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AzureFlygon
9th November 2004, 12:23 AM
Okay, I am officially restarting this entire thread. I know, and am sorry, that many of you will have to go through all twenty-so chapters again, but it's a small price to pay for the revisions, the cleaner thread, and the understanding of people who just come upon this story and wish to read from the beginning.

For those of you who want a summary: a young, lab-grown girl with mysterious powers is thrust upon a dying world of chaos and destruction. With the help of a few friends, and the guidance of some enigmatic enemies, what will she do with the powers? And what does this strange time have in store for her?

Yeah, not great, but there you go.
Now, for rules! And before anybody starts complaning, let me tell you that the last thread was closed because of spam. I don't want any of that here. Either your comment is relevent, or I will politely ask you to delete it for the good of the story.
So; No muffins, insane feathers or monkeys, food of any kind unless it is in the story. Keep your Comments on task, please. Ask a question if you need to; I don't bite people's heads off, and please refrain for flaming or any other type of insults. Constructive or I will go destructive on your butt, got it?

Also, I am the only one who will be updating this. Spectreon is no longer using my account. Don't worry, the story will continue ^^

Good, now that we got that done, enjoy the recap of the story. Yes, some of it will be new and improved, but I want to keep it as close to the original as possible. I'll even have a deleted chapter that you all missed out on due to revisions later ^^

~~~~~

Chapter One: A Genisis of Confusion

Machines hummed and whirred in the dimly lit laboratory. Scientist’s voices spoke quietly as they moved around, checking and adjusting various machines.

um um whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun
umber ummmmmm fayuuuuuuuun
um um whrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Bubbles rose slowly in liquid enclosed by glass. The glass formed a tall cylinder, and within grew life. Computer screens flickered around the room, displaying the vitals of the being within the tank.

um um whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun
umber ummmmmm fayuuuuuuuuun
um um whrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The machines pulsed, never faltering in their task to keep the being alive. Tubes fed into the tank from the machines and into the life-form. Four tubes were inserted into her back, all in a vertical line. Two emerged from each of her thin, delicate arms.

um um whuuuuuuuuuuuuuun
umber ummmmmm fayuuuuuuuuun
um um whrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The girl in the tank, seeming about fourteen years of age, floated peacefully. Her eyes were closed in slumber, and her dull brownish-grey hair floated around her face, giving her an angelic appearance. She was naked except for a white gown, which served the dual purpose of keeping her decent and marking her as a experiment artificially created from a fetus and grown at an extraordinary rate. She had been born only a month ago.

In a corner of the room was a writing table. The head scientist, Dorian, sat hunched over a journal, writing quickly.

January 14, Winter Cycle
Report # 54: Week 7
Project Destiny

The experiment is going smoothly. Tomorrow, we will infuse her with Pokemon elemental energy, and then her true Pokemon warrior spirit will awaken! She has been codenamed the Goddess, and when the process is completed, she will be able to utilize every Pokemon attack known to the world, making her a true god of Pokemon. The one to rule them all... Research data suggests that this much elemental energy may awaken an old spirit, an ancient Pokemon spirit, older than time itself. Supposedly she could become an actual Pokemon- a God Pokemon. But it’s doubtful. The poor, unsuspecting fools of scientists do not know what her true purpose is! They think she will be a super weapon to fend off Team Rocket’s dominion with their Andros-genetically mutated and cybernetic Pokemon. But little do THEY know that I work for you, Team Rocket. When the Goddess is finished, we will use her to truly complete our domination of all Kanto. The survivors have all either fled to the other regions, or they choose to stay in the rebel city of Zeiryu. Fools, all of them. We will have the Goddess destroy them all. We run Saffron City now, and all the once-glorious cities are now in ruins. Silph Tower is the source of our Andros. Regarding the scientists, I will have three Andros-Scyther come and kill them all, then they and I will deliver the Goddess to you. My regards to you, Giovanni.

Dorian smirked and put away the report in his notebook. Standing up, he watched the girl floating peacefully in the tank.

The Goddess slept, not knowing her true purpose or her fateful destiny.

...

“Initializing Project Destiny...Project Destiny activated. Commence?”


Dorian punched in the series of commands that would activate the crucial process of infusing the Goddess with elemental energy. Dorian glanced at the girl. As of now, she had been coaxed into a fetal position, and countless pipes now entered every inch of her body from all directions, giving her a weirdly frightening appearance.


“Project Destiny Sequence activated.”


The machine’s humming rose to a thunderous crescendo, and their vents glowed. Steam hissed out the vents in a piercing whine. However, something very interesting was happening to the girl...


Every pipe rumbled and glowed, channeling pure elemental essence through the girl’s body. The Goddess jerked, went still, then jerked once more. Finally, she shuddered and went limp, no longer fetal but simply floating. There were minute clicks as each of the pipes withdrew from her and retracted into the machines.


All the scientists, including Dorian, was now watching the limp body of the girl with nervous anticipation. The tension was thick in the atmosphere. Suddenly, the computer screens flared, and started shrilling. Scientists jumped with fright, and several ran to read the information displayed. Their voices rose, almost screaming with astonishment.


“Heart rate is rising by 20 percent...40 percent!”
“Her brain waves are going crazy! Activity has tripled!”
“Body temp is rising steadily...all other vitals are stabilized.”


All the scientists murmured, and fear rippled through the room.


“My god...” murmured Dorian. The Goddess was waking up.


All eyes were on the tank. The girl stirred slightly, and several scientists sharply inhaled. Her eyes fluttered, then flew open, seeing for the first time. They were a brilliant pearly blue, and very light-colored. The girl’s head swiveled, taking in the new sights. She moved forward, pressing against the tank with her hands. The girl was silent, and raised her head.


Hello.


All the scientists jerked. The girl had spoken to them with her mind.


“Amazing. Such a rapid utilizing of her powers...she will truly be a force to be reckoned with.” thought Dorian, grinning as he envisioned his promotion in Team Rocket.


My name is Serra.


For a brief instant, electricity skittered over her hands, then faded. Leafy tentacles sprouted from her back, then withdrew. The Goddess was experimenting, expanding upon her newfound powers. Dorian quietly spoke.


”Congratulations, everyone. Project Destiny is a complete success.”


Cheering rose to the roof, and the girl cringed, frightened by this new sound. Her fear was converted to flying energy, and the air roared and blew through the room, scattering research papers and documents everywhere. Soon, the laboratory resumed its usual routine-scientists quietly working, studying the Goddess, and reading the computer screens.

Two weeks later...

Serra awoke with a start, and moved in her tank. It was early morning, and still dark, although Serra did not know this. She was comfortable in the laboratory, but she had no way of knowing there was a real world out there. To her, the world was the laboratory, and although she never left the tank, she was happy there. Dorian was especially kind to her, she thought. Of all the scientists, she trusted him. But this morning....Something was wrong. She couldn’t feel Dorian.


With her psychic energy, she scanned the entire laboratory. The complex was situated underground, in the area between where Viridian City had used to stand, and the forest. Serra felt each of the scientists, sleeping in their quarters. No one was awake. But where was Dorian? Feeling panic rising in her, Serra sank to the bottom of the tank, bubbles streaming from her mouth. Frantically, she ran her hand down the tubes extending from her arm, knowing she was helpless. She sensed, with growing trepidation, that something was irrevocably wrong.

She was right. Hearing distant shatters, then screaming, Serra’s eyes grew wide with fright. She couldn’t move very well due to the tubes in her arms and back, so she was defenseless. A few scientists staggered into the room, bleeding copiously from long, deep gashes in their abdomens. As they fell, three silhouettes appeared in the gloom of the doorway...Sinister figures. As they stepped into the light, Serra’s heart started beating wildly. They were the Andros that she had learned of, the ones that Team Rocket used as instruments of slaughter and death. Three Andros Scyther. They looked almost normal, but they had metal poking out through various openings in the gaps of their skins. Steel pulleys were inserted in their joints, and their blades were pure titanium. The blades gleamed wickedly, casting lights over the dark room. Their right eyes had been replaced with a mechanical lens, which glowed a soulless red. Their wings were steel, and had jet packs under them.


Serra sent out a psychic signal, desperately seeking to summon any scientists to help...but she was alone. Every scientist was dead. Serra felt a black rage rise in her chest.

Snapping her head up, she shrieked, a bloodcurdling sound. All the computer monitors rippled, then exploded, showering the three Andros with glass fragments. The middle one roared in fury, an eerie mechanical sound. It leaped at the tank, followed by the other two. The tank fell under their combined weight and shattered against the floor, sending out a wave of pinkish embryonic fluid. Serra slid on her back among the glass and fluid, scrabbling on the metal floor. Her tubes whipped around wildly as she flailed her limbs. Serra’s mind was a blur of emotions, of fury, and terror. She’d never been outside her tank, and she was terrified. Her emotions overwhelmed her and she shrieked once more, sending out a blasting wave of psi energy. The laboratory groaned, unable to withstand such force. The three Andros looked around uncertainly, as the laboratory started rumbling. The roof broke up and fell, sending showers of rubble crashing down. Dust rose in white puffs.

By this time, Serra’s rational mind was gone, blanked out by a torrent of white fury. Her eyes began blazing, a pure searing white. She sat up, then slowly stood up. Particles of white light collected into her body from the air itself. Then her body flared, and the laboratory dissolved into a shrieking inferno of white.


Cherrygrove City, Johto
Everyone rushed to their windows, gaping in awe. A great beam of light and energy roared upwards, extending into the clouds. It seemed to be coming from beyond New Bark City...

Olivine Port, Johto
A distant beam of white light flared in the far distance. A sailor looked up, and made the sign against evil. Other sailors looked up from their crates, and murmured, awed by the sheer brilliance.

Petalburg City, Hoenn
A boy looked up at the sky, sucking his thumb. As he stared at the lights in the far distance, he felt the smallest of tremors pass through his body. He shivered and went back to playing with his Zigzagoon.

...

Snow.


White snow, gently spiraling down from the sky. It landed with soft whispers, upon the still body of Serra. A snowflake landed on her eyelash, and the girl twitched. She blinked, then slowly opened her eyes. Serra gazed around in utter confusion. She sat at the base of an enormous crater, which was feasibly as big as an entire city. Soft morning light filtered down, the sky a light rosy tinge. Serra looked around, and flinched in horror. Rubble and twisted pieces of metal littered the entire radius of the crater, flung outwards by the sheer power of the explosion. Some were still warm to the touch. As Serra struggled to figure out what has happened, a jolt of realization hit her. She could not remember. The girl had no recollection of how she had come to be sitting out in a huge crater. She only remembered one thing.


“My name... is Serra.”


Her voice rang in the crisp morning air. As Serra looked down, she gasped. Tubes extended from her arms, their ends limp in the snow. Shuddering, she yanked them out. They detached with a sticky sucking sound. Flinging them away with disgust, and yanking out the ones embedded in her back, the girl stood up.

It was cold...so cold.

As the small frail figure climbed up the snowy slope and disappeared from sight in Viridian Forest, her footsteps slowly disappeared, erasing all traces of her existence. As she left, the crater remained a grim blight upon the landscape.

Saya
9th November 2004, 12:36 AM
Yay! This is back! I read this fic all on your site and I really hate to suffer through (like you siad) all 20 some chapters again to get to where you were before. I was just about to read the sequel when Spec. got banned so her thread way erased and i couldn't read it. Anyway.
This was really great! I found no spelling or grammer mistakes at all (i'm not a very good editor so don't take that as a good sign for no mistakes). Your description was amzing and so was the length and originality. Please post more soon!

Keep up the awesome writing!

~Saya~

Indigo
9th November 2004, 12:48 AM
Wow...

I knew this was a very famous fic on here, and I'm glad to read it from the beginning!

This reminds me very much of Mewtwo's story, but I'll wait to see where it's going. Anyway, very nice job! Entrancing to read and exciting to think about!

However you don't capitalize after hesitation like this...keep that in mind.

~Indigo

Burnt Flower
9th November 2004, 12:58 AM
A very intriguing and suspenseful beginning! :D

There were only two spelling errors (Scientist’s-Scientists’, was-were) so you don't have to worry too much about that aspect. Excellent description - I could visualize everything that happened. Grammar was great, except in some small mistakes that I'll show here:
“Amazing. Such a rapid utilizing of her powers...she will truly be a force to be reckoned with.” thought Dorian, grinning as he envisioned his promotion in Team Rocket.

That period after 'with' should be replaced with a comma:
“Amazing. Such a rapid utilizing of her powers...she will truly be a force to be reckoned with,” thought Dorian, grinning as he envisioned his promotion in Team Rocket.

The first quotation mark is facing the wrong way:
”Congratulations, everyone. Project Destiny is a complete success.”

And this could've been incorporated:
Two weeks later...

Maybe writing it as 'two weeks have passed since...' into the actual paragraph would've been better.

Other than those dismissable errors, I have no other flaws to point out.

The plot seems to be a very interesting one, indeed! :) Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres and you pulled it off splendidly, so great job on that! But most importantly, you created a dark atmosphere where your readers will be completely inmersed - waiting anxiously for the next chapter.

You've created two highly three-dimensional characters in only one chapter. Dorian, a highly ambitious man, who deceives the rest of the scientists yet is fiercely loyal to Team Rocket. And Serra, a naive girl who doesn't know anything about the world around her, not completely human, and yet, she is able to feel trust in others that are unlike her.

Brilliant work. Keep the chapters coming!

Elite Eevee
9th November 2004, 1:23 AM
Wow, this is cool. I'm really impressed. But is that you, Spectreon?

I scribed a story, using my alter ego, Tech Drezhenn. He and Serra are slightly alike. Both were used as terrorist weapons. Both escaped. Tech by slipping through a military invasion, though.

But enough on my own stuff, that was great.

AzureFlygon
9th November 2004, 9:06 PM
Thanks for the good reviews, everyone ^^ It makes me glad to know most of you don't mind having to start over, but per a request from Spectreon I will be updating two chapters at a time now.

And, as I said before, Spectreon is no longer using my account. She will no longer be on Serebii, but she will be checking that the fic is updated from time to time and giving me instructions on it via e-mail and contact through a different forum.

Oh, yes, and thank you for catching some of the grammer errors, Burnt Flower. I may be a beta, but I do miss things now and again...

On with the story, then.....

Oh, and for those with problems with violence and... *cough* other... situations... these chapters are not for you. Don't say I didn't warn you...
~~~~~

Chapter Two: The Visitor of Her Future

Zeiryu City...the City of Hope. It is the only city remaining in Kanto that has not been destroyed or taken over. It stands directly on the ruins of Cerulean City, directly in sight of Saffron City, Team Rocket’s home and base. A rippling, clear shield surrounds it, in a dome shape. No Andros can penetrate this barrier. Therefore, it is safe. It is where all the survivors go if they do not want to move to the safety of Johto, Hoenn, or the distant Orre.
It is massive, and far outstrips the famed Celadon City in terms of size. The center of Zeiryu is Zeiryu Academy, where the young enlist when they are twelve, and remain until they are seventeen, training for war with their received pokemon. This particular academy is where our story truly unfolds...

The large room bustled with the sounds of students talking and laughing. Forks and knives clattered on plates, while chairs scraped the floor. The student’s pokemon were also there, so it was controlled chaos. It was dinnertime, although the sun had not set yet. The teachers and the headmaster ate at their own table, discussing battle tactics and the like. In a quiet corner, a girl sat alone at a small table. Her dull grayish brown hair fell over icy, eerie blue eyes. Eyes that held a haunted, almost feral look. Old scars shone dully on her pale, ivory-skinned arms. She wore a simple bluish-black skirt with a white shirt, over which she wore a black jacket. She had no pokemon, for she only worked at the academy, sweeping classrooms in exchange for a room and food. Serra dully pushed the food around her plate but not eating them. A lot had happened to her in the two years since that fateful day she had awoken, bloodstained and shivering, in that blackened crater. None of them were good.


The students quieted as the headmaster stood up, clearing his throat and raising a hand for attention.

“Students, it is my pleasure to inform you we have a special visitor. May I present to you Aeris Skygale, the Champion of Johto!”

The doors swung open, and a young blonde woman walked in. As Serra and the other students craned their heads, getting a better look, the woman waved and bowed, smiling prettily. She wore jeans and a dark green army vest over a white long-sleeved shirt. At her belt hung four Pokeballs.
Serra was startled to notice that Aeris looked about eighteen, a mere two years older than her. Aeris went over to the buffet and heaped food on her plate, then turned around, searching for a table to sit at. All the male students immediately shifted to make room, hoping the beautiful Champion would sit at their table. Aeris walked through the room, weaving her way around the myriad tables. Serra, who had gone back to picking at her meal, was astonished when the Champion plopped herself at the space opposite her. A unison of sullen muttering rose at this from the other students. Ignoring them, Aeris greeted Serra.

“Hello! What’s your name?”

“Uh...S-Serra, madam.”

Aeris chuckled merrily. “Oh, don’t call me madam! It makes me feel old!”

Serra, flustered, apologized. Aeris shook her head. “Don’t worry. Say, what’s your Pokemon?”

Serra looked down, “I’m not a student. I only work here in exchange for a room and food.”

“Oh, I see! Well, would you like to meet my team?”

Smiling, Serra nodded. Aeris looked around, checking that there was a good deal of space. Then she activated her four Pokeballs.

“Meet Maverick, Skyfang, Fury and Bruiser!”

“Tototototototo! Tot-a-diiiiii!”

“Eeeeeeroda! Dac dac Aerodactyl!”

“TAAAAAAUUUUR! Taur taur roooos!”

“Keeeeeeng!! Nido nido keeeeeeng!”

At the head table, the headmaster chuckled as he watched Serra from afar, chatting with Aeris and her partners. It was so good to see Serra socializing. She was always a very sad, quiet girl. He'd never forget that day when she appeared at our door half a year ago...Shivering in that terrible blizzard, barely any warm clothes, with only a small bag of belongings...and those bruises..she must have been through hell, though He'd never asked. How could He turn her out, especially with those frozen tears shining on her face...and that terrible, scared look on her face....

After dinner, as she parted with Aeris, each waving happily and calling goodbyes, Serra felt something she had not felt since that day two years ago...happiness. Aeris was staying at the Red Bull, a nearby inn. However, Serra had a private room in the girls’ dormitories. As Serra walked down the path to the dormitories, she hummed quietly. Dry leaves crackled behind her. Stiffening, she whirled around, and blanched. Three male students walked towards her, and she knew them. Sneering, blond Matt was the leader, while Drake and Rowan were his ringleaders. Drake was brown-haired and beefy, and had a constant face of slack dullness. Rowan was small, lean and wiry, and excellent at weaseling his way out of unfavorable situations. All three were hated and feared by the younger students, for they were all seventeen, therefore the top dogs. And those three were bearing down on her, obviously intending her harm. Serra turned to run, but too late, they had caught up with her. Drake gripped Serra’s left arm painfully, while Rowan held the other. Matt’s hot breath hissed into Serra’s right ear, and she flinched.

“So you think you can suck up to Aeris Skygale, b*tch? You’ll pay! Take her to the warehouses, guys!”

Matt clasped a hand over Serra’s mouth, muffling her shrieks. Together, the three of them dragged Serra to a series of warehouses next to the dorms. The warehouses were mostly empty, but were used to store unneeded crates and metal tools and the like. Selecting the middle warehouse, they opened the door and dragged Serra in.

“Let’s have some fun, shall we?” snarled Matt.

Matt slammed the door, and the room was plunged into darkness. One of the boys flipped a switch, and the single light bulb hanging from the roof flickered to life, giving off weak yellow light. Drake threw Serra forcibly, and she slammed into the wall, knocking down crates, then sank to the floor, moaning in pain. She was roughly picked up and slammed against the floor, and her head banged painfully on the metal. A gash opened on the side of her head, bleeding steadily.

Ignoring the girl’s pleas to stop, the three boys activated each of their pokeballs. The dim room flared with light three times as Matt’s Raichu, Drake’s Machoke, and Rowan’s Marowak appeared in succession. The three pokemon stared at the bleeding girl, no emotion appearing on their blank faces. With a nod from their grinning masters, the three pokemon attacked in unison. The Raichu unleashed a Thunderbolt, and Serra shrieked as a thousand volts coursed through her body. The Machoke and Marowak pummeled the girl’s fragile ribs with fists and bone club, ignoring her sobs of pain.

Chapter Three: True Identity

Aeris had barely settled down on her bed when Maverick leaped out of his Pokeball, shrilling and dancing. He was obviously agitated about something. Alarmed, Aeris calmed down the frightened blue reptile.

“Maverick, shh. It’s all right. What’s wrong? Do you sense trouble?”

“It’s Serra!! She’s in trouble! The warehouses! She needs you!” Cried the Totodile in his own language, jumping up and down to emphasize his words.

Aeris didn’t even stop to think of how she could know what Maverick was screaming. Leaping from her bed, she grabbed her bow and slung the quivers over her shoulder. In the quiver were ten iron arrows. Their tips were barbed, capable of punching through Andros armor. Wasting no time, she ran outside, Maverick clinging to her shoulder. Aeris activated another Pokeball, and Fury bellowed as he appeared. Leaping onto the Tauros’ back with practiced ease, she commanded the huge Tauros to run. Hooves thundered and flung up dirt as Fury took off.

...

When the three pokemon withdrew, exhausted, Serra was barely conscious. She bled from multiple cuts, and her ribs were badly fractured in several places. Black and purple bruises had appeared, in stark contrast to her pale skin. As the bleeding girl lay prone on the floor, tears sliding down her cheeks, the Raichu, Machoke, and Marowak glowed and were recalled to their pokeballs. Matt knelt next to the girl, a smirk on his face. Grabbing Serra’s hair, he yanked it, forcing her head up. Serra cringed as Matt stared coldly into her face, then flipped her over on her back, and pulled off her jacket.
Serra felt boiling rage erupt within her. Not again! She had sworn to herself that she would not allow this to happen again. All rational thought was washed away in a torrent of cold, black fury. Deep in the core of her mind, something opened....and whispers of forgotten things surfaced briefly.
Serra sat up with such force, Matt jumped back, astonishment registering on his features. Slowly, deliberately, Serra rose to her feet, her eyes sparking with wrath. Matt was too shocked to observe that Serra’s normally icy blue eyes had become an eerie jade. How could she stand up after a beating like that? It was impossible....impossible! Matt thought fearfully as he backed away.

Serra opened her mouth, and to all three boy’s horror, large fangs glistened ivory in the dim light. There was a slight ripping sound, and the skin on Serra’s back bulged, stretching and rippling. There was another, louder ripping sound as large, leathery bat-like wings erupted from her back. They slowly stretched and settled.

Aeris leaped off Fury’s back and thanked the Tauros as she recalled him. Running towards the row of warehouses, she suddenly stopped. Unsure of which warehouse to pick, Aeris looked around. She heard the distant roar of a dragon from the warehouse closest to them.

“A dragon pokemon?” wondered Aeris, cautiously walking towards the warehouse.

There was a boom, then a flash as the warehouse exploded in a torrent of blue dragon fire. Aeris was flung back by the sheer force of the explosion. Landing and rolling agilely, she leaped back to her feet. Shielding her face from the heat, Aeris ran towards the warehouse. She would never forget what she was soon to witness...

A silhouette of a girl appeared among the raging fires. Heat waves shimmered and rippled, distorting her figure, but Aeris recognized her instantly.

“Serra! Are you okay? Stay there! I’m coming!” yelled Aeris.

The figure turned, and Aeris was about to shout something when she stopped, staring thunderstruck. Huge wings unfolded from the figure with a snap, and the what was once the girl Aeris knew took off. Serra sailed through the air, landing in front of Aeris before staggering and falling. Her wings glowed and disappeared. Aeris ran to Serra and knelt, horrified at the sheer brutality of her wounds.

“Serra..who..who did this to you?” asked Aeris, her voice thick with rage.

Maverick leaped from her shoulder, cheeping worriedly and licking at Serra’s wounds, trying to cleanse them with squirts of water. Serra could only cough weakly, then her eyes closed slowly. Her body went limp in Aeris’ arms as she lost consciousness. Maverick squealed a warning and Aeris snapped her head up. Another faint silhouette appeared among the roaring flames, and a badly burned Matt staggered out, a large metal pipe in his hand.

“I’ll kill you both.” rasped the half-crazed boy, raising his weapon as he advanced.

Aeris took action. With silent efficiency, she drew an arrow on her bow and raised it. Taking aim, she fired. Matt jerked and fell, an arrow sticking out of his forehead. As he hit the ground, he shuddered, then went silent, the pipe rolling out of his limp hand. By this time, people had come running.

“Oh my god! What happened?”

“She needs an ambulance. Someone call the hospital!”

By that time, the wailing ambulance had arrived and Serra was safely on a stretcher. The dying fires of the warehouse continued to burn steadily, a stark reminder of what event had taken place.

Elemental Charizam
9th November 2004, 9:35 PM
I'm glad this is back, I should probably have re-read anyway. This is even better than I remembered, keep up the rapid updating!

ClefairyTenchi
10th November 2004, 12:39 AM
Wow...

I knew this was a very famous fic on here, and I'm glad to read it from the beginning!

This reminds me very much of Mewtwo's story, but I'll wait to see where it's going. Anyway, very nice job! Entrancing to read and exciting to think about!

However you don't capitalize after hesitation like this...keep that in mind.

~Indigo
Yeah, That's what they said in Speccy's first DoaNL thread. It is very Mewtwo-esce at the beginning, but it completely changes as the story goes on. You'll soon find yourself hooked:D

[BLATANT AD]Read my sequel to Dawn of a New Legacy, Of the Winds.[/BLATANT AD]

Sorry, bout that, just had to get that in. But you know it's good, cause it is Beta-ed by the mighty Speccy ('cept the most recent chapter, which was a surprise for her)

Anyway, you should remain tuned into this thread, cause Speccy and Azure are two brilliant writers and DoaNL is an awesome fic.

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
10th November 2004, 8:32 PM
*gasp* You...are...going...to...start to post it all...over again?! Nooooo! I hope you get the next chapter out soon... (Not the fourth one, I meant the one after the very latest chapter. And to Eevee, in Azure's first post, it said that Spectreon wouldn't be sharing accounts anymore...

AzureFlygon
10th November 2004, 8:59 PM
Posting as fast as I can, okay? Considering it'll be updated once a day, with two chapters a day for most posts (except for an insanely long chapter... like the one I wrote a while ago), it shouldn't be very long until the next, brand new chapter is revealed. Perhaps a week, maybe a week and a half. Less if I get a bunch of comments and get on the interent twice a day, which I usually do *wink wink, nudge nudge*

Okay, so here's the next two chapters. Have a good day ^^

~~~~

Chapter Four: A Constructing Future

Serra came to with a jolt, her mind awash with terror. The last thing she remembered was Matt yanking off her jacket....then....then what? What had happened? Why was she here? Serra sat up and looked around, eyes wide in confusion. She was in what appeared to be a hospital bed. Serra looked to her left and saw a window. Soft light streamed through, and it appeared to be morning.

When she tried to move, intense pain shot through her chest. Biting back a yelp, Serra looked down. Her ribs were swathed in white bandages. So was part of her head, come to think of it.

Serra winced, remembering the hollow thuds of the Marowak’s club against her ribs. The door behind her opened suddenly. Yelping, Serra whirled, and another sharp pain wracked her ribs. A motherly nurse walked in, beaming.

“I see you’re awake at last!”

“What’s going on? How did I get here?”

“Oh, you don’t remember? You’ll have to ask Aeris. She was the only eyewitness.”

“Eyewitness? Of what?”

“Don’t fret about that right now, dearie. Let me see, now. You sustained numerous fractures in your ribs and your skull was banged up pretty badly. Were you beaten?”

Serra rubbed her aching head and nodded, confirming the nurse’s question. The nurse tutted sympathetically. A chubby Chansey waddled in, bearing a tray of...eggs? Serra stared at them uncomprehendingly.

“Uh...what?”

“They contain healing properties, because they’re specially produced by Chanseys. Now, eat up, and you’ll be out of here faster than you can say odd’s bobs! Shall I inform Aeris you’re awake?”

“Please, yes.”

The nurse and the Chansey bustled out. Serra sighed, and looked at the eggs. Picking up one, she bit into it carefully. To her surprise, her headache cleared immediately, and she could feel energy coming back to her aching limbs. Serra immediately tore into the eggs hungrily.

...

Aeris Skygale shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She occupied a rather lumpy couch in the hospital waiting room, with Maverick perched on her lap. Her bow and quiver lay forgotten next to her. Anxiously, she checked the clock above the main entrance for the umpteenth time. Aeris was sick with worry about Serra, and also trying to puzzle out the fact that Serra had sprouted wings and flew. Was she responsible for the dragon’s Outrage that had so thoroughly decimated three boys and a warehouse? It made absolutely no sense. None at all whatsoever.

She jumped in shock as the intercom in the corner of the room boomed to life.

“Aeris Skygale’s presence is requested by the patient in the Major Injuries ward, second floor , Wing C, Room 3017!!”

Cursing the intercom and whoever had engineered it to be so bloody loud, Aeris hastily grabbed her bow and quiver and Maverick, who squealed in protest. He was ignored as Aeris ran full tilt for the elevator.

Serra was just finishing off the last of the Chansey’s eggs when the door flew open. Aeris flew in, and dropped her things. Maverick leaped on the bed, and started licking Serra’s cheeks. Aeris sat down on the bed and hugged Serra gently due to her tender ribs. When she pulled away, Serra immediately began pelting Aeris with questions.

“Aeris!! What is going on? What happened? How’d I end up here?”

Aeris and Maverick sat gaping at her. Finally, the blonde began speaking.

“Um...you don’t remember? What you did?”

“Did WHAT? The last thing I remember was Matt yanking off my jacket. He and two others were beating me, on account of you ignoring them for me. So then Matt took off my jacket, then I remember getting this...strange feeling. Like...a surge of impotent rage...then a burst of jade....then I woke up here. What the HELL happened?!?” demanded Serra. Aeris blinked , then spoke.

“Well, I was running to the warehouses, trying to find you. Then one of them, yours, exploded. Blue fire-means it was a Dragon Pokemon. That’s what I thought....until you walked through the fire and sprouted dragon wings. Are you telling me you had no idea you could do that...whatever that was?”

Serra sat back, absorbing the implication of Aeris’ account. After a minute, Aeris was startled to see a tear trickling out Serra’s right eye.

“Not again...” she whispered.

Aeris became alert at her words.

“You mean...this has occurred before?” she asked gently. Serra sighed.

“I suppose I should tell you this, but be warned, it’s a long story.”

Aeris shrugged. “I’m willing to listen. Please, do tell.” Maverick snuggled up against Serra, comforting her. Serra took a deep breath, then started to speak.

“Well, it all started two years ago. My very first memory is waking up in the snow...in a huge crater. It was early morning. Before that....nothing. So...I consider that the beginning of my life. It’s so...strange. It was January, I think. The crater was massive...easily able to hold a small city. It was in an area between Viridian Forest and where Viridian City used to stand.”

Aeris cut in. “Oh my...I remember that day. Everyone remembers it, because on that morning, there was a strange beam of light flaring up from that area. I remember it, as clear as day. I was training on the peaks of Mount Silver, and I heard an distant explosion. When I turned around, boom, there was a huge pillar of light. It was incredible. Even the people in Hoenn saw it. The local meteorologists were confounded by it. Do you think...you did that?”

Serra nodded. “It’s very likely. I remember I had these weird tubes sticking out of me, so I yanked them off. I walked out of the crater, because it was so cold. I wound up at Marielle Village, which stands on the ruins of Pallet Town. It was a small refugee settlement but no trainers, so the Andros mostly ignored it. There, a midwife healed my wounds, and I got a job waitressing at the village pub. I couldn’t quit, because the bartender provided me with clothes and a room, in exchange for my service. But...oh, god...it was horrible.”

At this, Serra started crying silently, remembering bad memories. Aeris rubbed her back comfortingly. When Serra got herself under control, she continued.

“The bartender had no ethnics, and cared naught about me. So he started...se...selling my body to customers. Twenty coins for two hours, or fifty for a entire night. That’s where my scars came from. They raped me, and If I resisted, I got beat.”

Aeris gasped. “Oh my god. Oh, Serra...I’m so sorry.”

Serra shook her head. “It’s all right. They knew I wouldn’t get pregnant...because the weird thing was... I never got my monthlies. It’s strange...all teenage girls get it. But I never did...another sign I’m not what I thought I was...a normal human girl. The beatings went on for a year and a half. Anyway, it got to the point where I couldn’t stand it anymore. I got that strange feeling...only instead of jade, it was red. Bright, blazing red. When I woke up, I was lying on the grass outside. The entire village was engulfed in flames. No survivors. I saved what was left of the provisions, and started wandering the land, searching for a home. Two weeks later, I came to Zeiryu City, half dead and starving. The headmaster took me in, but at that point, I did not trust any men. I still don’t, to this day. That was half a year ago...” Serra’s voice trailed off. Aeris nodded, and stood up decisively.

“I may just have the perfect plan. Tomorrow, if you’re feeling better, we leave. The two of us are going to find out what you are. I know a special place...It’s near Cinnabar Island. There are...creatures....mystical creatures there. They may know the secret of your origin. Tomorrow...we leave at dawn."

...

“You ready?” asked Aeris. Serra nodded, and the both of them went to the Abra Teleporting Station in the corner.

“We’re going to have to use an Abra because the Moon Mountains are full of Andros on patrol. Now, listen to me...We are going to teleport to Anemos Village, which is situated on the Seafoam Islands. From there, we’ll rent a boat, and go to the special area east of Cinnabar. You’ll know when we’re there, it’ll be thick with fog. Okay, get ready to teleport.”

The Abra stood up, chirping a signal. Both girls and Maverick placed their hands (and paw) on the Abra’s head. There was a whooshing sensation, and the world around them rippled, then plunged into darkness. Serra felt a strange tingling where her hand touched the Abra. There was a sudden, abrupt jerk, and both girls stumbled as they touched down upon the frigid shores of Anemos Village. Aeris bowed in thanks to the Abra, who nodded and vanished. Serra gazed around in wonder. She had never seen the ocean before, and was astounded at the sheer size of it.

Anemos Village was a small place, and mostly fishing families lived there, in snug wooden huts. Blue smoke rose from the cookhouse, and the aroma of roasting Magikarp drifted over to Aeris and Serra, making their stomachs rumble. Maverick cheeped happily as he bounced around in the waves.

“Before we rent a boat, I’ll need to contact the others. They’ll want to meet you.” remarked Aeris. Serra suddenly became alert.

“Others? What others?”

Aeris waved her hand.

“Don’t worry-I’d trust them with my life.” With that, Aeris tool out her PDA-Navi, which was the latest innovation from Devon Corporations. Basically, a PDA merged with a Poke-Navi. Activating it, she selected the Vid Coms. The PDA-Navi whirred, then displayed a holographic 3-D screen floating above the CPU monitor.. A list of names appeared on it. Aeris touched the one labeled “Raven Darkmoon”, which in turn glowed. Then the screen went blank as it connected. After a few moments, the image of a black-haired girl with Asian features appeared on the screen.

“That’s Raven Darkmoon. She’s the granddaughter of Sabrina, the former Gym Leader of Saffron City. Raven holds the distinction of being the most powerful psychic in all of the known regions.” explained Aeris.

Raven spoke curtly. “What do you want? Make it quick, I’m in a bad mood.”

Aeris grinned knowingly. “Shadow’s driving you up the wall again, eh?”

Raven groaned. “Speak his name not. He’s convinced that he’s my personal bodyguard.”

Aeris became serious. “Raven, listen to me. Gather up Terra, Hydro, Blade and Shadow, and come to the Shrine. There’s matters that need your, and their, attention.”

Raven sighed.

“Even Shadow?”

“Yep. Sorry, Raven.”

Raven nodded, and the screen went blank, then faded. Aeris put away the device, and turned to Serra. The two of them made their way to the local pier, where, after much haggling with the boatswain, was able to get a small but speedy motorboat for only seventy coins. After Aeris had finished counting out the money, the two of them and Maverick climbed into the boat. Aeris put the key in the ignition. The engine sputtered, then roared to life. The motorboat shot out, heading for Cinnabar Island.

A hour later...

A heavy fog bank wrapped around everything, thick and grey. The boat’s engine idled as Aeris looked around, trying to locate something.

“Um..exactly what are we looking for?” asked Serra curiously.

Aeris looked around, sighing annoyedly.

“We’re looking for a small island with a monolith on it. However, I could swear that blasted thing actually moves around on its own...It’s never in the place it was before. Dratted thing.” she muttered. Serra pointed behind her.

“Is that it?”

The black silhouette of a island appeared in the grey haze. Aeris whooped.

“Excellent!” she said, ecstatic. Maverick danced around happily. Aeris carefully maneuvered the motorboat up next to the small island, which was really more of a large boulder than an actual island. The monolith was shaped like an arc, like a gateway...but a gateway to what? wondered Serra. The arch looked ancient and weathered, and had obviously been through the passages of time. Shivering slightly in the frigid air, she and Aeris walked up to the arch. Serra noticed mysterious markings on the border of the stone arch.

“What are those?” she asked, pointing at the runes. Aeris shrugged.

“I’m not sure, but no one can read it. Even Raven can’t decipher their meaning. Some think it was the ancient language of the denizens of this Shrine, but no one’s bothered to ask them.”

Growing more and more unsettled at this, Serra said nothing. The atmosphere was unusually eerie. Even Maverick had quieted down, an extraordinary feat for one of his kind.

Serra jumped with fright when the air within the archway hummed, and glowed. When the glow faded, there was a vortex pulsating within it. Colors with no names flashed around the vortex, and the runes upon the arch were glowing an electric blue. Aeris stepped forward, and beckoned to Serra.

“Welcome to the Shrine, gateway to the realms of the Missingno, the guardians of time, void and chaos.”

Both girls and the Totodile stepped into the vortex. The vortex released a searing blast of pure white light, cutting through the fog. When the glow died down, there were no traces of Aeris, Serra or Maverick. They were gone.

~~~~~

Posting next chapter in a new post. May take me a while, so feel free to comment if you will ^^

AzureFlygon
10th November 2004, 9:09 PM
Okay, next chapter...

~~~~

Chapter Five: Embracing the Past

Serra shrieked in shock and surprise. She and Aeris were falling, falling through the clouds...Clouds that were comprised of pixels...glowing and staticy. Serra and Aeris fell past the pixel clouds, to be met by a glowing, rippling surface.

“Don’t worry, that’s only the Matrix Plane. It’s what separates their plane of reality from ours.” Aeris shouted above the roar of the wind.

Maverick clung gamely to her foot. Serra groaned quietly as the eerie, multicolored layer rushed up towards them. As they hit the layer, there was a huge flash and a boom, then darkness...

Serra opened her eyes. They were floating dreamily in blue mist, surrounded by floating pink balls of light. Aeris drifted towards her, grinning.

“Where are we? And which way is up and down?”

“We’re in the very between of the Matrix Layer and the Missingno’s realm. Here, you decide which way is up or down. It doesn’t matter.” Aeris shrugged, and Maverick squealed, clinging more tightly than ever.

“Ah...So I think...that way is down.” Serra pointed vaguely to her left.

“WHOAAAAAAAAAAA!!!”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

“TOTODIILLLLLLLEEEEEEE!!!!”

All three screamed as gravity kicked in, and they fell headfirst in the exact direction Serra had pointed out. The wind whistled past Serra, deafening her. Suddenly, a strange, crackling voice spoke from nowhere and everywhere.

“AERIS SKYGALE, WELCOME. YOUR FRIENDS ARE HERE ALREADY. PREPARE FOR ENTRY. WE WILL PROCESS SERRA, THEN SEND HER THROUGH.”

Serra glanced at Aeris and Maverick. As they fell, the air below Aeris rippled, and green glowing squares appeared. They spun into place, forming a rotating circle. The tile-circle suddenly flared, and Aeris suddenly seemed to stretch and glow, disappearing into the circle. Then Serra fell alone.

“-Beep-”
“SERRA, WELCOME. YOUR PROCESSING IS COMPLETE. PREPARE FOR ENTRY.”

Serra looked down nervously as the green tiles spun into place...

The chamber was enormous. It seemed to be as big as a small village, and was cut from stone. Stalactites hung majestically from the faceted ceiling, and massive pillars were placed around the chamber, extending from the ground to the ceiling.

There was a whoosing sound, and a small window opened in the air. It pulsed, and opened even bigger. Within the window was only rippling light, like the light from a plasma laptop when you prod it too hard and the screen ripples. There was a loud screaming, and rapid chirps. Aeris Skygale fell backwards through the window, and crashed against the wall. Sliding down with anime-style swirls for eyes, Aeris and Maverick could only lie on the floor.

A grinning, small woman walked up to Aeris. She was about eighteen, the same as Aeris. Her shoulder-length reddish brown hair stuck out from under a black skull cap. The woman wore black punk-style pants with a white long-sleeved shirt. Over that shirt, she wore another shirt, only it was short-sleeved and gray. Twin guns were holstered in her belt. A lean Golduck peered down from her shoulder. The woman’s hands sprang up and weaved through the air, signing her amusement at Aeris’ clumsy landing.

“Hello, Terra.” groaned Aeris.

Picking herself up woozily, she squealed and tackled the newcomer coming up behind Terra.

“Hydro!! You’re still following Terra around! Jeez, just marry her already!” laughed Aeris as she pinned the lean young man to the floor.

Hydro had black spiked hair and brilliant, forest green eyes. He only wore a simple black shirt and jeans. Hydro laughed as he pushed Aeris off and stood up, dusting himself off. A Vulpix trotted up from behind a pillar and gave Aeris an affectionate lick. Trilling, she demanded Terra to cuddle her. Rolling her eyes, Terra picked up her Vulpix and stroked her. Aeris looked around.

“Are Raven, Shadow and Blade here, too?” she inquired.

Hydro answered. “They’re over there. Oy! Come on! The Crazy Aeris is here!” he bellowed, neatly ducking Aeris’ sideswipe.

There was the sound of rapid footsteps, and Raven, wearing a dark purple cloak, appeared, smiling. She greeted Maverick and Aeris. From behind her, two young men appeared, both the same age as Hydro, Terra and Aeris. The left one was blonde and wore a black cloak. His eyes twinkled brown, of the same shade as Aeris’ eyes, only slightly more hazel. A cheerful smirk was plastered on his face. From his belt, a gleaming katana hung.

“Hello, ladies. Shadow is here to protect you all!” proclaimed the flashy young man.

The sound of Raven’s teeth grinding was audible.

“Still driving Raven bonkers, eh?” grinned Aeris, tossing her blonde hair back.

The other newcomer was rather quiet. He wore brown pants with a dark brown shirt with white sleeves. His hair was dark brown and his eyes were hazel.

“Hello, Aeris. May I ask why you have brought us all here?” asked Blade.

Aeris suddenly went solemn.

“I’ve found something...a person. A girl. Her name is Serra. And...she may not be what she seems. I’ve brought her along so---Ah, speaking of the devil!”

The air in the middle of the room rippled and distorted, generating a humming noise as the portal formed once again. The window expanded, the light from within lighting up the dim chamber. The familiar whoosing could be heard, and Serrra floated through, her hair streaming behind her. As she touched upon the ground, the portal closed with a hiss and a snap. Serra blinked, then yelped as her legs collapsed, and she fell backwards on her bottom.

Blade had been staring at the girl, entranced. He could sense a deep sadness within her eyes, and his heart went out to the girl. When she fell, Blade jerked forward, as did Shadow. Both of them went to help the girl to her feet, but her reaction wasn’t quite what they expected.

Serra was wincing as she tried to make sense of everything. There was a whole group of people staring at her. She recognized one of them as Raven, the antagonized girl on Aeris’ PDA-Navi. Two young men leaped towards her, and Serra’s reaction was instant. Shrieking with fear, she threw up her arms, as if to protect herself from invisible blows. Her eyes glowed white for a brief instant, and an invisible wave of energy slammed into both men, knocking the breath out of them.

“No!” cried Aeris.

Hastily, she ran and knelt next to the shuddering, frightened girl, soothing her. Aeris turned her head and explained as she tended to Serra.

“I’m sorry, Blade, Shadow. She’s had a rough life, and been abused badly. She doesn’t take to men well.”

“That’s a hell of an understatement,” chuckled Shadow as he rubbed his aching ribs.

Blade, however, was more thoughtful. Speaking in a genuinely sorry voice, he tried making amends. “Serra, um...I’m sorry. I didn’t know...I won’t do it again.”

Turning to Aeris, he continued. “Aeris....are you telling me this girl can use Pokemon power? If I’m not mistaken, that was a Razor Wind she used on me and Shadow.”

Aeris nodded.

“I’ve witnessed her use a Dragon attack. She decimated a warehouse and three boys. I’ve also seen her sprout wings. She tells me she can’t remember her life further than two years back. Feeling better, Serra?”

Serra nodded abruptly and got to her feet. Maverick chirped happily as he ran up to Serra, rubbing against her leg affectionately.

“Err...hello.....” she mumbled, her face becoming beet red.

Aeris pointed out each person, who nodded, waved or smiled as they were introduced.

“This is Terra Blazearth, the resident Coliseum Master of Orre. Her Golduck and Vulpix are Kairos and Dark Flame. That’s Hydro Glacierlake, the current Champion of Hoenn, and Raven Darkwing, the most powerful psychic in the regions. The blonde next to him is Shadow, Raven’s self-appointed bodyguard.”(At this, everyone except Raven chuckled.) And this is Blade Jaegerin, traveling warrior.”

Serra bowed to each of them, then voiced something she’d been wondering.

“Err, I’m sorry if this is a dumb question, but I noticed there was someone to represent each region. Terra from Orre, Hydro from Hoenn, and Aeris from Johto. The rest of you don’t seem like trainers. Isn’t there someone from Kanto?”

Terra shook her head, signing rapidly. Hydro translated. “The Champion of Kanto... was killed in the second wave of Andros invasion. We are practically all that’s left of the National Pokemon League, Aeris, Hydro, and I.”

Serra nodded in understanding, and for a brief moment, there was silence.

“HELLO, EVERYONE. I APOLOGIZE FOR BEING LATE.”

Everyone jumped, startled as a crackly voice spoke. It was all Serra could do to keep from yelping as a large....thing....appeared before them. It was certainly bizarre. It was rectangular, and somewhat two-dimensional. There was a squarish piece missing from the top left corner, making the creature look a bit lopsided. It gave off a small glow, and a continuous noise like static. The rectangular creature had no apparent face, and was completely formed of a jumble of golden-yellow pixels and binary code. They seemed to shift and move around constantly.

“What is that?” whispered Serra, her voice shrill with fear and wonder.

“DO NOT FEAR, SERRA. I AM ONE OF THE MISSINGNO. WE ARE AN ANCIENT RACE, FORGOTTEN BY TIME. WE ARE THE CHRONICLERS, THE SPECTERS.”

Aeris and her friends bowed in respect to the venerable creature.

“I thank you for seeing us. You may already be aware of this, but we have found a girl. Serra. She seems to be capable of unusual powers, but she knows not the secrets of her birth. Can you help her, please? Help her find her true identity.”

The Missingno turned to Serra, examining her. At last, it spoke.

“SERRA, COME HERE. I AM GOING TO UNLOCK YOUR MEMORIES. DO NOT WORRY, THERE IS NO PAIN.”

Serra looked worriedly at Aeris and Terra. Terra nodded, indicating it would be okay. Gulping, she slowly walked forward, stopping directly before the Missingno. The center of the Missingno’s pixilated body opened up, and pure white light shone into Serra’s eyes, and all the group was awash with light. Everything went white...

When Serra awoke, she realized that everyone was with her, looking about as confused as she felt. They were standing in the middle of a massive, bustling laboratory....but no one saw them. No one gave the slightest indication that they noticed there was a group of teenagers standing in their midst. And then it hit Serra: They were not there in body. Only in spirit. Raven gasped and pointed. Everyone turned to see what she was pointing at.
“Oh, my....” murmured Aeris quietly. Hydro heard her and nodded in agreement.

At the other end of the laboratory, towering over them, was a massive glass cylinder. In the cylinder, floating in pink embryonic fluid, was a girl, her hair floating serenely around her face. It was Serra. Serra was looking into her own face. Serra turned her head, looking at Aeris. Both of them wore identical thunderstruck expressions. The scene shifted until a handsome young scientist strode into view. He was tall, and his hair was dark brown and rumpled. A tag on his lab coat identified him as Dr. Dorian, Head Scientist. With a chill, Serra realized she was remembering. As the scene happened, she was remembering at the same time.

Dr. Dorian walked up to the younger Serra, and tapped the glass. The Serra in the cylinder opened her eyes, and cried gladly, a honest, joyous smile appearing on her innocent face. There was no trace of the haunted, feral look in her eyes.

“I was so happy...” thought Serra.

The scene shifted and dissolved. When it reappeared, it showed a more grim scene. Three Scyther-Andros stood over the bloodied remains of scientists, menacing the younger Serra. Her face registered pure terror, the look a child wears when he realizes his parents have mysteriously vanished and a stranger wielding a knife towers over him.

“Dorian vanished that morning....I never saw him again.” thought Serra, grief welling from within her.

Soundlessly, the group watched the three Andros leap upon Serra, and the chaos that followed. The scene now showed Serra awakening in the crater, snow drifting peacefully upon her.

“Serra looks so beautiful in the snow.” thought Blade, hoping Raven couldn’t hear his thoughts.

As the group watched, Serra walked into view, carrying platters of food to customers in a bar. They stood by quietly as the customers humiliated Serra, grabbing her buttocks and roaring with laughter.

The group continued to watch as the bartender spoke quietly to a man, accepting his money and pointing to a door nearby. Beside him, Serra stood quietly, fresh bruises upon her neck. The man turned, grabbing Serra. He opened the door, revealing a small room with a bed in it. Dragging Serra and ignoring her screams, the man turned and closed the door. The last scene was the most heart stopping: Serra walking silently towards the invisible observers, a entire village behind her consumed by roaring flames. The tips of the flames licked hungrily at the night air.

With a start, Aeris realized they were back in the cavernous chamber. The Missingno quietly drew back from Serra. Shaking, Serra turned around to face the group, and the whole group saw what was on her forehead-a dark blue, thin oval. Its surface shone, as if it was made of sapphire.

“THAT IS THE MARK OF THE GODDESS. YOUR COMING HAS BEEN TOLD OF, IN OUR LORE. YOU WILL FREE US ALL FROM THE ANDROS. “

Serra touched the mark upon her forehead.

“Yes...I remember it all. I was engineered to be the ultimate defense against the Andros. Dorian said if I trained long enough, I would be able to eliminate entire armies. I am a human, but I have the spirit of Pokemon within me.”

Raven let out a long, low whistle.

“This is certainly very astonishing, but also a blessing. Perhaps....we will finally be able to overthrow Team Rocket. You saw what she did to that village. When her control over her powers are complete, she’ll truly be a force to be reckoned with.”

Hydro grinned. “Looks like we’ll finally be kicking some Andros butt. “ Terra nodded enthusiastically. Aeris whooped, and Shadow clapped Blade on the back.

“Well, mates, looks like the Pokemon League is back, and with a vengeance!”

The Missingno moved slightly and a newcomer appeared beside him. Everyone took double takes as they noticed what he was. He was about the size of a Pidgeot, and he was what appeared to be a perfect Aerodactyl skeleton. His bone-claws clicked on the floor, and his grinning skull opened as he spoke.

“Hey, guys. My name is Bonedancer. I’ve been assigned to you. I’m gonna help Serra with her training.”

Bonedancer flapped his bone wings. Despite having no membranes over his wings, he took to flight, gliding and landing on Serra’s shoulder. Maverick and Dark Flame stared curiously, fascinated by the miniature Aerodactyl skeleton. The Missingno made a sound remarkably like a sigh.

“REMEMBER YOUR MANNERS, YOUNG ONE. “

Then, speaking to Serra: “I MUST APOLOGIZE FOR HIS BEHAVIOR. HE IS A LESSER FORM OF MISSINGNO, A YOUNG ONE. HE REMEMBERS NOT THE COMMON RULES OF COURTESY.” His tone was almost apologetic.

Grinning, Serra heard Bonedancer quietly mumble something that sounded a lot like “grouchy old coot.”

“EVERYONE, GATHER CLOSE BY ME. I WILL BRING YOU BACK TO THE SURFACE.”

There was a hum, and the room rippled and dissolved. In the next instant, Serra and her friends were standing on the Missingno shrine, the ancient gateway seeming to greet them. Dark Flame squealed, not liking the damp fog that surrounded them, and recalled herself into one of the Pokeballs on Terra’s wrist. However, Kairos and Maverick immediately splashed happily into the water. Serra smiled and turned to the others.

“Looks like we have quite an interesting journey ahead of us.”

IdiotNESS
10th November 2004, 11:27 PM
Errr...Spectreon's not going to be coming back!? POOPIE!

*sigh*

Still, It's good to reread things, it tends to reveal little touches that we missed when we first read it

Ladyumbra
10th November 2004, 11:46 PM
whoot bonedancer i love that guy. oooh that means I get to see ghost soon. *dances8 i love this fic i truley love it. i have to say that beign able to reread it all again is really worth it. it bring bakc forgotten things. as always kickass description , plot, flow. go speccy and azure

Elite Eevee
11th November 2004, 12:03 AM
Wow, this just gets better and better. I was wondering what happened to Serra in those two years. Now I really don't.

But the best thing is your motley crew of stewpots(No offense, personal catchphrase). Great pesonality, best I've seen yet. I'd do anything to be in the story.

EDIT: Oh, I see. Nevertheless, I hope Spectreon comes back soon. I PM'd Beau, waiting for a reply right now.

PPS: The concept of the Missingno is awesome. Glitchy or not, pixelated specters of time and space are cool. And Bonedancer looks like one hell of a comic relief character.

indigestible_wad
11th November 2004, 12:34 AM
Wow, I am very glad that this story is back. I enjoyed reading it the first time and I'll enjoy reading it from the bieginning again. Besides, the old beginning was deleted.

Burnt Flower
11th November 2004, 2:55 AM
You know, I'm starting to love this story.

I've found some capitalization and spelling errors (pokemon-Pokemon, He'd-he’d, He-he, tool-took, A-An) but other than that, spelling was fine. Grammar was mostly good, too, but you did the same mistakes from your first chapter. I'll post some examples:

“I’ll kill you both.” rasped the half-crazed boy, raising his weapon as he advanced.

That period should be a comma. Like this:
“I’ll kill you both,” rasped the half-crazed boy, raising his weapon as he advanced.

Another example:
“Before we rent a boat, I’ll need to contact the others. They’ll want to meet you.” remarked Aeris.

It should be:
“Before we rent a boat, I’ll need to contact the others. They’ll want to meet you,” remarked Aeris.

Here's another:
“We’re looking for a small island with a monolith on it. However, I could swear that blasted thing actually moves around on its own...It’s never in the place it was before. Dratted thing.” she muttered.

It's supposed to be:
“We’re looking for a small island with a monolith on it. However, I could swear that blasted thing actually moves around on its own...It’s never in the place it was before. Dratted thing,” she muttered.

The second quotation mark is facing the wrong way:
“Looks like we’ll finally be kicking some Andros butt. “

These can be better off as asterisks (***):
...

Don't forget to correct these mistakes; they're your only grammar mistakes.

Description was quite good - it wasn't overbearing or pretentious; it actually gives a nice mental image in one's mind.

I like where this story is going! :) Very interesting and seems to have a very solid plot. The Missingno realm was very creative and was a great touch to the story (I also like the Missingnos' themselves very much). The atmosphere has turned a bit more lighthearted and adventurous, yet the rape flashbacks were quite sad. I really want to know what's going to happen next - so excellent work on yet another aspect.

Now the full cast of characters has appeared - and what a great cast of characters, it is! They're all very likeable, though, at first I thought that Aeris was a Mary Sue (perfect female character) because of this:
All the male students immediately shifted to make room, hoping the beautiful Champion would sit at their table.

Because beauty is is usually applied to Mary-Sues.

All thoughts of Aeris being a possible Mary-Sue erased from my mind as soon as I read this:
Aeris took action. With silent efficiency, she drew an arrow on her bow and raised it. Taking aim, she fired. Matt jerked and fell, an arrow sticking out of his forehead. As he hit the ground, he shuddered, then went silent, the pipe rolling out of his limp hand. By this time, people had come running.

I certainly wasn't prepared for that; never imagined that she was capable of murder...

This line:
Hydro translated. “The Champion of Kanto... was killed in the second wave of Andros invasion. We are practically all that’s left of the National Pokemon League, Aeris, Hydro, and I.”

...Ash? :(

And:
I walked out of the crater, because it was so cold. I wound up at Marielle Village, which stands on the ruins of Pallet Town.

...Ash...?! :(

Hmm, and the timeline sure is quite few years after Ash and the rest (will they make an appearance?):
She’s the granddaughter of Sabrina, the former Gym Leader of Saffron City.

This:
“Speak his name not. He’s convinced that he’s my personal bodyguard.”

Really reminded me of a famous character, but don't kill me for it...

...

...Yoda! :D

And this:

*wink wink, nudge nudge*

Reminds me of a JKR chat were she mentioned Ron and Hermione, heh...

And finally (you probably hate me by now)...

Terra/Hydro, Raven/Shadow, and Serra/Blade forever!

Now I sound like some hyper fangirl - my apologies. :p

Please continue! :D

ClefairyTenchi
11th November 2004, 4:02 PM
Dude you're nit-picky. You should be the grammar Beta for this fic. And your post was disturbingly lng. At least you like the story. How do you know this gramar, though?

Burnt Flower
11th November 2004, 4:12 PM
Dude you're nit-picky. You should be the grammar Beta for this fic. And your post was disturbingly lng. At least you like the story. How do you know this gramar, though?

Heh, I'm a girl, and I'm not that nitpicky (ok, so maybe I am), but I like to give out constructive criticism to authors so their stories will get better. As for the grammar beta comment - it made me smile. :) And my post wasn't so long... well, for my standards at least... :p Oh, and I know grammar because I read a lot of books, and fanfiction and I read some rules on grammar.

AzureFlygon
11th November 2004, 8:22 PM
Personally, I like hearing about the mistakes. It makes it easier to correct it later ^^ But that doesn't mean that just nice little 'well done' comments-things are not wanted :D

Sorry about the delay, though. I didn't get back on the computer last night to post the next chapter ^^;;

MESSAGE FROM SPECTREON!!!!
"Dear Readers,

Thank you all for not biting our heads off for restarting the ficcy. XD I'm sorry I won't be coming back....but Elite Eevee, I wish you hadn't PMed Beau. Please leave him alone, and don't pester him, for my own good. I want to be left alone in peace and it is NOT going to help things if people PM him.

And thank you in general, Burnt Flower, for being patient. This was my first fiction so you will see lots of mistakes in the begining, but as the story progresses you will be seeing enormous improvement. ^^"

Now for chapter....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Serra’s eyes were bulging so hard, they looked as though they were going to pop out. The group stood at an algae-covered dock leading to a massive island. Aeris swept her arm to emphasize her words.

“Back in the old days, Terra, Hydro and I decided we needed a base, so we found this island, and we terraformed it to make it a haven for all Pokemon. It’s got lakes, mountains, caves, a small desert, plains, forests and even a abandonded ruin for Ghost-types. Most of the Pokemon here are brought voluntarily if they need homes, but Terra bred the rest. She even bred her own army of Flygon, Charizard and Aerodactyl. My Skyfang was bred by her, too. Be warned, all the Pokemon are at dangerously high levels, so they’re able to defend their island if it’s attacked. Our main base is in the very center of this island. We named it Victory Island, in honor of the Victory Road.”

“Which is unlikely.” interreputed Hydro. “This island lies in the vast sea beyond Orre. The only way we could get here was having Raven teleport us.” Terra nodded as he spoke.

“Can we get a move on?” said Shadow loudly. “We can”t stand here all day. I’m hungry.”

“You’re always hungry.” Raven snapped, her dark eyes flashing.

“And you’re always in a bad mood. You really ought to look into massaging salons.” retorted Shadow, grinning.

“Right....as long as you were the masseur.” snorted Aeris. Maverick chortled loudly, and Kairos quacked his amusement. Raven, however, did not find this amusing. She flushed bright red, and made a flinging motion with her left hand. Shadow flew through the air, yelling. He hit the salty ocean water with a booming splash, making Dark Flame hiss angrily as water rained upon them.

Aeris suddenly jerked. “I just remembered something-we need to notify our pokemon. Terra and Hydro, send out your Pokemon.”

Terra nodded in agreement. She and Aeris held out their pokeballs. Aeris sent out her Tauros, Aerodactyl, and Nidoking. Seeing as Terra already had her Golduck and Vulpix out, she sent out her remaining two pokemon.

“STEEE-LIIIIIX!!” roared the massive metal serpent as it flashed into existence.
“ Ni ni ni ni niiiiii!! Jask jaaaaask jaaaaa!!” cried the Ninjask, whizzing playfully around Aeris and settling down on Terra’s head, and set to work ruffling her hair with his claws.

Aeris introduced them to Serra and Bonedancer, who glared at the Ninjask from his own perch on Serra’s head.
“Terra’s Steelix is called Juggernaut, and that hyper little Ninjask is Zeronix.”

“Get ready, my pokemon’s coming.” chuckled Hydro.
“GROVA!!! VYLE VYLE GROVYLE!!!”
“Miloooooooooo!!! Tic tic miloootiiii!!”
“Lin lin lin lin lin oone oon!!”
Hydro introduced his Grovyle as Risan, who immediately began showing off for his audience by flipping with dazzling speed. Seragon, the Milotic twined around Hydro, serenely calm in contrast to Zeronix and Risan. However, Ghost the Linoone immediately set around trying to steal the pistols that Terra wore, but she swatted the miniature thief away.

“Now that we have you guys out, we need to talk to you.”

Juggernaut rumbled, and all the Pokemon became attentive. Aeris filled them in about Serra and the coming battle for freedom.

"...and so If you wish to stay out of the battle, it is fully all right with us. You will be able to stay here, and be safe. Those of you who wish to fight with us, let your wishes be made known now.” finished Aeris.

Juggernaut and Skyfang roared. Zeronix squealed and flew in figure eights in the air. Fury snorted and stomped his foot, his triple tails whipping around in anticipation for a fight. Maverick shrilled, dancing around madly. Dark Flame immediately informed Terra she was mad if she thought Dark Flame was to be excluded. Risan immediately began slashing the air, and Ghost giggled to himself, thinking only of the spoils of battle.

Yes yes, shiny things....oooooh!! all nice and shiny....mine mine mine! thought the Linoone, rubbing his paws together gleefully. Raven overheard his thoughts and chuckled quietly.

Serra was atonished at the sheer energy of their reaction. They seemed so ready, so pumped for war. Blade was too busy fishing Shadow out the water to notice much, however.

Kairos, Seragon, and Bruiser were the only ones who were none too happy about a war. Kairos shifted his webbed talons, while Seragon hid her face, terrified at the thought of bloodshed. She was a peaceful being, and could not go against her nature. Bruiser would have loved to bash some metallic Andros skulls in, but he could not leave, for outside reasons.

The Nidoking whipped his tail, calling to Aeris. Aeris took him aside, listening to the Nidoking.

“Oh, I understand....yes....it’s perfectly all right with me. Bruiser, don't worry. Stay with them. Although I'm disappointed you won't be coming, I understand."

Bruiser rumbled happily, and shambled off towards the forest nearby, swinging his tail as he went.

“What was that about?” asked Serra. Bonedancer shifted, and flapped his wings, also curious.

“Bruiser’s a family man. See the caves in the mountains, up there? He’s got a Nidoqueen and a litter of Nidorans in one of them. “

Serra nodded, understanding. Hydro had bidden his Milotic farewell, and waved as the Milotic slitlered off, searching for the lake in which her kind inhabited. Terra was signing to Kairos, him replying psychically.

<Kairos, what’s the matter? Why don”t you want to fight?>

~I do not like killing~

<I understand that, but won”t you be lonely? Here all alone?>

~Well.....I....~ muttered the Golduck, flushing a faint pink. Suddenly, it dawned on Terra. Giggling, she signed rapidly.

<A-HA!! You found a girl Golduck, didn”t you?! Let me see....hmm...it was Riverjewel, wasn”t it? I KNEW I saw you staring at her that time we had the Pokemon games here! You two were doing the Lickitung Sushi-Go-Round, if I recall rightly.>

When the farewells were complete, the rest of the pokemon except Maverick, Dark Flame and Ghost had gone off throughout the island to bid their families goodbye. Terra picked up Dark Flame, and the humans started to walk on the path leading to Victory Base. As they went along, Serra was content; this was a serene place of happiness.

“I could be happy living here...” she thought, musing the possibilities.

Blade was behind her, and found himself staring dreamily at the back of Serra’s head for a good while until Raven’s hand descended on his ear, and a soft mind-voice whispered.

You’ve got it bad. I could feel it all the way from here. I knew I felt a flicker when she came through the portal.

Blade blushed at having been caught. As he was about to reply, Ghost squeaked in glee. Blade looked down, and yelled, for the Linoone had taken one of his sai blades that’d been hanging on his belt. As Blade chased the Linoone, Raven’s thoughts turned inwards. She was too absorbed to notice Shadow staring at the back of her head, a goofy grin plastered on his face...

<Here we are, guys, girls, and Missingno! Victory Base, home of the National Pokemon League....or what’s left of it, anyway.> remarked Terra, her eyes alight with pride.

Serra stopped in her tracks, atonished at the sheer size and beauty of the Base. It was built much like the houses of the Feudal Era, with beautifully gleaming cherry blossom wood, white stone, and pointed roofs with hooked edges. The Base was shaped like an U, only with angled corners instead of rounded, and all the sides were equal in length. In the space between the two parallel wings, a magnificent courtyard laid, with a fountain in the middle.

Serra examined the fountain, fascinated. In the center of the fountain was a sculpture of a great bird-dragon creature rearing up, its wings flared out, and its beak-like mouth opened in a silent roar. Behind it, facing the opposite direction was a huge bird with outspread wings and a curled ruff of feathers crowning its head. At first, Serra thought it was a Fearow, but the eyes were too big, ther beak too short...

“Oh, you like it? That’s Lugia, the Guardian. The bird behind him is Ho-oh, the Resurrector.”

Hydro spoke from behind Serra. She jumped, caught by surprise, and quickly moved away, joining the group. As the group moved towards the entrance, Serra looked up. The roofs had open spaces under them, where Pokemon were free to fly in and out. As Serrs watched, a Charizard flew out, did a specatular aerial display of loops and barrel rolls, then with a final spout of fire, it vanished into the trees of the forest surrounding the Base.

Terras stopped at the main doors and looked at the small intercom next to it. She bent her head towards it, and spoke. In perfect English.

“We taught her to speak, and she picked it up pretty well, don”t you think? She almost never talks, though, only when she needs to.” whispered Aeris into Serra’s ear.

“Su, come on. Open the doors, or I’ ll take out my guns and blow down the doors!!” Terra was yelling at the intercom.

“That’s our Terra, always as charming and ladylike as ususal.” remarked Hydro, grinning with amusement.

A female voice blared from the intercom, and under it, the words electronically appeared on a screen specially installed for Terra to read.

“How do I know you aren”t imposters? Na-na-na-na.”

“SU, OPEN THE DOORS OR YOU'RE SLEEPING WITH THE EXPLOUDS TONIGHT!! “ yelled Terra, banging furiously on the intercom.

The intercom let out what sounded remarkably like a raspberry, and the doors finally opened. They were led by Terra into a majestic entrance hall. On the gleaming walls were beautifully sculpted images depictng beautiful and fearsome-looking Pokemon. Serra was fascinated and went to examine them. Aeris went with her, pointing out each of the Pokemon. Terra and the others left through an opposite door to attend to their affairs.

Serra gazed at a small cat-like creature with a long whiplike tail. The beast rose above them, its eyes wide and innocuous.

“That’s Mew. She was the one who started all life, so we call her the Originator.”

Beside it, a humanoid creature with a thick tail hovered, one hand upraised, energy smouldering from it. He bore an uncanny resemblance to Mew.

“Mewtwo, the Ravager.” said Aeris quietly. “That’s what he looked like before the Andros got him...”

Serra could see Lugia and Ho-oh, and three birds flying behind Lugia. Below Ho-oh, three dog-like beasts stalked majestically. Aeris identified them as the Elemental Birds and the Elemental Beasts. Off to the right, a small fairy-like creature with a large teardrop-shaped head and bulbous eyes flew in tandem with another fairy-creature, only its head was shaped like a wishing star. Four wings spread from him, stars falling from them.

“Celebi, the Guardian of Time. Jirachi, the Wishing Star. Both are Andros now.”

To the left, three hulking robotic creatures stood, while two small dragons rose above them.

“The Elemental Golems and the Lati Twins.”

And last but not least, three titanic Pokemon rose above the entire scene. The one on the left had ferocious eyes glaring out from under his mask-armor, and his claws seemed big enough to knock down a building in one fell swipe. He had armored plates all over them with etched lines gouged into them. The center titan was long and snaky, with blades jutting out from behind her eyes and jawbones. She bore two small clawed arms on her upper section, and three blades on the tip of her tail. The titan on the right was a beautifully streamlined cross between an orca whale and a manta ray. Her majestic wings ended in blunt claws and the surfaces of the wings, like the armored titan, had lines etched into it.

“That group,” said Aeris with pride, “ is the closest thing we have to gods. I guess you could call them demi-gods, though. The one on the left is Groudon, the Titan of the earth and flame. He formed all the contients and mountains. The center one is Rayquaza, the Titan of the wind and the lighting. She gave the earth air and clouds. The last one is Kyogre, the Titan of the oceans and the rain. She can flood entire contiients if she felt like it.”

“What happened to all of them?” asked Serra, her voice hushed with awe.

‘No one knows.” said Aeris sadly. “They all just vanished at the same time the Andros took over.”

“Hey, girls! Come on, it’s almost time for dinner!” yelled Shadow, poking his head through the door.”

“You’re always hungry.” came the wapish voice of Raven from beyond the door.

“Well, I-” Shadow started to retort back, but Aeris cut him off.

“Shut up, you two. You’re worse than an old married couple.”

Serra followed Aeris to the main dining room, hiding her amusement. The dining room was incredible, with a reddish wooden floor and clear glass walls. It stood on a upper level, so you had a good view of the island. Everyone was seated already, so Serra slid into the seat opposite of Aeris, while Bonedancer perched onto the table. Beside Aeris was a cheerful-looking young girl of about fourteen, two years younger than Serra. She had pale whitish blonde hair and light creamy brown skin.
“Serra, meet Su. She watches over Victory Island when we’re gone. “ said Aeris, grinning as Su enthuastically took Serra’s hand and pumped it.

“It’s so great to see a new face!!” chirped the hyperactive girl. Bonedancer raised himself on his wings to inspect the girl, and Su immediately became curious. She poked the skeleton-creature and and yelped when Bonedancer hissed at her. Su was not one to be oudone, and immediately hissed back at the skeleton.

Serra jumped as the doors to the kitchen swung open, and a large Machamp in a frilly cooking apron and a chef’s hat walked in, each of his four arms bearing trays of steaming food. Serra couldn’t help but goggle at the beefy Fighter as he set down the food.

“Whatcha lookin’ at?!” he barked, in perfect English. Serra shrunk back in her seat, and mumbled an apology. The Machamp grunted, and disappeared back into the kitchen.

“Don’t mind him.” said Hydro as they dug into the food. “He’s grumpy, but he’s not a bad fellow. Terra hired him as head chef. Apparently he preferred cooking over fighting.”

“So Terra is in charge of this island?” asked Serra around a mouthful of steamed potatoes.

“Techinally, we all are, but Terra manages staff and Pokemon affairs. She’s the one who stopped the turf war between the Zangoose tribe and the Seviper clan.”

The rest of the dinner was devoted to conversation. Raven argued loudly with Shadow, while Blade and Hydro discussed battle tactics. Terra and Su were conversing about the going-ons of the island, while Aeris explained the inner workings of the base to Serra.

After dinner, the group separated for bedtime. Aeris led Serra to her room, then left. One side of the room was entirely glass, looking out onto the east mountain range side of the island. If you looked carefully, you could see the caves dotting the mountainside. The moon’s rays lit up the sea, dappling the waves silver. Serra sat on her bed, feeling content for the first time in a very long time.

They accept me, thought Serra. And for that, I must be grateful to them. I only hope I won”t disappoint them...

With that final thought, she changed into bedclothes and went to sleep. Bonedancer curled up on the pillow next to her, his eyeless skull tucked under his wing-bones.


“Rise and shine!!” bellowed a voice into Serra’s ear. Shrieking, she jumped up and fell out of bed, blankets tangled around her. Bonedancer leapt down, and continued bellowing.

“No time to be lazy, little one. We get up early every morning, for your training. From morning to noon, and noon to dusk. Now get up!”

After Serra had changed and washed, the two went outside. It was overcast, and depressingly cloudy. Serra was still groggy, and only stared stupidly when Bonedancer commanded her to lift a large rock nearby.

“Do it with your mind.”

“Um...how?”
Bonedancer sighed. “Try to harness your Psychic energy, and apply it to the rock. Apply the feeling of levitation.”

Serra blinked, and closed her eyes. Straining, she tried to will the rock to move. But nothing happened. They continued for a hour until Serra got fustrated. She sat down, her eyes full with tears. Her head ached, a dull, pounding senstation.

“I can”t!” she yelled, massaging her temples. Serra felt like a failure, and she hated it. She grew more and more miserable with each attempt, until it got so that Serra stomped over to the rock, picked it up and hurled it into the trees. There was a distant crash, and Pidgey flew out the treetops, startled.

As Serra sttared silently into the trees, a strange feeling came over her. She looked up into the sky. Far above her, in the clouds, she could make out a vague birdlike creature.

“Is that a Fearow?” she asked the young Missingno.

“I’m not sure...” replied Bonedancer, craning his head up.

The bird wheeled north, and flared its wings. Serra gasped as the bird’s wings lit up in a blaze of light, sending out rays of searing prismatic light. Red, orange, yellow, green and blue flashed, lighting up the dull morning sky. Then the bird folded its wings, and the rainbows went out. The bird vanished into the clouds as abruptly as it had come.

“Oh my..” said Serra, hushed. Bonedancer nodded in agreement as both marveled at the bird-creature's display of colors.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After lunch, the pair went back to the clearing, where Serra was feeling more refreshed. She found another rock, and concentrated. Her mind went back to the dazzling display of the bird, and suddenly, she felt a surge of power. Her liquid blue eyes suddenly glowed purple, and the rock levitated into the air, where it stood, trembling slightly. Serra gasped, and the rock dropped down.

“I DID IT!!” she whooped in a uncharacterstic display of joy, and leapt manically into the air. Bonedancer chuckled.
“Well done, Serra! Keep trying!”

By the end of the day, Serra was able to lift many numbers of small objects, and at the dinnertable, she entertained everyone by making the dinner knives chase Shadow around.

DAY FOUR, WEEK 1

Serra looked nervously at a hulking creature in front of her. They both stood in the clearing, facing each other from both ends. The creature was certainly bizarre, with a body like a raptor and a large mushroom cap adorning its comical-looking head. He consantly bounced in place, swinging his thick, seed-encrusted tail back and forth.Bonedancer landed next to Serra and started explaining.

“Serra, this is Juniper. He’s a Breloom, which are fighting and grass dual types. They’re tricky fighters-they either paralyze or put their opponent to sleep first, then pummel them into fainting. Today, you spar with Juniper.”

“Uh....wait a minute, I don’t think....” stammered Serra, but was interrputed by Juniper charging directly at her.

“Oh, crap.” mumbled the girl. The Breloom leapt, and spun, bringing its tail crashing down directly where Serra was standing.

Except...

Serra was no longer there. Puzzled, Juniper looked around, then whirled around just in time for Serra’s savage Karate Chop to connect directly with his eye. Shrilling in pain, Juniper spat out a cloud of small yellow spores into Serra’s face.

Serra yelled in agony as her muscles seized up and locked, and she fell over. She was paralyzed and helpless. The Breloom advanced upon her, readying a devastating Focus Punch. Serra tried to roll away, but she couldn’t.

Wait! Serra’s body was paralyzed-her mind wasn’t. A slow smile spread over the girl’s features, and Juniper stopped, confusion in his eyes.

Serra’s eyes flared pure white with a purple tinge, and the Goddess Mark on her forehead began glowing. Particles of energy collected at it, thrumming ominously.

A huge beam shot out of her forehead, hitting the Breloom pointblank. Wailing as the Psywave ravaged his mind, Juniper slumped as his mind shut down, fainting dead away.

DAY 5, WEEK 2

“Okay, Serra. You’ve mastered basic Psychic and Fighting techinques. You’re able to use Barrier, Reflect and Light Screen....very good progress. You also can use Double Team, Agility, Swords Dance and other stat-altering moves, also very good. You learn fast.”

Serra blushed, pleased at Bonedancer’s words. Hopefully, she asked something she’d been itching to ask for a while.

“So we’re moving on to the Elemental-type attacks now?”

Bomedancer nodded, grinning a toothy smile. “Come on, we’re going to the desert. That way, you won’t hurt any poor innocent people."

LATER...

Aeris and Terra lounged idly in their firing range. It was a room specially built for Terra and Aeris to do their target practice safely. Or as Hydro so politely put it, “so Terra won’t shoot out someone’s eye.”

There was a system built into the room, based on pulleys set into the ceiling. Clips attached to the pulleys held paper targets and human-shaped bits of cardboard. They were hidden in the shadows, so you couldn’t see your target. When one of the girls were done with a particular target, the pulleys on the ceiling would move forward, bringing the targets to the girls.

Aeris raised her bow and fired a single shot into her human-shaped target. She pressed a button on the wall, and there was a whirring sound. The cardboard human was pulled forward, revealing Aeris’ impressive markmanship....a single arrow sticking out of the very center of the target’s crotch.

“Ha! Try and beat that, my little friend.” gloated Aeris as she reached forward and yanked the arrow out of her target’s groin.

Terra said nothing, but calmly drew out her gun and fired multiple times into the shadows where her target was. The room rang with the gun’s sharp reports, but Terra, being deaf, was not peturbed. She then pressed the button.

As the humanshape target moved forwards, Aeris blinked. Terra had fired a perfect smiley face into the head of the target. Two bullet holes for the eyes, and a semi-circle of holes formed the grin. Terra said nothing, only smiled.

“Showoff.” grumbled Aeris, but she smiled, despite herself.

Both jumped as a stream of fire roared into the sky a few miles away, but clearly visible in the daytime.

“That’ll be Serra practing her Flamethrower techinque.” remarked Aeris. No sooner than when she was done speaking, a bolt of lighting arced into the clouds. The lone bolt was then followed by a specatular blitzkreig of blue electricity, crackling and snapping. Swellow hooted angrily as they flew out the treedops, disturbed by the display.

In the following weeks, Serra slowly developed. As her training intensified, she spent more and more time outside, mingling among the Pokemon. She learned their customs and became fluent in their languages. Serra ran with the Mightyena packs, sparred with the Blaziken and Breloom, bounced from mountainside to mountainside with Spoinks (and on the roofs, to Raven’s great annoyance). Serra swayed gently with the Bellossom on the hills, drawing energy from the sun. She learned how to vanish into the shadows like the Gengar. She was taught to make plants explode from the very soil and whip at their targets.She learned how to fight with lighting speed like the Zangoose and the Scyther. Serra slowly but surely became a warrior. But.

There was one thing she couldn’t do. She could not transform parts of her body to use for certain attacks. She couldn’t form blades to use for deadly slashing maneuvers, and she couldn’t make herself claws or wings. She couldn’t get the wings she had sprouted in Zeiryu. She couldn’t figure out how. And it irked her. Inside herself, doubts grew. She doubted she was a true Goddess. How could she live up to being a Goddess if she couldn't even fly?

DAY 49, WEEK SEVEN.

The entire group stood near the northern mountain range, perched on a series of large boulders jutting out of the ground.

“This should be good.” whispered Aeris into Hydro’s ear. He nodded in agreement. Terra reached over and whacked them both on the heads, silencing them.

Serra was about to face her final test. If she completed this test, she and the others would be ready to leave Victory and make the dangerous journey to Silph Tower, where the Chaosphere awaited.

Serra stood alone on the flattened dirt clearing, shifting from feet to feet nervously. She had no idea what Bonedancer had planned for her.

Finally, Bonedancer swooped out of the sky, landing at Serra’s feet. Out of the trees, a swarm of small, round and pink creatures appeared. They were smaller than soccer balls, yet bigger than baseballs. Their eyes were big and innocent, full of curiousity. Serra goggled at them.

“Erm....what...exactly are those?” she managed.

“They’re Igglybuff. Baby Jigglypuff, and the lowest form of Wigglytuff.” he said in a matter-of-fact tone.

“They’re the test?” asked Blade, peering curiously at the seething mass of Igglybuff.

“Correct, oh wise one." With that sarcastic remark, Bonedancer turned and spoke quietly to the Igglybuff. As he spoke, they quieted, and their glances slowly traveled as one to Serra. Their look....one of pure hunger.

Uh oh. thought Serra, feeling more and more uneasy.

“I have just informed them that you have in your possesion, a large amount of marshmallows. It’s their favorite meal, they go rabid over it. They’re vicious little creatures, and you shouldn’t understimate them.” said the Aerodactyl skeleton calmly.

“What?" yelped Serra. She would have said more, but it was at that exact moment that the Igglybuff chose to charge.

“Igglybuff-igglybuff-igglybuff-igglybuff!!” they chanted in unison, bouncing towards her. Serra made a silent oath to kill Bonedancer if she ever survived this. She whirled and ran away from the advancing pink horde.

“Hey! Where’s she going?” yelled Shadow, standing up.

“Shadow.....SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND WATCH!!” That was Raven.

Serra chose a tall tree nearly. She made a specatular leap, elicting whoops and gasps of awe from her audience. Landing in the tall boughs, she grinned inwardly. These little maggots wouldn”t get her now....WHAT?

“Igglybuff igglybuff igglybuff!”

The swarm of Igglybuff clustered at the base of the tree, and climbed up it with atonishing speed. Serra swore very loudly. She whipped up her now glowing hands, and took aim.

“Pin missile!! Take that, you little sonofa*****es!!”

The glowing darts hissed through the air, and the front rank of the Igglybuff fell off, but more erupted in their place.

“Holy...” said Blade, awed at the sheer determination of the Igglybuff.

Serra was angry now. Very angry. She leapt out the tree, landing and rolling on the ground. Leaping to her feet, she took in sunlight, charging up a Solarbeam. Golden particles of light shimmered as they were absorbed into her Mark.

“Hi-yah!!!!” Serra howled as a golden beam erupted out of her forehead. The howling beam of light sliced through the tree, and it fell, the squealing Igglybuff clinging to it. Before it crashed onto Serra, she did a backflip, landing safely feet away as the tree crashed thunderously on the ground.

“Damn, that’s a lot of power she’s packing.” whistled Aeris, obiviously impressed.

“Uh oh.” remarked Raven.

The Igglybuff were now angry. They leapt onto Serra, and she went down, hidden by the hundreds of small pink creatures. Her audience couldn’t see her, but they could hear the savage fight Serra was putting up.

<She’s certainly got a lot of guts for such a quiet, timid girl.> signed Terra to Aeris.

The seething, pulsuating mass of Igglybuff rippled and bulged, then exploded as Serra leapt up, flinging them away with Seismic Tosses. Igglybuff flew shrilling into the air, and flew out of sight. There were distant splashes.

<Uh oh...I think they landed in the Sharpedo basking pool.> signed a worried Terra.

Sure enough, the sounds of frenzied splashings and snarling ofSharpedo drifted towards them, followed by shrilling, high pitched wails.

“Serves them right.” chortled Raven.

Serra came, to them, panting. She hopped on one foot, as there was still a lone Igglybuff clinging determindedly to it.

“Argh....geroff, you stupid thing!!” yelled Serra, hopping around as she tried to shake it off. She bent down, and ripped the squirming creature off. Grasping it by one hand, she skipped forwards, then threw hard. The Igglybuff sailed high into the air, and disappeared beyond the trees.

Sweaty and streaked with dirt, Serra turned back to them. Her hair was a hopeless mess, but her eyes were still as bright as ever. She opened her mouth and spoke.

“Did I pass?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was early morning, and fog drifted peacefully, swirling around the small cluster of people at the pier. They were all ready to depart. Su had been more than eager to oversee the base again, much to Terra’s distress, and Hydro had decided to bring along his Jolteon, Mirage.

As Aeris checked once more to make sure her quiver was firmly attached, a voice resonated through their heads.

ARE YOU READY?

~~~~

Okay, people, next is the big surprise!!!!

AzureFlygon
11th November 2004, 8:36 PM
Okay, here's the surprise!!! A lost ending!!! This is the original ending to the last chapter, but it was deleted in favor of the one you saw before.

Plus, the first chapter written by me ^^

~~~~~~

“Rise and shine!!” bellowed a voice into Serra’s ear. Shrieking, she jumped up and fell out of bed, blankets tangled around her. Bonedancer leapt down, and continued bellowing.

“No time to be lazy, little one. We get up early every morning, for your training. From morning to noon, and noon to dusk. Now get up!”

After Serra had changed and washed, the two went outside. It was overcast, and depressingly cloudy. Serra was still groggy, and only stared stupidly when Bonedancer commanded her to lift a large rock nearby.

“Do it with your mind.”

“Um...how?”

Bonedancer sighed. “Try to harness your Psychic energy, and apply it to the rock.”

Serra blinked, and closed her eyes. Straining, she tried to will the rock to move. But nothing happened. They continued for a hour until Serra got fustrated. She sat down, her eyes full with tears. Her head ached, a dull, pounding senstation.

“I can”t!” she yelled, massaging her temples. Serra felt like a failure, and she hated it. She grew more and more miserable with each attempt, until it got so that Serra stomped over to the rock, picked it up and hurled it into the trees. There was a distant crash, and Pidgey flew out the treetops, startled.

As Serra sttared silently into the trees, a strange feeling came over her. She looked up into the sky. Far above her, in the clouds, she could make out a vague birdlike creature.

“Is that a Fearow?” she asked the young Missingno.

“I’m not sure...” replied Bonedancer, craning his head up.

The bird wheeled north, and flared its wings. Serra gasped as the bird’s wings lit up in a blaze of light, sending out rays of searing prismatic light. Red, orange, yellow, green and blue flashed, lighting up the dull morning sky. Then the bird folded its wings, and the rainbows went out. The bird vanished into the clouds as abruptly as it had come.

“Oh my..” said Serra, hushed. Bonedancer nodded in agreement. After lunch, the pair went back to the clearing, where Serra was feeling more refreshed. She found another rock, and concentrated. Her mind went back to the dazzling display of the bird, and suddenly, she felt a surge of power. Her liquid blue eyes suddenly glowed purple, and the rock levitated into the air, where it stood, trembling slightly. Serra gasped, and the rock dropped down.

“I DID IT!!” she whooped in a uncharacterstic display of joy, and leapt manically into the air. Bonedancer chuckled.

“Well done, Serra! Keep trying!”

By the end of the day, Serra was able to lift many numbers of small objects, and at the dinnertable, she entertained everyone by making the dinner knives chase Shadow around.

By the end of the week, Serra could do the most basic things. She had learned limited telekinetic powers, such as Psywave and Confusion. She could summon small plants to erupt from the ground, and had limited control over fire, electricity, water and ice. As her training intensfied, she started spending more and more time outside, mingling with the Pokemon and learning their customs and languages. She ran with the Mightyena packs, swam with Seragon and her brethren, and sat with the Plant-type Pokemon as they swayed in the wind. She held conversations with the Ghosts, and learned how to use Nightshade, Hypnosis and Dream Eater.

By the end of three weeks, Serra was fluent in all the Pokemon languages, and she could do minor elemental and physical attacks, but she couldn”t do anything as drastic as an Dragon Outrage and Earthquake. Serra could use Double Team and Harden. However, she had yet to learn how to change parts of her body to use for a attack, such as sprout wings, form claws, etc. She also couldn’t use beam-class attacks, but she was still good enough to battle a basic trainer. Before the group could leave, Serra was required to pass a test: Lift the Stone.

The Stone was an enormous boulder that stood beside a river behind the Base, and had been there since what seemed like the begining of time. No Machamp could move it, and no Alakazam could lift it. But Bonedancer seemed to believe that Serra could.

Aeris and the others were commanded not to disturb Serra, as was all the Pokemon. However, a group of Pokemon had gathered to watch this momentuous event.

At sunrise, Serra walked out, and sat down in front of the titanic Stone. She felt unbearably nervous. What if she failed?

I don”t even know if I am strong enough to do this! her mind screamed. But Serra refused to disappoint her friends, who she had worked so hard for. She concentrated, drawing her Psychic energies.

As the sun slowly crept over the sky, the Pokemon became increasingly puzzled. Serra sat there, her eyes closed, but she was doing nothing. What was going on?

Soon, noon passed, and nothing had happened.The Pokemon murmured among themselves. A small Rattata scratched his head, puzzled. Whispering to his neighbor, a large tawny Growlithe, he asked if the fire dog thought Serra would be able to do it. The Growlithe replied that he believed in Serra, and had no doubt of her power. Shrugging, the Rattata went back to intently watching the small human.

Raven paced in her chambers, worried. She hoped fervently that Serra was all right. They had not been allowed outside to see Serra.

At midafternoon, Aeris was lying in her room, reading a book. Slowly, surely, a steady rumbling began. Alarmed, Aeris sat up, and ran out her room, fearing an earthquake. As she ran through the halls, the others came out of their rooms, running after her. As they sprinted through the entrance hall, the rumbling rose to a thunderous crescendo. Aeris and the group ran outside, and stopped, thunderstruck by the sight that awaited them...

Serra was standing up, her pearly hair whipping about her face in a unseen wind. Her entire frame was trembling, and her eyes blazed white with a purple tinge. One arm pointed straight up, while the other hung loosely, fist clenched.

The Stone floated majestically, casting a shadow over the area.. Around it was a halo of loose stones and pebbles that had been caught in the pulling force. It was truly a sight to behold. All the Pokemon were cheering in their native ways. Rhydons stomped the ground, while dog pokemon barked joyously. Fire pokemon unleashed streams of fire into the air. The air rang with their celebration.

Aeris and Shadow whooped. Blade smiled, proud of Serra, while Raven goggled at the levitating boulder. Terra jumped up and down pumping her fist, while Dark Flame spat out celebratory embers. Hydro was staring up at the stone in awe, when a Jolteon sidled up next to him, and greeted him.

“Oh, hello, Mirage.” said Hydro, grinning down at the Jolteon. ‘Amazing, isn”t it?”

“What’s this I hear about you guys leaving again? I want to go!” said Mirage, his fur bristling in excitement. “I ain”t afraid of any Andros!”

Hydro nodded in consent. Mirage barked in joy and ran off to brag to the other Pokemon.

Serra’s eyes faded, and the Stone gently came down, settling back into its niche. Serra wheezed with exertion, and fell to her knees. Aeris and Terra went to her, lifting her and escorting the exhausted girl to her room. Despite her state, Serra was happy.

I did it... she thought as her eyes closed peacefully. The last thing she heard was Aeris saying, "Tomorrow, we'll get started with our journey."

The next day, the group stood at the dock. As Aeris checked to make sure her quiver of arrows were firmly attached, the psychic call of the Missingno rang out into their minds.

ARE YOU ALL READY?


Chapter Seven: Treasure for the Goddess ...BY ME!!!

The Missingno shimmered, calling the group of trainers and Serra to it. When they had all gathered, the spectral Pokemon began its teleport. The air shimmered with energy, and the surroundings shone a dull white as they formed into the immense gray arches of the portal.

“NOW I MUST LEAVE YOU,” said the square of Pixels, “I WISH YOU LUCK ON YOUR JOURNEY, MAY YOUR QUEST BE FULFILLED...”

In a blink the Missingno was gone, and the group was alone on the island. They stood in silent acceptance, reluctant to take the first step of what promised to be a difficult and dangerous undertaking.

Serra shivered in the dense, cold fog that surrounded the lone island. Blade sensed this chill and began to move towards the girl, but stopped, remembering his previous mistake and the Razor Wind that had come of it. With a sigh, he stood where he was.

“So now it begins,” said Raven, startling the entire group when her voice split the silence, “There is a long way to travel, so we had better get moving.”

“Why can’t you just teleport us?” piped Shadow. His goofy grin turned into a slight frown, and his eyes returned to a less dazed state as he took his eyes of Raven, whom he had been staring at again.

“There are more ways to travel than just distance, human,” answered Bonedancer before Raven could come up with a suitable retort, “I would have thought you would know that one.”

Shadow glared at the Aerodactyl skeleton, and the Missingno smirked in response. Before the conflict could get out of hand, Aeris broke in with instructions. Her boat was still tied to the island and rocking gently in the waves, seeming to have been waiting for the group.

“Come on, we can’t stand on this hunk of rock forever!” she said, “Let’s all get in the boat and back to the village!”

No one grumbled about getting out of the cold air, and soon the swift watercraft was speeding though the choppy waves with a large load of cramped passengers. The trainers had recalled their Pokemon back into their Pokéballs to save room, so there was none of the antics of Maverick or Dark Flame to break the obvious tension. Everyone was uncomfortable in the small boat, and all willed the vessel to speed up as they tried to keep their limbs from falling asleep.

‘I could have at least teleported us that far’ thought Raven as she glared around. Shadow shifted his position, trying to scoot closer to the dark haired psychic. Raven merely put up a psychic wall, though, keeping the boy from getting any closer.

At last, the boat reached port, and Aeris steered the craft into the dock that she had rented the cruiser from. The group gratefully piled from the vehicle, and left the building after giving the keys of the craft back to the owner.

“Hey Aeris,” groaned Hydro as he rubbed a cramped leg, “Next time you come, could you rent a boat with a little more leg room?”

“It was the cheapest one I could find,” said Aeris, “and you know it’s not good to draw attention to yourself by renting a huge boat, especially when you’re supposed to be just cruising.”

Serra walked beside Aeris, long hair snapping in the chill wind that came down from the hills. She looked out towards the larger buildings of the village, liquid eyes blinking as the cold air hit them. She was as still as a painting, and surpassed the beauty of one.

Blade caught himself staring, and hurriedly averted his eyes. Terra, who was standing only a few feet away, noticed the sudden movement, and smiled knowingly. The embarrassed boy wondered why he wasn’t pestered by the psychic voice of her Golduck, and then suddenly realized that Kairos had stayed behind at Victory Island and couldn’t give the deaf girl a voice.

“Where are we traveling?” asked the slightly tremulous voice of Serra.

Raven answered, her dark eyes flashing as she flipped some of her ebony hair out of her face.

“We will be traveling to the rebel city of Zeiryu first, to get some more suitable supplies, and then we will begin our journey to Silph Tower...”

“There’s no use just standing here, freezing to death!” said Aeris, “It won’t make things any easier. Let’s get out supplies for the trip and start moving!”

The entire group nodded their assent, and they began walking once more. It wasn’t long until they came to a small, inconspicuous store that seemed perfect for their needs. They walked in quietly, already searching for suitable traveling gear.

Serra wandered the aisles, looking curiously at the merchandise contained on the seemingly endless shelves. Despite looking small, the store was actually quite large, and the group could easily find everything they needed. Serra found herself standing beside a glass case near the back of the building, looking at a curious, ornamented box. The hinged lid was open, and inside, on a small cushion, was a very strange object.

It seemed like a drop of pure jade, but it’s roughness and shape denied that conclusion. The surface of the object shimmered with hidden purpose, and the sight of the mysterious thing captivated Serra. She leaned closer to the glass, trying to catch every detail.

“You like it?” asked the soft voice of the store manager.

The middle aged woman chuckled as Serra jumped with surprise.

“No need to be so jumpy, dear,” she said, “I was just wondering if you wanted to know more about that pretty little bauble you’ve been admiring, there.”

“I guess so,” said Serra hesitantly.

“Well, I acquired that scale, and yes, it is a scale,” said the woman as Serra glanced at the object with disbelief, “from a girl, who was about your age, if I recall, almost thirty years ago. I was just a teenager, then, but I remember everything she said about it. She told my mother that she didn’t want anything to do with it anymore, because it had caused her more trouble than it was worth. She explained that it was the scale of an ancient Pokemon, one that had been long dead for hundreds of years, who was the guardian of some important secret. She wouldn’t tell us any more than that, and my mother bought it off from her out of pity, sure that it was just some strange piece of glass. The girl went her way, and the scale stayed here. No one would buy it, and it got stuck in this dusty corner for three decades.”

“But it’s so beautiful!” exclaimed Serra, amazed.

“I thought so, too,” sighed the woman, “But it never seemed to be able to catch anyone’s eye... until now, that is.”

Serra nodded in understanding, and noticed that Aeris had walked to the case and was now staring at the scale with interest as well. The store manager looked on patiently, waiting for the rest of the group, as there were no other customers present in the shop.

“That’s an interesting item,” whispered Bonedancer from behind Serra’s long mane of hair where he was hidden, “I’ve never heard of anything like it.”

“What’s this thing, Serra?” asked Aeris curiously after she had finished inspecting the object.

“It’s a scale,” answered the girl softly.

“Hmm…” Aeris looked thoughtful, and then turned to the woman who owned the store, “How much?”

“It’s valued at around three hundred dollars, but I’ll give it to you two for fifty,” said the woman as she looked at them carefully, “I’m not certain why, but I seem to feel that it’s meant for you to have it...”

“We’ll take it!” said Aeris, giving Serra a wide smile.

Serra grinned back in return, and glanced back at the glowing scale. She felt amazed to think that she would actually own the beautiful thing, and deeply grateful to Aeris for buying it.

“Thank you,” she whispered as the woman walked behind the case to open it.

“No problem,” said Aeris, “you deserve it.”

The woman gripped the box that contained the scale, and closed its lid carefully. Serra felt slightly dismayed at not being able to see the object any longer, but the feeling vanished as the woman handed her the box.

“Come on back to the counter so I can ring all your items up,” said the manager.

Aeris and Serra followed the woman as she strode to the front of the store, and the rest of the group joined up with them as they walked. All had bought some items for the journey, and they all piled their findings on the checking counter.

“Well, you certainly have a lot of stuff!” exclaimed the woman cheerfully as she punched prices into her computer, “All together that’ll be four hundred and fifty two dollars.”

The group pooled their money, and soon they had left the store with their prizes. On the corner, they paused to get their bearings, and then headed for the nearest bench to pack their things into the new backpacks they had bought. It took concentration to pack the items as efficiently as they could, and no one talked until they had finished.

“Well,” sighed Blade as he packed the last item into his backpack, “Now we can get going.”

<Let’s let Maverick and Dark Flame out of their Pokéballs, > signed Terra rapidly, <They can warn us of any danger on the trail.>

“Good idea, Terra,” said Aeris as she pulled out Maverick’s Pokéball.

The red beams shone and faded, leaving behind an overly excited Totodile and the spoiled Vulpix. Dark Flame immediately demanded that Terra carry her, and Maverick just danced for joy. The group walked towards the village boundaries, and soon disappeared into the dark, misty recesses of the ancient forest. The only sign that had passed were the bent blades of grass, the disturbed brush, and the memory of the woman in the store.

Burnt Flower
12th November 2004, 1:53 AM
Such excellent chapters! :D

There were some spelling errors in these chapters - including the lost ending (interreputed-interrupted, pokemon-Pokemon, Serra’s-Terra’s, pokemon’s-Pokemon’s, don”t-don’t, won”t-won’t, didn”t-didn’t, wasn”t-wasn’t, Terras-Terra, ususal-usual, aren”t-aren’t, contiients-continents, Techinally-Technically, wapish-waspish, can"t-can’t, sttared-stared, dinnertable-dinner table, consantly-constantly, were-was, peturbed-perturbed, wouldn”t-wouldn’t, pulsuating-pulsating, ofSharpedo-of Sharpedo, determindedly-determinedly, senstation-sensation, couldn”t-couldn’t, ain”t-ain’t, Pixels-pixels, of-off).

Heh, as I always do, I have to mention your grammar errors, so here are some examples:
“Which is unlikely.” interreputed Hydro.

The period before the second quotation mark should be a comma. 'Interrupted' is misspelled. Like this:
“Which is unlikely,” interrupted Hydro.

Another example of the same case:
“You’re always hungry.” Raven snapped, her dark eyes flashing.

Once again, that period should be a comma:
“You’re always hungry,” Raven snapped, her dark eyes flashing.

You forgot to seperate paragraph for each new speaker in this paragraph:
“Get ready, my pokemon’s coming.” chuckled Hydro.
“GROVA!!! VYLE VYLE GROVYLE!!!”
“Miloooooooooo!!! Tic tic miloootiiii!!”
“Lin lin lin lin lin oone oon!!”

That last quotation mark isn't needed:
“Hey, girls! Come on, it’s almost time for dinner!” yelled Shadow, poking his head through the door.”

You forgot to add a space after the first period:
She was taught to make plants explode from the very soil and whip at their targets.She learned how to fight with lighting speed like the Zangoose and the Scyther.

Now I'm oficially addicted to this story. I want to read more and more chapters, but sadly only two are posted every day (is there another site where this fic is located?) So Serra is finally developing her powers - the last test was so hilarious; I'm glad you chose that ending instead! :D
My favorite lines from that scene were:
<Uh oh...I think they landed in the Sharpedo basking pool.> signed a worried Terra.

And:
She hopped on one foot, as there was still a lone Igglybuff clinging determindedly to it.

I laughed so hard when I read them! :)

This line was a big surprise for me:
“Celebi, the Guardian of Time. Jirachi, the Wishing Star. Both are Andros now.”

Maybe the situation is even worse than I thought...

Your characters are so loveable and I'm getting quite attached to them; my favorite being Serra, Raven (who reminds me of me :p) and Shadow, but I like them all anyway. I want more backstory about each character, though.
I was quite surprised by this line about Terra:
The room rang with the gun’s sharp reports, but Terra, being deaf, was not peturbed.

Maybe I didn't read correctly the chapters when she just appears, but it really was a shock to me!

And I'm glad that you're adding some romance (since it's my favorite genre after action). I'm really starting to like the Raven/Shadow and the Serra/Blade relationships. Some of my favorite scenes were:
Blade was behind her, and found himself staring dreamily at the back of Serra’s head for a good while until Raven’s hand descended on his ear, and a soft mind-voice whispered.

And Raven reminded me of Misty here. :)

And:
She was too absorbed to notice Shadow staring at the back of her head, a goofy grin plastered on his face...

Heh, how sweet...

It's fantastic that you gave all your Pokemon a distinguishable personality. Some of my favorite scenes where the Pokemon's personalities shine through are:
Yes yes, shiny things....oooooh!! all nice and shiny....mine mine mine! thought the Linoone, rubbing his paws together gleefully.

And:
Serra jumped as the doors to the kitchen swung open, and a large Machamp in a frilly cooking apron and a chef’s hat walked in, each of his four arms bearing trays of steaming food.

Of course, there were other memorable scenes like when Maverick appears or when the marshamllow-eating Igglybuffs attack (among many other moments), but these were just some remarkable examples. ;)

The only problem is that there are so many Pokemon with so many different names that I lose track or forget some of them while I read.

Both of you - Spectreon, and AzureFlygon are doing a fantastic job! :D

Elite Eevee
12th November 2004, 3:48 AM
Well, tell Spectreon I'm sorry for sending the PM. On topic, that was a great pair of chapters. I agree with Burnt Flower on one thing. <goes hysterical> No! Why did the Lati twins have to become corrupt! I think you can figure the rest out. And Serra's last test was comical. Almost Monty Python quality. How long does the story last? It's to good to end.

Gatene
12th November 2004, 9:32 AM
Hello all, this is Gatene (duh!) I made a site for Spectreon's story, when she and Razor were on uhm, Chapter 4, when I first started reading it. Spectreon and Razor write, and draw. I do some spell checking, but I don't worry too much on grammar, unless it's totally messed up. I update the site, with pictures, chapters, whatever it needs. I also give the Chapters titles like the one I'm a bout to post, "First Andros Attack". I also give a description of each chapter on the site.

http://spectreon.mybesthost.com -- This is the start to the main site
http://spectreon.mybesthost.com/fanfic.htm -- First Fanfic page (There are links to the other chapters at the bottom of the page)
http://spectreon.mybesthost.com/fanfic4.htm -- Song of the Goddess Fanfic Page, which is more or less the second season of DoaNL

Be sure to always check the news when you check the site for new chapters, art, etc. With every update, there is new news.
http://spectreon.mybesthost.com/news.htm

------------------------------------
Chapter 8: The First Andros Attack
By: Razor (aka AzureFlygon)


Continuing on into the forest, the Goddess notices a change in the new scale Aeris bought her. Then it came, a vicious Caterpie-Andros. What else can this scale do?

The forest was dark, and the most light that the group had filtered feebly down from the small breaks in the canopy. Blade traveled in front, using a small knife to hack away overhanging vegetation. Behind him was Aeris, with Maverick bouncing along beside her with little regard for people’s feet.

After the third time Maverick tripped her, Aeris was forced to hold the energetic little Totodile. A relived Terra sighed behind the two, setting her agitated Vulpix down onto the ground and stretching her tired arms. Serra walked behind the girl with Bonedancer sleeping on her shoulder, looking into the box at the scale she had obtained earlier. Its glittering depths fascinated her, and she was soon so absorbed in it that she no longer looked where she was going.

Suddenly, her foot caught a thick root, and she fell forward. Terra had sensed the vibration, however, and turned to catch her before the girl could get a mouthful of dirt and leaves. Bonedancer squawked in protest, now wide-awake and flapping. After she had calmed the Missingno down, Serra smiled to show her thanks. Terra shrugged in reply, silently giggling at the occurrence. The deaf girl looked at the scale, considering, and began signing rapidly.

<Do you want a string for that?> she said, <I can fit it onto a necklace so you don’t trip anymore...>

“Uh...” stammered Serra, not understanding the sign language.

“She wants to know if you want her to fit that thing onto a necklace,” said Raven quietly from behind Serra.

“Oh, Yes, that would be nice,” said Serra, finally understanding.

Terra smiled and brought out a small length of cord. She gently lifted the scale, studying it carefully for the best way to tie it, and then rapidly looped the string around the object so that it formed a small, X-shaped cradle. With that finished, she tied it off and handed the new necklace proudly back to the awed girl.

“Thank you!” said Serra, amazed.

<No problem,> signed Terra.

The group began moving once again, and Serra put the box that had held the scale into her pack. Raven walked stately behind the girl; occasionally catching herself glaring back to make sure that Shadow hadn’t cut ahead of Hydro, who was walking behind the psychic. Fortunately, the blonde-haired boy had stuck to the back of the group, contenting himself with making faces at Hydro when the trainer had his back turned.

All was quiet in the forest, and only the occasional calls of various tree-dwelling Pokemon and the hacking of Blade’s knife pervaded the silence. Serra looked around curiously, and was aware of warmth seeping through her chest. She looked down, and saw with horror that her scale had lost its brilliance and was now a deep, forest green. She lifted it to see what may be wrong, and was surprised to find that it was the source of the warmth.

Suddenly, the calls of the Pokemon stopped, and the entire group felt an extreme unease as when something is going to happen. The air was still and heavy, and the silence weighed on the group as if it were a solid object. Serra gasped as the scale flared hot in her hands, dropping the now black object. She gasped as it hit her chest, though, and hurriedly picked up the string and held it away from herself.

With a deafening screech, a small, flashing chrome form leapt at Blade from the bushes. The boy yelped and jumped out of the way, at the same time bringing his knife up in an attempt to stab the monster. A sharp clang resounded through the woods, and the group gasped as the creature was thrown to the ground.

“It’s an Andros Caterpie!” exclaimed Aeris.

“It has a camera,” said Raven, “put it out of commission before it can send a picture to the Rocket’s!”

Aeris threw Maverick out into the battlefield, while Terra had Dark Flame use a Flamethrower at the small machine. The Andros dodged with surprising speed for a Caterpie, and again lunged at the humans. They scattered out of the way, trying to avoid the sharp, venomous antenna sprouting from the metal Pokemon’s brow.

Serra watched the creature with wide eyes, amazed at seeing an Andros. The creature looked like a Caterpie, except that it was now mostly metal. Only a few legs and its tail were still organic, the rest of its wormlike body shone with mechanic brilliance. Its eyes were red sensors, and the markings on its sides were glowing black power units.

Suddenly, the girl realized that it was coming for her, and she willed her legs to move. Her body would not obey her, however, and she stood paralyzed as she watched the poisonous points of the antenna glinting sharply in the filtered sunlight.

A bright spurt of flame obstructed her view of the creature, and Serra dove out of the way as Dark Flame leapt on the mechanical Caterpie. She ran over to Aeris, glad to be free of the creature’s mysterious spell. She suddenly noticed that the scale was no longer hot on her chest, and she looked down to find that it had returned to its former deep green.

Dark Flame and Maverick teamed up to defeat the monstrosity, and the combination of fire and water soon cracked the metal of the Caterpie’s body. The abomination screamed in a metallic screech as it finally split in half, the red sensors of its eyes fading and finally going dark as it died. The metal body twitched on the ground, and went still.

“Do you think we killed it before it sent the video?” asked Hydro, poking the still body with a stick.

“There’s no way to know,” sighed Raven, “We can only hope...”

“Well,” said Shadow with a snort, “Let’s get out of here before any more of them come!”

“That’s the first good idea you’ve had in a long time,” smirked Bonedancer, his eyeless sockets dancing with malevolent glee.

Shadow was about to come up with a retort, but stopped when he saw that Serra could take care of it. The girl grabbed the Missingno and held his beak shut, glaring at him pointedly. The miniature Aerodactyl skeleton grinned, and Serra raised an eyebrow. With a sigh, Bonedancer agreed psychically to apologize to Shadow.

“Sorry, Shadow,” he said, eyes still dancing.

“Accepted,” said Shadow grudgingly. He was still angry with the Missingno but knew when to quit.

“Now, let’s get to the next village so we can catch the ship,” said Aeris, “It shouldn’t be far from here...”

The group went back to hacking through the brush, and finally came out onto the edge of a tall cliff. Looking down, they could see the small village they were heading for, and the dock with a large ship tethered. It wasn’t very far away, so they took their time to get down the steep decline.

The forest was much thinner here, so they didn’t need to hack through anymore. Blade returned his knife to one of the many hiding places he had, and they continued silently. Raven, Blade, Hydro, and Terra were all thinking bleak thoughts of what challenges lay ahead, while Aeris and Shadow thought only of the next adventure. Serra, though, again drifted her thoughts towards the mysterious scale.

Why had it changed its color? Before this it had seemed only like a fascinating bit of history, but now it was much more. Serra was sure none of the others had noticed the change, how could they? The Andros Caterpie had taken up everyone’s attention. She lifted the thing yet again, and was slightly surprised to find that it had reverted to its original color and brilliance.

“Hey, Serra, what’s up with you and that scale?” asked Shadow from behind Hydro, “I don’t think you’ve taken your eyes off it since we left the store!”

“It’s interesting...” Serra replied, releasing her hold on the object.

“Interesting?” asked Shadow dubiously.

“Leave her alone, Shadow,” said the annoyed voice of Blade, who had stopped and turned towards the other boy, “It’s hers, and she can stare at it all day if she wants to.”

“Sorry, Blade,” said Shadow, looking chastened, “I was just wondering, that’s all.”

Blade turned back, and the group once again began walking. Hydro still had the stick he had poked the dead Andros with earlier, and was swinging it to hit small leaves and branches to pass the time. Suddenly, he pulled the stick back to reveal a small, angry Spinarak clinging to the end.

“Spinarak!” the creature cried, leaping off the stick and shooting a think, gooey string at Hydro.

“Yah!” yelped the boy, falling backwards as the string shot hit its mark.

“Spin Spinarak!” scolded the Pokemon as it scuttled into the tree once more.

The group laughed as Hydro struggled up from the ground, head and hands covered in white silk. He stood there helplessly, and crossed his arms in exasperation.

“Little help, here?” he asked.

Terra, still silently laughing, walked up and ripped off the thread. Hydro blinked, finally able to see again, and thanked her. Terra grinned, and returned to her place in the line.

Finally, they reached the village. It was not a long walk to the docks, and they now had enough room to walk in a group instead of a line. They began to relax among the bustling activity of the friendly village, and decided to stop for lunch.

Aeris led them into a place called ‘Carvanha’s’, and they got a large table. The place had a friendly atmosphere, and the food came quickly. Serra had never seen such good food, and dug into it with glee. The others watched her with mild surprise, wondering how the girl could eat so fast.

“Well,” remarked Shadow, “I know who I’m never going to have an eating contest with...”

The rest of the group laughed heartily, and tore into their own food.

. . .

“Well, we’re back at Pallet town,” said Aeris as they left the docks.

The ship rose up behind them, a waterborne tank. It’s smokestacks reached far into the sky, and the group would have to crane their necks to look at them. Wingull flew around in the dozens, calling harshly to each other while scavenging for leftover wrappers and food from tourists.

“That means out next stop is Viridian Forest, and then on to Pewter city,” calculated Hydro.

“I don’t want to go to Viridian,” said Serra in a whisper, almost seeming to shrink in fear.

“I understand,” said Aeris calmly, “We’ll take the detour through Mt. Silver, instead. It may take longer, but there’s some great scenery up there.”

The group continued through the remnants of the town, looking with sadness upon the once beautiful place. Terra and Aeris released Maverick and Dark Flame from their Pokéballs (they had become a handful on the ship and had to be recalled), and Hydro sent out Mirage for good measure. The Jolteon stood by his trainer, looking at the antics of the hyperactive Totodile and prissy Vulpix with amusement.

The group passed a large, rundown building, and Serra stared in curiosity at the broken windows and weathered red bricks. Raven walked beside her, and told her about the building.

“That used to be a Pokemon lab, where some of the best researchers used to study Pokemon. It’s been abandoned since the famous professor Gary Oak disappeared.”

“Oh,” said Serra, suppressing a shiver as they left the eerie building behind them.

Aeris led the group off into an old, overgrown path, and there were no more strange things around them. This forest was bright and happy, with frolicking Pokemon all over the place. It made the entire group fell better to see such sights, and they were soon laughing and talking together as they traveled.

It was only a few hours before the forest thinned and the land turned into a wide expanse of meadow. The path turned into a small rut through the turf, which the group had some difficulty following due to the tall grass. Aeris’ sharp eyes never faltered, however, and they kept a straight course.

The grass thinned at the edge of the meadow, and small pine trees began to appear in random places along the trail. A boulder or two were scattered as well, and these things became more frequent as the group gained distance. They topped the rise, and Serra gasped as she saw the towering peaks of Mt. Silver.

White clouds rose around the crest, obscuring the view of the mountaintop. A small, sparkling river wound it’s way across the face of the mountain, and a pine forest blotted the landscape until two-thirds of the way to the peak. It was one of the most beautiful sights Serra had ever seen.

But beautiful things often hold hidden danger...

Gatene
12th November 2004, 9:38 AM
For those of you that are just joining, be sure to read the post above this one, for it has Chapter 8, and has links to the site where you can read the story at any time that you wish.

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Chapter 9: Realization
By: Spectreon


At what cost must the Goddess and the others pay in order for her to see herself as she is, a savior? Another attack is waged against the Goddess and the others. This time by something larger than a simple Caterpie, and more than one.

Aeris happily scanned the newly discovered meadow. As everyone set down their packs, she spoke her mind.

“We should spend the night here, and tomorrow, we’ll be able to go to Pewter City by detouring in the peaks of Mount Silver. This’ll be fun!!”

Hydro nodded in agreement and voiced his thoughts.

“Let’s send out all our pokemon. They’ve been cooped up for so long...”

Before long, the clearing was full of the bustle of the humans as they set up camp. The pokemon explored the clearing, or in Ghost’s case, attempted to steal some of the cooking pans. Serra fished out her tent kit and dumped out the contents. Scanning them, she then stood back. The pile of canvas and metal rods flew up, setting up by itself. When the process was done, Serra admired her newly built tent. Bonedancer nodded, pleased.

Around her, the others grumbled as they labored to build their tents. Maverick danced around underfoot, playfully nipping at people’s feet, until Aeris threatened to recall him. Dark Flame simply sat and watched their toils with bored amusement. Juggernaut, meanwhile, had simply lain down in a circle, basking in the dying sunlight. Skyfang was off hunting for wild Rattata. Zeronix chose to buzz curiously around, fascinated by the tents that were being set up. Fury was busy repeatedly ramming into a tree nearby, for reasons even he wasn’t completely sure of, except that it was good fun. Mirage the Jolteon was playfully giving Shadow small shocks, yipping and shooting off blue electricity. Risan was resting in the boughs of the same tree which Fury was in the process of destroying. And Ghost....was being Ghost. As Serra watched, Ghost streaked past, clutching a pan with Raven in hot pursuit.

Serra looked up at the looming mountains, fondling the scale which hung around her neck. The mountains were awash in a rosy light, as the dying sun sank beyond the horizon. As she sat, thoughts drifted around her mind.
“Will I really be able to beat any Andros? I couldn’t even beat an Andros Caterpie!! What can I do against a bigger Andros? I don’t even know if I am a real goddess....”

A few hours later, after the sky had darkened, Terra got a campfire going. Skyfang had arrived with a good amount of plump Rattata and Pidgey, which were now roasting on a spit over the fire. The aroma of the cooking meat wafted over to Serra, making her mouth water.

Serra stood up and walked over to join the circle of humans and Pokemon. Plates of food were equally doled out to everyone except for Juggernaut, who was so big, he needed three plates of food. Serra sat between Raven and Aeris, who handed her a plate filled with food. Gratefully, everyone dug in. The flickering fire let off a soothing aura of warmth, and the stars shone in the night sky, like a myriad of pearls on dark blue-black velvet.

Later, the pokemon were recalled and everyone went to bed with full stomachs, content and sleepy.

In the depths of the night, Blade suddenly woke. Checking his digital watch, it read 2: 13 am in glowing red letters. Blade looked to his tent flap, which was slightly open. Everyone else was asleep. Yawning, Blade crawled out of his tent. As he stood up, snatches of quiet song drifted to his ears. The verses were haunting and beautiful, yet held a deep sadness in them. Perplexed, Blade looked up, and started with surprise.

Serra sat in the topmost branches of a tall pine tree nearby, her beautiful form silhouetted against the silvery orb of the moon. She sang in a husky voice, her hair blowing in the slight breeze as the branches swayed.

Blade was astonished at how beautifully Serra sang. Her voice entranced him, and fell upon him like a silky veil.

Agilely, Blade climbed up the tree, carefully lifting himself from branch to branch. At last, he reached the top, and sat, listening to her sing. When the last notes echoed into the night and the song was complete, Serra turned to look at Blade, her face emotionless.

“That was beautiful. I didn’t know you could sing like that. How’d you get all the way up here? I had a hard time getting up here.” babbled Blade, slightly flustered.

Serra smiled slightly. “I levitated up here. I couldn’t sleep.”

“Me either. Were you worried about something?”

Serra looked away from him, and sighed.

“I’m just....I don’t know. I can’t be a real goddess. I don’t think I can live up to everyone’s expectations. I can’t even figure out how to fly or anything...” she trailed off. A tear ran down her cheek, and she hastily brushed it off, hoping Blade hadn’t noticed.

“Serra, we believe in you. You shouldn’t doubt your potential. From what Aeris tells me, you did a very good job of blowing up a warehouse. She saw you sprout wings. So we know you can do it. You just don’t believe in yourself.”

Serra felt slightly more reassured by Blade’s words. Standing up, she stretched.
“We’d better go get some sleep. Good night.”
Her eyes glowed a dim gold, and she hovered off the branch, gently drifting down to the ground. She proceeded to telekinetically pluck Blade off the tree and set him down. Both went off to their separate tents, each with their own private thoughts.

As Serra climbed into her sleeping bag, she slowly went to sleep with one thought lingering in her mind..
“He wasn’t so bad....maybe I should start being nicer to him...”

The next morning, everyone was packed and ready. Since they were on the fringes of Johto, Aeris was the leader. They quietly climbed up the jagged canyons, not wanting to chatter and attract unwanted attention. The view was spectacular. The morning skies were clear, so the view of the land was unhindered. On their right lay Kanto, while on the left, lay the sprawling, lush Johto. If you compared the two views, Kanto was the more scarred and desolate. From their winds came the scent of metallic blood, grime, and despair. The land was a stark landscape of ruin and hopelessness. However, Johto was fairly untouched, and brimmed with rich and verdant plant life. But that likely wouldn’t last for long. Everyone knew eventually Team Rocket would move to invade the other three regions after it was complete with Kanto. For this reason, Johto had taken precautions to guard itself. Guards were on patrol, and their borders were heavily under guard.

At late morning, the group took a brief break, stopping along the rim of a gigantic canyon. Hydro glanced down the gap, and felt queasy. Terra went off to scout and watch for any suspicious activity. Serra sat down, feeling uneasy but not knowing why. Everyone was on edge, and the atmosphere was full of tension. Shadow and Raven were sniping at each other more than usual, heightening the tension.

Serra yelped as the scale upon her neck flared hot, then went black. At the exact same moment, a scream rang out, echoing harshly among the cliffs.

Everyone leapt to their feet, and Hydro yelled.

“TERRA!!”

He took off, the others in hot pursuit. Their packs were left, forgotten. Aeris strung her bow, while Shadow drew his katana.

They rounded the corner, and saw Terra. She was lying unconscious, bleeding copiously from a gash on her forehead. Above her...

Serra’s heart froze in her chest. Aeris swore loudly.

Two Scizor Andros stood, looming over them. Both looked like regular Scizors, except they were ash grey, and their eyes glinted a wicked, soulless red. Both were fitted with voice boxes. Serra noticed one of the Scizor seemed smaller and more skittery than the other.

“What are they doing here?” murmured Aeris, staring at the abominations.

“I think they were on patrol.” remarked Raven quietly.

“Leave Terra alone, you monsters!!” yelled Hydro, running over to the fallen girl. The bigger of the Scizor spoke, its tone harsh and mechanical.
“ All of you humans, drop your weapons and Pokeballs. Gather over there, with the fallen girl and the boy. Now.”

Angrily, Aeris dropped her bows and balls, as did Shadow and Blade, although they bore no pokeballs. Raven had nothing to drop at all. They moved over to join Hydro and Terra. Bonedancer hid himself behind Hydro, not wanting to get spotted.

Except Serra. She stood where she was, coolly meeting the Andros’ gaze.

“What is this insolence? Move over there, or be punished.” stated the same Scizor as before. Both Scizor raised their claws, which opened. There was a slight clicking noise, and gleaming gun barrels extended from within the hollows of their claws.

Serra took action. She broke onto a run, charging directly at the Scizor. Right before she hit them, she...vanished?!

The Scizor Andros looked around, baffled. Suddenly, Serra landed crashing upon the smaller of the Scizor, sending him flying. She had teleported above him!

Serra leapt at the bigger of the Scizor. Both went down, rolling over as they savagely kicked and bit at each other.

“Serra, be careful! You’re too close to the edge!” yelled Shadow.

Thorny vines erupted from the ground, twisting and coiling around the Scizor, ensnaring him. He struggled, but to no avail. Panting, Serra stood up, and turned to them, grinning.

BANG!

A loud gunshot rang out, making everyone reel. Serras’s smile slowly vanished, and her eyes widened. Wincing, she brought her hands to her stomach. The other Scizor crouched slightly, his right arm upraised. Smoke drifted from the barrel of his claw.

Everyone stared in horror as a red flower blossomed behind Serra’s hands. Serra’s eyes filled with tears, and she slowly, inexorably, stumbled back. Her foot stepped on nothing, and she went over the edge.

Everyone stared at the edge, unbelieving. Blade stared at where Serra had stood only moments before, feeling a great emptiness in his heart.
“She’s..gone.” croaked Shadow. Raven said nothing, but the grief in her eyes betrayed her emotions. Aeris simply bowed her head, her hair falling over her face as she crumpled mentally.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra fell silently, devoured by the dark chasm. Tears ran down her cheeks as she clutched at her stomach. Blood trailed out of the wound, weaving a crimson ribbon in the air. Serra closed her eyes, sinking into grief and pain.

I’ve failed.

Failed.

Failed everyone.

I’ve failed the People. I am not their goddess. I am nothing.

A failure.

Wait.

Is this how I truly want to die?

I must shoulder my responsibility.

I can’t give up. I have a duty to the People. The People of wing, of fur, of claw, hoof, and fin. The People of the waters...the earth....and the wind. I am their goddess.

I’ll not give up. I will believe. Remember what Blade said...I must believe.

Believe.

I can fly...I know I can fly. I can do anything I believe I can do.

I am a goddess. I have a duty.

Duty.

Duty.

Duty...

The Mark on Serra’s forehead instantaneously shrank, stretched out, snapped back and spun rapidly. Serra’s body flared with searing golden light, a blazing nimbus of light in the darkness...

Elite Eevee
12th November 2004, 3:28 PM
Alright! That was a great two chapters. It would seem that Serra really does have control over her powers. I wonder if the scale has anything to do with it.

Crystallugia
12th November 2004, 11:17 PM
Yay! I finally found the thread! I already read the chapters, but like Elemental Charizam said earlier, I need to re-read, too.

I love the ending to that chapter. It's so-so sad and beautiful.

AzureFlygon
13th November 2004, 1:06 AM
Whoa! More chapters than I remember mysteriously popping up in this tread ^^

Okay, I'll post the next two. At this rate, we can probably get them through and to the new chapter in almost half the time ^^
I wrote the last part of chapter Eleven... it introduces some od my own characters. Well, everyone loves to hear about our favorite green-haired athelete! ^.-
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Chapter Ten: The Armor

Aeris was doubled over, sobbing. Blade simply sat, staring blankly at the cliff. Hydro continued to tend to Terra quietly. Shadow simply sat, his head in his hands. Raven was the first to snap.

“You will pay,” she spat at the bigger Scizor, her voice trembling with unholy fury.

“Oh really, human? I’m so scared. Ooooh,” sneered the Scizor, his red eyes flashing with electronic amusement.

Raven let out a piercing shriek, her eyes blazing purple. She lunged at the Scizor, but the Pokemon was faster. He caught Raven by the throat and lifted her up into the air. Raven began choking as the massive claw cut off her air supply. Her hands scrabbled weakly at her throat.

“Leave her alone!! Don’t hurt her!!” yelled Shadow, leaping to his feet.

BANG!

The Scizor looked down at the gaping hole in his chest with pure amazement. With little more than a sigh, he collapsed, releasing Raven. She leapt back, staring at the corpse with wide eyes.

“Look!” yelled Aeris, her finger shooting out to point. Everyone followed her gaze. As Blade saw what she pointed at, his breath caught in his throat.

Serra hovered high in the sky above the chasm. Her pearly brown hair whipped about her face. She was clad in gleaming battle armor. It covered her legs, arms and chest, but left her stomach bare. From her back sprouted beautifully arched wings. They were cream brown and streaked with gold. The air thrummed as her wings pumped, holding her aloft. She looked for all the world like an ancient angel, the stuff of legends.

“Guess who’s back?” Serra murmured quietly. The smaller Scizor backed away, his eyes bright with what seemed to be a dull fear. He was much smaller and younger than the one Serra had so effectively gotten rid of. He stood no chance. None whatsoever.

Serra gently touched down onto the cliff’s edge and stalked towards the Scizor. As she moved, her wings glowed and faded into nothingness. The Scizor suddenly stopped, realizing he had nowhere to escape. Behind him rose a craggy rock wall. Trapped.

Serra held up an armored fist.

“See this?” she said quietly, her voice full of venom.

Her fist opened to reveal wickedly hooked claws. The sunlight glinted off them, sending a dazzling display of light playing across the Scizor’s metallic chest.

Serra attacked with no warning. Moving in a blur, she brutally rammed her claws into the Scizor’s belly, and twisted. The Scizor screamed in a high piercing wail as Serra abruptly picked him up, her hand still buried to the wrist in his belly.

“Yah!”

She threw him powerfully, and the Andros slammed into the cliff wall with a sickening crunch. He slid brokenly to the floor, his body shattered. Serra strode over to him, her face emotionless. As the Scizor lay dying, she knelt over him, and sang to him in a low croon.

“Poised for flight
Wings spread bright
Spring from night
Into the sun
Don’t stop to run
She can fly like a lie
She cannot be outdone
Tell them the Goddess sent you
And will send more.”

As the Andros’ eyes misted over for the last time and his body slumped, Serra stood again and walked to the huddled group.

Aeris spoke quietly.

“What happened to you, Serra?”

Serra looked down silently and closed her icy blue eyes. Her amour glowed and faded away, leaving her clad once more in her dark skirt and jacket.

“They deserved it,” she said flatly.

Bonedancer flew up to her shoulder.

“You discovered your true duty, didn’t you? And the Goddess Armor responded to your call. When you battle, call upon the armor. But do not become a heartless murderer. Use the Armor with mercy and valor, not for massacring.”

Tears slid down Serra’s pale cheeks.

“I-I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me...” she whispered.

Shadow laughed nervously.

“Well, as long as you don’t turn against us, that’s fine-OW!”

He yelped as Raven slapped the back of his head hard. Terra moaned and stirred slightly, causing everyone to turn to her. Serra pushed past Shadow and Aeris, kneeling beside the deaf girl and speaking quietly.

“If I must use my powers to kill, I must also use them for good. Recover!”

Her eyes glowed a soft white. White particles of healing energy drifted towards Terra’s head wound, knitting the skin together and closing the wound.

“She’ll be okay, but she needs to rest for a while,” Serra declared when she was done.

Hydro stood up, looking at Serra gratefully.

“Thank you,” he spoke, with feeling. Serra only looked down with no response.

“It’s noon now. I’ll go back and get our packs so we can have lunch,” Aeris chirped, as cheerful as ever.

Later that evening, the group had made steady progress. As they stopped for another break, Serra sensed something was wrong.

“Raven, do you feel that?” she asked the psychic.

“Yes. There’s an enormous amount of psychic energy collecting above Kanto,” Raven remarked. “We’re in the Johto border now, but I can still sense it.”

“This doesn’t feel right...” muttered Bonedancer.

As the group looked down at the lands of Kanto, Aeris’ sharp eyes noticed something. Gasping, she whipped out a pair of binoculars from her pack, and frantically looked through them. First, she looked to the north of the group, towards Pewter. Then she whipped back to the river beside the ancient Power Plant. Finally, she looked down south, towards where Fuchsia city had used to be. Suddenly, she threw the binoculars down, and started swearing very loudly.

Blade was shocked at the violent outburst.

“Aeris!! What the-?”

Aeris looked up at him, her eyes despairing.

“Look. Team Rocket’s set up towers in the ruins of Pewter, the Power Plant, and the area Fuchsia used to be. The same kind of towers Zeiryu City has. Barrier-generating towers. And I’m willing to bet they set up a fourth one at where Indigo Plateau used to be.”

“Four barrier towers, each at the corners of the land? But that means-”

Blade was cut off as Raven pushed them all to the side.

“RUN!!!”

They ran down the western side of the mountains, slipping and stumbling.

“Wait, why are we entering Johto?” spluttered Shadow. Raven shoved everyone down with her psychic powers.

There was a tremendous booming sound, and a thunderclap. Everyone except Terra covered their ears. The noise was extreme. A blast of white energy roared out from behind the peaks of the mountain, roaring past the trees and the boulders. The trees shuddered and swayed, while everyone was thrown flat upon the ground.

When the thunderclaps had died away, and the dust and energy fumes had dissipated, it was then that they dared to stand up.

The sight was one no one would ever forget for a long time...

An enormous sparkling dome enclosed Kanto. The barrier was white and translucent, and the surface constantly rippled. It was identical to the one Zeiryu City had, only a thousand times bigger.

“That’s why the Scizor were on patrol. To catch any stragglers...” remarked Raven.

Shadow and Terra could only gape at the barrier dome.

“In short... no one can get in there now. And no one can get out,” Aeris spoke, her words ominously dark.

“We’ll never get to Silph Tower now,” moaned Blade. Serra and Bonedancer nodded in agreement.

“Can’t you or Raven teleport past it?” asked Shadow tersely.

“If it was possible, Team Rocket would’ve overrun Zeiryu City with teleporting Andros Alakazam.” snapped Raven. Shadow, feeling stupid, could only mumble, “Oh.”

"There’s nothing we can do. We need to go to the closest town to rest and plan our next move. The closest one is New Bark City....my home,” Aeris said happily.

“You live in New Bark City?” asked Serra curiously.

“Oh yes! I still live in my old mum’s house...it’s where I started my journey with Maverick...ah, those were the days...” said Aeris, her eyes misty as she recalled happier days.

“There’s a plus side to this....Johto is still an active place for trainers...” remarked Hydro, grinning. “Which means...”

“WE GET TO KICK SOME PASTY-FACED NEWBIE TRAINER BUTTS!! “ He and Aeris chorused together, giving each other high fives and whooping.

“Come on, let’s go to New Bark!!” yelled Aeris, running off into the woods. Whooping, Terra and Hydro followed suit. Raven rolled her eyes and chuckled as she followed. Blade looked at Serra, smiling.

“Let’s go!” yelled the distant voice of Aeris. “Or are you two going to stand there all night?”

Serra and Blade followed suit, disappearing into the woods of Johto.

Chapter Eleven: 389... or more?

As the morning sun rose, its golden pink rays shone upon a group of exhausted travelers stumbling into the small town of New Bark. The town was silent, for everyone was still in bed.

“Finally... we’re... here...” yawned Aeris, but still managed to grin. The others simply stood, with bleary eyes and yawning loudly.

“Let’s go to my house, we can get a good night’s sleep...” Aeris continued.

“Don’t you mean morning?” asked Shadow. Aeris blinked, then shrugged. As they trooped towards one of the houses, Aeris fished a key from her pocket.

Her house was simple but clean. With white painted walls and a dark green roof, it was the picture of quaintness. As they filed through the door, they dropped their packs and weapons gratefully. Aeris immediately set about arranging things. She and Terra would share Aeris’ bedroom, while Raven and Serra would share the guest’s room. Blade got the couch, while Hydro and Shadow would sleep on the living room floor. Maverick and Dark Flame chose to sleep with Aeris and Terra, while Zeronix buzzed to the ceiling, and set himself down on a beam. Risan and the others chose to sleep outside in Aeris’ expansive backyard.

As Serra settled onto the floor, she was dimly aware of Raven climbing into the guest bed. Soon, sleep claimed her.

In a few minutes, the entire household was sleeping peacefully...

NEXT MORNING...

Serra awoke first, in the early morning. Startled, she realized they’d all slept through the day before. With a zombie-like movement, she reached over to the dresser and grabbed for her curious necklace, which she had taken off the night before. With a deft swing of her arm, she slipped it over her head. Yawning, she stood and went to examine several books in a bookshelf. As she sat down, she sifted through them curiously. Serra picked out a book, and read the title.

'DAWG', by Verd A. Na

She went through them all, reading each of their titles.

'The Awakening of our Zero’, by JLX: Interesting...a Medicham...she’d never seen one, but their battle prowess was famous.

'Dark One’, by Azure F. Gon: She sifted through the pages. It was an intriguing novel, about a dark Arbok. Serra read it, fascinated. When she’d finished, she put the book down gently.

'The Mountain’, by Indigo.....it was a classic adventure...Aeris would’ve loved this...

Oooh, two more books! By Azure F. Gon!

'The Shiny Assassin’, and ‘On Pain of Difference’...

She read all the books quietly, finally finishing with a book titled, “Pokemon? Master”. It was about a Ditto masquerading as a trainer.

Serra jumped and flinched involuntarily as Raven spoke from behind her.

“That’s a good book. I love all of them...they’ve very creative.”

Serra put the books back and nodded. From the kitchen came the sound of clattering metal and yelling.

“Uh oh...looks like Ghost found the silverware drawer,” sighed Raven. “Better go avert disaster.”

The two girls went down the stairs, conversing quietly and eagerly anticipating breakfast. A white and brown blur suddenly shot past them, and they had to press against the wall to avoid being slammed into by the escaping Linoone. As Ghost rounded the corner, they could see the end of a fork sticking out of his mouth.

“Come back here you little thief!” yelled Hydro as he ran up the stairs, “You can’t escape in this house, you know!”

Serra and Raven giggled at the antics of the pokemon as they continued down the stairs. They could smell the delightful scent of waffles wafting from the kitchen, and upped the pace.

Most of the group was already there, with the exception of Hydro, who was still chasing his Linoone. Aeris had just poured the batter into the waffle irons, and that was what was now making the scent that Raven and Serra had so eagerly followed. Blade was helping Aeris with the eggs, and Terra was cooking sausage.

Serra and Raven sat down, and in a few minutes, plates full of food was set in front of them. They thanked Aeris, Blade, and Terra politely, and set about eating the delicious breakfast. Serra threw Bonedancer a sausage, and the little skeleton caught it with ease.

Hydro finally came into the kitchen, holding a fork in one hand and a Pokéball in the other. He held up the fork proudly.

“Got it,” he said.

“You could’ve let him have the fork, Hydro,” laughed Aeris, “I wouldn’t have minded that.”

“You let him have one thing, and he’ll think he can steal more,” said Hydro, shaking his head, “It’s best to not let him have anything.”

Terra gave Hydro his plate, and he sat down to eat. Soon, there was no food left on the table, and Aeris laughed.

“Well, I guess everybody was hungry!”

The group nodded, and Shadow burped. Raven looked at the boy scathingly, but sighed. She wasn’t going to bother with a remark. Bonedancer, though, wasn’t above an insult.

“Good one, Shadow,” he said sarcastically.

Aeris intervened before the two could start a fight.

“Well, let’s get around so we can explore Johto! I’m sure Serra would love to see a real trainer battle!” she said cheerfully.

The group grabbed their shoes and backpacks, and headed out to the backyard for their pokemon. The creatures were already well awake and playing in the yard, except for Risan, who was lounging in a tree with a bored look.

The trainers called their Pokemon back into their Pokéballs, and set off through New Bark Town. The houses were all cheerful little cottages, and had almost perfect green lawns. Towering above all of these was a large, official looking metal building.

“What’s that?” asked Serra curiously.

“It’s the lab for this region. Professor Elm runs it... its where I got Maverick...” answered Aeris with a wistful sigh.

The group continued into the small stretch of woods west of the town. There were a few young children with their Pokemon, but none looked much like a challenging trainer. They decided to explore deeper into the forest.

Suddenly, a creature they had never before heard off leapt in front of them. It looked almost like a large snake a first, but was bright red. Three orange prongs protruded from a helmet-like mask on its face, and its yellow eyes could be seen glaring below it. The strangest thing about the creature was that it had six legs, but that fact was dwarfed by its tail, which rose above its body like a flag. Halfway up the tail, the bones seemed to change direction, and angled away from the creature. On this part of the tail, a large, butterfly-like bug clasped tightly.

With a snort, the creature unfolded huge, thin wings that seemed almost like that of a Salamence. It stood in the path, blocking the way of the group in an obvious challenge.

“What is that?!” exclaimed Aeris.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to catch it!” said Hydro.

The creature growled, revealing large, sharp teeth. Hydro stepped forward; Pokéball at the ready and a hard look on his face. Suddenly, the creature seemed to flinch, and looked off into the bushes.

“Glory, Glory where are you?” came a faint voice, “I told you not to run off!”

“Novasect!” roared the creature.

There was a rustling in the bushes, and a teenage girl came out with a haggard look. She had spiked, green tinted hair, and her eyes were a deep chocolate brown. The girl wore a purple tee-shirt, and purple shorts with green stripes. She looked at the scene curiously.

“What’s going on?! What are you doing to my Novasect?!” she asked angrily.

“We weren’t doing anything to it!” said Shadow with a snort, “It jumped out in front of us!”

“Oh, did she?” said the girl. She turned to the creature with a puzzled look, “Why did you do that, Glory?”

“Nova, Novasect!” growled the Pokemon, looking at the group challengingly.

“Hmm... she must want to battle!” said the girl finally.

She looked at the group, and smiled.

“I’m sorry, I must be acting very rude! My name is Tora, and I come from the Starian region. I just came to Johto yesterday, and I’m afraid I don’t know much about this place yet. Glory keeps running off to challenge random people, and I’m having a hard time getting her to stay in one place!”

“Oh, I have a pokemon that’s sort of like that,” said Aeris with a grin, “My Totodile hates to stay calm!”

“So, which one of you would like to battle my team?” asked Tora with a determined look in her eye.

“I will,” said Hydro, “My name is Hydro, and let’s make it a three on three match.”

“Okay Hydro, get ready for defeat!” said Tora as she sent Glory into the field.

The rest of the group took seats of some fallen logs to watch the battle, and Hydro sent out his first Pokemon. With a flash of red light, Mirage jumped into the battle with sparks flying off his spines.

“Glory, use Swords Dance!”

“Mirage, Double Team!”

The Novasect leapt into the air, and twirled in a graceful aerial ballet. Mirage ignored the other Pokemon, focusing on creating images of himself all over the field.

“Glory, cover the field with Fire Spin!”

“Mirage, get out of the way and use Thunderbolt!”

The Jolteon, using his tremendous speed, charged up the electric attack faster than the other Pokemon could react. Glory was hit with the electricity, and writhed in the air. She fell to the ground, creating a huge cloud of dust that covered the battleground.

Suddenly, a swirl of flame lanced through the dust. The Novasect rose into the air once more, fire spewing from her mouth as she used the powerful attack to cut her opponent’s speed and evasiveness.

“Glory, you know what to do!”

“Mirage, use Double Team again!”

As the group watched in awe, the fire Pokemon twirled around and sent the butterfly attached to its tail into the cyclone of fire. There was no sound, and suddenly the fiery tornado dissipated. Hydro looked in shock as he saw his Jolteon struggling against the butterfly, which was attached to its face.

The wings of the bug glowed, and suddenly Mirage stopped struggling. With a small squeak, the butterfly released its claws and flew back to the Novasect, wings still glowing with stolen energy.

“Mirage, return!” said Hydro, “Go, Ghost!”

Tora called Glory back to her side, and sent out another Pokemon. This one looked like vines and leaves that were shaped into a strange, dragon-like creature with four tails and bug eyes. This one wiggled the antenna on its head curiously, planting its leaf-like feet on the ground.

“Vinic!” it squeaked.

“Pepper, use Poison Gas!”

“Ghost, keep that thing guessing with Double Team!”

The Vinic breathed in to power up her attack, but when she looked around her, there were dozens of Linoone! Pepper choked on the attack, wondering which one to aim for.

Suddenly, a force hit her from behind, and she looked up to see the white form of her opponent as he ran away. With a snort, the Vinic sent a vine out and tripped the other Pokemon. As he went down, she sent a cloud of sickly purple gas over him.

The Linoone choked on the gas, trying to breath. As he was occupied, Pepper used her wings to send a dozen small, sharp leaves into the cloud. Ghost shrieked as his skin was sliced by the razor sharp edges, and he leapt out of the gas cloud with an angry growl.

“Ghost, use Headbutt!”

“Pepper, try to fly!”

The Linoone shot forward with a snarl and slammed into the Vinic before she could escape. The grass-type was thrown across the field, and she hit the ground hard. With a surprised squeak, she looked at her opponent again.

Ghost was already coming at her, and she scrambled to get out of the way. Pepper barely avoided another Headbutt, but was too tired to avoid the Linoone’s Bite attack. She tried to rise after the assault, but fell to the ground, fainted.

“Pepper, return!” said Tora as she recalled her Pokemon, “you did a great job.”

“Come on back, Ghost,” said Hydro, also calling back his Pokemon.

“Okay, go Midiya!” yelled Tora as she threw her last Pokéball onto the field.

“It’s your turn, Risan!” called Hydro as he sent out the Grovyle.

The creature that emerged from Tora’s Pokéball sent a shower of glowing sparkles over the area. It looked almost like a plesiosaur, but had large, Manta-like wings. A large sail rose over its back, and it had a red crest on its rounded head. A silver stripe ran across its shoulders, and it had large, deep green eyes. Other than that, its skin was a light, pinkish lavender color.

“Foluke,” it said calmly as it floated in the air.

“Risan, use Double Team, and then Leaf Blade!” called Hydro.

“Midiya, use Psychic!”

Risan immediately created doubles of himself all over the battlefield, and began to move in for his attack. The shining Foluke made no move, and merely stared at the many copies. Suddenly, Midiya’s eyes glowed, and all the illusions vanished.

The Grovyle froze just feet away from his opponent. His body began to glow in red light, and he was thrown into a tree across the field. The Foluke began to move towards him, eyes still glowing eerily as she preformed a Mean Look attack.

Risan suddenly leapt up and sliced his leaf blades across the Foluke’s sides. Midiya screamed in pain, faltering in her flight. The Grovyle became a whirling storm of kicking and slashing claws, which cut the psychic Pokemon down under the assault.

Midiya growled, numerous cuts and lacerations oozing blood. She shot towards the tired Grovyle, eyes glowing red. Risan answered by raising his leaves, and the two met in the middle of the field.

There was a huge explosion of dust as both attacks met, and a chorus of screams and growls could be heard within the cloud. Both trainers waited with anxiety, wondering what Pokemon would win the struggle. As the dust began to clear, they strained their eyes...

Both Risan and Midiya lay in the chaos, fainted. Tora and Hydro called them back, and Tora smiled.

“That was a great battle, Hydro!” she said, “I didn’t think it would end in a draw!”

“Neither did I!” agreed Hydro.

<Are your Pokemon okay?> signed Terra to both trainers.

“We ought to get them to a Pokemon center,” said Aeris.

“Do you mind if I come along?” asked Tora hesitantly, “I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the area, and I don’t know where the Pokemon centers are...”

“I don’t mind,” said Aeris. She turned to the others, “What about you guys?”

The others agreed, and Aeris turned back to Tora.

“It’s alright with us! I’m Aeris, by the way.”

“My name is Raven,” said Raven. She gestured to Terra, “and this is Terra.”

“I’m Shadow!”

“My name is Blade,”

“I’m Serra,” said Serra quietly.

“And I already know Hydro,” concluded Tora, “Thanks, everybody, for letting me tag along.”

“No problem,” said Shadow, “we get new people tagging along all the time!”

Raven reached back and smacked the boy on the head. He yelped, rubbing the sore spot she had created. The dark-haired psychic smiled, and the group continued down the path to the Pokemon center, one new member trailing curiously behind with her strange Pokemon at her side

Gatene
13th November 2004, 9:26 PM
Chapter 12: Still a Pokémon
By: Spectreon


Still in Johto, the group travels into an annual event of Pokémon battles. It only takes one bad trainer to ruin everything.

A while later, everyone took a break to get their breath. It was a long walk, made more difficult by having to cut a swath through the long, tough grass. Fortunately, it was peaceful, and there were no Andros to worry about. To the battle-worn group, the sudden peace was almost eerie. They had but all forgotten what it was like to live in peace.

Bonedancer suddenly screeched, startling everyone.

“Bonedancer! What are you doing?” Serra yelled once she overcame her initial shock.

“The Missingno call to me. I must answer their call.”

“You’re leaving? But..why?” Serra asked, aghast at this new development.

Bonedancer bowed his head slightly.

“I have completed my task. I have sufficiently trained you. It saddens me to go, but I must. I will come back, I promise.”

“You truly mean it?” asked Serra, her eyes bright with unshed tears. Bonedancer nodded, and affectionately nuzzled against Serra’s cheek from his perch on her shoulder.

“What’s happening?” asked Tora, puzzled. “Is that a Pokemon?”

“Sort of...he’s a Missingno.” explained Hydro. Tora still looked confused, so Hydro began explaining.

Meanwhile, everyone was bidding farewell to Bonedancer. Aeris inquired something she had been wondering.

“How can you go back? Don’t tell me you can go through the Kanto Barrier!”

Bonedancer clacked his jaw in amusement, and flapped his wings, launching into flight. The group waved farewell, and he dipped his wing in response. Serra could not help feeling regret as the young Missingno vanished into the winds.

Serra sighed slightly, and the group quietly moved along the path towards Cherrygrove Town.

As the sparkling cherry-red roofs of Cherrygrove rose into view, the group could hear the loud noises of what was unmistakably a pokemon battle. Aeris brightened at this.

“I forgot about that! Once a month, Cherrygrove holds a gathering for new trainers to battle each other! Remember that, Maverick? There was this girl called Trish, she had a Cyndaquil and a Sentret, but you beat them....”

As she rambled on happily with Maverick, they entered Cherrygrove. Serra looked around, amazed. There was a huge banner flapping in the breeze across the entrance, which proclaimed in bold letters:

CHERRYGROVE ANNUAL TRAINER’S GATHERING

There were hundreds of trainers mingling. Mostly young trainers, but all looked equally determined. There were a few older trainers, too. Some chatted about Pokemon, but mostly, they held battles.

Raven shook her head, frowning slightly.

“I can’t believe they’re having these kind of events, with Kanto in ruins! Don’t they realize Team Rocket will eventually attack them? And here they are, having pokemon battles like they have all the time in the world!”

Hydro consolingly placed his hand on her shoulder.

“Raven, you must remember that Pokemon are the center of our lives. They do it to hone their battling technique.”

Raven continued to grumble slightly, but she let it go. The group wove through the throngs of people and made their way towards Cherrygrove Pokemon Center. As the glass doors slid open, they were met by a friendly nurse, who retrieved Hydro and Tora’s pokeballs, and disappeared through a back door.

The young adults gratefully sat in the chairs along the wall. Raven and Shadow immediately began bickering, as usual.

“Aeris....may I ask you something?” Serra spoke up quietly from her armchair. Aeris looked up from her arrows, her face attentive.

“Am I allowed to battle other trainers?”

Hydro’s head snapped up, his expression one of surprise. Raven and Shadow stopped bickering and looked at Serra, astonished. Terra only looked at Serra, her eyes full of newfound interest. Tora looked around, puzzled. Blade simply sighed.

Aeris blinked, and for a long beat, said nothing. After a while, she spoke thoughtfully.

“Well.....that makes sense. You can’t exactly be classified as a human-not that it’s a bad thing, of course. As long as you can control your powers. Remember what Bonedancer said.”

Serra nodded satisfied. “I wish to try a trainer battle. Would anyone like to spar with me?”

At her words, the three Champions blanched, and shook their heads energetically. Serra looked slightly disappointed, but cheered up when Raven reminded her there was a entire town of idiot trainers out there that she could spar with.

The nurse bustled back to them, beaming as she gave Hydro and Tora back their pokemon.

“Here you go, children! All healed and fit!”

As they trooped out the door, Aeris heard Raven mutter under her breath.

“Do we LOOK like bloody children?!?”

As the morning sun hit their faces, Aeris shouted above the uproar.

“All right, people! Let’s have some fun!!”

The group broke apart to mingle among the trainers. Serra chose to tag along with Aeris and Terra, while the boys went off. Raven and Tora had disappeared into the crowd.

Aeris sighed happily, stretched as they walked.

“I feel like I’m a youngster now!” she chirped happily. Maverick leapt upon her head, so he was able to see above the crowd.

<You DO have the mentality of a youngster.> Terra signed, her eyes dancing with amusement. She neatly ducked under Aeris’ swipe.

Suddenly, a boy stood in front of them, halting their progress.

“Wanna battle?” he said, in a high-pitched voice, brandishing his Pokéball.

“Okay, but prepare to get your arse whooped!” grinned Aeris. The crowd parted, making a space for Aeris and the boy.

“My name is Ben, and I’m gonna win!” yelled the young trainer. “One on one?”

Aeris nodded, her eyes narrowing with glee. The boy did an elaborate throwing routine. The ball arced through the air, crashing against the ground to reveal a....

“CLEFFA??? Are you serious?? A Cleffa?” Aeris howled with laughter. The boy scowled as his small, pink star-shaped pokemon let out a small squeak from the ground next to his feet.

“Psht. Go, Skyfang!” Aeris’ arm whipped out in a blur, too fast for Serra to follow. Her Aerodactyl exploded from his Pokéball, roaring loudly. The crowd ducked as he swooped over them, wheeling around to land heavily by Aeris. Skyfang’s eyes widened with disbelief as he looked down at the small Cleffa.

<Let’s go. > chuckled Terra. <I want to find a victim.> Serra followed Terra, slightly disappointed that she could not see the battle. As she walked, there was a huge roar behind her, then a loud bang. The Cleffa flew past Serra, swirls in its eyes.

A few minutes later, Aeris caught up with them, grinning hugely, pocketing a handful of coins. The three girls wandered among the crowds, watching the various battles going on around them. As Serra watched, she saw Tora’s familiar Glory wheeling in the sky, locked in battle against a Fearow. Terra met another girl who was looking for a fight. The crowd separated once more as Terra and her opponent took up battle stances.

“I choose you, Caramel!” yelled the girl as she took out a ball. There was a flash as a Azumarril appeared before the girl.

Terra nodded, and she expertly threw her ball in a smooth, practiced swing. Zeronix appeared upon the battleground, buzzing in anticipation. Terra rapped out a series of commands, and Zeronix grew silent, focusing. The crowd gasped in admiration as a circle of phantom-swords whooshed around the Ninjask, whirling and clashing in a elaborate war dance. The girl sniffed in an annoyingly superior voice as she spoke.

“Caramel, she’s deaf! We ought to win this easily. Use Bubblebeam!”

Terra’s arms sprang to life, relaying commands to Zeronix that only the two of them understood.

Ten Ninjask appeared on the field in an instant. Each emitted a buzzing noise, and they all cast identical shadows. Serra was in awe, for it took an expert Double Teamer to do that. She herself had difficulty doing that.

The Azumarril looked around in confusion, his long blue ears rotating in hopes of somehow detecting the real Zeronix.

Suddenly, the real Zeronix shot towards the aqua rabbit, his wings making a squealing noise not unlike that of a fighter jet. The Azumarril instantly leapt at Zeronix, and the two collided in an explosion of Fury Cutters and Bubblebeams. The Azumarril fell to the ground, unconscious. Snarling, the girl recalled her pokemon, and threw out her second Pokéball.

A massive Gyarados exploded into existence, roaring and flaring his fins. Serra could tell instantly this Gyarados was poorly trained and obliviously didn’t listen to his trainer.

“Gyarados, get him with a Ice Beam!” yelled the girl, a hint of desperation in her voice.

The Gyarados ignored her, and hurtled towards the small insect, his savage jaws wide open. He bit down onto Zeronix. The Ninjask shrilled in pain as the Gyarados savagely shook his head from side to side.

“Gyarados, stop! Please stop!” screamed her trainer, but to no avail. Terra looked at Zeronix helplessly. She ran forwards, but stopped, realizing how stupid that would have been.
Aeris was beside herself with fury. Livid, she sprang forwards.

“YOU IDIOT!! HOW COULD YOU USE A GYARADOS YOU HAVEN’T EVEN TRAINED PROPERLY?!” she screamed at the girl. The girl was sobbing as she watched her Gyarados savage the Ninjask.

There was a loud, crunching noise. The Gyarados dropped his prey and roared in pain. Terra sprang forwards and scooped up Zeronix, who was bleeding nonstop. She shoved past the crowd as she sprinted to the Pokemon Center.

The Gyarados snarled and twisted to see who had hit him. Serra hovered in the air, clad in her Armor. Her eyes were determined and resolute.

The crowd erupted in a uproar, shocked at this new development. Serra ignored them all, her eyes fixed on the Gyarados.

“Gyasha rados gyaraaaa!!” she rapped out. The Gyarados instantly reared back, as astonished as the crowd. Whimpering in shame, he retreated backwards under Serra’s stern glare. Her trainer seized this opportunity to recall her Gyarados, and ran away, disappearing in the crowd.

Serra touched down, and instantly the crowd quieted. Murmurs ran through the people as they fought and jostled each other to get a better look at this strange pokemon-human.

Serra looked around, and fear rose in her eyes as everyone gazed at her, muttering and pointing. A young trainer stepped forwards, clad in the standard outfit. His eyes glittered greedily as he held up a Ultra Ball.

“You must be a new pokemon, and I’m going to catch you!” he stated, his cheeks flushed with excitement. Serra stepped back, confused, seeming to shrink into herself. She was frightened, with everyone staring at her like she was an object to be gawked at. Catcalls rose from the now-hostile crowd as all the male trainers leered at her armored body.

Aeris tried to fight her way to Serra. but there were too many people. The trainer who had stepped forwards raised the Ultra ball, and threw it.

Serra was caught by surprise, for she had not been taught what to do if a ball was thrown at her. The ball sailed through the air, and struck Serra’s forehead with a loud crack. Serra yelped and clutched at her forehead. Suddenly, she shrieked in pain as her body glowed red. The ball hummed as Serra was absorbed into the ball, and snapped shut in midair.

The Ultra ball bounced down onto the ground, all eyes upon it.

It trembled once....twice....

Thrice.

DING!

The crowd erupted into a triumphant roar, congratulating the trainer with his feat.
-------------------------------------------------------
Chapter 13: Goddess Bait
By Spectreon


The Goddess breaks free, and makes a spactacular entrance back into Johto, and displays yet another spectacular feat by defeating her captor's Pokémon. Now, Team Rocket is on the rise again, with a new leader to accompany it, and he has his sights set on the Goddess. Using Andros as his key to capture her, his operatives find more than just what they were sent to get.

The crowd surged forward, watching as the trainer slowly approached his newly gained prize, his eyes shining with anticipation and glee. As he slowly bent, his hand reaching out to grasp the Ultra ball, everyone gasped.

The ball had begun to tremble violently, steam hissing from its seams. The crowd and the trainer stepped back nervously as the ball shook more violently than ever. Hairline cracks spider-webbed throughout the glossy black-and yellow surface of the ball, and they could hear its internal gyros squealing.

KA-BOOM!!

The ball exploded, showering the crowd with metal fragments. Out of the smoke, Serra jumped straight up, executed a perfect flip in midair and landed feet first on the ground in a crouch.

By this time, Blade and everyone had rejoined Aeris, watching the battle unfold. Terra was still at the Center, however. Blade was transfixed by the grace and agility Serra moved with, the sunlight gleaming off her sky-blue armor. Raven passed her hand back and fro over Blade’s eyes, but he gave no response, to her great amusement.

Serra opened her mouth, revealing wickedly glinting ivory fangs. Wings erupted from her back, vivid blue. Each icy blue feather shone on the sunlight as a thin layer of ice coated them.

The trainer, having gotten over his initial shock, whipped out a Pokéball. A Flygon erupted from it, roaring. His wings blurred and hummed as the Flygon rose in the air majestically. Serra pumped her wings, rising in the air to meet the Flygon.

Serra stiffened, her wings outspread to their fullest extent. Her arms crossed her chest in an X shape. A faint outline of a green triangle formed in front of her, and flared bright green.

“Tri Attack!!” Serra yelled, flinging out her arms.

The triangle howled as it shot out a triangular beam, roaring towards the Flygon. The Flygon was hit pointblank, and spiraled down towards the ground, his wings limp. He hit the ground in a puff of dust.

However, the Flygon was a more experienced fighter than Serra and recovered quickly. He raised himself up again into the air. Golden particles of light collected at his mouth as he charged up a Hyperbeam at Serra’s direction.

But....she wasn’t there anymore.

Puzzled, the Flygon looked up, and his newborn attack died out in his mouth.

Serra was high above him, going down towards him dreamily. Her wings were again stretched to their fullest length. Her knees were bent and pulled up, the ankles locked together. Around her was a massive glittering aura of white sparkles.

The crowd gasped in admiration, dazzled by this display.

The Flygon paled, and with a sense of hopeless dread, tried to backmill, his wings pumping furiously.

“Icy Wind!!” howled Serra. The cloud of ice shards shrieked through the air, with deadly efficiency.

There was a slight thump as the Flygon thudded limply on the ground, pierced by a million shards of ice.

Snarling, the trainer withdrew his pokemon, and sent out another ball.

“OYSTER!! CLOY CLOY STEEEERRRRRR!”

The armored behemoth roared out her battle challenge, her spikes extending, then settling back.

Serra’s wings faded, and she landed nimbly upon the ground, judging this new opponent.

“Cloyster, Spike Cannon!!” yelled the trainer.

“CLOYSTEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!” A deadly arc of spikes shot out, too fast to be seen. Serra was caught by surprise, and barely had time to dodge. All but one spike missed.

The crowd drew a collective breath as they saw the result. Blade moaned, while Aeris gasped.

Serra looked down. The end of a long, black spike jutted out her stomach. The other end stuck out the back.

“Typical. I get hit in the one exposed place...my stomach.” thought Serra angrily as she grasped the end of the spike with both hands. Drawing a deep breath, she yanked it out, groaning with pain. Her breath came out in harsh gasps, and she threw the bloodied spike at the Cloyster. The Cloyster clamped her shell shut, and the spike bounced off harmlessly.

Serra put her hand to the gaping wound, and concentrated.

“Recover..” Her hand glowed white, and the pain dissipated instantly. As she drew her hand away, the crowd saw her stomach was smooth and whole again.

“Cloyster, try Spike Cannon again!” yelled the trainer, a definite tone of annoyance in his voice.

But Serra was faster. She leapt up, making a split second decision.

“Cloyster is water, weak to grass. Need a fast attack that can go through the gap in her armor...gotcha. Leaf Blade should do it.” she thought.

She raised her arms to hug her shoulders, and her eyes became a dull greenish color.

Serra whipped her arms out, and a vertical boomerang-shaped leaf spun out, too fast for the Cloyster to react. It hissed through the air and right through the small crack, where the actual Cloyster itself was hidden.

The Cloyster yelped and sagged, her carapace going limp. With a clattering noise, she fell over, immobile.

As the trainer recalled it and stomped away, Serra turned to face Aeris, her armor glowing and disappearing. A huge grin was upon her face as she trotted forwards to meet the group. It was now afternoon, but the sky still hovered high in the sky.

MEANWHILE.....BACK ON MOUNT SILVER...

A Team Rocket operative, clad in black garb and boots, lounged in the Kanto side of the mountain. He perked up as he saw three large cargo heliplanes, which were crosses between a transport plane and a helicopter, head towards his direction. The man stood and waved, beckoning the aircraft to him. The air thrummed as the heliplanes landed upon a rocky ledge, the horizontal blades scything through the air. Sparse weeds upon the ledge swayed in the breeze caused by the roaring engines. Their cargo doors slid open, revealing their bounty.

A small gap opened in the barrier next to the operative at the exact same time.

A seething swarm of Andros Rattata erupted out from all three cargo heliplanes, squealing and chittering. They were among the most dangerous of the Andros, for they worked as a collective mass and they were unstoppable. Their metal fangs snapped up and tore anything to shreds, and moved on, literally like a disease, leaving ruin and destruction in their wake. The swarm of Andros squeezed through the hole, faster than an eye’s blink.

The operative gazed after the retreating tails of the swarm as the gap swirled shut once more. As he turned, a man stepped out from one of the heliplanes.

His hair was dark brown and long, while his eyes grey. He wore the officious tunic and cloak declaring him as the Giovanni of Team Rocket. Out of respect for Giovanni, the famed man who had started Team Rocket, all his predecessors were referred to as Giovanni.

In two years, this man had transformed. No longer was he the double-agent scientist Dr. Dorian, secret agent to Team Rocket. In the space of time following the Goddess’ escape, Dorian had climbed ruthlessly to the top, finally becoming the Giovanni after the previous Giovanni had died of unknown and suspicious causes. Dorian was intent on only one goal: Capture the Goddess.

The operative trotted up to Dorian and bowed in respect. Dorian’s steely grey eyes narrowed.

“I received a disturbing report earlier. Two Scizor found dead on patrol duty.”

The operative paled slightly and nodded.

“Yes, my master. Our men found them a coupla days ago. One Scizor had a hole blown clean through his chest. The other....every bone in his body was shattered, and his internal organs were maimed. Seems like someone stuck a huge fork in his stomach and twisted it like spaghetti.” he shuddered.

Dorian’s eyes widened. Could it be? He spoke quickly and curtly.

“Operative, send a capture unit in our largest transport heliplane. Tell them to bring their finest men and equipment. Have them follow the Andros. If they see a girl that has..powers...capture her and bring her to our base in Goldenrod City. But do not kill her.”

The man saluted and nodded. With a swish of his cloak, Dorian turned on his heel and strode towards his heliplane. A image of a beautiful grayish-brown haired girl with haunting blue eyes was set in his mind’s eye.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Geoffrey was an hermit, an old man who lived alone in a small cottage to the east of New Bark. He lived simply and peacefully with his Dunsparce. That afternoon, he chose to go out and enjoy the scenic beauty of his surroundings while smoking his daily pipe. As he sat quietly on his rocking chair on his porch, he felt an unusual sense of foreboding. As he gazed up upon the mountainside, he noticed the smallest trembles of the plants. That’s odd...he thought.

Uneasily, he squinted at the bushes on the slope of the mountain. They were trembling violently. Something unseen was moving at an impossibly rapid speed down the mountain, something big.

The elderly man stood up and walked down his porch, leaning onto his cane. The bushes on the edge of the clearing where the slope ended were now shaking. A pair of glowing red eyes emerged from the bush, and Geoffrey sighed in relief. A Rattata, that was all....two? No, three...four..five! Ten! Fourteen? Something wasn’t right...they were all black and grey, and their eyes were an bright, unnatural red. Their fur seemed to be thin, short wires...And those fangs..

“Rattata rattata rattata rattata RATTATA!!!”

From within the house, the ancient Dunsparce stirred. He could hear a loud screaming from outside. The Dunsparce stiffened as he heard the distinct sounds of ripping. As abruptly as it had came, the screaming stopped.

Horrified, the Dunsparce inched towards the front door. Now he could hear a faint scrabbling. The pokemon flap on the door trembled, and a jet black Rattata stuck his head through. The Dunsparce froze with terror...for the Rattata’s fangs were soaked in blood. The Rattata’s red eyes scanned the room...and came to a stop on the Dunsparce. He squealed, and a thunderous torrent of Andros Rattata erupted through the flap, their fangs and claws ripping into the flesh of the Dunsparce.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New Bark rang with the screams of humans and Pokemon alike as they fled for their lives. Buildings collapsed, swallowed by flames as the Andros Cyndaquil slowly, resolutely advanced. The Rattata were running free, hunting down people. Bands of three, four Andros Rattata leapt on passing people, ripping into them, and soaking New Bark in the blood of innocents. The maddened Rattata were unstoppable. The flames roared hungrily at the ashes of a once-glorious town.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra stiffened, her head snapping to look beyond the distance. So did other people. Smoke was rising from the direction of New Bark. And they could hear a faint scrabbling growing louder by the minute. Aeris, Terra and everyone were huddled around a table outside. As the afternoon had grown late, trainers slowly left, until there were only about a hundred people left.

“Do you hear that?” asked Serra quietly. Terra shook her head, drawing laughter from Hydro and Aeris. But Raven nodded, her piercing purple eyes clouded with worry.

Screams echoed from beyond the entrance to Cherrygrove. Alarmed, everyone stood, gazing at the entrance. A band of people ran into, screaming. They were survivors from New Bark.

“Everyone, run for your lives!!” A man screamed. “Team Rocket has attacked!”

Cherrygrove erupted in a uproar as people turned to flee. But too late. The first wave of Rattata slammed into Cherrygrove, leaping upon those closest to the entrance.

Aeris swore and drew her arrows. Terra stood next to her, drawing her guns. Both fired missiles into the advancing swarm. As Rattata and Cyndaquil dropped, more erupted in their place. Shadow whipped out his katana, as did Blade with his sword. Both blades sang as they lopped off heads and legs, but there were simply too many. People’s screams rang harshly, above the maddened squeals of the Rattata. Some trainers, including Tora, sent out their pokemon to join the battle. Hydro stood behind Terra, protecting her from Andros which she wouldn’t hear coming behind her.

Raven stood by herself, and was blasting off telekinetic waves at the Rattata as they surrounded her at all sides but she kept them at bay. Serra had activated her armor again, and flew high in the sky upon draconic wings, strafing the Andros with blasts of fire. She spun in the air, and a ball of rippling heat formed between her clawed hands. The heat spun into a roaring fireball, and Serra lobbed the Fire Blast at a group of Rattata. She grinned as the fire exploded against them, and the shrieks of dying Rattata rose to join the noise of the battle.

A lull came in the battle. Blade ran his hand across his sweaty forehead, and looked up at Serra. His eyes widened with horror. He alone saw the danger. A heliplane rose silently behind Serra, and only he saw. The door opened, and a man with a rifle knelt, taking aim at the back of Serra’s head.

The cry of, “Serra, look out!” died on his lips as he locked eyes with Serra. For a moment that seemed like eternity, they were lost in their gaze.

The sharp report of the rifle rang out, and Serra jerked. The tranquilizer dart lodged in the base of her neck took its effect, and Serra’s eyes closed. Her wings crumpled and faded, and Serra fell to earth. Her body tumbled and fell head over heels, and as everyone turned to look, the heliplane roared under Serra, catching her neatly.

“Nooooo!!” screamed Blade. He fought against the Rattata savagely, hacking and slashing a path, trying to get to the heliplane that had ensnared Serra.

Raven saw the heliplane as it dove to catch Serra. Her eyes blazed purple. A rippling wave erupted from her, blowing away the Andros in her radius. Raven ran through the stunned Rattata, and made a mighty leap as the heliplane came its closest to the ground in its dive to catch Serra. She landed, her fingers grasping the rim of the open cargo door. Black gloved hands reached out and grabbed the psychic, pulling her in. The cargo door closed with a swift snap and a click.

The heliplane’s engines roared to life as it flew up and away from Cherrygrove, bearing two new prisoners...Serra and Raven. Goddess and Psychic.

Gatene
15th November 2004, 9:22 AM
Chapter 14: Psychically Speaking
By: Razor (aka AzureFlygon)


Tora sends out even more new Pokémon to help the others with defending innocents and their Pokémon from the abominations known as Andros. Upon finishing the battle, her Foluke sends all of their minds into the heliplane that holds the Goddess and Raven. They all then take flight into the sky on their Pokémon, some borrowed from Terra, and they are attacked by the most dangerous Andros they have faced yet.

The battle raged on, for the Andros Rattata and Cyndaquil were not creatures that gave up easily. Metal fur flashed in the twilight, blinding a few unlucky trainers. The cries of injured Pokemon wavered from the battlefield, mixing with the screams of the humans.

“Glory, keep using Flamethrower!” cried Tora desperately from the safety of a rooftop, where her Novasect had dropped her for easier maneuverability.

The Novasect flew above the battle; burning away the metal beasts that were getting too close to exposed humans and Pokemon. Tora could tell that her Pokemon was tiring, though, and knew that she must send out her others.

“Midiya, Reaper, Eternity! Help them out!” she said as she threw three more Pokéballs onto the field.

Along with the Foluke, two other strange Pokemon emerged beside the determined girl. The first was bright yellow, and looked like a seven-foot centipede. It had a round head, and large, bright eyes. The hundreds of legs running down its body were shaped like lightning bolts, and it had a distinct, black stripe running down its back.

“Electipide!” it growled.

The other looked like a tiger, but was bright red in color. It had green stripes, and on its forehead and tail there were green spikes that seemed like grass. It had wide, intelligent eyes that immediately grasped the situation.

“Naihail!” it roared as it sent a spurt of flame across the battle.

The creature looked satisfied as it heard the pained screams of metal Rattata and Cyndaquil. With a lightning fast move, the Electipide darted forward with sparks flying from its body. A giant lightning bolt sliced through the sky, incinerating dozens of the Andros.


‘What are these things, anyway?’ thought Tora as she directed her Pokemon. She silently wished that her two other creatures had attacks that would affect the monsters, but knew that she had to make do with what she had.

“Midiya, help those people down there!” she commanded, looking at the shining Foluke.

The Pokemon nodded and floated down among the chaos. A red glow suddenly enveloped all the humans that weren’t fighting the Andros, and lifted them to the safety of the rooftop where Tora stood. Suddenly, the girl noticed her new friends fighting against the menace, and also a large helicopter-like aircraft coming up behind a flying person that appeared to be Serra!

She watched as Serra suddenly fell to earth, and as the helicopter/plane moved to catch her. A loud scrabbling noise suddenly brought her back to her senses, however, and she saw with horror that the machines were now attacking the base of the building with gleaming teeth and claws, trying to reach the victims beyond.

“Eternity, Thunder!” she cried.

The Electipide jumped to respond, sending another bolt of lightning down into the enemy’s midst. The supply of metal Rattata and Cyndaquil seemed to be inexhaustible, for no matter how many the Pokemon felled, there was always more to take their place! The normal Pokemon were getting exhausted!

Trainers below were beginning to fail in their marks and commands, and the Rattata were starting to get through. Luckily, Midiya was there to transport those in danger to the safety of the roof. Finally, the metal Pokemon stopped coming out of the forest, and Tora knew the end was near. She looked to the sky, checking on her Novasect.

Glory wasn’t there. With growing panic, Tora looked all over the battlefield, hoping to glimpse her Pokemon. Suddenly, she saw her. The fire-type was flanking their newfound friends, helping to hold off the wave of murderous rats as the last few scrambled through the clearing.

Suddenly, there was a pained roar, and Tora looked to the other side of the field to see a Charizard go down under the assault. She was about to give a command, but Reaper was faster. The Naihail leapt from the roof and tore through the mob of flashing teeth and claws, burning all as he made his way to the target. With a snarl, the fire/grass type brought his formidable claws to bear on the metal creatures.

With a small shudder, Tora looked elsewhere; Reaper could easily take care of himself. The group was finally out of the Rattata mob, and the last remaining Andros were fleeing though the forest. The clearing was littered with the dead bodies of thousands of metal Pokemon, and a few normal ones...

The people on the roof began to climb down the ladders that were situated on the wall, and Tora called the two Pokemon that were still on the roof back into their Pokéballs. With an experienced movement, she leapt off the roof and landed lightly on the ground below.

Her friends were not far off, and she ran to meet them. As she looked at them, she saw their faces were tired, and their eyes were welled with sadness. She could guess why, for two of their number were now gone. Serra had been taken... and Raven was who-knows-where.

“Are you all okay?” she asked, hoping that they wouldn’t be angry with her for asking.

“Except for a few slashes, I think we’re all pretty much in one piece,” answered the blonde-haired girl, Aeris.

“What about Serra? Raven?” asked Blade with a choked voice, “How do we know if they’re alright?”

“We don’t,” said Hydro, “all we can hope is that they can take care of themselves!”

“We have to save them!” said Shadow with a determined look. His hands were clenched in fists, and Tora could tell he was trying very hard to remain calm, “We have to save Raven!”

“But how will we know where they are?” asked Aeris with an exasperated sigh, “They flew off in that Heliplane! We’ll be lucky if they aren’t all the way to Kanto by now!”

Tora looked away as Glory nudged her arm, and she gave the Pokemon a questioning look. The Novasect snorted, and reached forward with delicate jaws to grab one of the Pokéballs at the girl’s belt. Suddenly, Tora realized something.

“You say Raven is a Psychic?” she asked suddenly.

The other looked at her, and Aeris nodded.

“I have someone that may be able to help!” exclaimed the girl, tossing the Pokéball into the air.

With the customary spray of sparkles, Midiya appeared in their midst. The Shining Foluke floated silently up to Tora, a questioning look in her intelligent eyes.

“When I found Midiya five years ago,” began Tora, “I found that she could communicate Psychically with humans, but only if the human had some degree of Psychic power already within them. The reason she is able to do this is because she was a project of Team Ebony, which is a break-off of Team Rocket that moved into Starian. She was spliced with some sort of strange Pokemon before she was born, and was somehow infused with legendary powers. If we try, we can contact Raven or Serra and find out where they are headed!”

“That’s worth a try,” said Aeris, “Let’s do it!”

“Now, Midiya will have to connect with all our minds, and it may feel strange, but don’t be alarmed. The process shouldn’t harm you.”

“Shouldn’t?” squeaked Shadow as the Foluke’s eyes began to glow.

The surrounding suddenly changed, and the entire group found themselves in some sort of blue mist. Another form flickered to existence beside them, and suddenly the group was staring at Raven and an unconscious Serra. Blade instantly ran to the girl’s side, trying to wake her.

“What is this place?” demanded Raven as she looked around her.

“Raven, it’s us!” said Aeris.

“Aeris? Blade? Shadow? Why are all of you here?”

“Tora’s Foluke helped us connect with your mind, so we can find out where you are,” explained Hydro.

“I don’t really know where we are, but I know where we’re headed,” said Raven darkly.

“Where?” asked Shadow.

“We’re headed for the Rocket base in Goldenrod. We don’t know what for, though,” she replied.

“We have to go, now,” said Tora suddenly as she received a silent message from her Pokemon, “Midiya can’t maintain the connection for long, unless you want you’re mind trapped here forever!”

“See you soon,” said Raven as they all faded out from the blue world.

Tora suddenly came back to herself. She was lying on the ground, and people were standing all around, murmuring to each other worriedly. She sat up, and saw all of her friends were beginning to come to as well.

“What happened to you?” asked one of the trainers standing beside her, “Did your Pokemon attack you?”

“Of course not!” laughed Tora.

The trainer had a bemused expression, and Tora decided to leave it that way. Suddenly, she saw something glittering on the ground, and picked it up. With a gasp, she saw it was the beautiful jade scale that had been around Serra’s neck. She pocketed the treasure, hoping that she would be able to give the item back soon; for she had a sinking feeling that she knew what it was...

With a snort, she leapt from the ground and ran to help the rest of the group from the dirt. Once they were all up, she called her Foluke and Novasect back into their Pokéballs.

“We have to get to Goldenrod!” said Shadow and Blade together.

“Wait a second!” said Tora, “First we have to heal our Pokemon, find a way to get to that city fast, and get supplies. It’s no use getting worked up yet, we have work to do!”

“How will we get to Goldenrod fast?” asked Aeris, “I only have Skyfang, and he can only take one passenger!”

“Does anybody have extra Pokemon that can Fly?” asked Shadow with apprehension.

“I don’t have any!” exclaimed Hydro.

<You forget that I have an entire herd of Flygon,> signed Terra with amusement, <I feel that that should be enough?>

The group nodded, as did Tora when the signs were translated for her. They set off at a brisk pace towards the Pokemon Center. Luckily, the building had been in the perfect place, and had not been attacked by the main force of Andros. Unfortunately, it was packed with trainers and their Pokemon.

As the group walked across the clearing, a red and green form bounded up to them. Tora smiled at the antics of Reaper as he batted the dead bodies of the Andros; he certainly loved to battle! With a sigh, she pulled out his Pokéball and called him back.

They entered the bustling activity within the center. There were trainers everywhere, with injured Pokemon and people being carried and led to countless different rooms. They were lucky just to have been able to enter! They pushed their way to a machine in the corner for revitalizing Pokemon quickly, and set their Pokéballs in it. There was a few seconds of light, and a small ding resounded to show that the Pokemon were healed.

The group pushed through to one of the many PCs lining the wall after picking up their Pokemon, and hooked up to it. Terra connected to a Place called Victory Island, which Tora had never heard of. The deaf girl spoke with someone on the screen by rapidly signing what she wanted, and soon four Pokéballs appeared in the machine beside the computer.

They practically ran outside, glad to be in fresh air and space. Tora sent out Glory, while Aeris sent out her Aerodactyl. Terra gave a Pokéball each to Hydro, Shadow, and Blade, and threw out her own. The three others mimicked her, and soon four large Flygon materialized in the clearing as well.

The deaf girl quickly instructed the three boys how to ride a Flygon, and leapt onto her own. Tora and Aeris had already mounted their rides, and they waited silently as the three clumsily jumped onto the dragon types. The group set off with grim faces, not knowing what lay in store for them along the way...

. . .

There were signs of the Rattata wave everywhere, as the group soon found. Houses were wrecked, trees were felled, and behind there was always the dark trail of blood, the blood of innocents. Yet, there were also signs of resistance. Dead Andros were scattered throughout the land, their metal hides scoured by the blazing sun.

The group soon found it to their benefit not to look below them, and concentrated on the task ahead. It would not be easy to free Raven and Serra, not at all... Only with quick wits, and even quicker reflexes, could they ever hope to accomplish what they had set out to do.

Tora had Glory angle higher, so that she could get a better look at the land ahead. She could just see the ancient ruins of Alph in the distance, and knew that they were close to their goal. She had been able to look over a map of the region with Raven while the others had been battling, and now knew more about Johto than she had when she had first set out. Suddenly, her pocket became warm, and then hot.

‘No...’ she thought, knowing instantly that something was wrong.

A horrible, high-pitched roar erupted from overhead, and the group of Flygon in front of Tora was barely able to dodge the flashing black creature fast enough as it ripped past them. The thing roared again, and Tora looked down to see the glinting, bladed wings and sleek, dangerous body of a metal Charizard. The flame on its tail burned blue and green, and its red eyes searched with malicious glee for a new target.

It spotted Aeris on her large Aerodactyl, and flapped its silver wings to gain altitude. With another screech, it shot towards them, wings taut and ready to slice into its target. Skyfang was able to dodge the assault, though, and escaped only with a small scratch on one leg.

The Aerodactyl was now angry, and so was Aeris. Tora only head a dim yell, but the next moment, the prehistoric Pokemon had begun to glow, and dozens of large boulders were hurling themselves at the black menace. With a growl, the Charizard tucked in its wings and preformed a perfect barrel roll, dodging most of the projectiles. It had a few new dents, but was otherwise unharmed.

Aeris yelled something else, and Skyfang’s mouth glowed with red power. A huge stream of flame erupted from the Aerodactyl, enveloping the Charizard and making it howl in pain. The black creature began to fall from the sky, and almost hit a Flygon. The docile Dragon Pokemon screeched and banked, knocking into Glory, who was close to it.

Tora was almost unseated, and she grabbed as she felt something fall from her backpack. Apparently, her pack had not been closed all the way, and she hadn’t noticed until now. The object fell, and suddenly struck the returning Charizard with a resounding metallic ding. Tora looked in horror as the surprised Charizard was enveloped in red light, and sucked into the spare Net ball that Tora had kept in her pack.

The ball fell to the forest below, and the entire group waited in suspense for the enraged Charizard to break out and attack them. When nothing happened, Aeris flew around and directed everyone to land. Tora and Glory shot to the place where the ball had dropped, and soon found the still object among the leaf litter. She picked it up gingerly, wondering what to do with it.

“How did that happen?” demanded Aeris as she leapt off Skyfang and walked to Tora, “What possessed you to try and capture it!?”

“I didn’t want to!” exclaimed Tora with a surprised look, “It fell out of my bag! I tried to catch it before it fell!”

“Well, at least now it’s harmless,” supplied Hydro, walking up as well.

“What am I going to do with it?” asked Tora, beginning to panic.

“No one here wants it, so why don’t you keep it, it may prove to be useful later...” said Shadow, providing one of his rare, useful insights.

<Let’s get into the air again,> signed Terra, <Before any more of them come!>

“Good idea, Terra,” said Aeris, “Let’s get to Goldenrod as fast as we can. Hopefully, there won’t be any more trouble...”

The group returned to their mounts; all except for Blade, who seemed to be lost in his own thoughts and had not moved. The Flygon were a little skittish, but that was to be expected; having a run-in with an angry Charizard was no little thing. The group left the ground, and soon the top of the Department store came into view over the trees.

Tora flew with silent thoughts running in her head. The scale in her pocket was as cool as it had been before, and she knew that there was no impending danger. She thought back to when they had set off; she had been so sure that her pack was closed! With a sigh, she looked to the clouds.

Something was different about them... Tora looked harder, and saw an indistinct, cat-like shape floating in the mist. She blinked, and it was gone. With a shake of her head, the girl looked back to the earth.

‘What am I going to do?’ she thought desperately.

. . .

The group landed by the bustling city of Goldenrod, looking at the high spires and the shining buildings with awe. Terra took the Pokéballs for the Flygon back, and they walked to the Pokemon center. There were almost no people there, which was a pleasant relief from the Cherrygrove center.

Tora broke from the group and strode to a PC, Net ball in hand. She logged on to her boxes, looking at the four Pokemon she kept in them. With an ominous feeling, she looked at her fourth pokemon closely, and sighed. Tora placed the Charizard’s Pokéball into the machine, and watched as its picture appeared next to the Pokemon she had named Layobra.

Suddenly, she remembered that any Pokemon needed a good name, whether it was evil or not. She pulled up the Nickname program, and thought hard. It was a metal Charizard... A dozen ridiculous names flashed through her mind, but the only good one stuck.

“Giarda, the Silver Menace,” she whispered, typing the name in quickly.

“Hey Tora!” said Shadow, who had suddenly appeared right beside her.

Tora yelped, and almost fell off the chair in her surprise.

“What!? What do you want!?” she asked quickly, heart still pounding from her fright.

“Sorry, didn’t think you were so jumpy,” apologized Shadow. He looked at the screen, “Giarda... that’s a weird name. Anyway, we’re about to leave, and we need you to help us pinpoint where Raven and Serra are, so come on!”

He left, and Tora quickly logged out of her box. She jogged to catch up to the group, and soon they had come outside again. Midiya was eager to point out the way, and they followed the shining Foluke as she led them through the dense crowds. They headed steadily north, but suddenly took a sharp turn near the Game center.

They continued for a little while, but Midiya stopped in front of a small, ominous looking building. A sign on the door read ‘Underground Tunnel: Enter at your own Risk’.

“Well, ladies first,” quipped Shadow, ducking a swing from Aeris.

Terra walked forward with an exasperated expression and opened the knob on the door, beckoning for all to enter. The place was dimly lit, and a small row of stairs led downward into a dark area. Midiya took off down the stairs, and the group hurriedly followed. Tora looked back, though, to see Terra bend down and pick up a strange-looking key from the floor.

They continued on into the darkness, hoping that their light would guide the way...


==========================================

Chapter 15: Rude Awakening
By: Spectreon


The rest of the team continued on, into the Team Rocket headquarters while the Goddess dreamt of a seemingly happy moment. She is then awakened by a strange Pokémon, and greeted. Taken to the Giovanni of present, she is fed lies about her friends, but will she believe it?

They chattered happily around the table back at Aeris’ house, each holding a glass of fermented Squirtle Water.

Ghost was pilfering through Aeris’ old books, throwing them aside, gathering the shiny golden bookmark clips from within, while Naihail played with the discarded books, trying to catch them while lying on his back.

Maverick danced happily around each of them, nearly making Raven trip a few times.

Shadow was making a fool of himself, standing on the kitchen table, looking as if he was about to do something foolish.

“Serra, Serra, you must wake up.” Shadow said in a voice that didn’t belong to him. The voice sounded female and had an undertone of steel will.

Serra looked to her right, and noticed Blade looking at her. He was smiling. As Serra gazed at Blade, he faded and became distorted, until he formed a blurred purple image of a blob with sinister red eyes and pearly white teeth.

“Geeeengaaaar!” The person she thought was Blade said aloud in a distant yet haunting voice.

Her heart was pounding; she didn’t know what was going on. She looked to her left at Terra, and her hair was suddenly wispy and ash white, her eye sockets empty.

“Get her!” The person she thought was Terra shrieked, her voice shrill. It sounded like nails scraping on a blackboard.

Serra turned around and ran, and she stopped running when she saw that everything was black. The Gengar made his way into the picture again, but this time he was huge. His mouth opened, a massive cavernous maw, and prepared to bare down on her body.

Raven gazed worriedly at Serra’s sleeping form as she jerked and whimpered in her sleep. She felt deep pity for the beleaguered girl, but she could do nothing, as she was tied up.

A man poked his head through the pilot door.

“Can’t you make her shut up?” the irate Rocket yelled. Raven lost her temper, and yelled back.

“You idiots, how can I? She’s drugged!” Raven’s eyes involuntarily flared purple, and the Rocket jerked.

“Holy crap, you’re a psychic! Guard, you there, knock her out or she could bring down the heliplane!”

Raven felt a burst of white-hot pain behind her skull. Lights exploded behind her eyes as she fell into darkness.

Raven came to, slowly. As her eyelids fluttered open, she took in her surroundings instantly. She was bound to a strange sort of cross-shaped machine upon a raised dais. The machine was massive, and rose high above her, crisscrossed with wiring and machinery. From each end of the horizontal bar, metal wires sprouted, looping down and up around the metal gauntlets enclosing Raven’s arms. A large metal band enclosed her chest to the vertical bar.

With a sinking feeling, Raven realized what this machine was. Her teacher, Mewtwo, had told her about it. It was a machine used to suppress psychic power and bounce them back at her brain, and would eventually trap her into her own mind, in an eternal mental paralysis.

The room was unusually large, the ceiling high above her. The cell was dimly lit, and cold. Raven sighed, and her eyes glowed faintly as she summoned her psychic powers. She yelped as the machine swiftly blocked her powers, painfully.

A man stepped out of the shadows. Raven identified him as a Rocket Elite, obvious from his more elaborate uniform than that of a grunt.

The Elite grinned and held up a remote. His thumb brushed an activation button.

“Enjoy your stay, psychic freak.”

He pressed the button, and left. The machine roared and rumbled to life, steam gushing out the bottom of the dais. A metal band shot out from behind Raven’s head and snapped shut over her eyes.

Raven let out a piercing shriek as her mind was assaulted by her own psychic power. The pain was unbelievable and nothing like anything Raven had ever felt. She jerked wildly around within her bonds, spasming and shuddering. Her screams echoed around the large chamber.

Serra twitched her head, a small moan issuing from her throat. Her tongue crept out, and wet her dry lips. She stirred, and blinked slowly in surprise as she noticed she was still clad in the Goddess Armor.
“I guess it doesn’t disappear if I simply go to sleep.” she thought foggily. Serra’s mind was still rather muddled from the drug.

Her wrists and ankles were painfully bound by rope. Serra’s knees were also drawn up to her chest, so she lay on her side in a fetal position. Her bleary blue eyes moved around, taking in her surroundings. She had been put into a tiny cell, windowless and grimy. The iron door was barred and locked, with only a small window. Bars had been placed onto them.

The cell was stark and full of hopeless despair. There was no lighting, too. Serra sighed, feeling a throbbing headache coming. The drug prevented her from using her powers, too. Whoever had done this knew her abilities. But how?

A pair of vivid yellowish green eyes appeared in the shadows beside Serra’s face. They seemed to penetrate into Serra’s soul itself, and she flinched.

“Wh-wh-what are you?” she murmured, her voice tinged with fear. The owner of the eyes stepped out of the shadows, and Serra’s eyes widened in surprise.

The creature was identical to the Mew carving in Victory Base. Except he was jet black, and two purplish-black feathered wings sprouted from his back. He spoke telepathically.

-I am Melos, the twin of Mew. Mew is the Creator. I am the Ender. I harvest souls and guide them to the Realms of Fog.-

Serra bowed as best as she could while in a fetal position and spoke shakily.

“I am honored to meet you, but why have you come?”

Melos bowed to the girl, his tail undulating gently.

-Rather, it is I to whom the honor is mine. I am pleased to have met the Goddess. I am in debt to you.-

“In debt? For what?” asked Serra wonderingly.

-You have sent me many fresh souls in your blessing. In your darkest hour, I shall come to your aid. And thus, the debt will be paid.-

Serra ‘s head snapped up as she heard footsteps pounding towards her cell. Melos stepped back into the shadows.

-Goodbye, my Goddess.-

He vanished as the door banged open, its rusty hinges squealing. Serra immediately went limp, and her eyelids slid down, but stayed open slightly. Two Rocket grunts burst in, and trotted over to Serra. The Rocket on the left whistled in awe as he looked over Serra’s form.

“No wonder Dorian wanted her captured. Check out that body!” he guffawed. The other Rocket hit the speaker in the jaw with a vicious backhand.

“Dorian’s orders were not to touch that girl.” the second Rocket said, his voice icy. The first Rocket spat as he rubbed his sore jaw.

“Ah, whatever. C’mon, we can’t keep the Giovanni waiting. “ With that, the two men picked up Serra roughly. The first Rocket had her legs, while the second one hoisted her by her arms. Both maneuvered Serra’s limp body out the door.

Serra inwardly rolled her eyes as the Rockets immediately began complaining.

“Hey, no fair. You got her chest.”

“Oh, quit it, would you! If you wanted some action, you could’ve just gone to the local strip house!”

They continued to squabble as they trudged down the dimly lit hallways.

..............................................

The group continued to trudge down the endless hallway. The Foluke continued to float along, spraying sparkles everywhere. At last, Terra got so irritated, she turned around, looking at Tora.

<Can’t you recall her? All the lights could get us noticed.> she signed, annoyed.

Tora blinked at her, until Hydro translated for her.

“Oh, I see. Okay, but we’ll need another light source.” Tora replied, recalling Midiya into her ball. The hallway was plunged into abrupt darkness. There was a dim white flash as Dark Flame appeared. She looked around inquisitively at her trainer, her amber eyes flashing.

<Dark Flame, some light, please.>

The Vulpix nodded, and opened her mouth. She exhaled a ball of bluish-white fire, which floated up, and hovered in the air, exuding an aura of dim light.

“How did she do that?” exclaimed Tora, amazed. Terra smiled.

<Dark Flame is pyrokinetic. This way, if Dark senses something, she can extinguish the light, unlike your Foluke.>

The group resumed moving, led by the Vulpix and her will’ o wisp.

“Why hasn’t Terra evolved Dark Flame, anyway?” asked Tora, hoping to fill the uncomfortable silence. Aeris answered for the deaf girl.

“She considers Ninetales to be a proud and ancient race that should not be used lightly.”

Hydro broke in, talking animatedly.
“You know how there are supposed to be no wild Ninetales, right?”

The group nodded, and Hydro grinned.

“There have been rumors that a wild Ninetales clan lives far away, in an icy and snowy land.”

“But they’re fire types?” asked Shadow, puzzled.

“It’s said that by living within the harsh climate, the Vulpix learn to grow strong, and evolve. Supposedly they’re not white, but a grayish color with red eyes. Like a Shiny Ninetales. And they’re said to be a hundred times stronger than normal Ninetales. They have semi-psychic powers, and can place a curse on you. Some have the power of Seers, and some can employ ice-type attacks. They’ve been dubbed Snowfire Ninetales.”

“Why are we talking about them, anyway?” asked Tora curiously.

“Haven’t you ever found it strange that Dark Flame is pyrokinetic, and her flame is blue, purple and black, instead of the usual color? Who knows, Dark Flame could have been descended from Snowfire Ninetales. Her egg was floating in the ocean, did you know that? It washed up onto the beaches of Orre, and she hatched from it.”

“I doubt they even exist...it just doesn’t seem possible.” remarked Aeris. Hydro simply shrugged.

They stopped as they noticed a door set into the wall. The pale light of the will’ o wisp illuminated it. A battered sign hung crookedly upon it, declaring FOR EMPLOYEES ONLY in faded letters.

“Employees only, my foot.” snorted Shadow. Terra shouldered her way to the front, and took out her key. Inserting it into the keyhole, she twisted it. There was a slight clicking, and the door creaked open slightly, but it was stuck. The hinges were rusted over with age. Annoyed, Terra backed up, drew one of her pistols. With quick, efficient movements of her arm, she neatly shot off the hinges. The door wobbled, then fell over with a resounding crash.

Hydro raised his eyebrow, and stepped through. The group followed suit, vanishing into the passageways of Goldenrod Rocket Base.

........................................
The two Rockets stopped at a door. A large, sinister metallic Andros Houndoom stood by it, at guard. Its soulless red eyes swept over the trio, and nodded, allowing them safe entry.
The two grunts shouldered their way through the door, entering a large dimly lit office. With a grunt, the two men unceremoniously dropped Serra onto the ground. She yelped as her shoulder cracked painfully against the metal ground. One of the men ripped off her bonds, freeing Serra. The two grunts turned and bowed to someone Serra couldn’t see, then left quietly.

Sitting up and rubbing her aching wrists, it was then that Serra dared to look up. Behind the steel desk sat a man with long black hair. He sat gazing down expressionlessly at Serra, his hands folded together on the surface of the desk. The man was clad in a flowing black cloak, so he was obviously of high stature.

Dorian inwardly grinned as he looked down at the girl. Dorian had taken precautions to use a temporary dye to turn his hair black, and he wore colored contacts, transforming his grey eyes to a forest green. It would not do to have Serra recognize him. That would come later.

Serra’s beauty had taken him by surprise at first. Her eyes, both haunting and eerie, had captivated him. They seemed to hold a great sadness, Dorian noted.

So beautiful....he thought. Like an orchid spun out of ice.

Serra blinked, her mind still slightly muddled from the drug. The man seemed somehow familiar, but she couldn’t quite place him.

The man stood and placed his hands on the desk, propping him up as he leaned over to get a better view of Serra. He spoke in a smooth, charming tone.

“Welcome, Serra. I am the Giovanni of Team Rocket.”

Serra said nothing, only shot him a withering look. If only she wasn’t still under the influence of the drug. She would’ve killed him in a flash.

Dorian left his desk and walked around to the girl, who was still seated on the floor.

“I am sure you are under the false impression that you were created for good, to be a Goddess of Pokemon kind.”

Serra said nothing, deliberately keeping her face blank.

“Do you want to know the truth, Serra?” hissed Dorian, crouching down so his face was on the same level as Serra’s. “Do you want to know the truth of your existence?”

Serra remained expressionless. She refused to give Dorian any reaction.

Dorian reached back and slapped Serra, hard, across the face. The harsh sound rang in the silence. Serra reeled back, a bright red welt rising on her cheek.

“You were created to serve us! You are the Goddess...of the Andros. Why do you think your armor resembles that of the Andros so much?”

Serra sprang to her feet with shocking speed, her eyes blazing.

“That’s not true. Dorian wouldn’t do that. I’d trust him with my life!”

Dorian’s laughter rang cruelly, making Serra flinch.

“Since when do you trust people?”

Serra faltered, seeming to shrink into herself. Her eyes darted from side to side.

“I trust Aeris and the others. They like me..” she trailed uncertainly.

“Why do you think they like you? They only wanted to use you to fight for them.” smirked Dorian.

Serra’s eyes took on a dull crimson hue. “You’re lying.” But she said it without conviction. Her voice trembled, unsure.

“Join me, Serra. Lead your true people. Lead the Andros!” Dorian reached out for Serra. She jerked back, her eyes wide with fear. Dorian lunged forward, grabbing Serra. He drew her close to him. She stood as tall as his chin.

Serra cringed at the closeness, and terror rose in her stomach. She jerked, trying to break free, but she was still too weak. Dorian raised her chin with his finger and leaned forward. His lips touched Serra’s, brushing them softly.

Serra stiffened, unable to move out of shock at the unexpected kiss. Dorian broke away, and whispered to Serra.

“Join me...as my bride. Together, we’ll lead Team Rocket into glory.”

Serra’s knees buckled, and she sank. Dorian caught her, and moved to kiss her again. An ironclad fist rammed into his stomach, and Dorian yelped as the wind was knocked out of him.. Serra had been faking the collapse! As Dorian grunted in pain, Serra whirled, about to make a run for it.

Dorian lunged forward, brutally grabbing Serra by the hair. He yanked, and Serra screamed, falling backwards.
........................................

Terra looked around, noting the dim electric lighting set along the halls. She stopped at a corner, kneeling down. With a swift motion of her hand, she recalled her Vulpix. Terra made as if to stand, but suddenly froze. Her hands crept down to her guns. She stayed frozen in a crouch, seeming to be hewn out of stone.

“What is she doi-” Tora was gently muffled by Hydro’s hand.

“Shhh....Terra senses something. Just watch...” murmured Hydro.

Terra stayed quiet still. Minutes ticked by, but nothing happened.

Suddenly, Terra sprang up, leaping around the corner. She leapt sideways, firing her guns the whole time. There was a harsh cacophony of screams and gunshots, and Terra leapt backwards. The corpse of a hulking Andros Houndoom thudded limply against the floor.

Terra blew out her guns and holstered them, satisfied. The others were thunderstruck.

“How...wha...the..the...” stammered Shadow. Terra just smiled hugely, her teeth flashing in the dim hallway. Hydro spoke for her.

“She’s very sensitive to vibrations, and she has a good sense of smell.” Hydro grinned as he looked at Terra.

“How did you first meet Terra, anyway?” asked Tora curiously.

“I had been visiting Orre, and found her unconscious in the Orrean desert. The fool, she had been trying to beat a fully grown wild Steelix. But she captured him after all. You all know him as Juggernaut now.”

Terra turned and spoke to Hydro, her hands darting to and fro through the air. Hydro flushed red and looked away as Terra roared with laughter.

“She says that when she awoke to find Hydro staring at her, the first thing she did was to punch him in the nose.” translated Aeris, suppressing giggles. “And ever since, he was smitten with her.”

They all jerked as a scream rang out of the door behind them. The door that the Andros Houndoom had been guarding.

“SERRA!!” Blade yelled and charged at the door, throwing it aside.

“Wait for me!!” yelled Aeris and Shadow in unison. The two followed suit, with Terra, Hydro and Tora close behind. The group surged into the door.

................................................

Serra stood pinned against the wall by Dorian. She writhed as she tried to break loose, but Dorian’s hold was too powerful. Serra closed her eyes as Dorian reached for the seams of her chest armor plate. Suddenly, Dorian stiffened.

A blade of steel laid itself along Dorian’s jugular vein, forcing his head up. Serra’s eyes traveled along the hilt of the blade to meet the familiar hazel eyes of Blade.

“B-blade!” she choked out, and yelped in pain as Dorian pressed harder against her.

“Touch her further, and you will find this blade lodged into your neck.” hissed Blade. His voice barely masked his fury.

“Fool.” sneered Dorian. He jerked as Blade pressed the edge into his neck, creating a shallow cut. A trickle of blood seeped out.

“Let. Her. Go. Now,” stated Blade, his eyes boring into Dorian’s with piercing intensity.

Dorian blinked calmly, and slowly stepped back. Suddenly, he whirled and ran for the open door. Terra lunged forward to catch him, but he was too quick. In a flash, he had vanished into the labyrinth of the base.

Terra whirled and slammed her fist against the doorframe in anger. Hydro went over to her, reassuring her in a quiet, soothing voice.

“Don’t fret about that git, Terra. He isn’t worth it.” murmured Hydro, rubbing her back soothingly. Terra gazed up at him, and hugged him, her eyes welling with tears. She hated crying. But she felt like a failure. She’d let that man get away.

Terra moved away, swiping her tears away, determined not to show her tears. Hydro smiled knowingly, and the two old friends trotted back, rejoining the group.

Serra had slid down the wall, and sat with her head buried into her lap, her arms hugging her knees. Her body shook as she sobbed quietly.

Blade was alarmed, and moved to soothe her. But her reaction was explosive.

“LEAVE ME ALONE!!”

A force field erupted around Serra, enclosing her in a red sphere. Aeris moved to kneel next to Blade, her eyes full of worry.

“She’s traumatized. That man did something...”

Blade nodded, his eyes blazing with fury towards the man who had done this.

“We need to go!! What about Raven?” yelled Shadow, dancing around impatiently.

Aeris looked around at Shadow, rapping out orders.

“Shadow, Terra, and Hydro, you go find Raven! Tora, go with them. They’ll need your Foluke. Blade and I will stay here with Serra.”

Shadow and the others nodded, and trotted out the doorway, vanishing into the darkness.

Crystallugia
16th November 2004, 2:50 AM
I hate Dorian.

;227;: We all hate him, Crystallugia. Poor Serra...

Wow. Crochax feeling pity. Kodak moment.

Okay, back 2 story. That's sad how Serra has gone through so much. Why didn't she just blast Dorian with a wave of fire or something?

AzureFlygon
16th November 2004, 3:10 AM
Whee! A reply! *hugs Crystallugia for no apparent reason*

Almost thought this thread was dead *wipes forehead*

Okay, Spec just mailed me with this...
"Crystallugia, you probably missed it, but the drug also hinders Serra's elemental powers. ^^"

Yeah, so that's why Serra doesn't go all elemental on the guy's A**. We all wish she could have, but...

Yea, a reply. I feel a toasty warm inside ^^ *skips away*
First thing tomarrow (actually, whenever I get on the internet, tomarrow^^), I'm posting the next chapters. Expect more fun stuff. One step closer to new chapters and new adventures!

Crystallugia
16th November 2004, 3:18 AM
Mesa will try to reply as often as I can, and I usually posts in subscribed threads whenever I wasn't the last one.


"Crystallugia, you probably missed it, but the drug also hinders Serra's elemental powers. ^^"


^-^; Yeah, I did miss that. Dangit! I wish Serra could have blow Dorian to pieces! Oh well. *sits and waits for next chappie*

Gatene
16th November 2004, 4:55 AM
Well, since Razor is gonna post tomorrow, I guess I should post today (only 22 minutes left in today, so here we go...Chapters 16 & 17)

Yeah, Crystallugia, I think that we all wish that Serra could have blasted Dorian, but I also wanted her to know he was really Dorian, before she did so. It would have left Serra naive and would have caused her much more stress in the future, if she had blown him away. Of course, him touching her the way that he did, without her knowing the truth constituted a woop ***, but I'm sure that Spect and Razor have many more surprises in store for Serra and Dorian. Wouldn't it be something, if Dorian ended with a fatal blow by Serra's Gungnir (Chapter 21) and had the same impact on him as the ending of Kill Bill Vol 2?

================================

Chapter 16: Saving Raven
By: Spectreon & Razor


Travelling along the road to find the lost psychic, another Andros attack waged itself upon our wary team. Followed by a hidden danger, the team learns not to trust their eyes on this adventure.

Tora walked in front, behind her Foluke. With a sigh, she noticed the annoyance of Terra behind her. She could do nothing to stop the shining Foluke’s ability; they would have to take their chances at being caught. Suddenly, information poured into her head. She smiled at Midiya gratefully, and recalled the Pokémon. The light was abruptly terminated, causing Shadow to yelp in surprise.

“Hey, what was that for?!” he asked, annoyed.

“We don’t need Midiya anymore, I know the way,” said Tora with a grin, “It’s a long walk though, so it’ll take a while.”

“How would you know the way?” asked Hydro, “Have you been down here before?”

“No, Midiya told me where to go. Raven’s on the lowest level, and somehow her presence seems to be muted, but we can find her.”

Terra let Dark Flame out of her Pokéball, and they continued down the dark passageway. The appearance of the small Vulpix led Tora to thinking of their previous conversation about Snowfire Ninetales, and she wondered if there were any other variations within species. She had heard of such occurrences, and knew that such creatures were rare beyond any imagining.

“Do you think there are any other Pokémon that have variations like Ninetales?” she asked curiously, wondering what the others would think.

“I don’t have a clue,” said Shadow, “But I think I may have heard of such things a long time ago. When I was small, I saw a wingless Altaria. I wonder if that was a variation?”

“It may have just been a mutation,” replied Hydro, “But I once read about rare Ekans, who lived in the high mountains and had skin darker than anything known.”

<When I was in Orre, I heard tales about Cave Arcanine. They were described as demons that killed the unwary.> signed Terra with a thoughtful look.

“I’ve head about Zubat that never see the light of day. They’re white, and have huge ears so that they can see in the darkest pits of their caves...” mused Tora.

The group rounded a corner, and found their way blocked by a large steel door. Tora stopped, wondering what they could do. There was a small console on the wall beside them, obviously meant for a password that would grant entry. Terra stepped up with her guns at the ready, but Hydro stopped her.

“Wait, there may be an alarm...” he said quietly, looking around them suspiciously.

A sound came from behind the door, and the group scuttled around the corner to hide. They watched as two Rocket grunts emerged, talking and laughing with each other as if they were at some convention.

They looked supremely surprised as they were faced with Terra’s guns and Shadow’s katana. They never suspected Hydro behind them. There was no trouble, as the boy had cleanly knocked the two out with swift blows to their skulls before they could react.

“Let’s get through the door before it closes,” whispered Tora.

The group made their way through the door, which obligingly stayed open. Shadow dragged one of the grunts to the other side with them, for use if they needed to get back through later. As Dark Flame passed the grunt, she yipped and leapt on his head, cracking it against the floor.

Terra looked at the Vulpix sternly, and the Pokémon looked up at her with innocent eyes. With a sigh, the group continued on into the darkness. Tora brought the map up in her mind, pinpointing where they were now. There seemed to be a fork in the road up ahead... and danger. The scale, still in her pocket, warmed slightly. There was some inimical force in the distance.

“There’s some danger near,” she whispered to the group, “be alert...”

“How do you... know...?” asked Shadow. His voice faded, though, as he saw two pinpoints of red in the shadows.

“An Andros Pinsir!” whispered Hydro with shock as the creature came into the blue light of Dark Flame’s wisp.

Steel pincers gleamed in the light, their sharp points creating an intimidating flash. The red eyes sensors scanned the group, and, finding them to be intruders, flashed with malice. Silver teeth gnashed, and the creature made its way towards them, claws reflecting the light that hit them as it walked.

Tora backed up with pocket flaring, knowing that she would be unable to fight the creature in this small space. Terra moved to the fore, but not before Dark Flame. The little Vulpix growled at the hulking bug, ready to take on the malicious Andros with her flame.

<Dark Flame, use a Flamethrower!> ordered Terra with a rapid motion.

The Vulpix nodded, and let loose a stream of black flame that completely engulfed the Pinsir. It screamed in a mechanical voice, body beginning to melt in the intense heat. When the attack finally stopped, the creature was glowing white, and the walls around it were sagging from the heat it generated.

The Pinsir staggered forward blindly, eye sensors long gone. The group retreated from the white-hot bug, already feeling scorched from the waves of high temperature air. Suddenly, they found themselves up against the heavy door. There wouldn’t be much time until the creature ran into them, killing them instantly.

Tora suddenly realized that they didn’t have any water Pokémon between them, and knew that unless some miracle happened, they would die in the hall. Suddenly, Dark Flame leapt forward again. Terra tried to call her back, but the Vulpix ignored the calls.

The Pinsir growled, still moving down the hall with body burning. The fur on Dark Flame’s body began to turn black and curl as the heat waves hit her, but she stood firm. She yipped, opened her mouth, and let loose a bright white beam that hit the Pinsir with a loud, screaming hiss that grew in intensity until everyone in the group except for Terra had to cover their ears to keep out the sound.

The light faded, and the group looked up to see the Vulpix standing before them, looking a little singed, but good as ever. There was no more heat; it was actually cold in the passage, if that was possible. Tora felt no more heat from the scale in her pocket, and took that to mean that the danger had passed.

The group, looking bemused, followed the Vulpix down the passageway. Suddenly, the light from the fire wisp hit something, and the passage turned into a beautiful display of reflected light. A large, clear pillar stood before them, and Terra moved forward to look.

Inside, barely visible, was the blackened body of a dead Pinsir. The deaf girl put her hands on the surface, and pulled back with a surprised yelp. Her hand was wet and cold, and there was the imprint of a palm in the face of the pillar.

“It’s a column of ice!” exclaimed Tora suddenly, realizing the nature of the pillar. Her voice sounded both shocked and awed.

“How?” yelled both Shadow and Hydro with astonishment. Both seemed overwhelmed by the occurrence. As everyone gaped at the sparkling pillar of ice, Dark Flame let out a soft trill.

“I guess the rumors were true,” said Tora, “Snowfire Ninetales do exist...”

Terra smiled and pulled Dark Flame to her, hugging the Vulpix tightly. The Pokémon wriggled and reached up the lick the girls face, eyes bright.

“How are we going to get past it?” asked Hydro.

The group looked, but there was no clear way around the ice. Suddenly, Shadow had an idea.

“Hey, why don’t we have Dark Flame or some other fire type burn a hole through the ice, so we can crawl through?”

<Dark Flame has used enough energy already,> signed Terra.

“I’ll use my Naihail,” offered Tora, “He has a good control of his fame.”

She threw the Pokéball into the air, and the lithe form of Reaper appeared within the red light. The Pokémon listened while Tora told him what to do, and nodded with understanding. The ice column shimmered with light as his flame bore through it, and soon they had a good-sized passage carved out.

“Well, let’s press on, shall we?” said Shadow with a smirk.

“Okay, then,” said Tora obligingly, “You first.”

Shadow froze, looking petrified. Terra and Hydro practically rolled with laughter at his fright, and Tora merely smiled.

“You do want to save Raven, don’t you?” she asked, eyes flashing.

“Of course I do!” scoffed Shadow.

With an indignant look at the other trainers, her bent down and crawled through the ice. The others waited while he made his way to the other side, and the Pokémon looked on curiously. Within a few seconds, Shadow’s voice traveled back to them.

“It looks clear; you guys can come through now!”

The rest of the group crawled through the cold ice tunnel in a line, with Dark Flame taking the lead. Reaper, who had insisted on staying out of his Pokéball, took the rear. It was slow going, but at least they weren’t being burned alive.

They came out in a dark area, and Tora could see two tunnels going off in different directions, just like the map had said. She accessed the mental picture again, looking for the right direction, but was surprised to find that both seemed to go to the same place. It seemed to be a matter of preference, but Tora knew better than to believe that.

“They both go to the same place,” she said aloud, “But I don’t trust it.”

“Neither do I” said Hydro.

Shadow shrugged.

“When in doubt,” he said, “Right is right.”

The boy moved quickly, walking into the right passageway with little regard for danger. The scale in Tora’s pocket flared, and she leapt forward to pull Shadow back by the scruff of his coat. He yelped, but was abruptly cut off as he saw the flash of metallic light. A huge scythe swept past the place where he had been, slicing the air. If he had stayed where he was, he would have been cut in half.

“Let’s proceed with a little more caution next time.” said Tora with a glare, “You’ll be no help to us or Raven dead.”

Shadow just looked at her with wide eyes, and nodded. Hydro helped him up from the ground, while Terra and Tora took the lead in the left passageway. Dark Flame’s wisp lit the path ahead, reflecting dully off the tunnel walls.

Reaper snorted and waited until Shadow and Hydro had begun to walk, then took his place behind them. It was a mostly uneventful walk, with few troubles. Once, Tora almost tripped on a rock, but Terra helped her recover he balance before she could fall and sprain an ankle.

Dark Flame’s light suddenly glinted upon a solid steel wall, and the group cried out in dismay.

“Does that mean we have to go all the way back?” asked Shadow with a snort.

“And take our chances with the traps?” asked Hydro doubtfully.

Tora looked at the solid object with disappointment; she sighed and turned to the others.

“I’m sorry guys, I guess I led you wrong,” she said with tears in her eyes, “There wasn’t supposed to be a wall here...”

Terra reached a hand to the shining, smooth surface as she turned to leave with the others, and yelped as it disappeared. She pulled back, and looked at her hand to make sure it was still there.

“What is it?” asked Hydro with concern.

<There’s nothing there!> signed Terra excitedly, <The wall is illusion!>

“Illusion?” asked Shadow with a growing feeling of hope.

<Go through, see for yourself!>

Shadow walked forward to the wall, and put his hand to it. He pulled back as his fingers passed through with no resistance.

“She’s right!” he said, “Let’s go through!”

Tora again took the lead, glad that she had not led them wrong, and they walked through the illusions together. There was a brief feeling of blindness as they passed, but they soon walked out of the image and into an area that was dimly lit from lights above.

Tora looked up where they had to go, and turned to the others.

“It’s not far from here, let’s go!” she said.

The tunnel took a slight curve as they walked, and doors began appearing in the wall. Hydro was curious as to what may be behind them, but he did not stop. Tora suddenly halted, making Terra and the others run into her. They almost toppled, but luckily Reaper had grabbed a hold of Hydro’s shirt and pulled them back from their precarious balance.

“This is it!” said Tora with conviction. She pointed at a door set into the wall.

Tora opened the door, and the group gasped as they peered in. Even Dark Flame and Reaper looked surprised.

“Raven?”

At the far end of the massive chamber, Raven stood slumped in an upright position within her bonds on the machine’s dais. A metal band encircled her eyes, and her hair hung loosely over her face. But the most incredible part was the glowing electric blue tentacles around Raven. They all originated from her head, and branched out, undulating gently in the air. There were about eight in all. Each tentacle seemed to be comprised of eerie bluish mist with a glowing core-shaft of light.

“What is that?” murmured Tora, shocked.

“I think that’s an embodiment of her psychic powers.” whispered Hydro, not wanting his voice to echo around the massive, skeletal chamber.

Shadow pushed past the group and ran to Raven, his boots echoing harshly upon the reflective metal floor.

He stopped as all the tentacles jerked towards him. Raven must have somehow sensed him.

Shadow maneuvered carefully amongst the tentacles and reached Raven herself.

Gently, he reached up and brushed Raven’s hair aside. With a swift slash of his katana, the band around Raven’s eyes parted. Hydro and the others, coming up behind Shadow, gasped in unison.

Raven’s eyes had turned a pure milky white. With a trembling hand, Shadow stroked Raven’s pale cheekbones.

“Raven?” he whispered, his voice trembling slightly.


How can you see into my eyes like open doors
leading you down into my core
where I've become so numb
without a soul
My spirit sleeping somewhere cold
until you find it there and lead it back home

In an instantaneous motion, Raven’s head snapped up. Her mouth opened in a silent scream.

Shadow leapt back as all eight tentacles flared and roared to life. They whipped through the air with eerie precision, ensnaring Tora, Hydro, Terra, Shadow and the two Pokémon.

They were swiftly raised into the air, and hung there. Raven jerked her head around, still screaming voicelessly.


Wake me up
Wake me up inside
Wake me up inside
call my name and save me from the dark
bid my blood to run
before I come undone
save me from the nothing I've become

Raven suddenly shuddered, and went limp once more. A stark blackness welled up from within her, and slowly flowed across everything around her, seemingly to absorb all light and life into its infinite depths. It spread over the chamber and the tentacles, along with their prisoners. The last thing Shadow saw before the darkness flowed over his eyes was blackness...


Now that I know what I'm without
you can't just leave me
breath into me and make me real
bring me to life

Blackness.....a void. There was no life, no time, and no space. A light flared, its bluish white rays piercing the darkness. And an abrupt shudder. The blackness spins.....

A white crescent opened in the dark void. It fluttered, then opened wider, light streaming through. Shadow gazed out blearily through his eyelids, and shifted slightly.


Bring me to life....

Shadow flexed his toes and fingers carefully, checking them to ensure he was still alive. Carefully, he sat up, and gazed around. His eyes widened with shock as he took in his surroundings.

Shadow sat upon a vast icy plain. As far as the eye could see, black ice stretched to and beyond the horizon. The land was flat, and dead. Even the air didn’t seem quite right. There was no breeze. The air stood, as dead as the plain itself, stifling and stale. The sky was slate grey and cloudless.

Frozen inside without your touch, without your love
darling, only you are the life among the dead

Wincing slightly, Shadow stood up, gazing around. As far as he could see, there was absolutely nothing in this dead land. Suddenly, a whisper sounded behind him. He jumped and whirled around, his katana flashing through the air.

Hydro clapped his hands shut upon the gleaming blade in midair, preventing it from slicing open his skull.

“Take it easy, Shadow.” His voice was easygoing and serene.

Shadow heaved a shuddering sigh and slid the blade back into its plain black scabbard. Tora and Terra trotted up behind Hydro, looking just as perplexed as Shadow felt.

“What is this place, anyway?” wondered Shadow out loud.

“Look! What is that?” exclaimed Tora, her finger snapping up to point behind Shadow. Everyone followed her pointing finger, and gaped at the sight, thunderstruck.

It had not been there before, but it was now. A giant, gleaming object rose majestically before them. It seemed to be made of black ice, the same as the plain they stood upon.

The object was shaped like a spire, with many other spires extending outward in a radius around the main spire’s base.

Shadow walked to it, and gazed up. It was about four times taller than him. As the others joined him, Shadow squinted at the core of the monolith. There was a faint, indistinct shape within it...

“Raven!” Shadow yelled, agony upon his face.

And so it was. Raven was entombed within, naked. She stood with her arms crossed, covering her chest. Her eyes were closed. She wore an expression of peaceful serenity.

all that this time I can't believe I couldn't see
kept in the dark, but you were there in front of me
I've been sleeping a thousand years it seems
got to open my eyes to everything
without a thought, without a voice, without a soul
don't let me die here there must be something more
bring me to life...

Hydro gazed at Shadow, wonder upon his face.

“I think....we’re in Raven’s mind. And she’s trapped.”

His voice echoed through the icy, eerie expanses of the plain.

===================================

Chapter 17: Lost and Found
By: Spectreon


The Goddess comes out of her shell, and is greeted by Aeris, and somehow is brought back to the reality that she does have friends, but the confusion of her existance is still heavy on her heart. Raven is found, but every attempt to free her was for naught. The Goddess receives some psychic messages from Raven, but will that help?

Serra was hunched over, still sobbing. The red force field continued to thrum around her, keeping Blade and Aeris away. Aeris eventually gave up and sat with her back on the wall, fiddling with her equipment. Each of the three Champions had the standard trainer tools-a PDA-Navi, and their pokeballs. The PDA-Navis acted as Pokedexes, too, and contained a trainer’s ID number, their personal information, and their contacts. Their color schemes were simple, coal black with steel grey accents.

Aeris idly flipped on her Navi, and the holographic display thrummed to life once more

"What are you doing?" asked Blade curiously. Aeris glanced up at the query.

"I'm going to see if I can contact Hydro and Terra." With that, she shifted her attention back to the Navi.

One of the pokeballs on Aeris' belt hummed, and Maverick flashed into existence, yipping indignantly at being kept in the ball.

"Sorry, Mavvy, but we had to be careful. You'd have tripped us up...” murmured Aeris, not taking her eyes away from the screen.

Maverick made a sound remarkably like a raspberry, and wandered over to Blade, flopping into his lap. Blade looked down at the blue reptile with amusement.

"Hey, little guy." he whispered, scratching Maverick's belly. The Totodile squirmed with pleasure, and bounced up as he noticed Serra. Cheeping worriedly, he trotted over to the red sphere, inspecting it curiously.

Both Maverick and Blade jumped as Aeris screamed a vehement curse and threw the PDA-Navi with all her might. Blade reached out to catch the soaring machine, but he missed by half an inch.

As the machine neared the wall, it gradually slowed as a rippling red aura surrounded it. The PDA-Navi revolved slowly and floated back to the dumbfounded Aeris.

The red sphere contracted, then spread out rapidly, fading as it went. The air itself rippled away from Serra as she stood up.

Aeris looked up nervously as Serra stepped towards her, her face emotionless.

"It's not your fault. Raven has taken them into her mind." Her voice was unusually quiet.

"So that's why my PDA-Navi can't track them? How on earth did that that happen?" asked Aeris, a tinge of disbelieving horror in her voice.

Serra simply shrugged.

"We can only wait for them and hope." With that final note, Serra stalked off and with a rapid motion, leapt to the ceiling. She slammed into the plaster, and her armored fingers stretched and sharpened into metal claws. Serra clung to the ceiling, spider like. Upside down, she crawled over to one of the ceiling beams, and dropped down on it. Serra crouched there, silent and brooding, staring off into space.

"Is it just me, or is she treating us like strangers?" asked Blade quietly. Aeris glanced up worriedly at Serra.

"I'll go see if I can talk to her." She stood up, stowing away her PDA-Navi. Aeris walked up to the end of the room, and climbed up on the desk. From there, she stretched up, her fingers brushing the undersurface of the beams. With a rapid motion, she jumped up, grabbed the edges of the wooden beam and flipped herself up agilely.

Crawling over, she sat down next to Serra. The girl simply glanced at her then looked away once more.

"Hey," said Aeris softly. "What's going on? Why are you acting like this?"

Serra's face whipped back to Aeris, and she was astonished to see Serra's eyes bright with tears.

"That man...the Giovanni...he told me I was the goddess of Andros, not Pokémon." Serra whispered, her voice soft.

"Is that even verifiable?" snorted Aeris. "Look, you of all people should know by now that we don't care what you were created to be. It's what you do with your life that matters."

"That's exactly the point." snapped Serra, the air around her instantly dropping to frigid subzero temperatures. Her breath puffed out in cold mist.

"I must do what I was created to do. That's the only reason I'm even here. That's all I'm good for. To do what I was created to do. Then I shall be satisfied. But now...I don't even know who I am anymore. It's very....confusing!"

Serra punctuated the last phrase with a snarl, her eyes flashing. For the briefest moment, her eyes shone with a red tint, and Aeris felt a twinge of foreboding. Her mind flashed back to when Serra had first acquired her armor. She had fought with the same mentality of a machine...cold, ruthless, and without emotion or mercy.

Aeris brushed the memory off, her eyes boring into Serra's with piercing intensity.

Serra finally looked away, her armor gleaming dully in the dim light. Aeris sighed, then perked up as she remembered something. Giggling, she poked Serra's bare side.

"Hey...hey...I wanted to talk to you about Blade. Tell me the truth. What do you think of him?"

Serra blinked, caught off guard by the unexpected query. She shifted uneasily.

"Um....he seems nice enough, I guess.." she mumbled, as the air returned to its usual temperature. Did it seem a little warmer than before?

"I really think you shouldn't treat him so coldly. He means well. Do it for me...please?"

Serra sighed, then glanced back at the young man, who as of now was playing with Maverick.

"I suppose it wouldn't hurt....But I warn you, if he does any funny stuff, I will personally rip out his trachea." she snapped.

Aeris grinned. "That's our Serra, the anti-Y chromosome."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hydro walked around the pillar of black ice, inspecting it carefully. He stepped back, and looked up its length dubiously. Terra drew her guns, and made as if to fire at the pillar.

"NO, Terra! You could hit Raven!" yelled Hydro. "Let me try.."

Running forwards, he performed a high-flying kick, thudding against the pillar. But it left no mark. The boy yelped and hopped back on his one good foot as Terra looked at him, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm not sure how we're going to get through that." Hydro winced as he rubbed his aching foot.

"I don't care. Raven needs me! She needs our help!" Shadow yelled the last phrase, his voice cracking slightly.

Hydro blinked slowly, his long lashes hooding his eyes. He looked up at the obelisk once more, and sighed. This only infuriated Shadow more.

Shadow whirled to face the pillar, his eyes flashing. He unsheathed his katana, its blade flashing in the light. With a yell, he charged.

Shadow slammed into the pillar, but it did not weaken. He slammed into it again....and again. Again.

Again.

Again.

Again.

Again...

Shadow sank to his knees, sobbing quietly. Tora and the others could do nothing, helpless. All they could do was watch...

With a hoarse yell, Shadow dropped his katana and lunged forwards, slamming both his fists on the ice. He pressed his face against the cold surface, desperately seeking a reaction from Raven's stony face.

She gave none.

Shadow began crying quietly, tears coursing down his cheeks freely.

"Raven.." he whispered hoarsely. "I'm sorry.."

Raven did not move, did not react.

"I've failed you."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra suddenly jerked, and her hand flew to her heart.

"Serra...?" asked Aeris, her brow furrowing with worry.

But Serra could no longer hear her. Her eyes took on a glassy, reflective sheen and slowly turned deep purple. Rich, royal purple.....like those of Raven's.

Ethereal mist collected at her back, forming two faint, wispy lavender wings. As they moved, they seemed to ripple and shimmer dreamily.

Serra spoke quietly, but it was no longer her voice. It was a different voice, but a female's voice still. It sounded like it was a long distance away, and echoed with loneliness and hollowness.

"No, Shadow...you have not failed. I will give you aid....Shadow."

Serra sang then. It was an amazing voice, husky and throaty, and tinged with deep sadness. Aeris was entranced. Blade also turned to watch, as her voice rippled with power, flowing through the room and seeming to make it glow with energy.


There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know will melt away.....

Shadow felt power stirring within him, faint and distant. But it was there. His eyes blazed with newfound determination, and he raised his fist, drawing it back.

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you...

Aeris yelped as the room began to glow even brighter, everything becoming white. She hastily jumped off the beam, going to stand beside Blade. Maverick chirped with delight and sniffed at the blazing white floor. Serra continued to sing, her voice going strong.

It's a long road
When you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand for you to hold
You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt will disappear...

Within the black ice, Raven stayed motionless. But her face seemed to change somehow......it now seemed to have a pleading look to it. The ice rumbled slightly, while the sky rippled and grew convoluted. A shrieking wind whipped up, scouring the dead black surface of the plain.

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you...

The room was now nothing but pure, blazing white light. Aeris and Blade could still see Serra's faint silhouette. Her voice rang clear and strong, thrumming through their bones.

Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don't let anyone tear them away
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time, you'll find the way...

Thunder roared, and silver lightning flashed in the distance. Shadow yelled one word.

"Raven!"

He plunged his fist with explosive force. As his knuckles slammed into the glassy surface, it rippled. Time seemed to slow down to an agonizing, meandering crawl...

The black ice crawled and writhed violently, as if in agony. It suddenly shattered, the surface becoming riddled and convoluted with cracks.

And then it exploded.

The world seemed to become white, blanking out everything else. For a brief moment, Raven stayed suspended in the center of the glassy shards, silhouetted in white light.

Time kicked in at last. There was a massive thunderclap, and the world faded to black, sinking downwards with a grinding whine. The last thing Shadow remembered before fainting was something warm and soft in his arms...

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you...

The light faded away, and Aeris blinked, rubbing her eyes as they adjusted once more to the dim lighting. Serra's voice sustained the final note, then faded away to a dying murmur. Her eyes retained their usual icy blue hue as her wings stretched and faded into nothingness.

"What was that?" whispered Blade, his voice hushed with awe. Serra shuddered, and toppled off the beam with a yelp. Blade jumped forward and caught Serra in his arms. She was unusually light...and she smelled nice; like a blend of jasmine and sea breeze.

Serra squirmed slightly.

"You can let go of me now."

"Oh, right!" Blade said, flustered. He set Serra down as gently as possible and stepped back. Serra stood up, shuddering all over as her armor rippled and settled in small waves.

"What was that?" demanded Aeris, her eyes sparkling with wonder. "That was amazing!"

"I'm not sure...but I think Raven possessed me, and shared her wellspring of power with me. She has the most highly developed and powerful mind I've ever seen...her mind rivals that of the Alakazam themselves." Serra's voice held deep respect in it.

The trio jumped as harsh footsteps sounded outside the door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shadow blinked, and opened his eyes. He started as he noticed he was back in the chamber. Shadow looked up, and saw he sat in front of the trapping machine. Or what was left of it, anyway. It had been reduced to a hunk of riddled, twisted metal. Broken wires hung off it, merely sad remnants now.

Shadow raised his eyebrows, and got to his knees, getting to his feet a little stiffly. He looked around, and saw his other three companions lying around the room. They were still out. Fine. But where was Raven?

"I'm here, Shadow."

Shadow gasped and whirled around. Raven limped out from behind the ruins of the dais, wincing slightly as she massaged her aching forehead.

With a joyous yell, Shadow ran to Raven and grabbed her tight. He ignored her startled yelp as he kissed her gently, but passionately, making sure she was all there. Raven's muffled protests eventually faded away, and the couple stood silently in the hallowed chamber.

After what seemed like an eternity, Raven finally broke off the kiss.

"Enough! Enough! You're happy to see me, I know." Her voice was stern, but her eyes danced with happiness.

"I was so afraid you would...you know.." gabbled Shadow, love making his toungue loose.

Raven grew serious.

"I'll not soon forget what you did for me. I've gained a good amount of respect for you now."

Shadow laughed as he pulled Raven close to him once more.

"Admit it. I'm not that big of an idiot. And you must know by now that I'm your biggest fan."

Raven simply smiled, her luminous purple eyes alight with happiness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra spun around, her hair whipping around.

"Hide!" she hissed at Aeris and Blade. The pair instantly ducked behind the Giovanni's desk. Maverick looked around, puzzled until Aeris reached out from behind the desk and snatched him back by the tail.

Serra straightened, and her armor rippled, congealing together to form new clothes-a Team Rocket outfit. The standard...black pants tucked into boots and a black sweater with a large, red R emblazoned on the chest. She looked the part of it, too.

The door flew open once again, and a sweaty Rocket grunt staggered in, panting fitfully. Serra recognized him as the same one who had commented on her body. His bloodshot eyes lit up as he saw Serra.

“Are you trapped, too? They’ve sealed all the exits, and I can’t get out! I thought I was the only one, everyone else’s evacuated...” babbled the man, obliviously in a state of panic.

“Sealed the exits? Evacuated? Why?” Serra spoke in a calm, icy voice, doing her best to imitate a classic female Rocket member.

“The Giovanni ordered the base to be evacuated. He said the Goddess was in here, so we all had to get out, and flush the wench out with Andros.”

Serra’s eyebrows rose slightly. Aeris murmured her thoughts to Blade.

“This isn’t good....damn that Giovanni. He’s a shrewd one.”

Blade nodded quietly, and turned his head to listen once more to the conversation.

“I see....so we are both trapped.” spoke Serra quietly. The grunt nodded, his eyes wide with fear.

“I’m not concerned about my safety or yours. However, it is your existence that worries me.” Serra’s voice took on a definite menacing tone.

The grunt blinked, puzzled. That woman seemed familiar....

“Oh, Jesus! You’re the Goddess! I recognize your hair!” The grunt backed up, his face contorted with fear.

“Damned right I am!” Serra’s clothes glowed and reverted back to the Armor form.

“Back off-I’ve got a gun!” The grunt pulled out his piece, and pointed it at the Goddess. His hand shook so hard, the gun wavered.

“Oh, please. I’m so frightened.” snapped Serra. In one fell motion, her leg shot up. The grunt shrieked in an unusually high-pitched soprano and clutched at his groin, his knees hitting the floor.

The gun skittered across the floor, then glowed with an electric blue aura and hovered up. It suddenly contorted, and the gun barrel twisted itself into a knot. Serra dropped the disfigured piece of metal with disdain, and turned to the desk.

“This guy isn’t going anywhere. Let’s go.”

Aeris stood up and quickly recalled Maverick, who disappeared into the Pokéball with a flash of white light. Blade stood up also, and the pair made their way around the desk to join Serra. Serra crept out the door silently, checking to ensure the path was clear.

The trio silently moved along, weaving their way in the endless maze of hallways.

“So how do we on getting out of here?” asked Aeris as they walked.

“I’m not sure.” Serra sighed, and for a brief moment, looked world-weary. Her eyes shone with ancient sadness. It seemed as if she had never known true peace. Which she hadn’t.

They grew silent once again.

Suddenly, loud footsteps echoed from a hallway to their right. Serra immediately flattened herself against the wall, and motioned for Blade and Aeris to do the same.

“What do you think it is? Andros?” Serra’s voice suddenly sounded tremulous. “I still don’t have the energy to fight one.”

“Don’t worry, Serra. Here’s what we do. We’ll ambush them...take them by surprise.” Blade grinned, and Serra began feeling a little better.

The footsteps continued to grow louder, until it was clear that whoever it was, would come around the corner any second. And they did.

“EYAAAAAHHHHH!”

“TAKE THAT, ANDROS SCUM!”

Loud screams echoed and a roaring stream of fire whooshed past Aeris’ ear.

“STOP! STOP! It’s not Andros!” she yelled.

“Bloody hell, Serra! You can let go of my neck now!” snapped Hydro from under Serra’s arm lock. She flushed with embarrassment and let go, mumbling apologies as she did. Hydro rubbed his neck and looked over the scene. Dark Flame snapped her mouth shut, putting out the fire within. Raven leaned on Shadow, her face ashen as she labored for breath. Terra held her guns to Blade’s head, while Blade’s sword was at her neck. Both lowered their weapons, looking embarrassed. Tora put back Reaper’s Pokéball on her belt. She had been about to release the fire-grass tiger.

“Nice to see you guys survived.” grinned Aeris. Raven grinned back, and the group milled around for a bit, exchanging information and greetings. Soon, the group began organizing, and moved forward once more, with Blade, Terra and Hydro in front. Then came Serra, Tora and Aeris, who also helped Shadow support Raven.

They moved forwards with mixed feelings. Joy to be reunited. But also uncertainty for what lay ahead.

AzureFlygon
16th November 2004, 9:52 PM
Well, another day, another chapter... Whoa, we're on chapter eighteen, already!? At this pace, it'll only be another three days or so...... well, I think we sound only do one chapter a day during the war for Jhoto, considering how long those chaps are. As it is, I think we've left some readers in the dust from sheer speed of posting... ^^;;

So, here just ONE chapter, okay? and it's a short one, and kinda pointless, but what're ya gonna do?

~~~~~

Chapter Eighteen: Giarda's an Ally

“Okay, so you’re the map, where do we go now?” asked Hydro’s clear voice as the group walked through the dark, dank passageway.

“Well, the map only shows three possible exits,” replied Tora silkily, “but two are sure to be guarded. The last one is certainly dangerous, but it’s hidden, so we won’t be caught.”

“Where is this ‘last Exit’?” asked Shadow with some degree of curiosity.

“A long way down; past Raven’s chamber by a long shot. The tunnel seems to emerge somewhere in the National Park,” answered Tora as her mind was fed information by the Foluke.

“What kind of danger is there?” asked Raven, who was walking beside Shadow.

Tora shrugged with a blank look, and the questions ceased. The group had again begun to walk in a semi-line style, with Tora and Terra taking the lead. Hydro and Blade walked close behind them, followed by Shadow and Raven. At the back of the line, Aeris and Serra walked in silence, both lost in their own thoughts.

Their footsteps echoed through the long, deserted tunnel, and the sound created an eerie feel to the air. There was sure to be no Andros left in the hideout, because it had been evacuated, but the group was still waiting on edge for something to suddenly leap and attack out of the darkness.

They reached the steel door that had blocked the passage before, and this time no one had any objections to Terra blasting it out of the way. As the deafening gunshots faded, they walked carefully through the large, jagged hole in the steel. As Tora looked down at the sharp, glinting splinters of metal, she was suddenly glad that she was not on Terra’s bad side.

The solid column of ice rose before them, and Terra showed the others the hole they had made in the frozen water. Aeris, Serra, and Blade looked at the column with surprise, but did not ask questions. They crawled through the tunnel, and soon made their way to the other side. Unfortunately, it was pitch black until Dark Flame, who had stayed on the other side of the pillar to investigate something, bounded through with her fire wisp to light the way.

They continued, and soon came to the fork in the passageway. Shadow shuddered as he remembered his experience with the scythe, and quickened his pace. Suddenly, there was a high-pitched screech, and a dark form flew into his face.

“Ah! Get it off me!” he cried, leaping to the side.

“It’s just a Zubat!” laughed Raven as she took a firm hold of the small bat and drew it away from Shadow. The small thing squeaked in protest, and struggled to escape from the firm grip that held it.

“It has something,” said Hydro as he moved to see the commotion.

Raven, while holding the struggling Pokémon in one hand, took a small item from the Zubat’s tiny claws. She held it to the light, and the entire group moved closer to see what it was.

“It looks like a rolled up piece of paper,” said Aeris, as she looked at it.

“It has something written on it” Mused Raven. She read aloud to the group, “Giovanni, it is my pleasure to inform you that the army is mobilized and ready for invasion. The WS will be leading the charge. Message ended.”

“WS, what’s a WS?” asked Tora with brow furrowed.

“It must stand for something,” answered Shadow with a glance towards the trainer, “But it could stand for just about anything.”

<Yeah, With Sauce, Wild Slakoth, Wimpy Shadow,> listed Terra with a glitter in her eye.

“Hey! Who are you calling wimpy?!” flared Shadow.

“Stop it, guys,” snapped Aeris, “This is serious! The Rockets are planning to invade, and they have an army. We need to get word to Johto and gather our own army to stop them!”

“Then I suggest we don’t sit around here talking,” said Blade, “Let’s get to that exit!”

The rest of the group nodded, and Tora led off again. Raven released the Zubat back into the air, and the little creature squeaked indignantly as it flew off. Dark Flame walked just ahead of Tora, lighting the passage with the eerie blue glow that came from the luminescent wisp that hovered about her.

The fork in the passageway was soon left behind them as they traveled down the left tunnel. Tora carefully avoided the rock that had tripped her earlier, and the light illuminated the shining surface of the illusion wall.

“Hey, I thought you said there was a passage here!” exclaimed Aeris.

“There is,” answered Tora, “Don’t be afraid to step through, the wall is illusion.”

To prove her point, the girl stepped forward and disappeared in the wall. Serra yelped, and Blade gasped. Soon, Tora’s hand appeared through the wall, beckoning them through.

Terra followed without pause, as Did Shadow and Raven. Hydro stayed behind to make sure the rest of the group got through all right, and then stepped into the wall himself. As he came out on the other side, he blinked his eyes to adjust to the brighter light from the panels on the ceiling.

Terra recalled Dark Flame, and they continued on with slightly hesitant steps. The group walked past the destroyed door where Raven had been held, and the Psychic girl shivered as she passed. Shadow brought her closer to him in a protective manner, glaring at the broken entrance with malice.

Suddenly, Tora turned to the right and walked through another wall. Terra, who was right behind her, jumped in surprise. The group milled nervously, but followed after a moment.

The passage was dark, but Tora had already released Midiya. The shining Foluke gazed at the rest of the group with slight curiosity, pure blue eyes passing into each soul as if the person’s skin was as clear as a still pool. Serra shuddered at the gaze, and Midiya abruptly broke of to look back towards Tora.

“Come with us,” said Tora in a strange tone, “There isn’t much farther to go, and the passage is mostly straight from here.”

They walked down the passage in silence, for the very air seemed to be waiting for something to happen. Nothing occurred though, and for an hour the group walked through the uneven ground with only the sound of dripping water ringing in their ears. There was a slight curve ahead, and Tora sensed warning warmth emanating from her pocket.

She slowed the pace, and recalled the sparkling Foluke. The dank walls of the tunnel began to glow as the luminescent moss growing on the wet surface did its job, lighting the way for the group. Tora inched around the corner, gesturing for the others to stay back.

She peeked carefully around the corner, and saw a huge, black shadow obscuring her vision. A loud, rasping sound seemed to come from it, and as it shifted, Tora caught a glimpse of shining metal and sharp horns.

Tora inched back towards the group, and gestured for them to move back. When they were finally far enough away, she sighed and told them what was there.

“We have a bit of a problem”, she said. “There’s a sleeping Aggron in the middle of the path.”

“That must be why this exit is unguarded,” said Aeris, “The Aggron chose this place as its territory, so the Rocket’s don’t need to worry.”

“But how will we get past it?” asked Hydro.

“I can do it,” said a soft voice from the back.

The group parted, and Serra came to the front. She looked strong, and her eyes glowed with purpose.

“I can talk to it, and ask if it will allow us to pass,” explained Serra, “If it doesn’t, I will battle it for the right.”

“That is very brave,” said Tora quietly.

“I am the Goddess, and I must do my duty,” said Serra simply, smiling.

The quiet girl grinned and walked carefully around the bend. The rest of the group looked after her, wondering if they should follow. Suddenly, there was a loud, bellowing roar, and an answering yell. The rest of the group ran forward, aiming to help if they could, but as they rounded the corner, they found that no help was needed.

Serra stood before the Aggron, whose eyes were already closed in defeat. She had conquered the creature with one blow, and the group stood gaping as she dematerialized her armor and walked past the metallic lump with no hesitation in her step.

With a shrug, Terra followed. The rest soon followed suite, and they continued down the passage with high hopes. They had overcome so many obstacles already, and they believed there was little in the tunnel that they could not pass.

Serra stopped, and the group craned their necks to get a full view of the barrier that lay before them. They could see the outside, yes, but it was obscured by the soundless, sparking green glow of a force field. Another panel was set in the wall, but Terra wasted no time in ignoring it and pulling out her guns.

Deafening shots echoed through the tunnel as the deaf girl fired mercilessly at the green wall. The barrier hummed every time she hit it, but did not break. After this failed attempt, Blade brought out various different weapons and tried his luck. The wall held firm.

The trainers brought out their Pokémon, and they all shot their most powerful attacks at the field of green. The hum turned into a squeal, but still the wall did not flinch at the treatment. Finally, Aeris called a stop to the relentless attacks.

“This thing is impossible!” she said vehemently, “I really don’t know how we’re going to break it!”

“I’ll try,” said Serra.

The girl glowed and rose into the air, forming her Goddess armor around her. Huge, fiery wings sprouted from her back, flapping and sending small embers into the air. Her hand began to glow, and suddenly a burning column of flame shot from her palms and struck the force field with tremendous power.

The group shied away from the heat, shielding their faces so as not to get flying sparks in their eyes. A screech rent through the tunnel, and the superheated air was blasted back towards them. They looked up with horror, actually able to see the wavering heat approaching, but suddenly there was a blast of white light. The temperature dropped considerably, and a wall of snowflakes approached the wavering air, nullifying it before it could do nay harm.

“I’m sorry,” said Serra as she landed, her ice blue wings fading, “Even I cannot break through this obstacle.”

“You tried,” said Aeris comfortingly, “That’s all that matters.”

Serra sighed with a sad light appearing in her eye, and walked to a corner to sit. She leaned back against the damp wall, feeling the luminescent moss against her, and suddenly felt that someone had come to sit beside her.

Serra opened her eyes, and was surprised to see Tora sitting next to her. She looked at the girl questioningly, raising an eyebrow, and Tora laughed gently.

“Hey,” she said, “I never got much chance to talk to you, and I thought that this is as good at time as ever.”

“But we have the barrier to worry about,” said Serra, “How can you be so relaxed?”

Tora laughed, and shook her head in amusement.

“I find that the best way to solve a really difficult problem is to leave it alone and relax,” she explained, “The answer will come to you in time.”

Serra looked thoughtful, but didn’t say anything.

“Anyway,” continued the girl, “I have something that I think belongs to you.”

Serra’s head instantly snapped up, and she looked at Tora with sparkling eyes.

“What?” she asked curiously.

“This,” said Tora. She reached into her pocket, taking out the long, black cord and the glittering object that was suspended from its coils. Serra’s eyes immediately lit up, and she gasped with wonder.

“I thought I’d lost it!” she exclaimed. She looked up as Tora handed her the necklace, “How did you find it?”

“It was in the field in Cherrygrove,” answered Tora with a glad smile, “I remembered seeing you with it, and picked it up,” Tora’s face suddenly grew serious, “I don’t know how you got one, though.”

“Aeris bought it for me in a shop,” said Serra.

“Ah, shops carry everything nowadays,” sighed Tora wistfully, “Be careful with it; there’s a lot of power in that thing.”

“Like what?” asked Serra, surprised.

“Hey!” exclaimed Tora suddenly, “I think I figured out a way to get through the barrier!”

“Really? What?”

“We can use Giarda! She’s sure to have the codes for opening the door in her databanks!”

“Giarda?”

Tora laughed.

“Oh, that’s what I named the Andros Charizard,” she said in a relieved tone, “It means Silver Menace.”

Tora rose and went to the others in the group, who were standing in a circle and talking quietly. They looked at her doubtfully when she told them of her idea, but seemed to be at the end of their rope. They had no options left.

“But how will we get it to listen to us?” asked Hydro, “Andros are loyal only to Team Rocket, and no one else.”

“Do you think a powerful psychic interference would work?” suggested Blade with a shrug.

Raven looked surprised, as did the others. The psychic girl looked at the group with wide eyes.

“I’ve never attempted something like that before,” she said, “There’s no telling what might happen...”

“Are you willing to try?” asked Aeris, looking apprehensive.

“Yes,” replied Raven.

Tora nodded, and suddenly remembered a problem; she didn’t have the Andros with her. She gasped, and realized that the only PC near the place was back in the dark hallway, just after the place where Raven had been held. She hurriedly mumbled an explanation, and ran off at her top speed, bent on getting the Charizard before it was too late.

. . .

It was only a half hour before the girl had returned, breathless but exhilarated. She smiled, and told the others to stand back as she threw the green and black orb into the air. The green light from the barrier glinted off the metal of the creature that now stood before them, and it looked at them with hatred glinting in the soulless red eye sensors.

Raven steeled herself, and stepped forward so that she was in a direct line of sight with the massive Andros. It looked at her, and as soon as its eyes locked on her, Raven’s began to glow in an ethereal violet.

A ghostly wailing filled the air, and the Charizard’s eyes lit with the same light as Raven’s. They stood in a standoff, neither giving in to the others demands. The metal Charizard would not open her mind, and Raven would not give up until it did so. The floor between them groaned and lit with a white blaze as their will intensified.

Tora, who was standing a fair distance from the rest of the group, sensed the dire conflict between the two deep within her thoughts. Suddenly, words formed in her mind, and she said them aloud in a whispering, hissing voice that was not her own. As she did so, a faint orange glow pervaded the edges of her eyes, lighting her fair face eerily.

“You, who have known true change and whose mind has been darkened by contact will the darkest of all fears, now must change again. Bear your mind to us, so that we may see the light in darkness...”

The red eyes of the Charizard became framed in orange, offsetting the amethyst blaze already within them. Suddenly, Raven cried out as the will of the Andros broke and the entire life of the creature flashed before her eyes.



She saw before her a Charizard, whose large and powerful build reminded her of a protector. She seemed desperately small as she looked up at him.

She sat on a large rock, watching two humans clad in black shirts approaching in the morning fog.

She roared in anguish as she swung a claw blindly at long, pink tentacles that engulfed her.

Raven gasped, and saw herself astride a Rapidash. Her hand was glowing white, and she galloped towards the creature whose mind she now controlled. There was a searing heat rippling across the Charizard, and it roared as it banked to escape the power.

She suddenly saw Aeris as she rode on Skyfang, and stiffened her wings as she dove.

Red light, there was so much red light... she was so weak...



Raven came to herself suddenly. She was on her knees, and her head ached with the expended energy. She groaned, and sent a final lance of power out to the Charizard to break the connection with Team Rocket. As she did so, the huge Pokémon roared and collapsed on the ground, unconscious.

“Raven!” said Shadow worriedly as he ran up to the girl, “Are you all right? What happened?”

“I’m fine,” said Raven weakly, smiling, “And I did it!”

“You succeeded in breaking the connection to Team Rocket?” asked Aeris, surprised.

Raven nodded, and allowed Shadow to help her up from the ground. She walked to the glinting creature lying on the ground, and touched its metal skull with a look not unlike pity.

“You didn’t deserve what they did to you,” she whispered softly.

As she said the words, the eye sensors of the creature flickered and lit up. They were no longer red, as they had been, but a bright yellow-green that shone with new purpose. It lifted its head, and snorted in a way that resembled a person waking up from a long and horrible dream.

Tora walked forward, and stood next to Raven. Giarda looked at both girls with faint recognition, and clambered up from her position on the ground. She stood silently, looking as if she was waiting for something.

“Your name is now Giarda,” said Tora softly, “I hope you like it.”

The Andros Charizard snorted with acceptance, looking amused despite the obstacle of having a metal skull.

“Do you think you can help us?” asked Raven, directing her gaze towards the metal creature.

Giarda looked at the psychic blankly, and Tora decided to explain.

“Do you know the codes that will get us out of this place?” she asked.

The Charizard looked thoughtful, and nodded. She clambered to the panel, growling softly, and pressed a complicated series of buttons using the tips of her claws. The green wall flickered, and disappeared with no trouble. Giarda looked back at the group, eyes shining brightly.

“Thank you, Giarda!” exclaimed Tora, “You saved us all!”

The Charizard bowed her head humbly, and allowed Tora to call her back into the Net Ball. The group walked forward with a new spirit in their step, glad to have an important new ally. The air around them turned from the dank, stale air of a tunnel to the clear, fresh air of the outdoors as they passed the place where the barrier had once stood.

Serra walked beside Aeris, but her thoughts were not on the new freedom they had gained. She fingered the scale around her neck as she thought, wondering what Tora knew about it. Something very strange had happened in that cave, too, something that seemed a little... orange.

She looked up at a small chirp, and saw a group of Pidgey flying high in the sky above them. The flock of bird Pokémon wheeled in the air, creating dazzling patterns as they rose higher and higher into the sky. The girl below watched them until they flew near the sun, which stood high in the clear sky. None was aware of the dark cloud that was making its way across the trembling sea, building power as it approached the peaceful land of Johto.

Rosie4ever
16th November 2004, 11:48 PM
I love this fan-fic ^^ Does it continue? ( Thanks for a wonderful story AzureFlygon) ~Rosie4ever
P.S. Don't ask about the name - - you'll see what it means in my fan-fic. ^^

Elite Eevee
17th November 2004, 1:33 AM
Sorry I haven't picked up-I read the story on Gatene's site, these chapters are great, and will you write anything for Song of the Godess?

Oh, and by the way, WHO THE %*!@ MADE THIS A 3-STAR FIC?!

Gatene
17th November 2004, 2:23 AM
To Rose4ever: Yes, the story continues, it's all on my site for this great story by Spectreon & Razor (AzureFlygon) http://spectreon.mybesthost.com
and
http://spectreon.mybesthost.com/index3.htm

The 1st link has links to the second one on each page, but some ppl have had troulbe finding them, heh.

To Elite Eevee: Well, I am glad that you were able to navigate the site...some ppl have problems getting to the new chapters in Song of the Goddess, I don't see why, I've linked the hell out of them lol. But to answer your quetion, yes, Razor (AzureFlygon) does write, and a good bit for Song of the Goddess (I know you were wanting her to answer, but I had the answer too).

====

I'll post Chapter 19 tomorrow, it starts the war in Johto, and a really kick *** chapter.

Gatene

ClefairyTenchi
17th November 2004, 4:11 PM
Fear not, Stinking Eevee Lord! I have input my mighty rating of this superior fic!

;035;"I AM SEMPAI!"

It seems to me that the time it takes to post all of the previous chapters will be enough for Azre and Speccy to finish a few new chapters. Am I correct, Humans of Typing?

AzureFlygon
17th November 2004, 9:09 PM
Yes, we have already finished the newest chapter and are working on the one after that (which by my calculations is going to be very long and very good).

Your suggestion about Celebi will probably be used in it, too, Clefairy ^^

Because Gatene says he's going to post the first installment of the War for Jhoto, I'll defer to him. Hope he posts soon :D

ClefairyTenchi
19th November 2004, 3:44 PM
WHOOO! LENGTH! PSYCHO CELEBI!

;035;"SEMPAI!"

Yes, you too, Sempai. I can't wait till you post the next one. It's so exciting! This is my favorite fic ever! It's got such an original outlook on pokemon! ;P

Gatene
19th November 2004, 8:45 PM
I am so sorry y'all. I had some technical Difficulties :( For waiting so long, I'm gonna post Chapter 20 in a seperate post

Here's the chapter, enjoy :)

Chapter 19: A Righteous Beginning
By: Spectreon


Finally reaching Goldenrod City, the Goddess is greeted by some of the group's old friends. Getting to meet them all, and receiving an eerie message from a Quilava, the Goddess prepares to fight, and proves her worthiness in the oncoming battle. Now, the beginning of the oncoming redundant war has started, and the Goddess falls...

“My Giovanni...I bring news.”

“Yes?”

Dorian turned from the window. He’d been gazing out spitefully at Zeiryu City in the distance. It seemed to mock him, the barrier twinkling cheerfully at him. But at least Zeiryu couldn’t send reinforcements to Johto. That gave Dorian an edge, at least.

Dorian had flown back to Saffron, bringing all his agents who had been in the base. It had served its purpose, and he didn’t need it anymore.

“Our troops are mobilized in Johto. They occupy mostly eastern Johto, but Johto has put up defenses from Ecruteak City to Goldenrod, Azalea, and Violet City. We have control over New Bark, Cherrygrove, and Mount Silver. To advance further, we must battle Johto’s armies. They’ve mobilized, and war is imminent. We have almost used up all our resources. If we lose, it will be a massive defeat and we would be forced to retreat.”

“Are you questioning my decision?” Dorian’s tone was almost friendly, but it bore menace.

The operative shook his head vigorously.

“No, my Lord! Never! I am just stating the consequences.”

“Then be quiet. You may take your leave. Tell the Wishing Star to start the advance tomorrow. “

The operative nodded and saluted, then turned smartly on his heel and left. Dorian turned back to the window, lost in his thoughts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“This place is really beautiful! What is this place?” Serra asked Aeris as they walked forwards on the trail. The trail was a dirt path that wove and threaded among tall grass in a meadow.

There were benches set around a beautiful fountain to their right. The water gushed cheerfully, gurgling and bubbling. As the sun’s rays hit the sparkling clear water, it turned to pure light, sending out a prism playing upon the gently swaying grass.

“This, my friend, is Johto’s pride and joy: The National Park! Every week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, people gather and do the Bug-Catching Contest. It’s fun-I’ve tried it.”

Aeris grinned, recalling fond memories. Maverick stood perched upon his favorite spot-Aeris’ head. Terra had recalled Dark Flame, for she was weary. However, Tora had released Giarda, where she was free to wheel and soar in the sky, reveling in her newfound freedom. Tora had asked her to keep a lookout and land if she saw people. It wouldn’t do for her to cause panic.

“And what did you catch? Did you win?” asked Serra, adjusting her jacket.

“Umm...let me see...I was a bit of a young idiot back then. I saw a Venonat, and thought it was simply adorable. So I caught it, thinking I’d win. But this guy, he caught a shiny Pinsir! All blue and sparkly. He won, of course. Pfft. I still say Venonats are better.”

“What happened to him?” asked Blade, blinking as a gust of wind blew from the west, ruffling his hair.

“I released him, of course. He was too weak to use in a serious battle, but he sure was sweet. He’d let me dribble him and toss him around.”

Serra blinked, while Shadow snorted with laughter.

“Hey, look! Goldenrod City!” Hydro yelled, pointing.

Sure enough, the roofs of the metropolis rose in view above a grassy hill. The sun’s light hit the mirrored gold roofs at an angle, turning them to blazing gold, easily seen from a distance and earning the city its name.

“Giarda, come to me, please!” Tora’s cry rang out.

Giarda let out a screech and folded her wings, spiraling down. Her claws hit the ground with a thud, and the steel dragon trotted over on all fours.

“I’m sorry, but could you please come back into your ball?”

Giarda snorted and nodded. There was a slight hum as she turned to white energy and was recalled into the Net ball.

Aeris turned around, waving impatiently. Tora’d fallen behind. The green-haired girl ran to catch up, huffing slightly as she climbed up the hill. As Tora joined the group, they stood, goggling in shock.

“Oh, my lord.” Shadow uttered in a soft voice.

A massive army camp surrounded the city. Flapping white banners trimmed in gold waved proudly in the warm breeze. Aeris gazed out, and saw that there were countless other camps spread out. She drew out her binoculars, and grinned as she scanned the land. There was one in Violet, one in Azalea, another in the Ruins of Alph, and one in Ecruteak. Together, they formed a massive defensive wall from Southern Johto to Northern Johto.

“My generals have been busy.” Aeris grinned, bursting with pride for her homeland.

She whooped and ran down the hill, waving and yelling. Serra and the others ran behind her, yelling for Aeris to slow down.

Aeris waved as she neared the camp. A lone figure ran out to meet her, and Aeris greeted the figure at the top of her lungs.

“TOPAZ!! TOPAZ!! LONG TIME NO SEE!”

The grinning woman in question grabbed Aeris in a bear hug, giving her a noogie.

“Hey, Aeris! How have you been? Still as nuts as always!”

Serra gazed at the woman in amazement. She seemed about twenty, but she was short for her age. Topaz had beautiful flowing black hair which was pulled back in a ponytail, yet the hair went all the way down to her calves. Her eyes were a beautiful dark blue and almost Oriental in appearance, like Raven’s. She wore a long blue cloak identifying her as First General of the Johto’s First. The only jewelry she wore was a small turquoise stud in her right ear, which Serra recognized as a translator.

“And who is that?” asked Topaz, meeting Serra’s stare. Serra blushed and looked down, suddenly feeling awkward.

“Oh, Topaz, this is Serra. Serra, this is Topaz Soarhire, one of the most powerful trainers in this region.” introduced Aeris.

“Nice ta meetcha, Serra.” Topaz proffered a hand, which Serra noticed was covered in a dark blue fingerless glove. She shook Topaz’s hand, not meeting the older woman’s stare.

“Little shy, eh?” grinned Topaz.

“Very shy. Just don’t piss her off.” warned Aeris. Topaz shook her head, and waved at the rest of the group.

“Hey, Hydro, Terra, still together? Shadow and Raven, standing together and not killing each other? My lord, what has this place come to? And Blade! Dang, that’s a big pigsticker ya got there.”

“Topaz, can you please go and tell the others of our arrival? I have news for you all.”

Topaz saluted, then turned and ran off. Aeris grinned, and pulled Serra with her.

‘Everyone, go and spread around, you can have a break. Serra, come with me, please. The soldiers don’t know about you, and I don’t want them making advances on you.”

Serra grinned slightly.

“I can take care of myself.”

Aeris regarded her suspiciously, then sighed.

“Just don’t kill the poor men. We need every man we can get.”

Serra smiled and waved, parting with the blonde Champion. Serra stretched slightly, gazing around the surroundings.

Millions upon millions of soldiers sat, eating, drinking, and chatting. Some laughed uproariously, and some joked and told stories. Serra was amazed to see that there were also female soldiers here and there, and all the soldiers bore Pokeballs upon their belts. They were also equipped with daggers, swords, and various rifles. Tents were set out among the soldiers, as were a few army-style trucks.

Serra wandered among the soldiers, feeling out of place. They were all experienced warriors, and looked tough. Serra was just about to move on when a voice spoke out from behind her.

“Ooo warnt cayk?”

“Huh?” Serra blinked and turned to look at the speaker. It was a young handsome man in army fatigues. He looked up at Serra, his brown hair flopping into his hazel eyes. The man held out a platter of what looked like cake. He spoke again from behind a mouthful of cake.

“Warnt cayk? Eeeeh? Eeee cayk?”

“For goodness’ sake, JLX how do you expect her to understand that?” snapped a young woman, also in uniform, beside JLX. The woman looked up at Serra and rolled her eyes.

“Sorry about that, lady. JLX ain’t the sharpest sword around.”

JLX swallowed the cake noisily, smacked his lips and then said delicately, “I resent that. I made the cake myself.”

Serra smiled at the odd pair and sat with them. The female held out a hand. Her chocolate-brown hair flapped in the wind.

“Name’s Sam, but you can call me Sammy. This idiot here is JLX, just JLX. This one over here is Rob,” she pointed to another young man, who waved and smiled. His black hair fell over his grayish-blue eyes.
“And this is Umbra.” she finished with a lovely woman next to Rob. The woman somehow managed to bow from her sitting position. Serra thought Umbra was quite exotic, for she had dark olive colored skin, the same as Su from Victory Island. Her cheekbones were high, and her eyes dark brown, almost black. Umbra’s hair was braided into dreadlocks and pulled back into a bun.

“Are you all soldiers?” asked Serra, amazed. Sam nodded, grinning.

“Want to see our partners? They’ve stood with us through thick and thin.”

Serra nodded, and the group of soldiers drew out their Pokeballs. Five bursts of light flared simultaneously.

“BLAST!! BLAAAAST BLAAAST TOISE!”
“Cynda!! Cynda quil quil quil quiiiiiiiil!”
“Victra! Beeeelll beellll victreeebeeel!
“Gardeivoooor......gard eeee voor....”
“Di di di di di! To to to ditto!”

“This here Blastoise is my best friend.” Sam said proudly. The gigantic turtle roared and extended his cannons, showing off.

“That’s nothing! Check out my Pokémon!!” declared JLX.

The Cyndaquil squeaked cutely and waddled over to Serra, while the Victreebel simply gurgled desolately, waving its leaf.

“This here fierce Cyndaquil is Cheesedoodleboots, and this Victreebel is Major Pyjamas. Say hi, Major!”

The Victreebel simply bent over in a grumpy bow, yellow acid spilling over the brim of its lip. JLX yelped as the acid landed on his cake and burst into flames.

“Idiot.” grinned Rob. “Do you like my Gardevoir?” The Gardevoir bent in a graceful bow, its wispy dress billowing elegantly. Serra nodded, admiring the Psychic Pokémon.

“Pfft. Check out my darling Di!” Umbra exclaimed, holding up what appeared to be a lump of pink ooze. Two eyes blinked and opened. A long black line opened within the pink ooze, squeaking.

“What is that?” asked Serra, amazed. She’d never seen anything like it on Victory Island.

“This here fellow, my dearie, is a Ditto.” declared Umbra proudly. “They can shape shift into anything you think of. Watch this. Di, change!”

The Ditto burbled and glowed. Its form grew and rippled smoothly. When the glow faded, a Spinarak lay in Umbra’s lap. Umbra shrieked and jumped up.

“SPIDERS!! I HATE SPIDERS!”

The Spinarak clicked its pincers sadly, then glowed and reverted back to its original form. Umbra sighed with relief and sat down, cuddling her Ditto once again.

“At least mine look tougher.” pouted JLX.

“Shut up, JLX.” was the response from the other three. JLX shrugged and returned to poking at his smoking cake with a fork.

Serra jerked as her name was called. Sighing, she rose and smiled at her newfound friends.

“I’m sorry, but I must go.” she apologized, then turned and left. The soldiers watched her go.

“She’s a strange one, she is.” Rob said quietly.

“Did you see her eyes? They were creepy!” exclaimed Umbra. “I wonder where she’s from.”

“Mmmmf, ih...ihs hop cape...too hop!" spluttered JLX, choking on a piece of cake. Cheesedoodleboots watched him with interest, while Major Pyjamas simply gurgled. Sammy simply watched the back of the retreating Serra thoughtfully.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A majestic tent rose beyond the other tents. Its cloth was dyed a rich red, and banners flapped proudly around it, identifying it as the Headquarters of the army camp. Aeris bounced impatiently as Serra approached.

“Finally. Come on in, please! Don’t worry.” she added, seeing the look on Serra’s face. Aeris turned and brushed aside the tent flap, beckoning Serra to follow. The two of them walked into a circular room. A single table sat in the center, with armchairs set around. Topaz sat in one, and waved, smiling. Raven sat in another armchair, and so was Shadow. Blade was also there.

Aeris showed Serra to her chair, and took a chair for herself. There was only one empty chair remaining now.

Serra shifted in her armchair, gazing around the room. Maps were tacked everywhere on the walls, and a blackboard stood off to the side, various war tactics scribbled on it. A massive map of Johto was spread out upon the table.

Serra jumped as a Quilava leaped onto her lap. She was big for her species, and an unusual color. Her underbelly fur was a rich creamy white instead of yellow, and the fur on her head and back was a deep violet shade instead of black.

The Quilava stood up, hers eyes large and intelligent. She spoke in her native language, but Serra had learned all the languages of Pokémon on Victory Island, so it was no problem talking to her.

“You’re different.” stated the Quilava flatly. Her eyes sparked with interest, however.

“Yes, I suppose I am.” replied Serra, speaking in the Quilava’s language. The Quilava jerked with surprise.

“You speak our language very well. My name is Fury, and Topaz belongs to me.”

Serra smiled at the Quilava’s last comment.

“My name is Serra, and it’s nice to meet you.”

She didn’t notice Topaz and the others staring at her.

“I sense you are not what you seem. You look human....but inside...” Fury put a paw on Serra’s chest, directly on her heart.

“You are the People.”

Serra nodded. Fury’s eyes bore into Serra’s with piercing intensity.

“Do not forget your People. Andros, Pokémon, they are no different. Their insides are the same. Do not forget that.”

Serra gasped and stared at Fury, her eyes wide with surprise. But the Quilava had by that time curled up and gone to sleep on her lap, a comforting warm presence.

Serra blinked and looked up at the rest of the room, who was staring at her. She shrugged, feeling conscious of herself.

“Fury’s never done that before-talk to a complete stranger. She must have taken a liking to you..” Topaz’s voice was slightly suspicious, and she looked at Serra more carefully than before.

“Leave her alone, Topaz.” Aeris’ voice was quiet, but firm. Topaz shrugged, and snorted.

The tent flap blew open and a small, wizened old woman toddled in. She looked around, smiling cheerfully.

“Oh, dearie me. Hope I’m not late!” she squeaked her voice bright and cheerful. She leant on her cane and gazed around nearsightedly. Her eyes were bright and a gleaming blue. The woman had glossy white hair pulled back into a bun, and a pair of spectacles were perched on her nose.

“No, Auntie, you aren’t late.” smiled Topaz. She stood and introduced the old woman.

“Everyone, this is Auntie Verd. She’s my second in command.”

“Pleased t’ meet you all.” chirped Auntie Verd. She waved cheerily at the stunned room.

Aeris and the others stood and bowed, then sat down. Shadow spoke up hesitantly.

“Um...Topaz..are you sure she can handle herself? No offense...”

Auntie Verd grinned, and her eyes took on a dangerous glint.

“No offense taken, young laddie. I’m capable of holding my own in battle. Isn’t that right, my baby?” She fingered the release button of an Ultra ball hanging from her belt.

A massive hulking Machamp exploded in existence, looming over Shadow. He roared in a deep bellow, making the tent’s poles quiver. The Machamp extended all four of his bulging, muscle-bound arms and cracked his knuckles threateningly at Shadow. Shadow’s eyes were bulging in their sockets.

“Uh...hi. Nice day, isn’t it?” he stammered, looking up at the brawny Fighter.

The Machamp grunted with amusement , and disappeared into his Pokéball. Auntie Verd creakily walked over to the remaining armchair and plopped herself into it, laying her cane across her lap.

Topaz swung the tent flap shut, and turned to the blackboard. She dragged the massive board across to the table, and grabbed the Johto map. Turning, she clipped the map to the board, then stood back. Everyone sat up, becoming attentive as Topaz started speaking.

“Okay, people. I will show you our current situation.”

Topaz took a red marker from the table and started drawing on the map. She drew a vertical red line from Ecruteak, down through the Park, through Goldenrod, Azalea, and then Violet.

“That’s our army mobilization. We will be holding that line.”

“Now, our scouts report that the Andros are stationed here, here, and here.”

As she spoke, she took a blue marker and drew a line from Mount Silver, through New Bark and then Cherrygrove.

The map now had two lines through it, showing each side’s territory.

“That’s about all we know. Aeris?”

Aeris nodded and stood, moving to the board while Topaz took her seat.

“We’ve deducted that the invasion may start as soon as tomorrow. All we know is that someone, or something, called WS will be leading the invasion. Does anyone have any idea what WS could mean?”

Everyone shook their heads. Aeris nodded and turned to Blade.

“Blade, you’re an expert at war tactics. You’re up.”

Blade nodded and stood. Striding forward to the board, he took up another marker, this time green. As Aeris sat, he started speaking, drawing as he did so.

“From experience, I’ve seen that Andros tend to do mindless offensive without much strategy. When they charge at our line, what we do is,”
he quickly drew two red curved lines around the blue line, “try to trap them in a pincer movement. I like to call this the Pinsir’s Guillotine.”

When he was done, a massive red line curved out around the blue line. Blade pointed out certain areas on the map.

“We can set up hidden soldiers, and ambush the Andros, too. We’ll take them by surprise.”

The room erupted in applause, and Blade bowed, grinning.

“Serra, we’d like to hear your input.” Aeris beckoned to the girl. Serra stiffened, her eyes widening. Her voice came out in a squeak.

“M-m-me? But I’m not an expert like you or Blade?”

“You’re the Goddess, for crying out loud. You control every single Pokémon in Johto.”

Serra blushed and stood up, pushing Fury gently off her lap. Fury snuffled sleepily, curling up in the warm spot left by Serra on the armchair.

Serra nervously stepped up to the board.

“Uh...ahem. I, um, I could ask the wild Pokémon around to help us. And I can try doing as much as I can to protect all the Pokémon. But the Pokémon are all I care about, understood?”

Aeris nodded. Topaz, however, was displeased.

“What do you mean, you’ll ask the Pokémon? I don’t care of you can talk to Pokémon. You must fight, too!”

“I never said I would not fight. Are you calling me a coward?” Serra’s voice was dangerously quiet. Aeris groaned slightly as the room slowly became colder as usual.

“Serra, Topaz, don’t-” Aeris was cut off by Topaz.

“All I’m saying is, I don’t see anything special about you. What can you do in battle?”

Aeris covered her face and groaned. Blade turned ash white, and Raven looked down silently. That was just about the WORST thing you could ever say to Serra.

“This is not good.” whispered Shadow to Raven.

The room’s temperature suddenly plummeted to absolute zero, and Topaz looked around in surprise.

Serra’s eyes started to glow very faintly. The single light bulb hanging from the ceiling popped and went dark. The papers on the walls started flapping about wildly in an unseen gale.

Aeris leapt up and pushed Serra and Topaz outside.

“If you must fight, do it outside!! Not in here!!” she yelled, running outside. Raven and Blade followed, while Shadow stayed behind to help Auntie Verd out of her chair.

“Hoi, laddie, I can do it!” she chuckled, and leaped up smartly, scurrying outside followed by an astonished Shadow and a sleepy Fury. By this time, all the soldiers had turned to watch the battle between the General and the newcomer.

“Prove your battling prowess against me, and I’ll apologize.” said Topaz, bowing to Serra as she shed her cloak, revealing a battling jumpsuit.

Serra bowed back, and the two women stepped back one pace.

All the soldiers whispered among themselves, making bets. The support was heavily for the General. None of the soldiers had seen Serra in action.

Sammy was the only one who bet on Serra, so everyone bet with her. They declared Sammy as “off her rocker” but Sammy simply smiled. She sensed that Serra was not what she seemed to be, and her sixth sense had never failed her.

A huge roar rose as the battle started. Hydro and the others were watching, mingled with the ranks.

Topaz flipped backwards, coming down in a crouch. She stretched out her arms, expertly balling her fists.

Serra bowed her head. Her Mark glowed, blazing like a miniature sun. Serra’s body was jerked upwards, like a living marionette, and her clothes glowed. They warped and rippled, forming into the Armor. The spectators gasped in surprise.

Serra landed on the ground on all fours. Her back writhed, and loud ripping sounds were heard as wings erupted from her back. They were like a dragon’s wings, but without the flaps of skin. Each bony section was gleaming black, and ripped tatters of purple flesh were strung between the wing-bones.

Dark Wings.

All the soldiers gasped, some screaming with fear. The noise level rose to a crescendo. Topaz narrowed her eyes, judging this new foe. With a war yell, she charged forwards.

Serra’s wings spread out from her back, unfolding in a rapid blur. They were massive and forbiddingly sharp at the tips. Her eyes had taken on a blood red tint.

The wings hummed as they flapped into a blur of motion and Serra leapt up as Topaz ran. Serra flipped at the peak of her leap, whirling around. Her foot came crashing down on Topaz’s back. With a yelp, Topaz collapsed.

The crowd became deadly quiet. From the spectators, Raven’s voice rose, yelling.

“Serra, take it easy! Topaz doesn’t have armor like an Andros!!”

Serra jerked, feeling as if she’d been drenched in ice cold water. Her eyes lost their red hue. Her wings faded and she drifted down to earth, her armor glowing and reverting back to her skirt and jacket.

“Do you trust me now, Topaz?” she asked quietly. Topaz winced and rubbed her spine. Her eyes blazed, and she tossed her hair back.

“I’m impressed. Looks like Serra will be kicking Andros ***** in the war.”

She grinned and bowed to Serra. Serra smiled and bowed back. The spectators erupted in applause, roaring their approval.

Sammy grinned hugely as grumbling soldiers slapped wads of cash in her awaiting hands. A lone voice piped up from behind her.

“Hoo warnt cayk? Warnt cayk?”

“Shut up, JLX!” was the answering yell from the soldiers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That night, the moon was blocked by forbidding clouds. The entire hill of Goldenrod’s army camp was lit by a mulitude of flickering campfires. They were dotted all over, seeming to reflect the stars in the darkness above.

Serra and her friends had their own campfire, shared by Sammy, JLX, Rob, Umbra, Topaz and Auntie Verd.

Serra drank slowly from her jug of tea, watching everyone quietly. The crackling, popping flames were reflected in the icy blue depths of her eyes. JLX and Sammy continued to heatedly debate which were worse, sesame seeds or tofu. Rob had challenged Umbra to a game of Blackjack, and the two sat, absorbed in their cards. Raven was sleeping, her head leaning on Shadow’s shoulder. Unbeknownst to Serra, Blade was watching her.

“I wish I could tell her I care about her.” he thought, dreamily sipping his tea. Blade jumped when Aeris snapped her fingers in front of his face.

“Hello? I asked you a question!”

“Sorry, Aeris.” mumbled Blade, growing red.

“I said, do you think Hydro should get engaged with Terra?”

Hydro, who had been sitting next to Aeris, overheard. He choked and spat out his mouthful of tea. Terra, sitting next to him, gasped and pounded on Hydro’s back, making him choke and splutter even more. Tora stifled her laughter by taking a large gulp of her own tea.

Quiet voices spoke and laughed in the night, while smoke from the array of campfires smoldered to embers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the starkness of the night, a Sentret stood delicately on its tail, surveying its surroundings. Its ears pricked up, listening for danger. Its nose twitched, sensing something unpleasant. It smelt the unmistakable odor of death and metal.

The Sentret stiffened and jumped down its burrow, quivering in terror.

A massive metal claw slammed into the earth, the sharp points digging into the dirt. It jerked up, moving forwards in a smooth motion, and thudded once more into the earth a few feet away.

Dark shapes moved silently in the night, bringing with them the stench of terror and death.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra awoke with a start. She rolled over, and sat up. Serra occupied a single, small tent with Aeris, Terra, Raven and Tora, so it was rather crowded. They all slept in low-slung metal frame beds that were collapsible.

Serra blinked sleepily and gazed at a half-full glass of water on a small bedside table to her left. Suddenly, she wrinkled her brow and looked closer at the surface of the water.

After three seconds, the surface of the water suddenly trembled, then went still. Serra’s eyes widened.

Three seconds ticked by...

The surface trembled, then went still.

Serra’s heart began beating more rapidly.

Three seconds...

Tremble.

Another three seconds...

Tremble.

“Oh, my lord.” Her voice was barely audible.

At the exact same time, a faint voice rang outside.

“Battle stations! Battle stations! To your battle stations! We have an Andros horde heading towards us!”

A trumpet sounded, and Aeris bolted upright.

“What’s going on?” she asked sleepily, yawning.

“Get ready for war! The Andros are advancing!” another voice rapped out. They then heard Topaz’s answering bellow.

“People, HAUL YOUR SORRY ASSES OUT THERE NOW!”

Aeris swore and grabbed her bows. She and Serra bolted to the door and sprinted outside.

The dawn rose, washing the sky in a pale pinkish hue ringed by fresh cerulean blue. Serra shielded her eyes and looked to the east, towards the area of the Ruins. It was fairly foggy. The fog lay low to the ground, slowly evaporating as the sun’s rays cut through them.

Out of the mist, nightmarish silhouettes appeared. Every three seconds, the ground thudded steadily as the Andros advanced.

The silhouettes were low-slung and four legged, almost spider like in shape. Each leg was broad and seemingly driven out of stone. They widened as they went, ending in three claws. Sinister red eyes shone from behind X-shaped face masks.

Andros Metagross.

Behind the Metagross, more low-slung beasts followed. They were far smaller and scuttled forwards in rapid bursts of speed. Gleaming pincers clicked ominously. Behind them, armor-clad titans moved slowly but steadily. Their massive indo-skulls gleamed in the morning haze, a symbol of death.

“Gee, let me see: Metagross, Ariados and Aggrons. What else could possibly be left?” mocked Raven, coming up from behind Aeris.

Screeching shapes swooped from the sky, their harsh cries ringing out in the stifled atmosphere.

“Skarmory. I’m also seeing Aerodactyls, Sceptiles, Kabutops, Armaldos and-oh crap. Smoochums. Damned little buggers.” groaned Blade, walking to stand beside Raven.

“What on earth could a Smoochum possibly do?” asked Serra. Aeris grinned wickedly.

“Well, first they give you a little kiss. That spreads paralyzing poison through your nerve system. Then they spread their rubbery little lips over your face and proceed to chew it off. Only you don’t feel a thing. Poison numbs you totally. They usually leave the eyes for last, so you can watch yourself getting eaten alive.”

“Aeris!! Urgh...that’s disgusting!!” squealed Raven.

“It’s true, it is!” insisted Aeris, grinning widely. Raven rolled her eyes. Tora cut in.

“I’d like to have Giarda help us fight, but how will our people recognize her as a friend?”

Topaz walked up to them.

“I’ve gotten care of that. Here-put this on her.” She handed Tora a long Johto’s First pennant. “Our people’ll see it and know.”

Tora bowed in thanks and trudged off. Terra ran up to them, panting.

“Where’ve you been?” asked Shadow.

<I had to run over to Goldenrod City’s Pokémon Center for the PC. I asked Su to give me Nightfire. And Raven-I brought you your Rapidash.>

Raven smiled gratefully as she took the proffered Pokéball. She activated it, and a massive war stallion sprang out, neighing a ringing cry. The Rapidash glanced at the advancing hordes and scuffed a hoof, clearly unimpressed.

“Hello, Peachblossom. Ready for a good fight?” asked Raven as she mounted the fire horse. Peachblossom reared, his diamond like hooves slashing through the air.

Aeris threw out her two Pokeballs, and Skyfang shrieked a war cry as he glared at the horde. Fury stomped in delight, raring for a good fight.

Terra took out her newest ball and another from her belt, releasing them. Juggernaut appeared, whirling his metal rods with a grinding whine.

A coal black Charizard also erupted in a flash of light, and Serra gasped in awe. The Charizard was jet black, including its belly and wings. The only thing that wasn’t black was the blazing red and yellow flame at its tail’s tip.

Terra and Aeris dug out leather harnesses from their packs, setting them upon their respectable dragons. When they had finished, the two girls climbed onto their dragons, strapping themselves in securely. Aeris adjusted her quiver and bow, making sure they were in reach.

“Why do they need harnesses?” asked Serra, puzzled.

“In aerial battle, there’s going to be a lot of dog fighting. Barrel rolls, loops, and sharp turns. They need to stay on securely.” Raven answered.

“I see...” said Serra, a slightly worried tone in her voice.

“Don’t worry, Aeris and Terra are pros at aerial warfare.” reassured Raven.

Serra nodded, gazing around. The entire army had gathered in a line along the hilltop ridge. Their banners whipped proudly in the wind, and Serra felt emotion rise. She silently prayed for all her friends, and her friends in the army. Terra and Aeris’ mounts took off, flapping proudly into the air. They circled overhead, openly taunting the Andros horde.

As Serra watched, Giarda shot up to join them, the Johto banner arcing out from between her wings. Tora had tied one end to her neck and then another to her tail so it wouldn’t wrap around her wings and trap her.

Topaz stepped up to join Serra, Shadow, Blade, and Raven. She squinted out at the horde. Auntie Verd walked up next to Serra, and cackled as she cast an eye over the nightmarish army.

“Ach, this’ll be fun!! Cheerio, my loves!” She waved gaily to the horde, drawing laughter from the army ranks.

Topaz raised her right hand, and the army suddenly quieted.

“Today. we do not battle for glory or territorial gain. No. Today...we battle for our right to survival. We defy Team Rocket and their scheming minions. Hear that, Andros metal brains? We don’t give a Rattata’s crap about your grandiose plans!”

The Johto army roared their approval, clanging their armor and waving their banners.

Serra stepped forwards, her Mark blazing. The Goddess Armor encloaked her, and her back rippled. Pure Steel wings shot out, sections sliding together to form shell-like curved metal. Blades popped out the edges, gleaming in the sunlight.

Serra flapped her wings and rose high into the air. Her hair billowed out, whipping in the wing. She looked like a glorious angel of war, a sight that was both terrifying and wondrous to behold in itself.

“Soldiers of Johto, do not disappoint me. CHARGE!” Aeris’ voice rang out like rolling thunder.

With a howl, Johto’s First charged.

They thundered down the hilltops, Topaz and Raven leading the frontal ranks.

Serra shot through the air, spreading her wings. A swarm of Andros Skarmory descended upon her, all slashing wings and talons and blazing steel. Serra screamed in agony as their wingtips sliced through her stomach.

“Heat Wave!!”

A blast of intense shimmering heat roared out from her form, slamming into the metal hawks. They shrilled in agony as their steel wings melted in a flash, rivulets of metal dripping down their bodies.

Wings all but gone, the doomed Andros spiraled down to earth. Serra did not watch them land. Instead, she wheeled about, facing a trio of Andros Pidgeot. They were smarter than her previous opponents, and circled at a safe distance.

Serra flapped her wings, maintaining a steady hover. She crossed her arms and concentrated.

“Swift!”

Glowing white shurikens materialized behind her and spun out to meet their targets. The Pidgeot swooped and banked, trying to lose the energy blades.

But Swift never misses.

Never.

The head of a Pidgeot fell to earth, trailing dark blood. It was soon followed by its body.

Serra ignored them, already diving at yet another target. She fought like a machine, never faltering in dealing out death.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Peachblossom leapt and landed on two Ariados, their metallic heads exploding under his hooves like overripe melons. Raven’s eyes blazed, and an invisible shockwave erupted from her, flinging Andros into the air.

“MMMMPPHHFFFT!!”

An Andros Hoppip, of all things, had leapt from nowhere and latched to her face. Raven’s yells were muffled, and she thrashed about wildly. An arrow hissed from the sky, driving with such force that when it hit the Hoppip, it simply kept going, taking its target with it.

“Thanks, Aeris!!” yelled Raven, spurring her mount forward.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The noise of battle was deafening. Andros roared in metallic screeches, soldiers yelled, and the screams of the dying all rang out in a blur of sound.

Blade slashed his sword, and heads flew. He whirled and stabbed a Grumpig in the stomach, then whipping it upwards in a vertical slash, neatly slicing the Grumpig in half. A gargantuan Andros Golem lumbered towards him, bellowing.

Blade ran around the massive armored titan and clambered up the side, stumbling precariously on the plated armor. He yelled and drove his sword down into the base of the Golem’s skull.

The Golem did not appear to notice. Swearing, Blade leapt down, slashing at the creature’s eyes.

That, the Golem noticed. And took offense to. Greatly.

Blade grunted as the Golem slammed into him, thrashing wildly in its blinded state.

He spun and pushed the Golem, hard. It screamed as it was thrown off balance, crashing down on its side. The ground shook violently at the impact.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hydro punched and kicked like a machine, locked in battle against a Medicham. Each was equally matched in speed, strength, and cunning.

Hydro threw a underhand right hook, but the Medicham swiftly blocked it and flipped, kicking Hydro in the chin. Hydro’s jaw swiftly snapped up, clashing painfully with his upper jaw. He blinked and flipped backwards, swiftly dodging a savage left hook.

Fighting a Medicham was next to impossible. They were part Psychic and sensed your moves even before you knew you were going to do it.

This battle was going nowhere. Hydro became angry and pulled off a flurry of kicks and punches. The Medicham blocked each and every one with deadly efficiency.

“BOOYARGHHH!!!”

A sword flashed, and the Medicham’s head flew off. The body stayed upright for a heartbeat, then swiftly collapsed.

JLX whooped manically, waving his sword gleefully. An Andros Spoink bounced down onto his head, locking onto him with its tail. JLX yelled and ran about wildly, trying to dislodge the squeaking pig.

Hydro ran and leaped, kicking the Spoink off in a spectacular high-flying kick. JLX grinned.

“Thanks, man!”

Hydro nodded, and turned to face a hulking Hitmonlee coming up from behind him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aeris and Terra’s mounts swooped and rolled dizzyingly, for they were locked in battle against two Fearow. Aeris leaned forward, flattening herself so Skyfang could move with more speed. A gust of Razor Winds spun past Aeris’ ear and she winced. That had been a bit too close for comfort!

Terra drew both her guns. She pushed up from her harness, almost standing.

<Nightfire, let’s give them the Hundreds of Flowers Blooming in Profusion!!>

The Charizard roared in agreement, banking and tilting to the right.

<You know what to do, my friend.>

Nightfire nodded and lunged forwards at both the Fearows. He opened his mouth, and a roaring gush of fire gushed out in a spiral helix pattern.

The blazing helix shot towards the two metallic Andros. They screeched in panic, blinded by the noise and light. Out of the roaring flames, Terra and Nightfire shot out, Terra’s guns blazing.

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM!!

The gunshots rang out harshly, punching through the Andros’ armor and ripping up their insides. The Fearows jerked limply as a fine red spray misted out of the holes in their armored carapaces.

Aeris whooped gleefully as the pair of Fearow fell to earth, their bodies shredded by bullets. The bodies vanished amid the slashing, writhing melee of the war beneath.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra gasped and wheezed, her breath coming out in sobs. All over her armor, there were slashes, and blood dripped from her wounds. Serra fought back tears, tolerating the extreme pain.

She flapped woodenly in the air, hanging on the best she could. Serra had been battling too many Andros to count, and had lost track of time. The sun was now high in the air. Noon. They’d been fighting for six hours!

A multitude of dead Andros and humans lay upon the ground, their bodies scoured by the blazing sun. But there were millions more Andros fighting. They seemed to be endless. Would this war ever end?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Giarda’s roar came out in a metallic screech and she shot through the air. Her target-a trio of Andros Blastoise attacking three terrified soldiers.

Sammy backed away, flanked by Umbra and Rob as the three menacing turtle Pokémon advanced upon them. A deep rumble issued from within their throats. Sammy fumbled with her rifle, her hands quivering as she aimed it.

The leader of the Blastoise roared and leapt at her. Sammy cried out and dropped her rifle, steeling herself for a painful death.

CLANG!!

Sammy opened her eyes in shock. An Andros Charizard wrestled with the Blastoise, her claws gripping the other Andros’ claws. Their roars echoed, rising to join the cacophony of war.

“Am I dreaming, or did that Andros just save us?” asked Rob, his eyes wide with shock.

“Look!! She’s got a Johto’s First banner!!” yelled Umbra, pointing at Giarda. Sure enough, the familiar banner was there, flapping in the wind. Despite being ripped and bloodstained, it still was easily recognizable.

“LOOK OUT!” yelled a voice from behind them. The trio of soldiers whirled just in time to see the bodies of the two other Blastoise thud to their knees, then collapse. Their heads skittered and rolled across the ground, like nightmarish bowling balls.

Auntie Verd panted slightly, wiping her sword on the bloodstained grass.

“Those two tried to sneak up behind you. Shame on them!” she explained to the goggling trio of soldiers. From behind them, a loud roar echoed and the third Blastoise went flying. Giarda streaked after him, attacking him mercilessly until his eye sensors had flickered and gone out for the final time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra brushed hair from her eyes, blinking blearily. A dark winged shape rose out of the battling masses and flapped steadily towards her.

What was it? It was shaped rather lopsidedly...she thought.

“TSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRR!!”

“Plus plus plus Plusle!!”

“Minuuuuuuuuun!!”

A Skarmory, bearing a Plusle and a Minun. Heading towards her.

The Andros Skarmory flew directly up and dropped the two electric rodents. Like a dream, Serra watched the pair fall....towards her.

Like kamikaze pilots, she thought with faint, bemused amusement.

The two Andros landed on her and latched instantly. Serra screamed and twisted in the air, trying to throw them off. The Plusle and the Minun grinned evilly, their twin red eyes glowing wickedly.

Serra’s eyes widened as she realized what they were doing. She was weak to electricity.....

And when a Plusle and Minun are together, their power increases to insanely high levels.

Serra screamed as a million volts of electricity crackled through her body, searing her neural system. Every nerve felt like it was on fire, and he agony was extreme. Serra’s vision went white with pain, and tears ran down her cheeks.

It was over quickly, brutally. The two electric Andros leapt off her and onto the Andros Skarmory waiting below.

Serra’s wings hummed and faded, as did her armor. She was dead to the world around her.

And she fell to earth.

The sun now hung low in the sky. Clouds had moved in, prematurely darkening the sky. They hung there, dark smudges of despair upon the sky. The sun’s rays shone through them, turning their outlines to blazing gold.

Serra’s body thudded limply against the blood-slicked grass, oblivious to the shrieking battles being waged all around her. Her eyes were closed, giving her the appearance of peaceful slumber. The tears upon her cheeks dried, and a crimson spray of blood spattered across her cheek as an Andros Zangoose fell next to her, gored by a soldier’s sword.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was evening. The first wave of Andros had retreated to nurse their wounds behind the hills. They had lost a little over half of their numbers, but even so, they still outnumbered Johto’s First.

The soldiers trudged through the battlefield, dragging away the corpses of their fellow warriors. The dead Andros were piled up in a huge mound out of the way, clearing the field for the imminent second wave.

Aeris walked around, her eyes bloodshot but alight with spirit. Her clothes were a bloody mess and she needed a bath, but she didn’t care. She frowned in confusion amid the bodies. All her friends were alive and accounted for, but where was Serra? Aeris didn’t think she could have fallen. Surely someone would have seen her...?

“Lady Aeris! Lady Aeris! There’s something I think you should see.” A soldier beckoned to Aeris from a few feet away, kneeling next to a pile of corpses.

Aeris turned towards the call, and trotted toward the soldier, kneeling next to him. A large dead Zangoose lay before them, and the soldier rolled it aside. Aeris gasped and her hands flew to her mouth.

“Serra!!”

The girl lay on the grass, her face serene. Blood was smeared all over her face and neck.

Aeris stifled a sob, trying not to show her grief.

“I-is..is she dead?” she asked the solider. The solider drew his dagger and held it next to Serra’s mouth. After a heart’s beat, a faint, warm mist collected along the blade.

“By the Resurrector, she lives!”

Gatene
19th November 2004, 8:53 PM
Okay, as promised, Here's ? Chapter 20, only because there was a delay in me posting Chapter 19, which you can find directly above this post. There were I know of at least 2 chapters that had to be broken down into 2 posts, and I think this is one of them. So y'all probably have 3 posts to read. I'm not sure.

Chapter 20: Friends, Foes, and Allies
By: By Spectreon & Razor (aka AzureFlygon)


The Goddess returns to power from a little shock therapy and Hydro's shock, all within a tent. War wages warily again, but this time, more allies join the number of Johto's First. The battle begins with a fissure of rebellion, and continues with death on both sides. The battle's end is nigh, but the war is far from over. WS is founded.

The Army medical tent was busy and full of the wounded. It was a massive tent, filled with rows upon rows of beds. Nurses sent from Goldenrod City rushed about tending to wounded humans and Pokémon alike. Golden light shone from the windows of the tent, a contrast to the dark, forbidding sky outside.

In one bed, Shadow lay shivering. He’d been hit full on by a Dewgong’s Ice beam, and had to thaw out. Shadow’s teeth chattered quietly, and his skin was coated by a fine layer of ice-dust. Hot water bottles had been piled around him to keep his blood flowing. Raven sat in a chair next to him, holding his hand. She said nothing and her face was blank, but everyone knew she was worried.

Blade, Terra, and Tora had come out of battle relatively unhurt except for minor bruises, slashes and scrapes. Hydro was covered in bruises, and a nasty black-blue splotch throbbed on his jaw from the Hitmonlee’s foot.

In another bed, Umbra sat, cuddling her Ditto. She had suffered a nasty blow to the leg from a Sceptile’s blade, and was receiving treatment for it. She would be up and battling the next day, though. Rob, JLX and Sammy sat next to her, all chatting and joking. Sammy’s Blastoise slept on the floor next to her, withdrawn in its shell completely.

In a table near the entrance, Auntie Verd talked animatedly with Topaz and Blade, discussing tactics. The atmosphere was almost cheerful, for Johto’s First had suffered relatively few losses, and there were few mortal wounds.

The tent flaps banged open, and Aeris ran in. She bore a limp Serra in her arms. The room quieted as everyone turned to look at the Champion. In her arms, Serra looked like a fragile doll, her limbs dangling and her body pulled up together.

Blade stood up, feeling as if the bottom of his stomach had fallen out. Serra was hurt, maybe even...dead. He became numb with the shock, and stumbled towards Aeris like a zombie.

“Is...Is she....” Blade couldn’t finish the sentence, he was trembling so badly.

Aeris’ expression was one of anguish.

“Alive, but barely. She needs treatment, right now!”

She pushed past Blade, and ignored Terra and Hydro as they approached her, their faces questioning. Serra’s head flopped about limply, her glossy hair matted and streaked with blood. The blood stood out harshly upon her pale face.

Aeris reached the nearest empty bed and hastily laid Serra along it, facedown. She flipped Serra over on her back and hurriedly ripped off her jacket, revealing a very dirty and matted T-shirt. Gently, Aeris laid a palm on her cold neck. Her pulse was very faint, and faltering.

“What on earth happened to her?” asked Topaz, coming up beside Aeris.

“Electrical shock, I think. I need to take off her shirt, and could someone get me a set of defibrillators and a curtain? I doubt Serra uses a bra, and she wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up half naked with everyone staring at her.”

If she ever wakes up, that is. Aeris thought privately.

Topaz nodded and turned, calling to a nurse. The response was quick and efficient. A round-cheeked nurse scurried to them, rolling a metal contraption from which curtains hung. The curtain was set up around Serra’s bed instantly. Another nurse handed Aeris a pair of defibrillators.

“Since when did you learn to use one of those?” asked Topaz wonderingly.

“I didn’t.” answered Aeris sheepishly. “But you do NOT want Serra to wake up half naked with a stranger. Trust me. She would panic and make the tent explode.”

Topaz chuckled slightly, and then became serious once more.

“Just don’t kill her by accident. Good luck.”

Aeris smiled and nodded. Topaz turned and left, her cloak swishing behind her.

Aeris sighed, and brushed aside the curtain, entering the space of Serra’s bed, and nervously examined the defibrillators. It was a sort of medical device that you pressed on the patient’s chest and sent electrical pulses through to jump-start their hearts. Right now, Serra’s heart was dangerously close to fizzling out.

With a silent apology to the unconscious girl, Aeris tugged off her shirt. She had been right, Serra didn’t wear a bra. But of course that ******* of a bartender wouldn’t have provided her with them. Aeris felt a spark of anger towards him, then remembered he was long dead. Like she cared.

“Ooooo-kaay, Aeris, do not screw this up. You can do this.” Aeris whispered to herself, gently placing the defibrillators across Serra’s bare chest.

“And....SWITCH ON!”

Aeris pressed the activation button. But nothing happened. Bemused, Aeris blinked at the defibrillators. What had she done wrong?

Then it hit her.

“Holy ****, I forgot to plug it in!” she swore. Grumbling, Aeris grabbed the plug and pushed it into a nearby portable outlet.

“Alrightyyyy....switch on, again!”

The devices whirred and hummed to life. Serra’s chest jerked and went into spasms as electrical currents coursed through them.

Aeris pulled off the devices, gripping each pad with its corresponding hand.

“Think, Aeris, think! Do it like they do it in the movies!”

She plunged the devices down again, pressing them on Serra’s chest for five-second intervals, then yanking them back up again, then plunging them down. Each time, Serra jerked and twitched like a Magikarp out of water as the electricity spasmed through her.

After five minutes of this and no noticeable responses from Serra, Aeris became worried.

“Come ON, Serra, dammit! You can’t die on me like this!” yelled the irate blonde Champion, pounding on Serra’s bare chest.

Serra jerked and gagged, bolting upright and spewing a spray of blood into Aeris’ face. The unlucky savior dropped her defibrillators in shock.

“Meh......that wasn’t quite what I was expecting in terms of gratitude.” coughed Aeris, wiping blood from her lips and eyes. “Erlack.”

Serra continued to choke and gag, her small frame spasming violently. With each harsh, racking cough, a fine spray of blood puffed out from her dry mouth.

After a while, Serra’s coughs subsided, and she bent over, moaning. Blood thinly dripped from the corner of her lips, the crimson drops quivering slightly. A blood bubble slowly formed at the corner of her lip and burst.

Aeris grabbed a towel from the bedside table and wiped Serra’s face off. The girl arched her spine and shuddered, a slight gurgling issuing from her throat. Serra jerked her head forward and spat another fine spray of blood. Mercifully, it missed Aeris and splashed against the curtains, slowly dripping down the folds.

“Oh, geez, Serra, are you okay? Damn, did I screw that one up good? I’m sorry!” Aeris apologized profusely while wiping the blood off Serra’s face and chest.

Serra shook her head, wheezing. When she was able to speak, her voice was raspy to the point of being painful.

“It’s....o...kay. Thank you. What’s happening? Did our side win?”


Aeris tossed aside the once-white towel and sat down gently on the bed, facing Serra. She tossed her hair, choosing her words carefully.

“We’re at a standoff, and Auntie Verd says that was just a minor skirmish. She says the real fight will start tomorrow.”

Serra rolled her eyes. “Oh, joy. Find out what WS is yet?”

Aeris shook her head, and Serra sighed.

“Hey, Serra, why didn’t the bartender give you bras? You’re lucky the nurses had curtains available.”

“What was the point of having bras if my customers wanted to have fun with me?” asked Serra quietly. Aeris winced.

“Sorry. I wasn’t thinking. It’s a good thing your chest is small. No one noticed much. However, one of these days I am fully dragging you to a store and buying you proper clothing!!”

Serra laughed, and Aeris joined in. The curtain crinkled and was pulled open. Hydro stuck his head in, glancing around curiously.

“Hey, I heard laughing. Is Serra all right? I....um, um....er....” His voice faltered and trailed off, and his eyes bulged as he saw Serra.

Terra and Blade looked up curiously as a girl’s scream echoed loudly around the tent. Hydro ran from the curtain yelling, the seat of his pants on fire. The yellowish-orange flames crackled merrily, mirroring the golden lighting of the medical tent.

“She must be awake now.” grinned Blade. Terra laughed uproariously as Hydro jumped into the water trough outside, extinguishing the flames in a billow of steam.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LATER THAT EVENING....

No one got much sleep that night. Everyone was busy steeling themselves, putting on armor, readying their weapons. They would be prepared this time!

Shadow had notably recovered, and, ignoring Raven’s protests, went outside, sharpening his katana. He and Blade sat, discussing parrying techniques while scraping obsidian shards across their blades. Tora was tending to Giarda, oiling her joints and scrubbing her armor until it gleamed. The girl also filed Giarda’s metal claws and wingtips to wicked points. Giarda would truly be a terror on the battlefield!

Aeris and Terra were also tending to their Pokémon. They strapped on armor specially made for Nightfire and Skyfang. Aeris grinned as she slid a fearsome skull-like helmet over Skyfang’s head.

“You look like a real warrior now! Your mother’d be fair proud of you.” praised Aeris as she worked. Skyfang turned his head, snuffling affectionately in her ear.

Terra praised Nightfire also in her language. The large male Charizard roared defiance at the hills where the Andros laid in wait. He flapped his wings, strutting for all he was worth.

A few feet away, Raven had just finished putting armor on Peachblossom. He was adorned in the colors of Raven’s family-black and dark purple diamonds with lavender trim. A long, wickedly sharp metal horn had been affixed to Peachblossom’s actual horn, increasing its length by a foot.

Hydro was busy, too. He slid specially designed fingerless gloves over his hands. They were capped with spikes on the knuckles, so he could do massive damage with his punches. He jumped around, mock sparring with a Blaziken to get limber and warmed up.

The moon shone bright in the night sky, seeming to be a forbidding omen of the carnage that would come the following day. Tomorrow....would be a day to decide the fate of Johto.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEXT MORNING

Serra lay in her bed in the medical tent, staring up at the ceiling. A thick coil of fear knotted in her stomach. She was nervous, badly so.

Can we really do this? Can we win? Thoughts raced around in her mind. Serra sighed and rolled over, ignoring her aching chest. She had put on her shirt and jacket again after the mishap with Hydro.

Serra started sobbing quietly as she imagined all her friends dying around her. They were all she had! Where would she go if they were killed?

Serra started crying, unable to stop herself. She pulled the blankets over her head, not wanting the others to hear, and know her weakness. But she was too late.

“Hey, Serra! What’s the matter? Are you okay?” Raven walked into the tent, a concerned expression on her face.

A howling wind whipped up, and Raven shielded her eyes, pushed backwards by the sheer force of the outburst. Her cloak billowed out, flapping wildly.

Raven sighed and turned around, quietly exiting the tent. It was no use talking to Serra right now. Through the tent flap, Serra saw the sun rising. Daybreak. She had to get up.

Wiping away her tears, Serra swung her legs across the bed’s edge and heaved a shuddering sigh. Her Mark slowly took on a faint glow, and her clothes glowed, matching her mark.

When she was done, her Armor gleamed in the dim tent. Serra stood up, walking to the flap and casting it aside.

The light hit her suddenly, transforming a timid, haunted girl into a glorious war deity in a blaze of sunshine, her armor reflecting the light.

The icy blue sea of her eyes reflected the golden light of the sun, seeming to absorb and retain the light’s very essence, capturing the sun into her eyes.

Johto’s First had already made Blade’s formation. A line spread out, curving all around the hills, making a semicircle around the Andros. Apparently Topaz and Blade had been busy during the night.

Serra spotted her friends a distance away, and strode out to meet them. Aeris turned and waved, greeting her.

“Glad to see you’re up and walking. Listen, this is important. The Guillotine has been formed, and Blade’s set up small groups behind the Andros. He snuck them over! Hydro and Shadow are in the main ambush group, too. It’s a miracle the Andros didn’t catch them. When the second wave charges, we’ll trap them and take them by surprise! The ****ers won’t know what hit them!!”

Serra smiled at Aeris’ energetic briefing.

“Serra, what are your plans?” This was Topaz.

“I’ll be summoning the wild Pokémon. I also have an idea. When the fighting starts, have everyone hang back. I have a little surprise in store for them.”

Topaz nodded and strode off, bellowing orders to the ranks. Serra turned away, towards the woods surrounding the hills. She took a deep breath, and closed her eyes, concentrating deeply.

Her mind spread out, enveloping the land. Now she was open to all the Pokémon in the area. She touched each of their minds gently, greeting them. They responded to her call, clamoring to know what was happening. She explained to them the war. There would be killing, and death. But there was the promise of victory. Would they fight? Would they rise up with the humans for their right to Johto?

The response was a unanimous yes. The Pokémon then roared in defiance of the Andros. Pidgey screeched and Sentret chattered angrily. Rattatas gnashed their fangs and Hoothoots crowed loudly. Even far-off Houndour packs answered, their voices howling eerily. Bird Pokémon flapped from the trees, swirling in dark clouds. Their harsh cries pealed throughout the land, and Johto answered to the Goddess’ plea for help.

Serra gasped, and opened her eyes, her mind retreating back to the confines of her body. All around her, people screamed and pointed at the trees in the east. A swarm of flying Pokémon gushed from the treetops, shooting through the air. From between the tree trunks, dark shapes moved. Stantler and Girafarig leapt out, braying their defiance. Wild Miltank, Tauros, Farfetch’d and Graveler joined their ranks, followed by buzzing Ledians and Yanma.

A mighty roar echoed out, and gigantic Gyarados rose from the sea to the west of Goldenrod City. They heaved themselves out of the briny waters, brine coursing down their scales and flicking from their fins. Their powerful jaws opened, revealing gleaming ivory fangs. Kinglers scuttled alongside them, brandishing their bone crushing pincers. Staryus and Starmies drifted silently alongside them. Serra even spotted several Mantines and Octillerys among the Gyarados.


To the north, where the National Park lay, Pinsirs, Beedrills, Scythers, Butterfrees and Venomoths spilled out the grass, buzzing angrily. Nidokings and Nidoqueens stomped out, followed by hissing Raticates and squeaking Vileplumes. A number of Persians slinked among them, whipping their tails pridefully. A swarm of Scizors buzzed above in a V formation. Barking Growlithes and trilling Vulpix trotted out, fleshing out the hordes.

“My god. They’re all going to fight?” Aeris whispered quietly to Serra. “Don’t they know the danger?”

Serra nodded.

“It is their choice, and theirs alone. They wish to die fighting for what is rightfully theirs. The land does not belong to humans or Andros. In actuality, it is theirs.”

Aeris, Tora and Terra all yelped as their pokeballs activated in unison. Dark Flame and Maverick leapt out, followed by Zeronix and Fury. Juggernaut raised his massive head and roared, the sound echoing around the hills. The Scizors answered his call with shrill whines. Fury bellowed and stomped, calling to his fellow Tauros and Miltank. Reaper, Midiya, Eternity, Pepper and Glory also appeared, bellowing their respective war cries.

“Your partners do not want to be excluded. They all wish to fight.” Serra spoke quietly, her voice deliberate and firm.

Aeris nodded, her eyes grim. A warlike light shone from within them as she spoke.

“It would be a disgrace to my partners if I kept them out the war. Are you up to a good fight, my friends?”

All the Pokémon answered her with a simultaneous roar, confirming her statement.

Skyfang, Nightfire and Giarda landed, still clad in their respective armor. Skyfang and the Charizard crouched down on all fours, allowing easy access to the harnesses strapped upon their backs. Terra and Aeris pulled themselves up on their dragons, readying for war.

Raven trotted up astride Peachblossom and waved up to Aeris and Terra.

“Get ready, guys, the Andros are on the move!!” she yelled. Skyfang, Nightfire and Giarda took off, wheeling in the air. The morning sun gleamed off their armor, blinding any unfortunate Andros looking directly at them.

All the wild Pokémon galloped towards the army, mingling among them and swelling the ranks. Soldiers shifted nervously aside hulking Nidoking and Gyarados alike. But the wild Pokémon made no move to attack them. Human and Pokémon stood unified against a common enemy.

Johto’s First was ready. A sudden silence fell upon them as they all waited tensely, with bated breath. All eyes were upon the hills, from behind which the sun blazed, still rising up in sunrise.

Sure enough, the dark, familiar silhouettes appeared upon the hills. The Andros moved steadily down the hills, silently but resolutely.

Topaz yelled for the line to stay still and wait for Serra’s go-ahead. Serra glanced at the General, and she nodded. Serra nodded back, and strode forwards. Her lone figure walked down the hill, a symbol of defiance.

Serra was now alone in the dip of the hill, facing down the advancing Andros. Serra smiled inwardly, for that was just what she wanted.

She raised both her arms, and concentrated. Her eyes lost their blue hue and swirled into a deep, chocolately brown color.

Serra inhaled deeply, and her mind sifted through the very soil. She felt their cool firmness, and sensed their desire to shift, to move. The earth itself longed to let loose its fury. Serra was more than glad to let the earth have its fun!

Bringing down her hands swiftly, she slammed them against the ground. There was a massive thunderclap, and the sky darkened. Slowly, steadily, a great rumbling started up. The stones and pebbles littered around the hills began twitching, jerking about. The Andros stopped the advance briefly, seeming to be puzzled. They milled about, looking nervously around for the source of the rumbling.

There was a great, booming crash, and the hills shuddered. Great cracks appeared in the very earth, and a massive, shuddering roar sounded out. The cracks widened, and rumbled, drifting apart powerfully. Some of the Andros began sliding, tumbling downwards toward the gaps’ gravitational pull. Doomed Andros shrieked as they were swallowed into the darkness of the chasms.

“Holy shitfire!” swore Aeris as she swooped safely above. From her aerial view, a massive spider web of cracks had spread out from Serra’s fists. It seemed to be a massive interlocking web of chasms, swallowing the frontal ranks of the Andros horde into their dark maws.

Hissing steam erupted from within the cracks, frying the Andros to a crisp. Magma steadily bubbled to the surface, hungrily devouring those unlucky enough to stumble and fall into the gaping maw of the chasms. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed. The noise was unbelievable.

Serra straightened up suddenly, clapping her hands. With a final shuddering crash, all the chasms slammed together, sealing themselves and becoming smooth, unbroken terrain once more. There were no traces of those that had been swallowed up, but blood slowly began to seep from the ground, from those that had been smashed into pulp from the closing of the cracks.

The shattered front ranks of the horde swelled as more Andros surged in from behind, filling the gaps in their ranks. They seemed to have recovered fairly quickly from the shock of Serra’s chaotic display....perhaps a bit too quickly, thought Blade, frowning slightly.

“Do you feel confident now, Andros scum? Do you? DO YOU?” yelled Serra, her voice carrying across the crisp morning air.

The Andros began a chant, going slowly at first but steadily swelling in volume. They pounded their right feet to the beat. The chant echoed ominously among the hills.

“Kill....kill...kill...kill...kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill!”

“Forward, Johto’s First!” howled Serra. The army roared and thundered forwards down the hill. The Andros horde in turn charged forwards, and both sides slammed with harsh cries and screeches piercing the dreamy quiet of the morning air.

Serra had been running full tilt, and as the horde neared, she had set her sights on an Andros Metagross. With a piercing yell, Serra lunged forwards, twisting as she did. That took her under the gigantic behemoth, and she latched onto the Andros’ underbelly.

It was an insane stunt to do, because the Metagross itself was thundering along at an extraordinarily fast rate. As its massive claws slammed into and out the ground, they flung up clods of dirt that stung Serra’s back. The Metagross didn’t appear to have noticed Serra. Good.

Serra drew back her right fist, now bristling with deadly thorns. Each thorn was about six inches long and tapered to a wickedly sharp point. The thorns covered her arm, all the way to the elbow.

“Needle Arm!!”

Serra howled and released her fist with all the speed and power she could muster. It punched right through the armored underbelly of the Metagross. Thick black blood spurted down, hot and acidic.

The Metagross screamed, a high planitive sound, and lurched, its four claws screeching to a stop in the dirt. It bucked and flailed, trying to dislodge Serra.

Serra yelped and released the Andros, slamming into the dirt. She rolled out of the way just in time. A Metagross claw slammed into the space where her head had been half a moment earlier.

The Metagross lunged, pinning Serra to the ground with a massive foot. Serra gasped in pain, the air smashed out of her lungs. The Metagross’ maw opened wide, preparing to devour her. It drew closer to her face..

“Fire in the hole!”

Serra whipped up her left fist, blazing with fire. She lobbed the rippling fireball into the Metagross’ gaping mouth.

The Andros screeched in pain and released Serra in its haste. The Metagross leapt backwards, jerking and writhing in pain as the fire spread down its throat. Serra leapt backwards, for she knew what would happen, if her knowledge of Metagross anatomy was correct. Bonedancer had told her they generated highly flammable acid in their digestive tracts.

The Metagross exploded suddenly and unexpectedly in a shower of metal and blood. Shards and chunks of its skin flew out, raining down on the nearby Andros. The four legs of the Andros miraculously stayed intact, and stood upright for a full heart’s beat before collapsing.

Serra grinned, and vaulted over the smoking, charred ruins of the Metagross, engaging an Armaldo. Above her, Skyfang shot by, with a Fearow in hot pursuit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Skyfang, Flamethrower those Vileplumes attacking Topaz!” yelled Aeris as she swiftly twisted and shot an arrow into the Fearow behind them. The Fearow screeched in pain as the arrow lodged into its heart.

Skyfang roared and dove in a dizzyingly steep descent, narrowly missing the carcass of the Fearow as it dropped to earth. The wind whistled shrilly around Aeris’ ears and her eyes watered.

The stone dragon’s jaws opened, heat waves shimmering outwards from the depths of his throat. A roaring blast of fire shot out with deadly accuracy, streaking towards its target.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Topaz swore and back flipped, narrowly missing a barrage of Razor Leaves. The trio of mushroom-flower Pokémon squealed, charging after her. They leapt at her and fell back as she blocked them with kicks and punches. But the Vileplume just kept on coming.

damn, but they were stubborn. Topaz yelled, her foot lashing out. A Vileplume flew backwards, a dent in its metallic forehead where Topaz’s foot had hit it.

Topaz yelped, grabbing her foot and swearing loudly in a foreign tongue-Tie other Vileplumes moved in, readying their final blow.

BWOOOOOOOOOOOOSHHHHH!!

A roaring geyser of fire lanced from the sky, blasting the Vileplume away. Topaz goggled at their smoking, twitching ruins and looked up.

“Yahoooooo!!”

Aeris whooped as Skyfang pulled out from his dive, his claw tips brushing Topaz’s forehead. The blast of wind blew Topaz’s hair back wildly.

Topaz swore even more loudly, but grinning manically as she did so. Aeris was bloody crazy but had guts, for sure. All around her, battles were raging. The General looked about, deciding her next course of action.

A shadow fell upon Topaz, and she whirled, gasping.

An Andros Ursaring loomed above her, its beady red eyes squinting from under its blunt, sloping brow and forehead. It grunted stupidly, raising its left paw high.

Topaz gasped again, stepping back. Her injured foot roared with pain, and Topaz screamed as she stumbled and fell backwards, her elbows slamming against the ground painfully.

Topaz turned over on her stomach, crawling as fast as her throbbing foot would allow her. The Ursaring simply growled in amusement, easily overtaking the General in several lumbering steps. Topaz swore once more and closed her eyes, steeling herself for the Ursaring’s final blow.

BOOM!

Topaz looked up furtively. A massive Nidoqueen had Horn Drilled the Andros full on in the stomach and KO'ed him. The bear lay lifeless upon the ground, a massive dark hole in his belly. Blood welled and trickled from it as Topaz looked on.

The Nidoqueen looked away from the dead Andros, examining Topaz. Topaz looked up at her gratefully, pulling herself to her feet as she did so.

“Thank you, fellow warrior, for saving me.” Topaz said humbly, bowing to the regal Nidoqueen. The Nidoqueen regarded her with wise eyes, and nodded. She turned away, bellowing and punching an Andros Mr. Mime in the face with such force, the Andros ‘s head snapped clean off, spraying a gout of crimson blood.

Topaz goggled after the Nidoqueen as she lumbered away, relentlessly punching Andros after Andros that dared to cross her path.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Auntie Verd sat upon the broad shoulder of her Machamp. Gathered around the unlikely duo were JLX, Sammy, Umbra, Rob and all their faithful Pokémon comrades. They valiantly fought off a swarm of buzzing Andros Ninjask.

The soldiers slashed and hacked at the angrily buzzing insects, lopping off claws and wings, but more erupted in the places of those that fell.

Cheesedoodleboots inhaled mightily, and spewed a torrent of fire at a diving Ninjask. The insect’s fragile wings immediately melted off and it fell like a stone...right into Major Pyjamas’s awaiting mouth. The doomed Ninjask writhed and squealed as its flesh melted off in the frothing vat of acid.

Umbra’s Di launched itself off her shoulder towards another Ninjask, spreading out its body as it did so. The Ditto slammed into the Andros and spread itself around the Andros’ head, sealing off all air.

The Ninjask zigzagged wildly in the air, blinded and suffocating, but Di remained firmly clamped onto the Andros. After a while, the Ninjask’s frenzied movements gradually slowed....and stopped. Di released the Ninjask as its wings ceased to beat, falling hopelessly towards the ground.

Auntie Verd was having the time of her life. Her Machamp roared and swatted at the Ninjask while the elderly lady laid them low with her cane.

“Take that, you little rapscallion!”

Thwock! Bam! Whack!

“Oooh, you dreadful little insect! If I were your mother, I’d feed you spinach for breakfast!!”

Wham! Pow! Thwock!!

Sam’s Blastoise, however, was picking off Ninjask one by one with rapid, carefully aimed bursts of water from his cannons. Rob’s Gardevoir floated serenely next to the Shellfish Pokémon, unleashing a devastating psi blast whenever any Ninjask buzzed too close.

A distant screech sounded from high above. JLX squinted at the sky, and his eyes widened with horror.

“Run for your lives! Terra’s coming on Nightfire!!” he yelled across the din of battle to his comrades.

“Why? She’s a friend of Lady Aeris, isn’t she?” asked Sammy, whipping around to look up.

“CHAAAAA RAAAAAAA ZAAAAAAAARRRD!!” The roar of the mighty Charizard echoed over the noises of battle, immediately followed by harsh gunshots.

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM!

“Holy ****, RUN!” yelled Sammy, dropping her bayonet.

“I second that notion!!” crowed Rob, yanking Umbra with him as they turned to run. All around them, Ninjask exploded in crimson clouds of flesh, blood and metal as the bullets ripped through them.

“Either she’s crazy or she knows she has godly aim.” panted JLX, keeping pace with his fleeing comrades. His Cyndaquil squeaked in protest as he clung to JLX’s back.

“I think it’s a little bit of both.” grinned Sammy, perched atop her Blastoise as he ran at a breakneck pace, shielding her eyes from the flying shards of metal and gore.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nightfire swooped up, and Terra blew out her guns, grinning hugely as she saluted Auntie Verd and her Machamp. The duo stood surrounded by dead Ninjask, each felled by a single bullet.

“Nice save, young lady!” crowed Auntie Verd, waving her cane. Her Machamp rumbled appreciatively.

Dark Flame poked her head out of the pack on Terra’s back, trilling and looking around with interest.

<Nice one, but you almost killed that poor bunch of soldiers down there.> she commented, her eyes glittering with amusement.

<Oh, please. If I was actually aiming for them, they’d be flea-ridden corpses by now.> retorted Terra, still grinning.

Nightfire roared and went into a barrel roll, spewing gouts of fire across the battlefield. Metal flashed past them and Giarda flew ahead, Tora on her back. She waved to Terra, who waved back.

Aeris swooped by on Skyfang, her face dark.

“Terra, Tora. Bad news. The Guillotine formation is dissolving!”

Blade scanned the war with a sinking feeling in his gut. His Pinsir formation had been utterly destroyed. There were just too many Andros...far too many. And the way they fought! They fought as if they had one collective mind controlling them. But what was it? Could it be the WS, whatever that was?

The warrior ground his teeth in frustration, whipping his blade and beheading a Hypno. The head spun off crazily, spraying blood everywhere, but Blade paid no heed. He fought detachedly and automatically, like a machine.

The Hypno’s corpse thudded to the ground, its stump bleeding profusely. Blade took no heed, turning to savagely stab an Ampharos through the chest. The electric Andros keened, its tail and head jerking wildly as it died upon the blade.

Raven teleported next to Blade, making him jump. The psychic’s eyes glowed softly, and a yellow barrier formed around the two of them. Andros leapt at the barrier, but could not get through. They expressed their rage with piercing screeches, thudding against the barrier repeatedly.

“I’ll be quick, because the barrier won’t last long with all these damned Andros.” Raven spoke hurriedly. “Everyone is still alive and accounted for, but there are simply too many Andros. They’re endless. I’ve sensed a great power controlling them all. If we find the source and kill it, they will turn and flee like startled Nidoran.”

Blade nodded, sighing in annoyance.

“Can you please teleport to Serra and see if she can find the source? Thanks. Oh, and by the way, where’s your Rapidash?”

“Dead.” said Raven shortly. “A Scyther got him.”

Blade could find nothing to say to this except for a small “Oh.” Raven could be a little too blunt for her own good sometimes, he thought.

“I heard that.” snapped the Psychic, her voice cross. “Oh, the barrier’s weakening. I’m going to Serra now. Good luck.”

She vanished suddenly and abruptly. The barrier let out a small whine and flickered out. With a triumphant howl, the Andros surged in.

“Dammit.” thought Blade with a sigh as he began fighting again. “Why can’t they all just drop dead?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hydro, Shadow and three other soldiers sat quietly in wait under a thicket of tall, thick bushes.

“I’m bored.” yawned Shadow. “I’d like to fight!”

“Me too, but we have to wait for the signal.” said Hydro quietly.

“I know, but it’s funny...” spoke up another soldier beside them.

“What is?” asked Hydro tensely.

“Jeff’s the one who’s supposed to watch for the signal. But we haven’t heard from him for a while.” the soldier spoke, his tone nervous.

Shadow widened his eyes. “You’re right! Wait here, I’ll go check on him.”

He silently stood up, brushing leaves off his trench coat, and vanished into the tangle of bush that were their cover.

Hydro shifted his seat a little, stretching his stiff back. It was too cramped and uncomfortable, he thought grumpily.

A split second later, Shadow stumbled back, his eyes wide and his face ashen. His breath came out in short, rapid bursts.

“Hydro.....there’s something I think you’d better see.” he said quietly. Alarmed, Hydro slid up into a standing position. He followed Shadow back into the thicket quietly. Shadow suddenly stopped, and turned to Hydro.

“You had better prepare yourself.” he said gently. Hydro blinked, feeling more puzzled than ever. He pushed past Shadow and looked down.

The color drained from Hydro’s face and he stumbled back, feeling sick to his stomach.

“Oh, my god!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra panted, tired beyond belief. All around her were the scattered corpses of various Andros that had been foolish enough to try and battle her. She was covered in blood, but she didn’t quite care. It was a miracle she was still standing.

Serra needed a break. A barrier of fire erupted in a circle around her, roaring and blazing as it devoured the metallic flesh of nearby corpses.

Serra slid to her knees, closing her eyes. She placed her armored hands upon the earth, and let her Grass energy stream into it. Grass Energy contained naturally healing energies, and she needed to siphon some of it. In her mind, she saw the shimmering green fires of Grass energy everywhere. Spines of green fire within every blade of grass, and green veins within the roots deep in the soil.

Carefully, she extracted some of the green fire and absorbed it into the blazing white pillar of light that was her own essence of power. Immediately, Serra felt refreshed and invigorated. All the exhaustion, strain and weariness melted off her bones in an instant.

Serra cut the flow of Grass Energy and sprang up, her eyes sparkling with newfound energy. A small hum sounded behind her, and Serra whirled, her arms suddenly sprouting wicked dagger like thorns.

“Calm down!” snapped Raven, her eyes flashing. Her dark purple cloak flared as she straightened. Serra quickly put down her arms, absorbing the needles back into her skin.

“I apologize. I’ve been fighting nonstop and it’s getting to me.” Serra said apologetically. Raven nodded understandingly, and started speaking rapidly, relaying Blade’s request.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Reaper was death himself. There was nothing his claws would not rip, would not tear, as long as another Andros stood living. He would tackle anything, as long as it was a threat to one of the soldiers or himself.

But there was nothing left in the area, for all the Andros around had avoided the crazed beast as they had seen his anger. The Naihail took the chance to look around at the battle, and was pleased with what he saw. The army of humans and Pokémon were pushing the Andros back, for in their ferocity the metal beasts could not break through the lines. But, as always, reinforcements could be seen in the distance. It was only a matter of time before another wave was upon them.

Then, Reaper stopped, frozen. He would have given anything not to see what was snaking its way through the lines, tearing and ripping with vengeance rivaling that of the Naihail. It's eyes were deep scarlet, and its body was black chrome with silver stripes. The fur glinted on its body, individual steel hairs raised in a menacing display of anger.

It was an Andros Naihail.

Reaper stalked forward, making sure he was in clear line of sight of the metal Pokémon. Others in the area scuttled off, knowing that they needed other places to be, and quickly, before the confrontation began. He snarled, and was answered by a deep growl from the black Naihail. They circled each other, both measuring the others weaknesses and defenses as they prepared to spring. With a hiss, Reaper extended his long, sharp claws.

Suddenly, both Pokémon sprang in the same instant. They met each other in the middle of their leap, both slashing with all their might as they collided in the air. Blood splattered the clearing as both attacks hit their mark, and red rivulets dripped form deep gashes in both creatures’ hides. They turned to face one another again, teeth bared in both pain and anger.

Reaper shot forward, zigzagging so as to not create a stable target. The other mimicked his movements, and again they met in the middle of the clearing. This time they did not break away; they attacked for all they were worth.

Claws flashed, and the tiger’s screams of rage echoed throughout the area, making others forget what they were doing and turn their heads in wonder. Reaper struck with claws and teeth, hitting and getting hit as the battle wore on. Finally, the two broke their grip and circled again, faces and forms marred by scarlet blotches and feet slipping in the blood soaked ground.

The other was limping, and Reaper knew that the end was near. They were equally matched, but such an injury meant certain defeat for the Andros. The metal beast knew it, and it drew breath suddenly to let loose a spurt of blue flame that engulfed Reaper in its intense heat. The Naihail roared in pain as his wounds were cauterized in an instant, and his fur was singed.

Reaper growled after the flames had dissipated, and unleashed a stream of his own flame at the metal beast. It screamed in pain as the steel on its body glowed with heat, and its fur melted and merged together. The slag seeped into its wounds, making the pain intensify. With a groan, the Naihail collapsed on the ground with pain. Reaper snorted, and left it to its fate. He felt no remorse as the pained cries of a dying member of his own kind followed him through the raging war.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hydro sank to his knees, sickened. Jeff lay on the ground face up. He was whole...except for his face. It had been reduced to a fleshy, gory pulp. The face was now a mass of quivering red. They could even see part of the gap leading to his throat, and the dips where his eyes and nose had been.

“What...what did that?” croaked Hydro. Shadow looked away, disgusted beyond belief. Both jumped as the bushes rustled, but it was only the other three soldiers. All gasped in unison as they saw the remains of Jeff. The youngest of the soldiers suddenly lurched off into the bushes. They heard him vomiting.

“I don’t blame him.” sighed the oldest of the soldiers. “Jesus, would you look at him? He looks like someone put his face in a meat grinder.”

All jumped again as loud, shrill screams echoed from where the young soldier had gone. They all ran blindly through the thicket, and came upon the young soldier struggling wildly. Something small and black was clinging to his face. It seemed to have short, glossy white hair and pink rubbery lips.

“Andros Smoochum! Aeris was right!” yelled Shadow, drawing his katana. But he was too late-the soldier keeled over, dead. The Smoochum leapt off, its lips soaked red. Its red eyes glared at them coldly, and shudders ran up Hydro’s spine.

Shadow leapt forwards with a yell, bringing down his katana in a powerful slash. Blood spattered on Shadow’s face as he straightened, yanking his sword out of the Andros with a wet, sucking sound.

The Smoochum trembled, and split apart in two pieces, cleaved by the katana. Each eye continued to glare ominously, but faded out as death overtook the Smoochum.

“Well, that’s that.” sighed Shadow, sheathing his sword.

“About damn time! Now can we go fight?” asked another soldier eagerly.

Hydro nodded, grinning. The group of men whooped as they all turned, running out of cover and down the hills, towards the raging war below.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The battle raged on. Every side was taking losses, but fortunately, the Andros army was getting the worst of it so far. With the shattering of the Formation, the humans and Pokémon had begun to battle with a frenzied savagery. Aeris had time to hope that it would stay that way before she closed with an Andros Oddish that had somehow gotten past her arrows and was trying valiantly to slice her legs with its leaves as it clung to Skyfang with all its might. She almost pitied the small thing, but she notched an arrow and shot it with no more than a glance.

She looked out again at the battle. There were some bright specks in the background, and as she squinted, she could just make out the sickly green and blue flames and diamond hooves of the creatures speeding to attack the grounded soldiers. She gasped, and loaded more arrows into her bow. If only she was fast enough!

"Dive a little closer," she said, patting Skyfang, "I need to get a good aim!"

As the Aerodactyl dived, Aeris pulled back her arm and shot off the first of her prepared arrows. Her aim was good, and it hit the first approaching Andros through the skull. The creature didn't even scream as it fell, tripping two more that had come behind it. With a yell, Aeris began firing with a will. Six went down in a matter of seconds, but they were too fast and too many for Aeris to stop single-handedly. The Andros Ponyta broke though, and began attacking the ground troops with flashing strike and retreat tactics.

"Dammit!" swore Aeris with vehemence, "Skyfang, I need your help!"

The Aerodactyl prepared to dive again, but the other Pokémon were faster. A large Gyarados had begun to blast the metal fire-horses with water, killing them instantly from the sheer force of its blows.

Aeris smiled grimly, and directed her mount to again rise into the air, looking for more targets. She noticed a small group break from the hills and run towards the battle, and whooped. Hydro and Shadow were joining the fight!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Umbra, Sammy, and JLX stood back to back, looking around them constantly to make sure there was no threats close by. Each had a weapon out, and each were nervous, for the Andros had been slacking off in their attacks and they knew something was coming. The air held still, and suddenly a small form shot across the ground between JLX's legs.

The boy jumped, and swore at himself for being startled by a scared Meowth. It was then that they heard the buzzing. Umbra growled and lifted her weapon, ready to attack, while Sammy resolutely brought her rifle up. The ground began to rumble with the buzzing, and a dark cloud rose over the horizon. It blocked out the light from the sky, and as it came closer, forms could be seen within the mass of seething fury.

"It's Beedrill," spat Umbra coldly.

"If we stick together, we can take them," said JLX with a grin.

"I hate Beedrill," moaned Sammy just before the swarm hit.

Everything turned black, and the Buzzing was deafening. Umbra was sliced by a drill, her dark blood staining her fair skin, and she snarled in anger. She brought out a long, thin dagger, and began hacking at any metal shape she could see. Green blood splattered all over as the creatures fell to the team, and a small hole was cut in the swarm as they continued to create mayhem within the darkness.

But even the greatest of warriors cannot battle forever. Sammy's rifle went first, as the girl no longer had any ammo left to shoot with. She brought out a small knife, hoping at the very least to defend herself against the Andros as they came. The Beedrill could sense the weakness in the battler, though, and the ones around them immediately mobbed her.

Sammy cried out as a sharpened drill impaled her leg, breaking through the skin and muscle to hit the bone painfully. As it withdrew, blood spurted from the wound in torrents, darkening the ground around them. Sammy gasped, beginning to feel her strength ebb away with the life-giving liquid.

"JLX, surround her!" yelled Umbra over the buzzing.

The two moved in a protective stance, keeping the metal bugs from their fallen comrade. Their blades flashed unmercifully, beheading, amputating, and generally killing whatever they hit. Then, Umbra's blade came up against a spinning drill, and snapped as if it was nothing more than thin aluminum. She gaped at the broken blade, and knew that she had no other way to fight. The Beedrill again dove, but the girl was agile, and was able to avoid most of the charges.

JLX again came to the rescue, and drove most of the Andros away with flashing blades and fierce yells. The swarm was thinning out, as the team was at the end of the gigantic cloud. JLX beheaded the last of the low-flying Beedrill with a swift strike and flourish of his long sword.

"Thanks JLX," sighed Umbra, looking at the cuts and lacerations that riddled her arms and legs.

"Let's get Sammy to the Medical tent," he replied, grimacing from his own wound; a slash across his side.

The two friends lifted the unconscious girl between them, and hurried off to the white tent in the distance. They could see the Beedrill swarm circling above, regrouping for a second attack, and could also see two points of blazing light further up. They did not stop to watch, though, for with the battle all about them, they would be lucky to reach the tent without a dangerous intrusion... of the mechanical kind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tora was locked in battle, for the first time in her life. She was against, possibly, the worst thing she could start out with. It was an Andros Sneasel, and she had to fight just to keep from being hit by those sharp, foot long claws that seemed to be screaming for her blood.

The Sneasel slashed, and Tora feinted while using her new, sturdy battle claws to block the blow. She’d discovered them lying discarded upon the ground, near its dead former owner. She brought her left hand up suddenly, and was surprised as she connected with her opponent. Her slash had been well-aimed, and she twisted her fist almost by instinct. Both she and the Sneasel cried out as they felt and saw the blood spurt from the Andros' middle. Tora drew her hand back, and leapt backwards.

The Andros was done for, she knew that much. The blood was on her hands... Tora felt like throwing up, just falling to the ground and letting what meager things contained in her stomach spill onto the ground... She was about to do so, but she suddenly saw another soldier struggling with a metal Victreebel, and leapt to slash at the unwary Andros.

It was all instinct then. Tora could feel the bloodlust rise in her veins. By the time it was over, her hands were stained red with her victory.

But there was always more to do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gatene
19th November 2004, 8:55 PM
Hydro was in a very bad situation.

Well, any battle is a bad situation, but Hydro was in a worse grip than any other, literally.

He gasped for breath, fighting to loose the tight coils that held him. The Andros Nidoking growled with amusement, tightening its grip as it watched its prey slowly begin to suffocate in the embrace of its long tail. The boy’s fighting prowess was useless, now. His arms and legs were held tightly, unable to even twitch. Hydro felt his chest cavity straining to keep from collapsing in on itself, and if he had any breath left, he would have gasped.

The Nidoking was suddenly distracted by something, though, and turned its head. The pressure was abruptly loosened, and Hydro sucked in air gratefully as long as he could before the creature's attention shifted back to him.

It never did.

As the boy looked up, he saw that the giant Andros was missing something very important to its function.

Its head.

The wound did not spray any blood, for it had been cauterized on contact with whatever had severed it. Hydro looked around wildly, and saw the long form of Glory stride up to the spot. The Novasect gripped the lifeless tail, and heaved to loosen it enough to allow Hydro room to escape it clutches. The fighter looked at the Pokémon with gratitude, and the other hissed in what was obvious laughter.

Hydro was not amused.

~~~~


Eternity, the glorious Electipide! The Wondrous Electipide!

Eternity gulped as she saw what lay before her.

The dead Electipide...

A small line loomed before her, almost six strong, of red-eyed, sharply glinting ground Pokémon. They were Sandslash, and they looked all about them with their soulless gazes for suitable targets to wreak horror upon. With all the Electipides power, she knew of no way to destroy these beings.

But maybe she didn't have to?

Eternity sighed, and burrowed into the ground. Her hundreds of legs worked tirelessly, pushing dirt away and packing it behind her in less than the blink of an eye. Her entire body was put to use, as her sensitive legs and nimble body could feel anything above the ground she burrowed in. She worked with a will, creating a network of tunnels that would be a serious hazard for the any human or Pokémon that fell into them. They would, at the very least, slow those Sandslash down!

Suddenly, the Electipide came to a very wet level of dirt. That could only mean one thing. One, very fortunate thing.

Aquifer.

She dug deeper, just managing to save herself from falling into the underground cave of water herself. Her tunnels were ready to collapse at any moment, all they needed was a suitable trigger, one rock moved to take out the strenuous support that held the entire structure together.

The Electipide felt the tremors above her as the Sandslash moved over the trap. She moved the rock. There was a shudder, as if the very earth was straining, and then a huge cloud rose above the battlefield as a full seven feet of dirt collapsed in on itself, taking the both the Sandslash and Eternity with it.

All was darkness to the Electipide, and suddenly all was wet as well. She fell with a splash in the water, and could hear the Andros splashing with her. Now was her chance; a wet ground Pokémon was a vulnerable ground Pokémon, after all. She unleashed her electricity, and the current sliced through the water. The force electrocuted everything, even Eternity herself, but she kept up the power. She had to prevail against them, no matter what.

Finally, her strength was exhausted. She tiredly, swam as far as she was able, and felt the wall before her. The Electipide dug, snaking through the earth, but was finally overcome by her exhaustion. She stopped, a mere three feet from the surface, and felt the darkness overtake her as the sounds of battle raged heedless overhead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ghost was terrified of the loud screams, the clanging of metal, and the thuds of bodies as they dropped.

But not too terrified that he couldn’t plunder the spoils of war! Shiny things, shiny things, shiny things everywhere! It dazzled him, entranced him. O lovely lovely lovely!! A used bullet casing! Yayness! Oh, oh, oh! A shard of metal from a sword! More shinies, more shinies, lovely lovely lovely...la la la. An Andros Kakuna!! It can’t move. It’s shiny. Nice...lovely lovely lovely little Andros Kakuna...lovely shiny shell. What’s this on its underside? A sharp little pointy thing. Bad pointy! Ghost no like pointy. Bad bad bad. Poison? Grrrr....bad little pointy poison thingy. I’ll bite it off!!

*crunch*

Ow. Hurty my teeths, it does. Hurty hurty. Poor little me. Me’ll throw the Kakuna away.....HEY! Stupid big Stantler stomped it! That’s mean. I oughta-oooh....shiny little dagger...lovely lovely lovely...la la la. Shiny things, shiny things, shiny things everywhere...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Risan shook his head as he watched Ghost from afar. The little Linoone had discovered an Andros Kakuna and tossed it away, and a large bull Stantler had stomped upon it. Ghost may have been a few screws short of a bolt, but he was reliable.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Andros Seviper hissed, baring long, sharpened fangs at its adversary. Its red eyes scanned the creature before it, and received no data. With a snarl, the Seviper shook its white head in confusion, flashing in the dim light. There was nothing left to do; the orders were to attack all non-Andros, and the metal Pokémon could not find the strength to rebel against its programming.

It struck, its head shooting forward with speed that made its movements a blur. It was, therefore, quite surprised when its charges brought no satisfying impact that would let it know the attack had contacted. The Seviper looked around again, and saw that the strange, sparkling creature was now behind it, and to the side.

Before the Andros could react, a dark glow engulfed its body. It was lifted into the air, writhing in pain from the psychic attack, and thrown to the ground with a force far greater than it thought the creature could possess.

With a hissing groan, the Andros Seviper rose again, its programming making retreat impossible. It blearily saw the wings of its enemy glow with white light, and suddenly the metal beast was flying in the air, and a gash in its belly was spurting dark, life-giving fluid. It was then the creature knew that death was near, and as the sparkling beast rose to the attack one again, a flicker of its old self rose in its eyes.

I am free, he thought with a sense of peace clouding his mind, I am free...

The blackness overtook the Seviper, and the red light of his eyes turned to a bright pink and flickered out of existence. With a small shudder, the last breath escaped his body and the form of the snake went limp.

Midiya looked upon the still carcass with hardened yet sad eyes, and flew off to help others in need.

~~~~

Cold seeped though the very air, crawling over the area. Frost followed, moving astonishingly quickly over the land as ice came after. Soldiers cried out and ran as the numbing chill began to touch them, but many were far too late. The frost froze their shoes to the ground, and the ice slowly rose over their entire bodies as they struggled to the very last to escape.

The shadow passed over a wasteland of frozen statues.
A chill wind passed across the area, whistling through the air. The ice of one statue cracked a little, and fell off, shattering on the ground and releasing red shards over the ice. A split human arm was left on the statue. The bone was sliced halfway down the shoulder, and the muscle and other tissue was perfectly preserved. Unlike the luckier people on the fringes of the wasteland, for this soldier there was no coming back.

Suddenly, the shadow loomed before the statue, and opened a giant maw. It lurched forward engulfing the frozen body in a single lunge, and crunched what once was a human being in its solid teeth. With a contented groan, the silver creature made its way towards the more aware statues on the fringe of the chill. The soldiers, only half frozen, made expressions of horror and writhed in a last, desperate attempt to escape.

The creature invoked its power once again, and the frost climbed the horror stricken soldiers slowly and surely. The ice entombing their legs and arms began to spread, crackling upwards as the humans screamed in agony. The Glalie clacked its teeth menacingly, and advanced with a hungry air.

Only to be stopped.

There was a thunderous roar, and the clicking of dozens of various limbs on ice echoed through the wasteland. The Andros looked on with annoyance and, finally, horror as the flaming army approached it. Fire spewed before them, and the herd of Rapidash thundered past, led by an Arcanine. The flames engulfed the Glalie, and it moaned and hissed in pain as the ice surrounding its body melted. Finally, the ice Pokémon split in half with a scream. Its innards gushed out, splattering the area and staining the hides of those creatures rumbling past.

With a satisfied growl, the Arcanine turned and looked to the wounded humans. The Rapidash herd continued on, looking for more Andros as they day wore on.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“So Blade wants me to locate the source? He really thinks I can do that?” asked Serra, bewildered.

Raven shrugged, her glossy black hair swaying slightly.

“He’s got faith in you, Serra. We all do. You know that.”

Serra sighed and rubbed her forehead, looking thoughtful. Suddenly, she gasped and jerked Raven back as a massive silhouette bellowed and pushed through Serra’s wall of fire.

“LAX! LAX SNORLAAAAAAAAX!!” The deep, throaty bellow of the mighty Andros Snorlax made the very ground rumble.

Serra swore and waved her arm. The fire wall immediately turned to ice, solidifying in a matter of moments. Raven and Serra backed up cautiously as the massive Andros glowered at them.

“Oh crap.” whispered Raven. Serra nodded in agreement.

“Should I attack?” she asked out the corner of her mouth.

“NO! Don’t-Terra will have a fit. Snorlax are one of the rarest non-legendaries, and she wants one to breed so she can raise their population numbers.” Raven explained.

“So are you suggesting we break him from the mind-lock like you did to Giarda?” asked Serra, incredulous.

Raven smiled and tossed her hair.

“Afraid? Come on, it’ll be a challenge!”

“I’m no coward!” snapped Serra. “Of course I’ll do it!!”

“Correction: We’ll do it.” smiled Raven. Serra smiled back, and nodded. Both then switched to telepathy, forming their plans in a flash of psychic bursts.

“Alright...let’s go!” whooped Raven. Serra answered with a yell, running at the Snorlax.


Even being an Andros could not block a Snorlax’s natural tendency to be slow and lazy. The Snorlax simply stared at the small wild-looking girl charging at her and let loose a mighty yawn.

Serra did a small hop-skip and leapt mightily into the air.

“Thank goodness for those Spoinks on Victory Island,” whispered Raven, looking up in awe. Serra flipped at the peak of her leap, the sun flashing off her armor and dazzling the Snorlax as the light reflected off the ice.

Serra landed on the Snorlax’s head and latched on. Her eyes glowed white with Normal Energy, siphoning off the Snorlax’s energy. The Andros immediately became drowsy, sinking down and yawning. That was Raven’s cue. She lunged forwards, grabbing the Snorlax’s head with both her hands. Serra slid off the Snorlax and joined Raven, placing her hands on the back of the Snorlax’s head.

“Ready?” asked Raven. Serra nodded, and both girls’ eyes blazed deep violet. Their hands blazed with purple light, and the Snorlax keened in pain. But Serra and Raven continued to keep at it, grimly ignoring the screeches of the Andros.

Finally, the Andros gave a small shudder and went still, its eyes sliding shut as it fell into unconsciousness. Both girls withdrew quickly.

“Do you think it worked?” asked Serra worriedly.

“I hope so. Lucky he was a Snorlax...their minds are less complex than those of a Charizard’s. If it was an Alakazam, now THAT would have been a hell of a job.” chuckled Raven.

The Snorlax stirred, and both girls tensed, not knowing what to expect.

The Snorlax’s eyes opened, and to their utter relief, were a warm greenish-yellow instead of red.

Hrrrrrrmmmmmmm....I’m free! Thank goodness, too. All that activity was tiring. yawned the Snorlax, blinking about sleepily. Raven rolled her eyes, but smiled. Some Snorlax would never change.

“Excuse me....Snorlax?” asked Serra. The Snorlax looked at her.

“Do you remember who was controlling you all?”

Oh, sure. It was some Andros fellow. He was a Legendary, Jirachi, I think. Code name was the Wishing Star.

“WS!! Wishing Star! So that’s what WS meant!” cried Raven as it hit her. “Where is this Andros? The Wishing Star?”

The Snorlax yawned, raising his paw and motioning to the sky, which was now darkening. Dusk was on its way, and stars were beginning to come out, twinkling serenely.

Serra and Raven squinted at the sky, but saw nothing.

“I don’t see anyth-wait....” Raven trailed off. One of the stars seemed to be bigger and more brighter. It was also moving slowly, trailing a stream of stardust.

“Wishing Star....you will suffer greatly tonight.” hissed Serra. Her eyes darkened with fury, and huge feathered wings sprouted from her back.

“You’re going to battle the Legend of the Stars?” gasped Raven, astonished. It was a rare occurrence for the cold and aloof psychic to be shocked.

Serra nodded, her wings rustling. Raven sighed.

“I can see you’re not going to change your mind. Very well....but please come back in one piece.”

Serra smiled, and flapped her wings. Soon, she had all but vanished into the darkness of the night. Raven watched after her, and whispered a silent prayer.

There would only be one victor, and Raven preferred it to be Serra.

Gatene
19th November 2004, 9:10 PM
Here's a little spoiler for everyone, The Next Chapter, Chapter 21, is the last Chapter for the unsubtitled section of DoaNL. Chapter 22 begins, "Dawn of a New Legacy: Sempai Strikes Back" XD Sorry Crystallugia, it's the first thing that popped into my mind, and I actually wrote it without thinking, and with ur little Clefairy in my mind. She really sticks out in my mind for some ungodly reason ^_^; The real title is, "Dawn of a New Legacy: Song of the Goddess". Johto is Peaceful after the war, but Blade can't sit idle while Serra is missing. The story also takes place in another land. That only leaves 4 possible places. Kanto, Orre, Hoenn, and Starian (from where Tora is from). If you go to my site and read the chapters, then you know where they go, but for those of you that only read the Chapters here, then you'll just have to wait and find out. Suspenseful ain't it? XD

Gatene

ClefairyTenchi
20th November 2004, 4:47 AM
WOO! CUTE JIGGLY VENGEANCE!

;035;"OH YEAH!"

Well, you people of writing are masters of suspense. Can't wait:)

Gatene
21st November 2004, 3:52 AM
Well, here's Chapter 21, the last chapter in the unsubtitled DoaNL. Next Chapter Posted will be Chapter 1, in Dawn of a New Legacy: Song of the Goddess.

Chapter 21: When You Wish Upon a Star
By: Spectreon & Razor (aka AzureFlygon)


The fight with Jirachi took its toll on both sides. A Gungnir saved the Goddess, but briefly, as Jirachi had yet another trick up his sleeve. The Goddess was faced with the horrid past Jirachi helped her to remember, and to realize. The end of this chapter will decide the fate of both sides, and who will be saying, "Hi!" to Melos.

Serra closed her eyes as she flew. Glittering tears dried on her cheeks as her wings thrummed steadily, the pinions trembling in the wind.

Raven did not know, but she was afraid...very afraid. She could see the entire battle raging below her, a dark, massive stain upon the land. Glittering specks were Andros, and the multicolored specks were soldiers and Pokémon.

She floated above, watching them, observing them. Now she could truly see that all the Andros moved strategically, cutting into the Johto forces like a knife going into butter. It was not unlike watching a massive chessboard. Sounds of war floated up to her, enveloping her.

“The Star controls all those Andros, all at the same time, with such precision...how can I hope to battle the Wishing Star?” murmured the girl, her eyes bleak with desolation.

How could she do this? Watch her people fight and die? If she was a goddess, she was the worst one ever, Serra thought bitterly.

Serra looked up again, watching the large star drifting along. Fury boiled up in her, like a red-hot lance. He would pay. He would pay for all this!

“Jirachi, I’m coming for you!” Serra howled, her wrath carrying her voice above the sounds of the battle and ringing clearly across the night wind.

Serra’s wings glowed suddenly, flaring with light so bright, they seemed twin suns in the inky darkness of the sky.

When the glow had faded, her wings were pure flame. They crackled and licked hungrily, blazing fire wreathed around black feathers.

Fire Wings. They rivaled those of the legendary firebird Moltres in their sheer beauty and brilliance.

Serra shot through the air, directly at the large star still above her. She twirled and banked, slowing as the star drew closer until she could see its features...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Wishing Star floated serenely, his muted golden wings fluttering dreamily. Their edges were razor sharp, and glinted wickedly. The Andros’ crown was also darkly muted gold, and sharpened to razor sharp points. They were devoid of wish tags.

Showers of sparkles constantly blossomed around him as he moved, trailing stardust. His eyes were shut in concentration as he commanded the Andros army telepathically. The Star Legend’s lipless mouth was curved up in what was almost a smile.

He sensed her before he even saw him. A winged silhouette shot towards him, its wings ablaze with fire. The flame-winged girl banked, hovering before the Wishing Star.

Jirachi bowed slightly to the newcomer, his red lens reflecting the flames of the girl’s wings.

“Welcome, my Goddess.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra bared her teeth, and two fangs shone in the moonlight. Her fire-wings flared, expressing her rage.

“How can you do this? Murder your own people so brutally? What happened to you, Jirachi?”

Jirachi scowled slightly. His wings waved about, arcing and twisting.

“You are the Andros’ Goddess. What care you about these insignificant Pokémon?”

“They are my people. So are the Andros. Heedless of their evil, they are still Pokémon! No, what I care about is destroying Team Rocket’s evil. If you do not stop this, I will make you,” hissed Serra.

Jirachi sighed, seemingly bored with the proceedings.

“You are a foolish, deluded child. You believe you have control and know the depths of your powers. In truth, you have just barely begun to tap the true power of the spirit within you.”

Serra snarled, and the air around her began to waver and ripple from her intensely flaring wings. Jirachi took no heed, and he rose in the sky slightly, eyes glowing a cool azure blue to balance that of Serra's boiling red.

“I have given you warning, Goddess; now prepare to feel the power of destruction’s wish!”

The Andros’ eyes blazed with white, and he extended his considerable power to envelope Serra in a flash. It took no less time than it took to blink to ensnare Serra.

Serra writhed and yelled under the power; trying to break from the dangerous hold the Legendary gripped her in. Jirachi increased his concentration, and suddenly, the Goddess’ wings stopped moving with a shudder.

Serra blanched, surprised by the sudden development as she began to fall from the starlit sky. Her head rang and throbbed, and the sky began to spin slowly. The clouds and points of reflected light looked to her like some sort of strange, dreamlike scene. Serra continued to glow with an eerie blue aura as Jirachi maintained his power.

With an abrupt thought, Serra realized that she had to stop her descent, lest she die before her quest had yet been finished.

With a cry, Serra’s fiery wings fizzled and spluttered as thin, white bone erupted from their pinions. The fire was extinguished as, finally, dark tattered amethyst membranes sprouted from between the skeleton-like wings. Again, Serra had formed the shadowed power of Dark Wings.

The blue glow enveloping her blinked out of existence, and the Goddess could faintly hear Jirachi’s enraged cry from above. She grinned, flapping the tattered wings and rising into the air with ease, defying all laws of gravity in the motion. Soon, she was level with the Wishing Star once again, but this time the Andros looked at her more carefully.

“You are indeed cunning, Goddess,” he said, the slight buzzing in his voice revealing his anger, “But you cannot prevail.”

“I can damn well try!” yelled Serra.

Her hands suddenly glowed as auras of fire rippled around them. She knew Jirachi was part steel type, and knew also that all steel types were vulnerable to fire. The energy in her hands pulsed as she moved, and the steady glow they created lit both battlers with an eerie red glow while both looked for an opening.

“Fire Spin!” yelled Serra suddenly, whipping her arms towards the Andros leader. Twin lines of flame snaked from her fingers, engulfing Jirachi in their swirling depths before the Legendary could backpedal and evade.

The Andros’ pained cry filled Serra with satisfaction, and she shot forward again, hands now glowing with black energy. As the Fire Spin began to fade and reveal the slightly weakened creature within, she growled and blasted a Shadow Ball towards Jirachi.

“No, Goddess,” came a voice in her head, “I am not that simple to overcome.”

The Shadow Ball she had fired shot back towards her, and Serra could not dodge before she was swallowed by the black energy. She grimaced as its energy coursed through her, but she was fortunately better able to stand it due to her Dark nature. She turned to face Jirachi once more, and found the Andros floating patiently where the Fire Spin had once been, the remnants of a Light Screen dissolving before him. He was slightly blackened, but still emanated that infuriating calm.

Serra watched as the Wishing Star smiled. The sight made her shudder, for she saw no compassion, no real emotion in that expression. There was only determination, and anger… so much anger.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Giarda dived, wings held close to her body and neck outstretched to make her form as streamlined as possible. She was fast, very fast… but her pursuer was faster. Now, she was glad she had allowed Tora to leave her and battle with her new claws, for it took some of the worry from her shoulders. She did not want her trainer, who had been so kind to her even in the short time they had known each other, to come to harm because of her.

The metal Charizard swooped up suddenly, breaking her dive without warning and bringing her hard steel back up as a barrier. She heard a screech of anger, and was aware of the form of a small black shape hurtle past parallel to her head. She snapped her powerful jaws in a half-hearted attempt, knowing that her target was already too far away to catch.

Giarda sighed and again began pursuit, knowing that it was going to be a long chase. Though the little Crobat was probably no match for her in pure strength, it could fly circles around her with its speed and agility. It rapidly flapping wings were made of double blades, and its teeth were sharpened to needle-points. Though these things could not get though her armor, Giarda found them more than a little annoying. She also knew that it was dangerous for humans, who had distinctly softer skins, to try and tackle this thing. It was up to her.

With a roar, the Charizard unleashed a stream of blue flame. The Crobat was easily able to evade this, though, and laughed at her as it looked back, tongue sticking out as a way of mockery. Giarda growled; this creature was a cheeky little SOB, that was for sure! It was probably young, and the Charizard knew that that meant it was most likely inexperienced, as well.

Suddenly, a bolt of pure energy shot in front of the Crobat, making it brake in surprise. Giarda came up behind it, and firmly closed her claws around its body, ensuring that it could not escape. It was then that she troubled to look at the commotion overhead, as well as others on the battlefield, for above them were twin points of blazing light that were striking out at each other with tremendous power.

Another blast missed its intended target, and Giarda swooped to the left as the bolt sizzled past her. It hit a group of Andros Beedrill, incinerating them on the spot. The Charizard snuffed; at least the confrontation was clearing away troublesome things she might have to face later. With a nonchalant gesture, she looked down at the Crobat in her claws. It was struggling wildly, biting at her hard armor in an attempt to escape. Giarda thought she might have a little fun, first, and decided to shake the creature to give it a lesson about being cheeky.

The expression on its face when she rapidly shook it up and down was priceless, and Giarda roared into the sky as she laughed. She was so shaken with laughter, in fact, that her hold on the beaten creature loosed. The Crobat dropped like a stone, and landed in the midst of a crater caused by the lightning strike.

The metal Charizard decided that it was no longer a threat anyway, and flew off to look for a more suitable adversary. She never noticed the eyes of the Crobat flicker on, and never saw the bright yellow shining in them. With a scared shriek, the tiny Crobat lifted off and flew away as fast as its four wings could carry it. It never looked back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra drew backwards, forming a white translucent sphere around herself. Jirachi did the same, only his sphere was yellow-gold. Both hovered, suspended for a heart’s beat, then lunged at each other. The spheres clashed with each other and knocked both combatants back, but they charged at each other again, relentless. They filled the sky; whirling, spinning, and clashing again and again, neither tiring or giving up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A solitary lady stood on the roof of Goldenrod’s famed mart, watching the aerial battle with wonder and unfathomable sadness. Her dark russet-coppery red hair blew around her face, framing cerulean-blue eyes. She watched the two points of light circle and clash over and over again, showing no emotion or reaction. Her face seemed etched from stone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The air around Jirachi flickered, and within moment’s dozens of sharp, star-like shape sliced through the air. Serra knew a Swift when she saw it, and knew that they would catch her, no matter what. Despite this, she winged as fast as she was able, trying to evade as best she could the flying stars while formulating a plan.

Finally, in a bust of inspiration, Serra flew faster than she had before to gain some distance. When she had gained on the stars as much as she was able, she flipped around in the air, eyes glowing.

“Swift!” she cried, sending her stars to intercept that of Jirachi’s.

There was a tremendous blast as all of the glowing shurikens smashed together at the same time, unleashing their combined energy. A shockwave of golden light blasted out, knocking both combatants back slightly.

Serra again faced the Wishing Star, knowing that the fight had barely begun. Both battlers were breathing heavily, and both were weakened slightly by attacks they had endured.

Light blazed, and Serra looked up to see the sparkling form of the moon. Its image seemed to waver, to become darker as she saw it, and she suddenly looked across the sky to see the form of Jirachi. The legendary Andros was facing the solar body, and he seemed to be absorbing something…

The light! Jirachi was absorbing the light of the moon!

“No!” screamed the Goddess, unleashing dark energy in the shape of a gigantic maw.

The energy loomed over Jirachi, catching the Andros by surprise as the twin rows of teeth clashed together on his steel body. Despite his massive defense, the psychic nature of Jirachi made him scream in pain as the dark matter ground into his body, then disappeared as if it never was.

“You will pay for your actions…” whispered a voice in her mind as Serra was thrown back by the streaking form of Jirachi. Serra gasped; the wind knocked out of her, and fell back with eyes watering. She blearily saw Jirachi do the same, as he had taken damage as well from the reckless charge.

They nodded at each other; one breathless and bruised, the other bleeding from numerous punctures.

The battle suddenly intensified, and both Jirachi and Serra threw their attacks with fury, heedless of anything around them. They had left off talking, for it wasted energy that could be used for attacks. The land they fought above was reduced to smoking craters, and human and Andros alike fled from the spectacle of fury.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Shadow’s katana was useless against the adversary that now stood against him. No matter how he turned, how he struck out, no blows of his would ever strike this creature.

It floated there, living death itself with glowing eyes laughing at his every feeble attempt to harm it. Shadow was infuriated, and his anger led to more rash actions. He blocked a blow from a large, shining steel claw, sweat beading on his forehead as he strained his muscles to lock where they were, to keep both claw and blade from his soft flesh.

“Haw, Haunter!” rasped the creature, its other claw moving swiftly to strike at Shadow’s unguarded side.

Shadow cried out and jumped back, narrowly avoiding a blow that would have cut him nearly in half, and slashed at the Andros once more. It laughed as the thin blade fazed through its body, and again brought its sharpened claws to the fore. The battle was going badly, and Shadow knew without a doubt that he would be on the worst end of the outcome.

Suddenly, he was struck with a thought… an interesting thought.

‘It never fades out its hands…’ his mind told him, ‘that may be because it can’t. Strike the one place where it is weakest, and you may bring it down…’

With a furious war cry, Shadow brought his Katana down with all his might directly on the Haunter’s shining metal claws. He was jolted as the strike shocked through his entire body, and the agonized scream of the creature echoed in his ear with a ghostly resonance. Shadow jumped back just in time to avoid the angry slash of the other claw.

Shadow retreated just far enough to get a good look at his handiwork, and was pleased. His guess had apparently been correct, as the Haunter’s left claw was now nothing but a bleeding stump, and it thrashed around with blind rage. Shadow took advantage of its distraction, and shot in to take care of its other claw.

Now that the Haunter had no way to strike back at its enemy, and it was furious. In its anger, it abandoned all reason, and became solid while at the same time lunging towards Shadow, preparing to swallow the troublesome human whole.

It didn’t get far, for Shadow had been ready. The end of the katana protruded from the back of the Andros as it stopped short in shock. Its eyes flew wide, realizing what had happened in a dreamlike way, and flickered. Finally, they blinked out, and Shadow shook his katana to rid it of the thing. He was glad that the battle was over.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As they threw blasts of psychic power at each other, the war below continued to rage. The Andros were slightly muddled, for Jirachi was now concentrating on Serra and not his army.

Serra and Jirachi dodged and threw attacks in an elaborate aerial dance. They were gradually moving from the battle-torn hills and above Goldenrod City.

Below, people out for night patrols exclaimed and pointed at the raging war in the sky. But Serra and Jirachi paid no heed to them, so intensely into their battle that they did not notice an ominous thundering mass of black clouds moving across the sea horizon.

Jirachi fired another Swift, and Serra countered with the same. The explosion provided some cover, and Serra’s wings suddenly flared once more into the blazing wings of fire she had materialized before. With an angry growl, she gained air. Her blazing form slicing across the sky, trailing embers as it went, instilled hope in the soldiers and citizens on the ground; Serra could sense it. She grinned wickedly, and circled the yet unwary Andros.

“Fire Blast!”

Scarlet flame erupted from both her wings and hands, forming the insignia of a stick figure as it flared across the small gap separating the fire from its target. Jirachi turned just in time to see the column approaching, and Serra could see the beginnings of another Light Screen flicker before she could see no more through the flames.

A terrible screech entered her head, and she winced as she recognized the cry of true pain. As the Fire Blast blew past its victim, Serra saw that Jirachi was no longer trailing sparkles, and that his armor was glowing with white-hot light. The Wishing Star still flew, though, and it still looked at her with all the defiance and anger of before.

Blue energy engulfed her once again, but this time the Andros did not lock her wings. He instead caused such pain that Serra could not focus on her wings, and she fell from the sky in agony, wings beginning to fade as she gave a few, feeble flaps. The pain continued to intensify, and Serra gasped as wounds opened all over her torso and arms, bleeding furiously.

The streets of the city rushed up to meet her, eagerly awaiting her fate. Serra roared, her wings erupting to life as she felt renewed fury within her. She spread her wings and pulled up expertly, air billowing under her wings.

Serra found herself within Goldenrod itself, surrounded by skyscrapers. Panting, she flapped her weary wings and flew through the skyscrapers. Her wounds slowed her, for they continued to bleed. Serra was in intense pain but she determinedly pushed on. Behind her, she sensed Jirachi dropping down to her level, grimly on her tail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Hydro had to dodge the terrifying thing that lunged at him again and again, for there was no real way to hit it without causing injury to himself. He leaped to the side as the Andros jumped with amazing speed, but was unable to stop from avoiding the strike altogether. He winced as he felt the razor sharp blades slice through the skin on his calf.

“Feeee” moaned the creature, again readying itself for a flop that would bring its bladed fins to bear.

It was a Feebas, and Hydro couldn’t help but feel like laughing at himself as he fought it. The tattered fish was supposed to be harmless, not a walking… flopping… set of blades! Now, every fin, every tatter, was an individual knife of death, ready to slice into whatever even thought of harming it.

As he readied himself to dodge once more, he saw the once place where it didn’t have protection, and that might be away from its flailing fins. He only had one chance!

The fish leaped up, all it’s blades splayed out in a display much like a common lionfish. When he judged it to be close enough, Hydro shot out a hand and gripped the fish, of all places, on the mouth. The Feebas writhed; trying to break the hold of cut its enemy, but was unable to do so.

“Got your lips!” said Hydro with a grin. He pulled back his arm, and punched down with all his might right between the Andros’ eyes.

The force of the blow shattered the fish’s skull, and Hydro nodded grimly as he let the limp form fall lifeless from his hand. He suddenly saw another soldier fighting with the same type of adversary, and ran to help.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jirachi still flew, although he seemed to be still in pain. His flight was faltering, and it seemed as if he wavered on the brink of consciousness. The white-hot of his armor had faded, and now looked barely warm.

A chill wind passed between the two battlers, and the storm began to block out the sky as it came relentlessly towards land, building power as it did so. Lightning struck in the distance, lighting the area faintly.

Serra led Jirachi willy-nilly, looping and weaving between the buildings, which loomed above them forbiddingly.

Serra flew out from between two skyscrapers, and gasped slightly as a vast sparkling sea opened before her. They had flown west from Goldenrod, and were above the ocean now.

Serra dove down, her wings shimmering and rippling to become feathered Flying wings. She had a plan...

The girl skimmed the surface of the sparkling, star-lit waters, her eyes glowing an eerie white now. As she flew, her flight cut a frothy furrow through the ocean’s surface.

Serra had to marvel at Jirachi’s sheer will of strength. Despite the roasting he’d just received, he continued to be locked on her, his eyes blazing an angry red. But he was weakened, and both knew it.

Serra suddenly pulled up, soaring high into the air. She continued to flap upwards, until the air became thin and Goldenrod had shrunk to the size of a postage stamp. In the distance, she saw the battles, raging ever on and on.

To her relief, Jirachi had not followed her. He drifted just above the water’s surface, and his eyes were glazed over. He was concentrating on directing his armies again, and seemed unaware of her now. Good.

Serra’s eyes were back to their usual icy blue. She was breathing heavily, and aching all over, but her spirit still blazed strong.

Serra raised her arms over her head, and shut her eyes, concentrating intensely.

Between the palms of her hands, a small point of light shone, like a miniature star. It gradually grew in size, thrumming more deeply as it grew. The white light it exuded played over Serra’s face and armor, casting her face in sharp relief.

When Serra opened her eyes at last, a gargantuan white ball of light rumbled overhead. It was huge, almost like a small white sun in the night sky.

It was a ball of pure Normal-type energy, contained within a spherical barrier. It was Serra’s new invention, and she was rather pleased with how it had turned out.

The massive ball of apocalyptic energy thrummed and rumbled incessantly, lighting up the sea and piercing its depths. Jirachi looked up, and his eyes widened in shock. Serra saw the lights of her creation reflected in the Legend’s eyes.

“That attack doesn’t exist!” Jirachi cried, his calm demeanor shattered as he saw his fate.

“It does now. Goodbye, Jirachi. Tell Melos I said hello!” Serra nodded to Jirachi, and raised her arms even further, hefting the sphere high into the air. She grunted with exertion, and her lean arms contracted, straining to the best of their ability.

“Gungnir!” Serra howled and slammed her hands down, her body bending double with the force. The Gungnir sphere roared through the air, creating heat ripples from its descent. The waters around Jirachi churned violently as the intense heat bore down towards him.

Jirachi glowed as he put up a Barrier, but Gungnir ripped through the futile shield and savagely slammed into the Legend. He released a piercing, macabre screech as the raging energy enveloped him.

There was a massive explosion, and the waters were blown outward as a massive pillar of fire roared upwards from where Gungnir had hit Jirachi.

The pillar was an incredible sight to behold. It was as thick as a skyscraper and double the height of one. But Serra did not stop to marvel. Her wings shimmered and metamorphosed into Dragon Wings. With a grunt, she launched herself forwards, and was consumed by the raging inferno that was the pillar of fire.

Inside the fire pillar, the noise was deafening. Fire spun around Serra, burning her and singing her wings. Serra ignored the pain and thrust forcefully inwards, searching for her target.

At last, she saw the form of Jirachi, silhouetted in fire and light. Serra grimaced as her skin burned with white hot pain, but she ignored it, so focused on her target she was.

Serra pushed forwards, finally reaching the immobile Legendary. She thrust out a taloned arm and swiftly grasped Jirachi by the throat.

The pillar flared and howled, rippling into nothingness. As it vanished, the air around it whooshed back into the displaced space, sending out an invisible shockwave that shook the very air itself.

In her anger, she did not feel the burning heat on her chest, nor did she notice the steadily deepening color of the warning scale. Jirachi was helpless, and the war would soon be over. It was all the matter of one, final attack…

“You forget a vital point, my Goddess.” came a grating whisper from under Serra’s grip. Serra looked down and met Jirachi’s smoldering gaze.

“Huh?” Serra was surprised Jirachi could even speak still. But her grip did not loosen.

“I have a third eye.”

Serra looked down, and saw the black curve on Jirachi’s chest tremble. It opened a crack....stopped...then snapped open.

There was a brief, timeless moment when Serra was gazing directly into the churning, roiling depths of the eye. She felt herself helplessly sliding, tumbling, slipping forwards...

Light.

Darkness.

She was falling, falling, falling...

Falling into fire and under it..

Under fire, under stone, under ice, under wind...

Spectral shadows, serpentine specters, blurred diamond shards...

Snow.

White snow, spiraling gently from the pink morning sky. A snowflake drifted down on Serra’s face, melting on the still-wet blood spattered upon it.

Serra moaned, stirring slightly. Her tongue crept out and wet her bloodied lips. Her eyes fluttered open and she sat up slowly.

With a jerk, Serra noticed she was clad in her old white laboratory gown, which was skimpy and thin. Great. Now she was cold.

The wounds on her torso and arms were still bleeding, and crimson flowers were blossoming on the white cloth of the gown.

Serra gazed around dismally. She sat in a vast plain of snow. As far as the eye could see...snow, snow, and more snow. Dammit....Jirachi, where was he?

I AM HERE, MY GODDESS.

The soundless voice rang in her head, shocking her. Serra yelped and glared around, but Jirachi was nowhere to be seen.

“Where are you? You *******ized son of a...” growled Serra, rubbing her bare arms fitfully as a chill wind blew.

YOU ARE IN MY WORLD NOW...AND WE HAVE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DISCUSS.

Serra snorted rudely, and hunched over, shivering even more. The girl tried to conjure up flame to warm herself. To her horror, nothing happened.

YOU ARE HELPLESS NOW, AND AT MY MERCY, SO I ADVISE THAT YOU LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY.

Serra sighed and gave into the cold, her body slumping slightly.

“Fine. Whatever. What do you have to say?” she spat.

DO YOU KNOW THE DATE? THE MONTH OF DECEMBER DRAWS NEAR.

Serra blinked, confused as to why Jirachi was talking about dates, of all things.

IT IS ALMOST THREE YEARS PAST. THREE YEARS SINCE YOUR BIRTH.

Serra nodded, still unsure as to why they were having this conversation.

YOU AWOKE, AND SPOKE YOUR NAME. SERRA. BUT DO YOU KNOW WHY? DO YOU KNOW YOUR HISTORY? YOUR HERTIAGE?

“Er...yeah, I think. I was made by scientists who created me to stop the Andros and Team Rocket’s dominion.”

LIES. ALL LIES.

“What? How would you know that? Don’t tell me what the Giovanni said was true!” yelled Serra, her eyes flashing with anger.

YOUR PAST IS CONVOLUTED. TEAM ROCKET FUNDED THE LABORATORY. THEY HIRED SCIENTISTS FROM HOENN. THE SCIENTISTS WERE DECIEVED. THEY TRULY THOUGHT THEY WERE CREATING YOU FOR GOOD.

Serra felt relief rise within her. So Dr. Dorian WAS good after all! Dorian would never have betrayed her. But she was also feeling surges of rage towards Team Rocket. So she had them to thank for her miserable life.

ONE OF THE SCIENTISTS WAS AN AGENT OF TEAM ROCKET, SECRETLY PLANTED THERE. WHEN YOU WERE DONE, HE CALLED FOR ANDROS TO COME GET YOU.

Serra lowered her head, shuddering as she remembered that awful morning. The morning Dorian had disappeared and the Scyther had come for her. She ventured a cautious question.

“Did you know who the double agent was?” Her tone was hopeful, eager.

NO. THE ANDROS WERE NOT INCLUDED IN TEAM ROCKET’S INNER AFFAIRS.

Serra raised an eyebrow. Was it just her, or did Jirachi actually sound a little resentful?

“Why are you telling me all this, Jirachi? Surely you know this only kindles my desire to destroy Team Rocket!” Serra growled, her eyes glinting with a feral light.

THAT MATTERS NOT. YOU KNOW YOUR PAST NOW WITH COMPLETE CERTAINITY, YES?

Serra nodded, still feeling a mixture of irritation, relief, and anger.

THERE IS STILL ONE THING YOU DO NOT KNOW. YOUR PARENTS.

Serra jerked, and stiffened. She felt suddenly weak, as if she’d been punched in the gut.

“No...” she said weakly, her voice naught more than a whisper.

YES. YOU DID HAVE A MOTHER, AND A FATHER.

Serra shook her head violently.

“I was raised from a fetus in the laboratory.” she whispered brokenly.

The ground before her suddenly began rumbling. The sky darkened, and Serra gasped in fright. The tip of a massive, sharply angular object broke through the snow’s surface and rose, looming majestically over Serra. It was a massive chunk of ice, faceted and crystalline. Serra was in awe at the sheer size of it. It must have been at least twenty feet tall.

The ice’s surface was smooth and polished, and as the light shone off it, it was a dazzling display of beauty and perfection.

LOOK.

Serra looked. Within the semi-transparent ice, activity was taking place. The center of the ice darkened and swirled, like fog and water. It expanded, turning darker as it did. Before Serra’s astonished eyes, a scene unfolded...


A woman in her late twenties sat nervously in a waiting room of some sort. Her lovely face was framed by her slightly wavy magenta hair, which flowed over her shoulders. But what grabbed Serra’s attention the most were her eyes. Wide, and icy blue. Identical to Serra’s.

“My...mother?” whispered Serra.

YES. WATCH.

The pretty woman shifted in her seat uncomfortably, and rubbed her large, pregnant belly. A large Persian nuzzled the woman, comforting her and easing her tensions.

“Don’t worry, Jessie, ah’m sure you’ll be fine...” the Persian spoke in a heavily accented voice. Jessie sighed and leaned back into her chair.

“I know, but don’t they know James and I resigned from Team Rocket? We just wanted to live our lives out in peace, with the baby and all...” trailed the woman.

Serra gasped, unable to comprehend this. Her parents, former Team Rocket members? She had been expecting anything...but not this! Team Rocket was her most hated foe, yet her parents...this was unthinkable!

“Of course Giovanni knows. Heaven knows he was glad to let youse two go, what with all the blundering we did in the past.” chuckled the tawny cat, stretching and shaking his luxurious white fur. The door banged open and a young man ran in, only to slip and crash against the floor painfully. The Persian roared with laughter, while Jessie shook her head.

“James...you alright?”

James smiled sheepishly as he got back to his feet. He was a handsome, strapping man with gentle green eyes. His long hair was tied back, giving him a dashing appearance. Serra’s father bent over and kissed Jessie gently, upon the lips. Both ignored the audible gagging noises of the Persian.

Serra couldn’t help but allow herself to smile a bit. Her parents seemed very much in love, and didn’t seem to be evil at all.

James sat down in the chair next to Jessie, looking around curiously. Both jumped as the door opened once more, and Rocket Elite stepped through. He smiled charmingly at the young couple.

“The Giovanni welcomes you two. Please, come with me.”

The couple stood up, obediently following the Elite through another door to a different room. The Persian chose to stay, but listened intently through the door.

Serra watched intently, not sure what to expect. She sensed somehow, that something bad would happen...

There was a beat, then suddenly, two gunshots rang harshly out. The Persian screeched with fury and horror. He threw himself against the door again and again. The other door opened, and a Team Rocket grunt stepped in. The Persian whirled upon him, snarling as the grunt raised a gun, its barrel gleaming coldly in the dim room. A third gunshot rang out.

The scene darkened and faded. Serra stood there, stunned into silence. She felt numb.

YOUR PARENTS WERE KILLED, AND YOUR FETUS STOLEN FROM THE BODY OF YOUR DEAD MOTHER. THEY WERE BETRAYED BY TEAM ROCKET.

Serra turned her head, gazing dismally into space. It was too much. It was too much for her to bear. Team Rocket had done this. Team Rocket. Team Rocket. That name was a curse.

Why? Why did Team Rocket take away all she cared about? They had taken away her family...her humanity...it wasn’t fair. IT WASN’T FAIR.

Serra snapped her head up and screamed, screamed, screamed her fury to the darkened, cloudy skies. She went on screaming.

Tears ran down Serra’s face in a hot blur and she sank to her knees. Her body was racked violently as she sobbed. She slammed her fist into the snow, hating Jirachi with all her heart. He had done this. He had showed her.

“I hate you! I hate you! I HATE YOU!”

Serra kept pounding the snow, kept at it until her knuckles split and the snow was stained with her blood.

YOU MUST KNOW. YOU MUST LET THE ANGER CONSUME YOUR SOUL. NOW SUMBIT!

Serra jerked as a white-hot lance of pain stabbed into her skull. Jirachi! He was-

Serra snapped her head up, and screamed as memories flooded into her mind. Jirachi was running all her most painful memories through her brain in a blur, torturing her. It was too much. Too fast.

Serra jerked her head wildly, toppling over on her side, flailing in unimaginable agony.

LET THE ANGER TAKE OVER. REMEMBER THE HATRED. REMEMBER THE RAGE...REMEMBER....REMEMBER...

Serra weaved through the tables silently, platters of meat in her hands. Her face gazed downwards at the floor, not daring to look at the customers as she placed the food down at their table. One of the men glanced at the food, and then up at Serra. His fat, rubbery lips curled up in a lewd smile.

“Hey, there ain’t enough meat, wench. I want my meat!” He reached out and placed his hand on Serra’s left breast. She gasped, stiffening up and staring petrified at the man. He raised his eyebrow, daring Serra to fight back.

Serra’s shoulders slumped and she looked down, unmoving as the man squeezed her breast ungently. It hurt, but she did not dare to respond for fear of a beating. The customers at the table roared with laughter, guffawing and slapping each other’s backs.

“Stop! STOP!” Serra managed to yell from between convulsions. But Jirachi pressed on relentlessly, flipping through her memories like a pack of cards.

Serra sat quietly upon a stool in the corner of the bar, her face downcast. She was curled up, folded within herself. She was afraid, for the bartender had ordered her to stay there. She didn’t know what was happening. She didn’t understand.

The bartender called her, and Serra jerked, obedient as usual. She slid off her stool and timidly walked up to the bartender. A man stood next to him. He frightened Serra. His eyes were cold and grey, emotionless. He looked like one of the local villagers. His chest and biceps bulged under a tight-fitting grey shirt.

“Serra, you have the entire night with him. Make it good. He pays well.” snapped the bartender. Serra blinked, puzzled as the man leered at her.

“A-a night? What do you mean?” stammered Serra, confused. What was going on?

The man glanced at the bartender.

“She has never done it before?” he asked coolly. The bartender shook his head. The man smiled even wider, a nasty grin that sent chills up Serra’s spine.

“Even better. She is a virgin, ripe for the picking.”

The bartender handed the man a key and pointed to one of the rooms down the hall next to the bar. The man nodded in response and strode towards Serra, grabbing her hair and cruelly yanking her with him. Serra yelped as her scalp flared with pain, but the man ignored her.

He wrenched open the door and pulled Serra through, throwing her against a wall. Serra slammed against it and slid down, moaning in fright. She didn’t understand. What was happening?

The man stood over her, regarding her with a look of indifference, looking at Serra as though she were a slab of meat.

“Undress. Now.” he ordered.

Serra blinked up at him, appalled beyond all reason. He snarled and lunged in a rapid blur, punching Serra in the gut. Serra yelped in pain and scrabbled to pull off her shirt, not wanting to get beaten.

The man broke into a broad smirk, leaning down and grabbing Serra by the neck. He powerfully pulled her up by the neck, breathing into her face.

“We’re going to have some fun tonight...”

The bartender had returned to his routine, cleaning out beer mugs with a greasy rag. He did not look up, not when bloodcurdling, terrified screams echoed around the empty pub. Not when the screams gradually faded away to quiet, heart-wrenching sobs.

All that mattered was the money.

Serra lay shaking in the snow, all but gone in the dark anguish of her past. The girl sobbed quietly, unaware of her surroundings. She was back, back in the dark void of her broken spirit.

Soft morning light streamed through the window, lighting up a dingy room in a soft, rosy hue. A bed stood in the corner of the room, its sheets askew. A girl huddled on the dirty floor, shaking violently. She was naked, except for a lone, thin sheet crumpled up and wrapped around her blood-streaked legs. The sheets were dark with blood and heavily wrinkled. Bruises stood out with alarming starkness against her pale skin. Hand-shaped bruises rose upon her fair-skinned breasts, and her neck was swollen with more bruises.

The girl dared not cry for fear of another beating. She could only rock back and forth silently, staring wide-eyed blankly into space. Her icy blue eyes were vacant, devoid of any spark of life.

Serra shuddered and went still, her eyes glazing over, becoming eerily vacant. Her body went limp, as if her spirit had been wrenched out of it.

HAD ENOUGH?

The snowy plain warped and rippled, like a pond surface stirred up by a breeze. Everything darkened....

There was an abrupt, stomach-jolting wrench and they were in a room now. It was very plain, and purely made of grey stone bricks.

A cell.

Serra wined slightly as her cheek thudded against the cold, unyielding stone. Jirachi’s mind-ravaging had left her exhausted and drained, and her bleeding wounds didn’t exactly help, either.

Serra jerked in surprise as Jirachi appeared in the cell with a quiet pop of displaced air.

THE YEAR IS ALMOST OVER, AND THE DAY OF YOUR BIRTH DRAWS NEAR. NOW WILL YOU CLAIM YOUR RIGHTFUL HERTIAGE?

Serra ignored Jirachi, intently focusing on keeping herself from screaming.

Jirachi narrowed his now-glowing azure eyes. A rippling blue aura surrounded Serra and jerked her up. The girl twisted and writhed, but could not break free. She hovered in the air, her face a macabre mask of agony.

Serra was brutally hurled through the air like a rag doll. She crashed into the cold stone wall with a sickening thud. Deep inside, Serra felt a bone snap. Her rib! Serra groaned as her mouth filled with coppery blood.

NOW WILL YOU CLAIM IT?

Serra spat out a mouthful of blood and glared balefully at the Wishing Star, her eyes digging holes into him.

“Go to hell, sparkly dickweed.” she spat.

VERY WELL. FEEL THE CONSQUENCES OF YOUR INSUBORDIANCE!

Serra groaned as she was swiftly plucked up and smashed into the wall again. Red fog filled her vision, and dull cracks within her torso told her more ribs had broken. Her chest was burning in pain, and her vision blurred, dimming.

Serra was slammed into the stone wall again and again. Each time she impacted, a sticky red smear was left behind upon the cold stone walls. Each time she hit, there was a crack as bones broke.

Serra’s vision darkened and went black. All her ribs were broken, and her spine was fractured. Her pelvis was also broken, and her skull was cracked. She lay in a pool of blood. Serra was no longer aware of anything except her own pain.

DO YOU GIVE IN NOW?

Blackness...blood...so much pain...

DO YOU GIVE IN NOW?

The voice...in the darkness...so nice...pleasant...should she listen..?

No! I must not give in...

Serra’s body was shattered beyond hope. A broken piece of flesh and bone barely covered by a crimson-soaked white gown. The end was inevitable.

Must not submit..

Serra was dimly aware of Jirachi floating closer...closer...

Whisht!

The razor-sharp edge of Jirachi’s wing sliced across Serra’s cheek, opening a deep gash. A trickle of blood dripped down her pale, blood-spattered cheek.

No reaction.

Serra was dead to the world. Jirachi smiled grimly. He drifted even closer, brushing against Serra’s cheek with his other wing...

Serra sprang to life. Her eyes snapped open and her hand lashed out, the metal talons flashing in the dim room.

Jirachi screeched, a deep, undulating scream of pure, unadulterated agony. His wings spasmed and jerked crazily.

The cell rumbled and let out a massive heave.....a flash of light...and a sonic boom.

And the sea opened underneath. Serra and Jirachi were back...hovering above the ocean west of Goldenrod. Serra’s gown fluttered in the sea breeze. Her left hand grasped Jirachi’s throat still.

Her right hand.....buried deep into Jirachi’s third eye. Red, moist claws protruded from Jirachi’s back.

Jirachi’s eyes traveled down to his third eye, then along Serra’s naked, pale arm, and finally came to a rest on Serra’s blood-streaked, haggard face. Suddenly, he shuddered.

His red eyes flickered on and off...on...off...on...off....and came back on.

They were a greenish-yellow.

Jirachi’s mouth parted, gasping for breath. As he spoke, he groaned in pain.

“My Goddess...thank you. Thank you.”

Serra’s breath came out in wheezing gasps, but she nodded.

Jirachi’s eyes dimmed, and he looked up, at the stars overhead. They twinkled serenely, bright diamonds upon black velvet.

“So beautiful..” the Wishing Star whispered. His eyes flickered, then went out for the final time.

The Legend’s form glowed, reflecting the radiance of the stars...and dissolved into sparkles. The sparkling dust blew about Serra’s face, and a faint, distant voice echoed into her ear.

You have my blessing, Goddess.

The sparkles brightened in farewell, then dimmed away into nothingness. Serra’s right arm was still outstretched, dripping with red blood.

All at once, it hit her. The blood, the wounds, the broken bones, the mental torture....it was too much.

Serra let go of her levitation...and fell. Her eyes slid shut peacefully. She was satisfied....she had defeated the Legend of the Stars. But it had taken the greatest cost of all.

She fell silently....it seemed like a dream. Her vision blurred over and darkened. Falling...falling...falling.

Into the sea.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“They’re retreating! They’re retreating! The Andros are retreating!”

Joyous yells rang out as haggard soldiers whooped and gave chase. Immediately following Jirachi’s death, the mental link was broken, and the Andros had panicked, for the figurative head of the snake had been cut off. They milled around in blind panic, and had turned to flee. But heartened soldiers and Pokémon alike overtook them, cutting them down. The Andros did not even put up a fight. Their once-great army was broken, defeated.

Aeris yelled in joy, whooping as she shot down a row of fleeing Andros Girafarig. This was easy, too easy!

Nearby, gunshots rang out as Terra literally mowed down a column of Bellossom and Seviper in a rain of bullets.

Blade stood up, wiping his blade clean on the grass. Raven strode up next to him, watching the retreating, beaten Andros. Topaz trotted up between them, laughing crazily.

“All of Johto is united in victory! We will celebrate for weeks to come!”

“But if Serra won, where is she?” asked Blade. The trio grew silent, wondering on Serra’s fate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The girl in question was sinking headfirst towards the darkness of the ocean depths. The rippling waters sent her gown fluttering elegantly, like the fins of a Goldeen. Her hair billowed out like a grey cloud, obscuring her features. Curious Magikarps swam down, following her descent, but scattered, frightened as a blur of white shot through them, heading towards the fallen Goddess.

“Geroff, you stupid fish! Can’t you see she’s dead? Give her body some respect!” an irate, female voice shouted in her native language. The white, elegant aquatic Pokémon swirled around the body, following her descent towards the dark depths, making sure it got safe passage from curious bystanders.

“Is she dead?” asked a young Seaking. Another Seaking shook her head.

“I don’t know...she doesn’t look drowned. The Staryu up on the surface said she fell. Maybe she’s unconscious. What do you think, Pearqueen?”

The white Pokémon that had been spiraling around Serra twisted her head, looking up at the Seaking.

“Mayhaps you’re right. Come on, stupid fish. Help me buoy her up. We’ll take her to Beau.”

Protests rose loudly among the fish.

“Beau?”
“The Shiftry?”
“But he’s dangerous!”

“Shut up!” bellowed Pearlqueen. The Dewgong flapped her tail irately, and the fish quieted.

“That’s better. I trust Beau. Now come on!”

Elite Eevee
21st November 2004, 2:17 PM
Great chapter. When you think it, evil legendaries are more terrifying than anything. Most's mind power could manipulate thousands at a time, and everything else...

Hold on, for a second, HOLD ON! *Rubbing eyes* Her parents are the infamous 'prepare for trouble' group! This just gets wierder and wierder.

And Melos. Boy is he going to be happy.

ClefairyTenchi
22nd November 2004, 1:56 AM
Melos not evil. Melos alter-ego of Mew. That's my theory.

Of curse evil legendaries are scarier than any other. They represent a powerful natural force, and there are few things scarier than a corrupt natural force. I don't think Mew can be corrupted, though. Mew is existence of life, you corrupt that, you destroy life.

I like how everything in this fic is connected. It shows real thought put into it.

AzureFlygon
22nd November 2004, 2:13 AM
Well, I haven't posted in forever XD

Enjoy the first chapter of the Song of the Goddess!!!

~~~~~

Dark waves drew back and rose majestically, crashing with a thunderous roar upon the unyielding black cliffs. Pink light shone from beyond the horizon, washing everything in a rosy hue. A small white form cut through the dark waters, carving a foamy furrow through the surface.

Pearlqueen huffed and puffed as she lugged the immobile form of Serra. For three days and nights, the Dewgong had stubbornly bore the mysterious human through the sea to the cliffs near Olivine City.

The cliffs were where her friend Beau lived, and it was he who would know who..what...the human girl was. Pearlqueen could not quite put her fin on it, but she felt a strange bond with the girl...as if the human was actually one of the People. But how could that be? She was a human. She looked like a human. Hell, she even smelled like a human. But she didn’t feel like one. No. This confused and infuriated the Dewgong, as she did not like being confused.

Pearlqueen kept the girl afloat with her fins, patiently towing her. The cliffs loomed high above her, dark and forbidding in the dawn light...

Floating...floating....in the fog. No time, no space. Nothingness. Then-

A voice in the void.

(Serra)

Serra twitched her eyelids at the call. Her mind briefly surfaced, then sank back into the darkness.

(Serra. Serra the Goddess.)

A small moan arose from her throat, yet her lips did not move.

(Serra. Awaken.)

Serra’s eyelids slid open, obeying the command with alacrity. For a moment, she had the dizzying sensation of being suspended in swirling grey mist, all alone in the void.

(Look to me, Goddess!)

A disntict purplish haze appeared in front of Serra’s startled eyes. Two glowing white eyes revealed themselves within the haze, boring into Serra’s own icy blue eyes.

(My name is Shadowdancer. I am a Ghost Missingno, first-class Glitch. I shall be your guide today.)

“Shadowdancer....are you related to Bonedancer in any way?” asked Serra with more calm than she actually felt.

Shadowdancer’s eyes widened in surprise. The purple fog contracted slightly.

(Why, yes. Bonedancer is my kin, my brother.)

“Oh, I see. Um..where are we?” asked Serra, a bit of nervousness appearing in her voice.

(You have been here before, I believe. The Between, the void that separates the three planes-the Missingno plane, the Living plane, and the Death plane, or the Realms of Fog. My job as a Ghost Missingno is to guide spirits from the Living Plane to the Death plane.)

Serra stiffened at the last phrase.

“I’m.....dead?” she whispered. Shadowdancer expanded slightly, and began reciting what seemed to be a pre-memorized statement.

(Let’s see now. Your spine broken in five places, all your ribs also broken, and massive internal bleeding and ruptured lungs. You are in a what I believe the humans call a “coma.” Your body lives, but barely. You are not dead, but my lord Melos wanted to talk to you, so he extracted your soul briefly. He was unable to talk to you in the Living because you were, of course, in a coma.)

Relieved, Serra relaxed and nodded briefly. Shadowdancer revolved slowly, her ever-moving particles seemingly to thrum in place.

The fog suddenly faded without warning, and the two beings were standing in a dark underground cavern. A dark river was before them, its still surface seemingly to hold infinite depths.

(We are at the river Styx, the passageway to the Dead realm. I have done my job, and guided you to the beginning of your path. I take my leave now, Goddess.)

Shadowdancer faded silently, and Serra was left standing on the riverbank alone, in the misty silence. In the far distance, she could see ethereal glowing globes of light drifting dreamily.

More than a little spooked out now, Serra scuffed her foot at the spot where the water’s edge lapped at the sands, and jumped back with fright as she saw a faint, skeletal face in the water. She looked up and stifled a faint scream as she saw the dark figure standing before her.

Pearlqueen grunted in exasperation as she banged her horn thrice against a stone slab. The sound rolled like thunder across the bare cliffs, echoing impressively. The stone slab shifted slightly, then fell over with a resounding crash, making the sands rumble. A gaping hole revealed-a passageway.

Waddling in imperiously and with as much dignity a Dewgong could muster while waddling, Pearlqueen dragged the comatose form of Serra with her, down the tunnel.

The passageway eventually widened into a large chamber, but a snug one. Various leaves and herbs hung from ropes twined around stalactites, and a small underground spring burbled gently at the far end of the chamber. Crouched next to the chamber was a massive beast, its visage fearsome and nightmarish. A Shiftry.

The Shiftry looked up slowly, its fearsome yellow eyes boring into the gentle brown of Pearlqueen’s.

“Hey, Beau. I got you a patient.”

Beau the Shiftry looked down slowly at the bedraggled body of the girl in the white gown. His beak shifted slightly as he spoke in a deep voice that belied his age.

“A human..you want me to treat a human?”

“She isn’t a normal human!” Pearlqueen bristled. “Can’t you smell her? She reeks of elemental power!”

Beau gazed down at Serra, and shrugged, his majestic leaves rustling.

“Very well...I shall treat her...but I require payment.”

Pearlqueen sighed.

“Let me guess. You want food.” Her tone was sarcastic.

Beau said nothing, only blinking his eyes impassively.

Her heart beating, Serra took in the newcomer. It wore a dark, rough cloak, draped over its body like a cobweb. The cloth jutted out in the back, from where a dark terracotta-coloured tail protuded. Serra looked up slowly, and saw the skeletal face that had been reflected in the water.

It was a Marowak. But not any normal Marowak. Marowaks had their eyes positoned to fit in the eyeholes of their skull. This one....his eye sockets were empty, twin voids of darkness. And he was more gaunt, skeletal, his back slightly stunted.

Serra flinched as the Marowak raised a paw, its bare claws gleaming in the light exuding from the light-globes.

-Bone. My name is Charon, ferryman of the River Styx. Do you have payment for the passage? Bone.-

Serra looked down, and was slightly startled as she noticed she held several golden coins tightly clasped in her right fist. She proffered the coins to the Marowak, who took them silently.

Charon beckoned Serra behind him, and she saw a massive black reed boat floating silently behind the ferryman.

Serra nodded politely, stepping into the boat and sittin down gingerly. Charon glided smoothly into the prow of the boat, and held out his other paw. pointing upwards.

There was a massive thunderclap, and a long bone scythe appeared in Charon’s outspread paw. The Marowak stabbed the scythe into the still water, and levered the boat forwards. The artifact glided smoothly, skimming effortlessly across the still surface of the river.


Serra’s body had been laid out on a bed of thick, lush leaves. Beau crouched next to her, using a damp, soft leaf to wipe the dried and crusted blood upon Serra’s face and arms.

“How is she?” asked Pearlqueen, waddling into the chamber with several flopping, squealing Goldeen tightly clenched in her jaw. With several swift blows against a rock, she killed the Goldeen silently.

Beau answered, but did not turn, focused on his task.

“She has lots of broken bones, in her spine and her ribs. Skull fracturing and internal bleeding. But I am...disturbed with a discovery. Look ye well!”

Beau leant forward and picked up Serra’ right wrist in his beak, showing her hand to the Dewgong. Pearlqueen dropped the Goldeen and waddled over to look at the hand with curiousity.

After a silence, Pearlqueen spoke up.

“What is that stuff on her hand? It’s..purple...if my eyes don’t decieve me. And..it’s sparkly.”

Beau nodded.

“It’s got Steel and Psychic elemental energy. It has traces of Andros metal. And it’s dead, obiviously. Now, Pearlqueen, tell me...what is Steel, Psychic, an Andros, is dead, and exudes sparkles?”

Pearlqueen blinked, swipng at her head with her flipper, thinking deeply. Then her eyes widened as the implication hit her.

“Jirachi....the Wishing Star?!?”

Beau nodded with approval, his white mane shifting in the motion.

“The Staryu’s gossip spreads everywhere...there has been talk that the Goddess has killed Jirachi. I think....this girl is the Goddess everyone speaks of. Look! This purple fleshy material...it may have come from Jirachi’s third eye.”

“How’d you know Jirachi has a purple third eye?” asked Pearlqueen, bemused.

“The Staryu say....the Goddess plunged her talons into his eye, and that was his demise.”

Pearlqueen shook her head.

“Phwoarr, you’re awfully wise for a old coot.” she said admiringly.

Beau let out what could have been a chuckle. The sound echoed slightly in the cavern.

The vessel had been floating for sometime now. The fog, coupled with the dreamlike lights, transpired to soothe Serra and fill her with a deep peace. The still silence was also eerily soothing. Serra glanced down at the still surface of the Styx and jerked, flinching backwards, her mouth opening in a silent gasp.

Faces.

Faces in the water. Skeletal faces. Floating almost paper-like seemingly in the surface, they gazed up at her with their empty sockets, a death’s specter.

Transfixed by the spectres’ gaze, Serra’s face gradually leaned towards the surface, drawn inexorably. A sudden burst of clear, sweet chimes rippled out. The faces writhed and dissolved violently, emitting whispery moans of sorrow, washed away by the pure melody.

Serra looked up, free of the mysterious force, and saw the hovering lights for what they really were as they emerged out the fog.

Chimecho. Millions upon millions of Chimecho, tinkling their tails in a symphony of sweet melody, all exuding a faint glow.

-Bone.The Chimecho’s melody puts the drifting souls to peace.Bone.-

Serra nodded at Charon and settled back into her seat, relieved that the Chimecho had dispelled the deathly stares of the faces.

-Bone. We are upon the Black Gate. This is where I leave you. Bone.-

The vessel came to a smooth stop, resting tranquil at a riverbank. Beyond the bank was more fog and lights, but above the mists loomed a massive ironclad gate....as black as Melos’ fur.

Serra stood and gingerly stepped out, passing Charon. The ferryman bowed, his empty eyesockets betraying no emotion.

-Bone. Knock upon the door thrice with the skull and thou shalt be granted entry. Goodbye. Bone.-

Serra bowed back, and turned her back, trudging up the bare, sandy slope. Briefly glancing behind her, she saw the river was empty. Not a soul was to be seen....Charon had vanished.

Her heart fluttering wildly, Serra reached the summit of the Black Gate. Its shadow fell on her....but it seemed to drench and drown her in the massive shadow. Shuddering, Serra forced herself to step forwards. As she did do, she noticed a human skull hanging from a leather thong on the gate.

-Bone. Knock thrice. Bone.-

Serra reached forwards, grasping the skull by sliding her thumb in the right eyesocket and curling her other fingers under the upper mandible. She drew the morbid knocker back, and banged it with explosive force against the iron gate. Once, twice, thrice!

The thunder of the sound rolled over the distant, sandy hills. With a second thunderclap that made Serra flinch and clap her hands to her ears, the gate disengaged with a thunderous click. There was a multiude of many smaller clicks as unseen pistons and gears rumbled, shifting and grinding. The sands trembled as the gates slowly, majestically opened, letting out pure white light that blinded and dazzled all that looked at it...

“Fennel...jasmine...no, that won’t do..need dock leaves....dock...dock..where the hell is it...Sempai? SEM-PAAAAAI!!”

Beau looked up from the pile of herbs and plants he was frantically rummaging through, yelling. In the spring, Pearlqueen stirred faintly, then resumed snoring gently, revolving serenely in the water. Even further back in the cavern, beyond the spring, there was a series of thuds, bangs, yelps, and curses. A faintly pink form tottered around the spring, its eyes swirling comicially.

“Sempai! Where are the dock leaves?!?” Beau snapped, waving his leaf fans in his agitation.

Sempai the Clefairy yawned widely, and raised his left paw. Flicking his three claws back and forth in an archaic little finger-dance, the Clefairy produced a handful of dock leaves seemingly out of nowhere and proferred them to the irate Shiftry.

“ I was using them for bath scents.” chirped Sempai. Beau turned his head and gave the Clefairy a stare that would have splintered stone. He plucked the leaves from Sempai’s paw and scurried over to the bed of leaves where Serra was laid out.

“Now, young pup, we’re going to place poultices on her ribs and put a brace on her spine. Fetch me a large piece of driftwood about the width and length of this girl’s back, please.”

Sempai nodded and waddled up and out through the passageway.

(Goddess. Welcome to my realm.)

Melos swooped towards Serra, flaring his wings and folding them as he landed gently before Serra’s feet. The light died out, and they stood upon a massive pewter-coloured slate disk balanced upon a dagger-shaped pillar of stone. The sky was a watery, washed out blue with smudges of brownish-grey clouds.

“What’d you want?” Serra asked, blunt to the extreme. But the bluntness was a foil...for Serra was afraid, but refused to show it.

(Serra, you have given me plenty of fresh souls. War is bountiful to me. I am already in debt to you, but! I shall strike thee a deal.)

“Erm...what sort of deal?” Serra ventured cautiously, abandoning her previous rudeness.

(You have delivered to me the Wishing Star Jirachi. He is one of three, the Andros Trinity.)

Serra nodded, confirming the statement.

“Yeah, I remember Aeris telling me Jirachi, Celebi, and Mewtwo had been captured and turned into generals of the Andros.”

(The Trinity. Three sides. One of the stars, one of the ancient forests, and one of chaos and destruction. Destroy the other two as you have destroyed Jirachi, and I shall do my promise-come to your aid in your darkest hour. But if you destroy the Guardian and the Ravager....for that, I will teach you the Song of the Goddess.)

“The Song of the Goddess?” Serra wondered aloud, wondering what that was.

(You sing of slaughter, yes? Sing to me your Deathsong, the song you sang when you acquired your armor.)

Puzzled but obidient, Serra complied.

“Poised for flight
Wings spread bright
Spring from night
Into the sun
Don’t stop to run
She can fly like a lie
She cannot be outdone
Tell them the Goddess sent you
And will send more.”

The last note carried with a brooding waver, then faded away, gone with the wind. Melos rustled his wings, showing approval.

(Very good. You have the talent of song, my Goddess.)

Serra flushed, pleased at the praise.

(Listen ye well. You may only use the song of the Goddess once. Once, and that is it. It is used for the sole purpose of summoning the Army of the Dead. Understood?)

Serra nodded, and Melos’ wings fanned out, thrumming as they flapped with the speed and precision of a hummingbird. The Reaper hovered up, his paw outspread. A golden globe of light collected at it, and Melos gently pushed the golden ball at Serra.

The ball shot towards Serra as if endowed with a mind of its own, and hit Serra’s Mark center on. There was a loud whoosh as a ripple of air exuded in a radius around Serra’s forehead. The Mark took on the blazing glow of the golden light, and let out a piercing flash...

INTERLUDE

The time that had passed while Serra was in the care of the three pokémon was approximately three days, a week. Let us now adjourn to see what Aeris and the rest of the gang were doing the day after Johto’s First won the war...

“Have the search parties found her yet?” demanded Blade, bursting into Aeris’ room. All the surviving soldiers were recuperating in tents set up around Goldenrod, including Topaz, JLX, Auntie Verd, Umbra, Rob, and Sam. However, Aeris had commissioned rooms for herself and her friends in the Goldenrod hotel.

Aeris shrieked and whirled around, clad in only her pants, her bra and nothing else.

“OUT!! Out out out!”

Blade fled back through the door, slamming it shut as a shoe bounced off the back of his head.

When Aeris had finished changing from her old grimy, blood stained clothes into a pair of black jeans and a sleeveless white top, she stomped outside, snapping on her black fingerless gloves. The fuming blonde cornered Blade on the sofa in the lobby and stabbed her finger into Blade’s chest as she spoke.

“You’re lucky I don’t have Serra’s powers, or you’d be ash right now.” she informed him, not unkindly. “I’m sorry, Blade. The search parties haven’t found any traces of Serra. They’ve searched up and down the entire region, from Cianwood to Mahogany, even Blackthorn City. It’s as if the earth itself swallowed her up.”

Blade slumped slightly into his seat, sinking back into the downy blue cushions of the sofa and holding his forehead in his hands. He was a woebegone sight, still in his dirty clothes. His hair was thick with sweat and dirt, and his face was no better, except for two clean tracks from his eyes to his cheeks, where he had shed untold tears.

The door of the lobby swung open, and Aeris glanced around to look. Terra and Raven emerged, both tired but clean. Behind Raven floated an odd sight indeed: a massive line of floating Pokéballs, all neatly clustered one after another. The red and white spheres followed Raven like ducklings after the mother duck.

“Is that all of our pokémon?” asked Aeris, pointing to the floating balls.

“Yes, they’ve all come back newly healed from the Pokémon Centre. They’re ready to be sent back to Victory Island.”

Shadow walked down the stairs as Raven finished talking and came over to them.

“What’s this? You’re sending all your pokémon back to the Base?”

<Not all of them...Maverick, Dark Flame and Ghost are staying with us. The other pokémon need to rest and recover...and take a vacation. I think we should do the same, go on vacation to Hoenn after the Johto Barrier is done.> Terra signed.

Raven nodded, and started speaking again. “I’ve been overseeing the construction of the barrier towers...one in Blackthorn, one in Cianwood, one in New Bark, and the last near Johto’s Battle Tower. We may not be able to penetrate Kanto’s barrier, but at least they won’t penetrate ours.”

“When will the barrier be done? How do they work, anyway?” Aeris asked curiously.

“The barrier’ll be done in three weeks. Each Barrier tower stores and recycles Psychic Energy, generating a continuous shield of Psi elemental power. It’s quite simple, actually. The hard part is pouring all the energy itself in the towers to begin with, but the Alakazam and the other local Psychic pokémon are going to help us.”

Aeris nodded, understanding it at last, and turned to Blade.

“Blade, if you want to help, go get Hydro and tell him to come say goodbye to his pokémon, then for your and our sakes, go shower and change.”

Blade said nothing, but went silently. Raven, Aeris, Terra and Shadow watched his retreating back with sympathy.

“He’s one messed up dude...” commented Shadow, putting his arm around Raven and drawing her close. “I don’t blame him, I’d be the same if I lost you, dear!”

Aeris and Terra made cat calls and cheering noises as the couple kissed.

“Shut up or I’ll lob these Pokéballs at your noses.” Raven’s voice was sharp, but her smile ruined her stern tone.

Hydro came running down the stairs, panting. He was closely followed by the hyperactive Maverick and Ghost, along with Dark Flame.

“Don’t tell me they left already!!” he hollered, running up to the group.

“Nope, they’re here. Shall I release them?” The pokéballs glowed and dropped to the floor. Every one clicked open and twin flashes of light erupted in the lobby.

“STEEEEE-LLLLIIIIIX!!”

“Jask! Jask jask jask Ninjask!”

“Grova!! Grovy leee leee Vyle!”

“Joooolt! Eon eon Jolteon!”

“TAUROOOOOS!!”

“Dactyl!!! Aero aero aero dactyl!!”

“CHAAAAA-RAAAAAA-ZAAARD!!!”

When the tearful goodbyes and howls had faded out, all the pokémon returned to their pokéballs with regret.

“Okay, kids, ready? I’m teleporting them back...Su will get them and release them.”

With minute pops and hisses, each pokéball disappeared from existence one by one. The group stared at the empty floor, feeling a mixture of sadness and worry.

“We need to do something about Serra...” began Hydro when they were rudely interrupted by a maid.

“Masters, masters! Forgive me, but...I found this note in Master Jaegerin’s room!”

Aeris took the note and read it out loud to the group, her tone changing slowly from confusion to dismay as she did.

“Dear Friends,

I have left to go look for Serra. Do not follow me, understood? It’ll be easier if I go by myself. I have my sword to protect me, and as long as Serra needs me, no living being will stop me, not even if the Sea Guardian Lugia herself appeared before me. Goodbye, and stay well and out of trouble. Blade Jaegerin.”

<Stay out of trouble?> snapped Terra, her eyes sparking. <What are we, little kids?>

Hydro shook his head. “ I’m not surprised, I regret to say. Blade is so blindly devoted to Serra, he does things first and thinks later.”

“Well, we need to find him now.” sighed Aeris. “By the way. where’s Tora?”

<She’s still at the field, on volunteer cleanup duty, getting rid of the corpses. All her Pokémon are okay except whotsacallit electric bug-Electipide, her name was Eternity, I think. Poor thing got caught in a underground collapse, but she’ll recover.>

Aeris nodded. “Okay, good. Now, Raven, Blade forgot one minor thing...you can track him down, yes?”

Raven nodded. “Shall I get packed?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Beau trudged down the beach west of Goldenrod, tracking down signs of the battle the previous night. He had heard eyewitnesses about how Serra and Jirachi had flown west over the sea and after that, were never heard of since. So he would go follow them!

The beach was gorgeous in the light of morning, the sun turned the shimmering surface of the water into liquid gold, dazzling all observers. Palm trees swayed gently as a lumbering Exeggutor searched for coconuts.

Down the beach, a small boat rental shack owner was only too glad to give Blade a boat in gratitude for his part in the war.

As Blade pushed the boat into the sparkling water, his mind filled with anxious thoughts about Serra. He desperately hoped she was okay...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

INTERLUDE: THE PRESENT:

Melos had sent Serra’s soul back to the living Plane with the new knowledge of the Goddess’ Song. Serra’s spirit resided in her body once more, but the coma rendered her practically dead to the world. All she could do was wait, paralyzed and unable to do anything as the Shiftry and the Clefairy tended to her. Her eyes were stuck closed, rendering her blind, but she could hear distant, faint snatches of what was being spoken...it was as if she was drifting in dreamy fog.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THREE DAYS EARLIER: BLADE AND RAVEN

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Blade had been sailing for less than a hour, but the tranquil scenery did little to soothe him.

“You have got to relax...with all that worry, you were like a beacon to me. No one escapes my notice, kid.”

Blade yelled and whirled, raising his sword in a deadly swing. The blade was centimeters from Raven’s pale throat when it glowed white-hot. Blade yelped once more and plunged his burned hands into the water, dissipating the pain. Raven watched him, expressionless. Blade looked up and snarled, furious.

“I am not turning back. I am going to find Serra, no matter the cost! I will fight you myself if I have to! Using cheap tricks won’t-”

Raven raised her hand and made a swift zipping motion with her index finger and thumb. Immediately, Blade’s lips locked together.

“Zip it, take it, and stuff it up yours if you need to.” Raven said calmly, her purple eyes glittering. “I am simply here to help. Have you gone mad? I can track down Serra’s elemental signature!”

She made a unzipping motion and Blade immediately resumed talking, irate.

“ If you could do that, why didn’t you do it earlier?” snapped Blade. Raven blinked slowly and deliberately.

“Because the war only just ended this morning at two-thirty AM. I had expended a lot of energy during the war and needed to rest. If you continue to be rude, I think you will look rather fetching as a doll.” Her words had a more definite, menacing ring to them as she finished the threat.

Blade looked down, chastised. His ears flushed red.

“Raven...I’m sorry...” he mumbled whilst looking at his hands as though they had the secrets to the universe.

“Forget it. It doesn’t matter. You’re here, I’m here, and that’s all that matters. Come on, kiddo. Let’s go find your sweetheart.” Raven gave a rare smile as she reached up and adjusted the sail, increasing their speed.

“So what’s the plan, anyhow?” Raven asked. Blade took a map from his pack and unfolded it, revealing a tattered depiction of Johto. He pointed to the waters between Goldenrod and Olivine.

“We’re here.This is where Serra was last seen...basically what we’re doing is searching for any traces of her until your psi powers are restored.”

“Sounds good.” agreed Raven, her black lustrous hair waving in the sea breeze as the sail swelled, carrying the boat daintily across the shimmering water’s surface.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE DAY AFTER

“My energy’s charged and ready!” Raven said as Blade awoke groggily.

“Yeersh....sho.....WHAT?!” Blade sat up, his formerly sleepy face bright with hope. “Are you going to track her now?”

“I am now, foolish child.”

Raven settled back into the stern of the ship, and her eyes took on a faint glow.

Droplets of water rose from the water and collected in front of her, forming a sparkling 3-dimesional map comprised of glittering, minute droplets of water. A map of the sea.
Blade examined the map with interest. It showed the area they were in, which was near the Cianwood area, near some cliffs. A glowing purple droplet marked their boat, while a pure white droplet glowed on the cliffs north of Cianwood, out of Johto’s boundary lines, and just on the edge of the vast ocean between Orre and the other three regions.

“Is that white dot Serra?” Blade asked, pointing at the map.

“Yes...mark it on your map, now!” Raven sounded a little strained. The water map trembled and fell apart as Blade jotted an X on his map.

“Phew,,,that was hard.” Raven sounded surprised. “Her signature was faint, so faint I almost missed it. She can’t be in good shape.”

Blade stowed away her map and moved up, running around desperately doing adjustments to max out their speed. Raven watched him and shook his head.

“He’s so devoted....I’m lucky to have Shadow, as is Serra lucky to have him...even if she doesn’t think it.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRESENT DAY

“What’s this white stuff on the Goddess?” Sempai asked, wrinkling his nose as he picked at Serra’s gown.

“Young and foolish child, that is her clothing. All humans wear it. Although, this one is so ripped and filthy it can hardly be counted as clothing. I thank ye for reminding me. I shall remove that and cover her up with the Ursaring fur.”

“Cover her up again? Why do human do that?” Sempai turned his face to the aged Shifrty.

“Never you mind, young one. Fetch me the Ursaring fur skin!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PRESENT DAY: RAVEN AND BLADE CATCH UP AT LAST

“This is it?” asked Blade, staring awestruck up at the massive cliffs. Raven looked at the map ad nodded confirmation. The pair trudged up the beach, leaving their plucky little sailboat waiting on shore. As they drew near the cliffs, Blade noticed a large slab of stone jutting from the cliff outcrop.

“What do you make out of that, Raven?”

Raven shielded her eyes as she looked up at the stone slab.

“I’ll break it...I sense Serra behind it.”

Her eyes flared white in a brief flash, and the rock exploded on a shower of granite shards. The noise was enough to wake the dead.

“Show off.” mumbled Blade. Raven only grinned, and the two cautiously walked into the cave that had been revealed.

They had been stumbling through the dark tunnel for a while when a scowling pink form stepped up to Blade (he was leading.)

“Awwww, it’s a Clefairy! How are you, sweetie?” exclaimed Blade, bending down to shake the Clefairy’s paw.

BA-WHOOOM!

Raven shook her head in expasteration as Blade flew past her, slamming into the wall bodily.

“Men.” she muttered. Raven glanced at the Clefairy, who was still scowling but had a slight amused look in its eyes as Blade staggered to his feet, tottering like a drunkard.

“Little one, harm us not. We are here to get our friend, a human girl called Serra. Have you seen her?”

The Clefairy instantly narrowed its eyes and looked at Raven carefully. Then he spoke falteringly in squeaky Clefairy language.

“Clefairy clefairy fairy clefa reee fa.”

Raven’s eyes flashed purple, and she bent down to face the Clefairy eye to eye.

“That is a lie, little one. I am Raven Darkmoon, Master Psychic Class One, Category Two, with an unlimited license. I know when people lie. I can see in your mind, and I must thank you, Sempai, and Beau for taking care of her. But we are her friends and we will take her or die trying. Do you understand?”

Sempai shrank and nodded, awed by Raven’s power. The Clefairy turned and scuttled down the passageway, stopping and turning to beckon to Raven and the still-dazed Blade.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They entered the large cavern, and were confronted by a hulking, eldery Shiftry,

“Hist! Sempai, what is this?”

Raven stepped forwards, bowing. She apologized for the intrusion but they had to take Serra back, she explained. How was she?

Beau turned and led them to Serra’s cot, and Blade let out a cry as he saw Serra. She was a terrible sight for one to behold. She had lost lots of weight and her pallor was pale.

“Do not manhandle her; many of her bones are broken, so treat her gently.” cautioned Beau. Raven nodded and stepped forward, kneeling next to Serra. The girl was wrapped in a huge, thick Ursaring fur blanket. Gently, Raven picked her up and was astounded, for she weighed practically nothing.

“Blade, stay here and talk to Beau, he’ll give you medicine for Serra. I’ll teleport back to Goldenrod Hotel then come back for you, okay?”

Blade could only nod, so ashen faced he was. Raven disappeared in a small flash of light.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THREE WEEKS LATER

“Blade, what are you doing in Serra’s room? You need sleep.”

“I’m worried about Serra. She’s been comatose three weeks since Raven and I found her!”

“The doctors say she’ll wake up eventually. And this is Goldenrod Hotel’s best room, so she’s comfortable. Go to your room and get some sleep!”

“Okay, okay. I’m just so worried.”

“We know, Blade. Now go sleep and stop fussing over Serra like a mother Farfetch’d.”

Aeris waited for Blade to get up from the chair beside Serra’s bed and trudge past her, then she turned around and switched off the light. As she closed the door, she looked back.

“Please, Serra, wake up soon, for Blade’s sake...and mine.” she murmured.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dorian slammed his fist on his desk, sending papers flying everywhere.

“Our Andros are all destroyed! Our Third General has been killed. What do you have to say about that, Rocket Elite Waterflower?”

The stunningly beautiful woman with flowing russet auburn hair and cerulean blue eyes stood steadfastly before Dorian, her blue eyes boring into Dorian’s pewter grey ones. She cleared her throat and spoke.

“Giovanni Dorian, all is not lost. Our remaining spy in Goldenrod informs us that the group of Champions and warriors are soon going on an extended vacation to Hoenn after the Johto barrier has been set up.”

Dorian looked up, then sighed, massaging his temples with his smooth fingers.

“We won’t be able to invade Hoenn, our armies are too heavily damaged. It’ll take months to rebuild them. Do you have a plan?”

Team Rocket First Elite Commander Misty Waterflower’s blood red lips curved up in a cold-blooded grin as her cold blue eyes hardened.

“As a matter of fact, Giovanni Dorian, I do. I will go to Hoenn alone and undercover with The Second Andros General, Celebi the Guardian of Time. With permission, I will also take the special Andros that was our first originally trainer-owned pokémon. Celebi will be wanting vengeance after the fate of Jirachi. We will both follow them...and kill them all!”

Dorian stood up, and paced around his desk with his hands clasped behind his back.

“Your proposal has merit. We will surprise them when they least expect it. You have my permission to kill them all except Serra. Serra...I want. Failure will be punished, Waterflower. Do you understand?”

Misty’s eyes narrowed in fury, but she nodded her head curtly. Turning on her heel rapidly, she left Dorian’s office in the top floor of the Silph Tower.

Dorian sat back in his desk, grinning lewdly as he pictured Serra beaten and under his complete and total power.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Outside the office, Misty slammed her fist in fury. Her eyes brimmed and spilled over with tears,

“Damn that little waif B*TCH. Dorian’s only got eyes for that piece of jailbait. Can’t the Giovanni see...that I am the only woman that wants to please him? But he ignores me.”

Misty punctuated each word with vehemence as she calmly slammed her fist into the wall over and over. Plaster dust puffed with each impact.

“I love Dorian. Not Serra. Me. I am the one for him. I am the one. I am the one. I am the one.”

Her face now contorted in insanity and anger, Misty repeated the phrase flatly over and over as her knuckles split and bled, staining the plaster dust a rosy pink.

Gatene
22nd November 2004, 2:33 AM
Woo Hoo!! We're in the Song of the Goddess phase now! *thinks* *draws evil eyes on his face* Maybe we should make you guys wait a month before releasing the next chapter. We had to wait a month for the chapter Azure just posted.....LUCKY!!! Oh well, we are here to please the public, right? *hears distant laughs* -_-'

OK, well, here we go...

Song of the Goddess Chapter 2: Bittersweet Continuances
By: Specteron & AzureFlygon


The war has ended, and now some fun aboard the Lonesome Dawn is in order. Blade is left to his own, to study video games, when challenged by an ignorant boy, who loses horribly. Tora's mission is over, as stated by an authority figure back in her home land, and so she leaves the group. Serra gains a new friend, and an old enemy from Blade's past. And just when she was starting to warm up to Blade.

As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, snow began falling gently, covering Johto in pure, lush whiteness. The Barrier of Johto had been set up at last, and thrummed gently in the sky.

Laughter rang out in the street as children and their Pokémon ran about, joyously pelting each other with snowballs.

Aeris, Terra and Tora were furiously pelting snowballs at Raven, Shadow and Hydro, each team scooping up snow and forming them into snowballs as quickly as they could. Raven cheated, using her telekinetic powers to form and hurl icy missiles with eerie accuracy and power.

“Yaaah, yah yah, can’t hit me!” Aeris taunted as she ducked a snowball lobbed by Shadow.

WHOMP!

Aeris fell over backwards, her face covered in snow. Terra leapt up, pelting Shadow with her snowballs. Shadow yelped and slipped backwards as Ghost streaked between his legs, clutching a mitten in his mouth. Hydro chased him, yelling.

“Give that back, you little...!”

Tora scooped up snow and packed it furiously while Midiya, her shiny Foluke, floated peacefully over her head. Maverick, Aeris’ irrepressible little Totodile, fell over backwards trying to hold a snowball bigger than himself while chattering away in his language.

“Tototoototototdiletaaatotodileeee!”

Blade watched his friends cavort and play from the hotel window, his reflection in the window somber. He sat next to Serra’s bed, always keeping watch over her. Dark Flame lay curled up on Serra’s breast, warming the girl with her inner flame. Serra’s spine had healed slowly, as had her ribs, thanks to Beau’s medicine and the care of the Goldenrod’s Pokémon Center staff.

Blade turned to Serra, and picked up her hand, as he had done everyday since Serra was brought back. Rubbing her hand gently, he began singing a quiet lullaby.

You with the sad eyes
Don't be discouraged
Oh I realize
It's hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

Serra’s hand warmed gradually as Blade continued rubbing it, his voice never faltering.

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a Rainbow

What Blade didn’t know was that although Serra was in a coma, his words drifted into her mind with clarity, stirring her thoughts, murky as they were.

Show me a smile then,
Don't be unhappy, can't remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bare
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there

Serra’s thoughts began speeding up, her neurons becoming more active. Her eyelids twitched slightly, but Blade didn’t notice this faint, almost-invisible movement.

And I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a Rainbow

I can't remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bare
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there

And I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors
True colors are shining trough

I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a Rainbow....

As Blade’s voice faltered into nothingness, he jerked as Dark Flame meowed and stood all fours, tails whipping around.

“What’s wrong, girl?”

The Vulpix padded lightly across Serra’s breast and stopped, batting at Serra’s nose playfully.

“Dark, stop that! What are you doing?” Blade asked, alarm in his tone.

Dark Flame ignored him and continued batting at Serra’s nose. The girl twitched slightly, a movement too small for the naked eye to follow. Her lips parted slightly, and took a sharp intake of air.

“Ah....ah....KACHOO!”

Serra opened her eyes slightly as she sneezed, her head jerking stiffly. Dark Flame leaped lightly back, mewing happily.

Blade’s breath came out in a sharp exhale, not daring to believe what he had just seen. His voice was hoarse with shock.

“Serra...you’re awake?” His voice squeaked slightly on the last word.

Serra moaned quietly, opening her eyes wider with some difficulty. She strained, moving her head to her left, looking at Blade from half-lidded eyes.

“Oh...it’s you.” Serra mumbled, then her eyes drooped shut as she slept peacefully.

Blade whirled and ran to the window, hurling it open. He stuck his head out and bawled at the top of his lungs.

“AERIS, TERRA!! SHE’S AWAKE! SHE’S AWAKE! SERRA IS AWAKE!! JESUS CHRIST ALMIGHTY, SHE’S AWAKE!!!“

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TWO DAYS LATER...

“Serra, are you okay? Back okay?” Aeris asked. Serra was sitting up, leaning back against her pillow.

“It’s okay. How long was I out? Where did you find me? I fell into the ocean..” Serra trailed, blinking owlishly.

“You have Blade and Raven to thank for that. They brought you back all the way from beyond the borders of Johto. You were in the care of a Shiftry and a Clefairy. They saved your life.” Aeris answered. Hydro cut in.

“Serra, what happened? You killed Jirachi, right? How did you sustain broken ribs and a damaged spine?”

Serra shifted uneasily at his question.

“I killed him, yeah. Put my talons in his third eye and ripped it out. Poof, he dissolved into fairy dust.”

“But the broken bones?” pressed Hydro, relentless.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Stop grilling me. Where’s my scale, anyway?” snapped Serra grumpily.

“You weren’t wearing it...it’s logical to assume it fell off and into the sea.” Raven spoke up from her seat in the corner.

“Oh, no.” groaned Serra, dismayed. “I’m sorry, Aeris! That cost you a bundle.”

“No problem, kiddo, As long as you’re all right, who gives a Rattata’s arse?” chuckled Shadow, ruffling Serra’s salt-crusted hair.

“Erlack… You’ve got salt and blood on you still... Beau didn’t wash you off very well. Bathy time-y!” sang Aeris, moving into the bathroom. They heard her turn on the tap for the bathtub. Water gurgled as it hit the smooth bottom of the ceramic tub.

Maverick jumped off Serra’s bed and ran into the bathroom, chirping happily. They soon heard Aeris yelling in dismay.

“No, Maverick! It’s not for you to swim in! It’s for Serra! BAD BOY! BAD! OUT! OUT!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the middle of the night, Serra came to with a start, jerking up and gasping. Cold sweat dampened her back, and her hands clenched involuntarily.

“Dreams...just dreams.” mumbled Serra. But her voice seemed pathetic and unconvincing to her own ears. She trembled and gasped for breath, brushing her hand through her hair.

“Hello? Hellooo?”

Serra jerked and flinched before realizing the tongue was not human but of the Pokemon Language. Specifically, the Vulpix variant.

“Hello, Dark.” Serra shifted and let the Vulpix leap up and onto her lap. The small russet fox immediately made herself comfortable, and raised her head. Her flickering amber eyes bored into the icy cool of Serra’s blue ones.

“Humph! About time you noticed me. Isn’t Maverick silly? Trying to go in your bathtub... what a nitwit.” She twitched her noise with perfect disdain. Serra grinned slightly at the Vulpix’s tone.

“Has he always been like that? Why hasn’t Aeris evolved him? I had been wondering that.”

Dark Flame meowed in laughter as she related the tale.

“The great big fool, he ate an Everstone. Apparently the old Professor Elm gave Aeris an Everstone as a reward, and he ate it.” The Vulpix shook her head. “That Totodile’d eat a rock if you told him it was candy.”

“Hmm… At least it didn’t hurt him. But you know, there is such a thing as rock candy…” said Serra, chuckling.

“There is?” snorted the Vulpix, “Well, I guess that proves my point, then. Humans are weird, they’ll make food out of anything.”

“I guess so,” said Serra, ruffling the curly fur on top of Dark Flame’s head, “It’s because we’re innovative, and like to try new things. What do we know if we never try something different, huh?”

“Not much, which brings me to my point,” snuffed Dark with a small sneeze, “Excuse me. Well, I heard the others talking, and they said something about a vacation. Somewhere warmer, which I’ll like, by the way, and somewhere you’ve never been before. I didn’t catch where it was, but they want to have a good, relaxing stay for you, and Aeris was talking about going shopping.”

“Somewhere I’ve never been? Well, the only places I could think of are Orre, Hoenn, or Starian. But I can rule Starian out, because Tora told me that they have really strong winters up there. So it must be either Orre or Hoenn…”

“That’s what I thought,” concluded the Vulpix matter-of-factly, “I didn’t mean to ruin the surprise or anything, but I know that you might have some unfinished business in Johto first. Mainly thanking all of the Pokémon that stuck around for worry of you, and giving advice to those freed Andros that didn’t flee and have nowhere to go except for that little clearing. The others are talking about leaving first thing in the morning after they tell you.”

“How close is it to morning?” asked Serra, looking out the window at the dark, starry sky.

“We have about two hours yet,” replied the fire fox, “More than enough time, if you’re ready.”

Serra got out of bed, slipping on her boots and a warm, heavy jacket. The Vulpix followed her movements with her golden eyes, waiting until the girl had gotten ready and was waiting at the door before leaping gracefully from the bed and following.

“I’ll lose some sleep,” sighed Serra, “But it’s worth it. Those who stayed deserve thanks, and the freed ones need some direction to go. Besides, it’s only a few hours before the group leaves, anyway.”

Dark Flame was silent, trotting along beside the girl. Carefully, Serra opened the door to the hotel, sneaking out into the night. The atmosphere was quiet, for it was still that time, just before the sense of sun and light stole upon the land, that everything was still with the feeling of bitter cold and waiting. Waiting it was… for the girl and the fox to reach their destination.

The companions moved off the path and into the dark forest, the girl following, the fox leading. They walked for what seemed like a lifetime in the silent gloom of the night, amounting to only a few minutes in real time. The dream-like quality of the scene slowed the senses and made the surroundings unreal.

“She is here…”
“She has come…”
“The Goddess approaches…”

A murmur of various Pokemon voices drifted across the grass as the shadowed shapes gathered from the darkness of the snow-covered foliage. Some glinted in the moonlight, one or two did not. There were very few of them, few enough that they did not fill even the small space left in the clearing. Glowing yellow eyes burned at her from all around.

Serra concentrated, sending out a wave of gratitude and hope, a relaxing aura of appreciation. The murmuring quieted, and Serra, using an ancient dialect of universal language, spoke to them all.

“I am thankful that you have stayed here, friends. Especially to those of you that have stayed only for worry about my well-being.” Here she sighed, “I had hoped that most of you would find a place for yourselves once being set free, hoped that you would be welcomed among the other People. It seems that my hopes were less than realized.”

“We would go through much more for you who have freed us, Goddess,” said one, an Ivysaur, “Being rejected by the less open members of our kind cannot scratch our surface, as long as we remember what we were before.”

“Even so, we have nowhere to live, for we are welcomed in no land now,” said the female Snorlax that Serra remembered freeing just before her battle with Jirachi, “This clearing is the only refuge we have now; we are lost.”

“Not lost,” said Serra with a smile, “You are found. I know a place where you can live in peace, if you wish to go there. My friends call it Victory Island, and it is there that the resistance to Team Rocket is stationed. I know you will be welcomed there.”

“Where is it?” asked one of the larger shadows, shaped vaguely like a Metagross, “We cannot go there if we can’t find it.”

“Just watch,” whispered Serra, forming a complicated picture in her mind, making it into a set of directions and instructions to get to the island. The Andros nodded in appreciation, and most of them faded away into the darkness, presumably to get a head start on the journey. Soon, only one was left; footprints in the snow were all that was left of the others.

“Yes?” asked Serra curiously, moving towards the small Metagross.

“I just wanted to say that I’m glad you’re alive,” said the Pokémon with a shrug, “I… I was free before the war, but I came anyway to fight. The wild Metagross don’t like me much, but I think that island of yours will be a better place. You’re our only hope, you know.” He sighed, “Just remember that whenever you need any help, just call for me and I’ll come. I owe the Goddess that much. My name is Camertina, Camertina-lytroata-tiamin.”

Serra knelt down, nodding seriously.

“I value the offer, Camertina, and I appreciate the courage needed to grant such help. Thank you, brave one, and go in peace to your new home.”

The Metagross bowed, and scuttled away in the same direction that the others had gone. Serra rose from the snow, watching after him with her cool gaze, and felt something cold on her cheek. She looked up, squinting to see in the darkness, and saw the heavy, gray cloud move over the moon. White flakes drifted down, flying onto trees and ground to land and build upon the billons of flakes already there.

Involuntarily, she shivered. Serra, rubbing her arms up and down for warmth, looked down at her silent companion, who was also shivering violently with cold. With an exasperated and knowing smile, the girl bent down and lifted the Vulpix, cradling the fox to her chest to warm the both of them. Finally, after one last look towards the clearing of footprints and the slightly bright sky, Serra made her way back to the town and hotel, shaking off the few snowflakes that caught in her long, dusty hair.

“Each is different, yet each is the same…” commented Dark Flame softly, looking at a snowflake that had melted on her nose.

Serra grinned, and continued on her way.

. . .

“Guess what?!” asked Aeris, coming into Serra’s room with a huge smile and cheerful demeanor. She was hoping to surprise the other girl, but instead was surprised herself when Serra came suddenly around the corner, toothbrush in hand and a questioning look on her face.

Aeris, caught off guard, yelped and leapt back.

“Whoa! Wasn’t expecting you to be up so early!” she exclaimed, “Well, anyway, we all have a surprise for you!”

“Do you now?” asked Serra, a sly look crossing her face. Aeris caught the look, and was instantly suspicious.

“Heeey…” she began, “Okay, who told?!”

Serra gestured to the sleeping form curled up on the bed, and continued with brushing her teeth. Aeris, with an exasperated grin, woke the Vulpix and carried her out of the room, setting the indignant creature in the hallway. Dark Flame glared at her, but not for long, for the enticing scent of bacon wafted up from the common room of the hotel. Aeris had to laugh, for the fox Pokémon was off like a shot.

“Well,” said Aeris, leaning against the wall after she had come back into the room, “Did you get a good sleep?”

“Waaa aaah gooomph off ikk,” replied Serra from the next room.

“Say again?”

“Juss aah seccomph,” called Serra. There was the sound of sloshing, and a tap running, “I said, ‘what I got of it.’”

Aeris remained silent, contemplating. Finally, as the silence grew, she sighed.

“Nightmares?” she asked softly.

Serra, coming out of the bathroom with hair and teeth freshly brushed, nodded solemnly. Suddenly, Terra burst in the room with a supremely satisfied-looking Vulpix in her hand. The girl passed the smug, chop-licking Pokemon to Aeris with a snort.

<You’ve eaten, right?> at Aeris’ nod, she looked relieved, <good, then look after this troublemaker for me. I swear, you get those three together and they cause havoc no matter what the situation!>

“Who?” asked Aeris, confused.

<Maverick, Dark Flame, and Reaper, that’s who!> snarled Terra, <I can just imagine the bill! They cleaned off an entire feast of bacon, and almost destroyed the kitchen in the process! Tora says that she’ll handle it, and she’s talking to the cook and hotel owner right now, but I think Serra and those who haven’t eaten yet will have to get their food on the road.>

“Oh, crap! I’ll be right down!” exclaimed Aeris immediately, heading out the door. She stopped when Terra grabbed her arm.

<I told you, Tora’ll handle it. She knows how to calm people down better than most of us. For now, we need to get ready to leave and get these pests out of sight of the hotel owner, or I’m sure a world of hurt will come crashing down on our heads.>

“Well…” sighed Aeris, “So begins the vacation of our little group. Do you think it might be a sign?”

“Of what?” asked Serra with a giggle, “The fact that it’ll be a crazy and wild time?”

“That’s it!” smiled Aeris, “Crazy and wild it is! Let’s get our stuff around; the sooner we leave, the less trouble we’ll get into.”

<You wish!> signed Terra as she left.

“I enjoyed that,” commented Dark Flame as she sat on the bed, “When can we do it again?”

Serra rolled her eyes, gathering her few possessions for the trip, as Aeris glared at the Vulpix before ruffling the Pokémon’s curls. Dark Flame squeaked in protest, and both girls laughed as they walked out of the room, packs in hand.

. . .

“Here she is, the Lonesome Dawn!” said Aeris as she flourished her hand towards the gigantic ship that the group would be spending a day and night on to get to Hoenn. All of them looked up, and kept on looking, for the boat was even bigger than the one they had taken to get to Pallet Town long before. The iridescent yellow and green glow of Johto’s barrier hummed serenely behind it, giving the surroundings a sense of unspecified danger.

“Whoa, now that’s what I call a ship!” exclaimed Shadow, shading his eyes against the sun as he looked up at the smokestacks, “Geez, Aeris, how do you afford to get us all on ships like this?”

“I have my ways,” said Aeris slyly. After a pause during which no one spoke, she hefted her pack on her shoulder, “Come on, guys! The ship won’t wait for us slack-jawed onlookers forever!”

The group followed, last to go being Hydro, who seemed to be more awed than even the small children looking at the boat. As the others began walking up the gangplank, Terra happened to look back. With a shake of her head, she hurried back and caught the frozen boy by the front of his shirt, literally pulling him onto the ship. Hydro yelled in protest, but Terra didn’t hear him, and wouldn’t have cared if she could.

“Terra, what’re you doing?! Let me go, I can walk by myself you know! This is humiliating, come on! Let me g-”

As they reached the rest of the group, all smiling at Hydro’s humiliation, the boy shook Terra off and began smoothing his ruffled shirt and temper. Aeris patiently waited until he had calmed, and the greeter directed them all to their rooms. Luckily, they had managed to obtain rooms that were all in the same hallway, so they wouldn’t have to run down a confusing maze of passages to get to their friends.

“Wow, my room is awesome!” exclaimed Shadow, “It has wallpaper that looks like the night sky!”

“All the guys rooms have that wallpaper,” explained Aeris, “The girls rooms have wallpaper like the day’s sky. Lets all get settled in, and meet out here in… say… two hours? That should give everybody time to explore the ship and quell their curiosity.”

Shadow shot into his room, barely waiting for Aeris to finish her sentence. It was the neatest room he had ever seen, and he had to remember that, whenever he went back to his room on Victory Island, to redo it in this style. He wondered if the white star constellations glowed in the dark. It would be an added bonus if they did, one that he would feel more comfortable sleeping under.

He set his bag down on the bed, looking around the room with brown eyes sparkling. Suddenly, he noticed a map of the ship on the table, and flipped through it. It seemed that the Lonesome Dawn had everything; a pool, a library, a theater, a battle field, and…

“Hoo Yah!” said Shadow with a grin, “I am so going to the game center!”

But first…

Shadow jumped up from his momentary sitting position on the bed, streaking towards the door. Now that the war was over for now, he could fully enjoy the time he had, and he intended to do that. He had always loved video games, and had shown an almost unnatural talent for them. But games were no fun without people to compete with…

The boy burst into Hydro’s room, surprising the other that was in the midst of rearranging a very breakable vase that happened to be in a spot that he hadn’t wanted it. The trainer yelped as he lost hold of the vase, and only a lucky dive by Shadow prevented the pottery from smashing on the floor.

“Sorry, there, Hydro,” apologized Shadow hurriedly, handing the vase back to the surprised boy, “I just wanted to ask if you wanted to come down with me to the game center. They have the newest version of Andros Attack.”

“Really?” said Hydro, setting the vase down on a bare shelf, “Then let’s go! I bet you five bucks I can beat you before the time runs out!”

“But first,” said Shadow, holding up a hand to stop Hydro from striding out of the room, “Let’s invite Blade along. He’s been so sullen lately; he needs some time just to have fun.”

“Okay,” replied Hydro after some thought, “I’m sure that both of us can convince him to come.”

Without another word, both friends hurried out of the room and walked across and down the hall to Blade’s room. This time, Shadow didn’t just burst in, thanks to Hydro. He knocked first. After a moment’s pause, the door opened, and Blade stuck his head out.

“Oh,” he said, “It’s just you guys. Come on in.”

He opened the door all the way, and the two filed in with their most persuasive faces set and ready. The room was completely unchanged, and only the bag hung from the chair indicated that anyone had even taken the room. Blade sat in the chair with the bag, while the others took seats across from him.

“Okay, what do you want?”

“Oh, so very defensive, aren’t we?” snorted Shadow with a laugh, “We’re just here to get you to cheer up, man!”

“We want you to come with us for some relaxing activities,” continued Hydro.

“Which are?” asked Blade suspiciously, giving both of them a glare.

“Why, video games, of course!” laughed Shadow, “I know you have to be tired of all that sulking around, so come with us. It’s not like you’re doing anything here, and the girls’ll probably go to the library… or even shopping, since this ship has a department store. You’ll have a good time, and I bet there will be some games there you haven’t played…”

“Really…” murmured Blade, thinking the idea over.

Gatene
22nd November 2004, 2:35 AM
“Do you have to think about it?” asked Hydro, “Come on, fun, games, what more do you want?”

“Okay, okay!” said Blade in exasperation, “I’ll come, but you have to teach me how to play a video game, okay? I’ve never played one.”

“Wait, hold up, man. You have never played a video game?” said Shadow, opened mouthed, “Oh, you have no idea what you’ve missed, you poor, poor man.”

“Come on, Blade,” said Hydro, “Get up and let’s go. You have a lot to learn and only a few hours to learn it in!”

Hydro and Shadow leapt up from their chairs and practically dragged Blade away. Shadow took out his map, looking at it for a second before leading the way down a maze of corridors that made his two companions reel in confusion. But Shadow, fortunately, could follow a map very well, and soon had led them directly to a brightly colored door labeled ‘Game Room’.

He entered, his two friends not far behind, and all three stopped dead at what they saw. The room was dark, lit by blacklights, and several laser lights were streaking across the room. Within the darkness, several people where standing at game consoles and machines, faces lit eerily by the screens. The floor was obscured by fog from some hidden fog machine, and music blared from some unknown source.

Shadow and Hydro dragged Blade along with them as they searched for an unoccupied game, and finally succeeded in finding one in a deserted corner. Hydro pushed Blade towards it, and Shadow took the second controller while Blade took the first hesitantly.

“Now, the basic controls are jump, which is A, attack, which is B, and you move the character with the D-pad, which is here-” Shadow began explaining, watched intently by Hydro as both looked on to see how well their friend was getting the controls.

The game started, and fortunately Blade seemed to be competent, if not perfect. It was an older version of Andros Attack, one that had come out long before, when the Andros had first started appearing, and had bad graphics as well as a bad storyline. But it was good enough for a lesson, and cheap enough, so Shadow was content with playing it. Blade, though shaky at first, was soon mastering the game with a speed of learning that Shadow, though knowing he could beat it, was surprised at nonetheless.

After a half hour, the time ran out and Blade set the controller down. Shadow began to say something, but Blade interrupted him.

“It’s okay,” he said, “I do like games, but you two don’t need to teach me anymore. Play against each other, I’ll just drift along and find a game that looks good to practice on.”

“Okay,” said Shadow after a pause, “But make sure you don’t get yourself in trouble. The people around gaming centers love to challenge each other, especially for money. Don’t let them push you around.”

“You can be sure of that,” laughed Blade as he walked away.

He did what he said he’d do, drifted. Some games caught his eye, but all of them seemed to be taken by at least one person, and he didn’t want to challenge someone so early in his experience. He may know a lot about fighting, but fighting in a game was so much different. A few people looked at him, and one or two ventured to call an invitation to a challenge, but he turned them down. He wasn’t ready yet.

“Hey, you!” called a voice from his left, “Yeah, I mean you! Why are you just walking around, big man? Afraid to play the games, huh?”

Blade whipped around, and came face to face with a boy of around sixteen years old. He had a long mane of blonde hair cascading down his shoulders, and what seemed to be a group of fan-girls slavering over him in the background. The boy stood with the annoying confidence of someone that has never lost, and as he looked at Blade with his contemptuous green eyes, he flipped his hair in a casual manner, making one of the fan-girls swoon behind him.

“Yeah, you’re not a challenge, are you? First time ‘ere, I’ll bet. How about you take a challenge for once, eh, show everybody what you’re worth? I’ll bet you ten bucks I can beat you.”

“I don’t take challenges,” rumbled Blade.

“Oh, so we have a coward, do we? Come on coward, I’ll double the wager.”

“No one calls me a coward!” snarled Blade, advancing.

“Ooo, does that mean you’ll take my challenge?” laughed the boy, acting afraid, “Please don’t hurt me, big man!” he said in a whiny, high, mocking voice. The others behind him and the crowd that had gather laughed.

“What are you challenging me to?” asked Blade with a growl.

“Stranger,” said the boy, taking up a majestic pose, “I challenge you to a Dance-off!”

“Forget it,” scoffed Blade with a laugh, turning away.

“Wait, coward!” called the boy with a sneer, “I’ll triple the wager, and if you win, I’ll take back all my insults.”

“Fine,” said Blade, seeing an opportunity to get the boy off his back, “But only if you do a trial run once.”

“And let you steal my moves?” chuckled the boy with a sad shake of his head, “No way!”

“Okay, then, bye!”

“Hey, come back here, newbie!” yelled that annoying voice. Blade, beginning to become more than annoyed, turned, “I’ll accept your conditions, but the wager increases to a hundred bucks.”

“In that case, boy,” said Blade with a vicious grin, “I accept your challenge!”

The crowd moved to a platform set above all the other games. It had two large squares, each set with four arrows in all directions, and large screens that showed a small figure. The sixteen year old mounted the platform, waving to one of the fan-girls to come up with him. The girl squealed, leaping up with an ecstatic expression, and both combatants took their stances on either square. Blade watched intently, soaking up the information.

The game started, and each player launched into a blur of movement. The girl, though a reasonable game player, was obviously not very good at dancing. Her feet almost always missed the lighted squares, resulting in a multitude of red X’s appearing on the screen before her. The boy, presumably having mastered the game, preformed flawlessly and gracefully, adding in some gestures to the audience and smiles.

And still Blade watched, and Blade learned.

. . .

Aeris and Serra walked down the corridor, looking at the map. Tora trailed after them, as well as Raven, whom they had convinced to come with them after only a long and involved bout of persuasion, and Terra brought up the rear. All looked bored, for the library had been a bit of a disappointment, and though Aeris had tried to shop at the in-ship store, it had turned out to be expensive and second-rate. They had few choices, and there was no show at the theater for a few hours yet.

It was still far too cold for swimming, and Terra didn’t want to battle, so the other choices were out, as well. It seemed that the only place for them to go was the Gaming Center. Serra had never played a game, and neither had Raven or Terra. Aeris and Tora wanted to teach them, so that they wouldn’t miss out on all the opportunity the ship had. Perhaps they would even find out where Shadow, Hydro, and Blade had gone, as well, since they had scoured the entire ship and had found no trace of them anywhere.

“Ah, here’s the game room,” said Aeris finally, stopping in front of a labeled door, “You guys all ready?”

At their nods, she opened the door and they all entered. Just as soon as they went through they stopped, looking in amazement around them at the lights and the many games that were strewn across the huge room. It was much more than they had expected, far more.

“Hey, what are you guys doing here!?” exclaimed a familiar voice from behind them.

“Hydro!” cried Aeris, turning around to face the group member, “So this is where you and Shadow have been hiding!”

“Where’s Blade?” asked Serra, looking around.

“Well, we took Blade with us, to teach him how to play some games,” said Shadow a little sheepishly, now standing next to Raven, “But… we don’t know where he went. We’ve searched, but we just can’t seem to find him.”

“Uh, guys…” said Tora softly, staring off at the platform in the middle of the room, “I don’t think you’ve looked hard enough…”

“What do you mean, not loo…k…” Shadow began, until he looked in the same direction Tora had.

“Oh my… Is that Blade?” asked Aeris, shocked and open-mouthed.

“I didn’t know he could dance!” gasped Hydro.

<Holy! I didn’t think he could manage being so graceful!> snorted Terra, looking amazedly towards the platform just as raptly as all the others.

Serra didn’t say anything; she merely gazed, awestruck, as Blade moved around the square. His feet seemed to fly as he touched each lighted square, using dance moves that no one in the group had ever seen or heard of before. Not even Aeris had seen anything like this, and she considered herself a good dancer.

“Hey! He’s using fighting moves and turning them into dance moves!” said Shadow with sudden realization.

That put an entirely new perspective on the competition, for Blade’s movements turned from a graceful and innovative dance into a just as original, but deadly, ballet of strikes and counter strikes. Serra was completely rapt, her eyes never leaving the form as the whirling moves spoke to her inner soul and her own dances of death. It seemed to go in slow motion, and the competitor was lost completely as Blade’s overwhelming talent made him fade into the shadows altogether.

The bell rung, and the game blared the results on the screen. By a huge margin of seventy percent, Blade had blasted the challenger away. After a few seconds of raving, incoherent yelling that came from the enraged sixteen year old, the boy finally reached into his pocket and pulled out a huge wad of bills, shoving them into Blade’s hand before staking off the stage and out of the gaming center, the laughing jeers of the other gamers following him.

Blade, looking a bit confused and dazed, walked off the stage and was immediately mobbed by the same group of fan-girls that had surrounded the boy he had beaten. Angrily he shoved them away, walking towards the corner where he had left Shadow and Hydro before.

The group all looked at each other, and hurried to intercept him. Blade started when he saw them all, and his eyes widened as he glimpsed Serra’s smile.

“Uh…” he stammered, “Hi… guys. I was just…”

“Blowing away every record ever made on the dance machine?” supplied Shadow with a wide grin.

Blade blushed a brilliant scarlet, backing away slightly while trying to form an explanation.

“Well, that kid was insulting… I just wanted to… I… I…”

“It was beautiful,” interrupted Serra, making everyone gaze at her in astonishment.

“What?” asked Blade, shocked.

It was beautiful,” repeated Serra, looking at the floor, “It made the entire trip so far worthwhile.”

“I… uh…” fumbled Blade, “I… Thank you.”

“Well,” said Aeris, breaking the uncomfortable pause that ensued and putting her arms around both Blade and Serra’s shoulders, “I think we’ve all had enough excitement for tonight. Let’s go back to our rooms, huh?”

The entire group agreed wholeheartedly, and they made their way back to the hallway to settle in and prepare for arrival at Hoenn the next day. Still, Serra’s thoughts were in turmoil, as well as Blade’s. She had heard the song he had sung for her, and had felt her very soul cry out at the dance, but she could not form a complete thought on him.

Blade was burning with embarrassment, for dancing was not something he wanted to be known for at all. He had only modified his fighting moves, after all, but now the entire group may think he was dancing whenever he practiced. At least Serra had liked it, though.

Yes, at least Serra had liked his dance.

. . .

“Ah, and here we arrive in Hoenn!” said Aeris, gesturing grandly at the island to get the group, who was standing by the railing in a line on either side of her, to look.

“It’s still a bit far away, Aeris, don’t get in a tizzy,” commented Raven dryly, staring at the sliver of land on the horizon.

“We’ll be landing at the wonderful and bright Dewford Town,” continued Aeris, completely ignoring Raven’s comment, “And I’ve rented the entire beach for the party we’re gonna throw! Isn’t that wonderful?”

“When are you throwing the party?” asked Tora, intrigued by the prospect.

“Oh, tomorrow,” sighed Aeris, “I would have thrown it today, but we need to get all the stuff set up and the flyers out. I want everyone on the island to come if they can.”

“Oi, I wouldn’t want to be the clean up crew for that little occasion,” whispered Shadow to Hydro, who nodded in understanding.

The ship crawled inexorably towards the horizon, and as it did the island grew in size and detail. Finally, the group left the deck to get their packs and belongings from their rooms. It only took a small amount of time, and soon they were back on the railing again, looking at Hoenn and wondering what their stay would be like.

“It almost makes me wish I had brought Risan along, instead of leaving him at Victory Island” said Hydro to Shadow, “He would have loved seeing Hoenn again.”

“Well, he’s probably lounging in a tree somewhere or trying to impress somebody with his acrobatic prowess,” replied Shadow, “Besides, when this is all over you can bring him back here anytime you want.”

“I hope so,” said Hydro with a shrug.

The Lonesome Dawn put on her horns, almost deafening all the people on deck except for Terra, and changed course slightly to aim for a small island just off the coast of the mainland. Blade, looking bored, was rhythmically tapping his fingers on the steel rail. Raven stood on the other side of Aeris, staring out at the island with an air of detached interest. Shadow and Hydro were deep in conversation, and Serra merely gazed out at the waters with wonder and a little fear, for she still knew quite well that she had nearly drowned just a few moths before.

“Finally!” exclaimed Aeris as they pulled up to port, “Geez, this ship takes forever to dock!”

With a shake of their collective heads, the rest of the group merely took up their packs and followed the overly enthused girl down to the gangplank. The blonde haired trainer practically skipped onto land, but Shadow and the rest weren’t quite so graceful after the few days they had spent getting used to constant motion. Tora, having never been on a boat for an extended amount of time before, swayed as her feet touched solid ground, waving her arms to try and keep her balance. Aeris immediately went to help her, and the others were left on their own to get used to land again.

“That’s one of the only parts I hate about ships,” complained Shadow as he and Raven leaned on one another for support, “They’re great and all, but getting back on land is a big problem.”

“Well, you all better get back on your feet soon,” said Aeris in a bubbly manner, “because as soon as you get your legs, we’re all going shopping for party supplies!”

“Not another shopping trip!” moaned Shadow and Blade together.

“Well!” huffed Aeris indignantly, “You don’t have to go if you don’t want to, but you won’t get any say in what the party is set out like!”

“Fine with me.”

“Same here!”

“I guess I’ll go with them,” said Hydro, disengaging from Terra’s arm and standing with the two other boys, “I mean, a party is great and all, but we guys just don’t have any shopping or decorating sense. I’m sure you’ll all do great…”

“Pfft, just get out of here, you guys,” said Aeris, rolling her eyes, “We can handle it.”

The boys left, striding over the large sand dunes in the direction of an isolated strip of beach. Aeris giggled, amusement dancing in her eyes as she watched them go.

“What are you laughing about?” asked Serra curiously.

“Wait, first, where are we supposed to put all of our stuff? My bag is pretty heavy,” said Tora before Aeris could answer Serra’s question.

“Well, it’s the same answer for both, okay. We go to the Dewford Hotel… but the boys don’t know where to go, you see?”

<Ah, I see!> said Terra slyly, <Since they don’t know where to go, they’re stuck with their packs unless they can find us again!>

“See, perfect revenge,” said Aeris happily.

“And we plan on making ourselves scarce, don’t we?” asked Raven mischievously.

They all laughed, and headed towards the hotel building near the port. After checking in and getting their rooms organized, they all set off for the huge department store that was situated more inland. There was a giant bustle of people crowding in all over the place because the ship had come in, since it was the yearly stop of the boat and it was almost the only ship that came directly to the small town.

Aeris immediately headed for the party section, which had a fair amount of people there already, and commenced throwing things in the others arms almost before they could walk in the door. Raven looked curiously at her hands, which now held at least five bundles of different colored streamers, and Serra carried a gigantic punch bowl. Terra was weighed down with food, and Tora with cutlery. It seemed that Aeris had thought of everything they needed.

“We’re going to need tables and chairs, aren’t we?” asked Raven over the streamers.

“We’ll rent those,” explained Aeris as she bustled about. Finally, when all the other girls were practically hidden behind their piles, she stopped, “I think that’s enough.”

“You think?!” came the muffled voice of Tora.

“Come on, I’ll go and pay for this and we can carry it to the beach I rented out. It’s gonna be hard work setting it up, but it’ll be worth it.”

The rest of the girls groaned.

. . .

“I have to admit, Aeris, you sure pulled off a great party…” commented Hydro, looking at the surroundings.

Hundreds of people had gathered on the beach, and a huge bonfire was the main attraction in the center of all the activity. There were tables everywhere, as well as a punch bowl for every one. Streamers flew in the light breeze, and everybody was talking and laughing and generally having a good time.

The group sat in a circle around a much smaller fire on the fringe of the party, just talking and enjoying the stars and the evening. Aeris occasionally waved to a person walking by, or called out a ‘You’re welcome!’ to those who complimented her on the party. All in all the relaxed atmosphere was perfect, and no one present had done anything out of order yet, luckily.

Suddenly…

“Blade? Blade Jaegerin?” came a high, musical voice from behind the group. They turned, and were confronted with an older girl of about nineteen, with long brown hair and green eyes, “I’d know you anywhere, Blade darling!”

“Darling?” snorted Shadow derisively, “Blade, who is this?”

“Ugh, it’s my ex-girlfriend,” explained Blade quietly, “Damn.”

“Well?” said the girl, putting her hands on her hips and glaring, “Aren’t you going to introduce me, or do I have to barge in there and introduce myself?”

“Uh…” said Blade, standing and looking supremely uncomfortable, “Guys this is Sayoko Pearlusterin… she’s my ex-girlfriend.”

“I don’t like being called your ex,” said Sayoko prissily, sitting down in one of the empty chairs without even an invitation, “It sounds so ratty. Just call me friend, darling.”

Hydro leaned over to Shadow with a whisper, “I don’t think anybody would want to call her a friend!” Shadow snickered, drawing the girl’s attention.

“What’s so funny?” she snapped, eyes blazing, “Honestly, Blade darling, you find the most… delightfully abnormal… friends…”

“Why are you here?” asked Blade, barely containing a growl while at the same time trying very hard not to look anywhere near Serra, “I thought you had gone to a remote place in Jhoto to live with your fiancée? Where’s he got to?”

“Oh, he wasn’t good enough for me,” said Sayoko simply, preening her nails and shaking her head sadly, “he had all these ideas about love and family, so I dumped him when something better came along.”

“You dumped your fiancée?” asked Aeris, amazed.

“Of course I did, you silly girl!” laughed Sayoko, “What good are men except to give you what you want, and he was beginning to bore me, anyway.”

“You still didn’t answer my question,” growled Blade.

“Oh, you mean why I’m here?” asked Sayoko with wide, innocent eyes, “Why, to get back together with you, darling. I’ve just realized what I’ve been missing, and your such a strong man…”

Sayoko got up from her chair and flounced toward Blade with a deceptive smile. Blade, still wondering what to do, sat frozen in indecision as to if he should flee or push her away. She was about to hug him, when a voice hissed from next to her.

“Keep your arms off him,” snarled Serra angrily, but very quietly.

“Oh?” said Sayoko, straightening, “I didn’t know you had an admirer, darling. She’s such a ratty thing, so twitchy!”

The nineteen year old laughed, a horribly false sound that grated on the group’s nerves. None of them wanted to get involved, though, because this fight was between Blade and his ex; it wasn’t for them to decide.

Serra rose from her seat, eyes glowing a very faint blue. She was still staring at the ground, almost as if she was afraid to look up for fear of what she might do. Sayoko mistook this fear for a fear of her, and jeered at Serra mercilessly.

“Oh, such a quaint girl!” she laughed, sneering, “I can see why any man would want you, yes, but you’re nothing to keep, little *****. Run along now, and leave my man and I alone. This is too big for the likes of you!”

“It’s not smart to say such things,” rasped Serra, “You might get injured for your foolishness…”

“Yes… and what could a little wh-”

Blade interrupted Sayoko in mid-sentence, standing up with a grim set to his face and old, rusty sword in hand.

“Shut your mouth, Sayoko,” he growled, “Just shut it.”

“But darling-”

“Stop calling me that! I don’t want you anywhere near here, or anywhere near my friends!”

“But… but….” Sayoko looked around for any support, but the entire group had risen and was glaring at her, an unmistakable sign that she wasn’t wanted there. Defeated, she backed off.

“Fine!” she screeched, “I know when I’m not wanted! Keep your *****, Blade, I hope you’re happy with her! Just know that when you tire of her, you can’t crawl back to me!”

“We’re ancient history, Sayoko,” said Blade clearly, “get over it and get out.”

With a snarl, Sayoko whirled and was lost to the crowd. With a sigh of relief, Blade sank down into his chair, as did all the other group members. Absently, he realized that he still had his sword in his hand, and lifted it back into its scabbard with a sheepish look.

“Thanks,” he said to the rest of the group, “I wasn’t expecting to see her here, and I was hoping never to see her again.”

“I can see why,” snorted Aeris, “Man, she was a b-”

“I never knew you had a girlfriend, Blade,” interrupted Shadow curiously, “In what garbage heap did you dig up that piece of trash?”

“On the road,” snorted Blade, “She would never leave me alone, ever. And she was the one who broke up with me! I’m grateful for that.”

“Let’s stop talking about it,” suggested Raven, nodding her head towards a silent Serra, who was sitting with her head down.

“Oh, I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Serra,” apologized Blade, blushing slightly, “I never exp-”

“It’s okay,” said Serra, lifting her head and putting on a fake smile, “I would have blasted her away, if you hadn’t stopped it like you had. I should be thanking you, for that.”

“Why don’t we all just forget about it, okay?” said Aeris after a moment, “It’s not a pleasant memory for any of us.”

The rest nodded, content with this solution.

. . .

<Oh, and I have my Andros Rattata, Steel,> signed the newcomer, a vivacious individual with long, curly brown hair and bright eyes. She was almost as hyper as Aeris, and the group had immediately warmed up to her personality as soon as Terra had brought her to meet them. She had introduced herself as Rebecca, a trainer from what used to be Kanto.

<You managed to free one of those murderous things?> asked Terra in awe, <How did you do it?>

<Well, you see…> signed Rebecca, <I didn’t. He was already freed to begin with, I just captured him.>

“Oh, that’s neat,” said Aeris, “I wonder who freed him?”

<No idea whatsoever,> replied Rebecca with a sigh, <But If I ever find them I’ll thank them for it, He’s one of my best friends now.>

“I have to go get some air, guys,” said Tora, rising, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Some of the group looked up and nodded, but their attention went back to Rebecca and her story with barely a pause. Tora sighed, and left for the trees. She had soon left the blaze of the flickering fire behind her, and the babble of voices, though still present, was much diminished. She sighed; it was so much better out here, in the quiet wilderness. She had never been one for parties and crowds, both her and her Pokémon preferred to be left to their own devices.

Plus, the group was listening to Rebecca, the newcomer. She was good company, to be sure, but she had gained more attention than the group had ever given Tora in the scant minutes after she had been introduced than the entire journey for the purple-clad trainer.

Tora sighed, looking up at the stars. A night like this reminded her of home, and she was struck suddenly with a bout of homesickness. Memories were so clear, out here. Scenes flashed before her; her leaving on her Pokémon journey with Glory, who was only an Embug at the time, her fist major battle… the glorious memory of when she had defeated the Starian champion and had become the champion in his place.

Her life had taken a much different turn, then. She was much respected, and enjoyed taking challengers for the friendly yet serious matches of championship.

Then it had all changed…

It started out as just a sickness, a general weakening in all the wild Pokémon of the region. That wasn’t too suspicious in itself, for the population’s strength had fluctuations from year to year… but then they started dying. Scores of death pits arose, where as many as a dozen Pokémon had spontaneously weakened and died. She was called, as one of the last people with still strong Pokémon, to investigate this.

There had been reports of an organization called Team Rocket in the other regions, and a single clue left by the one discovered agent found in Starian pointed directly towards them as the cause of this mysterious illness. But Team Rocket had it’s own plans, and Tora was certain that it could not look to Starian while busy with Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn. Her task as a secret agent for Starian was going nowhere, but she would never give up while she could, not while the Pokémon, so rare as they were, were in danger.

But she really was just a hindrance to the group… perhaps she should just go back home and finish her report?

: Don’t give up hope, Tora,: came a soft voice in her mind, :We can save Starian if we try.:

“Yes, but I’m just such a… a…” Tora sighed, “Well, I’m no help to my friends.”

:You’ve helped, and they know that,: said Midiya persuasively, :You can’t give up.:

“”But they don’t even know who I am, or anything about me,” said Tora stubbornly, “And they’ve been so open… They can’t trust me…”

:They’re good people,: replied Midiya, as if that simple phrase solved everything.

“It’s not that simple…” began Tora, before she caught a flash of shadow in the sky she was looking at. She shaded her eyes, trying to see better in the darkness.

Before she could even gasp or blink, the creature had landed before her with a soft yet furious flutter of wings. It was a light orange in color, with huge, butterfly-like wings sprouting from its shoulders. Or, at least, what seemed like shoulders, since it was bipedal and had no forelegs. It chirruped, opening and closing its narrow, hooked beak and waving its antennae and curling it’s long, prehensile tail.

“It’s a… a…” stammered Tora in amazement.

“Zoomph!” chirped the Pokémon happily.

The Zoomph lifted one of its clawed legs, and Tora saw that there was a Messaged capsule attached to it. She opened it, taking the small, rolled piece of paper out, and read aloud.

“Hmm… To Grand Champion Tora: We recognize the importance of your mission in the lower regions, but we regret to inform you that since there is no further proof of Team Rocket involvement in our region’s deplorable affliction, we have discontinued the investigation. Furthermore, a new development has arisen that requires your special talents. Please send your direct reply by this carrier; we hope to see you soon. Signed, the Starian Council, Elite Kell, and Elite Rea.”

Tora sighed again, feeling her world in this place begin to rend apart before her eyes. This was just what she hoped wouldn’t happen. She had been here for so long, met so many friends and interesting people, all for nothing now. It felt… well, like giving up. She hated giving up.

“Thanks, Spiral,” she said to the Pokémon, writing a short, three word reply on the note, “I remember you now… it hasn’t been that long, has it, girl? Well, fly fast and safe, and bring my reply post haste, okay?”

“Zoom, Zoomph!” chirped the Pokémon happily, lifting off into the night with a cloud of dust, being lost to sigh within a few heartbeats. Tora looked after it, eyes sad.

Tora turned, looking back at the party grounds and wondering whether she should go back and tell her friends. She warred with herself, then decided it was better that she should make a clean break, get out of there before she could have second thoughts and botch up everything she had worked so hard to accomplish.

“You’re leaving, huh?” asked a voice from the shadows. Tora jumped, looking around wildly until the dark, caped form of raven emerged from the foliage.

“Yeah,” replied Tora softly, “yeah…”

“So much for saying that you’ll be back.”

“Raven?” asked Tora suddenly, “Could I ask you to tell the rest that I’m leaving? I have to go right away, you see, and…”

“Yeah, I’ll do it,” said Raven before Tora could finish her sentence, “Anything specific?”

“Well, tell Shadow to try not to get on everybody’s nerves,” said Tora, “And tell everybody that I’m sorry I had to leave so soon and suddenly…”

“I will.”

“And tell Serra…” began Tora hesitantly, “Tell Serra that I’m sorry I couldn’t help her, and that I didn’t get a chance to tell her about that which she has lost. She’ll know what it is. Make sure everybody knows that I send them the best of luck, too. I hope you all pull through this mission, unlike how I failed mine.”

Raven nodded, and faded back into the shadows so suddenly that it was as if she had never been present. Tora shook her head sadly, taking out Glory’s Pokèball and releasing the giant firebug. The Pokemon looked at her questioningly, and Tora stroked the soft red neck with a disheartened chuckle.

“I’m sorry, Glory, but we’re leaving…”

“Novasect?”

“I know, I know, it’s like giving up… but our time has run out. We’ve been called back to Starian, called back by a force we can’t refuse.”

Glory snorted, and turned to allow Tora to leap on her back. The Novasect glowed softly with inner flame in the darkness, lighting the girl’s face eerily as they rose into the air amid an even larger cloud of dark, shadowy dust. Tora covered her eyes; giving one, last look at the party and the noise below before finally turning her attentions to the horizon, and her next mission at home… home.

“I’m coming home,” she whispered to the wind, “Home to you, Kell.”

. . .

Jessica walked around the crowd, trying to keep out of the way of the many people bustling and lounging about. She wanted to find an unoccupied chair, so that she and her companion could sit and perhaps relax a bit. She had not expected the party to be this large, not by any means, and she knew that her friend wasn’t used to such crowds.

“Come on, Undying, there’s an empty space over there,” she said, gesturing to the Pokémon that was plastered against her legs, trying to keep away from all the people and noise. The white, cat-like creature gratefully headed towards the chair, followed by his trainer.

“I’m sorry, Undying,” sighed Jessica, running her fingers though her red and orange highlighted hair as she sunk down into the folding chair. Her other hand stroked the thick, course fur around her Absol’s neck. He leaned into the hand, body tense underneath all the fur.

“I didn’t expect it to be so crowded,” continued Jessica sadly, “I wanted to start you off with a small party, one without so many people, to get you used to such excitement. Perhaps, if we don’t meet anyone to talk to, we’ll leave after a moment.”

The Absol nodded, looking around fearfully at the people passing, and Jessica stood and walked to the table to get a cup of punch. She checked carefully to make sure it hadn’t been spiked, first, since she wasn’t an alcohol drinker. Luckily, it wasn’t, so she took a glass and brought it back to her waiting Pokemon. After taking a few swallows, she set the rest down for Undying to lap up, knowing her Pokemon’s weakness for sweet drinks.

“Jessica? Jessica, is that you?” came a voice from behind her. Jessica spun around, and smiled as she recognized one of her old friends.

“Hey, Rebecca,” she said, making sure she spoke clearly so that the deaf girl could lip read, since Jessica knew nothing about sign language, “How have you been? I haven’t seen you in so long!”

“I’ve been fine,” said Rebecca, taking another chair and turning it so that she could sit on it backwards, “Just traveling about and thought a party would be cool. How about you?”

“I’m on my way to investigate some ruins near Johto,” replied the orange haired girl, “They say that their older than most I’ve seen.”

“Oh, that’s neat. I see you got a new Pokemon, what’s his name?” asked Rebecca, looking at the frightened and cowering Undying.

“Ah, this is Undying,” said Jessica, gently convincing the Absol to come out from the cover of the chair. Rebecca held her hand out, and he sniffed it delicately before finally snorting in acceptance, allowing her to stroke him, “He’s mute, and terrified of crowds. I took him to this one to try and get him to be less afraid, but it turned out to be bigger than I thought. We were just going to leave before you came up…”

“He certainly seems friendly,” chuckled Rebecca as Undying lost his balance from leaning into her hand and sprawled out on the ground. The Absol scrambled up, and looked around with a glare as if to tell them that he meant to do that.

“Do you have any new Pokémon?” asked Jessica.

“Oh, yeah. I have my Andros Rattata,” said Rebecca, bringing out a Pokèball, “His name is Steel.”

She released the Pokemon, and the Rattata appeared before them, his steel fur glinting dangerously in the firelight and his huge fangs shining.

“Aren’t Andros tools of Team Rocket?” asked Jessica a little fearfully.

“Only if they’re not freed,” said Rebecca matter-of-factly, “Steel is free, see his eyes? They’re yellow instead of red.”

“Ah, I see now,” murmured Jessica, watching as the two Pokémon cautiously sniffed at each other, then began a friendly tussle that brought them rolling around the two trainer’s chairs. Rebecca giggled at the scene, and Jessica smiled, “I think he’ll be a bit better with crowds, now that he sees that every stranger isn’t bad. Thanks, Rebecca.”

“No thanks needed,” sighed the other girl, “Actually, I should thank you. The people I were talking to just got some bad news; one of their friends leaving, so I slipped out of there because I didn’t want to intrude or anything. I was just about to leave, too, when I met up with you.”

“Well, Rebecca, it was nice meeting you again,” sighed Jessica, looking around, “But I have a feeling somebody spiked one of the punch bowls, because this is getting a little rowdy around here. I’m leaving.”

She stood from her chair, gesturing for Undying, who was now lying flat out between the two chairs, to come with her. The Absol obeyed immediately, though he looked a little sad to be leaving so soon. Rebecca watched them for a moment, then looked down at Steel, who was looking at the other’s departure. She stood up; scooping the Rattata into her arms, and ran towards the rapidly retreating figures.

“HEY! Wait for me, Jessica! I’m coming with you!”

. . .

“So I said, ‘Really, you’re not going to get far… riding a Shuckle!’” laughed Aeris, her words a little slurred and her manner a bit dazed. The rest of the group was beginning to suspect that someone had spiked the punch.

Blade had left earlier, saying that he needed to get something that he had forgot. Hydro and Shadow had looked at each other slyly, but the girls had no idea what the eighteen year old could have possibly left in his room. Still, they didn’t talk much, because the sudden departure of their friend had hit them all pretty hard. No one had expected Tora to leave so suddenly, and Serra was still wondering about what some of her mysterious messages had meant. ‘Don’t fail like I did’? What had the girl failed at, and how?

Shadow had taken Raven for a walk a little while before, and Terra and Hydro were snoring gently in their seats. It was only Aeris and Serra left, and Serra was beginning to wonder whether she should just take Aeris back to the hotel room to sleep it off. The blonde girl had drunk more than her fair share of punch before the group had discovered its alcoholic content, and she was increasing in her delirious dialogue.

Serra laughed nervously at the extremely bad joke, wondering when Blade would come back or if she should wake up Terra and Hydro to help her. Aeris was started to get incoherent, now.

“Serra… I just want you to know that you’re… a good person,” mumbled Aeris, slurring her words horribly and leaning towards Serra, who grimaced from the smell of her breath.

“And… you’re so… so…” continued Aeris, leaning farther, “I just… feel like kissing you…”

“Aeris? Aeris, I think you’re a little drunk,” said Serra backing away slightly from the advancing form. Aeris pursed her lips, “Aeris, you’re too close, what’re you doing?”

Suddenly, Aeris, in the middle of her advance, slumped down in Serra’s lap, passed out. Serra sighed after a moment, shoving her friend’s inert form back on the chair, and waited for Blade to come back. She wondered what he could have forgotten that would take this long to get out of his room.

As if on cue, the boy emerged from the rapidly diminishing crowd, carrying a huge package and trying to keep his balance. Serra stood and moved to help him, but he waved her away and set it down beside her chair.

“What is it?” she asked curiously.

“Open it and find out,” said Blade with a smile, “I got it for you.”

“You did?” said Serra, looking at the box with shock, “I… I wasn’t expecting… I mean… I don’t have anything to give you…”

“You don’t need to,” said Blade, leaning forward, “Go ahead, see what’s inside.”

Serra moved to the box, and untied the top with shaking fingers. She lifted off the top, and almost squealed when she saw what was inside. With a huge smile, she lifted the small, fluffy creature out and hugged it to herself, joyful beyond words.

“Oh, I love it!” she said, stroking the Pokemon’s white fur, “Where did you find it?”

“Him,” corrected Blade, “I found him down at the breeding Farm. He’s a bit of a reject, since he’s a half-breed, so I got him for less. But I knew you’d like him. He’s half Eevee, half Absol.”

“Really!?” beamed Serra, “Thank you so much, Blade, this is the best present I’ve ever received! But… why did you get him for me?”

“Eevee?” squeaked the little half-breed questioningly, mirroring Serra’s attitude.

“Uh… well… I…” fumbled Blade, blushing, “I… I wanted to… get you something. Yeah, that’s it.”

“Just spontaneously get me something?” asked Serra suspiciously.

“Yeah… yeah…” said Blade. Suddenly, he snapped his fingers, “He still needs a name, though. Why don’t you name him?”

“Hmm…” said Serra, furrowing her brow and looking down at the little white Eevee, rubbing the tiny black oval on his head with a smile. He squeaked, nuzzling her neck, “I think I’ll call him Necro.”

Blade nodded approvingly, and reached down to fondle the little Pokémon’s ears. The Eevee purred, basking in all the attention he was getting, and Serra couldn’t seem to stop smiling. Suddenly, hearing a muffled groan form the still form of Aeris, her attention snapped back to reality.

“Oh,” she said, “I think Aeris has had just a little too much to drink. Would you help me get her back to the hotel to sleep it off?”

Blade stood, and Serra set the Eevee down to go help him. The white creature pattered along silently behind them as they walked, supporting the limp person between them. Luckily, the hotel wasn’t too far from the party, and they managed to get Aeris up the stairs without dropping her, although Blade came close to tripping on Necro once.

“I’ll stay here with her,” said Serra as they set her down, “You should go back to the party and tell the rest of the group what happened. They should really be getting back, anyway, it’s getting late.”

“Alright,” answered Blade. But Serra stopped him before he exited the room.

“Blade, I wanted to tell you thanks,” she said, “Thanks for the present, and for everything…”

Blade smiled, and slipped out the door without a word.

ClefairyTenchi
22nd November 2004, 3:26 AM
Hee hee hee, I love Serra's reaction when to Blade she woke up. 'Oh, you, *snore*' lolXD That's just totally hilarious. And Blade getting down with his Bad self, Pure geniusness! Ahhh, good times.

Elite Eevee
22nd November 2004, 3:33 AM
Well, it seems you changed the chapters dramaticlly. I still like it, it's even better. To bad Tora had to leave though. But knowing the twisted(No offense) mind of Spectreon, we'll see her again.

The Eevee. Is that..Necro? *Gives glazed, starry-eyed look* I want something like him. :)

AzureFlygon
22nd November 2004, 3:47 AM
Well, considering Tora is my character... I'd be up to my twisted and evil mind ^^

Yes, the crossbreeds of doooooooooom. Don't deny, we all want one XD

Making dance scenes has always been fun... and boy, was that a spur of the moment idea!
Thanks for the comments you guys. Only two more chappies to go before new chapterness fuzzies. Spread the word!

AzureFlygon
23rd November 2004, 12:39 AM
Next chapter... Only one more to go before new-ness!!!!
~~~~~

The moon hung in the sky, casting its ethereal, silvery light over Dewford Town. In the hotel room, Serra sat on the windowsill conversing with Necro while Aeris slept on the bed.

The half-breed Eevee was dazzling when hit by moonlight. His snowy white fur turned to silver. His ruff leaned more towards the downy, smooth ruff of Absol rather than the fluffy pom-poms normal Eevee had. Upon his forehead was a black smooth oval, rather like obsidian. His tail was also a bit thinner and more smoothed out than normal Eevee tails. But it was his eyes that were the most unique. They were pure dark red, pupil-less, and glowed just slightly in the dark room.

“I’m so glad that big human picked me. Nobody wanted me because I was half-breed,” sulked the Eevee as he curled up in Serra’s lap.

“Well, I’m happy we can be friends, no?” whispered Serra as she hugged the Eevee tightly. It was the beginnings of a deep bond, one that would be sorely tested and battered and stretched in the coming dark times...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra awoke with a jolt as she heard a loud screech, then a thud that shook the room. Blearily opening her eyes, she was greeted with the sight of Aeris on the floor clutching her head. Blankets wrapped around her and trailed from the bed. She’d fallen off.

“World of pain...” moaned Aeris, rubbing her head. Maverick bounced off the bed, chirping sleepily, and waddled up to the blonde.

Serra sat up slowly, wincing as her bones groaned audibly. Ever since she’d awoken from her coma, her bones had been stiff and achy from lack of exercise. The girl bent over Aeris and helped her up.

“I’ve got such a hangover. What happened last night?” asked Aeris as she wobbled over to the windowsill, nearly tripping over Maverick as he weaved around her legs.

“You tried to kiss me and passed out in my lap. You were MAJORLY drunk.” chortled Serra as she rubbed Aeris’ back. The blonde groaned; her face buried in her arms as she stood propped on the windowsill.

“What is that?” mumbled Aeris as she noticed Necro for the first time. The Eevee and the Totodile had noticed each other and were wrestling around on the floor playfully.

“Him? That’s Necro, a half-breed Eevee. Apparently his father was an Absol and his mother an Umbreon. Blade got him for me… isn’t he adorable?” Serra said, smiling.

“I guess so,” mumbled Aeris, raising her head and looking woebegone.

“Oh you poor thing. Hangover? I can take care of it.” Serra leaned forward, startling Aeris.

“Wha-?”

Serra’s lips touched Aeris’s forehead in a gentle kiss. Instantly, Aeris’ hangover cleared up, and her eyes widened in astonishment as she looked at Serra.

Behind them, Shadow chortled.

“Well, well, Serra and Aeris sitting in a tree kiss-YAAAAAH!”

He ducked a small bolt of lighting and came up, with a newly singed stripe of hair on the top of his head.

“It’s not a good idea to antagonize me, Shadow. Besides, if you had a few more brain cells in your empty skull, you should’ve seen it was a Lovely Kiss. Lovely Kisses can cure or confuse minds. Care to let me do one on you and see what the effects are?” grinned Serra.

Shadow shook his head hastily and backed out the door, colliding with Raven as she passed in the hall.

“Watch where you’re going, idiot!” snapped Raven. She wasn’t exactly a morning person.

“Apologies, my lovely ray of sunshine, dearie.” Shadow kissed Raven on the cheek and bolted, not wanting to be trapped between Serra and Raven.

Raven pulled her purple cloak tighter around her, shivering. Dewford Town was a beachside community, and morning fog carpeted the town in its misty embrace every morning.

“Well, come on, come on. Let’s go eat breakfast.” snapped the irate psychic. She turned and walked down the hall, her face dark. You almost expected to see a small thundercloud hovering over her head.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The hotel breakfast bar was full of the gentle murmur of patrons and the soft clinking of utensils. The entire group had been seated at a table next to the wall. Terra jostled elbows with Hydro as both inhaled sausages at an astonishingly fast rate, while Necro, Maverick, Dark Flame and Ghost sat in a row, their faces buried in their plates of food. Shadow and Blade were eating and talking with their mouths open, discussing sword techniques, much to the disgust of Raven. The psychic was sedately demolishing buttermilk pancakes crusted with sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup.

Serra was conversing to Aeris in quiet tones.

“I need to do training today. I’m out of shape. Can you coach me, please?”

Aeris nodded, grinning, as she chewed her bacon.

“I’d love to! I haven’t properly trained any Pokémon in a while...even if you aren’t exactly a Pokémon. But first, guess what you, Terra, and I are going to do today first thing?”

They were interrupted by a loud commotion due to Ghost stealing Shadow’s fork. When things settled down, Aeris continued.

“Terra and I are going to take you shopping.”

“Shopping? For..what?” Serra squeaked.

“You need a bikini. We’re on the beach, and you can’t train in your navy blue skirt and your grey turtleneck sweater.”

Serra blinked. “Why can’t I just train in my armor?”

Aeris threw up her hands. “Come on! You don’t have to train in that clunky old thing. You need to get wet. I’ve noticed you never trained in aquatic conditions.”

Serra swallowed nervously and looked down.

“But...b-but I don’t know...how to swim,” she whispered.

Aeris looked at Serra in astonishment. “You never learned?”

“I’m only three years old, Aeris. The bartender said the deal was I could sing in the bar if I worked for him. I loved to sing, so I said yes. He said I wasn’t his responsibility other than that.”

Aeris punched her fist in her palm, her face decisive.

“Serra, you need to learn aquatic battling. Water-type Pokemon are the most proficient type there is. Terra and I will teach you to swim and battle on and under water. Oh, and by the way, we are so buying you a proper set of bras.”

Serra’s eyes widened in shock and she shook her head.

“WHAT? You have to be kidding me. No. No way.”

Aeris grinned, her face suddenly very, very scary.

“Oh yes. We are going to make a proper woman out of you.”

Serra’s groan echoed throughout the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“She’s an A-thirty-two, I think. Terra, what do you think?”

“I...would have to saa-ay she ee-s a size A-thirty fouuur.” Terra said as she rummaged through shelves of bras. Distracted, her carefully pronounced English turned into a lisp. She cold only talk perfectly if she was concentrating, as she had so remarkably showed when she’d screamed blue murder at Su in Victory Base on their first day.

Serra trailed along behind them, looking befuddled as she stared at the bras. There were so many choices! How did Aeris do it?

First, you had color. Pink, black, white, grey, or tan.

Then, you had materials. Lace, or cotton.

Then style. Underwire, sports, sexy, push-ups, and so many more.

And last but not least, sizes ranging from the smallish A to the gigantic, terrifying size Ds.

Where did it all end? That was what Serra was wondering as Aeris and Terra dragged her down a seemingly infinite shelf of bras...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Serra, here you go. We finally found the perfect ones. Tan and cotton. Now, there was a bit of a dispute involving whether you should get a push up, seeing as you have practically no boobs, but Terra was of the opinion you should get the sports bra since you don’t want them moving around and jostling and getting in your way when you train or fight, so we got you the sports one, in a size A-thirty-three.” Aeris shoved a pile of tan cotton size A-33 sports bra into Serra’s arms.

“Go in there and put them on!” ordered Aeris, spinning the hapless Goddess around and pushing her gently into the changing room.

<Think she’ll figure out how to put them on?> asked Terra.

Aeris snickered. “She’s a girl, it should be intuitive. Now, if this was Shadow, he’d never figure it out. I mean, they don’t even know how to put on ties.”

Both Champions roared with laughter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra trudged behind the still-vivacious Aeris and Terra in her newly bound chest. She had to admit the bra wasn’t as bad as she thought it’d be but it still took some getting used to. They were now shopping for swimming garments for their entire company.

For Shadow, Aeris had selected black trunks with a print of a stylized metallic silver Gyarados locked in battle with a Raikou. The two legendary beasts roared and grappled around a yin-yang. Hydro had gotten blue trunks with tropical-style light blue flowers, while Blade got plain dark red trunks.

Terra had snagged a red bikini top that came with black surfing shorts while Aeris squealed with delight over a bright, colorful bikini with a tropical sunset design. For Raven they had selected a plain dark purple bikini ( “Shadow’s going to have a heart attack, she’s always hiding in that big cloak.” ).

Serra, befuddled as always, wandered around aimlessly until Aeris got infuriated and selected a light yellow bikini for her and hauled her off to the dressing room to try it out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“About time we got back,” moaned Serra as she and the other two girls entered the hotel laden with shopping bags. The aquatic apparel was distributed among their group and everyone left to change.

When changing was done, the group enthusiastically moved outside to the beach. Raven was sulking, because she had been forced to wear the bikini and could no longer hide behind her cloak, much to the delight of Shadow. The psychic laid out a towel and immediately went to sleep on it. Dark Flame nestled on her bare stomach.

Terra and Hydro produced surfboards they’d rented, and went running to the waves, whooping and shoving each other all the way down. Blade shook his head as he watched them. The boy had chosen to sit next to Raven and watch Aeris and Serra train. Shadow sat down to Raven’s other side, attempting to see if he could get a good look at Raven’s chest without her noticing. (Boys will be boys.)

Ghost, Maverick and Necro scampered on the beach, burrowing in the sand and teasing the hapless Krabbys that scuttled about on the warm beach.

Aeris and Serra stood aside in a small cluster. Serra was awkwardly shifting from foot to foot, looking out uneasily at the roaring waves that pounded the sands to a fine grain. She was nervous, but mostly because of her skimpy bikini, paranoid that it would fall off.

“Righty-ho, Serra! I’m gonna be your coach...” cackled Aeris as she rubbed her hands. A silver whistle hung from her neck, and on her bare waist, over her bikini bottom, was a fanny pouch full of coins.

Aeris suddenly became serious, her eyes hardening.

“Serra, I want you to give it your best. Under no circumstances should you activate your armor, understood? You cannot rely on fancy outfits all the time, yes?”

Serra nodded, straightening her shoulders and smiling gently.

Aeris blew a piercing blast on her whistle, and training began.

“Activate your Flying wings NOW and get your arse in the sky! Let me see some butt up there in the clouds now!” Aeris barked.

Serra’s back writhed and roiled, the flesh churning and stretching out, glowing with a bright white light as they did so. Feathered wings formed, and Serra took off in the sky like a flash of lighting.

“Now, girlie, I’m gonna toss coins in the sky, and you are going to hit them with Bullet Seeds. Ready, set, GO!”

Aeris flung a handful of coins from her pouch into the sky, where the metal disks whirled and spun crazily, flashing in the sunlight.

Gunfire rang out as a rain of seeds shot through the sky, hissing like angry vipers. Aeris nodded approvingly as coins clattered at her feet, each with a neat hole at their centers.

“Nice job, Serra! Now show me a Petal Dance!”

Serra’s silhouette flashed in the sun’s rays as she began an elegant aerial dance, spinning out with her wings wrapped around herself. Her wings flared out, and a massive cloud of cherry blossom petals wafted out around her in a slow, beautiful display.

“Beautiful!” whooped Shadow, clapping. Blade grinned and nodded. Shadow elbowed him, snickering as he noticed Blade’s love struck expression.

“Think she looks good in that bikini, huh?”

“Wha.....huh.....yeah...I guess.” stammered Blade as he snapped to reality.

Meanwhile, in the air, Serra had finished her breathtaking display and was waiting for Aeris’ next command, stray feathers drifting lazily down as her wings moved with slow elegance. She flew easily, barely showing any sign of her recent injuries. Yet, she was feeling herself begin to tire slightly, and her frown was truly disappointed; she thought she could do better.

“Come on, Serra, let’s heat it up with Sunny Day!” yelled Aeris with a bright smile.

Instantly upon hearing the command, Serra’s wings took on a bright, metallic orange sheen. The sunlight in the area burned even hotter, and Raven sat up suddenly with an expression of tired curiosity. After a few seconds, she took an extra towel and put it around her shoulders to block out some of the sun. Shadow sat with an uncomfortable expression, shifting on the sand,, but Blade looked as if he didn’t even notice the searing heat.

“Now unleash it with a Solarbeam!” commanded Aeris, picking up the Frisbee shooter she had set on the sand earlier and sending three of the disks into the air. They flew with exaggerated slowness, drifting into the sky like some strange birds.

Serra’s orange wings flared white, and then faded slightly to a yellow-green. They became steadily brighter as small, visible particles of light drifted into them, supplying the attack with the devastating power that made it the most destructive grass attack known. Suddenly, twin beams sliced from Serra’s wings, intersecting into one giant ray that blasted into the three Frisbees, incinerating them within seconds.

Serra pulled back the beam, watching as the remnants of the attack dissipated into the distance. A thin sheen of sweat now coated her brow, but she wasn’t going to let herself give up or stop, not until she had trained to her limit.

“Okay, Serra, we’re going to try something different, now,” called Aeris, waving for Serra to come down. She did, feeling a little guilty that she actually welcomed a chance to rest her wings. Aeris came to her, smiling.

“You did really great, Serra,” she said, “Now, I know you’re not feeling your best, so the next little thing is going to be the last bout of training for today. Then we can relax.”

“What are we doing?” asked Serra, curious.

“Well, we’re going to teach you how to swim!” chirped Aeris, “But it’s going to be a little easier, because you’re going to learn through training.”

“Ah… okay…”

Aeris stood back, crossing her arms, and called out a command.

“Okay, Serra, back to training!” she said, “Now, put on your water wings and let’s get into the air!”

Serra, slightly confused as to how water wings could fly, shrugged and concentrated. From her back erupted six long spines, three to each wing, which were attached to her shoulders by almost hand-like joints. Once the spines were fully formed, long, transparent blue webs seeped across the spaces like water running down a smooth surface. Serra flapped and, to her surprise, rose into the air almost as easily as she had with the feathered wings.

“Okay, Serra, dive into the water and use Surf!” said Aeris from the beach, “I know you can do it!”

Serra, with some hesitation, folded her wings and dove at a steep angle towards the water. At the last minute, a flash of her fall after the battle for Jhoto appeared before her eyes, and she flared her wings and braked. Her fear was too strong to allow her to enter the lapping waters, and a disappointed and frustrated tear leaked from her left eye, running down her face in diamond radiance.

“It’s okay,” said Aeris encouragingly from the now far away beach, “Try again, and don’t let your fear get the best of you!”

“I won’t,” growled Serra quietly to herself, rising determinedly into the air once more to prepare for her second dive. She was tiring again, but she told herself that the water wasn’t going to hurt her. In fact, it might feel good to dip into the ocean for a while. With this thought in mind, she folded her wings yet again, screeching towards the rapidly expanding blue waves.

The vision flashed again, but Serra broke through it with a determined yell and let herself fall. Suddenly, she was in intense cold, and her descent was slow and unhurried. She flared her wings, feeling the resistance of the thick water against them, and flipped them as if she was flying. Surprisingly, this worked, and Serra found herself literally soaring through the water. Suddenly, she remembered that Aeris was expecting her to use an attack, and that she needed to rise to the surface and breath.

With an elegant flick of one wing, Serra shot towards the surface and the clear blue that shimmered like liquid crystal. Her head broke through the waves, sending a spattering of shining droplets into the air, and she summoned her power to shape a wave out of the endless substance around her. When she had ‘grabbed’ a sufficient amount of water, she flapped her webbed wings once more, rising on the wave that was now stretching out of the ocean towards the shore.

She surged to the beach, flying yet not flying as she rode the crest of the wave, her wings stretched out to their limit so that she could balance. At the last moment before hitting shore, she sent the water upwards and back into a huge curl, letting the wave dissipate back into the ocean without harming any of the denizens on the beach. Some of the spray from the wave shot up, creating a cloak of glittering drops that reflected the sun’s light in a million tiny images of a flying, web-winged girl.

Aeris whopped on the ground as the spray fell to earth, revealing Serra as she descended down to the beach. The water seemed to have a good effect on the girl, and she looked better and healthier than ever. Aeris looked at Serra, who was practically glowing with exaltation, and smiled.

“Must be some ability you have when you form those wings,” she said, throwing an arm around Serra’s shoulders as the other girl dematerialized her wings, “You look a hundred times better now than when we started training!”

Suddenly, a bounding blur of white jumped up, slamming into Serra’s chest and almost knocking the girl down.

“Serra, that was so AWSOME!!!” screamed the little Eevee half-breed with excitement, “Will you tech me how to battle like you? Please please pleasepleaseplease… PRETTY please!?”

“Alright, alight!” said Serra, pulling the Eevee’s small claws off her neck. She put him down on the ground, where Maverick was waiting for his new friend to come back, “Now run along and play some more, Necro. You have to get a little bigger before we start training seriously, okay?”

“Kay!” said Necro amiably, and with a wink and a bound he was off again on some unknown exploration with his Totodile friend.

“What was that all about?” asked Aeris as she watched the two Pokémon scamper over the sands.

“Oh, Necro just wants to be like me,” said Serra with a warm smile, “he wants to learn how to battle, though I think he’s a bit too young yet.”

“Ah, yeah, you’re right,” said Aeris with a nod, “He’s only about a month or two old. Certainly not big enough to start training for real.”

They started walking toward the place where the others were standing, chatting and laughing, when a young boy of about fifteen walked up. His hair, dyed orange and red like fire, was ragged and unkempt, and he had a pair of sunglasses set on top of his head. Serra and Aeris stopped, looking at him curiously, and he suddenly extended a hand.

“Hi,” he said in a slightly deeper voice than someone his age would usually have, “My name is Kar, and I was just watching you train. Those were some amazing attacks, and I was wondering if you would mind battling my Pokemon?”

“Uh,” stammered Serra, taken aback.

“Wait a second,” said Aeris suspiciously, “You aren’t trying to catch her or something, are you? You know she isn’t just some slave!”

“Of course I’m not!” scoffed the boy with an indignant snort, “Who do you think I am? Anyone with eyes can see that she’s mostly human, even if she has amazing powers. I was just wondering if I could have the honor of a battle?”

“Uh, sure,” said Serra, still surprised. She shook the boy’s extended hand and shook it firmly, “I’ll battle you. Just don’t hold back!”

“I won’t!” laughed Kar.

. . .

It seemed a strange start to a battle; one Pokémon against one mere human, but of course it was nothing like it seemed. Serra, eyes determined, stared fiercely into the eyes of her opponent. Curiously, this was not Kar, but the gigantic Lickitung that stood in the shifting sand, patiently waiting for a command.

“Okay, Tonguetwist, use wrap,” said Kar. The boy didn’t shout his commands, which gave Serra a clue that his Pokémon respected him and he respected them in return, and that he wasn’t one to get too excited at the start of a battle.

The Lickitung responded almost as quickly as the order emerged from its trainer’s mouth. It braced itself in the sand, opening its maw and extending the long and heavily muscled tongue with surprising speed at the still form opposite. Serra leaped into the air at the last second, coming down hard on the tongue and making the other Pokémon cry out in surprise and pain.

“Lick.”

Lickitung’s tongue came to life at the command, twining what wasn’t pinned to earth quickly around Serra’s midriff and rising to lick her face with paralyzing saliva. It was an effective wrap/lick combo on most opponents, but Serra wasn’t ‘most opponents’.

“Rapid Spin!” she said, twirling around at an incredible speed. The wrapped tongue flew off her, landing and coiling in the dirt before returning to the pained Pokémon’s mouth.

“Now it’s my turn,” whispered Serra to herself. She straightened from her spin, fixing her gaze on the Lickitung.

“Karate Chop!” she called, her arms beginning to glow as she ran towards the Lickitung. Surprisingly, it didn’t even flinch as she came close.

“You know what to do.”

Suddenly, Serra’s legs were taken out from under her as the Pokemon flashed out it tongue and tripped her. Then, it wrapped the muscled appendage around her feet, hanging her in the air. Serra struggled, but wasn’t able to get out of its grip. Also, she couldn’t do a rapid spin in this position. She realized dimly that she was trapped.

“Slam.”

Before she knew what was happening, Serra found herself hurtling towards the sand at high velocity. She hit the dunes hard, sending up a cloud of dust from the impact. Luckily, the sand absorbed most of the force, so the attack didn’t do as much damage as it would have normally. Nonetheless, as Serra staggered up from the crater caused by the slam, she coughed and felt the salty tang of blood on her lips.

“Mach Punch,” she whispered determinedly.

Suddenly, Serra was a blur across the beach, speeding so fast that the other Pokémon had no time to move before it was thrown back, it’s surprised squeal echoing through the air. It slammed into the ground hard, much like Serra had just moments before. After a moment, it rose, black eyes blazing.

“Supersonic.”

The Lickitung opened its mouth once more, but this time only a ripple of displaced air emanated from its throat. The sonic wave made its slow yet sure way towards Serra, spreading out as it went so that it was nearly unavoidable. Serra thought fast, hoping to come up with an attack to counter the confusing melee of sound.

“Magic Coat!” yelled Serra, her skin becoming a glittering, reflecting surface.

The sound waves reached her, but were reflected back almost instantly upon hitting the solid surface of her defense. They traveled back at the Lickitung at twice the speed, hitting and confusing the other Pokémon instead of her. The normal-type reeled, looking around with wild and frightened eyes as it tried unsuccessfully to make sense of what had happened.

It was a perfect opportunity.

“Cross Chop!” Serra called; streaking forward and delivering a slicing strike to her confused and vulnerable opponent. The Lickitung fell almost in slow motion, tried to rise, and fell back with a sigh, eyes closed.

“Return,” said Kar. He brought out a new Pokèball, and threw it easily into the battlefield, “Go, Auss!”

With a defiant roar, a large and battle scarred Kangaskhan leapt onto the field. She stared at Serra with a furious glare, eyes narrowing as the young in her pouch squeaked with excitement, leapt out, and bounded over to stand beside Kar.

“So, Goddess,” rumbled the Kangaskhan, “We finally meet. I see you have been worn down… it is a pity that I cannot battle you at full strength.”

“I’m not so weak that I can’t fight,” answered Serra strongly in the Pokémon’s language, “Bring it on!”

“Okay, Auss,” called Kar, “Wait for a second.”

Serra hesitated, wondering what was up her opponent’s sleeve. With a final, decisive shrug, she barreled at the Kangaskhan, readying one of her most powerful fighting attacks.

“Hi Jump Kick!” she yelled as she leapt up before the surprisingly motionless Pokémon.

“Fake Out.”

Suddenly, Auss was no longer where she had been standing, and Serra flew past, slamming hard into the ground once again. Before she knew what was happening, the Kangaskhan had grabbed her feet and thrown her, confused and disoriented, into the air.

“Okay, Auss, use Mega Punch.”

. . .

Blade, Shadow, Raven, and Aeris sat on the sidelines of the spectacular battle, watching with bated breath and clenched teeth. Both Shadow and Aeris looked horrified as Serra was thrown into the air, Raven looked grim, and Blade looked as if he was ready to jump up and run into the battle at any moment. Shadow grabbed him by the shoulder as he began to rise though, fixing the other boy with a sympathetic glare before forcing him back into the seat. This was Serra’s battle; there was nothing they could do to help that wouldn’t violate all the rules of battling.

Blade, still looking distressed, fidgeted in his seat. Both Necro and Maverick, tired of playing, padded up and sat beside the others, watching with fascination. Necro, knowing now what a true battle looked like, was instilled with fear; this wasn’t what he had thought of when he said he wanted to train! Then and there, he made up his mind that he would never battle unless he had to.

. . .

Serra braced herself as best she could in the air, and felt the air whistle as the devastating punch began to speed towards her. At the last second, she twisted she twisted with a cry of “Barrier!” A slightly shimmering wall appeared before her and the attack, but the punch broke through it as if it were nothing, reaching its mark with almost as much speed as it had gained originally.

The strong arm of the Kangaskhan connected with Serra’s midriff, making her cry out involuntarily. She could feel her energy lessen as she took the high damage, and Serra was also pretty sure that she felt a rib or two crack with the force. She barely even felt landing on the ground, but instinct and training made her force her pained and broken body to rise and move quickly in case another such technique were used.

With a sick feeling, Serra glimpsed the barreling form of the tank-like Pokémon lunging towards her for another attack. She hadn’t even heard the command this time…

“Reversal,” she gasped, feeling a spot of blood leak out of her slightly open mouth.

Both Serra and the Kangaskhan roared at the same time. Serra, standing doggedly with both hands out; Auss, running and realizing her mistake at the last second before impact… one second too late.

Light… Red and deep and blinding, emanating from the single point on the field. It blazed until it engulfed everything around the area in its red glow. Then, as it slowly faded away, everyone watching leaned forward with gritted teeth to see the outcome.

Serra stood, half bent over and grimacing in pain, over the still form of the hulking, fallen giant that was the Kangaskhan. The creature had been knocked out in one devastating hit, though the force of its charge had also attributed to its downfall. Kar recalled Auss while Serra dimly smiled at the cheers that her friends called from the sidelines.

“Recover,” she groaned, staggering a little as the sharp, stinging pain of healing spread over her body. Almost instantly, she began to feel stronger, and she straightened with a smile. Kar grinned back, throwing his next Pokèball into the field.

“Go, my Rose Eyes!”

Serra, expecting another hulking giant of a Pokémon, was surprised when she had to look down at the small shape emerging from the red light. The white Pokémon, upon completely appearing, sneezed, shook energetically, and rose its head to stare at Serra with large, innocent eyes.

Serra saw with wonder exactly how the name of this tiny Zangoose fit so well, for her eyes were large, deep red, and breathtakingly gorgeous. On the fringes of the iris and around the pupil, the red faded into a light, almost pastel pink, exactly as if both shining orbs were roses about to open their petals to the morning sun.

“Hey,” the tiny Pokémon squeaked in a young yet silky voice, “You’re the Goddess, aren’t you? Heh, ready to play?”

With that, extremely long and sharp claws moved out from the protective sheaths on Rose Eye’s paws with a sharp and ominous *snick*. Serra suddenly didn’t think of the Zangoose as cute anymore.

“Okay, Rose Eyes, Swords Dance,” called Kar calmly.

With a graceful, single line of movement, Rose Eyes began to dance. It was an entrancing, swirling waltz of death and glory, one that made all the spectators gasp and look closer so as not to miss a single step.

Just as suddenly as it had begun, the dance ended, and the Zangoose stood with slightly glowing claws, growling a challenge.

“Alrighty then,” smirked Serra, putting an arm on her hip while judging the distance between her and her opponent, “Let’s play.”

“Crush Claw.”

“Ancientpower!”

Both attackers moved at the same time. Serra, eyes glowing an eerie green, focused her power on the ground around them. The sand heaved and writhed as boulders rose from the deeper earth to stop just below the surface, waiting. Rose Eyes, with amazing agility, sped forward in a blur of white shot with red.

Almost as if the Zangoose had steeped on a minefield, the sand exploded outwards and upwards as the rocks below shook off their cape of earth and levitated to destroy whatever happened to be in its path. This happened to be whatever Serra directed them towards, and that was Rose Eyes.

“Run, run, run,” laughed the Zangoose, skirting the flying rocks with amazing nimbleness, “You can’t catch me!”

In a flash, Rose Eyes was beside Serra, giving the girl a vicious grin before leaping up and slamming her extended claws down upon her head. Serra reeled, but managed to send a single boulder towards the gloating Zangoose before she fell dazedly to her knees. A small squeal rewarded her quickness, and as Serra’s mind began to clear, she rolled and stood on her feet once more.

“I can catch you,” she gasped, swinging her foot around in an arc. As the limb sped towards the struggling Zangoose, whose claws were pinned under a gigantic boulder, it burned with nearly white-hot fire.

“Blaze Kick!” yelled Serra as her foot reached its target. Rose eyes was ripped from the boulder and thrown to the ground at Kar’s feet.

“Rose Eyes, return,” said Kar, his voice beginning to shake as he brought out his final Pokèball, “Okay, Titan, I’m counting on you.”

The trainer threw the Pokèball out, catching with resolve it as it returned, empty, to him. The beast before him was larger than all the others had been, though it made no sound as it stared, unnervingly calm, at Serra before snorting and looking back at Kar with a questioning look. The boy only nodded once, and the heavily built, sea blue turtle Pokémon turned back with a stomping gait.

“Blastoise,” it rumbled, conveying no words in the ancient bellow.

Two bone colored cannons appeared on either side of its thick shell, clicking into place to prepare for the battle. Serra braced her feet in the sand, ready for anything.

“Alright, Titan,” said Kar, “use Hydro Cannon.”

With a rush of water, the twin cannons on the Blastoise’s shell erupted with highly powered orbs of water. They slammed into the sand, making the ground on the beach turn into a muddy quagmire where it hit. Serra still stood her ground, watching the rapidly approaching barrage of liquid.

Suddenly, the first orb was upon her. It looked as if Serra might be engulfed, but at the last possible moment she leapt up and back, executing a perfect backflip that brought her out of danger. She continued this movement as the next bore down on her, and all the others after that. Finally, as the last explosive bomb of water was absorbed into the sand, she stopped, landing on all fours with hair swept over her face, ragged with sweat and dirt.

“Good work, Titan, use Mist.”

Now, as Serra gathered her breath back on the other end of the field, the Blastoise began emitting a thick fog from the cannons on its back. This slowly but surely covered the arena, reducing visibility to almost zero. Serra saw the trap too late, but was ready with a countermeasure of her own.

“Foresight,” she said to herself softly. Her eyes became glassy, and suddenly the land around her was outlined in red.

And a shape charging towards her was outlined in blue. Serra whirled, but was caught in the attack and thrown far out over the ocean. She dimly heard the splash as the Blastiose entered that water after her before she hit the surface, knocking the breath from her body.

“We bring this battle to my element now, Goddess,” came the whispery voice of the old Blastoise, echoing through the water in such a ripple that Serra couldn’t pinpoint it, “Now prove to me that you deserve your title.”

“I will,” answered Serra, flipping over in the water and moving towards the surface. She formed her water wings, feeling her strength start to slowly return, bit by bit, as she waited for her opponent to make the first move and reveal his position, “I will.”

. . .

“Serra isn’t used to battling in water,” said Aeris nervously, “This could get bad…”

“Then I’ll stop it,” said Blade, jumping up and jogging towards the trainer on the beach before any of the group could pull him back. With exasperated yet understanding expressions, they all leapt up and followed, intent upon stopping the determined boy from making a mistake.

Necro, left on the beach, watched after them. Maverick had already begun running, pumping his short legs and speeding towards the group with excited cries. He began to step forward, but hesitated, one leg raised in indecision. He didn’t really want to get any closer to the battle, but Serra probably needed him. With a final, resolute squeak, he bounded after the rest, sprinting over their footsteps in the sand.

Elite Eevee
23rd November 2004, 1:35 AM
Hmmm, scrath that. Those chapters were fillers for the space.
Still, it'll be great to see these guys(and girls) in action again. What did the big G say about a spy?

AzureFlygon
24th November 2004, 1:35 AM
Okay, I'm not sure of the answer to that question, and am on the fly. Maybe Gatene can answer... or spec could send me the answer...

NEW CHAPTER NEXT!!!!

~~~~~

Serra moved wraithlike through the cerulean blue waters. Sunlight filtered down from the water’s surface, sending down golden rays of light like diagonal pillars through the depths. Serra slowly, dreamily moved through the light, her dark silhouette framed by lush golden light. The miniscule scales upon her wings glittered as the light caught them, becoming a dazzling display of refracted light.

She was oblivious to the beauty as she waited for her unseen foe to make his move.

And make his move he did indeed, with all the brute force and speed of a torpedo.

The air was forced from Serra’s lungs in a stream of bubbles as Titan slammed into her chest in a devastating Skull Bash. He had come from nowhere!

Serra was rocketed upwards with the sheer force of the impact, exploding into the sky amid a halo of water droplets and spray. The girl twisted in the air, her bikini streaked with blood from her previous wounds.

Her wings glowed and transformed, stretching out and rippling as they formed new structures and a new anatomy....

When the wings’ glow faded, they made the onlookers on the beach gasp with awe. Emerald green and glowing slightly as the sunlight filtered through them, they were wings infused with Grass energy. Each feather was actually a perfectly formed leaf, all held together by a branch which served as the wing-bones.

“Vine Whip!”

Serra’s arms rippled and shot out in twin serpentine green blurs. Two thorny vines snaked around the Blastoise’s shell and held him tight.

Kar blinked, and called out to his partner, his voice carrying loud and clear.

“Rapid Spin.”

Tiny clicks echoed as Titan’s guns retracted into their ports. The Blastoise also pulled in his legs and head, and launched his attack. His shell spun, with such blinding speed that Serra’s vine-arms whipped out, yanking her back and she slammed into the water with a booming splash.

Titan bobbed up to the surface, guns bristling once more as he scanned the waters for Serra.

Serra sprang out of the water, her wings now of the feathered Flying type. She hovered just above the water, her feet treading the rippling surface.

“Titan, Skull Bash.”

“Agility!”

Serra shot forward in a blur, running on the water itself. Her wings were flared out to their fullest extent to help her balance. The girl was going so fast that she leaned forward, wings spread back as she ripped up the water’s surface in a foamy frothy trail.

Titan lunged forward at the exact same time… only he was swimming. Both roared towards each other.

“They’re going to crash!” yelled Blade, panicking. Aeris cheered and hooted, completely ignoring Blade. She was in her element...

“WA-HOOOOOO! YOU SHOW ‘IM, MY GIRL! KICK THAT TERRAPIN’S ARSE ALL THE WAY TO NEXT WEEK!”

And crash they did indeed.

Water exploded out in a circular shockwave while a massive geyser blew upwards, raining water down on the audience.

“I told you.” Blade wiped water out of his eyes.

“Aw, shut up, ya big poopyhead.” muttered Aeris.

From between Aeris’s feet, Maverick squealed, echoing her attitude. Necro squealed and twitched his tail while Dark Flame yipped, not liking the water. Ghost sat on Shadow’s shoulder, waving a battered and ancient spoon excitedly.

Serra was on the verge of losing consciousness as she sank downwards. The Blastoise still seemed to be as healthy as ever. He was one of the hardest opponents she’d ever faced...

What do I do? Grass didn’t work... maybe electricity?

Her feathered wings, soggy and bedraggled, glowed once again and transformed into Electric-type wings. They were comprised of jagged, narrow black feathers with yellow streaks in a vespa pattern.

Since Serra was not in the best mental frame of mind, she failed to take into reference how water channels electricity. Her mind was a big black yawning void, focusing on a single point of light that was her consciousness...

“Thunder.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The onlookers on the beach shifted anxiously, unable to see what was happening.

“I hope she’s okay.” mumbled Blade. Raven rubbed his shoulders reassuringly.

“Do not fret, Blade. Serra’s got a good head on her shoulders.” Raven whispered in his ear.

Everyone jumped in fright as thunder crashed. A single, massive bolt of lighting flashed, blinding everyone. The arc of electricity streaked into the sea, and all hell broke loose...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra screamed as a million volts of electricity surged through her body. Being but a human still, Serra was especially vulnerable to electricity, as the Plusle and Minun had so effectively demonstrated at the War for Johto.

Alongside her, Titan bellowed as the same electricity assaulted him. The waters hissed and churned as they boiled. Steam gushed from every oxygen molecule contained within the hydrogen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Stupid, Serra. Stupid, stupid, STUPID.” snarled Aeris as she dragged the girl onto the sands. Kar had returned Titan to his Pokèball, and smiled at Aeris.

“That was a fantastic battle!” he beamed. “It’s a draw. That girl’s pretty amazing.”

“Tell that to her,” muttered Aeris as she nudged Serra with her foot. “She can’t do crazy stunts like that. For all her big grand powers, she’s still a human, but she had to go and forget.”

Terra ran up to the group, panting. She had run all the way back to the resort and retrieved a Max Revive. The small crystal glowed in her hand as she knelt and placed the healing star on Serra’s chest. The star glowed and melted into her skin, and Serra’s face took on a healthy glow once more.

Her eyes opened and she stared up at the sky. Her mouth opened..

“That was fun.” she commented, slightly dazed.

Everyone performed anime-style falls.

Aeris yanked Serra up and frog marched her to the hotel while berating her all the way.

“What would Bonedancer say, Serra? Never use electric attacks if you’re in water!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As evening darkened the sky, and the moon’s gentle glow was trapped in the ocean, the group of friends all gathered in Serra and Aeris’ room in a sort of mini-sleepover.

Pizza was passed out all around, while happy chatter rose to the ceiling.

Serra sat cross-legged against the wall with Necro in her lap. Aeris sat beside her, a large bottle of saké in her lap.

Hydro and Terra were on the bed, playfully bouncing on the mattress and dancing to the music that drifted out of the radio on the bedside desk. Ghost scuttled around the room, accumulating silverware and other assorted shiny things. Once a kleptomaniac, always a kleptomaniac. Dark Flame slept on a shelf set high in the wall, safe from the chaos.

Shadow sat against the wall opposite to Serra and Aeris, looking ecstatic. The source of his happiness was Raven, who had fallen asleep in his lap, and her black hair pooled out around her. Shadow delighted in running his hand through her hair and feeling her warmth against him. Blade sat on his other side, his attention fixed on a piece of pepperoni pizza.

“Looks like you’re plenty happy over there, Shadow.” commented Aeris as she downed down another gulp of sake.

“It’s not every day I have Raven asleep in my lap. Isn’t she the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen?”

“If Raven heard you, she’d have blown your butt all the way to Victory Island.” chortled Blade.

Hydro protested. “Raven may be pretty, but she’s nothing compared to Terra!”

Terra, lip reading Hydro’s comment, chortled and shook her head. She pointed at Blade, then at Serra, then collapsed in a fit of giggles as she bounced off the bed and sat down next to Aeris.

“And just what does that mean?” snarled Blade, shooting Terra the evil eye.

Terra grinned hugely and turned her head, whispering into Aeris’ ear. Aeris’ eyes took on a scary gleam.

“Blade, don’t deny it. Everyone knows you have the hots for Serra.” Both girls collapsed in a fit of helpless laughter, leaning on each other. Serra kept her face carefully neutral.

“It’s not like I want to do anything.” protested Blade feebly.

“Doan be succch a-heheheh...baa-beee..hahahaha.” chortled Terra, her speech impeded by her giggles.

Serra quickly changed the subject, much to Blade’s relief.

“So, how did all of you guys meet up?”

Aeris yawned and stretched. “Oh, it wasn’t a big deal...After I beat the Silver Conference, there was a huge international tournament held by regions all over the world. It’s where I met Hydro, Terra, and Ash.”

“Ash?” asked Serra, blinking.

“Ask Ketchum. He was the Champion of Kanto. You know, the one that was killed when the Andros swarmed Kanto. Anyway, I had beat Ash, whooped his Pikachu’s butt pretty well with Brutus. Then Hydro beat me, and he introduced me to Terra. They met before me. Hydro, tell them.”

Hydro took up the tale. “Yeah, my team beat Aeris...she relies too much on offense, not speed-” (Aeris shot him a withering glare) “ but I had already known Terra. I met her in Orre. She was out cold in the desert, right after she captured her Steelix. I heard Dark Flame crying, and that’s how I found her. I brought her to the closest town, and when she woke up she promptly punched me in the face.”

The room erupted with laughter at Hydro’s last phrase.

“But how did you two become an item?” asked Serra.

“Well, I was with her when she won the Orre championships at Realgam Tower and got the title of Coliseum Master. She was so happy, she grabbed me and gave me a big fat kiss on the lips. Right in front of the entire stadium. You should have heard them roaring and clapping. At that moment, I knew we were going be together for a long time.”

Hydro smiled and put his arm around Terra. “I’m done...it’s your turn, Shadow.”

Shadow looked up, and sighed. “It’s a long story, but I’ll tell Raven's and my tale...”

An icy chill pervaded through the black night - cold except for the unnatural, hot wind blowing south with the strong scent of acrid smoke. Through the dark, starless sky slightly covered by clouds, intermittent moonlight shone onto Lavender Village.


Flames crackled and fires burned. The small town settlement lit up the night, its structures engulfed like the pyres of a bonfire. Everywhere, screaming and smoke filled the heated air as dozens and dozens of people ran, all seeking escape from the terror of attacking Andros Charizard.

Shadow ran with his fellow villagers. Dark winged shapes swooped down upon the fleeing people, snapping hapless victims up and carrying them high, only to drop them, letting their bodies smash limply against the ground far beneath.

The blonde boy could not help but sob quietly as he looked back at the burning remains of his former life. All his family were dead. Where would he go now?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Raven rode silently astride Peachblossom, her face shadowed under the hood of her flowing purple cloak. The girl and her Pokémon trotted along the line of haggard refugees as they walked in a slow, steady line from their former city.

No one could see the salty, hot tears that dripped from Raven’s eyes. She blinked and shook her head. Glancing back at Saffron City, her eyes smoldered like twin garnets as she stared with hatred upon the shimmering pink sphere high in the sky, resting upon Silph Tower. Raven’s heart turned to ice, a cold hard emotionless shell.

The girl’s head shot up as her keen ears heard distant screaming. Wheeling her mount around, she charged, her mount’s hooves tearing up dirt and flinging them into the air as the Rapidash cantered forwards.

Raven soon came upon the fleeing survivors of Lavender. Her eyes rove around the scene, watching horror-stricken as the winged monsters picked them off one by one.

Rage erupted within her, and she charged, shrieking a war cry. The wind howled past them, blowing Raven’s hood back. Her long black hair whipped around behind her as she surged forwards. She held up her right hand, and a blazing nimbus of light erupted from it. White rays of light stretched outwards, piercing the darkness of the night. The Andros howled as the light seared across their armor, ravaging the metal. The Andros immediately took off, flapping blindly and vanishing into the night.

Shadow gaped at their raven-haired savior astride the Rapidash. He was hypnotized by her piercing purple eyes...

When Shadow finished, the room lapsed into silence.

“Wow.” whispered Serra. “Raven was awfully brave.”

“Yes.” Shadow grinned. “She was.” The boy looked down at the girl asleep in his lap, gently brushing his hand over her cheek.

“She and I, we combined our refugees and fled west to Vermillion City, where we discovered the aftermaths of a battle. Terra, Hydro and Aeris were there...Ash had just been slain, but they welcomed us. “

Shadow glanced at Blade. “Your turn, Blade, go on.”

Blade turned his head and stood up abruptly.

“I gotta go.” He started forward, but Terra and Aeris were too fast. They lunged and grabbed each of his arms.

“GET HIM!” whooped Hydro as he opened the door of the closet that was next to the bed. Blade was instantly shoved in, the door slamming behind him.

“What the hell?” sputtered Shadow, looking from Hydro to Aeris.

“Don’t ask silly questions.” Aeris and Terra turned to Serra.

“You. Get up.” Aeris ordered. Serra blinked, and stood up, flanked by the two girls. Serra walked across the room and stopped at the door.

“Um....what?” she asked nervously.

“Obviously Blade won’t tell you his story, but he might change his mind if you two have some time alone.” Terra piped up.

Serra shrugged and disappeared with a pop, teleporting into the closet.

With a grateful sigh, both girls sat down.

“Think any chemistry will happen?” Aeris giggled.

<If nothing semi-romantic happens between those two in the closet, it’s official: They’re robots.> Terra commented.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blade was blindly groping about in the small contained space of the closet, and nearly jumped out of his skin when a hand touched his shoulder.

“It’s me, Serra.” The voice was soft.

Blade sank down into a sitting position, rubbing his temples. Serra sat down next to him, and the both of them sat silent in the darkness.

“They won’t let us out until you start talking.” Serra spoke.
“Figures.” groaned Blade. Serra looked at him in the darkness.

“What’s wrong?” she asked gently.

Blade sighed, and began talking in a hollow, deadpan voice.

“My family moved to Kanto from the Sevii Islands, and we were unaware of the Andros. I had a friend, a Scyther called Stormclaw. We always used to spar together, my sword against his blades. We were ambushed by some Electabuzz....there was no way we could have won. They killed my parents, my little sister, and Stormclaw. They were about to move in, when suddenly they left, I don’t know why. Thinking back, I realize they were probably summoned by one of the Generals. I was kneeling alone, amid my family’s corpses, when suddenly; an Andros Mr. Mime stepped out. I was furious at my loss, and I ran him through with my blade. But as he fell, his visage changed into a child. It was a human child. I killed him. As I realized what he was, I saw the real Mr. Mime vanish into the woods. It was a glamour, a trick. As I knelt over the dead child, Raven and Shadow appeared, leading their refugees. The child had been a refugee, too. They had been about to kill me, but Raven saw into my mind and deemed me innocent, much to the displeasure of the other refugees. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that poor dead boy... I never knew his name, but Raven told me his name had been Velsper.”

His voice trailed off, and the closet lapsed into silence. Blade looked away, and was surprised as Serra placed his hand on his, leaning onto him, her cheek on his shoulder.

“You shouldn’t have to carry the burden of guilt, Blade.”

Blade looked around into Serra’s face.

“I know it was not my fault, but he was only a child!” The boy looked down, a small tear dripping down his cheek. More tears followed, and soon the boy was openly crying in the darkness. Serra wrapped her arms around him and hugged him, rocking back and forth gently with him. The girl sang quietly a soothing lullaby.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Morning shone bright and golden, and everyone in the room slowly stirred. Terra was on the bed with Hydro’s head resting on her stomach, with Ghost and Dark Flame on top of them. Aeris was curled up in the corner hugging Necro. Shadow and Raven had been still huddled together against the wall. Everyone woke up slowly and stretched stiff limbs, yawning and standing up, rubbing sleep out of their bleary eyes.

Aeris jerked as she remembered something.

“Good Christ, we forgot to let them out of the closet!” she yelped. Terra swung off the bed and opened the door slowly, Aeris peering over her shoulder. Both dissolved into cries of “Awwwwwwwww,” and “Look at that!”

Serra and Blade had both fallen asleep huddled up together. Serra blinked as the light hit her eyes, and they fluttered open, taking in the surroundings. As it registered to her where she was, her eyes widened and she disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Blade toppled over, his support now nonexistent. He yelped and jerked awake to find Aeris and Terra grinning at him.

“Had a nice, steamy night of mad, mad love?” chortled the blonde as she pulled Blade up.

“Shut up.” grunted Blade as he pushed past the two girls.

Noon/Afternoon…

“Last one in the water has to do laundry!” yelled Shadow, sprinting over the white sands toward the sparkling ocean with a laugh.

Hydro, always ready for a challenge, followed suite, and almost as quickly overtook and outstripped the other boy. The trainer turned his head, a disturbingly evil smile on his face, before he broke off towards a different path. Shadow slowed slightly, watching in bewilderment as Hydro ran up the rocky slope that rose parallel to the beach, then took a flying leap off the point.

Hydro entered the water with barely a splash. Shadow was roughly brought back to himself as the other members of the group brushed past him, laughing and shoving in their race to get to the water before the others. The only one not running was Raven, who seemed to prefer the beach to the water, and was currently setting up her blanket on the warm sands not far off.

With a distressed snort, Shadow took off running as fast as he could. It seemed, ahead of him, that Aeris was taking the lead of the little group, with Terra and Serra not far behind. Blade looked almost as if he was letting the girls win, a slight smile on his face as he jumped into the cool water after them.

“Hey, that’s not fair!” yelled Shadow, suddenly realizing that he would be the last one into the water.

“Hey, you were the one that made the bet,” called Hydro, swimming on his back in a lounge-like style, “Just because you lost it doesn’t make it unfair.”

“I’ll never accept that!” called Shadow back, standing half in and half out of the deeper water.

“Doesn’t matter,” said Aeris nonchalantly, “You’ve still got laundry duty. You know it was your turn anyway.”

Shadow, silently fuming, swam off by himself to brood near the overhang that Hydro had leapt off from. The water was calmer here, if a little colder, and the rocks provided a good place to just lean or sit at leisure. In fact, after a few minutes, Shadow nearly began to doze off as he tread water rhythmically with his feet.

With a grunt, the fair-haired boy lifted himself to a nice, flat rock just below the surface of the water, kicking his feet out and letting his mind wander. It was so peaceful here; under the rocks… it made the vacation seem a little less frenzied, and his previous anger dissipated like the fleeting thing it was.

Sure, video games and parties are great, mused Shadow silently, stretching, but nothing beats a good, relaxing meditation.

Suddenly, something brushed by Shadow’s toe. The boy froze, looking down into the water. He saw nothing in the crystal clear waters except for the rocks below and stray pieces of seaweed, so he kicked his foot a bit harder to rid it of any lingering tingle and shrugged.

“Must be kelp,” he said, yawning slightly.

He looked back to the clear, sunny, and brilliantly blue sky, fading back into his thoughts. Within seconds, though, he frowned. There was something brushing his foot again, and he was sure that it was no piece of kelp. He continued kicking placidly, but looked down into the water from the corner of his eye.

And snapped his head around to look. The blue, bulbous creature floating by his ankles looked up at him, eyes conveying puzzlement and a bit of a hidden, fiery flicker of mischief.

“Tentacool?” it said, it’s watery voice buzzing slightly.

“Huh, what’d you want?” asked Shadow, stilling his legs and staring intently at the little jellyfish, which seemed somehow fascinated by the silver insignia on the legs of his boxer swimsuit. It was staring at the silver Raikou with something that seemed suspiciously akin to obsession, but was ignoring the Gyarados. Shadow scooted over on the rock, hiding the silver design under his leg.

“Tentacool!” said the Pokemon commandingly, poking his leg with a tentacle and frowning.

Shadow chuckled, and moved obligingly over so that the Pokemon could see the design again. It resumed it’s staring, floating motionless in the still water. This gave the boy a unique chance to study what this creature looked like, which he had never really done before. Tentacool, he had always heard, were dangerous creatures that often attacked without warning, but this one seemed pretty harmless. In fact, it was almost cute, with its large eyes and the ruby red jewels on its body.

And all those thoughts evaporated in the next second.

Quick as a flash, the Pokemon darted out a tentacle and pulled the boxers off the surprised boy, making him yell and tumbled off the rock to splash into the deep water. As Shadow spluttered and cursed and floundered in the water, the ‘cute’ Tentacool swam just past his reach, drifting towards the ocean and waving the boxers like a prize above its head. All the while, it uttered a curious sounding series of clicks that seemed suspiciously like a laugh.

“Get- GET BACK HERE YOU LITTLE-!!!!!” spluttered Shadow, looking around frantically for something that would serve as a covering.

“Shadow?” called Aeris from past the ridge of rock that blocked the cove from view, “Is something wrong?”

“NO!!” yelled Shadow desperately, reddening, “Just get Blade or Hydro over here!”

“Why?”

“JUST DO IT!!!!!”

Shadow heard Aeris muttering, and sighed in relief. The Tentacool continued to swim around in circles, waving the pair of Boxers like a flag and chattering to itself happily. Every once in a while it would stare at the silver design, run a tentacle over it, and start its dance once more, louder and more gleeful than ever.

Suddenly, Shadow heard the sound of a different sort of laughing. He glared in the direction of the rocks, catching sight of both other boys doubled over in laughter as they tried to scramble their way to the secluded pool. Blade caught his breath back first, and straightened to survey the problem with an amused grin. Hydro couldn’t seem to stop shaking with mirth, and was hitting the rock next to him as he tried desperately to stop, but was unable to. Finally, he sat, tears streaming from his eyes and a wide smile on his face.

“So,” said Blade after a moment, “How did you get yourself into this situation?”

“Shut up,” snorted Shadow, “Just get that thing.”

“I’d… I’d be nicer if I were you,” gasped Hydro, still short of breath after laughing so hard, “After all, we could let you get it back yourself.”

“It’s not funny,” snarled Shadow, “Just get. That. Tentacool!”

Blade nodded, and dove into the water with an almost perfect dive, creating very little ripple. The Tentacool, though, froze; looking about wildly and clutching the boxers to itself like a precious item it was protecting. When it caught sight of Blade, it squeaked and frantically started swimming towards the rocks that were the boundary between the pool, the beach, and the ocean.

Shadow almost leapt out from behind the rock he had scrambled behind, “No!” he moaned, “Don’t let it get past those rocks!”

“I’ll head it off,” said Hydro from the rocks. Before he leapt off, though, he turned and smiled at Shadow, “And don’t you dare think I’m letting you get off easy, Shadow,” he chuckled, “I fully intend to use this incident as blackmail, later!”

Hydro turned back, and gaped as he saw that the Tentacool had already passed the rocks while he was talking and was making its way past the girls, who were now staring at it with gaping mouths. Suddenly, all three of them simultaneously burst into giggling laughter. The Pokémon, seeming to like the attention, waved the boxers above its head like a hard won trophy.

Serra approached the Tentacool, treading water easily.

“Tentacool?” she said, “Tenta tentacool?”

“Cool cool tenta,” said the Pokémon, hugging the boxers tightly to it’s body once more.

“Cool!” commanded Serra, holding a hand out expectantly.

Reluctantly, the small Tentacool handed the boxers over to Serra. The girl, after looking at the design for a moment, formed a small claw on one finger, a mere trace of her Goddess armor, and sliced the small design out in a tiny square. After doing this, she gave the silver Raikou cloth to the excited Pokémon, who bubbled happily and drifted off into the deeper waters, disappearing after a few moments.

“Hey, Serra!” called Hydro from the rocks, “Throw it over here!”

With a deft movement, Serra pulled back her arm and threw the cloth towards the rocks. Blade, who was just scrabbling back onto the stone, reached up and grabbed it in midair easily. Hydro called thanks, and both moved back over the rocks to Shadow, who was looking slightly irritated over the matter.

“You’ll need these,” said Blade, handing the boxers to Shadow with a grin.

Shadow snatched the cloth out of Blades hand, slipping the garment on and muttering curses. The fair-haired boy looked at the missing square, grunted, and strode off over the rocks with a reluctant ‘Thank You’.

Blade and Hydro watched him stalk off towards the beach. He seemed to be pointedly avoiding all eye contact with any of the girls, who were also watching as he moved down the path towards the hotel where they were staying. They knew better than to follow, but Raven, who was still sunning on the beach, quietly began to pack up after a few minutes. The others, knowing that the problem was in good hands, turned their attention back to whatever they had been doing before. Soon, the waters were again filled with talk and laughter.

Elite Eevee
24th November 2004, 3:06 AM
Wierd. So, anymore chapters soon? The website's end here.

Gatene
24th November 2004, 9:59 AM
What did the big G say about a spy

Do you mean about the remaining spy in Goldenrod? or Misty being a spy in Hoenn and getting Celebi?

If it's the latter, then Giovanni thinks the plan is worthwhile. If you mean about the remaining spy in Goldenrod, then you'll have to ask the author of that part, because he only massaged his temples when he heard Misty say that. In my opinion, he thinks it is pointless, because everyone else failed.

Of course, that's just my opinion, so we'll wait until Azure gets the answer from Spect. I hope that's what you meant anyway, if not please correct me.


Wierd. So, anymore chapters soon? The website's end here.

What's weird?, I hope, and yes. lol sorry. What is weird?

The new Chapter should be out soon, according to what Azure has already written, the new chapter will be kick ***, and hopefully out soon. I cannot wait to read the whole thing, we're just waiting on Spect I believe.

Yeah, the website ends at Chapter 5 also, because I cannot update the site until SPPF is updated first. I have some sweet ideas to make the site more interesting, but it all depends on Spectreon wether or not to do them. Also, Azure and I will be working together on a new site, and you can count on it being an awesome site.

Did you read all of the Extras stuff in both Extras section? Elite Eevee?
http://spectreon.mybesthost.com/extras.htm
http://sepctreon.mybesthost.com/extras2.htm

Gatene

Elite Eevee
24th November 2004, 2:28 PM
I did. It's pretty interesting stuff,by the way. And I hope the new chapter really is all that. And the wierd? Well, I know the Tentacool wanted the Rakiou on Shadow's trunks,ut takingthem and wavingthem around like a prize?*shudders*

Gatene
24th November 2004, 4:10 PM
Actually I think the Tentacool wanted the Gyarados more than the Raikou on Shadow's shorts. I can understand why it's weird to you, but if you have ever watched the anime....there was an episode (when Charmander evolved) where a wild Mankey stole Ash's official Pokémon League hat, he/she too waved it around like a trophy. I don't think that Azure had that in mind when she wrote that particular part, but seeing that episode made it uhm unweird to me.

Gatene

AzureFlygon
24th November 2004, 9:16 PM
Well, it was the Raikou that the Tenatcool wanted ^^ Why? Because how many electric Pokemon does a normal wild water Pokemon get to see? Really? Having something like that would certainly make it a popular little tentacool in it's home waters ^^

Plus, I have seen that episode, and the scene was based slightly on it, though not completely. I just needed comic releif.

Well, here's the thing you've all been waiting for. The one, the only..... NEW CHAPTER!!!

oh, and the song is "did you" by Hoobastank. I don't own it at all, I just liked the lyrics.
Chapter by both me and Spectreon

~~~~~

These are the children causing us so much trouble, mused Misty as she watched the group talking and laughing in the waters below. The red-haired woman was hidden from sight, sitting on a high ridge scattered the thick vegetation, These are the ones who I was sent to… get rid of. The Giovanni must think me weak, or a fool.

She looked back at the trees behind her, watching for the tell-tale signs of her partner for this mission. Within moments, she picked out the red, glowing eyes of the creature.

“Go,” she said, “get a closer look, but don’t let yourself be seen. It wouldn’t do to reveal ourselves before the time is right.”

“Yes, Mistress,” replied the creature in a mechanical, expressionless voice.

With a derisive snort, Misty turned back to watching the small group. After a few moments, she caught sight of a dusky blond head bobbing in the waters, and snarled in remembered anger and deep, heart-rending pain that she would never admit to. It was her, the one that had taken away her life and all that she had dreamed of… she had taken away Dorian.

I’ll kill her, thought Misty vehemently, I’ll show her what I can do. No one treads on Misty’s territory, or at least they don’t live long if they do…

The red-haired woman let her mind continue on this train of thought while she waited for her partner to return, relishing the memories of people past that she had taught a lesson. Of course, it was a lesson they never got a chance to learn from… not one of them had escaped her. She had been merciless.

That’s what makes a good Team Rocket leader… now why can’t Dorian see that?

Misty shoved the thought from her mind, retreating back further into her memories than she ever had before.

Quite unexpectedly, a flash of bright times erupted in her most secret and locked away thoughts. Desperately, she grabbed onto the scene, wondering what it was. With an almost pained sigh, she closed her eyes…

She was on a log, sitting and looking into a deep pool of clear, fresh water. Her feet were barefoot, and she was kicking them into the pool with careless ease, at peace with the world. Her water Pokemon were all around her, playing in the sparkling sunlight and crystal liquid.

Her Togepi suddenly chirped, pulling on the leg of her shorts and pointing excitedly out into the water. Misty, puzzled, looked out across the surface.

“What is it, Togepi?” she asked, “What do you see?”

Togepi continued pointing, and Misty focused her eyes on the far shore. There was a blue shape lying flat on the back, looking strangely familiar. With a curious look, she rose, calling to her Pokemon and picking up the pacified Togepi before striding towards the object.

“Oh…” she said as she came within view of the thing, “The poor thing!”

Misty gingerly knelt down to have a closer look at the blue, bulbous, red-orbed creature. It looked dead, or nearly so. Tentatively, she took a stick from the ground and poked the creature. It wiggled and moaned slightly, not even able to open it’s eyes.

“It’s dehydrated,” said Misty to her Togepi, “That means it must have been here for quite a while. We need to get it to a Pokemon center, and quickly, before it dies.”

Misty scooped up the tiny Tentacool in her arms, careful to avoid the stinging tentacles, and began trotting towards the direction of the closest center. She paused only to return her Pokemon to their Pokèballs.

“I hope I’m not too late,” she whispered to herself as she ran, “I wish Ash were here, he’s a faster runner than-”

Misty’s eyes flew open as she shoved the thought away as fast as if were a burning brand on her palms. The memory seared her anew; making her almost forget where she was as she rose and turned, ready to run to a place where she would be able to wait out the terrible memories.

She stopped suddenly, almost running into the sharp, venomous antennae of her partner.

“Mistress,” said the dark creature, bowing slightly.

“Guardian,” said Misty coldly, regaining her nearly lost composure, “What have you seen?”

“The humans are unaware of anything wrong,” said Guardian, buzzing around Misty almost as if she were some sort of prey and the Andros a hungry wolf, “They play, and talk, and laugh. Soon, they will be moving to a more secluded beach, the bright blonde’s idea, to search for some evolution stones that have been rumored to be in the area. It would be the perfect time to strike, Mistress.”

“Since when do you give advice?” snapped Misty, whirling back towards the overhanging cliff, “You’re nothing but an Andros, and your job is to obey orders, not to think.”

“My job is to analyze, Mistress, for I am also a spy, and I ensure victory for the army when I can,” said Guardian, still in a monotone voice, but with a tint of sharpness to it that no Andros that Misty had seen before had ever had, “I have been partnered with you for that purpose, and that alone is what I will do. I am not bound to obey you, by orders of the Giovanni.”

“What?!” exclaimed Misty, shocked out of her aloof attitude, “Dorian specifically ordered you not to obey me?”

The Andros did not answer, and Misty took that as answer enough. It was true; Dorian did think little of her… Even just thinking it tore at her heart. She had worked for so long, tried so hard to get where she was today…

“They are moving now, Mistress,” said Guardian, breaking the silence, “I suggest we move to our positions, so that we may be ready when the time to attack comes.”

Misty snarled, and, fuming, brushed past the Andros. Her eyes glared, and even the birds did not dare call as she stalked past. Guardian was left behind, looking amazingly pleased with herself. The red eye sensors in her skull glowed a bright blood red, and she hissed quietly.

“You are a useful tool to the Giovanni, Mistress,” she growled quietly, “and easily manipulated, but you are expendable… I am not.”

...

Misty stepped out from her hiding place in the bushes, her crazed eyes and wicked smile making her look deranged and dangerous. The group of teenagers before her quailed at the sight, though all made moves either to draw their hidden weapons or protect the others beside them.

“Who are you?” asked a tall, brown-haired boy that held a glinting dagger, “What do you want?”

“It doesn’t matter who I really am,” said Misty with a laugh, “In Team Rocket, I am known merely as the Mistress, though to others I am called the Right Hand of Death. As to what I want…” here, Misty pointed to Serra. The dusky gray-blonde girl was standing defiantly, though her impression was somewhat hindered by the brown-haired boy standing protectively before her, “I want her.”

“Get lost!” snarled the yellow-haired girl, bringing out a Pokèball. Misty struggled to remember her name, though always keeping up the cold, aloof manner of her stance and expression.

Ah, the Champion of Jhoto, she remembered finally, what was her name… Ari, no… Aeris!

“Aeris,” purred Misty, reveling in the sudden blink that signaled surprise in the tall girl, “You stay out of this. The problem is between me and her…”

Serra stepped forward, holding up a hand to stop the protests from the others.

“If you want me,” she said, “You’ll have to defeat me, stranger.”

“That can be arranged,” snarled Misty, bringing out a long crystal rod. The woman pushed a button on the side, and the small rod extended to nearly five feet, opening to look like a spear, “Come Goddess, this is just you and me.”

Would you say everything you could;
do the things that you thought you would;
did it ever occur to you that this could be your final day?

“Alright,” growled Serra, eyeing the spear, “If that’s the way you want it.”

The girl concentrated, and the skin on her back roiled as two strange wings began to grow from her shoulders. They reached up into the sky, both featherless and web-less, and of a skin tone brown. Muscles rippled along their length, and the long, bat-like fingers flexed as they came into existence. Serra smiled, and waited for her opponent to make the fist move.

“Fighting wings,” whispered Aeris, “I didn’t think those were possible…”

Did you go where you wanted to go;
learn about what you wanted to know;
did you ever really give something back instead of always taking it?

Misty leapt forward, her dark blue cape streaming behind her as she sped to the attack. The Rocket executive was a blur, hardly visible except for the flash of her weapon in the sun.

Serra stood still as Misty advanced, putting on a face of disinterest. As the red-haired woman approached, her eyes ticked over to focus on the weapon.

“Die!!!” screeched Misty, hefting the weapon and swinging it down. Her aim was to cleave her adversary’s head in two from the first strike, and her blind anger and rush of power made her certain that she was fast enough to do it.

“Not today,” was all Serra murmured. One wing snapped towards the advancing woman, landing in the dirt just before her. Serra pushed off from this wing, sailing into the air and curving in an arc around Misty while at the same time tripping the spear-wielding woman. Misty landed in the sand with a gasp, and just as quickly twisted to her back and swung the spear before Serra had come full around in her maneuver.

“Ugh…”

Did you find what you're looking for;
did you get your foot in the door;
can you look at yourself and feel proud of all the things you've done?

Misty grinned crazily in triumph as Serra groaned, holding the severed muscle of one wing while her eyes shone with pain. The red-haired woman moved the spear until it was just below Serra’s chin, and lifted the girl’s head up to look her in the eye.

“Is that all you really are?” she sneered, “I don’t know how you could have defeated the Whishing Star if it is. Get up, you stealing b*tch, and let me punish you for daring to take something from me!”

Suddenly, Misty was swept off her feet by Serra’s other wing. She was thrown into the air, but a beautifully executed flip saved her from being sprawled out onto the sand. She glared at Serra; a faint cut from her own spear beginning to well up with blood.

“What are you talking about?” gasped Serra, “I haven’t taken anything from you!”

Misty’s eyes narrowed dangerously.

“How dare you!” she screamed, leaping forward.

Did you inspire the ones that you knew;
make a difference to those who knew you;
did you finally figure out what it is that makes us who we are today?

Her spear plunged into the sand where Serra had been kneeling moments before. Misty pulled it out in a violent spray of sand, swinging around to search for her target with eyes seeing a red haze. Serra landed a dozen meters away, her leap having taken her above the enraged woman’s line of sight.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” growled Serra, dodging another thrust from the weapon.

“Lying dog!” shrieked Misty between strikes, “You know full well what I’m taking about! If it wasn’t for you, I’d be happy. Happy!”

Don’t waste another day;
you never know when you'll get one…
Don't waste another day;
to do anything you haven't done...

Serra, her throbbing, injured wing being strained to its limit, propelled herself back from the close combat and to a ledge on a rock near them. The red-haired woman raged at her, making Serra think back. She was certain she had never seen this person before… yet what was so believable about her anger? Serra halfway thought that she had done something wrong.

“It’s all your fault!” continued Misty, “If it wasn’t for you, I’d still be important to him! He’d still pay attention to me, instead of following you like some sort of obsessed slave! You. Destroyed. Everything!”

She leapt, bringing herself to the ledge where Serra perched. Her spear came down faster than the eye could see, and Serra cried out in anguish as it found its mark. A thick line of blood flowed from her good wing, which now hung limply at her side.

“You’re the reason why he doesn’t love me anymore,” snarled Misty while Serra struggled to understand through her pain and confusion.

Did you always give it your best;
is there anything you regret,
if you could have another shot at it all, would you do it just the same?

“I’m sorry…”

It was all Serra could think of saying, and apparently it had effect. Misty, for one vital moment, hesitated in the middle of her final blow, spear sitting motionless in her hands.

Was it all that you thought it could be,
are you the person you thought you would be,
or did it feel like you were spinning your wheels instead of moving forward everyday?

Serra swung her movable wing, knocking Misty’s legs from under her. The red-haired woman fell to the rock with a pained sound, one knee cracking hard against the stone.

The crystal spear was wrenched from her grip, and Misty watched with gaping surprise as it clattered into the bushes below.

Don’t waste another day;
you never know when you'll get one…

“I truly am sorry for anything that you think I did to you,” said Serra with teeth clenched to hide the torment from her wounded limbs.

Misty’s head snapped up, and for a moment Serra saw something in her eyes, something that reminded her of herself a long time ago, when she was lost and afraid in the deadly cold of the snowy Viridian landscape. In an instant it was gone, and the crazed, furious glare had returned. The change was as if a layer of thick ice had frozen over a draining pond.

Don’t waste another day;
to do anything you haven't done.

A thick laugh rasped from Misty’s throat.

“Guardian!!” she cried out, and resumed laughing.

“Mistress,” hissed a cold, calculating voice from behind the woman. Serra gasped, standing and letting her wings fade away as the creature materialized from the shadows. It’s blood red eyes flickered in the dark of the ridge, though the little light available made it’s chrome body flash.

“No…” said Serra, backing away.

“Goddess,” hissed the Andros, taking notice of the girl seemingly for the first time, “I have waited long for a chance to meet you. I had almost thought I never would, after the months you had disappeared.”

“No!” repeated Serra, leaping away to rejoin the group, who were watching the scene with gaping expressions and horror.

The red-haired woman came into the light, followed by the Andros. Its sharp, purple-gray antennae glinted sharply in the afternoon light, while it’s metal wings made a peculiar whining sound as they parted the air. It was the eyes that horrified the group the most, for though all of them had seen the expressionless eyes of most Andros, these dark eyes held a hidden hatred; a deep, writhing black feeling that unnerved and unseated them.

“It’s Celebi,” said Raven, the only person that seemed unaffected by the Andros’ glare.

“Guardian,” snarled Misty as she stood confidently behind the Andros, “Blast them… blast them all!”

“Very well, Mistress,” growled Guardian, “If that is what you wish…”

The Celebi rose high into the air, her armor gleaming dully in the light. Guardian bowed her head, and began chanting in a high, whispery voice while crossing her arms.

All the teenagers gathered close together, fearful and unsure what would happen to them as the tension rose to an unbearable pitch...

Guardian threw her head back and shrieked, a high bloodcurdling sound that chilled the blood.

“Vescere bracis meis!“

Lighting flashed and thunder roared. Glowing red lines spread out from behind Guardian, etching patterns into the air, crazily zigzagging and spiraling, forming a massive mandala in the air.

When the mandala’s formation was done, the mandala glowed an eerie electric blue, giving off intense light.

“Crux Ansata Thorn Ken!”

The mandala roared, and the world disappeared in a flash of intense light...a halo of pure white light blotting out all time and space.

Raven was the first to act. She threw up a shield around herself and the only two creatures closest to her-Terra and Necro.

The lavender, translucent shield flickered and shook as the white light assaulted it, but Raven strained, clenching her teeth as she willed the shield to hold. Terra screamed, the sound ripping at her atrophied vocal cords and coming out as a guttural, savage shriek that only added to the high, piercing drone as the shield held under the torrent of light. Necro, terrified by the display, burrowed into the sand by Raven’s feet and squeaked in horror. Raven’s foot dug into the sand as the force of the powerful attack pushed her back slightly.

At last, the drone died away and the unearthly white light faded out. The lavender shield gurgled and flickered out. Raven blinked her smarting eyes and looked around, stunned.

Aeris, Serra, Hydro and Blade were nowhere to be seen. Nor was Shadow.

A icy tendril of fear clamped itself around her heart.

“Shadow...” she whispered. A chill breeze blew up, and Raven shivered. Terra had the same look on her face as Raven did-lost confusion and horror. Gasping, she checked her belt. An enormous wave of relief washed over her as she felt Dark Flame’s familiar Pokèball still resting there. Necro looked up from his cowering, sand streaming from his silver fur.

Raven spoke at last, finally summing up both girl’s thoughts.

“They’re lost in time. “

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aeris screamed.

Clouds smacked and stung her face as she fell. Her eyes watered and her hair blew out about her face.

“Aeris!”

Aeris gasped and looked around wildly. She caught a glimpse of Serra to her right and slightly below her. Both were falling, falling, falling into a blue eternity with a patchwork of lush green spread out below them.

“We’re falling out the godsda-mned sky! ” Aeris shrieked, all calm and dignity literally thrown to the winds. “Get some wings!”

“I can’t! At the rate we’re falling, my wings would be ripped apart!” Serra shrieked back. “Get on my back! I have an idea!”

Aeris grunted as she leaned herself into the fall to catch up with Serra. Her hands fumbled as they reached for Serra’s arms. Both girls fell as one now, but the increased weight and mass sped up their plunge.

“Barrier! Reflect! Light Screen! ANYTHING!” Serra yelled as she threw out her hands. A thick, multicolored and multi-layered shield flickered to life in front of her. The shield diverted the air flow, so Aeris and Serra could talk at last without having to yell.

“You think that’s going to help us? That shield is gonna snap when we hit the ground, and we shall be Spam!” snapped Aeris.

“Lay yourself close to my back, and hold tight.”

Aeris gasped. “NO! The impact’ll kill you!”

“As long as you live, Aeris, I don’t give a Rattata’s tail.”

Aeris groaned and buried her face into Serra’s hair as the ground rose up at an insane speed, greeting them voraciously. Leaves on trees became visible, rivers could be seen-

A thud, and the world sank into quiet darkness...



Ugh… Where am I?

Hydro came back to himself with a groan. He didn’t quite feel like opening his eyes yet, because of the distant throbbing in his head the signified a beginning headache. He could still feel, however, and the cold grit below his face felt nothing like the warm sand that he had fallen on back at the battle. In fact, he halfway doubted that he was even at the beach anymore.

“Hydro?” came a weak, groaning voice from a few feet away. Hydro sighed, and forced his eyes to open.

As soon as he did, however, they flew to their limit, and the dark-haired boy shot up from his place with a speed that, though making him wince in sudden pain, allowed him full view of the land around him. He disregarded Shadow for a moment, who was the person that had spoken, in favor of looking around him.

The landscape was rough, and short trees grew in abundance all around, though further ahead they seemed to wane. Jagged rocks pushed up from the rust red dirt in a scattering pattern, while the sounds of insects and birds were all that could be heard besides the ragged breathing of the two boys. The sky was red-orange, and it seemed to be near evening, if not already so. Hydro couldn’t tell, for the sky was overcast.

“Hydro?” asked Shadow once more, one hand massaging his dirty blond head, “Where are we?”

“I don’t know…” said Hydro slowly.

“And where is everyone?” continued Shadow, his voice trembling slightly, “Raven, Aeris, Serra, Blade? I’d even take that red-haired woman right now… Just something… familiar.”

A small creature emerged from the bushes to their right, and Hydro flinched back with wide eyes.

“Anorith!” it squeaked, looking at them curiously. Then, without even missing a beat, it scuttled into the bushes off to their left.

“Okay…” said Shadow slowly, “I don’t think we’re in… well… Hoenn, anymore.”

“I think you’re right…”

Both boys stared at each other disbelievingly for a moment, trying to work it out in their heads.

“So, Celebi really does have the power of time,” sighed Hydro at last, flicking a red pebble near his feet.

“It certainly looks like it,” said a familiar voice behind them.

Both Hydro and Shadow whipped around, almost afraid to look but unable to stop themselves. Both whooped, overjoyed, and Hydro leapt to his feet. Shadow followed suite moments later.

“Blade!” they both exclaimed.

“Did you two just see that Anorith walk by?” asked Blade, seemingly unaffected by the welcome, “I’d say we got blasted quite a ways backwards. The landscape certainly looks like it, and the plant life is ancient.”

“So how do we get back?” asked Hydro, beginning to tremble as he looked around at the unfamiliar landscape.

“I don’t know…”

Elemental Charizam
24th November 2004, 9:44 PM
New chapter goodness! And an Terr-annorithicly good as usual. More description about the fighting wing would of been handy, I'm still not sure how it looks to be honest.

Wasn't Celebi speaking latin? How odd.



Ah, the Champion of Jhoto
Typo!

Looks like I'm first to review!

~EC

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
24th November 2004, 9:55 PM
Yeah, I was wondering the same thing about Latin... It sounded kinda familiar, even though I don't take any classess or anything. ^^;; I'm so glad that the new chapter is out! It was soooooooooo great! And I'm sorry I couldn't give it a proper review...
U_U

AzureFlygon
25th November 2004, 3:15 AM
Okay, I went back and found the translations Spec gave me for the latin, just for you readers ^^ All credit for Latin speaking Celebi goes to Spectreon.


Ansata Crux Thorn Ken means,"Life, open your eternal gateway of time." and Versace Brais Meis... means "Eat my shorts."

XD funny, I know. As for the fighting wings, just think of a bat's wings, make them slightly shorter compared to body size, beef them up to about the level of a body builder, and make the fingers very flexible without claws. Then, visulize them being usedas a pair of extra legs, sort of like a spider or even, if you want to go that far, the evil guy on the second 'Spider Man' movie. That's sort of the concept of Serra's fighting wings. They are just an extra, extremely powerful, extension of the body.

ClefairyTenchi
25th November 2004, 3:18 AM
Why was Celebi speaking Latin? Latin isn't a magic language. If anything, Celebi shouldn't have to say incantations at all. Oh well, I suppose maybe it's a limit or something that was placed on it by Team Rocket's Adrosifying.

I agree with Charizam, the fight scene was a little confusing.

Other than that, it was great!

Wait a sec! I thought Anorith was aquatic! What madness is this?!

Elite Eevee
25th November 2004, 3:07 PM
Damn, that was creepy. Misty was always a little flamboyant, but now I can officially say she's lost her mind. sigh
I hope everyone can find their way back. Despite the lifetime supply of Anorith. Maybe even the key to victory lies back there.
Wait a minute, 'eat my shorts'?! Number one, that's Bart's line. Number two, someone like Celebi has the dignity not to say that, and it doesn't even have shorts! Tell the writer that was disturbing and idiotic.

Gatene
25th November 2004, 4:57 PM
Tell the writer that was disturbing and idiotic.

Disturbing? Idiotic? I really sincerely hope you were playing around, because Spect is neither of those....well sometimes she can be a bit disturbing, but that's what makes her interesting, and her writing superb. But she is in no way shape nor form, idiotic. The phrase, "Eat my shorts", yes it came from Bart Simpson, and no, Celebi doesn't wear shorts, but that is EXACTLY why it's funny. It sounds cool in Latin, and it's funny in English, can't you accept that? ;128; <-- my bobble head Tauros stands by in attack mode, waiting for the wrong answer O.O

Anyway on the softer side of Sears...the new Chapter is posted on the site for those of you that go there. http://spectreon.mybesthost.com/fanfic4.htm


Also, what do you all (the readers) think of writer commentaries for each chapter? A commentary would be when the writer would comment on the chapter, tell what she was thinking through different scenes, and anything else she thinks would be worthy to put in there. I'd like to know what the readers think about this idea.

Gatene

Elite Eevee
26th November 2004, 12:39 AM
Well, okay, I wasn't in a good mood when I typed it. Tell Spectreon I'm sorry. I also like the idea of writer's commentary. And about the new chapters. When can we expect new ones? Or will this be the same day-to-day basis?

Gatene
26th November 2004, 12:11 PM
I'm sure Azure won't even tell Spect what was said, so no worries there. Also, about the next chapter...The chapter that was just posted was a brand spanking new chapter, no one's ever read it before then, and there's usually about a few week's lag between chapters, that is why I want to get the new site up, and the commentaries going soon, to fill the void between new chapters. Art cannot be rushed though, and I won't rush Spect or Azure with the commentaries, and Azure and I will work on the new site at leisure, to make it the best site it can be.

I got a little sneak preview about what the next few chapters are about, and I promise everyone, that the next series of chapters will contain things totally unexpected. Spect and Azure have really taken time travel to the next level.

Gatene

Crystallugia
28th November 2004, 9:34 PM
That...was...AWESOME!!! The fight wasn't exactly confuseing for me, just where you put in the lyrics. I think it's sad that Misty has let herself become so evil. And she won't let herself admit that she really loves Ash. At least, that's where I think that this is going. Now, I'm going to the site to look at new updates.

Elite Eevee
28th November 2004, 10:37 PM
Next level? Woah, I'm excited. I hope they can pull it off sucessfully. It would be a huge twist if they acidentally killed someone's ancestor. I hope we can read them soon.

ClefairyTenchi
28th November 2004, 10:46 PM
AND NOW, TO UNLEASH SCREAMING TEMPORAL DOOM!

Sorry, couldn't resist. I like the adding of lyrics, very unique style of writing. Clever, it is:)

AzureFlygon
29th November 2004, 1:29 AM
Thank's, you guys.

Well, just for an update, I know my part of the next chapter is pretty much done... (depends on where we decide to split the chapter, really) I don't know about Spectreon, but I do klnow that she went to washington for a week for thanksgiving and won't be able to write while she's there, so you guys have a bit of a wait.

Sorry I confused people with the lyrics... I just wanted the fight to have more impact and meaning, you know?

AzureFlygon
29th November 2004, 2:56 AM
Scratch that! She's back, and the new chapter is arrived just a few minutes ago! Prepare for time travel goodness!

~~~~
Something ticked Aeris’s nose, and she sneezed violently. Moaning, she opened her eyes. Immediately, her stomach lurched as her brain tried to make sense of the images her eyes were conveying to her brain.

The sky was in the ground and the ground was in the sky.

Had the world somehow reversed while she was out?

Aeris looked down, and saw below her, one of her feet was caught in the branches of a tree. It hit her in a flash.

The world didn’t reverse. I’m upside down and hanging in a tree...

Aeris blinked rapidly several times. From what she could discern, she was hanging from the branches of a stout beech overlooking a simple, well-traveled path. Lush meadows on either side of the path, and mountains off in the distance. It all looked somehow familiar to Aeris but she couldn’t place it. Then it hit her.

“Ohhhh, Jesus Christ Almighty.”

It was Route Two. The route that bridged Virdian Forest and Pewter City.

Pewter City, Kanto.

Something was terribly, terribly wrong here...

Kanto was not lush and green and brimming with life. Kanto was devoid of life, battle-scarred, war-torn. Ruined buildings, burned tree stumps, dead plants, and the ground all brown and dusty and the sky all reddish.

“Holy...” breathed Aeris. “That goddam Guardian and her goddam time warping. Great. Another typical day for me.”

Sighing with expasteration, Aeris fumbled at her belt, and breathed a sigh of relief when her hands found Maverick’s pokeball. She pressed the release button, and there was a yelp following a crash as the Totodile thudded headfirst into the dirt path below Aeris.

“Tot a diiiiiiile!” Maverick groaned, rubbing his head. He looked around, puzzled.

‘Up here, kiddo.”

Maverick followed the direction of the voice and his eyes popped out.”

“Totodile toto totaaaaa!” He howled with amusement and sat down promptly, his small frame quivering with laughter.

“Yes, Maverick, I am perfectly aware of the fact that I am hanging from my right foot in a tree like an overripe fruit. Now shut your yap and go find a poor loser to help me down.”

The Totodile produced a very rude raspberry and scurried off down the path. Aeris yelled out a parting comment after Maverick’s retreating back.

“And don’t bite them!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“So, what do you guys think we should do?” asked Hydro as he sat staring into the brightly burning fire that the small group of boys had built on the spot they had come into this strange and ancient land. Blade was sitting a ways off, looking out into the dark night, and Shadow was laying on his back a few feet away, staring at the sky that somehow looked so much like the rooms they had stayed in on the ship.

“There’s not much we can do,” said Blade after a thoughtful pause, “Perhaps we should just explore around a bit. I’m sure there has to be something interesting in this land, and maybe we can find something to help us.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” said Shadow, shrugging, “I just wish I could get back… I mean, this place is interesting and all, but I’m sure Raven must be worrying about me by now…”

“Don’t give me that, Shadow,” said Hydro half-jokingly, “You’re worried about her, I can see it in your eyes.”

“So?” said Shadow, “What’s so wrong with that? You can’t tell me you’re not worried about Terra!”

“I may be worried, but I can’t do anything about it in this situation,” said Hydro quietly, looking back into the flames, “I wish I could, but I can’t…”

Shadow sighed, and looked off into the darkness surrounding the small group, “Sorry, Hydro. I didn’t mean-”

“No one meant anything,” said Blade, “Yeah, it’s hard being stuck out here, with friends missing, but we may as well make the best of it. Gods know I’ve had to before, and I’m sure both of you have been in similar situations. Why don’t you both go to sleep, I’m sure you’ll feel better about things in the morning.”

“What about you?” asked Shadow, sitting up from his reclining position with a look of worry, “Don’t you need to sleep?”

“Thanks for volunteering for second watch, Shadow,” said Blade with a sly smirk, “I’ll wake you in a few hours.”

“What?!” exclaimed Shadow, “I didn’t mean that!”

“Oh, come off it,” sighed Hydro with a chuckle, “Do you really want some prehistoric behemoth of a Pokemon to sneak up on us when we’re sleeping. I know I wouldn’t!”

“Fine,” sighed the light-haired boy, “But tomorrow you’re taking first watch, Hydro.”

“That’s how it goes,” said Hydro amiably, settling into a comfortable position on the gritty turf.

With a snort, Shadow did the same, and soon both were snoring gently. Blade continued to stare off into the darkness, wondering how it was that the night could be so warm in this area. It had always been chilly at night when he had been alone in his wanderings years ago. It must be that the sands kept the heat of the day. The landscape had been much different from the beach they had vacationed on… now it seemed so long ago. Had it truly been just a few hours ago that he and the rest had been enjoying themselves on the warm sands? Now they were lost and alone, and the girls were possibly in the same situations as themselves, or even in worse…

“Serra…” whispered Blade into the wind, remembering the girl’s fair face and sand colored hair, and they way she moved… so gracefully… when she battled. Where was she now? Was she in a different time, or had she been blasted to the same one they were in? Was she locked in battle with the Guardian? Or… was she already dead?

“Shut up,” Blade snarled at himself, “Serra would never lose to Celebi, she’s too strong for that. She can’t lose…”



“Rise and shine!” said Shadow loudly and obnoxiously, poking Hydro and Blade with a long stick, “Come on, you two lazy lumps, it’s time to get moving!”

“Wha-?” said Hydro, blinking sleepily.

“Ugh, come on, Shadow,” moaned Blade, rolling over, “It’s barely light out.”

“Hey, don’t adventures usually start at first light?” asked Shadow innocently, poking Blade once more, “You ought to be used to this, you know. Before we went on vacation we always got up at first light… or has our stay in Hoenn made you soft?”

“Hey!” said Blade, taking an annoyed swing at the cheerful boy and missing. He sat up, eyes still bleary but more awake than he had been, “Come on, then, let’s go!”

“Morning people,” muttered Hydro as he stood up to follow the other two. The dark-haired boy stopped for a moment to kick around the ashes of the fire, and trotted to catch up with Blade and Shadow, whom were heading towards the clear path that seemed to lead to a more open area ahead.

All three stopped in shock when they reached the end of the path.

“What is this?” said Shadow in awe as he gazed at the huge, seemingly endless piles of rust red sand dunes and swirling dust devils. The red, shimmering morning sun rose magnificently behind them, making the shadows of the dunes lengthen and almost touch the little grove of trees.

“We’re in a desert!” exclaimed Hydro, looking all around with wide eyes.

“I vote that we go on a small search for water before we even think of continuing,” said Blade, turning back and shrugging.

“I second that motion,” said Hydro, following him.

“Carried, then,” replied Shadow after a second of looking into the red glare that promised to be a scorching heat in no more than a few hours, “And how about finding something that can be used for shade, too?”

“We’ll look for everything,” said Blade, “This seemed to be a small oasis, so I’m sure there must be water about, and some large leaves weaved together will provide a good shade for us. If anybody thinks of anything else we’ll need, try and find it as we go.”

“Wait, wait!” said Hydro suddenly, pulling the group to a stop, “Look there!”

He pointed in the direction that the Anorith had gone the previous day. The bushes were still slightly parted from the Pokemon’s passing, and a small trickle of water could be seen between the foliage. Shadow, always enthusiastic, whooped and leapt forward. The other two boys looked at each other, shrugged, and followed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Route 3, Between Mount Moon and Pewter City...

“Thank god..I never thought we’d get out of that cave...and not a single Clefairy to be seen. So much for making some easy money...” groaned a purple-haired older boy as he stepped out of the dark cave entrance of Mount Moon. The boy blinked as the sunlight dazzled him after being in the dark caverns for so long. Yawning, he stretched, standing on tip-toe. Behind him, a small creature walked up and gave him a shove, sending the boy stumbling.

“Hey! What the heck did you do that for, Meowth?!” snapped James of Team Rocket. His emerald green eyes flashed with annoyance as he regained his balance somewhat gracefully.

His feline companion, Meowth, looked up at him pityingly, the sun flashing off the golden talisman set in his forehead.

“There’s no time to be standin’ aroun’ stretchin’ and simperin’ like a prissy goil.” purred the alley cat Pokemon. “We gotta get movin’.”

A third person came up behind the bickering pair.

“Can it, you two!” she snapped irritably. Jessie of Team Rocket and James’ partner in crime had beautiful flowing magenta hair and frosty icy blue eyes. And a temper to put a Primeape to shame. “We need a break, Meowth...we’re tired!”

“Youse humans jus’ don’t have the endurance us pokes do.” chuckled Meowth, dodging a kick from James.

Jessie snorted and looked out down the hill. The walk from Mount Moon was all downhill, thank goodness. As her eyes traveled down the path leading to the distant Pewter City, they focused onto a dark object a little off the path and in the grass.

“Hey... you guys... what’s that?” Jessie asked, pointing down at the dark lump. James squinted and put his hand over his forehead.

“I can’t quite make out what it is..”

“Well, let’s go look, shan’t we?” Meowth pushed past his two friends and dropped to all fours. “Last one there is a rotten Exeggcute!”

He took off, tail waving upright in the air like a banner.

“I’m always the rotten Exeggcute,” sighed James as he and Jessie followed Meowth at a more leisurely pace down the hill. Overhead, the sun shone mirror bright in a perfect pastel blue sky filled with downy clouds, floating by like Mareeps. A distant Fearow called out, its rasping cry mingled in with the soft whickering of Rattatas.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“This is a pretty big oasis,” moaned Shadow, all his enthusiasm gone as they followed the slightly larger stream. It had been a few hours since the discovery, and the sun was beating mercilessly down on all their heads. The heat was getting to all of them, and only the need for something familiar and known kept them from biting each other’s heads off.

“We’ll Shadow,” growled Hydro, “I’d seem smaller if you’d just be quiet for a little while!”

“What’s that supposed to mean!?”

“You know exactly-”

“Hey!” cut in Blade before the two could start bickering again, like they had just a half-hour before, “The heat is getting to all of us. I think we should take a break; get in the shade and drink some water to cool off. The stream will wait, and we have about as much time as we want to follow it.”

“Good idea,” said Shadow, perking up.

Hydro nodded, and all three flopped down in the shade of a large fern. The temperature instantly cooled, and all three took the flask that Blade carried and drank greedily.

“Although we can’t do this when we’re in the desert,” said Blade after wiping his mouth on his sleeve. He passed the water to Hydro, who refilled it in the stream, “We’ll have to ration it.”

“Well, we may not even have to travel in the desert,” said Shadow with a small shrug, “We don’t know if this is a main forest or an oasis, after all.”

“Not anymore,” remarked Blade, “It seems a little large to be an oasis.”

“You never know,” said Hydro after a moments thought, “after all, in Orre there’s a city that’s built in an oasis.”

“That big, huh?”

Hydro nodded, and the group fell into silence. There was little sound in the jungle besides the constant buzzing of insects and the occasional cry of some mysterious bird. It seemed to all that they were alone.

“You know,” said Shadow, breaking the silence, “I always thought of the ancient times as filled with Pokemon and life… this just seems rather deserted.”

“I was thinking that, too,” said Hydro, nodding, “Why haven’t we seen anything besides that Anorith?”

“Don’t know,” said Blade, standing up, “But the break’s over. Lets get moving again.”

Shadow groaned, and the others gave him a sharp glare before moving off, making the blonde boy jog to catch up. The insects quieted slightly as they moved, then resumed their chorus with renewed zeal, almost as if trying to make up for their previous faltering.

“Well,” said Blade cheerfully, “It looks like we didn’t have to start complaining, after all. See?” he pointed to the bushes before them where the stream disappeared, “There’s a lake right past those.”

“Really?” said Shadow, trotting forward. He parted the bushes and cheered, “Heck yeah! Man, I’m glad we finally found it!”

Hydro looked around while the others filled the flasks yet again with fresh water. The lake was fairly large, and there were dozens of small streams that branched off from it into the forest all around. He suspected that this might even be the feeding lake for the entire oasis. His eyes widened as he looked at the center of the lake, however, and he shook Shadow to get him to look as well.

“What the-”

In the middle of the lake was a small island, and on that island rose a huge and elaborately ornamented pillar. It seemed almost man-made, and that is what surprised Hydro so. By all their calculations, humans should not have been in this ancient world, yet here was a testimony to an advanced civilization!

“What’s a pillar doing here?” asked Blade, his brow furrowing.

“Look, though,” said Shadow, “it has… spikes or something on its side!”

Indeed the gigantic pillar did have some sort of projections on its side. They numbered at four on each face, made of what seemed to be onyx or obsidian. The body of the pillar seemed suspiciously like pure gold, the way it flashed and glittered in the sun, and its sides seemed to be encrusted with different forms of jewels.

“Let’s get a closer look,” said Blade, coming out into the open to look for a place to cross the water.

WHO DARES TO ENTER MY DOMAIN?

“What the heck was that?” asked Shadow, his voice squeaking slightly as they all jumped at the booming voice in their heads.

“Look!” gasped Hydro, pointing to the tip of the pillar.

The top of the pillar was a four siding triangle… a pyramid in shape, and had beautiful curving black designs on each face. But now, as the three below watched in awe, the designs parted and opened to reveal four glittering and flashing rubies of gigantic proportions. The jewels sparked in the red sun, and suddenly moved to focus on the intruders.

STATE THY NAMES AND PURPOSES, INTRUDERS, OR BE DESTROYED!

“Uh…” said Hydro as he was pushed from behind by Shadow, “My name is Hydro, this is Shadow, and Blade.” He stammered nervously, “We… uh… well, we just want some water and a way to get out of this place.”

SO YOU ARE NOT FROM HERE? Boomed the creature, eyes somehow narrowing.

“No,” said Blade, “We come from far away.”

YOU ARE NOT TELLING THE WHOLE TRUTH, snarled the pillar, its ruby eyes glowing, PREPARE FOR DESTRUCTION

“Hey, wait!” yelled Shadow, coming forward, “We just want to get back home! Celebi blasted us here through time from an attack… I don’t know if you’d know of that Pokemon? We’re lost, confused, and we don’t even know what you are, where we are, or how we’re ever gonna get back! Go easy on us, whatever you are…”

YOU TELL THE TRUTH, stated the creature, its eyes returning to normal, I HAVE NOT HEARD OF THIS CELEBI YOU SPEAK OF, THOUGH POKEMON I KNOW OF WELL ENOUGH, here a sound that seemed like a chuckle emanated from the pillar, I AM KNOWN AS AN OBELISK, A MEMBER OF AN ANCIENT RACE OF POKEMON THAT HAVE BEEN ON THE EARTH SINCE ANY CREATURE CAN REMEMBER.

“Wait, you’re a Pokemon!?” asked Shadow disbelievingly.

OF COURSE, said the Obelisk, ONE OF THE FIRST. YOU SAY YOU ARE FROM ANOTHER TIME? Here, the Pokemon sounded very curious, TELL ME OF IT. IT HAS BEEN LONG SINCE I HAVE SPOKEN WITH ANOTHER, FOR NONE HAVE EVER DARED TO DISTURB ME.

Shadow looked at the others, and they shrugged. It was better to give the giant creature what it wanted, after all, since the group had a feeling it could destroy them without a thought. They waded through the shallow lake and emerged upon the soft green grass of the island. The Obelisk was even larger up close, and Hydro had to crane his neck back to see the top of it.

ALLOW ME TO MAKE CONVERSATION MORE COMFORTABLE, said the Obelisk.

With a grinding roar, the Pokemon glowed with garnet light and lifted from its spot on the ground. The boys stared with open mouths as it floated to what seemed to be a prepared spot in the water, and lowered itself down into a deep hole. When it finally stopped, the Obelisk’s ruby eyes were almost level with that of the boys on the shore.

“Okay, then…” said Shadow with a trembling voice. He cleared his throat, and began again, “Okay, this is the story… our story. It began with an evil, power hungry organization known as…”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Are we there yet?”

“No.”

“How about now? Are we there yet?”

“Ash, CAN IT!”

“Ow! You don’t have to hit me!”

“Pika! Pika chu chu!”

“You two are worse than a old married couple.”

“Brock, shut up!”

“Brock, shut up!”

“Touchy, touchy..”

Banter shot back and forth between the trio of old friends as they moved through Virdian Forest. Shafts of sunlight filtered down through the gently swaying leaves of the canopy, creating a lush golden glow throughout the forest. Butterfree danced around lazily in meadows while Spearows flitted from tree to tree, pecking at the soft bark in hopes of uncovering a meal of juicy grubs and beetles.

Ash, a young boy of fourteen years with slightly untidy jet-black hair, had just arrived in his homeland after defeating the Hoenn League for a much-deserved vacation with only his Pikachu and his two oldest friends, Misty and Brock. Misty was an attractive young woman with a shock of orange hair tied back in a ponytail and a temper to match a Typhlosion. Her much more sedate companion, Brock, spoke in a lazy drawl and his eyes were always half-closed, an aspect of his slow but dependable persona. Although he wasn’t so slow if he happened to catch a glimpse of a Nurse Joy...

Ash stretched and yawned, letting his concentration drift.

“Tot-a-diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllle!”

“Waaaaaaaah!”

Ash yelped and tripped, crashing down face first into loamy grass. Pikachu landed beside him, headfirst in the soil.

Misty gasped and bent down to Ash.

“You alright, Ash?” she asked worriedly, her forehead creasing.

“Ptooey....yes...relatively...” Ash muttered darkly as he looked up at the small blue reptile standing before him. The Totodile did a little jig, giggling gleefully.

“A wild Totodile in this place? That’s unusual..” drawled Brock as he pulled Ash to his feet.

The Totodile stopped dancing and looked up at them again, its gaze more intense.

“Toto toto totoooo!” it squealed, turning and pointing up the path ahead them. It turned back to the trio and jumped up and down.

“Diiiiiiiile!” it finished, a bit empathically.

“Uh.....what?” Ash blinked.

“Ash, you moron! It wants us to follow it..right, little guy?” asked Misty. The Totodile cried out happily and started up another bizarre little jig. Suddenly, it dropped to all fours and took off.

“Totodile!”

“Come on, let’s go!” yelled Ash, taking off after the Totodile, with his loyal Pikachu in hot pursuit.

“Wait up, you-you moron.” snarled Misty as she broke into a jog with Brock following close behind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts....there they are all a-standing in a rooooooowwwww..dee-dee-dee-dee....” Aeris sang softly to herself as she swayed slightly. Her foot was getting sore, though.

The blonde girl was jolted from her reverie at the thunder of approaching feet.

About time, too...

From her upside-down perspective, she saw three approaching people...a red-haired girl, a brown-haired older guy, and a young guy in a hat with a Pikachu. He looked strangely familiar...

Aeris’s heart began to beat rapidly.

Oh my God. It’s Ash. Ash Ketchum.

She went into a state of dazed shock as memories played in her head...

When she and her fellow champions had been introduced into the Elite of the National Pokemon League, they had met Ash, who at that time been the current Champion of the Kanto Region. He had been twenty when they were fourteen, and they had all looked up to him....when he died in the advent of the first Andros invasion of Kanto, they had all been heartbroken...

“Maverick, you fool. ” groaned Aeris. By this time, Ash and his friends were drawing to a stop and looking up at her with stupefied confusion and curiosity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brock immediately went gaga over the blonde trainer stuck in the tree.

“A damsel in distress! This has made my day!” he crowed as he gazed up at the girl, eyes shining with newborn love.

“Lovely maiden, do you require-Yeaaaaaargh!”

“Not now, Brock.” snarled Misty as she loosened her grip on the hapless boy’s ear. Meanwhile, Ash had already gotten the girl down safely.

“Thanks, kiddo.” panted the girl as she sat down and massaged her sore foot. “I owe you one.”

“Is that your Totodile?” asked Ash, pointing at the Totodile dancing its now-familiar jig beside the blonde girl.

“This idiot? Yep, he’s my partner. His name is Maverick. And my name is Aeris.” sighed the blonde as she jabbed a thumb in Maverick’s direction. She wore casual attire, simply baggy jeans with a tight sleeveless white top and fingerless black gloves. A single Net Ball hung from her belt, presumably Maverick’s.

“Aeris, what a lovely name!” gushed Brock, but immediately went silent with a frosty glare from Misty.

“This is Misty, that’s Brock, and my name is Ash Ketchum. And this is Pikachu,” finished Ash. Pikachu raised a hand in greeting.

“I know.” Aeris stood up and stretched.

“Uh...how’d you know?” asked Ash, puzzled. Aeris suddenly smacked her forehead.

“Never you mind.” she snapped as she picked up the hyper Maverick and set him on her shoulder. “It’s been nice, guys, but I gotta go look for my friend.”

“But wait! How’d you get stuck in that tree?” blurted out Brock. Aeris shrugged.

“It’s a long story..” She turned to go, but Ash blocked her path.

“Maybe we could help you find your friend!” he grinned.

Aeris ground her teeth.

Was he really this annoying as a kid? Exasperated, she threw up her hands.

“Fine! Come if you want, I guess.” she grumbled.

I’m too soft...dammed kids.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I SEE… said the Obelisk after a long and uneasy pause, THIS IS TROUBLING… VERY TROUBLING…

“And that’s why we need to get back,” said Hydro, “We need to help our friends and finish our quest so the world can be saved.”

I FEAR YOUR SMALL GROUP ALONE CAN DO LITTLE AGAINST THE THREAT FROM THE FUTURE, said the Obelisk, it’s eyes wavering down to sweep over the three on the island, EVEN WITH THE GODDESS REBORN, MAY SHE LIVE FOREVER.

“What are you getting at?” asked Blade suspiciously, eying the giant ornamented Pokemon.

YOU NEED AN ARMY TO RIVAL THAT OF THE ANDROS IF YOU EVER HOPE TO SUCEED IN YOUR QUEST, said the Pokemon bluntly.

“But we do!” said Shadow, “The humans and Pokemon of all the regions will come to fight-”

YOU WILL NEED MORE THAN THAT, interrupted the Obelisk, FOR THERE IS A CHANCE THAT THE GODDESS WILL NOT BE WITH YOU TO FIGHT THE ARMY. YOU MUST BE SURE IN YOUR POWER, OR YOU SHALL FALL... AND IT SHALL BE A LONG FALL INDEED… the ancient creature growled the last words, almost as if remembering something.

“Then what do we need?” asked Hydro, almost afraid of the answer.

YOU SHALL NEED AN ARMY THAT WILL NOT LOSE, replied the Obelisk, AN ARMY OF THE DEAD.

“What?!” squeaked Shadow, backing away slightly.

GO NORTH THROUGH THE GREAT DESERT, said the Pokemon, ignoring Shadow, THERE, YOU WILL FIND THE ALPHA OF THE ARMALDO. SPEAK TO HER, AND IF SHE DEEMS YOU WORTHY, SHE WILL DIRECT YOU TO YOUR NEXT DESTINATION. GAIN AS MANY ALLIES AS YOU CAN, YOUNG ONES, AND YOU WILL GATHER AN ARMY TO STRIKE FEAR INTO THE FUTURE TIMES.

“Alright,” said Blade, “but what about you?”

GO, said the Obelisk, I AM TIRED, AND MUST SLEEP NOW IF I HOPE TO WAKE IN TIME FOR THE WAR. SEEK ME OUT IN YOUR OWN TIME, WHEN YOU ARRIVE THERE. YOU HAVE GAINED THE OBELISK TRIBE AS YOUR GENERALS.

“We thank you, great Obelisk,” said Blade gravely, bowing.

MY NAME IS GIORN, muttered the gigantic Pokemon, and then it was silent. The small group of boys backed up as the red glow engulfed it once more, and it rose to its previous spot on the island. After a few moments, the group could sense the small yet deep grumbling of snoring echoing in their heads.

“Okay,” whispered Blade, “Lets go.”

“To the… desert?” asked Shadow a little hesitantly.

“That’s where it told us to go, and now we at least have a purpose before we somehow get back to our own time.”

“But how will we do that?” asked Hydro as they began to walk, “We certainly don’t have the power of time travel, and I don’t know any other way to get back unless we want to become members of the dead army!”

“Don’t even say that,” groaned Shadow, shuddering.

“We’ll get back,” said Blade, “We have to…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Oh, my..” whispered the young woman as she drew near what they had been heading for. A deep, brutal scar was gouged into the ground, and at the end of it was the crumpled form of what looked like a young girl, sixteen at the very least. Only four years younger than the twenty-year old Jessie.

James knelt to examine the girl. Her body was grotesquely crumpled like paper and a thin trickle of blood trailed out of her mouth. Her face and clothes were smeared in dirt and uprooted grass from the collision she had apparently suffered with the ground.

“Don’t tell me she fell from the sky?” exclaimed Meowth, scratching his head and looking puzzled.

“So it would appear,” commented James in his usual soft tone. “What do you propose we do, Jessie?” His green eyes locked onto Jessie’s, and her heart gave a small flutter.

“Um...we can’t leave her lying there. Let’s move a little further into the trees and set up camp. It’s almost evening anyway. We can see what we can do for the poor girl.”

James nodded and gently lifted up the girl. His expression was one of surprise.

“She’s pretty light.” His voice was startled. Meowth shrugged impatiently.

“Whatever, ‘mon! Let’s go...or are youse guys gonna stand around?”

James huffed and stalked forwards, following Jessie and the Meowth into the woods.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“How big is this desert?” asked Shadow once more, making both other boys bristle and clench their teeth. The annoying boy had been asking the same question every few minutes not a half-hour since they had set out.

“Shadow,” said Blade quietly, “Please be quiet, or I shall personally rip your tongue out.”

“Okay, okay,” sighed Shadow, “But it’s kinda boring out here… How about we talk about something?”

“Like what?” asked Hydro, glad to actually have something to do besides think of the sweltering heat the shimmered up off from the red grit beneath their feet.

“Umm… how about the rest of the group?” asked Shadow, slightly hesitant, “Like, what do you think Raven or Terra is doing right now? I bet they’re back in our own time already, waiting on us to arrive. They were always more efficient than us…”

“Probably,” snorted Hydro, feeling the beginning of a slightly better mood rise in him, “Or both of them could be fighting some giant creature, and having fun doing it. I know Terra would. They may even be looking for us…”

“They could even be in the same situation as us,” said Blade tersely, “And that’s why we have to make the best time we can so we can get to the Armaldo lands.”

“Really,” began Shadow thoughtfully, “How would Armaldo lands be in the desert? Don’t they live in water?”

“We don’t know that for sure,” said Hydro, getting into the new discussion, “All we know is information from resurrected fossils and the few studies we’ve done. Even so, not many people have Armaldo… I only know of two of the creatures right now, and both of them are on Victory Island.”

“Yeah, but didn’t a few people in Cherrygrove have some?”

“They might have,” shrugged Hydro, “If they did, I didn’t see them.”

“I saw one,” said Blade, turning slightly with his eyes shining, “Hydro, you know you were too busy boasting about your team to see anything! A woman had it; said she found the fossil that she resurrected it from in the Hoenn desert.”

“Yeah, I heard there’s a bunch of fossils hidden out there,” agreed Hydro, “Just like in Orre. The deserts always hold some interesting things.”

“Like what’s coming at us right now…” said Shadow suspiciously, drawing his katana and gesturing towards the strangely swirling sands before them.

A mysterious sound that seemed alluringly like whale song echoed though the driving wind, and the sand before the group shifted and moved as if some giant thing beneath it were writhing. Blade stumbled back as the sand under his feet heaved, knocking into Hydro who in turn fell into Shadow. The entire group dropped onto the red grit, knocking the breath from their bodies as they looked around in wild confusion for the source of the phenomenon.

With an abrupt hiss, the dirt to the left of the group exploded upwards and just as suddenly settled back into place, giving the appearance of some gigantic portion of a sea serpent undulating though the surf. The occurrence was repeated behind and to the right of them. Blade struggled up, closely followed by Hydro and Shadow, and looked with guarded curiosity as the humps of sand continued to rise and fall.

The sand was beginning to rise even higher now, and as the grit slid off whatever was beneath it the boys could catch glimpses of some dull tan carapace… almost like that of some enormous millipede, flash in the sun before disappearing in its element. Blade slowly drew a small, hidden dagger from his boot, though he was convinced it would be of very little use against such a creature.

His thoughts were confirmed as the red grit flew into the sky no more than twenty yards from where they were standing. The gigantic, flat head of some strange and ugly creature emerged, and Hydro gasped as he saw it. It was enormous, indeed, and its eyes, so very small and bead-like where they were set on the sides of the head, were very easily the size of beach balls. Inside the gigantic, ever open maw, at least three rows of teeth flashed, each tooth as long as Shadow’s own katana. With a squeak, the light-haired boy lowered his weapon.

“What do we do?” he asked, backing up as the dark, soulless eyes of the creature locked upon the three standing under it.

“There’s only one think we can do,” said Blade, slipping the dagger back into his boot, “RUN!!!”

With a yell, he turned and sprinted across the sands. Hydro followed him instantly, and, after a moment to sheath his katana, so did Shadow. The worm-creature trilled in its whale-like voice, and slammed headfirst into the sand behind them to give chase. The sand flew into the sky where it had passed.

Blade picked up the pace, running as he had never run in all his life. Hydro, who was a better runner than the others, ran beside him easily. Shadow struggled to keep up, not used to running in such amounts. Blade looked back, and, upon seeing Shadow’s predicament, slowed the pace down so that the other boy could catch up.

“We’re dead, we are SO dead!” Shadow panted, cursing.

“Just keep running,” gasped Blade, “It might lose interest in us…”

“Are you kidding?” said Hydro easily, not tired as of yet from the running, “This thing is toying with us! Do you really think it would have gone through all the trouble of putting on that show of sand if it hadn’t been planning this to begin with?! It’s obviously much faster than us; the worm is just letting us tire out for its own entertainment, like how a Persian plays with a beaten Rattata!”

“Then there’s no hope…”

“There is always hope!”

From the dune before them, a line of shadowed creatures rose. All three boys pulled to a stop, surprised and frightened by this sudden show of numbers and the mysterious voice that had called so strongly from the sands. They whirled around, though, as the grit behind them rose and the worm reared into the sky, its needle-sharp teeth grinding in anticipation.

As if on some unseen signal, all the shadows on the dune roared. From each one came a torrent of clear blue water, hissing though the air and sand to hit the gigantic worm head on. The immense beast screamed in protest, closing its maw and flailing its great head into the sky. As the water continued, it squealed a final, gut-wrenching squeal and sank down into the muddy ground, it’s song silenced as it slithered away in defeat.

The three boys watched this with mouths agape, still in shock of their brush with death and amazing rescue. Shadow was the first to sink down upon the sands as his legs gave out, in part from running but mostly from faintness. Hydro followed him soon after, and as Blade tried to help the others get up from the red dirt, he too felt the overwhelming tiredness sink upon him. With a final, bleary gaze at his rescuers, he closed his eyes and slept.

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
29th November 2004, 11:38 AM
oO''''''' That was teh awesome! Although I realized that with both...was it Misty, an Jessie, you compared their tempers to pokemon. It's kinda of....different when the perspectives kept on switching back and forth between the two groups. (By the way, different doesn't mean bad). On another note...isn't Serra Jessie's...um...daughter? I'm very curious as to what will result if Serra's gang meets up with them, as well as traveling with Ash and Misty more. ^^;; Superb job Spec and Azure!

Gatene
29th November 2004, 6:09 PM
OMG that was a really awesome chapter, it totally exceeded my expectations for just this chapter.

'tis on the site now, enjoy I named it : Giorn's Oasis

Gatene

ClefairyTenchi
29th November 2004, 10:56 PM
That was marvelous! I like the Obelisk, Giorn. He's very interesting. I like this chapter a lot. I can't wait to see the dialogue between Aeris and the woman who tries to kill her in the future, Misty. I'm also reeeeeeeelly interested in seeing the dialogue between Serra and her mother. And the dialogue, well, you get the idea.

Now, at the permission of Spectreon, I, ClefairyTenchi, Lord of Cuteness and Love Pig of the Mighty AzureFlygon, will now post my own little scene. I wrote it a couple days ago, but the Prophecy was from a few weeks ago and ties into Giorn's conversation w/ Blade, Hydro, and Shadow. It takes place on top of a very tall mountain in the Infinity Mountain Range, the mountain range that divides Kanto and Johto from the Northern half of the continent which they both sit on. And here it is, "Moonlight Prophecy." Enjoy!


~*~

Its name was Delphi. It was a shrine of History. But a shrine unlike any other. It sat atop a great mountain, surrounded by a forest of Satellite Dishes, each facing the Heavens like so many stargazers. It had stood on that mountain for thousands of years, chronicling history and predicting the things to come with the help of powerful Xatu. But it had been void of Xatu for three decades, they did not survive easily in this cold climate. The creation of the Internet and the birth of the first Porygon had greatly assisted them. Now, it sat in the sky, compiling all the data it could receive to predict anything from tomorrow's weather on the other side of the world to the outcome of a war with extreme accuracy.

The need for trances induced by Paras spores was long gone. Now, the prophets sat in a shrine that resembled a Space Station, their minds all connected to the super computer named Apollo. Apollo was the home for the numerous Porygon X which had replaced the Xatu who once lived in Delphi. Porygon X resembled crystalline Xatu in memory of their formers. Each Porygon X worked with a human, compiling data from all over the world in conjunction with their human prophet to monitor the global situation. On occasion, someone would make the treacherous journey to Delphi to discover their fate. However, this day, the world's fate would be predicted.

For, the creation of modern technology had opened a small rift between this world and another. A world home to the Scribes of Time. On rare occasions, the Scribes would send Delphi a cryptic prophecy. Today was one of those rare occasions.


~*~

Luna sat in her chair, her mind scrolling through the endless archives of knowledge held within Apollo. Sibyl, her own Porygon X, monitored her like Apollo monitored the earth. Sibyl could tell she was bored, though the world had been plagued with Andros, they had recently stopped due to the efforts of the Goddess. Because Luna was still a beginner Prophet, she was never given real prophecies. Sibyl knew that its prophet had a brilliant mind and could be great, but Sibyl also knew that she would have to prove herself. Suddenly, Sibyl detected an e-mail in Luna's inbox. Luna had recently begun chatting in forums under the name Oracle777. However, the sender of this e-mail had no address that Sibyl recognized.

"Luna," began Sibyl, "you have an e-mail from an unknown sender."

"Really?" she asked interested. Immediately logging onto her account, she discovered an e-mail from m1$$1ng#9@??????.DM. "Ooooookaaaaay," said Luna, confused at the strange address. However, virus scans checked out and she had nothing better to do so, praying it was something cool, she opened it. Immediately her mind was presented with what read like a poem.

In the time of darkness, when Iron wars with Flesh,
and man brings itself to its knees,
the creators of the Iron shall create salvation
and the Goddess shall rise again.

The Goddess shall sing her sacred song,
and the dead and buried shall rise.
Transcendently she shall strike down the three,
and her voice shall purify.

But when the gates fling open, Heaven shall burn
and the Goddess' song shall drown.
The Beast of the Sky shall war with the Lord of Heaven
and existence shall be decided.

After a moment, Luna realized that it read just like a prophecy. Then it began to make sense. The Iron warring with Flesh was obviously the war between Andros and Pokemon. The second stanza seemed to indicate a victory for Pokemon, but the third made no sense at all. What gates? And what did they mean by 'Heaven shall burn'? This worried her, but she would have to discuss it with all of Delphi. It could be just a prank, it would be necessary to analyze it for authenticity. However, if it was genuine, Earth as she knew it could be in trouble.

"Shall I form a link?" asked Sibyl unnecessarily.

"Yes, and while you're at it, search for the location of the Goddess. We may need to notify her."

Elemental Charizam
29th November 2004, 11:04 PM
“Sounds like a plan to me,” said Shadow, shrugging, “I just wish I could get back… I mean, this place is interesting and all, but I’m sure Raven must be worrying about me by now…”
Um...if the others are in a time-zone ahead of Shadow and gang, then all they've done has already happened there.

Apart from other things like this in the chapter (time thingies), it's brilliant. Keep it up!

~EC

Elite Eevee
30th November 2004, 12:56 AM
Oh...my.....god. This is the freakiest thing. It's everyone we know and love (or hate) and this cast of characters, they know them, and the army of the dead, the Song..pant...wheeze...

Wow.

Gatene
30th November 2004, 2:12 AM
Well, that was something ClefairyTenchi, I liked it. I was a little lost at the beginning with the Xatu and all, but once I realized it was an introduction to what you were presenting next, I understood it. I especially liked the prophecy. I just found one error. Andros have metal plates, not iron. Iron sounds better in the prophecy, but they still have metal, not iron.

Perhaps you may be up to something, perhaps Azure will forward it to Spect, who knows.

I agree with Elite Eevee, *pants wheezes* lol. *needs more chapterness*

Gatene

AzureFlygon
30th November 2004, 3:58 AM
Elemental Charizam: In response to your interesting correction, my reasoning for that passage was based upon the time passing for the gang of boys. They have little idea how time works, precisely, and for them a few hours have come and gone while that may not be the case with the others. Merely, this is just what they are thinking. They have no idea what time, if any, that they'll be blasted back at. The way it is, it actually could be a few days or more after the blast that had sent them to the ancient times... though that is unlikely.

I hope that made some sense, at least... I'm not sure...

To everyone else: yes, the new chapter is being worked on, alright? ^^ perhaps, if we get a huge chapter, we may have the time travel run trough by the end.

Up to something? We're not up to something... *innocent puppy eyes*

Giga Groudon
30th November 2004, 10:34 AM
This a really awesome story. I love the suspense, the Obelisk creature, and the idea of making Aeris meet up with Ash and co. from ten years ago (that means the Aeris of their time is only eight years old right now). Heh, that idiot Brock can't help himself with women, huh. Did I forget to mention that Aeris is my favourite character in this fic, she's really hot and cool. Hope you don't kill her off. Please don't.

It's also an excellent idea to make Serra meet Jessie, James and Meowth. Jessie and James are her parents, and I wonder if she will freak to the point where everyone is puzzelled about their being related.

This fic is one of my favourite non-trainer fics of all. My compliments to Spectreon and AzureFlygon, the two great writers who made all this possible.

ClefairyTenchi
30th November 2004, 3:49 PM
Well, that was something ClefairyTenchi, I liked it. I was a little lost at the beginning with the Xatu and all, but once I realized it was an introduction to what you were presenting next, I understood it. I especially liked the prophecy. I just found one error. Andros have metal plates, not iron. Iron sounds better in the prophecy, but they still have metal, not iron.

Perhaps you may be up to something, perhaps Azure will forward it to Spect, who knows.

I agree with Elite Eevee, *pants wheezes* lol. *needs more chapterness*

Gatene
Okay, this'll be my third time writing this due to the fact that every computer I use is infected with stupidness. Anyway, my prophecy post was fully approved by Speccy so mods, don't close it.

Yes Gatene, I know that Andros Armor is made of an alloy, not iron. But this prophecy was created long before the concept of alloys and iron just sounds better.

And yes, I too agree that we need more chapters*starts a club for it*

Elemental Charizam
30th November 2004, 4:51 PM
Elemental Charizam: In response to your interesting correction, my reasoning for that passage was based upon the time passing for the gang of boys. They have little idea how time works, precisely, and for them a few hours have come and gone while that may not be the case with the others. Merely, this is just what they are thinking. They have no idea what time, if any, that they'll be blasted back at. The way it is, it actually could be a few days or more after the blast that had sent them to the ancient times... though that is unlikely
Ok, I get that. I'm suprised my post made sense, considering how tired I was when I wrote it.

*Steals Clefairy's club*
Anyone gets in the way of chapters, flaming, spamming....

Gets hit! *holds bat menacingly*

:snowlax: : Ignore him, he's crazy today.

The plot seems to be building up to something, but the question I have is...

Has the plot changed since the original plans for it?

Oh, and:

Would Melos let Mewtwo die? I mean, he's like an uncle to him, isn't *insert Melos's gender here*?

J/K

~EC

AzureFlygon
30th November 2004, 8:40 PM
First thing- Giga Groudon: Favorite non-trainer fic? Well, I know I'm honored, and I'm sure Spec is as well. And I know she'll be gald you like her ideas and her character ^^

Elemental Charizam: as per your questions, yes and I'm not sure. XD

More descriptively, the plot has changed, but only very slightly and mostely because of me ^^ I tend to introduce a lot of random characters, but making insanely complicated character relations and twists seems to be my speciality (like in my fic, Indigo. Read that and I'm sure some people would be knocked into next week by the complex plot relations ^^) *side note- read Indigo and revieeeeewwwww. It needs more reviewers... I'll go puppy eyes on you if you don't....*. Like, in our original plot, we had it all neatly placed out in plot points and situations... yet from the very first we almost abolished one point and the situations are many more than we had originally intended. Plus, Tora was a character I made to help me get more aqqauinted with the fic, and better able to write with a character all my own ^^

As for the Mewtwo, Melos thing... I honestly don't know. I don't even know if Melos feels emotions or anything... only Spec could answer that question, and when and if she figures it out, I'm sure she'll send me the answer to give to you guys so you know ^^

Thanks for reading *waves*

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
30th November 2004, 8:45 PM
oO This is my favorite fic, period. ::nod:: =^^=

Gatene
30th November 2004, 10:26 PM
*agrees with Chibi-san* This is my most favorite fanfic ever, hence the site XD.

I shall read your story Azure, and I shall bestow upon it, my uhm review? Yeah, review lol, j/k I'll read it Azure, just so many last minute crap comes up :(

Gatene

Giga Groudon
1st December 2004, 11:29 AM
You're welcome Azure. I did read and love your story 'The Shiny Assassin' a long time ago, and it was awesome. I also read Spec's 'Shattered Mirrors', even though she stopped. You two really are good fan fic writers.

BTW, I haven't seen Spec's replies for a while. Just what happened to her. Is she still her, or has she left. Just wondering if you could tell me, hmmm?

Gatene
1st December 2004, 3:25 PM
Well, Giga Groudon, Spect has been banned, and I don't think she will be coming back. I know I wish she was able to come back, probably a lot of other people do too.

Gatene

AzureFlygon
1st December 2004, 9:45 PM
Well, Spec is angry and won't be coming back, but she does send me answers to certain questions she sees when she skims the story. As of yet, Gatene and I have taken care of everything but a few short explinations.

So she does check up, and she has found some stuff rather amusing, from what we've talked about. You all have very valid questions, and as for me, I'm glad to answer them.

(you read and liked my old story, Giga Groudon? *dies* Now that I look back on it, though..... ugh, I was a horrible writer.)

Good day *waves*

ClefairyTenchi
1st December 2004, 10:45 PM
Guys, hate to say it, but we're starting to get close to spamming again. We'd better keep an eye on ourselves.

To prevent this from being too spamtastic, I'll say that this fic is great.

Giga Groudon
2nd December 2004, 4:52 AM
Oh, so she was banned? That's a shame, I really liked her. And yes Azure, I'm not lying. I did read and like your old story. You know, there was once a time... when I read every story that I came across.

This is definatly one of the best pokemon stories in existence. My compliments to Spectreon and her superb writing skill.

Crystallugia
2nd December 2004, 10:10 PM
*pops in* Lessee, what'd I miss? *reads ClefairyTenchi's scene* oooh me likee. i understood it. I understand lots. This story RULES!!! ME LOVES NEW CHAPPIES!!! *eyes get wide and starts breathing hoarsly* is the next few chappies gonna be where *types backwards* ?live seog arreS. It would be very logical since she meets her parents and her best friend is against them, and is friends with the person who tried to kill her.

me misee Spectreon. She fun. (sorry for writing like a baby, it fun too)

;227;: POST NEW CHAPPIES!!! NEED NEW CHAPPIES!!!

Gatene
2nd December 2004, 10:41 PM
Crystallugia...I think we all need new uhm, "chappies", especially me, I like to keep the site as updated as possible. In the mean time, read AzureFlygon's fanfic, "Indigo" (http://www.serebiiforums.com/newforums/showthread.php?t=42497). I promise you, it is definitely worth the read.

If this post is considered spam, then I am sorry, I'm just here for the readers of DoaNL.

Gatene

ClefairyTenchi
3rd December 2004, 4:21 PM
It R worth it! I'm like a Beta or something, so I know!

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
4th December 2004, 2:04 AM
What exactly is the definition of spamming? And will the next chapter be long? I'm just wondering because I want to know how much to expect, and when to expect it to be done! =^.^=

Crystallugia
4th December 2004, 7:24 AM
Gatene- It is worth the read. I'm going to start reading that whenever I can!

ChibiYukiakariRyuu(or Chibi)- look at the rules for that.

Anyways, still need more DoaNL chappies!

AzureFlygon
4th December 2004, 9:35 PM
Hey, guys ^^

Spectreon sent me answers for most of your questions and comments, so here's what she sent:

Can you post this really long reply for me on Dawn? ^^ Thanks!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


ClefairyTenchi: ^^ I'm glad you're doing your best to keep the fic from getting spammy. *gives CT a big Sempai award for diing his duty*

Chibi-san: I suppose you could say the best definition of spamming is filling up a fanfiction with aimless chatter and continuous demand for chapters. This isn't really spam, I think, since people were asking questions and others answering them..if I'm mistaken, I apologize. XD

Giga Groudon: n___________n THANK YOU! Aeris is one of my favorite characters too. And no, don't fret, she won't be killed off...but perhaps someone else will be. Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. *shrugs innocently.* Again, thank you for your complients!

And to Crystalugia and the others: If you want to talk to me directly and ask me questions, you can always find me at Insanity Forums v.2.0. Gatene and Razor (Azure) know the URL but please don't post it here, it's "illegal" to advertise other forums, I think. PM them.

And to answer Elemental's question about Mewtwo and Melos, yes, the Trinity will get killed off, BUT: Let me state a small, short phrase:

ARMY OF THE DEAD

*points to the "dead" part*

Now, tell me, who runs the Realms of Fog?

MELOS!

When pokemon get killed, where do they go?

REALMS OF FOG!

Question answered. X3

Elite Eevee
5th December 2004, 4:53 AM
Welll tell Spec two things. One, it's good to hear from her again. Two, thanks for answering the quiestions, and we eagerly await the next chapter.

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
5th December 2004, 2:59 PM
Yeah, thanks a lot Spec and Azure. =^^= I'll be checking back eeeeeeevery day for teh new chapter! ::is never satisfied, unfortunately:: Have you and Spec already thought of an ending, but not written it yet? ^^;;

ClefairyTenchi
5th December 2004, 6:38 PM
Speccy is welcomed by the Tenchi! Look, Sempai, it looks like you.

;035;"Yay!" *hugs award*

ChibiYuki, if I know Speccy and Azure, which I don't, they have most likely got an ending for DoaNL. If they're anything like me, that is. In fact, I'm positive that they do^^

Post spam and suffer at my mighty hands of stink!

Gatene
5th December 2004, 11:46 PM
Hmm....*wonders if I should be saying this* Yes, they do already have an ending, and I know what it is *evil grin* but I cannot reveal it, but I can say this, even if you all knew what the ending was, you'd still want to know what happened in between, I know I do. I will say this though...Spectreon promises not to make it cliché, nor make Serra mary suish...that's all I will say, in fear of getting stupefied by Spect or Azure or *gulps* both of them.

Gatene

Giga Groudon
6th December 2004, 6:11 AM
They already have the ending? Wow! I can't wait til the part when Serra turns evil.

*smirks cruelly and evilly. Gets off computer and starts trying to devise machine that will make Serra evil beyond reverse. Fails to make it. Smacks his head and then returns to the computer*

Sorry about that. I don't want to have her evil through the whole story. I wonder if:

dsneirf reh srebmemer neht dna mih sevol ehs esuaceB .tekcoR maeT staefed dna sesnes reh sniager ehs nehT .live si ehs nehw edalB llik lliw arreS

That's just a theory, but it displays true emotion rather than raw power.

PS: It's written backwards.

Gatene
6th December 2004, 5:05 PM
Do you enjoy writing backwards or something, Giga? lol. Anyway, the ending has changed once already, but ur close but nowhere near it, if that makes any sense O.O *scares himself*

*hopes the new chapter comes out soon*


Gatene

Elite Eevee
7th December 2004, 12:40 AM
I happen to know a small piece of the 'evil Serra' device. Go to the extras; there's something pretty intersting there.

indigestible_wad
7th December 2004, 6:24 AM
Wow, I didn't know new chapters were up, otherwise I would have relied sooner. They were cool. I couldn't take my eyes off them.

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
9th December 2004, 1:34 AM
Once Spec and Azure are done with this, are they done forever? Is there going to be a sequel? >_o ^^;;

indigestible_wad
9th December 2004, 2:12 AM
I would guess... no. It's long enough as it is, just be happy they're still writing it.

ClefairyTenchi
9th December 2004, 3:21 AM
Uhh, not that I'm advertising (^^;;) but I happen to be writting a fic, fully approved by Speccy, that continues ten years after DoaNL. I think it's working out quite well, if I do say so myself. However, you'll want to read it after you finish DoaNL. Also, if you're homophobic, you probably won't like it.

Giga Groudon
9th December 2004, 10:51 AM
I'll read your fic ClefairyTenchi, once I finish DoaNL.

No Gatene, it is not a normal thing for me to write backwards, I just felt like it when I posted that reply.

I await the next chapter with all the patience I can muster.

AzureFlygon
9th December 2004, 9:49 PM
Well, perhaps I can answer some of your questions. But first; please, people, I'm asking nicely and hoping not to offend anyone, but please don't post too shortly. It does border on spam, and I don't want this thread to be closed when we're so close to being two thirds of the way through.

Not to be pointing anyone out, but could you please delete that really short post, Clefairy? Yes, it was the website, if you're asking ^^ Thank you in advance.

To answer the sequal question: me and Speccy are planning one right now, for about a hundred years into the furture. I'm pretty sure the only thing I can safely say is that it'll have Porygon in it, as well as anoth interesting group of people.

ClefairyTenchi
10th December 2004, 3:46 PM
Not to be pointing anyone out, but could you please delete that really short post, Clefairy? Yes, it was the website, if you're asking ^^ Thank you in advance.

To answer the sequal question: me and Speccy are planning one right now, for about a hundred years into the furture. I'm pretty sure the only thing I can safely say is that it'll have Porygon in it, as well as anoth interesting group of people.
Done and done! Whoa, we're 2/3 through. Wow.

Ooh! Ooh! A sequel! Wow! My Brain Jiggles with Delight!

;035;"I sure do like Porygon. And people."

Yes, you sure do...

Crystallugia
13th December 2004, 2:06 AM
Oooh, lots of replies. *stares up at long list and falls backwards* Wow, a sequel 100 years in da future? Cool. And you're already two thirds of the way done? Cool x 2. Me can't wait for next chappies. Neither can Crochax, Myself, and I! ;3

Giga Groudon
13th December 2004, 3:24 AM
Okay, a sequel 100 yrs in the future. Sounds interesting. Serra's gonna still be alive, right. If She truly IS the goddess of pokemon, than She should have a limitless lifespan. Also, She can't become pregnant, so only She can be the heroin who destroys the next evil one century after the fall of TR. I await the next chapter with the same patience and I absolutely can't wait 'til the sequel.

ClefairyTenchi
13th December 2004, 3:28 AM
Says who? Just cause she can't give birth doesn't mean that another savior can't come along. Look at how she came along, she wasn't exactly born.

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
13th December 2004, 4:14 PM
Wait--why can't she give birth? I think I missed something. x_x And I thought she was kind of born...I mean, isn't she Jessie and James' daughter? T-T I can't belive we're 2/3 of the way done, though. I'm glad we still have a fairly large section to go...I kinda wish the story would never end! I won't know what to do with myself when it does... --;

AzureFlygon
13th December 2004, 9:16 PM
O.o I'm not really sure about the birth thing, but I don't think Serra has any sort of limitless lifespan. Spec could explain it better, but from what I know Serra is merely the vessel for the Goddess powers. She is not immortal in any way, it is the powers that are immortal.

The new chapter is probably going to be late, because both me and Spec have been very busy to the point of being unable to write. I had drama stuff for my school, and I don't remember what Spec said to me before ^^;; But I do have a lot of my part done, and will merely be needing a few more days, which will be provided my my freedom from drama practice now.

But, if you insist, I will post a short yet endearing little clip from my part of the chapter ^^

“Well, let’s just hope our first meeting doesn’t turn out like the Kabutops,” mumbled Hydro, still nursing a rather dark and yellowing bruise just below his rib cage from were he had surprised one of the creatures. In fact, he was a very lucky person, for if the Pokemon had not turned its blade in time he would be a very dead two halves of a person.

“I’m sure it won’t,” said Shadow more confidently than he felt, “After all, they can’t really be surprised by us, can they? I mean, they could see us from a mile away if they’re flying!”

“That just might be our problem…” said Blade as a large and dark shadow passed over them from above. The boy shaded his eyes and looked up, and was just able to catch the tail end of a dragon-like silhouette.

“Viaris, can you reach it?” asked Hydro, speaking to the Rock that was slung over his back like some sort of misshapen backpack.

“I’ll try!” came the reply. There was silence for a few moments, then a loud and angry shriek from above.

“Geez, what did you say to it!?” demanded Shadow as they started running, somehow feeling that with any more practice he would be a runner to rival Hydro.

Crystallugia
13th December 2004, 9:27 PM
Interesting preview. I wonder how the whole things going to turn out?

;227;: You shouldn't have shown me that preview. It made me want the new chapter even more.

Well, it was still a good preview. Me likee.

Elite Eevee
14th December 2004, 1:02 AM
The preview is nice. But qwhen is the next current chapter due? This thread is starting to go to the dogs.

AzureFlygon
20th December 2004, 8:49 PM
Ah, so long you have waited, but we have not given up, and here are the rewards ^^ One new chapter, here for your enjoyment. A lot of it is mine, but some is Spec's... she still has a block going.


~~~~~~~
Hydro opened his eyes, feeling some warm substance below his face. He sighed, thinking of the things he would have to do today. He’d have to get ready, because he needed to look his best for the day ahead. There was a dance on Victory Island today, and he was…

Suddenly, the memory of where he was and what had happened hit Hydro like a brick. He shot up, and yelped as his head smacked into a low hanging rock. With a grumbled curse, the black-haired boy slid to the ground and stretched, yawning enormously. Only then did he open his eyes, and as he turned to look at his makeshift bed, he yelped anew.

Lying on the lush, tropical ground was something that was very obviously alive, and very obviously asleep. It’s blue-black wing cases vibrated slightly as it breathed deeply and evenly. Its long neck curled around, hiding its head behind the mass of its body. Hydro, after a fleeting moment of panic, moved forward curiously, always keeping his eyes on the creature.

He was no more than a few inches from it when his foot connected with a stone, which rolled and hit the carapace of the creature with a soft thud. The shape snorted and Hydro froze, his eyes wide and frightened. With a shuddering movement, the creature rose from it’s spot and turned, gazing at Hydro with large and groggy eyes.

“Uh…” said Hydro awkwardly, “Sorry for waking you up…”

The Pokemon yawned, revealing two large canines and a multitude of small, sharp teeth. Hydro backed away, and prepared to run. Suddenly, someone grabbed his arm.

“Yah!” yelped the dark-haired boy, whirling around with fists at the ready.

Shadow caught the swinging fist with a laugh, his eyes bright and amused. Hydro instantly calmed and smiled as he recognized his friend, and then gave the other boy a hard slap on the back. Shadow coughed involuntarily from the force, for the blow was meant as a small reprimand for frightening his friend.

“Hey!” said Shadow with a grin after he had gained his breath back, “You slept in, and so did your friend here.”

“Huh? Friend?” asked Hydro, looking back at the sleepy looking Armaldo.

“Yeah, we were each assigned a guard when we came here, I guess. Only Blade was really awake enough to make any sense of it all. We were both still out, he says.”

“So…”

“We reached the clan of Armaldo!” said Shadow with a laugh, “Blade’s talking to the Alpha right now, and man, she’s a surprising piece of work! She has some sort of creature that helps to translate her words, so we can hear what she’s saying. That’s the thing we heard when the sand worm was chasing us.”

“You mean the ‘There is always hope’ thing?” asked Hydro with a raised eyebrow.

“Yeah, so come on,” said Shadow, looking back as another Armaldo came out of the bushes, “They’ll take us where we need to go.”

Hydro fell into step behind Shadow as the Pokemon led off. The Armaldo that Hydro had been assigned to took the rear of the group, and they were off through the thick, lush vegetation. The sun didn’t seem as red here as it had in the desert, and the shade from the broad-leafed trees made walking a more pleasant experience. Hydro didn’t even mind the constant presence of the two strange, imposing Pokemon as they followed a faint trail through the jungle.

It wasn’t long before the thick vegetation cleared out into a sandy bank. Hydro, as he looked out, could see the undulating surface of a lake. He smiled as he saw it, and realized how dry and parched his mouth was as a sudden thirst for the clear water rose within him.

“Okay,” said Shadow cheerfully, “The place we need to go is by the water’s edge. That’s where the Alpha and her creature set up meetings.”

The small group of people and Pokemon wandered on, and soon came to a raised pile of rocky earth that overhung the lake, creating a small yet well-lit cave beneath. There were a few larger Armaldo already here, scuffling about in the sand an occasionally picking up a snail or crab and crunching the shell to get at the soft, succulent meat within. As the group watched, Hydro could see the watchful eyes of what he saw as bodyguards constantly flit about for any sort of danger even as they foraged for food.

Shadow’s guard stopped before the largest of these hunting Pokemon, and grunted a few unintelligible sounds. The guardian snuffed and nodded, regarding the rest of the group only with the slightest of gazes before allowing them to continue. The group resumed they’re walk, passing below the overhang and into the shady, cool environment below.

“Welcome, strange travelers,” came the mysterious voice, “make yourself comfortable among us.”

Hydro examined the creature before him, having to look upwards slightly to see the entirety of the Pokemon’s huge and powerful bulk. The Alpha looked like all Armaldo, with the dark bruise colored shell and the blood-red gills. Yet somehow, in her own way, she exuded such a sense of control and confidence that Hydro couldn’t help but admire her. Her eyes, set on the sides of her head to allow better sight in the ecosystem of the creature, shone with both sparkling humor and an underlying current of dignity. The blue-black of her shell gleamed with health.

With a shrug, Hydro sat down on a rock near him.

“Hey, watch it!” came an indignant voice, so like yet unlike that of the Alpha that Hydro immediately jumped up with a yelp.

“What the-!”

“You’d better watch who you’re sitting on, buster,” grumbled the voice. Hydro looked all around the room, trying to find the source of the sound, “Hey, idiot! Look down; I’m right under you’re nose, you dimwit!”

Hydro looked down, and would have turned tail and fled the room if there had not been a silent yet immovable bulk of Armaldo standing just behind him. The harmless rock that he had sat on, once looking so ordinary, had somehow grown a pair of eyes! Now, the two bright, annoyed orbs glared up at him, their small pupils narrowing close to nonexistence.

“Yeah, it’s me, the Rock,” snorted the creature, still mumbling.

“Come now,” came the voice again, somehow emanating from the strange rock without being it’s own voice in itself, “Calm down, Viaris; not every creature in this world knows of your nature.”

“Sorry,”snorted the rock, strange lids half closing over its large eyes.

“Now,” said the voice, which Hydro now realized was that of the female Armaldo Alpha, “Before you sit, please let me introduce myself. I am the Alpha of the Armaldo tribe. My name is not relevant as long as I hold that title. This charming creature here,” she chuckled, gesturing with one sharp cleaver to the reddish rock that was still trying to glare at Hydro without being seen, “Is known as Viaris. He is a species of Pokemon known as a Rock. They are very respected species, normally, for they make excellent translators, but Viaris is still young and impulsive.”

“Hey,” said Viaris with a blink, “I’m a hundred and twenty-two!”

“Your kind lives for centuries, young one.”

Viaris was silent, staring ahead sullenly. Hydro barely suppressed a chuckle, and suddenly caught sight of Blade, who had been sitting in the shadows near the deepest part of the overhand while watching the interaction between the others. The brown-haired boy held a small grin on his face; obviously he had also learned well of the little Rock’s volatile nature.

“Blade!” said Hydro with relief, “I’m glad to see you here!”

“Good to know you woke up, finally,” said Blade with equal cheerfulness, “I told the Alpha the story while you were asleep, and she says she’ll help us if we can prove ourselves worthy.”

“Ah, so that’s what this is all about!” exclaimed Shadow, jumping up from where he had been reclining against the wall.

“Correct, fair one,” said the Alpha with a wink, “There will be one contest for each of you.”

“I expected no less,” said Blade, sending a pointed look at Shadow just as he was about to protest. The other boy wisely shut his mouth.

“I will call for each of you when the time comes,” said the Alpha with a smile, “For now, go out among my clan and learn of our ways. I have a feeling they will interest you.”

Blade, smiling, rose from his place and led the way out the door, followed by the other boys and the two bored Armaldo. But, before they were halfway out the door, the voice of the Alpha called them to a halt.

“Wait,” she said, “The one called Shadow shall stay. His test is ready.”

“Wha-?” said Shadow, whirling about with a surprised look.

“This is a test of the mind,” explained the Armaldo, “Stay here, and answer what is asked of you truthfully. Only when you have combined truth and cunning will you pass the test.”

“Uh…” said Shadow, hesitating.

“Go ahead,” said Hydro with a grin, “we’ll be here for you!”

“The boy must face his test alone, as must you all.”

Before the others could say anything, Shadow nodded. His eyes blazed at the challenge, and both other boys knew that he would never step down from such a test as to prove himself. They exited the cave, following the guards and gazing around at the landscape.



Hydro was the last to face his test, and he entered the cave with a feeling of nervous foreboding. Unfortunately, he had not been allowed to see the others after their tests, and so had no idea what he was getting into. Now, the lair of the Alpha seemed to him less welcoming than it had before.

“Welcome, Hydro,” said the Alpha with a bow of her head, “I trust you are not too nervous?”

“Uh, well,” said Hydro with a shrug, “That depends on how nervous too nervous is.”

The Alpha laughed, her predatory maw opening wide in her mirth. Though she made hardly any real sound, her melodious laughter could be heard clearly through the link with Viaris.

"Yes, it does,” she said finally, her great eyes twinkling, “Now, if you will please remain here while I ready your test? I assure you, Viaris is not too bad a conversationalist.”

“Yeah, sure,” muttered Hydro, doubting very much that the Rock could be anything but sarcastic and insulting. With a sigh, he sat against the wall directly across from the apparently sleeping reddish creature, watching out of the corner of his eye as the Alpha ambled out of the shelter.

“So,” said Viaris, opening his eyes a slit, “It’s just me and you, human.”

“Yeah,” said Hydro, meeting the creature’s gaze with one just as challenging and twice as intimidating.

Viaris blinked, and snorted in what seemed to be a type of dismissive gesture for him.

“So,” said Hydro after a moment, feeling a need to talk to someone, anyone, before his test, “You’re a Rock.”

“Duh,” said the Pokemon, rolling his eyes.

“What is your kind like?”

For a moment, Viaris actually looked surprised. Then, without missing more than half a beat, he regained his composure and glared across at Hydro. The red, gritty rock on his sides, Hydro noted, looked just like that of the red desert outside.

“If you must know,” sighed the creature, "my race is one of the most ancient. In fact, we are sometimes thought to be the most ancient!” Hydro could already feel the pride radiating from the Rock, “Though it isn’t true. We interpret things for other creatures, mostly. In fact, some even think that we were created by the Missingno to help them with their writings. I don’t doubt it, myself; there aren’t many other Pokemon like us.”

Here, the little red Rock paused, as if waiting for something. Then, with a seemingly puzzled look, he stared across at Hydro.

“Aren’t you going to ask what Missingno are?” he asked, “I’m sure they would never reveal themselves to a human.”

“I know what they are,” said Hydro a little tersely, “And you’re wrong, Viaris. I’ve been to their plane of existence, and I’ve spoken to them.”

“You!” laughed Viaris… suddenly, he stopped and looked at Hydro closely, eyes flickering for a moment before widening to their extremes, “You have!”

“Yeah, what of it?”

“I guess you’re not as dumb as I thought,” admitted Viaris grudgingly, back to his old nature as quickly as he had broken it.

“Well, I can’t afford to be dumb. We need to assemble our army, like that Obelisk sai-”

“Obelisk!” interrupted the Rock, his thought slicing across Hydro’s words like a hot knife, “What Obelisk? Where?”

“The one… well, I can’t say where he is, I barely know where I am myself!” snorted Hydro, annoyed, “But I do remember that his name was Giorn.”

“Giorn…” breathed Viaris, awed, “Do you know who you were speaking to?”

“No, not really,” admitted Hydro with a shrug, “but he did say we had the Obelisk as our generals, whatever that meant…”

“What!? Do you have any idea what that means?” said the Rock, almost inarticulate because of his excitement, “You convinced the leader… the prime elder, of the Obelisk… Giorn… even I don’t get a chance to speak with him more than once or twice a century…”

“What’s all this about?” said Hydro wretchedly, banging his head against the dirt behind him and wondering whether the Alpha would ever get back with his test.

“You… spoke with Giorn!” said the Rock, very clearly and loudly as if Hydro were somehow dense, “The Prime Elder of the Obelisk. The oldest and most powerful creature known on this world today… and you spoke with him!”

“The point, please?”

“You have to be worthy if Giorn considers you worthy,” said Viaris resolutely, “He’s never wrong.”

“Wait, wait,” said Hydro, holding up his hands to halt the ramblings of the tiny Rock. The pieces of the puzzle were starting to meld together into a whole; “I think I get some of the stuff you’re saying, in a way. Let’s see… you’re so awed by the Obelisk because, well, you said your kind were one of the oldest creatures on the planet, and Giorn said that of his own species, so I’m guessing that you should evolve into an Obelisk eventually, am I right?”

“Of course,” said Viaris with a sullen flick of his eye. Hydro smirked, noting the sudden change in the Rock’s temperament as proof of his guess.

“And… well, you indicated somehow that you were special. I’d say that since Giorn is some sort of really powerful person, no one gets to see him very often without an appointment or something. If you get to, that say’s something. Are you related to him in some way?”

“Correct again,” muttered Viaris glumly. Hydro was becoming more and more sure of himself with every answer.

“And,” he said finally, “I don’t think the Alpha is going to come back with a test, is she? I think that this was the test, and you were in on it all along!”

“Arg,” said Viaris with a rather fake scowl, “you got all three, human. I guess you really are worthy... ”

“Indeed,” said the Alpha, lumbering in from her place outside, a wide and genuine smile on her face, “I believe he is.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“So what does your friend look like? What’s her name?” Ash asked as they party trudged down the beaten path to Pewter City. Aeris kept looking straight ahead, but answered Ash’s question.

“Her name is Serra..she’s two years younger than me. Serra has dusky greyish blond-brown hair and pale blue eyes. She’s very quiet and shy, mind you. I’m looking at you, Brock. If...you...harass...her...” Aeris let the unspoken threat hang in the air, which was effective enough to make Brock swallow nervously.

“How’d you two get separated?” asked Misty.

Aeris couldn’t feasibly tell them the truth, so she quickly wove a lie. “We ran into a wild Machamp. It attacked Serra and Seismic Tossed me into the tree.”

“Wow!” Ash gasped, his eyes wide. Aeris inwardly rolled his eyes. She didn’t like this younger version of Ash...but then again, Aeris had extremely low patience with lower-ranked trainers...a bit unfair, true, but it wasn’t any concern of hers at the moment.

“It’s getting dark, though...” remarked Misty. “We need to set up camp.”

Aeris didn’t relish the thought of suspending her search for Serra, but she comforted herself with the thought that if Serra could take on a corrupt Legendary such as Jirachi and win, surely she would be okay for one night?

Aeris thought of Serra lying broken and bloody on the ground and winced. Bad idea. Serra could be wounded...argh, what to do, what to do?

Maverick sensed her fustration and chirped softly. Don’t worry...she’s gone through worse.

Aeris shrugged and sighed, turning to Ash and the others.

“Very well...let’s set up camp.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shadow, Hydro, and Blade walked along the sand dunes with a practiced step. It had been almost a week since their tests with the Armaldo, and since then they had enlisted the help of the Kabutops Clan, the Omastar Tribe, and the Cradily Pod. It seemed that, even with constant danger and a long quest, their goal was being reached. There was but one more stop, and they had been warned that this would be the most difficult stop yet.

“Aerodactyl,” said Blade with a slight wince. He and the others had had experience with that particular species, and they were certainly versed in exactly how vicious they could be. Even Aeris’ own Skyfang could be extremely difficult to handle, and all the boys had felt his teeth more than once, by accident or not.

“I’m sure we should get out of it alive, at least,” said Shadow with a slight grin, “I mean, just think about the best things that could happen. If we succeed, we’ll get some of the greatest aerial troops that this ancient land can offer!”

“Only too true, human,” said Viaris, who had been accompanying the small group of boys for translation purposes since they had left the Armaldo tribe. Despite his smart mouth and sarcastic nature, the little Rock had proved himself to be quite useful, and a good competitor for Shadow’s annoying traits, “The Aerodactyl are the best and most powerful warriors you could hope for… in the sky.”

“Well, let’s just hope our first meeting doesn’t turn out like the Kabutops,” mumbled Hydro, still nursing a rather dark and yellowing bruise just below his rib cage from were he had surprised one of the creatures. In fact, he was a very lucky person, for if the Pokemon had not turned its blade in time he would be a very dead two halves of a person.

“I’m sure it won’t,” said Shadow more confidently than he felt, “After all, they can’t really be surprised by us, can they? I mean, they could see us from a mile away if they’re flying!”

“That just might be our problem…” said Blade as a large and dark shadow passed over them from above. The boy shaded his eyes and looked up, and was just able to catch the tail end of a dragon-like silhouette.

“Viaris, can you reach it?” asked Hydro, speaking to the Rock that was slung over his back like some sort of misshapen backpack.

“I’ll try!” came the reply. There was silence for a few moments, then a loud and angry shriek from above.

“Geez, what did you say to it!?” demanded Shadow as they started running, somehow feeling that with any more practice he would be a runner to rival Hydro.

“I just asked if it could come down here so we could speak to it!” said the Rock, a little too innocently.

“And you’re the one calling us idiots,” mumbled Hydro as he dived under a large, very conveniently placed rock. He barely had time to get out of the way before Blade and Shadow shot under cover behind him.

“I heard that,” growled Viaris, “I could just not go with you, leaving you to the mercy of that creature out there.”

Hydro scrambled back against the damp, cool rock wall as the huge Aerodactyl landing with a loud yet muffled thud in the sands outside. The beast glared at them through the small passage, serrated teeth glittering as it seemed to contemplate what to do about the situation.

“Viaris,” growled Hydro, unstrapping the Rock from his back and holding the creature directly eye level, “If you don’t apologize and figure out a way to get us all through this alive, I’ll throw you out there and let you explain to that cheerful Pokemon exactly how you got us into this situation!”

“Fine,” mumbled the Rock, lowering his eyes a little at the rebuke.

There was silence, and the screeching from the lip of the small cave paused for a few scant moments before continuing. Hydro hefted the Rock to throw him out of the cave, but stopped as the frantic Pokemon began to explain.

“Hey!” Viaris protested, “Alright, so I may not have been as polite as I should have the first time, but now he’s just being stubborn!”

“That reminds me of someone,” said Shadow with a nod, gesturing for Hydro to throw.

“Why don’t you guys talk to him?” demanded the Rock, “You know how I mess these things up!”

“You little-” mumbled Blade as he moved slightly closer to the mouth of the shelter. The Aerodactyl had again knelt down to look into the opening, and it’s eyes glared at the boy like twin daggers. Blade stared back, seemingly unperturbed, and spoke, “It seems that my colleague has been less than polite…”

“Certainly an understatement, scrawny creature!” snapped the dragon-like Pokemon, his words transmitted by the psychic link with Viaris, “Send the one who insulted me out, so that I may see what foolish creature would challenge me!”

“Well,” Blade shrugged, sending an evil look towards the red Rock, “since you asked so nicely… Hydro?”

“Nooooooo!” wailed Viaris as he was hurled out of the cave.

The boys weren’t worried about the Rock being hurt at all; being made of stone made it almost impossible for the young Pokemon to gather any injuries. They merely wanted Viaris to be taught a well-deserved lesson. Yet, now that they listened, all they could hear was the raucous sound of laughter coming from the Aerodactyl outside. They could also feel the burning indignation that Viaris sent them. With a curious look all around, they moved closer to the entrance.

“I should have known!” laughed the Aerodactyl with a vicious grin, “A Rock, and one of Giorn’s brood as well? Your kind has always been known for your big mouths, and even bigger boasts.”

“Look who’s talking,” growled Viaris sullenly, eyes half lidded as he glared.

“So…” began Shadow hesitantly, “You’re not angry?”

The Aerodactyl huffed, grinning at them wolfishly. Hydro would have been able to count every glittering tooth, if he’d been so inclined.

“No,” he said, eyes looking over the three humans, “Every creature in these lands knows not to take a Rock’s words to heart. It is in their nature to be insulting, just as my own temperament is in mine. I apologize for any inconvenience,” with that, the Aerodactyl bowed, spreading his wings out over the red sands and lowering his gigantic head to the level of the group.

“We should be the ones apologizing,” said Blade, hastily standing and bowing in return. The others followed his example, except for the still glaring Viaris, “We caused you all the trouble, while you were just flying over.”

“Not precisely,” mumbled the creature. Then, louder, “What business do such creatures as yourself have in Aerodactyl land?”

Here, Shadow leapt to explain, “We came to see the Alpha of the Aerodactyl,” he said, standing his ground even as the gigantic skull swung around to stare at him, “We’re on a bit of a quest, and the details are a bit… confidential.”

“Ah, a secret quest, eh?” snorted the Pokemon, “Well, you’re going in the right direction, but I’d say you’re very lucky to have run into me, nonetheless.”

“Why?” growled Viaris, “So we could add a gigantic flying temper tantrum to our group?”

“It’s better than a small, annoying red backpack,” grumbled Hydro. Blade snorted at this remark, trying not to laugh, but Shadow didn’t have that control. The blonde-haired boy burst out with mirth, doubling over as he tried to catch his breath. Somehow, Hydro felt that he had struck upon something Shadow found hilarious.

“I do so enjoy this banter, but if you would be quiet for a moment to allow me to explain?” asked the Aerodactyl, somewhat irritated by the arguing. The rest immediately fell silent, and the purple dragon snorted, “Good. As I was saying before these endearing comments interrupted me, you are quite fortunate that I happened upon you before any others, for I can grant you safe passage into the Aerodactyl lands-”

“How?” asked Shadow, a spark of his grating nature flaring up, “What’s so special about you that makes you able to give us safe passage through your lands?”

“Shadow!” Hydro hissed angrily, “Check your tongue before you lose your life!”

Surprisingly, the Aerodactyl laughed at this remark. The rest of the group looked at him with amazement, Skyfang would have given the boy a scar to remember him by if Shadow had said such a rude thing, yet this unknown Aerodactyl did not take offense. It was astonishing to witness.

“You have the spirit of a Rock, young creature,” he said with a chuckle, ignoring the mutter from Viaris that sounded vaguely like the little Pokemon had said ‘I’m insulted’. The Aerodactyl continued with a huff, “And for all your rudeness, your question is valid. I am special because of my nature, which is much more lax than that of my kin. Because of this, I don’t take offense where a normal member of my kind would, and that makes me the ambassador of my people. With such a title, you can see how fortunate you are.”

“I can,” said Blade, nodding slowly as he absorbed the information, “But why would you help us? We didn’t do anything for you…”

“I’m curious,” said the Aerodactyl with a shrug, “I’ve waited long for the chance to meet another with the wits to match mine, and I have a feeling one of you may actually succeed in gaining the ear of my people. So, follow my line of flight, and I will lead you to our roosts. But I warn you to be polite, for the rest of my people will not be as understanding as I.”

“What’s that about wits and ears that he said? What does it mean?” muttered Shadow to himself musingly as the purple Pokemon lifted from the sands in a cloud of red dust. With a shrug, he followed as the others trudged in the direction of the slowly soaring shadow. It seemed as if there would be a long and tiring walk, for there was no sight of any type of settlement in any direction.

“You’ll find out soon,” sent Viaris with a mental s******, “Oh, you’ll find out…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The fire crackled merrily as Jessie, James and Meowth sat in a semicircle around it, devouring their hot noodles with relish. The unconscious girl had been placed in an extra sleeping bag and laid next to James, near the fire.

James was absorbed in his dinner when Jessie jabbed him sharply in the ribs.

“Look! James...she’s awake.” Jessie whispered urgently. James looked up slowly and saw his partner was right.

The girl was wide awake and staring at them with shocked, frightened eyes.

“Don’t be afraid...we’re not gonna hurt you, girl.” James made a friendly smile. “Would you like some food?”

Mutely, the girl nodded, and Jessie ladled some hot noodles into a bowl and passed it to the girl. The girl shifted into a upright position, wincing slightly as she did.

“Are you feeling any better? Does anything hurt?” Jessie pressed. James couldn’t help but wonder. Jessie wasn’t usually this compassionate towards other people...she’d be either yelling at them or wreaking violence upon them.

“No...I’m fine. I’m bruised all over, but nothing serious to worry about. My name is Serra.”

“My name is Jessie, and this is James...and this is Meowth.”

Meowth nodded to Serra. “It’s very noice to meetcha, Serra.”

Serra nodded briefly, her eyes still on Jessie.

“Likewise.”

“So, Serra,” Jessie piped up, direct as always. “How did you come to be lying knocked out in what looked like a crash landing?”

“Uh....it’s a long story...” Serra mumbledas she dug a finger into her bowl of noodles. The girl busied herself with eating her dinner, not looking up at her two rescuers.

“She isn’t very articulate, is she?” Jessie whispered to James, leaning towards him.

James whispered back, quietly. “Have you seen her eyes?”

Jessie blinked and shrugged her shoulder. “Yeah, so? Do you have a point?”

“They’re blue. They could have been yours. They’re identical. Her hair color also matches mine, before I dyed it purple. And she has your chin, but she has my face. Don’t you find that a little odd?”

“Woah, James, you’re observant,” Meowth smirked. “I was thinkin’ the same thing.”

Jessie shrugged, impatient. “It’s just concidence, okay? Nothing to get your panties in a bunch over.”

James shrugged, not wanting to annoy Jessie any more than he already had and stared into the fire, unseeing. His mind was elsewhere.

She could have been our daughter, with those traits...I wonder if Jessie and I have a future together? It’d be wonderful if we could quit Team Rocket and raise a family...I’m tired of this crime business...it doesn’t pay well.

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
21st December 2004, 12:56 AM
Oho! I'm the first reviewer! 'Cept I can't because I haven't read it yet... But I'm going to go to bed right now and read it! I'll probably have praise up and posted for you by tommorow sometime! (It took forever to copy that thing...) Anwyhow, I just read the last part. "Don't get your panties in a bunch". ::imagines James with panties:: XD Too funny.

I just wanted to thank Azure and Speccy-sama for all of their hard work on this fan fiction, which is probably one of the best ones on this forum, perhaps even on the internet. ^^

Elite Eevee
21st December 2004, 3:20 AM
I always did respect the pokemon of old. And that was an impressive test. And Viaris....Sheesh, I want to congradulate him and smash him at the same time, he's so annoying.

And noglastia (Did I spell that right?), boy, it sure is wierd to see the old group, and methinks it's Serra who'll inspire Jessie and James to mate, errr, date.

indigestible_wad
21st December 2004, 4:02 AM
“I will call for each of you when the time comes,”[I/] said the Alpha with a smile, “[I]For now, go out among my clan and learn of our ways. I have a feeling they will interest you.”
What's this about?

“You!” laughed Viaris… suddenly, he stopped and looked at Hydro closely, eyes flickering for a moment before widening to their extremes, “You have!”
The "have" is un-italicized.

Another good chapter, I do however find it unsettling that team rocket would figure out so much about Serra right on the spot, they aren't that smart, and that they would have enough food to be quiet about having it, otherwise I didn't see anything bad plotwise.

I am intersted in what's happening in the present. You two haven't said anything about what has happened to Raven and co.

AzureFlygon
21st December 2004, 8:43 PM
First off. Thanks, Elite Eevee, for your reaction to Viaris. I wanted to make a character so downright annoying that it would put Shadow to shame, and I guess I suceeded.


Indigestable_wad: another one of those messed up italic things!? Arg, I though I had all of them when I editied it the forth time. Well, I'll get it.

And the un-italicized 'have' is supposed to be that way. You see, Viaris, when he talks, is all in italics, so what he emphasizes has to be not in italics. It's like he was saying "You have!" if he was talking normally.

As for the plot with Raven and co.... well, we have a good reason for not writing about them that will be revealed later. It has to do with time-space things, and with that clue you probably know it already.

I don't do the Serra/Aeris scenes, so Speccy will have to answer about your problem with J&J's personalities. I only do the boy's scenes.

Oh, and thank you, ChibiYukiakariRyuu, for the nice comment and the thanks, ^^ Twas uplifting to me. XD

indigestible_wad
21st December 2004, 9:29 PM
Yeah italics are hard.*s******* I'll try to remember that when I write my story.

Okay, I'll talk to her about that/them.

Gatene
21st December 2004, 9:29 PM
What does the italicized text mean anyway? Is the person heavily annunciating each syllable or something? Is Viaris mentally not there?

Heh, I'm back...and about to read the new chapter...oi the site hasn't been updated in a while. I must get started on that right away, huh?


And noglastia (Did I spell that right?)
It's spelled, nostalgia, since you asked so politely XD

Gatene

Crystallugia
21st December 2004, 9:53 PM
*stares* ME LOVEE!! That was a good chapter! Oh, I wonder what the Aerodactyl are going to do? And James really was too smart; did he take genius pills or something?

;227; : Aerodactyl? Cool! Masters of the Sky! My role models!

Okaaaaaay.....o.o

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
22nd December 2004, 12:39 AM
Oh, it was no problem, especially since it's true. oO''''''' I mean, it does take me about 15 minutes to read the chapters, but I copied and pasted that chapter onto Microsoft Word, and it's 13 pages. OO() It must take a lot of work and hard efforts (plus thinking) to write that much without it getting boring, being just descriptive enough... You know? The whole story so far must be at least 200 pages, ne? T-T ::imagines how sore her fingers woud be:: O_O T-T Aiiiiiiieeeeeee!

AzureFlygon
22nd December 2004, 2:20 AM
Wow, you guys certainy comment fast XD me likee

Gatene: The italicized speaking form that Viaris uses actually shows that he's talking mind to mind. Alot of my characters use that form of communication, it's a me thing ^^ Why the Armaldo leader uses it, I don't know, but I beleive it is because her voice is more like a hiss than a boom, as the Aerodactyl's would be. This checks out with my fic Dark One, for in that also the Arbok's speech is in the same form.

Basically, italics for my writing signify either hissing, psychic communication, or emphathizing words.

Crystallugia: Glad to hear from you, and I'm glad you like the Aerodactyl. ^^ I hope to make the test for them the best and hardest one yet, and the most suspenseful XD

but it probably won't end of a cliffie, becuase I don't want to do that to all of you reader out there XD

Thanks to all who read and/or comment

Crystallugia
22nd December 2004, 2:44 AM
That's nice of you to not want us to have to endure cliff-hangers, but I like it. It keeps me with the story.

;227; : You used 'me likee', AzureFlygon.

IdiotNESS
22nd December 2004, 3:52 PM
Umm...that's one crazy skarmory...Ahhh, scary! *runs away*

*comes back*

One question: so, Shadow, Blade, Hydro people are in a different dimension? Is that why there are uber pokemon out there?

Wait, I owe a review. Sooo...

I really like the team rocket encounter thingy with Jessie and James. It shows a compassionate side of people that are written as perfect villians in a show. It's good, there definetely a show of more complex character in the trio. I like that because you two have a way of putting a spin on almost anything, even those terrible generalized characters from that...show...bleah!

You put lots of effort into making your tribes of pokemon realistic. There's interconnection between them that is hard to come by in a fic. Good Work!

Now, on to what you can improve on. In epic fics, you need to think about the world that the characters are in. That means that you can't think of only what the characters do, but what the rest of the world is doing. It's like the river of time analogy that Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman use in the Dragonlance novels. Each character's actions are like a pebble dropped in a river. The river still keeps it's course but a pebble can still trigger a landslide that can make the river flow backwards. So, you need to think of all the major organizations at work in the pokemon world and note what they would be doing if the characters did something.

Serra is a major character. I think you said the was the avatar for the Goddess. That's some pretty powerful influence, like a big, fat rock rather than a pebble in the river. That means that everyone would be making conclusions about her and taking note of her. I don't think that she would be left alone very easily. You may say that they don't want to mess with her but does that mean they wouldn't keep tabs on her? I was surprised that there was nobody from the Johto (is that spelled right?) army that was keeping watch on Serra or some machine that would be tracking her. Aeris's presence would not keep them from caution especially since Aeris is not in constant communication with them.

Anyway, I don't want to rant. Just be sure to keep a full line and take all the things that would happen in reality and note them in your fic. After all, things don't only happen to your characters.

Still, excellent job! I Love this fic more than ever now! Obelisk is SO COOL!

indigestible_wad
22nd December 2004, 8:35 PM
One question: so, Shadow, Blade, Hydro people are in a different dimension? Is that why there are uber pokemon out there?
Don't you know what Celebi does? The boys are back in time. More than sixty-five million years back.

AzureFlygon
22nd December 2004, 8:40 PM
IdiotNESS: not a different dimension, just a different time. Think of time as a long string, and they've just been forced to fold the string and hop to a place near the beginning of it.

Thanks for the critique, too. It hels me and Speccy a lot. Now that I think about it.... but I won't give anything away for the near-end of the fic. Just say that we have a lot of stuff covered that will only be revealed near the end... it will make everybody understand more. ^^ (I'm trying pretty hard to keep the worlds in focus, too.)

Glad you think Obelisk are cool. I'm very proud to have created them ^^

indigestible_wad
22nd December 2004, 9:30 PM
Tahs a very intesting way to look at time. The way I figure it, the boys/girls have created a loop in time that will come around eventually.

IdiotNESS
23rd December 2004, 4:09 PM
Thanks, I just wondered what the Celebii was: the one that warps time or the ones that take you to a different dimension. But, thanks for clearing that up. I was just confused because Misty is a weirdo who says that transporting people back in time is blasting people.

*sneers at Misty*

Humph, Miss I-Wanna-Kiss-My-Togepi-To-Death! :P

Crystallugia
24th December 2004, 10:51 PM
idiotNESS, you are completely correct saying that my Skarmory is crazy.
;227; : AM NOT!!!
AretootimesinfiniteIwin!
;227; : Aaaaww.....

And don't sneer at Misty, idiotNESS! She's just crazy. Like me! :D

Aaaaannd....... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!! *hands out hand-made DoaNL and Song of the Goddess dolls of characters*

Elite Eevee
24th December 2004, 10:59 PM
Whoa, whoa! We don't want conflict. Okay, so Crystallugia's nuts, IdiotNESS. And Misty has her own opinion. Case closed. Oh, and happy holidays! *Takes Viaris doll, starts beating it with a stick*

So, Azure Flygon, two things. One, tell Spec we said Merry Christmas. Second, Can we expect a new chapter some time in January?

Crystallugia
24th December 2004, 11:18 PM
I wasn't trying to start a 'conflict'. But, I've been saying this my entire life: I'M A CRAZY, PSYCHO, LOCO-HEAD!!!!!! *cackles evily*

;227; : *knocks me out* MERRY CHRISTMAS SPECTREON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *starts singing 'Feliz Navidad'*

indigestible_wad
25th December 2004, 12:37 AM
Why don't you just tell her yourself? *points to sig* Or just look up her username on Yahoo and do it on one of those sites.

Of course, she'll be gone for the next few days but...

ClefairyTenchi
25th December 2004, 3:09 AM
PREPARE YOUR BRAINS FOR SOME FESTIVE DOOM! Nice to see you all again, it's been a while (sorta). Anyway, I liked this chappy, so cute and fuzzy, wazzit^^

;035;"Uhhh.......Have some horrible Holiday Cheer!"

IdiotNESS
25th December 2004, 7:27 PM
Sorry, I wasn't really starting a conflict. I think I basically agree with CrystalLugia...>_<;...I didn't say that! I mean I agree with everything except the fact that you are a crazy teen! I mean...

Nevermind, MERRY CHRISTAMS EVERYONE!!! HAVEN'T SEEN YOU PEOPLE IN A LONG TIME AND I'M HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gee, I had too much Mountain Dew last night.

AzureFlygon
25th December 2004, 7:37 PM
Okay, you guys, Settle down! We don't need this thread to turn into another sess-pool of Spam to be closed by the mods.... if you want to be reminded of what happened to the last one *glares sullenly*

Okay, anyway, yes, I'll relay your Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to Speccy, whom I am sure will be glad to hear from all her devoted readers out there^^

Pluss, Happy holidays to all of you. We, the authors, really appreciate your input and happy, happy enthusiasm about our humble story. *flings christmas gifts at people with crazy grin*

As to that chapter, I beleive it may come out sometime in January. I've been working hard, and i know Spec has some ideas, so the next chap will be here in good time. ^^

As for now, I'll try to get the video game fervor out of my system to write XD got lots of games for gifts today.

indigestible_wad
30th December 2004, 6:18 AM
Play 'em as long as you like. As lomg as the next chptaer's good, it doesn't matter how long we have to wait.

Elemental Charizam
9th January 2005, 8:39 PM
Glad you think Obelisk are cool. I'm very proud to have created them ^^
About that, you say (or the rock does) that the Obelisk are the most powerful creatures, but what about Groundon/Kyorge? After all, Groundon created Houenn so he would obviously be alive, so I guess the rock doesn't know about him or was boasting about the Obelisk?

Nice chapter anyhoo.

~EC

IdiotNESS
9th January 2005, 11:06 PM
Maybe there is no Groudon or Kyogre in this fic. They don't have to include everything, do they?

ClefairyTenchi
10th January 2005, 4:05 PM
No, Speccy and Azure mentioned Groudon kicking *ss in the final battle, and you see them on the mural. The rock was probably boasting. They have to include the Gods of War! And of Peace!

AzureFlygon
10th January 2005, 8:00 PM
Yes, the Rock was boasting big time. He's pretty young for a Rock, remember? XD He just want's to feel all important.

Yes, Groudon and Kyogre do make an appearance later in the fic, as well as just aboue every other legendary you knew and some you didn't XD

Crystallugia
10th January 2005, 9:19 PM
Ooohh.... Legendaries we don't know about? Cool! All of these pokemon that you and Spectreon are including in the story are so cool!

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
12th January 2005, 11:31 AM
What Crystallugia said! =^^= At the begginning, the plot wasn't very different from the Mewtwo story, (which quite a few people did remark on). But now it's...completely different... There's practically no similarities at all. oO() I love how you guys add new Pokemon in, because that just makes the experience of reading your fic even better, and even more unpredictable.

Elite Eevee
12th January 2005, 2:20 PM
Unpredictable indeed. It's easy to see how it got off the ground. Now, all you need to do is finish it *cough*next chpater*cough*. Still though, te new pokemon make it pretty exciting, and legendaries will just send some of us into convulsions.

AzureFlygon
16th January 2005, 4:13 PM
I know, I KNOW *slams head into wall*

Well, Spectreon did her part, so now it's up to me. Prod me people, I need to get my butt in gear XD I have it halfway done, so I just need to get it 'the rest of the way done' XD

Well, now that Spectreon has started to prod me I'm sure I will ^^ Expect new chapter soon, okay?

indigestible_wad
16th January 2005, 7:04 PM
Finally! I was going to prob you a couple days ago but I didn't wan't to sound desperate and rude. So I'm prodding you now. Get done. Get done. Get done!

Crystallugia
18th January 2005, 3:58 AM
FINISH!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I'm bad at prodding. Just hurry! I'm getting a little....twitchy....*eyes start to twitch*

Gatene
19th January 2005, 6:12 AM
O.O' Azure, please forgive the obnoxiously impatient readers, for they know not what they say. Please continue to write at your own pace. We all want a good chapter, right? *shouts* RIGHT????!!!!

I sure hope this one's longer, and has the characters equally as long.

Gatene

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
19th January 2005, 11:16 PM
I'm sad that Speccy left... u_u but you're right, she has done her part. And your writing blends very well with hers, I'll point out again.

I printed the latest chapter out a while ago, and you made a mistake with the [B] tags... It's probably already been pointed out, but I re-read the chappie several times. ><;; I copied it into Microsoft Word... It was like, 10 pagesand I made the font smaller, too. T-T So halfway done is a lot of writing, even if it takes me 5 minutes to read it.

I shall keep in mind how long it is when you print the chapters, and try to be patient. ^-~ Keep up the good work!

AzureFlygon
20th January 2005, 3:06 AM
Well, I promised it would be done before January was over, and I keep my promises!!!!! This is about... oh, I'd say ten pages long in my font (point nine), so I think it should be leangthy enough. I tried out humor (be afraid, be very afraid), and you find out more about Viaris and the Aerodactyl in this. Also, we find more of annoying Ash and Co. *shudder* and more of Serra's motives ^^

Enjoy, I hope I compiled it well enough! I thank everyone for prodding me! I also thank Speccy-chan, who prodded me every day until I got it finished!

~~~~~~~~~



The next morning brought with it a glorious blaze of sunlight and warm, balmy breezes.

Now if Serra was only here, I’d be truly happy, Aeris thought grumpily. She had been out of sorts since meeting Ash and Misty. Misty just seemed unsettlingly familiar...she did indeed bear a uncanny resemblance to the Mistress, the one that had dropped Serra and Aeris into this nightmare of twisted time skeins. But there was absolutely no way this smiling, cheerful teenager could be that crazed, venemous Rocket General. Right.

Aeris snorted and pushed the thought out of her head, standing up to stretch mightily. She was already dressed and ready to go, with Maverick perched in his favorite spot on her head.

“We’re done packing up camp, Aeris!” Brock’s yell startled Aeris and she cursed quietly.

“Fine, fine. Now let’s get a move on.” Aeris tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for Ash and his posse. They were really slowing her down. Jesus, kids! When you were in a war, you didn’t loll around on your fat arse, you had to move fast fast fast!

Aeris blinked and shook her head, grinning ruefully at her own impatience. But of course, the war didn’t exist right now, so she couldn’t really blame them. But kids...

. . .

“My title is Serrated Edge,” screeched the Aerodactyl quietly in explanation as the boys neared the roosts. The sky had progressively become clouded with many of the flying purple Pokemon as more and more of them became curious of the odd group and went to investigate, “My name is Screena, but do not call me by it in public, for you will be punished for such a infringement. The Alpha is known as Power of Air, do not call him by anything else, and if possible, do not say anything at all. If you offend the Alpha, you will not live to see your friends again.”

Blade nodded grimly. Screena had been informed of the nature of their quest while they had been traveling, to fill in the time, and the Aerodactyl agreed that they must continue their dangerous mission and try to convince the Alpha. Screena had seemed surprised that they had spoken to Giorn, and it seemed to Hydro that the Obelisk was somehow an important power in this parched desert land. It also seemed almost too much a coincidence that they had landed on the fringes of the ancient Pokemon’s oasis, but Hydro could not be certain of the cause of such luck.

But he did wonder, very briefly, of the real motives of the strange Andros Celebi known as Guardian. Almost as soon as the thought entered his head, though, he dismissed it; the Andros were tools of Team Rocket, and no force they knew of besides psychic power could break their programming.

“Come,” declared Screena formally, “sit upon my back, and I shall take you to the council chamber.”

“But…” began Shadow with a doubtful look at the gigantic Pokemon.

“Can you fly?” asked Screena ruthlessly, “Because you’re welcome to get to the council chamber’s yourself, if you so wish.”

Shadow, mollified, sat behind the others who had already clambered onto the Aerodactyl’s broad back. Viaris, again strapped to Hydro’s back, looked back with his large, humored eyes at the blonde-haired boy with a smirk on his small mouth.

“Aerodactyl, one,” he said gleefully, “Shadow, zip.”

“Oh, shut up,” grumbled Shadow, scowling. This reaction only made the Rock all the more amused, and finally the boy stopped with expressions altogether and settled for the ride.

And what a ride it was. The sky in the canyon was much cooler than that of the blistering desert sands, and as Screena rose in the air, small clouds could be seen as they passed through the sparse layers of mist. Other Aerodactyl swirled around them, taking this rare chance to get a better look at the newcomers while seeming to mind their own business, and sometimes Screena had to careen close to a rock face to avoid them. During these times, all the passengers were understandably nervous, for it was notoriously difficult to keep a steady course near the buffeting and contradicting winds by a sheer wall. Fortunately, Screena had grown up in this canyon, and knew the area and it’s winds better than most humans would know anything save the back of their hands.

Dotted along the cliffs in seemingly random order were dozens upon dozens of caves. Some were small, some large; many had one or more Aerodactyl looking out into the light while blinking sleepily. All of the caves, though, had the same basic shape, and it was clear that the flying dragon-like Pokemon had carved the dwellings themselves. Even so, the entire scene was an impressive one, and it was hard to wonder what the Council cave would look like after seeing such grand work.

Well, hard to wonder until it came into view.

The canyon around abruptly spread out into a space that had to be at least a half mile wide, letting the harsh sun beat beautifully upon the single, enormous spire that rose up from the forked river below. The light hit the rock just at the right angle, making the stone shine like a stature of bronze against the red and yellow sky.

“Welcome to the Council Spire,” called Screena over his back, letting a small smirk form at the corner of his beak as he saw the gaping expressions of the others.

“What? Hydro, you stupid lump! Let me see! Let me SEE!!!!”

“Shaddup, Viaris,” said Blade quietly, still gazing at the spire. He could actually see the light move as the sun fell across the sky and lit different areas of the rock, giving the illusion of a metallic surface.

The Rock grumbled, but said no more. Screena brought them steadily upwards, his great wings catching the warm air and providing lift from it as easily as any feather could. Hydro leaned over slightly to look at the ground below, and pulled back quickly. He hadn’t been prepared for the sight of how high they were, and he scrunched his eyes closed to stop the bout of vertigo that threatened to assail him.

“What, afraid of a little height?” mocked Shadow with a grin, “Poor Hydro!”

“How would you like to go flying later, Shadow,” said Screena before Hydro could say anything, “I’m sure you would enjoy the view from my claws!”

That shut the blond-haired boy up, and he busied himself with glaring warningly at the Rock that looked about to laugh at him. Even so, he faintly heard the mutter of ‘Aerodactyl two, Shadow zip’ before the Rock closed his eyes and feigned ignorance.

They landed on the rock with a soft thump, and Screena kneeled low to allow his three (four, if you want to be technical) passengers to dismount.

“Remember, I am Serrated Edge,” he said quietly.

Blade nodded, the other two boys following his example. Viaris merely narrowed his eyes, muttering something about ‘stupid fliers and their customs’ before turning his attention to the canyon and the sky. Shadow snorted, thinking briefly about whacking the Pokemon before his brain kicked in and told him how very dumb that would be. He rubbed his hand in with a wince as he imagined the consequences.

The entrance of the cavern was, if possible, more beautiful than the outside. The place was like some sort of miraculous geode, with natural crystal formations jutting up from every available surface, bending and refracting light so that the whole of the cave was lit with dull, multicolored light.

The group’s gazes followed the natural upward curve of the rock, and settled finally upon one large, throne-like aperture. The rock around it was carved to resemble various different wings, many of which looked, surprisingly, much like that of Serra’s incarnations. The reminder of the girl brought Blade’s thoughts back to the fight that had caused this warp… it seemed so long ago, now… and dumped them in this place. Funny to think that what seemed to be in the past to them hadn’t even happened yet in this land…

“Serrated Edge,” the voice was low, and held a menacing, hissing quality that made all the hair of the three boy’s skin stand straight, “What have you brought into our midst?”

“Travelers, Power of Air,” replied the Aerodactyl formally, spreading his wings and bowing low. Blade and the rest took the cue from him, kneeling or bowing as the case for each of them may have been. Viaris merely grumbled something about ‘no point in all this foolish tradition’.

“They not be from this area, nor from any area. What be the situation, Serrated Edge?” hissed the voice. Blade risked a quick glance upward that showed him the glittering forms of two eyes staring out from the shadows of the throne-like ledge.

“They are on a quest, Power,” said Screena, still keeping low and respectful, “A quest started by Giorn himself.”

“The Stone Seer has sent them, then?” the voice sounded surprised, but not enough to mar its frightening and alien quality, “That be a different matter. What be the nature of this ‘quest’?”

“To gather the army for the foretold rending, Power of Air,” said the Aerodactyl, making all three humans gape at him in shock. Since when was this foretold!? “They whish to be tested to see if they are truly worthy.”

“The reckoning begins, then,” murmured the voice. There was a shuffling above them, “Very well. Look upon me, travelers, and learn of what you shall face.”

Blade and the others looked up, gasping as they did so. Whatever they had been expecting, it was nothing like this! The huge Aerodactyl leader -or he seemed more Aerodactyl than anything else- was a hybrid. His large wings were less dragon-like than Screena’s, and lightly feathered on the ribs of the wings with dark brown and tan quills. His face, looking almost exactly like the dragon Pokemon’s in shape, was colored a dark burgundy, and lighter tufts of feathers framed his eye ridges and up to the tines on his skull. Huge, raptor-like talons adorned his claws, ones that looked more fit to a Noctowl than any other bird. His eyes, unlike the blood-red color of a normal Aerodactyl, were a uniform and expressionless black, one that seemed so depthless that it pulled one in upon looking into them.

“The test begins now.”

Those eyes pulses a single, bright flash of orange, and the group knew no more.

. . .


Serra had awoken early. Not wanting to disturb Jessie and James, she had quietly slipped away into the woods to have time to herself, to think things out.

Serra rubbed her forehead as she leaned against an oak, thinking quietly. Nearby, a Beedrill droned lazily as it navigated around the thick tree trunks, its gossamer wings catching bursts of dappled light that shone down through the forest canopy.

The Guardian sent Aeris and I back in time by about a few decades, give or take. The excrement has really hit the fan now...

Serra looked down, and scuffed her bare foot against the loamy dirt. Yes, she had been a little surprised at the extraordianry chances of meeting up with her parents...yet....she felt nothing. Such was the consquence of never really knowing what a mother or father was. It mattered little to her, however. Jessie and James were simply the people who had supplied her DNA, nothing more. No, she only considered Dorian her father, of sorts. Her mentor, and the only person she had loved before meeting her friends. Speaking of which, she would need to locate Aeris, and find a way to go back to her true time skein.

It was decided, then. She would leave now. No need for goodbyes...but she did need to repay her parents back for the kindness they had shown, quite uncharacterstic for a pair of bumbling Team Rocket grunts. What was one thing Team Rocket grunts liked?

Serra brightened and snapped her fingers. Of course! Money, what else? But where to get money?

Perhaps the Treasury in Silph Tower? It’s not like they need it, seeing as it’s going to be crawling with corrupted People in a decade or so. It’s not like it’ll matter if I dip into their funds.

Serra grinned, and in that moment, if one passing by had happened to see the lanky, fragile-looking girl leaning against a tree and smiling, that observer should not have been blamed if he had mistook this quiet waif as a love-struck teenager...and not known her for the fury she truly was. Indeed....no one would have mistook her as a living manifest of the ancient Goddess, she whose claws were crimson with the blood of untold millions...

. . .

What hit me? Thought Blade with a groan, opening his eyes with a grunt of pain as bright sunlight filtered through them, and where are the others?

“Oh great, I’m stuck with the boring one,” muttered a sarcastic voice off to the boy’s left, and Blade groaned again, louder this time.

Oh great, I’m stuck with the heavy one, he thought in a mocking imitation of the Rock’s tone. He wondered briefly if Viaris could hear him when he thought in words…

“I can hear you now, you dumb*ss,” replied the Rock smugly; “I’ll get you for that remark later, too. For now, where are we!?”

“If I knew, I’d leave you here and run for the hills,” snapped Blade, looking around at the sickeningly cheerful landscape that sported not only rainbow colored butterflies, but a herd of chibi Ponyta and several Nidoran couples, “This place is just… sick.”

The Rock looked around, his large fish-eyes taking in the scene and steadily widening until they almost took up his entire mass. A wave of disgust came to Blade, and the boy couldn’t help but smirk.

“Well, at least we know what you think of the situation,” said the human smugly, rising up from his sitting position and striding over to the Rock, “Come on, Viaris, can you sense anything? A direction we should go, maybe? You’re psychic, you know, it would be useful if you did something psychic once in a while.”

“What, like this?” asked Viaris innocently, smiling as Blade smacked himself in the head with a slightly glowing hand. The boy glared at him, and he just looked up with liquid eyes that could have put the Ponyta to shame, “I can do things like that more often if you’d like.”

“Let me rephrase that; it would be useful if you would do something helpful once in a while.”

“It’s not in my nature to be helpful.”

“How about if I pound it into you?”

“Ooh, I’m scared of the fleshy human. Try me, flesh boy.”

Blade shrugged, and took out his broadsword from the strap on his back. He would hate himself later, he knew, but this was far too good a chance to pass up…

“HEY! I didn’t-”

KLANG!!

“Owwwwwww…”

Blade smirked as he looked over his work, mainly Viaris with a large and obvious chip taken out right between his eyes. The Rock grumbled, and Blade caught several phrases that probably would have made Aeris freeze in shock. He reminded himself to try and memorize a few to surprise somebody with at another time. As it was, he was trying not to laugh, and failing miserably whenever the Rock opened his eyes to glare at him.

“It’s not funny, Blade, I’ll have a headache for weeks…”

“Serves you right.”

“I would have thought humans would be more sympathetic than that.”

“It’s not in my nature to be sympathetic.”

There was a long pause before the Rock said anything.

“… Truce?”

Blade looked at Viaris, a grin still quirking at the sides of his mouth as he saw the red Rock squint in both embarrassment and annoyance.

“The big, bad Viaris is gonna stoop to making a truce with a ‘flesh boy’, huh? Never thought I’d see the day.”

“Don’t make this harder than it already is, Blade. Besides, do you really want to stay in this place?”

“No, but why the sudden change? Did I hit you on the head harder than I thought?”

“Perhaps… a mixture of pain, embarrassment, and sudden clarity must be making me more cooperative.”

“That really hurt, huh? Sorry Viaris, I was just trying to show you that I wouldn’t back down to a challenge, especially one made by an overconfident prick, no offense.”

“My head hurts too much for me to care.”

“Good. I would have thought being made of stone would make you tougher than that,” mused the boy, looking at his sword to check for any immediate damage before sheathing it. He was lucky that it had been made especially for slicing through Andros armor, or else it would probably have broken under the force that he’d put into his swing. Nonetheless, he seemed to have finally taught the Rock the lesson he needed.

“I think we need to go that way,” said Viaris softly, giving Blade a small sense of direction before quieting.

“Huh?” Blade looked up curiously from his musings and into the direction the Rock had sent. The landscape didn’t seem any different, but the Pokemon seemed quite sure in his sending. But just to be sure… “Why that way?”

“I… uh…” Viaris coughed, “I could sense the others since we got here. I wasn’t going to tell you, though…”

“What? WHY?”

Viaris smiled weakly, “It was always fun to see your little group amble around, and even better to see how far you could get before I had to nudge you in the right direction… I would have liked seeing how you dealt with overly affectionate and sickeningly cute Ponyta, though…”

Blade was shocked, very shocked. So the little… he’d been influencing them all along! No wonder they always seemed to go in the right direction, even when they thought they were lost!

“Why didn’t you tell us? Well, besides the fact that it was ‘entertainment’ for you.”

“Don’t tell the others… please? I want them to think they did it themselves; they needed that accomplishment to keep going. Wait… I… I’m not being myself now… do you think I might have a concussion?”

“Probably…” Blade sighed, walking up to a tree and smacking his head against it a few times, “Great, I’m stuck here with a delirious meddler/do-gooder. To make things better, he’s giving me directions…” I wonder where we’ll end up?

After a long moment, Blade sighed again and picked up the Rock that was lying dazedly in the same place he had left him. He groaned, knowing that it would be a godsend if he found ropes right about now. Of course, he had no such luck, because nothing around them even looked remotely like a rope or some sort of strapping mechanism. Blade would just have to trust that his training and muscles would hold up without having to rest every ten minutes from carrying the heavy creature.

“We end up where we end up. Nothing more, nothing less… That’s what my sire always said, anyway.”

. . .


“James, James! Wake up you lazy oaf!”

“Huh? Wuh who wha whaaaa?!?”

“She’s gone!”

“Who’s gone?”

Thwock!

“Ouch!”

“Serra, you great big blithering fool! Serra’s gone!”

“What? Why?”

“Look, she left us a note...and there’s this huge duffel bag. It’s heavy but I haven’t opened it yet.”

“What does the note say?”

“It says....’Dear Jessie and James, and you too, Meowth. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality...I am pleased our paths have crossed, but I am sorry to say I could not linger for long. I apologize for the abrupt departure, and as thanks I have left you three with a modest gift.’ That’s it.”

“Well, if youse two are done wigging out, let’s open th’ duffel bag a’ready!”

“Yeah, open it. It looks heavy...”

“Jess? Jess?”

“She fainted! What the heck was in the bag?”

“Moolah! We’re rich! We’re rich! We’re filthy, stinking rich! Meeeee-ow!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serra ran.

Her pale form flashed wraithlike through the tree trunks, a momentarily glimpsed blur of motion that did not disturb so much as a leaf in the silent, hushed morning. The girl’s form seemed to melt, warp, and then glowed...

Moments later, her shadow flashed in the light of the sun, eclipsing the golden orb with the silhouette of a winged girl.

. . .


“I’m stuck with YOU!?”

“I don’t like it either, Shadow, so go stick your overgrown head in a pool of Carvanha or shut up or SOMETHING that won’t deafen me!” roared Screena, effectively cowing the human by both showing that he could be very, very loud and that he wasn’t in too good a mood, “I wasn’t even supposed to be here, mind you. I should’ve been watching the test through the scrying pool in the main hall, ready to jump in if one of you looked like you were going to get into something you couldn’t get out of…”

“Oh, really? So you know what these tests are, huh? And why does it matter if you’re here, if that’s the case?”

“Ugh, just stop asking questions, you incessant little-”

“I have a right to ask questions, birdbrain. I got thrown in this mess without even a warning! If you’re surprised, imagine how I must feel!”

Screena glared over at Shadow, who stared back with matching stubbornness. Finally, the Aerodactyl looked away with a sigh, conceding to the boy. He was right, of course; they were at far more of a disadvantage than the Pokemon was…

“I’m not allowed to tell you,” he sighed, turning away and kneeling to look at the ground, “But I’m more surprised at the surroundings, really. I wasn’t expecting this…”

Shadow shrugged, looking over the volcano blighted landscape. The ground he could see was covered in a thick layer of volcanic ash, but it seemed that whatever eruption that had occurred here had happened a long time ago, as plant life was starting to flourish once again. The most evident was a stand of trees in the distance. Now that the boy looked, he could see that they were also the strangest trees he could have imagined, because the miniature forest looked disturbingly like a pair of wings…

“So?” he said with a shrug.

Screena looked up sharply, “You don’t recognize this? At all? Are you certain?”

“Yeah, of course! I’ve never seen this place in my life, why do you ask!?” said Shadow rapidly, looking nervously up at the Aerodactyl that had come very close with his gigantic maw full of teeth right in the boy’s face.

“Sorry, Shadow,” sighed Screena, his wings drooping, “It’s just… there’s something very, very wrong here. There must have been some interference that mixed up the spell…”

“A SPELL!? What are you talking about!? I’ve had more than enough things lobbed at me in my life without having to worry about ‘voodoo magic’ topping it off!”

“Oi, this has not been a good day,” muttered the Pokemon, “I guess I can tell you now, Shadow, considering it’s going to get very difficult very soon. The Alpha has put us all to sleep, and with a combination of Hypnosis and Dream Eater, has created worlds based on out true nature and memories. The true test of this was to travel in pairs through your mind, confronting whatever fears and challenges you had within you so that you would be ready for the battle ahead. I thought… I thought that this might be your landscape… but it isn’t…”

“So…” said Shadow slowly, trying to take it all in, “What happened to mess it up?”

“There’s only one thing I can think of that would have done this…” said Screena slowly, “Someone must have come in while the Alpha was talking to you, and they got caught in the spell. Since it’s supposed to take pairs, it pulled me in to compensate, and somehow in the middle of the mess it mixed our mindscapes up and dumped us out here…”

“So… that would also explain how you can speak to me here without Viaris,” said Shadow with a nod, “It’s all a dream…” He smiled, “That’s great! Dreams can’t hurt us!”

“Do you truly want to place your life on that assumption?” said Screena sternly, making Shadow jump at the sharp tone, “Foolish human, can’t you see? These challenges were based on all your hidden fears and inner hatred. If you do not pass them…” he paused, thinking of what might be awaiting him here, “You’re mind will be destroyed forever.”

“WHAT!? I’d become a vegetable if I didn’t pass just because you needed to see how strong we were!?”

“No, you’d become a ‘vegetable’, as you call it, because you weren’t able to face yourself or do what was needed to save your own mind. This is just an abrupt and creative quickening of a natural process.”

“Good to know,” sighed Shadow, sagging slightly as his voice changed to a flat tone “Great, just great. Let’s go, Screena.” The boy turned to walk in the direction of the trees.

“You sure that’s the right way?” asked the Aerodactyl uncertainly, looking around at the unfamiliar and somewhat frightening landscape before sighing and hopping forward. Shadow looked up at the hulking form, smiling when he saw that the Pokemon was offering to give him a ride.

“Does it matter?” he said, feeling his spirits lift a little now that he at least knew what was in store for him, “These challenges’ll find us anyway, right? Let’s just go the wherever the wind takes us, and perhaps we’ll find our friends on the way.”

. . .


Ash stopped dead and pointed up at the sky, his jaw hanging open in an almost-bovine expression of atonishment.

“Is that an angel?”

Aeris looked up and squinted. “Oh, ayuh, that’s Serra. Good, she didn’t die after all.” Her tone was light but Aeris was secretly relieved.

The shadowy form sped towards them with all the velocity and force of a speeding bullet, and Aeris was forced to shove Ash and his friends out of the way as Serra roared by, her wings thrumming in a Doppler whine as the powerful blast of wind blew Ash’s cap off. The League cap did a lazy whirl in the air and thudded limply against the wind-torn grass.

Serra banked her wings as her feet slammed into the ground, and lurched forwards into a jog as her balance tottered off point.

“Aeris! Thank god you’re okay. Where’s Maverick?”

Aeris pointed to the Net Ball clipped to her belt. “He kept snapping at Brock. Thank god you’re okay. I thought you’d be Spam for sure.”

The two girls stood, chatting and greeting each other as casually as if they had happened to bump into one other. During this light banter, Ash and his two followers were bunched together, refusing to believe what they were seeing. It wasn’t until Aeris cleared her throat and tilted her head towards the shocked group that Serra noticed them.

“Oh, who are they?” Her eyebrows knitted as she took them in. They looked like a ragtag bunch of gawky teenagers...she wasn’t too impressed.

“That’s Ash, that’s Brock, and that’s Misty.”

Serra nodded and waved her hand towards the group. As if they were puppets whose strings had been cut, the group sighed and slumped to the ground, oblivious to the world.

Noticing Aeris’s startled look, Serra shrugged. “I’m not in the mood for idiots right now. When they wake up their minds will be wiped with no memories of us. Time’s short and we need to get moving. I’m worried about everyone else. I’ll fly us to Mount Silver where we can decide what to do.” Her voice sounded slightly strained so Aeris nodded.

“What happened to you after we landed?” Aeris asked as she climbed piggyback-style onto Serra, being careful of the lush feathers of her wings.

“I’ll tell you about it as soon as we get in the air.” Serra pumped her wings and the unusual pair was launched into the sky like a bullet from a rifle.

. . .

“Heeey? Hey! HEY, get up sleepyhead!”

Hydro moaned, rolling over to try and shut out the giggling voice. He didn’t want to move, he didn’t want to see where he was. He just wanted to drift and pretend that nothing had happened. It was better than doing anything, right now, and sleep sounded like a great idea, after all that flying…

“Come ON!!”

“Yah!” Hydro yelped as a large and unexpectedly strong foot rolled him over. He opened his eyes almost before he had realized it, browed furrowing as he saw that this place was dark and shadowed, with only a dark red tint as a light source to illuminate the plants and streams and other things that were set all around. Hydro only knew that the objects were there because he could hear a stream and feel the grass, for the red light wasn’t all that strong in this place.

His gaze drifted to the creature in front of him, and he contemplated screaming for a moment before gathering his wits and calming. It was mostly the red light that had frightened him in the first place, because, now that he looked, the creature in front of him was almost disturbingly cute.

“Hiya,” it chirped, “My name is Snippet, what’s yours?”

Hydro paused, looking over the Pokemon. It was small; only about half his height, and from what he could see looked a bit like and Aerodactyl. He wasn’t sure, though, because a gigantic mass of fluffed down covered its face and wings, and he could barely see a small tail lashing behind it.

“Hydro,” he answered softly.

“Glad to meetcha, Hydro-chan!” giggled the little creature. Hydro sighed; it was just his luck that he’d get stuck with a youngling, “Wanna play?”

“I have a better idea, Snippit,” said Hydro gently, “Uh, could you tell me where we are, first?”

“Don’t know,” said the kittling cheerfully, “But it looks fun, Hydro-chan!”

“Why are you calling me that?”

“’Cause you’re my new bestest best friend, Hydro-chan,” giggled the creature, poking him with a wing, “Daddy can’t play now, and he isn’t here, so you’ll be my friend… right?”

Hydro looked at the huge, liquid eyes that shone brightly even in the low light, and groaned.

“Sure,” he said softly, wincing when the little Pokemon screamed with joy and glomped him.

This is going to be a long, long day…

. . .



“So you met your genetic parents and left them without so much as a goodbye except for a duffel bag filled with loads of cash? That’s cold, Serra.” Aeris squinted hey eyes as the wind blasted into her senstive eyeballs.

“I don’t give a flying honky about them,” Serra snapped as she tilted to avoid a cloud bank. “They’re Team Rocket grunts, nothing more. I only care about the war.”

“The war!” Aeris spat. “With you, it’s all about the war, the war, the goddam-ned war. It was what you were born to, it was your destiny, yak yak. Well, Tauros poop to that. Don’t you care for anyone else except killing, killing, killing?” As soon as the words left her mouth, Aeris was immediately sorry.

The temperature around them dropped so quickly that frost formed on Aeris’ hair and her breath came out in misty puffs.

“Serra-”

She was cut off as Serra did a sharp barrel roll. With a shriek, Aeris was flung out into empty space.

The blonde fell out of the sky, smashing through several clouds on the way.

I’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodiediedieeeeee e!

Rough hands grabbed the back of Aeris’ shirt and she was harshly snapped up, almost choking in the process. She was thrown upwards like a hapless Golden, twisting and lurching in the air.

Before Aeris knew it, she was laying on Serra’s back again. Serra’s form glowed and rippled, the change flowing through her. Aeris could actually feel Serra’s warm skin flex and shift under her hands as strips of metal coiled around Serra’s torso. She had shifted into her armor.

The wings flared, and Aeris threw up her hands in front of her eyes. When she could see again, the Champion saw that steel blades and pistons had replaced the feathers and pinions. Steel-type wings.

Serra sang, her voice a gentle whisper in the thin air of the high alitude.

“Poised for flight
Wings spread bright
Spring from night
Into the sun
Don’t stop to run
She can fly like a lie
She cannot be outdone
The Goddess was born for war
To deal out death
To kill and slay and rend
Until the streets flow crimson
And the sun rises shrouded
By a fog of war
The Goddess was born for war
But she was also born for love
She cares for many
Within her heart she holds dear
Three Champions
Of the People
Two Warriors
Of humankind
One Psychic
Lady of the shadows
Those the Goddess loves
And they are the reason
Why the Goddess fights
Whe Goddess will play
The cruel game of fate
Until the streets flow crimson
And the sun rise shrouded
By a fog of war...”

The temperature slowly rose to normal, and Aeris stopped shivering. Her heart hadn’t stopped hammering, though.

“You were always a good singer, Serra. You have made your point, and I apologize.”

“Apology taken, processed, stamped and sealed with approval. Accepted.”

Aeris broke out laughing. The sound chimed crystal clear as Serra smiled.

“I know another song... 'Izabella.’ Do you know that one?”

Aeris nodded eagerly. “Do I ever! I haven’t sung for so long, but I bet I can match you. Ready, one, two, go!”

Both girl’s voices rolled through the empty skies as they lustily sang the time-old song.

“Izabella, Izabella
Rolling thunder of the sea...”

Soon, the song faded into silence as a goddess and a girl flew over the lush, verdant land that was oblivious to what it would look like decades from now: torn up by the ravages of war and stained crimson with the blood of the fallen. Such was the dark legacy of Team Rocket that was soon to be...and Kanto would reap what it sowed in the fall of a nation.

Crystallugia
20th January 2005, 3:42 AM
O.O wow..... That chapter was cool. Serra does seem a little harsh though... *flinches when Serra glares* On the other hand, I love how she added to her Song.

That's funny how that 'youngling' got into the spell. *snickers* It's hilarious!

Hey, I'm the first reveiwer!

Elite Eevee
20th January 2005, 2:45 PM
Wow, you amaze me with every turn. I don't know how you manage to come up with a character more annoying than the last. I swear, I think I'm starting to appreciate Viaris now.
I do agree though (With Aeris and CL), Serra is getting cold. I think she's frusterated at...well, I don't know, but something drastic is coming.

ClefairyTenchi
20th January 2005, 4:03 PM
I like Snippet! He's cute! And hybrid.^^

Couple things, how would Viaris know what Ponyta are? They don't exist to him yet. Or did he find their identity from Blade's mind? But even so, how would Snippet have knowledge of Ponyta and Nidoran? That is obviously his world, after all. Also, how would Screena know what Carvahna are? Oh well...

Tee hee, the Tenchi knows all. Bow down before his mighty knowledge of the Goddess!

;035;"Be quiet!"

AzureFlygon
20th January 2005, 7:39 PM
Yah hoo! I've been assured that I am okay at humor!

CL and EE: Glad you thought the spell was funny, and yes, even I'm amazed that I managed to make another annoying character ^^ What can I say? It's a gift.

Any problem with Serra being cold must be taken up with Spectreon, the all-powerful creator XD But EE's not far on his guess....

EE: Appreciating Viaris!? *feels EE's forehead* are you certain you're okay?

CT: As for you! *points threateningly* You found some points on there I have to explain!!! XD

Okay, first, have you actually looked at all the ancient Pokemon that Nintendo has released? ALL of them are predators. It's pretty common knowledge that an ecosystem made up entirely of carnivores just doesn't work, so i threw in some prey animals. And where was it said that normal Pokemon weren't around back then? Never heard any such thing in the show OR the games, just that the ancient Pokemon went extinct a long time ago. *shrug*

As for Screena's knowledge... Artistic Liscense XD It's funny, so it doesn't have to make COMPLETE sense.

Glad you like Snippet. He's my version of an overy hyper fan-person that talks in way too much japanese and tends to glomp people. Thought it would be fun to have such a character ^^

*waves to all the fans and bows* thank you, thank you very much. Speccy will be pleased ^^

indigestible_wad
21st January 2005, 1:40 AM
Well that was a good chapter, a few things I had to think about for a second but overall a good chapter. I'm gonna guess that the volcano landscape is probably screena's, the flowery landscape is obviously snippet's, and the dark landscape is probably one of the boys, I'm guessing shadow, but I'm not sure about that. If they're all in different dreams, how come viaris can sense them? Unless they're all in the same dream and there are invisible borders between each one or else if you complete your task you go into one of the others world. Just a theory.

AzureFlygon
21st January 2005, 2:23 AM
If they're all in different dreams, how come viaris can sense them?

They're all in the same dream. It's sorta like what you said, except there isn't any boundries at all. Just several different expanses merging (very strangely) into one huge 'dream world' that needs to be navigated. They just got stuck in the wrong spots.

Oh, and here's Speccy's reply!!!:

"Thank you all very much, readers! *hands out exploding New Year cookies* Elite Eevee, you're very perpective, and I applaud you. Serra's sudden coldness is meant to foreshadow what will be coming in less than three chapters. But my lips are sealed....mwahahahahaha. ClefairyTenchi, I just caught a Clefairy and I'm naming her after Chibi! She did you proud, I had her do Metronome against Lt.Surge's Raichu and she KOed him with an Aeroblast. O_O Lugia and ChibiRyu, thank you all ta muchly! Next chapter, people, expect Guardian to return for a drop-down knockout battle against the Goddess of War. ^^"

ClefairyTenchi
21st January 2005, 4:08 PM
ALL RIGHT CHIBI! SHE KICKS MASS ***! I AM HONORED (as usual^^;;)!

I hadn't mentioned this to you, Speccy, but I caught a Butterfree and named it Arch in honor of Archaic(her FR Butterfree)^^

Azure, I think it's kinda implied that mamalian pokemon didn't exist at that time. Why not just create herbivoric saurians yourself? Besides, Ivysaur, Bayleef, and Grovyle are all Saurian. Gah! I'm nitpicking! Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry! I'll just accept it and pretend that this is just the result of memory blending or something ^^;;;;;;;;;;

This occured to me last night, will they still face their own fears if they're in the wrong worlds? That'd be interesting, the little boy Blade killed appearing out of the flowery landscape.....*shudders* EE, I think that the dark landscape is probly Blade's. But I could be wrong.

I'm blithering. I'll shut up now^^;;;;

Elemental Charizam
21st January 2005, 10:12 PM
Serra is a bit cold, and I think I know why (theory of DOOOM!):

She was having fun at the beach, and becoming more social. Then Misty comes and she almost loses, despite Misty being a mere human, and then Celebi flashes her back in time with a flick of the wrist. I think she blames herself for growing weak, not being able to protect her freinds or herself. So she's making herself cold, focused and trying to ignore problems.

Tenchi, I hope you realise you gave me a creepy image there....DOOM! Still, you put flowers on graves after all, why not in reverse?

Like the chapter and the storyline, I think I might know where this is going... unless theres an ebil twist. About the ancient pokémon, what about Togepi? Its egg was found near an excavation site after all.... Plus, maybe his is in middle ground, before mammals take over most of the land, but after the complete domination of lizards. They live in harmony and such.

~EC

Elite Eevee
21st January 2005, 11:54 PM
Thanks for the compliment, Spec. My stomach'll be loaded for weeks from those cookies. And a drop-down fight with the Guardian (Celebii, right?)? This will be interesting. And as a note to Azure, yes, I feel fine.
EDIT: I think that whoever's without Snippet will face their fears, as was planned. However, Blade, Shadow, and Hydro each have a partner, so they'll be against their fears as well. You never know, it might drop a clue.

Crystallugia
22nd January 2005, 3:55 AM
Drop-down battle? Cool! This next chappie is gonna be a gooooooooooooooooooood one! I can tell!

;227; : GOODCHAPPIEGOODCHAPPIEGOODCHAPPIEGOOD CHAPPIEGOODCHAPPIE!!!!!!!!

indigestible_wad
22nd January 2005, 4:07 AM
Okay I see. I meant that the walls were just invisible passages to the other dream worlds. Not really like walls at all.


This occured to me last night, will they still face their own fears if they're in the wrong worlds?
I think they're not going to tell us, we'll just have to find out when the next chapter is.

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
22nd January 2005, 12:14 PM
I read the new chappie yesterday, but didn't have time too reply... ^^;; ::munches on a cookie:: The world that they ish in right now is a bit confusing, because it seems that none of them know where they are...and all of then are supposed to know. Despite it's confuzzlingness, it was very stimulating. And yes, like others, I predict a sudden twisty. Messing wit the past can't bring all good...even if they're trying to form armies, and they might succeed... What if something somehow happens to Jessie and James? Would Serra not exist? And what about Ash? Geez...I'll just leve the thinking up to ou writers over there. ^-~ But yeah, awesome long chapter, the prodding did it's work!

indigestible_wad
22nd January 2005, 7:42 PM
They're not messing with the past. Don't you know how time travel works? Think of it this way, they're doing what they already did but didn't do but now they're doing it. Get it? No? Oh well, it's very difficult to explain unless you already undersatnd it yourself.

Crystallugia
22nd January 2005, 10:56 PM
I understand perfectly. The gang already did everything that they're doing now, which formed their present (or future and past, whichever you like) to where they'd go to the past and do everything. Haven't you ever seen the thrid Harry Potter movie?

indigestible_wad
23rd January 2005, 3:01 AM
I don't watch the harry potter movies, but I did read the book, and that's exacly what happened. I understood time travel way before that though. There is no such thing as changing or meddling with time. If you are going ot change time, you can't, it has technically already happened. There are no paradoxes.

ClefairyTenchi
24th January 2005, 3:30 PM
I thinks we're getting a little off topic.

Humans, every story with time travel has a different view on how it works. Some say the past can be changed, some say it can't, and with some it's a mix. I think we should allow Speccy and Azure to answer our questions.

EDIT: Elemental Charizam(down there\/), this is fan-fiction. Fiction, by definition, is something that has not happened and, is therefore, subject to any form of fictional concept. People who make theories on time travel and write about them have as much right to do so as those who don't. They're not ignorant. The ignorant people are the ones who say that people don't have a right to theorize and discuss about what they don't fully understand *coughcough*. Literary elements don't have to be acurate at all. Like, in Harry Potter, if magic does exist, who's to say that's how it functions? It doesn't matter if things in a story might be innaccurate, as long as they work with the story.

Elemental Charizam
24th January 2005, 5:27 PM
Basing your theories on time-travel on a fantasy book for teenagers is not wise. There is no definite in this situation as no one has gone back in time. Saying so is ignorant, not even the greatest Scientists claim their theory is definite.

Before we spam up the thread anymore, why don't we all kidnap Tenchi and make him answer all our DOANL questions! MUAHHA! I mean, stop posting. The No.1 way to not spam, according to www.killspamaz.coml.

~EC

indigestible_wad
25th January 2005, 1:35 AM
First of all, I have plenty of theories on time travel witout the use of another book, second, there are plenty of things they have already said in the story and in reviews that show that the time travel is all one way. Meaning that you can't change it. The only people who make stries with the incorrect version of time travel are people who don't understand it in the first place. Now I shall stop talking.

Gatene
25th January 2005, 4:50 AM
Pardon my naiveness, but what is there not to understand about Time Travel? You go back to an earlier date, for intentions unknown. You wind up back there, and any changes that are made by you, are changed in YOUR present. If you couldn't change the past, then time travel would be redundant, and basically pointless. Check out, Back To the Future. It's a prime example. To not to change anything would be like A Christmas Carol when the ghost of Christmas Past shows the past to Ebenezer. Even though that's not technically time traveling, that would be the best example.

The characters in DoaNL are in the past, and can interact with the people from the past, thus they can change the past, which will affect the future. Hell, Serra could tell Jessie & James all about the future, and that she's their daughter, and could seriously screw things up. Such as, Serra wouldn't be the goddess, which would mean she grew up normally with 2 parents, and she would have never met Aeris and company.

Time travel's too easy of a concept to misunderstand, IMO

Gatene

indigestible_wad
26th January 2005, 3:45 AM
Now that's what we call a paradox. And paradoxes don't exist. Let's say that they did go back in time. Serra told J&J everything and grew up normally, then she never met aeris and never went back in time so she wouldn't be able to change her past to make it like it was. You have to think of time as a loop that keeps continuing exactly the same, it ccan't be changed. All scientists agree that what you say don't exist.

ClefairyTenchi
26th January 2005, 4:02 PM
I have two words for you, smelly human filth germ monkeys, Be Quiet. Read the edit to my last post, EC. And the rest of you, it doesn't matter. Do not mess with me today cause I am this close to ripping your intestines out and shoving them through your eyesockets.

Timetravel is currently an abstract concept, no one knows for sure what it involves, if it's even possible at all. As an abstract concept, authors have the right to make up whatever rules for it that fits their story. Wad thing, not all scientists agree on one thing unless it is thouroughly proven.

My theory on Celebi is that time doesn't mean the same thing to it as it does to us. I think it knew to send them to a specific time and place. It sent Serra to where J&J were so she could give them their retirement money (that is what it was) and he sent Blade, Hydro, and Shadow to where the Obelisk was so they could prepare the army of the dead, which Celebi knew that it'd have to do, cause it had already happened. Time is very confusing when ou get into traveling through it.

AzureFlygon
26th January 2005, 9:31 PM
Whoa, don't check up for just a FEW days, just a few, and what do I find?
-_-

Okay, to quash this little spam tangent once and for all, Clefairt Tenchi is correct in his assumptions as to what Celebi had done, and that's that. I put specific clues in my part of the story to see if anyone could catch it, you can find them if you look, I'll bet.

Also, Indigestable_Wad is quite correct on my viewpoint of time travel, whatever happens here had already happened anyway, but the group didn't know anything about it. I won't speak for Spectreon on this, but that's what I based my writing on. Remember, this is just a fic, not something to debate endlessly about. Me and Spec do this for fun, not for making sense or anything. If we wanted that, we would be writing essays on the probabilaty of black holes in the center of a spiral galaxy or some such thing.

So, though I do enjoy hearing everybody's view on the subjects, this is not a debate topic. If you find something fun to debate about, bring it to the correct place, okay. Any questions will be answered by me or Spec, and self-appointed spam-guard Goddess-know-it-all Clefairy Tenchi, who seems to be doing a rather good job of warning people from spamming and answering questions correctly.

Now, for listening, I thank all of you. I ask for you to accept my apologies, because I really should have stopped this sooner.
~Azure

indigestible_wad
27th January 2005, 12:52 AM
I'm sorry. It's my fault. I can't help correcting people on complex subjects. That's why it got so out of hand. If you want to blame anyone, blame me.

I do have one question: do you and spectreon already have the whole story already done, with just have a few blank spots to fill in?

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
27th January 2005, 1:28 AM
Oh dear... Now look at what I've done. oO Oops.

I know I don't understand time travel, because in my point of view it's not real. Um..,yeah, I thought that since they were going into the past, they could change it. ^^ I'm not asking for an explanation, although I'd bet it sounds like it, I still don't understand your time travel idea. That's ok, I'll bet it'll be cleared up once the next chappie comes along. At least a little.

I think I asked the same question, Indigestable Wad... ^^;; What I remember (not even sure if this is right) is that Azure and Spec already had the ending (I think) and future happennings planned out, but not written in chapters. (Obviously or they would be on this thread by now). XP And now I'm done, and I hope this post isn't spam.

AzureFlygon
27th January 2005, 3:29 AM
Tis no one's fault, so don't worry. I know that complex topics are the best things to argue about, i do it all the time with my friends XP

I have answers!!!! Plus, Spec wanted me to put this up:
"Tell them that I didn't want Serra to meddle too much with the past because she desn't want to risk screwing up the future."

There's her reasoning O.o Almost contridicts mine, doesn't it? XD

Oh, and for the question about having it finished or not; no, we don't. We have parts written out, and every major plot twist, but the tiny details are to be written. But it's the tiny details that make the story! ^^

And, since I know everyone wants to know this, next chapter is tentitivly scheduled for sometime on Febuary on my part... I might even put a bit of Valentines reference in my section *shrug* not that I like the holiday at all, but it is fun to write about fluff.
~Azure

Elemental Charizam
27th January 2005, 7:01 PM
ARRGAHHHHH! Please Indigestable, don't say you are correcting people! Its asking for spam, you know I don't agree that your theory is definite. It may seem to make sense, but it made sense hundreds of years ago that the world was flat. The book 'Space' disagrees at least, which is written by someone with scientific knowledge.

Sorry for my post, though it did ask people not to spam, though I guess it was confrontational. And CT's post to me is saying what I said anyway! There is no definite here, so its ok to make up you're theories, but don't say they are the truth IRL. OK?

By the way, what happend to Serra's Eevee hybrid? Was it transported or does it not exist yet?

~EC

Crystallugia
28th January 2005, 1:30 AM
The hybrid, Raven, and Terra are...somewhere else. When are they going to be re-introduced into the story?

indigestible_wad
28th January 2005, 1:45 AM
I'm not going to argue more on the subject because I've already stated my veiws and if you want to debate about it either PM me or put it up in the debate forum.

As to when the people in the present are going to be coming back, I've already asked that question, and they said: soon. My guess is that they won't be back until jirachi sends them back into the present. And when the time travelers are back, the non time travelers will have gone on a small journey of their own and will tell us about it when they get back.

Pokemon Master Hani
29th January 2005, 1:05 PM
Hello
i recently joined this forum and i love this story. where did you get the idea for this story from. and will the next chapter be near the begenning or end of
Feburary

ClefairyTenchi
31st January 2005, 3:49 PM
I know Speccy was inspired by Mewtwo. I also know that a lot came from "Oh my Goddess!" Serra is kind of a rip off. However, Speccy has a way of taking a character and making it her own.

In the first or so thread, Speccy mentions that a lot came form Teen Titans. Raven and Shadow are Raven and Beast Boy, respectively.

I am normal *looks around shiftily*

IdiotNESS
2nd February 2005, 11:02 PM
They're from Teen Titans? Never heard of it...oh well, the characters have depth that isn't achievable in any cartoon so I thing Spectreon and AzureFlygon have done a wonderful job with the characters. Good job!

AzureFlygon
3rd February 2005, 3:35 AM
Thanks, IdiotNESS. As for the question by Hani, the next chapter will probably be out near the end of Feb. Sorry to disappiont anyone ^^;; I've been owrking of some original stories, and Spec has had her hands full with a bout of inspiration for a new one she's making. Trust me when I say we haven't set this story down, though. It can and will update ON TIME!!! I won't allow otherwise!

ChibiYukiakariRyuu
3rd February 2005, 7:56 PM
That's fine, Azure. ^-^ Take your time, we can all wait. ::gives everyone else a look:: We've waited this much, we can wait a little mroe. (Nah, just kidding). Although it may not seem like I even have a life off the internet, I understand we all have other thigns to be doing. x_x

Crystallugia
6th February 2005, 2:38 AM
Very, very true, Chibi. Although, I really don't have much of a life off the net. ^-^; Eagerly awaiting next chappie!

indigestible_wad
6th February 2005, 5:28 AM
Yeah, take as long as you need to, just make sure that it's before March first, or else thigs are going to start to get ugly...

Master Alltro-N
7th February 2005, 8:10 AM
O_O.... This is the best story I have ever read...I mean; just the first Chapter had me on the edge of my seat! I bestow an applause *all around clap*and now to business...

On a first note, Time travel would not screw up anything for everything that has happened, happened and no matter how many times you try to change an occurrence, something will stop you. Trust me, I've tried. *sigh*

Second, why aren’t you...three...putting Lileep or Omynite and such in it. Or Relicanth, for that matter... Wait, scratch the fish.

Oh man, that is making me look like I didn't like it...Oh well. I have a feeling that the Guardian has been to the Power of the Sky previously...Wait! A new thought occurred in my mind...Celebi went to the future, saw the carnage AND saw were Andro Celebi sent the boys, and went to the Power of the Sky to alert him of the war!! Or I could be completely on the other side of the world on the issue. In that event, ignore what I just said.

I was a little surprised by the reaction Serra had to her "Parents" though. Or maybe that's because I greatly detest that Dorien...What I wouldn't do to send my entire team on that no-good son-of-a-*****...Ahem, glad I got that out of my system.

Oh, this would be so cool if Past Celebi got the time-logged heroes to their normal time...But would Andros Celebi know...I mean, when the Pokemon are Andrositized, are their minds whipped? Hmmmm...Interesting.


Zango: All right, A-N, that's enough! Let the writers do what they do best!


Oh, I almost forgot, NEW CHAPTER SOON PLEASE!!!


Zango: *slaps hand to forehead* Okay, time to go, A-N. -_-' Goodbye, for now... you have a new fan, I must say...*reaches for submit button*


No, wait! I'm not done....

Master A-N Out

ClefairyTenchi
7th February 2005, 3:40 PM
Hehehe, new meat-I mean fans! It's good to know that people recognize brillianceness.

However, the long time readers would be best reminded that spam includes demands for more chapters. No one's spamming horribly yet, just a reminder to you humans.

How bout this, if you demand more chapters in a post, you have to includeat least two things that are constructive and non-spammy.

Let's keep this thred free of litter^^

indigestible_wad
7th February 2005, 4:08 PM
Fair enough. Okay, Master Alltro-N, there is more than one celebi. We've seen that in the fourth movie. But in this story there may only be one celebi, I don't know, but something has to happen to get them back to the present. That being said, I've really got nothing else to say so... bye!

Master Alltro-N
7th February 2005, 4:51 PM
Man, now I feel like a real newbee^~^' sowy


Fair enough. Okay, Master Alltro-N, there is more than one celebi. We've seen that in the fourth movie. But in this story there may only be one celebi, I don't know, but something has to happen to get them back to the present. That being said, I've really got nothing else to say so... bye!

I never saw the fourth movie. and the way they put it, it sounded as there were only 1 Celebi. I still like my previous thought.

Wait...I just got it! After the Andros Trinity is dead...ooh, that is good! I especially like the way you are thinking extremely far in advance, like I do.

Zango: *coughyeahrightcough*

Hey, I do! I just can't put it down on paper, thats all!

Zango: Sure...anyway, its time to go. say 'bye' to the post.

Will you stop messing with my com...

Master A-N Out

indigestible_wad
8th February 2005, 12:31 AM
Yes, in their story it does sound like there is only one celebi. I'm guessing that they get back to the present by using the past celebi.

Also just so you know, you don't need to quote someone's post if it's the post right above you. We know what you're talking about, so you don't need to get redundant. I'm not trying to sound like a mod, it's just so you know.

ClefairyTenchi
8th February 2005, 3:48 PM
In pokemon 4ever (Celebi: Voice of the Forest) Celebi's powers are drained and nothing they do can seem to help it. Then, Celebi from all diferent times come to the dead Celebi and rejuvinate it. In actuality, there's only one Celebi, it just seems like there's a lot because it can travel through time and, in the movie, it seems that it's able to have multiple egos in the same plane of existence. Like I said, time works differently for Celebi than humans.

Ever read Ankh-Morpork (I think that's right) books by Terry Pratchet? In those books, memories don't just stretch out behind you in time, they also precede you, allowing people who can read them memories of the future. I think that Celebi never learns anything new, it already knows everything that's gonna happen in time. It just allowed itself to be Andro-ized so that it could fight the Goddess. It also acts like it doesn't know what'll happen for the benefit of humans. Or maybe it only subconsciously knows what'll happen, like humans do but more so.

Whatever the case may be, there's only one Celebi, though there are those in different time planes.

Gatene
9th February 2005, 11:50 AM
I thank you so much CT, I was wanting to say that about Celebi, that there's only one, that the ones we saw in the 4th movie are the same Celebi, just from a different time, but I didn't want to start a new debate, and get chewed out about it. (heed my title as the Pokémon Professor, I make it my business to know everything there is to know about Pokémon. What? Me obsessed?)

I also agree with your opinion about Celebi knowing the past and future, but that doesn't go with DoaNL, because you kinda get the hint that she's trying to help our heroes, and that she was forced into becoming an Andros. That's the beauty of fanfiction, you could make anything you so desire. Sure she could be fooling the readers and the heroes into believing that she was froced to become an andros, but there'd have to be a reason for her to become one. Lol, the more I think about the possiblities, the more each of them sound like the truth, I'll shut up now. O.O

Gatene

Pokemon Master Hani
13th February 2005, 3:09 PM
this thread hasent been updated for a long time now, where is everybody

AzureFlygon
15th February 2005, 2:59 AM
*runs in to answer Hani's question*

We, as the authors, take much time in writing our scenes. Taking in the fact that this next one is very important chapter-wise... I'm lagging XD Got two more scenes to do and the new chap'll be up.

Hani, ya gotta expect to wait at least a month for new chaps, here. We write it as we go, and oftne get blocks or real life intruding. But this fic shall not, and will never, die. I swear this to all of you!

Oh, and the next chap will be quite funny character-wise, and also a bit saddening, and revealing for some. Expect living vines, dark shadow roller coasters, and things flying that really shouldn't fly at all O.o

Oh, and BTW. Happy Valentines day to you all out there. We are blessed to have readers that love our story and put up with us during the in-progress times XD

ShinyUmbreon
16th February 2005, 5:07 AM
:( the first pages with loaded with stories by as we go to 11 it goes smaller :( PLZ update it :D wat i mean is can u update more :D cuz i want to read this Crazy fic :o

Gatene
16th February 2005, 5:21 AM
Uhm, Shiny, could you please rephrase what you mean. Are you talking about the website? Either way, please explain yourself further.

Gatene

indigestible_wad
24th February 2005, 3:40 AM
I've been reading from the beginning again, y'know, to get a better feel for the story, and I've noticed many a spelling errors, but those don't really matter to me. What I've noticed mainly is that you swiched the currency from coins to dollars around chapter seven. Now you may not have meant to do that, but some people mgight get a little suspicious and start hounding you on that.

ClefairyTenchi
24th February 2005, 3:35 PM
Some people like....uhhh...YOU! Just kidding, it is good to mention possible improvements to a fic. I wonder if they fixed the Beau/Blade mix-up.....

indigestible_wad
24th February 2005, 3:45 PM
I think there was also a part where Blade was looking at the back of Serra's head, and then it said that shadow was looking at the back of her head, with a goofy grin. So far I've only gotten through the first page of the thread, but it took me atleast an hour. *pant pant* But really, it's interesting to see the beginning of the story when you already know all the characters and have some insight on the future.

DragonFan
25th February 2005, 1:48 AM
Wow, I just started reading this fic and I couldn't stop!!! It is an amazing story. A few mentioned grammatical errors but the story line was great. I can't wait for the new chapters.

ShinyUmbreon
25th February 2005, 6:52 AM
plz try to update as fast as possible :) i like this one

Kiyohime
25th February 2005, 8:08 PM
I cannot post a proper review yet, because I am still reading the fourth chapter. But I just want to tell ShinyUmbreon: STOP DEMANDING UPDATES. It is spam and it annoys the authors. They are working their best to write it for you all so please give them time! A rushed chapter is a bad chapter.

..::Scrap::..

Elite Eevee
14th March 2005, 12:36 AM
AAAAHHHHHH!!!! *splat* Shoot, it's been awhile. It's really good to see some new readers here, but SU, DO NOT ASK FOR AN UPDATE. Point said. Can't wait for the next chapter.

ShinyUmbreon
14th March 2005, 5:03 AM
srrry :( just waiting

Orange_Flaaffy
14th March 2005, 5:07 PM
Hmm..I wonder if after all this time Spectreon is unbaned. It would be nice to see her posting this again...

indigestible_wad
14th March 2005, 6:53 PM
Nope, her account's gone, so she won't be doing this anytime soon.

Orange_Flaaffy
14th March 2005, 8:30 PM
But many people got there accounts bumped off after they did not come online for a long time. If she is allowed to why not just make a new one?

indigestible_wad
14th March 2005, 8:39 PM
True, she could do that, but I still don't think she will anytime soon.

Orange_Flaaffy
14th March 2005, 11:39 PM
Say Wad, do you know what the link is to the web site for this fic? I've been looking around for it. I remember visiting it before...

indigestible_wad
15th March 2005, 12:42 AM
At insanity, in the writers section, there's a thread that says "New home for DoaNL" and it'll have two links in there, you can click either one and you'll get there. You can click the link in my sig to get there. Or you can just ask one of the writers here for it.

AzureFlygon
16th March 2005, 9:14 PM
New chapter finally, finally up (for once in my life, I actually do something.)

Uh... yeah, I'll go hide now.

~~~~~~~~~~


“So,” Aeris declared. “We’re here. Mount Silver, the peak of champions.” She said the last word with a scornful drawl. Stretching mightily, the blonde kicked moodily at a pebble and watched as it tumbled helplessly down the mountainside.

“In a bad mood, are we, darling?” Serra muttered as she stretched her steel-spun wings, enjoying the quiet rasping the steel blades made as they rubbed against each other. God, they were so sore. Aeris wasn’t easy to carry, but she wasn’t about to tell her that.

“Shut up,” Aeris said absentmindedly as she unlatched her Net Ball from her belt. As she did, her fingers brushed against her PDA-Navi. “Oooh, I forgot about this! I’ll see if I can maybe, somehow, miraculously contact Hydro or the others. Or whatever. Hold this.”

She tossed the ball at Serra and her talons flickered out to catch it easily. Aeris unclipped the PDA-Navi and flipped it open, mumbling slightly to herself as she pressed irritatedly at the small machine.

“Hope Necro’s alright, he’s only a baby.” Serra idly tossed the Net ball from talon to talon, then rolled it up one arm, around her neck, and down the other arm. She ended the trick by tossing the ball into the air. With a slight click and a hum, the ball burst open in midair.

“Diiiiiiiiiile!” Maverick screeched in dismay as he fell to earth with a resounding thud. The ball made a slight clunk as it bounced off his head a few seconds after.

“Sorry, Mavvy-boy,” Serra picked up the ball and began to idly play with it again. She didn’t know why, but she felt distracted, irritated. She didn’t much like this time skein. Yes, it was nice having peace, but she didn’t like it. It simply wasn’t her time skein.

Aeris yelped gleefully as her PDA-Navi whirred to life, the 3-D holographical display appearing above the flat screen.

“Link me through to, um, Raven!” Aeris eagerly jabbed at several buttons and the screen dissolved into static.

”Dialing number now. Please wait.”

The screen sputtered and flickered, then spat out another phrase.

”Number invalid. Please redial.”

Aeris cursed at the small computer. Serra stretched again as her wings glowed and vanished.

“That won’t work. Raven’s number doesn’t even exist in this time skein. Hell, I don’t think they even invented PDA-Navis yet.”

Aeris sighed with irritation and snapped her PDA-Navi shut, stowing it away into her belt. “Gimme the ball.”

Serra tossed it back at her and Aeris caught it, fumbling slightly. Maverick whined and waddled away, snuffling at the ground.

Serra looked around, taking in their surroundings. It was afternoon now, she guessed. Typical day, all warm and breezy with little clouds drifting in the sky, the sun shining all happy-lah-diddy-dah. Boring.

“So what are our options? What do we need to do? We gotta organize,” Aeris sighed as she sat heavily down on a boulder.

Serra spoke as she stretched again, wincing as she felt her spine crack slightly. “Well, everyone must be scattered in time. Lost in time. We don’t know who’s with who or where’s with what....wait, did that make sense? Never mind. It’ll all be fine if we can find Celebi and have her gather everyone up, zap us back into the proper time and place, then I can send Melos a big steaming pile of Guardian soul..gift wrapped, no less.”

“Speaking of Melos...” Aeris paused as she wrinkled her eyebrows. Her eyes were clouded with doubt.

“Hmm?” Serra’s armor hummed as it dematerialized, disappearing into itself bit by bit. It was pretty cool, actually. It just sort of unraveled, strips of metal retracting into nothingness, like-

“Serra! Listen to what I’m saying!” Aeris’s voice cracked across the air like a whip and Serra jerked.

“Sorry,” Serra rolled her eyes and sat down next to Aeris.

“I don’t know what your bloody problem is right now, but I wanted to talk to you about Melos. Are you sure...you trust him?”

Serra shrugged. “Of course I trust him. He’s Mew’s other half. Mew makes the souls and Melos reaps them and the cycle goes as it is. Melos and Mew aren’t good or evil. They aren’t concerned with human’s...conceptions....of what’s moral and what’s not. They’re simply life and death. Different sides of the same coin. Besides, all Melos cares about is gathering souls. The more Andros I kill, the happier he is. I killed the Wishing Star and he granted me the first favor. Second favor comes when I kill Guardian. Third when I kill the Ravager.”

“He taught you the Song of the Goddess, right?”

Serra nodded. “Yeah, because I killed Jirachi. I can only use it once, though.”

“What did you say it does?”

Serra shrugged. “I’m not sure exactly, but I know it does summon the Army of the Dead.”

Aeris rubbed at her temple with her thumb and forefinger. “Hmph. Very well. If you trust him, I’ll trust him. Now, there’s another thing you mentioned. You mentioned we find Celebi. But you forget one tiny, insignificant little detail.”

“Which is...”

“Celebi’s kinda...an...Andros right now.” Aeris spoke slowly, as though Serra was a bit thick in the head.

Serra nodded and stood up. “Yeah, so? The real Celebi still exists in this time skein.”

“Serra, Serra, Serra. Think, my girl, think. We want Celebi to zap us back into time to kill Celebi? How do you think Celebi’s gonna react to that?”

Serra smiled, but it wasn’t a smile of happiness. “I’ll convince her to do it.”

Aeris shuddered. “That smile scares the bejeezus out of me. So how do you propose on finding her? I hear she’s one elusive little bugger.”

“We won’t find her. She’ll find us.”

Aeris stared. “How do you know-”

Greetings, Aeris Skygale of Johto-of-the-future. Greetings, my lady the Goddess.

Aeris and Serra turned. Maverick sat looking up at them proudly, tail wagging furiously. Behind him, a fragile, ethereal creature floated silently. The creature looked delicate, its skin light green and its eyes a large luminous blue. Its gossamer wings stretched slowly, then twitched as the creature landed gently upon the ground. When its feet touched the ground, small plants immediately sprouted out of the barren dirt.

“Celebi.” Serra bowed to the Legendary of Time, smiling. Aeris didn’t bow but simply stared.

“How. What. Who. When.” Her phrases weren’t questions, but flat statements.

Serra straightened. “Celebi is the Timekeeper. She is everywhere and nowhere, and nothing goes on in all history that she doesn’t know. She knew we were coming. She knows what is to come, She knows a lot of things....yes?”

Celebi nodded, her large bulb-shaped head seeming to be too large for her body, yet the Timekeeper carried it with grace. Very good, my Goddess. You are aware of many things, milady.

Aeris jabbed a finger at the faery. “Let me ask you something. If you knew...knew that you would be turned into a mindless robot of Team Rocket, why did you do it? Why?” Her voice became higher with each word. “You killed so many people...so many pokemon! You voluntarily went over to Team Rocket.”

Celebi looked up, and her gaze was clear and full with sadness.

I willingly became Andros under the pretense that Team Rocket would spare my ancient forest. They did not, as expected. But nothing cannot stop destiny, fate. I needed to be Andros. It was needed. I know what you ask of me, and I will do it. I know what is to happen. This must happen. You do not understand but you will.

Serra’s voice was unusually gentle. “You know that when I kill the Guardian, you and all other versions of yourself, in time, will fade away to nothingness.”

Yes. So did the Goddess plunge her tainted claw into the true eye of the celestial stars. So will the Goddess kill the soul-eater Ravager with the blade of vengeance. I have seen this, I saw it, and I see it. But hear this, my Lady!

Serra stiffened at the cold tone in Celebi’s voice. Aeris and Maverick listened quietly as the Timekeeper spoke slowly and empathically.

You will, and have, kill and killed the Celestial, Jirachi. You will kill the Shadowslayer, the dread Mewtwo. But you will never kill the Guardian. You...will...never...kill..me.You will not succeed in killing me. This I know.

A stony silence descended as Serra and Aeris stared at the Legendary of Time in silent dismay.

This I know.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Do you have any idea how far it is till we find them?” asked Blade with a groan, setting the heavy Rock down on a conveniently placed log and slumping down beside him, batting away an idiotic-looking butterfly as he did so, “Geez, you’re heavy! Have you ever thought of materializing legs?”

“If I was able to do that I would have already, idiot,” snorted Viaris, wiggling slightly on the log, “And I can tell direction, but the distance is fuzzy. It’s like there’s some sort of interference messing up my powers…”

“So you don’t know, do you?” sighed Blade, rubbing his arms to get the feeling back in them while he glared at the annoyingly cheerful landscape, “Great, just great. I swear, if I don’t find a wheelbarrow soon…”

“You’ll just carry me some more.”

“Correction; I’ll just leave you here. Hey, what? OW!!!! You little-”

“Sorry, Blade, I slipped,” said Viaris innocently, looking up at Blade from his new position. The boy swore vehemently, pulling his crushed foot out from under the Rock and glaring.

“You’ll be lucky if you survive through the night, Rock,” he growled threateningly, wincing as he massaged his newly damaged foot, “I don’t know how Hydro could put up with carrying you all over the desert.”

“Complain all you want, you guys need me,” said Viaris smugly, his large eyes half-lidded as he looked at Blade slyly, “How else would you have gathered your army?”

“Tact.”

“Hmpft,” the Rock growled as Blade moved him to a different spot, conveniently placing the Rock so that he was facing the opposite direction. The boy smirked as the Rock used a small amount of his Psychic powers to flip around, his red eyes set in an annoyed position, “It’s times like this that I do wish I had legs. At least then I wouldn’t have to… to… Holy…”

“Huh? What is it, Viaris?” Blade asked, freezing as he saw the suddenly terrified look in the Pokemon’s eyes. He turned slowly as a deep, grumbling rumble grated behind him, his eyes steadily traveling upwards as he saw the gigantic, towering form of another Obelisk. This one, however, was a deep, murderous black with red eyes that looked down at them with a glittering malice. The drills emerging from it’s sides whined as they powered up, spinning madly and destroying nearby trees in the picture-esq landscape, “What the hell is that!?”

“POWER IS YOURS FOR THE TAKING, YOUNGLING,” the giant shape rumbled, ignoring Blade completely as those eyes locked onto the diminutive Rock. Its sides blazed an eerie red as the hidden glyphs shone gold, “EMBRACE WHAT YOU ARE.”

“No… NO!!!! GO AWAY!!!!” Viaris yelped, somehow managing to jump back using his own, blue-hued abilities, “I don’t want to!”

“You don’t want to what?” asked Blade, glaring at the giant shape before him and drawing his broadsword, hoping to at least get one hit in before the creature attacked. He didn’t have any idea what frightened Viaris so much about this creature, but he got the impression that the Rock had seen it before. And from the way he was reacting, this wasn’t a good thing.

“COME, VIARIS, IF YOU WILL NOT ACCEPT IT, I WILL MAKE YOU!”

“NO!!!!”

Blade looked back quickly, seeing the Rock hop back in a frantic attempt to avoid a reddish glow that was beginning to surround him. The boy snarled, leaping to stand in front of the Pokemon with his sword raised. The Obelisk laughed, its booming voice hiding an evil hiss as it trained it’s eyes on the small figure.

“YOU CANNOT ESCAPE IT, VIARIS. GIVE IN BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT!”

“Leave me alone!” screamed the Rock, his mental voice terrified and on the verge of hysteria. Blade grit his teeth as he watched the black Obelisk rise from the ground and float slowly towards them, angry that the creature thought it could just come in and make someone do something. Despite Viaris’ annoying behavior, the Rock was a person, and didn’t deserve this!

“Keep away from him!” he yelled, swinging his sword and yelping as the blade connected with the solid force, jarring his already sore arms. Blade shook it off and swung again, “You can’t make him do anything!”

“OH, BUT I CAN…” hissed the stone creature with relish, “GET OUT OF MY WAY, HUMAN, MY BUSINESS IS WITH GIORN’S PROGENY.”

“What?” Blade breathed, momentarily stunned. So Viaris was Giorn’s son!? He yelped as he was pushed aside by the red force.

“I DON’T WANNA EVOLVE!!!!”

So that was it! That was what Viaris was so terrified of! The Obelisk must have some way to force evolution on him! Blade gave up on trying to attack the stone pillar, instead turning towards the frightened Rock that had somehow during their adventures become his friend. Viaris was trembling; his eyes squeezed shut as if he could somehow escape his fears in that way.

“Viaris, Viaris, listen to me!” he said desperately, reaching out to the Rock.

“GET AWAY FROM ME!!!” yelped Viaris, his eyes opening wide and showing the dilated pupils as he cried out. The Rock, too panicked to know what he was doing, sent out a layer of blue energy that threw Blade twenty feet away. The boy groaned as he got up, knowing that he was going to be sore in the morning because of the trip.

“The things I do,” he sighed softly before approaching the Rock again. This time he was more careful, though his words were less than polite, “Viaris, just listen, already, you rock-headed prick! You don’t have to evolve if you don’t want to! He can’t make you do anything, you hear!? I know you’re stronger than that!”

“I’m not! I’m not, and he’s gonna make me evolve!”

Blade winced at the tremulous sound of the normally overconfident creature’s voice, starting to feel a prickle of fear himself as he shook his head. He needed to convince Viaris that he didn’t have to be made to do anything. Somehow, he knew that was the only way he could help him.

“You are, dammit! You’re the most stubborn person I know! No one can make you do anything!”

“I CAN!”

“Shut up, already, you over-intelligent tentpole! Viaris isn’t going to do anything he doesn’t want to, even if I have to fight you to get him to realize that!” Blade snarled, jumping towards the creature. The Obelisk chuckled, sending out a small shot of red energy that threw the boy to the ground.

Blade growled and got to his feet, lunging again. This time the Obelisk’s eyes went cold, catching the boy with his psychic powers and holding him in the air. Blade screamed in defiance, trying to move his arm so that he could slash again at the creature. The Obelisk’s eyes narrowed, and Blade yelped in pain as the sword was torn from his grip.

“I TOLD YOU TO STAY OUT OF THIS, HUMAN. YOU CAN AND WILL GET HURT IF YOU PERSIST.”

Viaris screamed, making both battlers pause for a moment. Blade looked back, surprised to see the enraged expression on the little Rock’s face as his eyes blazed with blue fire.

“KEEP AWAY FROM MY FRIENDS!!!!!”

Blade was released from the psychic hold as a blue streak of energy struck the red shield of the black Obelisk, sending the giant creature back a few yards from the force. The red eyes narrowed, glyphs changing to bright white as the drills spun wildly. The boy landed hard next to his sword, gasping from having the wind knocked out of him.
Viaris sent another blast of energy at the Obelisk, hopping forward defiantly as the black creature was forced to retreat further. His voice rose over the whine of the drills, confident and proud as Blade was used to hearing it. The boy sighed in relief.


“YOU’LL NEVER MAKE ME, YRTRA’DIL!!! NEVER!!! I REFUSE TO EVOLVE!!!!” the Rock screamed. Blade picked up his sword and ran to stand beside him, his eyes hard as he glared at the gigantic Pokemon that was looking both surprised an unsure as it gazed at them. It seemed to be hours before the silent battle of wills was broken by the slowing of the drills as they powered down. The black Obelisk lost its red glow, settling down on the ground with a soft, shuddering thump.

“YOU’RE A FOOL, VIARIS, BUT A BRAVE ONE,” the creature said reluctantly, the blood-red eyes closing in defeat, “YOU HAVE FACED YOUR FEAR, AND SO WON THE CHALLENGE… THIS TIME…”

With that, the Obelisk growled and slowly dissipated into the wind, the black ash floating and hovering slightly over the stunned duo before drifting away into the forest. Blade dropped his sword, still staring upwards with a blank look. Could the battle have been that easy? And what challenge? Was this a Rock thing?

“Close your mouth, Blade, you’re catching flies.”

“A lot you can say,” muttered Blade, bending to pick up the sword he had dropped in his shock and checking it over, amazed to find that the metal had no signs of chipping or cracking. He shrugged and sheathed it, turning to the sheepish-looking Rock. Viaris coughed nervously.

“Let’s find the others,” said the red creature with a sigh, “And let’s never talk of this again, okay?”

“Just a sec, I wanna get one thing in before we make it a secret, okay?” said Blade with a smile, “You are possibly one of the bravest little creature’s I’ve seen, and…” Blade’s smile turned to an evil smirk, “It was hilarious to see you screaming like a hatchling Murkrow!”

“Shut up, Blade.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Is it just me, or do we seem to be flying in circles?” asked Shadow, furrowing his brow as they again passed the wing-shaped band of trees. Screena shrugged tiredly, causing the blond-haired boy to yelp and grasp the dorsal fin of the Pokemon. He glared at the Aerodactyl angrily.

“Sorry, Shadow,” said the creature, “I know I’ve been going in a straight line for the past half hour, but it seems as if this place won’t let us go any further. I think we may be going in the wrong direction… your fear isn’t getting lost or going in circles, is it?”

“Of course not! I have an excellent sense of direction!” said Shadow. He pointed off into the distance, “Let’s go to those trees and see what we can find there!”

“You are aware that you’re pointing to a pile of rocks, right?”

“Yah! I mean… that way!”

“That’s the volcano.”

“Uh…”

“I’ll take us to the trees,” snorted the Aerodactyl, veering off to the left. Shadow stared at the wing-shaped grove now approaching rapidly from directly in front of them.

“That’s the way I meant,” he said sullenly.

“I’m sure it was,” muttered Screena. He dipped down in the air as they came closer to the trees, marveling at how large they grove actually was. It was as if an entire forest was contained in the barren land… perhaps there would be water somewhere. He hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for almost an entire day, now, and though living in the desert made creatures able to withstand such treatment, it wasn’t recommended to prolong the condition.

Finally, they landed. Shadow whistled softly as he looked up; the trees were easily twice the size of the council spire, and their branches intertwined and wove between each other in a maze of vegetation that reminded the boy of some lost and ancient jungle. It was both creepy and awe-inspiring to be near such giants.

“What a forest,” said Screena, amazed. He had never seen such a thing, even when he had gone to an oasis when young. He stared upwards, seeing the leafy canopy spread out as if the entire forest would suddenly uproot and take off. Each individual feather on the wings were made up of a branch and it’s own twining vines and leaves, attaching to each other via a network of smaller vines and twigs.

“It’s… eerie,” muttered Shadow, “There’s nothing here. No life, just… trees.”

“A perfect place for a fear to arrive,” said Screena with a sigh, “I have a feeling that it will not be long, now… Do you have any ideas of what we’ll be facing, Shadow?”

“No…” answered the boy with a shudder, walking deeper into the silent jungle, “No, I don’t.”

“I think you do…” whispered Screena to himself before following, his large feet feeling the strangely dry and parched ground underfoot. Did these trees suck up water that fast, or where they living on something else?

There was something strange about this place…

“Shadow?” Screean hissed, “Shadow, I don’t think that we should venture any further into this place. There’s no water in this earth!”

“So?” asked the boy, hacking at a vine with his katana. The vine seemed to shudder as it fell to the ground, “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Of all the thickheaded…” mumbled the Aerodactyl, “Shadow, what do the trees live on without water?!”

The blonde-haired boy froze, turning slowly to face the Pokemon. His eyes were wide with sudden understanding. Suddenly, two large vines ripped up from the ground behind him, spraying dirt and rotted leaves everywhere as they launched forward. Shadow yelped as one grabbed his arm.

“Watch out!” snarled Screena, darting forward and snapping the vine with his razor-sharp teeth. Shadow jumped back, hacking at the other with his katana. The forest exit was just a few dozen meters away, but already the pass was covered with flailing, living vines that were trying to reach the intruders. The mass writhed and wiggled mindlessly like demented tentacles, searching out their prey.

“Is this your fear?” asked Shadow, slashing a dark vine in half and making a disgusted face as the sap splashed onto his cloths.

“No,” answered the Pokemon between bites, “I thought it was yours!”

“Then what in all hell are these things attacking us for!?”

“I don’t know!” Screena growled, lashing his long tail to break the hold of a small yellow vine. He whipped around, snapping at another of the things, and heard Shadow yelp behind him. The Aerodactyl roared and swung back towards his friend, leaping past a thick, slow vine as he tried to catch up with the vines that were dragging his friend to the trees. Shadow looked up, his voice muffled by the plant wrapped tightly across his mouth, and his eyes widened. Screena felt a cold dread rise within him.

The slow vine slammed into him, throwing him back onto Shadow. The impact broke the smaller vines around the boy, allowing him to hack the others off and stand. Screena growled, staggering upright and limping as one leg sent a shot of pain through his body. He automatically spread his wings to balance himself.

“Vines!” yelled Shadow.

Screena screeched as several thick vines wrapped around his wings, dragging him back to slam against the bark of one of the large trees. He gasped as the wind was knocked out of him, wincing as several more vines wrapped around him, pinning him to the tree. They began tightening slowly, squeezing the air out of him.

The Aerodactyl struggled and lashed out, moving his head frantically as one vine tried repeatedly to wrap around his muzzle. Finally, he cried out, resolving to use one of his most powerful attacks.

Shadow yelped and leapt back as the burst of fire erupted from the Pokemon’s mouth, engulfing the vines and reducing all but the largest to ash. As if angry, more burst from the trees, covering the creature in a green mass that was again charred, and again covered. The boy heard the pained scream of his friend, and shrieked in anger, hacking at the outermost vines in an attempt to reach him.

Suddenly, he was grabbed from behind and dragged to the tree opposite, hitting the wood so hard that he cried out. His arms were immediately pinned to his sides, and a small vine wrapped around his face to prevent him from making noise. Luckily, he was still able to see and breath, but what he saw made him wish he could scream in horror.

There was a sickening squelching sound that came from the mass of vines holding Screena, and suddenly a large mass of purple and red was dragged above by one large vine. Shadow heaved as he recognized the dismembered wing, but there was nothing in his gut that he was able to expel. As it was, the vine holding his mouth would have blocked it, anyway. Another pained cry came from the mass, and another purple wing was yanked up.

“Mummffft! Mummmpft!!!” Shadow yelled, trying desperately to move his hand that was still holding his katana in a death grip. The vines tightened, making his hand go numb and drop the weapon.

A black glow suddenly engulfed all the vines, and they were blown back from the force of the shadowed attack. Shadow looked around wildly from his new position on the ground, gasping for air that he hadn’t known he’d lost and crawling to his friend, who was lying limply beside the other tree with a steady pool of red collecting around him.

“Screena!” called Shadow as he reached the Aerodactyl. The boy covered his mouth as he saw the places where the Pokemon’s wings had been ripped from their sockets by the vines. The creature was still bleeding heavily, “Screena, can you hear me!?”

“He passed out from the pain,” sneered a voice that Shadow instantly recognized. The boy whirled, his eyes widening as he saw the cloaked, floating form of Raven.

“Raven!” he cried happily, standing shakily and approaching her, “You… How? You saved us!?”

“Yes… I saved you undeserving idiots!” snarled the black-haired woman, her purple eyes flashing behind the dark cloak, “I came here to look for you, but now I find out the truth, Shadow! You’re weak, boy. You can’t do anything without your ‘friends’!”

“Raven?” Shadow’s voice trembled slightly, and he backed up one step. Her words cut into him like a white-hot sword slashing across his chest.

“You tried to save your home, and failed,” Raven continued, her black essence seeping out like a fog from under the cloak, “You tried to save your friends, but you failed there, too. And now, you tried to save this Pokemon, and couldn’t do anything to help it. You. Are. A. Failure!”

“I…” Shadow’s voice was quiet, shocked. Raven, his Raven… she hated him. She thought him a failure. She saw him for what he was…

“You’re nothing without the others,” said Raven with a cruel laugh, “I don’t know what I saw in you, before. I’m always saving you, Shadow, or helping you. You couldn’t even get me out of my mind without my help!”

Shadow stepped back again, a deep shame establishing itself within him. He was a failure. Raven thought him a failure…

“But…” he stammered, “But… I love you, Raven. Isn’t that worth anything?”

“Not from you,” the icy words cut deeper than anything Shadow could have imagined. He gasped, falling to the forest floor.

“Then…” Shadow’s mind was too shocked to understand much of anything, anymore, but one thing drove into his mind and sat there, waiting to be said, “Why’d you save me?”

“It was a pathetic way to die,” snorted Raven, her purple eyes narrowing, “unfitting even for one such as you.”

“Shadow…” the voice was weak, and so faint that Shadow barely heard it. He turned from the stately figure of the dark woman, looking down at his weakened friend. The Aerodactyl opened his eyes, the orbs clouded with intense pain, “Shadow, listen to me…”

“What is it, Screena?” the boy asked gently, trying to keep himself from crying at the sight of the Pokemon bleeding his life out on the forest floor.

“You can’t fail unless you stop trying,” Screena whispered. Shadow nodded, rubbing his thumb between the Pokemon’s eyes tenderly before standing and turning angrily to the figure of Raven.

“He’s right,” Shadow said, leaning back on one heel and crossing his arms in what he hoped was a carefree attitude. Still, his head was bowed to the bloodstained dirt, “I never quit trying to save those things. I haven’t finished saving my home, I haven’t given up on my friends, and I never stopped trying to get out of the vines to save Screena!”

“Failure!”

Shadow looked up, his sad eyes looking deep into the eyes of the lone figure. She flinched back.

“And I’ll never give up on you, either, Raven,” he whispered, “No matter what you say, what you do, or what you think, I’ll always love you. Forever.”

“Shadow…” Raven stepped back again, her voice trembling. After a moment, one shuddering hand rose towards Screena. The Aerodactyl was enveloped in a warm purple glow, the skin where he had been wounded knitting together before the boy’s astonished eyes. Her purple orbs looked up, shining, “Thank you… You passed…”

Shadow stepped forward, one arm reaching out to barely touch the side of Raven’s cheek. She smiled, touching his hand lightly before turning into a black dust and dissipating into the wind. Shadow looked up, a single tear running down his face as he watched the dust fade away into the air.

“Good job, Shadow,” said Screena quietly, walking up beside the young human and smiling wanly, “You passed your test.”

Shadow looked at him, wincing at the absence of wings on his friend.

“But…”

“They don’t matter, Shadow,” said Screena fiercely, shaking his head, “They were my fear, my greatest fear. I’ve always been afraid of losing my wings… I still am, in fact, even though they’re gone at the moment. I have to learn to live without them, to see how you live and accept that the ground is just as wonderful as the air.”

“You’d do that?” Shadow said, awed, “You’d say they don’t matter? They mean everything to you!”

“There are things more important than wings, Shadow,” said Screena, turning and trotting though the now clear path, “Now come; we have to get past this place before it takes off.”

“TAKES OFF!!!!?” yelped Shadow, running to catch up with his friend, “You mean this place FLYS!!!?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hydro stopped, putting out a hand to grip the young hybrid he was traveling with. His fingers dipped into the thick layer of down before finally connecting with flesh, effectively stopping the creature. Snippet turned, oversized eyes bright and curious.

“Whatcha doing, Hydro-chan?” he chirped chipperly.

“Stopping you,” replied the boy, “Something’s happening…”

The ground shuddered once, sending both travelers staggering to the ground. Snippet began screeching loudly in fright, flapping his small, undeveloped wings rapidly and managing to batter Hydro into a dazed state. The boy finally gained his senses and grabbed the hybrid, holding him close so that the small creature wouldn’t get frightened.

Snippet whimpered, trying to snuggle into Hydro’s shirt. They dark-haired boy rolled his eyes, but put up with the treatment good-naturedly. After all, Snippet was barely out of the egg, and easily frightened by anything. The ground shook again, harder this time, and Hydro yelped as Snippet dug his small yet sharp claws into his leg.

“Come on, Snip,” said Hydro, gently taking the claws out of his leg, “The ground’s just shaking; there’s nothing to be afraid of yet…”

“But I am, Hydro-chan,” sobbed the hybrid, curling into a fluffy ball in Hydro’s arms. The boy was amazed at how such a large youngling could compress into such a small shape. He hesitated, and finally resorted to putting a comforting hand on the young creature’s head, “What should we do? If we walk, we’ll fall… I don’t like falling, Hydro-chan!”

“You’ve fallen before?” Hydro asked, surprised. The hybrid looked no older than a few weeks; he certainly wasn’t old enough to try flying yet!

“Daddy was away… I was in the nest alone,” said Snippet, sniveling, “I looked over the edge ‘cause I wanted to see the ground.”

“And you fell,” finished Hydro, gently rocking the hybrid, “So that’s why you’re afraid.”

“Yeah, Hydro-chan,” Snippet looked up, his liquid eyes staring into the boy’s, “You won’t let me fall, right?”

“I’ll do my best,” said Hydro truthfully, wincing when he felt the ground below them shudder and drop down a few inches, “But I don’t think I’m gonna be able to stop it…”

“We’re falling!” screamed Snippet, terrified. His eyes were so large they seemed to take up his entire fluffy face.

“Hold on!” Hydro yelled, squeezing the hybrid in his arms as the rock shelf they were on groaned, shuddered, and finally fell away. There was a single moment of weightlessness before they began to descend into the dark nothingness of the shadowed world, their stomachs rising up to the back of their throats.

“AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”

“Ooof!”

Suddenly, the rock below them hit the ground, making Hydro gasp as he was nearly flattened against it. But that wasn’t the end, for just when the boy was about to breath a sigh of relief, the rock slipped forward, sliding downwards into the abyss.

It was like falling all over again.

Somewhere between rising and falling, though, Hydro noticed that Snippet wasn’t screaming anymore. He looked down into his arms, seeing the hybrid as he looked excitedly ahead of them. Those large black eyes weren’t terrified anymore, but bright and cheerful.

“Dip ahead!” laughed Snippet. Hydro yelped as the rock leapt into the air for a few breathtaking minutes before slamming back into the ground, “This is fun, Hydro-chan! I never knew falling was so exciting!”

“Damn roller coaster effect,” mumbled Hydro under his breath.

After what seemed like forever, the rock shuddered and rolled to a stop. Snippet groaned.

“Awwwwwwww… Let’s go back up and do it again, Hydo-chan!!!”

“Nuh uh, not happening,” said Hydro, staggering to another rock and leaning against it tiredly, “Any more excitement and I’m liable to die right here, little buddy.”

“Awwwwww… please?”

“No. We have to find a way out of here.”

Hydro looked around, wishing silently that his eyes could see in the dark as well as Snippet’s could. It would be useful in this world to have such a skill. As it was, he could barely make out the shapes except for the sharp red highlights made by the mysterious light source. Snippet squirmed in his arms, and Hydro absentmindedly set the youngling down.

His eyes roamed over the landscape, and suddenly focused on one moving figure. Hydro gaped, his breath leaving his body, and ran forward so fast that Snippet was left staring after him in confusion.

“TERRA!!!” Hydro yelled, knowing very well that she wouldn’t hear him, “Terra!!!”

He saw the girl turn, her eyes confused for a moment, before she smiled widely.

<Hydro!> she signed, <Hydro, I found you! I’ve been looking all over, and I didn’t know where I was…>

“It’s okay, Terra,” said Hydro, bringing the girl into a huge hug, “I’m here, and everything’s alright, now…”

Terra pushed Hydro away slightly, her eyes suddenly sad. Hydro looked at her curiously, brushing a stray strand of hair from her face. Something was wrong; she never looked like this.

“What’s wrong?” he asked quietly.

<Nothing’s alright, Hydro,> she signed, <I don’t want to lose you…>

“You don’t have to lose me, I’m right here,” Hydro said, taking her shoulders and looking her in the eyes. Terra looked away, a tear forming on her cheek. The boy took her face in his hand and brought it up to face him, “Terra, come on. Tell me what’s wrong.”

<Everything,> Terra’s movements were listless. Hydro furrowed his brow, <I… I can’t stay, Hydro. You’re going to lose me…>

“Lose you how?” Hydro said, his voice suddenly trembling with fear, “Terra?”

She brought up a hand, and Hydro cried out as he saw her fingers slowly turning into a black dust and floating away into the distance. She seemed to be barely holding it back, but it was winning, gaining on her as it moved up her arms. Flakes of black fell off her skin, her hair.

“No! Terra, I can’t lose you again! Terra!” Hydro hugged her, wincing when her felt her skin brush away under his hands, “Terra, NO!!!”

<I can’t stay…>

“Don’t go, Terra,” whimpered Hydro, suddenly afraid of this world and the things in it. If he couldn’t have Terra with him… “I can’t go on without you!”

“Hydro-chan?” the voice was soft, and Hydro turned to see Snippet looking at him with his large, bright eyes.

“Snippet, help me! Terra can’t go!” Hydro yelled frantically.

“Let her go, Hydro-chan,” said Snippet gently. Hydro turned to him in shock and rage, but those eyes stopped him. They were bright, yes, but held a hidden sadness that shouldn’t have been in a creature so young, “Let her go; can’t you see it hurts her to stay?”

Hydro turned back, anguish showing clearly in his eyes as Terra cried silently, her tears turning black before they left her face, “I can’t lose her… It’s too hard to let her go…”

“If I could let Mommy go, you can let Terra go,” whispered Snippet, “She won’t be lost to you.”

Hydro nodded slowly, tears running freely down his face as he finally let go of Terra’s arm, stepping back. She smiled slightly, looking at him with mirrored turmoil before signing one last message.

<Goodbye, Hydro… I love you.>

Hydro mouthed the words, seeing Terra’s eyes close finally as she succumbed to the force turning her to ash. Suddenly, she whipped away with a breeze, swirling about them before disappearing into the darkness. Hydro staggered over to a rock, managing to sit on it before putting his head in his hands and sobbing. After a moment, he felt a fuzzy touch, and looked up into Snippet’s eyes.

“She’s not lost, Hydro-chan,” he said softly.

“How do you know?” Hydro asked.

“I just do,” replied Snippet, his eyes turning bright once again, “I think it’s a hybrid thing.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Wait,” said Viaris suddenly, making Blade stumble to a stop. The boy looked at the Rock reprovingly; he had just gotten to a good pace! “The direction… It changed!”

“The direction? You mean to find our friends?!”

“Duh, you idiot!” snorted the Rock, “What other direction would I be following? But now it’s pointing behind us!”

“Behind us… but our friends aren’t in that direction!”

“Don’t you think I know that!?” snapped Viaris angrily, “But somehow I sense them behind us, now.”

Blade shrugged slightly and turned, walking slowly back in the direction they’d come from. After a moment, Viaris spoke again.

“Stop!” he said, “Right here! Right here is where they are... but they aren’t here…”

“Granite brain,” snorted Blade.

“What was that?” said Viaris slyly, “If you really want to find them yourself…”

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

“Huh, what’s that sound?” Blade asked, whirling around to try and find the voice, “It sounds like…”

“Shadow!” yelled Viaris excitedly, eyes widening before the Rock suddenly came to himself and glared, “Oh, great, we find the loudmouth first.”

“But where is he?” said Blade confusedly, throwing the Rock down and walking around in his search, “Shadow!?”

“AHHHHHHH!!!!”

“That one was defiantly louder,” said Viaris, “I think they’re close!”

“Blaaaaaaaaaaddddddddddddeeeeeee!!!!!!”

“Up!” yelled the Rock suddenly, his eyes strained upwards and wide, “Blade, look up!”

The brown-haired boy slowly turned his gaze upwards, eyes widening to their limits as he saw what Viaris was so upset about. Far above them, almost too high to see clearly, a gigantic mass of vines and trees somehow flew in a steady, rhythmic beat. But the trees weren’t the only things moving in the sky, for two small dots were approaching rapidly through the air, growing bigger by the second.

“Holy! How the heck did they get up there!?”

“Heeeeeeeellllllp!!!!!!”

“Viaris, can you catch them?” asked Blade worriedly, sparing a glance at the shocked Rock. Viaris looked blank for a moment, and then nodded very, very hesitantly. Blade groaned and turned back to the sky, hoping that his friends weren’t killed.

They were falling rather fast, now, approaching the ground at a lethal speed that would flatten them into the dirt and probably make a crater if they hit. Blade winced as they neared the ground, closing his eyes so that he wouldn’t have to see them merge with the land. A sudden blue glow exploded around him, so bright that he saw it through his closed eyelids, and Blade quickly rose his head to look, amazed at seeing both Shadow and Screena floating just inches from the grassy soil, their eyes closed as well. As he watched, he saw them slowly open their eyes, one at a time, and sigh in relief.

“Happy now?” snapped Viaris between grit teeth, dropping the two so that they hit the dirt with twin gasps. Blade glared at the Rock, but Viaris ignored him, “You two are the luckiest idiots I ever met!”

“Thanks a lot, Rock,” said Shadow, spitting out a blade of grass along with it’s roots and a mouthful of dirt, “At least you caught us…” suddenly, the blonde boy whirled on his companion, eyes flaming. The Aerodactyl winced slightly, amazing both other watchers, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!??? YOU COULD HAVE GOTTEN US KILLED!!!!!!!”

“Shadow, I-”

“What? You thought you could just jump off the flying trees!?” Shadow demanded, completely ignoring the others, who were staring at him with gaping mouths, “Screena, you know you can’t fly anymore!”

Blade, still gaping, looked closer at the Aerodactyl, and his mouth fell even farther. The Pokemon was missing both his wings, and though the skin was healed over and barely scarred, Blade could easily tell that the Aerodactyl had recently and painfully gained his injuries. He was about to say something when Shadow turned and grinned at him, knocking the boy completely off balance by his sudden change in personality.

“Blade! Man, it’s been forever!” he said, slapping the brown-haired boy on the back heartily, “Geez, I pity you, I really do. Stuck with Viaris?!”

“It’s better than being stuck with you!” retorted Viaris snidely.

“Hey, come on guys, we have to work together to get out of this place… wherever we are…” said Blade, finally coming to himself and gesturing to the utterly sickening surroundings. As he spoke, a pair of chibi Ponyta stuck their heads out of the brush on either side of the clearing, neighing happily and leaping forward to nuzzle each member of the group before bounding off. Shadow and Screena stood and twitched slightly while Viaris and Blade, who were now somewhat used to those type of events, laughed.

“Where’s an uzi and war paint when you need them?” muttered Shadow finally, brushing himself off, “I declare war on this cuteness!”

“Get in line, flesh boy,” snorted Viaris.

“Hey Viaris, nice chip between the eyes! Very stylish, where’d ya get it?”

"Shut up!"

“If you both don’t stop it I’ll give you matching scars!” snapped Blade, drawing his rusted old broadsword angrily. Both arguers instantly quieted, and Blade smirked before sheathing the weapon. Screena looked at him strangely, one eyeridge quirked, and then grinned widely and winked.

“Now, we should be able to get out of this place soon… I trust you have both faced your fears?”

“Huh? What?” Blade and Viaris both froze, looking at the Aerodactyl, “What do you mean?”

Screena faltered, his eyes wide and confused, “But… we shouldn’t have met up with you if you hadn’t… Ugh, d*mn that spell and whatever interfered!”

“Mind telling us what you’re talking about?”

“Ugh, not now, no. It’ll be explained when this is all over, okay?”

Blade sighed heavily, “Not an answer I like, but I guess I have to accept it. So, Viaris, which way do we go, now?”

The Rock shrugged, hopping a few paces in no particular direction before sending a gentle nudge to Blade, who immediately picked up on the route and nodded. Shadow and Screena watched all of this impassively.

“So Hydro is east of here, huh?” mused Blade, “interesting, since Shadow and Screena were north and I have a feeling we were south of them… what makes the other point, I wonder?”

“That’s something that will be explained later,” said Screena darkly, closing the subject. Blade shrugged and picked up Viaris, groaning slightly at the renewed weight before starting off. He wondered idly if he would get a stronger swing with his sword from this workout? He hoped so; it would be a waste if he got nothing out of being chauffer for an immobile chunk of-

“Hey, stop insulting me!” Viaris said irritably, “I can hear you, remember?”

“Duh,” said Blade, doing a rather accurate rendition of Viaris as he rolled his eyes. Screena suddenly cocked his head, and the group quieted.

“What is it, Screena?” Shadow asked, sensing danger.

Screena made no reply, but simply stood still. He suddenly shuddered, and drew back slightly, as though in fear. This further unsettled Shadow, because the Aerodactyl wasn’t one for cowardice.

“I smell death,” Screena spoke quietly. Viaris blinked, and inched closer to the Aerodactyl, as did Shadow. None of them knew why, but a cloying, thick aroma of decay seemed to have suffused the very air itself.

Blade turned around, the hairs on his scalp prickling. Behind him, a dark contrast against the sickeningly cite landscape of chibi Pokemon, a small, grotesque figure stood, dead eyes gazing directly at him.

It was a human child, head lolling about on a neck that seemed too weak to support it. The sunken, dead eyes were pale and silvery, like the eyes of a fish that had long since rotted. From him, a overpowering stench of decay rolled out in waves, and it took all of Shadow and Blade’s willpower not to gag.

The child smiled, revealing yellowed and stained teeth. His feet and hands were black with filth and dried blood. Shadow could tell the child had once been beautiful, but now he was decaying before their very eyes.

“Who is that?” Screena murmured fearfully.

Blade’s voice was flat and dull as he replied, although his spine had become a column of ice.

“Velsper.”

Elite Eevee
17th March 2005, 12:43 AM
Mysterious. Simple as that.

ClefairyTenchi
17th March 2005, 2:01 AM
Poor Blade, made to re-live that memory.

This was a great chapter. Very spooky and touching

DragonFan
17th March 2005, 2:32 AM
Great chapter!! I enjoyed it a lot. I agree with CT poor Blade.

indigestible_wad
17th March 2005, 4:18 AM
Well, you certainly took your time on that one, didn't you? Athougth I can't blame you for it, the forums were down when you were supposed to post it.

Anyways's, another good chapter, longer than the last. It very much did satisfy my whatever it was for wanting another chapter. I was going to ask if Screena had lost her wings, because it was a bit unclear but you cleared that up at the end of the chapter. I was also going to ask why blade hadn't faced his fear, but you made sure of that too. I wonder if all they carry back from that imaginary world is the memory of it, or if everything that happens there, lasts after they get out. I'm not going to ask because that might be something you don't want to tell us. And oooh, they will not kill the guardian, I wonder what that's all about. Excelent job on the fears, and facing them too. The boys fear the loss of the girls, and everyone else has a fear of something a lot more simple. Anyway, good chapter, I shall now stop rambling on about nothing and go back to my normal routine. Ta ta!

Kiyohime
17th March 2005, 4:24 AM
That chapter was quite horrific, yet you managed to put the perfect blend of coemdy into it. "You mean this place FLIES?!"

I saw quite a few typos, but not so much as to affect the quality overall, because the imagery and imagination put into this story is quite stunning, as was the effort.

I am especially intrigued by how the Celebi declares that they will never kill her, it puts a hooking twist into the plot. ^^

Velsper is quite eerie, however, and as a fellow horror writer I love how you've described his eyes, it put a chill up my back. It makes me think of the boy-ghost from the Grudge.

..::Scrap::..

Crystallugia
28th March 2005, 4:46 AM
VERY creepy.........I love it! Oh and........HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!!!!!;D

ClefairyTenchi
1st April 2005, 3:35 PM
Happy April Fools Day! Prepare your brains for some practically based jokes!

;035;"SAMMICH!"*sandwiches begin flying out of her ears and attacking*"I had a sammich in my head."

Yes, so you did*gets hit in the face with a PB&J*

Anyway! I noticed Dawn of a New Legacy had been uneventful recently, and that's bad fo' bidnis so I thought it a good idea to put it back on the "New Posts" list. Also, I wished to comment on how efficiently creepy Velsper is. You can tell that the next chapter will be filled with emotion.

;035;"WHEEEEEHOOO!! SAMMICH!! HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!"

Dragonfree
1st April 2005, 3:43 PM
-_- Spam. Don't do that again. April Fool's Day doesn't mean you can just go and bump a random thread with spam.

ClefairyTenchi
1st April 2005, 7:01 PM
I'll have you know that I am the official Spam patrol of this fic and a long time fan! That was not spam! That was a comment on the fic I hadn't made previously! I am offended that you'd even think that I'd spam a random thread, especially this one!!

AzureFlygon
4th April 2005, 4:07 AM
Blade slowly backed away, shivering in fear as Velsper advanced, his empty eyes burning with malice.

You hurt me. You hurt me. You hurt me. You hurt me.

There was no emotion in the repeating phrase. He simply repeated the sentence as fact.

If you hurt me you will hurt others. You are a bad man. You are a bad man. You are a bad man.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you!” Blade choked. “I thought-I thought you were Andros-the Mr. Mime made it look-”

Liar, liar, pants on fire. Mommy says liars burn in hell.

Velsper smiled, and flames roared to life, erupting out of the ground. The flames spread out in a circle around himself and Blade, enclosing them both in a roaring inferno.

You are a bad man. And bad men burn in hell. You are a liar. Liars burn in hell, Velsper hissed.

Sweat trickled down the back of Blade’s neck as the intense heat of the flames prickled his skin. Velsper’s reflective silver eyes now mirrored the furious flames, giving the eerie illusion that there were flames behind his retinas.

It doesn’t matter if you didn’t mean to, Velsper spat. You hurt me. And who’s to say you won’t hurt Aeris, or Hydro? How about Shadow? Terra and Raven? Your friends?

Blade began to back away, but the wall of fire prevented escape. All he could do was stare into the alternately cold and burning eyes of the animated corpse.

“I wouldn’t hurt them,” Blade whispered, but his protests sounded feeble in his own ears.

Velsper drew in a dry, rattling breath.

Serra. You would hurt Serra too.You always hurt the ones you love.

To Velsper’s surprise, Blade threw back his head and laughed, the happy sound a pealing contrast to the crackle of the flames.

“You have to be kidding me,” Blade chortled as he shook in mirth. “If anything, Serra’s the one who’d hurt me. If I tried anything funny on her, she’d flatten me. Or burn me to ashes. Or encase me in ice and shatter the ice with one blow. She might even wipe me off the face of the planet with Gungnir. Serra just doesn’t let anyone hurt her.”

She has. She has been hurt, she has been hurt by the evils of mankind! Created for war, used and abused and betrayed. She was born to be a tool, she was not born to be human. She cannot be human and never will be. She will never lead a happy life. Is that it, Blade? You think she will defeat Team Rocket in a glorious final battle? But what then? She is sterile, she will never bear children. She cannot bear and create life. She cna only create death. She can only destroy, for that is what she was created for. What do you think she will do after the war, Blade? She is not human, Blade.

“I know,” Blade whispered. “I know she’s been hurt by humans, a lot. She hurts people, too, and I hurt people too. We’re both alike in that way. But pain is a part of life, Velsper.”

Velsper raised his hand, and the flames died away, leaving behind only smoke and burning embers.

Yes. Life is pain. Never forget that, Blade. You will suffer. Serra will suffer. But don’t forget this...

Velsper picked up his foot, and took a step backward. Where his foot had previously been, a small, vividly emeralf bulb sprang from the ground. As Blade watched, the bulb opened into a flourishing rose, each petal perfect and pink. Dewdrops clung to it, glittering in the light of the dying embers.

Pain is also life. And life is something not to be taken lightly, Blade. That is why pain exists. Pain exists to remind us of how precious life can be. You took my life, Blade. You must never forget that. You must never forget the price of life, and how valuable it is.

Velsper began to fade away, his feet dissoling to ash and wafting away on the wind. As his legs dissolved, his voice echoed.

Never forget the price of taking a life, Blade. Even in war.

His face sagged and dissolved into particles, swirling away, borne on the wind. The rose also dissolved into ashes, and drifted away.

Remember.

Blade opened his eyes, startling himself. He had no memory of clsing his eyes, yet the face of Power of Air filled his vision.

“Ah, you’re all back. You’ve all faced your worst fears, then?” the dragon rumbled, his deep tone conveying both a touch of pride and a hint of displeasure, “You’ve all passed, no thanks to my foolish son.”

At this, Snippet shrank in mute embarrassment, rustling his tiny, fluffy wings with nervousness.

“Very good, humans. You’ve proved yourself worthy to have the assistance of us for the war. Your Goddess will summon us with her song, and we will come. You have the sworn oath of all the ancient clans on that. But you and the other must give us your weapons.”

Dazed and alarmed, all Blade could so was blurt, “Why?”

Screena spoke up from the sidelines, the tone a bit shaky as if the creature was still rattled from the experiences of the nightmare, and Blade noticed that his wings were back. Apparently, the wounds had not carried over from the dreamworld.

“We need your sword and his katana for the sign.”

“Sign?” Hydro echoed.

Patiently, Screena continued, ignoring Hydro. “We will take the swords and plunge them into the very top of the Council Spire. They will remain there forever, and they will be buried as time goes by. But your Goddess will find them, and she will know that, deep below the ground in that sacred area, the Army of the Dead awaits, ready to rise up at her command.”

“Neat,” Shadow breathed. “Sure, have my katana. I love the thing, but if it’s for a good cause...”

“Wow, charity from the idiot,” Viaris whispered to Blade with a snicker, “Who’da thunk?”

Blade smothered a smile as Shadow untied the scabbard from his belt and handed his precious katana to Screena, who took it in his jaws with gentle care, eyes blinking slowly in a sign of respect.

Blade sighed, and unslung his own sword from his back. He didn’t like the idea of being weaponless, for it was like missing an arm, but Shadow had a point.

“By the way,” Power of Air smiled mysteriously, the fanged grin no longer seeming so very frightening to the boys, but rather friendly and content, “While you were gone, a visitor arrived…”

Greetings, humans from the future.

The boys turned, and were faced by an ethereal, floating creature that let off a faint yet unmistakable glow of power.

I am the Timekeeper, and I’ve come to bring you back to your true time skein.

Screena winked at Shadow. “I’ll be seeing you in the future. A grand war it will be, and one I look forward to with immense gladness. I am sure Giorn and the other clans will feel the same.”

“Yup, right before you all get killed… again,” muttered Viaris, causing Blade to shake his head in exasperation at the Rock as the green glow of power surrounded them. Still, it was good to be going back, to be going… home.

I’m sure we’ll all miss you, Viaris, he thought with a grin, see ya in the future.

“ Stuff it and get going, meat-bag,” retorted the other.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are you ready to go back?

Aeris checked to make sure that Maverick was secure in his ball, then nodded. Beside her, Serra was re-materializing her Armor, the strips of metal coiling and snaking over her body to lock together.

“What are you doing that for?” Aeris asked curiously. Serra smiled.

“I want to be prepared. I don’t care what Celebi says...I’m going to fight the Guardian.”

Hold hands. I don’t want you to be separated.

Aeris took Serra’s hand, and both watched the Timekeeper with a mixture of nervousity and ancipitation.

After I have transported you, I will go to the skein where the others are and bring them back.

Celebi rose into the air silently, and flung out her arms, silhouetted in the dying sunlight.

Crux Ansata Thorn Ken!

A flash of light, and another mandala of light appeared. This mandala was identical to the one Guardian had made, except this one was a gentle green. The mandala hovered in the air behind Celebi, glowing eerily and humming, crackling with energy.

Gateway of Time, open and give us your eternal blessings!

The mandala roared, and the world disappeared in a flash of intense light...a halo of pure white light blotting out all time and space.

The Shores of Dewford Island, Present Time

Raven was the first to act. She threw up a shield around herself and the only two creatures closest to her-Terra and Necro.

The lavender, translucent shield flickered and shook as the white light assaulted it, but Raven strained, clenching her teeth as she willed the shield to hold. Terra screamed, the sound ripping at her atrophied vocal cords and coming out as a guttural, savage shriek that only added to the high, piercing drone as the shield held under the torrent of light. Necro, terrified by the display, burrowed into the sand by Raven’s feet and squeaked in horror. Raven’s foot dug into the sand as the force of the powerful attack pushed her back slightly.

At last, the drone died away and the unearthly white light faded out. The lavender shield gurgled and flickered out. Raven blinked her smarting eyes and looked around, stunned.

Aeris, Serra, Hydro and Blade were nowhere to be seen. Nor was Shadow.

A icy tendril of fear clamped itself around her heart.

“Shadow...” she whispered. A chill breeze blew up, and Raven shivered. Terra had the same look on her face as Raven did-lost confusion and horror. Gasping, she checked her belt. An enormous wave of relief washed over her as she felt Dark Flame’s familiar Pokèball still resting there. Necro looked up from his cowering, sand streaming from his silver fur.

Raven spoke at last, finally summing up both girl’s thoughts.

“They’re lost in time.”

Terra groaned, and picked up Necro. The baby Eevee whimpered as he looked at Guardian, eyes wide with fright.

Raven turned and looked at the crazed red-haired woman, snarling.

“I don’t know who you are, but you have really, really ****** me off.”

The woman threw back her head and laughed, her harsh cackle grating on Raven’s ears.

“It’s of no concern to me if your little friends are lost in time. Now, I can get to busi-”

There was a muffled boom and another flash of light that blinded everyone. Raven and Terra flinched as Necro hissed in fright as a blast of sand and wind slammed into them.

A familiar voice rang out of the whirling sands, crackling with laughter.

“Guess who’s back? Da, da, da, daaaaah-”

Aeris walked out, grinning as she waved happily to the stunned group on the beach. She turned to the red-haired woman, her eyes becoming cold.

“I had my faint suspicions, but now I’m positive. You look almost exactly like a girl I met when I was in the past. You’re Misty Waterflower, aren’t you?”

Misty flinched at the sound of her name. “Who gives a flying d*mn about who I really am?”

“I do.” Raven snarled. “You were friends with my grandmother. Sabrina of Saffron City. You two were fellow gym leaders. How could you turn against the League and destroy it all?”

Misty’s face seemed to conort as she went through what seemed to be several different emotional states, then settled on an eerie, sorrowful calmness that made Raven’s neck prickle.

The red-haired woman who had suffered so much, seen so much opened her lips and seemed to be on the verge of something-her lips were trembling-

Another flash of blinding light and a sonic boom slammed into her and Raven, and a muffled thunderclap boomed.

“Not freaking again!” Raven snarled. Aeris shrieked as Blade fell out of the swirling sands-right on top of her.

“Ooof!”

”Whuff!”

”Yowch!”

”Argggh!”

Clang!

”Mah HEAD!”

Hydro slammed onto top of Blade, followed by a flailing, shrieking Shadow. There was a resounding clang as a dull brown object that looked like a rock bounced off Shadow’s head and thudded into the dirt.

When the sands cleared, Raven beheld the carnage with dismayed eyes. Aeris lay sprawled out, with Blade on her. Hydro lay facefirst over Blade with Shadow sitting on his back. The ball at Hydro’s belt trembled, and burst open. Ghost sprang out, screeching his fury.

To Raven, Terra, Aeris and Misty’s utter shock, a pair of red eyes flickered open in the smooth surface of the rock...(or at least, what looked like a rock) and glared at everyone.

”What? Don’t tell me I got dragged into the future with you bunch of idiotic meatbags! That’s another possible concussion you’ve given me!”

Ghost sat up and hissed at the talking rock, clearly annoyed and puzzled at how a rock could speak.

”Don’t you hiss at me, you little vermin! Shoo! Begone!”

The Linoone whimpered and ran to Terra, hiding between her legs. Necro dropped down from the girl’s arms and greeted his friend with joyful squeaks, prancing around in glee. The Luxury ball on Terra’s belt burst open and the snooty Vulpix that was Terra’s most faithful companion leapt out to greet Ghost.

A faint squeak sounded out from under the pigpile and a small blue reptile wriggled out from under Blade’s leg. With a small squeak, the Totodile waddled over to his fellow Pokemon friends, oblivious to what was happening around him.

In a flash, Misty went back to her old self and her lip curled up in a sneer.

“Well, well, looks like the brats are all together again. What happened, Guardian? Didn’t you send them back into time? WHta’s the matter with you? Can’t you do anything right?”

Guardian flinched and her eyes shone bright with rage. Her poisonous antennae twitched as if the Andros Celebi wished to sting the woman.

I do not know who did it, but it was not me.

Misty snorted and looked back at the group. By this time, Aeris had recovered and pushed off the boys with alternate expressions of annoyance and happiness. Everyone talked at the same time in their exictement, interrputing each other.

“My god, we were so worried about you-”

“Where-I mean, when were you?”

“We got blasted back into prehistoric times, and we gathered-”

“Who’s that rock with the bad attitude?”

”I’m not a rock! I’ll have you know I am of a proud and noble race-”

“Shut up, Viaris!”

“We went back only a decade, I met Ash and the younger Misty-”

“She’s Misty, but I don’t know why the hell she joined Team Rocket-”

“-an army of prehistoric pokemon, and we met-”

“-Serra met Jessie and James, her parents, and-”

Misty lost her temper.

“Shut up! Shut up!” she shrieked, stamping her feet. “Aeris, what did you say?”

Aeris looked up. “I said we got blasted back a decade and met you and Ash, right after Ash came back from Hoenn-”

“You met Ash?”

Aeris was jolted to hear a note of deep longing in Misty’s voice.

“Uh, yeah-”

Something seemed to shatter within Misty, and her face crumpled. When the woman looked back up, her face blazed with an intense expression of insanity and rage.

“It’s all your fault you, wench! You made me lose Ash! Guardian, blast them into oblivion-”

A dark shape flashed out of nowhere as Serra slammed into Misty, making the woman stumble.

“Shut up. I’m tired of your rantings,” Serra said quietly. Her voice carried gentle menace. “I’m here to kill Guardian. Move aside!”

“You’ll have to get past my little friends first!” Misty snarled. Her hands whipped to her belt, then flashed outwards. Two pokeballs flew through the air and snapped open. Twin flashes of light burst from their spherical confines and landed into the sand.

“Cruel! Tent-a-crueeeeeeel!”

A massive Andros Tentacruel rose silently into the air like a massive titan of death. The eye-like apparatuses on its dome flickered and shone to life with a sickly red light. A mass of powerfully coiled, metal-plated tentacles stretched out, wicked blades glittering on the end of each tentacle. Each tentacle unfurled into the air and wove about hypnotically, as if each tentacle had a mind of its own. Watching them was memserizing, and there was something unbearably frightening in the cold, calculated intelligence that their movements revealed.

But the Tentacruel’s partner was worse. Far worse.

A dark shape stood up from the ground, steel eyes sliding open to reveal eyes that shone a deep shade of claret, the color of old, dried blood. Fur that had once been vespa-coloured and fluffy were now cold grey. Each hair was a miniscule steel needle, all needles arranged to form a cruel illusion of fur. Slim, pointed ears flicked up, the very tips a lighter shade than the rest of its fur. The Andros’ back was run through with stripes thesame shade as its eartips. The tail was a jagged blade shaped like a lighting bolt.

” Pika. Pika pika chu chu. Chu.”

The Pikachu’s voice was flat and precisely clipped, and its eyes shone with a fierce bloodlust. The blade of its tail twitched, and rotated slightly, catching the afternoon light.

“Meet the deceased Ash Ketchum’s most faithful Pokemon and the most powerful standard-class Andros in the entire army. Only the Trinity is stronger than him. Pikachu, say hello to the nice people.” Misty gloated, her voice shrill with exictement.

Pikachu, once the most valued and powerful Pokemon in the entire National Pokemon League eague and Ash’s very first companion arched its back and hissed, its ears flattening against its back. The hiss was souless, simply the rattling of a machine.

“Terra! Hydro! Take the Tentacruel! Blade! Raven! Take the Pikachu! Shadow! You and I, attack Misty! Serra, you take care of Guardian!” Aeris roared.

Shadow raised a hand, his expression one of unease. “But, Aeris, we don’t have our weapons. Blade and I accidentally left behind our swords, and you and Terra left your weapons back at the inn...we only came out here for a swim in the first place, after all.”

Aeris blinked, then her eyes widened as the impact of Shadow’s words hit her. She looked at the Tentacruel, then the Pikachu, and shut her eyes. It was right then that Aeris Skygale, Champion of Johto, raised her face to the skies and uttered a string of curses that made everyone cringe, and would have made Ozzy Obsourne go pale had he been there to witness this momentous event.

“ Nice one, lady. ” Viaris’ voice was one of awed reverence. Dark Flame also miaowed her admiration, waving her multiple tails.

“Tentacruel! Pikachu! Attack! Give them no mercy!” Misty shrieked, whipping her rod through the air to point directly at the group of defenseless teenagers.

With a roar, the Tentacruel flew forwards, whipping forwards its deadly blades in scything arcs, the steel blades flashing in the afternoon light.

Pikachu let out a shrill hiss and lunged, launching his small frame ito the air. Deadly arcs of purple electricity crackled around his cheeks.

“Plan B! We’ll duke it out good old-fashioned Pokemon League style! Maverick, Dark Flame, Ghost, take them on! Raven, Hydro! You two go after Misty! Serra, go after that little b*astardized onion fairy!” Aeris roared once more, having recovered fairly quickly. Her quick thinking saved them all.

Dark Flame roared and leapt past Terra, purple-black flame forming within her throat. Maverick darted and launched himself into the air, screeching a battle cry. Ghost seemed to disappear as his blazing speed carried him into the fury that was the Tentacruel’s whirling tentacles.

Serra leapt into the air as Raven flickered and disappeared, teleporting to appear behind the startled Misty.

The Guardian flew down to meet Serra’s charge and both crashed into midair, sending out a small shockwave. Guardian’s eyes blazed into Serra’s face, and her voice came out in a tinny rasp.

”The battle for your lives has begun.”

indigestible_wad
5th April 2005, 12:36 AM
Haha. First to reply. I am glad to see a new chapter so soon. The time travel things get abit confusing because your two ideas on time travel contradict each other, and can lose you if you're not paying attention. But other than that, it was a very good chapter.

ClefairyTenchi
5th April 2005, 6:23 PM
HUZZA!! BRILLIANT!! JUST BRILLIANT!!

I couldn't help but laugh at Aeris' curses. Tee he, Ozzy^^

I love this show^^ Poor Misty...

Crystallugia
10th April 2005, 5:21 AM
AWESOME!!! I laughed at Viaris' respect for Aeris. I'm still laughing! I can't wait to see the next chapter! *falls over laughing*

Pokemon Master Hani
5th May 2005, 6:39 AM
I don't want to be rude but how long for the next chapter

ClefairyTenchi
5th May 2005, 3:49 PM
As official Spam Patrol Lord, I declare that question not Spam, due to the fact that everyone else is wondering this as well. However, should anyone else ask that question before the next chapter, it will be counted as Spam. Now for my unsatisfactory answer.

It's hard to say, Hani. Azure hasn't signed on for nearly a month now. She told me last time we cooresponded that she was abandoning all her pokemon fics except for Dawn. I'd like to say when, but I just can't. Sorry^^

indigestible_wad
5th May 2005, 11:55 PM
I'll talk to Spex, but I'm not sure when she'll be on her computer next, so it might be a couple days.

blaziken1234
7th May 2005, 12:54 AM
I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY DID U DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I HATE SUSPENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*cr y* not fair (btw... subscribe me to this!)

indigestible_wad
7th May 2005, 3:59 AM
There is no subscription, you just have to check in and find out. But suspence isn't that bad. It's good to wait for things. Being pacient is a good trait to have in life.

blaziken1234
7th May 2005, 5:37 AM
asking me to be patient is like asking the sun not to shine on mercury

indigestible_wad
7th May 2005, 6:33 AM
Too bad, you're going to have to be. Considering the authors might not be on their computers for a couple days, they might not be able to contact or put up anything. So just wait.

ClefairyTenchi
9th May 2005, 3:55 PM
*Spam-o-Meter**beep.....beep...beepbeepbeep*

okay, that was a little obnoxious of me, but just so you know, you're nearing the maximum allowed concentration ratio of Spam, 5 parts spam:1 part goodness per post. We don't want cancelation again Yo.

Sakuryuu
26th May 2005, 12:11 PM
Chibi's back! I couldn't access my old account anymore, so this is my new one... ^^;;

And I can't blame Blaziken's impatience. It has been a while. @_< But patience is a virtue, though.

I just re-read the last chapter. I hope some of the questions we have will be answered, and not too many more will be piled on at the same time. XD

Strange...I make this typo all the time. Ah, well. xP You typed WHta's, instead of What's.


“Well, well, looks like the brats are all together again. What happened, Guardian? Didn’t you send them back into time? WHta’s the matter with you? Can’t you do anything right?”

I'll hope to see a new chapter when I come back again! ;D

Gatene
30th May 2005, 8:23 AM
Sorry everyone for this taking so long. I have updated the site immensely, and have caught up with the newest chapters.

http://spectreon.mybesthost.com/news.htm
==or==
http://spectreon.funurl.com

The site has been changed, and it shouldn't be hard to navigate..just keep in mind, that the Fanfics, Art, and Extras are separated by which part of DoanL they reside. So if you want to read the 1st Chapter in Song of the Goddess, you will click on the SotG banner, after clicking, "Fanfics".

You'll see what I'm talking about once going to the site.

Enjoy everyone :)
Gatene

indigestible_wad
30th May 2005, 7:39 PM
Oh, and just so you know, Spex and Azure are both very busy, Spex with school and Azure with college, so don't expect any new chapters for a while.

Gatene
31st May 2005, 7:19 AM
hmmm, indigestible...I hae it on good authority that there will be a new chapter sooner than you think, but it will take some time...I am in touch with the authors on a regular basis, and they want to know what everyone thinks should happen after the fight with Guardian and the others.

all suggestions will be considered, so don't be shy :)

Gatene

indigestible_wad
31st May 2005, 3:33 PM
True, the next chapter will probably be during the summer. That's why I said long, which I didn't really intend to say in the first place.

Sakuryuu
1st June 2005, 7:43 PM
No ideas, sorry Azure-sama. ^^ Saku's no good with suspense and the like...which this fic tends to have quite a bit of, I'd say.

I just want to see what happens with all the romance... >-> -is weird-

As for the length of time it'll take for the next chapter to come out, I don't mind too much because the quality of writing makes up for the consistency that they come out. Sorry for the run-on sentence. XP

indigestible_wad
1st June 2005, 8:40 PM
I can guaruntee you that not much will happen with the romance. Neither of the authors like goody goody flowery romance stories. They will just wrap it up though. They wouldn't just leave it hanging. But they won't go too far into it. Maybe something like in the closet where they just leave the thought to ourselves but nothing more than that.

Gatene
2nd June 2005, 4:54 AM
Heh, you never know with the romance...there might just be a new author coming in on the scene. That's just what I heard though. Oh well, time will tell. I know if I were one of the authors...I'd go into all branches of the heroes' lives, not just battle, angst, etc.

Gatene

indigestible_wad
3rd June 2005, 12:32 AM
That's only if they have a new one come in. And from what I've heard, they've already finshed the story, all they have to do is put the finishing touches on it. So if one does come in, the only major thing (s)he can do for this story is make the flow a little different. That and start on the next one.

Gatene
3rd June 2005, 12:09 PM
No, they have not FINISHED the story. They have, however, mapped the entire story out, all that is missing is the guts, and that's what takes them so long, including the description, and finalizing it. Am I right Azure?

Gatene

indigestible_wad
3rd June 2005, 4:11 PM
That's what I meant. Ah, having a fic all layed out is one of the most impoertant things to do. But they have finished many parts of it. So the most anyone could do at this point is just have their own writing style.