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I encountered an Absol in ORAS recently, and since it's a reasonably rare animal, I immediately False Swiped it in preparation to catch it. However, the Absol then used Slash, normally no big deal, but then the message "Absol lost some of its HP" popped up.
I know it wasn't caused by an ability (it had Pressure), so why did Absol die?

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Because it was holding a Life Orb. Wild Absols happen to hold this item occasionally. The Life Orb increases damage dealt by 30%, but as a consequence, it takes away 10% of your health per attack. Since you knocked it down to this range with False Swipe, the Life Orb recoil KO'd it.

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That is because Absol is holding life orb.

Sometimes, when you're encountering a Pokémon, they will come with a
hold item. The chances of this increase as you get a higher Search
Level. However, for a few Pokémon, you will get something completely
unusual, you will get a hold item that is not typical of that Pokémon,
such as a Lucky Egg.

You must have found Absol with tail pop out in the grass or you must have found it with the help of dex nav.

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It was not a dexnav find, but might it might as well have been.