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  #26    
Old October 29th, 2017 (3:48 PM).
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Bay Bay is offline
Darkinium Z
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Dani California
Gender: Female
Nature: Sassy
Posts: 5,288
I like Koga and Leaf's battle there. It's been a while since I played the first and second gen games, but I think your Koga is interesting. I like his reaction to Snorlax suffocating his Machamp (him saying ungraceful lol). There are also cool stuff like Spurt able to defeat his Arbok and Club evolving.
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  #27    
Old November 1st, 2017 (1:27 AM).
abstories abstories is offline
     
    Join Date: Feb 2015
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    Chapter Fourteen - All Out War



    Spoiler:
    A hush swept over Kanto’s capital city. Civilians barred and locked the doors to their homes and hid within to peer out windows and watch the forthcoming violence. It felt like the calm before a storm which would shake the entire world and decide the fates of all involved. Darkness had fallen across the region and Saffron City was lit up by streetlights which poured illumination along the gathered ranks of Servants and Team Rocket warriors.

    “Cold, isn’t it,” Leaf spoke for the first time in a few minutes. She stood side by side with Ethan and Blue as the trio surveyed the battleground from atop a building which overlooked the two armies.

    “A chill evening,” Ethan said as a wind whipped his golden cloak. “I smell rain.”

    “I smell battle,” Leaf added and looked to Blue next to her who just gulped and remained suspiciously silent.

    “When will the rest of the Resistance forces be arriving,” Ethan asked the two of them.

    “We are the Resistance,” Leaf said and laughed without humour. “Blue and I are all that remains.” It was Ethan’s turn to gulp and turn to silence. He had obviously thought a sizable number of Resistance fighters would bolster his own ranks which numbered in the high twenties. His Servants now stood in Robes trimmed with a plethora of colours and lined the streets so that Leaf could almost taste the nervous tension in the air which emanated from both forces.

    “So,” Ethan began then stopped as he struggled to find his next words. He eyed the opposing force who stood in a long line outside of the enormous tower known as “Silph Company Tower”, Team Rocket’s main base of operations with Giovanni’s former offices and meeting rooms residing on the top level. Leaf counted fifteen Rocket grunts on foot who all clasped Pokeballs in their hands and a further five in the same battlesuits which she had encountered within Viridian Forest.

    “Evenly matched,” she said.

    “Those machines appear menacing,” Ethan said and sighed.

    “I’ve fought them before. They have a power unit on the back which is slightly exposed. That’s their weakness.”

    “I shall inform the flock.”

    “That’s Erik’s old house,” Blue suddenly entered the conversation and pointed to a building on the same street. “The one he grew up in.”

    “Fascinating,” Ethan replied before Leaf could speak. “That’s opposite our way in.”

    “Our way in?” Leaf said. “The front door is our way in, isn’t it?” She received a wry smile in response from Ethan.

    “Our flock will engage upon my command,” he said proudly. “But act merely as a decoy. A distraction to our true purpose. You two and I shall enter through a secret escape passage carved into the basement of the building opposite your ‘Erik’s house’ and follow the tunnels through to within Silph Company Tower.” Leaf remarked the building named ‘Taylor’s Pokemon Accessories’ and winced as she realised that Giovanni and Rocket must’ve been keeping an eye on Erik his whole life.

    “How do you know all this?” Blue asked of Ethan.

    “An informant on the inside. And no, not the Servant.”

    “Who then?” Leaf said.

    “Sometimes we must keep secrets even from our allies,” Ethan replied then rummaged around his robe’s pocket and pulled out a Pokeball. “Our leader apologises for not present today,” he continued and held out the capsule to Leaf. “She offers you this Pokemon as a goodwill present instead. A Lapras.” Leaf took the Pokeball and decided to name the water type Pokemon ‘Loch’, then watched the Pokeball zap into thin air as it disappeared into Storage once the Pokemon’s allegiance had changed hands.

    “Thank you,” Leaf said then turned her gaze back towards the Rocket grunts who patiently awaited the Servants to make the first move.

    “Let us begin,” Ethan said and moved up to the edge of the rooftop where they stood. “My devoted flock,” he bellowed out to the Servants who had thus far awaited his command to begin the war. “The final piece of the puzzle which will free Him awaits within this cursed place! If we win today then He will grant us passage to paradise! Those machines the grunts house themselves inside have but one weakness. An exposed power conductor laid upon the rear of the demonic monster. Break them and burst within the tower where we shall join you within. Do this, my flock, and paradise will await you! Go now! To war!” he finished to a blood-curdling roar from his followers who released a legion of various Pokemon into the streets. The battle had begun.

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    The ruckus and chaotic chimes of war resounded above the narrow tunnel which was lit up dimly by Blue’s Chameleon's tail as the fire type led the way. Water dripped from the pipes which ran along the roof and walls of the passageway carved through stone like veins leading into the heart of Team Rocket, Silph Company Tower. A musty smell added to the damp atmosphere as Leaf once again stepped into a shallow puddle, causing Blue to laugh at her misfortune.

    “Keep going,” Ethan said from the rear of the trio who trekked anxiously through the ancient passage.

    “I’m trying,” Leaf snapped back and had to step over a piece of fallen rock.

    “She’s always moaning,” Blue said with a laugh.

    “You’ve perked up,” Leaf snapped once again. “Not mopey and miserable now then?”

    “You always cheer me up,” Blue said almost sweetly to which Leaf smiled. “When you’re here, I know there’s someone even worse off than I am!” He received a scowl in response.

    “Always the smarty pants,” Leaf thought then smiled again once she saw light protruding from what seemed to be the end of the tunnel. “There!” she said to her two allies who followed her closely.

    “He shall be praised!” Ethan said with delight. They had trekked for only a few minutes, but that short amount of time must’ve seemed like hours and Leaf knew the owner of the shop, Taylor, must’ve regained consciousness by now and be on her way to warn Rocket of their approach.

    “What do you think is waiting for us?” Leaf asked once they approached the light and saw a mechanical room welcoming them packed full of electrical instruments, conductors, pipes, generators, switches, cables and more.

    “A spa bath and massage,” Blue replied. “Maybe a warm dinner. Oh and a-”

    “Shut up,” Leaf snapped. “Looks like a maintenance room.”

    “A plant room,” Ethan corrected her. “That’s what my man on the inside says anyway.”

    “Who is this ‘man’, anyway?” Leaf said.

    “A Servant,” Ethan said proudly.

    “His name,” Leaf said more forcefully.

    “She relinquished her name when she joined us,” Ethan said with a bright smile. They had entered the plant room now which was devoid of any Rocket operatives. Leaf thought that they must all be too busy fighting off the Servants.

    “She?” Blue said then chuckled. “You’ve been saying ‘your man’?”

    “We don’t distinguish our flock by gender.”

    “So what was her name?” Leaf pressed although she was unsure why. Maybe knowing their helper by name would ease the tension that gripped her heart. She stood with her allies at basement level and the only way to proceed was by a staircase she initially thought to be unguarded. Upon closer inspection however, she spotted a figure cloaked by shadows. Someone had indeed been waiting for them.

    “Kris,” Ethan answered her earlier question unaware of the figure’s presence.

    “Oak named you Blue for the colour of your pretty little eyes,” the figure spoke, the voice feminine.

    “What?” Blue and Leaf spoke in unison. Blue through surprise, Leaf through confusion.

    “A welcoming host,” Ethan spoke cheerfully. “And we are to be your guests?”

    “No no no,” the figure spoke and clearly waggled a finger. “Just Bluey-boy.”

    “Courtney,” Leaf growled, recognising who it was who had spoken.

    “No!” The Rocket leader stamped a foot in frustration. “How did you know?” She exited the shadows atop the stairs and held out a hand to Blue. “Come on boy,” she spoke softly. “Leave these two losers and come upstairs.”

    “And why would I do a thing like that?” Blue said confidently and released his entire team of Pokemon. An Alakazam, the psychic typed final evolution of Abra, stood next to his Charmeleon with a Pidgeot hovering above. An Exeggcute, five pink coloured eggs who had psychic abilities, rolled around the floor, and an enormous Gyarados who roared at Courtney.

    “Ooh,” Courtney squealed and bounced. “Another Gyarados! I likey, I like!”

    “Time to finish this,” Leaf said and released her team.

    “Wait...You’re not coming with me are you?” Upon realising that, Courtney turned to flee up the stairs but not before a horde of Pokemon streamed from the darkened entrance to protect her. Raticate, Rattata, Koffing, Grimer, Muk, Golbat and Zubat all swarmed the room.

    “Ready?” Leaf nodded to Blue.

    “Always.”

    Leaf looked to Ethan who calmly stood and watched as the slaughter began. He listened to the sound of his Servants doing battle with the Rocket battlesuits and operatives outside and she remarked he used no Pokemon himself but simply observed the fight unfolding before him. Club moved like she was possessed by a vengeful spirit, leaving swathes of defeated Pokemon in her path as she screamed vengeance. Spurt led the charge alongside her, mowing down opposition Pokemon with powerful blasts of water and exploding bubbles. But most surprising was Heiko’s sudden aptitude for battle. The Flareon tore through Rocket Pokemon like a hot knife went through butter. Wally’s former Pokemon was fuelled by a desire to avenge his fallen master and best friend and fought as if Wally himself still commanded him.

    “This is for you, Wally,” Leaf thought. It was a massacre, but the war for Silph Company Tower had only just begun.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hordes of Pokemon fell to the Resistance in the plant room as Leaf and Blue combined their strength and yet more creatures fell like rain during a storm in the entrance hall where the Servants and Rocket did battle.

    “To think,” Ethan spoke. “These Pokemon, so loyal, so ready to follow us into battle. And for what? To fall at our hands in a war that is meaningless to them.”

    The trio looked through an open glass window that overlooked the hall. They had ascended many staircases and Leaf felt sweat pouring down her face and dampening her skin. Rocket grunts and Pokemon had thrown themselves defiantly at her and Blue’s Pokemon but all had fallen in their defence of Silph Company Tower. Heiko and Club had especially impressed Leaf, as had Stomp the Nidoking, but Ethan’s words stung her like a Beedrill’s tail. There was no denying the truth in his speech.

    “Yet it’s the only way,” the Servant continued. “For our sins we don’t suffer half as much as our Pokemon do. As our friends do.”

    “Rocket’s sins,” Leaf corrected him. “We do this because we must.” She looked to her team who all eagerly awaited her next command. They were obedient to the end, ready to follow her wherever she may lead them without question.

    “Razzo!” Courtney sang from the top of the stairs. “It means Rocket, you know!” She had taunted and teased the trio their entire way up with songs and insults. Mainly aimed at Blue.

    “Can’t wait to push her back down these stairs,” Blue said darkly.

    “My name is Razzo,” Courtney continued. “It means Rocket oh don’t you know!”

    “What’s so important about the name Razzo?” Leaf asked Ethan who shrugged his shoulders.

    “Did you know it means Rocket?” Blue replied. “Can’t remember who I heard that from though.” Leaf noticed that despite his confident demeanour, something was upsetting her friend.

    “Who is Sakaki?” Leaf called up to Courtney as she recalled Wally’s final words.

    “Sakaki is Giovanni and he is dead!” Courtney responded and laughed hysterically.

    “Sakaki?” Ethan asked then Blue said something that shocked them both.

    “There’s been something I’ve been keeping from you, Leaf.”

    “What’s that?” she replied with surprise.

    “You’ll find out when we reach the top.”

    “Why have you kept secrets?” she said, half shocked, half angry.

    “You’ll find out when we reach the top,” he repeated and turned to silence.

    “Is it why you’ve been acted so strange recently?” she asked, remembering how sullen and quiet Blue had been since Wally’s death. Then thought that surely if Blue had been present at the poisoning, he would know the meaning to Wally’s final words. “I thought you were just shocked at Wally’s death,” she said as much to herself as to him.

    “Look,” Ethan said and pointed to the scene of two Servant’s Pokemon, a Geodude and a Beedrill, destroying a battlesuit by attacking the power unit at its rear. The suit exploded to a huge cheer from the seven Servants who remained.

    “Let’s go,” Blue said sternly and looked up the stairs to where Courtney hung her head over a rail and waved to them.

    “His name is Blue,” she sang. “And his name is Oak,” she continued as Leaf began the charge up the stairwell. “And he’s in for such a shock you’ll all choke!” she finished and began fleeing to where the staircase ended. A level below the meeting room on the top floor, Ethan had told them. Where surely Silver and the other Rocket leaders awaited them.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Don’t let them through,” Courtney sang to a host of seven grunts who guarded the far end of the wide, open hallway. “Or maybe do. But it will be the end of you.”

    “Out of the way,” Leaf snarled to the seven. “Or you’ll regret it!”

    “No no no,” Courtney said. “They’ll regret moving.” The Rocket grunts looked to one another with confused expressions. Leaf saw the doubt in their faces, their comrades were still battling the Servants downstairs with more and more grunts being forced into the reception hall to hold off the onslaught leaving Blue, Leaf and Ethan a relatively clear pathway to the senior levels of Silph Company Tower.

    “Enough games, Courtney,” Leaf said. “These seven will just slow us, not stop us. Surrender now.”

    “Never!” Courtney screeched and ran up a stairwell behind the grunts to disappear up onto the highest level of the tower.

    “Hold them,” one of the grunts called out. He featured thinning purple hair and goatee with a face that reminded Leaf of a weasel. “I am Executive Petrel,” he said to the Leaf, Blue and Ethan. “And I will hold you here until our forces crush yours down below and join us to eliminate you in a pincer attack.”

    “Nice plan,” Blue said. “Thanks for telling us.” Dino roared to try and intimidate the seven grunts who didn’t so much as flinch, they were clearly all well trained and vastly experienced.

    “Ariana, Proton flank left,” Pretel ordered his colleagues. “Carl and Grey go right.” The four ordered high ranking Rocket members followed his commands obediently with Pokeballs in hand. “Sham and Kris stay with me. All of you now release your fighters and hold this room!”

    “Ready?” Leaf asked of Ethan and Blue who watched the Rocket executives and admins release a score of Raticate, Weezing, Muk, Golbat, Arbok. A Vileplume was also released by who Leaf assumed was Ariana. Kris, who had teal eyes and the same coloured hair tied up in two pigtails, released two Mankey, a Beedrill and a Raticate.

    “Certainly,” Ethan replied to her and released a Pokemon of his own for the first time, a Golem. The rock type was just that, a boulder that stood just shorter than its trainer and sprouted two brown arms and legs tipped with sharp claws and a small head with angry crimson eyes.

    “This is it,” Blue said. Leaf was unsure whether he spoke to her or just himself but noted the apprehension shaking his body.

    Leaf had expected a nervous standoff between the two warring groups where each Pokemon taunted another or waiting anxiously for an opponent or ally to make the first move. Club had shattered that thought however and was closely followed by Heiko as Leaf’s Pokemon began their vengeful charge with Spurt lagging behind.

    Club swatted aside a Golbat who plunged to meet him then swiped at an Arbok’s lethal bite. Heiko launched spheres of fire towards a floating Weezing then rammed into a Raticate who had charged towards him. Spurt shot exploding bubbles towards flying Golbat whilst two Raticate attempted to flank him. Stomp held Leaf’s left flank from Carl and Grey’s Pokemon and Belly her right from Ariana and Proton whilst Dino whipped vines towards any flying or floating Pokemon that attempted to approach from above.

    Leaf saw that Kris’s Pokemon had held back and guarded the three Rocket members who stood blocking the passage to the stairs, much to Petrel’s noticeable fury as he clearly chided her for the decision.

    “Exact divine retribution upon our foes!” Ethan roared to his Golem who had begun a wrestling match with two Raticate, one in each arm, and was winning. Leaf noticed Blue trembling beside her as he watched his Pokemon. His Alakazam shot unseen psychic attacks towards the Rocket Pokemon who collapsed once their minds had been severely fried from within. His Pidgeot led a lone aerial charge against a group of Golbats and his Gyarados took the centre of the room and used bites and water blasts against any opponents who dared approach. Leaf had lost sight of the five small eggs named collectively as Exeggcute but saw Blue’s Charmeleon joining Spurt, Club and Heiko on the front lines.

    Club batted away another poisonous strike by an Arbok and span his bone club around then wedged it between a Raticate’s open jaws, the Rocket Pokemon having had tried to chomp down upon his bone skull. Heiko burst roaring flames into the Raticate’s open mouth then turned sharply to avoid a swooping Golbat and rolled to avoid a spit of sludge from a Muk. Spurt blasted a spray of water at the Golbat who had tried to strike Heiko and the liquid collided with the creature and caused it to fall from the sky where Club then pummelled it into submission. Blue’s Charmeleon dealt with the Muk who had targeted Heiko, using a flamethrower which erupted from inside the pit of his stomach and escaped from his mouth.

    Leaf turned to see Stomp pluck a Weezing from the air and slam it into the ground then use his sharp and poisonous horn to pierce a Raticate who had leapt at him. Belly and Ethan’s Golem teamed up on the other side and seemed to have a competition over who could outwrestle the most Rocket Pokemon. Leaf saw Arianna’s Vileplume fall to a combination of Blue’s Alakazam’s psychic attacks and the emerging Exeggcute shooting out seeds like bullets at the exposed foe.

    Then she felt it. The sharp and agonising pain of losing a Pokemon.

    Leaf clutched her heart and looked to the battlefield. There was no sound other than the roar of war that filled the room, no death calling screeches or painful cries, just the din of mass battle. She looked to Dino first and saw her Venusaur slapping a Golbat who approached Leaf with a vine. Then quickly flicked from Stomp to Belly and saw both wrestling with Rocket Pokemon.

    “Heiko,” she gasped suddenly. The Resistance’s vanguard of Club, Charmeleon, Heiko and Spurt had been lost from her vision, hidden by Gyarados and a plethora of Rocket Pokemon.

    “No,” Blue cried out suddenly from beside her. “No please no!” She looked to what he had seen and felt the air escape her lungs and her heart stop. Heiko lay prone on the floor, injured and weak but alive. Next to him lay the defeated Spurt, the Horsea having been the one who Leaf had now lost. Blue’s Charmeleon had collapsed holding a pain in his side, a large cut had appeared from where a Rocket Pokemon had slashed him. All that remained of the vanguard was now Club who swatted aside Pokemon after Pokemon, refusing to be defeated. They were being swarmed from all sides. Petrel’s tactic had worked, Proton and Carl’s Pokemon had been split into two, half to battle the Gyarados and half to surrounded the Resistance’s forward four fighters. Grey and Sham had attacked Leaf, Blue and Ethan from both sides whilst Petrel and Sham crushed them from the centre. The only reason they hadn’t yet been defeated was Club’s final stand.

    “Keep going!” Leaf roared to her Marowak. “Keep fighting. Not just for your mother. Not just for your vengeance. But for us. For your friends. We’re all in this together!” Club span around to generate more power in her bone club and whacked a Raticate in the jaw then moved to cut off a Muk who had approached the failing Heiko. She took a running jump over the Muk and rammed his club into it then leapt to the aid of the Flareon once more. But failed to stop an Arbok from getting to Blue’s Charmeleon.

    “No!” Blue howled and turned to Leaf in his desperation. “Look. I know I’m not the greatest of guys and sometimes I’ve been a bit, you know, mean to you. But you’ll understand why soon. I promise. I just can’t lose my mate out there.” He turned to look back to his Charmeleon who was now wrapped in the Arbok’s embrace. The poison type had coiled it's long but powerful body around Blue’s Pokemon and began to choke the life from him.

    “Thought you didn’t care?” Leaf said, a little too coldly. She hadn’t meant the words to come out so harshly.

    “He’s my friend,” Blue said weakly. His Charmeleon looked back towards him. He had once been owned by Erik but since his former trainer had been captured the Charmeleon had become both loyal and close to Blue. “Probably my only real friend.” Blue finished and watched his only friend falter then drop his head. Then become engulfed in a bright light which took the room.

    Leaf shielded her eyes and heard shouts from Petrel that she hadn’t expected to hear. He was calling for all the Rocket executives and admins to return to his side for a final stand. But one evolution couldn’t have caused the tides of battle to turn. The light faded and a Charizard screeched. The fire type had become a dragon, with wings and a flame-lit tail and breathed fire upon the retreating Rocket Pokemon who had been caught in a pincer.

    “Sorry!” Kris said to Petrel. Her Pokemon had used the evolution to switch sides and attacked Sham and Petrel’s fighters from the rear but even with the added support, the battle was still evenly matched.

    “You know what!” a shrill voice called from the top of the stairs. Courtney was returning. “I can’t do it. I just can’t.”

    “Get back upstairs!” Petrel shouted to her. “We’re losing ground. Get to safety!”

    “Excuse me!” Courtney shrieked whilst Kris’s Beedrill fell in battle to a Golbat, swiftly followed by her Raticate being defeated by an Arbok. “Did you just try to order me around?!”

    “We need you to be safe Lady Courtney,” Petrel said, the feud distracting him from the battle.

    “Well that won’t do. Not at all,” Courtney snarled at him. “But then again. I just can’t hold in my excitement of Blue boy and Leafy girl coming up here.” She released a team of six elite Pokemon from her own belt: A Crobat, the evolved form of Golbat. Two Ninetales, a Nidoqueen, a Weezing and a Muk.

    “We don’t need the support as much as you need to protect herself!” Petrel still protested.

    “Shut up,” Courtney hissed then commanded her Pokemon to turn on their Rocket allies. Her pair of Ninetales spewed flame and her Weezing moved over to the Rocket executives and self destructed. The Muk launched poisonous sludge towards Rocket members and Pokemon and the Crobat soared above and cut through any flying types attempting to escape the deathly flames, explosion and poison. Her Nidoqueen stood by and guarded her. Kris, Petrel and Sham were caught in the attack, as were all their Pokemon. The other executives fled and took their Pokemon with them whilst Blue’s Gyarados was joined by Loch the Lapras, a huge blue beast who resembled a sea dinosaur with a shell upon its back, in spraying the growing flames with water to quench the fires.

    “My Lord,” Ethan managed a whisper.

    “Why,” Leaf gasped. “They were her allies. Why?” she asked of Courtney who had just turned on her friends.

    “She’s insane,” Blue said amidst Courtney’s howls of laughter.

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    After a few minutes the fires died with the assistance of Loch and Gyarados’s water blasts and Courtney had disappeared back upstairs. The shock of her actions had stunned Leaf, Blue and Ethan into silence. Proton and Ariana had managed to escape and Leaf had initially thought that Carl and Grey had joined them but Courtney’s Crobat had seen to them and they now lay strewn across the floor. Kris, Sham and Petrel had all fallen to either the flames or explosions or poison, Leaf was unsure which.

    “Kris was such a sweet girl,” Ethan said solemnly. “Such a sweet girl.”

    “Let’s take Courtney down once and for all!” Leaf growled and looked to Blue who’s face had turned pale and his body quivered like a leaf in a breeze. Although, he didn’t stare at the horror that had befallen the battlefield, but at the stairs that led to the top floor.

    “Let's go,” he said then gulped having noticed Leaf’s gaze upon him. The trio walked cautiously towards the staircase and heard the dying embers of battle below them and the clanking of battlesuits racing up the stairwell that the trio had initially climbed to reach this level. That meant the Servants had been either pushed back or defeated and that the Rocket army was now coming for them.

    Leaf quickened her pace and began to climb the staircase which led into a narrow corridor that widened slightly at the end where it led to a single, wooden door which was marked “Meeting Room”. Paintings hung along the hallway and other wooden doors with signs denoting which office they led to.

    “Welcome,” Courtney greeted them from aside the wooden door. “To the top level.”

    “You!” Leaf said savagely. “How could you?!”

    “They were fodder and I was the cannon,” Courtney said then winked to Leaf.

    “I should kill you here and now and end this!” Leaf approached Courtney with a raised fist, Ethan and Blue in close tow.

    “You should, you should!” Courtney bounced excitedly. “But not yet! Oh no not yet!”

    “Give me one reason why not.” Leaf grabbed Courtney and pinned her to the wall to receive hysterical laughter in return.

    “Because of what awaits us within,” Blue said glumly.

    “Should we come up?” a mechanical voice called from below. The battlesuits had reached the bottom of the stairs.

    “No no no!” Courtney shouted down then giggled. “Definitely not! I want them to go in! Stay there and cut off their escape!”

    “What’s inside?” Leaf asked, suddenly calmer as fear gripped her.

    “Destiny. Fate. Love. Hate,” Courtney replied and winked again. She held out a hand to beckon them inside.

    “Ready?” Leaf asked Blue and Ethan and expected Blue’s usual cocky reply.

    “Let’s see what awaits us,” Ethan said and Leaf turned to Blue and saw tears in his eyes.

    “No,” he said. A thousand thoughts of what could be inside raced through Leaf’s head. Was it Silver? Was it a trap? Was it Erik? What could it be? She pushed open the door.

    Light trickled into the room from a large window at the far end which overlooked Saffron City. A marble table filled almost the entirety of the room and was topped by empty crystal wine glasses and champagne flutes. Expensive leather chairs sat empty at the side of the marble and paintings of Giovanni, of Team Rocket and of Archer hung along the two walls which flanked the room’s sides. But it was the figure which loomed at the far end of the room, caked in light which swam in through the glass where the man stood, that the Resistance had come to see.

    “No,” Leaf gasped. “It can’t be. Not you.”

    “Hello,” he spoke with a calm voice. His dark eyes judged all three of them then fixed on Blue who now had a lone tear rolling down his cheek. “So you know?” he asked Blue.

    “I know,” Blue squeaked. “I know that wasn’t you. It was Sakaki, your twin brother.”

    “I’ve waited so long for this,” the man replied and smiled towards Blue. Leaf had seen the man’s fake smile so many times on television but this was different, this smile was genuine. Courtney slammed the door shut behind them and left the trio alone with the man who held out a hand towards Blue. She had left them alone with Giovanni. But it wasn’t just the fact that he was still alive and the man who had been poisoned was his twin brother, Sakaki. It was the final part of Wally’s last words which caused shockwaves to scream through her because of what Blue and Giovanni said next. “Welcome home, Kai,” Giovanni said to Blue.

    “Kai?” Leaf thought and left the word unspoken. She had no idea what the name meant but it was Blue’s reply which caused the hairs on her neck to stand on end, her heart to stop and her lungs to close up. Just two words changed everything, the world and what she knew. What it meant and what was going to happen. She turned to Blue and heard him say it.

    “Hello father.”
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      #28    
    Old November 3rd, 2017 (11:03 AM).
    abstories abstories is offline
       
      Join Date: Feb 2015
      Gender: Male
      Posts: 65
      Chapter Fifteen - Past and Present


      Spoiler:
      He stood alongside his best friend and battle partner at the cave’s mouth and watched a metal door slam shut at the gaping entrance, securely covering it whole. A city overlooked the river behind them and it's hubbub filled the air alongside a gentle breeze which rippled the water’s surface.

      “Ready?” his friend said. He was a tall man with a stern face and jet black hair and for once was not wearing a lab coat, but a white shirt flecked with dirt and grime. It had been a tough fight.

      “We did it, Samuel,” he said in astonishment. “We saved Kanto.”

      “Then we must make sure this never happens again. We seal the cave.”

      “You sure it will hold? The metal door, I mean?”

      “It must. With the power of technology and the three legendary Pokemon. It must.”

      He watched Samuel place three large feathers into three slots in the metal door, one yellow trimmed with black, one an icy blue and the other a flame orange. The slots turned from vertical to horizontal like a lock when the feather was first entered, and then consumed by the door.

      “So the feathers are the keys?” he asked Samuel.

      “Indeed they are. To open this door again a person will need a feather from the three legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres.”

      “We need to be sure no one will ever obtain those feathers.”

      “We do, my friend. But we are the two greatest trainers in this land and we shall protect this cave until the day we die. Together.”

      “Thank you, father.” he responded to his future father-in-law, Professor Samuel Oak.

      “No need for courtesies, especially when you haven’t even married my daughter Aria yet,” Oak said then chuckled.

      “Soon,” he promised.

      “You said you’d propose when this was all over,” Oak said sternly. “Don’t put this off, my friend.” He chuckled again.

      “I’m not!” he said defensively.

      “The great Giovanni getting nervous,” Oak jested with him.

      “What happened to Lyra,” Giovanni said to quickly change the subject. “She controlled the beast in there, or at least directed its power.”

      “Disappeared,” Oak mumbled as if he didn’t care about her. “She doesn’t matter. What matters is that creature is inside this cave now.”

      “And Lord Raven has been brought to justice,” Giovanni said and smiled. His manufactured super weapon safety contained within the cave. Lord Raven ruled both Kanto and Johto as the Raven family had done for over a hundred years, but the current head of their family had a lust of control and power and the regime had become more corrupt with every passing day.

      “So,” Oak began and paused for a moment to stare at the sturdy metal door. “How did it even get to this stage?”

      “Raven had been trying to manufacture a super weapon for a long time now.” Giovanni knew the answer from intelligence reports gathered from their own small resistance force. “Splicing together Pokemon and alien stones and trying to combine all the most powerful objects and creatures known to man until he had created this being. This, ‘Mewtwo’.” Oak continued

      “And with Mewtwo he had vanquished anyone who opposed his tyrannical rulership of Kanto and Johto.”

      “Until we stopped him,” Giovanni said proudly. “You and I. Vanquishers of tyranny and evil.”

      “And my daughter. Our little intelligence gatherer that you have so conveniently fallen in love with.” Oak said and Giovanni felt himself blush at the comment.

      “So what now?” Giovanni attempted to change the subject once more.

      “You propose. As much as I value you, you do not leave my daughter waiting.”

      “Alright, alright,” Giovanni said then laughed. “Now Kanto is at peace and Lord Raven expelled from our region and the corruption gone with him, I suppose it's time.”

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Moonlight illuminated the room as its rays slithered through the enormous glass pane which overlooked a lamplit Saffron City. Tears clouded the eyes of Blue’s pale white face as his father’s smile beamed at him from the other end of the marble table. Ethan stood in a puzzled silence, unable to contemplate the enormity of the situation whilst Leaf stood in shock when she had previously been glaring at Giovanni.

      “Did you say, Lyra?” Leaf asked.

      “That was twenty-five years ago now,” Giovanni said after finishing his tale and ignored Leaf.

      “You’re the devil. You and Oak. You sealed Him away but you have told us His name,” Ethan cut in.

      It made sense to Leaf now. The Servants hunted their three ‘Angels’, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, for their feathers to use as keys to unleash their Lord, Mewtwo, upon the region once more. Lyra had been Lord Raven’s ally and now looked to release their super weapon one final time.

      “So you and my mother married,” Blue was next to speak. “And had Daisy and me.”

      “Correct, Okaido,” Giovanni replied.

      “So why did Gramps take me and Daisy away from you. Why has he never mentioned this? I had to find out from your brother, Sakaki. Why?” Blue was clearly angry and his emotions were causing his body to tremble viciously.

      “You cleared a region of corruption and tyranny,” Leaf said. “Then became corrupt and tyrannical yourself. Why?”

      “So many questions. So little time,” Giovanni responded, talking to all three of them.

      “Yes and none of this matters,” Leaf snapped. “All that matters is we take you down like you did to Lord Raven many years ago. And you don’t have a super weapon.”

      “Oh but I do,” Giovanni replied. “But it's not yet ready. Our Project Union is more powerful than Mewtwo and I will die before it's stopped.”

      “What’s Project Union?” Leaf asked but once more an important question was cut out by one of Ethan or Blue.

      “You know where the last Angel, Moltres, is don’t you?” Ethan said.

      “You’ve been helping me through this tournament all along, haven’t you?” Blue asked.

      “Always, Okaido,” Giovanni chose to answer his son. “You have always been my favourite, my chosen heir. My grunts drained the pools in Cerulean to help you beat Misty. You’ve been handed easier matchups throughout the tournament and I’ve made sure you haven’t faced Leaf incase you allow her to beat you.”

      “So everything I’ve done,” Blue whimpered. “Isn’t down to me at all.”

      “My son,” Giovanni said softly. “Take your rightful place at my side and join me. Become my heir and see through Project Union. You shall rule this world after I die. That is my gift to you and I hope it makes up for all the suffering I have caused you, Okaido.”

      “My name is Blue!” he snapped.

      “Oak refused to allow you to be called Okaido after Aria’s death,” Giovanni said and Leaf saw the pain in his face when he spoke of Aria. “He refused to allow you to keep any part of you that came from me. So he called you Blue. That’s why I named my two other sons as Silver and Grey.”

      “Grey?” Leaf said, remembering one of the Rocket members who perished to Courtney in the room below.

      “The most worthless of the two,” came the cold reply. “Silver has plenty of potential. But is too rash and angry.”

      “I will join you,” Blue said to Leaf’s surprise. “On two conditions.”

      “Name them.”

      “Firstly you disband Team Rocket and we leave Kanto-”

      “No,” Giovanni said firmly before Blue could finish.

      “Secondly,” Blue carried on regardless. “Release Erik and let him live freely. Same goes with Leaf, let her live freely.”

      “No,” Giovanni said again.

      “Where is Erik?” Leaf growled.

      “In our final base of operations with Silver.”

      “Where’s that?” she pressed.

      “I see we cannot reach a deal,” Giovanni ignored her and spoke to Blue.

      “I’ve kept quiet for too long,” Ethan said and all of a sudden fighting started again from the floors below. “She’s here.”

      “Your Servants’s leader,” Giovanni said matter of factly.

      “Yes and she shall destroy you unless you give us the location of the last Angel.”

      “You do realise what will happen if you obtain three feathers and release Mewtwo?” Giovanni said.

      “We do. And in the years since you sealed him our leader has been developing a Megastone for Him.”

      “You fools,” Giovanni snapped then thought for a moment. “But Mewtwo will fall to Project Union, even with enhanced powers.”

      “What is Project Union?” Leaf demanded but was ignored by Giovanni and Ethan.

      “We offer you a deal,” Ethan spoke to the Team Rocket boss. “Your life and guaranteed safe passage out of the building for the location of the last Angel, Moltres.”

      “Don’t!” Leaf shouted to Ethan and Blue echoed her pleas with a “No”.

      “Cinnabar Island,” Giovanni said instantly. “In the volcano there.”

      “Come with me,” Ethan said to him. “I’ll lead you safely out.”

      “You can’t!” Leaf pleaded but Ethan simply shoved her aside. Giovanni smiled at the shaking Blue as he left the room.

      “What now?” Leaf asked her friend.

      “I don’t know,” Blue replied. “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

      “You’re Blue Oak,” Leaf said fiercely. “A Resistance fighter and one of the best trainers I’ve ever known.”

      “I’m going to see Gramps,” Blue decided. “And find out the truth. Of everything.”

      “And I must stop the Servants. If they plan to unleash this ultimate weapon, I must stop them getting the final feather. But what about Giovanni?”

      “What about him?”

      “Project Union?!” Leaf raised her voice. “Team Rocket?! Archer? Erik-”

      “Okay, okay,” Blue stopped her. “I get it. So what you gonna do?”

      “The most immediate threat is the Servants getting that last feather,” Leaf said. “So I will go to Cinnabar Island and stop them.”

      “By yourself?”

      “By myself.”

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      “So the Servants have switched from allies to enemies,” Blue muttered to himself as he stormed towards the large building which was the hamlet’s centrepiece. “Giovanni, my father, is still at large and despite us lot taking down Rocket’s chief base of operations, they’re still as dangerous and powerful as ever.” Blue stopped before the doorway and took a deep breath to collect his thoughts before he charged into the building. “And all I care about is myself right now,” he said then sighed. “I don’t even know what to call myself. Blue, Kai, Okaido? I don’t know.” He pushed open the door and the sight of the two people who stood at the far end of the laboratory filled him with resentment.

      “Blue!” the first said, a young female. “You’ve come home!”

      “It’s Okaido,” he said fiercely and looked to the elderly man next to her. “Isn’t that right, Gramps?” he said to Professor Oak and saw his sister, Daisy, taken aback at his fury.

      “You’ve encountered your father then, at long last.” Oak nodded then closed his eyes thoughtfully.

      “He was going to tell you when you were ready,” Daisy spoke for her grandfather.

      “So you knew too?!” Okaido questioned his sister.

      “For about a month now, yes. Grandfather decided that I was ready to know but wanted to wait until after you’d finished your war with Team Rocket to say.”

      “Why?” he spoke to Professor Oak.

      “Because I feared you may wish to reunite with Giovanni.”

      “You have that little faith in me?”

      “No. I have too much respect for Giovanni’s persuasiveness and charisma.”

      “Little brother,” Daisy interrupted them. “Please understand.”

      “How can you understand?! How can Giovanni be our father. I was told a little while ago but I didn’t truly believe it until I met him for real. Why would our mother be with such a man? Why would you be best friends with him?!” he said with a pointed finger at his grandfather.

      “Because the man he was isn’t the man he now is,” Oak replied. “Allow me to explain,” he said in response to his grandson’s confused expression. “Giovanni and I took down a tyrannical ruler of Kanto named Lord Raven twenty-five years ago as we battled against a Pokemon named Mewtwo, a superweapon controlled in battle by his greatest trainer and most trusted lieutenant, Lyra.”

      “I’ve heard all this before,” Okaido snapped.

      “We were the greatest of friends,” Oak continued. “Despite me being a few years the elder. We were such good friends in fact, that I allowed the marriage of himself to my daughter, your mother, Aria Oak. The two had fallen in love unbeknownst to myself at first. You should’ve seen the look on their faces when I revealed I knew of their love for one another,” he said then chuckled. “They married shortly after we vanquished Mewtwo and sealed the creature inside Cerulean Cave. The union between Giovanni and Aria lasted eight years and bore two children but the now Team Rocket boss made a fatal mistake. He had a secret affair with a woman known as Courtney and Aria eventually found out because a child had been born of this affair. Silver..”

      “How could he?” Okaido growled.

      “He was weak willed back then. He let his lack of control and his desires lead him. When Aria found out she couldn’t take it, your mother was always a fragile thing, constantly plagued by poor health and illness and once she discovered the affair then the trauma, stress and heartbreak led to her becoming extremely unwell.”

      “So Giovanni killed her,” Okaido said.

      “In a way, yes. She failed to overcome the illness and eventually passed away and all that is left of my daughter are the two of you.”

      “I never understood what happened after that,” Daisy said. “Did you take us away from Giovanni as punishment?”

      “I took you away from him because the death of his wife lead him off the rails. He vowed never to allow a lack of control and his weakness to affect him ever again. He became obsessed with power, control and dominance. By this time he had become the second most powerful trainer in the region after myself and the best politician. He founded a secret criminal organisation known as Team Rocket and set up casinos and more to launder money and make himself rich. His twin brother, Sakaki, would provide cover for him out in the open whilst he managed all the dark underground activity to rise through the ranks of the government system with hordes of money where he would eventually install Archer, a close friend and trusted ally of his, to power.”

      “Why not Sakaki?” Daisy asked.

      “Because he never fully trusted his twin brother. He wanted him kept under his control, and making Sakaki the governor of Kanto would hand his twin too much power.”

      “Paranoia,” Daisy said.

      “An unnecessary paranoia, his brother had always been faithful.”

      “What happened with us,” Okaido asked. “And Courtney?”

      “I took you and renamed you Blue,” Oak said. “I had already gotten attached to the name of Daisy but you were still so young, Okaido, so young that your very name reminded me of what happened to your mother,” he said wistfully and Blue saw the pain in his eyes. “Giovanni and I struck an agreement. I could take and raise the two of you and you’d both never have to see him, if only I stay clear of his ambitions. He saw me as the only person powerful enough to stop him and I was too broken from the death of my daughter to refuse.

      “I’m sorry,” Okaido blurted before it all had become too much for him. The revelation of his parents, how helpless he suddenly felt and the foreboding feeling of loneliness that swamped him. He burst into tears. Daisy swiftly followed him as tears streamed down her face.

      “No, it is I who should be sorry,” Oak comforted the two of them and embraced each of his grandchildren in either arm. Okaido could feel his grandfather trembling but it wasn’t through sadness. “How could I allow you two to reach this state. I’ve sat on the sidelines and allowed my grandchildren to suffer. I refuse to do so anymore. Now there is nothing keeping me from helping the Resistance fully. Now I will do what I should’ve done so many years ago and destroy Giovanni with my grandchildren at my side.”

      The ancient winged Pokemon soared through the skies above the ominous island and screeched a high pitched scream from above Leaf. Its gaping mouth showed her a set of sharp teeth along the lower jaw and its long, arrow-headed tail slithered and writhed behind it.

      “Incredible,” she whispered as the Aerodactyl landed and allowed his trainer to run her hand along his ridged spine. “But I’m afraid you’re going to have to go into storage now.” She already had a full team of six: Dino, Belly, Club, Stomp, Heiko and Loch so the newest addition to her team, Saur, would have to join the sole Pokemon she had in storage, a Venomoth named Venom.

      Saur looked disappointed after having waited possibly hundreds or maybe even thousands of years to be bought to life. Leaf had arrived upon Cinnabar Island, a quaint and small section of land detached from mainland Kanto that lay to the south. The island lay home to a former Gym and a few homes but it was the history of the place which shrouded over the land like a curse. It was covered in sand from top to bottom aside from the enormous volcano which lay to its northeastern tip.

      Cinnabar Island was Lord Raven’s former refuge and the home of all his experiments, failed or otherwise. Leaf stood at the island’s south where a large Pokemon laboratory and research facility made its home. In the past, Lord Raven had used the complex to perform all sorts of experiments on Pokemon but nowadays the lab had a friendlier purpose; to resurrect fossils of ancient Pokemon and bring them back to life. Which is why Leaf had visited the complex in the first place and used the old amber she had received from Miguel in Mt. Moon which now seemed so long ago. The fossil he had given her had birthed Saur from the advanced machine the scientists used within. The laboratory had other uses, such as a healing centre for injured Pokemon and a training facility and Pokemon nursery, but Leaf had no interest in those.

      The island had two other places of note and she ventured to one of those now, the Pokemon Mansion. Her main purpose for coming to the island was to stop the Servants from finding their last Angel but the lure of the laboratory had proved too strong. Now she had finished her business within, the hunt was on and she had seen no sight nor heard no sound of the fanatical group since her arrival. Giovanni had mentioned the volcano, but Leaf thought to check the mansion first because of its dreadful history.

      “You don’t wanna go in there young’un,” an elderly gentlemen said to her as she approached the building. The mansion was a burnt skeleton full of collapsed brick and charred wood and the citizens of Cinnabar avoided the ruin as if the fires that destroyed it still burned.

      “Why do you take such care in avoiding it?” she asked the man. She noticed that each person that walked the sands of the island took an extremely wide berth of the mansion which sat directly in Cinnabar’s centre.

      “Respect for the ghosts of the past,” he said. He was a bright man with a thick white moustache and wore a same colour bowler hat. Despite the waning sunlight he still wore sunglasses and walked with a cane. Leaf recognised him as the former Gym leader of the island, Blaine. A man which Okaido had knocked out of the Pokemon Tournament.

      “It’s haunted?” Leaf asked, thinking of ghost type Pokemon which may lurk within the building’s skeletal remains.

      “Not physically, but metaphorically,” Blaine replied. “This is where Lord Raven’s greatest weapon was conducted. Where Mewtwo was birthed and where its Megastone was later created.”

      “Mewtwo did this?” she asked, pointing at the ruin.

      “Raven’s greatest scientists created the monster within the mansion and then tried to control it. In response to their efforts, the beast known as Mewtwo used psychic powers to not just kill his creators, but torture their minds and souls with visions as some sort of sadistic punishment for bringing him into this world.”

      “Why?”

      “Because Mewtwo was an abomination that never should have happened. You try to play God over nature and it's only going to end badly.”

      “Do you guard this place?” she asked of him, remembering that the instant she approached the mansion he had walked over to stop her.

      “In a way,” he replied. “Something is happening as if the mistakes of the past were never learned and will only be repeated again.”

      “What do you mean?”

      “I mentioned a Megastone being created for Mewtwo. As if having a superweapon wasn’t enough, as if the Pokemon wasn’t out of control as it was. Someone has tried to make the ultimate evil have godlike powers.”

      “Who?”

      “I tried to stop her some time ago, but she just shoved me aside and entered the ruins despite the ghosts.”

      “Who?” Leaf repeated.

      “There’s only two people so stupid. Maybe three if you count Courtney but Giovanni has her on a tight leash,” Blaine repeated, showing he had advanced knowledge of the happenings within Kanto. “And Lord Raven wouldn’t have dared entered Kanto at the time.”

      “So that leaves?” Leaf said patiently.

      “Lord Raven’s lackey and his greatest trainer. Lyra.”

      “No,” Leaf gasped and a loud explosion emanated from the volcano and rocked the entire island. The Servants were within, and were battling with the last Angel to retrieve its feather and then release Mewtwo back into the world, powered up by a Megastone. It would be unstoppable. But that’s not why Leaf stood trembling with a face as pale as snow. It was because Lyra was leading the Servants and would be her greatest opponent now, maybe even greater than Giovanni. And Lyra was the name of her mother.
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        #29    
      Old November 6th, 2017 (5:29 PM).
      Bay's Avatar
      Bay Bay is offline
      Darkinium Z
       
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      So, the news Blue being Giovanni's son I'm kinda mixed about. You have his backstory have him helped Oak defeat Lord Raven and marry Oak's daughter, only for him to cheat on his wife. You're not winning points from me there, Giovanni. There's then him having a twin brother. I'm all for characters having relatives, but twin brother I'm not sure how to feel about that. Him also having Grey but only for him to perish during the Sliph Company battle was also in the left field.

      Blue now referring himself to Okaido I'm going to have to get used to.
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        #30    
      Old November 7th, 2017 (3:07 AM). Edited November 7th, 2017 by abstories.
      abstories abstories is offline
         
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        Hey Bay!

        I'm all for people to be divisive about certain plot decisions I've made because I am going against the lore in places haha. Just want to make clear the reasoning on him having a twin brother though, is that it is actually in the lore! In the Manga he is shown to have a twin brother so I chose to implement it here. Grey is also a character from the manga that I decided to take forward :)
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          #31    
        Old November 9th, 2017 (11:03 AM).
        abstories abstories is offline
           
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          Chapter Sixteen - The Last Angel


          Spoiler:
          A silver robe covered her, shrouding her face. She floated above the volcano atop her Pidgeot and stared down upon the chaos of battle which took place on the rim of the volcano’s mouth.

          “Lyra,” Leaf said, her voice like a hiss at the woman on her who hovered above the chaos on her Pidgeot. A shrill cry of pain distracted Leaf from the glare of resentment she held on her mother. The Moltres had been wounded by a large rock thrown by Ethan’s Golem and the Servant’s cheered as feathers rained from the sky towards them. They’d only need one to open Cerulean Cave, and the legendary Pokemon with yellow feathers tipped by fire and a long slender body with an enormous thin beak had just spilled dozens of the objects.

          Leaf rushed up the side of the volcano. It was steep and the stone ground crumbled in places as she climbed whilst a foreboding feeling swept her. She knew she was too late.

          “Leaf!” Ethan called down, having noticed her climbing the mountain side. “Just in time.”

          A swarm of Servants stood with and around him, circling the opening of the volcano where the Moltres flew above, the awe-inspiring creature seemingly guarded the landmark. There must have been the entirety of the Servant’s members present.

          Leaf ignored Ethan’s calls and was still unsure as to her plan of action once she had reached the summit. If she just released her Pokemon to battle the entire army of Servants she’d surely be defeated and there was no way of talking them down. She could try to steal the feather and fly away but it would be tightly guarded and Lyra’s Pidgeot would catch her. As she ascended higher she could think of no other way. She’d have to improvise once she had reached the Servants and Ethan.

          The Moltres screeched a painful cry of desperation and twirled its slender frame to avoid a rock then blasted flame from its mouth towards a Golbat used by a Servant. The legendary Pokemon fought powerfully and admirably but was slowly being overwhelmed by the weight of sheer numbers.

          Leaf knew of the so-called “legendary” Pokemon. They were creatures who could not be caught in any conventional way as they’d escape from Pokeballs with ease but instead had to be tamed, like dragon-type Pokemon. To tame one, a trainer would have to earn their respect by impressing the legendary, or dragon type, with the bonds between their Pokemon, prowess in battle and the strength of their mind and soul. To tame a dragon was difficult, but to tame a legendary was said to be almost impossible.

          “Wait!” Leaf shouted towards the Servants who ignored her calls. “You’ve got the feathers, why are you still attacking it?!” There were only a handful of legendary Pokemon in existence and if the Servants had obtained two feather’s from both Articuno and Zapdos, then those Pokemon must have also then been defeated by the group. Leaving even fewer legendaries still alive.

          “The Angels must fall so we can release Him!” a Servant said in reply to her.

          All of a sudden, Lyra screamed. Then the Servants entered a mass panic, unsure of what to do. Leaf herself froze and considered what was about to happen, because Ethan had pulled an empty Megastone from his pocket. Leaf considered whether a Megastone would work on a legendary, but seeing how Lyra had crafted one using the alien rock and whatever else specifically for Mewtwo then the Servant’s leader could have made at least one more.

          “What are you doing?!” Lyra screamed to Ethan. “We need-” she began, then she noticed her daughter. Leaf met her mother’s gaze and scowled before charging at Ethan in an attempt to stop him whilst Servants stood motionless around the Volcano, still unsure what action they should take.

          Once again, Leaf was too late. Ethan had hopped upon one of the Servant’s Pidgeotto and flew towards the legendary beast before leaping onto the Moltres and pressing the Megastone onto its back.

          “With this Mega I shall have my revenge upon Rocket for destroying my hometown!” he called as a dark shroud engulfed the Moltres who screeched in pure agony as the process of Mega-evolution took hold.

          “We planned to do this together with Mewtwo!” Lyra called but received no reply, so she steered her Pidgeot downwards.

          Leaf watched in frozen horror as the black mist dissipated from around the Moltres.

          Ethan appeared lifeless from his short time in the shroud and tumbled from the legendary Pokemon’s back to plummet into the volcano. A chilling screech sounded from the Mega-Moltres who was now at almost twice the size of a man with crimson eyes and claws like knives protruding from its feet. Instead of a beautiful orange flame kindling at the tips of its feathers, the fires had now turned black and its feathers a much paler shade of yellow.

          The beast swatted aside swarms of Golbats and Pidgeotto as if they were harmless insects whereas previously the plethora of Servant owned Pokemon had caused it significant harm. Mega-Moltres then burst out blue flames towards Ethan’s Golem who was incinerated by the fire. Leaf moved her hand towards her belt but squealed in surprise as she was grabbed and lifted from her feet. She found herself soaring upwards and being dragged up into the air to look down at the volcano and the massacre occuring on the rim of its open mouth. She then felt a hand grab her and began to hoist her upwards until she was on the back of a Pidgeot and alongside her mother, Lyra.

          “What have you done?” Leaf said, her voice weak and strained.

          “This wasn’t the plan,” Lyra replied, her face anxious.

          “The plan was to mega-evolve a powerful Pokemon,” Leaf accused her. “Mewtwo or Moltres, the result is the same.”

          “Servants!” Lyra bellowed, ignoring her daughter. “Lead your Pokemon down into the volcano,” she cried as the Mega-Moltres turned to face both herself and Leaf.

          “It’s going to attack us,” Leaf said and felt fear pulsing through her whilst all the Servant’s Pokemon entered the volcano and disappeared within, pelting the Mega-Moltres with ineffectual attacks as they descended into the dark depths. Despite these forlorn strikes against the legendary Pokemon being little more than an annoyance to the Mega-Moltres, the beast fell for Lyra’s cunning ploy and swooped down within the volcano where the pits of lava lay.

          “Close your eyes,” Lyra said to Leaf. “You shouldn’t see this.”

          “See what?” Leaf said, confused as to Lyra’s plan.

          “Cinnabar Island was where it all began,” her mother replied. “And where many lives now end.”

          “What?” Leaf said and heard the explosion at first. A world-shaking sound which signalled the start of a scene more terrible than Leaf had ever seen. A Mega-evolved Pokemon may be strong, almost indomitable, but loses the part of it which makes it a living being. The survival instinct and intelligence of a creature which seeks more than power and dominance. Lyra was an expert in the area and Leaf guessed that her mother would know that a Mega would seek out the most powerful foe it could in order to dominate or destroy it and seeing a horde of Pokemon grouped together in a volcano was a temptation it couldn’t resist. But the creature was so powerful that once it unleashed its unstoppable blue flames combined with the pits full of lava, it would blow the volcano.

          Leaf watched in horror as shards of rock shattered across the island and crushed homes. She watched the lava pour from the volcanic ruins and smear the island and its inhabitants in ruin whilst smoke choked the life from the land. The cataclysmic devastation that Lyra and Ethan had unleashed was more than enough to destroy the Mega-Moltres within its destructive grasp. But it was at the cost of Cinnabar Island and all her Servants and their Pokemon. And Lyra seemed not in the least bit concerned.

          “They’ve all served their purpose,” Lyra said coldly, holding three feathers and an empty Megastone in her hands. Leaf was too shocked to answer.

          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          “I saved you because you are my daughter,” Lyra said once her Pidgeot had landed in Cerulean City. The cave where Mewtwo was held lay within eyesight. “But that is my last favour to you. I recommend that you now leave Kanto or you fall to my Mewtwo. Either way, the choice is yours.” She turned to walk away from Leaf and undressed from her silver robe to unveil a skin hugging black dress.

          “How,” Leaf spoke for the first time since the explosion which Cinnabar Island had perished under. “How could you?”

          “Because, my naive little daughter, Team Rocket destroyed me and this is my way of returning the act.”

          “All those people-”

          “Are necessary sacrifices.”

          “You’ve lost your mind,” Leaf said and felt her body tremble with fury. “But you were never religious? Why? How can you-”

          “You were always so slow to catch on,” Lyra interrupted her. “I could never hope to get the three feathers, hold off Rocket, damage Giovanni’s operations, unleash Mewtwo and defeat three legendary Pokemon by myself. Especially as I was exiled from Kanto. So I found people who had had their lives destroyed by Giovanni and Team Rocket and gave them a new hope, a religious hope. They believed they were exacting their revenge on Team Rocket whilst striving towards a better life. They were hopeless and desperate and I gave them back that hope along with a purpose.”

          “It can’t have been that easy to persuade all those people,” Leaf said, surprised.

          “But it was. So many of Kanto’s population are oppressed and even more in Johto now Rocket armies moved into there. Like Ethan for example, Team Rocket burned down his home.”

          “But people believe that Rocket and the government are separate, don’t they?”

          “Not all. Especially when I provide them with undisputable evidence.”

          “Is this your Lord Raven’s plan? Did you free him from Rocket’s prison?”

          “No,” Lyra said quickly. Leaf gulped and felt her stomach sink, somehow she believed her. “This is my revenge. Giovanni destroyed me, now I destroy him.”

          “You used me too,” Leaf realised. “And my friends. You used the Resistance to further your goals.”

          “I did the same to you as I did with the Servants. Used your hatred of Team Rocket for my own gains. Now you see why so many people so easily followed my made up religion.”

          Leaf wanted to stop her mother. She wanted to strike her or unleash her Pokemon upon her. But her body refused to listen to her commands. She trembled as the shock of Cinnabar’s demise paralysed her movements. “Please,” she managed to say. “Don’t unleash Mewtwo.”

          Her mother laughed at that. “Why not?”

          “For me,” Leaf begged. “Please. We are so close to stopping Rocket.”

          “No you’re not,” Lyra snapped. “And without mine and Ethan’s help you’re even further away.”

          “Please,” she begged then an idea came to her. “Give me time. You have everything you need now. Just give me time even if it's to escape Kanto. Let me try and stop Rocket and save my friends who are held captive. And if I can’t then let me get myself and my friends out of Kanto.”

          Her mother looked at her for a second and for that small moment Leaf thought she saw some humanity in those dark eyes. “Fine,” she said. “You have until tomorrow night. But I’m unleashing Mewtwo no matter what. These two days are for you to rescue your captive friends and escape Kanto.”

          “Why?” was the only word Leaf could manage to say.

          “Because I love you,” her mother said softly to Leaf’s surprise. “Now get out of here.”

          Leaf turned to walk away, to where she had not the slightest clue. She looked at her PokeNav and the time showed 14:09. Then when all hope had been lost a shining beacon pierced through the fog of her desolation in the form of a phone call from Okaido Oak.

          “Leaf,” he said with a voice strained by sorrow. “I know where he is.”

          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          Medical instruments lay upon a table which was swathed in dim light. Enormous containers like giant test tubes which contained Pokemon held in stasis took up the furthest part of the room along with a plethora of machines which hummed quietly.
          Silver use cleaning solution to spray a spot of dirt upon one of the pearl-white machines which only added to the smell of bleach which lingered within the room, which was more of a makeshift laboratory. A laboratory used to house the man who sat tied to a chair and had been subjected to yet more experimentation at the behest of Silver’s father, Giovanni. Silver himself didn’t administer the so called ‘surgery’, but was left to oversee the room and ‘keep it clean’. By that his father had meant to keep the subject in good health but Silver instead had played ignorant. He wanted no part in his father’s “Project Union” so instead he cleaned the room and kept the patient’s sanity by treating them as if they were still human.

          “Still silent?” Silver said to the patient who hadn’t spoken in weeks. Not since he had delivered that soul crushing news which had turned the subject from indomitably defiant to hopeless and willing.

          Silver moved over to the subject who had tubes connecting his veins to the machines like wires and crouched down slightly so his eyes were at a level with his. He studied the young man’s face. The silent subject’s once blue eyes were now rimmed in shadow and almost red in colour, full of rage and darkness. The effect of combining a human with the power of a Megastone along with trying to give him the abilities possessed only by Pokemon. This was Giovanni’s “Project Union”, his masterplan he kept so quiet from everyone apart from himself, his son and the man who applied the experiments, Bill.

          Bill had been useful to Silver before in a ploy to gain the Resistance’s trust but was another who had been broken by Giovanni so that the Team Rocket boss could usher his control over the scientific genius. It also allowed Team Rocket access to Storage, which was why they could obtain so many Pokemon so quickly. Rocket left the Resistance’s held Pokemon alone however, so that Leaf and her friends wouldn’t catch on and attempt to take back Storage.

          “I released Lord Raven,” Silver revealed to the patient. He had spilled his thoughts to the silent subject over time knowing that the man hated Giovanni possibly even more than he did. “I wanted to prove it could be done. I wanted to show myself that I’m capable of rebelling against my father.” The subject locked eyes with Silver for a moment then looked swiftly away. He was a defeated man but full of rage and Silver feared him more than even his own father. The patient wasn’t only incredibly powerful after being subjected to Project Union, he had a burning hatred for anything and everything related to Giovanni.

          “Look,” Silver said. “I can’t do this anymore. Especially now that my father has reunited with Okaido, his favourite son. I’ll be cast out and left for dead.” The man looked at him once more but showed no signs of comprehension. “You may know Okaido as Blue Oak,” Silver said to help his thoughts. The man nodded simply then lowered his head once more.

          “I’m sorry I couldn’t stop them,” Silver blurted. “He was a good kid,” he said, referring to the incident which broke the patient. “I tried, I swear. But my father planned it all. He wanted to break you and knew this was how to do so. You were his secret Project Union all along and the only way to achieve his goal was to plan the death of Wally.”

          The man looked at him at the mention of the name. Silver saw his eyes flicker with signs of hatred, disgust and even a little sadness.

          “I’m sorry I couldn’t stop them, Erik,” Silver said to him. “But to make amends, how about we strike a deal?” He spoke at length of his plan with Erik and when he stopped the broken man looked directly into his eyes, then nodded.

          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          “Blue don’t do-” Daisy began but Okaido had already dialled the number to his grandfather’s Rocket contact at exactly 14:00.

          “Hello,” the man said at the other end of the line.

          “Hello,” Okaido replied. “It’s Okaido Razzo.”

          “Giovanni said to expect this call,” the man replied. “The name is Nigel, I operate the Test Centre.” Okaido paused for a moment. So Giovanni had been so sure that he would join their side.

          “I wish to join Team Rocket,” Okaido said,” and fulfill my father’s legacy. I wish to join his side and be the heir to his empire, as is my right and desire as his eldest son.”

          “It is indeed!” Nigel boomed.

          “I’m told we only have one base of operations left,” Okaido said quickly. He was sweating nervously at the enormousness of his act. “So I’m guessing that’s where my father will be?”

          “Indeed!” Nigel boomed again.

          “I guess my old friend Erik is being held there too,” he said and laughed nervously.

          “Right again!”

          “So?” Okaido snapped, trying to imitate his father’s distaste for someone not getting to the point of the matter. “Where am I to meet my father? Where is our final base of operation?”

          “Why right here!” Nigel responded ecstatically.

          “At the Test Centre?” Okaido gasped. “That’s Rocket’s base of operations? I thought it was just secretly owned by my father and used as a means of obtaining new Rocket recruits. Not used as a base?”

          “As I tell my examinees,” Nigel replied. “The most obvious answer is sometimes the correct one!”

          Okaido slammed the phone down. After all this time, after all the searching and travelling the region to find where Erik was being held. He was where it had all began, in that Test Centre where he had initially been captured. Okaido rapidly dialled Leaf’s number into his PokeNav. The pressure of the events that had recently transpired had tortured his soul and left him emotionally fragile. But now he was going to reunite with his father. The PokeNav clicked as the call connected.

          “Leaf,” he said with a voice strained by sorrow. “I know where he is.”
          __________________
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            #32    
          Old November 16th, 2017 (3:06 AM).
          abstories abstories is offline
             
            Join Date: Feb 2015
            Gender: Male
            Posts: 65
            Chapter Seventeen - Where It All Began



            Spoiler:
            Charred and broken chips of wood entwined with the sharp shards of glass which blanketed the floor. Paintings hung loosely form the walls, most of which were either damaged or burnt beyond recognition. A glass table was smashed in two by a Tauros, which was a bull-like Pokemon but with even more muscle, three tails and a thick mane of hair around its neck. The beast had been aiming for a Team Rocket grunt but the low-level operative dived out of its path and joined his comrades in a mass retreat. They had been defeated and broken.

            “Full retreat,” a voice sounded on the tannoy. Giovanni’s voice. “Abandon battlestations and initiate retreat protocol,” he said in a voice still completely calm.

            “I will be the one who holds off the Resistance’s surge!” Nigel boomed. The hefty man with the enormous stomach stood at the edge of a corridor alongside his Pokemon: A Golem, a Golbat, an Onix, a Raichu, a Vileplume and a Ninetales.

            “Just move out of our way,” Samuel Oak demanded of the man. “Your own resistance is now a futile effort. Your compatriots have bolted and your boss has sounded a full withdrawal.” Oak’s Tauros lowered its head and began preparing for a charge whilst his Gyarados awaited any of Nigel’s Pokemon to make their move. He had three other Pokemon who all remained close to the professor’s side. The first of which was a Blastoise, a bulky blue Pokemon who had two arms and legs with a titanic shell affixed to his back like a impenetrable shield. The turtle-like Pokemon also had two sizable cannons sprouting from within the shell which were now pointed towards the Ninetales and ready to fire an indomitable spray of water towards his foe.

            “Arcanine,” Oak spoke to another one of his Pokemon, “get ready to flank at speed.” The fire-type was an impressively rapid creature with an orange and black pelt with thick cream-coloured fur sprouting from its chest, legs, tail, neck and head. The Pokemon stood just taller than its trainer and showed sharp fangs towards his opponent. Oak’s final Pokemon was the evolved form of Exeggcute, Exeggutor. The five eggs had combined into five different faces which went around the creature’s head. The grass-type had thick leaves sprouting from its head which, combined with its pale-brown coloured body, gave Leaf the impression of a pineapple, or a palm tree, with two thick legs.

            “My team,” Leaf said to her Pokemon. “Flank left.” She nodded to Okaido who instructed his own Gyarados and Exeggutor, as well as a Rhyhorn, his Charizard, Pidgeot and Kadabra to flank right.

            Nigel bolted. The fat man almost wobbled as he tried to flee and left his Pokemon to guard his own exit. He didn’t even turn around to see his Ninetales being annihilated by Loch and the two Gyarados’s combined water cannons. Or his Vileplume being roasted by the Charizard and Arcanines’ flamethrowers. Or his Golbat being swiped out of the sky by Pidgeot then charged by the Tauros. Despite Nigel having rounded the corner, the onslaught continued. Dino wrapped his vines around the Raichu for Club and Stomp to pound the captive creature. The Golem was devastated by psychic attacks from the two Exeggutors and Alakazam, and the Onix had been wrestled down by Belly then scorched by Heiko before being charged by Blue’s Rhyhorn and finished off by a water cannon from Oak’s Blastoise.

            “Shall we proceed?” Samuel Oak asked his two comrades after the massacre.

            “Let’s do this,” Okaido said nervously. Leaf smiled at him for reassurance but her attempts had no effect.

            “Where will they be?” Leaf asked of her two counterparts but neither seemed to know a definitive answer.

            The trio followed the corridor where Nigel and the grunts had fled and Leaf remembered that this was the corridor they had first taken when the Resistance had raided the Test Centre all those months ago.

            “The battle arena?” Leaf said as they followed the pearl-white walls slick with paintings and doors. “That’s where they’re going?”

            “A giant room ready to make their final stand,” Samuel Oak said.

            “Makes sense,” Okaido agreed.

            “How are you feeling?” Leaf asked of her friend. He had tricked Nigel into getting the information about the Test Centre and now appeared anxious as if what lay ahead may be too much for him to bear. When she had known him simply as Blue he had been so confident to the point of arrogance, but if the death of Wally had shaken him greatly then the revelation of his heritage had stripped his foolhardy persona to its core.

            “Let’s just get this over with,” Okaido said uncertainly. They approached the door to the battle arena where students would be tested by the examiner, usually Nigel, to determine whether they were worthy of receiving a trainer’s licence or not. The pass rate had plummeted over the years with the failing students thereafter being offered a chance at keeping their dream of possessing Pokemon alive by joining Team Rocket at the rank of ‘grunt’.

            “Ready?” Samuel Oak asked as he pressed a hand to the door, ready to push it open and face whatever awaited them inside.

            “Always,” Leaf and Okaido replied in unison. Oak pushed open the door.

            Inside were two podiums at either end of an arena marked by white chalk in the shape of a Pokeball. The arena was lit up brightly whereas previously the room had always been dimly illuminated. Two doors lay at either end of the room and in front of the one to the Resistance’s right stood Giovanni, Courtney and Silver with two high-level Rocket operatives on either side.

            “Well come in,” Giovanni beckoned to Leaf, Okaido and Oak who strolled to the centre of the room and re-released all their Pokemon. “Well come in!” Giovanni shouted this time and for a moment Leaf was confused as to why he had repeated himself. Then hordes of Rocket operatives swarmed the room from the door the trio had just used and the door on the far side of the room. Leaf counted at least thirty or more seemingly high-level Rocket members now in the room with the Resistance, Giovanni, Courtney and Silver.

            The criminal operatives released a legion of Pokemon from Muk and Weezing to Golbat and Fearow to Raticate and more, all of which circled the Resistance from where Leaf and her allies stood helpless in the centre of the marked Pokeball. She tried to count the Pokemon which surrounded them but there were too many, well over one hundred. The Resistance had just seventeen fighters to combat the horde and that was if Okaido’s precarious loyalty remained intact.

            “So this is where the Resistance meets their end,” Giovanni said and ascended the podium, his wife Courtney alongside him. Silver had clearly circled the room because he now stood on the other podium and looked intimidating with the mechanical mask still firmly affixed to his face.

            “A trap?” Samuel Oak asked Giovanni. The Resistance trio had been sucked into the room because of the false retreat and now stood surrounded on all sides.

            “A contingency, my old friend,” Giovanni replied with a flicker of a smile. “I was unsure of my son’s loyalty so had both a plan A and a plan B.”

            “Hello brother,” Silver said welcomingly towards Okaido.

            “Silence,” Giovanni said sharply and glared at Silver for a split second before returning his calm gaze towards Okaido. “So you’re not joining me after all? Maybe if I crush your little Leaf then you may reconsider? Or maybe your grandfather?”

            “Shut up!” Okaido shouted. “Just stop. I will never join you.”

            “Never say never,” Giovanni said coolly.

            “Never!” Okaido snapped.

            “Everyone has a breaking point,” Giovanni said coldly then shocked Leaf with his next words. “Even Erik.”

            “Where is he?” Leaf demanded.

            “Don’t you interrupt,” Courtney chimed. “I’m to get my revenge on you Leafy girl for defeating me in the tournament.”

            “Stand down,” Oak pleaded to Giovanni. “No more violence, no more war. Let’s discuss this as old friends.”

            “Are you begging?” Giovanni said with pride.

            “No,” Oak said. “This is too much, Giovanni. Too many have fallen now. Let us come to an agreement that suits both. No more Team Rocket and no more corruption. Let us work together to create a better world.”

            Giovanni laughed at that. “Old man,” he said. “You are and were the only man I have ever respected enough to fear. But you’re out of practice and surrounded. Even you cannot destroy me now.” Courtney giggled hysterically at her husband’s words.

            “No,” Samuel Oak conceded. “Even I cannot surmount these odds.”

            “But I can,” Okaido cut in. “I will even if it means the end of me. I will take you down, father.”

            “Blue-” Oak began.

            “My name is Okaido Razzo,” he said passionately with eyes clouded by tears. “And my family created the mess our world now finds itself in. My friends have fallen and been broken and whatever else because of my family. It’s my responsibility to do what is right, and what is right is to bring down my father’s legacy.”

            “You are my legacy,” Giovanni said. “Project Union is my legacy. I am just a pawn in my own game and so is Team Rocket,” he said to Leaf’s puzzlement, especially as the room was filled with Team Rocket operatives but they just looked to be in a brainwashed bliss.

            “Enough!” Oak roared, the authority of his shout sending shockwaves through everyone in the room. “Enough of this manipulation. If you aren’t willing to solve this peacefully then myself, my grandson and Leaf have but one option left. War.” Leaf tensed at his words and met eyes with each and every one of her Pokemon. She would lose a few, possibly all of them if they were to fight but the war would end here and now.

            “We have no chance,” Leaf whispered to Okaido.

            “We always have a chance,” he said and grinned in reply. She looked around the room and saw the hopelessness of their situation. She wanted to withdraw her Pokemon and run but her friends would never forgive her. She would never forgive herself. She had fought her way out of tough fights before, even won them, but this was a different proposition altogether. There was no way they could win this fight and she knew that deep down Okaido knew this too.

            “You don’t have much of a chance,” Giovanni said to Oak. “This is my final offer. Surrender to me. I’ll even let you go free Samuel, but Leaf must stay as my prisoner. I don’t trust her to lay down arms. She will be well treated but kept under close guard and her Pokemon taken from her. My son will also join Team Rocket as my heir. Those are my terms.”

            “Okaido,” Samuel Oak said to his grandson. “I leave the choice in your hands. I trust you entirely and before you make your decision then please know this. Whatever decision you make, it would be impossible for me to be more proud of you.”

            “And me,” Leaf added. “You never had to help Erik, Wally and I, but no matter what you’ve always been there for us. Whatever decision you make, my friend, we’ll always be in this together. Thank you for everything.”

            Okaido looked from his grandfather, to Leaf, to Giovanni and then down to the floor as tears rolled down his face. “I’ll never let you down,” he said softly, so weakly that only Leaf and Samuel Oak could hear him. “And I’ll never stop fighting.” He lifted his head and locked eyes with his father, Giovanni. “We,” he said louder to correct himself. “We will never stop fighting.”

            And so the battle to decide the war began.

            Giovanni, Courtney and Silver held back from using their own Pokemon at first and allowed their grunts to engage with the resistance. Leaf noted that Giovanni was instructing his grunts to wound rather than defeat Okaido’s Pokemon, but Oak and Leaf’s own warriors were fair game.

            A Golbat moved first, swooping down to attack the Resistance Pokemon and was instantly batted down by one of Dino’s vines then incinerated by a flamethrower from Heiko. Another Golbat followed, then another, then chaos. A Crobat, which was the evolved form of Golbat and more agile and vicious with four wings instead of two, set upon Club alongside a swarm of Golbat which it led. The Marowak swatted aside the winged creatures against feral bites and wing attacks but struggled under the sheer numbers of opponents. Stomp had moved to assist but the Nidoking had been caught up alongside Belly as herds of Raticate leapt at the duo, snapping their jaws. Muk remained at the back and launched toxic sludge towards Leaf’s Pokemon, mainly Dino and Loch who had hung back with the former whipping out vines at any foes that approached his trainer and the latter spraying beams of ice and water towards the Golbat who had surrounded Club.

            Leaf turned to watch Heiko dart between a group of Arboks who had clung together and swiped their poisonous fangs towards the Flareon. Wally’s former Pokemon then spun back and launched spits of fire towards the snakes before having to dodge venomous bile and smog thrown at him by more Arboks and Weezing.

            Club had managed to fight her way out of his bat-barricade with the assistance of Stomp who now fought off yet more Raticate and some Golbats whilst the Marowak focused on their leader, Crobat. Leaf watched him spin his bone club and strike at the speedy Rocket Pokemon who simply swerved out of the way and lashed out with a wing so tough it seemed to be made of steel. The steel wing crashed into Club and sent her sprawling across the floor where the Crobat honed in on his victim like a homing missle, only to be diverted off course when Dino whipped him with a vine. The bat sneered towards Leaf’s Venusaur before being caught in midair by Stomp who slammed the Crobat down to the ground and stamped on it, crushing the Rocket Pokemon underneath his considerable weight.

            The Nidoking had saved the day. But in doing so had taken his eye from a gathering of Weezing who now floated towards him. Stomp looked around and gasped in horror before the three poison-types exploded, sacrificing their own lives to defeat the Nidoking.
            Leaf felt the agony of losing a Pokemon tear through her but before she had time to grieve she noticed Heiko and Club once again being surrounded as they flanked Belly and threatened to steal the life of another one of her friends in quick succession. The Snorlax eagerly fought off Golbat after Golbat and Raticate after Raticate who all pounced or hovered near his hefty frame, using fists and headbutts to knock back and defeat his foes.

            “Enough!” Giovanni roared to render the room to silence. Leaf had wondered why the Team Rocket boss had called for a temporary respite in the battle then looked behind her to find her answer. Whilst her Pokemon had been resilient and held off the grunt’s warriors but had been steadily losing ground, Okaido’s team had been decimated.

            His Charizard lay weakly on the ground before him and his Pidgeot had been swiped from the air by a Crobat and now lay almost unmoving at Okaido’s feet. His Rhyhorn and Exeggutor had been scorched by a pair of Ninetales to the point where they lay unconscious and his Gyarados and Kadabra had been wrestled down by a Nidoking and Nidoqueen who now held their poisonous points threateningly towards their fallen opponents.

            “I never thought Okaido would be our weak link,” Leaf thought to herself. “I’m our weak link? Unless…” she realised and looked to Okaido’s downed fighters. They were surrounded by Courtney’s and Giovanni’s Pokemon. She looked to Samuel Oak whose Pokemon had cut down huge swathes of Rocket grunt’s warriors, almost double the amount that Leaf’s Pokemon had managed then looked back to Okaido. Courtney and Giovanni had used the war as a distraction to render his Pokemon helpless.

            And now Leaf saw why.

            Silver moved through the grunts and over to Okaido. He was flanked by his Pokemon, a Gengar and Kadabra on one side and a Crobat and Magneton on the other.

            “Come on,” he said to his half-brother. “Let’s get you out the way.”

            “I’m not moving,” Okaido said stubbornly.

            “We defeated your Pokemon,” Giovanni said. “So that you won't be present in the centre when Samuel and Leaf are annihilated alongside their Pokemon.”

            “And I’m staying right here,” Okaido replied. “You won’t kill them with me here.”

            “Don’t make this any more difficult than it has to be, brother,” Silver said to Blue. The grunt’s Pokemon surrounded the Resistance with Leaf’s fighters hanging close to her and Oak’s close to him. Giovanni’s Pokemon had joined the ranks of the Rocket grunts’ on Oak’s side and Courtney’s now readied to face Leaf alongside the horde of grunt Pokemon. Leaf knew she had no chance, even with Samuel Oak’s aid.

            “I will never abandon my gramps and my friend,” Okaido said stoutly.

            “Do it,” Giovanni commanded Silver who in turn nodded towards his Magneton. The electric type sent out small shockwaves towards Okaido which were weak in strength but still enough to temporarily paralyse him. Okaido collapsed to the floor and was unable to move where he was then picked up by Silver with the help of both his Crobat and Kadabra. They carried off to where the two brothers travelled to the far side of the room. Okaido lay prone on the floor behind Silver’s podium and was surrounded by his half brother’s four Pokemon who were ready to pen him in and, if necessary, paralyse him again once he regained full consciousness. Leaf saw the door open from behind Giovanni then close. The Team Rocket boss and Courtney were too engrossed in Silver and Okaido to notice but Leaf presumed that more Rocket grunts had arrived to reinforce the main army.

            “Ready?” Professor Oak said quietly to Leaf as the two stood back to back in the centre of the room, their five Pokemon each guarding their fronts.

            “We’re going to lose aren’t we?” she asked nervously, seeing an uncountable number of Rocket Pokemon line up in front of her. She expected Samuel Oak to raise her spirits but he did no such thing.

            “Probably,” he replied. “Let’s go down fighting. Let’s bring as many of the swine with us as we go. Then its up to my grandson to bring down his father.”

            Leaf looked to her team one at a time and all her friends she had made looked back to her in turn and either smiled or nodded their head towards her. They were ready. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to them all. “But thank you. All of you. I’ve never known more loyal Pokemon.”

            Club and Heiko charged first. They had grown tired of the standoff as a desire for vengeance burned through them. They’d go down knowing they did all they could to avenge their fallen mother and trainer respectively. Belly stumbled after them whilst Dino and Loch stayed back to protect Leaf.

            She heard the cries and roars of Oak’s Pokemon behind her engaging in battle with Giovanni’s own. She saw her own friends fight valiantly and defiantly. She felt tears filling her eyes and smelt the stench of her own fears pouring down her in the form of sweat. Then she tasted the bittersweet taste of a heroic defeat, a final stand she could be proud of.

            Dino roared and charged into the fray himself, knocking over two Raticate with his bulk then stamping and crushing Courtney’s Crobat beneath his feet after first using his vines to haul the bat from the air. Loch froze Courtney’s Muk within a tomb of ice where Heiko then melted both the ice prison and the Muk within. The Lapras then proceeded to decimate one of the Ninetales with an unstoppable blast of water.

            Leaf turned back to watch Oak’s Blastoise ram into Giovanni’s Rhydon and drown it in water sprayed from the twin cannons. Oak’s Gyarados fell in battle against the Team Rocket boss’s Nidoking and Nidoqueen who combined their efforts before Giovanni watched his Dugtrio fall in battle to Oak’s Exeggutor using psychic attacks. The Arcanine and Tauros used by Oak in battle defeated one each of Giovanni’s two Rhyhorn before in turn falling to a swarm of grunt-owned Pokemon.

            She turned back to her own team who were being majorly pushed back by the sheer numbers they were being forced to face. Courtney’s team had been reduced to just one Ninetales and her Nidoqueen but both were proving formidable foes to Leaf’s own Pokemon along with dozens of grunt-owned creatures.

            Dino had been forced back all the way to his trainer and whipped at approaching Rocket grunt Pokemon with vines whilst Loch washed them away with water blasts but no matter how many they defeated, the endless horde just kept coming, and Leaf’s team were tiring rapidly. Belly had been forced over and was now on his back with Heiko and Club to either side of him trying to hold their opponents off so the Snorlax wouldn’t be defeated. But they were only delaying the inevitable. Courtney’s Ninetales hopped atop Belly and slowly skulked across his frame ready to breathe lethal flames into his face and her Nidoqueen had grabbed Club’s bone club and tossed it aside before pushing her to the ground and holding her foot to her throat to choke the life out of her. Then came the soul-tearing pain that came with losing a Pokemon. But this time it was different, this time the pain came not from the soul, but the heart.

            “Wally!” she cried as Heiko fell to a swarm of Rocket Pokemon. The Flareon had been the last remnant of her old friend left within this world and had been defeated by the group he had sworn his vengeance upon. She collapsed to the floor, unable to take the strain. Then another cry joined hers. But this cry wasn’t one of pain, but one of pure rage.

            “Wally!” a male voice called out from behind Giovanni.

            “Father!” Silver bellowed from his podium at the other side of the arena. “You treated me as if I was nothing. A meaningless and useless failure. Well now it's my turn to show you what I’m capable of.” Silver’s Pokemon released Okaido from his imprisonment and turned on their former Rocket comrades, cutting into the grunt horde of Pokemon from the left flank using vicious attacks intended to carve through the army and reach the centre.

            Leaf looked back towards her Pokemon and almost squealed in shock. Courtney’s Nidoqueen and Ninetales now had eyes of lilac. They were being possessed.

            She looked behind her and saw that Giovanni’s Nidoqueen and Nidoking had met the same fate then saw to the right side of the room the same figure she had seen possessing Pokemon in Lavender Town. But this time the figure was in light and the person using possession to control Courtney and Giovanni’s Pokemon was as clear to her as day. It was Erik.

            The possessed Pokemon joined Leaf, Oak and Silver in their battle against Rocket and it was to clear to Leaf that even Giovanni hadn’t expected this betrayal. For the first time ever he looked flustered and unsure of what to do next. It was his wife that came up with the solution. Courtney pulled out four black stones from her pocket, Megastones. She leapt from the podium and sprinted towards the possessed Pokemon where one by one, she forcefully evolved them which broke the possession and began the process of mega-evolution.

            All four were shrouded by a blackness which unveiled the four mega-evolutions when it dissipated. The Ninetales had grown in size and its tails had turned black in colour, as well as the hair atop its head. The two mega-Nidoqueen had also now grown in size and their bodies were now a much darker shade of blue. The cream on their bellies had turned into a metal shield upon their chests and stomachs and their horns had grown to three times the size and sharpness. Leaf recoiled at the dark red of their eyes. Finally, the Nidoking had also grown with a new metal shield upon his chest and stomach and his skin a darker shade of purple with a black tail. The spikes on his back had turned to steel and his eyes red but most threateningly his entire body was lined with purple plates of armour.

            The four mega-evolutions turned back towards the Resistance and Silver but Erik had a plan for this too. He launched four Masterballs towards the creatures but these capsules were different to a standard Masterball, almost an upgraded version. Instead of having a purple top it was pure black and the two buttons on either side were now miniature Megastones.

            “Our Megaballs!” Courtney squealed as if Erik had stolen the devices.

            “What do they do?” Leaf asked her, they were now only a few paces away from each other as the so-called Megaballs captured and contained the four mega-evolutions.

            “Our latest invention,” Courtney said, squirming nervously. “Only usable by our Project Union, Erik. The Megastones on the sides act as identification sensors so only he can use them. A Megaball will capture a Mega and keep it in that state permanently, but under control of Erik.” So Erik would be able to capture and control Megas, Leaf realised.

            “Why would Giovanni hand all this power to Erik, I don’t understand?” Leaf replied. And then she did. Giovanni was laughing atop his podium as his empire crumbled around him. Erik released his four Megas onto the field of battle where they wreaked havoc upon the Rocket forces, so much so that the grunts fled in terror. Leaf and Oak recalled their Pokemon and were joined by Silver and Okaido in watching the massacre in astonishment.

            “Project Union is a success!” Giovanni declared as the Megas beat down Courtney and advanced on him.

            “Why?!” Oak demanded of his old friend.

            “Another contingency,” Giovanni shouted back. “Team Rocket was unsustainable under my leadership. I had too many enemies and too few friends. I lacked the raw power to lead the region for much longer, especially with the Resistance so close to bringing me down.”

            “What have you done to him?” Oak asked of Erik, who had commanded his Megas to stop their advance and allow Giovanni to explain why he had done the things he had done. Leaf supposed this was for his own benefit rather than for Oak’s.

            “He is my Project Union. I took the most powerful trainer in the land, even more powerful than the two of us. Then I combined him with the powers of Pokemon and Megastones allowing him the power of possession, along with the control of Megaevolutions with our newest invention, the Megaball. As well as some other surprises you’ll surely find out.”

            “But why?!” Oak demanded.

            “At first I wanted power and control after losing Aria, my former wife. But even after I obtained all the power I could ever wish for it never replaced her. The only thing that could fill the hole in my heart was Okaido and Daisy, but you took them from me too. Erik here understood the same things I do. That the only way to stop pain and loss is to obtain so much power that you become like a god! I couldn’t achieve that for myself, my body is too old now that the experiments would’ve devastated me. But Erik was young and strong. And after the death of Wally, he was also willing. He now feels no pain or loss. He has ascended above that!”

            “You still haven’t answered me,” Oak bellowed. “What’s in this for you?”

            “As I said. Rocket would have soon fallen and me with it. Therefore I would’ve left no legacy for Okaido and Daisy. But now they can pick up where I left off, with Erik by their side they can rule the world!”

            “He’s lost it,” Silver said in realisation.

            “I still refuse,” Okaido said, his voice like a growl.

            “I know. This is why I initially said that Erik was my backup. If you refuse me then Erik will be my legacy!”

            “It should’ve been me!” Silver screamed.

            “You’re too weak to succeed me,” Giovanni said scornfully.

            Silver looked ashamed and Erik decided he had heard enough. He commanded his four Megas to end their own lives, for what reason Leaf failed to understand, but they willingingly obeyed their master. Each Mega closed their eyes and seemingly exploded in a cloud of darkness. The poisonous gas wrapped around Giovanni and Courtney and suffocated the life from them much like it did to Ethan atop Cinnabar Island’s volcano. The two leaders of Rocket collapsed, choking.

            “That’s for Wally,” Erik said, his voice dark and gritty as the life left Giovanni and Courtney. Silver, Okaido, Oak and Leaf were left too stunned for words.

            Two figures came to Erik’s side to join him, Leaf recognising them from Silph Company Tower as Proton and Ariana.

            “The most powerful trainer is now the ultimate weapon,” Ariana declared. “And will led Team Rocket to new heights.”

            “You’re joining Team Rocket?” Leaf demanded of Erik, her pulse racing.

            “I am Team Rocket,” Erik said, his voice croaky and dark. He nodded to Silver who nodded back.

            “That was our deal,” Silver said.

            “What?” Leaf gasped.

            “That we take down my father and Courtney together,” Silver replied, his mechanical voice failing to hide the sad strain on his words. “And that he can lead Team Rocket as long as I am free to leave.”

            “That’s it?” Leaf snapped.

            “No,” Silver replied. “Erik is to also withdraw Team Rocket from Kanto permanently. As long as the Resistance leaves him and Team Rocket alone then they will never emerge in Kanto again.”

            “Why would you care?” Okaido asked his half-brother.

            “Because I want peace. I want to live my own life without Giovanni and without Team Rocket.”

            “And why would you?!” Leaf shouted to Erik. “How could you?!”

            “Giovanni explained it perfectly,” Erik replied. “The loss of Wally, my father, all my beloved Pokemon. They broke me and caused me to feel so much pain. Now with all this power I will never feel pain again!”

            “But Team Rocket?” she replied, shocked. “Why lead them.”

            “Because I have the power of a god!” he said proudly. Leaf could tell that somehow Giovanni had broken his spirit and almost reinvented her former friend’s beliefs. “And a god should rule this world. As part of my deal I shall leave Kanto untouched, as long as you lot leave me be. But the rest of this world shall fall to me.”

            “What happened to you?!” Leaf said as both anger and sorrow swelled within her. “You were so good. I aspired to be like you. Wally aspired to be like you!”

            “And he’s dead. I shall remove sadness and loss from this world. That is my goal as god of it.”

            “You’re out of your mind!” Leaf snapped and felt the tears roll down her face.

            “Wouldn’t you like to live in a world where Pokemon aren’t killed in battle?” Erik asked. “Where Pokemon are treated as friends instead of warriors. Where battles are fought not to the death but until a clear victor is found. Where you are free to capture as many Pokemon from a route or cave as you like? Where you don’t need to be a trainer to capture and own Pokemon? Where you can buy and use as many items to heal your Pokemon as you like and use a Pokemon Centre as many times as you wish?” Erik said and Leaf sighed, unable to believe what she was hearing. “That is a world I shall create. A world without death and sadness. A world ruled by me where we shall set our own rules.”

            “And how would you achieve that?” Samuel Oak asked. “By tearing down our current world? By killing everyone and starting again?” he said coldly.

            “If that’s what is necessary, although that’s not my first option” Erik replied.

            “Wouldn’t that cause loss and sadness?” Oak said.

            “It would be a means to achieve a world of serenity,” Erik said sternly.

            “You say Wally’s death was what broke you,” Leaf began. “But you were in Lavender Town before his death, using possession to control Pokemon. You caused the death of Club’s mother,” she spoke of her Marowak who had collapsed through exhaustion and didn’t hear her words.

            “They forced these powers on me,” Erik said. “I was experimenting with them in Lavender, but I wasn’t quite ready yet. Back then I planned to break free and rejoin you. But Wally’s death convinced me that this was the only way.”

            “It isn’t!” Leaf snapped.

            “Leaf,” Okaido said. “He’s gone. The Erik we knew and loved. He’s gone now.”

            “Correct,” Erik replied. “This is the last time we shall ever meet, Leaf and Blue. Unless you pursue me then Kanto shall be destroyed.”

            “No!” Leaf snapped as Erik turned to leave with Arianna and Proton.

            “Wait!” Okaido shouted, clearly not ready to accept his own words just yet.

            “Let him go,” Silver said and moved to stop both Leaf and Okaido who had attempted to follow Erik out of the room. “As my brother said. The Erik you knew has gone.”

            “I refuse to believe it!” Leaf snapped.

            “He’s right,” Samuel Oak spoke from behind the trio. “Erik has had his mind warped by Giovanni.” Oak looked to the lifeless body of his old friend and his wife, Courtney and said a final goodbye. “He used to be a much better man,” Oak said. “But loss can do terrible things to a person. Especially when that person is your world.”

            “I should’ve joined Team Rocket,” Okaido said to Leaf’s dismay. “All this would’ve been avoided. I could’ve turned them into a force for good.”

            “This isn’t your fault,” Leaf said softly. “Not in the slightest.”

            “But it is!” Okaido blurted and Oak put an arm around his grandson and spoke too quietly for Leaf to hear.

            “What will you do?” Leaf asked of Silver, still unsettled by the sight of the mask on his face.

            “I don’t know,” he said. Leaf had noticed that he was a relatively quiet person who enjoyed his own company rather than to be with others. She almost felt sorry for him, but the sight of the monstrosity of metal upon his face made her struggle to see the human being she knew was underneath. Maybe that was the mask’s intention after all.

            “You’re still in the tournament aren’t you?” Okaido asked as he returned from his pep talk by his grandfather.

            “The tournament!” Leaf blurted. “I had forgotten all about that!”

            “Its meaningless now,” Silver said.

            “It’s not,” Samuel Oak corrected him. “Whoever is Champion will be able to decide the fate of Kanto.” He looked to his grandson and smiled, clearly backing Okaido for the victory.

            “There’s only us three and Lance left in it,” Leaf said and thought of the former Champion Lance, the world’s most famous dragon tamer. He was said to be the most powerful trainer in the region after Professor Oak and Giovanni and one of the greatest trainers in the world.

            “The draw is fixed,” Silver revealed to none of their surprise. “I’m to face my brother.”

            “In a fair fight?” Okaido asked.

            “A fair fight between Giovanni’s sons,” Silver replied.

            “So I’m to face Lance,” Leaf said and Silver nodded confirmation.

            “If I lose,” Silver continued. “I leave Kanto for good.”

            “You don’t have to, you helped us,” Leaf said.

            “Humiliation and shame isn’t something I’m willing to face anymore of,” Silver responded. “But I promise you that if I win then I will try to achieve the same goals as you are.”

            “You will?!” Leaf said excitedly.

            “Archer is my father’s pet puppy. Now he’s off his leash there’s no telling what stupid things he’ll concoct. I want him gone so my father’s and Team Rocket’s grip on the region is completely destroyed,” Silver said and made no effort to hide the anger in his voice.

            “And Erik?” Leaf asked. “Isn’t he your father’s true legacy?”

            Silver grunted at that but said nothing to it. “Time for me to take my leave,” he said. “Lance will be waiting for you at Indigo Plateau, on the top level.”

            Before Leaf or Okaido could reply, Silver span on his heel and skulked out of the room. Leaf wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words.

            “So the Servants,” Okaido asked. “What happened with that lot?”

            “Lyra!” Leaf blurted as she once again remembered another issue. “They’re all...gone,” she said. “Their leader, Lyra, killed them…”

            “Why?” Okaido asked, puzzled.

            “Because,” Samuel Oak intervened. “She is a malicious and single minded fool who only has a concern for one thing, power. She cares not for anyone else.”

            “She’s my mother,” Leaf revealed.

            “Oh,” Oak replied.

            “What?” Okaido added.

            “I didn’t know the leader of the Servants was Lyra until very recently. But she is my mother and she plans to release Mewtwo once more.”

            “Then we must stop her,” Oak replied. “Instantly.”

            “Out of her ‘love’ for me,” Leaf said, stressing the word ‘love’ with a bitter tone. “She has promised me less than two days to try to escape the region.”

            “Then I shall go to stop the menace,” Oak decided.

            “No,” Leaf said forcefully. “She’s my mother. It’s my duty to stop her.”

            “You’re sure?” Oak asked, surprising Leaf with his willingness to submit to her wishes. He clearly trusted her.

            “I am,” she said. “I shall try my best to become Champion. But before I unite the region and take down Archer I will move to stop my mother from destroying it.”

            “You got no chance,” Okaido said and winked. “I’ll do the Champion bit, you do the taking down Lyra bit,” he said almost playfully.

            “May the best trainer win,” Leaf said in response.

            Team Rocket had been all but destroyed that day with their final base of operations cleared out and their two leaders, Giovanni and Courtney, removed from the equation. Their third in command, Silver, had betrayed and disowned them which left only the Governor of Kanto, Archer, left.

            But Leaf had other worries. She still needed to become Champion to take down Archer and unite the region and that was only the start. Lance stood in her way then either Okaido or Silver. But most troubling of all was that she had been given until the next night by Lyra to leave the region and it was already the end of the day before. Leaf was slowly but surely running out of time to stop her mother from unleashing the most powerful Pokemon the world has ever known and destroying Kanto for good.
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              #33    
            Old November 19th, 2017 (8:30 PM).
            Bay's Avatar
            Bay Bay is offline
            Darkinium Z
             
            Join Date: May 2006
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            Over Giovanni having a twin, oh I didn't realize that since I'm not familar with the manga. Okay, haha!

            Sixteen
            I admit, I didn't expect Mega Moltres there. Usually I'm not a fan of made up Mega Evolution/forms/etc, but since the theme of your stories are having Mega Evolutions not being a good thing this works. Lyra's actions there I did feel is overdramatic with the Servants and all of Cinnabar gone, don't know how I'll feel with her using Mewtwo.

            The reveal of Erik being the experiment made me realize how much he has been offscreen. Leaf has a lot of development in this story, I wonder how Erik will act now since this story is coming to an end.

            Seventeen
            Speaking of Erik, not sure how I feel about him being brainwashed or whatever's going on. While Hosiko gone is tragic and you doing your take on Mega Evoluiton, I guess it's more like I was used to Erik being the protagonist when I was reading the first Challenger story and then him now is a big whiplash there. Courtney and the real Giovanni gone, things will take a different turn for sure.
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              #34    
            Old November 23rd, 2017 (12:57 AM).
            abstories abstories is offline
               
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              Chapter Eighteen - The Tamer


              Spoiler:
              Dawn was announced not by a pale sky as the sun shifted darkness from the world, but the Kanto National News’s morning show reporting their breaking announcement. Ty the cameraman filmed an ill-looking Gabby who reported the death of Courtney to a populace who had already believe Giovanni to be deceased.

              “The rebel group known only as the ‘Resistance’ have now killed our two most prestigious heads of state,” Gabby reported. She stood before a scene of serenity as the news attempted to express a calm and united nation. A smiling Archer shook hands behind her with Kanto’s citizens and smiles painted faces all around. “But wherever darkness threatens to ensnare Kanto, the light always prevails and so it has proved. In sacrificing their own lives against the Resistance, our beloved Giovanni and Courtney have dissolved Team Rocket in their heroic last stands,” Gabby said, which made no sense to Leaf as she watched the news.

              “How?” Leaf asked and Gabby appeared to answer her question.

              “Courtney tricked both Team Rocket and the Resistance to meet in the Test Centre where she more than held her own once both sides clashed with herself trapped in the middle. She sacrificed her own life as Giovanni had before her to ensure our region became a better place. Our Archer has told me this himself.”

              Leaf snorted at the false words.

              “Many of us believed that the Resistance and Team Rocket were as one but that has now been revealed to not be the case. Whilst Team Rocket were destroyed and forever banished from our region, the Resistance is still at large.”

              Leaf gulped as she prepared for Gabby to announce her, Okaido and Samuel Oak as their members, as had been clearly planned. She noticed that Archer now turned away from the citizens and looked towards the camera as he awaited the revelation to the region.

              “But our glorious mayor will continue in his post and strive to work together with the newly crowned winner of the Champion’s tournament, which is due to finish either today or tomorrow, to restabilize Kanto and crush the terrorist group known as the Resistance.”

              “So he expects Lance or Silver to win it, I suppose,” Leaf muttered.

              “Gabby,” Archer bellowed. “Don’t forget the big news.”

              “Ah yes,” Gabby stuttered and appeared nervous. “I have been instructed to reveal to you, the people of Kanto, as to the identities of the Resistance.”

              “A group of three,” Archer shouted as he walked towards the camera, wanting to be the singular face of this new regime now that Giovanni, Courtney and Team Rocket had all fallen. “A dastardly trio that have killed two esteemed members of government and tried to tear down our beloved region.”

              “Would you like to do the announcement?” Gabby asked sweetly. There was a barb in her words but the mayor failed to notice it.

              “No, my friend,” he replied and stepped to her side. “You are the face of the news team and many people in Kanto respect your reporting,” he said dutifully. “You reveal the identities of these awful people.

              “Then I shall,” Gabby said and smiled fiendishly. “I shall now unveil to you the menace which plagues our region. Team Rocket weren’t the only barbaric villains of our lands.”

              “Here we go,” Leaf said nervously and gulped.

              “And many of us still wonder who lead the failed organisation of Team Rocket,” she continued and Leaf gulped once more. Then, in a move that must have shocked the nation and stunned the viewing audience into a confused rage. Gabby shoved Archer over. The mayor’s bodyguards looked as puzzled as the citizens around them and hesitated before making their way over to the grounded Archer. And this allowed Gabby to make her own announcement.

              “Giovanni and Courtney led Team Rocket in secret,” she screeched and Ty backed slowly away so it would take longer for the bodyguards to reach him. “The Resistance are our only hope!” she screamed as the bodyguards grabbed her and wrestled the reported to the ground and Archer clambered to his feet. “Archer is too, he’s a member of-” she tried but her mouth was covered by a bodyguard’s hand.

              “Lies!” Archer protested to the camera and Ty then turned the screen on himself.

              “It’s true!” the cameraman shouted. “We are told what to report to you by them! It’s all lies!” he managed before a bodyguard grabbed him but not before the cameraman managed to smash his own piece of equipment. And the screen went black.

              “I knew you hadn’t betrayed us,” Leaf said happily. Gabby and Ty had been working undercover for the Resistance for as long as they had been able to. Deflecting interest on the identities to its members and garnering information for themselves, ready to strike when the time was right. And now both Courtney and Giovanni were gone, the government’s grasp on the region’s main news outlet had weakened.

              Archer would have a difficult time convincing the population that the reporters had lied, a job he would succeed in but it would take time. Enough time for Leaf and Okaido to finish the Champion’s tournament in time for Lyra’s release of Mewtwo, Leaf hoped.

              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              Leaf made haste through Victory Road. The ancient tunnel was a maze of rocks and uneven surfaces which used to act as a trainer’s final challenge before meeting with the Elite Four. Previously, other expert trainers who wished to compete against the Champion would first test their might against each other in the unforgiving cave. But now Victory Road was a lonely place due to Team Rocket’s Champion Tournament. A place where Leaf was left to her own thoughts.

              Her pokemon walked the lonely road alongside her as they trekked the treacherous path towards the exit where sunlight poured in to light the tunnel. Saur the Aerodactyl and Venom the Venomoth had been withdrawn from Storage to complete a team of six alongside Dino, Loch, Belly and Club. These six were to be her Pokemon for the final two rounds of the tournament.

              This was another issue daunting her mind. There was a rule for this semi-final match against Lance and it would be the same in the other matchup of Okaido and Silver. The final battle would take place directly after the semi-final with all surviving Pokemon being quickly healed then sent on their way into the Champion’s Arena for the last fight. The problem however, was that both finalists would be unable to withdraw any Pokemon to replace the ones which had fallen in the semi-final. So her current six Pokemon would have to see her through both the semi-final and the final.

              “Erik,” Leaf said solemnly to herself, suddenly changing the subject to another which plagued her. “What did they do to you. How could they have turned you?” she thought, then shook her head. “No, they didn’t turn you.”. “You truly believe that what you’re doing is right. That what you’re doing by leading Team Rocket and uniting the world under their visage will bring peace and harmony. A world without people losing their Pokemon in simple trainer battles and a land of united regions where there is no war. Where there is peace.” She nodded in understanding of her friend’s motives. “But first you would destroy the world in order to achieve that great dream. So I’m sorry, I cannot stand with you.” She then remembered her deal with Erik. If she left him alone then Kanto would be spared. She struggled to believe that he would truly leave Kanto untouched but did trust Erik to first focus on Johto and Hoenn.

              Leaf and her Pokemon had reached the exit and strided out into the mid-morning sun which poured onto them in a wash of heat. They had exited Victory Road and were now met by a hugely impressive sight.

              Rows of trees lined a stone road where flowerbeds sat to either side. Seventeen arches followed the road up the hill and each of these impressive structures was a different colour to match a type of Pokemon and each was ornamented by a statue of a Pokemon’s head at the centre of the arch. The statue matched the type of Pokemon that the arch represented.

              “It’s so pretty,” Leaf gasped then looked to the well-decorated building at the end of the road. Indigo Plateau.

              There seemed to be five floors of the tower-like structure. One for each member of the Elite Four and another for the Champion. Each floor seemed to get slightly smaller which allowed every rising level to have a small roof where statues of legendary Pokemon such as Moltres, Articuno, Zapdos sat alongside rare Pokemon like Dragonite, Charizard and Alakazam.

              “So if I can remember correctly,” Leaf said to her team of Pokemon. “The Champion battle arena was always on the bottom level so anyone who enters can see. But to enter the arena, the trainer must first battle their way up the tower.” She stopped and thought for a second. “But Lance moved the Champion arena when he was the Champion,” she remembered. “To suit his dragon types, he moved it to the roof. But the Champion Tournament final will be held on the lowest level.” She gulped and looked to where the tower rose high into the sky and thought of Lance waiting for her at the top. She would have to defeat the former Champion in his own arena.

              Dino moved over to his trainer and nuzzled her softly with his enormous head. He had always been the leader of the team as well as her most valued friend and now the Venasaur comforted his trainer when she needed him most. Like he always had done.

              “Are you ready?” she asked him nervously and received a nod in response. Lance was one of the best trainers in the world, and the greatest Dragon Tamer. Dragon-type Pokemon could not be captured by conventional means, they had to submit to a trainer that they respected enough to surrender to.

              “Lance,” she spoke through gritted teeth. “I’m coming for you.”

              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              Leaf entered Indigo Plateau and was met by a stairwell to her right and an open doorway in front of her where through she saw a glass screen which overlooked the Champion battle arena. The huge stadium remained impressive despite being eerily empty.

              Previously, when a battle to decide the Pokemon Champion had begun every seat in the stadium would be full of fans and the boisterous noise of an expectant audience filled the arena. Each supporter would pick either the side of the holding Champion or the challenger and cheered and jeered until a result was decided.

              The centre of the arena was a simple plain of grass with a screen at either end featuring a countdown timer stuck at 5:00 minutes underneath a grey symbol centred with a six-pointed star. The arena would change type every five minutes and was currently favouring normal-typed Pokemon. Leaf had seen the arena change on television so many times. From a deep bowl of water with two miniature islands to suit water types to change to a sheet of ice five minutes later then an electrically charged grid after another five minutes. The type changes were all done in a random order. This was where the final battle of the tournament would be held but first she needed to ascend the stairwell and face Lance. And win.

              She eagerly bolted up a set of stairs, then another, and another. She passed through each of the old Elite Four’s floors from Lorelei’s room of ice to Bruno’s fighting dojo then Agatha’s ghost arena until she emerged out onto the roof where a man awaited her. His red cape flapped through the wind as a chill took to the sunny day from how high up they stood. He had scornful dark eyes and a tight, thin face with spiked crimson hair.

              “You should’ve stayed at home,” Lance said, his voice controlled and confident.

              Leaf remained silent and studied the reigning Champion’s own battle arena. She felt so high up that she could feel a slight hint of vertigo and the clouds seemed to almost reach down and touch her. The roof itself was unremarkable, just a large and flat battleground of metal but there was a large pool in the centre where water-type Pokemon could flourish.

              “Impressive, isn’t it?” Lance said.

              “Why don’t we fight downstairs, in the Champion’s arena?” Leaf said in an attempt to goad her opponent. “You are the current Champion after all?”

              “And stifle my dragon types?” he asked and spoke to Leaf as if she was a fool. “No. They prefer the open sky.

              “I’m going to beat you,” Leaf said angrily. “So much depends on this battle. I’m not going to let you win. No matter what.”

              “So confident,” Lance said and brushed off her comments with a disinterested shrug. “I have to admit that you impress me. That is a difficult feat to achieve.”

              “I don’t care,” Leaf snapped.

              “I came up with the idea for this Champion’s tournament with Giovanni,” Lance revealed. “As Champion I could change the structure of the region and I decided to use my power for my own good.”

              “Why are you telling me?” Leaf snapped once again. “I don’t care.”

              “It was fixed,” Lance said, ignoring her. “So that I would face Courtney and Giovanni’s two sons would face off against one another in the other match. The best trainer of the four of us would then become Champion.”

              “And Giovanni thought he could control each and every one of the four of you?” Leaf said. “Well that didn’t work did it.”

              “No,” Lance admitted. “And that is why you impress me. You alone disrupted our plans for this tournament.”

              “So did Okaido,” Leaf said proudly. “He refused to join his father.

              “Believe it or not,” he said, ignoring her again. “My biggest problem was the former Elite Four. They were obviously not happy about losing their places at the top table,” he said and laughed.

              “Get to the point,” Leaf snapped.

              “The point is,” Lance said. “To stop them rebelling against us I took all their best Pokemon.”

              “So?”

              “I have all the best Pokemon in the region. The Champions and the Elite Four’s Pokemon combined.”

              “Oh,” Leaf said and gulped. She felt suddenly anxious once more but again, Dino softly nuzzled her. And again, the Venusaur's gentle encouragement filled her with hope. They had been through so much together, her and her entire team. The Resistance together had been through more than most go through in a lifetime. She couldn’t falter now, not when the end was in sight.

              “And by the way,” Lance began to say words that would pour ice into Leaf’s veins and caused her to almost seize up. “The stadium downstairs is already filling of people ready for the final. That means as soon as our fight is finished we must proceed downstairs to the Champion’s arena.”

              “I know,” Leaf said, trying to appear calm and collected but anxiety tore through her at the thought of two simultaneous high-stake battles.

              “And remember,” Lance said. “Any of the victor’s Pokemon who fall in our battle will be unable to be replaced for the final.”

              “I know,” she said again.

              “Are you ready to begin?” he asked her and pulled the first Pokeball from his belt. Leaf nodded to Venom to be her first Pokemon in battle.

              “I’m more than ready,” Leaf growled. “This is for Wally, this is for Erik, this is for Archie and the rest of the people we have lost along the way!”

              “Then let us fight! Lance declared and released his first Pokemon. An Aerodactyl.

              “Woah,” Leaf murmured as the ancient beast took to the skies above and screeched loudly. Lance must have used the same resurrection laboratory as she had on Cinnabar Island because now there were two of these majestic flying creatures reborn into the world, one in her possession and the other now hovering above Indigo Plateau ready to fight Leaf’s Venomoth.

              Venom had two bulging round eyes and small fangs which protruded from his mouth and to Leaf’s surprise was almost as tall as she was. Her bug-type Pokemon buzzed towards his foe and moved his lilac-coloured frame with grace and agility. He had an array of poison and psychic attacks in his arsenal which could be used against his prehistoric foe who snapped its large jaws at Leaf’s Pokemon.

              “Go my dragon,” Lance shouted to his fighter. “Bring me victory. It is my right to retain my crown as Pokemon Champion of Kanto!

              “Not while we still live,” Leaf growled and Dino roared in support towards Venom who, despite being smaller than his opponent, moved more slowly through the air.

              Venom twisted agilely to avoid a vicious bite from the Aerodactyl who twisted himself in the air and was straight upon the Venomoth again. The prehistoric Pokemon tried using his wing to attack the bug-type but Leaf’s Pokemon ducked underneath and fired a strange beam of energy towards his foe. The beam flashed rapidly, causing Leaf a slight headache as she tried to keep her eyes fixed on the attack, but the Aerodactyl simply swerved aside the bizarre beam and crashed into the Venomoth using his wing.

              Venom tumbled from the sky towards the metal surface of Indigo Plateau’s roof where the impact would surely be his end but the Venomoth managed to recover and correct himself just before he smashed into the ground. He emitted a powerful wave of psychic energy which acted as a telekinetic force towards the onrushing Aerodactyl who was thrown backwards by the attack.

              “Keep going,” Leaf shouted in encouragement towards her Venomoth who used the momentary respite to rise higher into the sky. Then remained stationary. “What are you doing?” Leaf gasped as the Aerodactyl shook its large head and had its senses return. Then charged.

              “Do it!” Lance cheered on his Pokemon who stormed through the skies. Venom rushed downwards as the Aerodactyl charged through the area where the Venomoth had previously been, then dropped itself to follow Leaf’s Pokemon. “Here we go!” Lance cried excitedly as his Pokemon caught Venom at a rapid pace. The Venomoth had trapped himself. From here there was no escape, no sharp turn couldn’t be matched by the Aerodactyl and Lance’s Pokemon was closing in a frightening speed.

              Leaf clenched her jaw and fists and awaited the impact as the Aerodactyl opened his huge mouth ready to almost swallow Venom whole before the Venomoth tried a despairing but ineffective last move, to dodge out of the way at the last second. But Leaf knew that even Venom wouldn’t be agile enough to avoid her apparent fate. The Venomoth rolled aside and Leaf waited tensely for the Aerodactyl to follow amidst Lance’s cheers at the predictable outcome.

              A huge crash came in a crunch and the squeal of metal. Leaf gasped and Lance made a sound which was almost a scream. Venom landed on the metal surface of the roof and remained motionless. He watched his victim struggle and fall. The Aerodactyl had crashed straight into the roof.

              “What?!” Lance shouted, slow to realise what had happened.

              “Sleeping powder,” Leaf said triumphantly. Her Venomoth had released sleeping powder into the sky around her when the Aerodactyl first charged. Venom had then dropped and the prehistoric Pokemon had followed whilst the powder swept into his system and shut it down. If the impact of the crash into the roof had been too much from the Aerodactyl, then Venom now plunging fangs dripping with lethal poison into the creature was the finishing blow.

              “Right,” Lance growled. “I’m going to kill that pathetic insect. Get him Kingdra!” he bellowed and released a Pokemon into the large pool in the middle of the roof. A Kingdra was the fully evolved version of Horsea and was the same size as Lance. It’s body was full of muscle and its snout was powerful enough to send water like shockwaves through the ocean. And now it readied its cannon-like mouth to fire at Venom who floated nervously in the sky.

              Venom launched another flashing beam towards the Kingdra who simply ducked underwater and allowed the attack to splash harmlessly into the water’s surface and fizzle out. Then the Kingdra emerged and shot a stream of water like a volcano launched lava. The liquid shot through the sky and Venom only just managed to avoid the attack then rapidly rolled again to avoid another, then another. The onslaught remained relentless from Lance’s Pokemon and Venom was quickly becoming fatigued from the continued assaults.

              Then the Kingdra stopped. Venom used the opportunity to send a telekinetic wave of psychic energy towards his foe but the dragon-type quickly ducked under the water once more and the attack simply splashed across the pool’s surface and caused a wave of water to reach over the side and splash down harmlessly across the metal roof. Lance’s Pokemon appeared and launched huge bubbles out of its snout towards Venom and, like Spurt’s beforehand, once the bubbles reached their opponent, they exploded. But unlike Spurt’s miniature eruptions, the Kingdra’s bubbles exploded with such force it was almost as if they contained large bombs inside.

              Venom once again began the process of avoiding an attack then swiftly dodging another. But now tiredness had caught up with the Venomoth. And the attacks seemed to have upped their pace. He dodged bubble after bubble, explosion after explosion, but still the onslaught continued until Venom could dodge no more. A bubble floated close the Leaf’s Pokemon and exploded before he could roll out of its way. The Venomoth tumbled towards the metal surface where the Kingdra stopped its attacks and prepared to blast away the remnants of Venom’s life with an unstoppable wave of water.

              “Quick, Venom!” Leaf shouted hurriedly. “Move quick otherwise it’s over!”

              The Venomoth responded to his trainer and feebly released another flashing beam towards its foe who swiftly ducked under the water to avoid the attack. Then the Kingdra reappeared again, ready to finish the fight. But this time Venom displayed a show of wit like he did against the Aerodactyl. The Venomoth had used the Kingdra’s time underwater to close in on his foe and now swooped down when the water dragon reappeared and plunged poisonous fangs into the creature. Toxins seeped from his teeth into Lance’s Pokemon and swarmed its veins. The panicked Kingdra thrashed and flailed around in an effort to release the Venomoth’s grip on itself, but its attempts were in vain. The poison gripped the Kingdra’s heart and tore the life from it. Venom had claimed his second victory and collapsed in an exhausted heap.

              “You think you’re winning,” Lance said fiercely, clearly unused to losing a battle. “But I have in my possession the greatest Pokemon of each of the former Elite Four. And these Pokemon are the ones you’ll be facing next.”

              “Bring it on,” Leaf said through gritted teeth and watched Lance release his next Pokemon into battle, a Lapras. Leaf responded with Loch and watched the two Lapra’s enclose upon the pool in the arena’s centre.

              Loch raced towards the water where he’d find his advantage but the square-shaped hole in the roof would only be able to contain one of the two large creatures so each Lapras began firing shots of water and ice at the other in an effort to slow their opponent down. The creatures moved slowly across the metal and used their flippers to slither across. A beam of ice collided with Lance’s Lapras who responded with a spray of water which caused Loch to recoil. Then followed up with its own icy attack but instead of aiming for Leaf’s Pokemon, the Lapras covered the ground in front of itself with ice.

              “Ingenious!” Lance called out as his Pokemon hopped onto the ice-covered metal and slid at speed towards the pool. His Lapras skated towards the water and narrowly beat Loch in the race to the roof’s centre, landing his a large splash.

              “No!” Leaf called out as her Pokemon was unable to dart aside to avoid any of his opponent’s attacks. A wave of water rose up from the pool and knocked Loch off balance then a ray of ice crashed into Leaf’s Pokemon and pushed him over. He tried to retaliate but his foe simply ducked underneath the pool as the Kingdra had before and avoided the blast of water from Loch.

              “Too easy,” Lance said casually whilst his Lapras emerged from the water and attacked again, using a combination of water and ice to pummel Loch relentlessly before Leaf’s Pokemon collapsed to the ground in a battered heap.

              “I have a plan,” Leaf said to her Pokemon, her voice strained and weary. “But you must keep going,” she said and hoped her Lapras read her thoughts.

              “No plan will work,” Lance spoke eagerly. “This round is won.”

              Loch struggled to hold himself upright but managed to erupt a weak spray of water from his mouth which his opponent allowed to wash over its skin, soaking the Pokemon slightly but causing the water-type no damage. Lance laughed and Loch tried again, using a beam of ice this time. But his opponent simply ducked underneath the water. Just as Leaf and Loch had wanted him to.

              “Now!” Leaf screeched and her Lapras obliged. Loch rained ice down like a blizzard on the water, causing the surface of the pool to freeze over and have a sheet of ice blanketed on top. Lance’s Lapras could surely survive underneath for a long period of time, being a water and ice dual type and the Pokemon would definitely have enough strength to break the thin sheet of ice that rested on top of the water. So it was time for part two of the plan, for Loch to shoot yet more ice on top of the sheet to strengthen it and trap his opponent underneath. But when it was time for him to act, Loch just collapsed through pain and exhaustion to yet more laughs of derision from Lance.

              “That was your big plan?” the former Champion said. “But your Pokemon is too weak to finish what it started!” he taunted as a crack appeared within the sheet of ice from where his own Lapras bashed it from underneath. “I hope you don’t have a plan B,” he said sarcastically.

              “I don’t,” Leaf admitted then looked to Loch. “But he does,” she said and watched a section of the sheet of ice shatter just as her Pokemon regained his composure and stood back upright, then leapt. A crash sounded as Lance’s Lapras attempted to emerge from underwater and her own Pokemon crashed into the ice and slammed his body into his foe who vanished back underneath the pool in complete surprise, swiftly followed by Loch.

              Leaf and Lance both stood nervously as the water rippled and sloshed whilst the two beasts struggled in the contained space. Leaf closed her eyes and waited. She waited for either a severe tearing sensation within her to signal the loss of Loch, or for her Lapras to emerge victorious from the shallow depths. Time seemed to move so slowly it may aswell have stopped. A Fearow screeched in the skies above them and the bitterly cold wind howled. She shook suddenly, whether because of the cold or the apprehension she did not know, but still she waited.

              Then a Lapras emerged victorious, the defeated foe left sunken at the bottom of the pool. It was Loch. Leaf’s Pokemon had won the battle having almost been defeated. He had surprised his opponent and that had gifted him the advantage. Now he simply collapsed and Leaf recalled her fighter and sent out Club in his place.

              “How?” Lance said, flabbergasted. Club span the length of bone in her hand and awaited her opponent, whoever that may be.

              “Get on with it,” Leaf snapped and Lance nodded. He launched a Pokeball into the air and watched as a Gengar emerged from within. The same Pokemon that Leaf had battled within Pokemon Tower in Lavender Town. The same Pokemon that had killed Club’s mother.

              Club was both furious and devastated. She struggled to look at the Pokemon she had to face in battle as memories of what had caused her to leave her home and take up her quest of vengeance now filled her. She slouched down, looking defeated.

              “Come on Club,” Leaf said softly. “We’ve gotten this far together. You’ve been through so much and made me so proud with how you handled all your pain.” Club looked despondent as the Gengar approached. Leaf knew that her Pokemon was vicious when they fought Team Rocket as her Marowak’s motivation stemmed from revenge. But when faced against a Gengar she was clearly struggling to maintain her resolve.

              “Your Marowak’s given up!” Lance said and chuckled. His Gengar approached with a menacing look fixed upon its face, from its malicious grin to its foreboding crimson eyes. The ghost-type Pokemon summoned a lilac sphere of spiritual energy and launched it towards Club who made no attempt to dodge the attack. Instead, the shadowy ball smashed into the Marowak and sent her sprawling across the floor as bitter memories tortured her willpower. Leaf knew that her Pokemon craved a simple life. In reality, she was still just a child desiring to be with her family, yearning to settle down and live in peace. Now she had no purpose, no motivation and no spirit.

              “Club,” Leaf said, trying again. She felt tempted to withdraw her sullen Pokemon but knew that her Marowak wouldn’t muster the energy to leave the field of battle. She also felt that she could still motivate Club to succeed. “You haven’t avenged your mother yet,” Leaf said harshly and the Marowak glanced back at her trainer with pained eyes. “You’ve got your revenge on Courtney and Team Rocket. But they didn’t kill your mother. A Gengar did.” Club realised what her trainer was saying just as another shadow ball crashed into her, sending her flying back towards her trainer and out of the zone of battle. Leaf could recall her if she so wished but had no desire to do so. Not now. “This is it,” Leaf said and lay a hand upon the Marowak. “It’s come full circle. Now you can finally finish your quest for revenge.” Club looked at her trainer and nodded. The Look in her eyes flicked from pain to anger. She charged.

              Lance laughed at his opponents apparently futile attempts. In truth, the Marowak did look battered and bruised. But Leaf knew better. She knew how fiercely Club fought when her heart was set on revenge. The Marowak rolled just as another sphere crashed past her then launched herself at the Gengar and tried to smash the ghost-type with her club. Lance’s Pokemon smirked viciously and then faded slightly to make itself translucent. A trick used by ghost-types. Club fell through the Gengar as if the Pokemon wasn’t even there and his attack did no damage.

              “No chance!” Lance laughed. Still fully confident of a victory despite only having three Pokemon left to Leaf’s six.

              “You’re down to your last two,” Leaf said to Lance’s confusion. The former Champion tapped the two Pokeballs still affixed to his belt then pointed to Gengar and raised three fingers at her. “Because Club won’t give up until she’s won this now. You shouldn’t have used a Gengar.”

              And Leaf was right. Despite being unable to hit the Gengar who simply phased out of the way each time Club attacked, the Marowak remained relentless. She tried different tactics, headbutting, swiping, clubbing and others to try and strike her foe. But none worked.

              “How can your Pokemon win this?” Lance said amidst laughter. “It can’t even hit my Gengar.”

              “She will,” Leaf said and watched as her Marowak tossed her bone club through the air, her attack once more phasing through the Gengar to more laughs. Lance’s Pokemon stood up straight to Club, clearly enjoying taunting the Marowak rather than attacking. That was its fatal mistake. Club had tossed her bone club like a boomerang, and whilst the Gengar’s back was turned he failed to see the attack coming and therefore was unable to phase out of its way. The club smashed into the Gengar’s back and sent it stumbling over where Club darted out of the way, picked up her club, and began to pummel the fallen ghost-type until she had achieved victory.

              “How do you?” Lance spat but was unable to finish his question.

              “Resolve. Strategy. Willpower. Strength,” Leaf answered him. “You like to taunt and humiliate your foes. That gives me the opportunity to overpower you with mental fortitude and wisdom.”

              “Then no longer,” Lance declared. “My final two Pokemon shall show no restraint. I will show you true strength!” he shouted as Leaf recalled Club into her Pokeball and kissed the capsule with whispered appreciation to her Marowak.

              “Come on Belly,” Leaf spoke to a Pokeball before releasing her Snorlax into the fray. Lance countered with a Machamp, the fighting type pounding his chest with four muscular arms in challenge to the Snorlax who would oppose it. The two robust Pokemon wasted no time in charging at the other and engaging in a perilous wrestling match on the metal surface.

              Belly threw headbutts whilst Machamp landed punches with his free arms but both powerful Pokemon struggled to find the advantage over the other. Lance’s Pokemon disengaged in an effort to discern another strategy but Leaf’s Snorlax rapidly resumed the wrestling. Then Belly attempted to disengage but the Machamp refused to stop the bout.

              “Wind it!” Lance commanded his Pokemon who tried using his hands in a chopping motion into the Snorlax’s stomach in an attempt to knock the wind from his belly. But Belly’s thick fat simply absorbed most of the damage and Leaf’s Pokemon replied with a tenacious headbutt which again the Machamp appeared to just simply endure.

              Both trainers were at a loss as to how to turn the battle in their favour, until Lance’s Machamp found an opening. The fighting type had managed to very slightly push Belly back and whilst the Snorlax was temporarily off balance he had struck. The Machamp swept a low kick towards his opponent’s stumbling feet and Belly toppled over, falling with a crash into the metallic roof which withheld the hefty impact.

              “Finish this!” Lance roared to his Pokemon, refusing to leave it to chance by first wanting to humiliate his foe. His Machamp responded by clambering on top of Leaf’s Pokemon and began to pummel Belly’s large stomach. Punch after punch rippled off the Snorlax’s hefty belly.

              “No!” Leaf wailed as Belly’s head flopped to the side. Her Snorlax appeared lifeless with closed eyes and making no move to stop the seemingly victorious Machamp from pummelling the life from him. He had either given up or already had been defeated but Leaf failed to fell the soul-severing tear of losing a Pokemon. Then she realised that he hadn’t been defeated at all. He had fallen asleep by taking a rest mid-battle.

              She knew that a Snorlax was one of a few rare Pokemon that could seemingly fall asleep at any time and by doing so remain defenseless to a foe but at the same moment it would recover its health and energy. Then he snored.

              Such was the power of the snore the Machamp flew backwards, crashing into the metal as if an invisible force-field of sound had batted him down. Then Belly woke up and jumped to his feet. The Snorlax wobbled towards the stricken Machamp who seemed too perplexed by the unfolding events to respond. Belly dropped and used his considerable weight to slam into the prone Machamp.

              “Only one more left!” Leaf declared her victory prematurely to Lance whilst his Machamp suffocated within a tomb of the Snorlax’s belly fat.

              “Make no mistake, Leaf,” Lance spat. “My final Pokemon is my most powerful dragon. A Pokemon famed across the land for being near invulnerable.”

              “You’ve lost this,” Leaf gloated and watched her Snorlax climb to his feet, victorious. “I have six Pokemon left to your one. As a former Champion, you have disappointed me.”

              “I wouldn’t be so sure,” Lance said confidently and clasped his last Pokeball within his hand. “My Dragonite has never failed me.” He released the dragon who remained standing on the metal floor and to Leaf looked almost friendly and cartoonish. It stood at least a full foot taller than its trainer and its muscular frame showed it weighed considerably more. But its teal-coloured wings seemed far too slight to carry the hefty creature and it’s face bore a permanent smile and welcoming appearance. Leaf doubted the creature could even fly at all and if it could, then it would be extremely laborious whilst aloft.

              Leaf chose to release Saur, her Aerodactyl, to face the humorous looking beast and use the aerial advantage her ancient Pokemon would offer to overwhelm the Dragonite.

              Saur rose into the sky and glided through the air at impressive speeds in what was almost a taunt to the opposing Pokemon.

              “Get him,” Lance said and placed a hand on his Dragonite’s back. “After everything, all I’ve ever been through, you have always been there for me. You have always saved me when I’ve needed it the most. Now once again I need you to win me this fight!” His Dragonite responded with a nod of its head then flapped its wings. It appeared to be a struggle to Leaf initially. The heavy Pokemon batted its small wings and slowly lifted itself skywards. Then dashed towards its foe.

              The Dragonite moved at incomprehensible speeds and took Saur by stunned surprise. The dragon-type used its lightning-speed to rush into the Aerodactyl and cause Leaf’s Pokemon to drop from the sky upon impact where the Dragonite simply roasted its falling foe with a blast of fire.

              Lance celebrated as Leaf felt the tear in her heart upon losing her Pokemon and the fear of defeat beginning to well up inside of her. This Dragonite looked incredibly powerful, maybe even invincible, so it would take something different to defeat the dragon.

              “Venom,” Leaf thought suddenly. “The little bug is a genius! I won’t defeat this Dragonite by might so the alternative is to beat it with wits!” She released the Venomoth into the skies to challenge Lance’s Pokemon and immediately realised her error. Venom remained vulnerable from earlier and still hadn’t fully recovered. And Lance’s Dragonite took full advantage.

              “Two down, four to go!” Lance rejoiced before his Pokemon had even made its move. But Leaf knew he was right. The Dragonite exhaled a beam of nightmarish energy of pure crimson and obliterated Venom within.

              Leaf heaved and almost collapsed as she lost her second Pokemon in quick succession but managed to remain upright. She forced herself to carry on as if she was unimpeded by the losses of two of her friends in quick succession because that’s what she had to do. She had to win this fight no matter what the cost. Lance had used the Pokemon he had always relied on. The friend that had always been there for him and the ally that always saved him in his time of need. Now Leaf would have to do the same.

              She ushered Dino into the duel.

              Leaf’s Venusaur attempted the first strike by laying a trap of sleeping powder above himself incase the Dragonite tried to swoop. But the dragon was prepared for this and simply incinerated the pollen with a blast of fire which Dino only narrowly avoided himself.

              Dino whipped out vines in an effort to capture the foe and lowered it to his own level. The Dragonite simply dodged the whips and replied with a thunderbolt summoned from the skies which hammered downwards towards the metal roof. But instead of colliding with the Venasaur, the lightning struck the roof as sparks of electricity flicked back up off the metal and surrounded Dino, trapping him in place as if he was paralysed. The Venusaur was on an island of metal enclosed by an ocean of electricity and one false step would end in his demise.

              He was trapped as the Dragonite unleashed a blast of flame. The fire roared through the skies towards Leaf’s Pokemon who spread his feet on the surface and aimed the plant above him to take the lethal flames. Leaf closed her welling eyes and waited for the pain to sear through her. The fires would consume her grass-type and her closest friend had no escape instead of attempting to walk through the death grid of electricity. Dino had simply stood his ground.

              Leaf heard the howl of flames as they smothered her Pokemon then awaited the tearing feeling which never came. Until, with her eyes still closed, she listened to the same sound of powerful energy that annihilated Venom pierce the sky.

              A loud cry of pain from both trainer and Pokemon filled the world. The closest friend, most trusted ally and greatest asset had been obliterated by a ray of powerful energy. A Pokemon who had seemed undefeatable until now had been defeated. Leaf opened her eyes and tears streamed down her face. She collapsed to her knees and exhaled her held breath. And watched the Dragonite fall from the sky.

              Dino had absorbed the fires within the plant on his head and converted the flames into solar energy. Then blasted the attack in the form of a beam towards the Dragonite. The solar beam had decimated Lance’s Pokemon and had won Leaf the battle. The electricity dissipated and the sparking death grid faded. She ran to her Venusaur and embraced him, wrapping her arms around her closest ally and friend.

              “I thought I lost you,” she whimpered to Dino who nuzzled his head against hers. “Thank you, thank you. You never let me down. You’re always here for me and you always save me. Thank you,” she blubbed to her Venusaur. After a few seconds she turned her vision towards Lance and saw the former Champion stroking his defeated Dragonite’s head and sobbing as he held his fallen friend.

              It was now mid-afternoon. Leaf had reached the final of the Pokemon tournament and the winner of the fight between Silver and Okaido would face her for the right to become Champion. She only had four Pokemon for that battle, and time was running out to stop her mother and save Kanto from Lyra and Mewtwo.

              But she still had Belly, Club, Loch and Dino. Her and her four friends would try to both become Champion and save an entire region. Despite all the other friends they had lost, both human and Pokemon, they had never felt stronger. They had never felt more together than they did now.

              Leaf squeezed Dino one last time then recalled her closest ally into his Pokeball. She descended the stairs to the Champion’s battle arena and there she would await her opponent.

              The battle to become Kanto’s Champion was about to begin.
              __________________
              www.alexbrownestories.com - A collection of my Pokemon stories.
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                #35    
              Old November 30th, 2017 (1:13 AM).
              abstories abstories is offline
                 
                Join Date: Feb 2015
                Gender: Male
                Posts: 65
                Chapter Nineteen - Fate

                Spoiler:
                He had helplessly observed his Raticate be possessed then killed by his own Pokemon on board the SS. Anne. He had watched Wally die and Erik be broken by Team Rocket. He had found out the truth of his lineage and the revelation that his entire progress through the tournament had been prearranged rather than through his tiresome efforts and his own capability. He had discovered that his own father had caused so much pain and suffering to himself, his sister, his friends and everyone in Kanto. He still felt sorrow whenever he remembered his late mother, Aria. And now Okaido had watched both his Pidgeot and his Exeggutor fall in battle to his half-brother, Silver, in the Test Centre's arena. Where Giovanni fell and Erik had revealed his new self."

                He thought to himself why he still persisted in his quest to become Champion on almost a daily basis. Initially it was to prove himself to everyone, to show his family, friends and more importantly, himself, that he was the strongest trainer in Kanto. But now that all seemed futile. He now failed to feel the same desire or need to prove his prowess.

                A violent roar distracted him from his thoughts. He watched Silver’s Crobat twirl through the air to avoid a flamethrower from his Charizard then swipe at his fire-type with poisonous fangs, which only narrowly missed their target.

                Okaido felt a searing urge to become Champion of Kanto still, though he struggled to pinpoint the exact reason. He had remained resilient to his father’s promises and later, his coercion but again, he didn’t know why. He felt lost inside himself and couldn’t detect any motivation or reasoning for his feelings or actions.

                “Yes!” Silver howled with glee. His Crobat had plunged poison fangs into the Charizard who tumbled from the sky in a screech of pain as the venom seeped into his bloodstream. Okaido felt a sear of pain as his closest friend struggled under the toxic torture and slightly panicked as fear of losing Erik’s former Pokemon pulsed through him.

                It had been difficult for Okaido to bond with the fire-type initially. When he had obtained the Pokemon as a Charmander two evolutions beforehand, the fire-type had been linked with its former trainer, Erik. The Charmander had been keen to rekindle the bond between itself and its former trainer but Okaido had slowly managed to turn the problematic relationship into a strong bond between the two of them through respect, friendship and eventually, compassion. And now his Charizard was having the life drain out of him as the Crobat sunk his fangs deeper into the dragon-like Pokemon’s soft belly.

                Okaido closed his eyes. He wasn’t just in a battle with his half-brother Silver here. He was in a battle with himself. This was why his Charizard was struggling.

                Beforehand, Okaido had felt invincible. His confidence mixed with his raw ability, courage and intelligence formed a formidable trainer. But the war in his own mind which started with the death of Wally and continued to this day had made him unsure and hesitant.

                “Why do I persist?” he asked himself, refusing to open his eyes and view the carnage. His invisible link with his Charizard enabled him to feel his Pokemon’s health rapidly fading. “Maybe Erik is right. Maybe the only way to proceed is to stop pain and loss. Why do I want to be Champion? Why do I keep going? There is no reason.”

                “Because you care,” a voice entered his mind. Wally’s voice. He remembered the words his young friend said to him as his life was leaving him back inside that hut when Sakaki had revealed the truth to the two of them. Words that until now, Okaido had buried within his memories as the horror of Wally’s passing haunted him. “You act like you only think about yourself. But you don’t. You care. You can’t choose who your parents are or what life you’re brought into. But you can choose what you do with it.” Tears began to stream down Okaido’s face. “You don’t want to become Champion to prove yourself to everyone,” Wally had said fiercely. “You want to become Champion so you can make this world a better place. To stop Team Rocket, unite the region and be a hero. You want people to love you because your mother died when you were young and your father was never around. That’s why you act like a jerk, because deep down, you just want to be loved because you feel like your parents never loved you.”

                “Charizard,” Okaido whispered as his Pokemon suffered. “Charizard!” he shouted. “Enough messing around. You get up off that floor now and you help me become Champion! We’re going to make this world a better place and you!” He pointed to Silver, knowing that through sharing genetics and the same lack of love and care, that his brother must at least partially feel the same way. “You are not going to stop me!”

                -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                Leaf stood atop her podium and stared across the field of grass at the stand opposite her which remained empty. She awaited her competitor in the final battle to become Champion as the sun began to set on Kanto. Citizens of the region hastily took their seats as the stands around the stadium began to burgeon and the noise levels steadily rose. The screens at either end of the stadium still displayed the six-pointed grey star and a timer set at 5:00 but remained ready to tick down as soon as her foe took their place on the opposite podium and both contestants released their first duelist. Once the timer hit zero the battlefield would then switch randomly between the eighteen types of Pokemon and the arena would resemble an advantageous battleground for each individual type.

                She thought of her Pokemon, the four which remained. Dino, Belly, Club and Loch were both healed and refreshed in order to be fully fighting fit for the final battle. She hoped for good luck in the stadium’s ever-changing type and that her Pokemon would pull through in the vital moments.

                Belly had been resilient in any battle and jolly outside of it. Club had almost overcome the death of her mother and succeeded in her quest for vengeance. Loch was a gift from the Servants and Leaf thought of him as a remnant of what little good was left in her mother. Dino was Dino. Her most valued friend and closest ally. The Pokemon she could rely on no matter what and the only family she felt she had left.

                Leaf remained desperate to become Champion. She could unite the region as Erik had done before her and use it to stop Lyra from unleashing Mewtwo and destroying it. She would then allow Okaido and Samuel Oak to govern Kanto together with her and the triumvirate could bring peace and serenity to a region beset by suffering.

                A door opened and slammed shut at the far end of the arena. A cheer erupted from the crowd which had filled the stands to the brim. Then Leaf’s opponent ascended the podium and their eyes met.

                “You ready?” she asked him.

                “Always,” Okaido replied and smiled.

                “We’ve come so far,” she called across. The fans around the stadium stood in silence, used to taunts and insults from the competitors but were now faced with a duo embracing a mutual respect.

                “And lost so much,” Okaido replied.

                “We’ve always fought side by side,” she said and the audience seemed confused by their combined speech.

                “But now at the end we must face each other,” Okaido said solemnly.

                “We share the same goals. Whoever wins this battle shall unite Kanto and bring peace to it.”

                “The winner will remove the corrupt Archer from power and elect a fair and just governor.”

                “We shall purge the remnants of Team Rocket from the region and put smiles on the people’s faces,” Leaf said and closed her eyes. The dream felt so close.

                “But first we must decide between us who shall perform all this. We must battle to justify our right to save Kanto,” Okaido said and the audience remained confused but through murmurs of agreement they seemed on board with the duo’s plans.

                “Because we are the Resistance,” Leaf announced to gasps from the audience. “But we are not the enemy. We are your friends. We took down Team Rocket who were led in secret by Giovanni and Courtney.” She knew that all the cameras around the stadium would be broadcasting their messages to the region.

                “Gabby was truthful,” Okaido said and the audience grew bored. They had come here to see a battle not a speech. They began a chant of “Fight!” repeated over and over.

                “We shall give you what you desire!” Leaf bellowed. “Both now and after this battle!”

                “May the best trainer win!” Okaido shouted.

                “And no holding back!” She felt goosebumps on her skin and her body trembled with excitement. The threat of her mother loomed over her but her entire focus was now on the forthcoming battle. She grabbed a Pokeball from her belt and then released it into the battlefield. Okaido threw in his own.

                The timer began to tick down from 5:00 as both Loch and Gyarados faced each other on a plain of grass. The final battle had begun.

                Loch slithered whilst Gyarados writhed along the field and both appeared uncomfortable and lacking mobility outside of their element. Leaf thought to recall Loch and unleash Belly into the fray but remained cautious as the arena’s type could change to anything. Both Pokemon carefully approached the other and unleashed water blasts not designed solely to injure, but to test their opponent.

                The majority of the audience murmured in discontent, uninspired by the initial caution exhibited from both water types who continued to unleash probing assaults on another. Okaido’s Gyarados recoiled slightly at one of Loch’s attacks to show the first sign of faltering from either Pokemon. Loch attempted to press the advantage by closing in on his foe but in doing so fell into the trap. The Gyarados had fooled Loch with a feint and now whipped his head towards the Lapras and crunched down with powerful jaws that ricocheted harmlessly off Loch’s grey shell.

                The crowd roared at the battle now. They watched Loch swerve out of the way of Gyarados knife-like teeth aimed at his neck then saw a retaliatory beam of ice from the Lapras narrowly miss and smash into the thick glass pane which separated the arena from the crowd to gasps and applause. The timer ticked down to two minutes as all present took their guesses at what type the stadium would transform to.

                Gyarados pressed his newfound advantage and swiped his jaws downwards again and again to nip at Loch’s neck and face. His teeth plunged into their target then released constantly as Leaf’s Lapras received painful blow after savage attack. Loch saw only one option, retreat. He managed to slowly turn amidst more agonising bites then spat out a beam of ice which formed a path for him to slide along, almost back to his trainer.

                “I’ll switch you out,” Leaf said to her Pokemon who had returned to the front of her podium but received a shake of the head from Loch in response. “But-” she began, but before she could finish her sentence Lapras shot out ice to freeze a blast of water from the Gyarados mid-air.

                “Finish this!” Okaido encouraged his Pokemon who attempted to use the path of ice to follow the Lapras but instead just slipped and fell in a tangle on the floor. That was when Loch seized an opportunity. Leaf’s Pokemon burst out ice like a frozen flamethrower and spread the frozen water across where the Gyarados straightened itself back upright. To find itself trapped on a field of ice.

                “Got him!” Leaf said confidently. Any blasts of water from the Gyarados now would be frozen solid and the beast had no answer to Loch’s ice attacks.

                “No you haven’t,” Okaido responded and looked to above Leaf’s head. She wondered what her friend had seen then realised suddenly as Loch’s face turned from a picture of glee to a stare of horror.

                The whole arena rumbled as the timer hit zero and the six pointed star flipped on the screen to an orange flame. The ice melted as fires licked up the sides of the stadium and a steady stream of lava carved through the grass which turned to molten rock which spread across the battlefield. Magma spat from the river which flowed through the arena’s centre and hissed as it fizzled out on the rocks. Both Pokemon struggled in the intense heat of the arena. But whilst the Gyarados, who was now set free from his ice trap, sweated and toiled, Loch almost collapsed from exhaustion.

                The Lapras attempted to shoot a beam of ice towards his foe but the attack simply melted before it reached its target. Leaf tried to shout encouragement but found the words stuck in her throat. She then attempted to think of a plan to counter the treacherous arena but before one formed in her mind the Gyarados unleashed a blast of water which steamed and sizzled through the air then scorched the Lapras, who then collapsed.

                “No!” Leaf squealed and watched as the Gyarados struggled to muster enough energy to continue his assault. But he had no need to. The soul wrenching pain tore through Leaf like a knife. A mixture of pain, exhaustion and hopelessness had consumed Loch and left him lifeless on the molten ground. A roar erupted from Okaido’s fans in the crowd, of which he seemed to have far far more than Leaf the foreigner.

                “Oak! Oak! Oak!” screamed the chant from the gathered ensemble. Leaf felt despondent. She clasped onto the edge of the podium as sweat trickled down her forehead both from the heat and the panic which had set in.

                “Keep fighting Leaf,” Okaido said gently, his voice almost lost in the roar of the flames and hissing lava. “You’ve come so far. You don’t stop now.”

                “You’re right,” she replied in a raised voice to ensure her friend heard her words. “To the end!” She weakly grasped Belly’s Pokeball and released the Snorlax onto the battlefield, feeling that the normal-type would fare the best in these conditions. She thought that Okaido may switch Pokemon to one that suited the arena but saw his doubt as the battlefield could change to anything.

                Sweat poured off the panting Belly who slammed his large stomach like a drum to taunt his opponent. The sound of slapping fat resounded around the arena louder than even the roar of the flames or the chant of the crowd. Then the Snorlax charged. A slow but relentless run towards the Gyarados who sent sizzling streams of water through the air towards the onrushing Belly but the attack simply smashed off the Snorlax’s stomach to what seemed like no avail, although bright red burn marks appeared on the beast’s belly.

                Belly leapt towards the Gyarados before slamming his body into the water-type then rolling off and grappling the writhing creature, trying to force it into the stream of lava below. The fatigued Gyarados laboured in his efforts to survive whilst edging ever closer to the lethal stream of magma below. Fire spat up and sizzled off its skin as Belly managed to have almost half of the Gyarados’ long body teetered over the lava.

                “Saved again!” Blue shouted joyfully.

                “You lucky-” Leaf began, before seeing what type the arena had changed to and gasped. The orange flame flipped around as the fires around the stadium died and the lava disappeared. The symbol on the screen changed to what Leaf had feared more than any other. A blue droplet of water.

                The arena filled with water like a fishbowl as two small islands of rock rose on either side near both trainers’ podiums. The newly formed mini-ocean must’ve been deep, because Leaf could no longer spot neither Gyarados nor Belly anywhere.

                Long, anxious moments passed until suddenly, the Snorlax’s head appeared above water as he desperately gulped oxygen. Belly’s respite rapidly ended as he was dragged back down into the depths. More vital seconds passed until Okaido’s Gyarados gracefully leapt out of the water to presumably gasp in air itself, its body in the shape of a crescent as it jumped out then returned just as quickly to the depths. Then another long wait.

                Leaf closed her eyes. If she couldn’t see what was happening then she’d try to feel it. She awaited that soul-tearing pain that accompanied the loss of a Pokemon. A hush had also swept over the crowd who waited in anticipation for Belly’s defeat. A few more seconds passed and Leaf felt nothing. It was Okaido who informed her of the result.

                “No!” he screamed then clenched his chest as jeers and boos resounded from the audience. Leaf guessed that she had no fans at all. But that didn’t matter, because Belly had resurfaced and was gulping in oxygen by the mouthful. The Gyarados had somehow been defeated in the depths.

                “Belly can swim!” Leaf declared to Okaido and the audience who seemed shocked at the fact a Snorlax could swim.

                “So can my Rhydon!” Okaido said in response and unleashed his next Pokemon onto one of the small stone islands. The large grey creature appeared to be immensely powerful. It looked to be constructed entirely out of rock with a ridged spine and armoured plates across its body. It had two small but muscular legs with a sweeping tail and its head featured a protruding spike above a much large horn.

                The Rhydon leapt into the pool of water where it began to trade blows with Belly whilst both Pokemon spent the majority of their energy trying to stay afloat. The duo struggled with mobility through the mini-ocean but still managed to weakly swap punches, headbutts and horn attacks as they failed to generate much power behind their strikes within the water.

                “Come on get lucky again!” Okaido shouted as the timer ticked down to a minute with both Pokemon still attempting to gain an advantage on the other. The crowd once again grew impatient and discontent at the pathetic pummeling that both contestants provided them. The minute seemed to drag on for an hour before the arena once again switched types. The droplet of water twirled around on the screen to be replaced by a purple skull and crossbones. Poison.

                The water drained from the arena and was replaced by a sickly-yellow colour dirt which flicked up dust. Large pits of purple poisonous liquid emerged around the stadium that bubbled and hissed violently and black sludge began to ooze down the sides of the arena’s walls.

                Rhydon and Belly grappled each other, trying to wrestle their opponent into one of the pools of poison which spat toxic liquid that acted like an acid and burned each fighter. Belly seemed to edge his opponent on strength but Okaido’s Pokemon could poke at the Snorlax with his sharp horn, leaving the two evenly matched.

                “Disengage!” Okaido commanded his fighter who read his trainer’s thoughts. The Rhydon released his grasp then rapidly dodged out of the way of Belly who stumbled slightly, enough for Okaido’s Pokemon to sweep his tail around and trip the Snorlax who tumbled next to a pit of poison which spat acid at the fallen creature. As Belly struggled to his feet with acid burning him and the intoxicating fumes rising from the pit causing him to lose his balance, the Rhydon charged, horn first.

                Leaf closed her eyes and awaited the feeling. She considered her final two Pokemon, Dino and Club, could they win her this fight? Okaido still had Rhydon as well as his Alakazam and Charizard. She was outmatched. Still she waited. She heard a grunt and a shrill cry of pain as the duo collided but no pain came just yet. She refused to open her eyes, she couldn’t watch. She heard a huge splash as one of the Pokemon hit the liquid. Then it came. The pain hit her like a truck and pulled at her heart as if it was being torn out of her chest. Belly had fallen, and the crowd loved it.

                Roars of jubilation met rumbustious applause and cheers as Blue took the lead once again. He had three Pokemon remaining compared to Leaf having just Club and Dino, and it would be the former she turned to first. She had lost many friends in the past few hours. Saur, Venom, Loch and Belly had been close to her, especially the latter two, and she felt agony stabbing at her chest as she remembered her fallen allies.

                Now only two of her Pokemon remained. Club and Dino were her favourites, the ones she had always felt closest too and she was unsure if she’d be able to mentally cope with losing both her Marowak and Venusaur as well. She released the former into the poisonous field of battle.

                “Pull through for me, Club,” she whispered. “This is it. Everything we have been fighting for,” she said louder. “If we win this fight then we can destroy the Archer and the remnants of Team Rocket. We can finally achieve your vengeance.” Club heard her words although she didn’t turn her head. She eyed up the Rhydon as toxic liquid hissed, bubbled and spat then charged at her much larger opponent with bone club raised.

                Club bashed the Rhydon with her club, using her superior speed to avoid punches and horn drills whilst continually smashing her weapon against Okaido’s Pokemon. But to Leaf’s dismay the club harmlessly ricocheted off the Rhydon’s rocky skin. Club stopped her assault for a brief moment to consider her approach and it was then that her opponent seized the opportunity.

                Rhydon grasped Club in its two thick arms and lifted her from the ground. Okaido’s Pokemon span on the spot then released its held captive to launch the Marowak across the arena. Club flew over the first pit of poison which seemed to try and reach up to grab her as it spat acidic liquid which singed and burned her. She landed just past the pool with a crash then rolled helplessly with the momentum towards another poison pit.

                “No!” Leaf squealed. She held her hands to her mouth and tears formed in her eyes as Club tumbled towards the lethal pool. The Marowak’s eyes widened as she sighted her impending doom. However, instead of accepting her fate, her fight was not yet done. She reached out with her bone club and used it to scrape across the ground as a counteracting force. She slid towards the pit but her bone club achieved its desired effect and stopped her just before the pool to Leaf and Club’s simultaneous sigh of relief. But their joy was short lived.

                Rhydon had followed her plight. The beast loomed above the Marowak and collected her in his arms once more, ready to launch her into the poison pit. Leaf clenched her fists and felt the sweat trickling down her face as the crowd roared in anticipation. Then Rhydon swung his arms back with Club clenched in his hands and threw the Marowak to her doom.

                “No!” Leaf once again screamed as time seemed to turn to slow motion as her friend fell. They locked eyes as the Marowak stared into her soul. Club’s fight was still not yet done, she hadn’t achieved her true revenge yet, not until Team Rocket had been perished from Kanto. But as she tumbled towards the pit, the chance of vengeance was to be stolen from her.

                “No!” Okaido howled. “You lucky-” he began before realising that Leaf was benefiting from the same twist of fate as he had earlier. The timer had reached 0:00 and the skull and crossbones flipped on the board to a cyan-coloured snowflake. An ice-type arena.

                The pit of poison froze over where Club bounced off the sheet of ice with no more than a painful bump. Ice began to cover the entire ground and started to snake up the walls of the arena. Small icebergs rose from the sheet of ice and icicles began to form on the arena’s roof.

                Rhydon pummelled the ground where Club had been as the Marowak slid out of the way. His titanic fists smashed against the ice but to Leaf’s surprise, no cracks appeared within the solid sheet.

                Club used the lack of friction to skate across the arena at frightening speeds but failed to control her direction and ending up crashing into icebergs more than once. The Rhydon struggled to hold his footing at first but slowly managed to stand upright without slipping, however, he still remained immobile. This is where Club could press her advantage.

                The Marowak tentatively gained control of her movements and continually swiped at the motionless Rhydon with her bone club, causing no damage but succeeding in unnerving her foe. Club slid in for another strike but by this time the Rhydon had gained more control of himself and grabbed the Marowak as she closed in for the assault. He lifted her so the two duelists were face to face and seemed to consider what he would now do with his captive. Club reacted by launching her bone-club at the Rhydon’s head but to Leaf’s surprise, she missed. The club flew harmlessly away as the Rhydon seemed to formulate an idea with Okaido’s instruction. He held the Marowak below his foot and moved to stomp on her. His bulk combined with the solid ice below would surely crush Club below his stamp. Leaf just smiled. Because Club had won the duel.

                Icicles rained down like hail from the ceiling and pierced the Rhydon from all angles as the Marowak took refuge underneath the beast. Her bone club hadn’t missed at all, she had launched it at the icicles on the roof and like a boomerang it now returned to her and she slid out from underneath the collapsing and defeated Rhydon.

                Stunned silence swept across the audience once more. A few jeers and boos tried to cut through the feeling of tension throughout the stadium. Both finalists were left with their final two Pokemon.

                Okaido appeared devastated with the loss of his friend but forced himself to carry on through sheer willpower. He released his Alakazam into the battlefield as the timer ticked down to just thirty seconds left of ice. Club and her psychic type opponent, the final evolution of Kadabra, waited cautiously in a seemingly mutual agreement to allow the timer to tick down and change stadium type. Both in hopes that the next arena would benefit them.

                After a few moments, the cyan snowflake flipped over to reveal a circular head with two large and round holes for eyes. Two ghostly hands appeared underneath the head which was black on a field of dark purple. The sheet of ice disappeared and the walls turned black whilst all the lights flicked off to leave the arena in darkness. A glass pane rose up above Leaf’s podium where from her side of the glass she could see the arena through infrared panels which granted her vision of the scene. She assumed that the crowd’s side of the glass wall would have the same viewing capabilities, as would Okaido. But for Alakazam and Club, they were in total darkness. Eerie and disturbing sounds began to echo around the arena which would further unnerve both fighters within. The screens were lit up at either end of the battlefield so that both contestants and crowd could see the timer ticking down.

                Alakazam, as a psychic user, took full advantage. Leaf knew that the Pokemon could sense Club’s presence and that Okaido’s psychic type would also know that the Marowak would be nervous and disoriented within the darkness. So the Alakazam used mind tricks to further the damage.

                Club screeched in agony and collapsed to the ground. The Marowak refused to look up and see whatever image was being conjured up to her. The image, Leaf knew, would be her mother.

                “Stay strong, Club!” Leaf bellowed but her words seemingly failed to penetrate the blackness as her Pokemon clasped hands to her head and attempted to shake out the terrifying visions. Leaf tried to imagine the horrifying sights her friend must’ve been seeing. From the memory of her mother dying or the Marowak seeing her parent chide her for the path she had chosen.

                “Now attack!” Okaido roared in encouragement to his Pokemon. The Alakazam had twisted and tortured Club’s mind and now it was time for the psychic-type to strike. Okaido’s Pokemon launched a wave of psychic energy which was invisible to the naked eye but seemed to strike the Marowak and send her sprawling across the floor in the darkness. The Alakazam followed its strike with a lilac-coloured beam of energy which surged into Club as she lay stricken and helpless on the ground.

                “Come on!” Leaf shouted to her ailing fighter. “Don’t let the mind tricks defeat you. We have been through so much! We just need this one final push then vengeance will be ours!”

                Her Marowak responded to her words as she always did. Club clambered weakly to her feet when her foe resumed its psychological assaults then stopped in horror at something Leaf failed to see. Club looked terrified at whatever invisibly loomed over her. Leaf’s Pokemon had always overcome any challenges set before her through sheer willpower and a desire for revenge but whatever image the Alakazam had conjured up was now crushing Club’s spirit.

                Leaf closed her eyes and tried to see what her Marowak was seeing. What could Club be so spooked by that she appeared to be frozen in place.

                “Could it be the Gengar that had killed her mother?” Leaf asked herself. “No, because that would fuel my Club’s rage.”

                She opened her eyes tentatively to see the Alakazam continue its assault by following up with more purple beams and invisible psychic waves which sent Club sprawling across the ground again. She knew her Marowak must surely be close to defeat.

                “Could it be the scene of her mother’s death replaying over and over?” Leaf thought to herself once more. “No, because again that would fuel my Club’s rage. And it couldn’t be the image of her mother either for the same reason. What could steal her spirit? Nothing so far has completely crushed her like this.”

                It was as the Alakazam approached the Marowak that Leaf realised and gasped in shock. Club attempted to climb to her feet and failed, her strength had been depleted and her willpower sapped.

                “No,” Leaf whispered. “After all this time.” She leaned forward and pressed her hands on her podium for support. “The one thing that has kept my Club going hasn’t been a quest for vengeance or a desire for revenge,” she said in realisation. “The defeat of her mother broke her, but it wasn’t her willpower or her anger that caused her to get back up and keep fighting.” She watched as the Alakazam pressed its hands to her Marowak’s skull. For a moment Club seemed to regain sight as she stared straight at her trainer with tear filled eyes. Then smiled.

                “She’s smiling,” Leaf said and felt her own eyes fill with tears. “Because what kept her going wasn’t vengeance. What picked her up wasn’t a desire for revenge. What saved her from perpetual darkness wasn’t her fight against Team Rocket. It was me. Because I became her new mother. She wanted to fight for me. She’s smiling to say thank you.” Tears streamed down Leaf’s face as the light faded from Club’s eyes and the Marowak passed from this life to join her real mother in the next.

                Leaf collapsed to her knees and wallowed in her fits of tears. All this fighting to save a region so corrupt and she was losing all the friends she had made doing so. She had made so many sacrifices and was now only left with one Pokemon. Her closest and oldest ally, Dino. And if she felt like she was in so much agony inside that her heart wanted to burst out of her chest to escape her pain. She couldn’t bear to think what anguish would torment her if she lost her Venusaur as well.

                She looked up through tear-blurred vision and saw that the timer had stopped as it awaited her next challenger, allowing her a brief moment to compose herself before she battled Okaido with her final Pokemon.

                “Leaf,” Okaido shouted. “I’m sorry, I really am.” He waited a few moments for a response but Leaf was too downtrodden to reply. “Once we unite this region we can stop all this pain. I know this final battle is horrific. We are both losing all our friends simply to entertain. But to save everyone it's something we have to do. However horrible it all is. These people will only respect and follow a Champion!”

                “Save everyone,” Leaf whispered to herself and thought of Lyra’s impending release of Mewtwo. “I can’t stop now,” she said and clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. “For Club,” she started as she slowly climbed to her feet. “For Belly, for Loch, for Saur and for Venom.” She clasped Dino’s Pokeball in her hand then launched it towards the blackness. “For Heiko and Wally. For Erik and Archie. For everyone we have sacrificed and lost! It can’t all be in vain. I need to stop my mother and save this region.”

                Dino roared in approval of her speech where the Alakazam began to play the same mind tricks he had on Club to the Venusaur. It had the same initial effect. Leaf was unsure of what her friend was seeing but Dino began to shake his head violently in a futile effort to expel the dark thoughts. She presumed her Pokemon was seeing the faces of those they had lost during their journey, allies, friends and family.

                “Come on Dino not you too,” Leaf whimpered. “Please not you too,” she began to sob quietly but somehow it was as if her Venusaur heard her. Dino snapped out of the psychological stranglehold as the timer hit zero and the arena began to morph once more.

                The symbol flipped to an aqua-blue sphere with a white feather in its centre to denote a flying-type arena. The darkness receded to be replaced by a blinding brightness by a huge light on the roof resembling a sun. The walls changed back to see-through glass as an enormous hole appeared in the floor which encompassed the entire arena aside from two islands of rock which stemmed from below and held both Pokemon aloft.

                Dino and Okaido’s Alakazam were isolated to their two tiny islands where any fall would be lethal. Leaf’s opponent looked tempted to switch in his Charizard who would prosper in the open battlefield before realising that his Alakazam was unable to leave the zone of battle and return to his side.

                Dino tried to shift his weight to balance himself better on his rock but the island was so small he had to remain almost motionless in fear for slipping and falling. The Alakazam had slightly more room to maneuver as his slighter frame enabled it to balance itself. The psychic-type then launched its psychological tirade in an attempt to disorientate and destabilize the Venusaur. This time, however, Dino was ready and able to push through the mind attacks.

                “Go Dino!” Leaf screamed in encouragement to her oldest friend who responded by shooting out leaves like razor blades towards the Alakazam in an effort to push his foe off its island. Okaido’s Pokemon simply danced to avoid the razors, his slight frame agilely spinning aside of any lethal leaves before he resumed his mind attacks.

                Dino closed his eyes as the strain became ever more demanding on him to push away the mental torture. The Alakazam seized his advantage and launched invisible waves and psychic beams of energy in an relentless assault towards the Venusaur. Dino’s feet began to slip off the edge as he struggled to resist both physical and mental strikes pummelling him.

                “Please Dino,” Leaf whimpered. “Please don’t fall. I can’t lose you too. I won’t be able to bear it.” Her oldest friend remained resilient in the mind but his body was also receiving constant assaults. Dino was edged further backwards as an invisible wave smashed against him. Then a psychic energy beam crashed into his body causing him to teeter further over the edge. After the Alakazam pushed the onslaught further with another beam, Leaf’s Venusaur slipped. His rear legs dangled over the side so he whipped out vines which wrapped around the island’s far side as he held on with all his might.

                “Keep going!” Okaido shouted. Dino released a plethora of razor leaves once more in an attempt to buy himself some time. His desperate attack resulted in the Alakazam being shifted off balance and momentarily stop his dual assault of mind and body. Dino climbed back onto his island and Leaf breathed a sigh of relief as her Venusaur returned to fragile safety.

                “And again!” Okaido roared and his Pokemon obliged. The Alakazam resumed his assaults but this time Dino responded. He launched more leaves towards the psychic-type who simply danced around them. But the distraction worked. Okaido’s Pokemon’s focus was fixed on the initial assault, so much so that Dino could whip out vines and wrap them around his foe who seemed unaware of the counterattack until it was too late. Dino held his victim within his grasp then succeeded in dragging the Alakazam off his island by using his vines and then released Okaido’s Pokemon to plummet to its death.

                “No!” Okaido screamed in both mental and physical agony.

                Both duelists were now reduced to their one remaining Pokemon as the timer froze at nine seconds left. It would be Dino against Charizard in an arena of an unpredictable type and the winner of the battle would ensure their trainer became Champion of Kanto.

                Okaido’s fiery serpent flapped his wings and for a moment Leaf thought the Charizard was going to launch an aerial assault of flame, tooth and claw but instead the creature aired caution and awaited the change of arena. That was a mistake.

                The timer hit zero and the symbol in the screen’s centre turned once more. The light blue morphed to an emerald green and the feather transformed into a leaf. The arena was to become a grass-type battlefield which would heavily favour Dino.

                A floor of mud and grass rose as vines began to climb up the arena’s walls. The Charizard hovered above what now was a small forest in the battleground’s centre as long grass sprouted to cover the rest of the arena. It grew so large that it concealed Dino within as his opponent soared blindly above the vegetation.

                Leaf had watched the growing grass conceal her Venusaur and now observed Okaido’s Pokemon anxiously search the undergrowth and miniature forest for any sight of its opponent within the perilous plants. The fire-type glided around the stadium and kept a keen eye for any sign of movement. Then it came suddenly and painfully. Leaves shot out from within the long grass which cut and tore at the Charizard’s skin before vines whipped out and lashed at it like a cane. Okaido’s Pokemon wailed as the vines wrapped around his frame then attempted to pull him down into a grassy tomb.

                “Break free!” Okaido cried as his favourite friend writhed and wailed in a futile attempt to escape the vines which were wrapped around the dragon like a snake. Dino pulled with all his might in his efforts to drag the Charizard to his level and was slowly succeeding. “Or don’t,” Okaido said calmly to Leaf’s initial puzzlement. Her confusion swiftly eroded once the Charizard realised his trainer’s plan.

                Dino’s opponent suddenly allowed himself to be slowly pulled towards the grass where he turned in his prison of vines to face the Venusaur’s position in the undergrowth. Then he unleashed fire.

                Whilst the advantage of the grass type arena was that it featured a plethora of trees which formed a miniature forest and swathes of long grass for Pokemon to conceal themselves and grass types to thrive. The downside was how flammable the stadium had become. Now faced with the Charizard’s storm of fire, the entire arena burst into flames.

                Dino released his grip and ran as fire soaked the grass and spread like a disease of smoke and heat. The Venusaur sprinted to the only safe refuge that hadn’t rapidly been engulfed by flames and entered the forest. Fire licked up and spat at the trees which slowly joined in burning like the grass but thankfully for Leaf, at a much slower rate. This enabled Dino to hide within the trees whilst the Charizard hovered above, adding fuel to the fires underneath him.

                Woodsmoke caused Leaf to cough and splutter as sweat poured off her, both from the tension and the heat. She watched her Venusaur nervously back away from the roaring flames as the treetops burned and leaked spits of fire onto the forest ground where the flames sizzled and died on the floor of mud and dirt.

                Face with such a perilous prospect, a Pokemon would usually prefer to dig in and survive the remaining two minutes on the timer. Dino, however, attempted to counterattack. At first he shot leaves towards the Charizard but the razor-like plants were simply incinerated by the flames as they tried to pass through the treeline. The Venusaur then attempted to launch spores of sleeping powder to rise into the air but again, the attack was stopped by the fires in the treetops. As the vines were part of him, Dino knew he couldn’t use his whips to attack the Charizard as he would only damage himself in the process. So instead, the Venusaur spread out his feet and began to collect energy from the flames.

                The Charizard had thus far failed in his efforts to attack his foe through the tree line as his flamethrowers had been buffeted by the flaming treetops. Okaido’s Pokemon had also attempted to swoop in from the sides but struggled to maneuver through the trees and risked leading himself into an ambush. Whilst the flames which engulfed the arena had saved the Charizard from certain extinction, it had also caused an apparent stalemate between the battling pair.

                Until a beam of solar energy crashed through the trees and smashed into the hovering fire-type. Dino had used the energy emitted by the flames and transformed that solar power into an attack of his own. The beam had surged through the treetops and collided with the Charizard with such force that Okaido’s Pokemon was launched through the air where he crashed into the glass pane at the arena’s side. He recovered just in time for the timer to hit zero and the arena to change once again.

                The symbol switched from emerald green to yellow as the leaf changed to a lightning bolt. Flames died and were replaced by an aluminium floor and the vines on the walls were taken over by volts of electricity visibly flowing through the walls. The metal surface only took up a large portion of the arena because underneath the floor lay a pit of electricity which sparked and growled as it greedily awaited either the Venusaur or the Charizard as its victim.

                The Charizard had landed on the metal as it panted heavily. Dino had wounded his opponent greatly with his solar attack but without the required energy, he was unable to assault his foe with another beam. Instead, the Venusaur whipped out vines, wrapped them around the Charizard then lifted the fire-type into the air where he attempted to use the solid metal flooring to his advantage.

                Sparks flicked up from underneath and Leaf knew her Venusaur must’ve been tempted to launch the Charizard towards the electrical pit but she knew that Dino didn’t have the strength to hurl Okaido’s Pokemon that far. The fires from the grass arena had sapped away most of Dino’s vigor, so instead the Venusaur chose to slam the Charizard onto the metal flooring.

                Leaf and Okaido gasped in unison. The metal surface wasn’t a floor at all, it was a plate. And the metal plate creaked and groaned treacherously before lowering suddenly. Leaf thought the aluminium was going to plummet into the electrical pit with both Pokemon on board but luckily it stopped just short. The plate held on by a whisker just above the lethal voltage where sparks and bolts of electrical energy now zapped upwards and spilt onto the metal flooring.

                In his panic Dino had removed his vine shackles from the Charizard who now feebly rose up into the air and burst flame towards the Venusaur. Dino recoiled as the fires scorched him and retaliated with razor leaves which tore at his opponent who flinched and threatened to plummet to the surface but somehow still held himself upright.

                The battle held perilously close as both Pokemon’s energy stores were almost entirely depleted and one wrong move would send one of the two duelists plummeting into the pit of electricity below.

                “Use your aerial advantage!” Okaido commanded his fighter.

                “Stay strong,” Leaf pleaded with Dino as hopelessness began to reach up from the pit of her stomach and crush her heart. Because Okaido was right, his Pokemon held the skies and that was all that mattered. The timer still had just under three minutes left and she doubted either Pokemon would survive the entirety of that. This was it now, the final arena for the final battle between the two duelist’s favourite Pokemon.

                In response to his trainer, the Charizard soared above the creaking surface. The fire-type swooped down from above and use his weight to crash into the metal plate which groaned ominously and teetered to the side. One more blow would send the floor plummeting into the electrical pit.

                The Charizard rose into the air once more where Dino desperately tried to stop his foe with razor leaves but the fire-type incinerated the attack with flames, then dropped again. Okaido’s Pokemon hoped to smash into the surface feet-first then bounce off the metal plate which would then be electrified and Dino would have no escape.

                “Dino!” Leaf screamed as her heart attempted to burst from her chest and the audience roared in anticipation. The Charizard swooped once more and aimed for the metal plate as tears filled Leaf’s eyes and Okaido watched on mournfully at his friend’s demise. Dino’s foe neared the plate and he released one final roar, a mighty sound which shook the arena and threatened to lower the flooring itself. He whipped at vines in a desperate last attempt to save himself and to everyone’s surprise, he did. The vines wrapped around the Charizard just as he was about to crash into the plate and suspended him just above the surface.

                “Charizard!” Okaido cried out. Dino attempted to hurl the Charizard into the pit of electricity below but failed to muster the energy to do so. Leaf froze and the world turned to slow motion once more. Because the Charizard unleashed a flamethrower. The fires scorched Dino’s vines and caused the Venusaur to withdraw them as he wailed in agony. The Charizard, having been released from their grasp, now tumbled towards the metal flooring where his weight crashed into its surface and sent the plate plummeting into the electrical pit with both Pokemon on top.

                “No!” Both trainers screamed in synchronisation. The crowd roared and screamed. Not only because of the carnage and mayhem, but because the Charizard had managed to flap his wings and escape the pit.

                Hundreds, if not thousands of volts streamed into Dino who was held in paralysis as the electricity tortured him. The large grass-type and Leaf’s best friend was rendered helpless as the life was torn from him. Okaido’s Charizard limply rose up high and swooped around for a final breath of flame which, combined with the electricity, would extinguish the life from Leaf’s immobile Venusaur.

                “Fight back!” Leaf screamed in between sobs. “Fight back! Fight back!” she pleaded, but her Venusaur could neither hear her nor move as the electricity strangled the life from him. She looked at the timer in desperation but still over a minute remained, far too long for her Pokemon to withstand.

                Leaf thought back through her journey. She began as a young girl from Johto who travelled to Hoenn to do some good. From the warrior that had emerged in Kanto where she had made friends, then lost almost all of them. She remembered Erik and what had happened to him. He had been a force for a good and a fighter to save the world. Now he was a villain who tried to remove loss from the world because of all the pain he had been through.

                She looked back and remembered Wally. A bright young trainer who just wanted to make friends and do some good like she did. He was taken from the world because he was just a pawn in Giovanni’s game. She looked to Okaido and remembered the arrogant young trainer he used to be. A boy who wanted to prove a point was now a man just wanting to do some good. All of them, Erik, Okaido, Wally and herself. They all strived towards the same goals, to help people and release the region from Team Rocket’s tyrannical stranglehold.

                Then she thought of herself, and all she had lost. All the friends she had made and lost in battle to fight some war against Team Rocket that didn’t matter to her as much as her friends did. She had lost so many. The likes of Fin, a hopeless Magikarp who had turned into her saviour. Or Fury, the Mankey who fought savagely just to impress her. Or Rex and Fang, the young lovers she had taken from their homes just to fight in some meaningless war. Of Club, the Cubone she had rescued who had seen her as a hero. But deep down Leaf knew she wasn’t one, she wasn’t the hero this world needed. Just another pawn in the game.

                She looked to Dino. Her favourite Pokemon who had been with her the entire journey and had never left her side nor let her down. He was moments away from being taken from this world, simply because Leaf wanted to prove herself as the best trainer.

                Her mother was set to destroy this region and all she had done was remove Team Rocket from power. Her friends, human and Pokemon, had made so many sacrifices. They had thrown their lives down to help Leaf in her quest to make the world a better place and as she watched Dino perish, she realised that their was one sacrifice still left to make. Because there was only one option left.

                “I surrender!” Leaf announced and recalled Dino into his Pokeball. It was against the rules to do so but she didn’t care. She had forfeited the battle.

                Okaido was the new Champion of Kanto and Leaf skulked from the arena with Dino nestled safety in his capsule.

                As the clock struck midnight across Kanto, Lyra would be unleashing Mewtwo on the world. All Leaf could do now was prepare. For she would be the final sacrifice.
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                  #36    
                Old December 7th, 2017 (1:32 AM).
                abstories abstories is offline
                   
                  Join Date: Feb 2015
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                  Chapter Twenty - Sacrifice

                  Spoiler:

                  Night fell across Kanto and shrouded the region in a darkness that would resound across the nation and be spoken of in hushed tones until the end of time. The moon held position high in the centre of the sky and cast down a small ray of light in a sea of blackness. It was just like the small flicker of hope that Leaf still held. That dawn would come and the denizens of Kanto would live to see it. Because Lyra had unleashed Mewtwo on Cerulean City, Leaf knew there was only one way to cease the murderous chaos. To stop her mother, no matter what the cost.

                  “Leaf!” a voice called after her as she sprinted from Indigo Plateau.

                  “Don’t stop me!” she screamed as her heart raced and tears poured wearily down her face. She stopped to turn and see her friend approach her. Okaido Oak, the new Champion of Kanto.

                  “You can’t do this alone, let me help you,” he pleaded with her. “Let my grandfather help us.”

                  “You two have work to do,” she snapped. “You need to remove Archer from power and unite the region.”

                  “There won’t be a region left to unite!” he said angrily. “Not if you try and do this alone. I know your Venusaur has been healed but you and Dino can’t do this yourselves.”

                  “I know what must be done,” she snapped again, her voice softer this time. “As do you and Professor Oak. Now go celebrate your victory.”

                  “There will be no celebration,” Okaido said sharply. Her and the man formerly known as Blue had been through so much together, she had even grown to care for him. Which was why she refused to risk his life, he was the one hope of the nation and as Champion he could unite the region and remove Team Rocket’s toxic remnants once and for all.

                  “You and your grandfather need to make this region a better place. I will stop my mother because I am the only one who can.”

                  “Leaf-” Okaido stopped as he tried to find the words but she already knew he had been defeated. “Come back to me afterwards, we will solve this region’s troubles together. Me, you and Gramps.”

                  She tried to think of a reply then burst into fits of tears where Okaido moved to embrace her. He held her whilst she sobbed then wiped the tears from her cheeks. After everything, he was all she had left. The only friend who remained which wasn’t Dino, her last Pokemon.

                  “Let me at least take you,” he said and took his Charizard’s Pokeball from his pocket. “I promise that once I drop you off in Cerulean that I will go and remove Archer from power.”

                  “Okay,” she sobbed and wiped her eyes. “I used to think you were such a jerk,” she said and giggled slightly.

                  “And I used to think you were a little bi-” he began then remembered the state she was in. “A little bit annoying,” he corrected himself quickly. “Guess you’re alright though.”

                  She laughed softly then looked over her shoulder. Indigo Plateau rested underneath Mt. Silver, an enormous mountain which loomed over the region of Kanto and separated it from its neighbouring nation of Johto. From her vantage point she could see large swathes of the land she was trying to save below. Viridian City was lit up like a beacon in the darkness and Pewter City was awash with lamplight. Pallet Town still had a few homes with their lights left on too. Despite being located in the centre of Kanto, even from the distance of Indigo Plateau she could see Cerulean City. Because it appeared to her that the entire city was engulfed by fire.

                  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  Above the carnage Leaf and Okaido had the perfect view of desolation and despair. Lyra stood at the mouth of the cave and watched the Mewtwo wreak devastation and death from Nugget Bridge. The creature looked almost like a grey alien to Leaf. He had stood at the height of a tall man with two legs and arms with three spherical fingers and toes at the end of each. His peculiarly shaped head was topped by two blunt horns and his eyes were violet as if he was in a state of possession. But Leaf knew that the mystical creature was the possessor and not under the control of anyone else. Finally, she remarked that the Pokemon had a very long purple tail which snaked around its back.

                  Mewtwo was a psychic type Pokemon. Leaf knew this because he was obliterating any Pokemon who opposed him with mind attacks and using possession to control any foe who survived the psychological onslaught. He had exploded electrics and flammable containers in the city as citizens screamed in panic whilst their homes blazed and their friends were mentally suffocated by the creature who tortured humans and Pokemon without discrimination. Mewtwo was the ultimate weapon of war, a killing machine with no conscience and a murderer who wished to destroy anyone or anything in sight.

                  Leaf looked back to her mother who she noticed was hiding from the creature as if the Mewtwo would decimate her as well if he had the chance. Then she saw the glint of a Megastone within Lyra’s hand. A device to make the death machine into an unstoppable force.

                  “You can’t do this alone!” Okaido shouted once more and tried to raise his voice above the explosions, screams and wails. There must have been close to a hundred trainers, citizens and other Pokemon users battling the beast and all were failing.

                  “Let me down here!” Leaf yelled.

                  “Leaf-” Okaido began before another explosion cut him off and lit up the night’s sky. Charizard landed in Cerulean City just to the south of Nugget Bridge where Leaf leaped off and released Dino to protect her.

                  “I don’t care what you say!” Okaido yelled and began to jump off his Pokemon before Dino slapped him with a vine.

                  “Get out of here!” Leaf cried. “I’ll save this region, you just worry about uniting it!” Okaido made a move to argue but Dino raised a vine once more.

                  “Good luck,” he said wistfully. “But promise that you’ll come back to me and we will rule this region together.”

                  “You’ve been a good friend,” she said. “The best I could have hoped for.” She walked away to the bridge as Okaido shouted after her, begging her to come back.

                  She trekked through piles of defeated Pokemon and their fallen trainers as fires whipped up and roared around her. A line of trainers stood at the end of the bridge, the warriors of the region. Citizens panicked and fled the scene all around her, abandoning their burning homes and all their possessions to preserve their lives.

                  “She’s mad,” Leaf thought to herself. “My mother, why would she do this?” she considered. What would drive a person to unleash this level of destruction.

                  “Hold the line!” a woman squealed. “If we lose the bridge we lose the city and everyone in it!” Leaf recognised the red-haired leader as Misty. The town’s mayor and former Gym Leader. She was leading the group of countless trainers as they sent their Pokemon to the slaughter in a desperate attempt to save their city and the lives of the people within it.

                  Leaf pushed through with Dino alongside her. She now saw the hundreds of Pokemon putting up a hopeless final stand. Some stood just before the bridge and others had made their way onto it where they faced a group of possessed creatures led by the Mewtwo.

                  “Leaf!” Misty cried as she noticed her pushing her way through the ensemble. “Thank goodness you’re here!”

                  “Out of my way,” Leaf growled and then saw Bill’s Cottage burnt to a crisp in the distance. Its defences had been turned to blackened and charred skeletal remains and the young scientist was now attempting to flank the Mewtwo from behind with a group of Pokemon from Storage. There must have been around fifty, from Raticate to Muk to Weezing and Golbat. All Pokemon that had been frequently used by Team Rocket.

                  “So Bill was working for Rocket all along,” Leaf surmised. “The whole assault on Storage was all an elaborate setup after all. Another one of my many failures,” she said and sighed. Dino reached out with a vine and stroked her cheek where she then moved to press her head against her Pokemon’s. “This is it,” she said to him where the Venusaur replied by simply nuzzling her with his wide face.

                  She turned back to the action. On the bridge a possessed Golem pummeled an Onix. A Pidgeotto attempted an aerial strike on a possessed Ninetales but the creature was rapidly shot down by a blast of water from a possessed Gyarados in the lake below the bridge. Leaf turned her attention to Mewtwo and almost screamed in glee as the crowd behind her began to cheer.

                  Bill was winning.

                  The flanking attack had worked and his army of Pokemon had begun to strike at the Mewtwo directly. Leaf wouldn’t be needed after all. The Mewtwo had been swarmed, he defeated a Raticate with a mind attack then released a beam of psychic energy towards a Golbat but the horde slowly overpowered him.

                  The pink eyes of the possessed Pokemon on the bridge began to flicker then slowly fade as the battle stopped suddenly and the din of war receded to be replaced by the roaring flames behind them.

                  “No!” Leaf screamed and her heart sank. “Lyra!” she pleaded. “Mother!” But it was too late. Because her mother had taken the opportunity to sprint from the shadows and press the Megastone to the Mewtwo’s head. A dark shroud engulfed the creature as Lyra removed the Megastone and went back into hiding in a nearby bush.

                  Tears rolled down Leaf’s face as hope escaped her. She almost collapsed and thought to throw herself in the river but as always there was one friend there to save her from perpetual darkness, Dino. The Venusaur rubbed his head against hers and marched onto the bridge to confront whatever monster emerged from the black shroud along with Bill’s horde and the trainer’s hundreds of Pokemon. The possession had fully broken and it was an army of warriors against a lone Pokemon.

                  From the shroud emerged a Pokemon larger and bulkier than the previous Mewtwo. His eyes were a crimson red and the horns atop his skull had extended and turned into points. Purple armour now covered his chest and gray armour all his joints and limbs.

                  “Once more!” Misty screamed. “Bill. One more push!” She sounded full of hope, spirit and vigour.

                  But all Leaf could do was watch.

                  Mega-Mewtwo turned to Bill’s horde, held out a hand, then twisted it. All of Bill’s Pokemon collapsed instantly as the life went from them. They had no bond to Bill and the man himself was a poor trainer. But Leaf had still never seen anything with enough power to eliminate over forty Pokemon just with a flick of the hand.

                  Mega-Mewtwo looked to Bill now and performed the same trick on the scientist. The young man collapsed as the life was choked from him. He died slower than the Pokemon, but still the power of the creature was horrifying.

                  Gasps of shock resounded through the crowd of trainers. All hope had vanished and many began to recall their Pokemon and sprint for safety outside of the city despite Misty’s rallying cries. By the time the Mega-Mewtwo turned to face his opponents, only around fifty of them remained.

                  “Charge!” Misty cried and the feral creature at the end of Nugget Bridge saw her as their commander. He held out a hand as fifty Pokemon charged him and twisted it. Misty squealed. She held her hands to her head and screamed a wail of agony. Then she collapsed.

                  More trainers ran, most ignoring their Pokemon and leaving them for dead as the Mega-Mewtwo set about his work. He blasted a psychic energy beam towards the bridge which exploded with such impact it nearly destroyed the wooden walkway. Six highly-trained Pokemon fell to the attack. After another beam, seven more followed.

                  Dino unleashed leaves and vines and gathered energy from the fires to unleash a solar beam but the attacks bounced off the Mega-Mewtwo as if they were specks of dust. As did any other strike against the mighty creature.

                  Leaf was stuck in two minds. She wanted to recall Dino and run, to sprint to Johto or back to Hoenn and avoid this unstoppable beast. But she knew if she did so then none would ever stop the creature. Mega-Mewtwo would crush the world and kill everyone and everything in its path.

                  More Pokemon fell either to beams, mind attacks or simple flicks of the Mega-Mewtwo’s wrists. Dino resisted any piercing efforts into his mind out of his love for Leaf and stood his ground against any strikes against him but still the Venusaur was being slowly pushed back until he remained on the bridge with just five other fighters.

                  Leaf looked around her to see three remaining trainers. The others had other fled or retreated after their Pokemon had fallen. She recognised all three.

                  “Nice to meet again,” Blaine said to her. He was the man she met on Cinnabar Island who had informed her of the Mewtwo’s backstory. “I worked it all out and gathered the most powerful trainers in the region to fight this fight,” he said. “But we were too late and too weak.”

                  “You’ve come far since we last met,” Brock added, the mayor of Pewter City who had been her matchup in round two of the tournament.

                  “And made me proud,” Koga said. “I believe you have defeated Team Rocket. For that I am deeply grateful. Because I was able to see my daughter, Janine, for one last time.”

                  Koga’s Weezing fell to a mind attack after resisting a flick of the Mega-Mewtwo’s hand. The bond between Pokemon and trainer was strong enough for him to resist the initial strike but the monstrous creature was too powerful to resist.

                  “How can we stop it?” Brock asked as his Golem was decimated by a psychic beam of energy.

                  “We can’t,” Blaine said. “We can only hold it back until someone thinks of a way.”

                  “We aren’t holding it back?” Koga said. “We are like four planks of wood trying to hold back a hurricane!”

                  “We can’t stop fighting,” Leaf said through gritted teeth. “No matter what.”

                  “Agreed,” all three former Gym Leaders said in unison as Blaine’s Ninetales fell to a psychic beam of energy. Only his Arcanine, Koga’s Muk and Dino remained.

                  “We advance,” Koga said bravely.

                  “What?!” Brock said, the panic in his voice clear.

                  “We stand side by side with our Pokemon as they fall,” he replied and Brock looked back with his mouth gaping as if to say he had no remaining Pokemon.

                  “What if the creature won’t attack something that isn’t attacking it?” Blaine suggested. “If we approach it with hands held up as if we surrender.”

                  “And then what?” Brock said.

                  “I get the Megastone off Lyra,” Leaf cut in just as Koga’s Muk fell to a mind attack. Only Arcanine and Dino remained. Both Pokemon pummeled the Mega-Mewtwo with constant attacks of solar energy and flamethrowers but still each strike limply bounced off of the creature to no effect.

                  The four trainers marched in line. Blaine and Koga appeared calm but sweat dripped off of Brock in waves. Leaf, to her surprise, felt at peace for the first time in her life. Her task was clear as if she stared her destiny in the face. Flames from the city behind them licked up and reached to touch the sky and their roars must’ve been heard miles away. Growls from Arcanine and Dino were matched by the grunts from the Mega-Mewtwo who struggled to destroy his two remaining opponents. He flicked his wrist but both resisted and then both held their ground against his psychic energy beams. The Arcanine soon collapsed under the weight of a mind attack.

                  “Dino,” Leaf called out to her Venusaur as she approached him. “Stand down.” Her Pokemon gave her a quizzical look as the four trainers joined him.

                  “We surrender,” Blaine called out and held his hands up to show the Mega-Mewtwo he meant no harm. The creature simply looked bemused.

                  “Leaf,” Koga began. “Jump into the river, swim over and grab that stone. You’re our only hope.”

                  “We-” Blaine went to say again before the Mega-Mewtwo cut him off. He twisted a hand and the elderly man went silent as he clutched his throat and choked. His life left him.

                  “Run!” Brock screamed and sprinted back down the bridge but the Mega-Mewtwo simply unleashed a beam of psychic energy towards the mayor of Pewter that evaporated him within its midst.

                  “I thank you Leaf,” Koga said and knew he was next. “For allowing me to see my daughter one last time.” He spread his arms out and the Mega-Mewtwo responded with a flick of his wrist and Koga collapsed as well as his life was stolen from him.

                  Leaf stood side by side with Dino. She looked to the river and nodded to her Venusaur. Her favourite Pokemon and eldest friend nodded back. He would make the sacrifice. He would block her sprint to the river where she would dive off the side of the bridge and claim the Megastone. What she would do with it she didn’t yet know, but it was her last hope.

                  “Leaf!” Lyra screamed and suddenly sprinted from the bushes she had hidden within. “Wait Mewtwo! Don’t kill her!” It was as if her mother had suddenly snapped back to sanity when she realised her daughter was next on the killing list. But it was too late. Leaf was frozen in place by her mother’s calls and the Mega-Mewtwo unleashed a beam of psychic energy towards her.

                  She spread her arms as Koga did to welcome the strike, then closed her eyes. She heard a primal roar but felt no pain. She opened her eyes. Dino had thrown himself into the beam to save her life. Now was her chance as her Venusaur perished.

                  She went to move but found herself frozen in place. The tearing agony of a bond severed ripped through her as it had before but this time it was different. Where before she had felt the pain stronger than most because of her deep bonds with each and every Pokemon, now the agony was apoplectic. Because Dino hadn’t just been her Pokemon, he had been her greatest friend. He had been the one who had kept her grounded and saved her from despair on countless occasions. Now the Venusaur collapsed to the ground as the life was robbed from him.

                  She remembered back to Viridian Forest where she faced the Metal Monster and Dino had leaped from the trees at the vital moment to save her. She remembered whenever she felt herself in peril that Dino would remain by her side and refuse to let her be defeated. Whenever she felt like despair had claimed her, he had been there to stop it. Now he was gone.

                  “Now,” she said through gritted teeth and clenched fists.Her body shook violently and tears rolled down her face uncontrollably. “Now is the time for the final sacrifice.”

                  “Leaf!” Lyra screamed and sprinted towards the Mega-Mewtwo.

                  But her daughter was already walking. The Mega-Mewtwo grinned savagely at her attempts to approach him and held out a hand ready to twist. Memories flashed through Leaf’s mind as her life replayed before her. From a fragile soul seeking her parent’s love to a seeker of adventure when she ventured to Hoenn and met Erik, Wally and later Blue. She remembered the faces of all she had lost and those she had loved and seen killed. She thought of Okaido and wished him luck in ruling the region. Then she smiled. Because when the Mewtwo twisted his hand her world turned black and she had finally found her peace. She knew what would happen next, her mother would be prompted to destroy the Mega-Mewtwo out of anguish. Leaf had done it, she had saved the region. She had been the final sacrifice.

                  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  The first flicker of dawn came as the horizon reddened. Okaido failed to tell where the clouds ended and the pillars of smoke began as he attempted to steer his Charizard towards Cerulean City sightless. He heard the roars of fires amidst screams and cries of terror as the smell of smoke caused him to cough and splutter.

                  “Descend!” he informed his Pokemon and held on as his Charizard dove towards the chaos below. He used the smoke as a marker as to where he should land, where the clouds were thickest, there he would find Cerulean and the main battlefield. His Charizard plowed through smoke as Okaido clung on for his life and closed his eyes as the woodsmoke stung them. He coughed and spluttered once more and felt as if the suffocating grey would never end.

                  Then he felt the smoke clear so he opened his eyes and wished he hadn’t. The sight below caused him to nearly scream and fall off his Charizard. Because Leaf was dead.

                  He hovered above Nugget Bridge where the Mega-Mewtwo switched his gaze to Okaido and hold up a hand ready to twist. He went to speak a command for his Charizard to fight back and destroy the creature but the words caught in his mouth. He looked to Leaf who lay lifeless on the bridge. The Mega-Mewtwo had killed her.

                  A primal scream of agony shrieked through the skies, but not from Okaido nor his Charizard. Instead, it came from behind the Mega-Mewtwo. Lyra had charged towards the powerful creature by herself, overcome with fury and sorrow at seeing her only child fall to the monster. The Mega-Mewtwo had turned to face her as she came within a few feet of himself, then unleashed a beam of psychic energy.

                  Lyra held up his Megastone in her defence. The unstoppable force met the immovable object, causing an explosion of blackness encompassed the Mega-Mewtwo, the Megastone and Lyra. The dark shroud that engulfed woman, creature and stone suffocated the life from all three. Okaido hovered above the scene and watched in silence as tears rolled down his cheeks. When the blackness receded all three had vanished, the darkness had consumed all.

                  “If only I’d come sooner,” Okaido whimpered and looked to Leaf. He motioned to his Charizard to land and dismounted his Pokemon to walk weakly to Leaf’s side. “Leaf…” he began and tried to speak through his sobs. “Gabby and Ty made it easy for us to remove Archer. With the support of the Champion and Professor Oak the region rallied against him whilst you fought this horrific fight. The government of Kanto is reforming. My Gramps will be our new mayor and I will support him as Champion. We did it Leaf,” he said through his sobs. “We saved Kanto.”

                  Okaido collapsed to his knees and thought back on his own journey and all they had sacrificed. He thought back to the SS. Anne where he lost his Raticate and Wally lost his Pikachu. Where Archie fell along with a couple of Leaf’s Pokemon. He thought back to his own journey, he was Pokemon Champion of Kanto now but at what cost. The people loved him, they respected and worshipped him. He was a hero to them and he thought that was all he ever wanted. But now he looked at the fallen Leaf and remembered Wally and felt empty. As if what he wanted all along wasn’t to be loved, but to belong. And in the Resistance he had belonged. But they were gone now, all of them, even his real father, Giovanni. The man who had caused so much pain and suffering.

                  Then his thoughts went to Erik, the original leader of the Resistance and the man that had recruited him. He had said he’d never return to Kanto if the Resistance left him alone and they had held up their end of the bargain. Okaido wondered what would happen to him and the remnants of Team Rocket now. Then he remembered his half-brother Silver, the scarred man who was so broken and empty that he almost felt pity for Giovanni’s other son. The locations of both Erik and Silver were a mystery to him but he had more important things to consider. Leaf had saved Kanto and he had united it but the region still needed to heal. He and his grandfather had their work cut out but for the memories of Leaf, Wally and everyone else, they had no choice but to prevail.

                  As Okaido clambered back to his feet he realised he must’ve been sat soul-searching for a long time because the sun had begun to pierce through the clouds and cast light on a scorched and charred Cerulean City behind him. A ruined city now marked a wounded region.

                  Okaido remounted his Charizard and signaled for his Pokemon to fly him back to Pallet Town where together with Professor Oak they would restabilize Kanto. This would be the end of his story, he knew. No more fighting, just healing.

                  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  He climbed the final step of the gargantuan mountain. The top of Mt.Silver was flat enough for him to walk across and from the vantage point he could see the entirety of Kanto below him. But Kanto didn’t matter anymore. On the other side of the colossal natural structure lay Johto which he now turned to face alongside the man he had once considered an enemy.

                  “Johto awaits,” the once-enemy spoke, his voice fractured and dark.

                  “Where I’m sure we shall do battle once again,” Silver agreed and Erik allowed a chortle of laughter.

                  “What is your purpose now. What do you fight for?” Erik asked him.

                  “I see what my brother, Okaido, has done,” Silver began. The sound of his voice resounded through the air as his mechanical mask twisted and distorted it. “He threw away the shackles of kinship and became his own man. He righted some of my father’s wrongs and redeemed himself to this world.”

                  “And you wish to do the same?” Erik said.

                  “I just wish to amend some of my sins,” Silver said and sighed. “But I don’t even know where to start.”

                  “Join me,” Erik replied. “We shall conquer Johto as a starting point and cleanse this world of its tragedies.”

                  “Your way is war, terror and forcing your will on people,” Silver said, not harshly. “Your way is Team Rocket.”

                  “And what is your way?” Erik asked.

                  “Johto is a bastion of ill. Even more chaotic than Kanto with disaster seeping from its every pore,” Silver said. “The current rulership is inept. Lord Raven will be gathering his forces to retake the forsaken land and you will be trying to destroy it.”

                  “So which side will you choose if not mine?”

                  “My own side,” Silver growled. “I’m done being under the thumb of those who think they are greater than me.”

                  “So I ask you again,” Erik said patiently. “What is your purpose?”

                  “To find my redemption,” Silver grunted. “And it starts with a simple act.” He moved his hands to his face where he placed his thumbs underneath the mechanical mask and lifted it. It was hard work at first, he hadn’t removed the mask in years, but slowly the facepiece lifted. He tossed it from the mountain and watched it bounce off the sides as it tumbled back into Kanto.The fresh air sting his burned, scarred face.

                  “How does it feel?” Erik asked.

                  “Liberating,” Silver answered and winced as the cold singed him.

                  “I guess this means we are at war then,” Erik said.

                  “Indeed. I shall battle your mystical powers with all my might,” Silver responded. “How about I let you get a little head start though?” he said and grinned. His mechanical mask disallowed him from forming any sort of smile so to do it for the first time in years almost hurt his face.

                  Erik smiled in reply then released a Charizard of his own. This one was different however, it had been permanently Mega-evolved and responded without question to Erik’s commands. Whilst a normal Charizard had skin of orange, the Mega version’s was pure black and its cream belly and underwings had turned from cream to sky blue. Its eyes were red and the flame on the tip of its tail was also light blue.

                  Erik mounted the Pokemon who flapped its wings and powerfully lifted itself from the mountain. With a wave goodbye and a promise of war, Erik left for Johto.

                  “My redemption,” Silver said to himself. “Sounds idiotic,” he said then chuckled and watched Erik disappear into the distance. He suddenly heard a scuffle of movement behind him so spun on his heel but it was too late. The agony came before the realisation as he heard a loud thud and felt a sharp sensation of pain on his head. The world went black and he collapsed on the ground where he faded in and out of consciousness.

                  “Damn we just missed the other one,” a shrill female voice said.

                  “The boss wanted both Silver and that other guy that was with him, right?” a male voice added.

                  “Ah just take this one to base. Throw him in a prison cell and let him rot for the rest of his days,” the female answered.

                  Silver faded out of consciousness for a final time before he could hear the reply and was carted away to a destination unknown by those whose identities were a mystery. For now.




                  The Challenger trilogy will be concluded in book three, “Silver’s Redemption”. Estimated first chapter release of Summer 2018.
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                    #37    
                  Old December 23rd, 2017 (5:12 PM).
                  Bay's Avatar
                  Bay Bay is offline
                  Darkinium Z
                   
                  Join Date: May 2006
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                  All right, so I already read the last three chapters when you asked me to look over it, but I haven't gotten a chance to really say my full thoughts on them. I admit some details are now fuzzy so I had to recheck some parts.

                  I admit, I already expected Gabby and Ty to pull that stunt there. They just feel like they would rather be on the good side and such. What stood out to me the most during Lance and Leaf's battle is some stuff that Venom did, like with Sleep Powder. Too bad it didn't stand a chance against Dragonite.

                  I already joked this to you, but yeah Blue and Leaf did went a bit too long with that speech there to be honest. But anyways, while the arena changing does makes the battlefield more interesting, I admit sometimes on occasion I had to remind myself which arena is being used next.

                  Quote:
                  “No,” Leaf whispered. “After all this time.” She leaned forward and pressed her hands on her podium for support. “The one thing that has kept my Club going hasn’t been a quest for vengeance or a desire for revenge,” she said in realisation. “The defeat of her mother broke her, but it wasn’t her willpower or her anger that caused her to get back up and keep fighting.” She watched as the Alakazam pressed its hands to her Marowak’s skull. For a moment Club seemed to regain sight as she stared straight at her trainer with tear filled eyes. Then smiled.

                  “She’s smiling,” Leaf said and felt her own eyes fill with tears. “Because what kept her going wasn’t vengeance. What picked her up wasn’t a desire for revenge. What saved her from perpetual darkness wasn’t her fight against Team Rocket. It was me. Because I became her new mother. She wanted to fight for me. She’s smiling to say thank you.” Tears streamed down Leaf’s face as the light faded from Club’s eyes and the Marowak passed from this life to join her real mother in the next.
                  I probably forgot to mention this when looking this chapter over. While I think this scene is bittersweet, I feel you can shorten Leaf's dialog here, like for instance in the second paragraph she doesn't have to mention revenge again.

                  Okay, now to the last chapter. I'll admit rampaging Mewtwo isn't my favorite interpretation of it even though you have it Mega Evolved there. I guess because of how Mega Mewtwo killing everyone in sight is more overkill (no pun intended lol) than anything, and why I felt Leaf and Club's scene I pointed earlier is more emotional than her or Dino's sacrifice. But that's just my taste/preference here and I don't expect you to change Mewtwo to be sunshine and daises for your story. Erik and Silver's stuff seems unresolved, but you mentioned there will be another story, so I'm curious how you'll wrap up their arcs there. Still, this has been fun helping you out with this story and looking forward to the next one, whether if I'll be also to help or as a causal reader!
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