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Old 06-14-2014, 10:20 PM   #23
MarbleZone
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- Slow down Bjorn, it's not like we're getting there faster if we run...

A blue-haired man followed an excited Squirtle across Sapphire Island. Fizzy Bubbles wasn't their destination, just a stop along the way to Asbel to get supplies.

Good thing I don't need TMs.

Kayl Kessler, battling prodigy from Illa, was on a journey to find his love for battle. Undefeated throughout his entire career, he'd forfeited the match against Champion Gottfried out of complete disinterest, having lost the drive to fight. His father, ashamed by his son's lack of passion, kicked him out of home with nothing but the family's Squirtle to keep him company, and sent him to the land of Asbel, where the best of the best are said to gather, in hopes Kay would regain his fighting spirit.

The youngster didn't protest; he was certain nobody in that new world would be able to beat him either, defeating the purpose of this journey, but he had nothing better to do anyway. Might was well knock around some of Asbel's best to prove his point and go back home to show his father.

His Squirtle was far more enthusiastic. Whereas Kayl spent most of his time in utter apathy these days, Bjorn was smug, boisterous and loved nothing more than to fight - something he didn't get to do often as the family's pet since the days of patriarch Bjorn Kessler (who he got his name from). When he was told to accompany Kayl to Asbel, the Land of Battles, he was naturally ecstatic.

How'd we end up here? We were supposed to be in Cloud Island, not Sapphire Island dammit. Incompetent Fizzyan Airlines...

As much as he hated to go out of his way, they'd have to ask for directions. And since the only house in sight was a Treetop Base not far to the North, that's where they were going.

---

Levin sat at home deep in thought. Life had been great lately - outbidding Corvus for ownership of Oro, all the Fighting-Type Pokemon ripe qwith potential he'd been hatching at the Egg House... His dream team was close to completion! Only targets missing were an elusive Meditite, the incredibly rare Chimchar and Deino and a bird Pokemon from the far-away region of Kalos - but according to his research, Fletchling sightings had been reported in Fizzy Bubbles very recently, leading experts to believe that a slight change in their migration routes might bring the species to the region permanently.

However, his recent successes had brought about a problem: he couldn't train all of his new partners at an acceptable rate. There was a massive gap in ability between Pokemon like Syre or Mazo and ones like Rook or Aya, who he barely found time to raise! Cygna the Swanna was a great help in those cases, tirelessly training the newer members of the team to partially offset the recent lack of fighting opportunities. She'd been especially devoted to educating Rook, a Rhyhorn with immense thrist for knowledge who lived tormented by his own intellectual limitations. But no matter how much mental training a Pokemon received, nothing came close to the experience attained in battles, and those had been alarmingly scarce as of late...

A familiar sound snapped him out of his trance - Basker, his beloved Arcanine, was barking by the window, something he rarely did since evolving. Something had roused his curiosity. Levin got up and looked outside; there was someone approaching the house.

- Come on boy, let's go see who it is.

Man and hound left the house and approached the strangers. As they drew closer, Levin began started to wonder... Where have I seen that face before?
A blue-haired man around his age, accompanied by a rare Pokemon - a Squirtle, an unusual sight in Fizzy Bubbles. Levin was sure this was the first time they met, and somehow... he looked familiar...

- Hello there. You lost?

Kayl took a while to reply. He'd already spotted Levin when he walked out of the house, but couldn't be bothered to approach him; turned out the blonde man came to him instead.

- I guess... I'm not from around these parts. I could use pointers to the nearest port.

Levin raised an eyebrow. Was this guy fresh out of bed or what?...

- It's a ways from here, friend. Where you headed?

- ... Asbel.

Something clicked in the Saffron-native 's head. If this guy was headed to the Land of Battle, it could only mean one thing...

- You're a Trainer then? No reason to head there for anything else really... Not much else to do over there, from what I hear.

---

This guy was already getting on his nerves. What business was it of his? Three minutes into this conversation and he was already tired of him.

- If you're not going to tell me the way, I can find it myself.

He walked past the blonde man and motioned for Bjorn to follow... but the Squirtle didn't move. Kayl turned around, surprised; Bjorn was facing Levin with that glimmer in his eyes... this wasn't good.

Don't take the bait, you idiot... I'm not in the mood for this...

---

The Squirtle was looking straight at him; he got it. If only his Trainer was half as passionate...

- You know where I'm going with this, don't you?

He turned to Kayl with a smirk.

- A few of my Pokemon could use some experience in battle. If you're headed to Asbel yourself, maybe some sparring will do you some good as well. Tell you what... if you beat me, I'll point you in the right direction.

Kayl stood in silence for a moment, and finally smiled back.

- Might as well... But please go easy on me, my journey's only just started.

---

This one, anyway. You have no idea what you're up against.

Since the blonde Trainer still hadn't recognized him, the guy was about to make the biggest mistake of his career. Kayl just wanted to get this over with, so he'd have to trounce him and hit the road; they'd wasted enough time as it was already.

- One on one then?

- That's amateur stuff. If you wanna make it in the big leagues out there in Asbel, nothing short of 3 on 3 will do. Ready to begin?

Kayl smirked. "Make it in the big leagues"... This man really had no clue.

---

Levin picked a Premier Ball from his belt. If he was going up against a newbie, all the better; he was free to give his less-used Pokemon a spin. This one would do fine for starters.

- Let's do this, Aya!

The Mienfoo emerged from her Ball and adopted her preferred stance, ready to put together another work of art.

Kayl watched, thoroughly unimpressed, and nonchalantly picked his Pokemon in response.

- Scyther.

A green mantis with razor sharp sickles materialized in front of the Illa-native, ready to fight. Levin frowned; a terrible match-up from the get-go. At least his opponent had some knowledge of Type effectiveness.

- Good to see you know your way around! Never did get your name though...

---

The only shred of fun he was having from all of this was how his opponent failed to recognize him. If he gave away his identity now, there'd been nothing else to keep him amused.

- Bryan.

- I'm Levin Sanders. I don't expect you to know me, being an outsider, but I hope I can teach you a couple of things.

Kayl couldn't hold back a faint grin at those words. He raised a hand; enough talking.

- Double Team, Air Slash, Swords Dance if it's still up.

What?!

Before either Levin or Aya could react, they found themselves facing not one but four Scyther, surrounding the startled Mienfoo. The combination of Double Team with the move that followed proved deadly, as invisible blades of air slashed Mienfoo from unseen angles, again and again, unable to be traced back to the original Scyther. When the wind died down, Aya fell to her knees, barely conscious.

- Ugh, still breathing.

Dutifully, Scyther and his three clones waved their sword arms about, spinning in place and channeling extra power into the blades. Levin could only watch as the three-move combo all but sealed the fate of the match, before he could so much as issue a single instruction.

There's no way... no way this guy's a rookie!

- Aya, hang in there! We're not beat yet, I know you can do it! Remember what Mazo taught you, it's not just about what you can see. You can sense him, can't you? Go get him, Dual Chop as they're dancing, get the real one!

Struggling to regain her footing, Aya winced in pain but nodded. Taking advantage of the opening provided by the Swords Dance, she closed her eyes for a moment and quickly dashed to her left; each of her paws covered in blue energy, she hit a palm thrust with her right hand, causing a clone to fade, and grinned as she drove her left palm right into the abdomen of the real Scyther!

She's sensitive to Aura, and Mazo's training has taken her gift a step further...

Before she could follow up the successful hit with another move, Scyther flew above her head and landed directly behind her. Kayl issued a new string of commands and hoped this would be it, he was growing bored of this Mienfoo.

- Run circles around it, Slash on every opening.

A famous strategy best employed by swift swordsmen, Scyther dashed around Aya almost too quickly for her eyes to follow; the deadly green blur kept running in circles around her until she started to feel dizzy, and the second her guard lowered Scyther was onto her like a predator; swinging his arm, he Slashed her in the shoulder and resumed its running, biding his time for another opening.

If this keeps up she's as good as gone! Dammit, it won't stand still! Unless...

There was one way to stop the mantis, one move that would force it to stop or take terrible damage. If they succeeded in trapping it, maybe Aya could land a powerful hit to put Scyther away! This was the moment for her special move...

- Aya, it's time! Lock him in place with your Fire Spin!

The second his words reached her ears, Aya smiled and clapped her palms together. Immediately a tower of flames erupted from the ground beneath Scyther, spiraling ominously and forcing him to stop dead in his tracks, afraid of the fire!

Kayl was left in absolute shock, for the first time since he could remember. He was a battling prodigy and knew by heart every move of every species of Pokemon in existence... this was a natural impossibility!

- B-but how?! Mienfoo can't learn Fire Spin!

Levin grinned; it seemed his opponent wasn't completely emotionless.

- You're not the only one with tricks up your sleeve. You're clearly not the upstart rookie you claimed to be, but I'm no pushover either. So how about we stop pulling punches?

Kayl shrugged, but Levin could see past that false disinterest - he'd peaked his curiosity.

- Might as well... But you'll regret it. Razor Wind with spin opposite to the flames, then Aerial Ace.

What kind of crazy orders are those?!

Levin felt even more apprehension as Kay'ls instructions became more elaborate; it wasn't so much the unorthodox orders but the absolute confidence with which the opponent issued them, like he'd been doing this for decades... What kind of foe was he really dealing with here?...

- Aya, get him while he's trapped! Dual Chop!

The Mienfoo nodded. Scyther was definitely fast, but she was just as agile - that was her biggest strength. Leaping elegantly into the air, she dove inside the tower of flames with fists glowing, and disappeared from Levin's sight.

---

Kayl watched as Levin struggled to keep up with his Scyther. That Fire Spin however... how could this completely unremarkable Trainer surpass the very laws of nature? He'd heard of Masters so skilled, they could teach entirely new moves to their Pokemon - but weren't those Trainers all residing in Asbel? Fizzy Bubbles was a tourist attraction at best... this didn't make any sense! But it didn't matter, not anymore.

I'm sick of this place. Let's get this over with already...

The pillar of fire suddenly vanished, replaced by a column of spiraling wind. The flames dispersed, and as the sharp blades of wind rose the sky, the opponent's Mienfoo was caught by the twister and slashed repeatedly. When Scyther stopped spinning so did the wind, and the foe tumbled to the floor, nearly unconscious.

About time.

Scyther grinned, took to the sky and swooped down on the grounded opponent.

---

Levin could only watch as the mantis suddenly changed direction mere inches above the ground and struck Aya with an undodgeable move. In the blink of an eye, his partner stopped moving, knocked out cold by the highly effective move. She'd put up a good fight, but realistically Aya never stood a chance...

- Great job dear, you're growing stronger by the minute! Have a rest, I'll take it from here.

He recalled the Mienfoo to her Premier Ball and looked Kayl straight in the eye.

- Bryan, was it? Who are you really? You don't battle like regular people. It's normal for a Scyther to beat a Mienfoo, but the way you did it...

Kayl didn't smile, but the swiftness of his reply gave away the glimpse of a dormant ego Levin hadn't noticed before.

- You won't get off my case until I come clean, will you? Fine... I'm Kayl Kessler. People called me the "Wonder of Illa". You won't win this match.

Levin was left speechless. Of course this guy looked familiar... he was the child prodigy of the North! Kayl of Illa, the Trainer who'd gone undefeated until his forfeit against Champion Gottfried... this man was a living legend! It all made sense now... the immense skill coupled with extreme apathy, everything people said about him was true. The magnificent Trainer who'd lost his passion during the greatest match of his career...

If this guy really is Kayl Kessler, then... he may be right. I can't win this match...

His confidence began to falter, now that he knew the truth: he was up against a Champion-caliber Trainer! He hesitated as he went to pick his next partner; the only way to win against Kayl was to use his very strongest partners!

... No. I can't! The purpose of this match was to give experience to my weaker Pokemon - it was never about winning or losing. I can't lose sight of my goals, I can't let my pride take over again. This isn't about me, it's about them!

That was often his mistake - victory had been, for the longest time, his sole purpose in life. But he had to remember he was beyond that now... he'd do things right from now on, now that Ivan had been beaten and that shadow had been put to rest. So why worry? Kayl was a better Trainer than him; all the better! He'd give his Pokemon the experience they needed - and that would be much more valuable than any lone "W" in his column.

- I can't beat your Scyther in speed, so here's something else... Let's do this, Rook!

A Pokemon he'd never used in battle emerged from its container - a large Rhyhorn who roared in excitement at his very first match. He'd owned Rook for a year now and the Rock-Type had fully dedicated himself to learning from Zion and Cygna, honing his scarce intellect in a seemingly futile attempt to be bright. But Levin knew his partner's patience was bearing fruits, no matter how slowly - Rook's hatred of his own limitations was an unmatched driving force, and Levin knew he was about to see the results of Rhyhorn's tireless devotion. He already had plenty of power... Levin could only imagine how incredible Rook could be with a matching intelligence!

---

A Rhyhorn? Seriously, how slow does he want this match to go?...

Kayl was hardly impressed with Levin's choice; there was no way that Pokemon could keep up with Scyther, and most Trainers worth their salt knew speed was quite possibly the most critical aspect of a battle - the faster Pokemon almost always held a distinct advantage. He'd just have to show him.

Levin raised his hand and issued his orders to the lumbering Rock-Type.

- Rook, put him away with Rock Blast!

A ranged attack... probably his only hope of scoring a hit. Not a bad thought, but he saw it coming a mile away.

- Rock Smash through and Brick Break.

Scyther nodded; just as Rook unleashed a barrage of stones at him, the mantis dashed forward and slashed every single boulder in half with incredible swiftness; no matter how many rocks the Rhyhorn spit out, Scyther sliced all of them and kept coming closer and closer...

---

Levin watched as Scyther effortlessly evaded the move, but remained calm. And the second his the opponent stopped raised his swords for the incoming Brick Break, he grinned.

- Now, Ice Beam!

In the split second Scyther's guard was left open, Rook took his chance and let out a freezing energy ray at point-blank range that hit the foe square in the chest! A thick layer of ice covered the bug's torso, and Levin's plan went into motion.

- Flamethrower on the frozen area, then Thunderbolt when the ice melts!

Kayl was powerless to counter the unrelenting combo; he watched in shock as Levin outsmarted him and took advantage of three of Scyther's weaknesses in a row.

The stream of flames hit the still-recovering mantis, scorching him and causing the ice on his body to melt away, leaving Scyther's chest covered in water droplets. And when the last move hit home, a Thunderbolt made stronger by the foe's wet torso, both Kayl and Levin knew the winner was determined. Scyther collapsed to the floor, motionless after the beating, and Rook stood tall over his foe.

- You did it! That was perfect!

The Rhyhorn smiled and panted - it might've been his crowning achievement, but it had taken a lot out of him. It didn't matter; he'd never have been able to pull off that combination if not for all the practice. And now that he'd felt the taste of actual battle, he could feel pride and strength swelling within... an overwhelming sensation of accomplishment - his hard work had paid off, he was no longer just a one-track-minded rhino whose only perception of world was to charge ahead with his horn and see what happened. He was more than that already, and he could be much more! Starting with...

Rook?...

The Rhyhorn pulled himself up, briefly standing only on his hind legs - but when Levin expected to see him land back on all fours, he didn't. Instead, a bright light enveloped him; he grew taller than his Trainer, his horn grew larger, his whole frame did. And when the light faded, Rook revealed himself to have become a huge !

- Rook... you made it! Look at you, you're amazing!

Finally a Rhydon, at long last, after months of relentless training and learning under Cygna and Zion's tutelage... Rook was free from the shackles of his basic form's limitations. With untapped physical and now intellectual potential, he felt better than ever! The effects of the previous match still weighed on him however, as evidence by a slight shortness of breath, but there was no way he'd back out now.

Kayl had had one too many surprises in this match; he rolled his eyes, looked at Bjorn and the Squirtle gladly got the hint. Taking center stage, the small Water-Type faced the much larger opponent with a smirk, while Kayl - visibly annoyed by how long it was taking to dispose of Levin - issued a new set of orders in his typical fashion.

- Aqua Jet until told otherwise.

Bjorn nodded in agreement, and Levin wouldn't be fooled this time - he was certain Kayl had used this approach before, as evidenced by the absolute confidence of his command.

Before he knew it, Rook was being pelted by Bjorn from every conceivable angle, like water bullets piercing his body over and over again. Even for a super-fast move like that, it was even faster than any other Aqua Jet he'd ever seen, and no matter what he did Rook couldn't fight back. With one of his dreaded weaknesses exploited and abused over and over and over again, Rook fell to one knee in obvious pain and hopelessness.

Damn it... That Squirtle's unstoppable! If this keeps up, Rook won't land a single hit... but that Aqua Jet is unbelievable! With no way to even target Bjorn...

That's when it dawned on him... maybe he didn't have to target! That's it... he'd take a page right out of Kayl's book of crazy orders!

- Rook, get your horn spinning and shoot Thunderbolt through it!

Where once Rook would've stood there in absolute confusion, the Rhydon instead grinned with Levin's plan instantly becoming obvious, thanks to his newfound clarity. His horn began to spin like a drill, and as Rook conducted a surge of electricity into the rotating horn, lightning bolts shot out in every direction, forming a wide circle of electricity all around the Rhydon. It wasn't long until Bjorn was caught by one of the stray bolts and knocked right out of his Aqua Jet, stunned and seriously hurt by the effective move!

Kayl placed two fingers on his temples. He didn't have time for this, and when he glared at Levin, the Saffron-native knew the match was about to change - Kayl was looking to put an end to it, showing a much different drive than before!

- I've had enough of you! Disrupt him with a quick Mud Slap... then Hydro Pump as needed.

The dreaded orders came like Levin expected - Rook's glaring weakness to water made the match-up highly unfavorable, regardless of size difference. Besides, this was clearly no regular young Squirtle...
Bjorn kicked up some dirt with his hands and simultaneously spat out a sprinkle of water; the two mixed and a blob of mud hit Rook square in the eyes, temporarily blinding him; then, with almost no time in between, the Squirtle arched his head back and unleashed a massive stream of pressurized water that easily found its mark! Rook dug his feet into the ground and remained standing, barely conscious... but just as instructed, a second Hydro Pump was released with almost no let-up and there was nothing the brave Rhydon could do. Collapsing with a loud thud, Rook was knocked out.

That Squirtle... what kind of monster is he?...

Levin recalled Rook, thanking him for his tremendous performance. His last Pokemon had been subconsciously picked the second Bjorn entered the fray... it just felt right. Without a shadow of hesitation, his hand landed on a Christmas Ball, and from it emerged Bud the Bulbasaur.

- Hey there! Ready to put on a show?

Bud, apprehensive and insecure as always, glanced at Levin with hesitation. His one-hit loss against that Gardevoir in Mediville was still fresh on the Bulbasaur's mind, yet another scar for his already-frail ego. Now he was being sent out against the prodigy's strongest Pokemon?!

- Relax... I just want you to have a good time. That's what battles are all about! The second you start having fun, it won't matter if you win or lose anymore... All that matters is that you gave it your all and let the chips fall where they may. Let's give it a try?

Bud nodded half-heartedly and faced his opponent who, despite his type disadvantage, looked like this was no challenge at all. The difference in posture between Bud and Bjorn was striking - the former looking nervous beyond reason and the latter manifesting an overabundance of confidence.

Maybe Bjorn gets it... this is like a past-time for him! If only Bud could lighten up, his potential is begging to explode but his attitude won't let him!

- Alright Bud, start out with Magical Leaf so he can't dodge with Aqua Jet again, then follow up with a [b]Power Whip[7b] the second you find and opening!

- Rapid Spin the leaves away, Icy Wind, Ice Beam.

Both Pokemon were swift to obey; Bud released countless rainbow leaves at Bjorn... but an undodgeable move is only any good if the opponent tries to dodge. Bjorn took the move head on, retreating into his shell and spinning at high speed toward Bud while the Magical Leaves bounced of his shell harmlessly. Still inside his shell, Bjorn unleashed a blast of chilly wind through the five holes in the carapace, the frigid gale taking Bud by surprise (who expected Bjorn to expose himself for the move) and was overwhelmed by the breeze that almost froze his joints in place. Struggling to regain mobility, he failed to notice Bjorn emerging from his cover, and the Squirtle gladly made him pay with an Ice Beam that hit Bud with tremendous force!

- Damn! Bud, you alright? Hang in there!

Levin's words of encouragement did little to cheer the Bulbasaur up; Kayl took the opportunity to issue a new set of commands, intent on putting an end to everything this round.

- Close in with Skull Bash, follow up with as many Ice Punches as you need to put him away.

Even Levin could tell Kayl was being careless now. Either he placed absolute trust in Bjorn or he was getting sloppy with his approach - which, considering his historic forfeit against Gottfried, wouldn't surprise Levin in the least. Still, he couldn't let a chance like that slide!

- Trap him with Vine Whip as he approaches, then pelt him with Bullet Seed for as long as you need to knock him out!

Bjorn's charge-up time for Skull Bash was so short Levin could have missed it. In a matter or seconds the Squirtle was flying across the field at such speed that a trail of dust kicked up in his wake. Bud released two vines that wrapped themselves around Bjorn... but could only hold him in place for half a second before the grip was overcome!
Bjorn's head made contact with Bud in a frightening bump, but Levin noticed a cloud of purple powder rising on impact that he instantly recognized as a move he hadn't ordered... Bud had used Poison Powder on his own! The Bulbasaur was sent back several steps, while Bjorn was left coughing repeatedly as the poison entered his system... that was some quick thinking by Bud!

- Way to go, that was brilliant! Now, Venosh... What?!

Somehow, Bjorn was already on top of Bud again, fighting through the poison and delivering a flurry of Ice Punches that the Bulbasaur simply couldn't guard against... What kind of training did that Squirtle go through? It had no weaknesses!

Bjorn pulled its hand back to deliver one final punch to the groggy Bud, but Levin, refusing to let Bud be humiliated yet again, shouted out of pure instinct.

- Giga Drain right now!

For the brief moment where Bjorn was unprotected, gearing up for that last punch, Bud fought through the pain and shot a green orb of Grass energy right at the Squirtle's abdomen, disrupting his move and making double over in pain! The orb then returned to Bud and he seem mildly relieved; at this point both Starters were gasping for air, and both Kayl and Levin knew what this meant.

- Well Kayl, you get your wish. Let's put an end to this! Bud!

- Might as well; I've wasted enough time as it is! Bjorn!

The Bulbasaur and Squirtle looked each other in the eye, smiled and prepared to unleash one final move.

- Leaf Storm!!

- Blizzard!!

A tremendous dome-shaped blast of energy swept across the field, almost making both Trainers fall over, causing the very ground to shake! And when both men looked back at the field, they saw both Pokemon still standing groggily, barely conscious, breathing hard... until Bud tumbled to the side, drained of its remaining energy!

That's it....

Kayl suddenly spoke up, breaking the deafening silence with an unexpected comment...

- A draw. Didn't see that coming.

What's he talking about?...

It didn't make sense, Bjorn was still standing... But upon closer inspection, he got it. The Squirtle's eyes were glazed over while a faint purple mist emanated from his breath. Two seconds later and Bjorn too collapsed from the effects of the intoxication caused by that previous Poison Powder!

Kayl recalled Bjorn and approached Levin. The match was over, as Kayl still had one Pokemon left while Levin had none. But the blue-haired man extended a hand to the Saffron-native in a sign of respect.

- Not bad. I hope to find more Trainers like you in Asbel; you're wasting your talent here.

Levin smiled, even if Kayl did not, and shook the man's hand.

- Thanks for the match and the compliment, but I'm staying right here. Best of lucks in Asbel... which is that way for another two hours on foot until you reach the port.

Kayl faked a smile and thanked Levin, turned around and left without another word. But none were needed anymore; the match had lit a fire underneath Levin, Rook and Bud, and none of them came out of that battle the same was when they walked in. Facing Kayl reminded him that he still had a long way to go before being ready to face a Champion... but he and his Pokemon were more determined than ever, and it'd only be a matter of time!

Looks like I found a new rival... we'll meet again Kayl, you can be sure of that!

Last edited by MarbleZone; 06-14-2014 at 10:26 PM.
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