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Vs Despot King, Orzo

MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. custom/noivern-astrea
That was it, then. They threw everything they had — even their own gallery of legends — yet still the Orzo remained, preparing an attack that rung the bells of the apocalypse. Violet was going to die. Hazel was going to die. Everyone was going to die.

Violet shook her head at that thought. No, she would not finish this with such cowardly thoughts. She had her pride. She was by her friend’s side. She had all those she had met on that journey with her, too. She had already defied the gods once for those she cherished, and she would gladly do it again. The human girl raised up her fists, planted her feet, and prepared herself for one last stand.
“WE NEED TO TAKE HIM DOWN. JIRACHI, I WISH FOR REINFORCEMENTS!”

The shard glowed. As promised, Jirachi responded to the call. Not that Odette had any doubt she would. Though, she wasn’t sure what she expected to happen next.

She lifted her head up when the call rang out. Her gaze met the many smaller groups that had formed around her as the others had been suddenly reunited with close ones in their lives. At first, an excited grin formed on her face, but that quickly faded to pensiveness. The question sat on her mind: Who could they even call on for reinforcements? Azure, no matter how much he was dear to Violet's heart, would not have been helpful in that situation, if he was even reachable. Hazel’s professor was missing and possibly dead — not that she would ever suggest the latter to the Weavile — and neither Violet nor Hazel had any friends outside of each other.

Seconds passed, and no one appeared for them. Hazel must have realized it too, as she looked down while clutching her lab coat, dejected.

The girl looked at Hazel and flashed a sympathetic smile. “I already have mine closest friend right here,” she said aloud, trying to reassure her, “And I am certain you feel the same.” She ruffled her head feathers for good measure, eliciting a delighted purr from her partner.

Still, it was only a front; Violet knew that being effectively down one unit was only going to make it their war of attrition even more pyrrhic in victory... if they won. They needed all the help they could get. In that moment, she didn’t care who; she just pleaded to the gods that someone would lend a hand.

“My, my, this quite the sight. A false god, drunken with power, seeking to shackle down the natural will of others,” a melodic voice resounded as gentle footsteps echoed behind the pair. “An oddly familiar situation, I must say.”

The pair vocalized surprise as they turned to face the newcomer.

Confusion was written all over the Weavile’s face as she asked, “Meloetta…? Is that you?” Hazel lowered her claw to her side. “Why is your hair purple, and your appearance so…” 'Vampiric?' Hazel wanted to say, but held her tongue.

Violet, however, nearly snarled at the newcomer’s presence. “You…! You dare show your face to me again, witch?!”

"Oh, it's you..." the strange Meloetta replied, placing a hand to her chest. Where Violet had anticipated antipathy and arrogance, all she saw was a contemplative, conflicted gaze etched onto the Pokémon’s features.

Nonetheless, her thirst for vengenace superseded that observation. "We hath already fought off against several myths, and thou shalt be no different," Violet declared with a challenging gaze.

The Meloetta closed her eyes and shook her head. “First off, Young Weavile — I am likely not the Meloetta you think of. 'Meloetta' was a name I abandoned long ago. My name is Discordia,” she said before opening her eyes and quirking a brow. "And young girl, do you not have bigger issues at present?" She gestured to Orzo.

"'Discordia'…? I’ve never heard of—" Hazel began, before the Meloetta interrupted.

"It matters not; you require assistance either way, no?" She retorted, "I will lend you my eternal power to rid yourselves of this false god," she announced, twirling her hand, and taking a bow in much same manner as Violet does.

"Like hell,” Violet spat back with a scowl, “Thou art the very bane of mine existence, why would I ever accept—"

"Violet, please, we need all the help we can get," Hazel beseeched, unintentionally mirroring her trainer’s earlier thoughts, "If she wants to help us, then let her! We’ll sort things out later!”

The human didn’t respond as she was too busy trying to drill holes into Discordia with her eyes.

“Please, Vi, we can do this, but only if we all work together!" Hazel tugged on Violet’s pants and gave her a pleading look. “Isn’t that what this whole festival was about? Trust and friendship?”

Violet’s hand twitched as the sentiment gave her pause. After a few seconds of indecision, the trainer scoffed as she turned her nose up away from the Meloetta. “Fine, very well,” she acquiesced, gritting her teeth as she turned to face Orzo. "But know this: we are not finished here, witch." She craned her neck to look into Discordia's eyes as she said, "Thou hath everything to answer for."

Discordia shut her eyes as she returned a knowing smile. "I would not have accepted any other answer from you,” she replied with a chuckle. She took a step forward as a sinister smirk pursed onto her lips — a familiar expression that made Violet sick to her stomach. "Now then, shall we give a performance that mystifies even the divine?"

With that declaration, a haunting melody emanated from Discordia's voice. The tune she sung was beautiful on its own, yet there were a few select notes that were just sour enough to send shudders down one's spine. As she reached the chorus, a red glow coursed throughout her cowl and sash.

Hazel’s ears perked up that feeling of being restrained in her own body echoed through her once more. Crimson energy resonated within as power tingled at the tips of her claws. When Discordia reached her final high note, Hazel shot up in height — just stopping short of the colossal size she was minutes ago.

Discordia, satisfied with her first performance, took a bow. “Oh, my unbound one… let me know if you have heard of this one,” she said, approaching Orzo with a look of conceit, “The chain of gold, like the chain of iron, may beget only blood or slavery.” Her expression twisted into menace as she mused, “I wonder... which of the two outcomes best fits your fate?”

Violet’s perturbed expression was palpable, but she clenched her mouth shut. It was an advantageous situation, as much as it disgusted her. "Hazel, now thou art a god once more, use that empowered Night Slash, posthaste!" She called out, not fully understanding how Dynamax worked, yet still trying to utilize it to its fullest.

Hazel needed no further instruction. The crimson energy mixed with a newly formed black mist as the energy as fought its way to burst out. Hazel bounded towards the false Golden King as she slashed down her claws, firing a Max Darkness towards him.

Discordia, meanwhile, resumed her song as its frictional notes seemingly sustained Hazel's gigantic state.
 

Panoramic_Vacuum

Hoenn around
Partners
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
Steven followed the other trainers out of Hoopa’s portal and back to the battlefield. As much as he wanted to be rid of Orzo’s prison realm and all the unpleasantness it held, he didn’t run to chase after them as they rushed out. A sense of calm had washed over him, and despite Orzo greeting them the second they emerged, he wasn’t struck with any urgency or fear. Perhaps it was Shaymin’s doing, her quiet words and her gift of life, or maybe it was because despite everything they’d manage to rescue everyone in the end.

Either way, he walked through the portal and came to a halt at the edge of the fray. Aggron had thundered ahead of him; tentatively at first, unsettled at the prospect of tromping all over Shaymin’s greenery. But when he glanced behind at his footprints and saw the flowers and grass had grown even taller and stronger in his wake, he grinned toothily.

Steven saw the battle hunger in his partner’s eyes, and gave him a curt nod. “Go on, have fun. I’ll be fine.” Aggron hesitated for only a second before he tipped his horns in silent acknowledgement, and took off after Hayes and Nosepass, Protect’s shield flaring in front of them.

Steven marveled at the chaos around them, the flood of humanity and pokemon pouring out against Orzo, roaring and charging and swirling with Shaymin’s verdant carpet. Proof that life would triumph in the face of insurmountable odds; it always would.

He was simply observing, watching as attack after attack rained down on the false king, when a smooth voice purred right next to him, “Hm, now that’s something you don’t see every day.”

“No, I don’t believe it is,” Steven answered on reflex, not bothering to take his eyes off of the battle. “Fighting to save the world against a gigantic Hoopa mad with power alongside trainers from different dimensions? Seems hard to believe—”

Steven froze. He recognized that voice. Yet Wallace was standing way over there hugging Winona and sobbing against her shoulder. Slowly, he turned to his right in shock. “Wallace?!” he blurted, “What are you doing here?” Steven looked up and down at his friend; it certainly seemed like the Wallace he knew. “How are you here?”

Wallace’s expression never changed, still wearing the same smug smile as when he’d spoken up before. “Darling, I was hoping you’d be able to tell me.” He flipped a hand as Steven was still trying to collect his jaw from the floor. “But! It’s not really that important, now is it? I’m here now and that’s what counts. Although, I guess you did explain a bit as to why I'm seeing another me over there ugly crying into Winona's hair. I don't ugly cry, do I?"

"I, uh, no? I don't think so?" Steven stammered. "I don't know what that has to do with the matter at hand."

"Oh yes, that. You always seem to find yourself on the most interesting vacations."

Steven inwardly cringed at Wallace's emphasis. Maybe a little outwardly, too, as he offered an apologetic smile to his friend. "Ah, yes, well… It's kind of a long story..."

"I have all the time in the world, darling. Provided it doesn't end. You did say something about the world ending, right?"

"I'm a little surprised the raging golden Hoopa wasn't a dead giveaway," deadpanned Steven.

"He did seem a tad grumpy,” said Wallace, turning a cool stare toward Orzo. “And I’ll be more than a tad grumpy if he destroys everything. Goodness, though, that other me looks stressed out of his mind. That’s terrible for the complexion.”

It took Steven considerable effort to keep the exasperation out of his tone. “Is that really the most important thing right now?”

Wallace shrugged. “I don’t see why not. It’s hard to perform your best when you’re nothing but a ball of anxiety. But look at you!” He beamed at Steven. “Cool as a cucumber, even in the face of such destruction. I’d expect nothing less.”

“Ah, if only you knew the half of it,” said Steven, giving a nervous scratch of his cheek.

“I await the director’s cut with bated breath,” said Wallace. “When we’re both back home, of course.”

“You know, I still don’t know how you got here, or how you’ll get home.” Steven eyed the appearance of dozens more trainers and pokemon that he didn’t recognize from the island. “You didn’t get here from Hoopa’s rings, and I thought I saw Odette call on Jirachi, so maybe you’re only here temporarily?”

“Well, if I’m only here temporarily,” began Wallace, hefting a pokeball in his hand, “perhaps I should make the most of it.”

Victoria emerged with an elegant trill, curling around Wallace protectively. She eyed the battle warily, but not before nudging Steven gently with her head.

“It’s good to see you, too,” greeted Steven, giving the Milotic a pat on the neck.

Wallace pocketed her ball with a flourish, and donned a far more serious expression. “Looks like Aggron is already enjoying himself. Shall we join him?”

Steven eyed the battlefield, quickly spotting flashes of silver and gold fighting side by side. “We can’t let him hog all the fun,” he said, giving Wallace an easy smile.

Victoria fanned her tail fin in front of her nose and tossed her head in agreement. “Let’s give this so-called king a beautiful death,” she said. And with a melodic cry she threw herself forward and into the fray.

Wallace started to run after her, but all of a sudden Steven reached out and caught him by the
wrist. Wallace regarded him with a curious look.

“I’m a bit surprised to be saying this, given the circumstances of, well, dragging you into danger and all that, but…” Steven paused, his gaze wandering for a moment, “...but I’m glad you’re here,” he finished with a small smile.

Wallace returned it with his usual brilliance, placing his other hand over Steven’s. “Don’t be silly. There’s no place I’d rather be.” Then, slowly, his smile grew sly. “Now who’s talking about things unrelated to the matter at hand?”

Steven drew his hand back, flustered. “That’s not—”

“Oh, you’re too easy,” Wallace cut in with a laugh. “It’s been too long since we fought side by side, and you know I don’t like to be kept waiting.”

“No, no you don’t,” replied Steven, trying to give Wallace an annoyed look and failing miserably.

Smug smile settled back into place, Wallace swept a hand forward with a flourish and a bow. “After you.”

Steven stared flatly at Wallace’s gesture. “Don’t make me ask Jirachi to send you back.”

Wallace shot back upright with an exaggerated gasp. “You would never!”

But Steven already ran past him with a laugh. “I won’t, but if you don’t get moving, you might run out of time all on your own. Come on, we’ve got a battle to win!”

“Incorrigible,” huffed Wallace, hot on Steven’s heels. “You’re incorrigible, Steven Stone!”
 

HelloYellow17

Gym Leader
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. suicune
  2. umbreon
It all happened so fast—starting with Nate grabbing the gods-damned chains like a gods-damned idiot—and then there was light and Hoopa was speaking and Steven summoned a tiny grass rodent mon and the portal opened once more to reveal Orzo, bigger and more terrifying than ever, and Neo took off towards Novo in the distance before Wes could so much as say a word, and then—

“WE NEED TO TAKE HIM DOWN. JIRACHI, I WISH FOR REINFORCEMENTS!”

…Reinforcements?

Something tugged at Wes’s mind—a light psychic tug, not unlike a sensation he regularly got from Neo. It whispered of friends and allies, of those one might long for when in need of support. Of whom Wes longed for…

And then more portals burst open all around them, filled with all kinds of unfamiliar faces. Unfamiliar to Wes, but undoubtedly familiar to those they had come for, if the cries of surprise and joy were anything to go off of. Which meant…

No. Wes felt his heart drop through his stomach. No, no, no—

It was too late. A flash of light signaled a portal opening to his right, and there was no mistaking that head of red hair or those bewildered blue eyes. She stumbled as the portal zipped shut behind her and swept her gaze over the chaotic scene, looking positively thunderstruck—then her eyes met his, and the color drained from her face.

“…Wes?”

No, no, shit—why was she here, she shouldn’t be here, she wasn’t supposed to be here, not here, not now, not her—

“Is…that really you?” Rui reached out a tentative, quivering hand. “I—you—what’s going on? Where—why—?”

Wes flinched away from her touch as though she might burn him. “I—I don’t—you shouldn’t be here. You need to get out of here. It’s dangerous.”

“I don’t…where is here? What’s going on?”

“I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to, this wasn’t supposed to—shit, I’m sorry—” Wes’s words tumbled out in a panic. Get out. Get out. He needed to get her out of here. He glanced back at the battle; with a new slew of reinforcements from the Prison Realm trainers and the wish recruits, it seemed the battle was nearly won. Neo and Novo could certainly handle their own for while he figured out how to send Rui back. “I—I called you here by mistake, this is my fault, I’m sorry, but I’ll send you back and…and…”

“You called me here? What—”

“It wasn’t on purpose, I swear to gods, I didn’t mean to—I’ll fix it though, I promise, I’ll get you back home and I’ll be out of your hair, don’t worry—”

He frantically looked around, running a hand through his disheveled hair. Hoopa. If he could find Hoopa, the little ghost could send her back and everything would be fine, it would be fine. “I gotta, um, find someone real quick to send you home, so—”

Rui grabbed him by the hand, startling him into stillness, then looked into his eyes, an unreadable expression on her face. “You called me here,” she said. This time, it wasn’t a question.

“I—I know,” Wes stammered. “I know, and I’m sorry, I know I’m the last person on earth you want to see and I’ve dragged you into this mess but I’ll make it right and you’ll never have to—”

“Who said I don’t want to see you?”

He blinked at the sudden forcefulness in her tone. “I…you said…”

“I said I needed time, Wes. To think about things. About you, and what you hid from me.” Wes winced at that, but Rui only tightened her grip on his hand. “I never asked you to leave. Not once. And when I woke up the next morning to find you were gone, I—”

She stopped short and glanced away, blinking rapidly. Wes felt his stomach twist with aching, gnawing guilt, his own words that he’d hurled at Steven several days ago coming back to haunt him.

You just ran. Like a coward.

“Rui,” he rasped, “Rui, I’m—I’m so sorr—”

He was cut off as Rui, in one quick, surprisingly strong motion, yanked him forward and threw her arms around him, burying her face in his chest. He stiffened for a second, frozen in shock, then slowly returned her embrace.

Rui clenched the back of his coat. “Don’t,” she said shakily, “Don’t you dare think for one second I don’t want anything to do with you.”

Wes managed a bitter chuckle, but it was awfully strained through the painful lump in his throat. “I mean, I…wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.”

She shook her head fiercely. “No. I might be angry, I might need space, but I…need my best friend, too.” She held him tighter. “I need you. And that won’t ever change, Wes.”

Wes felt a sting in his eyes and hastily rubbed at them to keep his own tears at bay. “So…are you still angry?”

Rui pulled back to look up at him with a withering glare, one that still managed to look fierce despite the tears in her eyes. “I’m pissed, actually.”

For some strange reason that Wes couldn’t pin down, he was relieved to hear that. He cracked a timid smile. “Ah.”

“I’ve thought about throwing something at your head the next time I saw you.”

“There’s still time.”

“Shut up.” But Rui was smiling now, too. She let go of him to wipe at her nose with her sleeve. “I’m still deciding if I want to or not.”

She glanced at their surroundings and then back to him. “We…have a lot to talk about later. But right now, you need to tell me what this is, because I’m actually about ten seconds from freaking out.”

Wes couldn’t argue with that. “It’s, uh. A long story. But that nightmare fuel over there is an Unbound Hoopa that dragged all of us here to fight, and, ahh, something about a wish pulled in more people, and…yeah.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ll explain more later. But you—you can’t be here. That Pokémon is dangerous, Ru, and—gods, I didn’t want to bring you here and drag you into this, I really didn’t.”

Rui’s eyes widened as she took in Orzo’s towering frame in the distance, her face pale. But when she looked back to Wes, her expression was set in stone-cold determination, one that Wes knew all too well. There was no room for debate with that face.

“He’s not Shadow,” she said. “His aura is scarily similar to one, but he isn’t. So I think we can handle this just fine.” She managed a shaky, yet somewhat rogue-like grin. “This isn’t the first Legendary we’ve wrangled, and it probably won’t be the last.”

“Ru, this isn’t your mess.”

“It’s not yours, either. Neither is the mess in Orre. But here we are.” She took his hand in hers again, and Wes couldn’t help but notice how soft and warm it was, how much he had missed her touch, her laugh, her smile—her, really, just her, and all of the things that made her Rui.

“You called me here, whether you meant to or not,” she continued. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Wes wanted to argue, but there was no fighting that fire in her eyes. With a sigh, he squeezed her hand. “All right. Just…stay close, all right? Don’t wander or anything. I gotta find Neo and Novo—oh, you’ll love to see them by the way.”

He led her closer to the battle, careful to keep to the outskirts of it until Neo and Novo were beside him. Rui followed suit with a heavily sarcastic tone. “Me? Wander off? I don’t know about you, but I’m not one to run away.”

He threw her a look over his shoulder. “Damn, you went straight for the jugular with that one.”

“I reserve the right to hold that over you at least a little.”

He grinned. “Fair enough.”

Fortunately, he didn’t have to look long for Neo or Novo; a yowl from overhead signaled their approach, and the two swooped down to land in front of either of them. Wes grinned even wider at Rui’s look of utter shock.

“Wh—you—wings—? Y-You’re giant! How? Oh my gods, you’re both beautiful!”

Both Pokémon lit up at the sight of her. Neo lunged and would have bowled her right over had Wes not snatched him and held him back by the scruff just in time.

“Rui! Ruiruiruiruiruirui! You are here! Look, I have wings! And Novo, too! We are COOL AND BADASS! I am so happy you are here! I have missed you! And Novo too, and Wes has missed you lots and LOTS!”

Rui stared, first at Neo, then at Novo, then at Wes.

“They’re flying. And talking. Wes, they’re flying and talking.”

“Yeah, trust me, I’m still wrapping my head around it.”

“I have questions.”

“Later, I promise. We have bigger things to deal with first.”

As if to emphasize his statement, Orzo let out a horrifying, blood-curdling screech that made all four of them flinch. Rui, covering her ears, looked at the ghost with a frown.

“Right, okay—” she stopped short, furrowing her brow. “Wes. I need to get closer. There’s something…off about his aura.”

“Yeah, he’s a creepy, delusional, power-hungry bastard?”

“No. Not just that.” There was a strange urgency in her voice now. “Something’s wrong. We have to get over there.”

“I will fly you.” Novo rumbled as he brushed against Rui’s side.

“What? Wait just a damn minute—” Wes stepped forward, but the panic in Rui’s eyes stopped him in his tracks.

“Wes, we need to get over there now.”



If Rui hadn’t been processing about a thousand things all at once, she’d have allowed herself to revel in the moment. Flying! On the back of a Pokémon! On the back of an Umbreon, to boot! If this was a dream (it had to be, right? That was the only explanation that made sense), then it was the most vivid one she’d ever had.

Down below, she knew Wes and Neo were on the ground, doing what they could as they battled alongside everyone else. Rui had tried to spot them, but there was too much going on for her to get a glimpse. She stifled her worry for the moment and refocused on the task at hand; getting closer to this enraged ghost.

His aura was like nothing she had ever seen; bitter, hateful, oozing spite and malice. It danced and flared with vibrant vigor, entirely different from the oddly stiff, eerie, unnatural aura of a Shadow Pokémon.

No. This wasn’t the aura of a forcibly corrupted Pokémon, but of one who had chosen the darkness, embraced it, reveled in it. And as Rui watched the horrifying Pokémon writhe and shriek and rage, lashing out this way and that, she couldn’t be sure which was more chilling.

She took a deep breath, steeling herself against the icy fear creeping into her veins, and leaned down into Novo’s ear. “Can you get me closer?”

Novo replied with a nod and banked to the right, swooping down closer to hover above Hoopa’s chest at a reasonably safe distance. Rui scanned him with narrowed eyes, not wanting to stare any longer at that malicious aura any longer than she had to, but unable to look away—because other than the sheer evil rolling off him in waves, there was something else there, something fainter, purer, deep within…

A second aura.

It was barely there, almost imperceptible, but still flickering weakly despite the blackened flames surrounding it. Rui leaned in to get a better look; closer inspection revealed that this aura, though worryingly faint, was entirely different from anything else emanating from the Hoopa. It was light, a soft yellow color, radiating warmth and friendliness and goodness. The very opposite of the monster holding it captive…

Is he corrupted after all? Rui wondered. Maybe that is his true aura, and something is forcing him into this state?

But then the black aura flared, and what Rui saw next unsettled her to her core.

Inky black tendrils wrapped around the dimming yellow aura like an Ekans ensnaring its prey. The smaller life force grew fainter, fluttering like a downed Pidgey, struggling against the suffocating hold. Rui’s breath caught in her throat as she tightly gripped Novo’s fur. It was eerily similar to a Shadow Pokémon struggling against their Shadow aura, but this…was different. This act of smothering was intentional. Deliberate.

“Someone else is trapped in there,” she breathed. Novo perked his ears and glanced at her over his shoulder, eyes wide. She met his gaze and felt hot fury melting away her fear.

“Dark Pulse at his chest, Novo! Get as close as you can!”

He didn’t need to be told twice. Without a split-second hesitation, Novo tucked his wings into his sides and dove for their target, dark energy pooling in his maw and gathering around them both. Face distorted in a vicious snarl, he parted his jaws, fangs flashing, fired a pulse so powerful Rui had to tense her entire body to hang on for dear life.

His aim was true. Hoopa writhed and screamed as the move made contact, then swiped at them with a ghostly claw. Novo spat and just barely managed to duck out of the way, flapping frantically, and Rui yelped as he barreled clumsily downward to avoid another swipe.

They abruptly landed on solid ground for just a moment, allowing a moment to catch their breath as their allies rallying around them provided some cover. Rui raised her head to see Wes and Neo sprinting toward them, face taut and a question already on his lips.

“Are you—shit—are you alright?”

She nodded shakily. “Fine—fine—I’m fine…” She paused to gulp in some more air, unaware of just how long she’d been holding her breath. Wes reached out to help her dismount, but Rui shook her head and stopped him with a hand on his arm. “But I saw—someone’s in there—his chest, we have to aim for his chest!”

Wes stared. “What?”

“He’s—I don’t know how, but someone is trapped inside of him, and he’s trying to smother them—he’s trying to kill them, I think! We have to get them out, have to aim for the chest!”

Wes paled. He glanced up at the Hoopa with a grave expression. “I think I have an idea who might be in there.” He looked back to her. “I’ll spread the word. But for gods’ sakes, be more careful. You both scared the hell out of me.”

She managed a tiny grin. “Yeah? Now you know it feels, Mr. Wesley Throw-caution-to-the-winds Lycas.” Novo chuffed in amusement and threw Wes a pointed look.

He huffed, exasperated. “Lecture me all you want afterwards. Just promise me to not die before then.”

She gave his arm a gentle squeeze. “I’ll do my best.”

They both paused for just a second, looking at one another, as if debating whether to say something more. Rui felt a warmth bloom in her chest and rise to her face, and promptly let go of him.

Not the time, stupid. Besides, you’re still mad at him. Really mad!

She felt a little flare of indignation at the reminder, but the warmth remained as well. Angry or not, it was…really good to see him again. Hear his voice again.

She’d give him an earful later, and they would have a lot of things to talk through, and there was a lot of broken trust to mend…but all that really mattered was that he would be there for them to work it out. As long as he was there, as long as he stayed…that was all she cared about.

She cleared her throat and turned back to Hoopa, not wanting Wes to see the color in her cheeks. “You be careful, too. Now let’s go, Nov!”

They took to the air once more, and as they rose up, the Hoopa turned his attention to them again. For one terrifying moment, he locked eyes with hers, and the simmering hatred in that gaze made Rui’s blood run cold.

Then Novo yowled, and she tightened her grip on his fur. She stared right back at the hellish creature, and instinctively, without needing a command, Novo dove forward while Rui matched his battle cry with a shout of her own.

“We’ll make you answer for what you’ve done!”
 

Negrek

Shadow Falling
Staff
Nate's fingers closed around the chain, and sudden cold pierced through him, certainly enough to wake anybody else. Or maybe put them to sleep, permanently. For a second it felt like he was suspended himself, caught in the void, with something dragging at him, pulling him down into dark emptiness, an unwelcome rush of memories rising up to drown him under disappointment and despair. There was a distant shout, and confusion of silver light, and then Nate found himself on the ground with Mightyena standing over him. He blinked up at her, uncomprehending and feeling sunburned and chilled to the bone at once.

"What happened to the chicken?" he asked, dazedly.

"What chicken?" Mightyena nudged him briefly with her nose. "Come on, you need to get up."

The chicken... the chicken? Had it all been some kind of weird hallucination? Nate honestly didn't have the faintest clue what was going on anymore. He struggled to sit up.

"We need to go," Mightyena said. She stood stiff and at attention, peering into the starry void. "People are leaving. We have to find Xavian and get out of here."

"Who?" The prison realm's dragging fatigue wasn't exactly making it easy to get back on his feet. The cold pain had receded to a dull ache that felt like it throbbed in time with the faint voice in his head that repeated, over and over, that he should rest, should sleep, should lie down and never try to get up again. "The rich guy?" Nate asked after a furious few seconds trying to parse Mightyena's words. "Who the fuck cares about him."

"Clink does," Mightyena said. "We can't leave him here. We can't go back without him!"

"Watch me," Nate said darkly. With a last great effort, he hauled himself to his feet. He could see now that Mightyena had been right--people were leaving. The chains were shattered, the captive trainers and pokémon were staggering towards a new portal from Hoopa, leaning heavily against each other. And the other "rescuers" were headed that way as well.

Mightyena, though was going the opposite direction, padding off into the blurry void that was now even more empty than before. No sign of more chains, more dark figures silhouetted by stars. "Mightyena, stop!"

She turned to look back at him with her tail hanging low, a pleading look in her eyes. "We can't just leave him!"

Nate could not fucking believe they were having this conversation about the guy who'd gotten them into this entire mess. "We'll kick Orzo's ass, and then we'll figure out what happened to that guy, okay? There's no time. Hoopa ain't gonna keep that portal open forever."

Mightyena turned and stared into the dark one last time, as though hoping the rich guy was just a little slower than the others, staggering his way towards the exit at an even more dismal pace, but in the end she did turn away, did come slouching back to Nate, all adroop.

"It'll be okay," Reena said. "Come on, let's go! Drampa really wants to beat Orzo up."

"I'll bet he does," Mightyena said, and her laugh was weary, but she was at least a little more animated as she shrugged Reena up onto her shoulders, carrying the tired girl alongside Drampa as they headed for the exit. Nate brought up the rear, and he wasn't quite able to stop himself--one last look back, just in case... But no, there was nothing there.

Steven had summoned Shaymin, and the little legendary brought a wave of light and verdure to the empty, starlit realm. Grass and flowers sprouted where they had no right to grow, wrapping Nate and Mightyena in the smell of early spring, a welcome burst of energy driving back grinding fatigue. The greenery spilled out through the portal before them, washing over the battlefield and catching weary pokémon and trainers alike in its glow. They drew themselves up, took hope, took heart, and as Mightyena bounded on ahead she grew, grew, grew, back to her impossible size, Reena laughing and shrieking with delight as she was borne high into the air. Hopefully she'd have a gentler landing than Nate and Wes had when that all wore off.

Then Odette raised a glowing stone over her head and wished at the top of her lungs. For... reinforcements? Nate was confused for a moment, wondering what sort of form that was supposed to take. Glowing portals opened all throughout the ranks of the trainers, silhouettes of all shapes and sizes stepping through them. By the way people were reacting, though--familiar reinforcements? Friends and allies, maybe? Not a small number of them were pokémon, so maybe--well, who else would it be, after all?

Just one "reinforcement" per person? Obviously it would be great, whoever it was. Any of them would be able to talk here, right? If Clink's magic still held? But maybe it could be more than one, even all of them. Then there'd be no reason to go home, right? Friendship Island was fucking miserable, but the whole rest of the world couldn't be that much worse than home. Even if they didn't get brought over now, maybe he'd be able to find Jirachi after the fight or something. Get his own personal wish. He'd just have to ask Odette where they hung out.

Where was his portal, though? Nate looked around, hopeful despite himself. Steelix would be a little hard to miss, but if it was one of the others? There was no one around, though, except for some chick he didn't recognize. Staring. Was this supposed to be his "reinforcement?" Not somebody for Reena.

"Who the fuck are you?" he asked.

The woman continued to stare for a moment longer, unimpressed--kinda squat, dark hair, weird fashion sense, nobody he should recognize, right? Then she said, "Great Nathaniel Morgan," and all the rest of her words were lost below the rushing in his ears, the mingled tide of disbelief, horror, disappointment, anger. The fucking freak.

"You," Nate hissed. Mightyena must have picked up on what was happening, too, because she brought her muzzle down to ground level for an excellent menacing growl.

The freak studied her a second, then the towering bullshit king behind her, the battle underway. "It is me," it said. "What is going on?"

"Oh, just the usual, fighting for our lives and all that shit," Nate said. "What the fuck are you doing here? Why are--why the fuck is it you? If Jirachi wanted to help, why didn't they send one of my fucking pokémon instead? Is this some sort of fucking joke?" So he hadn't really meant to say the last part out loud, but fuck it. Fuck it, how the hell was this happening.

"I am stronger than your pokémon," the freak said.

"Okay, fuck you," Nate said, inaudible over Mightyena's growl. Yeah, she could, like, straight bite this asshole in half no problem right now, couldn't she? Stronger than your fucking pokémon, he couldn't believe it, he couldn't fucking believe this was somehow the universe's idea of a dream come true. Fuck him. All over the battlefield people were reuniting with friends and pokémon and their long-lost squeezes and all that shit, and here he was stuck with the biggest asshole on the planet, and why had he ever thought something good might have come his way, when the fuck did that ever happen?

"If you're so strong, then make yourself useful!" Mightyena boomed. "You see the hoopa over there? Go get rid of it, then. Show everyone how powerful you are." She raised her head, looming impossibly tall over the Freak. "If I'm so weak, then you'd at least better show that you can do better than me."

She didn't go charging off to join the front lines, though. Not yet. Nate had a feeling she wasn't going to let the Freak out of her sight--certainly not leave it alone with him.

Nate choked down bitter disappointment and managed to get out, "Yeah, go the fuck on already. You want to be the fucking hero, right? Go beat down the goddamn bad guy, then. Show all us weaklings what you got."

He'd expected that to go over pretty fucking well. He'd thought the Freak would race off and go ham and probably make at least a few snide comments about how much fucking better it was than everybody else in the process. Instead, it turned and looked the bullshit king up and down, impassive. Not in the least excited to be staring down an opponent that was possibly even more terrifying, and definitely more Saturday-morning-cartoon, than Mewtwo. No crowing proclamation about how it was going to mess the guy up, not even any apparent glee at being thrust into the middle of what was clearly the kind of climactic battle straight out of an action movie.

All that happened was the freak raised cupped hands, golden light blossoming between them, like a hyper beam but bigger, a miniature sun that forced Nate to close his eyes, and he could feel the heat of it even from where he was standing. A thick beam of energy lanced out and off towards the bullshit king, still distant across the battlefield, leaving behind afterimages scored into Nate's retinas despite his closed eyelids and a heady whiff of burnt sugar.

"Jesus! What the fuck was that?"

"You said to attack, did you not?" the Freak asked. "I attacked. What happens when we win?"

"Uh, you get, like, eternal glory and everybody knows you're a hero and shit," Nate said. "And you get to go home."

"I see." The Freak turned back to Orzo and watched for what felt like a hell of a long time. There were attacks flying in from every fucking direction, the number of people on the field double what it used to be, at least. Orzo was roaring and blustering up a storm, firing off beams and waves of psychic energy that surely would have put an end to things under ordinary circumstances, but everyone just kept on coming.

The Freak must have come to some sort of decision, since it started walking forward, another glow gathering between its hands, rivulets of golden light dripping down its arms like water, beading and then spattering to the clover-covered ground below. Some other mega-giga-whatever-the-hell-kind-of-attack that was. Nate exchanged a nervous look with Mightyena before she took off towards the bullshit king. No way she'd pass up the chance into that asshole now that it was endgame.

The Freak plodded along behind, charging and firing uber-attacks as it went. Nate frowned. Well, whatever the hell was going on there, at least it was pointed in the right direction. Right?
 
Final Stand: Victory New

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
Cries of triumph, determination, hope and love filled the air. And as the disparate group made their last stand against the face of evil, a light began to grow from them. Silver threads, between trainer and pokemon, pokemon and pokemon, and from human to human. From friend to friend, old and new. Threads that became cords, then thick, shimmering bands of light, connecting the fighters. They thrummed with energy, resonating between the fighters.

And with each attack and affirmation the links grew brighter, energy surging through them, empowering them, their moves strong, stronger than any of the pokemon would remember them being. Even the trainers would be able to feel it. Connection, a bond that ran deeper than any force, linking them to their friends.

For one brief moment, the rings crackled with energy, as if about to unleash a final deadly blow when Orzo suddenly seemed to freeze - the writhing mass of shadows in Orzo’s chest shimmered for a moment and parted, revealing Xavian, determination winning over agony, straining as if... as if holding Orzo back-

The moment was all that was needed. Blinding light exploded as the final wave of attacks from the trainers struck true.

An agonized howl came from Orzo, and his massive legs buckled. The rings floating around Team Resolution shrank as the titan swayed, eyes growing dull. His visage suddenly flickered, like an illusion, before abruptly crumbling away, revealing Orzo’s true state.

His massive frame, still unbound, was completely consumed by toxic poison, a mess of purple tendrils covering him. Burns scarred his flesh, and the curse crippled his body, leaving its dark and gray, half crumbling to dust. His body spasmed and twitched from paralysis and his form was battered from all the attacks. Then he crumpled to the ground.
 

Seren

Lurking
Staff
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. sableye
They'd done it.

Even thoughout the entire fight, Orzo had maintained an illusion on himself, hoping to conceal how injured he really was, but now it was over. The once Golden King collapsed, drained by the persistent damage effects and the final wave of attacks.

Jirachi summoned additional help for everyone, it seemed; There were now two Wallaces in the area. Both of Odette's boys had appeared, and Kimiko had to hold back her excitement at the thought of meeting them and showing off hers. She spotted a girl flying around on Novo, so even Wes had someone he relied on, despite his general vibe. Kimiko wondered what the deal was with the little girl that accompanied Mitch; even moreso when she started firing off hyper beams. Some sort of pokemon??

Regardless, the extra firepower was indeed all they'd needed. Orzo's final attack never came, his rings shrinking and fading as he fell.

Kimiko had been correct; she had seen Xavian inside that shadowy mass. In fact, he seemed to be the only reason the team had had enough time to counterattack before Orzo wiped them all out. And now, he still appeared to be trapped as their foe fell.

"Be careful," Alex warned. "He's down, but he may not be out. This could be a- hey!" Kimiko took off running towards them with Olivia at her heel, despite her boyfriend's warning. Ruse or not, they had to get Xavian away from the King.

"Odette, the bottle!" she called as she ran. This had to be the time, right?
 

Phoenixsong

smell ya later.
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
  2. custom/skiddo-phoenixsong2
  3. custom/skiddo-phoenixsong3
  4. custom/skiddo-iametrine
  5. custom/skiddo-coolshades
  6. custom/skiddo-rudolph
  7. custom/skiddo-sleepytime
The Cupcake Warehouse's patio dining area sure was a lot bigger than Leaf remembered. A lot a lot bigger. They must've expanded out into the parking lot. (And the neighboring parking lots. And the neighboring streets and buildings.) They'd also gotten rid of all the tables, and seemed really, really eager to get their Halloween ambiance going early. No complaints there, mind you: if stores could play Christmas songs in October then it was only fair to drape fake spinarak webs over everything starting in August, she always said as her mom told her to put away the fake spinarak webs.

The "no tables" thing was kind of a problem, though. Where were they gonna put Roll's birthday cake? Didn't seem at all proper for the birthday girl to have to eat off the floor, no matter how spoopy. Leaf turned back to the door to address the server. "Hey, where're we supposed to... sit... huh."

The server had bailed on her. So had the door, and the Cupcake Warehouse, and the entirety of Vermilion City and also her team. Well, not her whole team. Tank was behind her, staring dumbfounded at the soda he was still carrying—the only hint that the phantom Cupcake Warehouse had ever existed at all.

"Y'all know I can't pay for any of their food if I'm not there, right?" Leaf shouted into the Halloween Void. "I also can't be held responsible for anything Clyde does if you can't keep him away from the red velvet!"

'Course, if the Cupcake Warehouse would rather dump her in the middle of nowhere than take her money, then maybe they deserved the hungry-gengar–based apocalypse that was about to befall them. See how they liked those Halloween decorations.

The more she looked, though, the less Halloweeny the Halloween Void seemed. It wasn't so much cheerfully faux-undead as it was just... dead. Totally lifeless other than the shining golden rings flashing into existence and firing beams of searing light into the ground, leaving the already scraggly haunted-house-lawn-lookin' grass charred and blackened. A massive, golden figure loomed in the distance, waving disembodied arms in time with the blasts from the rings. That was pretty impressively Halloweeny, albeit totally unidentifiable. Whatever this was had a hell of a special effects budget, if nothing else, and still enough left over to hire a bunch of pokémon and trainers as extras to scatter away from each beam, or to pretend to get punched by them.

...hm.

Leaf grabbed Tank's claw and set off at a run, dragging the wide-eyed blastoise toward a nearby impact site. Either these special effects were even more mindblowing than she ever could've imagined (fair enough given it was tricky to imagine things when her mind was, in fact, already blown), or two of the figures peeling themselves off the ground behind a big chunk of stone looked hella familiar.



"Why the fuck does this keep happening?!" Blue groaned, untangling himself from Charizard's wings for what felt like the twenty-seventh time. "Five uninterrupted minutes in the air, is that so much to ask?"

Charizard mumbled something unintelligible, then spat out a mouthful of dirt before trying again. "This is exactly why I wanted you to stay on the ground."

"Nah, pretty sure I'd have already drowned or been trampled by now." Blue levered himself up on one elbow and grimaced. He needed to be able to see what was going on from up there, and the ground had been a pretty consistent disaster zone throughout the fight, but he did have to admit that getting shot out of the sky and landing so hard he'd nearly broken his arm for real wasn't much closer to his idea of a safe vantage point.

"Are you okay? Here, lemme help you up."

"Oh, yeah, thanks." He gratefully accepted the proffered hand and only realized after it had hauled him back to his feet that that was one hundred percent not Charizard's voice. Or the voice of anyone he'd run into on the island thus far.

"You?" Blue stared. A bunch of pokémon and trainers were appearing out of thin air at Jirachi's command; seemed like at least some of the others knew some of the newcomers, though they were all just a bunch of randos to him. Which was fine, any port in a storm now that Donut Hole was freaking out, but then how— where did Jirachi find— why did Jirachi find— he hadn't asked for, he'd barely even had time to think before the blast clipped Charizard's wing— how— "You?!"

"Haha, yeah, me! And you!" Leaf Linden threw her arms around him in a bear hug that nearly knocked him right back off balance. "And Tank, and Charizard, aaaaaand a whole bunch of other folks for some reason! Man, that evil Cupcake Warehouse sure has been busy. How'd it manage to grab that huge guy in happiny house slippers? Unless he actually wore those out to the restaurant, in which case he's my new hero."

Well, that was one way to get Blue to not stop staring. He knew what all of those words meant individually, but put them in that specific sequence and congratulations, he was fucking stumped. Utterly gobsmacked. Completely and thoroughly Lindened.

Leaf frowned when she received neither a return hug nor any response beyond Blue silently questioning the life choices that had brought him to this moment. "Did you and all those people not get here from the restaurant? Or, oh, wait—you're still supposed to be on that cruise vacation, aren't you?" She released him, took a sip of the soda she was holding for the sole reason that this wasn't ridiculous enough already, and glanced around to take in the chaos. "Well, it ain't exactly Alola, but it seems like a hell of a party so far!"

"Oh my god Linden shut up," Blue snarled, grabbing Leaf's arm and pulling her back behind the stone for whatever meager cover it provided. He sat them both down, then buried his face in his hands and swore fluently. Somehow, some-fucking-how, in the five seconds between announcing the wish and him and Charizard eating dirt, Jirachi had rifled through all the memories of professional League trainers, brilliant strategists, a literal war veteran and other generally responsible adults in his head and come to the conclusion that the most appropriate crisis response was to take an overcaffeinated zigzagoon with a sunhat and a root beer and drop her right into a battle to the death. Fucking legendaries.

"What the hell are you even talking about?" he mumbled into his jacket sleeves at last.

"Oh, we were just throwing Roll a birthday party at the Cupcake Warehouse. Tank and I were gonna grab seats outside and then outside turned into here! Wild, right?" The overcaffeinated zigzagoon smiled brightly, gesturing at their surroundings with her soda. "Your turn for show and tell now! So: what the fuck?"

Blue sighed and ran a hand down his face. "Gonna be honest with you, Linden: genuinely cannot give you a better answer than 'what the fuck'."

"Try harder," growled another voice from behind her. "Why are we here, and why are we in danger?" Tank the blastoise loomed over his trainer's shoulder, glaring at Blue like somehow this was his fault. Which it emphatically was not, and maybe if Jirachi wanted to drag random friends into Hell on Earth 378 then maybe Jirachi should be the one to explain, hm? But that didn't look like it was gonna happen, so lucky him, he got to come up with the Spark Notes Guide to the Garbage Fire Island Expanded Multiverse on the spot. Great. He snapped his fingers to pull Leaf's wide-eyed gaze away from the fact that she'd just understood her blastoise's words, then got to the actual point.

"Fine, then, here's your shitshow and tell: The whole goddamn vacation was a sham invented by that giant fucker over there because he's a pathetic only-strength-matters caricature who eats the friendship between pokémon and trainers or something. He thinks that if he has enough Friendship-Os from across the multiverse, which by the way is a thing and apparently doesn't much care for you or Charizard, he'll become the king of everything. This whole circus act is us trying to kick his ass and not die again in the process, but it's going—" Blue jerked a thumb past their makeshift shelter at the towering golden monstrosity behind them "—like that, so Jirachi is voluntelling other people from around the multiverse to pile on and help us get this the fuck over with already. Any questions?"

None from Leaf, apparently; the look of rapt wonderment she'd been sporting when Tank had spoken had been replaced by a cross between "completely and thoroughly Lindened" and "hearing that Santa Claus is waiting in front of the Christmas tree with a sleigh full of giant novelty lottery prize checks and also a puppy".

"Yes, actually," said Tank. He interrupted his trainer's reverie by pushing her behind him, as though that'd keep her any safer from Orzo's final, desperate assault. "Can you run that 'not dying again' part by me one more time?"

...Shit. What'd he have to go and mention that part for? (What'd he have to go and remember it for? Icy cold clawing holding crushing his arms his legs his chest his head crushing choking nothing—) "There was— there was a different legendary pokémon, it— he summoned a thing that had death powers or something, but—" Shit, shit, shit, the more he stammered out the worse it sounded—

"There was a big sky bacon and it turned everyone to stone but we got better," Charizard cut in, giving him a smile that was probably supposed to be reassuring but still looked slightly nervous. "I'm pretty sure it's not coming back, though, so it's probably fine?" Blue sighed. Accurate enough, he supposed, but unfortunately not especially comforting. (Or logical. Fuck everything.)

Leaf shoved Tank's interposing arm back down, huge grin still plastered all over her face, and made to scramble over their little rock shelter into the fray. "Good enough for me! Definitely gonna need the full blow-by-blow on the sky bacon later, Charizard, but for now we're gonna go save the multiverse— hrk!"

"Hold on a second, Leaf, I'm still not quite sure I've got this right." Tank grabbed his trainer around the middle and slung her over his shoulder, rolled his eyes at her vain attempts to flail out of his grip, then fixed Blue and Charizard with a hard stare. The sound of the blastoise's cannons scraping and shifting under his shell was upsettingly sharp and clear with mega-hearing. "So you two and Gyarados nearly got yourselves killed by at least one, possibly multiple ludicrously large monsters with 'death powers', and, rather than doing the sensible thing and escaping, you decided to drag us into this alongside you? Because it's 'probably fine' now, is that it?"

"No! No, I—" The discomfort that normally came with feeling stupid and guilty was bad enough; everything still vibrating to two different frequencies just amped that straight up into nausea. "Jirachi didn't give me any time to fucking think! I didn't know it was happening already! Maybe my life was flashing before my eyes while we were falling out of the goddamn sky and I figured I'd miss you guys if I was dead, I don't remember, I've been hit in the head a lot over the past few hours! But I swear, Tank, I'd never endanger my friends on purpose!" And yet, congratulations! He'd managed to do it anyway. What difference would a carefully-considered wish even have made? Dragging Gramps or Agatha to their death instead?

Blue looked from the furious blastoise and his struggling trainer to Orzo, still raining murder down on the field from on high. How much longer before he finally started aiming at the debris on the ground to make sure he finished off anyone who might be hiding? "We... the three of us can't go back." Charizard snorted, sending a defiant puff of smoke into the air. "Literally can't, at least not without dealing with that asshole, but also... we just... can't. But you don't have to stay! I don't care what Jirachi did. Go tell her that I fucked up and I didn't want to wish for anything and she has to send the two of you home! We'll— we'll be fine, we've got this, see? All those other guys are still here and everything!"

(All those other guys who were pretty strong trainers, but he still didn't know from anyone. All the people who'd tried to get things done in their own well-intentioned Minus World ways, but who he still couldn't talk to about anything they'd actually understand. The people who were just strange to him no matter how much he tried to give the situation the benefit of the doubt, rather than strange the way he'd gotten used to, the kind of strange that would always (eventually) make him laugh and feel like home.)

"Put me down!" Leaf shouted, still banging her fists against the blastoise's shell. "I'm not going back! Blue needs me! This planet needs me!"

"This isn't a game, Leaf!" Tank did put her down, setting her back on her feet right in front of him so he could look her in the eye. "This isn't like the time you went chasing up that mountain because you wanted to see if there was really a tyranitar there. I can protect you from a tyranitar. I don't know if I can..." He turned back toward the monster again, his head partially drawn back into his shell. Blastoise didn't have terribly expressive faces, but the look in Tank's eyes only made Blue's insides twist that much harder. "Please. You can understand what I'm saying now; you need to understand that this place, that thing is terrifying and I don't want it to hurt you. Any of you."

"That's exactly why I can't leave!" She put her foot down, like literally, kicked up a little cloud of dust from the diseased ground and everything, and stared her starter right in the face without flinching. "Look, Tank, I've thought about this for twenty entire seconds and there are really only two options here: either this is actually happening and we've honest-to-god been pulled into some kind life-or-death action movie climax, or Clyde is still mad about the red velvet thing and he's messing with us in our sleep. Could be I'm misinterpreting your attempt to princess carry me to safety, but you sure look like you're pretty convinced that we're in legitimate danger.

"I'm not gonna pretend I understood a good fifty percent of what Blue was talking about before, but if this guy really is that scary, scary enough that even you're nervous... doesn't that mean that other worlds are also in danger? That our world is in danger? What if going home to Roll and the others means this is the last birthday party she ever gets to have?

"If you need to go talk to Jirachi, I won't stop you. I don't want you to be scared. I'll think of something else!" She reached up and touched the side of his face, looking more serious than Blue thought he'd ever seen her. "But I have to at least try. You know that. I'm sorry."

There were several beats of silence before Tank finally tore his gaze away from Orzo. He looked at Blue, and at Charizard, and then, pulling his head back out of his shell to his full height, down at his trainer.

"Just... stay behind me this time. Please."

Leaf cheered and wrapped her arms tight around the blastoise's neck. Tank gave her a gentle pat on the head with his huge claws, then looked back at Blue one more time. Blue couldn't quite meet his gaze directly, finding it easier to watch Orzo's tantrum of all things, but he still muttered a quiet "Thank you."

"D'you think you're up for a little mega evolution of your own, Tank? I've already done the math, and I've come to the conclusion that that stained-carpet–lookin' bastard is a three-cannon problem. Besides, we can't let them have all the fun, can we?" Tank sighed, but the corners of his mouth twitched. The familiar multicolored glow overtook him, and when it ebbed away there were three massive cannons all aimed directly at the hoopa.

"And speaking of Blue and Charizard getting to have all the fun... hey, you overgrown heap of yellow snow, I wanna have a little chat about your shitty guest list!" She clung to Tank's shell with one hand and jabbed an accusatory finger at Orzo with the other. "What gives? My team and I don't have friendship spicy enough to get an invite to the murder cruise? 'Cause oh, buddy, we can show you some fuckin' spice. We got the full Castelia Reaper treatment right here for ya, don't we, Tank?"

Blue groaned as he tried to pull himself back onto Charizard. "After that speech, I kind of assumed you were going to start taking this seriously."

She just winked at him, rainbow light dancing mischievously behind her eyes. "Shoulda subconsciously missed Red if you wanted boring."

Blue never had gotten a chance to battle any of these other teams. They seemed plenty strong enough now, at least, launching one last salvo at their enemy with everything they had—and that everything, to their credit, sure looked like a hell of a lot. But stupid dangerous wish that shouldn't have counted or not, he had to admit he felt better knowing Leaf had his back. After all, certified weirdo though she might be, she and Tank were the only ones here that he knew were good enough to beat him.

"Okay, Charizard. Let's get back up there one last time." He paused for just a second to glare at the death lasers. It had fucking better be the last time. "You remember the drill, right? Suppressing fire, keep the heat waves rolling so he's hemmed in and is guaranteed to get the full solution to the three-cannon problem." Charizard roared and kicked back into the air, the determined little sun on his tail still blazing furiously. Wave after wave of flame and searing wind joined the other attacks, followed shortly by a barrage of water jets that pummeled Orzo's hands and rings and his smug ugly face, knocking everything askew with flawless precision.

End of the line, you fucking piece of reject Hot Toxic jewelry. Now it's your turn to get fucking Lindened.

"Also: whatever cake Roll picks out back at the Cupcake Warehouse, you're reimbursing me for it."

"What? Why?"

"Because so far the only thing you've gotten that poor baby for her birthday is the sudden and terrifying realization that her big sister isn't there to celebrate with her. Or to pay for the cake she wants."

"Leaf, I've never given any of your pokémon anything for their birthdays."

"Well now you've given one of them trauma!"

Blue pinched the bridge of his nose, which did absolutely nothing to stave off his growing headache. "Fine, whatever, I'll pay for her stupid cake if it'll get you to pay attention!" God damn it. At least Roll was really tiny. What was the worst she could do at a place that mostly only served tiny cupcakes?

[[A/N: Roll, the baby kangaskhan, was not, in fact, traumatized. Presumably Leaf was returned to exactly the same moment in time that she'd originally left, and her team was none the wiser about her infinitessimally short but extremely exciting adventure. But Blue didn't need to know that. All he needed to know was that at just that moment, a million universes away, Roll had chosen a very, very expensive birthday cake.]]
 
Last edited:

ShiniGojira

Multiversal Extraordinaire
Location
Stranded In The Gaps between Multiverses
Pronouns
He/him/they/her
Partners
  1. custom/zorua-gojira
"Pew pew pew." Orange blasts of energy cut through the air, one of the other countless attacks connecting with the Legendary, accompanied by none other than the sounds of genuine gunning. "Pew. Pew..."

Crude flickered above the beast, taking out a shotgun and pointing its sight at them. "Anti-matter rounds, let's go!" A white flag and confetti came bursting out with 'No nukes pls' written in bold letters on the flag.

He frowned. "Okay, never mind then. Back to 'pew'ing."

"Pew pew pew... Pew..."

Evie charged in, launching a couple of her own as she felt the warmth in her intensify. Her attacks came out stronger and faster as she skidded across the battleground, casting an annoyed glance at the deity. "Can you keep it down? It's hard to concentrate with all your inane noises."

Crude gave her a look, a brief moment of confusion on his features before he grinned. "Oops, so~orry." He flashed away from her sight.

Though from the sound of it, he seemed to have reappeares on the other side, constantly teleporting in between some of the trainers all the while yelling, "Magic attack! Magic attack! Magic attack! Too-lazy-to-name-my-moves attack! Magic–"

She tuned him out, focusing on the big bad and targeting Orzo with all her might.

The Golden King fell with a thump, his body covered in various marks and injuries from the long and drawn-out battle.

Evie let out a sigh of relief. Glad it had finally come to an end.

Her ears perked up at a familiar voice before drooping back down. "So, anyone got a huge stick I can shove up this guy's... No wait, never mind. I think I can see one already in his... Hey! Anyone wanna see me do a totally-ironic and not-cringy meme dance on him? Or is that too soon?.. Actually, y'know what, Imma stick to poking him with my staff and see if that does something."

Evie shook her head at the deity's antics before shifting her attention back at the group. "Keep your eyes on Orzo. If they could keep an illusion up for this long, there's no telling if this is another ploy."

Better safe than sorry.
 
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Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
The earth shook as he landed, then his form rippled unnaturally. For a lingering moment, he remained still, a fallen titan. Then the air hummed and with no warning, a surge of energy exploded from his form. It struck, but with only enough force to perhaps stagger some, but cause little real harm. Like a shockwave, the energy streamed back towards Orzo’s fallen form, with began to shrink, shadows spilling out from him, coalescing into a dense mass.

And within the shadows, a flash of golden chains, shattering. The darkness shrank, until all that remained was a lone human figure...

Clink shouted, high and shrill. “Xavian!”

Xavian half rose from the ground, eyes harrowed and gaunt, face pale. But at the sight of Clink, a weary smile brightened his face. “Clink,” he rasped. “You’re safe...”

Abruptly, his body seized and jerked, and his eyes turned red as shadows danced around his frame. Clink froze, wilting at the sight, before anger usurped his fear. “Orzo!” he screeched, stopping a few yards away.

A crooked smile grew on Xavian’s face. He began to speak, but his mouth didn’t open, a distorted voice breaking the still air. “G̷o̷ ̸a̵h̷e̶a̸d̸,̴ ̸l̸i̴t̷t̶l̶e̶ ̶C̵l̶i̵n̶k̸.̸ ̴I̴ ̵k̸n̸o̴w̵ ̸w̶h̷a̸t̶ ̸y̴o̶u̷’̶r̸e̷ ̸a̷l̸l̸ ̵t̷h̵i̵n̵k̶i̴n̷g̴.̸ ̸W̴h̷a̵t̴ ̵y̷o̶u̴ ̴w̶a̸n̶t̴.̷”̸ ̸. Xavian’s hand gestured to the Prison Bottle Odette held. “̶R̴e̴t̷u̴r̶n̷ ̵m̷e̴ ̵t̶o̵ ̸m̴y̶ ̴p̸r̷i̵s̴o̸n̷.̴ ̶L̸o̶c̶k̸ ̸m̴e̶ ̴a̵w̵a̷y̸ ̵a̸g̷a̴i̷n̶.̸ ̸B̶u̷t̶ ̶i̵f̵ ̷y̸o̵u̸ ̶d̴o̴,̴ ̵y̶o̶u̷’̷l̶l̶ ̸n̴e̵v̴e̷r̵ ̵s̴e̸e̴ ̷y̵o̸u̶r̸ ̴p̴r̴e̵c̶i̷o̶u̵s̴ ̷l̷i̶t̴t̸l̵e̷ ̵X̴a̷v̵i̷a̴n̸ ̵a̵g̴a̶i̶n̷.̶ ̸H̸e̶’̶l̵l̵ ̴b̸e̶ ̷i̶m̴p̷r̶i̵s̸o̷n̶e̸d̴ ̴f̶o̵r̴e̸v̸e̵r̵,̵ ̶w̵i̵t̴h̷ ̴m̶e̶.̷ ̵H̸i̸s̸ ̷b̵e̶s̷t̸e̵s̴t̴ ̴f̸r̸i̵e̷n̶d̷.̸”̵

Darkrai loomed over Not-Xavian, eyes flashing. “Release him at once.”

Not-Xavian’s face twisted into a sneer. “̷O̴h̵,̴ ̸s̷i̷l̶l̶y̶ ̷k̴i̸n̴g̸ ̵o̷f̵ ̴d̸r̴e̷a̶m̷s̵,̶ ̶y̶o̵u̴ ̵h̶a̴v̸e̷ ̶l̷i̸t̴t̶l̷e̸ ̷p̸o̷w̶e̸r̴ ̷h̸e̸r̵e̸.̸ ̷N̶o̷t̴ ̶e̴n̸o̸u̴g̵h̷ ̶t̶o̷ ̸s̴e̷p̸a̸r̸a̵t̴e̷ ̶m̷e̶ ̸f̵r̶o̷m̶ ̷t̶h̸i̸s̸ ̶s̷t̷u̵p̵i̴d̷ ̵h̵u̵m̶a̴n̷.̷ ̸N̸o̸t̴ ̸b̴e̸f̷o̶r̴e̵ ̸I̵ ̴d̴e̷s̴t̶r̸o̵y̸ ̷h̷i̴m̶.̴”̵ Not-Xavian continued, speaking to all the trainers. “̶F̸o̸o̷l̸i̸s̷h̸.̶ ̵Y̶o̴u̶ ̸s̷p̶e̵a̸k̸ ̴o̶f̵ ̷b̶o̴n̶d̸s̸ ̵a̸n̶d̴ ̷f̸r̸i̶e̴n̵d̷s̷h̷i̸p̷?̵ ̸W̸e̸l̵l̴ ̷c̶h̵o̶o̴s̴e̸,̵ ̶t̴h̶e̵n̵.̸ ̷S̸a̴c̵r̵i̷f̶i̸c̵e̶ ̶o̷n̷e̴ ̴s̶o̷-̸c̷a̷l̶l̷e̴d̵ ̵f̷r̷i̸e̷n̸d̷ ̷y̵o̷u̵ ̵b̵a̷r̵e̴l̴y̶ ̸k̴n̵o̸w̴ ̴t̷o̸ ̸s̵a̷v̶e̵ ̸a̷l̴l̷ ̴y̴o̶u̴r̴ ̷f̵r̷i̸e̸n̶d̶s̶.̵.̴.̸ ̸W̵h̶a̴t̷ ̴w̶i̶l̴l̷ ̴i̴t̵ ̸b̶e̸?̸”̸

“Never!” Clink snarled. “Xavian is my friend, and I won’t let you take him.”

“̷I̵s̴ ̷t̸h̵a̴t̶ ̸s̶o̶?̴” Not-Xavian gave a forced innocent smile. “̵Y̴o̵u̴ ̸w̶a̸n̸t̵ ̶t̸o̷ ̶k̶n̵o̶w̵ ̸s̶o̵m̷e̶t̴h̷i̵n̸g̷,̶ ̶s̵c̸r̴a̴p̷ ̷m̸e̷t̵a̵l̵?̶ ̷T̴a̴k̸i̶n̶g̷ ̵o̴v̴e̸r̷ ̸X̷a̷v̶i̵a̴n̵.̷.̴.̷ ̸u̷s̵i̴n̷g̶ ̵h̵i̵m̵.̵.̴.̷ ̸i̷t̵ ̷w̵a̵s̴ ̴e̸a̸s̴y̴.̶ ̴X̶a̷v̴i̸a̴n̸ ̴w̸a̴s̷ ̴s̸o̴ ̶c̵o̵n̴v̷i̴n̶c̴e̵d̴ ̸I̶ ̸w̶a̴s̸ ̸h̶i̵s̵ ̵p̷r̸e̷c̶i̵o̴u̷s̵ ̶f̸r̶i̷e̸n̵d̵ ̸h̴e̵ ̸t̶u̶r̴n̶e̸d̸ ̷a̴ ̷b̸l̴i̸n̷d̸ ̶e̸y̶e̷ ̷r̷i̴g̴h̵t̵ ̸u̷n̸t̶i̵l̷ ̴t̷h̵e̶ ̷e̸n̵d̸,̷ ̸r̸i̶g̸h̷t̸ ̷u̴n̴t̸i̶l̵ ̸I̴ ̷t̵o̵o̵k̶ ̷h̴i̸m̷.̷ ̵A̸n̵d̸ ̸n̸o̷w̵ ̷h̴e̵’̷s̸ ̷t̷o̴o̵ ̴w̷e̴a̷k̵ ̵t̶o̵ ̷f̸i̶g̷h̷t̵ ̸b̸a̴c̵k̷.̷”̶ he sneered, tone sing song. “̸W̸e̷a̵k̸ ̶l̴i̶k̸e̵ ̸a̸l̶l̷ ̸o̶f̵ ̶y̵o̵u̵.̸ ̶Y̴o̶u̶ ̴w̵o̶n̴’̶t̸ ̵r̷i̵s̶k̸ ̴h̴u̶r̶t̴i̵n̶g̵ ̵h̵i̵m̴.̵ ̷H̷i̶s̴ ̴w̵e̶a̵k̶n̶e̴s̴s̵,̶ ̴h̵i̸s̸ ̷n̶a̴i̸v̷e̷t̴y̷ ̷w̶i̵l̶l̴ ̸b̵e̶ ̷y̸o̸u̷r̴ ̶u̵n̴d̷o̷i̸n̴g̷.̸”̴

“That’s not true,” Clink said in a low voice. “Xavian isn’t weak. His friendship wasn’t a weakness. It was his strength, all of our strength! And without it, you’re the one who’s powerless. You’re so pathetic you feed on the work, the love, the strength of everyone around then call yourself strong. A king when you’re nothing but a petty jester. A joke.” Clink drew even closer to not Xavian, almost in his face. “And now that the tables have turned against you, you despise your own golden rule. You try to escape, to play another trick. Might makes right, does it!? Then what does it make you?”

Orzo seemed stunned into silence, seething with rage as he glared at the tiny creature defying him.

When Clink spoke again, his tone had changed, firm and resolute. “It’s ok. You don’t need him anymore.”

Not-Xavian snorted disdainfully. “̶͈͂E̸̝͘x̶̰̊c̶͉̊u̴͚̐s̷͎͠e̴̘̍ ̴̧̿m̶͉̊e̶͈̾?̸̣̒”̸͈͆

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Clink snapped. “Xavian. You’re not alone. And you’re not weak. Orzo tricked you, used you, and took advantage of you. You were naive. We both were. But you’re not weak. You can fight him off. I know you can hear me in there, so fight back.

A feral, almost inhuman shout escaped Not-Xavian and his body jerked and spasmed. “Ş̴̭͑̑̽t̶̢̫̫̓̄̈́ơ̷̤̈́̎p̸̱̤̦͂̄ ̷͔̗͂̅i̷̻̠͌̌̔t̴͙̹͊”̷͍̈̓ he cried, voice disjointed, wrong. He staggered around, stumbling, fighting his own body.

Not-Xavian raised a hand. Shadows gathered into a dark sphere of energy he aimed at Clink.

Darkrai tensed, ready to try and intervene, but Clink shook their head, moving closer to Xavian. He faced Not-Xavian calmly. “Fight him, Xavian!”

The sphere grew larger and — Not-Xavian’s eyes flickered, shifting from red to their natural green. The sphere flickered, then dissipated. His hands abruptly came up to his head and he clutched at it, jerking side to side. Then he spoke, in his own voice, through gritted teeth. “Get out!”

Bit by bit, a shadow began to separate from Xavian’s body, peeling away. It looked almost like a spectral version of a Xavian, as if his shadow itself were separating from him. The shadow began to shrink, morphing into a familiar golden Hoopa, though tendrils still clung stubbornly to Xavian’s frame.

Fury overtook Clink. Silver light flared from their body, then wrapped around one of the keys on their ring, and it began to grow, morphing into a shimmering blade. “Get. Out. Of. My. Friend!” Clink roared. With a mighty cry, they swung the blade. It sliced through the darkness, severing it and slicing through to strike Orzo down. The golden pokemon struck the earth and lay still. Silence reigned.

Darkrai moved swiftly, sending a wave of energy into Orzo, putting him deep into a slumber. "It's over."

Clink let out a long breath of relief, then turned to Xavian.

Xavian staggered a few steps, then crumpled to his knees, chest heaving. He blinked at Clink, dazed. A weary smile grew on his face. Tears gathered in his eyes, of relief and joy. “Clink... Thank you...” Then he slumped abruptly to the ground.

Clink jerked in shock and raced to his side. They turned to Darkrai. “Is-”

Darkrai rested a gentle hand on Xavian's head. “Fear not Clink, he is fine, simply exhausted. He needs much rest now.”

"So... its over?" Hoopa asked, drifting forward. "Is he... done now?"

Darkrai nodded. "Yes. It is over now. Odette, the prison bottle?"

Once he had it in hand, he approached the still unconscious Orzo.

"Wait," Clink said. "Let me. This my fault in part, for not seeing him for what he was sooner. I want to put him away."

Darkrai handed the bottle over to Clink, who levitated it over to Orzo. Then they opened it. There was surpisingly little flashy lights or spectacle. One moment, Orzo lay unconscious on the ground, the next, it was as if the bottle itself reached with an invisible force, ensaring him, and dragging him inside. Clink quickly shut the bottle and let out a sigh. Now its over.

“Are you ready, Hoopa?” Darkrai said. Hoopa nodded as he floated forwards. Five more golden rings now hung from his horns.

“I am.” He tossed out a ring, and a portal opened, through which the island's beach could be seen. “Once we’re out of here, I’ll make sure everyone gets home.” He spared a glance, then added "And us mythicals will do whatever we can to help Xavian and all of you once we're out of here. We are in your debt this day. Without your help we couldn't have stopped him."

Darkrai nodded grimly. “Then let us leave this place to recover. It is time for us to return home, you have all given much, and deserve rest."

And one by one, the exhausted trainers began to file through the portal.
 
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Negrek

Shadow Falling
Staff
And in the end, the end was... almost anticlimactic. Yeah, everybody was going nuts throwing around their strongest attacks, there were about eighteen more people on the field all of a sudden (was that... another Wallace? Another fucking Wallace?), some little fire pixie thing was zooming around striking victory poses for whatever the hell reason--but Orzo himself wasn't putting up much of a fight. Come right down to it, he just couldn't stand against everybody's most bullshit powers combined. Or friendship, or whatever the fuck.

At some point Mightyena lost her Galarization or whatever the fuck it was and disappeared back into the mass of attacking pokemon, back at her normal size. Nate hoped Reena'd had a gentler landing than he and Wes had. There honestly wasn't much for him to do but stand back and watch the fireworks and try to figure out who the hell all these new people were. Mostly nobody he recognized, just whatever random trainers people happened to know, he supposed. But the girl with the ninetales had gotten another pokemon, a tyranitar, so great, Nate was just that lucky that he'd gotten Asshole Supreme instead. And, wait, were there two of the chick that had shown up for Wes, too?

He was so distracted that the bullshit king collapsing in the dirt was a surprise. The hoopa's fall sent out a last blast of energy that made Nate cover his face against the wind and billowing dust. But in the silence that followed, well...

...it was a good thing he hadn't even thought about starting to celebrate. Orzo collapsed down into that familiar fucked-up version of the rich guy, back to cavorting around, threatening to take the rich guy with him if they were going to throw him back in the Prison Bottle thing. Nate was so beyond done that he was feeling inclined to say the asshole could have the rich guy's soul or whatever if it meant they could all get out of there, but fortunately Clink and Darkrai had it covered. A little more frienship magic, a little sleep magic from Darkrai, and then they were finally able to use that bottle Odette and Wes had discovered that pulled everything together.

And okay, that... That felt like shit was actually over. Nate took a deep breath. Okay. No more jumping at his own shadow thinking someone might pop up and drag him off to dreamland. No more hearing about people vanishing and wondering who might go next. No more late-night meetings and sneaking around to gather clues. Time to go... home.

Nate had no idea how he was going to find Mightyena in the mess of people moving towards the portal, but of course he needn't have worried. She was always going to be the one to find him first, leaping towards him out of the crowd, a Reena who very thankfully did not look like she'd broken her neck after falling off a skyscraper-sized dog running at her heels. And then the fucking freak bringing up the rear. Wonderful.

"We did it!" Mightyena called, throwing herself at him, a whirlwind of slobber and wagging tail. "We did it, we did it!"

"We did!" As always, there was no way Nate couldn't laugh at Mightyena's antics. She was wriggling around like a puppy, so full of energy, even after a crazy fight like that, that it seemed like she couldn't bear to keep all four paws on the ground at once. It must have been a good minute or so before she calmed down enough for Nate to catch her. He dug his fingers into the thick fur around the base of her neck and scratched, going all the way up under her chin and then back down towards her chest. All the while she was still squirming around, trying to lick his face, banging his legs with her tail.

"Who was the best fighter here, hmm?" he asked. "Who showed that asshole who's boss?"

"Whatever that growing thing the crystal pokemon did was amazing! We need to figure out how to do that again when we get home."

"Yeah, I don't know about that. You're pretty dangerous when you can just wag your tail and take out a building or something. I get enough of that with Steelix." He flicked Mightyena's ear to let her know he was joking. "But seriously, though. You were great even when you weren't throwing around your big dark blasts and all that shit. Getting Groudon and Orzo to fight each other that one time, huh? That was fucking great."

"And you got to ride Keldeo again! I'm glad he didn't throw you off that time."

"Yeah, how about we start pretending like that never happened, okay?" Nate gave Mightyena a brief hug around the neck, then straightened up. The crowd around the portal was thinning out. And Reena had disappeared, he noticed with a twinge of guilt. She must have seen Drampa and gone to leave with him. They'd have to try to track her down later; Mightyena at least would want to say goodbye.

Naturally the freak was still standing there, staring. "The fuck are you looking at?" Nate asked. "So, was it everything you always dreamed it would be? Beating down the bad guy with the power of friendship and like sixteen different legendaries? You have the time of your life kicking Hoopa's ass?"

"It was easier than I expected."

And that was it. Went right back to staring. It had to be fucking with him. Nate didn't know what the hell the joke was supposed to be, but fine, if it wanted to stand around looking at him all creepy, it could be his fucking guest. Better that than it talking his ear off about its shitty TV shows.

Mightyena licked his hand. Right. Yeah. Shouldn't be wasting time on that asshole. They had places to be.

"Cool. Well, I guess you're stuck with us until you disappear or whatever the fuck. Do me a solid and keep up the strong, silent act for a few more minutes, it's a great fucking look for you."

And he'd been sure that would get some kind of rise, some immediate attempt to go and do the opposite of what he'd just said. But no, nothing. Didn't even change expression. Creepy as hell.

"Let's just get the fuck out of here," Nate mumbled.

He hesitated just before they reached Hoopa's ring, though. Through it Nate could see the beach--good old Murder Island. And then what? Were they at least going to get a chance to grab a fucking nap before getting chucked back to their own worlds? Getting dumped back in the middle of the fucking woods on no sleep and the post-adrenaline shakes sounded a real fucking bad time, honestly.

That wasn't all, though. "Guess when we go back through there Clink's magic shit's gonna wear off," Nate said slowly. "Only applies in his realm or whatever, right?"

"I don't know. You could be right."

For a long moment they just looked through at the people starting to disperse on the far side of the portal. Figured. There was no way Nate would manage to say everything he needed to say to Mightyena, not if he had actual years to get it done in. And yet caught in a moment like this, it all flew out of his head, and he couldn't think of anything to say at all.

"I love you, Nate," Mightyena said.

"Yeah," Nate said, and god, the freak was right there listening to all this, wasn't it? He could feel himself blushing. But it wasn't like he could just go and leave Mightyena hanging, was it? "Love you, too."

They walked through the portal together.
 

Dragonfree

Moderator
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
And it was over. Xavian safe, Orzo back in the bottle. They'd be able to go home.

May stood, Spirit back at her side, and looked at Tyranitar where he stood sheepishly on the battlefield. He was glancing furtively her way in between looking away again, like he wasn't sure he was allowed to.

"What am I supposed to do?" she said.

"Go and talk to him," Spirit said, nudging her leg. "You both need it."

May took a deep breath. Maybe. And then what? What was she supposed to say?

She walked up to her former Pokémon. He still wasn't quite looking at her, until she said, "Tyranitar?"

"Did I... do well?" he said. His speech was still so stilted and immature. Why? Hadn't he been talking with anyone since he'd left? Why?

She swallowed. "Of course you did. You were my strongest Pokémon."

"Will you... take me back?"

Her insides clenched into a knot. "Tyranitar, I can't. It's better for everyone if you find somewhere else to be. You-- What happened to you, anyway? Did the wild Tyranitar do that?"

He winced, nodding. Of course. Of course he'd get picked on, weird and childish and meek and awkward. Did she expect anything different?

"Listen, you shouldn't put up with that. Fight back. You don't need them anyway. Go and... find somebody else. Maybe there are other outcast Tyranitar somewhere. Don't just let them do that to you. Or find a new trainer if you have to." Tyranitar getting a new trainer couldn't possibly get them into trouble, right? His data should have been completely deleted from the League servers when he was released, right? Or could he somehow get recognized anyway? "Okay, maybe not another trainer, but--"

"You are my trainer," he said, lowering his head.

Her gut stung once again. "Tyranitar, you have to go. I'm sorry. I'm sorry things haven't been good in the wild. I just wanted you to be okay. And you need to be okay without me, okay? Whatever you do, wherever you go, just try to be happy."

Tyranitar gazed at her for a few seconds as she took measured breaths. Then a small nod.

"I will try," he said. "Good... goodbye."

He started to turn away, eyes sorrowful. And without thinking, she stepped up and wrapped her arms around him, pressing her forehead against the cool rock.

"Goodbye, Tyranitar."

For a second he was stiff, startled. Then his rock arms clumsily wrapped around her shoulders.

She fought back the burning in her lungs until he let her go, lifting his arms gently. As she looked up at him, he smiled a little. And then he disappeared back to their world, dissolving into a sparkling mist.
 
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