Volume 14: Travels

Ruby vs. Lanturn

Chimecho quickly healed Yang, and then we all returned to our training rooms for the last time. Without the portal to keep an eye on, it was time to go to Kalos. Flint had booked us an airplane, something that resembled an airship, but had a weird shape, to get us there.

After supper, we said our goodbyes to Beck and Jamie, as they had decided not to follow us to Kalos, and boarded the plane in Eterna City, which was south outside of the snow. The weather was never good for planes to take off from Snowpoint, so we once again teleported with Rowan's Alakazam, and they saw us off from there. I was curious why we needed to take a plane, when we could just teleport.

Palmer then explained that Kalos was on the other side of the world, and it was difficult to teleport internationally, especially to places like Kalos and Unova. I didn't really care all that much, but it was still interesting.

Yang slept for most of the plane trip, but I was too excited to settle down. "Besides," I told Weiss, "It'll be night over there when we get there."

I made sure to take a window seat, but we took off into the clouds, and I watched in awe at the expanse of sky. I couldn't see any land or sea beneath us, we were so high up. It was kind of scary, but totally cool. I asked Palmer, who was sitting behind me, if there were any Pokémon that lived in the clouds.

"Well, legends say that Rayquaza lives up in the ozone layer, but no one has ever seen Rayquaza, and there aren't any Pokémon that live up here normally."

I was a little disappointed, but I didn't let it bother me. What did bother me was that Pokémon weren't allowed outside of their Poké Balls on the plane, so I couldn't play with Slippers at all. That also meant that Hosaki was in the back of the plane along with a few other Pokémon with more conventional restraints. I did, however, have a sketchbook, where I sketched ideas for the wings I would build. Flying was too taxing to use for long, and if I had actual wings instead of aura wings, I could conceivably reduce the strain to a much more sustainable level.

All in all, the flight took twelve hours, and upon landing at Ambrette Town, we—deboarded?—the plane and went to the local Pokémon Center. That was when we discovered that the Kalosians spoke a different language than the Sinnohese did. Yang got a little excited, but I just sighed. All that effort into learning Sinnohese, and it wasn't one bit helpful here.

On the way, I looked at all the buildings, but for the most part, the town was pretty small. The airfield looked new, and it had been built near the beach, because the area was so mountainous. One of the buildings drew my eye because of its large round shape. "What's that?" I asked Palmer.

"That's the Ambrette Aquarium," answered Palmer. "It's world famous for its collection of aquatic Pokémon."

"Can we go?" I pleaded.

"We'll have some time tomorrow. It's too late to visit today anyway."

Inside the Pokémon Center, I saw a number of Pokémon I had never seen before. First was a large rocky flat Pokémon with a horn on its head. The second was a lion-like Pokémon with a streamer of hair running down its back. And the last one was a tiny Pokémon that was riding on a red flower, hovering in midair. I had to use a wheelchair for the plane ride, but now that I was out in the open, I was using Arcanine to ride around. Flying everywhere just wasn't feasible at the moment, because of how much aura it took. By now I was starting to get pretty tired, so I appreciated the rest.

But I was up early the next morning, and so were Palmer and Aaron. The three of us ate breakfast while we waited for the rest of the gang to wake up. Eventually, we all gathered near the front of the Pokémon Center.

"Gurkinn said he would meet us in front of the Pokémon Center at 12:30 today," said Cynthia. "It's now about 8:45. We can just explore the town, if you like."

"I want to go to the aquarium!" I exclaimed.

"Wasn't there some talk of a fossil museum here?" said Weiss.

"We can visit the aquarium first, then go to the museum," I decided. We all agreed this was a good plan, so we set out for the aquarium. The attendants were hesitant to let Arcanine into the building because of his size, but when they saw my missing leg, they immediately withdrew their complaints. At least, that's what I could understand from the gestures they were using.

The inside of the aquarium was amazing. They had five different tanks set up, each with a different kind of Pokémon in them. The first tank was pretty small compared to the other four, as there were only a few different species of Pokémon. But this tank was special, Palmer explained.

"All of these Pokémon were extinct, until modern technology revived them from the fossils they left behind. There are small breeding populations that have been established, but these Pokémon are still very rare."

There were four different species of fossil Pokémon in the tank—Omanyte, Kabuto, Anorith, and Tirtouga. Out of all of them, I liked the Kabuto the best. Its shiny little eyes were so cute as it scuttled along the tank floor. Weiss seemed enamored by the Tirtouga, but I still liked the Kabuto more.

The next tank was the biggest, and it held everything from Alomamola to Jellicent to Seadra and more. I particularly liked the three Seadra that grouped together, seemingly strutting as they went about their swimming. Weiss pointed out a Prinplup to me, telling me that it was Empoleon's pre-evolved form. I went back to looking at the Seadra as they faced down a Tentacool and its mother Tentacruel. Behind the Seadra were four cute little Horsea. For a tense moment, it looked like a fight might break out, but then a Luvdisc swam in between them, and the Tentacruel and Tentacool took the opportunity to pass by the Seadra and Horsea.

All the while Blake was looking up Pokémon in Barry's Pokédex silently. I wondered what she thought of the aquarium, but I didn't want to ask. After the main tank, we went on to see the deep sea dwellers, going into a cool darkened room, and watched the Pokémon glow. I particularly liked the Lanturn that floated up next to me, its little light glowing brightly.

Palmer pointed out a Clampearl hidden near a rock, and a Huntail swam by a moment later. There was also a small whale Pokémon that I noticed, and I pointed it out to Blake. She looked it up in the Pokédex, and found that it was called Wailmer, and would evolve into a giant Wailord. I wanted to see one. Then she added that she thought they didn't have one here because it was too big, and I sighed in disappointment.

The fourth tank was set up similarly to the second one, but it also had some of the more aggressive Water Pokémon, like Sharpedo and Basculin. I noticed that there was a Dragalge and a couple of Skrelp, and pointed them out to Palmer. He nodded, and told me that the Dragalge was probably the most dangerous Pokémon in the tank, even though the Sharpedo was far more aggressive. I believed him. Dragalge was part Poison-type, and its poison was deadly.

The final tank was special because they had a number of Pokémon you could pet. I could see that Blake was hesitant to participate, but I encouraged her to have fun. My favorite Pokémon to pet was the Dratini they had. It was funny to think that such a cutie would evolve into such a quirky looking Pokémon like Dragonite, but I just enjoyed stroking it.

After that, we went to the fossil museum. There were a number of fossils of the Pokémon we saw in the aquarium, and it was sad to see them preserved like this. Weiss was drawn to a collection of fossils that had been propped up to resemble a real life herd of Aurorus and Amaura. It was quite picturesque, but I moved on to the painting an artist had done depicting the herd. I liked the way they looked, and I was sad for them again.

But Yang cheered me up, saying, "They already had their time, Ruby. We can honor that by admiring them as they are now."

We were going to go down one hall, but it was partitioned off for a special archeology conference or something. I wasn't exactly sure—I couldn't read. But they didn't want to be disturbed. A staff member was there to guide people away.

We were just turning back when we heard loud voices coming from inside the room the conference was in. "Is there something going on in there?" asked Palmer.

There were more angry shouts. "I'm sure it's nothing," said the staff person.

The shouting continued, and there was a loud bang. "That doesn't sound like nothing," said Cynthia. "Would you please let us through?"

The man looked sort of worried. "I don't have the authority to let in uninvited guests."

Cynthia smiled at him dangerously. "Are you turning away the Champion of the Sinnoh region?"

The man hesitated, before letting her through. "But only her," he warned. "I don't want to get in trouble for this."

Aaron then pulled out his Poké Gear and answered the call from Cynthia. She had just slipped inside. Unfortunately, they were speaking in Kalosian, so my team and I couldn't understand, but Palmer started whispering what they were saying.

"…Team Flare is quite interested in the Genesect project," Palmer translated, looking worried as he did so. "If you will only follow our demands, then you will come to no harm."

Then Cynthia's voice came over loud and clear, and in Sinnohese. "I think I've heard enough. Team Flare, you are under arrest for threats of kidnapping, thievery, and extortion. Surrender peacefully, and you will come to no harm."

There were many cries of "It's Cynthia!" or "The Champion of Sinnoh?" and "What is she doing here?"

We decided not to wait any longer, and rushed into the room just as a large volume of smoke obscured the area. I started coughing, but I concentrated and started controlling the air currents, clearing the smoke as fast as I could. But it was too late by then. Whoever had been part of Team Flare was no longer anywhere in the vicinity.

Weiss vs. Amaura

After the events of the Team Flare break in, the director of the conference came over to us and thanked Cynthia for interrupting when she did.

"We at the Kalosian Archeological Society thank you for stepping in when you did. That woman was clearly insane. Who knows what she might have done if we had tried to resist." Palmer was translating for us all again.

"It was no problem, director," replied Cynthia smoothly. "I am glad I was able to help."

"Now who are these strapping young trainers?" he asked, switching to Sinnohese. "Trainees of yours?"

"For the time being," answered Cynthia. "In fact, if they were not accompanying us, we would not have come here today. They have never been to Kalos before."

I noticed that Barry wanted to protest the claim, but his father just placed his hand on his shoulder to calm him down.

"How fortuitous," exclaimed the director. "I hope that the rest of your stay here is not as exciting as this."

"The fossil collection here is amazing," I told him. "When I heard of the museum, I knew I had to come here."

"Don't flatter me," said the director. "But you can thank many of the scientists here today for their discoveries."

Just then, another staff member came running up. Speaking in Kalosian, he hurriedly gestured for the director to follow him.

"If you'll pardon me, I must be going. Once again, thank you all for coming today." Then the director rushed off.

"What's happening?" whispered Ruby.

"It seems like there was a break in at their labs as well," answered Palmer. "He mentioned something about the reviving machine."

Reviving machine? "Would that be the machine that revives fossils?" I asked.

"Quite possibly," he replied. "But that's not our problem now, is it?"

"Are there any more exhibits?" asked Blake.

"Well, we haven't looked at the old reviving machine yet," said Aaron. "That's always fun to look at."

The exhibit was quite impressive, as it detailed the process of first finding fossils, then how they prepared the fossils for reviving, and finally the reviving process. Palmer read aloud the inscriptions, which were in three languages, and I paid careful attention to what he said.

One of the more interesting facts was that there was a fossil dig not far outside the city within Glittering Cave. Many species of fossils could be found there, and there was another such deposit nearer the ocean, where fossils of the underwater Pokémon were found.

Just as we were about finished admiring the exhibit, the director came running up to us once more. "Splendid. You haven't left yet." He huffed for a moment, catching his breath.

"Was there something you needed?" asked Aaron.

"As you might have guessed, there was a bit of a problem with our reviving machine. Team Flare broke into the laboratory there while they distracted us on the stage, and activated it several times. We have fossils set aside in case anyone wishes to purchase one, but we don't have the facilities to care for a Pokémon, and there are no buyers set aside. Then I remembered that we have a number of enterprising trainers right here. How would you like to have your very own fossil Pokémon?"

"Didn't you say that you have to pay for these Pokémon?" I asked.

"Normally, yes, as the process is quite expensive, but you did us a great favor today. It would be a pleasure to gift them to you." The director smiled brilliantly.

"Could we see the Pokémon before making a final answer?" asked Yang.

"Certainly," replied the director. "Please, follow me."

He led the eight—nine with Arcanine—of us around to the back. That's when the director seemed to notice Arcanine. "For security purposes, unauthorized Pokémon aren't allowed in the lab, Miss…?"

"Ruby," she replied. Then she lifted her left leg. "I don't ride him just for fun."

The director seemed a little startled, but hurriedly replied, "Well, I'm sure some exceptions can be given."

The lab was quite busy, with many scientists running around carrying various slips of paper and pushing around carts of fossils. Computers and filing cabinets lined the walls, and tables were scattered throughout. One scientist came running up and reprimanded Ruby, saying something in Kalosian.

The director replied in Sinnohese, for our convenience. "It's a service Pokémon. I've already given permission. Could you please step aside?"

I could see the scientist blushing at his mistake, and stepped aside, letting us through. Finally, we reached the back of the lab where the reviving machine was. On the table nearby was three Poké Balls. Another scientist was running through some notes, and looked up when we arrived.

"Director!" she exclaimed, fumbling with her papers. "Are these the trainers you were talking about?"

"Indeed. They wanted a look at the Pokémon before making a final decision."

She released all three Pokémon. I immediately recognized the first as an Amaura, but it was a very different experience seeing it alive than as bones or in a picture. With a light blue coat and large eyes, it was completely adorable. The second was one I had seen in the aquarium, and it had a brown shell and red beady eyes just underneath the cusp of its shell. It started scuttling around on its six legs. Kabuto, was it? The final Pokémon greatly resembled one of the dinosaurs from our world, called Tyrannosaurus Rex, but in miniature. Perhaps two feet tall, it started chomping its very large jaws. There had been a single fossil of its head out in the museum, but I didn't remember its name.

Ruby slid off of Arcanine and started poking the Kabuto. Whenever she touched it, it would jump back, wait for a few seconds, and then start moving again. "I'm going to call you Spoon," declared Ruby.

"Ruby," I hissed at her, "we haven't even decided to accept them yet."

She just looked at me, and I knew she had already decided everything then and there. I sighed, and glanced over at Yang, who was playing with the Tyrannosaurus Pokémon by sticking out her finger and yanking it back before it could clamp down on her hand. "Quite the set of chompers you got there," she commented.

"That's a perfect name!" exclaimed Ruby. "He's Chomper, and he's Spoon, and that one's Fork!"

"What?" cried Yang.

"No," I said firmly. "Her name–" I paused. "What gender are these Pokémon?" I asked.

"The Tyrunt and the Kabuto are male, and the Amaura is female," answered the scientist, who was watching us carefully.

"Thank you. Ruby, her name is not going to be Fork!"

But Ruby had already sidled up to the Amaura and said, "Hello, Fork."

The Amaura just blinked back, and blew out a gust of cold air into Ruby's face. Even though some frost had formed, Ruby smiled at the Amaura. "Nice to meet you too."

"Ruby, there is no way we are calling one of my Pokémon Fork," I told her.

As soon as I said the word Fork, the Amaura turned its head to me, as if recognizing its name. I groaned. Once again, Ruby had ruined the chance for this Amaura to have an amazing name with her childishness.

Then Blake told the director, "We'll take them."

"Wonderful! Though I am quite curious, what language are you speaking? I don't believe I've heard it before."

"Valic," answered Yang. "It's not very common around here, so it's not surprising you haven't heard of it."

"And I'm guessing you named your Pokémon in Valic, then?"

"Yup," said Ruby. Pointing to each Pokémon, she translated the names into Sinnohese, saying, "That's Spoon, that's Fork, and that's Chomper."

Cynthia snickered once, and I turned to glare at her. But the director, Palmer, and Barry were laughing outright. "I'll have you know that I had no part in the naming process," I said.

"I believe that settles the matter, then," said the director. "Once again, thank you all so very much for today. I wish you luck in raising Fork, Spoon, and Chomper."

"And thank you for giving us these wonderful Pokémon," said Yang.

We left, returning to the Pokémon Center. By now, it was about noon, so we ate a quick lunch and waited for Gurkinn to arrive.

At exactly 12:30, Gurkinn arrived, teleporting in with a Pokémon that resembled a top. Eight red eyes encircled the top of its head, and its two arm-like attachments floated close to its body, levitating like the Pokémon itself. He wore a blue sweater and sweatpants, and his massive eyebrows extended on either side of his head, which was mostly bald, except for a small patch of hair on the very top of his head.

"So you're the trainers Flint was talkin' about," he said, looking us over. Squinting, he stepped up so his nose was two inches from my face—way too close. But I forced myself not to flinch. From what I had heard about this man, he was among the best trainers of all time. Cynthia herself had trained under him for a year, and Flint six months.

He stepped back and glanced at Ruby. "Hi there!" she said.

"I take it you're the girl that's still trainin', even without her leg? You got tenacity, kid."

He turned to Blake, who stared back at him quietly. Not saying a word, he launched himself at Yang, his fist stopping a quarter of an inch from her nose. He had moved so fast that a rush of wind sent Yang's hair tumbling about behind her, but all she did was turn her back foot so she could take the blow.

"Nice reflexes, at least. I got a week to spare. Don't waste it."

Then his Pokémon spun forward until it was in the center of us all. It kept spinning, until a ring of purple light encircled us, and in a flash, we disappeared.

Blake vs. Claydol

In an instant, we were in another place. We were standing in a courtyard before a giant brick tower, and it was raining. I would have liked to admire the way the tower's spires only reached up on one side, but we all hurried into the tower to escape the weather.

"Forgot about that," apologized Gurkinn. "Didn't go outside before I came to get you. But never mind that. You all came here for some trainin'. Flint said somethin' about you girls being aura adepts?"

We nodded. Weiss raised up her hand and formed an ice crystal, which she tossed to Gurkinn. Yang puffed a small breath of fire, Ruby formed an Air Slash in her hand, and I covered my hand with a Shadow Claw.

Gurkinn just raised his eyebrows. "I'll admit, I've never seen anythin' like that before. Flint was sayin' that you girls were special. But I'll be the judge of that. I have to see your combat abilities. Yang, I saw the footage of your fight against Beck. We'll review it later. I want to see your friends fight first."

"I can go first," I said. I had been sparring more than anyone else, and I wanted to see what Gurkinn could throw at me.

"Very well. You have the option of facin' Ygghod, Gallantia, or Rao."

I had no idea what kind of Pokémon those were—probably names—but I didn't know if I was supposed to ask about them or not. "Are you going to tell me anything about them other than their names?"

Gurkinn shook his head. "Wise not to rush in without information. But, no, I will not say anythin' more."

This was just as much a test of my abilities as the actual battle was. I turned to Cynthia. "Do you know anything about them?"

"I do," she affirmed, "but I won't say anything either. You're on your own."

So far, I knew nothing. I knew that Gurkinn had an amazingly powerful Lucario, and he had the Claydol that was hovering beside his head, spinning lazily. I suspected that Lucario might be Gallantia, and I had the sneaking suspicion that Claydol was Ygghod, but I wasn't going to say anything outright yet. "Is your Claydol or Lucario one of the options?"

"Yes," he answered.

I should have worded the question better, but I didn't have time to dwell on my mistake. I didn't know which one, or if both were options. "Is Claydol Ygghod?" I asked.

I noted both Gurkinn and Claydol's reactions. Gurkinn had the perfect poker face, scrunching his brow as if to give thought to the idea. But Claydol moved slightly to the left. I knew that Claydol had some level of teleportation ability, and as much of a pain as that would be to fight, I preferred the opponent I knew to the one I didn't.

"I'll choose Ygghod."

"Why?" asked Gurkinn.

"Because Ygghod reacted when I said his name, and I know that he can teleport and probably has some spinning attacks. I've been watching him."

"And you are prepared for this?"

He was asking if I was ready to start now, I could just feel it. So I started charging up a Phantom Force, and replied with, "I am."

In the blink of an eye Ygghod was on me, spinning furiously towards me. I slipped into the Phantom Force, appearing behind him, but already he had teleported again, and I jumped up, using my Semblance, forming my Shadow Claw appendages. As a beam of multicolored light blasted by, I leaned back to avoid it, and fired a Hidden Power at its source.

By that time, Ygghod had teleported once more, and barreled towards me in a Drill Run. Once again, I used my Semblance, ducking below it and slashing upwards with an overpowered Shadow Claw.

Gurkinn said something in Kalosian, and Ygghod shone briefly, performing some stat boost. I would have to watch what that did. It was still raining heavily, and there had been no boundaries set for the fight. Mentally I debated the benefits of moving outside and staying inside.

Ygghod now blasted me with psionic energy, and I leapt about, weaving through more Psybeams and Signal Beams. I was now glad that I had asked Aaron about watching footage of previous tournaments and league matches, to get an idea of what kind of techniques were possible. I wouldn't call myself an expert by any means, but during the evenings, I would curl up with my egg and watch footage of battles, noting the many different attacks and learning their names.

Aaron had also lent me a Pokédex, and I had studied that as well. I tried to recall what I knew about Claydol, but other than its Ground and Mind typing, I recalled little else of use. But I could abuse the Mind typing, as it was weak to my Ghost type moveset. I would have been a poor match for a Basic type, as they were functionally immune to most Ghost type moves.

Once more using my Semblance, I charged up a Phantom Force, and shifted outside. Again, I used my Semblance, and left a charging Hidden Power in her hands. Then I Phantom Forced a final time, and charged up another Phantom Force and a large Hidden Power.

This was pulling heavily from the Ghost Gem I had taken with me, in addition to my Semblance. I didn't have time for an extended battle, and with Ygghod's tremendous mobility, I couldn't close the distance or blast with ranged attacks for long. So this was my gambit.

My Semblance clones, up until this point, had always been stationary and unmoving. But for this deception to work, I used one of my new tricks that I had been working on over the past two days. The Hidden Power was being held in place with my Semblance clone, and I had programmed it to launch it at Ygghod when he appeared. I didn't have much practice, but I hoped it was lifelike enough to distract him just this once.

Ygghod teleported in, seeing my clone and the Hidden Power I had charged, and swerved, dodging the incoming projectile. But I was now ready for him. Activating the Phantom Force, I appeared directly above Ygghod and shoved the Hidden Power I had been charging into his head, and, grabbing on with my legs, began an all out Shadow Claw assault.

By now, I was soaking because of the rain, but I didn't care. Ygghod started spinning rapidly, and when I could no longer hold my grasp, I went flying, and expected that I would crash into a wall.

But Ygghod was faster than that, and teleported behind me. Instead of a wall breaking my momentum, the tip of Ygghod's gyrating head dug into my back. That drained the rest of my aura in an instant, and I dropped to the ground, taking several heavy breaths. Chimecho came floating over to me, and instantly, a soothing sensation flowed over me.

"Well done," said Gurkinn. "Clearly, you have a great tactical mindset. Your substitution ability caught me off guard, but Ygghod is quite perceptive. I can see a few avenues for your progress we can talk about later."

He turned to Ruby. "Ruby, I'd ask you to fight next, but with your leg, I'm not sure how easy that's going to be."

"I can fight better than you think," retorted Ruby. "I just need a little booster. It'll just be short."

Aaron, realizing what she was talking about, sent out Vollord. Palmer continued, "And when she says short, she means she has to win in less than ten seconds, or she's out of juice."

"Very well," said Gurkinn, "who do you wish to fight?"

"Got any Air-types?"

"Rao is an Air-type, yes," said Gurkinn. "That will leave Gallantia to face Weiss."

Gurkinn sent out Rao, a large Honchkrow. I had seen footage of this Pokémon fight, and it was brutal, living up to its Dark typing. I was glad I didn't have to fight Rao, as it would have been a poor matchup for me. But Ruby would fare much better against him.

Vollord prepared his Tail Glow and Baton Passed it, letting Ruby grab onto it. Immediately her eyes began to glow violently, silver light bathing whatever she looked at. "Weiss, a boost to the roof please."

Weiss obliged, placing a glyph to send Ruby up to the roof, where she would have a much better starting point. Gurkinn was now looked very intrigued, both in Weiss's glyph and in what Ruby was about to do.

Balancing on her one leg, Ruby concentrated for a moment, the light dimming as she closed her eyes. Silvery aura enshrouded her arms, until it extended about ten feet on either side. Then, she leaped forward, arms outstretched.

Ruby flapped her intangible wings, and the aerial dogfight began. She moved first, launching massive waves of wind, upsetting Rao's balance, and then dashed in, lashing out with her wings, using their immense size to batter him around.

But Rao wasn't just taking this passively. He opened his beak and a torrent of dark energy—Dark Pulse—erupted, tearing through one of Ruby's wings. I could see her stagger as she reformed it in midair, and got in closer. Launching several Air Slashes, she landed a few hits, but they didn't seem to do much to the bird.

All in all, the fight so far had lasted maybe five seconds, and already I could see that this was draining Ruby quickly. But Ruby persevered, and covered her body in a white-red energy and placed herself above Rao. Then she dove straight at him, folding her wings behind her as rose petals began to fall to the ground.

She struck Rao head on, and she kicked off of him as he recoiled from the massive hit. I saw the glint of what remained of an Air Gem fall to the ground, disintegrating. Ruby didn't give Rao time to recover, and once again launched a few Air Slashes at him.

But I could see the telltale signs of Rao Roosting, healing away all of the damage she had just inflicted. Ruby wouldn't last more than a couple of more seconds, and she knew it. But that Sky Attack had just taken too much from her, and I doubted she could repeat it.

So Ruby came down and landed on Arcanine's back. "I'm wiped," she informed us, but we already knew that from the rivulets of sweat running down her face. She needed a scary amount of control just to fly, and to add taxing aura techniques? Ruby couldn't last more than fifteen seconds in a fight. I wondered whether it was worth it to continue training in such an aura expensive technique.

I glanced at Gurkinn. When Ruby had jumped off of the roof, he had flinched, as if he wanted to catch her, and after she started flying, he just watched in amazement. "Girl, that is one of the most amazin' sights I've ever seen in all my life. And there is no way you're leavin' this place without bein' able to do that for at least a minute."

Ruby grinned. "Yeah!"

"Alright—Weiss, it's your turn," said Gurkinn.

She stepped forward, and Gurkinn sent out her opponent.

Contrary to my expectations, Gallantia wasn't his Lucario. Instead, a lively Manectric stood, observing Weiss closely. "We're goin' to want to step back," warned Gurkinn. "Gallantia can go a bit overboard sometimes, 'specially in the rain."

Weiss smiled, and stepped forward. All around her, swirls of ice formed until three solid rings of ice were surrounding her. Then, in her hand, a javelin took form, drawing from the ice she was still creating. She tossed it at Gallantia, who dodged without a problem.

Again, Weiss formed three more javelins, flinging them at Gallantia. She dodged easily, and shot a Thunderbolt across the field.

One of Weiss's ice rings intercepted the electricity and grounded itself. I could see slight wisps of steam rising from the ice, but otherwise the attack had little effect. The ring continued to move, still connected to the ground and still becoming larger.

Gallantia wasn't content to let Weiss build up more ice, and spat a small fireball at her. Weiss reacted instantly, forming an aura shield to protect her ice. The fireball crashed against it, exploding outwards into two smaller fireballs, which also exploded a moment later.

When Gallantia shot three more Flame Bursts at Weiss, she dodged to the side, carrying her ice with her, moving that further away from the Flame Bursts than Weiss did. But I could see trails of ice starting to form on the ground, beginning from where she had first grounded her ice rings.

As they crept across the grass, I saw their destination—the four ice javelins that were still stuck in the ground from earlier. Weiss was probably too far away to control the ice from where she was, but if she had a direct connection, then she could use them without Gallantia knowing.

But Gurkinn also had sharp eyes, and ordered a move. Gallantia generated electricity from her mane and sent it into the ground, and the electricity arced outwards, sending current through Weiss's ice trails.

Weiss reacted immediately, shattering the ice ring connected to the ice trails and showering the miniature shards upon Gallantia, who had to move to dodge the deadly swarm of ice. Jumping closer, Weiss kept up the assault, herding Gallantia back towards the javelins, setting down new ice trails with leftover pieces of ice shards. Then, the ice javelins uprooted themselves, and struck Gallantia from behind. Gurkinn called out in warning, but it was too late. Gallantia tried to electrocute the javelins, but they dodged the Thunderbolts.

But instead of hitting Gallantia herself, the javelins embedded into the ground—one in front of her neck, two on her sides, and one between her back legs. Just as I realized her plan, they melted together and conjoined with the ice rings from Weiss, who was now closing in on the dog, and formed a covering of ice around the Electric-type.

Gallantia's mouth was frozen shut, and though she tried to melt the ice with electricity, Weiss was building up too much ice around her for it to work. I could now see the Ice Gem in her hands, assisting her in her work.

Then Gallantia began to growl, letting the low rumble ripple through the ice. The pitch rose and fell until it hovered at a higher note, and greatly intensified. I could see the ice begin to vibrate, until the whole ice structure around her shattered. Weiss, still distracted from the intense soundwaves, barely had time to regain control of the now fractured ice before Gallantia charged her, sparking with electricity.

Gallantia crashed through the hastily created shield of ice and slammed into Weiss. She went flying, skidding across the ground and bounced a few times before finally coming to a stop near the other wall. Running across the grass, Gallantia placed her jaws around Weiss's neck, signaling her victory.

"Weiss!" exclaimed Ruby. The heiress was twitching from the electricity that had just coursed through her, but Gallantia stepped back and returned to Gurkinn's side.

He dug into his pocket and pulled out a long yellow berry, tossing it to her. "Here, give her this. It'll help."

I recognized it as a Wacan Berry, useful for lessening Electric-type damage. Ruby and Arcanine rushed over, and Ruby wrenched open Weiss's jaw, and placed the berry inside. Her jaw clenched up again, but I could see her muscles slowly start to relax.

Gurkinn sighed. "I'd say we should start trainin' immediately, but those who just finished a fight can rest for an hour. We'll start you afterward."

He grinned, gesturing to the Sinnoh natives. "In the meanwhile, I've got to check up on these four."

Yang vs. Riolu

The testing for the other four went a bit differently, as Gurkinn just sparred with them. Watching his movements was like watching a master—not a single breath was wasted, and he would take apart each of them by pushing them to their limits. But I could see why he hadn't fought any of us. We were just too powerful for him. That was likely because Gurkinn didn't display anything that hinted at his aura being unlocked.

Cynthia and Aaron lasted the longest, and I could see hints of Blake's style hidden in their movements, which made me smile. Future Blake had quite an impression on Cynthia, and Aaron had been learning most of his fighting style from Blake, but it was still funny to see.

But Barry's fight was the most impressive, as he pulled out a Water Gem and started using minor water attacks to battle, but Gurkinn quickly adapted, and Barry was defeated. Through no fault of his own, Barry's water techniques just weren't powerful enough yet. But to already have that much control over his element after just five days was astounding and…enough spouting about Barry's skills.


Afterwards, Gurkinn sat down with us to learn what some of the mechanics of our aura techniques. He was especially interested in my glowing hair, Blake's substitutions, and Weiss's glyph. In other words, our Semblances. I briefly explained what they were, but it wasn't until Weiss interjected and told him that Cynthia's Lucario had said that it was called Realization that his eyes widened.

"Realization, for all four of you?" he asked, flabbergasted.

"It's expected that we develop a Semblance, where we are from," said Weiss. "But it makes me wonder: is it that because we're humans that Realization is easy, but for Pokémon it's not?"

"I'd never thought of it like that," mused Gurkinn. "Whatever the case, I'm here to train you. But you said something about unlocking auras?"

I nodded. "It's how we can use our aura, and how they're using it now."

"And you can unlock anyone's aura?"

"Well, yes. I don't think you unlocked yours yourself, so we could do that for you?"

"So it's possible to unlock it yourself?"

Ruby nodded. "That's how I did it, and that's how we think your aura adepts did it."

"Then you're in luck, because I just started trainin' a new aura adept. Ygghod, could you retrieve Loïc for me?"

Ygghod spun once and disappeared, reappearing a second later with a young boy. Dressed in a similar outfit to Gurkinn, he looked to be no older than twelve. A Riolu stood by his side, peeking out from behind Loïc's legs at us.

"Loïc, meet Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang. They are aura adepts."

"Like me?" asked the boy with wide eyes.

"Not exactly," said Gurkinn. He glanced at me, and I took the chance to show off. I tongue of flame appeared in my hand, and then started swirling up my arm, until it reached my head, where it appeared as a crown of fire. Then I let it burn out.

"Woah," breathed Loïc. "Am I going to learn how to do that?"

"Probably not," I told him. "It has to do with what your Hidden Power type is?"

"You mean I have a Hidden Power type?" asked Loïc.

Weiss nodded. "From what we can tell, yours is probably Fighting, because you unlocked your aura on your own."

"What do you mean, on my own?" asked Loïc.

Weiss glanced at me, and I at Gurkinn. "Feel like becoming an aura adept?" I asked.

"I would honored," answered Gurkinn. I was about to volunteer to do it, because I hadn't used up any aura yet today, but then Weiss spoke up.

"Barry, how would you like to learn how to unlock auras?"

He perked up. With Weiss's guidance, he started the process, and when the time came, began to utter his words. "For it is in dedication that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of continuous progress to rise above all, infinite in reach and unbound by completion. I release your soul, and by my shoulder protect thee."

Barry's orange aura flared, and Gurkinn's steel blue aura reacted, covering him for all of a moment. Then, their auras faded from sight, leaving Barry exhausted. "That was…more tiring…than I thought…it would be,"he huffed.

"I feel…strangely calm," said Gurkinn. "Also energized."

"That will wear off after a few days," said Cynthia. "But it feels so incredible."

Gurkinn closed his eyes for a moment, and his whole body glowed. For maybe ten seconds, he just stood there, until he opened his eyes. A construct of aura flashed in and out of existence, surrounding Gurkinn for a brief moment. "I see what you mean about Realization," said Gurkinn.

I just stared. Whenever someone activated their aura, they had the ability to use their Semblance, but it would take effort to manifest it properly. Less than a minute after his aura had been unlocked, Gurkinn had manifested his Semblance, even if it had been for a fraction of a second.

He closed his eyes again, and began channeling aura into his hand. A small sphere appeared in the shape of a Hidden Power, though it was lopsided, and dissipated before it could take form. But Gurkinn tried again, and this time, it worked. A perfectly formed Hidden Power sat in his hand, and he looked down, evaluating it. Then he started laughing.

"I feel so alive right now," he chortled. That's when he noticed we were all staring at him. "Is somethin' wrong?"

Weiss delicately explained that he had accomplished more in a minute than any of the other four had in five days.

He laughed again, and replied, "Beware the crafty old men."

After that, he set about starting us on our training. He asked me, "What do you think your greatest combat strength is?"

"I'm a close range fighter," I answered, "but my greatest combat strength is to use the damage I take to fight back."

Gurkinn raised one of his ridiculous eyebrows. "What do you mean by that?"

"You saw the recording of my fight, right?" When he nodded, I continued. "After Camerupt slammed me into the wall, my hair started glowing, right? That's my Semblance. When I take hits, I can absorb the damage they do to me and add that to my strength. That's why my next two hits were so powerful."

"That is an incredibly potent ability," said Gurkinn. "But what are the drawbacks?"

"I still take the damage—my Semblance doesn't affect that. If it's too powerful a blow, I can still be overpowered. And it works through my hair. That's why I wear it so long. If it were cut, I would absorb less damage."

"Aside from your Realization, what is your greatest weakness?"

That was a hard question. "I don't have a good long range option," I admitted, but I don't think that was quite the answer he was looking for.

"What was the biggest mistake you made against Bellossom?"

Biggest implied I had made more than one mistake. "I got too close, allowing her to get me with her powder ability. If I had stayed at mid range, I would have dodged that."

"There is that," said Gurkinn. "But you also underestimated how much damage she could do to you in a single blow. Granted, she used her most powerful technique—Leaf Storm—as a finisher, but she controlled that fight much better than you did."

I thought back over the fight. Her opening move had been to expel the powder, limiting the area I could move in. Bellossom seemed to be most comfortable at mid range, so she had restricted my ability to move out of her range. Then I had moved in close, giving her a chance to blast me with whatever that pink attack had been. "Oh, what was the pink energy move she used?"

"It's a Fairy-type move called Moonblast, and has a chance to lower your special attack stat," he answered. "Did you feel the debuff?"

I nodded. It had been scary to feel my connection to my aura weaken, but I hadn't had any time to dwell on it during the fight. Bellossom had probably used Moonblast for the specific purpose of nabbing a debuff, even if it wasn't a perfect chance. But it had also served to make me a little angry and charge in close where she could paralyze me. I had fallen for that, even if Bellossom had come out injured.

But even that had mattered little. She had probably gauged the strength of my flames with my attempt at clearing the powder in the air, and had then acted on faith. After that it was just waiting until I was unable to move properly to get in close with the draining move. I had recovered in time to roast her once more, but she had just finished me off after that. Bellossom had been quite the opponent, and I had the feeling she had been holding back, too. Camerupt had already been acting before he had fully recovered, and I suspected he could have defeated me if he really had wanted to.

All in all, it was another wake up call. I hadn't really won a fight since the Paladin fight against Torchwick, and even then, he had escaped. I had lost against Neo—I had lost against the Goliath—and now, even now, I was still losing. When would this cycle of losing end? When would I be strong enough? Blake's comment from the beginning of the semester came back to me—"And we may never be ready. Our enemies, they're out there, and they're coming for us." Or something like that.

At the same time, it felt like we were just waiting around for something to happen. Sure, we had fought off the Grimm that had come through the portal, but it felt like something was missing. Or that something was supposed to go wrong. Not that anything needed to go wrong, but it was just a feeling.

Additionally, as amazing as the people and the Pokémon here were, I was starting to miss Beacon. A lot of things had been thrown at us, and I just wanted a chance to relax. The training we were doing felt…aimless. We didn't have a goal, beyond 'get stronger' and 'go home'. And we had even passed up a chance at the latter for more of the former.

If there was one thing that was giving me hope for the future, it was Blake's experience in the future. Future Blake had been alive, and while she hadn't given away any 'spoilers', Blake had spotted a number of things on her trip there, the main hint being the sketch she had seen on the wall. Apparently I was supposed to get a very noticeable scar on my left arm, but the important thing was that we were all alive.

That still didn't dispel the nagging feeling in my gut that we were missing something big. That we had overlooked something in our pursuits. The Team Flare incident at the museum earlier had me on edge, as well. Something about them made me wonder what they were trying to do. They had mentioned something about a Genesect Project, but that was something I had no knowledge of.

My hand drifted down to Chomper's Poké Ball. I hadn't had a chance to meet with him yet, but I was going to try and get to know him tonight. I could at least have a working relationship with my Pokémon.

I was still a little hesitant about the whole trainer idea, but Hosaki was fun to be around, and Chomper was cute, too. Weiss had seemed to warm to the idea the fastest, and she was quite proud of her two Ice-types that she was training.

But it made me wonder. What would we do with our Pokémon when we went back? Would we leave them behind, or would we take them with us? Would they want to join in our missions? What about loneliness? They would be the only Pokémon on a planet full of Grimm.

"Yang, are you still there?" I shook myself from my thoughts. Right here and now, I had my objective set. I could dwell on this later.

"Yeah. Let's do this."

A/N: We're off to visit Kalos, the wonderful land of Kalos. Some new things happening. Like adorbs fossils. Also Gurkinn. He's fun.