Chapter 17: Battle Royal
True to Lana's word, Ash and Ilima were treated to a delicious meal at Mallow's family's restaurant, Mallow all to happy to serve them. While Ilima and Lana were enjoying their food quietly, Ash was shoving food into his face like the world was ending tomorrow.
"Oh man, Mallow, this stuff is amazing!"
Mallow laughed at Ash's appetite.
"Glad you like it! Sorry guys, I'd love to stay and chat some more, but duty calls."
"No problem, Mallow. Catch you at the Royal Avenue tonight?"
"You bet! I wouldn't miss a Battle Royal for the world!"
"What's a Battle Royal?"
Mallow and Lana gaped in shock.
"What? You've never seen a Battle Royal?"
"I've never been to Alola before. What's it like?"
"Oh boy, are you in for a treat."
That night, the four of them headed to the Royal Avenue. To say Ash was surprised by the size of it was an understatement. What he expected to just be a small battle stadium turned out to be a small town, with its own Pokémon center and supermarket.
"Man, this must be a big event."
"Oh you have no idea. The people who organize this go all out."
Ash was quickly ushered into the main battle hall. The lobby was massive, with trainers and spectators alike crowding the hall, trading tips and discussing who will win.
"Hey look, its The Masked Royal!"
Ash turned to see a large muscular masked man signing autographs and giving little kids high fives. The Masked Royal saw them and walked over.
"Hey there! You all looking forward to the Battle Royal?"
"Haven't I seen you somewhere before?"
The Masked Royal did a double take, panicking before answering Ash's question.
"Well, uh, I get that a lot actually. But no, of course not. Trust me, you have no idea who I am underneath this mask."
"Oh, okay. So, what's a Battle Royal?"
The Masked Royal caught his breath, relieved Ash believed him, before shoving his finger in Ash's face.
"Four! Four trainers face off in the ultimate battle to the finish! Its the ultimate free for all where four trainers test their skills against one another, all until one Pokémon remains."
Ash's face lit up in excitement.
"Sweet! I want to give it a try."
The Masked Royal gave a hearty laugh.
"Ten four, I like your spunk! We just need two more to join our free for all."
"Woah, is that The Masked Royal!"
The group turned to see Hau and Sun running towards them.
"No way, I saw him first!"
"Yeah, but I got first dibs on his autograph."
"Woah, woah, easy there fellas. Tell you what, Ash and I were about to have a Battle Royal. Care to join?"
Sun and Hau's faces lit up in excitement.
"Heck yeah! Lets do this!"
"Moon will never believe that I fought The Masked Royal. She'll be so jealous!"
Once more The Masked Royal bellowed out in laughter.
"Great! Our foursome is complete! Come on, we better get registered."
An hour later, all four were on the stage in their respective corners as the MC started the show.
"Good evening, Alola! I'm coming to you from Royal Avenue here on Akala Island to give you all the exciting action, right here on ABC! We've got a good one for you tonight. In the red corner, we have Sun from Pua Town, Melemelee Island!"
A mild amount of applause erupted, Sun waving his cap in appreciation.
"In the yellow corner, we have Hau, Grandson of Kahuna Hala from Iki Town!"
The crowd clapped and cheered, Hau giving his usual cheery grin and wave.
"In the green corner, all the way from Pallet Town in the Kanto region, give it up for Ash Ketchum!"
Although somewhat quieter, the crowd still gave Ash his proper respect, the trainer giving his trademark sign.
"And in the blue corner, give it up for our favorite mystery man, The Masked Royal!"
This time the whole stadium was in an uproar, whoops and cheers echoing all around as the masked man waved his arms.
"Alright, let's go over the rules for any newbies out there. Unlike a regular battle, our 4 trainers are going all out against each other till one is left standing. For this battle, each trainer will use one Pokémon and only one Pokémon. Once our referee have declared a Pokémon unable to battle, that trainer is out of the match and any attempt to interfere with the battle afterwards will result in a permanent ban from future events. The winner is the last Pokemon standing. Does everyone understand and agree to these terms?"
The four nodded, eyes lit with determination.
"Then lets get ready to BATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
"Lets go Rockruff!"
"Pikachu, I choose you!"
"Dartrix, its our time to shine!"
"Brionne, light up the night!"
The four Pokémon burst out of their Pokeballs, ready to fight.
"Rockruff, start things off with Rockthrow on Dartrix!"
"Water Gun, Brionne!"
The stage was a lit with a barrage of attacks. The Masked Royal's Rockruff shot out large rocks at Dartrix, who while taking some hits managed to evade most and countered with leaf blade right to the forehead. Brionne flopped to Dartrix's aid, hitting Rockruff with a blast of water...
Only to receive a painful jolt of electricity, groaning in pain and forced to end its assault. Even after the electricity had stopped, static sparked along its body, signifying it was paralyzed.
"What an explosive start! While Pikachu is untouched, Brionne is Paralyzed! Even if it can move, it definitely wont be moving very fast."
"We can still win. Brionne, use Bubble Beam!"
"Hit him with a Volt Tackle, Pikachu!"
"Rockruff, hit Dartrix with a Rock Tomb!"
Before Hau could even issue a command, a rain of rocks fell down on poor Dartrix, encasing him completely before exploding. When the light faded, Dartrix was out cold.
"Dartrix is unable to battle! Pokémon Trainer Hau is out of the match."
"Incredible! Not even two minutes into the match and The Masked Royal has already knocked Hau out! But three Pokémon remain, and from the looks of it this battle is far from over."
Although upset from losing, Hau kept a brave face as he returned Dartrix to its Pokeball.
"Good job, Dartrix. You deserve a good long rest."
Meanwhile, the battle raged on. Popplio managed to struggle through its Paralysis enough to hit Rockruff with a burst of bubbles...
Only to be rammed with an electrically charged Pikachu, sending it into the arena wall. It landed with a thud, out cold.
"Brionne is unable to battle! Pokémon trainer Sun is out of the match!"
"Two down, two to go folks. Who will prevail, Pikachu or Rockruff?"
The two Pokémon circled each other, panting heavily and not able to take much more.
"Pikachu, finish this with Iron Tail!"
The two charged each other, barred teeth meeting glowing tail clashing in the middle in a huge explosion. When the dust settled, Pikachu was barely standing, but Rockruff had collapsed, out for the count. For a second there was nothing but stunned silence before the referee made the call.
"Rockruff is unable to battle! The winner is Ash from Pallet Town!"
"Incredible, folks! Lets give it for our winner, ASSSSSSSSSSSSSH KEEEEEEEEEETCHUUUUUM!"
The stadium filled with roars and cheers, Ash just modestly basking in the glory as The Masked Royal walked up to him.
"Woo! Haven't had a battle that fun in a long time. Way to go, Ash!"
"Thanks, Mr. Royal. So, who's behind the mask?"
"Sorry, kid. Closely guarded secret."
Later that night, Professor Kukui sat in his motel room, talking on the phone to Professor Burnett.
"Oh man, really? Well that sucks, Lillie thought she might get some answers about Nebby. Oh well, let me know if anything changes. Right, goodnight. Love you, too."
After hanging up he went to turn off the light, leaving a very familiar mask lying in the closet.