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Pokémon The Legendarian Chronicles

Chapter 33: Family Reunion New

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
somewhere in spacetime
~Chapter 33: Family Reunion~

“Breloom, use Drain Punch!” Rudy yelled.

The bouncy, mushroom-capped Pokémon fired his back legs to leap forward, driving an arm into his target’s thorax. The opposing Scizor tumbled backward and slumped over, still passed out from the earlier Spore attack. Beads of orange light clung to Breloom’s fist from the impact point, slowly settling into his body. Rudy smirked and threw a hand forward, ready to order another move.

And then Scizor’s eyes snapped open. The armored bug shot to its feet in one sharp motion, shaking its head to clear the haze of sleep before its eyes focused on the opponent now standing right in front of it.

“Yes! Use Aerial Ace!” its trainer called out.

Breloom sprang backward, but Scizor pursued, blades of white light forming around its pincers. It swung once; Breloom slipped under it with a smooth dodge, but the follow-up came impossibly fast, tearing into him first with a downward strike before smashing him back with the upward one.

“And a brutal Aerial Ace attack sends Breloom flying! Rudy’s in a tight spot—Connor might just be able to turn this match around!” the commentator’s booming voice called out over the speakers, whipping the audience into a frenzy. I clenched the armrests of my seat. Rudy was probably wishing he’d brought Ebony to this match—would’ve been nice to just make short work of Scizor with a Flamethrower or two. Then again, his opponent’s team was stacked with rock-types so he’d opted not to (though part of me had still half expected him to bring her anyway.) Now he had a way tougher fight ahead of him.

It was down to the final one-on-one in Rudy’s fourth preliminary and he couldn’t afford to lose. He’d already lost one match. Same as Darren. Not the end of the world, but it did mean that neither of them could take a second loss without seriously hurting their chances at making it to the top cut.

The past week had blazed by in a nonstop whirlwind of activity with the preliminary rounds of the tournament in full swing. Each of the five stadiums held ten matches a day with a strict time limit of thirty minutes to a match. When combined with the plethora of side events and activities going on in the city outside the tournament site, every single hour of the day had something to do. The result was me, Ajia and Starr crashing at our hotel room each night feeling utterly drained. (Or at least, Starr and I were drained, Ajia seemed to have infinite energy as usual.) I’d basically just alternated between watching matches with Rudy and Darren or Ajia and Starr—it always just felt too weird mixing friend groups, especially with the former being several years younger than me and the latter several years older.

From hearing the talk of the town, Rudy was quickly becoming one of the favorites to win this year, and footage from his matches was spreading like wildfire. It was honestly kind of cool to be able to say that I knew one of the fan-favorite competitors. Knowing how many people in the audience all around us were cheering for him… I couldn’t help glowing a bit with pride.

Breloom picked himself up from the ground, wincing from the large gash running through the mushroom cap on his head. The Aerial Ace had knocked him clear across the battlefield, but that meant he had a moment to regain himself before having to deal with a follow-up attack.

“Go for another Substitute!” Rudy ordered.

Connor pointed forward. “Aerial—” He paused sharply, then shook his head and yelled, “No, Bullet Punch, before it finishes the sub!”

I barely caught a glimpse of Scizor’s pincers flashing metallic right before the bug shot forward, a red blur too fast to see. But Breloom had already put his foreclaws together in concentration, pushing his aura out from his body. The sheer speed advantage from Bullet Punch didn’t mean much when Scizor had to clear half the battlefield just to reach Breloom and he’d already started the move. Within seconds, the aura had condensed into an identical copy of Breloom. Scizor smashed its pincers into the substitute in a rapid-fire frenzy, and the copy recoiled backward, wisps of lights breaking off from the main mass. But it was still standing, with the real Breloom unharmed behind it.

No way—it didn’t shatter? The first one had! Had that earlier Bulk Up really made that much of a difference?

“Alright, another Bulk Up!” Rudy called out.

Scizor hammered away at the aural Breloom, but each blow didn’t have near as much force as the first one without the momentum from the dash. Meanwhile, the tangling vines growing between the steel-type’s armor plates constantly sapped tiny bits of its energy, sending beads of green light flying back to Breloom.

Darren nudged my shoulder, and I leaned over so I could hear him over the crowd. “With Scizor packing a move that hits Breloom that hard, you can tell that Connor didn’t think he’d need anything else to bring it down. He’s scrambling now.”

I had to admit, even I had almost counted Rudy out too soon. But it was hard to blame his opponent for sticking with all-out offense. After all, his initial attempt to setup had backfired completely when Breloom opened with Spore, ironically giving Rudy the free setup instead. And Scizor had already wasted its fourth move on Knock Off earlier, so he didn’t have that many options.

With a flash of light, the substitute finally burst wide open, torn to shreds by the relentless barrage of punches. And without the sub, Breloom was wide open.

“Now Drain Punch!”

“Another Aerial Ace!”

Breloom was faster. It nimbly ducked under Scizor’s claws and fired a springy forepaw forward, driving a punch clean into the bug’s thorax. But Scizor took the hit and kept going, tearing at the grass-type with a jagged pincer. Yellowish liquid leaked from his mushroom cap. He recoiled backward, and for a second, I thought he was going to retreat and try a different approach. But Rudy just pointed forward again, and Breloom took that as a sign to push the attack. Strange… it didn’t seem like the best idea. But then I noticed what he must have already seen: this Aerial Ace had done far less damage than the previous one. Each punch was met with more and more of that orange glow leaking out from the impact and flowing into Breloom. More beads of green light shot from the vines ensnaring his opponent. The gashes on his mushroom cap were slowly closing up…

He was healing almost as fast as Scizor was dishing out damage.

“You can do it Breloom!” I yelled, adding to the incomprehensible mass of cheers and shouts from the audience.

Breloom dropped to the floor, compressing his back legs like a spring, drawing a fist back. He then launched himself upward and caught Scizor with a vicious uppercut right to the chin. The steel-type’s head snapped backward. The white light around its pincers flickered and died. Breloom paused for a moment, realized that he didn’t need to brace for the counterattack, and then sprung forward, driving another punch straight into his opponent’s face.

And that did it. Scizor stumbled backward, eyes screwed shut, pincers flailing as it struggled to gain its bearings. It sank to one knee, then fell flat on its face and didn’t move. I held my breath until the referee raised the red flag.

“Scizor is unable to battle! The winner is Rudy Fierro!”

And with that I jumped to my feet, cheering at the top of my lungs as the stadium burst into applause. Breloom staggered over to grab the equipment pouch that Scizor had knocked off at the start of the battle, swinging it over his shoulder before stretching a clawed forearm into the air. On the far end of the battlefield, in the trainer’s box, Rudy mirrored his Pokémon, throwing a fist upward repeatedly.

That was it—that was the third win Rudy needed. He actually had a shot at making the top cut now. Of course, it wasn’t a guarantee. The actual score came down to how many matches his opponents had won, and how many matches their opponents had won, and a lot of math that I only pretended to understand. But he had a shot, and that alone was exciting enough that I found myself cheering my throat raw even after the results faded from the scoreboard.

Next week was apparently when the tournament site would really explode with activity, seeing as the majority of the spectators who weren’t accompanying a competitor would usually opt to save their trip for watching the top cut. The idea that the tourney site in its current state was comparatively less packed compared to how it would look next week—that was mind-boggling.

“Well, he’ll be happy,” Darren said, leaning back in his seat with a grin. “I know he’s been real stressed about making it to the top cut.”

I tilted my head. “He has?” He’d been the picture of overconfidence all week. Bragging nonstop about how he was a shoe-in for the finals and that none of the other competitors could possibly measure up.

“Yeah. I mean, not that he’d show it, but you know how he is,” Darren replied. Upon seeing my confused face, he added, “Can’t let anyone know, least of all his team. Doesn’t want them to stress out too.”

I… actually hadn’t realized that until now. And in a way, that kind of bothered me. I mean, it did make sense—Darren had been traveling with Rudy for the past nine months, so of course he had a better read on him by now. But still… I should’ve been able to spot things like that.

By now, scattered members of the crowd were starting to get up from their seats and make their way to the stairs. There were still plenty of preliminary matches left after this, though, so a lot of them were electing to just sit and watch the next match. At least the exits wouldn’t be totally clogged.

I motioned to Darren. “Wanna go meet up with him?”

“Can’t. I’ve got a match in half an hour,” he replied simply.

I almost fell out of my seat. “What?! I didn’t know your next match was so soon!”

Darren just shrugged. “I practiced a bit this morning, and my team’s already been checked in.” He motioned to his belt, conspicuously devoid of Pokéballs. If it had been Rudy with a match so soon, it would’ve been the only thing out of his mouth for the past hour.

“Are you gonna be late?” I asked.

“I’ll be fine. Tell Rudy I said congrats, yeah?” Darren said, standing to his feet and stretching. He then waved and said, “See you later,” before making his way to the end of the seating row.

“See you. And best of luck with the match!” I added.

“Same to you,” he replied automatically. And then he paused, gears slowly turning in his head. “I don’t know why I just said that.”

“Force of habit maybe?” I said with a laugh.

“Yeah? Probably. Anyway, later.”

After Darren left, I waited for a minute or two for more people to leave the stands, then got up and started making my way down to the hallway that led to the competitors’ entry and exit. It seemed like the best thing to do would be to catch up with Rudy real quick, then find Ajia and Starr and grab seats for Darren’s next match. Granted, I probably should have asked which stadium it was going to be in, but I could probably check the match listings online once I got a free moment.

Despite my waiting, however, I wound up getting stuck behind a huge group of people all exiting the stands at once. So I stood a couple yards back, leaning against the railing as I waited for an opening. And then, rather unexpectedly, I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Hey, your name wouldn’t happen to be Jade, would it?” a voice asked.

I spun around to see a boy around a year or two older than me, with gray eyes and reddish-brown hair (dyed lighter in the front) looking at me with a rather curious expression.

“Er… do I know you?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

He chuckled, reclining back against the same railing as me. “Probably not. I don’t think we ever saw each other much way back in Viridian, and I mostly hung out with Ajia anyway. My name’s Lexx. I’m Starr’s brother.”

I blinked. If I’d been expecting anything, it hadn’t been that. But now that I thought back, he did look vaguely familiar. In my mind, I could imagine a six-years-younger version of him alongside Ajia and Starr at our old school.

Seeing the blank look on my face, Lexx went on, “Sorry, I know it’s been ages. I really didn’t expect you to recognize me. I was wondering if you knew whether Ajia or Starr was around here. I haven’t been able to find either of them.”

“I can try calling Ajia,” I offered.

“That’d be great,” he said brightly.

I grabbed my Pokégear and tapped Ajia’s number, throwing a side glance at the newcomer every so often. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something about this whole situation felt strange. Why couldn’t he just call her himself, if he knew her? In any case, Ajia soon answered the phone.

“Hey, Ajia? Your, uh… your old friend Lexx is here?” I said, unable to keep the confusion out of my voice.

“Lexx? What’s he doing there?” Okay, so she was more surprised that he was here than the fact that he wanted to speak to her at all. They’d clearly kept in contact at some point within the past six years.

“I don’t know, I was hoping you could tell me.”

I heard the muffled sounds of talking in the background as Ajia had apparently covered the microphone with her hand.

“He didn’t say?” she asked.

“No, he just said he was looking for you and Starr.”

“Oh, figures,” she said, slightly exasperated. “Alright, where are you two?”

“Uh, we’re…”—I glanced around to locate some sort of identifier—“We’re by stairway D. In stadium 4.”

“Kay, we’ll be right over,” Ajia said before hanging up.

I replaced my phone in my pocket and then just sort of shuffled a foot against the concrete while I waited for her to show up. Now that I thought about it, it was kind of weird that I’d been traveling with Starr for nine months and she hadn’t mentioned her brother once that entire time. I mean, sure, I hadn’t thought to ask, but… He hadn’t come up once in any of the countless stories she’d told about her training journey. Not even a single side mention?

We were just standing there in silence with the chatter of the crowd all around us. I glanced around aimlessly to avoid eye contact, feeling like it’d be too awkward if I stared. Lexx tapped his heels against the railing, humming to himself while he browsed something on his phone.

…I should probably say something to him.

“So have you… seen Starr lately?” I asked with an awkward half-smile.

He chuckled. “Well, I’ve tried to. She kind of avoids me.”

I raised an eyebrow. “...Why?”

“I’ll let her do the honors of explaining,” he said with a wink.

Well, now I was really confused. But I was spared having to think too hard about it because right then I spotted Ajia entering the stands from the nearest entryway. I waved to grab her attention… and then spotted Starr following close behind her, looking like she’d rather have been anywhere else.

“Seriously, I don’t get why you’re making me come along, I do not want to talk to him,” I heard her say rather loudly as they approached. Ajia said something quietly in reply, and then Starr shot back with, “No, I don’t care that it’s been over a year since we last spoke, what does that matter?”

And then she froze as if she’d suddenly realized that she now had the misfortune of actually being in her brother’s presence, and hadn’t yet figured out how to handle it.

“Hi Starr,” Lexx said brightly.

For several seconds, she didn’t respond. Then her gaze hardened, and she stormed over, grabbing him by the collar and pressing him against the railing.

“What do you want?” she demanded, staring him dead in the eyes with a murderous glare.

“Ah, come on,” Lexx replied, hardly looking fazed. As if this was a perfectly normal greeting from her. “I’ve been trying to contact you for a while now. You can’t ignore me forever.”

“Watch me,” she muttered, letting go of his collar and turning away, refusing to look at him.

I glanced back and forth between the two of them, thoroughly lost. “I don’t get it. What’s going on with you two?”

Starr gave me the expression she reserved for when she thought I was being especially dense. “Well, for starters, he’s the traitorous scum who sold me out during the revolt. Not to mention he’s friends with Sebastian.”

It took me several seconds to process the implication of what she had said. If he was involved in the revolt and knew Stalker, then…

“You’re on Team Rocket?!” I blurted out, spinning towards Lexx.

Starr burst out laughing. “Of course he is! I got caught up in that damn team because the boss is my dad—why would it be any different for Lexx?”

I shot a glance at Ajia, but it was obvious from her lack of reaction that she was already aware of all this. I couldn’t get a read on how she felt about it though.

“And hey! I just realized something!” Starr exclaimed suddenly, all amusement gone from her voice. “Ajia, you’ve known for ages that he’s on Team Rocket, but you never tried to screw him over because of it! What, was I just special?”

Ajia gave Starr a sympathetic look. “I’ve talked it over with him in the past. We can’t really work together because our aims are so different. But we’re not being actively pitted against each other either.”

“It’s because Sebastian doesn’t care if we were friends,” Lexx added dismissively. “He’s fighting the Kanto force. If you guys get involved, that just helps us. It’s not like what happened with you being loyal to the boss and all.”

Starr folded her arms and glanced away, muttering various obscenities under her breath.

“Congrats on your betrayal by the way,” Lexx added. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

“You better not try to compare my treachery to yours,” she snarled, whirling around to face him. “I didn’t get a choice. They betrayed me first.”

“Don’t tell me you wish you were still on the Kanto force?” Lexx asked tauntingly.

“Of course not,” Starr muttered. “I just… I… it’s complicated.”

Lexx smirked. But then he made eye contact with me, and it was obvious he could tell that I was still confused. “Alright, look. You already know that we need to use the power of the Legendaries. And yeah, that means catching them. So if you try to stop us, just know we won’t hold back. But you already knew that, so outside of the battlefield, there’s no reason for bad blood. We’re both trying to stop the Kanto force, right?”

Starr gave an exaggerated sound of disgust. “Why are you even here anyway? What, did you come here just to piss me off or something?”

“Ha, that’d be fun. But no, I’m here on business.” He turned to face Ajia. “Sebastian wanted me to give you a message.”

She blinked. “He what?”

“Great,” Starr said with an eye roll. “Couldn’t even be assed to come tell us himself, so he sends his gopher boy to do it.”

“He didn’t want me to text it, either. Had to be in-person.” He paused to make sure all three of us were paying attention. And from the tiniest trace of a grin on his face, I suspected that part of it was for dramatic effect as well.

“Team Rocket is going to attack the League.”

It was like everything around us had stopped existing. I gaped incredulously, jaw hanging open. He couldn’t possibly be serious. It took several seconds for any of us to find the words to respond, but when we did, all three of us spoke at once:


“You’re kidding.”

“Are they insane?!”

“It’s not going to be a serious attack or anything,” Lexx quickly added, raising both palms. “More to get people’s attention, really.”

“But why?” I asked, thoroughly lost. “Are they trying to, like… draw the Legendaries out of hiding?”

“Doubt it. Seems more like they’re trying to stir up some anti-Legendary sentiment. What better place to do that than the League?”

What? Anti-Legendary sentiment? The hell was that supposed to mean?

Ajia took a deep breath. “When are they going to attack?” she asked, her tone darkly serious.

“‘Fraid we don’t have word of that,” Lexx said, giving an exaggerated shrug. “Soon enough that Sebastian’s got his hands tied. He was hoping you three could do something about it.”

“Why don’t you do something about it, huh?” Starr asked heatedly.

Lexx folded his arms behind his head. “Sorry, but I’ve got a prior engagement.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Oh really? And what’s that?”

He winked. “Sorry, can’t tell you. Don’t wanna spoil the surprise.”

Starr clenched her hands like she wanted to strangle him.

“Okay, wait, wait,” I said, sweeping my hands to the side while trying to clear my thoughts. “If Sta—if Sebastian really cares about this, why doesn’t he warn the League? What makes him think we’re the best defense here.”

“Ah, I’m sure the League already knows,” Lexx answered with a casual tone. “That’s probably what the Rockets are banking on.”

I gaped at him. “What the hell?” Nothing about this made any sort of sense. And something else kept nagging at me in the back of my head. His vague, backhanded responses… they all pointed to one thing.

“Why are you talking about this like you’re in the dark?” I asked, the realization slowly dawning on me. “You know exactly why they’re doing this, you’re just not saying anything.”

Lexx’s grin widened for just an instant, and in that moment, it was obvious that he’d been waiting for someone to point that out. But he still didn’t answer the question.

Ajia sighed exasperatedly. “Lexx… come on…”

He held up his arms. “I’m not trying to toy with you guys, honest. There’s just certain things I can and can’t say, that’s all. Besides, now that you guys know what’s coming, you’ll be less likely to get hurt, right? I’m still doing you a favor.”

Ajia opened her mouth to speak, but then she paused before any words could come out. “You said they wanted to stir up anti-Legendary sentiment,” she said, furrowing her brow in that way she did when she was putting the puzzle pieces together on something. “In other words, they’re going to attack the League and pin the blame on the Legendaries. They don’t plan on anyone knowing it’s them.”

For several seconds, there was no response. Then a slow, satisfied grin made its way across his face. “That’s my favorite thing about you,” he said. “I don’t even have to say the things I’m not allowed to say; you just figure it out anyway.” He clapped his hands together with a look of finality. “Welp, that pretty much covers everything I needed to say. I should probably get back to Mahogany now.”

Starr snatched his collar again, yanking him towards her. “What makes you think you can drop a bombshell like that and just leave, huh?” she growled.

“Oh, do enlighten me as to what you’re going to do to me,” he said, his voice lilting with amusement.

Several seconds passed, during which it felt like nothing else around us even existed. Not the crowds, not the stadium, nothing. Starr’s hand hovered over a Pokéball, and she muttered, “if we weren’t in public…” but then she shook her head and clenched her fist before shoving him away roughly.

Lexx smoothed out his collar with a smug grin. Then he gave a small wave and said, “Nice seeing you all,” before walking off.

I stared blankly at the concrete floor after he left, my mind swirling with a million different things. Ajia was still pondering his words while Starr was muttering incoherent half-sentences laced with profanity. While I couldn’t say that my first impression of Lexx was a positive one, I also couldn’t say that I felt the same… vitriol as she did. There was definitely more to it than that.

“So… you really can’t stand him, huh,” I said, desperate to have one comment that didn’t relate to the revelation he’d just given us.

Starr snapped her head in my direction. “That little weasel got out of the revolt scot-free, while the boss never let me forget what happened,” she spat, gripping the handrail so hard her knuckles turned white. “Then he had the nerve to mock me for following the boss, as if I had a choice in it.”

I tapped my fingers together awkwardly. “…Maybe you guys could put that in the past now that you’re not a Rocket anymore?” After all, I’d done a lot of stuff that had outraged her as a Rocket.

Starr scoffed but didn’t say anything.

“Look, this whole thing has got us on edge, so I think we should go do something to take our minds off it,” Ajia suggested, gesturing for us to follow her outside. I exhaled slowly, only just then realizing how much tension I could feel in my shoulders. Yeah, finding a distraction sounded like a good idea.

I grabbed Starr’s hand and tugged lightly on her arm.

“Yeah, alright fine,” she muttered, clasping her hand around mine. “Let’s go find a side event or whatever.”


Team Rocket was going to attack the League.

That single thought wouldn’t leave my mind for the rest of the day. And while entering a couple of one-on-one pickups with Ajia and Starr had helped (Ajia ended up winning a couple of rare berries), I was soon back to obsessively dwelling on it.

Was what Lexx said true? What reason would there be to tell a lie like that? He was friends with Stalker… So was I, at one point. Well… had I ever really been his friend? Or was everyone on the Rebellion just his pawn? How many times had I asked myself that same question?

I wound up missing Darren’s match. I’d have to explain myself later. He probably wouldn’t mind that much, but it still bothered me. That was a few hours ago; now I was using the battle equipment section of the vendor’s alley as a distraction. I was in the middle of trying to wrap my head around why anyone would give their Pokémon equipment that poisons the holder when my Pokégear started buzzing. I answered it.

“Hey!” Rudy’s voice blared in my ear, way louder than it needed to be. “Darren was looking for you earlier.” That was usually code for ‘Rudy was looking for me.’

“Yeah, I was busy,” I just said.

“Well I just stopped by one of the food carts. Why don’tcha head over, I’ve got loads to tell you.”

I closed my eyes. I couldn’t really think of any excuse not to, so I said, “Sure, I’ll be over in a few,” before hanging up.

I went and found Starr debating whether or not to buy a Choice Band, and told her I was heading off. Of course, Rudy hadn’t bothered to tell me which food cart he’d stopped at, and I knew by now that texting him for more info was pointless. It was probably within the tourney site grounds at least. So I just wandered down the alley that had the most enticing smells, now painfully aware of the fact that I’d missed lunch. Rocket business sure had a way of killing my appetite.

It didn’t take long for me to find Rudy. He was seated at one of the many outdoor picnic tables in the adjacent park. I wandered over to him and couldn’t help staring at the ridiculously large tray of fried snacks sitting on the table in front of him.

“Geez, did you order that for your entire team or what,” I said as I sat down across from him.

“Oh, shut up, I didn’t know how many came with it,” he grumbled.

“Yeah, well, I’m stealing a few,” I said, grabbing a toothpick and spearing a ball of fried seafood before popping it into my mouth. Having something to chew on helped fill an otherwise awkward silence at least. Wasn’t long before I got the itch to say something though.

“I missed Darren’s match,” I said, my voice weirdly monotone.

“Aw really? Lame,” Rudy said through a mouthful of food. He chewed for a bit and then said, “You, uh… you saw mine though, right?”

I chuckled weakly. “Yeah, I did.”

“Ah, okay.” He nodded, looking pleased. “So you saw how long Pupitar lasted in that match. I managed to find someone selling an eviolite and she’s been loving it. Or at least, I think she has. It’s hard to tell, y’know?”

He rambled on for a bit about his team. About how Nidoking had beat some kid’s Dragonair in a practice match and how he could totally take on a Dragonite if anyone here actually had one (no one did). About how Fearow had been helping Breloom get over his fear of flying-types, and how he’d actually managed to stall her out recently. About how Raichu had managed to use Substitute four times in a single match. I felt bad about zoning out for most of it, but it was hard not to with how distracted I felt.

“And I think Fearow actually wanted to be on the tournament roster? Even though she volunteered to sit out ‘cause you can only bring six. But now she’s complaining about how I used Pupitar even though she doesn’t care, and now they’re not talking to each other, and I’m just like ‘I don’t know what’s going on anymore.’ I dunno how to make them both happy. It’s dumb!” He folded his arms with an overly sulky expression. Then, for whatever reason, he must have finally noticed my face. “So what happened to you? You look like you just got your ass handed to you or something.”

Darren’s words from this morning echoed in my head. Couldn’t stress Rudy out with Rocket BS. Not when he’d come so far.

I forced a laugh. “Yeah, I did.”

He held back a snicker. “Again? Seriously, I know your team’s better than that. You just giving bad orders again, or what?”

I snorted. “Yeah, that’s probably it.” Well, it was a handy excuse, at least.

Rudy gave an exaggerated sigh. “Well, only one thing to do. Come on.” He stood up and motioned for me to follow him. “Let’s run through some strategies or something.”

“I already did a bunch of battles this morning.” I did two. That counted as a bunch.

“Nah, we wouldn’t be battling,” he said dismissively. I raised an eyebrow. “I mean, like, tactics and crap. The kinda stuff we used to do back on Midnight. I can show you some of the stuff my team’s been working on. Maybe it’ll help yours, I dunno.”

Rudy, the strategist. What bizarro universe had I stepped into.

“Oh, and you’re not allowed to tell Darren any of this, got it?” he added, jabbing a finger at me. “I know he’s acting like he doesn’t give a crap about the tournament but he mostly… sort of… always won when we used to spar.” The words looked physically painful. “So I gotta hold onto any advantage I got, you hear?”

“I got it, I got it,” I said, waving a hand. More distractions couldn’t hurt. And it wasn’t like I could do anything about the impending attack right now. So what point was there in making myself miserable? As usual, none. I was here to enjoy myself, dammit.

So I stood up and prepared to follow him out to the public battlegrounds. And then a distant rumble reverberated through the air, sending a small tremor through the ground. All around us, the chatter of the crowds slowly trailed off as everyone’s attention was caught by the unexpected quake.

“What the hell was that?” Rudy asked, glancing around in confusion.

I froze, pulse quickening, a pit of dread slowly building in my stomach. That couldn’t be it. That had to be some random training accident or something. Some overpowered attack had gone wild and hit a building. Get enough trainers in one place and it was bound to happen.

And then I felt another tremor radiate through the ground. The distant call of an alarm split the air.

It couldn’t be. Now? Why now? So soon?!

This was it. The Rockets’ attack was now.

~End Chapter 33~


Junior Trainer
Chapter 10

The Houndour was completely bowled over from being struck by a bird so much larger than her.
Huh, I actually never realized that Pidgeotto are larger than Houndour until I looked it up. Seems like you learn something new day every day.

Crap. Not Pursuit again. No matter how many times we tried running from it, fleeing only made Pursuit stronger. What were we supposed to do? Running away wasn’t an option. That only left… standing our ground?

I locked eyes with Swift, and it was obvious we were thinking the same thing. The Pidgeotto banked hard in order to land facing our opponent, wings outstretched. He stood there, tensing up as the orange-furred rat shot forward, cloaked in dark energy. And then at the last second, he leaped aside and smacked Raticate with his wings, sending the rat face-planting straight into the ground.
Hey, looks like someone else is learning stuff as well!

“Scary Face,” Ray ordered. His Charmeleon responded by flashing a terrifying grimace at Firestorm; the latter recoiled backwards, his movements growing sluggish.

“Firestorm use your own Scary Face
Jade ordering this reminds me of that episode in the anime where Totodile and Charizard keep using Scary Face at each other and it’s just the silliest things ever.

I whipped out Swift’s Pokéball and recalled him before immediately re-releasing him next to me and giving him a cheri berry. He gulped it down and then bolted back into the fray, already whipping up a Gust around the other combatants.
That’s actually a pretty smart way to quickly heal your Pokémon mid-battle.

Stalker turned to face the rest of us. “By the way, this was the last exercise limiting the Rocket players to double your team number. Next time they can use their full team—even if they’re tag-teaming you. Be ready for it.”
Seems like Stalker isn’t making this training easy for then. Though given who they’re up against, I suppose it only makes sense.

That said, looking at this scene I think the rules are a bit unclear to me. Do Jade’s opponents all have to back off after getting hit once? And are there any penalties to Jade’s Pokémon getting hit? Also are the trainers targets as well given that Ebony tried chasing Jade? If so, why did Jade merely run? Finally, did Jade do this as training for the entire month or did she get to ambush others as well sometimes?

I’m thinking at least 150 percent.”

I rolled my eyes. “I don’t think it’s that high—more like only 110 percent.”

“You’re on!”

I stared. “How… how do we even tell who wins that bet?”

“In my absence, the members of Group 1 are in charge,” Stalker said.
I see someone has favorites.

Born: 6 September 2983; Registered: 11 July 2998
Wonder if there is any significance to these years being so far ahead of the 21st century.

“Within the next two weeks, Team Rocket will attempt to capture a Legendary Pokémon. Your job is to find out which one and do whatever it takes to stop them.”
It’s obviously Articuno, just look at the cover art.

Jokes aside, I see they’re not starting off small. This is a pretty big operation to begin with!

“Stalker did say that Team Rocket’s not exactly a secret, just the Legendary-catching regional takeover stuff is,” I said, shrugging.
So in LC’s universe they’re a legitimate organization that conducts illegal activities then? As opposed to being a straight up criminal organization like in canon? I know that’s what the games did with Team Galactic, but didn’t expect to see the same being done with Team Rocket here.

“Alright, good. It looks like all three of you already have Pokémon, so we won’t need to loan you any. And before you ask, grunts are not issued firearms. Agents who reach officer rank on the combat unit can apply to receive one, but it’s no guarantee.”
Whelp, I guess Gunslinger Jade isn’t gonna be a thing anytime soon.

“So, as a member of Team Rocket, you’ll be expected to serve the team’s best interests in whatever you do, whether it’s carrying out missions or performing base duties. The team is divided into several divisions all working to further the team in different ways. Of course, the majority of Rockets are assigned to acquisitions—obtaining and selling goods and Pokémon. But the others are equally important. The business division keeps large corporations in check and allows us to fund our projects. The tech division breaks new ground in science and technology, strengthening our forces with new equipment and enhanced Pokémon. And the combat unit enforces our will against those who would threaten us, as well as handling the acquisition of particularly rare and powerful Pokémon.”
Hearing about the inner workings of Team Rocket like this is really cool! Props to thinking it through in such detail, since canon has always been a bit ambiguous regarding this.

“I don’t have time for kids who can’t battle. Lucky for you, it looks like you already know a thing or two about fighting. That’ll make things easier for both of us. Good type coverage going on here too. You’ll be a decent unit… once you’re cleared for actual missions that is. You’ve got a long way to go until then.” She stopped in front of us and paused, looking contemplative. None of us dared say anything unless she addressed us first. Finally, she crossed her arms and gave an affirmative nod.

“Alright, I think I can work with this. Get used to the way things work around here today. Watch and learn. You’re Rockets now. We’ll start your training tomorrow.”
They sure managed to get quite the trainer, huh? At least she’s not completely unimpressed by them.

And alright, they’re now finally inside Team Rocket! I think this final scene was definitely my favorite out of the three since it gave us a glimpse of how Team Rocket operates exactly. The training was alright too, but it was certainly not my favorite. Though that’s moreso because training scenes tend to not interest me all that much in general and not because of anything on your end. The training scene was definitely needed here and I thought it was overall handled well.

That said, I’m excited to see how things will continue now that they’re undercover. If I had to guess they’ll probably run into someone they previously fought at some point, which is where things will go wrong. But I’ll wait and see. Until next time ~

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
somewhere in spacetime
Huh, I actually never realized that Pidgeotto are larger than Houndour until I looked it up. Seems like you learn something new day every day.
Pidgeotto are large and I love reminding people of this. :D
That said, looking at this scene I think the rules are a bit unclear to me. Do Jade’s opponents all have to back off after getting hit once? And are there any penalties to Jade’s Pokémon getting hit? Also are the trainers targets as well given that Ebony tried chasing Jade? If so, why did Jade merely run? Finally, did Jade do this as training for the entire month or did she get to ambush others as well sometimes?
Ah, yeah, the rules weren't totally explained, but basically Jade's opponents weren't running the gauntlet, they were waiting at specific points to act as obstacles. Gauntlet runners would have to land a hit on each obstacle Pokemon before being allowed to resume running. Trainers were valid targets, but only for non-elemental moves (and not required for the gauntlet runners). And the kids all rotated roles throughout the month.
Wonder if there is any significance to these years being so far ahead of the 21st century.
Ah, it actually took me some time to decide on a year, but I went with that number because of all the major things that happened in canon 3000 years ago. Also to better establish that this is Not Earth.
So in LC’s universe they’re a legitimate organization that conducts illegal activities then? As opposed to being a straight up criminal organization like in canon? I know that’s what the games did with Team Galactic, but didn’t expect to see the same being done with Team Rocket here.
I took a lot of inspiration from real life yakuza, so LC-verse TR is well known for their smuggling, trafficking, extortion, protection rackets, and all that good stuff. But the heavily-militarized stuff under the table is all from Mewtwo Returns.
Hearing about the inner workings of Team Rocket like this is really cool! Props to thinking it through in such detail, since canon has always been a bit ambiguous regarding this.
One of the things I was most looking forward to with this arc was exploring how TR functions, so I'm glad you found it interesting!

Thanks for the review! It was a lot of fun to read. ^^
Chapter 34: Triple Threat New

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
somewhere in spacetime
This chapter is pretty short but it has a lot of cool action. I hope you all enjoy!

~Chapter 34: Triple Threat~

My body had gone rigid, every panic instinct flaring up at once. We were supposed to have more time. It wasn’t supposed to be this soon. We were supposed to have more time. Lexx’s warning from earlier flashed through my mind on an infinite repeat. It wasn’t supposed to be this soon. But... he hadn’t said one way or another, had he? Some warning.

“C’mon, let’s go check it out,” Rudy said, gesturing in the direction that we’d heard the explosions. His words reached my ears, but my body didn’t want to respond.

“Wait,” my voice finally said.

Rudy turned, giving me a confused look.

I clenched my fists, swallowing hard, struggling to force the words out. “This… is probably Team Rocket’s doing.”

He froze, staring at me with an expression I couldn’t place. Surprise? Fear? No, it was more like a dozen thoughts and memories flashing through his mind at once. He turned back in the direction of the commotion. The noises were growing louder, building in intensity. More explosions. Now we could actually hear screaming.

Rudy bit his lip. “I mean… we’ve still got to go see, don’t we?”

I didn’t have an answer for that. Mostly because he was right. I nodded slowly, and then the two of us took off running. Most of the other trainers were running away from the direction we were heading. I didn’t like the look of that, but we pressed on until we’d reached the entrance to Stadium 3. Now that we were here, I could see a plume of smoke rising up above it. I glanced around hurriedly, trying to make out the source of the chaos, but nothing stood out.

But then when I saw it, all I could do was wonder how on Earth it had managed to not stand out.

“What the bloody hell is that thing?” Rudy blurted out, saying pretty much the same thing that I had wanted to say.

Three Hyper Beams split the air, instantly vaporizing a large chunk of the stadium above us. I stared brokenly as chunks of concrete rained down from the impact, only finally managing to piece together that they were falling right at us.

Instinct took over, and I dove headlong through the stadium entrance, landing roughly on the tile floor, tremors shooting through the ground behind me. I lay there breathing hard, eyes screwed shut and arms clasped over my head until the movement finally ceased. I cracked one eye open. Then I shook my head to clear the dust from my face and lifted myself from the floor before throwing a glance back the way I came.

The hallway was filled with rubble. I couldn’t see Rudy but he was probably ok. I turned around and ran in the opposite direction. I passed the main lobby, then ran down the hallway that circled the stadium until I reached one of the offshoots that led into the audience stands.

A horrifying screech of a roar reverberated through the air. I shot a glance skyward, squinting at a figure silhouetted against the harsh sunlight. And there it was. It was a Lugia, but… wrong. Huge, draconic wings beat the air. Sunlight glimmered off nightmarishly long, pitch-black blade claws. Three heads—one normal, one bladed and demonic, and one eye-searingly bright—roared and snapped their jaws, firing off non stop energy beams and blowing giant holes in the stadium walls.

Suddenly Chibi burst out of his Pokéball in a flash of light, appearing on my shoulder.

“*I should have known,*” he said darkly.

I snapped my attention to him. “What? How?”

“*It was just rumors for the longest time. Experiment Number Thirty-Seven. But no one thought they’d actually go through with it after they had such success with Thirty-Six. I guess with Mewtwo being freed, they didn’t have much of a choice.*”

What? This thing was a hybrid made by Team Rocket? But then… if it was here, then Team Rocket had to be nearby, right?

“Come on, we’ve got to find the Rockets,” I said. I opened a Pokéball and let out Swift and jumped onto the Pidgeot’s back and the three of us flew upward. I tried to give the three-headed nightmare of a Lugia a wide berth, but then it saw us.

“Swift, use Agility!” I cried.

The Pidgeot put on a burst of speed, and he only barely managed to dodge the ensing triple Hyper Beam. But the shock waves of the attack’s sheer awesomeness knocked our flight path totally askew. I held tight to Swift as the three of us plummeted downward, the ground rushing up at us. And yeah, okay, maybe it was one of the coolest ways to die, but I still didn’t want to die!

And then suddenly a psychic glow surrounded us, slowly lowering us safely to the ground. My feet reached the concrete. I took a wild look around, trying to locate our savior. A flash of white wings caught my eye, I whirled around and—there it was. Lugia. Half of my brain wanted to freeze up with panic at the memory of how it had tortured me last year, but the other half was to enraptured by just how damn cool Lugia was.

“You saved me?” I asked breathlessly. The dragon-bird nodded expressionlessly.

“What the heck is that thing?” I asked, gesturing to the three-headed monstrosity.

<Why should I know?> Lugia said. Its psychic voice was a lot saltier and less-majestic than I’d been expecting.

“Well, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s a three-headed Lugia!” I shouted, gesturing to it.

Lugia rolled its eyes. <Whatever. Come with me. We’re figuring this out now.>

Wait. It wanted me to fly up there with that thing in the air? It had almost killed me!

“Why me?” I whined.

<Because you’re a foolish little kid who confronts Legendaries when you know you shouldn’t,> Lugia said tiredly. <Now get on my back>

I obeyed, recalling both Swift and Chibi and climbing onto the Legendary’s back. Lugia spread its wings and the two of us were skyward again.

<Hey, ugly!> Lugia yelled, firing off an aeroblast at the hybrid. A trio of Hyper Beams—one yellow, one bluish white, and one black—shot toward us in reply, but Lugia put on a burst of speed and looped out of the way, putting us far enough away for the shock waves to miss.

And then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a small pink cat levitating someone up to us.

“Ajia!” I cried.

Mew was lifting her psychically. I thought it was kind of weird for her to do that out here in the open where anyone could see, but I didn’t say anything.

“Do you have any idea what that thing is?” I asked.

Ajia shook her head. “We’re just as much in the dark as you are.”

<Come on, we’ve got to strike back,> Lugia snapped.

Mew stared at it. <But it would take at least three Legendaries to match that one’s strength.>

“Hello, yes, I’m here now,” a voice announced, and I turned around to see Ho-oh flying up to us, its rainbow wings beating the air. When it noticed all of us staring at it, it blushed. “Well, what are we waiting for?”

<Eh, right.> Lugia turned back towards its three-headed counterpart, which had been conveniently distracted while we were talking. <All together now!> it cried.

Mew, Lugia and Ho-oh all focuses their power into their strongest attacks, Psystrike, Aeroblast, and Sacred Fire. The three attacks swirled around each other and formed a single beam of power, striking the three-headed abomination dead-on.

Yes! Direct hit!

But it just smirked and dusted itself off with its claws. No way… our attacks hadn’t even made a dent!

“You didn’t honestly expect that to work, did you?” a condescending voice shouted.

I glanced over to see a Charizard rapidly flying toward us with a trainer on its back.

Ajia’s eyes went wide. “Sebastian?!”

Stalker tilted his head. “Who? Nevermind, I need your help.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Why?”

He gestured to the destruction with a wild look in his eyes. “Because this wasn’t supposed to happen!”

“What do you know about that thing?” I demanded.

“Well for starters, I created it,” he said, with a tone that suggested that he was annoyed I didn’t already know that.

“What?!” I exclaimed. “How? Why??”

Stalker scowled. “Don’t tell me you forgot how I cloned Lugia and turned it Dark?”

“Uh. First of all: no, I don’t remember that. I think I’d remember that. Second of all: what??

“No matter,” he said, turning around dramatically. “I created TriLugia by fusing three clones together—one normal, one Dark, and one Light. It was supposed to be my ultimate weapon. But its power has run wild and I can’t control it anymore. Much as it pains me to say it, I need your help.”

I decided to ignore the eighty billion questions his story brought up and instead focus on the matter at hand. “We attacked it with all three of our powers combined, but it wasn’t enough.”

“Well yeah,” Stalker said matter-of-factly. “TriLugia doesn’t have the power of three Lugias. Each of its components is already three times cooler than normal—you’d need the power of nine Lugias. And that’s just not going to happen,” he said, scoffing at such a notion.

“Then why didn’t you make nine Lugias?!” I yelled.

Stalker stared. “I don’t have that kind of time on my hands.”

“Apparently you do!” I yelled, throwing both arms toward the rampaging monster. “Why the hell did you make it in the first place?!”

“Why wouldn’t I? It was the only way to fulfill the prophecy…” he replied simply as though nothing were more true.

I stopped, staring. “The Midnight Island prophecy?”

“What? No, the Lavender Town prophecy…” Then he narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Which prophecy are you talking about and why don’t I know about it?”

“What do you mean you don’t know about it, I asked you about it, back on the Rebellion! And why are there so many prophecies?!”

“Never mind that,” he said dismissively. “We’re going to need a power even greater than the Legendaries if I’m going to take control of that thing…”

“A power greater than the Legendaries?” I breathed. “Does such a thing exist?”

“It does…” Stalker said meaningfully, “and it’s sitting in your bag.”

What? It was what? I grabbed my bag from my shoulder and slid it into my lap. I could feel an aura of great importance radiating out from it. I reached my arm in and felt my fingers brush against the cool metallic orb that I’d found in the basement of the Midnight Island ruins.

“How did you know I had it?” I asked.

“I have my ways…” he said mysteriously.

I slowly lifted the orb out of the bag, holding it in front of my face.

“It might look like an orb,” Stalker said, “But it’s actually a shard of TriLugia’s power.”

“But it doesn’t look like an orb!” I shot back. “And everyone thought it had to do with Giratina!”

Stalker looked at me like I was an idiot. “What the hell is Giratina.”

<Never heard of it,> Lugia added dismissively.

Oh come on! Just when I thought I knew what the heck was going on with all of this.

Mew held up a paw, muttering something ancient-sounding as a magical glow started to encircle the orb magically. All of a sudden, its shape rippled and distorted like a hologram being deactivated and then there was a glassy jet-black crystal in my hand.

“What,” I said.

“That’s it, that’s the Dark Crystal…” Stalker said darkly, with a dark grin.

I could feel an evil power radiating out from it. Stalker reached out his hand as if to take it, and I instinctively clutched it to my chest.

“Hmph. Fine, keep it then. So long as we use them together, it makes no difference.”

“‘Them’?”I asked, raising an eyebrow.

He reached into his coat and pulled out a second crystal, this one radiating a purplish light that distorted the air around it. “This is the Psychic Crystal. I stole it from its true owner and now it’s mine.”

“Then what’s the third…?” I began. But then all of a sudden, Mew had a look of recognition on her face and she turned to face her chosen with an awestruck look.

<It’s you,> Mew said, awestruck.

“Me?” Ajia asked. But before anyone could say anything, suddenly she started to glow. I stared in shock as, before our eyes, a brilliant white stone materialized in her hands.

“Where did this come from?” Ajia asked in amazement.

“The Light Crystal was originally hidden away, just like the others. It came to you because you were meant to have it…” Stalker muttered mysteriously. That made sense.

<That’s how destiny works, after all,> Mew added. Lugia gave a small harumph but didn’t say anything.

Stalker turned to face the mindless, rampaging, three-headed Lugia, holding the Dark Crystal out in front of him.

“By the combined power of all three crystals, we should be able to destroy TriLugia.”

“Why are you alright with us destroying it?” I asked. “You made it for a reason, didn’t you?”

Stalker turned away. “Hmph. I don’t need it alive, I just need its blood for the ritual…”

I decided to place that bit of information in the “let’s not think about this” section of my brain.

The three of us closed our eyes and all concentrated at once. I felt a wave of darkness radiating out from the Dark Crystal, which melted together with a wave of pure light and a wave of pure psychic-ness. My eyes opened, and I saw a huge vortex of power forming between the three crystals, swirling different shades of black, white, and purple. Suddenly and without warning, it shot forward into a piercing beam that tore through the air. TriLugia snapped all three heads in our direction. The beam struck it in the belly, and the beast roared, flailing its heads, limbs, wings, and tail. I held my breath, hoping that we’d done it.

But then its eyes snapped open, and it flashed a murderous glare at all of us.

“No way…” I muttered.

<It wasn’t strong enough…> Mew said hopelessly.

“That’s impossible,” Stalker said.

All three heads opened their mouths, and for an instant, I was sure that it was going to attack us. But instead, it fired three, blindingly bright, mile-wide beams at the ground below.

“No! This one shouldn’t be capable of that attack!” Stalker yelled. This one? Was he implying there was another one??

The energy bored a hole deep into the earth. The ground split open, cracks radiating across the tournament site like a spider web. Small at first, they rapidly grew outward, buildings falling into the gaping chasms.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen this early! It’s too soon! The portal isn’t open yet!”

Plumes of magma shot up through the cracks. A feeling of dread slowly started to come over me. This attack. Just how deep could it go? Just how much damage would it cause? And why was Stalker so terrified?

“I was supposed to reach the sacred realm! I was supposed the gain the power of the Pokégods!”

<Lugia, what’s he talking about?> I asked.

<I don’t know!> the dragon-bird yelled, its voice saturated with panic. I felt its panic in my mind as well. Stalker had flown off in a hurry. Shock waves started to radiate through the air. The chasms had traveled so far they’d reached the horizon. A horrible, unearthly glow had started to build from deep within.

Then an earth-shattering explosion and everything faded to white.


“What in the name of all existence is happening here?!” a voice thundered across the void between worlds.

The spatial one perked up, its attention dragged from the spectacle unfolding on the physical plane. “Ah, you’re right on time, this world just nuked itself, come have a look.”

The temporal one drifted over, its movements as slow as possible to indicate just how much it didn’t want to.

“What are you doing?” it asked, its voice a low, cold rumble that reverberated through the ages.

Palkia glanced back at its handiwork. “Is, uh… is that a rhetorical question?” The temporal one didn’t dignify that with a response, so it continued, “Well, I noticed this universe had eleven…”—it paused, counting on its claws—“no wait, twelve versions of itself. And I thought that was kind of weird, so I went and combined them. Most of them just kind of fizzled out, but numbers three and twelve ended up fighting for dominance here. You can’t tell me that’s not cool.”

Dialga squinted at the abomination before it, recognition flashing through its eyes.

“Did you not think this world was bad enough as it was?”

“I mean… I’d answer that, but that’d be getting into things I’m not supposed to talk about,”
Palkia said, giving the diamond dragon a you’re-not-supposed-to-talk-about-it-either kind of look.

The temporal one groaned heavily and turned to leave.

“Look, it’s fine, I’ll erase all of it, okay?” Palkia offered.

Dialga turned sharply, eyes flashing. “Is that supposed to be the ideal scenario here?”

“Well I can’t just leave it, it’ll bleed into the others.”

“And you didn’t think of that before starting this?”

“Sorry, foresight’s not my specialty,”
Palkia said with a tusked grin as its counterpart glared murderously.

Fix it, the temporal one snarled before shifting its existence to another plane.

“I just said I was going to,” the spatial one muttered, turning back to look upon its creation. It sighed. Then it spread its arms wide, streaks of red light tracing a path from its pearls to its clawtips.

Ah well, it was just one timeline out of infinity. No one would miss it.

~End Chapter 34~

Alright, so this special is probably somewhat more incomprehensible to the folks here on TR than it was on Serebii. :P It's a ridiculous, multi-layered inside joke based on the previous revisions of LC. Or rather, what would happen if you took Revision 3 of LC and unceremoniously shoved it into the current version. Stalker creating TriLugia. A trio of crystals with great destiny. The world being destroyed. All of that actually happened, once upon a time.

Happy April Fool's. Real chapter coming this weekend.


Junior Trainer