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Thread: Pokémon Ranger and the Gardener of Gratitude

  1. #26
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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “And then what?”

    As Eleanor asked this, none noticed that Carter’s focus was intensifying, and that he nearly had Regirock awakened.

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

    This event had happened some time later. An aging, scruffy looking man sporting orange hair and a beard stood at a lectern in the front of a packed classroom; his white lab coat and red undershirt were as equally unkempt as he was. After adjusting a pair of rectangular eyeglasses to suit himself, he picked up a paper and began to speak.

    “The demonstration portion of the final exam for Dr. Newton Graceland’s robotics class begins now. In this portion of the exam, each student will demonstrate briefly a robotic device that they have created using what they learned in my class this year. Inventions will be graded based on creativity and overall application of the class’s material.

    Now, let’s begin! The first to make a presentation will be Carter McKenna!”

    Standing to quite a bit of applause, Carter stood and walked to the front of the hall. As he did so a pair of lab assistants wheeled out a cart with his invention on it. The machine resembled an oversized silver blender.

    “Allow me to present the Apricorn Blender!” he announced proudly, setting a sack of multicolored nut-like fruits on the table next to him. “This device, when loaded with Apricorns, as I have here, will produce what I have dubbed Aprishakes. When a Pokémon drinks an Aprishake, its physical coniditon will improve, and all the Apricorn Blender needs to operate is two 9-volt batteries! Allow me to demonstrate!”

    Carter reached into the sack and pulled out four Apricorns; two blue, one pink, one white. He opened the cover of the Apricorn Blender and deposited them, then closed the machine.

    “Gentlemen, behold!” Carter pressed the switch on the machine’s control panel.

    However, nothing happened. Panicking, Carter pressed the switch several more times, but the machine still lay dormant.

    In the back of the room, Matt smirked and peered down at the two batteries in his hand.

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

    “Carter passed that year because he got exceptional grades on the other portions, but I always regretted doing that...”

    A look of pity filled Eleanor’s eyes. However, at that moment, a robotic snarl echoed through the room, and the group all turned back to the platform in time to see the black-and-brown Regirock break out of its confines within the throne and stamp forth to face its apparent enemies. Panicked and startled, Matt clumsily used his P*DA on it.

    “Regirock, the Rock Peak Pokémon. Type is Rock. Its entire body is made of rock. If any part chips off in battle, it attaches rocks to repair itself. This specimen is alternately colored.”

    “Now, Carter, fight him!” Fernando ordered from beyond the portal. “Use your anger and destroy him utterly!”

    Carter sighed and shut his eyes. “Matt, I’m sorry I have to do this... Regirock, Stone Edge!”

    The H-shaped arrangement of dots on Regirock’s body flashed wildly as arcs of energy surrounded it, soon transforming into jagged-edged rocks. With a roar the beast sent these rocks flying right for Matt, who was completely unprepared and feebly raised his arms in fearful defense.

    What happened next was unexpected and sudden – another roar came from the back of the hall, followed by a shot of light that eviscerated the rocks right out of the air. The sound of thundering steps accompanied the sudden presence of Heatran.

    “Heatran!” Shaymin squealed fearfully, clenching Rosalita’s head in terror. This was already a natural reaction if you knew of the Grass-type’s natural fear of fire, but Shaymin’s predisposal to cowardice only made it worse.

    Rosalita, meanwhile, could only clench her teeth. “He had no intention of making us fight Regirock! It was a trap...!”

    “Truuuuhhhh....” After bracing itself with its front legs, Heatran opened its mouth wide and charged up a bigger than usual Flash Cannon.

    Though blinded by its light when it was fired, Matt was able to hear it hit something, presumably Regirock, with a mighty explosion. There was enough visibility to see Carter fall backwards after screaming and shortly thereafter Regirock falling. As all of Matt’s group turned back to Heatran, none saw the energy from Regirock float to Matt’s bag in search of the cube.

    “What do we do?”

    It was Ross that took charge and stepped forth to face Heatran. “What do we do? We fight! Capture on!”

    The Capture Disc launched from Ross’s Styler when he pointed his right arm at Heatran. Upon it reaching its target, he began drawing loops in the air using his arm motions, but before long, Heatran – who had at first just looked at the object in wonder – crushed the disc with one of its massive feet, causing the Styler’s main body to shoot out a blast of sparks. Ross groaned and recoiled backwards, clutching his arm.

    “Now what do we do?!” screamed Matt, watching Heatran bring a great blast of fire – no doubt its terrifying Magma Storm attack, which had deformed him the last time it was used – into its mouth. “We’re all gonna die!”

    Yet, something happened when Heatran released the attack. Just as Matt uselessly raised his arms to protect from the vortexes of fire Heatran had loosed, a bright light filled the room, and when it faded, all that remained in the chamber was Heatran and its Magma Storm. Everything and everyone else was gone.

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

    “What was that?!” Fernando screamed angrily as he looked into his machine in the bell tower. Just at the moment Heatran had used the attack he ordered, his view of the area had been cut off. “What in the name of Giratina just happened?!”

    “We’ve been betrayed.” Cassy appeared in the shadows behind Fernando, holding the Griseous Orb’s staff and speaking darkly. “Dusknoir turned against us. He saved them from Heatran’s attack by taking them to an unknown location.”

    Fernando just tensed up as Cassy approached him. He only turned once she was within his reach, and his face was contorted into a look of uncontrollable rage.

    “Give me that!” he snarled as he snatched the staff from her. “If you were a little more careful picking your false friends, maybe we wouldn’t have this problem!”

    “But you were the one who recruited Dusknoir...”

    Cassy never had time to finish her defense, as Fernando simply smacked her across the face with the back of his hand, knocking her to the floor. “Do not backtalk me, you miserable woman! Lest I remind you, because of your gender, you are inferior to me already, and you have no chance of touching the majesty of a king such as I!”

    Turning back to the machine, Fernando opened the top of the staff, removed the Griseous Orb and deposited it in his robes before closing the staff and setting it against the machine. “Go to your position as dictated by the plans of the Heatran Elegy,” he ordered Cassy bitterly. “I must complete the initiation at any cost.”

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

    “My head...” Matt felt around for something to prop himself up with. He soon found what felt like a wooden table, and pushed himself up using it as support.

    He then slowly opened his eyes and surveyed his surroundings. He’d been taken to a pale stone room, which he quickly noticed had no apparent doors. It was a circular chamber with the half opposite Matt’s position being a huge wall of stained glass, and the half he was standing in lined with bookcases.

    While Matt looked around, the others slowly came to and stood up as well. Ross was first, followed by Rosalita and Eleanor. Carter, Howard and all four of the guards had also been transported to this chamber.

    “Is this one of the chambers in the palace?” coughed one of the guards as she leaned drastically on her staff. “I’ve never seen it!” The other three guards promptly chimed in with agreement, making it apparent that they were no longer under mind control.

    “Yeah, Carter, what is this place?”

    “Don’t snap at me, Matt!” Carter growled back. “I’ve never been here either!”

    “This room, I thought I imagined coming here all those years ago...” Howard was staring at the stained glass with wide eyes, and his speaking commanded the attention of all in the room. “I know this place...”

    “You do, my old friend.”

    Somehow Dusknoir had entered the room unseen. The faces around him soured immediately after coming off the initial shock of his appearance, and the anger in the room directed his way was so think it could be cut with a knife.

    “You want us to talk to you, after you helped that horrid man control us?!”

    “And you helped him hold me and my father in jail too!”

    “Were you there when he killed my grandfather? ANSWER ME!!”

    Matt lunged at Dusknoir but missed and went crashing face-first into a wall. Despite this he recovered quickly, returned to standing before the phantom and resumed his confrontational tone.

    “Answer me, you damn ghost! I know you know the truth about what happened to Sutter! I’m sure you know that name – Doctor Sutter Chiaki, one of the first victims of Fernando’s bid for power!”

    “Matt... you are correct. I know everything. Everything that Fernando has done and what he plans to do.”

    “Then answer this...”

    “Matt, wait!” Howard interrupted. He then took several slow steps forward, towards Dusknoir. “Dusknoir... you are not what you appear to be, are you? I am getting a feeling that I know you, and if I’m right...”

    “You haven’t lost your natural instinct, my old friend.”

    Dusknoir’s body suddenly began to glow with a soft light, and he transformed. His true identity finally began to emerge – an elderly man in a blue and green suit, pale blue hair wildly shocking out to the sides, with a dusty beard of similar color.

    Upon seeing the man, Matt’s mind went blank, and he collapsed backwards to the floor. He could only look upward in shock, his body shaking violently.

    “S....utt.... grandfather, you....?”

    “I thought you told us not to tell him!” Eleanor blurted out. Immediately, she regretted doing so.

    “You... YOU KNEW?!” Matt was back on his feet, and once again angry. “You knew that my grandfather’s...ghost or whatever was allied with Fernando AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME?!!”

    Eleanor shrunk away. “He told us not to, and you don’t...have it right...”

    “I don’t...?” Suddenly coming back to reality, Matt found his mind overloaded with questions. He slowly turned to face Sutter and asked quietly, “You said you know everything?”

    “I know enough.” Sutter’s voice seemed to echo, fitting for a ghostly presence.

    “Could you start from the beginning?”

    The old man reached for a nearby chair, pulled it to near him, and gestured. “Sit down for this. You’ll need to.” Matt was clearly confused by this direction, but followed it, and Sutter only spoke then, and still was reluctant. “You see... the Golden City is not lost. We discovered it a great many years ago.”

    It was a good thing Sutter had previously warned Matt to sit down, because this sudden revelation hit him like a ton of bricks. The realization that his almost two-decade old beliefs were all untrue, that the one man he idolized had been lying to him all that time, and that all remaining of his supposed hunt for a lost treasure was just stopping a mad prince, led to many seconds of blank emptiness before Matt simply stood in a rage and began shouting.

    “You lied to me all this time, Sutter?! I can’t believe you! You manipulated me into doing what you couldn’t do and stopping Fernando, that’s what you did! You probably thought you could pull this little ‘come back from the dead’ stunt after I found the Golden City and take all the credit away from me! Dammit, my father was right... you are a monster! Your own fame and fortune first... family second!!”

    “You have it all wrong, Matt!” Howard cried out. “Sutter is telling the truth!”

    “Like you would know. Do you know how it feels to grow up constantly trying to please a man whose heart is made of stone, only looking up to a person you see as a hero that’s actually a scumbag liar? Do you?!”

    Surprisingly, in face of all these derisive attacks, Sutter was completely calm. “I understand your anger. All I ask is that you listen to what I have to tell you.”

    Matt faltered. He was now realizing the impact and meaning of his words, and deep down was beginning to regret them. There was no taking away what Sutter had done for him that was good. “Fine.” He crossed his arms and pouted fiercely.

    “We, meaning myself and Howard, found the Golden City many decades ago, long before you were born.”

    “You did too?!” Carter said to his father in surprise.

    “Yes,” the old, balding man answered with a nod. “I remember that much. Sutter and I found it as a result of quite a lot of hard work. It was wonderful to behold...”

    “Then why didn’t you two announce your findings to the world?” Matt had both his hands clenched and was looking at the floor, still angry but now confused as well. “If I made such an important discovery...”

    Sutter lowered his head. “It’s because something bad is down there. Something that we had to hide from the world... it cost me my family ties and much of my life to keep it a secret.”

    “Something...bad?” Now Sutter had Matt’s attention.

    “Look over there.”

    The moment Sutter pointed towards the wall of stained glass, it faded into black. His audience murmured at this, but they quickly silenced when a different pattern appeared on the wall. This one depicted what seemed to be a desert, with a number of people standing in it and appearing downtrodden.

    “Long ago, this land was a barren desert. The people tried to live off it, but almost nothing at all would grow. Existance was bare and times were desperate.”

    The glass switched scenes again, this time depicting a man with flowing, shoulder-length blonde hair. He was wearing tattered brown clothing and holding up his hands.

    “Then one day, a man from a faraway land appeared in this blighted region. He taught the people to give thanks for what blessings they did receive, and soon, life became tolerable.”

    Another scene change, this time to a depiction of Shaymin. This scene didn’t depict the normal Shaymin, though, it showed the modified Shaymin previously seen on the floor of the mountain shrine.

    “Feeling their emotions of gratitude, a group of Shaymin flew into the land and carried out their Flower Bearing, which turned the desolate desert into a bountiful paradise. The people were overjoyed.”

    With the next change, the glass depicted the blonde man, now wearing a white cape and blue formal clothing.

    “Grateful to the man for bringing the bounties of nature to their land, the people named him their king, Fernando the First. For quite a long time, he reigned over a populace that grew fat off the fortunes of their land, constructing a vast city made of gold to show gratitude for their blessings. However...”

    Now the glass had on it a very different depiction – a purple cloud attacking a group of three people.

    “...Fernando’s personality eventually began to change. He became more ambitious and asked a group of his subjects to set out and found a new settlement so the city could increase in size. It was then that these settlers came under attack by a group of 108 malevolent spirits that attempted in every way to destroy them, using everything from violence to temptation.”

    The Azure Angel was in the next window. He was holding a stone with a crack in its middle in his right hand and pointing his left arm towards the purple cloud, fighting it with a blue sword sticking out from his sleeve.

    “A hero appeared to those settlers when times seemed to be their worst. He fought the spirits and came out the victor, banishing them to an unusual stone forevermore. To the settlers, this masked, nameless man appeared to have come to them from the heavens, so for this and the mystical instrument he carried, they dubbed him the Azure Angel.”

    He was also in the next panel, depicting him at the center, surrounded by people handing him plates of food. Pyramids of gold lay in the background.

    “To show gratitude to their hero, the settlers took him back to their Golden City and lavished upon him their bounty for fourty nights. On the fourty-first night, the hero departed, still never revealing his true name and face to the people who had grown to know him as their savior, the Azure Angel.”

    Upon the next scene switch, Fernando I reappeared. This time, though, his face was dark, and in his hand was a greenish orb which was emitting a black glow from its core.

    “Fernando I grew to be jealous of the gratitude bestowed upon the Azure Angel, and due to his now corrupt soul, took action. He obtained the Griseous Orb, an ancient device of untold power, and in contradiction of thousands of years of warning, activated it.”

    Great chaos appeared on the wall next. Both Heatran and Regigigas were depicted, using their power to destroy the city, with a background of fire.

    “The Griseous Orb’s activation summoned two titans of destruction: Regigigas, who was asleep in the mountains near the city, and Heatran, a lava creature from Fernando’s homeland. Together, the two titans reigned a great catastrophe upon this once blessed land.”

    One final window appeared, showing a town in a dried-out land.

    “As quickly as the disaster started, however, it ended in one dark night. The Golden City vanished seemingly into thin air, as did King Fernando I. Regigigas was sealed away with the Golden City, and Heatran was banished to its own land. Only one man, the king’s son, knew the truth, and he hid it. Fernando I was said to have died as a result of the Golden City’s vitality fountain no longer working on him. As for the land, while it never reverted to the desert it once was, it was never bountiful again.”

    Sutter’s audience turned back to him from the wall of glass now that the story was over. All had wonder in their minds.

    “So it’s Regigigas down there, then...” Matt’s manner turned from thoughtfulness to shock when he fully realized what Sutter had said. “Did you say vitality fountain? The fountain of youth?!!”

    “That’s here too?” Eleanor, unlike Matt, was not shocked. She was scared. “If that’s here, is he looking for that? Is that the goal of all this?”

    “I fear so,” Sutter answered sadly. “When Howard and I found the Golden City, we realized the immense evil that could emerge if its discovery was made public. Therefore, we hid a series of clues around the area, with the final clue in this chamber. We then had our memories erased so if anyone like Fernando tried to have our minds read, he’d find nothing.”

    Howard continued on, “I don’t know anymore exactly where it is, but the final clue is a book somewhere in this room.”

    “Father, I can find it.” Carter exuded confidence as he put his hands together and shut his eyes. “Transcend the confines of time and space!”

    As was usual when Carter used his powers, a glow filled the room. As if it was itself a conscious entity, a wisp of this light floated over to the dark wood bookcases and glided over the volumes, ultimately settling on a tattered gray book.

    “It’s that one,” Carter said plainly, opening his eyes and pointing to the book.

    Following that direction, Matt wasted no time in withdrawing the tome and setting on the table while the others crowded around. It was dusty, torn in many places and quite heavy, making the rickety old table creak under its weight.

    “It’s more like a folder...” Carefully, Ross undid the tie sealing the contents of the book and opened it. A cloud of dust floated out at first, but that disappeared quickly, allowing the Ranger to have a look at the first piece of paper inside. “I write this having just fought with my father in this room... Who does this belong to?”

    “Only one way to find out. Transcend the confines of time and space!”

    Immediately upon Carter’s incantation, a hologram of past events filled the room. Much to the surprise of all present, the two men who appeared were both familiar – one was Fernando I, and the other was a remarkably thin young man whose appearance made it plain he was Fernando II. Fernando I held a staff with a thick, rounded end in his right hand, and used his left to rebuff his son from approaching.

    “The plan is perfect, son. There are no flaws. What we are going to do is going to change history!”

    “Please listen to me, Father! There’s a reason that that Guild you just betrayed didn’t want to use the device’s power. Please don’t activate it!”

    “I am King Fernando of La Ciudad Dorada! What that feeble Guild feared is nothing before me!” Fernando the first held up the staff and opened its top, revealing the glowing Griseous Orb inside. “This is the device, the Griseous Orb. By using this, we will bring great wealth and power to this land forevermore!”

    “You have changed, Father! What happened to that man who gave thanks for all around him!?”

    Angered, Fernando I smacked his son in the face. “Do not speak to me in such a fashion, you insolent pup!”

    The first king then closed his scepter, turned on his heel and marched out of the room with equal parts fury and pride. His son quickly sat down at the table with the book now held by Matt and his friends, withdrew a quill pen from its ink base, and began writing.

    “I write this having just fought with my father in this room. My father, King Fernando of La Ciudad Dorada, recently joined an organization known as the Guild, but he has betrayed them and stolen a device called the Griseous Orb. For some reason, the Guild seemed to fear activating this object, which is what my father plans to do. Ever since he began being around this thing, this Orb, he has changed from a kind and generous ruler into an ambitious tyrant. It must be because of the Griseous Orb. When he just showed it to me, I felt something from it. I felt some kind of terrible evil influence coming from it that struck me in my heart... I cannot stop what is about to happen, but I fear it nevertheless...”

    Carter lost his focus after this point, so the hologram ended. It was just as well, since the note ended at that point anyway.

    “What is this Guild he spoke of? And a Griseous Orb?” Leaning over, Matt examined the note more carefully. He was admiring Fernando II’s elegant handwriting when he found something else on the parchment – a six-pointed star made up of two overlaid triangles, with circles around the top left, top right and bottom center points, as well as lines forming what appeared to be an eye in the center. “What’s this symbol?”

    Sutter and Howard both rushed to look at it, but upon appraisal, neither seemed to know its secrets.

    “I’ve seen this symbol before. Haven’t you?”

    “You’re right, Sutter, but I don’t know what it is. It’s not the Fernando family’s crest.” Howard reached back into the book and pulled out another page of parchment, his eyes widening with a feeling of surprise when he saw what was on it. “The Griseous Orb: A Short History... by Jacob Alexison?!”

    Jacob Alexison. The moment Matt heard the name, his mind became consumed by rage, all linking back to a past memory he’d tried desperately to forget.

    “Throw that crap away!” he thundered, lunging for the paper. “I will never accept Jacob Alexison as a good man in any fashion and that includes hearing his research!”

    “You have a history with him?” Eleanor asked innocently. “Who is he?”

    “A man who tried to rob me of what little future I have...” Now Matt was shaking and tears were running down his face. Eleanor went to him, concerned, and propped him up to show her support. “Howard probably remembers when this happened. Jacob Alexison was a professor of archeology in Sinnoh that my grandfather, Howard, and many others worked with throughout the years. A while back he ‘accidentally’ committed a murder and then began a deranged bid to collect the Plates of Arceus for his own use. I tried to stop him in Snowpoint City, and he shot me.”

    “Jacob did that? Now I am glad I never sent my son to study with him!” Howard spat.

    Rosalita then spoke listlessly. “We should still read what he has to say on this matter. If we are to stop my brother we will need as much knowledge as possible.”

    “Fine,” Matt said curtly. It was clear he didn’t want to have to hear Jacob’s words, but felt he had no choice. Taking up the note and adjusting his glasses on his damaged face, he began reading aloud.

    “The Griseous Orb: A Short History
    June 8, 2000

    by Jacob Alexison

    I first heard about the Griseous Orb from my grandfather, Julian Verne. He explained to me it was the source of the legendary Pokémon Giratina’s power and for generations many people wanted it. Because of that the Guild, the group he was in, tried to protect it (they were also protecting the Red, Blue, and Life Orbs, but I do not know too much about them). I never got to see the orb though as I was very young back then. Eventually I had forgotten about it due to getting interested in other artifacts.

    I got interested in the Griseous Orb again after rereading The Original Story, which explained how the world was created. Arceus’ egg came from Chaos, or the Torn World. After Arceus was born, Dialga and Palkia were created. Giratina was created too but forgotten, so he resided alone in the Torn World. Interesting story to say the least.

    After reading that, I went to research more on Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina. While looking through many papers, there were a couple mentions of the Griseous Orb. I did not find too many information on it unfortunately, but what I am able to find was astonishing.

    This is what I know so far about the orb. First off, it is known that the orb is created from the Jewel of Life’s (from the Zap, Splash, Draco, Meadow, and Earth Plates) power. It represents the Torn World and as an antimatter. I believe that to be true as it is said Giratina lives at the Torn World.

    What I find next is interesting. While talking to the great Sutter Chiaki, he told me the Griseious Orb was part of the La Ciudad Dorada history. The House of Fernando had it for 500 years, but it was never activated. When I asked why, Sutter said he doesn’t know the answer to that.

    What I am about to say next is mostly speculation, so take this with a grain of salt. It is said Giratina has two forms, an Origin Form and an Altered Form. In the Torn World he is in Origin Form and in our world he changes to Altered Form. A few pieces theorize the Griseous Orb could make Giratina be in his Origin Form if he enters our world. The only problem is only a few people saw Giratina. I have not seen it so I cannot claim this theory to be true.

    The next speculation is the orb makes Giratina’s attacks more powerful. I already mentioned how my grandfather told this to me. However, again he never showed me the orb, so I am not sure if what he said is true.

    I wish I have more information about the orb, but not too much is known about this particular item. I hope someone would be able to solve the mystery of it.”

    Ross stepped forward. “Now I understand, after hearing that. Listen, you guys, this is something I know about. I didn’t remember it initially. The Guild was a secret brotherhood of men that existed centuries ago to protect several mysterious Orbs. It was driven underground for the beliefs of its members and disappeared from history in the nineteenth century. After that, who knows what happened.”

    “Wait, wait, wait,” groaned Matt as he threw his hands up in the air. “This went from some angry prince overthrowing his parents, to said angry prince trying to find the fountain of youth, to that person using some kind of device that could theoretically end the world? What the hell is going on here?”

    “Things have gotten really bad really fast...” commented Ross quietly.He then reached to turn over the book’s next page.

    Underneath it was an old, tattered map of the La Ciudad Dorada region of Oceannia. Sutter and Howard both lunged for it the moment they saw it, and simultaneously declared with great pride, “This is it!”

    “This is the final clue, the key to the Golden City that Howard and I hid decades ago. The Golden City is...” Sutter decisively laid his finger on a faded “X” on the map. “...here.”

    “The Berrybell Mountains!” Carter exclaimed.

    “That shrine where I saved you lot from Fernando is the key. I still can’t remember much more than there being a clue on the back of that map...”

    Instantly, Matt overturned the map. On its back were a great jumble of letters. “ZKHQ IDFLQJ WKH JUHDW ZKHHOV WKH DQVZHU OLHV ZLWK VKDBPLQ?” he spat out in confusion. “A cipher. You wrote this cipher as the final clue?”

    “Yes, but I don’t remember the answer to it...”

    A sly smirk crept onto Matt’s face. “You old coot, even if you did, you’d still make me solve it. You did it to me plenty of times!”

    “I see you still remember the things I taught you!” Sutter replied, smiling broadly for the first time.

    Ross then stepped forward with obvious determination and asked bluntly, “Sutter, is there something going on at that bell tower in town? It’s closed up with a Sealed Door and every time the bells ring something bad happens.”

    Sutter’s expression instantly darkened. “There is something happening there... I’ll show you right now.”

    “Wait!” Carter cried out, garnering the others’ attention. During the exchange between Matt and Sutter, he’d found a pot of red flowers, each sporting six petals and a yellow stamen in the center. “Before we go, I think it’s worth considering that we probably will be facing some extremely harsh challenges going forth. We should expose Shaymin to one of these flowers, because as my research indicates, Shaymin’s true power comes from them.”

    A light of realization appeared suddenly in Rosalita’s eyes. “Why didn’t I realize this before... those are Gracidea flowers, aren’t they?” When Carter nodded to the affirmative, Rosalita immediately picked Shaymin up and held it near the flowers.

    “Shaymin knows these flowers, yes...”

    The moment Shaymin sniffed at the flowers and got some of their pollen on its body, it began to glow. To the surprised gasps of its friends looking on, the tiny Pokémon floated into the air over the flower pot and soon began transforming – when it was done, after the golden light had faded, the cute, tiny hedgehog was replaced by the reindeer-esque canine creature from the shrine. Matt and Eleanor both gasped in surprise.

    “What just happened?!”

    “Is that...”

    “I give you Sky Forme Shaymin!” Carter announced proudly, spreading his arms. “Shaymin, now that you have newfound stren...”

    Without a care, Shaymin violently tackled Carter out of its way in order to float before the others.

    “We’ll go get that bad guy now, and Shaymin isn’t afraid of Heatran, you! Shaymin will fight and win, you!!”

    “Maybe there’s a little too much confidence in there...” Carter then turned to Sutter and said, “We can go now.”

    Sutter nodded, then, despite the fact he was a ghost, snapped his fingers. The entire group teleported away when he did this.

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

    It wasn’t long, perhaps only seconds later, that they materialized in the room inside the bell tower. After gathering their collective bearings, all the group took a quick approximation of the room to figure out what was going on.

    It was Carter who spotted the Magma Stone on its machine first. He began to feel a sense of dread just upon seeing it. “You guys, look at this thing. I’ve seen it in my studies. This is the Magma Stone, an ancient tool that was used to control Heatran’s rampages.”

    “That’s correct, Carter,” Sutter said in response. “Fernando has been controlling Heatran with this, and...” He pointed upward. “Those.”

    As if on cue, multiple blue energy beams shot down from the rafters of the chamber to impact the Magma Stone. They were being fired from numerous Bronzong hidden in the upper levels, much to the group’s surprise.

    “So he’s been controlling Heatran using the Magma Stone and these Bronzong... is this also how he put hypnosis on the townspeople?”

    Sutter’s manner showed surprise at Ross’s question. “You figured out that happened?”

    “Yeah, we did.” By opening his Styler’s scanner and using it on the Bronzong, Ross quickly made another discovery. “He’s got the Bronzong themselves under hypnosis... looks like I’m the only one who can handle this. You guys go ahead to the Golden City and I’ll deal with this situation.”

    “No... it can’t be! NO!!” This was Rosalita, and she sounded greatly upset. She had found and opened the staff Fernando left behind, finding that the Griseous Orb was gone. “He got the orb already!” she yelled as she turned back to the others. “We have to find him now!”

    “This is bad...” Matt mused dejectedly. In his mind, the odds were stacking up against them quickly – Fernando already possessed a legion of loyal and powerful Pokémon, and now had control over an object potentially acting as a weapon of untold power. It seemed the only solution left was to beat him to whereever exactly the Golden City awaited and stop him there, and with this goal in mind, Matt took a long, hard breath and turned up to his friends. “We’re in bad shape now, so we’ll go with the plan I have.

    Ross is going to stay here and try to capture these Bronzong, as he has already volunteered to do. If he can do that and shut down that machine, we should be able to defeat Heatran.

    Now, the rest of us will split into two groups. Howard, I want you to go with the guards and Rosalita back to the palace and prepare to order an evacuation away from the Berrybell Mountains, as in, as close to the palace as possible. If something goes wrong and Fernando gains the upper hand on us, the townspeople will be in danger if they are anywhere nearby.

    As for me, I will be going to the Berrybell Mountains with Carter, Eleanor, my grandfather and Shaymin. We’ll have to hurry and get there before Fernando does, because the first rule of conduct when racing an enemy to a discovery is to assume that the enemy has all the information you do. Are we all clear with the plan?”

    As Matt’s friends each affirmed their loyalty to the plan he had devised, Sutter quietly looked upon his grandson with great admiration. This was the culmination of everything he’d tried to teach Matt, especially the rule about assuming your enemy knows everything you do, which Matt had actually remembered verbatim from when Sutter taught him it. A great feeling of pride filled the old man’s corporeal body, and he smiled slightly under his ragged beard.

    “Grandfather.” Matt had by now turned to face Sutter directly, and his voice was deadly serious. “Your final adventure is finally ready to be fulfilled. Please send Howard, Rosalita and the guards to the palace and then take us to the shrine.”

    “As you wish. It’s exciting to be able to go on one final quest with you.”

    Sutter promptly pointed an open hand towards Howard, making him teleport away, presumably to the palace. He then did the same for Rosalita and the four guards, and turned and created a portal, through which Matt, Eleanor, Carter and Shaymin went through before he himself did.

    “Good luck,” Ross uttered lowly, his Riolu jumping off his shoulder to prepare for combat. Looking up, he took a deep breath as he faced his challenge, and said out loud to himself, “Let’s get started.”





    END of CHAPTER 4

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  2. #27
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    *coughcreditJacobAlexisioncharacterfrommecough*

    There are a couple instances you mentioned destroy, like here:

    Another one of the guards stepped forward. “Then you will be destroyed...”
    Sounds weird for someone to say that. You can just say “killed.”

    Another thing is I feel you could have broken the chapter in two parts. Once more too many things happening in one chapter. Gang meets with Azure Angel and then went to the train station to get Registeel . They then got confronted with Heatran, but saved by the Azure Angel again. They then met up with Howard, Carter, Sutter, Fernando, and Regirock, with Sutter saving the gang. Later Sutter reveals the truth about the Golden City and the Guild and everyone going to try to stop Fernando. I feel you could have broken the chapter into two chapters, one where Registeel got caught and another one where Regirock is being used and the gang finding out more about the Golden City. That is just me, though.

    Also, to be honest, I thought Jynx’s evolution is kind of random. It’s a cool one for sure, but not sure how that’s add up to the story. Could be important later, though.

    Now, the goods. :3 Lots of development from Matt here. Well, he went too emotional over Cassy being queen, Sutter finding the Golden City, and Jacob’s letter all in one chapter. However, you did well coping well after that Cassy news and also nice he took the initiative in leading the group on what to do to stop Fernando. That’s leadership.

    Also, interesting revelations on part two of the story, mostly on the Guild and the story of the Golden City. Even though I read that part already in our chats, I couldn’t think any other way to change those parts.

    Heh, like how you have Shaymin’s personality changed when it went its sky forme like in the 11th movie. Yeah, too much confidence there. :P

    Well, looking forward to the last chapter! Make it great. :3


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    Yes, I mistakenly forgot to mention Bay wrote the letter by Jacob for me. Sorry, Bay XD

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    CHAPTER 5: Elegy







    The air was still and quiet in the Berrybell Mountains region that day, with light but steady rain still falling. Perhaps it could be called the calm before the storm. In any case, a shadow thrown by one of the trees in the area suddenly transformed into a portal, and Matt, Eleanor and Carter stepped from it one at a time, followed by Shaymin and then Sutter, who closed the portal behind himself.

    “I’m getting used to traveling that way...” remarked Matt, scratching the back of his head absently. He then looked ahead, towards the now-ruined shrine; the fires from Heatran’s attack were long since gone, but much of the shrine was destroyed as well. Blankly, he touched the bandaged side of his face. “We gotta go in there? How do we do that?”

    This question was directed to noone in particular, and therefore, noone immediately answered it. Instead, Carter began walking towards the partially-collapsed shrine with the others following him. He knelt once he had reached the rubble, picked up a slab that looked like a piece of a pillar, and examined it.

    “The way this place looks like it went down, there might still be a way to get into the cellar,” he said, a sudden gentle breeze ruffling the bangs of hair that hung from under his hat. Standing, Carter clasped his hands and shut his eyes. “Transcend the confines of time and space!”

    As usual, when Carter uttered the prayer, a hologram bubble encapsulated his immediate surroundings; part of this vision was a projection of the shrine as a standing structure. A spark of light appeared at the entrance to the projected shrine and worked its way inside and down until it reached a staircase. Luckily, within the actual, ruined building, this area was still reachable.

    Relaxing and ending the projection, Carter turned to his companions a bit smugly. “Getting your body riddled with shards of a stone tablet isn’t so bad when that tablet has the power to heighten mental capabilities, and your friends and teacher give you cybernetic implants to harness those abilities, now is it? At any rate, the stairs are right over there. We can get to them by just clearing some wreckage away.”

    “And I know just how to do it. Sally, make your mark!” Matt threw one of his Poké Balls upwards, and his Salamence materialized in the damp air. “Dragon Pulse!” he ordered with a sweeping motion of his right arm.

    Sally gladly obliged, blasting the ruins with blue energy. At the point Carter had indicated, some of the broken stone fell away to reveal the stairs into the basement of the shrine. Visibly excited, Matt rushed over the wreckage and down the stairs, followed by Sally, who just managed to fit into the space, and his other traveling partners.

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

    Meanwhile, the group consisting of Howard, Rosalita and the guards had arrived back at the palace’s throne room in a similar fashion. While this chamber wasn’t totally destroyed like the shrine had been, Heatran’s rampage certainly had taken its toll – many of the tapestries were burned completely through, and the throne area was ravaged, with much of the wall broken down and the statue of Regirock lying on its side in the middle.

    “Shouldn’t we get right to sending out that call for an evacuation?” one of the guards asked, in a sort of squealing, cowardly voice.

    “We can’t. My brother has the entire city under hypnosis. Until Ross captures all those Bronzong and stops their spell, we can’t do a thing...”

    Not one of the guards spoke an audible word in response to this, just murmuring.

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

    Ross had already captured two of the seven Bronzong by this time, and was desperately battling alongside his Riolu to bring down the other five. Sweat was pouring down his face as he focused with great intensity on drawing loops around his targets. The Bronzong, however, seemed oblivious to him, still occasionally firing beams down onto the Magma Stone. It was unfortunate that these beams also interfered with his capture attempts.

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

    “So what do we do now?” Matt found himself staring at the same empty room that his friends had been in previously. He turned to Sutter and asked, “Don’t you remember anything yet?”

    “No,” the ghostly old man answered, shaking his head. “Not beyond the fact that cipher on the map has something to do with it.”

    “So let’s have a look at it then.”

    Walking over to the altar in the room, Matt took the map out of his bag, set it down, and unrolled it.

    “ZKHQ IDFLQJ WKH JUHDW ZKHHOV WKH DQVZHU OLHV ZLWK VKDBPLQ,” Carter read aloud. “This cipher in theory should be pretty simple, but without a keyword, it’s useless.”

    “I know, and I’m ashamed I can’t even remember that. All I can remember is that it was related to something else important.”

    Matt faltered. “Something else important? It could be only a few things then. Fernando? Rosalita? Shaymin? Dorada? Maybe it’s even your na...”

    “Wait!” Eleanor cried out, her eyes not lifting from the old parchment. “Did you say Shaymin?”

    “Yeah, why?”

    “I’ve broken it, then!” she exclaimed joyously. “Look at this part. If the keyword is ‘Shaymin’, and the the idea I have is right, ‘VKDBPLQ’ is ‘Shaymin,’ just each letter is three places in the alphabet forward from the actual message’s letters!”

    Carter set a hand on Eleanor’s shoulder, and said with a broad smile, “Well done! You have what it takes to be a real adventurer, then. Let’s have a look, shall we?” Running his hand down the page, he read aloud, “When...facing...the...great...wheels...the...answ er...lies...with Shaymin.”

    “Great wheels?” Matt raised an eyebrow. “There aren’t any ‘great wheels’ here. Is this the wrong place?”

    Now it was Sutter who was smiling, making it obvious he had remembered something. “Carter, would you please punch the altar right here?” he asked, indicating a spot on the middle of the altar’s base.

    Carter, in response to this, did hestitate at first, but he quickly complied and delivered a blow to the altar’s midsection. Surprisingly, despite looking like it was made of stone, it crumbled easily.

    “Now, Matt,” Sutter said while gesturing to the hole, “reach in there.”

    “Okay...” Despite his misgivings about following such an odd direction, Matt reached into the hole, felt around, and eventually found something. Pulling it out, it was seen to be a golden combination lock of sorts with seven dials, except there were letters on the tumblers instead of numbers. Now understanding everything, Matt sighed. “I should have known. You were always fond of these things.” Carefully, he dialed the word ‘Shaymin’ into the lock.

    “That is Shaymin’s name, you! So remember it or else, you!!” the real Shaymin accompanying the group bellowed from the air, prompting Sutter and Carter to chuckle.

    Things started happening when Matt clicked the final letter into place on the golden lock. Much to his horror, and the horror of everyone else, the whole room began shaking.

    “An earthquake?!” Eleanor fearfully cried out. “No! Not now...”

    Just as mysteriously as the shaking began, though, it stopped – but only after the wall next to the altar collapsed, revealing a long, dark staircase. Instinctively Matt took up a still-lit torch from the wall nearby, and without a word, he began walking down it. With curious minds his companions closely followed.

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

    The group had been walking down the dark steps in silence for some time, and the path showed no immediate signs of ending.

    Feeling obligated to break the silence – and just a bit nervous – Eleanor suddenly blurted out, “To think, over the course of just a few days, we all became friends and got involved in this.”

    “You’re right.” Matt didn’t turn, continuing to lead the group downward as he spoke. “I was invited here by Fernando, which I now see was him baiting me to do all the hard work of finding the Golden City for him. I think we were all gathered together for a reason.”

    “To stop Fernando, no doubt,” Sutter added. “Keep going. What we’re looking for is not far.”

    “So, Eleanor... Carter and I know each other well, but what about you? What’s your story?”

    Eleanor grimaced slightly, but in the dim, shadowy confines of the stairway, nobody saw. “I’m from Lavender Town in Kanto. Got out of there a few years ago because the people there just... didn’t click with me.” She sighed at this. “Now I pretty much roam around, collecting ideas for my doll shop.”

    “You know, Eleanor...” Again, the dim light obscured an expression, this time Carter’s sly smile. “When Matt and I were coming up as rivals in school, I used to think dolls were girly things.” Carter completely missed the scowl Eleanor shot at him for this, and continued, “Now I look at it differently though. They’re very expressive. Almost like a work of art, in a sense.”

    “That’s how I look at it too,” the girl answered, her demeanor brightening slightly. “A doll is like a little person, and you get to be the creator that shapes it. So much can be conveyed. What about you, Matt? What exactly do you do?”

    “Lately we’d been traveling around Oceannia, looking for soil ideal to use in my latest invention. It’s a power-producing machine that harnesses the energy of Spheres as they grow in fertile soil. I hope to use it to provide cheap heating energy to the people of my hometown, Snowpoint City.”

    “Why not use some of the soil from here?” asked Carter, before suddenly realizing the problem with what he’d said. “Oh yeah, the soil here ... ain’t exactly fertile right now...”

    Suddenly, Matt stopped walking, causing Eleanor to bump into him from behind, and Carter in turn walked into her. Sutter, of course, being a ghost, was able to avoid this.

    All three living members of the team surveyed their new surroundings with a mix of wonder and apprehension. The stairs had led them to some sort of chamber, but with the only light in the room being the torch in Matt’s hand, the size of the chamber and its contents could not be determined.

    “What is this?” Matt wondered aloud. He raised the torch and moved it around to give himself a better approximation of the surroundings. At first, all he could see was the dull light brown stone tiles beneath his feet, but after a moment, a bowl of oil appeared in his sight. “Aha! There we go...” Suddenly recalling what had happened with the last oil bowl he went near, Matt shrunk back, then turned to Carter. “You mind doing this?”

    Carter nodded, took the torch from Matt, and strode over to the bowl. When he deposited the flame into the oil, it lit, then he set the torch in a nearby holder while the flame spread through the channels linked to the bowl.

    The chamber, once the flames had snaked all around it, was revealed to be about the size of a typical Pokémon Center’s main floor. It was empty, save for an altar that was at the top of a two-step stairway, which Carter and Matt immediately approached to investigate.

    “Carter, look at this! These markings!” Matt exclaimed, becoming somewhat alarmed.

    On the floor of the altar was a large circle with a triangle drawn inside it. Strange, jagged lines filled the empty spaces of the two shapes, seeming to lead into a circle at the center of the platform.

    “How odd...” Looking up, Carter noticed something, and his eyes widened. “Something else is here. This altar is overlooking...”

    “OH MY GOD!!” Eleanor’s frantic scream shattered the calm air and got her male companions to turn around quickly.

    “What is it?!” Carter asked quickly as he and Matt rushed to her side.

    Without a word, Eleanor simply raised a finger and pointed. Following her direction, the two young men soon saw something horrifying. It was something so unexpected, so mortifying, that even they screamed, and tears of terror came to Matt’s eyes.

    There was a golden staff lying on the floor, with a bulbous, opened top. Next to it lie the gold-encased corpse of King Fernando I, eternally frozen in a position of shock.

    “Is that...”

    As if to answer Matt’s unfinished question, Carter stepped forward, repulsed by what he was seeing, just like the others. He walked to the petrified statue and knelt, placing his hand upon its shoulder.

    “There’s only one way to find out how this happened.” Shutting his eyes, Carter uttered his now-familiar incantation, “Transcend the confines of time and space...”

    There was a flash, and upon its fading, a hologram of a strange scene appeared. Though the altar was clearly present, indicating the same location, it was not in a cave – instead it was on a cliff overlooking a vast city of pyramids and temples, with a titanic Regigigas in the center sitting on a throne. What made Matt and Eleanor gasp in shock, however, was not only that the Regigigas was wearing some kind of jeweled armor, but mostly that the city was constructed completely out of gold.

    “If that’s what Carter sees, then doesn’t that mean...?!!”

    Matt couldn’t finish, however, as the sound of footsteps cut him off. From where the group had just entered, the hologram showed Fernando I arriving with the staff in his hand. The Griseous Orb could be seen inside the staff’s top. Behind the king walked his son, who looked very displeased with his father.

    “Father, I’m begging you to reconsider! Activating that Orb will bring us nothing but misfortune!”

    “Son,” Fernando I stopped walking and turned his head slightly, “if I can even call you that anymore, I am the one who saved this land when it was nothing but a ruined desert. For the people to give their thanks to that caped freak instead of me...”

    “But Father, he rescued our settlers! They would have died!”

    “SILENCE! If you do not assist me in this, I will disinherit you and have you arrested as a prisoner of the kingdom. Do you understand?!”

    When he didn’t get an answer, Fernando I simply stepped onto the altar and walked carefully to the center. He raised the staff straight up into the air and opened the top to expose the Griseous Orb, then touched the rod’s bottom to the center of the circle on the floor of the altar.

    “Regem magnum exitii exsuscitat, Regigigasus!” he cried out.

    As if reacting to the spell, a sinister black aura began to emanate from the Griseous Orb, and the dots on Regigigas’s body began flashing as it stirred. The ground began to shake, too, probably from the shifting of Regigigas’s massive weight.

    Fernando II, meanwhile, could stand by no longer. “Shaymin, please stop him!”

    As an answer to the call for action, a bright green Energy Ball attack shot at Fernando I’s back from the gateway to the altar. He would have fallen upon being hit if he didn’t have the staff to prop himself up on, and after being given a brief moment to recover, he turned around in a rage. Sky Forme Shaymin was now floating next to his son, and he knew right away he was dealing with a mutiny.

    “How dare you! You’re betraying the man who clothed you, fed you, brought you into this world?!! I am going to become the most powerful king in the world and you...”

    “That’s what I am stopping!” the younger Fernando cried out in interruption. “You have gone mad!”

    “Mad?! What you’ll see to be mad is denying what the future holds, boy! I have already awoken Regigigas and begun activating the Griseous Orb, I cannot be stopped!”

    “Shaymin will stop you, you!” The canine-like Pokémon flew around Fernando I, prompting him to turn continually to follow it. “Your right to rule came from the gratitude of the people, you! That’s something you no longer have, you!!”

    “Now a little reindeer is questioning my authority?! I will destroy you fir...”

    “NO, YOU!!” Shaymin screeched angrily. The Grass-and-Flying type’s eyes suddenly took on a strange purple glow following this.

    “You cannot challenge m... what?!” Fernando I’s rage was replaced by shock when he realized he was floating several feet off the ground. “Put me down this instant!”

    Of course, Shaymin ignored this command, instead opting to release an intense blast of light from its eyes. The assembled audience for these events from both time periods were blinded, but the pained scream of Fernando I was audible. Seconds later the sound of metal hitting rock rang through the air, prompting Matt and the others to open their eyes. Right where the statue lay in the present, it was now there in the hologram too. Shaymin had killed the king.

    With a listless face Fernando II walked forward and picked up the Griseous Orb, which had fallen off the staff when it hit the ground. He stared into its inky depths as if he was facing death itself. “There’s nothing left, Shaymin. We must hurry and prepare for total war to stop Regigigas... I’ve already prepared an additional seal to prevent this from ever happening again. The people must never know what has happened here.”

    “That’s right, you!” the past Shaymin snarled in response.

    When a boulder fell near Fernando II’s position, he turned and began to say, “Hurry, we must go!” However, before he could finish, the hologram suddenly faded away. Carter, now on his hands and knees and gasping for breath, had lost strength.

    “Carter!” Matt cried out, running to the aid of his now-former rival. As he knelt to help Carter up, he asked, “Are you alright?”

    “That’s all I’ve got... I can’t see any more of the past now...”

    “You don’t need to!” Eleanor said reassuringly, before turning towards the altar itself. “So we now know the truth about Fernando I, but if that is what happened here in the past, doesn’t that mean...”

    Sutter took a decisive step forward. If he was actually a solid being, his shoe would have made quite a crash against the stone. “This is it, the Golden City... the world has not looked upon this place for five centuries, but we have done it!”

    “And based on what was said in the past...” A light of realization suddenly came to Matt’s eyes. “...then the other seal that Fernando II spoke of should be...”

    Nodding, Sutter lowered his gaze to Matt’s bag. “Indeed. The cube I discovered that now belongs to you. That’s the seal.”

    Looking on, Shaymin felt a feeling of nostalgia. Though these events happened centuries earlier, Shaymin still remembered them. Many kings had come and gone over time but this one incident with Fernando I was the one the Gratitude Pokémon most vividly recalled.

    There wasn’t much time for nostalgia though. Without much warning except for a metallic cry that rang through the otherwise quiet air, a Flash Cannon attack pierced the atmosphere and exploded right in front of the group. The blast sent them all to the ground, in a flurry of startled gasps peppered with a few pained groans.

    “Ring ring, my old chums!”

    The voice delivering this taunt was sickeningly familiar. Matt was the first to rise to his feet and look in its direction, and what he saw was soon shared by all his companions. There, standing in the gate with Heatran and a shiny green Bronzong by his side and the Griseous Orb in his hand, was the despot Fernando VIII, wearing a wicked grin.

    Becoming enraged, Matt wasted no time in ordering an attack from his Salamence, which had been hovering overhead the whole time. “Sally, Flamethrower!”

    “Heatran!”

    Sally and Heatran simultaneously released jets of fire from their mouths, a pair of attacks that met halfway in a spectacular stalemate of light. This allowed Bronzong the opportunity it needed, and soon enough, Matt’s entire party found themselves paralyzed by its psychic power, Pokémon included.

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    “Well, well, you guys, you really helped me out.” The sheer insane malice in Fernando’s voice felt like a thick blanket over the hearts of Matt and his friends. He continued speaking as he approached Matt, “See, my plan worked to perfection. All I had to do was sit in the background with my allies and wait. You did all the work, collecting the keys to break the seal, bringing me to the Golden City and showing me how to use this Orb.” His grin widened as he reached into Matt’s bag and lifted out the glowing cube. “It’s a shame I’ll have to be getting rid of you now, though. In short...”

    Fernando stopped talking for a moment, picked up the staff, and walked to the top step of the altar. “...Thanks ever so much for leading me here, Dr. Chiaki, and showing me the way to use the power of this Orb. Heatran, go get rid of them all!”

    The ground buckled under the weight of Heatran’s mighty footsteps as it lumbered forth to face its master’s enemies. It was now that Matt finally noticed the empty, dull stare in the magma beast’s face, indicative of the control Fernando had over it.

    “And where do you think you’re going?!” Eleanor cried out over Heatran’s head, addressing the evil man behind it.

    “To fulfill my destiny,” Fernando scoffed, turning towards the altar and beginning a slow walk forward, Bronzong following closely behind. As he ambled closer to the pedestal he attached the Griseous Orb to the staff.

    Matt hesitated briefly. In his heart, he wished that he could merely rush Heatran, leap off its head and tackle Fernando to stop him, but obviously, such a strategy wouldn’t work. Sighing, and resigning himself to what had to happen, he said finally, “It looks like we have no choice but to fight him now. Sally, Hydro Pump!”

    Wasting no time in descending, Sally quickly returned to the ground and fired off a jet of water straight at Heatran. The legendary Fire and Steel type simply took the attack head on, and as indicated by the grunt it let out, it was affected, but not by much.

    “Matt, let us help you! Staraptor, Minnaara, go!”

    “Indeed! Come on out, Flygon!”

    Matt’s friends stepped up to support him and released some of their Pokémon. Eleanor sent out Minnaara along with her Staraptor, while Carter used Flygon, a Dragon and Ground type Pokémon that resembled a brown and green dragonfly. All three stepped up alongside Sally to face Heatran, their common enemy.

    The epic clash began with Heatran, as it reared back on its hind legs and then slammed down with as much of its immense weight as it could, causing the ground beneath the four Pokémon to crack and explode. Despite the obvious power this attack carried, as it was a Ground-type move, Staraptor and Sally were able to lift themselves over it, while Flygon only took a scratch. Minnaara was the only Pokémon of the four to sustain any notable damage.

    As if sensing that its first attack had failed to do much, Heatran immediately fired off a sizable Dark Pulse attack as a followup.

    “Minnaara, Protect!”

    Minnaara jumped in front of its companions and raised its shield, creating a barrier of green light around them and itself. When the shield dissipated following its use, Matt turned to Eleanor.

    “Minnaara’s Ice and Psychic type. Most of its attacks won’t work on Heatran. Keep protecting us while we fight.”

    Eleanor began to nod, but Heatran growling menacingly snapped her back to the battle. “Staraptor, use Close Combat!”

    “Sally, Brick Break!”

    “Earthquake, Flygon!”

    Of the three Pokémon, Flygon was the first to act. It ascended several feet in the air and cocked its arm before dive-bombing towards the ground, but before it could deliver its strike, Heatran picked it off with another Dark Pulse attack, leaving its scarred body on the ground behind Carter. This did however allow Staraptor and Sally the opening they needed, allowing Sally to hit Heatran’s forehead with a powerful claw strike before Staraptor flew in to hit the same area several times with its talons.

    “TRAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!” Heatran roared. Now its forehead was scratched and nicked, and its anger was increasing rapidly. With great speed it suddenly loosed a Flash Cannon from its mouth, resulting in a spectacular explosion of light that brought both Sally and Staraptor down before it.

    Taking charge while his partners were temporarily stunned, Carter cried out, “Try another Earthquake!”

    “Carter, stop!” Matt’s plea interrupted Flygon, who stopped its attack. “You’ll hit Sally and Staraptor too, since they’re on the ground!”

    Carter’s hesitation because of Matt gave Heatran an opening, and it used Earth Power again, this time to much more devastating effect. Minnaara’s injury from this attack was nowhere near as significant as that of Sally or Staraptor, who both wailed in pain. Heatran then began charging up another Flash Cannon in its mouth.

    “Minnaara, Focus Blast!”

    Out of nowhere came a pulsating red energy sphere, which landed right in Heatran’s mouth and exploded, making the vicious Legendary Pokémon howl in shock. The kickback from the blast also helpfully pushed Sally and Staraptor away from Heatran, giving them a chance to recover.

    “Eleanor!”

    “Matt, I couldn’t let that happen!” A protective instinct was taking over Eleanor’s mind and distorting her thoughts about the battle plan. Unfortunately for her, that protectiveness still didn’t stop Heatran, and now it aimed Flash Cannon straight for Minnaara. When she realized this she wailed, “NO!!”

    Suddenly, Flygon flew in the way of the attack and intercepted it, taking the hit intended for Minnaara. Burned and battered, Flygon fell to the ground.

    “Sally, use Hydro Pump again!!”

    Before Sally’s attack launched, Heatran let loose yet another Flash Cannon. The two collided about midway, causing a spectacular explosion that briefly illuminated the cave. For the first time, pyramids and towers of solid gold could be seen surrounding the altar.

    “Sally, you must keep fighting!”

    Eleanor was becoming listless. “If Ross doesn’t deactivate that Magma Stone, we can never win...”

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

    Just at that moment, however, Ross had completed capturing the final Bronzong. With the machine’s power source now cut off, he was able to approach it.

    “This control panel...” Though he pressed several keys, nothing happened. As he was on the clock, Ross had to think quickly, and he realized that he had to make a sacrifice in order to accomplish his goals. He looked to his seven new allies, then to his faithful Riolu. “Well, this is the end of line. Bronzong, all of you... I’m sorry for what Fernando put you all through, but you’re all gonna have to make one last push for me.” After taking a stopwatch from his pocket, he then directed, “I’m going to start a ten second countdown. On its conclusion, I need you all to use Explosion. It’s the only way I can ensure this wretched device will be destroyed.”

    Ross set the watch to ten seconds, then allowed Riolu to leap up on his shoulder.

    “Commencing countdown!”

    The moment Ross pressed the button to begin the watch’s countdown, he threw it to the ground and began running. He fled down the hall towards the entrance of the bell tower, not thinking twice about the danger he was actually in. His only thoughts were on joining his friends in the final battle against Fernando.

    And then, just as easily as he’d concocted this plan, everything came crashing down. The Sealed Door was still blocking the entryway, and now, it sealed Ross inside.

    “No! NO!!” he screamed, pounding frantically on the immovable wall. It wasn’t long before he just turned and slouched against the door, though, and opened the communicator on his Styler. “Ross to Union Control.”

    “Union Control to Ranger Ross, do you read me? This is Hastings! What’s happening?”

    “The mission’s done... but I’m sitting in a stone grave, not long for this world... there’s nothing I can do.”

    “Don’t talk like that, boy! You’ve really made the grade!”

    A sickening chiming noise began to ring through the halls from the direction of the chamber with the Magma Stone.

    “...Hastings. Tell Rhythmi I love her very much, she knows...”

    When Ross heard the explosion, he simply shut his eyes and prepared for his fate. The last action he took was to detach the Styler from his arm and drop it to the floor.

    “Ross?! Ross! Union Control to Ranger Ross!! Your circuit’s dead, is something wrong?!” As if sensing the deadly light that was approaching Ross right then, Hastings’s voice changed to one of resignation as well. “Ashes to ashes...”

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

    “What was that?”

    Rosalita and the guards had since seperated from Howard, who had said he wanted to check another area of the palace. They had found themselves in a fairly well-furnished sitting room leading to the palace’s broadcast center. It was outfitted with several large sofas and multiple tea tables, some of which actually still had glasses of now-cold tea on it. There was also a glass door leading to a balcony, which the guard who heard something turned to.

    “Did you guys hear that?”

    “I think I heard it... it sounded like an explosion, right?” Though her face remained serene, inside Rosalita found herself fearful, as the explosion very likely could have indicated Fernando’s success in any part of his plan.

    “Princess, it did. I’m going outside to look...” The guard used her staff to push the glass doors open, then gingerly stepped out onto the balcony. There was a brief delay before she called out, “You all come look at this! Hurry!”

    Following that direction, Rosalita and the three other guards quickly rushed outside to join the fourth guard. What had so alarmed her was the fact that the bell tower was now collapsed into itself somewhat; obviously, this was the source of the explosion.

    Seeing this, Rosalita felt a great pang of sadness in her heart. “Oh no, Ross...” After allowing a moment to mourn the loss, the princess then turned to her guards. “We can’t let his sacrifice be in vain. With the hypnosis gone, we must issue the evacuation order at once.”

    “That’s correct,” replied another of the guards. “Princess, please hurry this wa...”

    Out of nowhere, a Bronzor – the same one that had secretly recorded Matt and Eleanor’s conversation previously – appeared before the group of five and cast another Hypnosis spell on all of them.

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

    Back in the caves beneath the mountains, Heatran had suddenly become paralyzed, its body wracked by waves of numbing energy. Seeing their opponent backing off elicited reactions of surprise from Matt and the others.

    “What’s going on, you guys? Why is Heatran stopping its attack?”

    “Eleanor, don’t drop your guard,” Matt cautioned, “but do be optimistic – I think Ross may have finally disabled that device and destroyed the Magma Stone!”

    “If that’s the case, then we cannot hesitate! Flygon, Earthquake!”

    “You’re right. Sally, use Hydro Pump! Quickly!”

    “And you, Minnaara, Focus Blast!”

    Sally and Minnaara stood alongside each other and released their attacks with as much force as they could muster. The two attacks hit Heatran at the same time, and the force of the water combined with all the energy in the Focus Blast caused a smoky explosion. Though Heatran couldn’t be seen in the smoke, its pained roar could be heard.

    After that, while Carter silently entered another of his prayer states, his Flygon slammed down into the ground with all its strength to cause another earthquake. Heatran wailed in agony again when it was hit by the shockwave, and when the smoke from the previous explosion cleared away, Heatran was lying on its side fainted.

    “That’s it! We’ve won!”

    Victorious, Matt turned and began heading to confront Fernando at the altar. He found himself stopped, however, by Carter’s outstretched arm.

    “Think about this, Matt. Heatran’s out of commission now, but the object that controlled it is gone. When it recovers, it’ll just go on a rampage again unless something fills that void.”

    “You’re right...” Matt got an idea from Carter’s observation, and began feeling around in his bag for something.

    Meanwhile, at the altar, Fernando hadn’t actually done anything yet. He was just standing there, looking over the dark abyss with the Griseous Orb’s staff in his right hand and the cube in his left, lost in a storm of his wicked plans.

    He snapped back to reality when he heard an odd ping behind himself, followed by the sound of numerous footsteps. Turning, he found himself accosted by Matt’s group, but he remained calm.

    “So you bested Heatran after all that, did you?” he remarked snidely. “That’s fine. You’re all far too late to stop me.”

    “I wouldn’t bet on that!” Matt angrily countered. “You are finished!”

    “Hmph. If I was finished, I wouldn’t have the power to do this!” Fernando turned and set the cube carefully on a small pedestal nearby.

    The moment he did this, the cube lit up, much to his glee and the surprise of Matt’s group. After mere seconds it flashed, and Regirock, Regice and Registeel appeared on the altar.

    “Now I have the keys in my possession... Carter, be a doll and toss me that torch over there, would you?”

    This request made Carter quite angry. “Why should I do anything for you after everything you’ve...”

    “Carter, just do it,” Eleanor cut in. “It’s not like giving him a torch is going to drastically change anything.”

    “Your friend is smart, Carter. Give me the torch.”

    Carter did eventually break down and pass the torch over to Fernando, but he clearly expressed his displeasure at having to do so, scowling the whole time. Once he had the torch in hand, Fernando used it to light another oil bowl, one that had previously been hidden in the darkness.

    After that, Fernando just stood back and raised his arms, allowing the fire to spread through its channels and illuminate what lay before him. As it all illuminated, through not only streams of oil but lamps near the streams, he took a fair few steps back so he could appreciate the grand splendor of it all, his face contorting into one that resembled that of a child opening presents on their birthday.

    His foes, meanwhile, appreciated the sight with mixes of wonder, fear and amazement. The first of those three mainly came from Eleanor, the only of the group who could be considered ‘green’ when it came to discoveries such as this; as she really didn’t understand the full implications of what was happening, the beauty was the first thing she noticed. Matt and Carter, on the other hand, knew what kind of tragedy such a discovery in the hands of a madman like Fernando could bring about.

    Before them all, spreading out like a vast ocean, was a spectacular city of pyramids and towers, all constructed out of solid gold. It was laid out in a half-circle shape with the open end facing the altar, and sitting in the middle, on a great throne of gold befitting a king such as itself, was Regigigas, complete with purple jeweled armor encapsuling its body.

    Suddenly, Fernando let out a great, insane laugh that reverberated through the cavernous chamber. “I’ve found it! Me! Fernando la Dorada, the rightful eighth ruler of La Ciudad Dorada! All of it is now mine!!”

    “You think that you’re just going to get away with all this, you madman? The odds...”

    “I don’t care what your odds say, Chiaki, this is MY moment! Now, all the trappings are in place, so, let us begin!” Moving to the altar’s center, Fernando raised the staff in much the same fashion his ancestor had. “Regem magnum exitii exsuscitat, Regigigasus!”

    The moment Fernando touched the end of the staff to the altar’s center, the patterns drawn on the floor lit up and began to glow. After the initial flash they began pulsing with a sinister feel, and soon enough, the dots on the bodies of Regirock, Regice, Registeel and Regigigas all began to pulse in unison.

    “Matt...” Eleanor was shrinking back in fear by now, about to just turn tail and run. Her voice quivered strongly. “...what’s happening?”

    “I don’t know,” Matt answered firmly, “but this is where it’s gonna stop.”

    Without another word he rushed the altar and began charging for where Fernando was standing. The villain didn’t notice that he was being approached immediately, but still managed to hear the footsteps and turn around with plenty of time to spare.

    “You impudent fool!” Fernando angrily sputtered, reaching into the inside of his cape. “Bronzong, dispose of this pest!”

    The green Bronzong was the one thing Matt had forgotten to factor in when he decided to attack Fernando directly. It suddenly appeared in his way, and with speed that allowed him no time to stop or get out of the way, it fired undulating beams of purple and blue light from its eyes.

    What happened next wasn’t so easily explained. The beam appeared to hit Matt, resulting in an explosive burst of light, but bizarrely, that light faded to reveal that he was nowhere to be seen. Shaymin and Sutter’s ghost were gone too, and not only that, the cube had suddenly vanished from its pedestal, resulting in Regirock, Regice and Registeel disappearing. This wasn’t a huge setback to Fernando’s plan, though, as Regigigas’s body continued to pulse with light.

    “Very well, they weren’t needed any longer anyway. Just like you all aren’t!”

    Not even allowing any of them time to take a breath, Fernando turned to the rest of Matt’s group and outstretched his hand towards them, prompting his Bronzong to send an attack their way. They had no chance to escape and were seemingly instantly evaporated by it.

    “There we go, that’s better,” Fernando huffed angrily, glad to finally be alone. He removed a Poké Ball from his cape and opened it as he turned back to Regigigas. “Dragonite, appear now!”

    In a flash of light, Fernando’s Dragonite – the same one he’d used years earlier to kill Sutter – appeared. Together with Bronzong it stood before Regigigas.

    “Now... Bronzong, Charge Beam! Dragonite, Thunderbolt! That big guy needs a wakeup call!”

    Simultaneously, Bronzong and Dragonite released blasts of electricity from their bodies, Bronzong’s blue and Dragonite’s yellow. Both electrocuted Regigigas, filling its body with energy. They continued even after the lights on Regigigas’s chest stopped pulsing and began glowing constantly instead.

    Fernando, meanwhile, simply watched in insane jubilation, the twin streams of lightning reflecting in his eyes.

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

    All Carter had seen following Fernando’s sudden command for Bronzong to attack was a bright flash of light. He had found himself feeling the odd sensation of floating for a short time, but just as quickly, he was dropped on a cold stone floor. As he stood, he realized that he had been teleported – right into the jail cell in the dungeon beneath the palace. He was even more shocked to discover he wasn’t alone – Eleanor, Rosalita and the guards were in the confined space with him, and all seemed to just be waking up from similar experiences.

    “What are you all doing here?” he cried out in confusion. “And why am I here? HOW am I here?”

    The others were all obviously surprised and confused too, but only Rosalita was able to speak. “Carter, I don’t know what happened... we were all going to send out the evacuation order when a Bronzor suddenly appeared and...”

    “MY Bronzor, I’ll have you know. It’s the magic of Hypnosis.”

    The sudden statement by an unseen but strangely familiar voice caught all of the prisoners off guard. Carter, however, was struck the most by it, and felt a creeping feel of horror coming over him as he slowly turned around.

    The owner of the voice was, for a moment, not to be seen. This wasn’t the case for long, though, as about the last person any of the prisoners expected to see appeared when Howard, now wearing a fancy red uniform with a short cape slung over his left shoulder, stepped out of the shadows.

    “Professor McKenna, why are YOU here?!” one of the guards screamed.

    “Surely you’re not actually on Fernando’s side, Father,” Carter nervously scoffed. “There must be some kind of explanation.”

    “Oh it’s actually EXACTLY how it appears, my son. I am in full support of Fernando VIII as king, and I always have been.”

    Carter’s heart sank like a rock when these words hit him. His relationship with his father was much like the one between Matt and Sutter – he considered Howard a hero, a godlike figure in his eyes. That was all gone now. Never would he have suspected that his beloved father would be involved in such a wicked plot.

    “One question, then... why...”

    Howard stepped closer to the cell’s bars. “You lot are going to be here for a very long time, so there is plenty of time for me to tell you exactly why.

    As you know, when I was Sutter’s exploration partner, we found the Golden City together but agreed to keep it a secret. The truth behind that is, while I saw myself as his partner, I really only mattered to him as an assistant, and I always was getting overshadowed by ‘the legendary archeologist Sutter Chiaki!’ When was it my time to have some spotlight? The time for the McKenna name to get its due recognition?! His regarding me as just his assistant eternally forbade me from ever getting what I deserved!

    When we found the Golden City, he claims that we agreed to hide it. That’s a lie. I, along with the king at the time, wanted to take the Griseous Orb there and activate it to use its teachings for the bettering of the kingdom. He forced me to accept his ridiculous notion that the Orb had to stay unused and the true might of the Golden City kept a secret, because he feared what would happen if the massive power it held corrupted whoever controlled it. He had Shaymin erase our memories to ensure I listened.

    For years I was forced to keep quiet about the truth regarding the Golden City and propagate the lie that it was lost to the sands of time. Soon enough I was approached by Fernando VIII about it, and when I realized that he was serious about his plans, I agreed to help him. I told him everything I knew and that Sutter had all the answers, then faked my own abduction at his hands in order to absolve myself of suspicion. I expected Sutter to understand the true implications of history when Fernando approached him, so when I say that I had nothing to do with his murder, I am telling the truth. I didn’t think he would deny what he knew to the point where he had to be killed.

    After he killed Sutter, he murdered Fernando VII and Queen Cassandra to take provisional control, then he asked me about the Pokémon Heatran. I only knew a little about it, so even with my help, it took him quite a long time to locate a Heatran in the volcano of Cinnabar Island in the Kanto Region. He managed to take the Magma Stone pinning Heatran in check and gain control of it, then he used Heatran’s power to cause a catastrophic drought in this city. That was so that once he obtained the Griseous Orb and Shaymin, he could use his Bronzong to cure the drought and gain the gratitude of the people, which would force Shaymin to accept him as king and give him the blessing of its magical fountain of vitality.

    The final step was actually finding the Golden City again, which I couldn’t help him with because of my forced amnesia. He sent a letter to Matt asking for assistance in finding it, and Matt, being the do-gooder he is, complied beautifully. Now that everything’s fallen into place, I have been promised a top official position in exchange for my compliance.

    I have to say though, Carter... your appearance here complicated our plan somewhat. I had to actually pretend to be kidnapped to make it work.”

    “Don’t even... say my name, you....” Carter had his hands clenched in fists of rage, and his teeth were pinned together as he looked downward. It was taking all his strength not to lash out at his father through the bars of the cell. “You manipulated me and my friends... and helped him cause a lot of death...” Suddenly he looked up with tears in his eyes. “I bet this is why Mom really left you!”

    Howard recoiled, then became angry. “How dare you even think to throw that up to my face, you ungrateful little brat!” Calming, he then said dismissively, “Whereever that woman is right now, when she sees the beautiful world Fernando will shape because of me, she will return. I have no doubt whatsoever in that.”

    “What about Cassy, then? What role does she have in all this?!”

    Howard had already turned to leave, but turned back to answer one more question from his son. “I didn’t fake my abduction immediately after being recruited by Fernando. First I taught at Rustboro School for a bit, looking for a third wheel we could use to aid our plan. Cassy’s close relationship with Matt made her the perfect linchpin. Now, I have no more time to be answering all of your juvenile questions.”

    As Howard walked out of the underground dungeon, Carter grasped the bars of the cell with both his hands and fell to his knees in shame. In his mind, it felt like the four guards, Eleanor and Rosalita were all glaring at him from behind, their eyes cutting him like knives. This feeling was alleviated and transformed into depression when Rosalita set a hand on his shoulder.

    “It’s okay, Carter, you had no way of knowing his true nature... I don’t blame you at all for what has happened because of him.”

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

    “Mr. Chiaki?”

    “...ah!!”

    Matt sat up in a start and looked around himself frantically. As it turned out, he was not in any apparent danger, as he had somehow been taken to the Pokémon Center. He was in the same bed he’d had earlier when Sutter sent him there from the shrine. Nurse Joy was standing over him and stepped back in surprise when he awoke. Shaymin, meanwhile, was floating nearby, unhurt.

    “Mr. Chiaki, you’ve been out for a while...”

    Matt looked at her in confusion. “How did I GET here? I was just in a cave and...” He suddenly remembered something, and shut his eyes to focus. “Wait, I remember now... right before that flash of light, I heard his voice tell me to go free my friends, that it was my fight now...”

    “What are you talking about?”

    Instead of answering, Matt simply opened his eyes and jumped from the bed. “Where are my Pokémon?” he asked as he adjusted his clothing.

    “Right there,” Joy answered, pointing to a tray containing five Poké Balls – and the Dusk Ball.

    “Wonderful!” Matt quickly strode over to the try and collected the spheres before turning and rushing out of the room, Shaymin following.

    “I’ll never get that boy...”

    When Matt made it out of the Pokémon Center’s front door, he found himself in an empty road. Looking up, he saw storm clouds roiling in the sky, specifically in the direction of the Berrybell Mountains. This sight prompted a rush in him, emotions that mixed panic, fear and rage.

    Without a moment’s delay he turned for the palace and began to run.

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

    Meanwhile, in the dank jail cell beneath the palace, a sense of failure hung over Matt’s allies like a thick cloud.

    “I swear I had no idea...” Carter moped into his lap, obviously about the treachery of his father. “He’d be the last pers...”

    “You have to stop feeling sorry for yourself, Carter!” Eleanor suddenly, and quite angrily, snapped. “I understand that you feel betrayed and all – I would too – but we all have our problems, and things are worse now than ever!”

    Rising to his full height, Carter furiously countered, “Did your father just take decades of trust and stab you in the back with it, woman?! I think not!”

    Unexpectedly, Eleanor began crying. This disarmed Carter somewhat, and he sat back down. “I’m sorry... what did I say...?”

    Choking back her tears along with her painful memories, Eleanor managed to say, “I didn’t even know who my parents were...”

    “Are you serious?” This revelation took Carter aback. “How could you...”

    “I grew up in Lavender Town in the Kanto Region... but my parents didn’t raise me. I was left at the doorstep of an elderly man, Fuji, and he raised me. He taught me to feel compassion for people and Pokémon, and it was he who first introduced me to dolls and lolita fashion when he gave me a doll dressed in it...”

    “I’m sorry for what I said, then... do you have any clue really who your parents were?”

    “Not one. The only things I was able to love were Pokémon – Fuji gave me my Teddiursa – dolls, and fashion. Unfortunately, when I was 16...”

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

    A full moon illuminated the night sky over Lavender Town, a small burg in the hills of eastern Kanto that carried, as its name implied, a theme of blue in its coloration. The only building not colored some shade of blue was the Pokémon Tower, an old, rickety-looking wooden structure climbing into the open air above the town.

    At the entry gate to the tower, four young girls in frilly dresses snuck up to the front door. One of them, in a somewhat cheap looking blue dress, was Eleanor; the other three were wearing a red dress, a green dress and a black dress respecfully, all of which looked much more expensive than Eleanor’s.

    “Eleanor, go in there,” ordered the girl in the black dress, apparently the ringleader. “On the second floor is a legendary dress that you would look great in.”

    Eleanor was reacting with apprehension, but apparently believeing the story. “The second floor? You’re sure about that?”

    “Yeah. Go in ahead of us, we’ll catch up.” The girl added a slight snicker to the end of this sentence, but Eleanor didn’t catch it.

    It was completely, blatantly obvious that these girls were lying, but as she was naďve, Eleanor fell for their story and entered the tower.

    Inside the tower was dark, lit only by a small number of candles on the walls. Eleanor could see well enough to make it to the stairs, but upon reaching the second floor, she began to feel nervous.

    “Hey, you guys?” she said aloud, stepping further into the inky darkness, her apprehension increasing quickly. “Are you sure about...”

    “Oooooh... you have been brought to this place because you are an ita, Eleanor Laplace! You will be tortured by... snicker... three ghosts!!”

    “What!?” Eleanor screamed fearfully. “Who... what are you?!”

    What Eleanor didn’t notice is that there weren’t really any ghosts – just her three supposed ‘friends’ hiding behind nearby gravestones making false voices to torment her. The one who issued the threat was the green-clad girl.

    “Your crimes against fashion have brought you to hell..” intoned the red-dress girl, fighting back a giggling fit. “Here, you will be punished for these crimes...”

    The ringleader of the three adopted a comically deep voice and shouted, “Usage of cheap, bad lace! Wearing off-brand clothes! And worst of all... being an... uh... ita!”

    Behind her back, the girl in the black dress had a trigger button, and when she pressed it, previously-rigged charges of firecrackers and confetti began going off, frightening Eleanor to the point of tears. The cruel trio of girls stayed only long enough to see their plan working before teleporting out with their Abra, much like how they’d gotten in.

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

    “...after that, I left Lavender Town to become a traveling dollmaker.”

    “Eleanor...” Carter looked up at his friend with deep sincerity in his eyes. “I’m sorry for what I said.”

    “It’s okay. We shouldn’t be worrying too much about that now, anyway, with Matt missing and Fernando doing... something...”

    “Matt should be okay. I’ve figured out what happened. When Fernando’s Bronzong attacked him, Sutter jumped in the way and teleported him out along with Shaymin and the Regi Trio cube. The burst of light was from the attack hitting Sutter, which means he’s...” With his mind catching up to his mouth, the true impact of these words hit Carter, and his mood sobered.

    Suddenly, Eleanor stood. “For Sutter’s memory, then, we can’t just stand here and do nothing! There must be a way to break out!”

    “There isn’t...” the leader of the guards glumly replied, sitting in a corner of the cell.

    “How could you say that? You four are the guards of this palace, surely you know it inside and out!”

    The guard stood up to face Eleanor, but her expression remained dim. “Every time we came down here, Fernando probably had us under hypnosis and wiped our memories, considering none of us remember anything about this cell.. and during the times we weren’t under his control, he constantly made us feel useless because we’re women... to him, we’re nothing but eye candy.”

    “It’s time to change that, then,” Carter said with steely determination. “We can break out of here somehow. Once we do that, we get back upstairs and sound the evacuation, then go look for Matt. Alright?”

    Before there could be any answers, the sound of footsteps on the stairs just outside the dungeon’s door could be heard. This made Carter fall silent, and when the door began to creak open, he and Eleanor began to shrink away from the cell bars.

    Of course, that tension in the room turned to relieved surprise when the next thing to be heard was Shaymin’s voice.

    “Shaymin did not give any of you permission to get put in jail, you!”

    Matt followed Shaymin into the dungeon and immediately wiped his brow upon seeing his friends.

    “Are any of you guys hurt?” was the first thing he said, their safety being his primary concern.

    “We’re fine,” Carter answered tensely, “but listen to me. My father is on Fernando’s side. He tricked us and threw us in jail.”

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  6. #31
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    Matt gritted his teeth. “I know. Sutter told me when he was sending me to the Pokémon Center. Listen, I’ll get you guys out of here. I don’t know what Fernando’s doing, but we need to get that evacuation order out. The townspeople are in danger.” Turning, Matt took the Dusk Ball from his bag and popped it open. “Tanya, make your mark! Flash Cannon!”

    An oddly familiar shadow appeared from the ball, and with an equally familiar roar, it fired off a Flash Cannon attack, incinerating the bars of the jail cell. Matt nodded a curt thanks to the Pokémon before recalling it to the Dusk Ball.

    “You captured it?!” one of the guards asked, having approached Matt from the confines of the cell.

    “Yeah, it was the only choice I had. I’ll tell you more later. We have to hurry!”

    Matt turned and ran out through the dungeon’s open door, leaving Carter, Eleanor and the guards to follow.

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

    In the city, the Azure Angel was standing carefully atop a house and staring in the direction of the mountains, his cape blowing in the gentle yet ominous wind.

    "That fiend undid the work of the people of our time and activated the Griseous Orb..."

    Having seen enough, he jumped down to the ground and began to run in the opposite direction.

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

    It didn’t take long for the now-reformed group of heroes to make their way upward through the palace interior, as they encountered no resistance whatsoever. They walked carefully into the broadcast room’s parlor, expecting Howard to be there, but surprisingly enough, he wasn’t.

    “What’s the plan now?” Rosalita asked of her companions, having finally caught up to them.

    “You go sound the evacuation alert,” Matt directed. “When you have that done, we’ll go take Howard down and plot our next move.”

    “Alright.”

    While Rosalita ran into the adjoining room, Matt, Eleanor and Carter stepped out onto the balcony overlooking the city.

    “My lord...” Eleanor said quietly, staring outward at the expanse of black clouds. “We have to do something.”

    “People of La Ciudad Dorada, please hear me!”

    An extremely loud, somewhat electronically distorted version of Rosalita’s voice came blasting out behind the three, nearly making Matt jump in surprise off the balcony. It was coming from a giant television screen over the balcony, which was now displaying the princess’s face.

    “My beloved townspeople, you may not recognize me, but I am Rosalita la Dorada, the exiled princess and true heir to the throne! Please, I beg you all to listen to me... my brother, Fernando VIII, is a traitor to the kingdom who murdered our parents to take the throne! I beg you all to believe me... right now, however, there is a much more pressing... what?!”

    The ground had suddenly began to shake, violently so. Besides interrupting Rosalita, the sudden earthquake made Matt, Carter and Eleanor back away from the edge of the balcony for their own safety.

    “He’s coming, you,” Shaymin snarled, addressing its declaration to noone in particular.

    “Who? Who’s coming?” Matt asked in confusion.

    Eleanor grabbed his shoulder suddenly and screamed fearfully, “Look over there! The mountains... they’re crumbling!!”

    Indeed, as Eleanor had pointed out, the Berrybell Mountains shortly outside the city were falling. Bit by bit pieces of the mountains broke off and crumbled down, quickly revealing what was underneath – the Golden City. When the trio saw Fernando fly out of the cavern on his Dragonite’s back, still clutching the staff with the glowing Griseous Orb inside, their hearts sank.

    “Arise, Regigigas!” he cried out in insanity. “Avenge your fallen comrade and finish what my forefather began! Conquer this land and the entire world!”

    The earth between the mountains and city cracked open, and there was a great explosion. Regigigas’s immense hand, a round disc with three elongated fingers attached, rose from the land and clamped down on the surface, allowing the great beast to pull the rest of its body upwards. When it had fully emerged, Regigigas stood at least seventeen feet tall, dwarfing the city in its grandeur. Down on the streets, townspeople were emerging from their homes, and after seeing Regigigas over them, fleeing away from it.

    “Fernando, you will stop this right now!”

    To face this bold declaration from his sister, Fernando turned himself to face the screen displaying her visage and smirked.

    “And what will you do about me now, sister? You’re already just a powerless woman, how can you stop someone with the power of a god on his side?”

    “I have spent too long believing your lies...” Rosalita was uncharacteristically serious, her voice showing a degree of determination previously unseen in the usually meek princess. “I went into self-imposed exile because I believed myself too powerless to stop you then... but that is it! I have lived far too long in subjugation, and I will no longer! You will be stopped and brought to justice!”

    Fernando shut his eyes and scoffed. “Have it your way, dear sister, if you want to stand in the way of destiny. Regigigas, silence her.”

    Showing complete, blind obedience to him, Regigigas raised its arm at Fernando’s command and aimed its palm directly for the video screen. With a small grunt it shot out a Hyper Beam from its hand, and that pulsing red beam shattered the screen, sending glass shattering down on Matt and his other two friends. They covered their heads and screamed, but their reactions were irrelevant to Fernando.

    “We now have silenced the naysayers,” he said calmly, opening his eyes. His voice didn’t stay calm for long though. “Now, Regigigas, go forth! Go forth and crush all that stand before you! Conquer this earth and unite in one empire under my name! All hail Fernando la Dorada!!”

    Regigigas responded to Fernando’s boastful announcement by letting out a great cry that pierced the air. It then began slowly walking forward, each of its sluggish yet powerful steps shaking the ground beneath it.

    Up on the balcony of the palace, Matt could only step back, nearly colliding with Rosalita as she rushed to join the group. Though his body remained calm, his mind was panicking – one thing he had hoped to avoid upon anything else was this very situation. Even though Heatran had been defeated, that was only through a massive group effort, and Regigigas was exponentially stronger. Not only that, its power was probably amplified by the Griseous Orb, though Matt couldn’t be sure.

    Finally, pieces of a plan fell into place inside Matt’s thoughts, and he carefully withdrew four of the six Poké Balls in his bag, leaving only one regular ball and the Ultra Ball containing Tanya. “Carter, take these. They’re four of my Pokémon – Agnetha, Zero, Harvey and Tony. You know, my Ambipom, Magnezone, Muk and Aggron. Take them and lead the counterattack against Regigigas. I’m taking Sally and Tanya and going to look for Howard, then I’ll join you.”

    “Are you sure about this?” Carter accepted the four Poké Balls, but was apprehensive about the plan itself. “Why am I be the one doing this?”

    “Carter, you know you were always the best battler of the two of us in school. I trust you to do what needs to be done.”

    Matt turned to leave, but he was stopped when he felt his arm firmly gripped by Eleanor.

    “I’m not letting you go alone,” she said firmly.

    Though he didn’t want her going, Matt saw the strong gaze she was giving him, and could not find the strength in himself to tell her no. He did pull out of her grip, though.

    “Fine. Let’s go.”

    The team split up at this point. Matt and Eleanor rushed off to a door opposite the balcony, on their way deeper and higher up in the palace, but only after Eleanor thrust two of her own Poké Balls into Carter’s hands. Shaymin followed them. As for Carter and Rosalita, they left through the entrance the group had previously used.

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

    From within the bulbous container at the top of the staff clutched in Fernando’s hand, the Griseous Orb continued emitting its wispy black aura. Fernando looked intently at it, the aura reflecting in his eyes, then turned upward towards the sky, where a swirling black cloud was beginning to form. Satisfied with this all, he finally turned back down to his slowly-advancing Regigigas.

    “Let’s see exactly what you’re capable of, then. Earth Power!”

    Regigigas stopped walking for a moment, then outstretched its arms from its sides. Almost instantaneously, the ground around it erupted, with veins of red cutting through the rupturing earth. A great number of buildings were claimed by this destructive attack, and Fernando took great joy in soaking in both the crushing of the stone structures and screams of his human victims.

    “Excellent, most excellent. I think we need destruction on a wider scale, though... let’s try AncientPower!”

    Now raising its arms into the air – though unable to raise them straight up – Regigigas summoned forth blasts of energy that took the form of large boulders. Fernando shut his eyes as the rocks began to fall in various directions like meteors, waiting eagerly to hear more suffering by his own hand.

    He didn’t get to hear any of that, though. The boulders never touched down, as they were countered by a variety of attacks that destroyed them. When he opened his eyes, he was surprised to see that there was no more destruction than when he shut them. The source of these counterstrikes, he quickly discovered, was an army of Pokémon led by his sister and Carter, based off of a lower and larger balcony of the castle. Besides Matt’s Pokémon, the battalion included Carter’s Flygon and Togekiss along with Eleanor’s Staraptor and Minnaara, the Pokémon she’d handed over previously.

    “We warned you, Fernando!” Rosalita shouted to her brother as he flew closer, as if daring them to attack him directly. “Now we’re going to bring you down!”

    That’s exactly what Fernando was doing, too. He spread his arms wide and declared with a sick smile, “Do it. Shoot me down right now.”

    Rosalita hesitated. At this point, she’d lost all apparent care for her brother, and greatly desired to see him receive a just punishment for his actions, but she couldn’t bring herself to be the one to do it. Deep down, somewhere inside of her, she still harbored an innate caring for Fernando that prevented her from taking action, and Carter, picking up on this, didn’t do anything either.

    This allowed Fernando the opening he needed, and Regigigas hit just in front of Rosalita’s position with a Hyper Beam, prompting him to laugh evilly.

    “See? I knew you wouldn’t do it! That’s the reason why I’ve already won! Regigigas, get them with Thunder!”

    For this attack, the exclamation-point shaped center section of Regigigas’s body glowed a bright golden color before it blasted out a flood of electricity. The electricity arced upward, then down, straight for Rosalita and Carter. They raised their arms to provide a feeble defense, but the attack was intercepted anyway by a Dark Pulse attack from below.

    “What was that?” Carter ran to the balcony’s edge and leaned over it.

    Down below them, the Go-Rock Quads were standing fast against Fernando’s assault, all four wielding both their respective instruments and Pokémon – Tiffany’s Camerupt, Clyde’s Porygon-Z, Garret’s Butterfree, and Billy’s Tyranitar.

    “We’ve got a bone to pick with you, too!” Billy loudly declared, facing Fernando. “You were gonna make us sing that horrid song for you! Nobody insults the Go-Rock Quads that way... Tyranitar! Dark Pulse!” As he gave the command, Billy played a sharp chord on his guitar.

    “Signal Beam, Butterfree!” Garret emulated his older brother using his bass guitar, but his chords were gentler.

    “Porygon-Z, use Tri Attack!” Clyde, meanwhile, pounded on his drums like a madman, seeming to focus some kind of rage into them.

    “Fire Blast!” Tiffany completed the ensemble by playing a few notes on her violin.

    All four of the Pokémon responded to the music played by their trainers. They attacked in pairs, with Porygon-Z and Camerupt going first. After those two directed their triangular energy blade and star-shaped fire attacks at Regigigas, Tyranitar and Butterfree added a blast of darkness and a bright red-and-blue beam attack to it.

    The four attacks combined to hit Regigigas with an explosion, but the titan took little damage and quickly countered, sending a Hyper Beam down to hit the Pokémon and their trainers.

    “Billy! Garrett!!” Carter cried out in alarm as he watched the Go-Rock Quads disappear in the smoke beneath him. Gritting his teeth, he then raised his gaze angrily to match Fernando’s. “I have had just about enough of you! Togekiss, Aura Sphere! Flygon, Draco Meteor!”

    Finally, Carter’s Pokémon went on the offensive. Togekiss was first, forming a blue ball of its mental energy just before itself, which it let loose when it was about double the size of its body. After flying to above Togekiss’s position, Flygon formed a similar sphere, one that was red in color and fluctuating violently. This quickly turned into a series of meteors that rained down on Regigigas along with the Aura Sphere.

    Seeing that Regigigas shrugged off this assault with little effort, Fernando took great joy in taunting Carter, smirking and saying, “What’s the matter, boy? Got something on your mind? Like your father being nothing like you thought he was?”

    This hit Carter deeply and took him aback. “S-shut up!” he struggled to say. “I’m not him and you... you know that!”

    “You’re right, you aren’t him! You could never equal his greatness!”

    Carter could take no more of Fernando’s taunts, and shut his eyes in anguish. While Rosalita just looked on sadly, Regigigas initiated an uncountered AncientPower that rained down not only on the city but on the palace itself.

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

    Matt and Eleanor were running through a long corridor connecting two spires of the palace as this went on. The hallway was lined with stained glass windows that didn’t allow them to see outside, so when the AncientPower boulders hit the palace, the shaking knocked them both off their feet.

    “What is going on out there?” Worried about his friends, Matt propped himself against the wall to catch his breath and gather his thoughts. “I hope they’re all okay out there...”

    “You worry too much, you know that?” When Matt turned in response to the light touch he felt on his hand, he found Eleanor smiling at him. “You really do. Going forward, I’ll have to teach you not to do that, alright?”

    Matt gave no immediate response. Instead, he took a moment to think, not only about Eleanor’s words but also what exactly she meant to him. He remembered Cassy once telling him something similar and began to doubt everything, but quickly realized that all of that was a lie.

    Finally, coming to terms with everything that was happening, Matt smiled back, albeit weakly. “You’re right. Let’s hurry up and take down Howard so we can join them out there.”

    “Yeah. Isn’t that a better attitude to have?”

    “You heard him, you!” Suddenly, Shaymin came bursting into the conversation, as it had a tendency to do.

    Eleanor just laughed. “Yeah, yeah, Shaymin, I’m going. See?”

    As she spoke, Eleanor had began walking toward the hallway’s end, the entry into a spire of the palace. Matt and Shaymin both, after a short spell, followed.

    However, just as Eleanor stepped into the shaft, tragedy struck.

    Neither her nor Matt or Shaymin could have seen it coming. Outside, the combined forces of Carter and Rosalita were desperately exchanging attacks with Regigigas, and during the clash, one of Regigigas’s Hyper Beam attacks had gone astray. The errant attack, as horrid luck would have it, smashed right into the same spire Eleanor had just entered.

    The explosion from the impact rocked the entire palace. Inside, Matt fell facefirst into the ground, but quickly stumbled to his feet and attempted to advance.

    “Eleanor, get away from that edge!” he cried out to his companion, who had not been knocked down.

    Eleanor turned from the ledge, but before she could speak, a loud rumbling sound attracted the attention of both of them. Following the noise, she looked upwards, and her eyes instantly widened as her mind went blank. Her body locked up, and the only thing she could do was let out a shrill, terrified scream.

    Not even a second later, a storm of wreckage from higher up in the tower collapsed downward over her. It left nothing in its wake other than a partially collapsed structure with the shaft sealed off. Eleanor was gone.

    “Eleanor, no...” Unable to believe what had happened, Matt stumbled forward a few steps. When he was near the collapsed tower’s sealed entrance he fell to his hands and knees.

    He couldn’t comprehend this turn of events. Mere moments earlier he’d finally been able to come to terms with some of the things that had happened, primarily Cassy’s betrayal of him, and had begun to feel that perhaps he just could move on after all. Eleanor was a big part of that, and just as soon as he’d become able to defeat his mistrustful nature and get closer to her, she was gone.

    The more Matt thought, the more he sank into a pit of despair darker than anything he’d experienced. His prosthetic left arm, designed to be exceptionally sensitive to nerve pulses, quivered uncontrollably as he closed its hand into a fist.

    “Eleanor, NO!!!” he finally screamed, his spirit completely crushed. With no energy left he just collapsed onto the ground, tears from his undamaged right eye dripping onto the red carpet. The bandages covering the left side of his face even became damp and discolored.

    Suddenly there were footsteps behind him. “I’m here! What has happened?!”

    “Don’t come near us, you!” Shaymin whipped around and reflexively fired an Energy Ball at the source of the voice.

    However, the voice was that of the Azure Angel, who deflected the attack with the blade on his right arm. “Once I realized the severity of the situation, I rushed here...”

    “She’s gone, you idiot! She died for my cowardice! I should have never let her follow me!” Matt never even stood up or turned around. His body possessed no willpower left to do so.

    “She is...?” It took the Azure Angel a moment to piece together what had happened, but his mouth curled into a sickened grimace when he did. “I’m sorry for your loss, sincerely so. However, Matt Chiaki, you must listen to me. Your battle against Fernando must continue.”

    “Why?!” Matt screamed in inconsolable rage. All rational thought inside him was gone now, and all he could do was be consumed by his own grief. “What do you know about loss, you coward?! You hide behind that mask of yours and let these townspeople worship you as an icon of justice, but you’re just an imitator! The real Azure Angel has long been dead!”

    “I am not an imitator. I am the real thing,” the masked man declared firmly. “I am also a flawed man whose heart has been destroyed by loss the same way yours has, and for that reason, I am going to unmask myself to you.”

    “Yeah right...” Though he didn’t believe this, Matt forced himself to stand and turn around so he could see.

    Once Matt was looking, the Azure Angel put his hand on his masked face. The panels on the back of his mask retracted upwards, removing the entire back and allowing him to take the mask off, which he did so slowly. Underneath lay the visage of a pale man with long, flowing blue hair that fell out of the mask like a curtain.

    Matt instantly recognized the man, and his jaw dropped. “It’s YOU?!” he gaped in shock.

    The man nodded carefully. “My connection with this land is deep. After following you and Rich for a time and realizing you were coming here, I deduced that someone was probably after that accursed Orb... and I was right.”

    “So all that tells me is that you’re a stalker who thinks he’s a friggin’ immortal. Why the hell should I listen to someone like you?”

    “I’m very much like you, if you think about it,” the man said, setting his bony, almost skeletal hand on Matt’s shoulder. Matt shivered in response to his cold touch. “You now stand at a crossroads that is all too familiar to me. Long, long ago, I too stood at a crossroads like this, and I had a choice...” He hesitated. “...I made the wrong choice, and it led me down this path...”

    Matt lowered his eyebrows in puzzlement. “What are you going on about?”

    “As someone who’s been in your position, I have to ask you right now – what are you fighting for?” As Matt didn’t answer, the man continued, “Look inside and ask yourself what you’re fighting for. Look into your heart. Discover if you are fighting because of your broken heart, or for it.”

    This took Matt aback, prompting him to writhe out of the man’s icy grip and shuffle backwards a bit. “What...what are you...” He blinked and then stiffened somewhat. “Did you have to make that choice?”

    “I...” For the first time, the man turned away from Matt and closed his eyes, his own personal anguish coming to the surface. “I had to make that choice, like I said, but I chose to fight because of my broken heart, and look at me... soulless, hiding behind a mask, and cursed to centuries of wandering the world looking for an answer.” Suddenly, the man snapped out of his funk, and forcefully turned back to Matt. “Contemplate what I’ve told you. For now, what is your strategy to win this war? I ask you because your friends are getting thoroughly trashed out there.”

    Matt put his hand to his chin and shut his eyes in silent thought. He spent several tense moments pouring over his options mentally before remembering something – Fernando II’s journal.

    Quickly opening his eyes, Matt revealed, “There’s a secret room in this palace somewhere, and the journal of one of the Golden City’s survivors is in it. There might be a clue as to how to defeat Regigigas in there.”

    “That’s right, you! For once a good idea, you!” For a Gratitude Pokémon, Shaymin was now being quite rude, but neither Matt nor the caped man payed it much mind.

    “An excellent idea, Matt. Lead me there.”

    Matt grimaced, then said reluctantly, “It’s a secret chamber. I don’t know where in the palace it is.”

    “No problem. Are you able to picture the chamber in your mind, at least?” When Matt nodded, the man reached into his cape. “Good enough. Gallade, come to me!”

    A light flashed out from underneath the man’s cape and formed into the shape of a Gallade, which was wearing red bands on its arms.

    “Gallade, fixate on the image in Matt’s mind and take us there.”

    “Gal.”

    Gallade’s eyes took on a soft blue glow as it began to read Matt’s mind. Once it had sufficiently analyzed his thoughts and determined the location of the chamber, it used Teleport to take Matt, its trainer and Shaymin away.

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

    The caped man wasn’t lying about how Carter and Rosalita were holding up. Flygon was already fainted and lying on the ground, and the others weren’t doing much better.

    “Minnaara, Ice Beam!” Rosalita had taken over giving the commands, by this point. “Togekiss, Air Slash!”

    As Togekiss reared back, gathering energy in its wing, Minnaara pointed the tip of its spear at Regigigas and fired a beam of ice from it. Soon thereafter, Togekiss lunged forward, sending out a blade formed from the air itself. Both attacks struck Regigigas’s body at about the same time, but like before, it was unfazed.

    “Please, continue your feeble resistance – it gives me a thrill! Regigigas, Thunder!”

    Spreading its arms once more, Regigigas released yet another blast of electricity into the sky.

    Something was happening, though, and nobody seemed to be noticing it. The sky had gone from simple roiling clouds to to a swirling vortex, as if a hole was opening up in the sky itself. The electricity Regigigas had launched upward came crashing back down to earth ten times as powerful, ravaging the city.

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

    That was all just flashes of light in the stained glass windows of the secret chamber, though. Matt and the Azure Angel had arrived there immediately when the latter’s Gallade used Teleport, and Matt had immediately gone back to the journal, which was still lying on the table where he’d left it.

    “Ah, a place in this kingdom I haven’t seen before,” the Azure Angel said wistfully as he swept around the room at a slow pace. “It brings me back...”

    “Stay focused, you!” It was beginning to sound as if Shaymin actually was beginning to become angry, something that became apparent when the Azure Angel ignored it. “STAY FOCUSED, YOU!! You listen to me, you, or I will have to punish you, you!!”

    “STOP IT!!” The angriest of all was Matt. He was trying desperately to pour over the journal for clues that would facilitate his victory over Fernando, and the dispute behind him wasn’t helping. Once he’d seen that the racket was quelled, he turned back to the book and began flipping its pages quickly. He stopped and gasped, however, when he found a page depicting the plans for a grand fountain of some kind. “A fountain. Is this the fountain of vitality referenced previously?”

    “It is...” The Azure Angel slowly approached the table, ultimately stopping while he was looking over Matt’s shoulder. His voice remained flat. “That fountain is a major reason I have been able to exist for so long, but why do you know of it?”

    Matt froze. For the first time the true magnitude of what was going on struck him. Not only was he opposing a man who was making an insane bid to take over the world, this enemy had designs to gain the ability to live for centuries too. If Fernando’s plan succeeded, he would be able to unite the world under his tyrannical rule and reign for many generations on end.

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  7. #32
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    “He... Fernando wants to find it and use its power. He’s going to rule the world for hundreds of years.” Saying this out loud made Matt feel like he’d shot a Buneary with an adorable nickname like ‘Bun-Bun’, or a Sentret named Jacob.

    “You’re kidding!” The Azure Angel was showing emotion, a rarity for him. “The fountain operates around Shaymin’s power of gratitude. As in, the only way it’ll work is if you earn the right to get its blessings from Shaymin.”

    “I’m pretty impressive, you!” Shaymin declared proudly.

    Matt listlessly turned back to the book. “At least that means he can’t do anything if we keep Shaymin out of his hands.” He then turned the page.

    The very next document, an old, withered and browned piece of parchment, contained what he was seeking – a diagram of Regigigas’s body, complete with blueprints describing how the jeweled armor plates fit onto it.

    “This is it! I’ve found the plans!” he exclaimed, attracting the attention of both the Azure Angel and Shaymin. He read them aloud, “These blueprints describe the armor my father has created and installed on Regigigas’s body. I have studied their composition exhaustively and discovered that they are made of the same substance as the Griseous Orb itself. Ergo, the one who activates the Orb has control of Regigigas. Though I have discovered this, I cannot come up with a way to defeat the great beast. The only solution I know of is to break the armor off of its body, therefore releasing it from the Orb’s power.

    That’s it, you guys! We have to break the armor off Regigigas’s body!”

    “Easier said than done,” groaned the Angel halfheartedly.

    “That’s fine, I have a plan now.” Matt stood up and turned to face the Azure Angel and Shaymin, holding the blueprint in his hand. “This document shows how Regigigas’s armor fits together. If we attack the seams of the armor, that should be where it is weakest.”

    “A fine proposal, then. I’ll send you outside, then head off myself to duel Fernando for control of the Orb. Shaymin, is that agreeable?”

    “You got it, you! We’ll win, you!”

    “Very well then. Gallade!” The Angel’s Gallade, which had been lurking in a corner nearby, stood at attention. “Teleport, away!”

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

    The fight was continuing to go badly for Carter and Rosalita. Their side was now down to a scant few Pokémon: Agnetha, Zero, Carter’s Togekiss and Eleanor’s now-orphaned Staraptor. All the others lie in battered heaps before their leaders.

    “Togekiss!” Carter’s voice was wavering, an indication of his weakening spirit. “Use Air Slash!”

    “That won’t work! Regigigas, Hyper Beam!”

    Togekiss began winding up in preparation for its Air Slash, but Regigigas was quicker, and aimed a Hyper Beam right for the white bird Pokémon.

    “No, Togekiss, get away!” Carter cried out. He knew that if Togekiss took one more hit from Regigigas, it would fall in defeat.

    What he didn’t expect, however, was interference. A jet of fire suddenly appeared from behind Togekiss and hit the Hyper Beam, deflecting it in a smoky explosion. He and Rosalita both looked up in surprise, and Fernando reacted in shock as well.

    “What was that?!” he gaped angrily. “You think you can stand up against me with some kind of trick?”

    “They can’t... but I will!”

    The smoke cleared to reveal Matt, riding on Sally’s back as she flew in the open air. He appeared angry, but inside, he was really resolute in his goal to defeat Fernando, if not for any other reason than to avenge Eleanor.

    “Matt!” Both Rosalita and Carter exclaimed his name at the same time, relieved that their backup had finally arrived to turn the tide.

    “Enjoying your little power trip with Regigigas?” Matt mocked. “Yeah, too bad, because that’s coming to an end. Sally, use Dragon Pulse and aim for the top of its leg!”

    With a great roar, Sally released a storm of pinkish energy from its mouth. As Fernando and Regigigas had both been caught off guard by Matt’s sudden appearance, they couldn’t counter the attack, which hit right where Regigigas’s right leg connected to its body. Despite the armor being there, Matt’s plan worked due to that spot being a connector, and Regigigas was stunned.

    Fernando became indignant, and turned his increasingly insane anger on Matt himself. “You dare to step out of line against me? I gave you the opportunity to go on this adventure and I will take it away from you personally! Dragonite, Draco Me—“

    Fernando never got the chance to give his command, as an Air Slash attack suddenly appeared from out of nowhere and hit Dragonite, nearly rocking him off. It didn’t come from Togekiss either, but instead from a Pidgeot that the Azure Angel was riding. He rapidly approached Fernando with his mask back on and the blades in his sleeves extended.

    "I am your opponent, scoundrel! The eternal, broken guardian of this land who has broken the laws of time to challenge you!"

    Lunging forward, the Azure Angel used the blade on his right arm to attack. His agility surprised his target, and Fernando made a fatal error – he raised up the staff containing the Griseous Orb to defend himself. The Azure Angel’s blade cut right through the staff, separating the top portion containing the Orb from the rest of it. As Fernando looked on in shock the Orb fell somewhere into the Golden City.

    “Matt!” the Angel called out. “He’s dropped the Orb! This is your chance to defeat Regigigas!”

    Heeding this advice, Matt lowered his altitude a bit so his friends could hear him. As he did this, Fernando and the Azure Angel returned to their aerial joust, with Fernando using what was left of his staff as a weapon.

    “Carter, Rosalita, listen to me! You have to attack Regigigas’s joints – those spots are where the armor fits together and is weaker!”

    “How are we supposed to, though?” Carter answered. “We’ve lost most of our forces!”

    “I’ll lend you another Pokémon, then. Tanya, make your mark!”

    Matt reached into his bag, pulled out the Dusk Ball, and flung it into the air. It burst open, and in a flash of light the Pokémon nicknamed Tanya appeared before Carter and Rosalita.

    Tanya was Heatran.

    Upon seeing this, Fernando became distracted from his fight with the Azure Angel. The last thing he was expecting was to see his once-brainwashed slave opposing him.

    “How in the hell did you capture my Heatran?!”

    “With a Poké Ball, like any other legitimate trainer!” the Azure Angel boomed, thrusting his swords at Fernando again. “Don’t forget who you’re fighting!”

    “Come on, Carter, Rosalita, one big offensive from us should break Regigigas’s armor off!”

    Accepting Matt’s final battle plan with a nod, Carter turned to the remaining Pokémon he commanded. “Togekiss, hit its left leg with Aura Sphere! Staraptor, use Close Combat on its left arm!”

    “I guess I will have to take charge too. Agnetha, Seed Bomb on its right arm, and Zero, help Agnetha with Thunderbolt!”

    Satisfied with how the assault was shaping up, Matt looked forward and took command of Sally and Tanya. “Let’s finish this up, you two. Tanya, Flash Cannon! Sally, Dragon Pulse! Have both hit it in the chest!”

    Staraptor dove in for its attack first, and began barraging Regigigas’s left arm joint with a flurry of strikes using its powerful talons. Togekiss added to this by striking the left leg with an Aura Sphere much larger than any other it had used previously. Agnetha and Zero hit Regigigas’s right arm with oversized exploding plant seeds and flowing electricity, respectively. Finally, Sally and Tanya focused their individual Dragon Pulse and Flash Cannon impacts square on Regigigas’s chest, just below its lowermost dot.

    With no ‘master’ controlling it anymore, Regigigas could only take these strikes head on. Even through its armor it could feel the multiple explosions, like tiny claws ripping at its body. It let out a deep, almost comical wail and blindly swung its arm, clubbing Staraptor down. Immediately after that, it unleashed a sizable Hyper Beam, which mowed down Togekiss, nearly shot Matt off Sally’s back, and then hit the palace right below where Carter and Rosalita were stationed, shattering the balcony almost completely.

    With half the balcony gone and the rest barely stable, Carter, Rosalita and their Pokémon all began to fall. Hearing their cries for help, Matt quickly turned his attention from attacking Regigigas to help them, maneuvering Sally into a position where Carter and Rosalita would land on its back. Thankfully, they were in enough of a composed mindset to bring the Pokémon back into their Poké Balls before any hit the ground.

    “Thanks for saving us!” said Carter in relief. “What are we supposed to do now though?”

    “Wait, where’s Eleanor? Is she alright?” Rosalita’s eyes reflected her confusion. She had no idea of what had happened inside the palace.

    Knowing that Rosalita was clueless to the truth was enough to prevent Matt from lashing out at her. He simply turned away in sadness and blankly answered, “She was inside that tower that collapsed... we have to figure out a way to win so she didn’t go in vain.”

    Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck the ground nearby. This would have not been all that odd if it was normal, as that would mean it was simply one of Regigigas’s Thunder attacks, but this bolt was purple in color. When Matt and his friends looked upwards, they all found themselves gaping at what greeted them.

    During their battle, the sky had completely changed. It didn’t even resemble a sky anymore, it looked like a whirlpool, formed out of violently swirling pink energy with electricity crackling around it. More and more of the purple lightning bolts fell from it, striking all over the city.

    Matt’s eyes suddenly widened, as he saw something that horrified him – a bolt of purple lightning was heading straight for Tanya. Instantly he thought that he couldn’t bear to have another ally hurt because of him, and without rationally considering what he was about to do, he stood and lept off of Sally’s back.

    “Matt, what are you doing?!” Rosalita screamed.

    He landed on his feet in front of Tanya before he answered bravely, “Protecting those I care about, like I should have!”

    The lightning bolt struck just as Matt raised his prostethic arm up, therefore, the arm acted as a lightning rod that shielded Tanya from the hit. A great flash of sparks appeared briefly as Matt was thrust backwards against Tanya’s iron-plated head. Carter and Rosalita, fearing he had been killed, rushed to his side, only to find that he was merely burnt a small bit.

    Upon seeing Matt was barely injured, Carter rolled his eyes and remarked with a smile, “I don’t know how you do it, Chiaki. Seriously.”

    “Well for one, don’t you think I design these robotic parts to withstand abuse?” Matt’s tone was sarcastic at first, but he quickly became sober. “That wasn’t normal lightning though...”

    The robotic arm holding Matt’s handheld computer appeared when he summoned it with the button on his bag strap. On the screen was displayed a scan of the sky’s energy, and when the computer began to produce digits, Matt became frightened all over again.

    “That code... there’s only one thing it can be, I would know it anywhere... The Distortion World!”

    “Distortion World?” Carter said inquisitively. “Is that anything like the Reverse World you, Viktor and Synni used to study with Dr. Graceland?”

    “It’s the same thing...” Matt replied, shutting his eyes in reflection.

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

    The younger Carter was relaxing on his bed in the dorm when his two roommates came crashing through the door. Matt, his arms filled with computer equipment, was first, followed by another young man, the one with the wild white hair.

    “What the hell are you guys doing?”

    “You know that project that Dr. Graceland hired me, Viktor and Synni for? We’ve made a major breakthrough! Come here!”

    Carter rose from his bed as Matt completed the setup of the computer containing his data.

    “We’re researching what’s called the Reverse World,” the other student, Viktor, stated. “It’s a beautiful realm on the opposite side of this world where everything is distorted! Not only that, it’s pure and peaceful... how I desire to go there!”

    “It’s ruled by Giratina, who is the only resident,” Matt added. “Only Giratina seems to be able to enter an exit it.”

    “We’re researching a way to acquire Giratina’s power and go there ourselves! The major breakthrough is that together, we invented a machine that can do it!”

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

    Opening his eyes, Matt then said, “But you remember that horrific accident that set us down our respective paths. If this has something to do with how Viktor ended up, we may only be looking at the surface of the problem.”

    “It’s going to get worse?!” the princess screeched, her fear becoming affirmed by Matt’s silent nod.

    As if to further the point, the lightning strikes were soon joined by another ominous phenomena – small meteors began to rain down on the city from the vortex. One struck between the still-clashing Azure Angel and Fernando, driving the former back while apparently knocking the latter out of the sky.

    “Dammit, what’s happening now?!” he spat as he turned to observe the pending disaster.

    Back where Matt and his group were, they were becoming desperate for options.

    “What should we do?” Carter wondered aloud, albeit in vain. “We can’t attack...”

    “No, you can’t, you! But I will, you!”

    Suddenly appearing from behind the group, Shaymin’s bravado was almost becoming insane, but giving it a chance was about the last option left.

    “Shaymin, please be careful!” Matt called up as the small Grass and Flying type rose into the air.

    “I will, you!” Once Shaymin reached an ample altitude, it tensed up and began emitting a green glow. “I will defeat Regigigas, you! Take this, you!!”

    As its attack, Shaymin darted for Regigigas like a bullet. It seemed like a potentially strong attack, but it never connected – Regigigas simply raised its arm and caught Shaymin in its hand, crushing it in its powerful grip.

    “Oh no... SHAYMIN!!!” Instantly, Rosalita’s eyes became almost like faucets. That was how hard she cried for Shaymin after its horrible fate. Now the last natural guardian of her kingdom was gone, and nothing could prevent Fernando from fulfilling his plan up to installing a new dictatorship as the ruling family.

    Not getting emotional as quickly, Matt only backed up and let out the stunned words, “Shaymin died too... this battle is hopeless...”

    “I fear you are correct!” The Azure Angel had landed his Pidgeot unnoticed and joined the group. “This is truly terrible... the loss of Shaymin gives us no more options! There is nothing we can do!”

    It seemed the situation could get no worse, yet at that moment, it did. The vortex in the sky widened, and an immense, serpentine creature began to wiggle its way through. Due to the purple glow cloaking its body, only some of its details could be made out, such as the bat wing-like mouthpiece on its front and the tentacles on its back.

    “After centuries the Griseous Orb is finally activated! My time for revenge upon those who cursed me is at hand!”

    There was no time to process this situation before another vortex opened opposite the existing one. At first only yellow energy waves resembling DNA strands came out of it, but soon enough, another creature appeared from it. This one resembled a white goat standing at least twenty feet tall, with long, spindly legs and a golden mantle around its midsection.

    “Your revenge shall never happen! Take this!”

    The creature transformed its body, with both the needle-like hooves at the end of its legs and its mantle becoming a dark purple hue. Once it had switched appearances, the beast formed a Shadow Ball at least eight feet in diameter and used it as a projectile to viciously attack its serpentine foe.

    Totally shocked at what he was seeing, the Azure Angel slowly stepped forward. “That’s the godlike Pokémon, Arceus! He has come to aid us!”

    “Arceus and the Pokémon that represents chaos and destruction, Giratina,” Matt chipped in, typing frantically with his right hand. “Since the dawn of time these two forces have opposed each other... and now they’re going to do battle here!”

    “You still stand in my way, Arceus?! This time I will be victorious!!”

    Giratina used its own Shadow Ball, which was only slightly smaller than Arceus’s. Surprisingly, Arceus made no attempt to evade, it only changed its colors again, this time to a metallic silver. The Shadow Ball hit Arceus but did almost no damage.

    “No matter how many times you try to defile and distort this world, I will always be there to bring you to justice!”

    Coffin-shaped objects appeared out of Arceus’s body as it shifted back to its normal colors. There were sixteen of them, and all were glowing in brilliant colors. After they revolved around Arceus for a moment, a barrier formed around their owner, and Arceus lunged upward into the sky at Giratina.

    “Those are Arceus’s Life Plates,” Matt stated to the others, with a diagram of the tablets and Arceus on his computer screen. “They give Arceus his life force and power. He’s been using them to switch elemental types so far, but now he’s attacking Giratina with them!”

    Matt had barely completed his sentence when Arceus made contact with Giratina. Quite literally a clash of gods, the immense amounts of energy coming from their struggle tore apart the sky, tripling the amount of lightning strikes afflicting the city. Both god Pokémon groaned powerfully as they each fought to push the other back.

    Then, something strange happened. A family of three townspeople – a father, mother and daughter - appeared in the square, having fled from Regigigas earlier. They all looked up at the great battle taking place over their town... and then began smiling.

    “Thank you, Arceus.” The father was the first to speak.

    “Arceus, thank you for trying to protect us...” the mother said next.

    “Arkoos!! I love you!” Even though she couldn’t say Arceus’s name correctly, the little girl still gave her thanks.

    “They’re thinking of gratitude at a time like this?” Carter was stupefied.

    “Gratitude, gratitude... THAT’S IT!” The Azure Angel turned to his allies swiftly. “This city only exists because of the power of gratitude. I think that if we all thank Arceus and Shaymin for their efforts, we might be able to pull out a miracle!”

    “I’ll go first, then.” Rosalita stepped forward. “Thank you, Arceus, for blessing my life with a comfortable upbringing and the chance to help good triumph over evil. And Shaymin, thank you for your brave fight to protect us, even if you...died... doing it...”

    Carter was next. “I give thanks for having good friends like Matt Chiaki to count on and to spur me on to great accomplishments. Without them, I may have simply languished in a teaching job forever, but I am able to live the thrill of the hunt.”

    Unlike his companions, Matt was reluctant. He was torn inside about what to give thanks for, or if he had anything to give thanks for at all.

    Finally though, he did speak. “For everything in my life... my beloved sister, my grandfather, everyone who has supported me through all of my struggles...” An image of Eleanor smiling appeared in his mind. “...and for those who stood by me even when it felt like I was losing everything... thank you.”

    Gradually the square filled with townspeople coming out to witness the titanic clash between Arceus and Giratina, even while Regigigas simply stood frozen in place. As the townspeople noticed Matt and his companions giving thanks, they too gave thanks. Soon the square was filled with murmurs of gratitude for everything from love to family to fortune.

    It was at that moment something very strange began to happen. A great golden glow, blinding in its intensity, began to flow from inside Regigigas’s grip. It spread all over the city, and because of its influence, flowers began to grow to fill in all the destruction that had occurred. As the town healed in this light, an intense burst of it shot out and through Regigigas’s body, disabling and shattering its armor. At the same time, Arceus gained enough strength to push Giratina through the portal, leading to both disappearing.

    No longer under the influence of the Griseous Orb, Regigigas relaxed and released its grip, freeing a bright spark of light. It then began to return to where it had been asleep.

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

    It didn’t take Matt and his group long to rush to the location that the spark of light seemed to indicate. The spot was right at the entrance to the Golden City, where an inactive fountain lie just outside the half-circle of gilded structures.

    Carter was the first to arrive on the scene, and he was surprised at what he saw. “Could this be the fountain of vitality?!”

    “Sure looks like it,” Matt commented.

    “It is,” said the Azure Angel wistfully. “I drank from this fountain five hundred years ago when I earned the gratitude of the town’s people.”

    The spark of light slowly descended from the sky to float before the group. Once it was on eye level with them, it stopped glowing.

    It was Shaymin, who had survived the fight with Regigigas.

    “You’ve survived?!” Matt blurted out in awe.

    “I told you I was amazing, you! Now... Rosalita la Dorada, please step forward, you.”

    It took a moment for Rosalita to understand what was happening, but when she did, she stepped forth with a serious air.

    “Rosalita la Dorada, as you have earned the gratitude of the people rightfully and proven yourself, I grant you the right to drink from this fountain and become Queen Rosalita... you.”

    “I do solemnly accept the position as ruler of La Ciudad Dorada.”

    Nodding, Shaymin landed on the fountain’s top and focused for a moment, activating the water streams.

    However, when Rosalita stepped forward to drink, she was suddenly knocked aside by an explosion caused by the impact of an unknown object.

    “What?! What’s happening?” Matt exclaimed, newly panicked all over again.

    He quickly got his answer, as Fernando and his Dragonite appeared in the sky. Fernando, looking completely disheveled and insane, lowered to a reasonable altitude and then jumped down. He rushed to the fountain and immediately immersed his head in the water, taking in a single gulp before being pulled out and punched by Matt.

    “You’re nothing but a usurper! Go away!”

    Even though Fernando had fallen to the ground as a result of being punched, he remained insanely resolute, and simply grinned. “Ahahaha, you’re too late! I am now immortal!”

    “Are you sure, though, you?”

    Even though Fernando was the one Shaymin’s question was directed at, he was the only one who didn’t meet it with a quizzical look. Despite that, the statement soon began to make sense, as his body was filled with a bizarre sensation.

    “Aha...what? What is this? Is this what being immortal feels like?” Fernando looked at his feet – and the answer became apparent. They’d turned to gold. “Are you kidding me?!”

    “Nope, you!” Shaymin declared, almost with pride. “If someone without the true gratitude of the people drinks from this fountain, they’ll lose their youth, you! That would be bad enough, but you also activated the Griseous Orb... so now, you will become a statue, you!!”

    Upon hearing this, Fernando lost his last shred of sanity and began laughing like a madman. Matt had had enough of it all and ran over to him, knelt, and smacked him in the face.

    “You listen to me, you sick *******. In your last moments of life, you will give me answers! What was Cassy’s role in all this? Why was she complicit?”

    Fernando ignored the question. “You Guild guys were gonna come for that Orb eventually... it’s too late for you though...”

    “I don’t know what this Guild is,” Matt responded, raising his eyebrow. “Answer me!”

    “I have brought the Guild to its knees and unleashed the true Matt Chiaki upon the world... therefore, I have succeeded... long live Fernando la Dorada...”

    Suddenly, Fernando reached up and tore the bandages off the left side of Matt’s face. Seconds later he was gone, frozen in gold eternally as he tried to choke out one last fit of laughter.

    When Matt stood up and turned around, both Rosalita and Carter screamed upon the sight of his horrifying visage – the left side of his face was completely burned, and his left eye socket was empty.

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

    Up in the highest tower of the palace, Howard had been watching the entire final battle unfold. He coughed in disgust when it seemed nothing more would happen.

    “So that’s how it is. It’s over. The Dorada Empire has fallen.”

    When he turned to leave, he suddenly found himself surrounded by the four guards.

    “Howard McKenna, you are under arrest for crimes against this kingdom!” the leader of the guards shouted.

    “You failed once to take me, so why do you think you can now?! Bronzor, come out and use Hypnosis!”

    Howard threw his sole Poké Ball and released Bronzor, but before it could use Hypnosis, an Aura Sphere attack from behind the guards struck it and instantly knocked it out.

    Much to his shock, when the guards parted, there stood Ross, burned and scarred but alive, propped up on a stick he was using as a cane with his eyes shielded by his sunglasses. His loyal Riolu stood steadfast by him.







    END of CHAPTER 5

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  8. #33
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    Must admit it GB; you know how to do a exiting story without extending it so much.
    This chapter felt a little rushed, but also was really awesome, specially the final end of Count Fernando (citing Nelson Muntz words: ha ha!)

    On the other hand, who is Casey's real boss? That, if the late royal pest wasn't blackmail her with a hostage or something. You know, Torkie, any of her pokemon, etc?

    But, in base of the last lines of the local megalomaniac, I kinda suspect that you have planned something totally different for her, right?

    Read you latter!


  9. #34
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    EPILOGUE






    The day after the disasters Fernando caused had ended, the city began to regroup and recover. Even while much of La Ciudad Dorada lie in ruins, the general attitude of the people was amazingly upbeat and optimistic.

    At the time, however, work on rebuilding was halted. Most if not all of the town was packed into the square, awaiting a speech from their true ruler. Two of the guards stood with their staves crossed to block the entryway to the balcony beneath the destroyed video screen.

    When the leader of the guards approached from inside the palace, her two subordinates cleared the way for her.

    “Citizens of La Ciudad Dorada, the tenth and current ruler... Queen Rosalita!”

    A great cheer went up in the crowd as Rosalita, now wearing the symbolic red cape, stepped out onto the balcony. Shaymin, now back in its Land Forme, rested peacefully in her arms.

    “My people, let me first say that I know how bad things have been lately... I apologize from the bottom of my heart for it all. I should have done something sooner.

    What stands before us now is the daunting task of rebuilding. The first step in that is fully grasping what has happened.

    Three suspects have been identified in the attempted coup against the royal family. The first, Cassy Natsuka, has so far evaded arrest. Her whereabouts are unknown. An accomplice, Howard McKenna, has however been captured and will be punished to the full extent of our law.”

    Rosalita looked downward, a tear forming in her eye as she prepared to deliver the last bit of news.

    “The final suspect and ringleader was my brother, Count Fernando la Dorada VIII. He murdered our parents, the previous king and queen, then manipulated everyone in an attempt to get himself named king. He was angry that he was passed over for the throne. Fernando VIII died in battle yesterday, however, he had crowned himself king already prior to his death. Because of this, and because I will not engage in the petty hatred he did, his body will be installed in our museum alongside the first seven kings.

    Now, we move on to those who helped save our kingdom. With my first act as queen I am bestowing honorary titles of nobility. The Pokémon Ranger, Ross, has already turned down an honorary knightship on the belief that he was only doing his job. Carter McKenna will receive the honorary title of Earl, while Matt Chiaki shall gain the title of Margrave. I have one last title to bestow, but sadly, it must be given posthumously. Eleanor Laplace, who perished in the final battle for the kingdom, shall go to her grave with the title of Duchess. We’ve recovered her body, and she will lie in state in the lobby of our palace for three days and then be returned to her only known family in Kanto.

    My subjects, please do not be discouraged by all that has happened. We will persevere in the end. My brother, before he died, was fond of saying that the night is darkest just before the dawn. That dark night is now behind us, and we are facing a new dawn stronger than ever!”

    Once again, the square erupted in the joyous cries of the townspeople.

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

    Later that evening, when the sun was setting and casting a dim light over the land, the train out of La Ciudad Dorada was finally ready to leave. Having all his bags packed, Matt, who had replaced his eyepatch, was just about ready to board when he heard some voices behind him.

    “Matt, stop! Wait up a minute!”

    “Huh?”

    Surprised, Matt turned around and found Carter and Ross standing behind him. Even though he just wanted to get on the train and leave, he decided to be polite and talk to them, so he stepped down from the coach’s entrance.

    “Matt, I just wanted to thank you for helping us out with everything,” Carter said. “If it wasn’t for you, I would have never learned the truth about Shaymin or my father.”

    “Yes you would have. My role here was only to help Fernando realize his plans...”

    “Don’t talk like that!” snapped Ross, teetering forward on his makeshift cane. “In the end it was you who came up with every plan we needed to win!”

    “I guess...” Matt desperately wanted to escape this conversation and hide in solitude within his room on the train, but he couldn’t find a way out. “What are you guys gonna do now then?”

    “I’m staying here for a while to help the people rebuild. I feel a sense of duty to this place after everything that happened.”

    Ross coughed, then said, “I’ll return to the Ranger Union, but with my injuries, I’ll probably be forced to take an early retirement... What about you, Matt?”

    “Continue my research, I guess. I’ve got a sample of soil I just took that I want to analyze for my experiment.” Suddenly sensing a chance to get away from the exchange, Matt then said, “And that’s important work, so I have to get going. It was good meeting you, Ross, and good seeing you again, Carter.”

    Matt turned and climbed up into the coach, not seeing Ross and Carter waving goodbye to him. He just wanted so badly to be alone.

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

    The Azure Angel, without his mask, stood over the city on a cliff, taking in the beauty of the view. His long hair blew gently in the wind.

    “The people of this city will recover. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that they’re strong, always looking for a better tomorrow.” He looked up to the sky and began addressing someone who wasn’t even present. “But what about you, Matt Chiaki? Will you recover? Will you win out over everything? This is just the tip of the iceberg for you. Will you be able to make the right choice and complete your life? I’ll just have to keep an eye on you and see...”










    (Closing theme)


    ~Pokémon Ranger and the Gardener of Gratitude~

    A Great Butler Presentation

    [In his room on the train, Matt sits at his computer, a cheeseburger resting on the table next to it. The screen displays a soil analysis reading “NUTRIENTS SUFFICIENT.”]


    -Chief Executives-
    Nando
    Nekusagi
    Bay

    [The guards attend to Rosalita, sitting on her throne with Shaymin resting on the armrest.]

    -Cast-
    Wayne Grayson ... Matt Chiaki
    Lisa Ortiz ... Eleanor Laplace
    Crispin Freeman ... Carter McKenna
    Yuri Lowenthal ... Ross
    Moneca Stori ... Cassy Natsuka
    Dan Green ... Satsukoro
    Liam O’Brien ... Sutter Chiaki

    [With the aid of one of the guards, Carter tends to an orange farm in the city. He looks up at the sky and wipes his brow.]

    -Featuring-
    Tara Platt ... Rosalita
    Veronica Taylor ... Guard 1
    Amy Kincaid ... Guard 2
    Michelle Ruff ... Guard 3
    Rachael Lillis ... Guard 4
    Rebecca Forstadt ... Shaymin (Land Forme)
    Mia Bradly ... Shaymin (Sky Forme)
    Parker Anderson ... Count Fernando VII, Viktor Zerossen
    Benny Andersson ... Garret
    Bjorn Ulvaeus ... Billy
    Frida Lyngstad ... Tiffany
    Eric Stuart ... Clyde
    Steven Rattazzi ... Fernando VII
    Megan Hollingshead ... Queen Cassandra
    Herb Lawrence ... Charon Chiaki
    Tom Wayland ... Arceus
    Ross Douglas ... Giratina
    Sean Schemmel ... Fernando II
    Maddie Blaustein ... Minnaara

    [The row of statues in the museum is now complete. Fernando I has been returned to his place, while Fernando VII and Fernando VIII have been installed.]

    -Special Guest Stars-
    David Bowie ... Fernando I
    Stellan Skarsgard ... Howard McKenna

    [In the dungeon beneath the palace, Howard has been put to his punishment – making doll clothes.]

    -Ending Theme-
    “I’ll Always Remember You”
    Vocals by: Kirsten Price
    Written & Produced by: John Loeffler and David Wolfert

    [In a monochrome world, Sutter walks through a forest, stopping to look at carvings on a tree. Eleanor appears to assist him.]



    Dedicated to the memory of
    Maddie Blaustein
    1960 – 2008



    ~~~The End~~~


















    Being careful to be quiet so she would avoid notice, Cassy stalked through the pathways in the Golden City, a robotic viewing lens over her left eye.

    Finally, she spotted what she was looking for using the lens’s help and rushed over to a pile of dirt nearby. After she knelt, she reached down into the dirt and dusted off what was underneath – the Griseous Orb.

    Her eyes widened in glee, and she put her hand to her left ear. “G-3 to headquarters, come in. Stage one of Operation Red Birth is complete... the baby is in the cradle and she’s a live one. I repeat, the baby’s in the cradle and she’s a live one... as for the father, it looks like he lost three of his plates...”

    Cassy held up the Orb and smiled into it.








    [---]

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  10. #35

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    This is a great end to a great fic. Beautiful imagery and great cliffhanger in the epilogue, and amazing words as always.

    "Poe was the first writer to write about main characters who were bad guys or who were mad guys, and those are some of my favorite stories."
    -Stephen King

    I write odd slice of life stories about Team Rocket. If that's your thing, give them a look:

    Alpha Male- behind every friendship is a story. Perspective contest fourth place winner.
    Secretary- A short and cynical tale of paperwork and sadism
    Survival- A novella about the unbreakable bonds between one man and his feline friend. 2011 Pokemon Big Bang story.


  11. #36
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    Okay, even though I already read through this from the chat, I’m reading through this again to give a proper review. @_@ At the ending though I’ll go through a bit more because I didn’t get a chance to have my say. XD;



    First off, again I enjoyed the flashback very much. Gives more info what happened between Fernando I and II. Quite like the little blurb about Shaymin’s thoughts on the flashback too:



    Looking on, Shaymin felt a feeling of nostalgia. Though these events happened centuries earlier, Shaymin still remembered them. Many kings had come and gone over time but this one incident with Fernando I was the one the Gratitude Pokémon most vividly recalled.
    Even though he didn’t have time to think about it in depth, like the reference you put how Shaymin has been through with other kings but that Fernando I struck out the most.



    First part of the battle I thought you did well with the pace and the emotions of both Pokemon and trainers and of them taking initiative. For instance:



    Taking charge while his partners were temporarily stunned, Carter cried out, “Try another Earthquake!”

    “Carter, stop!” Matt’s plea interrupted Flygon, who stopped its attack. “You’ll hit Sally and Staraptor too, since they’re on the ground!”
    Hm, even though Flygon and Staraptor both can’t have Earthquake hit them game and anime wise, it is logical the two would be hit when they’re on the ground, so I like how Matt thought through this.



    There’s one part of the description (or two) that struck me odd, though:

    “TRAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!” Heatran roared. Now its forehead was scratched and nicked, and its anger was increasing rapidly. With great speed it suddenly loosed a Flash Cannon from its mouth, resulting in a spectacular explosion of light that brought both Sally and Staraptor down before it.
    Before Sally’s attack launched, Heatran let loose yet another Flash Cannon. The two collided about midway, causing a spectacular explosion that briefly illuminated the cave. For the first time, pyramids and towers of solid gold could be seen surrounding the altar.
    Maybe it’s just me, but I feel you repeated spectacular explosion too soon as the second quote came not too long after the first quote. I would suggest describing the explosion in a different way for one of them, but not sure yet.


    The aftermath of the battle is good too. There are a couple mentionable quotes I like:


    After that, Fernando just stood back and raised his arms, allowing the fire to spread through its channels and illuminate what lay before him. As it all illuminated, through not only streams of oil but lamps near the streams, he took a fair few steps back so he could appreciate the grand splendor of it all, his face contorting into one that resembled that of a child opening presents on their birthday.

    His foes, meanwhile, appreciated the sight with mixes of wonder, fear and amazement. The first of those three mainly came from Eleanor, the only of the group who could be considered ‘green’ when it came to discoveries such as this; as she really didn’t understand the full implications of what was happening, the beauty was the first thing she noticed. Matt and Carter, on the other hand, knew what kind of tragedy such a discovery in the hands of a madman like Fernando could bring about.

    Before them all, spreading out like a vast ocean, was a spectacular city of pyramids and towers, all constructed out of solid gold. It was laid out in a half-circle shape with the open end facing the altar, and sitting in the middle, on a great throne of gold befitting a king such as itself, was Regigigas, complete with purple jeweled armor encapsuling its body.

    Suddenly, Fernando let out a great, insane laugh that reverberated through the cavernous chamber. “I’ve found it! Me! Fernando la Dorada, the rightful eighth ruler of La Ciudad Dorada! All of it is now mine!!”
    Excellent description on everyone's reaction when they say the city. Nice having Matt and Carter's reaction different compare to Eleanor and awesome comparison to Fernando's reaction like that of a child. Also like how you describe the golden city without dragging it out.


    Fernando, meanwhile, simply watched in insane jubilation, the twin streams of lightning reflecting in his eyes.
    LOVE, LOVE that description there. :3


    Howard's deception is something I didn't see. :P Also, some revelations on how Howard is tied in this, which I thought are cool. I already mention this to you, but yeah I should get Jacob shoot him since Howard isn't a gentleman himself. :P


    Hm, for Matt waking up in the Pokemon Center scene, I actually think you could have done a dream sequence or something before to make it feel more like Matt and Sutter saying their last goodbye. I know you referenced Sutter saying to Matt that it's his battle now, but you could have show, not tell. That scene makes it as if Matt didn't acknowledge Sutter is indeed gone and the two didn't say their goodbyeyes. Still a good part though with Matt determined and taking the initiative.


    “Oooooh... you have been brought to this place because you are an ita, Eleanor Laplace! You will be tortured by... snicker... three ghosts!!”
    Hm, if you're trying to put that one of the girls snicker, I thought it's weird to mention it like that in qutations because here you have put what the girl said in that punctuation. It's like putting, "Hey, Jack, I noticed that...laughter...you have a Weedle on your head." Not sure how you can change to show the girl paused to snicker because I'm afraid whatever correction I got will be ones with wrong punctuation. @_@


    Other than that part, nice flashback scene of Elanor's past there. I feel so sorry for her. ;_; *hugs Elanor* After that, though...YAY FOR THE GREAT ESCAPE! XD


    I have to say, even though I read this scene already, it's still sucks to see the Go-Rock Squad to vanish like that and very, very sad to see Elanor to die like that. I really like her. ;_; However, this part made me wiggle:


    The man nodded carefully. “My connection with this land is deep. After following you and Rich for a time and realizing you were coming here, I deduced that someone was probably after that accursed Orb... and I was right.”
    XD^3 reference! :3


    The next scenes with the Azure Angel, Matt, and Shaymin looking through the journal and the battle I'll sum up with my favorite parts, because there are a lot of memorable moments there:


    Matt froze. For the first time the true magnitude of what was going on struck him. Not only was he opposing a man who was making an insane bid to take over the world, this enemy had designs to gain the ability to live for centuries too. If Fernando’s plan succeeded, he would be able to unite the world under his tyrannical rule and reign for many generations on end.
    Oh snap, wouldn't want that to happen! D:


    “He... Fernando wants to find it and use its power. He’s going to rule the world for hundreds of years.” Saying this out loud made Matt feel like he’d shot a Buneary with an adorable nickname like ‘Bun-Bun’, or a Sentret named Jacob.
    Again, this is win. :P


    “I’ll lend you another Pokémon, then. Tanya, make your mark!”

    Matt reached into his bag, pulled out the Dusk Ball, and flung it into the air. It burst open, and in a flash of light the Pokémon nicknamed Tanya appeared before Carter and Rosalita.

    Tanya was Heatran.

    Upon seeing this, Fernando became distracted from his fight with the Azure Angel. The last thing he was expecting was to see his once-brainwashed slave opposing him.

    “How in the hell did you capture my Heatran?!”

    “With a Poké Ball, like any other legitimate trainer!” the Azure Angel boomed, thrusting his swords at Fernando again. “Don’t forget who you’re fighting!”
    Again, Fernando's reaction was priceless. :P


    Matt’s eyes suddenly widened, as he saw something that horrified him – a bolt of purple lightning was heading straight for Tanya. Instantly he thought that he couldn’t bear to have another ally hurt because of him, and without rationally considering what he was about to do, he stood and lept off of Sally’s back.

    “Matt, what are you doing?!” Rosalita screamed.

    He landed on his feet in front of Tanya before he answered bravely, “Protecting those I care about, like I should have!”

    The lightning bolt struck just as Matt raised his prostethic arm up, therefore, the arm acted as a lightning rod that shielded Tanya from the hit. A great flash of sparks appeared briefly as Matt was thrust backwards against Tanya’s iron-plated head. Carter and Rosalita, fearing he had been killed, rushed to his side, only to find that he was merely burnt a small bit.
    A great scene there. I actually think this is a cool character development scene for Matt since he's doing something about preventing another loved one from getting hurt.


    Okay, Shaymin's death and the entrance of Giratina and Arceus would be too much of a long quote to post, so all I'm going to say in the matter is-- OH SNAP~ XD;


    Coffin-shaped objects appeared out of Arceus’s body as it shifted back to its normal colors. There were sixteen of them, and all were glowing in brilliant colors. After they revolved around Arceus for a moment, a barrier formed around their owner, and Arceus lunged upward into the sky at Giratina.

    “Those are Arceus’s Life Plates,” Matt stated to the others, with a diagram of the tablets and Arceus on his computer screen. “They give Arceus his life force and power. He’s been using them to switch elemental types so far, but now he’s attacking Giratina with them!”
    Hm, in NE Jacob got Arceus' plates and you mentioned that in Chapter Four, but here Arceus has his plates, so this contradicts things, unless you have the plates from the anime and the plates from the movies as different things. I'm pointing this out because we have references towards each other's fics and I think we're ruining the universe. XD; Then again, we can blame the anime for having the plates be different from the show and the movie. :x


    Unlike his companions, Matt was reluctant. He was torn inside about what to give thanks for, or if he had anything to give thanks for at all.

    Finally though, he did speak. “For everything in my life... my beloved sister, my grandfather, everyone who has supported me through all of my struggles...” An image of Eleanor smiling appeared in his mind. “...and for those who stood by me even when it felt like I was losing everything... thank you.”
    Nice speech there. :3



    The last two scenes I have to say are badass. Nice on Matt punching Fernando twice and that fake king turning into a statue. Great stuff there. Also, I actually thought Ross died from the wreckage, but yay on him kicking Howard's butt! He deserves it. :P


    Boy, took me a while to do the review for Chapter Five. XD; Okay now, the epilogue. ^^


    Rosalita's speech is a great one there. Nice of her to give everyone titles and also have her brother be installed n the museum.


    The scene with Matt leaving...Aw, I feel so sorry for him. *hugs him*


    “The people of this city will recover. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that they’re strong, always looking for a better tomorrow.” He looked up to the sky and began addressing someone who wasn’t even present. “But what about you, Matt Chiaki? Will you recover? Will you win out over everything? This is just the tip of the iceberg for you. Will you be able to make the right choice and complete your life? I’ll just have to keep an eye on you and see...”
    This quote and the ending with Cassy (FINALLY! XD) seems like bigger plans will happen...Yes, you told me some of the plans, but I have a feeling you're hiding something from me. XD;


    Well, I gotta say, you ended it with a big bang. Unlike aspeger, I actually didn't think the last chapter is rushed (except for one part, which I'll get to in a bit). It's just that there's too much to handle in one big finale! You could have at least break it into two chapters. XD; *gets shot*


    The only major thing is I wish you have more of a closure between Matt and Sutter. I'm sure you can write a great scene with the two saying their goodbyes if you decided to edit Chapter Five. :3


    However, don't worry about that tiny criticism too much. Overall you did awesome with the ending and you should be very proud. Lots of great moments and character intearctions there.


    CONGRATS ON FINISHING, THOUGH! LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE XD^3 AND THAT FUTURE FIC OF YOURS! ;3


    FFnet | Author's Profile| Archive of Our Own | Banner: Umi Mizuno
    I'm still writing, but probably not much Pokemon stuff at the moment. HAM!


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