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Old 10-06-2013, 08:37 PM   #16
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The two powerhouses were still battling. On one side was Jules, the Bouffalant he’d gotten from none other than Tess of the Elite Five, a remarkable specimen in his own right and one of Levin’s most precious Pokemon. His greatest attribute was his charm, but he was a fierce battler in his own right, and was even able to perform one of the strongest moves known to this day – Giga Impact. On the other side was Gaius, the very first Pokemon Levin obtained since embarking on his journey with Min. Ever since hatching from a special Egg during an Easter event, raising the dragon had been anything but easy: at first he was childish and utterly careless, and as he grew, his personality changed to become proud, arrogant and self-centered… much like Levin himself. And since he became powerful enough to transform into Gabite, on that fateful day when he battled Rojo for the first time, Gaius’s ego had only grown larger, in proportion to his substantial power gain.

Although the fight had been going on for a while, Jules charged forward once more showing no signs of fatigue, gathering as much Strength as possible to try and finally knock Gaius out. The land shark remained motionless until the very last second, before swiftly grazing his claw against the ground and kicking up dirt and sand right into the Bouffalant’s eyes; the Sand Attack caught the rampaging Jules off guard, making him change his course slightly and narrowly miss Gaius. When the buffalo was forced to stop to try and clear his vision, the Gabite saw his opening and lunged forward, slashing away at Jules with Dragon Claw and forcing it to move out of range to regroup.

Apparently having had enough of his opponent’s tactics, Jules then turned around to face Gaius dead in the eye, Leering at him to let him know he’s serious now. Gaius flinched slightly at the sight of the angered Bouffalant, but quickly regained his composure and took a step forward, accepting Jules’s challenge for a head-on attack. The quadruped huffed and began to gallop right in Gaius’s direction once more, picking up speed as it gathered all of his remaining energy for his final strike; an impressive aura of translucent energy began to surround him as he sped up, making the ground tremble beneath his hooves: Giga Impact was coming!
Gaius, in turn, started to focus on his own move, summoning his native energy to create an ethereal blue glow around him, before dashing right at the incoming Jules! The energy surrounding him soon took the shape of a massive dragon’s head, signifying thatDragon Rush was the maneuver chosen by Gaius to counter the Bouffalant’s ultimate technique.

Levin couldn’t react fast enough; when the two opponents collided, the resulting shockwave was strong enough to young man off his feet, making him land hard on his back. While he forced himself to shrug off the pain and get back to his feet, he looked at the aftermath of the collision – all grass in the surrounding area had been incinerated, the ground below filled with cracks and small fissures; Gaius lied on the ground panting, while Jules remained standing. Refusing to stay down, the Gabite stabbed its claws in the soil and slowly pulled himself back up; seeing the opponent wide open for one last attack, Jules reared his head and prepared to ram once again… but his legs were wobbly and unresponsive, the well-known side effect of the devastating Giga Impact. Unable to move, the Bouffalant could only watch as Gaius grinned, before arching his head back and belching a stream of blue flames that engulfed him; the Dragon Rage proved too much for Jules to withstand as, when the fire subsided, the herbivore collapsed to the side, knocked out.

Incredible. He withstood a point-blank Giga Impact and still won the match…

Levin felt terribly conflicted. Gaius had become unstoppable since evolving into Gabite all that time ago, and although his arrogance had reached new heights, his pride was precisely the fuel that made him invincible. What would happen if Levin suddenly told him that the very match that brought about his transformation had been rigged? Would his spirit crumble? Would he even forgive him?...

No, I have to do this. No matter what happens, even if he loses his drive, I owe him and Rojo the truth… And if he really is as similar to me as I think, he’ll bounce back and become even more fierce, I know he will!

He approached the combatants, patted Jules on his impeccable afro and recalled him into his ball. Min would have some work to do later… He then turned to Gaius and motioned for him to come close. They’d been together for so long now that most interactions between them no longer required words… But this would.

- Well done, that was a great fight! You really… no, who am I kidding, you know this isn’t me. Look Gaius, there’s something I need to tell you. It’s about… your battle with Rojo at Pompas that one night.

The Gabite had been standing in silence, head slightly tilted to the side as he feigned interest – it was scary how he’d even picked up Levin’s mannerisms. But at the mention of the greatest battle in his life, his yellow eyes widened and he stood straight.

- It was an amazing confrontation, and I know it changed your life; you became what you are today because of that battle. But… you have to understand, my priority was recapturing Rojo…

He was staggering; Gaius would see right through him anyway. He had to get to the point with a straight face if he still hoped to preserve any fraction of respect the dragon might still have for him in the end.

- It wasn’t a clean victory Gaius. I’m so sorry... Krem was my failsafe that day, and he secretly laid a number of Toxic Spikes in the sand during the struggle… When you found that last opening to put Rojo away, he was under the effect of a powerful poison.

Gaius said nothing, but Levin knew exactly what he was thinking. The only question was what effect this revelation would have on the dragon’s loyalty. After a long while, none of them uttering a word, the Gabite walked right past him in silence, a raging fire in his eyes that Levin hadn’t seen since the upset draw he’d suffered against a Panpour at Cloud Garden, well over a year ago.

Levin followed his dragon at a safe distance; the harm had been done, and he realized Gaius needed time to mull it over, but at the same time he feared for what the Gabite would do in this angered state. But much to his surprise, all the land shark did was walk over to the lone Druddigon, sharpening his claws on a large tree trunk, and stood right in front of him, immobile. Rojo, surprised at first, glanced at Levin and soon realized what’d happened. For the briefest of moments, the young man felt as if Rojo smiled at him in acknowledgement for his decision, but the dragon turned back around so quickly to face Gaius that it might’ve been merely an illusion. Considering Rojo’s particular character, it’d probably been just that.

Gaius just wants to set the record straight… Even if he just battled Jules. Not knowing if he can defeat Rojo in a clean fight would eat him up otherwise…

He kneeled down and opened his backpack. Rummaging through its contents, few as they were (as he tended to keep most of his belongings in a trunk inside the house), he pulled out a can of Lemonade and tossed it at Gaius. The dragon looked at the offer with disdain, but reasoned it was the best way to make sure neither of them started with an unfair advantage - Rojo would also prefer to fight him at full strength if this was to settle the score for good. He consumed the beverage and, feeling refreshed, adopted his usual fighting stance.

El Rojo growled and prepared to battle as well. Levin knew he’d been seething for the opportunity to clash with Gaius again and make things right, and not even the Saffron City-native, with his innate ability to gauge potential, could tell who was truly the strongest at this point. Though if their previous encounter was any indication, where Rojo held the upper hand even after Gaius evolved only to be conquered by Krem’s poison, then perhaps the Druddigon was still a notch above the Gabite.

Being the most feral and less-disciplined of the two, Rojo wasted no time making the first move: gathering energy in his recently-sharpened claws, he charged right at Gaius, looking to hit a Sheer Force-boosted Crush Claw. The Gabite, in turn, lunged at Rojo with his own claws glowing bright blue. The two attacks clashed, claws connecting with one another and nullifying the opponent’s strike, but Gaius was quicker on the follow-up and breathed a close-range Dragon Rage blast that hit Rojo dead-on, making him roar in pain. Relentless, the land shark looked to keep up the pressure and lunged forward with an Iron Head, but the tough-skinned Druddigon recovered too quickly and countered with a lightning-fast Sucker Punch, knocking Gaius back a couple of feet.

Like I thought, they’re evenly matched when in peak condition. Last time, on top of the poison, Rojo had already gone through a fight with Baal…

Gaius smirked. After the initial frustration of having been lied to, he was now too caught up in the heat of battle to care anymore; Rojo was the only one that could get him fired up like that, possibly because, other than Mazo (who had serious reservations about ever fighting at full strength), nobody else on the team could come close to the Gabite’s level of strength at the moment.

The two dragons charged at each other again; Rojo spun around looking to hit Gaius with Aqua Tail, but the nimbler opponent leaped over and Slashed the Druddigon across the face. Angered, Rojo grabbed the smaller dragon with his huge claws and fired a point-blank Dragon Pulse that exploded on impact; when he let go, Gaius tumbled to the ground, writhing in pain. Now towering over his fallen opponent, the prodigious Druddigon wasted little time in putting his deadliest weapons to use again, paying Gaius back for the earlier Slash with a vicious flurry of Cuts, striking the downed Gabite repeatedly and opening him up in several places before finally letting go. Then, in a surprising decision, he stepped away from Gaius and simply waited for him to get back up.

Wrong move, Rojo…

The absolute worst thing one could do to Gaius was be condescending toward him. It infuriated him more than anything else, the humiliation of someone going easy on him out pity or mockery; again, a feeling Levin knew all too well and despised just as much as his partner.

Battered and bloodied, but far from beaten, Gaius struggled back to his feet and threw Rojo a stare so filled with murderous intent that one could mistake it for an actual Glare attack. Pupils narrowed, he roared as the yellow of his iris glowed brightly, followed by a rumbling… and the splitting of earth all around him! Fissures spread from the place where Gaius stood, and spikes of rock and soil protruded from the ground in a straight line toward Rojo, the Earth Power summoned by Gaius reshaping the battlefield as it grew in intensity. Surprised, and seeing no other means of escape, the Druddigon clawed his way underground and hopefully out of range with Dig, narrowly dodging the stalagmites that threatened to impale him. Gaius, however, refused to give Rojo the same breathing room he’d afforded him moments ago, and immediately Dug after him as well. And for a moment, everything went strangely quiet while the two dragons took their fight to the depths of the earth.

Suddenly, Levin felt something bump against his leg. Looking down, he saw Syre. Usually reserved and preferring to watch the grown-up dragons from afar, after their initial rejection that scarred him deeply, it must’ve taken him every ounce of courage to put aside his hurt pride, walk over to his Trainer and request to watch the battle.

- Hey buddy. Stay close to me, alright? These two aren’t playing games anymore. Think you’ll be able to beat them one day?

Syre looked offended at the question, but quickly realized Levin was simply trying to motivate him. He nodded vigorously and eagerly waited to see Rojo and Gaius resurface. So did Levin.
They didn’t have to wait much longer. The ground beneath their feet began to shake again, and soon afterwards, in a deafening explosion of stone and dirt, the fighters reappeared, mindlessly clawing at each other, their eyes glowing blue as opposed to their usual yellow. They went into Outrage while underground?!

Rojo and Gaius were fully immersed in the struggle, slashing away at the opponent, neither bothering to dodge; being the bulkier of the two, the Druddigon seemed to be in better shape, while Gaius sported even more cuts and gashes than before, but they didn’t seem to be slowing him down at all. They continued their barrage of unguarded strikes for an incredible amount of time, until finally, the expected backlash occurred – almost simultaneously, each dragon stopped fighting, dropped his arms panting and seemingly went into a sort of trance. Powerful as it was, Outrage had the inconvenient side effect of exhausting the user so much, he was temporarily unable to focus back on the match. And right now, the winner would most likely be the one that got back to his senses faster.

Just then, one more spectator came to join Levin and Syre. Landing on her Trainer’s head, Dolce the Swablu looked on, concerned for her good friend Gaius’s well-being. It was no secret the tiny blue dragon-to-be nurtured special feelings for the Gabite, and to see him in such a state couldn’t be easy. Levin reassured Dolce as best he could, but in his heart, he doubted Gaius would pull through; Rojo was still the superior fighter, if only by a narrow margin.

And, confirming his suspicions, the Druddigon was indeed the first to snap out of his confusion. Grabbing the still-entranced Gaius by the throat and lifting him off the ground, El Rojo was determined to put an end to the battle and rivalry once and for all. The claws on his free hand glowed ominously and grew in size, signaling one last Crush Claw to put the opponent away for good. But just as he started to swing, the haze vanished from Gaius’s eyes, and they once more shone with a familiar fire; quickly opening his mouth, the Gabite released a blue orb of energy inches away from Druddigon’s face, much like the opponent had done in the early goings of the match, and the ensuing blast sent both dragons flying in opposite directions and crashing down to the floor. This time however, Rojo got the worst of it, and it was Gaius that got back to his feet first.

No way…

Something felt different about the land shark. Naturally, he was still bleeding, most likely hurting, but he was no longer breathing heavily, panting like before; instead, he seemed to be completely at peace, as if no harm had been inflicted on him, all inner conflicts resolved; he stood straight, stoic, unreadable for the briefest of moments, until finally his body was engulfed in a familiar light.
Rojo, still on the ground, could only watch as the miracle happened once again in front of his eyes. He’d bore witnessed to Gaius’s first transformation that night when they first fought, and now…

The dragon’s frame, glowing brightly, grew to become taller than Levin’s; his fins became sharper, deadlier, and his body slimmer and more agile. When the wondrous light faded, the Gabite was gone; in his place, a majestic roared triumphantly.

Syre’s eyes widened and Dolce cheered her dearest friend on; Levin said nothing, this time out of sheer disbelief. After so long, after all the hardships, losses, arguments and roadblocks, Gaius had become a Garchomp and the cornerstone of his team.

The Druddigon, refusing to take it lying down, found his way back to his feet, tapping into the last shreds of energy he had left. Growling defiantly, he dashed towards the opponent, looking to close the distance between them and fight at close range, where he felt the most comfortable; flames surrounding his fist, he took a swing at Gaius… who dodged effortlessly.
The Garchomp then let out a mighty scream, and as if possessed by an eerie spell, the dirt and debris all across the battlefield began to float and then spin around the two dragons; breaking into progressively smaller fragments due to the centrifugal force, the swirling winds became filled with sand-like particles, effectively transforming into a Sandstorm that pelted away at Rojo’s skin, hard as it was, causing him added discomfort. Sensing the urgency in ending the fight, the spiky dragon moved in for an Iron Tail, then another, and another… not a single one finding its mark, as Gaius seemed to vanish through each swing, practically an illusion in the storm.

Sand Veil…

Exhausted, frustrated and without a single ounce of energy left, Rojo fell to his knees, breathing heavily, unable to fight off the nagging sands and with no way to secure a single hit on his opponent. Gaius slowly approached; this time, it was him towering over his foe. Rojo cast him one last defiant glare, and the Garchomp decided to finish things with a move worthy of his opponent. Focusing his native draconian energy from within, he fired a single golden sphere high into the air. Soon after, an explosion of orange light filled the sky, and a multitude of energy bolts came crashing down, homing in on the defenseless Rojo. Blast after blast, the Draco Meteor shower forced Levin to run for cover, taking Syre and Dolce with him as the entire field was razed. And when the dust settled and Levin turned around again, he saw the Druddigon collapsed on the crater-filled ground, motionless, and Gaius standing over him unharmed. A fitting end for a phenomenal opponent indeed, and at long last, the score was settled.

Trainer and Pokemon met at the center of the battlefield, and Levin held out his hand.

- Congratulations Gaius. You finally made it… I’m so sorry I had to put you through all this. For once, this wasn’t part of any intricate plan at all, it was just… poor judgment on my part. Can you forgive me?

Gaius the Garchomp, for the first time in his life standing taller than his Trainer, looked down at Levin with his deep, imposing golden eyes, saying nothing… but finally touched Levin’s hand with his own claw, agreeing to making amends. After all, despite having kept the truth from him for so long, Levin was still ultimately the reason he was able to have grown this much. He owed Levin just as much as Levin owed him, and they’d been together for so long that there was no way he couldn’t forgive him. Levin didn’t need words, telepathy or auras to know that this was how the Garchomp felt, and smiled at the dragon as he held his claw.

- Thank you so much, my friend. Now… I think we need to find you your next challenge!

Gaius and Levin grinned simultaneously. The young man and his Garchomp, both filled with unbridled ambition since they could remember, were just getting started. And with a new pecking order established, it meant that everyone else in the team would have to work that much harder to knock the new champion off his hard-earned throne. Interesting times were ahead for sure.

Last edited by MarbleZone; 10-07-2013 at 10:45 AM.
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