Chapter 87: Rivals to the End
"Trumbeak, use Rock Blast!"
"Crabdominable, use Ice Hammer!"
The frozen yeti-like Pokemon swung its arm hard, aiming to knock his opponent out of the sky. But Trumbeak was too fast, effortlessly dodging it before bombarding its opponent with pebbles stored in its beak, knocking it out for the count. Despite this, Ash's opponent took his defeat in stride.
"Good job, Crabdominable. Take a good long rest."
After returning his Pokemon, he walked over and shook Ash's hand.
"Good game, Ash. Good luck in the rest of the tournament."
"Thanks, Lyle. This time, I'm gonna win it!"
Ash watched Lyle walk away before turning his attention to his Petal case, adding the newest additions to his collection.
"4 down, three to go. We're almost there, buddy!"
"Well then, want to make it an even seven?"
Ash turned to see, to his surprise...
"Long time no see, Ash."
"I didn't know you were competing in the tournament. I thought you had given up competitive battling."
"I had, but seeing you again reignited my passion, so I signed up. I wanted to wait until the finals, but Its been real quiet lately. So...how about it? Three of mine in exchange for three of yours?"
Ash smiled. Nothing like a trip down memory lane.
"You're on, old friend."
A few minutes later, everything was set, Ash and Gary standing far enough apart for their Pokémon to do battle.
"You ready, Ash?"
"Ready to win. You release your Pokémon first!"
"Sounds good to me. Go, Blastoise!"
"Croconaw, I choose you!"
Gary quirked an eyebrow at Ash's choice.
"So Totodile evolved, huh? Not bad, but let's see how he fares. Blastoise, hit him with Skull Bash!"
"Catch him with Superpower, then throw him!"
Croconaw stood firm, catching the massive turtle before it could ram him (but not before being pushed back by the momentum), then slamming it onto the ground and sending it skidding away. Blastoise got up quickly, however, ready for more.
"Hydro Pump, Blastoise!"
"You too, Croconaw!"
Nodding, the two summoned the biggest burst of water they could manage, Croconaw from his mouth and Blastoise from his massive cannons. The two streams battled for control briefly, before dying out as the two battlers lost the energy to maintain them. Once they had their strength back up, the battle resumed.
"Blastoise, hit him with Rapid Spin!"
"Deflect it with Aqua Tail, Croconaw!"
"Don't let that stop you, Blastoise! Keep at it!"
Despite Croconaw's best efforts, Blastoise kept coming, pinballing off trees and rocks to gain momentum and power. Finally, Croconaw slipped, and got hit head on, sending it stumbling to Ash's side of the field.
"Croconaw, are you alright?"
"Alright buddy, keep it up!"
"You too, Blastoise! Hit him with Hydro Pump!"
"Double Team, Croconaw!"
Gaining its bearings, Croconaw quickly summoned a swarm of doppelgangers, Blastoise's attack passing harmlessly through one of them. This got Gary fired up.
"Keep at it, Blastoise! One of them has to be the real one!"
Grunting, Blastoise oblidged, shooting them down one by one until there was only one left.
"This is it, Blastoise!" Finish him!"
Confident, the giant tortoise created the largest burst of water he could muster and fired, a tremendous torrent headed straight for Croconaw. However...
"Flash Cannon, Croconaw!"
Acting immediately, Croconaw shot forth a great burst of metallic energy, meeting the Hydro Pump in the middle to create a giant explosion that rocked the battlefield. Once the attacks settled, a large dust cloud shrouded everything.
"Aqua Jet, Croconaw!"
By the time Blastoise could see his enemy, Croconaw was already upon it, hitting him dead on.
"Don't give up, Blastoise! Hit him with Brick Break!"
"You too, Croconaw!"
Not ready to give in just yet, both sides attempted to punch the other, their arms locking in the middle as they battled for control. For minutes, the two stood there trying to overpower the other, staring intently as they slowly increased the hold they had. But then, Croconaw started glowing, growing bigger and stronger as Blastoise began to feel overpowered. Once the glowing died down, a Feraligatr stood in its place.
"Sweet! Croconaw evolved into Feraligatr!"
"Yeah, well he's still no match for us! Blastoise, use Focus Blast!"
"Use Superpower, Feraligatr!"
Before Blastoise could charge up his attack, Feraligatr tightened his grip, blocking it before it could even get under way as Blastoise seethed in pain.
"Now finish him off with Hydro Pump!"
His foe now unable to escape, Feraligatr charged up a massive Hydro Pump before letting it all out, sending Blastoise flying before hitting a tree, down for the count.
Gary smiled before returning him to his Pokeball.
"Good job, old friend. Take a good long rest."
"You too, Feraligatr. You earned it, buddy."
After returning their Pokemon, the two met in the middle of the battlefield, where Gary handed over his petals.
"Congratulations, Ash. Looks like you still have it."
"Come on, was there ever any doubt?"
"Yes, very much so."
"You stay out of this!"
The three of them had a good laugh, falling to the ground as they tried to calm down. Once they had, they took note that it had become nighttime, the full moon hanging directly overhead.
"Huh. That battle sure did take a long time."
"I'll say. Huh, full moon tonight. Just like all those years ago, right Ash?"
"You know it. Hard to believe its been so long..."
Gary stood up, stretching his legs.
"Well, I'm gonna try to squeeze in one more battle tonight. Need to make up for all those petals I just gave ya."
"What? But I thought-"
"Come on, did you really think I'd bet them all on just one battle? Old Gary always has one trick left up his sleeve."
Ash grinded his teeth in frustration.
"Yeah, well don't get too confident! We'll settle this in the stadium!"
"I wouldn't have it any other way. Smell ya later!"
Ash watched Gary disappear into the night. Despite it all, he couldn't help but smile.
"Good old Gary. Come on buddy, lets get some sleep. First thing tomorrow, we head for the stadium."
"You said it."