Indigo stepped onto the stage as his name was announced, his heart fluttering and his mouth dry. Neon's expression was indecipherable as always-- although Indigo knew the Magnemite was probably feeling just as on edge as him. This is Neon's first... He laid a reassuring hand on the Magnemite's head, a few affectionate pats for good measure.
"It's alright. Whether we win or lose, just try and have fun. That's the only thing I'm really thinking about it," Indigo whispered. Neon crackled, and Indigo wasn't quite sure, but it felt like he had done something right.
Truthfully, winning was always more fun than losing, and he hated that at this point, all he could think about was winning. But Margo's words of advice echoed around in his head. If he was always focused on winning, that left no room to focus on learning, growing, or his pokemon's needs in the middle of battle. This is about Neon and his confidence and his ability. I can't worry about winning, I need to support my pokemon.
"Alright, let's start off with Sonic Boom!" Just as they had practiced earlier, the appeal started with a startling and impressive Sonic Boom. Throwing in the Spark and Mirror Shot lead to a colorful and iridescent display where electric and steel type energy flowed and weaved around Neon. It went as well as Indigo could have hoped-- Neon was hitting all the points just like they had in practice earlier, and Indigo, overcome with relief, could barely stand after the appeal was done.
After the initial appeal, there was a half an hour wait for the other contestants to finish up. And Indigo found himself holding his breath with other contestants at the TV screen in their backroom. Fingers were crossed and nervous glances were made all around. Who would be making it onto the group appeals? Who would be eliminated? As the contestant avatars flashed onto the screen, Neon huddled into Indigo, his steel body shivering and colder than usual.
"Hey, you'll never figure out what happens next if you don't look with that only eye of yours," Indigo quipped, trying to lighten the mood, even if he felt anything but. As the last avatar appeared on the screen, he let out a choking sound. It wasn't true, was it?
"Neon, look! We made it!" Indigo hissed, turning the floating steel ball toward the screen. "No! Look! You're there too-- open your eye!" Neon let out a low electric beep and transfixed his eye on the screen, now unable to look away.
One appeal down, the group one was left to go. Indigo grinned, hugging the Magnemite. "Neon, that was all you-- thank you!"
The group appeals were next. There were four of them on stage, and since they were all using different pokemon for an appeal, Indigo wasn't sure what the contestants would do. One thing was for sure, they were all probably more capable than him. But that couldn't deter him, Neon had pushed him this far, not to mention the rest of his team members were counting on him. He took a deep breath as the emcee shouted, "Begin!"
There was a girl and a Chinchou that were using Bubblebeam, dancing and playing around in the bubbles. It was a classic appeal and never failed to get old, especially with how choreographed they were. As the Chinchou popped the bubbles with quick jolts of electricty, a rain of shimmery mist glittered around them. Then there was a boy with a Growlithe-- they were tossing a flaming torch back and forth, with the Puppy pokemon adding occasional flares to the performance with bursts of flame here and there. It looked simple, but Indigo knew for a fact he would have never been able to handle fire as elegantly as the other boy was. The third contestant was another girl who was commanding Cotton Guard from her Ampharos-- they were playing around and blowing the spores into each other and the audience. The spores were like dandelion tufts, fuzzy and white and blowing away gently into the wind.
Indigo took a deep breath. "Mimi! Come out!" Unfurling his top hat, Mimi bounced out with a flourish. A non-pokeball entrance was sure to get some points with the judges, he hoped. Thinking of his plan, he wasn't entirely sure it would work, but it was an idea. And he had experimented with it some time before in a few other practice sessions... It was now or never.
"Mimi! Let's bounce!" The Buneary nodded and using her strong ears, she bounced into the air with gusto. Indigo tossed his hat into the air at the same time.
Buneary as a species were known for their cuteness and especially how they bounced on their ears. "Use the whole stage, and make yourself the center of attention! Use the other attacks!" And this was the hard part-- he was going to try and catch her everytime too. Mimi bounced over to Bubblebeam appeal; the girl and her Chinchou were surprised, but nothing could quite prepare them for Mimi bouncing off the bubbles and rising higher into the air before plummeting into Indigo's hat from high above.
"Again!" And Mimi jumped out from Indigo's hat, using Quick Attack to speed over to the Cotton Spore appeal. Bouncing off a particularly fluffy cushion of Cotton, Mimi grabbed a tuft herself and blew into it, scattering a glittering trail of spores before falling into Indigo's hat once more.
"You've worked with Hawka's fire, so the last one'll be easy! Go!" Indigo whispered fiercely into the hat as Mimi once again burst out with gusto. The timing couldn't have been more adequate, because as Mimi bounced out of Indigo's hat once more, she leaped into the center of the Growlithe's Fire Spin, navigating the heat before falling into Indigo's hat once more.
Finishing up, Indigo and Mimi went through a series of twirls and choreographed dance together. Finally bouncing off Indigo's hat and landing on his outstretched arm, their group appeal finished. And as the crowd burst into cheers, Indigo hoped at least some was for Mimi and himself. Though, the next results would tell for sure.
((Sorry, I know this took me forever. I apologize, these past couple of weeks have just been super had for me personally. I still definitely want to continue though, so please let me know if we are still on! :) ))