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Thread: The Human Species (PG-13)

  1. #51
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    I don't know why people aren't commenting on your stories. They are works of genius! Both stories are absolutely amazing, please continue! I just finished both the stories, and they are amazing!

    Check out the forum World Beyblade Organization! It's a huge forum with over 85,000 members dedicated to the hobby of Beyblading! You can sign up here!

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  2. #52
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    I hope lucario goes and shows the humans a lesson

  3. #53
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    Time for another preview!

    ... BWAHAHAHA! Not really! Time for something completely different!

    See, some fan contacted me and asked a bunch of questions regarding Occult Magazine: Evolution's Gate, Forever Legendary, Mew's Christmas Carol and The Human Species. We ended up wasting WAY too much time on it, so in a desperate attempt to make something useful out of it...

    The Pokémon Trilogy (+1)
    Q&A

    Now, since I'm such a worrywart, I should tell you that there are spoilers in this feature for each story, reaching as far as chapter 23 (Distressed Damsel Dragonair) in The Human Species. If you've already read that far or further, go apes.

    The fan was bold, so his text will be quite the same while I'll be keeping my answers normal. Direct quotes from the stories will be in italics!


    Evolution's Gate


    What up with police Pokemon? Again, this is something it strikes me as weird not to have seen in the show: if Pokemon are sentient, there's no reason they couldn't be members of law enforcement or anything else, for that matter. The ethical questions of Pokemon are a big part of what I guess we could discuss, though I was planning on saving it for THS, since you seem to be getting into it anyway. Black/White and, to a lesser extent, the Mystery Dungeon series dealt with this somewhat, but I think it's interesting that you have Pokemon having their own police forces and cafes. Hmm...

    What, you're gonna let that guy with a blue cap and nightstick deal with a raging Gyrados or interrogate a someone they can't understand? Pokemon criminals require Pokemon police. All police Pokemon need at least one year of training at the academy and must be assigned to a human partner for two years before being released and becoming individual members of the force. Truly a beautiful display of human-pokemon cooperation.

    For the cafe you just dig a hole and squeeze a few berries. Humans normally HATE berries, so they run no risk of getting any of those troublemakers as customers.

    Does kind of make me wonder what's the problem with berries (wait should that be capitalized). I can see one not liking [here I pull up Bulbapedia] a Tamato Berry or Nomel berries, but they come in five different flavors (of which dry is...apparently one) and dozens of varieties, so it should be possible to find one you like, huh...Of course, some (B/b)erries are rarer than others, and then there are some like the Oran berry which taste like everything.

    Flavors are determined from the Pokemon's point of view. See Berries as dogfood. Sure, there are some people that eat them too, but they're few.

    Snivy doesn't want to evolve because he'd lose his legs, right? But Servine has legs, what is the deal.

    Snivy was referring to Serperior about the legs thing. He doesn't want to evolve into Servine because his arms would turn into strange leaves and make everyday life much more of a hassle.

    His small form also makes him very difficult to hit in battle... Unless he's jumping at you head-on, of course!

    I have to say, he and Umk (however you pronounce that) remind me of Miles Edgeworth and Dick Gumshoe from the Ace Attorney games. Are you...aware of this?

    Both the duos are based off of the classic cop team-up. One's a stuck up expert while the other one's bumbling thickie with a heart of gold. They fight crime!

    ... In concept, anyway. Truth is, Snivy hated Umk to the point where he asked for a transfer, and then they never saw each other again... And, strangely enough, lived happily ever after!

    “This is where I’d normally say ‘I got better’…” Zerobi shouted gleefully...
    Oh nooooo, is this a Monty Python reference? Either that or I'm reading too much into this again.

    Sure is! In the spirit of Monty Python, Zerobi HATES clichéd terms, so you hear her groaning a lot when together with Lucario.

    “Problem, outlaw?” Snivy said with a smug smile on his face while crossing his arms in confidence.
    And what about this? Is Smugleaf trollin'? Or am I just too fond of italics?

    He put on his cool face.

    One of the things I noticed while reading through EG again was that you broke the third wall a lot more than you do now...Honestly, I think that's a good thing, even though it is fun once in a while.

    The THIRD wall? I broke it so badly they had to put in a fourth one! Anyway, I did, but apparently it didn't go over too well so I started using it with reservation.

    Can't let things get too serious, though. The party at the end of FL is still one of my favorite parts!

    Anyway, why was it necessary to have two Astrids? It certainly caused some confusion in the "epilogue" of FL. I was especially confused, since I read that before EG, so I had no idea who half the characters were! I did really like the "epilogue," though, even if I had to reread it later.

    I thought it was an interesting trait. Canon-wise, Astrid is an ancient name for rock-types, the rock-eeveelution learning about it from his father (They've been isolated from civilization a few generations). He renamed himself after evolving, thinking that was the proper way to do things. His original name has yet to be revealed.

    I did finally recognize that Evolution's Gate is based off the the actual cult, Heaven's Gate, though. I...guess I probably should have realized it was sort of a parody of an actual cult, though (So is there a Poke-heaven? or is evolution the highest achievement a Pokemon can expect? Come to think of it, the fossil Pokemon look like ancient animals from Earth, so there seems to be the more traditional kind of evolution at work here, somehow...Oh crap, this is a long aside).

    Finally someone got the Heaven's Gate thing. It was all the hubbub when I was growing up, I thought everyone knew about that!

    As for the aside... There's no heaven. When you die you go back to what you were before you were born (nothing)... Unless Celebi's around, of course!
    Also, there are short term evolutions that happens anywhere between a week and instantaneously (when a Pokemon evolves), and then there's the long term evolution that is more akin to our universe.


    Forever Legendary


    So it has been explained where Kabutops came from, and I can accept that Astrid had a similar backstory, but what up with Armaldo? No one really seems to pay attention to the fact that he's a living fossil too.

    Armaldo are from a later era, and as such not as ancient. See it as the relation between Jurassic and Cretaceous!

    For that matter, the name Astrid is a common name for Rock-types (for some reason), yeah? Kind of makes me wonder why the Bouldeon was named Astrid (which I've never heard of being used as a guy's name before, poor guy) if he was born as a Normal-type. Maybe it was...DESTINY!?

    Getting back to the whole name discussion, Astrid was born without a name, known as "Eevee". It wasn't until after he evolved that he gave himself the name Astrid.

    Just kind of a random question here: Gallade and Snivy both have British accents, right? Obviously Snivy is classy, so he has to have a British accent, but I find it hard to imagine him with an accent, maybe just because I don't hear British accents a whole lot. Maybe I need to watch more Doctor Who...

    Britain doesn't exist in the Pokemon universe. Subtle differences in speaking patterns is just something I added for the sake of the story.

    A crossdressing closeted homosexual? In MY story? Well, you know what they say about guys that simply can’t find a girl… Do we ever actually see him with a girl outside of his own stories? Seems like he’d much rather hang around with Pikablu and Kabutops…
    Hmm. Despite those signs, and him being completely fabulous, I also find it hard to believe Gallade's a homosexual. Who knows what years as a Ralts and Kirlia can do to you, though...

    The joke is that he's had more girls than any other character in the story. Getting deeper into it, he oozes beauty to the point where both men and women are affected, even if only one of them is pursued... Hence why people make fun of him for it.

    Hmm...The epilogue chapter of FL got me thinking how weird it is that every Pokemon ever lays eggs, regardless of whether or not they logically should. Come to think of it, how could Pikablu and Anne ever reproduce?

    ... Oh wait, they all lay eggs!? Completely forgot! How do I explain that? Hmm... Hell, the games just go "An egg has mysteriously appeared!", why can't I?

    I guess some simply lay eggs and some have live births with no rhyme or reason as to who. Wait, isn't that how things are in real life?

    The egg group thing was too nonsensical to include, so just about every Pokemon is a match. Seeing how Pokemon from different species can understand each other and that they are all recognized by Pokeballs there's obviously a deeper evolutionary root binding them all, so it's not THAT far off.


    Mew's Christmas Carol


    That’s when Mew noticed what she hadn’t earlier seen
    The calcium’s electrons were not twenty, but actually nineteen!
    “It’s called potassium, an element the humans created!”
    Celebi continued as Mew became elated...

    I didn't really think of this before, but other than being naturally occurring, pure potassium is actually super-dangerous on account of its being really reactive with water in the air.
    Still a pretty rad gift, though.


    Hah! Never thought anyone would catch that! None of them knew that and it had been in a bag until then, so approximately 10 seconds after the end they had to evacuate the place. This is going to lead to a reference in the future, and... Not much else, really.

    I also think it's a bit weird that the Pokemon world has a Christmas, given that there was probably never a Poke-Christ. I googled "Pokemon Christmas" and all I got was an album from 2001 called Pokemon Christmas Bash (including such hits as "I'm Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas"). Nonetheless, it's not like people haven't pretty much always celebrated around the winter solstice.

    I could make up a reason for them to be celebrating Christmas, but truth is that it's just because I entered the story into a Pokemon Christmas Contest which (surprisingly enough) had to deal with Christmas... And won first prize! Heck, every story's a contest entry except for THS, and that's just because I need to constantly edit it.


    The Human Species


    So, like, when the other characters say Lucario is wearing pants--they mean he's wearing actual clothes, not just his puffy leg area, right? Where might he have gotten those?

    Lucario's pants are a big plot point. Maybe they're actually Mew using Transform! (WORST. TWIST. EVER.)

    Whoa! I didn't know pants could be so important! Lucario is an interesting character, to be sure...come to think of it, is Rukario...an original character?

    Rukario's a shiny Lucario. The only shiny in the story actually, matching their extreme rarity in the games. She kind of looks like the Swedish flag too, which is a bonus!

    On a somewhat related note: what the heck do you eat when pretty much every living thing is sentient? Either you barbecue a Combusken, I guess, or you get used to the taste of berries. Come to think of it, though, in the anime I remember them eating onigiri from time to time. I'm trying to research more with Google (this is what we call "research" in the 21st century), but all I'm getting is Pokemon food products. Holy crap, they made marshmallow Pikachu!?

    But Pikachu isn't weak against fire! Anyway, the speech at the end of Indomitable Father Kabutops goes into this... But yeah, since berries are enough to provide sustenance there's really no reason to kill for food.

    Another thing I thought of when reading the latest chapter was how unrealistic the games are when it comes to healing injuries. Actually, I guess that's really due to them being RPGs; no one wants to wait the realistic five months after every battle for their Pokemon to make a complete recovery.

    Fighting, injuries, death... I'm amazed at how media has turned these amazingly horrifying things into trivial happenings. I'm literally making things cooler by trying to keep them realistic, everything from a punch to a tidal wave...

    ... To a certain point, anyway. I don't think anyone'd want to read a story about Lonesome Paraplegic Lucario...

    So, Pikablu is really apprehensive about being around Thunderstones since apparently he'll store his electricity in his tail and be unable to use any of his legendary-killing attacks. BUT! Some snooping around Pokedex entries tells me Raichu still store electricity in their cheek pouches, and use their tails to ground themselves (which should come in handy).

    Huh? Really? Oh well, I'll attribute that to the fact that Pikablu just wants an excuse for not evolving into a fat mouse.

    Lucas gasped. . . . Attempting to stand up to run away one last time, exhaustion finally overtook his body as he blacked out.
    Okay, not really a question, but I just found this hilarious. So that's how it happens! I was surprised you didn't have the characters rob hi--oh wait no, they totally raid his Poke Ball belt for Celebi. Clever.

    Yeah. Pikablu even stole a watch off the girl in Ilex Forest!

    Hmm...so, not sure what to say about Zerobi's Song. Did you write it (and perform it) yourself? It is pretty good, but, uh...How do I say this?...It didn't really sound female in the MP3.

    I was actually planning on writing tons of more songs for the story, but seeing how you're the only person to even acknowledge its existence I think I'll pass. Hey, some things work, some don't. Don't blame me for not doing what I can with the medium!

    Okay, probably too early in the story to be asking who/what this "Grougaloragran" is. Still, any particular reason you picked such an odd name--or is that spoilerific as well!?

    Did you try googling Grougaloragran? Anyway, it's from a dragon in Wakfu, and also the name of the Dragonite from Forever Legendary.


    All of them


    Well, up next is Pokemon movies and magazines. It kind of strikes me as odd that there are magazines like the occult magazine (which I guess is basically a tabloid) marketed exclusively to Pokemon. Okay, I'm probably wrong about the "exclusive" part. Still, if the Pokemon have seen the Mystery Dungeon movies, does that mean they have a separate theater? Or, do they go to a normal theater for everyone? Wouldn't they need extra-huge seats to accommodate extra-large Pokemon!? [Here I stop myself before my overthinking continues to infinity.]

    No no no, no magazine or movie is ever marketed towards Pokemon. Pokemon generally don't learn how to read (and most lack arms to flip through pages or hold a pen with), so they get news from word-by-mouth or the extremely simplistic writing style of "pawprint".

    Zerobi LOVES the occult and learned how to read after going through the magazines year after year (going to school helped too), and Pikablu (among others) have simply been around long enough to pick it up.

    Still, all Pokemon have eyes (even Zubat) and like to watch movies, so they get a separate box without seats if they go to the theater (the smaller ones that won't set the place on fire with their tail get to use seats).

    A'ight, next I have "communication." Uh...yeah. Maybe I meant to wonder why humans don't just speak Pokemon all the time? It would probably make things easier, though it must be a pain to learn to speak correctly if everything can be expressed in as few as one syllable. Writing is probably out of the question.

    Have you ever talked to a person you didn't quite understand? Like, you hear what he's saying, but it's like he's from an entirely different existence then you?

    ... STOP POINTING AT ME! Anyway, it's like that - Pokemon understand humans fairly well, but the different speech patterns and grammar throw them off to the point where having regular conversations is out of the question.

    Pokemon that spend time around humans understand them better than others, like Snivy and Lucario. Pokemon completely segregated from humans can barely understand them at all, like the Stoneon Astrid and that female Zubat (Notice how she didn't respond to anything Silver said?)

    I was just thinking this morning about the oil banter from chapter 11. Hmm, Lucario does say it's compressed plants and animals...I suppose it's not that surprising that Zerobi wouldn't have heard of oil, given that she is a Pokemon...They do have cars in the Poke-world, though, so unless they're way ahead of us technologically, they probably do use oil. Apparently most oil comes from compressed algae and bacteria and such...which got me thinking about how outside of Pokerus, there doesn't seem to be any microscopic organism in the Pokeverse (what do I call this). I guess the point of this topic is...Pokemon is weird?

    Cars exist, but are about as rare as unicycles are in our world. Riding Pokemon is an unbeatable form of transportation. Also, they run on berries.

    Microscopic organisms exist, of course. They're the foundation of all life! They're not that different from the ones in our world, either...

    Also they apparently do have guns on Pokearth, though I'm not sure if it's canon, and I'd think the names of Swords Dance and Sacred Sword have to come from somewhere.

    Again, EXTREMELY rare, and pretty much useless if your opponent has anything stronger than a Squirtle.

    "You're going down, Leonardo!"

    *BANG*

    *RICOCHET*

    "Squirtle, use water gun!"

    "HAHAHA! A water gun!? You make me la... Oh... OH NO! PLEASE REMEMBER ME FOR MY GOOD DEEDS AND NOT SHOOting at an innocent pokemoooon..."

    *Twinkle*

    Oh yeah, I never really thought poisoning would manifest itself as huge purple spikes growing out of one's back...Though, I suppose it's at least better than turning completely purple. A bit of creative freedom on your part, I guess.

    They're Poison Stings! And Lucario is immune to Poison!

    Like you said, it's probably for the best that you didn't really include Ash in the canon--though apparently you did include Misty and Brock, and replaced him with Red. I guess this is really more like the story from the games, with Red being the first Pokemon Master, huh? He was always based on Ash (or vice versa), what with the Pikachu, so I s'pose it all worked out.

    Misty and Brock are in, but they never traveled with Red. Just a rumor in the "correct almost 10% of the time" occult magazines. Including Ash would mean including Team Rocket who builds machinery out of nothing while still being unable to handle a bloody teenager with the help of a Pokemon that can speak because he worked really hard at it.

    WHAT.

    One thing I've been wondering about, which applies to all of Pokemon, really, is the issue of names. It seems kind of weird that Pokemon should usually be referred to as the name of their species, even though there's obviously more than one in the world. Still, others are different: while there's Pikachu the Pikachu and Kabutops the Kabutops, there's Pikablu the Pikachu and Kabuta the Kabutops. I figure it's like with last names, where other species call them by their types, but among members of the same species call them by their names (if they have one!?). Still, I can't remember a single instance where a Pokemon wasn't called by its species name in the show. I've already said too much, though; what do you think?

    Pokemon have a looser society than humans, no credit cards or IDs or all that nonsense. A Caterpie would see his one friend as "that Pikachu" and his other friend as "that other Pikachu" instead of directly naming them and do fine. Close friends usually make up nicknames for each other, though... Like Uncle Sissy!

    Also, there are +600 different species of Pokemon, meaning that individual names are rarely required. More common Pokemon usually have names, while rarer one (like Kabutops) don't need one (Naming his son and daughter was Astrid's idea, who dropped the whole Aerodactyl thing eons ago).

    Oh, and Pokemon have different names in different regions, to reflect their Japanese counterparts. So a Weavile can be known as a Manyula, Mienshao as Kojondo etc. Kind of like how we have latin names for flora and fauna.

    Hmm...Though, that does raise the question of how one would explain away the rate at which they're finding Pokemon. Black and White's cities seem like they've been there for a long time; you'd think someone would have noticed the hundreds of new Pokemon out there. Meanwhile, I was going to ask about the Japanese names in some of the stories, but I guess I can check that off the list!

    Many decades have passed since Pokemon Red/Blue, Pokemon from every region now exist pretty much everywhere. Most Pokemon don't even remember where their species first came from!

    I can understand Gallade having a camera, but...where does he keep it? And how does he update his blog with only three fingers and no thumbs!? I must know!

    Minimize. Bags of holding. Under his freakishly long arms. I leave out describing every one of them because, unlike everything else, that makes for a REALLY boring read...

    Psychic Pokemon don't even need a keyboard to interact with computers!

    I s'pose even in the games you're able to hold up to 99 of everything, so I'll give you that.

    Movin' on, though: how much do you make type matchups count in your stories? It certainly seems like the characters worry about it (Zerobi is extremely careful around Fighting-types, and with good reason), but it's not like Lucario sat out the fight against the Fearsome Four (though I think at that point he was unaware of matchups).


    I'm complicating it to keep battles interesting. Kabutops takes X4 damage from grass attacks because the grass sucks up the water in his body. Lucario takes extra damage from fighting abilities (not punches and kicks since Mega Punch and Kick are normal type attacks, but rather stuff like focus blast... Hence why the aura is burning him so badly), but has the speed to avoid getting hit.

    To REALLY complicate things, Lucario's lack of spikes also reduces his Steel affinity, giving him less protection against many types yet less weakness towards some.

    It's...unfortunate that some dual-Fighting-type Pokemon are super-affected by Fighting (like Lucario and Scraggy/Scrafty). Kinda weird how that works out.

    I mean, come on! Lucario was in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it's not like he took X2 damage from every punch and kick there!


    Random Musings


    Hmm...If we're talking about writing, I might as well ask: do you have a favorite author?

    Sadly, no. If we were to extend it beyond the range of literature I could name Eiichiro Oda and Don Rosa, just that most books I've read have been too formulaic and predictable to be called 'good'. 300 pages containing like 3-4 memorable events padded out with useless filler? It should ALL be memorable!

    To be honest, I respect far more authors than I like. You know, for being able to entertain people.

    I guess I'd go with Stephen King for some of his short stories and The Stand, but even he has issues. You wanted a recommendation? Try 'Skeleton Crew', that's a good one!

    So! How long does it usually take for you to write a chapter of THS? Clearly, with the shorter chapters, it's less time than the others in the series. I don't know--what's your writing process, if you will?

    Depends on the type of chapter, quite frankly. For chapters where the dialog is the most important, I start with that (Remorseful Vampire Zerobi). When the chapters have big fights in them, I start with the descriptions (Fearsome Four Mienfoo). When they've got both... I just write both at the same time!

    While I wrote everything in order between Evo's Gate and Forever Legendary, my writing has become very splintered as of late with me jumping between chapters and just adding tiny pieces to completely different parts. It feels unorganized and makes chapters take longer to write, but all in all I think they become more streamlined that way.

    It might be a bit premature, but...If this is to be your last Pokemon-themed story, what're you planning on doing afterwards, writing-wise?

    Stories not involving copyrighted characters. I already have tons of great ideas, characters and events for a novel that can be published to an audience outside of the Pokemon fanbase. Heck, it will certainly end up being a much better story than anything I've done that's related to Pokemon...

    ... But I have too many good ideas for THS to leave it hanging, so I'll finish that one first. Stick with me after that and I'll be able to take you beyond the realms of Pokemon... And it'll be great.

    Um...Here I have "generic closing question." So how's this [holding a microphone entirely too close to your face]: is there anything else you'd like to say to your adoring public?

    Not really. I'm writing stories that you're reading, and so I feel we've already got a relationship far beyond that of strangers. Even though we've never met or even spoken to one another, this story and everything that comes with it connects us. It is something only you and I share!

    ... Well, you and I and like 3 others!




    Hey, I just realized that this would serve as a pretty good Q&A chapter. Mind if I post all these questions/answers when we're done? Cutting out the... Private parts?

    Oh my god no you can't cut out my private oh I see what you're saying. But yeah, that would be amazing! I do seem to have unwittingly written half of a Q&A chapter for you. Curses!
    Last edited by ShadedSkies; 20th June 2011 at 2:23 PM.

  4. #54
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    Oh, and OF COURSE it's time for another preview. It's ALWAYS time for another preview!



    A vial of slime
    A Pokeball containing Grimer
    ALL FOR SCIENCE

  5. #55
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    Oh, and OF COURSE it's time for another preview. It's ALWAYS time for another preview!



    A vial of slime
    A Pokeball containing Grimer
    ALL FOR SCIENCE

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    Chapter 24

    Twisted Pokémon Professor






    "Tighter!" someone said, "I don't want him moving an inch!"

    "What, afraid he might bite?" someone else said.

    Lucario slowly regained his consciousness, relieved that he had escaped death in his sleep once more. Keeping a track of time in his windowless cell was as hopeless as the Dragonair had claimed, but his rumbling stomach told him that he had been imprisoned far too long. He could barely see, and everything he heard a strange distortion to it.

    "These things can manipulate aura and do all sorts of weird stuff," the first voice said with a nervous tone.

    "Like that'll do anything against good ol' steel!" the second voice said, giving one of the chains an affectionate pat as they cut into Lucario's aching wrists.

    "I'm just saying, anything short of nailing his behind to the floor is unsafe," the first voice replied and followed it with a short chuckle.

    Lucario's arms felt very tired, and he noticed that he was being held up by something. Peering through the darkness surrounding him, he saw that his arms were being suspended by something made out of a cold and tough material that would have felt more familiar against his knuckles than around his wrists.

    "He's sedated," the thin man said before suddenly flicking Lucario's nose, "See? Completely harmless." Lucario perked up and looked in front of him with a stare of a thousand fires. All he saw was a blurred image of someone… Nothing he hadn't experienced after a night of one too many drinks.

    "Hey…" the blurry person said, "… I think he likes me!"

    "Come closer," Lucario whispered while faking a smile, "I'll eat your face."

    Having been caged like an animal for a few days without any food had made him drop most of his usual reservations, and even with his faded vision he could tell this ugly piece of work wouldn't look much worse with half a nose. He continued musing hatred for his unknown captors for a while before the sheer energy consumption of his belly crying out for food proved too much, as he fell into unconsciousness once more.

    For a short moment he experienced a dream where pulled the chains out of the walls and used them as whips and threw generic henchmen left and right. Then one of the chains suddenly turned into a blue snake while the other turned into a green vine. The vine started strangling him while the snake kept his arms apart, the vine starting to feel strangely sharp against his throat…

    "A Pokémon in tatters…" a voice sounded with crystal clarity and instantly broke him away from his dream, "… What a pitiful sight."

    The familiarity of the voice made Lucario think he had fallen into yet another nightmare, but slowly opening his eyes he saw that he was far worse off than that.

    With hair as white as snow and a chilling expression masking his usual madness stood Brendan, hardly a foot away from the chained Pokémon. Lucario flinched instinctively, and his right shoulder began hurting as he tugged against his bindings.

    "These eggheads tell me that you're a fair share more intelligent than your average critter," Brendan said coldly without changing his expression, "So if you can understand me, feel free to rattle in fear."

    At the sound of this, Lucario decided to not move an inch even if it meant his death. The scene of him hanging pathetically from the ground next to Brendan's unwavering stature was not one he enjoyed, but decided not to give the trainer the pleasure of cowering and kept his head raised.

    "For three days and two nights you eluded me," Brendan said in an articulate way while waving his right arm around, "Escaping my every assault… Surviving my every strategy…"

    Lucario was starting to wonder if this calm and composed soul was the same sadistic madman he had fought earlier, but got his answer as Brendan suddenly grabbed a hold of his head.

    "An unremarkable Lucario bested a champion… No, TWO champions…" Brendan growled as the ice in his eyes melted and was replaced by a fiery fire, "… And then you go get yourself caught by Silver's boy…!?"

    "… Like it was really… My choice…" Lucario growled back and kept himself steadfast despite Brendan increasing the strength of his grip.

    Suddenly, Brendan seemed to cool down as he let go of Lucario and returned his voice to the melancholic demeanor he had put on earlier.

    "You brought the final confrontation between me and my lifelong rival to a standstill." he said with utter disdain in his voice, "While being chained up in here for a while is a fitting punishment, it is also a rather dull one."

    Suddenly, Brendan leaned in closer to Lucario, who moved his head back in disgust, thinking he might bite him. Brendan was so near that he could count the hairs on Lucario's face, and he started smiling as he finally saw a trace of fear in the Pokémon's expression.

    "When these scientists are finished with their experiments… If they poke around that hairy head of yours and find nothing but dandruff…" Brendan whispered quietly while reaching out a hand and gently stroking the frozen Lucario's head, "… You will be freed. By my hands, if necessary."

    The hope that would normally have sparked within Lucario was drowned out by the sheer absurdity of the situation.

    "You shall receive a day's head start before the hunt resumes..." Brendan spoke quietly as his smile grew wider and more manic, "… And that will be the last sliver of mercy you can expect from me."

    The instinct to batter away this lunatic came upon Lucario in wave after wave, but his chained situation combined with his complete lack of energy gave him no other option but to stare back at Brendan. Somehow, this seemed to make both of them angrier.

    "Hmpf. You look halfway dead, already…" Brendan muttered, disappointed at the lack of an outburst like the one he had gotten in their previous battle. Reaching into his pocket, he dragged out a small loaf of bread.

    "Here. Keep those leg muscles from decomposing." he said, stuffing the bread into Lucario's mouth, "You are going to need them."

    Lucario felt like spluttering from the intrusion, but knew that every crumb that fell to the floor would be a sliver of life lost if he didn't escape soon. The bread tasted like berries for some reason. The horrible taste was lost to him as he grouchily chewed the bread while Brendan turned around to leave.

    "Wait…" Lucario said as he hastily swallowed the major part of the food he had been given, "… The penguin…"

    "Let us continue this conversation on the battlefield…" Brendan said with a slightly disgusted tone, "… Prey."

    The door closed behind the trainer, leaving Lucario alone again. His brain began processing this new information, before his stomach started digesting the food and he decided to take a rest instead.

    "Forgive me for my earlier rudeness," a voice sounded and woke him up, "I did not realize you were THE Lucario."

    Lucario opened his eyes half expecting the man that had put him under hypnosis earlier, and was surprised to see that he was right.

    Bowing courteously in front of him was the man that had taken the Dragonair to her doom. Lucario's vision was still far from perfect, but as the man was so close he could distinguish that it was an unremarkable man in his thirties, dressed in a white robe and carrying glasses on his emotionless face.

    "You…" Lucario wheezed weakly while noting a faint difference in the scientist in front of him. Even though he appeared the same as before, something Lucario could not quite put his finger on had changed about him. A hint of relief struck as Lucario noticed that the Pokémon with the creepy aura was no longer there.

    "A Pokémon, completely immune to Pokeballs…" the scientist continued as his face remained expressionless, "Truly a collector's item… Would that be a possibility?"

    "Whatever…" Lucario mumbled, the remnants of the bread combined with a lack of water not doing much to prevent a parched throat, "Set me free… Or give me some water… I'll be anything you want."

    "You have sent the higher brass on a fruitless quest long enough," the scientist continued, "Perhaps your catch rate is lower than most Pokémon, but to go against modern science you still have much to acquire."

    "Oh yeah…" Lucario mumbled as he spaced out and the Dragonair's demise suddenly flashed through his mind, "You're the guy who understood me… Right?" The scientist suddenly turned around and walked to the other side of the room, where Lucario saw several blinking lights.

    "But before I can do anything, I need to get you under control," the scientist said while hastily sitting down on a chair, "As luck would have it, Pokeballs are far from our only means of controlling your kind."

    "… Huh!?" Lucario exclaimed, suddenly feeling a coldness seep through him. Looking around the room for means of escape, he finally noticed that there was something peculiar above him.

    There was a large ball of smooth material sticking out of a long stick, with several needle-like appendages protruding from the sides. No matter how hard he looked at it, he was unable to grasp why it looked like it did and what it might be used for.

    "They are portable and handy, and would work perfectly fine if not for you…" the scientist kept going while seemingly looking in Lucario's direction in the darkness of the room, "This machine is not quite portable, but its capturing powers are far amplified."

    "Shit…" Lucario muttered while the scientist started typing away at an unseen keyboard, "You already have me here, and yet you still want to capture me?" He was fairly indifferent to this development, due to a lack of energy as well as care. While the prospect of turning into a red light and being trapped inside such a tiny compartment was not a pleasant one, he felt it beat starving to death in a cell.

    Then again, as he began analyzing the situation he realized that this is the man who took Dragonair away from the cell and turned her into what she was now. Suddenly staying put in the cell didn't seem like such a bad thing.

    "See it as a Master Ball with unlimited uses… Perhaps even stronger" the scientist said calmly before pushing down a button a leaning back, "Let us find out." Instantly the strange contraption above Lucario began emitting a whirr, followed by a bright light.

    "You'll regret this…" Lucario said intimidatingly, but in a voice lacking power. Slowly he began to realize that should it work, his chances of escape would be even slimmer.

    "Worry not, my experiments should be over before you know it," the scientist said coldly, "Just a quick check up, and then you can go meet your new trainer."

    "Oh… I can't wait" Lucario replied, suddenly getting the urge to crack his knuckles. Looking up, he saw nothing but a bright light covering up what seemed to be slightly weaker red glow above him. In his mind the glow took the shape of many different creatures, the last of which looked remarkably like Celebi.

    "Should've asked what it was like…" Lucario muttered to himself before the red light suddenly exploded and engulfed him from head to toe. His normal defiance deterred at the fear of turning blind, and he closed his eyes and waited for it all to be over.

    When the machine finally stopped, nothing had changed. The light was gone but both the room and Lucario were the same as before. Not even the expression of the dull scientist had altered in the slightest.

    "… Indeed…" he said, "It seems that you are insistent on keeping us on this fruitless quest a little longer…"

    "Haahh…" Lucario sighed, not out of relief but boredom. Going from fighting for his life and meeting many strange creatures every day to this had left an unexpected hole in his heart.

    "Hmm… I am not getting the usual rush…" the scientist said with a bored sigh as the clattering on the keyboard resumed, "Let me just re-calibrate this…"

    Lucario groaned and lowered his head, thinking that if he feigned death they would give him something to eat and maybe even a chance to escape. However, his body was so low on energy that when he stilled himself and closed his eyes he almost immediately fell unconscious.

    The next thing he knew, the door to the room flew open. The scientist was gone, and the odd sensations of many new auras swirled around in him. The energy from the food he had been given earlier had finally entered his system, and he felt invigorated as he looked up and saw two Pokémon he had never seen before in front of him. One of them was slim and dark, while the other looked rather large and brutish in comparison.

    "Lucario, I presume?" the dark one said, "I'm Zoroark, the revolutionist. I'll be rescuing you now."

    - - - - - - - -

    "The TV's ready... What about everyone else?"

    "Ready!"

    "Just do it, already!"

    "... THUNDERSHOCK!"

    *KRSHH*ning strike*BRRTZ*

    "It's working! Ha ha ha, it's really working!"

    "Keep going, keep going!"

    "HNNNGGGGG!"

    *SSHZTZHH*he news, I'll have to ca*KRSCH*

    "Come on, we can't hear anything!"

    "Your magnets are interfering with the signal! Keep them still!"

    "Really? That's how they work?

    "Hmm...! Like this...?"

    ... where a group of wild Pokemon have broken into Saff. 15 and are currently engaging local security.

    "BORING! Switch to the cartoon channel!"

    "Be quiet! That's not the reason we're doing this!"

    Saff. 15, notable for being involved in the Sliph CO scandal many decades ago is a top-secret facility used by th*BRRZZT*

    "Hey! Keep 'em steady!"

    "Saff... Saff. 15!? B-But that's where they took-"

    "I KNOW! Stop flailing about so we can hear what's going on!"

    *FZZT* *BRZZT* as an organized attack by wild Pokemon of this scale has not occurred for several decades. Authorities *KSHH* that the nearby Mew sighting by an abandoned truck that was proven to be a hoax *SHHZH* related to this event, and investigations into the matter are…

    "… Unbelievable…"

    "Psst! He's busy thinking, switch to the cartoon channel!"

    *KRSHH*er! Hey there, I'm up-and-coming Trainer *BRRTZ* from the backwater town of *FZZTZ*! With the help of Pokemon Professor *VRTZZ* and rival *SHRSHH*, I'm on a journey going across *CHHH* to collect all eight Pokemon League Badges and challenge the Elite Four, all while singlehandedly thwarting the schemes of the evil crime syndicate Team *GNYYZZ* and filling up a Pokedex because... Well, why not?"

    "This show sucks! I wanna see Lonesome Wanderer Lucario!"

  7. #57
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    Chapter 24

    Twisted Pokémon Professor






    "Tighter!" someone said, "I don't want him moving an inch!"

    "What, afraid he might bite?" someone else said.

    Lucario slowly regained his consciousness, relieved that he had escaped death in his sleep once more. Keeping a track of time in his windowless cell was as hopeless as the Dragonair had claimed, but his rumbling stomach told him that he had been imprisoned far too long. He could barely see, and everything he heard a strange distortion to it.

    "These things can manipulate aura and do all sorts of weird stuff," the first voice said with a nervous tone.

    "Like that'll do anything against good ol' steel!" the second voice said, giving one of the chains an affectionate pat as they cut into Lucario's aching wrists.

    "I'm just saying, anything short of nailing his behind to the floor is unsafe," the first voice replied and followed it with a short chuckle.

    Lucario's arms felt very tired, and he noticed that he was being held up by something. Peering through the darkness surrounding him, he saw that his arms were being suspended by something made out of a cold and tough material that would have felt more familiar against his knuckles than around his wrists.

    "He's sedated," the thin man said before suddenly flicking Lucario's nose, "See? Completely harmless." Lucario perked up and looked in front of him with a stare of a thousand fires. All he saw was a blurred image of someone… Nothing he hadn't experienced after a night of one too many drinks.

    "Hey…" the blurry person said, "… I think he likes me!"

    "Come closer," Lucario whispered while faking a smile, "I'll eat your face."

    Having been caged like an animal for a few days without any food had made him drop most of his usual reservations, and even with his faded vision he could tell this ugly piece of work wouldn't look much worse with half a nose. He continued musing hatred for his unknown captors for a while before the sheer energy consumption of his belly crying out for food proved too much, as he fell into unconsciousness once more.

    For a short moment he experienced a dream where pulled the chains out of the walls and used them as whips and threw generic henchmen left and right. Then one of the chains suddenly turned into a blue snake while the other turned into a green vine. The vine started strangling him while the snake kept his arms apart, the vine starting to feel strangely sharp against his throat…

    "A Pokémon in tatters…" a voice sounded with crystal clarity and instantly broke him away from his dream, "… What a pitiful sight."

    The familiarity of the voice made Lucario think he had fallen into yet another nightmare, but slowly opening his eyes he saw that he was far worse off than that.

    With hair as white as snow and a chilling expression masking his usual madness stood Brendan, hardly a foot away from the chained Pokémon. Lucario flinched instinctively, and his right shoulder began hurting as he tugged against his bindings.

    "These eggheads tell me that you're a fair share more intelligent than your average critter," Brendan said coldly without changing his expression, "So if you can understand me, feel free to rattle in fear."

    At the sound of this, Lucario decided to not move an inch even if it meant his death. The scene of him hanging pathetically from the ground next to Brendan's unwavering stature was not one he enjoyed, but decided not to give the trainer the pleasure of cowering and kept his head raised.

    "For three days and two nights you eluded me," Brendan said in an articulate way while waving his right arm around, "Escaping my every assault… Surviving my every strategy…"

    Lucario was starting to wonder if this calm and composed soul was the same sadistic madman he had fought earlier, but got his answer as Brendan suddenly grabbed a hold of his head.

    "An unremarkable Lucario bested a champion… No, TWO champions…" Brendan growled as the ice in his eyes melted and was replaced by a fiery fire, "… And then you go get yourself caught by Silver's boy…!?"

    "… Like it was really… My choice…" Lucario growled back and kept himself steadfast despite Brendan increasing the strength of his grip.

    Suddenly, Brendan seemed to cool down as he let go of Lucario and returned his voice to the melancholic demeanor he had put on earlier.

    "You brought the final confrontation between me and my lifelong rival to a standstill." he said with utter disdain in his voice, "While being chained up in here for a while is a fitting punishment, it is also a rather dull one."

    Suddenly, Brendan leaned in closer to Lucario, who moved his head back in disgust, thinking he might bite him. Brendan was so near that he could count the hairs on Lucario's face, and he started smiling as he finally saw a trace of fear in the Pokémon's expression.

    "When these scientists are finished with their experiments… If they poke around that hairy head of yours and find nothing but dandruff…" Brendan whispered quietly while reaching out a hand and gently stroking the frozen Lucario's head, "… You will be freed. By my hands, if necessary."

    The hope that would normally have sparked within Lucario was drowned out by the sheer absurdity of the situation.

    "You shall receive a day's head start before the hunt resumes..." Brendan spoke quietly as his smile grew wider and more manic, "… And that will be the last sliver of mercy you can expect from me."

    The instinct to batter away this lunatic came upon Lucario in wave after wave, but his chained situation combined with his complete lack of energy gave him no other option but to stare back at Brendan. Somehow, this seemed to make both of them angrier.

    "Hmpf. You look halfway dead, already…" Brendan muttered, disappointed at the lack of an outburst like the one he had gotten in their previous battle. Reaching into his pocket, he dragged out a small loaf of bread.

    "Here. Keep those leg muscles from decomposing." he said, stuffing the bread into Lucario's mouth, "You are going to need them."

    Lucario felt like spluttering from the intrusion, but knew that every crumb that fell to the floor would be a sliver of life lost if he didn't escape soon. The bread tasted like berries for some reason. The horrible taste was lost to him as he grouchily chewed the bread while Brendan turned around to leave.

    "Wait…" Lucario said as he hastily swallowed the major part of the food he had been given, "… The penguin…"

    "Let us continue this conversation on the battlefield…" Brendan said with a slightly disgusted tone, "… Prey."

    The door closed behind the trainer, leaving Lucario alone again. His brain began processing this new information, before his stomach started digesting the food and he decided to take a rest instead.

    "Forgive me for my earlier rudeness," a voice sounded and woke him up, "I did not realize you were THE Lucario."

    Lucario opened his eyes half expecting the man that had put him under hypnosis earlier, and was surprised to see that he was right.

    Bowing courteously in front of him was the man that had taken the Dragonair to her doom. Lucario's vision was still far from perfect, but as the man was so close he could distinguish that it was an unremarkable man in his thirties, dressed in a white robe and carrying glasses on his emotionless face.

    "You…" Lucario wheezed weakly while noting a faint difference in the scientist in front of him. Even though he appeared the same as before, something Lucario could not quite put his finger on had changed about him. A hint of relief struck as Lucario noticed that the Pokémon with the creepy aura was no longer there.

    "A Pokémon, completely immune to Pokeballs…" the scientist continued as his face remained expressionless, "Truly a collector's item… Would that be a possibility?"

    "Whatever…" Lucario mumbled, the remnants of the bread combined with a lack of water not doing much to prevent a parched throat, "Set me free… Or give me some water… I'll be anything you want."

    "You have sent the higher brass on a fruitless quest long enough," the scientist continued, "Perhaps your catch rate is lower than most Pokémon, but to go against modern science you still have much to acquire."

    "Oh yeah…" Lucario mumbled as he spaced out and the Dragonair's demise suddenly flashed through his mind, "You're the guy who understood me… Right?" The scientist suddenly turned around and walked to the other side of the room, where Lucario saw several blinking lights.

    "But before I can do anything, I need to get you under control," the scientist said while hastily sitting down on a chair, "As luck would have it, Pokeballs are far from our only means of controlling your kind."

    "… Huh!?" Lucario exclaimed, suddenly feeling a coldness seep through him. Looking around the room for means of escape, he finally noticed that there was something peculiar above him.

    There was a large ball of smooth material sticking out of a long stick, with several needle-like appendages protruding from the sides. No matter how hard he looked at it, he was unable to grasp why it looked like it did and what it might be used for.

    "They are portable and handy, and would work perfectly fine if not for you…" the scientist kept going while seemingly looking in Lucario's direction in the darkness of the room, "This machine is not quite portable, but its capturing powers are far amplified."

    "Shit…" Lucario muttered while the scientist started typing away at an unseen keyboard, "You already have me here, and yet you still want to capture me?" He was fairly indifferent to this development, due to a lack of energy as well as care. While the prospect of turning into a red light and being trapped inside such a tiny compartment was not a pleasant one, he felt it beat starving to death in a cell.

    Then again, as he began analyzing the situation he realized that this is the man who took Dragonair away from the cell and turned her into what she was now. Suddenly staying put in the cell didn't seem like such a bad thing.

    "See it as a Master Ball with unlimited uses… Perhaps even stronger" the scientist said calmly before pushing down a button a leaning back, "Let us find out." Instantly the strange contraption above Lucario began emitting a whirr, followed by a bright light.

    "You'll regret this…" Lucario said intimidatingly, but in a voice lacking power. Slowly he began to realize that should it work, his chances of escape would be even slimmer.

    "Worry not, my experiments should be over before you know it," the scientist said coldly, "Just a quick check up, and then you can go meet your new trainer."

    "Oh… I can't wait" Lucario replied, suddenly getting the urge to crack his knuckles. Looking up, he saw nothing but a bright light covering up what seemed to be slightly weaker red glow above him. In his mind the glow took the shape of many different creatures, the last of which looked remarkably like Celebi.

    "Should've asked what it was like…" Lucario muttered to himself before the red light suddenly exploded and engulfed him from head to toe. His normal defiance deterred at the fear of turning blind, and he closed his eyes and waited for it all to be over.

    When the machine finally stopped, nothing had changed. The light was gone but both the room and Lucario were the same as before. Not even the expression of the dull scientist had altered in the slightest.

    "… Indeed…" he said, "It seems that you are insistent on keeping us on this fruitless quest a little longer…"

    "Haahh…" Lucario sighed, not out of relief but boredom. Going from fighting for his life and meeting many strange creatures every day to this had left an unexpected hole in his heart.

    "Hmm… I am not getting the usual rush…" the scientist said with a bored sigh as the clattering on the keyboard resumed, "Let me just re-calibrate this…"

    Lucario groaned and lowered his head, thinking that if he feigned death they would give him something to eat and maybe even a chance to escape. However, his body was so low on energy that when he stilled himself and closed his eyes he almost immediately fell unconscious.

    The next thing he knew, the door to the room flew open. The scientist was gone, and the odd sensations of many new auras swirled around in him. The energy from the food he had been given earlier had finally entered his system, and he felt invigorated as he looked up and saw two Pokémon he had never seen before in front of him. One of them was slim and dark, while the other looked rather large and brutish in comparison.

    "Lucario, I presume?" the dark one said, "I'm Zoroark, the revolutionist. I'll be rescuing you now."

    - - - - - - - -

    "The TV's ready... What about everyone else?"

    "Ready!"

    "Just do it, already!"

    "... THUNDERSHOCK!"

    *KRSHH*ning strike*BRRTZ*

    "It's working! Ha ha ha, it's really working!"

    "Keep going, keep going!"

    "HNNNGGGGG!"

    *SSHZTZHH*he news, I'll have to ca*KRSCH*

    "Come on, we can't hear anything!"

    "Your magnets are interfering with the signal! Keep them still!"

    "Really? That's how they work?

    "Hmm...! Like this...?"

    ... where a group of wild Pokemon have broken into Saff. 15 and are currently engaging local security.

    "BORING! Switch to the cartoon channel!"

    "Be quiet! That's not the reason we're doing this!"

    Saff. 15, notable for being involved in the Sliph CO scandal many decades ago is a top-secret facility used by th*BRRZZT*

    "Hey! Keep 'em steady!"

    "Saff... Saff. 15!? B-But that's where they took-"

    "I KNOW! Stop flailing about so we can hear what's going on!"

    *FZZT* *BRZZT* as an organized attack by wild Pokemon of this scale has not occurred for several decades. Authorities *KSHH* that the nearby Mew sighting by an abandoned truck that was proven to be a hoax *SHHZH* related to this event, and investigations into the matter are…

    "… Unbelievable…"

    "Psst! He's busy thinking, switch to the cartoon channel!"

    *KRSHH*er! Hey there, I'm up-and-coming Trainer *BRRTZ* from the backwater town of *FZZTZ*! With the help of Pokemon Professor *VRTZZ* and rival *SHRSHH*, I'm on a journey going across *CHHH* to collect all eight Pokemon League Badges and challenge the Elite Four, all while singlehandedly thwarting the schemes of the evil crime syndicate Team *GNYYZZ* and filling up a Pokedex because... Well, why not?"

    "This show sucks! I wanna see Lonesome Wanderer Lucario!"

  8. #58
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    The next chapter's hardly in need of a preview... But then again, it wouldn't make consistent, so here you are:



    - Look like it's time for jailbait!

    - I think you mean 'Jailbreak'.

    - Huh? Nah, did that with my phone ages ago.

    *Ba-thump-TISH*

  9. #59
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    Chapter 25

    Unique Revolutionist Zoroark





    "I trust there are no objections?" the dark one calling itself Zoroark asked with a cocky tone. It was a wolf-like humanoid who reminded Lucario a lot of himself. It had a sleek snout accompanied by beady, sharp eyes in emerald color. In contrast to Lucario's blue hairy fur it had a finer black coat, with a gigantic wild bush of red hair sticking out of its head, darkening into black by the edges. The hairdo was almost as big as the rest of its thin body, and definitively thicker. It had claws in the shape of several red spikes, not as long or intimidating as Zerobi's but seemingly more flexible and probably more dangerous.

    "Poor predictable humans, always using steel…" Zoroark sighed while shaking his head and pointing to the chain holding Lucario in place, "Connor, take care of it." In response to this, the brutish one started moving with slow, heavy steps. It also had a humanoid form, but was much larger with bulging muscles and visible veins covering its body. It also had short grey beard, making it look like a peculiar mixture between a grouchy old man and a bodybuilder currently dabbling with steroids.

    "If you can't walk, Connor here will carry you," Zoroark said while waving his hand towards his big partner, "… Although, I believe it would be a boon to the both of you if you could." Lucario's eyes were fastened upon Connor's hulking form as he reached out his long arms and clenched them around the chain keeping his left arm suspended. The veins over Connor's arms started pumping wildly as he grunted, the steel crumbling in his hands with a low cracking noise.

    "Oh, man!" Lucario shouted, shocked by this display of power.

    "Oh hey," Zoroark exclaimed with an amused tone, "He talks!"

    "Of course, I…" Lucario replied before more pressing questions leapt to his mind, "… How'd you get here? Why are you helping me?"

    "Tell me, have you heard anything about the revolution?" Zoroark asked with a subtle smile forming on his face.

    "Probably not..." Lucario sighed, very rarely getting the chance of sounding like he was up to date on current events.

    "… Well, I'll fill you in on it later…" Zoroark muttered disappointedly, "For now, let's just get out of here."

    A piece of the second linked chain disappeared into Connor's hungry palms as Lucario fell to the ground, using his arms to support himself. He had expected both his arms and legs to be weaker, but he was able to stand up just fine with no unexpected effects besides a relieving feeling in his arms. His wrists were still aching though, and looking down he saw that about half a foot of chains were still dangling under his arms like a broken pair of handcuffs.

    "We'll need precision work to take care of that," Zoroark said while looking at the chains, "Trust me, you do NOT want this guy operating on you."

    "Wow, thanks! I owe you a handshake!" Lucario said as he saw remnants of the crumbled chains still on Connor's hand, "Let me just grab a diamond glove from somewhere…"

    "You'll have to do better than that," Zoroark said with a shrug, "Nothing ever leaves Connor's grip intact, no excepti-"

    "GET THEM!" a voice suddenly echoed from the open door, making the three of them cease their conversation and turn towards it.

    Sharing the room with them now was two new Pokémon, both fairly small. One of them stood on four legs and had a red color to its skin, with several wine red tails perking up behind it. The other was a plant using its own thin roots as legs, supporting a big head shaped like a bell.

    Standing directly outside the room was a human, shrouded by a veil of darkness.

    "Stop!" the red fox screamed, "We'll fight you!"

    "Why!?" Zoroark shouted back while pointing dramatically at it, "We have no intention of harming anyone, we only wish to free our brethren!" The fox flinched visibly and lacked anything resembling a comeback.

    "Vulpix, use Flamethrower!" the trainer yelled and growled threateningly at them.

    "Remember your heritage! Pokémon should not fight at the behest of humans!" Zoroark continued before taking a determined step forward, "We have simply chosen the wilderness! If you will not stand beside us, at the very least stand aside!"

    "Vulpix, you miserable sack of tails! ATTACK!" the trainer bellowed, making the Vulpix look between him and Zoroark in confusion.

    "Have it your way!" the trainer kept going before looking at the thin plant, "Bellsprout! Razor Leaf, NOW!" The Bellsprout and Vulpix both exchanged a panicked look for a moment, silently asking each other what to do.

    "And you… I can see it in your eyes… What you crave most of all…" Zoroark told the grass-type as a charming smile appeared on his face, "Freedom."

    "I-I…" the Bellsprout stammered with a soft voice and worried look on its face as it began fidgeting around, "How can I take the risk…?"

    "Take the risk?" Zoroark sighed before shaking his head, "Sweetie… It's the chance of a lifetime!"

    "Not you too!" the trainer shouted as he suddenly pulled out two Pokeballs that he recalled both the Vulpix and Bellsprout into, "Stinking idiots!"

    The instant the red beam struck the two Pokémon, Zoroark made his move. Launching across the room like a ray of darkness, he extracted a small vial containing a yellow powder from the bushy red fur on his head. The trainer barely reacted as Zoroark coated his own claws with the powder and used them to lightly pierce the skin of the human's neck, just barely drawing blood.

    The trainer took a surprised step backwards with a shocked expression, before suddenly falling down.

    "Stun Spore," Zoroark said confidently before putting the vial back where he had extracted it from and looking at Lucario, whose expression was comparable to that of the stunned trainer, "Don't worry, he's just temporarily paralyzed."

    "H-Holy shit…" Lucario stuttered astonished. Between Zoroark's ability to convince both enemies to stand down and his amazing speed, he was unsure as to what had surprised him the most. He stood frozen as he saw Zoroark bend over and pick up the Pokeballs from the stunned trainer.

    "Two more," Zoroark said calmly, throwing the two Pokeballs to Connor who caught one in each hand. A shudder ran through Lucario as he imagined Connor crushing the balls with blood seeping out of them, but instead he put them into the backpack.

    "Let's go, time's wasting…" Zoroark muttered before signaling for Lucario to follow him.

    "Wait… How did you do that?" Lucario asked, still flabbergasted.

    "I've got my way with Pokémon," Zoroark answered, not realizing that Lucario was more curious as to how he had kept a vial in his hair, "They were all captured at some point. More often than not, you'll find most of 'em still prefer the wilderness!"

    They ran out of the room, Lucario getting a weird feeling from finally getting to use his legs again. Outside the door he had seen so many come and go through was nothing but a long, dreary corridor with black walls and a ceiling not very far above their heads. The only thing remarkable about this area was that three more Pokémon and trainers were standing in the middle of it.

    "… Then again, the exception's fairly common, as well…" Zoroark muttered as all the trainers started shouting commands to their respective Pokémon.

    "Pretty tight spot," Lucario mumbled with disdain. He sensed no intimidating aura from the Pokémon, but knew that the trainers probably possess more of them.

    "Leave them to me," Zoroark said confidently with a sinister smile as he flexed his arms, "Unless, of course, you want to join in?"

    "You sure?" Lucario asked, cracking his knuckles, "They might be harder to convert when they're unconscious."

    "Be my guest," Zoroark answered before shrugging, "I want to see what you can do."

    The two of them became quiet as the first Pokémon, a large bird holding on to a leek with one of its wings flew at Lucario, quickly slapping him in the face with it. He responded by punching the avian straight on the beak.

    "A-A bloody leek!?" he shouted in surprise as the bird hunched over and covered its damaged beak, "Are you kidding me!? Finding a stick too much of a hassle, or what!?" A tiny ball of fire suddenly flew past him, lighting up the corridor as a red lizard quickly followed it and smashed into Connor's outstretched fist.

    "You up for this?" Zoroark asked, throwing a quick glance to Lucario before dashing towards the third Pokémon.

    "… Sure!" Lucario responded as he saw a small round object come flying at him. The vision of an aggressive Mienfoo passed through his mind as he jumped straight up and hit the ceiling. Using his arms to push away from it, he went flying down like a rocket aided by gravity and delivered a mighty stomp to the Pokémon that had been sent his way, immediately knocking it out. Stepping off the unconscious creature, he saw that it was something like a pink ball with ears and the marks of two large paws imprinted on its back.

    "Not bad! Not bad at all!" Zoroark laughed after watching the whole spectacle as the large weight of Connor's fist came down upon the bird Pokémon like a hammer and knocked it out, "I'm starting to like you already!"

    "Uh…" Lucario mumbled while looking at the trainers, all of which had now shared the fate of the previous one, "Did you really have to paralyze them?"

    "No… I could kill them, if you'd prefer that," Zoroark huffed before hunching over and beginning to pluck Pokeballs from the defeated trainers, "Help me out, we can't have this take too long."

    Lucario helped him extract Pokeballs from the immobile humans, enjoying the irony of the reverse capturing they were committing. The moment he held one of the Pokeballs in a firm grip, a pleasant sensation spread through him. A sense of adventure and accomplishment, and for a short moment he mused over the idea of saving a few Pokeballs for later, building his own personal army to keep in his pocket.

    "… Heh, nah…" he snickered to himself before throwing the Pokeball to Connor. After they were finished looting Pokeballs, they started running down the long corridor again. A quick look at Zoroark told Lucario that he was glad, for some reason.

    "We can't save 'em all, or we'll lose 'em all," Zoroark said while trying his best to sound serious, "The majority of their forces are away, looking for Mew. They'll be back soon, so the faster we get out of here, the better!"

    "Looking for Mew?" Lucario repeated before getting hit by a memory flash, "Heh… Maybe I should join up with them?"

    "Dream on!" Zoroark chuckled, "It's just a trick of mine! Like the actual Mew would really show itself!"

    "Wait, so you used tricks before breaking in here with brute force…" Lucario said with a questioning voice, "Wouldn't it have been easier to use stealth to break out?"

    "Not while carrying you on back. I thought you'd be out cold…" Zoroark explained while looking over Lucario, "… But you're completely fine! Hell, did you even need a rescue!?"

    "Heh, like you wouldn't believe…" Lucario replied with a smile.

    The strenuous movement from the earlier battle had made itself known in his arms and legs, but Lucario still felt ready for more. His energy had spiked due to the introduction of food in his system after such a long period of starvation. For half an instant he felt grateful to Brendan, deciding to minimize his gloating after his eventual victory over the insane trainer.

    "Hey, listen…" Lucario said as the small penguin's fate returned to him once more, "Thanks for rescuing me, but there's a REAL troublesome guy after m-"

    It was then he noticed that a very loud rumbling noise was coming from behind. Turning around in shock, he saw that it was in fact Connor, using his arms to throw himself forward to keep the same speed as the two wolves. His hands crushed the ground beneath him, making the corridor they just passed through look like a cluster bomb had been ignited.

    "Hey, what kind of Pokémon is he?" Lucario asked as they turned around a corner.

    "A Conkeldurr," Zoroark replied, able to cut the corner with more mobility than Lucario and slowed down a bit on purpose.

    "Durr!?" Lucario repeated before getting a snide tone to his voice, "… Name fits."

    "So does your head in his palms," Zoroark said with a sinister smile, "Personally, I'd keep the mocking to a minimum." Connor smashed harshly into the wall of the corner, using his own velocity to bounce back on track.

    As they turned the corner and were finally out of the first corridor, Lucario groaned when he saw that yet another corridor awaiting them. His first thought of escape had been to jump out of a window, but each passageway had brought nothing but solid walls on every side.

    Suddenly, Lucario and Zoroark split off from each other by sidestepping as a small rock flew at them. It went past and struck Connor's face, who headbutted it in return and caused it to split into two. Lucario saw two larger rocks ahead of them with long arms, but did not have time to examine them more carefully as Zoroark leaped over them.

    "Slowpokes!" he laughed and kept on running.

    "Great stepping stones!" Lucario chimed in, using one of them as a foothold as he also ran past them. The two rocks with arms turned around to follow the two, not noticing the Conkeldurr coming up behind them, picking them up and smashing them together with brutal force.

    "Here!" Zoroark told Lucario, suddenly running into the wall on his right. At first he thought the Pokémon had gone mad, but Lucario saw that there was in fact a large hole in the wall, obscured by the darkness. They all ran into it, Zoroark carefully moving a thin metal cover out of the way as they ended up in a larger room.

    The room was brightly lit and filled with technological equipment, working in complete contrast to the corridor that now connected them through an improvised passageway. Even so, the roof had remained at the same low altitude as in the passageways preceding it.

    Directly in the middle of the room was yet another creature that looked like a large boulder, although this one had no arms and instead several hollow red appendages sticking out of it. It was completely immobile and lacked eyes, so Lucario didn't know whether it was awake or even alive.

    There were several exits in the room, but apparently Zoroark knew what he was doing. He moved quickly past the strange Pokémon without making a sound, signaling for the rest to follow him.

    "Haha! Eat my dust!" Lucario exclaimed cheerfully to follow up his remarks to the other rock Pokémon, accidentally alerting the Pokémon to his presence. Instantly it launched out a cache of triangular spikes at Lucario, who saw no way to dodge the attack and covered his face instinctively. Strangely enough, the few spikes that hit him seemed to just bounce off him without doing any damage, but the hasty movement of his hands had caused the chains around them to slap him on the head.

    "Tread carefully," Zoroark said with a bored tone, having stopped in his tracks to wait for his team. Lucario looked beneath him and saw that the triangular shape of the spikes had caused them to stand upright, creating a field of spikes on the floor.

    "Not a problem…" Lucario mumbled, taking a slow step and safety placing his foot in an open space between three of the spikes.

    That's when the boulder-like Pokémon started attacking. Large spikes launched from the pipes protruding from it, heading for them. Lucario just barely managed to knock a spike away right before impact while Zoroark ducked to avoid his, but Connor was hit by one of them as it pierced his chest.

    "Never mind, jump!" Zoroark commanded, "I'll make a landing!" He started kicking away the spikes surrounding the exit, Lucario quickly catching on and jumping towards him. While in midair he saw the sea of spikes he was heading toward and worried that he had jumped a bit too early, but Zoroark moved at inhuman speeds to clear away the spikes.

    Lucario landed safely as the Conkeldurr landed just beside him, creating heavy shockwaves and making him stumble a bit. They exchanged a quick look before dashing through the door into safety.

    "Whoa, are you OK!?" Lucario asked Connor with worry, to which he simply flexed his muscles and caused the spike to pop right of him.

    "No pressure, but further failure on your part will disqualify you from many good things, including freedom…" Zoroark told Lucario with a disappointed and dark voice.

    "Hey, I've been starved for weeks!" Lucario replied with an insulted tone, "Weren't you the one expecting to carry me out of here?"

    "I couldn't care less about your current state," Zoroark muttered as they resumed their running, "The only thing interesting me is your potential."

    Lucario had no time to inquire about this as they had entered yet another featureless corridor. Although this one seemed shorter than the previous ones, it had a confident Pokémon blocking their way…

    For a moment, Lucario thought that he was seeing a human, but as his eyes adjusted to the darkness of their new area he saw that it was more of a hulking beast. It had steel-colored muscles, massive enough to give the Conkeldurr a run for his money. The most prominent feature of the fearsome warrior was the fact that it had four large arms, all seemingly eager to crush and tear anyone stupid enough to challenge it.

    "Now… You face me…!" the Machamp growled intimidatingly, cracking his many knuckles against each other.

    Lucario and Zoroark split off in two directions, and in an instant the Machamp's head became crushed between Lucario's elbow and Zoroark's knee.

    "Empathize the 'face' part!" Lucario exclaimed gleefully.

    "Maybe next time…" Zoroark muttered as the two of them moved past the Machamp, who kneeled over from the powerful attack. The Conkeldurr followed shortly after, stepping on his fellow muscle head as he made a squeaking sound, making Lucario and Zoroark look at each other with boyish smiles.

    Their smiles quickly faded as they reached the end of the corridor and came upon what appeared to be a lobby, with desks and lamps everywhere. There was only one exit from this room, which was on the other side. Unfortunately, the room was absolutely PACKED with various humans and Pokémon, all staring at them with hostile intent.

    "Roadblock!" Lucario shouted.

    "There're too many of 'em to play around. Let me handle this alone…" Zoroark said confidently while taking a few calm steps forward, "You should probably stay back." Lucario was about to interject when he sensed an aura approaching from behind. Turning around, he saw the shamed Machamp from earlier come furiously running at them.

    "Aw great, thick skull's back for more…" Lucario sighed before moving in the opposite direction of Zoroark, "Fine, but when I'm turning back around, you'd better not have been defeated!"

    "Same to you…" Zoroark replied with a smile as they broke off, ready to engage their enemies.

    "Foolish Lucario! You thought you had me defeated!?" the Machamp bellowed with all his fists clenched, "I'm a fighting-type with four arms! You're going down!" It stretched out its appendages, striking at both sides of Lucario's head with its two lower arms. Lucario blocked them with his elbows as a glint passed through the Machamp's eyes, getting ready to bash him down with the two remaining arms from above. However, his attack only passed through air as Lucario ducked while releasing his block, causing the four arms to all collide with each other.

    "Four arms? I've beaten four ENEMIES at once!" Lucario said triumphantly before stepping down on his opponent's left foot, "That's EIGHT arms, and EIGHT legs. My only regret…" He then started pummeling away at the Machamp's exposed stomach, who tried to move back but was unable due to Lucario standing on his foot.

    "… Is that you only have one head…" Lucario kept going between punches as the chains around his hands whipped around and the Machamp lowered all four of his arms to defend himself, "… For me to kick!" Lucario saw his opening and took a step back, returning with a powerful jumping kick directly to the Machamp's unprotected skull.

    The room shook as Lucario spun around, seeing the roadblock unclog as Pokémon flew away in every direction. An explosion of darkness was at the epicenter of it all, reminding Lucario of the attack the Tyranitar had used earlier.

    "Path's clear," Zoroark said with a confident smile, not a single movement coming from the enemies on his side of the room.

    "Same here…" Lucario mumbled while looking down at the unconscious Machamp, "You know, if you need to go back for something." He moved to rejoin Zoroark at the end of the room, and ran past the silent Conkeldurr on the way.

    "Bad time to turn pacifistic," Lucario muttered at him.

    "He was standing by in case you needed assistance,"

    "… He's not that chatty, is he?" Lucario asked, thinking back to the bug he had shared a cell with not too long ago and involuntarily remembering the Dragonair at the same time. His train of thoughts was interrupted as a Pokémon suddenly came running at them from behind. It was not the kind of thing that would have surprised him at this point, if not for its appearance.

    "… Zerobi!?" Lucario exclaimed as he became frozen, instantly recognizing the black creature with the long claws. Even so, something seemed different. As she got nearer he noticed that she had sleeker look around her chest than usual, and looking down between the legs of the approaching Weavile he saw that something was indeed different.

    "GAH! WHAT THE...!?" Lucario exclaimed in utter horror as his heart almost stopped at the sight of the Pokémon's apparent gender.

    "Zerobi…?" Zoroark repeated slowly, not sure on whether to attack or not, "Lucario, you know this Weavile?"

    "Weavile…?" Lucario responded weakly as he remembered the name of the species of his old friend, "No, uh, I was thinking about some other Weavile!"

    "Hah! Think fast!" the Weavile shouted with a deep, dark voice as he lounged at Lucario, who ducked. Zoroark became pleased when he saw that Lucario now had the perfect opportunity to counter attack, but his jaw almost dropped as Lucario instead scrambled backwards.

    "Look out!" Lucario shouted with terror, "Don't get any blood on him!"

    "Oh, for crying out loud…" Zoroark muttered, "Connor. You're up."

    Zoroark ran up to the Weavile who tried to jump to the side, but Zoroark was able to easily match his speed. He picked him up and threw him at the Conkeldurr who once again nonchalantly held out his fist and let the Weavile crash into it.

    "Bad time to lose it, my friend…" Zoroark whispered calmly while grabbing a hold of Lucario's arm, pulling him to his feet.

    "Uhh…" Lucario stuttered as his brain slowly unscrambled from the horrifying vision, "Sorry. Wasn't expecting that."

    "We're almost out of here," Zoroark said with venom in his voice before moving toward the exit, "Come on, and try not to stumble on the way."

    "You know, you go from excited to calm pretty quickly," Lucario pointed out in the hopes of getting a quick jab in, "… But you saved me, so I guess it's cool." Zoroark responded with nothing but silence, and was relieved that no one noticed the faint twitch in his face he was unable to hold back.

    Another exit brought with it another room, this one far more interesting than what they had encountered so far. The ceiling was still as low as ever, but colorful tapestry and carpeting made everything appear a lot classier.

    "Man, running AND kicking things is taking a toll on my legs…" Lucario complained as his feet felt nice against the soft floor, "I think I'll punch whatever comes next."

    "Hold that thought…" Zoroark said as they saw two Pokémon in the middle of the room, locked in combat. One of them was suspended in midair, looking like a giant bee with huge stingers at the end of each arm. The other one was very short and had a black cloak covering its body. The cloak was battered and torn in several places, something grey and oddly familiar lying underneath.

    The large insect swooped down towards the being in the cloak, who narrowly avoided the giant spikes on its hand and somehow managed to trip on the matting. Suddenly, Zoroark leapt into action as he moved swiftly across the room and grabbed a hold of the peculiar bee's throat before throwing it into a nearby wall.

    "Oh! Zoroark!" the cloaked Pokémon exclaimed with a fairly feminine voice as it got up, "I-I tried to follow, b-but there w-was a W-Weavile-"

    "Mission's complete," Zoroark said flatly before turning his head to the room's exit, "We're retreating."

    "… Oh!" the creature exclaimed once more before nodding its head wildly, "Right!"

    As quickly as they had stopped, they had started running again. Lucario was taken aback by the abruptness of it all, and eagerly eyed the new addition to their team while trying to catch a glimpse of what the hell was running beside him. From the way it moved, he could tell that it had four legs.

    "… You're Lucario, right?" the new Pokémon asked, his gazes not having gone unnoticed, "I'm Astrid! Let's be friends!"

    "Uh…" Lucario muttered with surprise followed quickly by blandness, "Let's not."

    "W-Why!?" it stammered in response, the eyes beyond the veil of the cloak looking as if they were about to start crying.

    "… Are you serious? That's not how it works!" Lucario said loudly as an image of Zerobi flashed through his mind, "Friendship built on a request is nothing but an act!"

    "Astrid, befriend him on your own time," Zoroark said in the same bored tone he had taken a liking to not long ago, before replacing it with a more excited one in a heartbeat, "We're finally here!"

    Looking ahead, they saw a large staircase leading up into the ceiling, covered by the beautiful sight of daylight. Lucario wanted to jump for joy, his body's cries for vitamin D about to be settled, when suddenly a Pokémon came tumbling down the stairs. It was a green a mish-mash of various flower appendages, having a bulb as a lower body and leaves instead of arms. On its head it was donning the petals of a red flower, looking like a mixture between a hat and a crown.

    Even though Lucario was unable to make heads or tails out of this Pokémon, a very old memory within him sparked at the sight of it. Time stopped as he thought back to simpler times when he was able to take a break and relax instead of getting chased down every minute. The Pokémon in his mind danced around in the bright daylight, moving its body rhythmically and spreading beauty and joy in every direction.

    The current Pokémon was showing a more twisted display, bending itself in strange ways as it rolled down the staircase.

    "LILLIGANT!" Zoroark screamed, completely dropping his calm demeanor and running up to the fallen grass-type as Lucario snapped out of his reminiscence, "What happened!?"

    "Z-Zoroark!" the broken flower stammered frightfully, "RUN! Y-You must flee!"

    "Calm down!" Zoroark said as he tried to follow his own advice, "What's going on?"

    "T-That Alakazam…!" the Lilligant stuttered with eyes widened in fear, "I-It'll kill us all!"

    What followed was complete silence. The atmosphere in the room turned heavy as not one of them dared to make a move.

    Clack.

    A footstep was heard from the top of the stairs. Lucario had no idea what was causing this darkening of their world, but the frozen form of Astrid at his side told him that he was not alone in this. It impacted him in the direct opposite of what being near Celebi would.

    Clack. Clack.

    He saw a familiar human go down the staircase. It was the same scientist that had taken away the Dragonair and tried to capture him using an odd machine. His hands were in the pocket of his robes, descending from above like an angel. However, the current atmosphere made him more akin to an angel of death.

    Clack. Clack. Clack.

    Floating next to him was another creature that seemed familiar somehow. Lucario's first impression was that it was a very old being, with a rugged appearance and extremely long beard. It was a humanoid with yellow and brown skin, and even though it was larger than the scientist it had a more frail appearance. A reflection in the sunlight told Lucario that it was holding some kind of utensil in each hand, momentarily reminding him of the leek-wielder from earlier.

    "Your escape ends here," the scientist said out loud, but Lucario could barely hear it over the violent beating of his heart. Sensing the aura of the aged monster in front of him, he felt a power beyond that of Suicune, Raikou and Rayquaza all put together…


    - - - - - - - -


    "Several years passed until we finally found each other, and after hardly spending a month together..."

    "So what!? I never asked for a sister! I've lived all my life without one, and I'll continue with that!"

    "But… But… Our very existence is nothing short of a miracle! Fate demands that we should be together!"

    "Fate kept us apart, and for better reasons than you know...!"

    "… Zerobi! You cannot leave like this! I have… All my life I have dreamed of having a sister!"

    "Then tell me! Tell me please why I should spend MY life fulfilling someone else's dream!?"

    "…!"

    "…"

    "… Sis…"

    "… I must go."

    "…"

    "Goodbye… Celebi."

  10. #60
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    Alright, now all the recent chapters have double spacing between quotes. I'd do the rest as well, but I'm all out of motivation!

  11. #61
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    Now, here's a preview, but not just ANY preview... You see, the next chapter will not be just ANY chapter, but a very special one!



    You know, looking at this thing... It fills me with nostalgia, somehow...

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    ... You know what? That was a pretty lame preview. Let's have something more relevant!



    The summer is drawing to a close.

    I sure am going to miss all those bubbles.

  13. #63
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    Alright boys and girls, hold on tight! Wrap up whatever work you've got to get finished today and grab some snacks! It is finally time for the long-awaited...

    Prologue

    Initial Partner Ivy


    [img]http://i54.*******.com/30mxut1.png[/img]

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

    The sun was setting by the horizon, once more leaving a field of grass and flowers with the wind as their only company. Even in a world inhabited by hundreds of different Pokémon, finding a desolate area like this is not rare.

    The flowers were lapping up as much sunlight as possible before having to face another long night, creating a peculiar harmony between the gigantic ball of fire and easily flammable plants. The setting sun covered each blade of grass with a burning orange color, making the area appear aflame. Even so, every flower remained still as if finding peace in a fiery death.

    Every flower except for one.

    A particularly large one sailed across the sea of flowers, pushing aside the grassy matter and riding upon the back of a Pokémon. Her name was Ivy, an Ivysaur who was spending her evening exploring the world in an attempt to get her mind off things.

    The thought of exploration had seemed quite a bit more adventurous and romantic than the actual act. So far the greatest thing of interest she had passed by had been a field of flowers, a small body of water followed by another field of flowers as well as a Gloom passing by, reflecting her bored expression. Nothing she couldn't see at home, or anywhere else for that matter.

    In a twisted way it was working, since even the most common sight was an exciting one in this flat and uninteresting environment.

    Her exploration seemed to have been nothing short of fruitless when suddenly she saw the silhouette of something elongated and motionless standing by the horizon. Pensively she dreamed of it being a tall and dark stranger, too cool for both words and movement.

    The closer she got, she noticed that she had not been completely wrong in her assessment. It had been a strangely shaped stone sticking out of the ground like a monument, completely black against the setting sun. The soil underneath it was weak and newly dug, which told her exactly what manner of monument she had come across.

    Creating graves such as these was a rather uncommon practice among Pokémon, who would normally just dig a simple hole and fill it up. There was no inscription on the rock, and she became curious as to who lay buried there.

    Her question was abruptly answered as a clenched paw suddenly burst out of the ground. She reared back on her hind legs in shock and fell on her back while screaming in terror.

    "Z-Zombies!" she shouted, trying to regain her footing as another paw pierced the surface of the grave, the creature it belonged to seemingly digging its way upwards. A great hole formed in the ground as the dirt seeped underground, raining upon whoever had been buried there.

    "BLAH!" the zombie exclaimed the moment his mouth struck air, inhaling deeply while ignoring all the dirt surrounding his face. However, it would not let itself be ignored for long as it fell into his lungs and he started coughing loudly. The Ivysaur, who had been scrambling to get away suddenly stopped at the sound of this and turned herself around.

    "Zombies… Don't cough…" she whispered to herself, and saw the creature struggling to breathe and to get out of the grave at the same time.

    "Oh my, are you OK!?" she shouted, running towards him in an effort to help.

    "Argh…" the creature responded with the most gravelly voice she had ever heard, momentarily bringing her mind back to zombies, "Can't see… Hurts…"

    "Here, grab on" she said while extending a vine towards him, nudging his side to let him know where it was. Eagerly he brought his paws up to it, but fumbled around with it, trying to get a hold.

    "Hey…" he mumbled angrily, "Hold still…"

    "I am," Ivy responded, "Wait, let me handle this…"

    Twisting her vine around the Pokémon's waistline, she easily lifted him out of the grave, eliciting a surprised gasp from him. He was still covered in both dirt and mud, but Ivy instantly recognized the being kept in her vines as a Lucario.

    She lowered him down next to the grave and let go with her vine, but the moment his feet touched the ground he collapsed like a newborn baby, his legs giving no support.

    "Argh!" he growled, crashing against the soil he was once buried in. He could hear a voice, and something was bumping his side. His mind was still in scrambles, so he didn't really understand any of what was going on.

    "Ah! Sorry!" he heard a voice to the right of him. A fairly normal voice, to contrast everything else that was currently happening. His arms and legs felt a bit more simple than usual, his stomach felt even worse than after washing down chili with spoiled milk and he was somehow lying on a part of himself, although he couldn't determine what. Something sticking out of his butt as well as head.

    "… Are you OK?" he heard the voice again, snapping him out of his internal checkup and back into reality. He saw a rather orange sky above him filled with what seemed to be bubbles, and the unmistakable sound of waves could be heard.

    "Um… Who are you?" he once again heard the voice say. Turning his head to the right, he was greeted by the face of a monster. A green face with cancerous spots of darker green covering it, containing huge red eyes and a large mouth with fangs sticking out of it. Lucario was frozen for a moment, but did not completely snap until the face before him suddenly forced a cute smile.

    "GAH!" he exclaimed while trying to sit up, but even this simple action felt very different from what it would usually feel like.

    "What the… What the hell is this…" he growled to himself, not recognizing the sound of his own voice. He looked again at the green face, which was now looking worried.

    "AH! What the hell is THAT!?" he shouted, quickly trying to back away but falling to his side.

    "Huh?" Ivy asked, never having seen a reaction like this before, "What do you mean?"

    "I-It talks!" Lucario stammered with a panicking voice, getting a better look at the Ivysaur from a distance and seeing a large flower on top of it, "… Haha! HAHAHA! A… A giant green potted plant with legs and a face… That gets worried and talks…?"

    "Hey! You're being pretty rude to the girl who just helped you!" Ivy snapped back and took a step forward, "What's wrong with you!?"

    "STAY AWAY FROM ME, CARNIVORE!" Lucario bellowed and started to scuttle away faster, causing him to trip over his tail and fall backwards.

    "Curses!" he growled in frustration while instinctively reaching down to his butt and noticing that things were quite different indeed, "W-What's wrong with my body!?"

    "Stop yelling!" Ivy said with a loud voice while approaching the frightened Lucario, "Start making sense!"

    "I-I won't let you… Get me…" Lucario stuttered as he tried to crawl away when he suddenly saw a body of water not far away, "… Aha! I found your weakness, triffid!"

    Ivy stood in silence as she felt the statement was too stupid to respond to as Lucario moved toward the body of water at an impressively quick pace, considering that he was constantly stumbling over his own body parts.

    "Prepare yourself for…" Lucario started and reached a hand into the body of water, but instantly stopped himself when he noticed he no longer had any hands.

    "W…" was all the noise Lucario could muster before he stared in disbelief at his own reflection, not moving a single muscle.

    An odd creature stared back at him, a hazy vision from the murky waters. He had never seen anything like it before. He thought there was another monster beneath the water's surface, waiting to consume him.

    It had the same shape of a human, but was still nothing like it. It had much larger ears, a snout and a fine blue fur covering his entire body. Where he assumed the chest of the creature was, the hair was much longer and in a yellow color. Its arms ended with paws instead of hands, and its legs were more reminiscent of hind legs. It was wearing a pair of pants out of which a fairly short tail stuck out, and from the back of its head hung strange black cylindrical appendages that looked a little like thick dreadlocks.

    Staring at the water, Lucario moved his head back in shock, and noticed that the creature did the same. He tried raising his right arm, and the creature did the same with its left one. Observing the creature very carefully, he saw it slowly move both its arms up to its head and pull down its long ears to its sides. Then, the creature appeared to clutch the end of them and squeeze hard.

    He could feel it.

    And so, the monster consumed him.

    Ivy watched as the scene with the strange Pokémon by the water progressed. He had been gripping his ears now for almost a minute without moving, his face frozen in terror.

    "Um..." she said as she started walking closer to him, "What's wrong?"

    His eyes quickly darted to look at her while the rest of his body was completely still, but after a second he slowly turned to face her.

    "Me…" he answered with a weak, frightened voice, "… What am I?"

    "… A Lucario, right?" Ivy replied, wondering what he was getting at.

    "What… What did you call me?" he asked.

    "What I called you!?" Ivy said angrily, "You called me a potted plant!"

    Ivy awaited a response and was preparing to follow up, but stopped herself and watched as the shocked Pokémon suddenly looked down at his body and started moving his limbs. His expression was one of strong disbelief.

    "I'm a… What? A Lucasmario?" he mumbled before silently staring at himself in the water for a while.

    "You… Are you alright? I didn't mean to be so harsh before, I…" Ivy started, but was interrupted as Lucario swallowed his fears and looked directly at the monster.

    "A… A 'Lucario'… Right?" he said, not masking the shakiness in his voice completely, "... What's that?"

    "That's what you are" Ivy said, starting to get a nasty feeling of what might be going on, "You know... A Pokémon."

    "... Pokemon? What's a Pokémon?" Lucario answered, much to her shock.

    "Huh? You don't know that!?" she exclaimed with a surprised look on her face, "Pokémon are... Well, us! We both are Pokémon! I mean, what do you think you are?" Lucario looked at her with a strange look for a few seconds.

    "Me?" Lucario said as if the answer should be obvious, "A human, of course!"

    "A... A human!?" Ivy repeated with shock. Whatever answer she had expected, this was not even remotely close to it. What made things even more strange was that the Lucario seemed to be serious about what he had just said.

    "... A human?" she said while looking over him yet again, "... But you look exactly like a Lucario in every way!"

    "No way in hell!" Lucario yelled as his voice suddenly lost its meekness and gained a hint of determination, "I clearly remember being human! This body's all wrong! What the hell's going on!?"

    "But I've never even heard of anything like that happening before!" Ivy yelled back in the same tone for reasons unknown to herself.

    "… Said the goblin with a damn plant sticking out of its back…" Lucario muttered angrily, "… Who yelled 'Zombies' at me, like, five minutes ago…"

    They were silent for a while, both of them thinking deeply. The sun had halfway disappeared by the horizon, leaving nothing to expect but further darkness.

    "… You are sure that you were originally human, right?" Ivy whispered, by which she was replied with a quiet nod from the Lucario still deep in his own thoughts.

    "Definitively… My legs seem clumsy, my ears feel big, and..." Lucario said out loud before turning around and looking behind himself, seeing what he had been lying on earlier, "… Man, I even have a tail!?"

    "Hey… Take it easy…" Ivy said when she heard the bitterness in Lucario's last sentence, "Don't worry... I mean, if you really were turned into a Pokemon, who says that you can't turn back into a human?" Lucario's face suddenly lit up, and he raised his head to look directly at her.

    "Really?" he asked hopefully, "You know of a way!?"

    "No, I don't…" Ivy responded sadly, "But there might be someone who does! Let's wait until tomorrow… You can stay at my place until then…"

    "… Really?" Lucario asked again and started feeling better, "But… I can't even walk…"

    "I'll carry you!" Ivy said with determination as she let one of her vines out of the plant on her back, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you until things get cleared up!"

    "… Wow," Lucario said slowly as he looked at her with admiration, "You're… Really nice."


    - I was a fool.


    "So, what?" Lucario asked while tugging curiously at the cloth material covering his waist, "You normally go spelunking around graves?"

    "No, no!" Ivy burst out before thinking of a way to defend herself, "I just… Went exploring. You know, to have a real journey!"

    "Bah, a journey…" Lucario grumbled as he brushed off yet another speck of dirt on his pants, "Everything from the womb to the grave is a journey."

    "Huh?" Ivy exclaimed in surprise, making sense out of what she had just heard and swiftly coming up with a counter, "Not really! In your case, it's everything from the grave to the w… Wom…"

    Ivy trailed off as she blushed, Lucario looking at her for a while before starting to laugh.

    "Ahahaha! Yeah, I guess I started out from a grave!" he chuckled as a few more remnants of the grave fell off his clothing, "That means my life ends if I ever get into a womb! But it's not like that's going to…"

    Now it was Lucairo's turn to trail off, as he looked at Ivy's unusually reddened face and finally realized what was going on.

    "… Oh," Lucario exclaimed quietly, before turning silent and uncomfortably fidgeting around.


    - To trust a monster...


    "ACHOO!" the Ivysaur sneezed powerfully, accidentally releasing a cloud of purple dust around her. Lucario looked up from his magazine in surprise before becoming completely covered by the dust, too stunned to even flinch.

    "Bless you…" he muttered angrily, "… No wait, that other thing. CURSE YOU!"

    "Ah!" Ivy exclaimed in shock, "L-Lucario! Those're…"

    "… Purple snot?" Lucario said with a disgusted tone as he tried brushing the purple stuff off of himself, "Well, you've got a GREEN body, so I guess-"

    "That's Poison Powder!" Ivy interrupted him with a terrified expression, "Quick! We've got to get you an antidote!"

    "P… Poison?" Lucario stammered fearfully as a chill ran through his spine, "WHAT!?"

    "Did they work!? How are you feeling?" Ivy continued fearfully but grew calmer with each word, "They should be working right away… Are you feeling sick?"

    "Disgusted? Yeah!" Lucario said as several pollen fell into his mouth and nose, "Sick? Uh… Not really."

    "But… That's…" Ivy mumbled and thought hard for a moment, "Ah, how lucky… I'm sorry!"

    "… As well you should be! Seriously, why do I… I…" Lucario started rambling, but had to stop himself as the pollen from earlier had found a way to tickle his inner workings, "Ah… Ah… ACHOOO!"

    A cloud of purple dust once again filled the room, instantly Ivy who took a step back in surprise.

    "Ha ha ha!" Lucario couldn't help but laugh as he scratched his nose, "See? Now we're even!"

    "I guess!" Ivy laughed with him, "Ew! But yours came directly from your nose!"

    "Hey, I only did it because of what you did!" Lucario kept chuckling, the sight of the disgusted Ivysaur trying to get wipe herself clean looking quite amusing.

    "Ha… Ha… Ha…" Ivy's laughter suddenly turned weaker, finally ending with a drawn out sigh, "… Haaah…" Succumbing to her own poison powder, she collapsed on the ground.

    "Hey… Hey! Ivy!" Lucario shouted as he ran up to the dusty Pokémon, "But… It's YOUR poison! Damn it, this makes no sense, where's that antidote!?"


    - … Thinking it was anything like me.


    "ALRIGHT!" Lucario roared triumphantly, withdrawing his leg from its upright position as the enemy Mankey flew into a tree, causing a large indent in the bark and a slightly smaller one in its head.

    "HELL YEAH!" Lucario kept going while raising his arms in victory, "I'm back into action, baby!"

    "L-Lucario! That was amazing!" Ivy stammered in excitement, "… Then maybe if we work together, we can beat them!" In response to this, Lucario struck a battle pose by holding his arms in front of him as the swarm of Mankey rushed towards them.


    - Attempting to establish a companionship…


    "Here! I saved a seat for you!" Ivy giggled happily, signaling for Lucario to sit down beside her.

    "… Seat?" Lucario repeated, looking down at the spot which looked completely identical to the rest of the grassy plains they were standing on, "Hmm… To a plant, maybe?"

    "Just sit down!" Ivy said with a beaming smile, "I promise you'll love it!"

    Lucario shrugged and sat down on the grass, leaning back on his arms to see the spectacle in front of him. Several prominently green Pokémon had gathered in front of them, many of them looking exactly the same to anything but a taught botanist. Leaves, flowers, bulbs and vines were sticking out of them at seemingly random, confusing Lucario to no end.

    "What're those called?" Lucario asked while pointing at the most commonly featured Pokémon among them. They were short and had two large flowers on their heads, with their body sticking out a gathering of leaves that reminded him of a dress.

    "Bellossom!" Ivy responded, "They're really cute, aren't they?"

    "Hmpf… This is better than TV…" Lucario started as Ivy's face lit up in excitement, "… How?"

    "Shh!" she hushed him, "They're starting!"

    A loud noise came from somewhere, building up into a steady rhythm. Lucario looked around to see what was creating this sound, but had to stop his search as the many green Pokémon started moving.

    The Bellossom were spinning around in beat to the rhythm as the other ones performed acrobatics, moving and bending themselves in ways that no human every could.

    The sunlight from the fading day gleamed off their bodies, showing yet another odd symbiosis between the massive cluster of flames and easily burned flowers. Leaves, flowers, bulbs and vines flew in every direction, making it look like there were a thousand golden fairies in jade at play. The rhythm suddenly picked up as the dancing grew more intense, creating fantastic sights on the field of grass.

    "… I never was a big fan of ballet…" Lucario muttered, his eyes transfixed on the whole ordeal.

    "What about this?" Ivy asked eagerly, not knowing what ballet was.

    "… It's kind of nice, I guess," Lucario admitted, as seeing the many flowers spin around had a strangely natural feel to it.

    "Seeing you fight so impressively yesterday…" Ivy said quietly, "It reminded me of this."

    "… That's not a compliment, you know," Lucario sighed, not wanting his manly fighting to be compared to sissy dancing, "What is this, anyway? Some kind of ritualistic… Ritual?"

    "Uh…" Ivy mumbled while trying to think of an answer, "We grass Pokémon like the sun, and these like dancing."

    "You sure they're not sacrificing anyone to some vengeful god?" Lucario continued asking, worrying that she had brought him here for a frightening ulterior motive and surprising plot twist.

    "Anyway, I knew you'd like it!" Ivy exclaimed as she was no longer able to make sense out of Lucario's words, "Now come on, I wanna show you something else…"


    - … With something not human…


    "Disgusting…" Lucario grumbled as he reluctantly swallowed the poffin, chewing it as little as possible.

    "… Still?" Ivy asked with a sad tone in her voice, "But… I worked so hard on it!"

    "It's not your fault, Ivy," Lucario reassured her, "My tastes are that of a human. Heh, I'm lucky to be getting any food, the way I first treated you…"

    "The whole 'monster' thing?" Ivy asked while throwing the rest of the poffin ingredients out the window, "It's been a while since then, hasn't it?"

    "Yeah," Lucario said before leaning back on the bed of leaves, "I ended my simple job of being human and had to start fighting Pokémon with my bare hands… And learn a bunch of new stuff just to make it through the day…"

    "Must be hard…" Ivy sighed with a sad face.

    "It is, but…" Lucario said and though to a way to wipe her depressing expression away, "When I'm around you… It doesn't seem that bad."

    "You… You really mean that?" Ivy asked, her face lighting up once more.

    "You know… Even though I'm human and you're… Something else…" Lucario responded before quickly rising to his feet while beaming with confidence, "This is definitively the start of a beautiful new friendship!"


    - … Was a fault on my part.


    The treacherous terrain did little to slow Lucario's progress as he jumped from root to root, not wanting to use the branches after one had snapped underneath his weight. The thick tree crowns sucked up all the sunlight, forcing him to focus his eyes extra hard to avoid a fatal misstep. All of this would have made Lucario distraught, if not for the fact that he knew all his pursuers would have to cross the same ordeal.

    Even in his great haste, he was able to hear a whistling sound approaching from behind. He twisted his head to the side as a sharp object flew past him, creating a small cut in his left cheek.

    "I-Ivy…?" Lucairo stammered as he saw the familiar plant a few steps behind him. As familiar as she was, he did not recognize her current state in the least. Her eyes were transfixed upon him, and they were filled with hate. A memory flash hit him as he recalled the shape odd and green color of the object that flew past him… It had been a leaf.

    "Lucario," she said menacingly as her vines retracted, "This ends here!"

    "Y-You too!? Why're you-" Lucario started, but was interrupted.

    "The whole world will be destroyed if you're left alive!?" Ivy shouted angrily at him with a questioning tone as she was still uncertain, "Why!? Why didn't you tell me!?"

    "I don't know anything about this!" Lucario shouted back while thinking of a way to explain the situation, "There's no proof or anything! How the hell can you just believe something insane like that!?"

    "You're neither human nor Pokémon, just like Deoxys, and the place where I found you…" Ivy growled, her voice contorting from the soft tone Lucario had come to know so well, "It all makes sense!"

    "NO, IT DOESN'T!" Lucario bellowed, "You naďve bastard, it's just crazy talk!"

    Ivy cringed at these words, and choked up at the sight of the Lucario that had once been her friend. The wise elder had gotten the entire village to join up in the hunt for him, convincing them that a catastrophe beyond their wildest imaginations would occur if he was left alive. The pain that the roaming monster Deoxys had left in their hearts had been stirred, and were willing to do anything to prevent history from repeating itself, no matter how vague the risk.
    Before her was no longer the peculiar and confused Pokémon she had helped, but a threat that may or may not even know about it. His progress had gone from learning how to walk to fighting better than her in a matter of days; if things were to carry on in this manner…
    The only way she could go through with this was to completely kill off her emotions, and especially making sure Lucario did not notice her hesitation. Even so, he was her dear friend, and she treasured the time they had spent together. She had so much to say, but could not bear to keep talking. Swallowing her anguish, she decided that he deserved to know.

    "So many of us fell prey to Deoxys…" Ivy said in a pained manner as she forced anger to hide her tears, "… I can't take that risk!"

    A moment of silence passed between them. Lucario wanted to continue talking and stop fighting, but saw that Ivy wished for the complete opposite. Desperately he was trying to think of something to say, but the vision of his only friend glaring at him with nothing but hate and murder in her eyes told him that her determination would render words ineffective. It was like conversing with a wild animal, and suddenly his initial impression of the Pokémon sprung to life…

    "So that's it!?" Lucario yelled, the unfair treatment overtaking him and filling him with rage unlike anything he had ever felt before, "You're just gonna kill me off now!? After all we've been through!? After all we did together!?"

    "If you care even a little about that…" Ivy said grouchily while regaining her confidence, "… You'll stand down now, so I can kill you quickly and painlessly. It's for the good of the world! Who knows, you might even just go back to being human!"

    Ivy's confidence culminated, as her baseless assumptions reassured her conviction. Lucario had no time to respond as she suddenly twisted herself around, throwing one of the leaves at the stem of her flower directly at him. He instinctively grabbed on to the flat surfaces of the sharp object, bringing it to a halt.

    "I-Ivy, you...!" Lucario stammered as he could hardly believe it. Had he not stopped it, the leaf would have been lodged in his chest by now.

    "Just... Please..." Ivy said, finding it more difficult to continue being near her past friend and current enemy, "Don't make this harder than it already is!"

    "Harder..." Lucario repeated with a cold, breathless voice as he let the leaf between his hands slowly dwindle down to the ground, "You're... You're really trying to kill me...? What about our friendship...?"

    "I don't have a choice!" Ivy wailed and took a step forward, "They said you would bring about chaos and-"

    "That's a LIE!" Lucario bellowed, placing his left leg in front of him to show he wouldn't back off, "Pure nonsense! Damn it Ivy, what the hell's wrong with you!? Why are you like this!?"

    "Wrong with ME!?" Ivy shouted back, the insults adding more weight to her already tried patience, "My... My best friend turns out to be a monster! Think about how I feel for once!"

    "… No!" Lucario yelled with fury while pointing at her, "You can talk and pretend to care, but in the end you really are a monster! I should've known better than to trust something like you!"

    "And I should've known better than to trust a crazy hybrid like you!" Ivy snapped back, stretching out her vines in a threatening action.

    "If you think I'm just going to lie down and die…" Lucario said angrily before holding his arms in front of him in a battle pose, "… Brace yourself! Irrational beast!"


    - I will not make the same mistake twice.


    "Not so violent now, are you?" Lucario asked quietly, putting down his foot right next to the Ivysaur's unconscious head, "You dumb animal…"
    Her face was bloodied and wet from tears, and there seemed to be no trace remaining of the cheerful and soft spoken girl he thought he knew.

    "T-There he is!" a loud voice came from behind, "Someone stop him!"

    "HERE! CATCH!" Lucario yelled back, spinning around and kicking the defeated Pokémon with all his might, sending her bouncing off a nearby tree and slowly rolling down its truck. By the time the new arrivals had figured out what was going on in the darkness, he was already gone.

    He made it out of the thick forest and felt relieved when he noticed no aura behind him, meaning that he had at long last shaken off his followers. He leaned himself against a nearby rock for a quick rest, rubbing against his neck which was still aching from the previous battle. The temperature was turning colder, and he wished he had brought a jacket or some kind of sheet to go with his pants.

    A storm was picking up, both inside and outside of his mind. The silent rage he felt over his betrayal working in unison to the chilling wind that was starting to blow past him. He was quietly hoping for a blizzard, as it would give him time to rest and meditate over today's occurrences, and try to figure out exactly what had forced him to abandon his newfound home and beat his only friend to a pulp.

    Lucario remained unaware, but a large figure stands on top of a gathering of rocks. Like the snowy peak of a mountain, the white and light blue colors turned it into a beacon in the dark. The figure grew hazier with each passing moment as it started snowing, and the upper part of it decided this was a good time to put on his trademark jacket.

    "Heh heh heh…" Brendan snickered menacingly, "Found you."

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

    "The contents of the grave… A normal Lucario?"

    "Apparently not that normal. It's slightly deformed, and it was definitively in contact with… You know who…"

    "So was the ground they stood on. Get some of that."

    "The Lucario's the only living creature within our grasp after the final incident… There might be something of interest."

    "Doubtful. What's even more doubtful is that you will find any volunteers to take on a idiotic mission like that."

    "… Actually, Brendan jumped right on it."

    "What!? The Shimmering Champion? Why!?"

    "He was geared up to fight Deoxys, and quite pleased with the prospect of a 'manhunt'."

    "Pleased. Satisfied. That is what this entire mission is about, no?"

    "… I suppose. Whatever makes the higher ups and Brendan happy."

    "Fine. I will leave you to your own devices, but should you come up with nothing I will waste no time draining this project of its every resource."

    "As well you should. It's getting late, let's wrap things up and call it a day."

  14. #64
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    Then there was another preview:



    ... What, you've never seen a Machamp with a silly hat lifting dumbbells?
    UNF! YEAH! FLEX THOSE QUADRO-CEPS! MASTER YOUR BEHIND!

  15. #65
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    Chapter 26

    Twisting Manipulator Alakazam


    "A scientist…" Zoroark muttered before sighing and looking back at Lucario with a hopeful face, "Time for a little payback, eh?"

    Lucario didn't respond. Even when right next to Pokčmon far stronger than himself, he had been able to dismiss any feelings of unease created from their intimidating aura. This Alakazam was completely different. Lucario feeling like a pit had opened up in his stomach, sucking his very being into it.

    "… Lucario?" Zoroark asked with worry. Lucario was now visibly shaking while Astrid was cowering on the floor in unison with the Lilligant, having long since given up their bravery. Connor kept himself as steadfast as always, but even he was showing signs of unrest.

    "I can feel it! That thing's strength…" Lucario burst out to the oblivious Zoroark, "… It's unreal!"

    "Awawawa..." Astrid stuttered before hiding his face underneath his arms in terror, "Th-That thi-i-ing… I-It's evil!"

    "You…" Zoroark muttered disappointedly, before trailing off and starting to walk towards the Alakazam.

    "NO! Zoroark! Not that way!" the Lilligant screamed fearfully while scuttling backward, "Find another exit…!"

    "Y-Yeah!" Astrid stammered as he lifted his head and turned around with no hesitation, "Great idea!"

    "Go back now, and you will never return," Zoroark said bluntly, keeping his eyes fixed on the Alakazam.

    "Oh…" Astrid whispered slowly before lowering his head back under his arms, "… How's the prison food?"

    "Non-existent," Lucario responded. While he had seen and felt firsthand what monsters with a fraction of this Alakazam's strength could do, he knew that whatever horrors it would unleash upon him would not compare to getting caught once more.

    "Foolish aggressors!" the scientist said with a loud, haughty voice, "Know you not who you are challenging!? Return, and I will spare your pitiful lives!"

    At the sound of this, Zoroark's left ear started twitching as he noticed something was out of place. Lucario was too busy worrying about the Alakazam to ask himself what had happened to make the scientist so cocky all of a sudden. He seemed to be having a little trouble keeping a proper composure as well, waving back and forward at regular intervals. The peculiar movement of the human gave the both of them strange vibes.

    "He'll spare us!?" Astrid exclaimed with far too much relief before turning to Zoroark, "Come on! I don't want to die!"

    "Wimp…" Lucario muttered under his breath.

    "W-What!?" Astrid stammered, apparently having better hearing than Lucario gave him credit for.

    "You never know… He might be weak against roundhouse kicks, or something," Lucario continued while thinking of a way to properly strike the head while on a staircase, "… If not, THEN we'll surrender."

    "I would not count on that…" the scientist said ominously while pointing at Zoroark who had suddenly stopped himself, "A single step forward, and I shall utterly destroy you!"

    "You're much too… Wait… Huh…?" Lucario said before thinking about what had just happened and shouting at the human, "… I knew it! You creep, you understand Pokčmon's speech, don't you!?"

    "Hehehe…" the scientist snickered ominously in response, "Heh… Heh… HAH!"

    "He…" Zoroark repeated in confusion, not long after which a smile spread across his face as he closed his eyes, "… Ah. Of course."

    "Oh! You… You mean…!" Astrid exclaimed with a hopeful voice, "He understands what we're saying?"

    "Yeah. Doesn't change the fact that his Pokčmon's going to kick our asses, though…" Lucario mumbled, "But if he understands us, there's got to be a way for us to use it against him…"

    "PLEASE DON'T KILL US!" Astrid wailed, making Zoroark's smile quickly fade away. Lucario felt a twinge of disgust over his ally's cowardice, which magnified when he saw the Lilligant nodding feverishly in the corner of his eyes.

    "Alright, I've had enough of this…" Zoroark growled quietly as he started walking up the stairs.

    "Halt!" the scientist yelled menacingly, "One more step, and you're all dead!"

    Zoroark stopped himself. Then, with the mischievous smile returning to his face, he took a slow step forward.

    "Are you incapable of hearing!?" the scientist shouted, "Stop, or you WILL regret it!"

    Zoroark answered by moving forward one more step.

    "I'm warning you! This Alakazam is far more powerful than any other Pokčmon in the world!" the scientist continued while throwing his hands in front of him in a strange manner, "Last chance! Move back, or PERISH!"

    Zoroark then took yet another step.

    "Now you've done it!" the scientist bellowed, his eyes positively glowing with hatred, "You shall suffer! I will crush you beneath my heel! I-"

    He was interrupted as Zoroark suddenly leaped forward, coating his claws with the contents of another vial drawn from his bushy hair, stabbing the Alakazam in the chest with his left claw. The Alakazam dropped both his spoons and grabbed on to Zoroark's arm with a hateful glare, life disappearing from his eyes as he involuntarily closed them and fell asleep.

    "Amateurs…" Zoroark muttered as the Alakazam fell and started tumbling down the staircase.

    "… EH!?" Lucario burst out in shock, his fear dissipating with each passing second.

    "Zoroark!" the Lilligant burst out happily as she seemed to have regained her bravery as well, "You did it!"

    "Did what?" Zoroark groaned with disappointment, "This idiot was probably weaker than everyone we fought to get here."

    "He… Huh?" Lucario muttered before he felt a hard substance hitting his leg, looking down and seeing Astrid quickly backing away from the approaching Alakazam, "Hey, watch it!"

    "He used his psychic powers to fill you with irrational fear," Zoroark explained while sighing, "Which, quite frankly, I was hoping you'd be above."

    "Hey, I am!" Lucario exclaimed confidently, "I was ready to charge him at a moment's notice!"

    A loud thud was heard as the scientist suddenly collapsed, landing sideways on a step while leaning dangerously on the edge. Zoroark looked down at him with a bored face, before signaling the rest to follow him.

    "He was controlling the human like a puppet, manipulating his movement and speech…" he said quietly as Astrid and the Lilligant carefully passed the unconscious Alakazam, Lucario simply walking right over him, " … But why…?"

    "Really?" Lucario asked nonchalantly as the memory of a smug yet frighteningly powerful yellow rat crossed his mind, "From what I heard, mind control is impossible."

    "Not mind control - Puppetry," Zoroark clarified, "The human must have given him consent to do it, or it would've been easy to break out of."

    "Must've been some kind of battle strategy," Lucario said while trying to sound smart, "Not that it did 'em a whole lot of good."

    "Paralyzed half our crew with fear," Zoroark muttered while looking back at the Lilligant and Astrid who were still recovering, "At any rate, seems the human's Pokčmon ended up controlling him… How ironic."

    "OK, fine, great, WHATEVER!" Lucario rambled as the temptation of being so close to freedom became too much, "How about we continue getting the hell out of here!?"

    "Nothing would suit me better," Zoroark said before turning around and starting to climb up the stairs.

    The sunlight burned Lucario's eyes as he once more became acquainted with a bright, blue sky. He paid no attention to the many tall buildings above him and carefully placed pavement beneath him, much too occupied with the fresh air filling his lungs and a small breeze pleasantly whisking by his form.

    "Aahhh…" Lucario sighed longingly before inhaling deeply, "… Air."

    "They deprived you of that, too?" Zoroark asked with an amused tone, bringing him back to reality.

    A quick glance around him told him that he was in a large city, surrounded by both Pokčmon and humans that were walking around peacefully and blissfully unaware of the many battles that had taken place just a few paces underneath their feet.

    "We're not exactly in the clear just yet," Zoroark said determinedly as Connor, Astrid and the shaky Lilligant joined them, "We need to get to the base, which is just on the outskirts of town."

    "Sweet. Is that the pickup I'm sensing?" Lucario asked, feeling something very powerful heading directly for them.

    "You mean… Connor?" Zoroark asked in return, trying to understand what he was referring to.

    "… No…?" Lucario exclaimed with a questioning voice, "I'm talking about that huge aura coming at us at a rapid pace."

    "… What!?" Zoroark suddenly burst out, making a nearby Pokčmon look at him strangely, "From where!?"

    Lucario did not have time to answer as many screams echoed throughout the city behind them, that of both Pokčmon and humans. Most of the bystanders stopped walking to try to hear what was happening, growing more and more frightened as they saw several people running away from the origin of the noise.

    Far away in the city, they saw a massive beast suddenly appear from behind one of the taller buildings. It towered over the surrounding humans and Pokčmon who all quickly scrambled to get away from it, and it was approaching the team as quickly as a speeding train. Ignoring those that fled, it maneuvered around the signs and trees which blocked its way with uncanny precision.

    Although the images of Suicune and Raikou were starting to fade from Lucario's mind, he saw that this creature was quite similar in form, more so the latter. Its fur was mostly brown, and surprisingly rugged for the monster's proper stature. This one adorned a seemingly artificial mask covering its mouth, also having thick armlets equipped around the middle of each leg.

    "Hey… This one's also using that fear thing to appear strong," Lucario said while doing his best to remain confident and ignore the absurdly strong aura emanating from the large Pokčmon, causing his very insides to rattle.

    "No, he isn't…" Zoroark replied slowly while biting his lips, "This one's the real deal."

    "E-E-Eth…" the Lilligant stammered, making Lucario wonder if it was an affliction or if she was just having a really bad day, "It's Ethan's Entei!"

    "Who!?" Astrid burst out and kept himself from shaking, deciding to try to appear brave from now on to make up for his earlier shameful display.

    "The legendary Ethan!" Zoroark explained loudly while frantically searching through his long hair for something, "The only trainer to ever surpass Red!"

    "Hah! I can't tell which name's funnier!" Lucario laughed before the nodes in his brain finally connected, "Wait… Red… You mean, that guy that had Raikou!?"

    "Oh! H-He's coming!" Astrid stammered as his legs felt more like heavy rocks than ever before, "Do we run, or…!?"

    Entei had slowed himself down and moved closer to them with big, intimidating steps. Lucario knew this to be an act, having seen just how fast it had been running earlier. The beast stopped a few feet away from them, his frighteningly large and deep eyes locking with Zoroark's.

    "I know not what manner of Pokčmon you are…" Entei spoke with a booming voice, sounding as if emanating from a deep abyss, "But attacking a human settlement is a crime I simply cannot tolerate."

    "Settlement!?" Lucario shouted back at the legendary dog, the words stirring some of the pent up anger within him, "More like a death camp, and even that's being too nice!" Entei's eyes shifted to Lucario for a second, both of which were larger than his head.

    "Be quiet!" Zoroark hissed dangerously at Lucario while standing his ground before the intimidating monster, "Entei, we have simply liberated those who have been wrongfully imprisoned and experimented upon. Do not let your chivalry cloud your better judgment!"

    "Aggressions will always breed further aggression, no exceptions…" Entei growled intimidatingly, "Stand down, and allow me be the judge of your actions."

    "… Connor, take 'em to the designated spot!" Zoroark suddenly yelled as he rummaged through his hair once more and pulled out a very small bomb, "Lucario, follow Connor! Leave this one to me!"

    Zoroark threw the bomb to Connor, who to everyone's surprise caught it between his teeth. He then wasted no time in biting down on it, wave after wave of smoke suddenly escaping the tiny contraption. The newly created fog quickly became too thick to make out even the smallest detail in, but Lucario sensed something strange happening as Connor's aura suddenly combined with that of Astrid and the Lilligant. He did not have to wonder about this for long, as a shadow grabbed on to his left arm and pulled him in its direction with amazing strength. He saw Connor with both Astrid and the Lilligant hanging on to his shoulders

    The scene made him stifle a laughter as Connor suddenly turned around and started running using his arms like before. Lucario instantly lost sight of them in the mist, but was able to easily sense the huge Pokčmon's aura and decided to follow him. Behind him, he sensed the aura of Entei flaring up, and even though it was far more dangerous it was not affecting him as badly as the Alakazam had.

    "Hey, you forgot Zoroark!" Lucario shouted after Connor while doing his best to keep up, "He can't deal with that monster alone!"

    "Yes, he can!" Astrid responded confidently, covering his face into the large shoulder in front of him.

    "He m-must…" the Lilligant said weakly, still breathless from all her earlier screaming. Lucario was about to say something snappy in return, but stopped himself as he sensed the auras of several strong beings approaching from behind.

    "Wait, this is no good!" Lucario burst out as he realized what was happening, "They'll just follow the smoke cloud!"

    Astrid was about to say something, but was interrupted by an angry grunt from Connor. He spat out the smoke ball into his hand and suddenly threw it far away. He continued onwards, Lucario following as he suddenly ran straight into a tree. He took a step back from the recoil, clutching his nose in pain as he realized he wouldn't be able to navigate past every tree in a forest if he couldn't see. As luck would have it, the smoke had yet to creep into the woods, and he was able to avoid crashing into anything as he followed the auras of Connor and the rest.

    "Yes! We made it!" Astrid finally shouted with a very large amount of relief, "There! It's hidden in that bush!"

    Lucario felt like crying out in joy, seeing his cowardly companion pointing directly at a very bland-looking bush. Instead, he had to think twice as he saw a familiar Pokčmon standing in front of it.

    It looked like a miniature version of Entei, making up for its lacking armlets and masks with a puffier shape to its fur. It had an unremarkable aura and seemed to pose little threat, but Lucario had simply been through too much lately to take any risks. He had come too far to fall now, and the soil beneath his feet became ground up as he dug himself down, preparing the most powerful roundhouse kick of his life.

    "Lucario!" Astrid yelled with panic, "Not a foe!"

    Lucario stumbled as he abruptly stopped himself, the strength of his own leg making him twirl around in confusion. Connor grunted as he grabbed a hold of Lucario, quickly stopping his pirouette before throwing him into the bushes. The small branches brushed past him as he felt himself fall down a hole in the ground, leading him to a large chamber underground…

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

    "The Pokémon that spearheaded the whole thing..."

    "Yes. I have no idea what that was."

    "A new species…?"

    "Must be. I heard it quacking "Zoroark! Zoroark!" throughout the whole thing."

    "Zoroark… Is that with an S or a Z?"

    "Let us make it a Z. Not enough Pokémon utilizing that letter."

    "… Type?"

    "Dark is at least one of them. Peculiar, seeing how similar it looked to our main escapee."

    "Mmm…"

    "How badly will his escape affect your research?"

    "Little… We already have a blood sample… Tissue sample…"

    "Hmpf. You really did not care about his behavior or condition at all, did you?"

    "Not really, no."

    "Let us focus on the Zoroark then, so we have something to tell the press."

    "… How long until the boss-man gets wind of this?"

    "Half a second before we did, I assume."

    "That's… No good."

    "True. Pray we get tangible info on that Zoroark, or brace yourself for the storm of the century."

  16. #66
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    Hmm... What manner of preview shall I create this time...?

    Oh! Ah, yes... He he he...

    [img]http://i55.*******.com/5ousmc.gif[/img]

    So, did you read Evolution's Gate? If you did, you probably know what comes next!

  17. #67
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    Chapter 27

    Extraordinary Eeveelution Astrid


    "Welcome to our base!" Astrid exclaimed happily, Lucario picking himself up from the bad fall. It was a fairly small and unremarkable cave, containing nothing but dirt and a few cloths of undetermined material in two of the corners. There were also one or two Pokčmon there, looking at them with interest. The walls and ceiling had large stems growing out of them which glowed strongly, seemingly illuminating the entire area.

    The cave's ceiling was just barely above Lucario's head, making him not so surprised when he saw Connor walk past him with his head bent forward, heading for the corner to their left.

    "Not our real one, of course," Zoroark said while tapping Lucario's shoulder, making him stumble forward in surprise, "A temporary one."

    "WHAT THE F-" Lucario screamed as he tried to regain his composure, "When the hell did you…!? How the hell did you…!?"

    "The time has not come for the battle against Entei. I waited until you were safe, then ditched him," Zoroark explained while brushing off soot from his left shoulder, most of it completely invisible against his black fur, "I would have been here sooner, but I wanted to make sure you all got in first."

    "Zoroark!" the Lilligant exclaimed happily as she threw herself against Zoroark, "I was-"

    "Please, later…" he responded calmly while carefully pushing her away, "I was struck once, and I'm a bit sore."

    "Heh… You look fine to me," Lucario said, about to pat his shoulder before abruptly stopping himself, feeling embarrassed as Zoroark glared back at him, "So, uh… This place! It's huge! No way you built this just now!"

    "… Well, by 'temporary' I meant that I managed to convince the earlier inhabitants to join our cause," Zoroark mumbled, nodding towards one of the Pokčmon who started fidgeting around in a strange manner.

    "You're pretty good at that, aren't you?" Lucario asked with a hint of animosity.

    "I hope so…" Zoroark said quietly, "We need to talk in private, but I have some urgent business to handle first."

    "Go ahead," Lucario said while casually waving his hand in the air, "I could use some food and water, anyway."

    "Perfect," Zoroark said as he turned around to leave, "Astrid, now's your chance. Show him around!"

    "Oh…" Astrid said weakly before suddenly lifting his head with a joyous expression, "Oh! Of course!"

    It took Lucario quite long to figure out that the small four-legged creature was not stopping himself anytime soon. He looked around, only to see that both Zoroark and the Lilligant had already left. He thought that he and Astrid were the only ones left in the room, when he suddenly saw the hulking body of Connor lying on a ragged sheet, having fallen asleep.

    "Hmm… He has a surprisingly small presence for such a big guy…" Lucario admitted, Astrid too occupied with his tour guiding to pay him any notice. Remembering how easily Connor had dispatched their enemies earlier, Lucario felt a twinge of jealousy over the brute's strength and wondered if he could even take him in battle despite his resemblance of a human.

    "… And these plants give off the light!" Astrid continued, "They're different than the ones from my cave, but serve the same function!"

    "… Luminescent, eh?" Lucario said loudly, "Perfect! Finally, I can't believe I went this long without a bloody lamp!" He snickered before bending over and ripping one of the flowers from the ground, which instantly ceased its glowing.

    "Oh…" Astrid exclaimed worriedly, "Plants, uh, have these things called 'roots', you see…"

    "I know, shut up…" Lucario muttered embarrassed before throwing away the limp stem in his hand.

    Astrid looked at him for a moment before continuing his incessant talking, starting to move forward. Lucario reluctantly walked next to him, narrowly avoiding stepping on a brown cylindrical nub with a huge nose sticking out of the ground. It looked at him and he looked back at it, before it suddenly blinked and dug itself underground. Lucario stared at the hole, wondering why the hell Astrid wouldn't bother explaining the one thing that made no sense.

    "… Where we keep the food!" Astrid finally concluded the tour.

    "Food?" Lucario repeated excitedly, instantly forgetting about his weird encounter, "Where!?"

    Astrid pointed to the ground in front of them, making him look down slowly.

    "Berries…" Lucario grumbled, looking at the disappointing food lying on what appeared to be a discarded tablecloth on the ground.

    "I know!" Astrid shouted happily, "See how many they've got! Blue berries, black berries, rasp berries…"

    "Disgusting comes in many different flavors, it seems…" Lucario groaned as he felt his mouth drying up, his hunger only growing stronger, "Come on, this is a base! You must have something to eat besides berries!"

    "Oh…" Astrid whispered with a confused look, "Why would we have that?"

    "BREAD," Lucario said sternly, his hunger not doing much to improve his already rotten mood, "The mother of all sustenance, flavorless but preferable to this crap. DO YOU HAVE IT!?"

    "Oh! Of course we have that!" Astrid responded quickly and making Lucario's heart leap from surprise, "What kind of base would this be if we didn't?"

    "You…" he stammered, getting the highly uncomfortable urge to kiss and cuddle the small Pokčmon, "You do!?"

    Astrid pointed with a small greyish paw from the depths of the cloak at a corner of the cavern, where Lucario saw several straws gathered on the ground. He noticed Connor lying on them, apparently having fallen asleep the moment they arrived.

    "… Bread…" Lucario muttered as the hope for a solid meal left him, never to return, "… Not bed… That you sleep in…"

    "Oh…" Astrid whispered sadly, "Uh, Viri said something about being that, but… She's…"

    "… Bread…" Lucario repeated with the same hopeless, defeated voice, "… Not bred… Without an A…"

    "Oh…" Astrid exclaimed, having made himself depressed by remembering the past, "… I should probably just stop talking…"

    "… Please…" Lucario whispered.

    A highly awkward moment followed, as he felt his stomach rumble with hate and disdain. He knew what he had to do. Cursing his own taste buds he sat down and grabbed the nearest berry, a colorful thing in the shape of an unpeeled banana. Defeat once more set into him as he realized the disgusting morsel tasted nothing like a banana, filling his mouth with a taste comparable to that of a fried toenail.

    Astrid sat down next to him, whistling some odd tune while having the meal of his life. Lucario decided to try to chat casually with him in an attempt to get his mind off the horrible food he had to consume. This, as he soon found out, turned out to be a big mistake.

    "And so I said, 'Hey! I'm a Flareon!', you know?" Astrid explained while moving his head back and forth in excitement, "You see, my father used to call himself that, and then he named me, but when he died, I evolved into something else, and had to name myself, and I remembered, my father said, Astrid was a good name for rock types, which I had become, did I mention that?"

    Lucario stared at the chatterbox, his face aghast at the nonsense it was spouting. Much to his relief it suddenly went quiet, picking up a small berry and letting it disappear under the hood of the cloak as it scarfed it down.

    "Hey, Astrid…" Lucario said as a memory of Zerobi made his interest become piqued, "Why're you wearing that cloak?"

    "Oh!" Astrid chimed while swallowing down his food, "Um… Zoroark says my appearance frightens people… So…"

    "Hmm? Interesting…" Lucario said menacingly while scratching his chin, "Take it off."

    "… B-But…" Astrid stammered worriedly, "I don't want to scare you away!"

    "What am I, five?" Lucario huffed before shaking his head, "My heart's been through major shocks lately, you'd have to be pretty messed up to make a dent."

    "Oh…" Astrid whispered before looking around to make sure no one else was nearby, "O-OK… Just… Promise you won't be scared!"

    The cloak came off slowly, getting caught up in whatever was beneath it. When it was finally gone, Lucario could finally lay eyes upon see the creature he had been talking to all this time. The eyes he was met with were black like onyxes, making him realize why seeing them in the darkness of the hood had been such a difficult task.

    He was standing on four legs, with a clear rocky theme going for him. Sharp stones were sticking out from his sides like spikes, and his tail was short and stuck out like a stalagmite. Covering his head was a boulder, working as a helmet but doing little to cover up his exposed face. Even though his body was completely covered in hard grey rock, tiny cracks showed that underneath the shell of granite was a creature of fleshy brown skin. It looked like the pet of a knight, wearing a suit of armor.

    "BWAHAHAHA!" Lucario roared with laughter at the small Bouldeon, "Frightening!? That's rich!"

    "P-Please don't laugh at me!" Astrid stammered, having expected every reaction apart from this one.

    "Ha ha… Ahh, I'm not laughing at you," Lucario explained as he calmed himself down to catch his breath, "I'm laughing at the fact that anyone'd find YOU scary!"

    "… Oh?" Astrid exclaimed, not knowing what to say but feeling both happy and insulted at the same time.

    "Seriously, you're like the cutest thing I've ever seen…" Lucario admitted, the rocky creature reminding him of the small brown one he had met in Snowpoint, "The girls are probably all over you."

    "Well… No one's seen me without a cloak…" Astrid said to himself with a sad tone, "… No one alive, that is…"

    "Ooh, badass…" Lucario replied, oblivious to the sadness in Astrid's voice, "How unfitting."

    "W-What do you mean by that?" Astrid stammered, hastily putting his cloak back on so no one else would see him and start ridiculing him as well.

    "Just listen to yourself! You're stuttering all over the place!" Lucario exclaimed, his hunger and general displeasure with life making him feel rather vicious, "And what was with all the cowering back there? A bloody flower looked more macho next to you!"

    "I've… Been through a lot…" Astrid responded, trying to make his sadness more apparent as to gain pity from the brash Lucario.

    "Not an excuse," Lucario said sternly before holding up his right arm and clenching his fist in a determined manner, "The only thing that matters is how you handle it - Are you going to whine like a little girl, or are you going to man up!?"

    "… Man up?" Astrid repeated, the term resounding strangely in his head. Man up…

    "Look at me! I've been stabbed, starved, paralyzed, poisoned, burned, frozen solid… Hell, someone even cut my throat, once!" Lucario yelled while flailing his arms around, trying to charade his many different afflictions, "If the world hates you, there's nothing I can do about it! The ONLY THING getting me through all this is that between crying like a little girl and growling like a man, I'd rather face my adversities with muscles flexed!"

    Lucario stood up to increase the impact of what he had just said, before realizing just how weakened he had become from the lack of regular food.

    "At least that way…" Lucario said calmly while slouching down, finally having spent whatever energy he had left after the earlier prison break, "… I can go out with no regrets. Not worrying over if things could've been different, somehow… And not blaming myself."

    "… I-I…" Astrid stammered, speechless. Not since his initial talk with Zoroark had anything moved him so much. The words struck him like a sledgehammer, every syllable bringing back the horrid memories of piles of mutilated corpses surrounding Zerobi.

    Zerobi. The monster inhabiting his every nightmare, the unstoppable beast of indiscriminate murder. In his naĂŻve stupor, he had ended up assisting her killings. Had he been braver, could he have averted the catastrophe from taking place, and perhaps still even be with the love of his life…?

    "What…" Astrid whispered as his black eyes started becoming hazy with tears, "What can I do…?"

    "Well… It's never too late to man up," Lucario said as he was both surprised and impressed that Astrid had taken his words to heart, "No matter the adversity, face it. If it mocks you, spit in its face. If it beats you down, you take it with gritted teeth. Then, spit at it again."

    "Are you teaching the boy how to get himself killed as efficiently and quickly as possible?" Zoroark asked with a sigh, making Lucario jump half a foot backwards in shock. The black Pokčmon's lack of an aura had once again led him to sneak up on them, Lucario wondering if he was doing it on purpose or not. He then remembered Zerobi having the same effect on him, but wasn't sure that she hadn't been doing it on purpose as well.

    "I have something to discuss with you in private," Zoroark said to Lucario while turning around to leave, "Come with me."

    "Alright," Lucario responded, starting to walk next Zoroark. He saw that Zoroark now had some kind of white ointment covering the part of his body where he claimed he had been burned earlier.

    "… Lucario!" Astrid said as he quickly leapt to his feet and faced them with determination, "Thank you! I… I'm gonna man up!"

    Lucario kept walking and held up his arm up high while trying to look cool and give thumbs up, but the lack of digits forced him to clench his fist instead. The two of them then entered a nearby human-sized hole in the wall, leading into a tunnel. Astrid stared dreamily after them, blissfully unaware that Lucario had not only befriended his worst enemy but also at one point beaten up the love of his life.



    "I trust our accommodations were to your satisfaction?" Zoroark asked as they made their way through the long tunnel. The walls were covered in the plants producing light from earlier, Lucario almost ripping out one of them again before remembering his earlier endeavor. The tunnel quickly began slanting down, placing them further underground with each step.

    "Uh…" Lucario mumbled, the bad aftertaste of berries still on his tongue, "Yeah. Sure. Thanks for saving me from that… Research prison."

    "Heh…" Zoroark exclaimed quietly, "Indeed. A research facility to humans, a prison to anything else…"

    "So…" Lucario muttered while looking over the white balm covering Zoroark, "… Why DID you save me?"

    "I simply cannot bear to see my fellow brethren suffer!" Zoroark responded quickly with a triumphant voice.
    "Yeah…" Lucario mumbled sarcastically, "So, why did you save me, really?"

    "Because of that," Zoroark said while giving Lucario a quick nod, "You're sharp. Experienced. Won't fall for just anything."

    "I wouldn't say 'experienced', exactly…" Lucario replied, for some reason imagining Zerobi laughing heartily at the statement.

    "Would you prefer 'acclaimed'?" Zoroark asked, "You fought Brendan… Red… Lucas… And came out a free Pokčmon."

    "Well, you DID find me in a prison…" Lucario mumbled, all the praise making him feel uncomfortable.

    "… Chained up, still not under the control of a Pokeball…" Zoroark finished his sentence with an impressed tone, "Truly something else…"

    "Hey…" Lucario exclaimed slowly with a questioning voice, "How do you know about all this?"

    "Friends of mine have been observing your progress, Lucario," Zoroark answered.

    "Ah… Spying on me?" Lucario asked, "Yeah, right. I'd have sensed their aur-"

    "Not spying, mostly just gathering information from the people that WERE there," Zoroark interrupted him while shrugging his shoulders, "What kind of organization would we be if we did not keep tabs on the champion trainers?"

    "… A clean one?" Lucario asked snidely.

    "Heheh… Interesting," Zoroark snickered quietly, "I seem to recall you associating yourself with a rather bloodthirsty Weavile not long ago."

    "Uh… Well, I didn't know about that back then," Lucario responded as his mind once again went back to Zerobi, this time fidgeting around while looking at him helplessly, "But still! She's normal 99% of the time!"

    "I am not judging you," Zoroark said with another shrug, "I'm simply rather impressed that you were able to tame such a wild beast."

    "Says you! That Entei back there," Lucario suddenly burst out, before noticing the loudness of his voice and silencing himself a bit, "… Man, I can't believe you made it. Its aura was immense, even compared to the other legendary dogs I ran into."

    "It's what you'd expect from a legendary formerly teamed up with the strongest trainer of all time," Zoroark replied while unconsciously rubbing his chest, accidentally covering his hand in ointment, "… Ugh. I'll never get used to topical medications. Anyway, just be glad Ethan wasn't around to direct him, or we would have been in real trouble…"

    "… Listen, I've already fought Brendan, Red and Lucas," Lucario said while scratching his own chest, "I'm probably going have to fight Ethane as well… Eventually. What can you tell me about him?"

    "You will not be fighting him," Zoroark replied bluntly, wishing to move on to a subject more productive to his cause.

    "You don't know that!" Lucario said with desperation in his voice, "Just tell me! My life might be depending on it!"

    "Hmm…" Zoroark grumbled before coming up with a way of turning this to his favor, "I'll tell you on one condition – That you listen to what I have to say afterwards."

    "… You think I normally wouldn't?" Lucario asked with a surprised tone before slapping his forehead, "Wait, don't answer that. Just tell me about Ethane."

    "First of all, his name is Ethan," Zoroark corrected him with an annoyed sigh, "Ethane is gas. Mixing the two together would be a fatal mistake."

    "Hey, I fought a guy named 'Red' not long ago," Lucario said while shrugging his shoulders, "At this point, nothing surprises me."

    "Exceptional trainers are constantly entering the world scene, popping up from the most unlikely of places and winning battle after battle," Zoroark started explaining, ending with an annoyed huff, "Of course, it's all thanks to us Pokčmon… But humans are vain, egoistical creatures that require recognition."

    "Uh…" Lucario mumbled while lifting his finger, not knowing whether to interject or not.

    "In that same vein, they decided that the time had come to see who the greatest trainer of all time was," Zoroark continued, "A few years ago, a worldwide tournament was held among trainers."

    "Oh?" Lucario exclaimed with a questioning voice, "Worldwide? Must've been hectic."

    "Actually, it was a fairly peaceful time for us wild Pokčmon, since all the trainers were busy fighting each other," Zoroark said while shrugging, "No one would be crazy enough to bring a newly caught 'untrained' Pokčmon into an event this big."

    "So, when are we getting to Ethan?" Lucario asked with a bored tone.

    "Fine. Skipping all the social impact this event had, it came down to 128 masterful trainers as the finals were held in a coliseum called Pokčmon Stadium," Zoroark continued with annoyance, "The finals were televised, and humans from around the world watched it with intense dedication. Pokčmon even began developing ways to be able to see it, everything ranging from electrifying a television set to dis…"

    Zoroark suddenly stopped himself and became quiet for a moment. Lucario wondered what had happened, and noticed that the air had been thinning out for a while, due to them being so deep underground. He imagined Zoroark had simply run short on breath.

    "… Anyway, trainer after trainer fell off the brackets until only four remained," Zoroark then continued as if nothing had happened, "Red, the original master as well as his sworn rival Blue, both from Kanto… Brendan, the prodigy from Hoenn… And finally Ethan, the crowd's favorite from Johto."

    "Red AND Blue?" Lucario asked while slapping his paw to his forehead, "What kind of stupid names are those?"

    "They're just nicknames from what corner they fought from…" Zoroark explained before starting to wonder to himself, "… Hmm, I can't remember their real names."

    "Purple?" Lucario suggested, getting a confused look from his counterpart.

    "Getting back to the point, Red defeated Blue while Ethan defeated Brendan," Zoroark continued unfazed, "Their battles were on an entirely different level compared to anything seen before. A true struggle between superpowers."

    "Ethan and Red met in the finals," he kept going, "And in a battle once more going beyond what anyone thought was possible… Ethan defeated him."

    "… Man!" Lucario yelled as he struck his waist with a closed fist in frustration, "Damn it! He beat Red just like that!? How the hell am I supposed to deal with him if I run into him!?"

    "Keep listening," Zoroark sighed as he began recalling his own reaction to what happened next, "Ethan didn't win."

    "… Okay…?" Lucario exclaimed with a confused look on his face.

    "At the award ceremony, the champions stood on top of a podium in front of a crowd of thousands, their cheers reaching far and wide," Zoroark continued, visualizing the magnificent scene in front of him, "Brendan, giving off an angry glare… Red, with a content smile… Blue, nudging his side with a somewhat annoyed expression…"

    Zoroark stared into nothingness for a while. Lucario was about snap him out of it, but decided to take the time to examine if he could locate any of the vials Zoroark kept contained within his hair. The mere notion of them sticking out of the sides made him stifle a chuckle.

    "… I remember it like it was yesterday, the slow silencing of the crowd as faint whispers were starting to become heard…" Zoroark said as he finally came to it once more, "'Where is Ethan?' they asked. 'Where is the real champion?'"

    "… Huh?" Lucario mumbled, having abruptly been forced back into the story, "He wasn't there?"

    "He had already left," Zoroark said with a shrug, "Apparently, the fight meant everything to him. He must have seen award ceremonies as a useless waste of time."

    Zoroark then became silent, apparently content with his explanation. Lucario, however, was not.

    "Wait, can you just leave your own celebration like that?" he asked, "The media must've torn him a new one!"

    "They never got the chance," Zoroark continued explaining, "He immediately set off on a journey after that, and finding him's been about as hard as finding Mew."

    "Oh…" Lucario whispered, relieved that he would likely not be facing this powerful enemy, while distraught that his current mission sounded quite a bit less probable than before.

    "Perhaps he is still out there, seeking the challenge that he craved…" Zoroark spoke as he decided to wrap things up, "… Or he got himself killed by a pack of wild Pokčmon. The idiot released all of his Pokčmon before leaving."

    "… Yeah, that does sound kind of stupid," Lucario admitted, thinking how short his own journey would have been had he been a normal human without the strength of a Pokčmon.

    "At any rate, Red was reluctantly crowned champion of the world by default," Zoroark kept going while wishing closure was at hand, "Heard he chased after Ethan for a year or so before age caught up with him, and he retired for good."

    "For good? Yeah, right…" Lucario muttered sarcastically, the occasional twitching he adapted from their encounter still waking him up at night.

    "Ethan's a different story. He's the strongest trainer who ever lived, but he disappeared from the scene and won't be returning for you," Zoroark said before shrugging his shoulders in a casual manner, "If you do meet him, try to make small talk instead of fighting. A single one of the Pokčmon he left behind is powerful enough to decimate most gym leaders."

    Zoroark breathed out heavily, again rubbing at the wound spreading across his left shoulder.

    "… Also, tell him to take care of that damn Entei," he muttered, "He's a real pain in the behind."

    "You mean 'chest', right?" Lucario pointed out, "… Like a heart attack?"

    "If a heart attack was thirty feet tall and drooled lava," Zoroark grumbled, "He's devoted his life to finding his master and 'serving justice'. HIS unwavering and very narrow minded justice, mind you."

    "It wouldn't change anything…" Lucario said with disdain, "I've met the other legendary dogs. Complete troublemakers, and they all had their trainers with them."

    "Still, at the very least he could set the blasted thing free," Zoroark sighed, "A captured Pokčmon cannot be caught again, unless his or her trainer releases them. Ethan never released Entei, and so he's essentially immune to being captured by anyone."

    "Kind of like…" Lucario whispered while thinking of himself, before a thought suddenly hit him, "Wait… Are you implying that he wants to be caught?"

    "Pretty much. He's also too powerful to be stopped any other way, so everyone simply lets him roam the lands doing as he pleases," Zoroark responded with a smile, "Except for me, of course."

    At long last the tunnel came to an end, an opening in the wall leading into a larger room in which there seemed to be no light at all.

    "Here we are," Zoroark said, "The inner sanctum. Ultimate privacy."

    "We're… Pretty deep in, huh?" Lucario asked, having lost track of time at the start of their long conversation.

    "Yes," Zoroark said as he casually stepped into the room shrouded in pitch-black darkness, "And now… It's time for you to uphold your end of the bargain!"

    - - - - - - - - - -

    "Alright, here goes nothing..."

    "... Pidgey?"

    "Listen up, for I am Blue! Master of the Heavens and the Earth! Water and Fire! Light and Darkness!"

    "Pi-Pidgey!?"

    "Darkness, engulf the light! Light, illuminate the darkness!"

    "Pidgeeeeeey!!!"

    "Now! Execute attack plan D, and... Commence with..."

    "P-p-p-p-pidgey...!?"

    "... Ahh, I can't do it. It's just a lame Pidgey. Go on, scram!"

    "..."

    "... Man! We're never gonna get to fight!"

    "Another perk we are given for serving such a great champion."

    "Perk!? You think these muscles just made themselves!? I wanna use 'em!"

    "Go ahead, knock yourself out. Literally."

    "Sorry, guys. You can go back, now."

    "Hey! The next time you call us out, there'd better be a REAL opponent... Maybe even two! Hell, I can take on three if you just-"

    "Mind him not. We are certain the debut of our new team will be nothing short of perf-"

    "... Hmm... There's got to be a more worthy opponent somewhere... Just got to keep searching... Ahh, my back..."







    Oh wow, not a single reply in two months? Sorry guys, it can't go on like this - If you want more you've got to tell me so, so I know I'm not just wasting my time!

  18. #68
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    I really don't get why people don't review. Maybe they're too busy reading to review. Or maybe they just love it too much. But this is an awesome story, seriously! Like ilovedragonites said, there is nothing similar to PMD, even though the base concept is the same. Very masterfully written! Please, do continue. This is one of the best fics on the site.

    Check out the forum World Beyblade Organization! It's a huge forum with over 85,000 members dedicated to the hobby of Beyblading! You can sign up here!

    Pokemon X Friend Code: 1091-8184-3378
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  19. #69
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    I feel awful Shadedskies, I know I haven't reviewed anything for a while. I've been caught up with classes. I'll try my best to review something soon, but no promises.
    Embrace

    A breeder joyously hatches a riolu for a client. To the dismay of the hatchling, the client never returns to claim him. Faced with an abandoned pokémon, the breeder vows to find the riolu's trainer and family.
    (Better banner coming soon.)
    Current - Chapter 1: The Client.

    Coming up - Re-writing Chapter 2

        Spoiler:- 4th Gen Eggmove (Any Nature/Gender):

  20. #70
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    Oh good, still some readers left, eh? I'm not looking for reviews… I mean, I AM, but you shouldn't force yourself! Personally I'm more interested in knowing if anyone is still reading this thing or not, and if they're having a good time!

    ... Although, did you check out the new infraction system? It states that you are no longer allowed to post more than 5 times in a row… You know what that means, right? Someone's got to reply, or I'll get banned just for continuing the story!

    Which I'll be doing later, by the way. The next chapter will be the epilogue of this long episode, and it'll rock. I'll make sure it does!

  21. #71
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    Looks like it's time for yet another...

    ...

    ... CHAPTER!

    Hah, you thought I was gonna say "preview", right? You saw the thread updated and went "oh, probably just another preview", no? Well, guess what? Chapter!



    Chapter 28

    YREKCIRT
    (Epilogue of Episode V)



    Seeing anything in the new room was completely impossible, the only source of light coming from far away in the small tunnel that led them there. Lucario had no idea what he was walking into as suddenly the room lit up, Zoroark standing in the middle of it with a burning lantern in his hands.

    "Prepared this for your sake," Zoroark said, adjusting a dial on the side of it to make the flame grow larger and the room turn brighter. Even so, the weak lantern was only able to light up their immediate area as the rest of the cavern laid in a shroud of complete darkness, Lucario both worried and curious about what mysteries lay within. He quickly wrote it off as paranoia though, seeing how the rest of the room seemed to contain nothing but walls of dirt and bedrock.

    "Just out of curiosity…" Zoroark whispered before setting down the lantern on the ground, "What were you busy doing when Silver caught you?"

    "If I remember correctly, I was supposed to go to a large mountain," Lucario explained, thinking that divulgence of his quest for Mew would just lead to him getting a lot of unnecessary questions.

    "Well, there are plenty of those around," Zoroark snickered, "Isn't the 'large' part superfluous?"

    "Super… Huh?" Lucario replied with a confused tone, "Supposedly it was REALLY large. Like, the largest."

    "Hmm… Judging by the location where you encountered Silver…" Zoroark mumbled to himself before snapping out of it, "Alright. Just curious."

    "You already said that," Lucario pointed out, "Speaking of curious, how about you tell me why you've brought me here?"

    "Let me get straight to the point, then," Zoroark said while sternly staring into Lucario's eyes, "I want you as second in command of this revolution."

    A moment of complete silence passed between them. No outside noise, no wind whisking by, only complete nothingness.

    "You want…" Lucario repeated with a very surprised expression on his face, "… Huh?"

    "I trust my associates filled you in on what are trying to accomplish?" Zoroark asked, sounding overly smug despite Lucario looking more and more dazzled with each passing moment.

    "… Everything BUT that, really…" Lucario muttered and thought back to Astrid's babbling, before his increasing confusion made him raise his voice while throwing his arms out, "… But, this doesn't make any sense! We met a day ago, and now you want to put me in CHARGE of your precious operation!?"

    "As I said, I've been keeping tabs on you for quite some time," Zoroark said with a slightly creepy delivery to the last three words, "You are the only one suitable."

    "Still not making sense…" Lucario replied while trying to figure out an explanation with as little self-deprecation as possible, "How am I the only one? I've met a bunch of Pokémon stronger than me, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the smartest guy in the world."

    "You might say… I felt intrigued by the celebrated fighter. We seemed to share a passion and a plan…" Zoroark explained with an interested look on his face, "Was all that I heard just sheer sensation… Or can you live up to your brilliant reputation?"

    "Reputation? I don't have a bloody reputation!" Lucario shouted and created an echo in the cavern; the small penguin that haunted his mind showed herself once more, "And even if I did, it wouldn't be a good one!"

    "Try not to be bashful, hmm? Word of your accomplishments has already reached my eyes and ears," Zoroark responded, suddenly raising his voice, "Besides, I care not for your current state… All I see is potential!"

    "I, uh…" Lucario mumbled, trying desperately to think things over but had been too caught off guard by Zoroark's request to get his mind straight, "I don't know…"

    "Surprised, no?" Zoroark asked with a sinister smile on his face, "Still nothing compared to what else I have in store for you." Lucario remained speechless as Zoroark took a few slow, almost seductive steps towards him.

    "I brought you all the way down here for a reason," he whispered, "Far away from listening ears and seeing eyes…"

    "Yeah, this is the part where you violate me or something, right?" Lucario tried making a joke to ease the heavy atmosphere. To his utter horror, Zoroark started scratching his chin while looking him over, as if he was considering the idea.

    "Not… Quite," Zoroark responded nonchalantly, "But it IS something that I believe will change your mind about things."

    "That WOULD change my mind pretty quickly, I've got to say…" Lucario said with a worried tone.

    "In order to create an unbreakable bond between us…" Zoroark said with a previously unheard meekness in his voice as Lucario sharply inhaled, "I… I will reveal my greatest secret to you, and only you."

    "Don't tell me, you're…" Lucario started, but stopped his joke as he noticed Zoroark looking down on the ground in a bashful manner.

    "In exchange…" Zoroark continued as his voice regained his previous authority, "You should reveal something of a similar nature to me… Such as how you managed not to get caught by a master ball."

    "… Eh?" Lucario uttered, bewildered by Zoroark's sudden change in demeanor.

    "Not matter how strong or legendary, we Pokémon are forever prey before that accursed contraption…" Zoroark growled before lighting up, "But not you! You have found a way to defeat it!"

    "Wait, so THAT's what this is about?" Lucario said and gave off a sigh of relief.

    "Establishing trust? Indeed!" Zoroark exclaimed, "It has been a secret to everybody, but since it will help convince you to join me I am willing to share it with you… And only you."

    "Wait, I didn't ask for any of this," Lucario responded while waving his hands around, "I haven't even known you for a whole day, so I'm pretty sure that I won't care."

    "Oh… But you will," Zoroark said confidently before closing his eyes. Lucario thought about stopping him, but decided to see what the mysterious dark-type had in store. Who was he to reject someone willing to reveal their greatest secret?

    A quick shudder passed through Zoroark as he gradually opened his eyes again.

    "So?" Zoroark asked, looking expectedly at Lucario.

    "… So, what?" Lucario responded with a confused tone in his voice.

    "My secret," Zoroark continued, "What do you think?"

    "I'm not seeing anything," Lucario replied and shook his head, not even having seen a hair rustle on the opposing Pokémon, "Where is it?"

    "You…" Zoroark whispered as his face exploded in a mixture of surprise and disappointment, "You cannot tell…?"

    "Tell what?" Lucario asked before groaning loudly and slapping himself in the face, "Man, I knew you were lying! There never was a secret, was there!?"

    "… But…" was all Zoroark could muster to say, at a complete loss for words for the first time in his life.

    "Trying to get me to spill my guts…" Lucario kept going with a stern huff as he pointed at the bewildered dark-type, "You should've kept your fake 'secret' to yourself until I had told you mine, you moron!"

    "I… Suppose I could show you in detail, later on…" Zoroark mumbled as his voice once more gained strength, "But, in that case… I need to make sure that you will join our cause."

    "Your cause… Of 'cause…" Lucario mumbled with a smile before shrugging, "You know I still have no idea what I am going to be in charge of, right?"

    "Really? You have seen it with your own eyes, I believe," Zoroark said while another quick shudder passed through him, "Liberating unjustly captured Pokémon from their tyrannical trainers… You actually helped us out with it, remember?"

    "I… I did?" Lucario thought back, thinking of the Pokeball he picked up from the unconscious trainers, "That was, uh… That was just to get us moving faster. Really."

    "Is that so? If I remember correctly, you helped the Legendary Trio retrieve their captured companion," Zoroark pointed out with an impressed yet also somewhat ominous stare, "Even when faced with a powerful enemy such as Rayquaza, you didn't back down!"

    "Uh, yeah… I was just along for the ride, on that one," Lucario admitted while scratching his cheek, "I didn't really know what I was going to be doing, or who I was doing it for."

    "Along for the ride!?" Zoroark suddenly burst out, barely believing what he was hearing, "Against such overwhelming odds!?"

    "Uhh, yeeeah… In hindsight, I guess it was… Uh…" Lucario muttered before wondering why he had agreed to fight Lucas in the first place. Something regarding Zerobi, as far as he could remember.

    "Hmpf…" Zoroark huffed annoyed, before his face broke up into a compassionate smile, "Fear not. There is no need for you to tiptoe around the subject for my sake. I know exactly why you did it." Lucario remained silent, amused at the notion that Zoroark would when even he didn't.

    "Hunted by humanity for no reason… You must have thought that you were all alone in your plight, facing such powerful enemies all on your own…" Zororark said with a hint of sadness. He looked down at the lantern next to him, staring deeply into its fire as memories came upon him before quickly being brushed away.

    "Worry not. You are not alone in your defiance against humanity," Zoroark continued as he quickly looked up from the fire and smiled, "One might say, you were a part of this revolution before even me."

    "Defying humanity…?" Lucario repeated slowly, wondering how Zoroark could speak a sentence with such a bad ring to it with a straight face.

    "The humans have NO right to capture us Pokémon, and use us as they please," Zoroark kept going while making several unnecessary gestures in the air with his hands, "All we want to do is to reclaim our freedom."

    "… And how do you propose we do that?" Lucario asked.

    "Their governmental structure is pitiful," Zoroark explained confidently, "A few select strikes, and humanity would fall to the bottom, letting us Pokémon rise to the top." He nodded as a particularly long waft of hair from his head fell in front of his eyes, which he calmly brushed aside.

    "We could get them to do anything we want," he continued, "… Which we will not be abusing, of course. We are not as lowbrow as they are. We will have them make laws to promote more justifiable treatment of our kind, and nothing else."

    Silence was all that followed after that, Zoroark eagerly awaiting Lucario's response. Meanwhile, Lucario had stopped listening around the time Zoroark had started explaining his plan for overthrowing humanity, the mere notion of which lessened his opinion of the dark-type.
    A slight sensation of disgust arose within him when he thought of what Zoroark was requesting, but it was quickly replaced by one of amusement when he imagined how Zoroark would react to him revealing his human origin.

    "Doesn't sound too bad, I guess…" Lucario muttered sarcastically, "… But I refuse."

    "… What?" Zoroark exclaimed in surprise, "Why?"

    "You've obviously got some bug up your butt about humans," Lucario explained as calmly as he could, "But they're really not all that bad, especially when compared to Pokémon."

    "… You…" Zoroark growled as his eyes and demeanor darkened, "You have been hunted, hurt, captured and almost killed by humans, and yet still you hold them in such high regard!?"

    "I've got my own personal reasons for that," Lucario said, suddenly realizing that telling Zoroark about his heritage might not be such a splendid idea after all.

    "You are a Pokémon, yet you side with humanity!?" Zoroark shouted while pointing accusingly at him, "Shall you become a traitor to your own species!?"

    "Apparently not…" Lucario mumbled as he felt the conversation turn sour and wished for nothing more than to get out of there, "Look, I owe you one for getting my butt out of jail, but this is just a responsibility I'm not ready to accept."

    "Hmpf! Rejecting fame and glory, the chance of a lifetime…" Zoroark grumbled to himself, the conversation straying further and further from his plans, "What, you've got something better going on!?"

    "I guess you could say that…" Lucario said while turning around to leave, noticing Zoroark's worsening mood, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find my way back to the large mountain."

    "Get with reality!" Zoroark yelled angrily, "Where do you think you are?"

    "I can find my own way out, thank you," Lucario said with a much too classy voice while waving his hand back and forth.

    "Lucario… You were carried miles upon miles when you were captured," Zoroark said while calming himself down, finding a faint flicker of hope for his plans, "You're not even on the same continent anymore!"

    "I'm not… W-What!?" Lucario stuttered, stopped in his tracks and turned around, "M-Map! Give me one!"

    "Had you been my second in command, getting a bird Pokémon to fly you there in a few days would be easy," Zoroark explained as the smirk from earlier returned, "Another perk to joining our revolution."

    "I'm not joining your revolution," Lucario said bluntly, "Can you get me a ride?"

    "Hah! How selfish of you…" Zoroark exclaimed while shaking his head, "… Still, seems that we are at an impasse."

    "An impasse…?" Lucario repeated slowly, "Yeah, one that could be solved rather easily if you just, you know, gave me a bloody ride."

    "Yes. It seems talking is getting us nowhere," Zoroark continued while ignoring him, "Luckily, men like us have a more definite way of settling conflicts."

    Zoroark then turned around and walked back to the lantern, where he had been standing before moving forward to reveal his 'big secret'.

    "Strength is not all that matters in this world, but it can open up quite a few doors…" Zoroark said with a mighty voice before turning around and facing Lucario directly, "How about it? If you manage to defeat me in combat, I will be more than happy to secure you a flight to your destination."

    "… A challenge? A duel?" Lucario asked with a surprised voice, "Can I really beat up my savior with a good heart?"

    "To tell you the truth, I was looking forward to this confrontation," Zoroark said while once having to stop himself from putting his hand to his ointment-covered chest, "Experience always surpasses education. We will talk with our fighting prowess!"

    "… Uh, well…" was all Lucario could say to Zoroark's strange wording, "If it gets me a ride to my destination…"

    "Certainly. Should I win, however…" Zoroark said as his smile bright brighter, "You will stay here, and join my revolution!"

    Lucario decided to think it over for a moment before deciding. His previous battles had given anything but a clear winning streak, and losing would have disastrous consequences. Even so, Lucario thought that he could probably figure out a way to worm his way out of the organization if he lost. These actions of a poor loser were neither honorable nor fair, so Lucario felt they fit him perfectly.

    Zoroark was also quite humanoid, which combined with the fact that he used physical attacks meant several points in Lucario's favor. He was ridiculously fast, but had mostly relied on letting Connor to the fighting during their previous escape, meaning that he probably lacked the ability to deliver and take strong hits. The only thing he would have to watch out for is whatever wave-like attack Zoroark had used while he was busy pummeling the Machamp, as well whatever else the dark-type had hidden in that busy hair of his…

    "On one condition…" Lucario mumbled, trying to gain more favor for the upcoming battle, "No using those stunspores or whatever else you've got hidden in there!"

    "Certainly not!" Zoroark responded while feigning a hurt voice, "What manner of scoundrel would use items during a duel between men?"

    "… A Pokémon?" Lucario asked sarcastically before realizing that this joke would hopefully go over Zoroark's head.

    Things were looking good. So far the odds had been stacked against him in every battle, and more often than not he would still come out standing. This time, the winds of battle seemed to be blowing in his direction.

    "Alright, you're on," Lucario said before getting into his usual battle pose, "Let's do it." Much to Lucario's surprise, Zoroark didn't bother to do the same, simply standing around normally with his arms crossed. This display of confidence wavered Lucario's nary a twinge, as Zoroark suddenly started snickering faintly.

    "Lucario…" he said slowly as his eyes grew thin and his smile grew wide, "You've lost."

    "Maybe…" Lucario muttered defiantly against his intimidation tactics, "You never know until the fight's over."

    "Oh really? What do you think would happen if I were to smash this lantern?" Zoroark asked while tapping the lantern with his left foot, making the entire room flicker in the moving source of light, "I can see in the dark, and you cannot sense my aura. I could have my way with you, EVERY way with you, and you'd be powerless to stop me."

    "Y-You wouldn't!" Lucario stammered as an indescribably cold shudder passed through his body, "That's just not fair!"

    "I know, and so I won't…" Zoroark said with a sigh as he took a step away from the lantern, "Just remember that technically, you've already lost."

    "Bah…" Lucario huffed while preparing himself mentally, "The only winner is the one left standing!"

    Wanting to prove his point, Lucario dashed toward Zoroark. He had seen the dark-type dodge attacks both quickly and nimbly before, and decided to use fast, irregular strikes. He reached Zoroark and started punching, but might as well have been doing so much earlier as his blows struck nothing but thin air, Zoroark moving around like a flickering shadow.

    "I see that your fists are both determined and powerful…" Zoroark said smugly as he had somehow appeared behind the raging Lucario, "Still nothing compared to my ambitions."

    "Tch!" Lucario spat, quickly leaping back much to Zoroark's surprise.

    "Oh?" he exclaimed with an impressed tone, "Interesting. I was told your fighting style was little more than that of a 'berserker'."

    "They must've been referring to my strength," Lucario said while striking a battle pose and waving his fingers back and forth, "You think you're the only one who knows how to parry blows? Come on."

    "Hmm…" Zoroark mumbled with a smile on his face, moving back one of his legs to get into a ready position. Zoroark then charged at Lucario as quickly as he could, extending both his arms as to pierce Lucario's chest.

    Lucario remained steadfast, using his own hands to push Zoroark's to the side. They went past him as Zoroark kept moving forward, and was stopped by a mighty headbutt to his forehead. He staggered as an uppercut quickly followed, making him stumble backwards.

    "That…" Zoroark stammered with a magnified version of the same impressed tone from earlier, "… That was amazing! What a technique!"

    "It's called 'martial arts', and the fact that you don't even know what it is makes this all too easy," Lucario said cockily before waving his fingers again, "Come on, keep going. Maybe it was just a lucky shot."

    "Still, my forehead…" Zoroark said while carefully rubbing his head, not having been hit by a blunt attack in ages, "I'm surprised you didn't go for my chest. It has been weakened by Entei, your only hope of winning would have been to aim for that."

    "I don't need to do that to win," Lucario said confidently, just now realizing his mistake and at least wanting to give a cool reason. He looked at the bushy hair and balm covering Zoroark's chest, wondering if he would even be able to penetrate those thick layers to whatever was underneath. Well, Entei's fire had managed to, but that had been a completely different type of attack compared to anything he had to give.

    A completely different type of attack…

    Suddenly, an odd thought hit Lucario.

    "You know… The strange thing is, someone I fought not too long ago used fire attacks against me, too…" Lucario muttered while crossing his arms, "… Nasty stuff. Burnt my fur right up into cinders."

    Recalling the tough battle, he silently wondered if he had been as brave as to face the fearsome Garchomp alone after seeing what happened to Kabuta. He came back to reality as Zoroark had at least been courteous not to attack him while he was reminiscing.

    "… I can't help but notice that yours is fully intact, however…" he continued and looked at Zoroark's hairy chest, covered with white salve yet still seemingly unharmed.

    "This ointment… Promotes hair growth," Zoroark lied, subconsciously making it more obvious than normal.

    "Yeah, right," Lucario huffed while calling him out on it, "If such a lotion existed, bald people wouldn't. But they do, right?"

    "… Perceptive," Zoroark said menacingly while eyeing the lantern next to him, "I should warn you, that should you reveal my secret now without my consent… I may need to silence you."

    "Secret-this, secret-that…" Lucario muttered in annoyance, never having been one to take threats with a good demeanor, "I've had it! It's time for me to use MY secret ability!"

    Lucario saw that he had caught Zoroark off guard, and quickly closed the distance between them. He moved in a zig-zag formation as to confuse him, but Zoroark just stood and looked at him, feeling confident enough to let Lucario show off for a while.

    "KINGERIIII!!!" Lucario screamed as he leaped forward and his leg suddenly flew up like a bolt of lightning, landing directly between Zoroark's thighs. The dark-type's body levitated from the impact for half a second, before he immediately retaliated by delivering an elbow blow, making Lucario stumble backwards.

    "You…" Zoroark growled with disdain while keeping his arms raised, "Such a cowardly attack…"

    "N-No effect…?" Lucario stammered and coughed, once again coming to the conclusion that he was as unfamiliar with Pokémon anatomy as ever. Even so, he started wondering why Zoroark would claim it to be a 'cowardly attack' if he hadn't been aiming for the right spot…

    Zoroark did not let him ponder over this for long as he rushed towards Lucario once more, this time jumping with a forward flip right before reaching him as to pass by his head and strike it at the same time. But Lucario ducked the moment he leaped, and then jumped backwards and managed to collide their bodies in midair, hitting Zoroark's already damaged chest with his head.

    "Ugh… Another headbutt…" Lucario said grouchily after landing as he reached up and scratched his head, noticing that some of Zoroark's ointment had ended up on it, "Oh, cool. Bonus treatment."

    "But… But I am faster than you!" Zoroark cough as he saw the ointment on Lucario's head and stopped himself from clutching his chest, "How did you-"

    "Before a true martial artist, speed is meaningless," Lucario interrupted him with a triumphant voice as he thought of a way to sound smart, "By the way, how do you propose to handle a revolution if you can't even handle a single dissident?"

    "… Hmpf. Don't get too cocky," Zoroark growled as his eyes received a dangerous glint, "See, when I said that I was faster than you…"

    Lucario's brain barely had time to register as Zoroark suddenly ran to the left at a speed comparable to that of a punch, quickly leaving his field of vision. By the time Lucario had turned his head, Zoroark was nowhere to be found.

    "… I meant it," a whisper sounded in Lucario right ear, before Zoroark pushed his claws forward while ramming him. The sharp crooks dug deeply into Lucario who fell to his side, yelping in pain as the claws dislodged from his fresh, bleeding wounds. He immediately tried getting up, but was stopped by Zoroark's leg trampling his chest and keeping him pinned down.

    "Now…" Zoroark snickered menacingly, "You're all mine!"

    "Like… Like hell…" Lucario while trying to get up, but Zoroark's weight upon him proved to be too great.

    "Also, I cannot help but wonder why you asked me to not use any of my coatings…" Zoroark said, pretending to yawn, "A few stabs means defeat whether you're poisoned or paralyzed, no?"

    "No!" Lucario shouted before trying to slide away from his foot, but his side burned in pain at the flexing of his muscles and he once again cried out.

    "Face it – You're done," Zoroark said while pointing down at him, "Calm down, and let's get you some food and sleep upstairs. From this day on, you will be leading the great revolution against the oppression of the human species!"

    The moment that passed between them seemed like a quiet eternity, the revolutionary's words slowly sinking into Lucario's mind. The silence was then broken as he suddenly burst out laughing.

    "Ha… Ha ha ha…" Lucario kept going while facepalming himself, unable to stop himself even as blood poured more violently out of his wounds with each thunderous laughter, "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"

    "Things could be worse, no?" Zoroark chuckled, misinterpreting Lucario's laughter, "There's also the matter of my secret, which I will show you more thoroughly once you get better."

    "… Heh… Zoroark…" Lucario said quietly, his voice having gone hoarse from laughter and loss of blood, "You talk about… How you hate humans…"

    "Hmm?" Zoroark exclaimed with an amused tone.

    "Organizing an army… A revolution like this…" Lucario said with a dissonant smile that reflected how he was feeling, "You're… More human than you know."

    "… You would attribute a sign of civilization as a sign of humanity…?" Zoroark muttered slowly, "… Do you truly hold their species in such high regard?"

    "How can I not?" Lucario said before stopping himself to cough, "I'm… Human, after all…"

    "… Hmm?" Zoroark exclaimed once again, less amused this time.

    "Yeah… Your precious second in command… The one you chose, mind you…" Lucario mumbled, feeling a great weight lift from his chest both from the revelation and as Zoroark removed his leg.

    "What're you talking about?" Zoroark asked, both worried and annoyed.

    "I'm completely honest. You wanted to know why the master ball didn't work?" Lucario mumbled as he carefully sat up, wincing from the pain, "… I'm not a Pokémon. I'm human."

    "… Ridiculous," Zoroark muttered after a moment of silence, "Seems I accidentally broke your mind, somehow. Hope it can be fixed…"

    "So do I…" Lucario replied and got up on his feet, "Can't wait until I'm not a Pokémon anymore, so I don't have to spend my days bleeding because of idiots like you…"

    "You… You are serious, aren't you?" Zoroark stammered, a sad and somewhat fearful expression placing itself on his face.

    "Yeah. Sorry 'bout that," Lucario said before clutching the bleeding wound on his side, amazed at just how good he had gotten at taking pain with a straight face, "Nothing I can do about it."

    "You fool," Zoroark growled with disappointment rather than rage, "We would have been the greatest team there ever was."

    "A human and a human-hater…?" Lucario responded, "… I don't see it…"

    "You will regret not picking sides when you had the chance…" Zoroark said menacingly, turning around and walking further to the back of the cave into the unlit area.

    "What, you're not gonna keep me here?" Lucario asked both sarcastically and quietly.

    "Either you're human, or you're insane," Zoroark explained as his dark fur faded into the complete darkness and he became invisible to the naked eye, "Either way, you are unfit for this organization. Begone."

    Lucario truly wanted nothing more to do with the person he considered a savior not long ago, and had a feeling Zoroark thought the same about him. Without saying a word, he slowly backed away to the entrance, his eyes never leaving the spot where Zoroark became one with the darkness.

    "You have been an utter disappointment this evening, Lucario…" Zoroark's voice came from somewhere in front of him, "But should you come back to your senses… Don't hesitate to ask for another chance."

    "I won't…" Lucario grumbled, "… Come back to my senses, that is. I'm already there…"

    The passage back through the comparatively well-lit tunnel seemed much longer than before, as his wounds as well as a strange feeling of guilt weighed him down. The first time he had been so busy listening to Zoroark's story to really notice the time pass, and remembered that the ambitious dark-type had helped him out on more than one occasion.
    He had also experienced firsthand how badly Pokémon could be treated by humans Quitely he swore that if he ever returned to his regular form, he would always treat Pokémon with respect… And also become a vegetarian.
    The thought of this lightened his burden, and he immediately began thinking of a way to resume his quest to become human again. , but figured that he might as well go all the way with burning his bridges here. Heck, going with what he knew about Zoroark, he'd probably be impressed by it…

    "Lucario!" Astrid shouted worriedly as Lucario emerged from the tunnel's entrance, having stood there waiting all the time as to not repeat what happened to the people that went into the back room of his old home, "Y-You're bleeding! What happened!?"

    "Just had a bet with Zoroark, that he'd give me a free ride on some bird-Pokémon if I managed to touch him in battle," Lucario lied with a fake smile on his face, "It hurt, but guess what…?"

    "You… You won! Amazing!" Astrid burst out in pure joy before it faded all too quickly, "But… You're leaving?"

    "Yeah… Sorry, little bud," Lucario muttered as he felt like reaching down to pet the eeveelution, but noticed that both his hands were dripping with blood after trying to cover up his wounds, "… I've got my own things to worry about."

    "But… But…" Astrid stammered sadly while seemingly making his eyes turn hazy and grow three sizes, "Aren't we… Friends?"

    "… Heh…" Lucario exclaimed with a smile, the Stoneon's childlike and innocent demeanor coming as a nice contrast to Zoroark, "You're alright, Astrid. Be careful who you associate yourself with."

    "Oh…" Astrid said weakly, memories of Zerobi flooding his mind once more.

    "We'll meet again, probably…" Lucario said quietly as he realized that they might no longer be on friendly terms then, "… When we do, make sure that you've manned up. I'll be counting on you…"

    "Y-Yes!" Astrid replied with a hint of newfound confidence, "Follow me! The birds are all over here…"

    Shooting through the sky like a low flying comet, at long last Lucario's wish to fly had been granted, but he was too busy clinging on to life to enjoy it. The bird-Pokémon he was riding on had refused for him to bleed all over him during the flight, so he had to exert himself further by creating makeshift bandages out of dirty cloth. He had been working quite fast, worried that Zoroark would appear from the tunnel and bring him to justice.

    Even so, the bandages did little in stopping the salty wind that constantly whisked by, caressing his open wound about as much as a vat of acid would. Seeing the ground very far below was a sight he had long dreamed of, but knowing that the only thing separating him from breaking his neck against it was a Pokémon he was currently tricking kept him on the edge of his seat… Literally. The fact that the bird was constantly trying to pass the time by telling stories of how he learned how to fly, and apparently crashed over and over, made Lucario think that maybe he had been safer staying with Zoroark.

    The events of the past days weighed heavily on his heart. In the end he was getting a quick ride to his destination and thus was much better off than before encountering Silver and Jirachi, but the events that led him here had taken a great toll on him.

    He thought of the Dragonair, who he had forgotten completely in his own quest for freedom. Had Connor maybe placed her in a Pokeball and rescued her, too?

    He remembered the Alakazam, who had almost made him crap his pants in fear by just looking at him. Not that something like overwhelming odds had ever stopped his hand before, which the wounds on his side could attest to.

    Then came memories of Entei, the last and largest of the legendary beasts that had been hunting him for so long. He was glad that at least one of them seemed to be indifferent to his plight, instead of actively wanting him dead.

    A hazy silhouette of Ethan passed through his mind, the legendary trainer beyond all trainers. Lucario truly wished that the day that he would encounter him would never come, and was not exactly looking forward to seeing either Brendan or Red ever again.

    Finally, the words of Zoroark echoed in his head, and the sensation of his claws resounded throughout Lucario's nerves. Had he been wrong in not joining him? Had he been wrong in not stopping him? Many questions filled his head mind as his weary mind collapsed under the pressure, leading him to drift off into a deep and well-deserved sleep…

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

    "G-GAH! AAARGH!"

    "Take him to interrogation. Bring me a new suit."

    "Y-Yes, sir!"

    "GRR! GET BACK HERE, YOU... ARGH... Argh..."

    "Ambushing Giovanni... Idiot! Have you no will to live!?"

    "T-Tell me... M-Mightyena... Is he alright...?"

    "No. That would be his brains covering your legs."

    "... Ah... AH! AAAAHHHHH!!!"

    "Hey, ease up! I need you to tell me something!"

    "MIGHTYENA! NOOOOO!"

    "Calm the hell down! This is important!"

    "YOU... YOU... GRAH!"

    "Quick! Before they come back! How did this happen!?"

    "... Ahh... It... It hurts... What...?"

    "How did Giovanni kill him!? How did he wound you like this!?"

    "... Ahh... Ha... Ha..."

    "..."

    "... With his bare hands."

    "...!"

    "I saw it... He left his Pokemon behind... I thought... I couldn't lose..."

    "That's... That's impossible...!"

    "I know now... UGH! And my arm knows in particular... Why he was assigned this position... Why he's the head of this organization..."

    "..."

    "I thought it was out of heritage... That everyone feared him because of that... Hah... The man is... A monster... Both mentally and physically..."

    "That Pokemon over there is in pieces! You're telling me... He did this all by himself!?"

    "Oh god... Mightyena... I... I'm sorry..."

    "Someone's coming... You should've saved your screaming."

    "... Please... I don't want to..."

    "..."

  22. #72
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    Hi SS, if you recognise me. :P

    This fanfic... I can't really say anything bad about it. It's good how the atmosphere can suddenly switch from humourous to funny in just a couple of seconds. Besides from the occasional (but rare) spelling mistake, I honestly can't see anything wrong here.
    I am the epic. Obey me, or you will suffer my wrath.

    so i herd u liek mudkipz?

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovedragonites View Post
    Zoroark was...just plain weird. Wonder what the "secret" was? Anyways, good chapter. As usual, I don't know how to describe your writing other than unique. I mean, nobody else I know could come up with a completely new eeveelution with a completely logical explanation, or a human as a Pokemon without really ripping off PMD. Good job! ^_^


    ...I'm very horrible at reviewing, aren't I? XD
    Looks good to me! As for Zoroark's secret, it'll get revealed eventually, but it's currently possible to figure out. Everyone's free to take a guess, and I'll tell you if you're right!

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovetorterra View Post
    Hi SS, if you recognise me. :P

    This fanfic... I can't really say anything bad about it. It's good how the atmosphere can suddenly switch from humourous to funny in just a couple of seconds. Besides from the occasional (but rare) spelling mistake, I honestly can't see anything wrong here.
    Hey, cool that you like the sudden switches from... Humorous to funny? Anyway, most of the stories I read have these lengthy changes in atmosphere before anything happens, good to see they're not required because they're SO hard to be creative with!

    Also, blue works better as a background to the text. Just saying...

  24. #74
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    Here we have a preview, meaning that we'll soon have another chapter!



    Finally! A preview worth saluting!
    Hmm… Is it just me, or is there something weird about those colors…?

  25. #75
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    I'm going to guess what zoroarks secret is
    His he really a she?

    Anyway I love the human species! I think it's better than evolutions gate and forever legendary (I think that's what it's called)

    My fav characters are zoroark lucario and zoribii so far

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