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Chapter 13: Saffron Tournament Part 3Edit

Gary didn’t say anything as the fire washed over Tangela the way water would. Ash held his breath… and saw that Tangela had puffed up a lot. What happened? The pokemon didn’t appear even fazed. The next moment Tangela opened its mouth slightly, and a stream of water shot out of its body, evidently the water that had been stored in its spongy vines. So that’s now the Tangela withstood such a vicious attack…

“It looks like Tangela is holding its own against Ninetales!” cheered the commentator, as the startled crowd joined in applause.

“All right Tangela, wrap!” shouted Gary. The Ninetales, still reeling from taking a burst of water to its sensitive face, did not notice until too late that the Tangela had suddenly extended its limbs across the field, wrapping them tightly around the Ninetales. And as this pokemon could only use its fire attacks through its mouth, it was effectively helpless as it was tied up by the weed pokemon.

“Oh no!” exclaimed Jasmine as she used her pokeball to recall the Ninetales. Instead, each time met with failure as the beam of red struck one of Tangela’s numerous vines instead.

“Good! All right now, constrict!” The Ninetales breathed fire out its mouth, but that did not come close to burning Tangela. Then it found itself choked by Tangela’s vines, which had wrapped around its neck and had started to thicken and constrict. It flailed about helplessly for a good minute before passing out, suffocated.

“Oh no!” screamed an alarmed Jasmine. Giving up the match, she ran out onto the field, shouting, “I forfeit! Give me back my Ninetales!”

The referee raised the green flag. “And this round goes to the green trainer, Gary of Pallet Town!” The crowd cheered, Ash and Lily loudest of them all.

Gary’s exuberance was cut short as he saw Jasmine kneeling before the fainted Ninetales as she recalled the pokemon. He watched, with pain evident in his eyes as she sobbed, before rushing to the poke-Center for a checkup.

Tangela suddenly flared white as its internals reassembled themselves into a much larger, male Tangrowth. He cheered alongside Gary as the enchanted crowd joined in.

Overhead, another peal of thunder.

“And that wraps up the third round of the Saffron Annual Gym Tournament! Stay with us as we approach the finale with the ever-more-exciting fourth round!” Thunderous applause. “We have now narrowed down our contestants from the original sixty-four to merely eight. In the following four matches, we will cut this number by half! First up, the green trainer, Daisy, and the red trainer, Daniel!” Ash joined in with the clapping as the two named trainers approached their platforms (the red one being broken down by Kite’s Golem from earlier). “Without further ado, let us begin!”

On Daisy’s side, her Machoke. On Daniel’s side, an Electabuzz. It was sized more like a lion than a bee, and it had muscle rather than wings, but it had the intense yellow skin characteristic of quite a few electric pokemon. Hmm, this guy has got naught but electric types, eh? Wondered Ash. At any rate, this match is over before it began. Machoke won’t stand long against an electric type.

“All right Electabuzz, lighting!” There was a flash of brilliant light, the peal of thunder. When Ash had recovered he saw the Electabuzz standing, of course, but so was the Machoke, and it didn’t seem even fazed.

“How…?” muttered Daniel, flustered. Fighting types weren’t supposed to be immune to electric types! Machoke was already running toward the Electabuzz. “Well, never mind what happened earlier. That was a fluke. Now go get’em! Lightning!”

There was a flash of brilliant light, the peal of thunder. And Machoke looked about as unharmed as ever. “How can this be!?” shouted Daniel in wonder as Machoke delivered an intense blow that sent Electabuzz reeling. It limped back up, but would not stand long under Machoke’s constant battering. “Return! Go Manectric!”

The Machoke had already veered toward the new pokemon, and they faced off each other, ready to attack. Daniel shouted, “Spark!” The Manectric built up electric potential all over its front and prepared to discharge them upon collision.

“Take down!”

BOOM!

The Machoke was stopped cold in its tracks, but the Manectric was sent backward, seriously bruised and comatose. Daniel gasped. He wanted to rush out of the platform to tend to his pokemon, but then looked at Daisy’s Machoke, which had an arm pressed on its chest. It seemed to be in no condition to continue either, and sagged to its knees.

“Machoke looks like its heart has been stopped by the electric surge it just received! I wonder why the previous, ultimate lightning attacks failed to work!” shouted the commentator.

Daisy looked on at Machoke worriedly. “Do you think you can stay through the match?” she asked.

“I… think I’m going to collapse,” replied the pokemon before collapsing entirely from oxygen not getting to its tissues.

Hmm… Who’s going to forfeit first?

The two were at a standoff, both knowing that their pokemon were at risk of dying, the more so the longer they waited.

“Ladies first,” said Daniel with a smile, extending a hand gesturing for her to get down from the platform.

Daisy stared at him intently, but her periodic furtive glances at the pokeball in her hand belied her true fears. She capitulated. “Fine, I’ll step down first, though it’s quite obvious both pokemon can’t take it any more.” She stepped down.

“And Daisy’s out of the running!” shouted the commentator as the crowd went wild with indecision.

“No,” said the referee as he raised the green flag. “This match goes to Daisy for placing her pokemon ahead of the competition.” The crowd gasped at this. Daniel looked like he had been kicked in the groin and forced to bite the dust.

“But…”

“Well then, in that case,” began a flustered commentator, “The referee has decided that Daisy is to stay in the running!” This must come as a sweet surprise to many of you… On to the next round! And next up, we have the green trainer, Duplica of Celadon City, thrice the fake that has beaten the real, against red trainer Jordan! Let’s give them a warm welcome for the second time today!” The audience cheered as both took to their platforms.

“Go Vespiquen!” shouted Jordan. The bee-queen pokemon flew on tiny wings; its abdomen was a honeycomb for the grubs within. Immediately Duplica’s ditto had assumed its shape.

The commentator continued, “…This Vespiquen’s excellently choreographed use of attack, defend, and heal orders have allowed it to come this far through the competition without having to rely on another pokemon. The same can also be said for the Ditto, now also a Vespiquen. Now we shall see just whether the adage of ‘the real is always better than the fake’ is true or not!”

“All right Vespiquen, you know what to do,” said Jordan. The Vespiquen immediately engaged Attack Order, summoning the seven bumblebee- like Combee within into a circular pattern as they moved to engage the foe. The Ditto had also used Attack Order and was doing just as superbly – which was to say, not superbly at all. With the Combees doing most of the fighting, the Vespiquen couldn’t get close to one another and so were content with using Sweet Scent.

Just before both could get to the point of collapse, however, both pokemon had switched over to Heal Order as per their trainers’ orders, and still neither bothered to attack the other.

“Poison sting!” Duplica shouted abruptly, and suddenly the Combees, which had been feeding the Vespiquen an alternate version of its healing honey, rounded on the opponent, striking its Combees with a poison that soon passed into the honey they were feeding.

“No, don’t do heal order, use Defend Order!” shouted Joshua with worry written on his face as he realized that he had been outmaneuvered. However, his pokemon was too slow to pass on the order to its fellow Combees. The Vespiquen became intoxicated and soon collapsed onto the ground in a spasming fit. “Well, you did well,” he managed at last, before rushing out to the poke-Center. The referee raised the green flag.

“And this match goes to Duplica!”

It was now Misty’s turn. “And now, let us welcome the green trainer, Misty of Cerulean City, finally getting to face off against the red trainer, ex-boyfriend Aquamarine!” The crowd roared in anticipation of this match.

“All right Misty, no hard feelings, let’s just have the best match we’ve ever had!” said Aquamarine (whose name was quite girlish, yes).

“You got it! And you got more than you asked for, too!” the red-head giggled. “Go Starmie! Water pulse!”

“Go Dewgong!” The seal pokemon appeared. “Ice beam!”

The two attacks struck head-on. Immediately Starmie’s horizontal column of water began freezing with incredible speed, freezing all the way to Starmie’s gem core itself. Then it proceeded to encase Starmie in a block of ice.

“Come on Misty, you should know better! Cold has a clear type advantage over water!”

“Grrr… Come on Starmie, you can shake it off!” Suddenly electricity began flowing through the oddly shaped block of ice, causing it to crack and melt into pieces, while simultaneously also fazing Dewgong.

“Dewgong, let’s get that Starmie again!” announced Aquamarine with a smile.

“Oh no you don’t! Starmie, use Swift on Aquamarine!” Ash knew very well that Swift was one physical attack that was famous for not missing once the pokemon started using its ability.

Her ex-boyfriend heard this, and immediately ordered his Dewgong, “stop that Starmie with ice beam!” Beams of ice shot out along Starmie’s airborne trajectory (it was using its rapid spin technique to stay in the air). With graceful movements that captivated the onlookers, the Starmie easily avoided each beam in the nick of time. It continued on its trajectory unharmed. Starmie dealt a blow to Aquamarine, snapping his arm in the process. Ash gritted his teeth, knowing that he must be under intense pain.

“Dewgong I told you to stop that Starmie!” he shouted as the starfish pokemon prepared to strike yet again. Suddenly Starmie halted mid-attack, encased in ice. The water pulse it had used on Aquamarine also froze, locking the Dewgong’s trainer in an icy (and slightly bloodied) prison.

“Aquamarine is unable to continue the match! The winner of this quarter final is Misty!” blared the announcer as several nurses rushed over to attend to injuries.

From his seat in the audience, Ash watched in amazement. Yet another example of using the enemy’s advantages against them! That Starmie and Misty are a really good team and are really skilled with pokemon tactics in order to be able to achieve that kind of result. Starmie’s been able to vanquish all the opponents they’ve encountered for four matches and counting…

“Now for the last match of the quarter finals, it’s the green trainer Artel versus the red trainer Gary! For each beating three other trainers, let’s give them a round of applause!...” Well for once it’s different, thought Ash. The colors had changed.

“Gary, Gary, he’s our man,

“if he can’t do it no one can!”

Actually, things hadn't changed at all.

“Well,” said Gary to the crowd after smiling to the girls, “I have yet another pokemon that’s itching to metamorphose – after this match, of course,” he taunted.

“Well it’ll have to itch some more then,” Artel taunted back.

In response, Gary silently put on earmuffs, which earned an angry glare from Artel.

“And now let the match begin!”

“Go Kadabra!” The same class of pokemon that Gary’s Abra had evolved into was now the opponent. Now everyone turned to see what youngster pokemon Gary would use. But for a moment no one saw it. When they finally did, it was too late.

“Rock-a-by ba-by on the tree-top, when the wind blows, the cradle will rock—“

Darn, those earmuffs weren’t just for show, thought Ash groggily as Igglybuff’s song set him, and just about everyone in the arena, asleep. Igglybuff gave the drowsing audience one sweeping look and frowned, its entire body swelling and taking on an angry red glow.

Ash was awakened by someone spraying him with an Awakening Potion – “Nurse Joy!”

“Calm down, everything’s all right,” she replied for what must have been the umpteenth time. All around him were trainers who were groggy from just being awakened – and almost all of them had comical marker marks plastered on their faces. The Kadabra’s spoon had been marked on too, as was its entire body. From what Ash could tell – and he could tell a lot, being a psychic – the Kadabra had been knocked silly by Igglybuff’s pound attacks and had fainted instead of simply falling asleep.

“Wha – huh? Oh darn it, Kadabra’s asleep! Go Geodude!” shouted Artel – before realizing that Geodude was asleep also, because sounds could enter pokeballs even if they could not leave them. “Grr… Well then, I have to choose a pokemon that never sleeps. Go Munchlax! Huh? GRR!! Why can’t you be munching – and awake - like you always are!? Go Noctowl! Darn, forgot that it sleeps all day…!” The people who were now awake laughed at the opponent's incompetency.

What, you chose a pokemon that sleeps all day for a tournament that only takes place at daytime? What an amateur’s mistake, thought Ash. Oh well, so be it…

“Artel is out of pokemon! Gary is the winner!” declared the referee, holding up the green flag.

Suddenly the Igglybuff glowed white, and transformed into the significantly larger Jigglypuff. “See, I told you it’ll be evolving, and I wasn’t wrong,” said Gary matter-of-factly. Artel simply shook in embarrassment when he discovered that he had massive black marks all over his face.

“What an upset match! Red trainer Gary has just defeated green trainer Artel! And that concludes the semifinals! We have two more rounds, and only three more matches, to go before the winner is decided! In the semifinals trainers may use six pokemon!” announced the loudspeaker. “So let us welcome… the green trainer, Duplica, and the red trainer, Daisy!”

Only now did Ash realize how bad he was at pokemon matches. He had lost to Dawn, who had lost to Violet, who had lost to Daisy… He smiled at the irony of it.

“Go Pineco!” The diminutive pokemon looked incredibly similar to a pine cone. The moment Pineco came out, Duplica’s Ditto had transformed into it. “As I expected, you can’t teach a copycat new tricks,” said Daisy wryly.

“Says who?” Duplica demanded to know. “I can improvise new moves right now! Spike spin!” The Ditto-become-Pineco turned like a top with its scales suddenly spike-sharp and spun toward the real Pineco.

“Says me! Detonate!” Duplica only then realized her mistake as suddenly the real Pineco exploded, sending shards of its blue scales flying everywhere and inflicting deadly harm on the Ditto, while itself merely fainting. Daisy had out another pokeball. “I still have another five pokemon. But do you?” she said in a superior-sounding voice.

“Ditto, no!” screamed Duplica as she recalled the pokemon into her pokeball and rushed to get it restored back to normal.

“Looks like I’m up yet again,” noted Gary with a smile. “I probably won’t be coming back to this seat until after I’ve either won or lost the tournament…”

“Gary, Gary, he’s our man,

“if he can’t do it no one can!” cheered the girls. By this point quite a few dozen members of the audience had joined in with uttering the second line after seeing the string of totally unexpected successes.

Gary turned to the members of the audience who were right next to him. “Anyone have an un-metamorphosed pokemon they want to see me use in the finals? Well this is your chance!” Immediately several hands were raised, each holding a pokeball and vying for Gary’s attention. Smiling warmly, the contestant took one of the pokeballs and remembered the name and appearance of its owner before approaching the arena.

“And for the second and last round of the semifinals, let’s give it up for the green trainer, metamorphose-on-the-spot extraordinaire Gary! And for the red trainer, Cerulean City Gym Leader Misty!” Gary stepped up to the arena first, but before Misty had stepped up, two figures shrouded in darkness had appeared seemingly from nowhere, their black outlines threatening.

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