King of Everything
Hello, once more. As always: Pokémon is not mine (tear), please critique, and thank you for reading!
One good thing about staying in school for the winter holidays was that I had more time to study for midterms. So, for the first time, I wasn't among the groups of students rifling through rumpled notes outside their testing classrooms, hoping that whatever they could retain in those last few minutes was enough.
But to say that I wasn't nervous would be lying.
"Please, Amanda, just one more time," I moaned pitifully. Amanda sighed.
"My dear Leon, I don't mean to turn you down, but you have asked me to quiz you twenty-six times," she said.
The scene was almost identical to that before the first expedition test: Amanda and I sat on the floor next to the door; Ieri, Will, and Hector deliberated loudly a bit farther down; and Jason was pacing.
This time, however, Amber and her whole group was present, chatting casually about hair care and manicures and the prettiest Pokémon- everything that didn't matter. I didn't have to look at them when they started laughing to know that it was directed at me and Ieri.
Lilly was there, too. She stopped by to give us a brief greeting.
"Good luck, guys," she called, strolling past us with a few of her- equally pretty- friends. "Relax!"
Will watched her go by unabashedly, then ran a hand through his hair.
"She never looks at me," he grumbled. Ieri glared at him, and Hector rolled his eyes.
Amanda watched Jason walk back and forth, mumbling and rubbing his Grimsley amulet. I leaned my head back against the wall. So the Lightningrod ability draws all electric attacks to the Pokémon with the ability, and there is no damage, just an increase of one in special attack, and the Miracle Seed boosts the power of grass type moves because-
A quick breath escaped Amanda, and I glanced over at her. She was holding a crumpled ball of paper in her hand and looking over at Amber, who was giggling quietly behind her hand with her friends.
"Did they throw that?" I asked her.
Amanda nodded, then threw the ball back at Amber. One of her male lackeys caught it and scowled at Amanda. To my surprise, the little girl scowled back.
"Sorry," she said quickly when she saw my expression. "I'm not…in the best of moods today."
"Sorry to hear that. What happened, if you wouldn't mind telling?"
"My mother reprimanded me via Xtransceiver for not studying as much as she expected me to," Amanda grumbled. "Completely unfair."
It was unusual to see Amanda, who had seemingly infinite patience and understanding, pouting and complaining about something- not least her mother. "I'm sure you'll place first again," I told her, hoping it would help.
Amanda smiled grudgingly. "Oh, I studied a lot. Just not to my mother's standards."
A teacher stuck her head out. "Who's coming in for the written test first?"
Half of the students stood slowly, laughing nervously and taking last long looks at their notes. Will, Amanda, and Hector were among them, as was Amber. I gave Will a good-luck fist bump.
The teacher ushered in the students, then turned back to the students remaining. "The rest of you wait for Miss Laurence. She will take you down to the training rooms for the skills test."
Ieri sat down beside me, and I looked away slightly so she wouldn't see the red in my face. "I wish I could take the written test first," she said.
"I could get it over with faster, I guess." Ieri shrugged. "I'm not too worried about the skills test."
"Yeah." I tried to laugh. "You'd get second place again, huh?" I elbowed her playfully.
Ieri smiled. "That," she said, elbowing me back. "was way beyond my expectations. I'm expecting a sixth at most this time."
"Don't say that!"
Ieri was about to say something else when Jason clapped his hands down on my shoulders. I had admitted that I didn't actually ask Ieri out, and I had quite the thrashing. Now, though, he seemed resigned to just bugging me.
"How cute, reassuring her like that." I could hear the smirk in Jason's voice, and I backhanded his shin. Ieri regarded him coldly before looking over my shoulder.
"Miss Laurence is here," she said, standing up, looking very happy to get away from Jason.
Indeed, she was. Miss Laurence studied the clipboard in her hands, then proceeded with roll call. Everyone was there.
"Alright, then. Down to the training center we go." Still looking at her name list, she descended the stairs. I feared for her safety.
The training center was large enough to accommodate the entire group, and then some. Still, students jostled for good spots right up by the terrain stimulators. I guess it was because they wanted to see the battles between their classmates; I didn't blame them. But I wanted some time by myself to relax.
For the first few battles, nothing really spectacular happened. Most were done pretty quickly, even though it was whole party against whole party. However, things got interesting- and then tense- when Ieri was paired up with, of all people, Terrance. Terrance growled at her, and I felt like growling back the way Amanda did.
Ieri just smiled sweetly, which creeped me out.
Terrance and Ieri took their spots across from each other on the Trainer platforms, then released their Pokémon. Ieri's Ninetales stretched leisurely on the rocky ground. A formidable Nidoking stomped its feet on the other side.
"Begin," Miss Laurence said.
I had a huge disadvantage; even I wasn't so stupid as not to see that. Still, I thought I could do it.
Luckily for me, Ninetales was fast and acclimated to the uneven, hard ground she stood on. I directed her to release a Psyshock, which she did; the bright orbs ripped across the field and into the unfortunate Nidoking, who wasn't ready for the immediate attack. Its health bar dropped halfway, and it staggered.
Nidoking roared and used Earth Power, per Terrance's instructions. The ground cracked and flew skyward underneath my feet, and Ninetales jumped frantically from patch to patch of land. A pillar of molten rock struck her, and she fell. Her health bar dropped dramatically.
The ground solidified quickly, and the Nidoking cackled. It pounded Ninetales with a Sludge Wave, which rolled her over and over. I bit my lip and resigned her, then switched Ninetales out for Haxorus. Some of Terrance's supporters cheered.
Haxorus came out of its Poké ball furious. Without my direction, it used Slash, knocking the other heavy Pokémon out. Terrance didn't have the opportunity to resign it; its health dropped to zero before he could. With a trademark scowl, he switched it out for a Persian. I spotted Leon out in the crowd outside the battlefield, brow furrowed.
The Persian watched Haxorus with lazy eyes, almost complacent. Haxorus used X-Scissor as the Persian slowly, luxuriously, went into a Hone Claws. Just as the dragon's claws were about to touch the Persian, it leaped and landed behind Haxorus, facing me. Haxorus whirled around, and my breath caught in my throat as the Persian flipped backwards, landing an Aerial Ace on Haxorus at the same time. It didn't have much of an effect, because of the Pokémon's armor-like skin, but all the same, Haxorus howled in rage.
Persian landed lightly on its feet in front of Haxorus and swished its tail. Terrance gave it a rare smile, then nodded.
The cat Pokémon looked up at me and lunged.
When I asked people about this later, everyone but those who mattered- the teacher and Terrance's friends- agreed that Terrance had motioned towards Ieri right before the Persian used Haxorus as a launch pad, seemed to hover in the air before Ieri's trainer platform, and released a Thunderbolt on her. The bright sparks coursed through Ieri's body, and she collapsed.
Everything happened in slow motion. I remembered shouting and pushing through the crowd when Ieri's trainer platform shattered, sending her plummeting headfirst ten feet to the rocky ground. Someone screamed.
Jason released his Yanmega, which flew underneath Ieri before she hit the ground. Her Haxorus went wild, slashing at the Persian until it fainted and was called back into its Poké ball. Dofin somehow got out of his own ball and, in a rare fit of anger, thrashed and spat Ice Beam after Ice Beam at the walls in the battlefield until the whole thing was frosted.
I wished I could do the same. The students parted just enough to let me through to the battlefield, and I skidded across an icy ground over to Ieri. Jason was right behind me, and he felt for Ieri's pulse while I lifted her up off Yanmega, onto my knee.
Her beautiful eyes were closed.
"She's okay," Jason said, relieved. He dropped her wrist.
Terrance stumbled over. "Hey, man, I'm-"
Jason rose to his feet. "What the hell! What did she ever do to you?" He stepped forward threateningly. Terrance backed away, seemingly afraid.
Years of living with my mother, however, taught me how to search for ingenuity, and Terrance's eyes betrayed his glee. Jason saw it too.
"You- you son of a-" he roared.
I got up quickly and rushed for him. Terrance grimaced and punched me in the face. Warm blood gushed from my nose, and I put a hand over it.
Miss Laurence hurried in, slipping on the ice. "Boys! Separate at once!" Terrance put on his façade of innocence once more.
"It was an accident, ma'am," he said calmly.
"I saw it! Don't pretend I'm stupid!" she shouted. Miss Laurence turned to me and Jason. "Mister Taylor, bring Miss Vincent to the infirmary."
Jason nodded and motioned for his Yanmega to help him gently lift Ieri into his arms. Quickly, he left. Miss Laurence glared at me.
"Now, Mister Darwin and Mister Merit. I want you two to come with me."
I sat in front of the headmaster, an imposing man by any standards. His name, to the students, was Headmaster Carson. He was not happy.
"I'm extremely disappointed in the behavior of you two." Headmaster Carson leaned forward over his desk and clasped his hands in a very adult manner. "Throwing punches is not a way to get apologies for an accident in a battle."
Accident? I peered over at Terrance, who sat a good five feet away from me. He had spoken privately to the headmaster; I guessed he was a good actor.
"It wasn't an accident," I said for the fiftieth time.
"And you can prove that, how?"
I wanted to release Tony on both other people in the room, I was so frustrated. "Ask anyone. Anyone. Who had a view of the battlefield during the test. They can tell you that Terrance signaled for his Persian to attack Ieri!"
"Would Miss Vincent herself testify so?"
"I don't know!" I said, finally losing my patience.
Headmaster contemplated his hands. "Would you name a few witnesses? I would like to verify your claim, Mister Darwin."
I sighed. "There was…" Shoot. Who was there that could support me? Right. "Abigail Ruth Voss, Melanie Voss, Dominica Flynn, um, Xavier Cart- no, Carpenter…"
Terrance was clenching his teeth. He didn't like the way the discussion was going.
Headmaster Carson nodded. "I'll call them up to my office, then. As for now, you two go get dinner. You can finish the midterms tomorrow."
"Thank you, sir," I said with a polite nod.
I didn't go to dinner. I went to see Ieri in the infirmary.
Amanda was there, too, as was Hector. Hector was holding a tissue box out for Amanda, who looked as though she had been crying for quite some time. They both looked up at me when I barged in, much to the chagrin of the nurse.
"Leon!" Amanda cried, throwing herself at me and burying her face in my shoulder. I patted her back awkwardly.
"Is it true? Terrance used his Persian to attack Ieri intentionally?" Hector asked.
I nodded wearily. "Headmaster didn't believe me."
"I do," Amanda sobbed.
Someone entered, and I heard them gasp.
"Crap," Will said. "Terrance did this to her?"
Jason peeked in around his friend, and his eyes widened. "Oh gosh."
"What? It's not that bad…" My voice tapered off. I hadn't seen it earlier, but Ieri's neck and arms had scars streaking them. Some areas were an angry red, like burns, standing out against the stark white sheets.
My anger, which had died down a little while ago as I raced down the staircases, flared again.
The nurse stuck her head in. "Two more minutes, kids. I need to start dressing her wounds." She left and shut the door.
"I'm going to pound that moron's head in," Will said slowly. "and then I'm going to have Blastoise Hydro Pump his carcass into next year."
It didn't feel like two minutes passed, but the nurse came in to usher us out. I looked back at Ieri as the nurse closed the door.
"I hope she'll be okay," Jason said. That went for all of us.
Where am I?
…why does it hurt so much…?