcs of lightning erupted above him, burning the stone and sending the thin layer of snow scattering in all directions.

He flinched before a shiver ran down his spine, watching the nova pass; the sharp sparks that arced across the energy infusing the ground could still be heard.  Twisting blackened marks were left in the wake of the 3-meter radius of the discharge.

His Trainer had saved him because an attack like that would have stripped his entire defensive matrix, but Katie wasn’t finished.  “Muk!  This fight is so overtuned … What’s up with those Moves?  Two Electric-type Egg Moves?  Forrest is out for our blood!”

“Big stones!  Flee!  Flee!”  Miky yelled.

“Ancient Power!  She’s attacking and trying to buff herself—Mind Reader!  Mind Reader!”

Gables activated the Move before his Trainer even mentioned it, on the same wavelength while watching Katie’s charming, elegant, lightning embraced movements as she hovered over his stone defense.

A white aura radiated around him, centering on Gables’s twinkling eyes as he connected to the Amaura’s mind.  Four rough rocks formed out of the dark brown energy wisping off her frame.  “He-he-he … You’re doing pretty good, Gables!  My snow will keep falling, though!  Keep that in mind.”

Gables flipped back, using an aerial cartwheel before jumping into a back tuck to dodge the four launching projectiles, knowing their exact trajectory—he also learned she was genuinely enjoying herself, and a grin split his lips, heart calming with the knowledge that she was kind of attracted to him, too.

 Landing on the side of a spiky formation, he chuckled, sweat beating down his pumping chest.  “Katie—You’re one of the strongest and prettiest Pokemon I’ve met at my level!”

She giggled, twirling in the air to face her while reapplying her magnetic Move.  “Thank you, Gables; that’s so sweet!  He-he, you have a lovely coat that’s distracting me.  I’d be cautious of my snow, though.”

He winked, jumping between her breath attacks to close the distance between them.  “My Trainer’s got me covered there!”

Gables could practically hear Nova’s cries of dread from the ring-side stands as he finished charging, drew in a deep puff of air and formed the energy to spray a large glob of mud in a wide explosion at Katie, passing into the tail end of the discharge.

Just as Lori predicted, another nova of devastating electricity erupted around Katie, yet the mud blocked almost all of it, and the brownish coat he gained helped to dampen the bits of damage he did take.  The dirt would act as an absorbent; he just needed to avoid as many bolts as possible.

“Oh?  Now that’s a good strategy!”  she cheered, speeding away across the air.  “This is so much fun!”

Mallory growled, studying the datasheet on her phone and how the fight was progressing; Gables could feel her coming to a gamble—it always came down to this in the end with his Trainer.  “Mmh … we can’t win this long-game … And that Discharge is practically a one-shot … It might knock you out with Mud Sport active, and the constant chip-damage from the falling snow doesn’t help … We’re toast at this rate, which means we gotta be ballsy.”

Gables grinned at the plan Mallory came up with; it might get the job done.  Still, he was disappointed in what it would do.

Katie backed off for a moment, giving Gables time to jump around a rock and camo; he was out of sight, which meant she’d have to predict where he was again, and he leaped to another rock to not be predictable before she rounded the corner—the mud was a part of his own energy, so it blended with him.

The snow continued to fall around them, fueling the frigid environment, yet since he was on the side of a rock, he wouldn’t create any footprints; that didn’t help them slowly eating away at his defensive matrix, though.  They were running out of time, and so, this was their make-or-break moment.

Her electricity melted the snow as she passed over the area, humming to herself with a sly smile in her deep blue eyes.  She hovered between the rock formations, scanning the thin layer of snow as Gables bided his time—his energy matrix was 79%; the snow was putting in work.

“She really has a brutal attack strategy,” Mallory commented with a small laugh, “especially for Water-type Pokemon that think they’ll have the advantage.  If only we had something stronger than Bubble, but Power-Up Punch is the one thing we have that can put us back in this fight—But I don’t think even that will take her out—It should be close, though.”

Got it, he muttered, taking the energy she offered.

Katie was now three meters away, which just so happened to be the center of all the rock formations he was hiding amongst, yet also the distance of her lightning nova.  “My, my, my, Gables—You really are a slippery one.  I really like that last flip you did … Is this the last play?  If so, please ‘wow’ me!”

She was a different kind of opponent; Gables really liked the girl’s attitude.

Enough time passed, and she began glowing yellow.  “Hmm?  What are you going to do now…”

“Go!  Go!  Go!”  Miky shouted.

Gables shot off the rock he’d been using, camo dropping as he flew at the Amaura, opened his mouth, and sprayed mud all over her—he really didn’t want to and could practically feel Nova’s sharp eyes glaring at him.

“... There you … Oh … This is … new…”

Her electricity expanded, blowing back much of the snow in the area, but the mud blocked a good portion of the discharge; still, he knew he’d get struck by a little, and sure enough, a bolt cut through his left hand—just that small hit dropped him to 58%—she had impressive Stats.

However, something unexpected happened that they hadn’t accounted for—the mud attack temporarily disrupted her magnetic rise, blocking the energy from reaching the ground, and forcing her out of the air.

Power-Up Punch took a long time to generate now that he was already +1 Attack, and he had to build up enough energy through Mallory to get +2, which wasn’t easy at their level, but Katie’s disrupted flight caused confusion and a bit of panic in the pretty girl.

“W-What did you … oh-no…”  she mumbled, back feet touching the ground before spraying out a gale of icy breath.

Gables’s jaw set, powering through the arctic wind, coating his frame in ice from the concentrated blast.  He tried to ignore the chills running down his arms as ice gathered.  No!  No!  No!  Don’t freeze on me now, body!

He broke past the flurry, brilliant red first landing under her chest just before her front legs touched down.  She managed to give him a happy smile as her attack ended, deep blue eyes showing the delight she had in finally getting a chance to battle.

4x Weak to Fighting, plus he was +1 Attack—his fist was a comet.  Katie shot up from the powered-up Fighting Move, her smile falling with a wince, but her defense matrix didn’t break—This girl was something else, but Mallory predicted it.

Gables landed on the ground, jumping back into the air after her.  He filled his lungs with the biting chill of the falling snow, still lingering in the atmosphere from Katie’s continual skyward attacks, and sent a giant bubble at her.

We’ve got this!

Unfortunately, his powerful blow had also blown off much of the mud; electricity sparked around her glowing yellow frame, and she zig-zagged out of its trajectory, trying to catch her breath.  “Heh—he-he-he—I loved that!”  she wheezed.  “Ouch … That was a good hit, but I’m not done yet!”

She recovered as Gables retreated behind another pillar; her gale of snow frosting over the edges of the stone as she turned her breath on him; he was down to 24% after taking her Powder Snow head-on—That was supposed to be their big win.

At least he had a moment to prepare; she shouldn’t…

“Flee!”

“Ancient Power!”

Miky and Lori shouted in unison.

He leaped to a neighboring rock as four Rock-type infused energy crushed the pillar he’d been on, pelting Gables with the shrapnel and dropping him to 18%.

She’s still attacking after I hit her that hard?!  Muk!  Now or never!

Gables landed on the nearby rock and rocketed back, throwing caution to the wind.  Katie was smiling as she passed through the floating rocks that were picked up by her magnetic field, scanning for him.  “I haven’t been struck by something…”

His glowing white fist pounded into her side, causing Katie’s bright blue eyes to widen in shock as he sent her tumbling the opposite way, carrying chunks of stone with her—her shield shattered, forcing the pretty Amaura unconscious.

“We did it!”

“Yis!  Yis!  Yis!”

Gables tried to land on his feet, but his foot slipped on ice, causing him to tumble across the energy-laced field.  When he came to a stop, he just laid in the snow, skin tingling from the offensive energy.  A part of his neck had been frozen at some point, making it hard to turn.

The crowd was deafening, but he was utterly emotionally drained—Katie, this pretty and cheery girl, gave him the most challenging fight of his short life—he was down to 9% and dropping, continuing to take damage from the quickly melting Ice-charged zone he was sprawled across.

We won…

“You were so awesome!”  Mallory squealed.

“Mi help!  Mi help!”  Miky shouted, dancing inside his pokeball.

Yeah … good teamwork, guys … I want to sleep, but…

He struggled up, rubbing his shoulder with a forced grin as Katie returned to consciousness, having trouble rising.  Her voice was just as pretty as it was before her loss.  “Heh—I didn’t expect that little surprise.  Well played, Gables … Thanks for showing me a good time—I needed that.”

“Heh-he-he,” Gables pounded the ice on his neck, giving her a forced smile.  “No cap—That was the toughest battle I’ve ever had, girl!  You’re phenomenal.”

“Aww, you really are sweet,” she smiled, looking up at Forrest as he spoke to Lori, “... Seems I’ll be going to get treated—Forrest is really impressed by your team.  He expects you to go far.”  Katie gave him a cute, parting grin, and the tilt her head made had Gables’s heart thumping.  “Don’t forget about me, kay?”

“No…”  Gables moaned as a red beam shot out from her pokeball, returning her to the device.  “Humph, you can’t go sayin’ that and dippin’ on me, Katie!”  A grin soon brightened his expression.  “Maybe you are a bit shyer than I thought—I won’t forget you!”  he yelled, and Mallory recalled him.

“Hmm?  Hmm?”  Lori mused as she left the stage.  “Do I sense girlfriend material?”

Hey, ya know, she’s a stunner.  I’m just sayin’, Gables shrugged.

Miky snickered.  “Gabby and Katie, sittin’ in di Nanab tree…”

Yo, Miky, c’mon, dude!

“Sh-sh-sh-sh-sh…”

 

* * *

 

Mallory wanted to dance as Gables landed the final blow.  “That’s the money shot!”  she yelled, but it was drowned out by the crowd and announcer.

“Gables did it!  Mallory and Gables actually did it!  That’s two Encrusted Badges for the Starter Award girls, ladies and gentlemen, and man, were they close!  Look at Gables; he’s not even trying to get—Oh, are there some encouraging words being passed to our Froakie from the crowd favorite?  Yes!  It seems Katie had the time of her life in that battle; her smile says it all, and now we get to see our final girl in this trio compete—the mysterious Award Winner, Rhea!”

Lori’s attention turned to Forrest’s dignified tone as he smiled across the stage at her, and everyone quieted down to listen.  “It was a rough start, but you managed to keep your cool and use the few Moves you had in innovative ways to survive long enough to land a solid hit … You’ve impressed me, Mallory.  Grounding Katie was a good strategy to hamper her mobility.”

She scratched the back of her neck before returning Gables, giving the analysis a strained laugh.  “Well … yeah, that part was kind of an unexpected gift.  I didn’t think Mud Sport would be able to do that, but it kind of makes sense, now that I think about it.”

He chuckled.  “Even if it was an accident, it threw Katie off enough to give you some breathing room.  She won’t forget that lesson.”

“Neither will we!”  she returned.  “Thanks for not taking it easy on us—That really was a tough match, High Master Forrest.  I learned a lot.”

“I’m glad, and that’s the main reason I became a Gym Leader—If you haven’t learned something by the end of a Gym Battle, then a Gym is failing its primary purpose.  I know you’ll go far.”

“Thanks!”

Mallory practically swam off the stage; she was weightless, and her body wanted nothing more than to hit a club and use all that energy, but that had to wait until Rhea got her badge.  They’d done it, though!

She teased Gables a bit, noticing he fancied their opponent; he’d made a good impression, at least.  Who knew?  Maybe there was hope in the future, but it was his first real crush.

We did it!  Wooh!  1 out of 4 down, boys!


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