Chapter 57: The Lazy Trial Captain
After stopping for the night, The group of five stepped out into bright sunshine at the bottom of the Canyon. Ash stretched his legs, ready for another day.
"Alright guys, today we're going to put a stop to all of this. You guys ready?"
Ash's companions giggled at his enthusiasm, except for Gladion who kept shooting him daggers. Lillie wished he would let it go already.
"Hey, what's the rush? Why don't you just enjoy the sunshine?"
Everyone turned to see a blonde haired woman walking towards them, art supplies in hand. Illima sighed in annoyance.
"Oh, its you. Hello, Mina."
"Oh, Illima, long time no see. What's up?"
"Wait, you two know each other?"
"Unfortunately, yes. This is Mina, a Trial Captain. Not a very good one, though, as she'd rather spend her time painting than think of an actual trial."
Lillie slapped his head for that remark.
"Illima, that's very rude! Sorry Mina, I'm sure he didn't mean it."
"Nah man, its cool. He's right, actually. I've been a trial captain for a month and I still can't think of a good trial. Usually I go for a walk to brainstorm...but once I see a beautiful landscape, I just have to stop and paint it, you know?"
Everyone else nodded, not really knowing what she was talking about.
"Well, it was nice meeting you, but we should really get going."
"Huh? What's the rush? Why not stop to smell the roses?"
The five of them explained the situation as best they could to her, with Mina nodding along to show she was listening.
"Wow, that's rough. Well, the least I can do is offer you some help, so why don't you take this?"
She then placed a light pink Z Crystal into Ash's hand.
"This is a Fairium Z. It'd be the Z Crystal you'd win if I had a trial for you. Trust me, its going to come into handy coming up."
Ash remained silent for a minute before shaking his head.
"Sorry, but I'd rather earn it from you instead of being handed it."
"I see. Well then, I challenge you to a Pokemon battle! If you win, you can have it. Sound good?"
Ash's smile widened.
"Now you're speaking my language! One on one work?"
A few minutes later, they were ready. Ash turned to Pikachu.
"You ready, old pal?"
Pikachu leapt off his shoulder, cheeks sparking ready for battle.
"Alright Mina, hit us with your best shot!"
"Huh? Oh, hold on!"
To their amazement, Mina took off her backpack and began digging through it, looking for her Pokemon.
"Let's see, Pens, paintbrushes, canvases, snack, spare smock..."
Ash sweatdropped, as did Pikachu.
"You've got to be kidding me..."
"Oh, here it is! Go, Ribombee!"
A small, butterfly like creature fluttered about, winking at her opponents. Illima stepped forward to act as the judge.
"Ribombee vs Pikachu, begin!"
"Alright Pikachu, use Thunderbolt!"
"Dodge, then use Pollen Puff."
Ribombee effortlessly fluttered bast the lightning bolt and got in close, releasing a puff of pollen that hit Pikachu, causing him to cough uncontrollably.
"Shake it off, then use Quick Attack!"
Pikachu managed to recover quickly and took off full speed, leaping into the air to strike his opponent.
Just as Pikachu was about to land its attack, the bug let loose a blinding flash, causing Pikachu to lean off course and crash towards the ground.
"Iron Tail, Pikachu!"
Regaining his eyesight, Pikachu swung its tail at Ribombee so fast that the little fairy couldn't possibly dodge, sending it flying into the ground as Pikachu finished his descent. Once the two had picked themselves up, they were both tired, but not ready to back down.
"Alright Mina, time to finish this. Pikachu, use Gigavollt Havoc!"
"Let's him with Twinkle Tackle, Ribombee!"
The two Z Moves clashed in the middle, pink and yellow energy fighting for supremacy until a massive explosion rocked the valley, pushing everyone back. When the dust had settled, Pikachu stood proud, but Ribombee was down for the count. Illima did one final check before making his decision.
"Ribombee is unable to battle! Ash and Pikachu are the winners!"
"Alright, way to go Pikachu!"
Mina smiled as she returned her Pokemon.
"Good job, Ribombee. Take a good long rest."
She then turned and shook Ash's hand and placed the Z Crystal in his hands.
"Good job, Ash. The Fairium Z Crystal is yours."
"Alright, I got a Fairium Z!"
After making preparations for the next leg of their journey, they all said goodbye to Mina.
"Bye Mina, that was a good match. I'll take you on any time."
"Thanks Ash, likewise. Well, off to paint more. Peace!"
They all waved Mina off as she disappeared into the distance, then set off themselves. They had a lot more ground to cover, and every second counts.