Mantarys caught the light of the Solarbeam with the edge of his sight and jerked to the right to avoid it. He was about to begin his ruthless destruction of Vince's bone structure, when a freezing Ice Beam came raining from the sky and struck the ground in front of him, stopping the villain in his tracks. Looking overhead, he noticed... was that a ghost?
"Not today Mantarys!"
Indeed, it was Loria and Faolan, who had escaped their Psychic prison and come to the aid of the heroes nearby. Both of them landed on opposite sides of Vince, quickly taking up a fighting stance. "Well, I guess a cordial introduction isn't necessary. I suppose you're Mantarys, the wicked villain?"
The Krookodile's black eyes flicked from Faolan to Loria, a gurgling snarling rising from his throat. "Heroes," he hissed, "you should've been elsewhere..." He started laughing, then charged forward in a reckless frenzy, liquid dark energy already engulfing his hand in an Assurance that would hit all of them. Faolan had already leaped away fluidly.
As Mantarys charged, Vincent threw himself forwards, diving between the massive Pokémon's legs, barely avoiding the wildly swinging tail as he pulled off into a roll and leapt back onto his feet, swiftly jumping backwards to avoid any kind of wild swinging he knew Mantarys was prone to.
Loria quickly rolled out of the way as Mantarys stormed past her in what she would call an idiotic frenzy. "Didn't your mother ever teach you that it was impolite to hit girls?" She inhaled deeply and blew out a blistering Blizzard in Mantarys direction.
The center of the icy hailstorm found Mantarys full on the chest, making him flinch. He gritted his massive jaws and fought back the wind, slowly pacing towards Loria... until he launched himself off the ground in a surprise attack, using Foul Play on her; of course, Loria is not easily decieved, and immediately rolled again as he crashed down on her, only being scratched slightly by the claw on his foot. "Some help would be wonderful!" She then released another Ice Beam on Mantarys in an attempt to force him back.
Mantarys swung around, dodging the Ice Bream. Faolan had launched an Aura Sphere at Mantarys while Vincent had decided to make use of the Krookodile's attention being focused squarely on Loria. He dashed forward and ducked under the thick, flailing tail before leaping up, raising the shells in front of him, which he then sliced downwards, across Mantarys' back in an X-shape, kicking off of the Krookodile's back to push him out of his reach once again. "Hey, Mantarys! How about you deal with me? It's generally a bad idea to have your back turned to your enemy."
Mantarys let out a feral, monstrous scream; underneath him, a massive wave of darkness shot out to all directions. He was getting desperate, perhaps the heroes had gotten the better of him... but no, he thought to himself, grinning, his black eyes flaring with power. The Dark Pulse hit his soldiers as well, like an earthquake of darkness. Faolan stood his ground, letting the Dark Pulse wash over him. It didn't have as little effect as he'd hoped... in fact, it brought him on his knees, but he was quickly up.
Loria swiftly floated upwards as the dark wave pulsed underneath her, scraping the bottom of her dress-leg-things roughly. "Yeesh, you're a violent one. Have you considered anger management options?"
Wincing in pain, Vincent had raised his arms in front of him, standing his ground against the pulse of darkness blasting out from Mantarys from all sides. Once the darkness had died down, Vincent shuddered, shaking off the pain from the attack and let out a huff through his nose and the scarf wrapped over his mouth and nose, keeping his shells at the ready as his eyes were locked onto Mantarys, ready for whatever the frenzied captain was prepared to do next.
Meanwhile, Guardian was trying to ward off the soldiers of the Crimson Company who came too close to the fight. Mantarys noticed he wasn't fazed by his Dark Pulse and snarled like a crazed beast at him, setting off a powerful earthquake that shook and shattered the earth beneath them. Faolan had to leap off the ground to avoid the ground wave that left a fissure underneath him; he knew that the Krookodile had to take a moment to recover after using powerful attacks so frequently. Landing in front of him, he launched a Drain Punch onto his chest, then hit him again, this time leaping backwards to avoid his retaliation.
Mantarys had been left breathless, eyes shining darkly. The first rays of the sun were starting to appear on the horizon, behind the mountains... though it was hard to see, with the cloud of dust the earthquake had left. Nothing was moving around him; the mercenaries were all dead or dying. "You shouldn't have come here," he grunted under his breath, his jaws still gritted tightly. There was something strange about him, bits of dark energy were coming off of his body slowly, as if it was steaming from power. Faolan begun to notice the darkening sky, which was strange because it was dawn. Looking up, he saw dark clouds forming in the sky, clouds so black that they could've only been...
"Murkrows," the Mienshao muttered. Whole flocks of Murkrows, flying away from Duskwood, screeching frantically as if they had gone insane. Behind the shadow of Mantarys in the dust, he saw the big shadow of Tsulong and other shadows moving towards the Crimson Captain. Suddenly, the wind whipped up, forcing him to bring his hand to his forehead. A flock of Murkrows flew overhead, engulfing Mantarys, who did not fight them. The flaps of their wings brought the dust away, so all was clear now. Mantarys's eyes were flaring dark with power and emotion, saliva dripping from his jaws, and a vein bulging on his forehead. Faolan could feel his rage, his anguish and frenzy...
Faolan tried sensing Mantarys's aura. It was a crimson red mixed with a hue of black, as if he was on fire. I have never seen anything quite like this, Faolan thought. He would have tried attacking, but an overwhelming sense of danger had taken over him. Everything had fallen to cold silence under the shadow of the Murkrows, as if the air had been sucked out. That was no normal wind. A cold, menacing presence was carried in that wind, Faolan could feel it in his bones.
Then, a whisper echoed inside his mind, sending chills to his entire body.
Power... so... much... power...
It wasn't Mantarys's voice. It was someone else... Faolan looked at the other heroes, to see if they had heard it too. They had. It was getting darker as the damned birds on the sky covered the sun entirely... Mantarys opened his jaws to the sky, spread his arms and let out a deafening screech. He fell to one knee breathless, steaming with power, and looked around him, at the heroes, one by one. He was grinning eagerly with a maniacal shine in his eyes.
"Go ahead," he screamed at them, spitting saliva, "fight me! Push me! PUSH ME! WASTE YOUR TIME!"
As he said that, something behind them lit up the sky, in the forest. Faolan turned to see many fiery explosions taking place somewhere deeper in the forest. Multiple bursts of hellish flames were launched into the sky, each to fall in a different location. Mantarys started laughing, as if mocking them, as the trees of Duskwood went up in flames. The red light was dancing on everyone's faces, when suddenly, the wind whipped up again. An invisible hand was waved over them, dousing them with darkness and cold.
Then it came again, the dark, hissing whisper that almost sounded unreal.
Heroes... come to witness Duskwood... burn... time ticks... Tick, tock... hahahaha... the evil in the laughter made Faolan's hackles rise.