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Emerald Knights: A Pokémon Sword Story Chapter 13

Chapter 13: The Fourth Gym

The four students carrying simple wooden staffs were nervous. They had every right to be.

Sitting in the centre of the gymnasium was their opponent. The opponent was a grey-haired, dark-skinned woman dressed in a form-fitting black leotard with a white and orange T-shirt and shorts over it and a black and orange glove on her right-hand. She also wore white knee pads and a black bow with an orange tip on one end that kept her hair up. She wore no shoes. The woman was incredibly fit, her defined abs visible even through her leotard, and her thighs were as thick as steel cables. She had a stout physique, being rather short for an adult and sporting wide hips. Despite her stout appearance, the students knew that this woman was nothing to sneeze at. She was far stronger and faster than any of them. And she wasn't just any normal opponent either. She was the Fighting type Gym Leader known as Bea, and her skills as a Pokémon trainer weren't all she was good at.

Bea didn't seem to be aware of the students as they moved silently towards her. She was meditating, her legs crossed and her hands resting on her muscular thighs. She made no movement aside from the rise and fall of her chest and stomach as she breathed in slowly and out again. The four students took up their positions, ready to strike. Two of them were boys and two of them were girls. They were all dressed in karate gear, white robes with black belts, and they had a staff each. Bea was unarmed, and yet that did nothing to make them feel any more confident. How was it they had a weapon and yet it still felt like Bea could clobber them with no problem at all? They could be using swords and it'd still feel like Bea was the one who had the advantage!

Bea inhaled again, so deep in meditation that she was truly beginning to feel one with the universe. She felt like she could tune into the true energy of the world around her and feel the universe at work. It was an unsettling experience for the students. Seeing her sit there motionless with barely even a sound out of her did little to comfort them. For all they knew, she was simply buying her time to take them out. They chose their movements carefully, making sure that not even their footsteps could be heard. One of the students was sure Bea could hear his heart hammering with how nervous he felt. A tense second passed…and then they all pounced.

Bea had taught them well. The students moved quickly and lightly, taking care not to make too much noise as they ran, and they didn't cry out as they made their move. Noise was the one thing that would give them away in an instant and they'd never get the drop on Bea if they made too much of it. They all raised their weapons and came in for the attack. Bea was wide awake and on her feet in the blink of an eye. One minute she had been meditating, the next she was already lashing out at one of the girls with a flat-palmed strike to the face that sent her reeling to one side in a dizzying spin and falling onto her knees. One of the boys swung his staff down as if he had a hammer and was trying to smash a slab of concrete with it. Bea caught it in her hand and in one swift movement, disarmed him without even struggling. The boy cried out as his weapon was suddenly ripped out of his hands and he doubled over as Bea used it to jab him in the stomach. She threw the staff away, preferring to fight without weapons, and she scythed the air with her hand towards the boy. She hit him in the side of his head and knocked him down onto the floor.

The second girl crept up behind her teacher and tried to smack her in the back with her staff. Bea spun around and blocked it with her arm. As wood came into contact with flesh and bone, the girl gasped as Bea didn't even flinch from the impact. Her arms were like solid steel! Bea lashed out with her right foot but the girl reacted quickly, blocking the move with her staff. She swore for a split second she saw Bea smile as if acknowledging her reflexes were great. She blocked another blow from Bea as the Gym Leader aimed a powerful karate chop to her shoulder, aiming to disarm her by numbing her arm and making her drop the staff. The girl then swung her knee towards her teacher's stomach but Bea jumped back to avoid the blow. The girl swung her staff again, this time aiming for Bea's legs to trip her up. She missed the Gym Leader by a mile as Bea tucked her legs in and jumped up to avoid it. As she landed, her hands shot forward and grabbed the staff. The girl tried to wrestle with her but like the first boy before her, Bea wrenched it free from her grip without any difficulty. She used the staff to trip her student up and bring her down heavily onto her back.

The second boy was the only one left and he knew that he had no chance against the Galarian Karate Master. He still gave it a shot, using his staff to pole-vault towards Bea and aim a powerful kick at her. Bea simply moved aside and waited for the boy to sail past her. As soon as he landed, she shot forwards as if fired from a gun and punched him in the face. The punch felt more like being hit with a sledgehammer to the student. He reeled back, momentarily disoriented by the punch. Bea took advantage of this by karate chopping him in the shoulder. His arm fell numb in an instant and he was stuck only using one hand to hold the staff. He tried to swing it towards his teacher but Bea ducked and finished him off with a flat-palmed strike to the stomach. He fell onto his back and groaned, winded by the blow. They had expected this. All four of them had been armed and Bea had taken them out without breaking a sweat. She wasn't even panting despite the intense workout. Bea looked over her students with stern, critical eyes as they lay defeated on the floor.

"You fought well, but there is much room for improvement." the Gym Leader muttered. Her voice was deep and somewhat masculine sounding. It sounded strange coming from this short woman who barely looked older than 18.

"You did well to sneak up on me. I applaud you for sticking to your training." Bea went on, "However, you're all still too slow to react in battle. Sarah is the exception, her reflexes are getting really good." she said, looking at the second girl who had lasted the longest in the battle against the karate master.

"Thank you Master Bea." Sarah said appreciatively.

"You're all too reliant on your weapons." Bea explained, "This is why I do not rely on them myself. If you feel you need a weapon to be powerful and to win fights, then you're only holding yourself back. Rely just as heavily on unarmed combat as armed combat and you'll fare much better in a real battle. Remember this well, students."

The four students bowed in respect to their master. The lesson would have to end for the gym door flung open and one of Bea's personal Gym Challengers ran in. Bea didn't even turn to face him as he gave her the news.

"Karate Master Bea. Forgive my disturbance, but you have your next challenger for the Fighting Badge." the man said, his voice even and professional.

Bea turned her head to look at the man, her face still neutral as if this news didn't interest her. In fact, Bea rarely showed any emotions at all, something that had come from her strict training that she'd stuck to since childhood. It was impossible to tell how Bea really felt whenever someone challenged her to a Pokémon battle.

"I shall be there immediately." the Fighting Gym Leader declared, "Who's my challenger today…?"


Emerald Silverlock made her way into the centre of the Gym, giddy with a mixture of excitement and anxiety as her fourth Gym Battle was about to begin.

After spending the night in the Pokémon Centre with her newly obtained Axew, Emerald had woken up completely refreshed and ready to take on Bea. Sapphire had left early to get some last minute training before it was her turn to take on the Gym. She wanted to evolve Phantom the Duskull into a Dusclops and she wanted to evolve Elsa into a Froslass so she'd have two strong Ghosts to fight Bea with. Ghosts were immune to Fighting-type Pokémon so evolving Phantom and Elsa would help her out immensely. She needed to find a Dawn Stone to evolve Elsa but didn't fancy going back into the Wild Area by herself so sent Hercules the Vikavolt to fly off to the Wild Area and search for the stone. Emerald was left to take on the Gym and she decided to get there as soon as possible.

Upon leaving the Pokémon Centre, she made her way back through Route 6 to Stow-on-Side. Razer the Axew was riding on her shoulder. Still traumatized over the treatment she'd received from her previous trainer, Razer wasn't ready to go into a Pokéball again. She wanted to enjoy the freedom for now, which Emerald completely understood. She was just happy the Dragon-type Pokémon was feeling much better and looked much healthier and stronger than yesterday, though her leg still hurt a bit so she couldn't quite walk on her own yet. They came across Sapphire, who was in Route 6 already, with Phantom and Elsa training hard so Emerald greeted her on her way through.

"I'll see you at the Gym when I'm done training!" Sapphire called, waving to her sister.

"You too! Wish me luck!" Emerald called back.

Upon arriving in Stow-on-Side, Emerald found herself in no town like any she'd seen before. The sandy ground, the unique architecture and the stalls selling all sorts made Emerald feel like she'd walked into a desert village than a town anywhere else in Galar. Even the sun seemed warmer here than anywhere else in Galar. The brunette girl decided to just take in the atmosphere for a time and enjoy the surroundings. Stow-on-Side was different and unique, and to Emerald that made it a very pretty town to explore. Upon walking past one of the stalls, her eyes were caught by the sight of a pink sparkling slab that seemed to want her to buy it with how brightly it shone as she saw it. Emerald recognized it at once. One of Ruby's books had spoken of different plates that a Pokémon could hold to boost moves of a certain type. This particular plate was a Pixie Plate, an item that boosted the power of Fairy attacks. Emerald bought it, knowing it would come in useful, especially as some of her Pokémon could use Fairy attacks. She slipped it in her backpack and carried on through the town.

Razer had been enjoying the view as much as Emerald. She'd never seen the world outside of her abusive life with her trainer and seeing a real town alive with people and everyday life was fascinating to her. She would never experience things like this if she'd never escaped her camp!

"I never thought I'd ever see life outside my trainer's camp…" Razer whispered, her voice full of wonder.

"Get used to it sweetie!" Emerald piped happily, "You'll be seeing plenty of it with me!"

"And I love it already!" Razer cried, "So what are we doing while we're here?"

"We're going to challenge the Stow-on-Side Gym." Emerald explained, "You see that building there?" she pointed to the huge orange stadium that loomed at the top of a flight of stairs nearby, "That's the stadium where the Gym Leader is. Well actually Stow-on-Side has two Gym Leaders, one a Ghost-type specialist and the other a Fighting-type specialist. Today it's the Fighting Gym Leader's turn so we'll be fighting her."

"It'll be nice to see what a real Pokémon battle's like." Razer thought, "My trainer just trained and trained and trained us but we never actually did any fighting. I wonder if he even wanted us to fight at all." she muttered, cringing.

"You'll be happy to know that the kind of battles we do here are for fun and sport. No abuse whatsoever." Emerald declared, "The Gym Leaders even raise their Pokémon without abusing them at all. You'll enjoy it!"

"I'll watch how you get on and see for myself." Razer decided, "If that's OK with you."

"Sure!" Emerald agreed, "I'm sure Bea won't mind if you watch."

Razer thought for a moment. Bea…all of a sudden that name sounded familiar to her. But why? She was still deep in thought as Emerald walked into the Stow-on-Side Gym. Today was the day that trainers with a Sword Pass could enter the Gym so the stadium was displaying the Fighting Gym logo and an orange colour scheme instead of purple for when it was Allister's day in the Gym. Allister himself was nowhere to be seen, presumably hanging around a graveyard somewhere. Emerald hoped that one day she'd get to challenge him as watching him and Ruby battle last year had been lots of fun, especially when Allister seemed to be crushing on her. As Emerald and Razer entered the stadium, the two received a surprising piece of news that seemed to have been conveniently placed on the TV for them to see. When there were no Gym Battles happening, the TV screens in the lobby would play the news to keep trainers updated until the next battle happened. Emerald and Razer were looking at a news story now. The TV was showing a pretty news reporter talking about a recent arrest. An image next to her showed a muscular man with hairy arms, a handlebar moustache and a bald cranium. He only had hair around the sides and back of his head. He was wearing a white vest and dirty jeans and he had a hideous scowl of hatred on his face. The banner at the bottom of the screen read:


Razer's eyes widened in astonishment. She knew exactly who this man was and she hadn't expected to see him again so soon, even if it was just an image on a screen.

"THAT'S HIM!" she shrieked at the top of her lungs, "That's my old trainer right there!"

"It is?!" Emerald gasped, "By Arceus is he an ugly chap! And he looks so mean too! So he's the one that did all that to you?"

"You bet!" Razer growled, "I thought that's what became of him after I ran away. As I told you, I heard sirens and saw police cars surrounding the place. I guess that magic box thing confirms it: he really did get arrested!"

"Good riddance to bad rubbish I say." Emerald spat, "Nobody who scars their Pokémon both literally and figuratively deserves to walk free! I haven't been this happy anyone got arrested since Bede was locked up for tying Ruby to a tree and leaving her to starve to death!" she said coldly.

She remembered all too well when she and Sapphire had come into the living room to see what was happening on the news as their mum watched. When the news reporter had explained why Bede had been arrested, both she and Sapphire had been too shocked to speak and Annie had gone pale in the face. They'd been relieved to hear Ruby was OK but it took them a while to recover from the shock that anyone could've been so evil as to try and do that to Ruby.

"Gosh…and I thought my trainer was evil!" Razer blurted, disgusted to hear what Emerald had said, "Who's Ruby and how did she get free when Bede did that to her?"

Emerald explained, recapping the story that Ruby had passed on to her and Sapphire, while also letting Razer know Ruby was her and Sapphire's sister.

"It's in a Pokémon's nature to return favours." Razer said brightly, "You be kind to a Pokémon, we be kind to you in return. Ruby must be a lovely trainer if her Coalossal saved her life like that!"

"You will LOVE my sister when you meet her!" Emerald said eagerly, "And if I win the Gym Challenge and make it to the Champion Cup, you may even get a chance to battle her too. But for now, we have Bea to focus on. Let's get going!"

A quick trip to the changing rooms later and Emerald was in her Gym Uniform making her way into the arena with her opponent, the Karate Master and Fighting Gym Leader Bea, making her way to the centre from the opposite end of the stadium. Razer was still on Emerald's shoulder. The two trainers met in the centre of the arena and faced each other. Bea gave a polite honorary bow as if Emerald was another student in her Dojo.

"Welcome, Gym Challenger." Bea announced, "I'm Bea, though I expect you know that already."

"I do." Emerald said, bowing herself. She wasn't sure if she needed to, but she thought she'd do so anyway to be polite, "And you no doubt know who I am."

"Of course." Bea said, her face still blank, "I knew the moment you and Sapphire got Sword passes that I would have the great honour of challenging the Champion's sisters. Ruby has proven to be a formidable trainer. I expect the same of you."

Emerald smiled queasily. No pressure, eh Bea?! She was expecting much of her just because she was related to Ruby! Now Emerald really hoped she could impress this Gym Leader. She was about to say something else but suddenly, Razer pointed at Bea and gasped.

"Hey, I remember you!" she exclaimed, "You were there when the police cars came for my trainer!"

"What?" Emerald asked.

Bea noticed the Axew on Emerald's shoulder, her grey eyes narrowed as she studied her.

"Yes…I thought you looked familiar." Bea murmured, "I saw you flee from the camp when we came to arrest that trainer. I was tempted to run after you and get you medical attention but the trainer then used his Pokémon to try resisting arrest so I was forced to subdue him. I apologize greatly that I couldn't help you at the time." she added, bowing as if begging for forgiveness.

"It's OK, I found Emerald and she helped me instead." Razer said brightly.

"Hold on, YOU were there at her trainer's camp?" Emerald gasped, unable to believe what she was hearing, "Why?"

"I was training my Pokémon at the time." Bea explained, "And then I heard pained screams coming from nearby. I followed the sound and saw a man abusing his Pokémon. He had that Axew pinned to the floor and was using a cattle prod to torture her. I was disgusted with what I saw so I called the cops. Once they arrived, I provided assistance so they could successfully capture him. My Machamp was even the one that brought the trainer down on the ground." she finished, sounding proud to be admitting that.

"So it was YOU who snitched on him!" Razer shrieked happily, "Thank you so much! I doubt I'd have gotten away from him for long if you hadn't gotten him arrested!"

"You're welcome. And I'm glad to see Emerald has taken good care of you." the Fighting Gym Leader said, smiling pleasantly.

Many people said that Bea always looked prettier when she smiled. Emerald had to agree that she looked nicer when she didn't look so stoic all the time.

"But we're digressing." Bea said quickly, "Emerald, I hope to experience a great battle with you today."

"I hope I c-can give you o-one." Emerald said, trying not to sound nervous.

She and Bea took up their positions and waited as the announcer introduced them to the audience.

"From Postwick Town: Emerald Silverlock. Her opponent: Gym Leader Bea."

The audience showed much excitement for both trainers, both Emerald and Bea's names fighting to be heard as the crowd chanted for them. Emerald's heart pounded with anxiety. This was it, the Fourth Gym. The Gyms would get much harder from here on out so she couldn't take things lightly. Bea would show just how strong a Gym Leader could truly be! She took in the grey-haired woman's strong arms, thick thighs and toned abs. She knew if this had been a fight between her and Bea, she'd have no chance. Bea could probably knock her out with one punch! At least she would never have to be on the receiving end of this woman's strength. Despite how nervous she was, she felt a little confident she could win. She'd hand-picked her team to perfectly handle Fighting types, choosing Pokémon with Flying or Psychic attacks. She could win this!


Emerald cried out. She'd been so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she hadn't even heard the announcer tell her and Bea to standby! She scrabbled frantically for a Pokéball as Bea whipped out her first and threw it.

"Hitmontop, break your opponents!" she barked.

Her first Pokémon materialized into play. Emerald found herself staring in fascination at Hitmontop. Hitmontop was a Fighting-type Pokémon and one of three different evolutions that came from the Fighting-type Tyrouge. Tyrouge evolved into Hitmontop if its Attack and Defence were the same. Hitmontop was a very strange looking Pokémon, sporting a vaguely humanoid shape with spherical hands, two toed feet, a small pointed tail and a large spike protruding from its head. True to its name, Hitmontop's fighting style consisted of standing upside down and spinning on its head like a top. It was a force to be reckoned with when it started spinning. It was also a male-only species.

"Oooh, a Hitmontop! I've always been fascinated by those." Emerald murmured, "Nice pick! Now here's mine. Misty, let the fun begin!"

She threw her Pokéball and brought out Misty the Corvisquire. The blue and black raven Pokémon squawked excitedly, clearly happy to be in a battle again after a while. She spread her wings and flapped furiously, creating a bit of a breeze that blew towards Bea. The karate master didn't even flinch. She had trained herself to expect Flying-types to come for her as they were the most common weaknesses of Fighting-types. She wouldn't let Misty intimidate her or her Pokémon.

"Misty, use Drill Peck!" Emerald commanded, keen to land the first attack.

Misty took to the air and flew towards Hitmontop. Razer watched as the battle began. Having only suffered a torturous training regimen and never seen an actual Pokémon battle before, she was fascinated to see one in action. Her eyes fixated on Misty as she homed in on her opponent and pecked at him. Hitmontop winced as Misty's drill-like attack stabbed into him. The spinning Pokémon staggered back from the attack, grimacing but still standing. Bea threw a punch, her feet apart and centre of gravity balanced in a typical fighting stance. Bea had a habit of posing whenever she gave a command for in her eyes, it was the perfect example of being in synch with her Pokémon.

"Use Revenge!" she shouted.

Hitmontop balanced himself on his head spike and spun around. In seconds, he'd becoming little more than a brown and blue blur that spun furiously towards Misty like some fantastical tornado. He was also glowing with red energy as he closed in on the bird-like Pokémon. Revenge was a powerful fighting move that did more damage if the user took damage itself in battle. Also, Hitmontop had a useful ability known as "Technician". This ability powered up weaker moves and made them stronger as a result. This plus the damage taken by Misty meant Hitmontop's Revenge would hit extremely hard. Fighting-types weren't very effective against Flying-types, but Misty still felt it as Hitmontop slammed heavily into her. Razer winced, feeling Misty's pain as Hitmontop slammed into her and knocked her to the ground. Even Emerald had to admit it looked painful and wondered if Misty was alright. The Corvisquire picked herself up again, shaking herself off and spreading her wings out again.

"Ha! You'll need more than that for this mighty bird to go down!" she crowed.

"Ha! Only you could respond to an attack like that!" Emerald chuckled.

"It seems your Corvisquire's quite tolerant of pain." Bea observed, "You've trained it well to have such endurance."

"Thank you!" Emerald said appreciatively, "I'm hoping to evolve her into a Corviknight before I take on Opal's Gym. But for now, I have this fight to finish. Use Drill Peck again Misty!"

Misty obeyed, launching herself like an arrow towards Hitmontop. Her beak spun around like a drill and she pecked Hitmontop straight in the chest. Hitmontop felt as if he'd been shot with how hard and powerful that hit had been. None of Bea's strict and physical training could've prepared it to handle this. The spinning top Pokémon swayed on his feet, trying to stay awake. But it was hopeless. Its health had completely dissipated and all it could do now was collapse unconscious onto the floor. Misty held her head high with pride, glad she'd managed to win. Razer was impressed. If Emerald could train this Pokémon to be such a strong fighter, she could imagine how strong she'd be when Emerald started training her! Whatever her training methods were, she clearly didn't feel the need to abuse and torture her Pokémon to get results like this.

"Hitmontop is unable to battle! Corvisquire is the winner!" barked the announcer.

Bea returned Hitmontop to his Pokéball. She thought Emerald would keep Misty out but to her surprise, her opponent returned her Pokémon too. It was clear that Emerald was Ruby's sister to her. She always liked to use a different Pokémon each time and not stick to just one.

"I expected you to be as powerful as Ruby. I'd say you're already proving that." Bea acknowledged, "But this battle is only just beginning. I recommend you don't get too confident."

"Oh no, not me, never! I don't ever get full of myself just because I'm winning!" Emerald insisted, "I just let the battle go as it goes and save celebrating for when it's over."

Bea nodded approvingly. She would also teach her students an important lesson like this and was glad to see Emerald knew about keeping confidence to a minimum. Both trainers whipped out their next Pokéballs and threw them.

"Marinette, let the fun begin!"

"Pangoro, break your opponents!"

The two Pokémon materialized onto the field. It was a hilarious scene for the audience, seeing the tiny Orbeetle going up against the huge, fearsome Pangoro. It was more amusing for Emerald for she'd just evolved Mei-Mei yesterday and now here she was fighting against someone else's Pangoro! It would've been funny if Mei-Mei and Pangoro fought each other. Emerald could see that this was a bad match-up. Marinette's Psychic attacks would be useless against Pangoro as its half-Dark typing turned its Psychic weakness into an immunity and it also lost the Dark-type weakness to Bug-types. Marinette wouldn't be able to do any meaningful damage while Pangoro would as Orbeetle were weak to Dark-types. It was useless, Marinette couldn't stay out and fight this battle. Emerald returned her to her Pokéball. Bea folded her arms.

"Switching out once you see a bad match-up. A very wise strategy." she complimented.

"Thanks. Marinette won't be any good as that Pangoro's immune to Psychic attacks." Emerald declared, "So I'll use someone else for now."

She put Marinette's Pokéball away and whipped out another. This time she'd brought out her recently evolved Galarian Farfetch'd, Percival. The mighty Sirfetch'd raised his giant leek weapons proudly, looking like a famed knight about to go into war. Bea raised an eyebrow with interest.

"So you have a Sirfetch'd too. I have one waiting for a chance to battle you myself." she acknowledged.

"Oooh, you do? That's great!" Emerald cried, "Can't wait to see it in action! For now, I hope my Sirfetch'd impresses you!"

"It looks well-trained I can say." Bea acknowledged, "Let's see just how well. Pangoro, use Night Slash!" she ordered, scything her hand through the air as if she was performing the move herself.

Pangoro leapt towards Percival, dark energy surrounding its hand as it built up its attack. It raised its arm and slashed towards Percival. The Fighting Duck simply raised his leek shield up to cushion the blow. He felt the blow shudder down his arm as the shield took the hit. As a Fighting-type, he was barely affected by the Dark-type move. The audience screamed with excitement. Watching Percival use his shield like that was a good on his part and they loved to watch Pokémon make a creative use of their weapons. After that had finished, Emerald commanded Percival to strike back with Rock Smash. It wasn't the strongest Fighting move ever but it was all Percival knew for now. Percival launched himself towards Pangoro and raised his huge leek sword above his head. As a Farfetch'd, he smashed rocks to pieces with his leek. Now as a Sirfetch'd, he used his sword. He swung the weapon down on Pangoro's head with enough force to break a rock apart. The grizzled panda like Pokémon cried out and clutched its head in pain. The attack had already been powerful but Percival had also landed a critical hit to make it even more powerful. If he'd used a more powerful move, Pangoro would've been down in a single hit.

Percival bashed his sword and shield together, acting like a knight that had just slain the mighty dragon and brought peace to his kingdom. He even let out a war cry of triumph as if he'd already won and dared anyone to try and challenge him. Emerald smiled sheepishly. It was nice that Percival was feeling so good about himself but she wished he wouldn't let it get to his head. Evolving clearly hadn't lowered his ego in anyway. Pangoro shook himself off and clenched its fists. It growled viciously, showing Percival that it wasn't done yet. Razer was surprised. She was sure Percival had won that fight and couldn't believe his ursine opponent was still fighting! Pokémon battles certainly were a sight to see with surprises like this! Bea spun around on the balls of her feet and made a throwing motion with her hands as if throwing a ball.

"Use Circle Throw!" she barked.

Emerald frowned. Trust Bea's Pangoro to still know Circle Throw from when it had been a Pancham! She remembered when Mei-Mei had used it to defeat Paul's Perrserker the last time they'd fought. Now Bea was using it to force Percival to switch out for someone else. Pangoro grabbed Percival with its huge hands and threw him towards Emerald. The resulting throw reduced Percival back into energy that returned into his Pokéball. A beam of light leapt out of Emerald's pocket as another Pokémon took his place. It didn't change anything for Emerald for the Pokémon that was brought out in place of Percival was Flaps the Butterfree. Emerald knew he'd be useful in a Fighting Gym thanks to being half Flying type so she'd brought him along with the others. Flaps looked surprised to be out in the open with the audience watching over him and another Pokémon to fight opposite him.

"Oh, is it my turn already?" he blurted, "I didn't expect I'd get used so soon!"

"That's Pokémon battles for you, they never go as expected." Emerald said casually, "Still, you're here now so use Air Slash on Pangoro!"

Flaps flew towards his opponent and sliced through the air with his wings. Razer's eyes widened with admiration as she watched the unthreatening, cutesy looking butterfly Pokémon take down the fierce looking Pangoro. It seemed strength could come from anywhere. Pangoro grimaced from the attack and Flaps watched as the Fighting/Dark Pokémon keeled to one side and collapsed onto unconsciousness. The damage done by Percival earlier had been enough for Flaps to finish the fight. He fluttered about merrily, glad he'd managed to win his first Gym battle.

"Pangoro is unable to battle! Butterfree is the winner!" boomed the announcer.

Bea returned Pangoro to his Pokéball and drew out her third ball.

"I was hoping Circle Throw would bring out the Orbeetle." she murmured, "Relying on chance doesn't always work out in the end. Still, as promised here's my own Sirfetch'd to join the fight!"

She threw the ball and out came her own Sirfetch'd. It was visually identical to Percival except for one detail. Her Sirfetch'd had a more composed and disciplined personality, standing to attention and waiting patiently for Bea's commands with not a hint of arrogance in its face or body language. Emerald could see that this Sirfetch'd wasn't going to be like Percival at all. She returned Flaps to his Pokéball and exchanged him for Marinette. This time she'd get a chance to have a real battle against an opponent that she'd have a reasonable chance against. The psychic ladybird Pokémon stared down her opponent. It felt weird to her as it was almost like she was fighting Percival. She had to remind herself this was another Sirfetch'd and he was with another trainer.

"Marinette, use Psychic!" Emerald commanded.

"Sirfetch'd, avoid it with Detect!" Bea yelled, crossing her arms as if she was blocking an attack that was aimed at her.

Marinette's spotty wing case opened up and the spots glowed as she launched a wave of psychic energy towards Sirfetch'd. She would've landed a clean hit if Bea hadn't commanded him to use Detect to dodge it. Sirfetch'd narrowed its eyes, tracking the attack and pinpointing its trajectory so it could time its dodge and avoid it. It jumped aside, a clean dodge allowing it to avoid being hit. All Sirfetch'd had done was delay the inevitable for Marinette simply used Psychic again after it dodged and this time was able to hit it. Sirfetch'd tried feebly to use its leek shield to block the blow but it did no favours. Marinette's Psychic energy was enough to knock it out the moment she hit him. Sirfetch'd collapsed onto the floor, dizzy and devoid of all energy from the attack. Marinette was astonished with herself.

"G-gosh, I didn't think evolving would make me THIS powerful!" she exclaimed.

"I'm just amazed that much power came out of such a tiny Pokémon!" Razer cried.

"Says the Dragon-type Pokémon." Marinette teased.

Razer nodded. Marinette had a fair point as even at their first stages, Dragon-types could be powerful too.

"Sirfetch'd is unable to battle! Orbeetle is the winner!" the announcer cried.

The audience was in hysterics. Bea was one of the toughest Gym Leaders in Galar and yet Emerald was having absolutely zero trouble fighting her! Bea was down to her last Pokémon already and Emerald had all six of her's remaining! The Fighting Gym Leader returned Sirfetch'd and drew out her last Pokéball. Emerald knew who was coming before Bea had even thrown the ball. She'd even mentioned it earlier when talking to Razer.

"Your sister's skills definitely carry onto you." Bea acknowledged, "I wonder if Sapphire is as strong as you two."

"Believe me, you're in for a fight with her." Emerald declared, "Sapph's a girl of strategy so she'll keep you on your toes."

"I look forward to it." Bea declared, "Now let's see you handle my mightiest fighter! Machamp, break your opponents!"

She threw the Pokéball and out came her personal ace and trademark Pokémon, the muscular and powerful multi-armed brawler himself. Machamp stood opposite Marinette, flexing its four arms with delight. Machamp were Fighting-type Pokémon first found in the Kanto region and were the fully evolved form of Machop. Machamp had bluish-grey skin, a muscular physique, two-toed feet and a power-save belt around its waist. Machamp were said to know every martial arts in the world and had the power to punch through mountains. In her spare-time, Bea would often spar with her Machamp to keep herself in shape. It sounded incredible to think this short, stout woman would dare face a Pokémon in a straight-up fist fight but few dared to question her on that fact. Anyone who dared to call Bea a liar quickly regretted it.

Emerald took in the appearance of Machamp. She knew Sapphire would get one of her own if she ever found anyone to trade Matilda with as Machoke could only evolve into Machamp through trading. Just to make it easy, she thought she could be the one to trade with so Sapphire could get Matilda to become a Machamp quick and easy. She returned Marinette to her Pokéball. While she was sure Marinette could handle it, she only had one Pokémon in mind to fight Bea's Machamp with.

"It's time for you to have your redemption from the last time…" Emerald said softly, "Gemstone, let the fun begin!"

Bea watched as her opponent's next Pokémon was brought to the field. She'd never fought a Starmie before as no trainer to face her had ever used Pokémon from the Isle of Armour against her. Her eyes widened with interest.

"You have a Starmie…by any chance have you been to the Isle of Armour?" she inquired.

"Oh no, I won Gemstone in a contest." Emerald explained, "They were giving away Isle of Armour and Crown Tundra exclusive Pokémon to lucky callers who texted and me and Sapph managed to be among the winners."

"I see." Bea murmured, "I've been to the Isle of Armour on occasion. I'm a huge admirer of the former champion, Mustard. It was even he who inspired me to be a Fighting-type trainer. I'm hoping to see him again on that island sometime soon."

"That's great!" Emerald cried, "I would love to meet him too. He sounds like a cool guy from what Leon's told me."

Mustard had been Leon's mentor in his rise to becoming Champion of Galar. Leon had naturally talked much about him to the Silverlock sisters. All three of them agreed it would be great to meet him one day. But that wasn't important. They still had a battle to finish.

Emerald and Bea returned their Pokémon, both of them coming to the same conclusion. It was Dynamax time! Both trainers waited until the Pokéballs finished growing and then they threw them. Razer watched as the most incredible sight she'd ever seen began to unfold before her. She'd never seen Dynamaxing before so this was a treat for her. Gemstone emerged from its Pokéball, growing to huge sizes and glowing with Dynamax energy. It already looked huge as a Staryu after Dynamaxing. As a Dynamaxed Starmie, it looked even bigger. Emerald could imagine Gemstone carrying a house across water if it wanted to.

Machamp underwent a bigger transformation for Bea's was capable of Gigantamaxing. Machamp was not only bigger, but it now sported a more powerful appearance with its four arms even thicker than before with orange hands and yellow lines spread out across the lower arms. It looked almost as if its fists were erupting out of its wrists like a volcano. Its eyes glowed bright yellow and its legs looked longer and more powerful than before and its skin had become darker. Machamp already looked intimidating before but a Gigantamaxed Machamp looked like a martial artist's worst nightmare. Just one punch from this thing would likely be like dropping a bomb onto a city! Razer couldn't stop staring at the Dynamaxed Pokémon. She liked to imagine if she could Dynamax, she'd have stepped on her trainer and squashed him like a bug!

"Alright Gemstone, let's make this quick and easy with Max Mindstorm!" Emerald commanded.

Gemstone obeyed instantly. The gem in its centre glowed brightly as the psychic energy in its body built up and unleashed. Giant psychic waves swept over Machamp, disorienting its senses for a moment and making the world feel like it was starting to twist out of shape around it. Emerald assumed this would be a simple win all done in one hit. Now Gemstone had evolved, it was more powerful than before so the single Psychic attack had to be enough! But to her amazement…it wasn't! Machamp swayed for a moment, its four arms waving around as it tried to regain its senses. Contrary to most Fighting-types, Machamp had good Defences all around, both Physical and Special, so even a Psychic attack like this wasn't guaranteed to knock it out in one hit. Machamp still had enough energy in it to go. Bea kicked at the air with her foot and followed up with a punch forwards.

"Use Max Darkness!" she screeched.

Emerald gasped in horror. Machamp knew a Dark-type move! Gemstone was weak to Dark attacks! Clever Bea to train her Machamp to have a contingency for Psychic-types that would threaten it! Machamp conjured up a mass of dark energy that seemed to come from nowhere and form around it. Then it used its four arms to direct the energy as if it was a magician performing a devious spell. The energy spiralled towards Gemstone, looking like spilled ink that had come to life to drown anything in its way in darkness. Gemstone winced as the Max Darkness hit and it stumbled backwards. Emerald and Razer stared, worried that the fight was over and that Gemstone was going to suffer another Gym loss. But evolution had saved it in this case. Gemstone's defences had been enough to hold out after that onslaught. Machamp had failed to take it down. Bea was astonished. She was so sure that Machamp had won this battle! Starmie were clearly more resilient than she'd expected. Emerald cheered, glad that Gemstone had held out.

"Yay! You're still in the match!" she cheered, "Now finish this battle with another Max Mindstorm!" she hollered.

Gemstone blasted Machamp with rings of psychic energy a second time. This time, it was enough. Machamp couldn't handle a second attack. Machamp grimaced as he was blasted by the psychic attack and it stumbled back dizzily. The attack had left it feeling very dizzy, like the world was spinning and it couldn't stop. Then its Gigantamax form disappeared and it returned to its normal size. After that, Machamp collapsed onto the floor, passing out from the attack that had drained all its energy away. Gemstone returned to normal size and did a merry spin on the spot, clearly pleased with itself for winning this fight unlike last time. The crowd cheered, entertained and amazed with the battle that had taken place here in the Stow-on-Side Stadium.

"Machamp is unable to battle! Starmie is the winner!" the announcer declared, "The winner of the Stow-on-Side Gym Challenge is Emerald Silverlock from Postwick Town and she progresses to the next Gym!"

"YAAAAAAAAY! I won, I won, I won!" Emerald squealed.

She picked Gemstone up and started dancing around like crazy, overwhelmed with joy after a such an amazing win. Bea simply returned Machamp to her Pokéball and gave Emerald her moment to celebrate. It had been a great battle and she'd felt honoured getting to see Emerald's strength for herself. Once Emerald had calmed down, she returned Gemstone to its ball and met up with Bea in the arena centre. Up close, it was hard to believe that this strong, muscular woman was only about a foot or two taller than she was. Bea was also sporting one of her rare smiles too, her eyes aglow as if this had been the most wonderful moment of her life.

"That was an incredible battle Emerald." she complimented, "Your skills are on par with the Champion. If you show this kind of strength in all other battles, you will go far."

"Gee, I r-really don't know what to say." Emerald said modestly, "Hearing that from you is just…th-thank you so much!"

She and Bea shook hands together.

"As reward for your skills, here is your well-earned Fighting badge." Bea declared, handing the badge to Emerald.

The badge was another gold piece to slot in with the others and was marked with a yellow throwing punch logo. Whenever Emerald and Ruby displayed their badges together, her's would differ in that the Fighting badge was in place of the Ghost badge that Ruby had won. Emerald looked at it for a long minute as if trying to commit it to memory. She now had FOUR Gym Badges! She'd soon have the remaining three in no time at all!


Later on, Emerald was in the Stow-on-Side Pokémon Centre. Her Pokémon were getting a well-earned rest after the tough battle with Bea, though they wouldn't need one for long as neither of them had been badly hurt or defeated during the battle. Emerald saw this as a quick pit-stop before the next Gym in Ballonlea. Once Sapphire had earned her Fighting Badge, the twins would set off for the fantastical town to claim the Fairy Badge. While they waited, Razer sat beside Emerald. Her scarred face lit up with delight at what she'd witnessed today.

"So that was a Pokémon battle." she murmured, "I always had this horrible feeling that they were acts of cruelty given the torturous training I was put through. But watching you and Bea battle…I see that Pokémon battles are a sport that seems to be about strength and the bonds Pokémon and trainer share. Watching you and your team battle was amazing!"

"I'm glad you enjoyed it." Emerald said, patting the Axew on her head, "And you've summed up Pokémon battles perfectly. It IS a sport and it is about getting strong through the friendships between trainer and Pokémon. Your old trainer clearly never understood that. At least you've seen a real Pokémon battle now and I hope you'll get to have a battle of your own someday."

"I'd love to see how strong I get through my bond with you." Razer said brightly, "And I'd LOVE to experience what it's like to Dynamax. That looked incredible when Gemstone and Machamp grew giant-sized and all! I've never seen anything like it!"

"No doubt your trainer never used Dynamaxing himself." Emerald muttered.

"He wouldn't be able to anyway." Razer said dismissively, "He didn't have that glowy wrist thingy you had when you used it and none of that red energy stuff was ever around his camp. I assume that's how Dynamaxing works, right?"

"Oh yes." Emerald confirmed, "The stadiums of Galar are built over power spots and the Dynamax energy comes from those spots. The Dynamax Band I wear allows us to channel that energy into the Pokémon and presto, giant-sized Pokémon! We Galarians never get enough of it!"

Razer could see why. It must be amazing to watch a Pokémon battle in which the opponents grew to gargantuan sizes and used even bigger and more sensational attacks as a result. She couldn't wait to have her own turn at Dynamaxing at some point. Emerald and Razer were about to talk some more but then the door of the Pokémon Centre opened and in walked Sapphire. She was looking quite pleased with herself. Her face was a wide smile of pleasure as if she'd won the lottery.

"Hey Em! How did it go?" Sapphire asked.

Emerald just showed Sapphire her newly required Fighting Badge. The blue-haired twin whistled in amazement.

"Ooooh, got it already?" she said in surprise, "I thought Bea would give you a tough battle, that's for sure. How's Razer?"

"I'm fine, thanks!" Razer chirped, "I sat on Emerald's shoulder and watched the fight with Bea! It was so awesome, especially the Dynamaxing part!"

"We even found out on the news her abusive trainer got arrested and Bea told us she was the one who called the police on him!" Emerald added.

"No way, she really did that?!" Sapphire exclaimed, "I bet that came as a shock! That's Gym Leaders for you, everyday heroes for people and Pokémon when they're not in battle!"

"Too true!" Emerald agreed, "How did your training go?" she added.

"I got just what I hoped for." Sapphire declared.

She threw two Pokéballs and brought out two Pokémon that Emerald hadn't seen her with before. They were Phantom and Elsa…but not as they had been before. Phantom had become a Dusclops, a one-eyed ghostly mummy creature with huge hands, three tooth-like projections and long wispy grey growths coming from its shoulders.

Elsa had become a Froslass, an icy phantom creature with a purple face, a long hollow tube-like body and thin arms on either side of its head.

Emerald admired the duo, her eyes full of excitement.

"Ooooh, they evolved! Just as you wanted!" Emerald cried, "Elsa looks so pretty and Phantom…uh, I guess he looks like he'd creep his opponents out." she said, trying not to sound rude, "These two will give Bea's Pokémon some trouble as Ghosts are immune to Fighting-types."

"You bet, though I'm not getting too confident." Sapphire said firmly, "I know for a fact Bea will have counters for Ghost-types. I remember when watching her matches on TV that some of her Pokémon know Dark-type moves so I'll be careful."

"You're right on that." Emerald concurred, "She even has her own Pangoro, which is half-Dark type! Even her Machamp knows a Dark move so you can't just rely on Phantom and Elsa for your match." she informed.

"Indeed, which is why I have more than just those two." Sapphire declared, "I taught Bolt how to use Psychic Fangs while I was training Phantom. A psychic move like that will come in handy, as will Elsa who can use Psychic herself. Also, Hercules managed to find a TM containing the move Air Slash while in the Wild Area in search of Elsa's Dawn Stone so I used that to teach him it." she explained, "I'd say I'm ready for Bea."

"Awesome! Can't wait to watch you in action when her hour's rest is up!" Emerald cried excitedly.

Sapphire beamed, feeling just as excited as Emerald. She couldn't wait to have her turn against the Fighting Gym Leader. Suddenly, her Rotom phone started to ring. Emerald's did as well. The twins were curious. Who would be trying to call them at this very moment? Sapphire answered her's first and Emerald peeked around the side to see who was calling. To their delight, it was none other than their elder sister once again. They quickly noticed that Ruby looked much happier than last time, her pretty face lit up with a smile and her eyes much brighter than before.

"Morning girls! Glad I could call you both!" Ruby said jovially, "Are you two at Stow-on-Side yet?"

"We are. I even won the Fighting Badge!" Emerald said gleefully, showing her newly acquired Gym Badge to Ruby.

"That's great Em! Well done!" Ruby congratulated, "How about you, Sapph?" she asked, looking to the black twin.

"Not yet. I just got in some last minute training to evolve Phantom and Elsa." Sapphire explained, "I'm going for my battle once Bea's ready to go again. How did your date with Hop go last night?" she added.

Emerald grinned, glad that Sapphire had decided to address the big Copperajah-in-the-room. Ruby just smiled dreamily, confirming it had gone well with just a single facial expression.

"Wonderfully." she sighed, "We had a lovely time together. And Em, you'll be happy to know what we had our first kiss too." she added, taking note of Emerald's excited face.

"Awww! How romantic!" the girl in green squealed, "I knew you two would be a couple, I just knew it! All my teasing wasn't for nothing!" she added slyly, her face slightly smug as if she'd known this would happen from the very start.

"Yes, it wasn't." Ruby retorted, smiling back cheekily, "But I didn't call just to tell you that me and Hop are a couple now. After Sapphire's won her Fighting Badge, can you both come back to Hammerlocke City for something?"

"Sure, what is it?" Sapphire asked curiously.

Ruby quickly explained that she'd realized what Team Royal's next target could be in their plan to corrupt the Galarian heroes and that she had a plan to catch them in the act. She didn't explain what the plan was, insisting they discuss it in person and not over the phone in case someone overheard. There was no chance of that as Emerald and Sapphire were the only ones in the centre at the moment but Ruby still wanted to be cautious. The twins were very excited to hear their big sister had a plan to catch Team Royal.

"Count us in! We'd be happy to help!" Emerald cried.

"But how do you know WHEN they're going to come for the power plant?" Sapphire noted, "Its fine enough identifying it as a potential target but that won't mean we're ready for them. They could be plotting to raid it in five minutes or in five days or even in a month for all we know!"

"Excellent point Sapph!" Ruby acknowledged, "Which is why the first thing I did today was ask the captured Team Royal members about it. They denied knowing what I was talking about, so I had Houdini use his psychic powers on them. Annoyingly enough, they weren't pulling my leg when they said they didn't know what I was talking about…but they DID say Team Royal at least has something planned and they were going to get the full details on the day itself. They weren't told ahead of time to try and prevent it leaking out should they be captured. Well as you can see, it leaked out anyway. Said day was going to be today so I'm setting my little trap in the power plant now in case that's the thing for today they have planned."

"It's like things are going our way for a change!" Emerald said brightly.

"Too true." Ruby agreed, "I'll explain the plan in detail once you two get back to Hammerlocke. I'll see you shortly."

Her face disappeared from the screen. Emerald and Sapphire looked at each other and nodded. They wouldn't keep Ruby waiting. Once Sapphire was done in the Stow-on-Side Gym, they'd come straight to Hammerlocke City. They couldn't wait to hear the plan and how Ruby was going to catch Team Royal! Better still, they were going to help out! They already had some ideas on how they could contribute. Their Pokémon would be very helpful in executing Ruby's plan, that was for sure

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