One minute the Bell Tower was there, the next it was gone. An invisible shockwave swept through the streets of Ecruteak, demolishing everything in its wake, sort of like a nuclear explosion without all the fire and heat. In the distance, I could see what looked like a Xantoli ship taking off into the sky.
"They're fleeing," said Marle, who was standing silently beside Steve. Seemingly oblivious to the rest of us, she slipped her hand into his and smiled at him.
"Yes," replied Sedrask. "And I shall make sure they never come back."
"And how will you do that?" I asked. True, it had been exciting fighting an alien invasion, but there had been too much fear and heartache these last few days. Our parents, Allan . . . I paused; thinking about those we had lost to the Xantoli wouldn't bring them back. In any case, I wanted to go somewhere far away, somewhere we could start again and forget everything that had happened.
"I will build a cloaking device over this planet," Sedrask said. "It will keep out any further Xantoli ships."
"Good," Jewel said, resting her small hand on her mother's Espeon's head. I looked down at her and smiled. She was now almost as much a sister to me as Maxine. "But what'll happen to us?" she added after a moment's thought.
In reply, Sedrask told us all about an island in Hoenn, one of the many which dotted that land's coastline. It was large enough to support a small community of humans and Pokemon, but it was uninhabited and didn't even have a name. This was where he was going to take us, us and any other human survivors there might be.
"What do you guys think?" asked Steve.
We exchanged glances. Then, Donna stepped forward and spoke out. "Let's go there, away from everything that happened," she said. She looked down at the Poke Balls containing Allan's Quilava and Ekans, tears in her eyes. I knew she would need time to get over losing her brother and maybe a new start was what she needed.
"I'm with Donna," I added, placing one arm around Jewel's shoulder and the other around Maxine's. It was then that I noticed Maxine's hand was no longer glowing. The link must have been broken when we destroyed the Bell Tower and forced the Xantoli to flee. Hopefully, with a little help from Sedrask's cloaking device, they would not be back. I looked round at all the others - Lizzie, Marle, Donna, Rally, Steve, Matt, Vicky and all the rest - my friends in a time of crisis. "Anyway, I've always wanted to see Hoenn."
Hours later, we were hovering over an island somewhere in Hoenn. It looked really peaceful, the perfect place for us to make a new start. A school of Gorebyss swam in the nearby bay and I envied them. Their lives had been untouched by the crisis.
"I will leave you here and go round up any remaining Xantoli," Sedrask told us as he landed the ship on the beach.
We stepped out into what I can only describe as paradise. The sun shone warmly on our backs and the wind was a gentle breeze. "I guess this is it," I said. "We can get some of what we need from nearby towns, but . . ."
"And how do you propose to do that?" asked William. "I don't see any boats here."
"Maybe not," said Lizzie before anyone else could object. "But Marle has a Lapras and so does Rally."
"Yeah, that's right," I said, recalling that Marle and Rally had mentioned having the Water/Ice Pokemon, only they hadn't been much use in our situation so I'd never really been introduced to them. "Lapras are good at finding their way across the ocean."
"Don't forget my Pidgeot," added Marle.
"And my Charizard," supplied Rally.
Steve looked round at all of us as Sedrask's ship took of into the sky. "OK," he said. "And what shall we call this island?"
That was a good point; it wouldn't seem right us being here and not naming this place. But what should we call it? New Goldenrod? No, it was probably better to break from anything that might remind us of the past. In that case . . . "How about Victory Island?" I offered. "To commemorate our victory over the Xantoli."
Everyone smiled and voiced their agreement. They all seemed to like the name, so Victory Island it was, the home of a group of kids who'd been lucky enough to escape the Xantoli invasion. Of course, living here and being self-sufficient wouldn't be easy, but we would try.
As I looked round at everyone, I was reminded of a poster that used to hang in the corridor at school. It read:
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.