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Pokémon: Rise Of The Rockets


Parugi

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

 

"Four of them!?" For the first time, she sounded panicked--an odd emotion to hear amidst the demonic rumbling of her voice. "Just two of them were enough to--"

 

Gluttony huffed and directed his piercing gaze toward Ally. A spiked shield of energy formed in front of him again, blocking the attack. "We don't need to defeat them. Focus!"

 

Something about Gluttony's words seemed to affect Adams. She fell silent, and then her monstrous grin returned as she stepped back, raising her arm to defend herself. Ren's fangs dug deep into her forearm; ice began to spread from his jaws and across the bone-white muscles and scales. She roared, prying him loose with her free arm and jumping back several yards with a massive beat of her wings as he fell to the floor. The folds of her wings seemed to pulse in a strange rhythm.

 

"That's more like it," Gluttony growled. He spoke in a calm monotone that nonetheless betrayed a hint of the malice evident in his eyes. "They can't win--only delay, just as countless others have done. In the end, it's all the same story, over and over."

 

"Not with us!" Kyle yelled. "Whatever you did to those other worlds . . . We're not letting you do the same to this one! We'll find a way to stop you, and we'll start by destroying you Sins as many times are it takes to make you stay dead!"

 

"Yes, kill us--again and again," Gluttony said. His bloodied mouth cracked into a grin. "It doesn't matter. We'll keep coming back until we have consumed every last piece of this world. I'll make sure of that, just for you."

 

"Then start with this one!" Kyle turned. "Jaeda, Inferno! Kitheus, Tri-Attack on Adams!"

 

The two Pokémon charged forward, faster than Kyle had ever seen them move. Jaeda took to the, flying in a wide circle above Gluttony. The Sin crouched down, watching her and waiting, massive antlers turning in time with her flight path. With a furious growl, Jaeda swooped down, flames erupting along her arms and down her back as she unleashed a massive torrent of fire upon her opponent.

 

Like a massive flea, Gluttony kicked off from the ground in a movement almost too quick to see. He landed with a massive lurch several yards away, easily avoiding the flames. As Jaeda redirected her aim, trailing fire along the ground behind Gluttony, the quadrupedal beast opened his jaw wide. A screaming gust of wind sounded as he inhaled, pulling energy out of the air in a cone directly in front of him that encircled Jaeda and Ally. Jaeda sensed the temperature around her rapidly decreasing, airborne ice crystals forming in the blink of an eye, and soon felt her energy beginning to deplete. She rolled sideways through the air, out of the line of fire of Gluttony's Demonic Hunger attack.

 

Across the arena, the shock waves from Gluttony's heavy landing resonated like an earthquake. Sonja had just begun moving back toward Loki when it hit, knocking her over and spilling her bag--Grimoire included--onto the ground. She cursed under her breath, keeping low and doing her best to avoid notice. She had little chance, however: As soon as the book hit open air, Adams jerked her head around toward Sonja, slamming her wings downward as she finished her Dragon Dance. The massive, dragon-like Instance did not utter a word as she charged on all fours in Sonja's direction.

 

Sonja managed not to scream at the sight, and instead scooped the book into her arms and ran as fast as she could toward the nearest sanctuary: The stands. She managed to reach it and had begun to climb over the walls when Adams bore down on her. 

 

It was lucky, then, that Kitheus was en route. The Magnezone hurled silently through the air, his three brains communicating with each other. With an electronic brr of confirmation, the two nodes split off from Kitheus's main body, swirling around him. They took aim, gathering energy. One, two, and three, they each launched a powerful, triangular beam in rapid succession, one large and two smaller ones. The first exploded just in front of Adams, just barely missing her. The second hit the ground where she was moving, erupting in an explosion of ice, fire, and electricity beneath her that threw her off balance and into the third, which sent her tumbling mid-sprint.

 

The attacks from above contributed to the result of her swing: Just barely missing Sonja as she fell flat on her back between the lower wall and the seats, next to the center podium--where Ryan hid.

 

"Ryan?" she gasped. "What are you doing--?"

 

"You can't hide from me," Adams growled, her voice alone enough to freeze the air. Her massive claws appeared over the railing, gripping tight and bending the metal in her grasp. "I . . . can . . . smell you!" She appeared, rising to her full height. She was bruised, parts of her body frozen in chunks of ice, and her muscles spasmed with every movement, but she did not let this slow her. Drool dripped from her lips, a disgusting rain falling on the stands.

 

Yet, Ryan did not move.

 

Sonja glanced, horrified, between him and Adams as she realized that he had not broken free from her illusion attack, after all. Without a second thought, Sonja pushed herself forward, moving in front of Ryan and covering him with her arms. All the while, she stared back at Adams as the dragon crawled onto the stands, teeth bared as she inched forward. With her wings down against her back, she looked more than a little like a demonic moth.

 

"Aw . . . Cute," Adams cooed. "Surprising, though. I thought you were sick of him, Sixth? Wasn't that why you came crawling to us?"

 

"Ryan, that isn't true," Sonja whispered urgently over her shoulder, never taking her eyes off of the monster before her. "Just like that illusion. Adams is a liar, and you--"

 

"Me? A liar?" Adams couldn't contain a harsh laugh. "Please, Sixth . . . I would never lie. I've seen the truth now."

 

"I don't know what you're seeing, Ryan, but you have to break out of it--now," Sonja urged. "We can't do this without you . . ."

 

"Now who's the liar?" Adams said. She stopped where she stood, licking her lips and taking a breath. When she spoke next--to Sonja's horror--her voice mimicked Sonja's. "I'm so sick of him, always treating me like an object. I don't know what I'll do if I have to spend one more minute alone with him."

 

"I never said that," Sonja said, her voice cracking. "Ryan, I never said that . . . "

 

"He's useless. We're better off without him dragging us down."

 

"You're not useless . . ."

 

"He can't do anything right. He couldn't maintain a relationship if he tried . . . much less save his parents, or contribute to this whole mess . . ." Adams cackled, her voice returning to normal, tilting her head. "Am I off the mark?"

 

"Ryan--none of this is the truth!" Sonja cried. "Please--wake up!"

 

 

 

Above the battlefield, the spectral Jirachi appeared again. It focused upon a globe of energy within its hands, and then extended its arms. As the energy washed across the field, Adams's and Gluttony's opponents felt a surge of power. The Jirachi faded back into darkness.

 

OOC:

 

Gluttony 1: Spiky Shield > Ally

Adams 1: Dragon Dance > Self

Jaeda: Inferno > Gluttony

Kitheus: Tri-Attack x3 > Adams (Partially frozen, paralyzed)

Gluttony 2: Demonic Hunger > Jaeda, Ally

Adams 2: Disarming Voice > Sonja, Ryan

Vertrag: Interference (Ally Attack Power/Critical Rate up) > Jaeda, Kitheus, Ren, Ally

Edited by Parugi

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

 

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-==IC: Colleen Llyan/Emily Lockwood/Lucia Zyther/Jared Winters/Professor Elaine Alderson/Lionel Zyther/Olivia Seaton - Kalos Route 7==- (evening, August 8th, 2017)

 

Colleen sent out her Blastoise to show Zoe with a grin. "Yep, just now!" Once she finished talking, the girl eyed the Blastoise. "It'll be a tight fit, but I think the three of us could fit on there, yeah." She glanced over at Emily. "That alright with you?"

 

Emily smiled. “I don’t mind, of course.”

 

Lucia noticed that Olivia was hanging out toward the back of the group. She was tempted to go over to ask what was wrong, but opted to not do that after she saw the look on the other redhead's face.

 

"I don't have any Pokémon that could get me across the river." Lucia said instead, directing her voice to the rest of the group. "If it were land, sure, but…" She noticed that everyone else was more focused on the conversation that Alex had started, so she went quiet and opted to just listen to that one instead.

 

“Between the Empoleon and the Swampert, I’d recommend the Empoleon,” Professor Alderson suggested to Alex. “Swampert are slightly more physically defensive, but they’re also more physically powerful, so you’ll want yours free to handle any wild Pokémon we encounter.”

 

Lionel frowned slightly as he looked up from his Holo Caster. “Is that a major concern, Professor?”

 

Elaine shrugged helplessly. “It’s hard to say. I’ve been looking around while the rest of you were in the Chateau. The ecosystem here is definitely not behaving normally -- I’m seeing Golduck nests in far greater numbers than I should, and the local Toxicroak seem unusually agitated as well. I sent my Aromatisse to check on the rest of her kind in the area, but she hasn’t--”

 

Elaine was interrupted by a soft, almost mournful crooning as a masked bird in pink feathers emerged from the grass and shuffled over to her Trainer. The Professor seemed dismayed by the Pokémon’s tone.

 

“Did you happen to find…?”

 

The Aromatisse shook her head. Elaine’s expression grew troubled.

 

“I take it that’s significant.”

 

Elaine nodded. “Route 7 is a haven for Fairy-types, making them the lynchpin of the local ecosystem. If something’s happened to them--”

 

“Like losing access to their moves?”

 

“Yes, exactly. If that’s the case, we’d get new species moving into the ecosystem from… well, pretty much any of the Kalos waterways. Gyarados, Seaking, Sharpedo…”

 

The last made Lionel wince. “All right. Back to the Chateau. We’re staying for the night.”

 

“We still have two hours of sunlight or so,” Jared protested.

 

“Then we can walk out and set up camp outside Zubat Cave, we are not going on a Sharpedo-infested river at night.”

 

Elaine considered objecting, but she’d seen a swarm of Carvanha feed before. She prudently decided not to ask where Zyther had gained his experience with the species. “It is getting late, I suppose.”

 

The tempestuous leader of the group scowled and turned away. “Fine. Let’s get camp set up, then I’m going to train. I’ll see whoever doesn’t show up in the morning.”

 

Colleen opened her mouth to say something, but then closed it as she simply watched Jared walk off. Once out of earshot, she looked to the others. "I don't want to spend more time here than we need to, but… we also need to keep the safety of everyone in mind. We can't get there on two hours of sunlight, and we also can't risk the Carvahna or Sharpedo or anything like that in the dark."

 

***

 

At the mention of training, Olivia glanced over at Dahlia. Wordlessly, she approached. "Heya. I don't remember ya going to any of the other training sessions. So, let's both go to this one to make sure." She glanced away for a moment, but then looked back. "I don't wanna take no for an answer, either. Ya don't seem yourself, so I wanna make sure ya get a chance to let anything out, whether ya actually say anything or not."

 

Without waiting for a reply, Olivia took her sister's hand and walked after Jared. She had a partial feeling of why Dahlia didn't want to go to the training, so she wasn't about to let that continue.

"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: Professor Elaine Alderson/Lionel Zyther/Lucia Zyther - Kalos Route 7==- (night, August 8th, 2017)

 

Elaine sat outside her and Emily’s tent, softly stroking her upset Aromatisse. The Fairy-type was still upset by the disappearance of her brethren, and not even the company of the professor’s Comfey could bring her comfort. The professor sighed. “It’s so sad. There’s been so much damage to Kalosian ecology, and without our own Pokémon’s powers there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.”

 

Lionel looked up from where he was grooming his Furfrou, his other two team members already standing watch over the camp. “It’s regrettable. But like you said, there’s nothing we can do about it.” He ran the brush through the thick fur a few more times, then paused once more, considering. “I don’t suppose you’ve heard any details from the scientific community about the Pokémon that have gotten their powers back?”

 

Elaine shook her head. “Some of my colleagues have been discussing the evolution phenomenon that happened on One Island, but we don’t have anything really concrete about what happened, just some bystander accounts and distant cell phone footage.”

 

"'Evolution phenomenon on One Island'? Do you mean that stuff with the evolving Tyranitar and Magnezone and such?" Lucia asked as she approached the tent. "Sorry, didn't mean to overhear, was going to fetch something and well… I kinda heard what you were saying."

 

“You’ve seen the footage, too?” Lionel asked.

 

"I was there." Lucia glanced over at Lionel when he spoke up. "My brother actually was the one who evolved the Tyranitar; it was actually kinda cool to see that giant Earthquake be used, even if it was pretty destructive."

 

“Really? Which one?”

 

"Oh, Ryan. Alex's been missing for a while, though I dunno if they've found him yet." Lucia scratched her head, completely oblivious to the possibility that Lionel didn't know yet.

 

Lionel blanched. “Alex is what?! But I thought… Valerie just saw Alex in Laverre last week!”

 

"Last week?" Lucia thought about that for a little bit. "Huh… I guess we found him, then. Last we saw him was like…" She counted on her fingers for a few moments. "About three weeks ago, during the chaos in Celadon and when I actually found out I had another brother and a sister--" There was a rather noticeable pause, as she slowly glanced over at Lionel. "... You knew?"

 

Lionel flinched at the realization of his slip-up, before slowly nodding. “Your mother sought refuge with me right after Goldenrod, we… arranged… the paperwork after it happened.” Lionel took care not to glance toward Elaine, not wanting to even hint at the possibility of his less-than-lawful actions in front of an outsider.

 

"That makes sense, thinking about it." Lucia sighed, as she sat down nearby and placed her chin in her hands. "Should've known, really, considering Aunt Stacy knew ahead of time as well. I just hadn't actually thought about it, really. Geez, though, Gerald was a jerk, gotta say that. Well, the Gerald I met, anyway."

 

Lionel’s face dropped into a scowl at the mention of Gerald’s name. “Gerald Hikari is a fool. There is power, and there is power, and that man fails to comprehend the distinction between them. I was more pleased than I’m willing to admit when I saw the warrant put out for his arrest.” It took a few moments for the rest of Lucia’s statement to register. “Wait, you met him?”

 

"It was… confusing." Lucia couldn't actually put into words everything that had gone down. "Long story short, between me and Ryan meeting, Stacy explaining about me and Ryan being siblings, and that time, that's when I found out about me even having any siblings." She scratched the back of her head. "Ryan, Chloe, and I all got to beat him up, though, so that was nice." She opted not to mention about having been mind controlled in the process. "He nearly got killed in the fight, then Ryan's friend nearly got killed in the fight, but Chloe stepped in to stop things from going wrong. I think I'm saying that name right."

 

Lionel appeared distinctly confused as he tried to piece the details together. “And Chloe would be…?”

 

"My sister, though mom said something about her having a different mother??? It was kinda a weird conversation, I didn't actually get everything, but I think that was it. I definitely know she's my sister in some way, though."

 

It took Lionel several seconds to make the connection. “Ah,” he said finally, “I see.” He stroked his beard in consideration. “I suppose I’ll be making use of those books after all,” he murmured to himself.

 

Elaine had been hesitant to interrupt the family discussion, but as the conversation trailed off awkwardly she decided to try to return to the point where it had diverged. “Excuse me, but you mentioned your brother owned the Tyranitar that transformed? Ryan…?”

 

“Hikari,” Lionel supplied. “Ryan Hikari, my wife’s oldest.” He paused. “Wait. Wasn’t he supposed to be in prison…?”

 

"He got released somehow, then one of my teammates drafted him. Apparently it happens often, it happened to another two of my teammates from what I've gathered." There was a small pause. "Actually, from what I've gathered, it's been the same teammate each time who's been doing the drafting. First person was before I started going on missions with my group of friends, though." Lucia gave a small shrug. "It worked out in the end, though. Something, something, brainwashing, or something like that. It was a very confusing couple of days."

 

Lionel was not sure he approved of his daughter fraternizing with criminals, but he wisely kept his concerns internal. “So,” he said, changing the subject, “Ryan ended up on One Island with you? How exactly did that all come about? And what even happened there? If you’re allowed to tell us, that is.”

 

Elaine drooped visibly at the reminder. “That’s right, the authorities haven’t been exactly forthcoming with the details. If you can’t tell us anything, I understand.”

 

"Well. I don't know if I should, but I can say." A slightly mischievous look crossed Lucia's face. She briefly explained about how she'd been looking after a friend for a while to explain why she hadn't been there during the Two Island mission, but then began to explain about the One Island mission. "So, it was supposed to be a recon thing to test these new Power Suit things, but then One Island was reported to be attacked so we went to give backup. But then everything sorta went wrong in multiple different ways, and the alien things - Instances, I think they were called - sorta began to overwhelm us, but then at some point… things just turned against the alien things when we got the new evolutions. I don't know exactly what caused it, but it almost felt like…" Lucia paused as she tried to figure out the best way to explain it. "Desperation?"

 

Elaine and Lionel exchanged glances. The Professor was first to speak, since Lionel lapsed into a contemplative silence. “Shoot,” she said with false levity, “so they were new creatures. I think I owe Emmeryn money now.” As the jest fell flat, she struggled for a new subject. “You mentioned testing something, though -- Power Suits?”

 

“That caught my ear as well,” Lionel added. “Is that what it sounds like it is?”

 

"Maybe, it's like…" Lucia tapped her fingers together as she struggled to think of an example. "Have you two ever heard of like, those series that like have different people being able to transform and shoot out fire or stuff?”

 

“I’ve seen Alex’s DVD shelf, so yes.”

 

"It's kinda like that. I got a grass suit and could fling razor leaves."

 

Elaine swore, prompting both of her Pokémon to flinch and stare at her in concern. “Sorry, sorry,” she swiftly said, adding a comforting pat to reassure her partners. “It’s just… that sounds like the technology I’ve developed, but with a reliable delivery mechanism.” After some hesitation, she reached into her bag, extracting a small transparent cylinder about the size of a large old-timey alkaline battery, a hazy ribbon of energy floating frozen inside the viscous substance within. “This is a suspended form of the move Recover -- or at least, a sampling of it. The full moves use a supply that’s substantially larger. Was the suit you were given loaded with capsules like these?”

 

Lucia looked at the cylinder with an awed look on her face. She had never actually seen anything stored like that before. "That's… a good question. We never actually saw the inner workings of the suits, but there was definitely a power source that we had to be wary of." She frowned slightly, as she tried to recall the details of the briefing. "I feel like there was something maybe like that, but I couldn't tell you if it was exactly like that."

 

Lucia paused for a moment, as she thought over things. "Wait, did you say this was just a sampling of Recover? Because we had like, a bunch of different moves we could use too… I was just mentioning the one I found coolest. Like, I forget the exact moves I had, but I had Petal Dance too, and I could heal suits I think, and hmm…"

 

The Professor seemed both crestfallen and confused, whereas Lionel seemed to be mulling over the details. “The healing,” he asked, oddly intense, “was it energy-based or nanotechnology?”

 

"Hmm…" Lucia tried to think the best that she could. "I can't recall exactly, but…" She trailed off for a moment as she recalled how the suit had worked. She quickly explained in as much detail as she could about what the repair pods had been like, using her hands to try and add gestures to help with context.

 

The businessman grew steadily more angry as the explanation continued. “Professor Alderson,” he said with a dangerous smoothness to his voice, “I do believe that someone, somewhere, has been snooping into private research.”

 

The Professor, by contrast, bit her lip. “Doesn’t that seem a bit… hasty, Mr. Zyther?”

 

Lionel inclined his head. “Perhaps. But at times haste may be just as great a virtue as patience… particularly in the realm of patent registration.”

 

The cash-strapped professor went carefully quiet. “I’m listening.”

 

“Whatever this is, they clearly weren’t planning to go public with it, not yet. I propose we do a bit of… convergent innovation. Completely coincidental, of course; my daughter, after all, would never reveal classified intelligence, not even to her father… but if the process hypothetically led to a product that served as a viable competitor to a technology whose components were hypothetically the result of infringement upon our own inventions, well… I don’t think anyone would see that as anything less than justice, however inadvertent, wouldn’t you agree?”

 

Elaine considered the offer with very deliberate care. “I… suppose you may have a point, Mr. Zyther.”

 

“Lionel,” he corrected, holding out his free hand. “We’re partners now.”

 

With a final moment of hesitation, Elaine accepted. “I suppose we are. Elaine, then.”

 

Lionel grinned widely. “Elaine, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

 

Mischief sparkled in the professor’s eyes. “Indeed it is, Lionel. Indeed it is.”

 

The flap to Elaine’s tent opened, and a sleepy face peeked out. “Are you all done?” Emily asked groggily. “I’ve been trying to sleep for an hour and a half now.”

 

“Now, now,” Elaine giddily chided, “I was just concluding a very important arrangement.”

 

“It’s past midnight. Sleep now, conspire to rule the world later, ‘kay?”

 

With a chuckle, the group dispersed to their tents.


 

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: Jared Winters/Colleen Llyan - (Kalos Route 7, after training)

 

“So, the hardest part of this is getting Styx tied up,” Jared said as he uncoiled the rope. Despite the chill air of the night, he was still wearing his tank top and shorts, showing the hard muscles of his arms and legs, as well as the multitude of scars across them. “Will you hold this?” he asked as he held the rope out to Colleen.

 

Colleen nodded with a small frown as she kept hold of the rope she had been given. "Got it. How long does the tying… take?" She looked between the rope and where the Absol would be. "Does it usually even hold?"

 

“I can usually get him tied in about a minute, with help from Anubis. The rope holds fine, he’s not present enough to cut through it.” Jared sighed. “I’m going to try something a bit different tonight, though.” He picked up the Pokéball. ”Styx, come out.” He pressed the button, and the Absol appeared. As soon as it did, a tendril of dark red aura snaked from Jared and latched onto the Absol’s. ”Sit. Don’t attack.”

 

The Absol growled at the order, but the aura hold seemed to work. Jared nodded. ”Just slip the loop over his neck, then tie the rest two or three times around that tree.” Bloody aura swirled amongst the silver, spiking out erratically as if trying to free itself.

 

Colleen gave Jared a glance as she looked from the loop to where he had mentioned. "Is this what you normally do?" She asked cautiously, the difference in aura colours not escaping her notice.

 

”Normally, I have Anubis hold him while I do the tying. Like I said, I’m trying something new tonight, and it seems to be working. This is how I control Styx in battle, but I don’t like doing it. It feels . . . wrong.” Jared shrugged softly, not sure how to express the sensation of grabbing the Absol’s twisted aura with his own -- even if his own were technically Mercury’s.

 

"I see…" Colleen glanced hesitantly. "Have you ever considered anywhere other than, you know, the neck?" Despite her question, she did go to gently put it on the Absol, considering trying to untie the rope and tie it around the Absol's belly instead. She determined it'd take too long to do that, however, opting to simply leave things alone for the moment. She walked over to the tree and tied the rope there as best as she could and as quickly as she could, then walked back over to Jared.

 

Jared paused in consideration. Once Colleen was back beside him, he released his hold on Styx, and the Absol lunged at them, pulling up short with a choking noise. Jared winced. “I hadn’t considered that,” he admitted. “Tying it around his chest or something would make a lot more sense, I was just worried he would slip out. This seemed more efficient.” He sighed, walking over and grabbing the Absol by the base of its blade. It lunged at him, but he used his other hand to lift it by its chest so it couldn’t move. “Do you think you can retie him quickly?”

 

Colleen nodded and quickly did her best to untie and retie the knot as best as she could. "I can't tell, is this strong enough? I never actually figured out how to really tie super strong knots. If you want I can try to take your place there."

 

Jared examined the knot from his position at the Absol’s head. “That works. We just really need it to hold for a few seconds before and after we start things. During the baths, he’s always calm.”

 

"Alright." Colleen stepped back and held out her hand. "So, how exactly does this work?"

 

“We just project our aura. No real form or anything, just . . .” Jared closed his eyes, and silver light started to form around him, slowly spreading over Colleen and Styx. As the silver light hit, the Absol stopped struggling. Jared set him down slowly and took a step back. “The longer we do it, the longer he’s coherent afterwards. With two, we might be able to actually cure him.”

 

Colleen thought for a second, then nodded. The beige-haired aura wielder focused on her aura. "This is definitely not easy…" She mumbled as she kept instinctively trying to form it into a sphere like normal. Still, she kept trying, her aura becoming visible as she tried her best to envelop the Absol in the glow.

 

Jared smiled a bit as he saw the golden light. “Yeah, just like that. I’m glad you understood, I’m not great at explaining aura stuff.” He sighed, moving to sit beside Styx, who had moved to a resting position in the grass. “What do you think? Of everything, I mean, not just Styx. We haven’t touched base with each other really since we landed.”

 

Colleen went quiet as she continued to focus, unsure whether to actually sit or not. "I'm not sure." She finally spoke, as she glanced over at Jared briefly. "About a lot of things. Like, it's really tough to figure out what to think about these things sometimes." She fell quiet again. "Styx is definitely… not something I've ever seen before." She bit her lip. "I'd say the same about you too."

 

“Styx and my Onix, Stones, are both interesting, and apparently not unique. The guy I . . . acquired Stones from, said something about there being more.” Jared looked over, raising an eyebrow. “What do you mean about me, though?”

 

"... Wait, hold up, first of all, you…" Colleen gave Jared a look. "Really? Sticks and stones? Didn't think you were capable of that level of pun." She gave her fellow a smirk.

 

Jared chuckled a bit, leaning back on his hands. “Styx was just something that seemed fitting to me. The pun wasn’t my idea, either, if it helps. I just went with it because, what else would you name an Onix?” He looked over at the golden aura girl with a smile.

 

Colleen opened her mouth, then closed it. "... That's a fair point." She chuckled as well, then glanced to the side. "Also, I mean like, your aura. It's not something I've seen before. It goes from silver to this red colour every so often. I've noticed it a few times now, including during that fight yesterday and just now…"

 

Jared stared, the smile gone from his face. If Mercury had been free to speak, he probably would have said something like ”Stupid, Jared, to think that the other person who can see Aura wouldn’t notice that.” As it was, Jared could imagine his voice.

 

“Right,” he muttered. “So, that’s . . . a thing. I don’t know if it’s a ‘me’ thing, or if it’s just a really rare phenomenon with aura users, but..” The silver-haired boy sighed, looking up at the dome of silver and gold around them. “Have you ever taken somebody’s life, Colleen?” He winced as he saw a brief streak of red shoot through the silver he produced. “I mean, personally, by your own hand, not through a Pokémon or a gun or something like that.”

 

"I almost killed some Pokémon when they tried to kill me and a friend I made… but I haven't killed anyone, weapon, Pokémon, or not." Colleen glanced over curiously at Jared. "Though that clown on Two Island came pretty close to making me want to."

 

Jared frowned, turning his head again to see if Colleen was joking. “Clown? I . . . I don’t think I want to know.” He sighed. “I . . . No, I didn’t, but…” He groaned. “This is hard to explain. Let me think for a second.” Jared looked up at the dome again. “My father is the one who trained me in aura ability. He was a good teacher, I guess, but a terrible person. Hours punching trees and rocks, honing my aura powers and standing out in the cold in clothes like this.” Jared gestured to his training outfit.

 

“One day, he killed my mother and came at me with a knife. I formed my first aura sphere for the sole purpose of surviving. I killed my father.” He closed his eyes. “There’s been a voice inside of me ever since, a part of me that calls itself Mercury, that looks out for my survival. It’s-- he’s-- I--” Jared groaned, the silver becoming tinged with red. “He doesn’t exist. He’s not a real part of me, he’s just a delusion I had because I didn’t want to admit that I had killed someone. But.. But then he killed more people. People I can’t say for certain were bad people, just ones who were opposed to me at the time.”

 

"I can't even imagine what that would be like…" Colleen fell quiet again as she mulled over what had been said. Something felt wrong, but she didn't want to bring it up at the moment.

 

“And,” Jared continued, “Eventually, I started to black out. I would wake up in a different city, with my commanding officer telling me ‘good work on clearing out those rebels, Mercury.’ and I had no idea what was happening. Anubis and I, we eventually sealed Mercury away, for a while, at least. We were in Lavaridge, looking to stop something bad from happening there with the rest of my Company. I guess we failed, because, just as Anubis and I were getting out of dodge, the town exploded and we got teleported away from the blast. I hit my head, I guess? Woke up a week or so later in Fallarbor town, just in time to travel a month to Sootopolis.”

 

"Oh wow…" Colleen glanced over curiously. "Why did you go to Sootopolis?"

 

“I had this list. Places, dates. Cerulean City, Kanto. Ecruteak City, Johto. Castelia City, Unova.” He sighed. “I lost most of the list. Five, six pages? I had one. It had Lavaridge, Sootopolis and Celadon, Two island, One Island, all with the dates and some vague details that didn’t help in the end. I woke up and had to rush to get to Sootopolis, and I still didn’t show up before the Groudon attack.”

 

"Wait, hang on, the Groudon attack?" Colleen strained her memory to recall what she'd heard on the radio and around talk with others. "But, wait, hang on, how did you manage to not get there in time if you took only a month?"

 

“Like I said, I was in a coma for a week or so before that, so call it a month and a half.” Jared shrugged. “I showed up sleep deprived, which is when I met Lachina.”

 

Colleen ignored the last bit as she stared at Jared blankly. "Jared. Buddy. Pal." She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Try seven and a half months or more."

 

Jared frowned softly, silver eyes locking with purple. “What do you mean? I woke up in Fallarbor’s Pokémon Center seven days later, traveled somewhere around a month . . .” His eyes narrowed, and Colleen could see the wheels in his head turning. “It’s August. I woke up in June, but…” His eyes went from narrow to wide. “We were in Lavaridge during winter. It was-- It had to have been December.” At Colleen’s simple nod, the silver aura wielder could just stare in horror.

 

Finally, he spoke. “No. No, no no.” He stood and began pacing. “I used to lose time to Mercury. What if-- Colleen, what if he had been active all that time? I could have killed a thousand people in that time, if not more!” The silver light had all but completely vanished now, to be replaced with red. Styx raised his head, growling softly.

 

"Breathe, Jared. Just breathe." Colleen said, as she glanced around slightly nervously. "Just like, try and picture something nice, like a vacation to, like, Seven Island or something. Somewhere warm and cozy, but just… breathe."

 

Jared closed his eyes and took several ragged breaths, each one accentuated by his aura pulsing around him. Slowly, silver took back over. “No. Mercury wouldn’t have been able to do that,” he said, though he sounded largely unconvinced. “I would have heard about something like that, right?”

 

Colleen nodded at that. "Yeah, plus you said that you woke up in Fallarbor, in the Pokémon Center. That fits more with being out cold than anything else. Plus, can you talk with your Lucario? Has Anubis…" She paused. "That's your Lucario, right? If so, have they like, mentioned any other time Mercury has been in control?"

 

Jared shook his head. “When I woke up, I was cut off from my aura for a bit. I could see it, vaguely, but I couldn’t use most of it, and Anubis couldn’t communicate with me. Afterwards, though, he never mentioned it. I’ll have to ask him, once power comes back for him.” Jared sighed, sitting again, a bit closer to Colleen. “Anyways. Mercury, yeah. After everything, I didn’t remember anything that had happened until Lachina and I got to Vermilion. That was when Mercury became a problem again. Memories came back, and he did too.

 

“He spoke to me, tried to convince me we were friends and allies. I gave him control during a bad situation, he broke a guy’s finger just as a warmup to some really rough ‘interrogation.’ Afterwards, it was a struggle. I leaned on him during the fight in that egg thing on Two Island, and he royally ticked off that Arthur guy-- whose sister I now realize we are traveling with.” He facepalmed.

 

“But, for the most part, he kept quiet. Sure, he would snark, and once or twice he wrestled control away from me to say or do something that I wouldn’t. But for the most part, he was willing to sit back and only come out in bad times. And then we got into that fight the other day. Mercury was going to kill that Scrafty. I stopped him. And I sealed him again, by myself. He’s nothing but a figment of my imagination, so I have him locked up. He’s a coping mechanism, to help me do hard things, make hard choices, fight like someone who’s desperate to survive. I can draw on him, now, and it doesn’t cost me anything.”

 

"That… doesn't sound like it's the case to me…" Colleen rubbed her arm, as she frowned slightly. "I don't pretend to be an expert because I've lived more or less alone for 12 years, but, like… I dunno, that doesn't really sound like a figment or a coping mechanism… or that it isn't costing you anything." The girl glanced over as she bit her lip. "I'm not sure if it's the best time to exactly talk about it, but like… the way you talk about Mercury sounds… not like a figment would at all. Like… especially with what I keep noticing of your aura, it just feels different."

 

“That’s what he keeps trying to convince me of, every time I draw on him now. But, it works for me. I used him at the breakfast table to get everyone’s attention, I used his abilities in a fight, but I was the one in control still. He’s locked in a cell in my mind, and if he weren’t just some delusion I had, I wouldn’t be able to do that, right?” Jared shrugged. “It . . . It does mean that I’m a murderer, though. It means that I’ve made the decision to kill hundreds of people over the course of the war, and just repressed all those memories. So, that’s kind of a bummer.”

 

"Didn't you just say that Mercury used to take control from you?" Colleen pointed out, a slight frown on her face. "Actually, can you explain what that was like, especially the recent times you mentioned?"

 

Jared sighed, shrugging. “Back in the day, I don’t know. The nurse mentioned that most things would come back to me, but some things might be lost from my memory permanently. I literally can’t remember the times that Mercury took control before the coma.” He breathed sharply, blowing a strand of hair out of his face and grumbling about needing to trim it. “But lately, it’s like . . . I feel like something needs done, but I don’t have the guts to do it myself. Mercury takes over -- a second, a minute, however long it takes to fight -- while I watch from the background. It’s still my body doing it, I’ve just passed the buck to someone else. That way, if I fail, then it’s not actually my fault.” He chuckled. “Honestly, I’m kind of a coward, now that I think of it.”

 

Colleen breathed softly to try to keep calm herself, as she gave Jared a sharp look. "I don't think that's something that a figment could do. Like… I don't know, I'm not anywhere close to knowing about anything like this, but like, listen to yourself for a moment here. You watch from the background as something takes control of your body, that changes your aura completely, and acts completely differently." She shook her head for a moment, as she tried to keep focus on everything. "You mentioned that you've lost time before, but this explanation also seems different too. I don't know. This doesn't seem like just something you've made up. And like, if you've been watching, then how is it not possible? Plus like… you mentioned sealing by yourself. Something that you and Anubis did before, from what you just said. How do you know that's just not you evolving your powers?"

 

Jared frowned, staring at his hands. “I . . . Colleen, I don’t want there to be a real Mercury. The thought that he’s not just something I made up, that he’s not just a figment of my imagination or a coping mechanism or whatever, that’s a thought I can’t have. Because it means that there’s something inside of me that’s broken. It makes me less human, and it means that at any minute he might take control and never give it back.” He swallowed. “I know it doesn’t make sense, but I don’t want there to be a monster inside of me waiting to escape.” He looked up.

 

“At the same time, I know you’re right. I know that my aura changes when Mercury is taking control -- or when I’m channelling him, even. That shouldn’t happen.” He put a hand on Styx’s head, and the Absol cracked its one eye open to look up at him. “But that makes me like Styx and Stones. They’re twisted creatures who are just . . . wrong. I don’t want to be like that.”

 

"I don't think you're twisted. I don't think it makes you less human either." Colleen simply looked at Jared, unable to really think of anything good to say. "But like… I get what you're saying, but… won't ignoring this be just as bad?" She rubbed her arm again. "I don't know, like, I get everything, and I'd be scared so much if that happened to me. But…" She glanced over at Styx. "It doesn't mean it has to stay that way, and it doesn't mean you have to hide things away." The girl took a deep breath. "I'm sorry if I'm crossing a line, but it's like earlier. You're trying to avoid killers by jumping into the Carvanha pool. Things can take time sometimes. There needs to be like, a balance between these sorts of things. I don't know if I'm actually making sense here…"

 

Jared sighed. “No, I think I understand. You’re right, and the worst part is you’re right about advice I’ve already heard.” He sighed. “I should share this with everyone, let them know about Mercury. But I’ve kept him hidden so long…” He sighed. “And I’ve been telling myself ‘now isn’t the time, do it later’ but there’s never a good time. Even if I’m not on a mission where people are putting faith into me, there’s just not a good time to tell someone about the monster living in your head.” He frowned, looking up at the aura lights. “I think we’re starting to get tired. That looks a lot dimmer than it did before.” He began lowering the sphere of silver aura around them.

 

Colleen looked over at Jared with a frown as she watched him lower the aura sphere. "Just, one thing, alright?"

 

“Yeah, go ahead.” Jared gave her a soft smile as he began untying the rope from the tree. Styx stood and stretched, looking up quietly as Jared untied him.

 

"You should like… talk to people more often, I think." The beige-haired girl looked toward the ground with a small frown on her face as her own aura began to fade back to not being visible. "Like, I've been in a similar situation before… nothing quite like this in the slightest, but I just… for the longest time I wouldn't talk to anyone, and you remind me of how I was, sometimes."

 

Colleen stretched for a moment, then glanced back at Jared. "I don't really want anyone else to go through anything remotely like what I did.".

 

Jared nodded softly as he began walking back to the camp, Styx trotting along beside him. “I’ll work on it, for sure,” he agreed. “Thanks, Colleen. You helped me out a lot.”

"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: internal depiction of gender dysphoria, allusions to transphobia and homophobia.

 

IC: Alex Zyther

 

Alex awoke to soft sheets and the quiet warbling of bird Pokémon, the sun gently illuminating the room through gossamer curtains and a silken canopy not unlike the one he had above his bed at home.

 

Home.

 

Alex wondered what was happening there, what projects his father and mother had moved on to, how much they were worrying for him despite his protests he was ready for his Journey, if they could even imagine just how right they were.

 

What they’d think of him if they could see him now.

 

’Him.’ The thought came so easily to him, when he thought of his parents, his family, his home. ‘Him’ was where he fit, ‘him’ was the expectation, the proper place dictated by his duty as a scion of his household.

 

He hated it.

 

The arrival of Alex’s counterpart raised all kinds of uncomfortable questions for Alex. As stifling and humiliating as his current pronoun was for him, as much as he loved his more feminine side, he wasn’t sure he was ready to outright declare that to all the world. He’d learned years ago that cheerful naïveté could be ignored or excused, that so long as his choices weren’t flaunted --

 

But the other Alex disproved that. Alex the Green embodied a sense of androgyny that couldn’t be anything but deliberate, so blatantly apparent from clothing to posture to makeup that it was impossible to ignore, and Alex didn’t know what to do with it. It was so opposite him, so counter to everything he’d been raised to believe, that it defied his understanding entirely -- and some part of him needed to understand it.

 

Is that what I want? What even is ‘that’? And… Even alone in his own mind, Alex trailed off awkwardly, avoiding the uncomfortable prospect of interpersonal confrontation. And how do I even ask? Even as naïve and inexperienced as he was, Alex recognized the discomfort the witch felt when talking about gender. In one sense, Alex empathized, but on the other hand… This version of me went through a lot of suffering… and if I’m reading it right, it’s connected to our gender. Am I… ready to go through that? Can I take it? Will I even like the me that comes out the other side?

 

Alex flopped back down exhausted on the bed. A part of him -- a large part if he was being honest -- didn’t want to get up at all. The entire group had been running on desperation and adrenaline for so long now that this sudden restfulness seemed positively foreign, and now the consequences were catching up to them. Or, Alex thought, catching a glimpse through the open door of his Amelia stretching casually as she traipsed boldly through the cottage, maybe I’m projecting a bit. Either way, Alex was in no fit state to battle this morning… and yet he would, despite his sorry state.

 

”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.”

 

The other Alex was right. They needed to talk. And if getting thrashed was his only means of doing so… well. Alex was used to pain. Perhaps not as much as Amelia, but he could endure.

 

He had no other choice.


 

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: Chloe Hikari(Ally, Ren) - Vertrag, Battle Arena==-


Ally focused as Gluttony blocked her attack. She attempted to dash forward toward the Sin, but had to take a detour to the side as she felt her strength begin to be sapped by the odd attack. She glanced back for a moment, but saw that Chloe was still unfocused from the fight at the current moment. Her shadow extended, she vanished from sight long enough to appear just outside of Gluttony's line of sight. When she appeared, she moved to strike out with her twin swords with a Shadow Sneak attack, a fiery determination in her eyes.


Chloe, meanwhile, was still focused on Ray when the shockwave hit. She took just one second to glance back to where the fight was going on, then raised her hand as her eyes glowed green, her attempt redoubled. However, the situation looked grim, especially as she thought she saw Ray's head droop…


OOC:


Ally: Shadow Sneak > Gluttony


-==IC: HOPE==-


. . .


Although it felt hopeless… light continued to shine. Flashes in the darkness shone forward. A connection was made. And somehow, somewhere… things turned around.


. . .


. . .


. . .


-FINAL ROUND-


"RAY!"


A flash of rainbow surrounded Ray, a barrier blocking the man in the process. Both the Separatist and the monster seemed surprised as Ray realized that, whatever happened… it was something trying to help him. The orange-haired man clenched his fist, as he stepped forward. The surrounding area had completely vanished. It looked like the two combatants were standing on a transparent platform over a purple void.


Ray took another step forward, then realized that he was once again wearing the Ice-type Power Suit, though it more resembled the prototype version that he had tested against the Darkrai. Still, he stepped forward again, the monster beginning to step back in surprise and shock. With every step, it felt like someone was there, encouraging him - empowering him. The Separatist created an Ice Shard, then dashed forward and struck the monster across the chest. The monster let out a shriek of pain that threatened to deafen Ray, but he pushed the attack, summoning a hail of ice around the monster's head.


The shadowy creature attempted to swing its claws at Ray again and again as he kept up the assault, but it just kept bouncing off of the rainbow shield. The fighter slashed out at the monstrous creature another time before the shard of ice broke. It seemed for a moment that the suit might have run out of power.


Ray seemed caught off guard by the Ice Shard breaking. The creature took advantage of that and tried to advance. However, a lightning bolt forced the monster back toward the edge of the platform. The Separatist glanced over where the bolt had come from, only to discover that his Pikachu friend had shown up to help, though in a more spectral form than he remembered.


The shadow creature caught Ray's attention once again with a howl of rage. It looked for a moment like the trainer was out of tricks. However, Ray smiled confidently as he jumped backward, a flourish of his hand creating a spear of ice and proving that his suit hadn't run out of power after all.


"Now, go!" Ray cried, as he let the ice spear fly forward. The creature roared out in pain as the spear found its home in the monster's chest area. Briefly, the creature morphed into different forms, including into that of his father. Ray turned away, however, as the creature began to have rainbow light shoot out of its body. When he glanced back, the shadows that comprised it burst into fragments, leaving only a rainbow silhouette of the same kind of Pokémon that the shadowy creature had took the form of. With a grin, Ray walked forward, the armour dissipating into green light particles as he reached out to the silhouette…


-==IC: Ray Hakuda - Vertrag, Battle Arena==-


Ray's eyes shot open as a glow of rainbow-coloured light engulfed the area in front of him. He planted his foot in front of him as he began to stand up. An orb like in his dream floated in the air - despite the searing light, he found that he couldn't look away. It was just like on One Island. When the orb broke open, he saw his Zangoose, except in a completely different form. A cursory glance around the room showed a similar situation for the others' Pokémon.


Ray looked over to the stands, as he saw Ryan and Sonja being tormented by Adams in her monstrous form. The Separatist ground his teeth together, as he and Zangetsu ran forward, intent on stopping the dragon from harming either of the two.


"Can't let you do that, Adams! Zangetsu! It's time to show everyone what we can do! Hone your claws, then use Close Combat on Adams!" The mega-charged Zangoose gave a growl of recognition to the command, then shot forward faster than before. The Zangoose ran with his claws down to grind them like using a whetstone, the larger-than-normal claws causing sparks against the ground until the Zangoose leaped up toward the stands. Trying his best to get in an attack before the dragon could react, Zangetsu slashed out in the way that he used Close Combat, to try and deal a big hit to the main body and any bits of the wings that he could.


***


"Ren!" The Luxray looked over as Chloe finally paid attention to the fight attention and ran closer to where the electric-type was. "Let's go help out quick! Adams seems like the bigger threat here right now!" Chloe said with a determined look on her face as she re-establish connection with Ally to be able to give her commands from afar. "Now, Quick Attack to get close, then use Ice Fang again!"


With a growl of acknowledgement, Ren quickly dashed forward, her legs moving faster than ever. One powerful leap later and the Luxray landed in the stands behind where Sonja was. Ren growled threateningly at Adams as she pawed forward to the side of Sonja. Once she was certain that neither Ryan nor Sonja would get harmed by the attack, Ren pounced toward Adams.


While that was going on, Chloe focused forward. I've never done this before… but I hope it'll work. She took a deep breath, and then attempted to teleport forward into the stands. This was the first time she had actually wanted to test this power out, but knew that if she didn't try, then things might not go well for them. The psychic woman gave it her best shot, though luckily gave herself some wiggle room in her coordinates, as she was off by a couple rows of seats. She appeared in the air above some of the seats, but crashed down on one of the arms. Winded, she instead tried to reach out to Ryan with her psychic powers as she recovered.


"Ryan, don't give up… you're trapped in an illusion, it's not real…" Chloe attempted to say, though she couldn't tell how much was getting through to the terrified man.


OOC:

Zangetsu: MEGA EVOLUTION, Hone Claws > Self, Close Combat > Adams

Ren: Quick Attack > Close distance, Ice Fang > Adams

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IC: Shannon Willows - Park, Vermilion City

Shannon relaxed into a small smile as she watched the quiet girl cradle the small Seedot. It was the most words she'd heard Aori utter at once, and it was a subject they both seemed to feel strongly about. "Your papa was a wise man, Aori. I don't really like fighting either, but sometimes we have to defend ourselves." She glanced over at Selena, who had gone back to cleaning her matted fur. "When we give into violence like that, I feel we lose a part of ourselves. It's scary." The Furret paused and looked up at Shannon, then squeaked a humble apology for her behavior.

 

Shannon looked at the ground. "I'll admit I have a hard time knowing when it's okay to resort to violence. Any time I do, no matter how much I try to justify myself, I feel terrible about it." She let out a sigh, then glanced up at Aori. "Thank you for protecting Selena and Hana, though."

 

IC: Dahlia Seaton - Route 7, Kalos

Dahlia rolled over in her sleeping bag to stare at the sleeping form of her sister. Olivia had wordlessly dragged her off to Jared's training session the night before, then collapsed in exhaustion at their tent before Dahlia had a chance to bring up what had happened at the Chateau. The middle Seaton was at war with herself. She wanted -- no, she needed -- to apologize to Olivia, but every time she found the opportunity she couldn't bring herself to do it.

 

A simple shake of the shoulders, that was all it would take to wake up her sister so she could voice her apology, yet her muscles wouldn't respond to such a simple action. As she lay there in turmoil, Dahlia wondered if she truly was sorry. True, she had never meant to make Olivia uncomfortable, but the voice in her head spouted justifications for her assertive accusations. She still felt like she deserved to know the truth. And it was that selfish entitlement that scared her.

 

With a sigh, the gardener crawled out of her sleeping bag, changed into a new pair of clothes, and quietly unzipped the tent. It was still early in the morning; the fresh dew tickled her toes, and a thin fog hovered lazily over the trees. Somewhere off in the distance she heard the sounds of Jared's morning training regiment. She wasn't sure if Colleen or Lachina had joined him, but regardless of the company a bit of focused meditation and martial arts would take her mind off her troubles. Not to mention, it would make up for missing the last few training sessions. Complacency was a luxury she could not afford, not after the berry fields. Steeling herself, Dahlia headed into the woods where Jared trained.

 

 

IC: Ryan Sanders - ???
The ground shook. The darkness thinned, not visibly, but in its weight. The choking shadows could no longer support his weight, and Ryan felt himself falling through nothingness. For a brief moment he wondered if this was what it was like to fly through space, only the stars had all been blotted out. Throughout the freefall his own voice -- his doppelganger's voice -- echoed in his mind, filling the darkness with truths about his inner demons.
 
After what felt like an eternity another sound called through the darkness. It came from somewhere far away, but he recognized the voice of Sonja Baron. Almost immediately the darkness dispersed, but he wasn't in the arena. No, he was back in the Egg, in the Chamber of Grievance. Sonja stood in the center of the room, the real Sonja, not a holographic projection. The screens all around her reflected her memories, only they were different from those he had seen in the actual Egg. With growing horror, Ryan realized that the projected memories all had to do with him.
 
He saw images of himself at the Liberty Ball, in Opelucid, in Fortree. Most of the memories were stained with tears. And it was then that Sonja spoke again, this time her voice clear as a bell. "I'm so sick of him, always treating me like an object. I don't know what I'll do if I have to spend one more minute alone with him."

It was like she had plunged a dagger straight into his stomach. He fell to his knees, unable to meet his friend's hardened violet eyes. "Sonja . . ." he gasped. "I'm . . . sorry . . . I thought we'd put all this behind us . . ."
 
"I never said that." Perhaps he was succumbing to the pain in his side, but Sonja's words sounded far away once more. "Ryan, I never said that." The girl strode up and placed a foot on his side, rolling him onto his back. "He's useless," she said coldly. "We're better off without him dragging us down." The screens surrounding the chamber all flickered, their various memories all replaced with the same close-up of Sonja's face, her expression bitter. "He can't do anything right," the army of Sonja's said in unison. "He couldn't maintain a relationship if he tried . . . much less save his parents, or contribute to this whole mess . . ."
 
"You're right . . ." Ryan covered his head but he couldn't block out the Sonjas' taunts. "All my life I've longed for my moment in the spotlight . . . I tried to give it up, but I just can't . . ."
 
"Wake up!"
 
Sonja's cry shook Ryan out of his stupor. He glanced up at her in surprise, only to see she had turned her back to him. A monstrous dragon he recognized as Adams stood before her. Once again, everything looked muted, as if he were watching through a veil. Something resembling a Luxray landed next to Sonja before leaping at the dragon. Togie flew overhead and Quil, Samurott, and Garchomp ran up to assist. The four Pokémon joined the Luxray in attacking Adams. From somewhere far off, Ryan thought he heard Missy and Ampere fighting, likely against Gluttony.
 
A muffled crash drew his attention to the bleachers. Chloe was climbing out of the seats, her eyes locked desperately on his. "Ryan, don't give up…" The voice rang clear in his head. "You're trapped in an illusion, it's not real…"
 
"Ah, but it is real . . ." The doppelganger's voice rang truer than Chloe's. "All the suffering you've caused others, your failed attempts at overcoming something that's in your very nature . . . that's no illusion, Sanders."
 
"It is real . . ." Ryan's voice sounded in a weak echo his shadow's. "I couldn't save Adams . . . I caused Sonja so much grief . . . I couldn't overcome Gluttony . . . that's why he's come for me . . . Because no matter how much I try to better myself, it's the same result each time. People get hurt, even die, because of me. The idea that I can somehow redeem myself . . . that's the real illusion."
 
OOC:
 
Quil: pouncing bite > Adams
Togie: divebomb > Adams
Samurott: seamitar strike > Adams
Garchomp: claws > Adams
Missy: unknown attack > Gluttony
Ampere: unknown attack > Gluttony

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

 

Zangetsu's sudden arrival and strike proved enough to knock Adams back several steps; the seats and floor creaked and bent out of shape where she planted her feet to regain her footing. Though the attack did appear to have hurt her, she seemed to have resisted a large portion of the damage--presumably a result of her Typing.

 

That was enough, however, as it gave an opening for the others to join in. Ren leaped beside Sonja and Ryan, his large, lion-like form crouching low before he lunged forward, managing to land a hit on her neck with Ice Fang. Adams roared in pain, clawing at the Luxray as her massive wings beat through the air around her, sending gusts of wind in every direction. She managed to pry him off just in time to kick backwards, and then off into the air as the rest of Ryan's team bore down on her, blocking Garchomp's claws with her own and kicking back at Quil, sending him into Samurott.

 

Togie slammed into her chest and she grappled the Togekiss in the air, spinning and hurling him down into the crowd as she had done with Jaeda earlier. She flapped her wings, flying higher into the air. Her scales glowed gold, and she unleashed a rain of meteor-like energy upon her opponents and the stands.

 

It was a lot to take in at once. Sonja collapsed back, too shocked to do anything but stare at where Adams had been only a moment ago. The battle had moved further down the stands; as such they did not appear to be in any immediate danger, even as Adams's attack crashed ahead of them and send sparks and shrapnel flying in every direction. She covered her eyes to protect herself. When nothing hit, she peeked over her arm. Kitheus had moved to hover in front of them, his large, metal form serving as an effective barrier against any debris that had headed their way.

 

Sonja breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Kitheus . . ." she said, all too aware of the shaking in her voice. "Do you mind giving us some cover for a bit?" The Magnezone whirred in response, which seemed to indicate his agreement. Even so, his eyes remained fixated--and oddly focused--on Adams. Sonja turned around to face Ryan. He was muttering something. "What?"

 

"It is real . . ." Ryan said. "I couldn't save Adams . . . I caused Sonja so much grief . . . I couldn't overcome Gluttony . . . that's why he's come for me . . . Because no matter how much I try to better myself, it's the same result each time. People get hurt, even die, because of me. The idea that I can somehow redeem myself . . . that's the real illusion."

 

"Ryan . . ." Sonja sighed, unsure of what she could even begin to say in response and looking to Chloe for help. "Look, Ryan . . . I don't know what you went through between Fortree and the Egg, but--" She instinctively ducked her head as a loud crash sounded from where Jaeda and Ally battled Gluttony. "--but that can't all be true. And it isn't all true. Okay? You didn't know Adams, but everything I've heard about her and saw for myself--if she died for any reason, it was because she didn't think she could make it out. That isn't your fault. And it's not your fault that she and Gluttony are here now. None of us could have predicted that they would show up."

 

Something occurred to her and she lifted her bag, showing it to Ryan. "Think about it, Ryan--if they were after you, why didn't they attack us when the group was split in half? They only came after us after we went into Ford's room. Why does Adams keep on charging toward me?" She shook the bag. "It's the book that they're after, Ryan! Not you! Ford sent us here to get the Grimoire, and they must have some idea of how he kept it secured, because they were waiting for someone to come to get it. This would've happened even if you hadn't come with us."

 

Sonja looked over her shoulder. The smoke from Adams's attack was still dispersing, but it was clear that it had done a number on its targets. She wasn't sure that any of Ryan's Pokémon were even conscious, though it was hard to tell. She turned back to Ryan.

 

"And . . ." She took a deep breath. "Look--I won't lie and say that you didn't make any mistakes, or that you didn't get on my nerves with the dance and everything. But you're beating yourself up way too much over all of that. It happened. But I'm not upset about it anymore, and I don't want you or your Pokémon to die because of it. They're out there risking their lives for you right now, Ryan. What's it going to take to make you see that? If you can't break out on my word alone, then do it so you can help them."

 

OOC:

 

Adams: Draco Meteor > Ren, Zangetsu, Ryan's team

Edited by Parugi

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

 

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IC: Ryan Sanders - ??? / Vertrag

Through the smoky darkness that threatened to envelop him again at any moment, Ryan saw his team succumb to Adams' Draco Meteor. Togie had just barely managed to regain control of his flight after being flung by the towering dragon, only to take two hits of meteor-like energy to his wings. The Togekiss plummeted to the ground like a rock. Samurott did her best to cut through the attack with her Seamitar, but even she couldn't dance around every last energy blast. Garchomp took it the worst; the draconic attack ripped through his scales like tissue paper, leaving sizzling bruises where the meteors had struck. Quil roared in defiance before taking a direct hit.

 

As the battlefield became obscured in smoke, Sonja started talking about how it wasn't his fault. Muffled as she was through the hallucinatory shadows, Ryan couldn't catch every word, but he understood her meaning. His other self understood it, too. "Aw, she really does care," the voice echoed in his mind. "I'd consider yourself lucky, Sanders. She's treating you better than you treat yourself, you know. You don't think you deserve friends like her, do you?"

 

That was when Sonja mentioned his Pokémon. Ryan was still trying to process what his doppelganger had meant, but there was no denying his partners were in serious danger. The smoke had started to dissipate, revealing the silhouettes of Togie, Quil, Garchomp, and Samurott strewn across the bleachers, all struggling to get up. Each of them was dangerously close to fainting, if not outright dying, and yet they refused to back down. Any one of them would give their life to protect their trainer. A trainer who couldn't even defeat his own demons. Every hit they took was like another dagger to Ryan's heart. He didn't deserve that kind of loyalty.

 

"I can't help them . . ." Ryan's knees started to buckle. Tears welled up in his eyes as his Pokémon threw themselves at Adams only to get beaten down again and again. "They're giving it their all, but I can't do a thing." His eyes moved to Sonja, his voice dropping to a shaky whisper. "No matter how much I try to change I always end up making the same mistakes. The voice in my head keeps telling me I'll fail, that I'm not good enough. All I can do is run, but even then I can't escape my own fears. I'm scared, Sonja . . ."

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 - Vertrag, Battle Arenas==-

 

Ray watched with a wince as Zangetsu took a heavy blow from the Draco Meteor. Even with the damage, however, the Zangoose planted a foot to remain standing. The two glared up at Adams, trying to figure out the best move that he could use. The fact that the dragon had taken the Close Combat so well perplexed Ray, which prompted him to consider what the typing of Adams could be.

 

"Zangetsu, try a Night Slash this time!" Ray called out, though he knew that they needed to be careful. This would be a testing sign of which type the dragon was, however. The Zangoose waited for a couple moments, then leaped into the air again, aiming to slash out with his claws at Adams' wings. Pokémon and trainer alike knew that this was a risk, but it was one that Ray was willing to take.

 

-==IC: Chloe Hikari - Vertrag, Battle Arenas==-

 

"Ren!" Chloe grit her teeth as she saw her Luxray take the blow from the Draco Meteor, though she seemed to be faring better than the majority of Ryan's team. The Luxray defiantly stood up and growled at Adams even through the damage that had been dealt. "Alright, that seems to be doing well so far, so let's go for an encore, Ren! I know we can do this!" Chloe said telepathically to Ren as she began to slowly climb down the seats to where Ryan and Sonja were. The psychic girl was still trying to catch her breath, but that wouldn't be a problem for snapping sense into the cowering man.

 

As Chloe made her way down the seats, Ren made her way up, trying to get as much height as she could before she leaped up toward the dragon. She tried to time it right that her pounce would happen after Zangetsu got his attack in, but she knew that if she hesitated too long, Adams could either move, or already have been knocked to the ground. So after she eyed the situation to roughly get to where she needed to be, the Luxray leaped toward the dragon once more, icy fangs at the ready to try to attack whatever she could get her teeth on.

 

Chloe finally got to where the pedestal was, breathing heavily as she heard what Ryan said. "I... hang on... gonna use... telepathy." She didn't think anything was actually broken, but it was better safe than sorry. Plus, she wanted to actually be heard quickly. She opened up her telepathy to Ryan and Sonja both, so they could both hear and so it wasn't a one-sided conversation.

 

"That's not true; that voice is wrong. I know from experience... After Unova, that's all I kept hearing. So I ran from all my problems; I ran from my friends. There were times when I pulled myself out briefly, but it was only just a couple weeks ago that that stuck... It took everyone's voices to really sink in. Every step of the way I had to fight it. I still have moments where I doubt myself, but you were the one who told me on the train to basically just keep moving forward. Heck, I'm scared even now, but I trust in everyone. We have to keep fighting. Making mistakes is just what makes us human." Chloe paused for a moment to try and help that sink in. "It's okay to be scared... but sometimes you have to face your fears. Alright? Let's all do this, together." The girl glanced around the battlefield to make sure nothing else was going to happen there, but hoped that this would sink in and pull Ryan out of the illusion.

 

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


"...First it went like 'bah bah bah bah', and then it went like 'TAH TAH TAH TAH!'" Marie casually listened as Lindsey said things that she could not for the life of her understand. She guessed that it was about some kind of anime, but not one that Marie had ever seen. Not that that was tough to do, living in another world tended to do that.


"I see…" Marie finally said with a smile as she tried her best to indicate that she was listening. "So the 'mah mah mah mah' people fought the aliens?"

"Well, yes, but it was 'bah bah bah bah', then 'TAH TAH TAH TAH'! The order is important, and also the wording!"


Marie was completely lost, but pleased that she at least got one thing right. "Right, got it, I think." She glanced over at the counter for a moment. "So what are we doing at the karaoke place?"


"Singing! What else?" The matter-of-fact way that Lindsey said it was enough to make Marie just pause and nod as if it was the weirdest question she could have asked.


She also dreaded the idea of singing.

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IC: ???? - Ruins of Abundance

 

The three jeeps came to halt beside the entrance to the ruins. The five remaining occupants stepped out of the jeeps. Several of them began to unload the cargo of the jeeps. There were crates full of high yield explosives, and boxes of guns.

 

The leader was overseeing the unloading when he decided to take a peek inside the ruins. There were rocks in places that needed to be moved. He threw a Luxury ball and an Ultra Ball on the ground, letting a Bewear and a Golurk come out. The Bewear immediately turned around and embraced his trainer with a massive bear hug. 

 

Despite the massive force being applied to him, the leader seemed unfazed. He merely sighed before saying, “Yes, yes, I love you too Wearbear. I need you to let me go and move those rocks for me.”

 

The Golurk put a hand on Wearbear’s shoulder and the Bewear reluctantly let his trainer down. The pair went off to start removing rocks from the path. The leader’s ears twitched. He could hear one of his subordinates suppressing a chuckle.

 

“Is there something funny?” he said, knowing fully well she could hear him.

 

“N-no sir,” she responded before clearing her throat. Her earlier laugh was a cough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

“That’s what I thought,” he said, as he walked back through the entrance. He walked past her to the only other member of the group was currently not unloading anything.

 

“Any sign of Bulu?” the man said to the leader of the expedition.

 

The leader shook his head but added, “He’ll be here. His pride won’t allow for anything else.”

 

“He’d better. If this opportunity is wasted, your position won’t protect you from the consequences. Or him.”

 

“...”

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-==IC: Kris Homura/Evan Tierra/Jenny Hakuda/James Arthur - Haina Desert, Alola - [16]==-


They had lost the scent. Try as Gnip might, she couldn’t get an accurate reading of their quarry. James didn’t blame her. Between the delay, the return of the sandstorm once they left the canyon, and the disorienting nature of the desert, it was a wonder they had tracked their targets as long as they did. But that left them with a conundrum. How to proceed. There was general agreement that they should keep heading towards the Ruins of Abundance where Tapu Bulu lived. They walked towards the only the visible landmark they could barely make out through the sand. A wall of rock that split into four different paths. In front of each path was a pile of stones.


“Is this supposed to be some sort of puzzle?” James asked to no one in particular. “Some riddle for us to figure out which path is the true way?”

Kris walked forward with a small frown as she looked at each of the piles of stones in turn. Each one had a different look to them. "Tell me, what do you all see in these stones?"


Evan carefully observed the stones, checking what the piles of piles of stones had to offer. He noted that one of them had what appeared to be a beaky protrusion. “Is it…...the way they are shaped?” The Plasma Agest queried. “Because otherwise, I’m at a loss at what else….”
 

James looked between two of the stacks of stones. One seemed to have a horn protruding from it, while the other seemed to have wings on its back. “I think you are onto something, Mr. Tierra. I do not know what these represent exactly. But, there are four of them…” James said as he took a closer look at the statue Evan was looking at. “Four guardian deities, four statues?” James offered.

The man considered what James had to say and grinned. “So it’s a matter of picking the right statue to lead us to the Ruins, right?” Evan said, amazed at how simple the puzzle may have been. “But which one do you feel will lead us there? I’m not exactly familiar with the Guardian Deities…..”

"This one." Kris said as she pointed to one of the stone piles that had horns. "This one seems to represent the Guardian Deity Tapu Bulu."


Normally James would advocate caution. However, as he had no better ideas, and there was a risk of danger in taking too long, he said, “Alright, let us take that path.”

With no objections, the group followed down the path marked by the horned statue. The path eventually came to another set of four statues. This time the identifying element was a nose ring on the correct statue. They found a total of four sets of such puzzles. Thankfully, not much time was spent on each individual puzzle, thanks to Kris’s knowledge on the Guardian Deities. Which was quite fortunate, considering each moment they spent was another their quarry had to prepare.

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IC: Yamamoto Aori - Vermilion City Park

 

"It was scary," Aori agreed. "I didn't like it, but I had to. Hana wouldn't have been able to beat them all, and Selena wouldn't have been able to, either." She rubbed at one eye. "Oh, Yanagi-san, can . . ." Aori paused, chewing her lip as she considered. "Can I borrow a Poké Ball from you?" She looked down. "Donguri-san, do you want to be part of my team?" The acorn nodded again and Aori smiled.

 

IC: Kalos Group (no, seriously, I'm not listing all of them.) - Route 7, August 9th

 

After Jared's training, breakfast fro everyone, and breaking down camp, the group found themselves back in front of the river. The arrangements had been made, and Jared stepped up first. "Oggie, come out!" he called, tossing the ball into the air to release the Lapras. As she appeared, she bent her great head down and nuzzled into Jared. The silver-haired trainer patted her neck softly. "I know, girl. Sorry I don't let you out more often." He let Elaine, Lionel, and Lucia get onto Oggie's back before he followed suit, taking his place near the front of her shell.

 

"Dracos," Dahlia called at the same time Jamie said, "Tristan!" Dragonair and Metagross formed, floating above the land. Dahlia and Olivia to onto Dracos' back, the older sister wrapping an arm around the younger's waist as it carried them out over the water. Jamie and her Metagross shot past them, taking a place towards the front of the group.

 

Kammy may have been a Blastoise, now, but it was still a tight fit for Emily, Colleen, and Zoe. They managed to find an arrangement that suited them, but it was definitely cramped.

 

Lachina rode Aolani, the cloud bird soaring a little higher than Dracos and Tristan did. The ranger chewed her lip, knowing that she wouldn't be much help in a fight on the water.

 

Finally, Alex Lockwood held two Poké Balls in his hands, considering the two options. With a shrug, he pressed both the buttons and summoned his Swampert and Empoleon. "Swampert, stay near the front of the group and watch out for trouble. Empoleon, you and me will bring up the rear."

 

IC: Alma Mason/Alma Mason - Kalos Route 10

 

After the burial, the group headed back towards town. The two Almas, however, hung towards the back of the group, each deep in their own thoughts. Despite her insistence that one could not mourn someone they didn’t know, the assassin’s eyes were red and puffy from weeping. Her counterpart, however, was pristine despite her claims of mourning all loss of life.

 

Finally, as they reached the edge of town, the murderous girl shook her head. “I am going to stay out for a while,” she told Belle and Amelia and Belle and Amelia. The adults gave her an odd look, but none seemed to think too much of it as they continued back towards the cabin. As she found a stump to sit on, however, the girl noticed that her own double had stuck behind.

 

“Are you well?” the healer asked the assassin, who scowled and shook her head.

 

“I am not. I showed weakness to strangers.” Alma’s voice was disgusted. “If Kure had been there . . .”

 

“Kure?” Her double tilted her head. “Is that your . . .” She trailed off, unsure how to finish.

 

Alma nodded. “She is my master. She gives me my jobs and provides me with my tools.”

 

“Your killing tools.” No disapproval, no loathing, just a mere statement of fact.

 

“Yes. Who provides you your medical supplies?”

 

“Father does, of course, through Team Rocket.”

 

Alma paused, looking up at her doppelganger. “Your father is still alive?”

 

“Yes, of course, why wouldn’t he be?” The healer walked over and sat, causing Alma to scoot to the side.

 

“Mine is not.”

 

“I am sorry to hear that. Do you mind if I ask what happened?”

 

“I slit his throat.”

 

The doppelganger stared in shock.

 

“He deserved it.” Alma pulled her knife from her belt, twirling it idly before stabbing it into the soft wood of the tree stump.

 

“Why do you say that?”

 

“Because he created me. He made me into a killer, and he did it through means that were painful and degrading. That knife there he used to cut me more times than I can count.”

 

“I’m sorry--”

 

“Be quiet.” Alma shook her head. “You could never understand. I am who I am because my father forced me to kill him. I have no regrets.”

 

The other Alma nodded slowly, considering. “You and I are not as different as you seem to think, you know.”

 

That surprised a short, startled laugh out of Alma, one that echoed in the quiet of the morning. “Really? Please, enlighten me.”

 

“Well, we share a name, a birthday. Both of us, our mother died bringing us into the world--”

 

“And both of the Belles grew up as orphans, but they are highly different people.”

 

“Yes, but . . .” The healer hummed, as if thinking what to say. “You and I have both held a life in our hands, have we not?”

 

“Under very different circumstances. Taking a life and saving one are not the same.”

 

“No?” The girl in pink leaned back on her hands. “I think you are wrong. At any point in time, you or I could make a choice. You could choose to miss, and let someone who would otherwise die live. I could choose not to do everything in my power, and let someone who would otherwise live die. Doesn’t that seem like the same thing to you?”

 

Alma glared. “That is not the same thing at all!” She plucked the knife from the tree stump and stood. “Saving a life is not as simple as ‘choosing not to kill!’ It requires work and effort, does it not? Or do you think so little of your medicinal skills?”

 

“Not at all.” The doppelganger stood as well and took a step towards Alma. “Saving somebody is simple and--” As she took another step, the assassin moved.

 

Before the healer could react, she had been grabbed from behind. One of the assassin’s hands pinned an arm behind her back. The other held the blade of a knife to her throat. She struggled, briefly, but was ultimately subdued as the knife drew a thin line of blood.

 

Simultaneously, both girls swallowed and released shaky breath.

 

“I could kill you here and now.”

 

“Or you could make the choice not to.”

 

They stood like that, frozen for several seconds. Finally, Alma released her grip and pushed her double away. As the double turned to face her, Alma turned her back. She used a forearm to quickly wipe her eyes, and sniffed softly.

 

“I could not save her,” she said, finally.

 

“Did you try?”

 

“I froze. I know first aid from having to patch myself up after sessions with father and Kure, but those are not the same thing.” Alma shook her head. “Saving somebody is not as simple as choosing to keep them alive.”

 

“It can be sometimes. Have you never done a simple act that kept someone from dying?”

 

Alma thought and slowly nodded. “I did save several ghosts, once. They would have been exorcised if I hadn’t intervened.”

 

The healer smiled. “Sometimes it is as simple as making a choice.”

 

“But sometimes, the choice isn’t yours. Tell me, then, how do you feel when a patient dies under your care?”

 

The silence was telling.

 

“I think I understand you, some, now. Thank you.” Alma quietly began walking back into Geosenge.

 

Her double joined her several minutes later.

"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

It took a bit of digging through her bag, but Shannon eventually found a spare Pokéball amidst her spare clothes and various art supplies. "Say, Aori, did your papa ever teach you how to catch a Pokémon?"

 

The girl shook her head.

 

A smile formed on Shannon's face. She turned to the Seedot. "Donguri-san, was it? Would you mind standing over there with Selena?" Realizing what her trainer was intending to do, Selena scampered a little ways up the hill, beckoning the small acorn Pokémon to follow. Once both Pokémon had made it several feet away from the girls, Shannon pressed the empty Pokéball into Aori's hand. "All you have to do is throw the Pokéball. Picture a target ring around Donguri-san. Try to hit it in the center, like a bulls-eye. It's like when you threw those rocks at the Spearow, only the Pokéball won't hurt. Here, I'll show you."

 

Grabbing Selena's Pokéball from her belt, Shannon stood up and stretched. She held the capsule aloft, closing one eye to line up her aim. The motions came comfortably to her despite not having caught a Pokémon of her own in several years. A wave of nostalgia washed over her as she let out a long breath, followed by a deep breath in. She drew back and with all her might lobbed the Pokéball at her Furret.

 

The ball sailed over the pair of Pokémon, a result of too much power in the throw. But Selena wasn't about to let the tutorial go to waste. With an excited squeak she scampered after the ball and jumped into it. As she twisted in midair the Furret slapped a paw against the release button. The ball opened, drawing her in with a flash of light. The ball shook for a few seconds before Selena popped out again, squeaking happily. She gave a little bow, then looked over at the Seedot expectantly.

 

"Well, usually the Pokémon's supposed to stay in the Pokéball, but I can't fault Selena for wanting to see your first capture." Shannon let out a laugh as she ruffled Aori's hair. "Alright, your turn now. Just keep calm and take careful aim. You can do this."

 

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

Zoe huddled between Collie and Emily, grabbing onto both of their arms. Her excitement about getting to ride a Blastoise was only matched by her fear of falling into the river. It wasn't that she couldn't swim, but after Emily had been so nice in buying her fancy new clothes it would be a shame if they got ruined by an unfortunate tumble. "Maybe we should have bought swimsuits at that shop," she said, her eyes glued to the waters below. "Then we wouldn't have to worry about falling in; in fact we'd be able to swim alongside Kammy." She looked over at Emily. "Do you know how to swim, Emmy? I can teach you."

 

Meanwhile, Dahlia and Olivia rode in uncomfortable silence. The younger sister hugged her Dragonair's neck as she contemplated what to say. She could feel Olivia's arms around her waist, but couldn't glean any emotion out of the action other than a desire not to fall in. Still, the longer this went unspoken the more awkward it would get. Dahlia took a deep breath. "Listen, Liv . . . I'm sorry about yesterday. I shouldn't have yelled like that. I don't know what came over me, I just--" She bit her lip. She knew exactly what had come over her; a not unfounded desire to know why she had suffered through her siblings' falling out. But she couldn't push the blame on Olivia, not after their argument yesterday. With a frustrated sigh Dahlia shook her head, resorting to a simple "Sorry."

 

From his spot in the back, Alex kept an eye on the rest of the group. There was a time when he would have placed himself in the front of the group, as the self-imposed leader of his team within Liberty. Those days were long gone, it seemed, yet while Alex saw the need for a person in back to fish out anyone who happened to fall in, he still longed for the days when his role was more important. He had to remind himself that this wasn't his mission. He and his cousin were merely tagalongs. His eyes fell on the Blastoise that carried Emily and the Llyan sisters. Zoe squirmed around between the two older girls, and on more than one occasion Alex feared someone might tip overboard, but the three huddled close enough together to prevent any mishaps. And so Alex continued to ride alone, a watchful guardian for the band of ragtag trainers.

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 young girl nodded, holding the ball carefully in front of her. Donguri was watching her, waiting. Aori nodded. "Picture a ring," she repeated as she took aim. "And aim for the center." She reeled back and pitched the ball. Despite having never done this before, her aim was good. It tapped the Seedot lightly and absorbed him in a beam of light. The ball shook three times, then settled with a click.

 

Aori walked over and picked it up with a smile. "Come out, Donguri." She released the acorn back into her arms and turned to Shannon with a smile and a bow. "Thank you, Yanagi-san."

 

IC: Emily Lockwood - Kalos Route 7 river

 

Emily hummed a bit as she also looked warily at the water. "I think maybe it's a bit cramped for all three of us to sit side-by-side, Zoe. Do you mind sitting in front of us?"

 

The three rearranged so that Zoe sat just in front of Emily and Colleen. "Much better, thank you."

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: Colleen Llyan/Emma Lockwood - Kalos Route 7 River(jam)==-


The river was pretty quiet at this early hour, and Emily was happily leaning against Colleen while also keeping a firm hold on Zoe. "This is nice," she said with a smile. "I've never traveled on water like this before."


"You haven't?" Colleen asked curiously as she glanced around every so often, to make sure that they didn't get surprised by any Pokémon.


“No, I usually ride on Spitfire. This is a lovely change of pace, though.” Emily stretched softly and leaned back as much as one could on the round dome of a Blastoise back. Her eyes scanned the river and she giggled as she saw a shape swimming alongside them. “Oh, look, a Marill.”


"Oh?" Colleen looked over the side curiously as she saw the shape as well. "Wow, I wonder what it's doing here? Like, what with everything that was said about this place being dangerous now and all."


“I don’t think it realizes.” Emily sat up a bit, humming. “I think I’m going to try capturing it “ She dug a ball out of her pocket and expanded it. The Marill, swimming along happily, noticed her and gave a slight grin. As Emily lobbed the ball -- nearly going over the side of the Blastoise shell -- the Marill leapt out of the water. Its tail smacked the ball, sending it down into the water before landing and continuing to swim. Emily stared, clutching Kammy’s shell.


"Do you have another Poké Ball?" Colleen asked after a moment's pause. That had been a rather awkward attempt, but the beige-haired girl was now intent on this working out to make up for that.


“Ugh, no,” Emily groaned. “That’s annoying.” The Marill had flipped onto its back and was sticking its tongue out at the girl.


Colleen frowned, then dug into her backpack and pulled out an empty Poké Ball, then unclipped her Magikarp's Poké Ball from her belt. "Alright." She handed the empty one to Emily, then threw her Magikarp's into the air, sending out Skulkraken to fight - or at least distract the Marill enough.


Emily raised an eyebrow as the Magikarp appeared, but gripped the ball tightly. The Marill took note of the approaching opponent and grinned. With a flick of her tail, she dipped under the water and popped up under the Magikarp in an attempt to throw it out of the water and onto Kammy’s back.


The Magikarp was caught by surprise, but twisted at the only time that was possible to think of evading. Skulkraken bounced off the side of the shell, some scales flaking off in the process, before diving down under the water as well. Colleen, in the meantime, kept watch of what was going on and the tricks that the Marill was using against them.


The Marill ducked back under the water, tail flicking to propel her into her opponent again in a pale imitation of a Tackle attack.


The Magikarp attempted to nimbly dodge, but was surprised by the speed of the Marill's movements. She spiraled through the water for a couple moments, before speeding back toward the Marill to try and draw her back to the surface.


Eager to play-slash-battle, the Marill followed unwittingly. As she popped up, back to Kammy, Emily threw the ball. Even as the ball hit its mark and the Marill disappeared in white light, Emily realized that she had overreached and was certainly going to go into the river. She cried out as she felt gravity take hold.


Colleen quickly reached out and grabbed hold of Emily's arm, as she tried her best to keep the redhead on dry not-quite-land. She kept watch on the Poké Ball, her other arm ready to dig into her backpack for another sphere if needed.


The ball split open, and the Marill reappeared, seeming dazed by the sudden change of orientation and location.


Colleen helped Em back upright, then fished out another Poké Ball. "Alright, plan B; I don't think that'll work a second time, but we can maybe catch the Marill off guard. Here, you throw, I'll jump, and together it should work." The aura wielder grinned, as she adjusted her position, carefully standing up while making sure no-one else fell. Kammy glanced back in slight confusion at what was going on, but instead looked back up the river. Even still, an expression of concern was across the Blastoise's face.


Emily smiled. “Think it’ll work?” Even as she said it, she took the ball. The Marill was watching them warily, but still had that grin on her face. Emily nodded. “You’re mine this time, Laramar.” Emily stood and lobbed the ball one last time.


As Emily did so, Colleen jumped into the air. The Marill flicked the ball away with her tail, but the aura wielder had already did her best to factor that in. The capsule flew her way and the girl grabbed for it, barely gripping it in the tips of her fingers. With a look back toward the Marill, Colleen flung the ball her way, intent on making this attempt be the one that succeeded.


The Marill was not expecting the two-pronged attack. As she was encased in the ball once more, Emily gave a small jump of joy. Landing on Kammy’s back, her shoe slipped on a slick patch. “Crud,” she muttered as her foot shot out from under her and she once more found herself taking a dive.


Captured or not, it appeared that the Marill got the last laugh, as when Colleen saw the blur of moment in the corner of her eye of Emily falling toward the water, she realized that her own trajectory was right into the river as well. With a big splash, the beige-haired girl found herself swimming for the foreseeable future. As Colleen surfaced, she sighed, then swam over to go and help Em back onto the Blastoise.


Em surfaced, gasping softly as her hair stuck wetly to her head and neck. Still, she grinned, when she saw something bobbing towards her. Quickly she snagged the Poké Ball and giggled. “We did it! Collie, we got her!”


"Nice!" Colleen grinned at the Poké Ball in Emily's hand. She clambered back up onto the water-type, then held out her hand to help the redhead back up as well.


Emily took the hand and leveraged herself up onto Kammy’s back with a laugh. “So much for--”


“Everything alright back there?” Jared had moved to the rear of Oggie’s shell and was smiling a bit at the three Blastoise-riding girls. “You’re making a lot of noise, just making sure nothing’s wrong.”


"Yeah, we just took a slight dip. Wanted to check how the water was while catching something. But we succeeded. The water's great, too." Colleen definitely was doing her best to not laugh at her own joke. She wasn't succeeding at that part very well.


Emily giggled, hugging Colleen tightly. “I caught a Marill!” she exclaimed happily. Jared chuckled.


“Good to hear. Let me know if you see anything else.” The silver aura user turned back to face the front and resumed his conversation with Lionel.

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IC: Alex Zyther/Amy “Beast” Parfum/Belle “Beauty” Parfum

 

It was an uncharacteristically somber Alex who entered the kitchen of the cottage (if it could be called such; even Alex had to admit that the luxuriously large structure pushed the definition of “cottage” to its stretching point). To Alex’s… ‘surprise’ was too strong a word this morning, ‘muted interest’ would be more accurate… the owners of the place immediately bustled past and started preparing a meal, as if they hadn’t just buried a woman mere minutes before.

 

“It’s nice,” Amy admitted, fetching dishes and ingredients and practically dancing around her wife in a well-practiced ritual, “I know you aren’t our Alex, but it’s been a long time since we’ve gotten to eat together in the mornings. Reminds me of how things used to be.”

 

“What changed?”

 

“Magic,” Beauty answered. “They have a fair few rituals that need an hour of meditation every morning, so now they’re always up at dawn before the rest of us.”

 

Alex glanced out the window in confusion, prompting a laugh from Amy.

 

“They’re at the Pokémon Center, picking up their team. They had a few delicate additions recently, and didn’t feel the cave was a safe place to take them.”

 

Alex suppressed a shudder. “That cave is anything but safe,” the Trainer agreed.

 

“That why your own team’s not out?”

 

“Huh?” The question broke Alex from the haze shrouding his mind, and the Trainer cast his gaze around hastily before being interrupted by a quiet chirp from the direction of his bedroom.

 

A small yellow rodent stood in the doorway, wringing her tail in her hands. She seemed nervous, as if worried her presence would upset the Trainer.

 

Alex’s heart wrenched with guilt. “Didi…” He knelt down tentatively, the Dedenne in turn looking as if she wanted to scamper into his arms but still awaiting permission to do so. “I’m so sorry. Are the others…?’

 

Right on cue, Raliegh and Coralie emerged from the room to stand behind Didi. The two passed their fellow Fairy-type to approach Alex directly.

 

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, “with everything that… I didn’t even check to see if… I should have…”

 

Raleigh laid a hand on Alex’s knee, a nudge from Coralie communicating that the gesture of understanding came from both of them. At Alex’s return smile, Didi dropped her tail and bounded over to her Trainer, scampering up to his shoulder and nuzzling her favorite human affectionately.

 

Amy smiled at the scene. “They’re lovely Pokémon. I hope you don’t mind my healing them for you…?”

 

“No, no,” Alex assured Amy, “it’s fine. I mean, it’s not like I could take them to a standard Pokémon Center anyway.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“Yeah. I mean, Raleigh has a ball, but Didi’s is in Celadon… and in another universe… and Coralie doesn’t even have a ball yet.”

 

The last statement wasn’t technically true. The Trainer unconsciously reached inside his pocket to fiddle with the two miniaturized balls stored there. One, of course, was Raleigh’s, the Premiere Ball Amelia had casually thrown him back in Laverre. The other, a Luxury Ball, had mysteriously appeared amongst the clothes and supplies Mr. Ford had gifted him and Alma. We already agreed to a partnership, Alex reminded himself, but somehow it doesn’t seem quite right… like it’s not time yet. Soon, though, he silently promised.

 

Mercifully, neither woman questioned Alex about the oddity. “You have a strong bond with them. They seem quite devoted to you.”

 

Alex smiled. “I’m lucky to have them.” Didi gave a joyful squeak and hurried back into the bedroom on some self-determined mission. Alex took the opportunity to stand back up, leaning heavily on his crutches as he did. “Speaking of which, are yours…?”

 

“Out back,” Beauty finished for him. “They’d normally be joining us as well, but given our original plans for this trip…” She gave Amy a suggestive glance, prompting a blush from the other woman.

 

Alex flushed red as well. “O-oh. Well, well, ah… I-I promised the, ah, the other Alex a battle, s-so…” Alex rushed to the door, then hesitated. “Uh… Didi?”

 

A distinctly distracted chirrup clearly announced that the Electric-type was otherwise preoccupied by her own agenda for the moment.

 

Alex couldn’t help but smile. “All right. I’ll… ah… be back later.” Blushing again, Alex and his other two Pokémon beat a rapid retreat.

 

As soon as the door closed, Amy smacked Beauty’s shoulder. “You behave yourself!” she scolded, the words undercut by the amused smile on her face.

 

Beauty met the “attack” with a dab of batter to Amy’s nose. “Make me,” she challenged.

 

And like that, the chase was on.

Edited by Flipz

 

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

 

A gust of wind hit the stands again as Adams rose higher into the air, out of reach from Zangetsu and Ren. She grinned as the ice across her body began to melt, dripping bloody water down below, a result of the temperature emanating from her wings.

 

"Chloe is right, Ryan," Sonja urged. "You can be afraid. I was afraid when I went with Sophia, I was afraid when Missing Zero appeared, and I'm afraid now, too. But you can't let that stop you from acting."

 

As if to punctuate her words, another crash sounded, preceeded by a brief flash of light. She ducked down, covering her face as a shower of dust and rock swept over them. When she looked up, Adams was gone from the sky, and now occupied a crater in the ground. She growled, pushing herself back to her feet.

 

A moment later, the massive form of Gluttony slid into focus mere feet away from the stands. His back was to them, and it was clear from the gouges in the ground that something had sent him skidding several yards. She couldn't see his face from her position, but Sonja could feel the glare emanating from him, directed at Jaeda and Ally as they appeared across from him.

 

Kyle slid off of Jaeda's back, giving a brief look at Adams before noticing the transformed Zangetsu, and finally refocusing on Gluttony. "Five on two now," he noted. "Still not worried?"

 

Gluttony glanced over one shoulder, spotting Zangetsu and Kitheus. Over the other, he saw Ren. He shook his head, apparently unperturbed by the fact that he and Adams were surrounded. "I said before, it doesn't matter." He lifted an arm, closing his hand around Adams's back. His orange aura merged with hers, and in mere moments a number of her wounds appeared to have healed. Gluttony released her, pushing the Creativity Instance forward. She shook her head, then rose to her feet. "Besides . . . The stronger your spirit, the more delightful the meal. I wouldn't have it any other way."

 

His words were disgusting, and Sonja could do nothing but grit her teeth at them. She looked toward the stumbling, barely-conscious form of Loki, and then to Ryan. "Have you heard anything that they've been saying, Ryan?" she asked. "This isn't just about you anymore--Adams, McKinley, and all of the Sins, they're not coming for any single person. They're coming for the world. You should hear them, and you should be furious. It may not seem like it, but you beat Gluttony once already. You can do it again."

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

 

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IC: Ryan Sanders - ??? / Vertrag
The darkness enveloped him closely, but it was no longer suffocating. Between the dim forms of Sonja and Chloe, Ryan saw his doppelganger flicker into view, clear as day. The double crossed his arms and regarded Ryan with a raised eyebrow. "Well?" The shadow looked from Sonja to Chloe. "What have you got to say to that?"

Ryan closed his eyes to consider the question. In his mind's eye he saw Chloe sulking after the events in Unova, followed by Sonja reluctantly agreeing to join forces with her sister and McKinley in Fortree. Fear. Anxiety. Guilt. These feelings emanated from the girls in those moments. The scenes shifted and he saw Sonja in her dormitory, surrounded by hundreds of her own eerily clairvoyant drawings. The fire in her eyes burned with resolve. Then he was back on the magnet train, sitting across from Chloe. Her smile was full of gratitude as she wiped at her tears.

Making mistakes is just what makes us human.
 
You can't let that stop you from acting.

"I get it now." Ryan opened his eyes, looking straight at his shadow. "I've been running from myself for so long. I told myself I'd overcome my Gluttony, that I'd put my sins behind me. But it is that very Gluttony that makes me who I am. I get hyperfocused on things: seeking attention, fulfilling the mission, or constantly brooding on my own mistakes."

"So," the double said as he paced back and forth in the darkness. "You don't plan to change who you are?"

"I don't have to," Ryan answered. "When you strip that gluttony down to its very core, you get an unbreakable dedication and fierce friendship. Look no further than my Pokémon." The darkness around them dispersed just enough to reveal Ryan's team. Quil was the only one still standing, and the Typhlosion looked like he would collapse at any minute, but no matter how many times he got beaten down he always got back up. "Some would call it stubbornness. Perhaps a type of gluttony for punishment. But in the end, the reason Quil refuses to quit is because he's my partner, and he would do anything for me. That's what I am. I would do anything for my friends. It's only when I get so focused on one thing that I neglect everything else that my dedication becomes the Sin of Gluttony. That's when people get hurt. I'm done running from myself. I'm ready to embrace that part of me."

Ryan's doppelganger seemed surprised, if not a little suspicious. "Are you sure about that, Sanders? Just because you accept this part of you doesn't mean everyone else will. You'll still be that selfish jerk full of mistakes."

"I know it won't be easy," Ryan countered. "I'll stumble and I'll fall, but like my Pokémon I'll always get back up. I don't have to be perfect. No one is. I'll keep trying to improve myself, to keep my gluttony from spiraling out of control, but I'm done running from it. You can't have too much of a good thing without first having a good thing. That's the beauty of it; my dedication to my friends is a two-way street. I give them my all, and when I fall into this rut of despair and self-loathing, they give me their all. We help each other out. And we forgive each other's mistakes. After all, that's what it means to be human. That's what it means to be Pokémon. That's what it means to live in harmony with one another."

He half expected his doppelganger to strike in retaliation. Instead the double gave him a slow clap. "Well done, Sanders. At last you see the light. Keep that in mind, and I think we'll go far in life . . . ."

The once-suffocating shadows now glowed with a brilliant light before dissolving into nothingness. As quickly as he had appeared his doppelganger, too, faded away. Ryan blinked. He was back in the arena, by the bleachers. The two girls stood before him, genuine concern etched deep on their faces. "Sonja . . . Chloe . . ." He pulled them both into a hug, unable to hold back his tears. "Thank you. I couldn't have done that without the both of you. You're some of the fiercest friends I could ever ask for."

Through his watering eyes, Ryan saw Quil struggling to his feet once more. Leaving Sonja and Chloe behind, Ryan rushed up to his Pokémon. "I'm so sorry, Quil!" he cried, supporting the weakened Typhlosion with his embrace. "I've been too scared to give it my all, and yet you never backed down. You did all of this to protect me." Quil uttered a weak growl as he nuzzled affectionately against his trainer. Ryan quickly grabbed a Potion out of his bag and began applying the spray to his Pokémon's wounds. "I'm done running," he promised. "From now on, I'm giving it everything I've got. Please give me another chance. We'll take these monsters down together. You and me, buddy. Side by side."

Trainer and Pokémon locked eyes. Ryan helped Quil to his feet one last time. In that moment their hearts beat as one. Quil turned towards the towering wendigo and roared in defiance even as he became enveloped in a dazzling rainbow hue. Ryan stumbled backwards as the light grew more and more brilliant until he was forced to cover his eyes. In an explosion of power Ryan felt the heat of his Typhlosion's flames warm his face.

As the smoke cleared, Quil stood before him looking more powerful than he had ever been. A thick white-ish fur now coated the Typhlosion's hands like gauntlets and enveloped his neck like a thick mane. The flames that were normally limited to his shoulders now burst out of his entire upper back like a burning sun. A thick, bushy tail protruded from his lower back, slamming against the bleachers like a thunderous drum. Quil turned his head to look back at Ryan, revealing a splash of charcoal-black fur across his eyes like a mask, a stark contrast from the white fur the covered the rest of his face.

Ryan stood in awe at the new Pokémon. In the back of his mind he vaguely recalled the tales of the strange transcendent evolutions that had occurred on One Island, but for now he saw this as a way to turn the tide against Gluttony and Adams. Adjusting his stance for better balance, Ryan pointed a finger up at the horned monster Gluttony had become. "Listen up!" he cried. "I don't care how many worlds your blob of a master has devoured. This world is ours, and you're not taking it without a fight! We will avenge those you've stolen from us and protect those we hold dear! If you really want to devour this world so bad, you'd better be prepared to face the full might of the bonds between people and Pokémon! Quil, now!"

Flames enveloped the fur on Quil's gauntlets as he rushed towards Gluttony. With the aid of his tail the Typhlosion leaped high into the air before twisting and slamming into the horned creature's chest with both fists. Baring his fangs, Quil unleashed a triumphant roar at the monster that had tormented his trainer for so long. The tide of battle was turning at last. Together, they could overcome any challenge. After all, that was what it meant for people and Pokémon to live in harmony.

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: Kalos (river)==-

 

For the majority of the day, the journey passed in relative calm. As Professor Alderson had alluded earlier, nests of Golduck were abundant along the waterline, with the expected riverside Grass-types noticeably absent. In the shade of trees and cliffside caves, small clumps of Croagunk and Toxicroak lurked warily, eyes tilted skyward in mistrust. Flocks of Swanna flew above, interspersed with the occasional Dragonair, while below their unevolved forms swam alongside the Basculin and Goldeen native to the area. Surskit and Masquerain clashed with Pidgey, who in turn dodged lunges from hidden Corphish as they roosted along the shoreline. All in all, Kalos remained a land of beauty even through its ecological devastation.

 

Elaine sighed. Her practiced eye saw the damage being done, damage that would likely be impossible for humans to repair, but she knew she was among the minority who would see it that way. Most humans knew little about habitats and food chains, focusing more on moves and abilities and how they would affect their own personal partners. The problem with Kalos' beauty, she decided, is that it masks the true ugliness that can lay hidden beneath, with few perceptive enough to spot its roughness. The professor frowned as she spotted a few more examples of Kalosian ugliness, but she hesitated in her uncertainty. It's probably just me, she thought, no need to ruin the others' enjoyment. Still, she turned forward to speak to Jared, the Trainer of the Lapras she was riding.

 

As the river neared yet another bend, Lionel found his attention diverted. He'd long since grown familiar with hostility, and had developed an eye to recognize the signs after significant practice. He suddenly stopped talking as he took a moment to scan his surroundings.

 

It was enough for Elaine to notice. "Trouble?" she asked.

 

"Possibly," came his response. "Winters, picking anything up with those aura powers?"

 

 

 

IC: Alex Zyther/Alex the Green

 

Alex bounced nervously on his heels as he waited for the doors to the Pokémon Center to open. At length, they did, revealing his green-clad counterpart carrying a small gray cylinder in one hand while fastening their crimson scarf with the other. The witch stopped suddenly, nearly stumbling as they did, and sighed heavily as they registered Alex’s presence.

 

“I’mreadytobattlewithyou!”

 

The near-panicked rush prompted a snort and a smile from the green-clad witch. “I see,” they replied. “Is that your team?”

 

Alex nodded enthusiastically. “Well, most of them. One’s back at the house, the other two are…” Alex paused. “I don’t know what happened to them while I was unconscious. They’re probably back in Celadon.”

 

“Mmm.” Alex the Green’s hat and scarf did much to obscure their reaction. They swept an arm out to the left, indicating a grassy lot next to the Pokémon Center suitable for battling. “Shall we?”

 

“Oh… right.” With a nervous glance at Coralie and Raleigh, Alex led his team to the field, the other Alex following after.

 

“I take it you’d prefer a Double Battle?”

 

Alex nodded. “I’m much better when I can work with support than in one-on-one.”

 

“I used to be the same way. I still prefer Doubles, truth be told, but now that Amy and I aren’t quite so dependent on each other, I’ve branched out.”

 

Alex nodded again. It made sense. In all likelihood, something similar would happen to him in time. Indeed, for all he knew, he was already on that path; he didn’t know Raleigh or Coralie’s moves, after all, since with powers disabled and his Pokédex stolen he had no way to check them. The thought reminded Alex of an important caveat. “Um…”

 

The green witch paused in the midst of withdrawing a number of Pokéballs from their cloak. “Something the matter?”

 

“Sort of…” Alex scratched the back of his head. “I… so last night, it never came up, but… our Pokémon -- all of us from our universe, I mean -- don’t have powers.”

 

“…I beg your pardon?”

 

“Something happened… this big flash of light, apparently… and suddenly Pokémon couldn’t use moves anymore. It’s… kinda been a problem, actually.”

 

Alex the Green frowned pensively, selecting two of the balls in their hand and slipping them into a pocket before stowing the rest away. “Best to address that first, then. Do you know what caused the flash?”

 

Alex shook his head. “I was in a coma at the time. My Pokémon weren’t, though.”

 

“I see.” The witch withdrew a silk glove and a small metal case from an inner breast pocket, putting on the glove before taking out a small rectangle of expensive-looking cardstock and a gold-plated calligraphy pen and inscribing the card with a simple rune. Alex the Green knelt and carefully held it before Raleigh and Coralie’s eyes before conjuring a spark of green flame with a snap of their gloved hand. The moment flame and paper met, a dazzling gleam burst from the point of contact; the two humans heard, rather than saw, the Pokémon’s gasps. As the humans’ vision cleared, the duo’s shocked expressions were plain to see. “I take it that’s the sort of light you saw?”

 

Both Raleigh and Coralie nodded, prompting Alex to tilt his head in confusion. “What was that, anyway?”

 

El Naipe,” the other Alex answered, “specifically an area-of-effect spell called La Luz. It’s one of the simplest rituals in the craft, which makes it a good basis upon which to build more complex ones. Unfortunately, most rituals in El Naipe need to be prepared further in advance, and I tend to favor preparations for other abilities in my daily meditations.

 

Alex slowly nodded, though many of the details eluded him. “So I’m guessing you can’t fix this?”

 

“No, though if your Pokémon are correct in identifying it as El Naipe, the effect is practically guaranteed to have an expiration date. As a style, it’s not suited for permanence.” The witch stowed their El Naipe implements and steepled their fingers. “Out of curiosity, how big was the range of the burst?”

 

“As best anyone can tell? Worldwide.”

 

Alex the Green gaped at their counterpart. “World--! That would have taken years to charge, likely a ritual with multiple assistants… are the people in your world insane?!”

 

Alex shrugged awkwardly. “I dunno. Like I said, I wasn’t exactly aware of what was going on.”

 

The witch sighed. “Right. Sorry.” Their frown lifted into a wry grin as they extracted the two Pokéballs from their pocket. “You know… this could be a good thing for you.” The witch deployed both balls, the light within coalescing into a purplish-gray Braixen and an Eevee with a familiar heart-shaped tuft on its tail. “Sometimes, you can’t avoid getting into battle. Sometimes, people are going to fight you, no matter what you say, no matter whether or not you’re ready. When it seems like there’s no options left, remember… act with integrity… leave no regrets!” The Green Witch grinned wickedly, before flicking their scarf and twirling dramatically as they floated backward. “Miley! Sylvia! Let’s go!


 

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: Jared Winters/Lachina Adaon/Emily Lockwood - Kalos Route 7 River

 

Jared scowled and nodded. "Four flying-types incoming," he replied. There wasn't much he could do about it, however, as his own team was fully ground- or water-bound. "Looks like we've also got some Hawlucha about to pounce." He turned to call back to the rest of the group, "Everyone, be ready! We've got trouble!"

 

Raiden, riding on Jared's shoulder, was eyeing the water. He let out a soft croak, but Jared din't seem to notice. Lachina, however, saw what Jared missed. "There's a whole buncha Sharpedo up ahead, too! We're gonna overtake them if we keep moving forward!"

 

Aolani noticed all of this, and then some. She screeched a warning at a nearby Dragonair and fluffed out her wings to appear larger.

 

Jared scowled as he took in the cramped rive space. "Everyone, Pokémon out! Only one or two, and prioritize water types, then flying types before everything else!"

 

He had a feeling this was going to be a difficult fight.

 

Emily stirred a bit from where she'd been napping against Colleen. "Mm? Why's he shouting, what's going on?" she mumbled.

"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

"That was an excellent throw, Aori." Shannon smiled as Selena scampered up to greet her new acorn friend. "You don't have to be so formal when you speak to me though." Having grown up in Ecruteak, Shannon was very familiar with Aori's traditional way of speaking, and she hoped the suggestion didn't offend her like it would the patrons of the Ecruteak Dance Theatre. "I mean, I am older than you, but I'm not that old. Think of me like a big sister. Do you have any siblings, Aori?"

 

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

"Looks sharp, Emmy." Zoe crouched near the front of Kammy's shell, her eyes focused on the skies in front of them. "Team Flare must be onto us, they've sent Pokémon spies to intercept us." She pointed at a flock of Swanna slowly diving towards the group. "They don't look friendly. Neither do they." Her arm lowered until it was aimed at a tree whose branches overlooked the river bend. A small number of Hawlucha were eyeing the party with disdain. Bracing herself with one hand against the Blastoise's shell, Zoe reached back to grab her Feebas' Pokéball. "If it's a fight they'll want, then it's a fight they'll get. You ready to Aura Blast them, Collie?"

 

Olivia seemed to be struggling with how to best respond to Dahlia's apology, but the younger sister shushed her before she had the chance to say anything. "See that other Dragonair over there?" She nodded with her head to the serpentine dragon floating several feet away. "It's acting strange. Those Swanna are, too." Dahlia reached for her Pokéballs. Her first instinct was to send out Gerri to ward off any hostilities, but after a moment's hesitation she concluded diplomacy might be the better option. Reaching further back, she sent out Marsala instead. "You're from around these parts, right?" The Inkay shrugged before pointing out towards the ocean. Dahlia sighed. "Close enough. Listen, do you think you can talk to those Pokémon over there? Let them know we mean no harm, that we're just passing through. We don't want to get into another fight." Marsala bobbed his head before flying off to speak with the Swanna and Dragonair. Dahlia kept her eye on the little cephalopod, silently praying the wild Pokémon would listen to him.

 

Alex's Swampert had been swimming at the head of the group. At the sight of a pod of Sharpedo up ahead, he slowed his strokes and called out a warning to the others. Unfortunately it seemed there was no way around the sharks, and even if they came to a complete stop the current would eventually bring them face to face with the "bullies of the sea."

 

Being at the far back of the group, Alex saw his Swampert respond to something, but couldn't tell what was aggravating his Pokémon. "What's going on up there?" he muttered. His Empoleon pointed a flipper to the tree up ahead. Alex's eyes widened as he saw a group of Hawlucha looking ready to leap down from above. That wasn't all; it seemed Dahlia was sending her Inkay out to confront a group of Swanna and a hostile-looking Dragonair. Emily and the Llyans, also towards the back of the group, appeared to be oblivious to the surmounting danger. His cousin in particular seemed to have just woken up from a nap. "We've got trouble!" Alex called out, hoping his warning would alert at least some of the group.

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: Jamie Arthur - Route 7

 

Jamie was grinning. She reached into her bag and pulled out a couple of Poke Balls. Her fellow hero sent out a negotiator. She would give her a chance. Someone as cool as Dahlia might be able to succeed. But if negotiations broke down, Jamie was more than ready for another battle. The question really remained, did they she want to fight the flying types, or did she want to go fishing? Her water types were less mobile and would need aid. Why Lucia didn't join her on Tristan, Jamie didn't know. But it meant that she had enough space on the Metagross for one of her other Pokemon if she needed it.

 

While she was waiting for the shoe to drop, Jamie thought about their maybe soon to be opponents. Maybe they could find a potential new friend among the crowd of enemies. She began to scan the frenzy of Sharpedo and the flocks of bird types. There were some cool looking birds on a branch up ahead. Pretty cool looking, but not quite what she was looking for. Alas, none really stood out to her. None seemed to want to be her friend. Jamie followed Tristan's eyes to the Dragonair. It was cool, but didn't feel quite right either. She sighed. Looks like today wasn't 'new friend day' after all.

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-==IC: Colleen Llyan/Olivia Seaton/Lucia Zyther - Kalos Route 7==-

 

"It looks like there might be a fight." Colleen said to Em before she turned her head to Zoe. "I'll attack if I need to, but only if I need to." The aura wielder scanned the waters as she sent out her Pokémon once again; this time Skulkraken and Pollyanna took center stage. She had to admit that the prospects of not fighting didn't look that good. She thought about using Vivian, but she wasn't sure how much the Clawitzer could do with how little she had been trained in physical combat or in the water. Still, just in case, she kept her hand near where the Poké Ball was.

 

***

 

Olivia on the other hand, looked around quickly with a frown. "Ya don't have to look twice to see that they look like trouble." The frown turned to a grin. "Maybe this'll be a better test... ooh, maybe we'll have a situation like Ryan's Tyranitar did. That'd be much more exciting than yesterday." She paused for a minute and cleared her throat as she sent out her Vibrava for a moment. "What I mean is, uh, hopefully they actually decide to leave us alone."

 

***

 

Lucia glanced around as the mentions of trouble sounded across Oggie's back. She reached for a Poké Ball, but hesitated as she didn't know what to actually choose.

 

None of my Pokémon are actually that good at fighting above or under water... well, there's Claraga and my Slowpoke, but... The girl looked down at the water. She grinned. This can work, actually.

 

The healer took hold of the Poké Balls that held her two water-types and tossed them forward quickly. "Stay close for now; Claraga, keep hold of Slowpoke for now. You'll both be pretty important if things turn bad."

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OOC: It shouldn't need to be said, but this post doesn't happen at the same time as the current Vertrag stuff.

 

IC: Dack Majors/Madison Morrow/Luke - Docks, Vermilion City

"Don't you think Dack's going a little overboard with this whole 'everyone might be an Instance' thing?" Luke rested on one of the many mooring bollards that lined the pier as he gave Madison a sidelong glance. "I mean, it's gonna get real old real fast if he keeps asking everyone we come across to send out their Pokémon or stand in front of a camera."

 

Madison quickly looked over her shoulder toward the shoreline, where Dack paced back and forth as he spoke into his Pokétch. After ensuring their friend was too engrossed in his phone call to the Sanders kid to overhear, she looked back at Luke and chewed her lip. "He's just looking out for us. It may seem like he's paranoid, but you have to remember he was a soldier for six years. He's trained to always consider the worst case scenario."

 

"The Hikari boy was a soldier too, and you don't see him questioning everyone he meets." Luke frowned. "Then again we didn't see too much of him after that incident. He wasn't with Willows and the kid this morning." The blackbelt started drumming his fingers on the bollard as he stared out at the vast ocean. "What are they like?" he asked after a long pause. "Those Instances. You've fought them twice now, Dack's seen them three times. I figure sooner or later it's gonna be my turn."

 

With a heavy sigh Madison sat down on the adjacent bollard. She leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees, and idly twirled a finger through her hair. A dark expression crossed her face. "They act like Pokémon," she finally said. "But they're not. Their insides are made of this red goop. And most of them have some sort of umbilical cord connecting them to the main body of Missing Zero. Cutting off the cord is usually enough to defeat the Instances. But the giant samurai we fought on One Island and Miyu . . . they didn't have cords. Those two also acted with more . . . sentience. The others were like drones almost. Miyu and the samurai could think for themselves. They could strategize. I wouldn't want to face an army of those Super-Instances."

 

"You know, I never thought the Zombie Apocalypse would actually happen." Luke's tone was surprisingly serious as he nodded towards the ocean. "That thing's out there, isn't it? Lurking beneath the waves. Kind of makes our little war seem petty in comparison, doesn't it?"

 

Madison nodded gravely. "One Island proved that Rocket and Liberty need to be able to work together. If we continue to let our differences drive us apart, we won't stand a chance. That's why it's so important that Dack is helping that Sanders kid. We can't afford to make more enemies than we already have."

 

"I couldn't agree more, Madison." Dack hugged her from behind, prompting a shriek from the skier. Luke could barely contain his laughter as Madison pitched forward, forcing Dack to pull her back before they both fell in the water.

 

"Don't scare me like that!" Madison cried. "We've got enough things attacking us as it is."

 

"Sorry," Dack said with a smirk, taking Madison's seat on the bollard. "Anyway, I talked to the Sanders kid, told him the bad news. He wants us to get in touch with one of the Liberty techs he was working with at the Alamo, one who'd been helping him with the case. He thinks this Petersen fellow might know whether Liberty really was behind the disappearance of Jeffery and Rebecca Sanders. I've sent Petersen a message and told him we'd be on the first boat back to Four Island."

 

"Well then what are you sitting around for?" Madison gave Dack a playful shove before sliding into his seat.

 

Luke chuckled as he snapped a picture of the couple. "Get a room, you two."

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

 

Finally, Ryan was back on his feet. Everyone was now. Maybe they had a chance after all . . .

 

Sonja looked up. As far as she could tell, there wasn't much that she was going to be able to do to help. But she wasn't just going to cower in the stands, either. Her eyes settled on the podium where she had found Ryan. At the top, there appeared to be some sort of touch screen panel.

 

As she pulled herself to her feet and activated it, she couldn't help but smile.

 

 

The attack sent Gluttony stumbling back. His glowing eyes seemed to bulge in pain as Quil rolled back from the strike; Gluttony looked down at his chest, where smoke poured forth from two, massive dents in his body. He wheezed as the damage slowly regenerated, glaring at the six Pokémon and their trainers.

 

"All of you . . ." he whispered. "Die."

 

A large crack sounded from his mouth as he began to open it. At the sight, Adams kicked off, taking back to the air. Gluttony's jaw widened, seeming to dislocate, until his maw had stretched into a black void almost as long as his upper body. A rush of wind swept forth, pulled toward the gluttonous void, sapping specks of orange and green aura from everything in its path.

 

Jaeda moved in front of Kyle, shielding him with her wings. She grimaced from the damage, but was not terribly bothered by the attack; it seemed to be a Type that she resisted. Luckily, she did not need to bear the pain for long. From behind her, Gluttony suddenly cut off his attack with a scream of surprise and pain. Confused, Kyle lifted the fold of Jaeda's wing.

 

To his astonishment, the floor in front of Gluttony had transformed into a pit of magma. From the burns on his forelegs, it appeared that this had happened right underneath where he had planted his front feet to brace himself--and thus had been unprepared for the sudden drop. The beast stumbled back on charred stumps that left jagged, black footprints on the floor.

 

"I knew it!" Sonja yelled. She stood triumphantly at the podium, a small stylus in hand. "Leave it to Ford to keep a customizable battle arena in his basement!"

 

"Nice one, Sonja!" Kyle called. He turned back to Gluttony. "Jaeda, Flamethrower!"

 

Jaeda whipped back around, baring her fangs. With a roar, she flapped her wings and raised herself off of the ground. The Charizard flew forward. Jaeda gathered flames in her mouth and unleashed a wave of fire at her target. Gluttony saw her approach and immediately moved, strafing to avoid her attack. The intensity of her flames was strong; even though they missed, it was clear that the aura of heat had some sort of an effect on Gluttony. He panted, scanning the field and planning his next move as the flames around him settled.

 

As this was happening, Kyle turned to see what was happening with Adams. The white dragon had gathered energy around herself; he could not tell what she was doing, but it did not appear to be an attack quite yet. He looked to Kitheus as the Magnezone hovered back toward him; all three eyes were locked on to her.

 

"Think you can hit her with a Zap Cannon?" Kyle asked. Kitheus nodded. "Bring her down!"

 

Moving forward and up, the Magnezone rotated its magnets. Electricity gathered within them, and Kitheus unleashed the attack--a massive blast of electricity that raced directly toward Adams, followed by two smaller, half-powered bursts. Adams beat her wings, retaliating with a sudden Draco Meteor attack. As the chunks of energy descended, two managing to hit the small blasts of electricity and erupting midair, the others slammed into Kitheus, forcing the Magnezone back toward the ground. At the same time, Kitheus's main Zap Cannon struck Adams in the chest, and she elicited a pained shout as she dropped, barely managing to regain control just a few feet above the ground.

 

 

Above the arena, the spectral Jirachi appeared again. It unleashed the sphere of light in its hands. Jaeda, Kitheus, Zangetsu, Ally, Quil, and Ren felt a shielding presence encompass them. The Jirachi faded back into darkness.

 

 

OOC:

 

Gluttony: Demonic Hunger > All

Jaeda: Flamethrower > Gluttony

Kitheus: [Locked-On] Zap Cannon (x3) > Adams

Adams: Draco Meteor > Kitheus

Sonja: BATTLE ARENA ENVIRONMENT CONTROLS > Magma Terrain

Vertrag: INTERFERENCE (Defense up) > Jaeda, Kitheus, Zangetsu, Ally, Quil, Ren

Edited by Parugi

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

 

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-==IC: Chloe Hikari(Ally: 70%, Ren: 50%)/Ray Hakuda(Zangetsu: 50%) - Vertrag: Battle Arenas @ TURNAROUND==-


Chloe grinned at the sight of everything that happened. The damaging wind had hurt for a moment as it passed over the area that everyone was in - but the moment the attack dropped, the psychic woman held her hand forward, her link established with Ally once more.


"Ally, let's do this!" Chloe clenched her fists in time with the sword-wielding Gallade as Ally vanished forward with Shadow Sneak once more. Appearing from the wendigo's shadow, the Gallade sliced forward with her swords, trying her best to keep Gluttony isolated to one area of the arena so that the group would have a better chance to land good hits. Chloe made her back down toward the arena proper, doing her best to give Sonja the distraction that was needed. With a deep breath, the psychic woman looked over to Ren and Zangetsu.


"Ren! Broken record! Ice Fang!" She didn't want to actually say the entire sentence she had in mind because of not being sure if she could talk for long, but the general idea was gotten by the Luxray. It was getting to be the favourite move of the electric type in that battle, as her fangs once again glowed a brilliant cyan colour. Trainer and Pokémon analyzed what had happened previously - the Close Combat had failed to do as much damage as it should, but the Ice Fang had worked. While Chloe was tempted to try Crunch, she thought that the possible stalling factor of the ice would be much more useful even if Crunch worked well.


***


Ray raised his arms as the weird wind attack blew over him. He was worried that this might stall out their momentum and reached out his hand as if he could attack like in his dream. The next moment he saw Gluttony fall into the magma with a horrid screech. A triumphant yell from Sonja caught his attention and he grinned in the direction of where she was and gave a thumbs up.


"Good work!" Ray turned his head forward again to where Gluttony and the monstrous Adams were. He hesitated for a moment - on one hand, Gluttony seemed like the bigger threat here, but the more that teamed up against him, the more that attacks could accidentally hit their teammates. He turned his attention to the wildcard of the two that had locked them in that dream before.


Ray revisited the thought about what Adams' weakness might be. He considered the two biggest options he felt it could be - Fairy or Psychic. Both would make sense in the context of the dream, though he wasn't certain it was either. If it was Psychic, Night Slash would be Super Effective - but if Fairy, then it would be resisted just the same as his Close Combat had been. But… A sudden thought came to the separatist with a smile. "Zangetsu, do a slash attack on Adams!"
 

The Zangoose turned his head toward Ray in confusion for a moment as the Zap Cannon attacks crashed into Adams. The orange-haired Trainer made a motion with his hand and winked. The Zangoose looked down for a moment, then grinned. He turned back toward Adams and ran toward the near-grounded white dragon. As he ran, he felt a sort of shielding aura - this would very much help with his current plan.


The Zangoose leaped toward the dragon with a claw pulled back as if he was going to use Close Combat or Night Slash once again; however, at the last minute, with the momentum that would have been used for Night Slash, Zangetsu whirled around in mid-air and used Iron Tail on the dragon's wing. It was a long shot, both the Zangoose and Trainer had to admit. But if it hit, then it was actually less of a gamble than Night Slash would be.


Still, it would've been so nice to have that Dark suit here to at least try to analyze what the type of these things are… Ray thought with a slight grimace as he watched intently to see what the outcome would be.


OOC:


Ally: Shadow Sneak > Gluttony

Ren: Ice Fang(again) > Adams

Zangetsu: Iron Tail > Adams

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IC: Ryan Sanders (Mega Quil) - Arena, Vertrag

Ryan braced himself against the bleachers as Gluttony seemed to suck in his surroundings like a miniature black hole. Quil deftly moved to shield his trainer from the attack, but they quickly saw their other Pokémon companions were unable to defend themselves. Ryan fumbled for his Pokéballs, his hands shaking as he recalled his fallen Pokémon two at a time.

 

Togie and Garchomp vanished in twin beams of light. That was when the floor of the arena seemed to open up under the massive wendigo. Molten magma spewed out of the sinkhole. Ryan whirled around to see Sonja at the controls of the podium he had previously hidden behind. He had barely registered this when Kyle's Charizard -- at least it was something resembling a Charizard -- flew overhead to blast Gluttony with more flames.

 

"Sonja, keep up the heat!" Ryan cried as he recalled Missy and Ampere. Out of the corner of his eye he saw three more empowered Pokémon engaging the draconic Adams. With only one Pokémon of his own left standing, Ryan couldn't split his focus between their two foes, so he turned back to face Gluttony. The Sin seemed to have already healed some of the damage they had caused. "We have to hit him faster than he can regenerate. Don't give him time to heal. Quil, back up Jaeda with a Flamethrower of your own!"

 

The Typhlosion crouched down on all fours and darted up to the horned monster. Even as Ryan found Samurott's Pokéball and recalled her, Quil stopped just short of the magma pit and spewed a steady stream of white-hot fire at Gluttony.

 

 

OOC:

 

Quil: Flamethrower > Gluttony

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: Alex the Green/Alex Zyther

 

“You know… this could be a good thing for you.” The witch deployed both balls, the light within coalescing into a purplish-gray Braixen and an Eevee with a familiar heart-shaped tuft on its tail. “Sometimes, you can’t avoid getting into battle. Sometimes, people are going to fight you, no matter what you say, no matter whether or not you’re ready. When it seems like there’s no options left, remember… act with integrity… leave no regrets!” The Green Witch grinned wickedly, before flicking their scarf and twirling dramatically as they floated backward. “Miley! Sylvia! Let’s go!”

 

Eyes widening, Alex scrambled backwards to get out of the arena, giving Alex the Green opportunity to give orders.

 

“Heat Wave! Bouncy Bubble!”

 

“Wait, bouncy what?” Alex belatedly realized the unfamiliar move’s Water-type nature and jerked to attention. “Coralie, left!”

 

The stream of bubbles narrowly missed the Rock-type as she dove towards Raleigh, but the evasion put her and the Ralts directly into the path of the oncoming Heat Wave. Raleigh winced at the oddly mystical energy emanating from the Fire-type attack, but Coralie and her Clear Body were largely unaffected.

 

Alex decided to take full advantage of this discovery. “Coralie, advance in front of Raleigh!”

 

“Again, Sylvia!” came the counter-order.

 

“Switch!” Alex commanded, the Psychic-type rotating into the lead just in time to mostly deflect the water bubbles with one arm. The Ralts frowned, but soon pivoted in place of its partner as the order came in to “Switch!” as counter to a second follow-up Heat Wave.

 

“Not bad,” the witch mused, “but endless repetition does not a strategy make. Sizzly Slide!”

 

Alex narrowed his eyes, not sure if he was being messed with. “Coralie, block it! Raleigh…” Alex frowned. He really missed having normal battles; he did not know his own team’s talents as well as he’d like. “Raleigh, if you’ve got an untested talent, now’s the time.”

 

The implied admission of unfamiliarity did not go unnoticed by the other Alex, who raised an eyebrow, but more impressive was the glance of trust the Ralts gave his Trainer. A new acquisition, then, the witch mused, yet already they’ve formed a bond of trust. If his Raleigh is anything like mine, that bodes well. A moment later, the other shoe dropped. The witch’s eyes widened. “Miley--!”

 

It was too late. Raleigh opened his mouth, singing out a soothing lullaby. Though it lacked the power of a true Sing attack (a move he didn’t even know), the melody successfully lulled his opponents into lowering their guard, particularly the large-eared Braixen.

 

Coralie, meanwhile, watched her opponent ignite herself in a nimbus of flames and charge at her in a red-hot sliding attack. Though she tried to angle herself to take the attack on her rocky underside, the overwhelming heat still scorched her badly, causing her to cry out in pain.

 

Alex’s head whipped around at Coralie’s cry, the Trainer trying to track the two fronts of the battle simultaneously and not quite succeeding. “Coralie, talk to me! What’s wrong?”

 

The Burn was worse than anything she’d ever felt. Coralie had led a sheltered life even by Carbink standards, but even she had experienced Fire-type attacks before. The flickering flames had never before inflicted such constant, lingering suffering, and no amount of rolling on the ground could put out the heat.

 

Alex knelt next to the Rock-type, helpless to ease her suffering. He picked her up and cradled her in his arms, uncaring of the interruption to the battle. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize… and I don’t even have a Burn Heal on me…”

 

The other Alex frowned at their counterpart. “Shouldn’t you have…?” They shook their head. They were making assumptions. That was a mistake. The witch withdrew another ball from their pocket.

 

“Vi-vui?” the Eevee asked uncertainly.

 

Alex the Green shook their head. “Give it a moment.” They deployed the occupant to the side of the field, in the referee’s position, a Blissey with a pair of lightened stripes criss-crossing her body. “Bliss,” they asked, “think you can handle that burn?”

 

With a quiet nod, the Blissey used Heal Bell to relieve the worst of the wound. By this point, both Alex and Coralie were in shared tears. The Diancie gave a short gasp as the move cured her, though her composure soon broke once more into sobs, this time of relief.

 

The witch glanced over to the other two combatants, but to their relief both seemed sympathetic rather than judgmental. Is that it, then? they wondered. Is it just me being too harsh? They studied their counterpart once again, this time trying for an interpretation rooted in innocence. It… does fit, they reasoned, but the risk if I’m wrong…

 

They were interrupted by an unexpected hug -- their counterpart, apparently having abandoned the battle entirely. That’s… oddly out-of-character, even if this Alex is more akin to Amy than to me. “Ummm, I don’t think, um… this is what you’re supposed to be doing,” they stammered awkwardly. “…But…” As the heartfelt embrace continued, the witch couldn’t help but smile. “So, you’d rather hug it out than fight? You know what? That’s fine. We don’t need to fight anymore if you don’t want to.”

 

Alex drew back then, offering his counterpart a nervous smile of his own. “Thanks…” The Trainer looked ashamed at his loss. “I’m… I’m sorry it wasn’t much of a fight.”

 

“Nonsense,” the witch reassured, “it was still a battle, and I still know you better for it. That’s a fine battle in my book.”

 

Alex shrugged, not entirely convinced. “So what did you learn, then? About me, that is.”

 

Alex the Green took a cleansing breath, staring up at the soft clouds drifting lazily above the quaint, sleepy town before turning their gaze back on Alex. “You’re a sensitive young Trainer taking your first steps on a long and difficult path. You’ve formed a strong bond with your Pokémon despite not battling with them much, and despite your inexperience, you’re hitting well above your weight class in terms of team members.”

 

“Oh?”

 

The witch nodded towards Coralie. “You caught a Diancie, didn’t you?”

 

“We agreed I’d train her. Technically, I haven’t--” Alex furrowed his brow. “A what now?”

 

The other Alex seemed surprised. “You don’t recognize her species?”

 

Coralie sighed as her Trainer shook his head; he glanced at her worriedly, but she shot him a reassuring smile in return -- ‘Not your fault.’

 

Alex the Green slipped a Pokédex from their pocket. “Diancie,” it intoned mechanically, “the Jewel Pokémon. A sudden transformation of Carbink, its pink, glimmering body is said to be the loveliest sight in the whole world. It can instantly create many diamonds by compressing the carbon in the air between its hands.

 

“…Huh.”

 

“And that’s the third thing I learned. We’re not the same person.” Alex had no response to that, so the witch continued. “I had… Okay. So there are things about myself, things that I’ve gotten bad responses to.”

 

“Your gender identity.”

 

The witch sucked in a breath. “Yes. That. I was...afraid.”

 

“Afraid?”

 

“Afraid. If you rejected me offhand -- or worse, if I explained myself to you and you rejected me anyway…”

 

And suddenly Alex understood. “It would be like you were rejecting yourself.”

 

The witch nodded. “But that’s the thing. You’re not me. We’re our own people. We have different knowledge, different pasts, different teams.” They paused suddenly, then chuckled softly. “We… should probably introduce each other properly, shouldn’t we?”

 

Alex blushed in embarrassment. “Er… right. So… I guess you’ve met Raleigh and Coralie,” he said, gesturing to the Ralts and Carb--er, Diancie respectively. “The Dedenne back at the house is Didi.”

 

“I noticed her,” the witch remarked. “I thought she belonged to one of Mom’s friends?”

 

The Trainer shrugged. “Not sure. Things are different enough here… in my universe, my mom gave her to me along with Bliss.” He nodded towards the Blissey in indication.

 

The green witch nodded as well. “So we have that in common… anyone else familiar?”

 

“I have an Eevee too, but his name is Sylph.”

 

The witch winced, while Bliss and the Braixen suppressed their laughter.

 

“I’m… guessing there’s a story there?”

 

Alex the Green covered their face with one hand, even as their Eevee leaped onto their shoulder to give them a reassuring nuzzle. “I… made that mistake, too. Her name’s Sylvia now.”

 

“Sylvia?” Alex cocked their head, realization not clicking in until a moment later. “Ohh…”

 

“Quite.” The witch shook their head. “The woman who taught me those moves set me straight on that matter. It’s the tail that gives it away.”

 

“Right.” Alex paused. “I… don’t suppose you could explain those moves later? I’ve never seen anything like them before.”

 

“Of course, though really you’d be better off with a proper tutor. I’ll make sure to give you some names before you go.”

 

“Thanks.” The Trainer looked over to the grey-furred Braixen who’d helped Sylvia flatten his team. “And you are?”

 

Alex the Green smiled, seemingly happy to have a friend they could introduce to Alex rather than the other way around. “This is Miley,” they said by way of introduction. “Zie was a gift from Professor Sycamore.”

 

“Jhie?”

 

The witch winced at the mispronunciation. “Close, but not quite; it’s closer to--” The witch stopped short as Miley closed hir eyes and tilted hir head in their direction. “Miley says zie’s comfortable letting you use ‘they’ for hir since you’re unfamiliar with the zie/hir neopronoun.”

 

Alex withdrew slightly, overloaded with new information. “I… er… Okay, so you just said some words but I’m not sure I understand them.”

 

The witch smiled ruefully. “That’s… well, if you’ll pardon the pun, understandable. Is there something in particular I can explain?”

 

The Trainer pointed at Miley. “‘They’? Is… uh… are? They? Gah…” Alex sighed frustratedly. “You have a Braixen with, like… more than one personality, or so?”

 

Miley sighed, but hir Trainer studied Alex curiously. “You… aren’t familiar with the singular ‘they’?”

 

A shake of the head. A bite of the lip. “Should I be?”

 

The witch hesitated, but slowly shook their head. “Not… necessarily. I… well. I suppose some part of me assumed we’d both use that pronoun. It seems not.”

 

Alex stared. “I… you can do that? I thought… isn’t ‘they’ for multiple people?”

 

“It is. But it’s also used for individuals of indeterminate gender. Or, as in my case, an individual with a fluid or neutral gender identity.”

 

Alex took several moments to process this. “So you--” Alex’s finger pointed to Alex the Green “--and they--” the finger moved to indicate Miley “--are both…?”

 

“The umbrella term is ‘nonbinary’. In Miley’s case, zie’s gender-neutral but slightly feminine-aligned, whereas I’m gender-fluid -- that is, my sense of gender shifts fluidly among different identities.”

 

Alex flashed back to the question Alma had asked when they’d first met. “So if someone were to ask ‘are you a boy or a girl’--?”

 

“‘Both’ and ‘neither’ would be identically valid responses, though I personally enjoy the responses I get when I answer ‘sometimes’.”

 

Alex swallowed. “And those responses are?”

 

The witch gave Alex a serious look, laying a hand on the Trainer’s shoulder. “Listen. I can’t promise that people’s reactions are going to be great. In fact, I can promise you’ll get some serious pushback, particularly from Father’s crowd. But if this is you, the real you, then not accepting it is going to hurt even more. Don’t let me project on you, mind -- Arceus knows I’ve made that mistake too much already -- but if this is something we share--”

 

“I… I think it is.” Alex stared nervously into the witch’s eyes. “It’s… when I first met Amelia… no, even before. This is something…” The Trainer sighed. “As long as I can remember, I never really… got… the whole thing with gender. ‘Boys wear shorts. They’re comfortable, and easy to wear,’ but skirts are comfortable and easy to wear, too, you know?”

 

Alex the Green smirked. “Less pinching, too.” The witch laughed as their easily-embarrassed counterpart blushed yet again.

 

“And it’s been like that my whole life, stuff’s supposed to be for boys, or for girls, but whatever I went for I never really fit.” The knot in Alex’s stomach eased as the witch nodded understandingly. “So I’d just… play it off, like I’m hopelessly naïve, but that just makes people treat me like I’m even weaker than I already am…”

 

“Alex R. Zyther--”

 

“‘L.’, actually.”

 

“Oh? Hmm. Anyway, Alex L. Zyther, you listen to me. You are not weak.”

 

The Trainer raised a crutch pessimistically. “I’m not, am I?”

 

“That doesn’t make us weak. Just because some things come easier to others doesn’t mean we’re deficient. We are exactly who we need to be, right now, for this moment in time, and don’t you dare let anyone tell you otherwise.”

 

“Even myself?”

 

Especially yourself.” They paused, gathering their thoughts. “You can be your own worst enemy or your own firmest ally. The strength it took to come out to me is the same strength you can use to be the latter.”

 

Alex blanched at the realization.

 

“Now, I believe we were performing introductions. I, of course, am Alex R. Zyther, the Green Witch of Camphrier, and my pronouns are they/them. And you are?”

 

“My name is Alex Zyther. My pronouns are…” Alex took a bolstering breath. “My pronouns are they/them as well.”

 

Alex the Green beamed at their counterpart, their Pokémon smiling as well as they gathered at the witch’s side.

 

Alex, meanwhile, was embraced by their own Pokémon, Raleigh and Coralie voicelessly but enthusiastically showing their support.

 

After a few moments, Alex the Green softly coughed to get their attention. “Since we’ve concluded our battle, shall we stop by the Pokémon Center before returning to the others?”

 

“That sounds lovely.” Arm in arm with their Pokémon, the two Alexes led their teams inside, both pleased with their newfound connections.


 

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: Yamamoto Aori - Vermilion City Park

 

The young girl shook her head. "No. Mama says they stopped trying since they got it so right the first time. I think Papa is disappointed because he wanted a son. I would not mind having a little brother." She smiled a bit at the thought. "What about you?"

 

IC: Alma Mason/Alma the White - Geosenge Town

 

Two girls with identical features made their way through the sleepy little town of Geosenge. Even after their discussion, Alma was feeling restless, and Alma was there to accompany her whether she wanted it or not.

 

“You do not need to follow me,” the assassin said, not for the first time. “It is not as though I am a mindless killer. Without orders, I rarely kill anyone.”

 

The healer didn’t doubt the truth of her counterpart’s words. Still, “It’s that ‘rarely’ that worries me. Besides, we should at least stick together. You’ve never been in Geosenge before, and I would hate for you to get lost.”

 

Alma scowled. “You are wrong. I have been in Geosenge, once, and it is not exactly a thriving metropolis.” She pointed to the north. “The labs are up at the north end of town. If you follow what passes for a ‘main’ road in this quaint little village from the labs, the house where we are residing is exactly ten doors down on the right side; it’s the one with the blue door and the welcome mat bearing the name of Parfum.”

 

“You have a good recall,” the healer said brightly. The assassin sighed in disgust as they continued walking. The village was truly quiet at this early hour. Even with businesses open, there weren’t many people out and about, and few of them even noticed the two white-haired girls, let alone took note of them.

 

Alma paused however, and tilted her head. “Do you hear a noise?”

 

Her double slowed to a stop and slowly nodded. “Yes, it sounds like an engine of some sort.”

 

It was awfully loud for an engine, seeming to echo and reverberate through the tiny town. One other thing concerned Alma as she searched for the source of the sound: it was getting closer.

 

“Down.” Alma grabbed her double, dragging the pink-clad girl down and to the side, so both were pressed against a house as a heavily armored black motorcycle roared down the street. A few people were closeby, on their way to buy bread or visit friends or whatever people in small villages did. The motorcycle skidded to a stop, and a figure in heavily armored clothing hopped off. The visor of his motorcycle helmet hid his face, but everyone could feel malicious intent.

 

As he reached into his coat, Alma gripped the healer’s hand and dragged her between houses. A scarce second later, loud pops echoed across the area, and people screamed. Glass shattered, wood splintered. Alma peeked out and saw the figure holding a gun of some sort -- besides her snubnose, she wasn’t versed in the different styles. From the rate of fire, she could at least guess it was an automatic.

 

The healer next to her stared with wide eyes before Alma dragged her back into relative safety. “We have to do something!” she shouted. Alma winced.

 

“Hush, or do you want to be his next target?” Still, the girl was right. Alma desperately wished her team had power right now. “What are you thinking, then?”

 

“There are people injured. I have to go tend to them, it’s in my oath.”

 

“Priorities, Alma. This is a battlefield now, and you can’t tend the wounded while enemies are close by.” The Healer nodded reluctantly, and Alma squeezed her arm. “So, let us deal with the enemy first.” As more gunshots rang out, Alma clenched her eyes shut. The sound reminded her of-- no, she wouldn’t think of it.

 

“What Pokémon do you have? Father’s still alive, but did he give you Shadow?” A shake of the head, and Alma huffed. “Freq?” Another shake of the head. “Well, what do you have?”

 

“I have my Clefable, Audino, and Chansey, as well as an Umbreon. Why?”

 

“We need to distract that gunman; your team is useless for that, though, so I’ll run the distraction and you get people away.” Alma stood, grabbing Pokéballs from her apron pocket and releasing Freq and Garnet. The two ghost-types needed little instruction before setting out on their mission.

 

Alma was about to step into the open when her double grabbed her wrist. “What now?”

 

“You can’t go out there. You’re flesh and blood, just like my team is.” The healer’s eyes were wide and worried.

 

Alma scoffed. “I do not fear death.” She pulled her hand away. “Besides, my team needs me. They do not have their abilities at present, so I need to command them.” Still, she wouldn’t go unarmed. She quietly pulled out her revolver and counted the bullets. After the previous universe they had explored, she was down to just six. She returned the cylinder to its position and stepped out into the open.

 

The gunman had stopped shooting, and was watching the two ghost-types approaching him. As he aimed his gun, Alma brought her own up and flicked the hammer. She saw the person recoil as her bullet slammed into his shoulder. No blood, though.

 

Still, it distracted him enough. Garnet rushed in and jumped up to grab the man’s arm, yanking his gun aside as he began firing. The bullets passed harmlessly into the ground several feet to Alma’s right. Shadow emerged from her shadow and floated forward, growling.

 

There was a flash of light, and a Clefable appeared alongside him. Idiot, Alma thought. But if the healer wanted to sacrifice her team to distract this man, then so be it.

 

Garnet had wrested the gun away from the man and tossed it aside. The figure had taken several steps back and now took a combative stance. Alma scoffed. “Does he really plan to fight a ghost with his fists?”

 

Apparently, the answer was yes. As she watched, he lunged forward. Purple energy surrounded his hand as he struck out, but it dissipated around the Sableye harmlessly. The ghost-type grinned with its wide, eerie mouth, and grabbed the arm, claws digging in violently. Alma saw blood drip to the ground.

 

The gunman roared in pain and reached for a Pokéball on his belt. Shadow and the Clefable both arrived next to him in that instant, and both struck him solidly in the side, knocking him back. As he was reeling, the Clefable wagged her fingers lightly. A series of colorful leaves appeared around her and launched forward, slamming into the person.

 

The figure seemed unfazed. He stood, growling, and lunged at Shadow. Purple energy formed around his hands again, and he struck the ghost-type a square blow. Shadow recoiled, crying out in pain. Alma frowned.

 

Psycho Cut. It had to be. Which could only mean one thing. “That’s not a person,” she said idly. “It’s a Pokémon.” Why would a Pokémon use a gun, though? That made no sense. Oh well, hers was not to reason why. She fired another shot. The bullet hit the helmet, and she saw cracks spider-web across the visor. Good. That would impair his vision unless he removed the helmet.

 

Which he did. A Gallade stood there, glowering at Alma. Too late the assassin realized that she had made herself a target

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

 

Gluttony's eyes darted back and forth with each turn of his head. The floor around him was transforming further and further with each passing moment; it was not long before he found himself surrounded almost completely by rivers of lava. The heat rising from the molten rock made it difficult to focus, and the air distortions made it that much harder to tell what his opponents were planning. In the distance, the Gallade seemed to vanish, but he hardly registered this before the Typhlosion spewed forth another plume of fire, at the same time that the Charizard redoubled her efforts.

 

Clenching fistfuls of rock in his hands, Gluttony breathed. A green, spiked shield appeared around him, protecting him for several precious moments from the heat and the attacks, locking him away behind an impenetrable wall. As it dissipated, he became aware of a movement underneath his feet, and turned just in time to raise an arm against the Gallade's Shadow Sneak attack. The attack hurt his already-injured arm; he could feel the burned flesh tear anew from the strike. Still, with a point-blank target in front of him, this was a prime opportunity. Gluttony opened his mouth, aiming to paralyze Ally with a Lick.

 

 

Just as Adams had regained control of her descent, Zangetsu struck. The Iron Tail smashed into the golden plates lining her left wing; she screamed in pain as they shattered, and the wing, broken, shrunk back against her body. She dug her claws into the ground, screaming at him with a Disarming Voice that tore across the ground in front of her. As a sudden snowstorm enveloped her, she lost sight of the evolved Zangoose.

 

In his place, Ren appeared. The Luxray charged at Adams with fangs of ice. Baring her own, Adams shifted into a bestial, quadruped stance. She screamed and charged forward, enveloping her body in draconic energy. As Ren bit down at her, she shifted, spinning on the spot and slamming her tail in Ren's direction.

 

Kitheus, meanwhile, scanned the battle. The artificial blizzard was condensed on Adams's position, following her; thus, while visibility was hampered for her, it was not difficult to track her movements. Still, with Ren in direct combat, the Magnezone did not want to risk accidentally hitting his ally. Kitheus silently communicated with the brains of his two nodes, and all three hovered back as they locked onto Adams's position, waiting for an opening.

 

 

OOC:

Jaeda: Flamethrower > Gluttony

Gluttony: Spiky Shield > Flamethrower (Jaeda/Quil)

Gluttony: Lick > Ally

 

Adams: Disarming Voice > Zangetsu

Adams: Dragon Rush > Ren

Kitheus: Lock-On > Adams

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

 

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IC: Shannon Willows - Park, Vermilion City

"Nope, just me." Shannon's eyes grew distant for a moment as she wondered how different her life might have been with a younger sibling. It was strange to think about. Perhaps she might not have been so lonely.

 

Shaking the thoughts from her mind, she smiled down at Aori. "I guess that's something we have in common. I always thought it'd be nice to have a little sister, but I never really thought too much about it. You know, Ryan has a couple of younger sisters. The one I met is really nice, she helped me out when I got hurt in Celadon."

 

IC: Ryan Sanders (Mega Quil) - Arena, Vertrag

Ryan raised an arm at the blast of heat that rose from the attacks striking Gluttony's shield. Despite the massive barrier, Quil refused to let up. Even as the shield started to dissipate the Typhlosion circled around the massive creature. The fire on Quil's back spiked, and from a distance he looked like a massive, flaming porcupine. Ryan recognized the stance as a sign Quil was charging a Flame Wheel. He looked back at their enemy just in time to see Gluttony moving his slimy tongue toward Chloe's Gallade.

 

"Quil!" he shouted in warning. "Aim high!"

 

The Typhlosion took note of his ally's predicament and adjusted his course accordingly. The moment his powerful legs kicked off the ground he curled into a spinning, fiery ball. He had been planning to strike Gluttony square in the chest, but at Ryan's shout he now aimed for the monster's head.

 

 

OOC:

Quil: Flame Wheel > Gluttony

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: Kalos River==- (August 9th, 2017)

 

As Marsala mumbled at the Dragonair about coming in peace, the elegant dragon regarded the Dark-type with a sneer of disdain. A moment later, Marsala found himself spiked toward the surface of the water, the less-than-diplomatic Dragon-type turning with a snarl toward the Inkay’s Trainer.

 

Right on cue, the rest of the Pokémon went on the attack. The four Swanna, attention grabbed by Zoe’s aggressive shouting, swooped at Kammy in quick succession, the newly-evolved Blastoise spinning out of the way of two blows but taking both of the others. The Swanna swooped back into the sky, the moment they needed to regain altitude giving their victims a moment’s respite; unfortunately, the wild dodge had already thrown both Colleen and Emily off the Pokémon’s back and into the water. Zoe alone was left to direct Kammy and fend off their foes.

 

The Hawlucha, meanwhile, sprang into action toward their original target. One dove directly at Jared, only to be intercepted by Raiden, whose own leap carried the two onto Tristan’s back. Unfortunately, Oggie’s instinctive dodge of the second left all of her passengers save Elaine scrambling for a grip before falling into the flowing stream; Lucia’s trajectory in particular left her taking a flying kick to the head from the third Hawlucha that had originally been intended for the Lapras.

 

Lionel hit the water hard, but managed to retain his wits. Upon seeing Lucia’s sluggish reactions, however, he was forced to fight hard not to panic. “Lockwood,” he called out to the only unoccupied member of the group, “grab Lucia, I think she might be concussed.” The businessman tried not to think too hard about his own predicament, or the suddenly-agitated waters ahead of them.

 

Elaine, meanwhile, grabbed on to one of Oggie’s shell spines with an iron grasp, her other arm stretched out to pull Emily onto the Lapras’ back. “Emily, are you all right?” she asked, her concern for her niece overriding her awareness of the enemy.

 

OOC: Godmoding slightly just so the main gimmick is shown; when a transport Pokémon attacks or dodges, its passengers have a chance of being thrown in the river, whereas if it simply endures the hit, it can keep its passengers secure (so long as it doesn’t faint, of course). Characters in the water need the help of someone outside of the water to get back out.


 

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: Chloe Hikari(Ally: 70%, Ren: 30%)/Ray Hakuda(Zangetsu: 15%) - Vertrag: Battle Arenas==-


Ally focused as Gluttony opened his mouth to try and attack her. Trying to keep the creature's focus on her as long as possible, the Gallade summoned a shield of energy to Protect herself, opting to wait things out for the moment as she saw the two other fire-types pushing to close the heat in on their opponent.


While she waited behind her shield, the Gallade tried to look for any openings that she might be able to use, her swords taking on a brighter glow as she twirled one of them in her hand while concentrating. The odds were with them at this point, they just needed to keep pressing the advantage.


***


Zangetsu attempted to dodge out of the way of the attack, but it flew across the room at a speed that surprised the Zangoose. He was knocked back hard and took a tumble across the floor, seeming to barely still have the energy to keep going after that attack. Ren, on the other hand, took the attack directly, but still seemed okay even as she also got sent rolling across the floor.


Chloe and Ray watched as the attacks collided with their respective Pokémon; although visibility was reduced for Ren until she tumbled out from the storm. The mega-charged Luxray stood up with a growl as she glared in the direction of the blizzard, prepared to rush back into the fray at the first command. Zangetsu, on the other hand, was having more trouble standing back up.


Ray, however, noticed two things - one about how hurt Zangetsu was after that Disarming Voice, and the secondly that the steel-type attack hurt about as much as he expected. "Chloe, link us with Kyle!"


Surprised by the request, Chloe nodded and did her best to establish a telepathic connection with Kyle as well. "Does this work?" The psychic girl asked as she barely managed to connect to both Ray and Kyle for the moment. "I think I need to work on this a little more, having a bit of trouble, but what's up?"


"Kyle, if you can hear this, use Steel or Ice attacks on Adams. She didn't take much damage from Zangetsu's Close Combat, but his Iron Tail just now seemed to connect just as hard as Ren's Ice Fangs have been." Ray glanced around the field as he tried to keep the dragon in sight to make sure there were no surprise attacks. "Chloe, you try to distract her - I don't think that Zangetsu can do much unless there's a very large opening now, or he'll faint. I can't tell how much more damage he can take, especially from an attack like that."


"Right." Chloe nodded as she tried to make sure that Kyle got the thoughts, giving him a small summary of the discovery herself just in case. She then opened a connection to Ren again, focused as she did so. "Ren, Quick Attack to get close! Make sure you only distract though - I don't know what's planned, but let's try to keep as many openings for the others as we can." The Luxray growled in acknowledgement as she took off toward the blizzard once more, using Quick Attack to close the distance and run around Adams to try and catch her off guard in the low visibility state.


"Alright, Zangetsu…" Ray ran over to his injured Pokémon and quietly said his plan to the Zangoose. "So in summary, once you see an opening, get in, use Iron Tail again, then get out as quickly as you can, alright?"


The Zangoose nodded, then slowly approached Adams once again, but stayed just out of range for the moment while he waited for the best opportunity.


OOC:


Ally: Protect > Herself, Swords Dance > Herself

Ren: Quick Attack > Adams(Distraction), movement prepared to get away

Zangoose: Waiting; Iron Tail > Adams(Prepared for when there's an opening)


-==IC: Olivia Seaton(Jhen[Vibrava])/Colleen Llyan(Skulkraken[Magikarp], Pollyanna[Poliwag]) - River, Kalos Route 7==-


Things happened so quickly. Hoping that the opposing Dragonair could wait a bit, Olivia's Vibrava quickly dived to try and catch the Inkay. Once he was certain that Marsala was safe, Jhen flew up toward the Dragonair in an attempt to slam into the malicious dragon and possibly return the spiking favour.

 

"Is everyone okay?!" Olivia called out to the people who had fallen into the water, worried about them. She hoped that the others could be helped onto either their transports again or onto another, as she knew that the only way they'd get it to work here is if she wasn't on Dracos herself. Olivia wished for about the hundredth time that her team had their powers back, as it would make these things a whole lot easier to deal with.


***


Colleen let out a surprised yelp as the unexpected dodge sent her into the river for the second time that day. She warily kept near her Magikarp for the moment, vaguely hearing the chaos of the rest of the fight. Pollyanna floated nearby as well, prepared to defend her trainer even as the girl fired off an Aura Sphere toward one of the Swanna that had attacked them.


OOC:


Jhen: Typeless Slam > Dragonair

Colleen: Aura Sphere > Swanna

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IC: Jared Winters (Raiden|Froakie[100%]/Oggie|Lapras[100%)/Lachina Adaon(Aolani[100%])/Emily Lockwood - Kalos Route 7 River

 

Jared came to two big realizations as he hit the water. The first was that he needed to get some sort of harness for Oggie's shell so this never happened again. The second, much more pressing issue was that he didn't know how to swim. It wasn't something his father had taught him -- not many lakes near Snowpoint -- and it had never been a big issue in his time with the Company -- boats and teleportation were how they crossed every body of water.

 

The phrase "sink or swim" stuck out to him, and Jared realized very quickly that he was much more of a sinker. The current crushed against him, and his heavy clothes -- boots, jeans, and coat -- dragged him down. As his feet touched the bottom of the river, he came to the conclusion that he would take up swimming lessons after this. He pushed off of the muck at the bottom of the river and shot up, using his arms to try and propel himself further. His head broke the surface and he managed to gasp in some air before the river forced him back under.

 

Raiden and the Hawlucha landed on the Metagross' back and the Froakie wasted no time in sticking its frubbles to the flying-type's wings, rendering it effectively grounded. Still, on top of a Metagross was not a good place for a brawl, especially when the flying-type was also part fighting-type. The Froakie took a quick dive off of the Metagross and reoriented himself to prepare for his next attack.

 

Lachina cursed as she saw Jared's struggle. "Aolani, fly in low. Be ready to grab us once we surface, okay?" The Altaria did as instructed, and Lachina rolled off of her back to dive gracefully into the water.

 

Emily coughed up a bit of water and nodded. "I'm fine, auntie. Thanks for the assist." She picked two Poké Balls from her belt. "Spitfire, keep an eye on Elaine! Ronin, let's go assist Colleen!" She tossed the two balls into the air, and the two flying-types appeared. Though Ronin seemed dubious about being that near the water, he allowed Emily to hook her arms around him and took off to find the golden-aura girl. Spitfire swooped around and grabbed the Hawlucha that had landed badly on the Lapras' shell. Without much ceremony, he dumped the stunned creature into the river.

 

IC: Yamamoto Aori - Vermilion City Park

 

Aori frowned softly. "You were hurt? What happened?"

 

IC: Xander Cruize/Octavyn Nowarei - Prison Block, The Alamo, Four Island (August 8th, evening)

 

“Y’know, we normally wouldn’t allow so many unscheduled visitations in one month, let alone one day,” the guard said casually as he led the prisoner once more from cell to visiting room. “What’ve you done that gets you special favors from the Executive, huh?”

 

“I guess I kind of saved him from a bit of pain last night,” Xander said with a shrug. “But I don’t think it warrants special treatment. Was just doing what anyone would do.”

 

“Well, this will probably be your last one for the day. Eston’s gonna be busy for the next few hours getting a bunch of paperwork sorted, and we really are supposed to keep you in your cell as much as we can.”

 

“Makes sense, yeah.” Xander sighed, brushing hair out of his eyes. “Who’s the visitor, this time?”

 

“Some tech with a name I’m not even gonna try and pronounce.” The door to the cafeteria-styled room opened, and Xander’s heart stopped as he saw Octavyn at one of the tables. Quietly, he walked over and sat across from her.

 

“So, I don’t know what you told Isa, but she thinks I’m some Team Flare spy now. Which, yeah, makes sense, I guess.”

 

Octavyn simply glared at Xander through watery eyes, arms crossed angrily as she worried at her bracelet..

 

“So, what’s the deal, then, Octavyn? You caught me and Cameron in the holding area, tell everyone that I’m working with Team Flare and . . . What, that’s some sort of revenge or something? What did I do to you to make you hate me so much?”

 

Octy’s mouth dropped open in disbelief. “Have you lost your mind?”

 

“Have I lost my mind? Isa was in here shouting at me because of what you told her!” Xander pointed accusingly.

 

Ordinarily, Octy would have blinked in confusion, but through her tears the emotion was difficult to discern. “I told her about Cameron. What he confessed was…” Octy’s fists clenched, nails gouging into her palms hard enough to draw blood -- and, based on the telltale stains, not for the first time that day.

 

Xander scowled at her. “You’re sure you said the right person? Because she had no clue that Cameron had even been arrested until I mentioned it.”

 

Octy stopped dead. “I… may have been unclear. At the time, I was… unstable.”

 

“Was?” Xander ignored the glare he got in response to that. “Well, congratulations, Octavyn. You managed to turn the last of our friends against me, and you weren’t even trying.” He leaned back in the chair. “No, seriously, what the h*** did I ever do to you?”

 

“You. DIED!” The technician shot to her feet, chair clattering to the floor behind her. “Do you have ANY idea what that did to me? It destroyed me! It destroyed all of us, even Cameron--!” The mention of the traitor’s name cut off her tirade before she could continue.

 

The guard hurried over at the outburst, but Xander shook his head and the man stopped a few feet away.

 

“What do you mean,” Xander asked, “that I died? I went to train after I lost the league matches I’d been working towards. Clearly I’m still plenty alive.”

 

Three years ago.”

 

“Yeah. Sylph and I found a secluded spot in--

 

“No call. No note. You built yourself up for years, and then lost. For all we knew, you’d…” Octy choked up, unable to handle the thought.

 

Xander frowned as the realization set in. Slowly, he swallowed and nodded. “I . . . won’t say I didn’t consider it,” he admitted quietly. “The loss hurt, and Sylph and I were both pretty upset by it . . .” He sighed and closed his eyes. “But, no, I didn’t. I told my mom and Sycamore that I was going to train, and that’s what I did. No note? No call? Octy, that was the last year and a half of my journey. After the battle where Sylph and I beat Cameron again, you and Isa went with him and I didn’t hear from you after.”

 

“We’d heard from you. A few Trainers in every town. You had made a name for yourself. We hadn’t. And then my grandparents needed me.”

 

“Your grandparents? Ca-- someone, rather, mentioned that you had family out this way.”

 

“The past tense is correct. They were injured several years back. They were sympathetic to Liberty.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Xander said. “I can’t imagine what that must have been like.”

 

“I was able to be with them at the end. That has not been the case with you.”

 

Xander winced at her bluntness. “It’s alright. I never knew my grandparents, and, if I’d known as a kid what I know now, I wouldn’t have had anything to do with my father.” He sighed. “Sorry for ghosting you, too. I never realized the implications of just dropping off the grid.”

 

“There are several implications you do not understand.”

 

After a pause where Xander realized that Octavyn was back to her normal succinct sentences, he prompted her. “Such as?”

 

“You placed yourself at risk for the fight against Missing Zero. You did not consider the repercussions of your recklessness.”

 

“What repercussions? Besides getting arrested, I mean.”

 

Octy fiddled with her bracelet again, spinning it around and around as she spoke. “You have not considered the consequences of your death on those around you. You do not understand how you are hurting people.”

 

Xander’s brow furrowed. “That doesn’t make any sense. Any time I’ve risked my life, it’s been to stop people from getting hurt. If I sacrifice myself to save someone, then I’ve done the right thing.”

 

Octavyn visibly flinched back, but the reaction was swiftly replaced with a wall of ice holding back the flames of rage. “You are wrong.” Arms vibrating, the technician came to a decision, unfastening the monochrome bracelet at her wrist and throwing it harshly onto the table in front of him. “We are done. You would leave me with nothing by which to remember you. I will not be so cruel. Goodbye.” Without waiting for a reply, Octy spun on her heel and marched out the door.

 

Xander scowled as he watched her go. After a minute, he picked up the bracelet and got to his feet. He looked to the guard. “Hey, is it alright if I hold onto this?”

 

The guard raised an eyebrow and shrugged. “If you can find a way to hang yourself with it , I think we’ll all be more impressed than anything. Keep the bracelet, let’s get you back to your cell.”

 

As he walked through the halls once more, Xander idly wondered about the conversation, about Octavyn’s reactions to his words. Surely she was wrong; nobody would really miss him if he died.

 

He also wondered, briefly, where she had gotten a Z-Power Ring.

"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

Shannon bit her lip. There was no way she could tell Aori the whole story. But at the same time she didn't want to lie to her. For a long moment she remained silent, letting the scene play back in her head. The hatred in Ryan's eyes. The fire in her own heart. The roar of his Tyranitar. The pain erupting over her whole body as thousands of jagged stones struck her at once. It was all so vivid.

 

"There was an attack in Celadon," she finally said, forcing a smile. "I just got caught in the crossfire. But I'm all better now." She fell quiet once more, hugging her arm. She hadn't meant to lie, and technically speaking she was feeling better. But she could still feel the fresh scars beneath the sleeve of her shirt. The knotted skin ached dully, just below the surface.

 

"But never mind that." Shannon reached into her bag and pulled out her sketchbook. "Do you want to see some of my drawings? Here, this is my hometown of Ecruteak. It's full of ancient, traditional buildings like that pagoda there."

 

 

IC: Zoe Llyan (Kammy, Eilonwy)/Dahlia Seaton (Dracos, Marsala)/Alex Lockwood (Empoleon, Swampert) - River, Kalos Route 7

"Marsala!" Dahlia's eyes darted back and forth as Jhen sped toward the falling Inkay and the hostile Dragonair approached Dracos. The gardener could feel her own Pokémon suppress a shudder. A series of splashes below revealed the reason for her Dragonair's anxiety: there was no way she could engage the wild Pokémon in combat without the risk of Dahlia and Olivia falling off. And while the trainers below looked relatively unharmed, the Seatons were much higher in the air and thus had much further to fall.

 

By now Jhen had caught Marsala and was now charging toward the Dragonair. Poor Marsala was too busy trying to stop the world from spinning to do much to help. Dahlia's eyes narrowed. It didn't take an expert to see that Jhen wouldn't make it before the wild Dragonair reached Dracos. She knew what she had to do. "Better hold on tight, Liv." Extending her hand, Dahlia tried to remain as calm as she could while attempting to reverse her opponent's momentum. With any luck the sudden shift in direction would disorient the dragon long enough for Jhen to hit it.

 

***

 

From his spot at the back of the group, Alex had the pleasure of enjoying a front row seat as everything around him went to heck. Dahlia's Inkay had been flung toward the river. Colleen and Emily were thrown off Kammy. Nearly everyone on the Lapras was now in the water.

 

Alex's first instinct was to rescue his cousin, but Mr. Zyther ordered him to grab Lucia instead. Not about to argue with the most powerful man in Kalos, Alex urged his Empoleon toward the red-haired girl. As they neared her, Alex reached out and pulled her aboard, which took a surprising amount of effort thanks to her waterlogged clothes.

 

"Hey, Lucia. You alright?" Supporting her back with one arm, Alex waved his free hand in front of the girl's eyes. Mr. Zyther said she might have a concussion. Unfortunately Alex had no idea what he was supposed to do in such a situation. He was a field agent, not a field doctor. Trying not to panic, Alex parted Lucia's hair and found a swelling bump on the side of her head. "Right, um . . . crud, you need an ice pack or something . . . Wait a second!"

 

Fumbling with his Pokéballs, Alex sent out his Amaura, much to Empoleon's dismay. With two adult-sized humans and a fifty-five pound dinosaur, Empoleon was barely managing to stay afloat. "Aramau, I need you to cool her head off." The ice-type stared skeptically at the redhead before glancing down at the protesting Empoleon. "Just do it!" Alex urged. Without waiting for approval he grabbed the Amaura's cool head and pressed it against Lucia's wound.

 

***

 

"Collie!" Zoe raced to the edge of Kammy's shell, leaning out as far as she dared. Even with her arm outstretched she was nowhere near close enough to grab her sister. Panic started to creep onto the girl's face at the realization that she was all alone. "Kammy, turn back!" she cried, beating her fists against the Blastoise's shell. "We have to save Collie! Turn back!"

 

Sparing only a glance back at Colleen, Kammy trudged onward in spite of Zoe's increasingly desperate cries. Fighting the river current would use up too much energy and slow their movements, making them easy targets for the wild Pokémon. Besides, she knew her trainer could fend for herself. Colleen would want her to keep Zoe out of danger.

 

Zoe felt completely powerless. Collie was drowning, Kammy wouldn't listen to her, and the Swanna were bound to turn around and attack again at any moment. Unbidden tears filled her eyes, blurring the image of her sister throwing an Aura Sphere.

 

An Aura Sphere . . .

 

Zoe's breath caught in her throat. Her hands clenched into fists. "What am I doing?" she murmured to herself. "I'm the fearless warrior princess! If it were me in the water and Collie was stuck on Kammy's back, she'd never give up hope! So I can't give up, either!" She got to her feet, adjusting her stance to keep from falling off of Kammy's domed back, and grabbed a Pokéball off her bag. "We've got one shot at this, Eilonwy! Teach those bird brains not to mess with my sister! Kyaa!"

 

With all her might Zoe hurled the Pokéball into the air, nearly losing her balance in the process. The capsule spun toward the flock of Swanna before opening to reveal a furious Feebas. Flailing about with all her might, fearless of the abnormally high altitude she suddenly found herself in, Eilonwy flung herself toward the nearest feathered foe. Having seen through Zoe's masquerade of bravery, the Feebas knew she couldn't afford to let her trainer down.

 

 

OOC:

Marsala: Recovering from confusion/disorientation

Dahlia: Reverse Momentum > Dragonair

Aramau: Dino Ice Pack > Lucia

Eilonwy: Frantic Flying Fish Frenzy > Swanna

Edited by Konuju

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: Jamie Arthur - Route 7

 

Jamie was at the edge of Tristan’s head as she saw Lucia fall into the water. She breathed a vocal sigh of relief at seeing Alex grab hold of Lucia. At the same time, Jared was in the water. Lachina seemed to be swimming towards him. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to send Palomides out to grab people from the water. She would’ve sent Pelleas to do it, but she wasn’t sure how water would affect his wings. She heard some bug types couldn’t fly with wet wings. So the Haunter would have to do it instead. He didn’t even need to breathe, it was perfect.

 

“Go Palomides,” she said pressing the Haunter’s Poke Ball to the top of Tristan’s head.

 

The Haunter floated up, glad to be out of his Poke Ball for once.

 

“Palomides get down there and help people out of the water,” the Haunter floated down towards the water silently. “As for you,” Jamie said to the Hawlucha. “Time will freeze!” she yelled with a determined look on face.

 

Time did not freeze.

 

“Mrgrgr, fine,” she said reaching for a Poke Ball. There wasn’t any room for another Pokemon that had to ride on top of Tristan’s head. This meant the Pokemon she would use for this was obvious. And she hadn’t had a good chance to use Lucan in a while. She liked Lucan.

 

“Go Lucan!” she yelled in a much more enthusiastic tone than she had with Palomides. And much more enthusiastically than how Lucan left his Poke Ball. He was a little nervous to be back on the battlefield again after losing his powers in the Egg. Jamie did not yet order an attack. She needed the Froakie out of the way lest she hit an ally.

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-==IC: Kalos River==- (August 9th, 2017)

 

Dahlia’s powers crackled to life, the Dragonair confusedly finding itself dragged backward at alarming speed as it struggled to continue its curving lunge. However, the miracle was not without its side effect, as the reversal of momentum also reversed its angle, sending the Dragon-type careening directly into Jhen’s own charge for mutual damage. The Dragonair hissed its displeasure at the Vibrava, but after a moment’s consideration gave him a vicious grin and lashed out with a powerless version of Dragon Tail… the momentum of the attack aimed to reverse directly into Dracos instead.

 

Colleen could see the Carvanha ahead of her perk up as they caught her scent. Still, she managed to get off her Aura Sphere, the Fighting-type orb effortlessly tracking the Swanna she’d aimed it back but only impacting the Flying-type for minimal damage. Still, it was enough to divert the Swanna’s attention, as it wheeled around to make another pass toward her.

 

Eilonwy’s determination paid off in spades, as the fish’s flailing ping-ponged it between two of the Swanna multiple times before sending her plunging silently into the waters below. The duo circled confusedly, trying to figure out what had hit them and where it had gone, completely distracted from the rest of the group.

 

Lionel, too, took note of the approaching Carvanha, noting with some trepidation that the Dark-types seemed to be getting excited. Fortunately, Jamie’s Haunter offered him its ghostly hands, and the businessman gratefully accepted them, tossing a grateful nod in the girl’s direction. Unable to help battle directly, he instead looked toward Lucia, hoping against hope his daughter wasn’t too badly injured.

 

To their mutual misfortune, Jared and Lachina’s active movements drew the most attention from the carnivorous Carvanha, a number of the school having already dropped back enough to reach striking distance. As Aolani began her approach, however, their attention was diverted by a new target.

 

Spitfire reached her target even as it started to regain its footing; however, it was far too late, as the Talonflame slashed its shoulder and sent it tumbling into the drink. The bloodied bird was immediately set upon by the two Carvanha who had dropped back closest to the group, the water blossoming blood-red as the pair of predators set to work.

 

Jared and Lachina knew that as soon as the Hawlucha was finished, they’d be next. Aolani’s shadow passed overhead, the Altaria coming in to clutch at the two Trainers. As she swooped in for the grab, however, a sharp stone projectile came whizzing past, forcing her to snatch her claws upward and divert her path. A second stone splashed into the water near the two Carvanha, scattering the duo long enough to give their critically-injured victim a fleeting moment of respite. Movement near the top of the far cliff finally revealed the attacks’ origin: a familiar yellow-striped Frogadier dove from a hidden crevice, tossing its supply of rough stone kunai aside, and hit the water, its powerful legs propelling it swiftly towards the downed Hawlucha even as the growing current delayed its progress. However, even as one Frogadier abandoned the ambush, two more kunai whistled through the air, these two aimed squarely at Jared and Lachina; the latter caught a brief glimpse of a betrayed glare she’d seen just days prior.

 

The sole unengaged Swanna circled, seeing with horror that one of its fellow Flying-types had hit the water and been critically wounded. It swept low over the battlefield in the direction of the Lapras as it passed slowly above several of the other combatants. The remaining Hawlucha, meanwhile, took a more direct approach, leaping high toward its companion atop the Metagross and aiming a retaliatory kick along the way at the Talonflame that had almost certainly killed its bretheren. The Frubbled Hawlucha, meanwhile, had dropped low upon the impact, but relaxed significantly upon seeing the Ice-type, launching itself through the frosty fog above the Vanilluxe to freeze its restraints enough to shatter upon impact.

 

 

 

IC: Belle LaDonna/Belle ‘Beauty’ Parfum/Amelia Zann/Amelia ‘Beast’ Parfum

 

“So,” Belle said as she sipped as she stirred copious amounts of sugar into her coffee, “how long’ve y’all been . . . married?”

 

“Three weeks or so,” Beauty said with a grin. “If ya wanna see the ring, Amy’s always happy to show it off.”

 

“Nah,” Belle said, unknowingly halting Amy’s giddy advance behind her, “I was just curious. Was it a long engagement?”

 

“Kinda long, yeah. I proposed our third anniversary, and it took us five years to get all the details just right.”

 

Belle hummed, trying to do the math despite her morning grogginess. “So, you two were . . .”

 

“I was 17,” Beauty said with a grin. “Amy was 19.”

 

Amelia raised an eyebrow. “So us two had barely even met an’ y’all were already engaged?” She gave her counterpart a playful nudge. “Y’all move quick, Slick.”

 

Amy did her best not to blush too hard. “I mean… we were high school sweethearts--” (in the background, Belle could be heard to mutter “Highschool?”) “--and she’d helped me through so much, it was pretty much inevitable.”

 

“That, and Alex low-key shipped us all year, which meant Lord Zyther kept Lady Parfum off our backs.”

 

Amy made a face. “She wasn’t that bad, was she?”

 

Beauty smirked. “You weren’t there f’r the talk she gave me ‘bout finding some guy to let into the relationship so she could have grandkids.”

 

“Ugh.” Amy shook her head. “No thanks. Leave the ‘heir’ stuff to my sisters. All I need is you, me, and the occasional visit from Alex bearing presents.”

 

Right on cue, the door opened itself to admit the witch and their counterpart. “We’re back!” they announced in unison.

 

Amelia rolled her eyes. “Practice that, did ya?”

 

While the witch snorted and the non-witch Alex spluttered in indignation, a high-pitched squeal preceded a small yellow rodent trampling across the room to greet them, a crescent-shaped claw clamped tightly between her teeth.

 

Alex smiled at Didi. “What do you have there, Didi?” The Trainer accepted the present, turning it over in their hands to inspect it. “Is this a Razor Claw?”

 

Amelia perked up at the mention. “A Razor Claw? Where’d ya pick up somethin’ like that?”

 

Didi pointed roughly north and jabbered away. Miley inclined hir head to hir Trainer to provide a translation. “It was the other universe,” Alex the Green relayed, “the one where -- good heavens, were you actually attacked by Xerneas?”

 

“Is that what that thing was?” Amelia interjected. “I’d been meanin’ ta ask.”

 

“Er… yeah, I think. To both.” Alex dipped their head in thought. “If that’s the case, then this probably belongs to you, Amelia,” they said, holding out the claw. “Or, well, the other you, but…”

 

“Ah get it,” Amelia intoned softly, gratefully taking the gift. “Thanks.”

 

“You know,” the witch said, “now might not be a bad time for presents. We should probably round everyone up and head back to the cave soon -- I prepared my divination spells this morning, so we’re sure to find the right mirror to get you back home.”

 

Alex’s eyes widened. “Are you serious??” Before the witch could react, they found themself wrapped in a grateful embrace. “Thankyouthankyouthankyou so much!”

 

“What he said, but more coherent,” Belle said wryly.

 

Alex the Green chuckled at their counterpart’s enthusiasm. “It’s nothing, really. The real present… is this.” The witch held out the gray cylinder they’d carried from the Pokémon Center.

 

Alex was confused, before the witch touched a panel near the top, prompting the sides to retract and reveal an ovoid object suspended behind a clear window. “You’re… you’re giving me an egg? Just like that?”

 

The Green Witch nodded. “Like you said, your Pokémon don’t have their powers. This little one was never touched by that light, though, so once the egg hatches…”

 

It took no time for Amelia to make the connection. “That’s mighty generous of ya.”

 

The witch shrugged. “I like to help people in need.”

 

Beauty smiled. “I have somethin’ for ya, too,” she said to her counterpart. Belle raised an eyebrow as the double set a Pokéball on the table.

 

“What’s this?” she asked.

 

“A Sprtizee. We sent a bunch out during the wedding, and I caught a few of ‘em to give to Alex, Alma, Lizbet, Allie . . . Basically the entire extended family’s into fairies, I think it’s somethin’ in the water.” Belle snickered and Beauty shrugged. “I’m prolly never gonna use her, so . . .”

 

“Thanks,” Belle said bashfully as she took the ball. “I dunno what a Spritzee even is, but I’m not gonna turn down a free Pokémon, ‘specially with the power bein’ out for my universe.”

 

“Anyways, where are the Almas?” Alex asked. Before anyone could answer, the unmistakable sound of gunshots rang through the town.

Edited by Flipz

 

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: Jared Winters(Oggie/Raiden)/Lachina Adaon(Aolani)/Emily Lockwood(Spitfire/Ronin) - Kalos Route 7 River

 

Jared and Lachina both cursed silently as they saw the Carvanha, and Jared growled as the stone projectiles impeded their rescue. Jared's aura flared briefly, deflecting the two kunai headed for them, and he glared at the Frogadier swimming for the Hawlucha. Of course, he thought bitterly. Mercury had ticked the whole group off, and this was them seeking vengeance for the blood he'd shed.

 

Seeing the Hawlucha in the water, Jared scowled. It had been part of this ambush, but the Carvanha were going to rip it to pieces. With a growl, he launched a flurry of aura spheres at the dark-types that were trying to feed, hopefully scattering them long enough for somebody to perform a rescue.

 

Lachina whistled, and Aolani swooped in again, this time letting Lachina clutch onto her talons. The Altaria flapped her wings hard and carried two passengers out of the water and onto the back of the Lapras.

 

Raiden reoriented himself in the water and launched out of the water behind the Hawlucha he had been fighting. Webbed feet slammed into the flying-type's back, sending it sprawling once more onto Tristan. Seeing Jamie ready to battle, the Froakie saluted, then hopped back into the water.

 

Ronin wasn't the fastest when it came to flying and carrying passengers, but the Scyther still made decent time in getting himself and his trainer out uncomfortably close to the water as they scanned for Colleen. Emily pointed as she saw a flash of gold. "There!" The Scyther swooped down and tried to hook a blade on Colleen's shirt -- enough to nab her, not enough to cut. Hopefully.

 

Spitfire took the hit, and screeched. He circled around to face the Hawlucha, but he had his orders: protect Elaine. Even if he wanted to meet this Hawlucha's aggression with his own, his trainer's aunt took priority.

 

IC: Alma Mason - Geosenge Town

 

The Gallade glared at Alma and unclipped two Pokéballs from the side of his jacket. He tossed them into the air and summoned a Metang and a two-headed dragon Pokémon Alma wasn’t familiar with. “Kill her,” he said, and Alma scoffed

 

“Scarier people than you have tried,” she muttered. As the two Pokémon turned her way, Shadow and Garnet interposed, both with fangs bared. This, unfortunately, left the Gallade free to look for his gun. Alma swallowed.

 

“Shadow, Garnet, keep those two busy. I will distract the Gallade.” She wasn’t sure what the exact plan was; being powerless put her Pokémon at a large disadvantage, and she was an assassin, not meant for direct physical confrontation with a fighting-type Pokémon. Still . . .

 

She raised her revolver again and fired as the Gallade was approaching his gun. The bullet hit armor, but even still the Gallade staggered from the force. He glared at her as he picked up his machine gun. Alma ducked between two houses and tried to figure out the best way to vanish.

 

The Metang rushed forward with a Zen Headbutt aimed at Shadow. The Gengar cackled as Garnet leapt into the way, the attack not even affecting her as she grabbed onto the Metang’s arms. Her small teeth showed in a wicked grin; she’d fought a Metang not too long ago and it had gone similarly to this. With a small noise of effort, she flipped the Metang and slammed it into the ground.

 

Shadow turned to the Zweilous and stuck his tongue out. The taunt seemed to have no effect on the creature, though. In fact, the two heads seemed to be arguing even as it made its way towards Shadow. The Gengar shrugged and lunged in to attack. His hands came around in a hard clap, and he cackled as he bashed the two heads together. The dragon-type reeled and staggered as it tried to overcome the dizziness that ensued.

 

The Gallade moved through the alleys with purpose, his gun at his side ready to shoot at the first sign of the girl. A flicker of light drew his attention and he turned and opened fire -- the bullets passed harmlessly through the plasmoid form of the purple Rotom that had distracted him. As he was glaring, there was a noise behind him. He started to turn, but cried out as he felt something stab through the thick leather of his pants and into the back of his leg.

 

Alma pulled the knife out and drove her shoulder into the small of the gunman’s back to drive him to the ground. His gun clattered out of his hand again and she quickly picked it up so he couldn’t use it. Once more, she ran into the spaces between house, the Gallade only taking a few seconds to recover and follow her.

 

The Metang threw a Bullet Punch that caused Garnet to slide back. Still, the Sableye was happy as she grabbed onto its arm again, her claws digging into metal. She spun around once, calling a warning to Shadow as she unleashed her projectile. The older ghost cackled, phasing down into the ground to watch as the Metang struck the Zweilous who was still recovering from the blow to its heads.

 

Both opponents fell, but quickly righted themselves. The Metang let out a frustrated noise, and shot a beam of Psychic energy at Shadow, who took the hit and growled. He floated back towards Garnet, who loped forward with her hands dragging the ground.

 

Alma ejected the magazine of the machine gun and threw it in the trash. The design of the gun meant there was still one round in the chamber. Hopefully one shot would be all she needed once she had set things up.

 

She rounded a corner and paused as she saw her double tending to a wounded man; her Clefable and Audino were tending to people nearby. “This is a bad place to be,” Alma said, glancing over her shoulder to see if the Gallade was close. “I would suggest--”

 

“I can’t carry him elsewhere, he’s too heavy.” The healer’s hand glowed white as she treated the bulletwound in the man’s shoulder. “If you’re that worried, keep guard.”

 

“I am not a guard, Alma Fiona Mason, I am a killer

 

“Be both.” Alma made a frustrated sound, but her double continued working quietly. Alma turned to face the direction she’d come. The Gallade came around the corner, and Alma fired -- used to her revolver, she certainly didn’t expect the kickback from the machine gun to be so bad. The bullet whizzed harmlessly past the Gallade, not even going near its intended target. Alma cursed and threw the gun at him. It did nothing.

 

The Gallade lunged in and grabbed the front of her dress. WIth no effort, he lifted her into the air. “Game over, kid,” he said in what Alma was sure he thought of as a menacing snarl. “Shame. You’ve almost got the killer instinct to survive in this world.”

 

Alma struggled, one hand clutching at her assailant’s wrist while the other fumbled for a knife. As she pulled it out, the Gallade slammed her against the wall. The knife fell to the ground, far out of the Albino’s reach.

 

The Gallade raised one of his bladed arms, and Alma winced as purple energy swirled around it. Psycho Cut would likely be a very painful way to die, and Alma highly doubted he would go out of his way to make it a quick death.

 

As the blade started to descend, she closed her eyes. There was an impact-- and the Gallade dropped her. Alma landed heavily and scrambled to try and back away. The Gallade was standing, blade still up, his back arched a bit. Alma frowned and looked around him. Her double stood there, holding a bloodied knife.

 

“I don’t appreciate you attacking my friend,” the healer said, taking a step back as the Gallade turned on her. She still wielded the knife, but anybody could see she was a complete novice with a weapon. As the Pokémon approached, the healer quickly found herself back up against a wall.

 

Alma dug a throwing knife from her pocket and threw it. Leather split, and she heard the Gallade hiss as the knife sunk into flesh. “You are not so tough,” Alma said as she stood. “You cannot even beat two young girls.”

 

“I can kill you easily,” he growled. He turned and suddenly lunged at Alma. Energy swirled around his blade, and she cried out as he sliced into her with the Psycho Cut. Alma slammed into the wall and slumped, gasping for breath as she felt blood seeping down her front. It hurt, but pain could be ignored. She slowly regained her feet. The Gallade punched her, sending her sprawling again. She winced.

 

The Gallade was coming in for another attack, but the healer intervened. She spoke some word that Alma didn’t know, and the Gallade flew through the air with flames trailing after him. He landed hard, several feet away.

 

The healer helped Alma to her feet. “Are you okay?”

 

“I will live for now,” Alma replied. “Thank you.”

 

“Don’t thank me. That was a pretty weak spell, he’s going to be up in just a minute. We should run.”

 

“No.” Alma pulled her pistol and stepped forward. The leather-clad Pokémon was groaning, trying to sit up. Alma stomped down on his chest, her weight barely enough to drive him back to the ground. As he lay there dazed, she pointed the revolver and pulled the trigger. In the background, the healer screamed, but Alma ignored it.

 

“There. Now he won’t bother anyone else.” Alma turned and stepped out into the open.

 

“How could you?!” her double shouted. “How could you just kill him like that?!”

 

“It was him or us, Alma. I had a choice to make, and I made it.” Alma scowled as she approached the ongoing battle. Her team was faring well, it seemed, but she decided it needed to end. “Shadow, Garnet, kill.”

 

Both Pokémon growled a bit, telling her that they had been trying. Alma sighed. “Shadow, take the Metang. Garnet, grab that dragon.”

 

The two nodded and traded targets. The Metang lunged at Shadow, but phased through his gaseous form. The Gengar cackled and grabbed its arms. Slowly, he began to twist as the Metang tried to escape.

 

Garnet dodged one head’s attack and dug her claws into its neck. As it tried to pull away, she hopped, allowing herself to be launched up and over the Zweilous. She landed hard on the dragon’s back and once more began digging her claws in.

 

Alma watched dispassionately as her Pokémon literally tore the opponents to pieces.

 

The Healer was staring in horror as the adults arrived.

"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: Zoe Llyan (Kammy, Eilonwy)/Dahlia Seaton (Dracos, Marsala)/Alex Lockwood (Empoleon, Swampert, Aramau) - River, Kalos Route 7

So focused was Dahlia on exerting her powers that she didn't realize she had unintentionally sent their opponent careening into Dracos until it was too late. Dahlia abruptly cut off her power and hugged her Pokémon's slender body as Dracos struggled to maintain level flight. Amazingly, Dracos managed not to dislodge the sisters, but in doing so he took the opposing Dragonair's attack head-on.

 

Unwilling to try her powers again while riding an unstable dragon, Dahlia chose flight over fight. "Get us out of here, Dracos," she said as she tightened her grip around the Dragonair's neck. "If we leave its territory, maybe it will decide to leave us alone."

 

Even as Dracos dove closer to the water to try and outrun their attacker, Marsala -- who had evidently recovered from being thrown at the river -- approached carrying a handful of stones from the shoreline. One by one the Inkay began hurling the projectiles at the opposing Dragonair. Before Dahlia could call out to her Pokémon, Dracos had already dived out of view. The gardener's stomach lurched as she prayed Marsala would be alright against his much larger foe.

 

***

 

Zoe cheered as Eilonwy successfully managed to combo the pair of Swanna. "Yeah! Take that, you feathered fiends! You'd better fly back to your nests with your tails between your legs like the cowards you are!" As Eilonwy plopped back into the water, a soft buzzing distracted the young girl. She saw Emily's Scyther pluck Collie out of the water. She also saw the Swanna the aura wielder had attacked earlier circle around for another attack.

 

"Collie!"

 

Zoe's warning turned into a battle cry. Still feeling the adrenaline from her earlier attack, Eilonwy leapt out of the water to strike the Swanna targeting Collie. She only had one Pokémon to bounce off of this time, but with any luck she'd distract the Swanna long enough for the Scyther to bring Collie to safety.

 

 

***

 

At the front of the group, Alex's Swampert was the most prepared to deal with the approaching Carvanha. Jared seemed to be dealing with the two that had already attacked, so Swampert planted himself between the remaining dark-types and his allies. As the chosen vanguard he would have to be the group's impenetrable shield. Bracing himself for impact, he called out a battle cry to the school of Carvanha.

 

***

 

Applying a cold dinosaur directly to the forehead seemed to register a response from Lucia. She drew in a sharp breath and blinked several times before her eyes started to slowly dart around. It looked like she was just now becoming aware of her surroundings, a numb confusion seeping into her vacant expression. A groan escaped her parted lips, barely audible above the din of battle.

 

In her dazed state the healer looked remarkably similar to a Slowpoke, which Alex would have found amusing if the situation hadn't been so dire. "Leave the fighting to the others, Empoleon," he said. "We can't risk getting involved with Lucia in this state." The emperor penguin gave a deadpan squawk and pointed a flipper at the cacophony up ahead. Avoiding direct combat would be like trying to dodge rain. Alex let out an exasperated sigh. "Look, just try, okay? If things get hairy make a beeline for the shore. I may be a good swimmer, but I'd rather risk getting separated from the others than try dragging Lucia through Carvanha-infested waters if we get knocked overboard."

 

 

OOC:

Dracos: hit; evasive maneuvers

Marsala: Pebble Toss > Dragonair

Eilonwy: Frantic Flying Fish Frenzy > the Swanna targeting Colleen

Swampert: Unpowered Taunt > Carvanha

 

 

IC: Jayron Aaron - Alamo Battle Arenas, Four Island

The world spun as Jayron Aaron found himself swept off his feet and pinned to the ground by his Lucario. The canine Pokémon's mouth curved in a poorly concealed smrik. Even with the disadvantage of not having aura powers, his combat experience gave him the edge he needed to best his partner.

 

As Lucario relinquished his hold, Scythe approached from the sidelines. The Weavile wore a frown on her face as she explained where Jayron had gone wrong, and demonstrated a maneuver that would have helped the aura wielder not succumb to Lucario's tactics. Jayron listened closely to the critique. After thanking Scythe, he got to his feet and resumed his battle stance. He locked eyes with Lucario and spoke a single word. "Again."

 

Ever since the battle on One Island, the executive had kept himself busy with these sparring sessions. The encounter with Missing Zero and its instances had highlighted the need to be able to fight back, and while three of the Pokémon that had been on the mission had achieved some sort of transcendent evolution that gave them their powers back, none of those Pokémon had been Jayron's.

 

There was no doubt in the executive's mind that someday his own Pokémon would regain their powers as well. But as he had explained to his trusted partners, "if we keep waiting for that mythical 'someday' we'll be ill prepared when Missing Zero comes knocking on the Alamo's door." The Llyan girl had shown Jayron how to form an aura sphere, but even with that ability the executive realized he had little combat experience himself -- at least, not the same type of experience his Pokémon had. He could give commands on the battlefield just fine, and his training under the ninja master Koga gave him the ability to go toe to toe with human opponents. But the Missing Zero was far from human, and as the only one of his companions still able to use aura Jayron saw it as his duty to harness his combat skills for the fight against the giant blob monster.

 

Training with Vert's power suits would also be beneficial, but the suits were still under maintenance from their outing on One Island. And so Jayron took to harnessing his combative aura abilities, along with perfecting the skills he had learned under Koga. It was grueling work, but the haunting image of Goldhawk and Theodore Willows' maimed bodies fueled his aura. Twisting around a flying kick from Lucario, Jayron concentrated his emotions into a glowing orb in his hand. In a split second he made the decision to drop his defensive measures. Planting his feet on the ground he raised his glowing hand at the oncoming Lucario. Hand met chest in an explosion of aura, and the Force Palm sent his partner flying back several feet.

 

"How's that?" Jayron panted, mirroring Lucario's earlier smirk. Scythe brought a claw to her chin in silent assessment before pointing out the aura wielder's slight hesitation. In a real battle, he would have to commit to his actions; he couldn't risk second guessing himself. Jayron was about to respond when he felt a new aura enter the room, one wrought with distress. Hiding a grimace at the sudden spike of emotion, he turned to greet the newcomer.

 

"Executive Aaron?" A middle-aged woman stood at the entrance to the arena, hands clasped timidly in front of her. She bent into a hasty bow and uttered an apology. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

 

"It's not a problem." Jayron recognized the woman as Colette's mother, but it was strange that she would seek him out when her daughter was in the middle of a mission in Kalos. Signaling for his Pokémon to take a break, the executive grabbed a towel to wipe off his sweat before approaching Mrs. Llyan. "Colette's not having any trouble in Kalos, is she?" He didn't want to make it too obvious that he had read the woman's aura, but her worry was contagious and Jayron found himself deeply concerned for his fellow aura wielder. Colette may have had more training under her belt, but their mission on Seven Island had made it clear she had little experience when it came to high stakes missions or working with others.

 

"It's Colleen, actually."

 

The offhand comment took Jayron by surprise. "What?"

 

"Colette was the name she chose to go by when she was training in Kalos, but her real name is Colleen." Mrs. Llyan waved a dismissive hand. "But I'm not here about her, I'm sure she's fine. I'm here about Zoe. She's gone missing."

 

Jayron didn't know what to say. The woman broke down into tears, accompanied by a huge spike in her aura that caused Jayron to visibly flinch. He could only repeat his earlier sentiment of "What?"

 

It took several moments for Mrs. Llyan to compose herself. Dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief, she tried to explain the situation in a shaky voice. "She's been missing since Sunday. She was out playing all day, nothing unusual for her, but she never came home. We've searched all throughout the forest between Vier Village and the Alamo, thinking she might have gotten hurt, but we haven't been able to find her. She's obsessed with aura wielders like yourself, so I thought maybe you had seen her."

 

It took several moments for Jayron to process this information. From what he'd seen of Colette's -- Colleen's -- little sister, Zoe was prone to fairly eccentric behavior, often giving into her wild imagination. Still, it wasn't like her to play for days on end, surely she'd know how much that would make her parents worry. "I'm sorry, I haven't seen her at all recently." Jayron placed a comforting hand on the woman's shoulder. "That forest is pretty big, though. There's a chance you might have missed her. I might be able to track her aura, but if she was injured on Sunday . . ." He couldn't bring himself to finish the thought. His stomach twisted into an uncomfortable knot at the thought of what he might find.

 

"Please!" Mrs. Llyan dropped to her knees in agony. "You have to try. She's out there somewhere, alone and afraid. I just know it. Please, sir, I'm begging you! Help me find my daughter!"

 

Before Jayron could respond, Scythe approached, carrying his ringing Pokégear. "Not now, Scythe" he muttered. "I'm in the middle of something." The Weavile held the device up to him, and he saw on the screen that the call was marked as urgent. With a brief apology to Mrs. Llyan, he answered the call.

 

"Executive Aaron." He did not know the caller by name, but recognized the uniform as that of a Liberty tech. "We've got a bit of a sticky situation on our hands. I need you to come to the Control Center immediately."

 

It took a great deal of effort for Jayron not to roll his eyes in exasperation. "Sorry, but I've got a bit of a situation myself. Can it wait?"

 

"I'm afraid not. With Agent Llyan currently on assignment in Kalos, you're our only remaining aura wielder, and as a Liberty executive you're the best equipped to handle such a delicate situation."

 

"I'm sorry, but this concerns Col- I mean Agent Llyan too!" Unable to maintain his air of professionalism, the executive growled in frustration. "Her little sister's gone missing and I'm the only one who can track her aura!"

 

The technician was silent for a long moment. "Executive Aaron, I'm afraid maintaining the delicate peace between Teams Liberty and Rocket is more important than a lost child. You can search for her later, but right now we need to brief you on the situation and come to an agreement. Is that understood?"

 

Jaryon pinched his temple as he let out a long sigh. "Yes, sir. I'll come to the Command Center straight away." Once he had hung up, he looked over at the distraught mother. "I'm so sorry, but I need to take care of this first. I promise I'll help you find your daughter, Mrs. Llyan. You have my word."

 

Calling his Pokémon to his side, the executive walked out of the arena, leaving Zoe's mother on the floor in fresh tears.

Edited by Konuju

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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