Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon.

"Speech."

'Thoughts'

"Telepathy"

Author's Note: Chapter 15's here!

Important announcement: I now have an official artist for my stories. I'll be paying her to draw diverse artwork for my many stories. The very first artwork done to start off this partnership was a commission for Stopping The Storm, my very long one-shot featuring a battle between Mewtwo and Rayquaza. To take a look at it, check my profile for a direct link. For further information, consult my DeviantArt Page FF-ARCY, again, link to it is on my profile.

Chapter 15 – A Coordinator's Debut


"Ladies and gentlemen! Thank you very much for your patience, because the wait is finally over!" An adult woman facing the crowd, currently standing in the very center of the contest arena shouted into a microphone, which made the loudspeakers lining the arena come to life and boom her voice over the structure imposingly. The woman was clearly in her early or mid-twenties and had light brown curled hair that ran down her back and pretty blue eyes. She was dressed in a red blouse with a long pink skirt. She also had a black necklace and her hands were covered by a pair of elegant white gloves. "The Rustboro City Pokémon contest is about to get underway!" she spoke into the microphone again, her voice projecting an energetic excitement that seem to be contagious to the crowd as they began to applaud loudly and cheer in approval in response to her. "I'm Vivian Meridian, and as usual I'll be your MC today!"

Vivian turned around and walked towards the judges. They were seated behind a colorful electronic panel lined with flickering lights and a screen before each one of them. "I'll introduce our judges for today's competition! For this year's contest season, we are delighted to have this fine selection of Pokémon Contest Judges. First is the main judge, Honorable Raoul Contesta, the respectable director of the Contest Committee and chief of the Pokémon Activities Committee!" she introduced, bowing slightly and waving her arm in Raoul's direction afterwards.

The first of the three judges stood up as he was introduced. He was wearing a very elegant red suit with a black bow just below his neck. He had his hair neatly combed backwards, and the few flecks of gray clearly denoted his veteran age. "Thank you, Vivian," Contesta acknowledged with a nod, and then took a seat.

"Next up is the President of the Pokémon Fan Club, Mr. Sukizo!" Vivian introduced, using her arm to motion at the judge seated at the middle of the panel. The aforementioned man waved at the cameras and audience in response. He was very small in stature, had very short hair, and wearing a dark-gray suit with a red tie. "And finally," Vivian continued, walking towards the last judge. "We have Rustboro City's very own Nurse Joy!" she announced as Nurse Joy waved to the stands.

The audience applauded the judges, cheering impatiently for the contest to begin. Somewhere in the stands surrounding the arena in the center, around the middle rows, Ash stopped clapping as he looked down at the showground expectantly. "This seems interesting, so far," he commented as he gazed around, eying the spectacular arena. "I'm curious to see what Bianca prepared."

"I'm very curious as well," Brock agreed, nodding once. "The stage is all set up. Competition will surely be tough. But I think Bianca can pull through this one. She's very smart and talented."

"I hope so…" Ash muttered. His gaze rapidly shifted to the arena as Vivian introduced the first contestant, seconds afterwards, the mentioned coordinator began to make his way onto the stage.

"I just hope we didn't pressure her too much with making her join this contest on such a short notice. Bianca had no idea she'd be doing this when she woke up this morning." Brock crossed his arms. "All we have left is to believe in Bianca."

Back on the stage, Vivian walked out of the arena to give the incoming coordinator space to work on. The MC positioned herself near the judge panel. "And this contest has begun at last!" she said excitedly.

The coordinator who had been selected to perform first, a young trainer named Brett, reached into one of his pockets and grabbed a Pokéball, and then hurled it towards the stage. "Slugma, time to give a show!" he shouted. With a bright flash of white light, the Pokémon materialized onto the showground. It was a mainly red slug-like Pokémon that seemed to be made of pure lava. Fiery extensions danced across its body slowly while two big, yellow eyes gleamed energetically, prominently visible against its vivid coloration.

"Oh, a Slugma!" Vivian noted with interest. "What an interesting option to start this contest with, and also a very odd one too. I haven't seen a Slugma participate in a contest in years. I wonder, how will it perform in this appeals round?" the MC said into the microphone.

"Slugma, use Smokescreen!" Brett ordered. Instantly the Lava Pokémon complied with its coordinator's command. Taking a deep breath, it aimed its head upwards and released a thick and heavy plume of black smoke. The cloud of smoke rapidly spread across the arena, completely blocking it from view, leaving many people perplexed as they gazed at the odd starting move.

On the stands, Ash blinked in confusion. Oddly, the smoke reminded him of James' Weezing. "I don't get it. If contests are about being graceful and flashy and stuff like that, why is he having that Slugma hide the stage with something as ugly as smoke? That… makes no sense," he questioned.

"Maybe he's preparing some kind of trick inside it? I don't know, Ash. Contests are sometimes very unpredictable," Latias answered, gazing expectantly at the arena. Along with her older brother, she was invisible, floating near the roof of the building in a position that was almost exactly above Ash and Brock's location in the stands. "The best coordinators are the ones that deliver the best surprises to the crowd and judges. That adds a lot to the general appeal of Pokémon Contests," the Eon Dragoness added.

Once the smoke had evenly covered the arena in its entirety, the coordinator smirked. "It's time to start our real performance! Slugma, use Flamethrower!" From inside the heavy plume of smoke, a flash of red light began to be visible, barely illuminating the heavy darkness brought by the smog. The red light suddenly expanded to a pair of rising flames as Slugma fired the Flamethrower attack. The move lit up against the smokescreen, creating a strong color contrast of murky black and bright red and yellow. The twin flamethrowers then began to close into each other. With a great display of control over the fire move, the Slugma carefully made the attacks form a vague heart-shaped figure of pure fire inside the obscurity of the smoke.

"Oh, wow! What a creative use of smokescreen to add a mysterious touch to the flamethrower! It's an impressive combination," Vivian remarked as the fiery heart disappeared into small embers, leaving the arena smoke dark again. The three judges watched intently, keenly evaluating both the coordinator and Pokémon while awaiting his next action.

"Now, use Ember!" the coordinator commanded. Once again, the insides of the smokescreen came to life with bright twinkles of red and yellow as fiery orbs emanating from the center began to spread across the smoke. They rapidly formed an extraordinary display of blistering fireworks that distinguished themselves strikingly against the smoke like real fireworks would shine against a dark night sky. The crowd began to cheer in approval, clapping and whistling at the stunning appeal. "And now, for our closing number, use Fire Spin, Slugma!" Brett ordered sharply.

As the Embers began to die down inside the smoke, another red light began to appear, which unlike the first two, became a lot more prominent in lighting up the smoke. Rapidly, the entire smokescreen was lively brightened by a series of spiraling streams of fire that shot upwards. The spiraling flames began to slowly spread out, causing the smoke to disperse gradually and reveal the Slugma still located in the middle of the arena. As the Fire Spin began to disappear, leaving small cinders and embers raining down on the arena, the Slugma bowed its head to the audience.

"Impressive! That was simply impressive!" Vivian cried out, clapping a couple times before returning the microphone in front of her mouth. "It's like Slugma created an artificial night with the smoke to increase the light effect that the fire brought, simply amazing. Brett and his Slugma have sure started this contest strong!" she said lively, and afterwards turned towards the judges to await their evaluations.

For several long seconds, everyone gazed expectantly at the three judges. Suddenly, the screens in front of each judge flashed as they turned on, their respective scores appearing on them. On Raoul Contesta's screen, a score of seven point four appeared. On Mr. Sukizo's screen, a score of seven was shown, and finally, under Nurse Joy, the screen showed a score of seven point one. The scores were displayed on two massive screens located at each side of the contest hall so the entire audience could clearly see them.

"Oh, that's nice!" Vivian called, awestruck. "That adds up to a neat score of twenty-one point five!" The crowd erupted in cheers, impressed with the scores given.

"That was an amazing combination of moves," Raoul Contesta commented, clapping a couple times as he began his evaluation. "The smokescreen left me dubious at first, but using it to increase the visual effects for the fire attacks was a brilliant move. Impressive combo indeed. Never seen these two attacks in tandem before, and I surely won't forget it anytime soon."

"Remarkable," Mr. Sukizo said simply, nodding once in approval.

"That Slugma is clearly well raised. It's in a very healthy condition, if that vibrant and lively red coloration is anything to go by. Also, it managed to maintain an impressive state of concentration and control to perform its moves effectively despite being inside a thick smokescreen," Nurse Joy noted. "A fantastic contest Pokémon indeed. You've done a great job raising it."

Above the stands, Latios blinked in confusion. "How come two judges say nice, long opinions about the contest yet one of them is all quiet and just says one word about it?" he wondered.

Latias shrugged. "He's always been like that. He rarely says anything outside of remarkable," she clarified. "However, his judging numbers and scores are usually accurate."

"That was cool," Ash said, a grin on his face. "I've never seen anything like this before. It's gonna be more exciting than I thought. At first I thought contests were just silly girl stuff, but now I'm really interested."

"I know. Contests are fantastic," Brock agreed, watching as the coordinator left the stage and another one walked out. "A good contest can be almost as entertaining as any battle, Ash."

"I totally agree on that," Latias quipped in immediately. "Though, those who prefer contests obviously find them better. Also, if Bianca does decide to permanently do contests that means we'll have to get used to watching them, which I also support completely." The invisible dragoness' gaze was firmly settled on the arena as the next coordinator walked in, a young girl dressed in a colorful attire.

The coordinator took out a Pokéball. "Go, Linoone!" she called out. Instead of throwing her Pokéball to the ground or a slightly upwards angle, she threw it completely upwards. It was clear she practiced her tossing as her throw was very accurate and very high. Several seconds later after the Pokéball had traveled a very good distance up a bright flash of light followed. Almost a couple dozen feet over the floor a Linoone appeared. The instant the very slender, light brown-colored Pokémon with dark brown stripes lining its body appeared over the arena, it began to fall back down towards the stage. However, the Rushing Pokémon made a series of rapid gymnastic spins as he plummeted to the platform. It landed cleanly on its back paws while its front body bowed towards the audience and cameras.

Vivian clapped a couple times. "Oh, wow! Talk about a dynamic entry!" she said in approval.

"It's our time to shine. Use Seed Bomb and follow up with Slash!" the young coordinator ordered in a cheerful voice. The Linoone complied with its trainer's will immediately and took a deep breath, its mouth releasing a couple sparkles of green-tinted energy as it did so. It aimed its head upwards and then fired several potent lively green-colored energy spheres, starting out with a stronger one and tuning down the power as it fired more of them. That made the first orbs rise higher and the last ones to reach lower in the air.

The Linoone crouched down on all fours, and to the audience's surprise, it made a massive vertical leap. Due to its powerful back legs and a well-built body, the Pokémon's jump was impressive. As it soared upwards, its claws extended as they glowed a solid white color. When the Rushing Pokémon reached the first green sphere, it slashed it cleanly. That made the Seed Bomb sphere pop in a bright flash of green sparkles and glittering energy residue. The Pokémon did not stop there, its jump had enough energy in it to let it reach even more of the spheres it had fired. With clearly well-practiced ease, the normal-type Pokémon slashed each of the Seed Bombs expertly, causing them to explode into leftover glitters of green energy that rained down into the arena like a shower of sparkles.

"Wow, that's extraordinary! Not only was that a striking jump, the visuals produced by its move combination are very appealing too! Just look at them!" Vivian commented as green glitter rained down on the first few rows of the stands and the stage. "Huh, wait, it looks like Linoone isn't going to make it to the last one!" she suddenly exclaimed when she noticed that Linoone's ascent was starting to slow down dramatically, and the final Seed Bomb orb was too far away for it to reach it.

The coordinator smirked. "Time for our surprise! You know what to do, Linoone!" she shouted. Linoone responded immediately by angling its body downwards, shifting its weight and making it begin to fall back to the arena, apparently forgetting about its last Seed Bomb. Just as the normal-type was reaching the floor, it spun several times acrobatically. With excellent precision, a final Seed Bomb was fired by the Linoone, which collided cleanly with the Seed Bomb it had purposely failed to reach. The result was a very vibrant blast of green light that filled the contest arena the exact same instant Linoone landed perfectly in the center of the stage.

"Unbelievable! That had me worried for a moment there, but it ended up as quite the amazing appeal, purely fantastic!" Vivian exclaimed energetically. The audience clearly agreed with the MC's comments, as many rose to their feet from their seats and began clapping and cheering.

Once the noise from the audience died down slightly, the judges began their evaluations. "That was a very impacting appeal," Raoul Contesta agreed, echoing Vivian's own narrating. "That last surprise in making us think that Linoone's appeal was going to fail, but then suddenly turned it into a fantastic end is a marvelous idea that is sure to keep any audience hooked up to the very end. Another thing I particularly enjoyed of your performance was the fact it displayed your Linoone's attributes and skill very nicely."

"Remarkable," Mr. Sukizo said simply.

"I'm really impressed this time," Nurse Joy began, carefully eyeing the Linoone with a studious glance. "That's one well-raised and very-well trained Linoone you have there. They aren't particularly known for jumping as they are for running, but it sure packs a big leap. That added to perfectly pristine fur, vivid personality and excellent synchronizing and orientation with his acrobatics and moves make up for a very complete and fabulous Pokémon."

"Now that we've heard their evaluations, it's time to see what scores have been given!" Vivian called out. The screens under the judges flashed to life yet again, making everyone focus on them as the three judges imputed their scores. Three numbers flashed. Seven point one for Contesta, Seven point two under Sukizo and finally, seven point eight for Nurse Joy. "Wow! That adds up to twenty-two point one, just beating out our previous contestant's score by a point six margin!" Vivian called out, impressed. "This contest is certainly getting off to an exciting start!"

"Thank you, everyone!" the young coordinator girl called out as she returned her Linoone back to its Pokéball and then made her way to the backstage rooms. Another contestant, this time a much older woman with very long straight brown hair, began to make her to the contest arena to continue the competition.

"… Woah!" Ash exclaimed, simply at a loss for words at the performance he had just seen. The trainer remembered he had seen that girl and the Linoone outside the arena and that he took the time to check Linoone out with his Pokédex, but he had no idea they were that skilled or good. "That… was… it was… so awesome!" he said in shock.

Brock himself was also impressed, he found himself nodding in agreement to Ash's surprised comments. "That was really great, and that girl seems so young too. If she's this good at this age, she'll have a bright future as a coordinator if she keeps up at this pace. I'm curious as to what other Pokémon she might have."

Pikachu hummed, tilting his head as he thought of the two appeals that had passed so far. "Okay, I'll have to concede it, contests aren't half bad after all," he admitted. "They're definitely entertaining to watch, it's something that's new for us, and a good change from watching battles all the time."

"Duh, of course they are, Pikachu," Latias chided, lightly pushing the electric-type psychically to empathize on her chiding, however, it was clear the dragoness had done it in a playful manner. "They're very fun to watch. Personally, I think this is way better than just trying to hurt each other in battles."

"Eh… I still prefer battles," Latios said simply, shrugging once. "But I've at least always found contests bearable to watch," the dragon added. Latias rolled her eyes. She didn't expect anything less from her brother. "You made me watch them a lot with you to please you." Latias grinned at him.

"Well, if they're this fun all the time, I wouldn't mind seeing Bianca compete in them more often," Ash commented. "Is their league-thing scheduled at the same time as the Pokémon League?" the trainer asked, glancing at Brock. "That would worry me."

"No, it's not," Brock answered instantly without needing to consult any of his books or information sources. "All regions generally schedule the Grand Festival one month or at the very least three weeks before their league, so they don't overlap. If they were put at the same time, they'd divide viewer and tourist attention between them, and that would hurt each other by creating unnecessary competition." It was clear Brock was very aware on how the system worked, being a former Gym Leader.

"Oh, then we can share our travels without problem, that's nice." Ash frowned. "Are you sure we'd have enough time to gather all my badges and get all her ribbons?" he asked.

"With some time management? Yeah, we should," Brock answered. "If we're ever late, we can just have Latios and Latias fly us around to collect the last in a couple days." Latios rolled his eyes in amusement at Brock's suggestion, but he could admit it was something fairly valid and something he wouldn't deny to doing for his friends.

"And our next contestant is up, let's see what kind of performance she'll delight us with!" Vivian announced over the loudspeakers with her microphone, bringing the group's attention back to the contest arena just as the woman that had walked up to it launched her Pokéball to the center of the stage.

A bright flash of light was created by the Pokéball bursting open, releasing a bipedal, lavender-colored, sheep-like Pokémon with white colored wool surrounding its head and neck. "Flaaffy, use Cotton Spore!" the coordinator ordered as soon as the electric-type Pokémon was ready to go. Flaaffy let out a long cry as its wool began to vibrate, making dozens of white cotton orbs emanate from it, drifting along the entire area around it.

"Ooooh, this is interesting, our contestant has decided to start with a slow move like Cotton Spore. I'm curious as to where this will take us," Vivian said expectantly as she watched the cotton spheres drift along the entire arena very slowly, almost tantalizingly.

"Now, use Thunder Wave!" the coordinator ordered. Flaaffy nodded as a blue electricity began to elegantly dance around the Wool Pokémon, creating a blue glow around it with occasional static arching between its white wool. With a mighty cry, it released the bolts of electricity all around it. The blue electrical energy rapidly arched around all the cotton spore orbs that had been created earlier by the electric-type, creating a very bright and complex spider web of electricity dancing brightly between all of them. Seconds later, all the soft cotton orbs burst in flames as they were lit up by the Thunder Wave, making them fall to the ground in burnt cinders.

"Ta-da!" The coordinator beamed, bowing to the audience. Her Flaaffy mimicked her actions, bowing down to the crowd as she did so. Claps greeted the coordinator in response, though it was clear the crowd wasn't as excited as with Slugma or Linoone's appeals.

"And that's a simple and fast, but quite flashy appeal," Vivian said, turning around to face the judges. "Let's see what our honorable judge panel has to say about it!"

"That was a rather short appeal," Raoul Contesta began, frowning. "It's neatly planned out and executed, but it's too brief. You need to draw it out more and grip the audience, because it feels like it began and ended way too fast. It feels too rushed, however, I do commend that it was a very interesting combination that created a good visual appeal," he added, finishing his evaluation.

"Remarkable," Mr. Sukizo said simply.

"Your Flaaffy is in a very great condition. It's got very clean and spotless wool and that lavender color is fantastic. Its electricity is strong and vivid, all traits of a well-raised and well cared Flaaffy. Now, you need to work on extending your performance and making it bring out your Pokémon's talents better," Nurse Joy said judgingly.

The screens under each judge flashed to life, each displaying their scores. Raoul Contesta had given a five point four. Mr. Sukizo had scored them a five point nine. Finally, Nurse Joy's screen showed a more positive score of six point nine. "Okay, that's not as good as the previous two contestants, but a total score of eighteen point two is still respectable, regardless." The coordinator returned her Flaaffy and wordlessly returned to the backrooms.

"That wasn't as cool as the last two," Ash commented, agreeing with Vivian and the judges. "Though, it still was nice."

"I liked it a lot," Pikachu remarked. "I liked that electric display. It should have gotten better scores."

"No, really? Electric-type liked electricity-based contest display?" Latios said sarcastically. "I'm so shocked."

Latias sighed. "That was a terrible pun," she stated drily, making Latios laugh nervously at her.

"I've got a Thunder just for you. All yours, later," Pikachu promised. Latios rolled his eyes in amusement.

"And let's give a warm welcome to the next contestant, Janet!" Vivian called out, motioning towards the entrance to the arena. A few seconds later, Janet walked out. She headed towards the arena, bowing once to the cameras and audience as soon as she arrived.

"Hey, Janet's next!" Ash said excitedly. "I really wanna see what she and Beautifly are gonna do."

"If she already has two contest ribbons, I bet it's gonna be good," Latias said positively.

"Beautifly, let's entice the audience!" Janet called as she hurled her Pokéball upwards. The red and white-colored sphere opened midair, releasing the very pretty bug and flying-type Pokémon from the confines of the electronic sphere. The Butterfly Pokémon let out a shrill cry of greeting towards the audience. As she did so, she extended her stunningly pretty, multicolored wings broadly to display them proudly.

"Now, that's a great greeting! Just look at those wings, they're gorgeous!" Vivian spoke into the microphone, clearly enthralled at Beautifly's appearance.

"Let's begin the show, Beautifly. Start out with Quiver Dance!" Janet shouted, spreading her arms wide as she did so. Beautifly let out another shrill vocalization and complied with her trainer's order. She flapped her wings a couple times to ascend higher into the arena's airspace until she reached a height that was roughly equal distance to the roof and to the floor. As she rose, a mystifying green glow began to surround her form dimly. As the seconds went by, the glow went from dim to prominently noticeable. Beautifly then began to perform a sort of mystic dance, flapping her wings in graceful and fluid strokes as she swirled around in the air and spun about in elegant circles and loops while forming intricate and complex patterns with her delicate movements. All the while, her radiant body was releasing sparkling lights and an alluring glow that seemed to flow perfectly with her every captivating motion.

"… This is beautiful…" Vivian whispered, her voice so low even the mic barely picked it up. It was almost as if she was trying to not interrupt the Butterfly Pokémon's fascinating appeal. Even the audience was quiet as they watched the dancing Pokémon.

"So pretty!" Latias chimed mentally, clapping her claws together while her eyes were completely glued on the Beautifly's ongoing performance. Latios reluctantly nodded in agreement, admitting that the dance was rather interesting to watch. The blue dragon idly wondered how he'd look doing a Dragon Dance. "Not as pretty or interesting, that's for sure," Latias said telepathically in his mind as soon as she picked up those thoughts through their mental bond, making Latios playfully push her.

Brock's jaw dropped, clearly impressed. "Janet's good. I've never seen a Quiver Dance looking this good or interesting before."

"I don't even know what Quiver Dance is, what's that attack supposed to do?" Ash asked curiously, glancing at his more knowledgeable friend.

"Quiver Dance is a status move that, by performing a mystical dance, lets the Pokémon become faster, stronger and more resistant to special attacks," Brock responded. "But Janet's using it like a great ballet move, while making Beautifly stronger too. I wonder if she'll take advantage of that in the rest of her appeal," the breeder speculated, carefully watching Janet and Beautifly.

"Wow, that's a cool move," Ash commented, looking up at the dancing bug and flying-type. Beautifly's spectacular dance increased in speed as the move allowed her to move faster and become more nimble, yet the bug and flying-type clearly retained her elegance. The glow surrounding her gradually became stronger and began letting out even more sparkles as she picked up the pace.

"Beautifly, it's time for the next phase of our appeal, use String shot!" Janet shouted. Beautifly spat a long and very thin string of sticky web-like silk and immediately spun around, fluidly continuing her supple Quiver Dance. Since the silk line she had produced was extremely thin and lightweight, it almost seemed to elegantly glide through the air slowly, it's descent towards the arena's floor being very gentle and gradual.

Astonishingly, the fact she was now continuously spitting out a thread of silk made no distractions for the Butterfly Pokémon. Beautifly continued her dance skillfully, keeping perfect concentration as she stylishly danced around the air while dragging the silk strand she continued to spit from her long, thin mouth. As she kept spitting the sticky silk line, which kept becoming longer and longer, it began to flow along with her movements more prominently. "Wow, this almost looks like ribbon dancing," Vivian commented, watching the bug-type's display with glee.

Janet smirked, the silence in the audience meant she had them exactly where she wanted them, completely and utterly focused on her Pokémon. "And for our final act, use Flash!" Beautifly suddenly froze midair for several instants, the greenish glow around her from her Quiver Dance dying down rapidly. She flapped her wings and spun in a wide circle around the arena several times, taking advantage of the speed increase from her earlier move to make the motion quicker and more fluid. The silk line she had been spitting trailed around behind her. Once she had finished, she cut the sticky silk thread from her mouth and let it begin to very slowly fall down to the arena's floor. Without warning, Beautifly let out a very shrill and piercing cry as her gorgeous wings exploded in a blast of intense white light, rapidly illuminating the arena as if it was midday inside of it. The light emitted from her reflected off the many silk strands that were gently gliding down, creating a wide series of spherical sparkling threads surrounding the contest hall's central arena. Her Flash was perfect. It wasn't too bright or strong so that it didn't blind anyone and could be safely looked at directly, but not too dim so as not to be bright enough to fulfill its goal. It was a carefully planned and well-practiced blast of pure, gentle radiance.

The crowd burst into cheers as Beautifly's flash ended and she began to glide down towards her trainer, where she neatly landed into Janet's outstretched arms. Both then bowed at the cheering audience. "Impressive! Impressive! This is definitely the appeal of the night so far!" Vivian cried out in excitement.

"I most certainly agree with that statement, Vivian," Raoul Contesta said once the cheering noise from the audience had somewhat died down, clapping his hands repeatedly. "The way that Beautifly performs its attacks is very impressive. Quiver Dance awestruck me the most. Especially when it was combined with String Shot for an eye-catching ribbon dance. It's well known that performing two attacks at the same time with such control is no easy thing. The coordination maintained by Beautifly over the entire show clearly denotes hours upon hours of training put into practicing this. Most fascinating." The screen under him flashed as he typed in his score. The number eight point one flashed into the screen.

"Remarkable," Mr. Sukizo said simply. A second later, the score eight point two flashed on the screen under him. Janet sweat-dropped, clearly expecting to have at least gotten more of a comment from him.

"… Okay, if that appeal didn't make him say something other than 'remarkable' then nothing else will," Latios said flatly. Latias sighed, but nodded in agreement afterwards.

"I'm very amazed. This is easily the healthiest and most radiant Beautifly I've ever seen in my life. And being from Rustboro City, I see a lot of Beautifly from trainers who get one in the Petalburg Woods. Its wings are simply perfect and its control and execution of its attacks are flawless. You've done an amazing job in raising it to become a strong and competitive Pokémon," Joy said, evaluating the health of Janet's Beautifly. The score eight point seven suddenly flashed into her screen.

"As expected, this fantastic appeal worthy of a total score of twenty-five has taken Janet to the first place of this contest's appeal round so far, and pretty much guaranteed her a spot in the next battle round!" Vivian announced. "All of our upcoming contestants surely have a tough trial ahead to live up to the show put on by Janet."

"Thank you, everyone!" Janet smiled and waved once to the audience, cameras and judges before turning around to walk towards the backstage, unlike the first coordinators she didn't return her Beautifly on the spot, instead deciding to walk away with her at her side.

Vivian took a brief instant to consult a small sheet she had to determine the names of the next group of coordinators and what order they would be appearing in. Once she had memorized the next few participants she swiftly hid it inside one of her gloves. "Let's give a round of applause to our next contestant, Bianca of Alto Mare!" she announced. "This will be her debuting contest, so let's wish her a lot of luck on her first try."

Meanwhile, inside the backstage room, Bianca let out a quiet exhale as her name was announced by the contest's MC. The older teen stood up from her seat and walked towards the exit that led to the stage, but the door opened before she could reach it as Janet walked in. The recent contestant smiled slightly when she saw Bianca already near the doorway. "Good luck, Bianca. I hope you get a good score," she said positively.

"Don't worry, I'll definitely do my best," Bianca replied, briefly returning the smile to Janet. "Definitely won't be as good or stellar as your performance, but I hope me and Candace can give a good enough show to make it to the next round." She paused slightly. "Oh, and by the way, you and Beautifly were fantastic. Congratulations on that performance."

Janet nodded once, appreciating the praise. Beside her, Beautifly let out a soft shrill cry of gratitude. "I'll be waiting for you in the battle rounds, then." She gave Bianca a reassuring pat on the back and then walked aside to let her pass.

Bianca slowly steeled herself for her upcoming performance. She knew that her characteristically confident and assertive attitude would help her greatly in creating a good first impression on the judges. 'This is it,' Bianca thought, looking at the door that led to the stage. 'I've done many art expositions at Alto Mare, both local and touristic… I've faced the public a lot before. This can't be that hard, it's nothing knew or unknown to me save for the involvement of Pokémon.' With a small sigh to relax and reassure her mind, as well as a quick adjustment to make sure her white miniskirt and beret as well as her light green shirt were all neat and tidy, she began to walk towards the stage as confidently as she could.

Back in the stands, Bianca's naming immediately made her friends perk up. "Oh, Bianca's next," Ash commented, leaning forward eagerly. "I wonder what she prepared for this. How is it, Latias?" he asked.

"It's good," Latias promised. "We managed to come up with something."

"I'm just concerned about how she'll be able to pull through with this," Brock said, his tone slightly worried. "After all, scores have been decent and high, and Janet got a stellar score across the judge board just now."

"You'll see what we prepared. Hopefully you guys will be surprised," Latias said telepathically. "And of course be pleased about it."

"I just hope she doesn't screw up or something," Latios commented. His sister glared at him and smacked him once on the head. "Hey!" Latios cried out, rubbing his head with his claws while glaring back at her. Latias stuck her tongue out at him.

Bianca walked out towards the arena and calmly stood in front of the stage. The artist pulled out a Pokéball and then hurled it towards the stage. "Candace, come out," she said as the ball popped open, letting the Painter Pokémon out. Candace was thankful for being used to large crowds of humans due to her time in the Pokémon Academy, as the crowd she was greeted with was large and imposing. At the very least, she knew stage fright shouldn't be a problem.

"A Smeargle, huh? Well, that's an interesting pick for a first timer! Remember that Smeargle can learn pretty much every attack there is, so be wary and expect anything out of this one!" Vivian announced, her voice blaring over the arena's loudspeakers. "Also, that's a cute nickname, by the way."

Bianca smiled at Candace. "Okay, let's do our best. We just practiced this, so let's make it come out smoothly. Candace, use Water Pulse, aim it upwards." Bianca instructed, making sure to keep a calm voice and demeanor to help her Pokémon stay composed.

Candace nodded. "Okay," she said as she put both of her paws together and began to concentrate. An orb of water glowing in a blue hue of energy began to slowly come to life between her paws, and steadily increase in size as she poured more and more power into it. Once she was ready, Candace hurled the orb of water upwards with as much strength as she could.

"Now, use Swift." Bianca said, pointing towards the Water Pulse her normal-type Pokémon had just fired upwards.

Candace rapidly changed attacks, this time her paws began to glow in a golden-colored energy. She took aim as best as she could and fired three star-shaped projectiles upwards, directly at her Water Pulse.

To Bianca and Candace's dismay, the first two Swift stars failed their mark completely, narrowly missing the watery orb as they passed beside it and continued their path upwards where they collided with the roof. To their relief, the third and final star collided head on with the water orb, causing it to explode in an interesting flash of yellow light that reflected neatly with the splashing liquid that was released from the broken Water Pulse.

"Narrow hit, but the appeal's ongoing, let's see what's next!" Vivian narrated, watching the show.

'Now comes that harder part,' Bianca thought as she looked at the several streams and splashes of water that were falling down. She admittedly felt worried. During training, Candace had always displayed focusing problems when trying to use the third attack in a row, and only managed to hit about half of the splashes on her luckiest tries, but with the time almost up and the contest's beginning nearing, she was forced to cut the training and hope that Candace would be able to pull it off, or at least most of it, on-stage. "Now, use Magical Leaf." Bianca ordered gently.

Candace shifted attacks yet again. The Painter Pokémon's paws now began to emit a multicolored veil energy, almost as if it was a colorful rainbow that was twirling around her paws. However, despite the elegance of the attack, it was clear she was struggling to correctly form the move as she had just used two attacks in a very rapid succession, and a third one was putting a lot of strain on the inexperienced Pokémon. Putting in as much effort as she could, she fired a swirling barrage of bright leaves towards the water splashes and streams that were falling to the stage.

Bianca's plan that she had practiced with Smeargle had been to use Magical Leaf to hit the larger water splashes that had originated by breaking the Water Pulse and take advantage of Magical Leaf's colorful energy to create an even better light display than what Swift had done previously. However, with Candace's lack of skill to correctly use a move in rapid succession, plus her exhaustion from the training she had done earlier and the fact that aiming at something like falling water was much harder than a single orb, made Smeargle's final attack end up a mess. All of the leaves completely missed their intended targets. None hit a single falling splash of water and continued their way to harmlessly collide with the roof.

"Uh-oh…" Candace said embarrassedly at the failure and watched as all the water splashed into the arena. She was so distracted with her miss that she didn't notice a stray splash of water until it was too late and it hit her directly, making her squeal out in fright as she was soaked completely. Bianca sighed and face-palmed.

"Oh…well, that didn't turn out well," Vivian muttered, wincing at the end.

Pikachu frowned. "Oops… that… wasn't good."

"Not at all," Latios said sadly. Latias lowered her gaze sadly, making her brother sympathetically pull her into a tight hug.

"That didn't look good…" Ash muttered.

"Reminds me of your first battles, Ash," Pikachu said to him, smirking afterwards. His comment instantly made the trainer glare at him venomously.

"I guess she was right in refusing to take part due to her lack of preparation, well, at least she tried. That's what matters, I guess," Brock commented as he turned to look at the judge panel. They seemed ready to announce their evaluations.

As usual, it was Raoul Contesta who began. "Well, that was, being honest and putting it bluntly, very bad," the main judge began, shaking his head slightly. "Sorry to tell you, miss. But I'll have to be a tough critic on this one. Smeargle clearly lacks the practice and skill to be able to use its attacks fluidly and appropriately, and fails to show herself off while doing so. And, it was clearly struggling on performing the third attack. That being said, the execution of all three moves in general was rather sloppy and lacked grace, style or skill. You'll have to work on that a lot. I do admit, however, that you had a good idea for the concept of your appeal. When the attacks did manage to combine, the effects they created were appealing and actually interesting, but you'll need to work a lot on their consistency and Smeargle's ability to use them gracefully and rapidly to make it a workable appeal that works whenever you desire. I must also commend you for remaining calm and well-composed even as your appeal was falling apart, that gives a lot of confidence to your Pokémon. For your first appeal, it wasn't that bad, sincerely. I've seen much worse and disastrous first-timers, but there's still a lot that needs to improve before you start turning into a successful coordinator."

"Not remarkable," Mr. Sukizo said simply.

Latios gasped. "… Wow! He can actually say another word!" he cried out in shock while Pikachu's jaw dropped in astonishment.

Nurse Joy frowned after hearing Contesta and Sukizo's evaluation, and went on with her own. "You caught that Smeargle recently, didn't you?" she asked. Bianca wordlessly nodded. Nurse Joy nodded back, acknowledging her answer. "I thought so. Generally, you can't take Pokémon you capture recently and put them into contests fast, they need a lengthy preparation unlike with battles. You should have waited and trained a few weeks before entering a contest instead of rushing it. Smeargle doesn't look in the best shape, its fur doesn't look well kept, and its tail-paint isn't as vivid as it should be, which means it needs nourishment. The fact it can't effectively use three attacks in rapid pace means it needs to build up stamina and focus. I agree with Contesta, however. You had a good idea in your mind for this appeal, now you need to practice and perfect it. With plenty of hard work and training, you can become a good coordinator and your Smeargle a great contest Pokémon."

"We'll, we've heard our judges on this first-timer. It certainly reminds me of the last time I saw an appeal by a first timer. He burnt the entire stage down when he tried a fire-based appeal!" Vivian shivered in fear. "Not good memories. Anyway, let's look at the scores."

Bianca frowned. "I'll be surprised if I get higher than two or three," she muttered to herself. The screens came to life. The screen under Contesta flashed one point five, the screen under Mr. Sukizo showed one point two and finally, the screen under Nurse Joy displayed the number zero point nine.

"Well, there we have it. Her total score is three point six," Vivian announced. "Better luck next time." Bianca nodded wordlessly and returned the wet Smeargle back to her Pokéball. She turned around and began to head towards the backstage. The crowd was mainly silent, while some clapped slowly in recognition to her effort on her first time.

Raoul Contesta looked at her as she passed between him and Vivian. "Don't feel our criticism was made to belittle you," he began, making Bianca pause and turn to look at him. "Nor let it hurt the start of your career or make you think you're not good enough. As Vivian said, there's been worst first timers. Our verdict as the judge panel can be thought as good advice if you listen to it and train hard to overcome it. I hope that your performance today doesn't offset your venture into contests. I hope to see you in another contest in the future, and to see how much you've improved."

Bianca smiled at him slightly. "Thanks for the sincerity. I'll think about it," she responded before resuming her walk towards backstage while Vivian called out the next coordinator on to the stage.

"Are you okay?" Latias asked telepathically. She was surprised, but still glad, that her empathy wasn't picking up anything excessively negative from the young artist.

'I'm fine, Latias,' Bianca thought, knowing her thoughts would be picked up by the dragoness. She didn't turn around and kept walking normally. 'To be fair, I kind of expected it'd go like this.'

"You know, this reminds me of the very first time you showed one of your paintings in a public art exposition at Alto Mare," Latios commented, thinking back to the occasion. "That was several years ago. You were… Fifteen? Sixteen? I can't remember exactly. Odd, I'm a psychic. I should remember perfectly."

That comment made Bianca pause slightly, the memory returning to her rather freshly. She found that she still remembered it rather vividly. It had been the very first time she had tried to venture into exposing her love of art to the public and participate in it. She had been an amateur aspiring artist, and while she loved art and appreciated it, she had never really dwelled into doing it extensively. She had tried her luck in an art exposition contest held in Alto Mare's museum and remembered she had high hopes for her drawing, even if she later found out it wasn't good at all. It didn't end quite well for her. 'I was fourteen, Latios,' she corrected, smiling softly at the memory. 'I got a score of zero, placed last, and was removed from the exposition board very fast.'

"And then you worked hard to improve and placed first on the one held next year," Latias said telepathically, also joining the thought back to fond memories. "It was then that you discovered your natural talent for art and decided to become an artist, instead of just appreciating art. You began to create it too."

"Will the same thing happen in contests?" Latios asked curiously. "You said you'd decide if you'd become a coordinator or not after this one contest. From the looks of your appeal and your score, it seems like not. But will you repeat what happened with art?"

'I don't know, Latios, I'll think about and give my answer when I'm ready,' Bianca responded, walking into the backstage room.

"Uh, I guess you were right about not being prepared for this," Janet said sadly as she watched Bianca walk in. "If it makes you feel better, my first time appealing in a contest got me a five point nine score. And I did have time to prepare and train for it. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, Janet," Bianca said dismissively, going towards a couch and taking a seat. She was glad that none of the coordinators in the room seemed to glance at her or say anything on her disastrous performance. 'Well, if they're all coordinators, they all have to have gone through a first appeal at some point, and probably had a similar experience to mine if Janet is anything to go by,' she thought to herself.

Janet walked after her and took at seat beside her. "I'm sorry for dragging you into his," she apologized.

Bianca shook her head slightly. "Don't worry, all's fine, Janet," she said gently. "Really, I didn't get my hopes up high in the first place. I did my best and I failed, end of story. I'm not going to feel bad over it."

Janet smiled. "That's the spirit! I was very worried this bad performance made you think twice about becoming a coordinator. Think you'll actually carry on? You've got a Pokémon, experienced friends that are willing to help you and a contest pass, that's all you need to get going."

Bianca hummed, thoughtful. After several seconds, she replied with the exact same thing she had told her dragon friend, "I'm… not sure. I'll think about it." She stood up and glanced at the door leading to the arena, and then at Janet. "Good luck in the battle rounds, I'll be rooting for you."

Janet grinned slightly. "Thanks, Bianca."

"I'll go back with my friends now," Bianca told her as she turned around and headed towards the exit. Janet watched her leave quietly, hoping that the artist would decide to become a full-time coordinator.

The Alto Mare artist quietly walked along the corridor that lead towards the main entrance of the building, which had the entries for the corridors that led across the entire building's stands. As she reached it, she walked into the reception area. Bianca looked at the doorway leading towards the stands. After several long seconds she glanced at the exit of the entire building. She knew that one of the things her friends would ask her about would be if she would continue being a coordinator, as evidenced by Latios asking about it. She silently walked towards the exit, leaving Rustboro Hall. Bianca decided to make her decision, hard as it may be, once and for all.

The older teen smiled softly at the sight that greeted her upon exiting the building. The treetops were covered in an ethereal glow of soft orange hue from the dim sunlight that barely escaped the horizon, where the sun was slowly setting. She walked to a small patch of grass under the shade of a large tree, but still close to Rustboro Hall, and took a seat on it with her legs crossed.

Bianca looked at the setting sun, her face calm and neutral as she let her thoughts trail. With her disappointing performance on her appeal fresh in her mind, she knew it was the best time to make a decision on whether she'd become a coordinator or not. She glanced at Rustboro Hall when she heard the distant sound of clapping and cheering, no doubt aimed towards the performance of whatever coordinator had to perform after her.

'Should I become a coordinator?' Bianca wondered in her mind, returning her gaze to the horizon. 'I can't say that being in the arena wasn't interesting or fun, because it was.' She let out a long, drawn out breath. "That's even if it ended in a disaster for me and Candace.' She paused, remembering about her Pokémon. She reached for her handbag and opened it, taking out a single Pokéball. She pushed the button on the center and released the Painter Pokémon in a single flash of white light. "Hello, Candace," she greeted politely.

Candace looked at Bianca and lowered her head, disappointed. "I'm sorry, I wasn't able to pull it off…" she apologized.

"Latias and Latios aren't here, so I can't understand you. Though I have a good idea of what you said," she responded and smiled softly afterwards. The woman reached down and petted the normal-type, frowning slightly when she felt the wet fur, moistened by her own Water Pulse. "Don't worry, it's alright, Candace. If anything it's my fault for not being more adamant about not participating in this contest so we had time to prepare. If they really wanted to see me try a contest, I should have made them wait. Or, if we were going to participate today, I should have tried a two-move appeal instead of trying to force you into using three moves even when you had problems with it. Anyway, you have nothing to blame yourself for."

Candace looked at Bianca for several instants before nodding slowly. She found herself greatly appreciating the comprehension her trainer was giving her, which only cemented her thoughts that she had definitely chosen the right trainer to go along with. "Thanks," she said gratefully, even if she knew Bianca couldn't understand her.

Bianca kept petting the Painter Pokémon tenderly, resuming her trail of thoughts. Her mind went back to the situation Latios had reminded her of, how she had failed in her very first art exposition terribly and how her desire to prove herself next year was what had led her to discover her natural talent for art. She glanced back at the contest hall, thinking about what Raoul Contesta and Janet had said after her performance. Would she let her atrocious performance block out any chances of becoming a coordinator? She hadn't let a horrible art experience block her artistic career, and that ended being one of the best choices of her life. Now, she was a very popular figure in Alto Mare, and her works were scattered all over the city, and some even abroad.

Bianca returned her gaze to Smeargle, who was now resting besides her. She found herself feeling very attached to the Painter Pokémon, despite meeting her only a few days ago. 'A Pokémon Trainer can hold six Pokémon in total… if I go for it… just what Pokémon would I get in the process? I'm attached to just one and I still have five slots open,' she thought. With her thoughts drifting to Ash's Pokémon for reference, she reached inside her handbag again and this time took out her Sketchbook, and began looking through the pages. The most prominent figures in her art were obviously her beloved friends Latias and Latios, however, she had a few sketches of Ash's other Pokémon.

'Pidgeot…' Bianca thought as she landed on a page that had a sketch of Pidgeot that she had done the day Pidgeot had dealt with the annoying Taillow flock, which also the very same day she had met Candace. 'Pidgeot's so strong and powerful, yet so friendly, caring and loving at the same time…' She idly flipped through more pages, smiling softly at the art she came across. 'Larvitar and Phanpy, oh, those two little toddlers.' She resisted the urge to giggle at the sketch she had done of them playing together. She flipped a couple more pages, landing on a different drawing. 'Pikachu, Ash's best friend. Caring and protective, yet so snide, sarcastic and snarky at the same time. He's like an ideal partner for Latios.' She closed her sketchbook, looking up at the yellowish sky. 'All of Ash's Pokémon are so unique, their ways of thinking and personalities so different from one another. I wonder, if I had my own Pokémon team, just who would make it out? What Pokémon would I meet and befriend? Would they be like Candace? Or like some of Ash's Pokémon?' she wondered, letting her creative mind fly on what Pokémon she could meet. Pokémon of her own and no one else's.

No longer would she have to rely on Ash's Pokémon for protection or just to interact with Pokémon in general. She'd have her own Pokémon, her own friends that'd obey and protect her. Pokémon friends that'd regard her as their trainer. The hardest part of that, which was responsibly caring for them, raising them and training them, she knew she had Ash and Brock to help her out in every way.

'I've seen so many contests, I like this. The idea of more Pokémon is appealing… so why not?' Bianca thought to herself, slowly convincing herself more and more. She realized that in her thinking and handling her book she had stopped paying attention to her only Pokémon. She idly reached towards Candace and started petting her, making the Painter Pokémon let out a soft hum and press against her side. 'I had a terrible start at art. I've had a terrible start at contests… what a coincidence. I'm gonna do it. I won't let this bad contest get the best of me. I'll show my friends and Janet just what I'm capable of.' Bianca's gaze remained settled on the horizon, sitting quietly alongside her Smeargle as she let time pass, just relaxing as she slowly made up her mind…

"Hello, guys," Bianca greeted her friends as she approached them, making her way through the stands to reach the spot where they were.

"Where were you?" Ash asked, turning to look at her. "I thought you'd get here when your appeal ended, it's been like, an hour."

"Bit more, actually," Latias said in their minds.

"Yeah, just had some things I wanted to think about, so I went outside to get some fresh air," Bianca responded. "What did I miss?" she asked, turning to look at the arena. She saw Janet and another guy with a Venomoth walking towards the arena. "Seems like it's the battle rounds already."

"You missed pretty much the entire contest," Brock answered. "This is the final battle. Janet's taking on this guy named Chaz for the Ribbon, apparently they know each other. Also, sorry to tell you, they displayed the score of the twenty appeals on the screens. You were last place… second-last place had over twelve more points than you did." His looked turned sympathetic. "Are you okay?" he asked, concerned.

Ash nodded in agreement. "Yeah, it went bad." He frowned. "Are you sad? Or feeling bad?"

Bianca blinked at them. "Why does everyone expect me to be feeling terrible about losing?" she questioned them. "Yes, I was last place by a lot. But I kind of deserved it with my non-existent preparation."

"Well, I'd feel pretty terrible if I lost a battle this bad," Ash replied, crossing his arms.

"Yeah, you definitely would. I can think up lots of examples. Like the time you lost to Ritchie in the Kanto League. Or when you lost to Blaine," Pikachu interrupted, making Ash's eyes twitch.

"I seem to recall you looking very dejected when you forfeited to me on our first battle at the Pewter Gym Battle," Brock commented, making Ash groan and wish the topic to end as fast as possible.

"Ash was ten by then and immature. That's how youngsters take defeat. I'm eighteen. I'm not going to wallow in pain at losing badly," Bianca told them simply, shrugging afterwards. "Plus, next contest…" She smirked. "I'll be ready for it."

Everyone froze the instant Bianca finished talking, just as the battle between Janet's Beautifly and Chaz's Venomoth for the Contest Ribbon began. Vivian's commentary died down as did the crowd's cheering when the night's final battle got underway. "There's gonna be… a next time?" Latias questioned slowly, her eyes widening in hope as she looked down at Bianca.

"Yep," Bianca confirmed.

"Does that mean…" Ash began, trailing off.

"Yes. It means I've decided to become a Pokémon Coordinator," Bianca stated firmly. No doubt in her voice at all.

Brock smiled. "Congratulations, Bianca. That's what I hoped for the most. This will certainly make our journey even more engaging and fun by giving you a permanent activity. And will give us five more Pokémon friends for sure."

Bianca nodded. "I want to prove to myself that I can do it. That I can win a contest. And, the chance of having more Pokémon is very interesting. Also, I'd like to face and win against Janet one day. She got me into today's mess." She grinned slightly as she turned to gaze at the arena just as Janet's Beautifly used an impressive Flash attack to break Venomoth's Psychic attack, the bright and pretty flash shattering the Poison Moth's Pokémon mental concentration. The expertise of using such a visually appealing attack to make a very creative defensive maneuver made Chaz lose a decent chunk of his points. "I kind of need to get payback against her," Bianca finished, chuckling slightly.

Latios chuckled. "Ooh, I like the sound of that," he commented psychically. "Anyway, good for you, Bianca. Just like your art, me and Latias back you up for it all the way."

"You can expect us to help you out in all we can do to get you started caring for multiple Pokémon," Brock offered. "More breeding practice for me."

"Thanks, I knew I could count on you guys," Bianca replied gratefully.

Latias hummed, glancing at the battle playing out before them. Currently, Janet had a very clear advantage both in combat and in the score line. She had well over sixty percent of her points left, while her opponent was struggling with only twenty-five percent and the timer was starting to consume itself. And combat-wise, Janet's Beautifly was clearly dominating the contest. Her attacks projected an air of superiority that seemed contagious to the crowd, and with amazing ease and Janet's guidance she was countering and turning her opponent's moves and tactics against him. Latias looked at Bianca. Perhaps, there might be a chance for her to try something more enjoyable than battles.

Several moments later. "And time's over!" Vivian shouted into the microphone the exact instant the timer reached zero, signifying the end of the battle. "And looking at the points, this battle goes to Janet by a very large margin!" she announced, making the crowd erupt in cheers and applause.

"She was fantastic," Brock noted to his friends, clapping along with the crowd.

"No, she's not gonna marry you," Latias said in his mind, making the breeder slump down on his seat in cold disappointment.

Ash nodded. "Okay, contests are really fun. I liked it. Good luck beating her, Bianca," the trainer told her. "She's gonna be your first rival."

"Oh, I will… I will…" Bianca promised as she watched Janet be awarded the contest ribbon and the entire crowd applaud her dominant and strong performance. "One day… that will be me. Lifting a contest ribbon before a cheering crowd. Like I recovered from a bad start to my art career, the same will happen in contests. I promise it."

"That's the spirit!" Latias cheered, excited at the prospect of Bianca becoming a coordinator. Still, her mind wandered on the many possibilities this opened to her in particular…


Author Notes: Finally, Chapter 15 is here. I would have gotten it done faster but I faced some difficulties. Anyway, here it is. I decided to simplify the rest of the contest because I felt it wasn't needed to go into excessive detail about it after Bianca's elimination. When she does better, a much longer contest shall await xD

Brace yourselves. Next chapter, Ash vs Roxanne! Will he earn that second badge?