Too Much Water

Chapter Twenty-Two – Too Much Water

“Why won’t he let me help,” spoke the irritable thoughts within May’s head, as her Swellow cut through afternoon skies strewn with ominous grey clouds. The ocean below her lay darkened by the fading daylight as roaring waves crashed into one another. The sea was unsettled, and it wasn’t difficult for May to see what was causing it.

May peered through the thick clouds she had concealed herself within to spot rock particles sent flying in all directions as a multitude of explosions shook the skies. Focusing her vision on the source, she managed to sight a partly submerged cave reacting as if one thousand Koffings had made their way inside and self-destructed in unison.

She had reached Sootopolis a few hours previously with a bittersweet taste on her tongue. On one hand, Erik had finally requested her help and let her in on his life, but on the other, she wasn’t allowed to go with him. As her Swellow touched down into the midst of the open crater, buildings sprouting out from the clear white rocks around her, she had changed her mind.

Torturous thoughts had spent the flight from Lilycove to Sootopolis bubbling up inside her, culminating in an explosive reaction. Even if Erik wasn’t going to let her come along, she would join the stubborn bozo in his adventure anyway, whether he liked it or not.

As her thoughts flicked and fluttered to how she had reached this point, three figures hovering from the cave’s entrance caught her eye. They all appeared to be riding aback a flying Pokemon, rising from the exploding cavern towards where she lay in wait, hidden behind the clouds.

“Quiet,” May whispered to her Swellow, making sure they remained unseen until she could identify the trio.

As the three loomed ever closer, she spotted a Fearow and two Golbats, what looked like a man in a suit riding atop the former, and both a Magma grunt and a female scientist on the latter. They soared to just below where May silently hovered, leaning over the edge of her Swellow to get a better look she spotted the scientist holding papers in his hand, turning them over to the man in the suit. She reached into her backpack and pulled out a spare pair of “Go-Goggles”, strapping the device on and adjusting the zoom on the lenses so she could get a better picture.

The man had coal black hair atop an aging face with dark eyes. His attire consisted of a black suit with purple shirt and tie, a large letter “R” above his left breast. When the trio began speaking, May ordered her Swellow to lower itself so she could listen. She hoped that they would be too engrossed in their conversation to notice her presence above them.

“These are all the advanced technical designs from the base?” the man spoke, his voice ice-cold.

“Yes sir!” the scientist replied.

“Erm, boss, err..” the grunt began, stumbling over his words through pure fear. “Why did you blow up our base?”

“Do I pay you to ask questions? One more and you’ll sink with it,” he replied, no hint of emotion in his words.

“What do you need us to do now, Giovanni?” the scientist changed the subject. May could tell the woman was trying to keep her cool, but was just as afraid of the man as the grunt appeared to be.

“Now that any plans Magma have of turning against Team Rocket have been, shall we say, sunken, Maxie will have escaped in that submarine of his and be looking to release Groudon in a last desperate attempt to wrestle control of Hoenn from me. He will be walking into a trap, however, and I have people in place to ensure that he doesn’t make it out of there alive. Any resistance to us will be too busy trying to take down Groudon, and fail, whilst we begin ‘Operation: New Age’.”

“I thought New Age was releasing Groudon?” the grunt blurted.

The man they called Giovanni mercilessly commanded his Fearow to ram its long beak through the grunt’s Golbat, annihilating it in one hit and sending the Magma grunt plummeting into the ocean’s depths.

“Any more questions?” Giovanni announced afterwards, to which the scientist shook her head. “Good, then take care of our new friend,” he ordered, pointing towards May.

“Oh no,” she whispered to her Swellow. “When did he realise we were here?” she followed as they took off into the skies, the Magma scientist in hot pursuit.

Another explosion rocked the building, as pieces of the harbour’s roof fell from the ceiling and crashed into the surface next to Erik, who struggled desperately to think up an escape plan.

He had released Soar from his Pokeball, climbing onto the Latios’s back and had attempted to fly back to the tunnel he had collapsed with Splash. To no avail. The metal door had remained slammed shut and no amount of energy blasts from Soar could change that.

His next move was to combine attacks from Splash, who had remained in the water’s surface, and Soar against the roof, escaping through a hole. But again, their attacks weren’t powerful enough to penetrate the mix of solid metals and concrete.

A further explosion boomed overhead, causing the walls around Erik to shake violently once more. More chunks of the ceiling fell, narrowly missing him as they smashed into one of the many crates which littered the bay. He had one final plan, one he was beyond terrified of attempting. There was only one attack he could think of which would be powerful enough to drill through the roof and give him a way of escape. But he had no choice, he was left to his last resort.

“I’m sorry,” he shouted up to Soar, as he reached into his bag and pulled out a Megastone. “I can only hope that now we’ve bonded some more, we can control the effects.”

An ear piercing screech echoed around the room, the sound as horrifying as all the explosions thus far combined into one. A dark shroud engulfed Soar once more, with menacing red orbs protruding out of the darkness after a few moments. As the black cloud cleared, Mega-Soar emerged, a face full of fury and hatred.

“Soar,” Erik shouted up to his Pokemon. “Let’s get out of here,” he cautiously followed, attempting to sound hopeful.

Mega-Soar peered through crimson eyes at his trainer, but Erik saw no sign of his Pokemon within its gaze. The creature roared fiercely, the resulting tremors caused by the sound appeared to shake the very foundations of the planet.

“Soar!” Erik yelled, in a vain attempt to snap his Pokemon’s soul back into the creature that now hovered above him. The Mega-Latios launched a stream of pure darkness from its gaping mouth, targeting Erik. He dived behind a crate, hoping the flimsy wooden box would save him from the devastating attack. Somehow, it did.

Shards of wood and stone flew in all directions as the dark attack collided with the contents within. Dozens of megastones that had resided within the box now exploded upon reaction with Mega-Soar’s attack, protecting other stones which now rolled across the stone surface, free from the wooden cage they were trapped within.

Erik heard a roar from his left, turning his gaze to spot Splash bravely attempting to defend him. His Gyarados blasted a wave of aqua at the flying beast, but the attack ricocheted off of Mega-Soar as if the creature’s skin was formed of titanium. The Mega-Latios spun deftly in the air, and prepared to launch an attack at its new target.

As Erik saw Splash’s impending demise flash in his mind, he had to react rapidly.

He grabbed one of the megastones and launched it across the room. As soon as the stone impacted upon Splash’s scaly surface, the Gyarados leapt out of the water and into the air in agony, Mega-Soar’s dark attack colliding with a shroud of darkness which now engulfed the water-type.

Iconic crimson eyes were the first thing to emerge from the black cloud, shortly followed by a terrifying beast. Where Gyarados’s skin was a blend of creamy yellow and aqua blue, the former colour had now been replaced by blood red pores and a black underbelly. The creature itself had doubled in size, and its fins almost quadrupled as a giant black crest placed itself atop the Gyarados’s bulging head.

The two mega-evolutions locked themselves in a titanic battle, dark blasts of energy smashing into the cavern walls and roof, slicing whole through the rock. Erik released Blaze from his Pokeball for his own protection, as the two began to look for another way out.

Erik desperately clawed his way through shards of wood, stone and rock, as Blaze remained unaffected by contact with the megastones lying prone on the floor, having already been linked to one previously. Erik’s attention was caught by his Blaziken suddenly pointing a finger upwards. Blaze had spotted a newly created hole in the roof from one of Mega-Splash’s dark attacks. The chasm seemed to penetrate the cavern almost to the surface. It was a way of escape, if only Erik had a Pokemon he could fly out on.

A piercing scream erupted from Mega-Splash, the creature de-evolving after a vicious blow from Mega-Soar. Erik presumed that since the megastone had only just been linked to his Gyarados, either the effects didn’t last as long, or he had been defeated in battle. Splash heaved and panted as he resumed his usual form, slowly sinking into the water’s depths through exhaustion as Erik recalled him into his Pokeball.

Blaze released a fierce growl, and it didn’t take Erik long to realise why. Mega-Soar had turned its attention back to Erik and his Blaziken.

A lone tear crept down Erik’s face as he battled the inevitable within his mind, clutching Blaze’s megastone. If he didn’t use it, Mega-Soar would annihilate them both, but he struggled to bring himself to see his beloved friend within the dark form that would emerge from the resulting black cloud.

Blaze looked Erik in the eye, giving him a nod as if to say “it will be okay”. Erik slowly pulled the stone from his pocket, and aimed it in Blaze’s direction as the Mega-Latios launched an attack. Black energy collided with darkness as a cloud swallowed Blaze whole.

A creature flung itself at Mega-Soar from within the shadows, grappling onto the dragon and attempting to haul it back to the ground. The weakened Mega-Latios responded by attempting to crash into the roof with Mega-Blaze on its back, unsuccessfully. The fire type grabbed onto its foe’s back with one hand and launched black flames seemingly from the palm of the other at Mega-Soar’s head.

While a Blaziken mixed shades of lemon-yellow and rose-red, its mega-evolved form sported hues of scarlet-red and midnight-black. It again had bulged to twice its usual size, also, Erik noted, Mega-Blaze was surrounded by black fire, as if its own skin emitted dark flames.

Mega-Soar shook his flame-covered opponent from his back. As the Mega-Blaziken crashed to the surface, the impact forming a small crater in the stone surface. The weakened Mega-Latios attempted to escape, defeated in battle his only choice was to flee through the newly formed hole in the roof, travelling through at epic speeds, but Erik realised Mega-Blaze wasn’t about to allow him to escape.

Mega-Blaze crouched down, preparing to leap into the air and through the hole after his opponent. Erik sprinted over to his Pokemon, latching onto his leg as soon as he jumped causing the two to soar through the hole together. He had never seen a Pokemon be able to leap higher than a human could, nevermind what Erik tentatively guessed was over thirty feet.

Soar had de-evolved, the Latios sprawled on the stone-tiled flooring of a corridor. Mega-Blaze landed neatly on the floor, sweeping his leg to the side and flinging his trainer into a wall. Erik crashed into the corridors side, spotting a Magma scientist further down the hallway who began fumbling around his pockets in horror at the sight of the Mega Pokemon before him.

Mega-Blaze glanced from side to side, deciding who was the biggest threat to his domination. With Soar too weak to move on the ground, Erik’s oldest Pokemon targeted him, the black flames protruding from his skin flaring up as if someone had added fuel to the fire.

Suddenly a Pokeball flew through the air, honing in on Mega-Blaze. Erik noticed this one was different to usual, instead of the crimson and white casing, this Pokeball featured a violet-coloured upper half, with two red circles bulging out of the purple top. The capsule opened, sucking Mega-Blaze inside, then closing. As the lock on it sealed with a click, the circles turned to yellow, flashing once each second like a warning beacon.

“What was..” Erik began, before he noticed the scientist strolling over to him, quivering as he moved.

“M-Master Ball,” the Magma member replied, pushing up his glasses which had fallen slightly with a finger. “Mark II.”

“Mark what?” Erik replied as he recalled Soar into his own Pokeball, then climbed to his feet, arching out his back in an attempt to relieve the pain.

“Maxie told us to think of ways to control and contain Mega-Pokemon. The Master Ball was our plan to do so. Mark I was a failure, it captured normal Pokemon with a one-hundred percent success rate, but had no effect on Megas. Mark II worked, but not as planned. It acts the same way Mark I did but with the added effect of capturing Megas, only it just contains them like a prison until they de-evolve. We were working on Mark III, which would have caught a Mega and put it under the user’s control, but with the added bonus that the Pokemon inside would never de-evolve, but the plans were stolen when the facility self-dest-”

“Alright, alright,” Erik interrupted, as the two circles on the Master Ball changed from yellow to green.

“Oh, that means your Pokemon has de-evolved within,” the scientist responded excitedly, as if he had finally been able to successfully test his invention.

“If you stop talking for a second you’ll see the place is blowing up around us!” Erik barked whilst releasing Blaze from within the Master Ball, before recalling his Blaziken into its actual Pokeball.

“Oh, sorry, I-”

“Which way out?!”

“This way, not far now. Actually, I was on my way out when-”

“Enough. Go. Move!” Erik responded, following the scientist who broke into a sprint.

It wasn’t far to the exit, which had been blown to smithereens, making it easy for Erik and the scientist to depart. As they floated off on the back of the scientist’s Wailmer, Erik spun around to view the facility. Mega-Splash’s attack had carved through the stone almost all the way to the surface. He could see how lucky he had been, as lava spewed throughout the hideout from burst pipes. Archie and any Aqua members were nowhere to be seen, presumably buried in the rubble that was still exploding every few seconds.

“Interestingly,” the scientist began. “We used some of the rock that came from space to design the Master Ball. The combined effects of the material and the Pokeball design allowed us to-”

“Do you have a Golbat?” Erik interrupted.

“Why, yes, right here in fact,” the scientist grabbed the second Pokeball on his belt. “Interesting story how I caught this, I-” he began, before Erik snatched the Golbat from his hands, releasing it and flying off on the back of the creature, back towards Lilycove where he could heal his team.

“Oh dear, excuse me, you forgot to return my Master Ball,” the scientist’s trailing voice followed Erik as he escaped the neverending chatter. Maxie and Magma could wait, he had no clue as to where they would be right now, and his seventh badge beckoned from the shores of Mossdeep City, across the ocean.

The island rose out of the ocean before him. From atop Soar he could see it all, from the gym in the north of the town, a huge space station at the island’s highest point, and a Pokemon centre directly in the middle, which he now aimed to bring his weary team to. The city’s peaceful isolation also neglected it of Magma members, meaning he could truly focus on the one thing he had traveled to Mossdeep City for.

It had been a tough five days of training, battling surfers and swimmers throughout the vast bodies of water which lay between Lilycove to Mossdeep, down to Ever Grande City and across to Slateport. The oceanic square was alive with trainers and wild Pokemon, with the gigantic white crater of Sootopolis sitting at the mid-point.

Erik decided that he would stay the night at the Pokemon centre, then proceed to win his seventh badge in the morning. With Soar and Splash becoming powerful members of his team, Leaf, Dancer and Blaze stronger than ever and the new addition, Ghost, chosen for its advantage of the local psychic types, he was full of confidence.

He smiled at the thought of the new addition to his team. Erik and his Shuppet had formed a strong bond during their training, Ghost’s duality reminded him of his own, friendly and kind on the surface, but they both had a darkness residing within.

Erik’s mind trawled to some of the other new captures the last couple of days. Ghost had weakened a Sealeo within the ice-cold Shoal Cave and Erik had named it Seal. He had also returned to Rustboro City, visiting his friend Mr. Stone to gather information on what Magma planned next. Unfortunately, the president knew nothing worth while. However, Steven’s father was able to resurrect the fossil gifted to him by Cecilia, the scientists within the Devon Corporation reviving an Anorith, which he named Claw.

Sandy beaches morphed into patches of grass which then turned to cobbled streets and hillsides that climbed the island to the station at the peak. Erik’s thoughts snapped back to the present as Soar landed upon the grassy knoll leading up to the city. A good night’s sleep was much needed for his team, the psychic-type gym beckoned.

Enormous metal doors slid open with a sharp creak as Erik and his team strolled up to the gym. A gaping blackness filled the doorway, as if all the light had been sucked out of the building’s interior.

Blaze stood by his side, his secondary type was fighting, leaving him at risk to psychic attacks favoured by the Pokemon awaiting them. The rest of his team walked behind them, Leaf was also at a disadvantage in this gym, Splash and Dancer remained neutral, their typings unaffected either way. Erik’s trump cards hovered behind the group. Soar was a dual psychic and dragon type, which made any mind attacks ineffective against him, whereas Ghost’s typings put her at a succinct advantage.

Erik stepped inside, his six Pokemon remaining in close proximity as they entered the darkness. He spotted two figures looming in the distance, edging closer towards him, his Pokemon tensing in unison as a wave of apprehension flowed through him. They froze in their tracks.

Thick white gas poured from the walls surrounding them, brightening up where they stood before engulfing them in a thin cloud with a mould-like smell. The smoke swirled around Erik and his Pokemon, before dissipating suddenly into miniscule vents on the floors.

“You’re in our world now,” a frail voice called over to Erik as haze formed inside his mind, his vision blurring.

“What is your name,” a female joined in. “I am Patricia, and my friend is Joshua.” Both voices sounded emotionless, like husks or robots attempting to communicate.

“E-Erik..” he managed to reply, before his vision slowly came back to him. He was in a bright room, with four walls all painted in white. He couldn’t decide what the floor was made of, but it was a sickly-green in colour, as the two gym trainers loitered ahead of him.

“We can manipulate our world however we want, just by speaking,” Josh followed, the young boys eye’s were pupil-less. His pale skin matched the white walls and his thick purple hair looked as if it hadn’t been brushed in years. Erik looked to the girl, Patricia, noticing that she was his twin. Erik felt uncomfortable in the twins’ glare, their matching soulless eyes penetrating right through him.

“Let us show you,” Patricia followed, a mischievous grin lighting up her otherwise emotionless features. “Time to expand the room!” she bellowed, as the room stretched out before Erik’s eyes, distance growing between himself and the two trainers before him.

“And let’s turn these lights out!” Joshua followed, as the lights around the room shut off one by one until they reached Erik. The small bulb above his head remained on, the only light in the room centred on himself.

“Go Kadabra!” Joshua shouted once more from across the room, Erik nodding to Ghost in response, his Shuppet cautiously floating through the light and into the darkness. Both Erik and Ghost were wary of Joshua’s Kadabra concealing itself within the dark corridor, threatening to ambush the Shuppet at any given moment.

“Light that Shuppet!” Joshua continued ordering, and the room obliged. A blindingly bright spotlight shone on Ghost from the other side of the room, following the Shuppet wherever it dared move.

Erik peered into the darkness, seeing it distort. The plain blackness cut strange shapes as a psychic pulse plowed its way through, entering the light and smashing into Ghost. He recoiled at the blow, he and his Shuppet had bonded well during their ocean training, and the pain of the attack transcended from Pokemon to trainer.

Another pulse distorted the darkness, but this time Ghost saw it coming. Erik’s Shuppet faded slightly, allowing the attack to phase through her as Erik ducked to avoid the attack furrowing its way down the narrow corridor. Ghost launched herself down the room, the spotlight following her as if it were attached to the Shuppet.

Ghost collided with Joshua’s Kadabra, both Pokemon stumbling backwards before resuming their conflict. Psychic pulses collided with spectral blasts in an even clash, a mind blast from the Kadabra had no effect against the ghost-type, but a telekinetic attack, using objects Joshua shouted and summoned into the area, were crashing into Ghost before she had time to react.

“A television!” Joshua screamed, his Kadabra launching the plasma screen at Erik’s Pokemon, controlling it with his mind. “A chair!” he followed, with the bellowed object materialising into the spotlight’s glare, before slamming itself forcefully into Ghost and disappearing into the darkness.

“Now finish her, Kadabra!” the gym trainer ordered his psychic type, who obliged without question. The Kadabra strolled over to the Shuppet’s weakened form, and appeared to gloat as it lifted both arms above its head and made a sound which resembled laughter.

“Come on Ghost!” Erik shouted down the corridor, the exertion causing him to feel dizzy. Whatever was in the gas he was sprayed with had weakened him.

Another light joined the blinding spotlight, causing Erik to shield his eyes. He waited a few seconds before removing his arm from across his face, to reveal the new light had vanished and in its place floated a Banette. Ghost had evolved.

The Banette vanished despite the spotlight thrusting its gleam upon it. Kadabra hopelessly launched pulses in all directions, in a desperate attempt to save itself. It failed. Ghost appeared suddenly behind it, smothering it with spectral acid and watching her foe disintegrate in front of her, the Banette’s cold blood-red eyes lighting up with glee.

“How?!” Joshua screamed. “The gas is supposed to make you and your Pokemon delusional!”

“You’re giving away the secret!” Patricia followed, strands of stress in her tone. “Send out your Medicham and trick them some more!”

“Okay, time for a room full of lights so your Banette cannot vanish!” he said, the room immediately responding around them. The dark narrow corridor morphed into a square-shaped area completely lit up by candles attached to the walls. A warmth filled the room from the small fires, and Ghost found herself unable to vanish in their glow.

The Medicham launched itself into the air, slamming a foot into the Banette. Erik was taken aback, fighting type moves usually couldn’t hit ghost-typed Pokemon, the room must’ve been having this effect.

“Ghost,” Erik shouted to his Pokemon from across the room. “Blow out the candles, use the darkness to your advantage!”

The Banette complied, speedily floating to each and every lit candle and blowing it out as if they were atop a birthday cake. Medicham’s attempts to stop her were in vain, the dual fighting and psychic type creature tried to follow the Banette into the newly formed darkness of each corner of the room, but the ghost-type vanished in the black.

The room lay in a shroud of darkness as the final flame was blown out, and now Ghost was completely invisible, able to use the dark as a cloak to silently attack the vulnerable Medicham.

“Light! Light!” Joshua bellowed in a tone full of panic and fear. Bright lights appeared on both the ceiling and the walls, revealing Medicham’s lifeless form and Ghost hovering over her defeated foe.

“I know!” Joshua roared, Patricia jumping slightly at the sudden sound next to her. “I will use your own trick against you!” he followed, holding up his final Pokeball. He threw the capsule into the air, a Claydol appearing from within. “I will now hide my Pokemon in a box!” he bellowed, a large cardboard box covering his Pokemon at his words, the room however, remained unchanged. “And here are many other boxes!” he followed, with several cardboard boxes forming inside the room, before all of them switched places with each other as if they were being teleported into different locations around the room. “One of these ten boxes contains my Claydol, the other nine have traps in them. Good luck!” he finished, a menacing laugh echoing around the room.

Ghost flew over to the first box in her vision and rammed into it.

The empty box fell over and vanished, but a trap did indeed await her. The Claydol sprung out of its box, attacking the distracted Banette and rapidly going back into its hiding place. As soon as the Claydol entered its box, the cardboard objects began switching locations once more. With nine left, and all in newly randomised locations, the weakened Ghost would have to make a lucky guess, and she would only survive one or two more ambushes.

Again Ghost rammed into a box, and again she was caught in the Claydol’s trap. She tried a different tactic the third time, blasting away a box with a ball of spectral energy, but again the cardboard container was empty. She spun around expecting an attack from the Claydol which never came, until a pulse of psychic energy smashed into her back, shattering the life from inside her as she crashed into the ground.

“Ghost!” Erik wailed, as his new friend crumbled into dust, her spirit returning to the graveyard he had found her within. He considered his next move carefully, seven boxes remained and the Claydol could be hiding in the midst of any of them. An idea sprung to life inside his mind, as he threw Splash’s Pokeball into the air.

“You can read my thoughts, can’t you Splash. Unlike these fake psychics,” Erik growled to his Gyarados.

“Hey!” Patricia screeched. “Who you calling fake?!”

Splash roared, and prepared to unleash a huge wave of water. Channelling his energy and harnessing the water that housed itself within his huge frame, he summoned the large wave which washed away all of the cardboard boxes at once, trapping the Claydol within one and drowning it within. Joshua had been beaten, but as Erik knew, the gym rookies usually saved the best trainer until last.

“Joshua is weak,” Patricia began, her voice returning to the toneless husk it once was. “I will defeat you so our leaders don’t have to.”

“Leaders? Plural?” Erik asked, he didn’t realise he would have to fight more than one gym leader here.

“Tate and Liza are our leaders.” Patricia followed, with no hint of a tone. “But I will destroy you. Starmie, go.” The girl threw a Pokemon into the air, the water type flopping helplessly on the ground.

Erik was stunned, how could she hope to win with a creature who didn’t seem to be able to function outside of water. He recalled his Gyarados into its Pokeball and sent out Dancer in his place, the electric type advantage would score him an easy victory against the first of Patricia’s Pokemon.

“Ha!” Patricia said, however, there was no hint of humour within her voice. “You have fallen into my trap. Fill this room with water like a fish tank!” she ordered, as the room responded to her words. Water began rapidly pouring into the room from the walls, so quickly that Dancer didn’t have time to react as the Pikachu was swept under the water.

“Have a snorkel,” Patricia smirked, the breathing device appearing in front of Erik who attached it to his face. The duo of gym trainers doing the same as a piece spawned in front of each of the two.

Erik quickly clipped the sides of the snorkel into place, he inhaled deeply as an oxygen tank formed on his back, relaxing himself as air once again filled his lungs. He suddenly gasped in horror as the Starmie floated around Dancer, spinning circles around Erik’s Pokemon who was drowning.

Erik attempted to scream out to his Pokemon, but all that came out of his breathing device were streams of bubbles as Dancer began sinking further and further towards the ground. He had realised that the room was a trick, the two gym trainers were able to manipulate the room as Erik and his Pokemons’ minds were weakened by the gas they had inhaled. They were actually in the same plain dark room as they had been when they entered the gym, but Dancer believed she was drowning. It was true psychological warfare.

“Dancer,” Erik thought to himself. “This is a trick, you are not in water, you are not drowning. We have constantly proven ourselves to each other throughout our journey, now I need you to trust me with your life. Can you do that for me, my friend?”

Dancer heard his thoughts, the bond between the two of them proved strong enough to save her life. The Pikachu’s eyes shot open, full of fury that she had been tricked so easily. The Starmie hovered above her, before being blasted out of the air by an electrical charge, the room’s illusions disappearing around them as Erik and his team finally truly believed that it did not exist.

Patricia sent out a Grumpig as her final Pokemon, Erik recalling Dancer and letting out Soar. The Latios was a psychic type, so he would be able to see through any more deceptions the two fake psychics pulled. The room was completely dark now, and entirely featureless.

“You have a Latios?!” Patricia gasped. “But that’s a legendary psychic Pokemon, how did someone like you get a Latios?!”

Erik ignored her, he had her teetering over the edge and he knew it. Now he just had to apply the final blow and send the strange girl tumbling down.

Soar let out a blast of pure energy, combining both the power of a dragon and master psychic, frying the Grumpig within.

It hit Erik then. The Pokemon he had faced in this gym were weak, but the trickery had made them appear strong. In fact, it was the psychological attacks that had done all the damage to his team.

“You may have defeated us,” Patricia began, her face a scowl of anger. “But Tate and Liza are much better psychics than we’ll ever be. Even your Latios won’t be able to see through their powers.”

He had defeated the two trainers, but what awaited him now was a double battle with gym leaders far more powerful than Patricia and Joshua. He was also certain that they would have true psychic powers, and although he had seen through the initial deceptions, his mind was still weak from the gas. He had already lost Ghost, and felt within his heart that another one of his close friends would be lost before the day was done, as both Tate and Liza strolled into view. They were not even giving him an opportunity to heal his weakened team at the Pokemon Centre.

For the first time in a while, Erik felt genuine doubt, he may not be able to win this battle.