Subject: [PW!] [WC] [R3] Tricker's Treat! Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 03:15:01 GMT From: Adrian Tymes <> Organization: Prodigy Internet Newsgroups: Yolei steadied herself as she walked out onto the platform once more, wondering if she might get a bye as well. She had last seen her opponent falling into the water after being shot; the surprised look on Aerie's face, and the surprisingly muted 'plop' of her fall, were still crystal clear in Yolei's mind. Despite Lynkeru's reassurances, Yolei could think of a number of things that could have weighed Aerie's body down, condemning her corpse to some obscure niche of the dark depths of the coliseum - or the sea bed beyond, if through some chance she had slipped through an unlocked gate. An idle thought played across her mind: that bullet wound seemed too low to hit any vital organs. Aerie might have simply drowned while the rest of the world thought she was already dead. Yolei shuddered at the thought, enough that one of the guards eyed the training area's thermostat. Indeed, looking across to the other empty platform, Yolei thought she could see a smear of red just under the water, like blood finally bubbling up from... That was no smear. Yolei allowed herself a brief smile as the water suddenly surged to cover Aerie's platform in a spray of mist, leaving Aerie behind as it receded. "I should've known. That dive you took looked a little fake." The words were automatic, but there was no bite in her voice. Aerie winked. "You should've known, so why didn't you?" Which was not the reply Yolei was expecting. "Err...are you're okay to battle?" Aerie's hands were on her hips. "Ha! As if something like that could stop *me*! You don't know who you're dealing with, do you?" Yolei sweatdropped. "With that registration? Nobody knows." The bravado quickly went out of Aerie's pose. "Oh., right. Anyway, I really wouldn't mind talking about you-know-what after the match." "About what?" "The *unown*?" She shook her head. "Whatever, we'll talk later. Goldeen, you're up first!" "Psyduck, go!" Yolei managed to bounce her pokeball off of the near-left platform, setting her pokemon up out of the water. Watching from the front row seats reserved for competitors not presently competing and their guests, Bob choked. Seated next to him, Lynkeru, alerted by Indi, queried, "Are you okay?" "*She's* the target?" Lynkeru's hand was halfway to her swords before she realized there was little immediate danger. "Who's the target?" "Umm..." "Listen, if Yolei's in danger, I want to know. You're Bob, right? You know Aerie?" Bob finally consciously noticed the person talking to him. "Does Yolei have any shiny unown on her at this moment?" Lynkeru narrowed her eyes, trying to judge the man's character. "No." "Then she's not in danger - at this moment." Lynkeru's hand started to return to her lap, then shot back to her swords, gripping the hilt but not drawing yet. "She left them with me. Am I in danger?" "Maybe. Probably. But not until the match is over." For a moment, the Gerudo considered asking Bob to a more private place, before her instincts warned her she could be ambushed easier in private than in the middle of a crowd like this. Lowering her voice, she queried, "What danger am I in, and who is Aerie?" Back on the field, Aerie's hand was slowly travelling down her forehead as Psyduck tried to shake off its new goldeen hat. Yolei, spirits restored by now, snickered. "I'd say your goldeen has an eating problem!" "What were you THINKING, Goldeen? Psyduck's head is too big for you to swallow! Don't bite down on its head; I told you what that'll do!" "Psyduck! Use that slurpee I gave you!" "Wha?" As the feathered pokemon produced an ice-cold beverage and sipped at its straw, Yolei held up a finger. "I see you know what happens when Psyduck gets a headache! Instant brain freeze works just as well!" Indeed, Psyduck's eyes quickly glowed, cycling through the entire spectrum of visible light - and quite a ways into infrared, not that most present were equipped to see that. Goldeen shot off its head on a beeline for Aerie... ...only to bounce off a momentary flash of purple, the only visible hint of Aerie's hastily-erected psychic shield. "Get back in there and fight!" "Psyduck, take another sip!" Psyduck did so just in time to catch the fish and bat it back without physically touching it. Another purple flash from Aerie's platform returned Goldeen. Sip, bat, flash, return. Sip, bat, flash, return. Sip, bat, duck... *SPLAT* went Goldeen as it impacted the wall above Aerie hard enough to chip out part of the coral. The referee did not even wait for it to land behind Aerie before announcing, "Goldeen is unable to battle! Psyduck is the winner!" Lynkeru blinked. Something seemed familiar about that sequence, as if she had seen it in a dream before. Aerie growled in annoyance. "Squirtle, you know what to do!" Squirtle's head broke the surface for just an instant, long enough for the referee to acknowledge its presence and wave a flag at it, before diving deep underwater. TBC?