Chapter 7: Different Challenges, Different Goals

As I walked on the appeal stage, I felt nervous completing in another contest again so soon after the first loss, and especially since the appeal was only barely practised, but I had no choice now, so I summoned up all my courage and began with, "Totodile, appeal time," and threw Totodile's Pokeball into the air. It burst open with a white light emerging from it, along with a multitude of multicoloured stars. In the centre of the slights show was my excited Totodile, dancing on the spot. "Totodile, let's start off with a waterfall, shall we?" The excited blue crocodile complied as it enveloped itself in a sphere of rapid water before propelling itself into the air.

As it pushed its sphere of water into the air it left behind a falling trail of water, "Now Totodile, use slash on the top half of the sphere," before my eyes the tiny claws of my Totodile glowed white from within the sphere before it spun around slashing the top half of its watery cage revealing itself to the audience. "Now use a double ice punch straight down," I ordered, hoping it would work since this was the least polished part of the routine, luckily for me it did as Totodile raising both of its fists and made glow with an icy white energy before bringing them down towards the bottom of the sphere.

The combined power of the two fists froze over the entire waterfall, leaving a luminescent tower of ice, "Totodile, use shadow claw to sculpt," I said gambling on Totodile's newest technique hoping that it would work, and it did as Totodile's claws were imbued with a dark energy before Totodile went into a sculpting frenzy. I could barely see Totodile as it dashed around the frozen waterfall making slashes here and there, before finally revealing a magnificent sculpture of a Mismagius that due to the shadow claw it had a dark glow around it.

"Let's see what it judges have to say about this, Contesta?" The perky announcer said as she gestured for Contesta to make the first comment as he always does.

"Simply astounding, such detail within the sculpture and an impressive display of an ice punch."

"Mr. Sukizo?"

"Remarkable, simply remarkable."

"Nurse Joy?"

"Totodile looked so incredibly cute as it was flurrying around."

"Alright, that the first coordinator down, let's see what the others have in store." Marian announced as the next coordinator walked on stage.

"Since I'm such a friendly guy, I'll let you have the first move." Roark said, with the slightest hint of confidence in his voice.

"Thanks, but I'm sure you'll live to regret it, Diglett use magnitude." Lucinda commanded with confidence. The small brown mole Pokemon readied itself as appeared to angle the front half of itself upwards before bringing itself level as it launched a powerful shockwave through the arena.

"Geodude, use mega punch to propel yourself into the air," as the shockwave headed towards Roark's end of the field, the small brown rock with arms known as Geodude swung its glowing arm down towards the ground, launching itself into the air avoiding the shockwave completely, "Now Geodude, use rollout from mid-air," Roark roared, and his Geodude complied, curling itself up into a ball and rolling on the air like it was earth heading straight for Diglett.

"Diglett, use dig to dodge," Lucinda countered Roark's tricky tactics, as Diglett pushed the earthaside and created a hole for itself, Geodude was left with no target to hit, "Now Diglett, strike from underneath," Lucinda said as her Diglett emerged from the ground underneath geodude and caused a tremendous amount of damage to Geodude.

"Now follow up with hidden power," Lucinda said, pressing her advantage as the small brown mole created many small orbs before launching them at Geodude, "Geodude, use your own hidden power to counter that," As Diglett launched its many orbs towards Geodude, Geodude countered by doing the exact same thing. As both sides orbs sailed through the air, they weaved, ducked and dodged before they arrived at their targets. Diglett and Geodude both felt the pain immensely both they could take no more and both fainted simultaneously.

"Since both Pokemon are knocked out, this round is a draw," announced the referee, after staying silence during the entire battle.

"Alright, my next choice is the almighty Onix," he said as he threw a red and white orb into the air, out of it appeared a huge snake made entirely of rock, "Onix!!" it roared.

"I see your Onix, and I raise you a Tangela," Lucinda cockily countered as she threw her own Pokeball into the air, releasing a mess of blue green vines, that had a pair of red "shoes", and a set of beady eyes underneath the mass of vines, known as Tangela.

"Ok, battle begin," called the referee.

"Now after a moment of deliberation, our judges have decided who, amongst the bunch of coordinators will be going to the battle rounds, here they are," Marian said as a series of the coordinators candids appeared on screen corresponding with names that she read out. My picture was amongst the eight that were moving on, although I didn't know any of the others, "Now, let's see who is matched up for the battle rounds," Marian said the candids on screen were shuffled around before finally settled down to reveal who was matched up with who.

"Ok, so it turns out I'm matched up with some girl named Jane, although I haven't the slightest idea about her, and my match would be the first one," I thought to myself. I spent the next few minutes thinking over the combinations that I practised with Ralts, but before I realised how long I had been thinking, it was already time for the match. Before too long, I had already been escorted to the stage.

"Now, for the first match of the battle rounds between Matt of Four Island and Jane of Jubilife city." Marian merrily announced.

"Ralts, time for battle," I said as threw the Pokeball into the air, releasing Ralts ina burst of musical notes.

"Corphish, come on out," Jane ecstatically exclaimed as she released a small red and white crustacean Pokemon that merrily waved its pincers around.

"Ok, with two ready coordinators, five minutes on the clock and an excited audience, let's do it," the MC said as the clock started to tick down from five minutes .

"Corphish, let's start out with a bubblebeam," Jane commanded and her Corphish set to work by opening its red claws and releasing a stream of bubbles towards Ralts.

"Ralts, use magical leaf to counter to bubblebeam," I said without thinking and just as quickly as Corphish launched its bubblebeam, Ralts spun around gracefully and launched many multicoloured leaves that collided with the bubbles and popped them in mid air.

"Oh, that it going to cost Jane a fair few points," Marian said as her on screen points were down to about 84%.

"Don't worry Corphish, now how about using a metal claw and crabhammer combo," Jane said, and quickly her Corphish changed from a motionless state to bounding forward with a glowing white claw that had a silvery sheen on the end of it. The combination impressed the judges, as my points went down to about equal with Jane's.

"Ralts use shock wave to stop Corphish in its tracks," I calmly countered and as soon as the order left my lips, Ralts charged up some electricity in its helmet before launching it in the direction of the quickly approaching Corphish.

Although Jane didn't appreciate the oncoming electricity as she ordered this, "Corphish use the metal claw to deflect the electricity," Corphish then complied as it raised its claw, but before it could finished its command, I interjected with, "Ralts use psychic to spin the electricity," and before Corphish could block the electric onslaught, the aforementioned electric gained a blue outline before it was spun around and became a vertical whirlpool of electricity that taunted Corphish because it was just out of reach.

As soon as Corphish had given up in trying to reach the electricity and started to dash towards us again, without giving the order, Ralts knew to use the psychic the ram the electricity into Corphish. That was enough to knock out Corphish and send me through to the next round. After the judges had given their comments on the battle, I headed back into the waiting room to wait for my next match and get my Ralts healed up.

"Onix is unable is battle, Tangela is the winner of this round," the referee once again announced after staying silent, "Challenger, are you sticking with Tangela or are you going to make a substitution?"

"I'm sticking with Tangela," Lucinda announced.

"Then, gym leader Roark will you please release your final Pokemon?"

"Of course, now it is time for your to be truly rocked, Rampardos go," Roark shouted as he released a large gray and blue dinosaur that had a massive blue skull top on it.

"Ok then, let the battle begin," the referee announced after both Pokemon were in a battling position.

"Tangela, use vine whip," Lucinda ordered, taking the intiative.

"Rampardos, dodge that and use zen headbutt," Roark countered. As Tangela launched two vines from the random mess of vines that was it body composition, Rampardos, despite its large bulk and deceptively slow appearance quickly hopped to one side and started to charge with a shining blue head.

"Tangela, use those vines to trip Rampardos up," Lucinda commanded, making the best of a bad situation, Tangela was compliant as it pulled it vines back and made a trip wire in front of Rampardos short and stubby feet, and unfortunately for Roark, his Rampardos was tripped up and made a loud thud as it hit the floor of the arena.

"Rampardos, use flamethrower as you fall," Roark yelled in between the moments of the vine whip tripping Rampardos and it falling down, at first Lucinda thought that it was a stupid move but was quickly corrected in her own mind as she saw that his tactic worked, Rampardos as it was falling opened its mouth and unleashed a spew of flames. These flames, were heading towards the floor but quickly were deflected and headed straight towards Tangela, who was subsequently knocked out because of Lucinda's surprise at the success of Roark's outlandish tactics.

"Tangela is unable to battle, Rampardos is the winner of this round, challenger please choose your final Pokemon," the referee mindlessly said.

As Lucinda returned Tangela, she whispered an apology to its Pokeball, before she suddenly realised that she needed to go to the bathroom and said, "Excuse me, where is the bathroom? I really need to go." The referee quickly gestured in the general direction that the gym's bathrooms were in. As Lucinda left the challenger's box and ran towards the bathrooms, she spared a moment to think about how Matt was going in his Pokemon Contest.

"And we are back from the intermission between the quarterfinal rounds and the semifinals, and now we are ready to get into the first match of the semifinals between Matt from Four Island and Sam from Sandgem town, so let's get this going." The perky MC announced.

"Alright, Ralts let's get this thing going." I excitedly said as I once again threw Ralts' Pokeball into the air.

"Ok Bronzor, lend a hand," Sam called from the opposite end of the stage as she released a small metallic Pokemon that appeared to look like a silver plate that had a face.

"Oh boy, I'm so nervous about this, I wonder how Lucinda is going" I thought to myself.

"Ok, thank you so much for letting me have that break, now I'm ready to battle," Lucinda said after returning from the bathroom.

"Well then if you would like to release your final Pokemon," the referee said with a hint of a mocking tone.

"Piplup, assistance please," Lucinda said as she released a small blue penguin that was coloured a mixture of blues and white with a small yellow beak at the end of its face.

"Let's get this underway then, shall we?"

"Of course, Piplup use bubblebeam," Lucinda commanded, pushing the battle into motion, with her Piplup opening its beak before pushing out a stream of bubbles that accelerated towards Rampardos.

"Rampardos, use flamethrower to evaporate those bubbles," Roark commanded and his signature Pokemon complied by opening its massive mouth and releasing a stream of oranges flames that collided with the bubblebeam, creating a massive amount of steam that covered the entire field.

"Piplup, use whirlpool to collect the steam and launch that towards Rampardos," Lucinda ordered, without realising that Matt's coordinating was rubbing off on her, Piplup realised this too as it glowed blue before creating a massive whirlpool of swirling water that as it span collected the steam on top of it before launching it towards Rampardos.

"Rampardos, use ice beam," Roark ordered, revealing his secret technique as his Ramardos created a blue sphere in front of it before it crackled toward the massive whirlpool and went straight through it freezing it along the way. Piplup and Lucinda were caught unaware and the blue beam froze Piplup.

"No, Piplup you have to make it through this," Lucinda pleaded.

"I'll finish this quickly, Rampardos use head smash," Roark calmly ordered, expecting it to be the last attack in the match, and as it charged toward to frozen block that was Piplup with it head reared and glowing with a powerful energy, something completely unexpected happened, Piplup from within its icy prison started to glow in a white light before it changed form, growing bigger and bigger, its fins becoming more developed, it grew two metal waves that connected to its more developed beak, until its icy prison was too small and it burst out before crying its new name, "Prinplup," it cooed.

"Awesome, Prinplup you evolved, now let's show them what you can do, use Bubblebeam," Lucinda proudly exclaimed at the sight of her newly evolved Pokemon, and said Pokemon obeyed the order as it opened its more developed beak and let out a stream of bubbles that seemed to be more powerful.

"Rampardos, use ice beam," Roark calmly ordered as the sight of a Pokemon evolving in a gym battle wasn't new to him. As the bubbles sailed through the air, Rampardos once again charged up its blue sphere before sending it crackling towards the bubbles, hoping to stalemate them, which it did by freezing them and then watching them harmless sink to the ground and shatter.

"Ok, Prinplup, use drill peck and add your bubble armour," was the next command that came out of Lucinda's mouth. Prinplup began preparing its beak for the onslaught, and then suddenly it was off, rocketing through the air while spinning like a drill. As it sailed through the air it added the next stage of the attack by opening it beak weapon and spitting out bubbles that began to spin with it, effectively shielding it in a case of bubbles.

"Rampardos, use zen headbutt," Roark shouted, knowing that he was risking it all. As the bubble encased Prinplup headed towards Rampardos, Rampardos responded by lowered its blue skull and charging straight for us, with no less than a blue sheen, signifying the psychic energy it was carrying. It was no match for Prinplup, for when they collided, Rampardos couldn't get close enough due to the bubbles, which kept up the onslaught before Prinplup emerged and stuck Rampardos with a mighty drill peck. Rampardos went down like a sack of pecha berries as the referee made his call, "Rampardos is unable to battle, the winner of the round and the match is Lucinda."

As Roark recalled his Rampardos, and accepted his defeat he walked over to her with something in his hands and said, "In honour of your victory here at the Orebourgh gym, it is my pleasure to confer you, the coal badge," he said proudly that he handed a small metal object shaped like a treasure chest, Lucinda felt a sense of pride as she accepted her first Sinnoh badge. She quickly put the badge in her case, exited the gym and ran straight for the Pokemon centre to get her valiant warriors healed, she also wondered if the contest would be finished up yet and if Matt would be there, because she was so proud she needed someone to gloat to.

"Alright ladies and gentlemen, it's the match you have waiting for the final stage between Matt of Four Island and Lucy of Rosebush town, with five minutes on the clock, let's get this thing going," Marian said as both of us releasing our Pokemon, on my side it was my trusty Ralts and on her side, I knew we would be going up against her Roselia, who I had seen in her previous battles. When both Pokemon were on stage, the clock started to tick down, and Lucy made the first move, "Roselia, use magical leaf,"

"Ralts, counter that with shock wave," I countered, and with a command issued from both sides this battle was on. Roselia was first to act as it raised its red and blue roses before launching a stream of leaves that had a magical quality to them. Ralts wasn't one to miss a beat though as it launched a crackling current of electricity towards Roselia. The two attacks met in the middle of the stage, the magical leaf was caught by the shock wave and couldn't continue further, when I had a great idea, "Now, Ralts push that forward with a psywave," I said expressing my newly thought of combo to whoever was watching, Ralts although it thought the idea was strange complied as it focused its mental energy before launching it in circular waves that caught the stalemate between the shock wave and the magical leaf and push it towards Roselia slowly closing in the circle in the middle, hoping to catch Roselia in a vice grip.

"Roselia, use sludge bomb to get that trap away from you, "Lucy hurriedly ordered and her Roselia hurriedly obeyed that once again it raised its roses to fire a series of sludge orbs towards my combination attack, although I caught on and ordered, "Ralts, spin your psywaves to spin the combination, " Ralts quickly spun its mental waves in an anticlockwise direction which caused the electricity carrying the leaves to spin, luckily it had gotten fast enough before the sludge bomb had reached it and it calmly deflected them towards the ground before continuing onwards and striking Roselia. That move cost Lucy a lot of points and could be seen on the overhead display.

"No worries, Roselia use giga drain," Roselia then began to launch a pair of glowing green tendrils of energy that were heading straight for Ralts.

"Ralts, use psychic to tie them in knots," I cleverly commanded, Ralts then began to glow as it used its mental powers to tie to two green tendrils together in a bow. Once again, my countered cost Lucy some more points.

"Ok, Roselia use worry seed on Ralts," Lucy calmly ordered as a seed from Roselia sailed through the air before landing on Ralts and popping appearing to do nothing.

"Now try this on for size then, Roselia use petal dance and coat them all with stun spore," Lucy ordered with a sense of fury in her voice. Her pokemon faithfully carried out her command as it blasted hundreds of pink petals from it "hands" and they danced in the sky each with the tiniest hue of orange.

"No problem, Ralts use psychic," I taunted.

"You fell right into my trap, and thanks to worry seed my Roselia was be paralysed," Lucy said, and it didn't become apparent to me until after Ralts used its mental energy to stop most of the petals in mid air, I had failed to realise that even though the petals had stopped the stun spore didn't as the picked up momentum and headed straight for Ralts. It quickly took effect as after Ralts had been inflicted the petals became unstuck and Lucy's Roselia used them to batter Ralts around, which caused me to lose a heap of points and Marian also commented on this and noted how there was only ninety seconds to go.

"Ralts, use encore," I desperately said, hoping this tactic would work, and it did as Ralts sent out a white sphere that landed on Roselia and caused it to glow.

"Ok, so you want me to keep on using petal dance, that is ok with me, Roselia do it," Lucy cockily ordered.

"But petal dance wasn't the last attack you commanded was it? No it was stun spore," I said as Lucy's order didn't register with Roselia as it fired another round of orange dust.

"Ralts, use psychic to redirect the stun spore at Roselia," and although it was paralysed, Ralts still managed to focus its mental energy and direct the orange cloud towards Roselia who become paralysed because of it. Lucy's points came down to become level with mine.

"Thirty seconds on the clock, who will make the winning move," Marian commented.

"Ralts, use shadow ball."

"Roselia, use solarbeam."

As Ralts charged up its shadow ball, nothing happened on Lucy's side of the field, except that Roselia had sparks all of it, and then we both realised that paralysis had set in. Ralts then finished charging the ball of dark energy before launching it towards Roselia, which caused my points to become more then Lucy's as Marian called time for the match and announced me the winner.

"Now to present Matt with his Orebourgh ribbon, it Raoul Contesta," Marian perkily said.

"It gives me great pleasure to award this ribbon to such a talented coordinator," he said as he handed over my first ribbon. I geld it high with pride as my Totodile and Ralts posed with me.

As I got back to the Pokemon centre, I found Lucinda in the lobby waiting for me. After handing my Pokeballs and my Pokemon egg to Nurse Joy, I sat down next to Lucinda.

"So how did you go?" I asked.

"Great, I won the match, Piplup evolved, and now I have my very own Orebourgh gym badge, you?"

"I won the contest, now all I have to do is win this gym battle and we can leave for the next town," I said as I showed off my first ribbon.

"I have to warn you, Roark is tough." Lucinda sternly advised.

"I guess I'll have to bring my A game."

Author's Notes: Chapter 7 and the longest chapter I have even written for this story, it would have been even longer if I hadn't used those cutaways to speed up the process. Also, another mention of the egg that Matt has, so yes it still exists and if I don't actively mention it, it is in hammerspace, safe and sound.

Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon.

Notice: Any OCs that you would like to send in would be greatly appreciated, and this may be the last chapter for a while depending on how certain things go, so please review and tell me how I can improve my writing.