PlayStation All-Stars

Volume Two, Season Three

Episode Four

Enter the Cage

Written by Cole Bezotte

Note: This idea may not work out very well. Once I shared it with my partner Needle Kirby, there was already an objection about it. But how more smart can we be? Popeye boxed against someone bigger than him, so why can't Ratchet and Pupuru do the same against Needles? But I still have my doubts; this idea might not make it.

After over a week of training from Frank McCutcheon—day after day and night after night—Needles was finally ready to take on a great challenge. He felt that he had strength enough to take on Ratchet in an official boxing match, just like Frank promised.

Ratchet may have heard Needles' call for the challenge, but nobody else could agree that he should go and fight in the ring. But, no matter how much people tried to beg him, he still accepted the challenge and went to go perform some hardcore training. Only Pupuru went with him to where Ratchet's worst enemy waited.

The entire stadium was filled with many people, anxious to see who the victor would be in this competition. They were attracted to this upcoming battle, wishing heavily that Ratchet would win what seemed like his end. Other people who were present—many villains—merely wanted Ratchet to have finally met his match.

And yes, Frank had already arranged a deathly end for Ratchet for if he was ever to lose. "You can already beat that tortured animal into submission," he explained as Needles prepared himself for the fight. "And once he loses, he'll immediately be sent to a special surgeon that I already made arrangements with. Yes sir, Dr. Hatch will certainly put a big ruin on Ratchet's poor face! YOU will become more popular than the sucker! And—what's more—you get the prize money for all your hard work in the fighting!"

"I don't plan on letting this little runt hurt me in any way!" Needles replied excitedly as he faced Ratchet at the other end of the ring. "The Lombax is finished!"

Ratchet's boxing gloves may have small in size, but he was still more than willing to fight his opponent publicly. He was ready to charge straight at Needles and give him the works.

"I still think that Needles might cheat with his magic," Pupuru said worriedly.

"I don't think so, Pup," Ratchet replied. "Ever since he stepped right in, he promised never to use any of his magical powers to win. And that will make things fare in square for us."

Pupuru stepped back right when she heard the bell release a loud gong. Ratchet immediately ran forward and gave Needles a great big wallop upon the head. It may have landed concussion damage upon him, but he did not give up.

Needles felt a sudden nudge on his chest; Ratchet jabbed low enough to land a blow upon the stomach. It did not hurt Needles as much as it should have. The clown quickly landed another boxing glove upon the Lombax's head, pushing him down to the floor. Ratchet quickly got back up to his feet again, but his opponent was still not finished with him.

The battle raged on with each contestant laying a punch upon each other. Only until the bell rang did it stop, marking the end of the first round.

Ratchet walked over to his side of the ring as Pupuru squirted a dose of water into his dry mouth. After about one minute, the bell rang again to begin the second round. Ratchet was ready to take on Needles again, little knowing about a sabotage plan that Frank had already put into action.

Ratchet began to throw more punches than ever in his desperate attempt to win the game. But the more he attacked, the weaker he felt; something had terribly gone wrong. Needles was pleased to jab his right boxing glove right at Ratchet's eye, blackening it. Ratchet became very dizzy and did not fight back at all. The clown merely had to blow on him to topple him down to the floor.

"Please, Ratchet!" Pupuru thought. "Wake up!"

But it was too late; once the countdown had already reached ten, the game was over. And Needles had won just as Frank had promised.

As Ratchet was carried away to the operating room of Dr. Hatch, Pupuru was refused to be allowed entrance. She knew that Hatch had attempted to sew Ratchet's face shut while he was on the run from Billy Ray Stillwell.

(Note: I hope you remember from "Shattered Innocence".)

Ratchet did not wake up entirely until he was fully set upon the operating table. He first heard the sound of the doctor washing his hands at the nearby sink, footsteps coming towards him, and the scraping of his tools. Ratchet struggled desperately to escape the office, leaping off the table and heading straight towards the door. He may have escaped, but the doctor still hunted him down.

Ratchet found the nearest exhaust vent for him to break into and climb through. Within time, he left the hallway where Dr. Hatch's room was and searched for a way out of the building. He found it in time, landing upon the rooftop of the arena. But he had no clue as to where he would go next; he had no communication devices to use. He could not call out for help; he was stuck where he stood. He spent the rest of the night searching for a way out, while Needles gloated.

At Frank's home, Needles stared deep into the suitcase of cash that he had won that night. Twenty thousand dollars…all his and no one else's. "Finally…" he thought silently as he sat in a recliner, "…For the first time, I have now made Ratchet ancient history! I'll let his other friends come to stop me, but I'll beat them all! I am now all-powerful!"

But the villain was wrong; Pupuru still had a plan to undo the hideous damage he had caused.

At the League of Heroes' mansion, everyone had already heard Pupuru's plan to not only take back victory, but to take back Ratchet as well. But once she told it all, it was already rejected.

"You're absolutely crazy!" Captain Qwark exclaimed. "You're too tiny to be fighting in the ring! You should be ashamed of yourself!"

"You can agree with objection…" Jak snapped at Qwark, "…but NOT LIKE THAT!"

"We are correct with our agreement," Clank spoke up. "You cannot fight in there, especially against Needles! It is too dangerous! Ratchet had already lost the fight with his skill; so what makes you think you can be stronger than him?"

With a tear streaming down her right cheek, Pupuru slowly reached into her pocket and pulled the evidence of Ratchet's defeat. She held a miniature container of a clear, calm liquid. "This was injected into Ratchet's water bottle," Pupuru explained. "This poison caused him to become very dizzy and made him lose his sense of control. Needles cheated to win! He can't get away with his hollow victory!"

"I think that IS a good reason to go out there and fight him," Clank replied. "My apologies…"

"But do you still think it's a good idea to go out there in the ring?" Nepgear asked Pupuru. "The last thing I want to see is any of my friends being pummeled severely. I hope we're not regretting this decision."

"We won't regret anything as long as Needles' plan is exposed," Pupuru replied. "I saw him with a man who has his face covered; and if it's whom I think it is, it's definitely a perfect idea to fight!"

"But who do you think it is?"

"I saw him before…in my dream…that faceless freak who forced me to stay with him. I'll make sure that his scheme never happens again!"

With that said, Pupuru went under heavy training from experts like Angela Cross, Sasha Phyronix, Captain Qwark, Solid Snake, Raiden, and Purple Heart herself.

(Note: It's so difficult as to say whatever goddess' name, either real name or hero name.)

There was no limit to Pupuru's courage and determination, no matter what obstacles she faced. If a sandbag stood completely still, she punched it hard. If a boxing glove came at her, she blocked it with her own. If it seemed that her anger was about to get the best of her, she stopped it and kept cool. She desired to bring back her great friend, and it seemed that nothing would stop her from where she was.

Before leaving for the fight the next night, Qwark suggested that she select a song to put on the intercom of the arena. "Why would I need that?" Pupuru asked him.

"So that you can intimidate your opponent," Qwark explained in reply. "Make him think that you're actually very tough! Here, I have plenty of songs on my CD collection for you to choose from."

Pupuru looked over all the music albums that Qwark had collected. Most of them contained the "PARENTAL ADVISORY" label on the front cover. It was very difficult to choose from artists such as Linkin Park, Adema, Disturbed, Slipknot, and Korn. "Are you sure you don't have anything else?" Pupuru asked Qwark.

"Well, have you not read any of the lyrics?" Qwark replied.

After a while, Pupuru finally settled on one song that would fit perfectly into the scene.

Finally, the hour had struck for the night's battle to begin. Frank helped Needles prepare for the opponent that he was now up against, little knowing who it was. "You look to be in great shape!" Frank complimented as he mounted Needles up to the ring. "I'm sure you'll do more than just win!"

"No one's gonna laugh at me now!" Needles replied. "I'll be the best like no one ever was!"

(One more note: I never watched Pokémon in my life.)

The villain waited until a voice finally spoke up as it filled the entire arena. The announcer had finally come.

"Welcome one and all to the new prize fight of Big Bad Boxing Federation!" the announcer spoke up. "I am your host Steve McQwark! All of you be ready for perhaps one of the biggest fights of the year! This one was requested just last night, and there is no turning back now, ladies and gentlemen! Tonight's battle is brought to you by Megacorp, Zorko Bros., and Smile Curry! But now, let's begin!

"In this corner, wearing cricketer's pants and red gloves, here we have a slim-jim with wild hair and a horrible-looking nose. He is the one and only 98-pound weakling known as Needles! He is an unstable clown who eats children and keeps their eyes in a jar. His favorite song playing right now is 'Living Inside of Me' by LeVeL. Just wait and see what nasty moves he'll pull from his sleeve!"

Needles became very upset from the announcer's insults. He already recognized the voice as Captain Qwark's. But he also knew that what was soon to come would be a trap for him.

"And in THIS corner…" Qwark continued, "…is the challenger! She may be ninety-eight pounds, but she is no weakling, ladies and gentlemen! She's fast, she's furious, and she's got a heart! Her currently-playing song 'Giving In' by Adema instills nervousness into the heart of her opponent. Just look at her recognizable ponytail! Look at those perfectly-made blue gloves! Look at that determination she possesses! Behold, ladies and gentlemen! The one, the only… Pupuru!"

"WHAT?!" Needles exclaimed. "Are you frickin' kidding me?! You honestly think a wimp like her can take me on?!"

"What's that?" Qwark teased in reply. "I can't hear you! I'm the only one holding a microphone!"

Frustrated, Needles waited for the bell to ring so that the match can begin. But he took one good look at the bell ringer; it was the slow-speaking Black. "I know for a FACT that this is a trap!" Needles thought as he walked to the center of the ring.

Qwark summoned the two fighters to come to him in the middle of the ring so that he can tell the rules. In a state of humor, Pupuru brought him an apple to munch on as he explained everything. "Now I want you both to make a nice, clean fight," he said as he ate. "No kicking allowed, and no dirty tricks."

The two combatants acknowledged the rules and headed back to their spots, ready to fight.

"Are you ready?" Qwark said to Needles. He nodded in reply.

"Are you ready?" Qwark said to Pupuru. She nodded in reply.

Qwark gave the signal to Black, and Black gave the bell a loud gong.

"FIGHT!" Qwark shouted.

Needles eagerly dove a punch right at his new opponent's face, only to be met by her right glove blocking it. Then, using her other glove, Pupuru punched Needles' arm away from her.

"How can this be?!" Needles exclaimed. "How are you in the ring in the first place?!"

"I heard of your sabotage plan upon Ratchet!" Pupuru replied. "I'm here to fix all that!"

"Oh no!" Frank thought as he watched them battle. "She and her gang must have stolen all my poisonous chemicals! Now Needles can't win this one for me! That is, unless he can beat her senselessly! Hit her for me!"

The two furious fighters continued to give each other their best moves, one after another. Pupuru remembered everything that her friends had taught her; she had what it took to dodge, avoid, and block even the strongest attacks that were thrown at her. The entire audience was surprised to see her defend herself so easily. She had taken some casualties, but she still had the determination to finish what she had started.

After a certain amount of time had elapsed, Black hit the bell again to mark the end of the first round.

"This is ridiculous!" Needles exclaimed to Frank. "How is she doing better than me?! I thought you would be smart enough to sabotage her water bottle!"

"I DID!" Frank replied. "But they had already found out about our plan, and they've foiled it! But don't worry; we can still win this thing. This time, use your anger. Unleash it upon her and tear her apart like you mean it! Give it all you've got!"

At Pupuru's corner of the ring, Sasha handed her the bottle of pure water. After having destroyed Frank's special formula, they were sure to have the chance of winning back Ratchet. Though Pupuru's left cheek was red and swollen, she was still willing to continue this battle until a clear result was given.

Black rang the bell again, marking the beginning of round two. Pupuru was more than ready to fight better than before, which intimidated Needles severely. "This is getting on my nerves!" he exclaimed.

"I'll tear your tonsils out if you don't get back in there!" Frank replied. "Now get going!"

"He's right…" Needles thought as he continued to fight. "I should use all my anger against this girl! I swear I'll KILL HER!"

He began to use not only mere jabs, but also slamming his fists down upon Pupuru. But that young girl of a boxer was too smart to use anger against any enemy. She used more than mere dodging to outsmart her opponent; her fists were as strong as ever, giving Needles the one thing he deserved: pain.

Finally, the end of the second round was almost upon them as the audience looked closely at what happened next. Needles furiously drove his right fist right at Pupuru's face, but she deflected it back with both her gloves. Needles' glove backfired and landed right at his own face instead, blinding him.

Distracted by the pain, the villain did not see the final move that Pupuru unleashed. Everyone watched in excitement as she swung her arm in a complete 360-degree circle…once…twice…thrice! Until finally, she unleashed a powerful uppercut upon Needles' face, sending him down to the floor unconscious.

Captain Qwark counted to ten, but the clown simply did not get back up from his unconsciousness. This only meant one thing: Pupuru was the winner.

The entire audience cheered wildly at the young hero. But little did they know about who else was watching from the balcony above. There stood Ratchet, glad to see his good friend gain back the victory. "That's my girl…" he thought happily. "She was fantastic! She is a true fighter!"

THE END!

LIKE I SAID, THIS MIGHT NOT BE SUCH A GOOD IDEA.

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