Prologue: The Most Powerful Trainer in Sinnoh, Part I

"Heracross, this is your chance! One last Brick Break on Gastrodon, now!"

At its trainer's command, the Heracross launched itself off the ground at incredible speed as it prepared to lay a devastating downward strike into its weakened opponent. Its trainer, a slight but tanned fifteen-year-old boy with messy brown hair that partially covered his chestnut-brown eyes, mimicked the movement with his own arm as his Heracross scored a direct hit on his opponent, which the boy identified as an East Sea variant of Gastrodon. The boy could tell the difference, because this variant had a blue underbelly and a green shell, which can only be found on wild Gastrodon east of Mt. Coronet. The other variant, he remembered, was brown with a pink shell. While he was pondering this, he heard the tournament referee declare the Gastrodon unable to battle and the resultant cheer from the crowd, and he quickly snapped back into reality to congratulate his Heracross, who was zipping around in circles in the air due to excitement over its latest victory.

The 28,000-strong crowd began cheering as he was presented with a gold medal for winning the Sinnoh Young Trainers' Invitational, a tournament held in Hearthome City's Contest Dome for trainers under the age of 18 who have displayed considerable battle prowess. All the trainers were fairly skilled and had a few Gym Badges and tournament experience, but this boy had far exceeded everyone's expectations by winning the tournament without any of his Pokémon being defeated. It was obvious to everyone that he was far beyond the skill level of everyone else in the tournament. This trainer had made quite an impression on a tall young platinum-blonde woman in a black dress, although this woman was known as a Trainer of great repute herself. In fact, she happened to be Cynthia, Pokémon League Champion of Sinnoh, and she was considered to be one of the best greatest battle prodigies of modern times. She went out on her journey at the tender age of 11, and by the time she was 13 she defeated all 8 of the Sinnoh Gym Leaders of the time, including Fantina, Volkner, Byron, Crasher Wake, and Candice.

This trainer was the first person other than Steven Stone, Lance or Alder that she had seen in years that she wasn't entirely sure she could beat in battle. The prospect of battling this incredibly talented trainer excited her so much that she ran after him when he left the dome to challenge him to a battle.

"Hello! Excuse me! Wait!" Cynthia called out at the boy as he walked out of the stadium.

"Hmm?" The boy turned around, his brown hair whipping around before settling into place and obscuring his forehead. "Wait... You look familiar."

"I am Cynthia, League Champion of Sinnoh. Pleasure to meet you."

"The pleasure's mine. I am Darius. I assume you watched me in the tournament?"

"Absolutely! You were beyond extraordinary! I have not been so thrilled watching someone battle since Iris defeated Alder to become Champion almost three years ago."

"I appreciate the compliment. Is that all you wished to come talk to me about, ma'am?"

"Don't call me ma'am, it makes me feel old. Just call me Cynthia."

"Sorry, Cynthia. Is there anything you wished to ask me or tell me?"

"I do have one thing I want to ask. I want to battle you."

"I accept your challenge, but I can't battle right now. My Pokémon are tired."

"Understandable. I wish to challenge you tomorrow, at the Dome. If we simply battled in the street or out on a route it would cause major havoc in the street."

"Cynthia, I accept your challenge! See you tomorrow. What time?"

"1:00. I want to make sure that my Pokémon and I have lunch."

Word spread quickly about Cynthia's challenge to the mysterious wonder trainer that had won the tournament almost effortlessly using only the same 3 Pokémon throughout the tournament. By 8:00 that night the press had managed to track down where Darius was staying and they were begging for interviews.

"Darius, do you think you can win?"

"Where are you from?"

"Can we see your other Pokémon?

Darius declined to answer all the questions and shut the door, telling the reporters that he would rather let the battle, not the press, judge his abilities as a Trainer. He went to sleep that night rather late, due to his excitement about the upcoming battle. The Champion of the region had just challenged him, which was almost completely unheard of in any region, even for trainers that had won the Pokémon League tournament.

The day had finally arrived. Darius was standing across the battlefield from Cynthia, mentally preparing for the battle of his life. His palms were sweating but he knew the nervousness would dissipate when he got into the rhythm of battle. Cynthia was becoming visibly excited, as her grey eyes seemed to glow with anticipation when the rocky battlefield rose up to the level of the floor and bridged the gap between them.

"This is a full 6-on-6 battle! Switching is allowed by both sides! The battle will end when both sides' Pokémon are defeated or one side calls a forfeit! Now, BEGIN!" The referee waved his flag to signal the start of the battle as the crowd cheered loudly.

"Go, Garchomp!" Cynthia sent out her star Pokémon, the Ground-and-Dragon hybrid land shark known for its extreme rarity, unmatchable power and terrifying speed. Many heavily publicized matches have been decisively ended by its incredibly powerful Giga Impact.

Darius decided to send out his Heracross in response.

"Darius has responded to Cynthia by sending out his Heracross, whose devastating Brick Break won him the tournament! But is its impressive physical strength any match for Garchomp's raw power and the power of Garchomp's own Brick Break?" the announcer asked the excited 42,000 strong crowd that gathered from all over Hearthome and the nearby cities to watch, not to mention the many thousands more that were watching on television.

The crowd's murmuring became louder as they anticipated the first move.

"Why didn't he choose an Ice type or a Flying type?"

"Why didn't he use his Serperior? It's his strongest Pokémon."

"Cynthia's got this in the bag."

"Heracross, Bulk Up!" Darius ordered. Heracross began glowing as it increased its Attack and Defense, a well-chosen move for a Pokémon that relies on physical attacks and needs to withstand Garchomp's own brutal attacks.

"Garchomp, Giga Impact! Finish it before it starts!" Cynthia ordered, in hopes that it would defeat Heracross before it could land an attack.

"Giga Impact so early? That's a risky move, but it's unlikely that Heracross could stand up to that even after a Bulk Up." The announcer commented over the microphone.

"Heracross, dig in with your feet! Absorb the blow!" Darius called out to Heracross desperately.

Garchomp's attack connected, sending Heracross flying and tearing up the rocks in a spectacular display of power. Heracross hit the ground hard, but a green glowing energy began to surround him.

"What's this? Heracross is still able to continue?" The announcer said in utter amazement as the whole crowd collectively gasped. Heracross managed to get up as its Swarm ability took effect, giving it a second wind as it recovered from the punishing attack. Cynthia visibly became worried, realizing that she had truly met a trainer worthy of her steel. Garchomp had to recharge and it was visibly shocked that its opponent was still able to battle after the direct hit.

"Heracross, use Reversal!" Darius commanded. Heracross slammed Garchomp with the powerful Reversal attack, a move that hits for more damage the more injured a Pokémon is.

"Garchomp, Dragon Rush!" Cynthia called out to Garchomp, who had finished recharging. Garchomp leaped high in the air to ready itself for the attack when Heracross flew up, grabbed Garchomp's arms and pinned them to its sides.

"Megahorn!" Heracross hit Garchomp in the snout with its glowing horn, causing Garchomp to be sent flying. Normally, a Bug-type move would do average damage to a Garchomp, but thanks to Swarm's effects, Megahorn was much more powerful than normal. Garchomp fell to the ground in considerable pain from the direct hit, and it struggled to get up while Heracross started to pant from fatigue.

"Finish it, Heracross! Brick Break!" Darius called out to Heracross, certain that the next attack would decide who would lose their first Pokémon.

"Garchomp, Brick Break as well!"

The two attacks collided perfectly as Heracross' forearm struck Garchomp's fin, and the resulting explosion caused a sand cloud to obscure the field and the two combatants. Both Cynthia and Darius began to sweat nervously and stare at the cloud of sand obscuring their Pokémon, knowing a collision of such great magnitude probably means one or both of their Pokémon would be unable to continue...