Red A Short Story by Stephen "Huxmonchan" Huxman *** The smell of dust and fire still hangs in the air, but there is an odd quiet on the field. Boulders smashed mere hours ago litter the ground at my feet, crushed instantly by brute powers. I can still hear the noise, it is both cacophonous and musical. The sound of a battle, only hours gone- and the ground is still warm. I lay down embracing the memories held within, cheek pressed against the earth and gaze into the stands that held thunderous applause... I can still hear it. *** Inhaling I can taste the sweat of battle, it will never leave this place... but I will. I had thought for a moment that Lance was playing a cruel joke when he stated he was not Champion. Then I saw him, emerging from the shadows like some twisted nightmare smiling cruelly knowing that fate was full tilt in his favor. The crowd went insane, I couldn't even distinguish the onslaught of cheering as anything but rolling Thunder. THEY WANT THIS FIGHT. They want to watch this underdog who clawed his way up past the Elite Four, already broken and battered - a team of exhausted monsters - be crushed under the might of the new reigning champion, Green. A wave of anxiety rushes over me, I can't win this... This isn't fair! I followed the rules! I earned my badges and survived Victory Road. I BEAT the Elite Four. I BEAT Champion Lance. Against all odds I took victory from the Legendary Dragon Tamer. But Green did it first... now I have to beat him too. Pikachu stumbles to his feet in the field and turns to me. He understands... this is his battle too. *** We had won. It was close, the furthest thing from a clear victory. I should have been overjoyed... the word "Champion" was now synonymous with the name "Red". But that look in his eyes, Green was crushed. I realized that in making my own dream a reality I'd shattered his. What would happen to him? Where would he go? What will happen to me? Will I taste that same defeat one day? Will another, stronger trainer rise up and take away what I've earned? In the distance, rising above the horizon of Indigo Plateau I could see a mountain. I didn't know its name... but it was the tallest landmark in view. My journey isn't over yet. The training isn't done. League Champion is not the pinnacle I am looking for. I desire greatness, not a title. I resolve to find it on that mountain.