Eloy stood on the same side of the field that Lauren had, looking across at Vinnie on the opposite side. He could just barely make out the patches where the grass had been damaged by Vinnie’s own indiscriminate energy ball attacks. The damage seemed surprisingly little though, as if the Grass attack struggled to destroy its namesake. It left Eloy with a surprisingly whole battlefield to work with.
“Alright, Eloy, my dude,” Vinnie said, shaking Eloy from his ponderings and causing his blood to pump through his veins in double time “I’m going to start with this girl, Chanterelle.” The gym leader released his Pokemon with a flash, revealing an orange insectoid whose body was dominated by a large mushroom. The Parasect clacked its pincers as though it was trying to remember how to use them, then fell as still as a statue. It was a little unnerving.
“Now’s as good a time as any then.” Eloy tossed his own pokeball, the light fading away to reveal his own Bug type.
Maestro looked around, rapidly shifting his whole body from side to side as he took in his new surroundings. Then his fell on the somewhat disturbing Parasect, causing the little Kricketot to quite literally jump with surprise and begin looking around even more frantically, as if looking for an escape route.
“Tot!” Maestro cried out, the alarm evident.
“Relax, Maestro, you’ve got this,” Eloy said, just barely managing to hide his embarrassment. He could see Vinnie cock an eyebrow on the other side of the field. Eloy forced back the sigh that nearly escaped his lips, his Kricketot turning to him and looking at him a little accusingly.
“We all good?” Vinnie queried.
Eloy nodded. Maestro was a bit of a wimp, but he knew that there was some natural battling chops in there… deep down. Eloy just had to capitalise on Vinnie’s surprise when they finally showed. It was time to get started.
“Maestro, use Bug Bite!” Eloy gave the instruction.
Maestro jumped with a start again, but followed the command. He dashed forward, surprisingly quick for the waddling way he ran, and jumped for the Parasect.
“Let’s give them a Substitute,” Vinnie said, sounding like he was suggesting showing off something he bought at the supermarket more than anything.
Chanterelle’s expressing didn’t shift, and the Parasect didn’t move, but she responded immediately. A blur rippled across her body as a clone stepped forward from the stationary Parasect, indistinguishable from the real one if not for a fuzziness to its composition.
Maestro bit down on the clone Parasect, the substitute not showing any signs that it had even experienced an attack.
“Next try a Leech Life.” Came the next instruction. The substitute suddenly vanished and the real Chanterelle lunged forward, her face still a blank slate but her pincer cloaked in a faint red energy. The attack struck Maestro and as he tumbled back, streaks of light seemed to be pulled from him and into the claw.
Maestro rolled back onto his feet, halting his backward trajectory, flinching slightly when he found himself staring right into the lifeless eyes of the Parasect.
“Struggle Bug!” Eloy didn’t have time to worry about Maestro’s jitters, besides he could help with that by defeating the creepy Pokemon and having it returned to its ball.
“Tot!” Maestro squeaked nervously, but the attack continued. Crimson light erupted up around Maestro in a daunting pillar, then rushed outwards in all directions. As the attack approached Chanterelle however, the clone Parasect appeared again and took the attack, the substitute had yet to break and faded away again.
“Alright, Cross Poison,” Vinnie said casually. Chanterelle leapt forward, her pincers forming an “X” as a purple glow bubble around them. Her victim yelped as she slashed, separating the crossed claws and once again sending Maestro tumbling.
“Bide, Maestro!” Eloy ordered. This was bad, he couldn’t seem to break through the Parasect’s defenses and even if he did, it always had the ability to simply recover the health it lost with Leech Life. Even with Maestro being a Bug type and resisting the move, he had taken a decent amount of damage on account of his poor defenses. A big devastating attack like from Bide was his best bet.
“Uh oh, man, you didn’t think that through,” Vinnie said, almost sounding like a gym leader for a moment. Before Eloy could question what he meant, he gave the instruction, “Chanterelle, give ‘em a Spore.”
Eloy winced as Vinnie’s meaning became clear. He hadn’t thought that through. Parasect was a Pokemon known for its liberal use of the dangerous status move and he’d just instructed Maestro to use a move that prevented him moving out the way.
Powdery spores burst up from the mushroom on Chanterelle’s back and billowed in Maestro’s direction, engulfing the Kricketot in a glittering yellow-gold cloud and immediately sending him into a deep slumber. Not only did this cancel his Bide, but it rendered Maestro completely unable to defend himself.
“Sorry about this,” Vinnie said, scratching his head sheepishly “Chanterelle, let’s wrap this round up with Fury Cutter.”
The Parasect slowly walked towards Maestro as scimitar-like blades of violent red light grew over her pincers. Then, when she reached Maestro, the attack began. She slashed, knocking the Kricketot to the ground. Then she slashed again and again and again. Each attack seemed to grow in power and ferocity until with one final cut, Maestro was launched clear across the room and collided with the back wall where the main gym joined the lobby. There was no question he wasn’t getting back up to fight back.
“That’s a win for Chanterelle, round one goes to Vinnie,” the referee announced.
Eloy returned Maestro, congratulating him for a valiant effort and reached for Deacon’s ball. This wasn’t how the battle was supposed to go. Eloy couldn’t but question if Vinnie had really been that formidable the whole time. He didn’t really seem to be putting any more effort in than he had with Lauren. Was she just that much better than him? It was Layla all over again.
I can still turn this around though.
“Deacon, your turn,” Eloy said, releasing his partner from his containment. Deacon appeared, ears pricked up, raring to go. He dug his feet into the ground in preparation of the charge. Eloy grinned, if any Pokemon was suited to the strategy he was going to try, it was Deacon. “Double Kick!”
Deacon leapt into action, sprinting full pelt at Chanterelle, eager for the battle and with energy to burn. The clone Parasect blurred into being again, barring his way and Deacon went right for it. He pivoted on his front foot, rotating and delivering a kick with his powerful back legs. The clone Parasect exploded on impact, finally breaking after taking multiple attacks. The attack didn’t stop there though, Deacon landed on his back feet and pushed off hard, flipping backwards to bring his rear legs down hard on Chanterelle’s head, driving it into the grow. Then he darted forward to avoid a counter attack.
The Parasect, climbed to its feet, her expressionless gaze not changing a bit.
“Try Seed Bomb, Chanterelle,” Vinnie instructed. A yellow glow formed in front of the Parasects mouth before shooting forward in the form of an ovoid projectile. Eloy commanded Deacon to dodge, but the attack exploded on impact, catching the fleeing Nidoran on the edge of the blast and sending him skidding.
“Fury Attack!” Eloy called as Deacon defiantly rose to his feet “Hit her from every angle you can.” Deacon wouldn’t be able to win a battle of attrition with Chanterelle, but Eloy had realised what he had to do from how Vinnie had defeated Maestro. Chanterelle was slow moving, he just had to bombard her with strong attacks faster than she could recover.
“Chanterelle, use Substitute,” Vinnie gave the instruction as Deacon neared. Once again a blur seemed to envelop the Parasect as her clone stepped out from her.
Deacon jabbed the Substitute with his horn, ramming the protrusion into it over and over, preventing it from dispersing so the real Chanterelle could make a counteract. Then, as the clone exploded once more he rushed in towards the Parasect.
Vinnie had Chanterelle try and respond with a Leech Life counterattack, but Deacon was nimble. He ducked under the ominously glowing pincer and struck out with his horn to complete the Fury Attack. Chanterelle stumbled back silently.
“Now Deacon, Peck!” Eloy pressed the attack. Deacon slashed upward with his horn, striking the underside of the Parasect and knocking it sprawling. Eloy smirked, being both Grass and Bug typed, Chanterelle was extremely weak to a Flying attack like Peck. “One more!”
Deacon closed the distance fast, not giving Chanterelle the time to get back on her feet and defend herself. He lunged forward and rammed his horn against her carapace. Chanterelle was yet to make a sound, but as she skidded to a stop behind Vinnie, she didn’t try to stand back up. Now the match was tied up again.
“That was smart of you,” Vinnie commended Eloy before returning Chanterelle “Let’s see what you think of Venus then.” Vinnie released his next combatant, and from the flash of the Pokeball a plant-like Pokemon with leafy arms, a tangle of vines in place of legs and an enormous dish-shaped head emerged. It looked like a venus fly-trap, hence the name, and was easily identified as a Carnivine on account of its distinctive appearance.
“Interesting,” Eloy said “I didn’t expect that.”
“Well, I suppose I’ll take the first move then,” Vinnie said with a shrug “Venus, use Bite.” The Carnivine, floating just above the ground, lunged forward, crossing a surprising amount of distance, with its enormous mouth opened wide.
Deacon skittered out the way just in time to avoid being caught in the Grass types jaws, this time it was Vinnie’s turn to press the offensive though. At a command from its trainer, Venus lashed out with one of her leafy arms in a Vine Whip. The attack caught Deacon’s side and sent him to the ground. It wasn’t a particularly effective hit, but it was enough to give Venus a second shot at her Bite.
“Go for another Bite,” the gym leader instructed.
Venus whirled on Deacon as he got to his feet, slamming her jaws shut over the smaller Pokemon. Deacon cried out and Venus tossed him aside, skipping him across the grassy battlefield like a pebble over a lake.
Eloy had gone from a surge of confidence back to concern. Deacon wasn’t built to sponge attacks and Venus was really powerful. He could see that his partner had already sustained heavy damage just from the two attacks he’d taken.
“Poison Sting!” Eloy ordered, Deacon springing back into action, the tip of his horn aglow with a toxic purple. Faster than his opponent, Deacon got past the Carnivine’s defenses and jammed his horn into the Grass type, the super-effective hit causing her to recoil and crash into the ground. “Again!”
The second attack failed to connect however, one of Venus’ vines shot out and wrapped around Deacon as she righted herself once more. She pulled the struggling Nidoran in, hungry for revenge.
“Okay, how about Throat Chop?” Vinnie said, almost seeming like he was asking permission instead of giving a command. Whatever the case, Venus seemed to agree with her trainer. She slammed one of her leafy arms into Deacon’s neck and dropped the spluttering Poison type to the ground. “Let’s knock it away too.” Venus didn’t have a problem with that either, swatting Deacon back across the room with a Vine Whip. The Carnivine barely seemed to have sustained any real damage from the Poison Sting.
Eloy thought back to Lauren’s battle with the gym leader, she’d won effortlessly by inflicting a Burn onto Dandy and Paco and then just having Mortimer stay out the way for the most part until the status condition finished them off. He didn’t have quite the same luxury, but if he took a page out of yet another trainer’s books, maybe he could make something happen.
“Deacon, Leer!” Eloy ordered. Deacon’s eyes locked onto Venus’, glowing a bright red. The glow was reflected in the eyes of the Carnivine, before fading from both. Eloy grimaced, what he was going to try for was risky. At least this way though, he’d been able to put a dent in Venus’ defensive abilities so he could maximise his damage output. “Okay, Poison Sting!”
Deacon rushed the Carnivine, dodging a vine that shot out to intercept him and continuing his mad dash forwards. He leapt for the plant-like Pokemon and once more the glowing tip of his horn collided with her and knocked her back onto the ground.
“Poison Sting again, Deacon!” Eloy called, Deacon rushed in again. Much like before, a vine shot out to grab Deacon and halt his attack, but the Nidoran was getting used to this maneuver now. He ducked below the vine and then rammed up with his head, striking the vine itself with the Poison Sting. Venus hissed in pain and Deacon resumed his charge. This time no vines got in his way and he collided with the Carnivine just as she returned to her upright position, smacking her back along the ground once more. “Again!”
“Go up and over, Venus,” Vinnie instructed. The Carnivine rolled over the top of Deacon, avoiding the attack and returning to her previous stance. She snared Deacon from behind with one of her vines and squeezing tightly, dragged him into her face. “Let’s give ‘em another Bite, now.”
Venus clamped down hard on Deacon again with her monstrous jaws, causing the Nidoran to cry out in pain and alarm. She’d bitten harder this time it seemed.
Eloy could almost feel the pain of the Bite himself hearing the sound, he was sure the Carnivine had clamped down harder this time. He’d have time to worry about Deacon later though, right now he had to use the opportunity he had.
“Deacon, Poison Sting again!” Deacon lashed out, thrusting his up and back violently to stab at the side of Venus’ head with the glowing tip of his horn. The Carnivine screeched and dropped him, affording him the chance to strike her midsection as well before backing up out of the way.
Venus floated back up again, but this time she was definitely feeling the effects of her attack. Where the second Poison Sting had hit her midsection, a discoloured patch had spread across her body and she seemed to sag slightly where she floated.
Eloy breathed a sigh of relief. It had worked and he’d gotten lucky, Venus’ had finally been poisoned by the attack’s additional effect. Now between the damage the attack had done with her weakened defenses and the gradually worsening effect of the poison sapping her health, Deacon just had to avoid taking any more hits.
“Looks like you were watching pretty closely, huh?” Vinnie asked rhetorically.
Eloy nodded. It wasn’t the clean win he was hoping for, but he wasn’t above learning from his betters. He’d put his strategy together by piecing together what he’d learned from seeing both Lauren and Layla in action. He didn’t particularly like that he’d had to rely on inspiration from others to win, but right now victory was what was important. Here was no way he was losing that gym battle.
“They want to keep out your reach now, Venus. We should Bind them.” Venus lashed out with not just one but several of her vines this time, intend on trapping and constricting Deacon to prevent Eloy from putting his plan into action properly.
“Run, Deacon!” Eloy called. He knew Deacon couldn’t afford to be caught, one more hit from Bite or Throat Chop and the battle would be over for him. It was touch and go though, Deacon had taken a beating and he was exhausted. Eloy just had to hope for the best, that Deacon wasn’t too roughed up to avoid getting caught.
Deacon dodged under several vines, then hopped back to avoid more. Next he had to roll sidewards to avoid getting caught by the vines he’d just avoided the first time. He picked up the pace, keeping to the edges of the battlefield as Venus floated after him, trying to keep herself in range.
Over and over the entangling vines rocketed out, but Deacon just barely managed to slip away from them every time. He jumped over one vine only to suddenly duck below the next, or swatted one away with his horn only to immediately retreat to avoid the next one. It was tiring on Deacon though, he was battling his way through his second opponent and he’d taken some nasty hits. He just had to last long enough for the poison to do its job though.
Suddenly a vine wrapped around Deacon’s leg, having swung to the side as he’d dodged. The Nidoran hadn’t quite been able to get away. The grip was just strong enough to prevent Deacon’s escape, the poisoning having taken a hefty toll on the Carnivine. Now though, she had managed to get Deacon in her grip. She pulled him in towards her, hard.
“Poison Sting!” Eloy yelled in desperation. Deacon let himself be pulled in, using the momentum he’d been given to his advantage. Venus had pulled back hard enough that he was able to swing his head in and connect the attack.
The Carnivine immediately let go of Deacon and was knocked rolling across the ground, coming to a stop at Vinnie’s feet. There were several tense seconds, Eloy’s heart pounding so hard it sounded like a Tyranitar was stomping across the inside of the trainer’s skull. She didn’t get up.
Eloy let out a sigh of relief as Deacon hobbled back to him, looking triumphant. He’d managed to win. Just barely, but he’d done it.
“That was great, Deacon. I don’t know how you did it, but it was great.”