Diamond 40: Give me Skill
Diamond 40: Give me Skill
Time continued to pass and the number of trainers left in the tournament was significantly smaller. Ash was sitting in the lobby, he didn't have the energy to stand by the window and watch the battles. He wanted to shout out advice as if he were part of the crowd, but that red haired waiter in the lime green suit told him he had to be quiet. The excuse was that he shouldn't distract the battling trainers. The truth was that people might complain if they thought the champion's advice decided the match instead of the battling trainers.
Just watching quietly made Ash grow more impatient for his name to be called. He was sitting with his head down in impatient frustration when someone asked, "why the long face, Ash?"
"I haven't been called out to battle, not even once." Ash looked up at the one who had spoken, instantly recognizing the other young man, "Ritchie! What are you doing here?"
"Rumors travel fast. I was at the Pewter City Pokemon Center when I heard you were here. I made a few calls and rushed over. They're letting me participate as a late entry." Ritchie happily announced. Normally, he would only be interested in official Pokemon League competitions, but being able to battle Ash within a tournament was worth the exception. It was more exciting than a private battle, as it felt different with the energetic atmosphere of battling in front of a crowd. It helped both trainers battle at their best.
Ash's mood took a sharp turn for the better, "this is great! We'll finally get to battle; I'm looking forward to it so much!"
Ritchie laughed, "you haven't really changed at all." While the two Indigo League champions talked, the battles continued. The champions were being saved for last.
xoxox xox xoxox
Out in the arena, another match was about to start. Fan girl squeals erupted through the crowd as the mysterious Rose Mask appeared again. He looked dashing in his black tuxedo, cape, mask and top hat. He held a single red rose, posing with it.
From the window of the lobby, Sailor Flame, who was Jessie in disguise, rolled her eyes and vowed to get a louder applause. She was wearing a white and red mini skirt sailor suit with a yellow bow. Her hair was in pigtails and she also had a mask similar to James'.
"For our next match we have Samurai versus Rose Mask, on a two on two battle. You may switch between your two chosen pokemon at any time, fight!" Jango announced the beginning of the match. The earlier rounds had been one on one to accommodate for the fact that some trainers only had one hastily caught or borrowed pokemon. They had already been eliminated so the number was increased to two for the next series of battles. The remaining trainers had no problem with that.
Samurai was from Viridian City, thus Mayor Antilles would be pleased if he won. It seemed most of the women in the crowd were cheering for Rose Mask, except for those who were Samurai's friends or relatives. Living up to his name, Samurai was dressed in classic armor with a helmet included and a katana at his waist. He threw out his first pokeball, which bounced back into his hand after releasing a red beam of light. The beam took the shape of a Butterfree. "My specialty are bug pokemon and they are all strong and noble!"
"They're also weak against fire types!" James reminded as he threw his own pokeball into the arena. His loyal friend Growlie emerged from the pokeball ready for battle. James looked back at Jessie, who was watching from the lobby's window. He wanted to see her reaction to his smart move, but she only glared at him. She was getting fed up with the constant high pitched squealing of the girls in the audience.
"You are very wrong if you think you can win judging only by types. I'll show you the true strength of an honorable warrior!" Samurai ordered the first move, "Butterfree, fly high up and use stun spore!"
"Don't let Butterfree get away, Growlie," James urged, "flame thrower!" Growlie began to shoot fire balls at James' command.
"Dodge it Butterfree!" The bug pokemon didn't even need to be told this, as she moved rapidly in the air out of the way of the flames immediately. At the same time, Butterfree released her stun spores. The potent yellow dust fell on Growlie, who immediately started feeling the effects.
"Don't give up Growlie! You just have to hit that Butterfree with your flame thrower, I'm sure it'll be super effective," James cheered for his pokemon, but Growlie was severely suffering from paralysis due to the effects of stun spore. He couldn't defend himself.
"Butterfree tackle!" The bug pokemon was small, but very strong. She swooped down at Growlie flying as fast as she could and collided with him pushing him back.
"C'mon Growlie, use flame thrower!" James watched as Butterfree tackled Growlie again and again. If that kept up, Growlie would faint. "Growlie, return for now." Since Growlie had not fainted, James still had the option to call him out again, but he was paralyzed and the use of healing items during the matches was prohibited. "Go Weezing!" Long ago, James had freed his Weezing at the same time Jessie freed her Arbok. During their journey years later, Jessie and James had ran into them again and the pokemon rejoined them. They had spent their time apart training their wild pokemon friends to defend themselves.
"Butterfree, tackle!" Samurai wasn't about to end the relentless attack.
"Weezing, smoke screen!" Hidden behind a curtain of smoke, Weezing was able to evade Butterfree's attack. "Good, now use a sludge bomb!" Weezing shot sludge at Butterfree. Some of it fell close to the referee, who jumped back in fright. Though Butterfree was lost in the smoke screen, she didn't stay still and it made her hard to hit.
"Use sleep powder Butterfree!" Samurai called out. He couldn't see what was happening behind the smoke. When it finally started to clear out a very sleepy Weezing was revealed. Butterfree kept flapping her wings with abundant blue dust coming from them.
Weezing flew lower by the second until he was on the ground fast asleep. "Weezing you have to wake up!" James called out to his pokemon as loud as he could, but Weezing wasn't moving.
"Alright Butterfree, finish him off with hyper beam!" Samurai was sure he would win. After Weezing was out of the picture, all that remained to be done was to finish the paralyzed Growlithe.
"Weezing!" James didn't know what to do, he couldn't substitute Weezing with Growlie. He was still paralyzed, so that wouldn't make the situation any better. For a moment he was sure he would lose, but even so, there were people in the audience still loudly cheering for Rose Mask. The cheers of the crowd gave James an idea that might be crazy enough to work. He held up his rose, made a pose, winked and blew kisses at the audience. Simultaneous loud squeals erupted from the crowd in such a massive high pitched volume that Weezing woke up. The poison pokemon was so startled that he used self destruct.
Butterfree and Weezing both lay on the arena unconscious, "Butterfree and Weezing are unable to battle!" Jango announced; "both trainers are down to one pokemon each!"
Samurai considered calling it cheating, but a warrior needs to be aware of his surroundings and how the field of battle can affect the outcome of the fight. He called his pokemon back into her pokeball, "Butterfree return, you fought excellently my friend."
"Time to rest, Weezing, you did great," James recalled Weezing into his pokeball and sent out Growlie again. "Don't give up Growlie, just try to recover and let's win this!" Growlie was struggling, trying to get his body to respond.
"There's no way you can win with a paralyzed pokemon," Samurai called out his second pokemon, "go Pinsir! If you refuse to give up, I have no choice but to end the battle myself."
"I'll never give up and I'll win!" James' supporters in the crowd continued to cheer for him.
"Pinsir, vice grip!" Samurai commanded and Pinsir easily captured Growlie between his horns.
The fire pokemon let out a pained howl and James seriously considered giving up until he heard Flareon calling out to Growlie. "Flareon, flareon flare!" Flareon yelled from the window of the lobby.
"Growlithe, growl!" Growlie looked frightened for a moment, then suddenly determined. He would not give up.
Seeing Growlie try so hard to force himself to move, James knew he couldn't give up either. "Growlie, fire blast!" Growlie continued to struggle against Pinsir's vice grip with Flareon's words ringing in his ears. Finally, Growlie took a deep breath and let out a fire blast at point blank, which knocked out Pinsir.
"Pinsir is unable to battle!" Jango announced, "the winner is Rose Mask!" The crowd cheered with many shouting flirty compliments at the mysterious Rose Mask.
"Return Pinsir, that was a valiant effort," Samurai called him back.
James took a vow for the crowd and made a few poses with his rose. Then he realized that Growlie was really having trouble staying on his feet because of all the damage received from Pinsir. Before the fire pokemon fainted, James called him back into his pokeball, "congratulations Growlie, I'm sure Flareon is very impressed."
"That was a very good battle, you've proven yourself to be a worthy adversary," Samurai congratulated honorably.
"Thank you Mr. Samurai, you're pretty good yourself!" After a few more poses, James returned to the waiting room and Samurai left.
Jessie received her husband with a deadly glare and hit him on the head, "show off!" She then stomped away and began to eat all the cookies the waiter in the green suit had recently brought and set on the table.
"Why are you mad at me?" James pouted, then sighed at Jessie's refusal to reply. "I have to get my pokemon healed, I'll be back soon." He looked at Meowth, "before I go, just out of curiosity, what was it that Flareon said before?"
Meowth made a scary face as he translated, with a menacing tone imitating Flareon, "if you lose this battle, you'll have to face my wrath!"
'Flareon really is the perfect pokemon for Jessie,' James thought as he went off to have his pokemon healed.
xoxox xox xoxox
The activity at the Viridian city hall had slowly decreased. As James entered, he bumped into Brock, who was running away in sadness. They both stumbled backwards, but soon recognized each other. James couldn't help it but to notice Brock's depressed expression, "did you get dumped again?"
"You have no tact!" Brock cried, "she said I made it too easy so it was no fun to be with me. What does that mean? Am I cursed to forever be lonely? The world is a cruel place!" Once again Brock ran away.
James watched him disappear among the people outside, "poor guy..." He went over to the blond nurse who had witnessed the drama and seemed to be amused. She was the cause of the drama herself. "Hi, I have a Growlithe and Weezing in need of healing."
"I'm sure it's nothing serious," at least not compared to the injuries Laiki was used to treating, "I'll make them feel better in no time." She examined Weezing first, giving him some medicine to help him recover, "there now, you're okay," she petted the poison pokemon and returned him to his pokeball. She gave the pokeball back to James and asked, "have I seen you somewhere?"
James froze, the last thing he needed was to be discovered by the resident Rocket gossip expert. Not that there was anything wrong with his participation in the tournament. It's not like he was disclosing any information about Team Rocket, therefore he wasn't breaking his oath of silence. He just felt like avoiding Team Rocket altogether, deep down, he missed it. "I'm the mysterious Rose Mask! Maybe you have seen me or maybe you haven't, you can never be sure." He made a pose and tried to look like some kind of super hero on TV.
Laiki shrugged, "maybe not," she examined Growlie, gently pressing her hands on his mid section. The fire pokemon complained in response. "It seems he got pretty hurt out there," it was still not as bad as many of the injuries Laiki treated, but it was enough to be the highlight of her dull day. "You'll have to keep him out of battle for a while."
"Oh no! Is Growlie hurt badly? My poor Growlie!" James hugged his pokemon, which only caused Growlie to howl in pain from being squeezed in an Ursaring hug.
"Stop it you're just making it worse!" Laiki scolded, "it's not that bad, just make sure you let him rest." The undercover Rocket nurse bandaged the fire pokemon and sent the mysterious trainer on his way.
xoxox xox xoxox
James returned to the waiting room with Growlie in his arms rather then putting him in a pokeball. He got there just on time to hear Jessie being called out to the battle field.
"Our next battle will be an encounter between the mysterious Sailor Flame and the famous AJ!" Jango announced. "This will be a two on two battle. You may switch pokemon at any time, fight!"
"I'll win this just like all the other battles, go Arbok!" Jessie sent out her pokemon, she knew this wouldn't be easy. AJ had been dominating each of his battles so far.
Many people had heard of AJ and his pokemon gym. His training methods were very strict, which earned him the admiration of some and the scorn of others. Some thought he was too harsh with his pokemon. "I won't go easy on you, I choose Beedrill!"
"Don't expect any mercy from me either!" Jessie retorted, "Arbok, poison fang!" Arbok attempted to poison Beedrill, but Beedrill flew and dodged the attack.
"Beedrill, poison jab!" AJ commanded.
"Be careful Arbok, dodge it and use acid!" Despite Arbok being a poison type, being stabbed by Beedrill would still hurt a lot. The bug pokemon's stingers looked very sharp. Arbok struggled to dodge the hits while spitting acid as fast as he could, but Beedrill moved too fast. Beedrill managed to stab Arbok repeatedly, while Arbok's acid only graced the tip of his stingers. Even so, Arbok would not fall so soon, he kept trying to reach Beedrill with his acid.
"Arbok, back away and stay still," Jessie's new command surprised AJ. He wondered what the mysterious Sailor Flame was up to.
"Attack Beedrill, poison jab!" AJ insisted and Beedrill obeyed, flying towards Arbok.
"Now Arbok, iron tail!" With a loud battle cry, Arbok whipped his tail towards Beedrill and came close to hitting him. However, Beedrill dodged at the last second. Seeing as that strategy wouldn't work, Jessie decided to switch pokemon, "Arbok return, rest for a while, I might need to call you out later. Go Flareon, avenge Arbok with flame thrower!"
"Flare, flare!" Flareon was protective of her fellow pokemon. It was something she learned back when she was a shy Eevee and her big brother Pikachu would protect her. She threw out her flames, though Beedrill kept dodging the fire.
"Use hyper beam, Beedrill!" AJ was still feeling confident.
"Dodge it Flareon and use fire blast, fill the arena with fire!" Jessie was determined to win no matter what. Flareon's fire blast cancelled out Beedrill's hyper beam.
"Time to finish this," AJ still had another strategy to try, "evasive maneuvers, get close and use hyper beam!" Beedrill flew in speedy zigzags towards Flareon preparing to shoot a hyper beam. At point blank Flareon couldn't counter it like before.
"Don't let Beedrill escape, fire blast!" When Beedrill was in range, Flareon suddenly bit into his leg, holding Beedrill down. Beedrill desperately stabbed Flareon. Before the bug pokemon could shoot the powerful hyper beam he had been preparing, Flareon let out a massive fire blast right into Beedrill, effectively ending his struggle.
"Beedrill!" AJ couldn't help it but to call out to his pokemon, who was not only unconscious, but also severely injured. "Return! You put up a great fight, don't worry, I'll get you to the Pokemon Center soon." The crowd loved the show. They were getting increasingly excited as the match became more heated.
"Hey Flareon, do you think you over did it?" Jessie watched as Flareon's breathing became labored, she was poisoned. "Take a break in your pokeball, Flareon return. Arbok, you're up again!" Jessie switched pokemon, giving Flareon some time to rest and sending out Arbok once more. Both her pokemon were in bad shape from that Beedrill. Yet she still had two pokemon, while AJ only had one. Jessie knew what to expect, he would surely send out that strong Sandslash he used in previous battles.
"I'll show you my strongest pokemon, go Sandslash!" Sandslash looked fierce and strong, much more intimidating than a Sandslash would normally look.
Jessie had a plan, Arbok would weaken Sandslash as much as possible to give Flareon time to rest. Then she would use their special secret strategy. For it to work, Flareon needed to recover first, she was a little too disheveled from the recent battle. "Arbok don't get too close, use acid!"
"Sandslash, defense curl!" Sandslash curled into a ball and though the acid hit its target, it had no effect. "Earthquake!" The entire Stadium shook with the force of Sandslash's attack.
"Endure it Arbok, you can do it!" Arbok struggled to stop himself from fainting. Years of fighting Pikachu and later training wild pokemon, had made him very resistant.
"Don't stop, keep using Earthquake!" AJ insisted.
Up in the VIP balcony, Mayor Antilles fell out of his chair, "this is terrible, they're going to tare the stadium apart right before the elections! If this place is reduced to rubble, where will I give my next campaign speech?"
"If it falls apart it's your own fault for using cheap materials," Giovanni countered, focused on the match. He didn't recognize Sailor Flame, nor had he recognized Rose Mask.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" The mayor was clearly not enjoying the constant shaking. He was especially worried about how the arena's floor had become cracked and fissures had started to climb up the walls.
"I like strong pokemon, why wouldn't I enjoy it?" Giovanni could have been thinking about sending agents out to steal those pokemon. He could have been thinking of what he would do if he were the one battling either trainer. He could have been thinking a lot of things. Yet the thought that occurred to him was how much he missed watching the Indigo League championships. Giovanni was usually too busy with Team Rocket. Battling amateurs who wanted badges made him forget what a real battle was supposed to feel like.
Suddenly, he found himself looking forward to seeing the Indigo League's past champion in action. He wanted to see how strong Ash was. Giovanni didn't know anything else about him, save for a few details. His name was Ash, his home town was Pallet and one of his pokemon was a Pikachu. He didn't know Ash's lastname, information concerning the rest of his pokemon or any other details. Remembering the conversation with Delia earlier made Giovanni look forward to seeing Ash battle even more.
In the battle arena, Arbok finally had all he could take. He had managed to buy Flareon a good amount of time. He lasted far longer than any other opponent had against Sandslash since he evolved. "Arbok return, you did very well. Don't worry, we'll get revenge for you, go Flareon!"
"I didn't expect your Arbok to last that long," AJ admitted, "but don't forget, Flareon is weak from the previous battle. Not that it would make a difference against Sandslash even if she was fully healed."
Flareon had groomed herself the best she could within the pokeball. She adjusted her ribbons tugging away the turn edges inside the folds of the bows. She licked her fur, much like an average Meowth would, to try to look as good as possible.
"Sandslash, giga impact!" Sandslash went on the attack at AJ's command. He dashed towards Flareon on the other side of the battle field.
"Use your secret weapon Flareon, just like we planned!" Jessie knew everything depended on this strategy. Using all the contest experience she had gained with Jessie to her favor, Flareon used attract. She looked absolutely adorable, cute and irresistible. For a moment Sandslash was captivated by her beauty and hesitated on his attack. "Overheat!" Flareon covered Sandslash with fire, struggling to keep her flaming breath going on for far longer than usual. She could sense that her opponent still had not fallen.
James was watching from the waiting room's window with Growlie in his arms. The pokemon was barking wildly in a fit of jealousy, yelling at Sandslash to keep his distance from Flareon. "Calm down Growlie!" James held on to him tightly.
Sandslash battled through the fire, trying to perform his own attack, heartbroken and angry. Flareon was at her last breath. When the fire ceased, another attack followed, "facade!" With one last brave effort, Flareon glowed as she launched herself at Sandslash like a lethal wild beast and finally defeated him. The crowd cheered loudly, with Jessie feeling very victorious at having obtained the biggest applause so far.
AJ stared at his unconscious pokemon in disbelief. Jango announced Sailor Flame as the winner. "Sandslash return, I guess we still have to train harder. That was an unexpected strategy, but none the less you won the match." AJ never thought his pokemon's lack of social life due to their constant training would create such a weakness towards the opposite gender.
"Nothing can beat the power of cuteness!" Jessie posed for the crowd that continued cheering.
Up in the VIP balcony, Giovanni was a bit disappointed with the trick, "of all the ways it could end..."
"You should never underestimate what a woman can do," Delia smiled.
"I know that already," Giovanni couldn't deny it but he still thought that Flareon used a cheap trick. Still, she was amazingly strong.
Mayor Antilles was shaking even after the earthquake ended. He kept shaking out of fear and worry, "I'm just glad it's over."
"It's not over yet, we still haven't seen the past Indigo League champion in a single battle. The real battles are about to start," Giovanni's reminder caused the mayor to faint.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. One of Jessie's disguises Jessadia (Pretty Musalin in Japanese) is a parody of Sailor Moon. Here she has a modified version of that disguise. To match, I decided to have James parody Tuxedo Mask in a tribute to his famous rose. He often had it while reciting the Team Rocket motto in the first series. Samurai and AJ are minor characters from the anime's first season.