Chapter Seventeen

The day had worn on wearily for a certain Munchlax. The sun grew to its peak and then gently fell over Boro's alchemic cage, one which he had no chance of escaping from. At first, he had been merely irritated that it was taking so long, but gradually, as he got hungrier and hungrier, he began to get scared. What if they had forgotten him? He hadn't seen another human since he'd been set down by Tasha's metal friend, Al. He might die of starvation in there. He shivered. That was the worst possible death he could imagine.

When night finally fell, he decided that the only thing to do was to try and get some sleep. Just as he was starting to lie down, a bright flash of blue light from behind a broken wall caught his attention. Mystified, he watched it oscillate before finally dimming altogether, seeming as though it had been swallowed completely by the night. Boro was saddened by this prospect, until he heard steady pawsteps. A shiver ran down his spine, a mixture of fear and hope. It could be Tasha, come to break him out of his prison… or it could be that female Luxray lackey of Isorfold's, Sirene, and that cat was trouble.

As it turned out, it was neither. It was, however, of the same species line as both of them. It was a Luxray, a male. He stalked out from behind the wall that Boro had seen the light flash behind. He couldn't help but feel that there was something off about the Luxray. Most seemed powerful, and, especially when it came to the males, even a bit stocky. This one, however, was sleek, from his muzzle to the tip of his four-pronged tail. His mane especially was not quite the right consistency for a Luxray. It was stringer, with the individual locks longer and more pronounced. And then, of course, there was his eyes. They almost looked to be the regular shade of crimson, but as he came closer, Boro realized that they were actually a deep violet.

"You look lost," he almost purred. "And trapped. Need any help?" Boro was so startled by the Luxray's sudden appearance that he didn't immediately say anything.

"Yes," he replied quickly, once he had understood the question. "I mean, I think I do."

"You think?" The Luxray asked. "You're not sure?"

"Well, I mean, I have some friends that should be coming," he amended quickly. "Any moment now." The Luxray smiled pityingly, but the expression was ruined by the sight of abnormally sharp teeth in the Pokémon's mouth.

"If you say so. Are you sure you wouldn't like me to just let you out? So you could at least wait outside that cage?" Boro couldn't deny the logic in that.

"If you wouldn't mind," he replied. The Luxray didn't need to be told twice. Claws slid out of his paws, and with a swipe, two of the bars were cut clean away, giving Boro just enough room to slide out. He quickly did, relieved to be out of the enclosed place.

Once he was back on his feet and had dusted himself off, he looked up to see the Luxray had settled on his haunches, watching him in an almost, but not quite, predatory way that made Boro shiver. When he did, the Luxray's gaze softened somewhat, but that analytical look in his eyes didn't go away.

"Your friends," the Luxray said conversationally, "one of them wouldn't happen to be a human made of metal, would they?" Boro started.

"Yes! Yes, they would! Do you know where they went?" The Luxray could only shrug.

"I saw them hours ago, leaving this building out of another door." He flicked his tail in emphasis. Boro's expression turned from hopeful to almost pained.

"Hours?" He echoed. "They… they left me here?"

"That's what it looks like," the Luxray replied, almost managing to sound apologetic. "Some friends they were, huh?" Boro didn't answer. His mind was whirling around this new information. He couldn't believe, after all that talk, that Tasha, that sweet Shinx that had actually felt bad about Biting him, had just forgotten him. Hadn't tried to remind her humans. Had just abandoned him. Her betrayal… he hadn't known her long, but it hurt. She could forget him so easily, leave him alone to die in that cage. He clenched his front paws. He should have known better than to trust anyone, especially someone he had just been fighting.

"Envy," the Luxray said all of a sudden, jolting Boro out of his thoughts.

"What?" Boro asked, confused.

"My name," the feline Pokémon said. "My name is Envy. When you meet someone, aren't you supposed to tell them your name?"

"Right," Boro replied, but he honestly wasn't sure he cared. His mind only barely perceived how strange the name was. "I'm Boro." Neither said anything else for several minutes, Boro berating himself for being taken in by that vixen of a Shinx, and Envy in his own private thoughts. Finally, the latter broke the silence.

"So," he said. "Boro. If you have nowhere else to go, you could come with me." Boro blinked, then looked up at Envy.

"What?" He asked. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, come with me, for shelter," Envy said. "We're both Pokémon caught in this world, aren't we? Shouldn't we be helping each other?" Boro pondered for a minute. Though it seemed foolish to trust again so easily, he had to admit that Envy had a point. He had no idea where to even begin looking for food or a place to stay. Envy would know.

"We could always find your 'friends' again," Envy continued. "Revenge is a sweet thing." Boro paused at that suggestion. He almost liked the sound of it.

"Alright," Boro said. "I'll go with you."

"Then we had better get going," Envy said, climbing to his feet. Boro did as well, his anguish gradually turning to hatred for the Shinx that had simply left him behind. He didn't notice Envy glance back at him, his predatory look completed with a Cheshire grin that was far too wide for his face.

Ed's home, a small apartment, only had one bedroom, and one bed. So, as a result, Daryn found himself sleeping on the couch in the front room. He didn't entirely mind. The couch itself was plenty big enough to make a comfortable bed, and Ed supplied blankets as well. The room was a large one, with hardwood floors. There was enough room for the couch, a coffee table, and a desk with a chair. Everywhere, though, were books. Piled on the desk, the table, on the floor, no matter where you went in the room, a book was in reaching distance. When Ed had gone upstairs to bed, Daryn had picked one up, only to find it was about alchemy, and practically unreadable. He read one paragraph before deciding it was all way over his head and setting it back down. He fed Rin instead. Thankfully, he still had his pack and the Pokémon food that was inside. He thought about feeding the Zangoose too, since she was his Pokémon now, but he didn't dare let her out for fear that she might try to retaliate. Once Rin had eaten, Daryn left him out so that they could both try to get some sleep. In spite of how long the day had been, Daryn laid awake for some time, his mind whirling. Finally, though, he started to drift off, only to be jolted awake by a cold breeze washing over his face.

Daryn sat up quickly, blankets falling away as he did. Eyes wide and suddenly very awake, he scanned the dark room, but nothing seemed out of place. Even Rin remained unmoved, sleeping on the floor on some blankets Ed had found. For several tense seconds, he still watched all around him, half expecting some monster bent on killing him to appear from the shadows, but gradually he grew calmer. He began to settle back into a laying position, assuming the breeze had been nothing, when a second blew past from behind him, stronger this time. As it playfully tugged his locks of black hair, he turned, and what he saw made him scream.

A pair of slit red eyes peered at him from only inches away, set in a violet face shrouded by a witch's hat. A jagged mouth opened in silent laughter. Daryn scrambled to move backwards from the face and, in the process, pulled himself off the couch in a tangle of blankets. He hit the floor with a dull thump, just barely missing Rin, and tried to climb back to his feet, only to hit his head on the coffee table that lay right beside the couch. Dazed, he poked his head out from under the table. The face was gone.

Carefully, cautiously, he pulled himself out from under the table and looked around. The specter truly was gone, disappeared completely. He sat heavily back on the couch and heaved a shaky breath, only to jump back up again when he heard a door slam from upstairs. He whirled around in time to see Edward clomping down the stairs, wearing only a black tank top and black pants that both looked like they had been put on hastily.

"What? What happened?" He asked roughly, seeming surprisingly awake. Daryn could only blink. With the shorter sleeves, Daryn could now see Ed's metal arm in its entirety—almost. It went all the way up to his shoulder, where it further attached over his chest, under the tank top. Just the sight of it made Daryn hurt. How painful had that been? Ed quickly lost his patience.

"Where you just screaming for the heck of it?" He demanded. "Because you may not need to sleep, but I do!"

"Sorry," Daryn apologized quickly. "I just thought I saw—" He paused. The image of the creature came to mind suddenly, and seemed to be very familiar. Realization hit him like a ton of bricks. "It was a Mismagius!" He exclaimed. Ed frowned.

"That's nice and all, but I have no idea what you are talking about," he growled.

"It's a Pokémon," Daryn explained quickly. "It's a ghost type, like the ones I told you about. I just saw one, but I didn't recognize it until just now. I've never actually seen one in the wild—"

"What can we do to catch it?" Ed cut in quickly, suddenly eyeing his surrounding warily. "If it was stupid enough to come here, it probably shouldn't be too difficult to round up."

"I dunno," Daryn interjected. He looked down thoughtfully. "Mismagius are usually smart. It probably knew what it was doing. They're also mischievous…" He glanced up again, and his face immediately paled. Floating just behind Ed's head was the Mismagius. It watched Ed curiously, following his every move.

"What are you looking at?" Ed asked gruffly. Slowly, Daryn raised his hand and pointed. Ed looked back, still appearing perturbed, until he saw the ghost Pokémon. All color drained from his face. His mouth hung open for just a moment as the Mismagius continued to stare, until he lashed out at it with his metal arm. Mismagius easily glided around the blow, its skirts fluttering elegantly. Ed looked a little surprised at missing before he tried to hit it again, and again missed. Ed tried several more times, getting more and more aggravated, until he finally just yelled.

"How are we supposed to catch the damn thing if we can't hit it!" He whirled around to face Daryn. "Huh? What should we do?"

Daryn just barely stifled laughter at Ed's attempts to hit the Mismagius, and when Ed turned around, he nearly lost it. Just barely swallowing his mirth, he said, "Rin, Confusion!" Rin, who was by this time well awake, had climbed onto the back of the couch. At Daryn's command, he cried, "Ralts!" The red horns that parted his green hair began to glow a dark blue, brighter and brighter, until it exploded outward in a series of circular waves. The Mismagius, still occupied with Ed, didn't notice the attack until it was too late. Ed managed to jump away before he, too, was hit with the attack. He hit the floor and rolled back to his feet. He turned a glare to Daryn

"You could've warned me first!" He growled. Daryn blushed.

"S-sorry! I—"

"Just don't do it again," Ed said with finality. Meanwhile, the Mismagius had recovered, appearing no worse for the wear. If anything, it was angrier. Its eyes began glowing with a dark aura, engulfing them completely in black. Its skirts flapped in an unseen wind, and under its breath it chanted incomprehensible words. Daryn couldn't help but start feeling a little scared. The light around its eyes blinked a brilliant green for a moment, and as they did, leaves of the same color winked into existence all around the Mismagius. It gave one final cry, releasing the Magical Leaf attack on both Pokémon and trainer. Daryn grabbed Rin and turned him away from the onslaught, biting back a yell when the leaves cut into his skin through the thin shirt he had worn to sleep in.

"Yah!" With the cry from Ed, the leaves dropped to the ground and disintegrated. Daryn turned back in time to see that the older boy had taken advantage of the ghost Pokémon's occupation with the attack to strike for himself. His metal fist caught the side of its face, propelling it into the wall. Ed landed easily on the ground.

"Great," he said with a rather vicious grin. "All we need to do is distract it and I can get some hits in!" He turned to Daryn, and the smile fell from his face when he saw the cuts all over Daryn. "Are you all right?" He asked.

"I'm fine," Daryn replied quickly. "We need to focus on the Mismagius." He pointed to where the ghost-type had gathered itself and taken to the air once more. It wobbled a little before righting itself, and its eyes were glowing again. This time, however, they were red. Ed settled into a fighting stance, and Daryn stood straight, Rin still in his arms. The Mismagius gave a single harsh cry before racing forward, a bolt with Ed as its target. Daryn recognized the Payback attack immediately. He reached out and grabbed a hold of Ed's arm, then yelled, "Teleport!" In an instant, they were gone.

The Mismagius rushed past the spot where Ed had been moments before, slowing in confusion. It stopped to look around, in time to look directly into a punch to the face. It yelped in pain as it was sent flying yet again.

"Interesting trick," Ed commented, his gaze not leaving his quarry this time. "Can all Pokémon learn stuff like that?"

"Different types have different abilities," Daryn replied. "In fact, you shouldn't be able to hit the Mismagius at all, because it's a ghost. I don't—"

"We've got other things to worry about," the blond boy cut him off. The Mismagius, again flying, looked livid. Not only were its eyes glowing, but its entire body, looking more ghostly and terrifying than ever. Daryn gulped.

He had expected a big, destructive attack, and was surprised when the Mismagius opened her mouth to release a ball of black light. It was small and drifted dizzily, forming an erratic path towards the two humans.

"What—" He asked himself, and then his eyes widened when he recognized the attack. "Ed, don't get too—"

"What?" Ed asked. In the process, he inadvertently glanced at Daryn. The distraction was just enough. The ball floated right in front of his eyes and caught them. It spun in circles around his head before disappearing into his temple. Like a switch had been turned off, his eyes grew glazed, and Ed stumbled.

"Wha… What?" He asked, blinking rapidly. "Why am I so dizzy?" He tried to take a step forward, but tripped instead. The Mismagius, no doubt at Ed's antics, cackled, and Daryn turned a glare towards it. There was no doubt—the Confuse Ray had certainly done its work on Ed. He couldn't even hardly stand, let alone fight. How was he supposed to beat the Mismagius with just Rin? He was weak against all its attacks…

Then the answer hit him. He didn't like it, but it was the only way. He set Rin carefully down on the couch before grabbing his pack. The Mismagius didn't attack, only watched him with an amused expression. With Ed out of commission, it must have been feeling smug. Its eyes widened a little when Daryn pulled out a single Pokeball, enlargened it, and tossed it into the air. The red and white sphere split neatly, spilling a torrent of white light. The light condensed into a form with broad shoulders, long claws, and brilliant white fur. The Pokémon turned her red eyes to her new master. Daryn stiffened under her scrutiny, half expecting the Zangoose to attack as it had done already twice before, but he didn't turn away. The Zangoose only held his gaze for half a second before she shrugged and turned back to the Mismagius. As she settled into a fighting stance, Daryn relaxed.

"Zangoose," he said, "use—" He stopped when the mongoose Pokemon turned her head back to him with an amused expression.

"I may acknowledge that you're my trainer," she said, in plain-as-day English, "but that doesn't mean I'll take orders from you. Don't push your luck, human." She turned back to the Mismagius with just enough time to cross her claws in a block. A Shadow Ball, black and malevolent, exploded on impact with them, pushing her backwards a step. Though the attack seemed to hurt her marginally, a fierce grin crossed her face that, in a strange way, instantly reminded Daryn of Edward. She leaped forward, closing the distance between herself and her foe in less than a second. The Mismagius could only reel backwards before a claw, glowing black with the Zangoose's Pursuit attack, raked across its torso. The rest of the Zangoose simply fell through, due to her Normal type, and the Mismagius fell to the ground nearly as quickly. The Zangoose landed easily and turned, readying another attack.

In the mean time, Daryn had gathered up Ed, pulling him to his feet and supporting him. He was surprisingly heavy. He kept shaking his head, trying to get rid of the confusion, and Daryn felt sorry for him. He'd never been hit with an attack that confused before, but it obviously wasn't fun. His attention turned briefly back to the fight.

The Mismagius collected itself quickly, though Daryn could see now that it was hurting. Its face was contorted in pain, and it was watching Zangoose with a mixture of fear and hatred. The white Pokémon just grinned back toothily. Her claw began to glow black again, though not in quite the same way. The darkness seemed more outspread with this attack, collecting and condensing. In comparison, the Pursuit had been a dusting of dark energy. It could only be a Shadow Claw.

The Mismagius wasn't out, though. A brilliant rainbow hue began to grow around the ghost, its intensity building, until it burst forward in a powerful Psybeam. It didn't even faze the Zangoose. She leaped, her black claw forward. It cut through the attack like a hot knife through butter. It seemed that, even when it came to attacks, the Dark types were more powerful than Psychic. Zangoose kept going, on through the attack and to the attacker. The light died away as the Mismagius cried out in agony. The claws left black marks across the ghost-type's skin, lines of black flames that left it in anguish even after the Zangoose had landed on the ground. It screamed, and screamed, and Daryn could do nothing against it but cover one ear, the other hand being used to support Ed. It fell silent only when the marks burned themselves out, and it fell to the ground with a dull thump. It didn't get back up.

Daryn sighed with relief. He helped Ed the rest of the way to the couch, though the boy was still stumbling and doing his best to get his footing. There seemed to be something wrong with his left leg, but Daryn couldn't do anything about it. Once Ed was sitting, Daryn pulled another, empty, Pokeball from his pack. He pressed the button at its center before tossing it. It landed smack on the edge of the Mismagius's hat, cocked upwards from its awkward position on the floor. It was sucked inside in a river of red light, and the ball fell gently to the ground. It shook once. Daryn noticed the Zangoose had turned to watch the ball. The ball itself shook again.

"How can you speak English?" He asked. She continued to stare at the ball with a serious expression.

"I don't know," she answered, just as the ball shook a third time.

A/N: I'm sorry to say this, but this will probably be the last chapter of Escape that I post. The thing is, I've just lost steam for this story. I've fallen into a new fandom that I've been writing for, and I just don't see myself continuing this any time soon. It's a possibility, but it's not very likely, and I don't want more people holding out for it.

That said, I'm really glad that you all have liked it so much. It means a lot to me that I have gotten so many positive reviews from people saying that they really liked this story, in spite of the fact that there were so many OCs, which is usually a killer for fanfictions.

So, thank you again for all of you who have stuck with me throughout, and who still read this even after such a long hiatus. I had these chapters tucked away to post in the future when I finished writing the part I was on, but that never quite happened, and probably never will, so I decided to go ahead and post them today. I hope you enjoy them, and I'm sorry again that this will be the last of it.

Thanks guys.