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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 47: A Worthy Opponent

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey After being separated from his squad by the dastardly Spinner traps, even Raiden gets to have himself an epic battle. But just who is this mysterious Trainer and what makes him so formidable to be considered by Raiden to be A Worthy Opponent?

Incidentally, out o the previous 46 chapters I've posted this day, this one is the first new chapter never ever seen on Pokécharms until now! I would have liked it and the remaining three new chapters to have been posted on the actual anniversary date of January 8th, but I'll settle for the fact that it's still the 8th in the far west. Another fun fact, at 21 pages and 10,739 words, this is the longest chapter of anything I've ever written. =0
Chapter 47: A Worthy Opponent

With the roar of thunder, Raiden swung his Raikou spear in a horizontal circle around his waist dispatching four Rockets.

“Wow. Third Seat Arka really is incredible isn’t he?” complemented an Officer in awe.

“I’ll say. I bet he could even beat Team Rocket’s Boss if Leader hadn’t already claimed him.” said another.

“I don’t think he could. Giovanni is a Ground Master if I’m not mistaken.” a third Officer said in disbelief. Ever since getting split up by the Spinner traps, Raiden had been travelling in a ragtag group of three Neos Officers from different squads. Each one was capable of holding their own in battle against Team Rocket, but all were amazed by their superior’s skills in combat. They had heard the rumors but none had witnessed the terrifying might of a Third Seat before today.

Raiden slammed the spiked base of Raikou into the floor to ground it thus removing the electrical current running through it before returning it to its Item Ball. He then shook his hands to dispel the numbness that came with holding an electrified metal rod. Rubber gloves only offered so much insulation and protection.

Before he could give the order to move on, Raiden heard the sound of clapping. He and the three Officers turned to see a man with short neatly combed dirty blonde hair and a thin mustache. Raiden was uncertain who the man was affiliated with, if anyone, for he neither wore a Rocket uniform nor a Neos uniform. Instead, the man wore a suave suit: white dress shirt, black bowtie, a maroon jacket-vest, black slacks, and fine black leather shoes with gold tipped toes.

“That was a marvelous display you put on just now. I must say, I am very impressed.” the man complemented as he walked towards Raiden. “Allow me the curtesy to introduce myself. My name is Pierre Duvall. I am an assassin hired by Team Rocket to deal with Team Neos.” he said extending his hand.

“I am Third Seat Raiden Arka.” Raiden said returning the introduction. He looked at Pierre’s hand then back at the assassin. “Forgive me for not shaking your hand.”

“Yes, of course.” Pierre laughed as he dropped his arm. “I would not want to shake a foe’s hand either after hearing all of that. Now Mr. Arka, would you please do me the honor of having a bout with you?”

“No way!” one of the Officers interjected. “You just said you were here to eliminate Team Neos! You’re gonna have to fight all four of us!”

“That’s right!” agreed another readying a Pokéball.

“I never said anything about eliminating you.” said Pierre looking offended. “My exact words were deal with Team Neos. Team Rocket does things their way, I do things my way. If you three would be so kind, I would like to have a match with Mr. Arka without interference.” he beseeched.

“Well you ain’t gettin’ your wish!” defied the third Officer.

“No. You three carry on with the mission. If he wants to face me alone then so be it.” Raiden said coolly accepting Pierre’s challenge.

“But sir!” Officer2 called out.

“Forget about it. You saw how badass he was in takin’ out those Rockets. Ain’t no one can beat Third Seat Arka.” Officer3 said confidently.

“Kick his ass sir!” requested Officer1 with a salute. With that the trio left the soon to be battlefield.

“You have some fine subordinates there Mr. Arka. Their loyalty is impressive.” the assassin complemented.

“They are not my direct subordinates though. That is merely the loyalty held by members of Team Neos.” the Third Seat informed nonchalantly. Pierre chuckled.

“Loyalty is usually something that needs to be earned. You must be a fine man for them to be willing to stand up for you like that. It is a shame I am going to have to kill you after this.” Pierre said cordially.

“We will see.” Raiden dared.

“Ah, but first, would you like to change venue? I think it would be disrespectful for us to have our bout with these corpses in the way.” Pierre offered noting the Rockets Raiden dispatched earlier. “I happen to know a room downstairs that would accommodate us perfectly.”

“Lead the way.” said Raiden stoically as he extending his arm to the side in an ‘after-you’ motion. There was always the possibility Pierre was trying to lead him into a trap so Raiden was not about to drop his guard and show his back to an enemy.

Pierre proved to be much more confident and trusting than Raiden, willingly letting the Third Seat follow him without hesitation to the nearest stairwell. The assassin barely turned around to keep an eye on his quarry and even engaged in idle chatter as if the two were old friends.

“So Mr. Arka, how long have you been with Team Neos?”

“Almost six years.”

“I would have never guessed! Neos has only been in the public eye for about 18 months now. What were you doing before your interventions against Team Rocket began?” inquired Pierre.

“You ask a lot of questions.” Raiden accused suspiciously.

“Forgive me Mr. Arka. Some mercenaries will kill anyone they are paid to without question. I do not like such an impersonal transaction. If I am hired to assassinate someone I want to take the time to get to know them. What they do, how they think, how they feel. The marks who left behind loved ones will be grieved and remembered but the ones who are alone in this world will be forgotten and swept aside. I find that to be too tragic so I want to remember them and all my other marks.” the assassin explained.

“If that is the case then ask about my personal life. I will not divulge Team Neos secrets.” the Third Seat informed unwaveringly.

“I understand.” Pierre acknowledged as they reached the fourth basement floor. “So where are you from?”

“Virbank City, Unova.” Raiden answered.

“A fellow Unovan then! I am from Mistalton City.” said Pierre nostalgically at having met one of his fellow countrymen in a place like this. “Now, to be fair, here is some more information about me. I am 33-years-old, I have been a hitman since I was 21, and over the years I have killed a total of 105 people, all of whom I remember. I also like games, contests, and anything else that can be perceived as a challenge.”

“Is that why you challenged me to a battle?” Raiden guessed. Pierre turned around with a guilty smile on his face.

“Precisely. As I said before, wantonly killing someone without hesitation leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I believe a man has a right to fight for his life.” The hitman took a quick look around. The room they were in wasn’t quite the one he had mentioned before but it was still suitable for battle. “Well then Mr. Arka, shall we begin?” he proposed courteously. Raiden removed the Pokéball containing his chosen lead from his belt silently giving his opponent his answer. Pierre responded in kind.

“Electrode!” Raiden called summoning a Pokémon resembling an oversized Pokéball with the colors reversed.

“When it comes to Pokémon matches, I always put my best foot forward. Begin the bout for us Francesca!” announced Pierre sending out a round Pokémon mostly covered in two bumpy steel plates on top and bottom. Under her shell was a smooth red shell with four spikes sticking out and all that could be seen under the second shell were her big eyes. “Your move Mr. Arka.” he offered with a friendly hand gesture.

Raiden silently observed the field. Pierre had insinuated the Forretress was his best and even offered the Third Seat the courtesy of the first attack. He was up to something. If Raiden was too hasty he would be giving into his opponent’s intent which could be costly.

“Charge.” Raiden commanded deciding to play defensive for now in order to figure out the assassin’s game. Electrode started spinning to build up its electrical power causing sparks to start shooting off its body.

“A good strategy there Mr. Arka.” Pierre complemented. “Francesca! Let us set up Toxic Spikes!” The Bagworm Pokémon pointed two of her spikes at Electrode and shot out a dozen three-pointed purple spikes at its side of the field.

“Magic Coat!” called Raiden quickly. Electrode created a barrier in front of itself repelling the spikes back at Francesca.

“Well well. I was not expecting that. Tell me Mr. Arka, if I were to attempt Spikes or Stealth Rock you would send them right back at my Pokémon would you not?” asked Pierre.

“That is correct. You will get nowhere with entry hazards against me. You would only cripple your own Pokémon further if you try again.” warned the Third Seat calmly. Pierre chuckled.

“I know you worked hard creating those Francesca, but if left alone they will only be a hindrance to your teammates. Scatter them away with Rapid Spin.” he told his Pokémon. She did as told, closing up her outer shell so that she resembled a steel clam then spinning until the Toxic Spikes had been either destroyed or sent to the far walls where they would not interfere with the battle. As the Forretress continued to spin, she threw itself into Electrode for a bit of damage.

“Electro Ball.” Raiden called. The Ball Pokémon created a sphere of electricity in front of its face then launched the attack at its opponent at the speed of lightning.

“Protect yourself Francesca.” countered the mercenary. Francesca retreated back into her shell causing the attack to harmlessly bounce off. It was not the result Raiden had hoped for but it provided an excellent opening for a new opportunity.

“Volt Switch!” he commanded after waiting for Francesca to open up again. Electrode’s body sparked as it sent another ball of lightning at her. The Bagworm Pokémon was too slow to close her shell again and took the full force of the attack leaving her momentarily stunned. When Electrode returned itself to Raiden, the Electric-type specialist was already ready with its replacement. “Magnezone!” he called sending out his next Pokémon.

“How tactful of you Mr. Arka. May I ask why Magnezone is a better choice than Electrode? There does not seem to be one clear advantage between one and the other.” inquired Pierre.

“Magic Coat to repel your traps and Magnet Pull to keep you from switching Francesca out.” Raiden answered straightforwardly. He was well aware of his opponent’s intelligence so there was no harm in explaining what the hitman would figure out on his own anyway.

“Francesca versus Magnezone it is then. You play the game quite well Mr. Arka.” Pierre complemented with a smile. “I am curious how you plan to deal with this next move though. Use Earthquake Francesca!”

“Magnet Rise!” Raiden countered coolly. As the Forretress slammed her body to the ground sending tremors throughout the floor, Magnezone floated higher in the air completely avoiding them.

“Well you just have an answer for everything.” said Pierre genuinely impressed. “However, this is one advantage I will not give up quietly. Bring Magnezone back down with Gravity!” he commanded. Francesca gave a howl as the gravity in the room became stronger. The Magnet Area Pokémon was brought crashing to the floor and even the two Trainers were forced to their knees by the force.

“Do not think just because Magnezone is grounded that I am at a disadvantage.” Raiden warned. “Hidden Power!” Eight orbs of light surrounded the Magnet Area Pokémon before bursting into flames. Magnezone then charged into the Bag Worm Pokémon, passed the ring of fire onto her, then closed the orbs in on her for heavy damage.

Since the match began it had been a contest of wit. A contest Pierre won when he took away Raiden’s primary advantage. The Electric-type Expert had nothing to counteract the increased gravity until it wore off on its own meaning Magnezone and his other Pokémon would be vulnerable to Ground attacks for the next five minutes. It had been a long time since someone managed to get the better of him in a Pokémon battle. However not being able to repel his one weakness was by no means a setback. Raiden and his Pokémon were perfectly capable of a strong and unrelenting offense just as being defensive. To strike like lightning, speed and power were the key. Take out enemies before they can fight back.

“I would have been disappointed if you folded so soon Mr. Arka. I also must say how fortuitous it is for you to have a Fire-typed Hidden Power on your Magnezone. With Magnet Pull it is the perfect slayer of Steel-types.” the hitman commended.

“It is only a coincidence, I assure you, but not an unwelcome one.” Raiden admit.

“Magnezone did a lot of damage to Francesca just then. I will have to remedy that with Pain Split!” called Pierre. Francesca took her cue by shooting a ghostly white ball at Magnezone to synchronize their vitality.

“Barrier!” Raiden commanded. Magnezone surrounded itself in an electrical field to buffer against incoming attacks.

“Raising your stats will not protect you from the effects of Pain Split you realize.” Pierre pointed out.

“I am well aware. I am also aware that you are most likely weakening Magnezone and restoring Forretress in order to survive a second Hidden Power while assuring Earthquake will defeat my Pokémon.” the Third Seat analyzed. Pierre nodded with an impressed look on his face.

“You saw through me Mr. Arka. Astounding. You really are top notch.” he complemented. “It is just as you say: Use Earthquake Francesca!” The Bagworm Pokémon released more tremors which seemed intensified due to the increased gravity in the room.

“Reflect!” called Raiden quickly. Magnezone threw up another barrier around itself to further bolster its defense against its foe’s otherwise deadly attack. “Now, Hidden Power!”

“Protect yourself!” countered the assassin. The Forretress clamped her shell closed again blocking the ring of flames. Exactly as Raiden anticipated.

“Lock-On, then Zap Cannon!” he commanded. Magnezone took careful aim at its opponent then charged a large ball of electricity between its magnets. As soon as Francesca opened her shell again, the Magnet Area Pokémon let lose the ball at the speed of lightning. It pierced through Francesca, shocking every muscle and nerve in her body leaving her paralyzed.

“You used Hidden Power as a diversion to attack with a stronger and more debilitating move. Well done Mr. Arka.” Pierre praised with a slight bow in show of respect. His eyes widened in surprise as he noticed something else.

“Not just that. As I am sure you just noticed, the gravity in the room is returning to normal.” Raiden pointed out. He felt the pressure waning making it easier to stand and move. Pierre looked around noticing the difference as well.

“Biding time, eh? I told you though; this is one advantage I was not giving up quietly. Finish off Magnezone with Earthquake, then use Gravity again Francesca!” Pierre called.

“Thunderbolt!” Raiden called quickly. For the Forretress, moving was taking a bit of extra effort but Magnezone had no such issues. Its body crackled with electricity before shooting the powerful attack at Francesca knocking her backwards and unconscious.

“It looks like the first loss goes to me then. Well done Mr. Arka.” Pierre conceded graciously. “Let us see how you fare against my Salamence!” he said calling back Francesca then throwing an Ultra Ball. A large blue dragon with short legs, a grey belly, large red wings, and a long neck and tail appeared in a flash of light. The Salamence gave a mighty roar causing Magnezone to recoil slightly from fear.

“Best foot forward indeed.” Raiden said looking the Dragon Pokémon over. It certainly was an intimidating foe.

“Francesca is my defensive wall for setting hazards and testing my opponents. You were able to expertly counter her and break that defense, an effort I humbly commend you for. My remaining five are much more offensive as you will shortly understand.” Pierre warned. “Tiberius! Attack with Brick Break!” commanded the hitman. Tiberius roared as he spun around smacking Magnezone hard in its right flank. The sound of shattering glass could be heard its Reflect was smashed to pieces around it. The Magnet Area Pokémon fell to the floor with a loud clang but still managed to hold on enough to unsteadily float back up.

“Thunder Wave!” called Raiden hoping to at least paralyze his opponent before Magnezone was beaten. Magnezone discharged weak electrical pulses that would numb the muscles making it hard for Tiberius to move.

“Dodge with Dragon Dance!” Pierre called. The Salamence corkscrewed towards the ceiling effortlessly evading Thunder Wave. He performed a few more acrobatic maneuvers to loosen up making him both faster and stronger. “Now use Dragon Claw!” he followed up. The Dragon Pokémon dove back to the floor like a meteor with his arms pulled back, both claws glowing with a draconic aura. Tiberius swiped his arms forward, striking Magnezone with a mighty blow knocking it to the floor again only this time there was no getting back up.

“Manectric!” the Third Seat called with a Pokéball in each hand switching his two Pokémon in one fluid motion. The new Pokémon was a blue canine with a yellow mane that stood straight up and yellow fur on his ankles and hips that also stood straight up on end.

“Now a third Electric-type. Are you by chance a specialist Mr. Arka?” inquired Pierre noticing the trend.

“That is correct. Since I specialize in Electric-types, I have trained my Pokémon to compensate for their natural weaknesses.” Raiden informed as a warning.

“May I test that proclamation?” the assassin requested. Raiden flashed a rare smirk.

“Come and try.” he dared holding out his hand to wave Pierre on.

“I will. Thank you for your generous invitation Mr. Arka. Use Earthquake Tiberius!” The Salamence flapped his wings to rise a few feet off the ground, then allowed himself to drop sending massive tremors throughout the room.

“Magnet Rise!” Raiden countered. Manectric leapt into the air and used his own static electricity to remain airborne long enough for the quake to subside. “Ice Fang!” the Electric specialist continued hoping to use his Pokémon’s momentum to his advantage. As soon as Manectric landed back on the floor, he dashed at his opponent and sunk his frost covered teeth into the Dragon Pokémon’s neck causing him to roar in pain.

“Smack it away with Dragon Claw!” commanded Pierre. Tiberius swiped Manectric with its claws knocking him off with a yelp. The Discharge Pokémon landed on his feet growling at his adversary.

“Charge Beam!” called Raiden. Manectric opened his mouth blasting Tiberius in the chest with a ray of electricity.

“Attack from a distance as well with Dragon Pulse!” the hitman advised. Tiberius opened his mouth launching a powerful burst of blue energy that knocked Manectric back. “Now use Stone Edge!” The Dragon Pokémon continued his assault by slamming his foot down on the floor causing three stone pillars to shoot from the ground underneath Manectric.

“Quick Attack!” commanded the Third Seat. The canine shook off the damage taken by Stone Edge, then dashed at Tiberius with incredible speed nailing him in his left flank.

“Grab Manectric with Crunch Tiberius!” Pierre commanded not letting the opportunity to go to waste. The Salamence swung his neck around clamping his maw around his opponent causing the Discharge Pokémon to howl in pain.

“Discharge!” countered Raiden. Manectric lived up to his species name by releasing a powerful high-voltage attack in every direction. This time it was Tiberius pulling his head back as he roared from getting painfully shocked in his mouth where his thick scales couldn’t protect him. Most of the electricity found its way into his teeth, gums, and tongue, but stray bolts also zapped his wings and hide.

“Getting in close so Discharge had maximum effect. I applaud your strategy Mr. Arka.” Pierre complemented with a light clap.

“You have proven yourself to be quite formidable as well.” Raiden said returning the complement. It was becoming clear that Pierre’s praise was earnest and genuine and that the man was truly enjoying the fight. His affable personality made Raiden almost forget that the man was an assassin after his life. He was certainly not like the last assassin Raiden encountered who was a sadistic monster.

“I try my best.” Pierre said humbly. “Now Tiberius! Use Zen Headbutt!” Tiberius lowered his head as his scalp took on a blue glow. He then charged forward ramming the canine hard causing him to yelp.

“Ice Fang!” Raiden called. Manectric dug his claws into Tiberius’s frills to get a good grip on him then started biting down with his cold maw. The Dragon Pokémon roared as he thrashed about trying to get Manectric off of his head.

“Try a regular Headbutt to the ceiling!” suggested the hitman.

“Thunder!” commanded Raiden as the Salamence flew up and banged his head on the ceiling causing a few tiles to fall. With the last of his strength, Manectric discharged enormous amounts of electricity from his body with a loud thunderclap. Tiberius roared as the current coursed through his entire body. The lightbulbs in the nearest light fixture exploded from the close proximity and voltage of the attack. Both Trainers instinctively lifted their arms up to protect their heads from the glass raining down on the battlefield. In retaliation, Tiberius banged his head against the ceiling one more time knocking Manectric out cold. The Discharge Pokémon’s limp body then slid off the Dragon Pokémon’s head hitting the floor with a thud.

“Electrode!” the Electric expert summoned switching his Pokémon. “Charge Beam!” he called wasting no time going on the offensive. The Ball Pokémon launched a beam of lightning from its mouth towards the ceiling where Tiberius still hovered.

“Counter with Dragon Pulse!” Pierre quickly commanded. Tiberius did as instructed, opening his mouth and firing his own energy blast at the incoming attack resulting in a beam struggle. Electrode was fully rested while the Salamence was worn out giving the former a slight edge in the duel but not enough to completely overcome the mighty dragon.

“Charge!” Raiden commanded. Electrode began vibrating to build up its power thus increasing the amount of electricity it could force into the attack. With the power boost, Charge Beam ripped through Dragon Pulse and struck Tiberius shocking him to the core.

“I understand you are probably exhausted Tiberius, but use Draco Meteor!” the assassin called with the intention of doing as much damage as possible to Electrode so that his next Pokémon would fare better against it. The Dragon Pokémon roared as he summoned a barrage of draconic infused comets seemingly from nowhere to rain down on his adversary.

“Mirror Coat!” countered the Third Seat. Electrode quickly threw up a reflective shield above it. As the meteors struck, Electrode could feel their powerful impacts, but Mirror Coat was able to reflect them back towards their creator. Salamence bellowed in pain as he was struck down by his own attack then collapsed to the floor unconscious.

“Well done Tiberius. Rest well my friend.” Pierre praised as he called back his Pokémon. “Your tenacity is remarkable Mr. Arka.” he said complementing his opponent as well.

“Thank you Pierre. Now bring out your next Pokémon. I am starting to get into this!” Raiden requested. He wasn’t sure when it started, but he was becoming really excited about this battle. It had been a long time since a single person was able to hold their own against him like this. He was actually finding the battle fun! Raiden could afford to forget he was a Third Seat of Team Neos on a mission or that his foe was an enemy to be eliminated. At the end of the battle one of them would be dead, but right now they were two evenly matched Trainers having one hell of a showdown!

Pierre chuckled. “Very well. In that case, I will use Diego!” he called sending out a large bull covered in coarse brown fur with the thickest patch being around his neck. “Avenge Tiberius with Retaliate!” the Tauros mooed fiercely as he whipped his back with his three tails working himself into a frenzy. The Wild Bull Pokémon then charged Electrode head-on, ramming it with his horns. Diego then reared back with a bellow from getting shocked by Electrode’s Static Ability.

“Electro Ball!” Raiden commanded. Electrode created a sphere of electrical energy in front of its face before blasting Diego with it causing him to stagger back and shake his head.

“It is your bad fortune for Diego to have been paralyzed. Show them your Façade Diego!” called the assassin. The bovine bellowed as he charged towards Electrode. Despite how numb his body felt, he wasn’t about to let lethargy stop him from attacking.

“Flash!” Raiden called quickly. Electrode released a bright light from its body temporarily blinding Diego. The Ball Pokémon took that opportunity to roll out of the way leaving Diego to slam his hooves to the floor with such power it cracked the tiles and left small indentations on the floor. Had the attack struck Electrode, the results would have been devastating.

“Thunderbolt!” the Third Seat followed-up to take advantage of the opening. Electrode’s body sparked before it released a powerful lightning attack at Diego. The Wild Bull Pokémon cried out in pain as the attack struck his horns dealing heavy damage. He began whipping himself frantically as his Anger Point had been reached.

“Easy Diego. Rest for a bit to regain your strength.” Pierre consoled calmly. Diego mooed angrily but heeded his Trainer’s instructions anyway. His breathing became more measured as he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

“Charge!” called the specialist. Electrode spun its body to build up power. With the Tauros temporarily inactive, it was the perfect chance to setup for stronger moves.

“Sleep does not mean vulnerability Mr. Arka.” Pierre warned. “If you can hear me Diego, use Sleep Talk!” he called. The Wild Bull Pokémon shifted his body before stampeding towards Electrode with his head lowered. Diego dug his horns underneath the Electric-type, then quickly lifted his head, catapulting Electrode over his back with Strength.

“Thunder!” Raiden commanded. Electrode rotated in the air with sparks shooting off of its body. As soon as it was back on solid ground it discharged all of the built up electricity in its body at Diego knocking the bovine off his feet. Raiden was smarter than to mistake a sleeping Pokémon for one that couldn’t fight back, especially if that Pokémon belonged to such a skilled Trainer. Pokémon that were asleep however were incapable of acting on their own making it impossible to defend themselves.

“Use another Sleep Talk Diego!” called the hitman. The Tauros groggily stood back up and this time Stomped the floor with all of his might. The other disadvantage when sleep fighting was that the sleeper had no aim. Diego was attacking where Electrode had been and not where it was now. That mistake wouldn’t last long though as now Diego was opening his eyes. He was wide awake and fully rejuvenated.

“Shock Wave!” the Third Seat called. The Ball Pokémon released another electrical current, this one attracted by Diego’s own bioelectricity making it unable to miss its target. No matter which way he moved, the current followed him until it struck.

“Attack Electrode with Giga Impact Diego!” Pierre commanded. Diego mooed threateningly as he once again beat himself with his tails. He then stampeded with all of his strength towards Electrode.

“Hyper Beam!” Raiden countered. Even if the attack didn’t knock Diego out, hopefully it would lessen the blow of Giga Impact. The Ball Pokémon blasted Diego with a powerful energy beam striking him right in the face. Even so, the Tauros continued to muscle through the attack at full speed. In the end, Diego managed to completely breakthrough Electrode’s attack and rammed the Electric-type with all of his might sending it rolling backwards into a wall. Electrode shifted to its right no longer having the strength to battle.

Raiden held out his arm to return his Pokémon. He was no longer cautious of Pierre to switch Pokémon in a fluid motion. He knew the hitman wanted this battle as much as he did and that it wasn’t a ploy to get Raiden to lower his guard.

“Jolteon!” he called sending out a quadrupedal mammalian Pokémon covered in yellow fur that stuck out in the back, long pointed ears, and a spiked white fur collar around his neck. Like all Eeveelutions, it had oval-shaped black eyes. “Double Kick!” commanded the Third Seat taking advantage of Diego’s vulnerability due to recharging. Jolteon ran towards his opponent, spun around, and kicked Diego twice in the face with his back legs much to the bovine’s irritation.

“Quickly, use Endeavor Diego!” called Pierre hoping Jolteon was unable to dodge while still at such close range. The Wild Bull Pokémon reared back on his hind legs ready to pummel Jolteon under his hooves.

“Dodge!” called Raiden. Using the speed it would for Quick Attack, Jolteon zipped away from Diego as he slammed his hooves to the floor. “Charge Beam!” he followed up. The Lightning Pokémon spun around and shot a concentration of electricity from his mouth at the Tauros piercing him in the chest.

“My, my. Your ingenuity is extraordinary Mr. Arka.” Pierre said in admiration. “However, I am curious as to how you will deal with Diego going into a second sleep. Rest!” commanded the hitman.

“Thunder Wave!” called Raiden quickly. Jolteon emitted as many weak electrical impulses as he could at Diego to stun the bovine. As hard as Diego tried to sleep, his spazzing muscles made relaxing too difficult. Raiden quietly sighed to himself. It was a risky move to say the least. If Diego had been able to fight the paralysis, he would have completely restored his energy and stamina making Electrode’s defeat in vain.

“I did not know you were the betting type Mr. Arka. You even won that wager of yours.” said the assassin, impressed with the outcome. He then started laughing. “Well this is a Pokémon battle after all. When two opponents are evenly matched the outcome of the fight comes down to luck not skill. One must be willing to take chances lest they lose. High risk, high return.” Pierre proclaimed.

“Exactly. A Pokémon is only as strong as its Trainer. They will never win unless I am willing to make bold moves.” the Electric-type specialist concurred before turning his full attention back to Jolteon. “Now, Thunderbolt!” he called. The Lightning Pokémon shot his attack at Diego causing him to bellow in pain before stumbling to the ground.

“You did your best Diego, have no regrets.” Pierre said calling back his Pokémon. “I will use Richard now!” he said summoning a large stone grey dinosaur Pokémon with solid legs, short arms, and a thick blue domed head lined with horns.

“Agility.” Raiden instructed. Appearances alone suggested the Rampardos was powerful so the Third Seat wanted to make sure Jolteon was fast enough to evade at a moment’s notice. The Eeveelution bounced on his knees to loosen up his leg muscles.

“Richard! Use Screech and Zen Headbutt!” called the hitman. The prehistoric Pokémon gave a shrill roar causing Jolteon to whimper as his ears drooped. Richard then leaned forward and charged at Jolteon with the dome of his head glowing blue ramming the Eeveelution hard in his chest knocking him off his feet.

“Thunder Fang!” commanded Raiden. Jolteon jumped up with his maw sparking with electricity and sunk his teeth into the Headbutt Pokémon’s right leg causing him to roar in pain.

“Get Jolteon off with Stomp Richard!” Pierre commanded. The dinosaur lifted its leg pulling Jolteon up with it, then slammed his wide foot down into the Lightning Pokémon’s ribs causing him to yelp.

“Discharge!” called Raiden. Jolteon released electricity from his body in every direction completely enveloping himself in lightning while driving back his opponent. “Now, Double Kick!” Raiden followed-up noticing the opening Discharge left. Jolteon turned his back to the Rampardos and kicked him twice in the chest with his back legs.

“Richard! Finish Jolteon with Earthquake!” commanded the assassin.

“Magnet Rise!” Raiden countered. He was disappointed in his adversary. Raiden had told Pierre that he could get around Ground-type attacks. Every time he tried, Raiden stopped him so what made now any different?

“Smack Down!” retaliated Pierre. Richard never even started Earthquake before Jolteon sprang up using static to remain airborne. The Headbutt Pokémon obeyed his Trainer by jumping up after the Electric-type and smacking him back to the ground with his thick tail. Jolteon landed on the ground hard only for Richard to land back on his feet with enough force to initiate Earthquake. When Jolteon didn’t stand, Raiden knew he had been fainted.

Raiden felt like a fool! That was what Pierre was after! It was the perfect checkmate. If Raiden did nothing, Jolteon would be hit with Earthquake. If he ordered Magnet Rise to avoid the attack, then it was easy enough for the assassin to counter with Smack Down to put Jolteon back on the ground. He couldn’t believe he had underestimated his foe that badly, but he was angrier with himself for being so easily predictable and therefore so easily manipulated! Surely he could have cut off Richard’s attack some other way. Raiden promised himself that if he lived through this encounter he would make it up to Jolteon and he would redouble his training to better deal with his Ground-type weakness and be less predictable with the same tired counters.

“Raichu!” he called sending out an orange mouse with yellow cheeks, black ears with yellow on the inside, brown stripes on his back, long feet tipped with brown toes, brown fur on his hands, and a long black tail tipped with a lightning bolt. “Charge Beam!” Raichu cupped his hands to gather the electrical energy he needed before thrusting his arms forward blasting the high voltage ray at Richard. The dinosaur roared and staggered back as he took the attack in the chest; the same place Jolteon had kicked him.

Pierre couldn’t help but grin at Raiden’s ferocity. He hadn’t intended to strike a nerve when he fainted Jolteon, merely exploit a gap in the Electric-type specialist’s defense. Still, he admired that even when emotional the Third Seat was keeping his cool and fighting with enough control that he could take advantage of Richard’s own weak spot. Pierre was starting to wish he and Raiden had met under different circumstances. Win or lose, he admired his mark and would have liked to have had the chance to battle him again one day. A pipe dream, unfortunately.

“I think it is time we used Head Smash Richard!” called Pierre. The Headbutt Pokémon lowered his head and started kicking back his right foot before charging straight for Raichu.

“Grass Knot!” the Third Seat commanded. Raichu raised his arms and started doing some sort of voodoo hand movements that caused grass to grow between the floor tiles and cracks left from the rest of the battle. Per Raichu’s strange PokéMagic, the grass tied itself together causing the Rampardos to trip and fall flat on his face.

“Do not give up Richard! Attack with Stone Edge!” the assassin commanded. Without even getting up, Richard slammed one of its scrawny arms into the floor causing five large spikes of rock to shoot out of the floor beneath Raichu causing him to squeak in pain while completely encasing him leaving him trapped.

“Rock Smash! Surf!” Raiden commanded in succession. With a powerful punch, Raichu smashed one of the boulders into pebbles thus freeing himself. Next came rumbling as Raichu mentally broke a pipe that ran deep underneath the facility causing water to seep into the room from the floor. The Mouse Pokémon then jumped on the water causing it to rise up like a tidal wave before crashing the deluge onto the dinosaur for massive damage. The water then receded back to whence it came leaving only a few puddles on the floor.

“Well done! Your aplomb is remarkable Mr. Arka.” Pierre complemented sharking his finger at Raiden. “Even in the face of adversity and overwhelming odds you always find away. That is what I like about you Mr. Arka.” He then looked over at his Pokémon who was slowly getting back to his feet even after getting washed away by that torrent. “I complement your stamina as well Richard! Use Rock Slide now!” The dinosaur roared as he dug his foot into the floor and kicked up using the tiles and foundation beneath the floor as ammo.

“Agility and Iron Tail!” commanded the Electric-type Expert. Raichu’s tail sheened with silver as it became hard as metal. Then with lightning like reflexes, he started using his long tail like a whip to bat away the rubble heading his way one piece at a time. Pierre could only laugh at the ludicrous display he was watching. At the very least, the exertion left Raichu looking worn out.

“Let us try this attack again Richard. Head Smash!” called Pierre hoping his Pokémon would not fall on his face again.

“Volt Tackle!” Raiden called in retaliation. Both Pokémon charged at one another, one running like a wild animal, the other zipping like a horizontal lightning bolt.

The two Pokémon struck with a sound that was a mix of a truck crashing into a wall and the clap of thunder. What was most obvious though was which Pokémon had been victorious in that match. Raichu was shorter than the Rampardos and having gotten down on all fours had him at less than knee level with the dinosaur. Even hunched over for its attack, Richard would still tower over the Mouse Pokémon. When the two collided, it was Richard getting a face full of tail while Raichu use the position of its tail to curve up and nail the Headbutt Pokémon in the chest. With a weak growl, Richard fell on its right side while Raichu stood back up ready for more.

“Your Pokémon fight with such tenacity! We are both down to only two Pokémon. Even though your Raichu is so weakened, I feel like this battle could still go either way.” Pierre admitted.

“I feel the same way. I am quite excited to see how our battle ends.” Raiden concurred with a smirk.

“I too am anxious. Best not draw this out with idle chitchat then. You are up Mizore!” called the hitman summoning a Pokémon as white as snow with long flowing arms with three small fingers and a frill on each wrist tipped with a pale blue color, a red sash tied around her waist, horn-like ice crystals on her head, a purple mouth, and pale blue eyes. “Conceal yourself with Hail my dear.” Pierre called. The Froslass raised her arms creating a thick white cloud to form over the battlefield. With the whistle of a wintery wind, the cloud began dropping large chunks of ice with Mizore fading into the scenery like a ghost.

“Fly!” commanded Raiden. Thanks to a certain subordinate of his, the Third Seat was well acquainted with the Snow Cloak-Hail combination. He was hoping that Raichu would be able to spot Mizore from above.

“Ice Shard!” called Pierre quickly. Raichu was struck from directly in front by sharp fragments of ice before he could get airborne. The Mouse Pokémon then used his powerful legs to jump into the air just barely hitting the ceiling which was obscured by the clouds formed directly under it. Being so high up had the disadvantage of getting hit with the hail more frequently, but the advantage was Raichu saw the shadow of his foe beneath him and dive-bombed towards that spot. He realized too late though that it was just that, a shadow, and had to use his tail to stabilize his landing before smashing into the floor.

“I regret to say, that was a miss.” Pierre said apologetically. “This attack will not however. Attack with Blizzard Mizore!” The Snow Land Pokémon could be heard howling before a bitter cold gale pelted Raichu from seemingly every side causing the Electric-type to fall to his knees in exhaustion.

“Rain Dance!” Raiden commanded. He considered Shock Wave as it would automatically hone in on Mizore’s location, but it would still leave Raichu and Electabuzz vulnerable to Blizzard and getting struck by Hail. Raichu forced himself back to his feet and started spinning in circles to boost his static and generate heat. He then lifted both arms shooting a lightning bolt at the ceiling causing the clouds to darken and the balls of ice to begin melting into drops of rain. With her snow storm gone, Mizore became visible once again to Raichu’s left.

“Thunder!” called the Electric-type Expert taking advantage of the sudden opening. The clouds above lit up before sending high voltage lightning crashing down on the Froslass with a thunderous roar.

“If I knew it was going to rain, I would have brought an umbrella.” quipped the assassin holding his hand out as if catching the rain.

“Getting a little wet from rain is better than getting bruised with hail.” retorted Raiden completely seriously.

“Fair enough.” Pierre chuckled. “My apologies, we did agree to cut the chitchat. Mizore! Finish Raichu off with Shadow Ball.” he commanded. The Snow Land Pokémon gathered a sphere of darkness between her palms and launched it at Raichu. The Electric-type took the attack head-on as he was too worn out to dodge.

“Return.” called the Third Seat. This was it then. Only one left. While Pierre seemingly sent out his best from the start, Raiden was the type to use which ever Pokémon suited the situation. Speed. Durability. Stamina. Versatility. Power. It didn’t matter. As it so happened, for this battle that meant saving his strongest for last. “Electabuzz.” he called summoning a tall Pokémon with a long tail and mostly yellow fur covered in black stripes. He had a wide face with two log fangs sticking out from his upper jaw, two antennae, and two tufts of fur on the top of his head.

“Your last Pokémon Mr. Arka. I will truly regret defeating it for it will mean our bout will be over.” lamented the hitman with a saddened look on his face.

“Electabuzz will not be the one to fall.” Raiden promised. “Iron Tail!” The bipedal tiger rushed towards Mizore with his tail shining silver. He spun around whipping her in the face causing her to cry out in pain.

“Use Frost Breath!” the assassin commanded. Mizore opened her mouth and blasted Electabuzz with a stinging cold wind that made him cry out as every hair on his body stood on end.

“Thunder Punch!” the specialist called. The Electric Pokémon pulled back his right arm with crackled with electricity and jabbed Mizore in the face with a strong right hook.

“Bite it with Ice Fang Mizore!” retaliated Pierre quickly. The Froslass chomped Electabuzz’s arm with her frost covered teeth.

“Thunder!” Raiden commanded deciding to take advantage of the rain before it dissipated. Electabuzz raised his left arm with his index finger pointed upwards. With a loud bellow, he summoned down a powerful bolt of lightning that knocked Mizore on her back and out cold.

“So it has finally come down to this then.” Pierre said recalling Mizore and taking out his last Pokéball. “The final match up of our bout. May the best man win.” he said cordially throwing the ball to the floor. Emerging was a long green snake with leaves on its tail and upper trunk. Beneath its neck and around the back of its head were leafy scales that splayed out like a regal collar giving the Pokémon an air of smug self-importance. The Serperior gave a shrill hiss of dominance.

“Electabuzz and Serperior. May the best Pokémon win.” Raiden corrected looking the match up over. Serperior definitely exuded a powerful aura but even with the damage taken from Mizore, Electabuzz was raring to go.

“Yes of course. I beg your pardon.” Pierre admit having not intended any disrespect towards the Pokémon. “Claude! Get ready to attack with Coil!” he called. Claude tightened his body into a spring making striking easier while minimizing his weak spots as well.

“Keep your distance. Psychic!” advised Raiden trying to keep Electabuzz out of the Regal Pokémon’s strike range. Electabuzz pointed both palms at Claude as his eyes took on an electric blue color. The Serperior found himself surrounded by a glow of the same color that began condensing as if squeezing him.

“Fight back with Slam Claude!” commanded Pierre. The serpent lunged at Electabuzz with surprising range and agility and delivered a powerful headbutt to his chest knocking the wind out of him.

“Ice Punch!” countered the Electric-type expert. The Electric Pokémon’s left fist hardened into a ball of ice which he then lobbed at his opponent causing Claude to shriek angrily.

“Counter attack with Leaf Blade!” the hitman called. Claude began slashing and whipping Electabuzz with his sharp tail. Raiden looked to the ceiling noticing the clouds finally dispersing meaning there would be no more precipitation.

“Fire Punch!” he called to keep the pressure on his opponent. Electabuzz ignited his right fist, then punched the Serperior again much to the latter’s continued annoyance.

“Take back your Energy Claude! Use Giga Drain!” Pierre called. The Regal Pokémon opened his mouth and shot three long green tendrils of energy that all wrapped around the bipedal tiger’s neck and began sucking every drop of energy from him he could.

“Karate Chop, then Quick Attack.” Raiden commanded. Electabuzz broke through the tendril with a swift chop before dashing towards Claude and ramming the Serperior with his shoulder.

“Knock Electabuzz away with Dragon Tail!” the assassin called. Claude flogged Electabuzz with enough force to fling him into the nearest wall. The Electric Pokémon grunted on impact and fell to his knees. Electabuzz looked up defiantly at his foe as he slowly rose back to his feet.

“Swift!” called Raiden. Electabuzz clapped his hands together, then opened them to release a dozen stars that would home in on their target no matter how Claude tried to avoid them. All the snake could do was brace himself and begrudgingly let every star explode on his royal body.

“Use Leaf Tornado Claude!” encouraged Pierre. Claude lifted his tail and began spinning it to create a whirlwind of leaves. He then whipped his tail towards Electabuzz sending the spiraling foliage towards his adversary.

“Light Screen!” the Third Seat countered. The Electric Pokémon threw up his arms creating a barrier between him and the incoming attack. The Leaf Tornado smashed into the Light Screen which almost completely negated the attack save for a few leaves that managed to get through and slash Electabuzz. “Charge Beam!” Raiden followed up. Electabuzz cupped his hands and gathered electrical energy between his palms. He then thrust his arms forward launching the current in a concentrated ray towards Claude. The Serperior contorted his body and slithered to the side causing the attack to miss.

“That Light Screen will be quite troublesome until it wears off.” Pierre mused. “Counter it with Seed Bomb Claude and get in close!” he commanded. Claude shot off numerous seed from his mouth that exploded around Electabuzz like grenades forcing him to either try and evade or shield himself with his arms. Using the Seed Bomb as a distraction, Claude slithered closer to attack more actively.

“Low Kick!” called Raiden. Electabuzz jumped from the smoke and slid across the floor with his leg outstretched to kick the serpent at his center of balance, where the raised trunk of his torso met the floor, causing him to buckle over. “Fire Punch!” he continued.

“Aqua Tail!” called the hitman quickly. As Electabuzz swung a fiery fist, Claude retaliated by swinging his tail to block the attack. With water secreting from his appendage, Claude doused the fire making the move just a regular punch while damaging Electabuzz in return. “We have Electabuzz now Claude! Use Leech Seed!” commanded Pierre triumphantly. The leaves on the Serperior’s tail shot off small seeds that rapidly spouted roots on contact with Electabuzz and dug into the bipedal tiger’s skin to drain his strength.

“So that is how the end of this battle will play out.” Raiden said ambivalently.

“So it is. I am sorry things had to turn out this way Mr. Arka.” Pierre admit regretfully.

“Save it. This just means I have to go all out before Electabuzz faints! Thunder Wave!” commanded the Third Seat passionately. In all honesty, it was a good move. Raiden would have probably done something similar in that position. Electabuzz tensed up as he shot off numerous bursts of electricity to paralyze Claude. The Regal Pokémon gave Raiden and Electabuzz a dirty look as he found himself unable to freely move. He only took solace in the fact that he was still draining his foe’s energy.

“I am glad there are no hard feelings Mr. Arka.” thanked the hitman. “Alright Claude, recover more health with another Giga Drain!” The Serperior tried to shoot more energy tendrils but found himself unable to open his mouth much to his irritation.

“Ice Punch!” Raiden called. The Electric Pokémon threw his ice covered fist at Claude landing a powerful strike to the serpent’s torso. “Again!” he persisted. Until the Serperior could fight back, it was better to pummel him.

“Muster all of your strength into this move Claude! Leaf Storm!” commanded Pierre. Claude first smacked Electabuzz away with his tail, then continued to swish his tail back and forth sending an endless barrage of leaves at Electabuzz. Try as he might, Electabuzz just couldn’t fight his way through the attack. When the onslaught finally ended, Claude lowered his head while panting heavily. He had used up a lot of energy using such a powerful attack. Electabuzz reached his arm out trying desperately to push himself off the ground but it was all in vain. Leech Seed had sapped all the strength he had left. The Electric Pokémon gave Raiden an apologetic gaze before closing his eyes.

So that was it. That was the battle. In the end it was Raiden who lost. Raiden wordlessly returned Electabuzz and put the Pokéball on his belt with the rest of his fainted Pokémon. It had been a very long time since he had fought someone on his level. It felt like it was even longer since he actually lost a battle against such a formidable opponent. Still, it was a good battle. He had no regrets. Raiden pulled back his hood showing his face to Pierre and held out his arms in concession. Pierre was an assassin after all and the terms of battle were to the death. Raiden wouldn’t cower, beg, or try to run. He lost fair and square and would face his death with dignity and honor.

“So that is what you look like. I am glad I got to see your face Mr. Arka.” Pierre said returning Claude as well. Raiden lowered his arms slightly in confusion.

“This should be the part where you kill me right?” he asked. The assassin only chuckled in response.

“Mr. Arka, I told you before, ‘A man has the right to fight for his life.’ The Pokémon match was merely sport. Just a fun game to loosen us up and get the blood flowing. Get that polearm of yours out. You and I will settle this like men.” he said getting out his own Item Ball in his left hand. With the press of a button the ball opened, materializing a fancy rapier with a long slender blade, a brown leather handle, and a gold hand and knuckle guard. “En garde!” he said pointing the blade at Raiden from his left hand with his right arm behind his back.

“I accept your challenge.” Raiden agreed with a smirk. He took out Raikou’s Item Ball and summoned his spear. Without an Electric-type left he couldn’t charge his weapon but that was fine. It would make the fight more even at any rate. His philosophy had always been that a Pokémon is only as strong as its Trainer. He hoped Pierre fought as well as his Pokémon did!

Both men stood poised and ready to attack or defend on a moment’s noticed. They eyed each other carefully looking for any possible openings in the other’s defense that could be exploited. Time around them slowed to a crawl as adrenaline and anticipation caused their perceptions to speed up.

Believing he saw an opening, Pierre dashed forward stabbing his rapier at Raiden. The Third Seat held Raikou horizontally and parried the strike upwards leaving Pierre wide open. He spun his spear hoping to slash open the assassin’s belly only for the latter to jump back just out of range. Raiden, unwilling to give up that easily, thrust Raikou forward to impale Pierre. In his defense, the hitman struck at the pole parrying it to his left. Taking his opportunity, Pierre lunged at Raiden ready to strike his face. Raiden blocked the strike with the butt of his spear. Both combatants pushed off of each other to get their distance.

“Good form!” Pierre praised taking his stance again.

“You are fast. Excellent!” complemented Raiden leveling his spear again.

This time it was Raiden who made the first move. He planted his feet to stay in place while thrusting Raikou forward as far as he could. Predictably, Pierre sidestepped the blow to his right which was what Raiden had hoped for. The Third Seat then swung his spear hitting Pierre in the ribs with the pole. The hitman however, rolled with the hit to reduce the damage to his body. He allowed himself to fall and used the opportunity to roll closer to Raiden. Now in front of the Third Seat, Pierre stabbed his rapier at Raiden’s legs to cripple him. Raiden stepped back while thrusting the butt of his spear forward to also force Pierre to lean back lest he get smacked with the spiked ball at the base. Pierre jumped back to his feet as both men repositioned themselves for the next round.

No words were exchanged this time as Raiden immediately went on the offensive again. He thrust his spear five times, aiming for a different part of Pierre’s body each time. Fist the chest, then the face, next the legs, chest again, then finally stomach. With each strike, Pierre either had to block or dodge. The first he simply parried, the second forced him to make use of his hand guard, the leg attacks had him step back making the attack to his chest harder to block with the blade of his rapier. The stomach strike made the assassin lean forward and suck in his gut. Raiden used that opening to slash upwards leaving Pierre no choice but to quickly lean back. The blade of the spear passed just centimeters from his face but did succeed in clipping his bangs. With his balance compromised, Pierre fell backwards on the floor. The Third Seat spun Raikou over his head, then thrust the blade to the floor. The hitman quickly rolled to the side narrowly avoiding the attack.

“I was not expecting you to be this aggressive in mortal combat Mr. Arka.” he said while panting.

“It is because this is mortal combat that I am using every opportunity I get. One wrong move on my part could leave me dead.” Raiden acknowledged while also panting.

“Quite right.” Pierre agreed. He took a deep breath to ready himself.

Pierre was not keen on being on the defensive this time so he wasted no time in going after Raiden. He used the Third Seat’s own attack against him, making several jabs with his rapier to different areas of his body. He not only did height, but lateral as well. The hitman went for the right shoulder, the face, the left calf, and the heart. Raiden skillfully parried each blow with which ever part of Raikou was closer that that part of the body. For the shoulder, he blocked with the upper shaft, he caught the rapier in the ‘x’ shaped cross guard when it went for his face, the center of the shaft protected his upper legs, and when the blow went for his heart, he let the rapier blade pierce the long purple ribbon. Raiden jerked Raikou to the side to pull Pierre’s weapon away with it, then angled the spear to stab the hitman. With no options left, Pierre sidestepped and grabbed Raikou by the shaft. He then released his hold on his rapier and lobbed a punch to Raiden’s jaw with his left fist causing the Third Seat staggered back from the surprise attack.

“So that is how it is.” Raiden said rubbing his jaw.

“That is how it is.” Pierre affirmed while untangling his rapier from the ribbon. Once his weapon was secure, he released his grip on Raikou so the two could continue to fight evenly.

Both men went back to eying each other warily. Raiden was now aware that Pierre was willing to grab his weapon to secure an opening and Pierre now understood that the ribbon was not merely for decoration but served a purpose. They were also aware of one other fact. The warm up had ended. This last clash would be for keeps.

Pierre once again made the first move by dashing towards Raiden, but instead of stabbing he attacked with a horizontal slash. Raiden caught the attack with his spear and used the long shaft to deflect it away leaving the hitman open. He thrust the butt of Raikou at Pierre only for the assassin to leap backwards out of range. That didn’t stop Raiden though. He reangled his attack so that the base of the spear was planted firmly in the floor, then used the weapon as a pole-vault to deliver a swift spin kick that knocked Pierre to the floor. As soon as the Third Seat landed back on his feet, he ran for his opponent to deliver the decisive blow.

Pierre was impressed by Raiden’s improvised surprise attack but wasn’t going down that easily. He held his rapier horizontally over his head and put his right hand behind the blade for better support to block the Third Seat’s vertical slash. The two struggled against each other, both trying to overpower the other. In the end, Pierre managed to push Raikou away leaving Raiden open. As he was still on his knees, he thrust upwards to pierce Raiden’s torso. The latter twisted his torso away and spun his spear letting the rapier tear through the ribbon again then quickly twisted the shaft several times to pull the weapon from its owner.

Before Raiden could realign Raikou to strike Pierre down, the assassin defended himself with a sweeping kick to the Third Seat’s ankles knocking him on his back. Pierre quickly got up and ran for his rapier, even doing a dodge roll so that he could get to it and pick it up quicker. Raiden also jumped back to his feet and ran towards his opponent to continue their duel. Pierre turned to meet his adversary as both struck at each other at the same time causing the sound of clashing metal to ring throughout the room. As the two struggled against one another, they stared into the other’s eyes wordlessly exchanging the same thoughts. This was fun! They were enjoying the challenge. They wished they could go on like this longer! But they were tired. This clash had worn them both out. Soon a victor would be decided.

Raiden and Pierre pushed off of each other to get distance. The Third Seat stabbed Raikou forward only for Pierre to sidestep and grab the shaft. The hitman then used the momentum to spin around behind Raiden into his blind spot. Raiden quickly turned his head to see Pierre jabbing the tip of the rapier into his back towards his heart. His mind raced faster than his body could react. He couldn’t block. He couldn’t dodge. Pierre’s face was one of triumph at having clenched victory in such a close battle. But all was not as it seemed. The tip of the rapier pierced the Third Seat’s clothes but the blade buckled and bent as it hit something it could not penetrate. Now! This was Raiden’s only chance! Pierre was not only open, but he had been caught off guard! Raiden pushed Raikou backwards as fast and as hard as he could, slamming the spiked base into the hitman’s abdomen before he could even register his own attack failed.

Pierre grunted as he staggered back, instinctively placing his right hand over the wound. Raiden turned around to face Pierre. He kept his guard up watching the assassin carefully. Pierre also kept his eyes trained on Raiden as he slowly removed his hand to inspect the damage. The fact that his palm was painted red and he was suddenly feeling weaker was all the information he needed. He took a deep sigh.

“I yield.” he conceded as he dropped his rapier to the floor and raised his hand in surrender. Raiden in turn relaxed his guard and lowered Raikou in acceptance. Pierre put his right hand back on his wound while recalling his rapier to its Item Ball with his left. He returned the ball to his pocket and took out a cigarette carton and lighter.

“Want one?” he offered holding it out.

“I do not smoke.” Raiden refused politely.

“Good for you Mr. Arka.” Pierre praised before lighting one up. “I only smoke after a job but today it seems like I will be clocking out early.” he said as he staggered to the nearest wall. He leaned back on it and winced as he slid to the floor.

“You are one of the most powerful Trainers I have ever battled. You are also a formidable warrior in your own right. I am truly sorry things had to end this way.” said Raiden regretfully. He was at least grateful he got the experience to face such a worthy opponent.

“No need for remorse Mr. Arka. I accused you of being a betting man before, but I am also a high roller. I went all in and I lost it all. I have no regrets.” he said proudly. He took a drag of his cigarette and blew out the smoke. “Will you be so kind as to grant a dying man a final request Mr. Arka? That last move. I had you dead-to-rights, but my rapier did not pierce your flesh. Why was that?”

“As you saw during our Pokémon battle, I do not own any Flying-type Pokémon. I have a metal plate built into the back of my uniform for my Magnezone to latch on to when I need to travel by air.” Raiden informed. Pierre could only chuckle weakly at the revelation.

“Life is full of surprises. Battle too. It is never over until it is over. The moment you believe you have something in the bag, an unexpected or previously unknown factor can throw off the whole thing.” he said sagely before taking another puff.

“Pierre Duvall. You have done your best to remember those you have killed. I will do the same and remember you. I will also see to it that you get a proper burial.” promised the Third Seat. “Is there anyone you would like me to take your Pokémon to?” Pierre put out his cigarette on the floor next to him and waved Raiden over. Raiden crouched next to him and let the hitman whisper the details in his ear.

“I will do that for you then.” Raiden agreed.

“I would appreciate it Mr. Arka.” Pierre thanked gratefully.

Third Seat Raiden Arka remained in that room out of respect until the hitman Pierre Duval took his final breath.
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