The endearing exchange of two lovely ladies had to move out of the way for a plot device. Oh no, it's an actual Pokemon battle in a Pokemon fan fiction. *gasp*

Also a small note: I use the Japanese name of Red's rival "Green" instead of the English version of the name (Blue). Don't get confused and you'd be alright.

Chapter 7: Hustling

"Welcome to the Indigo Plateau. What is your name?"

"Green Oak."

"Identifications please."


"Yes, right this way please."

Green nodded and ambled his way into the inner chambers. It has been a pain getting here, considering how one has to get through eight separate gates of identifications, before even reaching the summit. He had really no better choice as well, for he, technically speaking, is not actually old enough to drive pretty much anything, so he had to rely on his Pokémons always. It was not entirely uncomfortable, but annoying regardless. It did not really help that people still treated him like a kid, even after all the considerable effort he had made to be able to get here today.

It was mostly because of Red.

Green sighed harshly. He promised he would not be angry at Red anymore, for he alone was the sole person who knew how Red even really became champion that day. His rival, from the very first day, seemed to have taken it for granted though, seeing as he was reported to have simply vanished. Nonetheless, he had a meeting to attend to. It seemed that there was some sort of complications within the Pokémon League that they needed him to fill a missing position or something of similar importance. He was not really sure what he was getting himself into, but there never really was anything that bad which had happened. Of course, that was aside from…

"Green Oak, glad you could make it."

Green narrowed his eyes at the sound of that voice. He knew who that was, very much so. It did not mean that he would have wanted to meet that person right now, but there really was nothing he could have done by running away, so simply facing his problems would be the best of his options at the moment. Turning around, what he saw was exactly what he expected. A man in a dark suit, whose black hat covered a large portion of his own face.

"Does anyone know you are here?" Green's inquiry went unanswered for a brief moment. He knew what the man before him was waiting for, as his own eyes scanned the room, making sure whether they were really alone or not. Perhaps next time he would not be here so early, so people can catch him isolated like this. Still, there was no retreating from this now.

"If they did, I would have been arrested by now." Only the lower portion of the man in black's face was revealed, but a truly devious smirk was easy to spot. It appeared almost as if he expected Green to ask that. That would not be too far from the truth, but none of that really mattered. It is the man's attention that Green needed to know. "Don't look at me like that; you know what I am looking for."

"I do not know where Red is now, if that is what you are asking." The smirk soon turned into a scowl, as much of it as could be seen, anyways. Green knew exactly what the man was talking about, but he would rather not try and associate himself with such a person. He did it once, and it really did not settle well with his later endeavors. However, the man would still be as unpredictable as ever, and all that the boy could do was to keep an eye out for his own sake as much as he could.

"I do not like your attempt to play games, Mr. Oak." The man appeared rather agitated by the answer. He did not quite expect it, evidently. However, he really was not buying what Green was selling. Still, what he was prepared to do would be far from dangerous that would risk him getting caught later on. "You owe me, remember?"

"Even if I did know, I would not bother telling you." Green was aware of what the man was talking about, and it has, all this time, been one of his biggest concerns. That was why he had also remembered to keep all of the badges within his wallet, and why he had never left home without carrying his entire team. It was all leading up for this moment. As the man seemed rather stunned at the turn of events, Green pulled straight out the small, green badge shaped after the acorn. He flung it towards the man, still quite bewildered. "I owe you that, now I give it back to you. However, you owe me a battle, Giovanni."

"It would appear that I do." The man in black had no other option. As his pride and position went, he could not refuse, not that he wanted to. If Green insisted on being difficult, then he would do what it takes to literally beat the information out of that boy. It would be enjoyable too, of course. "You would spill to me everything you know about Red if you lose!"

"IF I lose." Green lightly lifted his shirt ever so slightly, revealing the small bag attached to his waist line. Travellers usually preferred an entire backpack instead, but he stopped being a mere traveller a long time ago, even before facing the Elite Four. That bit was to stay a secret, of course. Swiping from the bag, he held a Pokéball in his hand, as he saw Giovanni had already prepared the same. "I do not lose."

"Funny, I remembered young Red beating you not so long ago." Being a devious person and just a generally powerful criminal boss, there was no need for Giovanni to watch his wordings. Green knew that, of course, so he really could not act wild and blow his top. No, that would be playing directly into the mafia's game, and there really was nothing else he wanted less than that. "Quite a humiliating defeat, in fact."

"That is between me and Red, old man." Their battle, in truth, was entirely a secret and unrecorded, considering it took place inside the Champion chamber. The rest of that was unknown for everyone else, but Green knew that he has always been right. "I never lose."

"If you say so." That was queue. Both trainers released their first Pokémons simultaneously. Green really did not stop to think much of what he was going to use, because admittedly he was a bit hot headed coming into this match. On the field right now was his Pidgeot against Giovanni's Rhydon, a bad match up no matter what you say of it. It does not help that most of his Pokémons are either frail or weak to Rock-type attacks. He had one distinct advantage though.

Pidgeot flew its way onto the air and swirl around in a dancing motion, creating a resonance of energy down onto the opposing Pokémon. Rhydon was clearly affected; somewhat hesitating its action, but it went through with the orders nevertheless. An array of large chunks of rocks was launched at the flying bird, hitting it hard as Pidgeot went down. At this point, the trainers did not actually have to spell out the orders for their Pokémons, simply controlling them with the connection. It was convenient at the very least, also removing the need to disrupt the environment with voices. Still, that only went to orders.

"You really do not think I have an idea of what you just did?" Giovanni smirked slightly as Green narrowed his eyes. If anything, that was a rather desperate move on his part. He knew Rhydon was just going to Rock Blast for the faint, as his knocked out Pokémon is being returned to his Pokéball right now. It was the safest move on Giovanni's part, and there really was nothing Green could do about it. The only thing that can take full powered move like that and live would be his Exeggutor, and that is only if he was lucky. However, this now allowed bringing his next Pokémon in safely. Still, how much of his plan Giovanni has figured out, he wondered. "Feather dancing eh? That is actually smart, I applaud."

Green did not feel like he needed to answer. The cross of egg trio and plant Pokémon was released from its Pokéball soon after, staring down its opponent like nothing else. It was an easy kill with a Giga Drain. As the next move prepared, Rhydon suddenly disappeared back into Giovanni's hand. Switching into the field was Nidoqueen, full fledged and ready to take any Grass type attack thrown at it. However, what the crime boss did not expect was a rain of green powder befallen the blue female beast. Its eyes frantically clapped in their sockets, but only for the briefest of moment, before it dropped entirely from sleepiness. Giovanni could be seen gritting his teeth from the side. Green could have been feeling great having landed that Sleep Powder, but he knew there was more to Giovanni's apparently clarified team that met the eyes, that was why he knew to keep his words to himself. Nidoqueen was withdrawn after that, as Rhydon came back into play. Green suddenly felt cold sweat, as his Exeggutor sacrificed a bit of its health to hide behind a Substitute. A Rock Blast coming from Rhydon right now would be able to pierce straight through the Sub and hit the Pokémon behind it as well. Exeggutor would be too slow to strike first, and even though it would easily beat off Rhydon, it is then weak to the next Pokémon coming in, risk giving Giovanni a free turn. However, he decide that since Rhydon would have to faint regardless, and Nidoqueen was also basically out for the count, losing Exuggutor's Sub in the process might not be a bad thing, since Giga Drain would largely negate the excess damage that Rock Blast would be able to deal. It turned out just as he expected, and came out with the trio egg plant recovering back most of its health.

"You are one tough cookie, Mr. Oak." Giovanni knew now that his previous underestimation of his opponent would only lead to his downfall, thus he saved most of the taunts and simply focused on planning his next move. Green, however, was rather unsure of the good of what he just did. Sure, he knew most of Giovanni's team, or at least he believed so, while the crime boss knew none of his. However, whatever changes might have happened during the time process since the last they met each other was unknown, and he feared there was some kind of trick waiting in the wings. Giovanni sent out his next Pokémon, and the boy knew he was in deep trouble. "I'm introducing you to Honchkrow, hope you like him."

Green gritted his teeth. This was one of those surprises that he hated that would happen. His Exeggutor only had Giga Drain as an attacking move, and any of Honchkrow's signature attacks would level the ground with the trio egg plant. It was ironic how much the crow fit its owner, dark and mysterious. That was one for later though, as Green had to make his move quick. He does not really have anything to take a strong physical attack from the dark crow, so he turned to his next best thing: faint fodder. Green switched in his own Rhydon, as it appears there really was nothing that it would so much beat in the opposing team. However, Honchkrow did not attack. Instead it focused its energy into a small wave of dark powers, sailing across its feathers.

"Nasty plot…" Giovanni was quite pleased that Green was able to catch up so quickly, and he was in a great mood in general now that he has the obvious advantage on the playing field. Green's Rhydon is clearly not fast enough to catch Honchkrow off guard, and with the boost, any of the dark crow attack would be able to knock out the rocky beast in one hit. The time for his move has already come, as the mob boss bird Pokémon unleashed an array of dark energy, engulfing the opponent within the boundaries and knocking it out completely. This is the second of Green's Pokémons to go down, but unlike Giovanni, he has no direct counter to such a devious bird. The crime boss seemed to have read that from him, as a smirk reappeared on Giovanni's face, but he did not say anything. Running out of options, Green sent in Alakazam, facing against a dark-type in the opponent's team. Giovanni was not sure whether his opponent was becoming desperate or was having something up his sleeve, but regardless. Alakazam's most powerful attack against the dark bird was, well, nothing actually. Was he more death fodder?

Without hesitant, as the one with the superior beast, the yellow psychic Pokémon with the strange mustache was the first to act. It channeled energy into its pair of spoon. At this point, the crime boss was still very confident. Alakazam's most powerful attack, Psychic, does not affect Honchkrow, or did Green suddenly forget that. However, it appeared strange to him that it did not seem like mental power that was being built up within the twisted spoons. It was too late for him now, though, as a ray of ice shoots from the crossing of the instruments and hit the dark bird at full force, freezing its wings and thrown it onto the ground, knocked out.

"I see, so that is a special hidden power you have prepared…" Giovanni felt anger racing through his veins at that very moment, when Green's smile finally appeared on the boy's face. He had played right into his opponent's hand. "You had a way to finish off Honchkrow all along, but you switched in Rhydon as an assurance should I had fired off my Dark Pulse just a turn earlier."

"You catch on quick." That was the last straw for Giovanni. Sure, he was down two Pokémons and one sleeping compared to Green's two fainted, but he still can win this, handily. As Honchkrow was returned to its Pokéball, replaced it was the three moles, Dugtrio. Green narrowed his eyes. He knew that Dugtrio's special ability, Arena Trap, prevented him from switching ground Pokémons as long as it was in play. However, this was strange as well. Alakazam could handily kill Dugtrio in one hit, and it was faster as well. He still has Psychic it his arsenal, so there really was not much of a choice. The psychic Pokémon concentrated on its power, as a beam of purple was sent directly at its opposing Pokémon. Dugtrio took the hit at full force, but instead of fainting, there was something else entirely. A sash was ripped through, and protected the last of the Pokémon's hit points. Green could not realize before it was too late, as the earth under him and his Pokémon shook profusely. The power of the quake was so intense that it knocked out his Alakazam immediately, forcing it to return to Green's Pokéball. "Focus Sash…"

Green should have known that even for a type-focused Gym leader, Giovanni has to have an emergency revenge killer should things get rough. However, he knew that this was no time to beat himself up now. His clearest option for winning has been hampered, and now he had to find something to pick off the moles without it killing off his Pokémon first. It was good that he has three flying Pokémons going into this match, and this would be the perfect time to reveal the next one. From the Pokéball, an enormous water dragon emerged, its mouth gaping for violence. Giovanni seemed rather bothered by Gyarados' appearance, considering how three of his last four Pokémons were weak to the beast's most powerful. However, Dugtrio was still faster, as he could fire off a super effective hit before going down. The moles dug on to the ground and immediately flung itself back up, throwing large chunks of stones up to the air, hitting the water dragon at its weak point. It would have been a knock out otherwise, but the dragon's Intimidate largely fettered Dugtrio's ability to deliver its full force attack. Gyarados itself had no similar problem; however, as a massive waterfall befell the poor earth mole, knocking it out of play. The purple dinosaur Nidoking was quickly entitled as a replacement, however. Green knew that it has no usable rock moves to be able to hit Gyarados, but that does not mean it cannot take out the flying beast with a well timed Thunderbolt. He had two Pokémons left, one weak to electric attacks and Exeggutor who resisted it. However, should Giovanni predict the switch to Exeggutor and hit it with a Poison attack of choice, it would be all over, since Gyarados is inherently slower. So was Exeggutor, but it had the bulk to tank an attack before going down. This meant that one had to be sacrificed. As the next turn began, Nidoking covered itself in electricity and fired off a bolt of thunder straight at the water dragon, knocking it out cold indefinitely. With that, Exeggutor was let into the field once again. The trio egg plant could live through a Poison attack and recover back its life with Giga Drain, just enough so that it could tank another one and knock out Nidoking with the second Giga Drain. However, as the Poison Jab hit the egg Pokémon, he felt that there was something wrong. Exeggutor faltered a bit, as he was poisoned by Nidoking's special ability. This changed everything, as Exeggutor cannot be expected to stall out the last few turns with Giga Drain should this happen. His last Pokémons cannot one hit knock out the rest of Giovanni's team with one move without support. The grass leeching attack did come, and it reduced Nidoking's health to less than half, but he would be able to attack first next turn, with the Poison making sure Exeggutor going down the next turn after it the purple beast fainted. Green was in trouble here. He could order Exeggutor to Giga Drain again, killing off Nidoking and moving on to the rest of Giovanni's Pokémons with his last one. Thus, the turn continued. However, unlike his initial assessment, Nidoking did not stay in; instead the sleeping Nidoqueen was sent in. Green could see the smile already appearing on Giovanni's face, as the Nidoqueen should wake up at the end of the turn and stall out Exeggutor with Poison, while Giga Drain would not be able to take out the blue female dinosaur in two consecutive hits. However, the egg plant did not attack like his opponent might have wished. Instead, it turns the rest of it power into creating a Sunny Day field for the next five turns. Giovanni was not sure what that meant, considering how the grass psychic Pokémon could not have possibly carried Solarbeam. He really did not mind it much, as Nidoqueen woke up at the end of the turn while Poison chipped away at Exeggutor. There was no hesitation in the next turn, as another Poison Jab took out Exeggutor at the end of the turn, while the hit points of the blue dinosaur sat at just above half.

"Are you sure you would still win this, Mr. Oak?" Giovanni smirked. He still had three Pokémons, and Green was down to his last one. What could the kid possibly do to turn the tide of the game back now? Green did not falter however, as his glare spoke for his respond. The crime boss paid it no mind though, and put it off simply as the boy being bitter. However, his face frowned as from the last of Green's Pokéballs, emerged the giant fire breathing dragon that he was so famous for. Charizard was under the sunlight now, and it revealed quite obvious why Exeggutor used Sunny Day back then. Giovanni did not feel intimidated at all though, as Sunny Day itself was ending soon, and his last Pokémon would be able to take at least a hit and knock out the dragon handily. Charizard breathed fire at Nidoqueen, as its defense crumble under the power of the sun's amplification. Nidoking suffered the same fate, but the crime boss was not moving his face at all. The sun would end with this turn, as his Rhyperior took the stage. A Stone Edge from it would no doubt knock Charizard out. However, the fire dragon did not attack at the presumed last turn of the sun, but using Substitute to cushion the rocks flung at him by the rocky beast below. "Why bother now? The sun is already fading, and you cannot kill Rhyperior in one hit anyway."

Nothing else mattered, however. The young trainer simply dropped. He sat down firmly, legs planted across. Giovanni took it as a sign of giving, as the turn ended. However, things did not at all turn out like what he expected. As the rain of fire engulfed the rest of his league, the vengeful man turned away in rage, as he did not skip a beat in simply disappearing out of sight. Blinded by anger, he did not notice how his movements were not exactly all that concealed.