This praise only rejuvenated my enthusiasm for the next battle, which, when I turned my head to the battle next to us, I knew would be against the one who had been given the Nicket, as Yamper had already fainted by this point. A part of me hesitated. Of course, Hatenna was a Psychic-type, and Nicket was a Dark-type. Clearly, I was at the disadvantage here. But the euphoria of my abilities being recognized (after so long of being ignored by the caregivers being the trouble child being scorned and abandoned I was praised praised PRAISED-!!) fogged my mind, and made me certain that I would win, despite this.

That didn't mean that I went in to the next battle without thinking, though. As the other children gathered around in a hushed silence, and the other boy waited for me to call out a move, I stood, staring at the battlefield. Pondering. Eyebrows furrowed. Silent, ignoring when the others began to mutter amongst themselves...

My only attacking move was Confusion. But that was Psychic-type. It wouldn't affect the Nickit. On top of this, the Chairman had previously given Nickit's moveset; Quick Attack, Tail Whip and Beat Up. Quick Attack could hit for normal damage, but Beat Up could hit for super effective damage. By all means, it seemed like this battle was just plain unwinnable for me.

However, I had read a bit ago about a strategy that some Trainers use in desperate situations like this. If you can lower your opponent's moves' Power Points down until they have no usable moves left, they will use Struggle; a move which damages the opponent and the user. If the Trainer has the ability to heal as the other opponent uses Struggle, they will eventually get their own HP down to zero.

So, I formed a strategy in my mind, and finally called my first move, calling the battle to action after minutes of standstill: "Hatenna, Play Nice!"

Both of Nickit's attacking moves were Physical. This meant that Play Nice's effect of lowering the opponent's Attack would work perfectly. Lowering Nickit's Attack until its moves hardly damaged Hatenna and using Life Dew when Hatenna's health got low was my plan to stall out the battle. This plan could have been foiled; if the boy on the other side of the field had decided to use Tail Whip a number of times, he could have lowered Hatenna's Defense until it didn't matter how low his own Attack was. However, the boy didn't think like that. He was the aggressive type, and ordered Nickit to use exclusively attacking moves; a common mistake in early Trainers, thinking that stat-lowering moves are 'useless'.

Eventually, I got it so that Nickit was using Struggle. The other boy was furious at this point, demanding that his Pokemon get a critical hit or something to take out Hatenna, but it was no use. Nickit used Struggle one last time, and then its small body fell over with a whine. Down and out.

I took a deep breath, pressing a hand to my chest for a moment (Hatenna's Power Points had been running low, too; I had been counting on my fingers with a growing nervousness near the end) as the children whooped and hollered. The winner of the first (and likely only) Spikemuth battle bracket tournament.

Once I remembered myself, I quickly rushed over to pick Hatenna up, holding her in my arms as I turned to where I had last seen the Chairman. Sure enough, he was clapping along with the kids, with that same gentle, almost practiced smile that didn't make his features wrinkle.