Chapter 28: Ruby vs. Raihan
Oleana's little plot was completely forgotten about the next day as Ruby made her way onto the pitch again.
The next day had been a blur. Upon waking up and having breakfast to start off the day, Ruby had quickly been brought down to Wyndon Stadium to begin the Champion Cup. The day had started off with her and all the Gym Leaders of Galar standing on the pitch together as Leon gave out the opening speech to begin the tournament. Usually Chairman Rose was the one that would handle this but he was otherwise engaged with Project: Eternatus so Leon was filling in for him. Ruby admitted how cool and collected the Champion seemed out on the pitch addressing such a huge audience. As the Champion, he'd no doubt been in this situation enough times to feel at home in front of so many people. If she was to win this tournament and beat him, that could potentially be her in his place giving off grand speeches and opening up tournaments. It seemed an intimidating thought at first but like Leon, she'd get used to it.
"Hello Galar!" Leon announced, his voice radiating power, confidence and enthusiasm all at once, "The Chairman is tied up with some business, so I hope nobody minds me stepping in on his behalf in order to lead you all to greater heights as Pokémon Trainers of the Galar region!
The time has come for you to battle it out until only the greatest Challenger remains! So, on behalf of the Chairman, allow me to say…let the Final matches begin!"
The noise that followed this speech was deafening. Ruby felt as if the entire Galar region was screaming itself hoarse in anticipation for this highly-anticipated tournament. This was a region that loved to advertise how much it loved Pokémon battles after all.
Once Leon's speech had concluded, the tournament had begun and time just seemed to disappear around Ruby for she was going through one match to another with barely a moment to register what was happening. Her first battle was up against Gym Leader Nessa of Hulbury Town. The Water Gym Leader had come to her with a much stronger team than when they'd fought back at Hulbury Stadium but despite her best efforts, it had been no contest at all. Ruby completely curbstomped the model, using only Freddy, Hawk Moth and Shard to handle her Water types. Freddy was a no-brainer thanks to his Electric typing whereas Hawk Moth had a Grass attack in the form of Energy Ball and Shard was able to use Thunderbolt. Every single one of Nessa's Pokémon had fallen in a single hit with her Barraskewda being the only Pokémon that managed to land an attack during the entire battle.
Next, Ruby had found herself battling Gym Leader Allister of Stow-on-Side again. The Ghost Gym Leader was as shy as ever, still referring to Ruby as "pretty girl" and he even commented that she looked pretty with shorter hair. The battle had been similarly one-sided with Ruby wiping out Allister's entire team with just four of her Pokémon, Lancelot, Soundwave, Shard and Hawk Moth being the only ones she used in the entire battle. Like Nessa, Allister had come with a stronger team than the one he'd used in his Gym battle against Ruby. His team put up a better fight than Nessa's managing to land more blows and Allister's Gigantamax Gengar even came close to defeating Hawk Moth. He'd used his G-Max Terror move to do the damage and if he'd used it again, he could've beaten Hawk Moth but instead, he used Max Ooze, which didn't finish the battle so Hawk Moth claimed the victory in the end.
And now, against all odds, Ruby was in the final battle of the tournament. She was up against Gym Leader Raihan of Hammerlocke City once again. He'd qualified for the final battle by defeating Milo and Piers on his way to reach this stage. To Ruby's amazement, Piers had come close to defeating Raihan despite not Dynamaxing his Pokémon. It was incredible to think that a Gym Leader that didn't use Dynamaxing came so close to beating Galar's toughest Gym Leader. It just goes to show that not Dynamaxing didn't make you weak. Ruby and Raihan met up with each other in the centre of the pitch, both surprised that they were in a position where they would be fighting each other a second time. If this had been any other region, Ruby would've been facing a quartet of master trainers called "The Elite Four" and this would be the last member of said elite. But Galar didn't have its own Elite Four, the Champion Cup being its own equivalent. As thrilled as she was to be at this stage, Ruby now felt nervous all over again. Last time she'd fought Raihan, he'd taken out half of her team. She noticed Bugs, Gene, Raven, Chomps, Sydney and Houdini watching her from the audience with the former three looking uncomfortable at the prospect of their trainer having to face the Gym Leader that had led to their being benched again. Would she handle him any better this time or would Raihan overwhelm her with the power of his Dragon and weather-changing Pokémon?
All eyes were on Ruby as she prepared to take on her final obstacle that was standing between her and Leon. It was incredible to think that she only had one last battle to win and then she'd finally be facing the Champion himself! Raihan gave Ruby a friendly smile, clearly pleased to have the chance to challenge her again.
"And so here we are, Galar's star challenger standing between me and a chance to have another shot at my greatest rival!" Raihan said jovially, "If anyone's worthy of challenging me for that position, it's easily you, Ruby!"
"R-really?" Ruby said bashfully, "I…I don't know what to say. I'm honestly still gobsmacked I'm even at this stage, frankly!"
"Eh, a lot of Gym Challengers get like that, mate." Raihan said casually, "Don't worry, that's completely natural. How are your Haunter, Cinderace and Obstagoon doing since our last battle?"
"They're actually watching from in the audience right now." Ruby said brightly, glancing over at where they were sat.
"Aw sweet! That's really awesome!" Raihan said brightly, "I hope they won't be too disappointed when I beat you here today." he added with a teasing smirk on his face.
"Not if I beat you again!" Ruby retorted with a playful smirk of her own.
"Ha, ha! Well let's see how our Pokémon perform here at Wyndon Stadium!" Raihan replied.
He had the sort of laugh that just made anyone around him feel at ease and like they could have a fun time with him. Ruby imagined that outside of Pokémon battling, he was a guy who was easy to hang out with and a lot of fun to be around. The two took up their positions and stood by for battle as the announcer introduced them both, although it wasn't like they really needed introducing given everyone in the audience knew who they were by now.
"From Postwick Town: Ruby Silverlock. From Hammerlocke Stadium: Raihan Kibana."
There was a screaming of anticipation on both sides as Ruby and Raihan's names were chanted out by the crowd. This was a match that nobody wanted to miss. It would be the match to determine whether Leon's greatest rival or Galar's latest new star would win the right to challenge Leon for his title. Many people wanted to see Raihan finally get one up over Leon but just as many wanted to see the new Gym Challenger have a shot at him. It was easy to root for either side. Ruby breathed in slowly to ease her nerves, trying to ignore the din of the stadium. This was it, her final battle before Leon. Whether she would go on to face him or go home in defeat, it would all be determined by a throw of a Pokéball. The teen trainer was confident she could win this as she'd already beaten Raihan before, but she was nevertheless cautious of herself. With Raihan, you couldn't let yourself get too ahead of the game, not when he was such a powerful trainer who loved to manipulate the weather to his benefit with his Pokémon.
"Three…two…one…BEGIN!" the announcer barked.
Meanwhile, Chairman Derek Rose was listening to a report from Head Scientist Eugene Pendragon. After being given a sample of Ruby's hair yesterday, he'd been quick to deliver it over to Hammerlocke Stadium so Eugene could study it. The scientist had been impressed with what he'd discovered. The two were sitting together in Eugene's lab, away from Project: Eternatus for the time being. Eugene was the sort of man who liked to have his workspace neat and tidy, so tidy in fact that if you saw a speck of dust on the floor, it would stand out like a sore thumb against so much cleanliness. It was amazing to think a scientist could have a lab look so clean. It even showed in his appearance as he looked like the sort of man who would barely even get out of bed before he got wash and made himself look as presentable as possible. Anyone who met Eugene thought of him as the world's biggest germophobe.
"It's quite incredible sir." he announced, adjusting his spectacles as if somehow thinking neatening them up would make his report seem more credible, "This one sample of hair generously provided by Miss Silverlock has enough Wishing Star energy to power up an entire town! I calculate that each individual strand of the hair probably contains Dynamax energy so when you combine it all together…"
"It means Ruby could be the next biggest source of Wishing Star energy aside from Eternatus itself." Rose murmured, "To think she got it all through a freak accident before her birth…"
"I'd like to know how her mother getting hit by a Wishing Star led to this, but as you know, I don't experiment on people." Eugene said firmly, "It's against both our moral codes."
"Of course." Rose agreed, "Anyway, you think this one sample of hair Ruby gave us could finally awaken Eternatus?"
"It stands to reason." Eugene estimated, "This sample has more energy than any Wishing Star could provide us, so maybe it'll be all we need to complete the project."
"Then let us feed it." Rose declared, "But remember, I promised Leon not to unleash Eternatus until after the competition is done so if Eternatus awakens, we can't let it out just yet."
"Understood sir." Eugene answered, "I'm sure that our safety precautions will keep Eternatus safely contained until we want to release it."
The two men left the lab to take the hair sample to Eternatus. Rose was starting to feel good about this. At long last, his answer to Galar's impending energy crisis was going to be complete and come tomorrow, he'd be able to give his gift to Galar and provide the region with endless energy for generations to come. He could just see his wonderful gift to the region unfolding now.
The Chairman and Eugene entered the main lab and approached a hug glass tube containing what appeared to be a skeletal creature sitting there in suspended animation. The creature was a dark blue-purple colour with a lot of red energy that seemed to hold the individual "bones" together. It was huge, dwarfing everybody in the lab easily despite being contained in a tube. It looked awfully cramped, like it could barely even move inside. It wasn't moving at all. It hadn't moved since the day the Macro Cosmos Company had found this monster. This was Eternatus, the project-namer itself. Chairman Rose approached the glass tube and placed his hand just on the glass where Eternatus's head was. It was daunting to think that he, a mere human being, had a creature of immeasurable power at his disposal. How was it that Pokémon commanded powers beyond comprehension, yet often chose to live alongside humans and be companions to them? Something like this especially could just take over the world if it wanted!
"Mark my words, Eternatus, you will bring eternal energy to our region and Galar's future won't ever be in jeopardy." the businessman said with pride, "Eugene, let us awaken him at last."
"IF this works, that is." Eugene reminded him.
He held out the hair sample in front of Eternatus and waited for something to happen. At first, nothing did. But then suddenly, a beam of light leapt out of Ruby's hair and fed itself into Eternatus. The glass tube didn't stop the energy flow whatsoever, the energy phasing through as if it wasn't there at all. As there was a lot of energy in this single hair sample, Eternatus took a while to drain it all dry. Eugene remained still, not daring to move even an inch as if worried if he moved, he'd disrupt the process. Chairman Rose waited, scarcely daring to breathe as the skeletal beast absorbed all the energy in the hair. This was the moment of truth. Would it work? Would Project: Eternatus finally be able to commence? Five minutes passed before the energy was all absorbed by Eternatus. Eugene noticed that the hair turned from its beautiful silver colour to a dull grey as a result, signifying that it was well and truly bone dry of Wishing Star energy. He and Rose looked back up at Eternatus to see what would happen. They sighed in despair. Eternatus still didn't seem to move. A huge energy dose like that and it hadn't made it stir even a centimetre! What did the company have to do to wake the damn creature up?! If they went any further, then they'd be the ones causing Galar's energy crisis in the end! Rose was about to leave in disappointment until suddenly, Eugene grabbed him by the shoulder and stopped him.
"Wait, sir! Look! Eternatus is moving!" he cried.
Rose turned around and gasped, his green eyes widening with excitement as he saw just what he'd hoped to see. The energy dose had been enough. Eternatus was awake at last! The mysterious Pokémon was stirring in its tube and letting out low growls as it stirred into life. Its eyes opened, staring out at the Chairman as if wondering what he was and if he was responsible for its containment. Several lab equipment began beeping furiously as they registered Eternatus's vital signs. It was alive and fully animated after so many years of remaining dormant. Rose threw his arms aside with joy.
"Praise Arceus! We did it!" he cried, "Project: Eternatus is complete at last! Oh what a happy day this is for Galar! Now we…"
But then all hell broke loose. Eternatus began to push out against the glass tube, cracking it effortlessly as its huge body squirmed and writhed against its containment. It roared furiously, angered that it had been sealed up like this. An alarm began to blare, warning all staff in the facility that it was about to break out. Then Eternatus started to absorb Dynamax energy from the energy spot under the stadium itself. Chairman Rose noticed the floor glowing red as it tapped into the rich supply of energy under the stadium. And then the glass tube shattered, sending shards of glass flying all over the lab. Rose and Eugene backed away in horror as it settled in what was happening. Eternatus was free, and it looked enraged!
Back at Wyndon Stadium, the battle was getting started with Raihan making the first move.
"Oh yeah, let's get this party started!" Raihan yelled, his nerves all fired up with adrenaline. He looked more excited than he'd ever been before. Even during his Gym Battle with Ruby, he didn't look this fired up!
He threw his first Ultra Ball and Ruby threw her first Pokéball at the same time. She had chosen Soundwave the Noivern to go first, expecting Raihan to use a Dragon-type to start off so she could have a type-advantage by bringing out a Dragon of her own. But to her surprise, he had sent out…a mere Torkoal. Torkoal were Fire-type Pokémon native to the Hoenn region and resembled tortoises. It had orange scales and thick, tough shell that spouted steam from the top. Steam also seemed to spout of its nostrils too. Ruby was puzzled. What was a Dragon-type Gym Leader doing with a TORKOAL of all things? She then understood as something strange happened. The sun seemed to glow brighter than usual for Ruby found herself squinting and it suddenly began to feel blazingly hot as if the stadium had been picked up and dropped off into a random desert somewhere. Ruby knew what was happening. Torkoal had a special ability known as Drought. Whenever it appeared in battle, it would cause the sunlight to intensify, similar to the Sunny Day move. The hot sun increased the power of Fire types as long as it was out too. It was a good strategy on Raihan's part. Whenever Torkoal used a Fire attack now, it would be much stronger than usual. Just like him to manipulate the weather like that! To her surprise, Raihan didn't seem bothered about the heat. Soundwave didn't mind it either, but that was a given as Noiverns were reptilian Pokémon and thus, cold-blooded by nature. The hot sun wouldn't bother him at all.
"Phew…it's like being back in Kabu's Gym again!" Ruby gasped, wiping her forehead as sweat snaked down her face.
"I always like to bring this guy out on a rainy day." Raihan said brightly, "Soon brightens my day up, no pun intended."
"It's a handy ability to have if you're ever fed up of the cold." Ruby agreed, "But the sun's shining on me today! Soundwave, use Dragon Pulse!"
Soundwave opened his jaws and fired a paralyzing shockwave at Torkoal. While it wasn't super-effective as Fire-types weren't weak to Dragon-types, it was still a good move to use as it was one of Soundwave's strongest moves and he did extra damage to Torkoal through a same-type attack bonus. Any and all Pokémon got this bonus if they used attacks that matched their typing, meaning any and all same-type attacks would hit extra hard. Torkoal winced as it was hit and to no one's surprise, it wasn't down yet. Ruby knew it wouldn't go down in one hit as Torkoal's defences were solid enough and Soundwave's attack hadn't been super-effective. If she'd started off with Vesuvius or Spearhead, it would've been a different story. Torkoal shook its head and slowly got back into position. Ruby wondered what move Raihan would make. Torkoal wouldn't know anything super-effective against Soundwave so what would he do instead?
"Use Yawn!" Raihan commanded.
That took Ruby completely by surprise. She never would've thought he'd have Torkoal use a status move of some kind. Torkoal opened its mouth and let out a loud yawn that made Soundwave suddenly feel drowsy. One minute he was wide-eyed and alert, the next he was now fighting to keep himself awake. Yawn was a move that made Pokémon fall asleep much like Sleep Powder or Sing. But Yawn came with a side-effect…it took a while to take effect unlike the other moves which were instantaneous. Soundwave was feeling sleepy, but he would stay awake long enough to at least have another turn. Ruby thought she may as well take advantage of it, especially as she could wake Soundwave up with a Full Restore later on in the match. She ordered the droopy Noivern to use Dragon Pulse again on Torkoal to win the battle. Despite feeling tired, Soundwave was able to successfully land his attack, using whatever energy he had to keep himself awake long enough to hit. Torkoal was blasted by the pulse and as Ruby had hoped, that was all he needed. The fiery tortoise flopped down on the grass and fell into unconsciousness.
"Torkoal is unable to battle! Noivern is the winner!" the announcer declared.
"Soundwave: Superior…Torkoal: Inferior…"
It was all Soundwave could get out as he finally gave into Yawn's effects and fell asleep. He folded his wings and curled himself up. He was already snoring by the time he'd made himself comfortable. Ruby couldn't help but smile at the sight of her all powerful Noivern just curled up like a sleepy little pussycat. Who knew powerful Pokémon like him could look so peaceful? Ruby returned him to his Pokéball.
"You sleep well in there. I'll wake you up next time I need you." Ruby said softly.
She was just glad that Soundwave was available to use again. She watched as Raihan threw his next Ultra Ball.
"Here's one you've not seen yet so I hope it sets a good impression." he announced, "Turtonator, Dragon Fire!"
The Ultra Ball opened up and Ruby found herself staring at a Pokémon that she'd never seen before in her life. She hadn't even seen Raihan use this in any battle she'd watched him in so maybe this was a Pokémon he'd only recently caught. This was Turtonator, a Fire/Dragon type Pokémon first discovered in the islands of Alola. As its name suggested, it looked very turtle-like with a huge spiky red and yellow shell on its back, an additional shell on its head, a tubular snout with a single nostril, small limbs and a red-plated tail. Turtonator often lived in volcanoes and would camouflage themselves by looking like rocky protrusions in said volcanoes, waiting for the right moment to strike. They also had a habit of always standing with their backs facing the opponent, never showing their underbellies to them. Ruby thought this Pokémon looked very interesting. She even whipped out her Pokédex to look it up. Her Rotom phone loaded up the Pokédex app and displayed Turtonator's Pokédex entry, type and statistics. The silver-haired girl raised an eyebrow with interest.
"So that's Turtonator…never seen it before." Ruby murmured, "They must be really rare around here."
"You got that right." Raihan confirmed, "I'm darn lucky I got this baby, right here! It's my luckiest catch I've ever caught!"
"No kidding!" Ruby laughed, "Now according to my Pokédex, this thing's a Fire and a Dragon type. So I know just who to bring out for this battle…"
She put her Rotom phone away and threw her next Pokéball. To Raihan's excitement, she had summoned forth Shard the Duraludon. The Steel/Dragon Pokémon roared a mechanical roar that reminded the audience of Godzilla a little. Raihan grinned with delight.
"Alright! I was hoping you'd bring your Duraludon into a battle with me!" he cried, "As a proud owner of one myself, I just had to see how yours fared up in a battle!"
"I was hoping to save it for when your Duraludon came out, but I don't see why I shouldn't bring it out now." Ruby said casually, "Shard's been quite a winner in this tournament for me, helping me take down Nessa and Allister's Pokémon in my battles with them. Now let's see how he does here."
Raihan nodded in agreement.
"Turtonator, use Shell Trap!" he ordered.
Turtonator got down on all fours and retracted its head, limbs and tail. It now looked like a turtle that was going into hibernation. The spikes on its shell glowed for a moment but then nothing else happened. No attack landed or anything. Shard looked over at Ruby in confusion.
"Uh…was that meant to do anything?" he asked, "Cause I don't get it."
"Neither do I." Ruby said, shrugging, "Then again, I've never seen this thing before so I have no idea what Shell Trap does. Hopefully we can take it down before it can do anything. Use Dragon Claw!" she commanded.
Shard's claws glowed with draconian energy as he lumbered towards Turtonator. He lashed out and clawed Turtonator viciously across the shell, doing a lot of damage to the Fire/Dragon Pokémon. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite enough to knock it out in one hit. In the end, that had cost Shard for Shell Trap activated. It was a move that could only work if Turtonator was hit by a physical attack. Ruby now saw how Shell Trap worked as Shard was sliced viciously by a hail of spikes that shot out from Turtonator's shell as if it was launching a bunch of missiles at him. The spikes hit Shard and made him back away as he was bombarded by them. To make things worse, Turtonator had scored a critical hit on Shard so the attack did even more damage than it normally would've done. Shard could usually take the hits, but not this one. He collapsed onto his back, groaning as he passed out. Ruby stared in astonishment as her mighty Duraludon lay defeated on the pitch before him. How could one of her strongest Pokémon have gone down so easily?! She would make it her first task to learn more about this species when this fight was over, Turtonator seemed like a very powerful Pokémon!
"Duraludon is unable to battle! Turtonator is the winner!"
The audience let out a mixture of cheers and gasps of astonishment. This battle was going to be more interesting than they thought now it wasn't going to be another one-sided romp for Ruby. Maybe Raihan would turn this match around and win after all. Turtonator came back out of its shell and looked over at its opponent as if pleased to see Shell Trap had worked. Raihan however looked more disappointed than happy he'd won this particular match.
"Me too." Ruby muttered, "Hopefully next time, they'll get to challenge each other."
"Yeah, hopefully." Raihan agreed.
Ruby returned Shard to his Pokéball, disappointed that he had to go down so soon. At least he could get a good rest in his Pokéball for now. She knew just who to bring out next. As a Fire/Dragon type Pokémon Turtonator would naturally have a weakness to Rock and Ground types. As it happened, she had one of those on her person for this fight.
"Vesuvius, you're up next!" she cried, summoning her heroic Coalossal to the pitch.
Vesuvius and Turtonator faced each other, eyeing either one up and taking in what they were up against. Vesuvius had never seen a Turtonator during her life in the wild so she was interested to see how this fight would go. Ruby made the first move, ordering Vesuvius to use Rock Blast to take Turtonator out. Thankfully, it worked for Vesuvius launched a huge rock at Turtonator and thanks to the damage done by Shard earlier, it was enough to knock it clean out. The rock hit Turtonator with enough force to make its entire skeleton rattle and the turtle/dragon like Pokémon collapsed down onto its stomach. It lay still and didn't get back up again. Vesuvius raised her arms in triumph.
"Yes! The mighty Coalossal strikes again! WHOO!" she cheered.
"Turtonator is unable to battle, Coalossal is the winner!" the announcer boomed.
The audience grew more interested as they watched Raihan return Turtonator. Just when it seemed he was going to turn things around, Ruby scores yet another victory and gets the lead right back! It was harder than ever to tell who was going to win this battle. It really could go either way at this point! Raihan smiled admirably at his opponent.
"You really amaze me, Ruby." he complimented, "Here I am using a Pokémon you've NEVER seen before and you still beat it! That really is the sign of a true Champion if ever there was one, a sign that shows this person's a very adaptable trainer who knows how to win against any opponent!"
"Thank you." Ruby said, flattered by the comment, "But don't oversell me, please. The fight's far from over and I'd rather not get showered with praise before I've actually won. I like to earn the praise I get from people, not be given it."
"Very honourable of you. I like that!" Raihan said approvingly, "But you're right, the fight's not over yet so let's continue! Flygon, Dragon Fire!" he cried, throwing his next Ultra Ball.
Ruby remembered Flygon from the last time she'd fought against Raihan. The antlion like Pokémon had been the one to take Raven out with a couple of Crunch attacks. Seeing it again stung a little but Ruby didn't let it bother her. She thought about returning Vesuvius and bringing someone else out but she decided against it. She didn't have anyone else with a type-advantage over Flygon and Soundwave was asleep thanks to Torkoal, which would leave him vulnerable. She was better of sticking to Vesuvius for now.
"Flygon, use Earthquake!" Raihan yelled.
That wasn't good. A Flygon using Earthquake was bound to do a lot of damage, especially to a Coalossal! Ruby watched, her heart in her mouth as Flygon slammed the ground hard with its tail and sent a massive earthquake tearing towards Vesuvius. The fire golem was hit by the Earthquake and she toppled over. She looked very much like a large rock that had been knocked down by a massive tremor tearing through a mountain. The force of the blow felt like the nature itself had come alive and was bringing all its power down on her. Ruby gasped, expecting the worst as Vesuvius skidded to a halt just in front of her. Raihan didn't move. Experience as a Gym Leader taught him never to claim victory before he'd actually won so he waited to see if Vesuvius was actually down. At least if he didn't let himself think he'd won already, he would be spared the disappointment. That was exactly what happened for amazingly enough, Vesuvius got back up again! The mighty coal monster was hurt by the Earthquake, but far from out of the battle! Ruby put her hands to her mouth in amazement, unable to believe that she was still standing. Her Coalossal was well and truly a Pokémon that defined being tough as nails! Vesuvius brushed herself off casually as if what she'd just been through wasn't all that bad.
"Heh, call that an Earthquake?" she gloated, "I've felt worse tremors coming from a crash of Rhyperiors running together!"
"Vesuvius, you amaze me!" Ruby blurted, "How the hell did you withstand that?!"
"We Coalossals are a lot tougher than we look." Vesuvius said proudly.
"Clearly!" Ruby squealed, "Lucky for me that you're tough enough to take an Earthquake from a bloody Flygon and live! Now use Heavy Slam in return!" she ordered.
She hoped that Vesuvius's weight would add enough power to the attack to make it a hard hitting one. Vesuvius jumped up into the air and her body became surrounded a sheet of steel as Heavy Slam went underway. Vesuvius plummeted down on top of Flygon, flattening it against the ground as her huge weight dragged it down. It was a good effort on her behalf, but as Flygon weren't weak to Steel attacks, it didn't do much to it. Flygon was very much still in the fight with little damage taken from Heavy Slam. Ruby frowned.
"Ugh! No good…sorry Vesuvius, but you're not strong enough to take Flygon out." she said anxiously, "You haven't got any attacks that'll do any meaningful damage to it. I'm going to have to switch you out."
"Whoever you send out, tell him or her to give a good fight for me!" Vesuvius cried as Ruby returned her to her Pokéball.
Raihan pursed his lips with interest. So Ruby had decided to do a switch out. What would she send out in Vesuvius's place? Ruby thought carefully for a moment before settling on the one she had been reluctant to bring out due to being asleep earlier. She knew in her heart that it was the right choice to make. She had nothing else to use against Flygon at this moment.
"It's risky…but here goes. Soundwave, back you come to the field!" Ruby yelled as she returned Soundwave to the pitch.
The Noivern was still snoring peacefully as he was brought out of his Pokéball. Flygon narrowed its eyes vengefully. It remembered the last time they'd fought each other. Soundwave had taken it with a single Dragon Pulse. It hoped to take revenge for its loss.
This was the moment of truth now. Ruby could use a Full Restore to wake Soundwave up and risk Flygon using an attack to take him out, or she could try her luck and hope Soundwave will wake up the moment she gives a command. In the end, she wanted to rely on certainty, not chance. She took out a Full Restore bottle and sprayed Soundwave with the contents. In literal seconds, Soundwave's eyes shot open and he was wide awake. He jumped to his feet and looked around wildly as if coming up from a bad dream.
"Huh? Who? What? What happened?" he asked frantically.
As soon as Soundwave woke up, Raihan gave his command. Ruby gulped, expecting Flygon to use a super-effective move on Soundwave and take him out. But instead…he ordered Flygon to use Sandstorm. The hot sunshine from Torkoal's Drought was now replaced by a stream of sand that kicked up and blew around the pitch, making Ruby feel like she was in a desert again, albeit a really windy one this time. Her shortened hair blew around her as the sandstorm whipped up and tugged at her. Like the last time a Sandstorm had happened in a battle with him, Raihan barely even flinched. With Sandstorm out, her Pokémon would take a little damage at the end of each turn now. But in the end, Raihan would wish he had ordered Flygon to simply attack instead of wasting a move like that. Ruby ordered Soundwave to use Dragon Pulse and thanks to the small amount of damage that Vesuvius had done earlier, it was enough. Flygon was knocked out by a Dragon Pulse from Soundwave for the second time. Flygon collapsed onto its back and stared up at the sky, briefly wondering where things had gone wrong before drifting into unconsciousness. Soundwave just grinned with pleasure.
"Soundwave: Superior. Flygon: STILL Inferior!" he purred, emphasizing the fact that this had been his second time defeating this particular Pokémon.
"Flygon is unable to battle! Noivern is the winner!" the announcer boomed.
Raihan shook his head, annoyed with himself for leaving himself open like that. He should've ordered Flygon to use an actual attack instead of wasting a turn on Sandstorm! Now it had cost him one of his aces! It just showed that even Galar's strongest Gym Leader could make mistakes.
"That Noivern of yours is a true Dragon King." Raihan complimented, "If you were a Dragon Gym Leader, you should have him as your ace!"
"That's not a bad idea, now you mention it…" Ruby said thoughtfully.
"Now let's see if this Dragon can claim the Dragon King crown! Goodra, Dragon Fire!" Raihan yelled as he threw his next Ultra Ball.
His next Pokémon was one of the most unusual looking Dragon-type Pokémon that could be found in any region. Goodra were native to the Kalos region but could be found in places like Alola and Galar too. Despite being a Dragon type, it had a more friendly and cuddly appearance than most Dragon types, something more akin to the ever popular Dragonite species from Kanto. Goodra was bipedal in stance and coloured light purple with a dark purple underside. It had two large antennae like horns, small arms, a thick tail and innocent looking green eyes. It also appeared to be dripping slime from its arms and chin. Goodra were very friendly Pokémon by nature and had a habit of leaving their trainers covered in slime as a result of them showing their love and affection for them. They were also tricky to evolve as the only way to get a Goodra was to evolve a Sliggoo while it was raining. Ruby knew what a Goodra was, but she hadn't seen them much so she didn't know what to expect with this one. She decided to keep Soundwave out as he was the only one with a type-advantage over Goodra in her current team.
"OK Soundwave, let's see what this slimy thing's made of." Ruby said cautiously, "Use Dragon Pulse!"
Soundwave unleashed the powerful pulse attack at Goodra. The slimy Pokémon was hit and sent reeling back but the attack wasn't enough to take it down quickly. Goodra were good at taking hits from Special Attacks so despite the damage done, its defences held out enough to keep it in the battle. Goodra shook its head, throwing bits of slime about as it did so, and narrowed its eyes at its opponent.
"Goodra, use Thunder!" Raihan commanded.
Goodra raised its stubby arms and fired the biggest jolt of electricity that Ruby had ever seen at Soundwave. The attack was so big and blinding that nobody could keep their eyes open to watch what was happening, not even the audience. Thunder was the most powerful Electric attack a Pokémon could learn and was known to deal devastating blows. If it had been a super-effective hit, Soundwave wouldn't have stood a chance. But his half-Dragon typing cancelled out the Flying type weakness to Electric types so the attack had been enough to do the damage, but not enough to take him out. Soundwave winced as electricity crackled around his body. He stood up, only to grimace as a static shock shot through him and made him kneel in pain. Ruby knew what had happened and was instantly running towards him with a Full Restore in hand.
"Oh dear, you've been paralyzed by the attack!" Ruby cried, "Here, let me heal you up. This will make you feel much better." she said, spraying Soundwave with the Full Restore.
In a matter of seconds, Soundwave felt much better, his health back to normal and the paralysis completely gone. Full Restores didn't just cure status conditions, but they restored health too. Ruby braced herself for Goodra's next move. Would it use Thunder again, or something else? The latter was the answer she got for Raihan commanded Goodra to use Rain Dance. The purple dragon waves its small arms as if conjuring up a magic spell, said spell causing the clouds to darken and rain to start falling all around the Pokémon and their trainers. Everyone was drenched in seconds as the rain came in heavily. It was as if someone had turned a giant shower on over Wyndon Stadium. Ruby felt her uniform clinging to her body as it was soaked. Trust Raihan to have a Pokémon that could make it rain! She could see his plan too. Thunder was an attack that didn't have good accuracy, about 75% on average. But when it was raining, its accuracy increased to 100%. Raihan wanted to make sure that Goodra's next Thunder attack didn't miss.
Unfortunately for him, he wouldn't get the chance to carry out that plan for Ruby instantly ordered Soundwave to use another Dragon Pulse. Goodra couldn't withstand another hit as Soundwave blasted it with the draconian power pulse. Not even the rain could save it as Soundwave wasn't even affected by it. Goodra stumbled backwards from the attack and then collapsed over onto its back, staring up at the sky dopily. Raihan cursed himself for once again wasting a turn on changing the weather instead of attacking. One of these days, he'd learn the weather couldn't always help him out in a fight!
"Soundwave: Superior. Goodra: Inferior." Soundwave taunted.
"Goodra is unable to battle, Noivern is the winner!" the announcer boomed.
The audience could hardly believe their eyes. How had this newbie taken out four of Raihan's Pokémon with relative ease while he had only taken out ONE of her's?! No wonder she was the one that had qualified for the Champion Cup! There was no other Gym Challenger quite like Ruby Silverlock competing in this season! Even Bugs and his friends were amazed at how well Ruby was doing out there.
"How about dat. She has a rematch with Raihan and is so far doin' better den last time!" Bugs cried, "Dat's amazing!"
"Let's not celebrate too soon, Bugs." Raven warned, "Raihan still has his Duraludon left and that could change everything."
"I hope whoever Ruby chooses gives it a damn good thrashing for me." Gene muttered, still bitter on his loss to it back in the Gym battle.
"I bet they'll beat it, no problem!" Chomps said optimistically, "She's beaten it before so I'm sure she'll beat it again!"
The Pokémon all watched intently as Raihan brought out his final Pokémon and his personal ace, his mighty Duraludon. The Steel/Dragon looked just as ready for a rematch as its trainer did, roaring a mechanical roar that said it was ready for battle and all opponents had better watch out. Ruby had expected that Raihan would bring Duraludon again so she returned Soundwave to his Pokéball and exchanged him for another. Soundwave would be no good against a Duraludon but luckily, she'd brought at least two Pokémon that she was sure could handle it. Vesuvius was one of course as she had beaten it last time and the other was one that could exploit Duraludon's weakness to Fighting types.
"I guess for this match, it's the brave knight vs. the fearsome dragon." Ruby said with a dry smile, "Lancelot, you're up to finish this fight!"
She threw the ball and out came Lancelot the Bisharp. The knight-like Pokémon took one look at his opponent and clashed his arms together, forming an X in front of his face.
"Aha! A Duraludon! Finally, a worthy opponent!" he said eagerly, "This will be a true test of my strength and power!"
"Ha, ha! Bloodthirsty, isn't it?" Raihan laughed, amused at Lancelot's eagerness to fight.
"That's Lancelot for you, always lives for the fight." Ruby said casually, "It's the only time he seems to enjoy himself."
She and Raihan then held out their Pokéballs and activated their Dynamax bands. Of course this was going to end with the two Dynamaxing their Pokémon and the audience wasn't at all surprised to see it going this way. As the process began, Ruby's hair glowed in response to the Dynamax energy but as she'd had it cut recently, it wasn't as bright as usual. It looked more like her head had become a glowing ball as it happened. Raihan, as usual, couldn't resist snapping a selfie as he was about to Gigantamax his Duraludon. Minutes later, the Dynamaxing had completed. Lancelot had grown in size, which of course reminded him of when he and Ruby had first met back in the Wild Area when he was still a Pawniard. Raihan's Duraludon had Gigantamaxed just like last time, looking once again like a sentient skyscraper. This wasn't just a knight fighting a dragon, it was now a giant knight fighting a giant dragon! Many people in the audience couldn't resist taking photographs of the two titans as they prepared to duke it out together. This was a battle that was going to be incredible to watch.
"Duraludon, use Max Steelspike!" Raihan commanded.
The metal-coated dragon raised its arms and sent a wave of steel spikes shooting up from the ground towards Lancelot. As Lancelot was also a Steel-type, the attack didn't do much damage and Lancelot shook it off no problem. Ruby imagined he hadn't done that to land a good attack though. Max Steelspike had the side-effect of increasing a Pokémon's Defences from time to time so maybe Raihan was hoping to increase Duraludon's Defences so it would withstand Lancelot's hits. Ruby wasn't worried though. She was sure Lancelot had the power to take it down.
"Use Max Knuckle!" Ruby ordered.
The Dynamaxed Lancelot summoned a giant fist above his head and brought it crashing down on top of Duraludon, making it cry out from the onslaught. Gene laughed out loud, happy to see that Duraludon was getting a taste of its own medicine after he'd been a victim of its Max Knuckle back in the Gym battle. Max Knuckle was not only super-effective against Duraludon, but it had the side-effect of increasing a Pokémon's attack so Lancelot could keep up with Duraludon's increased defences as a result. Duraludon wasn't down yet. It stood up straight and awaited its next command. Raihan knew that while his Pokémon had a Fighting-type weakness, Lancelot did as well due to being a Steel/Dark type. Thus, he ordered Duraludon to use Max Knuckle in return on him. Duraludon conjured up a huge fist made of energy and brought it punching down on Lancelot. Despite the quadruple weakness to Fighting, Lancelot was at a high enough level for him to take the hit and remain in the battle. He'd taken a lot of damage but he was still able to fight. Lancelot shook off the attack and clashed his arms together, daring Duraludon to attack again. Ruby made the next move, ordering Lancelot to use Max Knuckle back. Lancelot did so, slamming Duraludon with another giant fist constructed from energy that knocked Duraludon down and left it straining to get back up.
Despite the super-effective move, Duraludon still wasn't down yet. Its defences were too tough for it to go down so easily. Ruby also noticed that Lancelot's health was dangerously low. If Duraludon could land another Max Knuckle, it would be over. She ran over to the giant Bisharp and used another Full Restore to heal him up again. Thank Arceus she'd bought plenty of these when arriving in Wyndon yesterday! Lancelot's health was restored to normal and he felt completely re-energized. After that, Lancelot was hit by another Max Knuckle from Duraludon, the very attack that would've won it the battle if Ruby hadn't healed him earlier. After the attack had landed, something strange happened. Out of nowhere, Lancelot and Duraludon suddenly shrank back down to their normal sizes with Duraludon returning to its original appearance. The Dynamax energy dissipated and now everything looked as if nothing had happened. It was the first battle Ruby had had where the Dynamax had worn off. Of course, she knew why that was. Dynamaxing only lasted three turns and in this case, all three turns had gone so the energy had expired. They wouldn't be able to Dynamax again for this battle.
"Talk about a stalemate!" Raihan exclaimed, "Our Pokémon couldn't finish the fight to the point that their Dynamax wore off!"
"Guess we have to settle this with them as their normal sizes." Ruby chuckled.
"You got that right." Raihan agreed, "Duraludon, you can win this! Use Body Press!" he ordered.
Ruby didn't doubt for a minute that Raihan was right. A Body Press from Duraludon would no doubt finish off Lancelot. There was always a chance he could take the hit and finish his opponent off with a Brick Break attack but she didn't want to risk it. So instead, she returned Lancelot to his Pokéball while Duraludon was in the middle of his attack and exchanged him with Soundwave. As a half-Flying type, Soundwave wouldn't be effected much by a Fighting move like Body Press. Duraludon came crashing down on top of Soundwave, making him feel as if somebody had dropped an anvil down on his back. As expected, it barely did any damage to the powerful Noivern. Duraludon took up its position on the pitch as Soundwave picked himself up and shook himself off. Raihan was impressed with Ruby's quick thinking.
"Clever you to swap Lancelot out like that before Duraludon could hit." he commented.
"I know. It helped out against Piers when I fought him." Ruby agreed, "I swapped my Obstagoon out for my Haunter as his Scrafty was about to use Brick Break. I imagine you can guess what happened next."
Raihan didn't need to be told. He too knew that Ghost types were immune to Fighting types. He was curious as to why Ruby had brought Soundwave back out though. Surely she knew Soundwave didn't have anything that could take out Duraludon? Sure he had taken the Body Press, but then what? He then realized. Duraludon was weak from Lancelot's earlier attacks and Ruby wanted a Pokémon that could out speed his Pokémon ace and land the final blow to defeat it! Noivern were easily faster than Duraludon were so if they were to attack, Soundwave would unquestionably get the first hit in. This girl really was wise beyond her years! If anyone deserved to beat Leon, it was her. And it was officially going to be Ruby that was going to challenge the Champion himself for she finished the fight by ordering Soundwave to use Flamethrower on the Steel/Dragon Pokémon. Duraludon were damaged normally by Fire types, meaning that while it wouldn't normally do much damage, it was enough in this case for Soundwave to eat up what was left of Duraludon's health and make this fight a victory for Ruby. Duraludon was blasted by the flames and it staggered back, scorched and overwhelmed by the attack. It stood still for a moment, swaying on its feet. Then finally, it keeled over and crashed down on its back. Unlike the Gym Battle, Duraludon had been beaten without defeating any of Ruby's Pokémon first. Soundwave spread his wings and screeched in triumph.
"Soundwave: Superior. Duraludon: Inferior!" he growled with delight.
"Duraludon is unable to battle! Noivern is the winner!" the announcer barked, sharing the audience's enthusiasm, "The winner of the final round of the Champion Cup is Ruby Silverlock of Postwick Town and she will challenge Champion Leon for the Galar League Title!"
The audience let out an explosion of applause as they took in what had happened. It had been a while since a Gym Challenger had won the right to face Leon and yet here they were, congratulating this nobody from a small farm town for a job well done. It was amazing that this girl had gone from nobody to hot shot new trainer in a single season. Down on the pitch, Ruby was having a hard time processing the fact that she, an ordinary teenager from Postwick Town, had actually done what many would think to be impossible. How had she managed to defeat all the Gyms, win the semi-finals AND also win the Champion Cup all at once?! Was this really happening? Was she, Ruby Silverlock, actually going to be the one to challenge Leon for his Championship title?! She was so amazed that she was amazed she hadn't fainted yet. As for Raihan, he returned Duraludon to its Ultra Ball and shrugged casually.
"So there we have it. The girl from Postwick Town will be the one to challenge our Champion." he said modestly, showing no signs of being bothered by the loss, "It sucks I've lost another chance to face Leon, but there's always other times I guess."
He and Ruby met in the centre of the pitch and shook hands as a mark of respect for each other.
"That was an amazing battle Ruby." Raihan complimented, "Probably the best ever! I should probably snap a selfie to remember this fight!"
"Even though you lost?" Ruby said in confusion.
"The photos I snap of my defeats just remind me that I have much more to learn." Raihan said casually, "Now how's about I snap a pic of us together?"
"I'd rather not have my face on social media, if that's OK with you." Ruby said uneasily.
Raihan understood. Not every kid in Galar liked to have their picture online so he wouldn't force her to be in the picture. He instead just snapped a shot of himself to commemorate this occasion. After he was done, he only had one last thing to say to the girl that had defeated him.
"Hey Ruby? Do me a favour will you? When you face Leon…beat him for me." he requested, "If anyone can do it, I bet it'll be you."
"I can't make any promises, but I'll give it my best effort!" Ruby declared, "I'll give Leon a fight he'll never forget!"
"And me and the rest of the Gym Leaders will be watching." Raihan said with a bright smile.
He and Ruby were about to leave the pitch so they could rest up after the battle and Ruby could get some much needed time to let her Pokémon rest before the upcoming battle with Leon. She wanted everyone to be fighting fit for a battle with the Champion of Galar. The fight was due in about three hours. It was mandatory that anyone who qualified to fight against Leon had a long recuperation period before fighting him so it could be a fair and balanced battle. But just as they were leaving, the announcer's voice boomed over the speaker system again.
"Wait, hold on. What's happening?" the announcer asked.
Ruby and Raihan stopped and looked around in confusion. What had the announcer spotted? They got their answer as he spoke a second time.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems we have an unexpected message from Chairman Derek Rose!" the voice said, sounding surprised that this was happening.
All eyes were on the stadium screen as it suddenly flashed into life and the very image of Chairman Rose was brought up. To everyone's surprise though, the billionaire looked…terrified as if he was a messenger bringing news of the apocalypse. In a way, he was. He looked dishevelled and his suit was torn in places. His eyes were wide with horror as he frantically gave his news.
"Attention people of Galar! This is the Chairman speaking, and VERY urgently at that!" he exclaimed, "You must all evacuate the region now! A powerful Pokémon named Eternatus has broken free of containment and is out of control! Get out of Galar before it's too late!"
Then suddenly, a huge skeletal face appeared behind him and roared savagely at the horrified man. Chairman Rose screamed and ran for his life as the draconian beast chased after him, smashing into whatever device he'd used to broadcast this message and destroying it instantly, leaving the audience with a blank screen to look at. At first, no one was really sure what to do or what they had seen. Then suddenly, huge beams of red energy began to punch their way up from random spots all over Galar. All the stadiums were doing so and even Wyndon was doing it. Ruby felt the ground shudder beneath her feet as if some monster had been buried alive and was trying to break free. She screamed as the shuddering grew worse and worse.
"RUBY, LOOK OUT!" Raihan exclaimed, throwing himself at the girl and tackling her to the ground.
Just as the two landed on the grass, Dynamax energy exploded from under the grass and reached up to the sky, looking like some mysterious entity that was escaping from its containment. Raihan shielded Ruby, making sure that the child wasn't in danger. Soundwave was flapping around the sky wildly, confused and frightened by what was happening. That did it. Seeing all this happening for no real reason made everyone in the stadium run for their lives. As the stadium evacuated, Leon charged out onto the pitch. His eyes were wide with horror as he ran over to Raihan and Ruby.
"Raihan! Ruby! Are you OK?" he exclaimed.
"Never better." Raihan muttered, "Ruby could've been killed if I hadn't acted!"
"I know! Thank you for saving my life, Raihan!" Ruby cried, "Oh Leon, what the hell is happening?!"
"Project: Eternatus…" Leon said coldly, "Damn that man! I told him not to activate it until the competition was over! I also warned him that it might make things worse rather than better but he went and activated it anyway!"
"So what was all this about?" Ruby asked, "I thought the project was meant to HELP Galar, not destroy it! What even IS Eternatus?"
"A Pokémon like nothing I've ever seen." Leon replied grimly, "It's a long story and we don't have time for that. We must get everyone out of here and I must get to Hammerlocke Stadium to stop that monster!"
"Wait a minute." Ruby said hastily, "I gave my hair to the Chairman to help out with Project: Eternatus. Do you…do you think that maybe this is all my fault?" she asked nervously, "Is all this happening because of me?"
"While your hair probably gave it the power it needed to wake up, I'm not holding you responsible." Leon said kindly, patting Ruby on the shoulders, "You didn't invest in a project like this, the Chairman did. This is all on him, NOT you so like you told him yesterday, don't take responsibility for HIS actions. OK?"
"OK." she said, "Please Leon, stop that thing for us!"
"Will do." Leon swore, "I'll get my Charizard to fly Hop home. You get home as well Ruby. You'll be safe there as Postwick has no Dynamax spots."
Home was the only place Ruby wanted to be right now. She was desperately worried for her family and wanted to get to them as quickly as possible. She whistled over to Soundwave, who was flapping around wildly as if wondering what to do about the Dynamax energy bursting out of the stadium. The Noivern heard her and flew down towards his trainer.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Take me home to Postwick Town!" Ruby cried frantically, "I want to make sure mum, dad and my sisters are OK!"
"I cannot fly you to that destination." Soundwave said grimly, "I do not know where your home is."
"I have a map on my phone! I'll lead you!" Ruby cried, "Please Soundwave, we have to hurry!"
Soundwave didn't hesitate. He lowered himself so Ruby could climb onto his back. He then flew towards the audience so Ruby could collect her Pokémon that had been watching her. She returned Bugs, Raven, Gene, Chomps, Houdini and Sydney to their Pokéballs, all of them instantly teleporting over to Professor Magnolia as she already had six Pokémon on her person. They would be safe for now. With that done, Soundwave torpedoed up into the sky with a mighty flap of his wings and soared over Wyndon. Ruby had her Rotom phone float in front of her face so she could lead her Noivern to Postwick Town. Her heart pounded with worry as she saw the sky turning black above her and beams of Dynamax energy bursting up from the ground. This was it, the Darkest Day itself, happening again after centuries gone by. It was like being in a nightmare and Ruby desperately wished she could wake up from it! She tried not to panic as Soundwave headed on for home.
"Oh mum…dad…Emerald and Sapphire…please be OK!" she pleaded.
Pokemon lost: Shard the Duraludon. Lasted: Level 45-60. Location of incident: Wyndon City. Cause of defeat: Beaten by Raihan's Turtonator.