Ruling With An Iron Leg
“This year’s Pokemon League competition is wrapping up as we have today’s battle ready to take place!” the announcer’s voice echoed through the stadium. “We have two of the top four Pokemon Trainers in this competition, Robin and Arnold, ready to face off in a full six-on-six battle! The winner of this match will make it to the top two rankings and battle tomorrow afternoon for the title of the winner of the Kanto Pokemon League!”
The crowd cheered, deafening me.
June, Mrs. Butters, Mr. Butters, and I clapped and shouted support for Robin in the crowded stands as well.
Robin stood facing Arnold, his face clearly nervous, his hands clenched into strong fists, his arms shaking noticeably at his sides. He stood in a white button up shirt, fitting gray jeans, and black shoes.
Arnold stared back at him with a much calmer look, a slight smile on his face, wearing blue jeans and white sneakers, his white T-shirt behind his zipped up, baby blue jacket.
“He looks so nervous,” Mrs. Butters said with worry, looking at her boy.
“COME ON, ROBIN! YOU’VE GOT THIS ONE!” Mr. Butters’ voice boomed out.
Robin flinched at the sudden noise, but didn’t turn around.
“Does he look familiar?” I asked June.
June had her eyes focused on the battlefield, staring intently at Arnold, but she didn’t answer me.
The referee raised the red flag to Robin and the green flag to Arnold. “Begin!”
“Destiny! Let’s take this one home! Start this off right!” Robin threw out his first Poke Ball.
I couldn’t see the ball clearly from my seat.
“Blissey! Blissey!” a Blissey cried out.
“Donphan, let’s go!” Arnold grunted, sending out his Pokemon with a strong toss of the Poke Ball.
Donphan landed once out of its Poke Ball and tightened its eyes at Blissey.
“And it’s Blissey versus Donphan!” the announcer began. “The powerhouse that is Donphan is going to be a struggle for Blissey to overcome, but with the variety of moves a Blissey can learn, this may be more of an obstacle for Donphan to get over!”
“His Chansey evolved!” I pointed my Pokedex at Robin’s new Pokemon.
Blissey. The Happiness Pokemon. Blissey is the evolved form of Chansey. Their fluffy fur allows them to feel sadness from others. Once this feeling is sensed, they will rush to the source, no matter how far it is, and share their egg, which makes one smile instantly.
Donphan. The Armor Pokemon and Phanpy’s evolved form. Donphan travel in herds, the leader having the longest tusks. Their rolling tackles are strong enough to knock down a house.
“Destiny, let’s use Sunny Day!” Robin started.
“Blissey!” Destiny raised her arms into the air, the tips glowing, and two bright beams of light soared from the tips and hit the sky above.
The calm, cool day, wind blowing pleasantly, was interrupted by a sudden, noticeable change in temperature as the sun began to get blindingly bright and it became much hotter.
I immediately removed my jacket and laid it down on my lap.
Mr. and Mrs. Butters removed their jackets as well, Mrs. Butters fanning herself.
Many in the crowd began to mutter uncomfortably and remove their extra clothing.
June continued to squint through the sun at Arnold in her red tank top.
“June?” I asked.
She didn’t speak.
“The temperature is at a pretty high level now that Sunny Day has been activated!” the announcer stated. “Good thing there’s air conditioning in this booth! I’m just gonna turn it up some!”
“Now, Solar Beam! Take that thing out!” Robin continued.
“Blissey!” Destiny’s arms lowered and pointed at Donphan as they began to glow and then immediately fire a white beam.
Donphan wailed out as it was hit and tossed into the air. It came down with a strong grunt but managed back to its feet, shaking its head.
“Don’t let up, Destiny! Keep going until it’s down!”
Destiny continued firing at Donphan.
“Donphan, Roll Out and get out of the way!” Arnold shouted.
Donphan leaped into the air, over the next Solar Beam, and curled up into a ball. It landed and rolled around the Solar Beam attacks aimed for it.
“You can do it, Destiny! Take it out!”
Donphan kept dodging the attacks that Destiny keep blasting at it. Donphan was very fast and kept up a good pace, leaping, swerving, and speeding past the attacks.
“Now, Giga Impact!” Arnold called out.
Donphan unraveled from the ball it had been curled up into and its body was covered by a transparent shield. A bright flash of yellow shined in front of its face and it charged at Destiny like a large bullet, its body covered by an orb of purple with yellow streaks around it.
Destiny cried out as she was tackled to the ground by Donphan.
Coming to a stop past Destiny, Donphan uttered a solid noise and looked back at her.
Destiny was down, stunned.
“Destiny! Get up!” Robin urged. “This is our chance to fight back!”
Destiny’s eyes opened and she sat up, looking back at Donphan.
“Destiny, use Solar Beam again!” Robin insisted.
Destiny glared determinedly at Donphan and raised her arms, attacking with Solar Beam.
Donphan was taken off of its feet once again, rolling on the ground once it crashed heavily into it. It stopped and laid on its stomach, groaning, struggling to its feet, and finally laid still.
“Donphan is unable to battle!” the referee waved the red flag to Robin. “Blissey is the winner!”
“YEAH! GO ROBIN!” I cheered amongst the screams surrounding me.
“I knew he’d do it!” Mr. Butters laughed. “That’s the Pokemon League Champion right there! All the way!”
“I’m so proud! So very proud of him!” Mrs. Butters smiled, clapping.
June was clapping, but her face remained stern.
“And with a strategic victory, Blissey comes through and defeats Donphan in a quick match up!” the announcer reported. “Blissey handled Giga Impact and got up. When a Pokemon uses Giga Impact, it becomes unable to attack for a short time, giving Blissey time to attack and defeat Donphan!”
“That was good, Donphan! Return!” Arnold recalled his Pokemon. “And next up, I choose Vulpix!”
“Vulpix!” the little red fox cried out bravely.
Vulpix. The Fox Pokemon. Born with only one white tail, as they grow, their tail splits into many more, changing orange. They have a flame inside of their body that never goes out.
“A Fire type Pokemon, Vulpix, has been chosen. In a Sunny Day, this could backfire on Robin,” the announcer noted.
“Destiny, turn it into a Rain Dance!” Robin spoke out.
“Flare Blitz!” Arnold went.
Destiny raised her arms into the air.
Vulpix’s body was covered in flames and it flew like a flaming meteorite at Destiny.
Destiny’s arms glowed blue and she was tackled by Vulpix. She screamed in pain as she was taken down.
Vulpix stood on top of Blissey’s body, no longer a flaming Canidae, and it twitched in pain from the recoil damage.
“Blissey is unable to battle! Vulpix is the winner!” the referee ruled.
“And just as I said, Vulpix had the major advantage and attacked poor Blissey before she could turn the tables around with Rain Dance!” the announcer boasted. “With the sun still out, Vulpix is a threat to whatever Robin decides to send out next!”
“Oh, no!” Mrs. Butters face held sadness at this news.
“He certainly wasn’t going to sweep the kid,” Mr. Butters nodded, smiling. “That other guy, Arnold, must be good to have made it this far. This is going to be a good match, honey. Ha ha ha ha!”
Robin will be just fine, I thought confidently, glaring at the field.
“Return!” Robin smiled at his Safari Ball now containing Destiny. “Good work. And now...!” He grabbed and threw his next Poke Ball. “Dots! You’re up next!”
“Pikaaaa!” Dots squinted into the bright sunlight.
“Next up is Pikachu!” the announcer said. “Let’s see how well Pikachu will do against an exceptionally strong Vulpix!”
“Dots, Thunderbolt it!”
“Pika Pika Pika...” Pikachu closed its eyes and its body sparked with electricity. “Pikachuuuuuuu!!”
Vulpix was hit with the powerful move, gasping from the jolt, unable to hold itself up after the attack was over, falling.
“Now end this with Quick Attack!”
“Vulpix, attack back with Quick Attack!” Arnold countered.
Both Pokemon crouched down, building up energy into their legs, and ran at each other rapidly, crashing their heads into each other, flying back and landing on their feet. They kept attacking in this manner repeatedly, neither one backing down.
“Looks like this is a draw!” the announcer determined. “Their Quick Attacks are good, but aren’t enough to take the other out as they reflect each other’s strength right back! I’d recommend a different attack!”Both Pokemon continued to use Quick Attack.
Vulpix suddenly cried out and its body sparked. It crouched down and didn’t move, glaring at Dots.
Dots slammed into Vulpix and tossed it back.
“Yes! Static Ability kicked in!” Robin cheered. “Now, finish it with a Thunderbolt!”
“Pika...CHUUUUUUUU!!” Pikachu sent a thick bolt for the opposing, Paralyzed Pokemon.
“Counter with Fire Blast!”
Vulpix leaped to her feet and used Fire Blast, the blaze much more stronger than normal, intercepting Thunderbolt, and the impact caused a fiery explosion.
Smoke covered the battlefield for a moment before it finally cleared.
Vulpix stood on its feet, its body glowing brightly.
Dots was on its back, its eyes closed.
“Pikachu is unable to battle!” the referee announced. “Vulpix is the winner!”
The crowd cheered, Mrs. and Mr. Butters, me, and June silent, eyes on the field.
“He lost another one!” Mrs. Butters said in dismay.
“It’s only just beginning,” Mr. Butters comforted her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. “Robin is down two, but that Arnold is down one with a weakened Vulpix.”
“And Pikachu is OUT!” the announcer was explaining. “That explosion was red hot fire, and Vulpix’s Flash Fire Ability has been activated, boosting its Fire type attacks instead of making it take any damage! Not bad as the Sunny Day is finally wearing off and the temperature can return back to normal!”
He was right. It was a lot easier to breathe, think, and see with the sun decreasing in strength.
I wiped my face with both hands of the nasty perspiration I had on it and breathed a sigh of relief.
“You did what was needed, buddy.” Robin returned Dots with a prideful smile. “This battle is ready to get a little more serious now. You’re up, MeeMee!”
“Mime Mime!” a Mime Jr. cried out, immediately mimicking Robin’s stance he was in, pointing out at Vulpix with determination.
“And now, it’s Mime Jr. on the field, taking on Vulpix!” the announcer acknowledged. “Which one of these cute battlers will come out on top!”
“Awww! That’s so adorable!” Mrs. Butters gushed.
Mr. Butters just laughed heartily.
Mime Jr. The Mime Pokemon. This Pokemon will distract foes with its talent of mimicking. Once the foe is confused, it makes its escape.
“He brought a Baby Pokemon with him,” I commented. “I’m not sure that was too smart.”
“Don’t judge him on that, Gary!” Mr. Butters laughed. “Robin has a way of doing things his way and coming out on top in the end.” He winked.
I nodded back. “Yeah. Robin will make it work. Plus, Vulpix is really weak. It can’t last that much longer.”
“Fire Blast!” Arnold said.
“Light Screen!” Robin went.
Meemee raised its arms in front of it and a glass wall appeared. Meemee pushed against the wall as the powerful Fire attack hit the wall, willing it back, straining. The attack ended and the Light Screen faded away. MeeMee looked up, smiling. “Mime! Mime!”
“Astounding!” the announcer spoke. “Mime Jr. is looking just fine and has used its Light Screen to hold back the powerful Fire Blast!”
“Now go in for the Tickle attack!” Robin chuckled.
Meemee reached out towards Vulpix and made a happy, dancing motion. A blue energy rose from its body and wrapped around Vulpix.Vulpix cried out, laughing, falling to the ground, rolling onto its back gleefully.
“Is that a real move?” I asked in shock, taking out my Pokedex.
Tickle. This attack lowers the opponent’s Attack and Defense.
My face fell. “This has got to be a joke...”
“Vulpix! Flamethrower! Get up! Come on!”
Vulpix was unable to listen to its Trainer as MeeMee continued to Tickle it.
“Okay! Now let’s use Brick Break!”
MeeMee’s hand glowed white and it slugged the still laughing Vulpix in the chin.
Vulpix wailed in shock from the impact and flew back, sliding along the ground before stopping at its Trainer’s feet, its body no longer glowing.
“Vulpix is out! Mime Jr. wins!” the referee waved to Robin.
The three of us, along with the crowd, blew up into cheers.
“Mime Jr. has defeated Vulpix! The score is even at four and four!” the announcer proclaimed.
“June,” I whispered, turning to her.
She was clapping, but not cheering, still focusing on Arnold. “He looks familiar, Gary. And it scares me,” she spoke in a low tone.
“I don’t know. Something about him... I am definitely sure that you and I have met him before. And for some reason, that doesn’t feel like it’s a good thing, Gary.”
My heart started to beat faster and I turned back to Arnold and focused on his familiar face. Who is this kid? I wondered.
“You did it, MeeMee!” Robin was bouncing all over with delight. “We’ll show everybody what you’re made of!”
MeeMee was mimicking Robin’s joyful leaps in the air, crying out happily back to him.
After returning Vulpix, Arnold threw his next Poke Ball. “GO! Dewgong!”
“Deeeeeewgong!” A happy seal appeared.
Dewgong. The Sea Lion Pokemon. This is Seel’s evolved form. They are found in frigid waters, usually sleeping during the day and hunting all night.
“And it’s Dewgong to the battlefield!” the announcer stated. “This fully evolved Pokemon should have the upper hand against this adorable little Baby Pokemon!”
“Use Aqua Tail!” Arnold spoke strongly.
“Barrier!” Robin held out his arm, as if holding back something.
Dewgong swung its tail at MeeMee, and MeeMee waved its arms, creating a glass wall that Dewgong’s tail slammed into, forcing MeeMee back a few feet. The wall vanished. “Mime!” MeeMee smiled bravely.
“MeeMee, go use Teeter Dance!”
MeeMee waved its hands to the right of its body in a strange dance, and then waved them to the left, and continued doing this back and forth, repeatedly.
“Whoa...” I felt a strong urge to dance just like MeeMee was, and I stood up, waving my arms side to side, lost in its hypnotic moves. A certain song was playing, making me move in tune to the music.
Dewgong managed to maneuver it body into the same dance as well!
“This is the best dance, ever,” June said in a daze, dancing eagerly beside me.
“This is a guaranteed hit! HA HA HA HA!!” Mr. Butters was waving along with us.
“Count on Robin to not only be a great battler, but entertain everybody in the process with suave moves,” Mrs. Butters added as she joined our movements.
It wasn’t just us, though.
The entire crowd of spectators were dancing in rhythm! Robin, Arnold, and the referee were getting down, as well, everyone in sync, if not just slightly off, whatever beat seemed to be playing, as if this had been rehearsed time and time again!
“I’ve got more groove than I have ever had in my life!” the announcer laughed. “I’ve got it in me to dance, dance, DANCE! And I don’t intend on stopping anytime soon!”
Everyone was dancing at once, laughing, enjoying themselves. With one last, happy shout, our dancing collectively stopped, a good feeling swimming throughout my body.
I finally came to my senses and looked around. My eyes widened as embarrassment flooded my body at what I had just been doing and I sat down, looking at my feet.
“Oh, my,” Mrs. Butters giggled. “I’m not sure what came over me, there.”
“HA HA HA HA HA!!! That right there is MY boy! HA HA HA HA HA!” Mr. Butters took his seat.
The crowd was muttering in confusion and embarrassment, sitting now.
The referee was shaking his head, his face red, frowning, either angry, embarrassed, or both.
Arnold rubbed the side of his face, confused.
Robin was smiling, looking at the field.
“And now, the urge to hit the dance club tonight is gone, and it’s back to my empty, lonely life at home on my laptop,” the announcer said sadly. “But it looks like Dewgong is doing something!” the announcer’s voice lifted up. “Could it be Confused?”
“Gong! Gong! Gong!” Dewgong was by the wall, slamming its head in rhythm against it, a goofy, dizzy smile on its face.
“MeeMee, use Brick Break!”
MeeMee raised a glowing fist and ran for Dewgong.
“Dewgong! Shake it off!” Arnold begged. “Watch out!”
MeeMee punched Dewgong in the back of the head and forced its head forward into the wall, denting it severely.
“DEWGONG!” Arnold yelled.
“Dewgong is unable to battle! Mime Jr. is the winner!” the referee said loudly.
“AND MIME JR. TAKES COMPLETE CONTROL OF THE BATTLE, and much more, AND WINS!!” the announcer bellowed, clearly stunned.
The entire crowd rose to their feet and roared appreciation for MeeMee.
I stood up and called out happily to Robin, along with his parents.
June stood up, too, clapping, a slight smile on her face, but I could see the seriousness in her eyes as she paid attention to Arnold.
Arnold withdrew his Dewgong as MeeMee skipped past them, towards Robin.
Robin and MeeMee embraced in a hug amongst the cheers before MeeMee hopped back to its position on the battlefield and crossed its arms confidently as Robin did the same thing, smiling.
Arnold’s eyes hardened on MeeMee and he shook his head, a smirk coming across his face. It faded sharply into a sneer. To me, it seemed like Arnold didn’t want to be smiling after losing to a Baby Pokemon like Mime Jr. but was having trouble denying how entertaining this was. “Okay. Next, it’s time to go! Metagross!” Arnold tossed his next battler’s Poke Ball.
Metagross was revealed and it roared loudly as it landed on the field.
“It’s Metagross versus Mime Jr.!” the announcer said warily. “This may not end well for little Mime Jr.”
“Hey! What’s that wrapped around its middle!” I pointed at Metagross.
“It looks like a rope,” Mr. Butters said.
“It’s a Black Belt,” June explained softly. “A rare item a Pokemon holds to boost the strength of Fighting type moves.”
“Whoa! I know about those!” I gasped.
There were many different kinds of these items, but they weren’t commonly seen in battles. Different items aided Pokemon in different ways.
Robin and MeeMee had matching stares of horror as they looked at their next opponent. Robin shook his head and glared at Metagross as MeeMee did the same. “Let’s do this, MeeMee! Use Tickle!”
“Mime!” MeeMee did its dance, sending out a blue wave to surround and tickle Metagross.
The large, intimidating Steel behemoth cried out with laughter and rocked the entire stadium as it slammed its enormous fists into the ground repeatedly.
“The metal tank is now helpless as Tickle leaves it unable to even battle!” the announcer shouted.
“Now hit it where it hurts! Brick Break!”
“Mime Mime!” MeeMee ran to Metagross raising a glowing fist and leaped high into the air. As it came down, it swung down on Metagross’ head.
“Metaaaaa!” Metagross remained down.
“That’s the way, MeeMee!” Robin was smiling again. “Hit it again!”
“MIME!” MeeMee swung a blow to Metagross’ face, forcing it to roll back a short distance, groaning.
“Hyper Beam!” Arnold waved outwards impatiently with one hand.
“Light Screen!” Robin called frantically.
MeeMee created another wall, and Metagross let out a bright beam from its mouth.
As Hyper Beam hit the wall, MeeMee pushed against its wall desperately, trying to hold it back.
“MEEMEE! YOU CAN DO IT!!” Robin encouraged it.
In the next second, the wall broke with the sound of smashing glass and MeeMee was engulfed in the powerful attack.
An explosion blinded me and I closed my eyes. The roar of noise faded and I looked up.
“Mime Jr. is defeated! Metagross is the winner!” the referee’s voice echoed.
The stadium was silent.
“And Mime Jr. has been taken out by an overwhelming opponent!” the announcer spoke to the awestruck crowd. “Does Robin have anything to counter such power?”
Silence. A very long, awkward silence. Nobody moved.
Suddenly, someone in the crowd started to clap, slowly. This was followed by another show of support from someone. Several people started clapping.
I stood up and clapped as well, Robin’s parents joining me, June following.
Soon, the entire stadium was on their feet, cheering and clapping for the battle.
Robin and Arnold looked around at everyone, confusion on their faces.
This wasn’t the typical applause for a win. This was different.
“MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee!” someone shouted repeatedly, clapping in tune.
“MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee!”
Robin’s mouth fell open in disbelief, his eyes bigger than binoculars as he took in the words and eyed the crowd.
“MEEMEE! MEEMEE! MEEMEE! MEEMEE! MEEMEE! MEEMEE! MEEMEE! MEEMEE! MEEMEE! MEEMEE!” everyone was chanting within seconds, clapping to the beat, the chant getting louder each time MeeMee’s name was spoken.
Smiling as I watched this go on, I joined in. “MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee! MeeMee!”
June clapped with us all, openly smiling now, muttering the chant, but still focused on Arnold.
Mrs. Butters joined in with the praise, Mr. Butters doing so between big laughs.
“It looks as if I’m not the only one impressed with Mime Jr. as it seems everyone was blown away by the little guy’s spirit and is showing a lot of love despite him losing!” the announcer mused.
“MeeMee was a she,” June mumbled.
MeeMee opened her eyes and sat up, turning to the surrounding chant. “Mime!” She leaped to her feet with bright eyes and bowed gratefully.
The crowd erupted even louder, the stands quaking as feet stomped and voices echoed.
Robin walked over to MeeMee and picked her up. I couldn’t hear what he said to her, but when he was finished, they hugged and he returned her to her Poke Ball to more applause before returning back to his spot.
Arnold smiled and nodded.
Robin smiled even wider and threw his next Poke Ball that I was almost certain was another Safari Ball. “Fashioned! You’re up next!”
“Scizor!” Robin’s Scizor took a dangerous stance.
I nearly fell out of my seat. “FASHIONED?!”
June giggled a little bit.
“And it’s a Scizor on the battlefield to face off against Metagross!” the announcer yelled. “Both Pokemon are part Steel, with Metagross being part Psychic and Scizor being part Bug. Thinking about the many weaknesses and resistances these two Pokemon have might split your brain, so let’s just watch and see who comes out on top!”
“Fashioned, use Swords Dance!”
Fashioned spun in place fast, a strong wind whipping through the field.
Fashioned continued to spin quickly. It finally slowed down and assumed its dangerous position, ready to fight, its Attack now much higher than before.
“Scizor is now boosted up well in Attack!” the announcer declared. “Metagross should be ready to fight back by now after that incredible Hyper Beam, but when’s its Trainer gonna issue a command?”
Fashioned crossed its arms in front of it as it flew out at Metagross. Its arms glowed white and it slammed into Metagross hard.
“METAAAA!” Metagross was knocked back, the large Pokemon nearly crashing into the wall, the crowd in the bleachers gasping in fright, some standing up in a panic.
“Metagross, use Hammer Arm!” Arnold finally said.
“META!” Metagross flew out and raised a glowing arm. The Black Belt wrapped around its middle glowed white.
“Black Belt is boosting the strength of that Fighting type move!” June said seriously.
“Dodge that, Fashioned!”
Metagross swung for Fashioned but Fashioned flew right above it.
The Black Belt stopped glowing.
“Bullet Punch!” Arnold added quickly.
Metagross extended its arms and they glowed red. It spun like a top and smacked Fashioned in the face repeatedly with its fists.
“SCIZOR!” Fashioned descended to the ground. Seeming dazed, it shook its head.
“EARTHQUAKE!” Arnold continued.
Metagross ascended into the air and then dropped like weight, crashing into the ground, rocking the field.
I grabbed my seat as the entire stadium shook hard, people screaming out around me.
“Whoa!” June grabbed my shoulder.
Mr. and Mrs. Butters gasped as they held on to each other.
Robin stumbled around the field helplessly.
The referee hit the ground hard.
Arnold stumbled around loosely but managed to remain standing.
Fashioned collapsed easily as the ground split slightly around it. The attack ended and Fashioned pushed itself up slowly, keeping its eyes on Metagross.
“Now this time, hit it!” Arnold told Metagross.
“Fashioned, watch out!”
“METAGROSS!” Metagross flew for Fashioned and raised a large, glowing fist in the air. As the Black Belt started to glow again, Hammer Arm came down hard on Fashioned, raising up a large cloud of dirt from the ground, hiding Fashioned and Metagross.
“Scizor is unable to battle! Metagross is the winner!” the referee ruled once the dirt settled.
“Metagross is putting up quite the fight as it continues to take hits and send it right back at its opponents, daring them to stand back up and battle!” the announcer’s voice boomed over the cheers from the crowd as Robin returned Fashioned to its Safari Ball. “Robin better think quick as the score is not in his favor at the moment, with Robin having two Pokemon to Arnold’s three!”
“Come on, Robin! We believe in you, honeyyyy!!” Mrs. Butters called to her son.
“TAKE HIM ALL THE WAY OUT, SON!” Mr. Butters yelled as loud as he could, cupping his hands in front of his mouth. “BEAT HIM WITH YOUR NEXT CHOICE! GO ALL OUT!”
My heart beat hard as I silently watched the battle, glaring at the field, my teeth clenched tightly.
June silently observed the match.
“MJ! I’m counting on you, now!” Robin sent out his Jumpluff.
“Jumpluff!” MJ greeted its opponent, raising its arms to the sky.
“It’s the famous Jumpluff, MJ, now out to battle against Metagross!” the announcer said as the crowd roared deafeningly as MJ appeared. “Can it dance its way to a victorious win for Robin?!”
“Bullet Punch it! Don’t let it escape!” Arnold commanded.
Metagross attacked with Bullet Punch again, spinning fast at MJ.
MJ leaped into the air, eyes closed, and twirled above Metagross.
“Now use Stun Spore!” Robin ordered.
MJ waved its cotton puff arms at Metagross, surrounding it in an orange powder.
Metagross roared and struggled against the attack.
“Now, Grass Knot!”
MJ’s eyes glowed green as it stared at Metagross.
Several blades of grass burst from the ground, glowing green, and wrapped around Metagross. Metagross struggled but was helpless as the grass pulled it down, rocking the stadium again.
“And a wise enough move for Robin as he orders Grass Knot!” the announcer commended. “This move is stronger against heavier opponents like the weighty Metagross, but it is still a Grass move, so the damage isn’t too bad against its Steel typing. But maybe it was just enough to get the job done!”
The grass released Metagross and returned underground.
Metagross remained still.
“Yes,” I whispered. “Just stay down, Metagross. Come on. You can do it, Robin.”
Metagross twitched, shook its head, and managed to turn around, breathing hard, looking at MJ.
MJ smiled back.
“Okay, MJ! Energy Ball! Take it out!”
MJ spun in place rapidly, a green orb appearing in front of its body, spinning with it as it remained in front of its face. Once MJ stopped spinning, the ball fired out at Metagross.
“GROOOOSS!” Metagross was shoved back.
“That should do it!” Robin said confidently.
“Metagross! Use Bullet Punch!”
“METAGROSS!” Metagross spun in place and flew out at MJ.
“DODGE!” Robin’s voice cracked.
MJ leaped over Metagross again, easily dodging with grace as it pulled off a smooth backflip.
“Stop its movements!” Arnold shouted.
Metagross stopped spinning and stared at MJ with glowing blue eyes.
“JUMP? JUMP!” MJ cried out in fright as it was held in the air in a blue energy. “PLUFF! PLUFF! PLUFF!” MJ was suffering from Psychic attack, struggling helplessly.
“META!” Metagross used its Psychic to slam MJ to the ground. “GROSS! META! GROSS! META!” It continued slamming MJ into the dirt, MJ unable to escape.
“MJ! HANG IN THERE!” Robin insisted. “Just hold on strong! Don’t give in to it!”
“Looks like MJ’s criminal moves aren’t so smooth anymore!” the announcer joked. “Unable to dodge, it is now looking like MJ won’t be the one taking out Metagross after all!”
“Drop it!” Arnold said after a while longer of Metagross pummeling MJ with its Psychic powers.
MJ collapsed, twitching and groaning, and raised itself up slowly on one of its arms.
“Meteor Mash,” Arnold said coldly, glaring at MJ.
Metagross soared at MJ, its hand glowing white, with what appeared to be something in the shape of a large meteor in front of it.
“PLUUUUUUUUUFF!” MJ wailed.
“JUMPLUFF, DO WHAT YOU DO BEST!” Robin bellowed.
Jumpluff’s eyes narrowed and it stood tall with a big smile. Its eyes closed and its feet moved, sliding the Pokemon backwards as it started to moonwalk! “Pluff!” This was cut short as Jumpluff reached out, falling, and landed on its back!
“GROSS!” Metagross swung its fist and punched MJ in its little body, golden meteor shapes flying from its fist.
MJ gasped repeatedly as it bounced along the ground. It came to a stop, sprawled out flat on its face.
“Metaaa!” Metagross’ body glowed a light blue color for a moment.
“Jumpluff is unable to battle! Metagross wins!” the referee waved to Arnold.
“Jumpluff is down! Metagross has won it again!” the announcer repeated. “It would seem bad luck for Jumpluff as it tried to do its classic moonwalk dance to slip away from Metagross. Metagross’ previous Earthquake split the ground up a bit and Jumpluff stumbled over one of the cracks, setting it up for the end of its battle.”
“Well that’s just dumb luck!” Robin’s dad was sounding irritated now, taking the words right from my own mouth. Despite having a more stern face, there was still warmth in it, as if he might be on the brink of randomly laughing at any second.
“Robin is now down to his last Pokemon to try to finish off Metagross!” the announcer continued. “It looks like this Pokemon is absolutely unstoppable! After that Meteor Mash, its body glowed, signifying that its Attack was increased, something which has a small chance of occurring when that move is used. This is going to get very dangerous for Robin. Will Robin’s last Pokemon not only be able to take out Metagross, but the remaining two Pokemon that Arnold has?”
“Oh, honey.” Mrs. Butters held her husband close. “The odds aren’t looking too good in our baby’s favor.”
Mr. Butters laughed.
“Relax, dear. Our kid will win this one. There’s no doubt in my mind. Believe in him. Don’t give him worries or negative energy. He needs all the positivity he can get right now. He needs to focus.” He cupped his hands over his mouth. “ROBIN!! YOU’RE THE CHAMP HERE!! FIGHT LIKE ONE!! DON’T BACK DOWN! IT’S TIME TO PULL OUT THE GREATEST WIN YOU’VE EVER DONE!!”
Robin returned MJ and looked up at Metagross angrily. “It’s down to my best Pokemon, then.” He raised his last Poke Ball. “Catherine! GO!”
“BLAAAAAAST!” Catherine stomped the ground with each foot.
“And it’s Blastoise as Robin’s last Pokemon!” the announcer called. “We all know Blastoise has been a powerful Pokemon to trust in for Robin in the past during his time here at the Pokemon League, but is it enough to knock out three more Pokemon??”
“Catherine, use Hydro Pump!”
“STOOOOOOOOOOOISE!” Catherine attacked!
“Agility!” Arnold shouted, waving his hand in front of him.
Metagross dodged the stream of water blasting out of Catherine’s cannons and zipped around the field, building its Speed.
“CATCH IT, CATHERINE!” I found myself shrieking, standing up.
Catherine continued to aim as Metagross continued to pick up its Speed as it followed orders to use another Agility attack.
“Use Iron Defense, then!” Robin insisted.
Catherine pulled herself into her shell and she was outlined in light blue, her shell flashing like that of iron, raising her Defense, before it turned back to its normal color.
“That won’t help you,” Arnold smirked. “Psychic attack!”
Metagross’ eyes glowed blue and it lifted Catherine into the air, her shell outlined in blue.
Catherine immediately came out of her shell and raged from the pain.
“Catherine, fight back with Hydro Pump!! Get it off of you!!”
Catherine struggled, unable to focus, finally screaming out.
“Flip it upside down and let it go!”
Catherine was turned around by Metagross’ Psychic attack and was now hanging upside down, suspended in the air. The glow around Catherine’s body faded away as the glow in Metagross’ eyes vanished. Catherine’s Hydro Pump was let loose and it hit the ground, blasting her straight up into the air!
My eyes nearly burst. “WHOA!”
“AFTER IT! Zen Headbutt!”
Metagross’ head glowed blue and it flew up to Catherine with shocking Speed, knocking into her stomach.
Catherine grunted as the hit forced her higher up.
Metagross attack again with Meteor Mash, slugging Catherine in the face. Its body glowed blue again temporarily, showing yet another increase in Attack.
Catherine called out as she fell fast, her eyes closed.
“CATHERINE!! GET UP!! USE PROTECT!!!!” Robin’s voice was that of desperation. He was still fighting. Still trying. But his voice was showing that deep down, his hope was gone.
Catherine couldn’t focus, her eyes still closed as she neared the ground.
“Bullet Punch!” Arnold told his Pokemon.
Metagross was unbelievably fast as it spun in place and flew down to Catherine, smacking her repeatedly in the face.
“Now force it through the ground with Hammer Arm!” Arnold pressed mercilessly.
Metagross continued to soar down after Catherine as she dived. It raised a glowing fist, the Black Belt glowing as well, and slammed its fist into Catherine’s stomach, forcing Catherine to open her eyes and force out her name as she was slammed into the ground below, an explosion of dirt covering the field, the entire stadium rocking hard.
I was shaking all over as I waited for the field to clear up. Shaking not only from the collision of the two Pokemon, but from fear of how this would turn out.
Mrs. Butters whimpered against her husband’s shoulder, holding him tight as he held her, rubbing her back with his now undeniably serious face.
June was watching through her fingers, her hands over her face.
The fog of dirt didn’t clear for a long time.
My breathing was getting heavier with every passing second that seemed to take days to arrive. My fists were clenched tight. Robin... I thought to myself. Catherine... Come on, you two. Come on!
The dust finally cleared.
Robin was staring down a huge hole in the ground, right in front of him.
Arnold was looking down the same hole, as well as the referee.
Metagross and Blastoise were nowhere in sight.
The entire stadium was eerily quiet.
Something leaped out from the hole and landed hard on the ground.
“METAGROSS!” the bulky Psychic roared, looking down the hole.
A few people in the crowd gasped in shock.
Mrs. Butters cried out.
Mr. Butters and June were silent.
Robin squinted as he looked in my direction, trying to make out who had just screamed his Pokemon’s name. He didn’t seem to see me. He then looked back down into the hole.
The referee raised the green flag to Arnold.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” I bellowed.
“Blastoise is defeated! The match goes to Metagross and the Green Trainer, Arnold!” the referee concluded.
I collapsed on my knees, my weak legs no longer able to hold me up.
“ROBIN IS DEFEATED!” the announcer was detailing. “ARNOLD IS MOVING ON TO THE FINALS! HAVING THREE REMAINING BATTLERS ON HIS SIDE, ARNOLD HAS MOVED ON TO THE FINALS!”
Robin looked down into the hole for a long time as the crowd went wild.
Arnold ran over to his Metagross and hugged it, Metagross smiling back.
Robin sighed and held out a Poke Ball, returning Catherine. He looked up at Arnold, a bitter look on his face. He managed a little smile and walked over.
Arnold looked up as Robin approached him and extended his hand out. They shook, Arnold smiling excitedly, Robin smiling politely, clearly holding back how upset he was. They both talked for a short while and laughed a little before Robin turned away and walked out of the stadium.
I closed my eyes, hot tears burning in them, a couple rolling down onto my cheeks. We both failed... I thought. We both... failed...
My fist rapped against the door to Robin’s room.
“Yes?” came a quick reply.
“It’s Gary and June,” I called back. “Can we come in?”
Footsteps ran towards the door and it opened quickly. “Gary! And June!!!” Robin smiled broadly.
“I’m sorry we’re here,” I told him. “June insisted we come by, but I said you needed more time. I suggested a couple of days or-”“What? Why?” Robin asked, a shocked look on his face. “I’m so glad you two are here! Come on inside!” He widened the door and welcomed us in.
Me and June entered Robin’s room. It looked just like our room, only a lot more messy. Clothes were strewn about on the top and bottom bunk of every bed, books and magazines sat around the desktop computer, and empty food containers and boxes, bags of chips, and bottles of soda sat on the floor.
“Hee hee,” Robin chuckled nervously, moving around to clean up the area a bit, throwing the garbage into the trash can, and shoving the books into one of the dressers. “Have a seat!” he said after a minute, the room looking a bit more presentable. The beds were all unmade for some reason.
I took a seat on one of the beds and June sat in a wooden chair by the computer.
“Do you get company often?” June asked Robin.
“Ha! No, not really,” Robin admitted.
“Then why are all the beds undone?”
Robin looked at the beds and laughed. “To be honest, I have no idea!”
Robin and June laughed, but I kept my eyes on Robin.
He caught my stare. “What’s up, man? I’m so happy to see you guys! My parents left about an hour ago. I still have to call the Professor. Boy, I can’t wait to see what he has to say! Ha ha ha ha!”
“How can you smile at a time like this?!” I demanded, glaring at him.
Robin’s smile immediately faded.
“You lost! You failed! WE failed! Everything we’ve been through. Our promises! Goals! We let down ourselves, our Pokemon, and everyone! Kiwi! Aly! Why the hell did we take this journey if this was the end results?”
A strong, uncomfortable silence filled the room.
Robin didn’t take his eyes off of me and I stared right back at him. He sat down on one of the other bunk beds and sighed, a smile crossing his face. “We promised we’d win, right, Gary?”
“Yeah!” I shouted angrily. Why the hell is he smiling? I wondered. This isn’t the time to smile!
“Everyone comes here with that promise, Gary,” Robin continued. “If Kiwi and Aly were around with us, and had also lost, then what? Does that change that we all lost?”
I opened my mouth, but froze, thinking about his words.
“No matter what, we gave it our all with the Pokemon we thought would be best. Did we make some mistakes? Perhaps. But there’s a difference between making an error and learning something. You can choose the wrong move, or the wrong Pokemon, and make an error. But when you choose who you believed was right, and fought the way you believed was best at the time, but later understand that you could have made a win in another way, that’s not an error. It’s just a lesson. An error is doing something wrong. Just because we lost, it doesn’t mean we did anything wrong. We did what we felt was right. We battled with our hearts. We didn’t go out there making stupid choices or regrettable decisions. Next time, we’ll do the exact same thing, win or lose. We’ll battle with our hearts. We’ll do what feels right. And we’ll make the best decisions. You know what I mean?”
Robin’s words were confusing, and yet, as I replayed them in my head, staring him in the eyes, I felt I could understand where he was coming from. I nodded. “You’re right, man. I’m sorry I snapped.”
Robin laughed. “All the times I’ve lost it on you over Catherine, I deserve a little bit of your fury! Ha ha ha! How the tables keep turning, eh?”
“I suppose so.” I sighed and laid down against the bed. “But, now what? Our time is up. What do we do now?”
“We watch the finals tomorrow, of course! That battle is going to be awesome!” Robin exclaimed excitedly.
I sighed again. “I guess...”
“Hey! Come on now,” Robin said with a disappointed tone. “The Pokemon League competition isn’t about you, you know. It’s for all Trainers. It’s for the love and appreciation of battle. Remember when we were younger and watched the League matches? We weren’t in them, but we enjoyed them! Remember what President Showzon said? It was something like how we shouldn’t see victory as a won battle, but as Trainer and Pokemon, working together as partners, going against the odds, no matter how it turns out. Showing the world your Pokemon and the amazing moves and abilities they possess.”
I sat up and stared at Robin. “I’m sorry. You’re absolutely right, Robin. We’ll watch tomorrow’s match together!”“Yeah! And then, after that, it’s the closing ceremonies!” June chimed in with a smile. “The Trainers who competed all march into the stadium, and you get this really cool Pokemon League Badge!”
I sighed once more in disappointment.
“Hey, man.” Robin placed his hand on my shoulder. “Don’t be so glum. We made it so far! You were in the top eight, and I was the top four! That’s like, freaking awesome, bro!”
Sighing more, I nodded and smiled.
Our eyes met each other and we stayed there in silence, sitting on our discussion.
“Hey, I dunno about you, but I’m starving!” I stood up.
“Then let’s go find someplace to eat! My stomach refused to allow me to eat before the battle, but now that it’s all over, I could eat anything and everything!”
“I saw a nice restaurant we could eat at that’s a short ways away from here! It looked really cute!” June gushed.
“Sounds fine to me! Lead the way!” Robin jumped up.
June stood up and we followed her to the door.
“That Metagross sure was impressive, eh?” Robin said with a sigh of his own, thinking back on it. “That Arnold kid sure has some impressive Pokemon with him. Beat me three to-”
June gasped loud and long, freezing by the open door.
“Hey!” I ran into her and backed up. “What?”
June turned around and stared at me with a look of pure terror on her face. “Arnold!”“What about him?”
“I know who he is!”
My eyes widened and my heart began to beat sharply. After Robin’s loss, I had completely forgotten that we were trying to figure out who the familiar kid even was!
“Saffron City! He’s the kid we met on our way to Celadon City! The kid who was getting robbed for his Pokemon by those three kids! The ones who attacked us in External Cave with a knife!”
“Huh?” I asked, staring at her in confusion.
“Remember? When you caught Dugtrio!”
Dugtrio... I thought to myself, looking down, trying to remember when I had caught him. It hit me. I gasped and returned to June. “The boy!”
“The one who escaped from Sabrina! He said he battled her and didn’t win!”
I remembered now.
The kid had made such an innocent statement about not winning against Gym Leader Sabrina. At the time, June and I had no idea how strange of a claim that was. Anyone who lost to Sabrina was sure to be killed by her Haunter and become a possessed resident of Saffron City. And yet, his statement implied that he had lost to her and got away.
My appetite disappeared instantly as my mind was flooded with thoughts of my time in Saffron City. What was Arnold’s true story? I wondered. Who exactly was he? A nauseating feeling hit my stomach.
As tomorrow approached for the three of us, we’d very soon find out that who Arnold was would be the least of our concerns as the Pokemon League competition quickly came to the grand finale.