Chapter 23: The pokémon frenzy tournament

(A/N: There will be a lot of what the pokémon are thinking in this chapter. Just so no one will get confused, everything a pokémon is thinking is in italics. Not everything in italics is what a pokémon is thinking, but you really should be able to recognize those cases yourself.)

May was just returning from the gym.
“What were you doing in there?” she said blankly.
“Ash Ketchum lives there,” Mark replied. “And his son.”
“No!” May gasped. “That just can’t be... you saw him?”
“Well, no,” Mark admitted. “But I saw his Pikachu.”
“Yeah. And Alan, his son. He invited me over to tell me that Chaletwo has killed four trainers who had all somehow wanted to catch it... and he saw Molzapart. And owned Rainteicune. And he told me of it. And...”
“Molzapart? Rainteicune?” May questioned.
“Oh, of course... you didn’t read that book. Well, Molzapart is equally powerful as Chaletwo. Rainteicune is a mix between Raikou, Entei and Suicune... and then Alan has a Persian, and a Vaporeon and a Grovyle and a Rapidash and a Misdreavus, and a Charmander that can evolve or devolve at will...”
“Mark – you’re speaking way too fast,” May said.
Mark explained everything in details a bit slower.
“Really?” May said after Mark had finished. “Well, we can think about him later. Shouldn’t we go and find a hotel?”
They found a hotel, sure enough. It was almost full, though, because over the festival days, there was an awful lot of tourists in Green town. But since they were there early enough, they managed to get decent rooms anyway.
The rest of the day and the next day, they spent training their pokémon and watching the preparations for the festival. The day after that was the “more info” day, so Mark and May checked the program to see what they needed more info about.
“The pokémon frenzy tournament. That doesn’t exactly tell much about what it is, so we should at least get more info on that,” said May, peeking at the first part of the program.
“Evolution day. Well, I haven’t got any stone-evolving pokémon, but you have Pikachu...” Mark said and looked at May.
“Nah, I don’t think so,” May replied. “I want Pikachu to learn all of his attacks before he evolves.”
“He? Didn’t you always refer to your pokémon as “it”?” Mark asked.
“Oh, Mark, please. How can you still refer to your pokémon as objects? After all this training... I mean, they have a character, they are alive... it has started to sound ridiculous to refer to pokémon I know the gender of as “it”.”
“You’re right,” Mark said. “Yeah, you’re right... I have to admit that it feels pretty weird to call Charmeleon “it” now... he’s a male after all.”
“Of course. Hey, look at this... Attack approval. I’m entering this. And I’m most definetly going to get “more info”.”
“Me too,” said Mark. “And then... Trainer’s market. Well, you don’t really need more info on that, do you?”
“Nope. And then the starter pokémon giveaway... the “more info” for that is most likely just for those who are going to get starter pokémon there. So we’re going to the Pokémon frenzy tournament “more info”, 2 PM, and the Attack approval one, 2:30. Let’s just hope we can get to both.”
At two o’clock, they were down in the Green town pokémon stadium. There was a man with a megaphone on one end of the arena. Meanwhile, some people were preparing the attack approval information. The man with the megaphone was shouting in it, making his voice echo through the arena much too loudly.
“Do your pokémon want to be champions? Not with you always telling them what to do? Maybe you’re not a good trainer, but you have very strong pokémon? Or maybe you only have one strong pokémon, but no others so you can’t enter the pokémon league? Then the Pokémon frenzy tournament is something for you! Here, pokémon battle with their own strength, wits and attacks, without trainers to command them! The pokémon finally get some credit! They finally are the champions, not the trainers! Are you interested? Or is your pokémon maybe interested? Go to the lady over there to enter your pokémon! Not for too sensitive pokémon... or Water pokémon that need water to battle.”
“I think I’m entering some of mine,” said Mark.
“I think I’m not entering any of mine,” said May. “My pokémon don’t need to have crazy battles that will most likely include a lot of blood to be champions.”
“Well, I think I’m entering all of mine,” said Mark. “Or maybe not Dragonair, he’s maybe “too sensitive”... and Gyarados isn’t allowed.”
He went to the woman.
“Good day. Are you going to enter some of your pokémon?”
“Yes, four,” Mark said.
“Okay then,” she said and handed Mark four forms to fill out. The forms looked something like this:

Species: ____________
Nickname (if none, leave blank): __________
Gender: ? Male ? Female
Level: __
Trainer’s full name: _________
Comments: _____________________________________________________

Mark filled the forms out.
“Anything else?” he asked the lady.
“Then you have to sign this,” she said and handed Mark a paper. He read it: “By signing this paper, you are clarifying that all information about you and your pokémon is correct...” and blah blah blah. Mark signed it and handed it to the lady.
“And this,” she said and handed him another paper. It said: “By signing this paper, you hereby declare that you are aware of the rule that the trainer is not allowed to have any business with his or her pokémon’s battles in the Tournament. You are aware that in this Tournament, the trainer is no more than audience. You are also aware that neither the staff of the Tournament nor of the festival can be held responsible for any physical harm or injuries on your pokémon after the Tournament is over.” There was more, but it didn’t appear to be anything more than repeating these lines with different words. Mark signed it, wondering what the last part was for and then the lady told him he could go now as she stapled all of this together and put it the a pile of signed forms.
Mark got out just in time to catch May on the way to the attack approval information. There were a man and a woman standing by a pile of what seemed to be Clefable dolls. There were long queues to each of them and Mark went to the one to the woman right away but May counted the people in both queues carefully and then chose the man’s one.
At long last, Mark reached the woman.
“I’d like to enter, please,” he said.
“Yes. Take a Clefable doll,” the woman said.
“What are they for?” Mark asked as he picked one up.
“They’re hi-tech caculators for the base damage, type, accuracy and power points of the attack used on them,” she said. “You take one, then when you’re going to practise your attacks, you turn it on, let your pokémon use their attack on it as many times as they can, and the doll will show you all information you need about the attack. The doll can store information about six attacks at once, and when it comes to the attack approval itself, you give us the doll so we can see the information about the attacks, and then you show us the attacks.”
“OK, thanks,” said Mark, took the doll and walked to May, who had gotten her doll long before him, being in the shorter queue.

Finally there came the twentieth. Mark and May walked to the stadium at half past one. Mark handed four of his pokéballs to the man who was collecting the pokémon that were to take part in the tournament, then they went and found decent seats. The pokémon frenzy tournament did not use the whole arena; a small part of it was marked off. There weren’t as many people there as Mark had imagined, but there were still quite a few trainers. At two o’clock, the megaphone man came.
“Okay! Round one begins!” said the man in the megaphone. “I will be commenting on the battles. The first fight is between a Jolteon, level 34 male, no nickname, and a female level 45 Scizor with no nickname!”
So they matched a level 34 pokémon with a level 45 one...
The men with all the pokéballs on either side of the small marked arena sent out the pokémon, Jolteon and that Scizor.

A Scizor, Jolteon thought when he came out of his ball and faced his oppoment. It shouldn’t be too hard...

Jolteon didn’t hear the levels, so he didn’t know how much stronger Scizor was, but he found out soon enough because the Scizor was extraordinarily fast for a Scizor. She came at Jolteon at high speed, grabbed his leg and tightened her grip. There was a sickening crunch, which could even be heard through Jolteon’s shrieks of pain, that told Mark the Scizor had broken Jolteon’s leg. Mark heard May fuss beside him. She had been right in one aspect: these battles did seem to include a lot of blood. Jolteon discharged electricity into the Scizor’s body, and she let him go. Jolteon whimpered on the ground and shot a Thunderbolt at the Scizor, which she evaded before she dived down and smashed Jolteon to the other end of the arena. Jolteon fell unconscious.
“AND SCIZOR WINS! The next match is,” the megaphone guy said as the pokéball men recalled Jolteon and Scizor and took out new balls, “Fury the Hitmonchan, level 40 male, and Jaws the Feraligatr, level 42, also male! Will Fury’s punching power bring him victory in this battle? Or will Jaws override the Fighting pokémon with his jaws, claws and Water attacks? We’ll see!”
The alligator and the boxer pokémon faced each other, ready to fight. Neither moved. Then suddenly, Fury jumped at Jaws and punched him in the stomach.
“And Fury’s decided to start this out with a Mach punch!” cried the announcer. “Jaws – Jaws – he uses a powerful Slash, but Fury evades it! Fury uses Comet punch, Jaws bites Fury’s arm! Ouch! No, Fury is Mega punching Jaws’ lower jaw – this is one tough Hitmonchan! Jaws doesn’t let go – Fury headbutts Jaws and gets his arm out! What will Jaws do... it’s a Hydro pump! Fury evades it, and – and – Dynamicpunches Jaws right in the head! Ow, that must’ve hurt! The Dynamicpunch made Jaws confused – oh! Fury strikes again with a Dizzy punch! And Jaws – Jaws – Jaws has fainted! Fury the Hitmonchan wins!”
“I wonder who this Fury will be battling next time,” Mark muttered to himself. “Hopefully none of my pokémon...”
“The next match – a level 35 male Sandslash with no nickname versus a Charmeleon, also level 35 male with no nickname!”
Sandslash versus Charmeleon... they apparently made no efforts at making pokémon owned by the same trainer battle other pokémon. Sandslash and Charmeleon were sent out into the arena. Sandslash apparently didn’t want to battle Charmeleon, but Charmeleon took the tournament more seriously than that. He used a Fire blast and when it hit Sandslash, Sandslash maybe rolled a bit too much to keep it looking real. The announcer wasn’t going to try to make them actually battle.
“And Sandslash seems to have given up!” the announcer said. “Charmeleon goes on to the next round!” And Sandslash and Charmeleon were recalled after this short battle.
“And the last match before the next round, a non-nicknamed Scyther, level 43 male, versus Casey, a level 49 Pidgeot, female!”
The two pokémon were sent out. Casey looked at Scyther with disgust, shook herself dropping a few loose feathers to the ground, and Scyther and Casey then both flew up at the same time.
“And Scyther has his scythes raised, Casey has her talons ready! They clash, and – and...” Scyther and the Pidgeot were in a mighty battle in mid-air and they both moved so fast there was no way to see clearly what was happening until they kicked each other away and then Scyther was covered in cuts and Casey’s feathers all stood on end. They panted there for a few seconds, flapping their wings, then flew at each other again.

She’s strong, Scyther thought. Very strong. But I have the upper wing...

When they went back to rest for a few seconds again, Mark saw Casey’s right wing was hurt. She could still fly, but with more difficulty. Then Scyther flew at her again, slashed at her injured wing and she fell down to the ground, unable to battle anymore. Scyther landed and collapsed on the ground too, just out of exhaustion.
“SCYTHER WINS!!!!!!” the announcer bellowed. “And now it’s round two! The first match is this Scyther, who is, in case you forgot, level 43 male, and the winner of the first battle, Scizor, level 45 female with no nickname!”
“They’re going to make Scyther battle twice in a row?” Mark stared open-mouthed at the announcer. “When Scyther is that exhausted? I can’t believe it!”
“I told you this tournament is run by people who don’t care about cruelty to pokémon!” May hissed. “No one in their right mind would organize pokémon battles where everything is allowed except making sure no one gets seriously hurt! This is madness, and I always knew it. I tried to tell you!”
But when Scyther’s oppoment, that Scizor, was sent out, Scyther caught an eye on her and his eyes suddenly flamed with hate. He stood up, and as panting as he had been just a few seconds ago, he didn’t seem tired at all. He stared into the Scizor’s eyes and she stared back. Apparently, Scyther hadn't battled that Scizor in the Metal city gym just for the pride of all Scythers that haven’t been evolved. In fact, Scyther seemed to hate and loathe Scizors more than anything else in the world, judging by how he seemed to want to rip the Scizor apart just by staring at her.

A Scizor... Scizor... I want to kill... I want revenge...

Scyther leapt up and shot at the Scizor. She evaded him.

She’s fast... for a Scizor at least. But no Scizor is faster than any Scyther...

Scyther shot at her again, and as she was trying to evade him, he changed direction at the moment she moved. He hit her with great force, knocking her to the ground. She locked her pincers around Scyther’s arm and tightened the grip, but because bugs don’t have any bones to break but instead have this hard shell around them, it wasn’t quite as effective as it had been on Jolteon. It gave her the opportunity to stand up, though. Now she shot at Scyther, but he flew up to evade it and then dived down and landed on top of her. Scyther held her down and searched for a place where she wasn’t covered with steel plates that prevented his scythes from doing any damage to her. He found the place on her neck, just below her head. She made some attempts to push Scyther off, but she was too weak to manage it.

Prepare to die, Scizor.

Suddenly, a trainer in the top row stood up.
Scyther looked up at him.
“THAT’S MY POKÉMON DOWN THERE!” the trainer bellowed. “STOP THE BATTLE!!!!!!!!!”
“Scizor’s trainer is breaking the rules, the trainers aren’t allowed to interfere with their pokémon’s battles! And it seems like he didn’t read the papers before signing them – it clearly said that “the staff of the Tournament or the festival are not to be held responsible for any physical harm or injuries on your pokémon”...”
“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! SCIZOR!!!!!!!!” the trainer roared. Mark now understood the point of that sentence in the papers – they didn’t want to be sued if a pokémon got killed in the tournament. But, although the staff ignored the trainer completely, Scyther didn’t. He looked at the trainer and the Scizor several times and after staring at the Scizor for a few long seconds, he stood up. The Scizor lay still, but conscious, and Scyther stared at her. She didn’t stand up, and Mark guessed that meant she admitted defeat. The announcer frowned, like he had wanted to see Scyther kill Scizor. “Scizor has given up! Scyther is the winner!” was his failed attempt to sound like when announcing the outcome of the previous battles. He still had a clear tone of disappointment. “Next up are Charmeleon, level 35 male, no nickname, and Fury the Hitmonchan, level 40 male.”
Scyther and Scizor were recalled and instead Fury and Charmeleon were sent out. They glared at each other.
“Um, Mark?” May said. “Do you know what I just discovered? If Charmeleon wins this, we’ll have Scyther versus Charmeleon in the finals, and that might not be... uh, a very good idea...”
Mark froze. She was right, of course. Why hadn’t he noticed before?
“Scyther versus Charmeleon? But... even though Charmeleon has the type advantage, Scyther has the level advantage and he can fly but not Charmeleon... and of course Scyther has scythes... I’ll end up with a bunch of Charmeleon slices!”
May’s answer was not encouraging. She just nodded and said: “Yeah, something like that, I’m afraid.”
Meanwhile, Fury and Charmeleon were down on the battle arena, staring at each other. Catching Charmeleon off guard, Fury suddenly shot towards Charmeleon and started punching him, first in the stomach, then in the chest, then in the jaw, then straight in the face. Then Fury leapt back, waiting for Charmeleon’s reaction. Charmeleon looked like he was going to vomit, then bent down and spat some blood on the ground. Then he rose up again, inhaled deeply and sent a swirl of flames at Fury, who tried to leap aside, but nevertheless got hit by it. However, Mark knew about the awesome ability to withstand non-physical attacks the Hitmons had. Fury shot at Charmeleon again, but this time Charmeleon was ready and leapt aside just as Fury was about to punch. Then Charmeleon jumped on top of Fury and bit his arm.
“No,” Mark moaned, “don’t win, please...”
But his wish did not come true, in a few seconds Charmeleon had Fury in a headlock and Fury was forced to give up.
“And Charmeleon is the winner! The final match is... SCYTHER VERSUS CHARMELEON!!!! You should know both of them by now, no need to tell you anything about them...”
Charmeleon watced with a look of satisfaction on his face as Scyther was sent out at the other end. Scyther took his place perfectly calm and serious.

Now is the time, thought Charmeleon.

“Char,” Charmeleon said. “Chaaaaaaarmeleon!!!!!!!!!” Charmeleon closed his eyes, and something incredible happened.
He glowed white.
He went larger, much larger; batlike wings spread from his back; the head went longer and the horn on his head split into two much narrower ones. He stopped glowing, revealing a Charizard.
“Oh no,” Mark moaned. “I don’t want to watch them kill each other...” He covered his face in his hands and looked straight down at his own legs.
“Mark, wait,” May said. “Scyther doesn’t really look... up to battle.”
Mark dared to look up again and saw she was right again. Scyther looked more “hey, aren’t you overdoing this a bit?” and his scythes twitched with Charizard’s every movement, like he was going to stand there until Charizard attacked, then try to defend himself.
“Maybe it will be okay after all,” Mark said hopefully.
Charziard looked like he was going to vomit again. And apparently, he thought the blood would be wasted if it landed on the ground, so he decided to spit it at Scyther instead, then flew up. Scyther’s face got completely covered in it, it was in his eyes, everywhere was blood...
Blood is red.
Something red in a Scyther’s eyes equals disaster. That was one thing he had learned in pokémonology.
“Uh oh. Bad idea, Charizard... bad idea...”
With a terrifying, mad roar, Scyther shot towards the nearest moving object: Charizard’s wings. He slashed them madly, but Charizard’s thick skin prevented them from being absolutely torn apart. Charizard turned around in the air and shot a Flamethrower at Scyther. Scyther evaded it and was shooting at Charizard again, but Charizard swung his tail around and hit Scyther with it. Scyther was smashed to the ground and stood up again, but the blood seemed to have cleared out of Scyther’s eyes. He stopped to think, and while he stopped to think, Charizard’s tail came smashing in his back again, sending him flying up, then he landed on the ground, face down. Charizard raised his tail again.

One more attack, he thought, one more attack, and Scyther will never attack Mark in his sleep!

He suddenly lowered his tail.

Maybe I don’t need to finish Scyther off once and for all.

Scyther’s body twitched; Charizard raised his tail again.

No, I better finish it now, since I’ve started.

He hesitated again.

Why am I doing this?

We did hate each other. But why? Scyther has never done anything to me.

I got him to hate me too. I wanted him to hate me too.

It was because I was afraid Scyther would attack Mark... try to kill him...

Or, that was what I got myself to believe. I was just jealous.

Of course, that was when I was a Charmeleon. I’m more mature now.

But my actions may not be taken back...

What have I done?

Charizard lowered his tail completely. He stopped flapping his wings and fell down on the arena, and lay there completely motionless.

The announcer, who had been too busy watching this unusual fight, finally got himself to speak. “Well, it looks like this terrifying battle ended in a draw! Charizard has given up, but Scyther doesn’t seem to be in a very good condition, either!”

Chapter 24

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