Pokemon: Best Wishes

Sorry about the lack of an update. My computer decided to reset itself in the MIDDLE of my writing the new chapter. So I was EXTREMELY TICKED OFF, and pushed off rewriting it until now. But that's ok, because the show must go on! Last time, our heroes were trapped in a massive battle with Barry, Lucas, and Trip, with Trip leaving victorious. Barry tells them they're a half-day away from Opelucid City, and they quickly take their leave.

Chapter Twenty-Two: Opelucid City - The Legend Badge

"That Barry guy was a friggin' liar." Masuku muttered. He and his friends had been walking for a full day across another bridge, and the younger Shiyousha was very peeved. However, they finally came within sight of the city. Opelucid sprawled out ahead of them, gleaming in the fading sunlight. It was a futuristic city of dark colored buildings and neon. As they walked into the square, they saw a familiar group.

"Damn it." Buki cursed. Ghetsis was standing atop a platform in the center of the square, surrounded by the citizens of Opelucid City. His armored flunkies stood guard in various places around the square. "That's correct! Our lord N has combined his power with the legendary Dragon-type Pokemon and intends to create a new world! We herald the return of the hero of Unova, founder of this region!" There was a chorus of whispers, most in awe of the man who could partner with a legendary Pokemon.

"Pokemon are different from people! They are living beings who contain unknown potential!" Ghetsis continued. "They are living beings from whom we humans have much to learn. They are beings whose greatness we should acknowledge! Beings who should be freed from our oppression!" The crowd began to cheer in agreement.

"People can't really be buying this, can they?" Masuku asked. Ash shook his head in disbelief. "We, Team Plasma, invite you to join us! We all want to create a new world where people and Pokemon are both free!" Ghetsis smiled evilly for an instant, like he was about to deliver a sick punch line. It flashed by so quickly that Ash, Buki, and Masuku were the only ones to see it.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you now... Please, release your Pokemon. And so I end my plea to you today. Thank you one and all for your attention." He leaped from the platform and was immediately surrounded by his grunts. He began to walk away.

"Hey! He's right!" One citizen called out. "We need to release our Pokemon from their bondage!" There were more cheers, followed by flashes of light as several citizens began releasing their Pokemon. Ghetsis' smile crept back across his face. It grew as he got closer to our heroes.

"And what about you three?" He asked lowly. "Will you realize the error of your ways and release your Pokemon?" The three glared at the tall man. "You already know the answer." Ash said. "Pokemon are our friends, and our partners. We'll never let you separate us."

"We'll see." Ghetsis chuckled. "You might just change your opinion one day." Buki stepped to the side. "I think you guys were leaving." Ghetsis smirked. "Very well. I imagine we'll meet again soon enough."

"I didn't think the people of my city were so foolish." A man leaned against the bottom perimeter wall of the city. He was a tall, broad man, with short white hair. His eyes were piercing, and the bottom half of his face was covered by a righteous beard. He was dressed casually, in grey slacks and a white button-down shirt.

"They're a bunch of kids." In front of the man was a dark skinned girl sitting on a bench. She had long, bushy black hair, and wore simple clothes. The man shook his head. "Now, now, Iris. No need for that." He stroked his beard in thought. "That man was a good speaker. It isn't their fault they were taken in by talk."

"Whatever." Iris scoffed. The man was about to berate her again, but he saw three unfamiliar faces that didn't seem impressed with the Sage's speech. He pushed himself away from the wall and walked toward them, leaving the girl to follow.

"Hello there!" He called out. The three looked in his direction, not sure what to do. The man stepped up to them, towering over even the tallest of the three. "I'm sorry for the confusion, but I noticed that you were none too impressed by that man's speech." Buki smiled.

"That's an understatement." The man's eyebrow arched. "Oh? Is that so?" Ash nodded. "We don't think Pokemon and humans were meant to be separated." The man's beard shifted in a smile.

"It's good that there are trainers like you in the world. Might I ask what brings you to Opelucid City?" Masuku grinned. "We're here to challenge the Gym Leader! We're on the way to Vertress City for the Pokemon League!" The man's smile grew.

"Well! Do you know the way to the Gym?" Masuku rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Well…not really." Iris had just walked up behind the man, hearing Masuku's statement. "Jeez! You don't even know where you're going? You're such a kid!" Masuku's head snapped toward her.

"Who the fuck are you?!" Buki punched his brother, silencing him. "Be respectful." He turned to the man. "Would you be able to help us out?" "It just so happens that I can help. See, I am the mayor of this fair city. You can call me Drayden." Buki smiled at the man.

"Excellent. I'm Buki Shiyousha, and this little moron is my brother, Masuku." He pointed to Ash. "This is our friend Ash, and his partner, Pikachu." Drayden's eyes widened.

"Shiyousha?" When Buki nodded, Drayden turned to Iris. "Bring these three to the house. I shall be there shortly." Iris cocked an eyebrow, but nodded. Our heroes shared curious glances, but they followed Iris away.

"I'm very sorry about how cryptic I was before." Drayden explained. His house was made just like all the other buildings, but the inside was very basic, and any furniture was sparse.

"I'm also sorry about the lack of seating. They don't call me the 'Spartan Mayor' for nothing." Ash shook his head. "That's fine. Listen, I'm not sure how much of our situation you know, but-" Drayden held up a hand.

"I know all about your situation. I didn't deem it something to talk about in the public of the square, so I brought you here. There's something you need to know." He paused. Buki's eyebrow quirked.

"I am the Opelucid City Gym Leader." Drayden declared. "What?!" Masuku exclaimed. "You're the mayor and the Gym Leader?! That's so cool!" Iris scoffed. "You're such a kid.

"You wanna go?!" Masuku stared her down, about five inches taller. "Maybe I do!" She cried. "Iris, sit." Drayden said calmly. His voice held so much authority that Masuku sat down too.

"Iris is my apprentice. Therefore, she too is the Gym Leader." He let the three sink that in for a moment before continuing. "I believe a night of preparation would be welcomed, don't you?" Buki nodded.

"This is a lot to take in, and I would like to form a strategy." Drayden nodded. "It's getting quite late, so the three of you should go to the Pokemon Center for rest. Meet the two of us back here tomorrow, and we shall go to the Gym."

"I can't believe we've nearly done it!" Masuku cried out. "Zip it, Masuku." Buki commanded. "It's late, and people are sleeping." It was around midnight, and the three had managed to get a room for the night.

"Sorry." The younger boy said meekly. "I just can't help it. It seems like we've been journeying forever, and we're finally at the last Gym. Tomorrow, we take one step closer to the Pokemon League." Buki smiled. "It has been awhile." He turned to Ash. "It's time for strategy. Opelucid is a Dragon-type Gym, so we have to be careful. They don't have a lot of weaknesses."

"That's true." Ash said. "How do you think they battle?" Buki shrugged. "Who knows? It might be a double battle, or it might be us picking who we fight." Masuku looked thoughtful.

"Who're you gonna use, brother?" Buki thought back to his earlier Gym battles. "…I'm not sure. It depends on how the battles break down."

"That's a pretty smart tactic." Ash agreed. Buki pulled out a Pokeball. "There's some training I've gotta do. I'll be back."

"What about you, Ash?" "I'm not exactly sure, but I know I'll probably use Tranquill. She hasn't participated in a Gym Battle in a while. Sawsbuck hasn't been with us long, so I think I'll use him. Like Buki said, it all depends on how the Leaders decide to do battle."

The Next Day

"Here we are." Buki said. The three of them were standing in front of Drayden's house. They heard some kind of commotion in the back, so they went around to check it out. Behind the house was a bare patch of earth. Drayden was shirtless, standing opposite a Haxorus.

"Come now, Haxorus!" He declared. "Surely you can do better!" "Hax!" The Axe-Jaw Pokemon rushed the Leader. Drayden bent his knees and grabbed his Haxorus, and hefting the Dragon-type over his shoulder. The Pokemon hit the ground with a tremendous crash.

"…What?" Masuku asked, dumbfounded. "Hey!" Iris cried out from behind him. Masuku jumped, cursing. "Hehe. You're such a kid." He glared at her. "You're kinda cute when you're pissed." She laughed. "Didn't you know Drayden trains by wrestling with his Pokemon?" Masuku crossed his arms, not speaking.

"Now, Iris. Don't taunt the challengers." Drayden walked up, pulling on his shirt. As he started doing up the buttons, Ash noted all of the scars across the mayor's muscular chest. "How the hell are we supposed to fight this guy?"

"Now, how about we go to the Gym?" Drayden and Iris began walking away, and the three followed. They walked through the city, with the citizens chatting with both Leaders as they passed. Both were well liked. Even Iris. They made their way to a building that hadn't been touched by time. It was a large building with dragon murals painted along the side walls. The door was a sliding door framed by the mouths of two huge dragons; one black, one white.

"Welcome…to the Opelucid Gym!" Drayden exclaimed once they were inside. There was a large battlefield, surrounded by bleachers. Those bleachers were filled with citizens from every corner of the city.

"Iris and I always take challengers together. But not in the way you'd imagine." Drayden began to explain. "It will be a four-on-four Gym Battle, with Iris battling through the first two matches, and me taking the last two. I hope you've prepared." The boys nodded.

"If you don't mind, I think I'd like to go first." Ash said. Buki and Masuku nodded, stepping toward the bleachers. One of Ash's Pokeballs burst open, and Zorua knocked Pikachu to the ground.

"Sorry, Zorua." Ash said. "This isn't a battle for you. I promise, we'll play later." Ash tried to return Zorua to his Pokeball, but the Tricky Fox Pokemon dodged the little laser and jumped to the bleachers. He landed in Masuku's lap and started growling at Buki.

"Calm the hell down!" Buki cried. Ash laughed, and even Drayden cracked a smile. "Alright, Ash." Drayden began. "Are you ready?" The boy with the hat nodded. "Good. Iris?" "Of course I'm ready!" Drayden nodded.

"Then, as referee, I declare that the battle between the challenger, Ash Ketchum, and the Leader, Iris, will now begin!" "Go, Druddigon, I choose you!" Ash thought for a moment. "Then I choose Tranquill!" Both trainers threw their Pokeballs, releasing the Cave Pokemon, and the Wild Pigeon Pokemon.

"I'll start things off! Druddigon, use Dragon Rage!" The Dragon-type opened its mouth, forming a ball of turquoise energy. It launched the ball, which took the shape of a fiery dragon that flew across the field at Tranquill.

"Quick, dodge with Aerial Ace!" Tranquill flew at the Dragon Rage, gathering speed, before disappearing from view. She reappeared behind the attack and shot past Druddigon. The Dragon-type staggered back.

"Sky Attack!" Ash called. Tranquill began to glow bright and flew back toward her opponent. "Intercept with Rock Climb!" Iris called. Druddigon growled, slamming its hands onto the field floor. A pillar of rock shot up, smashing into the Flying-type. The large Pokemon lumbered up the rock toward Tranquill. The Wild Pigeon Pokemon was lying on top of the pillar, winded.

"You've gotta get up!" Ash yelled. Druddigon made it to the top of the rock and grinned down at Tranquill. "Dragon Claw!" The dark-skinned girl commanded. Druddigon's claws glowed blue and it slashed.

"Air Slash!" Tranquill flapped at the last second, sending a blade of air up at the Dragon-type. The blade clashed against Druddigon's rock-hard skin in a cloud of dust that threw the heavy Pokemon from the pillar to the ground.

"Drudd!" The Dragon-type cried out as it hit the ground. "Tranquill, get back in the air!" Ash commanded. Tranquill flapped weakly a few times, but had to alight back on the rock. On the ground, Druddigon was pulling itself to its feet.

"Hyper Beam!" Iris yelled. Druddigon opened its mouth wide and fired the deadly orange beam. "Dodge!" Ash called. Tranquill flapped a few more times, managing to get airborne for a moment, but she was blasted out of the air.

"Tranquill is unable to battle! Druddigon wins!" Ash frowned as he returned Tranquill to her Pokeball. "You did well, Tranquill. You did well." He replaced her Pokeball and grabbed another.

"Go, Sawsbuck!" The Season Pokemon appeared in Spring Form, bucking around. He caught sight of Druddigon and breathed heavily through his snout. "You ready for your Gym debut?" Sawsbuck snorted again and threw himself at Druddigon.

"Wait!" Ash called, but the deer-like Pokemon paid him no heed. He ran forward, head lowered. His horns began glowing bright silver as he charged. "Ha! What a kid! You can't even control your Pokemon! Luckily, I don't have that problem! Superpower!" Druddigon began running forward as well, glowing blue.

"Sawsbuck, we've gotta dodge that!" Sawsbuck jumped to the side, letting the Dragon-type rumble past. Then, the Season Pokemon launched itself at Druddigon's back, attack hitting home.

"That was Megahorn!" Ash said. Druddigon stumbled forward, falling to one knee. Then, the Cave Pokemon whipped around, striking out with its arm. Sawsbuck went flying, but righted itself and clambered back to his hooves.

"Damn it, Sawsbuck, you have to listen to me!" Ash called. The dual-type narrowed his eyes, horns starting to glow again. This time, the glow was green. He pounded the ground with his hoof before charging forward again.

"That Sawsbuck sure is eager to get knocked out, huh?" Iris taunted. "Druddigon, Night Slash!" The Dragon-type's claws glowed purple and he slashed out, scoring a hit on the deer-like Pokemon. At the same time, Sawsbuck made impact with Horn Leech, drawing health to itself to compensate.

"Drudd…" The Cave Pokemon fell down. "Druddigon is unable to battle!" Drayden cried. Sawsbuck smirked, panting. "Damn. Sawsbuck took a lot of damage in that fight. And what's worse, he won't listen to me. I might have to switch out."

"That's fine!" Iris called out. "You did well, Druddigon." She put his Pokeball away. "Now you get to meet the star of my show!" She threw the ball. "Go, Fraxure!"

"Sawsbuck, return!" The Season Pokemon glared at his trainer, but obeyed. "Let's give 'em hell, Pikachu." The Mouse Pokemon leaped from Ash's shoulder to the battlefield.

"Let's start off strong! Quick Attack!" Pikachu ran forward, leaving a silver streak behind him. "Dragon Pulse!" Fraxure fired the blue burst of energy at the speeding Electric-type.

"Agility!" Pikachu slid to the side so fast it was unseen, and the yellow Pokemon continued on his path. "Get ready with Dragon Claw!" The Axe Jaw Pokemon's claws glowed. "Dragon Dance!" Fraxure moved its arms around fluidly, storing up power.

"Go!" Fraxure took off at Pikachu, moving faster than before. "Pikachu, Thunder Punch!" The two collided in the center of the field and shot past one another. They stood ten feet from each other, Fraxure with arms crossed over his chest, and Pikachu with one tiny fist raised in the air. Sparks flared up across Fraxure.

"Yes! Static!" Ash cheered. "Now, Thunderbolt!" Pikachu grabbed his cheeks, pulling forth energy stored in his red pouches, and let loose a powerful electric shock. It knocked Fraxure to the ground, but the Dragon-type didn't look too fazed.

"Electricity doesn't harm dragons." Iris taunted. "You'll have to try a lot harder to take down my Fraxure." Ash's brows furrowed. "What should I do?" "Pikachu, get back!" The Mouse Pokemon looked at his trainer, confused, but did as he was told. He jumped back to his trainer's side.

"Let's go, Primeape!" The Pig Monkey Pokemon appeared, looking happy to fight. "You ready?" The Fighting-type nodded. "Good, Close Combat!" Primeape moved forward quickly, stepping like a boxer. He lashed out at the paralyzed Dragon-type with super-speed, gloved paws a blur. Primeape ended the combo by turning in a vicious spin kick that knocked the Axe Jaw Pokemon away.

"Fraxure!" Iris called. The smaller Pokemon pulled itself back up, panting. "Good! Use Dragon Dance!" Fraxure began moving its arms around again, gathering energy. "Giga Impact!" Orange energy spiraled around the Dragon-type, followed by a burst of purple energy as Fraxure threw itself at Primeape.

"Damn! That second Dragon Dance really powered up Fraxure's speed!" Ash cried. "Primeape, Swagger!" Primeape smirked and breathed in deeply. His eyes glowed red, and so did Fraxure's. The Dragon-type kept on course with its attack, but flew over the Pig Monkey Pokemon's shoulder at the last second.

"Seismic Toss!" As Fraxure slammed into the field, Primeape rushed up behind it. Orange sparks mixed with the yellow sparks around the Dragon-type, keeping it in place. Primeape reached around Fraxure, grabbing one of its tusks, and also grabbing its tail. The Fighting-type leaped up high and threw Fraxure back at the ground.

"Fraxure is unable to battle!" Iris pouted, returning her Pokemon to its ball. "Your turn." She said to Drayden. "Excellent." The man said as he and Iris switched places. "I'm afraid you'll find it a little harder to defeat me. I've got just a little bit more experience." He threw his first Pokeball. "I've been training Pokemon since before there were Pokeballs!"

"Druddigon, start off with Dragon Tail!" The Cave Pokemon appeared once more, tail aglow. It ran forward at Primeape, much faster than Iris'. "Cross Chop!" Ash countered. Primeape dashed forward and leapt, arms crossed over his face. He came down as Druddigon whirled around, Cross Chop meeting Dragon Tail.

The two forces opposed for a moment before Primeape was thrown back. He hit the ground and his Pokeball shot a laser that brought him back. His next Pokeball burst open, revealing Sawsbuck.

"Dragon Tail," Drayden explained. "It is a move that switches the opponent's Pokemon. Other moves with this effect are Roar, Circle Throw, and Whirlwind." Ash grit his teeth. "This isn't good. Sawsbuck won't listen to me."

"Superpower!" Druddigon ran forward, glowing blue. Sawsbuck used superior speed to put distance between himself and his opponent. "Sawsbuck, you've gotta listen!" Ash called. "Nature Power!" Sawsbuck rolled his eyes, but slid to a stop and began to focus. Small, shining particles of energy began to flow from the building, seeping into the Season Pokemon's fur.

"Go!" Ash yelled. Sawsbuck smirked and opened his mouth, firing three rapid blasts. The blasts swirled around Druddigon, trapping it in a column of energy. "That's Tri-Attack!" Ash said. Druddigon cried out, throwing its arms out. The energy exploded away from it and dispersed.

"Go, Dragon Claw!" "Meet it with Horn Leech!" Sawsbuck, seeming to listen to his trainer, ran forward with his horns glowing. Druddigon moved as fast as it could, eager to strike out against the Season Pokemon.

The two met with Druddigon catching Sawsbuck by the horns. The dual-type began sapping energy from his opponent, but he was taking damage at the same time… When the two Pokemon broke apart, Sawsbuck looked weaker than before.

"What?" Ash was puzzled. "Druddigon has the ability, Rough Skin." Drayden said. "Whenever a Pokemon makes contact with my Druddigon, it sustains damage." He looked at his Druddigon.

"Go!" The Cave Pokemon ran forward again, taking advantage of Sawsbuck's weakness. "Energy Ball!" Ash commanded. Sawsbuck jumped back, firing multiple green spheres of energy. Druddigon continued forward, like the Grass-type attacks were paper wads.

"You'll have to do something much more substantial to harm my Pokemon!" Drayden called. "Druddigon, Superpower!" The Cave Pokemon lumbered on, body glowing blue.

"Sawsbuck, dodge and use Jump Kick!" The dual-type raced around the slower Pokemon, charging. Sawsbuck leaped up, crashing his back hooves against Druddigon's head. The Dragon-type fell to its knees and Sawsbuck leapt off, sustaining minor damage from Druddigon's Rough Skin.

"Now!" Drayden commanded. As Sawsbuck landed, Druddigon's glowing fist collided against him, knocking him across the field. The Season Pokemon clambered back to his hooves, severely weakened.

"Damn." Ash muttered. He grabbed another Pokeball. "Return!" Sawsbuck disappeared. "Go, Primeape!" The Fighting-type appeared with a burst of light and a flurry of punches aimed at the Cave Pokemon.

"It seems as though Primeape is a little sore about being ejected from the battle." Drayden noted. "Dragon Tail." Druddigon seemed to grin before starting forward with a glowing tail.

"Not this time!" Ash declared. "Swagger!" Primeape's eyes glowed red as he continued running head on at the Dragon-type. The Cave Pokemon's eyes glowed as well and it started to stumble. "Good going, Primeape!" Ash said.

"Use Low Kick, and then Close Combat!" Primeape cried out as he slid across the field, taking Druddigon's legs out from under it. The larger Pokemon began to topple over onto the Pig Monkey Pokemon, but Primeape lashed out with furious blows that pushed Druddigon into the air. Primeape toughed out the minimal damage he took from the Rough Skin.

Finally, the Fighting-type onslaught ended with Druddigon flying halfway across the battlefield, coming to a rest in the center circle. Iris raised a hand in Ash's direction. "Druddigon is unable to battle! Primeape wins!" Drayden nodded before returning Druddigon to its Pokeball.

"You are quite the trainer, Ash Ketchum. I look forward to seeing how you stand against my strongest Pokemon." He pulled out his second Pokeball. "Haxorus! I choose you!" The Axe Jaw Pokemon roared, shaking its head back and forth. Its jaw blades made ominous noises through the air.

"Begin!" Iris cried. "Dragon Claw." Drayden said calmly. The Dragon-type charged, far faster than Druddigon, as its claws began to glow as it grew nearer to Primeape.

"Low Kick, then Seismic Toss!" Ash called out. Primeape rushed the Dragon-type before throwing himself across the ground. Haxorus tried to slash the Pig Monkey Pokemon, but Primeape soared through the Dragon-type's clawed arms, sweeping the larger Pokemon's legs from under it. As Haxorus fell Primeape leaped to his feet, catching the Axe Jaw Pokemon in the process. The Fighting-type jumped, throwing Haxorus to the ground.

Drayden nodded. "Primeape is very powerful." Ash grinned. "I know." The Gym Leader smiled. "Outrage." The dust had begun to settle when Haxorus' form appeared in the cloud. As the Dragon-type walked out, its eyes started to glow. It ran, zigzagging at the Fighting-type.

"Primeape, Thrash!" The Pig Monkey Pokemon leaped at the larger Pokemon as both began to lash out with powerful hits that knocked their respective opponent back a few inches before the onslaught would continue. Finally both Pokemon slid backward after a particularly powerful hit. Both of them had dark circles under their eyes, signifying confusion.

"How fortuitous that both our Pokemon have become confused." Drayden said with a smile. "Haxorus!" He said, sternly. The Axe Jaw Pokemon blinked, snapping to attention. "Good." The Leader praised. "Dual Chop!" Haxorus moved forward again, delivering two open-handed strikes that tossed Primeape to the ground. The Fighting-type struggled to sit up, all signs of confusion gone.

"Yeah!" Ash cheered. "Let's take 'em down, Primeape! Cross Chop!" Primeape jumped up and took his fighting stance. He crossed his arms, paws glowing. "Haxorus, Dual Chop." Drayden commanded. The Axe Jaw Pokemon moved forward in a serpentine line.

"Go!" Ash called. Primeape launched himself. At the same time, Haxorus crossed its arms and leaped. The two powerhouses clashed before passing each other. Both stood, backs to one another, staring into the eyes of the opposing trainer. Haxorus flicked its tail nonchalantly. Primeape looked into Drayden's eyes. The Fighting-type's eye twitched and he fell.

"Primeape is unable to battle! Haxorus wins!" Ash stared into Haxorus' eyes. "Return." He said. He only looked away from the Dragon-type when the Pig Monkey Pokemon was safely back inside his Pokeball.

"I guess I'll need my strongest Pokemon to beat your Haxorus." Ash called to Drayden. The Leader smiled. "It would be well advised." Pikachu jumped from his spot beside his trainer to stand in the middle of the field, facing Drayden. "It's time to start, right buddy?" Ash asked. "Pi-pika!" The yellow Pokemon's cheeks sparked.

"Very well then." Drayden said. "Haxorus! Dragon Pulse!" The Axe Jaw Pokemon whirled around, firing a sphere of blue energy at the small Pokemon. "Dodge with Agility!" Ash called out. Pikachu nodded before he darted out of the way of the blast.

Pikachu raced around, leaving multiple after-images. Haxorus tried to follow the Mouse Pokemon with its eyes. "Draco Meteor." The Dragon-type seemed to grin before shooting an orange burst of energy at the ceiling. Ash's eyes widened as he thought back to his experience in Twist Mountain.

The blast seemed to explode outward, and meteors streaked down around the field. Pikachu kept up the Agility, dodging many of the blasts. However, in order to dodge one particular rock, he darted into the path of another. The impact sent him sprawling across the dirt.

"Good work, Haxorus." Drayden said. "Swords Dance, into Dragon Dance." Haxorus' claws began to glow purple before extending an extra inch. Then, the Dragon-type moved its arms around fluidly to build power. "Dragon Claw." The Axe Jaw Pokemon's claws glowed blue as it charged at the Electric-type, who was struggling to get up.

"Pikachu, Thunder Punch!" The yellow Pokemon got to his feet shakily before losing a burst of sparks from his cheeks that formed around his tiny fist. "You'll have to do something better than that to stop Haxorus!"

Pikachu crouched down, holding himself up with one paw. He pushed forward into an Agility-fed sprint. Just as Pikachu threw his punch the sparks expanded into a large fist made of electrical current. Haxorus met the powerful attack with one of its clawed hands, leaving a trail of fire as it cleaved the air.

Haxorus grabbed hold of Pikachu with the claw that met the Thunder Punch, throwing the electric rodent into the air. When Pikachu came down, the Dragon-type slashed its other claw horizontally across the small Pokemon's body. Pikachu flew across the field into Ash's arms.

"Pikachu is unable to battle!" Iris called. "Haxorus wins! Both trainers are down to one Pokemon each!" "Damn." Ash thought. "I know Sawsbuck really started listening to me in this battle, but I don't know if it'll last. If he tries to do everything on his own, we'll lose." He shook his head. "I just have to believe in my Pokemon!"

"Sawsbuck, I choose you!" The Season Pokemon appeared, horns leveled at the Dragon-type. "You ready, Sawsbuck?" The dual-type snorted, nodding slowly. "Your Sawsbuck's taken quite a bit of damage." Drayden noted. He acknowledged Haxorus. "They'll have to hit us pretty hard to achieve victory, right Haxorus?!" The Dragon-type roared.

"Dragon Pulse!" "Energy Ball!" Both Pokemon launched spheres of energy that clashed in the center of the field. The opposing forces seemed to become one for a second before exploding. Sawsbuck jumped into the smoke.

"Haxorus, watch out!" Drayden commanded. "Jump Kick!" Ash called. Sawsbuck appeared from the smoke behind Haxorus, kicking out with his hind hooves. He launched the Axe Jaw Pokemon into the cloud of dust.

"Now, Energy Ball!" Sawsbuck fired multiple spheres of green energy into the cloud, not only in an attempt to hit Haxorus, but also to clear the smoke. The cloud dispersed revealing Haxorus standing tall.

"Good!" Drayden called. "Dragon Claw!" Haxorus nodded before speeding forward. However, it was a little slower than before. Had the Dragon Dance finally wore off? Regardless, Haxorus was charging at Sawsbuck, claws glowing.

"Horn Leech!" Ash commanded. Sawsbuck rushed forward recklessly, horns glowing. Haxorus brought its claws forward, trailing flames, to grab Sawsbuck's horns. The two grappled, trying to gain the upper hand in their stalemate. Energy slowly transferred from the Dragon-type to Sawsbuck.

Finally, the two broke apart with Haxorus looking worse for wear. "You've done well in this battle, Ash Ketchum." Drayden commended. "But I grow tired. Haxorus! Outrage!" Haxorus glowed red and ran forward, intent upon ending the match.

"Sawsbuck, use Nature Power!" Sawsbuck raised his head, drawing energy from the ground into his horns. Then, he tightened his muscles and the ground under him was pushed down in a circle around him. Shockwaves rolled across the field.

"Nature Power turned into Earthquake!" Iris shouted, holding on tightly to the podium in front of her. Haxorus was thrown into the air, still moving toward Sawsbuck. "Go, Jump Kick!" Ash called. Sawsbuck jumped around, letting Haxorus fly at him before lashing out with his back legs. The rate of Haxorus' descent made the Jump Kick even more powerful, and the Axe Jaw Pokemon rocketed back across the field. It came to rest in front of its trainer.

"Haxorus is unable to battle!" Iris declared. "Sawsbuck wins! The winner is the challenger, Ash Ketchum, from Pallet Town!" Ash jumped up in jubilation before running onto the field. He latched onto the Season Pokemon, hugging his neck.

"You did great, Sawsbuck!" Drayden walked across the field as the crowd cheered. Iris joined him. "Ash." The hat-wearing trainer turned. "You did very well. Not many trainers have such a masterful command over their Pokemon. You've defeated Iris and I, meaning I have to bestow the Legend Badge upon you." He handed the small badge to Ash. It was shaped almost like a medieval mace, and was black.

Ash put the Legend Badge in its place in his Badge Case, grinning like a fool. Drayden cocked an eyebrow. "You now have eight Badges. This qualifies you to enter the Unova League Championships in Vertress City." Ash nodded. "I can tell you are a masterful trainer, and I feel you'll do well in the tournament." Ash smiled.

"Thanks, Drayden." "You did pretty well, for a kid." Iris said. Ash ignored her. Masuku and Buki ran over to the group, each slapping the victor a high five. "That was a great match, Ash." Buki praised.

"You kicked so much ass!" Masuku declared. "I can't wait for my turn!" Drayden smiled. "Well, how about this, Masuku? I would like to take a break for lunch, and then we'll have your battle. Then, if your brother doesn't mind, we can have his fight in the morning. Does that sound like something you could agree to?" He asked, turning to the older Shiyousha.

Buki nodded. "No problem." Drayden clapped his hands once, drawing the attention of the spectators. "We'll break for lunch, and to heal our Pokemon! Come back to the Gym in two hours and we'll start the next fight!"

Two Hours Later

"The battle between the Leaders, Drayden and Iris, and the challenger, Masuku Shiyousha, will begin soon! Please take your seats and get ready for a great battle!" An announcer called out over the PA system. There was a great clamoring as all the spectators made their way back to the benches. Masuku stood in his place on the field, with Iris opposite him. Drayden stood on the raised podium off to the sidelines.

"If both trainers are ready," Drayden began with his booming voice, "Battle shall commence!" "Go, Druddigon!" Iris called. "Let's start off strong, Tynamo!" "Strong?" Iris taunted. "I can't believe you'd bring a Pokemon like that to a Gym battle against the strongest Gym Leader in the Unova Region!" Drayden raised an eyebrow at the dark-skinned girl.

"I mean…one of the strongest Gym Leaders." She said sheepishly. "What's wrong with Tynamo?!" Masuku demanded, fire in his eyes. "I believe in all my Pokemon! Tynamo is a beloved friend!" Tynamo looked back at him, eyes shining with equal intensity.

"Last chance to switch out. I won't even count that as one of your four Pokemon." Iris said arrogantly. Masuku glared at her. "Give 'em hell, Tynamo! Charge Beam!" A shining orb appeared in front of Tynamo's cross-shaped mouth before becoming a small beam that shot across the field and zapped Druddigon. The Cave Pokemon shook off the attack, not seeming to be much effected.

"Didn't you learn from your friend's battle?" Iris asked. "Electricity isn't effective against Dragons!" "Doesn't matter." Masuku growled back. "Typing isn't everything! Charge Beam! Keep firing!" Tynamo shot beam after beam, raining them down on Druddigon, who didn't move.

"I'm telling you, Druddigon won't fall from something so weak." Masuku turned red with rage at the young Leader. "Charge Beam raises Tynamo's Special Attack. We've hit Druddigon with several blasts, and they should be getting stronger. It'll work if we just keep believing!"

"You won't get the chance. Sorry." Iris sang. "Druddigon, Dragon Rage!" The Dragon-type grinned and launched a burst of blue fire that took the shape of a dragon. It washed over the small EleFish Pokemon, bringing it to the ground.

"Tynamo is unable to battle. Druddigon wins." Drayden said. He looked at Iris. "It seems she still doesn't understand the bond between a trainer and his Pokemon. She can never be Champion at her current level."

"Damn it!" Masuku cried. "Return." A red beam from his Pokeball brought Tynamo back to safety. "You did great, buddy." He looked to his brother in the stands. Buki nodded, and Masuku took a deep breath. "I know, bro. I've gotta calm down and focus."

"Go! Gurdurr!" The Muscular Pokemon smirked at the Dragon-type, swinging his beams around. "Fighting-types?" Iris asked. "My Druddigon's gonna break those beams even more!" "That's what you think!" Masuku cried. "Gurdurr, Rock Throw!" Gurdurr slammed one of his half beams onto the ground, throwing up a large rock. Then, he spun around, breaking the rock into pieces and propelling them with his other half beam.

"Druddigon, get rid of those rocks with Dragon Rage!" The Cave Pokemon crossed its arms in front of its head. Then, it threw its arms to the side, blasting the Dragon-type attack from its mouth. The blue flames scorched many of the rocks, but a few powered through to crash against the Dragon-type.

"Hammer Arm!" "Gurdurr!" Gurdurr ran at Druddigon. "Pretty ballsy, kid." Iris declared. "Superpower!" The Cave Pokemon glowed blue and began to charge at the Fighting-type. Druddigon roared as it threw a massive punch. Gurdurr ducked under the attack, bringing one of his beams high. The beam crashed into Druddigon's head, sending it into the air. Gurdurr let the force of his blow bring him into the air, where he turned to crash the other beam into the Cave Pokemon. Druddigon crashed to the ground.

"Druddigon!" Iris called. The Dragon-type was already trying to get to its feet. "Drudd!" Iris grinned. "Let's hit back with Rock Climb!" Druddigon punched the ground, bringing a pillar of rock out of the ground under Gurdurr. The Muscular Pokemon brought his beams down on the rock to keep his footing. The Cave Pokemon began to lumber up the incline.

"Superpower!" Iris said. "You too, Gurdurr!" Masuku commanded. Both Pokemon glowed blue. Gurdurr, instead of waiting for Druddigon to come to the top, threw himself off the rock. He quickly fell toward Druddigon, who was unprepared. It tried to rear back and punch, but lost its balance. It began to fall. Gurdurr capitalized by bringing both glowing beams down on the Cave Pokemon's head. The Dragon-type was thrown straight down, impacting so hard against the ground that it broke under the massive Pokemon.

"Druddigon is unable to battle! It goes to Gurdurr!" Drayden boomed. Iris frowned in disbelief. "Druddigon didn't land a hit on his Pokemon." It was Masuku's turn to mock. "You should know better than to get up-close and personal with a Fighting-type. Fighting-types are powerful and proud, and there isn't any other type that can match their raw determination and strength." Iris glared at him.

"Don't underestimate the power of Dragons." She warned. "Go, Fraxure!" The small Dragon-type glared at Gurdurr, who stood barely taller. The Muscular Pokemon glared back. They stalked toward one another, till they stood less than a foot apart. They glared into each other's eyes, both seeing flames in their opponent's gaze.

"Wow. It's like they can feel our determination." Masuku marveled. "You ready, Gurdurr." The Pokemon gave an almost imperceptible nod, still staring at the Dragon-type. "Fraxure?" The smaller Pokemon nodded, before jumping back. Gurdurr leaped backward as well.

"Dragon Claw!" Iris called out. Fraxure's claws glowed as the Axe Jaw Pokemon threw itself at Gurdurr, clearing the distance in seconds. "Dynamic Punch!" Masuku commanded. Gurdurr threw a punch, but Fraxure soared past his extended arm and scored its flaming claws across the Muscular Pokemon's chest.

"Gurdurr!" Masuku cried out as his Pokemon fell back. "Hmph." Iris grunted with satisfaction. Masuku felt his upper lip quiver into a snarl. "Get up!" He commanded. Gurdurr stood, grasping his chest.

"We're gonna try a new tactic, alright, Gurdurr?" The Muscular Pokemon nodded. "Good! Substitute!" Gurdurr's body flashed bright for a second. When the light died, two Gurdurr stood side-by-side. "Now, Focus Punch!" Both Gurdurr crouched, putting one fist on the ground.

"Fraxure, Dragon Claw!" The small Dragon threw itself at the Gurdurr on the left, claws blazing. It slashed out at Gurdurr, who seemed to pop and vanish. Fraxure went to turn only to get hit in the face by the powerful Fighting-type move. The Axe Jaw Pokemon was lifted into the air and sent flying across the field.

"Outrage!" Fraxure flipped in the air, landing on its feet as it skidded back a few feet. It started to run forward, glowing blue. "Hammer Arm!" Gurdurr spun around, bringing both halves of his beam on a collision course with the Dragon-type's head. Fraxure ducked, barely dodging both beams, and unleashed a flurry of blows that the Muscular Pokemon couldn't defend against.

"Gurdurr!" Masuku called. "Gur!" The Fighting-type fell back, breathing heavily. Fraxure stood, panting, now confused. "Low Kick!" Gurdurr's leg shot out, knocking the Dragon-type's legs out from under it. Gurdurr brought one arm up, crashing his beam into the smaller Pokemon and throwing it away from him.

"Get up!" Masuku demanded. Gurdurr used his beams to get back to his feet. "Stone Edge!" Fraxure was getting back to its feet. Gurdurr leaped up, bringing his beams down on the ground in front of Fraxure. Sharp rocks burst out of the ground at the smaller Pokemon's feet, propelling it into the air. Fraxure fell back to the ground and laid still.

"Fraxure is unable to battle! Gurdurr wins." "I can't believe it." Iris thought. "Both my Pokemon were beaten by that Gurdurr. That Pokemon is really strong." She brought Fraxure back to its Pokeball and stepped back. Drayden took her place.

"It was quite impressive how your Gurdurr was able to take out both of Iris' Pokemon. You've trained it well." Masuku nodded. "Thank you." He smiled. "He's been with me since I caught him as a Timburr. He's the second Pokemon I ever caught." Drayden nodded. "I hope you don't think me too harsh, but it's time to end Gurdurr's winning streak!" He threw his Pokeball. "Haxorus!"

"Damn." Buki thought from the stands. "He's serious, starting with his strongest Pokemon off the bat. Masuku's gonna have to be careful." The crowd cheered louder, excited to see the mayor so pumped up.

"Not harsh at all!" Masuku declared. "Give it your best shot! We won't crumple so easily!" "We'll see! Haxorus, Guillotine!" Haxorus cried out as its jaw blades glowed blue and extended. The Axe Jaw Pokemon ran in, swinging its head around in an attempt to catch his blades against the Fighting-type.

"Gurdurr, dodge!" Masuku commanded. Gurdurr started to backpedal, making small jumps backward to evade Haxorus' frenzied attacks. Haxorus spun, swiping its tail behind Gurdurr's legs. The Fighting-type began to fall, and Haxorus slashed a blade across Gurdurr's chest.

"It's a One-Hit KO!" Iris called. "Gurdurr is unable to battle! Haxorus wins!" Masuku growled as he brought Gurdurr back to his ball. "That was cheap." He muttered. He threw another ball. "Pignite, I choose you!" The Fire Pig Pokemon appeared, ready for battle.

"Flamethrower!" Masuku commanded. Pignite inhaled, blowing a powerful stream of fire from his mouth, while smoke poured from his snout. "Dragon Claw." Drayden said calmly. Haxorus slashed through the flames, which formed around its claws. The Dragon-type crossed the distance between the two Pokemon in a few steps.

"Hax!" The Axe Jaw Pokemon brought his claws down on the Fire-type. "Roar!" Masuku called out. Pignite cried out, waves of energy washing over the Axe-Jaw Pokemon. The waves pushed Haxorus back slightly before bouncing it into its Pokeball. Another ball burst open on Drayden's belt, releasing his Druddigon.

"One cheap trick deserves another." Masuku thought with a chuckle. "Now, Pignite! Fire Thrust!" Pignite snorted, blowing a small amount of smoke. He ran at the larger Dragon, hands ignited. Drayden smirked. "Dragon Tail."

Druddigon grinned, whirling around and striking out with its tail as Pignite drew close. The Fire Pig Pokemon tried to block with his flaming hands, but he was thrown back. He was sucked into his Pokeball, and another of Masuku's Pokeballs opened. Scraggy was now on the field instead of Pignite.

"You aren't the first trainer to come in here with a gimmick." Drayden promised. He smiled. "Shall we continue?" Masuku rolled his eyes. "Scraggy, let's use Head Smash!" The Shedding Pokemon smirked, blue light enveloping his body. The light made him seem black and white. Scraggy jumped up high and began to fall at Druddigon, corkscrewing his body as he did so.

"Superpower!" Druddigon glowed blue as he threw a punch at the small Pokemon. Scraggy slammed into Druddigon's fist, sustaining quite a lot of damage from the Fighting-type move. "Payback!" The blue glow around Scraggy became purple for a second and the Shedding Pokemon shot past Druddigon's fist.

Scraggy's impact knocked Druddigon to the ground and the dual-type leapt away from his opponent. He kneeled down, panting from the severe damage he took from his own assault.

"Masuku!" Buki called from the sidelines. "Scraggy's taken serious damage! Superpower was super effective against his typing, and he also took damage from Head Smash!" "Not to mention," Drayden began. "He took damage from Druddigon's Rough Skin ability." Masuku groaned. "Damn it." He watched Scraggy stand.

"We'll just have to keep fighting won't we, Scraggy?" The small Pokemon nodded, pulling up on the baggy skin around his ankles. "Druddigon's taken a lot of damage too. Head Smash is Scraggy's most powerful move, and it was made stronger by Payback." Masuku muttered.

"Time to get up, Druddigon." Drayden commanded. "I don't want to mess around anymore. Superpower." Druddigon made itself stand. It glowed as it began to lumber toward the small Pokemon.

"Charge!" Masuku exclaimed. Scraggy looked at his trainer for a second before shrugging and running at the large Dragon-type. The two were closing in on one another and Druddigon raised a huge, scaly fist to lash out at the dual-type.

"Low Kick!" Scraggy dropped, sliding under the Cave Pokemon and taking its legs out from under it. The massive Pokemon crashed into the ground with Scraggy safely out from under it. "Rock Climb!"

The Shedding Pokemon put his hands on the ground, sending Druddigon on a trip high into the sky on top of a spire of rock. Scraggy stood by the base of the pillar, ready to climb.

"Not yet!" Masuku called. "Focus Punch!" Scraggy shrugged again, crouching down. He placed a fist against the ground. "Wake up!" Drayden commanded. Druddigon began to stir, crawling to its feet on top of the spire.

"Now!" Masuku commanded. "Focus Punch!" Scraggy hauled off and crashed his fist against the rock. A crack ran up the entirety of the pillar, causing it to shatter. Druddigon began to fall, surrounded by chunks of rock.

"Jump!" Masuku shouted. Scraggy nodded, jumping onto one of the falling boulders. He leaped from rock to rock, slowly climbing higher and higher as the Dragon-type fell farther down.

"Hi Jump Kick!" Once Scraggy was higher in the air than Druddigon, the Shedding Pokemon jumped into open air. He flipped, pointing his knee down at the larger Pokemon, and dropped. Just as Druddigon hit the ground Scraggy slammed into it, pushing the Dragon down deeper into the ground.

Druddigon opened its mouth in a silent roar, eyes blank. "Druddigon is unable to battle!" Iris exclaimed. "Scraggy wins!" "Wait!" Drayden called. He pointed to Scraggy, who hadn't crawled from the crater yet. Iris jumped down to inspect the small Pokemon.

"I was wrong!" Iris said, climbing from the hole. "Due to Druddigon's Rough Skin ability, we have a double knockout! No winner! The match will be decided by Pignite vs Haxorus!" Both trainers brought their defeated Pokemon back to their respective Pokeballs before clutching their last.

"Scraggy was rather impressive." Drayden complimented. "It would seem that Ash Ketchum is not the only impressive trainer out of the three of you." "My brother is even better than I am." Masuku promised. Drayden nodded.

"Then I look forward to our battle in the morning. However, I also look forward to the climax of our battle." He threw his Pokeball. "Go, Haxorus!" "I choose you, Pignite!" The two Pokemon faced off, ready for battle.

"Let's go then! Pignite, use Flare Blitz!" "Pig!" Pignite launched himself at the Axe Jaw Pokemon, surrounded by dark-red flames. "Haxorus, Giga Impact!" Yellow light exploded around the Dragon-type as it ran forward to meet Pignite. The energy formed into a yellow starburst that swirled around Haxorus' body. A ball of purple energy expanded from the center of the starburst, enveloping the Pokemon's body.

The two Pokemon met in the center of the field, grappling for dominance. Haxorus started pushing Pignite backward. Pignite's flames grew hotter and more intense, suddenly burning blue. The Fire Pig Pokemon began to step forward, now pushing back on Haxorus.

"Seems like they're even!" Masuku bragged. "I wouldn't be so sure of that." Drayden said. Masuku looked back at his Pokemon. Pignite was taking subtle recoil damage from being surrounded by the blue flames, which continued to flicker higher and higher.

"It looks like your Pignite is losing control of his own flames. Maybe I was wrong about you, Masuku Shiyousha. A Fire-type losing to its own flame is a sign of weakness in the trainer. You weren't able to train your Pokemon to withstand its own attack." Masuku's eyes widened.

"That's not true! Pignite and I have a bond every bit as strong as the bond I have with my brother! He's family! He won't be beaten by those flames, and he sure as hell won't be beaten by that Dragon!" Pignite screamed in agreement, flames burning even brighter, almost white.

The Fire Pig Pokemon let his grip slacken, allowing Haxorus to get closer. Then, he re-tightened his grip and brought his head forward. His head crashed into Haxorus', and both Pokemon were thrown backward. The Fire-type stood back up, panting heavily. Haxorus was on his feet, barely damaged, with orange sparks surging around it.

"Haxorus can't move! Let's go, Pignite!" Masuku ordered. "Flame Charge!" The Fire Pig Pokemon stomped the ground angrily, throwing up a dust cloud. Red beams of light shot out of the cloud, followed by Pignite who was once more encased in flames.

"Outrage!" Drayden commanded. The sparks around Haxorus disappeared and the Axe Jaw Pokemon once more rushed to meet Pignite. Pignite threw himself shoulder first into the Dragon-type, who lashed out with a powerful fist. Haxorus knocked Pignite back, flames disabled, and continued assaulting. Two more hits and Pignite rolled back. Haxorus was rooted to the spot, totally confused.

"Pignite!" Masuku called. The Fire Pig Pokemon shook, trying to clear his head. "It's no use, Masuku Shiyousha." Drayden promised. "You've fought hard, but Pignite has sustained far too much damage to possibly defeat Haxorus. Every attack you've brought our way has been taken with minimal damage, and we are still very much able to continue. You are not."

"I thought old people were supposed to be wise!" Masuku challenged. "You should know not to underestimate a challenger! I've beaten eight Gym Leaders trying to get to you. The big dog. I've beaten them with Pignite at my side, and I've got the Badges to prove it! But it doesn't mean anything unless I've got that Legend Badge in my case! So we're not gonna back down! Pignite and I will burn this Gym to the ground if we have to!"

Drayden couldn't help but smile at the conviction in the young boy's words. "You remind me of myself when I was your age. I had that same cocky spirit." "Then what happened?!" Masuku demanded. "I had sense knocked into me!" He shouted. Haxorus blinked, its trainer's cry bringing it out of confusion.

"End this, Haxorus! Outrage!" Haxorus charged in again, its opponent finally standing. "Pignite, Flare Blitz!" Pignite screamed again, powering up. This time the flames that burst around him were already blue. He ran in, ready to do as his trainer commanded, 'burn the Gym down.' Pignite jumped at Haxorus, intent on finishing the match, but Haxorus had another idea.

The Axe Jaw Pokemon leapt deftly over Pignite, landing behind him. Pignite's flames died down as Haxorus whirled. Pignite turned too, hands ablaze in Fire Thrust. He caught the Dragon-type's blow, straining to hold back Haxorus' massive power.

"We can't lose, Pignite!" Masuku cheered. "You can do it!" Pignite glared up at the Dragon-type, slowly being forced closer to the ground. Masuku's face fell. "He's gonna need some kinda power boost if he's gonna do this…"

"Don't avert your eyes." Drayden said. "You must see this to crush that cocky attitude once and for all. Think of this as a life lesson. Now, Haxorus, finish it!" Haxorus tore a fist out of Pignite's grasp and threw its last Outrage-fueled punch.

"Pignite!" Masuku cried desperately. The Fire Pig Pokemon was about to be overwhelmed when a bright glow overtook him and threw Haxorus away. "Pignite's evolving!" Buki cried from the stands. Pignite's form changed, growing quite a bit, but still smaller than Haxorus.

The glow faded, revealing Pignite's new form. He was a giant boar-like Pokemon, with a flaming beard and thick arms. He snorted, and black smoke shot from his nostrils.

"Emboar!" Masuku pulled out his Pokedex in awe. Emboar. The Mega Fire Pig Pokemon. It is the final form of Tepig. It can throw a fire punch by setting its fists on fire with its fiery chin. It cares deeply about its friends.

"Amazing!" Masuku declared. He turned to Drayden. "Still think you're gonna win so easily?" Drayden shook his head. "Not as easily as I thought, but the result will be the same! Haxorus, Outrage!" The Dragon-type ran in once more, eyes aglow.

"Sorry, Drayden!" Masuku cried out. "We're winning this one! Emboar, use Heat Crash!" Emboar's arms snapped out, grabbing hold of the Axe Jaw Pokemon's glowing limbs. The Mega Fire Pig Pokemon crouched, preparing to spring. The large Pokemon jumped high, vaulting into the air.

"Haxorus, after it!" The Dragon-type leaped after the dual type. Emboar was coming down from his jump and threw his limbs out wide. His body ignited, caught in a bright corona of orange flames. The two Pokemon slammed into each other, Haxorus lashing out with a fury of powerful blows. Emboar's weight forced the Axe Jaw Pokemon back toward the ground.

The two crashed into the field, throwing up dust and rock as Emboar embedded them into the ground. Iris waited with baited breath before she called the match. Drayden and Masuku looked into the dust cloud, each believing he came out victorious. There was a sound of shifting rubble and the dust was illuminated but flickering flames. Emboar swept his arm through the cloud, dispelling it. He carried Drayden's Haxorus over his shoulder.

"Haxorus is unable to battle! Emboar wins, and the victory goes to Masuku Shiyousha!" Ash and Buki cheered along with the crowd as Drayden walked across the field. Emboar carefully lowered Haxorus to the ground at the mayor's feet.

"Thank you." Drayden nodded to the large Fire-type. "I believe this belongs to you." He handed Masuku the Legend Badge. Masuku grinned, eyes shining. "You're a truly impressive trainer, Masuku Shiyousha."

"You weren't bad yourself, sir." Masuku said humbly. "With this, you're qualified to make the journey to the Unova League in Vertress City." Masuku nodded. "I know you'll do well." The mayor clapped Masuku on the shoulder before turning to address his citizens.

"There you have it!" He called. "That's two of our challengers who've managed to defeat Iris and I!" He looked to the stands, staring into Buki's eyes. "But what of their companion?! Will Buki Shiyousha be able to defeat us?! I ask you to join us once more tomorrow, at two-o'clock! We will decide then if Buki is strong enough to overcome Vertress City!"

Buki nodded, acknowledging Drayden's challenge. He understood. If he wasn't able to defeat Drayden and Iris, there was no way he'd be able to beat N in the Unova League. "I won't lose here." He vowed silently. "The entire world is at stake."

And there it is! After a long hiatus, I've returned! I hope the long wait has only made you readers more eager to read about the journey of Buki and his friends. One more Gym Battle and the boys are on their way to Vertress City and the Unova League! On their way to N. Can they overcome the League and defeat Team Plasma's forces that are sure to be massing in Vertress? Only time…and myself…can tell. Please, join me for the exciting climax of the Opelucid City Gym battle, and for the last few chapters of Pokemon: Best Wishes! Ja Nae.