Pokémon XYZ: Despair Unbound

Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon. If I did, I would be a bit more diverse. Last time, we were introduced to Poachers, the nurse Mina Howard and Connor's new partner, Makoto the Pichu. After training and trying to survive the Santalune forest's Vivillon mating season, the trio are rested up for the challenges ahead. However, are they ready?

Status:

Connor: Badges - 0, Keys – 0

Team: Chihiro the Fennekin, (Male, Ability: Magician, Moves: Ember, Scratch, Howl, Magic Coat) approx. Lv13

Celeste the Ralts, (Female, Ability: Trace, Moves: Teleport, Confusion, Double Team, Disarming Voice) approx. lv12

Makoto the Pichu, (Male, Ability: Lightning Rod, Moves: Thunderbolt. Nasty Plot, Disarming Voice, Charm) approx. lv13

Delana: Ribbons – 0, Keys – 0

Team: Percival the Chespin, (Male, Ability: Bulletproof, Moves: Vine Whip, Bite, Rollout, Belly Drum) approx. lv10

Isolde the Petilil (Female, Ability: Own Tempo, Moves: Absorb, Leech Seed, Sleep Powder, Growth) approx. Lv12

Tristan the Ralts (Male, Ability: Telepathy, Moves: Teleport, Confusion, Double Team, Disarming Voice) approx. Lv11

Sally: Arcanine, (Male, Ability: Intimidate, Moves: Morning Sun, Fire Fang, Extreme Speed, Flamethrower) approx. Lv55

Growlithe, (Male, Ability: Flash Fire, Moves: Bite, Odour Sleuth, Ember, Iron Tail) approx. lv13

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Chapter 5: Showdown in Santalune Gym!

Santalune City, Kalos Region.

It was a Thursday morning and Connor had woken up rather refreshed as he waited in the centre lobby to wait for Delana and Sally. He was sipping from a can of fizzy Razz Berry juice as his trio of adorable creatures chowed down on the food in the bowls by his feet. He could see that Makoto was quite the fast eater but wasn't talking much with the other two, who had taken to each other like Goldeen to water. Smiling to reassure the tiny mouse, Connor knelt down beside Makoto, who looked up at him with curiosity.

"Hey there, Makoto, are you doing well today? You're not nervous about today's match, are you?" he asked before the Pichu gave him an awkward nod which he didn't buy what the little guy was offering. Remembering that the Pichu loved sweet foods, Connor poured some of the berry juice into a separate saucer for the mouse who looked up and tilted its head in confusion. "Come on, drink up." Connor added as he moved the saucer to the Pichu. Makoto, nervously at first, gradually began to lap up the sugary concoction, even permitting his trainer to stroke the fur on top of his head. He then poured some out for Celeste and Chihiro so that they wouldn't feel left out.

That was when he noticed that something dark pink, small and leafy was nudging his leg. The young trainer craned his neck to see a grass type which looked pretty gloomy with its head tucked under its leaves.

"Hi there, little guy." He stated as he saw the being, "are you lost? Did you want something"? He then went to scan it with his pokédex.

Cherrim, the Blossom Pokémon. During times of strong sunlight, its bud blooms, its petals open fully, and it becomes very active.

"Ah, a Cherrim. It's pretty cute." Connor stated before he heard a woman call out to the Cheri Blossom.

"Mademoiselle Rouge, stop bothering the young man!" An elegantly feminine yet cold and familiar voice commanded from the centre entrance, "Wait… Monsieur Jackson? Is that you"? The little Cherrim stopped before returning to her owner. Connor turned around to see the woman and his eyes widened from what he saw.

Simone Carrera, the current Kalos Queen had arrived for the contest. He recognised the young woman from meeting her at the Grand Showcase in Leroux Town the previous year when she was crowned. She was pretty tall so she stood up to a few inches shorter than him. She still looked very slim even under all of the ruffles of her monochrome gothic Lolita dress with the high neck. With that porcelain skin of hers, the sapphire lipstick which matched the heels she wore stood out like blue rose petals on fresh snow. Although magazines usually showed her wearing an elaborate wig, today she had her normal black hair in almost drill-like curls that framed her face. The woman was an epitome of beauty and power. To have her appear in a quiet area of the country like Santalune meant that she was looking for something. Since there weren't any Performance Showcases on during that week, he didn't know why she was there in front of him.

"Well, fancy seeing you here, Miss Carrera." Connor smiled as he stood up, bowing to her before picking up Chihiro, "I thought you would be preparing to secure your title as queen or be at some grand opening".

Simone chuckled as she cupped a gloved hand under his chin. She was known for her ladylike intimacy and how she was from one of the few towns which spoke Kalos' native tongue.

"Well, that may be true, monsieur. However, I am here for something other than a showcase." She chuckled before she stroked the Fennekin's fur and smiled, "what a beautiful little fire type. Is he yours, Connor"?

"Yeah. I got him on Monday from Professor Sycamore and I'm gonna challenge the Santalune gym today." He replied before he looked behind her, "where's your entourage"?

"Vernon has gone to purchase some supplies and pick up my order." She replied as she pulled out a case from a chequered handbag slung on her left shoulder, "the reason I am here is this". She opened it with the press of a button, revealing three beautiful ribbons, each one adorned with a metal seal plated in either gold or silver and encrusted with tiny jewels. Connor recognised them as contest ribbons similar to the ones which he had seen in his father's trophy cabinet.

"Wow, well I should've expected that a number of performers would be coordinators." Connor said before he offered his hand to her, "I wish you luck. I'll be watching since one of my friends is taking part". This caught Simone by surprise. However, she didn't show it.

"Well, I guess I would like to meet them tomorrow." Simone replied as she shook his hand before she began walking towards the counter, "I wish you the best of luck, Monsieur Jackson. Perhaps it would be nice to see you on the stage as Kalos King in the foreseeable future". She then walked off, leaving Connor alone with his pokémon. However, what he didn't know was that Makoto has climbed onto the table where his breakfast was and was munching down on a chocolate croissant with glee.


Half an hour later, Delana and Sally arrived. The princess seemed to look a little uneasy as she approached him.

"Morning there, your highness, what's up?" he asked before she sat down next to him and asked Sally to go grab her a tea and a strawberry jam Danish.

"Well, Connor, I'm afraid I won't be able to make it to your match today." She apologised before looking down to see Percival hugging Makoto, "the contest is tomorrow so I need to train as much as possible. I'll be in route twenty one with Sally but I really do hope that you win. I wish the best of luck for you".

Connor sighed at that. It would have been nice for this girl, someone he considered a friend, to be there for him as he would be for her the next morning. However, even if there wasn't a possibility that her bodyguard would pummel him into a grave made by her own fists, he knew that it wouldn't be right to keep her from training for tomorrow. He got up and sighed before he looked at her.

"It's alright, Delana. You need to do what you need to do. Just don't do anything crazy. I've heard around the centre that there's a big pride of Litleo there." He earnestly replied as she smiled.

"It will be okay. After all, I have Sally and whatever pokémon I capture." She smiled before Sally brought her a tray of breakfast pastries and drinks, "I hope to see that badge pinned onto your chest when I return this evening".

"Heh, you can count on it, your highness." Connor smiled before he returned his team to their balls and made his way out, "see you on the other side".


Ten minutes later, Connor had gone through the doors of the Santalune gym and was going through a hallway decorated with tens, if not hundreds, of photographs of the Pokémon frolicking in the grasslands, the forest and the meadows. As he looked up at the ceiling, he saw that the entire space had been decorated with a mural filled with Vivillon of presumably every pattern ever seen. Although it did bring back bad memories of the previous day, he was still captured by the vibrancy of the entire peace. At the end of the hallway, he came to a door which automatically slid open, revealing a jungle of greenery as far as the eye could see, framed within a honeycomb glass dome.

Connor noticed that there was a path in the dirt. He decided to follow it, passing by groups of bug pokémon from all over the world either feeding off of the trees or flying between them. He finally approached the clearing and found himself at a white chalked-up battlefield. At the centre was a blonde woman in her mid-twenties with skin that looked pretty tanned from years of being in the outdoors. Her hair was long with two thick strands in front of her face curled like antennae. She was dressed like an explorer for the humid climate inside the house, the like of which made Connor sweat almost on arrival. She was taking photos of two husk-like Pokémon which were soundlessly hovering in mid-air as she took each and every shot. Beside her was a young boy in shorts who was carrying some equipment. Connor coughed a little to get their attention. The woman looked up and smiled.

"Oh, hi there." She said as she looked at Connor, "what can I do to help you? Are you a challenger"? Connor nodded in reply. "Well, in that case, I'm Viola; the head of this gym. Sorry I wasn't in yesterday. I was doing a piece for the Lumiose Gazette and, well, there was a lot to talk about." She apologised with a look towards the boy in shorts as he opened a large grey case filled with net balls. "Is this your first gym battle?" she asked. Connor was taken aback by that.

"H-how did you know?" he asked.

"Well, a ton of trainers seem to go to my gym first. Kind of weird, huh? You'd think it would be Clemont in Lumiose that would get all the attention." She replied before she chose her team, "Is a three-on-three battle okay with you? I've kinda gotten tired of having to choose just two of my critters to use on challengers".

"That's fine with me. I've already got three Pokémon on me." Connor replied as he arrived at what he believed was his allocated side of the field.

"Great." Viola smiled before going to her space and turning her head to face the child who was with her, "hey, Monty, could ya be the referee"? The little boy nervously nodded before going to his spot. "So, what's your name?" she asked.

"Connor Jackson, ma'am. I'm from Couriway Town".

"Well, Mr Jackson, I hope you give it your all." The photographer stated before nodding to her referee who began announcing the details of the battle.

"This will be a three-on-three battle between the gym leader Viola and the challenger, Connor of Couriway Town." He recited, "The winner will be determined when all three of either the gym leader or the challenger's Pokémon are unable to battle. During the match, only the challenger is permitted to switch out members of their team. I-is everyone ready? Well, let the match begin"!

"Alright, Spewpa, I choose you!" Viola smiled as she released a black-headed bug covered in a glittery shaggy coat of off-white. Connor pulled out his pokédex to check the details on his first opponent.

Spewpa, the Scatterdust Pokémon and the pre-evolved form of Vivillon. The beaks of birds can't begin to scratch its stalwart body. To defend itself, it spews powder.

The last sentence chilled him. If this bug had could use that explosive powder like its evolved form, Connor couldn't afford to lose Chihiro or his surprise strategy this early. Makoto was out of the question as well as there was no advantage. However, there was one choice.

"Celeste, go!" Connor shouted as he threw the Ralt's ball. She emerged with a curtsey which Viola captured on her camera.

"Sorry. That was just so precious." The gym leader smiled as she made Celeste blush, "okay, Spewpa, use bug bite"! The little bug proceeded to charge head first at the psychic fairy with a row of green-glowing teeth on show.

"Celeste, hit it straight on with Disarming Voice!" Connor commanded. At his command, Celeste screeched, blasting the Spewpa six feet back with a pulse of pure pink. The Spewpa managed to get up without much effort but it was clear that it was hurt and was panting.

"Okay, Spewpa, use stun spore!" Viola called as the fuzzy bug began blasting golden dust from within its fuzz at the Ralts.

"Celeste, use confusion to redirect it"! Concentrating, Celeste's horn glowed bright blue as the dust was encased in a bubble of the same colour before being blasted back. However, Viola merely smiled as her Spewpa was enveloped in it. However, the little bug barely gave a hint that it was being affected.

"Sorry kid, you may have an impressive little guy here but my Spewpa has shed skin. It means that status conditions just fall right off him." Viola explained with a chuckle.

"In that case, disarming voice again!" Connor continued as Celeste fired another cry.

"Use protect and hit her with tackle." Viola smiled as her Spewpa ran towards the blast, projecting a domed mint green field over itself to nullify the attack before it dropped the shield and collided with the Ralts, knocking her back a foot.

"You okay, Celeste?" Connor asked only to get a nod, "good, use disarming voice again and go in close"!

"Protect"! The Spewpa did as such to block the attack. However, the blast had knocked up the dust into the air and, as it cleared, Spewpa couldn't see the Ralts anywhere. Viola's eyes widened when she saw a white light spew out behind her buddy and witness the Ralts pop out of there. "Spewpa, behind you, stun spore!" she shouted. The bug turned around and emanated his powder. However, all Celeste did was smile and scream as Spewpa was hit by another powerful disarming voice, sending it sprawling to the floor. Its eyes were closed.

"S-Spewpa is unable to battle. Celeste, the Ralts, is the victor!" Monty announced from the side-lines.

"B-but, why wasn't your Ralts affected by that Stun spore? Unless…" Viola asked as she returned her unconscious friend before figuring it out, "it's her trace ability, isn't it? She copied Spewpa's shed skin"?

Connor nodded. "I just thought that it was a cool ability not to pass up. Well done, Celeste. Now, return" Connor replied before he sent her back to her ball.

"Okay, here's my second Pokémon, Connor. Go Surskit!" Viola called out as, out of her ball, came a tiny blue and yellow spindly thing with blushing pink cheeks.

Surskit, the pond skater Pokémon. From the tips of its feet, Surskit secretes an oil that enables it to walk on water as if it were skating. This Pokémon feeds on microscopic organisms in ponds and lakes.

"So it's a water type? Well then, Makoto, do your thing!" Connor called out as her brought out his Pichu who let out a determined cry and smile. Viola took some more shots before she declared her attack.

"Surskit, use quick attack!" she commanded as, in a flash of light, her Surskit collided with Makoto, sending the tiny mouse sprawling.

"You okay, Makoto?" Connor asked as the tiny mouse managed to get up, "well, in that case, use thunder shock"! The little Pichu screeched as it fired a strong blast at the Surskit which barely dodged, getting grazed only on the tip of its head.

"Let's speed this up with rain dance, Surskit!" Viola shouted as the little bug sent up an orb of blue light, shocking the young trainer and his Pichu as dark clouds formed over the field and began unleashing a downpour of rain, "Now, use quick attack again"! Obeying her, the bug hurtled towards the Pichu again, its speed much greater than last time.

"Makoto, use Thundershock to stop Surskit!" Connor commanded. However, try as it might, the Pichu's attacks didn't hit the bug, despite their increasing power as the Pichu shocked itself again and again to abuse its lightning rod ability, missing it every time by an inch or two as it skated across the slippery surface and collided again with the Pichu. It was obvious that the little guy was getting tired.

"Maybe we should wrap this up. Surskit, quick attack!" Viola called out as the pond skater charged again. Connor had a moment to think but came up with an idea.

"Quick, Makoto, use charm"! The Surskit was just centimetres away from its target when it saw the Pichu, in all of its bruises, let out an adorable smile, causing the bug to stop in its tracks in embarrassment and for Viola to begin an internal struggle.

'So… adorable… must… resist… photo… opportunity…' she mentally thought to herself before she witnessed her Surskit get shocked by Makoto's charged up thunder shock, sending it skating back and wincing from the electric charge coursing through its body. It had been paralysed.

"Now, Makoto, Thundershock one more time!" Connor commanded as his Pichu unleashed its magnum opus and sent the Surskit into the trunk of a tree as it fainted then and there.

"S-Surskit is unable to battle! Wow, this trainer is so cool!" Monty cheered before looking at his boss, "um, sorry Miss Viola". The gym leader chuckled as she gave him a smile and returned her fallen bug.

"Have to say Connor, your Pokémon are really strong." She smiled as the rain cleared up, "but it's not going to be enough against my final Pokémon. Vivillon, strike a pose"!

The Vivillon emerged from its ball and flew into the air with glee as it smiled at Connor.

"Don't worry Makoto, we can beat him." Connor smiled to reassure his friend, "use nasty plot"! As the Pichu's face was being painted with an evil Cheshire grin, Viola began to smile.

"Use Infestation." She ordered as her Vivillon swooped down low and spread a green mist onto Pichu at lightning fast speeds, causing the Pichu to wriggle in discomfort and pain, shocking Connor in what he can do.

"Wh-what's going on, Makoto?" he asked before turning to Viola, "what did you do to him"!?
The gym leader smirked. "Well, for the next few turns, Pichu there will experience all matter of invisibly tiny creepy crawlies all over his skin." She explained, "Now Pichu will lose health gradually over time. Face it, kid, Vivillon is too powerful".

"We'll see." Connor growled before barking and order, "Makoto! Use Thundershock"! The Pichu, gritting its teeth in pain as it fired a blast of electricity, only for Vivillon to dodge it. Closing her eyes, Viola muttered two words.

"Use Psybeam".

All Makoto could do was watch as the butterfly blasted him with a ray of purple psychic energy, sending it flying out of the stage and onto the ground unconscious.

"No! Makoto!" Connor shouted as he ran over to him.

"Makoto the Pichu is unable to battle! The winner is Vivillon!" Monty announced. Makoto sighed as he picked up his unconscious friend. He really hoped that Makoto may have weakened the bug. However, he knew that he was pushing his little guy too hard. The Pichu looked up with a weak squeak.

"Hey, little guy, don't worry. You were brilliant. I'm so proud of you, Makoto." Connor reassuringly smiled before he put the little guy back in his ball, "You take a long nap, okay"?

"Pi." Makoto mewled as it was sucked back. Connor put his ball back before tossing another, "Chihiro, on in five"! A yip broke out as the fennec fox made its debut. However, upon seeing the white and red pokéball motif of its opponent, the poor creature became frozen in fear until he felt his trainer's warm fingers run through his fur.

"Hey, it's okay, Chihiro. You've got this. I know yesterday was bad but you've been working hard since then. You've got this." Connor reassured him. The little fox closed its eyes before looking at the taller being and licked Connor's hand. That was when Viola's camera took a few more shots.

"Aww, that's so sweet you two." She smiled before narrowing her eyes in confidence, "But you're wrong to think that a fire type will help you win this. Are you all set"? Connor and Chihiro nodded towards each other with determined looks on both of their faces.

"Let's do this." Connor cheered, "alright, Chihiro, use ember! Scattershot style"! The fox nodded before jumping into the air and firing the fireballs at Vivillon.

"Dodge them and use infestation!" Viola ordered. Vivillon nodded as it dodged most of the fire, hissing in pain as a few balls hit its feet and paws, before it began to spread the green mist again.

"Use ember to counter it, Chihiro! Burn it away!" Connor ordered as his little friend followed the order to the letter with the only remaining traces of the move seen only as minute dots across the battlefield.

"Okay then, use powder, Vivillon!" Viola cheered as her butterfly friend proceeded to spread the signature black powder which slowly began to descend towards the Fennekin.

That was the possibility Connor had been waiting for,

"Use Magic coat now!" He shouted. Chihiro nodded as its fur got coated in that same golden barrier from when it faced Isolde a few days before, catching the fine powder before sending it back at the attacker's face.

"Wh-what!?" Viola exclaimed, "But how!? Vivillon, use gust to blow it back"!

"Now, ember." Connor smiled as his buddy fired a shot of fire into the cloud of powder. Although Vivillon's gust had moved it back, the ember ignited the black cloud, exploding between the combatants and sending the bug hurtling spiralling through air from the impact of the shockwaves as smoke filled its vision.

"Vivillon, are you okay? Stay strong, buddy!" Viola warned before she heard Fennekin's growls throughout the shrouded area followed by Connor's order.

"Strike Now"!

In an instant, Chihiro leapt from the smoke underneath Vivillon and struck it with a powerful scratch attack before jumping back down, causing the bug to yelp in pain.

"Quick, use gust and psybeam!" Viola ordered as her partner followed suit, dispelling the smoky veil and blasting where the Fennekin had been, only to find out he wasn't there.

"Now, ember"!

Vivillon was then battered with a barrage of fire, causing it to shriek in pain and almost hit the ground in its descent, now just hovering a foot above the ground.

"Ember again, Chihiro"!

"Quick, dodge and use psybeam, Vivillon"!

With the cries of both fox and butterfly echoing throughout the area, it was only a few seconds after that when Chihiro could be seen flying through the air in pain from that psybeam.

"KEEP AT IT, CHIHIRO! EMBER"!

"Powder Vivillon"!

The two attacks collided again, causing yet another explosion to rock the area and send the Caterpie and Weedle, who were spectating, scurrying away in fear. Yet again, no one was hurt.

"Scratch"!

"Infestation"!

Through the soot and ash clouds, both pokémon broke through and closed in on each other with their own powerful moves colliding at once, the parasites and creepy crawlies landed on Chihiro's foreleg fur as his claws sunk into the bug's belly, sending them both crashing and sprawling to the dirt floor.

"Chihiro"!

"Vivillon"!

As the dust settled, both remained on their backs. However, unlike Chihiro – who was desperately trying to scratch an itch, the pokéball bug was still and unconscious.

"V-vi-Vivillon is unable to battle. The victor is the challenger, Connor from Couriway town!" Monty announced. Connor couldn't believe it. He… he did it. He beat a gym leader. His team, even a few days after he started a few days ago, gave him the victory. He did it. He did it! Ecstatic, Connor ran up to the Fennekin and picked him up not caring about Chihiro's infested arm and hugged him.

"We did it, buddy! We all did it!" he cheered as Chihiro smiled and licked his cheek, causing Connor to laugh. "Come on, buddy. That tickles"!

Viola sighed as she withdrew Vivillon and approached her victorious opponent.

"Well, I can't say I haven't become a stranger to this result. Congrats, kid." Viola sadly smiled before calling Monty over to get access to one of her smaller bags, "I must ask how you knew about Vivillon's powder. Most trainers usually don't realise that it exists as a move and assume it's something like poison powder and get blasted to kingdom come".

Connor rubbed the back of his head as he nervously chuckled. "Well, my friends and I got ourselves caught up in Vivillon's mating season and, well, you could say we learned from experience." Connor chuckled as Chihiro stopped feeling that itching sensation, "We used the fact that Chihiro's magic coat could repel things like sleep powder as a basis that it could repel powder itself so we've been training to improve his speed and reaction times".

"Well, I must say that's training well done. Plus, your pokémon made so many adorable pictures. Is it okay if I keep them?" Viola replied, grinning as Connor gave her a nod, "Awesome! Well then, as the Santalune gym leader, I commemorate your victory with these; 2,556 poké, the TM for the move Infestation and the Bug Badge". Fishing these items from her bag, she handed them over to the victor who gratefully took them, admiring how the jade shell of the badge seemed to glow with a gorgeous aura when struck by the intensified sun.

"Thank you, Viola!" Connor smiled before asking, "Oh, wait, I forgot to ask! Was there a guy called Will who challenged you earlier"?

Viola pondered for a moment. "I think there was a challenger called Will who challenged me a few days ago…" she pondered, "he was pretty good. His Froakie was really photogenic as well. Why? Is he your rival"?
"Yeah… I just can't believe he's ahead of me." Connor sighed before Viola patted his shoulder and smiled.

"All the more reason to train hard and win, right?" she asked with a smile.

"You're right!" Connor smiled, "Thanks, Viola. I promise that I'll catch up to Will and beat him"!
"Good to hear, Kid." Viola chuckled before she pointed her camera at Connor, "now, how about one last shot for the road"?


Elsewhere, on route 21, Sally and Delana have been spending the best half of the day training and battling with every wild encounter making the princess' team stronger… although Sally did protect her grass types from the figurative hordes of Litleo which popped up like middle aged suburbanites at a Cath Kidston boutique. That was until they heard an unexpected cry; a youthful, almost spiritual song come from the riverbanks. Curious, the two pushed through the trees and bushes to meet this odd being.

"That's odd… I thought they were only seen on route 22." Sally remarked before shaking her head, "Well, milady, although it's too late to train it for the contest, would you like to capture it"?

Delana smiled. "Of course, Sally. Who wouldn't want to seize this opportunity?" she replied before thinking, "and, knowing what it is, I know exactly who to use. Go, Tristan"!

To be continued…

Well, that was very exhilarating, right? So, can anyone guess what Princess Delana found? Who do you think was the MVP of the match? What did you think of Simone and my interpretation of Viola? If you want to answer, please leave your comments in a review. Next time, though, Princess Delana will take part in her first contest! What enemies and rivals will she make? Will she make it past the appeal performance? Will she face Kalo's trainer queen? Find out next time in Chapter 7: Debutante Delana! See you then!