Bare toes curled into soft grass as Nasrin slid under the broad-leafed underbrush, dark eyes scanning the trees as she stepped around the clusters of precious stones and geodes littering her path.
Paws silent on the exposed dirt, Scooby loped ahead, ears perked forward and nose twitching as Snow circled around to check their rear, tails swaying.
Water crashed against stone in the background, like white noise, and Nasrin glanced up as Robin glided past on silent wings.
It should be around here somewhere…
A sharp cry, and the pink-haired girl leapt sideways to avoid being crushed under a boulder-sized, spiked fist that came crashing down and cratered earth in an explosion of debris.
The massive Gem Monster bellowed as the icy beam exploded into a blinding spray inches from contact, stumbling back-
Squishie leapt up from behind, kicking Squeaker's Electro Ball right into the unnatural juncture between the corrupted Gems' split torso and tossing the four-armed creature through nearby trees in a rush of splintering wood.
Smacking aside the larger pieces of debris with her shield, Nasrin closed the distance before her target could rise, the mouths on its shoulders twisted in pain.
Robin swooped down with Star clinging to her talons, Ghostly wind mixing with Fairy light to knock the Gem Monster over as it tried to rise, and Nasrin darted through the uprooted geodes.
Said Rockruff howled, pulling up a Protect around the other Pokemon as she came down on their target shield-first in a shockwave of smoke that filled the entire newly-made clearing.
Rising from the crater, Nasrin held up the bubbled Gem as the smoke dissipated, messy ringlets falling in her eyes.
Robin trilled in delight over the victory-song Star, Scooby and Snow were belting out, and Squishie grunted when Squeakers tackled him in a hug, squeaking happily.
It had been Garnet's decision to have Nasrin join them in hunting down corrupted Gems, despite Pearl's immediate flailing panic.
"She's faced worse at Hogwarts." The Fusion had pointed out, stoic in the face of Pearl's high-pitched shrieks. "She's ready."
Hopping over a moss-covered fissure, Nasrin grabbed an arch studded with precious stones one-handed and swung to solid ground, a dozing Robin swaying on one shoulder while Squeakers squealed happily, clinging to messy shoulder-length ringlets.
Studying the bubbled Gem floating in her hands, the pink-haired girl ran a finger around the strange, jagged veins that warped the two-pronged surface like burn scars.
Corruption is not a crack in the Gem, but a tear in the mind.
Shaking the thought away, Nasrin looked back at the Watermelon Village with a smile, Star leaning over her back to wave enthusiastically towards the Watermelon People and their assortment of Lileep, Cardily, Anorith and Armaldo.
Apparently, there had been a time when the living watermelons had been decidedly unfriendly to anyone or anything besides the Rose Quartz Gem, but that was hard to believe now.
Scooping up a struggling Squishie, she stepped up onto the warp pad and waited for Scooby and Snow to join them, taking a deep breath.
The circular slab of crystal lit up, and they were gone in a bell-like WHOOSH-
A purple blur flew past, crashing into a wall, and a strange, helmeted Pokemon roared, rearing back to brandish frosted insectoid forelegs as Pearl stepped forward, spear in hand.
The older Gem yelped as she was yanked off-balance, and Nasrin held up a hand to both sides, Snow yipping at Lilligant and Bellossom while the others surrounded their trainer.
Dropping into a crouch, the Pokemon let out a low growl, fish-fin tail trembling.
The world faded into familiar blackness, and his voice rumbled back, like what one imagined a warrior god must sound like.
"Who are you? Why am I here?"
"I'm Nasrin, bearer of the Rose Quartz Gem." She answered softly, sensing the tension that thrummed in his massive chimera body. "The others are Pearl and Amethyst. They were searching an abandoned laboratory and must have found you. Are you in pain?"
"My life is pain." He growled, the shadows of his helmet almost haunting with the melting frost. "I was made to be a Killer of Beasts, and all I've known since those humans is the cold."
Heart twisting, Nasrin swallowed back the lump of emotion in her throat.
"Someone…made you?" Snow whispered, horrified.
"Yes. They called me Type: Full before they attempted to awaken my power and failed, sealing me and my brothers away. I am called Type: Null."
"That…That's terrible." Star whimpered, tears in her eyes.
"Those meanies!" Squeakers condemned, sniffling.
"Those…Those stupid-heads!" Robin agreed, scratchy voice cracking with emotion.
"I'm so sorry for what happened to you." Nasrin choked out, tears dangling from rosy lashes, and Type: Null fell silent, seeming to stare into her soul. "I promise you, whoever did this will never, ever hurt you again."
"…You…You mean that."
This was not said as a question, more like a startling fact, and it tore further at her heart.
"Of course she means it!" Squishie replied, glaring.
"Our Nazzie is an honorable person!" Scooby agreed, a growl in his low voice. "She would never allow people to hurt Pokemon!"
Type: Null blinked slowly, as if processing their words carefully, and looked up into shimmering dark eyes.
"You are…different." He acknowledged, taking in the half-Gem and her Pokemon as if for the first time. "I have never met a human who cared how I was treated…"
After a moment, Type: Null seemed to nod, determined.
"I will follow you, Nasrin Universe, and see if this is true."
The world snapped back into sharp focus, and Nasrin let out a breath as the Synthetic Pokemon shook melting ice from his fur and feathers, dropping to one knee in a bow.
Blinking as tears rolled down her cheeks, she pulled out a pink Love Ball from the bag at her hip and gently touched it to Type: Null's helmet, capturing him in a beam of red light.
Pearl and Amethyst watched, wide-eyed and dumbstruck, as the Ball gave a single shake before clicking in success.
Almost immediately, she called the chimera-Pokemon back out, dropping to her own knees to wrap her arms in a hug around the maned neck and press a kiss to his covered forehead.
"I won't let you down." Nasrin swore as the others closed in around them, purring and cooing. "If it's the very last thing I do, I won't disappoint you…Prince."