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At the Pokemon League Tournament, the 8 finalists who have managed to beat their opponents so far gather and stand next to each other on stage: Black; Iris; Cheren; a PokeManiac; a blue-haired tanned guy who apparently exceeds in swimming; a suited man in a long trench coat who wears a fake nose and moustache with glasses; an older man who is dressed in thick purple robe with a hat and eye-shields; and a trainer whose eyes are the only facial features seen from a mask, wearing a hooded long cape.

At the gates, a large display screen continues to broadcast the event live, which causes many pedestrians to stop and watch. Among them, the Icirrus Gymleader, Brycen, sees that Black has managed to enter the top 8 after all. He initially thought that the boy would be too devastated to go on after the recent hardship he went through, but it seems that he has regained his motivation again after the encouragement from the Gymleaders. The unfortunate thing is, although they have managed to get in touch and communicate with his kidnapped companions, they have failed to learn of their exact whereabouts. However, they do have some hints to work on, and he recalls what the others said being in a dark and quiet place, which indicates they are currently in a location where there is no light or sound. Moreover, they mentioned about not being able to recall how they were brought there, which makes him wonder if it means they fail to recall it, or they have forgotten about it. With a thought in mind, Brycen gestures to Cryogonal, and starts heading off.

Back on the Tournament's stage, Black stands next to Iris, and voices out his astonishment that she is also a participant. Iris giggles and sticks out her tongue in embarrassment, and reveals that she has actually obtained all 8 Badges already when she met Black on the Tubeline Bridge. Black gasps in bewilderment upon hearing her words, and realizes that the girl is much stronger than he thought. However, what shocked him more is the presence of Cheren, who is standing on the far end of the line. Iris is surprised that they know each other, and Black explains that they are childhood companions. He states that he had no idea that Cheren continued to collect Gym Badges after the Striaton Gym, and wished that he had not been so secretive and told him about it.

Black attempts to walk over to greet Cheren, but the Announcer ushers him back, and says it is time for the finalists to get into their respective capsules. Behind each participant, a Pokeball-shaped capsule is lowered, and opens up to let to trainers take seat inside. For the sake of fairness, all the participants must remain within their capsule when it is not their turn to battle, and each capsule is equipped with an HP restoration machine for their Pokemon.

As the eight finalists all get into their capsules, the Announcer declares that the semi-semi-finals of the Tournament is about to begin, and randomizes the match ups. Soon, the overhead screen displays the results by showing the VS cards of each trainer, and Iris is set to be up against the purple-robed guy named Gray; Cheren shall face the PokeManiac named Petash; the tanned swimmer guy fights the Hood Man; and Black will be battling the suited man in a long trench coat who goes by the name Luke Kermit.

The Announcer then welcomes the Elite Four into the arena, and the crowd cheers as Grimsley, Shauntal, Caitlin and Marshal appear on a balcony above the audience stand, After greeting the crowd, the four take their seats, and the crowd notices that the central chair is empty, which is meant for the Champion. They start gossiping about how the Champion is absent, and recall the rumor that he has been defeating by the King of Team Plasma. Drayden, the Opelucid Gymleader, speaks through the microphone to quiet down the audience, and explains that whoever emerges victorious in this Tournament will gain the right to challenge the Elite 4. If this person manages to beat the Elite 4 successively, he or she will be at the summit of the Pokemon League. He acknowledges the fact that challengers were previously required to beat not only the Elite 4 but also the Champion, Alder, but due to special circumstances this time around, Alder is absent, and the person who conquers the Elite 4 will be crowned the new Champion.

Drayden's announcement causes the crowd to roar with excitement, and Black feels himself overwhelmed by the thought as he listens in his capsule. Marshal asks Caitlin how things are going for the kidnapped Gymleaders, and Caitlin replies with an emotionless tone that the Icirrus Gymleader Brycen seems to have figured out something and is currently investigating. Marshal is glad to hear that, and sincerely hopes that they could rescue the Gymleaders before Team Plasma attacks the venue.

The Announcer commences the semi-semi-finals, and states that the computer will now randomly generate the sequence of the matched battles. A rumbling is heard in the 8 capsules, and soon, those of Black and Luke Kermit open up, allowing the two trainers to take the stage and prepare to face off each other. The Announcer states that it will be a 3vs3 switch-in battle, but the winner will be decided as soon as any Pokemon is knocked out, which means if any trainer has one Pokemon down, the other shall emerge victorious.

With that, Black sends out his Galvantula, Tula, while Luke Kermit sends out a deep blue toad-like Pokemon with orange tips at its fingers. The room immediately stirs as the audience is astonished by the appearance of this Pokemon which they have never seen before, and Black gasps in bewilderment that not even the Pokedex could recognize it. The Announcer acknowledges the excitement caused by this Pokemon which is non-native to Unova, and reveals that Luke Kermit is actually a mysterious trainer whose details are mostly unknown, except for the fact that he hails from a distant region. He is certain that other finalists will keep their eyes on this battle as well, and indeed, the 6 other participants watch intently at what is going to unfold on stage.

Without warning, the toad-like Pokemon, which is a Croagunk, delivers a smack on Tula's face, and knocks it backwards. Black sees that the move seems to be of fighting type, and feels slightly troubled because he has always researched adequately before taking on his opponents before, yet in this League Tournament, he will be facing trainers whose nature and party he will have no idea about. What makes things worse in this battle is that he doesn't even know what his opponent's type is. Left with little choice, he believes that he has to try figure it out gradually as he fights.

Black orders an Electroweb from Tula, and the electric spider immediately creates an electricity-charged net to shield itself. From Croagunk's foot work and the attack it just used, Black postulates it to be a Pokemon who specializes in close-up combats, and thinks that by setting up an Electroweb, Tula could at least ward it off and prevent it from getting close. He then gets Tula to fire off a Signal Beam, but although the attack land square-chest on Croagunk, it is barely fazed by it, and Black rationalizes that bug type moves are not very effective against it.

Inside her capsule, Iris can see that Black is trying to dig out information about his opponent by battling, and believes that he will find out the way to defeat the Pokemon soon. However, on a deeper thought, she realizes that there is a chance that Black will be defeated before he manages to do so, and since the battle is over as soon as one Pokemon is down, she really hopes that Black could be smart and make it through.

Croagunk leaps up with its arms raised, and suddenly fires off a barrage of poisonous barbs to pin Tula's legs against the floor. Iris gasps that the toad-like Pokemon's attacks are not limited to close-up types, and sees that Black's Galvantula has been immobilized on the field now. Black is astonished to see that Tula is also getting poisoned from the barbs, and in the next instant, Luke Kermit orders a Vacuum Wave from Croagunk, which blows the Electroweb off and sends it flying in midair.

Tula widens its eyes in horror, and Iris exclaims that it has lost its barrier-like net for protection. With it pinned onto the ground, it is basically in a vulnerable no-guard state. Indeed, Croagunk makes use of the chance to deliver a series of blows to Tula, and the electric spider is soon cringing in pain, since Croagunk's every attack inflicts poison onto its body. Black feels frustrated that Tula is getting poisoned while not being able to move, and is quite confident now that his never-seen-before opponent is of the poison and fighting dual type. He thinks it would have been great if his psychic type, Musha, is still around, but as the little Munna's image appears in his mind, he grits his teeth in anger and wills himself to forget the thought by hitting himself on the head.

Black states that he has come so far to be one of the 8 finalists, and is only one step away from his goal. He knows that he must find a solution to turn the situation around quickly, since Tula's present condition probably allows it to unleash no more than one attack. As he wonders about what he should do, he spots the Electroweb floating in midair which was blown off by Croagunk earlier. He suddenly sees that it is what he needs, and orders Tula to fire off a String Shot. Tula spits out a sticky thread of silk from its mouth to catch the floating net, and pulls it down onto Croagunk, who is right beneath it. Both Iris and Luke Kermit bolt in surprise, and Tula proceeds to send a bolt of electricity through its String Shot towards the web, which immediately overflows it with a high-voltage current to zap at Croagunk. The toad-like Pokemon tumbles backwards towards Luke Kermit, and as it collapses into the man, zaps him with electricity as well.

As Croagunk lays unconscious on the ground, the Announcer declares Black the winner, and comments that his Galvantula has managed to turn the table around and defeat its powerful foe in the very last minute, just as it is about to faint itself. Black lets out a sigh of relief of his plops onto the ground, and holds up Tula's foreleg with a victorious grin.

The Announcer turns to Luke Kermit, but is astonished that the man has vanished into thin air without warning. High up in the audience stand, Luke Kermit reveals himself to be the international police officer, Looker, and takes off his fake-nose-and-moustache disguise, which he calls the Unbelievable Metamorphosis Set, gadget 13 of the International Police Arms. Having come all the way from Sinnoh, he feels grateful that he can stop faking an identity at the Tournament now, and genuinely infiltrate the Pokemon League as a real officer.

At that moment, he gets a ring on his Poketch, and answers to find the International Police Headquarters calling. He reports that he has successfully gotten into the League, and is astonished when his superiors tell him that his disguise was easily recognizable on television. Looker apologizes and promises to be more cautious next time, and reveals that there are indeed several other people who are hiding their true identity like he was. He believes that it would not cause too much trouble to his work in finding their target, since he is an international police officer after all, and promises to continue his search with his best efforts.

Looker then hangs up the call, and takes out his modified gadget 1 of the International Police Arms, the Excellent Scope. He moves his gaze between the other finalists on stage, especially the purple-robed man Grey, the PokeManiac, and the Hood Man. However, he believes that Grey is the most suspicious out of them all, as his senses as a criminal officer tell him that he is one of the Seven Sages whom he is seeking…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

513: VS Croagunk

Volume 50