Bet On It
“I’d like a hundred even on Cobaltitan to Place.” The tall man in the large mahogany overcoat set a large wad of green paper bills in front of the woman standing behind the counter.
“The foreigner?” she asked, mildly surprised.
“That would be the one,” he said with a smirk, which was barely visible behind his thick, black mustache.
The stout woman arched her eyebrow as she penciled the man’s bet into her chart. Her chubby fingers seemed to suffocate the writing utensil in her hand, though with a few quick movements, she was finished and nodded at the man as she handed him a tiny slip of paper.
“Next,” she called, stretching her neck as far as possible in an attempt to see over the man’s shoulder.
He placed the receipt inside of his coat pocket as he turned away. A few shallow grunts escaped his mouth as he bumped into a few people in the crowd clamoring in to place their own bets, but he didn’t seem to mind that much as his height alone did more damage to them for running into him.
As soon as he emerged from the area, the sense in the atmosphere changed entirely. Instead of impatient gamblers, there were anxious spectators, all waiting excitedly in the stands for the race to begin. As most things, each area was separated by class. The higher levels of seating were significantly more expensive than the lower ones, thus causing only the wealthy to reside there. Brightly flowered sunhats or suit jackets could be seen scattered amidst the crowd, all dressed for the occasion.
The lower levels differed significantly. The sections below first class were mostly occupied by families with children, or those who simply enjoyed watching the spectacle. It was interesting to see such a wide variety of people all joined similar together, as each enjoyed the same sport.
The man didn’t exactly pay attention to this, however. He had been in this situation many times before, and this time would be no different. Slowly, the man made his way up the stair case, occasionally giving a polite nod to different men as they passed by, or tipping his top hat if it were a lady. He almost reached the upper class levels when a familiar voice called out his name.
“Rafe! Fancy seeing you here, it’s been ages!” the voice echoed across the stands directly left of the man.
He turned his head with a jerk to locate its speaker, who was revealed quickly as his eyes fell upon another man, though much shorter this one, similar in age and waving his arms frantically in the air. Pleasantly surprised with the new focus of his attention, Rafe turned on his heel and approached the man who had spoken with a smile.
“Ah, Brim, how long has it been?” Rafe’s charming deep voice asked excitedly as he grasped his friend’s hand in a firm shake.
“Must be, what? Five years?” came Brim’s reply, his grin broad enough to show off a nice set of dazzling white teeth, which seemed almost too close to perfection to be real. “Not since you left for east Shinnoh. And still enjoying the races I see.” Brim nodded his head briskly towards the track with a chuckle.
“Well, apparently so,” he gave a grin to match his comrade’s. “Some things never change.”
“True enough.” Brim’s graying hair ruffled slightly as a breeze picked up. “Say, why don’t you join me? I’m interested to hear about what you have been doing since we last spoke.”
“Certainly, my pleasure.”
It was fortunate that the pair moved location when they did, as Rafe’s towering presence blocked the view completely from those seated behind them. In this case, a snobby old woman gripping her cane as though she was preparing to stick it somewhere inappropriate.
Brim led the way further down the row. Several “Excuse me” and “Pardon me” comments later, they seated themselves roughly in the center of the stands; an ideal position as both the start and finish line were in clear view.
It was somewhat chillier than it should have been, with the breezes drafting in every so often to accompany a partly cloudy sky. However, this was formidable weather as it allowed the fans to admire the scene without having to shield their eyes from the sun. The track was a one-shot, a straight line of approximately one hundred yards. It was maintained to the extent where the dirt was packed so tightly together, one would have to scratch it with the sharp end of a nail before it would loosen.
The stands themselves held a maximum capacity of about eight hundred people, and today was a full house. This particular race had been anticipated for months, broadcasted through newspapers and television, and in effect drew one of the largest crowd gatherings the sport could hope for. The winner of this precise race would make history.
“I was told your new runner came first by a full length in the semi finals,” Brim spoke after a few awkward moments of silence. He lifted a hand to his prickly, unshaven chin in effort to scratch something that wasn’t there.
“That he did,” Rafe commented, as though the feat wasn’t the least bit interesting. “He’s got potential, this one; but much to learn. I had hoped leaving him with Freefurrow would help his stance, but he’s as stubborn as the day I met him.”
“Freefurrow!” bursted Brim. “Gosh I miss the old boat; a shame he had to retire, it was always a thrill to watch him race. Three time national champion and going for four…”
“Yes, he had a good go, but it was his time. There may not be another like him, but I have faith that Cobaltitan will put up just as much of a show.”
“Well, let’s hope you are right.” And with that, a hidden speaker beeped a familiar warning that the race was about to begin.
The crowd turned their attention to the line of crates placed at the left end of the track. Each stood about knee-high to a human, completely encased in silver wire. The tiny figures inside of each crate seemed motionless, though the distance could easily mask any movement. There was another light beep from the speaker, a whistling sound and a snap, and the doors to the metal crates shot open to reveal what resided inside.
Eight tiny, slug-like Pokémon emerged, rather quickly in comparison to their design, from their enclosures. The creatures stood about a solid foot tall. They were mostly pink, as the coloring resembled a cape that covered their entire head and fell to their back and sides of their bodies; leaving what remained of their stomach white. The rounded surface of their back was obstructed by several tiny spikes, with similar looking lobe-like structures protruding from their head. However, there was one in particular that differed from the rest. While its seven opponents were a blushing pink, one of the Shellos was a turquoise blue. Its overall structure was extremely similar, but in contrary to the spiked back, the blue slug possessed two fin-like flaps on its back, along with two floppy ‘ears’ as opposed to the lobed gatherings on the rest of the Shellos.
“Ah,” Brim noticed the unusual competitor. “So the foreign is yours, yes?”
“That would be him,” Rafe replied obliviously.
The eight rivals charged forward, and kept consistent pace. Though the slugs weren’t moving fast enough to require a second glance, they still gained enough speed to create an amusing race of sorts. Sliding on flaps of skin that served as feet, each of the contestants glided along the race track at speeds reaching up to five miles per hour.
In the distance, the announcer could just be made out above the clamor and cheers of the crowd, “AND in lane one, we have Lady Jade followed tight by June Jyro. OH! Merchanty just hit the guard rail; he’s hit the guard rail and falling behind. Coming up in third is Rose Migary, she’s neck and neck with Greaterail and tightly followed by Nightenroe, AND bringing up the rear Rod Ruben and the foreigner, Cobaltitan. The two don’t seem to be making much progress; they’re building a gap between the rest of the pack. BREAK! Merchanty recovered and his making his way back to the lead, June Jyro’s losing momentum and falling back, Greaterail puts a length between himself and Nightenroe. AH! Rose Migary has fallen over! Rose Migary is out! SHE’S OUT OF THIS ONE, FOLKS!”
Excitement erupted in the stands as the race took place. There were cheers and boos as the leader changed several times through the duration of the race. Brim was getting anxious and biting his nails, hoping his companion’s racer would speed his pace. Rafe, on the other hand, seemed unconcerned. He just stared out onto the track; waiting for the opening he knew would eventually come.
“Lady Jade has regained first position. Merchanty won’t let her have it. Still bringing up the rear is Rod Ruben and Coba- COBALTITAN! Cobaltitan is making a move! He’s bursting through the pack with blazing speed! Why… that must be at least eight miles an hour! I’ve never seen this happen before! Cobaltitan is rocketing to position! In the seventy he is placed fourth, swiftly moving to third, and to second! He’s passed Merchanty and gaining speed with fifteen yards to go!” The sounds of the announcer faded as onlooker s began loudening and standing to get a better view of the situation.
“My! Where did you find such a competitor, Rafe?!” Brim was in awe. His mouth hung open to resemble a wide-eyed goldfish.
Rafe smirked to himself, turning dreamy-eyed in the memory of their first meeting…
He had been searching weeks to no avail. All of the potential prospects just couldn’t measure up to Freefurrow, and he feared that he had set his standard too high. Had he followed a false rumor to the east coast? Tired and frustrated, Rafe found himself a rock along the beach that was large enough for him to sit on. He sighed heavily and rested his chin between his fists. The sun was setting; yet another day with the same outcome as the last. He peered out into the ocean and squinted slightly as the glare from the sun reflected brightly off the surface of the water.
In the few moments he spent recapping on his pointless journey, he suddenly felt a sensation on his right leg; as though someone wet a sponge in syrup and was rubbing it up his skin. He looked down in response and noticed a large blue slug squirming up his calf.
“Ugh!” He shouted, disgusted, and flinging his leg about in hopes of shaking the creature off. One final twitch of his leg and the sea slug toppled into the sand.
The Shellos grunted slightly, and approached Rafe’s leg again once he pushed himself right-side-up again.
“What is it?” Rafe asked the Pokémon impatiently, not expecting it to answer. “I don’t have anythi-” But reaching into his pocket, he discovered what the slug had approached him for. “Ah,” he spoke more to himself, holding the few bits of Pokémon food he had left over after feeding his own party. “Well, here.” And he threw the particles into the air and watched as the blue Shellos chased after them.
Rafe paused. He shockingly stared at the creature as it traveled down the beach. While any normal slug would have taken several minutes to reach the place where the pellets had fallen, this one in particular seemed to reach them in a matter of seconds. It was as if he was gliding through the sand.
This was he had been searching for. Excitement overcame him and he thrust his hand into his pants’ pocket and retrieved a single glossy sphere. Tossing it into the air he said, “This is it.”
A sound similar to the opening of a can of soda erupted from the orb as it snapped open, allowing a jagged beam of red translucent light to venture to the sanded area before him. A lovely blue creature materialized in front of him, though, if you hadn’t known it was a Pokémon, it could easily have been mistaken for falling of a tree.
The somewhat circular shaped being had large square protrusions completely covering it and sticking in two different directions. One row, the highest, angle upwards, while the other rows faced down. The top of its head, which is pretty much all there was, came to a point as well as the bottom, so the Pineco balanced on what could easily be the rough size of the tip of a pencil. The only living characteristic about the creature was the kind pair of ruby red eyes placed between the first and second rows of square extensions.
“Alright then,” Rafe spoke once his companion completely appeared. “Use Pin Missle.”
The indigo pine cone immediately turned white as several needle shaped beams of light shot from it. The little Shellos was just finishing up the last bits of thrown Pokémon food, and hadn’t realized anything unusual had happened, until he was struck with the painful Bug attack.
The slug let out a screech and spit out the food he was chewing on in effect. Angered, he lowered his head and an enormous ring of water burst from his mouth. The humming liquid struck Pineco, who was too slow to dodge, and sent him toppling over through the sand.
“Use Payback,” Rafe ordered. The Pineco didn’t seem to realize what had been said, and he went cross-eyed for a few moments before glowing red. Water Pulse had confused him, and he was preparing for a Bide attack instead.
The Shellos was offended for being disturbed of his meal and charged through the sand towards the dimwitted pine cone. With the confused Pokémon having no time to launch another attack, the sea slug somehow managed to launch itself into the air and come crashing down directly onto the blue cone. Pineco grunted in pain from the Body Slam, and the attack seemed to snap him out of confusion as his eyes turned normal.
“Get rid of that Bide, Pineco!”
The Pokémon obeyed this time, sending a powerful wave of red energy towards the infuriated slug. With a punching sound, Shellos was hit directly in the face and thrown back several feet from the built up Bide attack.
“Go with Sunny Day,” Rafe gave his next command, admiring his clever strategy.
In response his Pokémon changed color once again, but to gold this time. Simultaneously, the clouds parted and the sun seemed to grow larger and brighter in the clear sky. The new rays of light obstructed the trainer’s vision and he couldn’t see the Shellos preparing its next attack.
He heard it first; a sound of burning flames crackling in the distance. In moments, Rafe could see several hot orange orbs flying towards his Pineco. Each of them hit their mark, and Rafe groaned at his misfortune. The Shellos knew the Fire form of Hidden Power, which was boosted by his Sunny Day, and the super effective attack on his Bug type pine cone nearly knocked it out.
“Quickly, use Solar Beam on it!” the desperate order came.
The cone began glowing for one last time, a yellowish green shade, as several tiny white balls of energy appeared from the sky and were absorbed into it. The preparation took a mere few seconds thanks to the previous Sunny Day, and the Pineco swiftly shot an enormous beam of powerful white light at his opponent. He was lucky the slug was unprepared for the change in status, as the attack hit it with full force.
Shellos screamed in agony as the beam faded and the four times weakness came into effect. The sea slug collapsed, his gooey flaps of skin melting over him as his head sank to the ground. The odd creature resembled a beached jellyfish at that moment, and Rafe triumphantly tossed an empty Poké Ball in its direction.
Rafe watched as the blue racer sped past the last pink opponent. Still calm and rational as if the change in leaders was the most obvious thing that could happen. Brim raised a hand to his shocked face, and the crowd cheered at the blue streak sliding across the finish line…
- Well, I went about the capture a bit differently with this. Though technically, I still never actually said that I caught it. :P
- Anyways, character count is a bit over 15k and I'm going for a Shellos.