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Pokémon: Rise Of The Rockets


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IC: Miriam Shields/Dack Majors/Madison Morrow/Luke - Miriam's Office, Team Rocket Vermilion Outpost
The door to Miriam's office opened as the trio from Snowpoint walked in. "I got your message, Ms. Shields," Dack said as he approached the desk. "But before we get to business, I need to make sure I can trust you."

Behind the dark-haired trainer, Madison facepalmed. "Really, Dack? Are you going to do this to every person we meet?"

Miriam scowled as Dack brought memories of yesterday fresh to mind. "Agent Majors. If I had been replaced with a monster wearing a human's face, why would I wait here for you to come to me? I would already be off, killing more important targets. And if you're really that paranoid," she said pushing the tablet on her desk over to Dack. "Just check people with a camera and don't waste my time."

Dack hesitantly reached out to grab the tablet, never taking his eyes off Miriam. Activating the camera feature, he aimed the device at her. He visibly relaxed when the screen showed the person sitting across from him really was Miriam Shields. "See, I told you there was nothing to worry about," Luke said as Madison shook her head in disbelief.

"Thanks," Dack said, ignoring his friends' comments as he placed the tablet back on the desk. "Now, you said you could help with the Sanders case?"

Miriam sighed. Both at the fact that Dack really needed to check, and Dack's actual question. "I said I had information. Would you like the good news first?"

Dack nodded. "Even if it's just information, we appreciate your support."

"Alright," Miriam replied. "The good news is they had no criminal record before being arrested for aiding and abetting a known Liberty fugitive. It wouldn't be impossible for us to release them as an act of good faith to Team Liberty."

"That's fantastic." Dack leaned forward. "Would you be willing to put in a good word on their behalf?"

"Hold it." Madison placed a hand on Dack's shoulder, a deep frown etched on her face as she looked at Miriam. "You said that's the good news. What's the bad news?"

"The bad news," Miriam said, "is that we don't have them anymore. They were being relocated from Hoenn to Johto during the Darkrai attacks on Hoenn. Their transport was attacked in the middle of the ocean. Only your two prisoners went missing. That would normally support the report's claim that Team Liberty was behind it..."

"Liberty doesn't have them," Dack assured her. "If they did, the Sanders kid wouldn't be looking for them."

"Then I'm afraid, we don't know where they are anymore."

There was a long silence as Dack mulled over this revelation. It was Luke of all people who finally spoke up. "Would you happen to have a copy of the report on the incident?" he asked. "I think the kid will want to know what happened."

Miriam nodded. She pulled out some documents. "I'll need you to fill out some forms if you're planning to show it to him, but yes."

"What can you tell us about the attack?" Madison asked as Dack started filling out the paperwork. "Anything that might point to who did it?"

Miriam looked at her tablet. After a few button presses, the report was in front of her. She began to recite phrases from it. "A Gyarados and a Sceptile were spotted during the attack. The Gyarados attacked the ship. It was initially thought that the Gyarados was wild... There was a cloaked man accompanying the Sceptile."

"Just one man?" Luke gave a low whistle. "The kid's parents must have friends in high places to warrant something like that. Or else they had one heck of a price on their heads."

"Either way, we'll get to the bottom of this." Dack straightened the pile of completed paperwork and handed it to Miriam. "Thank you again for your assistance."

IC: Ryan Sanders - ???
It was hopeless. Quil, for all his valiant efforts, had been knocked down in a single hit. Gluttony hadn't even acknowledged the attack. The Instances regarded them as little more than bothersome fleas. Every fiber of Ryan's being told him to run, to get out while he still could. But his muscles wouldn't respond. His fear shackled him to the ground and he could only watch as Adams and Gluttony laid waste to his friends.
That was when Adams flew into the air. A flash of light emanated from her wings, blinding in its brilliance. In one final attempt to defend himself Ryan raised a hand against the light.
Then there was nothing but darkness. A suffocating silence enveloped him, his ears ringing from its magnitude. The sounds of battle abruptly cut off as if they had never existed in the first place. Perhaps this had all been a bad dream. Except he couldn't wake up. The darkness pressed in from all sides and stretched out across eternity. He was drowning in nothingness. Lost in the endless expanse. A slave to the void.
Either he was dead, killed in the blast of Adams' attack, or he had finally snapped under the weight of all his stress. Either scenario was equally likely. Bringing his hands to his head, he fell to his knees and screamed. But no sound escaped from his lips in this deafening prison.
As if in response to his silent scream, a spark flickered into existence. Although it was several hundred feet away, its orange glow was blinding amidst the surrounding darkness. The spark grew into an orb of light, then morphed into a human-like shape, walking ever closer to where Ryan lay. The glow slowly faded, revealing the human form of Albero DeLargo. The man regarded Ryan with a cold sneer. "Pathetic. Didn't even have the strength to run away. Are you really that dense? We might as well have been waving neon signs over our heads saying 'Danger! High chance of injury or death!' and you just stood there gawking like an idiot."
Ryan slowly pulled his head from his hands as he looked up at the Sin. "Am I dead, then?" he asked in a shaking voice.
Albero gave a sharp laugh. "That'd be an improvement, for all the good you've done. I thought our little encounter in Fortree was supposed to have changed you. Made you into a better man." Gluttony shook his head. "Looks to me like you've actually gotten worse, Sanders. Who would've thought? I'm disappointed in you."
"I tried." Ryan shrank back from the approaching Sin, his breaths growing short. The void seemed to be doing its best to squeeze the life out of him, and his response felt as feeble as a Magikarp on land.
"Not hard enough," Albero said. The man started pacing back and forth. "Let's do some quick math here. Not twenty-four hours after you resolve to rid yourself of your attention-seeking gluttonous ways, you name yourself leader of this little search party. And how do you lead your oh-so-faithful followers? You let Ray get abducted after promising to protect him. You just about broke poor Chloe's spirit in her moment of greatest vulnerability. And don't even get me started on what you did to Dahlia. Just because you held the power of Giratina in your hands for a brief moment, what right does that give you to name yourself her mentor?"
Ryan's eyes grew wide. "No . . ." he gasped even as the breath escaped from his lungs. "I wasn't trying to--"
Gluttony spread out his arms, a toothy grin on his face. "The great Ryan Sanders, everybody! Misleads a hapless young girl into thinking he can solve all her problems! Isn't he just great? And what does he do when things go horribly wrong like they always do? He discards her like yesterday's garbage to fend for herself. Then when she inevitably goes crawling to someone who's actually qualified to train her, he sees him as the enemy, trying to steal someone he already abandoned. Newsflash, Sanders! It's not always about you! The world doesn't revolve around your personal storyline! Knowing what you've done these past few weeks, can you really look me in the eye and tell me you're a good person? Or are you still clinging onto the pathetic excuse that you tried? You can't outrun your sins, Sanders. They always come back to haunt you."
"I . . . I defeated you once," Ryan growled through gritted teeth, fighting against the suffocating darkness with every fiber of his being. "I'll just defeat you again."
"You can never defeat me." Gluttony leaned in close, a twisted smile on his face as his body began to morph. He changed not into the towering monster like Ryan was expecting, but into the spitting image of Ryan Sanders himself. It was like looking into a mirror, only his tainted reflection lorded over him like a cruel master beating a slave. "You can't defeat me, because I am you!"

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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-==IC: Ray Hakuda -- ???==-


There was a bright light, then it felt like Ray's mind went blank.


Ray felt like he was floating as he opened his eyes. Where am I...? The Separatist wondered as he tried to look around. As he did so, something felt like it had twisted. A moment later, Ray tumbled down from what appeared to be a bed.


"What just happened?" Ray asked out loud, as he slowly stood up. It looked like it was early morning - was that what the light was about? Was this all a big bad dream? He shook his head as he stretched. Well, no need to worry about it right now. Let's just get the day started.


-==IC: Chloe Hikari -- ???==-


Chloe shielded her eyes as the light washed over her. There was an odd feeling as she lowered her arm - something felt different about everything. Before she could process much, she heard the sound of footsteps approaching.


"Heya softie. Long time no see, huh?" A blonde girl walked up to Chloe, treading on the lightly snow-covered grass as she did so. The girl looked familiar to the psychic girl, but something felt different. As if the girl was older. "Yuki, you're spacing out; usually you'd respond by now." The blonde placed a hand on her hip as she frowned slightly at the psychic's silence.

"Madeleine?" Chloe tentatively asked, not sure why she couldn't quite place things for certain. The blonde chuckled and nodded as she fished a Poké Ball from her belt. "Wait, when did your hair get that long?"

"When did yours get that short? The Yuki I know wouldn't've ever let scissors near her hair to the point where it was even shoulder length." Madeleine pointed to the auburn-haired woman's hair. Chloe fell quiet, as the other woman had a point. "Still. I figured I'd give it another shot. Doesn't really matter, though - let's battle for old time's sake." The blonde grinned, as she threw out a Poké Ball, a Croconaw popping out moments later.


"I feel like I should be doing something though..." Chloe frowned slightly, as she thought she saw the flash of a shape in the distance - but when she looked, she didn't see anything there.


"Huh?" Madeleine frowned as she glanced in the direction that Chloe was looking. "Yuki, you're spacing out again. You seem more prone to doing that than you did four years ago. Anyway, we'll be quick. I'll just stomp you into the ground like usual."

"Hey, I think you only won like twice, and once was because I hadn't actually gotten anything but my Cyndaquil yet." Chloe retorted, as she fished Ren's Poké Ball off her belt, sending out the Luxray. The electric type gently roared, as Chloe pointed forward. "Thunder Fang!" Wait, but... that won't do anything, will it?


The Luxray shot forward and clamped her jaws around the Croconaw, electricity crackling around in the process. Some things were starting to feel extremely weird to the psychic girl. Madeleine simply sighed, however, as she recalled her now-fainted Croconaw.


"You've gotten a ton stronger since we last fought." The blonde woman said, as she placed her hands behind her head. "Sheesh, it's like I never stood a chance. I'm not even gonna try to continue on now--"

"What's going on?" Chloe asked with a frown, as Madeleine hesitated. "This isn't like you at all; that was just your first Pokémon. Plus, Ren shouldn't have been able to do what just happened. And--"

"Of course Ren would be able to do that. She's super strong now, and has a super good attack that's effective on my Pokémon."

... wait, she? ... I'm not going to ask right now. Chloe, nearly successfully distracted, frowned as she placed a hand to her head. "No, no, that shouldn't have happened. Ren doesn't even know that move anymore, I replaced it a few months ago. Plus, Pokémon can't use attacks right now." She glanced around. "No, none of this makes sense..."


She froze, as Madeleine's hand wrapped around her arm tightly. When had she moved across the field? "It makes perfect sense." The blonde woman said in a not-too-patient tone, staring down Chloe in a manner more fitting to the Madeleine she used to know. "Don't question these things; hasn't it been five years since we last saw each other?"


-==IC: Ryan Hikari -- Vermilion City==-


Ryan yawned as he opened his eyes. The black haired man glanced over at the room's door as it opened. After a few moments, he saw Shannon and Aori walk in with food in tow.


"Heya, breakfast in bed? I feel like royalty." There was a smile on his face as he rubbed his eyes. Ryan took the plate of food he was handed by Aori, then set it down on his lap as he glanced through his messages. "How's things been? Looks like the video thingy is later today, but did we have any other plans?"


-==IC: Olivia Seaton -- Battle Chateau==-


Olivia fell quiet for a little bit. "I guess..." She glanced out the hall's window for a moment, as she seemed lost in thought. "I'm sorry about that too. I dunno if Aspen and I'll get along for more than a few minutes, but I shouldn't've just left y'all without considering everything. I was just so lost back then that it felt like the only option. 'Course, Corey didn't help much there either, but still, I coulda done better."


The young woman glanced over at Dahlia after that. "Changing the subject quick, but what do ya think of this motley crew we've got going on here?"

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IC: Dahlia Seaton - Battle Chateau
"They're pretty cool." Dahlia shrugged off the question, but Olivia's persistent stare urged her to give a more thorough answer. The gardener stared at her distorted reflection in the suit of armor as she let out a long sigh. "I guess that's the thing; as people, they're cool. They'd make a great group of friends. But fighters?" She bit her lip, unsure whether or not she should really say what was on her mind. Olivia's glance eventually convinced her to continue, albeit in a lowered voice. "To be honest, it doesn't really feel like we're the ideal team for this mission. Out of all of us, you, Jared, and Colleen are the only ones I'd say are qualified to be here. Everyone else either doesn't know what they're doing or doesn't even care about the urgency." She gestured around at the luxurious hallway. "Like, what are we even doing here when we're supposed to be looking into Team Flare? If Flare is anything like what Mr. Zyther described, then I feel like Xander put way too much faith in us."
She took a deep breath to calm her nerves before glancing back at her sister. "Sorry, I've just had a lot on my mind lately. What do you think is up with Xander, anyway? I know he can be a little impulsive, but it sounds like he did something serious."

"Hmm... I'm not really sure there. Ya got a point that it feels oddly serious. I haven't really known the guy too long, but it still sounded different..." Olivia frowned slightly at that as she thought over what Xander could have done.


"I mean, I don't know him too well either, although I did spend about a week on a boat with him, which is basically an eternity, so . . ." Dahlia chuckled to herself before letting a silence fall between the sisters. It was a moment before Dahlia hesitantly spoke up again. "Going back to the original subject . . . who's this Corey guy and what's he have to do with you joining Team Rocket?"
IC: Shannon Willows - Hotel, Vermilion City
Shannon took a seat across from Ryan and stared closely at him. Dack's warning echoed in her mind, and in the back of her mind she half-expected Ryan to suddenly turn into another one of those monsters. She immediately berated herself for letting such a thought cross her mind. If Ryan wasn't himself, she would know. Nevertheless, she found herself continuing to study his face until he repeated his earlier question. "You're kind of zoning out there, Shannon. I was asking if we had any other plans."


Quickly regaining her composure, Shannon glanced over at Aori. "Well now that we've found Aori, our next task is to find her parents. I was thinking we could check around some of the refuge centers while you did your video thing with that Shields lady. Those places generally have a list of names of people who've evacuated, right? Anyway, we can meet up with you when you're done. If we don't find Aori's parents first. I mean, even if we do find them we'll probably all meet up so you could say goodbye to Aori . . ." She glanced down at the young girl, trying not to let her conflicted feelings show. While she wouldn't dream of keeping Aori from her parents, she found herself growing attached to the girl. It would be a bittersweet moment when they finally parted ways.

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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IC: Jared Winters/Anubis


Jared rushed the Conkeldurr again, his aura sparking and flaring around him as he moved. The opponent raised its concrete slab and swung it -- not hard, because Jared was still human, but enough that it would definitely hurt -- and Jared slid to his knees. The weapon passed mere inches over his head, and he sprung up and forward, driving his shoulder into the Muscular Pokémon's ribs. From this new angle, he twisted himself and got hold under the Pokémon's arm to keep it from retaliating.


Anubis practically danced around the Machamp as he dodged bow after blow. The Superpower Pokémon could supposedly throw a thousand punches in a second; that seemed like a gross exaggeration, but it could at least strike fast enough with its four arms to keep Anubis from getting in close again. With a growl, the Lucario lunged in. Two of the blows hit him solidly, but he powered through them. His own fists slammed into the Machamp's chest, and, as the larger Pokémon staggered, he swept its legs out from under it. The Machamp fell with a crash. Anubis took the opportunity to leap into the air and land solidly on the opponent's gut, driving the wind out of it.


Jared was straining as the Conkeldurr tried to lower its arm and continue attacking him. His arms shook with the effort, and his feet were sliding back on the floor. He knew he would have to move soon, but if he didn't time it just right, the Conkeldurr would get in another free shot against him.


IC: Yamamoto Aori


"Does that mean you are going back to that place?" Aori asked. She did not want to leave Ryan, but she also did not want to go back to the building from yesterday. Quietly, she looked up at Shannon. "Would it be okay if we explored the city, instead?"


IC: Lachina Adaon/Emily Lockwood/Colleen Llyan


After getting the two Pokémon healed at the center in the Chateau, Lachina released them from the Poké Balls. “So, what am I going to do with you two? I could release you back into the wild if you wanted.” Both Pokémon shook their heads emphatically, making it clear they wanted to stick around. Lachina rubbed the back of her head. “Well, I’m not much of a trainer--” She was cut off as the Elgyem turned to Colleen and light flashed from its fingers.


“I think she’s taken a shine to you, dear,” Emily said with a smile.


Colleen was about to respond when the Elgyem floated over to her and nuzzled up against her leg happily. "I think so too." The aura wielder smiled as well, as she patted the top of the Elgyem's head. "Wanna join my team then? I think you'd fit in pretty well; how's the name Elly sound?"


The Elgyem's fingers flashed in a pattern and her face lit up with a happy expression. Colleen took that to mean that the Pokémon liked that idea, and a scan of her aura seemed to confirm it. "Alright; sounds good to me!"


The Shinx, meanwhile, had wound its way around Lachina’s legs and was purring loudly. Lachina chuckled. “I guess you wanna stick with me, then?” A loud meow of agreement, and Lachina knelt to stroke his fur. “I guess I can take you on. I don’t normally capture Pokémon, but an electric type will be really useful in situations where I need to power something or open an electric lock.”


Emily nodded. “And, when it evolves fully, it will have the ability to see through most materials. You’ll be able to find people in wreckage and snow and such.”


“Alrighty then. What should I name you, then, little guy? I think you look like a Samson.” The Shinx purred, closing his eyes as Lachina petted the long tufts of fur on his cheeks. “Alrighty then. Let’s go see how the others are doing.”

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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-==IC: Mu/Fini/???==- (Night of August 7th, Four Island)


Mu ran on all fours through the forest.  Not at his fastest, he would need to conserve energy this night.  It was a risky proposition to be running towards human turf. But the Night League had demands.  Demands that too often went unanswered. So he ran, he would need to find the right human building first.  He regretted not asking for intelligence from one of the human-owned Pokémon that had fought in the League.  When he was a stone’s throw away from the buildings, he stopped to observe… which he would’ve done, had he not heard movement.  He turned to face the sound.


A familiar risk-loving Rockruff leaped down from the branches to land in front of Mu, flaunting her hindquarters risquély.  <“What’cha doooooin?”>, she asked coyly.


<“Fini,”> Mu acknowledged, ignoring the mating dance.  <“Preparing a stakeout.”> He thought of asking why she was here, but decided he didn’t want to know.  <“How sharp is your nose?”>


<“Sharp as a Stone Edge,”> she declared, <“in fact, you could even describe me as an outright Odor Sleuth.”>


<“I see,”> Mu said, willfully choosing to ignore the pun.  <“I’m trying to find where humans store their potions. Do you know what they smell like?”>


Fini’s gaze grew distant, thoughtful.  <“Yes,”> she said at length, <“I think I’m familiar enough.”>


Mu nodded.  <“Alright,”> he said.  <“I’m going to scout out the area for that building.  Help me keep a lookout. If you smell an overwhelming scent of potions, please tell me.”>


<“Will do.”>  The moment Mu headed off, Fini fell right in step behind him.




Hours passed.  They found the building Mu was searching for rather quickly, thanks to Fini’s nose.  But he waited to enter the building itself. It was well into the night when Mu finally decided to make a move.


<“That window up there,”> Mu said, extending his forepaw at it.  <“I need to get up to it.”>


Fini smirked seductively and raised her rump.  <“Hop on.”>


Mu did not show any outward signs of reacting to Fini’s advances, but merely waited for her to behave sensibly.


Fini sighed.  <“All right, I get the message.  Can’t blame a girl for trying, right?”>  The Rockruff raised herself to her full height, providing a more suitable pedestal for the Ratatta to climb.


He eventually did relent and used Fini as a footstool to climb higher up.  Using his fleshy footstool, he was able to latch onto a pipe which he used to climb the rest of the way to the window.  He looked down and nodded at Fini.


Fini nodded back in response.  <“I’ll head back up then. Take care of yourself, okay?”>  With a wink, the Rockruff scampered away into the darkness.


Mu opened the small window and slinked inside.  He had spent most of the night casing the joint.  He had been looking for any opening that wouldn’t require him to make it.  If he broke a window, the glass remains would alert the humans the next morning.  He was looking for something he could use more than once. Mu was quietly proud of his strength but he was still young.  He could only hold so much. A small window, too small for a human, high off the ground that hadn’t been properly closed was the key.


<“Hey, mister!”>  The exuberant voice rang out across the nighttime silence, but fortunately it didn’t seem to have attracted any human attention.  After a moment, Mu was able to identify its source: a small young Rockruff pup bounding enthusiastically, if clumsily, toward him.  <“Are you looking for somewhere to hide, too?”>


Mu stared at the pup for a bit.  <“How… Why are you here?”> the Rattata replied, while Mu checked their surroundings.  He motioned for the Rockruff to follow him out of the hallway while waiting for an answer.


The pup ducked her head guiltily.  <“Well… I was supposed to stay in my room so my sister’s new boss could protect me from the alien dognappers from Pluto, but then I realized she’d be all alone fighting the aliens, so I snuck out and followed her… only afterward I realized she’d be mad at me, but when I tried to go back I figured out her new boss was a vampire starting a new League of Darkness!  So then I had to find my sister to warn her, but then there were humans and boats and boxes and I kinda… got seriously lost.”> The little pup perked up suddenly. <“But then I snuck off the boat and got lost some more and then found you! So now I’m not lost! Unless…”> She regarded Mu uncertainly. <“Are you lost, too?”>


The Rattata was surprised that the Rockruff’s yipping hadn’t alreted the entire island to their presence.  They snuck into a nearby closet. Not the best hiding place, but it would suffice if a human walked through the hallway.  <“Look, kid. I’m trying to do something important. How’d you get in here? I’m certain you can find your sister if you retrace your steps.”>


<“Retrace my steps…?”>  The Rockruff shook her head vigorously, as if to clear it.  <“I might have to try that. But for how I got in here…”> She hunched down, wagged her tail, and leaped past Mu into the bottom of a large cart with a large bag on its back and a yellow plastic bucket mounted to its front.  <“This thing is great! There’s this big old clueless human who pushes it all over the place but never pays attention; one time I accidentally sneezed really loud, and when I looked up he was just staring at the sky, completely the other direction!  Which is good ‘cuz my sister says humans have laser eyes that set your fur on fire if they even look at you. And he’s clumsy too, he always keeps dropping little pieces of this really salty meat that’s so delicious, I can’t believe he just keeps dropping it all the time, and one time he just left this awesome smelly sneaker behind, and--”>


<“Okay, I get it.  Geez,”> Mu said, briefly muzzling the Rockruff to get her to stop yipping.  <“That explains how you got lost at least. Guess you’ll have to stick with me for now.”>


The mission was a bust.  It was gonna take all his effort just to not get caught with this one around.  Luck had carried her thus far, but now she was his responsibility. Mu looked up at the window he had entered through.  It was too far off the ground for the Rockruff to conceivably climb through. Not unless they stacked enough stuff to make a path for the pup.  They’d need to find another way out. He stuck his head out of the closet. No humans in sight. Good time to move. Should they try to use the cart? No, it’s too conspicuous.


<“Follow me,”> he called quietly to the Rockruff as he began to scurry down the hall.


<“Okay!”> she chirped cheerfully, bounding along behind him obliviously.  A few steps in, however, she paused. <“Wait,”> she asked, <“is this some kind of super secret spy mission?”>  She belatedly lowered her voice to a whisper. <“Are we sneaking into some supervillain’s lair to steal back the spoils from all the towns they’ve conquered?”>


Mu let out a quiet hiss at the bouncing dog.  The yipping was going to cause them to be found.  This would be the worst time as his nose told him they were finally there.  He leaped from the ground to grab onto the handle of the door. The handle swung.  He pulled his body up and placed one leg on the door frame. And with one great kick off the door frame, the door opened.  As Mu landed, he took a moment to think. That was too easy. Humans generally used locks on their doors. Why was this door unlocked?


The Rockruff pup stared at Mu, dumbfounded.  <“That was amazing! Where’d you learn to open walls like a human?”>


<“Practice.”> Mu didn’t have time to relay an entire lifetime of learning how to steal from humans tonight.  Not when the prize was just in front of them.


The Dark-type led the way inside.  Inside was the most unimaginable treasure.  Shelves and shelves of all kinds of human medicines.  Stored in neat little boxes were scores of everything they could possibly need to supply them for years.  Despite the risky situation, Mu found himself smiling. A well organized raid of this place and they’d be set.


<“If you want to help, kid, start searching.  We need to find the best piece of medicine to bring back to the others,”> Mu said as he began to sniff the cans and appraise the labeling as best he could.



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-==IC: Nani/Fini==- (Night of August 7th, Four Island)


Nani was sulking.


Oh, she did her best to pretend she wasn’t, but her insides boiled with bottled-up frustration. Her loss at the ceremony was infuriating, and the turnout to tonight’s gathering had been abysmal by comparison. Worse, half of her own group had been among those who failed to show their faces, including…


<“Fini!”> Nani spat out the name in a low growl, too angry to mask her emotions.


<“Nani.”> The Rockruff shot Nani an appraising stare. <“You’re sulking,”> she observed.


<“I am not--”> Nani cut herself off. <“Where were you? And where’s Mu?”>


<“Oh, us? We were sneaking around the human place, looking for potions or something. I came back once Mu got inside.”>


<“You did what?!”>


<“Chill out, Nani, Mu’s a smart cookie, he’ll get what he needs and come back to us no problem.”>


<“What he’s going to do is get us all caught, I don’t believe him!”>


<“Sheesh, girl, paranoid much? He’ll be fine, have a little faith.”>


Nani spared a moment to give her fellow Rockruff a glare, before resuming her rant. <“And why is he out on his own again? Doesn’t he have a handler for that? Where is he, anyway?”>


-==IC: Mal==- (Night of August 7th, Four Island)


Mal slowly peeked around the corner, checking to be sure no humans could see him, before darting down the dock to the ship. This is it, all right, he thought to himself, Boss came from here. Mal had nearly lost his mind when Mu had fallen from their ship, to the point where he’d accepted his return -- and the reprieve it gave him from Madame Raticate’s reprisal had her son died -- without question. Having had time to think about it, however, the Ratatta found his fellow’s miraculous return strange, almost too convenient, so he’d decided to investigate, and to his fortune, the trail led to a boat that was still there.


The Dark-type kept to the shadows as he meticulously examined every inch of the cargo hold. Yep, that’s Boss’s scent, if a little wet, he confirmed. But what is…?


Mal froze. He knew that scent. He’d smelled its sister every day for a week now. That scent was not supposed to be here.


That pup is supposed to be in Alola!


The Alolan Ratatta began backing away fearfully. The Boss had supported Nani because they could control her, because they had her sister hostage. If Lilo was here...


The Boss is gonna kill me. Literally. Physically. When she finds out… Mal paused, a mousey smirk spreading across his face. If she finds out. If is good.


The Ratatta ran down the docks, dodging between legs and ignoring the sudden shouts he provoked. He spotted a ship just pulling away from its mooring; he dashed, leaped… and barely latched on to the edge, pulling himself over with a herculean effort. He lay dazedly where he landed, the coil of rope conveniently concealing him from sight. He let out a long breath, trying to relax. I’m safe now, he reassured himself. Whatever happens… whatever goes wrong with that pup’s escape, it won’t be affecting me. The rat cowered down in the coil of rope, satisfied that an uncertain future was better than certain punishment.


Me: *has idea*

Blade: "I'd say too convoluted, and I know too convoluted =P"


"Dangit, I shouldn't have gotten ambitious."

--Merc, RE: our plotting


Pokémon Rise of the Rockets Profiles: LINK

3DS FC: 3625-9584-9417 (Pokemon X Friend Safari: Electric-type, Pachirisu, Electabuzz, Zebstrika)

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-==IC: Lilo/Mu/???==- (Night of August 7th, Four Island)


Lilo the Rockruff pup nosed open the top of a strange white box that emanated cold when opened.  <“Hey mister,”> she called, <“what’s this weird red stuff?”>


Mu turned towards the Rockruff.  He pushed away the potion that he had been observing.  It hadn’t been high enough quality to be worth taking as their prize.  Mu ran over to the pup and began to look inside the cooler. He took a whiff to confirm his suspicions.


<“It’s blood.  It’s all blood.  Human blood, I’d guess.”> Mu said.  <“I haven’t the faintest idea of what it is there for.”>

Disturbing as the find might have been, it wouldn’t be useful.  There had to be better medicine around here. Mu shut the cooler.  He looked over behind where the pup had found the cooler. What he saw was a veritable gold mine.  Mu ran over to it. Bottles of the medicine that appeared like a six pointed star. Mu had never seen so many together.  These could undo even the most savage beat down. If he brought these back with him, there was no way he wouldn’t get the recognition.  He’d be able to convince them to organize further raids. They’d have to work out the logistics of it.


<“We’ve found it,”> Mu said to the pup.  


<“Whoa…”> Lilo murmured, entranced by the golden bounty before them.  <“So now what?”>


<“Now we can-”> Mu cut himself off.  He heard footsteps out in the hall. They were getting closer.  He could see shadows begin to pour in from the crack of the open door.  Without waiting for the pup to respond, he grabbed the Rockruff and dragged her under a shelf.


Barely a moment had passed before two humans stepped into the room.  Before Mu could even notice who it was, the Rattata’s heart began to pound.  His fur stood up on end. Adrenaline was beginning to pump through his body. He wanted to run, but the only exit was past the humans.  When he finally looked out however, he realized the reason why.

The human who followed the other into the room was the same human he had seen in Vermillion City.  The same one whose mere presence had nearly paralyzed him in Vermillion. The other human seemed of little consequence.


“The cooler has been prepared, just as you asked,” the inconsequential human said.  “Will you need anything to help you transport it?”


The tall gaunt human shook his head.  “No, that will be fine. And you made sure that changed the accounting records? No one will miss it?”

The shorter human nodded.  “Yes, the records were corrected.  Thank you for telling us about the mistake, and for being willing to take the excess blood off our hands.”


The tall human said nothing for a moment.  He shut his eyes for a few brief moments. When he opened them again, his eyes held the same menacing glow they had in Vermillion.  “Thanks for being so helpful. Now go home get some sleep. And when you wake up, pat yourself on the back for the good job you did fixing clerical errors last night.  No need to remember that I was here.”

The other human nodded and was about to walk out when the tall human placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Oh, and one more thing,” he said, his eyes still glowing.


Without warning, the tall gaunt man bit down into the shorter human’s shoulder.  In her trance, she didn’t struggle. After several moments, the tall man let go of the other.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a roll of bandages. He wrapped them around the shoulder.


“Sorry about that.  Be sure to get your iron and sugar tomorrow,” he said, his eyes still glowing.  “And you got that cut because your were clumsy with a pair of scissors. Alright, off to bed with you.”


And with that the other human departed.  Mu was stunned, he’d heard stories about humans who drank blood, but he’d never seen one.  The legends were true. He still felt like running, but the human came to pick up the cold box.  He just needed to wait.


The tall man watched the other human leave before turning back towards the box.  He stood just above it, when he began to stretch. For whatever reason, the tall man decided it was time to stretch.  The wait was murder. Mu could see the exit. With the tall man’s back to it, he reasoned it wasn’t impossible for him to escape.  But it would be risky, a far smarter plan would be to keep silent and wait for him to leave.


The tall man, at last, picked up the box and headed towards the door.  When he got there however he stopped. He was now blocking the only exit again.


“You know, I really thought you two would run.”


Mu froze.


“If you two were able to suppress your fear long enough to stay hidden this long,” he said, turning.  His eyes were wide open, revealing how bloodshot they really were. The grin on his face spread the span of his face.  “Then we’ve got a rare opportunity.”


Mu’s mind raced.  If even half the things he’d heard about the blood drinkers were true, then they were outmatched.  Protecting himself and the pup from him was almost impossible. The gaunt man was patient. One hand held a staff while the other held a Poké Ball.  He was ready for them to try and escape, and seemed in no hurry.


Both the the human and the Rattata’s ears suddenly perked up at the sound of human chattering coming in from the distance.


“The hospital is supposed to only have a skeleton crew, something’s wrong…” he muttered, his focus briefly broken.


In that moment, Mu acted.  The blood drinker used his power to make the other human acquire blood for him.  Going off the logic that the blood drinker needed that blood, Mu knocked the ice box over causing it to open and to spill its contents of bags of blood.


The gaunt man’s eyes widened.  He dropped the Poké Ball on the ground and began to ran over to where Mu was.  In that moment Mu turned to the Rockruff under the shelf and yelled <“Run!”>


The Rockruff bolted, but skidded to a stop in the doorway when she realized Mu wasn’t behind her.  <“Mister, hurry!”>


Mu didn’t need a second warning.  He dropped to all fours and ran after his companion.  He wanted to get a chance to get his bearings to find the best way to avoid the other humans he’d heard and escape.  The Poké Ball had released its contents however. The gaunt man had no intention of letting them escape so easily. Before Mu could even locate the window he had come in through, a Crobat was hot on their heels.  It was barings its fangs with a wide grin. It lazily flew past them and blocked the path. They wouldn’t have a chance to climb into the window.


The Rattata had an idea.  This would be a risk, but it was better than a guaranteed failure.  <“Kid, follow me!”> he shouted as he ran towards the source of human voices he had heard earlier.


The pair rushed down the hall.  The Crobat flew after them. A small crowd of humans came into view.  Many were piling into a single room while a few exited to try and make space for those trying to get in.  Some reacted with shock as Mu and Lilo started to rush between their legs. Most didn’t bother to look down, they were too focused on the room.  The Crobat flitted above the crowd. He flew over to the other side, ready to intercept the pair when they exited the crowd.


The Crobat waited, but neither appeared.  The size and body of the crowd obscured any sound or sight the Crobat could have used to find them.  Confusion lasted several moments until the Crobat pieced Mu’s plan together. Shouting from within the crowded room confirmed his suspicion.


Mu pushed the pup out of a window in the crowded room.  The risk seemed to be paying off. He couldn’t see what the humans were crowded around, but whatever it was, they were content to ignore the pair so long as they left the room.  The Crobat saw them just as Mu climbed out of the window himself. Mu saw the Crobat at the same moment. The Crobat was grinning. It let out a screech that made the people in the room finally turn, before disappearing.


<“Keep moving,”> Mu said to the pup.  <“We’ve got to make some distance before-”>


A Noivern flew into view in front of them.  He hadn’t even heard it approach. The beat of its wings were soft to the point of being nearly non-existent.  It was glaring and hissing at the crowd of people that could be heard through the open window. In between two beats of the wing, the gaunt man appeared.  Just appeared. Mu had no idea where he could have come from. He hadn’t been riding the Noivern. He had even managed to bring the ice box with him.


The gaunt man scratched the Noivern behind its giant ears.  He said nothing, but smiled as he scratched the Noivern’s ear.  It nodded in silent appreciation. The Crobat appeared with alarming speed.  It occured to Mu, that the Crobat hadn’t once tried to attack them earlier. He was simply there to track them.  Mu shivered, he was at a loss of what to do.


The gaunt man pulled out two Dusk Balls.  Mu growled. It wasn’t supposed to go down like this.


<“LILO!!”> a voice screamed.  Human and Pokémon alike turned to look at its source as an older Rockruff leaped in between Lilo and her potential captor.


<“Sis!”> the pup exclaimed joyfully.  She scrambled to her feet, tail wagging in delight at Nani’s presence.


<“Lilo, run!”> Nani ordered.  <“Go, get away from here, hurry!”> She turned to the human and barked out a series of threats and imprecations she would have made Lilo wash her mouth out for repeating.  Every impulse in Nani’s body screamed at her to follow her own advice, save for one: the overriding need to protect her sister, the last bit of family she had left in the world.


The Noivern’s ears began to twitch.  It let out a large angry hiss at the loud barking dog.  Lohe stared at the newcomer for a moment before shaking his head with disappointment.


Lilo was torn; part of her was terrified and wanted to run, but part of her didn’t want to leave her sister or her new friend.  It was the latter who finally convinced her to flee, the fear in his eyes frightening her almost as much as the cold man did. She bolted at full pace, vanishing quickly into the night.


Nani, unfortunately, could not run; she would have to hold the man’s attention until her sister had enough of a head start.  Whatever happens, she vowed, he will not have me. I won’t leave Lilo again. She glanced at Mu, wondering if the mob heir had any bright ideas.


The gaunt man patted the Noivern on its back, pushing it slightly forward.  With a silent beat of its wings, it took off. It began to fly in the direction that the younger Rockruff had run.  Mu acted out of instinct, leaping to grab the tail of the Noivern. The weight of the Rattata wasn’t much, but it forced the Noivern to react.  It began to spin in mid-air to try and knock loose the Rattata. The gaunt man narrowed his eyes and pointed for the Crobat to give chase to Lilo.


Nani did not have much time to react.  She tried to rush the Crobat. To interfere until Lilo could get away.  If only she had had more time to react, she might’ve noticed that the gaunt man had completely vanished.  Maybe then she wouldn’t have been so surprised when he reappeared in front of her. And just maybe she would’ve been able to dodge his staff, wreathed in a dark purple shadow, before it hit her, slamming her into the ground.  


With nothing in his way, the Crobat blazed after Lilo.  Nani couldn’t react to that, though. The gaunt man’s proximity was overpowering her ability to think.  She could barely register that her sister was in danger anymore. Thoughts kept flowing into her mind ‘run, flee, get away`.  Mu wasn’t faring much better. He was able to keep his composure better, but he had to contend with a dragon bat much larger than himself.  The advantage that Mu had, however, was that the Noivern appeared more used to special attacks than physical ones. Its swipes, though quick, were clumsy.  Thus, Mu was able to keep dodging. Unfortunately, it was quick enough to dodge his attacks in turn.


The stalemate went on until he saw Nani.  The gaunt man was standing over her, a Dusk Ball in his hand.  If Mu did nothing, she would surely be caught. He rushed over to help, but that played right into the human’s plan.  As soon as he got within range, the human turned and swept the Rattata onto his back with his staff. The Rattata felt himself pinned to the ground.  He instinctively tried to look up. That was his last mistake. The gaunt man’s eyes were glowing red. Mu tried to turn away, but it was too late. He slowly began to fall into unconsciousness.  


When he was satisfied that the Rattata was out cold, the man dropped the Dusk Ball onto Mu’s body.  He waited to make sure that the Dusk Ball clicked, but he needn’t have bothered. The deed was done.


Lohe sighed as soon as the ball registered that the Pokémon was caught.  It was icky business, catching Pokémon. Winning the Rattata over would be difficult.  Lohe turned around to see that the older Rockruff was long gone. It mattered little. He had what he wanted.  That Rockruff could go free. Right now he had to reunite with Nosferatu about the more promising one. Then he had to get the Rattata to a Pokémon Center.




Nani froze as she saw her compatriot fall.  She knew what was about to happen, that he would suffer the same fate he had just saved her from.  Should she do the same in turn? Should she call for help? Should she--


A single glance at Mu’s soon-to-be captor put an end to her brief hesitation.  Four paws pounded away from the buildings before her conscious mind could even register her doing so.  Once it did catch up, the Rockruff found herself slowing, her mind laden with guilt. The thought of going back, however, was drowned utterly by fear, fear on multiple levels.  Unwilling -- no, unable -- to go back, Nani’s mind scrambled to rationalize her actions. She hated humans, had sworn never to accept their shackles. If Mu was willing to consort with them for their innovations, that was his risk to take, his price to pay.  Besides, Mu wasn’t the type to back down from a challenge; surely if he was going to perish, he would wish to do so satisfied, fighting on his own terms, right?


The excuse rang hollow, even to her, but she still lacked the strength to go back.  Her burst of courage had been solely for her sister -- the one Mu’s mother had taken hostage, had threatened when Nani had been at her most desperate, desperate enough to seek out even a mob queen for help.  Madame Raticate had used her, exploited her fear for her sister, all in the name of drawing even more into her ever-consuming dominion. The darker part of her relished in the suffering this would cause her, though it paled in comparison to all the mob queen had done to others, done to her -- but Nani was careful to bury that thought deep.  It would not do to let that part of her show to Lilo, not when she was now her sister’s only living role model, the closest she had left to a--


Lilo!  The Rockruff remembered why she’d fought, who she’d had to save.  Relieved as she was to see her sister out of the mob’s clutches, the terrifying man proved that this island was far too infested with humans to ever be truly safe.  They had to escape, and quickly, before another one could finish the job this one had started.


With that thought in mind, Nani rocketed off once more into the night, her nose primed to track the one Pokémon she’d least expected to find, one who should have never, ever been here in the first place.




Nosferatu kept flying after the Rockruff.  What fun tonight had been! In the underbrush of the forest, he had lost sight of the small canine, but he could still hear her.  He casually flew at a speed that would let him easily catch up once they exited the forest.


What Nosferatu did not take into account, was the large number of people on the other side of the forest.  They were moving large boxes to and fro. This was beginning to be a pattern that Nosferatu didn’t like. He flew up higher to get a better vantage point.  They were on the docks. The boxes were being loaded onto and taken off of ships. Why had the pup tried to run here? Well no matter which angle the Rockruff chose to run from, Nosferatu would be ready.  There wasn’t a single other way she could’ve gon-


Nosferatu dived into the crowd.  She wasn’t there. The Crobat couldn’t see, hear or smell where the Rockruff had gone.  He had heard her enter the crowd, but she had completely vanished.


Oh dear.  He had messed up.  Ah crud. Presuming that Lohe would prefer that he not cause an incident even more than he wanted a new friend, Nosferatu realized he would have to give up.




Lilo shivered as she curled up in yet another shipping crate, cold and alone once more.  She didn’t know why, but her Ratatta friend’s advice had come back to her in the moment of crisis, leading her to retrace her steps even as she fled at Nani’s command.  She hated leaving her like that, but she knew that tone -- and she knew Nani would never use it without reason. She IS a genius, after all. She didn’t quite know why Nani was so scared, but asking would just make her angry, and she hated seeing the hurt that said anger came from.  Besides, once Nani and Mr. Ratatta beat up that human, he’ll tell her I… uh… followed my steps or something, and they’ll both be back here to get me. Of course, she hadn’t quite done that -- the ship was a little different to the one she’d taken here, and the crate and hold smelled a little funny as well, but both Nani and Mr.  Ratatta were completely brilliant, so she knew it wouldn’t take them long to figure everything out.


The sound of the cargo door clanging shut brought those hopes to a crashing end.  This time, she knew what the strange sounds and sensations meant -- the ship was setting off, destined for some other strange port she wouldn’t even know.  It’s going to be fine, she assured herself, the words far less comforting coming from her own mind than from her sister, it’s going to be fine, it’s going to be…


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IC: Alma Mason/Alma Mason/Belle LaDonna/’Beauty’/Amelia Zann/’Beast’


The two albino girls worked, and, while they worked, one tried to talk to the other, with little success.


“So you’re not a healer?”




“Are you a Practitioner?”




“Oh, I see. I understand you’re an assassin, is that right?”




And on and on. Every attempt at conversation was met with a short, simple answer that left no room for dialogue to grow. Finally, the healer resigned herself to silence, focusing instead on the body.


“At least the damage is not too extensive.”


“What do you mean? She is dead.”


“Yes, but the wound can be easily concealed for her funeral--”


“What funeral? She isn’t in her own world, there is nobody here to mourn her. We’ll bury her somewhere in an unmarked grave and nobody will even know she’s there except for us!”


The healer sat back on her heels, looking at her counterpart. “We’re here to mourn her.”


“We didn’t even know her.” Alma was still staring at the body. “You can’t mourn someone you didn’t know.”


“You certainly can. Life is precious, and when it is taken, isn’t it only right to mourn?”


Instead of responding, the assassin stood and made her way over to the others. “The preparations are complete. Where should we bury her?”


“Well,” ‘Beauty’ said, “we’re not too far from Route 10, which is sorta a giant graveyard. We could hold the funeral there.”


Alma scoffed, turning away. “Very well. She will be preserved well enough for the night, we can take her in the morning.”


“Wrap her up and we’ll take ‘er to the cabin,” the alternate Belle said.


Belle frowned, looking over. “What cabin?”


Amy cocked her head at Belle. “The wedding present we got ourselves?” Her eyes flicked back and forth between Belle and Amelia a couple times before widening in realization.


Amelia stiffened as if hit by a Thunder Wave. Belle’s jaw dropped, her cheeks darkening. “Y’all-- Yer . . . married?


Beauty raised an eyebrow. “Y’all’ren’t? Engaged, at least?”


“N-no! Why would we be?”


Beauty shared a glance with Beast. “You have eyes, right?”


Belle could just stare in mute shock. Alma, despite her previous frustration at people’s insistences that burying a dead body was a ‘funeral,’ had to conceal a smile with her hand. “It really is quite obvious, from an outside perspective.”


“Inside one, too, if yer not a complete moron,” Beauty quipped.


“Hey! Belle ain’t a moron!” Amelia objected, before going bright red and stilling once more.


“Anyway,” Belle’s double continued. “Let’s get the body loaded up and get her on down to town, alright?”


With some trepidation, Belle curtly nodded, and after, a stricken-looking Amelia stiffly followed suit

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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IC: Lohe Mahina


*ring* *ring*




“It’s about time you called. I was starting to think you were going to slack off until the end of time."



“Trust me, if I could I would. Anything other than talking to you. Well, besides drink that weak dirt you call coffee.”



“You can’t even-”


“Neither can you. Can’t prove I’m wrong.”



“Of all the- Never mind. What have you learned about the blackout?"



“I spoke to Ford. The blackout was caused by a system of magic called ‘El Naipe.’"


"He had a book, a ‘Grimoire’ that he used to power the spell. He seemed pretty insistent that it couldn’t do the same trick twice.”



“Your orders haven’t changed. Find out the location of the Grimoire. Confirm whether or not it can be used for that purpose.”



“Fine, but there’s the little issue of the fact that the world is still doomed. Can you get them to send reinforcements? Or like, do anything?”



“...When I return I will see what I can do. If either of our missions is a success, they will be in a much more agreeable mood.”



“...You know this is a terrible idea, right? Putting aside whether you can succeed. If you do succeed-”



“It’s what I’ve been ordered to do. If you’re smart, you will do what you’ve been ordered too.”



“You’re dodging the point.”













“Don’t die too stupidly.”



“Who do you think you’re talking to?”



“Do you want me to answer that?”



Edited by Metal Gear Minun


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IC: Shannon Willows - Hotel, Vermilion City

Shannon could see the fear hidden in the girl's eyes, the fear associated with the Rocket outpost. "Of course," she said as she reached out and gently patted Aori's hair. "We can look for your parents in the city while Ryan does his business at that place. Then he'll call us when he's done and we'll find a street corner to meet us on. Does that sound reasonable?" She glanced up at Ryan, her question directed as much at him as it was at Aori.

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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-==IC: Olivia Seaton -- Battle Chateau, Kalos==-


Oh. "Oh, um." This was going to be an awkward conversation, she could already tell. "He was a friend back when. We discussed Rocket before I joined, nothing more than that. I'm sure ya saw him around before." Olivia glanced away from Dahlia's inquisitive gaze, though it did seem like there was more to the subject than she was letting on.


-==IC: Ryan Hikari -- Vermilion City, Kanto==-


"Yeah, that all sounds good to me. I was thinking it probably would be best anyway, it'll probably be super boring at the studio anyway." Ryan smiled as he finished off his toast. "Did you have any thoughts on where to look if you two have no luck, Aori, Shannon?"

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IC: Jamie Arthur - Battle Chateau


With approval given, it was off to the races with Jamie. She didn’t even wait to cross the bridge to start throwing her Poke Balls on the ground. Pelleas, Tristan, Lamorak and Bedevere all came tumbling out of the their respective balls. Tristan picked up the two shellfish Pokemon and placed them on his head to speed up the process of getting them in the building.  The door sprang open at the behest of Jamie’s foot.


“Alright, who wants a piece of me!” Jamie shouted, a crooked grin on her face. She was in a mood. A bad mood. She was gonna hit something. Preferably more than one something.


Jamie’s entrance caught stares from a number of well dressed individuals. Something on the level of the outfits that James gave her. Someone was kind enough enough to usher her towards the front desk. One cape later, and Jamie was shouting at random people demanding battles.


Battles. Plural. As in, she demanded that everyone she could find of her rank fight her at the same time. The problem being that most people of her entry level rank did not have much that could harm a Metagross. The Clamperl was the only member of her entourage that most of them thought they could take on. Maybe, just maybe the Cloyster. There wasn’t any water for it at least.


Jamie began gnashing her teeth. She was getting frustrated that no one seemed willing to take on her demands.


“Sounds like someone is spoiling for a fight.” A voice spoke, tinged with disdain towards the Rocket Agent. “Sounds like they’d let in just about any rabble.” The voice belonged to a woman in her thirties, who looked at Jamie, her eyes looking at her if she were just a mere pebble.


Jamie smiled. Here was a jerk who was standing up to her. Meaning that she’d be able to get some aggression out. “Are you challenging me? Please say yes. I need some fights.”


“While it would normally be beneath me to challenge such a disrespectful trainer, I guess -someone- has to teach you a proper lesson in manners.” The woman said, sending out her Froslass. “I, Rejiva Orcose, shall be that someone.”


“Good, I don’t know what manners have to do with Pokemon battles, but I need to hit someone…” she said. Her smile fell after a moment. “No, it’s not enough. Give me someone else to fight.”


“Are you dense?” a snively voice came out from behind Jamie. “You want to split your focus between two opponents?”


“Are you gonna fight me or not? I got three free Pokemon and a bad day,” she said pointing to Tristan who was still carrying Bedevere and Lamorak.


The man (boy? Jamie still didn’t have ages down) pushed up on his glasses and pointed to three Poke Balls on his belt. “I don’t mind, but I’d have to inform you that the only fields available at the moment are on opposite sides of the hall. There’s no way to give orders to both battles at once.”


“That is fine by me,” Jamie said. Pelleas and Tristan were wondering if she was getting carried away. But she was smiling again. In the end, wasn’t making your daughter happy what mattered? Both parents nodded, causing Bedevere and Lamorak to nearly fall off of Tristan’s head.


“Not only are you lacking in manners, but common sense as well.” Rej replied to the supposed lunacy of what Jamie proposed. “Not content with losing just one battle, you choose to lose two? So be it.”


So it was that the battles were arranged that Jamie would fight two different opponents in two different arenas at the same time. The first battle to start would be Jamie and Pelleas versus Rej and Anya. Pelleas wondered how this was gonna go. It wasn’t the first time that he had to fight an opponent by himself. But last time didn’t involve a ghost type. If he had his powers, that would be one thing. Without them this was going to be tricky.


“Alright, Pelleas, punch the Froslass to see what she’s got!” Jamie yelled, and promptly ran from the room to head towards the other battle that was about to start.


Pelleas had a guess of how this would go, but he needed to see how the Froslass was going to fight. He spread his wings to give himself speed, and charged forward at the Froslass. The Heracross pulled his fist back, ready to strike when he reached her.


“Anya, dodge and then retaliate by poking the Heracross’s eyes out!” Rej commanded her Froslass, smiling at her opponent’s lack of imagination. The Snow Land Pokémon artfully dodged the punch, and with a deft movement of her hands, attempted to strike at her opponent’s eyes.




Jamie was in the middle of a chant.


“Time will freeze. Time will freeze,” she chanted as she ran down the hall. Time refused to do that, but it was good practice at any rate. When she threw open the door to the other battlefield, the battle had already started. An Aerodactyl clawed at Lamorak before returning to his perch on a chandelier where a Hawlucha was. Tristan traded a blow with a Blaziken, each one taking about as good as they gave. Bedevere turned to Jamie, glad that she finally decided to show up.


“Okay, okay. I think I get the idea. Alright, Tristan. Wield Lamorak and Bedevere!” she yelled and ran from the room.


...Wield them? Tristan thought. He complied though, and with both of his fore legs, picked up a shellfish. He had to strain himself to keep himself balanced, but he was armed. With a shellfish in each arm, he felt that he must have seemed like a very awkward Kingler.


The snively boy (man?) chuckled. “What good will that do? A little extra reach? Hawlucha, Aerodactyl, throw the chandeliers crystals at them. Blaziken, keep them distracted!”


Tristan felt like his opponents were accomplishing the opposite of their orders. The crystals (hopefully cheap ones) bounced off of their hides with little more than an annoying distraction. The Blaziken’s kicks however, he had to actively block.




Pelleas instinctively brought his head down. It was a common instinct among living creatures to protect their eyes. But Heracross have a horn on their heads. The instinct to protect one’s eyes also served to attack.


“And now I also see you seem to forget about how Ghost-Type Pokémon work.” Rej said, laughing at what happened next. The Froslass pulled her hand back and the horn simply passed through the Froslass. Anya giggled at Pelleas’s tactic, and performed an uppercut on the Single Horn Pokémon, hoping to expose his eyes once more.


Pelleas didn’t have time to evade the attack. He took the blow. It was a bigger blow to his pride rather than his body. He was confident in his ability to fight any physical opponent. But an intangible one, without Night Slash. How was he to fight that? The door opened again.


“You took a hit Pelleas?” Jamie asked as she came by and stood in her place. “How’d it feel? Her hand?”


Her hand? It hurt, does that count? It occurred to the Heracross how odd that was. Ghosts weren’t vulnerable to Counter as far as he knew. Yet it could hit him? How did that work?


“Unsure, huh? Try taking a weapon from the chandelier,” she said and turned around to leave again.


The chandelier? Pelleas spread his wings. It took a bit of effort but he was able to fly up to the chandelier in the center of the room. He ripped off a gem from the hanging chandelier and flung it at the Froslass.


The Froslass was caught off guard by how much the gem hurt upon impact. Gem or not, Pelleas’s species were known for their strength, and all of that was behind the thrown gem. “You really must be desperate, flying up and attacking from a distance, little bug.” Rej said, trying to hide her annoyance. “Well, two can play that game! Anya, throw the gem back at him!”


Anya nodded, and threw the gem right back at the Heracross, hoping that, despite her flimsy arms, she could do more damage to the Single Horn Pokémon.




Tristan was getting annoyed. His main fight was with the Blaziken. But every time he tried to strike it, it made a giant leap backwards. If he had his powers this battle would have been a sinch. Especially with what he had been practicing while he was temporarily removed from the battlefield. He had wanted to show it off to Jamie.


The two flying types were still chucking gems at the group. Tristan used Bedevere as a shield so he could have time to think. Bedevere wasn’t a fan, but admitted he couldn’t think of a better use for himself at the moment.


The Blaziken came in for a kick. Tristan let the kick connect so he could try and and hit the Blaziken with Lamorak, in an imitation of how Pelleas fought. Sadly, the Blaziken kicked off Tristan with the same motion to get away. Lamorak did manage to clip the Blaziken, but it barely made a scratch.


“Bare with it for a little longer. Focus on figuring out their movements. You’ll get your shot. Lamorak, Bedevere, be sure to tuck yourselves in tight when Tristan finally decides to wield you.”


Wait, both shellfish thought simultaneously. This -wasn’t- being wielded?


“And start catching those shards,” she called back running off.


Both Lamorak and Bedevere opened up their shells and caught the next stones that the Aerodactyl and Hawlucha threw at them. They closed their shells keeping the stones inside.


The snively male of indeterminate age look annoyed that the shellfish were taking advantage of the his flying types throwing gems at them to store in their shell. “Well I was wondering when you were gonna do that.” Because he obviously knew they were. “Alright, all three of you, alternate direct attacks!”


‘Take your shot’. Three of Tristan’s four brains thought ‘she couldn’t possibly,’ but the fourth was trying to map the trajectories. He held both shellfish up to parry the incoming flying types.




Sir Isaac Newton was Pelleas’s ally when the Froslass threw the gem back at Pelleas. Regardless of their comparative strength, gravity had been working with Pelleas when he threw the gem. But when Anya threw the gem back up to him, gravity slowed it down. Not by a lot, but by enough for Pellas to catch it as he slowly floated back down to earth. Wings or not, he was not a flying type. He couldn’t keep his wings flapping forever. But it felt good to know he had something capable of damaging the ghost-type.


At that point Jamie came running in again. She wiped off a bead of sweat and ran over to the field.


“How’d it work out?” she asked. When the Heracross responded positively, she smiled and said, “Play defensive for right now. When you get a chance, check how loose the tiles are.” And then she ran out once more.


Rej grit her teeth at how this girl was making a mockery of her prized Froslass. Then she smiled at the wicked idea she had. “You heard her, Anya. Check the tiles.” Anya looked at her trainer, then at her arms, and sighed. She tried to wrest one of the tiles free, and sighed exasperatedly at the fact she wasn’t strong enough to do it. “W-well, if that’s not going to work, then go for his eyes again!” The Froslass rushed towards Pelleas, this time making it look like she was gonna attack from one direction, but actually attacking from the other.


In the split seconds that Pelleas had to make a decision, he thought about the gem he had in his hand. Using it, he could possibly parry the blow at the last second. But the woman’s overconfidence was her weakness. He allowed himself to be hit. It hurt, and he’d have to keep his eye closed for the rest of the battle. But he’d suffered through worse. If he could bear a fire punch in the belly of a volcano, this was nothing. He was already focusing on the floor. He stomped on the floor to test how solid it was. The tiles weren’t loose, but there was a crack in one of them.. When the Froslass backed off, he slammed the crack with his horn. With a resounding crack, the crack widened. He could pick that up.




Tristan was still being bombarded by the three opponents. As each came in to swipe at him, he swatted at them with one of his compatriots. He had Bedevere spread his shell open to use him as bait, but the flying types were not falling for it. It was annoying, but he was getting a chance to see how they were flying. The Hawlucha slammed the Metagross’s head before flying away. The snively guy was laughing at how pathetic the Metagross seemed. 


Jamie ran back in the room and saw how things were going. She ran over to Tristan, wondering if she would need to stay for longer. “Have you figured out how they’re gonna move?”




The Metagross nodded head. He, more or less, figured out how they were gonna move from how they responded to him finally ‘wielding’ his allies.


Jamie smiled. Good, she was worrying for nothing then. “Alright, then it’s time to wield them. Improvised Ice Ball-Clamp!” she yelled running from the room again.


As Tristan pulled both of his forelegs back, Lamorak and Bedevere finally realized what Jamie’s plan truly was. Bedevere had a bit more practice at this than Lamorak had, so when they were both sent flying, he enjoyed it more. Not expecting two heavy immobile clams to come at them so quickly, the Aerodactyl and the Hawlucha were caught off guard. Both clams clamped onto their respective targets, dragging them down to earth.


“Break out of their grasp!” the snively guy yelled as his veins began to throb.


Both the Aerodactyl and the Hawlucha began thrashing to escape their confines. But they forgot about the gems that both shellfish contained. The more they struggled, the more the gems started to dig into each of their bodies, and the tighter the clams held onto them.


Finally it was Tristan’s turn to smile. Without needing to watch out for his allies, Tristan could focus solely on the Blaziken. The snively guy wasn’t laughing any longer.


“Blaziken, take out that Metagross already!” he yelled, clearly annoyed with the sudden development.


If Tristan had had his powers, he’d be able to finish this fight in a moment. As he blocked the Blaziken’s kick with one of his now free forelegs, he began to think of how to make the final opening he needed.




Rej’s eyes widened at Pelleas’s attack on the floor, and realized that she had to be quick before the Heracross had yet another weapon. “Attack him from his right side, and do not let up on your attacks!” the woman said, clearly desperate to keep the advantage. Anya nodded and then rushed towards Pellea’s right side, and started wailing on him, hoping that constant attacks would keep him from arming himself.


Nonetheless, the Heracross overturned the tile. The attacks were definitely hurting. Pain welled up in his side underneath his carapace. But now that the tile was removed, he had access to a stronger blunt weapon. And the more powerful weapon that was beneath it.


“You got the tile off the ground?” Jamie asked as she stepped into the room. She was panting a bit. But she smiled anyway. “Good. You got all you need. Knock her flat.” she said, departing without even giving orders.


Pelleas nodded. He didn’t need Jamie to say anything. He knew what he could with this. Eye for an eye, as it were. He adopted a defensive stance and waited.




“Time will freeze! Time will freeze!” Jamie was shouting as she ran down the halls, garnering a number of stares. It hadn’t worked so far. But that didn’t mean it wouldn’t work the next time she tried it. Besides running and shouting was good for you.




Lamorak and Bedevere had their respective opponents under control. As long as the Blaziken could not rescue them, their prey would not escape. It all came down to Tristan and the Blaziken. Trying to pin down the fire-fighting type was Tristan’s biggest issue. It was fighting much more carefully now that the battle came down to it. Every time it tried to attack Tristan, it immediately pulled back as soon as the blow came. This made it very hard for Tristan to retaliate, but it also meant that each of the Blaziken’s blows were much weaker than they could’ve been.


Jamie ran into the room before slowing as she walked over to the box designated for her. She took a moment to breathe as she took in the situation.


“Very good. That worked better than I could have hoped,” she said looking at Bedevere and Lamorak struggling with an opponent a piece. “So all that is left is the Blaziken, huh?”


The snively guy waited for her to run out again. She wasn’t budging. The other fight couldn’t have been over already? She was a ghost type user fighting a fighting type. That was completely absurd.




Anya saw the tile, and for the first time, fear showed in her eyes. Rej eyed the tile as well, but determined that since Pelleas had gone through the hard work of removing it, she should take advantage of it. “Get the tile away from him and bash him with it!” The woman commanded Her Froslass. Anya gulped at the command, as even she knew that this Heracross wouldn’t give up his prize so easily. She leapt at at the ground, making an attempt to grab the tile, not at all optimistic about the odds.


Pelleas weighed the tile with his body. He shook his head, smiled, and buzzed. His body had more strength in it; she would not be getting this tile. Try again.


Anya looked at the tile, and then at Pelleas. She in one last act of desperation, tried to uppercut the Heracross once more. And with that, the Heracross truly began to move. The Heracross’s arm met the Froslass’s fist. The Froslass yelled out as she pulled her hand back. The gem had been jammed into it.


“Anya!” her trainer yelled out, but the Heracross was not yet done.


When the Froslass tried to look back at Pelleas, the Heracross revealed what he’d found under the tile. Anya shrieked as Pelleas threw gravelly dust into her eyes. Now she was the blind one. In her distraction, Pelleas finally picked up the tile, and with one hand held it in front of the Froslass’s face.




Jamie was still surveying the arena as Tristan and the Blaziken continued to exchange blows. Her opponent was beginning to get impatient, but he wasn’t making any obvious mistakes either.


“Push him back!” the snively guy yelled. Jamie looked at the path behind Tristan. She paused as she saw something, but said nothing.


The Blaziken’s attacks became a bit more aggressive. It’s kicks were strong even when playing it safe, and Tristan to take several steps back. Finally, when the center of his body was directly over a crack, Jamie finally called out.


“Tristan, sweep Blaziken’s feet!”


The snively guy reacted instantly to the highly telegraphed move. “Blaziken, dodge into a jump kick!”


The Blaziken deftly leaped into the air, completely dodging Tristan’s arm as it came to sweep its _legs. But as gravity was about to carry the Blaziken to attack, Jamie was already calling out “Now flip onto your back to dodge!”


Tristan obeyed and flipped onto his helpless backside. He had evaded the jump kick completely, but was having problems getting back up on his feet. His body wasn’t exactly meant to be tipped over. The snively guy laughed out loud at the pathetic show.


“Come on, Blaziken, let’s finish this!” he yelled.


But despite his calls, the Blaziken did not move. Upon closer examination, it was pulling on its leg.


“Blaziken, come on, move already!” the snively guy called again, until he looked even closer.


The Blaziken’s leg had cracked through a tiles and carried it further. Its leg was firmly lodged into the ground. It was desperately pulling onto its leg as the Metagross slowly figured out how to right himself. When the Metagross was fully upright, the Blaziken was still lodged in the ground. Tristan found himself in high spirits. He finally had his opponent where he wanted them. The snively guy found himself shaking. He realized what Jamie had done far too late.


“Alright, Tristan. Give him everything you got!” Jamie yelled at the top of her lungs.


In both arenas, one of Jamie’s Pokemon was pulling back one arm. Neither knew what the other was about to do. But at same moment, both Pokemon shot their first fist forward at the same moment. Pelleas smashed the cinder tile into the Froslass’s face, letting go with this other arm. Tristan decked the Blaziken square in the jaw. Pelleas’s other arm shot into the briefly falling remains of the tile, breaking into two smaller pieces. Tristan’s other arm hit the Blaziken square in the gut.


And in both cases, as soon as the second punch had been unleashed, that was when they really started to attack. As if they were one, they both began to punch without abandon. Shouting together in an unknown chorus. The Heracross’s punches broke the tile into pieces that kept pelting Anya. Letting her feel the full force of the Heracross’s blows without needing to touch her directly. The Metagross’s punches didn’t need to be so indirect. With each successive crunch, the Metagross began to punch again. His violence was not completely without mercy. Slowly he began to make sure the Blaziken was dug out of the hole, so it wouldn’t break its leg. In between rapid fire punches of a literal ton of metal.


When the tile was exhausted to one solitary fragment and the floor no longer grounded the Blaziken, the time had come to finish it. Both of Jamie’s fathers pulled the same arm that had started the assault back. Twisting their bodies to give it as much torque as they could, they slammed their fist into the rock (which slammed into Anya) and the Blaziken respectively. The results were likewise paralleled. Both of their opponents were thrown back and slammed into the ground in front of their trainers respectively, unable to battle.


Rej stood there, stunned at both how brutally her Froslass had been defeated, and at how she had underestimated her opponent. She returned her Froslass, whispering. “You did a fine job, Anya.” She then looked at Pelleas. “I guess you have won, mighty Heracross!” She then curtsied to the Single Horn Pokémon. 


Pelleas saluted the fallen Froslass. It was a fun fight. It was fun to fight a strong opponent again.




The snively man sniveled a bit as he retreated the Blaziken. “Alright, I yield, you can let go of Aerodactyl and Hawlucha now.”


Tristan began to flex in front of his daughter. It felt good to be able to show off to her again.


Jamie nodded, chuckling with delight. By her command, the two shellfish let their opponents go. Jamie was in a mood. A good mood.



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IC: Dahlia Seaton - Battle Chateau

Dahlia gave her sister a pointed look. It didn't take a genius to know Liv was hiding something. "Nothing more than that?" she repeated skeptically. "Sounds to me like there was something more if he got you to join Team Rocket."


Under normal circumstances the gardener would have dropped the subject that Olivia's obvious uncomfortableness. But it was that act of joining Team Rocket that had started the chain reaction that led to the Seatons' falling out. It wasn't long after Liv had left that Aspen had run off to join Team Liberty, and despite Dahlia's best attempts to stop it she had been forced to watch as her siblings went to war against each other. After all the suffering she had put herself through to try and make Aspen and Olivia see reason, Dahlia deserved to know the truth.


"I don't think I remember this Corey guy." Dahlia crossed her arms as she took a step towards her sister. "Why don't you start at the beginning?"

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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-==IC: Olivia Seaton -- Battle Chateau, Kalos==-


Olivia took a step back, an extremely uneasy look on her face.


"I can't start at the beginning." She said with an adamant tone, a hint of fear in it. "S-sorry, but I just can't. I wanna tell ya, but I can't without breaking the trust of someone." The Rocket agent took another step back as Dahlia kept approaching. "I just, I can't." She took another step back, then looked to the floor. "... I'm sorry."


With that, Olivia turned and ran out of the hallway, headed outside.


OOC: Possible warning of bad parents, tough to judge on this one.


-==IC: Ray Hakuda -- ???==-

-Day 1-

After working on his hair for what seemed like forever, Ray walked out of his room and into the kitchen. He adjusted the belt-sash on his cyan tunic as he walked toward the table to sit down.

"You're late." A stern voice said suddenly to Ray's left. As he looked over, he saw an older orange-haired man. The man tapped on a paper in his hands before he glared up at Ray. "You were supposed to be down here 15 minutes ago."

Ray knew the man well, yet he felt surprised to see him. It must've been because of that dream. "I'm sorry, father." He knew that regardless of how he actually felt, he had to say that. Ray couldn't remember how long things had been like that, but it didn't really matter.

"Hmph." The man turned back to his paper, an annoyed look on his face. "Get that hair clip out of your hair, too. Did you raid your sister's room again?" Ray opted to ignore both of those comments as he absentmindedly raised his right hand to the pink and gold star hair clip he had put on. Instead, he headed to the fridge and grabbed some simple bits of food at random. Patrick Hakuda glared back over the paper when Ray wouldn't respond. "Are you ignoring me?"

"Oh, sorry, did you say something, father? I couldn't hear you, it sounded like there were just angry animal noises over there!" That was most definitely the wrong thing to say, but Ray grinned as if he were enjoying the game of making his father mad. He bowed as he began to leave the room backwards, his father slowly standing up. "Gotta run, though - was nice talking with you!"

"Ray Mackenzie Hakuda, get back here this insta--"

Without any more hesitation, Ray closed the kitchen door and dashed toward the front door, food in hand. It didn't seem too long after, but the young man stopped to pant outside an old abandoned building. "Perfect, hasn't been touched." Ray grinned as he ducked around some of the broken signs in front of the building, headed to a gap in the boards that he had cleverly hidden. It was getting to be a tight squeeze, so he figured he would need to adjust that later, but for now, he was in his home away from home. It wasn't much - the generator had to be charged with the Pikachu that sometimes frequented it, so it wasn't exactly reliable - but it was cozy to him.

The orange-haired trainer sighed as he flopped down in the beanie chair. He frowned as he thought back to what had happened at home. Doesn't seem like I can go back now… Ray thought, but chuckled and sighed again. "Ah, who cares? I'll just fix this place up better. I'm sure that I can find some way to make it work."

His eyes turned to the generator. He had just the idea of how he could do that.

Edited by Blessed Blade
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IC - Kyle Eston - ???:


Adams said nothing in response. Instead, her frown shifted back into a grin, and she spread out her wings to their fullest extension. Massive gusts of wind flowed as she beat her wings, rising high into the air. She clenched her fists as her wings began to glow, and with a shrill cry, she unleashed a blinding flash of light against the five opposing trainers . . .


The world went quiet.


Kyle stood for a moment, perfectly immobile, eyes squeezed shut and one arm covering his face against the bright white light. Even after it faded, he dared not move, listening yet hearing absolutely nothing. Any second now, he expected Gluttony's jaws or Adams's claws to tear through him--but nothing came to pass. The air was still, deafening and oppressive all at once. He blinked his eyes open, slowly lowering his arm.


The arena was gone.


Everyone was gone.


He stood in absolute darkness. Nothing but shadow surrounded him, though he felt as if he were encased in a space too minuscule to comprehend. Turning around to gain his bearings, he thought he felt his hand brush against something soft, like fabric, yet the sensation vanished just as quickly as he had noticed it. Slowly he became aware of a single sound around him, a rhythmic ticking echoing in the distance--tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock . . .



A flame atop a tail danced in the distance, swaying back and forth and begging to be followed. A chilling laugh carried on the wind, met with a roar of defiance. Something heavy crashed into concrete and dirt.



Kyle pressed his hand to his eye, grimacing. His head ached, throbbing incessantly as he tried to rationalize what was happening. What was this place? What had Adams done? He closed his eyes, breathing deeply. His lungs burned, much like they had back in Kalos. The thought spurred a rush of anxiety. He struggled to breathe. The air was thick and powdery, like another cloud of the toxin. He covered his mouth, but he had already inhaled it; it choked and strangled him from the inside out.


No . . . no, no, no, not again, not again!


It was just like before--he was trapped, subdued, helpless to save himself from the horrors that awaited him.


Heart racing, he stepped, first toward nothing--toward anywhere else where the air might be clear--and finally toward the flickering light, but it grew no closer. 



"Hey--snap out of it! What's wrong with--" An unearthly, piercing scream cried out and a gust of cold swept forth. Gravity shifted and they fell, wrapped in a protective embrace. "###### it . . . What did they do to all of you . . .?"



He stumbled and fell. The curtains he had only briefly touched, that he had thought not to truly exist, now engulfed him, trapping him and dragging him down into a murky abyss.


Sonja! Chloe!



"Protect them!"



Hundreds of threads entwined into his muscles, hampering every movement until he felt he could no longer breathe without the permission of whatever force had now taken hold of him. All the while, that ticking continued--tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock . . .


Ryan! Ray!



"Everyone, protect them!"



He brought his hands to his throat, struggling in the liquid black.


Please . . . someone . . .



"The more you struggle, the worse this will be. Give it to us."



Kyle felt his eyes drifting closed.


I thought . . . I thought I still had time . . .


He went still, letting the waves wash over him. Images faded in and out of his vision; each brought upon him, further and further, the full weight of his regrets. Suicune, his failure to save her in Castelia . . . Gecynde, her disappearance, the truth of which he would now never uncover . . . His team of Pokémon, soon abandoned with no trainer to keep them from Missing Zero's clutches . . . Nicholas Leitner, the specter of a man he had never met and now never would . . . His friends, near and far, all likely doomed now that he himself had fallen into the depths . . . Levi Alaric, the child he had promised to protect, now abandoned . . . Esen Windred, a much-needed light in the darkness . . .


Kyle opened his eyes--a soft blink at first, and then, with a start, a more forceful awakening.


No; he couldn't let it end here. He had to keep going, until his last breath.


This isn't real . . . This isn't real . . . This isn't real . . . 


He repeated this to himself, over and over again--silently at first, and then softly under his breath as he fought upward against the many hands of cloth dragging him back down. A light appeared in the distance, the same fire as before, high above him. Now, it remained steady, a much-needed light in the darkness.


"This isn't real . . . This isn't real . . . This isn't real . . ."


Shift had destroyed him with hallucinations. He wasn't the only one. But no more. He was beyond this. He had suffered enough because of these tricks, and it was time to prove it, once and for all. The strings binding his movements gave way, one after another in rapid succession. It was within reach; he raised a hand toward the light.


Esen . . . Everyone . . . There's still time . . .


He touched the fire, welcoming it back into his heart.




With a gasp that quickly turned into a fit of heaving coughs, Kyle awoke.


He rolled over onto his stomach, taking what brief moments he could to recover. He didn't know at what point he had fallen over, but he soon became aware of the fact that he was freezing. His entire body shivered and shuddered violently. Slowly, carefully, he pushed himself up onto his knees, managing to assess the situation.


Ice covered a large swath of the arena, as if the entire place had experienced a sudden, massive flash-freeze. Gluttony and Adams had separated, neither any worse than they had been previously yet each kept busy fighting off a group of Pokémon--the combined teams of Kyle, Ray, Chloe, Ryan, and Sonja that had previously occupied the field. Among these, too, fought a Machamp and a Hitmonchan. They were battered and bruised, evidently having not done much better without their trainers than they had with their direction--and yet they remained standing, as much of a toll as it took on them.


On the outskirts of the field, Emmerich darted. He, too, bore obvious signs of injury--bruises and an arm that did not look in perfect working order. Yet he fought on. It was clear that he had taken it upon himself to salvage the situation as best as he could, as he belted out the orders that currently kept their foes' attention off of Kyle and the others. As Kyle watched, Adams tore into Loki, Kitheus, and Machamp with a massive Draco Meteor attack, pinning them down long enough for her to kick off in a beeline toward Sonja. She did not get very far, however, as a shout from Emmerich prompted Jaeda to slam into her from the sidelines, dragging the massive, white dragon back into the fray.


It was a hopeful sight. But as much as it might have invigorated Kyle, he found himself stuck, too weakened from shock to lift himself to his feet or call out to his teammates.


"Jaeda . . . Kitheus . . ." he panted. "Just . . . hang in there . . . a little longer . . ."


Above him, a light twinkled in the darkness . . .

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~ Rise of the Rockets (I II)/Discussion Topic/Side Stories ~


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IC: Jared Winters/Anubis


Jared jumped away as the concrete slab slammed down where he had been. The Conkeldurr wasn't pulling his blows as much; all fighters had a measure of their opponents' capabilities, knew where the line was. If Jared hadn't moved, the Conkeldurr wouldn't have committed fully to the blow.


The aura wielder nodded and rushed back in, silver light swirling around him as he kicked at the Pokémon's leg. Still reeling from the missed blow, the Conkeldurr staggered back, dropping its weapon, leaving it with just its fists. When it came to straight up hand-to-hand combat, Jared had the edge. As the Conkeldurr took a clumsy swing at him, he dodged underneath it and jabbed it in the gut.


The Machamp had regained its feet and was now holding Anubis tightly. With a growl, the four-armed beast squeezed, forcing the air from the Lucario in a loud exhalation. Grinning triumphantly, the Machamp dropped his opponent and turned away.


It was a mistake. Anubis was winded, but not by any means out of the fight. With a growl, he jumped back up and landed on the Machamp's back. His arms wrapped around the Machamp's neck, dragging back to restrict the larger Pokémon's breathing. The Machamp couldn't shake him lose, four arms failing to reach behind a large back to grab at the opponent.


Jared hopped back from another blow and saw the Machamp's struggle. Time to change targets and bring the fight to a close. He rushed in and unleashed a ball of silvery aura that split into multiple spheres. The barrage of aura spheres slammed into the Machamp, staggering him. With Anubis' weight dragging on him, the Machamp began to topple again. Anubis let go and spun to the side to avoid the weight falling on him.


Trainer and Pokémon came in at the same time, delivering the final blows to knock out the Machamp. As it went limp and its trainer returned it, they turned to focus the Conkeldurr, who had taken advantage of Jared's distraction to grab its concrete slabs again.


Jared was grinning. "Anubis, go in high, I'll come in low." His companion nodded, and the two rushed forward, Jared slightly behind. The first block swung, and Anubis jumped up onto it with surprising agility. The Conkeldurr growled and tried to shake him off; Anubis leapt again and landed on his opponent's shoulders. As he started raining blows on the Muscular Pokémon's head, Jared slid in and kicked at the opponent's feet.


The Conkeldurr kept his balance, and, in fact, managed to shake off Anubis long enough to deliver a kick to Jared's ribs. The trainer rolled a bit from the force of the kick and landed with a cough. Anubis snarled and slammed his palms into the Conkeldurr's back. The concrete slabs provided plenty of balance for the beefy creature, but it still felt the pain of the blows.


It was fighting a losing battle, but it was still going to try and defeat at least one of these opponents. It spun, concrete lashing out again. Anubis jumped over one, but the second one knocked him out of the air and sent him sprawling. Jared was getting to his feet as Anubis landed beside him. His silver eyes were as cold as ice as he stared at the Conkeldurr, still recovering from the melee.


"Again," he said as Anubis rose to his feet. "Go in high, I'll come in low." Anubis nodded, unaware of the change in mental state Jared had undergone. The two rose and rushed in again. This time, the Conkeldurr retaliated with a kick. Anubis juked to the side and jumped again, this time planting his feet in the opponent's chest. At the same moment, Jared rushed low, sliding between the Conkeldurr's legs and slashing with an aura blade. The Pokémon roared in pain as he was tipped backwards. He landed with a heavy crash, and his concrete blocks landed on either side of him.


The opposing trainer returned his second Pokémon. The ref called the match, and the opponent walked over to shake Jared's hand. "That was pretty cool! I might have to start sparring with my Pokémon, too, if it makes you that good of a fighter."


Jared smiled and nodded. "Take it easy at first, learn some basic punches and kicks at a dojo or something first. It is a good way to train, though."


He turned away and headed out of the hall.




The mindscape was barren, grass and trees and rocks all gone, replaced with smooth grey stone. As the hands left his body he stopped screaming and went limp, panting from the residual pain. He glared as his captor stepped away.


"Is that all, then?"


"The battle is over.


"You can't keep me strung up like this forever, you know."


"I don't see why not. You're nothing, literally nothing more than a figment of my imagination. You do what I believe you'll do."


"You're wrong, and you know it. If I was a mere apparition, nothing but an imaginary person, you wouldn't have lost time to me, I wouldn't be able to just take you over before."


"No, I don't think so." The captor turned to walk out of the cell.


"If you're right, you know you're a monster, don't you? If I'm not responsible for all the horrible things we've done, then it all lies on your shoulders." The double paused in the doorway. "That would make you a murderer, Jared."


"Get some rest. I'll probably need to draw on your abilities again before too long." Jared walked out and the iron door slammed closed, leaving Mercury in the dark once more.


IC: Yamamoto Aori


"I do have an idea," the girl said quietly. She was suddenly nervous as the adults looked at her. "We should go to Celadon City," she mumbled, reaching up to rub her forearm.

Edited by MELON LORD

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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IC: Shannon Willows - Hotel, Vermilion City

A chill ran down Shannon's spine. Celadon City. Did Aori have any idea what had happened there? Shannon wasn't sure if she was ready to go back, but if there was a possibility Aori's parents had gone there then Shannon would just have to get over her own anxieties. She masked her shock with a smile as she ran her hand through Aori's hair. "If we don't find your parents here in Vermilion, we can certainly try looking in Celadon. In fact, we should visit Ryan's Aunt Stacy while we're over there. She and helped me out when I was in trouble a while back, so I'm sure she'd be willing to give us a place to stay and help us in our search." The thought made her smile, genuinely this time, and helped alleviate some of her initial fears at returning to the city she had loathed so much. "It'll be nice to see her again."


IC: Dahlia Seaton - Battle Chateau
"Get back here, Olivia!" Dahlia started after her sister, but came to an abrupt halt when the redhead turned the corner at the end of the hallway. Redirecting her energy into her foot, the middle Seaton delivered a swift kick to the wall. Her shoe left a small skid mark on the otherwise pristine surface. How could she not have noticed how uncomfortable Olivia had been? She had let her emotions get the best of her. Again. And this time she had actually hurt someone close to her. Not physically, but sometimes emotional wounds were the most dangerous.
She had spent so long clinging to the idea of a reunited family that she had neglected to even consider her own sibling's feelings. Slipping her hands into her pockets, Dahlia glumly walked down the hall. She'd have to apologize once she actually found Olivia, but for now she needed some time to clear her head. A set of double doors led her outside, although it wasn't the main entrance by the bridge. Closing her eyes, Dahlia let the cool breeze wash over her face.


IC: Ryan Sanders - ???

The shadows seemed to strangle him, squeezing the life out of him, and yet Gluttony's -- was it still Gluttony's? -- voice rang loud and clear. The man who had taken on Ryan Sanders' visage now looked down at Ryan with contempt. "You claim to be so high and mighty, so righteous on your path to redemption, but the ugly truth is you haven't changed one bit. Adams died because of your screw-ups, Sanders. Which one of your friends do you think will kick the bucket this time? Will it be Kyle? The only one who knows about these Signs you'll have to deal with? Or Chloe, the only one who can actually fight back? Perhaps it'll be Ray, the man who risked his life to save you from Gluttony once before. No, the most painfully poetic would be Sonja. Tell me, Sanders, would you even be able to sleep at night knowing it was your actions that brought Sonja to her demise? What do you think they'll look like when Missing Zero gets through with them? How many more will you sacrifice to save your own pathetic skin?"


A chill colder than the depths of the Ice Geode rippled through Ryan's body. Shouts came from somewhere far away. Shadows moved through the darkness. "I won't let . . . anyone else die . . ." he wheezed.


The doppelganger simply laughed. "How can you ######### friends when you ########## save yourself?" His words cut in and out like a radio with poor reception. Suddenly the double turned ghostly as the shapes in the darkness started to take on clearer form.


He saw the draconic silhouette of Adams and the towering beast that was Gluttony. A human-shaped shadow -- Ryan couldn't tell who -- was giving orders while various Pokémon fought. The sounds of battle reached Ryan's ears as well, but they were muffled, as if he were listening from behind a thick door. Before Ryan could even begin to make sense of this, the shape of a Typhlosion flew towards him, sliding to a halt only a few feet away. Quil slowly picked himself up -- even in the murky darkness Ryan could tell he had suffered several injuries -- before charging back into the fray. Ryan reached out to stop him, but no sound escaped his lips.


There was a brief flash of light. Or was it a flash of darkness? Ryan couldn't tell, but immediately after the flash the shadows of Togie, Garchomp, Samurott, Mismagius, and Flaaffy appeared before him. The Pokémon turned to look at him, and Ryan swore he saw concern through the indiscernible darkness of their faces before they took off after Quil. Gluttony roared as he started to engage the new combatants.


"####### die." Ryan's doppelganger flickered back into view. "They're ############## lives away for a pathetic #######."


"N-no . . ." Ryan struggled to push himself to his feet. His eyes grew wide as Gluttony let loose with a powerful attack. He was way too close to the fighting. Fear took ahold of him and told him to run. His Pokémon could hold their own for a brief time, but if Ryan took even one direct hit from that monster he'd be dead. Legs pumped automatically and he found himself stumbling away from the fight, running blindly through the darkness. It wasn't until he saw the shadow of the large pedestal on the side of the arena that Ryan found a clear direction. He ducked behind the structure and covered his head even as the darkness closed in around him.


"You can't outrun it!" A terrible pain wracked through his head. Ryan covered his ears to blot out the words, but his doppelganger's voice sounded as clear as ever. "You're a walking disaster, Sanders! Wherever you go, tragedy follows, and you can only divert your own suffering onto others for so long!"


"I . . . no . . ." The darkness was choking him again. He glared up at his shadow. "You're . . . not real . . ."


The doppelganger delivered a swift kick to Ryan's stomach. Pain erupted from the point of contact and Ryan lay curled up in a fetal position as he gasped for breath. With a cold expression the double stepped on Ryan's fingers. "I'm afraid I'm very real," he said, narrowing his eyes. "No matter how many times you deny it, you can't escape the truth."

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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-==IC: Olivia Seaton -- Outside Battle Chateau, Kalos==-

Olivia took a deep breath, as she looked up to the sky, Poké Gear in hand. She didn't like the idea of leaving Dahlia in the dark any more than her sister liked it herself. But she couldn't just tell her. The redhead idly played with the charms on her Poké Gear, an uneasy look on her face. A few moments later, a beep caught her attention.

{"I got your message. What's up?"}

Simple as ever. Olivia rolled her eyes slightly as she typed out a reply.

{"Dahlia was asking questions about you… I'm not sure what to do."}

There was a long delay after she pressed send. Finally, a beep signaled a response.

{"Where are you, Olivine? Let's schedule a meet up."}

{"That's not gonna work, Corey, I'm waaaaay far away from Olivine."}

{"Well… then… I hate to say this, but just let it be for now. Maybe that meet up could be later. Anyway… how's everyone doing?"}

Olivia sighed as she held her head with the palm of her hand. She knew that this was the only way that worked, but she worried that Dahlia wouldn't drop the issue until she got the answer. The Rocket agent stopped to think about that too. Was that normal for Dahlia? She felt guilty, as she didn't know the answer to that.


{"Oh, sorry, just… it's been a rough few months."}

{"I getcha. The ceasefire sounded like it would help things, but stuff around Goldenrod has been hectic as well, especially since that flash the other day. It's as if they've emboldened people around here. It sucks."}

Olivia laughed at the bluntness of the last sentence. She took a moment to think about everything as she chewed on her lip.

{"Yeah… I don't know, though. Like, take this for example, when was the last time we even talked? It feels like this last month in particular has just been a trip through my past. Plus, I've gotten caught up in so much more than I ever thought I would."}
{"Then like, things start going good, but I get scared, right? I start getting over protective, like if I don't keep fighting with all I have to make sure everyone I care about stays close, I'm just gonna lose them again. And that just hurts the same people I wanna protect…"}

{"I've been trying to be better about it, but like… did I make the right call? I wanted to help everyone. But now it just seems like I just made it all worse for everyone. I don't even feel like I know my own sister anymore…"}

{"That's… that's a lot for you to handle on your own, Liv. I know you had issues with Aspen, but, I didn't expect…"}
{"I'm sorry. What were some of those good things, though? Maybe talking 'bout them could help?"}

Olivia took a deep breath as she pressed against the wall, trying to keep hidden as long as she had time.

{"Well… Some of the not-good things involved like, Dahlia getting kidnapped and us all getting wrapped up in big fights by accident."}

{"Liv. Honey. Sweetie. I said good things. :-P"}

{"Yeah, yeah, I was getting there!"}
{"Anyway. As I was saying… All those things happened, but like, we got Dahlia back, I did meet some new friends, some of my Pokémon evolved, and I met up with Chloe and we're girlfriends now."}

There was a notable pause after Olivia sent that message.


Olivia was a mix of amused at the response, and surprised that Corey and Chloe had met up. A mischievous smile crept on her face, however.

{"It's to the left of the A key, Corey."}

{"What? … Oh, haha, very funny Liv."}

{"Joking aside, a few weeks ago; she helped me get Dahlia back, then after some… other stuff… we actually like, talked some things over. And here we are."}

{"I'm glad. Oh, gotta go, some stuff just came up."}

{"Alright, seeya."}

The redhead turned off the screen of her Poké Gear with a sigh. She slowly stood up, unsure exactly how long she had been sitting there. After a quick stretch, she walked down the steps and looked around to see where the rest of the group had gotten to.

-==IC: Chloe Hikari -- ???==-

"Let go of me." Chloe said with a forceful tone. Things began to flood back to her, as she began to see more shapes in the background that felt familiar. But Madeleine held tight to her arm.

"No. Don't you want to be my friend? Well here you have it." The blonde woman gave a toothy grin, as she leaned close, forcing Chloe to move back slightly. "We're fine here, and we can stay friends forever."

"You're not Madeleine." Chloe wrenched her arm free as she stepped back. "This place… this isn't actually happening. Is it?" The young woman clenched her fists as snow began to fall around them. She watched as Madeleine chuckled to herself.

"Oh, Yuki. If I'm not Madeleine, then who am I?" The blonde stepped forward again, mouth curled upward even more. "I don't know if you understand any of what's going on."

"I understand enough!" Chloe said as she helped Ally's Poké Ball in hand. "You're the creation of a monster. That monster did all this." She tossed the capsule forward, as the Gallade appeared, ready to slice through the apparent apparition as quickly as she could. Madeleine seemed surprised, as she looked toward the ground. She laughed, though the laughter sounded sad at the same time.

"You're… absolutely right. I'm just the creation of a monster. But so are you, aren't you?" When Madeleine looked up, her eyes had changed from the brilliant blue they were to a bright red. The sky turned stormy as the blonde floated into the air, red energy pouring from the place that Ally slashed at. "You aren't any more innocent in all this, if I'm the creation of a monster, Yuki. I thought you of all people would get that."

The double meaning wasn't lost on Chloe. She looked up at her old schoolmate, thinking back to what happened. "Ally, let's get her out of the sky." With a sad look on her face, the auburn-haired girl stepped forward, her eyes glowing green. She had a feeling that she could break this whatever-it-was, but… she had a chance that she didn't want to pass up. Chloe reached out to grab hold of Madeleine as the blonde's words rang in her ears again. How she didn't understand what was going on.

Maybe Madeleine was right. I thought this was just because of the flash, but… parts of this just seem to want to keep me in here, but other parts… Chloe waited until Ally got close. "Psycho Cut her!" She glanced away as the ranged shockwaves released more of the red energy and Madeleine fell slightly. The psychic woman reached out and took hold of the blonde girl with her powers, then pulled her back down to earth.

"Why can't you just stop? Why can't you ever just let me win?" Madeleine cried out as she struggled against the psychic energy. Chloe walked forward, a calm and sad look on her face as the storm faded back to a light snowfall.

"Maddy… that isn't the point. You've known that for a while, right? We discussed this…" Chloe stopped in front of the blonde. "But… you aren't actually here. This isn't actually real. I get it now, you showed up because this was going to stop me, right?" The other woman stayed quiet. "I think I could have broken out. I have the most control here… but… I wanted to say something. I'm sorry."

Madeleine looked at Chloe as if she were stunned, but the younger girl with the auburn hair continued on. "I should have tried harder. I should have made sure you were safe more often. But I didn't. I let you down, just like I let Olivia and the others down. I… don't even know where you are anymore. If you're even still alive in the real world." Chloe bit her lip, but then closed her eyes and hugged the blonde girl tight.

"But I was wrong to not try harder. Maybe one day we can meet again, properly. I still have to thank you properly for…"

Chloe opened her eyes as she heard the din of battle once more. Why was her face wet? She felt weak and fell to her knees for a moment as she slowly caught her breath and tried to keep herself composed even as she began to shiver from the cold.

I'll tell her those things myself one day. Right now… we have to fight.

-==IC: Ray Hakuda -- ???==-

-Day 2-

"Huh?" Ray groaned, as he sat up. He didn't remember falling asleep in the beanie chair, but here he was. He yawned and glanced around with a smile. The battery packs he had bought lined up around the still-running generator, his Pikachu friend sleeping peacefully on top of it. Ray stood up with a stretch as he shivered. He'd have to remember about fixing that heater soon.

A little while later, the young man walked through the streets of Goldenrod, hands in his pockets. He was too lazy to actually fix his hair today, which was extremely messy by now, so he instead fastened the hairclip to his shirt. He wanted to at least wear it in some way, even if it wasn't in his hair. He wasn't sure exactly what to do today, but stopped by the department store. No-one was actually around at the moment.

That's strange… Ray thought to himself as he glanced around. With a grin, he began to look around the store. Well, I've always wanted to try acting as a self-checkout.

After a little while, the young man had gathered up a lot of the supplies he would need. He munched on a snack bar as he considered everything. He had thought about getting actual groceries, but realized that it wasn't the best idea until he figured out whether the fridge worked or not. Still…

"How are you doing on this fine day?" Ray asked, as he stood behind the counter with a grin. He quickly dashed around to the other side.

"Oh, just fine, you know! I've found this neat abandoned building and I'm staying there because my father is a big mean jerk!" Ray replied as he dug out some money from his wallet, then ran to the other side again.

"How awful. At least you've found some place to stay." The man rang in the items with a smile, placing them in a bag when he was done.

"Yes, I've got a nice little Pikachu friend to keep me company, so it's pretty nice actually!" Ray stopped and leaned against the counter for a moment to catch his breath. "This running around is a lot more tiring than I had considered it to be."

After he finished off checking out, he left the department store. With a nervous look, he glanced around. "This is odd, though… aren't there usually a bunch of people, if not in the store, like… around town?" Ray mumbled as he seemed a bit unsettled. Even so, he went home to his new hideaway.

"I'm home!" The young man called out. After a couple seconds, the Pikachu squeaked a greeting as she ran up to him. Ray knelt down and scratched the mouse behind the ears. He shivered again, then dug out some tools to try and fix the heater. A few minutes later, he sighed. "Alright, so maybe I'm not the best at this, but I need to actually get this working. I can't actually check the fridge until it is…" He paused, and held a hand close to the heater.

"Wait, why is it giving off heat if it's not heating the room?"

-==IC: Ryan Hikari -- Vermilion City==-

"That's a good idea, actually, we could maybe like, spend the day there after we check around town or something." Ryan glanced at the other two with a smile. "Alright, so to recap, you two check around here while I'm busy filming stuff, then we'll head to Celadon either later today or tomorrow, depending on when I'm done."


-==IC: Marie -- Hau'oli City, Alola==-


With a sigh, a young woman leaned against the wall of the photo center, tapping her foot on the ground. She glanced around, as she had been planning to meet up with a person she had traveled from Sinnoh to meet up with.


"Typical..." The woman mumbled, as she brushed her blonde hair out of her face. She waited a few more minutes, then sighed as she began to walk back toward the Pokémon Center.


"Oh! Marie! Marie! Over here!" The blonde turned her head as she saw a brunette girl run over to her. "Sorry, I thought you told me the Pokémon Center; I've been waiting there for the last half hour."


Marie blinked at the girl, then snickered for a moment before it became fully fledged laugh. She grinned at her friend, and gave a thumbs up. "No worries here, Lindsey. I can't be mad at a reason like that. Alola!" She gave an Alolan wave, which her friend returned the favour for. "So, what were we wanting to do? I think you mentioned something about downtime or so?"

"Girl, you've been working yourself so much on whatever it is you do." Lindsey crossed her arms as she raised an eyebrow. "Like, you keep doing something, but never tell anyone what it is. It sounds like you've only had a break recently." After a moment, she broke from her pose and draped an arm around Marie with a chuckle. "And then you start going to far off places like Kalos!"

"Well... the travel is my downtime... I don't need to worry about my other project because it's finished, so... now I get to enjoy myself, I guess." The blonde girl rubbed the back of her head. Her friend rolled her eyes, however.


"I don't know that you do know how to enjoy yourself, so! What we're going to do is help fix that! A night on the town!" Lindsey gestured dramatically at each mention, as she led Marie onward. The brunette continued to chat away about the different things planned, though Marie couldn't tell whether or not any of it actually appealed to her. She glanced away at one point, as she started to consider the girl's point.


Did she know how to actually enjoy herself?

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-==IC: Evan Tierra/Kris/Jenny - Ula'Ula Beach - [12]==-

“It’s not impossible.” Evan said, a pondering look on his face. “The mere existence of Palkia has proven that alternate worlds is possible. At least the legends say that…..”

"Why did I end up in Sinnoh, though? I don't understand a lot of these memories still…" Kris frowned with a slightly frustrated look on her face. Meanwhile, however, Jenny seemed lost in thought as she stared at the drawing a little more.

The man thought for a moment, before smiling. “Maybe….it was after that incident with the Other Jenny?” Evan thought aloud. “But, from what I know of that incident, thanks to Jenny, it took place four years ago, but that other Jenny looked younger than the Jenny here…..”

"Four?" Kris frowned, a puzzled look on her face. "I've been here for the past five years though, I know that for a fact."

“Well, you were at Spear Pillar, which is not only connected to Palkia, but Dialga as well.” The Plasma Agent said, intrigued by the train of thought which he was riding. “It could be that Dialga….could have done something about time in your world.” He then added, chuckling. “It’s certainly not impossible, considering what I know it can do.”

“World?” a voice called out from behind. Further down on the beach was the Aether Foundation boat that had taken James away. James himself had been walking towards them during their conversation. Lancelot was following behind him, while Galahad was soaring above him. He had only caught the last brief snippet of their conversation. “Should I ask for context?”

“Not unless you want your mind bent, Executive Arthur.” Evan said, chuckling. “How was your meeting, if I may ask?”

“The details are classified but I would say I have a good feeling,” James said. His smile was just a bit smug. Not as smug as he actually felt, but a smile that smug wouldn’t be appropriate in public. And things could still fall apart between now and things being finalized. But for now, James felt pretty good about his performance. “And your search for Z-Moves, how is it progressing?”

“We’ve got an idea of how to procure what we need for them, but it hinges on getting the trust of the people of Alola, as well as one of the…..’Tapus’ of the islands.” Evan said, recalling what Kris had told the couple. “It may not be an easy task, but Kris says that maybe firing up the people with a showy battle may help us with all that.”

“The Guardian Deities. Well it seems like a fun idea you have planned,” he said trailing off for a moment as he looked back at Lancelot. They still had to master the evolution that Lancelot did on One Island. It was possible that an intense battle might help. “I would be willing to join in on your project. When did you plan to have the fight occur?”

"It's been scheduled for two days from now. That should be enough time to prepare for most people involved, I feel." Kris glanced at James curiously. "Did you wish to partake in the battle?"

James closed his eyes and rubbed his chin. Two days. It was longer than he hoped. He had his meeting with Colress tomorrow. If he hadn’t mastered the evolution by then, an ally Liberty needed would slip through their fingers, and he’d lose his bargaining chip. Still, the point was moot. James felt that he wouldn’t want to stay in Alola much longer. He had to tend to matters back at Four Island. But then James looked at Lancelot and Galahad. If this was going to be a fight worthy of the Guardian Deities, well they deserved to be a part of it. “I do,” James said at last.

"Alright. That sounds good. Would you like to join in on a practice session again before the battle begins?" Kris asked, a smile on her face at how that worked out.

That grabbed Lancelot’s attention. Even Galahad began to float nearer. “Very well, what do you have in mind?”

"Well, since it is getting a little late, I figured that we would head toward my home, but then…" Kris' smile grew slightly wider. "How about you battle me? Evan and Jenny got a taste of my strength yesterday, so I feel it's only fitting." The woman paused for a moment, as she thought over the day before again. "Oh, right. Yesterday, you asked my name. Well, with the help of our two heroes here, my memory's been coming back slowly. My name is Kris Homura; once champion of another Johto."

“Another… Johto?” James stumbled back slightly. He remembered the tail end of the conversation that he overheard. “I… might want to ask you more about that later. For now, Lance-”

James stopped. Lancelot was in a fighting mood. His wings were spread and he was hopping from side to side. The Scizor was surprised to hear James stop. Were they going to fight her or not?

“Lance, could you observe me? I need to train Agravain and,” James paused for a moment. “And I was hoping you could comment on my ability as a trainer. You never really get a chance to observe. I would like your input.”

Lancelot cocked his head. Commentary on strategy wasn’t normally his thing. But he relented.

“I have a young Karrablast here,” James said tossing out an Ultra Ball, sending Agravain out into the open. “He could use some more training. Is that alright?”

"That could work, I believe." Kris nodded, as she considered her options. "I believe that I have a Pokémon that could work well enough with even a young Pokémon. Should we stay here for now, then?"

“Hmm, we had a battle near here earlier. You said you were going to bring us to your home? How is the terrain around there?” James asked.

"It's somewhat rocky and grassy. I live near an oasis just outside the desert nearby It's not too far from here either." The blue haired woman thought things over, then nodded. "Yes, that would work best I feel. When you're all ready, I'll lead the way, and we'll pick up Evan and Jenny's Pokémon in the process."

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-==IC: Kris/Jenny/James/Evan - Route 13 - [13]==-


After a short trek from the beach, the four trainers reached the oasis that had been mentioned. Kris smiled as she walked forward toward the water. "My home isn't too far away. It's only a trailer, but I think it could hold anyone who wanted to sleep over tonight." A hand reached down to her belt, as she turned to face James.


"But first, I owe you a battle." The blue-haired woman said with a smile, as she pulled a Poké Ball off the belt and threw it forward. A Shuckle appeared, squealing happily as it assessed the situation nearby.


Shuckle. The sturdiest of all bugs. Its shell is thought to be sturdier than anything else under heaven. The Karrablast he got on the other hand was a quicker specimen. James was confident that he had mobility on his side for this fight. He walked over and touched a tree for a moment. Agravain looked at him, trying to get a feel for what James was thinking. They hadn’t known each other long, so the bug had trouble figuring him out.


“Very well, I am ready,” James said turning back towards Kris and Shuckle.


The Shuckle scurried forward and got into a defensive stance in between the two Trainers, a confident look on her face. Kris smiled at the scene, then nodded to James. "I'll let you make the first move."


James took one at the Shuckle, once at Agravain, and once at the tree. “Agravain, climb this tree.”


Agravain took off with hustle towards the tree. The bug clambered up the tree as fast as its stubby arms would take it. When he got to the first fruiting branch, James called out, “Now start tossing berries at Shuckle!”


Agravain plucked a berry from the branch and tossed it at the Shuckle. As soon as he tossed, he began to look for another berry to toss.


Kris and the Shuckle both blinked in confusion at the rather unorthodox technique. The first berry hit because of that, though the next few berries were caught and gently set down on the ground. The first berry caught, however, was munched on by the Shuckle while she waited for the next moves.


James didn’t make any other orders. But he had chosen that specific tree for a reason. Because it had been entangled with another kind of tree. To keep the element of surprise, he had to wait until Agravain had found the right one. Lancelot was observing and figured out what he has about to try. When Agravain plucked a red berry from the tree that was adjacent to the one he was on, James finally called out.


“Throw the berry with your horn,” James called out. “Aim directly for its head!”


Agravain wondered what it would accomplished but grasped the berry with his horn. As he moved, the horns dug into the berry, creating holes in them. When the Karrablast threw the berry at the bug lower down, it came at it faster than before. But more importantly, the juices from the distinct red berry trailed behind it.


The Shuckle attempted to dodge the berry and its trail of fiery pain, but the berry slammed into the bug directly. The Shuckle ducked into her shell for a moment to try and use her berry juice to heal the burning pain, which left the Shuckle at least somewhat more open to attacks.


Evan observed the ingenuity of James’s strategy, internally taking notes to make sure he could do more than just mere brute force with his pokémon in the future. He was going to cheer on the young Karrablast, but refrained from it, considering that James needed his focus for a battle like this.


James was considering if there was anything he could do to deal major damage. The only thing left to wield were the branches of the trees. That wouldn’t do much better than using Agravain’s natural gifts to attack. Karrablasts were the natural of enemy of Shelmets. If nothing else, it would bring forth this former champion’s strategy


“Alright, Agravain. Take to the offense!” James yelled. “Strike with your horn!”


Agravain let out a war chirp as he hopped down branches before leaping onto the Shuckle’s shell. He then struck at the withdrawn Shuckle through one of the many holes.


With a muffled yelp from inside the shell, the Shuckle dodged around as best as she could from inside, trying to think of some way to get the other bug to be knocked away. After one of the attempted attacks, the Shuckle extended her arms and legs, then tried to flip herself and the Karrablast quickly.


There wasn’t much Agravain could do to dodge, not that he was the type to dodge. He was thrown from the Shuckle. Ensuring that happened quickly was all he could to not get squished by the Shuckle’s hard shell. James was impressed that the plan had gone as well as it did.


With a sigh of relief, the Shuckle ambled forward after sticking her head back out of the shell. She was wary of the Karrablast still, but was intent on continuing the fight.


James was formulating his next move, when a car horns blared. A row of jeeps were waiting to get past where the battle was taking place.


“Unfortunately, it seems our battle will have to be postponed,” James said. He was a mix of disappointment and relief. He hadn’t figured out another way to actually damage the the Shuckle, but it was always frustrating to have a battle interrupted. The group made way for the convoy to pass. James might not have thought anything of it, until he saw who was driving the last jeep. The same man who he’d seen when he went for coffee early that morning. The memory bothered James again.


James watched which direction the jeeps were moving for a moment. “If you do not mind a further interruption to our battle, I would like to speak to the driver of that car.”


"That's fine, Mr. Arthur." Kris replied, as she recalled the Shuckle back to her Poké Ball. "You have some pretty interesting tactics - maybe we could switch things up later if this discussion doesn't take too long." The blue-haired woman watched where the jeeps went. "That is an odd sight, too… do you mind company?"


“I suppose not,” James mentioned. He seemed a bit distracted.


"Everything okay?" Jenny asked, as she glanced over at James curiously. She didn't want to outright ask, but she noticed how distracted he seemed, plus she found it a little strange that he suddenly wanted to talk to some driver that passed by.


“Just a nagging sense of deja vu. I cannot fathom why though,” James said as he began to walk in the direction of the jeeps.


Evan frowned at the jeeps. They had just interrupted the spectacular battle, and that annoyed the battler within himself, but he was curious as to why James would so much as give them the time of day, rather than getting out of the way.“Well, whoever this is, hopefully they’ll be polite to you, Executive Arthur.” The Plasma Agent said, sounding a little miffed.


James lead the group to follow the jeeps. The jeeps pulled behind a large rock outcropping. Out of the way, out of sight of the traffic flowing through the route. Instinctively, James’s movements slowed and his eyes narrowed. He slammed Percival’s Ultra Ball onto the ground.


“Look ahead for me, Percival. There is a number of jeeps ahead. Tell me what you find,” James said.


The Chandelure blinked out of sight, his last movements being in the general direction of the jeeps. Not even thirty seconds later, he was back. And he was shivering.


“Percival? What is wrong? Did you see something?” James asked, concerned.


Percival shook his body. He didn’t see anything particular. Well, he saw a person. But for some reason he became afraid. He didn’t know why.


“Percival, I need your help right now. Can you try again?” James said. The last time the Chandelure looked this scared was when he had sent the ghost type to investigate Pierce’s headquarters.


The Chandelure took a few moments to calm himself. He turned back towards the rock outcropping and disappeared again. In the moments that passed, Lancelot tapped James on the shoulder. Even he had felt something wrong coming from the jeeps. He pointed at Agravain who also looked perturbed by them.


“What is going on?” James said very quietly.


The Chandelure came back this time after a few minutes. He was still shaking but he seemed to know something.


“I do not suppose any of you are telepathic?” James asked.


"I am." Kris said, though the notion of the other Pokémon feeling nervous unsettled her by proxy. She reached out to the still-nervous Chandelure. "Hello. My name is Kristina, how are you doing?" She decided to start out with kind words to help calm the ghost-type down. After a few moments of silently working with Percival, which Jenny and co watched quietly, Kris took a deep breath.


"Well, this doesn't sound good at all." Kris announced finally, as she turned to the others, a frown on her face. "From what Percival told me, their trucks are loaded with weapons, they're all wearing armour without identification on it, and… he's still scared, even to this moment. Or, no, scared isn't quite the word, but…" Her frown deepened. "Although the answer here would be to leave it because of the danger of weapons, those same weapons make me uneasy. We need to follow them; Tapu Bulu lives in the direction they are headed. I'm worried about what they might want there."


The Liberty Executive crossed his arms. He silently wished that he could agree. His face was tense. He’d bitten his lip and his brow was furrowed. “Legally, we do not have the right to take action. If they are part of a covert operation we could cause an international incident. Furthermore, the danger--”


"What do you want to do?" Kris interrupted with a frown, as she crossed her arms. "If these people are the same type of people as Team Galactic, or any people like that, then what happens when they d-”


“What do you want us to do, Executive Arthur?” Evan interrupted the Executive, sounding concerned. “I’m a Hero, and my gut is telling me that those people are bad news, based on what we know.”


James was silent for a moment. His mind and his gut were in disagreement. The logical, legal option would be to call Alola’s authorities and wash their hands of this. But his gut couldn’t stop focusing on the pendant he had seen. “I want to investigate this myself, of course, but...”


His mind started coming up with rationalizations. If there was danger, they were some of the most qualified people to be able to stop it by sheer virtue of Lancelot having his powers. The usual stuff about how he couldn’t trust anyone else to get the job done right. But he knew they were empty compared to the truth. He wanted to go because he was selfish and he wanted to know what was going on.


Lancelot pushed James forward. The Scizor didn’t need to hear any excuse. James sighed, using his mouth to hide a small smile. This was probably a bad idea, but he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t glad that the Scizor was pushing him into it. 


“Very well. However, I must insist on two conditions. I cannot jeopardize the future relations between Alola and Team Liberty. The world cannot afford such a conflict right now. My first condition is that we will only fight if attacked first. Even if we find evidence of nefarious intent, vigilantism may make the situation worse. Second, if we find evidence that they are working for the Alolan government, we leave immediately. Are we agreed?”


“I can agree to those terms, sir.” Evan said, smiling reassuringly as he drew out Vlad’s Poké Ball. “Lead on, and we shall follow.”

Edited by Metal Gear Minun


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-==IC: Ryan Hikari -- Vermilion City==-
Before anything else could happen, Ryan's Poké Gear beeped with a message.

Agent Hikari, please head to the following address. We have a long day ahead of us.

-Miriam Shields

Ryan closed the message, then glanced at the room. "Well, looks like it's time for me to get going. Have a good day, you two, alright?" He smiled at the two girls as he went to pick up his bag to head out for the filming.

Edited by Blessed Blade
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IC: Jared Winters/Lachina Adaon/Emily Lockwood


Once everyone was done with their various distractions, they gathered across the bridge from the Chateau. Jared nodded. "Everyone good, then? We should be on the road again."


"Actually," Lachina said, "doesn't the route we're taking go through a cave? Probably one with lots of annoying Zubat, who are actually kind of a threat right now?"


Emily nodded. "Yes, that's true. It might be dangerous."


Jared raised an eyebrow. "What do you propose instead?"


"We're heading to Cyllage, to the west, yes?" Emily asked. At Jare'ds nod, she gestured to the river. "Cyllage is on coast, and this river flows right out to the ocean."


Lachina smiled. "Hey, that sounds like a great idea. We can all relax a bit and ride our Pokémon, since we couldn't take a car."


"Yeah, no objections here." Jared looked at the rest of the group. "Does anyone else have any complaints? I have my Lapras who has room on her back."


"And Kammy just evolved into a Blastoise a bit ago," Emily said helpfully, tugging on Colleen's arm softly. "That sounds lovely, doesn't it?"


"So, who all has rideable Pokémon?" Lachina asked. "I'll take Aolani, so don't worry about saving room for me."


"And Oggie can fit five people, maybe six if it's someone small."

Edited by MELON LORD

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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OOC: Content warning: allusions to transphobia and homophobia.


IC: Alex the Green/Alex Zyther


“So. Problem?”


“Er… no?”


The green Witch sighed. “Could we try to bypass the standard dishonesty? Even were I not practiced by necessity at detecting deception, we are, arguably, the same person, which would render your tells blatantly obvious to me even if we weren’t utterly incapable of maintaining a believable lie.”


Alex studied his double awkwardly for a moment. “So we have a tendency toward wordiness when upset. Good to know.”


Alex the Green huffed, but did not deny the assessment. “You’ll have to forgive my… defensiveness… when put under the kind of scrutiny you’ve been giving me. I assure you, it’s well-founded.”


“I… ‘scrutiny’?” Belatedly, Alex realized the extent of his own actions. “Oh. Er… sorry. I don’t mean to be… well, mean or anything, it’s just… weird.”


Alex the Green raised a suspicious eyebrow. “Care to elaborate on what precisely you mean by that?”


Alex winced at his counterpart’s pointed tone. “It’s just… on some level, you’re me, and when I see you like that, it implies… like, not in a bad way or anything, I’m just not sure if I’m ready to outright… or even what I’d be going for in the first place. It’s all so frustrating…”


The witch Alex steepled their fingers, closed their eyes, and sighed slowly through their nose, as if trying to manually vent the tension from their body. “Okay, so while I acknowledge that we are, in a sense, equivalent on a cosmic level, I have to stress that I cannot, in fact, read your mind, so if you could try that again with words and complete sentences that would significantly improve our communication situation.”


Alex stared at his counterpart, distracted by realization. “You’re… completely different from me, aren’t you? You’re like Amelia. Bitter. Sarcastic. Paranoid. Constantly searching, waiting for someone to jump out of the shadows and attack you.”


“I prefer the term ‘vigilant’.”


“Why? What happened to make you like this?”


Alex the Green gave a hollow laugh, throwing an unimpressed look at the other Alex when they realized he was sincere. “Presumably, something similar to what happened to your version of Amy, based on you comparing us.”


Alex swallowed the suddenly-growing lump in his throat. “No,” he whispered, “I don’t think so. I… We would have just broken.”


The witch snorted. “Speak for yourself. Seven years of suffering do a lot to steel someone.”


Alex started, but forced down his surprise to nod in sympathy. “I guess that makes sense. I wouldn’t know, I can’t even remember that far back.”


This time, it was Alex the Green’s turn to be surprised. “You don’t remember our childhood?”


Alex shook his head.


The witch sighed. “That… would explain a lot, then.” They closed their eyes. “It… wasn’t the worst childhood, but… well. We were always different, Amy and I, but it wasn’t until our teenage years that people started to think we were wrong. Actually, that’s not quite true -- the whispers started with Amy’s sister, but it wasn’t until Amy came out that they…” The green-clad witch trailed off, forcing themself to breathe and unclench their tightened fists. “I’m sorry. I should have realized -- you’re not the kind of person to be cruel and suspicious. You’re… well, you’re a lot more similar to Amy than to me.”


Alex smiled wanly. “I’m glad there’s at least one universe where she didn’t suffer.”


“Oh, she suffered,” the witch corrected, “but it never broke her. We can thank Belle for that. Me, on the other hand…”


Silence grew between the two, but eventually Alex grew anxious enough to break it. “Do you… want to talk about it?”


Alex the Green gave their counterpart an appraising look. “…Maybe. Not tonight, though.” They grimaced. “Tell you what. Tonight, we drop the subject. We go back to Geosenge, have our dinner, get some rest. Tomorrow… we have a battle.”


To his dismay, Alex found himself uncharacteristically unenthused by the prospect. “A battle?”


“Yes. For all the magic I’ve studied, for all the people I’ve met, there’s still no quicker way to learn a person’s heart than by battling them. If we’re going to get into this -- and I have a feeling we need to, for your sake as much as mine -- then we’re going to need that level of understanding.”


Alex regarded his counterpart uncertainly. “All right. If you say so.”


“Good.” The witch summoned their broom to their hand and mounted it sidesaddle, scooting toward the handle to make room for their non-magical counterpart. “Come on. We should get back to the others. They’ll need our help moving the body for the burial.”


Alex’s gaze grew distant. “The burial… right…” Pushing down the trauma, the Trainer copied his counterpart, and the two Alexes flew off to rejoin the rest of their group.


Me: *has idea*

Blade: "I'd say too convoluted, and I know too convoluted =P"


"Dangit, I shouldn't have gotten ambitious."

--Merc, RE: our plotting


Pokémon Rise of the Rockets Profiles: LINK

3DS FC: 3625-9584-9417 (Pokemon X Friend Safari: Electric-type, Pachirisu, Electabuzz, Zebstrika)

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IC - Sonja Baron - Accumula Town, Unova:


A familiar stump in the front yard. This was where a withered ash tree had once stood; at the telltale signs of its progressing disease and impending death, Anton Baron had commissioned its removal. The wood had been cleansed and cut, made into an ornate rocking chair that sat upon the front porch. Marya Baron sat there now, knitting a red scarf, the ruddy color of her nose and cheeks the only indication of effect from the winter air. The stump remained, a favorite spot where his youngest daughter now lay, staring, cloudy-eyed, at the house in front of her.


It had been a long time since she had come here. She had completely forgotten what it looked like--the single-story stretched along the top of the hill; the garage and driveway further down, where a rusty blue truck rested with its cracked windshield. Both buildings a soft, baby blue on the outside with dark, reddish-brown tiling on the roof. Smoke poured out from the chimney of the house, courtesy of the fire burning and bringing forth the warmth within.


The cold wind blew, and Sonja remained still, staring. Her mother caught her eye and smiled. Sonja felt herself instinctively smiling back; when Marya looked away, she felt the smile fade, unconsciously, from her face.


She felt numb. She recognized her home. She knew it was real. This was where she belonged. Everything she had experienced . . . It felt like it was fading away, a long dream from which she had finally awakened. Just that morning, she had helped her mother prepare breakfast--plus early preparation for Christmas. They had made sugar cookies alongside quiche and bacon. Mother had cooked Sophia's favorite breakfast potato recipe, a celebration of her return from the Championships. It was perfect.


Why did she feel sad?


"Sonja," her mother called. "Be careful."


"Of course, mama."


Something weighed on her heart. She didn't understand what. 


Tears fell and hit her hand. Sonja blinked, looking down. What was she reading? It was a strange book, bound in leather. Swirling patterns rose across the cover, and there was a unique symbol inscribed in each corner. In the center, the gem of a four-point star glowed. She picked at the two leather straps binding it closed.


She didn't recognize this. Where had she gotten it? She picked it up, turning it to read the spine.


"Baby sister." Sonja looked up. Sophia stood in front of her. She smiled warmly. "Aren't you cold out here?"


"I'm okay," Sonja said. "It's okay."


"What are you reading? Is it any good?"


Sonja lowered her gaze back to the book.


Grimoire des Panneaux.


She shrugged. "I . . . I just found it. I don't know . . ."


Sophia sat beside her. "You look sad. What's wrong?"


What was wrong?


"I . . ." Sonja shook her head. "I don't know . . ."


"Mm . . ." Sophia stared at her. She pulled Sonja in close. "That's okay. You don't have to know."


"Thank you . . ." Sonja rested a hand on Sophia's arm, squeezing it gently. "Sophia . . . I missed you a lot."


"I missed you, too, Sonja. You, and mom, and dad. I thought about you every day."


"Did you really?"


"Really." Sophia kissed Sonja's forehead. "I love you, baby sister."


Sonja's throat tightened. Her chest hurt and she fought a losing battle against the tears welling in her eyes.


"I love you, too, Sophia."


They sat there for some time. They never moved. Even when the smoke expanded, surrounded the case now burning bright against the night sky, they never moved. When the flames reached out and spread to the garage, they never moved. And when the yard caught fire and the stump along with it, surrounding them and signing them away to a quiet demise beside the bodies in front of them . . .


They never moved.








A jolt shot up Sonja's spine. She gasped as a bright, rainbow-colored light overtook her vision . . .



IC - Kyle Eston (Jaeda, Kitheus)/Emmerich Coleman (Machamp, Hitmonchan)/Sonja Baron (Loki)/Gluttony/Quincy Adams - Arena, Vertrag:


It was a whirlwind of chaos that completely changed the course of the battle.


There was a series of light flashes, five in total, where Ryan's team had emerged onto the field. Evolved, partially-evolved--it did not matter; five Pokémon of various sizes and Types had manifested on the field, each ready to lay down their life to protect their trainer. Ryan had appeared to awaken from his . . . vision? Dream? Nightmare? Kyle wasn't sure what the correct word was. But he had come to with a start, witnessing the engagement.


The tide had turned for the better.


It was not to last.


Adams and Gluttony. By now, both were enraged. Whatever their goal, whatever their target, it was clear that they would not reach it at their current pace. Playing with their opponents had lost its appeal, and it was obvious from their movements--they faster, heavier hits, the angry glow of the eyes. But they were distracted, and that distraction was an opportunity. Kyle had managed to rise to his feet, just barely; he stood, kneeling, where he had fallen. They could do this; they could survive.


That hope was dashed quick, far too quick. Adams and Gluttony were backed up against each other. They seemed to communicate, falling completely silent for a moment. And then they moved. With a burst of energy, Adams expanded her wings, returning to the sky. Gluttony clenched the ground, digging fingers into dirt. A golden glow emanated and a hail of meteors, spinning, spiraling down toward earth, descended upon the field, targeting Pokémon and trainers alike. A flurry of wind and a roar of pain erupted as Jaeda charged toward Kyle, taking the hits meant for him. He gasped, too shocked and devoid of energy to even shout out for her. She rolled off of him, panting for breath.


This was not the end. With a great heave, Gluttony inhaled. A whirlwind erupted around him, drawing energy from anything and everything. Emmerich and half of the Pokémon on the field collapsed, too weakened to cry out or resist the call of Gluttony's Demonic Hunger. When he finished, an orange glow surrounded Gluttony, an empowered aura that visibly healed the shallow wounds that had accumulated on his body.


Just like that, the entire arena had fallen into silence. Stunned, the Liberty and Rocket forces watched the Sinner and his accomplice. The beast lumbered forward, observing fainted foes. Gluttony approached Kyle, matching his glare. With a huff, he turned to Adams, who had moved again toward Sonja's hypnotized form.


Kitheus stirred.


"End them," Gluttony growled. The mirth was gone from his voice, replaced with the guttural rumblings of the creature that had fully devoured his human nature back in Fortree. "We'll fish out the book when we're done."


Gluttony's jaw unhinged and he approached Kyle and Jaeda.


"No . . ." Kyle panted. He crawled toward Jaeda, pressing his back against her and holding his arms out in a hopeless attempt at shielding her. "You won't . . . touch . . . any of us . . ." He looked past Gluttony, spotting the grinning form of Adams. She raised a claw above Sonja, planting her feet firmly in the ground.


Kyle's eyes widened.




Kitheus awakened.


Jaeda's eyes opened.


As Adams brought her claw down, as Gluttony's widened mouth glowed with power, and as Kitheus shot from his position on the floor and Jaeda spun, snake-like to protect her trainer, something happened. Brilliant spheres of light exploded into existence around the Magnezone and Charizard, blinding in their intensity. Gluttony roared, diverting his attack into the open air above instinctively from the sudden light; Adams found her claw blocked by the surge of energy as Kitheus managed to move directly between her and her target. 


With a sound like breaking glass, the spheres shattered from around the two Pokémon.


Kyle uncovered his eyes, in shock at what had just occurred. Jaeda had swirled protectively around him. As she uncurled her body, coming to a full stand beside him, he saw the entire extent of the changes that had occurred. She was much, much larger now, taller and leaner than she had been mere seconds ago. Her wings had expanded, almost matching Adams's wingspan. The two horns on her head had transformed into a three-pronged crest, extending back. Smaller, blade-like wings had extended from her arms. The red rings that had burned at Jaeda's wrist had stretched into lines extending down her arms, spine, and tail; with a roar, she unleashed a line of flames from them.


Across the way, Kitheus had transformed in a familiar way. The same changes that had occurred to the Magnezone on One Island had come to pass with him; his body had split into segments again, streamlined and brimming with electricity. Kitheus's main body glared out with a bright red eye; his nodes' eyes had transformed to match, bright green on the left, electric blue on the right. He hovered protectively around Sonja, who had stumbled back, stupefied but aware now of her surroundings--freed from the illusion Adams had placed on her.


"No way . . ." she whispered. "This is . . ."


"Kitheus . . . Jaeda . . ." Kyle said, staring in utter awe at the Flame Pokémon before him. "You . . . evolved . . ."


Jaeda peered at Kyle from the corner of her eye, smiling at him. This transformed into a frown as she turned her attention back to Gluttony and Adams, both of whom appeared too stunned to move. Jaeda roared, pulling her head back and then pushing forward. To Kyle's amazement, a plume of fire burst forth, missing Gluttony by mere inches as he regained his senses enough to move.


"No . . ." Gluttony slammed his hand into the ground. "This is . . ." He fell silent, taking a breath. "Unexpected. But it won't save y--" His eyes widened. "What . . .?"


He was staring--not at Kyle, but at a point above Kyle's head. Confused, Kyle followed the Sin's gaze--and he, too, stared in wonder.


A spectral figure had appeared. At first, it appeared incorporeal, but it quickly took the shape of a small, caped creature with a star-like head adorned with paper-like cards hanging from each point. It held its hands at its sides, eyes closed and smiling serenely.


It was a Jirachi of some kind--one that raised its hands, creating points of light above Kyle, Ryan, Ray, Emmerich, Sonja, Chloe, and several of their Pokémon. The lights shone for a brief moment; a second later, Kyle felt his strength returning. His wounds seemed to close themselves, and the chills that had overcome his body vanished into a warm glow emanating from his chest. Above, the Jirachi faded, though a light continued to twinkle in darkness above.


The winds of change had shifted once more.


"Alright," Kyle said. He stood straight, shaking out his hand before pointing at Gluttony and Adams. "We're finishing this. Now."





Edited by Parugi

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~ Rise of the Rockets (I II)/Discussion Topic/Side Stories ~


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-==IC: Chloe Hikari -- Vertrag==-

Chloe had attempted to push herself to her feet before the Demonic Hunger struck. She looked in despair as she wasn't sure what they could do. The psychic wanted to fight back, but she couldn't find the energy to even stand up. She watched, trying to find any way to turn the tide. From out of nowhere, Chloe noticed an aura of rainbow light surrounding Kyle's Pokémon. She raised an arm, but when it faded… the Pokémon that were there had different forms. Her eyes widened as she smiled. This sounded like what Ryan had described his Tyranitar having evolved into during the battle on One Island.

The psychic girl struggled to her feet, a glow of determination in her eyes. We can do this… Chloe grinned as she watched the fight continue. Good job, Kyle… She glanced up in surprise as the light restored her strength. She wondered briefly about what the Jirachi was all about, but her attention fell back on Gluttony and Adams. The young woman's Pokémon gathered around her as she stepped forward. Chloe's eyes glowed green, as she connected with Ally. A rainbow light surrounded Ally and Ren as she advanced. Cyndy stayed back, but growled at the two foes intimidatingly.

The glow faded. When the two Pokémon stepped out, they looked completely different than their normal forms. Chloe grinned as she looked at the Gallade and Luxray to briefly admire their new appearances.

Ally now had a sort of longcoat that extended from her shoulders. Her helmet now lacked the "mohawk" and had a protective "visor" over her eyes. The white parts of her body now were dark grey, and her arm blades seemed to be gone.

Ren, on the other hand, seemed to now have stars for ears, with a bunch of new markings. There were new star "pieces" around the tail, though Chloe didn't have time to scan around any of the other changes. She focused on her two opponents. Ally created two swords out of the Swords Dance and took them in hand. Flames danced around the edge of the ethereal sword. Ren growled a warning to her opponents.

"Let's try this out! Psycho Cut on the not-dragon, and Ice Fang on the dragon!" Chloe pointed forward as her confidence shone through. Ally slashed forward with one of the swords and a psychic burst of energy shot forth toward Gluttony, flames intertwined as the energy traveled forward. Ren, meanwhile, dashed forward toward Adams and jumped up at her wings. Jaws glowing with freezing energy, the Luxray attempted to bite down on one of the the left wings.

While that was going on, the girl quickly scanned the room; of the six members of the group, Ray was the one who still seemed to be stuck, knelt down in one spot. She had concerns about Ryan too, but for the moment, Chloe attempted to reach out to call to Ray.

Alvis: MEGA EVOLUTION, Swords Dance > Self, Psycho Cut > Gluttony

Ren: MEGA EVOLUTION, Ice Fang > Adams

-==IC: Ray Hakuda -- Dreams==-

-Day 3-

Ray woke up. He glanced around the room; his Pikachu friend had seemingly left during the night. He shrugged for a moment and instead got ready for the day. Today seemed like a pigtails day - it turned out to be just barely doable. Ray clipped the hairclip onto his bangs, then grinned.

"Alright, time to get to work." Ray headed off to the fridge to get something to eat. When he opened the fridge, however, a rainbow light shone through. He took a step back, as he thought of the first thing that came to mind regarding it.

"Aurora borealis?!" The man looked at the light in shock. For some reason, this one thing seemed so out of the ordinary to him. "At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within my kitchen?" Ray paused, then looked outside. It had the rainbow light too. "... Okay, maybe not entirely… but what's going on here…?" With a frown on his face, Ray grabbed his Poké Balls and walked outside. There was an odd feeling regarding everything - something appeared to be calling him from the top of the Radio Tower.

Ray walked around Goldenrod until he was close to the Radio Tower, but it felt like it took forever. As he managed to reach the outside, though, he could hear a sort of echoing sound that he could just barely hear. With a frown, Ray pushed the door open and walked inside. The first thing that he noticed was that the room seemed twisted. Yet, as he walked through the room, it seemed to almost… twist with him. Every step he took seemed to "correct" the room, though when he looked back, he realized that it was only the area that was directly around him that was right side up.

Ray pushed his way through the building, finding each successive level to be more twisted than the last. But it was almost like something was helping him, guiding him. He heard his name being called out - repeated over and over as he climbed the tower. When he reached the top floor, he saw a rainbow light shining in an orb in front of him.

"What is this…?" The calling almost seemed to be emanating from inside of the orb. The feeling of the orb seemed… familiar almost. Ray took a step forward, as he felt drawn to it. He raised a hand up to touch the orb, as if in a daze.

As he reached out to it, however, the orb seemed to distort with a red light. It floated into the air, then shrunk smaller and smaller, a burst of red and black lightning sparking around the edges. Moments later, a shadowy shape that vaguely resembled a Pokémon of some kind with gigantic claws appeared. As the shape opened its eyes, they were pure red.

Ray backed up, as the shape approached, a malicious grin on its face. The man raised his arms, as the shape raised a claw. There was corrupted laughter from the creature, as it seemed to be savouring the moment. The monster brought its claws down.

. . .

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IC: Claus Diamond/Richard Apollo - Sunyshore City


“Well first I thought we’d swing by a hotel to check in,” Claus said. “But then we have to go meet Zack’s uncle.”


“I’ll take care of the housing arrangements,” Volkner called out from behind them. “I still have a penthouse in the city. Better than using Liberty money when we don’t need to.”


Claus admittedly didn’t think about what property Volkner might have owned. “Well, okay. In that case, we can go meet him right away.”


Zack came forward and said “I’ll lead the way.”


“One sec!” Richard called.


Oceanus and Erebus were still swimming in the ocean. Richard leaned the edge of the dock to see how they were doing. They were having fun, as if the world wasn’t ending.


“I’m gonna let them stay here and have some fun,” Richard said. He turned to his Sableye companion. “Hades you’re in charge here! Have fun!”

The Sableye plopped down on the edge of the dock. Fine by him. Claus was a bit more concerned as Richard picked up the recording device that he’d brought along with him. That thing was not a normal tape recorder.


“Are you sure you know how to use that thing without Hades’s help?” Claus asked.


“Why Claus, I’m shocked. I am a trained member of Liberty’s archives corps,” Richard said, adding as much hurt into his voice as he could.


“You didn’t answer the question.”


Richard waved his hand dismissively. These couldn’t be that hard to operate. Claus shook his head. If he had to help him, he swore...

Edited by Metal Gear Minun


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IC: Yamamoto Aori (with bunnying of Shannon Willows approved by Kon)


The two wandered the city more-or-less aimlessly. Aori had only ever passed through Vermilion on the way to Celadon City, and so was not familiar with the layout of the streets and buildings. Aori tried not to be disheartened as they failed to stumble across her parents in the large port city, but she couldn't help being somewhat disappointed. Shannon comforted the girl as the sun passed its highest point in the sky and began sinking towards the ground.


Still, one good thing could come of this wandering; they found a park, with plenty of trees and grass. Even amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, the park was a calm, relaxing place. Aori stepped onto the grass and smiled softly. "Can we stay here for a while, Yanagi-san?" she asked.


"I have a better idea," Shannon replied. "Why don't we go grab some lunch and come back here to have a little picnic?"


Aori had never had a picnic before. She nodded once and obediently followed Shannon to a nearby deli. With sandwiches, drinks, and sides (Aori had gotten Leppa Berry slices) in hand, the two returned to the park and sat under the shade of a stand of oak trees to begin eating.


As they were doing so, a group of Spearow nearby began screeching and squawking. Aori looked over and frowned as she saw the flock circling something under a nearby tree. They would each fly down low along the ground, attack something that Aori couldn't quite see through the feathers, then circle around to repeat the process.


Cautiously, the girl stood.

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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IC: Shannon Willows - Park, Vermilion City

"What's wrong, Aori?" Shannon turned away from her Rawst Berry sandwich to give the girl a curious look. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Sousa cowering in place. Selena's fur bristled as the Furret darted in front of Aori and uttered a surprisingly low growl for one of such small stature. Shannon had only heard Selena make that noise when she was truly agitated. Even Salix scampered back and forth with worried squeaks, her eyes darting from Sousa to Selena.


It wasn't until Shannon stood up that she saw the flock of Spearow making a ruckus nearby. Moving slowly so as to not draw the wild Pokémon's attention, Shannon placed a hand on Aori's shoulder to draw her back. "We should find another place for our picnic," she said in a low voice that had a little more panic in it than she'd intended. "Spearow can be nasty creatures and without powers to defend ourselves a fight here would get ugly."


IC: Zoe Llyan/Dahlia Seaton/Alex Lockwood - Route 7, Kalos

"Kammy evolved?!" Zoe tugged on Colleen's other arm as she jumped up and down in excitement. "I can't believe I missed it! No matter, the three of us can ride on her back and you can tell me all about her evolution!"


"I've got an Empoleon and Swampert," Alex said, letting out the pair of aquatic Pokémon. "They can carry a couple people."


"And I've got Dracos here." Dahlia tossed a ball into the air, letting her Dragonair out. The serpentine Pokémon curled around her protectively, prompting the gardener to stroke his neck. "He could probably fit one more person if someone wants to ride with me." She glanced around at the group, trying to count how many people still needed a transport.


IC: Ryan Sanders - Arena, Vertrag

Light. Shouts. Chaos. It all seemed far away from Ryan. While everyone else was off fighting the Instances, he would die alone at the hands of his double. The doppelganger seemed to pick up on this thought and assaulted him further because of it. "Is this really how you want to be remembered, Sanders? Cowering alone in a corner while your friends sacrifice themselves for you? Who do you think would mourn such a coward? They'll remember your transgressions more than anything. How's that for the spotlight of attention?"


Up until this point every word out of the doppelganger's mouth had been like a dagger in Ryan's heart. His breaths had grown labored and his body was numb with cold. Now he felt an indescribable warmth flow through him, alleviating some of his pain. With this newfound strength, Ryan confronted his shadow. "Get out of my head," he growled as he tackled the double to the ground. "You can torment me all you want, but at the end of the day you're nothing more than a shadow of the real me."


With every punch he threw, his other self calmly stared up at him, never flinching or recoiling in pain. "Is that what you think of me?" The words were spoken as calmly as if they were sitting at a table discussing the weather. "Yes, I think you've found a grain of truth. You can't outrun your shadow, after all. And in the presence of great light, it only grows longer." The double brought his knee up to Ryan's stomach with surprising strength, throwing him off. Once again Ryan felt the darkness closing in around him, squeezing the hope out of him like wringing water out of a filthy rag. "I've always been here," the shadow sneered. "And as long as you have me, you will never be a better person. As long as I'm here, Gluttony will keep coming after you."

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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IC: Yamamoto Aori


The girl chewed her lip and reached for her belt. "They're attacking something," she said quietly. "I want to see what it is." She expanded Hana's ball and looked up at Shannon. "Is there anything we can do?"


The Spearow kept up their assault. One swooped in and attacked, and something cried out in pain. Aori swallowed. Spearow were mean, and she was scared.


She had to do something, though. Without waiting for Shannon's permission, she lobbed Hana's ball clumsily. Aori didn't know how to battle -- her father had let her watch his Pokémon spar, but he'd never actually taught her anything -- but she had to try. As the Bulbasaur appeared, Aori took a step forward. "Vines!" she shouted. The order wasn't much of one, but Hana got the idea. Her vines extended, and she lashed out at the Spearow, knocking one off course as it came in again.


The small flock stopped to look at this new threat. One screeched, and then ten Spearow took to the air, flying towards the Bulbasaur.

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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IC: Shannon Willows - Park, Vermilion City

"Aori! What are you--?!" Shannon paled as she watched the flock of Spearow fly towards them. Selena ran in front of Hana to unleash a Hyper Voice at the birds, but it came out as nothing more than a loud squeak. Salix cowered behind Sousa who had begun to dig a hole in the ground to hide.


As the flock sped toward the girls, Shannon saw something on the ground where they had been. Swallowing her fear, she stepped in front of the young girl. "Aori," she said in a shaking voice. "Hana and I can keep the Spearow busy. You need to run around the swarm and help whoever they were attacking." She slid her bag off her shoulder and held it out. "Take this; there should be a few Potions in there. Now go! Selena, help me hold them off! Hana, keep an eye on Aori. If any fly too close to her, get them with your vines!"


The Furret wagged a paw at the Spearow in a desperate attempt at using Follow Me. She gave Hana a reassuring smile, as if swarms of Spearow were but child's play to her.

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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IC: Yamamoto Aori [Hana 100%]/Spearow Flcok


Ten on two were bad odds, especially when the ten could fly. Still, Hana stood her ground as the Spearow flew at her and the Furret who was her ally. The Bulbasaur was not made for combat -- rather the opposite, in fact, she had been specifically trained on how to calm people down rather than rile them up -- but she would still protect her trainer and friend. As the first Spearow came into range, Hana's vines shot forth. It lacked the power of a true Vine Whip attack, but it would still hurt and, hopefully, cause the enemy to hesitate.


Aori took Shannon's bag and ran, taking as narrow a berth around the flock as she dared. One of the tiny birds took notice of her and swooped down to try and harass her, but Hana knocked it aside and drew its attention back to her. Aori slid to her knees beside the small form that Spearow had been originally attacking; she felt the skin on her knee split, but she ignored the pain in favor of picking up the tiny creature.


She was not familiar with many Pokémon, so its name escaped her. Still, she began administering a potion to the shallow wounds in the acorn-like creature's woody flesh. "It will be okay," she whispered to it. "Don't worry, Donguri-san, this will make you better." She sprayed the potion, and the acorn squirmed in her grip as the medicine stung its wounds. "Gommen nasai, gommen nasai, I know it hurts, but please understand." The Acorn went still, looking up at her quietly. She smiled shakily. "How do you feel?"


The creature made a noise, which Aori took to mean it was alright. She looked up at the flock of Spearow and frowned. "They are so mean," she muttered. With a soft scowl, she slipped Donguri-san into Shannon's bag and set it carefully against the tree under which she had landed. She quickly searched the nearby area and picked up a stout, straight branch that had fallen.


Aori approached the battle.

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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IC: Shannon Willows - Park, Vermilion City

The battle was going about as well as could be expected. Hana was doing an excellent job in covering for Aori, and Selena had so far managed to cover for Hana. A quick glance back showed that Salix had pressed himself into the hole that Sousa had dug -- much to the Dunsparce's dismay, but at least both Pokémon were safe from harm. Shannon watched as Aori approached the injured Pokémon, which she recognized as a Seedot, and applied the Potion to its wounds. Despite the angry flock of Spearow, Shannon had a smile on her face -- at least she did until Aori set the Seedot down and entered the fray brandishing a sizeable stick.


"If only Ryan were here," Shannon muttered to herself, clenching her fists as she fought to stay calm. "Selena!"


She needed only to nod curtly at Aori for the Furret to understand the situation. Selena scampered through the flock and positioned herself in front of Aori, paws outstretched to defend the girl from any harm. Already the Furret bore several scratches from where the birds' talons had struck. She squeaked indignantly at Aori, reprimanding her for her foolish behavior.


"Aori, you need to run!" Shannon cried out. "We'll catch up to you later!" It was no use; one of the Spearow had caught sight of the young girl and her weapon and flew towards her. Scanning her surroundings, Shannon picked up a pebble and lobbed it at the wild Pokémon. It had been years since Shannon had tried catching a Pokémon and it showed in her abysmal throwing aim; the stone flew past the Spearow, missing its target by a wide margin. "Leave her alone!" Shannon yelled, picking up another stone. She narrowed her eyes at the Spearow even as Selena bared her fangs to meet the oncoming foe. "Come on, Shannon. It's just like riding a bike." Taking a deep breath, she threw the second stone.

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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IC: Yamamoto Aori [Hana 80%]


The stone struck, distracting the Spearow. Aori lunged past Selena and swung her branch, knocking it out of the air. The Spearow lay dazed, and Aori nodded. "Spearow are cowards," she said to Selena, her voice shaking, "who only attack when they have an advantage. Papa told me that once. If you take their advantage away, they will flee."


Sure enough, after a second to recover, the Spearow she had struck took flight again, away from the fighting. Aori turned back to the fighting, where Hana was trying to protect her head while her vines lashed out at the Spearow. Aori scowled and knelt to pick up a rock of her own. "Leave her alone!" she cried as she threw the rock as hard as she could.

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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-==IC: Kris Homura/Evan Tierra/Jenny Hakuda/James Arthur - Haina Desert, Alola - [14]==-

The jeep convoy did not stay for long. When Percival was sent to scout one more time, he found only tracks where the cars had been. They were heading north into the desert, as Kris had feared. The group likewise went north into the desert. They did not get far, however, when sand began to blow into their faces.

“Do we have a way of reliably tracking them?” James asked. “If we got lost in the sandstorm, we will not be able to catch up to them.” If only Pokemon had their power, Galahad would have been able to track them by aura.

Evan smiled confidently at James’s question. It was his time to shine. “I’ve got this, sir.” Evan said as he threw out Gnip’s Poké Ball. “If I recall, Garchomp have a good sense of smell, so we should be able to keep track of our quarry.” Gnip growled softly, happy to help her masters and their friends.

James nodded. He walked over to one of the still visible car tracks and bent over to inspect them. “Gnip, was it not? Can you lift a scent from these tracks? Either of humans or of cars.”

Gnip growled affirmatively, and began to sniff at the car tracks. It didn’t take long for her to catch the scent of the people that were in the jeeps. She looked at James and barked, as if to say. “Ready when you are!” Evan picked up on this and his grin became wider. “Looks like she’s struck gold. Shall we get a move on?”

"Sounds good to me!" Jenny grinned as she stepped forward. She kept a hand on her Scizor's Poké Ball with one hand, then did her best to shield her face with her other arm.

Lancelot spread his wings to afford James some minute protection. A Steel type like him was well suited to desert sandstorms. James retreated both Galahad and Percival, who were less suited to the conditions. “Very well. Gnip, please take point.”

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IC: ????


The leader of the group sat in the last jeep. He was still pouring over the map he had. It was a weird contradictory piece of parchment, but Haina desert was a weird contradictory place. It wouldn’t be long before they had to make some truly mind-bending turns. The sandstorm’s rapping on the car’s canvas was beginning to irritate him. He needed to be able to focus for when he was contacted by the driver in the lead jeep.


The short range radio they were using to communicate (an embarrassment if he’s ever had one), began to buzz to action. He was expecting a call as they entered a canyon. However the contents were not what we expected.


“We’re being followed. My Lycanroc has their scent,” a grizzled voice like sandpaper said.


The leader scowled. They should’ve left earlier. He cursed that he let his pride delay them.


“We could’ve brought some of those thugs to deal with stalkers,” the voice suggested.


The man in the last jeep shook his head. “Too unreliable. If they leaked our mission, everything could be in jeopardy.” He turned to the driver, “Stop the car.”

The driver pressed on the brake and the car slowed to a halt.


“Turn them back. Escape when you’re done. Do not engage them yourself,” he said.


“Understood,” the driver said as he exited the car. The leader took the driver’s seat. He’d have to leave navigation to the others.



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-==IC: Kris Homura/Evan Tierra/Jenny Hakuda/James Arthur - Haina Desert, Alola - [15]==-

James took a brief peak through a hole in the storm. It wasn’t something he focused long on, but the setting sun’s direction felt very different than it had done five minutes ago. However, Gnip had not lost the trail, so they were not lost. He was however beginning to wish that they had a vehicle to ride in. The lash of the sand beat on relentlessly. And he had to keep his arms raised to protect his eyes. So there was a slight sense of relief when he saw that they were entering a canyon. The canyon’s walls were enough to block some of the worst of the sandstorm.

They had not taken ten steps into the canyon when a rock slide started to barrel towards them. With a deft motion, Evan sent out Bertha’s Hippowdon, who alongside Gnip, assumed a steady stance, and took the rock slide head on. To lessen the blow, Kris reached out to the more dangerous rocks that had more momentum and gripped those ones with telekinesis to slow them down. Jenny sent out her Scizor, as Lancelot charged forward to intercept rocks that were headed towards James. Both Scizors began to pulverize rocks to dust with their metal pincers. Even though Scizlite didn’t show signs of gaining her powers back, the pair of Scizors were effective at their task. Rocks broke to dust at their claws.

“Thank you Lancelot,” James said as he took a look at where the rock slide had occurred. “It would be wise to treat that as an attack.” He couldn’t see any opponents, but the timing was too perfect. “But we cannot delay. If we lose their scent now, forget tracking them, we will be lucky if we leave the desert alive.” James knew that they entered the desert unprepared as they did because they didn’t have time to prepare. But he couldn’t help but reemphasize the danger they were putting themselves into.

They group retook the positions that they entered the canyon in, with the exceptions of Scizlite and Hippowdon remaining out of their Poke Balls. Despite James’s warning, the first rock slide seemed to be the only one that was going to occur. They made some progress as they neared a sandy area.

James was grateful for the brief respite. The canyon, despite the danger, was a solid shelter from the worst parts of the desert. The sandstorm didn’t reach this far into the cave. And the sand stopped earlier, so his shoes weren’t getting dirtied by the endless layers of sand. The last thought struck James; the sand had stopped. He looked ahead and saw where Gnip was about to walk. He noticed that the sand made a perfect ellipse. An unnatural pattern.

“Gnip, watch out!” he yelled to the dragon.

Gnip’s eyes widened as James called out to the landshark. With what little reaction time she had, she leapt away from the sand, but not before what appeared to be an arm reached out of the pile of sand to grab at her tail. The Mach Pokémon yelped as she was yanked back towards the sand.

"Scizlite, help Gnip out!" Jenny's Scizor nodded and quickly sped off toward the pile of sand. She reached an arm back, then attempted to punch at the arm so that Gnip could be released. The punch made a dent in the sand arm, but not enough to make it let the Garchomp go. Grains of sand flowed into the arm to reform what had been lost. A tower began to form in the center of the sand. A tower with eyes.

Lancelot made a move to help but James called to him. “Wait.” The Scizor turned around, wondering what James wanted. “Fight subtly,” he said. Lancelot figured the intended meaning to be ‘without revealing his powers’. He was correct in that assessment. James wanted to keep his ace in the hole a secret until they were fighting the full enemy. This presented a complication in the present, but he could still use Bullet Punch if he were subtle enough. “And keep an eye on the w-”

Before James could even finish his warning, another rock slide began. Rocks fell towards Gnip. If whatever hidden foe was worried about hitting their ally, it didn’t show. Lance sprang into action. Mixing urgency with patience was a difficult task. He was moving faster than he could without Bullet Punch, but not fast enough to raise suspicion. The Steel type move shattered a rock that was heading straight for Gnip, and he used his body to shield her from the debris. He could always Roost off any damage that he took. Gnip didn’t have that luxury.

“We need to find what is causing the rock slides,” James said. With a nod, Kris grabbed a Poké Ball off her belt and flung it into the air, sending out her Pidgeot to go search for whatever was behind the attacks.

Gnip growled painfully at not only the damage that had been done to her, but at the struggle she was having trying to shake her tail loose from the sand tower’s grasp. No sooner had it formed, then Evan shouted to Hippowdon. “Smash the sand so Gnip can get loose.” Grunting, Bertha’s prize Pokémon stomped towards the pile of sand, and proceeded to slam her head down where Gnip’s tail was being grabbed, hoping to disperse the sand.

The massive force broke off the hand in its entirety, letting the Garchomp go free. The hand rejoined the main body of the sandcastle, as it formed two smaller towers to both of its sides. The Palossand had regained its full form. With a shout, bits and pieces of its body fell off and formed into smaller hands. The hands began to flow rapidly across the ground to grab whatever was in their path.

Lancelot slammed his gauntlet on a sand hand that was heading towards James. While he was still leaning over, he ran towards the Palossand and punched it square in its face. He held back the power in his punch. But the Steel-type Bullet Punch left a mark in its target.

Gnip roared triumphantly as her tail was freed from the Palossand’s sandy grasp, turned to the elderly Hippowdon, and barked thankfully to her. “Gnip, watch out!” Evan exclaimed as he saw many more hands reach out for the Pokémon. The Garchomp, rather than running from the many arms, ran towards them, and glided past them. She determined that Lance had the Palossand dealt with, and so flew up, aiming to provide back up to Kris’s Pidgeot if she needed it. Hippowdon, however, stood her ground towards the many hands, and slowly opened her maw wide open. If they drew any closer, she’d make their source regret it dearly. The hands drew close enough, and without missing a beat, the Ground-Type’s upper jaw crunched down on several hands, gravity powering the powerful strike. The hands turned to, well, sand that tripped from the Hippowdon’s mouth.

At about that moment, a head full of hair popped out of the side of the canyon said, pushing out rocks down onto the fighters below. It quickly retreated as quickly as it came, but two more heads followed after it. When the two other hairy heads popped out, the Pidgeot flew down quickly toward where they were and attempted to grab hold of one of them. Gnip saw the Bird Pokémon swoop towards the heads, and did so herself. However, she didn’t have proper claws, and so….she used the one thing she could use to grab the other head: her mouth. She bit down on the head, making sure to be swift about it, lest her shared target get away.

The third head popped out of the canyonside and slammed itself onto Gnip. The Pidgeot was a problem, but a Garchomp’s teeth were deadly. Meanwhile, the Palossand shook off Lancelot’s blow. It shifted the two sides towers in between its main body and Lancelot. With Swords Dance, he would easily be able to cut through them to attack the main body. Without, he had to be a bit more tricky. Lancelot jumped back and landed next to Scizlite. If the Palossand didn’t know that his punch hurt because he had his power back, then it should think Scizlite capable of the same thing. So Lancelot told Scizlite of his plan to double team their opponent.

Scizlite agreed with a nod as she prepared to go forward. The two Scizors rushed the Palossand from opposite angles with the intent to distract the sand Pokémon enough to reveal a weakness. As they circled around the Palossand, they noticed that it kept one tower blocking each of them from the main body. Before either of the Scizors could make a plan to deal with the towers, they noticed hands of sand reach out toward them.

The two Scizors dodged the hands as best as they could with what they had, though it was starting to get to the point where they couldn't attack. Recognizing that they needed more, Lancelot sped up with Bullet Punch and landed a solid blow on the Palossand.

Meanwhile, Gnip felt the force of the third head’s strike knock her away from the Dugtrio, which was backed up by unexpected strength. Growling, the Mach Pokémon decided to strike back with a slash of her claw, hoping that by doing that, it would distract this menace from dropping rocks on those below.

All three heads yelled out simultaneously, wresting themselves away from their assailants and pulling back into the canyonside. After a moment, the entire section of the canyon wall began to shake. The Dugtrio abandoned all sense of aim. Rather than risk attack, they began to destabilize the entire wall to try and bury the attackers below. As the rocks began to fall, the Palossand flattened its body to disperse the damage that was about to occur.

In any other situation, Evan Tierra would have been worried, but at this moment, he smirked confidently. “All right, you’re up, Lazengann!” Evan said as he threw out the Drill Pokémon’s ball. “Pierce the wall and finish this!” Appearing in a flash of light, Lazengann spun furiously as he folded up into his drill form, and bored into the wall. He went where the vibrations were strongest, aiming to hit the source.

“Lancelot, destroy the rocks!” James yelled as he braced himself. As much as the Scizor would’ve loved to hunt down the Palossand and bash his gauntlets into its body, James was right. He was gonna have to get dangerously close to flashy for this, but time was of the essence. Spreading his wings, he backed up to get a good angle. When he had his angle, he took off, bashing rock after rock to pieces. The shards of rock were an issue, but had far less force than the boulders that were falling.

After Evan had sent Lazengann to finish the job, he whistled to Gnip. “Gnip, let’s get out of here!” The Trainer said, looking quite certain of what to do. “Pick two people and get them going!” The Garchomp roared as she flew down towards Jenny and Kris, and barked at them to get on. The two returned their Pokémon to their Poké Balls, and mounted the Dragon-Type, who then flew off towards the canyon’s exit. Evan then returned Bertha’s Hippowdon to her capsule and followed his prized Pokémon out of the Canyon.

James grunted as the shards cut into him but he was more or less fine. His suit however had several cuts in its jacket. The tailors were going to charge a lot for this venture. As there was no time to mourn, he yelled to Evan and Lancelot, “Let us follow after them,” before heeding his own words. The Palossand was still a worry, but they had already wasted too much time. As for the hairy Dugtrio, Lazengann was homing on their position very quickly when he, quite literally, struck gold. The Dugtrio had no time to react, and fainted from their wounds. His job complete, the Excadrill bored out of the walls, towards the group, and when the coast was clear, he pointed his right claw up in the air, and posed, grinning at a job well done. Evan returned the triumphant mole to his Poké Ball, trying to hide his grin.

The remaining three ran to follow the Garchomp. The Palossand seemed to have completely vanished. James kept trying to suss out its location while Lancelot tossed aside rocks to clear the path. What James didn’t notice was a faint, imperceptible line of sand that trailed up his pant leg. The sand crawled grain by grain up his back, sliding in between his vest and his jacket to not touch skin. Evan and Lancelot were quicker than James, so the sand merely waited for them to pass James before it began to coalesce in a sharp claw.

“Lancelot, smash the largest shard you see.”

The hand stopped for a brief moment as the words were said. Lancelot reacted in that moment. The largest shard that had broken off of the rocks that Lancelot shattered was in the middle of where all the rocks had fallen. There was a gap between Lancelot and the shard, but he closed the gap in an instant. The claw tried to dig into James’s neck, but when Lancelot smashed the shard, a wave of pain was sent through every grain of sand in the Palossand’s body. Under the shards of the shards was the face of the beast. Various shards began to collapse all over the center of the canyon.

James felt sand fall down his back. He was impressed that the Palossand managed to hide every grain underneath all the various shards of the debris that Lancelot had created. It would’ve had to switch hiding spots during the confusion, but that also meant the shards were less likely to be considered. The lower weight of the shards also meant they could’ve been easier to strike from. However, because so much volume had to be stored in such small individual pieces, a number of the shards were at odd angles. While the Palossand had hidden it earlier, James guessed that while it could disperse its body, it had to keep its face mostly intact. He decided not to voice out loud how glad he was his hunch was correct. The sand on his back would’ve completely blindsided him.

“Excellent work Lancelot,” James said as the Scizor stood over his fallen opponent, snapping the Scizor out of a brief trance as he stared at his foe’s literally broken body. Nothing their trainer couldn’t fix, but a rare treat to see a metaphor so literally applied.

The three didn’t stop after that. When the group was long gone, a figure stepped out of the shadows. He held up two Poke Balls and retreated both of his fallen Pokemon. He had failed to defeat him. However, the figure turned to the west, as the sun’s last light finally died. He had bought enough time. All that was left was to wait for his allies return at the desert’s entrance.

Edited by Dr. Hidaka
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IC: Shannon Willows - Park, Vermilion City

Her eyes widened as she saw Aori hurl a stone at the remaining Spearow. "Oh no, I'm a terrible influence," she muttered. The stone struck one of the Spearow upside the head, causing it to turn angrily toward its attacker. Before it had a chance to retaliate Selena dashed up to it, hissing and spitting, and ferociously dragged it to the ground. It was the angriest she had ever seen the Furret.


For a moment Shannon stood rooted to the ground, her breath caught in her throat. Sweet, innocent Aori had turned savage, and she brandished her stick with enough finesse to suggest that she'd fought like this before. Eight Spearow remained, half of them breaking off to attack Aori while the remaining four continued to assault Hana. Aori might have been able to take out one or two of them, but with four-on-one she was at too much of a disadvantage.


That thought was enough to pull Shannon out of her stupor. Picking up the Bulbasaur Shannon ran through the flock of Spearow. The birds pulled at her hair and clothes, but Shannon ignored their relentless pecking and scratching as she ran as fast as she could towards Aori. She thought she heard Selena grab another Spearow out of the air but she didn't dare look back. All that mattered was reaching Aori and shielding her from harm.

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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IC: Yamamoto Aori [Hana 60%] - Vermilion City Park


Four Spearow split off to face her. Aori took her stance again, her stick held in front of her defensively.


Four on one was much better than eight on one, and Hana took the opportunity to straighten up and lash out with her vines to snare one of the Spearow and slam it into the ground. A growled warning made the other three pause, especially as they heard Selena drag another of their flock down to the ground.


Spearow were simple creatures with a simple mindset: mob enemies and predators until they go away or you can't mob them anymore. With two humans, a Bulbasaur, and one of their most common natural predators, the Spearow decided it was well past time to get out of there. As a flock, they turned and flew off, their numbers depleted by four.


Aori dropped her stick and ran over to Hana. She fumbled out a potion she had put in her pocket from Shannon's bag and began spraying the Bulbasaur's wounds. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," she kept repeating as she alternatively hugged her Pokémon and administered the medicine. She wiped roughly at her eyes to rid them of tears. "I'm so sorry you got hurt, Hana-san, I didn't mean for you to." She looked over to Selena and Shannon and offered an awkward bow from where she was seated. "Thank you, Yanagi-san, Itachi-san, for helping."

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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IC: Shannon "Yanagi-san" Willows - Park, Vermilion City

The formality with which Aori regarded her made Shannon uncomfortable. "U-um . . . no problem, Aori . . . -chan." She ruffled the girl's hair then collapsed on the ground and let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding. Several feet away, Salix and Sousa cautiously poked their heads out of the hole and crept toward the girls. Selena was busy licking down her matted fur and cleaning off the feathers she had managed to pull. Shannon pulled the Furret into a hug. "By the way, her name's Selena," she told Aori. "She'll respond much better to Selena-chan than Itachi-san."


The Furret cocked her head in confusion, before realizing what her trainer meant. Then she padded up to Aori and nuzzled against her. By now the Eevee and Dunsparce had arrived, both Pokémon crawling into Shannon's lap. "You've already met Salix, but this little guy here is Sousa." Shannon rubbed the Dunsparce's head with a smile. "He's a little shy, but very lovable once you get to know him." She glanced over at the young girl curiously. "Where did you learn how to fight like that anyway? You seemed to really know what you were doing with that stick. Have you had fencing lessons?"

Konuju: Kopaka and Nuju meet the Spear of Fusion


Quotes from throughout the years:


2001: "Your past is forgotten, and your future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer." --Nokama

2002: "Mata Nui faces perhaps its greatest challenge -- one that will test our courage, our strength, and our belief in each other." --Tahu

2003: "So... it has begun, my brother. But soon, it will also end..." --Makuta

2004: "Your journey must end." "By the will of the Great Spirit, it has just begun!" --Makuta and Vakama

2005: "Our destinies are not written in stone, set in place. They are something we have to find for ourselves." --Vakama

2006: "Don't you realize you're fighting for a lost cause?" "Maybe. But don't you realize those are the only ones worth fighting for?" --Axonn and Brutaka

2007: "Sometimes a hero has to do something else besides beat the villains and come home covered in glory." --Hahli

2008: "Dive into the darkness, Ignite the flame within. Now, there is no turning back. Make the future... begin." --Narrator, The Final Battle Animation

2009: "It is said that all endings are merely beginnings waiting to be born." --Mata Nui

2010: "All journeys must come to an end, but this time, there is a new beginning as well. ... All that has gone before, my friends, has only served to give birth to this new day. Let unity, duty and destiny be your guides." --Mata Nui

2011: "Not dead. Just frozen. They’ll thaw out … eventually. I’m tired of villains spouting gibberish." --Kopaka

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IC: Yamamoto Aori - Vermilion City Park


The girl sniffled and pet the Furret. "My papa," she said. "He showed me the basics of using a sword. We come from a line of samurai," she explained at Shannon's shocked look. "He told me that one should only take up a sword if there are no other options. I did not see any other way to keep the Spearow from hurting--" She gasped and stood to run over to where she'd tucked Shannon's bag.


"Donguri-san, are you alright?" The creature made a soft noise, and Aori pulled it out of the bag, then slung said bag over her shoulder to return to Shannon. "Yanagi-san, this is Donguri-san. I think the Spearow were mad because he looks like an acorn, but isn't." The Seedot grunted and wobbled its body in what may have been a nod.


"Anyways, the stick was the only way to keep the Spearow from hurting Hana and It-- Selena."

Edited by MELON LORD

"So Alku, happy 'was that a firecracker or shotgun?' day!"

"Hard mode: I'm in the south."


"Planning was never Zac Blazer's forte." - Blade, mastering the art of the understatement.


"We'll have to change the initials of the RPG from RotR to PTSD." - Me, discussing Rise of the Rockets.

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