Disclaimer: All characters, settings, and related material are the property of their respective owners, Pokemon character names are trademarks of Nintendo. All characters in this story are above the age of consent. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 28 - The Duel of Destiny - Ash vs Cynthia!
Some time later, Iris and Ritchie were running head over heels through the massive stadium that formed the center of the small tournament village on top of Mt. Rapture.
“I thought you said we still had plenty of time!” Iris shouted towards her boyfriend, her breath coming in quick sharp bursts as she tried to keep up the pace.
“We did!” Ritchie gasped as he only narrowly evaded a full-on collision with an elderly couple. “But I didn’t count on you insisting a round 3 under the shower!” The elderly couple looked scandalized as the two youngsters continued their sprint. Iris blushed, deepening the already red tint of her face as she tried to ignore the ache in her side and continue running.
“As I recall, you weren’t exactly complaining!”
“Less talking, more running!” Ritchie cut her short, deciding that their little discussion wasn’t going to get them anywhere. “Besides, we’re five minutes late as it is! For all we know, Ash may have won already!”
“Overly positive much?!”
“I like to look at things from the bright side!”
With faces as red as a Voltorb and lungs that burned for air, the two trainers finally made it to their seats, apologizing softly as they sat down between Dawn and May. The blue haired coordinator briefly stopped her cheering and looked at Iris and Ritchie with a grinning smile.
“There you are! What took you so long? The match has been going on for a good five minutes already!”
“Sorry about that… We hit on some… delays… along the way!” Iris gasped apologetically.
“Really? Because to me it looks like you ‘hit on’ a little more than just a delay…” Dawn whispered in her ear, watching with grinning delight how Iris slapped her palm into her face.
“We got a little sidetracked, you could say…” the bushy haired girl admitted, hoping to leave it at that.
“Eh, don’t worry about it. I for one think you two make a very cute couple!” Dawn told her, lightly patting her on the back. “Ritchie’s a good guy, and those are rare to find these days… Be sure to hold on to him, okay?” Iris looked at her and gave a smiling nod before she focused on the championship battle in the arena below.
“Enough about me and Ritchie though, what did we miss? How’s Ash doing?!”
“Well… I’ve think we’ve all seen him do better lately…” Dawn said somberly. Close beside them, May was eyeing the battle with tears in her eyes and a hand on her mouth.
Ash groaned loudly as his Infernape was hit square in the face by a powerful Aura Sphere attack, felling the fiery monkey far quicker than he had anticipated. The bright light of the sun that shone above the arena hurt his eyes and made his head spike with headaches.
Goddamn hangover! I’m such an idiot… I never should’ve drunk so much last night!
He hated himself for losing control on the night after his victory over Ritchie. The party had lasted until the early hours of the morning and the alcohol had flown freely. Now here he was, fighting Cynthia for the title of Pokemon Master, and he was still reeling from a hangover unlike any he had ever had before.
Opposite of him, Cynthia eyed him with a stoic expression. No doubt she had already picked up his weakened state. The victory her Lucario had won against his Infernape, despite its type-disadvantage, at least suggested as much.
“Ash! I thought you would be giving me a challenge!” she taunted him, her voice flat and carrying across the quiet battlefield. “So far, I’m starting to doubt you’re worth my time!”
Ash shot daggers at the blonde champion, pushing his headache to the back of his mind in an effort to focus. Damn it, he hadn’t spent the last 5 years in isolation to fail now!
“I just got started Cynthia, you won’t get me down that easily!” he yelled, flinging his next Pokemon onto the battlefield. With a white flash and a thundering roar, Charizard made his presence known.
“Hmm, a Fire and Flying type… Both of those are super effective against my Lucario’s Fighting and Steel types. A fine choice!” Cynthia commented before her eyes hardened as battle commenced.
Despite Charizard’s obvious type advantage, the dragon-like behemoth still had enormous problems with Cynthia’s blue fighting type. Lucario’s Aura Spheres were very powerful, easily capable of deflecting Charizard’s Flamethrower and Ash knew Charizard wouldn’t be able to survive a whole lot of hits. On the other hand, Lucario managed to dodge just about every attack Charizard threw towards it too. Its speed was amazing, practically nullifying whatever advantage Charizard had.
Desperate to force a breakthrough, Ash’s mind raced to find a way to break Lucario’s speed. His eyes lit up as a stroke of inspiration hit him.
“Charizard! Use Flamethrower! Fire it all over the ground!” he cried, grinning gratefully as Charizard bathed the entire arena in fire. Lucario evaded, however, by jumping into the air before the flames hit him. What the steel type did not notice, however, was the fact that the hard stone ground of their battlefield was quickly heating up, shining brightly red.
Ash grinned as he noticed Cynthia discovered his plan. Her icy blue eyes showed trouble and the trainer from Pallet Town was only all too eager to exploit this chance.
“Your Lucario can jump all he wants, but it won’t save him if there’s no save place to land!” he cried out. Sure enough, when Lucario landed, the burning hot stone visibly hurt him. Ash’s hopes were dashed though, when the fighting-type suddenly disappeared in a blue blur. In a whirlwind of motion, Ash could just discern Lucario, jumping and running around, seemingly unaffected by the hot stone.
“Wow, look at that! Lucario’s moving so fast he’s not getting burned!” Max cried out from the stands.
“That was a clever move from Ash, but not clever enough to circumvent Lucario’s speed!” Professor Oak nodded gravily. Stoically he observed the battle, a troubled frown on his face as his eyes fell on Ash.
“Well, guess I’ll just have to find a way to make him stop!” Ash muttered.
“Let’s see how well you run on unstable ground… Charizard! Earthquake!” His fire-type followed his command quickly, smashing his shoulder into the fiery ground. A ripple of pure earth waved up from the point of impact, waving out across the battlefield, knocking Lucario out of his mantra of running and jumping. He slid to a halt on burning hot rock, causing angry burns on his blue fur as he frantically tried to regain momentum.
Its red eyes narrowed to slits as he heard Ash yell out his next command.
“Charizard, finish him now with Inferno!”
A raging column of fire hit Lucario head on and then there was only darkness.
Ash let out a deep breath as Meowth announced his victory. He had evened the battlefield, both him and Cynthia down one Pokemon. This wasn’t over yet though… It had only just begun!
“That’s the Ash we know! KEEP IT UP!”
“Show her what you’re made of!”
“You’re doing great honey!”
On the stands, Ash’s friends were all shouting their hardest, with Misty and May seemingly trying to top one another in cheering Ash on. Max was pumping one fist into the air while his other hand held on to his egg, his eyes bright with an excitement he hadn’t felt in a long time.
Zoey and Dawn, by comparison, took things a little calmer. 8 months of pregnancy tend to knock the wind out of you in more ways than one, so Zoey stuck to the occasional shout as she clapped enthusiastically.
The battle soon resumed in all its intensity. Cynthia had summoned a Togekiss as her next Pokemon and the white Pokemon had surprised Ash’s intoxicated mind. He had expected Togekiss to pack a punch, but he hadn’t counted on its speed. After a tiring fight, Charizard was exhausted while Togekiss remained in acceptable health. The white Pokemon then proceeded, by his stoic master’s command, to hit Charizard with an amazingly fast combo of Water Gun and Shock Wave.
Both attacks were powerful and well placed, targeting the weaknesses of both Charizard’s fire- and his flying type. The fiery lizard went down like a sack of bricks and Ash was once again one Pokemon behind on Cynthia.
“You did good buddy… you’ve earned your rest.” Ash murmured softly as he returned Charizard to his Pokeball. His mind was considerably clearer now, but the headache still ate away at the edges of his focus, and his Pokemon were paying the price. With a flick of his wrist, he signaled Pikachu it was time to go. The electric type nodded with a grin and sprinted out on to the field. Just before he left Ash’s vicinity though, his trainer halted him, whispering a request. Pikachu eyed him oddly, tilting his head slightly before he shrugged his little shoulders and did what his trainer asked of him.
A yellow flash of lightning lit up the arena as Pikachu unleashed a Thunderbolt attack onto Ash. The crowd gasped and Ash could hear Meowth shouting something into his microphone as Pikachu’s electricity instantly blew him wide awake, allowing him hold the focus the hangover had stolen from him.
“Thanks buddy, that was just what I needed!” Ash grinned before shifting his focus on Cynthia and her Togekiss.
“Now, let’s get this started again, shall we?!” he cried out. “Pikachu, use Agility combined with Iron Tail!”
In a wave of dust Pikachu was gone, steaming ahead towards Togekiss, who only had a split second to counter with a powerful Aura Sphere. Their attacks collided in a massive explosion, clouding the arena in dust clouds as both Pokemon ran, jumped and flew around each other trying to score a hit. To Ash’s delight, Pikachu was the first of the two to be successful, hitting Togekiss’ left wing with a well-aimed Iron Tail, a dry crack confirming that Pikachu's attack had broken bones. Crippled, the normal-type nevertheless fought back with style, showering Pikachu with a powerful Water Pulse, pushing the little rodent back and preventing him from delivering the coupe-de-grace.
“Nice move, Ash… Without his left wing, my Togekiss won’t be able to fly anymore.” Cynthia observed; her thumb and index finger on her lips in thought. A sly smile formed on her lips as she flicked her hair sideways, she looked upon the battlefield with both eyes revealed.
“But two can play at that game. You have crippled my Togekiss, allow me to return the favor… Shock Wave!”
Pikachu couldn’t evade. The Water Pulse had matted his fur, slowing him down ever so slightly, but more than enough for Togekiss’ next attack to hit. Usually, this kind of electricity was no problem for Pikachu, but now he was wet and the attack actually hurt. Even worse, as he felt the attack fade away, he could feel the tell-tale sting in his muscles, telling him that he had been stunned! Cynthia had once again expertly leveled the playfield.
“Dammit! Pikachu, are you okay?!” Ash shouted across the field, fear and terror for the safety of his starter gripping at his heart. On the field, Pikachu nodded, struggling as his muscles protested. He wasn’t going to let his master, his friend down. Not today!
“Togekiss, finish him off! Water Pulse and Shock Wave, once again!” Cynthia commanded. Pikachu gasped and Ash’s eyes widened as the struggling white Pokemon raised himself and unleashed a blast of water before charging up a powerful electric attack.
“Don’t give up Pikachu! I believe in you!”
He heard her shout and knew that it was Misty who was urging him on. He knew he couldn’t let her down. He felt the same determination he felt while he fought Ritchie’s Pikachu fill him. He shouted his hopes to the heavens as he jumped up, praying that his muscles would cooperate.
His tail enveloped in a bright white light, Pikachu unleashed a powerful Iron Tail, knocking Togekiss’ Water Pulse straight back at him, right at the moment when the normal-type was about to release his follow-up Shock Wave attack. The results were devastating; the Water Pulse drenched Togekiss and knocked him back, causing him to botch the Shock Wave attack and hitting himself to critical effect.
By the time Pikachu came down from his jump, Togekiss had lost consciousness. The little rodent smiled victorious as he sank down on one knee, his body crackling with stunning amounts of electricity still.
Ash cheered loudly as the audience in the stands applauded his victory.
“Ow! Don’t mess with this Pikachu, folks! Even when he’s stunned he will STILL take ya down!” Meowth’s heavily accented voice. “Trust me, I should know!” he added with a grin.
After that small victory, things were once again balanced out. Ash had lost Infernape and Charizard, while Cynthia had lost Lucario and Togekiss, the only advantage the blonde champion had was the fact that Ash’s third Pokemon, Pikachu, was already stunned and damaged. Her Roserade, which she wasted no time in summoning to the field, did not have that problem.
The green grass-type waved her flowery hands in an alluring fashion as she seemed to dance across the battlefield towards Ash’s shocked companion.
“Pikachu, return!” the young trainer from Pallet Town called out, stepping onto the field. “You’ve done a great job, but right now you need some rest buddy” he smiled fondly as he carried Pikachu back to the sideline. He knew he would need to call on him again soon, but right now the little mouse needed to rest and recover. In his current paralyzed state, Ash would only be sending him to his doom. A few minutes of rest should do the trick, and he already knew which Pokemon he could use to get those precious moments.
A brilliant flash of light lit up the arena as Ash called up on one of his powerhouses. Gabite, the evolved form of the Gible he once met in the Sinnoh region, roared in defiance as he met Cynthia’s dancing grass-type in open battle. Soon, hits were flying as both Pokemon smashed into each other repeatedly, trying to cut one another with razor sharp leaves and serrated fangs.
Roserade was a crack at evading though, her dancing movements difficult to predict. Often, the graceful grass-type would even use Gabite’s own movement to not only evade his attack, but damage him in return as well, slamming him into the rocky ground.
A whirling torrent of Razor Leaves was the next thing Gabite had to contend with. Even though his defenses were amazing, the land shark Pokemon still had a disadvantage against grass-type attacks. He cried out in pain as Ash gasped in shock as a single Razor Leaf wasn’t blocked by his arms and cut him across the eye. Dark blood dripped from the wound and Gabite tried to clear his vision, shaking his head violently, without effect.
“Roserade, let’s bring him closer to defeat, shall we? Use Toxic!” Cynthia called out, and Roserade obeyed, forming a sickeningly purple blob of goo between her flowery hands, readying herself to fire. Ash was one step ahead though. Ordering his dragon-type to burrow into the ground at the last second, evading the deadly poison by a fraction of a second. A purple splash marked the hole in the ground where Gabite had disappeared as the whole arena went quiet in anticipation of Ash’s next move.
“Okay, focus Ketchum…” Ash murmured in thought as he watched Roserade charge up another Toxic. “Gabite’s wounded on the right eye, so his vision will be limited… going for a direct hit with Dig is risky, it would put Roserade in the ideal position to deliver that Toxic attack…” The troubled challenger knew he would need to put something in between his Gabite and Roserade’s attack… Anything, be it something physical like a piece of rock, enough distance for Gabite to completely evade, or maybe something-…
His eyes glimmered as he determined his next move. Now came the challenge of commanding Gabite to execute it without giving his strategy away to Cynthia. Fortunately, his next move was something they had spent a lot of time on in training.
“Gabite! Remember that little trick we practiced on?! Now’s the time to use it buddy!” he yelled, hoping that Gabite would hear him, deep beneath the stadium’s rocky ground. Tense seconds passed until suddenly a loud roar ripped through the air, signifying that Gabite had heard him loud and clear. Cynthia gasped and both of her eyes widened in surprise as the ground below them lurched.
“W-what’s Ash doing?! The whole stadium is shaking!” May yelped in shock as she grasped her chair in an effort to keep steady.
“Did that bloody idiot forget we are on top of a volcano?!” Dawn added to the cacophony of shouts and screams. “If he keeps this up, he could kill us all!” The Sinnoh-born coordinator tried to keep herself steady, while at the same time trying to keep a protective hold of Zoey. She knew that if chaos broke out, Zoey would be in massive danger. Eyeing Ash down in the shaking arena, Dawn made a definite mental note to kick the Pallet Town trainer in the head for pulling a stunt like this.
“Roserade! Jump in the air, now!” Cynthia cried out, sensing Gabite’s imminent emergence from the rocky ground, she was desperate to get as much distance between the dragon type and her grass type Pokemon.
Just then, the battlefield exploded, sending rocks of various sizes all over the place as Gabite flew up into the air, surrounded by energy as he unleashed his Draco Meteor. Roserade did her best to avert the massive attack, but the purple blob of her Toxic attack dissipated almost immediately upon contact with Gabite’s Draco Meteor. She let out a final cry of shock just as she saw Gabite rapidly getting closer before everything went black.
Down below, things had quieted down almost immediately. The stadium had stopped shaking and when people had recovered from the initial turmoil, everyone looked up into the sky, where a big dust cloud blocked out the sun, cloaking the entire stadium in shade. From the dust cloud, a lone figure fell down, landing on powerful legs. Upon impact, the figure caused a small crater into the already damaged ground. As the dust settled, Gabite was revealed, alive and in one piece and carrying Roserade in his scaly arms. The grass-type was unconscious, but otherwise she seemed relatively unharmed. A stunned judge carefully made his way closer, before he awkwardly declared Roserade knocked out.
Meowth managed to crawl back up, climbing a loose rock to get a good view as he tried to straighten his ruined tuxedo. He flicked on his microphone, which he had thankfully managed to retain a hold of during the small earthquake, and cleared his throat before addressing the crowd.
“W-well, there you have it folks! In an amazing and destructive demonstration of power, Ash Ketchum and Gabite beat the odds and the advantages and take down Cynthia’s Roserade!”
The crowd cheered and applauded, but they were far less excited than before. The earthquake and the following destruction had tempered everyone’s emotions. Meowth’s keen eyes picked this up perfectly and he was thankful he had a solution.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived at the half-time break of this battle! The champion Cynthia has lost 3 of her Pokemon, so we’re going to take a short break while both contestants retreat to their dressing rooms. This should also give our crew enough time to… well… repair the battlefield…” Meowth finished in an awkward tone, looking around as he took in the positively shattered arena. Ash was standing close by, the same expression on his face as he returned Gabite to his Pokeball.
“Looks like ya overdid it a wee lil’ bit, twerp!” the talking Pokemon said with a grin, walking up to the Pallet Town challenger.
Ash looked down at him before shifting his view back to the rubble, a guilty smirk on his face.
“Yeah, I guess I did overdo it a little bit… I never meant for the whole stadium to shake!”
He scratched his head slightly as a tournament official politely guided him off of the stage and into the stadium, towards his dressing room.
A good ten minutes later, May was headed towards Ash’s dressing room in a hurry. She wanted to be there for him, not just in spirit but physically as well. Her hopes of speaking to Ash were dashed though, as she encountered a burly, broad shouldered tournament official guarding his dressing room. No matter what she said, asked or begged, he would not let her through.
“I’m sorry miss, but as I told you before, I’m not allowed to let anyone visit mister Ketchum!” the burly man repeated, crossing his arms and becoming, if possible, even broader in the process. May could feel her blood starting to boil as her conversation with the guard yielded nothing. She narrowed her eyes and stomped on the ground in annoyance.
“But you don’t understand!” she retorted. “I’m his girl-…!” She stopped herself from blurting out her relationship with Ash at the last second. The stadium and quite frankly the entire village surrounding it had become rife with paparazzi as the tournament reached its final stage.One or two unpleasant articles had already been written about some of the tournament’s competitors, and May had no interest whatsoever in making her relationship with Ash public in that way. For all she knew, the guard before her wouldn’t think twice about revealing a scoop like when there was a pile of cash in it for him.
“… His friend… I’m a very good friend of his!” she finished, hoping the guard would ignore her little slip of the tongue. The guard let out an exhausted sigh, slumping his shoulders as May dared hope she would get through. Her hopes were quickly waved away again though, as she saw his eyebrows join in an irritated frown.
“Look, I’m just following the rules…” he grumbled. “Trust me lady, if it were up to me you’d already be in there, but I’d like to keep my job, okay? Tournament rules are clear on this part: nobody, and I do mean nobody, visits any of the competitors during break time.” May slumped and let her eyes drop to the ground. There was no getting past this guy.
“Fine… I understand…” she spoke, doing her best to hide her disappointment. “Just tell him that I’m thinking of him… and wish him the best of luck.” The guard relaxed slightly, dropping his arms to his sides as his face softened.
“Sure thing, miss. I’ll let him know you’re thinking of him.” He was about to ask her name, but May had already turned on her heels and ran out of sight, back to the stands.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please return to your seats. The championship match between Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town and reigning champion Cynthia is about to resume.”
Sometime later, May rejoined her friends at their seats as they waited for Ash to return to the field. Rather than trying to visit Ash, the rest of the group had spent their break time more wisely, stocking up on popcorn, hotdogs and other foodstuffs, expertly provided by Roquet Catering. The rumbling in her stomach told May that lunchtime had come and gone as she sat down next to Zoey. The pregnant coordinator had an untouched hotdog sitting in her lap, May frowned as the mere smell of it seemed to make her mouth water.
That’s strange… I never liked hotdogs before…
Zoey looked sideways and raised an eyebrow when she noticed May, practically drooling over her hotdog.
“Are you… okay, May?” she asked slightly awkward. The brunette beside her jolted awake as her cheeks heated up.
“Y-… yeah, I’m fine!” she stammered. “I tried to visit Ash, during the break… but there was a guard in front of his dressing room. He wouldn’t let me through…” Again, her eyes drifted off, only to focus on the hotdog in Zoey’s lap.
“W-… Sorry, what?”
“Take it! You can have it” Zoey reiterated with a warm, if slightly tired smile. May eyed the food again longingly, before shaking her head and deliberately turning her head the other way.
“N-… no. I couldn’t…”
“Hmmm, why not?” Zoey inquired, not seeing any problem with her offer. May scoffed.
“Come on Zoey! You think I would take food from a pregnant woman?! You… need it more than I do…”
Zoey had to laugh at that, momentarily dispelling her fatigue.
“Trust me, hun. One hotdog more or less isn’t going to make any difference at all to this little guy!” she snickered, patting her swollen belly. “So go ahead and eat up. Don’t make me force feed you!”
May still felt uncomfortable actually taking the food, but in the end her stomach overpowered her emotions and she let out a grateful groan as she bit of a big chunk of the hotdog.
Suddenly, the music that had been playing over the stadium’s speakers dropped in volume as Meowth’s thick accent blared through, signaling the start of the second half of the battle. May swallowed hard as she saw Ash standing on his side of the field again. She felt a bit guilty, she had been so pre-occupied with her hotdog that she had completely missed Ash’s entry. Joining in with her friends, she cheered her boyfriend on loudly as the battle recommenced in full force.
“All right Pikachu, here we go!” Ash cried out as he sent his oldest friend back onto the battlefield. Their short break had given Pikachu enough time to recover from his paralysis, and Ash knew the little mouse had the best chances against Cynthia’s new Pokemon: a slender, beautiful Milotic.
“And we’re OFF!” Meowth cried out as Pikachu charged the sea serpent, electric sparks flying from the red pouches on his cheeks.
“Hmmm, that Milotic looks incredibly strong. And knowing Cynthia, it’s probably even more powerful than I could think of!” Ash mumbled in thought. He had done extensive research into Cynthia’s Pokemon team beforehand, and as such he knew that Milotic were normally very peaceful Pokemon, but when they were challenged they could lash out with devastating effect. Ash narrowed his eyes as he decided his next move.
“I’ll need to finish this as quickly as possible… Pikachu, use Thunder!”
In a flash, Pikachu jumped high into the air and unleashed a torrent of blazing lightning upon Cynthia’s Milotic. The stoic champion remained steadfast though, commanding her serpent with unshakable faith and an even voice.
“Milotic, defend with Mirror Coat!” she called out, and Milotic’s body was almost instantly covered in a reflective sheen.
Ash had to cover his eyes as Pikachu’s Thunder struck, when his vision returned he gasped in shock as he saw Pikachu’s Thunder rebound, leaving Milotic unharmed.
“Oh no! Pikachu, dodge it quick! Use agility!” he cried out. For an instant, it seemed Pikachu wouldn’t be able to evade his own rebounded attack. But, with a furious “chuuuu” he dashed away, rolling over and twisting around, charging Milotic again immediately.
A coy smile spread across Cynthia’s face as Ash let out a groan. With that Mirror Coat, Milotic had effectively protected itself against Pikachu’s greatest advantage over it, his electric attacks. It seemed he would need to get up close and personal with Cynthia’s serpent if he wanted to do some damage. And with attacks like Dragon Pulse and Ice Beam, getting close was terribly dangerous.
The next few minutes were spent in an agonizing frenzy as Pikachu jumped, slid and sprinted across the battle field in an attempt to dodge Milotic’s powerful attacks. So far, the fast little mouse had evaded every hit Milotic threw at him. In return, he had managed two solid hits with Iron Tail, bruising the sea serpent in the face and along its flowing body. But he was running out of options…
By its master’s command, Milotic unleashed a wide Ice Beam, covering the entire battlefield even as Pikachu jumped up and dodged the beam itself.
“Oh no! Everything’s covered in ice… He’s got nowhere left to go!” Ash cried out in shock as he watched Pikachu come down from his jump, hit the frozen ground and immediately slip up, landing jaw first on the painful hard ground. Cynthia knew an opportunity when it presented itself and immediately ordered her Milotic on the attack.
“Now is time to attack! Give him no chance to escape!” she ordered, and Milotic launched itself onto Pikachu in an instant. Hovering slightly above the ground, the part-Psychic type wasn’t hindered by the frozen surface. With a crash, it collided with Pikachu, immediately following up with a whip-like move with her tail, catching the unfortunate mouse in a vice grip. Ash flinched, it all happened so quickly he hardly had any time to react!
“No, Pikachu! Get out of there!” he shouted, but to no effect. Pikachu was stuck and Milotic was quickly squeezing the life out of him.
“Dammit! Pikachu won’t last much longer… I’ve got to come up with something fast!” he wracked his brain in a desperate attempt to come up with a solution. Pikachu was finally in range to put some damage on Milotic, but that didn’t matter at all when his electric type was unable to act! Milotic had its powerful tail wrapped around Pikachu entirely and Ash could hear his friend crying out in pain as the sea serpent squeezed.
He was out of options, either he made his move now, or Pikachu would faint in a matter of seconds, deprived of oxygen for too long by Milotic’s crushing wrap.
“Mirror Coat or not, I have to at least try! Pikachu! Use your Thunder attack again!”
With his last energy, Pikachu opened his eyes and unleashed another terrifying electric attack. The lightning arched from his little body over to body of his serpentine captor. Milotic’s Mirror Coat shone brightly once again, but reflecting the Thunder did it no good. Because Pikachu was still connected to it, the reflected Thunder hit both of them, and Milotic in particular suffered for it.
With a cry, the serpent Pokemon threw Pikachu high up on the air. Bruised and battered, the electric type wasn’t going to give up though. With a final burst of focus, he opened his eyes and saw his friends cheering for him in the stands. Dawn was shouting loudly. Zoey and Max were clutching their stomach and egg respectively as their eyes widened in shock. Misty cheered him on with all that she had.
Looking down, he spotted Milotic hovering above the ice-covered field. With a twist, he turned his battered body around, ignoring the cries of protest as his muscles ached as he aimed another Iron Tail attack, putting everything he had in it. Still shocked by the Thunder attack, Milotic was unable to dodge Pikachu’s spectacular aerial assault, receiving a debilitating blow to the head upon impact.
Both Pokemon came down with a crash, but only Pikachu crawled back on his tiny feet, a look of pure determination on his face as he gasped for breath.
Seconds went by as no one said a word. Ash was desperate to know if Pikachu was all right, but he knew he had to wait until the match was decided.
Finally, as the dust settled, the referee pronounced Milotic unfit to battle, handing the round to Ash and Pikachu as the stadium exploded in cheers.
“Absolutely amazing! Did you see that people?! Ash Ketchum starts off the second half with a bang, taking Cynthia’s Milotic down in a positively sizzling match!” Meowth shouted enthousiastically as he bounced up and down on his feet. He eyed Pikachu with a newfound sense of awe. He had never expected the yellow mouse to be able to take such a beating and still be standing at the end of it!
“I gotta say, this Pikachu is something else, folks! You sure you’re all right, buddy?” he asked with a grin. Pikachu strained visibly as he turned his head and looked Meowth in the eye, grinning determinedly as he answered.
“Pika-pi… Chu chu… Pika-CHU!” Meowth snorted before letting out a loud guffaw.
“I’m not quite sure I should translate that last bit directly folks… Not with children watching anyway! Let’s just say Pikachu’s still standing and he’s hungry for more, so let’s start the next round!”
Cynthia nodded, a new spark of annoyance and determination in her eyes now. She nevertheless remained calm as she gave Ash a flat stare and pulled a Pokeball from the folds of her dress.
“I have to congratulate you, Ash…” she said smoothly, an edge of admiration in her voice. “I’m down to my last two Pokemon… It’s been quite a while since that happened… quite a while indeed… I wonder if you've truly got what it takes to be a Master though...” and with that, she threw her Pokeball, unleashing a bright white light.
As the white light cleared, Pikachu flinched for a second as he looked around, trying to spot whatever Cynthia had summoned.
There was nothing.
“What’s the deal… She threw a Pokeball but nothing was summoned?” Ash murmured. “Is this some kind of trick, Cynthia? Or are you too scared to send any more Pokemon out against me?!” he cried out defiantly.
Aah… He’s confident, this one!
“What the hell?!” Ash cried out, clutching his head as something – some sort of alien force – sweeped through his mind. This force… Voices, really… Tens, maybe hundreds of voices, speaking as one shrill, erratic whole in his mind.
We like those… The more confident they are – heehee! – the sweeter it is when they are UTTERLY DESTROYED!
“Pikaaa-pi! Pikachu!” Ash’s yellow friend cried out, shocked and determined in equal measure. He wasn’t going to let a single spooky voice knock the stuffing out him… not now!
“S-show yourself… W-who-whoever you are! I want to-… wow… I want to see your face when I f-f-fry you!” Meowth shakily translated as he himself scanned the battlefield, unable to find who or what was responsible for the eerie words.
Just then, a single slab of brown stone suddenly shuddered on the arena floor. An intricate pattern of purple glowing lines With a sudden hiss, purple gas suddenly burst out from the stone. As the purple gas swirled into a circular pattern, small green clouds appeared as well, two of them forming a wickedly shaped set of eyes as a third formed a sharp, disheveled mouth.
Come at us then, mortals! Show us you have what it takes to be a champion! Yiiihaahahaha!
Ash felt the cold sweat drip down his back as their opponent revealed itself. On the field, Pikachu too couldn’t help but inch away from the swirling mist slightly as cold fear clouded around his heart. Meanwhile, Cynthia looked on in perfect calm spirits, smiling mischievously as she watched her opponents cringe in fear of her new Pokemon. The purple mist finally solidified somewhat, revealing a wicked mess of swirling colors, voices and emotions.
We are Spiritomb! We are your end, trainer! SUBMIT!
Chapter End Notes:
Phew, the final battle is finally underway, and so far Ash seems to be holding his own! But how will he fare against a creature as dark and twisted as a Spiritomb?
When I wrote this chapter, I pondered a bit the level of violence. In the end, I went for a fairly realistic level with plenty of burns, cuts and even broken bones, something you don't see in the anime. However, this story takes place a few years after the anime, and both Ash's and Cynthia's Pokemon can be considered some of the strongest on the planet. They're not going to walk away from all-out battle with nothing to show for it except some bruises, this is a championship fight dagnabbit! :P
If you've made it this far down, thank you so much for reading! Stay tuned for the next two chapters, which will wrap up the tournament arch of the story. I gotta say I especially liked to write a twisted character like Spiritomb, I hope you'll like how he/she/it (?) turned out in the next chapter. Stay tuned! :)