Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ Pokemon Quest ❯ The Ultimate Pokemon Challenge ( Chapter 38 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Pokemon Quest
Jacob approached the front desk where a woman was greeting the participants. Each presented their gym badges with confidence. Of course, not all of them were signing up that day. Many had earned their gym badges over a month prior to the day of the tournament while others were still working towards that eighth badge. Had Jacob taken another week getting his last badge, he would have been too late to sign up for this one.
Soon he was at the front of the line as the woman smiled and asked, “May I see your gym badges, please?” Jacob pulling out all eight of the trinkets he had won from facing the best. All of these badges were the fruit of his work. The boy was proud to own each and every one of them.
At first, he'd had no intention of winning any tournament. The only reason he set out to do so was to teach his mother a lesson, but with her approval, it didn't seem like he needed to prove anything.
He owed all of this to his friends and his Pokemon. All of them were like a family to him. After winning his first badge, he'd felt a thrill he never knew one could have before. Now he just wanted to be a champion. He wanted his hard work to mean something.
All the while, Anna and Izy were exploring the big city of Horolov. After an hour of that, the two sat by a bench with ice cream in their hands.
“You know,” Izy said licking her vanilla, “I'm glad I met Jacob. If it hadn't been for him, I don't think I'd have ever known what it meant to be truly happy.”
“I'm happy I met Jacob too!” Anna replied with her warm smile, “If it hadn't been for him, my wish to travel the land would have never come true!”
Izy took one more lick to her ice cream and started to let down light tears. Anna looked at the girl with concern and nodded in understanding. She knew what was on Izy's mind and Anna felt the same. They knew that once this all ended, Each and every one of them would go his or her separate way again. Jacob would return home to his mother, Izy would go back to her house and Anna would live in peace with her sister. After this tournament, their main purpose for traveling together would have been fulfilled.
Team Advent had been defeated, so they had no reason to go after them. The tournament was all they had left.
The tournament… was all they had left…
“I'm going to miss him,” Izy sniffed as Anna placed a hand on the girl's shoulder and said, “It doesn't have to end when the tournament's over.”
“What do you mean?” Izy remarked as Anna's warm smile crossed her face and the young girl replied, “You don't have a family to go back to. Why not treat Jacob like your family?”
Izy stood up in response to this and said, “I need some time alone,” and walked off while Anna let out a sigh. Maybe Anna was right.
Izy ran over to a bench and sat there, her hands on her chin and her eyes facing the sky. What was coming over her? Until she'd met Jacob, she had never really been the emotional type. In fact, she wasn't even that friendly of a person.
But something about Jacob made her more sociable from the get-go. She couldn't quite comprehend what that something was, though. Whatever it was, it had made her a much happier person.
`What should I do?' Izy thought before her eyes went wide in response to a crusty voice saying, “You like him, don't you?”
Izy turned her gaze to see an old woman sitting right next to her. Her eyes went wide, the girl not only wondering where this woman had come from but how she seemed to understand the whole situation.
“Excuse me?” Izy remarked as the old woman said, “You like him, don't you?”
Izy blinked and said, “Well, of course I like Jacob. He's a very good friend.”
The old woman chuckled and replied, “Oh, you silly, silly girl… I meant as more than just a friend.”
Izy's eyes went wide again. Was this old woman implying that she… loved Jacob? That wasn't possible. Izy had never felt romantic towards anyone before. Until now, she believed that she was incapable of such thoughts.
“Stop fooling yourself, young girl,” the old woman said with a smirk, “You have feelings for the young boy, I can sense it.”
Izy bit her lip and rose to her feet, glaring at the old woman and saying, “I shouldn't be talking to strangers,” and marched away from the woman, blushing. Why would she be in love with Jacob? He was just a friend to her. The thought of her having romantic thoughts about him was absurd.
Whether this was true or not, Izy did know one thing. She knew that as a friend, she needed to be less selfish and more loyal to her friends. Even if it meant she'd never see Jacob again, she had to do the right thing and support him during this whole event. If Jacob was to become a champion, he needed all the help he could get.
She returned to Anna who was still sitting on the bench, her ice cream finished, and was surprised to see Jacob sitting next to Anna as well. He looked up and waved at Izy, the girl letting out a sigh and joining the two.
“Jacob and I were discussing the tournament,” Anna stated as Jacob nodded and said, “I looked over the rules. It turns out each battle is 3-on-3, meaning I need to know about my opponents before facing them so I can choose the right Pokemon.”
Lucario was staring at a flower next to the bench, so he was at least avoiding boredom. All the while, Izy, Anna and Jacob were discussing what could be done. As it just so happened, the stadium had a training facility where trainers could boost their partners' stats. There, Jacob could study his competition. The building also had a room full of computers with data on the trainers. Jacob could use that that to research his opponents before the battles began.
For now, Jacob's best bet was to train his Pokemon, and train he did. For the remainder of the week leading up to the Ultimate Pokemon Challenge, he sparred with his friends. It was only a matter of time until he was finally able to defeat Anna, let alone Izy who had given Jacob more of a reason to believe she should have been in the tournament as well.
And as the week came to a close, the day of the tournament had arrived. More than the usual number of competitors had entered this year, 62 to be exact. Among all of them, one struck Jacob by surprise. Jenna was actually one of the contestants. How she'd managed 8 badges in such a short time was beyond his imagination, but the fact that she even went for the Pokemon challenge was also a shock. At least she wasn't trying to steal Pokemon anymore.
She woman noticed Jacob among the contestants and grinned. Despite being a good guy, she still felt a burning desire to defeat Jacob in a battle once and for all, and with his Lucario normal now, it could actually happen.
But even if Jenna was to face Jacob, she would most likely have to defeat at least one other opponent beforehand. The tournament lineup would, after all, be selected at random.
As the contestants all stood in the stadium battle grounds where the lineup would be decided, a familiar man stood up on a stage before the crowd. Most of the people there immediately recognized him as Professor Moro.
“Attention, trainers!” he shouted as everyone started whispering things such as “I can't believe I'm in the presence of Professor Moro” and “He's younger than most professors”.
“SILENCE!!!!” Moro spat as everything was silent, the man clearing his throat and saying, “Good.”
The professor went on to say, “You're all here today because you have earned the right to be in this tournament. Here, you will be facing some of the best that this region has to offer. You have, after all, defeated eight gym leaders, correct?”
The man chuckled as some trainers nervously pulled on their collars, others shifting their eyes back and forth and a couple whistling innocently. Moro pretended not to notice these people because removing them would only give him a reason to call off the Pokemon Challenge.
“You have all worked very hard, traveled long distances,” the man stated, “All of your hard work is going to pay off starting today! In only a mere hour, this tournament will begin and this stadium will be filled to the brim with spectators, all expecting you to do your best!”
The trainers started to show enthusiasm, some feeling more scared than when they entered, one even coming close to fainting as Moro added, “Along with the hundreds watching you battle here, there will be thousands watching worldwide, but don't forget, you are also being judged by the true greatest in the region!”
The people were all shocked when all 8 gym leaders entered the area… well, all except for Jacob. He already knew that they would be watching.
Sarah held up the microphone first saying, “I hope you all do your best out there and remember, strength is an important factor.”
Jonathan was up next, everyone rather disturbed by his smile as he stated, “Strength may be important, but skill is also a virtue! I hope you young trainers take that into consideration!”
Some people in the crowd rolled their eyes as if this was nothing more than a school lecture. Some of them didn't even believe in skill over strength.
Miles, who had replaced Derk only a couple of weeks prior to this event, grabbed the microphone and shouted, “Don't forget that anything goes as long as you don't kill anyone, so feel free to fight a little dirty!”
Some people in the crowd cheered in response to this while others gulped and looked towards the ground, afraid to admit that they agreed with Miles' words.
Next up was Marcy who simply said, “I hope to see some sparks fly in all of this!”
Aragon went up next and let down tears saying, “It really means a lot to see you all here today just so you can listen to me talk! As such, I would like to recite all of my favorite poems!”
The entire stadium let out loud moans as Aragon pulled out a long piece of paper, clearing his throat and saying, “A radish so red…” before Sarah yanked him off the stage by his ear, the crowd cheering and some gaining new-found respect for the girl.
Veronica stepped up as Aragon flailed his arms about, shouting, “You ruined my moment in the spotlight!” while Sarah rolled her eyes.
“If you lose,” Veronica stated, “don't feel too bad. Everyone loses at some point, and in the end, only one of you will be this region's champion. If you lose, don't feel too disappointed.”
Even the unenthusiastic participants applauded these words. Hers were the most inspirational ones said so far and the message was clear: It can't always go your way. This was something everyone in the world needed to accept.
Kevin stood up next as he looked at the crowd, silence filling the air. Everyone listened as he opened his mouth and let out the following: “Why did I come here again?”
Everyone let out loud moans as Moro whispered something in Kevin's ear and his eyes widened. “Oh, of course!” he exclaimed, “Sorry, I was thinking about something unimportant.”
He then cleared his throat and proceeded to say, “As Moro said, you have all come a long way. And as Veronica said, the majority of you will lose. But if you do, always remember this: You made it this far, didn't you?”
Kevin received almost the same applause Veronica did. Much like Veronica, his words filled the young trainers with self-esteem.
Last up was Clarissa. The young woman smiled at all the trainers and said, “I can certainly remember your faces. Most of you chose me as your last opponent.”
Some people nodded in agreement while others shrugged, the woman continuing, “From what I have seen, you are all more than worthy of being here. However, those who defeated me did it using strategy. Always remember that a good strategy is the key to victory.”
Like with Jonathan, her speech was met with some boredom shown by the crowd, but nevertheless, the gym leaders had gotten a fair amount of applause… except for Aragon who bored everyone when he took over the stage and managed to recite “Ode to an Upside Down Cake” before being dragged off the stage for good.
Next up, Moro introduced the elite four and their new leader, Perona. Jacob and Jenna were both shocked to see Perona as their boss, but nevertheless, the five of them received cheers from the crowd since they weren't giving any speeches.
Afterwards, Moro decided the lineup with the help of a machine that chose at random. Jacob gasped when he noticed that he and Jenna would both be in the tenth battle against one-another.
One member of the audience, a man dressed in black leather and a hat that covered his face, sighed and thought, `I'd better get a descent challenge from all of this.'
With all said and done, everyone was pumped for the tournament to begin. In only an hour, the first round would start up and the bleachers would be filled.
Note: Radish so Red and Ode to an Upside Down Cake are from Disney's The Reluctant Dragon