Chapter 17

Gym Battle! _ VS. Sona!

I almost numbly walk to my end of the arena, still trying to understand what the fuck kind of scam is being pulled here. Soon after, however, I snap out of it, palming Dottler's ball as Sona comes back.

"So, what's the deal? A hired guard? A parent trying to teach her the ropes? A mentor?"

"Complete stranger that somehow got roped into joining her. This is my second ever battle."

Marie winces a bit at the dullness in my voice, and Sona's face tightens, rightfully possibly thinking some less than savory things are going on.

"Dottler, Ria, we shall go together."/"Screech, showtime!"

"Wall it off! Squeeze with them!"/"Wait, wh-"

No mercy. I refused to give Sona the opportunity to mount an offense as I had Dottler immediately box off Screech in a wall of both Reflect and Light Screens.

"Confusion!"/"Fffff- Screech, uh!-"

Even as Sona was reeling from my First Impression - heh - I kept the hits coming with pale-pink bolts even as the walls clamped down on Screech's wings. Eventually, with Sona unable to break through, Screech fell. She took a moment, as she returned them, presumably wondering what just happened.

"...You're a clever little sneak, aren't you? Bet you had a mentor, huh?"

"Only mentor I ever had only taught me how to keep them healthy. Nothing combat related."

"Alright. Starry, showtime!"/"Sticky Web, now!"

As the massive ladybug began to materialize, Dottler shot out a mass of webbing at the silhouette. This, understandably, led to them get tangled up. See, rather than just layering the floor with it and being content with watching them get tangled up in it on their own, I had the idea to fully encase them with it, albeit reducing SW to one mon only as opposed to a field hazard.

"Ngh- Supersonic,then use swift to cut it!"/"Wall off & infest!"

As Ledyba prepared to use Supersonic, Dottler hastily constructed a suitable double-wall to have it fire back in it's face. This worked, with Starry being bombarded with it's own soundwaves. This led to Starry managed to cut itself with it's own Swift projectiles, which unfortunately helped untangle it massively, but it was still in the cage. Additionally, the swarm of energy seeped deeply, uncaring that it was also a bug type.

"Struggle Bug!"/"Come on! Break through it!"

Worthless. She's better off spamming commands, hoping to naturally break through. The waves of frenetic, green energy rushes over to them, bringing down it's only valid offensive move. It's panting by the time it snaps out of it, which conveniently coincided with it breaking out of the web.

"Finally! Mach- er, t-Tackle!"/"Checkmate. Confusion."

Starry managed to get a single smack onto Dottler before succumbing.

"Prepare the next web, Dottler."/"Come on, don't let him show you up! Showtime, Cotton!"

Once again, the next battler, this time the Swablu, is encased in projectile webbing. It squawked in indignation at the offense, writhing on the ground.

"Wall it, Confusion."/"Quick! Smooth tones! Until you can break out!"

My heart leaps into my throat for no reason as it cried out, with Dottler flinching lightly as they reassemble the walls. By the time it breaks free from the webbing, it's been barraged by three different confusions, and still has to break the walls.

"Break through! Peck as much as you can!"/"Keep going. You will out-power."

Sona almost seems stricken at my declaration. Same with Cotton. A self-fulfilling prophecy, to be sure. And with the walls halving the momentum, and thus force, behind the pecks, Dottler just barely managed to stay standing.

"Wow. Must have had some kind of faith in Dottler to not try to dodge."

"Is it truly faith if I knew that the damage would not have broken the threshold?"

Once more, concern etches itself onto her face.

"...Eyes, showtime."

The newly revealed Natu... Was NOT caught in web.

"Dottler, infest this time."

The wave of wriggling force caught them both off guard, as it dug deep into the target.

"Confusion! Blast the whole area around them!"/"What the he- jump around, find an opportunity to peck!"

As I expected, rather than simply sit still, it began blinking around, no doubt using Teleport to try and dodge. Despite it's best efforts, it managed to get clipped a couple of times, eventually managing to land a beak stab.

"Rest. You have earned it. Ria will finish your battle."

As soon as the mon in question touched ground, both of us gave orders.

"Confusion stack! Stay on your feet!"/"Sharpen yourself. Detect when they get too close."

Yet another strategem I came up with abusing the fact this wasn't a game. Metal Claw can be used as a weaker Hone Claws, only providing an offensive boost as opposed to bonus accuracy bonus, but even with that it was brutally effective. And with the waves of offensively pink energy being masterfully dodge at the last moment, to greed as much power as possible... It was time.

"Say Sona... Do you know what 'surprise' is in german?"

"What's... What's 'german'?"

"RIA, BLITZKRIEG!"

Ria made the shovel-bearers proud with the absolute light-speed ass-blasting she delivered to Eyes via maxed Attack and priority power. With the strikes that may as well have been a blur, Eyes was down. Sona returned them, seemingly deep in thought. I walked towards her, holding out my hand.

"Good game."

She was confused at my actions. How familiar. She hesitantly shook my hand.

"You... Really do seem to know your stuff, huh?"

"I wouldn't deserve those two if I didn't know how to make them their peak."

"Well, I sure do believe you'll help them reach them. However, some of your mannerisms... Worried me. Like when you didn't switch out. That may be okay in League Matches, but in the wild, that can get pretty dangerous."

"Understood. I will make sure to not risk anything."

I really wanted to get my badge.

"...Well, you passed the gym challenge. Here's the Sound Badge. Be careful, you almost didn't pass the mark."

EXCUSE ME.

"I believe I am missing something. I beat three out of four your team with a single pokemon that had a type disadvantage. How did I not manage to ace this battle?"

Hm? Her face dawned with some kind of revelation, before immediately twisting i-

Oh. I haven't stopped shaking her hand.

"Apologies."

"No, no, it's- it's okay. And the League Challenge isn't just about power. It's about measuring how well the team - trainer included - work together. You seemed almost detached from it all, but you seem to have good intentions. That's why you almost didn't make it."

Oh.

That is very concerning.

"Well... This is how I think of it.

A general that thinks emotionally may keep his men unscathed, but his people will suffer a prolonged war."

I turned around, attention stolen by intriguing notification from my top-left.