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Old October 3rd, 2012 (7:12 AM).
apenpaap apenpaap is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 79
Originally Posted by destinedjagold View Post
I really thought Boreas was killed. Good call by Black to return him quickly.

Now that would've been a surprising way to kill him off. It would really have given the story's title new meaning.

The battle felt a bit rushed, yet it was still written good.
Thanks. Unfortunately, I find having parts of the battle a bit rushed is as good as unavoidable with these Elite Four battles. Because there's a lot of match-ups in a six vs. six battles, and I just don't have something interesting to say about all of them. So the battles tend to be focused on the interesting parts, and go over the not so interesting parts relatively quickly.

Octa's really having a lot of things in his head. I just hope he chooses Toxica though. =/
We'll see...

Chapter Sixty-Six: Courage and Fear
Diego was annoyed with himself. He had just watched a recording of Black's battle with Grimsley, and found himself rooting for Black. He had told himself it was just because he looked forward to defeating him and his pokémon personally, and even believed it. But then, the chandelier had fallen on top of Boreas, and Diego had actually been shocked and horrified. Somewhere inside his mind, the Flareon he had pretended to be for two months had cried out in shock at the apparent death of his brother, and then sighed in relief when it turned out he wasn't dead after all.
Diego was really beginning to hate his oh so clever plan to spy on the enemy by infiltrating them himself. Boreas' early memories that had been implanted into his mind, as well as the long time he'd spent playing Zeph, had made him weak and treacherous. In a way, Zeph was still inside his mind, making him doubt Team Plasma's cause and making him like Boreas. It would be easy enough to let Ryoku's Exeggutor remove the memories if he asked it to, but that would mean actually showing his mind to it, and in its current state showing his mind to anyone was the last thing he wanted. Exeggutor would be obligated to tell Ryoku, and then Ghetsis would learn of his weakness and probably think his friend was no longer loyal to him. Which was nonsense, of course: Diego's true self was unquestioningly loyal. Yet he felt a little spark of anger towards Ghetsis now as he remembered how much the enemy hated him and the other Sages and how much suffering he had caused. Diego was ashamed at his misguided anger towards the human who had saved his life, cared for him, became his friend, who had made him such an instrumental part of his plans.
He paced the corridors of Team Plasma's castle restlessly as he had these conflicting thoughts, and found himself wandering into N's throne room. “Diego!” greeted the human happily. “How did Black's battle go? I take it he won?”
N had been spending most of his time in the huge throne room since they had returned to the castle. Diego found it quite funny how seriously he took his role as king, even though he was no more than a figurehead. Yet he also felt a bit sorry for his friend. He was so misguided and naïve, thinking he was fighting for pokémon liberation when he was really fighting for Team Plasma's true goals. Diego nodded grimly. “He did.”
“Of course he did; a battle between Reshiram and Zekrom will happen to decide who's right once and for all.” N noticed Diego's troubled state. “Don't worry, Diego, this is meant to happen. Black defeating Grimsley is not a bad thing. It's unavoidable, since he'll eventually fight me.”
N misunderstood Diego's worries, but that was probably for the better. “N, do you ever wonder if we're fighting for the wrong side?” Diego heard someone say. He realised with shock it was him.
“Well, not really. How could liberating pokémon be wrong? Yet, if it somehow is, Reshiram will defeat Zekrom, and then we'll know. But I'm almost sure that won't happen. We'll win and prove our righteousness once and for all.”
Diego forced a smile. “Of course. You know, I've got some things to do, so I'll see you later.”
Diego left the throne room quickly. Idiot, he thought. Naïve idiot. He really thinks we're fighting to liberate pokémon. Well, I guess it's true in the sense that pokémon will be equals to humans when we win...
But that's just what I've thought him to think like. We need him naïve. But what's wrong with me? Asking something so treacherous? What if someone else had heard me? What if it makes N doubt our cause? I know what I'll have to do if he turns on us, and it's not something I'd enjoy...
But he could do it. He remembered what he'd done one day on Victory Road when he had been vexed by similar thoughts and wondered if he'd turned weak. He grinned as he remembered it and realised that when push came to shove, he would show no mercy to any enemy. It had felt as if he'd taken the thoughts he had come to think of as Zeph by the throat with an iron fist and strangled them. They had eventually returned, but he had proven that while there was weakness in him, his core was harder and stronger than steel.

Toxica woke up feeling quite well. She had been terrified about their first battle with an Elite Four, but now that they had defeated one, it felt like it wasn't such a stretch they could win another battle or three. She yawned, turned on all lights in the room, and let her flower absorb the light for a while. It was a shame the Sun was up so briefly and lowly this far north; she could really go for some nice morning sunlight. She sighed at the thought; morning Sun made for a great breakfast, bright but not too warm; she really longed for some after so much time away from the Sun.
She left her room eventually, as she really needed a normal breakfast as well, unable to live on sunlight alone this far up north. She went down to their dining room downstairs, passing the rooms of the others. She considered sneaking in and snuggling up to Octa as she passed his room, but decided against it, as she was quite hungry.
The dining room was empty; it seemed she was the first to rise. She realised as she had breakfast there was another reason she hadn't gone into Octa's room: he had been acting a bit strange lately. Though he usually didn't show it in public, he was often very affectionate and loving to her in private; yet he had lately grown more aloof and distant, and often seemed worried and lost in thought. Toxica didn't think he'd be that happy to find her with him, really...
It led to a scary thought: perhaps Octa was no longer in love with her. Maybe she hadn't turned out to be whom he really wanted, and now he was regretting their love... Even though she'd been trying to learn as much as possible of the things a lady of the house of Equinox should know, she knew she'd never be a true lady, and Octa had probably realised the same. She thought of Aurora and sighed in frustration knowing she could never be like her. Sure, she could try, but it would always be obvious to Octa she wasn't really fit for him.
There was a flapping of wings, and then Selene flew in. “Good morning, Tox.”
“Morning...” she said gloomily.
The bird landed. “You're looking a bit unhappy today... Are you worried about the battle?”
“It's not that, Selene, it's just...” Toxica felt tears sting in her eyes. “I'm not sure if Octa still loves me...”
Selene perched down next to her and put a wing around her back. “There, there... It'll be alright, Tox. Life is like a box of chocolates, you know. Sometimes you eat it, and sometimes it eats you.”
“Wh-what kind of chocolates are those?”
Selene kept on talking. “But when it eats you, you just have to turn the other cheek and let it eat that instead, because otherwise you may end up without a cheek to stand on; and that means you need a wheelchair to... Why are you laughing?”
“Oh, no reason,” giggled Toxica. “But thanks, that really helps me feel better.”
“Great!” Selene crowed happily. “I'm always glad to help a friend like you.”
Toxica ate a bit. Though she was still feeling worried Selene had made her laugh at least. “Well, you're a good friend for trying to help. I really shouldn't let it get me down so much; for all I know he's just worried whether we can really defeat the Elite Four. I know I am.”
“Well, at least today will be fun,” Selene said cheerfully. “We're fighting a ghost-type master today, can you believe it? It'll be great.”
Toxica felt as if the air in the room had disappeared and left her in an ice-cold vacuum. Horrific memories she had tried to push away flashed through her mind, reminding her of the worst fear she had ever felt. She had been fear as she was lying in a grave and had heard death speak to her while five terrifying ghosts discussed how they were going to torture her and give her a fate worse than death and hundreds of creepy Litwicks sang. Even knowing it had all been some sick joke in hindsight didn't soften the terrible memory, which had returned in her nightmares several times. She would rather fight a whole horde of fire-types than ghosts.
Toxica was light-headed and nauseous with terror. She pushed her plate away; eating was the last thing she wanted now, in fact she felt like she might throw up. Maybe I should, she thought. If I act like I'm terribly ill, maybe Black won't take me along for the battle... I would be useless against ghosts anyway, I'm too scared of them... And it'd be better than having my soul burned away, or eaten, or turned into a mummy... Even if those are obviously myths. Obviously.
“Oh dear...” she said. “I think I'm coming down with something... Not sure if I can fight today.”
“Well, that's no problem,” said Selene, “we'll just go to nurse Flatulence and let her have a look at you. I bet she can cure you.”
Oh, bugger. “Well, um... You see, I can't... Because... Well...” Toxica sighed and realised she couldn't think of an excuse. “Look, remember Celestial Tower? If I go to fight those ghosts, I'll probably end up doing exactly what I was doing there and just freeze with fear.”
Selene looked confused. “But you have to fight; if there's only five of us, then that's less than six. And these four elites are already difficult to defeat when we are both with six.”
“I know...” said Toxica, softly. “But I told you, I'll just be frozen with fear... I'll be useless.”
“But why? Why would you be afraid of ghosts, they're fun!”
Toxica was puzzled again by Selene's seemingly insane like of ghosts. “Well, how could you not be afraid of them? They're horrible, gaseous things that can get into your mind and do gruesome things to you... Plus, they're dead people's spirits...”
“I don't think that's true,” said Selene.
“How do you know?”
“Because I've seen ghosts hatch from eggs once. Gastlies.”
“That's... Right, you've got a good point there.” Toxica felt relieved; that made ghosts sound a lot more like a normal pokémon.
“Ghostly eggs, mind you. They're purplish-black and float, and are sort of airy and gaseous, but not quite a gas. Like really thick smoke.”
“That's kind of weird.” Toxica let out a little chuckle at the thought of a creepy thing like a Gastly hatching from such an egg.
“And when the Gastly hatches,” continued Selene, “the shell often becomes a part of its body, if it doesn't just dissolve into thin air. Also, they make fantastic omelettes; they're just tough to keep in the pan because they tend to float away or dissipate. And when the omelette is done, you don't eat it, but inhale it.” She smiled. “And then the world suddenly makes so much sense...”
“Well, that explains a thing or two,” chuckled Aqua as she entered as well, smiling. “Morning, ladies, I hope there's breakfast other than Gastly omelettes left, because I'm starving.”
She gracefully jumped down the stairs and onto a chair, then began giving herself breakfast. “So whawt waws awll this tawlk of Gastly omewettes?” she asked with her mouth full of bacon.
“I was just telling a bit about ghosts, because Toxica was afraid-”
“Because I was afraid I didn't know enough about them to fight them well,” interrupted Toxica. Though she liked Aqua a lot, she didn't really want more people to know how scared she was of ghosts.
Fortunately Aqua seemed too busy with her breakfast to notice the cover-up. “Wow,” said Selene, “you're quite hungry. Did you celebrate long with Boreas yesterday after we went to bed?”
Aqua blushed, and Toxica burst out in giggles. Selene could be very naïve sometimes. “Hehe, I guess we did,” she giggled.
As they had their breakfast, Toxica's mind drifted back to the ghosts. Selene had made her feel better about them, but a single thought of the things they were said to be able to do to you made her blood freeze in her veins. The stories about devouring people's souls, turning you into a ghost, or controlling your mind were probably just made up... But they were still terrifying. And if only one of them was true... Toxica didn't dare continue the thought.
Fortunately, she didn't have to, as Octa joined them. “Mornin', Octa!” she said happily.
“Good morning,” said Octa, without even looking at her. “Boreas and Lucius aren't here yet?”
“Yes, they are,” said Aqua, “they're hidden under the table.”
“Quite funny.”
Aqua chuckled. “Well, ask a dumb question, get a dumb answer. Boreas is still lying in bed, he didn't feel like having breakfast yet. I guess Lucius is just being lazy.”
As Octa started having breakfast too, he still hadn't looked at Toxica. “Good morning, Octa,” she said, extra clearly. Yet he seemed to be more interested in his breakfast than in her. “Good morning.” he replied.

Several hours later, Octa still hadn't even made eye contact with her. Her annoyance over his weird behaviour almost eclipsed her fear for the ghosts, who – hatched from eggs or not – scared the living piss out of her. The dreaded moment when she'd have to face them came closer and closer. She tried very hard not to think of the horrible stories that were told about every ghost. Her feet felt like they were made of osmium, and cold and warm shivers alternated over her body. Her head, flower and body felt far too warm, yet her hands and feet were cold and shivery. She was too scared to look up at the purple tower as they walked towards it.
They went left immediately as they entered the main League building, into a dark tunnel. Toxica could hear herself breathing awfully loud and fast, but kept walking. She toyed with the idea to use the darkness to sneak away, but knew she couldn't. She was going to have to face whatever would be waiting for her at the end of this darkness. That was, as it turned out, slightly less darkness. She could see a large staircase spiralling around huge bookcases. Spider webs were everywhere and the murky air was ominously thick and dusty. She forced the voice in her mind that said she could be breathing in a Gastly already to shut up.
Wings flapped loudly, and then something touched her flower. “Get it off me, get it off me!” she screamed, trying to slap at whatever horrible thing it was.
“It's me, Tox!” said Selene.
“Oh,” said Toxica, feeling very silly, especially now that everyone was looking at her. “Er. Sorry. What'd you startle me like that for?”
“Yeah, you crazy bird,” said Lucius, “what did you scare her for? She's probably scared enough for what the ghosts could do to her anyway.”
“Hey, shut up!” snapped Toxica.
“Like turn her into a zombie, or-”
“Shut your trap, Lucius,” said Boreas, “scaring her really isn't going to help us.”
“And you shut up too, I'm not scared!”
“I'm just trying to-”
“Come on, guys,” said Black, “quit fighting and get on with it.”
Listening to their trainer, they stopped arguing, but Toxica was still furious that her fear was so apparent. Grumbling angrily as they walked up the stairs, she barely noticed their creepy creaking. The stairs went around the tall bookcases once, and then reached their top. There was a wooden floor illuminated by a purple lantern on top of the bookcases. At its far side a petite human woman sat at a desk, scribbling something in a book. Her hair and clothes were all purple, or perhaps that was just because of the purple light. She reminded Toxica of a cat.
“Welcome,” said Shauntal of the Elite Four as she looked up. “You must be Black. A curious name, just like the last challenger...”
“Yes,” said Black, “I am, and I've come to challenge you. But first I want to know why you protect N.”
Shauntal looked down into the book. “'Eyes brimming with dark flame, this man rejected everything other than himself in order to bring about one singular justice...' That is something I wrote just now, inspired by our new Champion. N has a righteous, selfless conviction that is rarely seen. He believes himself to be a hero, and in many ways he is. Whether I agree with him or not, he has my fullest respect, and I want to see what he can do if we let him.”
Black shrugged. “Well, at least you seem to have given it more thought than Grimsley.”
“N talked to me about you, you know. He believes you too are a hero.”
Black sighed, while Toxica slowly felt her anger subside. Fortunately, Shauntal didn't seem too scary. Yet she dreaded the monsters she might release from her pokéballs. “I'm not a hero, I'm just trying to stop Team Plasma. I have no interest in N's hero rubbish.”
“Fascinating...” said Shauntal. “You really do fit the role well. I'm sure your battle with N will be very interesting, but that's not for now. I will battle you right now and see whether you've got what it takes. We'll fight six against six, and all the usual rules apply.”
“Fine by me.”
From Shauntal's pokéball appeared what looked like an ancient sarcophagus with a dark hole in it. But malicious red eyes and glistening teeth glowed up behind the hole and four ghostly hands emanated from the coffin. Toxica froze with fear; it was said that if you come to close to a Cohagrigus, it would swallow you and turn you into a mummy. Fortunately Black didn't send her to fight, but Selene.
“Hey,” said Selene happily, “it's you! You were at Celestial Tower, weren't you? One of those fun ghosts!”
A voice like slime oozing out of a coffin emanated from the Cohagrigus as Selene flew over the battlefield. “What? Oh no, it's you, the Murkrow who's away with the fairies!
Selene suddenly dived at Cohagrigus, her claws enveloped in dark, pointed shadows. A small, fiery light flew from Cohagrigus to her, but she dodged it nimbly and swooped at the ghost. Her claws did as good as no damage, of course, but the sharp dark energy that shot from each claw really seemed to hurt it. But as Selene flew away, she was hit by one of the ghostly arms and tossed hard through the air before she stopped her momentum.
“I don't think so,” said Selene, continuing the conversation as if there was no battle going on. “My friends like each other a lot, but I don't think any of them are fairies. Also, fairy is not a nice word, you should-” Then she squawked in shock as a swarm of fiery blue lights like the Litwicks that had helped these ghosts torment Toxica flew around, all trying to intercept her. She was forced to fly as fast as she could and change direction often to evade the Will o' the Wisps.
Toxica shivered at the ghostly fires, wondering if her opponent would use them too... She thought back to that horrible day when the ghosts had terrified her; she remembered Cohagrigus, of course, but also a cruel Froslass, a kind Golurk, a Jellicent, Drifblim, and finally the scariest one of them all: Chandelure and its infernal flames. She knew she couldn't battle any of them, except perhaps Golurk. She didn't dare fight the others, out of fear for the horrible things they might do to her.
Selene had no chance to attack Cohagrigus again with about thirty Will-o-Wisps all swarming about while Cohagrigus hurled Shadow Balls at her with its ghostly arms. Toxica wanted to shout something to encourage Selene, but all she got was a frightful squeak.
Cohagrigus' glowing red eyes turned to her and then it laughed, a sound like an ill badger panting. “If it isn't the little flower girl. Don't you think you're a little out of your league here? But by all means, go ahead and fight when it's your turn. We've got ways to use both your body and your soul...
Toxica knew it was trying to scare her, but that didn't change a thing. The creepy voice, the creepy eyes, the creepy... Everything. It terrified her, and she wanted to get away as fast as she could. Selene, using her enemy's distraction, dived down and Night Slashed it again. “Hey, if you want to spook someone, why not me?”
The Will-o-Wisps had followed her and pelleted Selene and Cohagrigus itself. Purple, ghostly flames erupted from its hands, but Selene was hit too, and the purple flames danced over her. She dropped to the ground with a squawk and rolled around while Cohagrigus was flailing its hands about trying to extinguish the fire. Selene had extinguished the flames soon, got to her feet, and slashed her wing in the air. A shockwave of air, sharp as a knife, slashed at the ghost as it extinguished the flames, and two more followed immediately. It hit Selene with a dark, ghostly ball, and she staggered a bit, but continued attacking until the hands retracted into the sarcophagus and Cohagrigus fell over.
Toxica wanted to cheer for Selene as Shauntal sent out another pokémon: a huge, blue, bipedal creature, roughly shaped and with gigantic fists and feet. Toxica recognised the Golurk who had saved her from the other ghosts. It quickly nodded to her and Selene in recognition, then immediately showed why Shauntal had chosen it: it aimed both arms at Selene, and massive bolts of lightning came from them. Selene squawked as she was hit, dropping quickly with singed feathers, but she flew again before she hit the ground, firing a beam of darkness at Golurk as she rapidly flew at it, her claws stretched and dark energy flowing about her.
As Selene's attack impacted Golurk, however, its gigantic fist impacted the Honchkrow like an electrified wrecking ball, sending a bright flash through the dark tower as Selene was thrown back and crashed on the floor, skidding a bit further as a heap of smoking feathers. It seemed impossible she would recover from a Thunderpunch like that, yet a pulse of darkness shot at Golurk the next moment as Selene took off once again with surprising speed, avoiding another lightning bolt.
She made a very sharp turn, tucked her wings in, and accelerated greatly as great, fiery wind formed around her: she was trying to take both of them out with a Brave Bird attack. Golurk fired off its right leg and arm like rockets, propelling it to the left quickly to dodge the attack, but it seemed it had just been a ruse: Selene flew just by it, while shooting several Dark Pulses at Golurk. Golurk simply fell over.
As Selene flew up into the air again, Toxica cheered happily for her: they were two pokémon ahead already, maybe she wouldn't even have to fight! But then, the temperature dropped instantly as an elegant, feminine creature white as snow appeared. Ice-cold wind blew through the tower. Snow fell and the air became foggy. Selene dived for the Froslass, struggling with the icy winds she conjured up. Froslass let out a bone-chilling shriek and frigid wind roared through the tower, enveloping Selene in whiteness. The icy cloud she was in kept rushing towards Froslass, but the ghost sidestepped very nimbly, and there was suddenly a blade of ice in her hand. She stuck the blade into the cloud, and it fell to the ground, dissipated and revealing a collapsed Selene. Black swiftly returned her to her pokéball.
Toxica was shivering heavily in the icy, penetrating cold. It had probably been much colder on Victory Road, but she'd been wearing thick clothes then. “Well?” said Froslass, the blade disappeared again. “Which one of you dares to fight me?”
“I do,” said Boreas, stepping forth.
“Oh, an ice-type, how cute. You think you can beat me at my own game.”
An Ice Beam flashed over the battlefield like a bolt of lightning, but was handily parried by a wave of Boreas' paw. “Yes, I do.”
“Not bad,” patronised Froslass, “but what do you do if I do this?” The wind blew forcefully and very hard, and Toxica had to turn her flower into it to prevent being blown away. The snowstorm enveloped the battlefield, spinning towards Boreas, but it didn't hit him: it blew around him, spinning very fast, and then back towards Froslass in a straight line of a ferocious, icy gale, blowing her back. She calmed the storm down quickly. “Good, good,” she grinned, “this will be fun for me yet.”
“Too much fun, perhaps?” said Boreas, firing off a quintuplet of Ice Beams in quick succession to Froslass. She waved her arms and the storm focused around her in an instant, making her cloaked in the white snow and haze. The Ice Beams passed through without trouble, but as the thick clouds around Froslass dissipated, she was no longer there. Toxica stared wide-eyed in shock, but then saw Froslass was trying to stab Boreas with her ice blade. “H-how?” Toxica stammered.
“But can you do that?” said Froslass as her jab at Boreas was parried by a blast of ice-cold air coming the other way.
Boreas pushed the blade away with one paw and put the other to Froslass, releasing a shockwave of coldness from his paw. Froslass was thrown back and pelleted with ice and liquid air. “No, but I'm willing to learn. Can you do that?”
He pounced Froslass, cloaked in shards of ice like a comet falling to Earth, and was thrown up, tumbling, by an even larger pulse of cold, landing hard on his bum. “Yes, I can. Better than you, I might add.”
She flew through the air on the icy winds, trying to stab Boreas again, but was hit by an Ice Beam and plummeted to the ground. The wind and snow coalesced into Boreas' paw, forming a blade of ice in it, and he chopped at Froslass: just too late, as she had got up and parried with her own sword. She tried to stab Boreas, but he nimbly blocked her attack. While fencing, they were both trying to gain full control of the snowstorm that raged through the tower and had covered the entire battlefield in snow by now.
Both put forth their unused paw at the same moment, trying to unleash a pulse of cold on the other. The energy met between them, and both tried to gain the upper hand up the mighty pulse building up between them, frozen in position as they struggled. Toxica was the first to realise what would happen: “Get down!” she screeched as she dropped.
A tremendous icy explosion occurred between the two ice-types, nearly blowing Toxica away even now that she lay flat, and showering her with shards and droplets of something so cold it numbed her skin instantly. The storm blew outwards too, and hundreds of books fell from the bookcases below them. Toxica looked up, brushing the snow on her away, and saw they were still at it, though clearly hurt and even feeling cold. They were shooting Ice Beams at each other from a distance now, parrying each other's beams with pulses of cold and small flashes of dark energy. The crossfire went amazingly fast, yet they were both able to keep up with it as they resumed the snowstorm.
The storm began focusing more on Froslass, and then she was enveloped in white snow and mist again, hiding her white form. The Ice Beams stopped coming back from the cloud of snow. Boreas instantly jumped to the side, having been surprised by this trick once already, which meant the cluster of Ice Beams aiming for his head from the side where Froslass reappeared hit his flank instead. Boreas gasped with pain. “Argh, that is a nice trick...”
Froslass was determined to finish it now, barraging Boreas under attacks as they and the storm obscured him from view. Toxica winced as no Ice Beams returned from Boreas any more: it seemed someone else would have to finish Froslass.
Suddenly a comet firing off Ice Beams shot from the clouds behind Froslass; she was taken completely by surprise, hit several times, and pounced to the ground. “...So let me thank you for teaching it to me!”
She fought back with a blast of ice shards, but Boreas sent pulses of cold through her as he pinned her down, and she soon stopped struggling. Boreas was left wounded, tired, and partially frozen, but victorious.
“Woah!” gasped Toxica, “how'd you do that?!”
Boreas stuck out his tongue. “Magic.”
A dark purple balloon with tiny red eyes appeared in the air, and was instantly carried around on the stormy winds. “A Drifblim?” scoffed Aqua. “I'll bet you Boreas easily beats it.”
“I hope...” said Toxica, but she was really beginning to feel good about this. Selene and Boreas were really wrecking Shauntal's team, and if this kept up, they would win easily, and possibly without Toxica having to face a ghost at all. Boreas fired Ice Beams at Drifblim, who did nothing to dodge, but barely seemed harmed either. However, it emitted a cloud of little Will-o-Wisps that flew against the wind, straight for Boreas.
Aqua placed her tail on Toxica's shoulder friendlily. “C'mon, my cunning Boreas against a silly balloon that can barely control its own movements? It's no contest.”
Boreas fired a sustained Ice Beam right at the X that seemed to be in place of the creature's mouth, but it seemed to have no effect either. Then he had to run to avoid the swarm of Will-o-Wisps, while a new wind blew by him; it smelled dry and very old, like the stale air in a pyramid, and Boreas looked visibly weakened by it. A Will-o-Wisp impacted his tail as he blew the Drifblim about with stormy winds of his own. The purple flames quickly crept up it, but fortunately he quickly began rolling in the snow, extinguishing most of them.
But a foul voice emanated from the Drifblim, speaking in a strange and malicious language, and the flames rapidly spread instead, despite Boreas' rolling. He burst into ghostly flame, screaming in agony as he tried desperately to extinguish it with snow and ice. Terror filled Toxica again; terror for the gruesome ghost-type that could make you combust with just a simple Hex. Aqua's tail left her shoulder as she rushed forward, enveloped in a wave of water and running to save her lover.
“I retract Boreas!” said Black just in time before Aqua too would have been disqualified. The Vaporeon, now the centre of a wave of water and snow, jumped onto Boreas and fortunately the flames proved easer to extinguish with water. “Lucius,” said Black, “it's your turn, be careful!”
“Careful is my middle name,” said Lucius as he stepped forward.
“Don't you need a last name to have a middle one?” said Selene.
“Shut up,” Lucius said as a charred, wounded Boreas was helped off the battlefield by Aqua. “Let's see if I can hurt this thing.”
He took a deep breath and exhaled a huge torrent of fire that made Toxica take several steps back, catching Drifblim right in the middle of it. Heat spread through the tower rapidly, quickly heating up the frigid air and melting much of the snow. It was unbelievable, but Drifblim only looked a little charred by the inferno; barely damaged. A thin yellow beam of electricity hit Lucius. “Ack!” he yelped. “One persistent bastard, are you? Take this!”
The darkness of the tower focussed in a single pulse that fired from Lucius to Drifblim. Once again, there was barely any result.
“Drifblims are quite impervious to damage,” said Octa.
“Really, mister wise-ass?” snarled Lucius. “Hadn't noticed that yet! Argh!” He yelped as he was hit by another beam of electricity, making his fur stand on edge.
“I was merely explaining,” said Octa annoyed, “you have to keep hitting it.”
“Well, captain Obvious, then why don't you let me get on with it instead of distracting me?” Lucius began shooting another Dark Pulse at Drifblim as Octa grumbled angrily.
It was a surprisingly boring battle compared to the rapid exchange of attacks between Boreas and Froslass. Drifblim just bobbed around and would hit Lucius with attacks while Lucius continually fired flames and darkness at it until it finally went down. “About time,” grumbled Lucius.
A floating, pink, eldritch creature appeared. Its frilled tentacles, crown, pink collar, and kissy mouth made it look absolutely ridiculous on a certain level. But that level was completely overshadowed by the incredibly unsettling and creepy way it moved, the staring emptiness of its eyes, and the way it looked like only an impersonation of a living thing. Lucius ran for the low-floating Jellicent, his mouth opened and ready to bite the floating terror. He jumped, and Jellicent swirled around with amazing speed, catching Lucius in a powerful beam of water that hit the wall so hard it sounded like rocks hitting it. Lucius was launched back, caught by the water, and crumpled onto the floor, clearly out for the count.
Toxica was shivering, as much at the Jellicent's deeply unsettling appearance as the knowledge they ate souls, and that no ship that had ever gone into Jellicent-infested waters had returned. So when Octa drew his blade and slithered forth, she was scared for him, even if he had been a jerk to her today. A storm began once again, but this time it wasn't a cold one, but it was full of leaves sharper than knives being blown around. Aqua quickly put up a veil of water to protect them from the leaves, and Jellicent did the same. However, since the attack was directed at Jellicent, part of it still got through and hit it. It didn't even bleed: only water came from its wounds.
It struck back with a wave of toxic pink sludge. Octa slithered away, but it caught up with him, and Toxica could see his pain as the stuff burned his skin. Moving quickly, he reached his eldritch opponent and stabbed at her with his Leaf Blade, creating more wounds, though the Jellicent's face remained empty. Its attempts to strike back with its tentacles were parried with Octa's blade, and it received several more stabs. Suddenly Jellicent spun rapidly, its tentacles a blur of speed, and Octa was thrown back. He got up, shot a ball of green energy at Jellicent, and then suddenly froze. Toxica wondered what was going on, but then saw Jellicent's empty eyes glow red.
“Kyogre's fins, it's using a psychic attack!” Toxica saw Octa cringe and try to fight back.
Jellicent chuckled. “Well, well, you're planning to break up with the little flower girl? I can't say I blame you.”
Anger welled up in Toxica like a fire. “Hey, keep out of his head and stop lying!”
“But it's no lie,” said Jellicent as its eyes stopped glowing and Octa collapsed. “Is it?”
Octa lay on the ground, panting and defeated. He looked Toxica up, and she saw it in his eyes. “I... I'm sorry...”
Toxica was furious, devastated and speechless. Before she could ask Octa for an explanation, Jellicent finished him off. She trembled. Aqua looked her in the eyes. “I'll fight it. But you'll probably have to finish the battle; you have to regain your cool.”
Toxica realised she was right: Jellicent had brought the battle back to an equal standing, with each side having two pokémon left. Though rage against Octa filled her, she tried to distract herself by remembering what Shauntal's final pokémon was: she sighed when she remembered it was the scariest of all ghost-types, Chandelure. She really wished Aqua would defeat Jellicent, because Toxica would stand no chance against a Chandelure on her own.
The two water-types had been fighting for a while, flooding the field with water all the time. Jellicent was already weakened, but could use ghost attacks to great effect. Aqua resorted to trying to bite her opponent. She rushed towards it in the middle of a wave, launched herself up, and dug her teeth into the gelatinous abomination. As she bit, causing more water to flow from its wounds, Aqua was grabbed by Jellicent's tentacles. She fought against them, and bit down hard in one of them so the floating jellyfish retracted it, but there were too many. She was wrapped by the tentacles, and Toxica knew they would lose at that moment. There was no way she was going to defeat the Jellicent who had defeated their three strongest fighters, and then take on a Chandelure as well. It was better this way, she decided. She could just give up without having to face the ghosts, as she stood no chance anyway. It was much easier and less scary.
Sod off.
She felt rage coalescing into something very hard and very tough. Something that really wanted to hurt Jellicent for hurting her friend, show that git Octa what he'd thrown away, and prove that even if she was terrified of the ghosts, she could still kick their gaseous arses. She was terrified, to be sure, and would love to give up, but if she did, she knew the power she felt inside her would never forgive her. She walked forward resolutely as Aqua fell unconsciously from her enemy's tentacles and adjusted her flower with her hands so she was ready to fight. Two balls of glowing green energy formed in her hands.
“It's the little flower girl!” sneered Jellicent arrogantly. “You'd better give up right now if you don't want me to do horrible things to your fragile little soul.”
She kept walking resolutely.
“Even your boyfriend knows you're weak and mediocre, worthless compared to your companions; it's why he dumped you. And I just beat three of them. I could eat your very soul. Do you think a scared little walking flower like you is going to defeat me?”
“That's just about the size of it, yeah.” She threw the Energy Ball in her right hand, but Jellicent suddenly showed itself to be very fast, dodging the attack and racing for Toxica. She had got as far as lifting up her left arm to throw the second Energy Ball when she was stopped by an incredibly powerful mind assailing her own like the sea bursting through a crack in the dike and ravaging the land. She was aware Jellicent was right in front of her, but as the tremendous tidal wave of thought bashed the cold hard anger that had driven her away, she couldn't bring herself to attack the ancient ocean that was in her mind. It was futile to fight it; nothing could defeat such force; such depth. Her defiance was easily washed away, and the mind tore the layers of her mind away with ease. Her fear, her love, her anger, everything was torn away...
Leaving only her core.
She threw the Energy Ball right between Jellicent's eyes. A piercing scream was everywhere, the wave in her mind boiled away instantly, and her mind was once again her own as Jellicent collapsed, looking as pathetic as a beached jellyfish. She realised now how silly she'd been to fear it.
The sound of a pokémon appearing sounded, and the tower was bathed in blue light. She turned around. A black chandelier with a ghostly face floated, five bright blue flames burning off it. The Chandelure could probably incinerate her with a single attack.
“Surrender,” it said, “I'll burn your soul and leave your body a mindless shell. What's it going to be? Give up or-”
“No.” Toxica aimed her flower and shot a bomb of toxic pollen right at its head. It screeched and its flames burnt an angry green as Toxica quickly threw a pair of Energy Balls at it before she jumped away from the giant flames it spewed at her. The blistering heat from the barely-missed inferno hurt her greatly, and she wished she could use a Solarbeam. Unfortunately, it was impossible to take in enough energy in the darkness. She instead used Energy Balls and poisonous attacks, so determined to win she barely noticed the pain when she got hit; it only made her angrier.
Yet all the dodging of flames drove her to the edge of the plateau soon. As another wave of flame headed her way, she jumped down onto the circulating stairs, landing on the books that had fallen out of their bookcases by the battle. She picked a couple of heavy volumes up, ignoring the searing pain in her flower, and threw them right into Chandelure's face as it floated after her; it was knocked back by the heavy impacts.
She realised then the pain in her flower had gotten much worse and was spreading rapidly; she was on fire! She bashed her flower repeatedly into the empty bookcase to extinguish it, but made sure to absorb energy from the bright light of the fire at the same time. When Chandelure showed up again, angry, she pointed her flower and lit up the entire tower with a Solarbeam. Chandelure fell on the ground and she jumped on top of it immediately, smashing a heavy book on its head repeatedly. She kept smashing and smashing, until finally the ghost disappeared from under her. She looked around ferociously, and saw Shauntal standing with a pokéball in her hand.
“Amazing,” said Shauntal. “Absolutely amazing. I really wasn't expecting to lose. Maybe N is right about you...”
Toxica didn't listen to the conversation any more; she realised she had won! She had actually defeated Chandelure all by herself, and Jellicent too. Ghosts didn't seem so scary any more... She was about to put the heavy book down, but then she remembered Octa's face might be a better place to put it.
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