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Vs Despot King, Orzo


  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?
  1. skiddo-steplively
  2. skiddo-px2
  3. skiddo-px3
  4. skiddo-iametrine
  5. skiddo-coolshades
  6. skiddo-rudolph
  7. skiddo-sleepytime
  8. snowskiddo
  9. skiddotina
  10. skiddengo
  11. skiddoyena
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.


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.]]
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Multiversal Extraordinaire
Stranded In The Gaps between Multiverses
  1. froslass
  2. zorua-gojira
  3. salandit-shiny
"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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Flygon connoisseur
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
  6. joltik
  7. salandit
  8. tyrantrum
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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Play the Rain
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.


  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. scyther-mia
  5. vulpix
  6. slugma
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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