From: TheRunt <therunt411@aol.com> Subject: Re: [PW!] Fiery Challenges Date: Tuesday, November 30, 1999 8:39 PM (For your convenience, a summary of this episode appears at the bottom) The relatively new building that served as Blaine’s reopened gym stood before them. There was a line of people going into the gym, however it seemed to be moving rather quickly as many people could be seen leaving the gym at an equally rapid pace. The difference was that the those entering looked a lot happier than those exiting. "What's going on here?" asks Julia as the group settled into line. Jon once again demonstrates his knowledge about the town where he grew up, "Blaine’s been doing this ever since he opened the new gym. It's to get rid of all the people trying to get a badge who aren't serious Pokémon trainers. There's three gym trainers in there. To get by each one you have to answer a question correctly or fight the trainer. If you can't get past the trainers, you can't challenge Blaine. It looks like it works well, nobody who isn't a serious trainer has made it past the second trainer." Julia nods, "It does sound effective." A short time later the line had advanced enough so the group actually gets inside the building. Sarah Jane begins to enter the room of the first trainer but stops dead in her tracks as Pteryx begins squawking. "What's wrong?" Christy asks. Sarah Jane begins tending to the baby Aerodactyl, "Nothing. She's just hungry. I'm going to feed her, but this is going to take a few minutes. Someone else should go first." Damian steps forward, "I think I'm ready. I'll go first." A while later, it's Runt's turn. As he enters, the trainer directs him to a nearby computer, "Answer the question on the computer first. If you get it wrong, you have to face me." After pressing a flashing button, a question appears on the screen: Which of the following types of Pokémon would a Sandshrew be most effective against? A. Rock B. Flying C. Electric D. Poison "Now what kind of trainer would be if I didn't know this," he remarks as presses the button marked ‘C’ and the computer 'ping's. The door leading further into the gym slides open and Runt walks through. The second gym trainer briefly examines him, "No offense, but I hope you get the question wrong. I don't get a decent match very often." Pressing the flashing button on the new computer, the following is displayed: Which of the following cannot learn Flamethrower: A. Ponyta B. Vulpix C. Magmar D. Flareon After a moment of reflection, Runt reluctantly selects ‘A’. After the computer 'ping's, Runt breathes a sigh of relief. The trainer eyes him and waves him through to next room. As Runt enters the room, he is surprised to see the trainer lying in a recliner watching TV. "Geez, this is the most business I've had all week - The computer's over there," the man says as he takes a drink from his soda. Runt walks over to the console and taps the flashing button. The question is: Which of the following gym leaders are you most likely to get a win from? A. Erika B. Blaine C. Sabrina D. Misty Instinctively, Runt's hand reaches for the 'D' button, but he hesitates. "I lost my first match against Misty," he recalls, "'course, they prob'ly were taking crushes into account when they wrote this." He pushes the button and the computer 'ping's and the door slides open. The gym trainer burps, "Go…on…in. - Excuse me. Anyway, no big surprise here. Most of the trainers that make it here answer that last question right. Blaine is waiting for you inside." After walking through the last doorway Runt could see someone waiting at the opposite end of the field markings within the incredibly spacious room. It was an older gentleman dressed in red. "In case you haven't guessed, I am Blaine," the man comments, "That Kangaskhan is a little small to be fighting, isn't it?" "Oh, Roo isn't going to be fighting - he's just a little too young to be leaving in a pokéball." replies Runt. "Fine then. This is going to be a standard 4-on-4 match. Are you ready?" Runt nods. "Good. Go Ninetales," call Blaine as he tosses his pokéball into the arena. "Pixie, I choose you," cries Runt. "Ninetales, Tail Whip!" "Pixie, Confuse Ray!" As the Ninetales begins to spin around to execute the commanded attack, Pixie quickly stares into its eyes and a flash of crimson light passes between them. As the tails begin to swing around for the attack, they miss the tiny Vulpix and spin the larger fox onto its side. "That was pure luck - Ninetales, Flamethrower!" "Pixie - Quick, Attack!" Ninetales lets loose a stream of flame - Pixie manages to dodged out of the way but one of her tails gets singed. She then rams into her opponent's legs and pounces on its back. "Ninetales, Flamethrower again!" "Pixie, Ember!" Unfortunately for Blaine, another bought of confusion set in and his Ninetales ended up setting a few of its tails on fire and ramming into a wall - but not before it managed to trample its smaller opponent. "Ninetales, Return. Go Arcanine!" "Good job Pixie, but I think you're too hurt continue - Return. Okay then, Go Tiny!" "Arcanine, Bite that wurm!" "Tiny, Wrap attack!" Blaine's dog quickly pounces on the dragons tail and bites down on it. Managing to endure the pain, Tiny winds himself around his competitor. Minutes pass and the two remain locked in combat until Tiny manages to free his tail. "Arcanine, it's weak - Take it down!" "Tiny, Horn Drill - NOW!" Time slows to a crawl as the fire Pokémon launches itself in to the air. Meanwhile, the weakened Tiny coils up in preparation for his attack. Soon he springs towards his opponent, and then two collide. Fortunately, Tiny managed to hit the Arcanine square in the chest and sends it crashing to the floor. "Return, Arcanine." Blaine quickly tosses out another pokéball, "Rapidash, Fire Spin!" "Tiny," calls Runt, "Blizzard now!" But the horse has already created an enormous cylinder of flames around his Pokémon. A small, unstable cloud rises above the blistering barrier and shards of ice start getting flung everywhere. Both Runt and Blaine are forced to duck for cover in order to avoid getting impaled. As the burning wall goes out, Runt sees a final chunk of ice hit Tiny - knocking him out cold. "Tiny, Return...Rolly, I choose you..." "Rapidash, Take down" Rolly, seeing his adversary charging towards him, instinctively steps to the side and slashes the horse's hide. Surprised by the pain, the fire unicorn keeps running and smashes headfirst into a wall and faints. "Rapidash, Return!" Blaine then grumbles something under his breath. "You've been lucky so far, but my Magmar is at least 20 levels higher than your puny Pokémon." Suddenly, a panel in the wall opens up and hot air hits Runt in the face. The molten duck enters the area on que. "Mag-Mar," it bellows. "Uh, Rolly, I have a bad feeling about this..." Runt comments. "Magmar," commands Blaine, "Fire Punch!" "Rolly, You might want to wait this one out..." Magmar steps up to the evolved Sandshrew and begins to pummel him mercilessly. Rolly manages to get away long enough to curl up into a ball, but his opponent catches up with him and continues the assault. Blaine scoffs, "That thick hide won't protect him - Magmar, Fire Blast!" The blazing Pokémon spews a stream of fire that forms into the shape of a character and quickly engulfs Rolly and slams him against the back wall. As the character dissipates, Runt sees that Rolly is a rather bright red. The color fades and, as it does, Rolly starts barreling towards the flaming duck and rams, full force, into it. Surprisingly, the attack seems to have no effect on the pyrotechnic poultry. Instead, it flicks a solitary ember at Rolly who prompt falls to the floor. "Rolly...return..." "Good effort, but ultimately useless," laughs Blaine, "Why don't you just forfeit right now and save your Pokémon some humiliation..." Just as Runt is about to agree, he feels a wiggling sensation. He looks at Roo, but the baby Kangaskhan is fast asleep. A pokéball bounces out of his fannypack and onto the floor. "Beee Freee!" "Kreskin?" says Runt in disbelief {Don't worry, I'll handle this...} Blaine's laughter grows louder, "Magmar, Fry that fly" Magmar nods in agreement. As it begins to spit flame it is momentarily surrounded by a green aura. It begins sending fire in all directions, swatting at empty air with its hands - completely missing the Butterfree he's trying to hit. The moments grow more and more erratic until Magmar runs back through the panel it came from. "What?! Magmar, Get Back Here!" yells Blaine. "Hmm, looks like Magmar left the arena - I guess that means I win, doesn't it," remarks Runt. "But...But how?" asks Blaine in shock. Kreskin floats down in front of him and gives him a raspberry. "I think somebody started playing mind games with your bruiser," Runt comments. "Fine, take your stupid prizes," snaps Blaine as he stuffs a Volcano badge and a TM into Runts hands. "I just hope you realize how lucky you were today - By all standards you should have lost." "Don't worry, I do," replies Runt. He then turns around and goes to join his friends <To Be Continued...> Summary: Runt battles Blaine for a Volcano Badge and, against all odds, wins. _______________________________________________________________ "Slow and steady wins the race."