The Middle Ground
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January 6th, 2013 (10:49 AM).
Researcher of Orange Lore
Chapter 30 – A Common Enemy (Part 3)
April, Alex, Naoko gasped at the man who was seemingly being strangled to death in mid-air in front of them before they started attempting to break the barrier by any means necessary. As the three of them began hitting the barrier with all of their might trying to force a way through, Erika noticed the familiar glow that surrounded Crowe and looked past him to see an even more familiar face.
“Sabrina?! Wait -- Stop! Put him down!” She cried, slamming her hands against the barrier to no response from anyone on the other side. She wasn’t sure she could even be seen or heard but she knew instinctively that this wasn’t an action of the Sabrina she knew.
Crowe’s Umbreon was confused by the situation and cried out to her trainer whilst maintaining her stance on the ground ready to attack, but the trouble was that she couldn’t comprehend who exactly the culprit was and scanned the nearby people, searching for information.
As his eyes shuffled around the room, Pluto found himself wondering which was the lesser of two evils; the woman who was intent on watching the light leave Crowe’s eyes or the younger woman who was choking him telekinetically. Deciding to help Crowe, Pluto began to issue a command to his Bastiodon but was quickly silenced by the pressure of cool steel on his neck. The aged man looked to his side to see a Sneasel standing on a computer console with its blades drawn against him and its trainer across the room.
“One more word and you die.” Petrel smirked, taking uncharacteristic initiative.
Suddenly April’s head felt tight and a voice rang out inside, the same voice as before but this time it was different – it was like the person it was coming from was right next to her. “Help me!!” The Voice cried, but this time sounded definitively feminine and much more desperate.
“Ghost!” The Voice cried again.
April quickly looked at Slowking beside her. “Did you hear-“
“-Yes!” The Pokemon nodded, understanding the urgency of the situation and that hearing the Voice now wasn’t just a coincidence.
“Ghost. Ghost! Ghost!! GHOST!!” It repeated, each time louder and with more urgency as Slowking seemingly scanned the room behind the barrier. It was then he found what he was looking for and cried out to the pokemon inside the barrier.
“There!” Slowking pointed at Sabrina. “Use Dark Pulse and aim it just above her head!”
Upon hearing this command; like a monsoon, the red of Umbreon’s eyes swiftly became clouded and tenebrous as she took a deep breath and sang an almighty howl at Sabrina, firing a wave of black and purple circles of dark energy in her direction.
It struck the area above the Gym Leader’s head and seemed to impact the thin air and dissipate until, a fraction of a second later, the unmistakable grey pointed head of a Shuppet became visible; its cloth-like body coating Erika’s face like a veil. Clearly injured and disoriented from the attack, the Pokemon screamed an almost deafening shriek before it lifted itself from Erika’s head and pierced through the air, passing through the window that also served as the back wall entirely and disappearing into the night.
As it released its grasp upon Sabrina, the gym leader's legs gave way as she regained consciousness and relinquished control of the barrier and Crowe, causing him to also fall to the floor.
The loud sound of the impact briefly distracted Petrel and his pokemon just long enough for Pluto to take advantage of the situation and swing his arms at the Sneasel in front of him, pushing it off of the console. With a smirk of almost delight at the current situation, Pluto grabbed ahold of the spikes along the ridge of Bastiodon’s back and ordered it to use Iron Defence. The two were almost instantaneously coated in faint metallic silver skin, looking as if they were now creatures made of liquid steel.
Sabrina had fallen right at Ariana’s feet, stirring and mumbling as she came to. The Rocket commander used her boot to tip the Gym Leader’s head to the other side and quickly made up her mind that the girl was no longer of any use to her. “Pity.” She remarked, flicking her ankle to remove Sabrina from her shoe like the piece of dirt that she saw her as.
Although Crowe had held his grip on the Diamond whilst in the air, once he hit the floor it was freed from his grasp and briefly bounced along the tiled floor until it stopped right between Adam and Proton. The younger boy quickly caught sight of the Gem and shifted his gaze to Crowe and back again. Adam knew that Crowe would want the Diamond to be his priority and so he ran for it with Proton having the same idea. Adam scooped it up in his hand and thought he had grabbed the Gem before his opponent but Proton had not planned to reach for it, instead grabbing Adam’s arm as he ran past him and swung a paralysing right hook into his stomach, making the young boy lose his balance and relinquish his grip upon the Gem.
Petrel folded his arms and leaned against the wall with a cocky smile. “You’ve cut through a lot harder before, Sneasel; tear them apart.”
The Dark-type Pokemon elongated its blade-like claws, adorning the same facial expression as its trainer before it charged at the pair. Sneasel attempted a vertical slice but was blocked by Pluto’s raised right arm.
“Heh heh heh, Steel against Steel… I like it.” He said, raising an eyebrow as his enemy recovered from the slight shock of not cutting through its target. This agitated Sneasel as he tried again and again to slice through but had no luck. As this was happening, Proton was slowly walking in a circle around Sneasel, calculating the best angle of attack and when he reached it, he briefly glanced at Bastiodon and they knew exactly what to do. When Sneasel tried another vertical slice, Pluto quickly kicked the pokemon back just enough so it was in the path of a charging Bastiodon using Iron Head, sending it flying against the wall, knocking it out.
The look on Petrel’s face quickly disappeared as he saw Pluto walking toward him. He scrambled for another pokeball but before long, Pluto had pushed the Rocket against the wall and held his silver arm against Petrel’s neck.
“I would say that my arm is pretty sharp right now, but failing that, I could probably crush your neck too so I’d be a good boy… if I were you.”
Umbreon gently nudged her trainer who was still desperately trying to catch his breath just as Ariana appeared, towering over them with a devilish smirk on her face with a pokeball in hand. All of a sudden a green bubble of energy crashed just inches away from where the Rocket commander was standing, causing her to jump backward. As she looked up she could see Alex, Naoko, April and Erika approaching, each with their pokemon drawn from their pokeballs and Erika’s Tangrowth, a 6 foot tall pokemon composed of a mess of blue vines, poised with another bubble of energy ready to fire.
“Next time we won’t miss!” Erika proclaimed.
Adam had a knelt to the floor as a pain seared through his abdomen, his eyes had watered, impairing his vision and as he looked up he saw Proton’s lips speak the words “Know your place, boy.”
Shortly after, he delivered a powerful blow to Adam’s face with his knee making him fall backwards with a bloody nose.
This caught the attention of April who was scanning the room for a face she desperately want to see.
“Adam!” She cried, running over and placing herself between the Rocket Leader and her brother.
“Oh look who we have here… We’re getting far too familiar with each other for my liking. And what’s this? You two know each other - Isn’t this a touching reunion?”
Petrel looked toward the group and recognised Alex immeadiately. “Hold the phone- you know these kids too? That boy with the glasses and the brunette were the ones who meddled with the Manor Project in Cerulean.”
Ariana raised an eyebrow, her face remaining stern, masking the true expression underneath. Knowing there was plenty more to the current situation than pure coincidence, she needed a way to follow up on the situation later as they were vastly outnumbered.
“You lay another finger on him and I’ll –“ April began.
“-And you’ll what?” Proton smirked, folding his arms smugly.
“April – Look out!” Alex cried out to April who turned to see Ariana charging straight for her. Naoko was the first to react, ordering Lulu to fire a Water Gun but as she did so, her necklace began to shimmer brightly, coating the walls in a deep blue light. Lulu’s took in a deep breath and fired a jet of water in the Rocket Leader’s direction. However, the force of the water was many times more powerful than it should have been, somewhat equivalent to a Hydro Pump that managed to push Ariana off of her feet and flying backwards and through the window at the back of the room. The redheaded woman disappeared from view and the group looked to each other in shock.
The remaining Rockets took advantage of the commotion as Pluto had unknowingly loosened his grip on Petrel, allowing him to slide away and head to the back of the room to join Proton. A powerful gust of wind blew through the window sending debris flying around the area as a helicopter appeared outside broken window. A woman with Ariana’s unmistakable red hair could be seen climbing up a rope ladder and into the helicopter, helped up by a face that both Alex and April recognised – Domino.
“Thank you ever so much for the Diamond!” Proton smiled as he turned to jump into the helicopter with Petrel following suit.
“Well don’t just let them get away, they’ve got the Diamond – Stop them!” Pluto bellowed through the noise of the helicopter.
The group all commanded their pokemon; sending balls of energy, lightening, water and ice speeding through the air just as a cloaked figure appeared on the helicopter door with a Shuppet floating just in front; the same pokemon from earlier.
Shuppet began twirling in midair using its horn as an axis, gathering speed at an alarming rate until a green ball of energy seemed to hit an invisible wall in front of the pokemon which dissipated, causing the air around it to ripple followed by the barrage of other elements, all having the same effect.
Shuppet then withdrew toward the helicopter as it turned and began to fly away but not before Domino threw a single dart in the shape of a black rose into the room, just inches away from the group. Alex knew what this was – they had no time to run or to escape. The rose flashed red and then black, faster and faster and until it exploded just seconds after it had landed. The group closed their eyes and grabbed onto the nearest people to them.
After a few moments, they slowly and uncertainly began to open their eyes to see that a dome had been erected around them, supported at the centre by Crowe and his Gallade.
“They’re not the only ones that can use protect.” He smiled, looking slightly worse for wear as the dome slowly faded.
Kneeling down to help her friend, Erika wiped the hair from Sabrina’s eyes as she sat up, very much conscious but physically drained. Alex scanned the room and saw that Pluto and his Bastiodon were still very much intact, letting their silver skin subside after the blast. April released her embrace on Adam and looked around carefully.
“Do you think we’re safe?” Naoko asked, looking around the room as the sound of footsteps began to echo.
Suddenly a dozen police officers entered with their weapons drawn and Growlithes at their side, snarling viciously.
“Armed police, Jenny division - put your hands where we can see them!”
Catch 'em, catch 'em, gotta catch 'em all; gotta catch 'em all - Pokemon!
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