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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 .

Shadow Lucario

Lone Vanguard
My review...Gone. D: I'm gonna have to redo that later >.< Anyway, it basically said great chapter. Here are some mistakes. Don't leave a cliffhanger like that again. You were always good with them. Looks like Sapph is going to be extremely angry. I smell even more plot and character development in the next chapter.
 

848

ShadowMaster
Air Dragon, on a somewhat reccomendation from EonMasterOne, I have come to review this fic. I want to you to know I really dig this fic, and I love the characters, especially Anuvi, Zen, and Keynid. I like Crimson, Mighty, and Diamond as well. Burner's pretty awesome too. One question I have is at the end of chapter nineteen, in the Team Kamren part, it says Carla's brother is Dex and Chaz is this dope who hangs with them. But earlier, on the way to Dinocanyon, Dex is referred to as the dope and Carla's younger brother's name is Calvin. What's with that?

EDIT:Chief Saunders is referred to as both Leonard and Leopold. What's with that? Also, when will we find out who 'G' is?
 
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GastlyMan

Ghost Type Trainer
Yay awesome job :DDD

YES! New chapter!!

848 said:
One question I have is at the end of chapter nineteen, in the Team Kamren part, it says Carla's brother is Dex and Chaz is this dope who hangs with them. But earlier, on the way to Dinocanyon, Dex is referred to as the dope and Carla's younger brother's name is Calvin. What's with that?
Yeah, I noticed that too. o_O Pointed it out in my first review. Also, if I remember right, Chaz really liked food. Whereas Calvin was the guy who couldn't handle being alone and away from Carla his sister...ah, but my memory's foggy. And Dex changed from being really smart to thinking an Aron was a Ledyba to being smart again.
EDIT:Chief Saunders is referred to as both Leonard and Leopold. What's with that? Also, when will we find out who 'G' is?
G is Rosa Saunders. (I think)

Anyway, Air Dragon, congratulations on another amazing chapter! It was exciting and full of action, and I think it was your longest chapter as of yet too. Roni becomes more of a jerk, and Tempest becomes even more awesome. While I admit I was quite disappointed initially with Sapph's temporary team change, it actually proved to be an interesting change of pace. And now Keynid (Kenyid?) and Lavender are gone...cliffhanger!!

Sapph's interaction with Zayina was amazing. He's become so much stronger than he used to be! and yaay has even more girlfriends wheeeeeeee

And so that's what Project C-Square was, a color dex! Awesome! Now let me ask you...are you planning on creating more Fakemon, or just sticking with the epic ones you already have designed?

Anyway. Great job! This thread was my first post on serebii...and in fact the main reason I joined this site...so keep it up and I will keep reading. :D
 

MerlockVonBaron

Well-Known Member
damn is all i got to say. poor saph sad to see his pokemon turning on him if you wanna hit me up my new yahoo is merlock3497 ill be there
 
i been reading a lot of fan fics for awhile now and i never got around to registering for some nonspecific reason but i would just like to say that i enjoy ur fan fic and i can't wait for the next chapter....you got me hooked with all the suspense....and all the new pokemon you thought of are really interesting also...so...keep at it and good luck with the rest of the story
^_^
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Hey! Listen! :)

OK, time for some, "I'm alive"s and some appreciation!

@Shadow Lucario: Don't you just HATE it when that happens? :(

And once again, you're sense of smell is not wrong! Saying no more here. A lot will be settled in the next couple of chapters. But knowing me, I'll just keep throwing wrenches until everything goes to hell in a hand basket. :p

@DarkSpace2010: Good to be back. And after a six month leave (I am SO sorry!), coming back with a BANG is what you guys deserve. :)

@848: Good ol' EM1... and yes, I know I messed up there. One problem with fics this long and with casts this big is continuity lapses. There are quite a few more which I'll surely attend to come the end of Season Two, which inches closer.

@GastlyMan: Wow, wotta lot you wrote! Here we go... :)

G is Rosa Saunders. (I think)
Safe to say at this point that you think right, buddy. :)

I think it was your longest chapter as of yet too.
It was. I'm scared to think how much longer these things are going to get.

Roni becomes more of a jerk, and Tempest becomes even more awesome.
Glad you like Tempest. Legendarian Mistress will be pleased. :)

And yeah, Roni is one jerk in a multitude of many. You'll see.

While I admit I was quite disappointed initially with Sapph's temporary team change, it actually proved to be an interesting change of pace. And now Keynid (Kenyid?) and Lavender are gone...cliffhanger!!
Hmm... initially, I felt the B-squad didn't get a lot of airtime (Save for Mighty and Lavender), so this was an initially good way of giving some props.

On Zayina, I'll say no more. Just wait for the next chapters. (Yeah, I'm evil like that.)

And on the latest cliffhanger, I must confess even I'm not 100% on how it should end up. I might surprise even myself just yet! :D

On the Colour Dex, well... let's just say that you ain't seen nothing yet. All in all, unless the muse really hits me REALLY hard, then we've pretty much got ourselves a wrap. I may post the whole thing up someday soon... barring a complete abandon of reason and a flood of inspiration. :)

@MerlockVonBaron: Yeah, that bit on Tentis attacking Sapph was something I put there to help Sapph realize he has some work to do regarding his new team. However, some members of Team Sapph are beyond help.

@Baconspanker: Hi, buddy! Welcome to the forums! And many thanks for making The Corei Quest your first! Before you get too tied up in waiting for the next installment, I'd recommend the Pokemon Revolution: Johto , Advent Phoenix and Maverick Heart all by EonMaster One, Hoenn League, a Brendan May Adventure by Breezy and Pokemon Crusade by Pokemon Breeder Jack... just to keep you active. :) Believe me, you just might have that long of a wait. But they are all works of artistic mastery, you will definitely not be bored. :)

Chapter 41's nearing the end of it's planning phase. It's something of a shippy chapter, so you might need bedpans should I mess this up. And believe me, I'll try. It would have been perfect for next Monday, but that's stretching it by just a tad... ^_^

Well, I gotta run. Chapter won't plan itself now, will it? Nor will this win any awards by itself, if you catch my drift... ;)

L@er!
 
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Thanks i actually been reading The Revolution series for a while actually....Revolution: Johto and your fic here we're the first ones i started reading....also the Pokemon Revalation series...speaking of which i need to start reading that again....I'll start over on it since it's been awhile but ANYWAYS...back on topic....I'll check out the Hoenn League one and the Pokemon Crusade one while im at it...even though i think the Pokemon Crusade one sounds familiar...hmmm...maybe i read it a little before my drought of internet began all those years ago....anyways thans for the recommended reading...I'll check em out. :)
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
OMG! A new chapter!! Wheeee!

Before we take one more step... HAPPY 2012, ALL YOU SEREBIII JUNKIES!!

No joke, a chapter FINALLY follows this prologue! First and foremost, I'm happy for you, Baconspanker. I know they're heavy reading, but highly enjoyable at the same time!

Now, this chapter... I don't know which reason you'd all swallow (Work... masters... laziness... illness), but none come to mind. Two weeks shy of a year's a long enough wait anyways... let's get this party rolling!

WARNING: there may be quite some cheesy romance on the way through this one. A flashback was also edited out... plans to work on this are in effect... the second one. You're pretty much stuck with the first. ;)

Chapter Forty One: Yin to My Yang​

Sapph stood there for a moment, unsure he’d heard what the medic had said right.

“Lavender... and Keynid... are what, again?” He repeated weakly, as his mind fought to grind the information down.

“Your Eevee and Huskup are gone, yeah,” the medic clarified, panting slightly as he leaned against the door frame of Sapph’s cabin door.

The relative silence that followed seemed to ooze out of the door and spread down the corridor, before Sapph barrelled out of the cabin into the door opposite and up the hallway to the infirmary, the medic hot on his heels.

“What the heck happened?” Sapph asked as they ran. “How did you notice they were gone?”

Slightly winded from his last run, the medic wheezed in reply as he fought to keep on Sapph’s heels, “Your Flygon... Diamond, was it? He went berserk as I was about to administer a potion to it, and in the ensuing chaos I lost track of them!”

“That can’t be right, Diamond hates violence!” Sapph barked back as they rounded a corner at breakneck speed.

“Well, he’s certainly good at it,” the medic replied. “Your Castform and Magneton provided cover as we got out of there...”

“’Magneton’? Mighty’s still a Magnemite!” Sapph said, thoroughly confused.

“Not anymore,” the medic wheezed as he and Sapph vaulted down a short flight of stairs and nearly barrelled into Shrader, who had the presence of mind to side-step before getting flattened. “He must have evolved after the last time you returned him. There have been records of that...”

“Yeah, OK, I’ll get the details later!” Sapph yelled as the boy trainer and the medic, Shrader bringing up the rear, made another sharp left and ran up another long corridor where he saw two floating shapes near the end of the gangway. “Any idea how Keynid and Lavender gave you the slip?”

“They... must have run off as... we locked Diamond in the ward,” the medic panted as Sapph finally drew level with Cloude and Mighty and took in the latter’s new appearance. Now three feet from magnet to magnet, Mighty’s almost rust-bronze shape seemed to have become akin to a conjoined set of triplet Magnemite. All three of his eyes focused on Sapph as Cloude squeaked in a slow drawl, <Like, hey, Sapph! Diamond’s, like, totally wigged out on us in there, man!>

“Are you two OK?” Sapph asked the Castform.

Mighty answered before the Castform could do so, <Subject ‘Cloude’ health readiiiiings... at seventy-three... percent maximum capacity. Subject Magneton’s health readings at... eleven percent maaaaaximum reading... bio-reading sensors... unable... to confirm subject ‘Diamond’ health status, although past... records... suggest... high levels of... diiiiisssssstreeeeeeesssss...>

Pressing his ear to the door as the medic rushed forwards to support the ailing Magneton, Sapph was met with an eerie silence. Pulling away as Shrader caught up, Sapph turned to the medic and held out his hand, saying, “Give me the medicine. Maybe I can give it to him...”

“Are you serious?!” the medic screeched. “That thing tore the medical examination table out of the floor and chucked it clean across the room! It’s too risky!”

“Maybe, but I think he’s calmed down a bit,” Sapph said, panting slightly after running so hard. “Besides, I know Diamond was simply unfamiliar with you alone with him. He’s none too trusting... and probably scared.”

Looking incredulously at the young trainer, the medic looked to the lieutenant for clarification. Shrader simply nodded and reached for a pokéball of her own. Sighing, the medic reached into his white lab coat and pulled out a small brown bottle, exclaiming under his breath, “Man... if that was your Flygon’s “scared moment”, I’d hate to see his angry phase...”

“We’ll give you a little headway to clear this up, Mr. Manson,” Shrader informed the boy as he took the medicine. “If things start to sound rough, we’ll follow you in.”

“Thanks, Lieutenant. Take care of Mighty,” Sapph directed to Shrader and the medic in turn. Turning to the door, he added to his trusty Castform, “C’mon, Cloude.”

Pushing the door open, Sapph walked in onto a room that could be classified as nothing less than a disaster area; not one sign told Sapph that it was once a Pokémon Clinic. The afore-mentioned table hummed slightly from a point some two feet above the doorway, two of its legs firmly embedded in the wall. The ward curtains were shredded and one of them was still smouldering. The floor, no doubt soaked from the fire sprinklers which were set off by the burnt curtain, felt slippery as Sapph and Cloude peered cautiously into the semi-gloom that filled the room as an effect of two of the three light fixtures having being totally thrashed. One said fixture still dangled on a slightly-sparking wire.

Thanking the legendaries for rubber-soled sneakers, Sapph called out gingerly, “Diamond? It’s me... Sapph... it’s going to be OK, boy. Come on ou-WHOOOOAAAAAA!” Sapph shrieked as a green and tan blur shot out of the corner and glomped him so fast and hard Sapph’s feet left contact with the floor cleanly as the shaken Flygon clutched at him seemingly for dear life.

<Dude...> Cloude said slowly as, on hearing Sapph’s shout, Shrader burst in, a moderately-sized blue ball with white hands and a swirled pattern on its white belly Sapph had no problem recognizing as a Poliwhirl to see the Flygon clutching Sapph at pure terror at the intrusion. <You scream like a little girl.>

“Are you alright, Mr. Manson?” Shrader said in a slight panic, Poliwhirl readying an Ice Beam in its hands.

“Fine, fine,” Sapph said as Shrader returned the Poliwhirl and Sapph administered the medicine to a once-again calmed Mystic Pokémon. “I wish the same can be said of Lavender and Keynid... I wonder where they went... and why?”

***​

A small black and white mess of sopping wet fur dragged itself out of the Northern Isle surf and, straightening itself up on four stout, yet slightly stumpy legs, unceremoniously dumped a smaller mix of coffee and cream coloured fur onto the sandy and gravelly ground at its feet which coughed and spluttered.

Casting the smaller vulpine creature a disdainful look and shaking out his out spiky white ruff, Keynid turned his back on his teammate and set off towards the wild, rocky forests that covered the western half of the island, doing his level best to ignore his “companion’s” calls as she hurriedly gave chase.

<Hey! Hey, Wolfie! Hey, listen!> the smaller creature said after shaking herself dry and trotting off after the larger canine creature who made it a point to ignore her entirely.

<Hey, listen! Hey! Listen!>

Keynid walked on, a slight vein beginning to sprout upon his temple.

<Hey! Listen! Hey, listen! Hey...>

<Do you have any idea how aggravating the magnificent Keynid finds that insipid babbling of yours?! Enough!> Keynid snapped, rounding on his blind teammate only to see her grinning cheerfully, from ear to pointed ear (and for an Eevee, that’s saying something.)

<I think so,> Lavender said in a voice dripping with childhood innocence. <Seeing as I can’t see you, or why you jumped ship, I only hoped to ask you why.>

<If it will get you to stop following the glorious Keynid, I shall tell you,> Keynid said, his short temper already at an end. <The mighty Keynid has seen you and the rest of that boy’s team has nothing to offer him, and so he has decided to cut ties with you all and return to the wild.>

Lavender said nothing, but her smile grew slightly quizzical.

<Well, then,> Keynid said, with an air of finality. <If you will be so kind as to return to the ship now, I shall guarantee your health secured. Good bye.>

And turning his back smartly on the still smiling Evolution Pokémon, Keynid turned tail and resumed his brisk trot into the darkened shrubbery that framed the shadow-cloaked island.

Slivers of moonlight slid over his monochrome pelt of black and white as he prowled his way over thick tree roots and skirted tangles of thorny briars. He had suffered enough disgrace as it stood... at the hands of his clan... his own brother... this worthless trainer who thought he could dominate him... he hadn’t even tried to understand him...

But that was alright with Keynid. He didn’t need others to understand his pain nor his shame. He would show them all just how strong he was... he would show them just who the broken fang really was... he would...

<Hey, listen!>

Keynid’s eyes widened with shock as he nearly plowed himself smack into an oak tree in surprise. Turning back to look down the path, he saw Lavender’s small form pelting up the path, clearly doing her best to catch up.

<Why...> Keynid uttered in feral tones. <Are you still following me?! I thought I ordered you to return to your precious human!>

<No you didn’t,> Lavender said with a smile as she drew up to Keynid. <You said you’d tell me why you’re leaving if it’d get me to leave.>

<And the magnanimous Keynid did tell you! Now go!> Keynid snarled, rounding on the smaller creature.

<I didn’t agree, did I?> Lavender said blithely. <You decided that on your own. So why do you want to leave?>

Keynid scowled, and, turning his back on Lavender once again, left the question hanging.

Lavender closed her eyes and said softly, <Why do you call yourself Keynid?>

Keynid stopped dead at the question.

<Why do you ask that of the glorious...> Keynid began to splutter before Lavender cut him off abruptly.

<Just answer the question,> the Eevee said shortly, the night breeze blowing her fur here and there. <But then again, do I need to ask a ‘broken fang’ why it’s broken?>

Keynid’s whole two foot five frame began to tremble with a multitude of emotions as Lavender went on, <No wonder you want to rip yourself out of the team. A broken fang does no good for a mouth that wants to chew.>

<Go back,> Keynid said, his voice shaking as he attempted to regain his regal stance.

<Make me,> Lavender said coolly. <A ‘broken fang’ like you can’t hurt me...>

<Care to wager?> Keynid said, with the air of a man readying for a fight.

<Absolutely, but it’d be quite the waste of time,> Lavender said shortly. <I may not be as strong as Anii or Crimson, but Sapph nominated me team leader in Anii’s absence, so...>

<’Team leader’? You?> Keynid barked in derision. <Someone as carefree as you doesn’t even deserve to speak of the mantle of leadership...>

<So, in other words, only someone who feels hard-done-by has the right to lead? Give me a break,> Lavender said waspishly, rolling her unseeing eyes. <What makes you suppose you’re the centre of the universe?>

Keynid said nothing, although his eyes widened a fraction as he cocked a disinterested eyebrow. Turning to leave, Keynid muttered, <Your childish prattle bores the majestic Keynid. Now go home.>

Lavender’s eyes narrowed at the sound of Keynid’s retreating footsteps. Crouching down, she took off in a whirl of brown and a second later was three feet up the path facing Keynid and “glaring” him down.

<Childish prattle, is it?> Lavender growled as she began to bear down on the Husky Pokémon. <Have you ever had to live without one of your arms for a year? Have you had to live with the stigma of exile from your own clan? With being the target of abuse and hate from owners you can’t escape? Being second best to your twin? Being the cause of your own sister’s death?!>

Keynid took a step backwards (mostly due to Lavender’s now domineering presence) and spluttered, <The fantastic Keynid->

<Could go chew his butt for all I care,> Lavender snapped. <I could go on all day with the sob story of not being able to see where I was born, or my mother’s face... but it’d be too much for a ‘broken fang’ to chew...>

Keynid was struck silent, more from Lavender’s story than her anger, which probably helped. Unbidden images filled his mind as he pretended to ignore her and trek upwards, images created by the smaller Pokémon’s narrative: a swirling desert, vicious guards with clubs and electric prongs, a mean, heartless pair of Sneasel called Slice and Dice, the death of the Espeon...

***​

“Hello, and welcome to our Pokémon Center!” The pink haired nurse at the reception desk chirped in a slightly drawn voice. Stifling a yawn behind a dainty hand, she went on, “How many Pokémon would you like us to heal for you?”

Haley cocked a reddish-blonde eyebrow as she reached towards her belt and unclipped three pokéballs. “These three, please.”

“Ah, you challenged the Trigello Trio member, Mekki?” The nurse said with sincere interest.

“That’s right,” Haley said, her chest puffed out a little smugly as she tugged the lapel of her jacket proudly; a gold, four pronged pin with purple highlights glinting upon it in the lobby’s fluorescent lighting.

“Congratulations on your win,” Nurse Joy said happily. “Well, I’ll just take these in for treatment now. Excuse me...” and with a little bow, she took Haley’s Pokémon to the treatment ward.

Haley bid the young nurse a cursory nod in reply and turning on the spot, rested her back against the front desk as she gave the Pokémon Center lobby a sweeping look as many trainers and their prized Pokémon settled down to a meal presumably after a day of hard battling.

Sighing slightly, she let her goose grey eyes flutter shut as she began to reflect on the day’s happenings, an odd feeling nestled in her gut and marring the euphoria she or Sapph would feel after such a victory. As she began to dwell on what was bothering her, she caught a name that made her heart skip a beat.

“...what that Sapph guy did was totally uncalled for...”

“Totally...”

Turning towards the source of the discussion, she saw three young girls closeted in a booth together with a fourth, who looked younger than the rest and markedly more miserable. Sidling over under the pretence of getting a soda from the vending machine, she attempted to glean some more information from the group.

“Are you gonna be OK, Milane?” the third, with her ruby red hair done up in a bun, rubbing a consoling hand over the littlest of the foursome.

Milane sniffled and nodded a small nod.

“Of course she won’t, Ally,” the first girl Haley heard barked harshly, her green eyes flashing angrily in her pale face framed with midnight black, shoulder-length hair. “No one’ll be safe with that maniac around. Going so far as to try and kill an opponent’s Pokémon because they come close to ruining a stupid fifty win streak is low. Who knows what else he’d do if he hung around here?”

Sapph tried to kill an opponent’s Pokémon in a battle?! Haley gasped inwardly, nearly dropping her can drink.

“But didn’t he try to return his Tentacruel when he saw it go berserk, Bea?” ‘Ally’ said in a voice that seemed to soothe as much as it did to reason.

“Yeah, I saw that too, Beatrice,” the second girl said nervously, pushing a lock of silvery blonde hair out of her brown eyes. “He seemed genuinely surprised at the turn of events, too...”

“Still doesn’t excuse the jerk for calling it out in the first place, Diana,” the girl called Beatrice scoffed, a nasty hiss on the name she mentioned. “Always thought he’d cheated to win that many battles in a row... having a Castform who can use Hurricane isn’t even possible. Who knows how much he could have experimented on the thing for it to manage it?”

“Hey, aren’t you being a little sore about that?” Diana said sharply. “Maybe he trained it hard to manage it...”

“Or maybe he was part of an illegal Pokémon trafficking operation I’d heard from my older brother about back in Orre,” Beatirce said in hushed tones. “He’d told me Eevee were greatly involved in the now-defunct Cipher’s experiments. I’m willing to bet anything he got his Eevee from them! Who knows how many other ‘favours’ he’d gotten from them?”

As the girls fell into hushed arguments, Haley’s mind went blank in shock. Team Cipher? Experiments? If Lavender was a link between Sapph and a criminal organization like Team Cipher, who else could be involved in it? Tony Parito? Lieutenant Shrader, perhaps?

And what about Professor Yew? Why would he clear such a violent Pokémon for use, or allow such a trainer to travel around the Corei region? Her mind continued to freefall faster as she thought of her own Bubble Jet Pokémon, Vapor. But Vapor had evolved normally, she reasoned. There was no proof linking Vapor to Team Cipher, was there? And how could she make sure?

She remembered Sapph mentioning how dangerous Tony’s Jolteon Saffron had seemed when she was first given Vapor back in Green Hill Town by Sapph “as a gift”. Just what was Sapph’s game? Was she trying to implicate her as well in the trafficking ring? And why?

<CHANSEY!> A loud voice called out to the lobby as the large pink Pokémon waddled out pushing a gurney on which a large blue and yellow frog, a four legged Water Beetle Pokémon and a red and white sphere hold what Haley realised was her Lapras out into the lobby, looking around for a sign of her. Quickly coming to her senses, Haley went to retrieve her three Pokémon, resolving to make a report to “Black Cherub” about this activity as soon as possible.

***​

<The omnipotent Keynid commands you to be silent!> Keynid snarled in a muffled voice, his eyes and fangs clenched shut as Lavender had gone on for the good part of an hour, talking of inhuman experiments, her siblings dying before her, the pain her first, induced ‘Synchrovolution’ brought upon her, Cipher’s downfall and revival, meeting Vapor and the AGENTs timely arrival, her fear and uncertainty before coming to the present.

<Sapph may not be much to you, but he isn’t the worst trainer in the world!> Lavender berated as they continued northward. <He cares about all of us. All of us. You can ask Zen, the one who incidentally beat your...>

<Silence!> Keynid snapped suddenly. <We are not alone!>

This announcement finally brought the irritable Eevee to silence as she finally heard shadows shifting around them, weaving a tighter and tighter circle around them.

<Crap! I was so mad at you I forgot to listen around me!> Lavender cursed her own mistake as they emerged into a clearing and was forced alongside Keynid to bring their march to a halt.

<The mighty Keynid is not surprised,> Keynid said, regaining his swagger quickly. <Now be quiet, female!> he ordered as larger, hulking dogs appeared from the shadows, bushes and from around winding tree trunks to encircle the clearing and the two apparent trespassers.

<Smell like Mightyena,> Lavender said quietly, taking a whiff of the air. <Sapph always said they were trouble...>

<Perfect,> Keynid responded with a smirk.

<Who are you, strangers?> One of the large Bite Pokémon called out in a hard voice. <You’re not welcome here!>

<Let me speak to your leader, and then we’ll see who is not welcome here, you ignorant Keyneln!> Keynid called back arrogantly, a nasty sneer in his last word, which was a grave insult.

<Hey, what are you doing?> Lavender half-hissed, half-snarled, noticing the Mightyena Keynid had slighted begin to snarl in a feral tone.

<Be quiet, you. You had your chance to leave,> Keynid said coldly.

A murmur had gone up amongst the Mightyena circling them at Keynid’s boast and a voice said, <I am the leader. What is it you want from my sons and daughters?>

A larger Mightyena stepped out of the circle towards the two smaller Pokémon. His eyebrows had grown thicker than usual and many a grey hair dotted the sleek black fur that ran along his back and tail.

Keynid gave the wolf pack’s leader an once-over, taking note of his aged appearance, and scarred snout and said in a disdainful voice, <Your time as leader is up, old one. I shall give you one chance to wilfully surrender leadership to me.>

Loud feral snarls filled the air around the Eevee and the Huskup at this latest pronouncement. A particularly large and wild looking one stepped forwards and said, <Akela, allow me to deal with this upstart! I shall grind his bones to nothingness!>

<Be calm, my son. You know our customs,> Akela said patiently. <Any Pokémon may contest leadership of our pack through single combat law. What is your name, young one?>

<As the future leader of your pack and the one who will exile you, the glorious Keynid extends his greetings.>

<I see,> Akela replied. <And the Eevee?>

<Is not involved. Ignore her,> Keynid said brusquely.

<Hey!> Lavender yelled indignantly.

<Very well,> Akela submitted. <Shall we begin?>

<But of course,> Keynid said with a toothy smile as the two black Pokémon began to pace around each other, tracing a near perfect circle.

<This is bad, Wolfie,> Lavender cautioned from the sidelines. <Really bad... I don’t think...>

<That I can’t win?> Keynid supplied in a scathing voice. <That the mighty Keynid cannot beat a single old->

Keynid’s boast was cut short as he was flung off his feet and rammed hard into the dirt by Akela’s sudden Tackle attack. Spitting out a clod of mud, Keynid looked up to see the wily Mightyena bear down on him with a second Tackle, his eyes completely focused and oddly chilling on his battered visage. Upon seeing them, Keynid froze solid in a half-risen pose, and realised, as the larger Pokémon slammed him into a tree, that the scars his opponent wore were as far from a testament to how easy to beat he was. They were a mark of how many battles he’d won, and why he was still leader of the pack.

Realising this battle was going to be much more difficult than he’d thought, Keynid rose to his feet again and was stunned to feel his stout legs begin to tremble already. To cover up this fact, he decided to try attacking his foe’s honour by shouting, <And this is your image of a fair contest? Attacking whilst your opponent’s back is turned to you?!>

<As you rightly said earlier, I am old,> Akela said, calmly watching his younger opponent carefully for his counterattack. <And this will probably be the last time I defend my pack...>

<Then do not make this more difficult on yourself, you decrepit...> Keynid began as he began to fade out of sight and into a Faint Attack, only to meet what felt like a sharp uppercut to his gut, knocking the wind out of him and his body off the ground once more.

As Keynid slammed into the ground a second time, Akela went on, <But that will not be due to your victory. I will hand over the clan to one of my children and they will lead in my stead. I have taught them what a leader must be, and what is due to him. You could do with a few lessons yourself...>

<Is that right, old dog?> Keynid chuckled darkly as he rose and began to run forward again, his long fangs glowing whitish blue: a sure sign of the Husky Pokémon’s Ice Fang attack.

<The same attack, the same result...> Akela thought wistfully as he also bounded forward and lashing out with a powerful forepaw, inexplicably sent Keynid for yet another loop before the smaller Pokémon could land his attack.

<First, a leader learns from their mistakes and uses these lessons to guide the pack. Second,> Akela bounded forwards again and swung his tail at a hapless Keynid, which glowed a metallic silver colour and drew blood as it swept across Keynid’s muzzle. As Keynid landed in a heap yet again, Akela continued, <they fight not for glory, but to protect their pack. An arrogant outsider like yourself will never lead my pack. Not as long as these old eyes can still see the light of day.>

Lavender couldn’t see what was going on, but the sounds and smell of the battle had begun to reach her causing her internal struggle with herself. Noticing his “companion’s” twitch, Keynid looked back at her and snarled, <Do NOT interfere, Eevee! This is MY fight! And you!> He added in a cocky voice as his legs gave way once more. <Attacking while your opponent is down! You call that fair combat conduct?>

<You’re seriously asking if I thought of this as a fair contest?> Akela said calmly, bearing down slowly upon his staggered opponent. <I do not. A leader does not gamble with the lives of those who live under them. A leader’s first concern is their well-being, and will allow nothing to threaten it. And this isn’t a regulated battle. This is single combat. As the human saying goes ‘Anything goes’.>

Keynid coughed up a second liquid as he rose to his feet, his legs trembling even worse than before. The clearing swam and turned before his eyes as he struggled to stay conscious. <’Anything goes,’ huh?> He muttered as the Mightyena’s steps began to quicken into a full-out pelt announcing another Tackle attack. <Good to know.>

Akela sprang into the air and lowered his head towards his smaller opponent, barely a foot away from connecting yet another, bone-crunching Tackle when Keynid quickly rolled away from where he lay to the side. Akela’s blood-hued eyes widened as Keynid had seemed to recover much faster than he’d presumed possible. Not wasting another second, Keynid’s fangs grew out once more and went whitish blue. Keynid snarled as he grabbed Akela savagely around the throat and dragged him into the dirt. The older hound gasped in pain as he hit the ground, his neck crusted in a crimson-coloured ice ‘collar’.

<Looks like this is it, old-GRRRAAAAAARGH!> Keynid snarled as a large volume of dust blew up into his eyes, swept by Akela’s broad paw. Staggering back and shaking his head vigorously, Akela saw his opening and rising to his feet he brought his tail which glowed silvery white once more around and up to his opponent’s chin, clouting his opponent clean in the center of his lower jaw. Keynid felt his world take a loop-de-loop as he cartwheeled backwards and back into the dirt, which now matted his earlier white ruff with a good amount of congealed blood.

Keynid coughed and spluttered frantically, his legs desperately working to respond to their owners’ instinct to rise and keep fighting the creature that had put him down a third time within five minutes.

<You won’t rise again, young one,> Akela rasped. Certain that the fight was over, he began to turn around and walk off.

<Don’t turn your back on my... you... old fart,> Keynid spluttered, one sea green eye open and glaring at his opponent’s back in malice. <You...haven’t... won... y-yet...>

<A blow to the chin isn’t so easily shrugged off,> Akela firmly said. A growl seemed to rise unbidden from Keynid’s throat as he realized he was being patronized. <This battle is over. You... have lost.>

Turning to lead his pack away, the first Mightyena to speak walked up to his leader and hissed, <You’re letting him live?! That disrespectful whelp deserved a finishing blow! Snuff him out, Father!>

<No, my son,> Akela said firmly. <I have chosen to spare him. That is all.>

<But Father-!>

<Enough!> Akela said roughly. <You have always been too bloodthirsty, my son! It is your greatest flaw! Learn to respect authority, before I choose to hand it over to your sister!>

The younger Mightyena froze at this pronouncement and a great muttering arose from the Bite Pokémon surrounding Lavender.

<Father, no...> A younger, female Mightyena stammered as she approached the quarrelling pair. <Kapri’s stronger... bolder... compared to him, I’m...>

<Wiser... more patient... humble... compassionate...> Akela rasped, nuzzling his daughter’s oddly-coloured, golden and chocolate brown pelt. <The true traits of a leader, Sura. A leader needs not force to lead their pack, but mutual respect. And outside of your brother, no member of our pack is yet to let your back touch the floor,> he added with the ghost of a smile.

Kapri began to shake in fury at his father’s words. <So...> he breathed haggardly. <So... you choose her, Father. Very well... if he won’t be killed for losing to you in battle... he shall die for disrespecting me!>

<Kapri, no!> Sura begged as Akela turned to stop his son and staggered, faint from his forced anaemia. <STOP!!>

<We’ll see whose fangless after I knock all yours out, whelp!> Kapri roared as he opened his jaws wide and prepared to crush Keynid’d skull in his maw. Keynid coughed and spluttered helplessly as the Mightyena bore down upon him, his terrifying jaws snapping shut...

A loud scream echoed around the clearing as something small and coffee brown dripped blood down the corners of Kapri’s large jaws...

Keynid’s icy eyes widened in shock as a gasp went up around the clearing...

***​

Sapph, Shrader, Cloude and Diamond stood and hovered on the deck of the UAS Hydro as they went over the next steps to ascertaining the missing Keynid and Lavender’s whereabouts.

“...oh, and tell Tony where we’ve gone, would you, Lieutenant? I want to keep him informed at least...” Sapph said as he gave his Flygon a treat, which the dragon Pokémon happily accepted before bending low to allow Sapph climb onto his back.

Watching Sapph clamber onto Diamond’s back, Lt. Shrader said in an uncertain tone, “Normally, I’d wait until Captain Roni gives you clearance to leave the ship, but...”

“Roni can eat nuts for all I care,” Sapph said bluntly. “I’m going to search the island for my Pokémon. If he has a problem with it, he can tell me about it when we return. Let’s go, Diamond.” He added to the Flygon, rubbing the side of its neck reassuringly. Diamond let out a soft musical cry and began to ascend in earnest. Before they were too far out of earshot, Sapph added to his Castform, “You stay here, Cloude, to keep an eye on Mighty and in case those two decide to come back while I’m out, OK?”

<Like, what if Captain Temper decides to get physical with us, dude?> Cloude called up as Sapph neared the right altitude to set off.

“Tell him to chill out,” Sapph replied tersely as he and Diamond took off towards the island.

<I like that plan, dude...> Cloude said with a slight yawn and a wan smile.

“As literally as I guess he meant that, Cloude,” Shrader said with a slight cough. “I’d advise you not to use any Ice type attacks on Ms. Kent or the... Captain,” the last word seemed to leave a bad taste in the lieutenant’s mouth as she coughed again and went on, “As it’s an offence to order a Pokémon attack on a human being outside of self-defence. Sapph’s standing with the League will be shaken considerably if you do, and Captain Parito will be forced to act in a manner that will prove most confrontational.”

<It’s all groovy, lieutenant,> Cloude droned languidly. <I don’t even know any Ice attacks.>

“That’s... reassuring,” Shrader said with a faint smile as Sapph and Diamond vanished into the late night sky.

*continued next post*​
 
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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
TCQ Chapter 41~2

***​

Back at the battlefield...

Lavender gave a great rattling rasp as Kapri’s Crunch attack caused several more ribs to crack under its tremendous pressure.

Keynid struggled and failed to find his feet as his companion lost more and more blood by the minute. Gasping for air, he looked up at her and squeezed out a wheezy <W-why?>

<A- a leader fights... not... for glory... but t-t-to protect... their p-pack, right?> Lavender gasped valiantly to the pack’s leader, who had slumped painfully during his son’s charge. <It might n... might not look like it, but this meatball’s my w-ward.>

Sura looked up from Akela’s side and said, <You’re his leader? Unhand her, Kapri!>

Kapri, his mouth full, either could not, or would not heed his sister’s plea, rather applying a tad more pressure to the weakening Evolution Pokémon.

<Do as I say, Kapri! Unhand the Eevee and stand down NOW!> Akela roared as loudly as he could.

<Let her GO, you Keyneln!> The Huskup roared, somehow finding the strength to rise to his feet, his icy blue eyes livid, deranged. <Now, or I swear I shall rip your throat into shreds!>

<W-Wolfie... stand back.> Lavender whispered, a tiny smile tugging the corner of her foxlike mouth. <A-and Akela, get your pack outta here before I k-ki-kirrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRGHHH...>

Every witness’s eyes widened as the tiny-by-comparison quadruped began to be overcome with a light that made the surrounding night look lighter by several shades. Her ruff receded back into her neck as her body, ears and tail elongated and her body seemed to grow in the bellicose Mightyena’s maw.

<I-is she... evolving?> Keynid gasped in wonder.

<...GHHHHHHHHHHHHUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHH!> Lavender roared, dematerializing out of her aggressor’s mouth like smoke. Kapri, suddenly noticing his prey was gone before his blood-stained jaw felt like it was blown out of line by what felt like a powerful, invisible sucker punch.

<Guh...> Kapri grunted as a second blow erupted on his other cheekbone, causing him to slide back a few inches, a gash appearing on his mouth.

<Kapri!> Sura shrieked as the third part of Lavender’s Faint Attack caught the hulking hound under his chin and blew him clean off his feet. The shiny Mightyena and her father watched their kin do a full flip and a half in the air before landing heavily on his back. <Are you OK?>

<Urgh, you little sh-!> Kapri snarled before Lavender appeared and placed his throat under her front paw.

<Ee- Lavender, stop!> Keynid gasped. <It’s over! You don’t need to keep fighting!>

<Need? Who ever said anything about ‘need’, you flea-bitten, worthless cur?> Lavender laughed darkly. <I thought you loved shows of strength. Power. That “might is right’. I don’t need to show anyone I’m the strongest. I know I am. I fight... because I want to.>

<...L-Lavender...> Keynid whispered in horror, stunned by the rage that consumed his usually cheery team mate.

<So... Keynid,> Lavender whispered in a silky voice, her blood red eyes alive with malice. <Still think I’m not worth the ‘mantle of leadership’?>

Lavender released the pressure she was exerting on Kapri’s windpipe. The larger canine had barely drawn breath when with a sick smile, the Umbreon stepped down hard, digging deeper into her victim’s throat.

<Ya know what?> Lavender said with a laugh intoxicated with the feeling of being drunk on power. <I suddenly don’t give a damn. Now sit still and watch how a true Dark type battles!>

Sura was in tears and slight shock as she choked, <No... let him go. Please...>

Akela had had enough. Struggling to find his feet, he yelled, <Stop her!!>

Two large Mightyena leapt forward to help their leader’s son who was starting to foam and turn a very unfriendly shade of blue. Lavender barely looked back as the gap between the hulking predators and their target shrank to near nothingness in no time flat.

Lavender’s evil smile grew slightly as a ball of pale white light began to grow in her mouth and the rings that adorned her limbs and forehead glowed an identical hue. Keynid saw the preparation for the deadly attack and despite never actually seeing the attack before knew nothing that made this side of Lavender smile would ever end well.

<Stand down! Flee! NOW!> Keynid roared, diving for cover as Lavender let loose a feral bark together with a torrent of moonlight that engulfed Kapri’s would-be saviours and flooded the forest clearing with light.

Now, let’s pause here to review what’s just happened: for those of you who may have forgotten, the last time Lunar Beam was used, a third of the Saunders’ residence was blown to pieces. Lunar Beam is also known to gain strength at night. If using an attack like that at around eleven in the morning can turn a large part of a mansion into a blistered, scorched wasteland, using it at around one in the morning...yeah, the fur flew.

As he light finally died down, every creature that had been in the ‘small’ clearing’s sensitive nose was filled with a mixture of dirt and smoke that filled the air. Coughing and heaving his thoroughly-worn body from under a mound of soil, Keynid choked on the polluted air as it began to thin.

Staggering upright and staring through his hazy surroundings, Keynid saw a horrible sight as Mightyena bodies littered the now-much larger clearing. Thankfully, several like himself were stirring, including Akela and his daughter Sura. One or two, however, remained ominously still.

The Husky Pokémon had one thought on his mind however as he limped painfully towards the epicentre of the blast zone, an interest that piqued Sura as well as she also staggered and stumbled towards the place where Lavender held the rebellious Mightyena captive.

Sura and Keynid arrived at the same point together and heard a slight whimpering, sobbing sound. Keynid drew back as he looked down at his ‘former’ team mate whose was covered from head to toe in dust and dirt and was sobbing without restraint; tears flowed down her blackened fur in unstoppable rivulets.

<Please... p-please...> Keynid heard Lavender mumble, barely coherent over the sounds of her sobs and laboured breathing. <Not now... never again...>

Keynid, felt unsure what to do now. He was never big on showing hospitality, or kindness. Yet looking down at the pathetic sight Lavender had become was unsettling to the young Eevee. Watching Sura nuzzle and lick her brother’s wounds, Keynid felt from somewhere deep inside the obligation to do the same for this creature who’d followed his foolhardy march into power.

Lowering his nose to her shivering side and giving her a quick lick, Keynid felt a sudden bout of self-consciousness as the Mightyena pack around them began to dig themselves and each other out of the dust. His black face slightly hot, he pulled away and noticed something distinctly wrong. Lavender looked as she normally did when she had reverted to her Normal typed forme: cream ruff, paintbrush tail, coffee brown eyes. Yet her fur, which Keynid had assumed had been charred from the attack she herself had unleashed, stayed as resolutely black as it had when she was an Umbreon.

<I d-d-don’t... wanna... Umbreon... no... p-please...> Lavender whispered again, and from the Dark/Ice Pokémon, it looked like she was struggling to keep from drowning in an invisible body of water, her breathing more erratic than ever.

<The glori-...> Keynid began, and catching Akela’s red eye over Sura’s back swallowed his words. As much as he hated to admit it, this was not the time for his hubris to show through. It had caused enough problems. Taking a second gulf of air, he spoke again, <La-Lavender? What’s wrong? Your fur...>

Turning one terrified (and unless Keynid was seeing things, slowly reddening) eye towards his, Lavender whispered, <I... I think I’m evolving, Wolfie. If it... if it happens before s-su-sunrise, the side of m-me that did this...> she gestured weakly at their surroundings. <That lives for v-violence and... and destruction? She’ll become my reality. And I’m scared. I don’t want to be her. I don’t want to lose sight of my goal.>

<Goal? What goal?> Keynid asked, leaning closer to catch her fading words.

<To experience my world as my mother did. To live life in more ways than I ever could as a blind Umbreon. To be... an Espeon. S-Stupid, hunh?> Lavender asked with a small smile.

Keynid’s face was blank as he watched Lavender twitch and shudder on the forest floor. The he leaned in and said softly, <...What do I do to help you?>

<Wh-what?>

<What do I do to help you?> Keynid repeated. <I am, if anything, indebted to you. And Keynid, if nothing else, is not so low as to leave a debt unpaid.>

Lavender took a minute to let it all sink in. There were several things she thought she’d never hear from the young Husky Pokémon when they first met at the Utopia Island Pokémon Center a few days ago. Humility and compassion topped that list. And now... in the last eighty seconds, the Huskup had managed to display them both.

She was willing to bet anything that her best friend Arcana, when she told her about this, would scoff and pass it off as guilt. But even as she fought to hold on to her sanity and kinder disposition, felt his words display a sincerity that, even through all his pomposity, Keynid had never betrayed or thrown aside for a second, no matter whom it was he addressed.

Taking a breath, she said, <Sapph always said daylight was important...>

<Then we head for the highest point of the island,> Keynid said firmly. <And I promise you Keynid will get you there. So don’t talk. Save your strength. This night will be a long one.>

Shifting her weight around until she lay slumped across his back, Keynid rose again just as Sura had managed to coax her brother to his feet. Looking into her eyes for a second, Keynid nodded solemnly to the young brown Mightyena, who nodded back. Turning towards the path that would take him where he had to go, he made his way past Akela, who also nodded respectfully to the young female fox resting in Keynid’s snowy mane and through the circle of the now silent Mightyena who stood aside to let him pass.

Stopping as close to Akela as possible, Keynid asked, <Which way is it to the highest point of the island?>

The old wolf closed his eyes for a moment and said, <Due east. I pray... that she can make it.>

<Yes, I as well,> Keynid said solidly before turning right and passing through the underbrush. <The powerful Keynid wishes you and your pack well.>

Akela chuckled and without another word the Mightyena that filled the clearing began to scatter.

<Can I say one thing?> Lavender whispered as Keynid ploughed through a particularly bothersome thicket.

Keynid pondered it for a second and sniffed, <Keynid permits this.>

<Don’t call yourself ‘Keynid’ anymore. At least... not in front of me.>

Keynid blinked a few times as he felt a small lump rise in his throat. He finally unstuck his throat and uttered a single word, <... fine.>

<Oh, and Wolfie?>

<You seem to love hearing yourself talk, don’t you?> Keynid said irritably.

<To bits,> Lavender said with a slight laugh.

Keynid sighed. <...What is it?> he asked.

<...Thank you.>

***​

“Oh, yeah?” A loud voice seemed to reverberate from the captain’s cabin. “Well, (let’s just say a very nasty word was screamed very loudly here) you, you chauvinistic Grumpig! We’re THROUGH!”

Zayina stormed away from the Captain’s Cabin of the UAS Hydro, blinking back tears of hurt inflicted by her now-ex boyfriend and anger at herself for letting the charade go on so long. Her heavy footfalls echoes up and down the deserted corridors as she stomped up to the aft side of the boat to lean heavily against the railings, her view of the ocean (and Utopia Island which was barely visible beyond the dark horizon) blurred the fresh tears that begun to stream down her face.

“No one’s sleeping tonight, are they?” An amused voice sounded beside her.

Rubbing her eyes hastily, Zayina turned to her right and saw Tony Parito saunter up to the railing himself; a slight smile on his face.

“What do you want?” Zayina choked out, failing to inject the hardness she had intended.

Chuckling slightly, Tony said, “Truly? To catch about four more hours of sleep. But with Sapph’s Flygon tearing up the medical wing, and Haley not back yet and you breaking up with Roni...”

“Who said I broke up with Roni?” Zayina asked a little too quickly.

“Uhh, you did?” Tony said shortly, still smiling. “So now what?”

“Now what?”

“Please, don’t insult my intelligence,” Tony said in clipped tones. “You’re not here under arrest or anything. You’re free to do what you want now... what’s your next move?”

Zayina fell silent at this question. What was she going to do next? Go home for a while? Fly back to Utopia Island for her seventh badge? Who could tell? Both ideas were tempting, but they’d also need a tremendous amount of resolve...

“Well, whatever you decide, just do your best,” Tony said calmly, turning back to go inside. “If you do decide to leave now, I’ll let Sapph know when he gets back. Any message?”

Zayina stood still for a few seconds as the night wind blew through over the deck. As Tony decided to go back to bed, a small smile finally showed up on her face. “Yeah,” she said finally. “Tell him from me to bring his A-game to the Sterling Finals because I’m bringing mine.”

Tony looked back at her back for a few more minutes, smiled to himself and walked back to bed. On his way he called back with a smile, “Work may keep me away from Sterling City, but I’ll keep my eye on you two! Take care!”

Zayina looked up at the night sky and sighed to herself. According to the rules, she was pretty much eligible to compete in the League Finals already, although it was those with a full set of badges who would be seeded. The young trainer had full confidence in her team and was certain they could go all the way. However... she still deserved to let them try on the last couple of badges. Just to get them psyched...

Pulling off her Pidgeotto’s pokéball, she prepared to order it to use Fly when she felt a presence behind her. Stopping abruptly, she lowered her hand and turned around slowly to find herself facing Haley Kent.

The two girls stared at each other for a while, each one with an expression of dislike on her face.

“Evening,” Haley said curtly.

“Hey,” Zayina replied in kind. “You’re late.”

“So what if I am?” Haley said shortly.

This answer stung a little as Zayina tried to mask her flinch. She didn’t have any idea that suggesting a play on her boyfriend would make her this bad...

Now Haley took the initiative in asking her questions: “Going somewhere?”

“Yeah,” Zayina said as calmly as she could manage.

“Does your boyfriend know?” Haley next question was swift.

“A, he doesn’t have to know anything. B, we broke up,” Zayina said icily.

Haley cocked an arrogant eyebrow and said “No kidding. When?”

“Not your business,” Zayina replied.

Both girls were smiling now, although you’d have to be a really big idiot to miss the sparks flying.

“Well,” Zayina said calmly, turning back towards the rail, “I best be off...”

“Where’s Sapph?”

Zayina stopped in mid-turn and looked over her shoulder at this question.

“No idea. What’s the matter? Can’t keep a hold on him?” Zayina said playfully.

“Not your business,” Haley echoed; a fragile smile on her face.

The two women smiled at each other again for an indefinable period of time. The edges of their smiles twitched as the younger one’s hand began to flex and relax near one of her pokéballs. Zayina’s grip on her pokéball tightened in reply and anticipation of a battle. However, the moment was soon broken as the older girl whipped her violet hair back towards the railing.

“Well...” Zayina said calmly, raising her pokéball again.

“Leaving so soon?” Haley said with a slight sneer.

“Yeah,” Zayina said in a low voice. “Oh, and Haley?”

Haley cocked an eyebrow once more and said in a brusque manner “What?”

“Give Sapph this from me,” Zayina said with a wink. And blowing a kiss back at Haley, she summoned her Bird Pokémon and in a whirl of feathers, she was gone.

Haley’s face was shocked and redder than a Tamato berry with sunburn at Zayina’s parting message and sudden departure. How long she looked like she did she had no idea, but when Cloude hovered out to see if Sapph had returned and saw her, he decided that the situation was too delicate to upset, and left her to her gaping soon after she finally snapped out of it and stormed off to bed, determined that Sapph never get Zayina’s ‘message’.

***​

From up in the air above Northern Isle, Sapph and Diamond heard a tremendous explosion that shook the air and sent the Mystic Pokémon and his rider tumbling through the air and away from the island. Turning around so fast he cricked his neck, Sapph saw a great pillar of smoke rise ominously from the far side of the island.

Looking down at the spooked Flygon, Sapph stroked his long neck and after much cajoling and reassurance managed to convince him to get them as close to the explosion as possible. Unfortunately for Sapph, this was still a good twenty minutes away from where the Lunar Beam had gone off. Returning his pacifist Pokémon for the time being Sapph crashed his way into the undergrowth, calling for his missing Pokémon.

Man, I wish I had brought Mighty with me on this one, Sapph thought grimly as he called out. He’d be perfect for finding them quickly...

Stumbling into another clearing, Sapph stopped to think for a moment, a rare occurrence in itself these days.

If I were Lavender and Keynid, and one of me had used Lunar Beam, what would I do? Man that’s confusing, Sapph thought to himself once more. Sitting on a stump, Sapph thought to himself, considering possibilities, once again lamenting his Magnet Pokémon’s absence.

Well, whichever one used the attack would be too tired to move soon afterwards, Sapph reasoned after a few hard-thought out minutes. So the other one would have to carry the first one off, considering no one was around when Diamond and me showed up. Seeing as either one of them could have used the attack... there would still be a trail where the ‘healthy’ one got dragged off! I’m a genius!

Jumping up off the stump and full of confidence, Sapph began to look around for any sign that Lavender or Keynid had been dragged off.

“Now that I know what happened, or have a good idea,” Sapph said to himself. “All I need is some sort of clue... any second now...”

***​

Keynid gasped as he was slammed into yet another sturdy tree as Lavender went nuts and caught him with a looping Bite attack. Sliding down a bit, the Husky Pokémon groaned as he shook his head and looked up at the ‘Evolution’ Pokémon.

Lavender now had a golden ring on her forehead and her fur had taken on a totally sable hue. It was all Keynid could do to keep her in his sights now as her coffee brown eyes narrowed wickedly and she opened her mouth, dark energy beginning to form there.

Keynid staggered to his feet just as his companion fired a salvo of Shadow Ball at him. He took off at a slight sprint and barely avoided the first couple of orbs. The third, however, struck him in the flank and he went into a roll.

Finding his feet, he leapt over the last two which had bee-lined for his head and called out, <Calm down, Lavender! The powerful- uh, I don’t want to hurt you!>

Lavender’s reply was another snarl and a second Shadow Ball beginning to grow in her mouth.

<You asked for it,> Keynid muttered, and he took off as soon as his paws hit the ground. Lavender fired her attack again and Keynid vanished from sight. Lavender’s eyes widened before what felt like a cinder block slammed her in the side of the head, causing her knees to buckle and knocking her off balance. Keynid reappeared only for Lavender to vanish in turn. Keynid’s eyes widened as he realised what was coming and despite bracing himself, the Husky Pokémon still felt his feet leave the ground as a dull blow erupted around his ribcage.

Flying back into a tree, Keynid fell back and gasped in pain again, Lavender reappearing and raising her snout a third time.

<Simply marvellous...> Keynid muttered as he rose to his feet, his snout beginning to fill with an icy blue hue of his own.

Lavender released a great barrage of Shadow Balls, yelling, <Go down!> as Keynid responded with the largest Powder Snow attack he’d ever produced, saying, <Make me!>

Both attacks collided and began to strain and push. Lavender’s eyes began to redden as blood began to pour down out of Keynid’s left ear. Shadow Ball pushed desperately against Powder Snow for supremacy as Lavender and Keynid put their all into the attacks.

<I... can’t keep this... up... much l-longer,> Keynid gasped, his ears ringing with the sound of the roaring wind. Looking through the maelstrom, he could just make out Lavender, one eye closed, the other a bloody red. <I must e-end this... n-n-now. Before... she...> just as he was going to utter the next word, a bright white light surrounded him and he began to grow.

<Okay... this officially became unfair. Cool...> Lavender thought as she watched Keynid’s snout elongate a bit and his tail grow a lot. His paws became furless and hair grew down his front legs at an insane pace.

The evolution complete, Keynid opened brown eyes and unleashed nothing short of a mini-blizzard upon Lavender, swallowing her and her attack whole. The trees behind her caught in the blast froze over where the attack hit and the leaves began to fall in earnest.

Taking a breath, Keynid relaxed and shuffled forwards to check on Lavender’s condition. Stopping short he looked at his “opponent” and stared. Funnily enough, it wasn’t the fact that Lavender was quickly thawing out of a fair amount of ice, but she wasn’t a Glaceon.

<Odd... I know I hit her with an Ice attack,> Keynid mused, his icy claws growing out of his paws an inch or so. <So what happened to her famed ‘Synchrovolution’? I heard there was an Ice type Eeveelution... I’m short on time...>

Sighing a bit and his head still ringing, Keynid raised a heavy paw and broke the ice partially encasing his team mate. He then bowed his head and heaved the corrupted Eevee onto his shaggy back and turned to look up the trail towards the top of the island.

<Time’s short... I just hope she can last until the sun comes up,> Keynid said grimly, before continuing his trek uphill.

***​

Purple-clad boots hit Utopia Wharf with a clunk as their owner arrived at the island town. Raising one arm to return her Pidgeotto and the other to sweep violet locks out of her eyes, Zayina Edwardssen sighed in some relief and spared a moment to look back in the direction the UAS Hydro was moored. Dark clouds began to gather in the space between them and the wind began to pick up ominously. After a moment of the wind playing with her hair, Zayina turned around and began to stroll towards the Pokémon Gym.

As Zayina walked, she smiled at Haley’s last expression before her departure for a minute before her face fell into the lines of seriousness. Zayina had the power to take the gym as she closed the gap then. She had the right Pokémon. She had the anger. All of it was fine and good. But she found her feet stop abruptly and her mind managed to cool down a bit and realised anger was the last thing she wanted to take with her into a Pokémon gym battle. Besides, she reasoned with herself further as she redirected her steps towards the Pokémon Centre, the gym would be closed at this hour. Best get some rest and prepare for an afternoon challenge. It was her winning pattern and she wasn’t ready to change it.

Arriving after a few minutes and stepping through the sliding doors a loud shout of “Oh, hell no! Why have we gotta take her?!” Rubbing her ear forcefully, Zayina noticed four people by the vending machines and decided to see what the fuss was about and quell it. She had a feeling she wasn’t going to sleep well with the ruckus going on.

“It’s just a favour we’re doing, Sky,” a young girl with coral blue hair said soothingly. “It’s not a long-term agreement, right?”

The old and only man in the group nodded at her words and said, “That’s correct, Nora. Your comrade does master Flying types and my niece does need a lift now that her rehab is... ‘complete’...”

“No need to baby me, grandpa,” the second girl said with a laugh. She was easily the eldest of the trio and her straight brown hair grew down to her shoulder blades. “I’ll be fine...”

“I still don’t like this,” Sky said. “Hasn’t your niece got her own Flying type, Herb? Or a Water type? We’re in a bit of a hurry...”

“But, Sky... we’re not, are we?”

“Shut up, Nora!”

“I’m sorry!”

Zayina was slightly surprised that Sky had so much influence on Nora. She was at least a year younger, besides...

The old man shook his head with slight exasperation. “No need to be sorry, Nora,” he said regally. “You have power to put us to quite the test. I noticed that in our Gym battle...”

So he’s the gym leader, Zayina thought to herself as she hung back a little to listen. Gotta take notes...

“Can we help you?” The eldest girl said, with just a hint of pride as she addressed Zayina.

Smiling to her in reply, Zayina replied, “Not unless ‘keeping calm’s’ a way of helping me. What’s the matter? You need a lift?”

“Yes, to Northern Isle,” the girl replied a little lost. “My grandfather’s about all for letting me go, but I haven’t secured a suitable Pokémon for getting there...”

“Lazy much, Nicola?” Sky said slyly.

Nicola closed her eyes in slight exasperation and thankfully choosing to ignore her, went on, “I planned to ask these two for a lift, but Sky here wants to be clever...”

“I can’t ‘want’ to be something I already ‘am’,” Sky countered wittily.

“Anyways,” Nora said quickly. “Nicola here wants a lift to Northern Isle and Sky here’s being... difficult.”

“Just give her a ride on Flora or something!” Sky replied hotly. “I’m not taking another specialist on Riza!”

“Flora just evolved in this gym battle, Sky!” Nora nearly cried. “That’s pushing her too hard!”

“In the name of peace I’d lend Aera, but we just got here from Northern Isle ourselves,” Zayina said calmly. “And it’s too far for Otto to swim, I’m afraid...”

“Nicola’s too proper to fly or swim on anything that ain’t a Grass type, right?” Sky said with a smirk.

Sighing to herself, Nicola said, “Fine, I give. I’ll hitch a ride with Nora then... if Sky plans to be stingy with Leafy...”

“But we’re leaving tonight!” Sky wailed impatiently.

“Ahem... storm brewing?” Zayina input helpfully.

“So it’s settled,” Herbert said finally. “All three of you leave tomorrow morning. The storm should have blown itself out by then...”

“Fine,” Nora said thankfully.

“Fine,” Nicola said grimly, rolling her eyes impatiently.

“Fine,” Sky said moodily, folding her arms and looking defeated.

Zayina nodded wordlessly and headed to the front desk to give Aera some rest and get a room for the night. So... if I’m guessing right, he uses Grass types as well, Zayina thought. I need a strategy... Grass types are tricky. I wonder if I should have mentioned those I left behind... nah...

***​

Mere feet separated the struggling Icoeti from the top of the cliff side he was struggling to climb. Hampering his progress was the roughly two and a half foot long bundle of black fur clamped in his sagging jaw, not to mention the howling winds and torrential tropical rainfall. Its dark coat was pitch black, a contrast to the early morning sky, which was tinged purple. Golden rings dotted its forehead, ears and tail and a sliver of red could be seen through it’s now stirring eyes.

<Stop... squirming,> Keynid said in muffled tones, digging his icy claws deeper into the cliff side as the wind threatened to pull him out and throw them both for a great big loop. <We’ll... fall... if you don’t... hold... hey!> Keynid’s eyes widened as ‘Lavender’ chose that moment to sneeze and release a small, stray Shadow Ball into the horizon. Keynid winced as the rock face in the attack’s wake began to crack but miraculously held long enough to pull them an inch out of danger.

<I know we’re short on time, but I think she’s doing this deliberately,> Keynid grumbled to himself as he looked to ensure he was secure before looking for his next foothold.

<Why don’t you let me go?> Lavender whispered seductively. <You know you want to fail...>

<Shut up,> Keynid said shortly, finding his next foothold and placing his right claw firmly into the rock.

<It’s so easy,> Lavender went on, her eyes closed and her voice as tempting as ever. <Just let go. I’ll make this harder if you don’t.>

<I knew it was deliberate...> Keynid thought with a mental eye roll. Aloud he told her, his mouth full of Eevee. <I’m... not... letting... go...>

<Your loss,> Lavender chuckled. Opening her mouth, she released a second Shadow Ball which whistled past the cliff, causing more splintering.

<Way to pick... the dangerous... way... to prove... a point,> Keynid muffled as he began to climb up even faster despite his fatigue and the thundering rain. <Stop doing that!>

<Make me, Wolfie,> Lavender laughed cynically, releasing a third Shadow Ball which pretty much kissed the wall. <Any day now...>

Keynid dug his rear paws into the wall as a response, the lip of the cliff a mere two inches away now.

<I could just use Faint Attack, you know,> Lavender said cajolingly. <Come on... be a sport.>

Another paw in... one foot left...

<Seriously... I won’t make it... either... way...>

Keynid’s sweat began to cloud his vision as he struggled to look for the last foothold. <Ig-noring... you...> He managed to snarl.

<Like you can ignore me, Wolfie,> Lavender laughed as she began to slowly ready a regular-sized Shadow Ball. <Last warning...>

<Shut... up...> Keynid growled, still looking for where to place his claws before this Eevee’s neck. His jaws’ grip tightened as the Shadow Ball began to swell.

<Oh, well,> Lavender said when the Shadow Ball had reached its full size. <Nice knowing ya, Wolfie.>

And with that, she launched the Shadow Ball directly into the cliff face with a slight explosion. And by slight, you might say I mean “earth-shattering”. Literally.

Down in the forest Sapph heard the explosion before seeing the smoke rising from the cliff side. “Finally, a sign! Come on out, Diamond!” he exclaimed jubilantly, releasing his Mystic Pokémon.

Diamond let out a musical cry, took one look at the explosion and squeaked in terror. Sapph opened his mouth to give a command but Diamond was a step ahead of him and, with a blast of red light, zipped back into his pokéball which began to shudder in fear.

“Aw, come on! I didn’t even say anything yet!” Sapph moaned in frustration.

The dust seemed to clear very slowly. After a while, when it was possible to see what had happened, Keynid stood at the top of the cliff, Lavender somehow still in his mouth. Burns and scars peppered their bodies and Keynid was all but spent. Looking behind him, he saw a cave behind them and began to limp towards it; the sun about to rise at his back.

<I don’t understand,> Lavender croaked in disbelief. <How on earth did you make it? We were both goners!>

Reaching the shadows of the cave and spitting out his passenger onto the floor, Keynid looked down and said dispassionately, <Easy. As we were blown off the cliff side, I used Powder Snow to connect us to the wall. I did freeze my feet as well, not a good thing considering what a shoddy job it was...>

<No! This... can’t happen!> Lavender growled, trying and failing to find her feet. <We should be dead!>

<True, but we’re not,> Keynid panted, turning towards the purple-pink horizon. <Come on... hurry up...> he muttered towards the sun.

Lavender chuckled darkly. <You know something, Wolfie? It doesn’t even matter. I can evolve on my own...>

Keynid laughed at this pronouncement. <No you can’t,> he barked. <Espeon and Umbreon need total trust between trainer and Pokémon to work... you can’t bluff me.>

<Sapph already has total trust in me, fool,> Lavender laughed back. <Team leader... remember?>

<But you don’t trust him,> Keynid laughed. <And you taught me trust is a two-way street...>

Looking stumped for a few seconds, Lavender got a nasty smile on her face as she looked into Keynid’s mirthful eyes and laughed, <Have you... even looked at me... recently, Wolfie? I’m... pretty much... a-an UJmbreon al-already. All it takes... is one... push... and not even... unconsciousness... will stop it,> she added, as Keynid looked ready to knock her block off.

<Face it,> she laughed in his face. <You failed... ‘Wolfie’.>

Gritting his fangs in anger, Keynid took another glance behind him as the sun which was just about beginning to make an appearance. Turning back towards his teammate, he blanched as Lavender was overcome with a dazzling white light.

<Damnit... will she make it?> Keynid thought worriedly as he limped aside for the “sunlight” to do its thing.

Lavender began to shrink into a ball of light that began to grow and shrink with stunning slowness. Keynid’s sweat was drenching his entire body as he watched Lavender restlessly. Espeon... or Umbreon? Which would it be?

The ball began to elongate and four slender legs touched the cave floor. Feline eyes began to grow out of a roundish head and her tail began to grow. Keynid’s eyes were glued to Lavender as her ears began to fan out as the light gave one final pulse of brightness. Keynid shut his eyes as the light illuminated the cave for a few seconds and began to die down.

The light from the cave gone, Keynid opened one eye and saw two tails wave briefly in and out of his line of sight.

Two tails...

Keynid opened both eyes.

What Keynid saw as two tails was a single one that branched off at a point a few inches away from the tip. Lying at his feet was a catlike creature with light purple fur. A small red gem that recalled a Persian sat in the same position and gleamed in the slow sun. Dark purple eyes and dainty feet completed the image of Lavender’s long-time dream becoming a reality. A broad familiar smile completed the image that there was no doubt this was indeed the Husky Pokémon’s team leader.

<Hey, Wolfie... you grew up,> Lavender said blearily, looking up at the now-Mightyena-sized wolf above her.

<So did you,> Keynid laughed. <How do you feel?>

<Like a billionaire,> Lavender laughed.

<I thought you were an Umbreon for sure back there,> Keynid said slowly. <How are you an Espeon?>

<Guess you picked your caves right, Wolfie,> Lavender said rising to her feet. <Look around you.>

Keynid obliged and saw many dully-glowing lights all around them. The cave was spiked with a multitude of rocks that were distinctly violet in all directions.

<The crystals’ dull colour meant that I must have used them to evolve,> Lavender said sticking her tongue out cheekily. <I do hope there are some left though...>

Keynid laughed and gave Lavender a quick lick before composing himself. Both Pokémon stared at each other with pink faces for a short while before Lavender smiled and licked Keynid’s black nose by mistake.

<Oops... missed,> Lavender giggled.

Slightly light-headed, Keynid managed to croak, <You have time to get it right.>

<What?>

<Nothing,> Keynid said quickly. <The mighty Ke- I mean, I... said nothing.>

Lavender smiled to herself as the rain began to lighten up. <Hey, Wolfie...>

<What is it?> Keynid said tiredly, slumping near the entrance of the cave to watch the rainfall and the sunrise.

Lavender slunk over and plopped herself down besides her saviour, <You disappointed I’m a Psychic type now?>

Keynid fell silent for a few minutes, yet another first for the proud Icoeti, and said with a bit of swagger, <No. I’m plenty Dark enough for this team; am I not?>

Lavender laughed a lot and licking his cheek said, <You sure are. Come on,> she said, getting up again.

<I am not going through that,> Keynid said firmly. <I’ve done a lot for you, but I’m drawing the line...>

<Neither am I, Wolfie,> Lavender smiled. <There’s a shortcut through the cave back down the mountain.>

Scrambling to his feet, Keynid turned to stare at Lavender. <How did you...?>

The Espeon winked and said, <Woman’s intuition,> She then began to walk down the cave perfectly, not once stumbling on the many now-useless Sun Shards that filled the cave.

<Woman’s intuition... of course...> Keynid said with a chuckle as he followed suit.

<I heard that...> Lavender’s voice said sternly.

<Spare me...> Keynid’s own laughed in response.

***​

Early risers aboard the UAS Hydro heard a flapping of wings as Sapph and Diamond came in for a landing in the morning sun. Both rider and Pokémon were completely exhausted and the latter completely soaked as disappointed the boy dismounted and returned his Dragon Pokémon dispiritedly. “I can’t believe I missed them so many times... damn it...” he groaned to nobody in particular.

“What’s the matter, young’un?” One of the sailors asked in a concerned voice. “Other than the fact that it looks like you nearly drowned...”

Sapph slumped against the side of the ship and slipped to his bum, mumbling in displeasure, “I spent hours looking for my Pokémon. Hours. There was no trail, no sign... nothing. I must have searched the whole damn island...”

One of the sailors walked up and leaned on his broom and with a smile said, “Maybe they’re not on the island...”

“Then where would they be?!” Sapph cut in with a desperate wail. “We can’t leave without them!”

“Try the infirmary,” a third sailor winked.

“Or what’s left of it,” the first one corrected with a chuckle.

Sapph’s eyes widened as he felt himself rise to his feet and charge off towards the hospital wing on feet that weren’t his. He charged past Tony, Shrader and a grumpy Roni with a hurried “Morning”. Leaving Roni to bellow in pain as his morning coffee landed on his head after Sapph had blown past him, he rounded the corner and leapt down the oncoming flight of stairs. Making one last turn towards the medic’s room, he passed two more burly sailors carrying the mangled remains of the medical table past him as he skidded to a halt in front of two sleeping Pokémon. Two totally unfamiliar, sleeping Pokémon...

The larger one had a snow-white head, forepaws and hind legs. Its forelegs and tail were of the darkest black. Long hair and icy blue fangs grew down the sides of its head and similar coloured diamonds to its teeth covered its hindquarters and head as it slumbered next to another smaller fox; this one a lot more recognisable to Sapph.

Soft lilac fur covered this Pokémon’s body from its smallish head down to its forked tail. A small red gemstone was set in its forehead and neat tufts of fur grew from the sides of her face. This Pokémon slept quite close to the larger one and had its tail wrapped up in other Pokémon’s too.

Despite not recognizing the first of the two Pokémon, Sapph had little doubt as to what had happened in his absence despite the tails being a mystery to his juvenile mind. Sinking to his knees, the Johton trainer opened his mouth as the smaller Pokémon opened her violet eyes and said in a familiar voice, <Morning, Sapph. What’s up?>

Sapph swore.

***​

CHARACTER PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK

Name: Leopold Patrick Saunders
Date of Birth: March 16, PA 1975
Hometown: Pampa City, Corei
Pokémon
On Hand: Not known
In Storage: Not known
Likes: Being right, engineering (it’s his job)
Dislikes: Female trainers
Contemporaries: Sarah, Grandma Rose, Reg, Nora, Sapph
About Leopold: Leopold is the chauvinistic, boorish and loud father of Nora and Reg Saunders. Leopold’s prejudice against female trainers probably stemmed from his mother leaving home to continue her life as a trainer and leaving in the care of his father, whose death brought his mother home running to take care of him.

This gesture did nothing to change his feelings for his mother, and he does everything in his power to ensure his daughter doesn’t do the same to her children, whom he plans for her to have with a powerful nobleman who will keep her home under his thumb. Fortunately, Sapph and his mother are onto him...

***​

And I have a treat for this week’s Pokémon of the Chapter! It’s not just a triple-header, its three Pokémon who aren’t even in the Corei-Dex! Welcome to three alternate Eeveelutions! Enjoy!

Wyveon
Type: Dragon
Species: Wyvern
Height: 3’05”
Weight: 43lbs
Habitat: Cave
Evolution Line: Eevee –(Level up at Dragon Rock)-> WYVEON
Name Derivation: WYVern (type of dragon) + EON (suffix for all Eeveelutions)
Notes: This majestic evolution of EEVEE hides away from human eyes in low-altitude cliffside caves far away from colder climates. Obtaining one is only possible when an EEVEE is taken to the Dragon Rock and levelled up.


Evreon
Type: Normal
Species: Evolved
Height: 3’01”
Weight: 48lbs
Habitat: Rough-terrain
Evolution Line: Eevee –(Level up at Plain Rock)-> EVREON
Name Derivation: EV’Ry (every) + EON (suffix for all Eeveelutions)
Notes: Evreon is fully capable of performing attacks of every type that hasn’t birthed an evolution of EEVEE thus far, save for Ghost type moves. It isn’t possible to obtain one in the wild and the few in possession are noticeably tricky to raise, due to their somewhat finicky ways.

Spectreon
Type: Ghost
Species: Spirit
Height: 3’02”
Weight: 25lbs
Habitat: Rough-terrain
Evolution Line: Unknown
Name Derivation: SPECTRe (another word for/type of ghost) + EON (suffix for all Eeveelutions)
Notes: The lightest evolution of EEVEE has been seen to levitate above the ground slightly in battle on the few instances one is seen. SPECTREON are known to screech at full moons and prank those around them. It is not yet known how one is obtained.

***​

Next time on The Corei Quest... rewritten: Haley takes on the second of the Trigello trio and wonders if the group was properly named. Meanwhile, Team Sapph gets some much needed training in, and run into yet another familiar face. Who could it be, and will everyone be successful in their efforts? Find out in Chapter Forty Two: Year of the Cows.

Well, until next post (which I promise will be loads sooner than this one)... L@er!
 
Last edited:

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Ok, this may be the third post in a row, but I regret to announce that, weakened battery aside, my laptop cable is fried and thus the chapter may be delayed... again.

I however promise this will not be the case, school aside. Hope you enjoy this for now!

L@er!

P.S. this message was brought to you by HTC Wildfire.
 

GastlyMan

Ghost Type Trainer
So glad you updated, Air Dragon! I'm still absolutely loving it! ^^ (And it makes me feel slightly better about not having updated my fic for over a year, lol XD Real life is so annoying!)

Lavender's (and Keynid's) evolution = amazing. Excellent job establishing tension as to what time of the day she was going to evolve. Her personality as an Umbreon was so...creepy; I'm definitely glad she achieved her dream of becoming an Espeon!

Only...why exactly was Umbreon Lavender trying to knock both of them off the cliff?

And great insight on Keynid's character. He is gradually becoming even more awesome. :D

Also, is it just me, or do Lavender and Keynid have a bit of chemistry going on? hehe ^_________________^

Despite not recognizing the first of the two Pokémon, Sapph had little doubt as to what had happened in his absence despite the tails being a mystery to his juvenile mind. Sinking to his knees, the Johton trainer opened his mouth as the smaller Pokémon opened her violet eyes and said in a familiar voice, <Morning, Sapph. What’s up?>

Sapph swore.
Best. Conclusion. EVER! :D

Such a great chapter. Keep up the excellently amazing work. :3
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Appreciation and whatnot

@MerlockVonBaron: Ehehehehe... Hate to make promises. Especially regarding this fic.

@GastlyMan: I'm so glad you enjoyed it and took the time out to let me know! Yes, real life can grind hard. Real hard. Hard to fight on, but that's what we gotta do.

Regarding your question on Dark Lavender, she's a Dark type. And pretty much the reason the type is called the "Evil type" in Japanese. There's no rhyme or reason to her demented logic. Only evil. Boy, aren't you glad she didn't end up as that full time too?

One more thing I think I need to clean up was her evolution. It actually was still night as the change began. What saved her was the insides of the cave were completely lined with Sun Shards, which overcame the whole dawn thing and completed her final Synchrovolution.

As to her chemistry with Keynid, only time will tell. ;)

Which brings me to the "whatnot" part of this post. The next chapter will hopefully be out end of March, but I'm not prepared to make any bets. I have two reports to submit in as many weeks, and the second one, is going in for the THIRD time (yeah, I hate databases. Sue me)

The next chapter will come. And as soon as I possibly can churn it out. The plan is mostly set, the battle is yet to be penned.

Hope more people come back while I'm away working!

L@er!
 
You're newest fan.

Hi! Um, is this the right way to review? Well, either way, awesome fic! just awesome! I created a pokemon fic of my one on the fanfiction.net, but have no inspiration for it. but back to your fic I just love your characters of all species. They're what kept me reading. (nothing wrong with the plot. great plot.) Is their a way to be alerted when a new chapter is up? I can't really bookmark at this time. Not my computer!
 

DarkSpace2012

And, as if by magic~
So I drop in on the off-chance there may be a new update...
I was happily surprised! To be honest AD, you can take another year to make a new chapter, if the quality is as good as it's always been, then I don't care! But of course taking a lot less than a year is preferable xD Keep it up though!
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
The Corei Quest Chapter 42~1

Well, well, people! It's been quite the while hasn't it? My postgraduate course coming to a close (Thanking God for the Pass), aikido sessions, and mass laziness has spurred me on to present this (not quite a meat feast) but entree smoking hot and fresh off the presses! Time to sort out some appreciation and whatnot before we get to the MEAT. XD

DanceswithMagikarp: Looks like the right way to me. Welcome to the journey, and I hope you enjoy your stay! By the way, passing the word of a new chapter is going on the PM list. And guess what? You're in! :D

DarkSpace2010: Hopefully this mashup will pass muster then. :D

Ugliduck99: Should be long done by now, but will be sending a PM out in a couple of minutes, or soon. :)

So, before we get into this chapter, the Light make an appearance. Not that I would tell you otherwise, but their appearance has nothing to do with the Colorado tragedy and my heart goes out to EVERYONE affected.

DISCLAIMER: Tempest, Josephine Harris, Rachel Savina, Paul Oak and Zurax are all property of Legendarian Mistress. And without further ado, Chapter 42.

Chapter Forty Two: Year of the Cows​

The sound of brisk footfalls echoed down the corridor leading to the captain’s cabin of the UAS Hydro as their owner made their way towards it. A burly sailor or two, engrossed in their daily duties walked by, proffering a nod or a cheery salute which Lieutenant Shrader replied in equal measure. When left to the silence of her march, however, the young lieutenant’s face fell back into the lines of businesslike concern. Whatever could the matter be?

Stopping outside her destination, she raised a hand to knock twice on the door. Her captain’s voice within, however, drew pause from her.

“That’s basically what happened... an assignment on Western Isle? They’re what?”

The incredulity in Tony’s voice at that last statement made Shrader lose her head temporarily and open the door without a formal introduction to see her captain look up from his PokéNav and, breathing a sigh of relief, say, “Yes, I understand the situation... we’ll add it to our current mission. Out.”

Ending the transmission, Tony leaned back and exhaled. Fixing his lieutenant with a beady eye, he said, “You could have knocked first.”

“The summons sounded urgent, sir,” Shrader replied, her tone measured, expecting a dressing down.

“It is,” Tony assured her wearily. “Close the door behind you, please.”

Shrader obeyed quickly and returned to attention before the young man.

“Y’know, you can relax, Shrader,” Tony said slightly bemused.

“Of course, Sir,” Shrader replied, relaxing into an “at ease” position.

“Yesterday was interesting, to say the least,” Tony went on, deciding to be satisfied with Shrader’s actions. “Haley wins her first Trigello badge... Sapph gets attacked by his own Pokémon... two run off and evolve while a third does so on ship...”

“Quite the run up, Sir,” Shrader concurred.

“Quite,” Tony said, turning in his chair to survey the deck below, where a small group of Pokémon and their trainer were surrounded by sailor activity all around. “Where is Ms. Kent now?”

“In the training hall below deck, Sir,” Shrader said. “Working on her Lapras’s aim.”

“And Roni?”

“Sulking on the bridge, Sir,” Shrader replied, the thinnest of smirks dancing upon her lips.

Tony allowed himself an unsympathetic chuckle at his co-worker’s plight before returning back to business. “You overheard my transmission from Ocean?”

“It was from Ocean, Sir?” Shrader said in some surprise.

“Did you?” Tony pressed.

“J-just the ending, Sir.”

“Very well,” Tony said, standing up as well to pace the room in front of the window. “According to sources from Ocean, a threat has been discovered on Western Isle.”

“Threat, Sir? What nature of threat?”

“Its nature isn’t confirmed,” Tony went on with a nod. “But we’re certain Team Shadow is behind it.”

“Any information on the target?” Shrader asked.

“Fairy Tales Farm,” Tony said shortly. “Although this could be a false trail.”

“Our orders are to investigate?”

“Yes,” Tony said with a sigh. “Seeing as we dock at Western Isle in less than an hour and Haley has an appointment with the suspected target, Ocean felt it prudent for our regiment to handle this.”

“How many?” Shrader inquired.

“You... and one other.” Tony said guardedly.

“Just two?”

“Discretion is key, Lieutenant,” Tony said with a wan smile. “Ocean’s words. You’ll accompany Mr Manson and Ms Kent on their business when we dock and await further instructions from Ocean.”

“Sounds a bit much, Sir,” Shrader said wearily.

Turning towards his lieutenant with a taut grin, Tony replied, “Why else would I trust you with it?”

Shrader saluted once and left the room without a further word. Tony’s smile fell as he looked back towards the bridge and watched Sapph rise to his feet and saunter towards the rail of the Hydro’s fore, Western Isle rapidly approaching.

“So that’s Western Isle,” Sapph said rubbing his injured hand lightly.

<Calculations and analysis of our distance to destination and current transportation velocity depict our estimated time of arrival to equate...> a series of mechanical beeping ensued from the boy trainer’s right. <One hour, forty seven minutes, twenty one seconds and... forty four microseconds from the end of this update.>

Exhaling slightly, Sapph turned to what looked like a cluster of hovering magnets and said grimly, “Well, your evolution certainly didn’t affect your nature much, buddy.”

<What did you expect, Sapph?> A small violet quadruped called up sunnily as it made its way towards them, stopping short of the rail. <At least he isn’t commenting on the glorious weather we’re getting!>

<Atmospheric conditions are: temperature, twenty three degrees Centigrade. Rainfall, zero millimetres. Wind speed: three kilometres per hour, thirty one degrees north-northeast. Pressure; one point oh-one-three bars per hectopascal ,optimuuuuuuuuummmmmmm.> Mighty droned instantly.

Sapph turned towards his sweat dropping team mate and said drily, “You were saying?”

<Oh, shut it, Sapph,> Lavender replied, her forked tail cutting a path through the ship’s slipstream lazily. Turning back, she called out, <Come and join us, Hunter! The weather’s great! Even Mighty says so!>

<I’ll respectfully declines,> a large black and white wolf said blearily from the shade where he had been, until a moment ago, snoozing peacefully.

<What’s the matter? Afraid you’ll melt?> Lavender ribbed her team mate joyfully.

<I’ll enjoy it more where I am, thank you,> Hunter rejoined, opening a coffee brown eye a crack.

“Well, at least he’s more social now,” Sapph said to his Espeon with a smile.

What seemed like a large green and tan dragon and a tiny by comparison red, white and gold blob resembling a tiny sun above a cloud floated over and in response to a series of musical notes the lager Pokémon made, said, <Like, it’s time to change the dressing on that hand, man.>

“Already?” Sapph groaned in protest.

<Actual optimum time for substitution of sterilization material applied to right upper forelimb and extremity estimated at seven minutes, twelve seconds and...>

“OK, OK, I get it! Return, guys!” Sapph groaned loudly, eliciting a couple of chuckles from those nearby and a halfway smirk from an otherwise unflinching Hunter, before he raised five pokéballs to suck their contents back in.

<Thanks, Mighty,> Lavender said cheerfully as Cloude and Diamond vanished in flashes of red light.

Left to his thoughts once more, Sapph made his way below deck towards the infirmary turning a corner just as Haley came up the gangway engrossed in conversation with the entity known as Black Cherub.

“...and you’re sure you want me off this case?” She said in hushed tones as she mounted the deck and walked towards the fore rail.

“Indeed. We’ll need you to keep an eye on Mr Manson. Almost as much as we need you at the Trigello finals,” Black Cherub’s voice said. “If Mr Manson is contacted, we need someone we trust to keep a tab on him the moment things start to go south. Be sure to maintain your cover though. The game would be up if anyone caught on.”

Haley turned an eye towards Western Isle and as the ship’s slipstream sent her white jacket hither and thither, said softly, “Understood. White Seraph, out.”

***​

After another hour at sea and the brief altercation from Roni, Sapph, Haley and Shrader disembarked and walked into a town that recalled Haley’s attire during her early travel days. A point Sapph was quick to call on.

“Would you just look at this place?” Sapph remarked as they turned yet another corner and passed a man leading a Bouffalant drawn cart. The bull turned his wild-haired head towards their retreating backs as he went on “It looks just like a scene out of those movies my dad can’t seem to stand.”

“Meaning what, Sapph?” Haley said tersely. She was somehow drawn to the peaceful atmosphere Western Isle City was bringing and wasn’t ready to take any nonsense from Sapph, despite Black Cherub’s warnings.

“Wow, calm down, Haley!” Sapph said, raising his palms defensively. “My dad’s never been much for the movies where the hero was a rebel, or a vigilante or anything like that.”

“You mean like you,” Haley said, a slight sneer inflected in her retort.

Bristling at the comment, Sapph replied hotly, “What was that? Geez, Haley... you’re awful challenging all of a sudden. You really ought to...”

“Here’s the Pokémon Center, you guys,” Shrader interjected not a minute too soon. They had indeed arrived at what was the town’s Pokémon Center; an extremely large yet rustic-looking log cabin with double saloon doors as opposed to the conventional sliding glass variety. Sapph closed his mouth but looked no less mutinous at the interruption. Haley seemed a bit subdued, but no less belligerent as she turned to the undercover AGENT and muttered “And why are we here, lieutenant?”

“Directions.” Shrader replied simply, opening the swinging doors for her younger companion. “We still don’t know where the dojo is, after all.”

Haley was about to say she knew EXACTLY where the dojo was, but remembering her present company and the need for secrecy, flounced off past the pair and into the Center. Sapph sighed and attempted to slouch in after her but a firm but gentle grip held him in place.

Not looking around at the older woman, Sapph muttered “What is it, Shrader? All I was gonna say was that she ought to lighten up a bit. She’d be more... attractive for it, I guess. Meh, she doesn’t deserve to know anymore.”

Leaving a surprised Shrader in his wake, Sapph sauntered into the cooler building and noticing an interesting battle on hand on the Pokémon arena backstage.

Two small quadrupeds waged battle on the chalk field out back. Both looked like evolutions of Eevee. One in fact was the spitting image of his old Eevee Lavender, before her evolution to Espeon. Barring the distinct lack of a ruff and being leaner and over three times taller than the Evolution Pokémon, it looked every bit an oversized Eevee. It gathered golden energy into its mouth and fired it at its opponent who leapt nimbly out of the way.

Landing lightly, this Eeveelution couldn’t look anything less like an Eevee. Its smoky grey fur and face were dotted with ethereal green eyes that seemed a size too big for its head. Its scrawny form seemed ready to separate into a million wisps of gas as a ring of small violet flames glowed sinisterly and multiplied. With what seemed like a ghostly cry and a command from its trainer, a young looking boy with jet black hair, it fired its attack towards the winded foe, striking it on its side with a sharp squeal.

Curious as to what they were, he had barely made four paces towards the back of the room before his arm had been seized again in a similar albeit much more painful pincer grip.

Turning back wearily to expect Shrader restraining him again, he was surprised when a burly young man in his midteens drew Sapph close til they were face to face and growled, “You’re not welcome, here, pardner.”

Choking a bit on the youth’s tobacco breath, Sapph spluttered for a moment, gasping “Hey, what’s your deal?”

“We don’t want no Pokémon murderer around these parts,” the big guy went on, his grip tightening slightly. “Do we understand each other, Sapphire Manson?”

“Not really,” Sapph wheezed, the smell of tobacco becoming a bit much for him. “I was only gonna go watch, anyways...”

“Like hell you were...” the guy went on before Shrader’s cool voice said quietly. “I’d let go of him if I were you, sir. You’re making a scene.”

“Bah, no one wants him here anyways,” the kid said in his gravelly voice. “Who’s gonna help him anyways? You?”

Shrader was on the point of answering when Sapph said a bit loudly, “Why should she? Never seen her before in her life.”

Shrader stared at Sapph incredulously as he returned his aggressor’s hard gaze. Slapping his arm free, the Johton trainer straightened his anorak and said, “No need to show me out, I was just leaving anyways.”

Walking out of the door, he passed Shrader and whispered, “Stay with Haley. I’ll see you back on the Hydro.”

Shrader looked stunned a split second longer before her face hardened theatrically and she flounced off towards the young Coreian girl who had missed the entire exchange behind her back as she asked the local matron for directions and to arrange a matchup for thirty minutes time.

Thanking her helper, Haley turned to see Shrader behind her and Sapph nowhere to be found.

“Where’s Sapph?” She asked in slight surprise.

Thinking fast, Shrader said loudly, “Who? Don’t worry about that crazy fan boy, Ms Kent. I just reminded him that he had better things to do with his time.”

Shock and anger clouded Haley’s expressing for half a minute before she smoothed the lock of gray hair out of her identically-shaded eyes and said in a low growl, “Damn him...”

Outside the Pokémon Center, Sapph walked back towards the ship his mind on what had just transpired and hoping Shrader had told Haley an interesting enough cover story to get everybody else off her back. Clenching his bandaged fist tightly, Sapph cursed how quickly gossip seemed to spread through the archipelago. Tentis may be away for analysis back in Olville Town, but he supposed the stigma of his Tentacruel’s actions wouldn’t let him into another Pokémon Center for the rest of their Trigello tour.

Pondering why he was being nice to Haley, who was still grating on his nerves, Sapph turned a second corner and saw a redheaded figure that pretty much stopped him in his tracks. Her long hair was tied back in a wavy ponytail and her greenish eyes seemed fixed on something the wall blocked from his vision. Her moving lips brought another vision to his mind of a memory that happened barely over a week ago. One that set his heart racing and his mind into total shock...

Barely more than a week ago, in a deserted corridor of the White Cliffs Pokémon Center, those lips had given him his first ever kiss.

As he struggled to unstuck his mouth, the pretty ginger nodded to whatever she was looking at behind the wall and walked off behind the wall. Sapph, rooted to the spot, bade her to wait before action returned to his body. Forgetting the Hydro entirely, Sapph tore off after her in the direction he’d seen her disappear to, only to see an empty, narrow alley connecting two busy streets.

That was... Zeta, right? Sapph thought through a loud peal of brain buzz. Where was she headed, I wonder? And just who was she talking to, or about?

Sapph ran up the alley and turning left and right frantically saw nary a shred of red that reminded her of the captivating lass. Shaking himself out of his momentary mindlessness, Sapph said to himself, “Damn it... what is coming over me today? First I try to be nice to Haley, then I go chasing someone who looks like... you know what? Forget this. I need a walk. But first...” Sapph he muttered as many people started to give him very fishy and distrusting looks as they made their way about their business. “I need to find the dojo.”

Turning towards an old man who sat outside one of the many wooden houses that lined the street, he said “Excuse me, sir? Which way to the dojo?”

But the man slept on, totally oblivious to the question.

Sapph was about to ask again loudly when a louder voice rang out, “You again? Why don’t y’all give it up and leave already?!”

Sapph groaned and turned towards where he’s heard the voice before and saw the same youth form the Pokémon Center ambling up towards him. And even worse, he had friends.

“How about we show this guy a lesson, eh, boys?” He called out loudly to his small posse who looked every bit as mean as he presently did. “Y’all about to find out,” he directed to Sapph, rubbing his knuckles menacingly as they drew closer, “just what happens to outsiders who decide to hurt ma sissie’s Pokémon like your Tentacruel did to her Volbeat!”

Last month, Sapph would have released all his Pokémon and taught this goon and his pals a few lessons painfully well. But since his meeting with the mysterious Dwayne on the White Cliffs beach, he’d learned to go with the flow. And, surrounded with civilians on all sides, realized they were the only ones who’d get hurt unintentionally. They were also the reason this bozo hadn’t caught him yet. A fact he’d best capitalize on.

Ducking and weaving towards the middle of the street, Sapph pulled a pokéball off his belt and releasing it wordlessly, ordered a Sandstorm attack of his team pacifist Diamond, who happily obliged, kicking the sandy street into an uproar in a split second.

Everyone around shrieked and covered their eyes, including the big guy and his flunkies. By the time the sand had abated however, Sapph was gone.

“Maybe next time, buddy,” Sapph murmured from about forty feet above the street, straddling the Mystic Pokémon’s green back. Turning towards his mount he added, “Let’s go for a little flight, ok, Diamond?”

Giving his assent in a musical cry, Diamond flapped his humming wings once and took off towards the island’s rolling green countryside.

***​

During Sapph’s “adventure”, Haley and Shrader made their way out of the city’s southwestern gate and onto a country road that separated miles upon miles of pasture land. In addition, all this land seemed sectioned off into smaller areas by picket fences, barbed wire and low hedges.

Shrader had her navy blue jacket in the crook of her arm and walked beside the oddly quiet Haley. The singing of Swablu above completed the picture of serenity the countryside painted around them as they passed the distant wooden structures which followed the colour theme of Electrodes, or inverted pokéballs.

Wanting to strike up a light conversation, Shrader coughed a little and asked Haley, “So, any idea where we’re headed, Ms Kent?”

“Nurse Joy said to look for a man named Alf, from the Fairy Tales Farm,” Haley said, not looking around. Somehow despite the glorious weather, Haley had a fair share of grim gloom about her.

The Fairy Tales Farm, hmm? Could this be a coincidence? Shrader thought to herself as the two ladies fell back into silence as a herd of Doduo and Dodrio ran past on the other side of a nearby field.

After another ten minutes walk, Haley’s feet drew to a halt and she announced, “Well, here we are. Now to find Alf...”

Before anymore could be said a loud voice called out, “Howdy there!”

Shrader and Haley turned to see what looked like a white hot burning blur coming up the road they’d just come in on and closing in on them remarkably fast. A second or two later revealed its true nature as the same voice yelled out, “Whoa, Jewel!”

Coming to a smart stop before them, Haley and Shrader looked up into the roundish face of a young man with sandy blonde hair and the makings of a scrubby beard on his chin. He seemed comfortably seated upon a seat of flames and his energetic palomino whinnied a little impatiently at their stop.

“Th’ name’s Donald and this here’s Jewel,” the young man said, hopping off his Ponyta yet keeping a secure grip on her bridle. Sweeping his straw hat off his head and giving both ladies a courteous bow and a roguish wink, he added, “Which of y’all would be Haley Kent? We received a call while we was finishing off a delivery and all...”

Before either woman could answer, another one’s voice called out, “What has Ol’ Alf told y’all about running off like that, Donald?!”

Unnoticed by either one of the humans, a cart drew up, drawn by another magnificent white horse. Two feet taller than Jewel and sporting a sharp horn atop its crown, if Jewel’s mane and tail were alight, this new creature’s own were positively blazing. Despite drawing a heavy looking cart and two riders, it tossed its white head proudly and gave the Ponyta a disapproving glare which Jewel seemed in good grace to feel abashed enough to acknowledge.

“Aw, c’mon, Macenzie! Jewel wanted to stretch is all,” Donald said wittily. Turning towards the duo who were starting to feel forgotten, he introduced them, “My cousin Macenzie, everyone calls her Mac ‘round these parts. And her old man, Ol’ Alf. These here folks were lookin’ fer ya, Uncle. Seems one of them’s Missus Kent.”

Shrugging off the slight remark, Haley stepped forwards and said, “That’d be me. So, shall we get to it?”

“Well, wouldja look at thuh manners on this one, Pop?” Mac said in a pompous tone, a challenging edge to her voice and her steel blue eyes . “No regard fer manners at all!”

“Now, now, Mac,” Alf said in a strong voice which told a different story to his age. “You too, Missus Kent. How about a round of Moo Moo Milk first then, eh? That was a long delivery, and Ol’ Alf don’t move much faster than ‘e used to.”

Fifteen minutes later, the Fairy Tales Farm staff had the wagon put away securely and Jewel and the Rapidash returned to their stable before settling in their kitchen with their guests and a bottle of fresh milk opened before each of them.

Mopping his broad face with a checkered handkerchief, Alf sat back and said to the visitors, “Now, Missus Kent. You wanted a battle for our Barnyard Emblem?”

Setting her bottle down, Haley said calmly, although with a hint of daring, “If you’re up to it, Ol’ Alf.”

“Very well, but I must point out the pre-match traditions we have here at the Fairy Tales Farm.”

Shrader’s eyes narrowed slightly as Haley echoed, “Pre-match traditions?”

Mac scoffed from the counter top and tossing a sandy blonde pigtail over her shoulder laughed, “Unless y’all too scared.”

“Knock it off, Mac! It’s nothing too serious,” Donald said to Haley in a gentler voice than he’d just employed on his cousin. “We just wanna know which Pokémon and format we’ll be using fer the battle is all.”

Haley and Shrader exchanged a puzzled look as Haley said, “Pokémon? Format?”

“A regular light bulb, she is,” Mac snickered.

“That’ll do, Macenzie,” Alf said firmly and Mac grew sour. Apparently, using her full name was something of a no-no.

“Here at the Fairy Tales Farm, we pride ourselves on a great selection of Pokémon to use, and great skill in usin’ them. Challengers may end up facing one to all three of us in battle. We leave the choice ultimately up to fate, and the challenger.”

Haley nodded slowly as Donald reached into the counter and drew out a small plastic bowl full of small plastic cups and placed it in front of Haley and Shrader, saying “First trial is to pick the Pokémon you face.” Seeing the look of incredulity spread all over Haley’s face, Donald smiled and added “Honest.”

Watching Haley and Shrader stare at the bowl and each other in turn, Mac said loudly, “Whassamatter? Too simple for ‘city slickers’ like yourselves?”

“Settle down, Macenzie,” Alf said firmly.

With another mystified glance at Shrader, Haley reached into the bowl and after a few seconds of rummaging brought out a small plastic cup and handed it over. Donald took it, split it open along the seam and unfurled a small slip of paper.

Looking towards his family, Donald said, “Looks like she’s takin’ the bull by the horns, y’all.” Turning back towards Haley, he showed her the slip of paper he’d taken from the sphere. Haley and Shrader looked at it and immediately understood Donald’s choice of pun. A small black pictogram of a bovine head stood printed on it and Haley felt a sense of foreboding similar to what Sapph felt when Herbert told him he was facing Grass types for his seventh Gym battle. Was something up?

She didn’t get long to muse over it as Mac took the bowl off the table and replaced it with a similar one, this one having much fewer plastic cups within it. With a smirk, she announced, “Now y’all have to decide to pick the battle format. As like last time, ya highness,” the last three syllables uttered with a slight chuckle.

Bristling slightly, yet no longer confused, Haley thrust her hand into the second bowl and brought out another little cup. Thrusting it at the older girl, Haley sat back defiantly and awaited the verdict.

As Donald did before her, Mac opened the ball and mutely handed it over to Haley, who took it back and stared at the single word printed on it in bold capital letters: DOUBLE.

“Well, now tha’ that’s all agreed on,” Alf said, rising to his feet. “Shall we get this battle started then?”

Leading the way out, the cousins, Haley and Shrader finished their milk and got up to follow him out to a pasture out back. Grabbing Haley by the upper arm as she made her way out, Shrader hissed conspiratorially, “So, Miss Kent. Got a plan?”

Turning back and smiling, she said with a trace of cockiness, “Of course I do. There are only so many bovine species of Pokémon on the planet. Two thirds of them favour attack over defense.”

Looking mildly impressed at Haley’s insight, Shrader let her arm go and said, “So this will be a plan of attrition?”

Haley merely smiled and continued out onto the field, leaving Shrader to walk up to the fence encircling the field to watch Haley take her place on the opposite end of the pitch and Alf, away from Mac and Donald.

“Ah’ll be referrein’ this here shindig,” Alf announced in a loud voice. “It’s to be a double battle fer thuh Barnyard Emblem! Both sides may use no more than two Pokémon! Ah’ll call it when either side’s Pokémon can no longer fight! Is zat clear?”

“Yep!” Haley nodded.

Flashing another one of his toothy grins, Donald called, “You got in, unc!”

“Let’s ride already!” Mac said impatiently, readying a sphere of her own.

“Then go!” Alf commanded, raising his hands to signal them to release their choices.

Four balls went spinning into the air and released their contents onto the grassy ground below. What looked like a large shelled sea monster with a single horn and large dewy eyes formed besides a large yet squat amphibian with what seemed to be several pieces of golden armour covering its aqua blue body. Its thin whiskers quivered as two creatures as large as itself formed across the grass to them. Donald’s was pink with black spots, hooves and head, not to mention a bit on the pudgy side (not that Blitzkrieg could say any less for himself). Four pink udders waddled on its yellow underbelly as it jogged in place next to her partner, a fierce looking bull with a tan hide and shaggy chocolate mane not unlike a lion’s. Three tufted tails whipped in the breeze as it snorted and pawed the ground, standing before his trainer, as eager to battle as Mac.

“The challenger, Haley Kent, has chosen Voltog and Lapras! The leaders Mac and Donald have chosen Tauros and Miltank! Let the battle commence!”

***​

Fluffy white clouds breezed by Sapph and Diamond as the latter carried his trainer out of town and into the countryside. Straddling the Mystic Pokémon just behind its wings, Sapph’s blue eyes took in the patchwork scenery of fields and mountain below as Diamond slowed his gallop to a lazy drifting sort of flight.

“You know something, Diamond?” Sapph asked his mount rhetorically. “Being up here is really peaceful.”

Diamond let out a musical note of assent as Sapph leaned back on Diamond’s long back slightly and went on, “No worries, no badges, no cares at all. Just you and the breeze... hey,” he said suddenly as the air around him seemed to drop in temperature despite the pleasant sunshine. “Is it just me or is it getting...”

Sapph never managed to finish his statement as a flurry of snow streaked upwards towards them, straight into Diamond’s flight pattern.

Sitting bolt upright once more, Sapph grabbed for Diamond’s neck as the Flygon let out a squeak of terror and dived down and away from the particularly uncomfortable updraft of snow. The good news was, though narrowly, Diamond did manage to avert a collision at the last possible second.

The bad news: Diamond had gotten out of the way so fast; he and Sapph went into a violent tailspin straight towards a nearby pasture.

“Oh, no,” Sapph said as the torque of their spin increased and his breakfast began to rise up his throat. “Oh, no, no, no, no, no... WHOA!” He yelled as Diamond managed to scoop Sapph off his back and into his thin, stripy arms, break the spin and with a superhuman effort right himself all in the space of a matter of seconds and with less than two feet to spare. Despite all this, there was no braking at their speed and it took a long run in the dirt and a very sturdy apple tree in their path to bring them to a final stop.

Slumped in a dazed heap, Sapph would have happily closed his eyes and rested if a low bellow and a long tongue slapped saliva all over the side of his face. Groaning as he rose to his feet, Sapph rubbed the back of his neck as a somewhat stout and shaggy haired bull of sorts took a step back and gave him and his feebly-stirring Pokémon a cautionary reprieve; the broad, gold-ringed horns jutting from its peculiar afro lowered in its defense.

Sapph took one look at its yellow, angular eyes and, quickly putting two and two together, realised the only reason he and Diamond were not on the end of those horns was because they had taken the weird creature by surprise. That distinctive pawing of the ground and feral snorts said one thing, and that it was time to go.

Returning Diamond to his pokéball and taking a run at the fence, Sapph heard the bull release a murderous bellow and felt the ground quake as it began to bear down on him. Quite the distance separated Sapph from salvation, but in his adrenaline rush, the distance was nothing as Sapph took the fence at a vault and the creature took a furious swipe at him with a toss of its head.

Next second a voice up the road hollered, “Hey, city slicker! You alright?”

Sapph nodded in a daze as the dust around him swirled and the bull let loose another aggrieved roar at letting its mark escape and returned to the pasture mutinously as its owner, a squat looking woman in overalls and dark hair in a bright red head kerchief ran up. Grabbing Sapph by the arms, which were splayed out in front of him and hoisting him up bodily, she dusted him off profusely apologizing as two other girls ran up to them, a boy sauntering along bringing up the rear and looking supremely unconcerned.

The shorter girl with a head of sunshine gold came up to them as Sapph told the woman wincing gingerly, “I didn’t plan to wind up there. I’d say I just got blown in, but it wouldn’t be funny, would it?”

Clapping her hand to her mouth, she exclaimed ”Oh, no! I’m sorry, but I think it was our fault!” Turning to the woman she added “My friends and I were having a mock battle a bit up the road and a Powder Snow attack went off target and must have hit you. You weren’t flying, were you?”

Turning to the girl as her female companion, a redhead with her hair done up in a ponytail and a smirk marred with apologetic eyes caught up, Sapph nodded and added “On a Flygon.”

“Darn,” the first girl’s friend said with an apologetic glance at Sapph and turned back to the boy who had pulled out a phone and was in the middle of a call. “That sounds rough. Damn it, Paul! Get off that damned thing and apologize!”

“What, now?” The boy said into his phone, only sparing the others a look of disdain and a glance at the girl as if to rudely ask her to make him, interrupted whoever was on the other line with a sharp, “I don’t care what you were told, I don’t need to answer to you...”

Sighing at Paul’s reaction, the young Johton turned to the farmhand and asked, “By the way, just what kind of Pokémon was that? It’s definitely not a Tauros. Believe me,” he added, his mind going back to his father’s back in Cherrygrove Town. “I’d know.”

Clearing her throat, the oldest lady said, “That there’s a Bouffalant, son. Bash Buffalo Pokémon. They basically charge down anything that doesn’t have an afro. Mainly why I wear mah hair this way.” She completed, pointing to her wild frizzy locks. “Guess you were lucky enough to run into one.”

“Lucky, hunh?” Sapph grumbled, giving the Normal type a fish eye. “What you have a herd of them?”

Nodding, the woman replied, “The rest are just napping over yonder,” as she pointed towards the field where about two hundred yards off, a positive gaggle of at least forty Bouffalant were resting. “The one that chased you was the runt of the herd, not to mention a little sick. That’s why he’s alone.”

Gulping at the thought of the whole herd playing Pin the Tail with him, Sapph turned away from the Bouffalant’s jeering smirk as shaking her head in exasperation, the blonde turned back to them and, effecting introductions, said, “I’m Josephine Harris, and these are my friends Rachel Savina and Paul Oak. Paul may come across as a jerk, but...”

“He’s only a complete dick,” Rachel interrupted casting the chestnut-haired boy a dark look. “Ignore him. And speaking of ‘ignoring’ stuff, it’s gonna take quite a bit to ignore that.”

Gesturing at Sapph’s butt, Sapph, Josephine and the woman took one glance and all turned scarlet in unison.

“I, uh, have some of my older kid’s old work pants back at the farmhouse,” the woman said shiftily. “They should help, y’know... I mean, it was mah Bouffalant’s fault an’ all.”

“Yeah, uh... Consider it on us, kid,” Rachel said. “You wouldn’t be in that field at all if it weren’t for Paul and his stupid Liquizzle’s Powder Snow attack... hey, where is the little nuisance?”

All four of them looked around for the other boy who was until just then on the phone, and now, nowhere to be found.

Remembering Kamren during the early days of his journey a bit forcefully and feeling a bit of a draught on his bottom, merely shrugged at his absence, and said to the three ladies, “Thanks a lot. I’m Sapphire, by the way. Sapphire Manson. And don’t... ask.” He added firmly as both Josephine and Rachel opened their mouths in questioning.

***​

A tan and brown bull charged across the field outside the Fairy Tales Far house towards a large grey-shelled creature, the hue of its head fur an identical hue to its target. The young Coreian challenger recognized the attack as Zen Headbutt and was in no hurry to have her Pokémon take damage so early.

Pointing at the stampeding Wild Bull Pokémon, Haley commanded, “Tempest, create a wall with Psychic!”

<I do believe this may hurt,> Tempest said conversationally as the Tauros came closer, its three tails almost lost in the growing dust cloud in its wake. A glow of blue arrested the Water type’s eyes and Tauros was brought to a sudden stop, his head glowing violently as it collided with a wall of seemingly nothingness.

The force of the impact blew both Tauros and Lapras backwards a bit, the former bellowing as it received what seemed to be the brunt of the exchange, Tempest’s eyes squeezed shut, her ‘slight’ injury nothing to laugh at itself.

Seizing her moment, Haley rallied Tempest’s battle partner and announced, “Now that it’s stunned, Blitzkrieg! Use a Thunderpunch attack!”

Using the Lapras’s head as a springboard, the amphibian ran up her shelled back and launched himself into the air and at the dazed Tauros, its beefy arm reared back and alight with lightning.

“Y’all know what to do, Miltank! Protect Tauros!” Mac said with a snap of her fingers.

Blitzkrieg made to lay his electrified limb deep into the Tauros’s thickened skull before a ball of energy took Blitzkrieg totally by surprise and, appearing out of seemingly nothing, surrounded the grateful Tauros and absorbed the energy from his attack. Blitzkrieg bounced off the shield from the recoil and the ball of power surrounding his opponent blinked out of sight in time with the identical one that surrounded his partner Miltank.

“Grr... blocked again! Blitzkrieg! Take the bull by the horns and use Vital Throw on the Miltank!” Haley commanded.

“Thanks, cuz!” Donald called, giving Mac the thumbs up. “Let’s show our appreciation, Tauros! Zen Headbutt, on the Voltog!”

<Okidoki, Haley!> Blitzkrieg said in a dopey yet commanding voice as he rushed towards the wrong-footed Miltank, flexing his stubby fingers and preparing to throw her for a loop. A pair of horns glowing a bright blue stopped him and catching him in the side, threw the amphibian for a loop himself, Tauros’s Zen Headbutt catching him completely unawares.

<Ugh!> Blitzkrieg grunted as he went flying to crash in a heap at Haley’s feet.

<Blitzkrieg! Are you alright?!> Tempest called back in a worried voice.

“And now, to go on thuh attack,” Mac said spiritedly. “Rollout on Lapras, Miltank!”

“Eyes front, Tempest! Beat it away with Surf!” Haley countered a beat too slow as the failed Vital Throw failed to hit its mark.

Tempest let out yet another bellow and a positive wave of water seemed to erupt out of the very ground at her ‘feet’ and quickly towered to a massive twelve foot. A second bellow caused the wave to close in on the Milk Cow Pokémon who has revved itself up into a ball of rotating fury and had taken off like a cannonball towards the Water/Ice Pokémon and the wall of water.

“Here it comes, Miltank! Up the revs!” Mac called out in a brazen cheer.

Her moo of assent muffled by the spinning, Miltank seemed to spin even faster as a pocket of wind burst out of nowhere and sliced through the water, creating a clear pathway through towards a frightened Lapras. The thud that resounded as Miltank’s rollout met the side of Tempest’s neck was anything but pleasant. Both Pokémon separated again from the force of impact and while Tempest held one of her flippers at an odd angle and her neck in what seemed to be a lot of pain, Miltank unfurled itself and grinned at the damage she’d caused.

“Keep up tha’ pressure, Tauros! Iron Head attack!” Donald whooped.

“Tempest, hit him with Psychic!” Haley called in a slightly harried voice.

Tauros bellowed again in acknowledgment and as it cantered around the edge of the battlefield and whipped himself into yet another frenzy with its tails. The three purple spot between Tauros’s eyes glowed a platinum silver colour and metallic energy exploded from within covering the charging bull as it took off towards the stagnant Lapras, his entire body taking on a steely shine.

In a slight panic, Lapras’s eyes turned blue and psychic energy was expelled in an effort to divert the oncoming rush of tan and brown fur and horn, which now resembled a thundering silver sculpture. The attack, which hit home, did little against the ‘aura’ of energy that was nonetheless dispelled just before the Iron Head crashed. Horns locked as Tempest noticing the ineffectiveness of her manoeuvre, had lowered her own horn to meet the Tauros’s own.

The headbutt caused both Pokémon to make noises of pain, the Tauros’s muffled through grit teeth as the two grappled with each other.

“All right, Miltank!” Mac hollered. “Keep it rolling!”

“Not this time, Mac! Blitzkrieg, intercept with Vital Throw! Tempest, follow with Ice Beam!”

The Miltank ran in place for a couple of seconds before curling up into a wrecking ball of about seventy five kilos and rushing the Lapras while her partner kept it occupied.

A blue and yellow Pokémon had other ideas and leaping off the ground landed in the great ball of destruction’s path. Planting his feet firmly, the Voltog spread his arms out wide and with a grunt, caught the spinning Miltank in its grasp. Not waiting for the spin to end, Blitzkrieg somehow raised the Miltank off the ground, above his head, and with a yell of exertion, chucked her back in the direction she had rolled in with as much force as he could muster.

The tank flew through the air and hit dirt hard, uncurling at once and clutching at its head with pained moos, a little cross-eyed from the impact.

Distracted from the roughhousing Blitzkrieg had administered, no one noticed Tempest, a fact she played to her advantage and building up a powerful Ice Beam in her horn, unleashing it upon a stunned Tauros at point blank. Not even bothering to aim.

“Did he freeze?” Haley half-demanded as the air went cold and the Wild Bull Pokémon created deep runs in the ground first with its back, and then with its hooves as he found his feet halfway through flying back towards Donald and Mac.

“That was a direct hit,” Shrader murmured more to herself than Alf who was nearby. The old farmer chuckled and said “Now, now, li’l lady! Mac and Donald are tougher than that! Besides, Missus Kent forgot summat...“ he added with a roguish twinkle in his eye.

Haley blanched and screamed “NO!” as the vapour began to clear and Tauros’s silhouette stood winded by the attack, but still strong and very much in the fight. “How come! I had him cold!”

Safeguard! Shrader thought to herself grimly as she recalled Mac’s Miltank using the technique on both herself and Tauros before the latter began its Zen Headbutt attack. That’s their strategy!

“Shall we end this then, cuz?” Donald said with a sidelong glance at Mac.

Nodding, Mac concurred, “That Voltog’s a bother enough, Donnie.”

“Well, then... while they can’t see, Tauros... GIGA IMPACT!” Donald commanded.

“On your guard, Blitzkrieg! Tempest, use Psychic!” Haley commanded in a panic as she saw a purple and gold-streaked hue the size of a ten foot tall pokéball begin to form in the mist.

The Voltog and Lapras readied themselves, power building up in the frog’s hind limbs to dodge at a moment’s notice and the large ‘dinosaur’ preparing to utilize another psychic assault on her opponent as soon as he made an appearance.

“Oh, no ya don’t, Princess!” Mac tutted. “Miltank, y’all use Protect on Tauros again!”

The comet of purple and yellow burst through the mist right at Blitzkrieg, who let loose a yell of shock and dived to his right, the attack clipping him as it passed and causing him to flip over in pain. Hitting the ground at a barrel roll, Blitzkrieg rolled out of the way and called out, <Fire at me, Tempest! At, uhh... me o’clock!>

Tempest obliged and launched the Psychic attack in Blitzkrieg’s general direction. But two pinpricks of ocean blue energy seemed to sprout from nowhere as the Tauros’s attack ended and the psychic energy smashed harmlessly into a ball of energy shielding the Normal types and their caster from the damaging technique yet again.

“Great job, girl!” Mac cheered. “Now use Rollout again!”

“I don’t think so... Princess,” Haley countered in a tone that mimicked Mac’s mockingly. “Blitzkrieg, go with Thunderpunch again while Tauros can’t move!”

“No, Tauros!” Donald cried out as the mist finally cleared to reveal Blitzkrieg’s arm juiced with power once again as Miltank rolled itself into a ball again and with a screeching like tires diverted from its attacking Tempest to focus on protecting its partner.

Wagging her finger at the leaders’ end she tutted and said “Whoever said I was aiming for Tauros?”

Mac and Donald’s eyes widened as Blitzkrieg turned on a dime and with Miltank nearly on top of him, unloaded his attack clean into the side of the spinning bovine, causing Miltank to unfurl in sheer pain and go flying into a skid across the field.

“Whut thuh?!” Mac gasped as Donald blanched at Haley’s sudden change of targets.

Haley simply smiled and said, “Now this one’s for Tauros. Tempest, use Thunderbolt and give it everything you got! Blitz, make sure it hits!”

Not quite understanding Blitzkrieg’s role in the command, the Transport Pokémon did as she was bidded and gathering lightning to the tip of her horn once again, fired a Thunderbolt at the bull Pokémon and was aghast to see it miss its mark.

“Ha! Missed!” Mac taunted as she saw the lightning attack sail over her cousin’s Pokémon’s head.

Haley just smirked knowingly.

The lightning hit a different point than was originally intended and Donald balked in horror as Blitzkrieg’s Thunderpunch, raised over its head, took the energy and with a girly giggle, the Voltog croaked, <I’MA FIRING MAH LASERS! PEW, PEW!>

Lowering his fist at the Tauros, the Thunderbolt (and there’s no better word for this) arced around like a boomerang and caught the Tauros full in the back, eliciting a roar of pain from the large bovine as the field lit up more fiercely than the night sky during a tremendous fireworks display.

“Tauros! Can you go on?” Donald yelled in a panic as the flashes died away and Wild Bull Pokémon’s breathing became severely laboured. Its legs gave out beneath it, slumping on the ground in near exhaustion and convulsing with electricity.

“Help him out, Miltank! Milk Drink!” Mac cried out.

Damn it! Haley gasped as the Miltank who had gotten back to its feet in all the confusion of the Thunderbolt and wincing slightly, hurled a ball of creamy white liquid at her ailing team mate. The milk hit Tauros in the face and surrounded his head in a ball of white which shrank rapidly as Tauros gained second wind. Rising to his hooves once more, Tauros stomped the ground and let loose a rejuvenated bellow as his tails whipped around.

“Atta boy, Tauros! Now, Giga Impact!” Donald cried out with aplomb.

Tauros turned to Haley’s appalled Pokémon and was about to charge up energy once more when his body convulsed violently and his body literally lit up with dancing yellow bolts of static electricity.

Pumping her fist, Haley cheered “Yes! Paralysed at last!”

“No! Not now!” Mac and Donald cried out in unison.

“Oh, so that Safeguard’s run its course then, hunh?” Alf said to himself. “Tha’ was either perfect timin’ or sheer dumb luck on Missus Kent’s part, wouldn’t y’all agr-? Hunh?”

Meanwhile, on the battlefield, Mac looked over at Tempest, whose eyes were dimmed from the effort she’d just exerted and decided to change tactics as well. “Miltank, hun? Use Rollout on the Lapras again!”

“Oh, crap, Tempest’s open!” Haley blanched. “Blitz, cover Tempest and use Vital Throw!”

The Miltank began to run in place, kicking up a storm of dust as she built up speed for a Rollout. However, before she could curl up, a weary-looking frog with lightning-tipped feelers was in front of her, its eyes narrowed dangerously.

<You... leave... Tempest... ALONE!> Blitzkrieg bellowed, his powerful left grabbing at Miltank's ear and dragging it down into the dirt face first and not very kindly. The blow stunned the Milk Cow Pokémon and its legs stopped flailing as it flopped back upright from the force of the blow. Not letting go, the Voltog followed his first assault with a right rising fist to his target’s creamy-coloured, unguarded belly, knocking all the wind out of her.

“Miltank, no!” Mac screamed as her Pokémon’s eyes went out of focus and spit began to form at her mouth. “Call it off already!”

Blitzkrieg, however, wasn’t done. Seizing his opponent’s right ear as well, Blitzkrieg rolled backwards and planting one sturdy and flat foot into her belly, lifted Miltank’s one hundred and sixty pounds plus off the ground and slightly into the air directly above him.

It’s not enough?! Haley gasped to herself with grit teeth as Blitzkrieg stunned all spectators by bringing both feet together and, with an air of finality, kicked out at the falling pink Pokémon both feet catching it in the horned head and sending it flipping high into the air.

“Guess not,” Haley muttered as her Electric Frog Pokémon got up again, panting furiously as Miltank fell back to earth. “Just what was that attack anyways? It wasn’t Vital Throw...”

Storm Throw, her Pokédex supplied on its own accord. Power, forty. Accuracy, one hundred percent. Storm Throw unleashed a barrage of fierce attacks and ends with a bodily throw that guarantees a critical hit whenever used.

“So Blitz’s Vital Throw evolved into Storm Throw? Not bad for a ‘city slicker’, hunh?” Haley said mockingly at Mac before realizing that Tauros was gone. “Hey, where’s his...?”

The Tauros was bearing down on the weakened Voltog with its head alight with blue energy when a wave of water cascaded on it and forced the bull to lose its footing and slide off course, missing his mark again.

<Attacking from the rear is cowardly, you wimp!> Tempest snarled as her eyes went back to their regular coffee brown, her impromptu Surf attack scoring a good amount of damage.

<Thanks... Tempest,> Blitzkrieg replied wearily, flashing the thumbs up in appreciation.

<Thank you for the cover, Blitzkrieg,> Tempest said modestly.

“Not that this matters right now, guys,” Haley cut in with a slightly worried voice. “But did either of you see where Shrader’s gone?”

*contiinued next post*
 
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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
TCQ Chapter 42~2

*continued from last post*

Movement from around the barnyard had called Shrader’s attention from the battle to her duty. Taking her chance and slipping away during the blinding electric display during the battle, the lieutenant trailed the shadows towards the barnyard, Shrader’s memory went back to the mission at hand.

“According to sources from Ocean, a threat has been discovered on Western Isle.”

Unholstering and releasing her Poliwhirl from its pokéball, she and the Tadpole Poémon crept towards the front of the barn, whose doors stood open slightly. Pausing just outside the opening, Shrader considered calling for assistance, but realized her superior hadn’t informed her on how to contact her backup. Shaking her head at her lack of foresight and present lack of nerves, Shrader slipped into the barn noiselessly, assuring herself that Tony felt her capable enough to handle the situation. Or reconnoitre at the least. And that help was undeniably on its way.

Even if it wasn’t, there was little she and her Poliwhirl couldn’t tackle together... right? They’d never really failed an assignment before.

Her self-musings were cut short by a rasping voice saying, “So we just drop this here, set the timer and run?”

Sneaking behind two men who had their backs to the door and were poring over a crate, Shrader heard the second one reply in a clipped voice and a roll of the tongue on the “r” sound, “But of course, my friend. What else would you do?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Shrader muttered after silently motioning her Poliwhirl to use two Snowball attacks which grew on the tips of its outstretched pointer fingers which were aimed at the startled grunts and fired, freezing the Team Shadow agents’ belts together with their pokéballs which they held fast. Their shock registering at the precision of the attack decided to forgo the aggression and make good their escape.

They never made two paces each before Poliwhirl’s next four snowballs left their feet stuck to the straw-strewn floor, causing them to overextend horribly. In what seemed like pure desperation, one of them reached for a pitchfork which seemed barely within his reach before the Water type’s last Snowball hit them full in the chest throwing them both back upright as the attack’s secondary effect kicked in, encasing them from neck to toe in pure ice.

As the two agents shivered and shook helplessly and Poliwhirl blew imaginary smoke from its fingers like a sharpshooter, Shrader added with a ghost of a smirk identical to her Pokémon’s, “Ever hear of ‘surrender’?”

“Says the spider to the fly...” a third voice said behind her.

Shrader spun around quickly, only to have her temple meet the butt of a sidearm sharply. Her head exploding in stars and pain, Sharder dropped heavily in a dead faint. Her Poliwhirl was frozen in place itself, too stunned by what had happened to its mistress to even register the gun being pointed at itself and the voice say “Abomination. Be purged by The Light.”

Two thwips later, the Poliwhirl was also grounded, convulsing and grabbing at its white hands, blood pouring from the puncture wounds each palm bore.

A single man raised a Browning Hi-power to his temple, allowing the smoke from the silencer attached to waft into and permeate the musty air. He then strode over to Shrader’s prone form and grabbed her by lapel. Dragging her over to the crate and peering at the explosive mechanism inside, he clucked his tongue and in spite of himself allowed a smirk to cross his lips as he engaged the device to explode in about two minutes.

“Poor heathen,” he murmured, propping Shrader up against the post near the crate before lowering the gun to the incapacitated captain’s temple and said in a voice matched in coldness only by the gleam of the light off his Ray Bans “Imagine them doing my work for me. Time to wrap up here...”

Confidently pulling the trigger, he failed to notice the cerulean hue the firearm had taken as he prepared the bomb to explode. The resulting sensation of his gun bucking violently and his shoulder causing him indescribable pain as his gun’s misfire threw him off his feet and into another pillar.

Striking the erect plank with a dull thud and sliding to the floor unconscious, the gun in his hand lost its glow and three new figures stepped into the barn.

Addressing the slightly hunched creature to his left, Paul Oak said in a cool voice, “Excellent work, Psy. Keep an eye on him. Zurax, let’s get this over with.”

Walking over to the crate with the third creature; a stout looking hound with pale blue and white fur and incredibly floppy ears, and also taking a glance within, Paul’s cocky smile faded with his complexion and muttered, “Great... a freaking bomb. I so didn’t sign up for this! I’m calling Ocean n-“

The dog beside him nudged his hand as it stepped past him towards the crate and said with a backwards smirk and an attitude to match his master’s, <You should see your face, Paul. Relax.>

Puffing out his chest and releasing a concentrated blast of subzero energy at the crate, Paul’s starter Pokémon flash-froze the bomb in one. The countdown clock on the side blinked “1:55... 1:54... 1:53... 1:53... 1:53...” the mechanism within the device too cold to function normally and become defunct.

Paul sighed and hitched a cavalier look back on his face as he turned to his smug-looking Liquizzle and murmured, “Show off.”

Reaching for his phone, he flipped it open and, pressing a button, raised it to his ear and after a pause said, “Yeah, Parito. Mission accomplished and all that crap.”

***​

In a darkened room in whereabouts unknown, a youth of above average height sat upon a throne in a room filled with the lights of several hundred candles. Before him a tall man draped in a plaid hunting cape and hat knelt before him, a boy of medium height no older than the man reclining before them besides him also on bended knee.

“A bomb, hmm?” The boy on the throne inquired lazily, his blood red eyes framed by a small gold circlet and straight silver hair. “So that’s how they want to play this, then.”

Looking at each other, the other two men gave each other looks, the older man’s uncertain, the younger one’s appraising. Speaking up, the older man addressed the boy on the throne, “And Andre and Donovan have been taken in for interrogation, Lord Theologos?”

“They have been captured and will be on their way to the UAS Tsunami before we can retrieve them, together with the Light grunt that was apprehended,” the seated boy said calmly. “It matters not. Our plans for the future are not affected in the slightest by this minor interference.”

“’Interference’, Lord Theologos?” The older one queried again.

“As you say, Lord Theologos,” the younger one cut in brusquely. “Your orders for us?”

The platinum locks of the other boy shone in the candlelight as he perused the regional map on the table between them for a moment. “Hmm... recall all agents to the Lance barring Trident maintenance personnel. It’s time to assign roles for-“ he closed his eyes momentarily and then exhaled. “...the operation.”

“And the girl?”

“I leave it to you, Orion. This is all I wish to discuss on the matter, Atlas. You may both leave me now.”

“Milord,” both murmured as they bowed out of sight. A lady with blood red hair walked past them towards the young rebel leader, eliciting a small smile on his lips.

“Manson has caused us three setbacks so far,” Theologos said more to himself than to his new company as his eyes roved over the map. “Nightspark bay... Chinooka... Dragon Cove...”

The woman walked up to his and draping on arm around his shoulders and taking his chin lightly into her other led his lips to hers in a kiss which Theologos was eager to reciprocate.

Pulling apart, she murmured, “You worry too much, milord.”

“I’m not really worried, my queen,” Theologos said with a smile. “Manson only thinks he has us on the run. Or at least he should. Each major operation has been peanuts so far... compared to the big one.”

“And this ‘big one’...?” Vulca began before Theologos placed a single finger on her lips.

“Sshh,” he smiled to her, removing his finger from his lips and wagging it in front of her tauntingly. “Spoilers.”

***​

“Tempest, Blitz! Use Ice Beam now!” Haley commanded.

“Don’t let it hit, Miltank! Protect!” Mac countered as she watched Tauros’s legs shudder with the effort to keep himself up.

Beams of chilled energy flew from Haley’s end of the field towards her opponent’s Pokémon, the pudgier of the two raising her hooved hands and thrusting them out in front of her. A bubble of sea green energy expanded around her and enclosed herself and Tauros within, the Ice Beams hitting them with not a second to spare. The sphere seemed the freeze over as the Ice type attacks did their worst, leaving the bubble frosted over and its occupants out of sight.

“Shoot!” Haley snarled, snapping her fingers to show her displeasure.

“That should be Miltank’s last one, Don,” Mac said calmly. “Things are only gonna get rough now!”

Clenching his fists together, Donald called out, “Then I guess it’s time to end this once and fer all, cuz! Use one more Giga Impact, Tauros! I know you have it in ya, partner!”

The Tauros seemed to find strength in his Trainer’s words and with a roar to the heavens, gathered the energy around himself once more and took off running, the bubble glowing from the purple and gold energy encompassing himself and Miltank before he shot out of it, creating a dazzling display of ice and energy and letting it twinkle in the sunlight as he bore down on the winded Electric powerhouse.

<...uh...oh...> Was all Blitzkrieg could utter as the horns closed in rapidly.

“It can still attack?!” Haley gasped as the Tauros’s horns found Blitzkrieg’s yellow underbelly and scooping themselves under him, launched the Water/Electric type skywards with a bang.

“<BLITZKRIEG!>” Haley and Tempest gasped in unison as they watched the Voltog shoot them a fleeting glance of determination before being thrown skywards by the powerful attack.

“That should take care of that annoyance, eh, cuz?” Donald panted.

Mac nodded, too tired to reply for once and said, “Miltank, y'all use Milk Drink on yourself!”

The Milk Cow Pokémon prepared to revive itself before after squeezing her eyes shut in effort for a couple of minutes interrupted her technique and panted with even more laborious effort, electricity dancing over its broad back.

“Dang it!” Mac snarled as she watched the attack fail. Haley, however, missed this as she was looking up for her Pokémon to fall and a spark of electricity flashed across the sky.

“Could that be? No choice... Guess Sapph’s done it before and won,” Haley muttered in aggravation at the thought of the idea. “But I will not lose! Tempest, fire Thunderbolt into the sky at that spark of lightning!”

<But Blitzkreig’s up there!> Tempest gasped, whirling to gaze reproachfully at her Trainer.

“Trust me on this, Tempest! It’s now or never!” Haley yelled back watching her opponent’s Tauros begin to catch its breath once more. “Do it!”

<As you wish... Miss Haley,> Tempest said uncertainly, its horn this time building up an electric charge and wishing she didn’t have to, fired the Thunderbolt as per her mistress’s wishes.

Mac and Donald saw this and the boy let out a sigh of relief. Turning to Haley, he said, “You know, Missus Kent... Tauros is right there.”

“Oh, I know...” Haley said with a devious grin as the sky suddenly exploded in golden light above their heads. The cousins looked up and gasped as Blitzkrieg finally fell back to the ground, trailing a Thunderpunch that seemed to hold the lightning of Zapdos itself. Blitzkrieg’s eyes had an arrested look of pain and focus as they seemed to hold the terrified Tauros in its beam. With a bellow of pain and rage from both Pokémon, Blitzkrieg thrust his fist forwards into the Tauros’s head, the force of exertion, gravity’s pull and the Electric Frog Pokémon’s weight all rolled into and intent on driving Tauros’s horned head literally six feet into the ground.

The attack however only made half that distance a reality before a violent explosion rocked the field and caused all the trainers, Tempest and Miltank to stagger around or get blown off their feet as dirt and grass flew into the air amidst a burst of electricity that miraculously all missed Tempest and Miltank, though it was less of a miracle in the latter’s cace and more a case of dumb luck.

Haley lowered her hand away from her face and spied a crater possibly eight feet wide. Tauros and Blitzkrieg both lay in the recesses of the pit, slumped together and completely knocked out, electric burns even decorating the Water type, despite his resistance.

“Both Voltog and Tauros are unable to battle! Lapras and Miltank are thuh only ones left on the field!” Alf announced.

Donald retrieved his Tauros with its pokéball’s traction beam but before Haley could do likewise for Blitzkrieg, Mac decided to push the initiative.

“End this thing, Miltank! Use Rollout on that Lapras!” She screamed in as loud as she could.

“Gimme a break here!” Haley gaped. “Tempest, use Ice Beam on it and give it...”

<’Everything I got’? As you wish,> Tempest replied in exhausted tones as a ball of arctic energy formed at the top of her horn and the Miltank curled up in a ball once more and thundered towards her once more, the pink and black of its pelt melding together in a furious blur.

Tempest fired the Ice Beam as the Miltank, too exhausted to evade, ploughed right into it, the force of its attack pushing it through the icy assault.

“You’re almost there, hun! One last push!” Mac cheered.

“Don’t give up, Tempest! You’ve got this!” Haley called back, egging her Lapras on.

The screeching of its Rollout seemed to die away with the Ice Beam as Miltank came to a grinding halt after what seemed like an age. Unfurling itself, the Miltank looked up through its blue eyes right into the Transport Pokémon’s brown and seemed to gulp in panic.

“Uh-oh...” Mac said worriedly.

“Serves you right,” Haley chided bossily. “Finish this off with Psychic!”

<Hello there,> Tempest said with a smile as psychic energy enveloped Miltank and with Haley’s command, lifted her opponent off the ground and above her head.

“Now, toss it,” Haley said dispassionately. And ‘toss it’ Tempest did; clean across the field and heavily at its Trainer’s feet, utterly spent and swirls for eyes.

“Miltank is also unable to battle!” Alf announced. “Tha’ means this here battle’s closed, and our victor is Haley!”

“Dag nab it! So close!” Mac groaned as she returned Miltank despondently.

“Sorry, cuz,” Donald said humbly, placing a hand on her shoulder as Haley congratulated her Lapras on a second victory. “Guess we need more training.”

<Shouldn’t you attend to Blitzkrieg first, Miss Haley?> Tempest said worriedly.

Haley merely shrugged and returning her Voltog to his pokéball said in an offhand voice, “He’ll survive. He’s tough, y’know? You, on the other hand... your aim is getting better! We should celebrate!”

<Indeed,> Tempest said quietly, Haley’s attitude a bit disconcerting.

Noticing her Pokémon’s tone, Haley sighed and returned the Lapras with a muttered, “Return.” Looking at her vanquished opponents, she strode over to them and said cockily, “Aren’t I meant to receive something now? Like a badge?”

Mac growled something about giving Haley something distinctively more painful before Alf and Donald stepped in, the latter gripping her shoulder firmly and the elder one reaching into his overalls.

“Well, if you’re yammering about this here Barnyard Emblem, it’s yours, li’l lady! Take it with pride!” Alf said, placing a small metallic object into Haley’s upturned palm. Looking down at it, Haley smiled as she saw a silver disc, identical to the one she has won on Northern Isle except the embossed emblem on it resembled a simple farm house, as opposed to the four point shuriken the last one had.

“Thank you very much,” Haley said, a little humbly than she had intended. She had wiped the smirk off Mac’s face, but she felt that moments like these deserved a little more seriousity. “Now to find...”

“If you’re looking for Shrader,” A familiar voice called out from near the fence. “She was called back to the Hydro on business or something.”

Looking around at the fencing revealed Sapph Manson leaning on it, a half-smile on his face and a slightly worn pair of black denim shorts Haley was unaware Sapph owned on his waist.

Continuing as he hopped the fence and sauntered over, Sapph said “Tony called to say we were to head back when you were done. Pretty ballsy win, though... you did win, right?”

“Where have you been, hunh?” Haley said, her mood dipping suddenly at the boy’s late appearance. “Having fun?”

“Ran into some trouble, or away from it...” Sapph murmured in a sulky undertone, the memory of the Bouffalant and Haley’s tone punching a hole in his happy bubble. “Met some girls, though. Seemed nice enou-“

SLAP!​

Sapph found himself upended by a hearty blow to the face as Haley laid into his jaw with yet another slap. Crashing in the dirt, Sapph barely had time to register his shock before Haley flounced off, her aura indicating that Sapph had done something tantamount to Pokémon brutality.

“Any idea what I did wrong?” Sapph mumbled to the Fairy Tales Farm hands, all of whom regarded Sapph with looks ranging between shock, pity and mild exasperation.

***​

“So you say you had no idea how the bomb got frozen, where the Light grunt came from or who saved you from him? At all?”

“My apologies, Captain,” Shrader said humbly.

It was night time now and the UAS Hydro was already well on its way towards Eastern Isle. Shrader’s Poliwhirl was still undergoing treatment for its injuries and Sapph had been debriefed, his cheek still stinging as it ended. Rachel and Josephine returned to the Pokémon Center following a call from Paul after the Bouffalant incident and bidding Sapph farewell. Shrader herself was taking a bed in the ship’s infirmary and her commanding officer was seated at her bedside, determined to see this part of protocol through and let his subordinate get some rest.

Shaking his head and letting his dishevelled blue hair flop around, Tony said sombrely, “The fault is mine, Lieutenant. We were lucky to get on hand to help with returning your Poliwhirl to its pokéball and take in the perps before Mr Manson or Miss Kent got a good look at them. Whoever helped you was probably ordered there by Ocean themselves. All I was told you would receive backup for the mission.”

“Well, the mission was more or less successful, Sir,” Shrader said as briskly as she could without giving her head injuries any further grief. “What of the perps? And the bomb?”

Rising from his seat and turning to go, Tony said tiredly, “The bomb was expertly defused and the perps were sent to the UAS Tsunami off Nightspark City harbour for interrogation right now. Get some rest, Lieutenant. And thank you for the good work. I’ll let you know how the interrogation goes when you return to active duty.”

Offering his subordinate a salute and backing out of the ward, Tony rubbed his eyes and yawned ostensibly. He would receive word of the Tsunami’s reception of the crooks in the morning. Right then, he needed his sleep. And deciding to leave the night manoeuvres of the UAS Hydro to Roni and the other junior Sea Rangers, ambled down the deck towards his cabin, oblivious to the open door he passed by or the whispered conversation taking place within.

“Any idea where the perps are headed for, White Seraph?” A voice said over the PokéNav held in the room’s young occupant’s hand.

“None,” she whispered back. “Are you sure there’s a connection between them and Sapph?”

“My organization is feeling more and more positive about it,” the voice went on. “But that is by no means an invitation to let your guard down.”

“No need to tell me, Black Cherub,” the girl went on. “Sapph was more or less unsupervised all day today. He must have had plenty of time to meet his contacts.”

“Continue your surveillance, and congrats on winning your second emblem. Black Cherub, out.”

***​

CHARACTER PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK
Name: Arnold Hazaki
Date of Birth: January 11, PA 2002
Hometown: Pampa City, Corei
Pokémon
On Hand: Machop, Rumboo
In Storage: None
Likes: Fighting types, sparring with his Pokémon
Dislikes: People who diss Fighting types
Contemporaries: Sapph
About Arnold: Arnold Hazaki is a brash, loud and proud young Fighting type user, as well as the youngest member of the Pampa dojo. After losing to Sapph in the semifinals of the Gatonda Tournament, he was even less willing that usual to ask for his help after his returning home to find their dojo overrun with wild Rumboo led by the then-renegade Zen.

***​

This chapter’s another triple header, people... here we go!

030 Bambrute
Type: Grass
Species: Red Panda
Height: 6’10”
Weight: 826lbs
Habitat: Forest
Evolution Line: Erbaur –(16)-> Rassawn –(38)-> BAMBRUTE
Name Derivation: BAMboo + BRUTE
Notes: When a BAMBRUTE remains still, many people may often confuse it with a small forest. BAMBRUTE are known for eating bark off trees, although their daily intake is surprisingly small.

111 Infleist
Type: Fire/Ghost
Species: Candle
Height: 3’05”
Weight: 32lbs
Habitat: Urban
Evolution Line: Ignook –(14)-> INFLEIST –(36)-> Haurame
Name Derivation: INFerno+ poLertgEIST (a ghost renowned for causing havoc in large abandoned houses)
Notes: The flames of an INFLEIST grow to almost enormous proportions in a fight to protect what one finds important. This fire is, however, one big illusion.

165 Hydrip
Type: Water
Species: Lake Raptor
Height: 2’00”
Weight: 51lbs
Habitat: Water’s Edge
Evolution Line: HYDRIP –(18)-> Acquaptor –(32)-> Jurazu
Name Derivation:
Notes: Like SQIRTLE, HYDRIP requires a patient trainer. HYDRIP’s strengths lie in its defensive capabilities and less on speed. Although the slowest to reach its first form, HYDRIP are the first to reach their final evolutionary stage.

***​

Next time on The Corei Quest... rewritten: Haley’s last battle against the Trigello Crew is one that will determine how proficient a Water type specialist she really is. Sapph, however, busies himself by following a misinterpretation of schedule, leaving himself absent for Haley’s third battle in a row, and giving Haley time to dwell on the disturbing doubts she had been fed on Utopia Island. What will Haley make of this development and how much can her relationship with Sapph take? Find out in Chapter Forty Three: Water Battle, Full Throttle, here on Serebii Forums.
 
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