The time for the final fight grew nearer. During the rest period, Blossom had slipped out to the stands to ask Professor Utonium's advice. "I can't believe it's come to this, Professor…" she said. "I mean, Buttercup's attitude gets to me once and a while, so it's not like I haven't thought about fighting her before. I just didn't want to."
"Of course you don't," the professor said. "She's your sister. The thing you have to remember, though, is that this is still a friendly competition. Don't let your personal feelings get too involved."
Blossom nodded, "I'll try, but…I don't know…" She glanced over, "What do you think, Bubbles?"
"I say, go ahead and kick her butt!" Bubbles said, cheerfully.
"Bubbles!" the professor scolded.
"Well, why not?" Bubbles asked. "It's all in fun, isn't it? Might as well have fun, then…"
Blossom thought about this. This is a serious competition…but Bubbles is right; what it really boils down to is sport…fun. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad about it, since it's only a game. A smile crossed her face as she thought, Besides, maybe this'll deflate that ego of hers a little bit for once…
* * *
Buttercup sat quietly out on one of the high walls of the arena, gazing out into the darkening sky. It wasn't night quite yet, but the day was fast approaching it's end. Still, it was nice and peaceful. It was too noisy back at the arena, and she really needed to be alone to think right about now.
I should be happy right now, she thought. I'm almost the Grand Champion! I fought against some incredibly tough opponents to get where I am now. But…aw man, what's wrong with me? I've always wanted to see if I'm stronger than she is anyway, so why not now? It's my chance to show her up, to show her that's she's not little miss perfect…
She sighed and rested her head in her arms. Why did it have to be Blossom? This would've been so much easier if it had been Bubbles. Oh well…I guess it was bound to happen eventually, so I might as well make the most of it. She grinned. 'Sides, maybe this'll deflate that ego of hers a little bit for once…
* * *
Night had fallen, and the bright lights around the edge of the arena had been switched on, illuminating the ring almost as bright as day. The crowd was getting anxious, but now that the time was growing near, they fell silent, waiting for the announcement of the final round. All of the heroes from the previous battles had also lined up along the edge of the arena in ringside seats to watch the coming fight.
The Earth Forces Commander's face appeared on the big screen, and the crowd immediately cheered. He waited until they calmed down again, and began to speak, "Ladies and gentlemen…on behalf of the Earth Forces, the Justice Friends, and everyone else who made it all possible, I'd like to thank you for attending the twenty-third annual World Superheroes Tournament. It is time now for the final competition, which will bring the day's events to a close. The sixth and final round is about to begin!"
After another chorus of cheers, he continued, "All of this year's competitors have fought with great skill, but none have been as impressive as the PowerPuff Girls. Not only are these three new to the tournament, but they're also the youngest heroes to ever participate in it. And yet, against the fiercest competition, two of them have prevailed, rising above all others. However, as is tradition, only one may be given the title of Grand Champion, and so, these two must fight, sister vs. sister, to decide the final outcome."
As his words echoed in the arena, the Commander gazed down at the ring and said, "And now, the moment you've been waiting for…please welcome the finalists…Blossom and Buttercup!" The roar of the crowd escalated as the two of them flew out from the staging area into the ring. They both circled around for a moment, and then landed, taking their positions. The crowd continued their deafening cheer, and the Commander waited for them to quiet down so that he could start the fight.
In the meantime, Blossom and Buttercup's eyes were locked. Buttercup smirked, and said, "Ready to lose, leader girl?"
"Not tonight, Buttercup," Blossom replied confidently.
"Come on, you can't expect to beat me. You know I'm the toughest fighter."
"And I also know you're not too bright." Blossom smiled, "You're liable to make a mistake."
Buttercup laughed, "Fat chance. If that's your strategy, you might as well give up now."
"Not on your life," Blossom said.
The crowd finally calmed back down again. A small breeze blew through the ring, rifling through their hair. Everything fell completely silent. They continued to stare at each other, both going into a fighting stance, waiting for the signal to begin. Everyone could feel the tension in the air.
In the silence, the Commander's voice rang out, echoing across the arena, "Fight!"
Both of them charged at each other, crossing the ring in the blink of an eye and a flash of color. They collided at the center of the ring, both of them unleashing a quick flurry of punches and kicks. Both of them were moving so fast that the audience could barely see them. Despite their speed, each blow was either dodged or blocked by the other. After a few moments of this, Buttercup dropped suddenly, trying to kick Blossom's legs out from underneath her. Blossom quickly leapt over the sweep, sending a kick towards Buttercup's head, but she had already backed up, avoiding it. Blossom took a small hop back as well, and they both stood still once again, facing each other silently and unscathed.
From the ringside seats, Major Glory was impressed, "Lincoln's beard! They're so fast!"
Val Halen nodded, "And strong…my jaw doth still ache from the thrashing I received."
"Who do you think will win?" Glory asked. "The leader has my vote."
Val Halen shook his head, "I say Buttercup. She has a most awesome fighting spirit." He turned to Krunk, next to him, and said, "What dost thou say, infraggable one?"
Krunk grinned and said, "Krunk like both of da pumpkin heads."
After the momentary pause in the battle, Blossom began moving again. She flew into the air, soaring high over the ring, and prepared to fly down towards Buttercup. She didn't give him the chance, though, as she flew up also, to meet Blossom halfway. She caught Blossom off-guard and managed to land a punch to her chin. She reeled back, and Buttercup didn't let up. She immediately threw another quick set of blows to her gut, and finished with a kick to the side of her head. She was sent flying sideways…in a burst of speed, Buttercup flew past her, and raised her fist to strike as Blossom soared towards her.
She regained control, however, and spun around in midair, now moving feet-first. She struck Buttercup in the chest, knocking her away. Buttercup was only pushed back about a dozen feet before she stopped her fall. She glared at Blossom, who was now hovering there, with her arms folded defiantly.
"That's it," Buttercup said, frowning, "I'm gonna wipe that smile right from your face!"
Blossom waved her arms, beckoning, "Bring it on."
Buttercup started flying back towards her, but not in a straight line…instead, she zigzagged, darting from side to side. So quick were here movements, that it momentarily looked like there were several Buttercups instead of one. This confused Blossom just long enough for her to swing a double-fisted punch down to the top of her head. She was knocked straight for the ground, but just before she hit, Buttercup flew down next to her and kicked her forward, towards one edge of the ring. Blossom bounced twice along the ground as she tumbled, but on the third bounce, she managed to bring her legs around, and instead pushed off the ground, leaping back in Buttercup's direction.
Surprised by the speed at which Blossom recovered from the hit, Buttercup had enough time to raise her fist up, so she could swat her away when she reached her. Blossom, however, attacked early, firing a quick eyebeam blast point-blank. Not expecting it, Buttercup was hit head-on and staggered from it. Blossom immediately took a deep breath and blew a blast of her ice breath…it passed over Buttercup, encasing her in a block of ice.
The crowd cheered at this move, and was certain that Blossom now had the upper hand. She moved in to attack the frozen Buttercup, winding up a punch. Buttercup, though, suddenly shot her own eyebeams out through the ice, striking Blossom in the chest and pushing her back a few dozen feet. She slid across the ground, dazed. Using this opportunity, Buttercup started melting the rest of the ice around her with her eyebeams, to free herself.
"What a comeback!" Agent Honeydew remarked, from the sideline. "I can't decide who's doing better…"
Monkey, next to her, said, "Eeek aah ooh….ooh eek ooh, ah ah eeek ah…"
"You really think so?" Honeydew said. "Well, we'll find out if you're right soon enough…"
By this time, Buttercup had finished melting the ice, and looked up. Blossom was nowhere to be seen; whille Buttercup was distracted, she had simply vanished. She glanced around quickly, trying to figure out where she had went, and a moment later spotted a hole in the ring surface near where she had blasted her before. Before she had time to react, though, Blossom suddenly burst up out of the ground behind her and grabbed her, holding her in a full-nelson. Buttercup struggled, and shouted, "Hey! Leggo!"
Blossom held tight, and started flying her over to the edge of the ring. Buttercup pulled one of her legs up and kicked backwards, striking Blossom in the knee. Now that she was distracted, Buttercup grabbed hold of Blossom's arms and pulled her over her head, trying to throw her. As she was flipped over, though, Blossom suddenly locked her legs around Buttercup's neck and rolled forward, flipping her over instead. She crashed to the ground close to the edge, but still within the ring's boundaries.
In the next instant, Buttercup recovered and shot back towards the center of the ring. Blossom flew after her at a similar speed…the two ran into each other at the center. They once again started trying to hit each other with a fast flurry of punches and kicks, but they kept dashing around to different points in the ring. All the audience could make of them were green and pink blurs of color, darting back and forth from spot to spot.
Living Bullet watched from the sidelines, likely the only one that could see their movements clearly. Capital-G, next to him, said, "Hey, Bullet…you followin' all this? Who's in the lead?"
"Itseemsthattheyareequal," he said, his head turning from side to side to keep an eye on the action. "Neitherofthemhaveevenlandedapunchyet…"
He spoke too soon, though, as barely a second later, the blurs stopped, and the girls suddenly became visible high above the center of the ring. Buttercup had connected with a kick to Blossom's gut, and she was doubled over from it. Buttercup hovered back, panting, but with a delighted smile on her face, while Blossom tried to straighten back up, coughing.
Buttercup laughed, almost in relief, "How'd ya like that? I got some more, if ya want it…" She charged, but Blossom straightened back up, gritting her teeth. She spun halfway around once in the air, kicking with both of her feet…both kicks struck Buttercup on the side of the head. Blossom finished the spin, with her back to Buttercup, and rammed her elbow behind her. The force from the last hit caused her to plummet to the ground like a stone, crashing into the ground. Blossom panted, flying down slowly to land on the opposite side of the ring, and swiveled to face her once more.
Buttercup picked herself up slowly, holding the side of her head. Her hair was messed up, and her outfit was now torn in a few spots from the last fall. Her eyes glowed red, and she fired her eyebeams at Blossom…she, in turn, fired her own eyebeams. They struck together near the center of the ring, but neither one of them stopped firing. They continued to pour on the energy, bracing themselves and gritting their teeth against the extreme exertion.
The crowd watched in awe as power built up at the point where their beams had collided. They continued to struggle against each other, trying to push the other back. Pieces of the ground around the beams began to rip up from the ground, blasting away, and a large crater was forming right underneath the giant buildup of energy in the center. Neither girl would give up, though, and the beams persisted.
They both began to sweat, not just from the intense heat of the beams, but also from the effort of keeping the beams sustained. The energy buildup started to move towards Buttercup's side, down the length of the beam. She screamed in rage, like a battle cry, and pushed even harder, forcing it towards Blossom. She likewise put more into it, bringing it to a balance once again.
The ground beneath the arena trembled from the fierce energy that was being unleashed. Many of the heroes started edging back from the ring. Up in the stands, Bubbles grabbed the professor's arm fearfully and said, "Wh—what are they doing?"
"This can't be good," the professor observed. "If they keep it up, at this rate, that energy buildup could…"
He was interrupted, when the giant buildup of energy from their eyebeams suddenly exploded, showering the entire arena in bright white light. Everyone shielded their eyes, and inside the ring, both of the girls were blown back away from it forcefully. The heroes on the sidelines even took cover behind their seats.
When the dust settled, there was a huge crater left in the center of the ring. Blossom and Buttercup were both barely conscious, lying right up on the outside edge, neither of them out, but still in the match. Blossom struggled back to her feet…both her outfit and her hair was tattered from the blast. Buttercup managed to stand up also, and she wasn't in any better condition than Buttercup was. They both looked beat, but still stood their ground.
The crowd was as silent as ever, now, waiting to see what would happen next. They both limped forward, towards each other. Buttercup reached the edge of the crater in the center, and her foot slipped…she fell in and slid down to the bottom, near the very center. Blossom tried to edge her way down, but also lost her footing and slid. Both of them picked themselves up once again, and faced each other.
"You're a mess, Bloss…" Buttercup remarked.
Blossom coughed once, and said, "Look who's talking."
Buttercup grinned, then winced in pain slightly. "Ready to finish this?" Blossom didn't say a word, but merely nodded. She managed to start flying and headed straight for Buttercup, who rose her arms defensively in front of herself. Blossom started swinging punches and kicks at her again, but the crowd could see that they were coming at a much slower pace than before. And yet, Buttercup was still using everything she had just to avoid them.
After a few moments of this, Buttercup flew back, soaring up and out of the crater, using most of her strength just to get airborne. She landed in part of the ring that was still intact, and stopped to catch her breath. Blossom flew up after her, but her flying was erratic, and she didn't fly a straight line out. She set down on the good part of the ring as well, and fell to her knees, panting heavily.
Buttercup closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then suddenly started running towards Blossom. This move took her by surprise, and she looked up at her, approaching swiftly. Whatever she's doing, she thought, it's got to be the last of her strength…I'd better do something… Still on her knees, Blossom hesitated, and that was all that Buttercup needed…she pulled her fist back, prepared to swing.
The next moment seemed to pass in slow motion. Buttercup swung her fist for Blossom's head, but at the last instant, Blossom fell over to the right, the punch narrowly missing her…at the same time, with her teeth clenched, she swept with one of her legs, tripping Buttercup from her advance. She fell forward, hitting the ground face-first, and slid for a few feet before finally coming to rest. Buttercup lifted her head from the ground for a moment, woozy…then collapsed back to the ground, unconscious.
Blossom relaxed, sighing in relief. The crowd remained silent only for another few moments, but then they applauded. As Blossom looked up, the applause turned to cheering, which grew louder, until the entire arena was in an absolute frenzy. Blossom half-smiled, as the Commander declared, "Ladies and gentlemen…the winner of the twenty-third annual World Superheroes Tournament, and new Grand Champion…Blossom!"
She got back to her feet, wavering a little from fatigue, and thrust both of her arms into the air. The crowd roared even louder, and started chanting her name over and over. Closing her eyes, she thought, Grand Champion… I'd love to stand here, living the moment, but I have to do something else first…
She limped over to where Buttercup was lying and rolled her onto her back to make sure she was okay. After a few seconds, Buttercup stirred, her eyes opening slowly. She saw Blossom leaning over her and said, "Uuuhhh…wha? Oh…Hey, Bloss…I guess you won, huh…"
"Hey," Blossom said, "You did great, too, Buttercup. I got lucky…it could just as easily have been you…"
Buttercup cracked a smile, and said, "Nah, don't feel bad about it…I'll just hafta beat you next year, 'k?"
Blossom smiled back, and chuckled, "Okay!" She gave Buttercup a hug, then helped her back to her feet. By now, medical personnel were out on the ring, to help both of them back to the staging area. As they headed back, the heroes all congratulated Blossom on a job well done…
* * *
In the car on the way back home, the girls sat in the backseat. On the seat next to Blossom was the Grand Champion's trophy, a towering cup made of gold, with a small statue of the winning superhero on the top. Bubbles asked her, "So what are you going to do now?"
"I don't know," Blossom said. "I'm not going to let it go to my head, though…none of those commercial endorsements or TV appearances or anything…I'd rather just go back to the old superhero business, as always."
Buttercup folded her arms, "You don't know what you're passing up, there, Blossom. If I'd won, I'd have lived it up the most I could!"
"Instead of saving the day?" Bubbles asked.
"Well, I'd save the day too," she explained, "but there's nothing wrong with a little fame and money on the side…"
Blossom grinned, "Anyway…I'll just be glad to be back home again."
"Yeah, me too," Buttercup agreed.
"Me three!" Bubbles added. She hesitated, then nudged the extra passenger next to her: Mojo Jojo, all tied up. He rolled his eyes, and sighed, "Me four." Bubbles smiled in appreciation and everyone in the car laughed, as it drove down the road leading back into Townsville…