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Thread: The Human Species (PG-13)

  1. #301
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    Oh wow, way to go Lucario, making everyone think you're gay at the last second.
    Hmm, I wonder if Mew will ever risk getting close to anyone again, it seemed llike she was going to, but now, not so much.
    This encounter will most definitely be interesting and I look forward to what will happen next.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  2. #302
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    Chapter 69

    Lethal Virus Pokérus


    "Mr. Lucario! Zoroark is waiting for you in there!" the Whimsicott said while pointing ahead. Lucario felt extremely underwhelmed by the sight, a completely square house made out of dull, grey concrete. The revolutionaries' underground base had also been rather shabby, but compared to the extravagance of No Man's Land he felt like he was being led into an outhouse.

    "Or rather, he is not in there… But he is definitively waiting for you!" the Whimsicott continued, making Lucario and Zerobi look at him funny.

    "What do you mean, he's not in there?" Lucario asked worriedly, "I'll feel really, really stupid if this turns out to be a trap after all."

    "It is not!" the Whimsicott assured him, "Upon entering, someone like you should have no problem understanding what I mean."

    "Good luck… You'll need it," Zerobi snickered balefully, almost hoping it would turn out to be a trap so she could not only be proven right but also get an excuse to wreck Zoroark. She remembered that his lackey had struck her head pretty hard back in No Man's Land, but with the legendary Celebi clutching onto her back she felt a whole lot safer than usual. Lucario stared helplessly at the house as he swallowed hard, entering the square building alone while wondering what the Whimsicott had meant by 'someone like him'.

    Inside was nothing but a staircase which led down, making Lucario realize that the revolutionaries really liked underground bases for some reason. He descended the stairs and was glad to see that the walls and ground were still made out of concrete, instead of mud and dirt like earlier. There was a strange glow coming from below, and as he finally reached the bottom he saw Zoroark.

    Their encounter was not what Lucario had expected it to be, and suddenly he understood the Whimsicott's cluelessness. Zoroark was not actually there, but rather on a large screen at the end of the room. Lucario recognized it as a videophone, one so big it made her almost twice the size he was. From what he could tell, she had taken no obvious damage after her fall. It occurred to him that she appeared male once more, and he realized she might simply be hiding her wounds with more illusions.

    Zoroark was clearly unaware of his presence, leaning up against a metallic wall while reading a newspaper with a bored expression. Her massive red hair hung limply beside her, and she let the claws on her left hand idly run through it. Lucario had never seen her as casual as this before. He was more used to seeing her fighting, commanding and generally being on edge, wondering if she was expecting anyone to be able to see her in this state.

    Awareness must have struck her at that very moment, Zoroark letting her eyes glance away from the paper and suddenly fasten upon him.

    "H… Have I established verbal communication with Lucario?" Zoroark said, turning towards him while sounding unsure of herself.

    "Yeah," Lucario replied while waving his arm around, "Or as we say where I'm from, 'Hello'."

    "… Indeed…" Zoroark whispered, her usual display of confidence returning as put down the paper, moved away from the wall and stared at Lucario through the monitor with an assertive gaze.

    "Hello, Lucario," Zoroark said as a sinister smile crossed her face, "Or should I say… Hello, Ethan?"

    Lucario quickly dropped his arm, breathing in sharply in surprise.

    "You… You believe me!?" he gasped, scrambling his memories to figure out what he had and hadn't told her regarding his past.

    "I believe… Something," Zoroark said while looking a bit uncertain, "The way you talk and act… How move in combat, not completely aware of the limitations in your own bodily structure… As impossible as it seems, you really were human, weren't you?"

    "Yeah, but… How the hell did you figure out which human I used to be?" Lucario asked, surprised since not even he had done that on his own. Mew was the one who had to tell him, and for a moment's hesitation he wondered if the small legendary had something to do with this.

    "That Mankey you encountered when entering No Man's Land might have seemed a bit unreliable…" Zoroark admitted before tapping the side of her head, "… But his memory is extraordinary, hence why I gave him that job in the first place."

    Thinking back, Lucario remembered giving his real name to a tree-climbing fuzzball before entering No Man's Land, Zerobi getting mad at him for some reason. It was not until now that he realized he had nearly given her actual name as well, and considering her past that might very well have ended up in tragedy.

    "Of course, we are both friendly friends now, Ethan…" Zoroark whispered as a threatening expression fell upon her face, "… But should you for whatever reason feel like revealing my secret to anyone, know that I could just as easily reveal yours."

    "That'd be great, actually," Lucario replied, having no qualms whatsoever with more Pokémon knowing he was once Ethan. Zoroark was taken aback by this, suddenly becoming worried as she tried to think of something else to dissuade him from revealing her powers of illusion and true gender.

    "Don't worry, I won't spoil the surprise for your fangirls," Lucario said, the Sigilyph popping into his mind for a second and making him snicker, "Now that we've got the blackmailing out of the way, how are you doing?"

    "… Rather well, considering…" Zoroark muttered while trying to bring herself back together, knowing there were actually more important things to discuss than her private secrets, "… Wish I could say the same for the current state of affairs. Have you found Mew yet? Where is she?"

    "Can't say," Lucario responded with an irritated shrug, there mere mention of Mew starting to annoy him.

    "Can't…" Zoroark repeated quietly, "… Or won't?"

    "You need a Q-tip!?" Lucario shouted angrily, fed up with still being treated like an enemy after having trusted her enough to even come in the first place, "She's fine, but she left before I could reunite with her. I don't know where she is. Stop not trusting me."

    Zoroark's face scrounged up for a moment, and he could hear her cursing under her breath.

    "Of course I trust you! It's not that at all…" Zoroark said as gently as she could muster before turning towards the screen with a very stern look on her face, "Listen, do you have any idea as to where she might be? It is very, very, VERY important that I get into contact with one of the legendaries as soon as possible."

    "Oh, is that all you want?" Lucario replied nonchalantly, still feeling a bit ticked off, "No problem, I'll just ask one of the other legendaries I know. I've got Celebi with me, will she do?"

    A moment of silence passed as Zoroark stood frozen, staring at him with an expression of surprise and disbelief.

    "Why you?" Zoroark asked bluntly before snapping out of it, "I mean, yes. Let me talk to her!"

    "Well… She's pretty damn shy, and you don't have the best track record when it comes to dealing with legendaries," Lucario huffed as he calmed down, "I'll ask her, but you might want to tell me what it's all about first."

    "Fair enough," Zoroark sighed, wondering just how badly Lucario would react to the news. After explaining the situation to the Whimsicott, he had flown into a panic and immediately called for the Sigilyph who was their best tracker when it came to tracing aura, setting out to find Lucario. Zoroark hoped Lucario did not know that the Sigilyph also happened to be the best anti-fighting type they had, and would have made sure to bring him here whether he wanted to or not. She felt relieved that he had been reasonable enough to come along without a fuss, and relied on the fact that his reason would stay with him for just a little bit longer.

    "We managed to trace the location of the laboratory shown in the Tape," Zoroark said, the frightful and depraved imagery within still filling her with disgust, "It was not filmed in Celadon City where we found it, but elsewhere. A bit curious as to why anyone in their right state of mind would ever do something like that, I had a scouting party sent to investigate. The results were… No good."

    "No good?" Lucario repeated. He had yet to see the Tape, but knew that the contents were enough to anger those who had seen it to the point where they went ballistic and threw every human out of Celadon City.

    "Do you know what a virus is, Lucario?" Zoroark asked bluntly.

    "… Is it the technical term for people asking obvious questions?" Lucario answered with a question, smiling at the thought of someone not knowing what a virus is.

    "This is no laughing matter!" Zoroark suddenly burst out with a stern voice, "If you did know what a virus is, you would not be wearing that casual grin right now!"

    "No, like…" Lucario stammered, his face falling as flat together with his joke, "I mean… Of course I'm familiar with the term!"

    "You will soon be familiar with the actual thing!" Zoroark continued as she realized she was losing her calmness, "Those insipid Rockets… They have…"

    Zoroark breathed in deeply. She could not afford to let go of her temper or make too light of things. With or without her own display of emotions, Lucario would come to realize the gravity of the situation soon enough.

    "They have isolated the structure of the Pokérus virus," Zoroark explained calmly, each syllable dripping with venom, "Usually harmless and actually quite beneficial, it only attaches itself to a group of cells that are unique to Pokémon. However, as of the latest reports I have received… They are restructuring it into something lethal."

    "How… Infectious is it?" Lucario asked quietly, a chill running up his spine.

    "We won't know until they deploy it," Zoroark said with a shrug, "But depending on how they choose to spread it, and how long it takes to create a vaccine… It could go anywhere from a few localized deaths to wiping out all Pokémon on the planet."

    "… That's insane!" Lucario shouted in disbelief, "I refuse to believe anyone's THAT bloodthirsty!"

    "Actually, you've already met him," Zoroark muttered while looking down on her claws for a moment, "The head developer is the scientist we ran into back in Saffron City. The one I put to sleep and probably should've killed when I had the chance to…"

    "No kidding!" Lucario yelled while slapping his forehead, still trying to comprehend what was going on, "You've doomed us all!"

    "Do not presume your hands are clean in all of this!" Zoroark shouted in response, "I know for a fact that the information they gained from experimenting on your immunity to Pokéballs helped their progress quite a bit!"

    Lucario froze up, wanting to respond but coming up short of breath. Zoroark looked at him and cursed herself for once more losing control. She herself had just barely gotten over her initial reaction to the whole thing, but knew she had to be strong and take charge if the oncoming calamity was to be averted.

    "Forgive me. This is not the time for pointing fingers," Zoroark mumbled shamefully as she lowered her head, "Rather, I suggest we gather as many powerful Pokémon as possible and go trash their place before the virus is completed."

    Scratching the side of his head, Lucario suddenly felt very uncomfortable. Part of him refused to believe that this was really happening, but the other part remembered all too well what he had witnessed in the lab back in Saffron City. The cruel, unseen experiments upon the Dragonair and cocooned insect. If their lives had been worth less than dirt to the scientists, who was to say the lives of every other Pokémon meant anything more?

    "But… To kill off all Pokémon…." Lucario stammered in disbelief, "Won't it screw up the ecosystem…? Destroy the planet…?"

    "Who knows?" Zoroark replied while shaking her head, "I'd say that whatever happens after we're all dead is not really of much concern… Not to us, anyway."

    "Can't wait," Lucario muttered sarcastically, "By the way, how long do we have?"

    "Depends. I don't think even they know when the virus will be completed," Zoroark responded with a sigh, "Do not worry, I have them under the watch of a very reliable spy who will inform us before it is finished."

    "Us? Are you sure you want to be telling more people about this?" Lucario asked carefully, "Won't it, you know, cause widespread panic?"

    "Oh, that would be wonderful," Zoroark scoffed to herself, "Alas, I fear that would not be the case. If you really were human, you probably understand the differences of our mentality. Humans are weak and frightened that just about anything might kill them, and take precautions accordingly… But would a proud Aggron understand that an organism too small to see could potentially kill him and everyone he knows?"

    The mental image of Ivy flashed through Lucario's mind, knowing firsthand how unreasonable Pokémon can be. Then again, he also remembered how she was ready to kill him based on some old legend that his survival would bring calamity.

    A very painful thought clutched his mind as he remembered what Zoroark had said, how the scientist's experiments upon him had helped develop the lethal virus. In a way, his survival really had set the world down the path of destruction. He immediately shrugged the thought off, knowing it was nothing but silly superstition, but the damage upon his psyche had already been done.

    "So, now you know why I need to speak with a legendary," Zoroark said, apparently tired of waiting for a response, "This is something that concerns us all. Risks are something we cannot afford to take… Even if I fail, they must be prepared to prevent this."

    "I get it, I get it…" Lucario exclaimed while rubbing his aching forehead, "I'll go talk to Celebi and tell her to come down here."

    "Good," Zoroark answered while noticing his discomfort, "And Lucario… It was nice talking to you again."

    "Yeah…" Lucario muttered, wishing he could say the same thing. His mood seemed to have fallen down in the dumps, but Zoroark was still amazed that he had taken the news of their impending doom so well. As he turned around to leave, she wondered if maybe he was getting a little too accustomed to life-threatening situations for his own good.

    "Wait…" Zoroark suddenly said, noticing something she had not seen until now, "… Why do you have a hole in your ear?"

    "Long story," Lucario said with a wave of his hand, his stomach churning strangely. He felt he needed some time alone to digest what he had just learned, and could not wait to return to the surface.

    "Oh, and regarding Entei-" Zoroark started, but was quickly interrupted.

    "What? Who?" Lucario said as he turned around with an irritated expression, "I thought we were in a hurry. Can I go now?"

    "… Fine," Zoroark replied with inhibition. She had hoped to talk to Lucario as Ethan the trainer for a while, but could tell he was in no condition for a casual chat. She had to carefully prepare herself in order to present the news to the legendary Celebi, knowing the fate of all Pokémon might depend on the outcome.

    Lucario left the building in a slump. Mind racing with thoughts of the future instead of past, he managed to convince Celebi to go talk to Zoroark. She stayed hidden however, as Zerobi carried her under the cloak when they went inside. The Whimsicott and Sigilyph seemed to have left, probably on their way to rally more troops. Finding himself on his own, Lucario lay down on the grass and exhaled deeply.

    Alone with his thoughts, he thought about the many humans he used to know. Although most of his memories of them were but a blur, there were bits and pieces of recognition here and there. The cheerful Lyra, who had let him borrow her plastic shovel in kindergarten. Professor Elm, whose line of work he had forgotten but still had quite a bit of respect for. His own mother, who despite her many shortcomings had given him life and spurred him on like no other.

    As time passed, he was beginning to notice a lot of things he had never thought much about before. The insanity of Brendan. The indifference of Red. The naivety of Blue. As severe as their flaws were, and despite the chaos and destruction wrought on by Deoxys, Lucario could not imagine any of them wanted Pokémon completely eradicated from the world. Silver had said that they were all under his control, and his old rival did seem uninterested in Pokémon and spiteful enough to actually want something like that. Even so, Lucario could not imagine the mindset of someone who truly wished to bring about an end to all Pokémon life. Was it because he himself was a Pokémon? Would he be as blind and uncaring had he still been human?

    When they returned, Celebi was no longer hiding under the cloak. She floated like a dead fish in midair, a blank expression on her face. Zerobi looked slightly less stunned, and seemed to be carrying some flat and resilient material between her claws.

    "How'd it go?" Lucario asked, already aware of the answer.

    "Not bad," Zerobi replied casually, "Should've seen his face when Celebi said I was her sister!"

    "I agree. Things most likely not as bad as they seem," Celebi said, her ghastly expression betraying her words, "But… Just in case… I suggest we take immediate action."

    "So… Back to the Seafoam Islands?" Lucario muttered reluctantly, not too keen on seeing either Lugia or Mesprit again.

    "That will take too long," Celebi said while shaking her head, replacing her defeated expression with that of determination, "No, I… I will head towards Zoroark and Mew at full speed, and assist them to the extent of my abilities."

    "Mew?" Lucario repeated with confusion.

    "Oh, right," Zerobi chimed in as she held up the tough paper in her hands, "We've got a map here of where we need to go. Sis says she can sense that Mew is heading right in that direction!"

    Lucario quickly stood up grabbed the map, but did not really look at it. Ideas swirled around his head as a sliver of hope filled his chest.

    "You think… Maybe she found out about this on her own?" Lucario asked, well aware of Mew's fantastic skill at gathering information thanks to her transformation ability, "She didn't come to see us because she was in a hurry?"

    "I believe so," Celebi responded as a smile crept up on her face for the first time in what seemed like ages, "Mew is very resourceful!"

    "… Hah!" Lucario exclaimed, returning her smile with one of his own, "And so are we! Zoroark needed powerful fighters, right? Come on, let's go and crack some eggheads!"

    Although relieved to see both of them happy again, Zerobi sighed as she knew it was her role to bring them back to earth.

    "Uh, Lucario?" Zerobi said while looking towards her sister for affirmation, "We can't fly. Celebi is much faster on her own, so we'd just be dead weight."

    "No, no! You two are great!" Celebi protested before looking off to the side and lowering her voice slightly, "But… Yes… Considering the urgency of the situation…"

    Huffing with annoyance, Lucario swiftly grabbed the map out of Zerobi's claws and began to examine it, determined not to let his chance for redemption and finally being able to confront Mew slip away.

    "It's not too far," Lucario said confidently as he examined the map, glad to see he would not be crossing another continent on foot this time, "And I walk pretty fast, I'll be there in a week or two!"

    "But Lucario, you are still traced by the legendary dogs, no?" Celebi pointed out with a concerned experssion, realizing Lucario had a shift in priorities since their first meeting, "Traveling alone is dangerous! I urged Zoroark to send out for Pikablu and the others, so I think we can handle things on our own. You will be much safer if you go back to the Seafoam Islands or No Man's Land, I doubt that anyone would object to-"

    "Yeah, no," Lucario interrupted, getting tired of Celebi's long-winded speech, "I've told both Mew and Zoroark I'd help them, might as well at least try to keep promise. Zerobi, you coming?"

    "… Well, it's located north, and I could use a break from all this heat…" Zerobi mumbled to herself when she was struck by a sudden thought. Rather, a perfect opportunity.

    "You too? But why would you…" Celebi asked, but quieted down as Zerobi approached her. Leaning in to whisper something, Lucario was annoyed that even his own ultra-sensitive hearing was not enough to pick up more than a murmur from between the two sisters. Gradually, Celebi's expression of concern began to dissipate, being replaced by one of indescribable joy and exaltation.

    "Oh! Yes! Of course!" Celebi exclaimed loudly while looking as if she had just been pumped full of morphine, "I will go on ahead, and you two can, well, go together!"

    "… Huh?" Lucario exclaimed, bewildered by the small legendary's sudden change of attitude. Even Zerobi was surprised at the strong reaction, but glad to see her sister back to her normally cheerful state. Lucario was taken aback as the small legendary suddenly flew up to him and put her hands together, gazing at him with a strangely longing stare.

    Celebi's spirits soared at the recent news, lifting her out of the depth of despair brought about by her recent misfortunes. Finally able to overcome her sorrows and put the past behind her, she recognized the feeling quite well from when she had befriended Pikablu. Between him, Zerobi and Lucario, she wondered if maybe she had a knack for attracting troublesome people.

    "Listen… Things have been rather trying lately…" Celebi admitted as she calmed down, moving back to get a better look at both Lucario and Zerobi, "But know that no matter what is at stake, you two will always come first for me. If I sense a powerful enemy approach you, I will immediately turn and come back to help."

    Lucario wanted to respond but was overwhelmed by something in the air, a strangely warm feeling emanating through his body. At that moment, Lucario realized that the pleasant radiance that had once surrounded Celebi had finally come back, not having noticed it was gone among all the turmoil they had gone through. It reminded him of their initial meeting, the moment of respite during battle against Lucas.

    "You too, sis," Zerobi said with a display of confidence on her face, "Don't worry about getting captured again. If you do, we'll gather up a bunch of roughnecks and free you again."

    "Yeah!" Lucario said in agreement, holding his fist in front of him, "Hell, that goes for both of you… Anyone tries to mess with you, they've got to explain themselves to the fist."

    Zerobi looked at him for a moment before smiling and holding up her clenched claw right next to his hand.

    "Damn straight," Zerobi repeated, looking towards Celebi expectantly.

    "Damn… Straight…" Celebi whispered, the first word finding it difficult to leave her tongue. The small legendary carefully hovered over to them and reached out with a deceptively lengthy arm. They held their position for a while; a powerful feeling surged through them as they saw their hands up against one another like this.

    Celebi felt blessed to finally be treated normally, despite being a legendary and having been so naive and distant in the past. She wanted to protect these two, save them from harm and watch them grow old together. No matter what happened in her own life, she felt it would be fine as long as she had friends and family to see it through with her.

    Zerobi was glad to finally have those she could rely on, scarcely believing someone in this world had decided to stick by her despite knowing what she had done. She strengthened her resolve to never fall back to her old ways, not willing to betray the rare trust she had been given. Her spirit filled with hope, she felt it was time to take the next step and see just how far up the ladder to heaven goes.

    Lucario thought the whole thing felt a little off, looking at a paw, claws and tiny three-pronged fingers next to one another. It was then he suddenly became aware that these were Pokémon he was standing next to. For so long Pokémon had been a strange and foreign concept to him, unnatural and confusing in every manner, yet here he was with two of them that he felt like he knew so well. The dark, slender and elegant creature with knives for hands, and the flying flower bud that beamed happiness… They were no longer a mystery. They were his friends.

    "Good luck," Lucario said, pulling his hand back and nodding.

    "Be safe," Celebi whispered and lifted higher, getting ready to take off.

    "See you when we get there!" Zerobi exclaimed gleefully while raising her arm to wave goodbye. The two sisters shared an unspoken vow between each other as Celebi ascended straight up, soaring high into the sky. When she had reached what she considered to be a safe distance away from the ground to avoid being spotted, she began heading towards the new destination. Her presence faded into the horizon as Lucario and Zerobi began marching towards cold northern lands, hoping to hinder a catastrophe unlike anything ever seen before.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  3. #303
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    Why is it that Ethan seems to attract feelings from just about all the female pokemon? Don't answer that, I just don't know what observations to make anymore.

    Looking forward to yet another chapter and hope to see some action in the next couple.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  4. #304
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    Chapter 70

    Romance
    (Epilogue of Episode XI)


    As the first chilly wind passed the two wanderers by, Lucario shivered while Zerobi sighed out in relief. Being on the wrong side of the equator for so long had made her forget how nice it was to finally be entering a colder climate. It felt very refreshing, like she had been given a full night's sleep after months of being kept awake.

    "You know… I was all fired up back then…" Lucario muttered as he clutched the side of his arms, not appreciating the prospects of traveling north as much as his companion, "… But now I'm just hungry and tired…"

    "I wonder why?" Zerobi asked snarkily, "Maybe it's because you never eat and sleep on the ground?"

    Lucario grumbled, lamenting the fact that they had once more lost their backpack containing sleeping bags, this time in No Man's Land. Every night he had been imagining some smelly beast nuzzling up inside the comfy folds while he was forced to use rocks for a pillow and morning dew for sheets. As for food, fleeting dreams of simple rice and the magnificent meal Silver had supplied haunted his every moment. Had they not been in such a hurry, he would have gone off to look a way to rectify both errors.

    Zerobi saw his predicament. Although his suffering was nothing new to her, she knew this was a chance to prove her worth.

    "Hey, Lucario!" she said cheerfully as she reached into her hair and pulled out a tiny satchel, "I've got a present for you!"

    "… Huh?" Lucario exclaimed, surprised by the abruptness as well as the fact that everyone but him seemed to be storing things in their hair. He scratched the top of his head, sad to find that he would have difficulty keeping anything but dandruff in there.

    "Well… It's from both me and sis…" Zerobi admitted quietly, "She grew it, and I… Uh… Requested it."

    Before Lucario had time to ponder her statement and take away all her credibility, Zerobi opened the satchel with a light flick of one of her claws. She moved up to Lucario who held his hands out expectantly, seeing something thin and green dwindle out of the small bag and into his palms.

    "These leaves are edible!" Zerobi chimed confidently, "In fact, from what I've read, they're the kind humans love to eat all the time!"

    "E-Edible?" Lucario stammered and sniffed the quite odorless contents of his hands, "Like… Spices?"

    "Come on, give it a shot!" Zerobi continued, silently praying and hoping her sister knew as much about farming as she had let on.

    "I'm not so sure…" Lucario muttered, vividly remembering the so-called 'meal' Mew had prepared for him once, "… Ahh. Worth a shot. Anything's better than berries."

    Bending his head down, Lucario took one of the leaves into his mouth and started chewing. Slowly but surely, a blank expression began to form on his face.

    "Mint," Lucario said flatly as his expression turned into a sneer.

    "Is it tasty?" Zerobi asked hopefully.

    "No… I mean, yes… I mean…" Lucario stuttered at a loss for words at the vaguely familiar taste on his tongue, "It's minty, I'll give you that. Not exactly what I'd consider a satisfying taste or a filling meal."

    "Oh…" Zerobi said disappointedly, regretting not having opted for learning how to cook at some point during her many years of free time, "… Well, I thought maybe you can use them to kill the taste of the berries?"

    Lucario's expression suddenly lit up, looking around until he spotted a grove a little further ahead. He ran ahead, Zerobi following while wondering if he had sensed an enemy or something. Within the grove she found him hunched next to a berry tree, padding the insides of his mouth with the mint before taking a bite out of a Grepa Berry. He cringed at first, but the worry on his face soon melted away as he started chewing.

    "Oh, hey…" Lucario whispered hopefully as he reluctantly swallowed down the bite, "Yeah, you're right… It does taste less wretched like this…"

    Berry after berry he ate, making sure not to damage or accidentally swallow the mint. Zerobi stared at him, making him realize he had his mouth rudely open for display like he was paying an inordinate visit to the dentist. Even so, he couldn't help but notice she was smiling for some reason, thinking she was probably glad to not be kept awake by his growling stomach any more.

    "Haahhh…" Lucario sighed as he leaned up against a tree and slowly sunk down, his mouth a bit sore but his stomach full. Worry struck as he spat out the mint, seeing that his saliva had already done quite a number on the small leaves, bringing ruination while draining nearly all taste out of them.

    "I brought more," Zerobi quickly added, disgusted to see Lucario trying to wipe off as much drool as possible from his tiny saviors. Lucario's ears perked up as he stared at her, before throwing the leaves away with a silent nod of gratitude. He yawned as he leaned back further.

    "Feeling a bit tired…" Lucario whispered, his back and neck rather stiff and uncomfortable against the hard bark.

    "Digestion and sleep runs on the same nervous system," Zerobi said clearly while moving closer, "Here, you can lie on my lap, if you want."

    Playing it cool while Lucario's eyes squinted, she sat down next to him and leaned up against the same tree.

    "… I did go to school, remember?" Zerobi said casually as she feigned ignorance.

    "No, like… The other thing you said," Lucario clarified, his aching back chafing painfully as he subtly shuffled away from her.

    "What? You've got to rest if you want to keep going," Zerobi stated as reasonably as possible, having learned a few tricks from talking to Zoroark earlier and observing his behavior, "We're friends, we help each other out. Nothing wrong with that, right?"

    Opening his mouth in protest, Lucario slowly closed it again as he could not think of a good response. It felt wrong somehow, but considering how many times they had hugged up against one another, he knew this really should not be any different. Zerobi smiled and patted her lap, realizing that her claws were all but inviting and quickly moved them aside.

    Remembering how nice it had been to sleep next to Celebi, Lucario decided to give it a shot as he laid down, placing his head on Zerobi's legs. They were soft but had certain firmness to them, and the fine hair pleasantly tickled the back of his head. In contrast, the hair on his head was rough and coarse, and his ears seemed to drop slightly in relaxation, Zerobi rejecting the urge to poke them just to see what would happen. She hardly believed how easy it had been to convince him, wishing she had attempted something like it earlier.

    As the minutes passed, the stress accumulated from the past few hectic days seemed to melt away. It was is if they had been surrounded by a cloud of tension ever since running into the armored human, and only now was it being carried away by the cold wind brushing past their bodies. Lucario felt warm when next to Zerobi, and she for once did not mind the heat at all. They were both enjoying the moment to the fullest, neither eager to continue their journey away from peace and towards future strife.

    "Hey… You've been awfully nice to me lately…" Lucario mumbled while rubbing his eyes, feeling like he had just been moments away from falling asleep.

    "Oh really?" Zerobi scoffed and snickered to herself, wishing she had something besides freakishly large and sharp hands to affectingly comb through his hair with, "You think putting your faith in me when no one else would might've had something to do with that?"

    "Well… Might as well have, we've been together an awful lot…" Lucario said with a display of calmness rarely shown, "Who knows? Maybe we're fated to be stuck doing things together forever?"

    "That would be really unexpected…" Zerobi admitted somberly in disregard to her own feelings, "I always figured our friendship was only temporary… That you'd abandon me once the truth about my past came out…"

    "… Hmm… I guess I had about the same idea…" Lucario replied after thinking to himself for a few moments, "I was so sure that I was going to become human again and leave all this behind… Getting to know a bunch of people would just make it harder to go…"

    A sudden thought hit Zerobi, diverting her attention from the nice situation at hand.

    "Lucario…" she whispered, "What do you think would've happened between us had you still been human when we first met?"

    "Hahaha…" Lucario chuckled quietly to himself while thinking back, "I guess I'd capture you and drag you around with me?"

    "Hehehe…" Zerobi snickered in return, "Not much of a difference, then?"

    "Hey, you're the one who dragged me around!" Lucario insisted while breaking his calm, "Going off to rescue Celebi and all that!"

    He tried to sit up, but his head fell back into place soon enough, feeling like a heavy rock lying in the soft sand at the bottom of a cold but gentle sea. Everything felt so peaceful for some reason, and Lucario could not bother to muster up even a sliver of effort. He looked up at Zerobi, her smiling face clashing against the green crown of the tree above, and suddenly Lucario started to feel bad.

    "… Just so you know…" Lucario mumbled while looking off to the side in embarrassment, "… I never helped you because I felt indebted."

    "Indebted?" Zerobi replied with confusion. Whatever she had been expecting him to be thinking about, it had not been that.

    "Yeah. You know, because you saved me from Brendan and Suicune," Lucario continued as he faced her once more, "I… Don't really care about stuff like that. The reason I helped you is because… Well, I like you."

    The words hung in the air for a moment, leaving Zerobi relieved yet somewhat unfulfilled. All the relief in the world could not quell the lingering and powerful emotions she had developed for Lucario over the past year. She could hardly believe how much he had changed her life, and how big a part of it he had become. Having come through countless times and staying loyal even in the darkest times had transformed the handsome yet brutish fighting-type into something of an icon for the relation-starved Weavile. Her initial curiosity had turned into interest. Appreciation became admiration. Care had become… Something more.

    Against Zerobi's own wishes, her heart was beginning to pound harder, ruining their serene moment together. Relaxing with Lucario in her lap was such a nice feeling, but served to cloud her mind with a deep longing for more. Why could she not be satisfied with this? Why strive for something so obviously out of reach? She had kept her feelings hidden, well aware of the potential rejection and the consequences it would bring. They could pretend it never happened, but it would just be an act they both could see through with ease. He would distance himself from her, and she would find herself all alone once more. It was a risk that had once seemed unthinkable, but as her desire and frustration grew she found herself contemplating it more and more often.

    She had tried her best to make him notice her in a different light, but was not able to read his reactions very well. His surprising complexity and unpredictable nature was one of the things that had drawn her curious mind towards him, and her repeated failure in predicting his actions always left her eager for more. Afraid and unable to directly confront him, she had even gone as far as to ask Celebi to probe him for answers. As she thought about it, she remembered that it was not the only thing she had asked Celebi for regarding Lucario. The reason she and him were here alone at this very moment was because of a promise she had made to her sister, something that had been so easy to promise yet so impossible to go through with.

    Why was she hesitating? The moment was perfect in every single way. She knew she would never get a chance like this again, and could not spend the rest of her life agonizing over what could have happened and what could have been had she only been a little bit braver. If she had the inner strength to admit and even accept what had happened in Cerulean City so many years ago, something like this should be no problem at all. It was now or never, and never was something she simply could not tolerate. She had to know.

    "Lucario… There's something I have to tell you," Zerobi whispered slowly and worked on removing her unfittingly troubled expression, "Something that's been on my mind for a long time."

    "It's… Not as bad as your last revelation, right?" Lucario asked cautiously, enjoy the peacefulness far too much to give it up.

    "No, no," Zerobi replied while smiling. The smile faded as she looked down at Lucario, looking back at her with a curious expression. The fierce beast-like features she had seen so many times in battle were all but gone, leaving his face in a gentle and relaxed state. His normally sharp eyes seemed to have softened, and reminded her of when he had supported her after the battle against Lucas. She shook the memory from her head as she focused on the task at hand.

    "Lucario, I…" Zerobi said, letting her voice trail off as she gave pause, hesitating as she fully enjoyed their final quiet, untarnished moment together. She inhaled deeply tried once more.

    "I think…" Zerobi continued as she swallowed, looking him deep in the eye, "… I think I… Love you…"

    Lucario stared at her, raising an eyebrow.

    "… You, uh…" Lucario responded his face caught between a laugh and panic, "You're kidding, right?"

    "Eh?" Zerobi exclaimed in surprise, amazed that she had actually made her confession and immediately wishing she could take it back.

    "You can NOT be… Are you serious!?" Lucario burst out as he immediately sat up and started shaking his head, "No! Impossible! How in the…"

    He looked at Zerobi who was reaching out for him, and in a panic stumbled back away from her large claws. Seeing her face droop in sadness, he quickly rectified himself and moved closer, crouching down on one knee.

    "… You've seen me beaten within an inch of my life like a goddamn wimp!" Lucario explained while trying to make sense out of things, "I haven't even tried to be charming… Hell, I've been a complete ! This makes no sense, how the hell could you possibly fall for me!?"

    "No, you've… You've been nice!" Zerobi responded with shock, "You believed in me-"

    "That's because we're friends!" Lucario shouted in exasperation, "I didn't think you'd see it like THAT! I…"

    Lucario forced himself to calm down as he stood up, turning away. Zerobi felt speechless as she also stood up, a solid grip tightening around her heart.

    "I already told you, it can never happen…" Lucario whispered as he clutched his fists, "I'm human, I could never be together with someone like you… You know, a Pokémon…"

    "But… You aren't human anymore!" Zerobi argued as she took a step forward, refusing to give up on something so important without a fight, "You're a Pokémon, now and forever! And you're already together with me, right at this moment! Why's that, if it's so impossible!?"

    "W-We're friends!" Lucario gasped as he turned around and faced her, "There's no problem with that, so don't go complicating things!"

    "We're still friends!" Zerobi said before shaking her head in an attempt to clear her mind, "I just wanted you to know that I… I really, really like you!"

    "… Well, of course! I like you too!" Lucario shouted back, not knowing what to say anymore, "But… Love? It… It seems wrong…"

    Zerobi gave off a hurt expression and fell quiet, which did little to calm Lucario's nerves. To him, this had all come out of the blue, and he was far too surprised to think rationally. Finding a short pause in their talks, he decided to think things over before saying something he would come to regret.

    Unlike what he had initially thought, he found himself to be not entirely opposed to the idea. After all, Zerobi was a great friend. Her air of mystique was rather alluring, and her snarky quips always brought a smile to his face. Never crossing him and never pissing him off without reason, she really was someone he could see himself spending time with years from now.

    And although he had never thought much of it before, he could not deny that there was a certain beauty to her. Her sleek frame and noticeable curves was something he assumed would drive normal Pokémon wild in a heartbeat, not to mention the fact that she was able to retain both class and cleanliness in a world of dirty beasts. The grace and elegance he had assumed to just be a show the first time they met had turned out to be part of her nature, permeating her very being. Moving like a mysterious dancer, her jet black form radiated charm with every motion.

    It was something he could learn to enjoy… But would it be something he could learn to love? He felt so confused. Usually he would back up his determination with endless confidence, but as his confidence slipped away he found himself dazzled and unable to make up his mind.

    "… And here I thought you were like me…" Zerobi whispered as she looked down on the ground, wondering maybe it was time for her to give up, "Ready to step into the unknown…"

    "… Huh…?" Lucario mumbled as he snapped out of his own thoughts, wondering what she meant.

    "I've never loved anyone before, either…" Zerobi admitted, "But I want to know what it's like… If you don't like it, we can always go back to how things were…"

    Realizing the meaning of her own words, she suddenly took a step towards Lucario. If this was as close as she was getting to true romance, then she at least wished to take back a souvenir, a memory to make the whole thing worthwhile. Lucario instinctively took a step back, but Zerobi had already taken three steps closer.

    "Just… Please…" she whispered quietly, "Let's give it a try… I want to know…"

    She approached until she was right in front of him, Lucario able to see his own reflection in the yellow gemstone her forehead bore. Although the turn of the situation was abrupt, he was well aware of what was about to happen and found himself stuck to the ground, unable to run away. His stern ration and tempting curiosity fought hard as he could not decide whether to reject or embrace it.

    "Kn… Know, not… Y'know…" Lucario stuttered as he swallowed hard, moving his head back as far as possible in a futile attempt to gain more time. Zerobi's belated breath felt both moist and chilly against his chin.

    "Come on, I know you… You're not so innocent…" Zerobi whispered seductively as she leaned in further, "… And neither am I…"

    With her last words, she moved her head forward as they finally locked lips. Lucario felt the underside of his nose graze by her hair as he stared up into the sky in shock, completely frozen. The moment lasted for nearly three seconds before the two of them split off, jerking away from one another in disgust. Zerobi clutched her throat and coughed wildly as Lucario fell to his knees with a ghastly expression.

    "Awawawa! It burns!" Zerobi yelled with her tongue outstretched, rubbing away layer after layer of strong minty taste with her claws, "H-How do you stuff yourself with something like that!?"

    "Tastes… Like licking the front lawn…" Lucario wheezed dryly, the accumulated taste of several berries sucking every last bit of life out of him. Zerobi inhaled deeply several times as the horrible assault upon her taste buds settled, and shut her eyes in frustration. This was not at all how she had imagined her first kiss to be like.

    "Damn it! You're right…" Zerobi groaned as the realization finally hit her, "It can never happen… You and I, we're too different… We're not meant to be…"

    Slowly coming returning to the world of the living, Lucario looked at her with a dazed expression. His heart was racing, but not from fear like he had expected. It was from excitement, the situation feeling so weird and unfamiliar it was like a new experience altogether.

    "… That taste's going to haunt my nightmares…" Lucario muttered, "But… I guess… If you're OK with it… I'm open to trying new things."

    Zerobi's head suddenly perked up as she looked at him, some kind of determination lighting up in her eyes. Digging through her hair and drawing out another satchel, she cut it open and let the minty leaves fall into her open palm. Clenching every muscle in her body and closing her eyes, she suddenly lifted her hand and thrust every last leaf into her mouth, cringing as fierce gustation wracked her once more while struggling not to spit out the evil herbs.

    "Uh… Those are hard to come by…" Lucario pointed out as he saw his precious supply of flavor enhancers disappear inside the mouth of someone else.

    "Not as hard as this…" Zerobi muttered as she stood up and approached Lucario. Mustering up courage while making sure he would not escape, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him with all her might. Lucario felt his uvula twitch wildly in fear as he expected to find the taste of loathed berries on the other side, but was instead met by a minty, fresh aroma. There was also something else, something he had not noticed before. Whatever was happening, he wanted more of it. A wild sensation at the back of his mind suddenly activated as his feet fastened upon the ground, he opened his mouth further and embraced Zerobi. Before he knew it, he was kissing her back. Unspoken thoughts and sensations swirled between them as they continued to kiss, the world around them disappearing as they shared the moment in rapture.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  5. #305
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    Jan 2011
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    Chapter 71

    Abandoned Pokémon Stadium


    Snow dwindled down and joined the mass of white covering the ground as Lucario and Zerobi trudged their way through the plains. Small gusts of wind occasionally slapped the many snowflakes awake and made them go airborne once more, making it difficult for the two to see where they were heading. Even so, with the combined forces of Zerobi's map reading, Lucario's skills at detection and the subtle cluster of familiar auras that lay ahead, they knew that by the end of the day they would find themselves at their appointed destination. Lucario could sense that Celebi was there, but was still not able to detect Mew, hoping that the green fairy was doing all she could to keep her from running away again. After all he had gone through following her, he hoped his reward would turn out to be something better than excuses.

    The landscape was dull and generic, a normally grassy plain with one or two knolls and a few rock formations here and there. The cold had bothered Lucario at first, but slowly and surely he had gotten used to it until it was no longer an issue. Bored out of his skull, he found his gaze straying and fantasizing about anything his eyes could catch. One formation of rocks looked a little like a ghastly apparition, covered in snowy white. One of the knolls had unnatural bumps all over it, making him snicker as he imagined someone resting after having gotten the tar beaten out of them. Three large rocks stood upright, leaning against one another. Inconspicuous in every manner, yet still there was something drawing his gaze. Lucario stopped as he stared at them, completely forgetting about his little game as far more urgent thoughts clouded his mind.

    "Something there?" Zerobi asked, lowering the map while wondering why they were stopping.

    "That… Rock formation…" Lucario mumbled while squinting his eyes, "… It looks familiar."

    "If we were going in circles, our footsteps would-" Zerobi started, but was interrupted as Lucario held up a hand.

    "No, like… I think I've been here before," he whispered before crossing his arms, "Déjŕ vu?"

    "… Well, we do know you lived a life before this one…" Zerobi mused with a grin, "Still, we've been to an awful lot of places. Why the hell are those boring rocks the first thing to jumpstart your memory?"

    "Something important happened here…?" Lucario muttered in an attempt to clarify whatever he was feeling. It felt nostalgic, but not in any way he had come to know. Seeing how every last bit of his memory regarding Pokémon had been wiped out, this must have been a place he visited on his own. But going by how he was unable to fully recall the event, maybe there was a bit of Pokémon involved in it, after all…?

    Shaking his head, he leaped up on top of the rocks. Although he nearly slipped on the soft snow, it did not distract him as another pressing urge struck him. For some reason, he felt like turning his head to the left. There, in the far distance among all the snow, there was a hazy sight he had failed to spot until now.

    "There's something over there," Lucario said and turned back, almost falling off the rocks in shock as Zerobi was standing beside him, having jumped up there without him noticing.

    "Building. Pretty damn big, too," Zerobi said while holding one of her claws up to reflect the sun away from her eyes, able to see through the smoke-like snow without any problems whatsoever, "Out here in the middle of nowhere… What could it be?"

    "Hmm… I don't sense anyone inside…" Lucario muttered as he closed his eyes, eager to find out what exactly was making him feel this way, "… It's not along the way, but it's still pretty close. Want to go check it out?"

    "Yeah, sure," Zerobi replied with a shrug, a tingling sensation activating in the back of her mind as she stared at the building, "You know… Now that you say it, there IS something familiar about this place…"

    In a few minutes, they had reached the front of the building. What had been nothing but a large dark blotch to Lucario was now starting to clear up, taking the form of a massive dome-like structure with a roof. It looked like a circle being pressed down from above, too wide to be referred to as a globe. It reminded him of the lower segment of a snowman. On top of the main building was a yellow lid over the whole thing which seemed to be removable, and going by the immense size of the whole thing he was certain that it was being controlled by some manner of machinery.

    As magnificent as the sight was, the building was clearly in disrepair. Colors faded, sides scratched and rust apparent everywhere. In front of them was the main entrance, an enormous hole which narrowed into a simple passage next to a booth. The strange building baffled Zerobi, while Lucario only felt his nostalgia grow with each second. Looking up, Zerobi noticed the letters "S" and "D" above the entrance, next to a few other letters too damaged to properly make out.

    "Sign's completely wasted," Zerobi sighed while shaking her head, "Wish I knew what it said."

    Lucario turn his gaze upwards as he stared at the letters. Despite the chilling cold all around, he felt himself begin to heat up. He suddenly realized that it made sense because all the snow had been melted away. It was right in the middle of a hot summer's day, after all. He relished in the warm, familiar sensation while wondering what Zerobi had meant. The sign was in perfect condition.

    "It says 'Stadium'…" Lucario muttered, his mind clouding up with foreign thoughts.

    "… Stadium? You mean… Pokémon Stadium?" Zerobi replied while crossing her arms and thinking back, "I've read about that! It's where they held that big tournament to decide which trainer was the best. Man, it looks… Run down. Not nearly as extravagant as the pictures made it seem…"

    Lucario wanted to respond, but could no longer hear his companion. The only thing coming out of her mouth sounded like the wheezing grunts of a wild animal trying to make itself understood. He tried to say something and gasped, because his own voice sounded the same. He found himself slipping further and further away from the cold wasteland of the present to a time, place and body long gone. Eleven years into the past on a warm summer's day, with no Mews or viruses on his mind, something of equal urgency tugged at him as he took his first steps into Pokémon Stadium…

    … The newly built "final frontier" for Pokémon trainers. Or so they'd have you believe, anyway. I'm a revered trainer who's a heartbeat away from being champion of the world… And here I am, using the main entrance like everyone else. Great achievement, huh? Hmm, this place sure is crowded, so many people coming to watch the show… Better keep the cap pulled down, if these people were to recognize me and gang up… I'd never get through! I'd miss my match!

    Still can't get over how fancy this place is. All these shops and lobbies, not to mention that gigantic colosseum… Why's it so ridiculously big, anyway? Were they expecting us to pit a Steelix against a Wailord every battle? I hope they're planning to keep using it after this tournament; it'd be such a waste to see this place fall into ruin… Then again, what other use could they make of an arena like this? I've yet to meet the Pokémon trainer who prefers to fight indoors.

    "Hello there!" a strong voice sounds over the public address system, "People in the crowds and people watching from home, welcome to Pokémon Stadium!"

    "What about the finalists?" I ask, wondering why I was feeling left out despite being the main attraction.

    "What a show we've got for you tonight!" the voice blared once more, "Sorry folks, but you won't be glued to the screen hoping to catch a glimpse of that one kid from home… We've only got four contestants left! The absolute bona fide cream of the crop of trainers! Any one of them could lay waste to this entire facility, and we'd be powerless to stop them!"

    Man, keep it down. Don't want to give Brendan any unnecessary ideas, do you? If I have the throw the match because he goes ballistic, I'm putting the blame on you.

    "A short introduction of who we'll be seeing tonight," the voice on the PA chimes with enthusiasm, "… Although I'm sure you've heard of them, unless you've never even heard of Pokémon before! And if you haven't, BOY do we have a show for you tonight!"

    … You mean, there really are people in the world that haven't heard of Pokémon before? Interesting. Maybe… A place for me to live after this is all over…?

    "As our first contestant, we've got the crowd favorite and undisputed master from Pallet Town, Red!" the PA continues, and I can imagine Blue cringing at the last statement, "Destroying gyms and beating the Elite Four before he was even a teenager, his feats took the world by storm and inspired millions of kids to follow in his footsteps! These very same kids have now been thrown out of the tournament, foolish enough to have challenged and tried to surpass the old master who's been plowing through trainer after trainer with absolutely no effort, reaching the semi-finals! Boasting the unofficial title of 'Greatest Trainer Ever', tonight he's aiming to make it official! I don't know about you, folks, but I know where my bets are placed!"

    I scoff to myself at the lackluster introduction. The PA makes Red sound like a guy who's been on top simply because he was first. If only the PA had faced him in battle like me… No mere words could ever describe the unimaginable hopelessness of fighting the god-like Pokémon trainer Red. To be honest, I'm not looking forward to it. Wish it could be avoided, but… It's something which has to be done…

    "… And after Blue, we've got a fresh new face from another part of the world, ready to wreak some havoc!" the guy in the PA says, suddenly snapping me out of my train of thoughts, "Ethan, the boy of gold! While you all slept comfortably in your homes, Ethan grew up in Newbark Town where Pokémon from the forest ran rampant! Become one with nature, he has learned the ways of Pokémon like no other!"

    What!? That's not even remotely-

    "At age 10 he set away from home with nary a companion but his trusted starter Chikorita!" the voice continues with sympathy, trying to invoke as much emotion into the listener as possible, "At age 15 he had already conquered his home of Johto, and immediately set off to Kanto where he defeated the Elite Four at age 18. He'll be facing even tougher challenges tonight, but there's just no stopping this guy! How far will his journey take him!?"

    … My journey has taken me far enough. All that's left for me-

    "… And there he is!" a shrill yet soothing and very familiar voice chimes, "Hey! Ethan! Over here!"

    I turn around, and there she is. That brown, well-groomed hair serving as a backdrop for sweet, caramel eyes. Milky white skin making her already white cap pale in comparison. A fancy get-up very much unlike her usual attire with a new somewhat expensive-looking bag at her hip, probably filled to the brim with cosmetics, healing items and polished Pokéballs.

    "Hey, Lyra!" I answer cheerfully as my gaze slowly drift downwards across her body, "You don't look a day over… Thirty."

    "… Still the same immature jerk!?" Lyra shouts as she thrust her hand into her backpack, probably clutching the mace or worse, "You don't seem a day over five!"

    "H-Hey…" I stammer while backing off slowly, all too familiar with the impossibility of acting cool after getting a dose of pepper-spray to the face, "I'm just teasing! You look great."

    She sighs out in relief as she relaxes, her smile still absent as she puts her hands on her hips and look at me with a frown. What did I do now…?

    "… What exactly did you tell them about our hometown?" Lyra asks sternly, although I can tell she's not really angry but just concerned, "Pokémon running rampant? The old lady down the block would've FLIPPED had she seen something as small as a Magikarp splash up on land…"

    "I haven't talked to anyone, I just got here. They just made things up…" I respond while trying to remember the last time I talked to Lyra, suddenly realizing that I probably should have expected a trainer like her to be here, "Man, I should've known you showed up! I would've come to see your match!"

    "MatchES, mind you!" Lyra corrects, her smile returning for a second before fading off, "I made it to the third round, but…"

    I feel a pang of sympathy run through me, but also something else. Was it… Jealousy? There she was, about to watch the final battles before moving on with her life, leaving everything about Pokémon behind. I wish I could do the same. I'm not that lucky.

    "Sorry to hear," I lie as I try to change the subject, "It would be a lot nicer to be facing someone I know in the finals."

    "… What about your rival? Silver?" Lyra asks while tilting her head to the side, probably trying to remember what the red-haired boy looked like, "Haven't seen him around…"

    "First of all, Silver was never my rival…" I correct her while shrugging, "He was just a jerk. A strong, persistent jerk."

    "If he was either, then he should be here now," Lyra says with a nod. She has a point, I guess. Silver's not really a guy I worry about anymore, especially not since Giovanni's passing. I'm a million times the trainer he ever was. What's he going to do, undress me in public again?

    "Honestly, I haven't heard from him since his father's burial…" I explain and think back to the heights of our rivalry, where he would seemingly track my every move in Johto, "Perhaps he came in disguise and got wiped out earlier in the tournament? Sounds like something he'd do!"

    "… Makes sense… Hundreds of great trainers have already been defeated," Lyra whispers while looking down on the ground with a defeated expression, "Us normal trainers? We didn't stand a chance. Only the best of the best will survive to the end…"

    "… Lyra…" I say to myself, wanting to comfort her when I suddenly feel someone rudely tapping shoulder from behind, his impatience swiftly rubbing off on me as I spin around, "… Hey, kind of busy h-"

    There was Red, the cause of my former dreams and current nightmares. His beard was gone and he looked 20 years younger for some reason, probably dolled up to match the whole "child prodigy" thing the crowd remembers him by. I unintentionally flinched, not having stood so close to him before, vividly remembering the unmitigated beatdown I received atop Mt. Silver.

    Not only that, but on his shoulder sat his ever loyal and trustworthy Pikachu. The rat's cheerful smile and cuddly exterior belied his ridiculous powers, something which most of us top-tier trainers has experienced firsthand. Everyone's heard of Red and his Pikachu and think to pack a solid Ground-type to counter the threat, only to get crushed by Red's Blastoise or Venusaur. Seemingly a typical bait-and-switch strategy, but the truth is that not preparing at least one or two Pokémon dedicated to handling Pikachu will come to bite you in the end as the unstoppable mouse decimates what's left of your team.

    "Oh! I'll, uh… Catch up with you two later!" Lyra quickly speaks before disappearing in similar haste. She never did like the spotlight and big-shots I always attract. Watching her leave, I can't help but wish I could have been able to attract something else…

    "Uh… Hello, Red," I say slowly, turning my head to the side a little and feeling a bit stupid, "Hello… Pikachu."

    "Pika!" the yellow rodent replies. Always freaked me out how I was kind of able to tell what he meant. Now that I look at him a little closer, I see that his fur's pretty ragged behind a veil of neat grooming and meticulous combing. The color of his electric pouches seems a bit off, too. No Pokémon lives forever, and going by how old Red is… Is he fit to fight in such an exerting tournament?

    "… Should rivals really be seeing each other like this?" I mutter while scratching the back of my head, having hoped to make a big thing out of meeting Red in the arena.

    "Don't belittle yourself," Red says sternly, but there is a clear tone of respect in his voice, "I have had more rivals than strands of hair on my head… You are a worthy opponent, and no less."

    "Me and Blue both, huh?" I chuckle, remembering what the P.A. had said, "You'd better not lose to him before our battle! You're the 'undisputed master from Pallet Town', right?"

    "… It won't be that easy…" Red whispers to himself before looking me straight in the face, "But I cannot let him win, because I have every intention of fighting you in the finals. That is why I'm here."

    "Me?" I ask with surprise, "Why?"

    "You… Are unfinished business. The only unfinished business I have left," Red mutters with a piercing gaze, "I've been busy for too long. Win or lose… After this, I will retire from the world of Pokémon trainers."

    "Yeah," I reply quickly, "Me too."

    "… What!? Why!?" Red suddenly bursts out, obviously surprised by my claim. I feel a bit odd at sharing my thoughts, seeing how Red's the first person to hear the news.

    "Hmm…" I muse to myself before speaking out loud, "Defeat me, and I'll tell you!"

    Red stands completely confused, apparently at a loss for words. Suddenly, Pikachu jumps down from his shoulder.

    "Pika!" he shouts, looking up at me with the same attentive gaze as Red had given me moments ago. There was a fierce determination burning behind his eyes, and suddenly he did not look as aged anymore.

    "Pi-Pikachu! Chuu, pika pika!" the electric rat yells while never breaking eyecontact, "PikaCHUUU! Pi… Pikachu!"

    "… It is frightening how much of that I understood…" Red mutters to himself before bending over and holding out an arm, "Come on, Pikachu. Don't tire yourself out too soon. Follow me Ethan, the lounge for the finalists is up ahead."

    Pikachu looks at me one last time before scurrying up Red's outstretched arm and sitting down on his shoulder once more. I wonder what he had been trying to tell me, but there's a nagging feeling in the back of my head that our fight's going to be a notch above the last time.

    We walk through a few corridors until we reach a small room in the back. Inside is nothing but a table, a few comfy seats and the two other finalists, Blue and Brendan. Blue's wearing sharp attire while laying out a Pokémon energy card on the table in front of him, smiling brightly. Few have seen that smile and come out victorious.

    Back in the day, he was second only to Red himself, and is rumored to have been even stronger at first. He's made a daring comeback in the past few years, using combinations of Pokémon that are nothing short of brilliant. From having a team all powered from a certain weather condition to making sure every Pokémon knows the move U-Turn or Volt Switch, you never really know what kind of fight you're going to get when facing Blue. The only way to beat him is to be prepared for anything. I don't expect to be fighting him, but if I do, I'm not sure that I can win.

    On the other side of the table is Brendan, wearing a cape like a vampire together with a hat that makes his hair look white. I swallow hard as I watch him use a trainer card to drain Blue's newly placed energy, a move he had obviously anticipated and was abusing for his own ends. Brendan had made his trainer's journey around the same time as me, but stuck around in Hoenn instead of moving on to other areas.

    I never met him, but heard that he was a great trainer and a pretty nice guy all around. Sadly, that all changed around five years ago. There was an accident which caused the death of his childhood friend and apparently put him through hell. There must be some truth behind the story, because what emerged from that hell was not a man, but a devil.

    And now… He's my opponent in the semi-finals. Truth be told, I don't know much about his strategy, since he hasn't been forced to use any so far. His Pokémon are so unimaginably strong, he basically just tells them to "smash things" and everything's defeated in thirty seconds. His Blaziken in particular is like something out of a dream, which the judges apparently noticed, raising it to a tier above all other fights and placing it in the 'Uber' tier, normally reserved only for legendaries. Alas, Hh's still allowed to use it for the remainder of the tournament, which means I need to figure out a way to beat it or I'm done before even reaching the finals.

    "… Nervous?" Red asks as he sits down next to Blue, casting a bored glance over the cards. Red never was a big fan of the card game, mostly because he never got any good at it. Hearing people say how they had defeated Red at Pokémon sounded so wrong.

    "Nah, I'm just eager to see which strategy you've settled on," Blue snickers and picks up his deck, obviously finished with Brendan who in response leans back with a sinister smile, "Red and 'lightning-rod' Pikachu…"

    "Lightningrod?" Red repeats with confusion, Pikachu's ears twitching, "I cannot say that I'm familiar with that name."

    "Of course not. I just made it up!" Blue exclaims confidently, "Everyone knows you've got a Pikachu, and for an opponent to predict your team should be detrimental… But you have been using it to your advantage, haven't you? Don't think it'll work on me!"

    "… Eager to lose?" Red asks with a bleak smile across his face.

    "As if!" Blue yells while giving off a cocky shrug, "Don't forget that I beat the Elite Four before you did! Things have changed a lot since then, you can't just use Psychic-types like mad and think it'll work!"

    "… If it did not work for Sabrina, I see no reason why I should try it…" Red sighs while leaning back in his seat like Brendan had. I look over at Brendan to see him staring at me creepily. He scoffs a quiet laughter as he turns his gaze upwards. Damn it, he's too confident… He's only here because his Pokémon are freakishly strong… I hope. If not… I'm done for.

    "That day at grandpa's place… Seems pretty long ago, huh?" Blue says quietly as he leans back as well, "We've fought a lot… But it all ends here. Former differences aside, the true champion will finally be decided."

    "… Yes…" Red whispers. The atmosphere between them seems to be less like that of rivals, and more like that of lifelong friends. I take a reluctant seat next to Brendan, deciding to show him that I will not be intimidated. Like me, he's not much to fear outside of Pokémon fights. The bell rings as Red and Blue get to their feet, leaving the room to prepare for the decisive battle.

    A quiet snicker echoes through the room as I find myself alone with my opponent. This is what I had come here for, to try to figure out what kind of trainer he was. I smoothly shuffle myself over to the seat opposite his and our gazes meet. We stare at each other for a long time. I somehow get the feeling that he despite his confident exterior, he was trying to read me as well.

    "Nervous?" Brendan asks with a growly voice, mimicking Red. Does he think he's being clever? Or… Is he just practicing for his future as the best trainer in the world?

    "About as much as anyone would be, sharing a room with a lunatic like you," I say, hoping to figure out if he was easily provoked.

    "Ehehehe…" Brendan chuckles to himself and puts his feet up on the table, "Don't worry, I have no time for the likes of you. You are but a stepping stone on my way to Red."

    "Confident?" I ask outright, tired of being looked down on.

    "Why shouldn't I be?" Brendan says while waving his hand around, "I've assembled a team above that of any other. No weaknesses. A million strengths."

    Sure, your team is strong, but it does have one weakness… You, and your overconfidence. Don't think my goal's anything short of complete victory, and I'll use the extent of my abilities to reach it…!

    "I know what you are thinking, Ethan…" Brendan whispers as he fastens his stare on me, "'He's going to use his Blaziken for sure!' 'I'll bring a Jellicent or Gliscor to finally put an end to her!'"

    Not at all what I was thinking, but… Wait, he was expecting a Gliscor…? Oh crap, dodged a bullet with that one…

    "She wasn't put into the 'Uber' tier for no reason," Brendan continues with a traducing tone to his voice, "Why not put that Meganium of yours up to the task? Starter versus starter? At least you can go out with a show for the crowd!"

    Not only is he confident of his own strength, but he's convinced that I'm nothing. There's… Actually, I think I can use that. It's time to bring him back to reality… Time to bluff.

    "You know what?" I say sternly as I stand up and look down on him, "Yeah… I was nervous. I don't know you that well, and so I was scared of what kind of person you were, and what tricks you might have up your sleeve."

    Giving off a fake smile and laughter, I notice his disposition changing from confidence to surprise.

    "But now… I realize that my fears were unfounded," I say with a calm yet highly insulting tone, "It is you who shall be my stepping stone towards Red."

    As I turn around and begin to walk away, I can feel the atmosphere of the room take a turn for the worst. A presence like that of a demon is right behind me, unimaginable hatred and rage geared towards me and no one else. Although it feels like I'm about to be crushed, I try to keep my spirits up. I'm not going to be the one in the ring after all, and hopefully my Pokémon will forgive me for agitating him and probably making him a lot less merciful in battle. I need to assure myself of his actions, so that he'll aim not to beat me but to humiliate me. That will give me an opportunity which I can exploit for a slim chance at vict…

    … What am I thinking? Of course I'll win. For sure. If only Brendan knew, he was talking to a man who had defeated the legendary Lugia in fair combat… But of course, my words would fall short without any proof, and the lack of proof is… The reason I'm here… In the first place…

    "What lack of proof?" someone asks.

    "Huh?" I exclaim in shock, finding myself at a loss for words as a very familiar yet unexpected face is staring at me.

    "You spaced out for a second and said 'The lack of proof is the reason I'm here in the first place'," Zerobi continued while pointing at Lucario, nearly pricking his chest with the tip of her claws, "Were you referring to Mew again?"

    "I, uh…" Lucario stuttered and found himself a little out of things, not sure of what had just happened, "… Can't remember."

    "Right," Zerobi mumbled as she shook her head, walking into the old building while giving off a sigh in sympathy, "And here I tried so hard to make sure those mints weren't poisonous… Don't worry, sis can cure you… Probably."

    Lucario stumbled after her, wondering what the hell was wrong with him. His head felt like it had been filled up with infinite knowledge for a second before disappearing just as quickly. For some reason, he felt convinced that there was something very, very dangerous behind his back, but the sensation stuck with him even as he turned around.

    "… Lucario, are you alright?" Zerobi asked as she stopped, getting a little worried at Lucario's sudden schizophrenic behavior.

    "Y… Yeah," Lucario whispered quietly as he straightened himself, "Yeah, I'm cool. Sorry, my… Aura was acting up?"

    Zerobi stared at him for a few seconds before shrugging and moving on. She was just as curious as he was about this place and wanted to see what the famous arena looked like, remembering a grainy picture in one of her old magazines which had gotten berry juice spilt all over it. Although the picture was probably just a black corroded scrap of paper back in her old place now, she was about to see what it represented with her very own eyes.

    The path was fairly straightforward, the ladders and passages leading off to the side barred off with gratings with spikes on top. The floor was dry and dirty, and with step they left a trail of wet snow. There was a cold draft seeping in from behind them, mingling the grey dust together with pure powder snow. Finally they came upon a massive gate, the doors to which stood wide open. Zerobi felt lucky, seeing how the doors were both nearly a meter thick and seemed to be made out of a very solid and hard material.

    "Here it is!" Zerobi said happily, looking back to see Lucario coming up from behind. She felt relieved to see him looking like his old self again, poking at the side of the door with an amazed expression.

    "Huh? Oh, right," he exclaimed as he quickly forgot about the well-constructed gate and followed her inside.

    The arena was enormous, but the sight was not as impressive as it could have been. As damaged as the outside of Pokémon Stadium was, the inside was completely wrecked. The spectator seats were cracked and broken, showing one or two lazy attempts to put them back together by someone who apparently realized the futility of repairing so many and gave up. The arena's ground was made out of hardened dirt, poorly kept as it was showing various craters and piles over the wide space. There were two very tall podiums, one at the beginning and one at the end of the arena, as well as a third one among the spectators.

    "What the…" Zerobi mumbled as she looked over the area with confusion. Lucario was busy staring up at the ceiling which seemed to be miles above, a tiny bit of light seeping in through the sides. Zerobi felt bothered, because something about the place did not match with her memory of Pokémon Stadium. Obviously everything was dirtier and far less crowded, yet still there was something else that bugged her. The atmosphere was not that of a gladiatorial colosseum, but rather a hall of some old castle. After a few moments, she realized what it was - By the edges of the ring, tall trident candles had been meticulously placed out. What was even more surprising was the fact that they were burning, and had quite a bit of wax left to spare.

    "Hello there…" a sinister voice suddenly came from above, "Clothed blue jackals… And black bipedal weasels… Welcome to Pokémon Stadium!"

    Lucario's head turned up, looking for the source of the voice. Zerobi followed, and thanks to her night vision she was able to spot the perpetrator at once, instantly freezing up in shock. It took Lucario a few more seconds, but finally he was able to make out a certain figure sitting casually inside the podium at the end of the arena, putting his legs up on the table in front of him.

    It was a man wearing a black and red blazer which seemed unfitting for the cold temperatures. Covering his legs was a pair of unusually thin thermos pants, also red and black, and a bandana was tied around his head, matching the colors of the rest of his attire. Spiked, white hair stood triumphantly above it, and a malignant smile lay below it. A quiet chuckle echoed throughout the dome as Brendan knew that at last, Pokémon Stadium would see him get the victory he deserved.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  6. #306
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    Brendan... Post the next chapter before Saturday, and you get 50 bucks
    Three most annoying things:

    1. Metal Mario
    2. Arrogance
    3. Writer's Block

  7. #307
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFought View Post
    Brendan... Post the next chapter before Saturday, and you get 50 bucks
    Chapter 72

    Demented Nemesis Brendan


    "Him again!?" Zerobi burst out in disbelief as she looked up at Brendan, "He really was following us!"

    Lucario swallowed hard. He had just barely recovered from the unexpected blackout earlier, and did not feel ready for this at all.

    "Hmpf… Could have sworn you would've gained some of that weight back…" Brendan scoffed bitterly, remembering the piece of bread he had so gracefully given the starving Lucario, "… But look at you! You're mangier than an AIDS-ridden Gardevoir! Speaking of which…"

    Slapping himself right below his chest, a bright red light suddenly zoomed out of his jacket, landing next to him. The red light dampened and became pearly white, taking the form of a Pokémon. To Lucario the Pokémon looked vaguely human, but as its features became more defined he realized it was not likeness, but a vile misrepresentation. What seemed to be neatly combed hair did not flow or move in the slightest, looking more like a helmet. What seemed to be a dress crept into the creature's skin, making him realize that it was organic.

    The Gardevoir raised its slender legs from the ground and crossed them, sitting hovering in midair with the dress rippling gently beneath it. Its arms were like sleeves, lifeless and drifting in whichever direction the main body decided to turn. It showed an offended expression as it gave Brendan a dirty look.

    "… You owe me a fight, Lucario!" Brendan shouted as he ignored his Pokémon, "This is a colosseum! Prove your worth to earn glory and freedom! If you lose… You're mine, and I'll do whatever the hell I want with you!"

    "Uh… Let's run," Lucario whispered to Zerobi, who immediately nodded. As the two of them turned around, Brendan nodded towards his Gardevoir who blinked in acknowledgement and lifted its arms. A faint pink glow suddenly surrounded the doors to the gate, before they were hastily pulled inward and slammed together, sealing the way to the exit.

    "Ah!" Zerobi yelped in surprise as she ran up to the door, "It's closed! Smash through it!"

    Lucario did not feel a moment's hesitation as he leaped towards it with a straight kick, the mighty gate giving off a loud bang but showing no visible signs of taking damage. Growling, he punched it a few times, the result of which was nothing but a few sore knuckles. In the meantime, Brendan laughed heartily at the useless display as he recalled the Gardevoir into the Pokéball.

    "Eyahahaha! See, the thing about a Pokémon Stadium is that it has to be built so reckless beasts like you kind won't accidentally destroy it!" he cackled madly before leaning forward with a snide expression, "Go ahead, try to break it down! I'd love to see you tr-"

    Brendan fell quiet as the gate suddenly burst open, the doors ripped out of their hinges and flying up in midair, blasted by powerful psychic force. However, they did not fly outward, but inward. As the loosened doors buried themselves into the arena's dusty soil, they saw a small, green figure hovering by the other side of the gate, her stem-like arms outstretched in front of her.

    "Sis!" Zerobi yelled out in gratitude, smiling brightly as she felt the tension begin to melt away.

    "What are you two doing here!?" Celebi shouted with a confused expression, obviously trying to take in the hectic situation as quickly as possible.

    "Sidequest," Lucario summed up as he made a small leap out through the gate, "We're, uh, done now. Let's go!"

    Celebi nodded as Zerobi ran past her, all three of them heading out through the gate and fleeing towards the exit. Dust whirled up around them as they sped through the hallway, seeing a light at the end of the tunnel brought about by the sun reflecting off the snow. They made it through and all the way past the toll booth before suddenly stopping. In front of them stood Brendan with a furious expression, and this time he was riding Suicune.

    The legendary dog Suicune looked just as Lucario remembered him, but his intimidation factor had worn off quite a bit. The teal lion which had once seemed like the biggest, fastest and most fearsome threat ever was now just one of many powerful monsters that wanted him dead. Suicune's body structure was not nearly as powerful as that of Raikou, and his size was still just a fraction of Rayquaza's and Lugia's. From what Lucario remembered, the legendary dog had employed many attacks based around water and ice, which was nothing compared to the fire and electric assaults he had faced since. The once big and scary beast now looked more like a small, mangy puppy with a mentally unstable guy on his back.

    Brendan and Suicune stared at Lucario, hatred shooting out of the champion trainer's eyes. Lucario would never forget how he had been hunted, tortured and nearly killed, all while not even having been able to land a single blow against the agile legendary. Dreams of revenge had haunted his sleep for over a year, and he had been looking forward to this moment far too long to risk missing it due to not going all-out right from the start. Growling as he gathered up aura in the palm of his hand, he was suddenly cut off as Celebi sped up and hovered in front of him, arms outstretched to her sides. Brendan's gaze suddenly shifted to the small green legendary, and his expression turned bitter.

    "I will pay notice to capturing you another time, Celebi," Brendan muttered scornfully as he waved his hand in front of him, "You and that Weavile, be gone. Today, the one I want is the Lucario."

    "… Well, you can't have him!" Celebi replied courageously, staying in front of Lucario and her sister while mentally preparing for battle. She thanked herself for being such a worrywart, coming all this way after just sensing Lucario's aura turn in the wrong direction. Thinking the two were just taking a break or something, she wanted to make sure nothing was wrong, and had the intention to see if their relationship had progressed in any way. The question was still very much on her mind, and nagged at her so much that she barely even had time to think of the impending battle. She was a legendary, after all. No trainer could ever muster up the power to defeat her.

    Brendan's expression turned into a frown as he stared down Celebi. Something about his gaze made her slightly less sure of herself, like he was not wondering if he could defeat her, but rather gauging if it would be worth the time and effort.

    "I should point out that I am a champion trainer, wielding five extra Pokémon aside from Suicune here, a multitude of rare and effective healing items as well as enough Pokéballs to capture each and every one of you seven times over," Brendan counted up before leaning forward with a stern voice, "Me. Lucario. Duel. Spoil my fun, and you can BET that I will spoil yours."

    Celebi remained steadfast, but could not help but feel a twinge of fear as the inauspicious trainer stared her down. Suddenly she was reminded of Lucas, the little boy who had overpowered and caught her. What if this trainer was just as dangerous, or perhaps even more so…? Reminded of the helpless feeling of being drawn into a Pokéball against her own will, and the endless darkness within which sapped both her consciousness and strength, she felt her determination begin to waver. But still, she refused to move, well aware what would happen if she did. She knew she had to be strong, for both Zerobi and Lucario's sake.

    "… Then so be it! I will make you suffer for this, you miserable worm!" Brendan suddenly roared with bloodshot eyes, "I will catch you, but I won't pawn you off or use you in battle, oh no… I will restrain you and have my angriest, most violent Pokémon rape you in shifts every remaining moment of your pathetic life until your precious little mind shatters UNLESS YOU MOVE!"

    Brendan shouted with all his might as he slammed down his fist on Suicune's back, and Celebi was no longer to keep herself from flinching. The thought of being captured was one thing, but to be enslaved and violated, begging for a death that would come shortly thereafter was enough to send her mind into panic. She knew that losing was a possibility, because she had lost before. What if she had never been rescued from the clutches of Lucas? What if the bullet that had penetrated her had been aimed a little higher? What if Pikablu's 75% had been just a bit more powerful? What if her luck was to finally run out, and she would spend the rest of her life in hell on earth, cursing herself for trying to be brave instead of fleeing and saving herself?

    She felt so far away from her natural habitat, so detached from what she once was and should be. She was an avatar of nature, a sprite meant to seamlessly hover in and out of existence, blessing the earth with her nurturing presence. Here she was, about to fight a completely foreign legendary over matters that had nothing to do with either of them, risking suffering and damnation for the sake of two Pokémon she had barely even known for a full year. Conflicted and shaking, she suddenly felt something touch down on her shoulder. Looking back, she saw Lucario had placed his hand on her, a confident and calm expression on his face.

    "Celebi… Move," Lucario said as he stared ahead at Brendan, who looked back at him with a malignant smile, "You don't need to dirty your hands on this one."

    "… You idiot! You can't handle him!" Zerobi yelled at Lucario, amazed to see him stick his neck out instead to leaving the fighting to Celebi, "Run!"

    Lucario said nothing to explain himself. He had tried running before, and as he now faced both Brendan and Suicune once more, he knew that it would only postpone things further. The psychotic champion would find him again, possibly at a far worse time than now and kill him and whoever else had decided to follow him around. Victory… Freedom… Revenge… Tempting words echoed through Lucario's mind as he felt his determination grow.

    Suddenly, another set of thoughts entered his head. Something Zoroark had explained long ago about Pokémon Stadium, where Ethan had defeated both Red and Brendan, unofficially becoming the greatest trainer of all time…

    "And don't even think about fleeing!" Brendan screamed with a glare as he pointed at Lucario, "I've got Pokémon with Shadow Tag AND Mean Look! I'll hunt you all down and kill you!"

    "I have no intention of either fleeing or losing…" Lucario whispered as he straightened his back and clenched his fists, "Brendan! I've beaten you as a human, and I'll beat you as a Pokémon!"

    "Standing your ground? Eyahahaha!" Brendan laughed as he too clenched his fists, "PERFECT! This will truly be the final battle! End of the road!"

    The fearsome champion continued laughing while Lucario stood silent, a mocking expression appearing on the blue jackal's face.

    "No…" Lucario said with clarity, a wave of nostalgia washing over him, "Just like before… To me, you're just a stepping stone."

    "… Hmpf!" Brendan scoffed as something about the grunts Lucario made irritated him to no end, "Back into the arena with you! No disqualifications here, only death!"

    Silently Lucario begun to march back where he had come from, walking past both Zerobi and Celebi without either of them catching his eye. He was too focused on not turning around as he felt an omen of death caress his back, just like what he had felt when he first entered Pokémon Stadium.

    "No! Stop him!" Zerobi pleaded as she looked at Celebi, "He's having… Delusions of grandeur! We can't let him do this, he's going to get himself killed!"

    Her sister did not answer, still staring at Brendan with a fearful expression plastered across her face. However, Brendan was no longer concerned with her and quickly ordered Suicune to leap up on the roof of the Stadium, obviously taking his own route back the ring.

    "Listen… The only reason Suicune kicked my butt before is because we were outside," Lucario said as he kept walking, "No snow in here, right? And even if that's the case, I've learned a few tricks since then…"

    Zerobi shook her head in disbelief, looking back and forth between her sister who was frozen in fear, and her love who was heading towards certain doom.

    "Sis!" she yelled as she walked in front of the small legendary, trying to get her to snap out of it, not sure of why the legendary had been so freaked out all of a sudden.

    "When… I mean…" Celebi tried to speak, still shaken up by her own fading bravery, "If… He faints… I will… Save him…"

    It was a promise she was not certain she could keep, but had to make in order to justify her own actions. She decided that she was giving Lucario a chance to prove himself, and would be ready to jump in should things get too dangerous. She convinced herself that the reason for her hesitation was definitively not that her once prominent courage had slowly been drained out of her, leaving behind a shaking coward unable to cope with any situation not easily dealt with.

    Soon they had returned to the colosseum, things unchanged from their first visit except for a miniature draft created by Celebi's reckless destruction of the door. Lucario stood in the middle of the arena while Celebi and Zerobi sat by the crumbled remains of the gate, and Brendan sat up on his perch. He had withdrawn Suicune into a Pokéball, which Lucario assumed was a very temporary rest for the azure hound. Instead, Brendan was sitting on a very comfortable-looking seat that seemed awfully new and did not look like part of the original decor. Muttering quietly to himself and reaching behind the seat, he suddenly pulled out an old and dirty microphone.

    "Rules are simple!" Brendan shouted into the mic, his voice blaring all over the stadium as Lucario covered his sensitive ears, "1vs1, no switching, no items and NO running!"

    "… One versus one?" Lucario muttered as he poked the insides of his ears, the excess wax making things a bit more painful than usual, "What, don't I get to carry around some guy shouting orders on my back? How will I manage?"

    "Then… Let's get started…" Brendan snickered as he held out an arm directed at the arena, "I've prepared a special opponent for you, Lucario! TORANA, I CHOOSE YOU!"

    Pressing down on the elbow of his arm, a red light suddenly shot of the Pokéball hidden underneath. The light dimmed into nothing after having struck the middle of the arena, but the color red never faded. Crouching on the dusty ground was a large human-like figure, one Lucario had never seen before. It rose to its feet, proving itself to be almost a full head taller than he was, looking down on him with the sharp eyes of an eagle. While human in stature, like other Pokémon it was clearly something of different nature. The face was the strangest part, looking more like a mask or a crest with a hooked beak melded into it. Long, flowing white hair reached down from its head to cover its back and chest, clashing against the rest of its body which seemed to be covered in red feathers, except for the hands which consisted entirely of three large talons.

    The musculature of the creature was apparent enough to make Lucario wonder if it had transparent skin or something, not even a sliver of fat visible anywhere upon the lean and well-toned body. Still, compared to Zerobi and Zoroark he felt this humanoid had very little elegance to it, bulging muscles and powerful appendages making it seem more like a brawler. One thing to catch his attention was the creature's massive legs, his own fairly developed legs seeming positively weak in comparison. The thighs and calves looked as if they were made out of diamonds, polished to a fine sheen and hard enough to crack anything unfortunate enough to smash against them. He was unable to determine what the feet looked like, due to them being covered by some manner of thick yellow hair which grew at the base of the leg. The hair looked a bit like the drooping sleeve of a too long pair of pants, although Lucario could not imagine the kind of leggings that would be considered "too long" when staring at the tall monster. It was then that the realization dawned upon him.

    "You're… Not going to use Suicune?" Lucario exclaimed hopefully, looking up at Brendan. The insane champion remained silent, but had a very confident smile on his face.

    "A Blaziken?" Celebi said out loud, pleasantly surprised that Brendan was not going to use a legendary, but still seeing the matchup as quite unfair due to type advantages. Had it been her in the ring, she would have been able to exploit the Blaziken's weakness to Psychic attacks for an easy victory, and suddenly her chances to rescue Lucario did not seem as far-fetched.

    "Wait… Torana…?" Zerobi muttered to herself before crossing her arms, "You don't think… THAT Torana, right?"

    "… Torana…?" Celebi repeated with an unfamiliar tone. It was not often that she felt like she was out of the loop, but Zerobi had the edge on her when it came to recognizing celebrities.

    "Don't know the details, but I've heard the name…" Zerobi whispered while thinking back to the friends she once had, remembering one Lopunny in particular who seemed infatuated enough to have a crush on fiery bird, "… Torana the Tormentor, also known as… The most powerful non-legendary Pokémon in the world…"

    Celebi turned towards her, Lucario doing the same after looking over the Blaziken one more time. Despite what Zerobi had said, he felt a bit more relaxed after knowing he would not have to defeat Suicune in order to win. Famous or not, fighting a bodybuilding chicken would not be nearly as difficult as taking down a legendary.

    "… Truly?" Celebi asked skeptically as she blinked, "Going by her aura, she is about as strong as Lucario… And I can tell that she is not suppressing it, either…"

    "Well, I mean, I think it's been over ten years since she got the title," Zerobi mumbled and wondered if maybe she was thinking of another Pokémon, "Can't stay on top forever."

    Suddenly, Lucario put his hands together, determination flowing through him at a rapid pace.

    "So, when I beat her…" he muttered before raising his voice, "… That makes ME the strongest!"

    A groan from Zerobi was his only response, the Weavile sad to see her attempts to bring Lucario's ego back to earth was showing little effect.

    "Lucario, I don't think this is an enemy you'll want to underestimate," Zerobi said, not able to sense the aura or anything like that but still feeling a bit intimidated by the muscular Blaziken.

    "Don't think I'll be going easy on her," Lucario clarified while feeling a bit peeved at the fact that Zerobi simply assumed that he was underestimating his opponents when usually he did his best right from the start, "If I win, I'll get Brendan off my back as well as some goddamn respect. She's humanoid; that means I can't lose!"

    "This… Does seem like an enemy you can handle," Celebi admitted carefully as Zerobi stared at her with annoyance, "Consider the fact that your resistance to heat and blunt impacts should be superior to normal Lucario due to the low amount of steel plating covering your skeleton."

    "… Huh?" Lucario exclaimed with confusion.

    "She uses fire," Zerobi translated cooly, eliciting a troubled gasp from Lucario who was suddenly not so keen on fighting after all. He looked at the Blaziken and then at Brendan, trying to wash the fear away from his face. His eyes locked together with Brendan's, and the champion quietly began to chuckle.

    "Yes… Let's make things a bit fairer, no?" Brendan whispered to himself before standing up and shouting, "Torana, I forbid you from using fire-based attacks! Show them true despair!"

    The Blaziken refused to look back at her trainer in acknowledgement, instead remaining steadfast. Her gaze had long since wandered away from Lucario, moving towards Celebi and then Zerobi. Now, she was looking up into the ceiling, as if that was the most interesting thing around. Feeling somewhat neglected, Lucario moved up to her, his spirits returned after hearing he would not be set on fire, after all. He felt rather miniscule when next to her, his head aligned with her chest rather than her face, wondering what to do in order to make the situation less awkward.

    "So… Torana…" Lucario said quietly in an attempt to strike up a conversation, "Nice name. Let's have a fair battle to see who's the real champion!"

    For a few more moments Torana continued looking at the ceiling, before slowly shifting her eyes down to where he was standing.

    "… Battle?" she finally replied, her voice clear but somewhat ragged, although not to the point of sounding hoarse. He actually thought her voice sounded surprisingly normal, as unlike every other Pokémon he had come across he was able to detect a hint of femininity in it.

    Brendan witnessed the scene and felt rather annoyed that his Blaziken had not taken the initiative to kick Lucario in the gut in an attempt to start things off. He looked out over the empty seats in the stadium, remembering the time when they had been filled to the brim with excited onlookers. They had been cheering for him and him alone, crying out in disgust and anger as Ethan had employed cheap tactics to steal his rightful victory. Tonight, he swore that they would not be left with such disappointment. After what he had gone through, he could not tolerate being branded as a second-rate trainer forever. His favorite Pokémon against the Lucario that had given his former rivals so much trouble… A fair duel. It was all he had ever asked for.

    "Ahh… People, people… What a show we've got for you tonight…" Brendan whispered into the microphone to nobody in particular before raising his voice to an excited scream, "Round… One… FIGHT!"

    Although the fight had begun, neither Lucario nor the Blaziken was moving. Lucario felt torn between his own wishes to finally be able to dominate the enemy right from the start and a stern inner voice warning him not to underestimate someone with the nickname "Torana the Tormentor". Proceeding carefully, he bluffed by taking a single speedy step forward. Immediately the Blaziken fell for the bluff, lifting her leg as to attack. Seeing his opening, Lucario rushed in from the other side as the Blaziken hopped away from him, lashing out with her leg in revenge.

    "Whoa!" Lucario yelled while ducking as the kick passed right over his head. It was far more powerful than he had expected, the wind pressure knocking him from the side and reminding him of the ridiculously huge sword the hunter had used. Even though his current opponent's legs weren't sharp and wouldn't cleave him, he knew a kick from that mass could still hurt him pretty badly. Following through with his plan, he leapt up and punched the Blaziken once in the face, following up with an elbow to the stomach. Her abs felt like striking the side of a building, but he heard a subtle cough from above as she spun around and jumped back.

    "How's that!?" Lucario yelled, the unfamiliar feeling of success coursing through him, "That strength's not going to do you much good if you can't hit me, huh?"

    Zerobi sighed, knowing that Lucario's moment of triumph would only serve to make him less careful. Celebi stared at the two fighters, thinking of something else entirely.

    "… What manner of technique was that?" Celebi asked quietly while moving closer to her sister, "Lucario… He was already moving to dodge her kick before she had even used it!"

    "He said that when fighting human-like enemies, he can bait and predict what they're about to do due to reading their muscle movement or something…" Zerobi whispered before shrugging, "… So, you know, once she starts spraying fire he's pretty much done for."

    "Oh…" Celebi mused in wonder, amazed that there could exist such depth to a regular brawl. She decided to continue watching in silence, lest her own lack of battle experience would show.

    The Blaziken ran up to Lucario, feinting with one leg before using the other to deliver a kick from the side. Lucario saw through her methods and turned towards the kick, blocking it with both arms. Although the blow was still powerful enough to make him stagger, when the shockwave running through his muscles began to settle down he managed to grab a hold of the leg, lifting up Torana and slamming her down into the ground behind him. She managed to dampen the damage by bracing herself with her arms, but looked less than impressive as she leaped back with a bruised and dusty front.

    "N… Nice!" Zerobi could not help but exclaim, impressed to see Lucario actually dominating a battle for once. Celebi remembered what Pikablu had told her, and realized that Lucario's so-called "stroke of luck" against Rayquaza might not have been a fluke after all.

    "Hah, I told you! If it attacks like a human, I can't lose!" Lucario replied cheerfully, bashing his chest once in confidence, "Brendan's probably got some trick up his sleeve though, so get ready for anything once I'm done with this fight!"

    A moment of silence passed as the Blaziken looked at him, her feather a little rugged but her indomitable gaze still unimpressed.

    "… Are you still under the impression that this is a battle?" the Blaziken asked calmly, her voice showing no signs of exhaustion.

    "Well… Currently it's more of a beatdown, isn't it?" Lucario corrected her while scratching his chin.

    "Exactly," Torana replied before holding up her talons and letting them click together, "If my master wished for a battle… He would have given you an opponent you had a chance of winning against."

    "Hmm… Didn't expect you to be on the receiving end of the beatdown, did he?" Lucario said confidently as he looked up at Brendan, unable to determine the trainer's expression from where he currently stood.

    "Just getting warmed up…" Torana mumbled before slowly holding out her arms to her sides. After a few moments of stillness, she suddenly flexed. Feathers rippled as they gave way for mighty muscles protruding all over her body like a rockslide piling up stones on someone. Brendan looked down over the arena and smiled, aware of what was about to happen.

    "Torana… An impressive structure, carried by two great pillars," Brendan muttered into the microphone while eagerly watching his Pokémon, "The strength of the pillars is what determines the strength of the structure… So, obviously you'd want to focus on making the pillars as strong as possible… For a champ like me, to be training a Pokémon while focusing on one aspect only… How strong d'you think it'd get?"

    In that instant, a fire exploded within the Blaziken, lighting up the arena in heat and splendid light. It was as if she had breathed life into the fallen Stadium, allowing it to display glorious Pokémon battles with pride one last time. Although the fighters in this case were Lucario and Torana, it was the battle between Ethan and Brendan that was finally coming to its conclusion.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  8. #308
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    Wow, 50 bucks is powerful money. Great Chapter and epic cliffhanger. Now would you like your money handed out to you in a check or just plain cash?
    Three most annoying things:

    1. Metal Mario
    2. Arrogance
    3. Writer's Block

  9. #309
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    Holy geez, bulk up x6 with flash! Lucario has no chance now. Inb4 crit.

    Just guessing but anyway, great chapters, don't know how I missed 3 of them, I like the romantic one, the way it was handled was pretty well done.

    Not much else to say, looking forward to another and hope Jfought pays up somehow. You deserve it.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  10. #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFought View Post
    Wow, 50 bucks is powerful money. Great Chapter and epic cliffhanger. Now would you like your money handed out to you in a check or just plain cash?
    Check, please. I'm packing a Power Herb, so I can make it Bounce right away!

    Quote Originally Posted by Azurus View Post
    Holy geez, bulk up x6 with flash! Lucario has no chance now. Inb4 crit.

    Just guessing but anyway, great chapters, don't know how I missed 3 of them, I like the romantic one, the way it was handled was pretty well done.

    Not much else to say, looking forward to another and hope Jfought pays up somehow. You deserve it.
    Nah, I don't write for neither money nor fame. I just want to share this story with people, so they might enjoy it as much as I did when I first came up with it!
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  11. #311
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaded Skies
    Check, please. I'm packing a Power Herb, so I can make it Bounce right away!
    Heheh, nice nice pokepun there.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  12. #312
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    Chapter 73

    Strongest Battler Blaziken


    Lucario gasped as he stared at the Blaziken, flames leaking out of her left arm. Similarly, the right arm suddenly burst into flames, two mighty infernos raging above her arms like an impressive set of wings. Lucario leaped back while the heat in the room steadily rose, surprised to see Torana ignore Brendan's orders of not using fire so quickly. The two pyres suddenly began to crawl up her elbows, colliding around her chest before moving down to her waist and spreading by her crotch, the blazes now covering her legs. Lucario could see the fires raging extra violently before beginning to diminish, almost as if they were being sucked into the legs. The Blaziken closed her eyes with a strained expression for a moment, before relaxing and letting her muscles go back to normal, her feathers falling back into place as the fire was all but gone.

    "… What? Did you forget?" Lucario said after everything had settled down, "No fi-"

    He did not have time to finish his sentence as Torana was upon him, the Blaziken moving at a high pace. She raised her leg as to kick again, and Lucario realized she was leaving herself open just like before. He turned towards her other leg in the last second, forcing the Blaziken to leap back while lashing out with her prepared leg in defense. Lucario ducked to avoid the kick and smiled brightly as he headed towards her face, ready to settle things.

    However, her face was no longer where he thought it would be. Instead, the Blaziken had managed to jump back a second time, kicking at him once again. Unprepared for such swift movements, Lucario staggered back in the last second, thinking himself clear of the leg but feeling something gash across his arm. He yelped and was about to look down to see what happened, when he realized the Blaziken was heading towards him again, much faster than before. She crouched and delivered a low sweep as Lucario jumped to avoid it, but in barely a second she was standing up again, striking at him with a roundhouse kick. Lucario was able to block the attack with both his arms, but felt them crumble under the sheer power of the Blaziken's legs as he was thrown several feet away by the recoil.

    He crashed down on the ground, taking little damage from the soft, dirty soil. He quickly got to his feet and examined his arm, where a gash from something like a talon had appeared. It was not bleeding too badly, but he was beginning to think that the Blaziken's feet were sharper than he had been expecting. Not wanting to misjudge her again, Lucario put two and two together and determined a clear connection between the weird fiery display the Blaziken had put on, as well as the sudden speed boost which had followed.

    "Nice powerup," Lucario muttered while rubbing away some of the dust from his eyes, "I guess… It's time for me to get serious, eh? Let's see how fast you really are!"

    Calling to mind all his past failures, Lucario remained still and made no suspicious movement whatsoever. However, inside his body he carefully led a group of mitochondria from their comfortable homes into his right arm, where they grouped together to form a subtle blue glow through the cracks of his fingers.

    Using every last bit of restraint to keep himself from shouting, Lucario punched the air in front of him while opening his palm, revealing the aura sphere that had been building within. The Blaziken only had time to blink as the body of blue fire ran through her left shoulder, disappearing before ramming into the wall of the arena behind her. Although she did not scream, it was clear that she was in great pain, falling to her knees as she grasped her left shoulder with her right hand.

    "Next one's going for your head," Lucario said confidently, amazed to actually have pulled off the move successfully. He made a mental note to always keep the attack subtle, instead of giving it away by posing and shouting like an idiot.

    The Blaziken looked up at him with a surprised expression, which then melted into anger. Standing up, she tried to hold out her arms, but her left shoulder was no longer responding. She flexed with the rest of her body, a fiery explosion igniting on top of her head. Although the position of the fire was different, Lucario knew what she was trying to do.

    "Hah! Like I'd let you reactivate that thing again!" he shouted as he ran up to the defenseless Blaziken, seeing her as kind of stupid to be leaving herself so open in the middle of combat. He put all his weight behind him as he tried to ram her stomach, and she had no choice but to move out of the way. He quickly spun around and followed up with a punch directed at her lame shoulder, narrowly blocked in the last second by one of her now burning legs.

    It was then that Lucario realized what was going on. The inferno on her head had been crawling down her body to her legs, all while she had been in the middle of dodging his attacks. Surprised to see that such a peculiar technique required little-to-no concentration whatsoever, Lucario suddenly felt himself ripped away from the ground, struck in his side by a very speedy kick.

    He flew away a few feet before landing on the ground, confused and hurting from the sudden attack. It had been a direct hit, something his abdominal muscles made quite clear with the pain shooting up his spine. In terms of power and size, the kick had felt more like a full body slam and was something Lucario hoped he would not need to withstand too many more of.
    Meanwhile, both Celebi and Zerobi stood speechless as they witnessed the spectacle.

    "She was able to pull it off in the middle of combat!?" Zerobi finally exclaimed before increasing the volume of her voice to a yell, "Lucario! Wait until it runs out again, and then attack her with all you've got!"

    "No!" Celebi shouted to interrupt her sister while Lucario looked back at the two of them with a confused expression, "That initial boost in speed… It never ran out to begin with."

    "… Of course it did! Why else would she use it again!?" Zerobi argued stubbornly before a quick tapping sound broke her concentration. Looking out at the arena, she saw the Blaziken moving towards Lucario in a zig-zag formation, much like she herself usually did in order to throw her opponents' aim off. However, what surprised Zerobi even more was the fact that the Blaziken was now moving at a far higher pace than earlier, realizing that the bulky Blaziken was now even faster than she was.

    "It's compiling… Her agility is steadily increasing…" Celebi whispered with a troubled voice, obviously having noticed the same thing as Zerobi. The fact struck Lucario a few moments later, when he was just barely able to block the oncoming kick with one arm, nearly taking the brunt of the blow. Sensing danger, he suddenly jumped back a few paces.

    "All right… Fine…" Lucario muttered while exhaling heavily and lowering his stance into a pounce, "Warm-up is over. Here I am, trying to be a nice guy and save my energy, but you're just ASKING for me to go all-out!"

    "Save your energy…?" the Blaziken asked with a bored expression, her former anguish completely vanished. She lifted her left arm and looked it over, showing it to no longer be paralyzed from the earlier aura sphere.

    "Yeah… I'm not that naive; I know Brendan'll sic Suicune on me after you're done…" Lucario said as he looked up at Brendan, the trainer wearing a sinister expression like always, "I'm prepared to fight a legendary, so I can't let a patsy like you get in my way!"

    The Blaziken looked at him for a moment before shrugging.

    "… And what makes you think Suicune is stronger than I am?" she asked bluntly.

    "Eh?" Lucario exclaimed quietly, a chill suddenly running up his back. The implication was not lost on Zerobi or Celebi either, both of whom stared at Torana with a growing sense of dread.

    "… Besting a legendary… While at a type disadvantage?" Celebi whispered to herself, trying to think of a plausible scenario where such a thing would even be remotely possible. She suddenly felt less certain of her chances at besting the Blaziken, and even less so of Lucario's.

    "Save your energy if you want to… It will not change the outcome…" Torana continued as she sighed audibly and then flexed her muscles once more. Sensing danger, Lucario sped towards her, but in the back of his mind he already knew it was useless. No matter how many punches he threw, the flames sprouted forth from her back and caressed the tall Fire-type's body as they moved down and disappeared within her legs. Immediately an effect was shown, the Blaziken swiftly moving away from him by shuffling back with the agility of an alerted arachnid, light as piece of cloth caught within a tornado.

    "I-Impossible! She sped up further!?" Zerobi stammered in shock as Celebi gasped, not having seen anyone move so quickly since Pikablu had employed his 25% against her. Lucario braced himself as the Blaziken decided to attack, charging at him like a locomotive jumping from zero miles per hour to two hundred in a flash. Torana was like a blur as she came nearer, but Lucario was able to detect a kick approaching from her right side, ducking from it through pure instinct alone. Before he could even raise his head again, another impossibly fast kick came from the opposite direction and smashed against his arm, a third kick suddenly striking him squarely in the chest.

    Lucario stumbled back as the impact from all the kicks seemed to reach his brain all at once, the kicks coming out faster than his nerve clusters could manage. Torana shuffled back once more before coming at him again, Lucario realizing that he was completely defenseless against her assault. At a loss for what to do, he jumped directly upwards as high as he could, but only reached a few meters of height before being struck in midair by the Blaziken's jump kick. He fell gracelessly down to the ground, hurting badly from the violent attacks. He felt his legs begin to give out when he stood up, sorely hoping there was still a chance for him to turn things around.

    "This time…!" Lucario growled as he struck a pose, abandoning all technique and getting ready to counterattack the moment he saw Torana do anything. Fast as a lightning bolt, the Blaziken ran up to him and he immediately kicked into the air with all his might, hoping to score a lucky hit like in his battle against Zoroark.

    However, as his leg whooshed through the air, he realized that there was absolutely nothing for him to hit. Looking down, he saw the Blaziken crouching down into a ball, showing her back to him. The sight only lasted a moment before her two mighty legs suddenly engulfed his neck, the Blaziken pushing away from the ground by standing on her hands.

    Lucario choked as the grip around his throat became stronger, and suddenly began tugging him to the side. The Blaziken used her arms to spin around, moving into a normal standing position while dragging Lucario's head down with her legs and slamming it against the ground.

    "Wh-What the hell was that!?" Zerobi exclaimed in utter disbelief at what she had just seen, Lucario lying in the dirt with a dazed expression. Although he was at the Blaziken's mercy, his head was still spinning from having been thrown in such an odd manner and he made no attempt to retreat to a less vulnerable position.

    "Get up," the Blaziken muttered, unfazed by the impressive move she had pulled while tapping the side of Lucario's head with her sharp foot. Lucario came to once more, rolling away from the dangerous foe and standing up. He barely had time to get his bearing together before the Blaziken was upon him once more, delivering a straight kick to his unguarded stomach. He staggered back with a pained expression as his back bumped into the arena's wall, his foot knocking over one of the candles placed nearby. Seeing the Blaziken come for him once more, he made one last attempt at fighting back, charging up an aura sphere in his right palm. The attempt was short-lived, Torana zooming towards him and lifting her leg, grasping a hold of his face with one of her talon-like feet. She lifted her leg further and pushed it forward, smashing the back of Lucario's head against the wall while suspending him in midair and mercilessly crushing his skull with her powerful claws.

    "AAAHHHH!" Lucario screamed as the amassed aura leaked out of his arm, causing an internal explosion of blue fire. The sudden pain and panic had broken his concentration, and the current lack of ground beneath his feet left him feeling disoriented and restricted. He groaned and was unable to make resistance as Torana's claws ripped into his skin, warm blood dripping down his chin.

    "So weak. So brittle," the Blaziken growled with disappointment in her voice, "What merciful trials have led you here thus far?"

    "N-Never had to fight such an ugly **** bef- GAAAHHH!" Lucario tried to respond, his snarky comment cut short by the grip around his skull suddenly increasing, his cranium feeling like it was about to pop from the immense pressure.

    "What was that?" Torana asked sarcastically as Lucario twitched in pain.

    "H-hey, f-funny story…" Lucario stammered through the splitting headache, "… D'you know I'm actually Ethan? That means I've already beaten both you and that psychotic madman you refer to as 'master'…"

    Torana continued looking at him for a moment, her face remaining expressionless. She lifted him up into a completely vertical position with her leg before throwing him down on the ground beside her.

    "No," she said bluntly, "You are far too pathetic. A man like Ethan would dispatch you in an instant."

    Lucario's arms shook as he struggled to get up, every part of him pained, exhausted and begging for rest. One of his ears was bent an unnatural angle, and there was a blotch of his blood rubbed into the dirty ground underneath. Realizing just how pathetic he must be looking, he filled himself up with determination once more as he stood up.

    "Best keep lying down," the Blaziken mumbled quietly, not even bothering to turn towards him, "Unless you plan on actually putting up some resistance this time."

    "I'm not done yet…!" Lucario growled as he clenched his fists and straightened his back, "It's not over 'til it's over!"

    "… It's over," was all Torana said before suddenly disappearing. Lucario felt a frightening sensation creep up his back as he turned around, the Blaziken standing right behind him with a menacing expression.

    "You are not fast enough…" she muttered as Lucario punched at her with all his might. The Blaziken brushed the punch aside with a speedy flick of her wrist, barely even paying it any notice.

    "Strong enough…" she continued as she suddenly reached out with her arms and grabbed a hold of Lucario's shoulders. As if he weighed nothing at all, she picked him up and held his head level with her own.

    "Resilient enough…" she kept going as Lucario struggled and tried to kick her, his attack halted as she pushed her knee deep into his stomach. Lucario felt all the air flow out of his lungs as the Blaziken struck him with her knee again and again, the tight grasp around his shoulders leaving him with no hope of avoiding the onslaught. After a few moments he was becoming strangely accustomed to the pain, each hit against his punished stomach more predictable than the last. He hung limply, unable to put up a fight as the Blaziken wailed away at him, her expression becoming more and more agitated with each hit. After what seemed like an eternity, she finally stopped and shook him a few times. When she was given no response, she tossed him to the side like she was discarding an empty wrapper.

    "… And definitively not experienced enough to ever match up to someone like me," the Blaziken finished her speech with disdain apparent in her voice. Lucario lay on his back with white noise echoing in his ears, only faintly aware that he wasn't being hit anymore. His former determination had all but vanished, the concepts of victory and defeat meager when compared to the agony he now found himself in. No matter what, he wanted to take a break for an hour or two to lick his wounds and figure out a countermeasure against his opponent. Still, there was something in the back of his mind telling him to keep on fighting, and he tried sitting up. His abdominal muscles screamed out in protest as he coughed and fell back down again. Torana sighed as she looked at Lucario and suddenly held one of her three-pronged talons in front of her.

    "Thrice I've used the speed boost…" the Blaziken said with a menacing tone, hoping she would be able to hammer in the point this time. Quietly she lifted her other hand and placed next to the first one.

    "Before reaching maximum efficiency…" she continued undauntedly while spreading her fingers, "… I can use it for a total of six times."

    Due to the sudden ringing in his ears, Lucario could only assume that he had heard her wrong. Celebi and Zerobi were both fully aware of the implications behind statement, the latter gazing at Lucario's broken form with terror.

    "… She's still just halfway powered up!?" Zerobi exclaimed with hopelessness, finally realizing that Lucario never even had a chance to begin with. Shame filled her, understanding that all the beatings he had taken so far had been for nothing while she had just been standing there and watching. Unable to restrain herself any longer, she took a step towards the ring in order to interrupt the match, not caring about the consequences. However, she froze in shock as the Blaziken suddenly stomped down hard on the ground, sending dust whirling all around her.

    "Is this it!? You wild Pokémon roam about, thinking you're hot stuff after beating up the big kid in your neighborhood," Torana burst out with anger as she stared at Lucario, not even noticing Zerobi's short-lived advance, "I am a trained monster, a weapon forged for your destruction! I feed on pathetic warriors like you and spit out their broken dreams!"

    Brendan sat and watched the spectacle from afar, taking delight in the battle. The Lucario's battered condition, the Weavile's feeble hesitation and Celebi's binding fear. From his position they looked like bugs, unable to do anything before the might of his Pokémon.

    "Hehehehe… That ability truly is like something out of a dream…" he snickered into the microphone, not sure if anyone was able to hear him as they were busy gazing at Torana with admiration.

    "Fire is heat, and simpleton fools only thing to use to it scorch the opposition…" he whispered to himself as his fingers tingled, letting his hands close and open irregularly, "… But I… I figured out its true value. Heat is energy, after all… If you can generate heat, then you have a nearly infinite supply of energy! Torana is both a Fire and Fighting type, so she can use the excess energy to strengthen herself! Her legs are thick and muscular because they're built to withstand any amount of strain! Lesser legs would've been torn to pieces!"

    Lucario was beginning to come back to his senses, Brendan's words echoing through his pained ears and within his aching skull. He tried to sit up once more, but his suffering stomach muscles refused to comply. The repeated kicks had left their mark on him, and he felt weaker than ever before.

    "Go ahead… Cry," the Blaziken whispered to him with a demeaning tone, "I know you want to. Do not hold back on my accord."

    "Would you… Stop treating me like dirt!?" Lucario growled in response as he tried to lift his upper body with his quickly buckling arms, "I haven't given up yet!"

    "Hmpf… Why try to be nice?" the Blaziken muttered while shrugging, "You'll hate me in the end, anyway."

    As stubborn as Lucario's badly beaten stomach was, he knew himself to be even more stubborn. Rolling over to his side, he was able to use his arm to push off the ground and stand without using his abdominal muscles at all.

    "Our conflict has one victor, but two contestants," the Blaziken continued without paying any particular note to Lucario retrieving his upright position, "For me to triumph, you must taste defeat. There is no other way around it… And as it happens, I never lose."

    Torana lost herself for a moment, seemingly reliving painful memories while solemnly closing her eyes.

    "Bitter tears of defeat… They're all I know how to create…" she whispered before opening and fastening her eyes on Lucario with a critical gaze, "So… Go ahead, weep like everyone else! Blame me for your own weakness!"

    The Blaziken roared as she flexed once more, a fiery explosion igniting around her chest. Lucario could do nothing but stand and watch in amazement, wondering how such a technique was even possible. This was the fourth time he was witnessing it, but only the second without being busy trying to fight. Now that he knew what was about to happen, there was a sudden pang of familiarity when the fire crawled over the outside of Torana's body. As it settled down into her legs, there was a faint moment of recognition. Behind Lucario's faded vision, he thought he saw the yellow fire give off a violet glow before flashing completely blue.

    As the Blaziken charged towards Lucario once more, Zerobi snapped out of her self-induced hesitation. Seeing that the fire-type had grown faster once more was all it took for her to finally completely give up on Lucario's chances of winning.

    "… This is not an enemy he can handle!" she shouted in desperation, "We've got to do something!"

    Turning back, she had expected to see to Celebi leap into action right away. However, the small legendary hovered in stillness, not even looking back at her. Celebi knew that if she were to look her sister directly in the eye, the Weavile would clearly see the fear she was attempting to hide.

    "B-But… He's not unconscious yet…" Celebi whispered while trying not to think too hard about Brendan's intimidation, her face both troubled and worried, "I can heal him later if he breaks anyth-"

    "So!? Can't you see how much he's suffering!?" Zerobi interrupted, a loud banging coming from the arena as Lucario received a powerful kick to his right shoulder, "Fine, I'll do it myself! I'll run in and grab him, you stay here and make a barrier or something!"

    Suddenly, Zerobi took a step into the ring. Celebi gasped as she reached out with her arms, two newly-formed seeds lying in the palm of her hands. Two long vines suddenly sprouted forth as the seeds cracked open, shooting out and coiling themselves around Zerobi's arms, holding her in place.

    "No!" Celebi yelled with a hint of terror in her voice, "Fighting/Fire against your Dark/Ice… You won't last a second, and that trainer will bring out more Pokémon to attack us!"

    "I don't care!" Zerobi growled as she looked back at her sister with anger and fought against her binds, "Let me go, damn it! He'll die if we don't do anything!"

    Celebi winced, not knowing what to say. The fight between the Blaziken and Lucario was clearly over, the latter currently being pummeled by several rapid kicks to his chest. She could see a few of his tendons ripped, and quickly worsening fractures all over his body. Torana did not seem to be letting up at all, and if the snickering Brendan was indeed merciless enough to see her raped to death he would have no qualms about snuffing out Lucario here and now. As much as she feared being enslaved and meeting her end at the hands of the mad champion, she wondered if she would truly be able to simply sit by and watch as Lucario dies right in front of her.

    The Blaziken had sped up even more and was now too fast for Lucario to even attempt to parry her attacks. As the battle would turn out the same with or without his focus, Lucario let his mind drift elsewhere. Brendan's words echoed in his head as he carefully observed what little he could see of the Blaziken before getting struck once more by a mighty kick, trying to figure out what had happened the instant she had powered up. Mew's words echoed in his head as he carefully observed what little he could see of his own legs before getting struck once more by a powerful tackle, trying to figure out what had happened the instant he had detonated his mitochondria.

    Each smashing blow brought him one step closer to clarity, a faint smile starting to form around his lips. Torana assumed he was slipping out of consciousness, and wondered how much longer she would be forced to beat him before Brendan ordered her to stop. He had completely given up on both attacking her and defending himself, doing nothing but staring at her legs as she moved around. Subconsciously, she began to ease up on her assault, the situation feeling less and less like a fight with every passing second. After a few moments she was just standing there, breathing heavily while gazing at the broken Lucario, lying on the ground with a creepy smile plastered across his face.

    "Did I tell you to stop!?" Brendan's voice suddenly came from above her, making her wince. She walked slowly towards Lucario, his curious gaze still fastened on her legs. He made no attempt to get away as she closed her claws around his throat and lifted him up into the air. For a few moments he hung there, before finally starting to struggle as he noticed his supply of air being cut off.

    "What's so funny?" she asked and loosened her grip around his throat.

    "… Cheater…" Lucario wheezed almost inaudibly.

    "Speak up," she muttered while punched him in the gut. The flesh beneath his fur had visibly reddened, and she knew it had to be very painful.

    "Ugh!" Lucario coughed before lowering his head, his ears hanging by the sides of his head as blood dripped down on the floor, "… Th-That speed's too much… Too overpowered… It's cheating…"

    Torana sighed and threw Lucario away, watching him not even attempt to land on his feet as he fell on the ground. Once more he tried standing up as she sighed, finally deciding to break one of his legs just to put an end to the pathetic display.

    "Hey…" Lucario mumbled as he slowly rose to his feet, wobbling slightly before catching himself from falling with his leg. Instead of straightening himself up he held his position, looking like a marathon runner waiting at the starting position of a race.

    "I-If you're gonna cheat…" he exclaimed with a desperate expression, "… Then… I'll cheat, too!"

    And with that, Lucario vanished from sight.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  13. #313
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    Lucario truly is Ethan, complete with stubborness and focus. He was able to see a certain flaw in Torona's attack patern, or at least I think he did. I dunno. But I did see a flaw in her battle style and it seemed pretty clear to me at the fourth bulk up she used, and it wouldn't be difficult to use to your advantage. In fact, I think human Ethan may have recognized this during his semi-final match. Anyway, great chapter. I actually started to think how other nintendo characters would deal with this. I also wondeered whether or not Celebi could win. She is pure Psychic type, but she is somewhat plant like and could probably burn easily.
    Three most annoying things:

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  14. #314
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    SpeedBoost/BulkUp, nasty combination there, but I knew there was a flaw in that design like JFought said, and I am eager to see how Ethan exploits it.

    Looking forward to another amazing chapter.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
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  15. #315
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    Chapter 74

    Extremely Speedy Lucario


    A sibilant breeze whisked throughout the arena of Pokémon Stadium. It sent a small patch of dust rising from the soil. Having been reddened by blood, the collection of discarded particles had a similar appearance to autumn leaves, their colorful display reminding onlookers of change and their inability to prevent it.

    A trail of the filthy leaves scattered from the empty spot where Lucario had stood a quarter of a second earlier. They led in a direct line towards the indomitable Blaziken, whose beak was halfway agape in shock. Lucario stood crouched beside her, his sharp elbow lodged deeply into the upper section of her stomach. Her normally rock-hard abs were bent and twisted, trying to accommodate this unexpected entry but failing miserably.

    As another quarter of a second passed, everything happened all at once. The colorful dust began swirling around in massive amounts as Torana coughed hard, reeling over in pain from the mighty blow. The momentum of the attack finally caught up, her body being thrown back like a speeding bullet, crashing down on the ground almost twenty feet away. A stream of blood raced up her throat as she coughed up some of it, landing with a splash on the sandy soil next to her. For the first time in her life, Zerobi noticed that her eyes were not following the crimson red she desired so, but much like Celebi's they were fastened securely on Lucario and wide open in surprise.

    Lucario exhaled. Pulling his elbow back and standing up, he carefully placed both hands on his knees. As he looked up he noticed that Brendan was displaying a very disturbing expression of a face caught between complete amazement and utter devastation. Bending over toward Torana, Lucario decided to smile.

    "What was that you said about shitting out my broken dreams?" he asked with a mocking tone, tapping the side of his leg confidently.

    "… Lucario! Way to go!" Zerobi burst out as she finally came back to her senses, "Why didn't you tell me you'd learned ExtremeSpeed?"

    "E-ExtremeSpeed? No…" Celebi gasped quietly while measuring the distance Torana flew and gauging out the strength of the hit, "That impact was far too powerful for that!"

    The term 'ExtremeSpeed' brought Lucario thought back to his days of training, how Mew had told him of a move even more useful than the aura sphere. By mastering the latter he needed to be able to steer and overload his mitochondria, detonating them into a splendid burst of pure energy. However, according to Mew, using this blue fire to burn the opponent or oneself was never the purpose of the technique. Supposedly, by mastering complete control over his body, he could make the surrounding mitochondria absorb the excess energy and instantly put it to use, massively boosting his output for a split second. Failing to employ it countless times during training and against the hunter, the latter of which had nearly resulted in his and Zerobi's deaths, it was only when watching the Blaziken do practically the same thing with her Speed Boost that he realized how easy it was and dared to try again.

    "Torana! Go for his legs!" Brendan shouted orders, obviously having figured out the nature behind Lucario's skill, "They're thin! Weak! There's no way they can take a hit after a run like that!"

    "Sorry, but that's not the case…" Lucario explained while shaking his head cockily, "So, maybe I haven't been training as much as you, but I've been walking… My god, have I been walking…"

    A shudder passed through Lucario as he thought back to his absurdly long travels.

    "How did you spend your last year? Me? Oh, nothing, I just walked halfway across the globe," Lucario muttered with a shrug as the Blaziken made an attempt to get up, "My legs know suffering you can't even imagine. This is nothing!"

    "You think… You can outrun me…!?" Torana growled menacingly.

    "Actually… Lately I've been practicing these to be able to outrun bullets," Lucario said confidently while pointing at her, "Compared to those, you're pretty sluggish."

    Torana grit her beak together in frustration as she stood up. She had not felt this overwhelmed by an attack since her days as a Torchic, picking fights with Pokémon a few too many levels above hers. Since evolving and learning the Speed Boost, there was no longer anyone able to match up to her without resorting to cheap tricks. For nearly a decade she had been forced to beat up weaklings and clean up rabid wilders at her master's request. Now, she was finally facing someone ready to put up a fight, even finding a way to outmaneuver her peerless speed. Feeling herself filling up with excitement, she could not help but smile back at Lucario.

    "Well then… The Poliwag has grown two arms…" she whispered, talons gleaming dangerously as she clutched them, "Let us see if he knows how to use them!"

    The Blaziken flexed with her upper muscles, calling forth two pillars of fire by her feet.

    "Me first!" Lucario shouted, pushing a large group of mitochondria from his stomach region down to his legs. Torana's fire engulfed her legs and disappeared within as Lucario's aura exploded and the surrounding mitochondria sucked it up. Wanting to test their speed against one another, they ran towards each other with harmful intents. Both too fast to even be seen by the untrained eye, the Blaziken noticed Lucario disappearing half a second before she felt herself getting rammed in the stomach again, then quickly punched in the chest and headbutted in the face. She had endured several ExtremeSpeed users in the past, but none as ungodly quick and strong as this one. Unable to withstand the unexpectedly powerful assault, she stumbled back and fell over.

    "Is… That really ExtremeSpeed…?" Zerobi whispered to herself with confusion, watching the mighty Torana drop so easily. She knew ExtremeSpeed was a useful move for gaining priority in a clash, but even something like a regular body slam or mega kick should be able to do more damage. Celebi felt equally stumped as she analyzed the situation and nature of Lucario's move. However, it did not take long for her bright mind and advanced reasoning to bring about a conclusion.

    "I-I've got it!" Celebi burst out in amazement, "It's… His weight!"

    Zerobi looked at her with confusion, Lucario's ears perking as he wondered if she was planning on calling him fat.

    "He has far less steel in his body than an average Lucario, which I assumed would do little but increase his weaknesses…" Celebi explained while shaking her head in disapproval, "… Not to mention his less than exemplary diet of hardly eating anything…"

    Lucario wondered what she was talking about, remembering that he had definitively eaten two full meals in the past two years, both of which were varied and quite nutritious. He had also forced down a berry or two in the past few months, wondering how Zerobi was able to keep such a slim figure despite eating as frequently as thrice per week.

    "This senseless starvation has led to reduce his body weight to the absolute minimum!" Celebi exclaimed with clarity, "ExtremeSpeed lets a normal Lucario move at a blinding pace, but with someone as light as he is… I have never seen anyone move that quickly! Not even Zapdos!"

    Torana groaned as she sat up, placing a leathery talon by her forehead. Although her body had now reached utterly ridiculous levels of speed, the sharpness of her own reflexes and nerve signals remained the same. While it might be possible for her to parry Lucario's ExtremeSpeed, she was not able to even see him move before getting struck several times. Trying to think of a solution, her inner thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice echoing from the PA.

    "Hehehe… Cute widdle Sui's a great tracker, but far from my strongest fighter. I doubt he would've gotten up after another onslaught like that…" Brendan snickered confidently into the microphone, keeping his legs propped up on the podium in front, "But then again… Torana's not in a different league for nothing…"

    Hearing her master's words of confidence, the Blaziken quickly stood up. When she found herself confused over how to counter an enemy, he was always the one to help her out. She knew this time would not be any different.

    "I think this had gone on long enough, Torana…" Brendan whispered slowly, his expression looking slightly more bitter than before, "You have my permission to use fire."

    "… Oh, great. Fun's over," Zerobi groaned helplessly. Lucario clenched his fists in anticipation, watching the Blaziken do the same thing with her talons. Readying himself for yet another charge, she was upon him, and only then did he realize the unimaginable levels of speed she had reached alongside his own. He felt himself struck on the hip by an attack so fast he was unable to even determine its nature, although from the creaking of his bones he was certain that it was yet another powerful kick.

    "Ah!" Celebi gasped with shock as Lucario was thrown into the wall in a painful manner, "ExtremeSpeed only lasts for a second, but that Speed Boost seems to be permanent! Lucario, keep using ExtremeSpeed! If you do not, you will lose!"

    The Blaziken watched as Lucario sat up and suddenly started rubbing his legs with a pained expression. Thinking she had somehow missed her target and struck his calf instead of hip, there was a certain sense of familiarity about his action. She thought back to her early days of mastering the Speed Boost, remembering the severe pain running through her then untrained limbs.

    "Ah. I see. How reckless of you to use such a strenuous technique with such flimsy legs," she said bluntly as she walked closer to him, trying to get a better look, "Did you not say that all your walking had strengthened them?"

    "Sh-Shut up!" Lucario growled in response, doing his best to hide the fact that he was experiencing some unexpected recoil after his last attempt at using his new technique. A deep burning sensation lingered in every part of his legs, one that had increased tenfold after the second use. His instincts warned him not to use it again since he would likely lose focus due to the added strain. Although if the Blaziken was not about to slow down any time soon, and he had to keep on fighting with his damaged abdomen and nearly useless legs, he saw little chance of winning.

    "Maybe if you were to gain a little more weight and mass, they'd be able to handle the stress better?" the Blaziken continued undauntedly while continuing to approach him, "Or perhaps… This is the limit for a Lucario's muscles?"

    "… I don't need legs to beat someone like you!" Lucario shouted as he suddenly thrust out his arm, an aura sphere heading directly towards Torana's head. Although the aim was perfect and she had no hopes of dodging it previously, compared to Lucario's ExtremeSpeed the sphere was not quite as fast and had no way of homing in on her. With a casual flick of her neck, she let the blue fire fly past her, only brushing up slightly against one of the appendages sticking out of her face and ruffling a few feathers. She continued walking until she was right in front of him.

    "What a shame," Torana sighed in disappointment as Lucario slowly let his arm fall, his face etched in horror, "It seems I have powered up a little too much."

    "Yes… You have!" Lucario yelled as he suddenly lashed out with his full body, attempting to grab a hold of Torana's legs. She felt his feeble hands try to get a grip around her thick limbs, watching with amusement as he helplessly fumbled around. Then, in an instant, she felt an unexpected searing pain strike through her being. Looking down, she saw that Lucario had given up on grasping her and had simply pressed his palms up against her kneecaps, a blue glow emanating from them.

    "Grr!" Torana growled before kicking Lucario in the head, throwing him away to the side. Suddenly she crouched over, the pain in her kneecaps steadily increasing and spreading out across the rest of her legs. Lucario coughed as he sat up, but still had an air of confidence about him.

    "Y-You caught me off guard at first… But I have just gained very intimate familiarity with that technique you use," Lucario tried to speak, still rattled about from the strong blow to the side of his head, "Hurts, doesn't it? Sure… You might be able to take the strain better than me… But that doesn't mean it's not there!"

    The Blaziken gnashed her beak together, feeling her legs crumble under the seemingly unending stream of pain. Her shoulder had been hit by aura earlier, but had recovered rather quickly. Her legs were greatly worn out from being forced to constantly move faster and faster, turning the once impervious pillars quite fragile and bad receptors for the scathing blue fire. The pain disappeared from her mind for a second as an agitated voice suddenly blared out over the stadium.

    "Fire! Use fire, damn it!" Brendan's voice echoed as he screamed in excitement, "Burn to the ground! BURN!"

    Lucario and even Zerobi covered their ears to shield themselves from the loud noise. Celebi recovered from the blasting sound waves first, and was left wondering why the Blaziken had yet to use any fire-based attacks, despite having been given permission to do so for quite some time. Torana sighed as she turned towards Lucario, trying to keep her aching legs steady.

    "A flamethrower aimed at your head," she said sternly, staring Lucario deep in the eye in order to reach him. Pondering her meaning, she suddenly opened her beak with a jet of fire shooting out of it towards him. In the split second he was given before being cremated, his brain was able to put two and two together as he ducked, the beam of fire passing directly above his head.

    "A flame kick right directed at your feet," the Blaziken continued, suddenly crouching down as she made a sweep at Lucario. Already aware of what was going to happen, he was easily able to jump over it, seeing a trail of embers left behind where her leg had passed through. Not only that, but her movements seemed notably slower now compared to before. It seemed his attack against her legs were taking its toll.

    "What the hell are you-" Lucario started, but was immediately interrupted by the Blaziken.

    "You grew a set of arms, and immediately used them to become a full Poliwrath," Torana explained slowly, Lucario's apparent confusion forcing her to clarify, "You still have some more tricks to show me, don't you? It would be a shame to finish prematurely by setting you on fire!"

    "… O-Of course," Lucario stammered, feeling peeved that he had not won yet despite fighting for so long. The Blaziken was truly showing her experience, countering and nullifying the ExtremeSpeed not even Lucario had planned on using. If at all, whatever new strategy he could come up with would probably not have any lasting effect upon the fiery veteran. Breathing heavily and aching all over, he knew he would not last much longer. Every second that passed was one second closer to when he would finally collapse from exhaustion and find himself at the non-existent mercy of Brendan. Unwilling to face such a conclusion, he dashed towards Torana, longing to finally deliver the punch that would keep her down.

    Taking a step forward, Torana prepared herself for the attack. A sharp pain shot through her damaged legs, and she felt that there was no chance of running around like before. Even so, her Speed Boost was still very much active, and let her limp ahead at an even quicker pace than Lucario was running. They clashed together, angrily wrestling against each other with their arms, both combatants too tired to try anything fancy.

    "Your arms seem OK!" Lucario respectfully complimented her before kicking her afflicted calf hard, "How 'bout your legs!?"

    Torana squealed in pain for a second, before immediately collecting herself.

    "One for me…" she muttered as she forcefully sent her knee deep into Lucario's abdomen, "… One for you!"

    Lucario kicked at her legs while Torana kneed him in the stomach for a while until the two fighters separated, both in too much pain to continue the struggle.

    "… What kind of battle is this…?" Zerobi muttered to herself, watching the Blaziken limp around at super-sonic speed with Lucario shuffling back while clutching his aching belly. Their struggle turning more and more desperate, she knew that any reasonable trainer would have called back their Pokémon by now, sparing the world of such a pitiful sight.

    Brendan scratched the underside of his chin, undaunted by the development of the battle. Even as Torana staggered back and forth with crippled legs, he could see the beauty in what he had created. Through sweat and tears, he had given shape to a warrior of the 'Uber' class, paying meticulous attention to every last muscle in order to make the perfect fighter. Veiled by feathers and a well-toned body rested the strength of a true monster. Eleven years ago she had stood in this very stadium, undefeated and unmatched. Indeed, such would still be the case had it not been for Ethan and his wretched Trick Room.

    Brendan sighed. He knew her loss was not Ethan's fault, but rather an effect of his own shortcomings as a trainer. May had always told him he would not be able to win by excelling only in strength. The vivid sight of her accusing face, crushed like a grape beneath the weight of a particularly large rock flashed through his mind before he forced the memory away. He did not have time to sink into despair once more, because he knew his Pokémon needed him.

    It concerned him somewhat that Torana assumed he would not be able to figure out that she was warning Lucario before using fire, forcing him to question if he had overestimated her intelligence. Ever since she was a cute little Torchic she had followed his orders, but rarely to the letter. He did not mind it all that much; she was a free spirit after all and always got the job done in the end. Not to mention, he knew better than anyone that his orders were not always the best course of action. If she believed she could win while refusing to exploit Lucario's weakness to fire, he would fully support her decision. However, Brendan had just seen the Lucario pull out an impressive show of ExtremeSpeed out of nowhere, and knew that another lucky critical hit could mean the end for his Pokémon. He could not accept it. After all his Blaziken had done, she deserved nothing less than a complete victory. Unlike him, she was destined for triumph and glory, and through her he would be able to acquire it as well.

    "Torana! It's time to finish things with your ultimate technique!" Brendan suddenly shouted with a powerful voice as he stood up, "End it with the Scorching Typhoon! The Inferno Cyclone! The Flare Whirlwind! The Pyre Tornado!"

    The Blaziken looked up at her trainer for a moment, before slowly lowering her gaze towards Lucario.

    "Seems that our time is coming to an end," she said quietly, "Better go hug the walls. Things are about to heat up."
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  16. #316
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    Uh-oh. This isn't good. Awesome cliffhanger at the end (which is basically saying nothing what with all the cliffhangers in this fic!) and I knew it. If you take away that Blaziken's speed, she might as well be a magikarp. She relies to much on her speed boosts and is why she lost against Ethan's Pokemon. I also liked how we got to see how Bredndan thinks. He isn't completly mad, he cah think perfectly rationally, he just has some issues. Can't wait to see what happens next.
    Three most annoying things:

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    2. Arrogance
    3. Writer's Block

  17. #317
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    Chapter 75

    Burning Tornado Torana


    Stomping down with all her might, the Blaziken managed to pierce deep into the lofty soil. She stretched out her talons underground, feeling around and determining how much room for mobility she had. Using her other leg, she kicked the air in front of her and let the rest of her body follow the momentum as she rotated. Again and again she kicked, spinning her body faster and faster around each time. Lucario began to slowly back off before the Blaziken suddenly stopped in her tracks, exhaling heavily. From above them, a clapping sound could be heard.

    "Incredible! Nice rendition of the Swan Lake!" Brendan shouted as he gave a standing ovation, "Personally, though… I am a much bigger fan of the firebird suite!"

    "That's… It?" Lucario asked with a dumbfounded expression. Celebi held her breath while Zerobi could not help but admire the Blaziken's flair for performing so many skillful fouetté en tournant in a row.

    "Just warming up… Can't be too stiff for this…" Torana answered honestly and inhaled deeply. Twisting her body while crouching down, she suddenly leapt up very, very high. Lucario gasped, Zerobi wondering why the sight of a bird staying airborne had elicited such surprise from him. He looked up as the Blaziken passed the halfway point between the floor and ceiling, where she stretched out her body in an attempt to utilize the wind pressure and slow her ascent.

    Hovering almost motionlessly in midair, she suddenly lashed out with a kick. Her body began to spin around very quickly from the sheer power, and she continued kicking in the same direction. Without one leg attached to the ground there was nothing to slow her down as she gained more and more speed with each kick. Subtly her deep red body was beginning to light up with small flickers, like a flammable canister of explosives beginning to ignite. Weightlessly she soared high above, spinning similarly to a drill with yellow sparks flying about.

    "Run, stupid!" Zerobi yelled with all her might, starting to feel her precious cold dissipate before an approaching storm of sweltering heat. Lucario suddenly realized he was pushing his luck and quickly made a couple of leaps back until he felt his back hit one of the walls. His dodge had not come a moment too soon as he could clearly see that the Blaziken was now burning, lashes of fire like solar prominence surrounding her. With one final kick, Torana curled herself into a rapidly spinning ball, before roaring and throwing out her limbs in every direction.

    "AH!" Lucario screamed as he shielded his eyes, a bright flash filling the colosseum. Torana had lit up into a brilliant light, striking his forehead with a heated glare as he tried to not stare directly at it. A deep and ominous whoosh echoed throughout the halls of Pokémon Stadium as a pillar of flame emerged from her, stretching down to the floor beneath. In an instant, the chilly and lofty stadium had heated up like a hot desert, the snow melting and being replaced by slightly less whitish ash. The pillar spun wildly like a twister as the Blaziken hovered at the top, resuming her kicking and spinning while the fire whirl grew larger and larger.

    "FIIIIIREEEE!" Brendan screamed like a rockstar on stage, headbanging and wildly throwing his white hair up and down and all around, "I'll see you burn, Lucario!"

    Witnessing the burning tornado, Lucario felt quite grateful that Torana had warned him about the attack. Even so, simply being in the same room as the fierce storm was making him overheat, and he decided to get as far away from it as possible. Hoping it would not count as disqualification in Brendan's mind, he leaped over the arena's walls and onto one of the spectator's seats.

    "Hey, great show!" Lucario joked as he sat down on one of the chairs and watched the fiery tornado rage on. It suddenly occurred to him that it was not heading towards him, yet still the Blaziken was insisting on letting it continued. Wondering whether she was simply trying to show off, the temperature in the room seemed to double as his vision was suddenly obscured by something large, bright and very, very hot.

    "WHOA!" Lucario yelled in shock as he got to his feet and jumped up, a mighty torrent of fire passing by right under him. The mass of flames curved itself backwards in an arc, disappearing without igniting any of the seats. However, a sizzling sound followed his landing as pain engulfed his feet, making him trip on the now scalding hot metal.

    "YAAHH!" Lucario screamed as he fell over, his shoulder and right arm landing on another seat and getting burned as well. Shuffling away from the impact site, he sat and blew wind on his damaged feet. Not wanting to be taken by surprise again, he squinted and forced himself to stare into the blazing sun that was now the Blaziken's. She was spinning around like before, kicking and showing no signs of exhaustion. Suddenly she put a little extra weight behind one of the kicks aimed at him, throwing another torrent of fire in his direction. The stream was surprisingly wide as Lucario was forced to jump again, this time moving to the side to make sure he would not be landing where the fire passed through. His triumph lasted approximately one second before he saw the Blaziken aim another kick at him, a second inferno heading straight for him. Unable to change his direction in midair, he braced himself as the crescent stream of fire completely engulfed his body.

    "LUCARIO!" Zerobi shouted, the Fighting-type falling like a failed piece of firework covered by deadly yellow fire. Acting from instinct alone, she rushed towards him, readying a mighty blast of ice to help douse the flames licking his body clean. It was the same kind of instinct that allowed her to stop herself as a mighty flare caressed the ground where she would be standing had she kept moving. Although she had avoided the attack, the heat from simply being near it was more than her body could tolerate as she fell back, feeling like she was about to faint. Looking up at the immense vortex, she thought she could see the Blaziken shoot an angry glare at her. A clear warning of what would happen should she try anything.

    Lucario crashed down on the ground and immediately began to roll around in the sandy soil, feeling the pain of his body breaking down all over. He knew that like a burning piece of paper, his fur was turning into tiny red sparks and his body would soon crumple up into a black, unrecognizable mess. Remembering the fate of his former body he began to fight harder, feeling lightheaded from the lack of oxygen while simultaneous trying his best to choke out the surrounding flames.

    Celebi stared at the scene with a horrified expression, and for the first time in her life felt utterly helpless. Of all the elements in the world, the one she had most trouble dealing with was fire, and before her now raged an inferno unlike anything she had ever seen before. One kick was all it would take for the Blaziken to strike her and severely burn her, barrier or no. Even so, with each painful twist from Lucario and subtle shake from Zerobi she felt her inner reason begin to fade away.

    "Eyahahaha!" Brendan cackled madly from up on his perch, wearing a set of sunglasses to be able to fully enjoy the blinding spectacle, "Squirm! You've trained yourself hard, but now it's all going to burn!"

    "Haahh… Screw you..." Lucario groaned as the last of the fire around him disappeared, feeling sore like a scrape wound covering him from head to toe. Hoping to take a break and catch his breath, he rose up at a rather sluggish pace, hoping the Blaziken would not sink so low as to attack a guy lying down. However, before he had even gotten up on his knees, Torana sent another stream of fire running towards him.

    "Lucari-AAGH!" Zerobi screamed as she leapt up and tackled the staggering Lucario out of the way, taking the brunt of the fiery attack. She fell to the ground like a dying ember, unbearable heat and pain running all over her body. Lucario's right side caught fire as he desperately dug his arm underground, too low on power to even roll around anymore.

    "SIS!" Celebi burst out as the sight of her dying sister and friend finally made her snap. She raced out towards the arena, conjuring up a splash of water to douse them with. Torana anticipated her move and threw out another long-distance kick of flames, covering Celebi before she even realized what had happened. Raising a powerful barrier, the water evaporated into steam due to the heat as several tiny flames penetrated her barrier and stung her.

    Unwilling to give up, Celebi reached out with her psychic powers and attempted to grab hold of the Blaziken, but found that the Fighting-type was moving too violently with her kicks to get a good grip around her. Growing more desperate as she saw Zerobi's struggles suddenly weaken as she began to succumb to the fearsome fire, Celebi sent out a blast of raw psychic force towards Torana, hoping to at least knock her out of the tornado. A loud crash sounded as the invisible force was halted by an equally invisible wall, shielding the Blaziken. Feeling a new presence in the arena, Celebi looked up towards Brendan and saw that his Gardevoir had emerged once more.

    "Foul! Red card!" Brendan yelled with an exasperated face, "Referee, remove this hooligan!"

    His Gardevoir kept her eyes steady on Celebi, breathing somewhat heavily from having blocked such a powerful attack. Expression nearly as mad as that of Brendan, Celebi tore her now furious gaze away from the champion and his pet towards her poor sister. Zerobi had stopped burning, but was no longer moving and seemed to have lost consciousness. For an instant, she felt rage like never before course through her, ready to crush the Blaziken, the Gardevoir and their master like a set of ripe prunes. Knowing she would need to take out the Gardevoir first, she soared up and sped towards the well-dressed and now very frightened psychic.

    As the flames died down once more, Lucario breathed out heavily. He withdrew his arm from the cool sand and began to get up, feeling hurt and disoriented. Zerobi was lying next to him, her fine coat looking a little blacker than usual. Celebi was flying away somewhere, and seemed to deliberately avoid bumping into the fire whirl. The burning vortex had grown even bigger than before, and showed no signs of stopping any time soon. He saw the Blaziken on top of it, spinning around while imagining her throwing him a bothered look with each turn. Somewhere in his scrambled mind, Lucario remembered why he was here and knew what had to be done.

    "Ha… Haha…" Lucario snickered to himself, barely feeling anything anymore. The sources of pain around his body seemed to have collided and cancelled each other out, leaving him with a persistent yet unchanging level of agony. With no sudden spikes in pain to register, his mind felt completely focused upon the task that lay ahead.

    "You think that this pathetic excuse for fire is enough to stop me!?" he shouted with all his might as he looked up at the Blaziken, "Time for you to taste MY brand of fire!"

    With that, he began running towards the tornado. His legs were hurting, but he did not care. He knew things were going to get worse before getting any better. With each step he felt the temperature rise another hundred degrees, and had he still had them he was certain his sweat glands would have popped from exertion.

    The Blaziken stared down with a horrified expression as Lucario's fur caught fire once more, but he continued running towards the center of the twister. She thought that he was hoping to reach the eye of the tornado, thinking he would be safe from harm in there. However, she knew her blazing fire whirl was not like any regular typhoon, and the center was actually where the temperature was at its highest.

    Surprising her yet again, Lucario suddenly jumped up, moving directly through the tornado. Wall after wall of illuminating heat passed him by, singing his skin and searing his flesh. Lucario's brain entered a state of full panic, feeling his blood boiling and his eyes hurting as if beginning to melt out of their sockets. Scorched from every direction, all he could do was focus on the target in front. Like a ball of pure fire, he finally came upon the Blaziken, managing to cling on to one of her legs with the last of his strength.

    "You fool! Stop it!" she yelled out in terror as she finally stopped kicking, staring at the soon-to-be cremated Pokémon holding on to her, "You want to die!?"

    "Yeah, with a big damn explosion!" Lucario laughed through the pain as he began to amass as many mitochondria as he could reach with his disoriented mind, "All you did was light the fuse!"

    To his relief, he found he was able to command far more mitochondria than he had expected. They were in perfect synchronization with his crazy plan, lined up and ready to work towards the same goal – Killing Torana.

    "KA-BOOOOOOM!" Lucario roared with all his power as he detonated every last mitochondria at once. A massive explosion of blue fire suddenly erupted from his body, overtaking the yellow fire surrounding him. It pierced and burned the Blaziken who began to scream in agony, her already worn out legs absorbing the blue fire like sponges. Although unfazed by regular fire and heat, the blue flames proved to be a great deal more troublesome. In an instant it felt like her legs had been chopped off, and some was currently carving through the stumps with searing hot razors. She entered shock as the pain increased further and further with each second, until her mind was not able to comprehend it anymore. Drifting away into darkness, she fainted.

    A quiet wind sounded throughout the colosseum as the fire whirl swiftly died off. Celebi had stopped dead in her tracks, moments away from engaging the Gardevoir who was covering her face in speechless fear. Brendan's mouth was wide open as he slowly got to his feet, trying to get a better look at the arena. Zerobi groaned in pain as she came to and lifted her head, seeing two bodies dropping towards the ground at a rapid pace. She recognized the first as the Blaziken, but the other was unfamiliar to her. It had a furless body with faded pink skin, and it took her a moment to realize that Lucario had just had all his fur burnt off by the raging inferno.

    Two silent thuds ended their fall as Lucario and Torana crashed down a few feet away from each other. The Blaziken was no longer moving, but Lucario had entered a violent coughing fit, smoke emerging from his badly hurt body. He blinked a few times, his body far too punished to attempt anything else. Turning his head slightly to the side he looked over the Blaziken, realizing that she had been defeated. It seemed unreal somehow, that despite having found himself at the epicenter of the burst of aura he still retained his consciousness whereas she had fallen.

    "… Problem is… You win… Too much…" Lucario wheezed, "Me…? I get my butt kicked… Over and over… My tolerance… To pain… Is greater… Than yours…"

    It was then that he became reminded of the dull ache all over his body. A violent twist in his stomach caused an eruption to pass through his jowls, and he puked out the small remains of the berries he had eaten with the help of mints earlier. Somehow, they tasted even worse coming back up.

    At that moment, many things happened at once. Zerobi rose to her feet to move towards Lucario, Celebi turning around to do the same. However, the fastest of them was Brendan, who before any of them could reach him had already recalled both Torana and his Gardevoir, leaping off from his perch while throwing a Pokéball towards the ground. A flash of deep red and then azure blue shone throughout the quiet stadium as Suicune appeared and immediately jumped up, catching the quick-thinking trainer in midair. Without wasting even a second, Suicune dashed towards Lucario and halted right in front, causing both Zerobi and Celebi to stop themselves.

    "Brendan! You promised!" Celebi shouted with a nervous tone, "Neither Zerobi nor I touched the Blaziken, so we did not interrupt their battle! Uphold your word!"

    Zerobi gave off a soft wheeze in agreement, feeling weak from getting burned earlier. Brendan looked at her and then at Celebi, his expression unreadable. He crawled forward through Suicune's mane until he reached the neck of the legendary dog, bending over to look at Lucario. They stared at each other for a moment, Brendan's face going from a sneer to a smile to and finally a frown.

    "Hmpf! This battle may be yours, but the war…" Brendan started, staring deep into the Lucario's eyes. The defiant expression he had come to loathe so was gone, replaced by a strange mixture of exhaustion and triumph. At that moment, Brendan's slowly building rage instead began to diminish, realizing that the Lucario really had defeated his Blaziken. Despite Torana choosing not to use fire until the very end, for a wild Pokémon to strike her down was nothing short of a miracle.

    Brendan gazed over the Lucario with admiration, seeing him in a different light than before. There was something truly absurd about the Pokémon in front of him, something unpredictable beyond his wildest imagination. The way the Lucario adapted himself to the rapidly changing situation of battle… Learning a technique like ExtremeSpeed by simply watching his opponent… Finally ready to throw it all away with a glorious finish… It was as if the Fighting-type was both trainer and combatant in one. If a regular Lucario could learn to control the flow of battle through such minor and seemingly simple strategic moves, then so could a champion like Brendan.

    "… Is over," Brendan finished as he sighed out in defeat, "You win. I will hunt you no more."

    Zerobi and Celebi felt tension release its grasp of them, the Weavile lowering her shoulders in relief. Brendan's mind was suddenly racing with new strategies for competitive battling, his eagerness to start training almost causing him to forget where he was.

    "Hmm… I owe you back your friend, no?" Brendan said with a smile as he looked down at Lucario, "Didn't bring her, wasn't expecting you to not die… Give me some time on that."

    Lucario could not answer, having passed out from the pain just moments before. Celebi looked up and down between the blue jackal and the champion, realizing that Brendan was too caught up in his own thoughts to realize Lucario was no longer conscious.

    "Until the next time we meet… Champ," Brendan said as he suddenly tugged at Suicune's mane. The great lion paid none of the other Pokémon any mind as he gracefully trotted past them towards the exit. As both master and beast left the arena, so did the oppressive atmosphere that had threatened to crush Celebi psyche earlier, the bud-like legendary currently hard at work with reconstructing Lucario's damaged body. Zerobi sat by and watched, helping to keep him and herself chilled in order to lessen the pain of the burn wounds.

    Through all this, Lucario found himself in a black space, constantly reliving the battle he had just fought. Although it had been hectic, he felt strangely serene each time he watched himself strike the Blaziken and endure her attacks. Torana changed her shape into a Garchomp, the blue landshark also falling prey to his newfound strength. Entei, the Umbreon and the small star-like fairy all took turns in trying to bring him down, each beaten worse than the one before through skillful use of the Aura Sphere and ExtremeSpeed. Distracted by pleasant dreams brought on by Celebi's proximity, he remained blissfully unaware throughout the severe operations being performed upon his body.

    Eventually, something rubbed him from his sleep. There was a strange sensation emanating from his stomach, but even more so he was overcome by a very recognizable presence. Opening his eyes, they were met by the familiar sight of the legendary he had been chasing for so long. Unable to hold back his surprise, he opened his mouth and spoke but a single word:

    "Mew…"
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  18. #318
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    Whoa







    Ok that doesn't qualify as a post. I never would of thought of jumping into the fire towards the source, but it does make sense.

    Can't wait till next chapter!
    Three most annoying things:

    1. Metal Mario
    2. Arrogance
    3. Writer's Block

  19. #319
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    And here I was thinking Brendan wouldn't stop until he was dead. Good chapter, looking forward to another.

    Also, Ethario takes far too many risks, but since he is the main character, he will live them through some kind of fluke, atleast, up until the end where he will die in a blaze of glory. I just don't see this story ending with a happy note though there is room for one.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  20. #320
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    Hey, don't presume that Lucario is safe from a premature death just because he's the viewpoint character. The story could easily go on without him, I'd just put the focus on someone else, preferably someone more vital to the plot. The REAL reason as to why he's still alive is because he's strong, persistent and has friends who take care of him. Let's see how much longer he can last...
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  21. #321
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    Chapter 76

    Faithful Psychic Mew


    Met only by a blur of darkness, it was Mew's unique color and shape that Lucario was able to distinguish first as he opened his eyes. Her presence was beaming like usual, and everything around her seemed like an uninteresting grey mess. As Lucario regained more of his vision, he realized that this was because her background really was a grey mess, finding himself inside of a cave.

    Mew was hovering above his stomach with her back was turned towards him, and it did not take long before her squirming tail began to swish around. It came to rest directly in front of his face, obscuring most of his vision with its fine pink fur. Lucario felt irritated by the long appendage, eager to see if Mew had recovered since the last time. He reached out in preparation to give the annoying tail a harsh tug, but the instant he moved his arm she was alerted to his consciousness. The tip of her oar-shaped tail jumped up and lightly smacked him on the cheek as Mew drew in a breath, turning around to face him with a dash of surprise across her face.

    "Are you awake?" Mew asked with a somewhat nervous tone, "If so, could you tell me what your abdomen feels like?"

    "Abdomen…" Lucario repeated hazily while noticing something like a draft running through his upper body, "… Breezy?"

    "Oh… Good!" Mew exclaimed as she sunk down towards his stomach, "It seems your nerve endings are in proper condition, after all. Let me just close this up, then…"

    Lucario threw his head back as a very painful sensation suddenly spread throughout his chest; a dozen needles poking into it. Doing his best not to scream like a little girl, he clenched his teeth together as Mew worked extra quickly and finished stitching him up.

    "There. Tell me should it become infected," Mew said as Lucario's pain disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. Shaking his head as he sat up, he was able to get a better look at Mew. Graceful and otherworldly as always, the stark contrast between the being currently in front of him and the dying legendary in No Man's Land made itself known. Her innocent eyes almost made him lose nerve before remembering just how long he had chased after her, feeling the urge to grab onto her so she would not try to escape once more.

    "You weren't easy to find," Lucario muttered, not sure on what to say even after all this time. Feeling conflicting emotions stir up inside of him, all he was sure of is that he wanted answers.

    "So I have been told," Mew said as she closed her eyes in a solemn gesture, curious as to why Lucario would assume otherwise with someone as secluded as her, "Why did you follow me?"

    "… Why? I thought you wanted us to do this thing together," Lucario explained in an attempt to clarify himself, "Why did you ditch me back at the Seafoam Islands?"

    Mew suddenly looked at him with an expression of confusion. It melted into relief for a split second before she shook her head.

    "I did not 'ditch' you…" Mew replied with an unfittingly cheerful tone, "… No Man's Land was an unnecessary obstruction for our plans of uniting Pokémon and humanity. It was something I was easily able to handle on my own, and as such I saw no reason to bother you about it, leaving you more time to train, learn or simply relax after our long journey together."

    "Yet still, I'm the one who had to come save you," Lucario pointed out stubbornly, remembering how she had not been able to talk the last time they met and was definitely not in any shape to give him lip. This time, Mew looked at him with a somewhat offended expression.

    "For your information, I revived on my own and Zoroark had no intention of hurting me in the first place," Mew defended herself with pride, "In fact, I believe we would have resolved our differences faster had you not been there to drag me away."

    "… What, that's the thanks I get for risking my hide for you?" Lucario asked sternly while feeling his temper start to rise. After all he had gone through, from running and fighting to getting captured and shot, the last thing he expected was for her to be ungrateful. Their eyes locked together in a moment of bitter conflict before Mew's eyes suddenly eased up and she slowly shook her head.

    "No. I appreciate it. Under different circumstances, you really would have saved my life," she said while politely bowing her head, "Thank you."

    Her respectful display quickly drained the hostility out of Lucario, and even the animosity he had built up over a long period of time was beginning to phase out. Instead he was suddenly feeling surprisingly good about himself. Mew's appreciation felt special, especially since such long time had passed since their last meeting. She smiled when she saw him scratch the back of his head in modesty, but after a few seconds her expression became troubled.

    "Now, why did you follow me?" Mew asked curiously, "Did you want to tell me something?"

    Lucario was certain that he did, but could not think of much at the moment. His earlier concerns seemed so distant. As he sat and talked to the earnest and kind Mew, he wondered why he had ever worried about her lying and trying to keep away from him. The memory of a deceivingly gentle smile five times the size of his own suddenly ran through Lucario's mind, and the forgotten mistrust came to light once.

    "What did Lugia say about me?" Lucario asked bluntly, trying to read Mew's expression. He quickly realized this to be a useless endeavor; the legendary's large sapphire eyes containing more depth and wisdom than he could ever hope to analyze.

    "Lugia?" Mew repeated and suddenly felt slightly homesick, wondering how the other legendaries were doing, "What would he have to say about you?"

    "I know he told you something," Lucario insisted, "What was it?"

    "Hmm… I think…" Mew whispered to herself while digging through the past conversation, "He claimed that he would make sure you had a pleasant stay. He also implied that you would be too stubborn to sit and wait for my return should you have learned of my highly temporary absence."

    "Of course I wouldn't-" Lucario started, instantly halting himself as he realized that was exactly what he had done, "I mean… Uh…"

    Lucario fell quiet as Mew looked at him for a moment. Then, she started to giggle. It was a meek, gentle and very unusual sound.

    "Worry not, what is done is done," she said with an amused tone, "Your actions here will be far more valuable than playing games with Azelf and Mesprit."

    Her response caught Lucario off guard, both in what she had said and the way in which she had said it in. For a composed and refined creature like Mew, Lucario knew how rare it was to hear her voice in such a frivolous manner and doing something like giggling. Not only that, but the idea that there even was a "here" suddenly entered his head and suddenly made him realize that he had no idea where they were. Remembering his bout with the Blaziken which had been in close proximity to his and Zerobi's destination, he could only assume that he had been transported to the revolutionists' base of operation. A swirling mass of powerful aura all around supported his idea, and there even seemed to be one or two familiar sensations among them.

    "… Since you're here, I'm guessing you've heard about the virus already?" Lucario asked in an attempt to see how far his assumptions would lead him, "Have you forgiven Zoroark?"

    "Yes," Mew replied as her fit of giggling trailed off and her face suddenly looked a little embarrassed, "I… Might have overdone it a bit, but… You saw the state he put me in! I was not eager to take a risk like that again!"

    "… Wait, what?" Lucario asked worriedly, not used to see Mew anything but self-assured and proud of her actions, "Did you… Hurt him?"

    "No, no! I simply…" Mew started as she sunk further into chagrin, obviously remembering something she was hoping to forget, "… Opted for a slight amount of intimidation…"

    "Quite the understatement, I'd say," a voice suddenly sounded from a few feet away. Lucario turned his head right, seeing a familiar figure standing by what looked to be the entrance to the room he found himself in. A massive bush of flaming red hair and a face not entirely unlike his own, the owner of both was none other than Zoroark. Although he was confidently leaning against the cavern's walls in an attempt to look collected, Mew knew the cool and calculating leader of the revolution was simply afraid to come near her, nervous to be put into another situation he would not soon forget. The feeling was mutual, Mew not willing to be put into stabbing distance of his sealing claws once more.

    "Congratulations on your victory, Lucario," Zoroark said with a quick nod, "How are you feeling?"

    "Don't really know," Lucario muttered as he tried to run a hand through the fur on his chest, a bit surprised when he was unable to find it, "How… Do I look?"

    "Well, nothing worse than those scars you already have," Zoroark replied as Lucario looked down at himself. The sight of pink skin instead of a sea of blue and yellow hair was both a familiar and unfamiliar sight at the same time.

    "… What the…" Lucario stammered as he touched his naked chest, suddenly realizing why everything felt so breezy, "My hair! It's been burnt off!"

    "It will regrow soon…" Mew whispered, her eyes locking with Zoroark's for a moment. Lucario was too busy staring in awe at his leathery skin to notice, but Zoroark was aware of her intentions and took the moment into action.

    "Hmm… Do you mind?" Zoroark asked, "I would like to speak with Lucario in private."

    Mew continued looking at her for a moment before nodding, hovering away through the exit as Zoroark moved away from it and towards Lucario. Seeing Mew depart brought Lucario back as he opened his mouth as to say something, stopping himself as he was instead met by Zoroark's stern gaze.

    "… Oh, right. The virus," Lucario said, wanting to talk more to Mew but realizing that there were higher priorities at stake, "I… Don't suppose you took the liberty of fixing that whole mess while I was asleep?"

    "No…" Zoroark responded, obviously thinking of something else. The Dark-type kept still a for a few more seconds before turning around to make sure the legendary was no longer there, finally exhaling in relief and visibly calming down.

    "Man… What did she do to you?" Lucario asked and thought he could see Zoroark's hair stand on end, slightly poking through her illusion.

    "… It happened right after our talk over that videophone…" Zoroark explained quietly while remembering everything as vividly as if it had happened only minutes earlier…

    - - - - - - - - -

    Zoroark exhaled as she fumbled with the convoluted control panel, taking an awfully long time in finding the button that made the big screen go dark. Hoping she was still not visible on the other side, she wished she had brought the technician who had reactivated the videophone in the first place to handle everything.

    She knew the call needed to be private as she had expected to discuss many secrets with Lucario, and so she had decided to come alone under the guise of illusions to remain undetectable by anyone. The Whimsicott and Sigilyph were the only ones to know of her presence here, inside the inconspicuous wreck of an old human vehicle that neither man nor Pokémon would ever look at twice. Still, even though all the windows and been barred to deter anyone from taking a peek inside, she could not help but feel a bit uneasy as it was not buried underground and therefore still within visible range.

    Speaking with Celebi had served to calm her down a bit. The powerful legendary had been gentle, wise and nowhere near as arrogant as she had expected. Celebi was what Zoroark had hoped Mew would have been. However, Celebi insisted that Mew was just as kind, and Zoroark wondered if maybe her own hasty actions are what served to agitate the living legend.

    Ready to send an envoy to summon the legendary trio, Zoroark stopped as something like an explosion sounded all around. All the lights in the vehicle went out as it began to shake. Worried she had somehow activated the crashed machinery with her reckless mashing of buttons, Zoroark ran up to the control panel and started pressing buttons again, desperate to find an OFF switch. After a few moments everything calmed down, and she sighed out in relief. Feeling slightly nervous from the ordeal and not wanting to stick around should anything else go wrong, she pressed down on the handle and opened the door outside.

    The ground was not there to greet her step, but instead laid several hundred meters below. Zoroark gave off a terrified gasp and grabbed hold of the door she had just flung open as a cloud passed by underneath, hating herself for not having had the time to locate another parachute after the last one broke. Knowing that the old vehicle should have all the airborne qualities of a metallic lump, she looked around to determine what had happened.

    Above her hovered the legendary Mew, holding the truck airborne with her psychic powers like it was a leaf carried by an upward draft. She seemed to have recovered fully since their last encounter, looking down at Zoroark with the same unfazed and serene expression as always. In contrast, Zoroark was panicking at the thought of the legendary exacting revenge and dropping her, thereby ending the revolution.

    However, a fraction of a second before losing her mind to fear, Zoroark grasped hold of her rationality and refused to let it go. Celebi had guaranteed that Mew was not the type to go around killing people, and had that been her intentions Zoroark would have been dead by now. The more obvious purpose behind this charade was to scare, and to show that she no longer held any power over the legendary she had nearly killed earlier. Zoroark sighed out as she calmed down, and looked up at Mew while doing her best to hide her nervosity.

    "I surrender!" Zoroark said loudly with a clear voice, not wanting to be misunderstood while in such a vulnerable position.

    "Smart," Mew replied almost immediately, apparently not at all surprised to see her intimidation tactic working. What bothered Zoroark was that Mew's intentions seemed unchanged from their meeting back in No Man's Land while the situation was now all but the same.

    "Listen! I have spoken to Celebi!" Zoroark shouted, not sure of why she was yelling but fairly certain it had to do with being suspended hundreds of feet up in the air, "The world is in danger! We need your help!"

    Mew's expression suddenly changed, showing a hint of concern at the sound of her fellow legendary's name.

    "Celebi…?" Mew repeated carefully, "Truly? What has happened?"

    "C-Can you put me down first?" Zoroark could not help but stammer as she made the mistake of looking down once more, "We have a few things to discuss, and I feel rather… Unsafe…"

    "If you were to come down, then I would be the one feeling unsafe!" Mew exclaimed with an agitated tone. Zoroark realized Mew had not forgotten what she had done, and knew she was in a bad position for bargaining. It was then that she realized that bad positions came in great variety, and she was ready to supplement the current one for just about anything. Letting go of the vehicle and taking a few unsteady steps back, she held her hands up in a display of submission.

    "I never meant to harm you, Mew!" she yelled at the top of her lungs, "But you need to hear what I have to say, and I cannot think straight like this! Freeze me solid or tie me up if you must… I will pose no resistance!"

    - - - - - - - -

    "A poor choice of words on my end, I believe," Zoroark muttered as she grabbed a hold of her right wrist with a pained expression, "Sure, it is not a free fall without a parachute, but… Do you have any idea what it feels like to be held in place by icicles?"

    "Actually… Yeah," Lucario admitted as Zoroark finished her story, her surprised expression telling him she did not know the details of his initial encounter with Suicune, "Don't ask. But… Mew hadn't figured out anything about the virus? She just came to hunt you down?"

    "… And I met her inside of a truck, as well…" Zoroark whispered as a sardonic smile crossed her features, "Should I have expected truth from an urban legend regarding an urban legendary?"

    Something about the whole situation struck Lucario as weird. With all the new information from both Zoroark's and Mew's end circulating his head, he was unable to properly analyze everything right at that moment and decided to just go along with it.

    "But hey, Celebi's right. You've got no need to be afraid of Mew," Lucario assured her while thinking of his own argument with Mew regarding the dog, "She only wants what's best for everyone, and probably feels bad you had to see her like that."

    "Perhaps…" Zoroark sighed before shaking her head, "My feelings are irrelevant. For the sake of the bigger issue at hand, I will ally myself with anyone."

    "Could you tone it down a bit? I'm trying to get some sl-" a familiar voice sounded by the entrance as the drowsy figure of Zerobi stpped inside, her face and features perking up in an instant, "LUCARIO!?"

    Zerobi immediately jumped into a sprint but stopped herself just as quickly, seeing a vast amount of blood around the makeshift operation table where Lucario was sitting. Most of it had dried up, but she refused to take another step and instead looked at Lucario with a longing expression. He nodded as he tried to get up while Zoroark viewed Zerobi pensively, taking note of her actions.

    "Hey, Zerobi," Lucario grumbled as he stood up and walked towards her, not noticing all the blood in favor of his cold and furless body. His skin looked a bit more leathery compared to when he was human, and the scars over his chest were definitively visible.

    "You were great!" Zerobi exclaimed, impressed to see Lucario on his feet after only a few days out of commission, "But… What the hell were you thinking!? Where'd that ExtremeSpeed come from!? Come on, you've got to tell me everything…"

    Zoroark stood still and watched as the two of them left the room, Lucario turning his head back towards her in confusion. She knew he would assume that she had left, too busy to talk with someone like him all day. Instead, she upheld an illusion that made her camouflaged against the cave wall behind, invisible with eyes not for him but rather the new arrival.

    Seeing the Weavile's excited demeanor as she chatted happily brought about a nagging feeling in the back of Zoroark's head, suddenly forcing her to question her decision to ally herself with anyone. The voice of Astrid quietly echoed through her head, nervous and meek like always but carrying a hint of determination in it. It was at that moment that Zoroark rearranged her priorities, realizing that there was an even greater threat than the impending biohazard, and one that was within her immediate grasp. Before destroying the fearsome virus, she knew something had to be done about the ruthless killer Zerobi.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  22. #322
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    Hmm. I like the chapter, but this right here bugs me
    Although he was confidently leaning against the caverns walls in an attempt look collected, Mew knew the cool and calculating leader of the revolution was simply afraid to come near her, nervous to be put into another situation he would not soon forget. The feeling was mutual, Mew not willing to be put into stabbing distance of his sealing claws once more.
    Rather Zoroark suddenly became a guy for an entire paragraph because you screwed up, or the paragraph is told from Mew's point of view (assuming Mew doesn't know Zoroark is a girl).
    Three most annoying things:

    1. Metal Mario
    2. Arrogance
    3. Writer's Block

  23. #323
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    Oh, definitively. Lucario and Zoroark are the only ones to know the truth, and only when seen from their perspective will her illusions not affect the pronouns!
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  24. #324
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    Can I get added to the PM list? I just don't know what to say- This is EPIC. The story has some crazy awesome parts- I still get chills from Zerobi's fight against the police. All the characters are developed well- Ethan turning from the best trainer to a pokemon in pokeball hater. This fanfic is almost too good!
    Last edited by joey1234; 4th April 2013 at 7:15 AM.

  25. #325
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Beside the computer screen.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joey1234 View Post
    Can I get added to the PM list? I just don't know what to say- This is EPIC. The story has some crazy awesome parts- I still get chills from Zerobi's fight against the police. All the characters are developed well- Ethan turning from the best trainer to a pokemon in pokeball hater. This fanfic is almost too good!
    It's a bit different from what you had expected, no? Also, what's a PM list?
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

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