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The Corei Quest...rewritten!

Which Corei Starter would you choose?

  • Mongle

    Votes: 10 33.3%
  • Fryger

    Votes: 10 33.3%
  • Aquari

    Votes: 10 33.3%

  • Total voters
    30
  • Poll closed .

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
TCQ ch 30~2

*continued from last post*​

<Master...> Zen said in shock, unsure whether to believe he was truly seeing his master seated there, staring at him in disdain, as though he thought he was weak, as though he, Zen had justified his exile, his abandonment; like he had deserved the hell he’d had to endure the past twelve months...

A fury such as never before began to rise within Zen like bile, a severe hatred for the man that had shattered his hopes, his dreams; thrown him away like a worthless pawn... he would show him, he thought as a forceful battle cry rumbled from deep within himself and ascended into a violent roar of rage as he threw the Machamp off him and rushed the Harleking, his fist clenched so tightly he was starting to bleed at the palm, the now useless prosthetic arm trailing sparks behind him as it screeched along the floor, the Machamp hot on his heels...

...he would show them all.

“Zen! What’re you doing? Fall back!” Sapph yelled in horror as Zen charged into the Harleking, swinging his only working arm at the Harlequin Pokémon wildly, screaming random oaths at the Pokémon who he was trying to punch.

Harleking saw each attack coming a mile away however and using its incredible flexibility ducked, swayed and folded his body in time with Zen’s furious attacks, making each one miss.

“Ace, keep the Machamp busy!” Sapph commanded his Flying type Pokémon, who nodded her helmet-clad head and swooped in, her expansive wings glowing white as she aimed for the lumbering Machamp’s back.

“Attacking from behind?” Chen said with a tutting sound. “How rude of you, Sapph Manson. Champ, Use Dynamic Punch behind you...now!” He ordered, waiting until the time was perfect to execute his order.

Ace, still dizzy from the repeated Doubleslaps to her head barely had the time to register Chen’s command in mid-dive, nor did she hear Sapph’s warning until what seemed to be a boulder slammed into her beak so hard she thought she had felt it become fractured. Ace went spinning away and flopped to the floor, out cold.

“Champ...” Chen ordered, ready to assist Lhi’s Pokémon when Lhi interrupted him, saying, “Leave this to Harleking, Brother Chen. You focus on catching your breath. Harleking,” he added in a shout to his Pokémon. “It is time to end this battle.”

<Yes, Master Lhi,> Harleking said calmly, not missing a beat in his evasive dance around the winded and furious Zen.

“Zen, try Aura Sphere! C’mon!” Sapph coaxed his Pokémon, noting that Zen would not follow an order to retreat and instead tried to order an attack.

However, for all the good it did, Sapph might have just as well yelled at the statues dotting the grounds. Zen, taking a great sweeping over-arm hook at the Harleking, found himself overextended, and right in the path of a right handed slap that resounded through the arena. Zen hardly had time to feel the stinging on his cheek before Harleking’s next attack, a rising left knee to the gut, forced him upright again painfully.

Haley found it too hard to watch as she shut her eyes, the loud smacks resonating through the air and filling her mind with awful images as Zen audibly retched, throwing up a quantity of blood as Harleking landed a straight Force Palm thrust to his opponent’s chest, sending the smaller Pokémon sailing back and crumpling in the middle of the arena, twitching and convulsing.

“Call ‘im back, man,” T.J. said pityingly. “He can’t take much more, Sapph.”

Sapph nodded silently. As much as he wanted to respect Zen’s desire to fight, he knew as well as the Pacifidlog local that even Zen had reached his limit. Raising his pokéball and said, “Zen, re-“

<NO, DAMNIT!> Zen roared, coughing feebly as he impossibly pushed himself to his feet once more, bleeding profusely from the mouth, nose and hand. <Don’t you... dare, kid. I haven’t lost... not... damned... yet... I... I,> he muttered, staring up at the man who raised him formerly malevolently, he screamed for all the mountains to hear: <I REFUSE TO LOSE!!>

“ZEN!” Sapph cried out in protest as the Taebrawl ran towards his opponent, screaming loudly. Harleking sighed and sliding low to the ground sent another Force Palm straight into Zen’s mouth without any sign of holding back. Harleking then proceeded to pummel Zen all over with quick jabs and kicks, before a final Force Palm to the chest sent Zen rolling over the floor like a gollywog, coming to a limp stop beside Ace.

Sapph thought the shock at Lhi’s brutality had robbed him of his voice; he was almost certain he’d never be able to speak again.

“Taebrawl and Mawhoot are both unable to battle! The first round goes to Masters Lhi and Chen!” the referee declared after a brief examination of Sapph’s Pokémon.

Sapph grit his teeth as he returned his bruised and (in Zen’s case) bloodied Pokémon. It looked like this battle was going to call for more than raw power, he thought as he lowered his Pokémon’s retrieval orbs silently back to his belt.

“Quite the strategy,” T.J. breathed, watching the gym leaders’ Pokémon in awe.

Haley nodded as she added, “The Machamp attacks first and takes all heavy hits, its muscly armour blocking all attempts to faze it. And Harleking’s remarkable flexibility acts as a defense to all attacks that get past the Machamp.”

“Not only that,” T.J. said as he watched Sapph pull off two new pokéballs from its belt, one of them pure white with a green line tracing its equator. “Harleking’s quick multiple attacks hurt as much as Machamp’s heavy hits. How will Sapph fight that?”

“OK, so now what’s next, Sapph?” Chen said eagerly, getting into the swing of things as his Machamp stretched its four arms wide.

“By now, you should have noticed,” Lhi said, opening his eyes now that the brutality exacted on Zen and Ace had passed. “That it’ll take more than power to crush our combinations, Sapphire.”

“I guess I have no choice, then,” Sapph said confidently. “If it’s a combination you want, that’s what you’ll get! Anuvi, Crimson, let’s go!” he yelled the last four words authoritatively, throwing down his last two Pokémon.

A blast of white and green light streaked from the air onto the pitch, the latter in a spiral motion and within seconds Sapph’s oldest Pokémon teammates hovered and stood before the Machamp and Harleking, dwarfed by the colossal Supewrpower Pokémon.

Anuvi whistled as he looked up into the Machamp’s face and said, <Yo, big guy. How’s it hangin’?>

<Your team mates, the Taebrawl and Mawhoot, were no match for us,> the Harlequin Pokémon said quietly. <I do hope you can surpass them long enough to make the match interesting.>

Bristling slightly at the news of Zen and Ace’s defeat, Crimson raised his four fists and said calmly, <Well, I guess we’ll have to see, won’t we?>

“Round two: Squirrage and Ledian versus Machamp and Harleking,” the referee said, raising both hands in the air. Crossing his fore arms, he added, “Begin!”

“We shall begin this time!” Lhi exclaimed. “Harleking, use Doubleslap on the Squirrage!”

“Champ, show that bug your Mega Punch!” Chen whooped.

“Crimson, Protect now! Anuvi, get moving!” Sapph commanded swiftly.

The hulking mass of bulging muscles ran in behind the smaller Harlequin Pokémon as it prepared to slap the Warrior pok’emon silly.

It matters not how fast Chen says that Squirrage is, Lhi thought determinedly. I am fully confident that Harleking will... what the?

Lhi’s eyes widened as Anuvi suddenly stood right in front of him, leaving his partner alone and quite unguarded. Anuvi smirked at Crimson who smiled back and produced his familiar green sphere around him to shield himself not only from the Harleking’s assault but to cause the Machamp (who was moving too fast to stop) to barrel into his own team mate’s back fist first, slamming the slighter Pokémon back into the impenetrable shield.

“Moron,” Chen yelled at his partner. “I told you to watch for his Squirrage, didn’t I? Now look what you made Champ do!”

“It is not my fault that your Machamp lacks the self control that should enable it to not crush its own team mate!” Lhi said in a quiet yet clearly affronted voice as the hit proved too strong for the Harleking to take as it keeled over, clutching its gut in pain and glaring at the Machamp vehemently, who could only grin back apologetically.

“<Oi, oi... are they serious?>” Sapph and his Pokémon thought in incredulous unison.

“Well, time to show you a combination move of our own,” Sapph said spritely. “Anuvi, Crimson! Get in position!”

<Roger!> Crimson yelled and Anuvi wordlessly nodded as they circled their prey, Anuvi moving slower that usual.

“Not if we hit you first, Sapphire!” Lhi exclaimed proudly. “Harleking, Doubleslap again!”

“Champ, Dynamic Punch!” Chen hollered, pumping his fist.

“Don’t wait for them, guys!” Sapph said urgently. “Move to meet them!”

Anuvi and Crimson ran towards the Machamp and Harleking like a pair of hot rodders playing chicken on the interstate.

Barely seconds from impact, Sapph yelled, “Crimson, use Mach Punch and...”

On Sapph’s command, Anuvi phased out of sight once more, avoiding the backhand slapping Pokémon, whose eyes widened as a small white fist came out of nowhere, connecting with his face dead centre and sending him flying.

“No where’s that Pokémon gone?” Chen said in frustration, getting his answer a split second later as Anuvi came sliding into Champ’s ankles foot first and tripping the behemoth up... onto the advancing Ledian, whose crossed fists covered his mouth as the Machamp saw his chance to body slam the Five Star Pokémon to the antipodes.

Champ was suddenly distracted by a slight weight on his back as Anuvi flipped onto his broad back and clapped his paws over his ears, his body in a crouched position as Harleking flew directly overhead.

“... SUPERSONIC!” Sapph yelled, blocking his ears as well.

In the stands, Haley stuffed her fingers into her ears upon hearing Sapph’s next command. Crimson uncrossed his arms and unleashed a powerful supersonic noise that resonated throughout the temple, causing a mass of painfull groans as all the monks struggled to shut out the painful sound. Champ who had received the attack at point-blank range, was shot into the air like a cork, his sense of balance and equilibrium shot to zero by the forceful auditory assault.

“Anuvi! Yaiba no Hayashi, let’s go!” Sapph yelled. “Crimson, use Comet Punch Thunder Style to end it!”

Anuvi gripped the leaves on his back over his shoulder and sprung off the Machamp’s back, propelling him back to the arena floor, where Crimson stood waiting, his four fists crackling with electricity. Bouncing off the ceiling of the large arena, Anuvi sped towards the defenceless Harleking, who had just begun to fall and with one flash of green light created the energy sword he had patented and slashed Harleking across the chest, sending him crashing into the ground like a rocket just as Crimson unleashed a flurry of electric punches to the Machamp’s abdomen, unloading critically-damaging voltage into his hulking frame and sending him on a one-way trip into unconsciousness with a loud thud ten feet away.

Raising his right hand as Anuvi touched down lightly besides his insectoid partner who hovered a few inches off the ground, the referee declared Harleking and Machamp unable to continue fighting, a note of shock in his voice. A feeling shared, at least, by Chen, who cursed ruefully under his breath as he returned his Pokémon despondently.

Lhi, however didn’t make a sound as he returned Harleking and drew out his second battler as Chen did the same.

<Whoa, whoa! Are you kidding me?> Anuvi gasped as he saw them draw out fresh Pokémon.

<You mean to say, that between them, Zen and Ace couldn’t knock out one Pokémon?> Crimson said in disbelief.

“Chin up, guys,” Sapph said confidently. “I have every confidence in you guys! We can take whatever they throw at us, no problem!”

“Well, we’ll beg to differ, Sapphire,” Lhi said calmly. “Hariyama, I require your aid!”

“Go Ku, let’s rumble!” Chen said; his grin back in place as he threw down his last battler.

Beside the chubby mass of muscle that was Hariyama, a much smaller Pokémon appeared beside it, chattering loudly as it clapped its long, hairy arms. Its eyes under its thick blue monobrow sparkled with mischief and its long tail burned brightly at the tip as it swished from side to side. It flexed its tan coloured fingers expectantly as Hariyama cracked his abnormally-sized knuckles, each one larger than his Pecha berry shaped head, an identical monobrow overlying its beady black eyes.

On seeing the Monferno’s flaming tail, Crimson’s eyes faltered as he said in a tiny voice, <Damn, another Fire type. Could this day suck any more?>

<C’mon, Bug Head,> Anuvi said coyly. <Don’t tell me you’re afraid...>

<Easy for you, Anuvi,> Crimson snapped in a high pitched voice. <You forgot what fear is when your mother dropped you on your nut-filled head!>

<Hey, you’re getting better at dissing, Crimson! Good for you!> Anuvi said proudly. <Only next time, leave the ‘yo mama’ jokes for the opponents, OK?>

“Well, he can’t burn you if he can’t hit you,” Sapph reasoned with his neurotic Five Star Pokémon. “Anuvi, wanna switch with Crimson?”

<Whaddya say, Crimson?> Anuvi said cheerfully. <Will it be the Simian Briquette or the Sumo Nutcracker?>

Crimson took one look at the Hariyama, who cracked his little finger knuckle with the sound of a gunshot and said hurriedly, <I’ll have the briquette.>

<Fair enough,> Anuvi said before facing the Hariyama, his right hand clenching tighter around the katana-shaped blade.

“Final round: Squirrage and Ledian versus Hariyama and Monferno. Ready... fight!” the referee announced with the final beat of the great drum.

“Here we go! Go Ku, attack the Squirrage with Poison Jab!” Chen commanded.

“Hariyama, use Fake Out on the Ledian, then Arm Thrust!” Lhi ordered.

“OK, Anuvi! Defend Crimson with Yaiba no Hayashi and employ evasive manoeuvres! Crimson, counter the Monferno with Comet Punch Thunder Style!” Sapph countered swiftly.

All four Pokémon leapt into action as one: the Squirrage named Anuvi swung his vegetation powered sword in a wide horizontal arc which stopped the hulking Arm Thrust Pokémon’s first attack and then ducked and weaved in and out of the larger Pokémon’s Sumo-like thrusts. Crimson’s wings beat faster as the four fists of cosmic power crackled with electricity once more as he traded lightning fast blows with the Monferno, whose paws glowed a vivid, sickly purple.

“Good job, Crimson, keep it up!” Sapph cheered on his Pokémon. “Anuvi, fight back with Razor Leaf!”

<OK,> Anuvi said, waving his free arm in an arc into the Hariyama’s belly and discharging a torrent of sharp-edged foliage towards him. Without missing a step, the Hariyama kept up its offense, shredding all leaves into compost. Anuvi gulped as he leapt back and resumed his dodging as the Arm Thrust Pokémon’s attack increased in velocity... and power.

Halfway across the stage, Go Ku and Crimson continued to trade attacks, blocking each other’s jabs with their own and not bothering to evade. The Playful Pokémon taunted Crimson, screeching, <I am monkey, so are you!>

Weirded out, Crimson merely replied by increasing the punches per minute he was doling out, surprised the Monferno, who had half as many hands was able to keep up with him for so long.

“Now, Anuvi! Leave Hariyama in the dust and help Crimson gain the upper hand!” Sapph commanded.

<Easier said... than done,> Anuvi panted, the strain of maintaining his speed movements beginning to show. Deciding to employ a wisecrack to throw Hariyama’s concentration, Anuvi adopted an impressed voice and said, <Hey, Tubby... work out much?>

As Anuvi leapt back, increasing the distance between them by a few more feet, Hariyama grinned suddenly and thrust his palm forwards with deliberate and insane force. Anuvi’s eyes widened as a blast of wind rushed towards him, sending him spiralling a few more feet back.

<Anuvi!> Crimson yelled, momentarily forgetting he had his hands full with the hyperactive simian Pokémon, who took the initiative to screech, <Buboom for you!> as Crimson took a shot of Poison Jab to his upper right shoulder.

<Gah!> Crimson gasped, flying backwards away from the prancing monkey towards Anuvi, who’d skidded to a halt, using the Yaiba no Hayashi to forcefully brake.

<Crimosn, you OK?> Anuvi asked a little winded as Hariyama seemed to let up a little, also panting hard.

Crimson gritted his teeth as the poison began to take effect, <No... damned poison...>

It seemed that last strike took about as much out of him as moving around at Squirrage speed took out of Anuvi, Sapph thought. Meaning now is the time to strike! But with Crimson poisoned, it’s best he moves as little as possible. In that case...

“Anuvi, attack the Hariyama with Yaiba no Hayashi! Crimson, try nailing that nutty Monferno from a distance with Supersonic!”

<Right!> Both Pokémon hollered as they moved to follow orders. Anuvi’s green nihoutou glowed again as he slashed through the air towards the Hariyama as the Five Star Pokémon unleashed an unearthly scream upon the Monferno.

“Ah, ah, aah... Go Ku, go evasive ‘til you see your chance and let him have it!” Chen commanded.

“Hariyama, employ your Arm Thrust again and move in for close combat!” Lhi ordered calmly.

Hariyama stepped into the offensive so hard the flagstone beneath his feet crumbled as he stomped down, releasing a second blast of energy that collided with the rolling arc of green energy the Yaiba no Hayashi had unleashed causing both attacks to cancel out. Hariyama then advanced in the wake of his attack, resuming the game of cat-and-squirrel.

Crimson also seemed to face difficulty in pinpointing the monkey long enough to subject it to his painful, ear-shattering sound attacks. Go Ku leapt around the battle field with almost as much agility as Anuvi, inching closer as he danced around the tiring Bug type Pokémon. About six feet away, he let a theatrical, hoarse laugh and said, <I curse you with my bad breath,> before puffing out his chest and, quite literally, spewing out bad breath which had ignited into a powerful Flamethrower attack.

Reacting instinctively, Crimson threw up his protective green bubble Anuvi was back to back with him, shielding them both from their attackers and drawing Hariyama into the line of... well, fire.

As the flames died away, Crimson gasped as he released the Protect bubble and sank to his knees, Anuvi raising the Yaiba no Hayashi in a defensive position as the Hariyama struggled to overcome the pain his burns were putting him through and rushing forwards with a shouted command from his trainer, rapped his large knuckles sharply atop Anuvi’s head, causing stars to pop and wink before the Warrior Pokémon’s eyes as he dropped the Yaiba no Hayashi, causing it to fizzle away into nothing.

By no means done with his quarry, Hariyama proceeded to grab him by the ruff and slap him repeatedly across the face, doubling the amount of stars Anuvi saw, before letting him drop to his feet dizzily, swaying as drunkenly as the Harleking had before him.

“<ANUVI!>” Sapph and Crimson yelled in worry as Anuvi tottered around, his mind messed up by the combination Knock Off and Wake-Up Slap techniques administered to his head.

<I’m OK,> Anuvi said giddily, struggling to get his bearings as the Hariyama swam in and out of sight. Pulling off a second leaf from his short cape, he reanimated the energy sword faster than blinking and laid a close range Yaiba no Hayashi dealing critical damage as the Arm Thrust Pokémon went flying, shocking Lhi tremendously.

Giggling softly he turned to his partners, and grinning flashed them a thumbs up as he said, <See? Now you two focus on giving Monkey Face a piece of your mind, Crimson...Sapph,> he said, laughing as he watched the Hariyama struggle to his feet.

“OK... Crimson,” Sapph said turning their attention to the only Pokémon yet to sustain any damage. “Get close with Mach Punch and follow up with regular Comet Punch. Think your body can handle it?”

Crimson struggled to his feet and said, <Well, we won’t know until we try, Sapph...>

His blue visored eyes fixed on his target, Crimson flickered out of sight with Go Ku playing too much to notice despite Chen’s outcry. A split second later, Go Ku noticed as a fist seemed to plow into him from out of nowhere. The rest of Crimson came soon afterwards, his other fists glowing with cosmic power as he laid into his opponent once... twice... thrice...

Well, to put it in a nutshell, it was only after fifteen seconds of furious pummelling that Crimson had had enough of smacking the silly monkey around and Go Ku crumpled in a heap that was breathing heavily for a few seconds before he rose to his feet, the black and blue bruising dotting his body swelling up as it winced repeatedly.

Anuvi and Hariyama leapt apart once more each possessing an assortment of fresh stinging injuries and breathing heavily.

Sapph and the young gym leaders looked on as all four Pokémon glared their opposition down, each looking close to the end of their tether, forming a rough spatial quadrilateral at the corners of which they stood.

Time to end this, they thought in unison and issued their final commands all at once:

“Hariyama... Long Range Arm Thrust!”

“Focus Blast, Go Ku!”

“Anuvi, Yaiba no Hayashi, one more time! Crimson, use Comet Punch Fire Style, now!”

Anuvi raised his energy sword above his head with both hands and gripped it tightly, sparks flying from the grounds around his feet as he stared at Go Ku, who had brought his hands to his side and created a golden ball of Qi with smaller, twinkling balls of light dancing within it, growling with a seriousity not yet displayed in the Fire type but showing intense focus.

Beside him, Hariyama raised one palm in front of him as he brought the other one to his chest, the energy growing to palpable quantities as he stared down the Ledian, whose four arms were blazing bright red, causing the crowd to murmur amongst themselves; it wasn’t every day you saw a Bug Pokémon use a Fire type attack of any kind.

What happened next resulted in a colossal explosion. Crimson, Anuvi, Go Ku and Hariyama released all their attacks at the same instant; wind, grass, fire and Qi meeting midway and colliding with enormously devastating consequence. Sapph, Lhi and Chen threw their hands in front of their faces to shield their eyes from the brilliance of the power struggles as the explosion enveloped all four Pokémon who let out simultaneous yells of pain for the next seven seconds before the explosive flames died away, leaving four severely wounded Pokémon in the aftermath.

Soon the match became a painfully, mentally tortuous game of endurance as the foursome stared at each other, sheer will power keeping them on their feet until Crimson passed out as the poison sapped the last of his strength.

Goku followed a split second later, the smaller Pokémon not trained to take as much damage as it had crumpling into an unconscious heap with a soft whimper.

Anuvi and Hariyama glared at each other a moment longer, their legs wobbling and with smiles full of respect for each other’s fighting spirit, passed out in unison.

***​

“This wait is killing me!” Haley said in an anguished tone. “And I wasn’t the one who was battling!”

After the battle, Haley, T.J. and their Pokémon were grouped in the reception area of the Pokémon Centre. All ten of their Pokémon had been let out and were halfway through their meal, Phoenix and Bubbles amongst them.

According to Clyff Endlethorn’s new legislation, gym matches that ended in a simultaneous knockout had to be replayed for all the gym leaders to view and vote as to who won the match. Their judgement was to be based on careful analysis of the battle at various speeds of play: regular, slow and ultra slow motion/

T.J. glanced towards the swinging doors that lead to the Pokémon recovery wards and said calmly, “I hope Sapph’s Pokémon are OK. Tha battle they fought was toe-tally right-yours!”

“I just hope The Gym Leaders’ rule the match in Sapph’s favour,” Haley muttered, biting her thumbnail nervously. “Sapph really can’t afford to lose another gym battle on technicality.”

“Whatta you...” T.J. began in shock, before their attention was grasped by the double doors swinging open and Sapph walking through them, Lavender and Arcana at his heels, conspicuous only by the absence of his red anorak and lack of zeal.

“Hey, man,” T.J. greeted nervously as he slumped into the booth seat next to Haley.

“You OK?” Haley said quietly. “How are you holding up?”

“Fine,” Sapph said listlessly, his head bowed down as he petted Arcana and Lavender fondly before setting their meals before them.

<Like, how’re Anuvi and the others doing?> Bubbles asked the Evolution and Puppy Pokémon as they began to tuck in.

<They’re OK,> Lavender informed the others solemnly.

<For the mo’ part,> Arcana said after swallowing loudly. <Zen’s arm’s is totally busted. The nurse was talking about amputation.>

Mace whistled as he chuckled faintly, <Bet Zen loved that.>

<He went totally nuts,> Arcana agreed, frowning at Mace’s tone. <He... well, he said a lot of stuff as we left after the nurse. Sapph asked if there were any way to contact the man who’d created Zen’s arm in the first place.>

<She said it wasn’t possible,> Lavender said quietly, who was, although no fan of the rambunctious Taebrawl, feeling sorry for him nonetheless. <Zen was really upset at the result of the battle... he mentioned something about his old master seeing him lose again...>

<What?> All eleven Pokémon chorused in shock.

<Yeah. Apparently, Zen’s first trainer was a Black Belt trainer called Wei Hu from Pampa City, somewhere south of here... and he saw him in the stands during the match,> Lavender said dejectedly.

<So that’s why he looked the worst for wear when we saw them,> Arcana said thoughtfully. <But you said sometime ago that the guy abandoned Zen. Why would a guy like Zen care what he thinks of him now?>

<I dunno,> Lavender said sadly. <I wish he could let go of the past... it’s not healthy for anybody to do that to themselves.>

<Damn straight, girlfriend,> Arcana muttered darkly.

<Why so? I was the top of my class in the Nightspark Bay Buggle Academy, and the brightest of all my one hundred and forty nine siblings,> Ento said proudly.

<Ento, dude?> Vapor said through gritted teeth. <Shut up.>

The main glass doors of the Pokémon Centre slid open with a serpentine hiss and Lhi and Chen walked in, looking exhausted.

Upon seeing them, Haley sprang to her feet and said hurriedly, “What did you decide? Did Sapph win?”

Sapph and T.J. remained seated, although the latter was looking up expectantly at the gym leaders.

“Well, as per the new legislation, it was put to the vote,” Chen said wearily. “All nine gym leaders cast their vote – we cast separate votes - after watching the footage of the match.”

Haley thought she’d die from the tension the boys were putting on them. “AND?!”

Lhi threw Haley a sharp look before answering, his eyes on Sapph, “Two voted to be undecided. Three, in favour; four against.”

“Sorry, Sapph,” Chen said apologetically. “If it were down to me, I’d have given you the badge for the hottest match we’ve fought all season. However,” here, the boy threw a dirty half glance at Lhi, before exhaling heavily and said, “as per the new Corei League Legislation, page forty-two, section three, paragraph D...”

“...the challenger, Sapphire Manson, has been ruled to have lost the official gym battle due to a T.K.O.,” Lhi finished heavily, his eyes regarding Sapph in a wary, almost fearful manner.

About ten seconds of ringing silence rang through the air before Haley’s chest expanded in indignation, ready to let the Gym Leaders have a piece of her mind. T.J. could only gape in shock.

“It’s OK. Haley? Drop it.”

Sapph was much more deliberate in rising off the seat as he murmured softly, “I understand.”

Haley watched him leave the congregation in shocked silence.

Wordlessly, Arcana looked at Lavender, who nodded and both began to walk after their trainer through the double doors that lead to the recovery wards as well as the sleeping quarters for trainers passing through.

“Well, I hope you’re proud of yourselves!” Haley said indignantly, as though scolding them. “You lousy leaders and your stupid constitu-“

Haley stopped very abruptly and no one present needed to ask why: a voluminous explosion thundered through the doors and the doors nearly flew off their hinges as a great volume of dust and chippings swept into the reception area, making all four humans and ten Pokémon choke and gasp.

Letting out a violent expletive, Lhi, Chen Haley and T.J. raced towards the doors where with a bang they opened them into a scene of nauseating chaos.

Neon green light shone through a hole, spanning six feet in diameter, was carved in the right side of the corridor. The stone that previously filled the hole lay as rubble on the opposite wall, on top of which a small tan body was slumped, grasping his right shoulder just above the joint. Dark red blood flowed copiously from in between his fingers and a grisly trail of it traced his path through the wall.

As their eyes took in the ghastly sight, Sapph came running from the other end of the corridor, his face the epitome of shock and panic. Skidding to a halt beside Zen, who was rapidly losing consciousness, Sapph cradled the Combatant Pokémon in his arms and stared through the hole at an enraged Squirrage, who was giving off the light and staring down at Zen with demonic hatred in his eyes, which were blank and filled with the same eerie light as the fearful Yaiba no Hayashi, which glowed much brighter than usual in his left hand; Zen’s already dysfunctional prosthetic hanging from his right.

Oh, crap, Anuvi’s gone berserker! Sapph thought in panic. “Anuvi! Snap out of it!” he yelled to his Pokémon, as it tossed aside the damaged prosthetic which he had just decapitated from the Taebrawl and raised the energy sword slowly and silently.

<Anuvi, cut it out!> Crimson yelled, noticing Sapph get to his feet and raise his arms to block Zen from Anuvi’s attack.

<ANUVI!> Arcana barked in horror, too stunned to fight back. She had always thought of Anuvi as a goof ball, and a generally good humoured Pokémon who could be relied on if any of his team mates were in trouble. Now all she saw was an enraged vessel of Eowmad, hell-bent on seeing Zen on his knees before he killed him...

Anuvi’s second attack seemed to be viewed in muted slow motion by all witnesses: Anuvi seemed to see through Sapph as he swung the blade down, but instead of hitting Zen, who was its intended target, the shockwave from the Yaiba no Hayashi slashed Sapph across the chest, sending the boy sprawling soundlessly into the wall and slumping beside the Taebrawl, who’s eyes had grown wide with surprise...

Crimson seemed to be screaming in shock and fury as a red aura enveloped him as well. Ace had passed out from being in the immediate vicinity of two immensely powerful essence pressures in full berserker mode and Haley, T.J. and the gym leaders rushed to Sapph’s side as Lavender began to cry and Arcana felt the necessity to employ a few choice swear words herself as she watched Crimson throw himself on Anuvi, his fist resembling miniature suns.

The volume suddenly went back to full strength as Crimson released a flurry of fireballs that blew Anuvi back a few feet, but didn’t manage to fell him. Anuvi fought back with a series of high speed sword slashes that plowed into the Ledian’s Protect bubble. Realising his counterattack had failed, Anuvi released a feral snarl, that Crimson returned, the two of them totally out of control.

<No...> Arcana heard Lavender whimper feebly, her eyes brimming with tears. <Please... Anii... stop...>

Arcana’s head snapped back to the action as Crimson phased out of sight and reappeared near Anuvi, fist-first. Anuvi however was ready this time and stopped him with his bare palm. A leafy explosion erupted from Anuvi’s back and swept over Crimson, smothering him in a torrential flow of razor-sharp foliage. Crimson released a howl of wounded rage and the leaves burst into flames, which shot along the trail of leaves towards Anuvi, who had let go and sprang back a few feet to avoid further damage.

<Somebody... please, stop them...> Lavender wept silently, her voice wracked with sobs as the two continued to duel fiercely, flashes of red and green interchanging as the battle waged on.

The room was no longer able to contain the raw power of Eowmad and Sicten and they decided they needed more room to fight. A second explosion rocked the building and the wall that separated the inside and outside spaces was gone in a second, the rubble half burying the limp form of the Mawhoot and causing everyone to close their eyes in an attempt to keep the dust out.

<NOO! MAKE IT STOOOOP!> Lavender screamed on top of her voice unable to take the violence anymore.

“Gladly,” a voice said triumphantly.

Anuvi seemed the shudder a bit before the green glow began to fade. Crimson, seeing this lapse in concentration as a chance to end his best friend’s life fired up his wings and fists and charged in once more, his badly burned fists rearing back, when...

“That’ll do,” the voice crooned softly and a thick vine glowing with energy shot out from behind the Squirrage and whipped itself around Crimson’s neck faster than blinking and without a second thought, began to throttle him as it propelled him back into the wall, which made contact with the back of Crimson’s head, prompting the Bug type to pass out.

<Hey, what’s goin’ down, yo?> Arcana said in shock as Anuvi’s eyelids began to droop as his body generally sagged like a plush doll. Arcana prowled to the side to get a better look and saw with a thrill of terror that what seemed to be woody root had pieced Anuvi in the back and the rhythmical glowing of the root left little to the Growlithe’s imagination. Following the roots path she saw a bizarre figure standing in a hex-like circle, the root growing out of her navel as her wild green hair and scanty clothing rippled in the cool evening’s air, without a breeze. Her left arm was raised and from the palm of her hand the root that was throttling Crimson extended like a grotesque, thorny limb.

<Yo! Whatcha doin’ to ma homies, ya crazy hoe?> Arcana barked angrily as Bubbles and her teammates along with Lavender picked their way through the destruction to join her.

<Like, no way!> Bubbles yelled in shock as they stood transfixed in horror at the otherworldly sight before them, not knowing what to do. <Not you again?>

<Who is dat jungle hoe, anyways?> Arcana asked as Blitzkrieg his behind Mace and Vapor who stared transfixed in horroras the woman began to murmur to herself, “What... power! Eowmad’s... power... becoming... mine...”

<Zula,> said a weak voice and Ento, Bubbles and Arcana spun around to stare at the Swoop Pokémon who was being held up by Phoenix the Combusken and Torrent the Poliwhirl. <A Team Shadow captain...>

<But vot is he doing to the Squivage?> Oza, a chubby Makuhita and Phoenix and Torrent’s team mate, said worriedly. <Vot is ‘appening?>

<She’s most likely draining the essence of Eowmad from him,> Zen said blankly as he watched in wonder, struggling to his feet. <But that should be impossible for a mere human...>

<Why?> Torque, T.J.’s Hitmontop, who’d hung back to help T.J. revive Sapph with Pixy, said forcefully. <What happens when she’s done?>

Sapph had hardly opened his eyes and become aware of the stabbing pain across his chest when he heard Zen answer Torque quietly, <He’ll die.>

“Anuvi...” Sapph said weakly, raising a hand feebly to reach towards his first Pokémon, who was no longer glowing and seemed to be weakening before everybody’s very eyes, but feeling no strength to get up and help him. Zen watched Sapph for a moment with a strange-to-read expression on his face, and began to think...

<Anuvi very nearly killed the kid, just because he was trying to protect me. And now... after all that... he wants to save him? Looks like Crimson was right back then... Sapph does deserve respect... and if Anuvi’s been holding back... letting my attitude slide... so does he... they all do... and what have I done? All this time... I’m... could I live... knowing that I repay them... the way...>

Closing his eyes as he shakily rose to his feet, Zen told Torque and Pixy, <I’m such a ****wad. Stay here and watch them... I’ll deal with the pygmy witch.>

***​

In the meantime, all of Haley’s Pokémon had stood up to Zula’s new form... and now lay at her feet, slumped over helplessly and clutching injuries.

“Soon... power... Eowmad’s power... mine... all mine,” Zula rambled incoherently, a truly insane expression lighting up her face as her hair began to glow.

<Guess again, you hag!> Lavender screamed. <Arcana, juice me up, quickly!>

<You got it, sistah!> Arcana barked, a barrage of small embers spewing from her mouth onto Lavender who felt the changes within and without herself as she glowed a burning orange and appeared in the likeness of a Flareon.

<Phoenix! I’ve got this!> Torrent yelled, taking Ace’s weight into his hands. <Go help them!>

<Got it!> the Young Fowl Pokémon agreed racing forward as his clawed feet began to spark and ignite.

<NOW!> They yelled in unison, brilliant flames licking at Lavender’s body as she charged in, a ball of fire increasing in diameter within her maw as Arcana unleashed a white hot Flamethrower attack right at Anuvi and Crimson’s assailant; Phoenix following through with a flying Double Kick, unleashing two meteors of fire upon Zula as a five pronged star of flame shot out of Lavender’s mouth from above.

All three attacks collided, creating a mini-explosion that sent snow rushing down a nearby mountain.

<Did we get her?> Phoenix asked roughly as Lavender hit the ground on all fours, panting heavily as she demorphed back into her Eevee form.

<Must have,> Lavender panted, her coat sleek with perspiration.

<Ain’t no way she... NO WAY!> Arcana screamed as the dust cleared and Zula stood calmly, her whole body glowed green and her injuries recently obtained from the firebrands’ offense healed before their very unbelieving eyes.

<Impossible...> Lavender whispered in horror. <We didn’t even faze her!>

<Damn... regeneration,> Pheonix spat in disgust.

<No way...> Arcana repeated. <There is no... friggin’... WAY!>

“Meddlesome insects,” Zula growled, her voice becoming bestial as her nail began to elongate. “BEGONE!”

Slamming her palm into the ground, thorny vines sped along the ground erupting from under their feet, throwing all three of them into the air, Lavender glowing bright green as she morphed into Leafeon and slammed into the ground with a thud.

“Malignant leech!” Zula raged in the same bestial voice. “Drain my power, will you?”

Phoenix and Arcana shook their heads to rid themselves of the bright lights popping before their eyes which widened in horror as they saw the roots rip out of Anuvi’s now lifeless form converge on the unconscious Leafeon, intent on draining every last drop of essence.

<Lavender...NO!> Arcana howled, struggling to her feet yet knowing she wouldn’t make it in time as unnoticed by all a glowing white form leapt from the tree from behind Zula and say, <Damn... didn’t I tell you I wouldn’t bail you out again, Lavender?>

Suddenly, Zula froze, a blank look arresting her face as she fell forwards on her side, passed out and a new creature stepped out of the shadows and into the evening sun.

Phoenix and Arcana stared at the newcomer as the vines loosened their grip on Crimson’s neck and he dropped on to his feet, and then promptly fell on all... er, sixes as he gasped for air.

The Pokémon stood at four feet tall and a tail reminiscent of Monferno’s (but with no flame) swung in and out of view as he looked down at Zula and exhaled softly. Glancing at the Fire types bewildered looks he stepped forwards on club-like feet and said in a sarcastic tone, <What up, Chicken Little? And Dog-breath, close ya trap before you hyperventilate.>

<Z-zen?> Arcana gasped, looking into the Combatant Pokémon’s yellow eyes which were half hidden behind a curtain of dark tan fur which covered every square inch of his body other that his white, rubbery fingers, feet, pointed ears and muscles. <Is- is that you?>

<Yes, Dog-breath, it’s me, alri- no...way,> Zen gasped, looking down at himself and his hands.

Yep, you heard me... hands. Complete with arms, fingers and shoulder. Zen was whole.

<Hu-how?> Arcana gasped, staring at Zen, who began to walk towards Lavender, to Zula, who lay on her side, unconscious, and to the room where the piece of metal that was formerly Zen’s arm, before snapping back to Zen, who had scooped Lavender into his arms and walked towards Anuvi.

<In a minute,> was all Zen said as the others started to come to and moved gingerly towards Zen and the two Grass types to watch what Zen was up to.

Zen placed a white palm on either Pokémon and took a deep breath through his dainty, catlike nose as he closed his eyes in concentration. Lavender began to glow green once more and reverted back to her Normal type form as his other hand which lay atop Anuvi’s chest glowed in symmetrical hue. The light seemed to drain into Anuvi’s chest and spread over Anuvi’s body before he gasped, his violet eyes flying open.

“Hey, Leaf Monkey,> Zen said, opening his yellow eyes and smirking slightly. <How’re you feeling?>

<Uhhh... Anii,> Lavender mumbled as she opened her eyes and saw Anuvi sit up painfully with Crimson’s help. <ANII!> She yelled with joy and leapt into him, nuzzling his chest madly.

<Oww... geddoff me, Lav,> Anuvi groaned, with a feeble laugh, as he patted the young Evolution Pokémon fondly.

<Like, thank Arceus,> Bubbles said, sniffling happily.

“Anuvi! You’re OK!” Sapph’s voice said weakly as he hobbled over with T.J., Haley, Lhi, Chen Torque and Pixy, supported between Haley and T.J. He looked awful, an angry red slash splashed across his bare chest, and his black T-shirt ripped in half down the front, but his smile was of utter joy as he grasped his Pokémon in a grateful, forgiving hug.

Zen took a step back to take in the affecting scene and turned around to look at Zula only to realise she had gone... with nearly all of Anuvi’s powers.

<Damn it...> he thought bitterly.

“Zen...” a voice he had formerly detested as belonging to a weak little boy who held him back ever time said gently. Zen turned around, yet couldn’t bring himself to look into Sapph’s blue eyes. Looking at the ground at the boy’s feet he saw a red and white sphere glint in the evening sun.

“Guess... you’ll want to leave... hunh?” Sapph said quietly, his steady gaze fixed on the Jutunkick’s shaking form. “I’m sorry I... didn’t take you’re feelings into consideration... all this time. I hope... you can... you know, forgive me?”

<Thanks, Zen,> Anuvi said fervently, looking at Zen’s eyes widen at his gentle tone. <Crimson told me what you did... for me... for all of us. Sorry about going berserk on ya... heh, heh... ouch,> the chuckling Warrior Pokémon groaned, clutching his side in pain

<You know...> Crimson said calmly. <We still have two chances to get into the league finals, and we can’t afford another loss. I know you’ll be instrumental in helping us win... if you stayed. But the choice,> he said, glancing sadly at the pokéball as well now, <is yours to make.>

All eyes were watching the Combatant Pokémon sadly, expecting their comrade to leave them after he’d just saved all their hides.

The Fighting and Psychic type picked up the pokéball, tears leaking out of the corners of his eyes.

<’Sorry’? ‘Forgive me’? ‘Thanks’?> He thought as he walked towards Sapph and placed the pokéball in his palm as he broke down completely, Anuvi and Crimson clapping him on the back warmly. <Those are my lines.>

***​

Well, that was an epic to write! I thought of splitting it in half with a nasty cliffhanger in the middle of the gym battle but after letting you wait roughly two whole months for this, I decided to go for the grand total.

Next time on The Corei Quest: Sapph and Haley say goodbye to more than Dopeak City as they get back on the road to the next town... and say hello to perilous sub-zero adventures with an unlikely pair and even more unexpected consequences in Chapter 32: I’ll Tell You Snow Lies.

Get it first here, on Sppf.

And now... a couple of new Corei-Dex entries!

207 Jutunkick

Type: Fighting/Psychic
Species: Combatant
Pronunciation: joot-an-kick

Height: 4'01"
Weight: 143lbs
Habitat: Urban
Evolution Line: They usually follow this line:

Taebrawl-(38)-> Jutunkick​

Name Derivation: JUT kUN do(a form of martial arts) + KICK
Notes: JUTUNKICK can be found in four different varieties, each with distinct colouration. Each colouration is an indication of the element each one finds easiest to manipulate. Jutunkick command greater psychic powers, capable of heaving seven Snorlax with a mere thought.

245 Harleking

Type: Fighting
Species: Harlequin
Pronunciation: HAR-lee-KING

Height: 3’11”
Weight: 85lbs
Habitat: Mountain
Evolution Line: Harleking does not evolve.

Name Derivation: Spin-off on the word HARLEQUIN, a type of clown.
Notes: Harlekng's the most flexible Pokémon in existence with every joint in its body capable of full three-sixty degree rotations which it uses in spinning slaps and kicks.

Well, til the next chapter... L@er!

EDIT: My new fic, Heart of Seven Stones is out! Click on the linkie in the sig to follow on!
 
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Matt Silver

Rest My Chemistry
New chapter! Fun.

Sorry I won't be spelling or grammar picking for this one, but I did do quite a combover of your new fic's first chapter. But, apart from that: this was a good chapter. I like the gym battle ones, they always have a nice originality to them that's fun to read. This one was nooooo exception. Sapph's TKO aside, it was a goood battle.

The main events after the gym battle were... interesting to say the least. Zula = evil, Anuvi went nuts, Lavender's totally in love with Anuvi I think and Zen redeemed himself. All in a good day's work. I really enjoyed the Zen stuff - that little guy (Not so little anymore I think, but not that biiig) is a total bada*ss.

Keep it up etc. Great job!
 

Cariyaga

Fanfiction Reader
Despite Zen's actual size, I've always thought of him as tall. His presence, I suppose. Regardless, great job on this; I just got done reading the entire thing.

If I had to complain about one thing with the story, though, it would have to be that you don't update enough. :p Just kidding.
 

Cariyaga

Fanfiction Reader
Despite Zen's actual size, I've always thought of him as tall. His presence, I suppose. Regardless, great job on this; I just got done reading the entire thing.

If I had to complain about one thing with the story, though, it would have to be that you don't update enough. :p Just kidding.
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Appreciative status post

Well, things are moving slowly... aren't they?

Matt Silver:

The main events after the gym battle were... interesting to say the least. Zula = evil, Anuvi went nuts, Lavender's totally in love with Anuvi I think and Zen redeemed himself. All in a good day's work. I really enjoyed the Zen stuff - that little guy (Not so little anymore I think, but not that biiig) is a total bada*ss.
OK... of all the things you guessed here, I'm just saying that Lavender is not in love with Anuvi. She admires him, and pretty soon will emulate him.

Oh, and yes... Zen is a bada*ss.

Cariyaga:

Duuude! You've been busy... reading all this is no mean feat...

And... you're right. I do take too long between updates...

Well, gotta slide for now... I'm meant to be working...XP

Thanks for the reviews!

L@er!
 

Cariyaga

Fanfiction Reader
Hehe. Yeah, well, honestly, I've read much longer stories. A couple weeks ago, I spent almost a week solid reading a fanfic. It had around half a million words.
 

DarkPersian479

Well-Known Member
Sorry for being late to the party...

Anyway, I stopped checking for grammar about halfway through, since it is a long chapter and I am so far behind on reading this...

Okay, let's go!

so similar to the numerous dwellings surrounding it, but on a much bigger scale. A hundred-to-one size scale.
The "but" is added for clarification. Also, since the temple is mentioned before the smaller buildings surrounding it, the hundred comes before the one.

Despite being well cared for in general,
Brother Chen is part of a gym leader duo/team. I am another part.
“B-but his disregard for the rules!” the sage spluttered.
This is a mistake you commonly make, and I'm only pointing out the first instance here. Even when your quote ends in a question or exclamation, you still don't capitalize the dialogue tag afterward.

It was not long, therefore, when Ming noticed that she had reached her limit
and was far too used to his smart-aleck to be bothered.
Also, IIRC, "smart-aleck" is a noun while the associated adjective is "smart-alecky". Therefore, it should either be rephrased as
*used to this smart-aleck
or
*used to his smart-alecky comments

Bubbles' sharp hearing picked up a whistling sound
in which Bubbles’ attack had slammed into the side
Looks like we're ready for the prime time tomorrow
I hope they accept my apprenticeship letter
Pretty intense Gym battle here. Though I occasionally lost track of what attacks were being launched at whom, I've been told it's the norm for Double Battles, even well-written ones. So I would worry about it too much. Because it was still nice and descriptive.

Something must have changed in Zen personality-wise, and I'm thinking it was seeing the master that abandoned him. I'm not quite sure how his arm came back into being (Anuvi's berserk mode, perhaps?) but it sets everything up for an interesting diversion involving him, especially since that old master is still nearby.

Is Zula... not quite human or something? I mean, trying to drain Anuvi's power and all... whoa.

And Clyff... I hate him and his new stupid policies. VERY convenient that he passes his little "instant replay" rule right before Sapph battles to a draw in a gym battle. A little too convenient...

Again, I apologize for the late review, but this chapter was a bit long to read all at once. Be looking forward to the next one.
 

Cariyaga

Fanfiction Reader
Erm... Zen evolved. That's why his arm's back.
 

Divinity_123

shove 'er in! ;O
Sorry if this review's not as long, but hell this thing was like 60 000+ words on Microsoft Word xD

There seems to be something going on between Ming and Chen...and it becomes more obvious when Lhi teases him. Wow, how many ships are you planning to have in this fic? You're pulling off an EM1 on us XD

As always your battles are the highlight of your chapters. Seriously, that was epic PWN.

Also, you called Master Hang, Han a couple of times, I'd fix that. And, I still don't understand some of the Japanese/Chinese words you used (sorry, I can't tell the difference between the two *is ignorant*).

So Zen evolves after being a hero and saving the day, of course, after getting owned by Annuvi.

Patiently awaiting the next chapter,

Divinity_123 ;196;


PS: GOD DAMN IT! UPDATE FASTER XDDDD
 
I havn't been on in like three months but I'm happy to say that I've read the newest chapters.

Are the two people joining Seph and haley going to be Chen and Ming?

I had something else I wanted to ask but a can't remember what it was. I'll probobly remember the minute I can't get to the computer.
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Appreciation, then status...

@DarkPersian 479: Nice to see you enjoyed the chapter... really, I'm glad.

Damn those grammar errors... next time they shall DIE!

OK, enough ranting.

On the issue of Zen's arm, Cariyaga's the closest to the right answer, and to skip this discussion in the next chapter, I'll explain now. Prepare for a blah moment:

All living things' evolution is based on their DNA, or DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. DNA is basically what tells the body what to look like and within it basically lies the code for life. Your eye colour, height, hair colour, complexion, hairline gender, blood group... all facets of physiology and anatomy that aren't affected by lifestyle are controlled by this genetic code.

Now to the case subject: Zen lost his arm via a battle 'accident'. As Zen wasn't born that way, upon his evolution his DNA that codes for his arm will kick in upon the removal of the synthetic (man-made) material i.e. his prosthetic arm.

In the instance of, say, Lavender who, although she wasn't born blind, had her genotype (genetic characteristics) changed through Cipher's experiments resulting in her phenotype (physical/outward characteristics), ultimately making her blindness genetic and leaving no hope for recovery even through evolution. But keeping her dream Eeveelution in mind, it won't make a difference if she would be able to finally reach her desired level.


End of the Blah moment...

On Zula... yeah, she's a pygmy witch. No two ways about that... a grass type-loving psycho who can obtain the very essence of grass type's energy and become the greatest grass type trainer in existance? Kind of a hard temptation to pass up, ya think?

And for the first time ever, I'm DEFENDING Clyff?! The amendment was part of the new legislation that was put into effect before Sapph's battle with the Rock type gym leader. This was just the first instance in Sapph's journey that it needed to be acted on.

@Divinity_123: Well, Ming and Chen are nine years old, and are a little too young to see their relationship as amorous... although Lhi points it out more times than Chen would like... XD

As to pulling off an EM1... I would never assume to being as close... he IS the big MacDaddy of Fic Shipping...XP

Oh, yeah... I forgot to explain the terms I used in the chapter:

Chengsam/Cheongsam: An form of Chinese/Oriental Asian dress (shirt). I screwed up on the second time this was mentioned, as Chen would not be wearing either model but the one illustrated in the Chengshan section...

Examples:

Type one

Type two

Chengshan/Cheongshan: The male form of a Chengsam.

Model Chen wore during the gym match

Ki/Qi: The life force of all living things. It can affect the temperament of the living thing and had many applications in combat. DBZ fans will remember the Kamehameha and Masenko attacks as just examples of Qi/Ki attacks. If I were to use a word that I've used before but am striving to avoid (for now), you could call them Essences.

If I forgot any, let me know, OK? ^_^

@SamuraiDragon1: Well, based on your feelings on the Travel Partner Arc (between Chinooka and Dopeak), this announcement will not only raise some eyebrows or Halleluyah choruses, but will also answer your question:

SAPPH AND HALEY WILL NOT GAIN ANY MORE TRAVEL PARTNERS FOR THE REST OF THE FIC.

They will cross paths with them again from time to time, but they will no longer travel in a group of more than two... each other.

As to your other question... that happens to me too, so don't worry about it.

Now to the status...

First of all, the BAD news...

My pen drive's toast... and I'm as p*ssed as HELL...

It won't affect this story much, but HoSS fans will have to wait longer for the next installment (if it is inredeemably busted, but hey, fingers crossed...)

Now the GOOD news...

I will start work on the new TCQ today, so that should be done in a day or two.

And finally, I know it's a sucky piece of work, but here's the first TCQ wall paper (like you really want it):

TCQ Wallpaper

I deliberately left their names out of the picture to see if you can guess who each one is... that should keep you guys busy for a little while.

I'll work on one for the gym leaders soon.

L@er!
 
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Cariyaga

Fanfiction Reader
So... Ki/Qi is similiar to Aura?
 

Araleon

Chill
...


Wow. That was epic.


Sorry it took me so long to read this chapter, AD. It was awesome.

So, Zen cost them he win, got beat to a bloody pulp by Anuvi, and saved the day by evolving. Sapph better not lose again...

So TJ won't continue traveling with the group? Dern. Oh well. Will nora appear again?

My only itty bitty piece of CC is that it took me read ing through the ending multiple times to figure out Zen evolved, then I had to read your last post to double-check.
 

TurtwigFan1

burning it down
It's a great fic and I really enoyed reading it!
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Finally, after a month and more of waiting!

I can finally give you TCQ, chapter 31.

First a word to my latest reviewers:

@TurtwigFan1: Thanks, and welcome to the gang!

@Cariyaga: you know what? it actually is...

@SamuraiDragon1: Heh, heh... Maybe...

@Araleon: Thanks for the review, and don't worry about the lateness...

Damn straight Sapph better not lose again... he can't afford to... but only time will tell if Sapph can rise to the challenge...

And Nora? Yeah, don't worry. We'll be seeing all of their travel buddies (except Brian) again sooner or later, unless I get permission to bring him back again (Looks at MerlockVonBaron expectantly)

@MerlockVonBaron: Just to clarify one mistake in your review... Sapph didn't win this badge, nor did they get a new travelling partner... how will these deficiencies affect the daring duo? Only this fic has the answers...

So, now that I've honoured all comments and questions (I hope), there's a bit of a foreword:

Three years and two days ago was an important day for TCQ... yup, the 2nd of October 2005 was when the original was first posted on the fourms boards before it got scrapped for the remake which began in March the next year. Sadly, I spent the second of October this year with an excuciating headache and semi-nausea... so i apologise for the extended lateness of this chapterage.

But now that all is explained, i think it's about time we got this show on the road. Here is TCQ, Chapter 31:

Chapter Thirty One: I’ll Tell You Snow Lies​

The week that followed Zula’s attack on the Dopeak City Pokémon Center was one of recovery for Sapph and Haley’s Pokémon, though not as much as for Sapph himself. As Sapph sat up in bed. he turned to look outside his room window at the opalescent mountainside that bordered the city and the Icy Pass. The Icy Pass, home to many of Corei's local Ice types, was the next challenge he and Haley would have to traverse to get to their next hotspot on their Corei tour. He felt itchy beneath the bright green scrubs he was made to wear whilst recovering at the centre and resisted the urge to slip a hand in between the folds to scratch. Stiff white bandages that concealed the scar that Anuvi’s Yaiba no Hayashi had left on him since his most recent and final berserker rage tingled like crazy, and Sapph couldn't be less than thrilled to lose them.

The seven days, despite being a period of extreme inactivity for his body, left Sapph’s mind free to reflect on the happenings of his recuperation period, the first one that would come to mind being T.J.’s surprising (yet unnecessary) announcement that he was staying at Dopeak City to complete his preparations for the Trigello Tournament which was scheduled to start in two weeks’ time. Sapph and Haley had known the Pacifidlog trainer’s fixation was on fighting types and as the highest ranking Fighting type gym in the world, training at the Dopeak City Gym would be instrumental in his quest to become a world-renowned Fighting type master.

Chen seemed to pop in quite a bit too, to let Sapph know of T.J.’s progress and to help Sapph sneak out to train. Sapph saw this as somewhat odd of the child prodigy to go anywhere without Lhi, the second gym leader to whom Sapph was sure he was related. It was after the end of Chen’s first visit that Haley had informed him that far from being related, they were merely best friends since infancy, causing a nearly-permanently raised eyebrow reaction in the Johton trainer.

These recollections then led to the memory of Zen’s old trainer attempting to convince Sapph to part with his newly evolved Fighting type Pokémon three days after his battle with Lhi and Chen. Sapph had heard the full story of Zen’s prior abandonment and remained adamant about telling the matured trainer to do something that he’d never say around his mother. Things escalated into a full blown battle which Zen had handily won despite the man’s Machop evolving midway through the ‘negotiation’. Zen dispatched his old comrade with a Confusion attack so powerful it could be easily mistaken for a Psycho Boost attack, and left Sapph in fearful awe of what his Pokémon were fast becoming capable of and how he’d have to step up his training plan and take off the kiddie gloves for good.

The aftermath of the assault was a memory shared and particularly relished by the Combatant Pokémon, who was presently meditating in the ward where Anuvi, Ace and Crimson were taking their time to heal their wounds from the Team Shadow’s attack. His golden eyes were focused on the Warrior Pokémon who was chatting in a subdued voice with Lavender and Arcana whilst Ace conferred with Crimson about the grim prognosis the Fighting/Psychic type had pronounced in the wake of Anuvi’s revival...

-Flashback-

Dopeak City Pokémon Center, Pokémon Ward B


The second hand of the wall clock in the room ticked rhythmically as the second night of Sapph’s Pokémon passed without much incident. Sapph was there with his Pokémon, glad that they were all fine... all still alive.

The only Pokémon who didn’t seem to share in the festive atmosphere was the Jutunkick, Zen. He stared out of the window, the information weighing on his mind and conscious getting harder and harder to bear alone.

Arcana noticed and called over, <Yo, man! Don’ be no wet blanket, man! Come join the par-tay!>

<You wouldn’t really be in a partying mood if you were me... or Anuvi, for that matter,> Zen said in a carrying mutter that grabbed everybody’s attention nonetheless.

The mood became pronouncedly gloomier at this pronouncement as all eyes fixed themselves on their Fighting type team mate.

“What d’you mean by ‘or Anuvi, for that matter’?” Sapph said worriedly. “Nurse Joy said he’d be fine... that he only needed rest...”

<She was grading him beside regular Squirrage,> Zen said glumly, aware that he couldn’t worm his way out of revealing the information he was keeping from the others. <Anuvi’s a special case. The things that made him different... the Essence of Eowmad and all that came with it? They were all taken by Zula, remember?>

<What are you getting at?> Lavender said hotly. <You put a shred of the essence... or whatever it is, back in Anii, didn’t you?>

<Yeah,> Zen said calmly. <Only a shred. That’s basically what’s keeping him alive. But it came at a price...>

At this point, the Jutunkick exchanged a knowing look with the Squirrage and the Warrior Pokémon gasped.

<Yaiba no Hayashi...> the Grass type whispered in horror.

Zen nodded gravely and said, <Yep, looks like you can never use the attack again.>

The statement hung in the air for several seconds before being greeted by an uproar of shock, indignation and stunned horror by all those present.

<Say whut?> Arcana exclaimed in disbelief.

<How? Why?> Crimson asked, completely baffled.

<It was basically a blade of Eowmad’s near infinite power and used to attack the opponent,> Zen explained. <Using it basically chipped away at Eowmad’s reserves, and the little Anuvi retains in him isn’t enough to utilise that way without placing his life in mortal danger.>

<But why didn’t you say anything?> Ace asked indignantly.

<We just survived near extinction two days ago,> Zen said in a harsh voice. <This isn’t the kind of news that you give to your team mates when they’re just happy to be alive, is it?> he shot at Sapph, who had slumped back trying to take in the impact the news had left in its wake.

Smiling faintly at the Jutunkick’s consideration, he shook his head and said, “No, you’re right, Zen. Thanks for trying to keep this to yourself to spare us the burden.”

Sapph and the others slumped into a sort of depression that one would adopt at the wake of a departed love one, and Zen, watching the scene change, wondered with a heavy heart if he had done the right thing...

Being a true team player was going to be a lot tougher than it had seemed two nights’ ago...

-End Flashback-

Sapph sighed as he watched the sun sink behind the mountain peaks, his mind also on his first Pokémon’s predicament. Yaiba no Hayashi had always been a sure-win trump card for the Squirrage since his evolution at Chinooka City. There were few moves left to teach the highly experienced Pokémon that would fit in with his preferable fighting style of high speed movement and certainly none of them were powerful enough to match the Essence-powered attack. As his mind wandered in the straits of ponder, the door behind him opened and Haley walked in, the setting sun causing her face to glow with a reddish gold hue not dissimilar to her hair, which was done up in its now familiar single plait which she draped over her shoulder, Nurse Joy at her heels.

“Hey, Sapph,” Haley said uncertainly. Sapph had seemed withdrawn to her all week long and although she had the company of her team (fully recovered after two days of solid rest) and frequent visits to the gym to train with T.J. for the Trigello Tournament, which for some strange reason, had gripped the Water type specialist particularly fiercely (indeed more so than the boy trainer who never backed away from a challenge) to keep her occupied, she still missed the joking, carefree Sapph that she had grown accustomed to arguing with and admonishing.

“Hey, Haley.”

“Well, Sapphire, all your Pokémon should be travel-worthy by the morning,” Nurse Joy announced brightly to the dark-haired boy, who hadn’t glanced around at their entry. “And your wound is certainly recovering much faster than we initially thought. You should be cleared to travel tomorrow, especially since the mountain storms around the Icy Pass’s entrance have subsided.”

Sapph glanced back at the petite ladies behind him and with a small smile, closed his eyes and nodded respectfully before facing the window once more.

Both looked at each other in surprise and decided to let the matter, and Sapph, rest. Both backed out of the room, Haley lingering on the threshold, battling within herself to demand what was eating at Sapph and at the same time wishing to respect his privacy. Exhaling heavily and irritated, she closed the door behind her gently leaving the boy to his thoughts on Team Shadow...

The terrorist group had been covert in the past, their earlier encounters purely coincidental. But since the Green Hill abduction, Team Shadow had started playing a considerably higher-risk game... a game he was dragged into blindly. He had tried to avoid contact with Team Shadow since Rubin, and later, Nora were unwillingly dragged into the fray... however the group (conveniently known as the Light, Sapph thought with a well-practiced rolling of the eyes) were making things difficult. Their stand on anti-Pokémon philosophy enthralled Sapph almost as much as their tactics frightened him. As darkness crept through the window into the room, Sapph flopped backwards onto the bed, his face screwed up in thought.

No matter how serious the threat the Light seemed to pose, Team Shadow were obviously out to get him... and he knew why. Frau Hiyori’s death (albeit at the hands of the Light) and Zula and Vulca’s appearance amongst the flames of the burning shack soon afterwards confirmed it. He wasn’t sure how many of the Shadow captains were after Essences or how many they had already obtained. Heck, he wasn’t even sure how many there were or their preferred Essences (save for two, one of whom had been successful), but after the attack on Anuvi, he wasn’t going to take any more chances.

As he reached for his Pokégear and dialled a number, he reached a decision...

He was done running...

... done hiding...

...done being afraid of conflict...

“Hello, Sapph. This is Tony...”

The game of Persian and Rattata had gone on long enough. He was going to fight back... before they attacked again.

***​

The next day bore bright sun and brisk winds. Sapph had awoken late due to his phone call and was pulling a warm black shirt over his tummy. Glancing in the mirror as he reached for his trademark red hoodie, he noticed his hair was growing a little out of control. He’d probably need to trim it soon... before his mother saw him and chased him with a pair of scissors herself.

Smiling at the thought, he zipped up his jacket and hefted his knapsack onto his back, giving the room one last looking over before closing the door behind him gently, his spirits and determination higher than ever.

Entering the reception hall, Sapph saw Haley finishing up breakfast as all twelve of their Pokémon stretched and chatted animatedly, although several of Sapph’s Pokémon were seemingly more subdued than Haley’s.

“Ah, Sapph! Breakfast?” Haley asked brightly, a sky blue pullover hiding her white button up shirt from view. Looking her over as he joined the group at the table, Sapph was relieved to see that Haley had finally resigned to wear long black denim trousers with her hiking boots. He wasn’t really in the mood for her constant groaning and whining about the weather when she could easily call home and ask for warmer clothing to be delivered to her via the Pidgey Postal service.

“Nah, I’ll just get something to go,” Sapph replied cheerfully. “After all, with five weeks to the league finals, every second counts.”

Haley smiled in spite of herself. “Well, it’s good to see you on your feet and back to norm-,” Haley blushed faintly, catching herself in midsentence. To avert attention from the heat that had accumulated at her face she said loudly, “well, let’s just get moving then! I want to get to Legendio early... lot to do there, after all...”

And laughing heartily, she packed the bowls away hurriedly, causing Sapph to give off an enormous sweat drop.

Turning to his Pokémon, Sapph said, “OK, guys... ready to go?”

Lavender and Arcana nodded whilst wagging their tails as Zen finished his morning routine shadow boxing drills and grinned toothily. Crimson, Ace and Anuvi nodded sombrely, after some final stretches to ensure that everything was in order.

Sapph returned all six Pokémon to their capture spheres in a series of red light flashes as Haley did the same with her Pokémon.

“Well, Nurse Joy,” Sapph said with a slight bow. “Thank you for your care and hospitality.”

“Oh, it was no problem, dear,” Nurse Joy said kindly as the boy swung his cloak over his shoulders and do up the fastening. “Just take it easy for a few days, particularly with Ace and Anuvi.”

Haley nodded as she said, “Give Lhi, Chen and T.J. our best... bye!”

“Take care, you two!” Nurse Joy called behind their retreating backs as they made their way out of town and back on the road.

***​

Four hours of solid marching took the duo deep into the mountains; Haley using the GPS map on her PokéNav to navigate a safe path through the dips between peaks that would lead them to Legendio Town.

“Hey, Haley!” Sapph called to the Coreian local who was a few feet ahead of him. Pointing halfway up the mountain on their right at an icy stalactite-laden entrance to a cave, “Why are we going this way? The Icy Pass’s back that way!”

“Well, of course we’re avoiding it, Sapph!” Haley called back above the howling wind which blew her white scarf all over the place around her head. “Don’t you remember the Rocky Tunnel? And EverWood Forest? We’re avoiding places like that if we can help it! Got it?”

“No, I don’t got it!” Sapph replied angrily. “That place is chock-full of Pokémon and Arcana and Lavender could use the workout!”

Getting angry, Haley shot back, “For the last time, Sapph! We are NOT going into that bloody hole in the wa... hey, what’re you doing?” she screeched as Sapph trudged away from her towards the tunnel’s cavernous entrance. Scowling heavily, Haley ploughed her way through the snow after him panting, “Get... back... here!”

Sapph had abruptly stopped, allowing Haley to catch up with the boy trainer, and say, “Finally! What are you... ohhh, no,” she shuddered, following Sapph’s line of vision and seeing a swarm of strange Bug Pokémon come rushing out of the cave entrance to face the intruders.

Their large oval heads sat upon pea-bodied thorax as their icy blue compound eyes fixed them selves upon the grinning Sapph and the apprehensive Haley. Their eyes, triangle shaped markings and the tips of their dainty pointed feet were all a matching hue of blue that stood out vividly on their stark white bodies; their black wings covers folded back into a short abdomen and despite the loud thrumming noises they were emitting, there were no visible means by which they levitated off the snowy ground.

“Sapph... don’t tell me... no, you don’t want to...” Haley pleaded weakly as Sapph pulled out his irritating yet informative Pokémon encyclopaedia and scanned the Pokémon before them.

Glacid, the Aphid Pokémon. Bug/Ice type Pokémon. When their wing covers are folded back, their backs release spores into the air which flash freeze the air into solid, yet translucent wings of NeverMeltIce.

Sapph grinned and plucked a pokéball off his belt. “Not too much of a challenge, but we’ll take it... go, Arcana!”

And with a flash of white light, the orange and black-striped Puppy Pokémon took her stance, her pale purple eyes anticipating a good fight.

“Sapph... let’s get out of here...”

“Arcana, Flamethrower attack; let’s go!” Sapph commanded her Growlithe, completely ignoring his travel partner.

Haley groaned and slapped her face with her palm.

Arcana complied by puffing out her creamy white ruff and with her eyes gleaming fiery yellow for a moment, expelling a stream of bluish white flames that seemed to meet a solid pink barrier of light.

“So, you know Barrier, hunh?” Sapph said, heating up to the challenge. “OK... Arcana, use... whoa! Watch it!” Sapph, Haley and Arcana dove for cover as the firebrand’s attack came pelting right back at them, burning stronger than ever. The rebounded Flamethrower hit the ground where they had stood mere seconds before and evaporated the snow that was there in a split second.

“Sapph, you twit!” Haley screeched angrily. “That wasn’t Barrier... it was Mirror Coat!”

Sapph quickly checked up on the attack as reinforcements came swarming out of the cave to replace those who had passed out returning Arcana’s fire.

<Dayum... an’ ah thought I was hot stuff before,> Arcana said flippantly, staring at the hole the Flamethrower had melted in the fresh snow. <Now what’re them bros an’ co. up to now?> she asked herself, as one of them charged up what looked like a ball of hard packed snow in its hand before throwing it with uncanny speed and accuracy which Arcana barely dodged with a high pitched yelp.

“Crap... what was that?” Sapph gasped as icicles popped out of the ground where the snowball had hit. “’Snowball... Ice type attack. Power, fifty-five; Accuracy, ninety percent... may freeze on contact’? Well, now that I can’t hit them from a distance, thanks to their Mirror Coat,” he mused, snapping his Pokédex shut, “physical attacks are our only bet. But their Snowball attack will make it hard to get close... perfect.”

Arcana seemed to see where Sapph was going with his musings. <So we’re having evasion drill training, hunh? Works for me,> she said zipping between the hail of Snowballs the swarm of Aphid Pokémon had begun pelting the ground with, none making contact.

A stray Snowball hit the ground by Haley’s hand which was lying beside her behind a snowdrift, nearly encasing it in ice as she screamed and pulled away quickly.

“SAAAAPHIIIIIRRRE...” Haley growled in a feral voice, causing Sapph to gulp.

Oops, looks like playtime is over, Sapph thought sheepishly. Calling out to Arcana, he said, “OK, girl... no more Mister Nice Guy... Flame Wheel!”

Arcana, who had had been darting in and out of the way of the icy assault while chanting, <Nah... nah, nah, nah... nah, nah... nah, nah... can’t touch me...> as she moved suddenly skidded to a halt and fixing her purple eyes on the Glacid swarm that thought they had her cornered, as they prepared to attack her in unison.

Arcana began to growl deeply as the ground under her feet began to glow molten lava red. <HrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRR...> Arcana’s growl increased in volume and the air around her began to grow hotter and hotter and the ground began to break apart.

“Whoa, Arcana! Chill out a bit!” Haley yelled as Sapph simply stood in awe of how far the Puppy Pokémon had come in terms of raw power.

<...RRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAARRRRGGH!> Arcana yelled as the ground began to break apart, revealing a hollow, glacial abyss directly under Sapph, Haley’s and her own feet... erm, paws.

“Arcana! Stop...whoaaaa!” Sapph yelled as he noticed the lack of ground beneath their feet, which resulted in their second (and Sapph’s third) fall into unknown danger.

“Sapph, you moro-AAAAH!” Haley screamed as they fell, clutching her ankle as they fell. The Glacid had decided to take one more shot at the offenders and one Snowball attack had hit Haley square in the ankle, encasing it in ice.

Twisting in midair to watch Haley wince in pain as the ice crept up her leg, Sapph yelled out in pain himself as the hand that clutched Arcana’s pokéball scraped against the icy wall, creating a deep gash in his wrist and causing him the drop the pokéball which went clattering into the shadowy depths of the cave after the yowling Puppy Pokémon.

“ARCANAAA!” Sapph bellowed.

“SAAAAPH!” Haley screamed, attempting to reach for Sapph’s uninjured wrist, coming up short as she hit an icy ledge that stretched like a super slide of ice into a dark hole in the wall; into which she shot like a ballast missile.

Sapph fell for a few more seconds before hitting a snowdrift and sinking four feet into the snow and groaning in pain, worry, relief and exasperation all at once. As pleased as he was to have survived the fall, his concern for Arcana and Haley pushed his relief out and allowed panic to settle in. It was official... he had to find them... now.

A mass of fur shifted away from the boy as he struggled to pull himself out of the snow and a voice murmured, “Who’s there? Rubin? Is that you?”

Brushing the snow off his cloak and scowling, Sapph fished about in his backpack for a flashlight and realised with a thrill of dread that Haley was carrying the flashlight. Mentally cursing his idiocy, he took a few tentative steps towards the mass of shaggy fur and cradling his wounded wrist in his other hand he said roughly, “Who are you?”

A flash of light filled the cave as a small pika like creature hopped up, its red cheeks sparkling angrily as its beady eyes bored into Sapph’s terrified blue ones. Its black tipped ears quivered as the light it emitted from its body light up the face of a scared teenaged blonde with green eyes reflecting Sapph’s shock and two tear tracks running down her cheeks as recognition began to join the Flash attack in lighting her features.

“Sapphire?!”

“You!” Sapph gasped in shock, pointing a finger at Carla’s stunned expression. “What are you doing here? And why did you call me Rubin?” he added in an affronted and suspicious tone. “Wouldn’t you be with your precious Kammyki- hey,” Sapph said, noting her teary eyes and lowering his guard. “What’s your problem?”

Carla looked into Sapph’s suddenly concerned irises and sniffling slightly murmured, “Everything.”

***​

As customary of our little group’s exploits, when they get separated by a fall, at least one of them tends to have a watery landing. Unluckily, this time Arcana met a stream of boiling hot spring water snout first. Howling in pain as the Fire type’s bane swept over her and forcing her under, Arcana felt her strength fading fast.

Her vision getting blurrier by the second, Arcana’s purple eyes saw a light about four lengths away, seemingly beckoning her towards it. Like a parent in whose arms a child would feel forever safe; like a long lost brother or friend, Arcana felt her very being resonate with the pulsing reddish yellow light and with renewed vigour she found somewhere deep within herself from a source she had tapped into during her dreary days under the Dyrim siblings’ torture, that had kept her going during those dark times, Arcana pushed against the flow of water with every ounce of strength her muscles could afford.

Arcana began to feel changes well up within her as she closed the gap between herself and the submerged light; her muscles now screaming in protest along with her lungs, which would surely burst under the pressure of exertion. It was all she could do but to plead with her tiring body, as she inched closer to the source of light before her, <Just a little further... almost there... don’t give in... c’mon Arcana! Damnit, you’ve never quit before... don’t... start... NOW!>

With the last of her strength, Arcana did the suicidal; she opened her mouth while facing the powerful current and seized the light in her maw together with a considerable volume of water and thought she was dead for sure... yet, at the same time... felt more alive that ever before as her shape-shifting body exploded out of the water, glowing a brilliant white.

Landing heavily on the rocky bank, her transformation approaching completion; the light died down and Arcana choked and gagged for several long minutes before she opened her eyes only to see a long shaggy lock of cream coloured fur obscure her left eye. Spitting out the last of the water and what looked like a chunk of dull-coloured amber, she staggered over towards the cave walls, which covered in ice, dimly reflected her in all her six foot, two inch glory. Her bushy tail had grown considerably longer and the ruff of fur that hung under her chin had extended to merge with the identically-coloured fur that lay atop her head to form a majestic furry mane which fell elegantly into her eyes. Sweeping her head to one side, she allowed the fur to fall into her right eye which she thought made her look more feminine...

After all, Arcana wasn’t one to let her own evolution perturb her for long.... seeing as she had seen Arcanine before (the Dyrim family had held several contests on their expansive property and had witnessed a couple of showboat Arcanine that had participated from behind the bars of her cage where she stayed during the breaks in her torture) and eagerly anticipated her evolution as mush as she had her liberation from her tormentors.

Icy blue, slanting eyes appeared all around her from behind and Arcana, although exhausted, bristled as she turned around and faced her next opposition, slowly yet surely beginning to hate water in all forms when what seemed to be the oldest Face Pokémon, a fact made obvious by the length of its black horns, spoke up, <Was it thou who removed the Rock of Heat from within the stream of vapour’s depths?>

<Uhhh,> Arcana said, glancing around at the stone that had given her the will to fight for her life, and had lost its energy to the Legendary Pokémon. <I... guess?>

By now, many yellow and black cone-shaped Pokémon had joined the Glalie and in unison they bowed (freaking funny sight in the case of the Glalie) as the elder Face Pokémon said gratefully, <Thou hath granted us the ability to go home at last. On all our behalf, I thank thee.>

<D’awww, man,> Arcana said, blushing faintly as she watched the stream behind her freeze over in the absence of the Fire Stone that had embedded itself in the cavern floor. <It was nuthin’.>

As the Snorunt danced cheerfully in a circle around their saviour and the Glalie froze the river over with a collective Ice Beam, a thought came to the Fire type’s mind, <Say, Gramps... you ain’t seen a young kid in a red jacket around, ‘ave ya?>

<We saw him, we saw him!> A couple of Snorunt chimed happily.

<Well, uh, could ya show me where?>

<But of course,> the elder Glalie said with another short bow. <Snorii... Capsuk... please show our new friend the human she seeketh.>

<Yes, Elder,> the two Snorunt said happily. Bouncing ahead of the large reddish orange Pokémon, they chirped in their childish singsong voices, <Come, follow, follow, follow... follow, follow... follow me!>

***​

Haley never was one for water rides or amusement park attractions, despite her adoration and still unknown affiliation for the Water element, and thus was understandably aggrieved as she sped down the tube of ice, gaining acceleration at every bumpy turn down the icy chute.

Worried about her landing, Haley frantically scrabbled for the slick sides of the tube and hit her wrist against a protruding rock and screamed a fresh scream of pain as she felt it throb in pain. A couple of seconds later the ride levelled off and opened up into a sparkling glacial cave... with no safe landing in sight.

This is exactly why I didn’t want to go to the bloody Icy Pass, Haley thought in terror as she let loose what she thought would certainly be her last scream... the ground came closer... and closer... she shut her eyes...

...and hit something soft. And warm. Something that said in an amused tenor voice, “You know, you aren’t going to die... so could you please stop screaming?”

Haley stopped screaming very suddenly and opened her eyes rapidly. What she beheld left her breathless: light brown hair and reddish brown eyes under a green bandanna rippled in the cave’s wintry air as an attractively condescending smile curved the flawless face that, in some ways resembled his brother, but in others seemed, to Haley, purely angelic.

“Rubin?! You’re here too?” Haley said in a fluttery voice, noticing that Rubin had caught her in bridal fashion added considerable contribution to the blush her face was burning up from. “How...?”

“I was a victim of another’s miscalculation,” Rubin said in a worn voice, as he carried Haley (still bridal style) towards a roaring fire he had started off to the corner of the cave away from the icy draught from which Haley could still not determine was originating from. “How about you? I had heard that you are a Water type enthusiast... were you...?”

“Oh, heavens, no,” Haley said, struggling to bring her voice under control. “I was all for avoiding this place... it’s basically...”

“...all Sapphire’s fault, right?” Rubin guessed, setting Haley gently by the fire and beginning to tend to Haley’s frozen ankle, causing the young researcher to flush embarrassedly. “Relax. Sapphire has had the habit of forcing people around him into stuff they don’t want to do... there was the time that he made our little sister accompany him to the Dark Cave... Dad was furious. Sapphire tried to feed us the bilge that Emma had wanted to come by her own free will...like a seven year old girl would want anything to do with a place like that,” Rubin said, shaking his head in exaggerated repulsion.

Haley was stunned. “No way... he didn’t!”

“Well, it’s your call to believe me or not. Just remember this: Sapph has quite the reputation as a reckless thrill-seeker. I’ve no idea why you travel around with him, and I’m not about to pry. Just... you know, watch your backs. Both yours and my brother’s. I know it can be vexing,” he said as Haley stared at his smiling face. “But after seeing you in action on that airship, I know I can trust you to at least rein his... tendencies. We may have our differences, but he’s still my, you know... brother, and all...”

“I don’t understand, though,” Haley said slowly. “You seem like such a great guy. Why does Sapph seem to dislike you so much?”

“Well,” Rubin said thoughtfully as he turned back to stoke the fire, hiding the pink tinge that had lit up his facial features. “I’m not really sure. Guess all the pressure our Father puts on him to measure up to me. I know not everybody can be like me, but he could at least try to learn a little responsibility... his complete lack of it worries me at times...”

***​

“So you’re travelling with my brother now, hunh?” Sapph said, straightening up and away from Carla’s sprained ankle, which was now wrapped in stiff white bandages. Carla had been telling him about her travels with his twin brother since the Grand Corei Desert and how they had ended up separated in the Icy Pass.

Studying the Coreian girl’s face who stared at the job Sapph had done to her ankle in a semi-appreciative manner, Sapph shivered slightly as a chilly draught swept the cavern.

Carla had obviously felt the same sensation as she suddenly started and asked, “What did you do, Sappy? Don’t just tell your Ice Pokémon to do stuff like that!”

“I don’t have any Ice type Pokémon, Carla,” Sapph said snippily. “At least, not yet...”

Both turned towards the source of the sudden chill and saw something ebony slink out of the shadows towards them, pools of icy blue glinting from beneath its shaggy blue-black fur. Its four paws padded nearly noiselessly as it snarled deeply at the pair.

Sapph stole a glance at Carla, who nodded, her Pokédex already out, and in unison both pointed them at the new arrival, and both flickered to life and spoke in similarly monotonous voices, although Carla’s had a definite trace of feminism to it:

Huskup, the Husky Pokémon. Known to be without peer in terms of endurance, Huskup have been recorded to be able to run for eight days with as little as an hour of sleep. Huskup is a Dark/Ice type Pokémon.

“Sounds like a tough one,” Sapph said, enlarging a pokéball. “You want this one, Carla?”

“Looks ungainly,” Carla said with a sniff. “You can go ahead.”

“You know,” Sapph said after he’d pulled himself out of an animé pass out, and the Huskup had let out an offended snarl. “Just ‘cus you travel around with my brother, it doesn’t mean you have to act like him.”

“But your brother’s a world class Co-ordinator and he says elegance is every thing to Contest participators...”

“Screw what my brother says,” Sapph said sharply. “He may be skilled and all that, but what he has in skill he lacks in humanity. Rubin isn’t exactly the most nurturing brother in the world... and you don’t have to take my word for it...”

“What d’you mean by that? WHOA!” Carla yelped as the Ice type, impatient with the endless chitchat had unleashed a Powder Snow attack at the squabbling youths, which Sapph had noticed just in time and had pulled Carla out of the line of fire, uh, I mean ice.

“Trust me on this, Rubin only helps people as long as there is something in it for him... but we’ll get to that after I take care of our impatient friend. Let’s go, Crimson!”

The Five Star Pokémon burst out of his pokéball and began to hover above the ground, its four fists alight with cosmic energy in preparation for any order.

Before Sapph could issue any however, the Huskup unleashed another Powder Snow attack on the group. Crimson instinctively raised one fist and caught the ice attack full on.

Carla screamed, “Is that what you call nurturing, Sappy? Letting you Pokémon take attacks head on? Yeah, that’s real carin... hunh?” Her green eyes bugged out of her head as the fist Crimson had used to block the icy assault had turned a cool blue with what looked like vapour rising from it into the air.

<Impatient, aren’t we?> Crimson said calmly, as the Huskup let out another snarl and began to rush towards the Bug type.

“Crimson, time to put this guy in his place,” Sapph said determinedly. “Comet Punch, Fire Style!”

<Roger!> Crimson said confidently charging up two of his other fists with heat energy, turning the comets into miniature suns as the Huskup raced closer. Crimson yelled as thrust forward with a fiery one-two jab, releasing two blasts of fire that illuminated Carla’s disbelieving face.

“Comet Punch... Fire style?” she said in shock. “So... that Thunderpunch back in Nightspark City...”

“Yeah, that was Comet Punch Thunder Style,” Sapph said calmly, waiting for the flames to die down so he could take his chance with the empty pokéball in his hand. “Crimson’s Comet Punch seems to have the ability to absorb the attributes of whichever attack hits it... this is the third time it’s happened...”

“So that’s why...”

“Yep,” the boy trainer said calmly, tensing the muscles in his arm as the fire finally died down, leaving Crimson extremely exhausted. “Unfortunately... it looks like Fire Style takes a heavier toll on him than Thunder style does... must be the level of attack absorbed, according to Haley...”

“What, that wannabe Einstein?” Carla said in surprise. “Did she come up with that herself or did some poor sap of a professor think it up for her to patent?”

“Hunh, whaddya mean...” Sapph started interrupted by a loud scream of pain. Cursing his lapse of attention, he turned back to the battle to watch Crimson slowly become encased in ice which had spread from a pair of puncture wounds on the wrist. Standing as proudly as it could a few feet away was the Huskup which had somehow miraculously survived the pseudo-Fire attack and looked ready for more.

“Crap! Crimson, return!” Sapph commanded, pulling his Ledian back out of harm’s way before he completely froze over from the Huskup’s Ice Fang attack. “How’d that thing survive a Fire attack dead on?”

“Look at the walls of the cave,” Carla replied. Sapph complied and saw with a thrill of horror that they had melted to some degree since the Comet Punch Fire Style had been released. “The vapour the melted ice released as the attack passed must have weakened it!”

“So Fire attacks won’t work here, hunh?” Sapph mused, switching pokéballs on his belt. “Well, if that won’t work... let’s do it, Zen!”

The evolved Combatant Pokémon landed on one knee and expertly caught his own pokéball before tossing it back to Sapph. Rising to his feet, he gave the Huskup a looking over before asking, <So, how shall we attend to this one, kid?>

<’Attend to me’?> the Huskup growled in a guttural voice. <No one attends to the mighty Keynid but the great Keynid himself, commoner.>

<Oooh, blue blooded stuck-up snob, are we?> Zen said cheerfully. <Well, I’m sure spending some time with Sapph can cure that... we are capturing it, right?>

“Yup,” his trainer said calmly. “Go easy on it, though... can’t have Professor Yew think we abuse future team mates...”

<This coming from the guy who uses an uberly powerful Ledian to get new recruits on his team,> Zen chuckled before sidestepping the charging Huskup, a ball of pure aura building up in his rubbery palm.

***​

“So,” Haley wondered aloud, staring around the icy cavern. “Any ideas how we get out of this?”

“None come to mind,” Rubin said thoughtfully. “We seem to be thoroughly hemmed in by icy walls, though,” he said, ceasing his examination of their arctic prison.

“So breaking through the thinnest wall would open a pathway... and a possible way out?” Haley said with understanding flickering in her grey eyes.

“Exactly,” Rubin smiled. “You know, you’re a lot smarter than Carla lets on...”

Letting loose a noise of dissent, Haley said, “You mean the class bubble head who only graduated based on how she looks?”

“Sounds like there’s a story here,” Rubin smiled faintly as he sat down across the fire from Haley. “And after that, I’m not sure if I want to hear it...”

“Yes, well, you’re right. There is a story there... and it starts six years ago, when we first met...”

-Flashback-

Olville Pokémon Academy, six years ago...


A seven-year girl in a clean blue smock ran up to a group of gossiping girls in the school yard, her long blonde hair dancing behind her amongst the falling hues of red autumn brought.

“Hey, Carlie,” one of the girls said, acknowledging the new arrival as she doubled over to catch her breath. “Have a good summer?”

“Yeah,” Carla panted cheerfully. “You girls?”

As the others gave signs and sounds of agreement, the girl who’d addressed Carla earlier swept a lock of short black hair out of her eyes and said, “Did you hear the latest gossip? Looks like we get fresh transfer students this year...”

Carla however wasn’t listening. She had just spotted a boy of her own age with his reddish blond hair trimmed neatly being led into the school building by a stately woman in an emerald green ballroom dress whose reddish blonde hair had been passed on to her children, the other one walked ahead of them, wearing a bright yellow one-piece dress and looking a year younger, her hair worn up in a long ponytail that reached the small of her back.

At the doorway, the young boy looked back and saw Carla staring at him with what looked to him like wonderment. Not in the slightest bit embarrassed, the juvenile Kamren raised a small hand and waved at Carla, who went scarlet in the face.

Just then, the boy’s little sister came out again and began tugging her big brother into the building. She stole a curious askance glance at Carla, who quickly regained control of the blood that had rushed to her face and glared back, slightly annoyed that the (to her, at least) magic moment had been ruined by a six year old girl.

Haley, in the meantime had dragged her brother into the school saying, “I don’t like her, Kamren! Don’t smile at her again!”

Kamren laughed and said, “Relax, Haley. What’s the big deal anyways?”

“You didn’t see the way she looked at me?”

“You mean like a booger? I look at you like that all the time,” Kamren teased.

“No, you do not!” Haley insisted hotly as they reached the principal’s office door outside which their mother was conversing with a slightly potbellied, balding man who could only be the principal.

“Yeah, well,” Kamren said, shaking his red and black sleeve out of his sister’s grip. “We’re in public school now, Haley. Our friends won’t be the same anymore... things change, Haley. And I think it best you grow up into them.”

And leaving the little girl in his wake, he walked up to his mother and the principal, leaving Haley with nothing but horror at the thought of these changes and her mounting dislike at the source of these changes... the blonde in the schoolyard...

-End Flashback-

“I didn’t know it then, but Carla was allegedly the brightest mind at the academy when I first enrolled... and it became obvious that she wanted it to stay that way. She never seemed to feel threatened by my presence at first... she actually seemed bored by school. At the end of the term, however... when the results were posted... everything changed...”

-Flashback-

Olville Pokémon Academy, five years ago...


Sleet pounded on the windows as Haley was led down the corridor by the principal to her new classroom. Why she was being moved was beyond her seven year-old mind... did this usually happen to new students?

After a few more minutes of silent walking, they had reached the doorway of Class Two-A. Haley stared at the name plate on the door... this was Kamren’s class... why was she being sent here?

The portly principal rapped on the door. A second or two later it slid open, revealing a petite woman with her dark hair done up in a tight bun. Smiling down at Haley, she asked the principal, “So is this the prodigy that everyone’s talking about?”

“The one and the same,” the man said in a jovial voice. With much enthusiasm, he gently nudged Haley into the room with a kindly smile down at the worried girl and reassured her. “Don’t worry, young Haley. With your remarkable talent and intellect, you should fit right in here...”

And leaving her with the teacher who had then proceeded to introduce her to the class as Kamren’s younger sister who’d been skipped a year due to her phenomenal performance in the last term’s exams, much to what seemed to be Kamren’s chagrin (judging by the way everybody stared at him when they found out she was his sister). There was so much going on, and she didn’t understand a word of it, despite her joy at being in the same class as her brother.

The first period passed like any other she had experienced thus far: she answered questions correctly; read perfectly... she basically performed as her parents had advised herself and Kamren... to the best of their ability.

When the lunch bell rang, everybody grouped up, leaving Haley seated alone. She looked around for her brother, but he had gone.

She looked towards the gaggle of girls to whom the blonde haired Carla seemed to be the leader, who gave her belittling looks which sent the message that they wouldn’t accept her anytime soon...

She looked to the teacher, who seemed too busy grading papers to notice...

As the realisation hit her, she got out of her chair and walked erectly to the door, breaking into a tearful sprint for the bathroom where she locked herself in the last stall and hugged her knees to her chest, sobbing silently.

She was alone.

All alone...

... and everyone seemed to be telling her that loud and clear.

-End Flashback-

“Carla seemed to hate me and always seemed to be on the look out for opportunities to show me up. From track to Pokémon History, she used any and all means to try and divert attention from me to herself. It was almost as though she felt intimidated... and I didn’t quite get why. I asked Kamren about it, but he seemed overly besotted by that... that... ” here, Haley struggled for words that could describe how she felt about Carla, but she could not find words strong enough.

“So, you had to go through school alone, hunh?” Rubin said sceptically. “Didn’t you have any friends?”

“No,” Haley said bitterly. “Carla made sure of that. My own brother wasn’t there to watch my back. I mean, what kind of brother does that to their little sister? I know what he’d say now if I asked him about it,” she went on bitterly, mimicking her brother’s lofty voice. “’I’m not Father, alright? Just leave your whining ‘til he gets home.’ That’s why I’m becoming a researcher... it’s the most efficient way of finding him again...of bringing our family back together again.”

Quite the childhood you’ve had, Haley, Rubin thought with some surprise. Looking at his wrist watch, he stood up and said, “It’s nearly noon. C’mon... it should be easier to break through the ice if it’s weaker... plus weather reports forecast clear sunny skies today...”

“Allow me,” Haley said with a smile, holding up an enlarged pokéball. “I know you have a Blaziken... but I owe you one. Go, Pixy!”

*continued next post*​
 
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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
TCQ ch 31~2

*continued from last post*​

***​

“So... his name’s Keynid, is it?” Sapph asked, staring at his palm which previously held his newest Pokémon in a pokéball that had automatically been transported to the Yew Observatory.

Breathing heavily, Zen said, <Yeah, and don’t let his size fool you. He’s one tough Pokémon. I’ve never needed more than one Aura Sphere to take an opponent down... especially after the first one connects...>

“Great, you caught a Huskup. Congratulations,” Carla said scathingly. “We’re still trapped down here, you know.”

“Thanks for the reality check, Miss Obvious,” Sapph said humourlessly. “We still have to find Haley and my Growlithe, you know...”

<Well, you won’t have to look too far,> Zen said with a tired smile, jerking his head towards the place from which the Huskup had appeared.

Sapph and Carla looked up at the wall and noticed a rippling orange light glowing on the other side of the wall accompanied with an increase in temperature even Crimson’s fiery Comet Punch couldn’t surpass. Carla and Sapph backed away fearfully as the ice cracked and blew apart revealing a six foot tall quadruped with a tiger-like pelt and bushy golden yellow mane and tail. At her feet a couple of curious cone-shaped creatures peeked out and giggled, <There’s the redcoat! There’s the redcoat!>

<Thanks, little bros,> the Arcanine said gratefully. Stepping forward, she smiled at a flabbergasted Sapph and Carla and said, <Well, looks like I’m not the only one who’s had an excitin’ time today, eh? Who’s da sistah?>

<Relax,> Zen said as Sapph mouthed wordlessly in shock at the developments that had progressed in his absence, <she’s not tagging along for too long, I think... hey, kid,> the Combatant Pokémon hailed his trainer. <You new pal ain’t hangin’ around too long, right? Haley will get mad, you know...>

Sapph could only reply with an anguished yell at the thought of missing yet another one of his Pokémon’s once in a lifetime experiences.

***​

A flock of Chilay had settled at the snowy side of the mountains facing Legendio City and were just about to settle in when a voluminous blast echoed somewhere up the mountain face startling the Snow Jay Pokémon into ungainly flight.

A golden white Pokémon led the way out of the subzero confines of the Icy Pass, its nine long tails flowing and rippling in the fresh early afternoon breeze. As it surveyed the settlement beneath it with its blood red eyes, it was joined by its trainer, a reddish blonde girl and the benefactor of its evolution, a brown haired boy decked out in green and tan apparel.

“Rubin,” Haley said, words unable to express her gratitude. “I don’t know what to say... first, you save my life... then you give us a Fire Stone... I’m... you...”

“Don’t worry about it,” Rubin said calmly, looking back into the snowy pass. “Listen, you and Pixy go on ahead... I’ve got unfinished business to attend to in the caves...”

“We’ll come with you,” Haley said quickly. The Ninetails beside her nodded in assent.

“Thank you,” Rubin said graciously. “But I couldn’t let you go through another minute of being in those caves...”

“But you let me do that, hunh, Rubin?” an icy voice called out from behind them, causing the pair to look to their left at an Arcanine carrying two people on its back out of the caves several feet away.

“Sapph! Arcana!” Haley said cheerfully, her eyes lighting up at the sight of the boy trainer and his newly evolved firebrand. Her face fell as her eyes fell upon the speaker, who rode behind Sapph and her attitude dropped several degrees in warmth as she addressed her rival. “Carla...”

“Hello, Sapphire,” Rubin said coolly, his reddish brown eyes boring into the sparkling blue and somewhat challenging eyes of his younger twin.

“Hey,” was all Sapph said in reply.

The atmosphere that surrounded the group as they began their silent march into Legendio City was not the warmest that our heroes had experienced... after all, distrust does sow the thorniest of weeds amongst the fragrant flowers of friendship... and with the information the foursome had heard from people who would gladly spill all the beans about their past... trust would surely be one thing the group would find hard to regain.

***​

CHARACTER PROFILE OF THE WEEK

Name: Carla Witkins
Age: 12
Gender: Female
Date of Birth: August 21st, PA 2003
Eye Colour: Green
Hair Colour: Blonde

Theme: Perfect Day by Hoku
Current Teammates: Tora (Therline), Gold (Sandshrew), Banyan (Faelock), Bolt (Pikachu)
Pokémon at the Yew Observatory: Unknown

Background: Carla isn’t you’re average blonde hottie raised by your middle standard family. She’s actually smart and has a considerably high amount of skill and finesse as a trainer and coordinator. Her relationships with the Kent siblings are tortured at best: her rivalry with Haley since their childhood (though she’ll never say it to her) is something she’s grateful for, ‘cause if there’s no competition, how can you better yourself?

As for the older Kent sibling, only Arceus knows what she’s waiting for… and after the warning about Rubin from Sapph, she just might have to watch her step around the handsome, charmer of a coordinator…

And finally, the Corei-Dex Entries!

069 Glacid

Type: Bug/Ice
Species: Aphid
Pronunciation: glay-seed
Height: 1’11”
Weight: 23lbs
Habitat: Mountain
Evolution Line: Glacid usually follow the following evolutionary line:

GLACID -(18)-> Pinzice -(34)-> Wauspy

Name Derivation: GLACier + aphID
Notes: Glacid was one of my very first Fakemon. It was right up there with Mawhoot, Ampeel and Floracco at the beginning of my Fakemon fever. And one I’ve always been proud of in the course of creating the guys.

040 Chilay

Type: Ice/Flying
Species: Snow Jay
Pronunciation: chee-lay
Height: 4’08”
Weight: 76lbs
Habitat: Mountain
Evolution Line: Chilay do not evolve.
Name Derivation: CHILl + jAY
Notes: Chilay rely equally on their long legs and moderately sized wings to hunt down their prey, which mostly consists of Glacid and underdeveloped Pinzice.

OK, til the next post... L@er!

Oops... forgot the next chapter synopsis...

Next time on The Corei Quest: Sapph and Haley have made it to Legendio Town, Home of Ancients and Corei's largest lake. This double attraction leaves Haley spellbound and itching to explore, although Sapph thinks the time they spend there is a waste. Someone ought to warn Sapph about the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for," because when Sapph wishes for the sleepy township to be shaken up for some excitement... he just might get in over his head...

Next time, the "So Fresh it can attack" double chapter special! Catch it here first, on Sppf...

Ok, now i'm done...

L@er!
 
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asperger1981

good reader
Is it me or the relationship between those four reminds me of the 'Pax armada' of before world war I somehow?

Writing more seriously, the backstory between Carla and Haley was a profesionally done piece of literary art; the idea of the former destroying the chances of social bonding of the latter due to the loss of her status as 'top student' gave our blonde guest a certain degree of sadism that changes her image in a brilliant way, a fact that makes the wait for this chapter quite more formidable.

Keep the good level, and read ya later!
 
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OK so let me get this straight. Two fire stone pokemon evolved Saph met up with his brother and Haley rival and he catches a new pokemon and his strongest okemon can't use it's most powerfull move without being in danger of dieing and you wrote that in a way that carries very well. This is why I don't go to bed until 2 in the morning.
'Til next time.*jumps off a balcony* *realizes can't fly* *falls on head*
 
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