Previously on Galarian Days...
Zander manages to win in a Pokemon battle against Mustard, earning his long sought-after endorsement to enter the Gym Challenge. He then goes to Motostoke and registers, after which he checks into the Budew Drop Inn where he... enjoys himself before settling down...
Once again, Zander found himself in the gray void, just as before. And he was only in his fur, just as before. In came the two lights, just as before, and just as before, they turned into Zacian and Zamazenta before him.
"Ah, Zander, you have returned," Zacian said.
"And how does our Wolfen Knight of Galar fare today?" Zamazenta asked. "Did you get the endoresment from Mustard as we said?"
"I have, and am now registered to participate in the Gym Challenge," Zander confirmed. "Along the way, I did discover some interesting info, both about myself and the trials I'm facing on my journey."
"Really? Do tell," Zacian pressed.
"Well, first off I know that I have the power to turn something long into an extendable sword, and something flat into a shield that creates a force field I can ram into my enemies," Zander explained. "I thought it was the power of the royal colors you dyed-"
"Marked," Zamazenta corrected.
"...marked my fur with. Is it true?"
"It is," both Pokemon said in unison.
"As for what I was using said powers for," Zander continued, "there have been appearences of these giant monsters that are not quite Pokemon all around Galar, and they look like Max Moves have been given solid forms. I was told that they're called Dynamiasmas, and they're created from Dynamax energy siphoned from Power Spots or Pokemon Dens."
"I see," Zacian contemplated. "Then it's just as I suspected. Whoever is creating these 'Dynamiasmas,' as you put it, is attempting to put an end to the Darkest Day, but is also ushering the beginning of a crisis of its polar opposite as a result!"
"The opposite of the Darkest Day?" Zander wondered. "What, like the Lightest Night or something?"
"Not quite," Zamazenta said. "Remember, the Darkest Day is caused due to an overabundance of Dynamax energy. But this crisis isn't making it increase to an overabundance, but decrease to an absence."
"I see," Zander mused. "Is there a name for it?"
Both brother and sister looked at each other, but then shook their heads no. Suddenly, the gray void started flashing red to the rhythm of a loud Klaxon siren, forcing the two legendary Pokemon to change back to their light ball forms, but Zander tried to call out, "Wait! What was I supposed to do in Wyndon that was so very, very important!?"
Zander woke up to the alarm clock on the bedside table of his inn suite, still in just his bath robe under the covers. He flicked the alarm switch off, then saw the time was 5:30, half an hour from when the opening ceremony for the Gym Challenge was supposed to start. With a yawn, Zander sat up and stretched before getting out of bed. "Guess I better get ready," he said.
As he walked back to the bathroom, he reached for the door handle to open it. When he did, he saw that the clutter he left last night was tidied up: the towels were replaced with clean ones, the body wash was refilled, even his clothes were laundered and folded in a neat little stack by the sink. "Wow. I don't know whether to be amazed at how seriously these Pokemon hires take their jobs, or creeped out that someone was in here while I was sleeping."
Figuring that was a question for another day, Zander quickly ducked into the bathroom and locked himself inside to make use of its facilities. He then dressed himself back up and exited to check the clock again. 5:40.
"Guess selling all those treasures I found in the Wild Area is going to come in handy after all," Zander said as he reached into his back pocket and took out a 2,000 Poke note, then set it on the TV stand. "Hope this will cover how much I appreciate their service." He then exited the suite into the hall, then rode the elevator into the lobby.
As soon as he reentered the lobby, he checked out and walked down the stairs, but before he exited the inn, Zander looked behind him at the knight statue and thought, That could be me, maybe, once I finally solve this mystery and stop this opposite crisis. He finally walked out of the inn and made his way back to Motostoke Stadium.
When he got there, he was approached by someone in a white superhero costume, with a brown scarf and a Fast Ball-themed helmet. "Excuse me, young man."
"Uh, can I help you? I'm kind of in a hurry here," Zander said in mild annoyance.
"This will only take a second. I am Fast White, and I have been sent here by my commander to give you this message," Fast White said as he handed Zander a round capsule resembling a Fast Ball. Zander looked down and opened it, revealing a note that said, "If you're reading this, it means that you have been found by Fast White, a member of the Apricorn Rangers. They are stationed in different stadiums all around Galar, and you will be meeting them during your Gym Challenge. There are seven of them in total, and after you meet with each one, they will regroup back at their headquarters in Wyndon Stadium to reward you with a secret, special surprise. Good luck gathering them all!" But where there should have been a signature, there was a drawing of a Poke Ball.
Zander was about to question Fast White, but he was already gone. He then remembered that he needed to get to the ceremony, so he ran inside the stadium and hurried back to the desk. "I'm back! Did I miss the ceremony?"
"No, there's still time, Challenger Zander," the staff worker at the desk assured. "And we also have your Challenger Uniform right here, which you must change into before the ceremony. The changing room is to the right," he added as he handed Zander his uniform, neatly folded.
"Ah, thank you, sir," Zander said as he took his uniform, then walked to the changing room and knocked on the door. Hearing no response, he entered the room and shut himself inside. Five minutes later, he exited the room in his new Challenger uniform, complete with the number he chose: 210. "Wow! This feels sporty, and it even matches my fur!"
"Looking good, there! And here's your official Challenge Band that you must wear during Gym Missions and Gym Battles," the staff worker added as he handed Zander a gold bracelet. "And now the ceremony can begin! Please make your way to the pitch!"
Inside the stadium, a crowd of Gym Challengers were waiting in the hallway, and Zander was among them. In the center of the pitch, Elle had just walked to the middle of the field, with Turner following close by. The crowd in the stands were watching intently as she looked up.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and that technicolor rainbow of miscellaneous others, welcome to the opening ceremony of the Galarian Gym Challenge! As always, I am the current chairperson of Macro Cosmos, and as a result, the chairperson of the Pokemon League, Elle!"
The crowd cheered at the mention of her name, then she continued. "As you may remember, two weeks ago at Wyndon Stadium I announced that this year the challenge layout will be different. Well, through a difficult, strenuous proccess, I have pitted the leaders of all 18 Gym types against each other until only 8 remained, then pitted those 8 against each other to determine where they would be stationed throughout the region. And after ALL that, I can say with the utmost confidence that this year will not be like last year!"
The crowd laughed, and Elle continued, "Now, bring forth the eight Leaders who the Challengers must earn their badges from!"
At that, eight sillhouettes stepped onto the pitch, being announced as they came into the light.
"First up, let us welcome the Bug-type Gym Leader who will be stationed at Turffield: the Insect Princess, Annie!" A young black girl in pigtails wearing a Bug Uniform and a silver tiara parade-float waved to the crowd as she walked up to the center line.
"Next, we're putting this Poison-type Gym Leader in Hilbury. Say hello to the Toxic Artist, Selene!" A woman in a Poison Uniform with paint splatters bowed while she took her place next to Annie.
"If it wasn't obvious, this Electric-type Gym Leader is staying here in Motostoke, and he's the Lightning Retainer, Raphael!" A man in an Electric Uniform complete with sweatbands ran to his place on the center line and cheered along with the audience.
"Now, don't be fooled, because this Normal-type Gym Leader earned his place in Stow-on-Side. Everyone, the Exceptional Standard, Basil!" A teenaged, black-haired boy in glasses and a Normal Uniform waved to the audience and joined the others.
"Next, this Psychic-type Gym Leader will be chilling in Balloonlea. Can I get the Prodigy of the Mind, Monty!?" In a flash of light, a man in a Psychic Uniform with a black bow tie appeared instantly on the center line and bowed gracefully to the audience.
"This Ground-type Gym Leader gets to go to his home roots in Circhester. Behold, the Solid Foundation, Winston!" A man in a hard hat, work glasses and a Ground Uniform walked to his spot on the center line, then took off his hat to reveal his messy, blond hair.
"We're only putting this Flying-type Gym Leader in Spikemuth because there's no other place to have a seventh Gym. Nothing personal, Heaven's Watchman, Parcel!" A skinny man in a Flying Uniform walked to the center line and shrugged as if to say, "No offence taken."
"And last, but certainly not least, please put your hands together for the Steel-type Gym Leader and our new rising star bound for Hammerlocke, the Ironclad Knight, Lady Cona!" A woman in a Steel Uniform with metal gauntlets and leggings marched to the center line and placed her fist on her chest to address the audience.
With all 8 Gym Leaders gathered together, Elle continued, "Before you stands 8 Gym Leaders who have clawed their way out of the shadows of the Minor League and proved that they will not be casted aside like old gloves! They are sure to provide this year's Gym Challengers with, well, a challenge!" Another laugh from the audience, and Elle wrapped up her speech with, "Now, we shall allow the Gym Challengers to step onto the pitch for the rest of the day, before we remodel it to match Raphael's theme. With that, thank you for attending the Galarian Gym Challenge opening ceremony, and good night!"
As Elle and Turner walked off of the pitch, the Gym Challengers along with Zander poured onto it, taking in the sights and sounds that were sure to be a part of the rest of their journeys...
Back in the lobby, Zander was back in his regular clothes and seated in one of the chairs, still reeling from the euphoria he felt on the pitch. "Oh. My. Goodness. Whoa. I was on the pitch of Motostoke Stadium, and it felt amazing! The best part? I'll be on the pitches of two other stadiums, and then I'll get to be on this stadium's pitch again, only it'll be different!"
"And it only gets better from here!" Zander heard a woman's voice say. He turned around and saw none other than Elle and Turner walk up to him. "There are even more pitches in even more stadiums, and you get to experience them all, if you can earn it!"
"Ah," Zander said. "So, we officially meet at last, Chairperson Elle."
"Indeed we do, Zander," Elle replied.
"Wha- how do you know my name?"
"Oh, isn't it obvious?" Elle asked rhetorically. "As the chairperson of the Pokemon League, it's my job to know all of the competitors by heart. Okrrr?"
"Indeed, miss Elle," Turner said.
Not recognizing the man in black, Zander said, "Um, and you are?"
"Of course. Allow me to introduce myself," Turner said with a flourish. "I am Turner, the concierge of Macro Cosmos and miss Elle's personal assistant."
"I never go anywhere without him, we're such a great team," Elle said slyly, but then caught a glance of Zander's wrist and asked, "Oh, but where's your Dynamax Band?"
"My what?" Zander asked, but then understood and said, "Oh, that. Well, the thing is... I don't really... have one."
"You don't? Why not?"
"Because... because, uh..." Zander mumbled while he tried to think of an excuse, but then his ears perked up as he said, "Because I want to be the first Gym Challenger who cleared the Challenge without Dynamaxing! Or Gigantamaxing! Something to really leave my mark on Galarian history, you know?"
Elle beamed at that as she gushed, "Oooh, is that so!? Oh, I knew there was something amazing about you, and now I know there's two somethings!"
"You're making a jab at my fur color, aren't you?" Zander joked.
"Oh, we got a clever one, Turner!" Elle said with glee. "Speaking of your fur, can I touch it, or do you have to smell my hand first?"
"Oh, no, go right ahead," Zander said as he lowered his head. Elle then gently ran her hand down the top of Zander's soft head, causing him to wag his tail happily at the attention.
"Miss Elle, as much as I do not wish to interrupt your affectionate petting, there is more important business to attend to back at work," Turner insisted.
"Oh, my, you're right!" Elle exclaimed. "Sorry to cut this short, Zander, but I simply must be going!"
"I understand," Zander said, though a little sad that his petting was over so soon.
"Tell you what, next time we meet, I'll be sure to give you some more sugar!" Elle said as she and Turner were headed out the door. "Oh, and take this!"
An orange, rectangular device was thrown at Zander, and he caught it in his paw and saw that it was a Rotom Phone... minus the Rotom. "It has all the functions with none of the harrassment! Okay, bye-ee!"
A Flying Taxi was parked outside the stadium, and Elle and Turner quickly boarded it before Elle said, "Back to Wyndon, and make it snappy!" The Corviknight flapped its wings as hard as it could, and the cab lifted off and away. As soon as it was in airspace, Elle said, "Whew, thanks for getting me out of there, Turner. Regretting that I mentioned the word 'smell' to a wolf."
"Of course, miss Elle. You know I always have your best interests in mind," Turner said.
"Thankfully, he wasn't too clever," Elle said as the taxi flew through the morning sky. "I'd hate for my grand master plan to have been ended before it began..."
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