Author: Nando Chiaki
The young blonde man trudged slowly up the stairs of the immense iron tower, the stairs that would take him to the top floor – and to his destiny.
He was climbing the Battle Tower, the centerpiece of the Battle Frontier, a Pokémon-battling theme park on a tropical island in the southern sea of Hoenn. Dozens upon dozens of trainers had fallen in his wake, and now, he was approaching the pinnacle.
Reaching into the pocket of his white lab coat, he took out a blue folder and opened it. Inside were six golden discs set into precisely-cut holes, each with a different emblem on it.
“Six Frontier Symbols...” he muttered, eying an empty seventh hole. “If I win this one more battle, I’ll have conquered the entire Battle Frontier.”
Having reached the top of the stairs, he paused before the grand doors and took a deep breath.
“Here we go...”
He set his hand on the golden doorknob. Cold to the touch, it sent a chill through his body – but he pressed on nevertheless, into a room serving as both a battle arena and a spacious office, statues of various people and Pokémon lining the walls in glass cases.
“Welcome!” Though he could not see at first, the tuxedo-clad speaker approached the young man from behind one of the cases. “I bid you good day. Are you the challenger?”
“Yes.” His voice quivered, conveying against his will the unease he felt.
“Very well! I see you decided to come well-dressed for this very momentous occasion.” Though the butler had meant this as a compliment, the comment on the young man’s clothes---besides the lab coat, a well-matched blue tie and shirt with pale red pants---made him even more nervous. Nevertheless, the butler had long since turned and pressed an intercom button on the wall nearby. “Miss Anabel, the next challenger has come.”
“Yes...” came a female voice from the other end of the line.
Mere moments later the double doors opposite the entrance opened. A girl, probably about the same age as the challenger, stepped out, her purple hair glinting in the light of the fluorescent bulbs above. That purple also appeared on her clothing in various hues, save for her white socks and black shoes.
“The owner of the Battle Tower,” announced the girl’s butler, “Salon Maiden Anabel!”
The girl, Anabel, merely stepped forth with overwhelming calmness and lightly bowed to her challenger.
“I assume you are Matt Hall, the challenger,” she said gently.
He nodded. “That would be me.”
“I welcome you to my Battle Tower, then. I’ve been watching you climb the ranks here... that, and the other Frontier Brains have kept me well-informed of your progress. I’ve looked forward to facing you for some time. Enju... kindly advise him of the rules.”
“Yes, right away, m’lady. Honored challenger, the battles we conduct here are three-on-three Single Battles. You may switch your Pokémon at any time you wish, she may not. The person with the last Pokémon standing at the conclusion of this battle will be the winner, and if it’s you, my young friend, you will be awarded an Ability Symbol.”
“Well,” Anabel said, taking a step forward, “are you prepared? Are you ready to face destiny?”
Matt’s insides shuddered in an attack of nerves. Finally, though, he managed to weakly answer, “Yes. I am...”
“Very well. Let’s get started, shall we?”
Enju had since moved to a box spaced in between the two opposing trainers. “Let us begin!” he cried. “The challenger, Matt of Cerulean City, versus the Salon Maiden, Anabel!”
Pkmn Trainer Matt ---vs.--- Salon Maiden Anabel
Gently fingering the three Poké Balls in his possession, Matt mumbled to himself, “You guys have shown me through a lot of rough battles here...” He then settled on one. “But I think I’ll start with you. Let’s go, Metagross!”
Matt threw the ball, and after it burst open in a shimmering display of light, there remained a four-legged silver beast, an iron cross covering its face and two beady red eyes.
“Ah, a Metagross. I’m guessing you’re a Psychic-type enthusiast like me? Let’s see what you can do with it. Alakazam, go!”
The Pokémon deployed by Anabel as her first selection was yellow in color and foxlike in appearance, possessing a long moustache and two spoons in its hands.
“The first match is Matt’s Metagross versus Anabel’s Alakazam. Begin!”
“Alright!” Matt cried out, seizing the first move without hesitation. “Bullet Punch!”
With speed matching that of its trainer, Metagross retracted its four legs, the tips of which began glowing bright white, and spun its body straight for Alakazam. This hit went off cleanly, and left several large cuts behind on Alakazam’s body.
“Alakazam, Focus Blast!”
Recovering and shaking off the blow, Alakazam raised its two spoons into the air. Red energy like electricity flowed out of them and met above its head, forming a sphere that Alakazam soon thereafter flung from point-blank range at Metagross. There was an explosion, and despite Metagross’s immense weight it was thrown back several yards.
“Damn!” Matt thought. “If I stick to Bullet Punch, she’ll be able to beat me before I can bring her down. But of my other attacks...”
“Alakazam, keep attacking! Focus Blast!”
While Anabel’s Alakazam started charging up another Focus Blast, a sad sort of realization came into Matt’s eyes.
“We have to do this. Metagross, Explosion!”
Long before Alakazam could attack, Metagross released a massive blast of energy from its body. The power of this was completely overwhelming, sending great gusts of wind in all directions. Matt’s coat blew forcefully behind him, Anabel’s hair got disheveled, and Enju’s coattails didn’t like the wind either. The smoke of this blast took some time to dissipate, but when it did, both Pokémon had long since fainted.
“The first round is a tie. Both Metagross and Alakazam have fainted.”
As both sides recalled their fallen Pokémon, Anabel grinned. “That was a gutsy move of you. As for me, I think I’ll try a slightly different strategy this time. Slowking, go!”
Next for Anabel, a pink creature resembling an upright hippopotamus, one with a white and red ruffle around its neck and a majestic seashell crown on its head.
“A Slowking. I’ve seen plenty of those, so I’d say it’s a good choice. However... I think my choice is better. Let’s go, Porygon-Z!”
Matt’s second Pokémon, meanwhile, had a deceptively simple appearance: a blue and red egg-shaped body, elongated blue egg shapes forming two arms and a tail, and a similarly-colored duck-billed head. The fact its eyes were colored green and black was about the only odd thing about it.
“Matt’s Porygon-Z versus Anabel’s Slowking. Begin!”
Immediately going on the attack, Porygon-Z loosed a strong blast of electric energy, shocking Slowking---which was part Water-type---mightily. A few burn marks were left behind but other than that, Slowking weathered the attack well.
“Electricity, so you’ve got electricity. I’ve got some of my own!”
A blue electric barrier surrounded Slowking’s body. Moments later, arcs of current emerged from this barrier, coursing into Porygon-Z’s body and numbing it in paralysis.
“Hmph...that does make it a little harder.... Dark Pulse!”
Porygon-Z began collecting dark energy in the form of rings that were forming in front of it, but due to the paralysis, Slowking had no trouble in acting first. By the time Porygon-Z was able to launch its attack, Slowking had long since closed its eyes and begun glowing green, gathering strength of its own. That strength severely dulled the power of Dark Pulse.
“Oh great... this is just great... I guess you have to try Thunderbolt again, then!”
This time, the paralysis completely immobilized Porygon-Z, rendering it unable to make its attack, in turn causing Matt to growl under his breath in frustration.
“Water Pulse, Slowking!”
Using the strength from its last move to also fuel its attacking power, Slowking released sonic rings of water from its mouth, which pulsated into Porygon-Z and made its body shudder from the force.
“We’re near defeat... this isn’t good. Porygon-Z, take one last ditch effort and try Thunderbolt!”
Finally managing to overcome its weakness, Porygon-Z was able to electrocute Slowking one more time, inflicting more damage and leaving more burns.
“Time to finish this, Slowking. Surf!”
Letting out a great yawn, Slowking called down a great wave that crashed over the battlefield. There was no chance Porygon-Z could have avoided this attack, and it was easily defeated.
“Matt’s Porygon-Z is defeated. The winner is Anabel’s Slowking!”
Matt took a shallow, bitter breath as he sent Porygon-Z back to the confines of its ball. “I can’t lose this. Not after all the hard work I’ve put in to climb this Tower. Not after six other facilities of effort...not... not ever! Souseiseki, go and win this battle for me!”
The challenger’s final Pokémon took on a humanoid form, a blue blade dividing its green hair, while its head was white. Its chest and bladed arms were also green. Though called Souseiseki, this Pokémon was a Gallade.
“Matt’s Gallade versus Anabel’s Slowking. Begin!”
“I think I can actually win this with one hit. Leaf Blade, go!”
Springing forward on its supple legs, Souseiseki drew back its right arm blade---which had begun glowing an even brighter shade of green---then used it to deliver a mighty cut to Slowking’s midsection. The slash-mark left behind also was green-tinged, and it caused Slowking to wail out in pain before falling forward to the ground, leaving Anabel for a change to be the one with a flash of panic on her face.
“Anabel’s Slowking has gone down. This matchup’s winner is Matt’s Gallade!”
“All right, Souseiseki!” Matt rejoiced, embracing his Pokémon. “We’re that close now!”
“You know...” said Anabel quietly, “...not too many challengers manage to push me this far. But you have... I’m pleased it’s been this much fun, but...” The Frontier Brain pulled out one last Poké Ball and threw it. “It ends now!”
Matt completely wasn’t ready for what Anabel called out, and his face showed it. It was another human-shaped Pokémon, almost an identical twin to Souseiseki, except distinctly much, much more feminine.
“The final battle shall be Matt’s Gallade versus Anabel’s Gardevoir. Begin!”
“Gardevoir, Calm Mind!”
Much like Slowking had earlier in the battle, Gardevoir closed its eyes and began humming quietly while its body took on a green shine.
At first, this move left Matt confused, but he quickly realized something. “I was fearing Thunder Wave... but she would have used it right away if she had it! Souseiseki, Bulk Up!”
In response to Gardevoir’s move, Souseiseki flexed its arms and took a red glow, gathering strength of its own.
Now it was Anabel’s turn to try and deduce her opponent’s move. “He knows I don’t have Thunder Wave, I can tell. I can only think one thing... he’s planning to end this with one big decisive blow! I guess we’ll have to do the same... Gardevoir, continue using Calm Mind!”
The tense standoff just got more heated by the moment, both Pokémon having their respective energy-gathering glow getting brighter and brighter. Their constant voices also got louder and rougher, until soon, the lights were blinding to everyone in the room and nothing could be heard either.
It was at this time that Anabel finally decided to act. “Enough, Gardevoir! Shadow Ball!”
After finally opening its eyes Gardevoir extended its arms, forming a dark, purple-and-black energy ball between them. It took a few seconds to let the sphere gather up its strength, then Gardevoir flung it for where Souseiseki had last been standing prior to the blinding light, causing a great explosion.
“Cough... Matt’s Souseiseki... has gone dow...?!”
Surprisingly, when the smoke of the blast cleared, standing there was... nothing. Souseiseki had vanished.
“Now, Souseiseki!” Matt called out with a wide smile. “Bring it all down! Night Slash!”
A swift cry of “Galla!” came down from the ceiling, where Souseiseki had actually escaped to without notice just before Shadow Ball was launched, using the light from Bulk Up as a cover. Souseiseki drew back both its blades as it bulleted for Gardevoir, both of them taking on a crackling black electric energy. Upon reaching the floor Souseiseki delivered a swift and mighty double-slash attack, leaving horrible black cut marks crossed across Gardevoir’s chest.
Moaning weakly, Gardevoir looked up and let one silver tear roll from its eye---then fell to its knees, moaned again, and fainted.
“A-Anabel’s Gardevoir is defeated! The round winner is Souseiseki, and Matt wins the battle!”
“... I lost. Waiting here at the top of the Tower for you was well worth it.”
Matt let out a great cheer as he embraced Souseiseki. “We did it! We finally did it, after all our hard work!”
“Gallade, galla. Gallade!”
“Well done, I applaud you!” Anabel said, approaching the two while clapping gently. Enju followed her closely behind. “That was a brilliant battle. I’ve not gotten so worked up for a single battle in a very, very long time.”
“You have earned Lady Anabel’s respect,” Enju added calmly. “One who obtains that respect is... truly one to be admired.”
“On that note, Enju, present him with his reward, if you would.”
“Yes. As your reward for coming to the Battle Tower, scaling it and defeating Lady Anabel in battle, you, Matt Hall, are awarded...” Enju produced a gold disc with an elagonated pyramid logo from his coat pocket. “...the Ability Symbol.”
Matt accepted the symbol from Enju, then placed it into his Frontier Pass, which was now full.
“All right! I’ve won the entire Battle Frontier!”
Anabel and Enju looked on as Matt raised his arms into the air in triumph, having done something very few people would ever hope to accomplish. They let him bask in his glory for as long as he wanted...