Thanks! Welcome to the final instalment of the Echotrance Trilogy. It's a beaut!

There are so many people I wanna thank for letting me use their characters- EeveefanficWriter/ Laurie, Emerald Dragon/ Moon, Jake/ Jake, Seavan/ Scott, Marlix/Marc, Krystal/Vulpix, DragonTrainer/ Kay. Check out their fics on the Library, they're very talented. There are also in here various SuperPokemon owned by……. Black Dragonite is a creation of Dragon Trainer. The Kamayhamayha belongs to DBZ people.

Very Big Thanks to Sumalee and read her story under Aaliyah Legend!

Oh I love the end, so sad! But very good anyway. O yeah, please tell me how well I did! Funny bits, sad bits, stuff that needs improving, ANYTHING!

Shirasharmi@hotmail.com

All or Nothing

I glared through the bars.

"Hey Knuckles, quit the sound effects!" The Rocket who was guarding me had spent the past six hours cracking his fingers. He glanced up from the tree stump he was sitting on and smirked, flicking his fingers with a series of crunches.

I growled again, eyes narrowed. He was on my list, a list of those I planned to take out as soon as I was free. I admit it was a long list but tolerance was in short supply since we'd been captured five days ago. Life in the cage was boring and monotonous. Up at sunrise, annoy the guards until midday, nap till sundown, eat dinner, annoy the guards, and go to bed.

"I'm thirsty, get me a drink." I told the guard, sounding remarkably like Talorn, a haughty heiress.

As soon as the thought crossed my mind, despair welled in my heart threatening to overwhelm. I struggled not to let my emotions show through the arrogant little bitch guise I had taken on. With a final resolution, I shoved it away and complained louder.

"Move it! It's summer and you don't want a poor frail little girl like me to dehydrate do you? It mightn't bode well with your supervisors." My eyes turned to Renee and Ricky. They were yelling, well squeaking, at the remaining Rockets hacking away at the tree's of Ilex Forest.

"How did they get promoted ahead of you again?" I grinned prodding the nerve further. "Wasn't it their fervour and enthusiasm? You don't look to enthusiastic to me," I chided and before I could continue with more mindless chatter, Knuckles got up with a groan and wandered towards the stores shed consoling himself, "Only cos they sucked up."

I leaned back against the cold metal bars with a satisfied smile. Peace at last. I took off my faithful cap and ran my hand through what was left of my hair with a sigh. The flames had devoured most of my hair, now too short to put in a Ponyta tail and missing in some spots altogether.

I needed to get out of here. It was unhygienic and no warmth whatsoever. We were barely fed and my muscles were beginning to cramp from lack of exercise. Most of all I was alone, lost in a chasm of black desolation. Sumalee was dead, Talorn and Apollo were dead, my Pokemon were kept as far away from me lest conspiracy and Cal…

"Any idea's champ?" I didn't need to open my eyes to know that the same blank expression registered on his face since he'd found out Suma and his Pokemon were dead. Half his team had been wiped out and the other three were grievously injured from Team Rocket's clubs and whips.

I though about my four friends, sighing sadly. From what I could decipher from the Grunts taunts, Aria, the Aquatro, was ripping out her beautiful feathers while toiling to moisten the ground to make it easier for them to dig, Mystic, the Xatu, his powers being manipulated to help Mewthree keep Sunsear and Celebi prisoners. Sunsear was growing more rebellious by day, Chilun, my Articolt, dragging timber day after day, back and forth across the quarry like a beast of burden and Fury, my best friend, my first Pokemon, was fainted in her Pokeball, after harsh retribution, for causing trouble amongst the Pokemon. I knew this was probably the worst because she was claustrophobic and was terrified of being in her Pokeball.

"Gahhh!" Woken rudely from my reflections, my eyes snapped open and locked on the grunt laughing at me, holding and empty cup of water. I stepped closer to the howling Rocket, water dripping down into my stormy eyes.

"Hah!" I snatched the thick tin cup and water cask from his hand, stomped down on his foot and smashed him over the head with the cup. Knuckles clutched his head where a large red lump pushed from under his Rocket hat while hopping on one foot. I could practically see the toes throbbing through the boot.

I stepped back and sat beside Cal. I tipped the cask back, letting the cool clear, O.K, no exactly, water past my cracked lips, sandy tongue and down my parched throat. Before I knew it, I had gulped down three quarters of it. With a little resentment, I stopped drinking. I wiped the top of the cask with my shirt. I smiled at the irony.

It seemed stupid to worry about germs when in the back corner was a growing pile of our own filth. I pressed the nose to Cal's mouth and tilted back his head so he would drink as much as possible, though still some dribbled from the corner of his mouth. I screwed my nose in revulsion as he coughed some back up onto my shirt.

"Man, I am never having kids," I muttered to myself as I cleaned up Cal and myself. I put the rest of the water in a corner and watched Cal helplessly.

Blank expression, drooling and soiling himself, he was worse then senile. "Come on Cal, wake up to reality," I murmured dolefully.

I spent the rest of the afternoon, dragging the tin cup up and down the bars like a criminal and dreaming of the Azalea town PokeCentre. Of decent food, hot water and things that flushed. The sunset came for the fifth time and dinner came; stale bread and what could have been a plum or a really old peach. I tossed the fruit away and scarfed my half of the bread while trying to get Cal to eat his. It seemed that bread was becoming one of my regular meals.

When the sun had totally disappeared and a new Rocket appeared to replace Knuckles. He was tall, very tall for someone who could have been only a few years older then myself. Spiked hair, frosted tips and shrewd hazel eyes that followed me as I paced the length of the cage over and over again.

"You've gotta be kidding Max," he grinned. "That tiny little Cleffa caused all that damaged last week? Naw, she couldn't hurt a Caterp… Ahhh!" he cried as a tin cup sailed from my hand a connected with his temple. I smirked.

"You see that? The little bitch hit me with a cup!"

"Yeah, well, I told you so Marc. She's more dangerous then she looks." Knuckles bent over so that Marc could see the lump on his head that had swelled thrice the size in the last hour. "See? Did that with the same cup." Max winced as Marc prodded it.

"But I'm not as stupid as you," Marc drawled, taking his place at the stump and producing five Pokeballs. "You know what the best part is about that battle. I managed to get myself a whole new belt. Of course they're mostly beginning Pokemon, but I'll train em E…Z." He pressed the button and the crimson light twinkled into a Pichu. "One day this little guy's gonna be able to knock a Dragonite unconscious. "

Pichu giggled and waved its arms. Remembering Matt's, I stepped away from the metal bars and pushed Cal way from them too, making sure we both had contact with the ground.

"Hey cutie!" the idiot grinned tickling Pichu. Pichu squealed and released a thousand rivulets of electricity in to the air. I pulled Cal's head down and glance up watching the lightning course through the bars and Marc and Max flash like Christmas trees.

When the fireworks were done, I breathed a sigh of relief and let Cal loll back into his previous position, leaning against the bars staring at nothing. Suddenly he jerked and convulsed and I saw a bolt spill from the cage and through Cal in a desperate urge to be grounded. I cringed, cursing my stupidity. Cal groaned and returned to his stupor.

When I turned to see the Rockets, they were collapsed on the ground, sparks still scurrying through their hair. Pichu perched on top of them clapping his tiny paws together with his rosy cheeks still glowing. Max shoved himself from under Marc growling, a picked up the Pichu ready to hurl it into the ground. But like lightning, Marc was off the ground to and towered over the man, glaring down. He took Pichu from Max and sat him on his shoulder, careful not to ruin his hair.

Max grumbled. "Watch them, how do you think they could reduce a hundred trained Rockets to less them fifty?" With a final glare in my direction, Max left for a shed I had identified as the mess tent. I returned to watch Marc. He sat crossed-legged on the stump arranging his Pokeballs.

Shouldn't be to hard to piss him off, I thought, knowing all to well the mischievous grin was plastered across my face.

"So Marc, Marco, Marky, Marcalark! Looks like you and me are going to hanging out for the next twelve hours. Just you and me ol' buddy, ol' pal, ol' amigo, ol' chum, ol' mate! You're not much of a talker are you? That's OK; I'll talk enough for both of us. I…"

"Shut up shortie," Marc interrupted and said to Pichu on his shoulder, "Man, I can't believe they're worried about these two. We got rid of their leader, the boys had a mental breakdown, and all we gotta do is get the midget to shut up and… OWW!" Marc yelped, his hand flying to his forehead. Pichu toppled off his shoulder as he jerked.

"As I was saying Marcalark, I'm a great shot with a stone. Care for another demonstration? Yes? No? OK, I bet I can hit that Pokeball in the middle… Yes! Told ya!" I gushed as the five Pokeballs bounced off one another and scattered around the clearing.

"You little!"

"Yes what was that? I have more rocks hear and I'll get you every time." He continued to simmer for the next few hours. I continued to babble.

"Did you know our DNA is 98% Mankey? Think of it, if two or three pieces of your molecular structure changed you could be in a Pokeball right now. Yep, I can see it now; you're having fun, and swinging through the trees. Then, from outta the blue a bone comes spinning out of control and knocks you flying. You get mad! You fire a shattering Thrash attack. It's then you see the trainer… and he tosses a Pokeball and you're evaporated inside. It shudders once, twice and PING! Your caught!..."

"And your trainer orders a low kick. You crash into the Goldeen with phenomenal power. It faints. Suddenly you begin to glow. You evolved into Primeape!…."

"And you earn the Zephyr Badge…"

"The Mineral Badge…"

"And with a your last ounce of strength, you let fly a crushing Megapunch that arcs across Kingdra's cheek. It faints and you earned the Rising Badge defeating the Johto League!"

My eyelids drooped, my throat dry as a desert and thrice as grating. It was now 1 o'clock and had recited the entire life of Marc the Mankey, and being constantly told to 'shut up midget.'

"Say, all that talking's made me thirsty. Get me a martini, shaken not stirred. Marcalark? Hurry! I---" I launched into a coughing fit, hacking and spluttering, "Might not make it." I dropped to the ground in a poor imitation of dying. I opened on eyelid and glanced at the kid. He was slumped over the stump snoring and drooling, the Pichu lying across his back.

"Humph! Fine then!" I sniffed then yelled to the rest of the camp.

"WELCOME TO THE LATE, LATE, LATE SHOW WITH TOPAZ!" I shot a quick look at Sleeping Beauty. All he'd done was roll over. Heh heh heh! "WE'VE A STUNNING SHOW LINED UP FOR TONIGHT! I'LL BE RECITING THE POKERAP OVER AND OVER AND OVER, CLASSICS SUCH AS HOW MUCH IS THAT GROWLITHE IN THE WINDOW AND THE SONG THAT NEVER ENDS!" Marc didn't stir.

"Man he must be able to sleep through a Voltorb's screech," I muttered shaking my head. Oh well. "AND SPECIAL GUEST STAR, MARC THE MANKEY, WHO IS ASLEEP ON THE JOB!" As if to prove my point, Marc grunted and rolled off the stump and onto the ground with Pichu beneath his arm.

I smirked.

From across the compound the supervising officers hut, a candle flared and a shadow stormed from the doorway, shaking its fist. As it drew closer I recognised it as Angel, dressed only in his heart patterned boxer shorts. His hair was mussed and he tried to smooth it into it's usual waves.

"SEEM I WAS WRONG LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE TWO SPECIAL GUESTS! MARC THE MANKEY AND ANGEL," I switched my voice to one of the soft voice of the woman who announces the models as the walk down the runway. "Is dressed in a lovely onsomble of the latest heart patterned boxershorts and the windblown hair. Lets see if we can get an interview. Angel, you look like shit, is that the style now?"

He ignored me as he blew past in a rage. He stood looking down at Marc, his face twisted into a snarl. Marc was curled into a ball with Pichu in the crook of his arm and a goofy grin on his face. Angel spared me a glace at me watching with clear anticipation, and my hand wrapped around the bars. "Get ready Cal," I whispered still grinning. "This is going to be better then Jerry Springer!" Cal only snored. "The moment is always lost on you, isn't it," I berated, shaking my head.

"Wakeup you lazy slob!" Angel screamed, emphasizing his words with a savage kick to the kidneys. Marc's eyes flew open as he squealed awake, more surprise then pain I think. He rolled aside Angels boots crashing down where his head had just been.

"What's the point of a watch if it doesn't watch the prisoners!" he hissed. "That's how they screwed up last time. The patrol was drunk. Do you no what happened to them? No, neither do I. These two are dangerous and have ruined four of our assignments!" He glared at me. I grinned back stupidly and waved.

"You're telling me! Look what she did to me!" Marc bent down so that the smaller in stature Angel could see his bump, just above the temple.

Angel flared and sent Marc reeling with a smashing back fist. I leapt back as he crashed into the cage with a grunt.

"Nice one, I'm impressed Angel!" I mocked.

"Silence! We'll get to you eventually and Marc, one more mistake and the Boss will do more then fire your sorry arse."

With that he whirled around, white hair flying strode back to his tent.

"Oh well, not as good as Jerry Springer, but definitely Ricky Lake," I conceded to Cal.

"That's it!" Marc declared, fist clenched tightly. He seethed. His face a mask of barely concealed fury. His eyes blazed, his teeth clenched and jaw taunt. "I've had it! They've bossed me around for the last time. High and Mighty Angel, Incompetent, Renee and Richard, Backstabbing Luke. He bent down and picked up the snuffling Pichu and cradled him.

"What if I help you get them back? I said calmly. I watched his reaction carefully.

The anger faded from his eyes and replaced them with the same sharp look as when he first came. "How?"

"Give me a second." I hadn't a bloody clue as to how I'd do it. I couldn't have Marc use my Cell phone to call the authorities cos the Rockets were monitoring radio waves and blocking all within the forests perimeter. After a time I remembered Adam had said the Pokedex transmitted very low frequency waves so not to disturb the magnetic pulse of Porygon, Voltorb or Magnimite. If I used some of that flower mail I'd bought and downloaded in Violet City. Maybe… The only problem would be it would be sent to where my Box Pokemon were held, in Pallet town at Professor Oaks Lab.

"Bring me my Pokedex," I told him finally.

Marc thought for moment nodding. His eyes lit up. "What do I get out of it, Shortie?"

My mouth dropped open in disbelief. I stepped up to the bars, reached up, it kind ruined the effect I had to stand on my tiptoes, and snagged the collar of his Team Rocket uniform. "How bout your life?" I spat.

"Is that a threat?"

"You murdered my friend, two of my Pokemon, locked the rest of them up and turned them into beasts of burden, reduce Cal here to a slobbering yobo and kidnapped the Guardian of Time, what do you think?"

"I'm about to free you, I deserve a little love," he mewled. "Doesn't Marc deserve a little love?"

I pushed him a way disgusted. "So?"

"I will in exchange for that." He looked pointedly at the Radianz wrapped around Mewthree's stump.

"Sunsear isn't mine to give."

"Then the little one."

"Just do it."

"Ok you convinced me." Marc disappeared. I hoped that when the Rockets had discovered and raided our camp they wouldn't have looted it too. Marc returned with Suma's blue Pokedex, chewing on a chocolate bar. I scowled and took the Dex from him. Greedy little pig. I was starved from what little we'd been fed. Marc suddenly surprised me when he produced two muesli bars and gave them to me. Maybe he wasn't so bad.

I chewed it in one hand and pondered the Pokedex in the other, crossed legged on the ground. "What should we write Cal? If we say too much, we'll have trainers flocking in and they'll be as bad as the Rockets, trying to catch the Radianz, Cooee and the Echotrance. Too little and not enough firepower, maybe none."

Cal made a gagging sound as Marc tried to feed him through the bars.

"Is that one C or two?"

"Why do you bother talking to him," Marc muttered. "He's nothing but a big baby."

Cal suddenly coughed and spit up on him. "Ewww!" Marc whined shaking his hand.

"See now you've insulted him." I scolded him.

"Look you better hurry up. Dawn comes and I won't get another turn for more then a fortnight. By that time the reinforcements will be here."

"And Celebi's dying."

How'd you know that?"

"That vacuum bubble Mewthree keeps him in. Each time I look there seems to be a little more black then green."

"Oh," Marc murmured downcast. He wiped the spit off his uniform. "Why's he dying?"

"Celebi's dying cos the forest is like, um, I don't know, his life force or something. Each time you cut down a tree you kill a little bit more of him."

I quickly changed identification to my own and scoured my items. Finally I had pressed in the message and hoped it would be sufficient to bring the right amount to help us.

BIG ROCKET TROUBLE

ILEX, SEEK ECHOTRANCE

I attached it to Talorn's empty ball confirmed I wanted it transferred. It blipped and flashed three times before reverting back to it's original screen. I now knew somewhere in the compound Talorn's Pokeball was replace by Bolt's. It was now transported to Oaks lab. I hoped he would find it by morning.

I closed the Pokedex and passed it through the bars. "Hold on to it, they might have some computer genius here and divert the message before it's read. K?"

"Genius? Here?" Marc barked a laugh and slipped it inside his pocket. "Yeah, Yeah. How do we get out of here?"

"We?" I replied sceptical.

"You expect me to hang around here while ol' Sicaris howls for my blood?" He flashed me a cocky grin and added, "Of course the ladies will be after me for other reasons."

I rolled my eyes and curled beside Cal, pulling my shirt over my knees and my arms through the sleeves in a feeble attempt to conserve body heat. I thought of Fury and hoped she was alright, before drifting into a dreamless sleep.

I awoke the next morning to find the sun had risen further into the morning sky and Marc gone. His replacement was a woman named Sarah. I had fun making snide remarks about the 'zit' in the middle of her head and watching her frantically look for it in a mirror. When unable to find it, she covered her face with an inch of make up. I couldn't believe she was actually stupid enough to believe me, but then again it was Team Rocket.

While aggravating Sarah and the other passing Grunts, I watched the trees carefully. Three days and many false alarms later, there were shouts and curses and people running to the other side of the compound.

From the confusion, I saw Marc; he weaved between the Rockets flooding in the opposite direction. He flashed me a quick, 'no worries' glance and barked to the guard "Move it! We have intruders and everyone has to stop them.

The grunt didn't hesitate only joined the thirty or forty other Rockets Chasing the intruders.

Everything was out of control, the perfect distraction.

"What's happening? I asked, throwing myself at the bars.

"We have help" Marc frowned, his brow furrowed. He looked worried.

"What's wrong?" I snapped. There was maybe Cal's and mine only chance of escape. Screw Marc, I was getting out of here. He flushed. "We need a key…."

Idiot! "Use your Charmeleon and melt the bars, you ignoramus!"

"It won't work," he retorted. "Their covered with a melt proof lacquer. We need the key, we need Richard and Renee."

"Damn it! Try lure them here, say I have a super rare Pokemon I'm hiding or something."

Marc whirled around, not waiting to hear the rest of what I had to say.

I snarled and bent down to sit Cal up. He was better then he had been in days. He could eat by himself and talked… to himself, but no need to agonize over petty details. Now all I had to do was get him to stand up. Damn it! OK! I picked up the empty water cask and prepared to smash him with it.

"Psst, Sumalee?" I jumped and reeled around to smash whoever surprised me. Luckily it slapped harmlessly against the bars. A girl with long, wavy ivy green hair peered through the bars.

"No she's… dead, but I sent the letter. I'm Topaz."

"Kay. We have to get you outta here."

"No," I interjected "We already have that covered, free the Pokemon and look for a set of entirely red Pokeballs and those engraved with a C. If you find them, bring it to me immediately." I clasped the cold bars tightly. A zephyr of wind swept the clearing, I shivered. "Give me your hair pin." I demanded, holding out my hand.

Kay pulled it out and placed it in my hand, smiling warmly. "Good Luck."

I snorted. I didn't need luck I had skill. I twisted and moulded the pin into shape and threaded my arm through the bar, glancing anxiously at the battle. Pokemon danced and ducked, thrust and parried it's opponent. I slipped the pin into the lock, jiggling and swivelling the head until I found the catch and after a moment worked it under.

"Ahha!" I exclaimed triumphantly. I guess having a broken bike lock does come in handy sometimes. A shadow fell across my light and snatched my arm, digging into the hollow of my shoulder. I grunted and tried to smash the Rocket with my free hand but misjudged my aim and hit the bars. I yelped in pain and then cried out harder as the Grunt bent my arm at an impossible angle. I gasped and, trying to move closer and relieve the pressure.

"That's for killing Jason and Taran," he grunted.

Before he could bow my arm further a voice yelled out. "Flamed, help her!"

A huge shadow arced through the air, it's immense wingspan blocking out the morning sun. It's wickedly clawed paw, whipped across the grunts midsection, sending him flying into the air and landing ten meters away. I gaped, swallowing hard as the Pokemon landed gracefully in front of me.

"Eep!" I squeaked. The creature was like none I'd ever seen, like a cross between a Dragonite and a Charizard. It had Dragonite's stocky frame but Charizard's pebbly red skin and flamedproof skin. Dragonite's webbed wings extended from it's back accompanied by Charizard's expanse. Its face had Charizard's regal ruse but with Dragonite's antennae and kind soulful eyes. I blinked and moaned in its resonating voice. "Flaaammmmed."

My fingers itched for a Pokedex. I reached out and stroked its muzzle.

"Cool huh?" A tall 18 or 19-year-old boy with smooth black hair dropped from between its wings. "It's a Flamed, a Dragonite/ Charizard hybrid as you probably guess." He looked around calmly. "Whirlwind SkyHigh! But we'll talk later, Sumalee, we got to get you outta here. Stand back and protect your friend."

I complied, pushing Cal's head down and putting myself between him and Flamed. "Okay Flamed try and aim your attack only at the bars. Ready? Dracon Bea…"

"Wait!" Marc raced through the Rockets and Pokemon like a flash. "Hey watch it.!" He protested, jumping over a Likitung fending off a Jinx's Doubleslap.

"Hold it hotshot! I got it under control." Marc sniffed at the older boy waving him away. Pulling out the broken pin and replacing it with a set of keys, the lock clicked and the door swung open. I couldn't help but smile at them. I quickly turned sombre and tried to take Cal over my shoulder. I must have been on adrenaline last time because Cal wouldn't budge. The other boy slipped past Marc and picked Cal up easily.

"Get Cal somewhere safe. He's no use here until…" I trailed off. "Just get him out of here. I have to find my Pokemon."

"No problem, Sumalee…"

"It's Topaz, Sumalee's dead," Marc snapped before I could say anything. My shoulders drooped and my eyes misted.

"I'm sorry," the boy apologised with genuine sympathy. "SkyHigh! Finish it off and come here!" he called to a Fearow across the quarry. I wasn't sure it heard but sure enough it belched a mushroom of flame setting the Murkrow alight and whistled back towards us. I stared at it. The Fearow was bright orange with tendrils of red curling through its wing tips and its comb was a crest of flame, like a smaller version of Moltres.

"A Fearow with fire characteristics," he explained placing Cal, still staring blankly, across the SkyHighs back.

"How do we keep him on?" Marc pointed out. He kept on eye on us and the other on Flamed as he guarded us from the Rockets. Flamed whirled around batting a Primaepe away with his well-muscled tail.

The boy and I looked perplexed. "Here." Marc pulled the laces from Cal's shoe and wrapped them around his wrist and SkyHigh's neck. "Voila!"

"Mhmm," I murmured, though not too convinced.

"Don't worry, SkyHigh will look after him," the boy reassured.

"SkyHigh!" it squawked in confirmation. It pushed into the air, hovering a moment to balance Cal and then caught a morning thermal soaring higher and dodging the attacking Pokemon.

"Holy shit! Look out!" I screeched. An Aerodactyl rocketed upwards; it's jaws, wide enough to swallow SkyHigh whole, wide open. It's scissor teeth snapped on its tail dragging it down.

SkyHigh struggled, trying to keep its passenger safe and it's feathers intact.

The boy swore, leaping onto Flamed's back. "Go!"

"Wait!" Marc yelled. I threw my gaze to where he was pointing. A black blur flew at Aerodactyl; it's massive bulk ramming into its stomach. Aerodactyl only had time to give one surprised squawk before spiralling to the earth below. Shockwaves shuddered through the ground, a cavernous puncture in the Aerodactyl's chest. In the air above us a black Dragonite stared mournfully at the dead Aerodactyl and the Rocket it had crushed, its horn tipped with blood. It's ebony body eclipsing the sun like a patch of midnight that hadn't been cleared away.

I glanced at the 18-year-old. "Yours?"

He shook his head. "Kay's" As the Black Dragonite beat it's wings I saw a flash of pale skin and whispery green hair.

"Scott!" She yelled. "I got SkyHigh covered!" She saw me. "Here!" A red dot plummeted from the sky like a meteor.

"Duck!" We skittered out of the way and it crashed into the ground imbedding itself.

A Pokeball! My Pokeball! I dove for it and frantically scratched away the dirt. I pulled it free and turned it over in my hands. It had the flame etched into it just above the release button. Fury!

"Come on girl!" She burst out in a blaze of crimson forming into a quivering Quilava huddled into a ball, eyes tightly shut. I went to stroke her head but the flames flared to life scorching it. I bit back a cry and whispered softly, "Fury."

"Quil?" Her translator was gone and her voice trembled, unbelieving. "Quila…" Her eyes peeled open and flickered. "Quil!" She leapt into my arms. "Quilava, quil, quilava!"

"Shhh," I cooed "You'll be alright now, but we have to get you somewhere safe."

"Quil!" Fury blurted curling closer.

I didn't know what to do. Should I give her to SkyHigh, hovering uncertainly, or let her come with me, where she could be caught and imprisoned again. "You can come, but I can't carry you."

She only licked my face gratefully. Scott waved SkyHigh away with Cal on its back and Kay and the Black Dragonite trailing after it.

"We have to find mine and Cal's Pokeballs." I said determined. "If you can keep the Rockets distracted a little longer, I'll be able to find them."

"Don't worry, Moon and Laurie are on it."

"Moon?" Before I could say anything more, Scott was on Flamed and away.

Marc grinned. Pulling himself up to his full hight, towering over me and declared with a note of arrogance. "No problem, I'll look after you." He flicked his spiked brown hair into place and pulled out his five Pokeballs.

"Go!" From each of the Pokeballs the light manifested into tiny forms

"Pichu!"

"Totototo!"

"Charrrmeleon!"

"Flaf fi!"

"Eee Veee!"

I snorted. "I don't need your help. You only have baby Poke…"

Before I could finish the sentence A Rocket woman rushed at me, hissing and scratching like a Meowth.

"Pichu!" Pichu leapt into the air, bounced off Marc's head and onto her face. "PIIIICCHHHUUUU!"

Lightning crackled and wrapped around her in a bright yellow blanket. The woman fell to the ground charred and paralysed.

"Ahem!" Marc coughed.

"Fine my Pokeballs are red and Cal's have a C engraved on it." I pushed past him. Fury tagged at my heels felling a Pokemon with her Flame Wheel. Marc ran after me yelling at his Pokemon.

"Eevee, um, Quick Attack! No not agility! Charmeleon forget the trees, this is not a bonfire! Flaffy Thundershock! Good girl! Now Totodile wet it. Pichu Spark! Charmeleon don't flame Flaffy. No, don't retaliate Flaffy!"

Were all Rockets such novices? I growled my frustration and raced between battles. A Jolteon's Pin Missile punctured a Quarral. Two Growlithe's bit and slashed at each other, neither giving an inch. A strange armoured Dragonair with Gyarados's gaping jaws and razor sharp teeth barraged a Marowak with Dragon Rage. A Butterfree emitted high-pitched sonar around it, confusing the Pokemon including the strange Dragonair/ Gyarados hybrid. It thrashed, crushing the tinier Pokemon and sent Marc's Flaffy flying with a crack of its tail.

"Flaaaafffy!" it bleated before fainting.

Marc hesitated between following me and helping Flaffy.

"Don't stop! Recall it!" I yelled. Suddenly a Scyther's blade whistled through the air missing me by inches. It dispatched a Furret and wheeled towards me blade extended.

I froze. It occurred to me later that your life doesn't flash before your eyes it's too bloody quick and all you can do is freeze and pull a stupid face. I did just that, waiting for my last moment of consciousness before my head rolled from my shoulders.

"Quil!" Fury barked, stars of light flying from it and pelting the Scyther, driving it back step by step.

"Now finish it, Flame Wheel!" The fire whirled around it like larger versions of Firespin. After a moment of intense heat, the bug type fainted. I smiled with relief, but at once noticed the blue Caterpie woven silk band at it's ankle. It had only mistaken me for a Rocket.

"Bloody hell!" But I couldn't wait around for the Scyther, I urged Fury on, my eyes darting everywhere for someplace they'd keep my Pokeballs.

1) They'd given it to some Rocket for suitable service, or

2) Butch and Cassidy still had them.

After scanning the area, I saw no sign of Chilun, Mystic or Aria. With a grunt of frustration, I locked onto my target, a large, crudely mended hut, but clearly stood out from the rest with its gaudy paint and hangings. You'd think that by the age of thirty, Butch and Cassidy would have some kind of dress sense, but they didn't.

I rushed on, chasing Fury.

Then from the corner of my eye, a blur of purple and blue energy careened towards me. I sidestepped, trying to avoid the stray psychic attack. It caught me in my abdomen, driving me backwards with a fiery thrust. I could no longer keep my balance and toppled backwards, the Psychic comet passing over my head. I twisted trying to break my fall but pain clouding my senses.

No, wait. My senses were already clouded. I was seeing triple and my hearing was flickering on and off like Christmas lights. Three blurry Fury's appeared by my shoulders whining softly. Then she merged as one and was far away as was her voice. A moment later she was tall as a house and her usually soft 'Quillll," was a droning ring. I tried to collect my fleeing thoughts but the eluded me.

I went to suck in a lungful of air, instead they cramped, making me gasp.

Fury began to howl as enemy Pokemon crowded around us. A Geodude hurled a rock and I waited for impact, for I was too weak to stop it.

Surprisingly it was knocked aside by an unseen force. I cried out but a childish voice shushed me.

Quiet Beneath half closed lids I saw a petite figure. She knelt beside me, and tried to lift my shirt as I weakly pushed it aside. "Can't see, can't breath!" I wheezed, try to communicate the urgency for she couldn't have been older then ten.

It's only a side effect of the Confusion, the childish voice echoed through my thoughts, the only thing piercing the fog wrapped around my mind. A slender hand passed over my eyes and with a shiver of power, the fog receded. As it left me, the pain sharpened and my throat constricted making it harder to breath even harder to breath.

"Gawd!" I moaned.

I said shhh. I focused my eyes on my saviour, a tiny 10 year old girl, her dark burgundy with a long white streak running the length of her abstract hairstyle. What caught me most were her pale amethyst coloured eyes that stared intensely at the wound.

You needn't worry. The laceration is external, easily fixed. Clair, watch my back. The girl nodded at the small black racoon with a layering purple mask.

Clair clair! it answered quickly in the same resounding voice as his trainer. It waved its clawed paws in intricate patterns. As he did this the world outside turned darked as a pale grey bubble enveloped us. As if proving the shield was there, a Spearow dived from above and smacked into it, sliding down the pane and slumped to the ground.

The bubble shimmered in and out of view but the Clairvora's gestures grew larger and faster and the screen was sustained.

Convinced her Pokemon could hold the force field, she concentrated on the Psyburn across my stomach. I lifted my head trying to see and cringed. It was one thing to see it on someone else, but on myself was enough to make me vomit what little I had to eat.

I swallowed hard as she prodded it. My abdomen was a mass of red and white tissue and pus. My skin was wrinkled as if I had stayed in the water too long.

Breath out, she instructed. On the count of three I'm going to have smooth out your skin. I'm afraid it's going to be quite painful.

My eye's bulged at the word painful and the corner of her mouth curled at it's edges.

One; two.

"AHHHHHHHHHHH!" I screamed, an ear rupturing shriek so loud that Clairvora's shield failed for a moment while he covered his ears. As a Rhyhorn charged at us, it's massive stony feet thundering the ground, he realized his task and weaved his paws in wide arcs. The force field flashed into place at the last moment and the Rhyhorn crashed into it with full force, knocking itself unconscious .

"I thought you said three," I moaned. Fury licked my cheek in comfort.

The girl looked at me matter-of-factly. You would have tensed on three now will you please be quiet, I have to concentrate. She cut off my questions with a wave of her hand, startling me into silence. Her fingertips glowed! They shone with the same pale amethyst light as her eyes.

I winced as she pressed on the lesion, ignoring the watery welts and pus, but was relieved by a cool soothing strokes. She massaged and kneaded the burn everywhere she touched brought solace.

After a moment, the purple cast faded from her fingers. I blinked and sat up feeling my stomach. It was gone! The scars were gone without a trace! The skin was a little paler then the rest of my suntanned skin, but none the worse.

I finally awoke from the amazing discovery to thank the girl. She was exhausted. Her shoulders slumped, her eyes drooped and the corners of her mouth were tightly pinched. She looked older, not physically, but spiritually.

Come I know what you seek

I stood up, feeling none of the fatigue that had plagued me earlier, though it was if the girl had taken up that burden.

"Who are you?" I asked, my voice filled with wonderment.

Krystal, that is all you need know.

It disturbed me how this young girl could seem so wise, so all knowing.

Are you coming or not? I nodded and followed her, the Clairvora bringing up the rear and supporting the shield. Krystal and I moved easily through the battle, an occasional foolish Pokemon would try to ram though the Barrier but would only fall back with a headache, but slowly.

Healing me had drained all of Krystal's energy and needed me to lean on.

"Hey!" Marc raced towards us with a black eye and the sleeve from his T-shirt missing. He tucked four Pokeballs into his Rocket uniform and Charmeleon ran at his side keeping off the attacking Rocket's at bay.

"Hey wait for…" I screwed my eyes shut and waited for the…. "OMPH! Oww, my nosh!" I opened my eyes to see him on his arse clutching his nose.

Oh no! Krystal covered her eyes with one hand and pointed with the other.

The Articolt! It was the Articolt Chilun had fought the other night only now it took on a more sinister form. It's lithe body moved easily through the squall, sprinting the length of the quarry with its silvery horn down and aimed at Marc.

"Quick, uh, Clair drop the shield, let him in!' I cried desperately not wanting to see him skewered.

No! We can't! Clair is tired and it would take him too long to reinforce the Barrier. Better, he die than both of us.

"Gawd no!" I croaked, knowing it was true.

Articolt was now only metres away. Marc just stared, eyes wide, accepting his fate. I couldn't watch, yet I couldn't look away. It loomed closer ready to stomp him into oblivion.

WHOOSH

SWOOOP

SNAP

I released a thin cry as the Articolt's neck snapped on impact and crumpled.

With a second glance, I saw, Marc and Charmeleon were gone. I dropped Krystal from my shoulder and tossed my head frantically.

"Heeelllppp meee!" I looked upwards for the source of the voice. Marc's eyes were wide as he dangled by the collar of his shirt, his long legs twitching. I held back a giggle at his comical appearance. My eyes strayed from him to Charmeleon hanging by his tail being supported by Scott and his Flamed. It slashed angrily and spat fireballs at the flying types that pecked him mercilessly.

I looked further and stared in wonder. A dazzling winged Rapidash soared gracefully; her flaming wings creating a cushion of air to rest on. Her pelt was a golden lustre, flickering rainbow hues as it caught and reflected the light ten-fold.

Scott said something to her passenger and both came in for a soft landing, depositing Marc and Charmeleon at the base of the bubble.

The Zefire's wings furled to her sides revealing her rider.

"Moon!"

"Topaz! I wish I could say you look great but, well…" She was right, half bald was not a good look for me. As if to flaunt her own full head of hair, she flicked the wavy lilac curls over her shoulder. "Sorry," she apologised, realizing what she was doing.

I shrugged. "No worries."

Krystal's Clairvora released a series of clicking 'Clair clair's' directed at Krystal. She nodded and the shield dropped.

Inside quickly, she demanded. Moon and Scott shooed the two powerful fire types into the assault and stepped over the dead Articorn, their eyes staring elsewhere. Moon shuddered, approaching with a regretful gaze.

Clair can't keep the shield around all of us alone Krystal said mentally. Giran, she shouted. After a moment the space beside her began to shimmer. We all shifted and it emerged entirely.

Gira gira! the Girafarig brayed. He stomped his cloven hooves impatiently, wanting to return to the battle. Clair needs your aid to maintain the Barrier. Giran snorted but agreed. Clair chirped and clambered onto his head, avoiding the snapping jaws of its tail and grabbed the knobs on is head. Static volts of black sparked between them, adding their strength to shield, turning it to a pale cream.

We lifted Krystal gently onto Giran's back and moved forward at a quicker pace. Scott and Moon watched through the bubble apprehensively. Moon would yelp each time she saw one of her Pokemon take a hit, then cheer as they took out their opponent. Scott would react similarly, but less enthusiastically, growling and smiling to himself as he regarded his strange half and half Pokemon, Super Pokemon or Mutemon as I called them.

Some ranged from queer hybrid Pokemon like Flamed or some were originals with interpolated characteristics such as SkyHigh and it's Fire attacks. Others were totally new and had no comparison. Two he kept his eye on particularly, Orb, a pearly white sphere that was a Voltorb with Eevee DNA allowing it to evolve into different Pokemon with the use of a different Gem, and a bizarre Mutemon he called Spider Master, a large humanoid black spider with silvery webbing patterns tracing it's body. It waved it's fine-fingered arms dispatching it's opponents with ease.

After counting Scott's Pokemon, he had more then the Southern Leagues allowed, at least seven. He explained that although Super Pokemon have high attack, they have low HP, so they permitted the use of eight. It was true that they could defeat a Pokemon easily but had trouble defending themselves.

That was another thing we had going for us. Despite being out numbered, Team Rocket's Pokemon were poorly trained. But the tiny attacks were adding up and soon would be overwhelmed. A Pokemon would faint and we'd be forced to expose ourselves for a moment. Those moments were critical and many times the barrier was established just in time.

At one point, a Sneasel broke the barrier as Dark types were unaffected. It lunged at Krystal, still weak from healing me, on Giran's back. Only Marc's quick reflexes, pushing her off, and a willingness to take the hit himself, saved her from being chopped liver. So, instead of severing Krystal's head from her shoulders with its wicked claws it carved a deep gash from his shoulder to his elbow.

Marc's Charmeleon smashed it across the face with it's Fire Claw and the ice type went down with little trouble. In fact, we had to restrain Charmeleon from turning it into a well-done steak.

He carried it bravely, as Krystal was still tired and her power reserves were drying up. The wound was bound tightly and he didn't even cry out as Moon gave the wrap a final tug. I admit, I was starting to admire him for his courage and altruism.

I turned back to the task at hand and coaxed us on again. We finally stood before the hut and Krystal gave it a quick mind wave and finding no life forms inside except the Pokemon in their Pokeballs.

"I got it from here guys," I muttered grimly, feeling the bubble for a way out. A hand settled on my shoulder. I turned and looked up at Marc. His face beaded with sweat, his brow furrowed and his arm dragged uselessly at his side. In fact, as I looked closer, he swayed slightly from side to side. When I glanced at his makeshift bindings, he seeped blood.

"You'll need someone to watch your back." Despite his blood loss, his voice was still strong.

"I don't need a cripple watching my back," I said snidely, looking pointedly at his arm.

Krystal slide form Giran's back. "Then I'll come too," she murmured woozily. She swayed like a drunk coming home at three in the morning.

"Even better, two for the price of one," I sneered derisively.

"We'll all go." Scott looked at me with disapproval. "Laurie and our Pokemon have us covered out here. She's a more than capable trainer." He closed the matter with a tap on Giran's wither. He was rewarded with a nip from the other head. Scott scowled at it but moved Moon and I forward at the nape of our neck.

"Fine!" I stalked to the edge of the shield and waited for the Psychic Pokemon to disengage the Barrier.

As I stepped out a gust of fresh air caught me in the face, refreshing me tremendously. I breathed deeply and an evil smile spread across my face. I was free! It was stupid to stall like this in the open but I enjoyed stretching my limbs without the guard threatening to blow my head off.

I stood in front of the door and pressed against it firmly. It didn't budge. Marc got up ready to help but I held my hand up with a casual air. I took a step back, judging the distance and strength I might need. I moved into Kamai as Sumalee had taught me before coming into this gawd forsaken hole, left foot forward and the other back on the ball of the foot.

Without warning, in one swift fluid movement I brought my left knee to my chest and jumped into the air lashing out with my right foot, driving it hard into the door with all the pent up rage and frustration I'd been hoarding for the past week and over.

"KIAAAIII!"

The door shuddered on its hinges, creaking loudly while I, unable to get my feet beneath me fast enough landed on my arse.

I quickly got up, trying to regain some dignity, and rapped the door lightly expecting it to topple off its hinges, nothing. I tried a firmer push but still nothing. Soon I was straining against the door, cursing and swearing as the onslaught raged on around us. I pounded on the door, then fell back glaring at it.

Moon tapped me on the shoulder, ready to try her luck on the stubborn door. She studied it placidly for a moment and then bent down pulling one of those hook things out off the ground and twisted the handle. It swung open with a creak. She shrugged and stepped inside with the others and the Pokemon following, not giving me a second glance.

I stalked after them and as I passed the door, I gave it a solid kick. The door broke and crashed to the ground. I gapped at it incredulous,

"Stupid door! Flame it Fury!" I muttered angrily. Fury growled and the door burst into flames. She must have been practising her Tamed Flame Ttechnique.

Feeling a little better, I opened the tawdry curtains and looked out at the still seething battle. Our team wasn't losing, but it wasn't winning either. I let the light flood in and set to work searching for the Pokeballs.

It was annoying cos the room was shelved with, TV's, refrigerators, stamp collection, plush toys and china sets. It seemed that Butch and Cassedy had no idea what was meant by, 'roughing it'.

"Ooooh! A cookie jar!" I lifted the lid, pulled out two or three, and shoved them in my mouth, chewing loudly. Oh man, it was sheer heaven. You try living for more than a week on mouldy bread and then eat a triple choc cookie. You would have traded your soul for it.

"Mmmm."

"You're meant to be looking for your Pokemon," Scott said irritated, looking down at me.

"I umpph shheee." I grinned, giving him a good look at the partially chewed bickey.

He flicked some of the crumbs I spat at him of his Tshirt. "What?" he asked disgusted.

I swallowed. "I am, see. They're not here." I produced the now empty cookie jar. Scott rolled his eyes. I shrugged and put it back, moving down the shelf, checking in and around each item.

Clair, clair, clair!

Clair's found them. ]

I put the porcelain doll back on its shelf and crossed the distance between Krystal and I in a second. I snatched my red Pokeballs from her and looked at them. Four were full, Chilun, Mystic, Aria and Bolt. I attached them to my clips and looked mournfully at the fifth.

Apollo.

He'd leapt in front of a bullet, saving me from Tobias's itchy trigger finger. I sighed sadly, my eyes tearing a little and attached it too.

"Cal's?"

"Yeah they're here too." Moon held up the six normal red and white Pokeballs with a C engraved above the release button. Three full, three empty. Wartortle, Vaporeon and Typhoon had survived the deadly battle, Politoed, Quagsire and Golduck had sacrificed themselves too save Celebi.

My mind saw Golduck's last heroic deed, protecting Sumalee but neglecting his own safety. Disappearing in a wave of Solar energy with a silent cry etched upon his beak.

His sacrifice had been for nothing, Sumalee and her Pokemon still died. Druean, Butterfree, Firelion, Gehib, Shahman and…

"Maverick! He's still out there. I gotta find him…"

"Not so fast," a voice purred. I spun on the ball of my foot to see Butch and Cassedy guarding the door.

"There's five of us, two of you. There's no bet on who'll win," Marc scoffed.

"Then we'll even the odds," Butch murmured slyly. "Mewthree…"

"Shit! Everyone under the shield now!" I yelled, snatching Marc's undamaged arm and jerked him closer to Giran and Clair, who frantically tried to re-establish the shield. The other three rushed from the other sides of the room for the Psychic Pokemon with confused and bewildered looks across their faces. They hadn't seen it's awesome power, they hadn't witnessed the destruction it could cause, they hadn't seen their best friend go up in smoke, all with a thought…..

The screen was almost up and Mewthree had almost reform its molecular structure.

I sucked in a sharp breath. Fury was outside the Barrier! She hissed and spat, flames healing furiously around her in a sultry aura. Her eyes blazed with their own luminous light, with such hatred it became a tangible thing in the shadows.

The shield was almost complete, closing at the bottom. I swore and dived through the cleft underneath it, gaining myself a long red gravel burn down my thighs. I gritted my teeth, trying to ignore the stinging.

"Fury!" I screamed. A spasm shook her body, her eyes widened, a look of pure shock and fear. I had seen that look a few times before when I had accidentally waked my brother Scott from sleepwalking. The flames were immediately quenched and I took that moment to snatch her.

Mewthree flashed into being, instantaneously hurling a smouldering Psybeam of pulsating colours at the poor defenceless girl holding a Quilava in the middle of the floor. For the second time that day, I waited to die. I screwed my face as if I'd been sucking a lemon and waited. Time slowed to a crawl as the beam inched closer and closer.

I suddenly felt an invisible and hand grasp my waist and toss me aside. I crashed hard into a shelf. The china set it held toppled from their frames smashing into a thousand pieces as they crashed onto me, Their fragments pelted my body as I cowered keeping Fury and myself safe. Tiny slivers of porcelain wedged under my skin and rubbed against raw flesh.

The rain of ceramic came to a standstill and I carefully opened my eyes. A huge crater stood where I had been moments before I felt Krystal's psychic grip. I shut my eyes again, finding it hard to breath, thinking I could have been there. I could have died, just like…

Even behind my lids I could see the wild whirling of colours flashing through the room I swallowed hard and looked about the room through slitted eyes. Mewthree stood, his squat body highlighted in front of Butch and Cassedy. Cassedy screamed but it was muted in the throb, throb, throbbing of the Psychic energy filling the room. Mewthree's arms were thrown outward palms forward venting a crackling bolt of ebony.

At the receiving end of the attack were my rescuers, trapped inside the weakening Barrier. Moon was confused, not knowing what to do but still bravely comforting Clair and Giran straining to hold the screen.

Scott stood behind Krystal, his hands on her shoulders, supporting her dwindling power, his face set in an unreadable expression, nodding at what Marc was screaming.

Marc was livid. His face twisted in and ugly expression of loathing. He jabbed an accusing finger at Mewthree. His mouth opened and closed as I tried to read them through the exotic hues. All I could understand was the string of insanities the punctuated more than half of what he said.

All in the middle of this was Krystal, her body alive with purple light. Her pose mimicked Mewthree's, legs wide, arms forward, labouring against the supreme force smothering her. Tears streamed down her face, ready to collapse from utter exhaustion and pain. Sobs wracked her body as Scott held her steady, encouraging her to keep going.

Her telepathy penetrated my thoughts scattering them like ash on the wind.

COME TO MEEE!

The air wavered like a road on a scorching day. One by one, each came into being. Espeon, her own lavender hazes merging with crystals, bracing her trainer. An Alakazam teleported to her other side. His spoons symbolizing his power, adding to that to the other four. Venomoth fluttered above her head, his eyes shining a white light. Every flap of his purple wings sent a twinkling dust that clung to the Barrier dying it in purple speckles. Last but not least, a Togetic flicked into view wagging her delicate glowing fingers back and forth in time with the beating of her wings. Her Girafarig twisted under her arm, nuzzling closer while her Clairvora skittered up her waist and onto her shoulder.

When the last of her Pokemon came into contact, Krystal's power exploded outward, bathing the room in violent purple tones.

Even I could no longer maintain the illusion of being dead and curled into a ball trying to hide mine and Fury's eyes from the almost blinding light.

At the blast of telekinetic energy, Mewthree was thrown to the floor, struggling to stand under the combined power of Krystal and her Pokemon. But slowly yet surely managed to gain his feet once again. I could still plainly see he bore the weight of the oppression heavily.

Mewthree, struggling, pushed it arms outwards with his balled fingers flared his wrist together like some kind of deformed flower.

Kaaaaahhhmaaaaay….

It drew its arms back, wrists still together.

Ahhhhhhhhmaaaay…

A tiny black haze shone, but Mewthree's body prevented me from seeing what he was hiding. I glanced at Krystal, her eye's were wide in horror.

AHHHHHHHH! Mewthree pushed his arms out, revealing a black sphere swelling between the 'flower petals.' It erupted into a shaft of the Kamahamayha, an ultimate attack. It collided with the barrier shattering it like glass, chiming like tiny bells as they hit the floor.

"Mystic Spiral!" I voice screamed. A helix of black and purple swirled around me, imbuing me so that I was no longer tired or in pain. My skin healed over the bleeding shards of glass imbedded in my skin. It didn't hurt now but I would have to remove each sliver later.

The attack had the exact opposite effect o Mewthree. It writhed in agony, the Psychic energy neutralising it and the dark energy encasing him, drawing his lifeblood.

"Quick! Todd and Richie can't do this for much longer!" a soft voice called, but the urgency in her voice compelled us to obey. From the centre of the warp stepped a tall thin girl. Pale blue hair fell to her ears in a curt little bob while her eyes darted left and right, unsure of what to do next. Then, an Espeon, and Umbreon leapt to stand on either side of her, exuding their ambiance into the swirling vortex holding Mewthree trapped.

Despite their best efforts, their was no way they'd be able to keep it up. Umbreon's ears hung loosely by it's face and Espeon seated profusely, chest heaving.

Krystal took the hint and, her lilac glow increased tenfold until I couldn't look at her directly.

Teleport! she yelled over the hum of the Mystic Spiral. With a sudden flash, the world disappeared and in the blink of an eye it reformed again outside.

As I opened my eyes for a moment, and huge explosion rent the hut into a thousand pieces, scattering them across the quarry.

I blinked away the dots and got up, shaking off the loose shards of glass and stroked Fury. "Good, your awake."

"Quilllll," she moaned but twisted from my arms and onto the ground. She yipped, her flames igniting again and shook herself vigorously.

Moon ran up behind me, her Glaceon at her side. "We have to get out of here!" she blurted, tugging at a shredded sleeve. "Thundar has spotted more Rockets coming"

"Thundar? More Rockets?" I thought back, Marc had said something about reinforcements coming. "Look, I can't leave without Maverick or Celebi," I said firmly, shaking her off. "You get out of here, I'll make it."

"Don't you see?! The reason we made this raid was to save you. If you don't make it, it'll be a total waste. Laurie has already lost one of her Pokemon and so has Kay and Scott. GET OUT NOW!" She finished red faced and still keeping her eyes on the trees.

"I can't leave," I answered insistently and turned my back on her, running for the cages. When I got there, I looked in the cages, a sick, sad, Pokemon trapped in each, yapping, whining, squealing, squawking, roaring for help. I regretfully past each one until I found a sad little Totodile. His pebbly blue skin was pale and gaunt, like he hadn't eaten for days.

"Come on Maverick, it's Topaz."

His eyes lit up at the sound of my voice. "Tototototototo"! He squawked gleefully, looking frantically to see if his trainer was behind me. I sighed and took his cage down, inspecting it closely. Three sides were steel bars and Marc was right. It seemed to be fire proof. The back was a steel plate and had the same slick feel as the bars. After a moment, I grinned. I didn't have to melt it, just heat it.

"I choose you, Mystic, Chilun and Aria!" Each appeared in a twinkle of red light, looking tired and weak. But as they saw me, I'm touched to say. They were suffused with new life and hope. Mystic clung to my leg, Aria trilled joyfully and Chilun nuzzled my cheek.

"Not now," I snapped but couldn't help smiling. "Mystic, Chilun, watch our back. Aria, over here." I turned the cage so the back of the cage faced Fury and Aria. "Fury, Flamethrower. Fury gushed forth a flood of flame directed at the steel plate. I heard Maverick whimper inside. After a short time, the plate glowed red hot.

"Aria, douse it!" Aria cooed and aimed her own blast of icy water at it. The water hissed and spat as it touched the scorching metal, steam billowing into the air. I thought briefly that maybe the steam would attract the attention of an Officer Jenny in the Azalea or the next town, but turned it aside when I remembered trainers continually past through here, lighting their camp fires.

"Aria hold it, again Fury." We repeated the process many times until even I could hear the creaking of the metal straining against the fluxing expanding and contracting.

"OK Maverick, your turn, Scratch it." Maverick tittered excitedly and went to work at the backing. A loud screeching like fingernails on a black board sounded and the metal was sliced from top to bottom. I tiny blue claw poking through. With another grating slash, the back fell out and Maverick leapt into my arms with a jubilant "Diiiiiiiillllle!"

A low growl rumbled in the back of Fury's throat. I could practically hear her brooding, "Oh sure, carry him."

"Don't get jealous," I chided. "I've a special mission for you."

Her ears pricked, but then lay down again in suspicion, eyeing our retreating team. "I need you to guide the rest of my Pokemon to Moon's camp. Don't give me that look, you're the strongest on my team and I'm relying on you to defend them." Chilun and Mystic protested at the indignation loudly, shooting dark looks at her between Icebeams and Niteshades. Fury ignored them and looked at me with eyes that clearly said "What about you?"

"I," I paused. "I have to find Tobias." Fury growled again. "Come on Mave's counting on you."

I sat Maverick down and he threw his arms around her with a happy squawk. With a defeated whine, she shot me a cross between, "This is your fault," and "I don't want to lose you again." She loosed a warlike howl and she dashed head long into the fray with Chilun prancing beside her, Mystic on his back and firing parting shots at the enemy, Aria soaring above, darting between aerial tackles while shouldering an excited Maverick bouncing between her wings. Less then a moment later, they had disappeared into the trees.

I tore my gaze away from the fleeting forms and concentrated on the wild scheme I was about to attempt. The compound was still in chaos and they wouldn't notice me. I bent down and checked the pulse of a fallen Grunt. I breathed a sigh of relief that he was just unconscious and not dead. For a fourteen year old, I had seen to much death. I pulled of his shirt and hat, hoping I looked the part of a Rocket.

I hurried head down and cap pulled low over my eyes, towards Mewthree's stump. If I were really lucky, it would still be incapacitated by Laurie's Mystic Spiral, if not, it'd be ready and rearing to kill. Unhindered by stepping over dead or fainted Pokemon, I was on a beeline straight for it.

I crouched behind the remnants of Butch and Cassidy's hut, ignoring the charred and burnt up roof. I picked up three small round stones and flitted to a nearer piece of debree. I peeked over the top, but quickly ducked down again, keeping the image in my mind, judging distance and trajectory. I pulled out the quickly put together shangai. The elastic from a Rockets underpants was too tight for my liking. It would give the stone the speed but the accuracy would be comprised.

I slipped a stone into the catch and pulled it back, ready to let go at a moment.

With my back to the wood, I took a deep breath and snapped up, let go of the catch and snapped down again. I held my breath, waiting to hear if I'd hit my target. A loud bellow of rage battered my eardrums. A thin smile crept across my face. I took another deep breath and skittered through the remains trying to avoid attention until I was in a more favourable position.

Again I put my back to what had been that stubborn door and peeked again. Mewthree was using the last of his exhausted energy trying to calm down Sunsear. The radiance swung his head towards me and I glimpsed a red raw eye with throbbing veins. The stone had hit it's mark, now for the second.

I slipped another rock into the catch. I bobbed up, took careful aim and fired the stone, bobbing down again. A second tumultuous roar split the clearing. I peeked again. Mewthree was just able to hold the golden dragon in check, though his wings and tail still thrashed savagely. From beneath a tightly closed eyelid seeped red.

I winced. Sunsear my have been in the enemies control but I still didn't like seeing him in pain.

Suddenly from the corner of my eye I saw a flash of gold snap and fly at me. I swore as his well-muscled tail careened towards me. I leapt into the air hoping it would pass under me but I hadn't jumped high enough and it snagged my foot. I toppled head over heel, tucking my head into my shoulder and rolled into a squat.

Knowing I had lost my surprise, I slipped the last stone into the catch, pulled the elastic back as far as it would go and loosed the stone. It hurtled through the air, missing the tender sinew between his nose, but inside the right nostril. It still did its work, enraging the gold dragon beyond control.

Mewthree was doing his best to restrain him but was fighting a loosing battle. In order to tighten his hold on one of the most powerful Pokemon in the world, he loosened his grip on Celebi. The bubble holding Celebi turned a shade less foul so that I could see his gossamer wings flapping steadily.

I sprung forward, sliding under the high swinging tail and quickly coming to my feet. I shot a quick glance at the stump. Mewthree was gone!

I swang my head around frantically looking for the real threat. After a moment, I spotted it. Mewthree had latched himself onto Sunsear's head. Mewthree's aura expanded to envelope the violently tossing head in an effort to subdue him.

Sunsear calmed down, but not enough so that Mewthree could safely relinquish its hold on him. It made it easier to avoid flailing limbs but already Rockets were noticing the strange Rocket girl running between the rare Pokemon's whiplash tail.

I successfully jumped the tail a second time and came within range of Celebi's bubble. Inside I could see almost all of his glimmering body.

I dipped into my ebbing reservoir of strength and put on a burst of speed, leaping and snatching Celebi from the air. I landed heavily and flew for the trees, praying I could make it.

It seemed I was denied my anticipation. Rockets cut my path in front and were closing in behind. I cursed and sheered left. Five or six Rockets gave chase and I changed direction again. I was already turning slowly as they sought to herd me back to their main strength. Only a fool would have kept to that route. I wheeled right, hope against hope I could break their ring.

But suddenly they came to their senses and used their Pokemon.

"Socury, Dragon Breath." A nimble Velours Raptor like Pokemon breathed out, the cloud wrapping around me.

I held my breath, struggling not to inhale as I ran blindly. I knew that should I breath in, I would become paralysed. I could no longer hold it and gasped, sucking in the toxic gas.

My muscled rapidly cramped and became taunt, seizing up. I couldn't move and with my weight thrown forward I toppled to the ground I couldn't bring up my arms to brace my fall. The only thing I could do was edge my weight slightly to one side and fall onto my shoulder, sending shockwaves down my arm and back up.

Luckily I still tightly gripped Celebi between my fingers. Numerous Rockets were beginning to close around me. A pain ripped across my back. I rolled my eyeballs as far as I could and caught a wisp of red hair.

Tobias.

Terror surged through me as I remembered my first deadly encounter. I wished to me able to screw my eyes tightly shut, to blink him away. Every time we met brought pain, only on his behalf.

"You just don't learn do you, you little dog." He kicked me again, a whimper escaping my frozen lips.

"Enough Tobias, we still need her," a cool calculating voice commanded and pushed though the throng to stand above me. "Give me Celebi Topaz," Angel said coolly, holding out his hand.

"You idiot! I can't even let go of him. And even if I could you'd have to pry him from my cold dead fingers!" I snarled, or at least tried to. What it came out as was, "Oo iyoh! I ca eyon oh oh hing. Und eyen eh I hoo, hoohi hie hoh I ol eh ingeh!"

Angel must have got the idea because he replied smugly. "If need be Topaz, if need be."

He plucked a Pokeball off his belt and pressed the release button. After a moment it manifested into Ivysaur.

"Saur saur!" she greeted, wrapping a vine around Angels ankle affectionately. Angel bent down, scratching her behind the ear. Do you still have the PRZCURE Berry, Saura?"

"She nodded enthusiastically and used her vines to withdraw a small purple berry from the blossoming bud on her back, handing it to him. Angel smiled at the Ivysaur then turned back to me. He gave me a friendly encouraging smile, which was never a welcome sight, before shoving the berry into the back of my throat, forcing me to swallow.

The berry fought all the way down and had I been able to I would have collapsed in a coughing fit. I felt the juice trickle down my throat and my limbs began to loosen slowly. Despite the discomfort, I regretted the paralysis passing. It meant that he could easily take the now crystal-clear Celebi bubble.

My fingers began to twitch as they uncramped an as soon as Angel noticed he snatched Celebi from my grasp, caring little for their stiffness. I groaned. I groaned and tried to move my limbs. Useless.

Before I could move fully, Angel snapped to Tobias, "She's yours to dispose of now," his face twitched, remembering. "Make it painful."

"With pleasure," Tobias grinned, a mirror image of Angels. Angel and the crowed of Rockets dispersed, knowing that the big buffy bloke like him could easily take on the whimpering little messed up kid in front of him.

"Stop bawling!" he spat, searching the ground. "Here! Now you'll be sorry you messed with me!" He swung around, a stick whistling through the air as I cowered, wait to feel its bite.

A black and gold blur hurtled through the air, snatching the stick an inch from my face, landed and wretched it from Tobias's grasp. The Umbreon bared his teeth, snarling viciously. Its ears laid back quivered in anticipation of ripping off one of Tobias's arms.

"Why you little!" Tobias roared, taking a step forward to smash Umbreon, when a bolt of lightning seared through the air, striking the spot between his feet. Tobias froze, confusion and panic evident on his face. He then saw the Jolteon, growling with a malicious grin that said, "I could fry you in an instant."

Tobias gaze flicked from one to the other then made a made lunge for Umbreon. He darted away behind him and pounced on his leg, tearing away the fabric and crunched into the bare flesh, sinking his teeth in. Tobias screamed.

I felt a stab of panic. The Rockets would have heard it a mile away. Sure enough, the first were already skidding from behind, eyes locking onto me.

The first threw himself at me, hands held out as if to strangle me, I could only watch.

The grunt froze in midair, stuck straight out as an arrow. His face was smeared like he'd been chasing parked cars. I watched curiously and saw a glimmering in the air, a barrier. I twisted painfully, searching for it's source.

Then, behind me I saw an Espeon and Xatu easily maintaining a shield. From behind them stepped a boy from the shadows. He paused murmuring to his Psychics, then turning to me.

"Come on," he said softly beckoning.

My reply came as a mix of garbled words, I was still paralysed. The boy's brow creased and said something to the Espeon.

She mewled and then her aura grew around her in my mind I could here the faint beating of Wings. After a moment, her aura rejoined Xatu's to reinforce the barrier. A variety of Rocket Pokemon leapt at it only to be thrown back several meters like and electric jolt.

Speaking of electricity, Jolteon had ensnared Tobias in a Thunderwave while Umbreon still licked his maw with a malicious parody of a grin.

A Flareon and Vaporeon had materialized from thin air. The Vaporeon surveyed these on the other side calmly, her eyes betraying her thoughts as they shimmered from a cobalt blue to a stormy grey and back again. Her mermaid tail snaked the ground restlessly.

The Flareon was quite the opposite. He poked his tongue, yipping what could only be insults and wagging his long fluffy tail in their faces. The opposing Pokemon were rabid hurling themselves at the Barrier, tossed them into the air and running at Flareon again while he was in fits of laughter.

Meanwhile the boy had slide down from the trees to stand beside me. He took my arm over his shoulder. A loud snap crackled as my back straightened and I winced.

I tilted my head trying to get a better look at him. He was tall, so tall that only the tips of my toes touched the ground. Shaggy, golden hair draped his head, almost hiding his startling blue eyes that looked like chips of ice.

14, maybe 15, I thought to myself.

"13 actually," he murmured.

"Shit another one!" I croaked, regaining the power of speech. The boy sat me down gently onto the steep of the hill, looking mareepish.

"Sorry, I'm used to people guarding their thoughts while I'm around. Don't worry Kay will be here soon. I nodded, but still prudent. I kept my thoughts jumbled so that he couldn't make heads or tails of them. He seemed to relax and millimetre at that.

Without warning, another Umbreon pierced the shield taking the boys Umbreon by the throat. The two rolled on the ground, a whirlwind of black and gold. None of the other Eeveelutions could do anything for fear of hitting their friend.

Then a Houndoom dove at Flareon while a Houndour followed suit, tackling Vaporeon head on.

Four more dark types cleared the shield, each taking its opponents to the ground. The boy shouted orders left and right like a drill Sargent while his followed to the mark and managed to gain the upper hand until another dark type engage too.

We were steadily being over powered. I feverishly wished I hadn't sent Fury away and force myself onto rickety feet, the boy steadying me. A Quarrior, evolved Quarral, darted at us but Espeon edged it backwards with a series of slashes and bites.

An tremendous boom rocked our ears overhead pursued by a black streak. The streak spiralled down, passing through the Barrier with little difficulty. It halted in midair with a pump of his expanded wings knocking everyone to the ground with a wave of pressurised air.

On the Black Dragonite's back, Kay screamed, her cries being lost in the storm of Dragonites wings, motioning wildly to get on. The boy recalled Flareon and Espeon and Xatu, his only unfainted Pokemon and climbed behind her.

I moaned pushing myself up, slowly and painfully, pulling up beside them. Kay whistled loudly and the sonic boom roared again as we explode upwards. Already exhausted and my head spinning, I lapsed into blackness.

I opened a groggy eyelid, expecting to be greeted by cold, hard, steel bars. Instead, I was tucked deep inside a warm sleeping bag. Opening the other, I saw it wasn't mine and the events of the past fortnight had been real and not some loathsome dream.

Rolling over I felt the weight shift and a small yelp. Fury's head scooted around the hood and grinned at me happily.

"Quill!" she chirped. When I looked puzzled, she gave up on trying to get me to understand and jumped inside the sleeping bag, snuggling against me. Despite being a while past midday, I fell back asleep.

I coughed, dragging in a breath. I spat out a mouthful of fur and pushed Fury away.

"Bloody oath, I'm not that hungry." But in truth, I was ravenous. My stomach rumbled and Fury growled back as if it were a threat. I rolled my eyes and propped myself up on my elbows. The sun had just slipped beyond the horizon and I realised the last fading strains of the mysterious song.

Now motivated I sat up, crawling from the sleeping bag and looked around. A chilly breeze blew around me so I rubbed my bare arms vigorously, trying to warm myself and get the blood flowing. My uniform was almost Suddenly brown and totally shredded, I didn't even try to pull the tattered remains of my shirt over my small pot belly.

Fathers daughter, I smiled fondly remembering him in his blue shearers singlets, stubby shorts with a beer in one had and his other turning the steaks on the barbeque.

With a wistful sigh, I searched the area. A small orange light flickered a little way through the trees . High above I saw Cooee shadowed form. The orange glow played with the glossy sheen of his feathers. Even though it was dark I could still see his raging read eyes boring into me. When I returned his stern gaze he fluffed his feathers and launched into the air towards the fire, his exquisite plumes trailing after him.

I blew my fuzzy fringe out of my eyes and jogged after him. Ironically, my fringe had survived and conquered the ravages of captivity while my thick raven blue hair, which I often prided myself on in spite of it's constant knots and split ends, hadn't.

Each of the Rescue Force sat drawn and grim on long wooden logs around the warm glow of the campfire, speaking softly with each other. Echotrance's huge but delicate form nestled in the treetops with Cooee beside her.

Scott was at the head of the procession, his head down and face sober. "I thought I told you to stay at camp Jake. What would have happened had we not come back and you gotten yourself killed? We all would have been screwed." His hands between his knees held loosely. As he rolled his hands, I saw two Pokeballs. Two empty Pokeballs. He palmed them like a couple of stress marbles, staring at them blankly.

"What was he supposed to do?" Laurie spoke up. She lifted her head, her pale blue hair fell around her ears. He eyes were red and I could see they shone with barely contained tears. "Jake only did what he though was right. If he hadn't Topaz would be dead."

Jake nodded. "Her mind was weak, she already was dieing and those glass shards worked their way into her blood stream. It took a long time to get them out. I guess she was lucky se was unconscious."

I looked at my legs sure enough they were dotted with long red marks and broken skin.

"I should have taken my chance and killed the lot of them!" Kay spat out them as if she didn't want the word on her tongue. Unlike the others grim mood, she was avid. He long ivy hair swirled as she gestured. Her face was contorted in ugly hate. In her hand was also an empty Pokeball but she clutched hers tightly, her knuckles white.

"You've got to have seen what we've been through, Topaz especially." My jaw dropped open. It was Cal. He spoke calmly looking into the fire for answers. The flames danced inside his ebony pupils. Gone was the fog that had clouded them for a week or more to be replaced by an assured crystal clear azure.

"Tobias has given her hell from the beginning of her journey. He believes it could only be resolved by," he paused thinking, stroking Maverick at his side. "By physical means. Just before entering Ilex, he confronted us again and challenged us to a battle. When he lost, he threw an Everstone at Fury and Maverick. Mave didn't care but Fury was distraught and put a lot of pressure on Topaz. Just when we weren't ready for it, we got involved in this, this, this war!"

His eyes glazed over, recalling the fateful night what seemed like eons ago and yet only last night. "Darkness, chaos, the smell of burning flesh, and blood. Everywhere, you could see it, smell it, feel it. You couldn't avoid it, everywhere." He shuddered, picking at some clean clothes someone had loaned him, as if looking for bloodstains.

"She helped me over and over again that night. And then, even I heard it, stuffed in a hollow of rocks Topaz had stuffed me into to keep me safe from my own stupidity. Sumalee, my Golduck. Oh god, their screams. And she watched Sumalee just as she watched her Pidgeot and Houndoom die."

I listen entrance, recalling every excruciating second as the Solar flare careened it Sumalee. It screamed through the air, its high-pitched whine mingling with Sumalee's and mine.

Her eyes were wide. Her mouth was wide. Her black and red streaked hair streamed behind her. Never in my life had a Seen or felt such fear or terror. Then it flooded over her, uncaring, unmerciful.

"No…" I whispered to myself, among the shadows of the trees. I shook all over and I felt my face flushed and sweaty. Fury put her paw against my leg. I looked down at her, startle from my visions.

"Are you OK?" she quilled, though I couldn't be sure she said it. I nodded and returned my attention to Cal. He had recovered himself and continued.

"You wouldn't believe the outrages things she said to the Rockets. I may have been in my own little world, but I could still hear and see things. I know she sports a set of scars from the time she told a guard where to shove is whip and then knocked him unconscious with a stone. I admire her very much." I felt a warm fuzzy glow all over. "Even though she's the most stubborn, sarcastic, and pessimistic person I've ever met." That screwed it. I didn't know whether to punch him or leave him be. "I bet tonight she proved herself a hundred times over."

The Rescue Force nodded, some grudgingly others eagerly. The glow returned. Flattery works wonders. (Note to Readers: HINT HINT) I saw Jake twist and look in my direction. I shrugged and stepped into view. They all turned and stared at me with new respect. I shifted uncomfortably.

"Come sit down, Topaz." Scott said, with a knowing glance. I sat down between Krystal, Fury at my side and Laurie handed me a bowl of stew that I gulped down greedily. "I guess now that you're here we can get down to business, how do we free Celebi?"

"Uhuh" Marc said folding his arms. "I thin the real question her is do we free Celebi? Why should we risk our gorgeous necks for that little pipsqueak?"

"Because the fate of the world is at risk," called Echotrance from her roost. She fluffed her feathers and gave him a dirty look.

"So? I say we get the hell out of here and sell the rights to Steven Speilbunk. Make a fortune and die comfortable when the end of the world comes."

"Selfish pig!" Cal swore. "It's you who got us into this mess in the first place!"

"Hey!" Marc yelled. "I'm just looking out for the most important one in my world, me."

"All you Rockets are cowards! You lie, you steal, you murder!" Cal shouted.

"Come say it to my face!" Marc shouted back, smirking.

Cal roared, leaping to his feet ready to throw himself at Marc, fists flying. Quick on his feet, Scott was already standing between them, holding them apart. Cal struggled to pass him while Marc made faces.

"Cool it Cal, he's not worth it," Scott murmured, quoting the age old line. He took cal by the shoulders and steered him around the fireplace back to his seat. Across the fire, Marc only yawned and gave him the finger.

Scot growled, clearing the fire and snatching him by the collar of his Rocket uniform and lifting him up to stare him in the eye.

"Look, I don't know why your hear. Your welcome to leave any time you want, you all are, but know this Rocket, every Pokemon in the forest is howling for your blood. Should you be unaccompanied by any of us, they will tear you apart like a piece of paper. If you prove to be a problem, you will be thrown out whether you want it or not."

"Give him a break," I interjected smoothly, stepping between the two as Scott had done moments before. "He may be a shifty, egotistical Rocket, but he's proved himself an ally. And we need all the help we can get."

"But he was a Rocket first!" Kay sneered.

"And one of us last," I retorted. "I'll make sure of it." I threw him a warning glance before sitting down and picking up my bowl. Feeling full made me feel a lot better.

"This isn't helping," Moon said as she scratched her monster Arcanine. It was at least twice the size of a regular Arcanine and the usual black on orange markings was a blood red on black. It's ruby eyes watched us intelligently, either accepting or rejecting what we said in it's own opinion. It gave us all a censorious glare.

"Your right. First, how did you get here?" Cal said reluctantly.

The Rescue Force shared a look of perplexity. They most likely came here separately and meeting up by accident. I looked up at Echotrance. Or not.

"I got a call from Professor Oak," Moon said finally. "He said there was big trouble deep inside Ilex Forest. He told me about the Rockets, and to find Echotrance. Also he said to bring my strongest Pokemon. We didn't learn details until Laurie and Jake found Echotrance."

The others nodded in agreement.

"So if we die, they'll send more," Cal concluded. He sat mulling it over, hand on his knuckles.

But we intend to survive, Krystal said telepathically.

Again they nodded.

"So what do we do?" Scott said, spreading his arms.

"No direct attack. We tried and fail completely. Even if all nine of us came in guns blazing, we'd still be screwed. Believe me, none of us have a hope of defeating even Sunsear," Cal declared.

I nodded. I was on my third bowl of stew. Who knew when my next meal would be.

"I think I know." Everyone turned to stare at Laurie. She blushed. "A trick."

"Like a distraction?"

"No confusion. Total utter confusion, they won't know where to look…."

"Electric types in place."

"Check."

"Water types in order."

"Check."

"Psychic Pokemon ready."

"Check."

"Runners ready with decoys."

"Last are being prepared. Cheeeck."

Kay and I were revising the plan, for the first time since the sunset. After a good nights sleep I was feeling refreshed and breaky made me think straight. Food for thought I guess. We spent that day, which was likely to be our last, improving the plan and enjoying ourselves.

There was no point in training my Pokemon.

(a) Bolt refused to be trained. He just sat there staring blankly when ever I yelled a command. Sometimes at the most annoying times he'd choose too, like when I held him an inch from my face, shaking him trying to get a Thundershock out of him, but most of the time he was hidden away in his ivory tower.

And (b), one should enjoy the last day of their life. Laurie gave me a pair of spare clothes, a T-shirt and jeans and just hung around.

Little Maverick was delighted to be free, though he would sometimes look around confused for Sumalee. As the midday, sun cooled down the little fella began a game of tag and soon we were all joining in.

But the fun was over. The sun had dropped below the horizon a t least three hours ago and it was almost D-day. Everyone should have been into position for onslaught of the plan.

I was one of the most important people of the mission, one of four Key Runners along with Moon, Laurie and Jake. I rode Chilun, Moon on her Zefire and Laurie and Jake were to be carried by Volcanine, Moons evolved Arcanine beneath his bushy ruff. Though I was of the lesser of the three, I was still important.

I had to switch on, get my mind set on my task and concentrate on it as if my life depended on it.

Wait a minute, my life did depend on it.

"I gotta pee" I whined to Kay. She was busy watching for the signal on the other side of the Rocket's quarry. Like everyone else, she was waiting for Scott's signal, the flash of a mirror reflecting the light.

"You should have gone before we left," she said, slightly irritated and then waved it away as if it were never said.

"But I didn't need to go then!" This was beginning to sound like a family car trip.

"Then go in the bushes!" she snapped.

I look at the surrounding undergrowth. There was most likely a Pokemon hiding in there and in the dark I wouldn't see it unless it bite me first.

But it was an emergency.

"Oh hell!"

I leapt off Chilun's back, diving for the bushes and praying there wasn't a Spinarak or Scorpydoe waiting in the, stings ready and aimed for my arse. Luckily I made it in and out without mishap but the jeans made it a close shave. I zipped up my fly and hooked back onto Chilun's back.

I could feel him beneath me, muscles taut so that even the snap of a twig would send him flying from beneath me.

"So what do you think of your friend, Marc?" Kay said softly from beneath the tree. Besides her she petted her Jolteon which would be apart of the first wave. "Can we trust him."

I thought for a moment, he was a hard case to figure. Since last night, he had spent his time alone, away from the rest of the Rescue Force with only his Pokemon for company.

To my immense fascination, he could speak Pokenese. For Pokemon it wasn't in the words, it's pretty hard to get an entire language from Bulb-a-saur, but how they said it. Theirs was a tone language which Marc understood fluently.

"I don't know, it depends of your definition of friend. For me it means someone who has the same enemies, but Marc, I'm not so sure. He could still have ties on the inside he's unwilling to break." I flashed a wane smile. "But he seems to have it in for Angel and I'm all for that."

Kay nodded and fell silent, passing her decoy, a replica of the Celebi bubble created by the Psychic Pokemon, from hand to hand. She was a Runner too, but a Decoy Runner to divert the Rockets attention from me to her.

"There it is, first signal. Get your gear on."

"Oh man do we have too?" I groaned as Kay handed me a pair of Dark Glasses and some earplugs. Beat's me where she got them but everyone, people and Pokemon, had a pair. I grumbled putting as she put them on. "But I'll look like a skeg! All I need is my pants halfway down my arse and a skateboard!"

Kay didn't hear my witty remark as she already put hers on. She pursed her lips and whistled. From the bushes a huge black shape trampled through and stooped. Black Dragonite! Jolteon licked Kay's hand and than leapt between his wings, hooking his bright yellow paws into a cord around Dragonites neck to help keep his balance.

"Gear on! We can't afford to have a Key Runner too blind or deaf to do anything!" Kay snapped again. She was pretty high strung.

"Yeah, yeah," I muttered as I pushed the earplugs into my ears. The world became eerily silent. The roar of the Rocket compound cut off suddenly. Their mouths flapped noiselessly and trees crashed to the ground without a whisper.

Satisfied, I put on the Dark Glass lenses. The black and white shades of the night dimmed a little but other than that they didn't change. The Darkglasses when usually increased the power of a Dark type Pokemon but when I used them, they focused and filtered the light for more useless human eyes. They still made my eyeballs itch.

I put Chilun plugs in and his odd shaped eye contacts under his lids. I laughed softly. They made his ears stick out at funny angles and magnified his eyes so they looked ten times bigger. I giggled. "Hello, I'm Mr Ned, your average talking horse."

Chilun snorted and nipped my wrist, not enough to draw but it still hurt! "Fine, I learnt my lesson! Sheesh, and people say I can't take a joke."

Kay waved me on and I pulled onto his back again. She made a wide whooshing movement and Black Dragonite blasted into the air, leaving Kay and I in his dust. Dragonite barrel rolled, looped the loop and every other trick in the book while Jolteon clung madly to the cord. To my eyes through the Darkglasses there was nothing but a faint white haze surrounding him but I knew that he blazed with light as did the rest of the sky. Flying and electric types jaunted through the air pulling off an aerial display worthy of the Elite Four, each encased in it's own haze.

I began to worry whether Bolt was doing his job but then Aria, the only one not performing whizzed by with him between her wings, giving of the same bright glow, brighter in fact. Marc's Pichu flew on Cooee's back that was also lashing out with a dazzlingly bright Solarflare, even through the Darkglasses.

At that time I knew that every Pokemon that knew the techniques were screeching, roaring and growling at the top of their lungs. If I were to be a Rocket down there by now I'd be cowering on my knees begging and crying, blind as a Zubat as my eardrums were assaulted by high pitched shrieks. You could tell the ones with the sensitive hearing, the rolled on the ground or hid in trees, trying to get away from the harsh noises. In some cases blood trickled from their ear.

I felt an evil grin spread across my face as I saw Angel was won of these. Damn it! But he deserved it!

Time passed and the lightshow still played the sky. Soon the Rockets had adjusted to the light. The smarter ones tor strips of their uniforms and stuffed them in their ears or blindfolding themselves to sieved out the light.

I happily watched the Rockets stagger around blind when I saw a brief flash from across the clearing. Had you not been watching for it, you would have missed it.

Onto phase 2

Kay saw it too and immediately pushed through the bushes covering us and raced down the slope full pelt, the Celebi duplicate in hand. From all sides of the Quarry others followed suit, charging wildly with decoy in their paws or mouths.

The flying types plummeted from the sky landing in strategic places for their next task. The electric types now landed safely, switched off, just flicked off the electricity leaving the Rockets stagger in total darkness again with stars in their eyes and while the electric types regained their breath. Luckily, through my Dark lenses the colour and light didn't change only left me blinking a little.

As the Decoy Runners dashed among the stumbling Rockets, a soft snowy mist wafted in from all sides of the compound.

Phase 3 was in action.

It flowed among them, rippling along the surface, sometimes parting to reveal the bobbing head of a Grunt or Decoy Runner. As more and more Rockets recovered, the surface began to heave like the crashing waves of the ocean. Still more and more poured in from the sides.

I hoped that Fury had listened to me and stayed with Maverick. As the water and ice types used various attacks to create the fog, or working with the electric types. I knew Maverick was working with the latter, his Rainsong technique would prove an asset though I had small faith that the little fella would use it ore even remember it.

I shook my head; he really needed to be trained. If it weren't Fury watching him, I bet by now he'd probably be down there with them chewing on Mewthree's tail. I laughed at the thought.

A giant Flamed flashed into view and scared the hell out of me. It looked just like Scott's,

In fact, it was Scott's projected a thousand times larger into the Quarry, thanks to the Psychic types. He thrashed his tail, picked up tiny Rockets, and tossed them inside his jaws, chewing loudly. Of course, that too was a projection but it was so realistic.

OK, it was almost time. I removed out earplugs, knowing that I no longer needed them if the plan was on track, but the lenses I would need. Now I could hear the thunderous yells of the Rockets as they screamed alarms that we'd taken Celebi and of panic as they escaped flames.

Suddenly a massive blast of air swept across the battle ground, clearing away the mist as the Pokemon frantically tried to pump more in. A golden flash lit the darkness for an instant. It sliced through the mist like a Kingdra through the water and with a pump of it's golden bat-like wings it was in the air, a hovering menace snorting golden flares.

Sunsear!

He glowed violently with Mewthree on his back controlling him like a puppet.

NOW! Krystals voice cut across my consciousness like a katana in full swing. I jumped and jerked Chilun's reins.

"Kiah!" and the "AHHHHHHH!" as Chilun took of like a silver bullet. I barely had time to blink. I had told him to run his fastest but now I regretted it. Everything blurred by. A Rocket tramped underfoot, a Decoy Runner skittering out of the way, all a glimpse. I tugged on his reins trying to slow him a tiny bit, but he responded only a little. It was enough to find my scattered thoughts and keep down the feast we had had.

Jake! I yelled in my mind.

I hear you, no need to scream, he thought back and I received a mental image of him cringing.

The others?

OK, though Laurie looks like she's ready to explode. I don't think she likes going at the speed of light.

I can relate. Where's Sunsear?

Seen us and coming back for us.

OK Good?

Good, see you there

All the Key Runners were now converging to the huge flat surface the Rockets had made.

The Decoy Runners were fleeing for the forest, trying to take as many of the Rockets with them as possible. Marc's Eevee darted into the trees, decoy in it's mouth and a dozen Rockets after him. Tori, Laurie's Vulpix, weaved in and out of them collecting even more before doing the same. Cal was trapped by the Rockets. They had knocked him to the ground and snatched his decoy. While they were preoccupied, he rolled away and ran back towards the Ilex river, a newly formed decoy in hand.

Laurie's Donphan and Kay's Larvitar invoked dozens of small quakes into the clutch of huts sending those inside taking off on their heels. The many children of Echotrance gathered their own crowd even without decoys.

Now the quarry was almost empty but for the Key runners, the Radianz and Mewthree.

As Sunsear landed in the centre of the flat, I guided Chilun into position, a good distance away to his right flank. Moon mirrored me on Zefire to Sunsear's left and Jake and Laurie dismounted Volcanine to face the dragon head on. We stood poised waiting for Mewthree to make the first move.

A spot of wetness touched my face. I looked up. Angry black thunderheads rolled above us crackling and flashing. Around the Quarry, long jagged bolt sizzled upwards being absorbed by the storm.

With the collection of Pokedex's we found out that when several Pikachu gathered they attracted thunderstorm. All we had was a ragtag collection of electric types but they were enough. Now the clouds swathed the night sky and reverberated the air with their suffocating nearness.

"Rain, rain damn you, rain," I pleaded them. My skin prickled sweating under the humidity the storm brought.

Radianz swung his head, belching a tongue of Solar energy. Caught daydreaming, I didn't have time to react and only Chilun's, not scared witless, quick thinking saved us. He skipped sideways and the Solarflare blew past us in a sweltering wave of heat.

Chilun screamed, his knees buckling. The frost on his pelt melted away and ran in boiling rivulets down his side.

"Be strong, Chilun, be strong! We need you, I need you!" I yelled trying to turn him backwards and away.

Chilun, shinnied, pulling to his feet painfully and glared at Mewthree. He tossed his head, venting a blue bolt of an Icebeam. It struck Mewthree's Psychic barrier and an upsurge of ice, rippled outwards, casing Mewthree. Mewthree swept his balled fingers and the cage shattered, tinkling to the ground.

Chilun nickered, ready to try again but I slapped his neck gently. "Save your energy."

Mewthree released another of Sunsears attacks at Moon but Zefire easily sidestepped it, shielding Moon with her wings.

OK Jake murmured telepathically. We're close enough for direct contact, ready to run?

Yes, Moon, Laurie and I chorused half heartedly. Laurie and Jake released Espeon and Umbreon. Though we had been relaxing, Laurie had taught Jake and his Eeveelutions the Mystic Spiral. For a time they might be able to subdue Sunsear and Mewthree.

Ready? Moon and I lined up our Pokemon to where we thought Celebi was hidden.

Set I got a good grip on Chilun this time. Mewthree watched suspiciously.

GO! I ducked my head, holding my body as close to Chilun's as possible. His flickering blue mane lashed my face with it's biting cold.

Receding quickly, Laurie and Jake had unlocked the black and violet vortex of Psychic and Dark energy that immobilized the enemy. Laurie watched anxiously whiled Jake concentrated his limited Psychic powers to free Radianz from Mewthree's clutches.

I turned back to my task, leaving those two to keep us safe.

If I thought we had gone fast before, now we were charged the quarry at the speed of light. Chilun's hoof beats drummed a rapid tattoo across the earth as he pelted full out. I gasped winded as he halted. I was thrown forward almost over his head.

Black and purple flourished the sky mixing with the white-hot lightning. Had it not been for the lenses I would have been blind or at least hypnotised by their dazzling beauty. Against the mesmerizing whirlpool, stood the two crusaders, throwing all they had into their attack to keep us safe.

We swung off the horses backs and dashed behind the store shed, searching frantically for Celebi.

"Here!" Moon called. "The dirt's fresh."

I crouched, digging off the top layer of soil that was hiding a trapped door Moon dusting away the powder.

"DAMNIT!" I swore, pounding the alloy frame with my fist. It rang softly. The trap door was padlocked.

"Wait!" I cried. "Chilun's and Zefire! Their hooves are harder-"

"No they could hurt Celebi."

"Looking for something?" Marc leaned against the store shed casually. Around his finger he twirled a set of keys.

"Marc! I don't know whether to kick you or kiss you!" Moon cheered.

"Oh well-"

"Later!" I snatched his keys and fit them into the lock, twisting them. With a delightful click, the padlock fell open. Each of us grinned from ear to ear, we flung to trapdoor open and Moon reached deep inside. She carefully withdrew all that we had worked so hard for, risked out life for again and again, Celebi. We gazed at him in wonder as his warm green glow wrought its ghost across our faces.

We were triumphant!

BOOM

"Laurie!"

"Jake!"

"Volcanine!"

A huge red mushroom cloud exploded upward setting the night sky on fire. It burned. Still it reached up and a swell of blistering heat roared over us, bringing tears to my eyes. I wiped them away and through blurry eyes a shadow winged towards us, silhouetted against the blaze.

"SUNSEAR!" I screamed, stumbling onto my feet an back towards the mounts. Zefire sheltered Chilun with her graceful wings from what would have been his death. Moon and Marc leapt up too, following and then overtaking. Moon sprang up effortlessly while I scrambled for a hold.

"No time! Ali-oop!" Marc gave me a leg up and I pulled him up beside me. Man, was I lucky to find this guy. "GO!"

"No need to tell me twice!" I tapped Chilun's ribs and we took off after Moon, barely keeping up. Moon hung onto the blur of Zefire's reins with one hand and lung to Celebi with the other.

Suddenly the menace was upon us.

My heart almost burst as Sunsear and Mewthree swooped and passed over us but was instantly filled with a gut wrenching dread. Mewthree pulled back Sunsears wickedly clawed hand, it took on a bloody gleam in the shadow of the flaming sky.

SWOOSH

The claw slashed down, Moon and Zefire flew into the ground. Moon rolled from Zefires back sill clutching Celebi. I yanked Chilun's reins and he pivoted, racing back towards Zefire.

I swallowed hard. One of Zefires beautiful rainbow wings had been torn clean off and it lay discarded some distance away. Zefire's entire body seemed twisted and a long gory gash ran her length. Gratefully, she was dead or she would have been in terrible pain.

Chilun squealed, ready to stop but I kicked him on, stopping him in front of Moon, sho sat up looking dazed.

"Quick get on!" I yelled, holding out my hand. Sunsear was busy devouring Zefire's pieces.

"No your already overweighted-"

"Are you saying I'm fat?" Marc snorted indignant.

"-Take Celebi and head for the tree's. They'll slow him down at least. "Moon swallowed. She looked scared and ready to break down sobbing, but she also look courageous, like valkerie, a warrior woman of the Norse.

"No..."

"I'll distract it a little longer. Now go!" Moon threw the Celebi bubble at us and Marc snatched it from the air.

"But…"

"You heard her, MOVE!" Marc jabbed his heals into Chilun's flank and we fled for the trees. It was the last I heard of Moon and I hoped she got away, but my heart knew she didn't because all too soon, Mewthree was after us again.

Moon was right, the tree's did slow the great lug down, but Chilun couldn't run forever. He was already tiring. His chest heaved and his vivid blue flames drooped.

"Whoa!" Chilun skidded to a stop, pawing the ground.

"What?! Are you crazy?! GO!" Marc screeched. He kicked Chilun's ribs but with my tight grip on the reins, he didn't react.

"Off, now!" I said, jumping down. Marc looked torn but did anyway. "Chilun, run and hide." Chilun paused only a moment before galloping into the gloom.

"You idiot!" Marc yelled. He looked ready to hit me, but the smashing and crashing and tearing of trees behind us was getting closer. The ground shuddered with each footfall. "Why the hell did you do that!" He screamed, yanking my arm as he ran.

I followed darting among the shadows of the trees, barely missing running into another.

"Chilun was, tired. He, couldn't run much, further. Plus, his flames, give us away!" I gasped. Marc fell behind, too tall to be able to run easily in this closed in forest. I heard him curse every two minutes and I had to slow to help him up a dozen times and make sure he hadn't lost Celebi. But fatigue makes fools of us all and I was tripping much more frequently than not, unable to concentrate either. A deep panic was rising in my chest and I didn't think I could keep it down.

No matter how fast we ran, the rumble of Sunsear was never far behind. Every time I glanced behind, a tree would crash or a glint of gold would send me running faster.

A large drop of water splashed onto my forehead and ran into my eye I blinked it away and a tree jumped into my path. I ploughed into it and lay on the ground dizzy.

I screamed sobbing, "OH SURE! NOW YOU FUCKING RAIN!"

I could have collapsed, there and then, but Marc pulled me up again and pushed me on. "Don't you quit on me!" Leaves slapped my face and braches lashed my body, still I ran.

"Stop!" I shouted, trying to take my own advise as I slipped on the moist ground. Only just in time. It was that damned ravine where this whole shimozzle had began. About seven meters across and six deep. To far to jump and not enough time to climb. I yelled in frustration as Marc burst from the scrub behind me.

He stopped, looking down and swore. "How do we get across?" he asked, shoving Celebi into my hands.

"A vine, we swing across." I said searching for a vine strong enough through the now pelting rain. The droplets were getting so big that they actually stung. No matter how much I wiped my eyes clear, they were clouded seconds later.

"Here's one-" A deafening roar split the forest and the trees behind us exploded, showering us with splinters.

"Why don't you hust leave us alone. Celebi is your future too!" I screamed going hoarse.

My masteresess said I must guard the Time Traveler from all, Mewthree hissed. My masteresses-

"You masters are dead!" Marc shuddered. "That's right, dead! Butch and Cassedy ran into the forest, took about four steps before they were torn apart by vengeful Pokemon and right bout now the feeling is mutual."

Deadsss? They Deadsss? It cocked it's head puzzled, as if it didn't understand the term. No matterssssss!

"Quick Marc, the vine-" Before I could even finish, Mewthree flashed a violent violet flames and with a thrash of Sunsears tail, all the trees were felled, lying scattered like a child's blocks.

After all the work helpless! After all our hard work, for nothing. Lightning crackled, thunder boomed and rain came down in sheets. I dropped to my knees, kneeling in the mud and loomed up at my death.

Sunsear flashed a dazzling grin, flashing his gleaming white teeth. I could have sworn Mewthree was playing with us. He roared lifting his head high again. I saw the small golden ball swell in the his blackhole throat, growing brighter and brighter.

Suddenly as the beam was ready to flick out and wipe us from the face of the Earth, a pearly silver blur streaked through the rain, hurtling head long into the giant golden dragons side. Startled, the Radianz swallowed the Solarbeam. He roared in agony, twisting to fight this new menace. Too late! This smaller more agile streak was attacking from the otherside, ripping at his throat and tender underbelly.

Mewthree blazed. Totally enveloped in the aura of his power. He gestured wildly, swinging his stubby arms in arcs and swirls trying to control Sunsears flailing limbs. The harder he tried to catch it, the more it evaded his grasp.

A lightning blot lit the sky illuminating the streak for a moment before leaving us in darkness again.

A dragon!. A long spindly body, lithe and well muscled. It was covered in fine silvery scales, like chain mail. When it twisted, it's scales went over or under each other allowing it to be able to turn on a dime, while a Radianz's were heavy, built to with stand being hit my attack, buckled when it tries to turn.

Three pairs of elongated legs attached to the body ending in what could have been diamond razors for claws. It's spine extended out in a long whippy tail with a feathery tip. It's head, narrow, regal. Marble eyes, feathery ears poking near the top of it's head. He looked like a really old man with long curling whiskers jutting from under his nostrils and a trailing beard. But what got me most was the tiara crowning his head. Diamonds and sapphires set in a silvery helm twinkling in the flashes of lightning.

"Yeah Shahman!" I started at the voice, rearing to my feet and squinting into the rain. Marc looked at me, surprised. It couldn't be.

"Sumalee?!"

"Topaz?!"

In an instant Sunsear whirled around and snatched Shahman by his snaking neck and shook him violently, not letting go. Shahman kick feebly, trying to reach for Sunsears vulnerable eyes. Sumalee scream as she was tossed into the air and landed with a heavy thud in a crumpled heap.

"Suma!" I screamed. I ran to her body, praying she hadn't died a second time.

FLASH! Lightning rent the sky.

Suma's dirty face was lit up. Her was charred, though not as badly though only tinges of red instead of it's illustrious streaks.

"Suma! I cried urgently, shaking her.

"I'm okay," she coughed.

"What the hell happened?! Why are you here?!

CRASH! The Thunder echoed around us.

"Shahman teleported us at the last second. When I woke up he was that. Evolved. Where's Mave?"

"With Fury safe." I hope, I added silently.

Sumalee sat up, then stood up, then watched the too dragons wrestling in midair. Mewthree, had lost hold of Shaman's neck but still held the squirming body tight. He still roared in pain. Shahman had his scissor teeth tearing into the hallow of Sunsears throat. His snowy beard dyed with blood and his eyes seething in an opal glare.

FLASH!

The dragons flung apart, Radianz roaring and beating his immeasurable wings in heavy swoops so that we three pitiful humans could barely stand upright. I hugged Celebi tightly. Shahman having no wings to flap, made do with swishing his tail and making bayful moans. Scales were missing, blood across their bodies and panting heavily, they scowled at each other from opposite sides.

Marc pushed me. "What are you waiting for, an invitation? Open that damn blob!"

"Right!" I poked it, it pushed in like a balloon. I pinched it, stretched it, squashed it, scratched it, stabbed it and bit it. Nothing!

CRASH!

I wailed as Shahman and Mewthree engaged again, more vicious than ever.

"Well," Suma drawled.

"Well what?!"

"Well, it might only burst when Mewthree let's go…"

"Well? What are you waiting for?" Marc bawled. "Go kill it!" He pushed Suma forward.

She didn't even hesitate. She loosed a long sharp piercing whistle. Shahman teleported to her feet and she sprang between the ridges of his crown. Once aboard he took to the stormy sky again.

"Okay, we finish this off, right here, right now! Moonbeam!" Shahman moaned. Tiny silver speck of silver dust trickled in from the sky swirling in a huge vortex, the dust ran together to form tiny beads, they ran together to form a huge silver mirror ball on the star point of Shahman's tiara. It pulsed and expanded, silveryblue veins swam in rivers across it's surface.

FLASH!

In the aftershock of the lightning strike, the sphere erupted into a shaft of hot white light, burning it's path across the clearing. In some sort of deranged reaction of defence, Mewthree charged. The Radianz rushed at Shahman, claws extended, wings flared. What face should have been a peaceful was contorted in an ugly rage.

The expression melted away to be replace by one of pain and confusion. In the centre of his pale scaled breast was a charred cavernous hole. It glared at me accusingly as Sunsear bellowed now free of Mewthrees hold. With a desolate cry, Sunsears lifeless body collapse to the ground, splattering mud, foliage and blood.

I screwed my eyes shut, waiting for the quaking of the earth to calm down.

CRASH!

When I opened them and wiped away the rain and mire, Sumalee was cheering, Marc was dancing and warbling, "I'm siiiiiinging in the rain!" and Mewthree was nowhere in sight, most likely to be crushed beneath the dragon weighing over 15 tons, amour and all, nothing would have survived it.

"Oh gawd! We survived!" I shrieked giddy, still on my knees, still in the mud, still in the storm, still in the goddamned rain!

"We did more than survive, we conquered!" Suma yelled happily.

FLASH!

Marc grabbed my hands and swung me round in a mad game of ring-around-the-rosie. "We'll be rich! We can sell him off. All those solid gold scales must be a fortune in itself! I mean, he doesn't have any use for them and I'm sure he'd love to be remember as some rich old mans piano keys, right. And we'll sell the story to Steven Speilbuck. The movie will take the world by storm. I'd play me of course but you guys would have to be actors. No offence but make up can only do so much and-"

BOOM!

A huge explosion drowned out his next words. I dropped his hands and staggered backwards, blinded by, not by white light but a seething swell, a black light that made my skin crawl as it wrapped around me to leave me in worse than darkness. As swiftly as the light had surprised us, it dispersed.

I stared at Marc, a puzzled look on my face but his was a mixture of cold blooded terror and red hot fury.

"What?" I asked, shaking from head to toe. I stared him in the eye, when no answer was forthcoming, I turned around slowly, knowing what I'd find. Mewthree, a voice whispered in the back of my mind.

FLASH!

Mewthree hung in the air, barely visible in the driving rain, panting hard and his arms held out blossoming into the deformed flower. I gulped loudly and forced my eyes below him. Shahman was almost nothing left, a few scales, a charred bone, and his now tarnished tiara. My mouth mouthed nonsensical words, but no sound came out. I should have been glad I didn't have to see Sumalee like that. It would be how I would remember her forever deep within my subconscious.

The Kamayamaya. I couldn't look, I somehow managed to swallow, eyes burned with unshed tears as did my heart.

CRASH!

"WHY DON'T YOU DIE? THIS ISN'T SOME B GRAD MADE FOR TV MOVIE!" Marc pushed me aside, his face was to red he could have been a tomato. "YOU HEARD ME! JUST! STAY! DEAD!!!"

FLASH!

I don't think Marc polite demand did anything to improve Mewthrees temper. As I looked closer, it was bloody and very badly burned. The knobs on his head were gone entirely, infact, half his face was gone as well. His tail was decapitated and I imagined it somewhere on the ground wriggly like a lizards tail. Floating in the rain getting soggy could only make it worse.

CRASH!

Mewthree set it's sites on Marc, raising it's arm and aiming at him. It flared it's fingers and focused it's psychic powers. I still so

Marc kept yelling. "BUT I GUESS IT MAKES SENSE ! YOU ARE ONLY A B GRADE MOVIE MONSTER!"

FLASH!

The glow grew. I groped in the puddle, no sea around me for a stone. Almost instantly I found on.

CRASH!

It flew from my had arcing through the air as gracce fully as a Seraph and twice

as fast. But the bloody storm had threw off my aim and I missed him by at least a meter. It only served to alert him to my actions.

"Shit!"

TSEEW!

Mewthree swung him arm and released a concentrated Psybeam. Raindrops hissed and spat and sent ripples of colour through the shaft. It burned towards me. My voice caught in my throat. I couldn't even scream.

I kicked Celebi's bubble away so that it at least would be safe. A force suddenly slammed into me, knocking the wind from my body and flying into the mud. I pulled my hands up just in time to brace myself but I still manage to swallow a mouthful of mud. I got up coughing and spluttering. I wiped the muck from my and looked around.

The Celebi bubble had rolled to a stopped at the very edge of the ravine. Celebi still inside, comfortably sucking his thumb. Mewthree hovered limply, his energy spent and Marc was…

FLASH!

"Marc!" Marc lay on the ground, his breaths coming in gurgly gasps and coughing fits. Marc! I scrambled towards him and as soon as I was close enough to see, I sucked in a sharp breath.

Just like Sunsear, a small circular hole burnt through him just to the left of the end of his sternum.

"Gawd!" I reached my hand to touch it, just to see if it was real, but pulled it back. I guess I should have taken my own advise. Never piss off the criminally insane."

"Marc chuckled weakly only to be cut of by a harsh barking cough. Blood flecked his lips and his eyes drooped but he still had that cocky grin.

"I want a big funeral, *cough*, fancy casket, lots of jewels. *cough, cough* And a big dedication at the start of the movie. See……ya….."

His voice faded, his eyelids shut. He went on breathing a few minutes more, but that too died away, leaving me with my own ragged sobs, the pelting rain and my sorrow. Marc, Sumalee were gone and possibly Jake and Laurie if they hadn't teleported in time.

CRASH!

"You won't have your fancy funeral, Marc," I vowed. "Because you won't die."

I turned my head very slowly, watching the Celebi bubble. Would I be able to get to it before Mewthree blew me into oblivion. Still not wanting to draw my attention, I moved carefully. It was worn thin and totally jaded. It would be slow to react and it's aim off. Should I risk it?

All or nothing….

I dug my heel into the mud and threw myself forward. I pushed off the ground with my hands to get upright. My feet pounded into the firm soil beneath the churned up mud seeking purchase to stop from sliding. As I dashed forward, I caught the startled look on Mewthree's face. It looked like an old turnip, you know when they go all purpled and wrinkled?

Mud exploded behind me. TSEEW! Mud exploded in front of me. I only kidded just in time, not to be caught in the backlash of the Psybeam. I darted around it and pushed forward again harder then ever. I gasped. I had misjudged the depth of a puddle and slipped. My legs slide from under me but my will made me to keep going.

FLASH!

The Celebi bubble teetered on the edge of the ravine only three meters away from me and would for long. The water flooded the ground, then cascaded over the side in a forceful gush.

TSEEW!

A beam sizzled through the air, blasting the mud halfway between me and Celebi, sending a shockwaves undulating through the ground. Waves took form in the seas of water. Sure they were hardly more then ripples but they were enough.

CRASH!

The waves slapped the bubble. It see-sawed indecisive of whether to stay or topple to my doom. It made it's choice. I lunged!

TSEEEEEEW!

The Psybeam lanced across my back with unimaginable pain. It screamed with a life of it's own, writhing inside of me like a demon trying to get out.

But I ignored the pain, trying with all I had to focus on all that mattered. Celebi! I reached out as far as my fingertips would.

"Yes!' I cried, but it was swallowed up as I landed on the very edge of the chasm. The pain blossomed again curling around my heart. I almost wept.

TSEEW!

The ground beside me burst apart. Sodden and overweighted with rain, the edge crumbled beneath me. I screamed, frantically clawing at the side with my free hand but it dissolved through my finger.

FLASH!

I screamed again. My body bashed against the not-so-soggy rocks. Outcrops stabbed at my vitals. A loud snap in my left leg as it twisted over a ridge then trailed after me sagging. After an eternity I shattered against the bottom.

The Darklenses broke and fell out of my eyes, but not before leaving their mark too.

The pain flared but silently ebbed way to a dull ache, my consciousness dawdling after it, reluctant to leave, wanting to watch.

I opened my eyes but only one agreed to see and only through a film of red. I lay in a shallow quickly moving river at the bottom of the ravine about an inch deep. I gulped a gasp of water as I tried to breath, my face half in half out of the water. I rolled my good one and saw the Celebi bubble nudging the side of the gorge no more than 30 cm away from my face.

I swallowed hard. I could feel my life's blood flowing away with the river I tried my arms. My right arm was pinned under me and my left moved feebly the had at the end flexing on its own. At least none of the tendons had been severed. With a mighty effort, I flung my arm out and it flopped beside the bubble. I bent my arm around it, taking it in the crook of my arm and dragged it to rest at my face. I pawed it weakly, still trying to free Celebi. Worse then nothing.

Tears trickled from my good eye and f\ran down the bubbles surface painted a faint pick due to the veil of blood. I had failed! So close, yet so far. The fate of the world had rested in my hands like a fragile crystal ball and I had let it slip through to shatter beyond belief.

My eye began to close, blinking away a last salty red tear. The as it shut forever, even through the crimson haze, was a crystal blue eye, looking back at me.

* * * *

Celebi awoke from his slumber, slowly opening his eyes. Another stared back at him. It was hidden beneath a scarlet film but he could see it was a pretty blue, the blue of the night sky on a clear, star filled night. As he watched the lid droop lower, he saw the stars, they stinkled, even as it closed.

He also saw the tear. Why should the girl with the pretty eyes cry? It ran over her cheek and down his prisons surface leaving a glimmering trail. As the tear trickled over the surface, the prison began to dissolve. It ate away at the edges and after a moment there was a hole big enough for Celebi.

Celebi slipped through, looking around. It was dark, Celebi didn't mind the dark, but it was storming. Lightning ran its jagged course across the heaven and thunder roared like a monster of the stories his mentor had told him when even he was being formed. It hurt his ears. He floated out of the sheltered walls of the rain and a blast of icy wind blew past him. Celebi didn't like being cold or wet, he preferred the pleasant summer night in his tree.

A thought darted from antennae to antennae in the form of a green spark of electricity and time froze. The wind died away, the raindrops halted on their downward migration and the lightning suspended it's light in the cloudy sky.

That was better, now he could see the damage done. Of course he had seen everything that had happened, or at least felt. Even in his prison he could feel the timelines of this reality flow through him. The timelines of those who had existed in the past, the present even those who hadn't come yet. Celebi had felt many die, some who would play a vital part in those times to come.

His eyes returned to his saviour. She had sacrificed much to save him from the very long nap the bad people had forced him to endure. Especially her. The Winged Ones watched over her. She was their future. He giggled. It was strange that the Winged ones, the most powerful in existence would have to rely on such a frail human being.

He focused and a swirling tunnel opened before him. It lead to the Desert of Eternity, where the sands of time flowed. Celebi liked it, it was like a great big sandbox! He followed the swirling of greens and yellows to its end and when he came out he felt a surge of power. The timelines were always with him but here they streamed around him like a fast moving river. He didn't have to worry, he knew how to swim!

Celebi wanted to play, to romp through the through the night skies of Eternity but his Mentor pursued him otherwise.

He concentrated on this reality, watching the sand stirring as time swept before his eyes, like a play for his amusement. This play did not amuse him. It was dreadful. Without these key players, many terrible things accrued that not even he would be able to prevent.

He soared higher into the skies of Eternity until only darkness surrounded him in all directions. But far into the eastern horizon was a glimpse of light. He new it was not but the Tapestries of Life, where each life had it's own timeline interwoven with so many others. There he could follow each easily as it interacted with the future.

He sped for it until he stood above each glowing strand of the saviour and their threads crossed.

Celebi fluttered down, landing delicately on a thread, strumming it gently. An image emerge slowly.

The older boy, the leader, he was a digidestined. Without him, an alternate world would collapse. He now lay in a ditch. Dark Pokemon had ambushed him an a well aimed Poison sting that not even his great Orb could protect him from was imbedded in his shoulder, oozing venom for a slow and painful death.

Celebi let go of the strand feeling sad but moved onto the next one. Again the vision solidified.

The girl and the Shiny Dragonite that were played important rolls in the fall of Tea Rocket were dead. The Dragonite had been chased by so many flying types that he had collided head first into a great oak, snapping both their necks. With out them, mass destruction and dictatorship of all the Pokemon world ensue.

Again the impression had disturbed him, but he could not stop. He selected a new thread.

The powerful psychic was also chosen. In her blood ran the attacks of Pokemon and should she not come to full potential, much would fall prey to the Unowns, strange creatures that he could not understand. In this reality she would not. She stood, the last of the Psychic Pokemon she had commanded. Her energy fading rapidly as many Dark types closed around her. She would not survive.

With her death imminent, he let go. The timeline beside it glowed brightly. He seized it with enthusiasm, despite it was cut short

The other, the boy interested him greatly. He held Heavens Tsunami! As soon as he had finished with this problem, he must inform his twin sister! She had waited for centuries for it's reappearance and when the realities were decided. He focused and his death reappeared in his head. The blond boy stood with all his strength attentive on the mind of Mewthree. It was too much for even the Keeper of Heavans Tsunami and it ended in an explosion.

Celebi recoiled, letting the thread fall back into place.

He moved onto another thread. It was that of the soft-spoken girl. She was not as important as those prior, but still a crucial thread in the timeline ahead. Her vivid imagination would develop tales that would change the minds and hearts and actions of human and Pokemon alike. Now she was with the Keeper

Celebi moved on, carefully selecting another. The daughter of the master! He had for filled his destiny a dozen times over and now it was his daughters turn! But it couldn't now. Her life had been abruptly cut short by cruel jaws.

He lowered the severed thread gently and chose another.

The Water trainer must become a water Master! Without him, the swift ones, the ones who ran like the wind headlong across Johto, would fall into the hands of evil. Now with him dead, the Judgement could not pass.

He shivered at the thought. Time was growing short.

The one who rode the great Shahman was destined to be a strong political leader that would lead the world into a brighter future. If not her another of corrupt heart. Over the many millennia Celebi had become sensitive to those of dishonest and many played havoc with his timelines.

The Rocket was strange. He had two paths, follow his own and become the head of Team Rocket, or follow his saviour and challenge the Four to become an important influence in the way of the world.

Celebi didn't like his thread; it had the ring of corruption about it and set it down with distaste.

Finally he cam to that of the saviour. She was most important of all. In the worlds darkest hour she would be there to bear its burden, bringing light once more to thundering skies that would destroy the worlds with its vicious winds and merciless rains lashing the lands once more.

Celebi considered his choices once more. The rocket boy was a wild card, the rise and fall of a nation rested on his shoulders.

Celebi reached out to the others that created the world. His sister Celebi, Mew and her mate, Mewtwo made their choice from their hidden isle.

He reached for the fleeting thoughts of the swift ones, Raikou, Entie and Suicune as they raced across the land. Celebi had played with them when they were pups. Even then he could never win a game of tag with them. As the swift ones felt the touch of their old playmate, they paused in midleap. Celebi let the lifelines flow through them for an instant and they new both realities and their consequences. They pondered each and finally each howled it chilling cry to the full moon above, spreading its luminous rays.

He reached out for the Winged Ones, spread across every continent of the Pokemon world and held their dominance.

From his labyrinth of whirlpools in the Whirl Islands, Lugia answered.

From what was left of her lush forest home, Echotrance answered.

From among his greater Masters, Halo answered.

From his Ruins thousands of years old, his Mentor Archimedes answered

From her mists that shrouded Seafoam Island, Articuno answered.

From deep in his valley on Maelstrom Island, Zapdos Island.

From seething lava of her volcano on FireIsland, Moltres answered.

From the network of caves beneath Sable Mountain, Celestrial answered

From her tine temple overlooking Ecruteak, Ho-oh answered.

From the peak of her world's highest Mountain, observing all with her keen eyesight, Elementrice answered.

All called in unison. The vote was unanimous. The vote was cast. Celebi closed his eyes.

FLASH!!

What a Ripper! Bet you wanna find out what happens next eh? Well, you got to read the Prologue as Part 7 of On the Wings of Council! Keep me informed!

Topaz