July 25th, 2010
Photoshop and drawingtablet

PCBCOS Entry: Round 3
Entrants: Sandy Gano and team
Opponent: Aka Kanda and his team (Edowaado)
Theme song: Link

Chapter 3

The air-conditioned, and more importantly dust free, atmosphere in the elevator was a welcome change for its three passengers. Even the insipid old jingle of 'Machop's Lollipop' blaring at them through the speakers was just a minor inconvenience. It was one of those once popular hit singles, now tired and overused. The song, with its pulsing beat and uncomplicated lyrics was inexplicably popular as an elevator tune in public buildings such as the Goldenrod Department Store. Most shoppers had heard it so often that it did not even register any more, though they would usually leave the elevator humming the tune and feeling slightly nostalgic. Neither Sandy nor Steve were paying particular attention to the song, as both were lost in their own thoughts.

Steve was clearly agitated and sulking. His hands tucked deep into the pockets of his pants, his shoulders drawn up and his lower lip extended in a sour pout, Steve's expression was one of severe annoyance. Every now and then his eyes would dart to the left to observe his female companion. Sandy had crossed her arms and was staring at a non-descript piece of carpet in front of her. She frowned as her mind tried to come to terms with what she had just seen. The boy in the basement wasn't as she remembered him. Could it really be the same person? But if it wasn't Aka, then who was he? And how did he know her? She shook her head curtly and sighed before turning to look at Steve. He seemed to be pretending not to pay attention to her, but she could see his eyes shifting. Behind him H4X hovered quietly. The Pokemon's otherwise expressionless optics betrayed just a hint of amusement, but it remained silent.

"So, uh," Sandy said. Steve straightened up as she spoke to him. "How do you know Aka?"

"Seems you know him a lot better than I do, Janie," he grimaced as he emphasized her fake name. "He's just my roommate. And I know he is normally a coordinator, not a trainer," Steve quickly added, when he noticed Sandy didn't react. She nodded and looked down again. "How... do you know him?" He asked.

She met his eyes once more and saw he had adopted a more open pose now. He had shared his knowledge, limited as it was, and now he wanted to know what she knew. Here's a man, Sandy thought, who doesn't like being left out of the loop. For a minute she considered her answer. Sharing horror stories about the Black Tourney was not really what she wanted to do right now. She preferred to keep it to herself and, if at all possible, Sandy wanted to forget it ever happened at all. But seeing the pleading, barely concealed eagerness in his eyes, Sandy caved. She had to give him something.

"I know him from..." she hesitated, "a contest we were in a while ago. It got a bit ugly and people got hurt." Steve obviously wanted more. "So uh… Chaos broke out, and I lost track of him. I thought he got trampled or something," Sandy lied.

"Oh," Steve abruptly turned his head and looked down. Studying him carefully, Sandy could tell he had bought it and resumed her own study of the carpet's intricate patterns. She didn't like to lie and was usually pretty bad at it, but in some cases you just had to do what you had to do.

A sudden ding shook them both out of their contemplative states. The doors of the elevator flew open and light poured into the compartment. They blinked as they were suddenly treated to a vista of stalls, stores and shoppers. Flashing lights highlighted advertisements for extra effect, various scents and aromas wafted their way and overhead they could hear the announcements for the next big sale being brought to the public over the intercom.

"35th floor: summer garments, shoes, perfume and lingerie," H4X announced like a certified lift boy, "The Jynx's Secret line is on sale today."

"What?! '35th floor?'", Steve echoed. "H4X! Why did you take us this high up? And how the heck do you know what's on this floor?"

The Porygon-Z lifted its stubby little arms defensively. "You said you wanted to go 'up', sir. You never specified how high. And as for knowing which products are for sale on this floor... well..." It slyly cocked its head. "Let's just say their mainframe's security system is a tad outdated."

Sandy had wandered away from them as they argued. The sparkling elevator had lead them onto the main hallway of the department store. Marble floors shone their reflections back up at them. Elegant pilasters and columns reached up to support the domed ceiling which sported thousands of tiny spots; each one shining like a little star in an artificial sky. Left and right she could see an extravaganza of boutiques, shops, stands and outlets boasting their impressive array of wares. Each product was carefully placed to maximise its please-factor and to entice the unwary browser to become a buyer. Opposite the elevator, Sandy spotted the building's central stairwell. As she apprehensively approached it, she caught snippets of Steve chiding H4X. Something about not being allowed to hack strange computers and going to jail.

The white-haired girl clasped her hands around the cold and of course sparkling gold railing and carefully peered down over the edge. Immediately it was as if the floor fell away below her. The huge stairwell plummeted down 35 stories of shopping madness. She could look down on the hallways of several of the lower floors, but the ones beyond them blurred into a mess of glass, marble and tasteful advertisements. Black escalators crawled up and down the entire height of the building to bring visitors to their desired floor. The more cardiac-minded shoppers took the broad regular stairs next to the escalators, hauling their loot along with them. To the side vertically stacked glass panes marked the outer edge of the building and provided a stunning view of the city's skyline, shimmering orange in the light of the setting sun. Sandy didn't look up. She knew there would be at least twenty more floors above her as well. The Goldenrod Department Store was famous for being one of the tallest buildings in the country. And every single one of its floors would be jampacked with shoppers and browsers, looking to make a good deal on their desired products. There was no doubt about it. This place was hell. She wringed her hands on the railing and tried to tear her eyes away from the dizzying sight below her. Why she kept confronting herself with her own vertigo, Sandy did not quite understand. Something kept luring her to edges, kept inviting her to look down.

"Hey!" Steve's hand landed heavily on her shoulder, almost causing Sandy to flinch at the perceived sense of lost equilibrium. She turned around as calmly as she could.

"Janie, if uh... that's really your name," her companion said, throwing up his thumb and pointing at the elevator behind them. "I'm going to the ground floor and back to the hotel. Want to come with?"

His body language had completely changed since they left the elevator. Where he first expressed irritation over being shut out by Aka and being left in the dark by Sandy, he was now opening up. Right fist planted firmly on his hip, head tilted to the side a little as he waited for her reply, he almost seemed jovial now. Perhaps he was just one of those people who couldn't stay angry for very long.

"You just arrived here, right? I could show you where the hotel is," he offered.

"Sure," Sandy smiled, "thanks for the offer."

Taking the elevator back down to the safety of ground level and leaving through the store's ridiculously large entrance hall, they were soon lost in conversation. Or rather; Steve told of his ambitious exploits and claims to fame, while Sandy listened and asked a question every now and then. Steve, as it turned out, had tons of stories to tell. There were numerous tales about the strength and prowess of his Pokemon, of course. Most of these involved mammalian opponents being pummelled by his expressed non-mammalian partners. "Your mammals are sort of okay, I guess," he was quick to add, "they're strong at least. But overall mammals aren't that special." When Sandy assured him that her Persian, Hypno and Jolteon were the only mammals on her team, Steve's face cracked open in an approving grin which almost made her laugh. She didn't really like the loud and boastful types, but perhaps she and this guy had gotten off on the wrong foot.

Walking along the various roads together, he excitedly continued his stories. Steve seemed happy to have finally found a more or less willing audience. He recounted the story of the time when he had excavated the fossilized remains of a huge Rampardos. Throwing his arms out, he claimed it was at least the size of a bus, and rather sourly he added that the lab coats had refused to revive the beast out of fear it would destroy their facilities. Then there were the stories about Steve defeating his region's Elite Four with nothing but his Treecko, about how he was the first person to discover a new type of fossil Pokemon, about how the apples growing in his Torterra's tree had won him a pie-baking-contest, and of course there was the highly unlikely tale of Steve defeating a brutish man called 'the Chief' in a beer drinking contest, while arm wrestling him.

Sandy was only listening to half of it all, but she'd perfected to art of pretending to listen and seeming interested. Catching just enough of the conversation to more or less know what he was talking about, she was able to ask sensible questions to keep him going. Other people often characterized Sandy as a good listener, which apparently made her seem more sociable. It was a good counterbalance for her other great handicap: her being terrible with names. She walked on beside him with an amused smile on her face. This guy was actually highly entertaining. It was almost enough to shake off her uneasiness about her meeting with Aka. She'd have to try and remember his name.

Time apparently flew while they walked, because it wasn't long before they found themselves standing in front of the most impressive looking mansion Sandy had ever seen. "This is the hotel?" She couldn't quite believe it.

"Well, yes and no," Steve replied. "It's actually the house of the former mayor of Goldenrod, mayor Bringfire. His daughter Autumn is one of the PCBC OS judges."

"They're letting us sleep in their own home? That… doesn't make a lot of sense," Sandy said.

"Ah, well! There's a funny story about that," Steve said, as he slipped the key card attached to his room key through the gate's card reader. The machine's red light flashed briefly before turning green. A zoom and a click later, Steve pushed the gate open and let Sandy in.

"Rumour has it," he said secretively, "that the PCBC OS administration is actually poor as a church mouse. They were hardly able to scrape the funding for the tournament together and what little sponsor money they got, they spent on surveillance equipment, PR and of course prize money.
"They want to use this tournament as a way to draw more visitors to the city, and to make next year's tournament better known to the public. It's all one big publicity stunt! Next year is when they hope the big bucks will come rolling in."

He shut the gate and lead Sandy up the long flint driveway. Neatly trimmed lawns and flowerbeds surrounded the majestic white mansion; its design was clearly inspired by Renaissance architecture. Sandy could see numerous windows lining the front of the building, and could only guess at the number of rooms it contained.

"It has eighteen rooms," her guide happily gave it away before continuing his revelations. "So that's where we come in, basically. We provide the spectacular battles, they record and broadcast them, and presto! Next year people will line up to get a piece of the action, especially if they got knocked out from the OS's big brother. Ever heard of the PCBC?"

Sandy replied that she knew about the PCBC. The fact that it was bigger and more public had been the decisive factor in her choice to enter the OS instead. Hearing that the OS was in it for the publicity was a tad alarming to someone who wanted to keep a low profile. Though on the other hand, I guess it was to be expected, she thought.

"Well, until then they need to turn every penny twice, you know? So that's why there are no stadiums," Steve happily continued, "They didn't have the cash to build or rent them. Somehow they got the city administration to agree to letting us fight anywhere in the city. I'll bet they won't agree to that again in a hurry." He said the last part with a chuckle. "And," he paused for dramatic effect, making it absolutely clear that he was finally arriving at his main point, "there's also no money to house any of the competitors! That's why they're stashing us away as cheaply as they possibly can. Fortunately for us, that means we can stay at this charming little abode."

Throwing the heavy main doors open, Steve sauntered in as if he owned the place. Sandy hesitantly followed and closed the doors behind them. Extravagant luxury always made her feel a little uncomfortable.

"You know, we're actually pretty lucky," Steve said, turning around and leaning in as if he was telling her another great secret, "Not all of the participants are housed here. No room and all that. The rest of them are all stashed in some cheap joint called the 'Grimer Gala', which is as gross as it sounds." Sandy blinked, not sure if she wanted to ask for clarification.

"Just don't tell anyone where you're staying," he advised her, "The others will have a jealous fit of rage if they find out."

"Uh, okay," she said.

"Good!" Steve snapped back in his upright position and planted both fists in his sides. "Well, I have to go," he said while turning around, "have fun settling into your room. I'm going to kill some time until my roomie gets back."


Sandy's room, as it turned out, was located at the end of a grand corridor with various paintings of exotic Pokemon on the walls. It was room twelve and it faced south, meaning it was continually lit by the sun during the day. It was spacious with a luxurious cream carpet on the floor, which Sandy didn't dare walk upon without taking her dusty shoes off. A chandelier hung suspended from the Victorian ceiling over a seating arrangement consisting of two large couches and three equally voluminous chairs, all of which were arranged around a coffee table which looked like it might be an antique. A widescreen plasma tv stood in a corner, silently begging to be turned on. Various palms and orchids were distributed around the room to bring a hint of fresh green to the fore. Observing her new room for a few minutes, Sandy couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt and pity for the poor trainers who were currently lodged in the 'Grimer Gala'. Not that she would be willing to trade with any of them, mind you. Quietly and feeling a tad uncomfortable she sneaked around the room, making one amazing discovery after the other. There were two annex bedrooms, each with a king-size bed, a walk-in closet, a minibar and a bathroom the size of a small pub. Both bedrooms looked unoccupied, so Sandy assumed her new roommate hadn't moved in yet. I guess that means I get first pickings, she thought and she claimed the room on the west for herself. There were no inherent differences between the rooms that she could spot; she just didn't like having the sun shine into her room at the break of dawn.

Plopping down on the huge bed, Sandy undid the belt to her bag and began to unpack it. She always travelled light, bringing few clothes and always finding a laundry service to wash them if needed. This left all the more room for her other baggage: Pokemon care products. From the depths of her bag, Sandy produced potions, revives, status healers, repels and any other type of product a trainer might need to keep his or her team happy, healthy and fighting fit. From a side pocket she produced eight Pokeballs, her PCBC OS team plus two reserves. Most of the balls were of the standard red and white type. Though they seemed identical at first glance, Sandy knew exactly which one held which of her many partners. Cinder's Pokeball, for instance had a few chips from which paint was missing. Aiko's Pokeball on the other hand was pristine, and Solly's had a small dent right underneath the button-shaped matter converter which didn't impede its functionality, but it did make it easier to identify the ball. Only Kyris and Fang had different ball types, the former having a Safari Ball and the latter occupying a Net Ball. Sandy took Cinder's Pokeball and studied it for a while before putting it back on the bed. She had already healed the dragon after his fight with the other girl's Charizard on the Magnet Train. Quartz had immediately gone to sleep after his victory over Steve's Aerodactyl, so his wounds would also be mostly healed by now, which left only two more Pokemon to care for. The young woman selected two other Pokeballs and released their occupants into the room.

As they materializing on the thick carpet, Tarim and Aiko took a moment to look around and take in their strange new surroundings. Both looked rather sorry for themselves, but did not seem to be in any immediate danger. Tarim looked the worst off. The Persian's usually clean, shiny and cream-colored fur was a matted mess. Grey concrete dust soiled it and had taken its sheen, while streaks of crusted blood clumped his fur together around the areas where he had been hurt. His back in particular, where the Torterra had taken a bite out of him was a mess, and so was his face. One eye was almost completely swollen shut, but even so he wore a ridiculously content grin. The blood on his front paws wasn't his, and the large cat meticulously began to lick it off as he watched his trainer with his one good eye. It was as if he was trying to say, I don't care if you don't approve, I still brought down a freaking Torterra! Sandy shook her head as she watched him show off, but she couldn't suppress a small smirk. It was difficult to be mad at that cat, even if he was partially responsible for bringing down the Underground Tunnel.

Aiko didn't move around all that much. Externally she seemed in much better shape than her partner, but she lay with her stomach flat on the ground. Looking up at Sandy, she whined softly. Sandy guessed that the Jolteon had suffered some internal injuries during her fight. The overgrown pup looked up with her giant brown eyes, patiently waiting for her trainer to magically make the pain go away. Sandy tilted her head and smiled at her. Fortunately the solution was fairly simple.

"Tarim, stop licking yourself for a minute," she said. The cat looked up and cast her an indignant look, tongue sticking halfway out of his mouth. "Use Thunderbolt on Aiko," Sandy said, while she backed away from the pair. Immediately Tarim's expression changed, as he understood what she wanted him to do. He rose to his feet and standing over his companion he arched his back. Sandy couldn't see it, but she knew that underneath his skin, the nerves in the Persian's spinal cord fired faster and faster, building up a huge current in the blink of an eye. Back and forth the electricity shot, from head to tail, tail to head until it reached the desired strength and the sparks violently broke free from his body. The air cracked under the sudden release of charged energy and Sandy squinted against the blinding flash being released onto the Jolteon. However, she knew Tarim was good at what he did. When he was done, not a single scorch mark would mar the interior of this room. All the energy would be focused solely on Aiko and nothing else.

And just like that it was over again. Tarim slumped back into a sitting position and observed his handiwork with an appropriate amount of feline pride. Aiko lay very still at his paws. Having just received a two megavolt jolt, her normally long flowing fur was standing erect in sharp spikes, just as it would when she herself ran her own electricity through her body. For a moment her eyelids fluttered, before suddenly springing open. In an instant she was transformed from a sick dog back into her happy and bouncy self. Volt Absorb was such an amazing ability for a Pokemon to have. With a loud bark she jumped up, shook herself to settle her fur back down and jumped on the bed. With every step she planted dirty dust prints on the covers.

"No! Wait! Get off there, bad girl!" Sandy lunged forwards to pull the Jolteon off, but the silly thing was too happy to be obedient just yet. It jumped to avoid her and grabbed a pillow with her teeth, eager to turn the chase into a game. Her trainer lashed out again, trying to grab the pillow and pry it loose from her jaws, but then Sandy caught herself. Straightening up, she looked down on the slightly crazed pup with her most authoritive frown. "Down," she commanded. Aiko hesitated for a minute, pillow in her mouth, legs sprawled out in the 'let's play' position and her tiny tail wagging so furiously that it would be more accurate to describe it was 'butt wagging'. Sandy titled her head down and stared hard for added effect. Aiko's ears trembled a little with excitement, but then, realizing her alpha was quite serious after all she released the pillow from her death grip and jumped off the bed.

"Good girl," Sandy said, while the Jolteon circled around her feet to heel and sit. She looked up with her doggy eyes, Sandy reached down to scratch her ears and stroke her head, and Aiko's life was complete. Panting madly, she let out a loud sigh and pressed herself against Sandy's leg. For Jolteon who thought she was a cat, she acted an awful lot like a dog sometimes.

"You're an absolute nutcase," Sandy said gently and she recalled her Jolteon into her Pokeball, "Rest up now."

Looking up, Sandy caught Tarim grimacing at her. He hadn't moved from where he had dropped his butt and was regarding at her with a mildly mocking look, as if to say: You almost lost control over the silly thing there, didn't ya?

"Well, I sorted it out, didn't I?" Sandy walked over as she spoke.

Tarim flicked and ear and only meowed with his usual raspy voice. They had an understanding, Sandy and her Persian. Back when she had only just caught him as a Meowth, he had been difficult to control and she had tried to dominate him like one would dominate a dog. Of course, this didn't work out at all. He would ignore her orders, she would get angry and shout, he'd hiss and spit, and things got progressively worse from there. Thankfully for both parties involved they had learned to understand each other over time. One learned to obey when necessary, and the other to cut slack whenever possible. Whereas Sandy's relationship with Aiko was that of a merciful human god ruling over an obedient servant, she stood on more equal footing with the creamy cat. Their bond was a mostly democratic one.

"Yeah, I know you did most of the work back there," Sandy assured him, as she sat down on the bed and inspected his injured head. Turning an ear inside out to check it over, she scratched his chin in the process. "I'm sure Aiko understood that too," she said, moving to the other ear. He responded with a rolling purr-meow, then jowled and pulled back when she touched his swollen cheek and eye.

"Sorry," she said, "Anyway, it's not like she thinks I can use Thunderbolt. Aiko knows you look out for her." Sandy folded her hands over her belly and leaned in close to Tarim. "I don't think anything's broken," she said, and then with a teasing smile, "Shall I get Aiko back out to shock you too?" He folded his ears back, narrowed his good eye and lashed his tail. No. Heal me, human. With a good-humoured chuckle Sandy selected one of the many potions laid out on the bed. "This might sting a little," she said, "And after this you two are both getting a bath."


Solly lazily operated the remote control as he reclined in the comfortable seat. Sandy was happy to let him dominate the tv. She had taken the seat slightly opposite him and was only partially paying attention to the goings-on on the screen. It was mostly PCBC OS related news anyway, and she didn't really want to be confronted with it. Dinner had been unusually heavy and luxurious and Sandy, not accustomed to seeing so many different kinds of food in one place, uncharacteristically hadn't been able to resist trying absolutely everything. Now she was feeling the effects of overeating. Her stomach gurgled its complaints at her, as she pressed both hands against it for warmth. Something wasn't agreeing with her at all, but what exactly she didn't know. Whatever it was, it hadn't affected Solaris at all. The beefy Blaziken had absolutely stuffed his face, and even though he wasn't used to eating human food at all he seemed perfectly fine. Sandy exhaled carefully as she cramped once again and glared at him from the corners of her eyes. With his left leg resting on his right knee and smiling contently, he seemed unaware of his trainer's distress as he changed the channels once again. Most likely he'd only catch on if she suddenly ran off to one of the bathrooms to puke her guts out. He could be so oblivious sometimes, unlike Candy. The little pink Hypno seemed much more in tune with her. Candy had nestled herself in one of the far corners of the room, away from the noisy tv. She was sitting on the floor with her legs crossed and her eyes closed, meditating as she so often did. Sandy knew it was Candy's way of resting, since she didn't ever sleep. But even in this state, the Hypno remained vigilant, as she had been during the Black Tourney. One ear was turned towards Sandy and Solly, while the other continually spun round to survey their surroundings.

As time progressed Sandy's stomach settled down somewhat. Apparently she wouldn't lose her dinner after all. No longer focused on her physical state, her mind began to wander again. Its attention kept shifting between the events broadcasted on the tv and her meeting with Aka. Something seemed off about him, and it wasn't just his height and his appearance. Didn't his voice even sound a little deeper? The reporter on the tv recounted how a man named Jackster had sent his Snorlax through the roof of the Underground Tunnel so that he could reach his PCBC OS opponents. Apparently she and Steve hadn't been the only ones to do a number on that place. But how is that possible? People don't just grow two feet taller in a few months time. Although... with puberty, who knows what's possible? The tv showed another battle flash by. A young man with brown hair was fighting the girl Sandy recognized from her encounter on the Magnet train. A dented old Scizor, two Weaviles and a Tyranitar were doing the fighting, with the later absolutely dominating the match. The Scizor was bravely holding its own, however. Well, even if that could be explained away, what was with that look he gave his opponent? That was just downright creepy. Like he wasn't in his right mind... Yet another battle. An Abomasnow was running through a pit with a large wooden hammer, trying to play a game of whack-the-mole on a poor Dugtrio. The camera zoomed in on the trainers and Sandy thought she recognized one of them as another BT survivor, but the camera moved back to the Pokemon before she could identify him. Odd. Well, maybe it was just my imagination. Anyway... I wonder... if anything is wrong with Aka. Maybe he needs help?

Her train of thought was suddenly interrupted when she heard a key being inserted in her room's lock. It was turned and the lock clicked open. Sandy and both her Pokemon turned to look at the new arrival in the opening of the door, who looked at them shyly. It was the same girl Sandy had seen earlier that day, Aka's round two opponent. A Pikachu with a green bow sat on her shoulder and also nervously looked around. The girl wiped a brown lock of hair away from her face and surveyed the room. It was clear she hadn't expected to find the place occupied.

"I-I'm sorry," she stammered, "I think I got the wrong room."

"Room twelve?" Sandy asked.


"Then you're at the right place," the white-haired girl said with a nod towards the unoccupied bedroom, "That one's yours. It's practically a palace in its own right. Don't mind us." She smiled encouragingly as she watched the new girl close the front door behind her and slip into her bedroom. Sandy couldn't help but grin when she heard her new roommate's amazed gasps through the closed bedroom door. It was good to know she wasn't the only one who was unaccustomed to such luxuries.

Sandy didn't see the girl again until a while later, after first hearing sounds of her rummaging around, and then hearing the shower running. When she appeared in the main room once again, she was dressed in a bathrobe and her hair was wet and bound up in a towel. She was however still wearing the horned mask which covered the left half of her face. The white thing covered her cheek and her eye, but left her nose and her mouth exposed. Sandy didn't bother asking her what it was for. Her experiences with the Black Dragon told her some people had pretty good reasons to wear masks. And she for one was not about to pry around in their business.

With a friendly nod she acknowledged her roomie's presence who found herself a seat on one of the couches. The huge Luxray which accompanied her settled down at her feet and glowered at Solaris for a moment. The giant humanoid bird cocked it head and grinned back.

"Blazi? Blaziken, blaze!" The electric lion's features seemed to relax at that, and it responded with an almost friendly sounding: "Ray! Luxray!"

"Manly banter," Sandy pointed out smugly and the other girl giggled. The ice was broken, introductions were exchanged and comments were made on the battles which were shown on the tv. The new girl, she re-introduced herself as Kinata after realizing without fail that Sandy had forgotten her name, turned out to be quite a battle expert. Sandy found herself agreeing with most if not all of her opinions, though she seemed to favour the electric types a bit too much. She'd probably go ape if I introduced her to Aiko, Sandy thought. But throughout their conversation, she mostly thought about how much she wanted to ask Kinata about Aka. How had their battle gone? Had he seemed strange to her? And where did he go afterwards?

During a lull she finally dared to change the subject. "So... I saw you were up against Aka today," Sandy said casually. Kinata's expression changed as if she had been stung by a Beedrill. One moment she was smiling and chatting, the next instant she glumly stared down into the cup of water she had fetched for herself. "I... yes," she said, "I was."

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Kinata said, shaking her head, "Well, who is ever proud of losing a fight, huh?"

Sandy blinked. This girl seemed knowledgeable about battles and Pokemon. Clearly she was experienced while, if what Steve had told her was correct, Aka was just a coordinator. Coordinators with their flashy showmanship were not exactly known for being hardened fighters.

"I'm sorry," Sandy hastened to say, "I know losing can suck. Was it... a bad loss? Where your Pokemon hurt?" Had Aka really done that much damage?

Kinata jerked up. "No! I mean, nobody was really hurt, actually," she hesitated, "None of our Pokemon were, anyway. We didn't actually fight. We held a race instead."

"A race?" Sandy echoed. It was a tad unconventional, sure, but it didn't seem like something to get upset over. If anything it might be a good alternative to fighting. Fewer Pokemon would get hurt at least.

"Yes," Kinata said, "but that wasn't the problem. You see..." She paused again and it was starting to worry Sandy. It gave her a hollow feeling in her already unsettled stomach.

"Well," she demanded with a sudden tone of urgency, "Spit it out! What happened?"

"I got carried away," Kinata exclaimed, "I didn't see how damaged that place was until it was too late! My attacks hit a wall, and... it collapsed... on top of Aka."

Sandy fell silent.

Previous: Chapter 2
Next: Chapter 4

I hope you guys like long chapters... XD

Anyway, I know that the 'Grimer Gala' motel is considered canon by most people around here, but seeing how in Edowaado's comics some characters are staying in a mansion, I decided to come up with a way for both lodgings to be able to exist together. I imagine that as the tournament progresses and more trainers are eliminated, Autumn will get fed up with all those drifters hanging out in her house and kick them all to the Grimer Gala.

Steve xIOTAx
Kinata SabakuNoKinata
Baruch, Anat the Weavile, Wilhelm the Scizor BentoDS
Riley, Jade the Weavile, Toffee the Tyranitar Dampho
Jackster, Hurley the Snorlax DarkAngelX
Tom, Dig Dug the Dugtrio halibabica
Ozzie, Skadi the Abomasnow Cathto
The Chief chief-orc
Autumn Bringfire The-Blue-Pangolin

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