Hey guys, new chapter is out! Hope you enjoy!
Also, quick shout out! Not only Premasaur, who once again was kind enough to serve as my editor, but to my friend Fuzzboy as well. He gave me a readthrough beforehand to help me improve as a writer. Thanks bro!
"No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no-"
Victini was shaking his head and backing up, rubbing a hand over his ears.
"Victini said that anyone would be preferable to Phione," Hariyama said, shrugging.
"Yeah, but I hadn't even considered the thought of- "
"Oh, come on mate, you know I'm a ratings jewel," Tepig said, waving him off.
"I-I guess…." Victini said. "But you don't even count as a legendary! You just drank a bunch of shit and got super powerful!"
"Someone's jealous," Hariyama said, chuckling.
"Stay out of this, Harry," Victini snapped. "You better not destroy my camp."
"Yes, but can I destroy Scraggy?" Tepig asked.
"No," Victini said flatly.
"Okay, but what if the damage isn't physical?" Tepig asked.
"Dude, you literally knocked the evolution out of him," Victini said. "Isn't that enough?"
Tepig winked. "I'm very thorough."
"Why did that give me chills-Look!" Victini said. "You have free reign over the challenge, but no personal biases. Lucario already has immunity. We'll be back before the elimination ceremony."
"Fine, fine," Tepig said, waving the two of them off on their boat ride. As soon as they left, Tepig's face broke into a vicious smile.
"You lot thought my time in the game was finished, yeah? Well, you thought wrong."
Scrafty whimpered in pain, feeling the heat of the molten rock burning into his back. He crawled back, but swore as he noticed the lava pool was right behind him.
"You're excellent at getting out of sticky situations," Tepig said, standing over him with an intense glow surrounding his body. "Who are ya going to hurt to get out of this one?"
Scrafty took deep breaths, wincing in pain at the sudden sting of his burn.
"What do you plan to do now, mate? Your back is against the wall and you have nowhere to turn. Who will have you now that you betrayed them? Nobody will want to even sit next to you after what you pulled. So, tell me? Who's going to save you from me? Who's going to save you from what you do to yourself?"
"…. your mother," Scrafty rasped.
Tepig snorted and rolled his eyes, before unleashing golden flames from his nose, and all Scrafty could feel was agonizing pain…
Scraggy burst awake, breathing heavily. It took him a few minutes to realize where he was. For once, the cabin was deserted.
He looked at his shaking hands and took a few breaths, feeling the memories flood back. He made sure his breathing was in check before he hopped off his bed, forgetting his legs were much smaller. He crashed to the floor.
Groaning, he rose to his feet before walking over to the restroom.
"You're a worthless piece of shit, Scrafty. Hell, you can't even call yourself that anymore."
He couldn't reach the sink, so he had to push a stepping stool over to prop himself up. He brushed his teeth, eyeing the mirror in front of him lazily. He hated his teeth as a Scraggy. They were so big and uneven-
"Yeah, that's why you wanted to evolve, Shit stain. Nobody else has problems with evolving; why do you suck so much?"
"I'll win," Scraggy muttered, finishing flossing. "I'll win and evolve, and I'll be done with the whole show."
"Yeah? Who even cares, jackass? Nobody likes you. Good luck finding anyone even willing to tolerate you after the show is over."
Scraggy stretched and stepped into the shower. The voice had been there so long, he had gotten good at ignoring it.
"I thought you weren't into sports," Gallade said, raising an eyebrow.
"Oh, this is totally a different thing," Umbreon said, tossing a football up and down. "The kick off has been a family tradition for generations, so you should be honored."
"You hate your family," Gallade pointed out. "You've notably brought it up several times."
"How would you even notice?" Umbreon asked. "You've been a hermit until very recently."
"Speaking and listening are two very different skills," Gallade drawled.
"Look, I'm not trying to pull anything," Umbreon said, putting the ball on the ground and holding it there. "Just go and kick the football."
Gallade shrugged. "Okay I guess…why not?"
He backpedaled, preparing to make a run for it.
"Poor guy can't even see it coming," Shuckle said, sighing sadly.
Gallade broke out in a run, but Umbreon yanked the football away just as he was swinging a kick, the momentum throwing him high in the air.
"WAAAAAAAAUUUGH!" Gallade shouted, somersaulting in the air and slamming down on his back.
Umbreon broke into raucous cackles. "That is literally the oldest trick in the book, Charlie Brown."
"Owww….who the hell is Charlie Brown?" Gallade asked.
"Wait are you serious?" Umbreon asked.
"What the hell, Gallade!?" Shuckle shouted, sounding offended, looking up from the book he was reading.
"I've never really been very into television," Gallade admitted, tapping a blade to his chin. "Wait….was Charlie Brown the sponge guy?"
"Okay, someone needs a cartoon marathon," Shuckle said, his features determined. "Poor guy must've had a deprived childhood."
Lucario finished her jog, coming to a halt near the mailbox. She wiped some sweat off her brow and, shrugging, checked inside the one that was marked under her name.
There was a letter there.
Lucario reached for it, but was interrupted by Charizard tapping her on the shoulder.
"Hey uh…I was planning on doing some lifting and I was hoping you could spot me," he admitted.
"Oh, uh…sure…" Lucario said, telling herself she'd check the letter later. "You can help me out as well."
"I'm not really one to hold grudges," Lucario admitted, rubbing her arm. "Charizard isn't so terrible when you really get to know him. Of course, I'm totally for voting him off, but the very least I can do is work out with him, yeah?"
"That's twenty, Charizard. Nice!"
"Not done," Charizard said, lifting up the weight again. He loved working out. It was the only time his anger didn't control him. Rather, he felt each breath turn the anger into something productive.
"Well, don't strain yourself, dude."
"I'm not," Charizard grunted, the strain of the weight causing his tail to slap a couple of times against the floor. By the time he had finished, he had wiped himself out.
"Don't overdo it, Charizard," Lucario said, looking a little concerned. "If you bite off more than you can chew you'll just hurt yourself."
"Yeah…. fair…say, do you want to hold the sandbag for me?" Charizard asked. "I really need to punch something right now."
"All right," Lucario said, wanting him as far away from the weights as possible. She had witnessed firsthand what could happen to people who didn't know what they were doing at the gym.
Charizard smirked at the sting of pain on his fists as he punched the bag over and over. Something he could finally control.
"Wow, someone's eager," Lucario grunted, grinning a little as she held the bag steady. Charizard grinned back as he threw another punch that nearly sent her stumbling back.
Charizard punched the bag as Lucario egged him on, whaling on the thing until he saw Lucario almost lose her balance. He managed to catch her before she fell, his sweaty hand grabbing hers. Charizard stared at her a moment too long, and Lucario pulled her arm away, looking a little flustered. "Er…thanks."
"Oh I uh…. sorry," Charizard said, blushing and looking away. "I tend to bring too much power to the table."
"Hey, no harm done," Lucario said, patting him on the shoulder. "I'd better go take a shower. Good luck on the challenge today."
Charizard absentmindedly rubbed the spot on his shoulder where she had touched as he watched her leave.
"Lucario's just so…easy to be around," Charizard admitted. "Working out with her has given me a chance to relax a little more and…. well, I know she's not into men, but she isn't that bad to look at either."
"Charizard seems like he needs a win, to be honest," Lucario admitted. "And even though he doesn't exactly have the best track record, I still prefer him over Scraggy. So, yeah, I'll help the guy out a little if he needs it."
"Wait, so they're going on vacation?" Shuckle asked, looking through binoculars. "Does that mean the challenge is being put off?"
He was looking over at the dock, where Hariyama was dropping suitcases into one of the boats. Both he and Victini were wearing Hawaiian shirts. And then….a little out of his range was-
"Tepig!" Shuckle announced. "Tepig's on the island again!"
"I'll never be free of him, will I?" Gallade joked.
"Well, good news, we get to see Scraggy get his ass kicked by Tepig again," Umbreon chuckled. "Oh man, I can't wait to see the dude's face…"
"Oh, I've missed this place," Tepig said, wiping a tear from his eye as he watched Scraggy scream.
"Okay, you owe us one hell of an explanation," Umbreon snapped. "Why the hell would you even do that?"
Tepig sighed, looking a bit awkward. "Okay, so the deal with that is-"
"Shut up," Charizard said, bopping Scraggy on the head.
"I'm good," Scraggy whispered.
'Alright, look," Tepig said, raising his arms. "To be perfectly honest, no answer I could ever give you would satisfy you. I don't work like other people, and at this point? I don't even remember."
"Wait…really? That's your answer?" Gallade asked.
"HAHAHA FUCK NO!" Tepig cackled. "How awful of an explanation that would be. No, see I did it because Scrafty is a total bitch, and because of my backstory."
"You…. you have a backstory?" Lucario asked, trying to keep up.
"Right, flashback time!" Tepig said, snapping his fingers.
A young, sexy Tepig was seen strolling over to the refrigerator.
"Ah, we're out of moomoo milk," Tepig noted.
"And that's my backstory," Tepig said. "Now that I'm immortal I get all the drinks I want."
"What the hell…. just was that?" Umbreon said, dizzy.
"Oh right, flashbacks. That's my legendary duty," Tepig said. "According to the producers there haven't been enough flashbacks, so…here I am. Missed you guys though."
"And what about Minccino?" Umbreon snapped. "How does she feel about this?"
She could tell instantly that she had hit a nerve. Sweat beaded Tepig's forehead, and when he responded he was a lot more testy and impatient.
"Anyway, I'm host of today's challenge," Tepig said. "And the first person who knocks out Umbreon in that gets immunity."
"You can't just-!"
"Yes, I can," Tepig said smugly. "I'm immortal now. Alright now, off with you! Time to get prepared for my lovely challenge!"
"Okay, Tepig was a dick before, but now he's a legendary dick that loves rubbing it in everyone's faces," Umbreon growled.
She managed a half smile. "Okay, so it wasn't awful to see him again."
"You've gotta be fucking kidding me," Scraggy hissed. "WHY WON'T HE LEAVE ME ALONE!"
"Someone's twitchy now that they aren't fully evolved," Shuckle said, glaring at Scraggy. They were the slowest of the remaining cast and they were struggling to catch up with their more athletic comrades.
"Well, I'm sorry if the PTSD I got from Tepig literally punching me so hard that my physical body reverted back a stage is putting me a little on edge," Scraggy snapped. "Check your fucking privilege."
"…. Alright, you know what? That's fair," Shuckle admitted, falling silent.
"Oh, and feel free to fanboy over me now that I'm in the form that you rooted for back in Dirtbags," Scraggy said, waving his hand as if to fend off praise.
"…I hate you," Shuckle snapped.
"Oh hey, the castle," Lucario said, folding her arms. "We haven't been there in a while."
"That's right!" Tepig said, sighing. "Ah, remember that king of the hill challenge? Good times. Like when Scraggy lost to AUDINO and EEVEE!"
Shuckle snorted in laughter as Scraggy groaned, covering his face.
"Or how Shuckle contributed absolutely nothing and got punched off by Infernape!"
Shuckle immediately went silent as Scrafty snickered at him.
"Oh, and who can forget how Plusle-"
"CAN WE NOT TALK ABOUT THAT!?" Charizard snarled. "Let's move on!"
"Fine, fine!" Tepig said, raising his arms in surrender. "Let's go inside!"
"Not like we ever had a choice," Umbreon muttered.
They entered the castle, once again walking through the dark room, where the giant massive platform stood in the middle. Tepig gestured for them to form up there, and some of the contestants looked apprehensive at the bad memory.
"That burn freaking hurt!" Gallade snapped. "That challenge sucked."
"Oh….uh….sorry about that," Charizard said, scratching his arm sheepishly.
"Okay, lads and ladies!" Tepig said, floating high in the air above them. "If you'll look around you'll notice that there is plenty of equipment for you to work with!"
Gallade glanced around him, noticing baseball bats, football gear, wickets, hammers, and other random sports items. "So, what's actually the challenge?"
"Well, this is TepigBall! Only rule is that you can't use the same rule twice! Except the tuck rule. That's shit should never have been made and everyone knows it."
"Yeah, but what is the objective?" Umbreon asked. "How do we play this game?"
"Oh, the objective is to entertain me," Tepig said, blinking. "Something wrong?"
"Only that we have no clue what the hell we're supposed to do," Umbreon drawled. "You want us to just do random bullshit? We don't exactly have massive imaginations for this stuff. What's the scoring system? What's preventing someone from just creating a random rule on the fly to win the game?"
Tepig blinked. "Well, as long as it's sufficiently entertaining…"
Umbreon sighed, facepalming. "Oh my god…"
"Oh, by the way!" Tepig said, snapping his fingers. "I thought it might get a bit boring with just you six, so I brought a few legendary friends! Come on out, mates!"
A dark aura filled the room, before a portal appeared right in front of the campers, who gaped as Giratina emerged, letting out a terrifying cry. Manaphy and Tapu Lele teleported into the room, a small green Pokemon sitting on top of Tapu Lele's head. An ordinary Arcanine walked after them, looking very out of place.
"I HAVE FINALLY COME TO CONQUER-…oh hey, Umbreon!" Giratina said, blushing.
"What's up, big G?" Umbreon asked with a coy grin.
"Wow, it's so weird to see so many legendary Pokemon at once," Lucario admitted, looking amazed. "Is that…Zygarde…?"
"Oh…. oh wow man…I-I didn't think I'd be this recognized," the little green Pokemon said, blushing even harder than Giratina. "Oh jeez, this is so embarrassing…."
Tepig flew in between Manaphy and Tapu Lele, grinning. "So, each of you will pair up with one of us for the challenge! Sounds like fun, eh?"
"Okay, ignoring the fact that we have no referee if YOU are playing," Shuckle said, rolling his eyes. "Since when is Arcanine a legendary Pokemon?"
"What? Arcanine is the legendary Pokemon," Tepig said, looking affronted. "Also, quite a good drinking buddy."
"Um…Tepig, no, Arcanine is not a legendary Pokemon," Manaphy said, giving him an odd look. "Far from it, actually."
Tepig gaped at Arcanine. "You LIED to me!"
Arcanine gave a sheepish grin. "Well technically-"
"Zap!" Tepig said, snapping his fingers. Arcanine disappeared into smoke.
"Did…did you just kill him?" Gallade asked.
"Good lord, do I have to be criticized for every little thing that I do?" Tepig snapped. "Now we need a sixth legendary Pokemon."
"Dude, just call Phione," Manaphy said with a sigh.
"But…. c'mon, we're better than that!" Tepig whined.
"Just…just do it Tepig," Manaphy said with a groan.
"Fine," Tepig said, grabbing his cell and dialing a number. "Oy, Phione! How would you feel-"
Phione teleported into the room. "Wassup!"
The cast groaned. Gallade made to attack the water type but Lucario managed to hold him back.
"Okay, thank Arceus for someone actually positive," Shuckle said, breathing a sigh of relief. "I've spent the past two weeks listening to Umbreon ramble on about the meaningless of life and Charizard's intolerance for illegal immigrants. Plus, I get super edgy and depressing when there's too much negative energy."
"Hey guys, how have you all been?" Phione asked, waving. "Umbreon, Lucario. Gallade."
"Phione," Gallade spat.
"Okay, awkwardness aside," Tepig said. "We'll each pick one of you to team up with, and then we'll compete against each other."
"Hey!" Giratina said, looking offended. "That was MY thing!"
"Oh come off it. That was some other dimensional version of you," Tepig said, waving him off. "Besides, this entire story's premise is ripping off a better piece of writing to begin with."
"Okay, can I pick first!?" Tapu Lele said, giggling. "Because I want Charizard!"
Charizard gulped. "Oh, uh…sure I guess."
"You're my bitch for today, Scraggy," Tepig said, chuckling.
Scraggy's eyes widened. "NO! Not again! ANYONE BUT HIM!" He tried to run, but Tepig landed on top of him and pinned a leg behind his back.
"L-lucario seems like a good choice, I guess," Zygarde mumbled. Lucario grinned and tried to brofist him, but he shrunk away in fear.
"Aww he's scared of you," Shuckle said, chuckling.
"Whaaat, that's bullshit!" Lucario said, her voice going up an octave. "I-I'm not, I'm not…..oh my god I'm not scary am I? Haha…ahaha…"
"Hey Shuckle! How about we team up!?" Phione said, shooting a bunch of finger guns.
"Not like I have a choice," Shuckle said with a smile, inside wondering how the two weakest there could possibly stand a chance against other legendaries.
"UMBREON, MY QUEEN OF THE NIGHT! JOIN ME ON MY CONQUEST TO-"
"You forgot your meds again this morning, didn't you?" Umbreon said with a groan.
"I guess I'm with you, Gallade," Manaphy said, a little apprehensive.
"I….I suppose," Gallade said, looking down.
"Alright then, everybody ready for a good old game of TepigBall?" Tepig asked.
"Okay, Tepig, something's up," Umbreon said. "It's like all your worst qualities have been exaggerated, and you're very clearly avoiding giving any explanation behind why you turned yourself into an almighty idiot."
"Oh, come on, I missed most of you!" Tepig said. "I just show affection by being a total jackass!"
"I guess we missed you too?" Gallade asked, scratching his head with blade. "You know, in a manner of speaking?"
"Yeah, man, you're weird, but I guess you coming back isn't the worst thing in the world," Shuckle admitted. "Lot quieter without you here anyway."
"Aww, see you guys love me!" Tepig said, waving them off. "We'll have to party after this is over."
"Okay, you are dodging questions like Gliscor," Umbreon snapped. "I'm settling this before-"
Tepig gulped. "T-topic change me, Phione!"
"Uh…Pineapple pizza is great!" Phione shouted.
"TRIGGERED!" screamed Shuckle.
"There, now is anyone else going to complain or can we get this started?" Tepig asked.
"Honestly, at this point I'd just drop it," Lucario said, patting Umbreon on the shoulder. "You know how stubborn he can get."
"Yeah, I know," Umbreon muttered. "Still, he's acting more toxic and self-destructive than a Weezing, and I'm getting to the bottom of this."
"Honestly," Lucario said, giving a coy smile. "I never thought you cared that much."
"Oh, you love that, don't you," Umbreon said scathingly. "Love the thought of me being an actual good person and having feelings?"
"I'll admit I do enjoy it quite a bit," Lucario said, her tone teasing. Umbreon gagged and stalked off to Giratina, who was stretching his wings in preparation.
"Hey…how well do you know Tepig?" Umbreon asked, throwing a glance behind her.
"How well do I know him?" Giratina snapped. "He's my new roommate, and he's ruined the distortion world! We used to have trees there!"
"Wait, what did he do to the-"Umbreon shook her head, trying not to be distracted. "That's not important. Look, how has he been fitting in with the other legends? What has he been doing specifically?"
"Well, he's already popular among most of the fire legendaries," Giratina grumbled. "He keeps inviting them to my house DURING MY PIANO RECITALS!"
"Never mind that, sweetie," Umbreon said, rolling her eyes. "Look, has he ever talked about why he wanted to become a legendary Pokemon or how he feels about it?"
Giratina thought for a moment. "Well…his girlfriend keeps calling him, but whenever she brings it up he changes the conversation."
"Damn it, I knew he was hiding something!" Umbreon groaned. "Okay, Giratina. First goal is getting immunity. Second is getting Tepig to open up so I can rub his face in his own bad decisions."
"Wow, didn't know you actually cared," Giratina said, chuckling.
"Oh, eat a dick. I can have emotions too sometimes."
"So…are you sure you're a legendary Pokemon?" Lucario asked, scratching the back of her head. "I don't mean to sound rude, but Tepig screwed this up before and you don't exactly fit the bill."
"No…I'm…I'm a real legend," Zygarde said, shivering. "I just sometimes have a hard time…y'know, getting it up?"
"Getting what up?" Lucario asked. "We're…talking about the same thing, right?"
"I-I don't wanna talk about it!" Zygarde shrieked, before clamming up entirely.
"Wonderful," Lucario sighed. Still, she knew she was safe from immunity so her losing wasn't too huge of a deal.
"Nice to meet a legend as esteemed as yourself," Charizard said respectfully, bowing in front of Tapu Lele.
"Ooh, handsome and charming?" Tapu Lele giggled. "We're gonna get along just fine."
"Don't count on it," Charizard muttered with a sad sigh.
"What was that?"
"So, what's our plan, partner?" Phione asked, nudging Shuckle. "You gonna make with all the thinky thinky stuff you do?"
Shuckle shrugged. "Yeah, I guess. We're pretty outclassed here…. but I'm sure I'll come up with something."
"Okay, bitch," Tepig said, patting Scraggy on the back hard enough to throw him off balance. "You do everything I say and I might not light you on fire."
"Fine," Scraggy hissed. "But only because I need the immunity."
"Right then," Tepig said. "Everyone get into positions!"
"…What positions?" Gallade asked. "We still have no idea where the hell we're supposed to go."
"Just go wherever you want!" Tepig snapped. "I've already explained the rules of TepigBall."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever, something about the tuck rule. That still isn't-"
"Well, you'll get into it! Come on then!"
"This was a weird challenge," Gallade said, shivering.
"So, who's going to be referee?" Lucario asked.
"I am," Tepig said, as though confused by the question.
Lucario opened her mouth to respond, before thinking better of it.
The campers and their legendaries took their places on the platform, making sure to put some space between them. They stared at the bright red ball in the center. Apparently the challenge would be centered around that.
Tepig dragged Scraggy over to the center, before holding up a whistle.
"Alright! Mates! Get ready to score them goals!"
"Wait," Shuckle said. "Goals? What-"
Tepig blew the whistle.
Umbreon hopped on Giratina's back and the dragon took to the sky, letting out a terrifying scream. Lucario charged forward with Zygarde clutching her shoulder, brandishing a hockey stick. Phione and Shuckle scrambled out of the way of Charizard and Tapu Lele, who were decked out in football gear. Gallade met Lucario, tonfas slamming against hockey stick, as Scraggy was kicked by Tepig hard enough to slam into Manaphy.
Tapu Lele was the first to get to the red ball, lifting it up with her psychic powers and running off with it, twirling around Phione as he moved to grab her, spinning around and chucking it at Scraggy, bouncing the ball off his head.
"Ooh, the Easter Head Bounce wins Tapu Lele twelve points!" Tepig said, ducking a jet of water sent by Manaphy.
"Yeah, but what DOES THAT MEAN, JACKASS!?" Umbreon snarled.
"Ooh, and Umbreon's lip costs her forty five points!" Tepig shouted, snapping his fingers. "Right now Charizard and Tapu Lele are in the lead!"
Gallade feinted, aiming a slice at Lucario, but the jackal managed to dodge the move and smack Gallade in the face with the butt of her hockey stick.
"Damn," Gallade said, hissing in pain. "You've certainly improved."
Lucario twirled the hockey stick like a bo staff, giving a coy smirk. "I've been training."
Meanwhile, Manaphy managed to gain control of the ball, quickly kicking poor Zygarde out of the way and running towards a goal that seemingly appeared out of thin air.
"Wait, so this is soccer?" Shuckle asked, crawling in front of the goal. "Okay, so I can understand-"
Manaphy kicked it up to her hands, before dribbling the ball up to the net.
"Wait, that's not how-"
Manaphy tossed the ball aside before kicking Shuckle into the net, where it erupted into flames.
"Wow, a bold move by Manaphy! Enough points to put you in the lead!" Tepig announced.
"Okay this is bullshit," Umbreon snapped. "At this rate we should just attack indiscriminately and hope we get points."
"Fine by me!" Giratina snarled, slamming on the center of the platform and letting loose blue flames. Tapu Lele managed to block it with a barrier, but the others weren't so lucky. Gallade and Lucario went flying, Charizard stumbled, and while Scraggy managed to avoid the fire, Giratina's tail slapped him hard enough to send him spinning.
"Giratina and Umbreon win quite a few points from that display! But now it's time for a change in pace! Everyone must now hop on one foot!"
"Wait, what?" Shuckle asked, but the others were already hopping as they ran for the ball.
"Ooh, and Shuckle loses points for not getting with the program. Meanwhile, Manaphy managed to get control of the red ball. Points to her if she can keep control of it."
Manaphy was easily dodging around Phione, holding the red ball in a lacrosse stick. She kicked her son away, before narrowly avoiding a moon blast sent by Tapu Lele.
"Is this because of that lederhosen incident?" Manaphy asked, as the two psychics traded blows. "Because I apologized for that!"
Scraggy sprinted forward, jumping high in the air, aiming a sucker punch just as Tapu Lele was aiming a moonblast. As he closed in, Tapu Lele's eyes flitted towards him.
"Sorry hon, but my ability is psychic surge."
Scraggy swore, realizing his blunder just as Tapu Lele spun, shooting the moon blast at point blank range. Scraggy was was once again sent flying, this time soaring over a field goal post that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
"Wow, good on you, Tapu Lele!" Tepig chuckled. "That field goal earned you three points! But I'll add four more because I do not care for Scraggy."
The exchange had given Manaphy enough time to break away, only for Lucario to kick her lacrosse stick out of her hands. She got into a fighting stance, grinning.
"I've always wanted to fight a real legendary," Lucario said, charging an aura sphere. "You better not disappoint me."
"Oh, believe me, you won't be the one disappointed!" Manaphy snapped, divine power playing in her fingertips.
"Asinine challenge," Charizard grumbled, covered in bandages.
"Hey, man, do you have to wake us up this late?" a tired Slakoth asked. "I know you're pretty high strung…but I was just having this amazing dream…"
"Alright, alright, I'm sorry," Scraggy said, waving his arms in surrender. "I get a little overexcited about these types of things; I'm sorry."
A Piplup was strumming a guitar, giving Scraggy a curious look. "What did you call us for, Scraggy?"
"Well, you know me," Scraggy admitted, letting out a yawn. "I've been pretty stressed out. I was just wondering…maybe we could all work together?"
"Work together!?" Slakoth said, looking shocked. "B-but….I thought alliances were for total jerks!"
"But we're not jerks, are we?" Scraggy said. "Look, we've seen all the assholes in this competition. Malamar, Galvantula, Kommo-o. All of them are way more powerful than us and have a mean streak a mile wide."
"Good point," Piplup admitted. "We don't have nearly as much of a chance at winning as some of the others."
"And it's not like we'll target anyone!" Scraggy exclaimed. "We're just a bunch of pre-evolutions who know that we can trust each other, working just to get through the game."
"Oh," Slakoth said. "You really think you can trust us?"
"Duh," Scraggy said. "The name of the game was Total Pokemon Dirtbags, and I get that the gimmick was that everyone was supposed to be a shitty person, but none of us are so bad! Slakoth, you may have a bit of an eating problem-"
"Only a problem when I run out," Slakoth said over a bite of the tuna sandwich he was eating.
"Dónde diablos were you hiding that thing?" Piplup asked, stunned.
Scraggy coughed, getting their attention again. "And Piplup, you may sort of be a con artist-"
"The word 'con artist' has such negative connotations these days," Piplup tutted.
"-But you're a nice guy. And I was framed for what I was put in this show for," Scraggy added as an afterthought. "Look, point is, we totally deserve to win more than most of the jerks out for themselves. We can work together as friends!"
"Well, I'm in," Piplup said, playing a little Spanish jingle on his guitar. "Alliances will certainly get further into the game. We'll be the three musketeers!"
"I guess I'm in too then," Slakoth said with a shrug. "This could be fun!"
"Great," Scraggy said, rubbing his hands together. "We'll be known as Team Everstone, because we won't evolve and we won't have to!"
As the trio cheered Scraggy closed his eyes. When he opened them…
"Ah!" Scraggy said, rolling to his feet on impulse. He glanced at Tepig, who was watching him impassively. "Wh-what the hell was that?"
"Flashback," Tepig said, shrugging. "I have that ability now. Pretty convenient for character development and worldbuilding.
Scraggy took a couple deep breaths, grabbing a cigarette and beginning to smoke. Oh what the hell are you doing? Each one of those you take kills you a little more. I wonder if what'll happen first, will you destroy everyone in your life or will you destroy yourself?
"Now come on, mate!" Tepig said, throwing Scraggy forward. "If you want to win then you better pull your weight!"
"Fine, stop mind raping me and I'll get to it!" Scraggy snarled, running back into the action.
Manaphy was throwing shields of water to deflect Lucario's attacks, but the jackal was putting up a surprisingly good fight, bobbing and weaving around Manaphy's water moves.
A psychic force suddenly slammed Lucario and Manaphy together, knocking them out. Tapu Lele snatched up the ball once more, giggling as she jumped on top, bouncing up and down.
"Ooh, every bounce earns her a point!" Tepig shouted, even as he shot a jet of fire. Tapu Lele dodged, but a second later Giratina landed on top of her, before beating his wings to create an ominous wind.
"Ow! Hey, penalty! He came at me from a diagonal direction!" Tapu Lele said.
"What? THAT'S BULLSHIT!" Giratina snapped.
Tepig blew his whistle. "Tough shit, mate, you need to go sit in the penalty box for the next five minutes."
Letting out a stream of curses, Giratina stomped over to the penalty box.
Phione ran for the ball, whooping madly, but Gallade struck out of nowhere, a deadly gleam in his eye.
"Oh man, he still has a grudge!" Phione said, using Shuckle's tough shield as a shield against Gallade's vicious blows.
"Dance for me!" Gallade hissed, his blades moving in deadly arcs.
"This is demeaning!" Was Shuckle's muffled reply.
The distraction was enough for Umbreon to slip by, and she grabbed the ball in her mouth. She managed to catch Tepig by surprise by kicking him in the back of the head, and then tossed the ball in the air. Swinging a tennis racket, she served the ball over the tennis net that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
"Oh no you don't!" Charizard growled, smacking the ball back. Umbreon and Charizard began to volley, the ball being hit back and forth across the court until it lit on fire.
Umbreon sprinted forward, performing a flip before slamming the ball down into Charizard's stomach, bouncing off and into Umbreon's paw.
"Umbreon gets points for that!" Tepig announced as he rushed forward, throwing a roundhouse kick that smashed Umbreon into Scraggy and Manaphy.
Gallade finally gained the upper hand, kicking Shuckle hard enough to send Phione sprawling behind him. Turning, he sprinted towards Tepig, who was urging him forward.
"Oh please, I'm immortal," Tepig said, folding his arms. "What do you think you can do-"
Gallade kicked Tepig in the air, before launching a myriad of psycho cuts after him, exploding on impact. Gallade closed his eyes and cocked his head, listening. When he heard Tepig's squeal of pain he gave a morbid grin.
"Almighty idiot or not," Gallade said, folding his arms. "Tepig is still Tepig."
The ball fell free. Gallade's eye gleamed as he reached for it, but a string shot wrapped around it and yanked it back.
"Ahaha!" Shuckle shouted, snatching the ball. "I got it!"
It exploded in his face.
Shuckle went flying as the campers noticed red balls popping out everywhere. None of the campers were willing to get close enough to touch, and soon Tepig was up and dusting himself off.
"Only one is the real ball!" Tepig shouted. "Touch the wrong one and you'll catch a nasty case of explosives!"
It was Tapu Lele that had the idea, tossing the balls with her psychic powers. The balls detonated upon impact, knocking back Manaphy and Lucario. Scraggy managed to roll out of an explosion's path, but looked up to meet Gallade's kick on collision course with his head. He ducked, sliding back.
"I've wanted a crack at you for a while now," Gallade spat, launching himself forward. Before he could close the distance, however, Tepig announced that Giratina had served his time and could now compete again.
"YES!" Giratina screeched, taking flight. Umbreon threw him a grin as he set off an ominous wind that detonated all the remaining balls, shooting up bursts of dust and sending campers flying.
Gallade flew off the platform, but he managed to drive his tonfa into the side of the platform before he could tumble below. Manaphy teleported in front of him, creating a shield of water.
"Close shave," she muttered, blocking Giratina's blasts of power.
"He's too powerful," Gallade muttered. "Not that I can follow anything that's going on, but we stand no chance of winning with him at large."
"I may have a plan…" Manaphy said slowly. "But you'll need to distract him."
"Oh joy," Gallade drawled.
"Just don't let him see what I'm up to!" Manaphy warned, channeling energy. "Don't get yourself killed!"
Gallade sighed but sprinted forward, past a bewildered Charizard, who was in possession of the ball. He lunged at Giratina, his blades morphed into vicious shadow claws.
Giratina's reflexes were quick enough to avoid the brunt of the attack, but Gallade just managed to scrape him with the edge of his blade.
"Ow!" Giratina screeched, before letting loose a blast powerful enough to send Gallade flying into the Field Goal post, knocking it down with him.
What the hell was the idiotic swordsmen even trying to accomplish? Giratina snorted, shaking his head. Unless…
"No!" Giratina shouted, but Manaphy already threw her hands forward, launching the outline of a heart that Giratina was unable to dodge.
It did….absolutely nothing?
"Oh come on mate, that's weak!" Tepig said, punching Tapu Lele out without even paying attention.
"Are you okay, Giratina?" Umbreon asked, darting over.
Giratina's eyes met Umbreon's, before the renegade Pokemon swung his tail, catching the poor fox in the chest and sending her flying.
"No!" Manaphy shrieked. "How dare you!"
"Heart swap, bitches!" Giratina cackled. "Giratina and I switched bodies."
"Now THAT'LL earn you some points!" Tepig said. "Gallade and Manaphy are in the lead with all the points they've been netting."
Giratina charged forward, letting out blasts of energy. Charizard managed to dive out of the way, leaving Scraggy staring awestruck at the sight of the terrifying Pokemon looming over him.
Dodge the attack, idiot! Scraggy felt himself blacking out again. Wait, not now! Not here! Tepig I swear to god I will KILL YOUR ASS-
"You feeling okay there, buddy?" Forretress asked, leaning back in his chair and smoking a cigar. "You seem even more jittery than usual."
"Yeah, well Slakoth almost got voted off again," Scraggy snapped. "I can't rest for one second."
"You want some help?" Forretress offered. "Some advice?"
"Yeah right, I don't take help," Scraggy snapped. "Especially from a cast that will take advantage of me the second I become vulnerable."
Forretress winked. "Never said I'd be the one giving it to you. Come sit next to me and have a smoke."
Scraggy hesitated. "And get addicted to it?"
Forretress chuckled. "Look, just humor me, okay?"
Scraggy shrugged, before relaxing into the chair next to Forretress. In a few minutes, he was coughing out smoke and cursing the bug type for talking him into it.
Forretress chuckled again. "You just need to get used to it. Once you do? You feel all your stresses and fears melt away. It'll help you be productive without wasting a bunch of nervous energy. Nicotine is also pretty addictive, as you've said, so be careful."
Scraggy set the cigar down, promising he'd never try it again. "…What's your plan for the game, Forretress?"
Forretress somehow shrugged, despite the lack of shoulders. "Keep plugging along. Try not to make any enemies. Do well in challenges. It's worked so far."
"Pretty simple way of thinking," Scraggy said with a nod. "I wish I was more like that."
"There are strengths and weaknesses," Forretress said. "As long as you keep yourself productive, then you can use your mind to your advantage, yeah?"
"Yeah…" Scraggy muttered. "Say, how do you smoke anyway?"
"I mean, you don't have a mou-you know what? Never mind."
When Scraggy came to, he could feel the weight of something heavy on his chest. He swore, wincing under the field goal post.
"Oh come on, mate!" Tepig said, shaking his head. "Take it off! Not that hard."
"I-I….shut up!" Scraggy roared, trying and failing to pull it off him. "I'm trying!"
Not hard enough, asshole! You could have done it as a Scrafty.
"You could've done it as a Scrafty!" Tepig shouted. "The longer you take the more points I deduct!"
Scraggy winced and tried to push it off him, but he didn't have the strength. Tears of frustration were beginning to line his face.
"Oh my-ARE YOU ACTUALLY CRYING?" Tepig chortled.
"LEAVE ME ALONE!" Scraggy screamed. Leave yourself alone.
Gallade grinned. "Okay, I know some of us are going through some edgy shit, but all honesty? Flying around on dragon Satan and causing mayhem everywhere is pretty fucking fun."
"Say uncle!" Manaphy growled, stepping on Charizard with Giratina's body.
"U-uncle!" Charizard shouted, barely able to breathe. "J-just take the ball and go!"
"Good boy!" Giratina said, kicking the ball with his feet and releasing Charizard, who rolled on his side, retching. Tapu Lele ran over, helping Charizard up and teleporting away to gain some distance.
Meanwhile, Gallade was throwing psycho cuts from Giratina's back, the psychic attacks raining down on the campers and legendary. Phione and Shuckle were hit hard and went flying, while Lucario was forced to bob and weave to avoid the onslaught.
"You're mine!" Gallade hissed, aiming two more blasts. Lucario launched an aura sphere in retaliation and the attacks collided in the air. She backflipped, ducking behind cover; a maze had apparently been brought up out of nowhere, confusing the contestants even further.
"Okay, it's not like I hate doing all the work," Lucario said, wiping the sweat off her brow. "But legendaries are a bit too much. Look, can you offer ANY support at all?"
"Oh…jeez, I don't know," Zygarde said, shivering. "I hate fighting or you know…. actually, talking to people."
"I can read auras, and yours is telling me that you just pissed yourself." Lucario sighed, rubbing her hair. "If I win this challenge, I'm guaranteed the top four. So if you can offer anything…"
"Uh well…. there is one thing I GUESS I can do," Zygarde said. "But I get REALLY mean in that form so you can't hold it against me!"
"I won't!" Lucario said, looking offended. "Partially because this maze is on fire and we could die if we stay in here much longer."
"O-ohkay," Zygarde said, steeling his nerves. "Here goes nothing."
Manaphy and Gallade were clearly dominating the competition, launching attacks and thinking up brilliant ways to score points, including a ping pong contest, using Phione as a basketball to shoot three pointers, and…burping the alphabet? So far only Tepig was putting up a good fight against the guy, while Giratina in Manaphy's body tried, Giratina would knock him down without a second glance. Shuckle and Phione were hiding, and Tapu Lele was doing her best to heal Charizard's injuries. Umbreon hadn't gotten up yet, and Scraggy was still pinned under the goal post.
"Hurry up, Scraggy!" Tepig shouted as he narrowly avoided a chaotic blast. "Your points will be in the negatives at this rate."
"Are you feeling okay?" Tapu Lele asked, looking Charizard over.
"Yeah, you healed me up good," Charizard said curtly. "But if we want even close to a chance at winning we'll need to-"
"NOT YET, BITCH!" Came a loud voice.
Giratina spun around staring in horror as Zygarde rose, his body now resembling a titan. Lucario was sitting on his shoulder, grinning at Gallade.
"Ready for a rematch?"
Gallade grinned back. "You're a good friend, Lucario. But I won't hesitate to knock you on your ass."
"Zygarde?" Giratina gasped in surprise. "You're actually going to fight?"
"LESS OF A FIGHT THAN A POUNDING, BITCH!" Zygarde screamed.
"Monster fight! Monster fight!" Tepig shouted. "Rules of TepigBall have changed. Place your bets, gentlemen!"
"Wait, we aren't even competing anymore?" Charizard asked.
"Sure, you are! By betting your points on a winner. Course you could refuse to participate and I'll give them to Scraggy- "
"I'll bet twenty points on Giratina," Charizard said quickly.
Giratina flew forward, claws outstretched, but Zygarde retaliated by punching her in the face. Giratina slid back, howling in pain, while Zygarde kicked the ground to create a earthquake. Wings outstretched, Giratina took to the sky to avoid the powerful attack.
"Wow, this is awesome!" Lucario shouted, applauding the Order Pokemon. "Keep up the good work!"
Giratina frowned, before vanishing instantly.
"I…I can't sense him!" Lucario shouted. "It's like he- "
Giratina appeared behind Zygarde, the shadow force knocking him down to his knees. Gallade dove off swinging his blades at Lucario, who threw up her bone rush at the last second to block.
"AGH! GET OF ME BITCH!" Zygarde snarled, kicking Giratina away. Gallade and Lucario were meeting with vicious clangs, and Tepig's expression of excitement was eventually replaced with curiosity.
"Hold on a minute," he whispered, looking over Gallade and Lucario. "Yeah…..yeah! I got it!"
He flew over to Gallade and Lucario, pushing them apart. He snapped his fingers, and bass guitars appeared in their hands. "You two are going to have a bass battle, because your chemistry is lovely and I want to add music to that shit."
"But, my scythes will cut the- "
"Play it with your psychic powers, Bogan!" Tepig snapped. "Honestly, stop blue balling and give me a good show! Giratina and Zygarde, you get back to killing each other."
Lucario and Gallade shrugged, before beginning to play, the odd power of the legendary instruments creating shock waves that collided as Zygarde and Giratina clashed once more.
Umbreon held an ice pack to her head. "Asinine fucking challenge."
"THIS MUSIC MAY BE JAMMING BUT THAT WON'T STOP ME FROM TEARING YOU APART, BITCH!"
"God," Shuckle said from behind his hiding spot. "Does he end every sentence he says with the word bitch?"
"He has some issues," Phione said, shrugging. "Still, I feel like we're doing REALLY good in this challenge!
"Dude, we're literally the only team that hasn't managed to win ANY points at all," Shuckle grumbled. "In case you've noticed, we're kinda screwed here."
"I thought you were going to think of a plan," Phione asked, an innocent smile on his face.
Shuckle sighed. "Touché. I guess I'll figure out something, but…"
"Is something wrong?" Phione asked.
"I guess I'm just tired of being the 'plan' guy," Shuckle admitted. "I've spent the entire game relying on other people…if I want to win, for once I want to do the heavy lifting."
"Relying on people isn't bad…," Phione said mildly.
"I know, but it's time I started pulling my own weight, instead of relying on everyone else to be my legs, or the person pushing the wagon," Shuckle said. "I had a conversation with Lucario, and while I still want to win with all that I am…. I'm tired of doing it at the expense of others. The end doesn't justify the means, and I don't want to win by being a Scrafty or a Carbink."
"Well, I support you dude," Phione said. "Win in your own Shuckle way."
Shuckle took a deep breath. "I need to be more balanced... hey Phione, can you play bass?"
"Uh…I know the opening to a really sweet Attack On Titan opening theme remix?" Phione said with a giggle.
"Well that's something I guess," Shuckle admitted. "Hopefully you can at least hold your own in the bass battle while I'll see to the legendary Pokemon."
"But how, Shuckle?" Phione asked, his eyes wide. "In terms of power you don't even stand a chance!"
Shuckle hesitated. "There is one trump card I have…. but it's REALLY risky…."
"Well, shoot, dude!" Phione said.
"I know the move Power Trick," Shuckle said, glancing from side to side to ensure that nobody was listening. "When used, it swaps my offensive and defensive stats. Because my physical defense stat is through the roof, when I use Power Trick I gain incredible physical power. But, well…I'm sure you can see the Achilles heel in that."
"Is it that you grow super buff and sweaty?" Phione whispered.
"I miss Bidoof," Shuckle said sadly. "No, the move basically switches my abysmal attack stat with my incredible defenses. I may hit like a truck on fire, but if one physical attack hits me…. I'm screwed."
"But you're so slow!" Phione said. "How can you possibly keep up with legendary Pokemon!"
"Question of the day, I'm afraid," Shuckle said with a sigh. "I don't know what could give me a chance to maneuver around them…"
"Well, don't worry!" Phione said, playing an air guitar in his hands. "Hopefully my cool Attack On Titan music will inspire you to move twice as quickly!"
"Well, we'll…. wait, Attack on Titan…." Shuckle said, lost in thought, before his eyes widened.
"Phione, you're a genius!"
Shuckle grinned. "Old Shuckle is back, baby! Ready to play it his way!"
Scraggy groaned in pain, once again losing the feelings of his arms before dropping the post on his stomach. Scraggy let out a gasp that enticed Tepig enough to come over.
"Come on mate…. it's not that hard," he whispered. "You need to learn how to get out of this. Alternatively, you could ask for help."
"No!" Scraggy winced. "I don't need….it…."
"Well, we're at an impasse then, aren't we?" Tepig said, regarding Scraggy with golden arms. "if you don't ask, you have to solve the problem by yourself. Commit to it, mate."
"I'm trying!" Scraggy hissed, before feeling the beginnings of a flashback that he had groan to loath.
"No…not this again…...!"
"Please, Scraggy," Piplup pleaded. "Change their minds. I know you can. We can all get into the top three together."
Scraggy hesitated. "But what if they turn on me instead?"
"Look amigo, I hate to be the guy that says this, but you've been pretty withdrawn and selfish lately," Piplup said. "And you've grown super distant…"
"Look, I know, but this is separate," Scraggy snapped. "I'm sorry, I'll still vote with you, but…"
"I understand you Scraggy," Piplup said, taking a deep breath. "I understand how much stress you've had. I keep finding cigarettes all around the cabin, and you actually look like you've lost weight. Just…you can pull yourself out of this. We can work together and split the money fairly, just like before."
"I…. okay," Scraggy said after a minute. "I won't abandon you. I couldn't have even made it this far if it weren't for you."
"Same for me dude," Piplup said, clapping him on the back. "I'll go see if I can net a couple votes. You talk to Yanmega. We both know he'll listen to what you have to say."
He ran off, leaving Scraggy standing off to himself. He paused for a moment, before lighting another cigarette.
Umbreon stumbled to her feet, rubbing her head. "The hell did I miss?"
She looked up at the scene in front of her. Zygarde and Giratina were shooting blasts at each other, and Lucario and Gallade's faces were beaded with perspiration as they played their bass guitars, the sound waves strong enough to shatter Umbreon's delicate eardrums.
She walked over to Charizard and Tapu Lele, who were sipping moomoo milk. "What, did you guys give up?"
"Nah," Tapu Lele said. "Tepig said that we're supposed to bet on a winner and that we'll get points if the one we pick wins. Plus, you know. Don't really want to get involved in that."
"Fair enough," Umbreon said, plopping down. Charizard tossed her another moomoo bottle.
Tepig walked over. "And this still continues to be a close match! Lucario may suck at playing bass, but so does Gallade! But it seems Zygarde has Giratina in a headlock! Is this the end?"
"HOW DOES IT FEEL TO LOSE TO ME, BITCH?" Zygarde roared, tightening his grip around Giratina's neck, both dragons still thrashing and desperate for control.
Lucario and Gallade were playing, but faltered when they heard a third tune being played. Phione began to float high in the air, bass in hand.
"What the…." Gallade muttered as Phione played an intense theme. "What is he….?"
"Wait…is that theme of Attack on Titan?" Lucario asked, arching a brow.
"How do you know that?" Gallade asked.
Before Lucario could respond, a String Shot flew between their heads, attaching to the wall behind them. Lucario and Gallade spun around in surprise.
"Sind Sie das Essen und wir sind die Jäger!" Shuckle shouted as he zipped forward, spinning around Zygarde and striking him at the nape of his neck. Zygarde collapsed instantly, while Giratina let out a deep breath and launched an attack. Shuckle, however, had fired another string shot that zipped him away before the blast could make contact.
"You don't fuckle with Shuckle, bitch!" Shuckle cackled, taunting the fallen Zygarde as he flew around Giratina.
"How…..how was he able to…so easily…" Giratina muttered, looking shocked.
"He…the bastard used Power Trick to push his attack stat to immeasurable amounts!" Gallade roared. "Still, my psycho cuts do physical damage! I'll knock the little shit out!"
"Woop woop woop!" Shuckle shouted in his best Zoidberg impression as he twirled around the psycho cuts and launched another String Shot to quickly change directions, while the tune Phione was playing took control of the stadium.
Scraggy walked over to Yanmega's gang, feeling a lump in his throat. The bug himself regarded him with a curious expression.
"I was wondering if we could talk," Scraggy said, rubbing his arm.
"I'm assuming this is about Piplup," Yanmega drawled, reading Scraggy like a book.
"Yeah," Scraggy said, looking down.
"I'm going to be blunt, he's leaving tonight," Yanmega said. "You came here to convince me not to, but I'm afraid you'll fail."
"No buts. Of course, you have the option of working against me," Yanmega said, shrugging. "Who knows? Maybe you could keep him safe, even. For what…a day? A week at the most? No, the only thing that isn't inevitable is the fact that you could become my enemy."
"I don't…I don't want it to come to that," Scraggy said in a pleading tone. "If you'd just-"
"Look, I like Piplup. He's a nice guy, and I wish him well," Yanmega said. "But the longer he's in the game means the less chance I have at winning. If I can't use him then there's no use for him here. You, however, are different. Play your cards right, and you will have a good chance at actually winning the game. Don't waste your time on him."
Scraggy squirmed uncomfortably. Yanmega regarded him coldly.
"I know what decision you're going to make, because I know the person you are. That voice you have that tells you that you're complete and utter shit? Listen to it, because it's right. It's what I did, and you are so much like me. No matter what, you'll be a selfish piece of shit, but at least you'll be a rich selfish piece of shit when you win instead of lying to yourself."
Scraggy looked like he wanted to say something, but looked down, ashamed.
"See, you're already beginning to expect it." Yanmega patted Scraggy on the shoulder. "I'll talk to you once the penguin is off the island."
He left with his friends, once again leaving Scraggy by himself.
Scraggy took deep breaths, beginning to struggle to breathe under the weight of the goal post. See what always happens? No matter what you do, you can't change. You'll always cause problems, and no matter how shitty you feel after, you'll always keep returning to your old roots. Your friends, your addictions, even your fucking evolution. Slakoth, Forretress, Piplup, Yanmega, Gliscor, Sableye, Audino, Munchlax, Bidoof, Zorua. Look at what you ruin? Who's next? Who's going to be the next person that you destroy-"
"You're doing it wrong, mate," Tepig said in a soft voice.
"I-I don't-" Scraggy mumbled.
"Key is breathing when it comes to lifting," Tepig said with a shrug. "That's thing about people who smoke. Don't know how to breathe properly."
"O-okay," Scraggy mumbled. "I'll breathe."
He tightened his stomach and began to lift it up, but while he was firm and stable, his arms were shaking horribly. He let out a gasp of pain.
"Come on!" Tepig said, an edge to his tone. "Break limits if you have to! You're not your strongest until you've fought at your weakest!"
Scraggy closed his eyes, perfectly calm. What did change even mean?
Scraggy let out a roar as he glowed with an intense power, feeling his muscles tighten, and with a final grunt, threw the post off him. He rolled to his side, taking a deep breath.
"There we go," Tepig said, applauding. "Knew you'd get there."
"Huh," Scrafty said, looking over his evolved body. "What do you know? So, all that belittling only served to help me evolve again?"
"Bah, I felt guilty," Tepig said, waving a hand. "Punching someone so hard that they devolve is the slightest bit traumatizing."
"I'm assuming that's the closest thing I'm ever getting to an apology," Scrafty drawled. "Now, can I get back to the challenge? I'm literally in the negatives in terms of points because my pre- evolution was a little bitch."
Still…It was as if a huge weight had been lifted off his chest, no pun intended. He came to that same conclusion he did when he talked to Yanmega; he may never be a good person, but he could accept that. Guilt was just a side effect to a drug he was doing; it'd go away eventually.
"Look, I AM sorry," Tepig admitted. "Even though you're a total ass, you didn't deserve that, and I know that I'm not the best at expressing my true feelings-"
"Save it for your girlfriend," Scrafty said coldly, pushing him away. "I've been gone for long enough. It's time to nip this challenge in the bud."
"Just keep moving forward," Scrafty muttered, a cigarette in hand. "Regret never helped anyone."
Giratina howled as Shuckle landed the finishing blow, still shouting like a maniac. Gallade tumbled off her back and had to be helped up by Lucario.
"You know, he's either a genius or a lunatic," Lucario said with a chuckle, looking up as Manaphy and Tapu Lele tried to run from Shuckle's terrifying wrath.
"Eh, might be both," Gallade said, folding his arms. "Certainly, a thin line…"
"Okay, I give up on the challenge," Umbreon said, stretching. "It's dumb and boring and I want to go home. Shuckle took out two legendaries; can we go home?"
"But dudes! I'm only eight minutes in!" Phione shouted.
"Phione, you've been playing that sound on loop FIVE TIMES ALREADY!" Umbreon shouted.
Manaphy let out a shriek as she fell, before Shuckle launched towards Tapu Lele. The psychic threw up a barrier, but Shuckle smashed through, topping Tapu Lele.
"Alright, who's next!" Shuckle shouted, grinning like an idiot. "This is awesome, I really need to watch this show- "
Scrafty's kick slammed into him, and Shuckle winced at the move that his powerful red shell normally would have deflected. He crashed to the ground, moaning in pain, before Scrafty grabbed him by the neck.
"Miss me?" Scrafty asked, giving Shuckle a grin.
"Not…. really?" Shuckle asked, all of his energy completely gone. "I kind of hate you."
"Sorry to keep you waiting, but I just wanted to tell you," Scrafty said, closing his free hand into a fist. "No matter what happens, I'll always be here to screw you over."
With a grunt he punched Shuckle hard in the face, and the smaller Pokemon collapsed. "So, considering everyone else has pretty much given up, I take it I get to win by default?"
Shuckle rubbed his new black eye but managed a grin. "Well, look behind you."
Scrafty raised an eyebrow, turning around to see Phione split into multiple copies of himself, all surrounding the hoodlum.
"Shit," Scrafty said as they all charged him as one, but Shuckle's cleverly placed sticky web tripped him, and in the next instant, the Phione were on top of him.
"Yeah!" Shuckle said, looking at his reflection and wincing at the sight of his face. "Kick the shit out of him!"
"Whoa, alright mate!" Tepig said, separating the Phione. "Let's not go overboard."
"Absolutely rich, coming from you," Scrafty hissed.
"Okay so I may have zoned out for the last twenty minutes of the game," Tepig admitted. "But uh…I'll declare Phione and Shuckle the winners because they beat the shit out of everyone. Challenge is over, hope you had fun!"
"Worst challenge ever, am I right Umbreon?" Gallade asked, but Umbreon was walking after Tepig. "Umbreon?"
"I wonder who's going home this time?" Lucario asked. "I mean I know I'M safe for the night, and so is Shuckle, but I feel like anyone could leave at this point. Personally, I'm thinking it'll be either Charizard or Scrafty. They're the two least popular here, at any rate."
"Am I screwed? Probably?" Charizard asked. "But if I can appeal to a few others to pick Scrafty over me…"
"Unless I'm very much mistaken, I know who's going home next," Scrafty boasted, winking at the camera. "Enjoy some dramatic television, viewers, courtesy of Scrafty."
"Why the long face, Shuckle?" Gallade asked. "You won immunity."
"No, Phione did," Shuckle said glumly. "And sure I'm happy, but I had something to do by myself, you know?"
"Shuckle, you knocked out two legendary Pokemon," Gallade said. "I'm pretty sure that qualifies as pulling your weight."
"I guess that's fair," Shuckle admitted. "But still, that was a gimmick, not a true skill. And you saw the downsides. Scrafty beat me….again."
"You've been in your own head too much," Gallade remarked. "Believe me…. I-I know better than anyone what that's like. You begin to go insane with paranoia. Being reflective is helpful…but...there needs to be a balance. It'll lead to paranoia."
"How did you do that, Gallade?" Shuckle asked. "You were such a loner at the beginning of the game and now you're being more social and cracking jokes…"
"Well, besides Grovyle and that dumb book," Gallade said. "The answer is you and your friends, idiot."
"Huh?" Shuckle asked.
"I know we never really interacted, but I never felt uncomfortable around you guys," Gallade admitted. "You always were so…. honest and open about yourselves and it…. inspired me in a way."
He paused. "I've never told anybody that."
Shuckle grinned. "Wow, that's uh….flattering. I um…always thought you were cool with your warrior mentality and the loner persona. Honestly, you probably inspired the way I acted today."
"So um…after this, maybe you want to watch a movie with me or something?" Shuckle blushed, realizing the way he sounded. "Not like a date, obviously but…"
"Assuming I'm not eliminated tonight, sure," Gallade said, shrugging. "Just…. please don't make it 3D."
"Okay, weird ass friendship," Shuckle admitted. "But you know…it's good to kick back for a while instead of constant strategy 101."
Charizard and Lucario were walking back to camp, stretching their sore muscles. Lucario was listening to music on her phone. Charizard looked awkward, but patted her on the shoulder.
"Hmm?" Lucario asked, glancing up and pulling out her earphones.
"I uh...just wanted to say…" Charizard hesitated before shaking his head. No good would come out of it. "Do you want to keep working out together? Er, in the mornings I mean."
"Of course," Lucario said, punching him on the shoulder. "Hell, I was planning to do some core training in a bit. You can join me if you want."
"That'd be great," Charizard said, giving her a genuine smile. "And uh…thank you Lucario. For giving me another chance."
"You said you apologized," Lucario said with a shrug. "And you're a lot more down to earth and humble then you were at the start of the merge. So, yeah, sure you get a second chance. Plus you're a total badass when it comes to fighting."
"Thank you," Charizard said, taking a deep breath. "That's a weight off."
"Well, I better go check that dumb letter," Lucario said. "I've been putting it off all day. See you at the campfire!"
"Seeya," Charizard grunted, and Lucario darted over to the mail post.
The dragon flopped down, letting out a deep sigh. "Why does everything have to be so amazing and terrible at the same time?"
"I think the big guy is going to be okay," Lucario said, smiling.
"So, Shuckle won immunity,"Tepig said, pocketing the money. "Scraggy evolved again. You know, the works."
"Well, you managed to avoid blowing up my island," Victini admitted, grudgingly impressed. "I'm not asking about the challenge though."
"Tepig, before you leave, there is choice you must make," Hariyama said, holding up his flask. "Think on it."
"Don't worry mate, I will," Tepig said, watching Hariyama and Victini leave. He sighed, looking at the boat ready to take him away. He could merely use his legendary powers to fly, but the air expenses were bullshit.
Presently, his phone rang, (playingKenny Chansey's Wild Child) but without hesitation he declined it.
"Let me guess, it's Minccino."
Tepig turned, letting out a sigh. "You aren't going to let this drop, are you?"
"Look, I'm just curious," Umbreon said. "Grant a girl at least some sort of explanation."
"What's there to say?" Tepig asked. "Immortality, money, partying all the time, getting smashed. Sounds like an awesome exit to me, especially since I got to bust up Scrafty."
"So basically, you're going to do exactly what you always do, except now you'll be an all-powerful legendary Pokemon," Umbreon drawled.
"Well, someone like me? Not very good at change," Tepig admitted, a little downcast. "Now I have an excuse because legendary Pokemon don't have to evolve or grow. We just….are."
"But Minccino won't," Umbreon said, slowly putting the pieces together. "You're avoiding her because you're afraid that she'll be the only one that sees right through you."
"Oy," Tepig said. "I'm an open book."
"No, you're not," Umbreon said, flopping down. "You created a personality through your own exaggerated traits, so most people will accept doing something as extravagant as the way you're acting without blinking. But not the people who know you, and especially not Minccino."
Tepig looked down. "Look, I told you earlier, but I need the-"
"Attention," Umbreon finished. "But I think you need to realize the attention you want is bad for you. What you need is love, not publicity, and you had something going pretty good for you, yeah? Maybe don't throw it away."
"Maybe you should follow your own advice," Tepig said, folding his arms. "Is Giratina really the person you want to date, or is it a furry, bucktooth-"
Umbreon shoved him in the water. "This Is why I don't help people."
She walked off, giving him a shrug. "Do what you want with your dumb power trip. Just at least make sure Minccino's on board with it."
Tepig came to the surface and he shot a spout of water from his mouth. "Yeah, yeah, you big cuddly Koala."
"Wow, you're a REALLY good girlfriend," Giratina said as Umbreon walked by. "All that psychology bs just to get him out of my room?"
"Yeah," Umbreon said, rolling her eyes. "That's all what that was."
"Reason I hate people so much?" Umbreon asked. "We pick precisely what is worst for us. If people could think like…one SECOND beyond their immediate decisions life wouldn't be nearly as shitty. Idiots."
"I'm voting Scrafty, but I'm sure he'll find a way to wriggle out of it somehow," Shuckle said, rolling his eyes.
"Charizard, but it doesn't really matter," Scrafty said, leaning back. "Wait, can I vote Tepig?"
"So how was the challenge today, kids?" Victini asked. "Did Tepig do a good job?"
"No," Umbreon muttered.
"Meh, I had fun," Shuckle said with a chuckle.
"Anyway, votes are in, and in all honesty I expected this sooner," Victini admitted, looking them over. "Shuckle and Lucario, you two have immunity."
Charizard bit his lip, nervous, while Gallade glanced at Umbreon, who shrugged. Lucario was…..standing up?
"Wait!" Lucario said, looking a little unsure. "I um…I have an announcement to make."
"Well, can you hurry it up?" Victini asked. "This chapter is already past eleven thousand words…"
"I uh…just got an offer I can't really refuse," Lucario admitted, holding up an open letter with the Pokken emblem emblazoned on it.
"Good job," Hariyama whispered. "About time."
"You got accepted in!?" Charizard yelped.
"I…yeah," Lucario said, a wide grin on her face. She blushed when the other five broke out in applause.
"So, I'm assuming you're telling us this because you're planning on quitting," Victini said in a rather business-like tone.
Lucario blushed even further. "Well, yes. Their schedule is tight. I need to be over there in two days."
"Well, there goes the drama!" Victini growled, throwing his hands in the air and flying off.
"S-sorry," Lucario said, rubbing the back of her head.
"I think Victini wanted you to win," Hariyama admitted. "He's disappointed that you're leaving."
"Good luck, Lucario," Gallade said. "I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that we'll be supporting you."
"Yeah, have fun and junk," Umbreon said, not looking over her phone. "You just better kick their asses."
"Well, I'm glad all those weeks of kicking my ass is paying off," Shuckle said, giving a warm smile. "Good luck."
"Thanks guys," Lucario said, giving them all a broad smile as she finished packing her bags. "Good luck with the competition."
"You deserve it more than anybody," Charizard said, high fiving her. "Shame I'm going to have to find a new sparring partner though."
Lucario stepped on the boat, sure that for once it was her ride to success, rather than failure. She smiled as the others watched her leave. It was the end of an era, wasn't it?
"You know, I was surprised by how many of them congratulated me," Lucario admitted. "Even though I know we were all so prickly and introverted, we really did care about each other, even if it looks a long time to show it."
She folded her arms. "This has been one massive emotional roller coaster, and while I'm kind of relieved it's over, I will miss it. This show did a lot for me; got me a smoking hot girlfriend, a bunch of friends, and a direction for what I want to be. I kind of love this place."
"Anyway, I'm okay with whoever wins," Lucario said. "Except Scrafty. He can suck my dick. So long Total Pokkemon Island, hello Pokken Tournament."
Charizard and Scrafty were the only two left sitting around the campfire, Charizard's eyes straining after Lucario and Scrafty sharpening his knife.
"Wonderful," Charizard said with a heavy sigh. "I finally make a friend, and she's gone before I could even get to know her. Still, I'm happy for her."
"Yeah, me too," Scrafty said in a somber voice. "Shame it was just a forgery though, eh?"
Charizard looked over the horizon, wondering when the first tournament and whether he'd have the money to get in, before Scrafty's words sunk in.
Scrafty shrugged. "She'll probably be disappointed when she finds out I forged the letter. Sucks for her-grrk!"
Charizard was pinning Scrafty to the wall by his neck, breathing heavily. "You…..there's no way…."
"Ow, get off!" Scrafty snapped, trying to break free. "It was a purely strategic move!"
"HOW DARE YOU!" Charizard roared. "How could you do that to her!? I don't….I don't understand!"
"You're the last person that should be complaining about it!" Scrafty spat. "I DID YOU A FAVOR!"
Charizard dropped Scrafty immediately and stumbled back. "Wh-what?"
"You were on the chopping block, Charizard!" Scrafty said. "We both were! I saved both our asses from the person that probably would have won the whole damn thing."
"B-but that's not what I wanted!" Charizard stammered. "She deserved to win-"
"Not my problem," Scrafty snapped. "But look at it this way. We're tied together. You're stuck with me, and I with you, and it's the only reason we're still in the game. You want to prove Lucario right? Go ahead, attack me. But you won't, because we both know the kind of person you are."
He stared at a sputtering Charizard. "Yeah, that's what I thought. I'm going to have a smoke."
Charizard gaped as Scrafty left, before roaring and sending jets of fire high in the air out of rage.
"Ohohoho, it is GOOD to be back," Scrafty said, holding a cigarette. "I feel like I need to overcompensate after spending so long cooped up in that shitty Scraggy body."
"I got a rock."
Gallade roared in laughter, slapping his knee with his blade. "Somehow it gets even funnier every time it's heard!"
"Welcome to my world, dude!" Shuckle said, leaning off and giving a toast to Gallade with two sodas. They chugged them down.
"Okay," Shuckle said, letting out a carbonated burp. "We're either marathoning the entire first season of Cheers, or we're doing the entire original trilogy of Star Wars. Your choice."
"I don't know what those are and I'm hyped!" Gallade shouted. "Get to it!"
"See, this is what the entire season should've been like," Shuckle said with a laugh. "For once I'm glad you weren't eliminated for being a threat."
"Yeah, that's-hey what's that supposed to mean?" Gallade asked.
Shuckle gulped. "Nothing!"
Scrafty hummed as he jogged, trying to get used to his new muscles. By Arceus it had hurt going back. He jogged over to the dock, where he saw Tepig sitting with his feet in the water. His eyebrow raised.
Tepig, on the other hand, was looking at the water, but there was no reflection to be found.
"So simple yet experimental, Innocent but still a little wild child-"
Tepig looked down at his phone, staring at Minccino's name. He took a deep sigh and answered it.
"I should have earlier. Please don't be impressed that I did."
"I guess I was just thinking that... with the um…with the change you made that you wouldn't want to see me anymore."
Tepig actually felt anger. "You think after being lucky enough to be with someone as amazing as you that I'd be stupid enough to leave? Hell, I may be a bit of an idiot but nobody's that moronic."
"Say that to my exes," Minccino said with a forced chuckle. "But if the case then why avoid me?"
"I'm a little afraid of you," Tepig admitted. "I figured talking to you would garner an explanation, and I needed a little time."
"Then next time just leave a text, dude," Minccino said, and Tepig could practically hear her roll her eyes. "Also, what kind of monster do you think I am?"
"A sexy one?" Tepig asked, snickering.
"Look, I'm not sure what changed when you went super god or if you're going to be like that forever," Minccino said. "But it didn't change my feelings towards you. I'm willing to make it work, so whatever massive epiphany you're having really shouldn't involve me. Just come home, okay?"
"Plus, the sex would be way better," Tepig said with a shrug.
"So are we…er…good?"
"Just come back home, okay? I miss you."
"Will do," Tepig said. "Be back tonight. Love you."
Snickering as he hung up, Tepig looked at his vial inquisitively. What he chose now at this point was really up to him now, wasn't it?"
"What's going on with you?" Scrafty called. "And why the hell are you still here? Haven't you been a literal screen hog the entire season? Give someone else some spotlight."
"Oh, look who it is," Tepig said. "Just doing some dramatic decision making with a cool backdrop."
"Yeah, no shit," Scrafty said, walking over to the docks. "Well, since you're not in the competition anymore I have no reason to be enemies with you anymore."
"Don't you now?" Tepig said, rolling his eyes.
"I mean honestly, I should thank you," Scrafty admitted, lighting a cigarette. "Want one?"
"Thanks mate," Tepig said quietly, taking it. Once again, they sat with their feet over the dock, smoking in silence.
"….What was that about you thanking me?"
"Well, not for turning me back into a Scraggy," Scrafty said. "You can die in a hole for that. But…the experience…. the flashbacks, evolving again….it taught me something I'd forgotten when I first evolved. I know I'm a shitty person. Doesn't mean I don't have to accept it."
"Not even going to bother trying to change?" Tepig asked.
"Change is a lie," Scrafty snapped. "We are who we are by the time we reach a certain age. Any change after that is just a temporary illusion to make us feel better about ourselves. The real trick is becoming that functioning alcoholic; learning how to live with yourself and succeeding despite it."
"You think so?" Tepig asked vaguely.
"In fact, if you ask me?" Scrafty asked. "Keep the immortality. Be selfish, and trick yourself into being happy. You have a chance for satisfaction, and unlike happiness it isn't fleeting or fake."
"You're right," Tepig admitted, standing up. "I shouldn't be asking you."
Before Scrafty could respond, Tepig threw the flask as hard as he could, where it splashed in the water.
Scrafty's eyes widened, before scoffing. "Fine, be a naïve idiot. No skin off my pants."
Tepig flipped Scrafty off as he turned and left. "Well, time to stop running away I guess..
He took two steps for realizing.
"Oh wait how the fuck am I supposed to get home now-"
Lot of crazy stuff went on this chapter, huh. I hope you guys liked it.
Lucario leaves, unfortunately, leaving the top five with only one female. Sheesh, am I sexist or what?
Any predictions, comments, criticisms, and uh…just reviews in general would be a great help for me and my inspiration.
Until next time, guys. Only a few more chapters to go.
Lucario: Review, guys! Show the author your support!