40 Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

(A/N: Any text within {} is a command through the arms to the Noibat)

I settle my breathing in the short time I have.

Gym leaders have certain rules that they must follow, such as not being allowed to switch out a pokémon mid-battle, and they can add more rules in order to differ their gym from others. Korrina uses a 3v3 style if you follow the recommended route. However, if you have more badges, you could be subject to a 4v4 or more. Her normal pokémon that she uses in a 3v3 are Mienfoo, Machoke, and Lucario, but she is also known to use Breloom, Gallade, Hawlucha, Pangoro, and Lopunny in rotation.

I'd kill right now for a Psychic or Fairy pokémon. The best option for me right now is Elaina with Psywave.

Alex nibbles my ear, dragging me from my thoughts. It seems Gurkinn is asking if I'm ready to battle.

I give him a thumbs up. "Then let the battle between Gym Leader Korrina versus Trainer Nicole BEGIN!" Gurkinn swings down his arm signalling the start.

I send out my Misdreavus, and Korrina sends out Mienfoo.

She sighs. "A Ghost-type, huh? Sorry, Mienfoo. It looks like there won't be much during this battle, but we can still try our best!" Mienfoo nods.

I turn placid, exhaling a little heavier for a moment in slight disappointment. I know that this isn't her ace, but I'd still like her to be a little more rounded than this. Though, I know I'll be eating those words next round.

{Psywave,} I command. Alex relays the command, and Elaina follows it to the letter. "Huh?" Korrina exclaims, letting Mienfoo take the brunt of the attack. "FOO!!!" Scratches appeared on its body from nowhere.

"You didn't command your pokémon, Nicole. I thought you were a better trainer than that," Korrina…admonishes me?

I raise an eyebrow. "Please explain, Korrina. My pokémon followed my command to the letter." While Korrina becomes more confused, I see Courtney off to the side, holding my egg in her lap, smirking.

What I would give to be that egg right now…

Agh! Back to the battle! "Mienfoo, High-Jump Kick!" Mienfoo glances back at Korrina in worry but does it anyway. This move is doomed to fail, and it'll hurt Mienfoo in the recoil.

I'm content just letting Elaina take it. Sitting patiently, I mentally run through Elaina's abilities. She has Levitate which makes her immune to Ground-type moves. She also has those fear orbs, and she can corporealize and reverse it at will, as is the nature of several Ghost pokémon. Most of her current moves are Ghost-type with the exception of Psywave.

"Now, Mienfoo, aim it at the ceiling!" Oh, she's taking a page out of my book. Destruction of the arena to harm a pokémon. Neato.

{Go down. Traverse. Wait. Go up behind the target. Psywave.} Elaina immediately understands and floats through the floor, disappearing. Korrina…can't do much at this point. Mienfoo is already airborne, and it will still suffer consequences as it isn't aiming at another pokémon.

*CRASH* A new hole in the ceiling is formed as the explosive kick strikes stone. The yellow pokémon falls helplessly through the air as they're running on fumes at this point. The whole endeavor was…ultimately a waste as rocks tumble around me. I swat a few away, no worse for wear.

"Mien…foo…" The pokémon is breathing heavily… It'll be quick.

"Vus!" A point-blank Psywave is fired at Mienfoo, right behind their head. No matter their strength, they couldn't take it right then and there, and so, the pokémon collapses to the ground.

"Mienfoo is unable to battle. Nicole is the winner!" Gurkinn shouts, sending several disappointing stares at his granddaughter.

"Thanks, Mienfoo. You did the best you could." With that, Korrina returns Mienfoo to its pokéball. "Alright, Nicole! It's time to get serious! Come on out, Pangoro!"

"GORO!" The pokémon shouts, causing more rocks to rain from the ceiling.

"Trainer Nicole, would you like to switch out—"

"Yes," I reply, not letting him finish, and already halfway through retrieving Elaina. "Sorry, Elaina, but I don't think you can stall this one."

Flying would be effective here, but I haven't used Penelope much, and I don't think she's…ready yet. I feel like there's something more I can do with her. However, that does leave only one option.

"Cecilia, I'm counting on you." With a flourish, my Combee comes out ready to fight.

"BEE!!!" Then she flees at the sight of the Pangoro… I don't really blame her either.

"Come on, Cecilia! You're my best bet!" I'm practically begging at this point.

Steeling herself, she timidly returns to the center of this half of the field. "BEGIN!" Gurkin once again shouts.

{Gust.} The compressed streams of air arc towards the arrogant Pangoro crossing their arms…

It has the right to be arrogant. I think it just shrugged off the attack. "Pangoro, Power-up Punch!"

{Fly up. Dodge.} Cecilia easily flutters up to dodge; however, there's a new problem.

A seven-foot tall pokémon that weighs 300 pounds is flying at me with an active attack on it's arm, and it won't stop until it hits something, such as the thing behind Cecilia…i.e. me.

Using the arms, I lift myself out of the way and let Pangoro collide with the wall. Rocks rain down as the hole in the ceiling begins widening and doesn't really stop. I'm forced to use my arms to bat away rocks. Also…

{Weave. Dodge. Rocks.} Cecilia, thankfully, acts with haste, zipping between the continuous rockfall. It's actually kind of funny now. Every gym I've been to has been destroyed, but this one was by the Gym Leader herself with no provocation from me.

It's weird how the world works sometimes.

"Pangoro, Body Slam!" The pokémon jumps in the air, ready to crush the living daylights out of my pokémon.

{Dodge.} But nothing happens. She's too busy with the rock rain to notice. "Cecilia, dodge Pangoro!" She turns around…but it's too late.

300 pounds of muscle collide with the 12-pound honeycomb, and Pangoro lands with a sickening crunch.

Korrina frowns, and Gurkinn looks like he's contemplating a murder. "Pangoro, off," she commands. The pokémon rolls to the side, mimicking a Slaking for a moment, then standing up.

Cecilia looks…bad. Her shell is cracked, and her wings have practically broken off. She's still…awake and conscious, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing right now. For her to be awake while her body is mangled…

I pull out her pokéball, ready to recall her when something miraculous happens. Her body begins to glow brightly, and we all watch in wonder at the event happening before our eyes. Her cells are breaking down to their base elements, reconstructing into a new, stronger form. A form…built for a queen.

"VESPIQUEN!!!" My pokémon, reborn, shouts with vim, vigor, and life through her body.

Alright, we're on a timer now. Evolution takes a lot of energy and usually exhausts pokémon for days after it happens. Even more so, she evolved under extreme duress, so I estimate about five minutes before she passes out. I also don't have any commands programmed in for her except her old move set, so I'm going to do this the regular way.

Korrina smirks. "You're lucky, Nicole. How long is that luck going to last? Pangoro, Power-up Punch!"

I shake my head. "Whose fault is it that I needed luck? Cecilia, use Gust to blow Pangoro back!"

"Ves!"

"Goro!"

The two attacks collide—fist versus air. Surprisingly, air wins this one as Pangoro is sent flying onto its back, and the attack impacting the ground. "Now, while it's down, Power Gem!"

Cecilia's red forehead gem glows brightly as it releases energy into a crystalline rock. With a grunt, it's flung off, striking Pangoro on the chest. "Again." The rock strikes the left leg. "Again." The right. "Again." Left arm. "Again." Right arm.

Meanwhile, Korrina is desperately shouting commands to Pangoro, but it just keeps getting knocked down by Cecilia. The Power Gems are certainly doing exceptional damage, visibly bruising Pangoro's limbs.

"Forehead this time." With what is likely to be the final Power Gem for some time, the Power Gem strikes Pangoro in the head, knocking them out.

As they fall to the ground with a thud, a single brick falls from the ceiling and strikes the forehead again for good measure. Unfortunately, Cecilia also collapses on the ground, though in much more regal form, from exhaustion.

"Both Pangoro and Vespiquen are unable to battle."

As we retrieve out pokémon, Korrina once again strikes up conversation. "Things kind of got heated there, huh?"

"Yeah," I say. And that's all that I really can. Cecilia beat Pangoro by the skin of her teeth, and that's about it. If that miracle didn't happen, if she didn't feel compelled to evolve in that moment, I would've lost then and there.

Looking to the side, I find a frantic Courtney. "Courtney, is everything alright?" Stopping, she glances between me and the egg in her lap.

"I think so. A rock hit the egg, but everything appears alright." It's not something I want to hear right now, but I also can't deal with it on top of everything else.

"Okay. I trust your judgement, but I'll check after the battle." Now, with little other options, I send out Robin to what is likely her doom.

"Okay, Lucario! You're up!" Korrina sends out her Lucario. It looks pumped up for battle, but then it stills upon seeing me. "Lucario?"

After some research into Lucario, I've found more questions than answers. Lucario can sense Aura, which is lifeforce, and usually bonds with Trainers that have the extremes of life. Either those in their primes, or those on the verge of death to help them.

So why is it shocked every single time it has seen me? I feel pretty alive…unless it sees something that shouldn't exist. Even those on their deathbeds have a little life left…until it's snuffed out.

"Lucario!" Korrina shouts, waving her arms. Even Gurkinn looks concerned now.

Personally? I'm getting weirded out by the staring. {Dragon Breath.}

Robin charges up the purple beam for a good minute with Lucario still unresponsive and launches straight into Lucario's face, exploding in a burning sphere of energy and flames.

It does a good amount of damage, but it also, unfortunately, breaks Lucario from its reverie. "Good to have you back, Lucario!" Korrina cheers, giving Lucario a thumbs-up.

"Car!"

Korrina looks back at me, smirking. "You know what, Nicole? I think you've earned the right to fight us at our best! Come on, Lucario!" Korrina holds up the back of her gloved hand…revealing a Key Stone, and Lucario holds up their gloved paw, revealing a Mega Stone.

My brain scatters in several directions, scrambling for a sudden solution. One thought chain abruptly activates every sensor and upgraded sensor with crystals I have, eager for the chance to study Mega Evolution at this range. Another chain recoils at the thought of processing the probable terabytes of data about to enter my system.

Lucario morphs, similarly to how Cecilia just did; however, this has fewer negative consequences. Whatever energy powers Mega Evolution keeps the pokémon from becoming immediately exhausted.

The pokémon grows taller, furrier, and spikier. Three chest spikes instead of two, and two spikes per paw, including the feet. Red is thrown into the color palette, but it's only on the paws, making it seem as though it's blood.

"Alright, Robin. This'll be tough," I mutter. Despite the light show that was just put on, Robin doesn't look deterred.

Korrina and I stared at each other, waiting for one to make the first move. This…is a fight between two trainers that should respect each other…

"Robin, Thunder Wave!" Alex looks at me in shock but makes no other moves.

"Lucario, Metal Sound!"

The two attacks collide in the air, affecting neither pokémon.

"Follow it up with Dragon Breath!" I shout with vigor. Alex, realizing that she's no longer needed right now, digs out her pokéball from my bag, and retrieves herself. The purple beam arcs across the field in a direct line to Lucario.

"Dodge it and get in close with Bone Rush!" With its enhanced abilities, Lucario ducks under the flames and materializes two bones to whack Robin with.

Before my next thought can fully formulate, Lucario flashes across the battlefield in front of Robin. "Thunder Wave at point-blank range!" I scramble to shout. Luckily, Robin is quicker on the uptake than I, and she zaps Lucario with the paralyzing electricity…then is sent careening to the side as the Bone Rush makes contact.

This is fine. This is…fine. Thunder Wave will, hopefully, slow Lucario enough to make some breathing room. "Rapid Dragon Breath! Then jump to the side!" Forgoing power, she barely charges up Dragon Breath to release a monumentally weaker beam, then jumps.

It collides with Lucario, barely scratching it, but that's what I'm going for. "Again! Rapid Dragon Breath, then jump away from Lucario!"

"Lucario, Extreme Speed into a Bone Rush!" Fuck! "Dratini, jump and Dragon Breath! Just get out of there!"

Dratini bounces around the field, dodging whatever swipes Lucario makes only by a hair. She keeps firing Dragon Breath charges in midair, but I can tell she's getting exhausted.

Dragon Breath can paralyze a target, and, although miniscule, the effect is really stacking up with Lucario. The Extreme Speed has effectively neutralized everything at this point.

And now, they've traded spots. Lucario's back is to me, and Robin's back is to Korrina. Robin is looking…bad. She's beaten up, and her scales are visibly glowing from the many heat exchanges that happened in the last minute.

She might only have one left before she's done.

"Robin, Dragon Breath," I say, giving my last solemn command. She understands well enough and begins charging this one with everything she has left.

Korrina has a victorious smile adorned on her face. "Alright, Lucario! Let's finish this with Aura Sphere!"

Lucario charges up and quickly releases the orb of life, turning to something to damage. Robin looks straight on, charging her attack until the last moment, staring defeat in the eyes.

The permanently joyful pokémon, the one on my team always ready to play around…now looks pissed.

She releases her attack.

"What?!" Korrina exclaims, and I would've done the same. Robin's attack is not Dragon Breath, and it impacts with the Aura Sphere, consuming it.

The…new attack—Robin's Dragon Rage—pummels through the terrain and strikes Lucario head-on, exploding in a dust of smoke and dirt.

Luck really is shining down upon me. Dragon Rage is a special move because no matter what, as long as it hits, it always does certain damage.

When the smoke clears, Lucario is laying faint on the ground, back in its normal state.

"Good job, Lucario," Korrina congratulates as she walks over. "And good job to you, too, Nicole! You beat me! Against all odds, you came out on top, and that's why you deserve this!" She hands me a small badge that's reminiscent of two fists clashing. "The Rumble Badge—proof that you beat me in an official gym battle!"

I hold the badge up to the light, idly glancing at the hole in the ceiling, rocks still occasionally falling. I retrieve Robin and turn back to Korrina, exhaustion bleeding out of me.

"Thank you."

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