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Project Harudyne Series 1 - Pokemon Ageos Chronicles (no longer uploading)

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by DiancieIsBae, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    [EDIT on March 5th: As I stated in my status post, this series will no longer be updated on this site. I'm putting this at the very top of the thread so everyone reading will know.]

    [EDIT on November 3rd: Just going to say this since I haven't yet. But if you are reading this, can you please not comment on this thread? The intention here is that I want this fanfic's thread to be only the fanfic, and not any other types of comments. I know you guys haven't posted any comments here, but I just wanna emphasize this since I didn't yet. Thank you.]

    Hello everyone. And welcome to the start of a new series I am writing. Before I go any further, I wanna state that this series actually isn't completely original. Rather, it's a reboot of an older series of mine that goes by the same name. I decided to rewrite it because i was dissatisfied with how much of each chapter was just RPG turn-based fighting and tile-by-tile dungeon crawling, which got boring to read pretty quick. I'm even surprised I wrote as much as I did in that style. But anyway, hopefully this reboot will prove to be more enjoyable than the original. (If you've read the original, that is.)

    The year is 2011. The popular VRMMORPG The World R:2 has sold over 11 million copies worldwide. One day, while leveling up for an upcoming Raid Quest, the PKK group, known around the community as the Beast Fangs, were transported into a different world through what could only be seen as a graphical bug. Now, having become trapped in this other world - the Ageos Region of the Pokémon world - the PKKs must work together with new partners and faces in order to survive the new challenges before them, protect the citizens of both the real world and Ageos, and above all else - escape.

    Humans...they are one of the many wonders of this universe that we live in. We humans have evolved so much over the course of the past few million years. We have been able to survive many a war without being even close to extinction. From the Medieval era...to the Roman era...to the two World Wars of the previous century. We have managed to survive all of them...through technological advances.

    The human life is composed of primarily two things: the Psyche and the Anima. The Psyche, the mind, allows us to think about many different scenarios at once. The Anima, the body, then allows us to perform those different scenarios however we choose. Both of these things require a link to each other in order to function and ultimately stay alive. When we die, our Anima no longer exists, meaning it's only a matter of time before the Psyche dissipates. Now, picture this. A type of game that allows a player to transfer his or her own Psyche into an in-game avatar without losing the Anima in any way.

    The year is 2011. The popular online Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called The World crashed due to most of the data being burned in a fire that happened at the creators' company 2 years ago. However, that same company was able to salvage a small fraction of the game's data, and with it they started reconstructing The World posthaste. Jump forward to about three months ago. Game company CyberConnect2 Corporations has officially released the revamped version of everyone's favorite MMO, now titled The World Revision 2, or The World R:2 as most people refer to it as.

    My name is Zakari Harudyne. I am one of the many students attending Gloomfield Middle School who play this game. Another player is my best friend, Brice Ravenhold, who is the same age as me and attends the same school as me. My little sister, Lily, is also a player of this MMO, despite not looking like she does. The three of us are always in a party with each other when exploring dungeons and fighting monsters. I am an agile swordsman, an Edge Punisher who can use two-handed swords with just one hand. I was more or less recognized by the lack of armor that I wear. Brice is our sharpshooter, a gun-wielding Paladin whose gun can take many forms - from a simple handgun, to an elaborate sniper rifle. Lily, not wanting to be on the front lines, is our Mage. She can use healing magic and battle magic, but can also use a bow and arrow to conjure her magic into. We call her class an Adept Rogue - a multiclass character with below average stats compared to the individual classes. We also have a fourth member, whom goes by the title of Legendary Flick Reaper. We don't know her in real life, but she has shown her knack for being able to hack and repurpose some abilities within her character. However, we haven't seen nor heard anything from her in at least a month. The four of us are currently not in any official guilds, so we don't have as many supplies as someone who is in one. However, we are also more experienced in the ways of strategic combat maneuvers than they are.

    A couple days ago, there was an announcement that The World R:2 would be down for maintenance on November 29th to add a new Raid Quest into the game. They never disclosed the time of day, nor did they explain what the Raid Quest actually is. As such, people got anxious to find info leaks of the new Raid Quest, but sadly there were none to be found. Jump forward once again to today. Me and my party were grinding for experience and supplies for this new Raid Quest, as we did not know the minimum level required to enter said Raid Quest. Each of us was Level 78 at the time, so we still had some other stuff to do before we reached the level cap. But for someone of our skill level, being a lower level than normal doesn't really mean much. However, after we killed our seventh massive group of monsters for that session, parts of the area's environment started to glitch out, almost as if the game's data was being burned to the ground again. After a few seconds, we noticed the ground beneath us suddenly vanish. And after a few seconds of freefalling down the seemingly never-ending drop down, a glitch portal spawned not far from our current position, and we were shortly teleported somewhere in the blink of an eye, no longer in The World R:2 that we were all so accustomed to.

    Chapter 1: Ageos
    Broad daylight. A mostly solid tan-colored dirt walkway slightly elevated from the rest of the ground, with an equally slightly downhill slope having light grass and flowers on the slope, and numerous forest trees on the even ground past it. The sun's rays shone down on the trees' leaves, providing shade to those under it.

    A young human, looking about 17 years old, was laying down seemingly unconscious on the side of the walkway under the shade of a tree. Short light brown hair that was clean in the front and spiky in the back, regular old dark brown cloth shoes, and a light cloth long-sleeved dark green shirt with an odd emblem on its left shoulder area. The emblem was four wolf teeth - one top tooth on the far left with a bottom fang just slightly right of it, and the exact same on the right side but the the top tooth is right and the bottom tooth is left - surrounded by a darker shade of the shirt's color contained within a scratched up circle that was a brighter shade of the shirt's color. He also had a sheathed greatsword to the left of his arm with a rather unique star-shaped light orange guard and, judging by the sheath, an outer curve on one side of the blade's end and an inner curve on the other.

    "N-Nnnngh..." The boy had seemingly been there for the past two or so hours, and was just now starting to regain his consciousness; squinting his rather light hazel eyes before slowly opening them. They looked quite serious and tough when fully opened. "What...Where...?" He slowly started to sit up and look around. "Where am I...? I-I don't remember any area in the game having this type of road before." He stood there staring at the road for a couple seconds, a few thoughts running through his mind. Then, deciding to look above him, he started to notice something...off about the world. "Hmm?" He reached his left arm up towards one of the tree branches and carefully pulled off a leaf to examine.

    What he discovered after a couple seconds of staring at that leaf was that the graphics settings were set down a level or two from The World R:2; almost as if they were trying to return to the feel of the original The World VRMMORPG. The brunette boy, being so used to The World R:2's fixed graphics settings that couldn't be altered at all whatsoever, also noticed the same with his hand and sleeve. "Huh..What is this place? It doesn't look as photorealistic as The World R:2 does."

    Then, a thought came to him. [! Wait. What about my character status?] Then, the boy swiped his right index finger downward, which brought up a column of icons to press; it was The World R:2's equivalent of a pause menu. From top to bottom, the options were: Inventory, Equipment, Status, Options, and Logout - which was strangely completely greyed out. He pondered this fact for a couple seconds before coming up with a plausible reason. "Hmm, might be because I'm not in a town. But...which way's a town? I'm here in this new area with no idea of where I am or where to go." But then he decided to check the other options. First, his equipment. Looking at the screen that popped up after he pressed the option, and then down over at where he was laying down at - specifically where his sword was, he then closed out of the window. "Seems my equipment wasn't altered. I barely ever wear armor anyway."

    Next was his inventory. "What the? It's almost completely empty. I had a bunch of cooking ingredients for sis to use." What was there, however, were only 3 Poke Balls and 5000 Macca represented by the ћ symbol. "And there's this new type of currency. The old one's nowhere to be found." Finally, his character status. The brunette's level was completely reset from Level 78 all the way down to Level 1. His stats also showed this, with his highest stat being Strength at 21, which is pretty high for any Class at Level 1. His name was shown directly above his stats and character Class - Zakari Harudyne. He closed out of the window and the menu, and then leaned down to pick up his sword. And he almost grabbed the strap when all of a sudden...

    "!" He sensed something in the bushes, and immediately pulled his arm away from his sword. Sure enough, whatever he sensed came out trying to headbutt his arm in an attempt to at least bruise it. The creature, a very much reptilian creature with quite a slim and slender green frame with cream underside, a yellow stripe going down its back to its three-pronged tail, large eyes surrounded by yellow markings, and two leaf-like yellow structures - seemingly representing some form of royalty. Zakari instantly recognized this creature from his various video games as a Snivy, the Grass-type starter of the Unova region. However, this Snivy had a feature that no other Snivy he had ever seen had. This one had a full head of green hair, which was considered shoulder-length to an ordinary human.

    The wind then started to blow softly towards the human's right, his and the rather strange Snivy's hair waving along with it. "I'm impressed." Zakari showed a look of surprise when the Snivy began to speak. A Pokémon, as its species is considered a type of, being able to speak fluent English was quite the shock to him. But then the creature turned its head towards Zakari, revealing her smile to him. "You actually avoided my attack. Not many people would've had that level of reflexes. What gave me away?"

    The brunette then eased himself back up. "I sensed an unknown presence right before you attacked. As for my reflexes, let's just say my lack of armor has always made me faster than the average player character." He sounded a little narcissistic when saying the second sentence.

    The green-haired reptilian looked at the human in slight perplexity. 'Player character? So you're from some video game?" it asked. Zakari confirmed after hearing her voice for a bit now, on top of her hair style and length, that the Snivy was a girl.

    "Well, somewhat. This is actually my avatar from The World R:2, a popular Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role playing Game, or VRMMORPG, from my universe," Zakari responded. "My universe is a parallel, and rather boring, universe all things considered. I mostly play games to relax and have fun." The human then went back over to his sword to pick it up. "Unless it's The World R:2. Never really liked having a casual mentality in that game. It breaks the true immersion that a VR game is trying its best to portray." With his right hand holding the sheath's strap, Zakari put it around his torso while turning towards the Snivy. "Now then, wanna come along?"

    She shrugged in response. "I guess it couldn't hurt. I've been a little bored lately, so this could be a fun experience." The reptile slowly started walking towards Zakari. "Name's Slitheren, by the way."

    Just after Slitheren finished speaking, Zakari threw his left hand out open, like he was telling her to stop. "Wait." The Snivy looked surprised for a second, as she saw, approaching Zakari's hand, multiple odd lights gathering in front of it, forming together to materialize a round object, which Zakari then grabbed firmly. Slitheren continued to look surprised, but her expression was also mixed with one of awe. The brunette boy then readied his throwing stance. "Now, hold still."

    The green reptile nodded, her expression not changing. Zakari then threw the Poké Ball straight at her, with enough power to send it flying at decent speeds due to his Strength. His aim true, the Ball's tip hit and bounced off Slitheren's head, making her flinch from the impact. "Oww!" But then she looked up at the Poké Ball, which had just opened up and surprised her a bit. But right after the Ball had opened, a red, almost lightning-like beam shot out from it and zapped the Snivy, turning her body completely red like the beam was. Then the beam, along with Slitheren, went back into the Poké Ball as it closed up and started to shake a bit, its tip glowing bright red. After about five or so seconds of soft shaking, it made a clicking sound and stopped shaking entirely, the tip's glow also slowly fading away.

    Zakari smiled and walked over to the Poké Ball, picked it up, and tossed it back up into the air. When he did, the Ball opened and ejected the same beam as it did earlier, only this time it was white. As the beam formed Slitheren's shape on Zakari's right shoulder, its white glow dispersing and revealing her. She had a slight red mark on her head from where the Poké Ball hit her. "That really hurt, you know." That was the first thing she said after she came out of her new home. "But, how did you do that? You practically created that Poké Ball out of thin air.' She was still confused and surprised by that.

    "Oh. Easy." Zakari replied, opening up the menu. "In most RPGs, you have an inventory that can hold either a certain amount of or infinite items." The brown-haired boy went through the regular motions of selecting items in RPGs. "One way to materialize items for use is to go into your inventory, click on the item you wanna use, and press Use." As he pressed the Use button, a Poké Ball materialized and floated in front of him. "However, if you don't use it within 30 seconds after you materialize it, it'll dematerialize and return to your inventory." Zakari then raised and opened his left hand up to his waist height. "That method is rather slow and inconvenient during battle, however. But, you can instead use your mind to access the inventory. Let's say I wanna materialize that exact same Poké Ball. Knowing that I still have at least one Poké Ball in my inventory, I can partially visualize the object in my head. Like this." Just then, the same multiple lights formed above his hand, materializing the Poké Ball. "I can also do the same to dematerialize it and return it to my inventory." Doing so, the Poké Ball reverted back to the lights that dispersed and dissipated. "But in order to use your mind, you have to regularly check your inventory to see what you have left."

    'Interesting." Slitheren slowly began to understand Zakari's explanation. But then she shifted the topic. "Well regardless, you're now an official Pokémon Trainer." She then turned her eyes off to the distance. "Well, you would be. But you're missing one important item."

    "Huh? What would that be?" Zakari asked.

    Slitheren looked back over at him. "A Trainer ID." The brown-haired boy looked at her with confusion. "It's a type of license that shows that you have passed the official Pokémon Trainer exam and are a legal Trainer." Slitheren paused for a couple seconds. "I've been wandering around this route of the region for a while now, so I know what you have to do to be an official Trainer. If you ask me though, I think you'll be just fine without one. Buuut considering most towns in this region have police stations, batter to be safe than sorry. Other than them, there are some guards in front of Shire Town east of here, and they weren't there until just a few days ago. They don't seem too fond of letting people leave nor enter town. Pretty boring, and extremely stupid."

    "I see," Zakari casually responded as he started his walk east, but then stopped to look down and to his left, noticing a split in the road. He went over to that split, and saw a sign that said Emerald Forest right next to what appeared to be the forest's entrance. Zakari smirked, looking at the entrance. "Hmph. Strangely foreboding. I like this feeling."

    The boy started to walk into the forest opening. But after only two steps... "Heeey! Waaait!" He stopped with a slightly surprised look on his face, and turned around a bit to see who was shouting at him. Who he saw was a middle-aged man who appeared to be a scientist of some form judging by his pure white lab coat and glasses. He also had green khaki pants on with a regular business belt around each loop, dark brown wedged business shoes, and a light grey collared polo shirt. His hair was slightly shorter than shoulder-length, and he had a very clean moustache. Both the hair and moustache color were bright grey to signify his age to Zakari alongside his aged voice. After examining his appearance, Zakari fully turned towards him. "Thank goodness I caught you at the last moment. That forest is too dangerous for a non-Trainer." The scientist then noticed the Snivy on Zakari's shoulder, and smiled and closed his eyes. "Ahh, Slitheren. It seems you've found your Trainer today. But I'm curious; what's with that sword of yours? Most Trainers like you wouldn't carry weapons unless they were criminals."

    But then he chuckled a bit. "Relax. I'm not accusing you of being a criminal. You don't have to state your reasons if you don't wish to. I understand." Then the grey-haired man gave a surprised look on his face. "Oh. Where are my manners? I forgot to introduce myself to you." He put his arms behind his back in a military-like fashion. "My name is Pear, but most people know me as the Pokémon Professor here in Ageos."

    Zakari raised a brow to that last statement. "Ageos?" he asked.

    "Yes. The Ageos Region, where we are now." Pear replied. "I guess if you want geography, we're about northwest of the Sinnoh Region and north of the Holon Region."

    Zakari stood there for a second before opening his mouth again. "So you're saying that...I'm in the Pokémon World?"

    Pear looked confused for a bit. "...W-Well, I think you'll wanna become an official Pokémon Trainer before you do anything else. But before that..." Pear raised his right hand and did some weird motions with his index finger. "Felios Delusec Heliof Micron!" Almost as if magic, Professor Pear's chant along with his finger motions created materializing lights that formed together into a peculiar device - mostly grey with a completely red Poké Ball design on the lower half with black outlines and a white center, and two trapezoid-shaped parts - one on each side of the design. There was also a small LED screen on the top, and what Zak could only assume was the power button to its left. When he grabbed the device and pressed that button, the device's backside raised itself with the spring-loaded mechanisms inside, slotting itself perfectly in line with the topside dimensions' edges. The backside also revealed a second LED screen, both screens lighting up and showing what Zakari recognized as a Snivy on the top screen and basic information on the bottom. It also generated a robotic voice out of its speakers.

    Snivy, the Grass Snake Pokémon. Cool, calm, and collected, Snivy uses photosynthesis to collect energy with the leaf on its tail.

    "That in your hand is a Pokédex. It's what we researchers and Trainers use to gather information about different species of Pokémon." Pear explained. "We here in Ageos use this particular model from the Unova Region. All models are relatively simple, but we prefer to have two screens for bios. Not many people here were a fan of the Sinnoh and Kanto models." He paused for a second before starting to turn around. 'Now then, come with me. My lab's west of here." Zakari nodded and walked with him.

    . . .

    After a few seconds of walking, the three of them arrived at the lab - a completely white building with two sets of four windows - one on each side of the front door, and several more windows around the exterior of the building. Pear opened the front door for Zak and Slitheren, who went in directly after and saw the quite clean lobby. A multi-colored carpet floor with white walls and tiled ceiling with a high-hanging lamp in the middle, a column of four chairs on the left wall facing the four chairs on the right wall - both end chairs right before their respective side's hallway, and a reception counter at the far back with a hallway entrance on each side of it. The right hallway led into the reception counter room, while where the left hallway went to was known only to the lab staff. The left hallway also had zero lighting whatsoever. "Welcome to my laboratory. This is where examinees wait to take different parts of our official Trainer examination." Pear then turned his head towards Zakari. "Now then, follow me. I'll lead the way to the examination room." Pear then started walking over into the right hallway, and Zak followed a second after. But before he got far, a transparent digital message box appeared right in front of him.

    Ageos Region

    A remote region with a population of around two million, the island region of Ageos has attracted the attention of many fledgling Trainers and veterans alike due to its diverse ecosystem, relatively sparse urbanization, and rich history. Within the last week, a large class of Trainers-to-be assembled outside the laboratory of Professor Pear, headquartered west of the village of Shire Town.
    "Population of two million..." Zakari pondered this fact, and then dismissed the message to begin walking again. As he was walking towards the right hallway, however, he noticed off the corner of his eye a strangely-garbed person standing against the wall near the reception counter. He didn't get much of a look at him before he entered the hallway, but he did see the person wearing a dark blue bandana over his head, as well as what looked to be a claw-type weapon that Tribal Grapplers, a monk-type class in The World R:2, would use. [Who...is that person?] he thought to himself.

    A few seconds later, at the end of the hallway, Pear and Zakari made it to a completely white room with hard tiled flooring, and the same type of ceiling at the lobby. There were 5 rows of 4 standard classroom desks evenly spread out from each other, a couple of them already occupied by other examinees taking the exam. "This is the examination room. You have 2 hours to complete this packet. There are 100 questions; answer them carefully, as some of them have two correct answers. You can sit in any unoccupied seat you like." The professor was pointing over at the front desk, which held the exam packets, No.2 pencils, and blocks of eraser.

    Zakari, before walking into the room proper, took his sheath off from around his torso. "Mind holding onto this until I'm done?" he asked Pear, bringing his sword in his right arm towards him.

    "Sure. I'd like to speak with Slitheren as well, so I'll ask that she come with me." Pear replied, taking the sword off of Zakari's hands for the time.

    The Snivy immediately got off of Zak's shoulders and walked over to Pear. "That's fine. I'd need some peace and quiet to take this exam anyway," Zakari replied, smiling. "See you in a bit." He waved and then walked over to the front desk to pick up his exam. Pear closed the door, and he and Slitheren walked over to the opposite room - what looked to be a break room for staff and such, with a small round table with three chairs around it, a large counter with a microwave, toaster, and coffee machine, as well as some paper plates, napkins, and plastic utensils. There was also a refrigerator near the door, and a surveillance television next to it that showed the entire examination room.

    Zakari, after grabbing his exam and a pencil and eraser, sat in the third seat of the second row. After putting his name and starter choice on the front cover, he opened up the packet and started reading the questions and answer choices. What he noticed was that it was basic knowledge to begin with such as the few beginner types, and then went into more advanced teachings like type combinations, weaknesses, and individual Abilities. Most of it, however, he knew from being in his own universe playing various Pokémon games, like LeafGreen, Emerald, and Diamond. [Wait...I know all of this. But...Fairy typing? How do I know that?] he thought to himself.

    "I'm curious. There have been a number of adventurous Trainers who've passed the Trainer exam with flying colors, some of them even being able to possess basic weapons like short swords and daggers with ease. And yet you never wanted to travel along with any of them. So why do you want to travel with someone like him?" Over at the break room, Pear was beginning to speak with Slitheren who was sitting on the edge of the table; he seemed to want to know more about Slitheren's decision. "Was it his choice of weapon? His demeanor? What was it?"

    The green-haired snake tilted her head upward. "...It was his abilities." An earlier scene was shown. Slitheren was running fast and hopping across tree branches. "I was running around in the trees for a bit, when I overheard him saying something about his "stats"." She stopped and slowly approached Zakari so she could listen better. "I didn't know what he was talking about, but I saw his sword lying on the ground. This big sword with a strange-looking guard. I was curious as to how he obtained such a blade. But then I wondered, what is he able to do with such a blade?" Then, she backed up a bit and readied herself. "So I decided. I would attack him and see what he would do." Then, the reptile ran as fast as she could straight at Zakari's arm as he was trying to pick up his sword. "But in the instant that I jumped..." Then, Zakari's arm was shown flinching. "He sensed me," Then, he retracted his arm. "And brought his arm swiftly away from my attack." Then Slitheren came out of the bushes with her attack. "That's when I knew that he wasn't just some ordinary human. He was something beyond that. No ordinary human would have anywhere near that level of reflexes, not even from training."

    "Wait, hold on!" The scene went back to the current time in the break room. "You attacked him? Why would you attack him?" Pear exclaimed in surprise.

    The Snivy tilted her head back down, and sighed. "Because I had a feeling that he wasn't from this world," she answered. 'And I was right. He said he was a player character from some game called The World R:2." Just then, however, Slitheren gave off an expression of surprise when she noticed off the corner of her eye on the TV that Zakari closed his exam. "What? He finished that quickly? No way." Pear looked at the TV too, and was also surprised.

    As Zakari got up out of his seat and put up his pencil and eraser, Professor Pear opened the door and came in. "That was fast." He said as Zakari approached him with the exam packet. "Well, let's see how you did." The brunette handed Pear the packet, which then glew a bright white as soon as Zakari let go of it. When the light faded, the front packet showed one difference. 100 over 100. A perfect score. "!!" Pear looked shocked for a split second. "Amazing. You achieved a perfect score. I guess it's no surprise; Slitheren's been telling me about your encounter with her." Pear held out Zakari's sword. The brown-haired boy grabbed it and put its sheath's strap back around his torso. "Regardless, you passed the written portion. Come with me. There is one more examination that needs to be done." The other examinees looked up at them in awe of his speed and intelligence.

    As Pear and Zak walked out, Slitheren came out of the break room and hopped up onto Zakari's shoulder. "Man, you sure know a lot." was what she said directly after.

    As they returned the lobby, Zakari noticed that exact same strangely-garbed person from earlier in the same place he was before. But now he was able to scout his full appearance. A dark blue bandana wrapped around his dark brown hair, dark hazel eyes that looked less serious than Zakari's, a blue karate-esque short-sleeved gi with black buckled belt around the waist area, a singular glove worn on his left hand with the metal claws being coated a shade of purple, blue slightly baggy pants, and the exact same type of shoes that Zakari was wearing except his were purple. His arms were crossed as he was standing against the wall, his right foot placed on the wall. From what his expression told Zakari, he also seemed to be thinking to himself. "He's still here? It's been 5 minutes. Shouldn't he have already finished the exam by now?" Zakari wondered. "Not only that, but his aura feels...threatening to me."

    "Who is he?" Slitheren also wondered.

    Zakari then decided to approach the strange boy in an attempt to answer all of his questions. The boy, on the other hand, squinted his eyes a slight amount, almost as if he could sense an equally powerful aura to his own. [What...What am I feeling? My instincts are telling me to be careful, but...where is he?]

    But then, he heard "Hey there" from his right. "!" The bandana-wearing boy widened his eyes, and swiftly turned his head towards the sound of the voice. Zakari was standing there near him, waving hi.

    "Relax. I'm not here to hurt you." Zakari told him. "I just wanna know what you've been doing here, that's all."

    The strangely-garbed boy sighed and eased his expression. "I was waiting for someone in particular. One who had an imposing aura." He paused for a second. "And judging by that Snivy on your shoulder, I think that person is you." He got off from against the wall. "My name is Christopher Berudos. But if you like, you can just call me Chris. I'm from a world called Gensokyo. If you've heard of it.'

    Zakari smiled. "I may know what that place is. Nice to meet you, Chris. My name's Zakari. Zakari Harudyne. I am a player character from a VRMMORPG called The World R:2." He brought out his right hand for a shake, seeing as Chris' left hand had that poisonous-looking claw on.

    Chris uncrossed his arms and brought out his right hand to shake Zakari's. "So you're that player character I heard about a few minutes ago." He looked up at the Snivy. "And who's your friend?"

    The green reptile just stretched her arms upward, and then waved at Chris. "Hey. Name's Slitheren." That was all she said, obviously starting to get bored. About 45 minutes passed. Zakari and Chris were waiting patiently against the wall, Slitheren still on Zak's shoulder. She sighed impatiently. "Are we gonna do this last part already?"

    [Yeah. We've been waiting an awfully long while. What's the professor doing?] Zakari thought to himself.

    The two boys then looked over at where the reception counter is. After the last few examinees returned to the lobby room, Professor Pear walked over to the front of the left hallway, and then turned towards the entire room. "The final part of the Trainer exam will be a test to apply what you've learned on battle simulators. I will be releasing some Pokémon into the field behind the lab. Your task will be to best them in combat, with one Pokémon you selected upon passing the written test. Pass, and the Pokémon selected is yours to keep."

    The professor noticed murmuring throughout the room. Zakari, in particular, looked confused. "Battle simulators?"

    "Oh yeah, there was a section of the exam that you skipped due to achieving a perfect score on the written test." Slitheren started to explain. "If you got above a 70 but below an 85, you would then learn in a short simulation class hosted by the professor himself. I've been to a couple of them myself. You don't actually do anything; just take notes and then fill in a short paper. If you get enough of them right, you get to take the final portion. If you don't, then...well I'm pretty sure you would know."

    "I can take individuals or pairs of Trainers at a time. Any volunteers to go first?" Professor Pear stated. Zakari and Chris nodded to each other, and proceeded to move towards the professor. "Ah, Christopher. And Zakari too. So you two plan on working together for the field test?' The two of them nodded. "Very well. Zakari already has his partner Slitheren. But Chris, you do not have your chosen Pokémon yet." Pear took out a Poké Ball from one of his lab coat's pockets, and handed it to Chris. "Here you go. Your chosen Venipede."

    'Venipede, huh? Interesting." Zakari said to himself.

    "Now then, follow me. I look forward to seeing your field tests, considering how well you did on the written test." Professor Pear then turned around and walked down the hallway he was in front of. Zakari and Chris nodded to each other again, and followed him. As they got farther down the hallway, the walls eventually changed into bushes and trees. Chris and Zakari looked slightly surprised as they looked around themselves. "Don't be alarmed. We're still technically inside the lab. This is just where we take our field test, that's all."

    Zakari still had something else on his mind. "Hey professor. Couple questions." he started. "That Poké Ball you handed Chris. Am I right to assume that you have two others on you for our test?"

    "Correct. In fact, I have a third Poké Ball for these field tests." Pear responded. "It would be predictable if I used the same Pokémon every battle."

    "I see." Zakari said under his breath. "And if we were to take this field test by ourselves, would we have to fight just one Pokémon or two?"

    "Well for a singles test, it would be one versus one. Though it all depends on the Pokémon you select." Pear was quick to reply.

    Then, all four of them arrived at the end of the hallway - an open field almost completely covered in shade, with some spots of sunlight shining through the leaves down on the short green grassy field. The trees themselves looked like they had been there for quite a long time, yet they still looked somewhat youthful. There were also no flowerbeds in sight, most likely due to that fact that this field was used for the exam. Pear then turned around to face Zakari and Chris. Slitheren jumped off of Zak's shoulder, and landed in front of him. "This is where the Pokémon Trainer Field Test will take place. I will send out the two Pokémon you do battle with. Defeat them as a team, and you will officially be recognized as Trainers." The old man pulled out two Poke Balls from his lab coat, one from each front pocket.

    "So be it." Chris sounded rather bored with he replied.

    Zakari, on the other hand, still felt a little on edge. "Hold it, Chris." He said in a serious tone, looking over at him. He then redirected his attention over to the professor. "One last question."

    "Zak. Why are you asking so many questions?" Chris asked, unnerved as he turned slightly towards him.

    The brunette, in response, didn't move an inch. "Something doesn't feel right here." Chris flinched in reply. "Hey prof!" Zak directed his attention back to Pear. "Those two Pokémon you have." Zakari's expression became more serious. "Are they all that we will be facing in this test?"

    "!" Chris' body tilted back a bit. "You don't mean...?" His eyes then turned towards Pear's general direction.

    The scientist's expression turned to a smile. "Impressive. You are just as perceptive as I was told." He closed his eyes and tilted his head down slightly. "Indeed, this is not all that you will be facing. I have prepared a special test for you two." Pear then sent out his two Pokémon - a small gray-and-black canine quadruped, snarling with its lower jaw exposed; and a small, brown Pokémon resembling a gray-capped acorn with a mask-like pattern covering its face. As they both landed, two gatherings of data strands appeared and materialized into figures - one on each side of Professor Pear. Both figures looked to be wearing blue green techno-style helmets with a black glass mask that extends to the top of the helmet and a ridged design on the helmet at the edges of the glass; a robotic-looking blue green vest with the same ridged design at the sleeves' beginning, with dark purple arms and legs, blue green gauntlets and hands, and blue green knee-high boots. "Though I am curious. What gave these two away?"

    Zakari's demeanor was calm and focused. "While we were walking down the hallway and entered the forest area, I felt something off nearby. An unknown and slightly unnerving danger. I guess that something was these two in front of us."

    "I sensed it too. The unnerving danger front of us." Slitheren stated, her voice only slightly trembling. She seemed to be...scared almost. But her neutral expression turned into a smile. "This sense of fear. Fear of the unknown. I've never felt this kind before. It's exciting to me." Slitheren's smile then turned into an arrogant smirk. "Now I'm ready."

    Chris just stood there looking in awe at Zakari and Slitheren - Zak, in particular, taking out and activating his Pokédex to scan the two Pokémon.

    Poochyena, the Bite Pokémon. Poochyena is the pre-evolved form of Mightyena. Its biting strength is superior to other Pokémon, and has the endurance to chase opponents down until completely exhausted.

    Seedot, the Acorn Pokémon. Seedot resembles an acorn when hanging by its head from branches. It jumps down suddenly to the surprise of passersby.

    Pear smiled at the three of them. "Regardless, this will be your final test. Defeat these two robot soldiers along with the Pokémon I have sent out. If you accomplish this, then you will officially become Pokémon Trainers." After Pear finished speaking, the two robots pulled out their weapons - the one to his right unsheathing a rather shiny one-handed sword, and the other pulling out a giant golden-colored lance.

    "A Blade Brandier and a Lord Partizan. This'll be interesting." Zakari said. He then slowly unsheathed his greatsword - which, much like the sheath, had a unique blade tip. "My trusty Nihilblade. It's been with me since I reached level 53. Crafted by a good friend of mine."

    'I guess I'll send out my Pokémon then. Come on out, Wriggle!" Chris then chucked his Poké Ball outward, the Ball opening and sending out an insectoid creature with a pronounced hump on the upper portion of its body; a magenta head and thorax with black marking that consists of rings on its shoulder areas, a band around each antenna, and an upside-down Y formation on its neck area. It was the Venipede that Pear handed him, and it landed right in front of Chris. Chris also cocked his claw, popping out the metal blades for combat purposes. Zakari's Pokédex, which was still active, scanned the bug in the meantime.

    Venipede, the Centipede Pokémon. Venipede explores its surroundings by sensing vibrations in the air with feelers on its head and tail.

    Zakari and Chris then got into their battle stances - Zakari holding his Nihilblade with only his left hand. Most other Edge Punishers held their weapons with two hands. They also wore predominantly Heavy-class armor. Zak, on the other hand, was wearing next to zero armor outside of his clothing. "Alright. Let's go."

    Without hesitation, Slitheren brought out a set of vines from under her leaf-like structures and attempted to Whip the Blade Brandier robot with her right Vine. But just as the vine got in its range, the robot reacted by raising its left arm up to smack the whip back. The collision made a POW! sound as the vine bounced away from the robot's arm. Then, the sword-wielding bot, behind the view of the glass, aimed its targeting reticule at Zakari, and then immediately dashed toward him. As soon as the dash ended, the blue-green robot swung its sword vertically down at him. However, the brunette dodged to his right like a blur, and retaliated by swinging his greatsword straight at the bot, whom brought its sword back up to clash with it.

    Chris, on the other hand, was carefully eying the other three targets equally - the bot was staying motionless, while the Poochyena and Seedot were looking to pounce on him. Which they ended up doing a couple seconds later - the Poochyena leading the attack by lunging towards the bandana-wearing boy in an attempt to Bite his left arm, with the Seedot following far enough behind to perform a successful follow-up Take Down. "!!" Christopher Berudos, surprised by how fast the two Pokémon were running towards him, wasn't as fast as Zakari. But he still tried to dodge the attacks with what were basically panic movements - first turning his body 90 degrees to the left, the small hyena's lunge just barely missing his arm. He then tried to jump to his left in order to dodge the acorn, but unfortunately he was too slow as the Seedot jumped up later than he expected and hit its mark on the center of Chris' torso, causing him to be knocked back a bit and the Seedot bounding back from recoil. When his knockback stopped, the boy put his right hand on the roughed up area, a cylinder-curved set of two bars appearing to the left of Chris' head - one big green bar being HP, and one small baby blue bar being MP. After it appeared, the green HP bar was reduced from full to about 70%. The Seedot also showed its health bar due to the move's recoil, lowering to around 94% of its maximum HP.

    Zakari caught this off the corner of his eye. [I guess he isn't as fast as I am. That's not good. These things are strong.] He then looked back at the opposing bot, and managed to push its sword away and follow up with a diagonal slash. Once the hit landed, the bot's health bar was revealed - the slash only dealing about 11% of its total health.

    Chris then noticed the spear-wielding robot jump up into the air and dash straight for him. And right then and there, he devised a plan. 'Wriggle! Act on your own against the two Pokémon!" And then the bot got close enough and tried to thrust its big lance into Chris' bruised spot. But in response, he jumped towards the bot. "I'll take this one." The bot then thrusted his lance forward, and Chris dodged it with relative ease. He then retaliated by winding back his left fist and then ripping his claw through the side of the bot's waist, dealing about 7% of the bot's HP. But as the HP bar went down, it started constantly shifting from shades of green and purple - the claw was coated in poison that managed to seep its way into the bot's hypothetical veins.

    The green reptile heard what Chris was telling to the small centipede, and then hopped up, turned her aerial angle to 90 degrees, and then spun around and extended her vines. When she got close enough to hit the bot, her vines' ends were brought rather close together and then slammed into the bot's back - dealing quite the blow as its health dropped down to abound the 70% mark.

    The Venipede, in the middle of the distance between the grey quadruped Pokémon and the Seedot, started moving its legs up and down making a tapping noise each time a leg touched the ground. The acorn immediately started running up towards the insectoid and then jumped up in the air to perform a mid-air Take Down. However, just before the rushing attack landed, the Bug-type rushed out of the way like a complete blur, causing the Seedot to bounce off the ground and take 5% crash damage. Wriggle then started to run around in random directions and harass the two opposing Pokémon, ultimately going into the bushes next to them and crawling up the tree. The acorn then tried to Tackle the bug off of the tree, but Venipede jumped off and spun its body towards the Seedot's movement path. After lining up its aim, the centipede shot out a thin poison dart towards where the masked acorn was going. The aim was perfect, the Poison Sting hitting the Seedot and knocking it off of its initial trajectory. Then, the Venipede shot another Poison Sting dart at its new trajectory, impacting the acorn's head perfectly and causing it to fall towards and bounce off the ground once. After the double hit and bounce, on top of the now afflicted poison between the two darts, the Seedot's HP was now just above 40%.

    Witnessing the Venipede's spectacular aim, she had an impressed look on her face. [That insect's pretty good.]

    But then, while the Seedot was still lying down on its back, the hyena tried running really fast towards the bug, whom just landed on the ground, with a Tackle. Wriggle, seeing this, decided to try and clash with its own Tackle. When the two impacted each other, a clash wasn't initiated. Rather, Wriggle's attack was completely negated by the Poochyena's raw power, and the hyena's Tackle slammed against the bug, leaving a badly bruised red spot near its left eye, with blood slowly dripping out of the small open cut it left. The Venipede was spinning back in the air, the blood flying all over the place.

    "!!" Slitheren widened its eyes in shock. [That Poochyena is too strong. Wriggle can't take it!] She then retracted her vines and stopped spinning so she could jump off of the bot's back towards the tree behind where Seedot was lying down at. When the magenta-colored bug landed, its health bar was brought up - the green lowering down to 37%. As it slowly got up, the Poochyena let out a fearsome Howl to increase its strength. Then after Wriggle fully picked itself back up, it tried firing Poison Stings to try and predict the hyena's movement. Unfortunately, however, the darts were moving slower than they used to due to the bug's wounds, and the Poochyena dodged every one of them with relative ease. And when the quadruped Pokémon got about 4 feet away from Wriggle while facing the tree directly behind it, the hyena jumped up a small amount, its speed transferring over from the ground into its jump, and readied its fangs to Bite down on what little HP the Venipede had. But just before it descended down onto the wounded insectoid to finish it off, BAM! The Poochyena was elbow-tackled in the mouth. It was Slitheren's right elbow. She then pushed it away from her, causing the hyena to bounce off repeatedly off the ground. Eventually the gray-and-black canine landed on its paws after bouncing a lot, still being pushed back by the impact before stopping fully. Its HP, which showed up a second afterward, was reduced down to 53% as it started to snarl angrily. Slitheren was then shown landing in front of Wriggle. "Leave this one to me. You're in no condition to face it."

    Chris, meanwhile was slowly dishing out damage to the Lord Partizan robot through its occasional claw strikes and poison residue. Its HP was at 49% now, however it didn't charge. Rather, it put its lance away in favor of two knuckled gloves. "!!" Chris was shocked by the change as the bot charged at a faster speed than it was previously. But he then calmed back down and ducked once he saw the bot throw a left punch, and then landed an easy blow with a left uppercut - his claws piercing the bot's armor and knocking it back to the ground as it landed on its back. But the bot didn't stay down for long, as it almost instantly forward-flipped back onto its feet, with its HP now down to 37%.

    As for the Blade Brandier bot, it kept trying to stab Zakari in various places of his body. But the brown-haired boy's agility and reflexes were simply too much as it couldn't land a single hit. The last stab, however, was instead blocked and parried as Zak's star-guarded Nihilblade slid against the one-handed sword and sliced through the bot's armor, bringing its health down from 74% to around 40% with just that one parry swing. But then, much like the Lord Partizan bot did, the sword-wielding bot sheathed its sword and brought out an even bigger sword - a greatsword used by Edge Punishers. [!! No way! They're both Adept Rogues!] But he wasn't given much time to think, as the bot immediately brought the blade over its head and then slammed it down against the ground with all of its strength, an immensely tall and thin energy wave moving towards Zakari. In response, the boy jumped to his right as quickly as he could, showing signs of exhaustion, and then pushed his right hand against and off the ground to help him gain some more distance with a side flip. As he landed on the ground, he ran towards the bot as fast as he possibly could and readied a thrusting attack with his blade, keeping a relatively calm expression throughout. The attack missed as the bot dodged out of the way, seemingly adapting to Zakari's speed and reflexes almost verbatim. But Zak wasn't slow on the adapting either; he turned his sword 90 degrees and swung to his left, cleaving through the bot and dealing about 14% of its maximum HP. [As I thought. Since it's trying to adapt my speed, its armor rating is slowly dropping as a result. But if it matches my speed exactly, then this could be a problem. I'll have to end this quickly.]

    Meanwhile, Chris and the other robot warrior were clashing blows constantly, both of them trying to find an opening to punish the other. Eventually Chris found a different type of opening; he backed away from the robot, slid right between the bot's legs, and then swept the bot down to the ground dealing 14% of its max health. Chris then tried to perform a follow-up attack, but stopped and started looking shocked. [!! What is this? This...knowledge? It's like I'm just now learning a new technique.] Then Chris dropped his shock and wound up his right fist. And as the bot got back up slightly dazed, he threw a right punch straight at its torso, followed by a left uppercut in which his claws cleaved through the bottom of the helmet, then Chris spun to his left and landed a 315 degree right hook on the head, then after a full spin, hopped into the air and flipped twice before bringing both of his arms together and slamming them down onto the bot. The frame then froze and intensified then and there. "King Hammer!!" Chris shouted. The bot just laid there motionless after the attack finished, its health depleting down to zero.

    At the same time, Wriggle and the Seedot stared each other down - seemingly powering up their final attacks. The Seedot got a little too overzealous though, and charged recklessly towards Wriggle with one last Take Down. However, the bug zoomed out of the way and then fired one last Poison Sting - this one being slightly bigger and longer than all of the previous darts. And just as the acorn Pokémon fully turned around towards Wriggle, the Poison Sting completely pierced through the Seedot's body, causing it to collapse on the ground and depleting its health down to 0%.

    The Poochyena continued to snarl at Slitheren, who was slowly walking towards it. But then she stopped walking, and then the hyena lunged straight at her, opening its mouth for a Bite. Just before the Bite landed, however, Slitheren grabbed both the top and bottom of its mouth and kept it in place just centimeters away from her torso. After a few seconds of this clash, the Snivy pushed the canine's mouth away from her and then socked it in the mouth again with her right fist. But just as it was being knocked back, Slitheren's right vine grabbed it and held it in mid-air. "Had enough yet?" The Poochyena, its HP now at 23%, was now being squeezed by the reptile's vine, gradually losing health and energy. "Well, have you?!" She than brought the Pokémon up above the leaves blocking the sun, and then slammed it down as hard as she could, many bruises and small open cuts emerging on its body, blood being splattered all around the crash, and the canine's health being reduced to zero. Slitheren's vine then let go of the Pokémon and both vines fully retracted. Slitheren then stood there, glaring at the collapsed Poochyena.

    Zakari, catching all of this action in the corner of his eye, looked over at the bot in front of him, which was badly damaged. "Well, looks like it's just you and me now. And I'll end it here and now." As Zakari started dashing towards the standing robot, a surge of power swelled in his being. [! This sudden swelling energy. It must be the same energy that Chris felt. This power...This is...] And just as the brunette stopped just before the blade-wielding robot, he widened his eyes as much as he could as the camera zoomed in at his eyes. "RENGEKI!!" He shouted, as he brought up his trusty Nihilblade and thrusted it into the bot's torso with the blade facing upward. Then he turned away from his target, still holding onto the blade's hilt, and brought it out over his head, cleaving through the robot's circuits entirely. Then, he finished his combo by turning back towards the bot, and swinging his sword back upward through the rest of its body. "Shell Breaker!!"

    The bot just fell to the ground, having been completely cut vertically in half. Then, both it and the other robot started glitching out and glowing a bright white before completely exploding into dissipating data chunks. The two defeated Pokémon, on the other hand, staticed a bit before shattering into data pieces, and then returning to their respective Poke Balls. "The test is now at an end. All four of you have passed with flying colors." Pear put the two Poke Balls back into his pockets, and then approached Zakari and Chris. "You are just as skilled as I had hoped you would be. Congratulations! You are now official Pokémon Trainers!" The two boys' Trainer ID Cards - which looked like regular credit cards - materialized right in front of them. They grabbed their respective cards. "To any other Trainer, this would be an accomplishment in itself. For you two, however, it means the start of something grand."

    "Yes." Zakari looked down at his newly obtained Trainer ID. "The beginning of my quest. To find my comrades, and to find a way out of this place."

    "Hmm? You wish to leave here?" Pear asked.

    "Yeah." Zak replied. Chris recalled his Venipede back into its Poké Ball, while Slitheren walked over to the others. "You may already know, but I'm not of this world. Me and my comrades are from an MMO, teleported here against our own will. I woke up alone, with my sister and my best friend nowhere in sight. I wanna find them first."

    "And you think that becoming a Trainer is the first step to achieving that?" Chris asked. Zakari nodded in response. "Well in that case, I'll tag along with you until we find them. I think we would do a whole lot better as a team." Chris then hesitated a bit. "Not that I'm doubting your abilities or anything. In fact, I'm not even sure what I did."

    "Why don't you two rest up here for a while? You look exhausted." Pear suggested. "I can heal your Pokémon while you rest."

    Zakari nodded at Pear. "Thank you." He sighed. "I've never felt this kind of exhaustion from something like this."

    "Now then, come with me. I'll lead you to the resting area." Pear walked towards the hallway into the indoor lab. Zakari and Chris also followed, Slitheren hopping up onto Zakari's shoulder like she usually does. And as they walked back down the hallway, the setting faded into black.

    As usual with all of my uploads, feel free to read at your own pace.
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    #1 Mar 31, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  2. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 2: You Look Familiar...
    After about two hours, within the lab's resting area, Zakari and Chris had just woken up from their nap, fully recharged. Slitheren came walking into the room, holding both her and Wriggle's Poké Ball with her vines. "Hey," she said to them. Chris took Wriggle's Poké Ball off of her hands, and put it around his waist. "She"s fully healed." As she was speaking, Zakari took the other Poké Ball. "The bruise and cuts on her face are completely gone."

    Chris looked confused. "...Her?" he asked.

    "The Venipede," Slitheren replied quickly. "It's a girl. Err, what did you call her again? Wriggle?" Chris nodded. "Why that name? I don't get it."

    "Wriggle Nightbug. She's an inhabitant of Gensokyo, just like I am." Chris replied.

    Then Professor Pear entered the room. "Ah, you two are awake now." He had his hands behind his back military-style. "Now that you are official Pokémon Trainers, you can explore the region freely as you choose. Zakari." The brown-haired boy replied with a 'Hmm?" "You said you had plans to escape this world, yes?" Zakari nodded. "Well I wish you luck in pursuing that goal. Regardless, the two of you may want to prepare yourself for the journey ahead. I would suggest heading east to Shire Town and purchasing supplies from the Pokémon Mart there. The journey of a Pokémon Trainer is surely a long one. But if you keep your head held high, I'm sure you will find your true calling."

    "My true calling..." Chris tilted his head upward towards the ceiling. But then he lowered it back down and closed his eyes briefly. "...I think I already know what my goal is." Zakari glanced over at Chris with a strange look - almost as if shocked but also slightly curious.

    The sword-wielding boy then looked back over at Professor Pear. “Thank you for allowing us to rest here, Professor. But we'll be heading out now."

    The professor nodded in response. "I wish the two of you the best of luck on your endeavors." Pear then walked out of the room back into the lobby, Zakari and Chris following behind and Slitheren hopping up onto Zakari's left shoulder.

    . . .

    It was still broad daylight outside, as Zakari and Chris had just begun their walk towards Shire Town. It was rather quiet until Chris spoke up. "Hey." He got Zakari's attention. "You never did tell us who your comrades were."

    "That is true." Zakari looked upward. "Well to start off, me and my comrades are a small group of PKKs, or Player Killer Killers. In short, we PK other PKs and serve as an anchor of protection against those who PK maliciously. PKing, or Player Killing, simply refers to one or more players killing another player for no good reason."

    "They don't seem very nice," Chris said.

    "They're really not. They're the scum of the earth, if you ask me." Zakari replied. "That's why PKKs started emerging in The World R:2. Because the PKing was starting to get out of hand. I understand that PKing is part of the game. But no one likes being PK'd, especially when starting out." A still image of the emblem on Zak's shirt was shown. "The four of us never really thought up a name for our PKK group. But a lot of people were saying that we could be related to the Terror of Death, calling us the Beast Fangs or whatever." Then, four silhouetted figures faded into the image, one of them resembling Zakari. The other three looked to be a long-haired girl wielding a bow, an almost bedheaded boy with a shield on his left arm holding some sort of gun in his right hand, and a glasses-wearing girl holding a long dual-bladed scythe. Then the camera zoomed in on each individual silhouette, rising slowly as Zakari spoke. "I am their leader. An Edge Punisher, a type of class that wields a giant greatsword such as the one I have on me. My sister, an Adept Rogue who specializes in magic, wields a weapon called the Crystal Bow as her wand."

    "A bow as a wand?" Slitheren asked.

    "She can use the arrows as catalysts for her spells. Bows can also be used by Harvest Clerics and Shadow Warlocks. Clerics being healers, and Warlocks using offensive magic." Zakari answered. "Being an Adept Rogue, she had to Job Extend in order to access her Harvest Cleric spells. But Adept Rogues can choose three classes to use, and she's only Job Extended once. So not even I know what her last choice was. Then, there's our best friend Brice Ravenhold. His class is a Steam Gunner, which uses regular guns that have barrettes attached to them. His weapon is the Shraider, a gun that can take multiple forms - a regular gun, a machine pistol, a sniper rifle, and even a shotgun. He is also known to carry around a shield, which any class can wield so long as they have a free hand. Blade Brandiers are such an example, as they wield one-handed swords. The Shraider and Crystal Bow, along with my Nihilblade, were all crafted by our fourth and final member. She's a Flick Reaper with unique abilities, but she's also a hacker that's never been caught. Or so she says anyway. Her weapon, on the other hand, was a special reward from soloing a dungeon. The Shorai no Kama, or Future Scythe as its also called. It's a scythe that allows the user to wield it however they choose through its four blades. There's also a chain connecting the weapon to a ring that, when worn, allows the wielder to throw the scythe like a yoyo. She is widely known as the Legendary Flick Reaper. Unfortunately, she went missing without a trace a month ago. I'm worried about her." The image faded away, and Zak and Chris were already close to the place where Zak landed near the entrance to the Emerald Forest. "My ultimate goal, after I find my comrades, is to find a way out of this world. About three days ago, we were told that there was an upcoming Raid Quest, and we went out to prepare ourselves. Not that we would've needed it most likely. We've been known to tackle challenges that were much higher level than us. Even groups of PKs. But today, while we were fighting regular monsters...the ground underneath us vanished. And well, here I am now."

    "..." Chris and Slitheren just stayed silent in awe and surprise.

    Zakari then looked over at Chris after a couple seconds of complete silence. "What about you? What's your deal?"

    Chris looked forward in silence for a second or two. "As I have said previously, I am an inhabitant of Gensokyo. But I came here of my own accord." Zakari wondered why. "I am a youkai - a supernatural being who feeds on regular human flesh. Don't worry, I won't eat you or your comrades. In fact, I used to be a human myself. Until a few months ago thanks to a ritual. My most trusted partner, a youkai Gardevoir by the name of Miss Gardenia, has been with me since the beginning of my life as a youkai. But just a few weeks ago, she was killed by a sorcerer named Jojo Rakadan. Just recently, I found some information online that Jojo Rakadan would be taking a visit to somewhere called the Ageos Region. Knowing this, I came to someone named Yukari Yakumo who has the ability to create portals that travel anywhere, and asked her to create a portal to this "Ageos Region". Once I went through the portal, I ended up in a town west of the lab. Cerise City. And well, you know the rest."

    "So you're out for revenge?" Slitheren asked. Chris nodded.

    "Well I guess it isn't really my place to speak, but..." Zakari paused, and looked over at Chris. "You shouldn't let revenge consume your entire life. It'll drive you away from the ones you love. And ultimately, from yourself."

    "I know. But she was my closest friend. She allowed me to see the world in a different life. To understand the hardships that most youkai go through. She allowed me to view a new perspective on life. And now...now she's gone." Chris replied. Zakari stayed silent. "Besides, I know what it's like to be driven away from myself. The youkai have done that to me when I was human."

    Slitheren just sat there in awe. "That's new. You didn't really look the wise type to me," she said to Zak.

    "I'm really not. But it's something my sister said once before." Zakari looked up. "And believe me, what she says is most certainly true. We've seen a lot of different characters in our time spent in The World R:2."

    "I see...You do spend a lot of your time online, don't you?" Chris pondered, looking over at Zakari. "Not that there's anything wrong with that lifestyle."

    "Don't worry, I'm not a complete shut-in. I have school every weekday to go to, and me and my sister sometimes hang out at Brice's house." Zakari said, smiling. Suddenly, however, the brown-haired boy and Slitheren both heard slight rustling noises from the bushes to their left. After a bit of rustling, a pair of raccoon-like quadruped creatures with bristly, zigzag-patterned fur and black mask patterns surrounding their brown eyes, as well as a single round-bodied Pokémon with stubby arms, light brown fur with white ring, two small feet with white paw pads, bushy tail with dark brown stripes, and long dark brown ears with red inner lobes. "I guess we could use a distraction." Zakari then took out his Pokédex, and scanned the two types of Pokémon.

    Zigzagoon, the Tiny Raccoon Pokémon. Zigzagoon is extremely curious and so ends up walking in a zigzag path between things that interest it.

    Sentret, the Scout Pokémon. Sentret is able to see great distances by rising up on its tail. When it spots an enemy or any kind of danger, it emits a loud, shrill cry as a warning.

    The Edge Punisher closed his eyes briefly and looked forward. "Normally me and my comrades would kill everything in sight." He said to Chris, deciding to walk further east. "But I will refrain from doing so this time. You can catch one of them if you want."

    "..." Chris was thinking for a couple seconds, staring at the trio of Pokémon. He then looked forward as well, choosing to follow Zakari. "No thanks. I'll pass."

    . . .

    After a few more seconds of walking, the two Trainers, who were still the same distance away from each other, came to an average-height wooden fence with an opening in the middle that was wide enough to fit a set of double doors in. [That's weird. Where are the guards?] Slitheren thought.

    Zakari too wondered where the guards that Slitheren was telling him about went. So he continued walking towards the fence's opening, but was immediately stopped by a very stern voice. "Halt!" Zakari, a bit surprised by the voice, stopped walking and looked around him. What he saw were two figures - one on each fence board - wearing brown leather undergarments and plated steel breastplate, shoulder pads, gauntlets, and boots.

    Zakari just stared at the left guard. [What? They weren't there a second ago. When did they spawn in?]

    "You are not authorized to enter this vicinity, commoner." The right guard spoke in the same type of voice that the other guard did.

    "? But I am an official Pokémon Trainer. Both of us are, actually." Zakari turned his head left a bit to address Chris, who had just caught up to him. 'And Professor Pear pointed us towards here for supplies a-"

    But Zakari was interrupted mid-sentence by a loud and vibrating PLINK! noise; the left guard had slammed his lance's pole down against the ground. "SILENCE! Unless given explicit permission from High Dragoon Nathaniel, nobody is authorized to leave or enter this area."

    Chris looked in through the opening, and noticed a small group of townsfolk with varying expressions of both curiosity and fear. He then looked over at Zakari. "Something doesn't seem right here. These townsfolk don't look too happy about these guards bring here. Not only that, but Professor Pear didn't tell us about these guards, meaning he might not have known about them. We may need to do something about this fast."

    "...You're right. These are definitely the guards Slitheren spoke of." Zakari replied, still looking at the left guard. Slitheren nodded in response. But just then, Zakari noticed a worn down purple dragon emblem on the guard's left shoulder pad. [What's that emblem mean? Are they part of some sort of evil Guild?] Zakari then closed his eyes briefly, taking a deep breath. "Alright then. Say our Pokémon were all badly wounded, and this was the nearest Pokémon Center. Would you let us in then?"

    "!" Chris just stared at Zakari, a bit shocked. [Wait a second, That could just be our ticket in.] Chris then eased his expression. The guards just stayed silent, not moving an inch.

    Zakari shrugged. "Cool. Thanks." Then he started walking in. "See, our Pokémon are pretty bruised u-" But just as he reached the opening, the guards formed an X with their lances in front of Zakari, stopping him in his tracks.

    "!!" Chris was filled with shock. [They saw right through it!]

    "Suspicious activity detected." The guards said. "Entry forbidden."

    Chris felt nervous; he didn't know if they were going to arrest him and Zakari or not. The brunette, on the other hand... "I'm sorry." The shade from his hair had completely covered his eyes. "Are you trying to piss me off?" Chris, hearing this, changed his expression from shock to surprise. Zakari then raised his head slightly. "Because trust me." His eyes looked menacing, almost maniacal. "You don't wanna see me when I'm pissed off." The guards seemed to take heavy offense to that, and decided to rush him at the same time. Zakari retaliated by unsheathing his Nihilblade, and swung diagonally from the bottom up through the right guard's entire torso, cutting him in half. He then brought the sword back down and sliced diagonally through the other guard's body in the same fashion. Both guards' sliced bodies just floated in mid-air for a second before turning into static and dematerializing into numerous small chunks of data. Then the Edge Punisher spun his sword around in his left hand before sheathing it. Afterwards, he pushed both of his hands onto his face. "God, I hate it when someone pisses me off like that!" He sighed. "Especially when sis isn't around to calm me back down."

    Chris just stood there in total shock. "R-Remind me never to get on your bad side, ok?" he muttered out.

    Then the two of them walked into Shire Town proper - a small village with about six medieval-style stone houses, each having different types of stone; and a modern-day Pokémon Center and Mart on the lower left corner from the town's entrance. One of the townsfolk who were watching the scenario - a middle-aged woman looking to have had a family for a while - approached Zakari and Chris as they entered. "Thank you. You are too kind. Those guards have been confining us in this small place. Some of our children want to go out and become Trainers. Now they can finally journey out into the Ageos Region."

    Zakari smiled at the woman. "Hey, no problem. Let's just say I didn't approve of what they were doing either."

    He and Chris then walked over to and entered the Pokémon Center - A small box-shaped building with a small relaxing/waiting area inside, and a reception counter with a pink-haired woman with white nurse dress standing behind it. The interior of the building was all white and light yellow, with the floor also having a watered out Poké Ball. "Nice cover story." Chris told Zakari as soon as they entered. "Shame it didn't work."

    "We were gonna deal with them eventually either way. Better to do it now, I say." Zakari replied. He then swiped his left index finger down to bring up the options menu. "Wh-What?!" Much to his utter shock, the Log Out button was still completely greyed out. Zakari thought that because he was in a Pokémon Center, he could Log Out whenever he wanted. "That...can't be. This place has to be a Safe Zone. And yet, I...I can't Log Out." Zakari then calmed his expression as he looked up at the ceiling. "Why are we in this world? Why were we thrown into here with no explanation? Maybe we're destined for something..." He paused his speech as a different scene faded into view. "...Something larger than we can comprehend."

    . . .

    An open pathway mostly covered by green grass, all mostly under the shade provided by all of the oak trees' leaves. On the far left side of the path by some of the trees was a rather small wooden treehouse on top of a slightly bigger platform elevated by four sturdy-looking wooden legs and a ladder that allows people access, with an oak-colored roof and one four-square window on the back wall. Within the treehouse was a regular-sized bed for one person on the upper-left corner from the entrance - the end of the right side being seen as under the window, a small wide dresser facing the left wall with two columns of three drawers on the upper right corner, and a small wood desk right next to it with two drawers - one on each side - accompanied by a wooden chair.

    Lying on the bed were two unconscious humans. The right one was a young boy with yellow hair that was just shorter than shoulder-length and curled halfway upward at the end, a dark blue hoodless cloak with the same style fang emblem on the area over his left shoulder, a slightly darkened white long sleeved shirt with two buttons near the collar, blue green leggings, and dark brown leather boots. The other was a slightly younger-looking girl with waist length pink hair, a short sleeved light pink shirt with the fang emblem on the right shoulder area, a pair of dark blue running pants with two white stripes running down the left and right legs from the waist, a pair of light grey shoes that looked like Zakari's, and a dark brown fingerless leather gauntlet worn on her left lower arm.

    "Nnnngh..." The yellow-haired boy started to squint his eyes, starting to regain consciousness. As he slowly opened his relaxed dark yellow eyes, he rose himself to sit up on the edge of the bed, looking around at where he was. "Wh...What happened? Wh-Where is this...?" He looked rather perplexed. But then, the girl next to him started to stir and wake up as well. The boy looked over at her as she sat up too. "Lily. Are you alright?"

    The girl, whom the caped boy called Lily, put her right hand on the right side of her face as she began to open her innocent-looking baby blue eyes. "Yeah...I'm fine." She spoke in a kind and heartwarming voice. "But...what is this place?"

    "I don't know..." The boy responded, looking on up at the ceiling.

    "You're awake." Then the two heard a girl's voice - one that was familiar to both of them. When they looked over to see who was speaking, they saw a very young girl - looking about as young as Lily - in front of the desk and chair with chest-length wavy dark brown hair, buttoned brown leather vest over a short sleeved light yellow shirt, knee length wavy dark gray skirt, knee-length white socks, and black single-strap girl shoes. "You've been asleep for quite a while." She spoke in a rather upbeat tone.

    Lily looked a bit confused. "Where are we?" she asked curiously.

    The brunette turned around towards the other two, having hazel eyes and wearing glasses. "This is my treehouse." she replied, smiling slightly. "Well..." She looked a bit nervous. "I wasn't the one who built this." She then reverted her expression as she turned back around. "But it and everything inside was here when I found it. Looks to have aged a bit, so it's probably been here for a while." The brunette, changing her expression to a stern one, turned her head a third of the way towards Lily and the caped boy. "You two should be more careful out there, you know." Her tone was also a bit more serious than before. "This place isn't safe for non-Trainers such as yourselves." She turned back towards the two and pointed her right hand towards the window. "The Pokémon lab is nearby if you wanna go become Trainers."

    The yellow-haired boy stared at the brunette girl for a bit. "...!" His eyes widened. "Tina!" he exclaimed in a shocked tone.

    The brown-haired girl reacted with a look of surprise. "That's me, yeah." she spoke. But then she looked over to her lower left. "W-Well, what most people call me anyway." The girl, who was addressed as Tina, then eased her expression back to a neutral one. "My full name is Christina Warren, but I guess calling me Tina would he easi-"

    "Where have you been?" Brice blurted out, interrupting Christina Warren's introduction. "We haven't seen you in over a month!"

    "? What are you talking about?" Tina looked confused. "Sorry, but you might be thinking of someone else. Because I don't know either of you."

    Lily was just staring at the brunette for a bit, wondering what Brice was talking about as well. "...!" But then, she remembered. "It is you!"

    Christina sighed heavily, looking quite exasperated. "Again, I'm not who you think I am."

    "?" Brice looked confused, then had a look of concern. "What's with you? You're acting strange." He asked.

    The glasses-wearing brunette turned around. "Look, whoever you think I am is most likely just someone else, ok?" she said in an irritated tone. "Maybe I just look like her to you."

    "You don't just look like her. You are her." Lily exclaimed at her, almost in an enthusiastic tone. "Christina Warren, the Legendary Flick Reaper."

    "? Legend?" Tina looked interested. "Please, tell me more." It seemed as though she were curious. "I wish to learn about this "Legendary Flick Reaper" you speak of."

    Brice was almost about to try and say something along the lines of what Lily said, but decided not to. He closed his eyes briefly. "She is a Level 78 Flick Reaper." The view flashed white, and then faded into numerous still shots zooming out slowly as Brice spoke. "One notorious among the community of The World R:2 for soloing a Level 82 dungeon all by herself at only Level 74. Supposedly she crafted her own type of weapon from two separate scythes, a small chain, and a ring. Her weapon, the Shorai no Kama or Future Scythe, was her prize for clearing the dungeon - a type of scythe with up to four blades, which the user can arrange magically at will. She is also one of our comrades. Part of our nameless group of PKKs, whom the community call the Beast Fangs."

    As the scene faded to white and then flashed back to inside the treehouse, the brunette was seen pondering over what Brice just told her. "So what sort of sign do these "Beast Fangs" have to identify themselves with?" she asked.

    The yellow-haired boy turned his upper body 60 degrees to the right to show Tina the emblem on his shoulder. "They identify us by the fang emblems on our shoulders." he said. But then he turned his upper body forward. 'Now that I mention it, you have that exact same emblem on your shoulder as well."

    Tina then looked over to her right shoulder, and saw the fang emblem her shirt at the exact same area that Lily's was. "!" She was surprised. Then she looked at Brice's emblem to get a better look at it. 'It looks...odd." The glasses-wearing girl commented. "I guess I can see where the name Beast Fangs comes from." Tina crossed. "Well, no use just standing here. Come on, I'll take you over to the lab."

    Tina and the other two then walked out of the treehouse's front door. Brice, upon leaving, noticed off the corner of his eye a few weapons to his right. Specifically, a shiny crystalline bow with what looked to be the bottom half of the tip of a Harvest Cleric magic wand acting as the bow's sight, a quarter of the sight having been removed for placing the arrows onto the rather loose but tight bowstring; a rather normal-sized medieval-style steel shield with a small bulge on the upper-middle part of the shield, two separate leather arm straps, and what looked to be a gun sheath where the bulge on the front was; and a blue-colored medium-sized steel bladed gun with black handle that seemed only slightly loose at first glance, and two-inch-long black barrel at the end of the blue metal. He and Lily looked toward them. "Hey, it's our weapons." The caped boy said as he and the pink-haired girl began approaching them.

    "So those are yours," Tina said. She looked slightly surprised, but then eased her expression. "I found them near your bodies where you two were unconscious. I didn't know if they were yours or not, so I brought them up here anyway in case they were." As she was speaking, Lily and Brice picked up their weapons. Specifically, Lily grabbed the brightly shining bow, and Brice picked up the bulging shield and blue gun. "So you said you were friends with the "Legendary Flick Reaper". Did she make those weapons for you?"

    Lily nodded, holding the bow below her stomach with both hands. "After she joined us, she decided she wanted to study how to make custom weapons for us. I think mine was the first one she made."

    Tina examined the weapon for a bit. "It's quite unique. I've never seen a bow this shiny before. How did she make it like this?"

    "She made the bow itself using numerous magic crystals, perfect for conducting high-level magic. Lily here is an Adept Rogue, someone who can utilize multiple classes' abilities." Brice began to explain to Tina. "Her two classes are the magic classes, Harvest Cleric and Shadow Warlock. Harvest Clerics are the healer class. They restore other party members' HP and cure status ailments. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Shadow Warlocks uses primarily offensive magic." Brice looked over at Lily's bow. "That bow, the Crystal Bow as it is called, allows her to transform her arrows into catalysts for her magic spells and then fire them out towards a farther distance, as evidenced by her sight being a piece of a magic wand. Any class can wield a bow, and each bow has its own handful of Arts that come with it. However, not many players use bows because they say bows don't have any use over the other weapons. But where there's a will, there's a way."

    "And I guess that weapon is proof of it," Tina said, amazed as she stared at the bow. Then she looked over to Brice. "So what about you?"

    "My class is the Steam Gunner, which specializes in using bladed guns in combat. Mastering the Steam Gunner involves both training your shots' aim, and mastering close-range fighting. My weapon is called the Shraider. It's a gun that can take one of four different forms. A standard Steam Gunner bladed gun called a Bayonet, a small machine pistol, a shotgun, and an incredibly precise sniper rifle." Brice explained as his gun, held in his right hand, switched to its various forms, ending on the sniper rifle. He then began to aim at the distance. "Here, let me give you a demonstration of the sniper rifle's precision." In the distance, where the caped boy was aiming, a small leaf was slowly floating down from the nearby trees towards the ground. Tina began to look towards said leaf after watching Brice ready his gun. After a couple seconds, Brice started to pull the trigger. And as he did, the gun fired out an extremely fast bullet flying straight through the small leaf, completely vaporizing it just milliseconds after impact. Tina was pleasantly shocked by this; she had no idea a sniper rifle could have so much power. Then she noticed Brice revert the rifle back to its original Bayonet form, and then place it into the bulging area of his shield.

    "So that shield is its sheath?" Tina asked. "Interesting. She definitely made some incredible weapons for you guys."

    'Let's not forget the final weapon she made." Brice continued. "Our leader's one-handed greatsword, the Nihilblade. It was made with very light metals, allowing the wielder to use it like a Blade Brandier katana if he or she so wishes. Despite this, it's still as sharp and powerful as any other Edge Punisher greatsword. Combined with our leader's increased agility and reflexes from his lack of armor, he's become one of the most powerful and notorious Edge Punishers in all of The World R:2, and is a role model for those Edge Punishers who wish to be agile as a result." He finished speaking, took a deep breath, and looked over to Tina. "How 'bout you?"

    "Hmm?" she reacted. "Oh, nothing special really. At least, not compared to you guys, that is." She then started climbing down the ladder. "Now come on, time's a wastin." The other two nodded to each other, and began climbing down themselves.

    . . .

    After a bit of walking through the forest silently, the glasses-wearing brunette decided to try and strike up a conversation. "So tell me, what is this "World Two" place you keep mentioning like?" she asked.

    Brice began by taking a deep breath. "The World Revision 2, or R:2 for short, is a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, or VRMMORPG, that was released as a revamped version of the original The World. About two years ago, the original The World crashed due to most of the data at CyberConnect2 Corporations being burned, save for a small amount of data used for R:2. Lily, her brother, and I are called player characters - game models used by our Psyches through a headset called the NerveVisor 2.0 that allows us to play VR games like The World R:2. Our real life bodies are put into a sleep state when playing VR games, but the real world and a video game's senses of time are vastly different. Put it in perspective, one hour in real life is like 12 in The World R:2."

    "So then, how is your Psyche able to cope with the desynchronization from the real world's sense of time?" Tina wanted to know more about this concept.

    "You get used to it after a bit, to the point where you can use VRMMORPGs to elongate certain activities if you so choose to." The Steam Gunner replied.

    "Even study time?" Tina wondered.

    "Mmhmm." Brice nodded.

    Tina was silent, her mouth open in awe of what she just heard. After a bit more walking, the brunette stopped and pulled out two Poke Balls. "Oh yeah. I have a couple Pokémon we can call on if we ever get into trouble." She tossed both of them up into the air, as they opened up and let out light that materialized into two different Pokémon. One was a small, green, bipedal reptilian creature that had yellow eyes with long, narrow pupils; hands and feet that have three digits covered with tiny spikes; and a large dark green tail with two separate lobes. The other Pokémon was a sheep-like creature with fluffy cream-colored wool covering its entire body; blue head with a small tuft of wool in the middle and small round black eyes; four blue feet that have two digits on each foot; conical ears and tail that have yellow-and-black striped patterns; and an orange sphere at the end of its tail that acts like a small light bulb.

    Lily gasped at the Mareep, then went over to pick it up. "Awwwww, he's so cute! And fluffy." She exclaimed happily, holding the sheep Pokémon in her arms and petting it.

    "Hehe, thanks. I-I get that a lot." The Mareep spoke in a calm voice, blushing.

    "!!" Lily and Brice were shocked, Lily also letting go of the sheep, which landed on its feet. "It talked." Lily said.

    "Yes. Both of us can." The Treecko replied in a rather wise-sounding reptilian voice. "Now then, I believe introductions are in order."

    The Mareep nodded. "Lily and Brice, was it? You are standing in the presence of the champion known as Iced Gemini. I am one with the lightning, my soul crackling with the passion of justice. I spell fear to all of my enemies, even those who know nothing of fear. My enemies fall in death from my power, and those who live to tell the tale have me burned into their memory for all eternity." Everyone else, except for the Treecko, just looked at him with slight shock on their faces. But then, Gemini chuckled to himself. "I'm just playing with you. But you can just call me Gemini if you want."

    The reptile let out an exasperated sigh as he shook his head. Then he looked up towards Lily and Brice. "My name is Magus. I don't really have an admittedly absurd speech like Gemini does."

    "Hey! My speeches are just fine, thank you!" Gemini exclaimed towards Magus.

    Lily giggled at the two. Tina, on the other hand, shook her head like Magus did, and pulled out a peculiar device initially unknown to Lily and Brice. "Since you're not official Trainers just yet, I'll scan these two for you." She then activated it, and the device began showing both Pokémon - first Magus and then Gemini - on screen.

    Mareep, the Wool Pokémon. When Mareep's wool builds up with static electricity, its size doubles.

    Treecko, the Wood Gecko Pokémon. Numerous tiny spikes cover the bottoms of Treecko's feet, allowing it to walk on ceilings and walls.

    Brice looked at the Pokédex during the entire scan, seemingly trying to analyze the device's appearance. He knew it looked familiar judging by his expression, but he couldn't quite place his tongue on what it was. Then, almost as if a lightbulb appeared over his head, he recognized the device. "That's a Pokédex, isn't it?"

    "Mmhmm." Tina nodded. "It's what we use to gather information on a Pokémon species."

    "Oh. Like in those Pokémon games that big bro played." Lily slightly exclaimed.

    "Big...bro?" Tina asked, looking confused.

    "It's what she calls our leader. He's her older brother." Brice replied.

    "I-I see." Tina hesitated a bit.

    Suddenly, however, everyone heard rustling coming from the bushes to their right. "?" They reacted. "What is that?" Brice asked. And after a couple seconds of silence, the rustling got slightly louder. Immediately following was a creature hopping out of the bushes in a very quick fashion, and then landing in a kneeling position, its left hand on the ground and its eyes closed. This creature was a bipedal mongoose-and-cat-like Pokémon that had mostly white fur with deep red, scar-like markings on its face, chest, and forepaws; two long black claws on its forepaws; pink paw pads on its hind feet; pink eyes; long ears; a small red nose; two sharp fangs on its upper jaw; small tufts of fur on its shoulders resembling shoulderpads; and a fluffy white tail. "Whoa. Is that...?"

    The mongoose picked himself up off his knee, opened his eyes slowly, and looked over at Lily and the group. After eying each person, particularly Lily, for a couple seconds, he turned towards the group. "You do not appear to be my enemy. Rather, you spark an interest within me." It spoke in a rather deep gruff male voice as it walked towards Lily. Tina activated her Pokédex again to scan the Pokémon that she had never seen before.

    Zangoose, the Cat Ferret Pokémon. Zangoose usually walks on all fours, but stands on its hind legs when angry. It's very quick and can easily dodge most enemy attacks.
    "My codename is the Scar of Demise. But please, just call me Scar." The Zangoose, calling himself Scar, kneeled in front of Lily, closing his eyes once again. "Please, grant my request. Allow me to serve you, young lady."

    "!" The three humans were surprised; they didn't expect such a chivalrous demeanor from a brute-looking creature like Scar.

    But then, they heard more rustling, and everyone looked back over to the same bushes that Scar jumped out of. Along with that noise, they also heard faint growling growing ever louder every second. "What's that sound?" Lily asked.

    "I don't know." Tina replied. She seemed thrown off by hearing both the rustling and growling at the same time.

    Scar got up and turned around towards the rustling bushes. "Looks like I'm still being followed." He said. "Everyone, prepare for battle. Our enemies approach us."

    And just a few milliseconds later, two creatures jumped out of the bushes and landed just a few feet away from the group. Each of these two was a quadruped hyena-like Pokémon that has mostly short gray fur with a shaggy black fur on its lower legs, tail, and in two thick strips starting behind its eyes that run the full length of its body; dark, triangular streak patterns below its yellow eyes with yellow sclerae; rhombus-shaped ears with dark insides; red nose; and gray paw pads. Tina's Pokédex scanned one of them.

    Mightyena, the Bite Pokémon. Mightyena is the evolved form of Poochyena. They move primarily in packs, working together to capture their prey.
    Tina, upon hearing the description, felt the need to react. "Wait, hold on a second. Why are they here?" She pointed at the two Mightyena in front of everyone. "This forest is supposed to be for newcomers."

    "Maybe the newcomers have someone experienced to help them out." Lily replied, smiling innocently.

    Tina just sighed, exasperated. "You have a point there." She said, her eyes looking away from the pink-haired girl.

    Brice, on the other hand, was thinking to himself. "But even then, it doesn't add up. Just before they jumped out of those bushes, Scar here said he was still being followed. Are we to assume that these two Mightyena were chasing down Scar?"

    "There were originally three of these Mightyena." The Zangoose responded. "But I managed to take one of them down before making my escape."

    "Well well, look who it is. It's the lassie who beat up our brethren the other day." Tina, looking slightly alarmed, looked up a bit and saw three humans - one muscular and two semi-muscular - with thug-like clothing and smirks on their faces walking towards her and the group. The middle one was also resting a large battle axe on his right shoulder. "And it looks like she's with some friends."

    "I should've known it was you guys again." Tina said, her tone going from annoyed to defensive. "How many times do I have to say it? You're not gonna kill anything here. So just go away!"

    "Seems like you're being tracked as well." Scar looked slightly back towards the brunette.

    "You know them too?" Tina asked, surprised.

    "These poachers aren't just some random criminals." Scar replied. "They're all part of a band roaming around Ageos, trying to kill Pokémon like myself. They appear to be targeting former members of my old clan." He closed his eyes briefly. "I was running away from these Mightyena, in an attempt to regroup with my partner. Rumor has it, he's somewhere in this forest. And there's no way either of us could take on these poachers alone."

    "You're right." The sheep spoke up, walking forward. "But with our abilities combined, we can win." He smiled at Scar. "Right, pal?"

    "!!" The Zangoose was genuinely surprised. "Gemini. It's you! So those rumors were true. But..." He paused for a second. "What happened to you? You devolved back into a Mareep."

    "Long story. I"ll tell you later." Gemini sounded serious, yet oddly relaxed at the same time. "Right now, we have bigger things to deal with."

    "We'll if it's a fight they want," Brice said, unsheathing his blue Shraider Bayonet from his shield. "Then it's a fight they'll get."

    Lily also readied herself for battle by holding her bow's handle with her left hand. But then, Tina spoke up. "Stay back." She seemed to have other ideas. "You're not official Trainers yet, and I'd rather not have any unwanted casualties under my name. Nor would I want my license revoked because of your recklessness."

    "But--" Lily said to the brunette, worried for her safety.

    Tina turned her upper body back towards the pink-haired girl. "Please, just let me handle them by myself. I understand you wanna help out and all, but I'll be fine." Tina then turned back towards the poachers in front of her, muttering something under her breath. "Besides, I doubt I'll be leaving this place anytime soon. This is my home now." The brunette then walked forward, in front of Scar and Gemini. It seemed she really was intent on fighting alone.

    [What's gotten into her? Tina would never say things like that. Ever.] Brice thought, clenching his left fist in agitation.

    "So, the lassie decides to fight alone." The middle poacher laughed at the glasses-wearing brunette.

    "If you think you can take me on with just the five of you, then by all means, go ahead." Tina stated, stopping her walk forward.

    "Fine by us. Just makes it easier for us to dispose of you." The middle thug chuckled.

    Tina just smirked in response, reaching her right arm over her left hip. She then balled up her fist, and slowly pulled out a slowly materializing pole that looked oddly like the game screens Lily and Brice used in The World R:2. As she pulled out the weapon, a horizontal pillar of light emitted from the sheath area. And after a couple seconds of pulling, she yanked out and swung horizontally in front of her, ultimately bringing her weapon to her right. The weapon itself was completely futuristic-looking - a multi-bladed scythe with one long yellow-orange blade on one side, and one short blue blade opposite. Both blades appeared to be disconnected from the pole, but were within half an inch away from it.

    "!!" All three thugs were shocked by this weapon. They didn't know if the weapon was magic or not. "That's--"

    [That must be the weapon that wounded our brethren.] The middle poacher thought to himself.

    But the yellow-haired boy noticed something off about how Tina was holding her scythe. [What the hell? She's not wearing her ring. Has she completely forgotten how to use her scythe?]

    The bandits all smirked, the middle one beginning to speak. "Hahahahahah, you've got guts, kid. But yer outta your league this time, missy."

    "We'll see about that." Tina said in an arrogant tone, still smirking.

    The poacher to the trio leader's left begins to unsheathe his weapon with his left hand - what looked to be a regular-shaped katana. But after half a second, everyone hears a gun being fired. The bullet fired grazed just by Tina's right ear, and impacted the poacher's left shoulder. His health bar was shown after a moment, his HP dropping down to around 93%.

    "!!" Tina was shocked, and looked back at Brice, whose blue bayonet gun had smoke coming out of the barrel.

    The boy brought his gun upwards, the barrel near his mouth, and blew out the smoke. His left hand was around his leggings' waistline. "Don't think that we'll be sitting this one out."

    'Neither will we. They're trying to kill my old brothers-in-arms. And I won't let that happen." Scar said, readying himself for combat. "Besides, a lady like you shouldn't be fighting by herself."

    The brunette closed her eyes briefly, then turned towards Lily and Brice. "Are you sure about this? Y-you might get caught." She said in a concerned tone, still a bit shaken from the bullet flying just by her ear.

    Brice put an arrogant smirk onto his face. "Of course we are." In the meantime, Lily was seemingly praying to something. However, she was actually accessing one of her created macros, casting two spells simultaneously. These two spells were stat-increasing spells for the entire party - one increasing physical attack power, called La Vorv, and one for physical defense, called La Corv. As the magic began to spread around her and the group, Tina looked at her empty hand, feeling slightly stronger than she did a second ago. She was amazed. The pink-haired girl's health and magic meter appeared, her MP being lowered by a tiny margin from using the spells. Brice then twirled his Shraider around like a cowboy, his right index finger through the trigger ring, before ending the spin by bringing his gun back up near his head. "We're not PKKs for nothing, you know."

    Tina stared at him for a second, her mouth still open in surprise. But then she closed her mouth, and closed her eyes briefly. "If you wanna do this..." She turned her body back forward. "Then I guess I can't stop you." She paused for a second. "I just hope you know what's coming to you if you get caught." Her eyes then directed over to the Treecko. "Magus. You ready?"

    Magus responded with a simple nod. The poachers, on the other hand, unsheathed their weapons. The middle poacher had his battle axe, the one to his left had his sword, and the last one had on a black metal gauntlet on his right hand and wrist. This gauntlet had three small spikes across the back section's metal plating, and the poacher held in the gauntlet hand a chained bolas that was slightly smaller than his hand. Alongside the weapons, the sword wielder's bullet wound completely disappeared. "So your little friends decide to join the fight." The middle poacher laughed. "It won't matter. Because either way, you'll all die in the end."

    Tina just stood at the ready, waiting for the opposing team to attack. But then, she looked down to her left and noticed Scar slowly walking towards the enemy, his left claw crackling with electricity. "You think you can just kill off the rest of my team, don't you?" The middle poacher tried to ready a swing of his axe, but Scar upon seeing this sped up slightly in his walk before dashing forward almost at the speed of sound in a zig-zag pattern. The axe-wielder tried to swing his giant weapon at the Zangoose when he got close, but was too slow as Scar's zig-zagging was simply too fast to keep up with. The cat-mongoose stopped just to the left of the axe, and sliced through the poacher's skin with his left Thunder Claw. "Well you CAN'T!" The poacher flinched a bit from the attack, showing a look of shock.

    Following, Magus was running around and jumping off and between the nearby trees and bushes to throw off the Blade Brandier, who had trouble keeping up with his movement. "Grr, stand still you!" the man exclaimed angrily. But Magus was still jumping around the poacher for a couple seconds, and then jumped off the side of a tree, spun his body multiple times, and Slammed his tail into the Blade Brandier's head. What followed was Magus moving around in a circular motion almost as fast as Scar was zig-zagging. Then he hopped into the air, and Slammed his tail into the poacher's right arm. Then he dashed around again, trying to further disorient the Blade Brandier. However, the Blade Brandier quickly adapted to Magus' speed, and swung his sword in front of the Treecko, stopping him in his tracks and forcing him to back up and lose all of his speed.

    Brice, meanwhile, was staring down one of the two Mightyena, who in turn was staring him down, its breath visibly cold as its fangs were all encased in a small layer of ice. After a couple more seconds of the two staring each other down, the hyena lunged forward at Brice. The Steam Gunner, in response, ran forward for half a second before jumping into the air to dodge the lunge. He followed with a 270 degree spin to the right, then shot three times towards the Mightyena. The first two bullets just barely missed, grazing past the hyena's two ears, while it bit down on the third bullet, completely destroying it, while directing its lunge over to Brice again. Brice's expression grew more focused as he finished his spin, then mid-air forward flipped twice to dodge once again, aiming and charging his Shraider bayonet at another target halfway through the second flip. "Thorn Shot." After he said this, he fired his gun and three green-glowing bullets flew one after another towards the Blade Brandier that was attempting to slice down Magus, each bullet impacting successfully and interrupting his attack. Then, after finishing his flip and performing a third one, he landed on both of his feet, and turned his body and aimed his weapon towards the tough axe-wielder, the barrel's end being charged with green energy. "Tempest Blast!" He fired his gun, and the hitscan bullet immediately landed on the target's back, knocking him forward a bit with a small burst of wind. The Blade Brandier looked back, taking his focus away from the Treecko for just long enough for him to hop up and Slam his tail into his face, knocking the poacher down.

    The other Mightyena tried lunging towards Lily, who was all the way in the back behind everyone else. But she didn't move an inch, and instead readied an arrow aiming straight at the Mightyena. As her right hand let go of the arrow's back, the arrow went flying at high speeds towards the Mightyena, who just barely dodged out of the way of the trajectory. But just as the Pokémon was dodging, Lily swiftly readied a second arrow, this time aiming at where she thinks the Mightyena will dodge to. The bow's sight charged the arrow with a magic spell, making it glow bright blue. "OrRae Kruz!" She fired the arrow, impacting the ground just before where the Mightyena was jumping across, as a giant splash of water erupted from the impact, knocking the Pokémon high into the air. And after a couple seconds, it came crashing down hard onto the solid dirt ground beneath it.

    Brice made a rather peculiar face towards Lily, almost as if to signal an attack to her. After which, he aimed his bayonet weapon at the bolas-wielding brute, a reticule appearing on his chest area. As he did, his Shraider's barrel began charging what appeared to be blue electricity that crackled around the barrel. "Thunder Spark!" When Brice pulled the trigger, a quick strand of blue lightning pierced the poacher's skin, electrifying the impacted area.

    Seeing the Steam Gunner's signal, Lily readied an arrow for firing. When ready, the arrow glew a bright laser-like white color. "OrLei Zas!" As she let go of the arrow, an almost instantaneous bright laser beam flew forward, piercing the Blade Brandier's body without leaving any wounds whatsoever. The two instantaneous attacks seemed to flow with each other like water.

    All of the poachers, each slightly damaged, recovered from their blows and decided to group up. The two Mightyena joined them, hopping over in front of them. Lily, seeing this, began to charge bright orange energy from the Crystal Bow into an arrow, which she just readied. "OrVak Don!" As she fired the bow into the air, it dispersed as a short volley of 5 small meteors came crashing down on the group of poachers, followed by one large meteor that exploded upon impact.

    The Treecko, having been given an opportunity by Brice, continued dashing around, this time like a blur and in a zig-zagging motion with his arms outward. By his increase in speed, the move could only be recognized as Agility. While he was sprinting around and maneuvering to dodge multiple bolas tosses and swings, bursts of wind began to gather around his two arms. After his arms were almost completely engulfed in harsh winds, he jumped towards a nearby tree to dodge one last bolas swing aimed directly at him, then jumped off that tree's side, landed in the middle of the enemy crowd, and spun around to unleash his furious Razor Winds. These winds knocked everyone away from Magus' position, and dealing visible cuts to all 5 hit by the attack.

    Brice, still behind all of the poachers and Mightyena, rose his Shraider bayonet up towards the sky. "Dust Bullet!" After a second, Brice fired.

    At the same time, Lily readied another arrow, and aimed it towards the sky. "Arrow Rain!" After a second, Lily also fired.

    Both attacks traveled upward in a slight curve until they were directly above the enemy team, then exploded into several arrows and small mortar shots that came crashing down on the group of poachers and Mightyena.

    [Incredible. I didn't think they were this good,] Tina thought to herself, standing still and watching the poachers and Mightyena collide with the ground.

    Once the two enemy Pokémon regained their balance and focus from the onslaught of attacks, they set their eyes on the brunette scythe-wielder in the middle of the crowd. Both lunged at her, their fangs crackling with the same electricity that Scar's left claw was earlier. Tina, seeing this coming, tried to counter with a horizontal scythe swing to knock the one on her right away. Unfortunately, however, she missed as the Mightyena hopped in mid-air and bit down on her right shoulder, making her unable to use her scythe to parry the second attack. As the other hyena attempted its Thunder Fang, the brunette tried moving her left arm out of the way. But she was frozen in place due to paralysis thanks to the first Thunder Fang, allowing the second hit to land on her left shoulder with ease. As soon as the two Mightyena jumped off of Tina in synch after a second, their fangs letting go of her shoulders, blood started spewing out of her bite wounds as her health bar depleted down to 27%. She tried to keep her balance after taking the two bites, but fell down to her knees after a couple seconds, her right shoulder wound covered by her empty hand.

    "!!" Brice's eyes widened in shock. [Blood? What?] He thought, still in the heat of battle. [That's not right. We're still in a video game, aren't we? So then, why did she bleed real blood instead of data from her wounds?]

    Lily, seeing Tina's health being so low, and also surprised by the blood, readied an arrow and infused it with a different kind of magic, aiming it at Tina. "Pha Repth!" She let go of the magic-infused arrow, as it flew towards and ultimately impacted Tina's back. Once it hit, the arrow completely shattered.

    "Oww! Hey!" The brunette exclaimed towards Lily. But then, the magic that was infused into the arrow completely surrounded Tina, and filled her health bar back up to full. Tina felt the bite marks on her shoulders disappearing, almost as if they were never there to begin with. "...? I'm healed...?"

    The bolas-wielding hunter, just now recovering from the Razor Wind attack, picked his spiked ball back up, and swung it straight at Brice behind them. Seeing this, the caped boy prepared a counterattack, raising his gun's angle 45 degrees. "Plectra Bullet!" He fired a powerful blast, impacting the bolas and sending it flying towards the opposite direction behind the hunter. After it passed him, the hunter was dragged back a bit by the pull of his weapon.

    Both of the poachers' Pokémon heard Brice's gunfire, and looked towards them snarling. One's fangs crackled electricity, while the other's emitted ice cold air. Both ran towards the Steam Gunner, looking to cripple him the same way they crippled Tina. Seeing the first one, Brice managed to block the Thunder Fang with his shield and knock it out of the way. Then he tried to block the Ice Fang, but was too slow as it bit down on Brice's left arm. The arm started showing signs of freezing from around the bite, his HP falling to 63% and afflicted with Frostbite. Even the blood that spewed out from being bitten was freezing into red ice crystals.

    After regaining control of his chained bolas, the poacher to Tina's left began swinging it around over his head and then swinging it towards the left. Scar, seeing the trajectory and realizing he was in its path, tried dashing back to dodge it. But he was a bit too slow, as the bolas' spikes cut through the front of his right shoulder and lowered his HP to 58%. The bolas kept flying, however, and impacted an unsuspecting Magus, slamming him into the tree behind him.

    "!! Magus!" The sheep noticed Magus' HP drop to 41%.

    "Urgh...Guess I wasn't ready for that." The reptile grunted, struggling to pick himself up from the attack. But then, the sword-wielding hunter readied his blade and rushed straight for him, knowing Magus didn't have the strength to counter. But all of a sudden, the Brandier was struck with a small bolt of yellow lightning, paralyzing him and freezing him in place.

    Magus and the Brandier looked over to see Gemini charging an electric attack. "I think I'm done sitting in the sidelines. Time to show you a war veteran's force." Just then, all of the electricity he charged up formed into one yellow ball of electricity in front of his face, his ears also generating electricity to make it grow. "Charge Beam!" Then, he fired his attack - a thin but powerful electric beam that completely shocked the Blade Brandier with every amount of electric voltage that Gemini built up. The voltage was so much that the poacher collapsed on the ground, becoming static and then shattering in deletion.

    Seeing the condition of her party members, Lily fired a magical arrow at Scar, shattering on contact. "Lao Repth!" The energy released spread out across a wide distance, encompassing not only Scar, but also Brice and Magus. All of their wounds disappeared and their HP was brought back up to full.

    One of the Mightyena, upon seeing one of his masters be deleted by the Mareep, and witnessing Lily's healing ability, decided to try and run up to her and immobilize one of her arms with a powerful Crunch. However, just before it reached her, Scar dashed in its way, his right claw burning with bright flames. "You'll have to get through me first." Then the mongoose uppercut the Mightyena's lower jaw with his Fire Claw, instantly shattering it into data after a couple seconds.

    The axe wielder grew angry and slammed his axe into the ground, causing a massive ground cracking shockwave towards Scar and Lily. Seeing this coming, Scar strafed out of the way while Lily ran towards the attack, jumping just before the shock wave reached her feet. Her bow's sight glew a bright green, as an arrow was created right on the bowstring out of thin air. "OrZan Rom!" Firing said arrow, the winds around the arrow began to stir even more as it impacted the ground and engulfed the poacher in a vicious tornado. The axe-wielder's skin received several small and large cuts from the wind's force. After about 4 seconds, the tornado dissipated, the poacher falling to the ground and shattering in deletion.

    Magus, seeing there only being two enemies left, looked back at Scar who was behind him. Having seen him nod, the Treecko looked back forwards and began to run towards the remaining Mightyena, gradually getting faster. However, the Mightyena's eyes started to glow from a white to a red, as he raised his nose towards the sky and let out an almost ear-deafening, powerful howl. The Treecko was forced to stop running; the howl was simply too much for him to move against. Everyone else felt a change in the hyena's power. Not only that, but every wound the Pokémon accumulated throughout the battle was completely healed, and the same went for the bolas-swinging hunter. Lily recognized all the spells cast - LaPha Repth, a full heal spell; La Corv, raising their physical attack; La Vorv, raising their physical defense; La Corm, raising their magical attack; La Vorm, raising their magical defense; and Ap Do, raising their speed.

    The Treecko, feeling the howl's ferocity no longer, continued running towards the now powered up Mightyena. But in almost an instant, it moved in a half circle behind Magus like a blur, getting rather close to him. "Hah! Wreak havoc, Mightyena. These fools don't stand a chance." The poacher said in the background, smirking. Then the Mightyena's eyes glew again, and it tried to slam its fangs into Magus' skin with Crunch. The reptile just barely managed to dodge by jumping away from it. However, mid-jump, he felt his power dwindle away. The spells La Corv and La Vorv had begun to wear off. But the Mightyena didn't ponder for long, as it quickly tried the same attack again. However, Scar, who was now behind the Mightyena instead of behind Magus, dashed towards it and performed a Slash attack with his left claw, raking through the hyena's right side. Then he landed in front of it, and turned around, performing a second Slash, this time with his right claw, almost as if to uppercut the Mightyena. Being knocked back a bit as a result, the hyena flinched and was left unable to react. Gemini took this opportunity and charged up a small amount of electricity and fired a Thunder Shock at the Mightyena. The small bolt struck the hyena with ease as it still managed to land on its paws. It was left paralyzed, or so they thought as the hyena broke out of its paralysis instantaneously. Then, the Mightyena turned its head over to look at Gemini, its left eye glimmering towards him.

    "!" The Mareep panicked. The Mightyena ran towards him, its fangs burning brightly in an attempt to burn Gemini with a Fire Fang.

    "Sphere Bullet!" Brice intervened, shooting an energy pellet straight at the mid-air hyena. This gave Magus enough to start building up a Razor Wind attack.

    Gemini saw this, and electrified the winds with a soft Charge Beam. Almost instantly after, the Treecko spun around, unleashing the winds. These winds shocked and paralyzed the Mightyena once again. The fluffy sheep reacted in joy, and attempted to charge up electricity. However, the hyena broke out again and immediately bit down on Gemini with its fiery teeth. Gemini grunted in pain, feeling a slight singe on his skin.

    Then the Pokémon tossed Gemini into the distance, the Mareep bouncing once before rolling on the ground. "Urgh...dammit." He grunted. The black-and-grey canine walked up to him slowly, its fangs now shining brightly like metal would.

    But then, Scar jumped on its back, jamming his claws into the Mightyena. Then, using his strength, the Zangoose managed to force the Mightyena to tilt itself towards the right, allowing Scar to land his feet on the ground. Then he picks up the Mightyena, his claws still jammed in its back, and does one full spin before throwing the hyena against one of the trees. Upon impact, a large slice opened up in the Mightyena's lower chest area, blood spewing out of the wound. "Nobody is going to kill any of my comrades." Scar said as he walked towards the now wounded hyena. As soon as he got up to it, Scar raised his arms in an X formation, his hands facing outward. "Not on my watch." The mongoose then swung both of his arms, performing a cross-shaped slice on the Mightyena's face, leaving a light green blur. The aura of both the Mightyena and the poacher returned to normal as the hyena fell to the floor lifeless, the body staticing and then shattering to pieces.

    With the increased power dissipating from the last remaining poacher, he showed a look of fear. Tina began to walk towards him. "The last batch of poachers that came, I decided to let them live. You, on the other hand. You're not going anywhere except the afterlife." Tina's dual-bladed scythe started to glow a dark red as she walked towards the poacher. Then she dashed straight at him, stopping just short of him and landing her feet on the ground. And with both of her hands on the scythe, she swung horizontally across the axe wielder's body, then flipped her scythe to swing again. Then she hopped a little and spun around right. The poacher, managed to recover from the two attacks and tried to grab Tina. But as she spun, a ring of red darkness was unleashed, impacting and flinching the poacher. The brunette then performed one final horizontal swing, swinging her scythe to the right, knocking the poacher down onto the ground.

    "! That was--" Brice was shocked. He stared at Tina"s attack, then at the poacher for a couple seconds before he turned to static and became deleted. "Reaper's Touch." He muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear him.

    Just as Tina was about to sheathe her scythe, Brice walked up to her in curiosity. "That weapon. How did you get that?" he asked.

    "?" The brunette was confused.

    Brice paused for a brief moment, trying to think of how to say it. "That's the Shorai no Kama." He decided to just say it outright.

    "...?" Tina showed a look of disgust at Brice.

    "Well, Future Scythe in English. It's the Legendary Flick Reaper's weapon." Brice said. "I wanna know how yo--"

    "How many times do I have to tell you? I'm not her!" Tina interrupted Brice mid-sentence, lashing out at him.

    Then, the entire group all heard clapping in the distance. Turning towards the sound, they saw Professor Pear walking towards them. "Well done, young ones." he said.

    "Sorry about these two." She said in a relieved yet worried tone. "I warned them that they could get caught, but they didn't listen to m--"

    Tina stopped speaking when she saw Pear hold up his right hand in a stop position. "Lily Harudyne. And Brice Ravenhold, yes?" Both of them nodded. "Judging by those otherworldly weapons and abilities you two possess, you must be the comrades that Zakari Harudyne mentioned."

    "!" Lily gasped in surprise. "You know big bro?"

    "Hmm. So you are his sister." The professor closed his eyes, and took out two credit card-looking objects. "Since you successfully defeated those poachers, I see no need for a Trainer exam. Here you go." The professor walked up to Lily and Brice, and handed each of them a card. Both cards appeared to overwrite themselves as soon as the two touched them. Instead of them being blank like they were initially, they now showed a portrait of them and their names.

    "A-Are you sure about this?" Tina looked nervous. She didn't know if this was a good idea.

    "Positive." Professor Pear replied with a smile, his head facing towards the brunette. "I'm sure they are meant for greater things in this world. And so are you, Christina."

    "But--" Tina hesitated.

    "Why don't you travel with these two new Trainers for a little while? Who knows, maybe you'll retrieve something you never thought you had previous." Pear spoke in a more optimistic tone.

    Tina stared at the professor for a couple seconds, her eyes widened, then looked over at the others. She then sighed, and narrowed her eyes back to normal. "...If you say so."

    Then all of the party began to walk towards the exit out of Emerald Forest, while Pear stood behind them. Brice, after only walking a few steps forward, stopped. "Who are you really?"

    Pear looked confused. "Hmm?"

    "You don't seem like a regular NPC to me. You told Tina that she might retrieve something she never thought she had before. Does that mean you know about who she was previously?" The Steam Gunner paused for a brief moment. "Not only that..." He turned around towards Pear. "But you knew our names. Without us even introducing ourselves." His expression became more serious. "So I'll ask again. Who are you really?"

    Pear smiled at him with glee. "Hmm...You really are as perceptive as they say. Why yes, I am not an NPC." He chuckled for a bit. "I am an administrator of the Ageos Region." He revealed his basic player screen which showed his level, HP, and MP. However, all three of these were question marks, HP having 6 and MP having 5.

    "!!" Brice was shocked. [Over 100 thousand HP?! A-And over 10 thousand MP?! And his level, it's...unknown? I-I know the current level cap is 100, but...there's no way anyone can get anywhere close to that amount of HP at max level.] He was tense. But he slowly managed to calm back down.

    "Now then, why don't we join the others? You can rest up at my lab for a bit if you'd like." Pear said as he began walking.

    Brice nodded, still a bit shocked. As the two were walking, he could feel the power of the Professor's aura. [He--He's not lying. He really is an administrator of this world.]
    #2 Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
    Sonic Ramon likes this.
  3. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Bit of a disclaimer here since I didn't mention this last chapter. Pokémon Ageos Chronicles is not meant for younger audiences. Reason being that this series will contain blood, violence, and swearing. Reader's discretion is advised. With that out of the way...

    Chapter 3: Reunion
    About two hours had passed. Zakari and Chris were standing in front of a wooden postboard hanging up against the wall to the left of the counter from the entrance of the Pokémon Center. One scene was in his mind.

    . . .

    Just a couple minutes before, the two Trainers were at the Pokémon Mart buying supplies for the journey ahead. The store interior looked like any other regular mall. Multiple aisles of fully stocked shelves filled with various types of items - ranging from medicine bottles, magical orbs, small vials of liquid each colored various shades of red, and small tufts of feathers. The two newcoming Pokémon Trainers were standing in front of the checkout counter, all of the items they grabbed on the counter. The Edge Punisher purchased 8 Health Drinks, 3 Antidotes, and 3 Restoratives for a total of 3000 Macca. Chris also bought the same amount of items, ending up paying the same amount as well.

    “Here you are.” The receptionist, a young-looking girl with short black hair, bagged the two individual item groups, and handed the bags to Zakari and Chris. “You two from around here?”

    The brown-haired boy shook his head. “No. We're uhh...” He looked puzzled; he didn't know what to respond with. In Zakari’s mind, a common receptionist that he would most likely only meet this once shouldn't know that he was from a video game. He nervously glanced over at Chris, who also looked puzzled. “We’re from uhh--”

    The girl, smiling, put up her hand in a stop position. “It's alright if you don't wanna say. I was just asking.” Zak breathed a sigh of relief. “Well you two look like you just finished the Trainer exam. Since you're just starting out, why don't you go and check out the Notice Board at the Center? People post job requests there for Trainers to partake in. The rewards are well worth the effort, and it gives newcomers a chance to experience what Trainers do.”

    Chris took out his wallet, and looked at his new Trainer ID for a couple seconds. He sighed. “I suppose it wouldn't hurt to. Who knows? Maybe it'll bring you one step closer to finding your group.”

    Zakari’s expression was one of contemplation. He asided towards Chris. “Maybe you're right. They have to be nearby, I just know it.”

    Chris looked confused. “What do you mean?” he said.

    “There's no way they could've gone very far. Not by themselves. Without Tina or myself, I doubt Lily and Brice even together would be able to survive for long.” Zakari, despite having told Chris about his PKK group and their capabilities, seemed to not have much faith in them.

    “What makes you so certain?” The caped boy found it rather hard to believe that the PKKs Zakari led didn't have the ability to fend for themselves in an environment like the outside world.

    “My level was reset to Level 1 when I arrived here. Which means theirs must have been as well.” The Edge Punisher, losing his contemplating expression, smiled towards Chris. “To be perfectly honest, were it not for meeting you and Slitheren, I doubt I'd be standing here right now.”

    The receptionist was busy putting the Macca the two boys paid into the cash register. After finishing, she looked up to see the two still standing there. “Hmm? You two ok?” she asked. “You've been standing there an awful long time.”

    “Yeah. Sorry for holding up the line.” Zakari scratched the back of his head.

    “No worries.” The receptionist smiled, looking at the two young boys began walking out. “Thank you for your purchase!” She thanked the two for their patronage as they walked out the door.

    . . .

    The two Trainers stood in front of the wooden board, with Slitheren sitting on Zakari’s right shoulder as always. They all saw only one piece of paper pinned to the board by a small thumbtack.

    Emerald Emergency
    Petitioner: Prof. Pear
    Type: Delivery
    Bounty: ћ3,600
    Quest Level: []

    Description: One of our recent graduates, Molly Green, fell victim to a wild Pokémon ambush. She managed to fend them all off, but all of her Pokémon are badly injured. Could we have someone deliver these four Potions to her? Her last known location is in the central area of the Emerald Forest.

    The sword-wielder’s Pokédex suddenly appeared in his hand, and activated, making a chirping noise. “Quest data registered.”

    All of a sudden, the three began hearing a commotion outside. “Hmm?” They looked towards the front door. “What's going on out there?” Chris asked.

    As the front door opened upon their walking toward it, they heard the commotion louder and clearer. One of the voices shouted “We hope you come back soon!”, almost as if someone who had planned to visit was just now leaving. Another voice shouted “We'll miss you!” directly after.

    “What are they going on about?” Slitheren asked. “Is someone leaving?”

    Then a couple seconds later, long straight purple hair was seen blowing back in the wind. Zakari’s eyes widened; it looked...familiar to him. Slitheren noticed his new expression. “...You ok, Zak?”

    “Is...Is that...?” Zak muttered.

    “? What was that?” The Snivy could barely hear him. But then Zakari walked forward so he could get a better view of whose hair he saw. “H-Hey. Answer me.” Slitheren exclaimed.

    After a few steps, he got a better look at the person. She had long straight purple hair, long sleeved red shirt that had two buttons - one on the collar, and the other just slightly below - and stretched far below her waist. The bottom part of the shirt was cut off by a leather belt, the part below the belt acting as a skirt of sorts that stretched two-thirds of the way to her knees. She also wore a small-sized steel shoulder plate on her left shoulder, a steel gauntlet worn around her lower arm, tight black silk leggings, and knee-high brown boots. Zak then sped up to a running speed, stopping just in front of the line of people. “Erina!” he exclaimed towards the girl.

    She stopped walking, looking rather surprised. It looked like she recognized the Edge Punisher’s voice. The girl, who Zak called Erina, turned around to face the equally surprised Zakari. “Zak?” Her voice sounded cool and calm, but still surprised. “I didn't think you'd be here too.”

    “I could say the same to you.” Zak told her. “How long have you been here? The townsfolk are saying you're leaving now.”

    The girl thought for a second before replying. “I'd say about a week really.” She paused for a second. “My partner and I came here to perform a Gathering. A way of sharing information and data about this world between multiple people. I performed it as soon as I came here. In reality, I could've left immediately afterwards. But I decided to stay here awhile and help out. Some of the townsfolk seemed to like me.”

    “I see.” Zak was silent for a couple seconds, seemingly thinking. Then he spoke again. “So what's this about a partner? I’ve always known you as more of a lone wolf type of person.”

    “Well usually, yeah. But I decided to work alongside someone else for this.” The lightly armored girl had a very casual look for a while, but then closed her eyes. “This isn’t something we can accomplish by ourselves. You and I both know this.”

    Zakari sighed. “Yeah. I know. That's why I'm trying to find the rest of my group before anything else. Have you seen them during your stay here?” he asked.

    Erina shook her head. “No, I haven't. Sorry.”

    “Don't worry about it.” Zakari had a thought in his head; his mind appeared to be deducing what Erina had responded with by linking it with what she had said previous. [I guess if you've been in this town for a week, then I can't expect anything else really.] He closed his eyes calmly. [Well, at least we've ruled out the possibility of my group being here.] He sighed mentally before opening his eyes again. “So, what did you mean by “orders”?”

    The purple-haired girl glanced around them, the crowd all chatting with each other. “We were asked to gather data on the new generation of official Pokémon Trainers.” Erina replied in a careful manner, so as to not grab anyone else’s attention. “Actually I just recently become one myself. And from the looks of it, so have you.” She giggled the last few words with a smile.

    “Oh cool. So you are a Trainer too. Wanna have a practice round?” The brunette Edge Punisher was excited; his expression showed that he wanted to face Erina in a friendly battle.

    “No thanks.” Erina held her right hand up in a stop position, closing her eyes and turning her head to the left while still smiling. Then she put that hand on her hip, looking back at Zak. “As much as I want to, we still have to head back to Cerise City and evaluate what we've learned.” She turned around towards the gate. “But next time we meet, I'd be more than happy to battle you.” The girl then resumed her walk out of town. But not before turning back around halfway after remembering something. “Oh, and thanks for taking care of those guards for us. They appeared shortly after we arrived.”

    “No problem.” Zak responded cheerfully.

    Slitheren stared at the purple-haired warrior who had just walked out the front gate. Wondering about what her Trainer’s relationship with Erina was, she turned her head slightly towards him. “I take it you know her?”

    “She and I go back a couple months. She's my rival, so to speak.” Zakari responded rather quickly, still smiling.

    Just then, a young woman walked up behind Zak and Chris. She looked to be in her mid to late 20s, having short chin-length red-orange hair, a fancy black buttoned coat that stretched down to her knees, thigh-high red khakis over black pantyhose, and jet black boots. “So you're Zakari Harudyne.” The two looked surprised and turned around upon hearing her voice. “Not really what I was expecting when I heard the words Edge Punisher.” The woman spoke in a slightly deep womanly voice.

    “I get that a lot.” Zak scratched the back of his head. “So I take it you're Erina’s partner?”

    The woman nodded, smiling at the three. “Name’s Stelmaria. But most people just call me Stel.”

    “My name is Christopher Berudos. But if you like, you can simply call me Chris.” Chris introduced himself next.

    “That claw...” The lady, who introduced herself as Stelmaria, stared at the poisonous claw that Chris wore on his left hand. She then pulled out a completely red metal armband - a strange looking one at that, and held it out towards the purple-garbed boy. “Here. Put this on it.” Chris took it with a look of intrigue; he had never seen such a material like this. He looked at the whole thing, and noticed three square holes at one of the ends. Immediately recognizing them as the exact size of the three squares on his claw, Chris placed the armband onto the claw. The metal band then changed color from red to purple, then closed around Chris’ forearm in a hexagonal formation. This shocked him. “That claw you’re wearing. I don’t know how you obtained it, nor how long you’ve had it for. It’s a piece of weaponry that our group has been making and experimenting with for a while now. From the looks of it, your claw is a poisonous variant. The armband I just gave you is an attachment for that particular model. With it attached, the poisonous venom it contains becomes more powerful.”

    “I take it you’re also a player character?” The PKK asked.

    Stel nodded. “Mmhmm. Our guild has quite a few designated crafters. We came up with a few weapon ideas for experimentation. Some of the more successful ones we’ve even posted on the forums for others to use.” Stel closed her eyes. “Don’t let this fool you, however. We’re by no means just a crafting guild.”

    “What’s your guild called?” Zak asked curiously.

    “Crimson.” The coat wearing woman replied quickly.

    “Ah yes. Crimson.” The sweater-wearing boy looked to reminisce from the mention of the guild name. “We’ve worked with them a couple times. If I recall correctly, some of your guildmates are PKKs much like ourselves.”

    Just then, the scene changed to a fiery background followed by three silhouetted figures zooming out on screen individually. The left one looking very similar to Zakari, the center one looking like a blacksmith, and the right one looking like a fierce warrior clad in cool armor. Stelmaria began explaining. “Yes. Those are members of our PKK branch. I’m pretty sure you already know this, but we do what your group likes doing. We also return any stolen items back to their original owners. We can do this thanks to a special Guild Ability that allows us to scan a stolen item and reveal its original owner’s name. We also have two other branches - crafting and raid divisions. Our crafting branch is specifically for experimenting with different weapon and armor modifications with the items that the raid divisions bring back. That claw you’re wearing is one of their current experiments.” As Stel was speaking, various regular weapons appeared and scrolled leftward at a decently fast rate. Weapons ranging from swords to bows to lances. “As for the raid divisions, their sole purpose is to allow players to experience various raids and dungeons. We have three separate division categories - End, High, and Low. I'm sure someone like you can decipher what they are referring to. I serve as the leader of the Second End Division.”

    “I see.” Zak replied as the fiery background disappeared. “On the topic of the PKK branch, I hear you guys are trying to take down Kestrel sometime soon.” He had his arms crossed.

    “Yeah. We’ve come into contact with both Kestrel and Moon Tree on many occasions, both of them causing quite a bit of trouble for us during our operations.” The woman tilted her head down slightly, closing her eyes. “Moon Tree we are willing to spare simply due to their pacifistic nature, and their guildmaster being a hacker.”

    “Moon Tree...I don’t really like that guild very much.” Zakari spoke in a tone of disgust.

    Stelmaria closed her eyes. “Neither do we. While they do try and stop PKing, they also try and stop PKKing.” She opened her eyes, and looked down on the watch that she wore on her left wrist. “!” Seeing the time, she had this look of surprise. “Sorry, I got carried away with you guys. I gotta get going for now.” The woman waved goodbye, and began her walk out of Shire Town.

    [Stelmaria...I doubt this will be the last time we will cross paths.] Zakari thought to himself, he, Chris, and Slitheren not moving.

    “Well, what now?” Chris asked, seemingly a little impatient.

    “Hmm...” The swordsman thought silently for a couple seconds. “There’s somewhere I wanna check out.”

    Slitheren glanced towards Zak. “Emerald Forest, I’m assuming?” Zak nodded. “That is the closest location to here. I guess in that sense, it’s the most logical place to go to from here. The other logical place would be Pear’s lab. But honestly I’ve been there so long that I just don’t wanna go back there for a bit.” Then Slitheren grinned happily. “That and I wanna fight some stuff."

    “I say we go there as well," Chris replied. "Those three Pokémon we saw on the way here looked to have come from the forest.” A flashback was shown of the Sentret and pair of Zigzagoon jumped out of the bushes. “But from how they jumped out of the bushes...” The Pokémon’s faces looked highly distressed as the scene zoomed in on them. “...they appeared to be running away from there.” The scene shifted back to normal. “I wanna explore the forest for their sake. I think there’s someone or something in that forest that’s damaging their habitat.”

    “Then it’s settled. We head for the Emerald Forest.” Zak said sternly, his head held high and with a look of determination. “To search for my comrades, and to find the cause of the Pokémon’s distress.”

    . . .

    Meanwhile, at the Pokémon lab, Lily, Brice, Tina, and Professor Pear were in the break room opposite of the examination room. Brice and Tina were standing up, while Lily and Pear were sitting down. “Alright. Let's say you really aren't the Legendary Flick Reaper.” It looked like Brice was questioning Tina, who felt a little annoyed when answering them. This particular sentence made Tina a bit more so. “What do you plan on doing from here? I mean, as a long-term goal?”

    “Well...” The brunette didn’t know how to respond to such a question. “I don't know yet actually.”

    The middle-aged professor got up from out of his seat, and walked towards Brice and Tina. “Well there are a number of things that new Trainers set their eyes towards. Some of them take towards breeding Pokémon. Some take towards caring for others’ Pokémon at a Day Care. Some even take towards training their Pokémon for riding contests.” Professor Pear’s tone was soft and calm. But most of all, it was a tone of wisdom. “But the most common goal I've seen among many generations of Trainers. To receive the blessing of the Ageos Shrine.”

    “Ageos Shrine?” Brice questioned.

    The professor smiled at him. “It's the pillar of accomplishment for any Pokémon Trainer. To collect 8 Gym Badges all across the Ageos Region, and entering the Shrine's ground. At these very grounds resides the Elite Four, Trainers who are more skilled than even the Gym Leaders. And upon defeating them, you will receive your blessing. The opportunity to face the Champion. The most recognized Pokémon Trainer in the entire region. For a chance to become the Champion themselves.”

    “Ageos Shrine...grand journey...” Tina looked and sounded like she was in a trance of some sort. “...become the Pokémon League Champion...Yeah...” She closed her eyes briefly, and then reopened them, her head held high. “Yeah. I wanna go to the Shrine.”

    “Hmm?” Professor Pear hummed. “For what reason, if I may ask?”

    The brunette stared blankly in front of her, a brief flashback playing in her head of a little girl crying whilst surrounded by many white-silhouetted figures seemingly laughing at her. “...I wanna show the world that I'm not just some cowardly girl. That I'm not a weakling.” Her tone was serious. Determined.

    Everyone else was silent. Brice was thinking to himself in response to what Tina said. [That’s just like you, Tina. You were always wanting to prove yourself.]

    Tina then let out a sigh, sounding rather exhausted. “I need some fresh air. I'll be outside if anyone needs me.” She then walked out of the break room, the door closing itself as she continued walking.

    Everyone stared at the door for a couple seconds. Then Lily and Brice looked at Pear, who was looking back at them, smiling. “So what about you two? Based on what I heard from Harudyne, he wanted to escape from this world. Am I to assume the two of you want the same?”

    “Yeah. Playing video games is fun and all. But being trapped in them isn't. So yes. We do wanna escape this world.” Brice replied, sounding determined. But then he tilted his head downward. And his voice grew somber. “But...right here, in this region, after a month of searching for her, we found our lost friend. But...she keeps saying she's never met us.” Lily also tilted her head down, sad by this fact. Brice lifted his head back up, and turned towards Pear. “Professor. Can I ask you something?”

    Professor Pear nodded. “Go ahead.”

    “When did Tina become a Pokémon Trainer?” The caped Steam Gunner asked. “Well...more specifically, when did you find Tina?”

    “That's an odd question.” Pear replied. He thought to himself for a couple seconds in silence afterward. “But to answer, I found her last month. Or well, in the context of this world...last year.”

    “!!” Brice was utterly shocked. [So it's true. This entire month she was missing, Tina was in this world.] After a couple seconds, he managed to calm himself back down. But then he regained a slight amount of his shock. “What...What is this feeling?” He exited the room, and the building, joining Tina outside. Once outside, he looked towards the Emerald Forest’s entrance.

    “You feel that too, don’t you?” Tina asked him, her arms crossed as she walked towards him. Brice turned his head slightly towards her and nodded.

    Afterwards, Lily and Professor Pear exited the Pokémon lab to join them. “What’s wrong, Brice?” Pear asked.

    Brice turned around to face him. “Professor, can you tell us anything you know about that forest?” He pointed towards Emerald Forest’s entrance. “I’m feeling an imposing energy coming from there. Have there been any recent activities as of late? As in, before we got here?”

    Professor Pear understood what he was asking. He thought long and hard. “Well, based on the recent activity that we’ve heard about, perhaps a group of criminals have stationed themselves in the Emerald Forest. However, the problem at hand has never been actively dealt with, mostly because we don’t know their exact agenda or their group’s true hideout or leader. We can’t really do much to prevent the issue without knowledge of either of these.”

    “I guess you have a point.” Brice winced. “But still, isn’t the Emerald Forest supposed to be for newcoming Trainers? And yet these criminals wish to steal the Pokémon from these Trainers, or even worse...KILL them. We see it as a form of PKing, and it’s what we’ve been fighting so long to put an end to.” The Steam Gunner turned back around, facing the Emerald Forest. “So no way are we just gonna sit here and let this all happen.”

    Professor Pear closed his eyes and smiled. “If that is what you choose to do, then by all means. You have the ability to do so now.” He reopened his eyes. “Plus, who knows? Maybe your friend is heading there to stop the problem as well.”

    Brice smiled as he looked up at the sky. “Knowing him...I bet he’s already there.”

    . . .

    Not too deep into the Emerald Forest, Zak, Slitheren, and Chris were walking through the open pathway among the many surrounding trees and bushes. “Wait.” Chris stopped walking, Zak and Slitheren also stopping when they heard Chris speak. The two turned their heads towards him. “Do you know about the Dust of 2013?”

    “Huh? Dust of 2013?” Zak looked very confused. “But it’s only 2011 where I’m from.”

    “2013...” Slitheren paused, thinking. “Wait, wasn’t that when the Kalos region was discovered?” Chris nods in response. “Yeah...that’s also when the Fairies were discovered.”

    “Fairies?” All of this sounded so new to Zakari. He had been playing Pokémon since he was 5 years old starting with Ruby and Sapphire. Yet none of the stuff that's being mentioned was in any of the games he played.

    A bright platinum-colored mist background was shown. Chris' voice was heard. “They’re the new 18th Pokémon typing. Some of the Normal-type Pokémon you may be familiar with before have been turned into these Fairies as a result of the Kalos region’s discovery. We don’t know why a region’s discovery would lead to such a drastic phenomenon.” The background disappeared as the scene turned back to the opening in the forest.

    Slitheren shrugged, looking off to one side. “I personally don’t really have much interest in researching.”

    “I figured I’d tell you now before anything happens in case you didn’t know about it.” Chris said.

    “Well it’s a good thing you did tell me. Thanks.” Zakari said in response, smiling.

    “Look here, lads!” The three showed surprise upon hearing a gruff male voice nearby. “Some newbies wandered into the forest by themselves!” Suddenly, the three saw in front of them a trio of thug-looking men each wearing bandanas on their heads approach them from the opposite side of the opening. Each of them was wearing a different color scheme - the leader wearing red, and the other two wearing blue and green respectively.

    Chris just stared at them. He had a perplexed look on his face. “Who are they?”

    “I don’t know. But from the looks of it, they could be bandits.” Zakari’s expression grew serious. “Or even poachers.”

    The trio of poachers grinned evilly at the three, the green one speaking up after a second or two. “That’s quite a grasp of the obvious you got there, fellas. But that alone won’t get you very far. Heheheeh.”

    “I’ve heard of these guys." Slitheren said, seemingly sounding a bit frightened. "Rumor has it, there’s been a group of these bandits roaming around the forest harassing and even sometimes killing innocent Pokémon and their Trainers.”

    Chris’ expression grew serious. “So they’re the source of the forest’s distress. I guess we can hope that this is the only group here in this forest.” Chris glanced over at Zak, who looked to be focused on something. He didn’t know what it was that Zak was focusing on, however. “Ah, Zak?”

    “...That’s not right.” Zakari said softly.

    “!” Chris was shocked. “What do you--”

    Zak interrupted Chris mid-sentence. “I’m sensing five presences in total, yet I see only three of them. So then, where could the other two be?”

    “!!” All three of the bandits formed looks of shock on their faces. [Dammit. Who is this kid? He knows our Pokémon are here too.]

    Chris formed a look of slight astoundment. “Now that you mention it...yeah, I sense them too.”

    The three poachers slowly regained their smirk, however; the red one speaking to the Trainers. “I guess I underestimated you a little bit. You’re no run-of-the-mill newbies, are ya? Too bad it won’t help you.” The poacher raised his head, and raised his voice. “Bisharp! Victreebel! Show yourselves!” On his command, two creatures spawned in and revealed themselves. One of them was a bipedal humanoid Pokémon with a round, red and black head that resembled a war helmet; a primarily yellow face with a black outline shrouded by most of the helmet; red shoulders resembling shoulderpads projecting slightly over its arms and thin yellow line where they met its black torso; white metallic hands that resemble gloves with retractable blades attached; two blades on its torso that resemble a ribcage; red thighs that become progressively thinner as they connect to the knee; metallic feet that are split down to resemble cloven hooves, and that are also similar to steel war boots or possibly leggings. The other was a creature that has a bell-shaped body with a gaping mouth that has two sharp teeth; semicircular eyes that appear directly under its mouth; several dark green spots on its body; a leaf with a long, brown, yellow-tipped vine growing out of its mouth, covering it. As these two appeared, numerous vines began to block all of the paths out of the opening. Christopher and Slitheren looked around, shocked at what just happened around them. Then they both looked back forward, Chris taking out his Pokédex to scan the two creatures. Zakari, during all of this, was simply just staring at the enemy group.

    Bisharp, the Sword Blade Pokémon, and the evolved form of Pawniard. Bisharp pursues prey alongside a large group of Pawniard, and then finishes off its prey.

    Victreebel, the Flycatcher Pokémon, and the evolved form of Weepinbell. Victreebel’s body can ingest even the hardest object, which can then be melted into nothing.

    The three bandits chuckled. “You three aren't going anywhere now.”

    [I saw this coming the moment these two appeared.] Zak thought to himself. Then he put his right foot forward a bit. “Well, if it’s a fight that you want, then I’m more than happy to oblige.” The Edge Punisher said in a rather arrogant tone, Slitheren getting off his shoulder, frontflipping once, and landing on her two feet ready for combat.

    The poachers all just laughed in response, the middle one laughing slightly longer than the other two. “You got guts, kid. I’ll give ya that.” Then the middle poacher smiled evilly at Zak. “But I don't think you know who you're dealing wi--” BANG! Zakari interrupted the bandit by headbutting him in the jaw, causing him to be knocked back. The Edge Punisher then took this opportunity to perform a follow-up attack; he spun around with his body positioned horizontally, brandished his lightweight greatsword, and attempted to slice through the bandit’s body. The poacher, however, managed to regain himself just in enough time to brandish his own weapon - a plain shortsword, and use it to block the incoming attack. And while he did manage to block the attack, the power behind that attack knocked him back against the tree behind him.

    The boy’s movement from the beginning was almost instantaneous, Chris and Slitheren both looking rather shocked at his sheer speed alone. When Zak spun back over to his initial spot, he showed a smug look towards the group of opponents. “What was that? Sorry, I couldn't hear you.”

    The red bandit fell on his hands and knees, slowly managing to pick himself back up. He rubbed his jaw for a bit, wiping off any blood before regaining his evil grin. “Cheeky little one, aren't ya?”

    [!!] Chris stood there in awe of what Zakari just did, Slitheren chuckling happily at him. Chris also thought to himself. [He-- I-I didn't even see him move an inch. And then all of a sudden, next instant he attacks the middle one.]

    “You’ve got some skill, kid. I’ll give you that much.” The red poacher wiped his mouth again. “Not many opponents manage to get first blood on us.” Zak smirked, chuckling a bit at the group of poachers.

    Then, all of a sudden, without warning, the vines behind Zak, Chris, and Slitheren exploded. A gradually growing and expanding cloud of smoke formed from the explosion, Zak and the others looking toward the smoke. “Don’t think you’ll be leaving this place alive, poachers.” Brice’s voice was heard among the smoke, talking in a western accent. As it cleared, it revealed Lily, Brice, Scar, Tina, and Magus.

    Zak had a confident smile on his face. “Guess we were the ones that were found.” He said. “And is that...Tina?” Tina didn’t hear Zakari’s second sentence at all.

    “!” The blue poacher’s body was shaking a bit. “It’s that group that took out our other squad. A-And the brunette is with them!”

    “Other squad?” The Edge Punisher looked back towards the poachers. “So you really are part of a bandits’ guild. So what's this about “the brunette”? Are you saying you've fought Tina before?”

    After a few seconds of silence, the leading poacher grinned at Zak. “That brunette in the back. She's been on our shit list for a while now. Even killed some of our men in defense of the forest's inhabitants. So yes. We've fought her multiple times in the past, and each time we were defeated. But you.” The poacher pointed at Zak. “We've never even heard of you, and yet here you are, already pulling a fast one on us. The girl never tried such a daring act.”

    “Oh trust me. That was only a taste of what I can do.” Zakari had a smirk on his face. “Now I would give you a chance to surrender. But since you’re here only to cause trouble for new Trainers, I don’t feel like doing that.”

    “Hah! You, telling us to surrender?” The leading poacher started to laugh at the thought. Tina looked surprised by this. “We haven't even started yet, and here you are trying to prove your dominance. How can we be sure that you're not bluffing?”

    Zak kept his smirk, chuckling a bit at the enemy. “Believe me. I'm not their leader for nothing.”

    Chris closed his eyes. “I don't doubt what he's saying. Not one bit.” Brice glanced over at him with curiosity. “I'm sure you heard about it by now. He single-handedly took out the two guards sealing off Shire Town, all by himself.”

    Brice, in response, looked back forward, closed his eyes, and smiled. “Yeah, that's Zak for ya.”

    Chris smiled casually, his eyes still closed. He then opened them back up, dropping his smile. He performed an arm pump with his left arm, the poison claw extending over his knuckles. As a result, a dark purple, toxic aura flared up around the claw and its attachment. Part of the aura extended towards Wriggle’s Poké Ball, popping it open and summoning the Venipede proper.

    [This’ll be interesting. They’re outnumbered 8 to 5.] Zakari then dashed towards the group of colored poachers, shocking all three of them. The Victreebel moved in the way, attempting to intercept by shooting multiple vines at him for a Wrapping attack. All of these vines were shot down and shredded to pieces by Brice’s Shraider gun in sniper rifle form. Zakari then stopped his forward dash, and began a side dash as Tina and Magus both rammed into the Victreebel, pushing it back to the northwest corner of the opening.

    “Team! Split up! This kid’s mine!” The red poacher yelled out. The blue and green poachers ran left and right respectively as the red poacher and Zakari dashed at each other, their weapons in front of their bodies ready to slice the other down. The two clashed weapons, both of them landing their feet on the ground. The two struggled with their weapon clash for a couple seconds before the red-clothed man grinned evilly.

    The Bisharp appeared behind Zakari, readying up an attack of some form. But Zak predicted this due to the poacher’s grin, and dodged to the right, causing the Bisharp to punch the poacher in the face instead. Zak then spun around counter-clockwise, his sword horizontally in front of him, attempting to slice through the red poacher’s body again. But the poacher managed to bring his sword back up in time to block the attack. However, the impact knocked his right arm out of the way of the rest of his body. Zak smirked, and upon ending his spin right in front of the red poacher, brought his sword above his head, grabbing the hilt with both of his hands. “Tiger Blitz!” He slammed his Nihilblade into the poacher’s body, and then quickly pulled it back up through his body. The poacher, in utter shock of the attack, backed up as his wound disappeared. “Hmph. Too quick for you?” Zak said, smirking.

    The Bisharp, seeing his Trainer injured, decided to try and strike down Zakari with his arm blades, which shone brightly. It ran towards the Edge Punisher, its dual Metal Claw attack fully prepared. “Hey, big guy!” However, it heard a voice behind it. And as it turned its head towards that voice, wondering who was grabbing its attention, several vines rose from the ground only a couple feet away from the Bisharp, wrapping themselves around the humanoid Pokémon’s arms. The Pokémon struggled to free itself from the bind, the Metal Claw attack weakening before the blades’ shine disappeared completely. Slitheren was then seen walking up to the restrained Bisharp behind it, her right hand on her hips, “What’s the rush?”

    Scar then hopped over the Bisharp and landed in between it and Zakari. The Bisharp looked forward at the Zangoose. “You’re fighting us instead,” he said to the Bisharp, readying his claws for an attack. Then, as Slitheren removed her vines from the Bisharp’s arms, Scar attacked by swiping his light green glowing claws across the Steel-type’s body in an X motion. Scar then swiped his arms back around, his claws losing their glow entirely as the Bisharp staggered to regain its footing.

    Chris, meanwhile, was eying the other two poachers that were running right towards him, Wriggle, Lily, and Brice. Both of them were wielding their weapons - the blue one wielding an iron glove with spikes on the knuckles, and the green one wielding an above average sized warhammer. “Guess we have our work cut out right in front of us.” The two poachers got closer. Chris tensed up his expression. “Let’s go.” He then dashed at the blue poacher, throwing a punch at him with his left fist. The poacher responded by throwing his iron gloved fist at him. The two punches hit each other, the poisonous claw surprisingly sharp enough to pierce through and chip the iron and stab the poacher’s knuckles. The two retracted their arms, the poacher grunting in pain as he put his left hand around his right wrist while his right hand’s fingers twitched up and down slightly. Wriggle then hopped up behind Chris and shot out several Poison Sting darts at the injured bandit, but they were blocked by one swing of the green poacher’s warhammer.

    Zakari was constantly clashing his blade with the red poacher’s, neither of them making an advance on the other. Just then, however, Zak thought of an idea. Seeing the red poacher try and swing at him again, he didn’t swing his sword in response. Rather, he ducked under the horizontal swing and shoulder tackled the poacher, knocking him back. The Edge Punisher then turned his head towards Tina. “Tina! Follow up!” Zak yelled out to her.

    However, while she did turn her eyes towards him for a brief moment, she ignored the command and continued fighting the Victreebel, swinging her scythe at it. Magus, on the other hand, turned towards Zak and the red poacher, and dashed towards them. “Magus!” Tina exclaimed at him before the Victreebel attempted to, and did, Body Slam her.

    When he got right before the two, the Treecko hopped in the air and Slammed his tail into the red poacher’s back. “This will have to do, right?” he asked as he landed on the floor.

    “Hmph. Quite well, thank you.” Zakari replied with a smile.

    Tina was clashing with the Victreebel’s second Body Slam attack with her own scythe. It looked as though she was being pushed towards the ground. Just then, however, Magus Slammed the bell Pokémon away with his tail before landing on the ground. “What the hell, Magus? Why did you help him?” Tina scolded Magus.

    “He was asking you to do it. And you ignored him.” Magus answered sternly. “So I figured I’d do it instead.”

    “Tch.” Tina was irritated at the Treecko. “Well he should’ve called on someone else.” Just then, however, the two saw Victreebel get back up. They also felt it become more powerful in an instant. The two were shocked by this as the Victreebel summoned numerous vines from its body and rapidly swung them at Tina and Magus, the two struggling to block all of them. Some even landed their blows successfully.

    Meanwhile, Lily then fired several arrows at the green poacher. However, all but one of them missed, and that one was swung at and destroyed. “!” Lily let out a surprised gasp. Then Brice tried firing an entire 60-bullet magazine of his Shraider’s machine pistol form at the two poachers. Most of them missed, and the rest were blocked by their iron glove and warhammer respectively. Then the hammer-wielding poacher ran towards the pink-haired girl, and swung at her. She managed to dodge it by stepping back, but then fell down. Lily looked up to see the green poacher almost directly above her, grinning evilly at her.

    “Lily!” Brice exclaimed. Chris looked towards the pink-haired girl, shocked.

    The green poacher was about to slam his hammer into Lily, but Chris dashed in the way and knocked his hammer back by backhanding it with his poison claw. The poacher had a shocked look on his face as this happened. Chris’ face, on the other hand, looked serious. [Not this time.] He thought to himself. “Rapiiiiiiid...” As Chris was yelling this heroically, he delivered a quick flurry of attacks - a right punch to the green poacher’s stomach, followed by a slice through his shirt and skin with his poisonous claw via a backhand motion which inflicted the poacher with the Poison status, then a left spinning outercrescent kick to his jaw, and then another right punch to his stomach, followed by a left round kick to the poacher’s right arm to disarm him. “Attack!” Finally, he finished his Art by performing one last swift, but powerful right punch straight to his gut. The poacher took a step back, winded by the blows that he had sustained. He then tilted his entire body forward as he closed the distance between him and the now wounded green poacher with a dash. “But wait. There’s more!” He readied his left fist, his claw’s three blades seeping poison, and punched the poacher in the chest. The claws pierced his skin once again, worsening his poison. The poacher was given almost zero time to react to anything as the purple-garbed boy right uppercutted his jaw. Then, after one full clockwise spin with his feet off the ground, he round kicked the poacher, who attempted to block the attack with his right wrist. He was unsuccessful, and was knocked back against the tree behind him. Chris landed himself on the ground, his right fist balled up and collecting what looked to be powerful energy. The poacher looked at him, terrified of Chris’ speed and strength.

    Brice and Lily were watching in awe. [What the?] Brice thought. [He just used two Arts in a row. There’s no legitimate way to do that in The World R:2. Every time someone uses an Art, he or she has to wait at least 20 seconds in order to use another. Is he even a player character? If not, then how does he know them?]

    Immediately after Brice finished his thoughts, Christopher Berudos threw his final punch at the poacher, impacting his stomach once again. The poacher coughed up blood from the attack. And after a couple seconds, the energy built up within his fist burst into an explosion. The smoke covered the poacher’s entire body from view. “Palm Blast!” After a second or two, the smoke cleared, and the green poacher within it collapsed onto the ground once Chris retracted his arm. Then, the poacher laid lifeless for a second before turning into transparent static and shattering into small data bits.

    Afterwards, Chris, Lily, and Brice could hear constant grunting noises coming from the other poachers. When they looked over there, they saw Wriggle continuously dodging the blue poacher’s punches, kicks, stomps, and smashes with relative ease. Then, she sprinted into the nearby bushes and sped through and around them in an attempt to disorient the bandit, much like she did during the field test. After a while, when the poacher was unable to keep up, the poisonous centipede leaped off the side of one of the trees and curled up into a ball as she Tackled into the blue poacher’s head. He flinched and backed up a slight amount. Brice saw this as his chance. He ran up to the stunned poacher, changing his Shraider into shotgun form. Lily let out a surprised gasp. And when Brice got right up to the poacher, he leaped up in the air, aiming his weapon at the bandit’s head. “Chew on this!” The Steam Gunner fired his shotgun, a loud BANG! being heard within the entire opening. He then backflipped off of the now gravely injured poacher’s back, knocking him away from Brice. After he landed a couple yards in front of Lily, Brice turned his head towards the archer. “Lily!”

    “Right!” Lily exclaimed, readying an arrow onto her Crystal Bow. The arrow and bow lit up, the arrow being charged with magical energy. “OrLei Zas!” As Lily let go of her arrow, a giant beam of light soared through the air like a laser, piercing through the blue poacher’s chest instantly. What was left was a hole where he was hit, the skin and cloth around the wound turning from its normal colors into data. Then the poacher fell onto its back, his body too turning into transparent static and shattering into data bits.

    Zakari, Slitheren, and Scar, backed up against each other, readied their respective attacks - Zak raised his sword up in the air, Slitheren pulled out a vine, and Scar flamed up his claws. All three of them then rushed towards their respective targets and tried to perform their attacks. However, the poacher and Bisharp saw this coming, and tried performing a counterattack. The Bisharp’s arms glew black, his Night Slash attack on the ready, while his Trainer had his free hand behind his back. Zak noticed this, and turned around mid-dash. “Tag out!” His left foot landed on the ground, allowing him to dash back towards the Bisharp as Slitheren and Scar turned around and jumped towards the red poacher. The poacher and Bisharp were shocked; Zakari had seen through their strategy. Zakari spun around clockwise and did a vertical swing with his greatsword, clashing with Bisharp’s Night Slash attack. At the same time, Slitheren and Scar’s attacks successfully landed on the unexpecting poacher, Scar’s Fire Claw leaving a burn on his body.

    Tina was knocked back against one of the trees by the Victreebel’s Vine Whip attack, the Shorai no Kama slipping out of her hand upon impacting with the tree. The Victreebel did the same to Magus, knocking him back into the tree right next to Tina.

    "!" Slitheren heard the impact noise, and quickly looked over to them. She then ran a couple steps towards them before stopping to look back at Scar, who was blocking the poacher's arm with his own.

    “Don’t worry about me.” Scar put a smirk on his face. “I can more than handle this one on my own.” Slitheren stared at him for a couple seconds before nodding and hopping away. Scar then pushed the poacher’s arms away from his own, and left spin uppercutted him with Thunder Claw.

    Tina laid against the tree alongside the Treecko. “What...What the hell?” Tina grunted, one eye closed from the pain. “This one’s...strong. Way stronger than any other Pokémon we’ve ever faced...” The two then saw the bell-shaped Pokémon ready a poisonous attack, as evidenced by the toxic ooze seeping from its mouth. Then it fired off a rather massive Sludge Bomb straight at the two.

    But before the attack got even close to connecting, the two were entangled in vines and tossed out of the way of the attack. After landing back on the ground, they looked up to see Slitheren in front of them. “I don’t know how you two managed to get on their shit list.” She said. “But with strength like that, I’m surprised you’ve lasted this long against them.” The Snivy turned her head slightly towards the Treecko, smirking at him. “Magus, was it? Just you and me, we’ll handle this Victreebel without your Trainer.”

    “What did you sa-- Agh!” Tina tried getting up slowly, but fell back down from the pain all over her body.

    “She’s not capable of taking his thing on. Not in the slightest.” Slitheren commented. She then saw the Victreebel toss two vines straight at her. The Snivy answered with two vines of her own, both sets of vines grabbing hold of each other. “I’m not like the other Pokémon back at the lab. I’ve been training myself ever since I arrived there.” She then yelled out, swinging the Victreebel around by the vines for three spins before tossing the bell Pokémon at one of the trees.

    Magus was astounded at Slitheren’s strength. The Snivy jumped back to him. “Alright then. From the looks of it, that Victreebel’s pretty winded.” Slitheren glanced over at Magus. “I need you to trust me on this one.” She then grabbed the Treecko with her vines and raised him up into the air. However, Magus didn’t react with surprise. Rather, he nodded at Slitheren, who gave a smile back. “Cool.” Tina blinked in surprise; how could a Snivy be able to topple a fully evolved Pokémon with ease? That question loomed in her mind as she watched Slitheren kneel down. Then she jumped into the air, tilted her entire body horizontally, and spun clockwise multiple times. Then, after several spins, she tossed Magus towards the Victreebel, Magus spinning counter clockwise upon being let go. When he got to the bell Pokémon, the wind built up around his tail from all the spinning had intensified. The Treecko then Slammed his cycloning tail into the Victreebel, the wind unleashing and engulfing it. Upon Magus landing on the ground, the harsh wind cyclone dissipated, leaving a mortally wounded Victreebel collapsed on the ground. Its body shattered into data bits afterwards. "Hell yeah!" Slitheren exclaimed cheerfully, slamming her fists against each other.

    The Bisharp was seen panting in front of Zak, who smiled at it. “I’ll admit, you and your Trainer have given me quite the workout here.” He said. “Been awhile since I fought battles like this so often. But as much as I’ve been enjoying this battle, I’m afraid I’ll have to end it here.” The Bisharp readied itself once again, but was caught off guard when it felt Zakari’s Nihilblade stab its stomach area. It looked down to see Zak smirking at it. The Edge Punisher then ejected his greatsword from the Bisharp’s body, brought the blade above his head, and slammed it into the ground, slicing through the Bisharp with ease. “Armor Pierce!” After a second, the ground beneath the Bisharp exploded. After the smoke cleared, all that was left were data bits of the Bisharp’s body.

    “!!!” The red poacher, kneeling in pain, looked up at the data bits with utter shock and terror. He knew he was the only one left. Then, suddenly, he saw multiple vines appear around and entangle him. Slitheren was then seen walking toward the poacher.

    Zak turned around to face the poacher, everyone else getting close as well. “You lie down on your knees, defeated.” Zak told the terrified poacher. He raised his Nihilblade up to his chin. “Now start talking. Why are you here in this forest?”

    The lone red bandit stared at Zakari, speechless. Then, after a couple seconds, the Zangoose walked up to the poacher, and drove his left claw into the poacher’s right shoulder. “He wants an answer. And quite frankly...” Scar said in a serious tone. “...So do I.”

    The bandit was shaking in fear, until he slowly turned his head to his right. “!” When he saw the Zangoose, he instantly stopped shaking. “Hey. I recognize you. You're that warrior from the Hacker’s Legion. Yeah.” The poacher regained his grin. “You're the Scar of Demise.”

    Zakari had a surprised look on his face. [Hacker’s Legion? Scar of Demise?] The Edge Punisher didn’t know what either of those names were.

    Scar’s expression tensed. “You know about me.” He drove his claw deeper into the poacher’s shoulder, the poacher gritting his teeth in pain. “Now if you won’t answer his question, then at least answer mine. What do you know about my clan?”

    “Hmm...” The poacher was silent for a second, losing his grin. “I remember hearing about one of your clansfolk being taken in. Which one was it again...?”

    “!” Scar showed a look of shock once he heard this.

    The poacher grinned once more. “Ah yes. Your friend. Bladestorm. I wouldn't be surprised if he, shall we say...” The poacher’s grin became more sinister. “...doesn't recognize you at first glance.”

    The Zangoose’s expression grew more angry. “What did you do to him?!”

    The poacher chuckled. “You'll see. Our masters have ways of making their enemies submit to them. It's only a matter of time before they make you submit as well.” The man chuckled some more.

    Scar, in anger, then ripped his left claw straight up through the bandit’s shoulder. Zakari then followed up by effortlessly slashing through the poacher’s chest area, causing him to fall over and perish. The blade wielder then spun his sword around before sheathing it.

    “Big bro!” All of a sudden, Zakari heard Lily’s excited voice as he looked over towards her, seeing her glomp him.

    The Edge Punisher backed up a bit from the tackle, surprised. “Urr, hi sis.”

    “Zak!” Brice exclaimed, running up to him. “Thank goodness we found you. You won't believe this.” He pointed towards Christina Warren nearby.

    “That really is our Tina, isn't it?” The Edge Punisher asked, looking towards Tina. Tina heard what Zak said, and her eyes were directed towards him as she growled softly.

    “Yeah but...She’s been acting this way ever since we found her yesterday. Saying she's never met us.” Brice spoke in a rather worried tone as he looked at Tina. “She also didn't seem to know about her scythe at all. It's like she's a different person altogether.”

    [!] Zakari’s mind showed a look of shock. [Different person altogether? That doesn't sound right to me.]

    During all of this, Scar looked at his left claw, which he raised up to his face's height. He looked a bit disappointed in himself. [Why did I get so angry there? I was so composed up until then.]

    Tina then turned towards Zakari and Brice with an irritated look on her face. “Now you too? For the last goddamn time, I'm not her!” Tina’s tone was a furious one. She was obviously tired of being compared to who she deemed someone else.

    Chris, looking at Tina, formed an astounded look on his face. “Hold on a second. Is that--” But he stopped once he saw Zakari hold his right hand up in a stop position, his eyes pointed towards Chris.

    The Edge Punisher walked towards the brunette girl with a neutral expression on his face. “Tina?”

    “What?” The brunette girl wasn't very happy, to say the least.

    “!” The Edge Punisher looked a bit surprised by Tina’s rather negative tone. “Do you really not remember us?”

    “? Remember you?” Tina hesitated; it was a very odd thing to hear from someone whom she thought she had met for the first time. But then, her tone became angry again. “...W-What are you talking about? I've never even met you!”

    “!!” Zakari was shocked by the response. It seemed as though she really did forget. “I see.” He then walked towards the south end of the forest opening, stopping as soon as he reached it. “It’s time we got going now. We’ve spent long enough in this forest.” He said to everyone else.

    Tina, after recalling Magus into his Poké Ball, just walked past him without uttering a word. Everyone else followed Zak, Slitheren hopping up onto his right shoulder. "Jeez, what the hell's her problem?" Slitheren asked

    . . .

    After a bit of walking, Lily and Brice walking next to Zak with Chris slightly behind, Brice turned his head towards Zak a bit. “Hey Zak.” He asked, grabbing his attention. “What do you think’s gotten into her? Don’t you think she's been acting strange?”

    Zak looked back forward. “Its not her, Brice. It’s her memories.” He replied sternly.

    “Huh? What do you mean?” Brice asked, confused. Lily was also confused.

    “She seems to act the same as she usually does.” The Edge Punisher began to explain. “But something about what you told me earlier didn't seem right to me. That's why I asked that question. To confirm my suspicion.”

    “And what would that be?” Brice asked afterward.

    After a second or two of silence, Zak answered. “Her memories have been altered. She's forgotten who we are, and partially who she is.”

    Lily and Brice showed a look of surprise. Brice more so. “Wait a second. You mean to say that the month’s time that she's been here in Ageos, her memory of The World R:2 has faded away?”

    “A month?” Zak was shocked. He knew that an entire month in real life acquainted to a whole year in-game. “...It's possible. I won't deny it.”

    “Big bro, what should we do?” Lily asked, worried. “I wanna escape just like you two, but...I don’t wanna just leave Tina behind.”

    “Well, your call, leader.” Slitheren, sitting back on Zak’s shoulder, told everyone.

    “...” Zak thought to himself for a bit. Then he raised his head up. “We need to get Tina’s memories back, first and foremost. Once we have achieved that, then we can worry about escaping.”

    “Yeah. We finally found her after a month of on and off searching. And no way are we just gonna up and leave without her.” Brice spoke in a determined tone. “She's...She's our friend.”

    “I don't know all of the exact details.” Then Chris began speaking, Lily and Brice looking back at him. “But from what it sounds like, this won't be an easy task. Especially if her memories really are altered like you say they are.” Chris tilted his head upward towards the sky. “But for now, I think we should head back to the Pokémon lab. Maybe Professor Pear can tell us more about our current situation.”

    Everyone else nodded their heads in agreement. The whole group then walked out of the forest through where they came from as the setting faded into black.
    #3 Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
    Sonic Ramon likes this.
  4. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 4: Our Journey Starts Here
    A shot of the exterior of Professor Pear’s lab was shown. Only a few minutes had passed after everyone left the Emerald Forest. “So lemme get this straight.” Zakari’s voice was heard. Then he and the others were all shown inside the lab’s breakroom. Everyone had introduced themselves to each other upon arriving back at the lab, Tina skipping her own introduction due to, in her mind, Zak somehow knowing her name. The two brunettes were standing in the middle of the room, while Lily was near the counter, Scar was against the wall to the left of the table, and everyone else was sitting. “A month ago, you found yourself in this Ageos region.” The Edge Punisher was recapping everything that Tina had told him up until this point. Tina nodded, humming. “And you were found by the professor when attempting to enter the Emerald Forest.”

    Tina nodded again. “Correct.”

    Zak continued. “Then you took the Pokémon Trainer Field Test, and passed it with flying colors.”

    Christina looked off to one side. “Well, not exactly how you describe it, but yes I did pass.”

    “And then you went back to the Emerald Forest, where you found a treehouse of sorts. And that’s where you’ve been living ever since.” Zakari said. Tina nodded one last time.

    Lily was seen smiling happily, holding Slitheren in her arms. The Snivy looked upward at Lily’s face with an embarrassed look on her own face. “Err, why are you holding me?” she asked.

    The pink-haired girl hugged Slitheren more. “Because you’re sooo cuuute!” She squealed.

    Slitheren looked off to one side, blushing. “Err thanks, I guess...”

    Tina smiled at the two before looking forward again and sighing. “And then a week after I found that house...” The scene flashed white, showing two separate still images zooming out; the first image showing a poacher group roaming about and destroying parts of the Emerald Forest, and the second showing Tina with her scythe brandished alongside her Pokémon confronting the poachers. “That’s when those damn poachers arrived. When they started to attack the forest and its inhabitants. I was the only Trainer that stood against them, with Magus and Gemini by my side.” Afterwards, the scene reverted back to reality. “But I still don’t know what they were trying to accomplish there.”

    “It’s because they wanted to find out where Gemini had fled to.” Scar walked toward Tina and Zak, beginning to speak. “They didn’t know about his devolution. In fact, they didn’t even know at all what species of Pokémon he was.” He looked up towards Zakari. “My guess is that they heard the same rumor I did about Gemini’s location, and attacked all of those Pokémon there in hopes of miraculously finding him.” Scar then tilted his head back down. “It’s for the same reason that other group was chasing me down. Their goal is to eradicate all of my clan from existence, by any means necessary.”

    “So the Scar of Demise is...?” Zak wondered.

    “Yes.” The Zangoose nodded. “That is my codename within my clan.”

    “And that would be the Hacker’s Legion, I suppose?” The Edge Punisher said afterward.

    Scar nodded again in response, closing his eyes. “That red guy. What he said still irks me. Why do they wanna destroy my clan so badly?”

    “......” Zak hummed in thought. Then he sighed. “We can resume this topic another time. Right now...” The Edge Punisher turned towards Pear. “Professor.” The professor replied with a swift hum, standing up himself. “Since Tina wants to journey to this Ageos Shrine, where would the closest Gym be from here?”

    “Hmm...” Pear thought for a second before replying fully. “Well there technically is one over in Cerise City. However, it's been unoccupied for quite a few years, and is rather run down.” Briefly shown on screen was the Gym that Professor Pear was referring to. “But from there, you can go to one of two places. The first is southwest of Cerise City towards Russetton within the Southern Badlands. There resides the Ground- and Fighting-type Gym led by Ronin Yokoi.” As he was speaking, the scene shifted to a split background - the left half being slowly falling sandy ground with what looked to be brown fists flying downward, and the right half being slowly rising metal with small rocky pebbles floating upward. Two silhouettes zoomed out on screen, one on each side. The left one looked like a burly man, while the other one looked like a female miner. “The other would be north to Slate City. Rock- and Steel-type Gym Leader Ashlee Stihl resides there.”

    “I see.” Zakari said softly as the screen reverted back to the break room. “Anything else to note from those two locations?”

    “Southeast of Russetton lies a mysterious cave known as the Prismatic Caverns. Not much is known about the cave, however, as it only recently was formed within the mountain. As for Slate City, the workers there have been mining out coal and other resources from the Slate City Mines. However, due to recent activity within the mines themselves, the operations in the lower floors of those mines have been halted.” The middle-aged, grey-bearded professor paused for a moment, watching the others glance at one another. “I’ll leave it to all of you to decide as a group where to go first.”

    “I see.” Brice said, seemingly thinking. He then raised his head up, and put a smile on his face. “Well I guess we should get going now. To begin our journey across the Ageos region.”

    Pear closed his eyes briefly, nodding with a smile. “Best of luck to all of you. The road ahead will surely be a difficult one.” He said as everyone then proceeded to make their way out of the breakroom. “And uhh Zakari.” The Edge Punisher stops in his tracks, and turned his head towards the professor. “I’d like to speak with you in private please.” As he was saying this, everyone else stopped and looked at either Pear or Zak before leaving the room proper.

    As Zakari closed the door, he heard the sound of a game screen of some kind popping up nearby. He looked toward Professor Pear, and saw the transparent floating screen left of his head. It showed his level, HP, and MP all as question marks - level having 3, HP having 6, and MP having 5. Zak let out a slightly surprised gasp and expression, but calmed back down after only a couple seconds. “Well, that at least explains the Field Test,” he said.

    The professor smiled at Zakari, closing his eyes. “Surprised?”

    Zak completely faced Professor Pear. “Well, something did seem off about you. Guess I just didn’t pick up on it then.” He paused for a second. “So what did you wanna tell me?”

    Pear then had a stern look on his face. “I’ve listened to everything that Scar had told us. From what he was saying, a Skarmory known as Bladestorm, who is a member of the Hacker’s Legion clan that Scar and Gemini are a part of, may have been possessed by these poachers.” The Edge Punisher just stared at Professor Pear. The professor closed his eyes very briefly. “I’m telling you this, because there is a Quest issued by the Russetton Police Department that has gone unattempted for a while now. It states that a rampaging Skarmory has been attacking Russetton on numerous occasions, destroying various parts of the town. That Skarmory may very well be this Bladestorm fellow that Scar mentioned.”

    “So in short, what you’re saying is that it’s in our best interest to head to Russetton first,” Zak asked. Pear responded with a simple nod, leading Zak to close his eyes briefly and turn and walk towards the door. “Well I guess we have our work cut out for us then.”

    “Be careful, Harudyne.” Pear said, Zak halting and turning his head towards him. “Since your level’s been reset, you may not be strong enough to take on certain challenges ahead of you.” Pear then smiled at the brunette. “But then, when has that ever stopped the Beast Fangs?”

    Zakari grinned, chuckling happily. He then walked out of the break room, closing the door behind him.

    Meanwhile, everyone else was outside the lab, near the front door. Tina and Chris were against the wall on opposite sides of the door, whereas everyone else was sitting on the dirt road. Then the front door opened up, Zakari walking out. Everyone turned around to face him, Chris and Tina both humming. “Must’ve been important to keep you that long.” The purple-garbed boy said to him. “So, where to?”

    Zak gave a quick response, not even turning around towards Chris. “We’re heading to Russetton.”

    Tina let out a surprised hum. “That was fast,” she said. “For what reason?”

    The Edge Punisher smiled towards Tina. “I just have a hunch that something will happen when we get there, that’s all.” He said.

    Brice sighed, smiling as he got up. “Well I guess that’s better than nothing.” After he brushed the dirt off of the end of his cape, he dropped his smile and looked towards Zakari. [What was Pear telling you, Zak?] he thought.

    Everyone else also got up from off the ground, brushing themselves off. “So, we all ready?” Zak asked. Everyone else except Tina nodded.

    Tina, on the other hand, sighed as she got off the wall she was against. “I guess I’ll tag along with you for now. But only because Pear wants me to, ok?” She was glaring at the Edge Punisher with a serious expression on her face. “If whatever he told me doesn’t happen, I’m leaving and journeying by myself, are we clear?”

    Zak chuckled. “Alright, alright,” he replied to her. “But let’s not get that far ahead of ourselves just yet.” The group then all proceeded to walk westward.

    . . .

    After a few seconds of walking, everyone began to see what looked to be a city in the distance. “Hey Zak.” Suddenly, Zakari, with Slitheren asleep on his right shoulder, looked back and saw Magus hop onto his left shoulder and sit down on it. “Can I ask you something?”

    Zak looked a bit surprised at Magus. “Sure, go ahead,” he told him.

    After a brief silence, the Treecko opened his mouth. “Can you explain to me what you know about Tina?” he asked the Edge Punisher. “She keeps telling you guys that she’s “not her”. I wanna know what she means by that.”

    Zak then glanced back at Tina for a moment. She appeared to have her head tilted down, thinking to herself. Then he looked toward Magus. “Alright,” he responded, his voice lowered. “But don’t tell her I’m saying this, got it? Judging by her previous reactions, she won’t take it kindly if you do.”

    Magus glanced over at Tina nervously before nodding. “I copy.”

    A brief silence was had as Zakari closed his eyes for a second. “She’s the fourth and final member of our PKK group,” he began. “Christina Warren, the Legendary Flick Reaper.”

    The Treecko just stared at Zak with an amazed look on his face. “So that scythe she wields is--” He stopped speaking abruptly.

    Zak nodded, smiling. “Mmhmm. The Shorai no Kama, also known as the Future Scythe. It’s a multi-bladed scythe with a chain attached to it for yoyo purposes. The weapon’s blades can also be applied in any way through Tina’s mind.” The Edge Punisher paused his speech for a second. “However, from what Brice has told me, she seems to have forgotten how she uses it. Among other things.” Magus looked shocked; he didn’t know that his Trainer was something more than what she thought she was. “I’m confident that her memories weren’t lost, but instead altered. If she had actual amnesia, I’m sure she would have a different personality. But she’s been acting relatively the same as she used to before the memory alteration.”

    “If you say that, then why did she scold me back there?” Magus asked in a surprised tone. “You asked her to perform a follow-up attack, and she acted like she didn’t hear you at all.”

    Zakari was silent for a couple seconds, thinking. “If I had to guess, I’d say she scolded you because she doesn’t like the idea of anyone but her giving orders to herself or her Pokémon.”

    “Hmm, I see...” Magus said. “Well, thanks.”

    “Heh, no problem.” Zak smiled at Magus.

    Then, the group all saw the city in front of them - Cerise City. It looked like a very well-traveled and prosperous location, well known for friendly citizens that help neighbors out of difficult situations, and even strangers from time to time. The place was also fairly rural for the most part, with the houses looking very similar to the ones that Zak and Chris saw in Shire Town. However, there was also a decently sized commercial district, where the Pokémon Center and Mart stood next to each other. Seen on the north end of town was the run-down, abandoned Gym that Pear mentioned. Lastly, the location also had a herb shop, which sold rather questionable recovery items. The items shown looked cheap and potent, but were advertised to have side effects. However, it appeared they were being sold in price alone.

    . . .

    After a few minutes of exploring the city proper, Zak and the group were seen inside the Pokémon Center in front of the Notice Board. On this board were four individual pieces of paper with a writing style on them that was familiar to Zak, Chris, and Slitheren. Alongside them was the one they saw back in Shire Town.

    Avalon Rout
    Petitioner: Prof. Pear
    Type: Domain
    Bounty: Regional starter of your choice
    Quest Level: [][]
    Description: Some ornery Rock-types have established a Domain north of Slate City, on Route 9. This Domain is blocking the way to Avalon Bay, blocking the trade route northeast. A rare starter Pokémon is up for grabs--this Quest is perfect for indecisive Trainers!

    Metal Monster Mayhem!
    Petitioner: Tamara Jenny, Russetton Police Chief
    Type: Hunt/Capture
    Bounty: TM43 Flame Charge, ћ8,000
    Quest Level: [][]
    Description: A giant Skarmory, estimated to be around eight feet tall, is wreaking havoc on the town, terrorizing residents and causing damage to public property. Could we have a brave Trainer track this Skarmory down and hunt it?

    Mining Melancholy
    Petitioner: Ken Lesko, Slate City Mines Supervisor
    Type: Capture/Rescue
    Bounty: ћ6,000
    Quest Level: [][]
    Description: Two of my team members, Darren and Joshua Rasla, have been captured by Team Rocket during regular operations. Company security has not found them yet. Looking to hire outside assistance. Bonus for apprehending Team Rocket members in charge of operation.

    Delving Deeper
    Petitioner: Ken Lesko, Slate City Mines Supervisor
    Type: Domain
    Bounty: ћ40,000
    Quest Level: [][][][][][][][]
    Description: A fiendishly-powerful Lucario has established a Domain on the lowest level of the Slate City Mines, and has already taken the lives of many workers. Operations on the lower level have been suspended, and we have been having difficulty meeting demand because of it. Looking for an exceptional Trainer to slay it.

    The Edge Punisher took out his Pokédex, and held it in front of the Notice Board. “Quest data registered,” it chirped.

    “That’s a lot of Quests there.” Zakari said, looking back at the Notice Board after putting away his Pokédex. “On top of the one Chris and I saw over at Shire Town, that makes five.” Zakari began to stare at the piece of paper that contained the Metal Monster Mayhem Quest. He then recalled what the professor told him before they left. [Was this the Quest that Professor Pear was telling me about?]

    Chris looked a little surprised after reading one of the quests’ description. “What’s this “Team Rocket” group?” he asked.

    “They’re an evil organization whose main focus is stealing or capturing all kinds of Pokémon, and then selling them off for profit.” Tina explained. “Essentially they’re the PokeMafia.”

    “...” Zak and the others were silent. “I don’t think we’re anywhere close to prepared to take them on yet,” Zak then said. “I mean, we only have one Pokémon each. Besides, right now we have other objectives to tend to.”

    Tina sighed, and looked up at the Center’s ceiling as the scene shifted to a sunny sky. “Yeah, you’re right.”

    . . .

    After a couple minutes, everyone was seen walking down a similar dirt road. They were walking down Route 2, a much more expansive grassland than Route 1 was. Despite there not being much tall grass in this place, the wildlife appeared to be more diverse, the plains home to many different types of Pokémon. The walk overall was pretty quiet, nobody speaking up to try and start a conversation. Just then, however, everyone heard a slight rustle from their right. Tina looked a bit alarmed. Then two different Pokémon ran out of the bushes in front of them. One of them was an equine creature with yellow and reddish-orange flames forming its mane and tail, which grew out about an hour after hatching; and a cream-colored body with four legs, each ending in a single, gray hoof that was said to be harder than diamonds. The other was a black, zebra-like creature with thick, double-pointed white stripes on its neck, chest, back, and hind legs; a rounded muzzle with a large, dark nose and oval, blue eyes with yellow sclera; short, triangular ears with blue insides on top of its head; white legs with black hooves under its knees; stubby, white tail with two points; spiky, white name running up its neck, which culminates at the front in a long extension that resembles a lightning bolt.

    “Well, what do we have here?” Tina muttered as she took out her Pokédex and scanned both Pokémon.

    Blitzle, the Electrified Pokémon. Blitzle catches electricity and stores it in its mane, which glows when the electricity is discharged.

    Ponyta, the Fire Horse Pokémon. Its mane is made of intense flames.

    Slitheren, who walked on foot instead of being on Zak’s shoulder, noticed the Blitzle eying the group while the Ponyta looked around itself. “Why does that Blitzle keep staring at us?” she asked, pointing at the zebra.

    Brice looked at the Blitzle for a couple seconds, noticing the zebra’s eyes electrify. “Maybe it’s curious about one of u--”

    Suddenly, Brice was cut off by the Blitzle attacking with an instantaneous stream of lightning bolts travelling towards and impacting Zakari’s right shoulder and Slitheren’s chest area. Both of them flinched in astonishment from the hit, blood streaming down Zak’s right arm and onto the dirt below him. Everyone else looked at the two, astonished as well.

    “Wha...What the hell?” Zak’s eyes were shaking in pure astonishment, looking down at his wound.

    “That...” Tina spoke, but didn’t know how to word her sentence. Then she spoke again, her tone surprised. “That was a Shock Wave. I-I didn’t even see it.”

    “Neither did I,” Brice replied, also with a surprised tone.

    Chris, who was more amazed than anything, looked at Zakari and Slitheren’s damage for a couple seconds. He then directed his attention at the Blitzle, in awe of its power. He decided to slowly walk towards the zebra, everyone else looking at him weirdly. Tina growled softly. [What’s he doing? That Blitzle might attack again,] she thought to herself.

    The Blitzle, however, was just standing still, staring back at Chris. The Ponyta, on the other hand, ran away once Chris got close. Surprisingly, nobody noticed this, as they were too focused on Chris and the Blitzle. “Hey there buddy.” The purple-garbed boy said, smiling and kneeling down in front of the zebra. He then began to pet the Blitzle’s back, but was zapped by the electricity sparking around it. “Ow!” he reacted, pulling his hand back. Everyone saw the electricity around the Blitzle’s entire body. “H-Hey relax, we’re not here to harm you or anything,” he told the Blitzle. It then lowered its guard, the electricity vanishing. “How ‘bout this?” Chris took out a Poké Ball from his waist. “Why don’t you join us on our journey?” After a couple seconds, the zebra nodded at Chris, who then almost tapped it with the Poké Ball.

    But he stopped right before its head. “Ah. You don’t have a name, do you?” he asked it as he took out his Pokédex to scan the Blitzle. It nodded, the scan finished. [It’s a girl,] Chris thought, looking at the scan results. After a couple seconds of thinking, he managed to come up with a name. “...What about Marisa?”

    The female Blitzle nodded happily, greatly liking its new name. Chris then bopped it on the head with the Poké Ball that he was still holding in his hand. The Ball’s glow didn’t even flash, instead dimming instantly.

    Everyone then looked in front of them to finally notice that the Ponyta wasn’t there anymore. “Huh? Where’d the Ponyta go?” Tina asked.

    “Guess it was afraid of us,” Chris answered nervously. Meanwhile, Lily was healing the wounds Zakari and Slitheren had both suffered from Marisa’s Shock Wave with her Lao Repth spell.

    “Feel better?” she asked.

    “Yeah. Thanks sis,” he replied, exercising his now healed right arm. Slitheren, on the other hand, stretched out her entire body for a bit.

    The group then all continued their journey down Route 2.

    . . .

    Before long, Zak, Lily, Brice, Tina, Chris, and Slitheren had traversed the rest of Route 2 and most of Route 3 with no other interruptions. The northern half of Route 3, shown by several panning shots of the area, was a transition area. In the north and east corners of the two combined routes, the grasslands were fertile and bountiful, whereas in the south and west corners, there weren’t any grasslands to speak of. Rather, there were numerous rocky outcroppings and rough terrain. However, there was a small pond nearby that a couple different water Pokémon swam in. None of them came out to visit the group, however.

    After a bit more walking, they reached the entrance to a desert opening. The place, from what they all could see, was full of more rocky outcroppings and rough terrain than Route 3 ever had. The area was also well known for often having spectacular color displays alternating from dark blue to bright red. The sun’s rays were also brighter than usual in this place, being that it was predominantly a desert-type area. “So this is the Southern Badlands,” Tina said, tugging lightly at her shirt’s collar. “Jeez, it’s hot out here.” Everyone else seemed to agree with her.

    They decided to enter the Southern Badlands proper, walking southward and looking around at the scenery it had to offer. After a bit of walking, they all noticed an opening in the mountain in front of them. “Huh? What is that place?” Brice asked, pointing at the opening.

    “I think the professor called it the Prismatic Caverns.” Tina said, pushing her glasses up a bit. “He did say not much is known about the place.”

    Zak was smirking when looking at the opening. “I guess we can explore it another time,” he said.

    “Ah. That must be Russetton!” Lily exclaimed, grabbing everyone’s attention. She was pointing towards a very western-style location.

    “Heh. Not what I was expecting honestly.” The Edge Punisher said, everyone walking towards the town.

    As the party entered Russetton, they instantly noticed the wide walkway between the two rows of houses. The general decor of the town as a whole was very Western, with the only three modern buildings being the Pokémon Center, Mart, and Gym. There was also, per most Western locations, a saloon that people went to to drink away whatever sorrows or hardships they experienced for a time. “So this is Russetton.” Brice said, amazed and excited. “This place is amazing.”

    “Don’t go too crazy here, eh cowboy?” Zakari jabbed at the Steam Gunner’s various cowboyish tendencies.

    Brice let out a surprised “ehh?” sound. He then had a troubled smile on his face as he scratched the back of his head. “I’ll try not to, hehe.”

    While Zak and the others were looking around at the town’s multiple houses, they noticed that the townsfolk all looked rather afraid of something. “These people look awfully scared.” Lily commented.

    “I don’t blame them. What with that rampaging Skarmory constantly harassing them,” Slitheren replied.

    Suddenly, without warning, everyone in the town heard a sharp and vibrating roar from the distance, growing louder every millisecond. “!!” Everyone stopped walking and looked up behind them, and saw a small bird-like figure that gradually grew bigger as it flew closer. As the camera transitioned over to a closer shot at the Pokémon, what was shown was a silver-gray, avian creature with a long, metallic blue neck, legs and tail; yellow eyes; a pointed beak with several pointed teeth; a triangular crest on its head; red feathers under the sheaths that cover its sharp yet hollow wings, each feather able to move independently; three toes on each of its two feet, two in front and one in back; and hooked ends on its tail.

    As the metal creature flew over Russetton, a strong gust of wind was felt by everyone, their hair flying in the direction the creature flew towards. “What the hell? These winds...they’re strong!” Brice grunted out, trying his best along with everyone else to fight the winds trying to push them back. Eventually the winds calmed back down, but then they heard the creature’s roar again, this time almost ear-piercing. The creature flew over one of the buildings at the weft side of town, firing a breath of strong wind gusts at the tallest building. As it was hit, the building came crumbling down, a fire erupting from its collision with the ground. All of the townsfolk were screaming during this chain of events.

    The group’s mouths all gaped open in shock at the metal bird’s destructive power. None of them could’ve predicted it to be this strong. As the avian flew off in the distance, the townsfolk ran into their homes in fear. At the same time, the police force came out with multiple large buckets, all full of water, in an attempt to put out the fire. “Holy shit...What do we do...?” Chris spoke in a terrified tone. “What can we do against that kind of power...?”

    “So that’s Bladestorm...” Zakari muttered, the camera zooming in on the destroyed building. “His power is...unbelieveable.”

    . . .

    Next scene, Zak and the party were inside the Pokémon Center, with Scar out to join them. “Dammit...” He didn’t appear to be too happy. “So that poacher was right after all. They got Bladestorm...”

    “I never thought that he would be that strong...” Chris said, still a bit shaken by the event.

    “None of us did,” Tina told him afterward, looking down at her open left hand with a slightly depressed expression on her face. “We knew nothing about that Skarmory’s strength.”

    Lily was looking at the Notice Board, her Pokédex in her hand from her reading Skarmory’s dex entry. There was only one new piece of paper aside from the ones they had seen in the previous towns.

    Absol-ute Disaster

    Petitioner: Mary Sutton, Harlequin Rangers' Guild
    Type: Domain
    Bounty: Lot of 20 Apricorns, ћ10,000
    Quest Level: [][][]
    Description: A rogue Absol has set up a Domain on East Myrtle Highroad, east of town, and is heavily restricting traffic to and from Harlequin City. Could we have a brave Trainer rout these hostile Pokémon? Expect a lot of Dark-Shifted Pokémon due to the Absol's Domain influencing local wildlife.

    Zakari decided to pull up his game menu in order to take a look at his character profile. When he did, however, he noticed one thing - the Log Out button was no longer greyed out. He let out a surprised gasp, and his expression matched it.

    Chris looked concerned as he faced the Edge Punisher. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

    Zak then looked towards Lily and Brice. “We can finally Log Out again,” he said, still surprised. “But...why now?”

    “Hmm? What do you mean?” Brice was confused as to what he was talking about when he said “now”.

    “That’s right,” Chris said, a surprised expression forming on his face. A flashback played of him and Zak being back in Shire Town’s Pokémon Center, with Zak looking at his game menu. “I remember you trying to Log Out back in Shire Town, and being unsuccessful.” The scene then reverted back to Russetton’s Pokémon Center. “It is odd that the world is letting you Log Out now of all times.” His eyes turned towards the front door. “Especially when we’ve come into contact with the rampaging Skarmory known as Bladestorm.”

    Zak’s eyes were looking over at Chris, the sequence of events involving Bladestorm playing in his head. Afterwards, he turned back towards his game screen, taking out Slitheren’s Poké Ball and recalling her into it. Lily did the same with Scar before she and Brice brought up their game menus. “Well, I don’t know when we’ll come back,” Zak said. “If you two wanna head out and go your separate ways, we won’t hold it against you.”

    “Nah. Not yet.” Tina replied, her arms crossed as she was now sitting down. “That Skarmory is something I wanna take care of before I split from you guys.” She closed her eyes. “I guess that’ll be enough to fulfill the professor’s request.”

    The Edge Punisher stared at Tina after she said this. [Tina...] he thought in his head. Then Zakari put a smile on his face. “Well, we’ll be back. You two take care, alright?” He told Tina and Chris, both of them responding with a nod.

    Then the Edge Punisher, his sister, and their best friend all tapped the Log Out button, many transparent data bits of varying sizes appearing around and consuming their bodies. Zakari, during this Log Out process, turned towards Chris and Tina one more time, and waved at the two with the same smile he had. “Later.” The screen then flashed completely white.
    #4 Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
    Sonic Ramon likes this.
  5. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 5: Ageosian

    A shot was shown of a completely white background, and several slightly thick lines of various colors zooming outward towards the center. After all of the lines completely vanished, a room’s completely tan-colored ceiling was seen fading into view. On a twin-sized bed, a young boy with straight brown hair that was slightly shorter than shoulder-length was seen wearing some sort of headset. “Nn...Nnnnn...nngh...” The boy slowly opened his eyes, beginning to wake up from what appeared to be a session of playing a virtual reality game. He wore a light brown sweater, light khaki jeans, and regular white socks. As he opened his eyes, he also slowly raised his upper body. “What...What time is it...?” he muttered, shaking his head a bit with his left hand on his forehead. After a couple seconds, the boy grabbed his headset, slowly pulled it off of his head, and put it in its case on the end table next to his bed. The case had the words NerveVisor v2.0 on it. He then got up off of his bed, grabbed the case, and put it inside the top drawer of his dresser, which was next to a window covered by blinders.

    The boy walked over to that window, and put two of his left hand’s fingers in between two of the blinders, and widened the space between them. The brown-haired boy looked through the space, and saw the bright outdoors - a cul-de-sac area with two other houses living around it. The boy looked over at his alarm clock on the end table. It showed the time along with the date. 11:47AM on November 6th, 2011. “Huh...Guess it's still morning...barely though, it's almost noon.” The boy said as he walked back over to his dresser, and picked up a pair of glasses. As he put them on, an ID card was seen on the dresser. It showed a picture of the brown-haired boy, with the name Zakari Harudyne above it. “...Guess I was only playing for about an hour and a half this morning...I thought it would've been longer than that.” He looked at his open left hand. “Maybe...time flows in Ageos the same way it does outside of town in The World R:2.”

    After a second of silence, Zakari sighed and looked towards his room’s door. "I guess I should see if sis is awake yet." Zak walked towards and out the door, closing it behind him. He then walked into the room opposite of his, one that had no door. The room’s interior was orange walls, two different Pokémon posters hanging up on them, a normal wooden dresser with several different gaming-related small figurines, and a one-person bed. Laying on that bed was a girl with long pink hair, short-sleeved pink shirt, white running pants with pink stripes on the outer legs, and regular white socks. She appeared to be sitting up on her bed. “Hey sis, you awake yet?” Zak said as soon as he popped his head into her room. Upon seeing Lily sitting up, he smiled. “I’ll take that as a yes.” Zak turned around, motioning his left hand towards Lily to come with him. “Come on, let's go make lunch. I'm starting to feel hungry.” The pink-haired girl nodded in response.

    . . .

    After the two of them had finished their lunches, with only bread and chip crumbs being left on their paper plates, Zak stretched his arms outward. The dining room they were sitting in had two different exits, one leading into the living room, the other leading into the kitchen. The dining room itself also had a window, and several wooden shelves holding different types of wine glasses. “Thanks for lunch, sis.” He said after he finished stretching. Lily smiled and giggled as a response to him.

    After that, the two heard the front door’s doorbell. After which, the two looked towards the door. A couple seconds later, they heard knocking. “Hey guys! It’s me!” They heard a somewhat familiar voice from the other side of the door.

    Zak and Lily then looked at each other, giggling as they thought up an idea. The two stood in front of the front door, and started screwing off the doorknob. They were also trying to make sounds resembling trying to turn the knob. “S-Sorry Brice, the door’s lock seems to be broken,” Lily exclaimed, the doorknob completely unscrewed. “You’re gonna have to ram the door down if you wanna get in.” The two giggled softly afterward.

    “Do you really take me for a fool?” The voice, whom Lily called Brice, exclaimed. “Come on, I know the lock isn’t actually broken.” On the other side of the door, a boy was seen trying to turn the doorknob to open the door, but was unsuccessful. The boy had shorter than shoulder-length yellow hair that curled halfway upward at the end, with a small hair strand at the top curling upwards, and was wearing a long-sleeved baby blue shirt and khaki jeans, along with grey sneakers. He sighed. “I know you’re keeping the door locked just to try and fool me.” Brice then took out a broken off piece of a slim metal coat hanger, and attempted to pick the lock open. Unfortunately, however, that too proved to be unsuccessful for him. He had a confused look on his face. “Is it actually broken?” He scratched his head, and began to think. “Hmm...I guess you guys do have a back door to go through, in case something like this were to happen. So maybe your parents are going out not only to get groceries, but to also find a way to fix this broken lock.”

    While Brice was deep in thought, Zak and Lily secretly screwed the doorknob back onto the door. And after a couple more seconds, the yellow-haired boy sighed to himself. “I guess it really is broken.” Brice took a couple steps back, getting against the wooden railing behind him. “Well, get ready. Here I come!” Brice then began running towards the door, his right shoulder in front. But as soon as he began to run, the front door opened, showing Zakari toss a small pillow straight as Brice’s head. The result was the yellow-haired boy stumbling back against the railing, and falling over it onto the empty flower bed below.

    Zak and Lily were laughing hysterically at him. “Go-tcha-!” Lily exclaimed in laughter.

    “God...dammit...I knew it was a prank...” Brice grunted in pain.

    . . .

    After five or so minutes of Zak and Lily recovering from their laughing fit, and Brice recovering from his back pain, the three sat down at the wooden table outside in the backyard, which was just a big, fenced in patch of grass. Zakari and Lily sat on the right bench, while Brice sat on the left. "So. I'm going to ask you straight,” Brice began, a stern look on his face. “What did Professor Pear wanna tell you?"

    The brunette looked surprised, but then calmed his expression and closed his eyes briefly before speaking. “The Quest we're about to do, Metal Monster Mayhem. He thinks the rampaging Skarmory we saw in Russetton before we Logged Out is Bladestorm.” He closed his eyes again. “Sure enough, he was right.”

    Brice sighed. "So it wasn’t a coincidence we went there to Russetton.” He paused for half a second. “I guess with that, he also told you he was one of Ageos’ admins, didn’t he?”

    Zak scratched the back of his head. “Well not really tell me, more so show me.” He then was in a thinking pose. “It does raise some questions about what the world of Ageos really is.” He closed his eyes briefly, and then looked up at Brice. “Either way, we need to come up with a plan to free Bladestorm.”

    “Well we know that we’re heavily outpowered by that Skarmory,” the yellow-haired boy said, beginning to think. “And even though Chris recently caught Marisa, I doubt that’ll be enough to bring it down to its knees.” Then, several images were shown of the Skarmory destroying various buildings in Russetton. “Not only that, but if we are to go by the Quest’s description alone, then it’s almost certain that Bladestorm has been attacking Russetton numerous times now. Meaning that most likely he’s built up some sort of fire resistance.”

    “We should bank on him having that fire resistance, and focus on taking him down with electricity.” The brunette said sternly. He eased his expression afterward and sighed. “To be perfectly honest, it’s our only realistic way of beating him.” Lily and Brice stared at him. They too realized that this wasn’t just The World R:2 anymore, and that having multiple alternatives for victory wasn’t as easy. Zak then broke the silence and from his thought. “Alright. Here’s the plan.” The camera shifted outward as the three discussed Zak’s plan over the next couple minutes.

    . . .

    Around mid-evening, the trio were playing video games in Zakari’s room. Predominantly Super Smash Bros. Melee, though they also played a little bit of Kirby Air Ride. Suddenly, the three heard the front door unlock and open. “We’re home!” They all heard a woman’s voice coming from downstairs.

    “Care to help bring in the groceries?” A man’s voice was heard next.

    The brunette sighed, turning off his GameCube. “Guess we’d better help them out. I’d rather avoid getting scolded if at all possible,” Zak said in an annoyed tone. Lily also sighed, the three heading downstairs to help bring the groceries on.

    Outside, a middle-aged man with a mohawk, a blue tank top under a black unzipped hoodie, grey shorts, and black sneakers was carrying in 5 bags total - 3 in his left hand, and 2 in his right. He noticed the three coming outside. “Yoo Brice! How’s it hangin’?” he hollered out at the yellow-haired boy. “We brought McDonald’s home for dinner. Figured none of you would want to make your own dinner. We know we don’t.” He then said to all three.

    “Thanks Barry,” Zak and Lily exclaimed.

    Brice, on the other hand, had a nervous expression on his face. “I should probably let my parents know that I’m having dinner here. They’re thinking I’ll be back home by the time they start cooking,” he said.

    . . .

    After bringing in all of the groceries, putting them away, and eating dinner, everyone began cleaning up. “Thanks for dinner, Ms. Chezna!” Brice exclaimed. “But I gotta head home now.” He then made his way out the front door. “Bye!” he yelled out.

    Afterwards, the others cleaned up, and headed into their rooms for the night. Over the next couple hours, Zak and Lily were surfing the web on their laptops before calling it a night and going to sleep.

    . . .

    The next morning. The alarm clock in Zakari’s room read 9:43AM. He appeared to be waking up, just in time to hear his mom’s voice from downstairs. “We’re heading to your Aunt Sharon’s house for the day. You two have fun!” she exclaimed. Then the front door opened and closed back over a couple seconds.

    Zak then fully woke up, stretching his arms upward and yawning. “Guess we have the entire house to ourselves for the whole weekend,” he said, grabbing a pair of socks from his dresser and putting them on. “Not that I’m complaining; we’ll need all the free time we can get if we wanna escape Ageos.”

    After putting on his socks, he proceeded to head downstairs. But just as he exited his room and closed the door behind him, he heard his phone’s ringtone. Zak remembered that he never took his phone out from his pants pocket last night after he put it in there. The brunette took out his phone, and opened it. The number that was calling him wasn’t shown at all. Zak decided to answer it anyway. “Hello?” he said.

    “Zakari Harudyne.” The voice Zak heard shocked him. It was a rather dull voice, but somehow he knew Zakari’s full name. “Level 78 Edge Punisher. Leader of the PKK group known by the community as the Beast Fangs, which consists of you, your younger sister Lily Harudyne, your best friend Brice Ravenhold, and the Legendary Flick Reaper, Christina Warren.” The dullness in the person’s voice stayed relatively consistent.

    Zak had a very shocked look on his face. [Who...Who is this guy? And h-how does he know so much about us?] he thought to himself.

    “I go only by one name. The Lawless Raptor, or just Raptor if you prefer.” The person introduced himself, shocking Zak even more.

    “Did...Did you just read my mind?” Zakari said, his voice only slightly shaken.

    “No.” The person, calling himself the Lawless Raptor, replied. “I just assumed that to be your first question. Most people usually ask who the mysterious person on the phone is.”

    [Lawless Raptor...] Zak dwelled on this name for a couple seconds before letting out a deep breath to calm down. “Alright then. How do you know so much about me and my comrades?” he asked next.

    “Simple. I am the GM of the Ageos region. The head of the operation, so to speak.” Raptor replied rather casually. “I guess that in turn makes me one of The World R:2’s staff.”

    “!!” The brunette couldn’t keep himself completely calm. “You mean...you're the ones who trapped us in that world?” he asked further.

    A soft “hmph” was heard from the dull-sounding person. “You’re not completely trapped,” he then answered Zakari’s question. “After all, you made it back into the Real World.”

    “What do you mean by “not completely”?” Zak managed to calm himself back down, now wanting to know more about his and his comrades’ current state.

    “The truth is, only half of your being is held within Ageos. Growing in both strength and intelligence.” Raptor said in his usual dull tone.

    “Growing? What’s that supposed to mean?” The brown-haired boy was astonished. He didn’t know at all what Raptor was referring to.

    “Hm. You'll know relatively soon, Harudyne.” Raptor responded with a dodgy answer.

    Zakari decided to simply take that answer, however, and continue on. “Then answer me this. Why didn’t you let us Log Out sooner?” he asked.

    “You were separated from your group,” the self-proclaimed GM of Ageos responded rather quickly. “It would be in bad taste to let you figure out your comrades’ locations just by Logging Out.” The person paused for a second. “Besides, I’m sure you’ve met one of my co-workers by now.”

    Zak’s expression tensed up slightly. “Lemme guess. Professor Pear?” he answered.

    “Hmph. You make it sound so obvious.” Raptor said, seemingly trying to ease Zakari’s senses a bit. “The next Bladestorm attack will occur soon. You should prepare yourselves for the upcoming battle.”

    [What? In Ageos? Did 11 days already pass there?] Zak thought to himself, slightly panicking. [So time really does flow the same way.]

    Another soft “hmph” was heard from Raptor. “I’m sure you can do it. After all, the Beast Fangs are no stranger to a challenge like this.” After he said this, Raptor hung up, leaving Zakari to process the entire conversation.

    “...” The brunette was silent as he put his phone back into his pocket. “So we really are trapped in Ageos, even if only halfway.” He began to look at his open left hand, in thought. “But what else does that mean fo--” Suddenly, he stopped talking, and his expression turned to one of pure shock and terror. Then, he felt a pain like no other. He didn’t know exactly what he was feeling, but he did know that the pain was in his head. Both of his hands were held around his head, Zak falling to his knees. After a few seconds of experiencing the pain, it dissipated entirely. Zak couldn’t feel any pain anymore. “What...What was that...?” he muttered to himself, dropping his hands back down to his side. “What was that...pain just now...?” He rose his left arm back up a bit, looking down on his open hand. His eyes’ pupils were twitching in shock. “And why do I feel...different?”

    “Big bro? A-Are you okay?” Suddenly, he heard his sister’s voice from his left. He looked over to see Lily standing up over him, her right hand on her forehead.

    “Yeah...I think.” Zak said softly, looking back down in front of him. His eyes looked back over at Lily. “I’m guessing the same thing happened to you?” He saw Lily nodding in response. Then he closed his eyes and sighed, reopening his eyes afterward. “Then I guess it happened to Brice as well.”

    The pink-haired girl looked a bit surprised. “What’s going on?” Lily asked.

    “I’ll explain once we Log back in.” Zakari told his sister as he was standing back up. After he stood up, he took his phone back out, and started tapping keys. What was then shown was him texting a message to what looked to be Brice’s cell. The message read ‘I’m sure you felt pain as well. Log In to Ageos, I’ll explain everything when we arrive.’ Then he put his phone back in his pocket, looking towards Lily. “Come on, let’s get back in there.” Lily nodded, and walked back over to her bed.

    Zak then went back into his room. Next scene, Zak was seen with his NerveVisor v2.0 on. He closed his eyes slowly, the setting slowly turning to black. He then exclaimed a particular phrase. “Link. Start!”

    . . .

    Over in the lobby of Russetton’s Pokémon Center, Tina was sitting down in one of the chairs, her left hand on her forehead. Chris was standing up against the wall to her right. Suddenly, the two noticed three sets of green rings appear on the opposite side of the room. Then the sets of rings travelled downward, materializing Zakari, Lily, and Brice.

    “Oh hey, you’re back.” Tina said in a rather dull tone.

    Zak noticed Tina’s hand on her forehead, as well as Chris’ slightly pained expression. “I guess it happened to all five of us,” he said.

    Tina and Chris both nodded in response. Brice then walked up a couple steps, turning his head towards the Edge Punisher. “Hey Zak, you said you would explain this once we Logged In.” He said.

    Zakari nodded. “I did.” He then walked forward two steps, stopped, and turned to his left. “I got a phone call earlier before Lily woke up. It was from someone who proclaimed himself to be the GM of this world. Raptor was his name.” He was slowly turning his head to look over at Lily and Brice, and at Chris and Tina while speaking. “He seemed to know who I was. My name, my class level, even my connections to all of you.”

    “Alright.” Chris widened his eyes a bit. "What else did he say?” he asked.

    Zak closed his eyes for a second. “Turns out, we’re half-trapped in this world.” Lily and Brice gasped in shock, initially unable to believe what they had just heard. Zak continued. “More specifically, half of our beings are trapped in this world, while the other half can still freely return to and from the Real World.” He paused for another second. “This self-proclaimed GM was explaining all of this to me before hanging up. And then, well...the pain occurred.” The Edge Punisher stared down at his left hand. “I still don’t know what the pain was. Or considering our current state, what it did to our genetics.”

    Brice had a look of shock on his face. “Wait, are you saying--” He stopped.

    Zak shook his head. “I can’t confirm yet whether or not our genetics were indeed affected.” He then rose his head back up with a determined look on his face. “Besides, we have bigger things to worry about.”

    “We haven’t heard the rampaging Skarmory at all over the past 12 days of staying here,” Tina spoke up, beginning to stand up. Her eyes glanced over to her left side. “I’m beginning to grow worried of when he’ll strike.”

    “Yeah. That’s the other thing he was telling me about.” Zak said. “Bladestorm’s going to attack today.” The Edge Punisher turned his head slightly toward Tina and Chris, looking over at the two. “I take it while we’ve been gone that you two were training?”

    Chris nodded, humming slightly. Tina, on the other hand, lied still. “Yeah,” she then replied. “We’ve been training day in and day out, with the desire to bring down Bladestorm.” The girl sighed, tilting her head down towards the floor and closing her eyes. “I can’t believe I got myself into this. But I guess I’m here, so...”

    Zakari stared at Tina, seemingly thinking to himself. Suddenly, however, they all heard a familiar roar in the distance. The group all looked towards the door, recognizing the roar as that of the rampaging Skarmory. “Let’s go,” Zak said.

    . . .

    Outside, the rampaging Skarmory was nowhere to be seen. Despite this, the citizens still tried to leave town however they could. The Pokémon Center’s front door then opened, Zakari and the rest of the group walking out. “Hey!” When they exited, however, their attention was grabbed by a nearby police officer. He wore the traditional police uniform - blue short-sleeved buttoned shirt with two chest pockets, white gloves, and black khaki pants. “What are you doing out here? It’s not safe! Go back inside, please!” The officer was motioning his arms and hands, trying to persuade the group to re-enter the Pokémon Center.

    Instead, however, all of them turned towards the officer. “Hold on a second,” The Edge Punisher told him in a stern tone. “We’re here to take down that Skarmory for the Metal Monster Mayhem quest posted by this place’s police department.”

    “No, you can’t! You’ll die!” The police officer exclaimed in distress. “That Skarmory is too powerful. None of the Trainers that tried fighting it made it out alive! I doubt you lot will be any different.”

    Zak closed his eyes. [Well then, I guess I’ll have to put him in his place.] He thought to himself, reopening his eyes after he finished. “With all due respect sir.” He then began to speak to the officer. “But from my understanding, this Quest has gone completely unattended ever since it got posted. Meaning that up until now, there wasn’t even a single Trainer that came to your aid, period.” Both Tina and the officer had a look of shock, both of them also gasping.

    [He caught the officer’s lie!] Tina exclaimed in thought.

    Zak continued. “That also means that this town’s police department, you included, has been left to themselves to fight off the Skarmory. And so far, you’ve proven yourselves to be unsuccessful.” Zakari leaned his upper body forward, his head very close to the officer’s. “So considering all of this, I’d suggest that you let us handle this. Because I don’t think turning down help on a crisis such as this would look good on anyone’s track record, much less a police department’s.” Zakari then straightened his body back up.

    The brown-haired girl stood there and stared at Zakari in complete shock. The officer, on the other hand, eased his expression and lowered his head in defeat. “...You’re right. I was only trying to do my job here,” he responded in a somber tone. “The truth is, we were only fighting back to buy time until someone took our request. We knew from the very beginning that we didn’t stand a chance at winning. Everything we had faced before was nothing compared to that Skarmory. And it’s only grown more powerful every time we fight it.”

    [That means his fire resistance has gone up. As we had predicted.] Zak thought.

    The police officer then walked around the group, stopping just past them. “If you really insist on fighting that Skarmory, then best of luck. I know now that we can’t change your decision.” The officer turned his head towards the group. “We’ll try and evacuate the townsfolk before he arrives. It’s the least we can do to help.”

    Zak closed his eyes briefly, looking back at the officer. “Thank you,” he replied, then looking back forward. “Because this fight’s gonna get hairy really quickly.”

    . . .

    After a few seconds, the Skarmory was seen flying above Russetton. Zak, Lily, Brice, Tina, Chris, Gemini, and Marisa were all standing out in the middle of the city, ready for battle. “Alright,” Zak said to the others while facing forward. “We may not be the best prepared for him. But that doesn’t mean we can just sit by and let him destroy this place.” He paused for a second. “I doubt words alone will snap Bladestorm out of whatever is controlling him. And truth be told, I’d rather not have Scar get involved in this battle.”

    Gemini nodded. “I agree,” he said. “As strong as he is, I doubt he’d be able to put even a dent into Bladestorm’s metal skin.”

    The Edge Punisher was silent. Then he spoke up once more. “Gemini. Just make sure your output levels stay consistent, alright?”

    Gemini nodded again. “I’ll try.”

    Chris looked over at the Blitzle. “Marisa. You do the same.” He told her, Marisa nodding in response.

    The Skarmory was seen flying in the air, when it heard Zakari’s voice. “Hey bastard!” The Skarmory looked over at Zak and the others, descending and u-turning to land directly in front of them all. After getting a closer look, they all noticed the Skarmory having completely red eyes with thin black reptilian slits in the middle of them. “You’ve caused too much damage for the citizens of this place. Damage that you never wanted to cause in the first place.” Zakari readied his battle stance, his left hand on his sheathed greatsword’s hilt. “We’ll make sure it stops here and now.”

    Chris then noticed a glimmer of yellow light off the corner of his left eye, and looked over to see Marisa Charging electricity. Then, the Blitzle was seen directing all of that electricity into her lightning bolt shaped horn, firing it all in an instant Shock Wave at the Skarmory. The attack landed directly on its left wing, completely covering it in crackling electricity.

    Chris looked shocked. [Incredible. I didn’t think Marisa was this strong,] he thought.

    Zakari was also looking back at Marisa. [She’s not holding back, is she...?] he thought as well. Then, everyone heard the Skarmory’s loud roar, the crackling electricity completely vanishing from the roar’s force. They all redirected their attention to it, Zak also yelling out a battle cry. “Everyone! Burst open and mix!”

    Signaling the true start of the battle, the Edge Punisher began to sprint towards the metallic avian, jumping straight before it and brandishing his Nihilblade.

    “But, we didn’t even plan a strategy yet!” Tina exclaimed.

    Zak spun around counter-clockwise, his position right above the Skarmory’s head. Afterward, he tried swinging at its back, but the sword bounced off completely.

    Bladestorm, in reaction to Zakari’s attack, turned his head towards him, and then turned his body towards him as well. As soon as this happened, the Skarmory began to run toward him, while the Edge Punisher was still in mid-air. He noticed Gemini in the distance readying an electric attack, and as soon as he landed on the ground, dashed to his left.

    As the Skarmory preemptively stopped his run, Gemini’s attack was ready to fire. [Forgive me, Bladestorm.] The Mareep thought before yelling out “Charge Beam!” He fired a rather slim electrical beam straight at Bladestorm’s right wing. While he did flinch for a second, the Skarmory quickly shrugged off the attack.

    “What? That attack barely fazed him.” Chris said, astonished. “What is this guy made of?”

    Gemini made a nervous grunting face. [I guess I forgot how durable he really is,] he thought. His eyes were then directed towards the Blitzle. [Marisa doesn’t know who Bladestorm is. To her, he’s just a rampaging Skarmory. Therefore, she doesn’t have to show any amount of restraint. And as such, she managed to damage him quite a bit.]

    Meanwhile, Lily was busy preemptively readying two different magic spells through her Crystal Bow. Afterwards, she readied an arrow into her bow. “Dek Vorv!” She yelled out, releasing the arrow as it flew towards Bladestorm. Upon impact, the arrow completely shattered, the Skarmory feeling his physical defense decrease. The avian’s eyes, in response, glanced over at Lily as she readied a second arrow. “Dek Corv!” After firing the second arrow, it almost immediately impacted the Skarmory and shattered. The Skarmory then also felt his physical attack decrease.

    Bladestorm then fully turned his head towards the pink-haired Adept Rogue. Then she noticed his eyes starting to flicker between the possessed red and his natural yellow-green. [? Why are his eyes flickering like that?] Lily thought.

    Zak, instead just noticing Bladestorm standing still, decided to take this opportunity to run up to him while sheathing his weapon, and hop up over the bird’s body. Then, just before he landed in front of the Skarmory, Zak banged his left knee against the left side of Bladestorm’s face. As he flinched, his eyes stopped flickering, retaining their red color. Afterwards, the avian turned his head towards the Edge Punisher once more, attempting to bite him in two with a Metal Fang. Zakari predicted this, and grabbed both the upper and lower parts of his mouth at the same time, fighting with the Skarmory in an attempt to push his mouth closed. While we was fighting, he turned his head behind him and shouted “Brice!”

    “Right!” Brice exclaimed, running across the sides of several buildings, his altitude gradually increasing inch by inch. After reaching just above a multi-story apartment building’s second story windows, he leaped towards the area behind Bladestorm, turning towards and aiming his Shraider in bayonet form directly at him, the barrel gathering light green energy. “Thorn Shot!” Upon yelling out his attack, Brice fired three shots out. One hit Bladestorm’s left wing, another hit his right, and the last one hit his back.

    The Edge Punisher then took both of his hands off of Bladestorm’s mouth, and banged his left knee against it, snapping his mouth shut. He then put his right foot right below the Skarmory’s neck, and pushed against it, allowing him to jump backwards away from the bird.

    Tina, on the other hand, stood there watching the others. “I don’t get it,” she said. “It feels like they’re just, toying with that Skarmory. What are they trying to accomplish here?”

    The purple-garbed boy was silent as he too stared at the battle. He then began to open his mouth, the camera shifting over to each of Zakari, Lily, and Brice constantly dashing around, taking turns attacking, while Gemini and Marisa keep the voltage coming. “...I guess the only way to explain this...is in game terms.”

    “Game terms?” Tina yelled out in an irritated tone, turning her head towards Chris. “What the hell do those have to do with any of this?” She dramatically pointed her left hand’s index finger towards the battle. “This is real life! Not some stupid video game! How can they expect to survive with that kind of idiotic mindset?”

    The camera panned over to Chris’ serious expression. Then, it shifted to a flashback of Chris and his Venipede and Blitzle fighting multiple different Pokémon - all of them being either Rock-, Ground- or both types. “During the 12 days Zak and the others were away, I wasn’t just training.” The next shot was of Chris on one of the local library’s computers. “I was also doing a bit of research on what The World R:2 is. During my research, I learned more and more about what the various mechanics of MMOs are. Among these mechanics is one called aggro.” Then, the flashback ended, Bladestorm being shown as his attention kept shifting rapidly with every strike that each of the Trainers dealt to him. “Aggro is a word used to describe the act of getting the attention of an NPC or enemy. If there are multiple players gaining aggro on one enemy, then it is defined by a percentage or meter, and whoever has the highest aggro is the one that that particular enemy will target.”

    “Ohh I get it,” Tina replied, in a thinking pose. “Now I see. By taking turns with their attacks, they’re shifting their own aggro percentages, which in turn shifts the Skarmory’s focus.” She looked up at Bladestorm. “I guess this Skarmory is being treated like an overworld enemy.” After another second of silence, she looked and felt surprised. “Wait a minute, how do I know all of this?” she exclaimed.

    Christopher’s expression tensed up. “Guess it’s time I start contributing myself!” He exclaimed as he ran to his left, jumping onto the side of the buildings. Then, after acquiring a decent altitude, he hopped off the building and towards Bladestorm. Everyone, upon seeing Chris in mid-air, all hopped away from the Skarmory, allowing the Tribal Grappler to perform a downwards kick on the metallic avian’s head. Then, after that attack, Chris intentionally slipped his left foot backwards off the Skarmory’s head to continue falling. And after a second, Chris wrapped both of his arms around the bird’s neck, and pulled it back, exposing his upper torso. He was grunting. “Tina!” The brown-haired girl’s attention was grabbed by his voice. “He’s wide open! Hit him!”

    “!” Tina didn’t know how to react. In her head, a familiar scene was playing. One where Zakari yelled the words “Tina! Follow up!” towards her. She then looked at her empty left hand. [This instinct...] She stood still for a second before looking back upward and starting running towards the Skarmory. She brought her right arm around her torso, her scythe now behind her. “Marisa! Quick, zap my scythe!” she shouted.

    In response, the Blitzle, whose electricity was already at the ready, fired a powerful Shock Wave at Tina.

    The attack immediately impacting her weapon’s two blades, Tina jumped up into the air right before Bladestorm, spinning clockwise one time. The Skarmory, looking at Tina, widened his red reptilian eyes as she yelled out “Wicked Strike!” The brunette horizontally swung her electrified Shorai no Kama scythe cleanly and swiftly across the avian’s upper torso, the electricity completely transferring over to the Skarmory’s entire body upon impact.

    Lily and Brice stood there, completely astonished. [What the hell? She actually followed up this time.] the Steam Gunner thought.

    Zakari also looked back at her, looking more amazed than anything. [Amazing,] he thought. [She used her analytical skills to have Marisa zap her scythe so she can strike with an Electric-type attack.] A smirk was seen in Zak's face. [There you go, Tina!]

    Suddenly, however, Bladestorm’s eye began to shine like it were metal, and let out an ear-piercing roar - louder than any other roar he had done up until now. The roar’s power lifted the electricity from off his body, and sent it outward around him, shocking Lily, Brice, and Tina. The three were barely able to move at all after that, completely paralyzed from the electricity’s strength. “H...How?” Christina grunted, trying to move her muscles to no avail. Then Bladestorm, now free of his paralysis, shook Chris off of his neck with ease, causing him to collide with a nearby building.

    Seeing her comrades now hurt, the Blitzle attempt to gather the electricity back from the three paralyzed Trainers. However, the enraged bird began to float off the ground, dispersing all of the electricity in the area. He then flapped his wings once, a single blade of wind flying straight towards Marisa. The blade cleaved straight through the left side of the Blitzle’s body.

    Zakari looked back and saw her condition. “Marisaaa!!” he yelled out.

    [What? N-No way.] Gemini looked utterly shocked. [There’s no way that Bladestorm could’ve become this strong in such a short amount of time.]

    Bladestorm then flew directly up towards the sky, and then did a backflipping maneuver, lowering his altitude to just above the ground. The winds gathered around his beak, forming a Drill as he flew towards Zakari. The Edge Punisher tried to block the attack with his Nihilblade, the Skarmory's Drill Peck creating sparks as a result. However, he was completely knocked back by the winds dispersing after a couple seconds, his sword knocked out of his hand.

    Then, another flashback was shown. This one was of a Skarmory, presumably Bladestorm, facing off against a yellow bipedal Pokémon with a white belly; conical ears with black stripes and a red orb on its forehead; long neck with several rings around it near the base; stubby arms that resemble flippers; two feet that each have a single white nail; and a long, black striped tail with a red orb at the tip. The yellow creature was wielding two swords with blades that looked like they were made entirely of ice, with white mist surrounding them. Gemini’s narrating thoughts were heard as the two began their battle, trading and dodging blows with each other. [He and I always sparred with each other, both of us wanting to further improve and discipline ourselves and each other through battle. Every time we sparred, we were of equal strength. No matter the time, no matter the place, no matter our condition.] Then, when the two clashed a blow, the screen flashed white. And in the next scene, the two were seen covered in blood and wounds. [And whenever any given match was over, both of us would be completely covered in blood, ending up ever so slightly stronger than when we began.]

    Then the Skarmory collapsed onto the ground, the yellow Pokémon barely able to stand. “You win, Iced Gemini.” Bladestorm grunted in pain, but also with confidence.

    Then, the scene shifted over to a blank tinted paper background. Slowly, one by one, the yellow creature, a Zangoose, and the Skarmory faded into view. The Zangoose was smirking while leaning against the yellow creature’s right shoulder, while the yellow creature was cheerfully grinning, holding up his left arm. Bladestorm was seen smiling. [Bladestorm, alongside Scar, was my closest comrade. The three of us knew each other extremely well within the Hacker’s Legion. It was almost as if...we were brothers.]

    Then the flashback ended, the rampaging Skarmory roaring loudly. [I’m honestly surprised we’ve lasted this long against him,] Gemini continued his thoughts. [But his strength...he definitely wasn’t this strong last we saw him.] Gemini’s expression then tensed up. [There can only be one explanation for Bladestorm’s enhanced strength.] He looked towards Bladestorm. [It’s the possession. It has to be. Whatever’s controlling him, it...it’s amplifying his power.]

    The Mareep then began to gather an immense amount of electricity. More than Marisa ever gathered at one time. [That means if we wanna bring him back to his senses, I’ll have to go all out!]

    Meanwhile, the Skarmory diverted his attention over to the paralyzed Adept Rogue. Lily, a bit scared, tried to move, but ended up falling down to her knees. She looked up to see the avian right in front of her. She was shaking in fear. Fear of her life possibly ending here and now.

    “No! I won’t let you harm her, Bladestorm! I’m giving this one everything I’ve got!” Gemini shouted, determined. All of the electricity he built up lied in front of him in ball form. “Gemini! Spaaaark!!” The Mareep then fired all of it, many different bolts of intense lightning flying straight towards the metallic bird. All of them directly hit the Skarmory, causing his eyes to lose their shine, and his entire body to be completely paralyzed.

    The Edge Punisher looked back at Gemini in shock. “What are you doing?!” he yelled.

    But Gemini ignored him, continuing to strengthen his attack to immobilize Bladestorm. Meanwhile, the paralysis that Lily, Brice, and Tina were all experiencing had worn off, allowing all three of them to back away from the bird. Suddenly, however, the electricity, all of it, vanished in an instant. Gemini, completely exhausted, wasn’t able to generate his attack any longer. “Dammit...I can’t do much in...this form...I’m...sorry guys...” He said in exhausting, panting before ultimately falling over on his side.

    Lily looked back at him, astonished. “Oh no. Gemini!” she shouted.

    Zak was also looking back at him, a look of distress on his face. [This is bad. I told him to keep his output levels consistent,] he thought. [That sudden jump in output made him completely overexert himself. Mareeps can produce electricity naturally, but if they increase their output too much instantaneously, they’ll collapse.] He turned his head back towards Bladestorm. [Now both of our heavy hitters for this fight are down. Which means our chances of winning this fight are slim.] His expression turned to one of surprise. [But, Bladestorm looks exhausted. And badly damaged from Gemini’s attack. Maybe...]

    The metallic avian let out several soft, pained roars before letting out his usual one. Along with that, the winds around his body began to completely flare up. However, the winds were flickering randomly, and his eyes were also flickering between red and yellow-green again. The Edge Punisher noticed this. [What? His aura, it’s...flickering. And, so are his eyes. Does this mean that Bladestorm is actually trying to fight his own possession?] Zak then eased his entire expression, sheathing his Nihilblade and closing his eyes. [This is gonna be risky.] He then reopened his eyes. [But with Gemini and Marisa out of commission, we’ll need to take serious risks if we wanna win.]

    Brice let out a surprised “ah” sound. [Why is he sheathing his weapon? Is he trying out a new strategy?] he thought. Then he too noticed the flickering. [! What? Why are his eyes flickering like that?] After a couple seconds of processing all of this, he eased his expression. [I think I see his idea. He knows that Bladestorm’s going to attack. But he may also be thinking that Bladestorm is trying to fight his own possession. So the question is, who or what will he attack? Zak? Us? Or the town?]

    Tina, much like everyone else, noticed Zak sheath his weapon. But unlike everyone else, she reacted in pure anger. “What are you doing?! You’re gonna get yourself killed, you IDIOOOT!!” She screamed at him.

    The Edge Punisher felt around his left pants pocket, a look of surprise appearing on his face afterward. [The cards. They’re here.] He thought in a surprised tone.

    Then yet another flashback played. This one was briefly showing Zak in the Real World in front of his dresser, holding a deck of cards in his left hand. The flashback ended, the Skarmory, his flickering ending, being seen lifting himself off the ground, and flapping his wings rapidly, shooting three random wind blades at varying speeds towards varying buildings. Zak, seeing the two faster blades, pulled out the two solitaire cards in his pocket, spun around counter-clockwise one and a half times, and tossed the two cards at the blades. Upon impact, the blades exploded into smoke. Zak then finished the second spin, brandishing his weapon and slicing cleanly through the third wind blade.

    Zak then looked down at his empty right hand. “I guess my theory was true,” he said. “Whatever we put in our pockets in the Real World, we can bring with us into the virtual world.” Zak looked upward at Bladestorm. “Bladestorm’s eyes and winds were both flickering. He may be actively trying to fight his own possession, most likely because Gemini is out here.” Then, while Zak’s guard was dropped, Bladestorm fired a second set of Air Cutters. This time, all of the blades were aimed straight at Zakari.

    “!!” Zak was completely shocked. He reacted by bringing his greatsword, the blade’s tip pointed towards the sky, in front of him. All three blades impacted the sword, exploding into a vast cloud of black smoke.

    Everyone was shocked, except for Tina, who had an irritated look on her face. “I told you that you would get yourself killed,” she grunted. But then she saw the smoke begin to clear, and everyone noticed Zak still standing. “What?” she reacted, genuinely surprised.

    Zakari was grunting, his injuries surprisingly few. “What? How?” he grunted. “I...I hardly even felt that attack.”

    Lily also looked pleasantly shocked. “I-I could hear the wind itself. It was...crying out in pain,” she said, in a slightly distressed tone. “What...What’s going on?”

    Zak then looked to his right, and noticed a surprising lack of Chris in the vicinity. [Hold on, where’s Chris? He just...vanished.] Zak was frantically looking around him, wondering where Chris went.

    Brice, slowly regaining his composure, raised his Shraider gun in bayonet form towards the exhausted Bladestorm. [Now’s my chance!] He thought before yelling out “Thunder Spark!!” But just before he fired his Art, the Steam Gunner noticed a yellow spark appear on his arm connected to his weapon. And upon firing, the lightning bolt wasn’t the usual in-game blue, but instead yellow like Marisa and Gemini’s were. The lightning completely electrocuted Bladestorm’s left wing, causing him to fall hard onto the ground. But the force of the attack caused Brice to stumble and lose his footing, falling over onto his behind. As he slowly picked himself back up, he looked at his right arm, constant electricity now crackling on it.

    Suddenly, Zak’s call screen appeared. It was the same unlisted number that called him back in the Real World. “Well now, this is a bit unexpected.” Sure enough, it was the same person. Raptor. “You’ve awakened to your new powers rather quickly,” he said.

    Zak and the others made gasps of shock. “Powers? You mean--” The Edge Punisher spoke, but stopped mid-sentence.

    “Yes,” the GM replied. “The pain that you all experienced earlier was your body’s DNA changing.”

    Suddenly, Chris was seen behind him, engulfed in a flaring black misty aura. Looking at the Skarmory threateningly, he leaped upward and forward, his body horizontal. He spun around clockwise, his left arm’s poison claw cleaving straight through the metallic bird’s back with ease. He then landed in front of the now wounded bird, spinning around one and a half times while sliding across the sandy ground to face the Skarmory.

    Then, everyone else felt their bodies be engulfed in misty auras themselves. Each Trainer had a different color - Zakari’s was silver-grey, Lily’s was pink, Brice’s was yellow, and Tina’s was white. “You have ascended past your humanity. Now, you are all...Ageosians. Human beings that have fused with the powers of various Pokémon types.” Raptor went on to explain everyone’s typings as each Trainer appeared on screen for a short amount of time each. “Steelheart, the power of Steel. Able to resonate with and control different types of sound and vibration. Wind Runner, the power of Flying. Able to hear and control the winds around them, as well as become one with the winds themselves to fly. Spark Master, the power of electricity. Able to conduct a vast amount of electric power at will. Glamour Weaver, the power of the fey. The purest form of light in Ageos. This light can serve as a natural source of warmth in cold areas, or light up darkened areas. Shade Caller, the power of darkness. Able to hide his or her presence at will, and command the very shadows.”

    With that, Raptor then hung up, the screen disappearing entirely. Zak stared at his right open hand, in awe of his new abilities. Then he arm pumped his right arm in confidence, smirking. “We can do this,” he said.

    The Edge Punisher then dashed forward, running towards the wounded Skarmory while sheathing his weapon for the millionth time. He jumped up right in front of Bladestorm, turning his left knee into metal. In response, the Skarmoy tried to bit down on Zakari. However, right before the bite would land, Zak banged his metallic knee against the metal avian’s lower mouth, closing it shut. The Skarmory’s entire body was also vibrating, causing him to stagger about for a bit.

    [! He staggered,] Tina exclaimed in thought. [Zak sent vibrations down the Skarmory’s entire body.]

    Then Bladestorm attempted to fly upward and perform a backflipping motion, much like it did earlier. However, at the end of the backflip, his wounds caused him to crash down on his belly The pink-haired girl, who also put away her bow, drew both of her arms out in front of her. “OrZan Rom!” In an instant, a ferocious cyclone appeared, engulfing the metal bird completely.

    The Steam Gunner then sheathed his weapon into his shield, and then putting that shield on his belt. He then raised his left index finger to the sky, a vicious thunderstorm beginning to gather over Russetton. “Bladestorm. You may have built up some sort of thunder resistance by this point, I’m sure.” Just then, a thunderbolt zapped his finger, completely electrifying it. “But. Nothing will brace you for this!” The now Spark Master spun around counter-clockwise, shooting his left finger’s electricity straight at the Skarmory through Lily’s tornado in the form of a lightning bolt. The impact completely shocked and immobilized him.

    Then, Lily immediately discharged her cyclone, sending the paralyzed Skarmory flying upwards. Then, after a couple seconds, Brice pointed towards Bladestorm, commanding the thunderstorm to send him crashing down towards the ground with a second lightning bolt.

    However, despite the beating he had taken, the Skarmory still continued to fight back, struggling to pick himself back off the ground. The brown-haired Glamour Weaver stood there, in thought. [Purest form of light in Ageos...] She looked down at her hand. [Light...] Then it came to her. She raised her left hand up in front of her, a mass of light beginning to form in her hand. Then she fired it in front of her, immediately exploding into a bright flash of light that blinded Bladestorm’s eyes. The Skarmory roared in pain, now almost completely blind.

    Zak then slowly walked up to the Skarmory, brandishing his Nihilblade one last time. “Don’t worry, pal. This’ll end it,” he said. Then, he jump dashed towards Bladestorm, shouting the word “RENGEKI!!!” He brought his blade over his head, and then swiftly swung it down through his body. He then lifted it up just as quickly, brought it around the Skarmory’s body, and sliced upward through him again. Finally, the Edge Punisher finished his Level 3 Art by slamming his greatsword downward into Bladestorm. “Armor Break!!”

    After the attack, the Skarmory was left with, in game terms, 1 HP. He was barely able to open his eyes as Zak landed a fair distance away from him, sheathing his blade. Everyone’s auras then vanished, the fight now over.

    Christopher then walked up to the fatally injured bird. “Bladestorm, was it?” he asked. The Skarmory slowly nodded its head in response. “You’ve been through a lot. I can tell. From what I hear, you’re related to Scar and Gemini. And to be honest, we’d hate to kill you.” The Shade Caller then pulled out a Poké Ball. “Tell you what? Why don’t you tag along with us on our journey?” Bladestorm smiled as best he could at the idea. Chris then smiled himself, booping the Skarmory on the head with his Poké Ball. Bladestorm turned into a red beam that went inside the Poké Ball, instantly catching him without the tip glowing at all.

    Zak was then seen stretching out his arms. “We did it. We freed you from your possession, Bladestorm.” Zak said as soon as he finished stretching.

    Afterwards, he began to walk towards the unconscious Mareep. He kneeled down in front of him and tapped his wooly fur, Gemini slowly opening his eyes as a result. “Sorry...That was pretty lame...” Gemini mumbled in an exhausted tone. “Guess I’m not used to this form...just yet, hehehe...”

    The Steelheart let out an exasperated sigh. “Gemini, I told you to keep your output levels consistent,” he said. “You may not know much about your form. But I do. You’re not an Ampharos anymore.” Zak lifted his left hand’s index finger up in front of Gemini. “You have to remember, your natural production of electricity is much lower than what it used to be.”

    Gemini’s eyes panned over to the ground. “Guess you’re right...” he said slowly and painfully.

    Zak closed his eyes, smiling at the Mareep. “Now come on,” he said while getting up. “Let’s head over to the police station. Tell her the good news.” Everyone nodded, Brice and Chris recalling Gemini and Marisa respectively as they all made their way towards the police station.
    #5 Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  6. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 6: Emerald Emergency

    Only a few seconds had passed since Bladestorm was freed from his possession. A scene of within the Russetton Police Station’s front lobby was shown. A youthful-looking woman with a blue police uniform, white gloves, and blue cap with black brim was standing against the wall next to a set of double doors. In front of that woman was an L-shaped reception desk - one half facing the woman, and the other half facing the front door - with a state-of-the-art monitor, keyboard, and mouse atop it. Another police officer, this one a male, was sitting in the chair behind the desk, facing towards the woman. The two heard the front doors slide open, Zakari and the others, all of which sustained battle damage, entering the building. “Hmm?” The two police officers looked over at Zak and crew, Zak instantly recognizing the woman as an Officer Jenny. “Oh, so you’re the Trainers who took up our request,” the Jenny said.

    The Edge Punisher nodded. “I take it you’re Tamara Jenny, our client?” he asked.

    “Mmhmm, that’s me.” Tamara hummed. “We’ve been hearing a lot of noise coming from outside. Guess you were all duking it out with that Skarmory.” The two police officers all noticed the conditions of the five Trainers, and instantly looked a bit shocked. “Wow, you look all bruised up. I guess it really did a number on you.” The Jenny had a slight smile on her face, a worried one at that. But then her smile was dropped for a more serious expression. “So what’s the verdict? What happened to the Skarmory?” Chris then pulled out the Poké Ball he used to capture Bladestorm. The two officers understandably were shocked. “You caught it?” Tamara exclaimed.

    “Yeah. And in doing so, we managed to free him from whatever was controlling him,” Zak replied rather quickly.

    “Controlling him?” Tamara gasped. “You mean, these attacks weren’t coincidence?” Zak and the others replied by shaking their heads, to which Tamara sighed in reply. “Great. This is more of a headache than we thought. Looks like we’ll have a hell of a report to make.” Tamara muttered the last sentence to the receptionist, who nodded in response.

    Brice couldn’t help but overhear the conversation. “Report?” he asked.

    The two officers gasped. “No need to worry about that,” Tamara replied nervously. Then she shifted the topic back to the Quest. “Now, that Skarmory. I’d like to try and run some tests on it. If you don’t mind, that is.”

    Chris nodded, everyone beginning to walk towards the back set of double doors. “I’d like to have a word with him during these tests as well.” Gemini said.

    . . .

    After a long hallway, the group all arrive at a room closed off by windows from what appears to be some sort of underground research and development area. Only one regular scientist was inside the top room, greeting Tamara Jenny and the Trainers upon their entrance. Chris had the Skarmory’s Ball in his hand, approaching the front panel. A slot the size of a half-circle was seen, with a slightly larger indent within the center. The purple-garbed boy inserted the Poké Ball into the slot, multiple rays extending outward facing the center of the R&D room. All of the rays each fired a white beam, all of them colliding and fusing with each other to form the shape of a Skarmory.

    Upon the light vanishing, Bladestorm was slowly opening his eyes, looking up towards the Trainers. “Thank you for freeing me from my possession,” he said. “Were it not for you all, I would’ve destroyed Russetton.” He reclosed his eyes. “Maybe even more than that.”

    “Err, should we call this a draw for now?” Gemini said with a sweatdrop on his face.

    “I think that would be best, Gemini.” Bladestorm replied, chuckling afterward.

    Zakari then remembered that he never scanned Bladestorm with his Pokédex. So he took that out and scanned him.

    Skarmory, the Armor Bird Pokémon. Skarmory's body is covered with a steel-like armor, and can fly at speeds of over 100 mph.

    “I guess this would be a good enough time to ask this,” the Edge Punisher said to Bladestorm as he put his Pokédex away. “What exactly is your relation to the Hacker’s Legion?”

    A shot of what looked to be Bladestorm alongside Scar, Gemini, and 12 other fully evolved Pokémon were seen. “I am a commander within the clan. The leader of the Third Division,” Bladestorm began. The shot changed to one of those 15 Pokémon placed separately with a group of other Pokémon beside each of them. “Our clan had 15 Divisions, each led by one of the 15 commanders. The Scar of Demise, or just Scar as you know him, was the leader of the Eighth Division, while Iced Gemini was the leader of the Ninth Division.” Then, a few of the initially shown Pokémon were seen plotting amongst each other. “Unfortunately, however, some of our fellow commanders had their own ambitions.” Then, a Pokémon whose most distinct feature is its bulbous red vocal sac was seen by itself, an evil grin on its face. “In particular, the Fourth Division’s leader, Azurai, wanted the role of clan overseer for himself. And from his actions alone, we could all tell that he would stop at nothing to achieve his selfish goal.”

    “What about the other commanders?” Zak asked.

    Another shot of the other Pokémon, presumably the other commanders, looking evilly towards a quadruped Pokémon with a spiky mane. “Some of the other commanders were also striving for the same goal. But unlike Azurai, they decided to work together as a team so that one of them could gain the title.” Bladestorm continued. Then, Bladestorm, Scar, and Gemini alongside a couple other Pokémon were shown side by side. “The rest of us were recruited and promoted after the first clan overseer, who was also the founder of the clan, stepped down and passed away.”

    “I see.” Zakari muttered to himself, the shot flashing white, back to reality.

    “So, who was the overseer? Or I guess, who was the founder of Hacker’s Legion?” Brice asked.

    Yet another shot was shown, this one of a silhouetted figure - who looked a lot like a bipedal cat - alone. “Not much is really known about the first overseer,” the Skarmory continued. “After our current overseer was given the title, most of the information regarding the previous one all but vanished. Only a select few know all of this wiped information.”

    “And, who was the new guy?” Tina asked.

    “He was chosen by a vast majority of our clan, including ourselves, to take leadership over us.” As Bladestorm continued, the silhouette warped from a cat-like creature to a silhouette of a quadruped figure with the spiky mane. “Not only is he the overseer, but he is also the leader of the First Division. A Luxray with incredible power and wisdom. His name, is Luxia.”

    “Luxia...” Zakari muttered.

    Bladestorm smirked, looking towards the wall in front of him. He then took his feet off the ground, and flew at incredibly high speeds towards the wall. Upon impact, the entire room above shook rather violently, and there was a massive indent from where Bladestorm hit. “I believe that should suffice for your test,” he said, still smirking.

    Everyone, except for Gemini, was completely in shock of what they witnessed. [Holy shit. He really was holding back his power.] Zak exclaimed in thought. [If he went all out, we all would’ve been obliterated.] The boy then calmed back down. [So this is the true power of a commander.]

    The Jenny was also in shock, but also calmed down enough to begin speaking again. “Well, thanks for solving our dilemma,” she said, an amount of money materializing in mid-air along with what looked to be a small dark orange-colored CD encapsulated within a round case with hard plastic top and bottom attached to short black cylinder. Zak grabbed the CD, while the other Trainers split the money. “Here’s your reward. Hopefully that should be enough for your troubles.”

    “Thank you,” Zakari said.

    . . .

    Zak and the others were all seen exiting the police station, most of them walking towards the Pokémon Center. Chris, on the other hand, began walking in the opposite direction. Lily looked back, noticing this. “Huh? Where are you going?” she asked him.

    “?” The purple-garbed boy turned around to face the others, a confused look on his face.

    “Leaving already? But we just started,” Brice said, scratching the back of his head.

    “...” Zak was silent, giving a smile to Chris. “Well, you did promise me that you’d leave as soon as I found my team. I guess you decided to stay a bit longer.”

    Chris closed his eyes. “Yeah,” he began. “I was initially planning to part with you guys back at the lab. At that point, I had already fulfilled my end of the offer.”

    “?” Brice and the others were confused. “What are you two talking about?” the Steam Gunner asked.

    “I’ve already said this to Zak but...” Chris paused for a second. “I’m not here in Ageos for the same reason that the rest of you are. I’m just here to track down someone who killed my old partner.” He paused again. “But...maybe I have a different purpose in this world than just that.” Chris looked down at his right hand. “These powers we’ve gained. I wanna learn more about them. And maybe the only way for me to accomplish this, is to journey on my own.”

    “Guess so.” Zakari said.

    “That GM guy, Raptor. He said I was one with darkness. A Shade Caller.” Chris finished.

    “That he did.” The Steelheart replied. “Well, best of luck on your journey.”

    Chris smiled at everyone. “We’ll meet again, I’m sure of it.” He then turned around and began walking, raising his right hand to make a peace sign. “Later.”

    Everyone else waved good bye at him. Then, after Chris was unable to be seen within the sandy winds, Zakari glanced towards Tina who was beside him. “So what about you, Tina? You gonna go off on your own now?” he asked her.

    “...No.” Tina took a while to reply. She then looked down at her open left hand, her Glamour Weaver aura faintly being seen around it. “These powers...I doubt it’s what Professor Pear was referring to. But I’m sure it’s fate that we are the ones that have them now.” Tina then growled, looking away from Zak and the others. “It may pain me to say this, but...” She looked back at Zak, sighing. “Maybe it’s best that I do stick with you guys for now. I wanna learn more about our powers. And why we have them.”

    Zakari simply stared at Tina, thinking. [Tina...Back during our battle, you showed signs of the Tina that we know. As I had predicted, you’re still in there. We just have to break you out of this state of alteration. Don’t worry, Tina. We’ll bring you back to your old self. I promise.] Then after thinking to himself, he turned his head towards Tina. “Alright then, suit yourself,” he replied to her. Then he turned around towards the city’s east exit. “I think we should get going, however. As much as I’d like to rest up after that exhausting fight, I doubt just staying here much longer is gonna accomplish anything for us.”

    Everyone else nodded in response, turning around as well as they and Zak began walking eastward. The camera then panned upward towards the clear blue sky, only the bright sun accompanying it.

    . . .

    The group were all seen walking north through what appeared to be the rocky outcroppings of southern Route 3. Slitheren was out of her Poké Ball, trying to rest on Brice’s right shoulder after resting on Zak’s for so long. Scar was walking beside Zak in front, with Lily and Tina side by side directly behind him, and Brice in back.

    The Snivy looked like it was having a hard time getting comfortable. “H-Hey, can you tense your shoulder a bit more? I can’t lay down very well like this.” She told Brice.

    “Oh er, s-sorry. I’m just not used to someone, or something, laying on it, ehehe.” Brice replied nervously, to which Slitheren shrugged. Then he directed his attention towards Zak in front. “Hey, do you think Lily really can fly now?” he asked.

    “Not sure really,” he replied nonchalantly. “I mean, we all just awakened our powers. Wouldn’t hurt to try though.” A smile was brought on his face as he looked back at his sister.

    “Oooohhh, I wanna fly.” Lily said, excited.

    Then she began to focus all of her Ageosian energy down to her legs, her expression being a calm one. After a couple seconds, she began to levitate off the ground. She gasped in excitement, opening her eyes and seeing herself in mid-air. “I really can!” she exclaimed in happiness. She flew around the group and above the nearby trees for a few seconds, enjoying herself a bit too much perhaps. Then she landed back on the ground next to Tina. “Hooray, I can fly~!” The pink-haired girl giggled happily.

    Zak and Brice were also giggling a bit, happy for Lily’s ability to fly. Then he looked over at the Zangoose. “Say, Scar.” He grabbed his attention. “What’s it like being a commander of Hacker’s Legion?”

    Scar was silent for a couple seconds, a scene playing in his head of him leading his Division around what looked to be dungeon. “It’s not as pleasant as people think,” he began. “Sure, it’s an immense honor to become one of the 15 most prestigious members of the entire clan. After all, it’s what most of our clansmen strive to become. However, none of them truly know of the responsibilities that the 15 commanders hold. Only us, as commanders, do.”

    “Judging by those words alone, I’m going to assume that the 14 other commanders alongside the overseer are what make up some sort of clan council, am I right?” Zak asked.

    The next shot was seen of everyone enjoying themselves and each other’s company. Some would be playing card games and the like with each other as well. “Yes. The council’s main goal is to ensure not only our clansmen’s enjoyment, but also the safety of the Pokémon world’s inhabitants.” Then, a map of the entire Pokémon world was shown on-screen. “Some of the other commanders are stationed all across this world. Luxia once travelled to Unova, where two Divisions are stationed. Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh also each have 2 Divisions stationed within them. The other 5 Division - Luxia’s, Azurai’s, Bladestorm’s, Gemini’s, and my own - are stationed here, in Ageos.” Then the next shot showed Scar and all the other commanders using wireless communication via their TVs. “We commanders hold council meetings at the beginning of each week through online communication, to determine what our objectives of that given week are, and what we must do in order to complete them.”

    “And what happens if you don’t complete those objectives?” the Edge Punisher asked, the scene flashing back to reality.

    “...We’re not sure.” Scar replied. “We’ve never failed even one single objective, so none of us truly know.”

    “I see. Guess you all were very capable and deserving of your titles.” Zakari smiled at Scar.

    Scar smiled back. “Thank you,” he replied. Then he lost his smile, looking down. “Although, we haven’t had any council meetings in quite some time. Not since the poachers captured and possessed Bladestorm.”

    “And I guess that led to you and the other commanders stationed here to cut communication lines and split up, correct?” Zak asked further.

    Scar nodded in response. “I’m glad we put a stop to the poachers’ actions. But part of me still worries that maybe there’s something else we’re missing in all of this.” Scar then sighed.

    “If you two are done with that little conversation of yours, we should be thinking about our next course of action.” Tina then spoke up rather sternly. “Unlike with the Bladestorm incident, we don’t really have any direct leads as to where to go next.”

    Then Zakari got in a thinking pose. “Well there are the Mines in Slate City. But I doubt we wanna take on Team Rocket directly just yet. Back in the police station, Tamara mentioned something about having to make a report. I believe from that alone, we can conclude that we may have affected the Rockets’ plans somehow by freeing Bladestorm. Which can also mean that Team Rocket may have had a hand in the many poacher attacks in the Emerald Forest. As such, we should steer clear of any Team Rocket affairs until things die down a little bit.” Everyone else nodded in response, agreeing with him. “I guess for now, we should rest up in Cerise City. Then while we’re still in the area, we take care some of the Quests around there.”

    “Good idea.” The brunette girl replied, looking off to one side. “Especially for me.”

    The next couple seconds were pretty quiet. “?” Then, however, Brice noticed a creature off the corner of his eye. He then stopped walking and turned to face the creature - a light-green plant-like Pokémon with three bitter oblong leaves tipped on its head; crescent-shaped white face with no nose or mouth; brown eyes shaped like elongated ovals; a green “bib” on its neck; and five stubs on its lower body, two of which act as arms, and other two as legs. The creature appeared to be crying.

    Everyone else noticed Brice stop, and stopped themselves. Then they turned to look back at him. “Hey, what’s up?” Zak asked.

    Then everyone noticed what Brice was looking at. The creature began to look up, stopping crying altogether. Upon noticing the group, it became scared, letting out a frightened gasp.

    “Er, we’re not here to harm you.” Brice said nervously.

    Lily began walking towards the plant creature, and picked it up. The creature became even more frightened when she started holding it in her arms. “Aww, are you ok? You look so lonely,” Lily said in a worried tone. “No need to be scared of us. We won’t hurt you.”

    “I believe that is...” Zak muttered, taking out his Pokédex and scanning the Pokémon.

    Petilil, the Bulb Pokémon. Petilil prefer living in rich, fertile soil where all types of plants grow in abundance.

    “What’s it doing around here or all places?” The Steam Gunner asked curiously.

    “And why is she so scared of us in the first place?” Tina followed up nervously. “Is it because we’re carrying weapons around?”

    “That might actually be it,” Zak said in a thinking pose. “She probably thinks because we’re carrying our weapons around, that we’re some sort of poacher group hunting down wild Pokémon.”

    Scar began to walk towards Lily and the Petilil she was holding. “Maybe she’s one of the mons who managed to escape the Emerald Forest before the poachers found her.” He hummed slightly, closing his eyes. “It’s a good thing we took care of them when we did. Otherwise, more innocent mons’ lives would’ve been in danger.”

    The Petilil was able to hear bits and pieces of the conversation. “Huh? So...y-you’re not poachers?” she asked.

    Zakari’s face lit up a bit. “Hmm. Looks like my assumption was correct.” He then brought a smile on his face, walking towards Lily and the Petilil. “Indeed, we’re not. In fact, we’re the group that took care of those criminals.” He brought his left thumb up, pointing it towards his face. “I’m the group’s leader. Zakari’s my name, but you can just call me Zak.”

    “Urr,” the Petilil paused for a second. “M-My name’s Li...Lilly.”

    “O-Oh, that’s uhh...” Zak said hesitantly.

    “Wh-What’s wrong? Y-You don’t like my name o--” Lilly replied nervously.

    “No no no, it isn’t that.” The Edge Punisher’s tone was of nervousness. “It’s just that...”

    “My name’s Lily too, heheheh.” Lily giggled nervously.

    “Oh.” Lilly was a little dumbfounded. “Well, y-you can call me Petilil i-if you want instead.”

    “Well to avoid confusion, we’ll be doing that, thank you.” Brice said, scratching the back of his head.

    “Ok.” Lilly exclaimed happily.

    Then Lily grabbed an empty Poké Ball, and booped Lilly’s head with the tip. Lilly’s body turned into a red transparent beam, entering the Poké Ball entirely and instantly being caught without any resistance. “Welcome aboard, Petilil.” Zak said with a smile.

    . . .

    After a couple more minutes of walking, the party made it to Cerise City, most of them resting in the Center’s luncheon area. Lilly was out on the table in front of everyone, with Magus sitting beside her and Scar sitting down beside Lily. The four were talking amongst each other, asking Lilly various questions about herself.

    Tina, on the other hand, was visiting the local church. She was kneeling down in front of the podium, her head tilted downward and her eyes closed. Her hands were also held together in front of her chest. “Oh Arceus...” She began to pray. “Please allow me to keep a willful mind...and to assist me on this journey...”

    Zakari was then seen entering the church, his hands in his pockets and a neutral expression on his face. “Something troubling you?” he asked, approaching Tina.

    “?” The brunette girl looked back at Zak. “Why do you ask?” she asked him.

    “Well I mean, you’re here at the church praying.” Zakari said, sitting down next to Christina. “There must be something on your mind.”

    Tina sighed. “You’re right,” she began. “Right before I began journeying with you guys, the professor told me to travel with you, because he thinks I’ll retrieve something I thought I never had previous.” She paused for a second. “But then, I...we, gained these powers.” She paused again. “I’m almost certain it’s not what he meant. But still, I...I wanna know why we have these powers now, and why they awakened when they did.”

    [I’m not sure myself why they awakened back in Russetton. Nor why we were given them in the first place.] Zak was in thought, staring at Tina.

    Then the boy heard his Pokédex ringer go off, the ringer sounding very similar to the ringtone on his cellphone. He pulled out his dex, pulling up the message. The message read ‘hey are you two busy? there’s a quest we should probably take care of asap’. “Well Brice wants the two of us to head back to the Center.” Zak said, getting up. “Seems a Quest has caught his eye.”

    Tina sighed, getting up herself. “Well, guess we ought to do something for now.”

    The two then began their walk out the church.

    . . .

    After a couple minutes, the entire group was seen together in the Pokémon Center’s lobby. “So, what Quest are ya talking about?” Tina asked, her arms crossed.

    Brice had his Pokédex out, using his game menu to access and scroll through the registered Quests. After a couple seconds, he came to the one titled Emerald Emergency, and tapped it with his finger. When he did, four screens appeared in the middle of the group, each screen facing one of the four cardinal directions. “This one seems pretty important,” he said.

    The others began reading the description. “Wild Pokémon ambush...” Zak muttered.

    “Badly injured...” Lily muttered afterward.

    Tina formed a surprised look on her face. “It’s saying this girl is in grave danger, we have to help her.” Tina exclaimed to the others.

    “Hold on a moment.” Zak replied in a thinking pose, Tina letting out a soft “hmm?” in response. “Something doesn’t add up here. We were at Emerald Forest a few days ago, weren’t we? In fact, Tina.” Zak looked towards her. “You lived in the treehouse near the forest entrance for around a year, right?” She nodded in response. “Not only that, but sis and Brice were also in the forest for a short amount of time before Chris and I ever entered. And this particular Quest was posted in Shire Town, which is where he and I stayed at prior to entering the forest.”

    “Your point being...?” Tina said in an annoyed tone, her hands on her hips and a dumbfounded expression on her face.

    “Wait are you saying--” Brice cut himself off before finishing his sentence.

    “None of us ever once saw this Molly person during our multiple visits in the forest. So it must be that we never set off the flag for this Quest’s beginning.” Zak concluded.

    Christina let out an exasperated sigh. “There you go again with your video game talk.”

    Zak was gonna reply immediately to Tina, but instead looked at her for a second before facing the four transparent screens. “That’s the only plausible explanation for this. All of our current evidence points towards that exa--”

    “Hold it!” The brunette girl interrupted Zak mid-sentence, pointing at him dramatically. “I wanna explain my viewpoint first.”

    Almost everyone else in the room sighed. Zak, on the other hand, shrugged. “Alright. Let’s hear it,” he told Tina.

    Tina adjusted her eyeglasses, a shine being seen over her lenses as she did so. “Out of our entire group, the only ones that have fully explored this forest are myself, Gemini, and Magus. The rest of you, with the exception of the Petilil that Lily just caught, have only been in the entrance and central areas, meaning it’s most likely that we completely missed where she was.”

    “Well in a way, that is true.” Zakari’s response put a smirk on Tina’s face, her eyes closed. “But I think I’m safe to assume that during your time of living in the Emerald Forest, you made regular patrols around every section of the place, correct?”

    Tina gasped in surprise, her eyes wide open as a result. “Yeah, I did,” she responded. Then after a second or so of silence... “Er, can I have a look at the Quest real quick? Something about this whole thing doesn’t seem right to me, now that I think about it.”

    “Sure.” Zak said, putting his index finger on one of the screens. As soon as this happened, the other three screens disappeared. He then swiped his finger over, the screen moving to Tina.

    The brunette girl began looking around the screen, ending on the lower-right corner. A line of text was there, the words being ‘Posted: 6 months ago’. “Six months, eh?” she said in a bit of a dull tone. Then she sighed. “I can’t deny your argument here. Not even once did I see anyone other than the forest’s inhabitants and the poachers over these past six months.”

    Zak smiled, closing his eyes while crossing his arms. He then raised his right forearm upward, his right index finger pointed towards the ceiling. “Thus confirming that these Quests are indeed set off by specific flags.” He said.

    Christina sighed again, putting a slight smile on her face. “Yep. You win.” She replied in a tone of defeat. “So then, what do you think this ‘flag’ is supposed to be anyway?”

    Lily let out a surprised “Ah”. “Maybe we should ask the professor about it. He’s the Quest client, right?” she suggested.

    Tina looked at the Quest screen again. On the upper-left corner, Professor Pear’s name was listed. “Yeah, looks like he is.”

    “I think that’s the best course of action for now,” the Steelheart declared. Then he sighed. “Although admittedly we’ve been visiting that place a lot.”

    Tina sighed. “This is true.”

    . . .

    A diagonal shot of Professor Pear’s laboratory was shown. “Ah yes, that Quest.” Professor Pear’s voice was heard, the shot shifting instantly to Pear in the front lobby. “Indeed, the Quest has gone unattended over the past six months after its posting. I believe a majority of you already know the reason why.”

    “W-Well yeah, we already spoke about that,” Tina replied, her right hand gripping her left arm.

    The professor chuckled a bit. “But I digress. Here you are.” He took out four weirdly small spray bottles, each containing purple liquid - Potions, and handed them to the group. “Take these to Molly.” Upon Brice touching them, the Potions disappeared - supposedly going into his inventory. “As the Quest description has stated, she should be somewhere in the central area of the Emerald Forest.”

    [That makes sense.] Zak was in thought as soon as Pear finished speaking. [Molly had to have been in an open field when she was ambushed, since that area has four pathways connecting to it.]

    “Do be careful on your journey, Trainers,” Pear said to the group as they began walking out. “I believe the ones who ambushed Molly are still around the area she is in.”

    Looking back at him, Brice waved back. “Will do, sir.”

    . . .

    In the entrance of Emerald Forest, the group of Trainers was seen walking northward towards the central area. Magus was sitting on Tina’s left shoulder as Tina allowed it, Slitheren was resting on Zak’s right shoulder like usual, and Scar and Gemini are walking next to Lily and Zak who were side by side.

    “So who do you think our perpetrators will be?” Magus asked, looking towards the Edge Punisher. “Judging by the amount of time the Quest has been up, do you think it could be another poacher group?”

    “We can’t exactly rule it out completely,” Zak replied his head turned far enough to the left for his eyes to look over at the Treecko. “But since the Quest flag was set off by asking the professor about it, we should also think about our current situation.”

    “We’ve eliminated all of the poachers within the forest as a whole,” Brice, who was walking beside Tina, followed up. “Plus, if it really was poachers, I doubt they’d just simply keep Molly alive out in the open.”

    “Exactly,” Zak exclaimed slightly. “I’m betting our perpetrators are something we haven’t faced yet.”

    Then everyone arrived at the central area, a lone girl and what appeared to be her Pokémon sitting in the middle. The Pokémon was a light-blue penguin-like Pokémon with a dark blue head; primarily white face; short, yellow beak; dark blue feathers on its head extended down its back and around its neck, resembling a cape; two white ovals on its chest; a small, light-blue marking resembling a crown above its beak; flipper-like arms; and yellow feet with three toes each. The girl, on the other hand, had short jet black hair and was wearing a very traditional girl scout uniform - green scout cap with yellow pin in front, green short-sleeved buttoned shirt, green knee-length skirt, white socks, and regular girls’ shoes. Her embroidered bag was also on the ground, next to the two. The girl looked to have recovered from most of her injuries, while some of the Pokémon’s more serious injuries were still visible even from afar.

    The girl looked over at Zak and crew. “Oh! You came!” she exclaimed happily.

    Tina waved at her, a smile on her face. “Hi there. I take it you’re Molly Green from the Quest description?” she asked.

    Molly nodded in response while Lily took out her Pokédex and scanned the penguin.

    Piplup, the Penguin Pokémon. Piplup's limited walking skills often cause it to fall down, but that never hurts its pride.

    The Steam Gunner walked towards Molly and the Piplup, the others following shortly after. Slitheren and Magus hopped off their Trainers’ shoulders, landing right behind everyone and walking with them. Once Brice made it to them, he put his right hand out in front of him, the four Potions that Pear handed them materializing below his hand. “Here you go,” he said. He began to treat the Piplup, grabbing a Potion and spraying it onto the scab atop the penguin’s head. The spray slowly dissolved into its body, the scab slowly and completely disappearing. “Heard you got ambushed earlier. How long ago did the ambush happen?” Brice asked as he healed the Piplup’s other wounds.

    “Not too long ago actually.” Molly replied in a slightly worried tone.

    [Then it looks like whatever attacked Molly might still be nearby.] Zakari, his senses alert, said in thought.

    Meanwhile, the Adept Rogue began staring at the Piplup with a rather cute look on her face, the Piplup staring back curiously. She walked towards it, kneeling in front of it. “May I pet you?” she asked rather cautiously, knowing how hard it is for a Piplup to bond with anyone due to its self-pride.

    “Piplup!” The Piplup chirped, nodding happily, to half the group’s surprise. Lily picked up the penguin, slowly petting its head. “Piplup Piplup!” The Piplup was chirping with glee, Lily also giggling.

    Everyone else was smiling at the two. But then... [!] The Edge Punisher began hearing a faint noise from the east direction. Looking towards the eastern passage, the noise became more discernible. It was the sound of wings buzzing at blazing fast speeds.

    “?” His sister had a confused look on his face, as did Brice and Molly. “Big bro, what’s wrong?” she asked with a worried tone, letting Piplup stand again.

    “I...” Zakari was a bit hesitant at first to reply, mostly due to him being too focused on the buzzing noise getting louder. “I can hear some sort of buzzing noise...” He paused again, noticing the buzzing grow slightly louder. “It’s coming from over there.”

    “The east passage? Buzzing? What do you mean?” Slitheren asked, confused.

    Then Molly grew scared. “Oh no! It’s them!” she exclaimed in a terrified tone.

    “What?” Zak exclaimed, turning his head back towards Molly. “You mean the ones who ambushed you?” The black-haired girl nodded. Then Zak began thinking. [Is she saying there’s more than one of them?] He looked back over towards the east passage, hearing the buzzing become incredibly loud. [But, that doesn’t seem right. I only hear just the one.] Then, it hit him. And a surprised expression formed on his face. [! Unless...]

    Then, however, everyone began to see what looked like an oversized flying bug fly towards them. Said flying bug was a bipedal yellow-wasp like creature with four legs that lack pigment pits; a round head; slightly pointed mouth; large, red eyes; black antennae with a sharp bend in the middle; forelegs tipped with long, conical stingers; hind legs that are long, segmented, and insectoid in shape; two pairs of rounded, veined wings; and another stinger on its yellow-and-black striped abdomen.

    Molly became more frightened. “That’s--That’s one of the ones that attacked us,” she said in a fearful tone.

    Then, without her ever taking it out, Tina’s Pokédex appeared in her hand and scanned the Pokémon, almost as if done by her subconscious.

    Beedrill, the Poison Bee Pokémon, and the evolved form of Kakuna. Beedrill fly quickly and attack using poison stingers on their forelegs and tail.

    Most everyone got into battle stances. Magus, on the other hand, was slightly unsettled. “Something about this doesn’t sit very well with me...” He turned towards the Edge Punisher. “Hey Zak. You hear any more of them?”

    “No, just this one,” he replied, cautious of the Beedrill in front of them. “You are right, however. Something feels...off, about this Beedrill.”

    Just then, however, everyone noticed something happen to the Beedrill. Its entire body was beginning to act rather strange. Parts of its abdomen, as well as several other whole body parts began changing colors at complete random.

    Most everyone either reacted by saying “What?” or “What the hell?”

    Zak, on the other hand, was in thought, a negative grin on his face. [I guess we were right. Something’s happening to this Beedrill. But...I can’t figure out what. This is bad.]

    Then, they all noticed a light purple mist beginning to form around the entire open field. “What’s going on here?” Molly exclaimed in a distressed tone.

    But then, for what seemed like no reason, the mist disappeared. And afterwards, the bee began to completely glitch out. Its body kept becoming random scribbles of black and white, unable to keep its form intact.

    “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Scar muttered.

    Then, a crystalline sphere began encapsulating the glitching Beedrill completely. The sphere slowly expanded, everyone seeing cracks form after only a couple seconds. And after a couple more seconds, the sound of shattering glass was heard as the sphere completely broke apart and revealed an incredibly fearsome-looking creature.

    Most everyone was able to recognize that it was still the Beedrill that flew towards them. Zak had also noticed the Beedrill’s antennae had become shorter and now extended forward and back over its head; its eyes also became longer and sleeker; its stingers became longer and larger, which the Trainers all saw as them resembling javelins; its legs were no longer insectoid, and instead resembled conical, black-and-yellow stingers with white lips; its abdomen became larger and grooved, and was attached to its thorax by a black structure; a similar black structure connected its head and thorax; the stinger on its abdomen was now a pale yellow; and it now had black stripes over its entire body. Then, the insect let out a loud insectoid roar, vibrating almost everything in the area.

    “Wha--What the hell? What just happened?” Brice said, unable to grasp the situation.

    “I’ve...I’ve never seen anything like this before. Did it...undergo an alternate transformation?” Zakari sounded slightly worried, which to most everyone else was a first.

    “No way. That Beedrill...” The Snivy also sounded slightly scared. “It...It Mega Evolved!”

    “Mega Evolved?” Tina asked.

    “It means this Beedrill is temporarily taking on a new, more powerful form.” Scar replied, sounding serious. “But from the looks of it, and where we currently are, I doubt it was caused by a Beedrillite.”

    [I guess that means some sort of coding error occurred within this Beedrill.] Zakari thought to himself, slowly losing his worry. His expression became serious. “It looks like don’t have a choice. We have to take it down here and now.” He grabbed his Nihilblade’s hilt, his tone confident. “Here’s the plan, everyone. This Beedrill came from the east side, so it must be the only one from that passage. We’ll assume that the other three passages each have one more Beedrill heading straight towards here. Lily, Brice, Tina. Pick your sides.”

    Tina and Magus immediately jumped towards the north pathway, Tina also brandishing her scythe. “We’ll cover the north passage. Don’t want any more of these strange Beedrills joining.” She said.

    Brice and Gemini began walking towards the west pathway, Brice also twirling his Shraider in bayonet form around his right index finger, much like how a traditional cowboy would. “We’ll take care of the west,” the Steam Gunner said.

    The pink-haired Adept Rogue, taking out her Crystal Bow, begins facing the south towards where they came from. “I’ll block the entrance,” she said. “Good luck, big bro.”

    The Edge Punisher, looking back and smiling casually at Lily, then looked towards his Pokémon. “Slitheren,” he said her name, grabbing her attention. “Guard the entrance with Lily.”

    “Ok.” Slitheren nodded, leaping towards Lily.

    “Scar.” Zak then said, the Zangoose looking at him. Zak looked towards the Mega Beedrill in front of them. “You and I will fend off this bastard.”

    Scar, after a couple seconds, nodded in response.

    Molly stared in awe of them. [Can they do it?] she thought. [They look strong but...This Beedrill looks stronger.]

    Then the two readied their battle stances, Zakari drawing out his greatsword. And then they began to stare the Beedrill down, waiting for an opportunity to catch the fearsome insect off its guard. The Mega Beedrill was also staring down the two, and after a couple more seconds, inevitably grew tired of waiting and flew towards the Steelheart and mongoose. During its flight, it fired out from its left and right stingers a series of 5 small stinger-esque spikes with dark grey bottom halves and small boosters in the very back, all of them flying towards the two with a light green flame being seen from the behind of each spike. Scar dodged the attack by dashing to the left, while Zak ducked under all 5 spikes.

    Then he dashed towards the bee, and attempted to stab it with his blade. The giant bee, however, effortlessly dodged to its right, almost as if it moved at the speed of sound. Then the swordmaster spun himself around counter-clockwise, performing a spin slash. However, the bee dodged that as well by moving back at the exact same speeds. The Zangoose then tried performing a Slash attack - three in a row- on the incredibly fast bee. But to no avail, as it dodged all three attacks with ease. Then Scar dashed around 90 degrees counter-clockwise around the bee, and attempted to slam the gigantic bug against the tree directly behind it with an X-Scissor. But the bee knew what it was planning, and flew upward before the attack was even performed.

    “What--What the hell is this? I’ve, never faced anything this fast before.” Scar spoke in shock from what just happened, looking up at the bee. He was in awe of the Mega Beedrill’s incredible speed.

    Then the Mega Beedrill saw an ample opportunity to counterattack, pointed its tail stinger towards Scar’s head, and began flying downward at blisteringly high speeds, attempting to slam its stinger down into the Zangoose.

    “!!” Scar, seeing this, just barely managed to dodge out of the way of the attack. Then he saw the bee look towards him, its eyes flashing red. And in an instant, the Mega Beedrill slammed its head against Scar’s, causing him to flinch and walk back a couple steps to try and regain himself. “Wow. This thing’s Mega Evolution really upped its strength,” he said in awe.

    Zak then began running towards the gigantic bee, who upon seeing this, fired off another set of Pin Missiles straight towards his general direction. The Edge Punisher successfully blocked the first and second spikes with his Nihilblade, and then sliced cleanly through the other 3 in one horizontal swing. Then he finished running up to the Mega Beedrill, raising his sword above his head. “Tiger Blitz!” He then slammed his sword down onto the Mega Beedrill. Or so he thought, as the bee dodged effortlessly out of the way, and then thrusted its left glowing stinger into Zak’s right shoulder. Blood began to spew from the wound caused by the attack.

    But in the midst of the blood spew, the Mega Beedrill felt its stinger be retracted. Zak’s shoulder area, specifically a small patch around the wound, had turned into metal, causing the blood to stop spewing at a result. “Heh heh, guess I should practice using this ability,” he said, chuckling a bit.

    Over in front of the north passageway, Tina was able to glance back at the battle. [Looks like Zak and Scar are having trouble back there.] She thought to herself, then faced forward. [But I have to stand my ground. The other Beedrills have to be coming towards us soon.] Then, she and Magus both began seeing a regular Beedrill flying towards them. The two readied their battle stances. [And correct, I am.]

    The two then began to sprint towards the Beedrill, Magus also hopping into the air, spinning clockwise three times before Slamming his tail into the bee’s head. The Beedrill was knocked back a few centimeters, trying to retaliate by thrusting both of its stingers at the Treecko one after the other. First the left, then the right. Magus dodged both with ease, and then readied his tail for another attack. “Tina!” he yelled out towards her. Then he Slammed his tail into the Beedrill, knocking him towards the brunette girl. “Catch!”

    Tina then readied her Shorai no Kama, bringing it behind her with the blades facing the ground. After a second or two of the Beedrill being flung towards her, she began her attack. “Lotus!” She swung her scythe upward through the Beedrill’s body, jumping slightly off the ground. “Flower!!” Then she spun around clockwise twice, the second time swinging her scythe cleanly through the Beedrill’s body, slicing it in two. And after a couple seconds of floating in mid-air, the Beedrill turned into data and shattered like glass.

    Christina landed on the ground, barely even breaking a sweat. “Wow. These seem a lot weaker than I thought they would be,” she said.

    “Maybe the Mega Beedrill was the only one that glitched like that,” Magus replied.

    “Yeah. You might be right.” Tina said, nodding.

    Zakari and Scar, on the other hand, were not having as good or pleasant a time. While Tina and Magus were fighting the regular bee, Zak and Scar have been unable to land even a single hit on the Mega Beedrill. They panted in exhaustion, while the gigantic bee had barely even broken a sweat.

    [Damn it. We can’t lay even a finger on it.] Zakari thought, still panting. Scar managed to stop panting, beginning to ready an attack. However... “Wait Scar.” Zak told him.

    “!” Scar had a look of astonishment on his face, and stopped readying his attack. “What is it?” he asked, looking at Zak.

    “Nothing we’ve tried up to this point has worked,” Zak began to explain. “It’s too fast for us to hit normally. We have to think of some way to catch it off guard.”

    “Well anything we should note so far?” Scar asked in reply.

    “Well, even though it gained this new form, or Mega Evolved as Slitheren put it, it’s still just a Beedrill in the end,” the Edge Punisher began explaining his deductive reasoning. “As such, despite both its power and agility skyrocketing as we’ve already seen, I doubt either of its defenses have increased at all in this new form. Although, it may have grown in bulk. So even if we do manage to land blows, it might take a few to bring it down.” Then, after he finished speaking, Zak noticed off the corner of his eye that Molly was alone, and her Piplup was nowhere to be seen. “What? Where’d Piplup go?” he asked in a surprised tone.

    Molly also noticed Piplup gone, and looked around to see where he was. Then she saw the penguin Pokémon running behind the Mega Beedrill, and instantly figured out his path. It ran northward towards Tina and Magus without being heard over the battles, then counter-clockwise around the area beside the trees and bushes.

    Zak and Scar noticed the Piplup only a couple seconds after the scout-looking girl did. But the Steelheart also noticed the Mega Beedrill not budging or shifting its focus off of him and Scar. [Wait a minute. Mega Beedrill didn’t notice either.] Zak thought to himself. [That means, Piplup ran around the field completely undetected.]

    The penguin then hopped up to the tree beside the Mega Beedrill, then leaped off the side of that tree, his beak beginning to glow a bright pink. Hearing the Piplup jump off the side of the tree, the Mega Beedrill began turning towards the Piplup, but was too slow as the Peck attack landed directly on its back. The bee, in immense pain from the poke, let out an incredibly loud insectoid roar.

    Tina looked back at what was happening as soon as she heard the roar. “What the hell?” she exclaimed. But then she faced forward again. [No. I can’t get distracted. We can’t be too careful. There could be other wilds that heard that roar, who may be running towards our location.]

    Zakari and Scar were left speechless. [I get it now,] Zak began to think to himself. [Piplup used our attacks as a diversion to get behind the Beedrill and land a sneak attack.] His expression tensed up. [That’s it! That’s our key to winning this fight.] He turned his head towards the Zangoose. “Scar.” Scar turned his head towards Zak. “Got any way to create a diversion? We need to sneak up behind that bee in order to land any attacks.”

    Then the Mega Beedrill, now having other plans, looked towards Molly who was by herself. She noticed the bee’s stare, and her body instantly started to shake out of fear. “Ohh no, she’s unguarded. What’s this thing planning now?” Zak exclaimed.

    “I think its strategy now is to kill that Piplup’s Trainer.” Scar replied with slight fear in his voice.

    Then the giant bee flew over Molly’s head, knocking her cap right off of her head from the intense winds, and then turned around to fly straight into her. But then, her Piplup hopped up and in the way, his beak glowing bright pink again. But this time, instead of one Peck, the Piplup instead fired off an impressively fast flurry of Pecks. The Mega Beedrill, unable to react in time, took the first few hits and flinched. But it didn’t flinch for long, as it shook off the flinch and clashed the Peck flurry with a flurry of its own attacks - a Fell Stinger flurry.

    Scar watched in awe. “Incredible. This Piplup is holding its own against that Mega Beedrill.” He said.

    Then, Zakari realized. “Wait a second. There it is. There’s our opening.” He asided to Scar. “We can perform a sneak attack while it’s distracted. It may be our only chance to land a decent hit on it.”

    At the same time, Brice and Gemini see a Beedrill flying down the west passageway. Upon seeing the two, this Beedrill opened with a spray of multiple Poison Sting darts from its left and right stingers. The Steam Gunner was able to easily block a good amount of the darts with his shield, while Gemini completely fried the remaining darts with his stored electricity. Then Brice raises his Shraider in bayonet form, yellow electricity being seen on his arm. “Thunder Spark!” He fired his Art, the zap completely shredding the Beedrill’s upper left wing apart. The Mareep followed up by shredding its upper right wing with a simple Thunder Shock.

    Then the Beedrill, how getting desperate, fired off another spray of Poison Sting darts. 30 darts to be exact. Brice, in response, shifted his Shraider into machine pistol mode, and began to unload his entire magazine of 60 bullets. The first 30 bullets directly connected with and shot down the 30 Poison Sting darts flying towards him and Gemini, while the remaining 30 bullets completely warped the Beedrill’s body with every bullet impact. Eventually once all of the bullets were expended, the bee fell to the ground and shattered into data pieces.

    Switching his Shraider back to bayonet form, he twirled it around his right index finger again for a bit, then brought the barrel up to his mouth where he promptly blew over it, like how a cowboy blows the smoke out of his/her revolver. “Heh. That wasn’t too difficult,” he said with a smirk on his face, which was quickly lost as he began thinking to himself. [Strange though. This one didn’t seem to glitch out like the other one did.]

    As that Beedrill was being deleted, the Piplup and Mega Beedrill were still clashing flurries with each other. Zak was seen dashing behind the bee, readying a horizontal swing. Then the two Pokémon stopped their flurries, both of them beginning to feel exhaustion. Zakari attempted to slice right through the Mega Beedrill in this very moment, but it flew upward, dodging out of the way of the attack at the very last possible moment.

    [Damn it. I guess it noticed us.] Zakari exclaimed in thought.

    Then the gigantic Beedrill is seen descending right behind Molly, who turned around and picked herself off the ground in astonishment. Then she began to randomly throw punches in the Mega Beedrill’s general direction, yelling “Take this, you big bug monster!” in the process. None of the punches, however, were even close to connecting. And after a few punches, she lost her balance and fell down to her knees.

    [What is she doing? It’s like she was just flailing her arms around,] Zak said, his eyes shaking a bit. [Her punches don’t have any coordination backing them. There’s no way she could even come close to hitting that thing.]

    Then the bee extended its tail stinger from its regular size to about 1.5 times that length, and tried poking Molly with it in an attempt to drain her life. However, Scar intercepted the attack by Slashing at the stinger with his right claw and clashing with it. Then he tried to follow up by raising his left claw engulfed in flames, and perform a downwards Fire Claw. But the Mega Beedrill, while Scar was readying that attack, managed to slip its stinger out, and then dodged the Fire Claw like a blur. Then he replied with his tail stinger being covered in a poisonous aura, and attempting to stab the Zangoose with it. Scar was just barely able to dodge to the Mega Beedrill’s right, but then tried attacking the bee with a Thunder Claw, which it dodged just as easily. Then the bee replied with a Twineedle attack much like the one Magus dodged, the left stinger Scar dodged easily, then the right stinger he just barely dodged due to how quickly after the first thrust he attacked a second time.

    [Dammit. This Beedrill’s become too sharp,] Scar exclaimed in thought, a look of frustration on his face. [I don’t think sneak attacks are gonna work anymore.]

    Then the Mega Beedrill’s left stinger became coated in the same poisonous aura that its tail stinger was coated in, and then the bee tried Poison Jabbing the Zangoose a second time. But before the stinger traveled far, several bubbles impacted the stinger, recoiling the stinger back near the right side of its head. The Mega Beedrill and Scar turned towards where the bubbles were coming from, and saw the Piplup firing off a continuous stream of those bubbles towards the Mega Beedrill. In response, the bee sped through the attack like a complete blur, Scar barely able to keep track of its movements.

    [!] The Edge Punisher turned his head towards the Piplup. [Those bubbles. He’s firing them like--] Then, he paused his thought. “Piplup. Keep firing those bubbles like that.” He turned back towards the Mega Beedrill, a smirk forming on his face. “I just thought up an idea.”

    The penguin Pokémon finished its Bubble Beam attack, gasping for air afterward. All of the bubbles the Piplup had fired had completely surrounded the Mega Beedrill. Zak walked forward a couple steps. “By spreading those bubbles out in a way that encapsulates a certain area, this Mega Beedrill’s ability to move around has been severely hindered,” he said, snapping his right hand’s fingers. This caused all of the bubbles to acquire a soft visible vibration.

    The giant bee tried to slip through all of the vibrating bubbles slowly and carefully. However, after only a couple seconds, some of the bubbles closest to the bee floated towards and touched it, exploding on impact and sending the bee back to its initial spot.

    [Did he just...turn those bubbles into mines?] Scar thought, in awe.

    Zakari then brought his right arm out towards the sphere of bubbles, his hand open. “Therefore. You can’t dodge this attack!” He exclaimed. “Hellzone BUBBLE!!”

    The Steelheart then balled up his right hand into a fist, a subtle vibration able to be felt by Molly and the Piplup. And as soon as the vibration was felt, all of the vibrating bubble mines instantly flew into the Mega Beedrill’s body, causing explosion after explosion with each bubble impact. Within the massive cloud of smoke being formed, a loud insectoid roar was heard, and moderately strong winds were felt by everyone else in the area.

    “!!” Everyone else looked back. Tina, Magus, Brice, Gemini, Lily, and Slitheren. But then Lily and Slitheren heard a nearby buzzing, and looked back forward to see what appeared to be the final Beedrill.

    The archer wasted no time, readying an arrow onto her bow and firing it straight at the bee. The arrow completely obliterated the bee’s upper left wing completely. Then the Snivy sprinted up to the Beedrill, jumped up into the air, and slammed her Vines into the bee with Vine Whip. Then, while the Beedrill was flinching, Slitheren Wrapped her vines around its body, and then slammed it against a nearby tree, then the ground, and then tossed it up into the air as she let go.

    Lily readied a second arrow, this one aiming straight at the horizontally positioned Beedrill’s head. “OrLei Zas!” Letting to of the arrow, the laser shot completely penetrated the bee’s entire body from head to tail stinger. Not only that, but the scene became a red background, with the Beedrill, insect blood, and laser all became black silhouettes upon the attack landing. Only 3 seconds after this, the scene turned back to normal and the Beedrill’s pierced body shattered into data.

    Slitheren stood there, her eyes shaking from pure surprise alone. [Holy shit,] she thought. Then a smile formed other face as she looked up at Lily. “Wow, didn’t think someone as kind as you would have it in ya.”

    “Well I am a PKK after all,” the archer replied nervously, rubbing her right cheek. “Plus it’s only natural in a fight like this to always go for the kill.”

    The Snivy chuckled a bit. “That’s true.”

    [That should be the last Beedrill.] Zak told himself in thought, looking over at Lily and Slitheren with a smirk of pride on his face. [Good work, everyone.]

    Then, the smoke from Zak and Piplup’s combination attack began to slowly clear away. What was revealed was not nothing, but instead a badly wounded Mega Beedrill still barely able to keep flight.

    “!!” Molly, who had put her cap back on, had a look of shock and terror. “But--But how?”

    “Alright then. This thing’s more durable than I thought it would be. To be able to survive an attack like that, and still be flying.” Zak said, wary of the Mega Beedrill. “But judging by its current condition, it doesn’t seem to have a lot of fight left in it.”

    The gigantic badly wounded bee tried to prove Zak wrong by slowly lifting up its left and right stingers. Scar saw it as the bee trying to use Twineedle, but then the two stingers fell completely off the Mega Beedrill’s body, and landing on the ground, completely shattering into data upon impact.

    “Hmph. Too bad for you, Mega Beedrill. Looks like we win.” Zak said with utmost confidence.

    Then the rest of the group walked towards the center of the area, only taking a couple seconds before stopping and facing the wounded bee. Scar raised his right claw. “Now give up, and surrender your life to us.”

    The Mega Beedrill, however, didn’t listen and instead turned towards Molly.

    “Wait a minute. What’s it planning now?” Gemini said in a surprised tone.

    The wounded bee then extended its tail stinger to its longest possible length - 3x its initial length, ending right before Molly’s forehead.

    “Aaa...a-aa-a...” The black-haired girl couldn’t help but be absolutely terrified at this sight.

    “No. Molly!” Tina exclaimed towards her.

    The Mega Beedrill then began to wind up an attack, supposedly a Fell Stinger. Upon hearing Tina’s voice, however, Molly tried to escape the attack. She turned around and started to get up, but the bee unfortunately stung the back of her right leg. The black-haired girl, yelping in pain from that attack, fell back down on the ground.

    “Oh no, she’s not fast enough!” Brice exclaimed in shock.

    [Dammit this is bad. There’s no way this Mega Beedrill should have enough energy left to do anything.] Zak exclaimed in thought, with a look of frustration on his face that further tensed up. [That means this fight isn’t over yet, and we’ve exhausted all our ways of landing hits.]

    But then, Zak noticed something directly below the Mega Beedrill. A small purple fire that gradually grew larger and larger, until it erupted and engulfed the Mega Beedrill’s entire body. “!!” Everyone reacted in total surprise.

    The purple flames slowly burned away the wounded bee’s remaining body into bits and pieces of corrupted data, until there was no more Mega Beedrill to burn. Then, the purple flame went out instantly, the corrupted data disappearing along with it.

    “What...?” Magus muttered, everyone still in shock of what they witnessed.

    “What the hell just...happened?” Slitheren asked afterward, her words more coherent.

    “It got...burned alive,” Zak replied, speaking rather slowly. “By a purple flame.”

    Then, everyone began to hear a girlish-sounding yawn from nearby. Looking towards the sound’s direction, specifically where Molly and her Piplup were, they see a Pokémon that seemingly just woke up. This Pokémon was a fox-like quadruped Pokémon with pale yellow fur covering its entire body and is longer on its haunches; tufts of dark orange fur covering the insides of its ears; a white muzzle with longer fur on its cheeks; large, dark orange eyes; a pointed, black nose; two pointed teeth on its upper jaw; small paws with no visible tows; slim legs; and a fluffy tail with dark orange tip. “Jeezo, that thing was annoying. Glad we got rid of that pest,” the fox, clearly a girl by the sound of her voice, said after she finished yawning.

    “Hmm?” Zak hummed upon seeing the fox. “I’ve never seen that species of Pokémon before.” He turned his head towards his Snivy. “Hey Slitheren, is that one of the species from this Kalos place?”

    “Yeah, she’s one of the three starter Pokémon.” Slitheren replied. “A Fennekin, from what Pear told me.”

    The black-haired girl looked over at the Fennekin, and then over at her beg. “Ehh? Ashe!” she exclaimed in a distressed tone. “What are you doing out of my bag? I-I thought you were asleep.”

    “Well, I was,” the Fennekin, whom Molly referred to as Ashe, replied casually. “Right up until I heard a giant explosion nearby.”

    “Er that was me,” Zak said nervously, sweatdropping and scratching the back of his head. “Sorry about that, ehehe.”

    “Oh. No worries.” The fox giggled, smiling. “Quite the powerful attack you did though.”

    The Glamour Weaver took out her Pokédex, this time of her own accord, and scanned the Fennekin.

    Fennekin, the Fox Pokémon. Fennekin expels hot air that can reach nearly 400 degrees. It likes to snack on twigs.

    Ashe overheard the Pokédex’s chirping. “Well, not very often anyway,” she replied. Then she began to walk towards the group. “So yeah, name’s Ashe. I overheard all of your names earlier. So if you don’t mind,” While talking, the Fennekin jumped up into the air, and knocked the third Pokémon, and the only empty one, off of Lily’s belt. “I’mma tag along with you guys.”

    Lily giggled in response, a cheery expression on her face. “Ok then.”

    Afterwards, the Fennekin booped her nose against the tip of the Poké Ball, and instantly was caught without any resistance. The archer then picked up the Poké Ball, giggling happily.

    Zak was staring at Lily, smiling. Then he looked forward, losing his smile for a more serious expression. [That glitch earlier...What could’ve caused it?] he began thinking. [And, that mist we saw. It surrounded all of us for a brief moment. What’s going on here?] Then he closed his eyes, a frustrated grin forming on his face. [Dammit, this isn’t the place the be thinking right now. We’ll have to discuss this once we get back to the lab.]

    After a couple seconds, Lily and Brice walked over to Zak. “First thing’s first. Molly’s injury doesn’t seem too bad. So treating it here would be a waste of time.” While Zak was speaking, Tina ro;led her eyes and began walking towards Molly. “Not only that, but it would also leave us with our guards down. But before we get going, we’ll need to make a rough search of our surroundings. We don’t want another surprise attack out here.”

    Lily and Brice nodded in response, they and Zak recalling their respective Poke Balls before beginning their search. Tina, meanwhile, was speaking with Molly. “You ok, Molly?” she asked, Molly nodding in response. “Don’t mind the others. From what I overheard, they think your injury isn’t bad enough for treatment. Even though it looked like you got stung pretty badly.”

    “No it’s alright. Really. You all came to my aid at a great time.” The scout-looking girl said to Tina, a sweatdrop forming on the side of the brunette girl’s face. “Were it not for you and your friends, we may have been dead.” Molly formed a cheerful smile on her face. “Besides, I’d say this wound is the least of what could’ve happened to me.”

    “I-I see.” Tina said nervously. “Here. Can you stand?” She offered to help Molly up.

    “Mmhmm.” the scout-looking girl nodded, picking herself up off the ground without needing the Glamour Weaver’s help. Although Molly did wince at the pain she felt when standing on her right leg. “It hurts a bit. But not too bad.” She brought her smile back. “Injuries like this are almost nothing for me back at home. I get stuff like this pretty often when I’m outside.”

    Tina then put a slight smile on her face, closing her eyes briefly. “...Well if you say so. Now whaddaya say we head back to Pear’s lab together?”

    Meanwhile, Lily and Brice had just finished their searching, and regrouped with Zak near the entrance pathway. “Looks like we’re in the clear,” the Spark Master said.

    “Heeey!” Suddenly, the three heard Tina yell out to them. She looked rather irritated. “Can we get going now, you idiots? We’re still out in the open!”

    Brice looked rather annoyed. “Jeez. You think this Tina’s a lot rougher than ours?” he asked Zakari.

    Zak, in response, let out quite the exasperated sigh. “Yeah no kidding,” he replied with a similar tone. He then raised his voice slightly, and motioned his arm at Tina and Molly telling them to follow. “Come on everyone, let’s get outta here.”

    The Trainers, after Molly recalled her Piplup, began their walk out of the Emerald Forest, most of them hoping to never return to this place ever again.
    #6 Aug 20, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  7. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 7: Dark Ageos

    Sunset. Everyone was outside in front of Professor Pear’s lab. The professor was standing directly in front of the doorway, Molly standing to the right of him. Zak and the crew were all standing opposite of them, only a couple yards away.

    Pear began by briefly closing his eyes right before speaking. “I must thank you for coming to Molly’s aid,” he said with a genuine smile. “Even just a moment later, and she and her Pokémon would’ve been mince meat.”

    “Heheh, no problem professor.” Zakari scratched the back of his head with a smile on his face. “Say though, Molly,” he began to ask afterward. “What exactly do you plan on doing now that you’ve become an official Pokémon Trainer?”

    Molly put her left index finger right below her mouth, thinking for a second. “Well, there’s this guild I really wanted to get into back in my hometown, Harlequin City, ever since a was a little girl. They said that I could join their ranks as soon as I became a Pokémon Trainer.” She replied.

    “Ah, the Harlequin Rangers’ Guild, led by Mary Sutton,” Pear said to her with a smile, looking at her. “Give her my regards next you see her, she’s a good acquaintance of mine.”

    “And I guess you were in the Emerald Forest in an attempt to catch a couple Pokémon before heading back home, right?” Brice asked.

    Molly nodded in reply. “Mmhmm.”

    “Harlequin City...” He was pondering over this name for a second or two. “Where is that exactly?”

    An image of a somewhat dense forest was seen, gradually panning rightward. “The city is stationed in the southwest corner of Ageos, surrounded by the Myrtle Jungle, the main training grounds of the Rangers’ Guild.” Pear began to explain to everyone else. “A very swampy forest area in some parts. Otherwise, it's not a bad area to live in.”

    “Oh!” Molly looked a bit surprised to say the least due to a thought coming into her head. “I guess speaking of, I should start heading towards home now. My parents must be worried sick right now.” She turned around, and began running, waving towards everyone else in the process. “Byyee!”

    Everyone else, in response, waved back at her, despite Molly not seeing any of them. “As for the rest of you.” Pear then turned towards Zak and crew. “Please, feel free to stay the night here. You’ve earned it after your battle,” he said kindly.

    Lily and Brice nodded, immediately walking towards and into the lab in response. The only ones left outside being Zak, Tina, and Professor Pear.

    “...” Tina was initially silent, seemingly not very happy with Zak and crew. She then let out a sigh of irritation. “Sure, let’s ignore the fact that you left Molly’s leg injury alone, and just assumed that she would be alright. Yeah.” She exclaimed, balling up her fight fist in front of her. “Let’s forget that your mistake ever happened, why don’t we.”

    “That’s enough, Tina.” Zak said almost immediately after Tina finished speaking, his tone, while mostly the same as normal, giving away that he wasn’t happy with Tina. He turned around to face her. “We get it already. Maybe we should’ve cared for her injury back there. But that’s how it should’ve went in your eyes.” The Edge Punisher’s tone was also one of discipline. A flashback of Molly began to play. “In our eyes, however, we noticed that Molly was wearing a scout uniform. That alone gave me the impression that she’s a lot tougher than she looks. From our understanding, scouts always deal with injuries like that quite frequently. It’s nothing too serious for them, most of them can still walk after receiving it, and it’s a simple treatment. We didn’t see it as a big deal at the time either, because we had more pressing matters to worry about.” Then, the group was seen searching the area and Tina tending to Molly. “Like you said back in the forest, we were still out in the open. As such, there could’ve been many other wild Pokémon lying in wait for us to drop our guard. And if we stopped even for a second to care for the injury then, we may have been ambushed ourselves. And all of us combined would’ve received more serious injuries.” The flashback ended, Tina showing further signs of irritation. “Think about these details before making conclusions like that again. Understand?”

    Tina sighed in defeat. “Yes sir,” she said in an equally irritated tone.

    “Good.” Zak said sternly, his tone now more commanding. “Now go inside.”

    Christina reluctantly decided to just follow Zak’s orders and walked over into the lab.

    The Edge Punisher and professor were now the only two people outside. “Hey Pear.” Zak decided to grab Pear’s attention.

    “What is it?” Pear replied.

    “What do you think caused that Beedrill’s glitch?” Zak asked. Then he turned around to face the professor. “It certainly wasn’t a natural occurrence.”

    Pear thought about his answer for a couple seconds. “Hard to say really,” he answered afterward. “If I knew less about the scenario, I would most likely say that it was most likely a coding error within the Beedrill itself.”

    “I was thinking the same thing myself initially,” Zakari followed up. “But thinking back on it now, I don't think that's solely the case.”

    Pear closed his eyes. “Indeed, Harudyne. I have a feeling there might be something else in the works.” He reopened his eyes. “Something from The World R:2.”

    “!” Zak looked surprised. [Something from, The World R:2?] But then, he looked more confused. [That seems...vague. But, it at least narrows it down to a handful of things. Still can't really discern anything from it.] He then decided to ask Pear further. “What exactly do you mean? That's a rather vague sentence.”

    Pear shook his head. “It’s only a feeling. That's all,” He replied. “I apologize, but with the current amount of information I have on this matter, I cannot say much more than that.”

    “...” The Edge Punisher was initially silent, keeping a neutral expression and thinking to himself. [Dammit...So he’s saying there could be something else at work here. But...none of us know what exactly it is.] Zak closed his eyes, sighing mentally. [Dammit, this isn’t enough to go by. We have to figure out more.] “I see. Thanks regardless,” he then told Pear before beginning his walk towards the lab.

    . . .

    A few minutes passed after that. All 4 Trainers were in the Pokémon lab’s main relaxation room, with Ashe out of her Poké Ball standing on the center table.

    “So lemme get this straight.” Zakari was standing up as well, recapping what Ashe had told them, while everyone else was sitting in the room’s chairs. “You traveled with Molly because she looked a bit weak in your eyes.” The Fennekin nodded in response. “But despite that, she never actually caught you.”

    “It was my request,” Ashe replied. “I told her that we would part ways as soon as we made it out of the Emerald Forest.”

    Zak then went into a thinking pose. “Interesting. So where exactly are you from then?” he asked next.

    “...” Ashe simply replied with nothing but silence.

    [No answer...] The Edge Punisher thought to himself.

    Ashe’s facial expression was a neutral one. “...You mentioned something about a glitch earlier, did you not?” she then asked.

    “Oh uhh, yeah we did.” Zakari replied, looking a bit surprised at the topic shift. “I'm sure you already know, but it was a regular Beedrill before. But then, it completely glitched out, causing it to Mega Evolve or something.” He looked a bit confused saying that last sentence.

    Ashe, upon hearing this, tilted her head a bit. “You don't know about Mega Evolution?” she asked.

    “Well where we come from, it's the year 2011,” Zak replied. “The latest Pokémon games were Black and White.”

    “Well that explains it,” Ashe said, closing her eyes briefly. A scene showing a completely different region, one that looked heavily inspired by France, was shown on screen. “In this world, the year is 2015. The Fairy typing was discovered along with the forming of the Kalos region. And along with its formation, certain Pokémon are now also allowed to temporarily undergo Mega Evolution.” Then, multiple silhouetted fierce-looking Pokémon were panning across the view. “Mega Evolution allows a Pokémon to become stronger. The boost in its stats alone gives that Pokémon at the very least an edge in battle. But as I said, it’s only temporary.”

    “I see.” Brice said, the scene slowly reverting back to the lab.

    “...Was there anything else amiss during the fight?” Ashe asked further.

    “? Why these questions?” Brice exclaimed.

    “Just answer it please,” the Fennekin exclaimed back.

    “Well, before the Beedrill Mega Evolved, there was this light purple mist surrounding the entire area. We didn’t know what it was, nor what was causing it. It went away too soon to figure out.” Zakari answered in a thinking pose.

    “Purple mist, huh?” Ashe pondered over this thought for a second or two before nodding her head. “Alright then. It’s settled.”

    “What is?” Tina asked, a bit surprised.

    “We’re heading to Shire Town.” Ashe declared.

    “Ehh? W-Why?” Lily exclaimed, a bit surprised herself.

    Ashe hopped off the table. “I think there’s something you need to know about before we travel too much more,” she said, turning her head slightly back towards the others.

    As Ashe began her walk out of the relaxation room, Zak looked a bit cautious. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” he asided to the others.

    “No kidding,” Brice asided back. “But I guess we should indulge her for now. It sounds important.”

    Afterwards, the four Trainers started walking out of the room.

    . . .

    After a couple minutes of walking, the group all arrived at the front gates of Shire Town. Zak was casually looking around the gates, looking a bit surprised.

    “Huh. No irritating guards this time around,” he said.

    “Huh?” Brice initially responded. Then he thought about it for a second. “Oh you mean the two Chris mentioned?”

    Zakari nodded before speaking. He raised his left hand, pointing the index finger towards the sky. “Before I deleted them, they mentioned someone named “High Dragoon Nathaniel”, and their armor had this purple dragon symbol on it.” He paused for a second. “Other than that, they looked like regular armored guards.”

    “High Dragoon Nathaniel? Who’s he?” Tina asked curiously.

    “No idea,” Zak said, shaking his head. “They said only his name, nothing more.”

    They all then came to what looked to be an ordinary house. A medieval-style house made of smooth stone. “Well here we are,” Ashe said to the others.

    Brice looked a bit confused.“It's, just a house,” he said, sweatdropping.

    Then, everyone noticed a mist seeping out from under the door. A familiar purple mist, at that.

    “!!” All four of the Trainers gave off looks of shock. [It’s that mist again,] Brice thought as well.

    Then, almost as if by magic, the front door opened on its own. This revealed a very dense wall of dark purple clouds.

    “!” The Trainers all looked surprised once more. [The door, i-it opened on its own.] Brice exclaimed in thought.

    Everyone was staring at the portal for a couple seconds, feeling the wind coming from the clouds. “...I never did answer your question back there.” Ashe spoke up, Zakari’s attention immediately grabbed. “You asked where I came from, didn’t you?”

    Zak looked back towards the portal, staying silent for a second. “Yeah. I did,” he then replied.

    Ashe was then also silent for a second, then spoke again. “The answer to that question, lies just beyond that portal.” She paused for a second. “This is also where the purple mist you mentioned came from.”

    [That actually makes sense,] the Edge Punisher thought to himself. [We noticed the mist seep out from underneath the doorway, but it could've been caused by any number of things. But, now that we see it’s a portal, it became clear.]

    After a second’s silence... “Well what are we waiting for. I doubt we have all day here.” Ashe exclaimed.

    “Yeah.” Zak nodded. “Let’s go.”

    Then, the group of five walked through the clouds, Zakari being the last one to walk through. When he and the others walked through, they entered a darkened wormhole of sorts. Zak was swept off of his feet, the doorway closing behind him automatically. They all flew through the wormhole for a few seconds until the setting flashing a bright white.

    . . .

    A completely violet sky, with no clouds to be seen anywhere. The view of the entire location was slightly darkened. Zakari and everyone else were standing in front of a regular door, facing away from it.

    Zak and the others looked forward, with shock in their eyes. “Where...Where are we?” Zak muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear.

    “We’re in my homeworld.” Ashe said, a bit of somberness able to be heard in her voice. “This...is Dark Ageos.”

    “Wait, a dark world?” Lily exclaimed.

    “Well, if you wanna call it that.” Ashe replied, closing her eyes for a split second. “I guess that term makes sense, since the two worlds haveparallel paths.” She paused for a second, the camera panning around the rather depressing-looking area. Almost all of the buildings were either partially or completely destroyed, one of them looking to be still standing, but on its last legs due to aging. There was no Pokémon Center or Poke Mart to be seen at all. “This town specifically is called Darkshire. Since it’s a dark world version of Shire Town.”

    The four Trainers looked around the area for a bit, roughly examining the destroyed buildings, but more intensely examining the one still standing. There looked to be a bit of purple mold forming on parts of the building’s wooden boards and beams, as well as the stone being nowhere as smooth as the building in light Ageos.

    “It looks...old,” Brice said somberly. “Like someone destroyed it a long time ago.”

    Ashe looked around herself, but only briefly. “It’s always looked like this,” she then replied. “Ever since this world’s conception, from what I heard.”

    “Conceptio--” Zak was about to finish saying that word. But then, he and the other three Trainers felt a sensation within their throats. One that caused them to start coughing.

    “What you’re coughing from right now is the atmosphere. It’s harmful to any non-Pokémon due to the amount of Dracotoxins in the air.” Ashe explained. “It isn’t too bad, but you’ll die if you stay here for too long.”

    “I see,” Zak said in a pained tone, coughing once afterward. “Guess we should make this quick then.”

    Ashe closed her eyes. “Honestly I wanted to show you that his world existed. I think it may be important to know about in the future.” Ashe said, beginning to open her eyes afterward. “But we can’t just return to light Ageos the way we came. Shire Town contains one of the many entrances, but there’s only one exit that’s close by. In the next town over.”

    “Well, that’s better than the alternative. Let’s go.” Zakari said, everyone beginning to walk westward down a familiar yet different path.

    . . .

    About a minute later, Zak and crew were seen walking down this path - Dark Route 1. A very similar yet darkened dirt walkway, surrounded by all but dead patches of grass and horribly aged trees. The group, minus Ashe, also occasionally coughed from the atmosphere’s toxins.

    [This is reminding me of our first trip to Cerise City. I guess it’s because this is Route 1 of the dark world.] Zakari thought to himself.

    Zak and Brice decided to walk behind the girls. But then, suddenly, the two noticed a silhouette - one that resembled a ferret of some kind - facing them. The two were surprised by this, to say the least, stopping their walk. [What the hell? That looks like...a Furret.] [But, what’s it doing here of all places?] Zak thought.

    But after a couple seconds, the silhouette ran into the bushes to its left.

    The Steam Gunner, still a bit surprised at the silhouette, turned his head towards Zak. “What, was that exactly?” he asked.

    “?” Tina and Lily also stopped walking turning their upper bodies around towards Zak and Brice. “What are you two talking about?” Tina asked.

    “That silhouette. I-It looked like the shape of a Furret.” Zakari paused for a second. “But...I can’t be certain. After all, we are technically in Route 1. And Furrets don’t usually start appearing in general until around Level 20.” He sounded intelligent, yet confused.

    Ashe, overhearing all of this, smiled, stopped walking, and turned her back back towards the others. “What’s the holdup? I thought you wanted to get back to Ageos.” She said.

    Zak responded a second after she finished speaking. “...Well we do bu--”

    “Then let’s get a move on. We’re pretty close to the portal.” Ashe interrupted Zak, then forming a smirk on her face, and bringing her tone down to a slightly devilish one. “Unless you don’t really care about living anymore, that is.”

    “Alright, alright, we get it, we'll keep walking.” Brice replied, sweatdropping and scratching the back of his head. Then his expression went back to a neutral one. “Although we do have a few questions to ask you once we get back to Ageos.”

    “That’s fine.” The Fennekin said back, then looked back forward and continued walking forward. The others followed suit. [There I go again, showing my bad habit,] Ashe thought to herself, smiling. [It’s not my fault being good all the time is boring.]

    . . .

    After some more walking, Zak and crew finally arrived at their destination - an ungated entrance with two unaged smooth stone towers, one on each side. After walking through, they immediately saw the not-so-deep but very wide dirt crater in the center, with two other similar entrances - one on the south exit, and the other on the north.

    “This places looks worn down. Like it's some kind of battle arena,” Brice muttered upon seeing the crater.

    Then, the group all noticed on the west side of the area a collection of white clouds in what looked to be a shrine gate. “There it is. The light portal back to Ageos.” Ashe exclaimed.

    Tina’s expression tensed up a bit. “...Come on. No more time to waste,” she said.

    Everyone else nodded, all five beginning to sprint towards the portal. However, after a couple seconds of running, they began to notice the portal clouds dissipate. They all stopped running once it fully vanished, stopping in the middle of the crater.

    “What? Why is it vanishing?” Brice exclaimed.

    “I-I don’t know.” Ashe exclaimed back, also looking surprised.

    But after Ashe finished speaking, all five of them heard laughter from above them, slowly getting louder. Until the laughing figure showed itself to everyone them. This figure being a large, seahorse-like creature with a tightly curled tail; blue scales that cover most of its body; yellow, compact scales that cover its belly; thin spines with a single branch atop its head and thin, white fins under its cheeks; powerful thin snout; two pronged fins that extend slightly past its cheeks; and a white fin on its back which is supported by other thin blue spines.

    “I don’t believe you’ll be going anywhere, Trainers.” The large seahorse spoke in a rather imposing deep male voice, his eyes also looking as tough as Zak’s.

    Tina hesitated to speak at first, initially just gasping in shock. “What--What is that?” She exclaimed afterward.

    Brice, on the other hand, gasped for a different reason, and took out his Pokédex. “A Kingdra!” he exclaimed, scanning the Pokémon.

    Kingdra, the Dragon Pokémon. Kingdra normally rest on the ocean floor, but in periods of high activity, even a simple yawn has enough power to create whirlpools.

    The Kingdra squinted his eyes at the group of five in front of him. “You have stumbled into our territory. The territory of the ones who wish not to side with Trainers like you.” Then he widened them swiftly. “You are not wanted here in our world!”

    Zak gritted his teeth, growling softly. “Guess we gotta fight our way out of here.” he said.

    He, Lily, and Brice brought their non-dominant arms out, attempting to materialize their Poke Balls. However, even after a couple seconds of this, no amount of light appeared.

    The three were astonished. “What the?” Lily exclaimed.

    “Come on. You know that's not you how summon your Pokémon,” Tina said. She then grabbed Magus’ Poké Ball, and tossed it upwards. But it didn't open, not even a small amount, and instead bounced lightly on the ground before it stopped moving altogether.

    Tina formed a look of shock. More shock than the others had. “Wh--What?”

    “W-Why can't we send out our Pokémon?” Brice exclaimed.

    The Kingdra let out a hum. “I guess you weren’t told then. But once a fight is initiated in this world, Trainers such as yourselves cannot use any Pokémon aside from the ones you sent out prior.”

    “Wait what?” Lily exclaimed, more surprise appearing on her face.

    Zak began forming an angry grin on his face. “So you knew something we didn't, and are now using this to your advantage.”

    Ashe also had an angry grin on her face. [Hrrgh, I knew I forgot to mention something,] she exclaimed in thought. [Dammit, this is bad.]

    [Well, there goes our strategy.] Zak thought, grabbing the hilt of his Nihilblade. [Guess we have to do this the hard way.]

    Signalling the true start of the fight, the Kingdra fired a medium amount of water. This water slowly began to form a rather thick ring of water that slowly expanded. Lily tried to dodge out of the way by jumping back, while Tina pulled out her scythe and tried to slice the attack in two. However, she was unable to touch it, as the water broke apart during her swing, and reformed afterward. Then the ring crashed into Tina, Lily also being knocked down from the force that surrounded the Water Pulse.

    “Lily! Tina!” Brice exclaimed, looking back at the two girls.

    The Edge Punisher, his expression tensing up slightly, dashed towards the Kingdra, jumping up right before him and swinging his greatsword downward. The seahorse, seeing this, made his body turn into water, Zak’s sword going straight through the liquid. “What?” Zak said, looking shocked.

    “I guess I can’t blame you for a lack of information.” The Kingdra retorted, the watery body solidifying again. Then, almost as if it were a fire hose, Kingdra fired a ferocious, incredibly powerful blast of water. Zak guarded with his weapon, but was blasted away at high speeds, slamming into the trees behind him.

    [Wow...he’s strong,] Zak thought, slowly getting up and cracking a slight happy grin. [He might be just as strong as Bladestorm.]

    Kingdra closed his eyes, and although it wasn't easy to tell, was smiling. “Impressive,” he complimented Zak, then lost his smile and reopened his eyes. “But not enough.”

    Then he readied his next attack. His body began to emanate small balls of purple light from his body. Zak looked surprised.

    “Dragon Pulse.” Kingdra said semi-heroically. As soon as he said this, all 5 light balls flashed one after another, transforming into laser-like draconic energy blasts. Zak, quick on his draw, managed to successfully slice through the first two Dragon Pulses. However, his speed began to slow a bit as the last three blasts all hit him in quick succession.

    “Zak!” Brice exclaimed, running around the Kingdra in a clockwise fashion with his Shraider gun in machine pistol mode. Upon reaching a spot directly behind Kingdra, he fired his weapon until the entire magazine of 60 bullets was expended. Kingdra, hearing the firing noise, turned his head clockwise 90 degrees, and his eyes’ pupils began to glow a baby blue. Upon this happening, a wave of water began materializing on the ground and rising up to block and catch all 60 bullets.

    “...” Kingdra was silent as he fully turned around to face Brice, his eyes halting its glow and the water now crashing down and reflecting the bullets back at the Steam Gunner. Brice, now looking shocked at this, brought his shield in front of him, the bullets all bouncing off of that shield in quick succession. However, the combined force of all the bullets managed to knock Brice’s shield arm back.

    Meanwhile, Tina managed to slowly pick herself off of the ground, panting for a couple seconds. Then, she began sprinting towards the Kingdra, bringing her scythe over her head with the blades facing upward. Then, as soon as she came to the Kingdra, she jumped up and swung her scythe downward. Unfortunately, much like how he did with Zakari’s swing, Kingdra’s body turned into water for Tina’s attack, the blades going harmlessly through the water.

    Then the Kingdra drew his eyes toward Tina, having them glow blue again. “Have you not learned anything from when your friend tried that?” he said sternly.

    “!” Tina gasped.

    Then, a small yet think wave of water appeared under the brunette girl, rising upward and pushing Tina further up in the air. Then, the Surf wave circled clockwise vertically around Tina, before proceeding to slam her down towards the ground. The water completely dispersed as soon as she hit the ground, bouncing off of it once. “...” She was speechless, completely overwhelmed by the Kingdra’s incredible power. Then, after fully landing on the ground, Tina attempted to pick herself up off the ground, but was unsuccessful and fell back down again. “Urgh...What...What, is this thing...? He’s...too strong...” Her voice was shaking a bit.

    Just then, however, the seahorse began hearing the sound of flames nearby. Looking over towards where the sound was coming from, he noticed a magical arrow completely engulfed in purple fire. “Hmph,” he hummed. Then he breathed in, and exhaled a slightly darker purple fire, a draconic fire, and completely neutralized both the arrow and the fire.

    Zak, having finally gotten up off the ground, began to run up to Kingdra, his left arm around the right side of his body, and his blade behind his back. He began yelling, jumping up to Kingdra’s level. “What?” The Kingdra exclaimed, turning his head to see what he was hearing.

    Zak then swung his sword leftward, managing to impact and cut slightly the Kingdra’s scaly hide, a small amount of blood being spewed from the cut. Zak, seeing this, began to smirk and giggle happily.

    “Impressive.” Kingdra said, Zak now having a surprised look on his face. Then the Kingdra turned towards the Edge Punisher. “But ultimately accomplishes nothing.”

    Then the seahorse fired another powerful Hydro Pump stream straight at Zakari, knocking him completely down onto the ground. Then, what looked to be the remains of the attack flew straight towards Brice, who responded by putting his shield back in front of him. Unfortunately for him, however, the attack circled counter-clockwise around him, then impacting his chest area. Once the attack dispersed, the force caused Brice to be knocked down as well.

    “Hrrrgh...This power...How do we...counter it...?” Brice grunted.

    “Hmph. I believe I have spent long enough on you,” the Kingdra said afterward, ascending upward towards the clouds. “I will admit though, you've humored me quite effectively. But unfortunately it's time for me to end this.”

    Then, almost on instinct, multiple black-and-purple portals started forming and growing one after another as the Kingdra was seen warping away from sight. And from each of these portals, a completely darkened rock meteor engulfed in dark purple flames came crashing down towards the ground. After a couple seconds, all of the Draco Meteors impacted the ground and group below, each one forming a dark and dense cloud of smoke that kept growing and growing.

    . . .

    A few seconds later, when the smoke was beginning to clear, Zak and crew were slowly able to be seen. All of them were beaten and battered, but their bodies were also shaking. They were also making sounds of pain.

    “Hmm. Very intriguing.” The Kingdra’s voice was heard from the distance, echoing slightly. “You all survived my attack. Quite an impressive feat for beginners such as yourselves.” Then, a smirking hum was heard. “You all show potential for growth. So I will let you live this time. We will fight again in the future. But until then, you shall know my name. I am Xanadu of the 13 Dragons. The second most powerful Pokémon clan in all of Dark Ageos.” Then, Xanadu’s voice wasn’t heard anymore.

    “Nnn...nnngh...” The Edge Punisher was seen beginning to pick himself up. “What...What happened...?” he said in a pained tone. He looked around the place, many smaller craters having been formed from the Draco Meteor onslaught. “Looks like we’re...still alive. But that Kingdra. Xanadu, he said. His power, it was...unbelieveable. We could barely even touch him.” Then he, still feeling pain, formed a pained expression on his face.

    Everyone else also slowly started picking themselves up off the ground, feeling the same amount of pain Zak was.

    “Nnnngh...damn...that hurt...” Brice said, grunting.

    “No kidding. He was...way out of our league...Even if we could summon out Pokémon, I doubt it would’ve done us much good.” Tina replied, also grunting in pain.

    Then, the white clouds from before started reappearing within the shrine gate. “That Xanadu guy let us off the hook, let’s take this opportunity and get the hell out of here,” Zak said upon seeing the portal. “Who knows whatever other dragon Pokémon are around that want us dead.”

    Everyone else nodded in response. “Yeah.” Tina said. Then, all five of them walked through the lightportal back to Ageos.

    . . .

    After a bright flash of light, the group were all seen standing in the middle a central walkway. After looking around a bit, they noticed this was Cerise City.

    “This is...weird. We’re back in Cerise City.” Brice muttered just loud enough for the other four to hear him.

    “Well the place we were in was called the Darkcerise Battlegrounds, so yeah of course we would end up here,” Ashe replied quickly.

    Brice then took one step forward, and the pain he felt back in Dark Ageos was felt once again. “Oww, I’m still hurting all over.” Brice said in a pained tone.

    “Yeah, same here. Come on, let’s go rest up in the Center for a bit,” Zak replied, beginning to turn towards the Center behind them.

    Everyone then began to walk towards that Pokémon Center, Zak thinking to himself in the process. [That Kingdra, Xanadu. His power was several leagues above our own. We don’t stand a chance of beating him. Not yet. We’ll have to strengthen ourselves and our abilities, if we even wanna come close to competing with Xanadu. And from what he said...we may have to fight Dragons that are similar in power to him.] The scene then froze on the group walking, with a transparent figure of the Kingdra known as Xanadu being seen in the sky above them. [Just another barricade between us, and escaping.]
    #7 Sep 14, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  8. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 8: Memory

    Around 45 minutes had passed since Zakari and the others returned from their excursion in Dark Ageos. The Trainers still felt occasional pain here and there, but for the most part, their injuries had been healed up. All of them were in the lounging area of Cerise City’s Pokémon Center. Zak, Lily, and Brice were sitting in the room’s three rather comfortable-looking armchairs, which were each covered in cloth and had a seat cushion. All three chairs were facing the center round table, where Ashe was standing. The seats were positioned north, east, and southeast of that table. Tina, meanwhile, was standing against the wall near the room’s front doorway with her arms crossed, while Slitheren was standing up near the southeast chair that Brice was sitting in.

    “Question.” Zak broke the silence and grabbed Ashe’s attention. “How were you able to breathe just fine in Dark Ageos, when we couldn’t?”

    “Well, I’m a Pokémon, that’s why.” Ashe replied.

    “...?” Everyone else was silent for a second before looking blatantly confused.

    Then, a rather poorly drawn illustration of Dark Ageos’ landscape was shown on screen, Ashe also beginning to speak. “The world of Dark Ageos was specifically created to house Pokémon who wished not to be taken in by Trainers, as they deemed humans to be an annoying race that always stood above them.” Said Pokémon, also poorly drawn, appeared along with small violet particles. “The atmosphere in that world is filled to the brim with Dracotoxins - a special substance that only Pokémon can handle. To any other race, it’s just as the name says, a toxin.”

    Then the illustration disappeared. “That’s why I didn’t ask questions back in that world. Any more time spent there, and we may have actually died from those Dracotoxins.” Zakari replied.

    “Yeah. But...” Lily paused, sounding rather worried. “That Xanadu guy. He was super strong. My body still aches from his attacks.”

    “No kidding,” Tina followed, sounding a bit gloomy all things considered, and also looking defeated. “Knocked us all down with little to no effort. Almost killed us too.” She tilted her head down slightly. “It was as if we were flies, and Xanadu was the swatter.”

    “S-Sorry for not telling you about the whole “can’t send out Pokémon in battle” thing,” Ashe said with a nervous smile, sweatdropping. “I knew about that rule, but completely forgot until Xanadu mentioned it.”

    “I’m still a little shaken by how wide the gap was between us and him,” Brice said, his eyes closed and his head tilted slightly downward. Then he raised it back up. “But what unnerves me more is what he told us. He said he was part of the 13 Dragons, and that it was the second most powerful clan in all of Dark Ageos.” He glanced over at the Fennekin. “So then...what’s the first?”

    “I don’t think it would be best to explore that topic,” Ashe replied. “Not even I know the answer, so we would get nowhere with it.”

    “You’re right.” Brice sighed, and got up out of his chair. “Well, either way, we should probably get going. No use standing around here.”

    “I agree with Brice.” Zak materialized his Pokédex, and brought up a flat screen onto the table next to Ashe displaying the region’s map. “Here’s is our current location, Cerise City. I say we head northwest across Route 10, to Slate City for now. There’s a Domain north of that place, as mentioned in the Avalon Rout Quest.” As Zak was speaking, a red circle appeared over Cerise City, followed by a red line across the entire route between Cerise City and the next red dot. One tile north of that red dot was a small black hexagon, symbolizing the Domain’s location. Not only that, but a red X appeared over Russetton’s location. “And seeing as how we probably don’t wanna go back to Russetton anytime soon, I say we take care of that next.”

    “Sounds like fun,” Slitheren replied cheerfully, cracking her knuckles in glee. “I wouldn’t really mind enjoying a good fight. It’s fun for me.”

    Ashe sighs softly. “And well, it does seem like the best course of action to take right no--”

    “I object.” Tina’s voice cut off Ashe’s sentence. She sounded serious, and her expression reflected this. Everyone looked over at the brunette near the doorway. “We have done it your way for a while. Now we’ll do it my way. And by that, I mean I’ll be giving the orders this time.”

    Ashe let out a confused hum. “What are you talking about?” she asked Tina.

    “I’ve been thinking about this ever since we first met,” Tina replied, closing her eyes. Then she reopened them. “And now, it’s time I stop running away from the truth.” She pointed her right index finger rather dramatically at the Edge Punisher. “Zakari Harudyne. I will never trust you as our group leader!”

    “? What’s with this all of a sudden?” Brice asked, a bit confused by Tina’s current demeanor.

    “Yeah, first you’re perfectly fine with Zak’s leadership, and now here you are resenting him for it.” Slitheren said afterward, her arms crossed.

    Scar briefly closed his eyes. “Something about this doesn’t sit very well with me.”

    “What do you mean?” Lily asked.

    Zak heard both Scar’s comment and Lily’s question, and directed his eyes towards the Zangoose. [What is Scar referring to in saying this? I-I don’t feel anything particularly off in the room.] He was also thinking to himself for a bit, and then looked forward. [Dammit, he’s being vague. I’ll have to act normal for now until I figure this out.]

    “Need I remind you, Tina, that you were given the opportunity to leave our group at any time,” he then told Tina. “Hell, you could’ve left back in Russetton after we freed Bladestorm, just like Chris did. But you didn’t. You instead decided to stick with us, so that you could learn more about your po--”

    “Yeah, I did. But we’ve gotten next to nowhere with that!” Tina shouted, interrupting Zak.

    “Alright then. So where do you suggest we start looking?” he proposed. “Nobody in any of the towns we’ve been to so far would have even the faintest idea of what these powers are. In fact, the only person we know of so far who does know is the Lawless Raptor. But none of us know his contact information, so asking him will be next to impossible.” He looked rather serious, almost as serious as Tina was. [I know even in your memory altered state, that you’re not that stupid, Tina.] He thought afterward.

    “Then why would Professor Pear want me to travel with you three?” Tina shouted.

    “Zakari.” Scar asided to Zak. The Edge Punisher directed his eyes towards the Zangoose, who simply stared back at him.

    [What?] Zak exclaimed in thought. [What is he trying to--] Then, Zak noticed something - a slight glimmer in Scar’s eyes. He mentally gasped for an instant. [Wait a minute.]

    Then, as a flashback that played in his head, Zakari remembered earlier that day, when he was speaking to Professor Pear. “I have a feeling there might be something else in the works. Something from The World R:2.”

    After the flashback ended, Zak tried his damnedest to keep his expression the same as it was prior. [...Now I understand. He didn’t mean within the room at all. He meant within Tina herself. And piecing it together with what the professor told me...] He redirected his eyes towards Tina, whose expression hadn't changed at all. [Yeah. It makes too much sense.]

    “...Oh I know what it is,” Tina said, finally breaking the silence. She still sounded angry. “You all still think that I’m this “Legendary Flick Reaper” person, all because I look like her. Don’t you?” She paused for a moment, Zak and the others not saying a word in response. “Well I’m not! I’m nothing like her!” Tina then shouted. “I should’ve left you all behind back then, and traveled on my own. Maybe then I could’ve actually learned more about my powers.” She looked down at her hand for a second. “In fact, I think my biggest mistake, was listening to that idiot Pear.” As soon as Tina said this, Zak began to growl softly. “He knows nothing about me. He only thinks he knows about me!”

    “Don’t you dare speak ill of the professor!” Zak shouted in response, quickly getting out of the chair directly upward from the table.

    Tina scoffed at Zak before glaring at him. “And why not?”

    “You’re not giving him the credit he deserves, Christina Warren,” Zakari replied, pointing at Tina. “He allowed you, a newcomer to this world, to take the Trainer exam, so that you would have the ability to defend yourself alongside many different Pokémon.” He paused for an instant. “In fact, were it not for him, none of us would’ve gotten this far.”

    “BULLSHIT!!” Tina screamed out angrily, swiping her left arm towards her left. Then, as she lowered her arm, she began balling up her right fist. “You all look up to that buffoon as some sort of important figure. Some pillar of light guiding you. But he’s nothing! Nothing but a useless pile of--”

    “YOU MORON! HAVE YOU ALREADY FORGOTTEN WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR YOOOOOU?!!” Zakari screamed out towards Tina in rage, completely cutting her off.

    “!!” A majority of the others, minus Tina, looked quite shocked from Zak’s tone of voice.

    [He...He snapped,] Brice thought, still looking calm.

    “The Tina we knew would never act like this!” Zak continued yelling, balling up his right fist. “She wouldn’t dare challenge the kindness that others had shown her!” He raised his balled up right fist in front of him. “You are nothing compared to her!!” Then he threw his arm towards his right. “And you never WILL compare to her, the Legendary Flick Reaper!!”

    Lily, Ashe, and Slitheren were speechless, only watching in horror. “I...I’ve never seen this side of him before...” Slitheren muttered out, her voice shaking.

    “It isn’t very often this particular side reveals itself,” Brice asided back. “It takes a certain amount of hatred for someone, or something, to bring it out.”

    [I’m sorry, everyone. But this is the only way I can think of, to bring her back to her previous self.] Zak thought to himself.

    Tina began to growl softly for a second. “...Enough of this,” she said, brandishing her Shorai no Kama, causing Zak to gasp in shock. “I’m ending this. Right here. Right now!” Then the brunette girl began to slowly walk towards the Edge Punisher.

    Brice now looked shocked as well. [She...She’s really gonna try and kill Zak,] he exclaimed in thought.

    While walking forward, Tina was thinking to herself, mentally smirking a bit evilly. [At long last, I’ve fulfilled that stupid oaf’s request, tagged along with these sorry excuses for Trainers. And now, I’ll finally be able to put myself at ease. I'll never have to worry about their stupid accusations ever again.] Tina then began mentally chuckling to herself for a couple seconds. [I’ve never felt this good before in my life.]

    Zak’s eyes began shaking slightly. [Ok. This is new. I didn’t think that would backfire on me honestly,] he thought, surprised as he now tensed up his expression into a more serious one. [Just what kind of memory alteration spell was placed on her anyway? It certainly isn’t an accessible feat, by any regular means.]

    Tina was still walking towards Zakari. But then... “!!” After two more steps, she felt an intensely sharp pain in her head, and her grip on her scythe slowly eased up until the weapon fell out of her hand and landed on the ground. After another couple seconds of shock, Tina crouched down and grabbed her head with both of her hands, gritting her teeth.

    During all of this pain, she heard a disembodied voice. One that sounded exactly like her own. “I’ll never forget you, Zak. Even if something happens to me, I’ll always remember you.”

    “Hrr--Hrrrr--” Tina was still grunting in pain that seemingly never ended.

    Zak gasped in surprise again. “Tina?” he called out her name. Then he ran towards the brunette girl, shouting her name again. “Tina!” As soon as he reached Tina, Zak put both of his hands onto her shoulders.

    “!” Tina, upon this happening, began to calm down, the pain in her head finally going away. She then looked up at Zak, her eyes now shaking in fear. “Why...Why does your voice...calm me?” she spoke in an equally fearful shaking voice.

    Then the brunette girl slowly and ultimately fell unconscious, her body also falling to its left towards the floor. Zak, only a second before she would’ve hit the ground, managed to grab her body and begin carrying it.

    Zakari sighed, beginning to stand back up. “Well...I think we’re finally making progress,” he said to the others. “I’ll admit though, that didn’t go how I expected it to.”

    “I think from that pain, a memory resurfaced in her mind. One from The World R:2,” Brice said in a thinking pose.

    “I just hope she remembers us soon...” Lily said in a worried tone, her hands clamped together in front of her chest.

    Zak then formed a rather troubled smile on his face. “Sorry guys. I had to lie about the whole kindness thing. It was the only way I could think of to bring her back to normal,” he told everyone else. “I’ll take Tina to an empty room so she can rest. For now, we’ll postpone our plan until tomorrow. That’ll give us enough time to determine if Tina reverts back to normal or not.” Then, Zak began to turn towards the hallway connected directly to the room, up left of where the front doorway was. “Besides, I think some of us are still aching from Xanadu’s onslaught earlier.”

    Zakari walked towards and into that hallway. As Zak walked past, Lily let out a worried moan, still having her hands clamped together in front of her chest. Brice just simply stared at Zak walking away, thoughts roaming his mind.

    [I don't care how strongly her memories are altered. There's no way that Tina would desire to kill any of us,] he thought, sounding slightly tense. Then he moaned to himself ominously. [I'm beginning to have a bad feeling about all of this.]

    . . .

    Sunset, a couple hours after Tina had passed out. She was seen still asleep in one of the Pokémon Center’s bedrooms, her glasses and Pokédex resting atop the room’s dresser next to Magus’ Poké Ball. Then, suddenly, she began to stir and wake up slowly. She turned her head left and right, only slightly in each direction, initially unable to recognize where she was. “What...What happened?” she muttered, slowly beginning to sit up. Her head began to hurt slightly, and in response put her right hand on her forehead. “Oww...”

    “Evening.” Tina heard Magus’ voice nearby, to her right.

    Looking over there, the Treecko was sitting directly next to the unelevated mattress. “Er, Magus? Wh-What are you doing out of your Ball?” she exclaimed, surprised.

    “You didn’t seem well, so I looked after you per Zak’s request.” Magus replied.

    “Oh, well that’s nice of you.” Tina said to Magus, smiling.

    Magus sighed, looking down towards the ground in front of him. “He told me most of what happened, since I wasn’t out to witness it.” He then looked towards Tina again. “We postponed our plan to tomorrow afternoon. Probably for the best, considering what happened earlier.”

    “That...reminds me,” Tina, her hand against her forehead, muttered just loud enough for Magus to hear. “What exactly did happen earlier? It’s...a little fuzzy in my head.”

    Magus blinked. “From what I heard, you...tried to kill Harudyne.”

    “Oh yeah...that’s right,” Tina said, still in a muttering volume. “And then my head started hurting.”

    “I don’t get it. You were fine with Zak being group leader before. And now all of a sudden, you decide to go against that same leadership.” Magus sighed, pausing for a second afterward. “Something isn’t right about you. It’s like there’s...another you fighting inside your subconscious.”

    “Another me, huh...” Tina replied, removing her hand from her head and looking down at it.

    The Treecko then began to stand up. “I’ll be honest with you. Zak told me about the Legendary Flick Reaper,” he said while doing so. Then, after he fully stood up, he turned towards Tina. “I’m confident that person is within you.”

    “...” Tina was silent, deciding to grab her glasses off the dresser and put them on. Then she got out of bed, and began to stretch upwards. “I guess if we have the day off, I better go do something.”

    After she finished stretching for a couple more seconds, she grabbed her Pokédex and Magus’ Poké Ball off the dresser, recalled him, and put the Ball onto her belt. Then she walked out of her room, and was next seen a few seconds later in the Center’s front lobby. Zak was seen standing against the left wall perpendicular to the front door and parallel to the side of the right side’s curved sofa, his arms crossed.

    Tina walked past the Edge Punisher, who began to look at her. She stopped just before where the door would open. “...You win,” she told him.

    “?” Zakari looked confused, to say the least.

    “That is all I will say,” Tina said sternly.

    Then she continued walking, exiting the Pokémon Center. And after a couple seconds, the door closed, leaving Zak to stare at it. [What would she be doing? I mean, it is evening time.]

    . . .

    Around the same time, Slitheren was seen walking down one of the Center’s hallways by herself. “Maaan.” Her own voice was playing in her head as she was walking, a flashback eventually beginning to play. In this flashback, Slitheren and Zak are both standing up in the Center’s lounging area where everyone was earlier. “This is boooring!” the Snivy exclaimed, raising her arms up. Then she sighed, lowering her arms back down. “What a buzzkill. I wanted to go kick some ass today, not sit around for an entire evening.” She turned towards Zak. “Isn’t there at least somewhere nearby I can go fight or something?”

    “Well I’d say there should be a training facility here in this Center. Buut I highly doubt that’s the case,” Zak replied. “If anything, you can always just head either north or south of town and train against some of the wilds nearby.”

    “Actually, we do have a training facility here. It just hasn’t been used a lot since the Gym here closed down a few years ago.” Then, a woman walked in. This woman had short pink hair, part of which was curled up into two rings, and what Zak recognized from his days of watching the anime as a Nurse Joy uniform.

    Slitheren’s eyes gleamed in excitement. “Ooh, really? Where is it?” she asked eagerly.

    “It’s on the other side of the building, near the sports rooms.” the Nurse Joy replied, pointing towards the lower-left corner of the room. “Most people nowadays use the sports rooms instead of the training room though.”

    The Snivy shouted “Hooraaaay!” happily before turning towards the front doorway and running out. “Thanks!” She turned around after running through the door to wave back at Zak and the Nurse Joy, and then continued running off.

    As the flashback ended, Slitheren found herself at a fork in the hallway - one path continuing down the same direction, and another going left. Being unfamiliar with Pokémon Center layouts and whatnot, she first went down the left pathway. At the end of that pathway she found a rather long and sufficiently wide room with two separate poles - one on each side - with a board and hoop attached at the top - the basketball court, in other words.

    Slitheren sighed, turning back towards and walking towards the fork. “That’s not it,” she muttered softly.

    When she made it back to the fork, the first thing she noticed upon turning towards the other pathway was another court that was roughly the same dimensions of the basketball court, only this room had a large net in the center instead of the two basketball hoops - it was the tennis court. Then she began walking down the hallway, looking more at the tennis court more in curiosity than anything and noticing a panel on the far corner. She deduced that the tennis court doubled as a volleyball court if the players wanted to play that sport instead. Then she looked towards her right, noticing a rather beautiful grassy field sprayed down partially with white paint that formed the lines of a playing field. And on both the far left and far right sides of the field were one wide metallic netted goal.

    “Wow, that soccer field looks really nice,” she commented. “If only soccer wasn’t such a boring sport to watch.”

    Then she began to look towards her left, and immediately upon looking at the room, her eyes lit up as she gasped in excitement. “There it is. The training room!” she exclaimed.

    The Snivy brought out her vine, and opened the room’s door. Then after walking in and closing the door behind her, the camera zoomed outward to show the whole room, as well as her looking around in awe. It was rather plain, with only a giant blue mat for a floor.

    As the camera began panning around multiple angles of the training room, the Nurse Joy’s words began to play in Slitheren’s head. “The training room is more of a simulation chamber for battles. Within the training room itself lies a panel on one of the corners. Using that panel, you can begin a simulation of any type of battle at any difficulty level. Most Trainers utilize this as a way of strengthening the bond between them and their Pokémon. Others use it solely to help their Pokémon become stronger. Regardless of how Trainers use it, they all agree that it’s a useful tool.”

    During the panning, another panel was seen on the exact same far end of the room as the one in the tennis court was, this one being more complex of a panel. The camera then fixed itself towards Slitheren, who started giggling in happiness.

    “Well someone’s enjoying herself.” Suddenly, Slitheren heard a familiar voice behind her. And when turning back towards the door, she saw Scar and Gemini walking into the training room. “Hey. How’s it going?” Gemini said, waving.

    “Little bummed out,” Slitheren replied, tilting her head down towards the floor. “Wanted to go beat up whoever was creating that Domain we discussed earlier today. But then, well, Tina happened.”

    “Yeah I get ya, it kinda sucks,” Gemini replied, smiling. “We had a plan for the day, and then she just loses it and ruins that plan.”

    Slitheren sighed, her head still tilted downward. “I’m just so bored right now. I wanna fight something. Fight someone.” Then, the thought came to her, and Slitheren gasped softly, then looked over at Scar and Gemini. “Hey, either of you offering a makeshift battle, by any chance?”

    “Ehh, I’ll sit this one out,” the Mareep replied, walking over to his left towards the corner. “Can’t really do much in my current form.” After he reached the corner, he turned towards Slitheren while also turning his head towards the Zangoose. “How ‘bout you, Scar?”

    Scar smiled and briefly closed his eyes. “Why not,” he said, reopening his eyes and walking towards the right side of the arena from the door. “If you really wanna joust, then I guess I can’t turn down a lady’s request.” Slitheren, at the same time, walked towards the other half.

    As the two were walking, Gemini’s eyes were closed. Then, when he reopened them, a shine appeared on the center of his right eye, accompanied by a BING! noise. “And thus, the stage is set. Slitheren the youthful yet dangerous Snivy, versus her challenger, the notorious knight, the Scar of Demise. This will be a battle for the ages, folks. Who will come out on top - the young rookie, or the experienced veteran?” Gemini exclaimed in a boasting tone.

    “...Could do without the announcing though,” Slitheren said nervously, sweatdropping.

    “Ohh come on!” Gemini exclaimed back.

    “I’ll be supervising the battle, if you don’t mind. Wouldn’t want any casualties here, after all.” Suddenly, however, a Nurse Joy’s voice was heard over the speakers. The three Pokémon looked up and over towards a set of windows on the wall opposite the door, near the ceiling.

    Gemini let out an exasperated sigh, then sweatdropped. “That’s fine, I guess,” he replied.

    Then, Slitheren and Scar began readying their stances for battle. The Snivy also smiled to herself, while Scar simply just stared at her.

    “Readyyyy...” Nurse Joy began the countdown of sorts. “Aaannd...BEGIN!!”

    As soon as the Nurse Joy yelled this, Slitheren and Scar both dashed towards each other. The scene froze on the exact frame right before the two would clash blows. And on their respective halves of the screen, Slitheren and Scar’s facial expressions were shown zoomed in - Slitheren’s cheerful smirk, and Scar’s serious expression.

    . . .

    Outside, Tina was walking down the sandy pathway all by her lonesome. The sun in the background was half-set already, so the time was presumably around 7PM or so. While she was walking, many flashbacks played in sequence in Tina’s mind.

    [...! Tina!] First was in the treehouse near the Emerald Forest’s entrance, with Brice looking surprised at seeing Tina. [Where have you been? We have seen you in over a month!]

    [Tina?] Next was Zakari asking her a question after deleting the poachers in the open field of the forest. [Do you really not remember us?]

    Finally, back at the treehouse with Lily acting just as surprised as Brice. [You don’t just look like her. You
    are her. Christina Warren, the Legendary Flick Reaper.]

    As the flashbacks all ended, and Cerise City in the sunset was shown again, Tina stopped walking, and looked down at her left hand. She looked a bit...troubled, to say the least. [Who am I? Wh...What am I?]

    After a couple seconds of staring, she looked back up and noticed a nearby building with a rather large sign near the entrance that said “Cerise City Library”. She decided to continue walking, and after a few seconds, she reached and entered the library. She almost instantly noticed an unoccupied computer, and went over to sit down at it. Going onto Google, which was the computer’s homepage on Chrome, she typed in the words ‘legendary flick reaper christina warren’ into the search bar, and hit Enter. Once the list of articles appeared, she clicked the first one, which was published by the official The World R:2 Wiki. She proceeded to read the entire first paragraph of the article.

    Christina Warren (Tina for short), more commonly known as the “Legendary Flick Reaper”, is a player character in The World R:2. She is recognized most by her weapon, the Shorai no Kama (Future Scythe), and gained her reputation after clearing a dungeon many levels higher than her own with no assistance.

    After reading that paragraph, she then saw to the right of it a picture of the “Legendary Flick Reaper” the article mentioned. The thing Tina noticed the most after looking at the image for only a couple seconds was that the girl looked very similar to, if not exactly like, Tina herself. She had the same hair length, color, and style, the same eye type and color, and wore the same pair of glasses. “!!” She couldn’t help looking shocked, staring at the monitor screen and realizing something.

    She then remembered the voice in her head, the one she heard in her head before she passed out. Said voice was now accompanied by a flashback of who was seemingly Tina smiling towards the camera. “I’ll never forget you, Zak. Even if something happens to me, I’ll always remember you.”

    Then, as the flashback ended, the monitor went into screen saver mode due to Tina’s inactivity. And upon looking at the blank screen, she saw her own reflection, her eyes beginning to shake. She also began to see an illusion of the picture she saw on the article to the right of her reflection on the monitor, and to the left was the girl she saw in her memory.

    The brunette then wrapped her arms around herself, almost like one would do if he/she was cold. “...It’s true...Everything they said is true...” she said to herself, her voice shaking.

    . . .

    A clash of blows was seen between Slitheren and Scar, the two having collided their left forearms against each other. The fight had been going on for only a couple minutes now, neither of the two showing any signs of exhaustion. The two then pushed each other away, jumping back towards where they started.

    “I’ll admit, you have some strength,” Scar said, bringing his right arm behind his back.

    Slitheren replied to Scar by chuckling happily, then brought out her left shoulder vine and tossed it towards the Zangoose in an attempt to Vine Whip him. Scar, however, dodged with ease by almost instantaneously sidestepping to the left. Slitheren began retracting her vine, while also sprinting towards Scar. Halfway through the run, her vine was completely retracted. As soon as she reached Scar, the Snivy hopped up a small distance, and forward rolled in mid-air to Slam her tail downwards onto Scar, who quickly dashed a small distance to his right. Immediately after, Slitheren spun counter-clockwise to try a second time and hit Scar with her tail. Scar, however, was too fast, as he dodged the second swing by dashing back a bit. Then, when he finished his dash, he jumped up in the air to dodge Slitheren’s two vines that Slammed into the ground. He managed to jump the length of the entire arena, landing behind Slitheren. The Snivy, noticing this, half-spun counter-clockwise to face Scar, swinging her Vines around the entire room the same way. However, the Zangoose quickly rolled under the Vines, and began running towards Slitheren.

    “!” Slitheren gasped quickly.

    The Snivy, while retracting her vines, hopped up and tried left hooking Scar when he got close, in which Scar tilted his upper body back to dodge. Then Slitheren forward rolled and swung her tail down, then spun around counter-clockwise to swing her tail left, then right hooked once her spin finished, then left uppercutted - all in a quick sequence. Scar dodged every single one of these attacks with ease, only moving slight amounts to dodge. Then Slitheren threw two regular punches - first a right, then a left - which Scar blocked with his left wrist by motioning his arm like he were blowing away smoke from his face. Then he wound his left arm back, and thrusted it towards Slitheren, who dodged by placing her hands on Scar’s wrist and subsequently handstanding on it. Afterwards, she pushed herself upward off of Scar’s wrist, brought out her vines again, and Slammed them downwards. Scar turned around to see the attack, and then dodged to his left, performing one half counter-clockwise spin in the process. Slitheren, seeing that she missed, then used the Slam’s force to propel herself towards and land at her initial starting place.

    The Snivy began to pant, showing signs of exhaustion. Scar, on the other hand, stood still and stared at Slitheren, no amount of exhaustion being shown from him.

    Slitheren completely retracted her right vine, and then attempted to Vine Whip Scar with her remaining left vine. Scar, however, just ducked under the vine, causing it to completely miss. And then he immediately dashed up to Slitheren, completely closing the distance between the two Pokémon. Slitheren, surprised by this, tried to retract her vine. However, halfway through retracting, Scar successfully caught the vine with his right claw.

    “!!” Slitheren was utterly shocked.

    “!” the Nurse Joy, over the mic, gasped. “He’s actually being aggressive this time. What exactly is that Zangoose doing?”

    Gemini closed his eyes. “Claiming victory, that’s what.”

    The Zangoose lightly tossed Slitheren’s vine aside, letting it fully retract. He then readied his left claw, and then Slashed right across Slitheren’s stomach area, knocking her back and causing her to bounce off the ground twice before fully collapsing down on her back.

    Scar then began to ease up, the battle now over. “That’s game, Slitheren.”

    Slitheren began to sit up, seemingly disappointed in herself for losing. But then she started to giggle again, which turned into happy laughter. “That was fun!” she exclaimed, still laughing. But then, the claw mark on her stomach began to sting, and she cringed, putting her right hand on the mark. “Ow, that stings a bit...”

    “Like I said, you have some strength. But strength alone won’t win you many battles. You still have a lot to learn about combat,” Scar began speaking, walking towards the Snivy who looked up at him. “Your movement and attacks are fast, and they flow very well between one another. But your form isn’t very disciplined, and can be very easily exploited by someone like me.”

    Slitheren stayed silent, listening to Scar.

    “Allow me to tell you something,” he continued. “Fighting will almost never be between two equals. In order to win, you must first figure out how your opponent fights, and find a way to defeat that fighting style. Much like I have done with you.”

    “What...What do you mean?” Slitheren asked curiously.

    Scar put his left claw’s two clawed fingers up in front of him. “You kept alternating between two ways of attacking. Overly relying on your Vine Whip attacks from a distance, and attacking up close when my guard was up. A valid strategy, but unfortunately it was poorly executed.” He sounded very disciplined and experienced, something Slitheren quickly picked up on earlier. “Had you not swapped so frequently between the two fighting styles like you did, I may not have read it as easily.”

    “...” Slitheren was initially silent. Then a thought came to her mind. “Wait so, why didn’t you attack with your right arm?” she asked. “Actually, I don’t think you used it at all until the end of the battle.”

    “So you noticed,” Scar said, cracking a slight smile for only an instant. “I didn’t attack using my right arm, because I didn’t see it necessary to do so in order to win. As strong as you may be, you’re still just a Snivy. So your body is quite frail. One good blow was all I needed to take you down.”

    “I see.” Slitheren said rather plainly, probably trying to process what he just said about her.

    “Regardless, I am a little exhausted now,” Scar said, beginning to walk towards the room’s door. “And obviously, so are you. More so than me, it seems.” When he reached the door, he turned his head slightly to the right, enough to direct his eyes back at Slitheren. “Go get some rest now. We’ll need it for tomorrow.”

    Afterwards, Scar opened the door and walked out of the training room. Slitheren was then seen standing up, and putting her hand on her claw wound again.

    “Don’t worry about your wound, it’ll go away as soon as you leave this room,” Gemini said, Slitheren looking over towards him. The Mareep pointed towards the door. “The doorway has a Full Restore property, where once you exit the room through that doorway, you are automatically healed to full.”

    “Oh. Cool.” Slitheren said plainly. Then she walked a couple steps towards the doorway, then stopped. “Be honest. Why did you sit this one out?” she asked, turning back towards Gemini. “I mean, you said because you had limited attack options in your current form, right?”

    “Actually it wasn’t that I had limited options in this form,” the Mareep replied. “I just didn’t really feel like sparring with you honestly.”

    “?” Slitheren looked a bit confused.

    “Because even in this form, with what little I can do, I still could’ve beaten you.,” Gemini said before sighing softly. He also had his eyes closed. “Buut I’m not really much of a mentor, so I let Scar fight you instead.” Then he opened his eyes slowly. “I will tell you one thing, however. As a fighter, and more importantly as an opponent, you weren’t taking him seriously. Not at all. You saw him as a friend, and thus went easy on him.” He now sounded almost as disciplined and experienced as Scar did. “You most likely would’ve done the same for me, and the same result would’ve happened.”

    “...W-Well it’s just a sparring match,” Slitheren said, sweatdropping.

    “Even so, it doesn’t matter who your opponent is,” Gemini replied sternly, staring at Slitheren. “In battle, you must treat that opponent as your enemy, as someone who will kill you if you mess up. Remember that.”

    “Yeah. I will.” The Snivy exclaimed cheerfully.

    Gemini couldn’t help but smile at her energy. “Now whaddaya say we rest up now? I think the others should be back by now.” He suggested.

    Slitheren nodded in response, and the two began walking out of the training room.

    . . .

    Outside, the sun was now three quarters set, the sky a very beautiful shade of pink. Tina, looking both a bit somber and pretty tired, was seen walking out of the library. Upon walking down the steps, she noticed Lily and Brice walking in her general direction.

    Lily and Brice also noticed Tina leaving the library. “Hii!” Lily exclaimed towards her, waving happily.

    The two sides, after a couple seconds of walking, met face-to-face. “Hey,” Tina replied rather somberly, looking down to one side.

    “? What’s wrong?” Lily asked curiously, tilting her head.

    Tina grabbed her right upper arm, still looking off to one side before looking at Lily and Brice. “...Please...disregard everything I said to you guys previously, and...answer me truthfully.” She said rather slowly, the gloominess in her voice very apparent. “You kept telling me that I looked like someone you knew, who went by the same name...Do you think that person...really is me?”

    “...” Lily was silent for a couple seconds, before putting a warm smile on her face. “Well yeah, of course we do,” she replied happily.

    “Yeah, we’ve always thought that,” Brice followed up, grinning happily. Then he looked slightly confused. “Wh-Why do you ask?”

    “...” Tina looked off to the same corner she did earlier, remembering everything that happened in the library a few minutes ago. “Because I...I don’t know who, or even what I...what I am anymore...” She sounded even gloomier and depressed than before. Lily and Brice just stared at her in the couple seconds’ silence that followed. “S-Sorry for dampening the mood. I-I’m gonna head off to sleep now.” Tina then said, beginning to walk towards the Pokémon Center. “G’night.” She waved...sorta.

    After Tina walked past Lily and Brice, the two turned towards her and stared. Lily had a worried expression on her face, while Brice was a little unnerved.

    [Tina...] Lily thought in a worried tone. Then she turned her head towards Brice. “Why do you think she asked that?”

    “Well if I had to guess, I’d say she probably looked up who the Legendary Flick Reaper is,” Brice replied in a thinking pose, before dropping that pose entirely and looking over at Lily with a slight smile. “I mean, I checked myself. She has her own article page on the official TW2 wiki.” He then looked up at the sky, and noticed that the pinkness of the sky had given way to a cloudless dark blue, the sun having 90% set by now. “...It is getting late though. And I’m sure we’ll have a busy day tomorrow. So let’s head back to Center with her, and get some sleep.”

    Lily nodded in response, the two then beginning their walk back to the Center.

    Tina, meanwhile, had made her way back to the room she was in earlier that day. Upon entering, she took off her shoes and glasses, and collapsed onto the bed. Sighing, she began to close her eyes, and before long, drifted off into sleep.

    . . .

    The next morning had arrived, the sky completely sky blue, and the bright sun completely showing itself with the occasional cloud blocking its view. Zakari and the other Trainers were seen in front of the entrance to the Route north of Cerise City.

    “So, we all good to go?” Zakari asked everyone else, facing them.

    “Well, about as ready as we'll get honestly,” Tina replied plainly.

    “Alright then,” Zak said, turning towards the entrance. Then he turned his head back a bit to look at Tina. “Hope you don't mind, I'll still be group leader.”

    Tina shrugged. “I guess that'll work,” he replied.

    Then, the four entered and began their walk through Route 10. The landscape looked very similar to Route 2, only instead of brown rocky outcroppings and any ponds, there were quite a few metallic-colored stones, surrounded by grassy patches. The Pokémon in this route looked very similar to the ones they had encountered up until now - things like Zigzagoon, Sentret, Petilil, those kinds of Pokémon. However, they all looked slightly unnerved, if not outright frightened or terrified, by the four Trainers.

    “Jeez, why are they so tense around us?” Zak commented, he and the other three noticing the Pokémon’s expressions.

    “I guess the whole “us carrying weapons” thing isn't really normal in these early routes,” Slitheren, on Zak’s shoulder, replied with an uneasy expression.

    “...” Tina was silent during all of this.

    After a couple minutes, they arrived at the town at the end of the route. Scar and Gemini were sent out during the walk, Scar walking between Zak and Brice while Gemini walked to the right of Zak. A sign was next to the entrance, saying “Slate City”. The city, from what the group saw right off the bat, looked like a very prosperous place to live in. The houses here looked like a cross between urban and rural, some houses looking more urban while others looked more rural. After walking to the fork in the city’s main walkway, the group noticed off in the distance an opening in the side of what looked to be a large mountain range, a small group of miners leaving the mines with bags full of mineral extracts, fossils, and occasionally wounded Pokémon.

    “I guess that’s where people enter the Slate City Mines from,” Brice said, pointing at the opening.

    “I think we should worry about that place later on,” Zakari replied. “Like I said, we shouldn’t get involved with Team Rocket for a while. We’re not really prepared to take them on in our current state.”

    “Yeah, you’re right,” Tina said, sighing exasperatedly.

    Then, they walked northward down the pathway into Route 9. The route looked almost exactly like Route 10’s geography. However, in the middle of the road, the dirt walkway and grassy fields transitioned into a rocky surface with what the group immediately saw as a completely out-of-place panorama of a large crag in the middle. They all felt its otherworldly aura.

    “Huh...It looks like, just an oversized rock,” Slitheren said plainly. “Although...” Then, she and everyone else noticed that the crag was seemingly wavering in and out of reality. Slitheren looked a bit confused. “Why is it constantly going transparent like that?” Then she hopped off of Zak’s shoulder, and after landing on the ground, began cracking her knuckles with a cheerful smirk on her face. “Well either way, I’m ready to kick some ass.”

    “Let’s not get too excited now, ok?” Gemini replied, sweatdropping.

    “This crag must be the Domain that Quest mentioned,” Scar mentioned after.

    “Looks like it,” Zak said, having a serious look on his face. “Come on everyone, let’s get this done.”

    Then, Zak, Lily, Brice, Slitheren, Scar, and Gemini all approached the large crag, the panorama flashing an instant bright white around those six and teleporting them away. Tina walked towards the crag herself, but then stopped walking as her head began to hurt again.

    “Rrrrgh...Why...Why now?” Tina grunted, knowing what this meant from yesterday.

    In her head, another flashback played. Zak was seen in the middle of a desert-like area, looking forward. “We are PKKs, Tina. That’s our main purpose. To protect those who are victims of PKing. And bring justice to those who do PK.”

    Upon the flashback ending, Tina’s head also stopped hurting. Tina was breathing a bit heavily during all of this, but she calmed down enough to ease her breathing. Then, remembering how Zak and the others brought up their game menus, she brought her right index finger outward and swiped it down. When she did, the five menu icons appeared in front of her. She looked unfazed, selecting the Character Status icon. The game screen for it popped up, Tina reading the entire screen and seeing her entire avatar profile. Flick Reaper, Level 17.

    [! It’s true. I really am a player character, just like they said,] Tina thought, looking and sounding surprised. [That means I really am this Legendary Flick Reaper they kept calling me.] Then she pulled out her Shorai no Kama weapon. [And...] Immediately, she materialized a ring in her left hand, and upon the ring fully materializing, a chain connected the scythe to the ring. Elevating her right middle finger just enough off of her scythe, Tina slid the ring onto her finger. [...I know how to use this weapon.]

    The brunette then approached the crag panorama, beginning to fall forward once she reached it. When she did, a bright flash engulfed the entire area around her, turning it into a rather large warp-like tunnel, with a serene misty white view. [...It’s so...peaceful here...] she said, feeling at ease. [It reminds me of...who I really am...] Tina then slowly closed her eyes, a thin layer of mist resembling the shape of Tina herself beginning to form around her. It looked like the mist body could fall away at any moment.

    “I am...” Tina muttered softly to herself. “the Legendary Flick Reaper...”

    Upon saying this, almost as if by an unknown force, the entire mist figure was forcefully ripped away from Tina’s body, falling back towards the entrance Tina came in from. However, the mist body tried to reach out and grab ahold of Tina with its left arm, but was unsuccessful and ultimately forced out of the tunnel.

    Tina then stirred around a bit, almost as if she were asleep this entire time. Then, after slowly opening her eyes halfway, she opened them fully in an instant upon noticing a dark purple portal the size of the entire tunnel’s area in front of her. Upon flying closer and closer to the portal, it disappeared and a sky of wavering brown colors slowly came into view for her. Then, what formed around her were massively tall rocky walls that formed a labyrinth of sorts.

    Tina readied her body as if she were about to land from a long jump or something, and landed on her feet, but then stumbled around for a second before fully regaining her footing.

    Afterwards, she began to look around herself. Upon looking around, outside of what she already noticed beforehand, she also saw the completely dark brown slightly rocky and bumpy floor below her. “Where...Where am I? What is this place?” she asked herself softly. Then, upon turning around a full 180 degrees, she saw in front of her the same kind of rocky wall that was forming around her. She then looked a bit confused. “And, where’s the exit?” She also sounded confused.

    “Heeey! Tinaaaa!” Suddenly, however, she heard a familiar voice behind her. Turning around, she noticed Zak and the others, the Edge Punisher also waving towards her.

    Tina, after a second of standing still, ran towards and up to them. “Hey guys,” she said as she stopped running. Then she began to look around again.

    “I think we should get started cleaning this place up,” Zak told her while she was looking around. “We can’t leave anyway, I tried once before you got here.”

    Tina then finished looking around, and looked at Zak. “S-So uhh, where are we anyway?” Tina asked curiously.

    “? We’re in the Domain.” Zak replied, using an annoyed kind of tone that one would use when stating an obvious answer.

    “Domain? Is that a new type of dungeon or something?” Tina raised a brow, very confused.

    “? Isn’t she acting a bit...unusual?” Slitheren asided to Zak, still on laying on his shoulder.

    “She is,” he asided back, still looking at Tina who seemingly didn’t notice his or Slitheren's mouths moving. “Err, Tina.” He then slightly nervously addressed the brunette in front of him.

    “Hmm? What is it?” Tina asked curiously.

    Zak paused for a second, reluctant to ask since Tina yelled at him last time he asked her something like this. “...Do you remember us now?” he then asked.

    “? Remember you?” Tina asked. The others awaited her response as she was being silent for a couple seconds. Then she began scratching her head and putting a cheerful smile on her face. “What’re you talking about? I’d never forget you guys,” she responded in an upbeat tone.

    “Ehhhh??” Everyone reacted loudly in utter astonishment.

    “? That’s a weird reaction,” she said in a slightly confused tone, pulling her hand away a bit from her head. “Are you guys ok?” She lowered her arm down.

    “...I believe we will need to explain everything to her. She obviously does not know of what has happened up until now,” Scar said calmly, closing his eyes.

    “Wait, did that Zangoose just talk?” Tina exclaimed in a surprised tone, pointing at Scar.

    “...Yeah I think we do.” Brice said, sweatdropping nervously.

    Afterwards, Zak and everyone else began walking eastward down the path. Slitheren directed her eyes back at Tina without her noticing, and then looked towards Zakari. “Hey Zak. Is that really--” Slitheren said but then stopped speaking.

    “Yep,” he replied, glancing at the Snivy for only an instant while looking forward with a smile. “That’s our Tina.”
    #8 Oct 7, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  9. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 9: The Avalon Rout

    Only a few minutes had passed since the end of the last chapter. “So lemme just sum this up real quick.” Everyone was walking on-foot, with the exception of Slitheren who was laying on Zak’s shoulder, and Magus who was sitting on Tina’s. Tina was also bringing up fingers to keep track of what all she was told up until this point. She only had her right hand’s pinky finger up right now, which she was pointing at with her left index finger. “After we all first regrouped in the Emerald Forest, I was basically acting like a bitch nonstop to you all.”

    “Yep,” Zak replied casually.

    Tina brought up her ring finger. “And we’re all half-trapped in this world of Ageos, which is somewhere within The World R:2. In short, we’re trapped in a video game.”

    “Basically, ehehehe,” Lily replied, chuckling uneasily.

    The brunette brought up her middle finger alongside her other two. “And all of our Pokémon can talk somehow, which I can only assume is due to how their coding was put together.”

    “Well when you put it that way...” Gemini replied, sweatdropping.

    And then her index finger. “And we traveled with someone named Chris before he went on his own journey, after freeing Bladestorm back in Russetton.”

    “I’m sure the two will make a great duo.” Scar said in an optimistic tone, smiling.

    Then finally her thumb. “And there’s this dark world version of Ageos, which Lily's Fennekin, Ashe, hails from.”

    “Well yes, for lack of a better answer.” Magus responded.

    Then she brought up her entire left hand, open. “And apparently I’m now an Ageosian...Whatever that is. And being one I guess...” Then her hand and wrist began emitting a thin coating of white misty light around it. “...gives me these powers.” After a second, it disappeared slowly but completely.

    “We’d explain in more detail, but I honestly don’t remember half of what Raptor told us.” Brice told Christina.

    “That and I don’t think we have the time to elaborate right now.” Slitheren followed up.

    Tina went back to raising fingers on her right hand, but only her index finger this time. “And this Lawless Raptor guy is this world’s GM, and Professor Pear is an admin.”

    “Aaand yeah, that sums up everything we told you.” Zakari said.

    Tina sweatdropped, pointing at his Snivy. “...Aand your Snivy has a full head of hair.”

    Slitheren, in response, looked away from Tina with a nervous expression on her face. She also sweatdropped. “I-It’s not that special, is it?” she replied. “And my name’s Slitheren. I thought I already told you.”

    “Curious though, were you in control of your own self when you first landed in Ageos?” Brice asked, glancing back.

    Tina shook her head in response. “No, I wasn’t. I am glad to be back in control, however.” She sighed afterward. “Still sucks we’re trapped in a game. At least we can still Log Out.”

    “Not in here though, the only way out is to rout the entire Domain,” Scar said. “I believe for us, that specifically means killing the lord of this Domain.”

    “That’s usually how dungeons like this work,” Tina replied, briefly closing her eyes. “You gotta kill the boss if you wanna get out.”

    After a few more seconds, everyone came to a split in the path they walked down. One of the paths went west, while the other went east. The west pathway, however, looked a lot rockier than the east pathway, which looked a fair bit smoother than even the hallway they walked through.

    Tina, after looking down both the west and east paths and then back at what they walked through to get here, looked a bit confused at the shifts in rockiness and smoothness between the three pathways. “So uhh, which way do you think we should go?” she asked.

    Just then, however, several creatures’ rather stompy footsteps were beginning to be heard, almost like some sort of stampede. “!” Zak, after a couple seconds, deduced the sounds as two different groups of creatures running towards them. And then the next second, all 25 creatures - 5 on the east side and the remaining 20 on the west - ran into view. They all looked very rocky and rough, barely showing any colors except shades of brown.

    Magus had a shocked look on his face at first as he hopped off of Tina’s shoulder. “We’re surrounded,” he exclaimed.

    “What? What are these things?” Lily said, almost as if she’s panicking even though she really isn’t.

    “Actually they--” Brice paused for a split second. “They look like Pokémon.” He began squinting his eyes at the ‘Pokémon’. “But they’re all...rocky. What’s up with that?”

    What Tina could pick up after a couple seconds of looking was that the creatures looked like the species of a puffball, a ball of spaghetti, a pony, a bunny, and a skunk. “...Jigglypuff...Tangela...Ponyta...Buneary...and Stunky...” she said while staring. “That’s what I can make out from their appearances.”

    “So they’re like, Rock-shifted Pokémon?” Slitheren said.

    “I guess they look like this because they’re in this Domain.” Zakari followed up.

    “Looks like we’ll have to split the enemies amongst each other,” Scar exclaimed, ready for battle. “Call your spots, everyone.”

    Then, however, the Zangoose noticed Tina walking alone towards the east pathway. “If you don’t mind,” she said. Everyone else looked towards her, some of them - particularly Lily, Magus, and Gemini - gasping softly at her in surprise as well. “I’d like to handle all of these myself.” She began stretching her arms upward. “Haven’t gotten in a good workout in a while.” Then she brandished her Shorai no Kama, Zakari being the only one who noticed that she did it using its chain. Tina glanced back at the Treecko. “Magus, was it? You stay there with the others.”

    Magus looked confused initially before nodding. “Ok then,” he replied.

    Then the brunette threw her scythe directly behind her, revealing the chain to everyone else which was connecting the spinning Shorai no Kama to the ring she wore on her middle finger, making it seem more like a yo-yo than anything. But then, she glanced back at her weapon, and almost as if automated, two blades materialized directly opposite the ones that were already materialized, being the same blade sizes and colors as well. “I thought my scythe felt a little light,” she commented.

    Magus looked a bit confused as he hopped up onto Zak’s unoccupied shoulder. “Wait, I thought that weapon only had two blades,” he told Zak.

    “Yeah, I forgot to tell you about that,” Zak replied slightly nervously, looking towards Magus before looking back towards Tina. “The Shorai no Kama can have up to four blades materialized at a time. And like I mentioned previous, those blades are determined by the user’s mind. What you are seeing now is the scythe’s Yo-Yo form.”

    “Yo-Yo form?” Slitheren asked immediately after, seemingly curious as to what Zak meant.

    Zakari simply smirked. “Just watch.”

    Then, almost as if to signal the start of a battle, 3 of the rocky Tangelas jumped towards the entire group. Tina, in response, pulled her chain towards the three Rock-shifted Pokémon and then towards her left, both in an instant. When this happened, her scythe was seen flying in front of and slicing right through the three with no trouble. [Before she joined our group, Tina’s always been a lone wolf of sorts.] During all of this, Brice was thinking to himself presumably for no reason. Then Tina noticed the final Tangela run towards her, almost as if it’s trying to Slam its Body into her. [By herself, she is extremely deadly on the battlefield.] But she pulled the chain back to her right to answer. [With us, however, that deadliness is only amplified.] The scythe was seen following suit and cleaving the Tangela in half before being brought around and caught by the brunette a second after, leaving all of the Tangelas’ remains as numerous small pebbles.

    Then the frame froze on Tina catching the scythe, Tina and the rocky Pokémon beginning to have a white glow while the rest of the background glew violet. Zakari’s voice was heard narrating. The Yo-Yo form’s true power comes from its incredible throwing range. The chain’s length is around 30 meters, allowing her to fight from a distance if need be.

    Then, time resuming immediately after, a lone rocky Ponyta did the same thing the Tangela did - ran up to Tina. This time, however, it leaped up in the air and attempted to tackle her. The brunette, seeing this, hopped up herself to dodge the attack. Then, turning around in mid-air, she threw her Shorai no Kama directly at the Ponyta, which shattered into small pebbles upon being sliced like the Tangelas did. One of the weapon’s sides’ blades pierced and lodged themselves into the rock-hard ground under where the Ponyta was, allowing Tina to pull her translucent chain directly behind her. When this happened, she was flung across the hallway, time slowing drastically while she was in the paths’ connector.

    It also excels in granting mobility. By slamming her scythe into the ground while in mid-air, like she just did, Tina can pull the chain’s force in the opposite direction of where she wants to go, giving her a boost in speed until she lands. Zak’s voice narrated more.

    Christina landed right in front of all of the remaining Pokémon, beginning to spin clockwise afterward. As she does, two of her scythe’s blades vanished, and at the same time two new ones sprouted at the opposite side of the remaining ones. As this is happening, 6 of the Jigglypuffs charged energy by rolling in place for a couple seconds, and then launched themselves towards Tina as high speeds. Then Tina finished her spin, slicing through all 6 of the Jigglypuffs and turning them into small pebbles that flew backward.

    The Sweep form. Sacrificing mobility for a maximized swinging range, this form allows Tina to strike a much wider group of enemies than normal. Its raw power is the same as the Yo-Yo form’s, which enhances its ability to clear out hordes of enemies in a matter of seconds. Zakari narrated yet again.

    Then, all 6 of the Bunearys were seen lined up horizontally behind Tina, each of them beginning to summon and fire multiple artificial rocks. The brunette, hearing the rocks, turned towards them, her scythe’s smaller blades vanishing in place of the other half’s longest blades, and she spun her weapon directly in front of her like a staff. All of the rocks were effortlessly blocked and destroyed by a force field summoned by the scythe’s spin.

    Yet again, Zak’s voice narrated. The Block form. The Shorai no Kama’s most defensive form, it sacrifices power and mobility for a heightened blocking prowess. All 4 outermost blades combined can block most weapon attacks that come her way. Its main special ability is its shielding. Once Tina spins the scythe in front of her, it acts like an enhanced shield that blocks a majority of attacks. The range of this form is the same as the Sweep form, however it doesn’t have anywhere near the raw power to back it up.

    While Tina’s back was turned to it, a very large rocky Ponyta jumped up in an attempt to do the same thing the other Ponyta was trying to do. However, the brunette began turning around clockwise, her scythe’s blades shifting again, this time to all of its blades on one section - a large yellow-orange blade, then a medium-large blue blade, followed by a medium-small blue-violet blade, and finally a small violet blade. And upon finishing a half-circle, Tina completely drove her weapon’s blades into the horse, and then proceeded to slice the pony in half, resulting in it breaking apart into small pebbles.

    One final narration from Zakari’s voice. The Cleave form. Of the four base forms of the Shorai no Kama, the Cleave form has the most raw power, being able to rip apart even most armored opponents with relative ease. However, the lack of mobility and range when using this form makes it risky to use in combat, especially against mid-range enemies. Meaning it should mostly be used to finish off an enemy or amplify an Art.

    All that remained on the battlefield were two remaining Jugglypuffs, and four rocky Stunkys - all of which individually tried lunging straight at Tina. The brunette, on the other hand, switched her scythe back to Sweep form, and cleaved through each of them in perfect and quick sequence, with all 6 Pokémon crumbling at the same time.

    “...” Magus silently stared at Tina in awe.

    “Amazing...” Scar said softly, but loud enough for everyone else to hear.

    “That weapon...It’s incredible,” Gemini followed up.

    “Who knew that behind the simplicity we’ve seen before, there lied an extremely powerful and versatile weapon?” Slitheren said, also amazed.

    Brice, on the other hand, looked a bit...surprised, to say the least. “Wait a minute. I counted 25 Pokémon when she started, but Tina only killed only 24 of them,” he said. “Which means--”

    Brice was cut off by the sound of rocky stompy footsteps being heard again from the east side. Everyone with the exception of Tina looked over to the east and saw the last remaining Pokémon - a rocky Ponyta - running straight down the path.

    “It snuck out of sight!” Lily exclaimed.

    [So, it was trying to use Tina focusing on the east path as a diversion to sneak away undetected,] Zak thought. [Clever move.]

    The brunette, however, looked down at her empty left hand, thin coating of white misty light slowly returning. After a couple seconds, and a couple shifts to and from Tina and the running horse, the brunette slid her left foot behind her and turned her body 90 degrees counter-clockwise, putting her left hand in a pose that mimicked an actual gun. Once this happened, all of the light made its way to the end of her two straight fingers. After another second, she fired the mass of light at the Ponyta, turning it into a slim but quick laser-like beam that, upon impacting the Pokémon, completely exploded into a burst of brightness that engulfed and slowly evaporated the Ponyta’s body. Surprisingly the brightness wasn’t at all harmful to the eyes, Zakari and the others feeling no strain whatsoever from looking at it. Upon the light dissipating and the room’s brightness returning to normal, all of the other small pebbles left behind by the other Rock-shifted Pokémon were seen turning to transparent static and shattering.

    Afterwards, the brunette began stretching her arms upward, her scythe being sheathed at the same time via control of her chain. “Damn, that felt good,” she said.

    “Heh heh, still got it, it seems.” Zak said with a smile.

    “Ohh come on, it hasn't been that long, has it?” Tina said back, also with a smile.

    “About a month in our world,” Brice said, rubbing his cheek nervously.

    “Wha?! I've been here for that long?” Tina exclaimed with a surprised look.

    Zak, Lily, and Brice nodded in sequence. Brice then scratched the back of his head. “W-We don't really know you in real life, so we can't say if you've been adversely affected there,” he told Tina.

    Tina sweatdropped at the others. “W-Well you could’ve asked,” she said with a smile. “I wouldn’t have minded you guys coming over to hang out.”

    “Thought never crossed our minds really,” Zak responded, scratching the back of his head. “We’ll ask for your phone number after all of this is over though.”

    “Sure,” Tina exclaimed cheerfully.

    . . .

    Next scene, everyone was shown resuming their walk through the Domain’s rocky hallways.

    Brice looked like he had something on his mind the whole way. “Waait I just realized something,” Brice said, looking towards Tina. “Tina, you said we could “come over to hang out”. But all I remember is us telling you the town we live in, not the other way around.”

    “You did,” Tina replied, looking back at Brice before smiling. “Actually I live in the same town you guys do. Small world, I guess.” She giggled in an almost nervous fashion while still smiling. But then she looked down, and upon noticing that she was wearing a skirt, looked very surprised. “?? Why am I wearing a skirt?” she blurted out.

    “What’s wrong with that? I think you look nice in a skirt.” Brice said, smiling at Tina.

    Tina initially sighed in response, looking away from the Steam Gunner. “Of course you’d say that,” she then replied.

    “Whaaat? What’s wrong with me complementing your fashion sense?” Brice exclaimed, looking a bit off-put by Tina’s comment.

    “Nothing’s wrong with that.” Tina replied.

    “Thennn, why are you questioning it?” Slitheren chimed in, sweatdropping nervously.

    Tina, in response, sighed exasperatedly. “Look, the point is, wearing a skirt makes me feel more exposed than I actually am.” She sweatdropped. “If you know what I mean, of course.”

    “People could see...?” Magus said as he sat on Tina’s shoulder, also sweatdropping.

    “Yeah, that’s why,” Tina replied, pointing at Brice nonchalantly. “I don’t wanna take the risk of Mr. Playboy over here looking up my skirt during battle.”

    “Heey! I may have dated over 120 girls at our school, but that doesn’t mean I ever choose to look up their skirts.” Brice exclaimed.

    “Uh-huh,” Tina said in an obviously sarcastic tone, while also deadpanning Brice.

    Brice then raised his right hand’s index finger into the air next to his head. “Besides, rule number 38 of being a playboy. Never sexually advance on a girl unless you know that she is comfortable with you doing it.”

    Tina sighed, facepalming. “This again?”

    “Aand that's related to looking up people's skirts...how again?” Slitheren asked rather plainly.

    Brice closed his eyes. “There are people who see that very action as sexually advancing on someone,” he replied also plainly. “Trust me, I don't get it either.”

    “If you say so,” the Snivy exclaimed happily. “S-So uhh how many playboy rules are there exactly?” she then asked a bit nervously.

    “Oh that’s just his way of stating his etiquette,” Zak replied, smiling at her.

    Brice raised his index finger back up, closing his eyes and holding his head up. “Rule number 55 of being a playboy. Never take your sexual desires outside of your pants,” he said before reopening his eyes, putting his finger back down, and looking over at Slitheren. “That’s actually a very good rule for all guys really.”

    Magus sighed exasperatedly, though nobody was looking at him to see if he was also facepalming or not. “We’re gonna have to get used to this, aren't we?” he said in an equally annoyed tone.

    “Ohh don't worry, it won't take you that long.” Lily responded with a bright smile.

    The Treecko sighed again, just as exasperatedly as the first. “If you say so,” he said afterward, shrugging.

    After all of that, Zak and the group arrived at a second split in the path. This time, the paths went north and south.

    “North and south this time?” Tina asked, a bit confused. “The previous split went west and east. What's up with that?”

    The Edge Punisher, at the same time, walked up to the center of the split’s east wall. After inspecting it for a couple seconds, he wound his right arm back, and proceeded to punch it.

    “Oww!” The wall received zero damage from Zak’s punch. The Edge Punisher, on the other hand, did - when he retracted his hand and opened it up in front of him, he noticed the knuckles connected to the middle and ring fingers were bleeding, even if not very much. “Jeez, this is still gonna take some getting used to.”

    “...You ok Zak?” Tina asked.

    “Yeah,” Zak replied, showing Tina his bleeding knuckles. “Just bleeding a bit.”

    “Bleeding?” Tina couldn't believe his eyes; how could a player character of any kind bleed real blood? Then, she recalled the one thing she didn't mention earlier. She then had a surprised look on her face. “Wait so, because of our half-trapping, we bleed real blood now?”

    Brice nodded, a flashback beginning to play of two separate Mightyenas crunching down on Tina’s shoulders with elemental attacks. “We learned of it back in the Emerald Forest, when you got ravaged by the two Mightyenas. It shocked us at first--we didn’t think that could happen in a video game.”

    “...” The flashback ended, Tina silently staring at Zak’s still kinda bleeding knuckles. Then she finally noticed, off the corner of her eye, something different from the rest of the terrain down the south pathway. Specifically, a part of a rather imposing dark purple rocky formation that looked to pose as a door. Looking over there, she was able to see more of the purple rock formation, but it most certainly didn't look that much like a door anymore. To her, more of an off-color wall section than anything.

    She pointed towards the wall, gaining the others’ attention. “That wall down there looks really suspicious. We haven’t seen any other walls of that color in this whole place,” she told them as they looked over at the wall. Seeing the exact same thing in their minds as Tina did. “Call me crazy if you want but, I’m thinking the boss is gonna be right behind that wall.”

    “Yeah there doesn't look to be much down the other path.” Lily said, briefly glancing down the northern pathway - a completely straight hallway with absolutely zero side paths and the only turn being very far out there at the end of the path.

    Gemini also looked down the pathway for a couple seconds, gathering the same amount of information. “Yeah you got a point,” he replied.

    Just then, however, as they were beginning to walk towards the dark purple wall to examine it, everyone in the group felt an initially soft energy course through their bodies, causing them to freeze in place with shocked looks on their faces.

    “! W--What?” Zak said in an equally shocked voice. “What...was that feeling?” As he was saying this, small individual squares on his player character model turned to static for a split second, but reverted back afterward.

    “Uhh, big bro?” Lily, looking very shocked if not horrified after noticing the staticing squares on Zak, tried telling him about it. He turned around, humming softly. To which everyone else began to see what the archer was seeing. “Your body--”

    Zak then noticed the same staticing squares happening on Lily’s player character model. He looked shocked, to say the least.

    “Oh no...Don't tell me...” Tina muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear.

    Then the energy was felt again. This time much harsher. And at that moment, Zak, Lily, Brice, and Tina’s bodies began staticing slightly. Not only that, but both Magus and Slitheren were pushed off of Tina and Zak respectively, Magus colliding with the ceiling before falling down, and Slitheren getting slammed into the wall behind her and then falling to the ground.

    Tina began grunting along with the other Trainers, all of them holding onto themselves. “No...My body, it--feels strange,” the brunette said in a pained voice.

    “I-I--can’t move.” Lily was also speaking in a pained voice, her expression also looking pained.

    “?!” Slitheren was shocked, not knowing what was going on. “Wh--What’s going on?” she exclaimed, panicking slightly.

    “I-I don’t know,” Gemini exclaimed in response.

    “Hrrgh, it's that--that glitch again.” Zakari grunted.

    “You mean the--one that--affected that Beedrill?” Tina exclaimed.

    Then, the energy was felt again, the Pokémon now beginning to experience the “glitch” Zak was talking about. “!!” The four looked at themselves, noticing the staticing squares on their own bodies. Then the energy was felt once again, everyone’s bodies beginning to flicker altogether.

    “Rrrgh!” Slitheren and the others felt pain like no other, their expressions all grins of pain. “I--feel like I’m--being--ripped apart!” Slitheren exclaimed.

    Then the energy was felt yet again. This time, the entire Domain began to flicker as well.

    Zakari tried slowly moving his body, turning and walking towards the purple wall. But the movements he did manage to perform were massively slowed down by the flickering of his entire body. “Hrrgh...Dammit...We’re so...close,” he grunted in frustration.

    At the same time, outside of the Domain, a bipedal creature with a set of rather large jaws was seen swiftly running through the nearby woods of Route 9, completely in the shade so its body colors weren’t discernable. Upon seeing the crag panorama off the corner of its eye, which weren’t shown at all by the camera angle, it stopped running and fully noticed that the panorama itself was...flickering randomly and somewhat violently.

    “No way...I’ve never seen anything like this before. Why is it...flickering like that?” The creature spoke in a rather graceful yet youthful female voice, though it was rather hard to tell due to the softness she used in her tone. But then, she began to hear the pained voices inside of the Domain, looking surprised by this. “There are people in there,” she exclaimed slightly, her graceful, youthful voice more discernable this time. “I guess they’re trying to clear this Domain. But, whatever’s happening, it must be preventing them from doing anything.”

    After about 5 seconds of silence and waiting, she was able to begin feeling the rather imposing aura emanating from the flickering. “...Whatever’s going on here, I’m definitely feeling an evil presence from it. I have to put an end to this, before it's too late.”

    The black-jawed creature then slowly raised her right arm in front of her, the movement slowing down and creating afterimages that only lasted for an instant. She also began pointing her index finger towards the flickering crag panorama. And after a second or two of pointing at it, the entire scene suddenly went black, and the creature’s voice echoed one single word. “...Rewrite.”

    And once the echoing concluded, the scene then flashed a bright white, a flash which lingered for a few seconds.

    . . .

    As the flash slowly dimmed away, the inside of the Domain was shown once again. Everyone and everything was back to normal, almost as if what they just experienced never happened in the first place.

    Zakari was the first to notice all of this. He looked around and noticed everything was normal. Even the staticing squares disappeared. “...Wh--What? W-What happened?” he said softly before raising his voice to a normal level. “I--guess we're still in the Domain but...I'm surprised we're all still alive.”

    Scar had his left hand on his head as he shook it a bit, almost as if he was trying to make himself more alert or something. “You think it’s the same glitch that affected the Beedrill yesterday?” he then asked, looking up at Zak.

    “Might be,” he said in a thinking pose. Then he looked back at everyone else, some of which were doing the same thing Scar was. “How’s everyone holding up?”

    “Uuugh.” Slitheren still had her hand on her head, her eyes squinting slightly. “I...feel a little lightheaded, but otherwise I'm fine,” she replied, also sounding a little pained.

    Brice slowly stood up from his kneeling stance. “I'd say the rest of us are ok too,” he replied. Then he glanced back. “Right guys?”

    “Mmhmm,” Lily nodded, walking over to Slitheren and using Pha Repth on Slitheren to cure her headache.

    “Thanks Lily,” Slitheren said, feeling a lot better. Lily giggled with a bright smile in response.

    “...” Tina, on the other hand, was still sitting down on the floor, silently looking down at her hand, her eyes and breaths shaking.

    “...Tina?” Magus asked, hearing her uneasy breathing the clearest as he was closest.

    “What the actual hell...was that? I don’t think it was just a glitch.” Tina’s voice was initially shaking, almost the same way her breathing was. She slowly managed to calm back down, however, beginning to stand up straight and taking a deep breath. Afterwards, she examined her hand for one more second before closing her eyes and shaking her head. “No, it couldn’t be a glitch. It doesn’t add up properly if it is.”

    “What do you mean?” Lily said, looking confused.

    “Well,” she began to speak, turning towards the others. “If it really was a glitch, I doubt it would’ve affected us directly, much less like that. If anything, it would’ve done something along the lines of what you told me about. The whole “Mega Beedrill” thing. But even then...” She paused for a second. “How a simple glitch was able to invoke a reaction like that--it’s pointing me in the direction opposite of what a glitch usually does.”

    “Sooo what you’re saying is...” Brice said, trying to put the pieces together in his mind. Zak looked to be doing the same thing, judging by his thinking pose.

    The brunette girl was silent for a second and a half. “I don’t think it’s a glitch at all. Nor do I think it’s as simple as just a coding error,” she then said. “I think, that someone or something in this world knows who we are, and what we’re all trying to do, and that being wants us all dead because of it.”

    “Ok then. But...who or what exactly?” Zak began speaking in response to Tina. “Nobody we’ve encountered so far knows who or even what we really are, outside of the professor and the Lawless Raptor. And I doubt that either of them would try and kill us unless they had a justifiable enough reason to.” He sighed softly. “I do believe you though. Now that I did the calculations in my head, it doesn’t add up to anything else except what you told us.”

    “I just wish we knew what it was,” Scar chimed in. “It would put us in somewhat less danger just knowing, since we could potentially prepare for whatever the perpetrator throws at us.”

    “I can agree with that.” Brice replied before looking down at his hand for a couple seconds. “...This world is strange. That much is certain.”

    Then, everyone in the group began to feel an intensely foreboding yet otherworldly presence nearby. Specifically, from the purple wall formation at the end of the south path.

    “Yeah,” Tina said somewhat softly. “That definitely feels like the boss of this place.”

    “Well then we don’t have time to waste,” Zak replied, beginning to walk towards the purple wall along with Slitheren and Scar. “Let’s go.”

    Once everyone walked to the wall formation, Magus also getting back on Tina’s shoulder, they all noticed a soft glow of somewhat unfitting light brown emanating from it. And much to everyone’s surprise, the glow began extending outward towards them, engulfing them in what felt like a warm air, but only for an instant as upon being engulfed, each and every one of them was teleported to the other side of the wall - a completely square room that looked slightly lighter in color pallete than the rest of the Domain. The room also had no ceiling, the unwavering brown-colored sky completely visible. In the middle of the room, a rather large Pokémon was facing the group with its eyes closed - a brown log-shaped creature with short legs and toeless feet; thin forelegs with three green spheres at the ends; and a forked “branch” on top of its head.

    “You...” It began to say, speaking in a ‘Goku’ kind of voice. He began opening his eyes. “You are not the first Trainers to make it this far. But you are the most imposing I’ve ever seen.”

    Just then, a game screen appeared in front of Tina - one that completely mimicked that of their Pokedexes, but all in one screen as opposed to two separate ones.

    Sudowoodo, the Imitation Pokémon. Disguised as a tree, it's the evolved form of Bonsly.

    “So this thing’s the Domain lord, huh?” Tina commented, the game screen disappearing as soon as she started talking. “This thing’s gonna take awhile, Lily’s the only one with super-effective magic to use against it.” She sighed softly. “Not only that, but Sudowoodo is extremely defensive on the physical spectrum.”

    “Well on the bright side,” Zak started to reply. “At least most of us have neutral attacks against it.”

    Gemini was silent for a couple seconds, staring at the giant tree-shaped rock creature in front of everyone. “...I’ve got an idea,” he said, cracking a smug smile.

    “? What’s your idea?” Lily asked, looking at Gemini curiously.

    The Mareep, beginning to walk forward, chuckled for half a second. “You’ll see.”

    “Will we...?” the Sudowoodo said softly, almost as if he spoke under his breath since nobody heard his words.

    “Hey, Sudowoodo!” Then Gemini grabbed his attention, the Sudowoodo gasping softly in reply. Then as soon as the Mareep slammed his left front leg down rather dramatically on the ground, impact noise and all, the camera zoomed out to show Gemini entirely. The background also changed from the Domain to a rather bright and starry one, Gemini beginning to speak in his heroic speech tone. “You stand before the world’s most feared Mareep in all the land. Hear me, for I am the champion Iced Gemini, my soul embodying the crackling passion of true justice.”

    “...” Almost everyone else in the group just deadpanned him, practically speechless. Magus also facepalmed and sighed exasperatedly. Tina, on the other hand, giggled a bit.

    “One of these days Gemini, one of these days.” Zak muttered under his breath, smiling almost blankly.

    “Fool. You dare insult a warrior of the Ouroboros, with your absurd speech?” Sudowoodo exclaimed, sliding his right foot clockwise behind him.

    [!! Ouroboros?] Zakari exclaimed in thought.

    Gemini felt a little insulted by the Sudowoodo’s comment. “How many times do I have to say this, they’re not absur--”

    Sudowoodo then swung his right foot around, firing off an extended energy blade towards the Mareep, completely cutting him off. When the blade reached him, Gemini was only barely able to successfully jump over it, and managed to land on his feet perfectly fine.

    “Heey! I wasn’t done talking!” the Mareep exclaimed.

    “Hey!” Magus blurted out towards Gemini. “Stop giving your ridiculous speeches and take this seriously!”

    “Heey, what's wrong with giving a heroic speech here and there?” Gemini exclaimed back.

    “Nobody here thinks your speeches are heroic or charming, so just quit giving them already!” Magus yelled in response to that.

    “I dunno, I found it pretty charming,” Tina said, a nervous smile on her face. Magus, in response, blankly deadpanned her. “...What?”

    The large Sudowoodo was then seen smiling smugly towards everyone. “But in all seriousness, I am excited to have the opportunity to face a group like yours personally.”

    Everyone then got into their battle stances. “Well I hope we don’t disappoint you then,” Zak replied with a smug smile on his face.

    The rock tree readied himself for battle as well, bringing its “hands” outward. “In the name of the Ouroboros, I shall knock you down!”

    Zak, to start, sprinted forward. “Tina, back me up!” he yelled back.

    “On it!” Tina followed by sprinting as well, Magus also backflipping off her shoulder.

    After a couple seconds of the two sprinting, Tina hopped up and tossed her Yo-Yo form Shorai no Kama directly at the Sudowoodo’s head, presumably attempting to decapitate it instantly. However, upon impact, the scythe just bounced right off, forcing Tina to retract it back into her grip while she landed a few feet behind the Sudowoodo.

    The Sudowoodo glanced back at her, seemingly planning something. But then he looked back forward when he heard “Hey Sudowoodo!” from Zak, who was seen leaping into the air and vertically slamming his Nihilblade against the rock tree’s forced branch. When he did, vibrations were seen coursing through the ends of the branches, but not anywhere below that area. However, in slamming his blade into the branch, Zak successfully managed to lodge the weapon a small amount into his head. And while no blood was shed from this, the Sudowoodo winced at the pain he felt from the lodging. So much that he leaned his upper body slightly towards the ground, Zakari being vertically tilted a few degrees in the process as he held onto his blade’s hilt with both hands because he was trying to lodge the blade further in. Then the Sudowoodo immediately leaned his body at the same angle but backwards, the fast motion unlodging Zak’s Nihilblade and sending it and Zak flying towards the area behind him near Tina. The Edge Punisher, however, was able to regain himself and land on his feet near Tina a second after he was thrown off.

    “Well shit, guess vibration coursing only works against metal,” Zakari said, getting back into his battle stance.

    “Yeah, I noticed,” Tina replied, her eyes directed towards Zak. “Its entire body is also harder than it should’ve been. I’m honestly surprised you managed to lodge your weapon into the branch.” She looked back towards the Sudowoodo. “Guess its defenses are being boosted by this Domain.”

    Sudowoodo glanced back again for an instant, but then the camera zoomed out to an angle that showed its entire body. The rock tree then heard Lily shout “OrRae Kruz!”, and was then hit with a spiraling and then exploding splash of water that propelled him a small amount into the air. The splash of water also created three individual balls of water that then, in unison, impacted the Sudowoodo’s back and sent him ascending further towards the brown sky. Magus was then seen sprinting forward and leaping up towards the Sudowoodo’s still rising altitude, spinning counter-clockwise numerous times during his ascent until finally, he Slammed his tail into the rock tree’s back - specifically the area hit by the three water orbs. This sent the Sudowoodo flying upward at a faster pace.

    Then Brice, with his Shraider gun in bayonet form, aimed directly at Sudowoodo and then pulled the trigger. “Thunder Spark.”

    At the same time, Gemini charged up a small ball of lightning in front of him, and then fired it at the Sudowoodo in the form of a beam. “Charge Beam.”

    Both Brice’s instantaneous yellow lightning and Gemini’s Charge Beam zapped Sudowoodo at the same time, completely neutralizing his ascending speeds. The electricity only lingered on his body for half a second afterward before completely disappearing. Then, Slitheren and Scar were immediately seen rising only a few inches above Sudowoodos altitude, Slitheren having both of her vines out, and Scar readying his right arm for an attack. Both the vines and Scar’s claw then slammed into the Sudowoodo, resulting in the rocky tree falling downward almost instantly and crashing into the ground behind Zak and Tina from the amount of force and creating a gigantic cloud of smoke.

    As the smoke cleared, it revealed the Sudowoodo still in one piece. It spun around, ultimately stopping in a kneeling stance. Zakari and Tina dashed back to regroup with the others. “Heh. This’ll be fun,” the Sudowoodo said softly with a smug smile.

    Just then, he made an X in front of him with his arms, the green hand spheres beginning to glow yellow. And then, he threw both arms outward, away from each other, and the hand spheres immediately transformed into fierce-looking yellow-green claws.

    “!!” Most everyone was surprised, Zak especially.

    “What?” Slitheren exclaimed in her surprise.

    “I do this with every opponent I face, keeping track of how long they last against me at my 100% power, before they die. No matter how weak or strong they may be.” Sudowoodo began to run towards the group, bringing his left arm back. “Let’s see how long YOU LAST!!”

    The Sudowoodo then leaped towards Zak, who in response slid his left foot to the left... “I think how long we last...” ...and readied his Nihilblade for a horizontal swing from the right. “Will be indefinite.”

    Sudowoodo got right up to arm’s reach of Zak, and swung his left claw right at him. Zak responded by horizontally swinging his greatsword at the Sudowoodo. Both attacks bounced off each other, the vibrations from Zak’s swing sending the Sudowoodo back a bit as it landed on the ground. Then the Sudowoodo dashed towards Zak again, closing the distance again. And afterwards, Zakari and the Sudowoodo clashed their attacks with each other’s, each clash resulting in the attacks bouncing off one another. Each one of Zakari’s slashes also generated vibrations in the air that enhanced the sword’s power.

    Everyone else was simply watching the ordeal, Slitheren, Magus, and Scar slightly winded after having jumped so high up in the air to attack the Sudowoodo earlier. “Incredible. They’re of equal strength,” Scar noted.

    Then Tina squinted her eyes at the Sudowoodo, more clearly noticing the cracks forming on the Sudowoodo’s claws as a result of coming into contact with the vibrations. “I don’t think so. I’d say Zak and his vibration abilities have the upper hand here.” Then, everyone else noticed the cracks forming. “Only a matter of time before those claws break apart into rocks themselves.”

    [W-Whoa. These vibrations are too much,] Sudowoodo thought, still clashing attacks with Zakari. Then, a flashback played of when Zakari slammed his Nihilblade into Sudowoodo’s forked branch in an attempt to course vibrations through his entire body. [I didn’t think much of them at first as an ability, because all it did was tickle my branch. Wait, branch...] The weapon was seen lodging itself a slight amount into the branch. [That’s right. His blade managed to get lodged into my head. And the reason for this must be because of his vibrations.] As he was speaking, the flashback ended, the two still repeatedly swinging at each other. [He’s figured out a way to beat me and my physical defenses, using his ability in tangent with this information. This time...This time he knows how to use them against something like me.]

    Then, Zak swung horizontally again, this time the attack completely destroying the Sudowoodo’s yellow-green claws and having them revert back to regular green hand spheres. The two were panting from exhaustion, Zak more so due to the amount of vibrations he used.

    The Sudowoodo smirked at the Edge Punisher, his panting coming to an end at the exact same time. Zak, on the other hand, was still panting. “Hmph, you are just as formidable as I’d expected,” Sudowoodo said. “But unfortunately for all of you, this is where your journey ends.” The rocky tree brought up its left arm, a massive amount of glowing brown force being slowly gathered around his hand. The winds around him also intensified, blowing everyone’s hair around. “I haven’t had the chance to use this in awhile. Never saw a need to.” After a couple more seconds, a gigantic round boulder-esque rock started forming and growing in size in front of his hand. “Now, say goodnight!” He began the motions of tossing the massive boulder straight at the group, all of them looking a tad shocked to say the least.

    Midway through the process, however, he paused upon hearing an outside voice. “Yeah, no, I’m gonna have to ask you not to do that.” It was a female voice, one that was graceful yet youthful.

    Everyone began looking towards the south wall of the room, where they heard the voice from. “You. Who are you?!” Sudowoodo demanded rather angrily.

    A soft “hmph” was heard first in response. “You won’t have the pleasure of knowing,” the voice then replied.

    Sudowoodo growled at the wall, clearly unsatisfied with the response he got. “If you’re not gonna tell me now, then I’ll just have to force it out of you!” he exclaimed in anger, and then resumed the process of throwing the oversized rock, but this time at the south wall. “Rock, WRECKER!!”

    Then, he threw the rock with such power that it was able to travel at a decent speed. But as soon as the Rock Wrecker reached the wall, it disintegrated into rubble as a circle of the wall in front of where the boulder crumbled to pieces began to glow brightly. And just then, as the camera zoomed in towards Sudowoodo’s look of shock and terror, a cylindrical clear beam of pure wind force surrounded by red-and-black lightning travelled from the glow to the opposite side of the room, completely engulfing the Domain lord in the attack.

    “!!” Everyone else was unable to contain their surprise, some of them squinting their eyes from how bright the attack was.

    The bright cylinder of wind and lightning lasted for only a couple more seconds, the Sudowoodo screaming to the top of his lungs and slowly crumbling away into small data bits and pieces. And then the attack ceased to exist, the remains of the Sudowoodo falling forward, colliding with the hard ground, and shattering into data.

    The outside voice was heard sighing. “Idiot thinks he has any opportunity to fight you guys.”

    Everyone eased up and turned towards the south wall, the Trainers all sheathing their respective weapons. “Er, are you the one who saved us not too long ago?” Zak asked afterward.

    “Oh, yeah, I am,” she replied, sounding rather upbeat that time. “We’ll meet for real later on down the road. I’ll introduce myself then.”

    “Alright then,” Zak replied, nodding his head before smiling. “Well, thanks for helping us out, whoever you are.”

    “No prob,” the voice replied, sounding ever cheerful. “Later!”

    After she said that, the Domain around Zak and the others began dematerializing around them. After a couple seconds of this, the screen faded into bright white.

    . . .

    Once the whiteness gradually went away, what was revealed was the trees and open dirt walkway of Route 9. The crag panorama and rocks forming around it were nowhere to be seen; it seems the Domain entirely vanished from existence.

    Tina looked around a bit, in awe and slight surprise. “Is this...Ageos?” she asked slowly.

    “Yep,” Zak replied fast, nodding to her. “We’re in Route 9 right now, Slate City’s not very far south from here.” He pointed towards the south direction at the buildings in the distance.

    The brunette girl stared at the distance for a couple seconds, and then down at her hand once again. “...What are we in this world? Are we actual humans, or are we still player characters?” Tina asked these two questions, which have lingered in her mind since the “glitch” incident. “I think the line between the two just got heavily blurred by all of this.”

    “Part of me is still trying to wrap my head around how much your memories had to be altered.” Brice said, scratching the back of his head.

    “I wouldn’t say altered,” Tina replied, rubbing her cheek. “More like...suppressed really.” Then, a realization came to Tina, causing her to form a slightly surprised look on her face. “Actually I don’t think it was just my memories. I’d say my entire Psyche was being suppressed.” She looked towards Zakari. “Because if it was only altered, then I might have known about everything.”

    Zakari blinked. “Th-Then what do you suppose was doing the suppressing?” he asked.

    “I-I couldn’t tell you honestly,” Tina replied rather nervously. “My Psyche wasn’t conscious enough to figure out much of anything really.” -Tina

    “I’d say that someone doing the suppressing...” Just then, however, everyone began to hear Tina’s voice from the south, although her voice also sounded a little demonic. Looking over south, they saw...Tina? And she was smiling evilly at the group, her eyes and forehead shadowed. “...Was me.”

    “!!” Lily became scared. Scared from the fact that there are now two separate Tinas here.

    “You’re kidding me...” Brice’s voice shaking in surprise.

    “You’re...” Zak muttered initially, but raised his voice enough for everyone to hear. “You’re a Doppelganger.”

    “What? Are you saying that’s what’s been possessing me this whole time?” Tina exclaimed in a panicking tone, mostly because Tina herself was panicking.

    “But, what do you mean when you say that you’re the one who suppressed Tina’s memories?” Zakari demanded, pointing at the Tina that he referred to as a Doppelganger.

    “Hmhmhmhmhmhmhm, oh don’t play dumb with me Zak,” the false Tina replied, smiling smugly and maybe slightly evilly at him. “Have you forgotten me already?”

    “What--What do you mean?” Zak exclaimed, a bit surprised by the answer.

    An entire second of silence was had, the Doppelganger’s smile becoming more evil. “I’m the Tina you’ve been adventuring with,” it replied after the pause. “At least...” There was another second of silence. “Right up until you entered that Domain, that is.”

    “!!” Everyone else looked shocked.

    Then, a flashback began to play of Tina entering the Domain through the light tunnel. “As soon as your Tina entered the Domain, she flew through some sort of light tunnel.” Then, the mist body being ripped from Tina was shown. “Where I was forced out of her body, unable to reclaim what I had once possessed.” The flashback ended.

    Zak growled softly for a second. “So then, you knew we were getting close to bringing our Tina back. And tried to kill all of us one at a time yesterday, is that right?” he exclaimed, raising his voice at the end.

    Tina’s Doppelganger closed its shadowed eyes. “In a way, hmhmhmhmhmm.”

    “Grrr, to think that you were the one controlling my life for the entire month!” Tina exclaimed at the Doppelganger, her panic turning into an angry grin.

    The Doppelganger, in response, laughed. “Month? Have you forgotten how game time works?”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?” Tina initially exclaimed. Then, it hit her, and she formed a surprised look on her face. “Wait, a-are you saying--”

    “Yeah. Time in this world acts like time in an open field,” Zak replied. “In other words, your Psyche has been here for an entire year.”

    “And in that year’s time, it’s also been completely suppressed by yours truly. Much like your Tina already said.” The Doppelganger chuckled to itself for a couple seconds. “You can thank me later if you want.” Then it continued to laugh.

    Tina’s eyes were shaking for a second, before her angry grin returned. “Grrr!” She growled, brandishing her scythe in Cleave form at the same time. “To hell with yooou!!” She yelled out, beginning to sprint towards the Doppelganger while holding her scythe behind her.

    The Doppelganger’s smile widened a small amount, becoming more menacing. “Come on now. You know that just charging in recklessly isn’t any way to win.” As it was saying this, it brought its right arm around its torso and grabbed the pole of a partially materialized weapon, one that was slowly materializing out of a horizontal pillar of darkness.

    As soon as Tina made it to the Doppelganger, she hopped up and brought her scythe above her head for a vertical swing. Then she began swinging the scythe, but the Doppelganger, in response, completely pulled out its weapon - a completely black dual-bladed scythe, and swung it horizontally, knocking Tina’s scythe back towards her body.

    “!!” Tina had a look of shock because of this, still being pushed forward by her hop.

    The Doppelganger smiled smugly, raising her left forearm towards Tina. “Has it really been that long since your last real fight?”

    Then the false Tina tossed its arm towards the brunette girl, its hand pushing against the center of her chest area. This caused Tina to yelp from pain, feeling only a tiny amount of her life force disappearing.

    “Tina!” Zakari exclaimed, seeing this. Everyone else’s eyes were shaking in shock as they too saw this.

    Then, the next second, Tina’s entire body was slowly being engulfed in shadow. And after a couple seconds of this, her eyes became lifeless as she fell unconscious. Afterwards, the shadows began to levitate and carry Tina in mid-air on their own.

    The Doppelganger then let go of its scythe, letting it turning into a black silhouette and then vanishing entirely. “Hmhmhmhm, you’ve all been weakened so much upon entering this world. Even though you’ve retained all of your spells and Arts, your levels were reset back to 1.” It closed its eyes for a split second. “Plus, I already know about your newfound Ageosian abilities. And as they say, knowledge is power.”

    “...” Everyone else was growling shakily, not knowing what to do.

    The Doppelganger widened its smile only a tiny amount, just enough for the group to notice a visible change. “We’ll join forces again soon, once I expel this body of its current Psyche for good.” Its body was then surrounded by shadows, and after a while, it and Tina disappeared from view and the entire area. However, the false Tina’s demonic voice was heard as if it were still nearby. “That is...unless you’re all reckless enough to try and save her.” It laughed demonically for a few seconds, before no longer being heard at all.

    Zak began to look down, his eyes completely shadowed. “Tina...” he muttered, beginning to ball up his left fist. “And you just came back to us...”

    “What do we do now? We can’t just leave them!” Lily exclaimed in a worried.

    “She’s right. She’s our friend.” Brice also exclaimed, sounding more determined than worried.

    “...Despite the short amount of time we got to know her, we already formed a deep enough bond to care about her.” Scar said, his eyes closed.

    “So no way in hell are we just gonna sit here and let her die!” Slitheren exclaimed, both of her fists balled up.

    “That’s right!” Zak exclaimed, raising his head back up and looking determined himself. “We are a team. A team that looks after one another. No matter what happens to us, we won’t leave any of our comrades behind.” Then, the camera shot was Zak looking back at the others, with the Beast Fangs symbol on his left shoulder area in view. “That is the code of the Beast Fangs.”

    Brice then smirked at Zak. “So we’re actually gonna make that name official,” he said before closing his eyes. “Alright then.” He reopened them. “For the Beast Fangs’ official formation!” Then, he and everyone else began walking southward towards Slate City, all in synch with each other. “Our first objective.” The frame froze once they all took their first step. “To save Tina!”

    “Wait!” But then, they all stopped walking when they heard a moderately-high pitched female voice from their right, at the bushes. Looking over there, they saw a Pokémon walking out of it. It was a slate gray fox-like creature with red and black accents; triangular ears with dark insides; a large tuft of fur tipped with red on top of its head; greenish blue eyes with red eyelids; circular, red markings above the eyes that resemble eyebrows; short muzzle tapered with two small fangs seen in the upper jaw; ruff of black fur around its neck; four short limbs tipped with red; and short and bushy tail.

    “! Shadow.” Slitheren said in surprise. “...W-Why are you here?”

    [Shadow? Is that its name?] Zak thought as he took out his Pokédex and scanned the Pokémon.

    Zorua, the Tricky Fox Pokémon. Zorua hides its true form by changing its shape into people and Pokémon, and loves to surprise people.

    “I saw you guys go into that Domain, and then witnessed your friend get kidnapped.” The Zorua, who Slitheren called Shadow, sounded a bit worried now, though she did sound pretty young too. “You’re all so brave, you...remind me of my old master.”

    “Shadow...I’ve heard your name before...” Scar muttered, walking only two steps towards the Zorua. Then he looked surprised. “Wait. You’re that Zorua. The one that Luxia took in.”

    [There’s that name again. Luxia.] Zak thought further upon hearing Luxia’s name.

    “You're all so brave, so righteous to wanna get rid of that Domain for everyone,” Shadow continued, then looking rather gloomy. Her tone now represented that. “And yet, this is what you receive for it. A punishment.”

    What nobody in the area ever noticed was that a shadowed creature, the same black-jawed Pokémon, was resting up against a nearby tree with her arms folded, listening in on the conversation.

    Then Shadow shook her head. “...No, it shouldn't be this way. It’s the villains that are supposed to be punished, not the heroes! That’s what master Luxia always told me.” She paused for a second or two, everyone else just staring at her with curious expressions on all of their faces. “Please, don’t leave just yet. Not by yourselves, I--I wanna go with you guys!”

    There was yet another moment of silence, this one lasting around 4 or 5 seconds. “Are you sure about this? This won’t be a safe journey.” Gemini asked her, breaking the silence.

    Zak, on the other hand, smiled and materialized a Poké Ball above his left hand, which he used to catch the Ball. Then, after going through the motions, he threw it directly at the Zorua. Upon the Poké Ball hitting her, Shadow flinched back a step or two before turning into a white body that was absorbed into the open Poké Ball. When it closed up, there was no shaking, no red glow on its tip, it just bounced a couple times before resting motionlessly on the ground.

    Zak went over and picked up the Poké Ball that successfully caught the Zorua. “Welcome aboard, Shadow,” he said with a smile.

    Gemini stared at the Edge Punisher for a second silently. “...Are you sure she should be joining us?” he then asked. “I mean, she’s still an unevolved Pokémon.”

    “What? If she wants to come along with us, then who am I to refuse?” Zak answered with a smile, also sounding a small amount upbeat and casual. “Besides, I like Zorua. It’s cute.”

    “I...guess you have a point.” Gemini said, sweatdropping.

    Then Zak looked at Slitheren, who hopped up onto his left shoulder. “...I uhh, take it you know her, Slitheren?” he asked her.

    “She’s...a friend of mine. Illusive Shadow.” The green-haired Snivy replied. “I gave her the first bit myself, and Luxia seemed to like it apparently.” She paused for a second, laying down against Zak’s shoulder. “I didn’t expect to see her again honestly. And even if I did, not this soon.”

    Then, everyone noticed below them a sort of subtle light, one that got more and more noticeable every millisecond. Looking down, they saw what looked to be a magic circle type of light body, its glow slowly but surely engulfing all of them from their feet upward. After they were completely consumed by the light, they and all of the light vanished in an instant.

    From the tree, the black-jawed creature got off of the tree she was resting against. And as she ran into the bushes nearby, her voice was heard upon the setting fading to black. “...‘Till we meet again, everyone. Good luck out there.”
    #9 Nov 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  10. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 10: Legendary Flick Reaper

    The evening prior, after Christina Warren had fallen unconscious. Zakari, who was holding the unconscious brunette in his arms, entered an empty room in the Pokémon Center, her glasses on one of his pants’ belt loops. Upon entering, he noticed the unelevated mattress, and walked over to it. Then he placed Tina down on it, and immediately noticed Magus’ Poké Ball on her waist. Grabbing it, he sent out the Treecko.

    “Magus.” Zak, upon the light around Magus’ body vanishing, said his name while he grabbed Tina’s Pokédex and placed it, her glasses, and Magus’ now empty Ball on the room’s dresser near the mattress. Magus looked up at Zakari. “Watch over Tina until she wakes up, ok?”

    “S-Sure but, what happened?” Magus asked, looking a bit confused.

    “Well we're finally starting to make progress on bringing back the real her. We think a memory of our world etched its way into her mind’s surface, and then afterwards she fell unconscious.” Zakari paused for half a second. “But before all of that happened, she declared that I wasn't worthy of being group leader anymore, and then well, tried to kill me.” He paused again, Magus staring at him silently. Zak looked at him. “We're not gonna take on the Domain like we planned to until tomorrow. Truth be told, we were planning to go there in hopes of getting Tina’s memory alteration to start reverting.”

    Magus was silent for another second. “Do you think I should tell her about what you told me?” he then asked.

    “If you want,” Zak replied rather casually, all things considered. “At this point, it doesn't matter anymore if we keep it a secret or not, she'll find out anyway regardless.” He closed his eyes. “Better she find out sooner than later, I suppose.”

    “...We’re right there, aren’t we?” Magus said as Zak began walking out of the room.

    Zak stopped walking. “...I know we are. We have to be.”

    . . .

    The present, at the lobby of a Pokémon Center. A bright glowing light was seen gradually increasing in size at the lobby’s center. In much the same fashion, the glow shrunk, revealing Zak and the others. The group of seven, with Slitheren still on Zak’s shoulder, looked around for a second.

    “Where...Where are we?” Magus asked, everyone looking around some more.

    “A Pokémon Center...” Brice answered. “But, which one?”

    Then the group all exited the Pokémon Center, finding themselves in the western landscape of Russetton.

    “! What the...We’re, back in Russetton,” Gemini said.

    “Why did we get teleported here of all places? I don’t get it.” Slitheren said afterward, a bit curious.

    “Are we in the wrong place or something?” Lily asked, sounding a bit worried.

    Then everyone in the group began sensing a strangely familiar yet equally strangely alien presence from the east. The feeling accompanying this presence was, to them, as annoying as a Ledyba buzzing around their heads.

    Zakari had a determined expression on his face. “No...We're right where we need to be,” he said in a serious tone.

    “...But, what could be over there that we don’t know about?” Magus asked.

    “Professor Pear did mention a cave system in the mountain, one that’s mostly unknown,” Scar said, his eyes closed. Then he opened them. “I believe the Doppelganger took Tina there.”

    “Yeah, that one cave we saw on the way here the first time,” Brice replied. “Prismatic Caverns, I believe is what he called it.”

    After a second of silence, Zak turned his entire body towards the east direction. “...Let’s go. We don’t have time to waste,” Zak declared. “I know I keep saying that, but this time it’s the most true.”

    “Yeah. Let’s go.” Gemini replied afterward.

    Then everyone walked eastward out of Russetton and into the Southern Badlands, and then south afterward to the cave entrance or the Prismatic Caverns they mentioned earlier. As they then walked further towards and into the cave mouth, they noticed that the cliffs surrounding the entrance were rainbow-colored, which Zak deduced the reason as being because of the Prismatic Caverns.

    Brice whistled at the sight. “Man that looks cool.”

    Upon the group entering, the screen went completely black in an instant, with 2 or 3 separate instances of the cave system’s many small and large crystalline formations on the walls, ceiling, and sometimes the floor fading in and then back out. Then one last scene faded in showing a rather lit cave entrance, the camera then panning down on the group entering the cave.

    “Whooaaaa...They look beautiful...” Lily muttered, her eyes gleaming in awe of the gems.

    Slitheren, on the other hand, whistled as he reyes also gleamed, although not as much as Lily’s. “So this is why the place is called the Prismatic Caverns,” she said.

    “...” Zakari, Brice, Scar, Gemini, and Magus, on the other hand, while they were looking around at the gems themselves, stayed silent during their walk.

    The gems themselves were glowing a somewhat dimmed white, shifting between it and a light grey color.

    “Hey guys?” Lily then asked, grabbing Zak and Brice’s attention. “You think we can beat that thing now?”

    “It’s a long shot, but we have to.” Brice replied, sounding somewhat serious.

    “I mean, we’re here to save Tina. Right?” Slitheren said, almost sounding curious.

    “Well, even though saving Tina is our priority, that’s not really what’s on our minds right now.” Zak replied in a thinking pose. “It’s trying to figure out a way to beat the Doppelganger.”

    “Wait...What exactly is a Doppelganger anyway?” Magus asked. The other Pokémon also looked curious.

    After Zak moaned softly, the scene shifted to a background of purple wavering darkness effects, with a silhouette of Christina Warren fading into view. “Doppelgangers are a type of field enemy in The World R:2. And to some players, they are the most powerful opponents they will ever face.” Many numbers then appeared on screen. “These shadowed beings are almost exact replicas of us player characters, as they can mimic our exact appearance and are 5 levels above the one they mimic. If you can defeat one, however, you are given some nice rewards, most notably a powerful rare weapon that’s usually better than the one you have at the time of beating it.”

    Then, Brice continued where Zak stopped, a picture showing a desert area appearing. “However, the main problem with these Doppelgangers is that they can respawn indefinitely. If you’re in an open field for too long, one of them will spawn. And once this happens, you are unable to Warp Out of the area or enter the dungeon until the Doppelganger either vanishes or is defeated in battle. So most players only spend a maximum of 5 in-game minutes in an Open Field before entering the field’s Dungeon to minimize the chances of a Doppelganger ever spawning.” Then everything vanished, the scene returning to the group walking in the Prismatic Caverns.

    “Wait, so if a Doppelganger is only moderately more powerful than the player character it’s taking the form of, then why was it able to knock Tina out with only one attack?” Slitheren asked.

    “That’s the issue, and it’s something we figured out once it attacked Tina,” Brice replied. “It’s mimicking her level from The World R:2, meaning instead of being in the mid-20s, it’s an astonishing Level 83.”

    “!” Slitheren gasped in response.

    “We’re gonna be battling against what may be our most powerful adversary in this world, a Doppelganger of who was at one point our highest level ally,” Zak continued speaking. “But this time, we’re in a much more weakened state due to our levels having been reset.” He paused for half a second, closing his eyes. “Combine that with the fact that it does indeed know of our Ageosian abilities, and we may be in for the fight of our lives.”

    Everyone else was pretty much silent over the next couple minutes, Slitheren staring at Zak with an almost concerned expression.

    . . .

    A regular inn room, with only a small bed, dresser, and computer desk as furniture. The bed was up against the wall left of the entrance, with Brice and Tina standing next to it - Tina wearing a pair of running pants as opposed to a skirt. “...” She was also silently looking down a bit, her eyes shadowed by her hair and her glasses’ lenses shining entirely. She grabbed Brice by the collar, and pulled him closer to her, beginning to grit her teeth. “You are going to owe me. You are gonna owe me so much for this,” she told him in a soft growl.

    Afterwards, the flashback ended. [I never did pay her back for that one time. In all honesty, I guess we just forgot about it.] Brice thought to himself, everyone still walking. [But I guess now, is as good of a time to pay her back, by saving her from the Doppelganger.]

    The gems in the hallway everyone was walking down were constantly shifting randomly between the colors of light grey, dark grey, and the three primary colors red, blue, and yellow. After a couple seconds, the group all reached a wide open square room, Christina Warren being seen unconscious on the opposite side of the room’s entrance.

    “Tina!” Zak exclaimed.

    “Is she...alright?” Lily asked in a worried tone.

    “I’m not sure...” Brice said somewhat softly.

    But then, Tina was seen slowly fading from view. “!” Everyone looked surprised or shocked by this as she completely faded from sight.

    Zak, in particular, just stared at where Tina used to be, before changing his expression to a somewhat frustrated grin. Afterwards, the Doppelganger began to materialize in front of the entire group, between them and where Tina used to be. “You’re really annoying, you know that? Only a few more seconds, and I would’ve purged Christina Warren’s Psyche from existence.” The Doppelganger, still having its slightly demonic voice, sounded aggravated. “I guess your timing can be considered adequate.”

    “Slitheren. Gemini. Scar. Magus.” All four Pokémon looked over at the Edge Punisher who said their names. Then Zak brought up Slitheren’s Poké Ball in front of them. “Return.” All four of them looked surprised before being recalled back to their respective Poke Balls. “This is our fight.”

    “? Are you sure that’s wise?” the Doppelganger spouted in an almost conniving tone, looking a bit baffled. “You might need the assistance.”

    “Maybe so. But you know damn well what’s at stake here,” Brice replied in a serious tone, pointing his Shraider in bayonet form at the false Tina with an equally serious expression. “And we’re not willing to let our Pokémon die over someone they don’t know.”

    “Hmmhmmhmmhmmhmm...” The Doppelganger almost seemed amused by the response before dropping her rather amused expression for one of boredom. “Fine then. Do what you want.” Then it brought its right hand behind it, pulling out and twirling its black scythe before gripping it firmly. “I’m growing a little impatient, so let’s just start already.”

    Lily pulled her bow out from behind her, and was about to ready an arrow for firing. But Zakari stopped her. “I’ll lead,” he asided to her and Brice.

    Then he began walking towards the Doppelganger who was standing still, brandishing his Nihilblade in the process. The Doppelganger just simply stared at him. Zak then jump dashed towards the Doppelganger, who after a second did the same thing only its movement was almost instantaneous. The Edge Punisher thrusted his greatsword towards the shadowed figure in an attempt to stab it, but it dodged by moving its body upward in the air. Then the Doppelganger let go of its scythe, letting it turn into stationary shadows, placed its now empty right hand on the blade, and horizontally spun its body around to kick Zak in the face. The instant Zak began staggering back, it hopped off of his blade using its right hand, and tossed its hand towards Zak. When it did, the shadows turned back into the scythe, and was thrown via the translucent black chain. Zakari, after only half a second of staggering, spun around counter-clockwise, and knocked the scythe towards his left using his Nihilblade.

    The Doppelganger landed on the ground afterward, and noticed Zak running straight towards it. When he reached the being, Zak swung at it multiple times - some swings were horizontal, some were vertical, others were diagonal. The Doppelganger dodged the first few while pulling its scythe back towards it, and once it caught said scythe, blocked the last few swings with it. Zak then swung downward, then back upward, then brought his sword around him, and swung horizontally towards his left. The Doppelganger blocked all three of these attacks with little effort and in sequence. Then it saw Zak trying to swing at it again, to which it jumped back before the swing ever happened.

    “Scatter Shot!” Then, Lily was seen firing a single arrow behind Zak, which split into several smaller thin light lances and travelled around Zak in both the left and right directions. The Doppelganger replied by slicing down each and every one of these lances, alternating between left and right with every swing. Then Brice was seen running in a clockwise circle around the Doppelganger, shifting his Shraider to machine pistol form and firing an entire magazine towards the Doppelganger, who reacted by turning around and Blocking all of the bullets in order. Afterwards, Zak is heard trying to do the swing he attempted to earlier, and managed to get it off. But the Doppelganger saw this in time, and hopped back to dodge.

    Zak growled in frustration. “Dammit. We’re not getting anywhere.”

    The Doppelganger, having just landed on the ground, looked up at Zak with a smug expression. “I'll admit, you're all a bit better than I expected. That might just give you the edge here,” it said.

    “Hmm...” Zakari moaned to himself, almost as if he were thinking.

    The Doppelganger then fully smirked. “Hmph. But I'm just getting started.”

    Then, as it rose, the Doppelganger’s hair began to entirely change color, a black misty aura intensifying around it as its hair color was a jet black.

    Zak, Lily, and Brice all looked shocked at the Doppelganger’s change. [What the? The Doppelganger, it--changed. But how?] Zak thought, his eyes slightly shaking. Then he regained a serious look. [Damn it. I have to attack.] He then ran directly towards the false Tina. But when he got close enough, Zak’s own shadow seemingly loomed over the Doppelganger. It smirked again, and seemingly sank completely into Zakari’s shadow.

    “!” The Edge Punisher stopped running forward, not seeing the ripple in his shadow that the Doppelganger left behind. He began looking around for where it might have gone, turning around 180 degrees in the process. “Where did it...go?”

    But then, the Doppelganger was seen emerging from Zak’s shadow in the exact same place that it entered. “Looking for me?”

    Surprised, Zak turned back around to where the Doppelganger was, and was left hooked in the face by it and sent towards the ground below. He bounced lightly off the floor only once, the second bounce resulting in him backflipping back onto his feet.

    [What the hell?] Brice thought in a surprised tone, he and Lily having witnessed all of this. [It disappeared into Zak’s shadow, then reappeared when his guard was down.]

    Zak, having fully regained himself, sprinted towards the Doppelganger a second time. “That won’t work,” the Doppelganger remarked, sinking right back into Zak’s shadow once again.

    Zak stopped running again, looking frustrated. [Dammit, it’s right. This didn’t work last time, what made me think it would work now?] he thought to himself. Then, pretty much on a whim, he looked over to his right. And it came to him. [Wait, hold on.]

    He began to remember the Lawless Raptor’s words about the Ageosian types. “Shade Caller, the power of darkness. Able to hide his or her own presence at will, and command the very shadows.”

    Zak had a surprised look on his face. [That’s it,] he thought, looking down at his shadow where the Doppelganger sank. [Last time I tried this, it sunk into my shadow, and then reemerged when my guard was down.] He eased his expression, closing his eyes briefly. [Maybe that’s what Chris can do. Maybe this is something only a Shade Caller can do.] Then, looking back over to his right, specifically at the wall at the end, he began running towards that wall at a rather fast pace. [So I just have to make it emerge in an unfavorable position, and then strike.] Then he slammed his back against the wall as soon as he reached it, his sword still brandished in his left hand, and looked over to his right where his shadow was seen on the wall next to him. “Now, come on out, Doppelganger.”

    The Doppelganger emerged from the wall shadow, its black scythe brandished and ready to swing at Zak with. It swung diagonally from its lower-right straight at him, but Zak, having planned around this, leaped away softly from the wall, spun around counter-clockwise, and swung at the Doppelganger diagonally from his upper-right. Both of these swings collided with each other, the two struggling for only a second and a half before Zak pushed the Doppelganger back. Then Zak spun around counter-clockwise one more time, bringing his lightweight greatsword above his head. Then he grabbed the hilt with his right hand, placing it directly above his left, and swung his weapon straight downward in front of him. The Doppelganger attempted to block the attack with its scythe, but the force and raw power of the swing caused it to ultimately be knocked back and slam into the wall behind it.

    “Heh.” Zak had a smug look on his face, sheathing his blade. “You caught me off guard with that move once. Took me a bit before I figured it out.”

    “Was this what Raptor meant by “commanding the shadows”? How the Doppelganger just sank right into Zak’s shadow, like it was a body of water?” Brice commented to nobody in particular. “Either way, I guess Zak figured out how it works, and used that knowledge to his advantage to force the Doppelganger into an unfavorable position.” He then put a smug smile on his face. “I mean, he always was pretty quick with stuff like this.”

    Then the Doppelganger was seen picking itself up out of the wall it collided against. “Hmph, not bad. You adapt rather quickly. A bit quicker than I expected, to be honest.” It said to Zak with the same smug look on its face that it had earlier. “Now how about we change tempos?”

    Then its hair flashed again, this time multiple rather strong winds coursing through the entire room all in the opposite direction of the Doppelganger whose hair was now a lightish pink color.

    “!” Everyone, even Lily, had to block the winds from their faces using their arms. When the winds calmed down after a couple more seconds, Zak looked at the Doppelganger with a shocked look on his face. “You have the ability to change into all 5 of our Ageosian typings at will?” he said in a only slightly surprised tone.

    The Doppelganger hummed softly as Zak tried dashing and then sprinting back to the center of the room. But then the Doppelganger was seen flying almost instantaneously in front of Zak, shocking not just him, but also Lily and Brice. Then the winds coursed again, but only towards Zak, forcing him to bring both of his arms in front of his face to block them. Then the Doppelganger threw a right punch straight at Zakari’s guard, the wind force of the attack slightly weakening his arms.“What’s wrong, Harudyne?” it remarked condescendingly, throwing a left punch at and breaking Zak’s guard fully with its wind force. “Why are you hiding behind your own arms like a coward?” Then it threw a right punch again, this time hitting Zak’s face and forcing him to tilt his upper body back a slight amount. Afterwards, the Doppelganger forward rolled in mid-air without moving, and downward kicked Zak in the head with its left leg, which caused him to lose his footing and tilt his body all the way forward in relation to his legs’ angle. Then it immediately followed with a leftward spin kick with its right leg, hitting Zak’s face again and causing him to recoil back in the air. The Doppelganger then, spinning backward, landed in the ground on only her left foot, and after stopping, brought its right foot back down. Zak, on the other hand, was rolling on the floor a bit as a result of the attack combination dealt to him.

    “Bastarrrd...” he growled, slowly trying to pick himself up.

    Just then, however, the Doppelganger noticed a bullet flying towards it at blistering speeds. Then, almost as if it were instantaneous, it moved its head back like a blur and caught the bullet with its right hand. Then she looked over and noticed Brice with his Shraider in sniper rifle form firing at it again. It reacted to this by tilting its upper body towards its right to fully dodge it, and then immediately sprinting towards him. Brice immediately changed his gun to machine pistol form, and unloaded an entire 60-bullet magazine. This caused the Doppelganger to stop running and put its arms in front of it like Zak was. When she did, all 60 bullets that Brice fired were sliced down in sequence by her rather small wind blades that could barely be seen. Despite this, the Doppelganger was pushed back a few inches by the bullets’ combined force, giving Brice enough time to switch his Shraider to bayonet form and aim straight at it.

    “Tempest Blast.” The Steam Gunner fired what looked to be just a bullet mass of air directly at the Doppelganger, who backflipped into flight to dodge it. When it hit the ground, the air mass rippled around it for a split second. Brice then fired multiple Thunder Sparks at the now flying Doppelganger, it dodging every time in a zigzag fashion and Brice aiming at its new position. The first three were the regular Art, just a blue bolt. The last three, on the other hand, were electrified Thunder Sparks. When the false Tina reached Brice, it spin kicked his Shraider towards its left using its right leg, and then immediately followed up with doing a handstand on Brice’s shoulders for half a second, and then hopping off using its arms, spinning around one and a half times while its body began to crackle, and landed on the ground behind Brice, its hair now an electrifying yellow.

    Once Brice managed to regain control of his Shraider, he spun counter-clockwise to face the Doppelganger, changing his gun to shotgun mode, aimed at its head, and fired. The Doppelganger dodged by simply moving its head to the right really quickly, in which Brice aimed and fired at its head again, and the Doppelganger moved its head back to the left in response. Then the Steam Gunner aimed and fired at its chest area, to which the Doppelganger hopped up and positioned its body horizontally to dodge the shrapnel, and then backflip kicked Brice in the jaw, leading him to be sent back and stagger for a bit.

    Then while the Doppelganger was still in mid-air, it dashed instantly towards a spot behind Brice, and began sprinting towards Lily at rather fast speeds while its body was crackling electricity. Lily, seeing this, began readying an arrow onto her Crystal Bow. “Scatter Shot!” Then, upon firing the arrow, it split into several thin lances flying towards the Doppelganger. In reply, it zigzagged like a lightning bolt, completely zapping down every single one of these lances and turning them into black dust. Then it dashed in front of Lily, who tried to fire an arrow point blank and failed due to the Doppelganger ducking under it. Then it began turning into lightning and dashed straight through the Adept Rogue, completely electrocuting her and making her fall to the ground while it stood up with its signature smug expression.

    Afterwards, the Doppelganger warped over to a spot directly in front of the three. “I’ll be honest, this was a good fight. I had fun,” it said with a genuine smile. “But, well...” Then it dropped that smile, a rather large mass of electricity being bundled up on its raised right hand. “I kinda can’t let you guys live any longer sadly. Maybe if we weren’t mortal enemies, I would spare you three, and we could be fighting again later on down the road.” It chuckled, the collected mass of electricity bundled on its hand and wrist now bundling up in front of its hand to form a large ball. Zak, Lily, and Brice all slowly got up, and tried to move more afterwards. Unfortunately they felt too beat up to do so, causing the Doppelganger to smirk at them. “Now then, say good night, Beast Fangs!” And then, it unleashed the electricity as a large beam aimed straight at the three - they immediately recognized it as Charge Beam.

    The camera panned up to the three individually in freeze frames - first Brice, then Lily, and lastly Zak - Before showing the beam almost reach them. That is, until a silhouetted creature dashed up swiftly from behind the three and clashed with the Charge Beam. As a result, the entire room lit up a bright yellow color, causing the three and even the Doppelganger to have to cover their eyes.

    The light slowly but completely dimmed down, everyone looking over at whoever collided with the attack. They all saw Scar, his entire right arm covered in blood that slowly dripped down onto the ground, his hand twitching. “...” Scar was also grunting in massive pain.

    “! Are you alright?” Lily exclaimed, looking and sounding shocked.

    “! Scar?” Brice also exclaimed, looking shocked but not as much as Lily. “Didn't we recall you earlier?”

    “Look I get trying to be a knight in shining armor and all but, you could've died from my attack.” The Doppelganger commented.

    “I...don't care!” Scar exclaimed, looking rather serious.

    “I’ll recognize your courage to disobey an executive order, Scar,” Zak told him, also looking and sounding serious. “But we specifically asked to you let us fight.”

    Then the Zangoose began trying to move his right arm, and while he was successful, in doing so he felt a sharp pain in that area. Then his claw-like fingers began glowing a very earthly light brown color as he, still grunting from pain, faced the Doppelganger. “And I...refused!” Then Scar lunged straight towards the false Tina, downwardly slashing it with his bloody right earthly-lowing claw. Then he followed up with a horizontal Slash with his left claw, completely breaking the Doppelganger’s guard.

    [! What?! He’s, completely overpowering me!] the Doppelganger exclaimed in thought, looking pleasantly shocked. [I thought his arm’s condition would do him in but, he’s still able to use it. What the hell is this Zangoose really capable of?]

    As the Doppelganger landed on the ground and regained itself fully, it noticed Scar running towards it and then jumping up in the air, readying another Slash with its left claw. Then the Doppelganger smirked, raising its right hand outward towards the Zangoose as its hair flashed again to change color to a slightly darker pink than earlier. Then, a pink outline was seen forming around Scar, which the Doppelganger utilized to send him crashing down to the ground on top of his right arm. “!!” Scar grunted as he bounced off, his eyes widened from feeling a pain like no other.

    “!!” Zakari looked shocked by this, but seemingly for a different reason.

    Scar, not wanting to fall on it again, grabbed his right arm, and managed to collapse on the ground, this time on his left arm.

    “Hmph, you just assumed that because I only know of 5 Ageosian typings, I’m limited to just those 5,” the Doppelganger said after landing with a smirk on its face. Then she raised her right arm again, the pink outline being seen around her hand, wrist, and forearm. “The Paradigm Shift doesn’t work like that, I’m afraid.” Just then, however, multiple vines began to emerge from under the Doppelganger, wrapping themselves around and restricting its torso and arms. Its right arm lost its pink outline. “What?!”

    Then, the camera panned to behind the Doppelganger, showing Slitheren multiple yards behind it. She was smirking at the Doppelganger as it looked back at her.

    The false Tina, initially looking quite surprised, now eased its expression to an almost condescending smile. “Hmm, seems another Pokémon is disobeying you three,” it said, looking back towards Zak, Lily, and Brice. “What say you?”

    Zak replied initially with a second of silence, before bringing an almost cocky smile onto his face and chuckling at the Doppelganger.

    “?” The Doppelganger looked confused as to why he was chuckling. Then it looked at Scar who was still collapsed on the ground but also chuckling alongside Zak, and then at Brice who was doing the same thing. Then it became slightly irritated, and its facial expression showed this. “So it was all just a ploy, wasn’t it?”

    “Took us a while to find an opening.” Magus’ voice was heard to the Doppelganger’s left, Magus himself being seen dropping down to the ground. “Wasn’t until your little Charge Beam that we found it.” Then, Gemini was seen also landing on the ground afterward, to the Doppelganger’s right. “Took a bit more effort after that to keep hidden until another opportunity arose.”

    The Doppelganger, now looking a bit shocked, looked above itself, and saw several gem stalactites on the room’s ceiling. Then it regained its irritated expression, realizing what actually happened.

    In that moment, a flashback began to play of Zak and the others walking through a hallway in the Prismatic Caverns specifically one that led to an open pathway of sand in the distance, with an already constructed bridge using a stone slab that connected their side with the south. Slitheren was still resting on Zak’s right shoulder, and looked over at him. “Alright, let’s hear it. What’s your plan?” she asked.

    Zak was silent for only a second. “...This may sound a little crazy, and maybe also a little stupid, but...” He paused for another half second, looking over at the general direction of Slitheren and the other Pokémon. “I think our only way of taking down that Doppelganger, is to recall you guys.”

    “!” The Snivy reacted with a shocked expression. “Wait hold on, why?” she exclaimed afterward.

    “Well, let me elaborate further,” Zak replied. “If we recall you guys before the start of the battle, it will lower our numbers drastically.” He brought up both of his hands, all of his left hand’s fingers open, and only the index and middle fingers open on his right hand. Then he closed the two fingers on his right, and his thumb and pinky fingers on his left. “We’ll go from 7 fighters to just 3, which would be easier for the Doppelganger to handle.”

    “Ohhh, I get it.” Brice said, his eyes widening slightly.

    “You do?” Magus asked, looking at the Steam Gunner with a slightly confused facial expression.

    “Yeah,” Brice replied, nodding his head. “He wants us to recall you four for the battle, except not really. Once we find a good enough opening for you guys, you’ll release yourselves back out and then wait for us to find a second opening for you guys to jump her.”

    “You think that’ll actually work?” Gemini spoke up with a surprised tone.

    “It’s the only way I see us winning this fight,” the Edge Punisher replied in a thinking pose. “Since we’ve been adventuring with the Doppelganger up until now, she knows a considerable amount of our abilities and strategies.” He closed his eyes. “So we would have to get creative in order to ensure victory.”

    The flashback ended, showing the Doppelganger looking at the Trainers again. At the same time, the Trainers, without changing their facial expressions, all noticed something gleam behind the Doppelganger and even Slitheren. “I'll admit, that was a clever ploy, Fangs. Never thought you would ever be the kind of group to try something as stupidly risky at this.”

    “Well, considering you’re the Tina we’ve been journeying with up until this point, and the few times you’ve fought us back in The World R:2, you already know most of our regular strategies.” Zakari replied with a serious expression, before bringing a smug smile onto his face. “And sometimes the only way to defeat your opponent, is to try some really stupid shit and hope it works out.”

    “Besides, you think someone like like me would wanna miss out on a fight like this?” Slitheren followed up, still having her smirk.

    “Yeah I’m with her!” Magus exclaimed, looking serious and determined.

    “So am I!” Gemini also exclaimed, having the same general expression.

    “That's right,” Zakari said with a raised but still determined tone, raising his right fist in front of him. “We're all fighting to save Tina.”

    The Doppelganger, after 2 or 3 seconds of staring back at Zak, brandished its black scythe once again via its chain and brought its smirk back onto its face. “Is that so?” it replied. “Then I guess I’ll have to eliminate all of you!” Then the Doppelganger’s hair flashed once again, this time the entire room flashing a bright white at the same time. Everyone else was forced to cover their eyes from the brightness. While the flash was still going, it broke free of Slitheren’s vines by slicing them to pieces. The flash then ended, the Doppelganger’s hair being seen as a bleached platinum blonde as it turned around towards Slitheren.

    The Snivy then dashed and sprinted towards it and brought out her vines, spinning around clockwise one and a half times to try and sweep the Doppelganger with her vines when she got close enough. The Doppelganger hopped up slightly to dodge, leading Slitheren to begin spinning the other direction 225 degrees and swing diagonally from the lower-right at the Doppelganger, who tilted its whole body 45 degrees clockwise to dodge. Then it spun around counter-clockwise and threw its black scythe straight at Slitheren, who dodged by leaping forward. Then she forward rolled in mid-air multiple times along with her vines, ending the spinning when she reached the Doppelganger again and attempting to Slam her vines into the false Tina who jumped back. Slitheren them immediately forward rolled in mid-air one last time and tried swinging her vines towards Doppelganger multiple times, the Doppelganger dodging the first few while recalling its scythe, and then blocking the remaining swings with its scythe’s pole. The Snivy tried Slamming her vines into the Doppelganger again, the attack connecting with its black scythe’s pole. Then she wrapped her vines around the pole just enough to fully grab on, and then used to vines’ strength to push herself upward and kick the Doppelganger in the head, causing it to tilt back from the attack while Slitheren unwrapped her vines from the pole. Then she spun around counter-clockwise to Whip the Doppelganger with her vines, and when the attack landed, the Doppelganger spun around clockwise once and back. But then it unleashed a bright flash of light from its left hand, forcing Slitheren to cover her eyes to prevent them from burning.

    This allowed the Doppelganger to jump up away from Slitheren’s range. But then, it noticed Gemini fire off numerous Thunder Shocks straight at it, and replied by swiftly swinging at all of them individually, its scythe absorbing all of the electricity within each Thunder Shock. Then its hair flashed and changed color to the yellow it had earlier. “You know, you really shouldn’t be firing those thunderbolts so FREELY!” It exclaimed as it swung its scythe towards Gemini, all of the electricity manifesting into a large electric energy blade.

    The Mareep dodged to the right, the camera showing him in mid-air with the winds around him blowing dramatically to the left. “I’d be inclined to take that advice, if it weren’t for the fact that I know exactly what I was doing!” he exclaimed.

    “!” Then the Doppelganger, looking surprised, heard a spell being readied above it. And when it turned towards that direction, it saw Lily flying above it with an arrow aimed straight at its head.

    “OrLei Zas!” Lily let go of the arrow, allowing it to turn into a laser that sent the Doppelganger crashing almost instantly into the ground below. When the smoke cleared, however, it showed the Doppelganger having taken little to no damage, and its hair color now a bright silver.

    “Hmph, you use that spell too much,” it remarked, getting up and smirking at Lily. “It was easy to predict.”

    “Isn’t that the idea?!” Suddenly, it heard Zak’s voice and then noticed him dashing towards it with a swing ready. The Doppelganger, in response, brought it's scythe around and swung it at Zak, both attacks colliding with each other. The two then clashed swings multiple times, each clash creating vibrations of varying intensity. During this, the two exchanged a dialogue. “After we found our openings, you’ve only been trying to expect the unexpected. And it’s given us enough time to figure out exactly how to beat you!”

    “Don’t be so sure about that!” the Doppelganger exclaimed, still swinging away. “You may have gotten that opening on me, but I’ve still got a lot more tricks up my sleeve! While all of your sleeves appear to be nearly empty!”

    “So what?!” Zak yelled, pushing the Doppelganger away from him with his most recent swing. He then readied another, the winds dramatically blowing towards and past him. “You think just because we’re running out of surprises, that we have no chance at claiming victory?! I don’t believe that shit, even for an instant! Because if that were the case, then we would’ve all died yesterday against your stupid Mega Beedrill!”

    Zakari and Doppelganger then clashed one last time, but this time their weapons struggled with each other, intense vibrations being created from this struggle.

    “Rrrrrgh, they're--strong!” Slitheren grunted in exclamation, she and the others struggling to keep their footing from the vibrations being generated.

    Zak and the Doppelganger were still struggling with each other for a few more seconds, the camera closing in on their frustrated facial expressions - first Zak’s, and then the Doppelganger’s. Eventually, however, Zak pulled out in the end and the combined force of all of the vibrations together, combined with Zak’s own strength, pushed the Doppelganger a fair distance away from him.

    The Doppelganger was then seen panting for a couple seconds, after using up a fair amount of energy in the struggle. “I’ll admit, I don’t know much about this particular ability,” it then said, looking down at its hand which had vibrations coursing around it. “The power to control vibrations is a unique one, all things considered. Not many people have the privilege to even witness it.”

    Zak, sheathing his Nihilblade again, smiled smugly at the Doppelganger. “Well then, I’ll show you something.” Then, a second later, he instantly dashed up to the Doppelganger, his right fist wound back and vibrations coursing around it, and then punched the false Tina in the stomach.

    “!!” All of the vibrations that were around Zak’s fist began coursing through the Doppelganger’s body, causing its body to visibly rumble. The Doppelganger was also making pained noises for a second before coughing up blood, both from the vibrations.

    “Judging by your silver hair, and the fact that you were using my vibration ability, that means you’re a Steel-type just like me,” Zak said afterward, his fist still up against the Doppelganger’s stomach. “And since you’re partially metallic now, I can make your body vibrate as intensely as I choose.” Then he readied his left leg. “Like. THIS!!” And then he kicked the Doppelganger towards his right, the vibrations still making its body visibly rumble. It did manage to land on its feet, but the force of the kick caused it to slide backwards, and the vibrations ultimately led to it losing its footing and falling over onto its back. During all of this, Zak places his left foot back down onto the ground, looking towards the false Tina with a smirk. “You should know this fact, since I did the exact same thing against Bladestorm.”

    After a couple seconds, the vibrations coursing through the Doppelganger’s body dissipated to the point where it couldn’t feel them anymore, and its body stopped visibly rumbling. Then, as it slowly opened its eyes, it widened them once it saw Scar try and dive into it with another earthly-glowing claw attack. Seeing this, it rolled to the left to dodge the attack and picked itself up to a kneeling stance, Scar stabbing the ground with the attack. Then the Zangoose, even though it felt immense pain in his entire arm, took its right claw out of the ground without effort, and immediately dashed towards the false Tina, the earthly glow on his right claw surfacing again. The attack clashed with the Doppelganger’s black scythe, which it swung at him while standing up. At the same time, its hair changed color back to its original dark brown.

    Scar noticed this. [It changed its hair back to normal. That means it might be planning to use an Art. We’ll have to get crafty if we wanna counter this,] he thought to himself before yelling out “Magus!”

    “Right!” Magus exclaimed, hopping up and mid-air forward rolling behind the Doppelganger. Then he spun counter-clockwise three times, Slamming his tail against the Doppelganger’s head at the end of the third spin and sanding it flying to his left. “Brice!” he then called towards the Steam Gunner.

    “Got it!” he exclaimed, running straight towards the Doppelganger with his Shraider in bayonet form, and hopping up into the air. [If we’re to believe what each of the transformations have been like for it...] he then began to think to himself while aiming his gun at the Doppelganger. [Then it might only be able to use Arts in this form.] The Doppelganger then looked towards Brice with a surprised expression on its face after having just recovered from Magus’ Slam attack. “Thorn Shot!” The Steam Gunner then fired his gun, three green energy projectiles flying straight for the false Tina.

    The Doppelganger, in response, brought its right arm across its body and its scythe behind it. “Wicked Strike!” It then swung at the three green projectiles with a wide range, destroying then entirely.

    This caused Brice to smirk, the Doppelganger gasping softly in response. Brice then swung his bladed gun straight at it, colliding with its black scythe. There was also visible yellow electricity crackling around the Shraider. “20 seconds,” he said. “That’s all we need.”

    “That’s assuming I’ll give you those 20 seconds,” the Doppelganger replied with a serious expression.

    The two struggled with each other, but Brice slowly managed to raise his weapon upward enough to where it was aimed at the Doppelganger’s head. “Who said they were gonna happen now?” he remarked with a smug smile. Then he fired, the Doppelganger quickly moving its head towards the right, but it wasn’t fast enough as the bullet force left a paper cut on its left cheek.

    “Clever,” it said.

    Then, Slitheren was seen jumping up behind the false Tina, and then Slamming her tail into the right side of its head and sending it flying towards her left.

    [I know we’re fighting to save Tina but, I can’t help but really enjoy myself here,] Slitheren thought to herself with a cheerful smile, while she was still in mid-air. [This is the most amount of fun I’ve ever had in a fight like this!]

    The Doppelganger managed to land on its feet, this time not falling over due to anything. She was also growling for a couple seconds. [If the 20 seconds didn’t happen then,] it began to think while Slitheren landed next to Magus. Then it sheathed its black scythe. [I’ll just make sure it never happens at all.]

    Then the two Grass-types began running straight towards the Doppelganger, who instantly turned its head towards them and widened its eyes. At the same time, its hair also flashed and changed color to light pink, and Slitheren and Magus were almost immediately covered in paper cuts, their blood being spewed around them.

    “!!” Lily was able to see what the Doppelganger just used - numerous nearly invisible wind blades. Everyone else, however, was unable to see them.

    “Like I said, I've still got a lot more tricks up my sleeve,” the Doppelganger said, no longer sounding condescending and instead sounding serious and threatening. It didn’t even have any kind of smile on its face. “While you've exhausted all of yours.”

    Then Scar began running towards the Doppelganger, its left claw crackling with electricity. However, the Doppelganger’s hair flashed and its color changed to jet black, and then it brought its right arm outward towards the Zangoose. “Imprison,” it said menacingly deeply. Multiple shadows emerged from the ground, surrounding and beginning to encase Scar in a thick outer shell. The Zangoose tried his best to escape from the shell, but his struggling accomplished nothing. Then the false Tina swiped its hand towards the right. “Drain.”

    When it chanted this, Scar felt the energy within his entire body slowly being sapped away by the shadowy shell. This feeling was also accompanied by an incredible amount of pain, which felt more intense throughout his still bloodied right arm.

    Then the Doppelganger directed its eyes in front of it, at Brice who had just landed. It raised its left arm outward towards him, multiple large snake-like shadows emerging from its own shadow and flying towards the Steam Gunner. Brice tried to shoot down these shadowy snakes, but the shadows that the bullets were about to hit split from their wind forces, forming a circle for the bullets to fly through. Then the shadows became whole snake-like beings again, and continued to fly towards and slam Brice hard against the wall behind him. Once the shadows completely dissipated, Brice fell down and collapsed on the ground a second after.

    Zak looked towards Slitheren and Magus’ collapsed bloodied bodies, then to Scar being finally set free from his shell and collapsing on the ground himself, and finally to Brice, all while looking surprised. Then, Lily readied an arrow, and Gemini charged up an electric attack, both aiming at the Doppelganger. It, without turning at all, made its hair flash and change colors to platinum blonde, resulting in the entire room flashing brightly again. While Lily and Gemini winced at the light, and Zak fully covered his eyes, the Doppelganger gathered a mass of light energy around its left hand, and then tossed it all at the space between Lily and Gemini, exploding on contact and causing the two to collapse in turn once the light faded.

    [Hold on a second. W-What just happened?] Zakari exclaimed, seeing this event happen and still looking surprised.

    Then, he noticed the Doppelganger bring its scythe out again while its hair color reverted back to dark brown, and then run towards him. Zak dropped his surprised look, and prepared a swing. Then the two swung at each other, the attacks colliding and struggling for only a second before Zak is pushed back a bit.

    [What the hell? It wasn't this strong two minutes ago,] Zak exclaimed in thought. Then he had a frustrated grin on his face. [Was it just toying with us this whole time?]

    Then the Doppelganger brought its black scythe behind it with the blades facing the ground, and dashed towards the Edge Punisher. Zak, during this, began turning his entire torso, shoulders, neck, and the bottom of his chin metallic. The Doppelganger then hopped a small amount and swung its scythe upwards, impacting right below his chin and knocking him up into the air. Zak also felt a slight vibration in this area, but it went away and he brought up his greatsword to try and stab the false Tina. But it twirled its scythe clockwise above its head a couple times, which knocked Zak’s blade away to his left. The Doppelganger then brought its scythe back down and, in almost an instant, spun counter-clockwise twice and slashed across Zak’s shoulder height and then diagonally across his torso. The cuts weren’t very deep thanks to Zak’s body being metallic.

    Then the Doppelganger landed on its feet, while Zak crashed into the ground on his back and slid a small amount. His metallic body also turned back into flesh, blood now slowly emerging from his two cuts. It then swung its black scythe vertically above its head towards its right while walking towards Zak and everyone else.

    “And in the end, you never once got those 20 seconds,” the Doppelganger said in a menacing tone. “I’ll admit, a whole two openings you’ve found against me. That’s two more than I expected you to get.” Then it raised its scythe in front of it. “But only two, and no more.”

    Then, the camera closed in on each of the 7 warriors’ facial expressions of frustration, pain, and somewhat defeat. And then a scythe was seen being swung diagonally from the Doppelganger’s lower-left. When this happened, Zak and Brice mentally smirked, and that scythe, instead of slicing through the 7, pierced the false Tina’s left hip.

    “!!” The Doppelganger, and also the 4 Pokémon, looked altogether shocked.

    Then, when the camera slowly panned to the left, it revealed Christina Warren behind the Doppelganger, with her Shorai no Kama in Cleave form and her blade stuck in its left hip. “This makes three then.” Tina said in an soft but angry growl, the Doppelganger beginning to look behind it.

    “You--How?” it exclaimed. “I, knocked you out cold.”

    “I regained consciousness some time ago, while you weren’t paying attention,” Tina replied.

    “So the 20 seconds--they were referring to you!” the Doppelganger exclaimed.

    “You’re goddamn right they were.” Tina growled back.

    Brice then began to chuckle. [Attagirl Tina,] he thought. [All we needed to do was lure the Doppelganger into thinking that the 20 seconds meant the Art cooldown, and we were all set for victory.]

    “Can’t say I’m real happy about any of this,” Christina said normally but still angrily. “Taking over my body for your own personal use. Trying to rob me of my life force. And now, trying to kill my friends.”

    The Doppelganger growled for half a second. “Who are you, to openly defy destiny?” it then exclaimed.

    “We Beast Fangs believe in a certain saying,” Tina replied, beginning to further drive her scythe into its left hip with more and more force. “That only you! Can forge your own destiny! Into reality!”

    Then the brunette completely sliced diagonally through the Doppelganger’s body, leaving it to float in two for a few seconds before it was engulfed in a bright but harmless light. After 2 seconds, this light completely shattered into a windless light cyclone, disappearing after a couple more seconds.

    Tina, now panting softly, sheathed her futuristic scythe. “Good riddance, jackass.”

    The other Trainers then all slowly picked themselves up off the ground, recalling the 4 Pokémon. “We did it, Tina,” Zak said in a confident way.

    “We sure did,” she replied before feeling a slight pain in her chest. “Urp, still a little weak from that one attack earlier.”

    “Well...At least you’re back with us,” Brice said with a smile, sheathing his Shraider. “For real this time.”

    “Yeah.” Tina nodded her head. “Now let’s get outta here. I wanna Log Out already.”

    “Yeah, same. We’ve been Logged In for awhile, and I don’t know when our parents are supposed to get home,” Zak replied, everyone beginning to turn towards the room’s exit. “Besides, you can come visit us.”

    “Actually that sounds nice,” Tina said afterwards, smiling. “Been away from the Real World for too long.”

    Then the 4 began walking out of the Prismatic Caverns as a whole, the camera slowly panning away from them and fading to black.

    “Oh, and for the record Tina, I didn’t look up your skirt at all during our journey.” Brice commented.

    “Oh right, that’s another thing I should do,” Tina replied, her voice not sounding as loud. “Put on some running pants.”
    #10 Dec 3, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  11. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 11: Daily Life in the Real World

    A familiar white background was shown, with slightly thick lines zooming outward towards its center. Zak’s room came into view as the background faded again, with Zak himself slowly waking up. “Nnnnn...” He slowly raised his upper body and took his NerveVisor v2.0 off of his head. “What time is it now?” he asked, putting the headset into its case. Then he looked over at his alarm clock, and saw that time was around noon. 12:17PM specifically. Zakari sighed, getting up from his bed and walking over to his dresser. “One hour here, one day in Ageos.”

    He put on his glasses, placed his NerveVisor v2.0 case into his dresser top drawer, and then exited his room to go downstairs. Along the way, he heard the doorbell ring followed by a feminine “Heeey! It's me!” from the other side of the door.

    “? That voice...” Zak muttered, seemingly recognizing the voice in question. He then went to open the door once he got to the bottom of the stairs.

    Who he saw was a slightly younger-looking Tina, who wore a yellow short-sleeved shirt and a pair of grey running pants. The shoes she wore were regular sneakers. “Oh uhh, that was a bit quicker than I expected.” She looked a bit surprised.

    Zak analyzed Tina’s appearance for a couple seconds. “Guess I'm the only one who looks different in real life,” he then replied.

    Tina looked up at Zak’s hair, and laughed for a second. “Wow you are a mess,” she began to tease. “Did you forget to fix your hair this morning?”

    “Very funny Tina,” Zak replied, deadpanning her with a sweatdrop on his forehead. “But this is my actual hairstyle.”

    Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Brice was seen zapping inside through the door. “Aww this is sweet. We can use our powers in the Real World too,” he whispered to himself with a cheerful grin. Then he zapped into the dining room, getting up against the the wall right next to the open doorway into the living room. He saw Zak talking with Tina, and decided to listen in.

    “No she doesn’t wear any glasses or contacts. Her eyesight is still fine.” Brice heard Zak’s voice, though not very well. “Although my mom wears contacts, and my dad, well...he wears glasses.” However, it was clear enough for him to understand.

    “My parents don’t wear either of those things,” Tina replied, her voice also not very well to hear but still clear to understand to Brice. “Makes you wonder why I need them.”

    Brice the noticed that Tina’s forearms were completely exposed. [Wait is she wearing short sleeves? In this weather?] He thought to himself before immediately zapping out of the house the way he came in, and then around to the front stairs where Tina was.

    “?” Tina looked a bit surprised after hearing a soft crackle nearby. She looked over at the bottom of the stair to find Brice waving at her with a smile, a subtle amount of voltage being seen around his body that instantly disappeared once she laid eyes on it. “Did...you just dash over here?” she asked.

    “Yeah. It’s awesome, I can use my powers even here in the Real World,” he replied cheerfully. Then he noticed what Tina was wearing - specifically the short-sleeved shirt. “Heh, guess all four of us can use our powers out here. I take it you can’t feel the cold very well? ‘Bout the only reason I would see to wear short sleeves.”

    “Eh?” Tina looked a bit confused before looking down at her shirt and noticing the short sleeves Brice mentioned. “Ohh I guess not. Maybe it is because of my powers,” she then replied cheerfully, scratching the back of her head.

    “Tiiinaaaa!” Suddenly, the three heard Lily’s excited voice from above them. After a second and a half, she was seen presumably flying down from the second floor and glomping Tina. Lily looked to be wearing a regular fleece coat, baby blue mittens, and a cute striped winter hat.

    “!” The brunette girl, surprised, only stumbled a couple steps without actually falling over. “Hi there Lily,” she responded after fully regaining her footing.

    Brice simply laughed happily at the two. Zak, on the other hand, had a confused look on his face. He looked upward, specifically at his room’s window, and noticed that it was open. He then had a deadpan expression on his face. “...Did you seriously just fly out of my window?” he asked in an almost monotone voice.

    Lily, still in flight, began shivering a slight amount, even despite all of the extra clothing she was wearing. Her expression was also a slightly uncomfortable one.

    “I’ll...take that as a yes,” Zak said more monotonically, now deadpanning his sister with a sweatdrop on his head.

    Tina felt Lily’s shivering against her left arm. “Guess this weather is a lot worse for you now,” she said to her, smiling a bit nervously yet cheerfully. Then she had a seemingly surprised expression on her face. “Er, why don’t we go inside for now?”

    “Good idea. Kinda cold out here,” Brice responded with a smile. “Plus, at least I don’t have to deal with being pranked today.” He then deadpanned both Zak and Lily. “Unlike yesterday.”

    “Heh heh, you probably deserved it,” Tina replied in a teasing manner as Lily landed on the ground and the four walked inside.

    . . .

    A few seconds had passed, and the group of four were seen partially in the living room and also partially in the hallway from that to the kitchen and dining rooms. Lily had taken off her coat, hat, and mittens, while Tina stopped subconsciously using her powers. “Ok so we’re going to assume that I can use my powers too. I’d try using mine, but then I might break something.” Zak said, his arms folded and his eyes briefly closed. “And also since I’m a Steel-type, I guess I too am more susceptible to the cold.”

    “I’d say it’s safe to assume that. Metal does usually get cold to the touch in this kind of weather.” Tina said, shrugging softly with a slight smile and her eyes closed. She then put her hands on her hips. “Though, that much should be obvious to us by now.”

    “Oh, Zak.” Brice then said, Zak responding with a soft “hmm?” while turning his head towards the yellow-haired boy. “I just remembered why I wanted to come over.” He paused for half a second, pointing his right index finger up towards the ceiling while still being leveled with the rest of his arm. “So, I was thinking about something after we Logged Out. If you were able to bring cards into Ageos just by having them on your person, then maybe it can work the other way around.”

    “Actually that would make sense,” Zak replied with a slightly surprised look on his face. “It's worth a shot too since we're the only ones here. Pretty sure the cats are napping upstairs in Barry’s room.”

    Brice then reached with his right arm towards where Gemini’s Poké Ball would normally be in Ageos, and felt it slowly materializing in his hand. “Hmm, looks like I was right.” He then tossed the Poké Ball up in the air, the white light emerging and forming Gemini’s shape before disappearing. “Afternoon, Gemini.” He said casually.

    Gemini, in response, looked around curiously for a few seconds, even moving around a bit. This led Brice to form a confused expression on his face. “This feels...strange to me...” the Mareep muttered softly to himself. “...Er, where are we exactly?” he then asked out loud.

    “Oh right.” Zakari gasped softly before bringing a smile onto his face. “Welcome to our world, pal.”

    “! You mean, the Real World?” Gemini exclaimed, to which the other four nodded in response. Gemini then brought his voice back down to a mutter. “...No wonder it feels so strange.”

    “So is Scar ok now?” Lily asked in a concerned tone.

    “Hmm?” Gemini replied initially, still occupied with how the Real World felt to him. “Oh yeah he’s fine. He’s always been,” he then said with a cheerful grin.

    “? But, what about his arm?” Lily asked curiously. “Wasn't it badly wounded during the fight?”

    “Oh no, that's not so big an injury for him anymore,” Gemini replied in an upbeat tone, swiping his right front paw towards them. “Stuff like that happens a lot more frequently than you might think.”

    Then, a flashback played of a scene in Russetton’s Pokémon Center, specifically one of the healing rooms. The room had a standard operating bed and table in the center, with the typical multiple cabinets and counters you’d see in any room type like this. Scar was standing up near the north wall, his right arm still completely bloodied, while Gemini stood near the west wall. “So uhh, how many times has this happened now?” Gemini asked.

    “I...lost count, actually.” Scar replied with a nervous smile, scratching the back of his head with his left hand. “Do you remember?”

    “Yeeaah see, I forgot as well.” Gemini said rather nervously himself, sweatdropping.

    Then the flashback ended, Gemini continuing to speak. “He’s also survived much worse before. One time his entire body was basically internally shattered to a million pieces, even a good portion of his skull, and he still lived.”

    “Speaking of him,” Zak said casually afterward, holding up a Poké Ball. This made Lily gasp in surprise. Then Zak tossed the Ball upwards, sending Scar out. Afterwards, Lily frantically tried to catch the Ball, but it bounced off her hands for a second before she caught it. “Hey there, Scar.” Zak said at the same time.

    “Big broooo!” Lily exclaimed in a pouty tone.

    The Zangoose, upon appearing from the white light, looked around in much the same fashion as Gemini did. “So this is the Real World. Interesting,” he said to himself.

    “How’s your arm doing?” Zakari asked.

    “Ehh, it’s doing normal.” Scar replied, moving his right arm around.

    “Normal? Even though it got bloodied to hell and back?” Tina asked afterward, looking a bit confused.

    “Heh, I’m a lot sturdier than I look,” Scar replied with a smirk. “I’m like a moving fortress almost.”

    “Uhh-huuuh...” Tina deadpanned Scar.

    “Well, that’s what Gemini here calls me.” Scar said, looking towards the Mareep.

    “Well it’s true. If there’s a part of him left, then he’ll recover just fine,” Gemini responded with a cheerful grin. “Just like a fortress would be rebuilt.”

    “Well there’s also the question of if it’ll be rebuilt,” Tina said monotonically, her deadpan still intact.

    “I’m a commander. Luxia wouldn’t simply let me just up and die like that,” Scar replied.

    “Speaking of, I’m curious about something,” Brice spoke up, turning towards Scar and Gemini. “How does everyone we meet know about Luxia? I mean, his name’s been popping up a lot in Ageos. Slitheren knows about him, Shadow knows about him, I don’t get it.”

    Scar brought a smirk on his face as he closed his eyes. “I’m not surprised honestly,” he replied. “The Hacker’s Legion has been a well-known clan in Ageos since its creation, so I doubt his success in changing it from an evil clan into a righteous one would ever go untold.”

    “Evil?” Lily asked, a bit surprised.

    “Yeah. Even though not much is known about the founder of the clan, the impact that person had on the clan will never truly go away,” Gemini replied. “Even if Luxia managed to fix the clan’s reputation.”

    “I guess speaking of that,” Tina said afterward, looking towards Zak. “I heard you guys officially formed the Beast Fangs.”

    “Yep. Figured if we’re gonna be trapped in Ageos for awhile, might as well go by some sort of clan name,” Brice replied with a smile and a thumbs-up.

    “Although I would personally change the name of our group a bit. “Beast Fangs” is not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about a bunch of Trainers and their Pokémon,” Tina commented. “Besides, that’s a TW2 name. Not necessarily an Ageos name.”

    “Alright. Any ideas?” Zak replied to everyone.

    “Preferably not from Brice,” the brunette girl said smugly and in a teasing manner.

    “Heey!” Brice exclaimed, deadpanning Tina.

    “Well actually, I have an idea,” Gemini said, everyone else looking towards him. Then, the world map appeared on screen like it would in a DS Pokémon game. “Let’s think about the major groups within each town we’ve visited and heard of so far.” A speech bubble appeared from each of the towns as Gemini spoke about them, with their respective groups appearing in the bubbles as walking character sprites. “Slate City most likely has an organization of miners occupying it judging by the huge cave entrance on the side of it. Harlequin has a Rangers’ Guild from what we’ve heard. And then there’s the Dragoons clan in Celeste. And although we haven’t met anyone in Russetton outside of Tamara and a couple police officers, I’m sure there is a group there. I mean, it is in a desert-type area.” With the exception of Russetton, which had a black question mark appear in its bubble.

    “Technically it’s a badlands area, but I see what you’re saying,” Tina replied.

    Gemini continued. “Which leaves Cerise City, which currently has no group associated with it. We should know this because our clan has made trips to and through that place many times.” Cerise City’s bubble also didn’t have a character sprite inside it, but instead a red X. “With this in mind, I believe we should name ourselves after that very town.”

    “Cerise Fangs...” Zak muttered softly, then was silent for a second. Then he smiled. “...I like it. From now on, we will officially call ourselves the Cerise Fangs clan!”

    “Then allow me, Harudyne.” Then, Zak and the other Trainers heard Scar’s firm voice. They looked over at him, and noticed that he was kneeling towards Zak, with his right arm over his torso and his eyes closed. “Allow me to aid you in your endeavors. I will be your knight in shining armor within your new clan.”

    “Uhh, I’m pretty sure you already were,” Zak replied, before smiling again. “Buut I guess if you wanna be formal about it, then sure.”

    “I think it goes without saying at this point, but I’m tagging along as well.” Gemini followed up, grinning happily.

    “Oh...” Tina’s upper body slumped downward. “That reminds me.” Everyone else looked towards her with confused expressions. “We have school tomorrow.” She then stood back up straight, looking unamused. “You guys all do your homework?”

    “Well yeah, after a certain sister of mine kept pestering me to do it two nights ago.” Zak replied, glancing towards Lily who giggled in response.

    “W-Well what about you Lily?” Tina asked afterward.

    “Yep. It wasn't really that much.” Lily replied happily.

    “You had more homework than I did.” Zak cut in, deadpanning his sister.

    “Yeah and she's one grade below the rest of us, what's your point?” Brice responded.

    “And I'm gonna hope that you did yours, Brice.” Tina said in an exasperated tone.

    “Of course I did.” Brice exclaimed.

    “How, by pointing a gun at it?” Zakari replied in a teasing manner.

    “Amusing,” Brice deadpanned Zak before looking towards Tina. “Alright so how about you Tina?”

    Christina sweatdropped. “Please tell me you're joking with that question.”

    “...Well?” Zak asked after a second of silence.

    “That was an obvious yes,” Tina replied.

    “No it wasn't,” the other three Trainers replied in different ways - Lily happily, Zak casually, and Brice monotonically while deadpanning Tina.

    “...I-I guess not.” Tina sweatdropped again.

    . . .

    The next morning, the four were seen walking down the Parsons Court sidewalks towards their middle school. Tina was the only one wearing different clothing - a dark green sweater that was slightly different than the one Zak wore, regular black skirt with black pantyhose, and light brown boots.

    “Uuuuuuugh...” Tina had a look of distaste on her face, as did the other three. “I already want this week to end,” she said in a pained tone.

    “Same,” Zak and Brice responded simultaneously.

    “And the worst part is, nothing eventful is gonna happen this week,” Tina followed up.

    Then all four of them sighed heavily. “Well, let’s get this over with.” Zak said.

    Then, via multiple different short scenes, Zak and the others went through their class schedules for the day. Period 1 for Zak and Tina was Algebra class, in which they were given an assignment that they completed rather easily. For Brice, it was an Enrichment class, where he was forced to sit through a lecture with a rather bored expression. Lily, on the other hand, had a 2 period class in the form of 6th English. Her class actually began watching a movie, one that she actually doesn’t mind.

    Zakari, Brice, and Tina afterward had their first 2 period class - Advanced Mathematics 7. In which they sit through a lecture in the first half of class, Zak and Tina fully understanding it while Brice struggled a bit, and then completed a practice worksheet together. Lily, for periods 3 and 4, had History, a subject that she very much did not like. She wasn’t too interested in the lecture or the assignment, but did it anyway.

    Then, period 4 was a single period class for both Zak and Tina. Zak had Enrichment class, in which he sat through a different lecture from the one Brice sat through, one he actually doesn’t mind much. Tina also had Enrichment class, but with a different teacher that taught roughly the same lecture. She also looked bored like Brice was, but not as much since she was taking notes like a straight A student.

    Then the lunch period came, and everyone sat together at one of the round tables in the corner. All four of them had finished eating already, leaving them with nothing to do.

    Tina sighed slightly heavily. “I guess it’s nice to be back to normal...kinda,” she said in a rather bored tone. Then she turned her head towards Lily. “Hey uhh, how are you in 6th grace when you began the year as a 10 year old?”

    “Oh well, my birthday was before October 1st,” Lily replied. “So they were able to put me in 6th grade.”

    Tina deadpanned the pink-haired girl. “Lucky.” Then she sighed again, laying her head down on her folded arms. “Sucks we can’t bring out our Pokémon. They would be a lot more entertaining to be with than anyone else right now. They’d blow our cover though.”

    “Not exactly.” Then, the four heard a girl’s voice from nearby. Surprised, Tina brought her somewhat wide embroidered bag up and put it on the center of the round table. After she partially unzipped it, Shadow’s head popped out of it. The Zorua heavily inhaled after this, like one would when emerging from underwater. “Jeez, you know how hard it is to breathe in here?”

    “How’d you get in my bag in the first place?” Tina asked, still surprised. “I don’t even remember unzipping it.”

    “Oh while you and Zakari over here weren’t paying attention, I released myself silently and snuck in here.” Shadow replied with a cheerful grin. “The advantages of having a small frame.”

    “That is true.” Brice said, chuckling a bit while Shadow tried to get further out of the bag.

    “A-Actually just stay in there for now, I’ll unzip this a bit more for you,” Tina said a second after Shadow began struggling, unzipping her bag a bit more to let Shadow get air. “Don’t wanna give you away to anyone.”

    “Actually...” Zak muttered while grabbing and bringing up Lily’s bag, which was similar to Tina’s, and unzipping it partially. Then he grabbed a Poké Ball off Lily’s waist, Lily looking shocked at this, and held both sides of the Ball with his hands. Then he opened it carefully, silently sending Ashe out into Lily’s bag. “Haven’t seen you in awhile. How’s it been?” he asked, handing Lily the now empty Poké Ball.

    “Not again...” Lily said in a mopey tone.

    “Huh...” Ashe looked around only a small amount, curling up in the process. “This place actually feels pretty cozy. I could get used to this.”

    Zak then looked over towards Tina’s bag, Shadow also curled up inside of it. “So Shadow uhh, who exactly is Luxia as a person?” he asked her. “Everyone always says the same thing about him, how he’s a righteous and kind leader. Do you think they’re just even partially fabricating that statement?”

    Shadow was seen shaking her head. “Not a bit. Everything they’re saying about him is true. He’s the kindest, most considerate person I know.” She paused for a second. “I guess since you’ve never met him in person, you don’t know what the truth is.”

    “Well, we’re not really the kind of group that would just believe everything we hear,” Zak replied, his eyes closed. “We’ve been in a lot of scenarios where someone was given a similar reputation, only for all of that to be just a facade in the end. They use their fabricated reputations to slip under the radar. It happens all too often in MMOs.”

    “...” Shadow stared at Zak silently in awe.

    “Look, we’re not saying we don’t believe you and all,” Brice exclaimed rather nervously. “We just can’t confirm nor deny it, even if we are allied with those who do know him.”

    “...” Shadow continued her silence before letting out a big yawn. While she was yawning, Zak and the others looked around them for a second to see if anyone was listening in on them. “I’m tired...” Shadow muttered while rubbing her head cutely.

    Lily had an expression of heartmelt, grabbing Shadow out of Tina’s bag and hugging her. “Awwww!” she exclaimed.

    Then, the group of six heard the dismissal bell ring over their heads. Lily placed Shadow back into Tina’s bag. “Well we gotta get going to our next class, so back in the bag you go Shadow.” Tina said, beginning to zip her bag up. “Don’t worry, I won’t zip it all the way. Don’t want you to suffocate after all.” She said the second sentence in a teasing manner.

    “Same goes for you Ashe,” Zak said.

    “Ehh, I’ll stay quiet,” she replied casually.

    Afterwards, everyone had two-period classes for periods 6 and 7. For Zak, Brice, and Tina, it was English/Language Arts. In that class, a group project was introduced, where students would have to work in groups of three to write a 3-page essay on whatever topic their team was given. Zak, Brice, and Tina decided to work together for this long assignment. In the meantime, Shadow stayed asleep in Tina’s partially unzipped bag. Lily, on the other hand, had 6th grade Mathematics, in which she sat through a simple lecture that she decently understood, and then completed her assignment decently quickly. Ashe also kept true to her word, staying silent while observing as many of the other students as she could from within Lily’s bag.

    Then, immediately after English, Zak, Brice, and Tina had period 8 and 9 History. They liked their History teacher because he made a lot of jokes, which made their class fairly quick as a result. Their lecture was interesting enough and their assignment was simple to complete. Lily, however, had two separate classes in this time. First was her Enrichment class, with a lecture she didn’t mind listening to. Then finally, she had Home Economics class, which was a required class for all students in 6th grade. In this class, she listened to a lecture about sewing buttons onto cloth, followed by an example of such.

    After all of that, the school day finally ended. The four students were walking together out of school via the giant hallway to the entrance.

    Tina sighed heavily. “Jesus, today felt waaaay longer than normal,” she said.

    “You said it,” Brice replied, looking at her. “Maybe it’s because you’ve been gone for a month.”

    “Yeah probably,” she said, now looking defeated. Then, she felt her bag move around a bit. She unzipped her bag a bit more, and saw Shadow beginning to stir. “Morning, Shadow.”

    “...You know very well it isn’t morning...” she muttered just loud enough for only them to hear. Then she let out a big yawn. “So what’d I miss?”

    “Other than boring and monotonous school work? Nothing.” Brice replied.

    “Good to know,” the Zorua said, yawning again afterward.

    “Feeling drowsy?” Lily asked.

    “Yeah...This world just makes me sleepy, I guess,” Shadow replied, also sounding drowsy. “It’s just so...different.”

    “Guess it affects us in different ways,” Ashe said, smiling nervously from within Lily’s bag.

    “You’ll get used to it,” Brice said to Shadow with a smile. “I mean, it took us a bit to get used to Ageos.”

    “Oh that reminds me.” Tina looked towards Zakari. “Hey Zak, do you have anything planned for this weekend?” she asked. “I was thinking of coming over and chatting for a bit.”

    “Well I do have an eye doctor’s appointment on Saturday,” Zak replied in half of a thinking pose. “I think Lily has hers too on the same day, right after mine.” Lily nodded in response to that.

    “I guess Sunday then?” Tina asked afterward.

    “Yeah, we’re both free on Sunday,” Zak replied, dropping his thinking pose altogether. “And I don’t think my parents would mind you coming over either.”

    “Sweet. So it’s a plan.” Tina somewhat exclaimed cheerfully.

    . . .

    A couple minutes later, the four were seen at the crossing towards Zak and Lily’s house. Shadow and Ashe had been recalled only a minute prior, and Lily and Tina’s bags were now fully zipped up.

    “Byyye, see you tomorrow!” Tina exclaimed, walking left with Brice.

    “Later!” Zak exclaimed back, he and Lily crossing the street.

    Then, Brice and Tina continued walking for a couple seconds in silence. “You know, you didn’t have to pay me back yesterday,” Tina then said, breaking the silence. She turned her head slightly towards him. “I mean, I get you wanted to pay your dues and all but, what would’ve been the point?”

    “Hmm...” Brice hummed, seemingly thinking about his reply.

    “A-Actually, forget I asked that,” Tina said afterwards. “I guess paying your dues is enough of a reason.” She then let out a somewhat big sigh, looking up towards the sky afterward. “What the hell did we get ourselves into here...?”

    “I’m not sure really,” Brice replied, looking somewhat serious. “We only know so much right now, so it’s hard to reliably answer.”

    “I know...” Tina replied slowly, sighing again and slumping her upper body over. “And the week has only started too.”

    . . .

    About an hour had passed since then. Lily was in her room under her covers doing the homework she was assigned. Shadow was curled up next to her pillow, awake.

    Lily looked towards the Zorua and smiled. “Aww, aren’t you just the cutest?” she said in a warm tone, petting Shadow’s head.

    “Uhh thank you...” Shadow replied somewhat nervously, her cheeks red. Lily giggled happily in response.

    Meanwhile, Ashe was curled up underneath Lily’s bed, also awake. Her eyes were directed upward as well. [Shadow...] She seemed to be thinking to herself as well. [I’m sure I’ve heard that name from somewhere but...where? Where have I heard that name before?] Then, several flashbacks played of her and Shadow in Lily and Tina’s bags during lunch and after school. After the flashbacks ended, she had a surprised look on her face. [Illusive Shadow. She’s that ex-Hacker’s Legion girl. The one that left for an unsaid reason.] Her surprise then slowly went away from her expression. [But I guess if she’s joined us, on top of Scar and Gemini also officially tagging along...then this clan is already off to a great start.] She closed her eyes. [I can already see the Cerise Fangs becoming a big shot name in Ageos. That could be a problem if...] She shook her head. [...No it’s too early for that. Just because they have potential doesn’t mean they’ll be able to live up to it.] She sighed mentally, opening her eyes afterward. [I just wish I could help them out right now but I...I can’t do much in my current form. I’m just a regular Fennekin.] She looked down at her right front paw. [What can a Fennekin do? If I could evolve soon, I would be able to be of more use to the clan. But as it stands, I’ve done nothing to actively help these guys.] She placed her paw back down, and began looking forward with a determined expression. [So that will be my top priority. Find a way to evolve, and then, figure out a way to help them. Because in my eyes...] Then, the scene shifted over to Zak in his room laying down on his bed looking up at the ceiling and thinking to himself, a majority of his homework finished. [They’re gonna need all the help they can get in their journey.]

    . . .

    The week went by uneventfully, to Saturday morning. Zak and Lily’s mom was downstairs waiting for them.

    “Come on let’s go, we don’t wanna be late,” she exclaimed towards upstairs.

    “I know I know, we’re almost ready.” Zak exclaimed back.

    Then a couple minutes later, the two were seen in their mom’s car on the road. Brice, Tina, and Magus watched from a distance, Magus hiding from sight as best he could. After a couple more seconds, the car was completely out of sight.

    “You think something’s gonna happen to them while they’re at the eye doctor’s?” Brice asked.

    “Not sure really. But if our Pokémon can go to and from Ageos and this world, then we shouldn’t cross off the theory that our enemies can do the same,” Tina replied. “And I doubt we wanna be separate if something comes after us.” The three waited a couple more seconds, noticing during this amount of time that the streets around them were almost completely vacant. Tina took out her scythe’s chain, which was completely detached from the weapon. “Come on, let’s go.”

    “Right.” Brice exclaimed, nodding.

    The three began their move, Tina by swinging off the various lamp posts with her chain acting like a grappling hook, Brice constantly Lightning Dashing forward, and Magus running and jumping off whatever was nearby.

    Inside the car, Zak and Lily were visibly bored. “Hey big bro?” Lily asided to him softly, grabbing Zak’s attention. “This is boring. I wanna speak with our Pokémon, but I don’t think we can without giving ourselves away.”

    “No kidding,” Zak asided back just as softly. “And if we could speak to them through some sort of psychic link, then I’m pretty sure we’d be doing so by now.” He was also looking out the window, so it looked to a regular person like he was must muttering to himself.

    Lily moaned to herself in a moping manner, beginning to look out the window herself.

    Back outside, the three were still on the move. “So uhh Magus, how you feeling?” Tina asked.

    “Why do you ask?” Magus wondered.

    “Well, this world felt different to the other Pokémon,” Brice replied to Magus. “Shadow felt sleepy, Ashe felt warm, that sorta thing. Figured since it’s your first time in this world, we’d ask you how it feels.”

    “Hmm,” Magus hummed softly, beginning to think about his reply. “Well, it...I guess it makes me feel more...free?” He said it rather slowly. “It’s difficult for me to describe.”

    “I get what you’re saying, what with how you’ve just been parkouring this whole way,” Brice replied with a smile, looking back towards the Treecko. “I’m guessing you can’t do that in Ageos often, can you?”

    “Not really, no,” Magus replied, shaking his head. “Very few towns actually have enough modernization for me to maneuver like this.” He paused for a second, turning his head towards Tina. “Hey, where exactly are we going anyway?”

    “The local eye doctor, where Zak’s family is going,” Tina replied. “It’s in Fellville, my family goes to that place for appointments as well.”

    After a few more seconds, the three entered Fellville. They knew because they had passed by a sign that said something along the lines of “Welcome to Fellville”. Upon arriving, they felt a strong presence nearby.

    “Ah shit, you were right. I can definitely feel that.” Brice exclaimed, looking towards a rather normal two-story house with a sign in front of it. He then turned his head towards the brunette. “Tina. You go meet up with Zak and Lily. I’ll go on inside.”

    “Wait how are you going to do that?” she asked.

    “Well I found out something about my powers last weekend. I can zap through certain solid objects, like a wooden or metal door, without either me or that object experiencing any changes whatsoever.” Brice explained. “I’m under the impression that it’s because they’re relatively simple objects. Which leads me to believe that I can do the same with regular windows.” He looked back over to the two-story house, and noticed a window on the left side. “And there appears to be one on the second floor.”

    “But, how will you be able to reach it?” Magus asked afterward.

    Tina formed a surprised expression on her face. “Hold on,” she exclaimed, Brice and Magus looking towards her. “Now hear me out. Since Brice can control electricity, he may be able to travel through certain distances of circuitry as well.”

    “That does make sense,” Magus commented.

    Brice then looked at one of the houses to the left of the two-story one, and noticed a circuit board on its side, the camera zooming in on a closer view of it. “Alright,” Brice then said in a serious tone. “I’ll climb the circuits of that house, and then zap into the eye doctor’s and see if I can’t find out whatever that presence is.”

    Tina was silent for a second as she stared at Brice. “...Alright,” she then replied. “Good luck in there.” Then she descended from her swinging, recalling Magus in the process. Brice, at the same time, zapped into the circuit board and emerged on the house’s rooftop, where he ran over across the houses and zapped through the window on the two-story house. The brunette looked over at the circuit board while walking down the street. “Not even a scratch...” she muttered.

    Inside the house, Brice shook a little while getting up. “*whew* That felt a little weird, I will not lie,” he said to himself.

    Outside, Zak and Lily’s mom’s car was being parked at the house’s driveway. The house’s sign read the name of a doctor, indicating that the two-story house was the eye doctor’s. Zak and Lily were seen exiting the car, the two of them quickly noticing Tina walking towards them.

    “Tina?” Lily said, getting her attention.

    “Oh hey,” she replied back.

    “Er, why are you here?” Lily asked curiously.

    “Well, if I had to guess, I’d say Tina might be here for a new pair of glasses.” Zak replied with a grin on his face.

    “Heey!” Tina exclaimed towards him.

    “Just go with it, I’m obviously lying.” Zak asided to Tina.

    “I know, I know.” Tina muttered back, briefly closing her eyes. She then looked off to one side. “Although I actually might need a new pair soon.” Then they were all seen walking towards the front door, with Zak and Lily’s mom in front, then Zak and Lily, and then Tina. During the walk, Tina began asiding to Zak and Lily. “Well, listen. Brice and I were under the impression that something was gonna happen to you guys here. And well, that might actually be true.”

    “Now that you mention it, I can feel an incredibly strong presence in that building,” he asided back. “Either we were being tailed before, or it knew we were coming here and stationed itself accordingly.” He paused for a second and a half, seemingly thinking to himself. “Well we still have our appointments to attend. You go on upstairs and figure out what’s in here. I assume Brice is already up there searching himself,” he then told Tina.

    “Yeah,” she replied.

    Then everyone entered the eye doctor’s house, Tina still behind everyone else. After Zak, Lily, and their mom entered the reception room, Tina went up the stairs and sent Magus back out. After a couple second of walking, they joined Brice who sent out Gemini. “Find anything yet?” she asked.

    Brice shook his head in response. “Nope. Whatever’s here is doing a damn good job at hiding.”

    “...” Tina was silent as she herself began searching around the place. There were three separate rooms in the second floor, including a bathroom. One of the rooms was a traditional living room, while the other two looked to be bedrooms judging by the decor. “Where do you think it could be hiding?”

    Gemini also shook his head. “We’re not sure. We searched through everything up here.”

    “Oh no...” Magus muttered in a dark tone.

    “What?” the Mareep asked. Then he formed a surprised look “You don’t mean--”

    “Are you saying it’s--” Brice exclaimed in shock, but abruptly stopped speaking.

    “Yeah,” the Treecko said, looking towards the others. “It’s an alternate dimension.”

    “...Shit...” Tina growled, brandishing her Shorai no Kama with the chain reattached to it now. At the same time, Zak heard his name being called in the reception room downstairs, and got up. “I think we just stepped right into a trap.”

    Zakari then began walking towards the open doorway. But as he stepped past the front reception desk, a bright blue wormhole began to form around him. “!” Zak looked shocked to say the least. After a few more seconds, the wormhole began to fade away and reveal him, Lily, Shadow, and Ashe in the entrance of a rather demonic-looking house with multiple eyes on the walls. “What the hell...Where...Where are we...?” Zak muttered to himself, the camera zoomed in on his still slightly shaking eyes.

    To be continued...
    #11 Dec 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  12. DiancieIsBae

    (Mew Egg)
    Level 10
    Jan 18, 2017
    Yache Berry ★★Amulet Coin ★★★Skull Fossil ★★★
    Chapter 12: Worst Appointment Ever

    The end of a previous scene began rolling, Zakari, Lily, Shadow, and Ashe all seen in the “entrance” of an unknown location. “What the hell...Where...Where are we...?” Zak said.

    “I-I don’t know.” Lily replied, looking a bit scared.

    The are around them looked very unsettling as a whole, and not just because of the eyes themselves, which were of different types - demonic, human, reptilian, alien, you name it. Those were attached to all of the walls that were purple, but also red when lit. The walls were only lit from the halfway down, however, by the rather faulty lighting produced by the dimmed purple lights built into the completely violet ceiling. The lights also only barely lit the red carpet floor beneath them.

    “This place...” Shadow muttered, she and Ashe looking around the area. Then she looked back at Zakari. “How the hell did we end up here?”

    “I’m not sure,” Zak replied, shaking his head. “I was walking past the eye doctor’s front reception desk, and next thing I know we’re all here in this strange building.”

    Next scene, the group was seen beginning their walk down the strangely-colored hallway. As they walked past, almost all of the eyes looked towards them one by one. “This doesn’t feel right...” Lily said, still a bit unnerved.

    “No kidding. This place is unsettling,” her brother replied, eyeing a few of the individual wall eyes, more specifically the reptilian and human-looking eyes. “And definitely not normal. Whoever created this place has quite the taste in decor, I guess.”

    Then the scene became slightly staticy and black-and-white, with the camera very slowly zooming outward to show a monitor. That monitor was sitting on a desk next to another monitor. An almost completely silhouetted Pokémon was watching the right screen, the only things being discerned being the almost glass-like red half-spheres covering presumably its eyes, although the glare from the computer screen made it impossible to tell. “? A Fennekin? And a...Zorua?” the Pokémon muttered, looking at the quadruped creatures accompanying Zak and Lily. He then looked down at his desk, which was the only other thing being illuminated by the monitors in an otherwise completely pitch black room.

    On the desk were several pieces of paper and sticky notes, all of which outlined each of the 4 Trainers in extensive detail along with, for some reason, all of their Pokémon with the exception of Ashe and Shadow. The camera zoomed in on each of these documents individually, showing only a portion of the text: Zak’s image is seen above the text “controls vibrations around him; may also potentially control sound as well” and “uses a one-handed greatsword; is incredibly agile”. On Slitheren’s was “primarily uses her vines at a distance and occasionally fights up close”. Lily had “can fly and use different types of magic” and “wields a crystalline bow with outstanding skill” outlined. Scar’s document, which listed his codename “Scar of Demise”, read “his right arm can use Claw attacks of any type”. Then for some reason, Lilly’s document heading read “Lilly” (unconfirmed), and stated that her abilities were currently unknown. Brice’s document read “uses electricity to dash instantly or electrocute targets” and “uses a gun with four forms - ‘bayonet’, machine pistol, shotgun, and sniper rifle; also uses a shield”. Gemini, whose codename is strangely not listed, had “currently uses varying amounts of electricity” and “other abilities currently unknown” on his document. Then the camera showed Tina’s document, which had the bullet points “uses light energy to blind or expel targets” and “wields a yo-yo scythe with multiple blade forms” on it. And finally, Magus’ document which read “predominantly Slams his tail into targets”.

    The Pokémon, after looking through all of these documents, looked back up at the right monitor. “That’s strange,” the creature said, his voice very much sounding reptilian but discernibly male. “I don’t see either of those species in my current files.” He paused for half a second. “Then again, Xanadu did mention a Fennekin...I guess I forgot to log it into the database or something.” He then wrote down on a blank sticky note the name “Fennekin”, before closing his eyes and speaking again. “But the Zorua...That Pokémon is definitely new. I’ll have to study it closely.” Then he looked over at his left monitor, Tina’s group of her, Brice, Gemini, and Magus being seen walking down another similar-looking hallway. “And it looks like everyone is here...” he then mutters before turning and walking away from his computer desk.

    Down at the hallways, Zak’s group began to see Tina’s group ahead. “You guys are here too?” Zak said to them as soon as the two met up.

    Tina sighed. “Looks like we all fell for it then.”

    “Fell for it?” the Edge Punisher said, a bit surprised. Then he paused for a second. “Tina, what’s going on? What is this place?”

    “We’re not entirely sure ourselves actually,” Brice replied, looking around a bit. “I’d call it the eye doctor’s house from Hell if I didn’t know any better.”

    “From...Hell?” Zakari said rather slowly, looking a bit confused.

    “Listen.” Tina said in an almost demanding tone. “We tried searching for that strong presence we all felt back in our world. Turns out, it set up camp here in this alternate dimension. Apparently it laid out a trap to capture us, and we all fell for it.” Then she paused for a moment. “I don’t know how it’s able to do this, but it must be a powerful being if it can just tap into this dimension like that.”

    “So we’re in another dimension altogether,” Zak replied in a thinking pose. “Interesting...”

    Then Tina looked around the area herself. “This place creeps me the hell out,” she said. “But it also looks oddly...fitting.”

    “What do you mean?” Magus, who was on Tina’s shoulder, asked.

    “Well...” She walked closer to one of the walls, specifically a part where an eye was. “Take a closer look at one of these eyes.”

    “They’re all creepy,” Lily replied, immediately looking at a couple of the eyes herself.

    “Beyond that,” she replied, deadpanning Lily. “Specifically...” Then she pointed at the eye she was looking at - an eye resembling one that a dragon would have. “Notice how this one looks different from this one.” She then also pointed to another eye, this one being more of a darkened and enlarged cat eye. “The same applies to all of the other eyes here. They are all different from each other in some way.” Then numerous other eyes were seen flash on screen, from differently-colored dragon eyes to more alien eyes to different types of dog eyes. “It’s very similar to, if not exactly like, how each and every pair of eyeglasses is different from each other in different ways.”

    “So you’re saying that each of these eyes is a warping of a random pair of eyeglasses?” Brice said after looking at a for of the individual eyes.

    “It’s just an observation I made, but yes,” Tina replied. “So I...guess the phrase “eye doctor’s house from Hell” might be the most accurate way to describe this demonic place.”

    “Huh. You think so too?” Brice asked, a bit surprised.

    “That isn’t an open invitation to be absurd,” Magus replied to Brice, deadpanning him.

    Brice, in response, sighed and shrugged as he and the rest of the group began walking towards the background. “You’re no fun,” he said.

    About a second afterward, two silhouetted Pokémon appeared in the foreground, only their feet being seen in view. Then the creatures began drilling into the ground, and then they finished, there wasn’t even so much as a pebble out of place, almost as if nothing happened to the ground to begin with.

    After a bit more walking, the group eventually came to a door, and a very strange one at that. There was no doorknob on it, nor was there any kind of mechanism like a lever or security panel nearby to open it with. Instead, there was a lone eye on it, one whose pupil represented that of a fly’s eye. It looked down upon the group menacingly, which caused Lily to gasp.

    “Uhh...that’s a...unique eye,” Zakari said, sweatdropping a bit.

    Tina decided to examine the door as a whole from a different angle by walking towards the left. She then noticed something off about the eye. “Interesting,” she said. “This eye is sticking out farther than the other eyes. That might be this place’s version of a doorknob...or something.”

    Everyone else simply stared at the eye while Tina was speaking, Brice in particular having a somewhat disgusted look on his face. “It also looks really dumb,” he said, proceeding to punch said eye. The eye, upon Brice’s fist hitting it, retracted to looking flat and then recoiled back forward and knocked Brice’s hand back. “Oww! Damn, that hurts,” he exclaimed, shaking his hand and noticing a somewhat thick liquid on it from where the eye hit. “Aw, and it’s all gooey too.” He sighed. “Of all the times I don’t bring a hand towel with me.”

    Then after its slime-like wobbling concluded, the eye became flat again and closed up, all of the other eyes on the walls closing as well in almost instantaneous sequence. Then the door rose vertically, a creature aggressively flying out towards Zak and the others from the other side. At the same time, three other of the same creature each flew just as aggressively towards the group from down the three hallways. Brice ducked into the right hallway while Tina went down the left and Lily down the south. Zak, on the other hand, stayed relatively put and moved his upper body around to dodge all four of the flying creature. When the creatures stopped, they were revealed to be dragonfly-like Pokémon. Each of them had a small head with two yellow antennae; green bulging eyes with black oval-shaped pupils; two large teeth protruding from each side of its mouth; a skinny yellow body; four skinny black legs with slender feet; four green, rhombus-shaped wings with black edges; and similarly-colored rhombus shapes at the end of its tail.

    As Brice, Lily, and Tina ran into their respective hallways, two large-mouthed creatures dug out in each of these hallways in front of them. The three managed to back away from them in time, while Zakari noticed rumbling under his feet and hopped away from two more of these creatures. Each of these creatures was an orange insectoid Pokémon that had a round body with a white underside; four stumpy legs; and a proportionally large head with small eyes and a zigzagging mouth. After another second, the door closed with the eye not opening back up.

    “Great, an ambush,” Zak said with a serious look on his face as he was reaching for his Pokédex. “And out here in these hallways.” But instead, he took out his phone - a Samsung Galaxy S2. “?? Why did I take out my phone?” But then the phone pulled up the two screens that his Pokédex had, both of them looking as if there was no division between them to begin with.

    “Guess they were waiting for us here,” Ashe replied, paying Zak’s confusion no mind.

    Trapinch, the Ant Pit Pokémon. Trapinch dig cone-shaped holes in desert areas. Its large and powerful jaws are capable of crushing stones.

    Vibrava, the Vibration Pokémon. Vibrava is the evolved form of Trapinch. By flapping their wings, they create vibrations, emitting ultrasonic waves.

    “Vibration Pokémon...” Zak muttered to himself, looking at his phone’s scan results. “Maybe I can experiment a bit with these.”

    “Well unfortunately for me, they’re all Ground-types,” Brice somewhat exclaimed to Zak. “My powers aren’t gonna do us much good here.”

    “Same here actually,” Gemini followed up.

    Then all four Vibravas grouped up in the center of the area near the door in effectively two thirds of a hexagon, and then all emitted powerful sonic waves that managed to vibrate a small area around the four Pokémon. Zak and the others all winced from the ringing in their ears caused by the volume of the collective noise, but Zak’s wince was much less of one than the others’ winces. Then while everyone else was still flinching from the waves while they were dissipating, Zak had a surprised look on his face. He looked around him without changing his expression, and began hearing the rather soft sound of the Vibravas’ wings flapping. [? I can...I can hear their wings,] he thought to himself. [But...why? H-How?]

    Then the Vibravas emitted another round of their sonic waves, everyone except Zakari covering their ears and wincing again. The Edge Punisher, only wincing slightly, started checking his ears to see if there was some sort of invisible hearing aid placed in them.

    Lily noticed this, and looked over at him. “Big bro, what are you doing?” she asked.

    Zak looked back at his sister for a second and a half, and then over at Brice and Tina individually. The Vibravas emitted a third set of waves, Zak’s facial expression not changing even so much as a millimeter. “That’s...strange. Those waves don’t hurt as much as I thought they would,” Zak replied. “I guess my sensitive hearing went away.” He paused for a second. “And, I could hear their wings flapping. Did it improve that much?” Then the Vibravas emitted sonic waves once again, Zak’s point of view being shown as the Vibravas being just neon outlines and their sonic waves being shown as if they were winds. “!” Zak then looked shocked. “Wait a second. Does--Does that mean I have control over sound as well?” The Vibravas emitted sound waves again, everyone else covering their ears as usual. Zak brought a determined expression onto his face. “Well either way, those Vibravas are getting really annoying. We need to take them out first.”

    Zak then ran towards the group of Vibravas in the center, his hand on his greatsword hilt as he swung at them once he almost reached them. However, when the screen flashed, a Trapinch was seen Biting down on the middle of the blade with its large mouth. “!” Zak then tried to shake the Trapinch off of his blade. And while he succeeded in doing so, he was knocked back a bit from the Bite’s force. At the same time, Brice brought out his Shraider in machine pistol form and tried unloading a full magazine at the Vibravas. However, three more Trapinches jumped up in front of the Vibravas and formed a collective barrier using their Protects, resulting in all 60 bullets bouncing off completely. Then the Trapinches burrowed underground again.

    “How do these things operate?” Brice said with a frustrated look.

    Tina tried tossing her Shorai no Kama scythe in YoYo form straight at the four dragonflies, but one of the other Trapinches caught it by one of the big blades, forcing her to dematerialize the blade and retract her scythe.

    “Rrrgh, damn these stupid Trapinches.” Tina exclaimed, also looking quite frustrated.

    Then Shadow and Ashe began sprinting towards the Vibravas themselves, but then their front legs were Bitten down by four Trapinches, one on each leg. They both screamed out in immense pain before the insects fully emerged and shot the two back towards the south hallway with Sand Attack. Then two more Trapinches drilled outward from under the two’s trajectory, and Slammed their heads into and sent them flying and colliding with the ceiling before falling down in a pain that almost felt like their bones were now in pieces.

    “Dammit. We can’t get past them. Nor can we leave this area,” Brice exclaimed, then looked down at his shield arm. “And my hand still feels gooey. Oh this is the worst.”

    “I guess if they’re just gonna get in the way of you guys, then there’s no point in me or Gemini trying either,” Magus commented.

    The group of four Vibravas emitted sound waves again, Zak at that point noticing something...off about the sounds. He stared at the group for a few seconds, the camera showing each of the Vibravas individually up close. “...I get it now,” Zak said.

    “? Get what?” Gemini asked, looking as Zak with a confused look.

    “I get how this group works,” Zak responded, pointing towards the Vibravas. “Pay attention.”

    “? Pay attention to what?” Gemini still looked confused, but looked at the group of Vibravas at they emitted sonic waves again. This time, however, all of the Vibravas were seen emitting the waves individually but in almost instantaneous succession, in the order of (from the perspective of the south hallway) middle left, far left, far right, and middle right.

    Gemini’s confused look then turned into one of surprise. “I saw it,” he exclaimed.

    “Yeah, me too,” Tina said, also looking surprised.

    Ashe, on the other hand, looked even more confused. “...What do you mean?” she asked, looking over at the Edge Punisher. “I-I mean, I know you’re not lying. I can feel that there’s something off. I just don’t see it.”

    “Look a bit closer then,” Zak replied to her, still looking at the Vibravas.

    And then so does Ashe, the Vibravas emitting another round of sonic waves. “!” At that point, she noticed what Zak meant, but only a small amount of it.

    “They’re not emitting sound waves at the exact same time, they never were,” Zak told her, the camera not shifting from showing Ashe to showing him until after he finished the sentence. “Every time they emit their sound waves, they follow a set pattern.”

    Then the dragonflies emitted more sound waves, Ashe managing to fully catch the order. “Ohh, I see it now,” Ask said, now looking amazed. “The middle left Vibrava emits first, while the middle right one emits last.”

    “Exactly,” Zak said, bringing up his right index finger. Then, a diagram appeared on screen with each of the four Vibravas in their aforementioned positions and their sonic waves drawn rather poorly in marker. “But if we disrupt one of those two, then the pattern will most likely not change much, since the next or previous one can be either first or last in their place.” Arrows are drawn and erased magically as he was speaking, along with the Vibravas being crossed out and then reversed. “However, if we attack one of the far ones, the ones in the middle of the order, then either the first or last in the order won’t know its proper timing, and the pattern will be thrown off. Giving us a chance to strike the rest down.”

    “I see. But, what about these Trapinches?” Ashe then asked, looking down at the ground before the Vibravas. “Every time we’ve tried to attack the Vibravas, they just got in the way of us.”

    “Actually, I’ve been observing those for a bit,” Lily began speaking in response to Ashe, the Trapinches being drawn on screen at the ends of the hallways which were also drawn in, as well as near the Vibravas. “I think they only try to both keep us locked in here, and protect the Vibravas whenever we try and attack them.”

    “Yeah, that’s their whole purpose. They’re bodyguards to the Vibravas,” Zak replied. Then as Zak outlined the scenarios that played out, they were being drawn in accordingly. “This group’s gimmick is having only the Vibravas attack us using their sound waves. The Trapinches’ purposes in this group are to make sure the Vibravas stay unharmed throughout the process, and to make sure their prey doesn’t escape the sound waves’ range. That’s why they dug out in front of us when we tried gaining distance from the Vibravas earlier.” Then the entire diagram disappeared and the red-and-purple hallways were seen again. “Just as Lily said, they appear to either knock us back into this small area, or counterattack when we try and disrupt the Vibravas’ emissions.”

    “Wait. That’s it!” Shadow exclaimed in realization. “We just have to distract the Trapinches, while one of us disrupts the Vibravas’ pattern.”

    “That’s my thought process too,” Zak replied, still pointing his right index finger upward towards the ceiling. “But there’s a catch to the pattern as well. If my assumption is correct, then knocking out both of the far ones won’t change the pattern at all for the other two. Hell, they might actually be able to emit more frequently, which means we’ll have more difficulty.” He then paused for a second, and looked towards his sister. “Lily. You’ll be the one to disrupt their pattern. Focus on one of the far Vibravas, and only one of them. That way, their pattern will be disrupted and we can clean up the rest.” Then he looked towards the general direction of everyone else. “Everyone else, prepare to engage. We’re gonna purposefully draw out the Trapinches, and then take ‘em out.”

    “Right!” everyone else exclaimed.

    Tina and Magus were still down the west hallway, beginning to run further down it. Some distance away, two Trapinches were seen beginning to burrow out of the ground exactly where they did before. “Tina!” Magus exclaimed, a burst of Grass energy being manifested in front of him. “Catch!” Then he swung at the energy with his tail, shooting it towards Tina, who brought her scythe towards its direction in Sweep form. The blades then absorbed the Grass energy as Magus forward rolled in mid-air several times, followed by numerous counter-clockwise spins with his body positioned horizontally. Finally, he Slammed the ground with his tail, both of the burrowing Trapinches being launched into the air as a result.

    “Wicked Strike!” The Flick Reaper then horizontally swung extremely wide, slicing and deleting the two Trapinches with ease.

    Shadow was then seen, despite her injuries, running towards the center of the area, where two Trapinches guarded the Vibrava group. One of them stared at the Zorua, seemingly preparing an attack. “Nice try pal, but I’m a lot more durable than I look!” But then, Shadow disappeared completely from sight in a SNES pixel-esque fashion.

    Ashe was rather shocked about this. “Wh-Where’d she go?” she exclaimed.

    The staring Trapinch, also shocked, looked around to try and find Shadow. But then, it felt the impact of what looked to be nothing at all, Shadow then reappearing behind it half a second afterward. The Trapinch then turned around to face Shadow, its mouth beginning to glow an aggressive shade of brown.

    “Go ahead Trapinch, try and bite me again.” Shadow said threateningly, closing her eyes as a similarly-colored aura slowly began to appear around her entire body. “See what happens.”

    The Trapinch then leaped in the air, and bit down on Shadow’s left ear with a Superpowered attack. Only a second after this happened, the Fighting aura surrounding Shadow completely surrounded the Trapinch’s mouth and rather violently and forcefully pushed it off of her. The sound of bones breaking and snapping apart was heard as the Trapinch’s mouth was widened much more than it normally can be due to the intense strength of the Counter, numerous rips and tears slowly forming all over its entire head, especially between the teeth, and blood gushing and spewing out of these tears at rapid rates. The now basically dead Pokémon landed on the ground with both halves of its head completely crooked, a large pool of blood forming around its bloodied body. A second after, the Trapinch turned completely transparent and shattered.

    “...” Zak stared at the blood pool left behind and then at Shadow, completely speechless.

    Shadow noticed his speechlessness, and put a smirk on her face. “What? The former right hand of the Hacker’s Legion overseer should possess some amount of overwhelming power, shouldn’t she?” she said smugly.

    [! Former right hand? Of Luxia?] Zak thought to himself, looking a bit more surprised. Then his expression eased. [No wonder she thinks of him so highly. She used to be his aide.]

    Brice and Gemini, both facing the east hallway, saw two Trapinches in front of them. Brice began by aiming his Shraider in bayonet form at the space between the two. “Tempest Blast!” Then he fired a bullet, a wave of air knocking the two Trapinches into the air upon the shot impacting the ground.

    Then, rings of multi-colored energy began coursing down Gemini’s ears, and several almost hula hoop-esque rings shrunk in front of Gemini to sizes of descending order, the farthest ring being only a foot and a half away from Gemini’s head. These rings all went through a constantly repeating cycle of large rings fading in about a third of a foot away, shrinking as they moved forward as if they were travelling down a wormhole, and then fading out at around a foot and two thirds away. The speed of the cycle was also steadily increasing, much like it would around a giant beam attack. “Signal Beam!” Then, his ears fired two separate beams towards and through the rings, increasing its size with distance and zipping through the rings as a powerful yet somewhat slim beam. The left Trapinch was struck by this attack, instantly shattering into data after a second.

    Gemini then began slowly turning his Signal Beam towards the other Trapinch, but then stopped as soon as he noticed the air around Ashe visibly rising in temperature and humidity. Ashe then smirked, all of the heated and humid air around her swirling away from her and beginning to surround the other Trapinch in front of the Vibravas. That same air then began glowing a dark red color that gradually became lighter in color over time. There was also steam forming around that air in a cyclone-esque fashion. “Set ablaze!” Ashe yelled out, all of the humid air and steam lighting on fire and becoming a massive blazing cyclone of flames that completely engulfed the Trapinch. “Fire Spin!”

    Brice, noticing the flames, looked back at the cyclone and squinted his eyes a small amount. “Jeez, that’s bright,” he said. “Didn’t think her flames would be that strong.” Then he noticed off the corner of his eye the other Trapinch on his end readying an attack. He then, without turning his head back, aimed his gun at the Trapinch and began firing at it. The first shot sent the Trapinch back into the air, with each following shot sending it further upward and Brice aiming directly at it again and again. After a few shots, Brice stopped firing and the Trapinch collapsed on the ground seemingly lifeless. “What? Think I’d forget to shoot you down?”

    Zakari, who was also looking back at the bright Fire Spin, also started panting softly and sweating. “This heat...” he said, looking a mix of surprised and distressed. “It--feels worse than I thought it would.” Then, a small spark flew towards Zak from the flame, and put a soft burn on part of his right cheek once it touched. He winced from this feeling. “Is this because of my powers as well?”

    Then he began running down the south hallway, now feeling noticeably cooler the farther away from the fire he got. [I guess it’s only around the fires that feels hot,] he thought to himself. [Good thing.]

    Then he noticed two Trapinches’ heads emerging from the ground some distance away from him. [I guess this is as good a time as any to test a theory of mine.] Zak then remembered in his head the moment he punched Tina’s Doppelganger in the stomach and coursed vibrations through its entire body while its hair was silver. [Last week, when I was fighting the Doppelganger, I used a punching move on it. One that made vibrations course all throughout its entire body while it was a Steel-type.]

    The flashback ended. [It got me thinking. Maybe I can use my vibrations on other beings, but in a different way,] he continued thinking, slowly sheathing his Nihilblade. [And if I really do possess sound abilities alongside my vibrations like I think I do...] Suddenly, vibrations began to surround his right forearm and hand. [Then I might be able to take that technique to the next level.] Once he reached a certain distance away from the two Trapinches, which had now fully emerged and hopped up in the air, Zak himself also jumped upward. “Here goes.” Once he got directly above the Trapinches which both readied Bite attacks, Zak wound his right arm back like he was readying a punch, the vibrations intensifying. “Roaring FIST!” He then threw the punch, all of the built up vibrations shooting out towards and completely engulfing the Trapinches in an expanding beam-like fashion. At the exact same time, everyone heard from this attack the loud and fierce roar of a lion, most of them looking back towards the south hallway with shocked or surprised expressions. After a couple more seconds, the vibrations completely dispersed, both Trapinches shattering into data at the exact same time. The Edge Punisher landed on the ground, looking down at his right hand and smiling. “Hmph. A lion’s roar, eh?”

    Lily, who actually never turned to look at the Roaring Fist attack, was staring at the group of Vibravas during all of this fighting, the Vibravas surprisingly never even once emitting sonic waves. But then, they emitted a round of noise, Lily not even so much as wincing that time. Then she looked at the far right Vibrava, which was closest to her, and began readying an arrow onto her Crystal Bow. “That one,” she said softly. As she began aiming at that Vibrava, however, the Trapinch that was surrounded by Ashe’s Fire Spin managed to dash out of the cyclone and in front of her to try and block the shot.

    Ashe had a shocked look on her face as she noticed this. [Ah crap, I looked away. I should’ve known doing that would make the attack weaker,] she exclaimed in thought. [Now Lily’s gonna get counterattacked, and there’s nothing we can do about it.]

    Shadow also noticed the Trapinch dashing in front of Lily, but at the same time noticed her not even moving an inch. [...?] Shadow looked confused. [Why is she not moving? She’s about to get hit.]

    The Adept Rogue, seeing the Trapinch, then instantly aimed her shot at the ceiling and fired. The arrow began bouncing off of the geometry of the hallway - the ceiling, then the floor, then the ceiling again, then the wall to her left, and then right through the far right Vibrava’s left set of wings.

    Immediately after this happened, the seemingly lifeless Trapinch behind Lily and in front of Brice then jumped onto its feet again. “!” Brice had a shocked look on his face as he tried to aim at the Trapinch, but it jumped past him and Lily before he could shoot at it. “She’s right, these things are fast!” he exclaimed. “I guess they have to be, in case a scenario like this were to appear.”

    The jumping Trapinch made it to the far left Vibrava, and tried to ready an attack on it in order to fix the pattern. But in the background, Lily’s arrow was still bouncing off the hallway’s geometry. Off the ceiling, then the wall to the Trapinch’s right, then the floor, and then it collided with the Trapinch, both the arrow and the Pokémon shattering instantly. Lily was then seen materializing another arrow in her right hand as if she were drawing a sword, and then swinging downward and slashing the Trapinch in front of her. The arrow broke in the process, and the Trapinch was deleted only a second after the attack.

    The Zorua, surprised by the entire sequence, looked over at Lily with an expression stating such. Lily giggled in response. “Can’t really stop me if you don’t know how angles work.”

    “I-I guess so,” Shadow replied slightly nervously.

    Almost immediately after all of this happened, the Vibrava whose wings were pierced began to panic after seeing all of the Trapinches gone, losing control of its sound waves as a result. The sound waves it emitted were much stronger than the entire Vibrava group’s was, Zak wincing in shock and everyone else covering their ears from the ringing. The other Vibravas reacted by flinching and ultimately falling lifelessly onto the ground, shattering upon impact. Then the last remaining Vibrava collapsed, and was deleted shortly after.

    Everyone, except Zak, then uncovered their ears. “Well, I guess that’s one way to do it,” Zak commented.

    “No kidding,” Shadow replied, her and Ashe’s bite wounds then catching up to them.

    Lily sheathed her bow and walked over to the two. She then kneeled in front of them, and brought out her hands which had serene light in them. The Bite punctures on Shadow and Ashe’s legs slowly disappeared, their health being fully restored as a result. “There you go. All better,” she said.

    “Thanks,” Shadow replied.

    Then Lily noticed the burn on Zak’s right cheek, and went over to heal it. When she touched it, her hand felt the burn as if it never cooled down at all, and recoiled. “Ow!” she exclaimed.

    “Yeah I, guess should be wary of flames now,” Zak said, scratching the back of his hand. “Especially the sparks they emit.”

    “A burn like that, from just a small spark?” Tina asked. Zak nodded in response. “So in short, you have an increased weakness to fire compared to most Steel-types.”

    Then the door suddenly slid back upward, all of the other eyes on the walls opening back up as well and staring at Zak and the others.

    Upon walking through said door, Zak and the others found themselves in a large wide open room, presumably a dining room type of area, except there was no furniture or wall eyes. Instead, near the walls were numerous Trapinches and on those walls were many more Vibravas, all of which were staring menacingly at the group. The door also closed behind them, as well as transformed into part of the wall itself.

    As the group were still looking around themselves, they heard a male voice - one that was almost reptilian, but at the same time human. “Welcome, everyone.” Everyone had either surprised or tense looks on their faces as they looked towards the ceiling some distance away from them, where they heard the voice coming from. “It is good to see you all in person.”

    “Person?” Zak replied. “Where are you then?” Then he paused for two seconds seeming waiting for a response. Then he continued speaking. “Matter of fact, who are you?”

    A soft “hmph” was faintly heard from the voice, as the scene shifts to the Pokémon’s perspective in a very poorly lit but still lit room. That Pokémon resembled more of a slightly insectoid dragon, having a primarily light green body color; a pair of rhombus-shaped wings with a red trim; toeless hing legs; skinny arms with three-clawed hands; long tail with several dark green stripes on it; three small green rhombus shapes with red trims at the end; large eyes with red covers over them; and a pair of green antennae that point back. “Me, well, I go by my species name,” the dragon then replied. “Flygon.”

    “Well that explains our conversation earlier,” Ashe said softly, looking downward a bit. “It’s a member of the 13 Dragons.”

    “You’ve no need to introduce yourselves,” Flygon, as he called himself, continued speaking, Ashe looking back up at the ceiling. “I already know of you lot. The Cerise Fangs clan, led by Zakari Harudyne.” The Flygon, in his area, was seen silently typing on his keyboard in front of him. “Now...I have something you might...want to see.”

    After he finished speaking, an image of a familiar Pokémon - Skarmory - slowly began to appear in the middle of the room in front of Zakari and the others.

    “Wha...What is that?” Lily asked, looking a bit unnerved.

    “It’s...unfortunate what happened to him. And it pains me to bring you this news,” Flygon replied, sounding almost sorrowful at points. Then he paused for a second. “This is...what remains of Bladestorm.”

    Shadow, looking at the Skarmory in front of her, stayed silent. Gemini, on the other hand, began to growl softly.

    “I heard of your battle with the formidable warrior.” Flygon continued, still sounding a bit sorrowful, but also more neutral. “He was a worthy opponent, I’ll give him that. Even though he was possessed, he was still able to suppress his power. And even despite that, he nearly got the best of you.” Then his tone became more and more heroic and praising. “But you prevailed above this adversity, and freed him down from his possession. Or at least...so it seemed.” Then it became sorrowful again. “Unfortunately it was all for naught, as that same possession ended up returning to him, and costing him his life shortly after he parted from you.” Then his tone became completely neutral. “You should be happy for him, however. His soul can now rest in peace among the others that were forced down his path of possession.”

    Shadow’s expression then became a slightly angry grin. “...Why would you go and insult him like that, you coward?” she said in a tone that reflected such. “That image isn’t real, I can plainly tell.” She paused for a second. “...It’s an obvious fake.”

    “Fake? You call the spirit of your own deceased friend a fake?” Flygon exclaimed in surprise. “I can understand being in denial, but this? This is something else entirely.”

    “Nice try, Flygon. But she is right,” Zak said in a serious tone and manner, pointing his left index finger towards the Skarmory. “In case you aren’t aware, what we’re seeing here in front of us, is nothing more than a cheap hologram.” The Flygon gasped softly in response. “Besides, even if it weren’t so obvious, we’d still know you’re lying. Because we ourselves met and fought Bladestorm in person not too long ago like you said. And we did free him from the possession spell that bound him. But he isn’t dead.” Flygon put a small frustrated grin onto his face. “He’s currently traveling with a friend of ours, Christopher Berudos.”

    “Indeed you are correct,” Flygon replied verbally, not even an ounce of frustration being detected from his tone. “I have met Christopher myself, along with this other two Pokémon Venipede and Blitzle.”

    Zak also put a grin onto his face. “So then you should know more than anyone else here, that you’re not fooling anyone with that false image, Flygon.”

    “False image? Cheap hologram?” the dragonfly exclaimed, only a slight amount of surprise being heard. “Oh no no no, this hologram is what remains of his data. You should know, I mean, it is a video game world.” Gemini started growling a bit louder, Shadow being the only one who heard him. “Bladestorm travelling alongside Christopher Berudos is indeed true. But what you don’t know is what happened after Christopher and Bladestorm parted from your group.” Then, an alternate scene appeared on screen of Chris travelling alongside Bladestorm, and Flygon descending to them. “While you were busy helping your friend Christina Warren, I decided to pay a visit to Christopher myself while he and Bladestorm were travelling the region. He seemed like an alright Trainer, who knew what he needed to know in order to survive his journey through Ageos. But right after we finished speaking with each other, Bladestorm went berserk again. We didn’t think he would become possessed a second time, and so soon at that. But we were wrong. It was at that point where the two of us were left with no choice; we teamed up and struck him down where he stood.” The scene ended, Gemini’s growling having become louder by the end of it. “I am sorry. Really I am, Gemini. I know how close you two are to each other. But you must understand. This was for the betterment of everyone in Ageos.”

    “SHUT UUUUP!” The Mareep angrily screamed out, everyone else having shocked expressions at they looked towards him. “Bladestorm is our fellow commander within the Hacker’s Legion! He is a warrior, our most trusted partner! He would never lose his life to such dumb trickery like your stupid possession, nor would he ever fall, TO VERMIN LIKE YOOOU!” Flygon was seen growling in frustration, nobody actually hearing this but himself. Then Gemini lowered his tone while still sounding angry. “Now I’m angry. I say we give this bastard exactly what he deserves!”

    “...Dammit,” Flygon said in a frustrated tone, beginning to fly away from his desk. “I was hoping this would be easy. I should’ve expected you would see through my ruse. The bond you share with him is far greater than I was told. Perhaps I should’ve prepared for this scenario a bit better!” All of the Trapinches and Vibravas began preparing their own attacks, their respective dark, violent, and sandy auras slowly manifesting around them. “Servants!” Then upon hearing Flygon’s yell, they ceased their readying and their auras vanished. “Back away from the Fangs clan, you won’t survive against them. Just let me handle them. Best thing I can do is gauge their abilities for myself and our comrades. Return to base and wait for my arrival.”

    “Yes sir!” All of the Trapinches and Vibravas yelled out, warping away immediately afterward.

    Zak was about to grab the hilt of his Nihilblade, but then heard his phone go off. Pulling it out, he saw that he received a text message from a number that wasn’t registered on his phone. Pulling up the message, it read “everything he said is a lie”, and then immediately he got another one that read “I’ve never even met the bastard”.

    [Wait...is this--] Zak thought to himself, cutting off when he noticed a drop of completely blackened water surrounded by misty shadows descending from the ceiling. The drop landed on Shadow’s head, all of the shadows intensifying into a black aura of immense power that looked a mix of flaming and misty that gradually increased in size, and engulfed her entire body.

    “What? What’s going on down there?!” Flygon exclaimed, noticing the black aura.

    “I’m not sure myself,” Zak replied softly, his eyes shaking as he stared at the aura. “I-I’ve never seen this before.”

    Gemini also stared at the shadowy aura, looking more shocked than anything. “No...No way...That’s--”

    “That’s...what? Gemini, what are you talking about?” Brice wondered, looking a bit dumbfounded.

    The Mareep was silent for a second before responding. “...That’s the exact same aura. It has to be. The one she used to eradicate Azurai.” He paused for another second. “But...this time it’s...stronger. H-How?”

    The Edge Punisher continued to stare at the black mass for a couple more seconds, then looked down at his phone and started typing in a message to the unregistered number. The message read “Was that you, Chris?”. Then a couple seconds later, he got a reply that said “found me out, I guess. not that I tried hiding”. And then immediately after, he received “yeah. it was”, and then “she was capable of evolving even when you first met her. I could feel it. but she didn’t seem to know how to. I just simply gave her some assistance in that regard” a few seconds after.

    Suddenly, the shadowy aura exploded, revealing a gray-brown fox-like creature with crimson and black accents. This Pokémon also had a pointed snout and ears with red insides; red rims around its eyes and mouth; a large, red, voluminous mane with black tips; a black ruff on its upper body, pointed at the shoulders from which its arms extend; thin upper arms and slim but bulkier forearms; spiky extension of fur at the elbows; and red claws on its hands and feet. The Pokémon was also panting heavily, looking like it had just broken free of a pair of handcuffs. She looked at herself, particularly her arms, and had a shocked look on her face. “Wha--What? What the hell--” She also sounded shocked.

    “Sh--Shadow? Is that you?” Zak asked, looking surprised himself.

    “Er, yeah, I...think so,” Shadow replied rather slowly, still visibly trying to process her new appearance. “What...happened to me? I look all...different.”

    “You...” The Edge Punisher still looked surprised, speaking softly and slowly at first. Then he sped up and raised his tone both a small amount. “You evolved. You’re a...a Zoroark now.” He also pointed his phone towards Shadow, letting the Pokédex app scan her.

    Zoroark, the Illusion Pokémon. Zoroark can create illusions that are indistinguishable from reality, which can simultaneously delude many people.

    Meanwhile, Shadow continued to look at her arms, feeling some sort of unknown power building up under her skin. Then she balled up her fists, creating poisonous bubbles on one arm and bright orange flames on the other. Then she slammed her two arms against each other, the bubbles and flames mixing into a purple flame on both arms with toxic bubbles surrounding them. She then began to smirk and chuckle. “I can get used to this.”

    Only half a second afterward, the room they were in slowly started warping into a slightly more demonic but not as disturbing arena of sorts, the walls being almost invisible and the background being a swirl of multiple dark shades of red, including blood red. The floor beneath them looked like a hazy red solid flooring. Flygon was seen in the center of the area.

    Now we meet in person,” he said, looking a bit imposing from his position compared to where Zak and the others were.

    Suddenly, Zak's phone scanned the Flygon.

    Flygon, the Mystic Pokémon. Flygon is the evolved form of Vibrava. It's known as "The Desert Spirit" because of the song-like voice that emanates from the sandstorms it kicks up.

    Suddenly, Scar is seen walking forward beside Ashe, the Fennekin turning her head towards him when he began speaking. “Return to your Poké Ball, Ashe. You have no place in this fight.” Ashe gasped surprisedly in response, Scar’s expression tensing up as he looked towards the large dragonfly in front of him. “I witnessed the whole thing away from sight. And I too want a shot at this Flygon, for trying to lie about Bladestorm.”

    The Flygon, in response to that, smirked arrogantly. “Hmph, if you insist.” Then he vanished instantly, reappearing only a second later in front of Zakari. “It’s not like I was gonna let any of you off regardless.” The Flygon swung his tail towards the Edge Punisher, slamming it against his neck. Zak, his breathing only slightly impaired now, tossed his hand forward in an attempt to blow Flygon away with his vibrations. However, not even a single small rumble was created.

    “What the hell? Why can’t I use my powers anymore?” Zak exclaimed with a shocked expression.

    Then the Flygon let out a cocky-esque “hmph” as he wound his right arm backward, the entire forearm being surrounded by cloudy dark violet energy. Afterwards, he slammed his claw against the Edge Punisher’s torso, pushing him back further. After Zak collided with the wall, he managed to land on his feet and slowly pick himself up.

    Flygon then began flying towards him at a relatively normal speed. Gemini looked like he was about to ready an attack, but then noticed a rock off the corner of his eye close to where Zak hit the wall. Then, instead now trying to levitate the rock, he fired a bolt of electricity towards it. Upon impact, the electricity sliced the crust off the rock, turning it into a very shiny and reflective crystalline substance. Then, using the electricity, he began levitating the crystal and then fired it at the Flygon’s flight path.

    The dragonfly, now flying faster towards Zak, notice off the corner of his eye the rock that Gemini fired straight towards him. It exploded upon impact, Flygon being knocked towards his right. “That’s for insulting our friendship, you bastard,” Gemini exclaimed angrily.

    Then, Magus was seen sprinting towards where the Flygon was. He jumped some distance before him, and began spinning clockwise. However, the Flygon recovered just in time, and swung his tail towards the Treecko. When he did, a white blade of wind was created that spun fast enough to create the illusion that it was a ring-shaped blade. The Sonic Boom hit Magus’ torso and stopped his spinning, causing him to descend slowly. Flygon then spiked him downward with a Dragon Claw, Magus crashing into the ground as a result.

    Then Flygon disappeared completely again, and after a second and a half, Gemini was knocked back towards Brice by seemingly nothing at all, with Flygon reappearing directly afterward where Gemini used to be. Then the dragonfly flew towards the two, mud slowly beginning to develop on his tail. And when Gemini finally picked himself up, Flygon tossed his Mud-Slap towards him and the Steam Gunner. The mud landed on both Brice’s shirt and Gemini’s wool.

    “Ahh maaan. He ruined my shirt,” Brice, looking down at the mud on his shirt, exclaimed before sighing. “This just isn’t my day.” Then he saw the Flygon readying another Dragon Claw while flying towards him, and tried to Lightning Dash out of the way. But he was unable to create even a single tiny crackle, and was then slammed backward by the Dragon Claw and rolling on the ground for a bit. “Ahh great. And on top of all of that, this stupid mud is sealing my powers.”

    “I use all of the information I am given wisely, Cerise Fangs,” the dragonfly replied, beginning to fly upward. “I know and have memorized all of your abilities myself.” Brice was also picking himself up. “But I’ll share a tidbit of information with you. My Mud-Slap doesn’t just seal electricity. It can seal many other elements and abilities as well.” The large dragonfly pulled out a small cylindrical shaped target that looked all white except for a black line separating the outside and bullseye areas, and a brown border. “Observe.”

    Then he tossed the Ring Target towards Lily who was flying about 15 yards above and aiming straight at him. The cylinder stuck right onto her left shoulder, Lily gasping in surprise. Then Flygon tossed whatever mud was left on his tail at her, completely staining her shirt upon impact and causing her to lost flight and fall to the ground, unable to regain flight.

    “Lily!” Brice exclaimed.

    Upon seeing this sequence of events, Tina’s eyes began to shake. [This is bad. That Mud-Slap of his really can seal our abilities. And that Ring Target is what allowed him to completely seal Lily’s wind powers,] she thought in a slightly distressed manner. [On top of that, even if we didn’t have our powers to begin with, he can still make it to where we can do nothing to him. He has everything he needs to shut us all down completely.]

    Shadow then began running towards Flygon, who slowly backed away and flapped his wings once to summon a Sandstorm within the area. The Zoroark stopped running and covered her eyes from the sand with her arm, and tried to look through the sandstorm and attempt to find Flygon. But he was nowhere to be seen. Then, she heard the sound of wings flapping behind her, and when she looked there, she saw Flygon flying towards her with a Dragon Claw at the ready. When Flygon swung his attack, Shadow vanished just before it could connect.

    The dragonfly started to look at his surroundings before being struck in the back by the same type of attack he used on Gemini, with Shadow reappearing immediately afterward. “You’re not the only one who can pull that shit.”

    Then Flygon began flying away from Shadow, slinging amounts of mud towards her from his tail. The Zoroark dodged each and every Mud-Slap with relative ease, moving almost in bullet time with afterimages being created every frame. During her dodge, toxic purple flames were seen around her left forearm, which she then punched Flygon back with as soon as she reached him. Just before Flygon would’ve crashed into the ground, he managed to recover and float above it.

    “You’re mine!” Scar yelled, running towards the dragonfly.

    “Hm hm hmm...” Flygon, seeing the Zangoose, split himself into four different identical copies, Scar also ceasing his run. “No free guesses, I’m afraid. But do try and guess which one of us is the real Flygon.” All four Flygons spoke simultaneously, with not even a millisecond difference between any of the four’s speaking.

    Scar then stared at each individual Flygon for only a second, before ultimately setting his sights on the middle left Flygon from his position and dashing towards it. Once he reached arm’s length from that Flygon, he tried Slashing at it several times from different angles and positions. Every time, however, the Flygon dodged in much the same fashion, the four copies all surrounding the Zangoose at the same time. After a few more Slashes, Scar finally hit the one he was targeting, only for that copy to turn into a clear mist.

    “You guessed wrong.” Scar heard Flygon almost menacingly mocking him, and at the same time felt a Dragon Claw strike his back and knock him forward.

    Scar, after landing back on his feet, swiftly turned towards the three remaining Flygons and growled. “Bastard! Quit hiding behind these cheap tricks, and fight me like a warrior!” he yelled.

    Then all three Flygons began flying slowly towards the Zangoose. “Foolish Scar. Your knightship gets the best of you sometimes.” He paused for a second, only within arm’s length of Scar. “Let me tell you something. You see, you were not taught to play fair. You were taught, to WIN!” Then the middle Flygon slammed his tail into Scar’s throat, both of the other copies fusing back into the real one a second after.

    Scar, meanwhile, rolled on the floor for a second or two from the attack before getting back up. He also tried to speak, but instead began coughing a bit. “...I-I...can’t...b--breathe...very--well...”

    “Are you alright?” Lily exclaimed, looking distressed.

    Zak, around the same time, began coughing himself. His breathing was also audibly trembling a bit. “Dammit,” he said. “It’s starting to get to me too.”

    “He slammed his tail into your throat,” Tina replied, looking over at Zak. “I’m honestly surprised this didn’t happen sooner.”

    Scar began holding his throat with one of his hands, and grimaced at Flygon. “What did you do to us?” he growled.

    “It’s called Hell Thrust,” Flygon replied, looking a little more threatening with his facial expression. “Or...so I’m told anyway.” Then he closed his eyes. “I doubt I need to explain what it does at this point.”

    “My guess is, we can’t use sound- or vibration-based attacks for awhile,” Zak replied, his breathing no longer trembling. “I tried using my powers, and nothing happened.” Then he coughed a bit more before looking a bit downward with a strained expression. “Might need a cough drop actually.”

    “Cough drop?” Tina replied, looking a bit surprised that he even asked. “Actually I might have a few.” Then she began searching through her bag, almost immediately finding a throat lozenge with relative ease, and then pulled it out and tossed it towards Zak who caught it. “Had a bit of a coughing fit last month before I got trapped. Guess I forgot to take ‘em out of my bag before I Logged In that day.”

    Zakari unwrapped the cough drop and tossed it into his mouth, immediately feeling a slight burn from the cough drop slowly melting in his mouth. “Ahhh, forgot how these worked,” he said in a slightly pained tone. Then, as if on command, vibrations began to gather around his right arm. He looked at his arm and put a grin on his face. “Ahhh, heeere we go.”

    “Common everyday items. Those did play a role in your victory over Bladestorm,” Flygon said, slowly descending and landing on the ground. “I suppose our current battle is no different.”

    The brunette girl continued to look through her bag, and saw a somewhat soft and dry cloth. “Oh yeah, I guess I do have a hand towel,” she said, taking out the hand towel and tossing it towards Brice. “You’ll probably need this right now. Might wanna clean your hand while you’re at it.”

    “Thanks Tina. You’re the best,” Brice exclaimed, catching the hand towel and beginning to wipe the mud off his shirt and clean his left hand.

    “Don’t mention it.” Tina replied with a smile.

    The large dragonfly hummed to himself. “I suppose that’s one more thing I should’ve anticipated,” he told the Fangs. “For you to undo all of my hard work with simple household items. Much like how you nullified Bladestorm’s Air Cutter with simple playing cards.”

    “I was given a trick deck at the end of 5th grade,” Zak replied in a neutral tone. “It had more than 4 of a few card types, so I just took three of the spares for my theory, that’s all.”

    “The theory that your person is the gateway between the Real World and Ageos for your belongings,” Flygon said in a pondering tone, beginning to smile afterwards. He then split back into the three that remained after Scar’s attack. “An interesting theory, one that was proven true by your observations.”

    “Regardless.” Zak then threw his right arm forward, a wave of vibrating wind being seen flying through the three Flygons. The left and right Flygons turned into clear mist and completely dissipated, while the middle one’s body vibrated softly. “Let’s continue,” Zak then said, getting back into his battle stance.

    “Yes,” Flygon replied, also getting into a battle stance of sorts. “Let’s.”

    Just then, Shadow is seen appearing behind Flygon and kicking him towards her left. Then once her feet touched the ground, she dashed towards the dragonfly and repeatedly swung her arms towards him almost like a blur. However, the Flygon was able to maneuver his body around to dodge all of the Fury Swipes, and then caught both of her arms back-to-back. “Clever girl. Sneaking up behind me while my guard was down,” Flygon scoffed.

    “Not my fault it was down,” Shadow scoffed back.

    Flygon then let go of Shadow and swung his tail around to hit her away. But Shadow blocked his tail with her leg, and then pushed against and jumped off of him while Flygon was sent almost crashing into the ground before he recovered.

    [She’s good. Just what I expected from the right hand of the one called Luxia,] Flygon thought to himself, beginning to pant softly. [I’ll admit, I am enjoying this fight. Much more than I should, to be honest. However--]

    Just then, he looked shocked as he noticed Zak dash jumping towards him with his Nihilblade surrounded by intense vibrations, and tried tried flying backwards, though not very fast.

    “Get ‘em Zak!” Brice exclaimed with an excited smirk as he arm pumped.

    Zak then began to lift his greatsword with both hands up over his right shoulder. Then, after two more seconds, he swung the sword straight at Flygon.

    . . .

    Then suddenly, the screen completely cut to black. “Uhh sir?” A voice was heard, sounding decently aged.

    “!” Upon hearing the voice, the camera cut to a zoomed in shot of Zak’s eyes widening in shock, and then zoomed out immediately and quickly to show his surroundings - he was back in the eye doctor’s house standing right past the front reception desk.

    “Could you wait out there a moment?” the voice, now sounding a bit closer than it did previously, said presumably to Zak. “I’m, trying to find your name real quick.”

    Zak was silent for a second or two before he gasped softly with a surprised look on his face. “O-Oh uhh, s-sure thing,” he replied.

    Lily, meanwhile, was sitting down next to her mom, her physical expression being a neutral one while mentally she looked shocked. Not only that, but the mud that Flygon hit her with was completely gone, almost as if it never happened to begin with. [What just...happened?] she thought.

    Brice and Tina were back up on the second floor, near the center of it. Much like Lily, the mud stain on Brice’s shirt was nowhere to be found. “Ok that’s weird,” he exclaimed. “One instant we were fighting that Flygon in the middle of that creepy eyehouse place, and now all of a sudden we’re back here in our world again.”

    “Yeah I don’t get it either,” Tina replied. She then began looking around herself, neither Gemini or Magus being anywhere in sight. “! And, where did our Pokémon go?” Then she grabbed Magus’ Poké Ball, noticing that it felt a bit heavier than it was previously. “! How did they get recalled? I don’t remember even touching my Poké Ball. What’s up with that?”

    Then, all 4 Trainers heard Flygon’s voice echoing in the distance, one that only they heard. “I should’ve expected this would be the outcome,” he said. “It’s a bit of a shame for me to say this, but it seems our battle will have to end there for now. My energy was growing short from having to keep the Millennium Eyehouse stable by myself.”

    [Millennium Eyehouse?] Zak thought to himself. [Is that the name of where we just were?]

    “So lucky for you, I’ll have to let you live a while longer. This’ll make two separate instances where you survived the 13 Dragons.” Flygon continued, slowly becoming quieter and quieter. “But know this, Harudyne. We will meet again. And when we do, you will fall.” Then his voice was heard no longer.

    From a nearby room from Zak, a middle-aged man looking to be in his mid-30s came walking out wearing a pair of glasses, white lab coat, and general business attire otherwise. “Ah thank you for waiting,” he said, looking down at one of the two folders he was holding. “Uhh let’s see...Zakari Harudyne.”

    “Yep. That’s me,” Zak replied, nodding his head.

    “Great. I’m doctor...” The doctor continued speaking, but his voice was heavily drowned and faded out as he and Zak walked towards the room the doctor walked out of.

    . . .

    About half an hour passed since then. Everyone had left the eye doctor’s house, Zak and Lily’s mom already in her car. Zak and the others, on the other hand, were outside together near the sidewalk.

    “That was weird. No doubt about it.” Tina muttered, shaking her head while tilting her head downward a bit. “Finally starting to kick that Flygon’s ass one moment, and then going back to our world the next without any warning. It was like that whole “Millennium Eyehouse” scenario never happened to us.” Then she sighed. “But I guess it’s nice we went the week up until now without incident. Surprisingly nice to be back to normal, kinda.”

    “Well what’s next? We’re most likely now fully marked by the 13 Dragons,” Brice spoke up afterward, also beginning to shake his head. “I don’t think this world is safe anymore if they can travel to and from here like that.”

    “Not just them either,” Tina replied, looking at him. “If they can do it, who’s to say other Ageos inhabitants can’t make their way into this world? What’s to stop us from assuming a giant wormhole opened up between this world and Ageos?”

    Zak and Lily were still silent, and they continued to be silent for a couple more seconds, Zak seemingly in thought as well, before he spoke up himself. “Well nothing we really can do in this world,” he said, his eyes closed only briefly. “Since I can assume we all have the afternoon free from here on, what say we Log back into Ageos and see what we can do there?”

    “Yeah that sounds good,” Tina replied, she and Brice both nodding their heads. Then the two began walking down the sidewalk away from Zak and Lily “Well, see ya in a bit.”

    The brunette girl waved as she and Brice walked away, Zak and Lily waving back at them. Then about a minute later, after Zak and Lily got in it, the car started up and they began heading back home.
    #12 Jan 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018

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