Chapter 93: The Next Round
Matches continued for the next two days, each one longer than the last. Finally, the final match of round 1 came, Sina vs Dexio. Both were down to their last Pokemon: Mareanie vs Mimikyu.
"Mimikyu, use Shadow Claw!"
"Poison Sting, Mareanie!"
Mareanie let loose a bombardment of poison particles, which were easily swatted away by Mimikyu's ethereal claws before slashing away at the Water type.
"Poison Jab, Mareanie!"
Barely finding an opening, Mareanie used one of her hair like appendages to swat Mimikyu away, damaging it greatly due to it being part Fairy Type. Realizing this back and forth was getting them nowhere, both Sina and Dexio decided to end it the best way they knew how.
"Alright Mareanie, use Acidic Downpour!"
"Never Ending Nightmare, Mimikyu!"
The area around the two began to grow dark as large, ghostly hands emerged from the ground, ready to pull Mareanie down to her doom. Mareanie wasn't scared, jumping up as a pool of poison formed underneath Mimikyu leapt up, Shadow Claws at the ready, only to be smacked back down by a Water Gun, landing in the poisonous swamp with a small explosion. When the dust had settled, Mimikyu was out cold.
"Mimikyu is unable to battle! The round goes to Mareanie, and the battle goes to Dexio!"
The crowd cheered wildly as Sina returned her Mimikyu with a small smile.
"Good job, Mimikyu. Get a good rest."
Once the cheering had died down, the announcer turned on the intercom.
"That concludes round 1! After a 30 minute intermission, the bracket for the next round will be announced. Stay tuned for more details."
A few minutes later, the two of them met in a dark corner of the stadium, shedding their disguises briefly.
"Sorry, Jesse, but we both-"
"Stow it James, you have nothing to apologize for. We both agreed to go all out, and you did exactly that. You and Mareanie did an excellent job."
James smiled, happy to know that she wasn't sour with him. His smile quickly disappeared, however, when she grabbed him by the collar and pulled him close, growling through gritted teeth:
"But if you think you can slack off now, think again bub. You'd better win, or else."
Frightened, James nodded, and Jesse let go of his shirt as he tumbled to the ground.
"Now go. Its almost time for the bracket for the next round to be announced."
James scurried off, hastily putting his disguise back on in time before reaching the arena. A few of his fellow competitors gave him odd looks before turning their attention to the screen.
"Alright, thank you all for waiting so patiently. Here are the brackets for round 2!"
Everyone turned as the big screen hummed to life, displaying the results:
Ash Ketchum vs Max Maple
Gladion vs Sun
The Masked Royal vs Dexio
David vs Richard
Max's eyes went wide with fright
"What? I have to battle Ash so soon? Oh man, this is not good..."
But Ash wasn't worried, just placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"Guess we'll have that battle sooner than we thought, huh Max?"
Max smiled, put at ease a little bit by Ash's words.
"Yeah, I guess so. But don't think I'm gonna go easy on you!"
"Heh, you better not. I want us to go all out!"
"The second round starts tomorrow. Good luck to our final 8!"
Later that night, Max was out on a small hill, training his Gardevoir and Mightyena.
"Gardevoir, use Moonblast! Mightyena, dodge and use Poison Fang!"
Gardevoir concentrated deeply, sending a ball of energy at Mightyena, who leapt out of the way before trying to bite down on her arm, but she teleported behind him before dealing a swift kick to the back of his head, causing him to grunt in pain. He went for the same attack again, this time landing the bite on her arm, which caused her to cringe before shaking him loose.
"Good work, you two."
After giving Gardevoir an Antidote for her Poison, Ash returned the two. Before turning in for the night, Max sat down on a rocky cliff and gazed up at the moon, tomorrow's match weighing heavily on his mind.
"You'd better watch out, Ash. I'm coming for you..."
The action began anew the next day, with Ash and Max being the first match Before the referee was ready, the two of them had a small talk.
"Good luck, Max. Remember, no holding back!"
"You as well, and don't worry, I won't. But just remember, you asked for it!"
At last, the referee stepped forward, flags in hand.
"Alright, this round will use the same rules as the first: Three on three, no time limit. However, there will be no substitutions. Each Pokemon must battle until it cannot any longer. Are both trainers ready?"
"I'm ready. You, Max?"
"I was born ready!"
"Then let the match begin!"