A small crowd had gathered around the entrance to the stadium, all awaiting the next challenger to walk through the menacing double doors.
Deep breaths. Just put one foot in front of the other…that’s it…
Mae walked slowly toward the entryway, trying to swallow down the rising feeling of panic in her throat.
I’ve traveled and trained far too hard to back out of this now. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.
She turned and took one last look at her family and friends gathered behind her to cheer her on. The love and faith poured into her from their shining eyes, and she smiled a large, genuine smile for the first time since they’d arrived in the city the night before. She took her battle stance, flashing a peace sign to the group, who cheered wildly as she turned back toward the doors.
With one last deep, steadying breath, she opened the doors and walked across the threshold.
You can do this.
“Hiii!” Chris stood atop a stage in a magnificent outfit that was quite reminiscent of his Intoxicated short program. His blue and purple jacket sparkled atop his navy button-up, and his dark jeans hugged his thighs and legs tightly and in all the right ways. Around him, a shimmering purple mist swirled and shrouded most of the area in an opaque, glittering cloud. He waved an elegant hand and blew a kiss before jumping gracefully down from his perch. As he walked toward Mae, the energy in the room became more electrically charged by the second.
“My name is Christophe Giacometti - you can call me Chris. Congratulations on making it here to the Elite Four - looking forward to a fun little romp with you. Ready, darling?” He winked, placed one hand on his hip, and rolled a small purple Pokeball between his fingers; Mae smiled and nodded in response. Despite this being the most important battle of her life to date, Chris had a calming presence about him.
“My name’s Mae.” She walked up and shook his hand confidently. “I’m…a really big figure skating fan. Your style is really exceptional.” Her cheeks flushed a light pink, and she averted his gaze for a moment while she scratched behind her neck. His devastatingly green eyes crinkled from letting out a small, friendly chuckle.
“Well, my dear, I’m happy I’ll get to demonstrate that style to you here, too. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?” He grinned brilliantly and sensually. Mae’s head spun slightly, and she reached out to hold onto the railings that had emerged from the stage only moments prior.
Did I die? Is this heaven? Is he an angel?
She nodded dreamily, and her grin suddenly turned competitive. Chris put on his best show face, and Mae’s adrenaline pumped through her veins as the stage began moving them to opposite ends of the clearing. Energizing, eclectic music began pumping through a sound system, the bass reverberating around in her chest cavity and filling her with excitement. Chris was rising on a small platform that brought him up into a blinding set of blue, purple, and pink lights. He cocked his head to one side playfully before he snapped the Pokeball into his hand and prepared for battle.
“Shall we dance?” Mae nodded, reached for her belt, and the first battle for the championship began.
“Go, Spritzee!” The custom, decorated pink and diamond Pokeball whirled through the air, and the small pink Pokemon began to whiz around the clearing. Mae calculated her odds, mentally reviewing the Pokemon she had at her reach for the battle. She quickly decided on her Alolan Raichu.
“Go, Raichu!” Her voice rang out clearly through the open space in the stadium, and the crowd she hadn’t even noticed before started to cheer.
“Delightful! Spritztee, Attract.” Mae took a half-step backward as she watched, in slight horror, as Raichu’s eyelids drooped. He laid himself out, stretching on his own floating tail, as if he were lounging on a couch. The hearts in his eyes were telling her this wouldn’t be as simple as she thought it would be.
“Rai, snap out of it! She’s not even your type,” Mae added weakly at the end. “Try your best. Use that Spark if you want a relationship so badly!” Raichu looked back at her with a dreamy smile, but nodded. She clenched her fist at her side as the electricity shot through the purple mist right at their opponent. The perfume Pokemon writhed slightly, and they could all see as a single bolt traveled from top to bottom. Since Spritzee had made physical contact, it became paralyzed from Rai’s Static ability.
Spritzee was hurting but still managed to surge forward for a Draining Kiss. Raichu tried to dodge, but the small fairy creature latched on and drained a larger amount of HP than Mae expected. Chris grinned deviously as Raichu spun backwards.
“Size isn’t everything, dear. At least…not when it comes to Pokemon.”
His expression changed when the contact between the two raised a few sparks. Spritzee looked pained, and was clearly paralyzed for at least the next move. “ YES! Now, Thunder! Take it out before it can affect you any more!” Having been thrown several meters away in the ring, Raichu had been shaken free of his infatuation and grinned triumphantly at the small pink puff in front of him. The air in the room crackled with current as if a single hand movement could spark an explosion at any second. That electric detonation thundered throughout the stadium as it beamed down directly onto Spritzee, who was quickly returned upon its defeat.
Chris clapped his hands and laughed in pure delight. “Oh, you’re such a tease! ” He put a hand to his brow dramatically. A small smile quirked at the corner of her lips, but she couldn’t give in now to his charms. He gracefully tossed another ball through the air, and standing before Raichu was a Gardevoir. Mae made a noise of frightened nervousness.
Of course he has this beautiful graceful creature…the best I can do right now is a full-frontal physical attack and hope Raichu hangs in there.
“We have to go at this one with everything we’ve got, one-hundred-percent, right up front. Raichu, give it a Thunderbolt and then Iron Tail!” Raichu nodded, surfing on his spiky yellow tail toward his opponent. The galvanic mouse expertly crafted a ball of electricity that was shot toward the graceful Pokemon, and even upon contact, Gardevoir elegantly fell, caught itself, and stood again after the hit.
“I’m not going easy on you anymore.” Chris raised an eyebrow. “Dazzling Gleam!” Their opponent emitted a white-hot flash, and the light particles bounced and reverberated around in the hanging mist across the battlefield. Mae’s breath hitched in her throat, and she prayed Raichu could last through the attack and would find Gardevoir. “Disarming Voice - lure it into its own defeat…” A gentle cry rang out through the clearing, and Chris whipped an arm out to his side. “Now, Calm Mind. Prepare for the final strike.” Chris turned to the side and posed, one leg propped up, accentuating all of his nicest assets.
Gardevoir stood somewhere within the mist, a blurred outline of a meditating figure preparing to unleash psychic hell upon Raichu. Mae closed her eyes for a fraction of a moment as she saw him begin to charge, tail starting to morph into the next attack.
Thankfully, his aim was true. A clanging sound rang through the clearing, and the fairy was knocked violently to the floor. The hit was heavy, and it showed as it tried to stand back up, stumbling a few times. The mist around the two had cleared from Raichu whipping his tail around, and Mae could see the look of icy calculation in the opposing creature’s eyes. Chris smirked as a trap door in the stadium ceiling was released, and moonbeams gently danced within the mist, making the entire field glow. “Moonblast.” Beams of light began reaching up toward the ceiling, and Mae knew Raichu would be finished after this. An eerily silent detonation of lunar power rained down as Raichu fell back - she returned him before he could hit the ground.
“You were great, Raichu…thank you. Ninetales, burn this bitch to hell with a flamethrower!” Ninetales materialized amidst the dying flecks of light, remnants of the Moonblast. Its eyes glittered menacingly as it let out a huge plume of fire that rolled straight for Gardevoir.
The fairy shrieked, fell, and didn’t get back up.
“Son of a…” Chris returned it, sending out his second-to-last opponent, Sylveon. He yelled out, “Skill swap!” as Ninetales stumbled slightly, losing the move that had just been taken from her. “Now, Psyshock.” A beam of energy shot from the ‘eeveelution,’ flying through the air and striking Ninetales. The fire fox reeled, but steadied.
“Trap it in a fire spin, followed up with a Faint Attack! Surprise it!” The cyclone of fire built up around Sylveon, but the surprise suckerpunch wasn’t very effective. Mae gasped and flung a hand out to steady herself on the railing around her perch, remembering how she had taught Iron Tail to her star Reynard just a few months ago. Her voice was nearly drowned out, but Ninetales heard, and the nine flames began to look like molten silver billowing out from its body. These tails were whipped, landing flush against Sylveon, for a critical hit. Chris grumbled and stood up a little straighter for his final release.
“Go Hatterene!” The beautiful Pokemon stood confidently and quietly in front of Ninetales, searching the eyes of the fox critically. Mae hissed out a breath and grabbed another Pokeball from her belt. She quickly kissed it before releasing her faithful yet mischievous Haunter out into the ring.
“Ninetales, you were amazing. Rest up now.” She gathered up her remaining strength for the final stretch of the battle; Chris was showing no signs of fatigue or slowing.
Haunter twirled up and around in the air and saw the other human across the field. He hid his eyes for a second, then stuck his hands into his non-existent ears and blew raspberries at him. “Oh no, honey, be nice to Chris. Okay?” Haunter audibly whined and made a sad face. Regardless, he still came over to Mae for pats before the battle started. Mae could see Chris’s heavily amused expression out of the corner of her eye, and considering he was letting them have their little moment, he wasn’t in a hurry to interrupt. She noticed his verdant eyes sparkling, too, from all the way across the ring.
“I like him.” He smirked as the group heard Hatterene sigh in exasperation from her stance in the field, eyes rolling.
This is the Pokemon League and he’s acting like a child…let’s get back to it.
“Shoo. Haunter, get back out there, loverboy!” He spun up through the mist and came crashing back down in front of his opponent. “Shadow punch her!” A switch was flipped, and suddenly, Haunter was all business. He concentrated so hard that his lolling tongue peaked out slightly from the side of his mouth as he wound up for the swing.
“Treat him like your ex-boyfriend, darling. Psycho cut!” The two clashed in the center of the battlefield, each taking considerable damage since each attack type was super effective.
“It’s okay, Haunter, you’ve got this. Lick her!” Chris’s eyes danced again in mischief at all the comments he could make then, but they were in the middle of a serious battle, so of course he would never make inappropriate jokes. (Ever.)
Haunter zoomed over, smiled at Hatterene, and left a long lick right up her face. She squawked, and suddenly, Haunter started to whimper. “Dazzling gleam!” Hatterene disgustedly wiped her face off, and Chris clapped as the ring once again lit up in brilliant light. Haunter’s whimpers turned to cries, and he couldn’t move from paralysis - Magic Bounce had caused the paralysis to bounce off of Hatterene and back to Haunter.
That bitch. She’s going to pay for hurting my baby.
Mae quickly grabbed a paralyze heal, beckoning Haunter over to her. She patted him on the head again as he gulped down the elixir, and he bounced back into the ring, freshly mobile and determined to win. His lovely opponent fought back with Psychic, and it drained nearly all of what was left of Haunter’s HP.
This last move has to do it.
“Haunter! Destiny Bond yourself to her. She’s winding up for the KO!” She cried out in a slight panic and bit her tongue, knowing this move will cause him to faint. He nodded at her and stuck a thumb up, and she smiled back at him. A faint blue glow swirled around Haunter as Hatterene targeted her final Psybeam at Haunter; she struck with a critical hit, and Haunter blew a kiss to Mae as he fainted and was returned to his Pokeball. However…
Hatterene fainted, and she was returned, unconscious and glittering, to her pink and blue diamond Pokeball.
That was Chris's last Pokemon. She had just defeated him.
The stage in the stadium went completely dark, and Mae looked around in alarm. A huge wind suddenly whipped up and cleared away the remaining fog, and she could hear the click of fine Italian leather shoes coming toward her. She put her arm up in front of her face to shield herself from the wind and took a step back, bracing herself against the onslaught.
“You did well. Usually I’m much better at coming from behind, but you certainly proved yourself to be the real top around here. Congratulations!” He cocked his head pointedly and walked up to shake her hand. She reached out for it, but he quickly swept out his arm, took her hand, and left a chaste kiss on the back. “And… merci, Mae, for a very good time.” Another wink.
Yep, I'm dead I'm dead I died I'm dead. I definitely died. He’s so hot I could scream. Am I actually screaming? Keep it together, Mae! Don’t act like an idiot now...
“Chris, could you please…” Her hands fidgeted. “...sign my jacket?” He swiftly brought a marker out of his pocket (because clearly he’d become used to this) and left a long, swirly signature on her sleeve.
“Don’t be late for your next date, darling. He’s waiting just on the other side of that door - don’t be too offended if he says you look like a ‘soldier.’ That’s just what he says to people he likes.” Chris’s smile blinded Mae, and she made her way dazedly to the door. She turned, waved goodbye to Chris, and stepped over the threshold to face her next challenge.