Showdown at the Safflower Gym!
"This is the Safflower City Gym?" Clair inquired, hands on her hips. "It looks identical to the Pokémon Center."
"According to the guidebook, this is it." Nathan replied, nose in the book in question.
"So does the Pokégear." Silus added, pocketing the device. "Guess we better go on in. You coming, Mewtwo?"
"I suppose it'd be a break from all the traveling we've been doing." the Pokémon, still transformed into Nathan's twin. "
The group made their way up the snow-covered sidewalk towards the towering structure. The automatic doors slid open as the group approached, the building greeting them with a gust of warm air, likely its heating system.
"Welcome~!" a sing-song voice called out, catching the group by surprise.
"Uh, hi..." Silus stuttered, not sure of what to say. "I'm looking to challenge this Gym."
"A challenger, eh? Haven't had one of those in awhile." the female replied, appearing rather bubble-headed.
"Excuse me miss," Silus continued. "Are you the-?"
"The Gym Leader?" the woman finished for him. "Yup, yup! The name is Lorraine! I'm the jewel-eyed Gym Leader of Safflower City!"
"More like air-headed Gym Leader of Safflower City..." Nathan mused under his breath.
"Well, if you're going to battle me, then follow me to the arena~!" Lorraine declared in another sing-song voice.
Lorraine led the group to the back of the main building, which led to an outdoor arena, built much like a colosseum, which extended into the bay in which the Gym sat next to. Clair, Nathan, and the transformed Mewtwo made their way into the stadium's large stone bleachers, while Lorraine hopped across the pool to her platform on the adjacent side. A referee accompanied them, climbing into the referee's perch opposite the stadium bleachers.
"This will be an official Safflower City Gym match. The challenger, Silus, from Eden Town, will challenge Lorraine, the Gym Leader, for an Arcadia Badge. Each trainer will be allowed three Pokémon. Once all three on either side are unable to battle, the match will be over. Only the challenger may substitute Pokémon." the referee explained.
"Spotlight, Lapras!" Lorraine declared, tossing her first Poké Ball.
The ball burst open, spilling into the water a large, blue Pokémon, with a long neck, several horns on its head, and four distinct flippers. Silus quickly fished his Pokédex from his pocket to get data on it.
"Lapras, the Transport Pokémon. It ferries people across the sea on its back. Lapras may sing an enchanting cry if it is in a good mood." the Dex reported.
"Wow, a Lapras!" Clair exclaimed from the bleachers. "That's a rare Pokémon!"
"Well, Silus~?" Lorraine sung. "Who will you choose to battle my beautiful Lapras?"
"Abomasnow, you're up!" Silus replied, tossing his own Poké Ball.
The ball released the large snow Pokémon onto one of the floating platforms in the center of the arena's pool, directly across from where Lapras floated.
"Abomasnow! Good choice." Nathan noted.
"Agreed. Lapras is Water-type with Ice-type traits. Abomasnow is Grass-type with Ice-type traits. Silus has the advantage." Clair added.
"The challenger will be granted the first move!" the referee announced, giving Silus his go-ahead.
"Let's get started! Abomasnow, use Wood Hammer!" Silus commanded.
The massive, troll-like Pokémon's entire right arm began to glow with luminescent green energy. It then leaped, clearing the field and aiming its arm at Lapras' rather fragile-looking skull.
"Swim to dodge it, Lapras!" Lorraine countered.
With surprising agility, Lapras churned its powerful flippers, dashing away from Abomasnow mere seconds before the equally massive Pokémon slammed into the water, creating an enormous aqua shockwave.
"...Fast!" Silus gasped.
"Wow!" Nathan exclaimed from the bleachers. "That Lapras is fast!"
"Lorraine is using the water in the pool to her advantage. Lapras may be large and bulky, but it is a quick swimmer in short bursts like that." Clair explained.
"Now, Lapras, use Water Pulse!" Lorraine declared in an extravagant fashion.
The long-necked Pokémon craned its neck, opening its mouth wide, creating a large sphere of water directly in front of it. Not stopping there, the Lapras aimed and launched the sphere, which subsequently slammed into Abomasnow, causing yet another large wave. Abomasnow, however, soon appeared, pulling itself up onto another floating platform. It was wet and frustrated, but otherwise unharmed.
"Time to counter, Abomasnow! Razor Leaf!" Silus shot back.
Raising its massive, tree trunk-like arms, Abomasnow angrily fired off a barrage of razor-sharp leaves which rushed across the pool to slash and bite at their target.
"Dodge once more, Lapras!" Lorraine responded. "Then counter it with Body Slam!"
In yet another impressive burst of speed, Lapras darted to the side, allowing the Razor Leaf to simply swish right by its head and away from the battlefield. Obeying the next phase of its trainer's plan, Lapras sped at Abomasnow, clearing the pool in a surprising leap before landing flat on Abomasnow, crushing it, and then slipping back into the pool.
"This is bad!" Silus exclaimed mentally, sweating as he thought so. "Lapras is too fast in the pool of water. I have to stop it from moving somehow...."
"Lapras, let's finish this round out already!" Lorraine declared in the meantime. "One more Body Slam, please!"
"Here it comes!" Silus thought, "Uuuugh! I've gotta do something! Abomasnow! Sheer Cold on the battlefield!"
"WHAT?!" Lorraine squealed.
Generating a sphere of icy energy between its two trunk-like palms, Abomasnow lifted the sphere and tossed it at the pool, causing an explosion of ice energy, which proceeded to cover the entire field with a thick coat of ice — effectively freezing the pool solid. Lapras found its movements suddenly, and rudely, halted, as the ice prevented it from moving any further.
"Oh no, Lapras!" Lorraine cried in distress.
"Silus is good at making the field his advantage." Nathan noted, crossing his arms. "He did the same thing to Jason. The kid freaked because of it, and lost all composure."
"Now! Abomasnow! Its right where you want it! Razor Leaf!" Silus cried out.
Suddenly rejuvenated by its victory, Abomasnow thrust its giant arms towards Lapras, spraying the Transport Pokémon with a barrage of incredibly sharp leaves, causing the water Pokémon to cry out in pain and frustration, until it finally crashed onto the field, unconscious.
"Lapras is unable to battle. The victory belongs to Abomasnow!" the referee announced.
"Yes!" Silus celebrated. "Good job, Abomasnow!"
"Aboma! SNOW!" the large Pokémon celebrated in return.
"You were phenomenal, Lapras." Lorraine cooed, returning the fainted Pokémon to its Poké Ball. "Have a good rest."
Corsola Takes Command!
"And for my next performance — Goooo, Corsola!" Lorraine bounced back, tossing her next Poké Ball.
The Pokémon that resulted from this, bursting on to the now ice-covered pool, was much smaller than Lapras. At its name suggested, it appeared to be some form of pink coral-like creature. Silus once more dug out his Pokédex to get information on the new critter.
"Corsola, the Coral Pokémon. In a south-sea nation, the people live in communities that are built on groups of these Pokémon." the Dex chimed.
"Corsola, huh?" Silus commented.
"Why would she choose Corsola?" Clair pondered from the bleachers. "Its both Water and Rock-types. It has a double weakness to Abomasnow's Grass typing."
"We'll start this time!" Lorraine informed Silus. "Go, Corsola! Use Spike Cannon!"
The tiny Coral Pokémon lit up with a bright light, expelling a rapid barrage of needle-like projectiles. Giving little chance for evasion, due to their speed, the projectiles slammed into Abomasnow, causing the Pokémon to flinch and attempt to cover itself from the onslaught.
"Abomasnow! You have to fight back! Razor Leaf!" Silus tried to rectify the situation.
However, despite the effort from the larger Pokémon, the barrage of Spike Cannon proved to be too much, preventing it from even raising its arms to counterattack. Before long, a small explosion took place, sending Abomasnow crashing back onto Silus' platform. When the smoke cleared, the large Ice-type Pokémon was clearly fainted.
"Abomasnow is unable to battle!" the referee announced. "The win goes to Corsola!"
"That's one tough Corsola." Clair noted, folding her arms. "Despite having the disadvantage, it made use of the damage Lapras caused Abomasnow and won the match."
"You did well, partner." Silus consoled his Pokémon, returning it to its Poké Ball.
"Well, Silus?" Lorraine spoke up. "Did you like my dazzling Corsola?"
"Its far from over, Lorraine." Silus declared, getting back to his feet. "Next up is Braviary!"
Silus tossed his Poké Ball, which released the immense flying Pokémon into the air above the arena. Braviary let out a defiant squawk as it soared over Corsola, and began to circle the arena.
"A Braviary, huh?" Lorraine cooed. "Using the sky won't give you an advantage on my Corsola!"
"We'll see about that!" Silus roared. "Go, Braviary! Use Air Cutter!"
"Counter that with Iron Defense!" Lorraine quickly input.
"What?!" Silus exclaimed.
It was too late for the younger trainer to change his tactics now, however, as Braviary flapped its now-glowing wings violently, projecting disks of wind-like energy towards the tiny Coral Pokémon. Corsola responded by bracing itself, glowing bright white at the same time, causing the disks to bounce off as if nothing had even happened.
"Now, Corsola! Use BubbleBeam!" Lorraine followed up.
Rearing out of its defensive posture, Corsola opened its mouth, expelling a stream of super-charged bubbles towards its avian opponent.
"Dodge, Braviary!" Silus cried in desperation.
In turn, Braviary spun and dove out of the path of the bubble jets, taking up its skyward position on the other side of Corsola.
"Braviary, Sky Drop!" Silus screamed.
The large bird swooped down, grabbing the tinier Corsola in its claws and raising it high above the battlefield. Now diving, Braviary slammed Corsola into the ice, surprisingly not breaking it, before swooping up and returning to its place in the skies.
"Good hit." Lorraine applauded sarcastically. "But not good enough. Corsola, use Aqua Ring!"
Getting back into a more defensive pose, Corsola surrounded itself in a spherical veil of water, seemingly recovering from the damage only just incurred by Braviary. Silus gritted his teeth in frustration upon seeing this.
"Now, let's wrap this up! Corsola, use Spike Cannon!" Lorraine declared.
Glowing once more, the Coral Pokémon lashed out with its spike-like projectiles, slamming into their mark for a second time, and sending Braviary crashing into the icy arena.
"Braviary is unable to battle!" the referee announced. "Corsola wins!"
Counting on Gastly
"Looks like I'm two-for-two!" Lorraine declared happily.
Gritting his teeth, Silus returned the fainted Braviary back to its Poké Ball, "You did your best, Braviary. Take a nice nap." he mumbled.
"This is bad." Nathan noted. "Silus has already lost two Pokémon and Lorraine still has one left in her arsenal that is fresh."
"Yes," Clair agreed. "And that Corsola is a very tough Pokémon to boot. Lorraine has trained it very well."
"Well, Silus," Lorraine continued with her taunting. "Do you want to go ahead and give up? There's no shame in quitting a losing battle."
"Like hell!" Silus shot back. "I fought hard to prove to my folks that I could make it to the Hora League. I won't be caught dead giving up! Now, my third choice is Gastly! I choose you!"
Tossing his third and final Poké Ball, the spherical Ghost-type Pokémon materialized on the field in much the same way that Braviary did, floating above the iced over ring thanks to its Levitate.
"Suit yourself." Lorraine sighed with a sly grin. "Corsola, let's end this one early! Spike Cannon!"
For the third time in the battle, Corsola began to glow brightly, launching the spike-like projectiles once again at its ghostly opponent. Silus merely smirked, not bothering to give a command. The spikes whizzed straight through Gastly's gas-like body, doing absolutely no damage in the process.
"Wha-?!" the blue-haired Gym Leader exclaimed, exasperated.
"HA! Silus roared with laughter. "You slipped up, Lorraine. As a Gym Leader you should know the error of your ways, but I'll explain anyways. Spike Cannon is a Normal-type move, and Gastly..."
"...Is a Ghost-type!" Lorraine finished on her own.
"That's right!" Silus agreed, triumphantly. "Now, Gastly, Hypnosis!"
Gastly's abnormally large eyes began to glow a deep crimson red, launching powerful hypnotic waves from the pupils out. For Corsola, who was still reeling from its attack failing, it was too late. The waves struck their mark, causing the Coral Pokémon's eyes to grow, first heavy, and then completely close; making it completely asleep.
"Now you can't use either Iron Defense or Aqua Ring!" Silus declared with gusto.
"Oh no!" Lorraine wailed. "Wake up, Corsola!"
"Finish this up, Gastly!" Silus commanded. "Dream Eater!"
Gastly braced itself, launching a spectral copy of itself which passed straight through the sleeping Corsola, causing the Pokémon to thrash violently in its sleep and then, finally, stop moving altogether, as it was now unconscious.
"Corsola is unable to battle!" the judge declared. "Gastly wins!"
"Aaaalllllright!" Silus leaped in victory.
"Return, Corsola!" Lorraine cried out, doing just that. "Your performance was spectacular. And so, for the final curtain call, I choose Kingler!"
Tossing her Poké Ball, a large crab Pokémon that dwarfed Corsola's tiny figure, while still not comparing to Lapras' size, now stood on the surface of the iced over battle arena. Having only heard of this Pokémon from Jason, Silus fished out his Pokédex for the third time to get a reading.
"Kingler, the Pincer Pokémon and the evolved form of Krabby. Kingler's pincers grow peculiarly large. If it lifts the pincers too fast, it loses its balance and staggers." the Dex reported.
"Hang tight, Gastly!" Silus called out to his Pokémon. "You can do this!"
"Gast!" the energetic Ghost Pokémon replied.
"Kingler and I won't let you have the Arcadia Badge so easily, Silus." Lorraine stomped, clearly peeved by Silus' last victory over Corsola.
"I told you, Lorraine, I'm here to win this!" Silus retorted. "Now, Gastly! Use Will-O-Wisp with Psychic!"
"A combo attack?!" Lorraine exclaimed.
"Looks like Silus is finally going to put his training to the test." Clair remarked from the bleachers.
Gastly ejected five wisps of fire, which began to spin around it violently as it controlled the flames using its Psychic attack. Once they were each at the proper speed, Gastly lifted the disks of spinning flames and launched them directly at Kingler, landing a direct hit. Kingler, initially, seemed unfazed by this.
"Well, now who made the mistake?" Lorraine taunted. "Using a Fire-type move on Kingler was a bad idea."
"Oh was it?" Silus countered.
Lorraine looked confused until she saw what he was talking about. Suddenly, Kingler became engulfed in an inferno, falling to its knees and crying out in pain.
"Oh no, Kingler!" Lorraine squealed.
"Will-O-Wisp burns its target." Silus explained. "Now Kingler will continue to suffer damage."
"That won't be enough to stop us!" Lorraine yelped. "Go, Kingler! Use Crabhammer!"
Kingler's largest claw lit up with white energy as the crab leaped from its spot on the ice and attempted to swing the overgrown appendage at the levitating Ghost-type Pokémon.
"Gastly, stop it with Psychic!" Silus countered.
Eyes glowing blue, Gastly once more applied the Psychic attack, this time causing Kingler to freeze in mid-air, as if held by some invisible crane. It was then launched backwards, slamming down hard into one of the floating platforms that were frozen in place on the arena. As Kingler slowly made its way to its feet, another eruption of flames took it by surprise, causing it to buckle once again.
"OH no!" Lorraine whined. "Not only did he counter us, but the burn is still hurting Kingler too!"
"Time to wrap this up!" Silus declared with a smirk. "Gastly, one more Psychic!"
Gastly once more invoked its psychic powers, lifting the injured Pincer Pokémon off the icy terrain and back into the air, where it offered no resistance. With little more than its mental willpower, the Gas Pokémon sent Kingler careening backwards, slamming it into Lorraine's platform. No longer having the heart to fight, after only one move, Kingler slumped to the ground and fainted.
"Kingler is unable to battle!" the referee announced. "The winner is Gastly, and that means the match goes to the challenger; Silus, from Eden Town!"
"We did it!" Silus leaped high into the air, throwing up a fist to declare his victory. "You were so amazing, Gastly! I'm proud of you!"
Evening had set over Safflower City, and the sun was slowly slipping down behind the horizon. Back inside the Gym's main office, Silus and friends convened with Lorraine after the long Gym match had finally subsided.
"Well, I can't deny it, you are the rightful owner of this Arcadia Badge." Lorraine was saying, handing Silus the tiny pendant.
"Thank you, Lorraine!" Silus chirped, happily taking his new badge and adding it to his badge case along with the other two.
"So, what are your plans now?" the Gym Leader asked, feigning concern.
"Well, I suppose I'm heading off to Diadem City for my next Gym battle." Silus replied. "And Clair is looking for another Contest to compete in."
"Ah! So you're a coordinator as well?" Lorraine asked, turning to Clair.
"I am. I'm attempting to enter Hora's Grand Festival in Dahlia City this year." Clair answered.
"Well, there's no better place to enter a Contest than the one happening in a few days — the Tour de Kardinal!" Lorraine exclaimed.
"Tour de Kardinal?" Silus and Clair asked in unison.
"Indeed, its a spectacular Pokémon Contest, and very different from the standard format, that takes place once every three years in Port Kardinal not far from here. Even I'll be competing! If I were you, I'd head there." Lorraine explained.
"According to this map, Port Kardinal is on our way to Diadem City." Silus explained, looking at his Pokégear. "Why not stop there and compete in the Contest, Clair? Sounds like fun."
"I think that's a fine idea." Clair agreed.
"Well then, good luck to you all. I'll see you at the Tour de Kardinal!" Lorraine waved as the group began to depart.
And so, with his third Hora Gym badge tucked under his belt, Silus sets out for his next Gym battle, while Clair heads for the Tour de Kardinal! What exciting adventures await our heroes as they continue their Pokémon journey? Stay tuned!