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The Knife's Edge, Part 2
The corridor was so quiet that Kris could actually hear the soft thuds of her boots. Panting, she pulled her mask off and stashed it. Stealth no longer mattered.
She rounded the corner and came face-to-beak with a Fearow and Pidgeot, Stormwind and Firefly, two of Alugard's 'generals'. Kris drew her weapon and braced for an attack, but Stormwind simply pointed a wing towards a nearby door, as if to say 'go there'. Then, both spread their wings and flew the coop, leaving her alone in the empty corridor.
Holding her breath, Kris pushed the door open and stepped inside. In there, alone at a table, sat Giovanni.
"So, you've finally come then." he said calmly, standing up.
"I've come to take of you once and for all this time round." Kris said.
"You make it sound so simple. Just like your father, who was always looking for the simplest way."
"What would you know about my father?!" Kris growled.
"I knew Professor Invorce very well, my dear. You see, he worked for me, after all."
"No..." Kris muttered, "then the lab..."
"Was all funded by me, yes. But don't worry, your father had good intentions."
"What good intentions could come out of working for scum like you?!"
"Let me tell you a bit more about our history, Kris. It didn't start when you so conveniently came to me, it was way back before that. You see, your mother was unable to conceive. And Professor Invorce tried everything. All the doctors said that there was no hope at all."
He paused and came walking to the front of the desk.
"So when I approached him offering him a position to head a certain genetics project, he agreed immediately. That was all back around the 60s where genetic engineering was a brad new field. And as technology in that field wasn't really very good back then, it had to be tested first, on Pokemon, so as to create an organism with genes strong enough to survive an artificial fertilization process. And you know what was the first Pokemon to survive?"
Kris was speechless, although she already knew.
"Your good friend, the Scyther. Yes, in 1978. And from him that's where your genes came from, five years later. All that research and progress supplied me with much of the information I used in projects up to today."
"You're sick." Kris swore.
"And you, why do you think you got to my top ranks so easily?" Giovanni continued, "I knew it was you, Kris Invorce, and I knew all about you. I couldn't acquire you as a legal niece, but you came to me yourself."
"Then answer this, what about Firestorm, the Charmeleon back then?"
"Oh, that one. How lucky for you I did some reading on that report. We shot the parents and took him as an egg from the nest. He did cause quite a bit of problems when he and the Scyther broke out of one of our labs in 1983. You're lucky you weren't with your parents at that time. We did recapture the pest and simply wiped his memory clean, turning him into a merciless fighting machine. Too bad you were able to break through that."
"And the Scyther was never recaptured..."
"The rest you know." the Team Rocket leader grinned evilly, "So, look at yourself now. A group experimental failures on a hopeless crusade. You could've had everything and yet..."
Unable to control herself at the last statement, Kris attacked and drove Katana through his chest. Giovanni simply crackled, and sparks flew from the 'wound'. She'd been talking to a robot all along! Outraged, Kris pulled the weapon lengthwise, slicing the machine in two.
It took Kris a while to calm down.
"It doesn't matter how we came into being." She whispered to no one, "We're alive, all of us. And we can choose. I'm make my own destiny and write my own story, and you won't convince me otherwise."
She paused, and then a smile crept across her face.
"No, I already have."
"I'll admit your will is a lot stronger than I thought." The real Giovanni's voice came from one of the speakers nearby, "I may have underestimated you this time."
"But it changes nothing between us." Kris finished.
Kris then heard the soft beeping and noticed the flashing red light at the Giovanni robot's chest area.
Kris didn't waste a second more, and ran. Even as she made it to the stairs, the force of the bomb's explosion threw her off her feet.
"I...I...didn't mean to do that." Jade staggered.
"Killing someone isn't easy, I know." Firestorm said, trying to comfort him.
"Sometimes, it's just necessary." Sabrina added in.
"No, but I..."
Firestorm pushed the two humans aside as a section of the ceiling abruptly blew up. The flaming debris separated him from Jade and Sabrina.
All around, both humans and Pokemon were beginning to panic and were running for their lives.
"This place is coming to pieces!" Sabrina yelled, "We have to get out, now!"
"Take Jade with you," Firestorm ordered, "I'm not leaving without Kris and Nightslice!" His face cringed as the pain in his leg came back, but he did his best to ignore it.
"Storm!" Jade shouted, panicked as another explosion forced him back.
"We have to believe in him," Sabrina pulled Jade's arm as they watched the Charizard disappearing up the stairs, "Hurry, there's an emergency exit this way!"
Jade wiped his eyes.
"Yes, you're right." he whispered over the noise of the commotion. "Let's hurry before we're cut off."
Far away, alone in his office, Giovanni pondered this defeat.
Everything will be corrected in time. He assured himself. His plans had just taken a minor setback, that's all.
And besides, he looked over at one of his screens, showing a strange humanoid figure clad in a set of silver armor. I still have my ultimate weapon.
Alugard felt the explosions. He even saw the fires beginning to spread around the room. However, he was too preoccupied with fighting off the berserked Knight Blazer to even think about fleeing.
Now that he had hands, the Knight Blazer grasped Alugard by his neck and drove him against the wall. The older Scyther was gagging and about to run out of breath when Kris came running down the stairs.
Alugard felt his opponent's grip relax a little. Using the opportunity, he shoved against the Knight Blazer with his feet and freed himself from his deadly grasp.
Knowing that discretion was the better part of valor, Alugard wasted no time in activating his jets and smashing through the window, fleeing into the distance.
"Nightslice!" Kris called again.
The Knight Blazer turned towards her and roared.
"Nightslice it's me!"
Whether he heard it or not, he didn't show. The Knight Blazer simply raised his blades and begun to approach.
"Nightslice!" Kris cried desperately, "Control yourself!" She gasped a hand on the hilt of her Katana, "I don't want to fight you! Please!"
Then, the attack came. Kris had no time to do anything but block blow after blow whilst backing up. Finally, unable to keep pace, she stumbled.
Time seemed to slow as she fell, having only one choice but to hold her Katana out in front of her face, to ward off the impending attack.
Nightslice brought his claw down...and shattered Kris' sword with a strangely silent crash.
Then, all of a sudden, Kris found herself on her back with the Nightslice poised above her, ready to strike. She didn't even have the courage to scream as the wrist mounted blade came down...and struck the ground centimeters from her neck.
"Kris..." Nightslice's voice sounded both haggard and weary, "Kris...I...I couldn't..."
Gently, Kris sat up and pulled the Knight Blazer's mask off, revealing Nightslice's face beneath. He was crying.
"I couldn't control it." He sniffed, "I almost..."
"It's OK, calm down." she reached up and hugged him.
"He's right. I am a threat, to everyone."
"Nightslice..." Kris couldn't come up with anything to finish her sentence. No way to comfort him.
"Kris, I have to write my own story now," Nightslice whispered between tears, "so don't worry about me."
"You know that I'll always care for you!" Kris was sobbing herself, "No matter what you become!"
"Me too, sis..."
Nightslice reached forward and nuzzled the side of her face. It was a moment he'd wished would last forever. So much each one wanted to say, so much each one didn't know.
Then, it was over.
"Goodbye, don't forget me!" with a roar of agony, Nightslice got up and ran, disappearing into the flames.
But there was no time left. The biggest explosion yet forced her sprint and jump out the only escape route available, a 26 story high window. Even as she did, Kris opened a Pokeball.
"Ivysaur, grab anything!" she yelled, holding onto the grass type for dear life.
Ivysaur reached for a flagpole, but the fires forced him to pull his vines away. He tried again with similar results on a ledge.
Kris was beginning to lose hope when Firestorm burst through a window. Even with his injured wing, his desperation urged him on. Still, he looked like he wasn't going to reach her in time.
"Damn you, blasted wing!" he cursed, "Work dammit! WORK!"
In that final act, he managed to spread his wing fully. He closed the gap enough to reach Ivysaur's vines and grasp them firmly.
With his friends finally secured, the Charizard altered his course and soared away from the burning building.
It's been two months since that grand battle. And still no trace of Nigthslice. Our group's been the same as always with Firestorm, Jade, the other Pokemon and me.
Although we have spent some time traveling with Ash and company. I admit, those three and the Pikachu have a habit of getting into awfully 'interesting' situations. And as always, the kid's talking about the Pokemon league and badges. I do enjoy competition, but sometimes I wish I were that carefree.
Currently, our two parties have split up again.
Now that it's just us, we can get back to searching. We've come to the Fuchsia region, where a mysterious Pokemon has supposedly been sighted. I do respect Nightslice's wishes, but I worry for him too.
Finding him is my only concern now.
Ow, that's there's the ache in hands again. Ever since that battle, my hands tend to stiffen up from time to time and my fingers ache when I try to move them. Just some after effects of the battle, I assume.
Kris powered down her laptop and placed in back into her backpack. Beside her, Jade and Firestorm were already fast asleep and the campfire was still burning strong.
She needed to get to sleep too. There was a long day ahead of them. Kris fingered the Master Ball, which was what the Rockets had apparently been after the whole time. She'd been given the first working model as a way of thanks.
Kris then took a moment longer to look up at the stars.
Author's note: Thank you all for reading and I hope you've enjoyed it! But this isn't over yet, not by a long shot. I'm done with my first 'Season' and a second will obviously follow up. The Dragon Riders will be back and hopefully I'll be better too.
'Dragon Riders Chronicles 02: Kaze no Kaeru'
(Winds of Change)