IC - Emmerich Coleman - Chapel, Meeting Room:
"I can agree with that assessment," General Coleman said. "And I can personally guarantee that no stone is left untouched." As he spoke, he worked to type a message through the holographic display of his Poké Gear, soon sending it out to a select set of Chapel Agents. "We'll begin investigations immediately. Should I expect you to join us, or do you have other business to attend to?"
IC - Sonja Baron/Maddison Hayes (Kricketune) - Fortree City, Ground Level:
The broiling flames within the Chandelure's body did not go entirely unnoticed. That was why, as the flames prepared Lurelite's wave of hot air, Kricketune slowed, suddenly drawing its arm back. The Chandelure's attack came at the same time that Kricketune flipped forward, slamming its blade-like arms against the ground--not merely as a Night Slash attack, but as a combination of that and Brick Break. The resulting explosion of sand and ground from the surprisingly strong blow proved enough to partially block the damage that Kricketune sustained, as well as providing enough cover for it to shoot forward again and appear in front of Lurelite, this time swiping out with a straight-up Night Slash to the face.
IC - Ethan Worth/Gavin Braner/Skye Hall - Celadon City, Streets:
In running through Celadon City and the gradually-ravaged streets composing it, the Rocket Trio had seen a number of strange and unsettling sights. They had seen white snow stained red from the blood of some fallen combatant, impossible to ascertain whether it had come from friend or foe, assailant or defender. They had seen the grueling conflicts that had taken hold over sections of the city, injuries that had made their skin crawl. They had watched as the softly rolling snow eased its descent through the sky, replaced by the falling ashes of war and devastation.
But the oddest thing was not that which was seen, but rather, what went unseen: The monstrous chill of fear that prevented them from moving more than two blocks within the vicinity of Central Park. It was as if the great, burning tree towering above them was warning them not to approach, for fear of something that lay within.
After the seventh failed attempt to push past the boundary, Gavin pushed himself back up on his knees, slamming his fist against the snow-covered ground. Fire and ash seemed to swim before his eyes, accompanied by the distant screams of a dying girl. "What the heck is going on!?"
"Calm down," Ethan said, though could not stop himself from releasing a frustrated sigh of his own as the last vestiges of a vivid recollection regarding the Unown slipped away from his mind. "We'll just try another road."
Skye shook her head, throwing the snow in her hair to the ground. "Wait," she said. "Before we do that . . . Do you have binoculars?"
Ethan gave her a confused look. "What?" he asked. "I mean, yeah, but . . . Why?" He followed the path of Skye's finger as she pointed upward. The Rocket Agent smiled. "Aha--the old rooftop surveillance. Why didn't I think of that?" He jumped to his feet, trudging toward one of the nearby buildings. "Come on--maybe we can get an idea of what's going on."
IC - ??? - Celadon City, Central Park:
I admire you for wanting to help your friends, but your motives are completely selfish . . .
I am better!
You're right Madison, he's just a kid. He needs to learn his place.
You haven't really given up on your revenge, have you?
And prove my worth in the process . . .
At least I fight for the people who were injured and killed in Sootopolis, instead of myself!
Out of my way!
You think I wouldn't come prepared for that?
And just what gives you the right to determine my place, oh mighty tyrant?
I said, don't lecture me.
The last thing Hannah will want to do is talk!
. . . there are people like me who know that she's a cunning, psychopathic idiot . . .
. . . And that is why Cresselia refuses to help you.
I'm better than them in every way!
It's hard to work with someone who keeps antagonizing us.
You know what makes me better than Hannah? This.
Like it or not, you are involved.
I could never forget the one who was always better than me!
Next time, don't get in my way.
Like I said, I'm not getting left behind.
Well, who's the better one now?
The quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance.
Synonymous with Arrogance. Vanity. Hubris. Haughtiness. Conceit. Snobbery.
"You're a persistent one, Dack," Hannah said. Her Gardevoir shifted her focus from Ryan's Samurott to the Luxray that was quickly approaching. "You have no idea how long I've waited for this moment. There's no way I'd back out at a time like this!"
"So we're doing this the hard way then, huh?" Dack growled. His Luxray crouched, waiting for the moment to spring into action. "Have it your way. Luxray--"
Hannah was not sure why, not at first. She was only aware of Dack staring, surprised, at her feet. As she registered his expression, she became aware of a purple light shining beneath her.
She looked down.
A purple shape had appeared on the ground around her, a square with rounded corners save for the cross-like protrusion jutting out in front of her. Four circles occupied various spots within it, the most prominently-glowing areas amidst the multitude of other shapes composing it. Hannah looked up, and seeing that similar shapes had appeared around her Pokémon, her eyes widened.
Vanity. The voice that spoke was . . . familiar, somehow. Like something that had whispered to her in her dreams, appeared and vanished without warning and without explanation--something she knew, yet did not know. Conceit.
A whirlwind of darkness erupted from the symbol at Hannah and her team's feet, a localized snowstorm of black snow that swiftly engulfed them.
"No--what is this!?" Dack yelled, beginning to run forward. At least, he tried to. The trainer found that he could not move, and as he looked down at his immobile feet, he saw why: The same symbol had appeared below him, as well as his own team. The symbol glowed brilliantly, almost blinding him with its intensity, and as it did so, he heard a voice within his head.
With no further explanation, there came an explosion of black snow, and all became dark.
It seemed that combat was inevitable, for both sides seemed about ready to begin their attacks. Yet the tension did not break, and nothing happened, for there emerged amongst those gathered a sense of alarm as something extremely unusual occurred: A symbol appeared in the snow, purple in color and shaped vaguely like a church, glowing brightly from underneath Aspen Seaton's feet. Similar shapes appeared around his Pokémon, freezing all in place. Though it took only an instant for this to occur, and for a deep rumbling to emerge from the ground, the voice that spoke within Aspen's mind seemed to echo across all of time and space.
And so he had little time to react before an eruption of black, shadowy snow erupted around him, enveloping him and his Pokémon. When it subsided, he was gone, spirited away to some unknown place.
They appeared again before a massive, burning tree, consumed by a fire that splintered and cracked the wood, littering the snowy pavement with the blackness of ash. Their landing was not soft; as the shadows deposited Hannah, Dack, and Aspen, the three fell, momentarily shocked from the suddenness of their teleportation, and the roughness of their travel.
Before them, standing in front of the flaming tree, was a Rapidash clad in elegant riding gear. Upon its saddle sat a well-dressed man, his purple eyes glowing out from his silhouetted form to survey his selected targets. At his behest the Rapidash took several steps forward, finally coming to a stop several yards away from the three Trainers.
"So, you have survived the darkness within your heart, and the conflict that has resulted from it," he said. "A pity that the very foundations of your durability betray your true form to those in observance."
IC - Albero DeLargo:
I must resist.
The vast expanse of books surrounded him, though they sat on their shelves and thus rested, unopened. The few before him, sprawled across the library desk, were separate, yet connected--paragraphs and pictures all detailing the wide variety of berries and soils and nutrients essential to the cultivation of life. All important information, all essential to him; for his pursuits, his goals, rested on his retaining this knowledge, employing it, using it to care for the world with a tenderness and care that only a true agent of nature could possess--or, at least, as true an agent as a student could hope to be at such a young age . . .
I must remember.
Your memories will not protect you forever . . .
IC - Albero DeLargo:
They will protect me long enough for this.
Days spent in the garden, planting and grooming a simpler form of life. Creating beauty; sustaining life. Ensuring health. A passionate study, one meant to clam the mind, and protect the world--to sustain it, and all within . . .
You don't need control for this part.
To ensure it comes to pass--I think so.
IC - Abero DeLrgo:
Why must it come to pass?
A quiet evening spent before the hearth, the same spot always occupied, day by day. A fire to one side; the green and red and yellow decorations of an oft-around traveler to the other. Heirlooms, gifts, prizes--decorations occupying the way, pride of the owner, an end goal to aspire to . . .
Why must I make it so?
You know your purpose.
IC - Abeo Dego:
To be and not to be.
Children on a playground running about, younger yet growing, growing older every year, every day. Troubled minds; minds at ease. Ones with friends, ones without--some merely in need of a face to talk to belonging not to councilors and parents and teachers . . .
I do not have to allow it, if I live.
You will die.
IC - Aeo ego:
My name . . . My name is . . .
I've lost my name . . . Have you taken it . . .?
You are meant to die.
IC - g:
You can't have it. You can't have my name . . .
A great student. One of the best. The brightest. He'll go far.
. . . and you can't have my life.
This is not yours to decide.
IC - G:
I don't understand . . .
There had been an argument--a dispute between the children over a ball. He had stepped in. They calmed down--they always did; they knew he was fair. And he was kind. They respected him, for he was an older brother even to those who would not outright admit it. Fairness and kindness--selfless in all matters . . .
I bore no Gluttony. I bore Temperance.
Temperance only delays the inevitable.
IC - Gl:
More than most, perhaps . . .
Approaching evil planting the seed, the seed deep sowing. Approaching shadow giving it life, life unknowing.
I resisted. I was myself. I was stronger . . .
Is that so?
IC - Gula:
My life . . .
Student. Mentor. Mediator. Caretaker.
I worked so hard to stay impartial . . . and yet here I am.
Then Temperance has failed; and so you become like all the rest.
IC - Gulottyn:
. . .
. . .
. . .
Good-bye, Albero DeLargo.
IC - Gluttony - Fortree City, Ashen Field:
Albero DeLargo fell very, very still, and very, very quiet. His Pokémon must have sensed it, for they suddenly broke off from their respective battles and fell back--almost deactivating, like automatons, before their trainer. He, too, did not move, did not speak, and from all observation, appeared to have departed entirely from the conflict. His mind was gone.
But it soon returned--the same, yet changed.
An orange symbol appeared on Albero's forehead, and with it, his aura glowed. His eyelids drooped, and it appeared for a moment as if he might fall over, limp from the unseen impact against his mind. But he remained upright, and though he stumbled, he would not fall. Gluttony regained his footing. He straightened up, closing his eyes and taking a moment to crane his neck, taking a long, deep breath of the battle-worn air that surrounded him, relishing the fumes of fire and smoke and blood.
"There's nothing quite like getting rid of a part of yourself that you don't need." Something had changed. His voice was the same, yet not--it possessed a harsher rumble now, a listless edge bereft of the friendly breath that had once accompanied each word. "Wouldn't you agree?"