Subject: [PW!] Ardeshir: A Test of Wills
Date: Thursday, April 08, 2004 6:47 PM
[PW!] A Test of Wills
Previously: Not much.
His last opponent wasn't so impressive.
Granted, he was under the tutelage of a human, but that was no excuse
for failure. _One must seek greatness amid adversity,_ thought
Ardeshir, _no matter how hard the wind blows_. That Alakazam,
purported to be at least second best among the competitors in the
Qualifier, had crumpled almost without incident.
Almost. Even now, as Ardeshir smoothed down his cloak, the screaming
of the fallen opponent's trainer rung loud in his fox-like ears.
Monsters like Ardeshir shouldn't be allowed in the Saffron Gym's
Qualifier, she insisted. Whatever happened to honor or sportsmanship,
she wanted to know. Ardeshir felt like asking her what honor lay in
enslavement, but spoke no words. The silent, broken foe at his feet
declaimed the superiority of both free Alakazam as well as the
fallibility inherent in all humanity. Ardeshir, hearing the announcer
tapping his microphone for attention, rose to his feet and waited for
his next opponent.
"...and there goes Molly, and her Alakazam who fought so well."
Ardeshir became irked at the senseless anonynimity that humans pressed
upon his folk -- surely, the Alakazam had a name and would want it
spoken? But again, he said nothing. His actions would forever speak
louder than words.
"....Ar....Aardvark the Alakazam advances to the final round. And now,
his opponent, Matt, and his Alakazam, Belisarius!"
The arena boomed with the trumpets of "Gonna Fly Now" from the Rocky
soundtrack, and a strutting trainer dressed all in white sauntered
onto the field, his Alakazam in tow. In Ardeshir's opinion, Belisarius
looked fairly miserable -- togged out in clothes almost exactly like
his trainer's It appeared as if the Alakazam desired to ape the
human's putrid style like a willing conspirant in his trainer's plot
against taste. Matt seemed to have precognitave abilities, shaking his
fists as if the match had already been won. Ardeshir decided that
while all humans are truly a cursed race, whatever god that formed
them had set its mind to lumping all their bravado onto this one.
After waving to the crowd, the human looked more than a little
"Where's his trainer?" An intense desire to tear Matt's stomach open
and consume his frothing innards struck Ardeshir, but then he
remembered his self-imposed prohibition against consuming human flesh.
"I train myself," replied Ardeshir. A shit-eating grin grew slowly on
"I concur," said Ardeshir. "I don't need any poorly-dressed simian to
teach me what all Alakazam should rightly have -- the drive to win."
Matt's amusement left as quickly as it came.
"Belisarius, Psychic!" Awakening from his fashion-brought stupor, the
Alakazam hopped into attention, and straightened into a ready stance.
Belisarius placed two fingers to his forehead, and began to shake from
concentration. A visible distortion in the air formed about his body,
as he amassed psionic energy. Belisarius the Alakazam furrowed his
eyebrows, his fists glowing with purple. Ardeshir watched with some
amusement as he felt the middling buildup within his own body. But the
color drained out of his face as the levels grew higher and higher,
beyond all that he had expected.
Belisarius thrust out both fists, and a massive wave of psionic energy
rushed out of his fingertips towards the standing Ardeshir. He raised
both fists in an attempt to soften the blow, to try and throw up some
defense, but it was all for naught. The wave caught Ardeshir in the
chest, sending him reeling. The explosion rung in his ears, the force
throwing his body roughly across the grass field. _So, this is what
eating someone's dust is like_, he thought.
Despite the dizzying pain, Ardeshir managed to stand up. He was
roughly fifteen feet away from his starting position, and only a blind
man could miss his transit. In a rough circle, all grass and rocks had
been blown away within the attack's radius, leaving only dirt.
Ardeshir considered his surroundings, the dirt between his talons. He
closed his eyes and remembered. Urdash. The training. The glory. No
matter how much they called him 'Ardeshir Stormpiss,' or 'worthless
orphan,' he would keep on getting up. And keep on beating them.
He rose up to meet the gaze of the advancing Belisarius, approaching
to finish him off. There was only one hope to beating his foe, no
matter how loath Ardeshir felt to admit it -- it was only by merit of
his psychic defenses that he was able to survive the strike. To merely
stand in the face of another one was to poke fate in the eye with a
Without warning, Ardeshir gave power to his legs and leapt into the
air, psionically aiding his flight. In his rising view the crowd,
crammed with both Pokémon and human alike, rapidly shrunk to a more
preferable size. _How easy would it be,_ thought Ardeshir, _to crush
them like so much chaff beneath my step._
Rapidly gathering energy into his hands, the floating Alakazam flung
twin Psybeams at his sedentary opponent. The solid beams, with a
blazing corona at their cores, flew steadily towards their intended
target. Belisarius, redolent in his white but laconic as always,
barely reacted. He lifted both his hands and began to concentrate,
murmuring beneath his breath.
Suddenly, the twin psybeams whipped away from him, to ricochet off
some invsible barrier and detonate harmlessly into the field. The only
thing harmed was the earth, which kicked up in two enveloping clouds.
Belisarius looked up at his floating opponent, his face as emotionless
as ever. But then, he began to laugh, harder and harder. His mustache
flapped in the air, his eyes closed shut to keep out the tears. This
was truly hilarious, this mountain hermit come down to beat the most
premier psychic Pokemon outside of the gym! And once he DID win (and
he would), Belisarius would be in line for training granted only at
the Saffron gym, to recieve the tutelage of legends. How great it
would be. How grea-
Belisarius' head whipped back, and the Alakazam felt the bones in his
neck creak from the strain. For a few moments, all he could see was
the endless blue sky, unmarred by clouds. Had his head not been forced
into a ninety-degree angle by a crippling strike, he might have
enjoyed the view. After regaining his balance, Belisarius looked to
his pristine, unflawed clothes and found it stained with blood. The
Alakazam reached up to his long muzzle, and noted that too blood
"Hunh," said Ardeshir, more than a little disappointed. He was
standing in front of his opponent -- he had used a good reserve of his
psionic energy in Teleporting to so close a range, but he wasn't going
to let Belisarius know that. His face appeared deep in thought, as if
contemplating a great issue. "I expected that blow to snap your slave
head in two. But apparently, being the dog of humanity has many
Steam shot out of Belisarius' nose, and he gritted his teeth. Without
waiting for orders from his trainer, he began to feed his psionic
reserves -- all of them -- into this next attack, and melt this
impudent provinical into so much slop before he knew what hit him.
"What," goaded Ardeshir, "are you too afraid to fight me
Alakazam-to-Alakazam? Do you also await on your master to breathe and
think for you, as well? Fight me!"
Matt cried out in alarm, the satisfaction of watching his Pokémon
prepare to utterly annihilate yet another opponent lost. The petulance
in his voice was gone, replaced by pure concern.
"No, Belisarius! Use your strengths against him, not your weaknesses!"
But his Pokémon did not even turn around to face his trainer.
Belisarius the Alakazam clumsily raised his fists in front of him,
wordlessly accepting Ardeshir's challenge. Surely, he would attain
victory even without his lauded psychic abilties.
"Fool," whispered Ardeshir, a subtle, knowing grin on his face. The
exile monk quickly fell into his own fighting stance, his right hand
slightly leading his left. Then, with the precision of a track runner
he dug his talons into the earth and dashed. The gap closed between
them quickly, and Belisarius locked his arms together in defense
against the attack that was sure to come.
Ardeshir hooked his first punch, letting it curve around Belisarius'
attempted defense. He felt his fist push hard into the meat and bone,
the heat of his opponent's body trickling up through his knuckles.
Truly, he felt whole again. For a moment, it was that first day on the
Urdash field, where Ardeshir had taken a fourth year monk right in the
neck. For the Alakazam, re-living that memory was like opening a
vintage arbor, a sweet taste in his mouth that got better with age.
As Belisarius reeled from the strike, Ardeshir brought both hands
together and landed a hammer blow on his opponent's head for the
second time that day. Belisarius the Alakazam tottered, his body
heaving. The Alakazam could only see the dirt and Ardeshir's running
feet as the monk buried both elbows into the small of his back;
Belisarius could audibly detect his own bones breaking as he collapsed
facefirst into the ground, blinded by earth and pain.
The Alakazam planted a foot on the prone Belisarius' back, and ground
it in deep. For certain, he had won. Ardeshir looked up to the crowd,
now disgusted and ashamed by his conduct; with every act he brought
every human discomfort, every enslaved Pokémon hope in him -- a free
Pokémon could indeed vanquish those in humanity's thrall, as he just
proved. He allowed himself a moment of exultation.
"Yes," Ardeshir cried. "Look upon me! Know my skill! Know my-"
Suddenly, he was thrown off balance. Ardeshir's footing, his
opponent's body -- had vanished. He looked about in confusion. Where
had Belisarius gone?
He heard Matt cry out.
"Ha! You can't hit what you can't see!" He attempted to understand the
human's comment, but the answer came to him fast enough.
The Belisarius' fist connected hard with his muzzle, and Ardeshir
staggered. When his vision cleared, his opponent was nowhere to be
found. Where was he?
_That's for my face,_ said a voice in his head. And then the exile
monk felt the tell-tale pain that was a roundhouse kick to the spine,
a sensation similar to driving a cement block between his vertebrae.
He was sent flying, and found himself with a mouthful of dirt and
grass. Spitting it out, he straightened into a standing position, but
saw nothing but empty field.
_What's wrong, Aardvark,_ taunted the voice in his head. _Where's your
pride? Your vanted skill? Your glory? Allow me to make clear your
fate._ In front of Ardeshir, an Alakazam shimmmered into existence,
the air bending around him. It was Belisarius, admittedly beaten up
and clutching his ribs -- but with a similar shit-eating grin his
trainer had previously borne.
Ardeshir roared and lobbed a quick Psybeam in his direction, but his
opponent's form seemingly melted into nothingness and out of harm's
way. The psychic attack once again detonated to no effect. He whipped
his head around, seeking his opponent but again saw nothing.
_Behind you,_ called Belisarius, and the exile monk spun. He shifted
into a high block in an attempt to predict the coming attack. The
taloned foot of Belisarius drove hard in his side, sending the
Alakazam flying. He crashed into the dirt, feeling his body acquaint
itself once more with rocks and the bent stems of grass. _This....is
getting tiresome,_ decided Ardeshir, his mouth half-full of debris.
_Teleport, you deluded fool! With it, you cannot hope to touch me!_
Belisarius' bravado showed through even mentally, echoing hard in
Ardeshir's psyche. The Alakazam quickly faded in and out of existence
before him, as if a divine being had given his corporeal form an
easy-access light switch.
_Who says I want to touch you, you blathering retardate?_ With that,
Ardeshir sat upon the field and crossed his legs. He lifted his hands
in deference to his ancestors, and then crossed his arms across his
chest. His eyes closed, and his breathing slowed. Seemingly resigned
to his fate Ardeshir sat still upon the earth, awaiting the
"Alaaaa!" His first words the whole day.
The hurtling form of Belisarius materialized in mid air, blinking in
and out of existence as the distance between them shortened. He
commited himself to that one devastating attack, a flying jump kick.
Belisarius' eyes were narrowed, focused in those few instants on the
devastating pain that Ardeshir would feel. _The fool! He does not even
see me!_ It was so -- seemingly ignorant of his battle cry, Ardeshir
remained sitting on the earth in his heavy cowl, moitionless.
_Give my regards to your ancestors, Aardvark!_ cried Belisarius. A
growing sense of victory blossomed in his chest, as the distance from
his foot to Ardeshir's face shrank from yards to inches. But in the
nanoseconds it would have taken for the foot to connect, something
very peculiar happened.
Ardeshir had gotten up. And in the scant moments that still remained,
he imperceptibly edged inches away from Belisarius' flying kick. As
the shocked Alakazam rocketed past him, still committed to his attack,
he laid a heavy taloned hand on Belisarius' foot.
_My name is Ardeshir,_ he intoned. _Remember it -- you will be barking
it in hell._
With that, Ardeshir gripped the place in Belisarius' flesh where the
leg ended and foot began. There, with both hands, he quite literally
threw Belisarius for a loop, using his accumulated momentum against
him. Like a modern-day, wingless Icarus Belisarius' flight was cut
short, and he tumbled bonelessly onto the hard earth. It had been the
final straw -- even then, the Alakazam struggled to breathe.
Exuding self-confidence, Ardeshir strode over to the prone, face-down
Alakazam and once more placed a taloned foot on his back. With grim
satisfaction, he brought both hands within inches of his skull. Then,
Ardeshir began to fill his hands with psionic energy, channeling all
remaining reserves into a massive Psychic -- enough, he surmised, to
take his head off. Wordlessly, he looked to the announcer.
"Aar.....Ardeshir wins....the Saffron Gym Local Qualifier. For
winning, he recieves his bid to enroll into the Saffron Gym and
recieve the tutelage of the masters in residence. ...Congratulations."
After the despondent crowd filed out and Matt tearfully collected his
wounded Alakazam, Ardeshir approached the waiting Gym attache at the
edge of the field. He hobbled, more like, hardly unscathed from his
"Wherefore is my prize?" The Gym attache looked sternly down at the
Alakazam (which was not particularly difficult, as he was seven feet
tall and dressed all in official-looking clothing) and merely scowled
"As representative of the Saffron gym, I must decline your 'prize'.
Your conduct today has been far from admirable or even admissible
under normal circumstances. Besides, only your trainer can enter you
into the Gym."
Ardeshir weighed the meaning of the man's words. He had fought so hard
and so long merely to come to nothing. He looked down at his hands,
and found them reasonably battle-weary.
Without pretense, he spat upon the Gym attache's expensive-looking
"I spit on your 'prize.' And never will I allow myself to be taken
into the custody of humans. I will die first."
Before the towering human could react, Ardeshir summoned the very last
reserve of energy he possessed, and Teleported away.