Author's Notes: Hmm…Let me just check my reviews here and…Oh, will you look at that?  Both Sabrin and some Crazy Bird Man (AKA Articuno) want me to get off my lazy butt and write the next chapter!  Well, here it is, after making you wait far too long.  On the plus side, however, it's longer than an average chapter.  All the bad guys (with the exception of Kamatake, who will show up later) get introduced.  Personally, I like the first half of this chapter, but I think it gets kinda blah in the second half.  I'll try to do better next time and I'll try to get the next chapter out faster.  (Note to self: Don't cheat good guys out of screen time!)  Also, the totally awesome Sabrin is in the process of writing a total backstory for Blaire, her character.  I believe it's called "Fire's Legend" and you should all go read it.  And, for the X-Men: Evolution fans, she's got "Rings of Fire," which is her dark author-fic, and I'm in it!  I'm a crazy dragon-girl mutant!  Yay!

Chapter 3—The Darkness Spreads

Blaire slowly became aware of a large shape standing over her.  As her senses sharpened as she returned to consciousness, the girl heard someone apparently speaking to the shape.

"I think it's working, Chansey.  Maybe one more Soft-Boiled will get her completely fixed up."

With a groan, Blaire sat up, pushing the Chansey away from her.  "No, I'm fine.  Don't waste your pokemon's strength."  She rubbed her eyes, trying to clear all the sleep from her vision.  It was darker now, but that did not affect Blaire's sight.  She turned slightly to see who had been talking earlier.  The speaker was a girl with wavy brown hair that fell just below her shoulders.  She was dressed in a purple top and light-blue skirt and had glasses and a pen tucked behind her right ear.  There was Pidgeotto sitting on her shoulder and the Chansey was now sitting beside her.

"Are you okay?  It looked like you took a nasty hit when I got here," the girl commented.  She seemed genuinely concerned about Blaire.  "Not to mention that your Rapidash was about to burn me to a crisp until it realized I was here to help you."

At the reminder of her pokemon, Blaire immediately glanced around the area looking for him.  Then she heard Bandit's soft steps on the grass and felt him nuzzle her shoulder from behind.  With a relieved sigh, Blaire reached up and rubbed the horse pokemon's nose.  She then looked back at the girl.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"My name is M.T. Tasaki.  And, if my guess is correct, you're the Red Bandana Bandit."  At Blaire's nod, M.T. smiled in satisfaction.  "I knew it.  I just wish I had gotten here earlier.  I might have been able to stop that Yossarian chick from stealing all the pokemon."

Blaire's eyes narrowed.  "How did you know about her?"

"Oh, I don't work with her or anything!" M.T. said quickly, an anime sweatdrop appearing on the side of her head.  "I just saw the very end of your fight with her on my laptop."  The girl pointed to a small computer lying on the ground near her.  Blaire hadn't noticed it earlier or the strange staff that was next to it.

"You're an author, aren't you?" Blaire asked, though she was fairly sure of the answer.  How else could this girl have been watching the fight through her laptop?

M.T. nodded.  "You got that right.  And you are, too."

Blaire frowned.  "No, not anymore.  I haven't done anything like that for over five years.  I just protect the pokemon world now."

"Uh…huh," M.T. said slowly.  "Okay, whatever you say.  Listen, you've got some friends about to show up, so I'll just be taking my leave right now.  If you guys need any help, I'll find you.  Until then!"  With that, M.T. recalled her Chansey, picked up her laptop and staff, then walked off into the darkness.  Blaire stood up, preparing to follow her, when she heard several voices shout.  She turned around to see a large group running towards her.  Deciding they weren't important at the time, Blaire looked back to find M.T.  Strangely, the girl had completely vanished from sight. 

"Hey!  Hey, you!" the apparent leader of the group, a Porygon, called out.  "Did you happen to see Team Rocket around here?"

Still wondering what happened to the mysterious girl, Blaire crossed her arms over her chest and faced the group.  She sneered slightly at them.

"Some heroes," she said flatly.  "You're a few hours too late to stop them from stealing all the pokemon in this valley."

The Porygon blinked.  "Oh.  Well, we'll get them next time!" it said cheerfully.  "Anyway, we have to worry more about that dark author."

This caught Blaire's attention.  Even Bandit snorted and pawed the earth angrily.  "A dark author?  What do you know about this author?"

"Nothing, really.  Just that he might be associated with Team Rocket."

Blaire nodded, closing her eyes.  "The author you're looking for is a girl, not a guy.  Her name's Yossarian."

"No way!"  The older girl with straight blond hair walked forward.  "Are you sure we're dealing with someone named Yossarian?"

"Yes," Blaire said.  "She said her name was Yossarian, she had a Charizard, and she had some monster she called 'Reaper' with her."

The blond girl groaned.  "Yep, that's the Yossarian I know.  Damn, this is going to suck."  She looked concerned for a moment, but recovered and smiled at Blaire.  "By the way, the name's Pikajenn.  Here, let me introduce you to my fellow authors…"  She pointed to each one, saying their names as she went.  "The Asian guy there is Lurker and the kid next to him is ToedWrath," she said, pointing to the boy in the striped shirt and navy shorts.  "That green Mewtwo is named Damin and the big Meowth is Josh Rocket, but he's not with Team Rocket anymore.  Then we have Seifer no Miko, she's the one dressed up like Seifer Almasy, and BlastSage is that guy dressed in the khakis and black vest, and that girl in the beret is Simone.  Finally, the one who brought us all together is this little Porygon."

Just as Pikajenn introduced the pokemon, it suddenly changed into Hawkin.  There were several shouts of surprise.  Blaire simply raised an eyebrow and looked at Pikajenn.

"Do you all do that?"

"Uh…actually, we didn't even know it—er, he did that."

Blaire placed a hand over her eyes and slowly shook her head.  "Great.  This is going to be just great."

****

"Dammit!" Yossarian snarled.  She slammed her hand down on her desk in anger as she remembered the group she saw while leaving the Valley of Fallen Embers.  "I can't believe we've already got heroes here."

"You want me to take care of them?" Reaper asked, a hint of eagerness slipping into his voice.

Yossarian shook her head.  "No.  We can't go after other authors like that, not yet.  Right now, I think it would be wiser to call for allies."

"Allies?"

"Yes.  I've got one in particular for you to recruit by any means necessary.  I think his skills will prove useful."  She handed the Houndoom morph a slip of paper.  He looked at it for a moment, then cast a skeptical glance at his boss.

"He's in your world.  How do you expect me to get to him?"

She smiled slightly.  "I can send you there, but only for a brief amount of time.  I trust you can get the job done?"

Reaper bared his fangs cruelly.  "As you said, by any means necessary."

"That's what I like to hear.  Give me a few minutes to write up something for you, then prepare for a trans-dimensional journey."

***

Jase sighed and tossed his backpack on the floor.  He had just come back from school and he was in a less than joyful mood.  He'd had to deal with people accusing him of Satanism all day just because he was Wiccan, and to top that all off, Courtney, a hideously preppy girl in his class, kept hitting on him no matter what he did. 

He dropped down in the chair at his computer and signed on to the internet.  Jase knew he would only have a short while before his parents came home and started making him do chores, so he wanted to check his e-mail before then.  As he logged on to his account, he saw that he had a new message from Jess, his online friend and fellow fanfic author.  Jase grinned and opened the e-mail.  Strangely, there was no cheerful introduction like normal.  Instead, Jess had written "Read this aloud and imagine it happening as you do," followed by some sort of story excerpt.  With a shrug, Jase figured that he might as well do what the e-mail said.  After all, no harm ever came from reading an e-mail.

"'Jase sat down to read his newest e-mails,'" he began, thinking that it was a weird beginning.  He continued anyway.  "'He had just begun reading something from his friend Yossarian and did not notice the shadows behind him beginning to take shape.'"  Jase instinctively glanced behind himself.  There was nothing there, of course, and he felt silly for looking.  "'While he read the story excerpt from Yossarian's latest venture into the pokemon realm, the shadows formed the tall shape of The Reaper, her most prized character.  Suddenly, before Jase could react, the'—Mmph!" 

Jase's reading was cut off as a clawed hand clamped over his mouth.  He struggled to pry the hand off, but it proved impossible.  The hand's grip tightened on his face and he was lifted out of the chair. 

"My, my, what a wonderfully vivid imagination.  Yossarian thought it would be more difficult than this," a voice said to him mockingly.  Jase's eyes widened.  He knew that voice!  It was the same one that ran through his head whenever he read dialogue for The Reaper in one of Yoz's stories!

Reaper grunted slightly as if he had been hit by something.  "She was right.  Time is very short here.  Let's get back, shall we?"  He began to read the words on the screen.  "'He struggled, but nothing could break the Houndoom morph's grip.  It was difficult to breathe and Jase felt himself start to lose consciousness.  As his eyes closed, he could have sworn that the world was dissolving around him, as if he were being teleported somewhere else.'"

Sure enough, those were the exact thoughts Jase was having as he blacked out.

***

"I said gently, you idiots!  Move him gently!  Trans-dimensional travel through stories is not a pleasant process, and I don't want him hurt any more than he has to be."

He woke up to the sound of that voice.  It was definitely a girl and, judging by the way she was shouting orders, she was in charge of whatever was going on.  He opened his eyes slowly, squinting in the bright glare of fluorescent lighting.  That was odd, considering he'd never had a problem with bright lights before.

"Hey, boss, I think he's waking up," a male voice said this time.

"Good.  You guys can leave.  We'll deal with him," the girl answered.  He heard the sound of footsteps leaving the room, as well as a different set walking towards him.  He could just barely make out the person's figure in front of him as she spoke.  "Why are you squinting like that?"

"The lights are hurting my eyes," he explained.

"Oh, right.  I forgot about the drow's sensitivity to light.  Reaper, could you dim the lights for Darkelf?"

"Of course."  The room immediately became doused in shadows.

"Now can you see?" the girl asked.

He nodded and opened his eyes all the way.  In front of him stood a tall girl, probably about 19 years old, with dark brown hair that fell to her shoulders and hazel eyes.  She was dressed in a simple black T-shirt and jeans. 

"You recognize me?"

"Are you…Yossarian?"

"Yeah.  Nice to finally meet you, Darkelf."

"Darkelf?  Why do you keep calling me that?" he asked.  "No, wait…that is my name, isn't it?"

"Yep," Yossarian replied.  "It's your author manifestation.  Go ahead and look at yourself."

Darkelf did as he was told, holding up his hands.  He was surprised to see that his skin was almost jet-black now and his hair was silvery-white.  His clothing had changed as well.  He was now dressed in a black shirt and pants with a dark green cloak.  A bandolier crossed his chest and held a sword at his back.  For a moment he was speechless.

"You're now the pokemon world version of yourself.  In your case, you've become a drow, hence the problem with the lights earlier.  As for me, I guess I haven't changed much.  At least, not physically."

"Wait a minute.  Are you saying that we're in the world of pokemon?" Darkelf asked.

"Yes."

He suddenly jumped up, startling Yossarian.  "Cool!  I wanna catch an Eevee!"  With that, he dashed for the door.  Reaper, who had been standing guard, caught him by the arm before he could get too far.  In a few seconds, the sadist had a knife to the drow's throat.

"I don't think the boss has finished talking with you yet," he growled.

"Relax, Reaper," Yossarian said as she walked over.  "You can let him go."  As the Houndoom morph released Darkelf, Yossarian added, "Besides, you've already got a pokemon."  She pointed to the pokeball attached to the drow's belt that he had not noticed before.  He took it in his hand, enlarged it, then held it out as it opened suddenly.  Red light poured out of the ball, reforming itself into the shape of a pokemon.  When the light dimmed, an Umbreon remained standing on the ground, glancing about curiously.

"See?  You already had an Eevee evolution," Yossarian said with a grin.  "So, what's its name, anyway?"

"Xaero," Darkelf answered, knowing the name instinctively. 

"Nice.  Now, we have to get on to more important business, Dark," the girl stated.  "You see, I didn't bring you here just for fun.  We've got a lot of work ahead of us if we're going to succeed in conquering the pokemon world."

"You're trying to conquer the pokemon world?" Darkelf asked.

"Not trying, my friend, succeeding.  It'll be only too easy for us to own this overly-cheerful little existence.  There's just one problem—some authors of light have been brought here with hopes of stopping us.  In order to teach them a lesson in humility, we are going to need some new author allies of our own.  I was hoping you could provide some assistance in the recruitment department."

Darkelf smiled coldly.  "You know I'd love to help you take over the world, Yoz.  In fact, I think I've got the perfect spell to find you some friends."

"Oh?  Like what?"

"Well…Ever heard of Gating?"

****

A few hours later, Yossarian found herself faced with a motley crew of authors.  All had agreed, some less enthusiastically than others, to serve her in the domination of the pokemon world.  Her eyes trailed across the new authors, scrutinizing each one. 

"Is this all of them?" Yossarian asked Darkelf, who was standing next to her.

"Yes," he answered.  "The best I could find and pull through the Gate spell."

Yossarian nodded approvingly.  "They'll do just fine."  Then she addressed the new dark authors, "As you should all know, I am Yossarian, soon-to-be ruler of this world.  You all work for me, don't forget that.  I am in charge and Darkelf is my second in command.  Insubordination will not be tolerated."  Yossarian paused after that statement.  She had wanted Reaper to be present, to show who would be enforcing her orders, but he had withdrawn to his dungeon, citing his need to torture as a reason for leaving.  Yossarian had permitted him to leave, knowing full well that he could be dangerous if his sadistic appetite was not sated regularly.

The dark author pushed the thoughts aside as she paced down the line of her new allies.  "Now you know who I am.  It's time for you to introduce yourselves.  Let's start with you," she said to a boy dressed in torn jeans, a gray shirt, and a silver overcoat.  He stepped forward and ran a hand through his strawberry-blond hair, his blue eyes glinting like metal.

"My name's Steel Rogue," he stated.  "I'm a master of steel pokemon, and I look forward to crushing our enemies into dust."  He gave Yossarian a smile and bowed slightly.  She nodded in acknowledgement and turned to the next person in line, an eleven-foot-tall, red-striped, anthropomorphic Charizard with long blond hair and wearing a white T-shirt. 

"I'm Charmega," she said, "a Charizard anthro."

"Obviously," Yossarian commented dryly.  "So, I assume you've got at least some sort of fire-breathing capability?"

"Naturally.  However, I've got plenty of other talents.  I can heal injuries, change color like a chameleon, and I've got dimensional teleportation abilities.  I'm also psychic."

"Psychic," Yossarian repeated.  "I suggest you keep that particular talent to yourself.  There are some people around here who don't tolerate psi powers."  Before Charmega could ask what she meant, Yossarian was already talking to the next author.  "Don't tell me you're psychic as well."

"Not at all," the author answered.  She was a well-tanned girl with ice-blue eyes and matching hair that was done up in a messy bun.  The girl was wearing a black jumpsuit that had an armband the same color as her eyes and hair.  A small, silver knife hung from a belt fixed loosely around her waist.  "I don't need to be psychic.  If there's anything I want to know about someone, I can hack into computer files and find it out that way."

"A computer specialist will definitely give us an edge," Yossarian said thoughtfully.  "What did you say your name was?"

"It's Angel, but that's not all I can do.  I'm an excellent fighter and I can create illusions to confuse—"

"Most battles are fought away from the front lines, Angel," Yossarian interrupted.  "I don't think we'll have a problem with brute strength," her eyes flicked to Charmega, "but hacking is something our side is lacking in.  You'll stick with that."

"Okay," the other girl said, slightly disappointed. 

Ignoring the tone in Angel's voice, Yossarian turned to the girl standing beside the computer hacker.  This girl was tall, about 5'7".  She had grayish eyes and long curly red hair.  She was dressed in a red T-shirt, navy blue zipper vest and navy blue warm-up pants.  Her hair was done up in a ponytail sticking out from under her red baseball cap.

The girl grinned and said, "The name's Darkness Master, but you can call me DM for short if you want.  I'm not a computer person like Angel there, but I'm a good fighter.  You see, I can fly, teleport, and create energy shields.  You want a demonstration?"

"Maybe some other time," said Yossarian.  Though she kept her face from showing it, she was mildly surprised by Darkness Master's outgoing personality.  "Just save up your strength for when we attack the authors of light."

"Can do, boss!"

"Right…Okay, who else do we have?"

A girl of medium height stepped forward.  She moved with the grace and eloquence of a woman of high society, though she was dressed in fairly unimpressive faded jeans and a dark purple T-shirt.  Her waist-length hair was bright red and her blue-gray eyes held a sort of quiet menace to them.

"I am known as Lady Rapidash," she announced.  "The name stems from my ability to turn into a Rapidash."

Yossarian smiled darkly.  "How appropriate," she said mostly to herself, thinking of the foolish girl and Rapidash from the Valley of Fallen Embers.  She began to say something else but cut herself off.  As the dark author looked at Lady Rapidash, she could almost swear she caught sight of a woman in white standing behind her.  But as soon as Yossarian tried to focus on the image, it was gone.  She frowned slightly and rubbed her eyes with one hand.

"Something wrong, Yoz?" Darkelf asked her quietly so the others would not hear.

"It's nothing," she responded.  "My eyes are just playing tricks on me."  Shaking her head, she looked at the next person.  He was a rather skinny boy and was wearing a plain outfit of a long black shirt with black pants.  "How about you?"

"Sensei," he answered simply.  When it was clear he had nothing more to say, Yossarian moved on to a different author.  This one was a young girl.  She had golden-brown hair pulled back in a ponytail and dark bluish-black eyeglasses on.  She was wearing a black long-sleeved shirt and a short black skirt and had a black choker around her neck.  She would have appeared to be completely human, except for her navy devil's tail and small black wings with a fire pattern across the bottom of them.  At the moment, she was fawning over a baby Meowth in her arms.

"I hate to interrupt," Yossarian said sardonically, "but you have to introduce yourself."

The girl's head shot up in surprise.  "Huh?  Oh, sorry!" she exclaimed with a wide grin.  "My name's Stephanie, hell's angel.  See, the wings and tail earned me that title.  I may be young, but don't let that fool you!  I'm one nasty little devil on the battlefield!"

Yossarian frowned as the girl continued to detail her love of fighting and killing.  This one was more hyperactive than Darkness Master.  Such overt cheerfulness tended to be very grating on the dark author's nerves.  She cut off Stephanie's prattling with a curt wave of her hand and moved on to the next person, who appeared to be some sort of wolf hybrid.  This girl was completely normal above the waist.  Below, however, she had a wolf's legs and tail.  She wore a gray bikini top and had gray hair down to her waist.  Her eyes had the same tawny color of her fur.  She was carrying a bow slung over one shoulder and a quiver of arrows on her back.

"And you are?"

"Rabid Wolf, hunter, tracker, and warrior."  The wolf girl gave Yossarian a salute.  "You word is my command, and I will never fail in a mission.  All my arrows are poisoned, I fight like a wolf going for the kill, and I can blend in to any sort of background."

Rabid Wolf's attitude cheered Yossarian a bit.  "Such loyalty and determination are admirable."  Rabid Wolf smiled at the comment and bowed respectfully.  "Now, who else do we have?"

"Me," a girl said, raising a hand slightly.  "I'm LavenderEspeon."  The name was appropriate, as purple seemed to be the dominant color in her appearance.  Her long blond hair was streaked with purple, she wore a violet long-sleeved shirt with faded jeans and a faded jean jacket, and the hemp necklace she wore had an odd, glowing purple charm.  Even her eyes were purple.  It was the eye color, as well as the "Espeon" in her name that caught Yossarian's attention.

"Are you psychic?" she asked.

"No, but I can speak to any Espeon."

"As long as you're not psychic, everything is fine.  Is speaking Espeon your only talent?"

"Well, I'm good at coming up with plans in the middle of a battle and the charm on my necklace can heal any blade-inflicted wound except for amputations."

"Then you are expected to keep that necklace out of enemy hands.  Understand?"

"Of course."

"Good."  Yossarian then faced the final author in her ranks.  He was shorter than her, standing at about five feet tall.  He was dressed in camouflage pants and a pure black shirt.  Spiky blond hair poked out from under a Harry Potter hand he was wearing backwards. 

"My name is Articuno, master of flying pokemon," he said.  "Just like the pokemon I prefer to train, I can fly great distances and will never tire.  I am also gifted with super strength that cannot be matched and can control the Force."

"Jedi, huh?" Yossarian said with a smirk.  "Interesting."  She turned away from the group of dark authors and beckoned Darkelf over to her side.

"So, what do you think?" he asked.

"Very nice.  They're strong, but I'm still unsure of the powers of the authors of light.  They probably have as many varied talents as we do."

"Well," Darkelf said with a grim smile, "I suppose there's only one way to find out…"

Yossarian grinned back.  "Right."  She turned back to the dark authors, still grinning in anticipation.  "All right, everyone get ready.  Tomorrow, we launch a strike against the authors of light!"

Author's End Notes: I feel that I should explain something: some of the bad guy characterizations were not suggested by their creators, I just felt that was the way to write the person.  For instance, Steel Rogue seemed like a real smooth-talker, ladies man kinda guy (although I'm not sure why), Lady Rapidash is of high breeding and therefore very eloquent and refined, and Rabid Wolf has a bit of a medieval/fantasy manner of speaking.  If this pisses any of you guys off, let me know so I can change it.

Interactivity: Tada!  The first interactive question!  Bad guys, you've had your first encounter with Yossarian, your boss, as well as those you will be working with.  What are your impressions or opinions of the others?  Have you already found someone who could be your best friend or blood enemy?  Does Yossarian think too highly of herself?  Are you pissed that she seems to be choosing favorites already?  Let me know what your character thinks in a review!