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Machine, along with the other heroes, stood outside of the Viridian City Pokemon Center, smiling at one another a day after they had won their Eighth Badge. Machine stood in the middle of all the heroes as he closed his eyes. The tension in the air immediately ascended as Machine began to speak.


"This is it, everybody..." Machine said, opening his eyes as everything except the wind averted their eyes onto him. "As of this moment, we're all enemies on the same beaten path. At the end of our path is the right to claim the Indigo League Conference trophy. No matter what happens afterward, just remember: we all have a grudge against Team Rocket. If Team Rocket strikes us while we're in the competition, we beat them down with twice the force. Don't let them get to you, we can do this.


"And so... as we depart for about four weeks, focus on beating everyone and everything in your path. However, you will not be alone... One other person will be training with you for these four weeks as Hakel has not doubt told you. The only person training by himself will be Blue considering he has asked us beforehand." Machine ended his explanation as they all nodded at him.


"What are the teams again?" Artie asked, as Rich sighed at him. "What's with the sigh, Rich? I just forgot, that's all!"


"That's alright, Artie." Machine laughed happily. "Someone else might need a fresher on the teams once again so it's good that you brought some shit like that up."


"See, Rich?" Artie asked, sticking his tongue out at his friend. Rich shrugged and sighed again.


"Team One; will be made up of myself and Red. We will be training on the Seafoam Islands. Team Two; will be Hakel and Yellow. You two will be training in Lavender Town in the Pokemon Tower. Team Three; Artie and Green. You two will be training in Cerulean Cave. Team Three; Rich and Kusa. You two will be training in the Rock Tunnel. Team Four; will simply just be Blue by himself as I've said before and he will be training at the Power Plant where Yellow's Zapdos used to live." Machine explained as they all nodded to another. "Has everyone got the deal?" Machine called out his Charizard and hopped on its back, looking back to see everyone else had already been calling out their flying Pokemon.


Yellow walked over to Machine and kissed him passionately for a few seconds, leaving her kiss with him for the next four weeks. "Good luck, Crimson." She said, resting her forehead against hers.


"You as well, Yellow." Machine said, as everyone else who needed to say their goodbye's for the time being said theirs as well.


"Green, look..." Red said to her as she put her arms around him, lovingly.


"Red, come prepared..." Green said, as Red smiled, hugging her back.


"Who do you think I am, Green?" Red asked making her giggle. "I'm Red, and there's no way I'll lose to Blue or the others."


Hakel and Kusa gave each other a hug, not needing to say anything to each other. If they did, they knew it would have been bittersweet and they didn't want that awkward conversation to happen. Artie and Rich wished each other good luck as did Red and Blue. None of them liked to admit it but no matter what happened, they weren't enemies at all as Machine had said. They were friends and they believed it would be to the bitter end. Some had formed more than that but between them all, respectively, they had become friends and reliable ones at that.


After their goodbye's were said, they all headed off to their respective training spots to train for the next four weeks. Their training was extremely rough, even on the first day. They pushed their bodies and Pokemon to their utter limits, forcing them to unlock abilities they didn't even know they had. Evolution and growing in strength was also key in many of their strategies. Evolution was extremely important because to become stronger, they needed to grow in intelligence, skill, and many other attributes.


By the end of the second week, all Pokemon who hadn't evolved, with a few exceptions, had evolved into their final stages. From that point on, the training seemed to get much tougher, as if that could possibly happen. They made up new and exotic ways to control their Pokemon and help them grow to predict and see past all delusions that the enemy would put up. By the end of the third week and fourth week, they could barely move their bodies.


Machine and Red crashed on the ground, along with their sixth Pokemon, who had fallen unconscious just from the mere heat created inside the cave they were training in. Although extremely tired, headache's roaring through their brains, and heat that could melt the concrete off a sidewalk, they felt accomplished. Their training had been a complete success and their Pokemon had grown much stronger.


Machine turned his head to Red and smiled saying, "Red... We're ready..." Red smiled and nodded back, giving Machine a high five to see that the final stretch was only in a few hours. Because of this, all the heroes decided to fall asleep where they had fallen down. In the morning, the next part of their journey would begin, whether or not they wanted it come.



The next morning came, and it came fast.


"Welcome to the Indigo Plateau! Home of the INDIGO LEAGUE CONFERENCE!" Charles Goodshow, current president of the Pokemon League shouted from the center of the grassy field that was the Indigo Plateau. The stadium around him was packed, filling up with over 800 fans and spectators of the Pokemon League Conference's all around the world.


They cheered as loud as they could when they heard Charles' voice, breaking the tension that had filled the air as soon as they arrived. This year's competition was supposed to be much better than the ones before as a few Trainers that had recently gotten their Eighth Badge four weeks ago, were now entering the competition.


The trainers hadn't entered yet because Charles still had to do one more thing. "As you all know, before we begin we must call upon the spirit and flame of Moltres to begin the competition!" The crowd cheered even louder than before as Charles turned around, pumping up the crowd even more making them cheer louder than before. He was an old man but he knew how to make the crowd happy.


He then quieted just as quickly as he started up for the stairs that led to a large torch-like statue that was to hold the flame that Moltres lit. When he arrived at the top, Moltres swung in and perched on top of the statue. Charles asked Moltres to lit the flame to begin and so, he jumped off of the statue and flew through the air, doing tricks and other stunts that the crowd stared amazed at, cheering at how awe-aspiring Moltres really. Moltres then swung back around and opened its mouth, firing a controlled wave of flame down into the statue, instantly lighting it up once more. The crowd cheered once again when the flame was lit, as they all watched Moltres fly into the distance. However, it wasn't heading for its home. It was heading for... its master's base.


Charles Goodshow then ran back down to the bottom of the stairs, as he put a hand to a gate where a few were standing. "Now, everybody, the ceremony can begin! Please welcome... the Trainers that have obtained their eight badges and made it here to their first Pokemon League competition!" Many Trainers burst out of the gate and headed into the stadium where the crowd roared as soon as they saw Machine, Hakel, Blue, and Red. "Looks like we have some fan favorites this year! Excellent!"


The four fan favorites waved to the fans in the stadium where some fan girls began throwing flowers and other things down at them. Yellow walked directly behind Machine, and grabbed his hand, squeezing as hard as she could. Machine gulped hard, getting the message. Green did the same to Red and Kusa did the same to Hakel, making them get the message as well. Still, they could enjoy the publicity they were being given.


All in all, there were about 256 Trainers who had completed their journey, so far. Charles was excited to see how many would be left after the first round.


Charles Goodshow walked up Red and gave him a smaller torch with Moltres' flame glimmering on it. He then pointed to a smaller torch in the middle of the stadium that Charles wanted to Red to light.


"Are you sure, Mr. Goodshow?" Red asked as Charles began to speak into his mic.


"What do you think, everybody? Should Red be given the privilege of lighting the central torch?!" Charles asked as the crowd went nuts, chanting Red's name loudly. "Red?"


"Alright... I'll do it!" Red shouted as he charged forward, with the torch in his hands. He ran up to the central torch and lit it easily, exciting everyone in the stadium before hand. Charles ran up to him and held up his arm, making everybody cheer again, just for Red. Red ran back to the other Trainers as they had made a few rows of them standing together.


"Very well then! Without further ado, let the battles begin!" Charles shouted as all the Trainers and the crowd cheered as well heading off to where the Preliminaries would be taking place.


There were four different battlefields around the initial stadium that were covered in rock, grass, water, and ice, respectively. The Preliminaries would simply be decided by each trainer battling each of these four different battlefields. Once they had conquered the four stadiums, they would advance to the the final rounds.


These rounds went very quickly as the heroes took out all the competition, leaving none in their dust. There was this other Trainer, however, named Brandon who kept up with the heroes. They were intrigued to see what he could do. However, there were a few other Trainers who made it to making the final list of Trainers at the end of the Preliminaries rounds: a tiny 16. All the heroes, Brandon, and a few other Trainers had made it. The next few matches were on their way of starting.


However, they took an intermission before starting the next round. All the trainers were directed to the Pokemon Center to decide their next matches. When they all entered, Charles walked in after them and pointed to a pool full of Magikarp with numbers on them.


"What's this, Mr. Goodshow?" Hakel asked, pointing down to the pool of Magikarp.


"This, Hakel..." Charles said, smiling to them all. "...is what will determine your next matches."


"What do you mean?" Blue asked.


"For this next part of the competition, you must pick a Magikarp out of this pool of water. The Magikarp will have a number attached on a string that hangs from its mouth. Pick the number off of the string and set the Magikarp back into the pool of water." Charles explained, making himself perfectly.


Red stepped up first picking a nine from his Magikarp. Machine walked up after him, picking a one from his Magikarp. Green walked up after him picking the number five. Brandon stepped up next, picking an eight from the pool.


"Anybody know who they're going against yet?" Machine asked, holding his number one in his hand.


"Nah, not yet, unfortunately." Red said, looking at his number nine.


Finally, Hakel stepped up and picked his number from the pool. He looked at it and saw that it was... a two. Machine saw, by the expression on his face, he had picked a surprising number.


"We have our first match!" Charles said, pointing up to a screen above their heads. "The first match will be: Machine versus... Hakel Fury!"


Machine and Hakel turned to one another, speechless at what he had just said. "What the hell? Are you serious?!" Machine and Hakel asked at the same time, not believing that in the first match of the finals, they were to fight against one another.


"Very." Charles said, showing them the screen once more. Beside their faces and names, was the number they had chosen. It clearly showed that they had to face against one another. "See?"


"Oh damn, Hakel..." Machine said, seeing the proof up on the screen. "Well, I suppose-" Hakel stopped him by holding his hand out at him. "Huh?"


"Good luck, pal. Let the best man win." Hakel said as Machine smiled, shaking his hand once.


"Yes, good luck to you as well." Machine said, as they stared into each others eyes. Victory could be in their grasp, but they had to take each other down to achieve it. As the next few people chose their numbers, and the next few matches were chosen, Machine and Hakel stared at each other, wondering if they could make that final move in their battle to take each other down. They had fought before but it wasn't consciously or willingly. Machine was being controlled by the Red Star Beast and Hakel didn't expect him to be so powerful. Machine beat him then by now, it may be too hard to face each other willingly. They would have to see tomorrow, when their match began.