Jack couldn’t help airing his grievance out loud for once.
“Of course we got this arena this round instead of the next one. You know, when Ayessel and Lumi would have been awesome at it. And we still can’t use Dig.” Dory and Portent game him a mildly offended look.
“Sorry, but you two aren’t the most agile when it comes to multi-level terrain. You know that. If this were a cliff face, I wouldn’t worry about you Portent. You’re nimble enough to jump from perch to perch without trouble. But these huge gaps…”
He trailed off as he surveyed the battlefield again. He had some ideas, but they’d only really work if his Pokémon stuck together. This arena and the challenges of a double battle were going to make that difficult. Movement at the far end drew his attention to his just arriving opponent.
I’ve got to stop showing up so early. They’re going to think I’m eager for this kind of fight.
Jack realized his opponent had been speaking to him. She was still speaking!
“Ah, crap. Dory, give me a hand please.” The Poliwrath stepped to Jack’s side and took hold of his arm. Using the Morse code they’d learned together, Dory tapped what he’d heard onto Jack’s wrist. Most of her words seemed to be an introduction (Dory had tapped her name as ‘Ackey,’ but Jack wasn’t sure that was right), but she was also complimenting him for winning all his matches?
Why would you compliment someone on these rounds of murder? Unless maybe she’s wary about fighting someone who hasn’t lost yet? And here I am talking to myself again while she waits for an answer. He nervously answered and Ayessel repeated in greater volume.
“We’ve gotten lucky. Good luck to you.”
As Jack realized how that might sound, he felt a spasm run through the Chatot on his shoulder. He turned his head to find Ayessel coughing into a wing.
“You okay? Using your voice so much last battle didn’t strain you, did it?” Ayessel waved him off, insisting he was fine. He pointed out instead that their opponent had let her Pokémon out and they’d already taken advantageous positions. A quiet oath under his breath and he started giving orders.
“Portent, I want you after that Froslass as soon as possible. Dory help her out with a boost. Then chase after the Lopunny.”
Dory moved first, leaping to the platform directly in front of them. He turned and laced his hands together to hurl the following Absol up two levels of platforms to where the Froslass was waiting. Portent charged at the Ghost-type with her horn aglow with darkness, only to be met by a slim arc of electricity.
Jack could see the yellow wave spark along the Absol’s fur, stopping the Disaster Pokémon in her tracks. She grit her teeth against the paralysis and the purple glow of Future Sight surrounded her body.
Better late than never, Portent. I probably screwed her up by telling her to immediately charge instead of summoning Future Sight to see her path.
Dory had closed with the Lopunny and they were trading blows. An Ice Punch left frost in the Lopunny’s fur. He would retaliate with rapid firing Drain Punch and pushing Dory back with Shadow Ball. Every time he got his space, tiny stars or sparks or something would shoot out of his fur. Dory’s next hit seemed to do less damage.
“Dory, he’s increased his defenses. Don’t stay too close! Use Circle Throw to toss him off the platform!” A spasm from Ayessel signaled another coughing fit. Dory looked back at Jack, a questioning look on his face. The Lopunny took the opening and pummeled Dory with a critically powerful Drain Punch. Dory was knocked over the edge of his platform, managing to grab the lip before falling.
Oh no! They can’t hear my orders! The wind from the fans is too loud and Ayessel isn’t up to his usual volume.
When the Lopunny drew close to deal another blow, Jack cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted as loud as he could.
“When the hit comes, grab and throw him down!”
Jack would have missed what happened next if he weren’t so focused on the small details at the time. Dory flashed a thumbs-up with his free hand, signaling he’d heard Jack. He then let go of the platform and used that hand to grab the oncoming Drain Punch. In an instant Dory had used the Lopunny’s momentum to drag it down and pull himself up. The surprised Lopunny crashed into the bottom of the tank where he was thrown, too stunned to recover in time.
Jack had watched the Rabbit Pokémon tumble all the way down. It took Ayessel’s wing for Jack to reorient on Dory climbing to the fourth platform layer to help Portent with her ghost problem. The Froslass was focused on the still paralyzed Absol and didn’t notice Dory climb quietly up behind her. Portent had managed to dodge most of the Shadow Balls sent her way, but several had hit the mark. Now her Future Sight aura finally faded and a blast of purple light erupted from a point above the Froslass. It was much slower than it should have been, however. The Snow Land Pokémon dodged the Psychic move, only to float within Dory’s range.
“Waterfall, Dory!” The Froslass spun around in surprise at the shout, far too late to block or dodge the attack. A torrent of water followed Dory’s uppercut, knocking the Ice-type back.
“Portent! Follow with Night Slash!”
The Dark-type move was devastating. The Froslass ran. Two opponents at once were too many. Dory was quick to follow her up to the highest level. Portent tried to pursue as well, but a jolt of electricity stopped her from jumping. She fell back to the platform, struggling.
The Lopunny made his return, leaping onto Portent’s platform. Instead of attacking her though, he smirked at her and made to follow the other two Pokémon. Jack saw Portent bark several times and the Lopunny’s ear twitched. She snarled again and Future Sight began again as her opponent turned to face her.
She’s goading him into fighting her so they can’t gang up on Dory! But it looks like he’s going to ignore her. Maybe with a little antagonizing from me…
The Lopunny had turned his back on Portent, but Jack’s voice whipped his head around as Portent continued her own tirade.
“Pretty sad if you think even a paralyzed, wounded Absol is too much for you to handle! You must find Caterpie intimidating! If an immobile opponent frightens you too much, shall I find her a blindfold?”
It was too much for the irritated Lopunny, he dashed at Portent. She was ready for him. Between Detects and the Future Sight still on her, she managed to dodge the first few hits. Then the paralysis struck again, and his next hit knocked her back to the edge of the platform. A Shadow Ball started forming in the rabbit’s hands.
Unconcerned about an ineffective assault, Jack checked in on Dory’s fight. The Froslass seemed to be intimidated by the confident Poliwrath, even though he could only use Waterfall. When Blizzard was less than useful at deterring him, she tried to run again, but found there wasn’t anywhere to go. Dory pursued relentlessly.
He seems to have that under control. What about Por –
Jack jumped back as the Absol’s body slammed into the ground before him.
“Portent!” He tried to go to her, but she stirred before he reached her. Jack looked up to see a smug face peering at them from two stories up. The Lopunny hopped down after his opponent, keen to finish what he’d started. Portent rose slowly to meet him.
Drain Punch began the exchange, dodged with Detect. Night Slash answered, and though it was slow, hit solidly. He jumped back, a paw to his wound. On the far side of the field, a light began to shine. A similar light seemed to gather around the Lopunny before them. But then the halo of Future Sight vanished from Portent’s form.
Just over Jack’s shoulder burst a purple radiance, slamming into the Lopunny’s continuously brightening form. He was violently shoved into the pit, his luminescence going with him.
Jack and Portent stepped to the edge of the pit. They could only see the Normal-type’s silhouette now. They watched it right itself midair and rebound from the floor of the basin. The light became blinding as the figure passed the first layer of platforms without landing to jump again. They were forced to cover their eyes or avert their heads from the light.
When it faded, the Lopunny (was it even a Lopunny anymore?) stood defiantly on a platform on their level. His ears were slimmer and longer, less fluffy. The fur on his legs and upper torso had blackened. Now he hopped from foot to foot, as if he had simply too much energy to stand still.
Did he just evolve? I didn’t know Lopunny had another evolution. And I thought he was trouble before. Jack glanced up and saw that Dory had ceased his battle to investigate the light as well.
“Dory, ignore the Froslass and get down here! I want you both to focus on him.” But the newly-evolved Pokémon was already leaping for Portent, a Drain Punch readied.
He’s even faster now!
She managed to Detect the attack and dodge back out to the platform. The Lopunny pivoted and gave Jack an obvious ‘What do you think of me now?’ look before jumping after her again.
Fortunately, his gloating meant that Dory had time to interrupt him. As he moved across the gap, a deluge of water with the Poliwrath at its center collided with him. Dory normally used it as an uppercut, but by drawing the water around him and leaping down at an opponent, he could truly emulate a Waterfall.
The pair of them smacked into a first layer platform and bouncing apart. Portent dropped down on the other side of the Lopunny as he rose. Jack’s Pokémon circled him cautiously, not sure what he might capable of.
Do we even stand a chance anymore?
A glow of color signaled another Future Sight, and the real battle commenced.