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"Well shit", Knox muttered as he came to another abrupt dead end in the ghostly Nightshade Manor. He scratched his chin and muttered more profanities as he turned around and came face-to-face with a glaring Haunter. The frightening Pokemon convoluted it's face into a horrifying smile and disappeared back into the woodwork. Visibly shaken (he never would admit it though), Knox angrily stared at the space in which the Haunter had receded and cursed at the wall until he was blue in the face. No stupid ghosts are gonna scare Knox McNeil.


Now more wary than ever (but of course still not scared of no goddamn ghosts), Knox continued to wander throughout the hallowed halls until he came upon a large set of tarnished doors. Taking a deep breath, he cautiously pushed open the double-doors and entered a musty, cobwebbed old ballroom. Glancing upward, Knox noticed a man-shaped shadow on the mezzanine. Whoever that weirdo is would have to wait until he'd finished with the trainers on the main floor. Trainers stood to the left and right of Knox, atop short platforms. Finally, what Knox had been searching for all along- the Nightshade Manor Gym.


He quickly and easily swept the trainers' Pokemon while mostly utilizing Mach-Daddy and Toots, his trusty Machamp and Medicham. Knox knew he didn't have much else to use against the Ghost-type trainers, but he knew he could do good enough with the team he had. After defeating lowly trainers, Knox turned his focus once again to the shadow on the mezzanine.


"Hey man, who do you think you are? What, you coward or somethin?" Knox shouted to the shadow, "Come on out and show your face."


Suddenly the small Litwick in the man's hand lit up, illuminating the area upon the mezzanine. Now visible in the candlelight, the purple-clad man stepped forward and peered over the ledge and fixed his red eyes on Knox.


"Welcome to the Nightshade Manor. It is I, Cassius, leader of this Gym. You have entered my lair unannounced, provoked me, and now I shall not go easy on you!"


Gym Leader Cassius' eyes turned fully red as he raised his arm and summoned the golden Chandelure that before had hung inconspicuously from the high ceiling.


Thinking quickly, Knox called out Mach-Daddy, and immediately issued it to use Payback. The Chandelure quickly planted a Destiny Bond on both Mach-Daddy and itself, and sprung to the side of the room, avoiding the super-effective move. Knowing that once this pesky Chandelure landed any Psychic move, Mach-Daddy would be done for and by doing so would also take out itself, Knox wasn't going to waste any time and once again told the Machamp to use Payback.


Cassius toyed with Knox and told the Chandelure to use Curse. Damn it, he was just dragging this round on as long as he could, sucking as much life out as possible before both of the Pokemon were sure to faint from the Destiny Bond. Just then Mach-Daddy's Payback hit the Chandelure square in the face, gouging out half of its HP


Then as if Knox was a mind-reader (except he's not 'cause mind-reading is for dorks and weirdos with big eyebrows), Cassius ordered the Chandelure to use Psychic- fully aware of the sacrifice he was making. The Psychic waves blasted Mach-Daddy in a OHKO and both of the Pokemon fell to the floor.


Wincing at the sight of his favorite Pokemon fainting, Knox recalled his Machamp and summoned his next Pokemon, Geno the Toxicroak. Cassius obviously had an idea in mind too as he bared his white teeth and threw a Pokeball to the floor below.


"Come on out, Mismagius!"


Ugh, not another chance at being OHKO'd by a Psychic move. Knox directed Geno to use Dark Pulse. This time Geno's speed was an extreme advantage as the move blasted Cassius' beloved Mismagius down to half of its HP. The Mismagius made a disgruntled face at Geno as it flinched. Haha sucker, who's the big man now?


Again Knox repeated the move and Geno pummeled the Mismagius before it could even land a hit. It fell to the floor and Cassius quickly recalled it and sent out another Pokemon.


This time, out of the Pokeball appeared a repulsive Gengar. It grinned at Knox and chuckled evilly. Geno was still at full health so Knox wasn't going to switch Pokemon. Knox issued Geno to pump itself up with Swords Dance, and then Sludge Bomb the fat ghost's stupid smile.


Geno did so accordingly, but not before getting hit with a cheapshot Sucker Punch. The Sludge Bomb didn't do too much damage, it only cut Gengar's health down by about a quarter. Knox figured he should just stick with the super-effective Dark Pulse, so he instructed his Toxicroak to use Dark Pulse once again. This time Geno did quite a lot of damage to Cassius' Gengar, and it was very close to fainting. Gengar then used its last remaining HP and placed a Curse on Geno.


Cassius' next Pokemon was an unexpected Spiritomb and, just like Mach-Daddy, Geno was easily finished off with Psychic.


Toots the Medicham was sent out next, and quickly went into battle with guns blazing. Thunder Punch, Ice Punch, Psycho Cut- Knox ordered Toots to go all-out on this almost-invincible Pokemon. Spiritomb landed a few hits with Shadow Ball and Psychic, but not enough to KO feisty Toots before she KO'ed it.


Obviously brimming with anger at Knox's advantage in number of Pokemon, Cassius threw another Pokeball from the mezzanine.


"Hahah, you still alive up there Cass?" shouted Knox from below.


Knox then nodded to Toots to keep at it, no matter what the ghastly gym leader sent out next. Much to his surprise, out popped a Rotom from the Pokeball. It zipped across the floor and flung an Electro Ball at Toots, which hit her right in the chest. Toots quickly retaliated and delivered a Ice Punch of her own. Rotom shook itself off and used a raging Thunderbolt, which hit Toots before she could even try to jump out of the way.


Knox decided to go with the same technique as he had used against the Spiritomb, and told Toots to hit the Electric/Ghost Pokemon with all the moves she had. Again this was a sure-fire strategy, but the Medicham was getting tired. Rotom repeatedly blasted Toots with Electro Ball and Shadow Ball, and Toots fainted right as she was going to deliver the final blow on the little Rotom.


Rotom was still hanging in there, and Knox still had two Pokemon left. He was in a good place at this time in the battle, as Cassius had only this Rotom and one more Pokemon to go. Knox decided to go with his Mandibuzz, Roulette, the newest member of the team. She wasn't very trusting of Knox yet and didn't listen very well, but at a time like this she would surely be willing to pay attention and take down just one Rotom.


Clearly uncomfortable with the current situation, Cassius recalled Rotom back into its Pokeball. Rotom had just turned it's back to re-enter the safety of the ball, when Roulette shot it right in the back with Pursuit. The Dark-type move was a Critical Hit, and Rotom fell within inches of its Pokeball.


Appalled at the turn of events, Cassius again raised his arm, and from out of nowhere appeared a huge, haunting Dusknoir. Roulette was getting antsy to get back into her ball and out of this battle, so Knox decided it would be best to let her come back in. Still with full health, Roulette may have to make another appearance if Knox's final Pokemon fell.


But no, that wasn't going to be necessary.


Knox grinned as he held the next Pokeball in his hand. Tossing the ball to the ground, he peered up at Cassius and gave him a smug look. Cassius' eyes grew brighter in anger. Out of the Pokeball appeared Knox's very own Dusknoir, Blackjack. It seemed to make a similar smug look at the other Dusknoir, who was glaring at him evilly.


"Let's do this!" yelled Knox.


The two Gripper Pokemon immediately started to battle, circling around the arena and eyeing each other. Having an attitude like Knox, Blackjack used Sucker Punch on the opposing Dusknoir. It briefly was dazed, but shook itself off and suddenly disappeared. A moment after, the Dusknoir appeared once again behind Blackjack and cruelly used Shadow Sneak. Both Pokemon were injured, but they kept going. Blackjack couldn't bear to lose against a fellow Dusknoir, and obviously Cassius' Dusknoir wasn't going to back down either.


Knox then ordered Blackjack to use Will-O-Wisp. With a status condition, Blackjack would have an easier time beating the opposing Dusknoir. The Dusknoir recoiled from the Will-O-Wisp, but didn't evade the attack quick enough to avoid being Burned. Dusknoir used Shadow Ball. It landed right on target, leaving Blackjack at only about 1/4 of his HP.


Thinking fast, Knox called out to Blackjack to use Pain Split. Blackjack drew HP from Dusknoir and regained health, all while hurting Dusknoir in the process. Cassius' Dusknoir winced as it also took damage from its Burn. Now Blackjack was back on top and not eager to stop any time soon. Blackjack moved with ease as it flew towards the Dusknoir and Fire Punched the opponent into the wall, all while dodging another Shadow Ball from the enemy. Down to its last remaining HP, Dusknoir placed a Destiny Bond on both of the Pokemon.

Knox was not happy with his next move, but there was no other choice. He called out to Blackjack to use Sucker Punch. Blackjack knew what was coming next as well, and listened to his trainer and sacrificed himself- leaving both Dusknoirs fainted on the polished floor.


Cassius then composed himself, knowing very well since the beginning that Knox would not be an easy opponent. He had watched Knox defeat all of his trainers and knew what was coming to him. He silently walked down the stairs of the mezzanine and handed Knox a Paranoia Badge, signifying that he, the Gym Leader, had truly been defeated.

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