Emerald Knights: A Pokémon Sword Story Chapter 16
Chapter 16: The Sixth Gym
Ruby felt as if she was finally coming to the end of this ongoing battle with Team Royal.
Both she and Leon were flying through the air at top speed on the backs of their Charizards. It seemed appropriate that the former Champion and the current Champion should ride on the same type of Pokémon together. It had been Ruby's idea for Leon to come along as she knew it would've been suicide to go into a villainous hideout alone. With her and Leon in this together, Team Royal would have even less chance of getting away. And if that wasn't enough, Ruby had also invited Hop to come too. He was riding on the back of his Corviknight alongside the two Charizards. Upon receiving Ruby's message, Hop had taken it upon himself to join his girlfriend and brother on the raid. He felt it was his duty to get involved considering Team Royal had been messing with his love for all this time and causing her a lot of stress. Ruby had appreciated the gesture and happily let him come along.
The three trainers eventually spotted their destination. As Elizabeth had told Ruby, their hideout was underneath an abandoned mansion in the countryside just west of Hammer City. Even from the skies it was easy to tell it had been abandoned. Ruby could make out a roof that was full of holes down below. She and Bryce went down first, homing in on the mansion like a falling missile. Bryce flapped his wings to slow his descent and gently touched down on the ground just in front of the front door. Leon's Charizard and Hop's Corviknight followed, touching down behind Bryce. The mansion was a sorry sight indeed with its peeling paint, broken windows, mould growing over the walls, holes in the roof and cracked pillars. Back in its heyday, the mansion would've looked almost like a palace with gleaming white paint, luxurious design windows and beautiful interior. Now it just looked like it was on life support and was begging desperately for someone to switch it off so it could die at last. Ruby even felt that it would be beneficial to just knock it down as it was just an ugly spot in a beautiful piece of countryside. How sad it was to think that this place had once been a wonderful Pokémon sanctuary before the family had lost their fortune! She wished she could've seen it back in those days.
"This is it." Ruby informed, "Team Royal's hideout is under this mansion. It was so kind of Elizabeth to tell us where to find it."
"Not like you gave her much choice." Leon chuckled dryly.
Ruby had explained to the Dande brothers how she'd gotten Elizabeth to talk. They had been surprised at first but they very quickly saw things her way that it had been necessary. At least now they could arrest Sordward and Shielbert and bring an end to Team Royal's threat! Ruby and Hop returned their Pokémon while Leon kept his Charizard out. Ruby and Hop exchanged Bryce and Corviknight for Bugs and Dubwool respectively. It would be easier for Pokémon like them to navigate the hideout as they weren't too big. They entered the mansion. Upon entering, they were met with the sight of dust blanketing everything from the floors to the furniture and cobwebs that stretched all over the ceilings. It was easy to imagine a bunch of Joltik or Galvantula making their homes up in those webs. There was peeling paint on the walls just like outside and a beam of sunlight was streaming in through one of the holes in the roof. What must this hallway have looked like when the mansion hadn't been abandoned? Ruby looked around until she saw what she was looking for. At the foot of a dust-covered staircase stood a suit of armour that looked like something Wikstrom of the Kalos Elite Four might wear. It looked like it should be in a museum rather than here in a mansion. Ruby approached the suit of armour and grabbed one of its arms. She pulled it down and as expected, a secret passageway opened up. Some of the stairs folded down into some underground area, the Team Royal hideout no doubt. They rumbled as they moved, forming a set of stairs that went down instead of up. Elizabeth's information had been spot on. This was where Team Royal would be found!
Ruby smiled grimly to herself. Sordward and Shielbert clearly read too many spy-fiction to come up with something as clichéd as this! She signalled for the brothers to follow her. They all went down the stairs with Bugs and Dubwool following while Charizard stayed at the top to stand guard. Ruby had suspected Team Royal might try and ambush them so if Charizard stayed here, nobody could try to get in and attack them from behind. At the bottom of the stairs was a solid steel door with a keypad set in the wall. Of course Ruby had coaxed the code out of Elizabeth while she was hypnotized. She keyed in the number eighty-six forty-three and the door opened. They walked in. Ruby pointed ahead sharply as they entered.
"Sordward! Shielbert! You're under arrest!" she yelled.
But to her surprise…there was nobody here! Ruby gasped. All they could see was a single room with a pair of chairs, a table between them and a large computer screen behind them. There were doors leading to other rooms in the hideout and there was a large box covered by a tarpaulin in the corner but otherwise the place seemed to be empty. Everyone walked in to get a closer look. The door slowly closed behind them after they entered. Ruby silently ordered Leon and Hop to look in the other rooms while she investigated the computer screen. The brothers obeyed and walked into the other rooms. Maybe the criminals were hiding in one of them. Ruby walked up to the computer screen, not surprised that it didn't seem to be on. She looked for the on switch and saw it. She pressed it but the computer didn't turn on. She tried again but still nothing happened. Ruby frowned.
"It seems they've cut the power to the base." she suggested, "It's clear they don't want anyone looking into their search history."
"But why though?" Bugs asked, "Dey couldn't possibly have guessed anyone would be coming here."
"Maybe they did…" Ruby muttered.
She screwed her face up in annoyance. How could she have been so stupid?! Of course Team Royal would've bailed out at the last minute! Considering how many of them got arrested last night, it was just common sense to get out while they could! They'd likely guessed Ruby would find out where their hideout was and fled, leaving her high and dry. She'd outwitted them, now they'd outwitted her. She was beginning to feel how they must've felt last night. Then Ruby and Bugs heard something that made their blood run cold. In the silence that had followed, it suddenly dawned on them that something was beeping. But what? Bugs turned to the box covered by a tarpaulin that sat in the corner of the room. The beeping was coming from there. The Cinderace approached it, already guessing what it was he might find under there. He lifted it up…and screamed. The tarpaulin was concealing a huge steel box identical to the one that Team Royal had set up in the power plant as a backup plan. And it was counting down with only one minute left!
"IT'S A BOMB!" Bugs shrieked.
"HOP, LEON! WE HAVE TO LEAVE NOW!" Ruby screamed.
The three trainers and their Pokémon darted over to the door as fast they could. Hop and Leon hadn't bothered to question why they were running. If Ruby said they had to leave, then they had to leave! Ruby grabbed the door handle and pulled on it. The door didn't budge! She tried again but it still wouldn't open! Unknown to the trio, Sordward and Shielbert had programmed the door to lock itself once it had shut. This had been their plan all along, to set a trap for Ruby and she'd walked right into it! The bomb had fifty seconds left before detonation and nobody had a way out. They were trapped! Ruby turned to Bugs. There was only one way anyone was getting out of here alive.
"Bugs, use Pyro Ball on that door! Quick!" she shrieked.
"Dubwool, use Double Edge to help Bugs break it down!" Hop cried.
Both Pokémon obeyed instantly. Bugs kicked a huge fireball towards the door and Dubwool stampeded towards it with its head lowered. Both attacks slammed into the door and knocked it clean off its hinges. It would've been strong enough to withstand most Pokémon attacks but Bugs and Dubwool had been trained to high levels so they were already very strong and they'd both attacked together so the door hadn't been able to hold up to it. The door crashed down onto the stairs, startling Charizard and making him look down to see what was happening. Ruby, Hop, Leon, Bugs and Dubwool raced up the stairs. Charizard could see something bad was happening and didn't wait to be told what to do. He fled with the others and they charged out of the mansion. They'd been extremely lucky. As soon as they got outside, the bomb only had ten seconds left. They ran for those ten seconds and threw themselves to the ground as the bomb went off. A huge fist of flames punched through the mansion as if it was some unknown Pokémon breaking out from underneath it. The explosion was deafening, so loud that Ruby was sure the people of Hammerlocke City could hear it. The teenagers and the former Champion watched as the mansion crumpled from the damage done by the explosion. It looked like a house of cards folding in on itself. The sound of crashing debris, breaking wood and falling tiles was terrifying but the threesome just considered themselves lucky that they weren't still in the hideout as this was happening. They had been very lucky to have escaped with their lives! Ruby placed a hand over her chest as if hoping she wasn't about to have a heart attack. She'd never been so scared in her life! It took a while before anyone spoke as the shock of what had just happened settled in and they took a moment to catch their breath.
"Whoa, that was too close for comfort!" Leon gasped, "Thank goodness Ruby spotted that bomb or we could've been obliterated!"
"But why did Team Royal rig the place to blow?" Hop asked, "They couldn't possibly have known we'd come looking for them! Were they tipped off?"
"No. They guessed, just like I guessed they'd carry out a raid on the power plant last night." Ruby growled, her face a mask of fury, "Not even they would have such little foresight to anticipate that we'd find out where they were hiding and set a trap for us! DAMN IT, WHY WAS I SUCH A BLOODY IDIOT?!"
She pounded the ground furiously and began to cry. Her shoulders heaved as she wept. Hop watched his girlfriend cry, her sobs like a dagger through his heart. He knelt beside Ruby and patted her back softly.
"Ruby, don't say that about yourself. You…"
"Don't try and comfort me!" Ruby retorted, "Face it Hop, I screwed up big time because I was stupid! I nearly got us all killed! I should've known this would happen but I was so focused on arresting Sordward and Shielbert that I overlooked the obvious! No Champion should make idiotic mistakes like I did!"
"Hey, you knock it off right this second!" Hop said firmly, "I will not let you put yourself down like that! You're not an idiot Ruby and you know it! Who's the girl who formed that brilliant plan that caught Team Royal in the power plant? You were! And just because you're our Champion, doesn't mean you can do everything. Even Champions can make mistakes."
"He's right Ruby." Leon put in, "Even I did. I was the guy who foolishly thought he could take on Eternatus after all. All I can say is that instead of being so hung up over our near-deaths, just be thankful we're alive so we can try again to catch Team Royal. At least now they've given themselves one place less to hide in." he added, winking.
Ruby wiped her eyes and nodded. She could see Leon's point. Destroying the hideout would benefit them in the long run as Sordward and Shielbert had one hideout less to hide in. They also wouldn't make the same mistakes as last time and would definitely come closer to arresting them. In a way, the brothers may have unintentionally helped them. They had evaded captured for today, but they wouldn't evade them for long!
"You're right…I'm sorry about that." Ruby said solemnly, "That was just my grief talking back there. I was just so upset and scared over what had happened that I just lost it for a moment. Thank you, you two." she said appreciatively.
"Anything for my successor." Leon said cheerfully.
"And for my girlfriend." Hop added, hugging the silver-haired teen for comfort.
"So I guess all we can do now is go home and hope for da best next time." Bugs said grimly.
"I might see if I can coax anything out of the Team Royal members we've arrested so far." Ruby thought, "Maybe they might know of any other hideouts the team's set up. I doubt Sordward and Shielbert will expect that. Whatever happens, they WILL be captured or my name isn't Ruby Silverlock!"
She and Hop returned their Pokémon and exchanged them for Bryce and Corviknight so they could fly on out of here. Leon rode on his Charizard again. The three trainers flew off into the sky, leaving behind the smoking ruins of the old mansion. Ruby took one last look at the remains of the old house. Thank Arceus that it hadn't become their grave…
"Come on Tybo, one last High Horsepower!" Emerald commanded.
"Celestia, you use Psybeam!" Sapphire ordered.
After leaving Ballonlea, Emerald and Sapphire had been quick to make their way off to Circhester to challenge the Rock Gym. Trainers with a Sword pass competed against Gordie, the Rock-type Gym Leader, over in Circhester while those with a Shield pass challenged his mother, Melony the Ice-type Gym Leader. Both twins wanted their Pokémon to be in tip-top shape for the Rock Gym so upon entering Route 8, they'd brought out Tybo and Celestia respectively to have some battles to toughen them up a little. Both were close to evolving too so they decided they may as well get them to their next stages. They'd been training for a whole hour already. At the moment, Emerald had come across a wild Drapion while Sapphire was fighting a wild Haunter. The Rhyhorn and Ponyta unleashed their attacks and stuck their opponents. The Haunter winced as it was blasted by Celestia's powerful Psybeam. Despite her cute fairy-tale appearance, Celestia was much stronger than she seemed. The Haunter had gone done in a single hit, lying dazed and unconscious on the ground. Celestia whinnied, delighted with her win.
The Drapion Tybo was fighting put up more of a resistance. Drapion by nature were very hardy Pokémon that were great at tanking hits, even super effective ones, so Tybo hadn't managed to knock it out just yet. Drapion scuttled towards the rhino-like Pokémon and struck back with Cross Poison. Tybo took the blow with ease as Rhyhorn were resistant to Poison attacks. Disappointed, the Drapion instead grabbed Tybo with its powerful pincers and tried to pick him up and throw him. It was a strain for the scorpion-like Pokémon as Rhyhorn were extremely heavy and this Drapion was a wild one, not a trained Pokémon so it wasn't as strong as it could be. Emerald remembered how in Paul's battle with Ash back in Sinnoh, Paul's Drapion had been able to lift up Ash's Torterra with absolute ease despite Torterra being extremely heavy Pokémon. If this had been Paul's Drapion she was fighting, Tybo wouldn't even be on the ground right now. The Drapion eventually gave up trying to lift Tybo and dropped him, panting heavily from the effort it had put into trying to pick him up. Tybo was now free to use another High Horsepower to charge into it and knock it clean out. The Drapion lay on its back wondering which way was up and groaning. Tybo snorted, satisfied with his victory.
"I emerge victorious again! Case closed!" he huffed.
Emerald just giggled. Even in battle, Tybo still had to act like an officer on duty! She patted her powerful Pokémon softly on the head.
"You've been performing brilliantly Tybo!" she complimented, "You're so strong that I bet you could handle the next Gym by yourself!"
"All the better to protect civilians from criminals!" Tybo said gruffly. He hadn't forgotten the reason Emerald had asked him to come along.
"Ha, ha! True that." Emerald agreed, "I tell you now, I'd happily let you be the one to arrest Sordward and Shielbert themselves should we ever meet them. How funny would that look with a Pokémon arresting a human?"
"I know I'd find it hilarious to watch." Sapphire chuckled, "In my case, if those dweebs tried to lie their way out of jail, Celestia would quickly expose them." she said, stroking her Ponyta's mane.
"I'm always happy to expose liars." Celestia said softly, "I cannot stand those kinds of people. If anyone lies to me, my telepathy will soon expose them."
Sapphire was about to reply until suddenly, the beautiful horse-like Pokémon started to glow a bright white! At the same time, Tybo did the same thing! Emerald and Sapphire watched with excitement as yet another evolution was taking place. How was it they'd seen plenty of their Pokémon evolve and it still never failed to excite them? They stared on, giddy with glee as Tybo became a Rhydon and Celestia became a Galarian Rapidash.
Rhydon were best described as a "rhinosaurus" with how they looked, literally looking like a cross between a rhinoceros and a dinosaur. They stood on two legs instead of four like Rhyhorn did, had a drill in place of an actual horn, tough, grey, rocky skin, a long thick tail and fearsome red eyes. Rhydon were very commonly seen as among the most awesome looking Pokémon in the world and were very popular as a result.
Galarian Rapidash sported the same fur and mane colours as they did as Ponyta but they were much bigger than before, their mane was neater in style and curled at the tips, the horn on their heads was much longer and looked ready to spear any enemy that stood in its way. They also gained a half-Fairy typing upon evolving, unlike the pure Psychic types of their previous Ponyta form. Galarian Rapidash were looked upon fondly for their extremely attractive appearance. They even had a habit of ranking high in beauty contests.
Emerald and Sapphire hugged their Pokémon to congratulate them.
"Yay! You're a Rhydon now!" Emerald exclaimed, "Congratulations Tybo!"
"I feel as if I've finally been promoted from officer to chief." Tybo crooned, admiring himself, "I'll definitely bring many criminals to justice in this new form!"
"Oh Tybo!" Emerald giggled.
"You look gorgeous Celestia!" Sapphire complimented, "Simply magnificent! Look at your mane and your graceful stature!"
"Thank you very much Sapphire." Celestia beamed gratefully, "I feel utterly fabulous as a Rapidash. I've never looked as beautiful as this until now."
"I'd say you look equally as beautiful as both a Ponyta and a Rapidash." Sapphire said casually.
The twins turned to each other, both thinking the same thing: let's go to that Gym! They'd set out to evolve Tybo and Celestia so now they'd done so, they could get over to Circhester and compete for the Rock Badge.
It didn't take them long to reach the ancient looking city as they continued through Route 8 to get to Circhester. Upon arrival, they very quickly felt the change in temperature as the warm sunlight of the day had changed to become grey overcast skies, cold winds and falling snow. It always seemed to snow in Circhester for some reason. With the city's ancient architecture and the local bathhouse nearby, the twins felt almost like they'd travelled back in time to a more ancient time of civilization long before the modern era of phones, restaurants, hotels, shops and more. The stadium was up ahead, sporting the greyish-brown colours and the flag of the Rock Gym for today was the day that trainers with a Sword pass could challenge the Gym. Tomorrow it would be Melony's turn to run the Gym for those with a Shield pass. Emerald and Sapphire knew that Gordie and Melony were mother and son respectively, but they weren't on good terms at the moment. They didn't know why as the two were pretty private about their personal lives and certainly didn't tell anyone, fans or not, why they were estranged at the moment.
Emerald and Sapphire entered the stadium, glad to get out of the cold for now. They made a mental note to visit the local clothes shop to get some warmer clothes to wear after their battle. They were about to get signed up for their battle with Gordie until suddenly, they received a message on their Rotom phones. They took a moment to answer them, curious what it was. Maybe it was Ruby telling them that Sordward and Shielbert had been arrested! Their hopes were dashed as they read the text Ruby had sent them:
The brothers fled their hideout before we arrived. They rigged the place to blow but we managed to get away before we got killed. We'll keep looking for them girls, don't you worry! In fact, if you see anyone belonging to Team Royal at all, give me a call. Maybe we'll get Sordward and Shielbert's locations out of them!
Emerald sighed disappointedly while Sapphire put her phone back, her face blank from what she'd read.
"Well that sucks." she grumbled, "I was so hoping Ruby would get those twerps at last."
"At least she didn't get blown up!" Emerald shrieked, "That would've been horrible if she died in their hideout as it exploded! How could those awful people set a trap for our sister like that? Do they not care that they could've potentially killed a teenager? And over some petty grudge no less?!"
I doubt they care in the slightest." Sapphire muttered, "They clearly have no standards given they tried to kidnap us and now they set a trap just in case Ruby came looking for them. Shows what spineless cowards they are…" she growled.
"After we're done here, maybe we can look out for them on our way to Spikemuth." Emerald suggested, "That'd give Ruby a hand in tracking them down!"
"But we don't even know what the two look like." Sapphire noted, "How can we possibly find them?"
Emerald grumbled in annoyance. Of course, why hadn't she thought of that? They could look anywhere and never find the two because they had no idea who they were looking for! They at least knew what to look for with Team Royal Members given they always carried their logo so if they found any of them, they could get them to tell them what Sordward and Shielbert looked like. She brought this up to Sapphire, who nodded in agreement.
"Even Ruby might've thought of that." she mused, "She could even be asking those that have been arrested now. We should let her get on with her investigation while we get out next Gym Badge. At least winning our next badge will brighten her day up a little."
"It will." Emerald said brightly, "And we'll get stronger as we go through the battle so we'll be able to fight and arrest Team Royal too!"
Sapphire nodded. Emerald was right on that part. These Gym Battles didn't just get them closer to entering the Champion Cup, but it gave their Pokémon the opportunity to toughen themselves up and get stronger for any future battle with Team Royal. They could hide away as long as they wanted but it would do them no good. They would still be strong enough to foil their plans!
Emerald had this in mind as she made her way into the centre of the arena to begin her Gym Battle. Once again, she was up first and had wasted no time getting ready for it. Now she was standing in the middle of the stadium facing her opponent with the crowd screaming their names as they waited for the battle to begin. Gordie was definitely Melony's son. That was the impression Emerald got. Not only was he a rather heavyset person with his bulky figure and round face, but he had similar colour hair to his mother, just tipped with yellow and styled differently, and he also managed to be fat in a way that didn't detract from his appearance. On the contrary, Gordie was considered a very handsome Gym Leader despite his appearance and was quite popular amongst many fans. Even Emerald thought there was something about him that was quite attractive. He wore the usual Rock Gym Uniform of a grey and white shirt sporting his Gym logo, matching shorts that carried his number, 168, on one leg and grey shoes with blue tips. Over that uniform he wore a stylish brown and black blazer and he also wore flashy sunglasses and a huge gold necklace with a blue gem in the middle. He had a prominent fanbase that he often tried to make happy by handing out autographs or hosting events. They were so loyal to him that they'd created three photo albums about him. Even his habit of being a bad loser was considered more endearing than off-putting to his fandom.
Gordie adjusted his sunglasses as he acknowledged the trainer that was facing opposite him. He gave the kind of smile that made him look cocky, but not overbearingly so, and also welcoming as if he wanted to make Emerald feel at ease despite believing he would beat her.
"Ah, Gym Challenger Number 143 is here at last!" he said jovially, his voice full of enthusiasm, "I tell you what, mate, I've been hoping I'd get the chance to challenge the Champion's sister. After Ruby had an awesome battle with my mother last year, I swore I'd get the chance to face her and show mum how it's done! I'm still yet to actually fight her, but you'll do in the meantime."
"I'll show you that I'm just as strong as Ruby!" Emerald declared, "I've been looking forward to this as you've always been my personal favourite Gym Leader, Gordie. Let's have a great battle today!"
"You're speaking my language, lass!" Gordie chuckled heartily, "Yes, you're going to see just like any other challenger how rock hard my Pokémon can be!"
The two took up their positions and waited as they were introduced to the audience.
"From Postwick Town: Emerald Silverlock. Her opponent: Gym Leader Gordie."
While Emerald had gathered up plenty of fans during her run in the Gym Challenge, not even that could compete with the audience that chanted Gordie's name over and over. Some of the people in the crowd were wearing the same kind of blazer he did as they thought it looked fashionable with how good he made it look and many more were waving banners with Gordie's face on them. His fanbase was keen to see their idol win today but Emerald was going to show them that she was no opponent that their precious Gym Leader would walk over. Gordie was her favourite Gym Leader, but that didn't mean she'd go easy on him!
"Pokémon Trainers: Standby." the announcer called.
Emerald and Gordie braced themselves for the signal to go. This was for the sixth Gym Badge so Emerald knew things were going to get serious. Gordie would give her a rock solid match so she had to be ready for it. She'd handpicked her team to perfectly handle his Rock-types so she was confident she would win.
"Three…two…one…BEGN!" came the signal to go.
"Alrighty, let's get this party started!" Gordie cried, whipping out an Ultra Ball, "Barbaracle, time to rock!"
He took aim with the ball, then leapt into the air and performed his famous backflip as he threw it. Emerald clapped and laughed as he did it. She loved it when Gordie did his backflips and watching him do it in person made it even more fun to watch. How did this portly man pull off an impressive somersault like that?! Gordie's chosen Pokémon materialized into play. Emerald took in the unusual appearance of Barbaracle. It was a Water/Rock type Pokémon from the Kalos region that resembled barnacles. It had four arms with three-clawed hands and an eye in each palm and a five clawed hand with a face in the palm that acted as its head. Each of Barbaracle limbs could think for themselves and move independently but they usually followed the head's orders. With each limb sporting an eye, this Pokémon could see in every direction. Emerald was always fascinated by how strange this Pokémon looked and now she had a chance to fight it.
"I thought he'd use that." she mumbled to herself, "Gordie always uses a Barbaracle in his Gym Battles. Good thing I came prepared…"
She threw her own Pokéball and brought out Thor the Raichu for his second Gym Battle in a row. She'd chosen him to be part of the team precisely to deal with Barbaracle. Kerchak would've worked just as well but Emerald wanted Thor to play a part too. The electric mouse and the multi-limbed barnacle stared each other down, ready to begin the battle. It didn't last long for Emerald commanded Thor to simply use a single Thunderbolt to take it down. Thor pointed his tail at Barbaracle and zapped it with his mighty electrical attacks. Not even the Pokémon's half Rock typing could save it from a terrific Thunderbolt like that. Barbaracle writhed around like an injured snake as it was electrocuted. Gordie was grateful he had his sunglasses on otherwise he'd have been unable to see due to the electric shock being too bright to look at. He could only watch as Barbaracle collapsed onto the floor, steam drifting up from its body. Thor folded his arms and smirked triumphantly.
"I knew naming myself after a powerful entity would make me powerful too." he sneered.
"Oh I'm pretty sure you're just powerful all on your own, mate." Emerald chuckled, "Names don't have anything to do with strength."
"Barbaracle is unable to battle! Raichu is the winner!" cried the announcer.
Gordie returned his Pokémon to its ball as his fans voiced their dismay. They were hoping he would set off a good start but instead the Challenger had one-shot his first Pokémon with ease! They hoped his next one would be more of a challenge. Gordie whipped out his next Ultra Ball.
"Heh, you're certainly going to give me a rock hard challenge, Emerald." the Rock Gym Leader acknowledged, "But you might struggle to leave a dent in this one. Shuckle, time to rock!"
His next Pokémon leapt out of its ball and formed onto the field, ready to battle. Shuckle was a Bug/Rock type Pokémon that despite its typing, more closely resembled a turtle than an actual bug. It had a thick red shell with holes in for its limbs and head and could retract them whenever necessary to hide from enemies. Shuckle were infamous for being absolutely pathetic in battle due to their abysmal attack stats and sluggish speed. But they weren't meant for attacking. Shuckle's greatest strength was its obscenely high defences. They had some of the bulkiest defences of any Pokémon in history and were great at stalling opponents out for this reason. They still weren't very much use in spite of that. Emerald was surprised to see Gordie using a Shuckle, thinking a Gym Leader wouldn't rely on a Pokémon as weak as that. Like most people that used one, he was probably intending to stall her out and wear her Pokémon down with its incredible defences. Too bad that she had plenty of counters! Emerald returned Thor and exchanged him for another Pokémon.
"Blue, let the fun begin!" she cried.
Her newly evolved Seismitoad materialized into play, thrilled to have the chance to battle after evolving last night. Blue let out a loud croak that told anyone watching that she was ready for action. She was very enthusiastic about her new body and couldn't wait to show off how powerful she was now.
"Use Liquidation!" Emerald commanded.
Blue conjured up a pool of water that formed around her fists and she charged towards Shuckle. The toad-like Pokémon drew her arms back and thrust them forwards, slamming into Shuckle and knocking it onto its back. Due to Shuckle's amazing defences, it had managed to tank the hit enough for it to be able to carry on fighting, but not for much longer. Shuckle shook itself off and grunted, refusing to show signs of weakness. But Blue hadn't just done super-effective damage to the Bug/Rock Pokémon. Upon evolving, Blue had gained a new ability called Poison Touch. This allowed Blue to poison opponents if she made physical contact with them. Shuckle had been poisoned now, glowing purple briefly to signify that. Shuckle's defences were meaningless for even if it took the hits now, the poison would just do more damage to it to whittle its health down further. Despite this, Shuckle feebly tried to fight back by using Rock Tomb. It sent a bunch of rocks hurling into Blue but they may as well have been a shower of pebbles for what pitiful damage they caused. Shuckle's miniscule attack stats meant it had no chance of ever causing any serious harm to its opponents. Blue took the hit without even flinching and despite the side-effect of lowering her speed kicking in after the attack, it wouldn't mean anything for Shuckle was so slow that Blue would still out speed it anyway.
After the attack had landed, Shuckle cringed in agony as the poison effects from Blue's Poison Touch ability kicked in. The poison sapped away some of its health. Now Emerald was more likely than ever to finish the fight with her next move. She ordered Blue to use Liquidation one last time to wrap up the battle. Blue repeated her earlier attack and took Shuckle out in one fell swoop. Shuckle collapsed onto the floor, unable to fight any longer.
"Shuckle is unable to battle! Seismitoad is the winner!" boomed the announcer.
Gordie returned Shuckle to his Pokéball as Emerald jumped for joy, glad that Blue had managed to win her first battle as a Seismitoad. Despite his disappointment with how things were going, her smiled toothily at his challenger.
"Heh, you're making it look a little too easy." he said humorously, "You've certainly been prepared for my team, Emerald! You're just knocking down my rock solid defences as if they're nothing!"
"I had a great source of inspiration to learn from." Emerald said modestly.
Gordie knew what she meant. As the sister of the Champion, who else better to draw inspiration from? He drew out his next Ultra Ball and threw it, performing another backflip as he did so.
"Stonjourner, time to rock!" he called.
His next Pokémon to come into battle was possibly stranger than both Barbaracle and Shuckle put together. Emerald found herself looking at a Pokémon that could best be described as a living Stonehenge. Its main body was a rectangular rock with a face on it while two other rocks formed very large and thick legs that it could use to move. It even had arms, albeit very small ones, made up of a chain of rocks that alternated between grey and dark grey. Emerald thought this Pokémon looked more like a tourist attraction than a living creature, which just made its appearance here all the stranger. She returned Blue to her Pokéball so another Pokémon could have a turn in the spotlight.
"I promised I'd bring you out for at least one battle in this Gym so here we go!" Emerald cried, "Kerchak, let the fun begin!"
Her very first Pokémon made his appearance into the arena, beating his chest and roaring enthusiastically. Gordie couldn't help smiling. This Pokémon certainly loved to get in on the action! Stonjourner stared its opponent down and showed no signs of being afraid. Not even the fact it was at a type-disadvantage could unnerve it. Emerald could see that this was a brave Pokémon and wasn't afraid to stand up to those that would have an advantage over it. This fight would show if its bravery was well-placed. Kerchak made the first move as Emerald ordered him to use Drum Beating. It was the signature move of the Rillaboom species and a very powerful Grass attack that could lower speed when it made contact. Kerchak pounded on his wooden drum kit, the booming sounds creating enormous roots that shot up from the ground. It looked as if some enchanted plant was trying to break through the stadium floor. Stonjourner looked from left to right helplessly as the roots snaked their way up either side of it and lashed out. The Rock-type Pokémon winced as the vines struck it. Despite being wood, the vines were very thick and hit quite hard. Stonjourner swayed on its huge feet for a moment, dazed from the blow. The attack had also lowered its speed just as it usually did to an opponent. Despite the super-effective hit, it was still standing. Emerald imagined that Stonjourner was a Pokémon that had high defences so a physical hit wasn't going to knock it down that quickly. She still had to admire how endurable it was for taking a blow like that and stay standing.
With Stonjourner still in play, Gordie was free to make his move. He commanded the Stonehenge-like Pokémon to use Rock Tomb on its opponent. Stonjourner conjured up a bunch of rocks and hurled them towards Kerchak. The rocks came tumbling down on Kerchak and he held up his strong, muscular arms to protect himself from the worst of it. Even if the attack wasn't very effective, it still hurt to have all these rocks crashing down on him. Kerchak shook himself off after the attack had landed. Like Drum Beating, Rock Tomb also had the effect of lowering a Pokémon's speed. Emerald watched as her Pokémon flashed blue briefly to signify the lowered stat. It really made no difference for by nature, Rillabooms were much faster than Stonjourner and both Pokémon had had their speed lowered in this round so it wouldn't change who moved first. Kerchak was still faster so he landed the next blow as Emerald ordered another Drum Beating attack from him. He pounded on his drum and the roots returned to smack Stonjourner down into the floor once again. Stonjourner didn't stay up this time. It keeled over and crashed down unconscious onto the floor as its health depleted. Now it looked like Stonehenge after it had been knocked down in an act of senseless vandalism. Gordie looked disappointed while Emerald cheered, excited to have scored another victory.
"Stonjourner is unable to battle! Rillaboom is the winner!" the announcer exclaimed.
The crowd exploded with rounds of applause for the Gym Challenger. As much as they loved Gordie, they couldn't help but love the fantastic performance that this new Gym Challenger was putting up. It was easy to believe she was related to the current Champion of Galar with how strong her Pokémon seemed to be! Gordie returned Stonjourner and adjusted his sunglasses.
"Given your sister gave my mum a thrashing, I shouldn't be too surprised you're thrashing me right now." he chuckled, "And speaking of the Champion, this last Pokémon will no doubt remind you of her. Coalossal, time to rock!"
Through another fabulous backflip, he threw his last Ultra Ball and summoned forth his personal ace and strongest Pokémon. Emerald of course knew what it was just from the mere mention of its name. Ruby had a Coalossal of her own which she'd nicknamed Vesuvius. She'd found her in the Wild Area during her journey and taken her in due to her feeling very lonely out in the wild. Vesuvius had become one of Ruby's strongest and most loyal Pokémon she'd caught, winning fights left and right and even helping to stop Eternatus. Ruby had even used Vesuvius in her battle with Leon in which the mighty Rock/Fire type Pokémon had taken out two of Leon's Pokémon single-handedly. Gordie's Coalossal looked very powerful too. It was a little bigger than Vesuvius in size and had a few chinks across its rocky body to show that this was a Pokémon that had done much training in its life and fought in plenty of battles. As a half-Fire type, Emerald knew Kerchak wouldn't stand a chance so she returned him to his Pokéball. She was tempted to bring Blue back out but decided against it. She remembered from watching Gordie's battles on TV that his Coalossal had the Steam Engine ability. Its speed increased when hit by a Water or Fire attack so if she used Blue's Water attacks on it, she'd only be giving Coalossal a speed boost that would benefit its situation over her's. She decided to play it smart and use something completely different.
"Now's a good time to test your new body." Emerald declared, "Tybo, let the fun begin!"
She threw her last Pokéball and out came her newly evolved Rhydon. The rhinosaurus lowered his head and pawed at the floor with his feet. This was going to be a titanic contest between two mighty rock titans. Gordie could see what Emerald was planning. Coalossal had a double weakness to Ground types and Rhydon were half-Ground types so Emerald was clearly planning to use a Ground attack to win the fight. Now they would see if her plan