July 26th, 2010
Photoshop and drawingtablet

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

Chapter 7
"I still have a soul"

Sandy was in no mood to dawdle. This fight had to end quickly. Tarim was limping, but otherwise seemed battle fit. His Raticate opponent on the other hand was obviously feeling the effects of the Toxic attack he had been exposed too. Wobbling on his four feet, he held his head low as he stared at the Persian with unshaken resolve. The cat was just looking at Reaf as he hunkered down in his battle stance, every now and then flicking an ear as if trying to say: Are ya sure about this?

"Ready, Reaf?" Aka said. Reaf nodded and broke into a trot towards Tarim. Sandy already knew what was coming.

"Facade!" Aka ordered. The rat's trot accelerated into a full-blown gallop as he charged headfirst for Tarim who had jumped to his feet. He only narrowly managed to avoid a head-on collision, but got rammed in the haunches as he dodged. Suppressing a growl between his teeth, he raked at the Raticate patchy brown fur but couldn't get a good grip on its round body.

Façade was a powerful move made even stronger if the user had a status problem, like being poisoned. It was a dangerous ploy, but Sandy knew that time was on her side. They just needed to stall a little, though if the Raticate kept attacking Tarim's hind legs it could all go wrong.

"Don't let him get so close!" She shouted, which earned her an annoyed look from her Pokemon. A quick glance at Aka told her he had also spotted the Persian's weakness. He was gambling on getting in a critical hit on Tarim's flanks. Well then, maybe she just had to gamble a little too.

"Tarim, use Swagger!"

"What was that?" Aka's eyes flashed at her and back at the Persian as it began its unintelligible verbal assault on Reaf's ego. Tarim liked this part of his job just a little bit too much, but maybe that was why he was so good at it. His Swaggers took so very little time to take effect. Already the Raticate's eyes were showing the characteristic purple haze of confusion as it frowned its brow in anger. Ten to one says he's dished out the daddy-insults, Sandy thought a little wryly. With an angry shriek Reaf dashed for the Persian, narrowly missing him and ramming an impressive dent into a vent tower. Swagger didn't just confuse, it also empowered the victim with rage.

"So now you're the one taking the risks, huh?" Aka said, while keeping his eyes on the fight.

Sandy shrugged. "It's no secret that I don't really want to be in this tournament," she said, "It's no big deal to me if I lose. So... I might as well make a little gamble myself." As he glanced over at her, Aka caught her smirk and couldn't help but smile back. "I see," he muttered.

They both knew that the next attack would probably determine the outcome of the match. Either Reaf would hit Tarim, in which case he'd win, or he'd miss and slam into something, giving himself a concussion in the process, at which time he'd likely succumb to the effects of Toxic. The combatants circled each other, judging each other's movements and trying to figure out where to attack. Tarim was moving slowly and deliberately, trying to conceal his limp as much as possible. His tail was lashing in excitement. Reaf held his head high and kept turning it, pointing his nose into the wind to sniff and rotating his ears to catch every sound. It was clear that his senses were feeding him misleading information, and he was trying to get some form of consensus out of their input. She could only imagine how sick he had to be feeling right now. The Persian had also noticed this. He was placing his pads ever so gently, trying to avoid making any sounds, thus taking away one more sense for the Raticate to track him with. It was like a game of cat-and-mouse in reverse, Sandy realized with a smirk, and she wondered if Tarim saw it too. If he did, he'd likely lose his cool over it. But no, judging by his enthusiastic tail, he still seemed to think he was the predator here.

Suddenly Reaf charged. He moved like greased lightning, and it startled Sandy. She had barely seen him brace himself before attacking. Tarim saw him coming though, and jumped to the right, landing on the balustrade at the edge of the rooftop. A small gust of wind made him dig his claws into the concrete to keep from falling off the building. He seemed to growl some insult as the rat charged past him, and followed up with a Thunderbolt attack. However, instead of careening straight into one of the solid objects on the rooftop, Reaf took a sharp turn and homed in on Tarim as the lightning just missed him. She wasn't sure what the Raticate was tracking Tarim by. Maybe it was his scent, the sound of his Thunderbolt, or even the slight tingling sensation caused by the charged air around the feline. Maybe it was just pure dumb luck. Whatever it was, it brought Reaf dead on target. For a moment Sandy saw panic flash across her Persian's face, as he realized he had chosen a very BAD spot to perch on. In her hand she clenched on Tarim's Pokeball which, following Aka's example, she had taken out just in case.

Everything happened all at once from that moment on. In an instant Tarim regained his composure. He pushed off in the face of the charging rodent and Sandy could see small chips of concrete being ripped off the railing by the Persian's claws, the claws he had just dug into the structure a few seconds ago. Tarim's tail lashed out wildly for balance as he made the most insane summersault she had ever seen him do. He spun in midair, letting the smaller Pokemon race by underneath him before tossing a paw out at the balustrade again. Sandy noticed how Aka started racing for the edge with Reaf's Pokeball in his outstretched hand. She also found herself on the move, running for the same spot. Aka's Raticate had cleared the edge, his speed propelling him almost two feet over the edge. He was about to take a loooong tumble, though not if Aka had anything to say about it. Tarim latched onto the balustrade, sank his claws in and reached forwards, snapping his jaws shut. Reaf let out a loud yelp of pain and surprise, but his fall came to an abrupt end. Sandy stopped running and gasped at the scene. Dangling between Tarim's teeth was Reaf's hairless tail. The owner of that tail hung suspended upside-down over the 55 story drop, struggling weakly. The Persian was dangerously leaning forwards and was almost completely off his centre of gravity. Sandy hadn't thought he would ever do anything like this for another Pokemon. Tarim frowned and growled alternatively at Reaf and the humans on the roof, as if telling the former to stop squirming and the latter to give him a hand already.

Aka hurried over and grabbed the scruff of the Persian's neck, pulling him back. Normally this would have earned the kid a beating, but now Tarim welcomed the help. Sandy and Solly were quick to reach them too and help pull Reaf in.

"Well," Sandy huffed, as they all caught their breath, "Now can we call it a day? I think we've established that we're all tough cookies, what do you say?"

"Yes," Aka said, cradling his Raticate, "That will do." He looked up. "I admit defeat, that will do just fine." Turning his attention back at the rodent, which lay on his lap with an intense look of satisfaction on its snout, Aka scratched it behind its ears. "You did good," he murmured.

"COMPETITOR 09: AKA KANDA HAS SURRENDERED," the Magnemite leader announced flatly, "COMPETITOR 23: JANIE ROBINSON IS VICTORIOUS. ALRIGHT GUYS, THAT'S A WRAP. PACK UP AND HEAD BACK TO BASE." The small pokemon started to hurry its team mates along, urging them on to move faster as they packed up their camera gear. Sandy had almost forgotten they were there as well. She nodded, grateful that it was over and took a Full Restore from her bag.

"Here," she said, offering it to Aka, "No sense in making him suffer any longer, now is there?" He seemed surprised at the gift, but did not need to be told twice. "No," he said, taking the medicine from her, "No there is not."

As the Magnemites packed up their stuff and floated away, the remaining people and Pokemon on the rooftop gathered around the combatants.


"So where are you off to now?" Sandy asked, turning the snow cone so that she could lick the other side before it melted. Steve had decided to buy them all treats after the fight, and Sandy was relishing every lick. How much she loved ice cream! Eating it on the grassy slopes of the Golderod City Park while watching other people and Pokemon almost made this whole tournament seem pleasant. A little distance away the masked girl and Solaris where throwing Frisbees at her Luxray and Manectric, and of course at Sandy's Jolteon. Steve watched as he tried to snooze on his Torterra's back. Every now and then Aiko would happily jump up on his lap to show off the Frisbee she caught and he'd shout and push her away. Aiko of course was blissfully unaware of the man's dislike for mammals, and thought she had made a new friend for life.

"Don't know yet," Aka said. He was almost done with his own frosty treat, and was busy finishing the remnants in the bottom of the cup. "I came here to check out that Rocket basement, really. After that I didn't really have a reason to stick around, until I saw you. That's when I decided I wanted to face you. Didn't really think it would happen this soon though."

She smirked as she saw him grimace in puzzlement, but decided not to tell him who had set up their match like this. Some things were more fun if left a secret.

"So now that that's over, I think I'll just go back to coordinating again," Aka said with a shrug.

"Coordinating, huh?"

"I know what you're thinking," he chuckled, "If I'm only interested in coordinating, then why bother with the intense fights, right?"

"You explained your reasons," Sandy said as she smiled at Steve's attempts to shove both a Jolteon and a Pikachu off his lap. "That is enough for me."

"I uhm... Forgot to thank you for that. For not calling it off, I mean." Aka handed the remainder of his snow cone to Reaf, who had been eyeballing it for a while now. As soon as the cup landed on the grass in front of him, the Raticate dove on top of it to clean it out. Sandy could hear him furiously poke his nose around in it as he sniffed and licked the sticky sides.

"You're welcome," Sandy said.

"So I guess Isaac told you about the whole three years business." He formulated it as a statement, not a question.

"Yeah, though I'm not really sure what to make of it."

"Hey, join the club!" He said with a laugh. "Strange thing is, it really does feel like it's been three years to me. I'm not just older, but I actually feel as if I've... lived for those three years. I have memories. Experiences. I got new Pokemon. I'm not missing any time, if that makes sense."

"Sort of, but I honestly don't know how that's possible," she admitted.

"Well, everyone else has told me it's only been a few months, so... I don't know, maybe they're right. Maybe something weird happened to me," Aka said, stroking Reaf's head. "Perhaps it doesn't really matter anyway. I'm here now. Maybe that's all that counts."

Sandy took off her hat to ran a hand through her hair, then flapped it to blow a gust of wind in Aka's face. "As long as you don't wake up as an eighty-year-old tomorrow, I'm fine with that!" She teased. "I'll try!" He replied, but I can't really make any promises!" She put her hat back on, wishing things could always be like this. Sitting among friends and making silly jokes, when was the last time she did that?

"You know what I think you should do?" Sandy asked.


"Stay here for a while, watch the rest of the tournament unfold."

"You mean spectate? Sheer you guys on?" He almost sounded a bit sarcastic.

"Not just that," Sandy said, faking nonchalance, "it's not just the competitors you should keep an eye on. You see the masked girl?" She leaned in a little as if she was about to share a great secret with Aka. "I think she kind of likes you."

With satisfaction she watched his eyes grow large and fixate on the girl as she threw her Frisbee again and cheered the canines on to get it, a slight red flush washed over his cheeks. Aka had this adorable way of looking embarrassed without ever really changing his facial expression. He'd just turn red like a tomato instead. Before he could stammer a response, Sandy continued: "Well anyway, I think it would be good for you to hang out some more with your friends, don't you think? You know, you don't just have friends of the Pokemon-kind."

"Y-yes? Yes," he said just a bit too eagerly following her as she changed the subject.

"I'm sorry I lost track of you," Sandy said, her expression becoming more serious again. "I won't let it happen again. If you ever need help with anything, don't hesitate to give me a call, kay?" She put her own cup on the ground as well. Reaf immediately pounced on it like a ravenous carnivore and proceeded to clean it out.

Aka leaned back on his elbows and looked up at the clouds drifting by overhead. "I will," he said.


"Darn mammals," Steve grumbled as he settled back down on his Torterra's back. "Getting their fur all over my clothes..." All he wanted was a little peace and quiet, some time to spend snoozing in the shade of Apples' tree. Was that too much to ask for?

"They seem to like you." H4X said teasingly. Steve huffed. He had already placed his hat back over his eyes, knowing full well that he'd only have about forty seconds before the Jolteon would be back, dancing on his blather like an overgrown puppy.

"How's the search going?" He mumbled lazily.

"Still running," H4X said.


"There are a lot of people named 'Sandy', sir. I might not find her at all. It might even be another fake name." The Porygon-Z sounded very doubtful as it spoke.

"It's her real name," Steve said, remembering the fight he had just witnessed. Aka had called the girl 'Sandy', and she had started calling her Pokemon by completely different names. That couldn't have been a coincidence. "I just know it." He said.

"If you say so. But... if I may ask, why are you so intent on finding out who she is?"

Steve grinned. "Come now, H4X! You know me better than that!" Whenever he ran into a secret, whenever there was a mystery to solve, Steve Stromberg simply had to get to the bottom of it. It didn't matter whether or not the knowledge gained after solving the riddle would be helpful in any way. All that mattered was that he had discovered it, and then he'd be able to move on. And right now, this Sandy-person was the riddle. It was only a matter of time before he'd have it all figured out.

"Incoming!" H4X's warning interrupted his thoughts.



Before he could react, Steve could feel two paws impacting on his gut. The darn thing was bouncing on him again. He grunted each time the Jolteon pounded on his chest, forcing the air out of his lungs. But instead of pushing a slobbery Frisbee in his face, she gripped the rim of his hat. In an instant she had ripped it off his head and ran off with it between her teeth. Steve stared at her, petrified as she made off with his prized headgear.

"NOO!! Not the hat! Give it back, you mutt!" Clambering and nearly falling flat on his face as he jumped off the Torterra's large back, he chased after her.

Previous: Chapter 6

And that's the end of that. I still think my writing was a little rusty here and there, but I had a lot of fun and I rather like the way the story turned out. Hopefully you guys enjoyed reading it too. That said, this should probably be Sandy's swan song for the PCBC OS. I'm going to withdraw from this OCT and hand the win to Edowaado (if he decides he wants it).

By the way, his entry starts here.

Steve xIOTAx
Kinata SabakuNoKinata
The Magnemite crew was first introduced by Athens025, and later expanded upon by BentoDS

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