Disclaimer: Don't own Pokémon

Hey guys. Well, it has been a while since I last updated. But guess what? There are two updates – this story and Reverse Time! WHOO!

All right, I'm pretty sure some of you guys notice that this story has a new cover picture by Ashley Eon. I would like to thank her for such a wonderful picture. Of course, if anybody else would like to contribute some wonderful art as well, let me know.

Spoiler Alert: Prepare some tissue boxes. Lucas will no longer be traveling with Dawn and Damion… Enjoy the chapter!

Thank you SinCityAssassin for betaing this chapter.

Chapter 75:

"Lucas!" Damion ran towards the sound. Despite the thick and heavy mud and the tall marsh grasses, Damion didn't stop until he finally reached the clearing where the sound was coming from. What he saw made him stop dead in his tracks.


Lucas was struggling against some wild plant that dangled from a tree trunk and had wrapped its vines around him. Lucas was being dragged into what appeared to be a large circular and flat mouth with two rows of sharp teeth.

"W-what?! LUCAS!"

"That's a Carnivine!" Damion turned around to the sound of the voice and saw an equally horrified Dawn who had her Pokedex out. Behind her was a guy who Damion didn't recognize, but looked as though he had just finished swimming in the marsh. "It attracts its prey with sweet smelling saliva and then eats them alive!"

"Oh man, that's the crazy Pokémon I was talking about that was chasing me," said the guy with the mud suit. "Oh my GOSH! I-is that a PERSON?!" He just noticed Lucas who continued to scream for help.

"Damn it!" Damion, getting over his initial shock, reached for his belt, but found out that his Poke balls were gone. Realization hit him when he remembered the rules of the Safari Zone.

"Dawn! I don't have my Pokémon!"

"Me neither!" Dawn replied in a high panicky voice. It was a rather obvious statement since no one had their own Pokémon. Ohhh, why did I suggest to go here in the first place?

"HELP!" Lucas screamed again. Damion and Dawn each grabbed one of Lucas' arms and tried to pull the boy away from the jaws of death. Unfortunately, Carnivine had a really strong grip and was dragging Dawn and Damion toward it.

This was bad; Dawn could feel her boots sinking deeper into the mud and her grip on Lucas' arm was slipping. "What now?!"

"All of you guys! Duck!" Dawn turned and noticed Will was already bent low and had scooped up a huge glob of mud. "Take this!" Will threw the stuff as fast and as far as he could.

SPLAT! The mud hit the green Pokémon's eyes and it screeched loudly, not in pain but in shock, causing it to loosen its grip. Lucas was flung towards Dawn and Damion, who were also flung backward; all of them landing into a shallow puddle of mud,

"Ouch! Run!" Lucas, Dawn, and Damion got up and scattered as fast as they could. Carnivine snarled angrily as it watched its prey escape. Its vines weren't quick enough, and with another hiss of anger, it targeted Will who was slowly realizing the predicament he was now in.

"Oh shoot. I thought the mud would make it run away. AHHHH!" This time, it was Will trying escape from the dangerous Pokémon. It let out a Vine Whip attack and tripped the trainer to the ground. Now that Damion had gotten a good look, he saw that Carnivine was some sort of Venus fly trap plant Pokémon. Its beady eyes looked hungrily as it opened its mouth wide at the petrified Will. The Pokémon's pink tongue hung out in the air with anticipation.

"WILL!" Dawn screamed in horror.

"YO! Idiot!" Damion copied Will's attempt to distract the Pokémon, but this time, Damion threw one of his Safari ball at the wild Pokémon. The blond trainer hoped at the very least that if they couldn't stop the Pokémon then he could at least catch it. Distracted, the grass Pokémon found itself being swallowed into the ball in a flash of red light.

Finally, the area was filled with peace and quiet. Will slowly backed away as far as possible from the Safari ball that was now twitching on the ground. Then it stopped.

"Phew," Will sigh in relief as he tried to calm his heart down, "That was a close one."

He spoke to soon. The Safari ball suddenly opened again, releasing white light. Once it faded, Carnavine was standing tall and angrier than ever.

"Oh shoot, not again!" Will turned to run, but Carnavine had lost interest in him and was more focused on the one who had the nerve to try and capture it.

Carnivine turned to Damion, who realized faster what was going on and quickly turned and ran toward the tall grass. He was planning to hide there and take the Pokémon by surprise. But who could've thought that Pokémon would be able to run (wait, it doesn't have legs… jump was the better word) so fast?

"What are you doing Damion?!" Dawn couldn't believe how things were turning from bad to even worse. "Get away!" Dawn tried to copy the same tactic as Damion but her throwing skills were not up to par and she ended up missing.

Carnivine sprung into the air and sky dive toward Damion's location. It opened its mouth and …



Something from the tall grass jumped in front of Carnivine and punched the Pokémon's mouth shut, causing it to chomp down on its waggling tongue instead of Damion. Carnivine slammed to the ground and screamed and flailed from the throbbing pain.

"Croagunkkkkk." After that dramatic appearance, the Pokémon sat there and merely breathed through its orange sac cheeks.

"What the-? What's going on?" Dawn looked incredibly startled at the sudden change in events. And she wasn't the only one.

"It's a Croagunk," said Damion. He was wondering if it was the same one he encountered earlier.

"Yes, I can see that," Dawn said, remembering the picture of the frog on her Pokedex, "But what is it doing here?"

"Maybe it lives here?"

"I know that Lucas! I was wondering why it decided to stop Carnavine."

"So you're saying that you didn't want it to?"

"No! That's not what I meant either."

"Umm, I think its talking to that Carnivine," Will interrupted. After almost being eaten, he looked remarkably calm now as he pointed toward the two wild Pokémon who seemed to be communicating with each other.

"Hisss!" The Carnivine was making some angry gestures and opened its mouth wide as though to prove it could engulfed Croagunk's body whole.

The frog Pokémon didn't really move, but it must have done something because Carnivine looked even angrier.

The frog Pokémon jumped onto Caravine. Immediately, the Pokémon hissed as it jostled Croagunk around who was hold on to its dear life. It raised one of its arms and the hand started to glow a bright purple. It smacked the Caravine straight between its eyes.

"Grahhhh!" Caravine crashed to the ground and screamed in pain again. Croagunk elegantly jumped off and immediately sat on its haunches again.

"What just happened?" This time it was Will who was gaping in shock.

"That's Poison Jab," Damion said, quickly looking up in his Pokedex. "Effective against a grass-type like Caravine."

"No, I know that! I was wondering why a wild Pokémon is helping us."

"Wait, I'm confused," Lucas interrupted. "Do we want Croagunk to help us or not?"

"OF COURSE WE DO!" Everybody shouted back.

"I was just asking…" Lucas mumbled, looking miserable now.

Damion was curious though. Why did that Croagunk just suddenly decide to help out?

Croagunk actually stood now and slowly walked over to the beat up Carnavine. The grass Pokémon shrunk away in fear and quickly bounced away, screeching (Damion could only guess it was cursing at them) as it left.

"Phew," Dawn wiped her forehead despite getting herself cover in more mud. "That… was a close one."

"I'll say," Will agreed, "I can't believe we manage to get out of that one. Though the Safari people must be relieved. Imagine the paperwork from three kids getting eaten alive by wild Pokémon on a reservation."

"Anyways, Lucas. Why did Carnivine attack you Lucas?"

"Oh, it's probably because of these…" Lucas pulled out from his pockets and in his outstretched hands…

"Berries?!" Damion gaped at the color display of fruits in Lucas' hands – Pecha Berry, Oran Berry, Bulk berry, Cheri Berry, etc. "Where did you get these?"

"From our travels. I've been gathering them since the beginning." Lucas looked puzzled at Damion's question.

"This WHOLE time?!" Could this be the reason why Lucas was always lagging behind when it came to traveling?

"Well, if I want to make Poffins, then yes. Though this might explain why so many Pokémon were following me. I guess they like berries."

Damion's face was turning into the same bright red color as the Cheri Berry in Lucas' hands. They were placed in a life-or-death situation because of berries?!

"Well, that explains why Caravine was trying to eat you," Dawn said in remarkably calm voice which was flagged suspicious. And sure enough…

BAM! "Ow!" Lucas whimpered as Dawn slapped the back of his head. "What was that for?"

"For not leaving those berries behind and carrying them this entire time! You made yourself live bait and you almost got yourself killed! Which reminds me, I now have another important matter to attend to."

"Huh?" The next thing Damion knew, Dawn smacked him on the head. "OW! DAWN!" Dawn spun around and hit Will as well.

"What was that for?!" Damion sputtered in anger.

Will, on the other hand, was stunned and realized that this was the first time he had been hit by a girl. Not to mention it was someone he didn't really know that well.

"You two could've gotten yourself killed as well! What were you two thinking?" Dawn looked like she was about to burst with angry tears and stamped her foot though it was kind of pointless since she was standing in mud.

"Well, we really couldn't just leave Lucas out there now could we?" Damion groaned and rubbed his back of his head.

"But still! That was incredibly reckless!"

"What?! I was trying to capture it. If anybody is reckless, it's Will. Who throws mud at Pokémon?"

"HEY! I saved all three of your lives!" Will reminded them. He was annoyed that Damion was trying to place the blame on him. "You guys should be thanking me."

"I saved yours! You don't see me asking for thanks."

"BOTH OF YOU GUYS! SHUT UP!" Dawn looked like she was about to rip somebody apart. "YOU TWO HAVE SOME NERVE TO JUST PLACE THE BLAME ON THE OTHER PERSON!"

The lack of sleep and the sudden drain of adrenaline had made her a very bad-tempered person. Both Damion and Will quieted down and they were slowly backing away from Dawn who looked as though she was about to give them the worse yelling every in history.

"I'm sorry Dawn," Lucas said quietly. "I know that this is my fault so don't blame it on them." There was an awkward silence as Dawn turned back to Lucas. Dawn looked like she was about to say something, but then just hit Lucas on the head again.


Dawn took several deep breaths as tears started to spill from her eyes. Now, all three guys felt very, VERY uncomfortable. "J-just don't do something that stupid again! Thanks to all of you, I'm now a mess!" With that Dawn marched off.

"Hey! Where are you going?" Damion yelled.

"Getting a change of clothes and sue the people who promised us that this expedition was going to be fun," Dawn snarled in such a way that made everyone back away, "I'm going to have some serious words with the management!" And with that, she was gone, leaving the three guys alone.

"Well, that was awkward," Will finally spoke up. "I guess I'll head back as well. I don't know about you guys, but I need a shower." With that, the trainer left and followed Dawn.

"Hmph, Dawn is always like that," Damion sighed and turned to Lucas who gave a heavy sigh as well. "Hey, I know Dawn acted mad and all, but she was really scared. She just doesn't like to show it."

"I know." Lucas felt nothing but shame. The last time Dawn was angry with him was back at Veilstone City, and that was less than two days ago. At this rate, he was just going to keep worrying her to death more than anything else.

"Come on, let's go back. When Dawn gets angry, there is no telling who gets hurt."

There was a sudden croaking sound, making both trainers jump in surprise. They turned and looked down to see the purple frog that seemed to be waiting patiently for something.

"Oh hey," Damion remembered Croagunk. "Yeah, thanks for saving… you know, our lives and stuff." Croagunk merely stared back beadily until Damion started to feel uncomfortable.

"So, uhh, yeah… I guess we owe you one…" Suddenly, Damion recalled the environmental protest he saw earlier and added, "We'll be joining that rally to help save your home. I mean, if there are more Pokémon out there like you in this area, I guess it's a place worth saving… Of course, I can't say the same for the Carnavine… but you know, whatever…" For a slight moment, Croagunk gave a toothy grin, which just made it creepier than before.

For the first time since its battle, the frog Pokémon moved and showed what it was holding in one of its hand.

"Oh!" Damion recognized the Safari ball that he used to try and capture Carnavine. "Geez thanks for returning…" But instead of giving the item back, Croagunk punched the circular button and gave Damion a thumbs up before letting itself get captured in the ball.

"HEY!" But there was the familiar 'ding' sound, indicating that Damion had captured Croagunk. "What just happened?"

"I think," Lucas said as he clapped his hands, fortunate to witness the event with pure happiness, "Croagunk wanted to be your friend."

Snowpoint City harbor…

Daniel's teeth chattered as he stepped off the fishing boat and onto the snowy port. After the heavy blizzard, the sun was out and reflected off the newly fallen snow drifts everywhere. Despite the warmth from the light, Daniel could still remember and feel the bone chilling night out at sea.

"Daniel!" He looked up at the sound of his name and recognized a familiar face in the small crowd.

"Fuuta!" Daniel's face immediately brightened after seeing his best friend again and before Fuuta could object, Daniel immediately started sobbing and gave Fuuta a giant hug.

"Ouch!" Fuuta muttered and could feel everybody's gaze on them, "Get off of me! You're getting your frozen tears all over this jacket!"

"Oh Fuuta! It was horrible! Do you know how bad a fishing boat can smell?"

"Yeah, I noticed." Fuuta's nose wrinkled in disgust.

"And the food! It was terrible! I've been out at sea for so long that I-I-I." Daniel couldn't finish and continued to cry as he relieved the pain and suffering he had endured on the trip.

Grughhhhhh… Daniel's stomach gave an all too familiar growl and Fuuta knew that his poor friend was starving… again.

"You… are a totally idiot," Fuuta rolled his eyes to the clear blue sky, wondering if asking Daniel to come back was really worth it. "And stop crying would you?"

Wow, such a touchy reunion. Spiritomb appeared in a shadowy haze in front of the two trainers. It makes a ghost like me want to puke spiritual residue.

"Spiritomb!" Daniel immediately grinned when catching sight of the purple and green spirit Pokémon though Fuuta scowled. "How are you?"

A lot better after I haunted someone last night, you should've seen him wet the bed.

Daniel looked back blankly and turned to Fuuta for translation.

"He's doing fine," Fuuta interpreted. Like most people, Daniel was unable to communicate with psychic Pokémon, much less a ghost, and often had to have Fuuta translate though Fuuta didn't really want to interpret what Spiritomb was really saying.

And you! Fuuta communicated psychically to Spiritomb. Don't show yourself in public like that. People are going to stare.

Well, aren't we a little bit touchy today? Just wanted to say hi. But the disgruntled Pokémon soon disappeared into the shadows again.

"Where's Shiki?" Daniel looked around as though he expected the girl to suddenly pop out of nowhere. There was so much hope in the guy's face.

"I didn't tell her that you were coming back."

"Didn't…tell?" Daniel's puzzled face showed that he didn't understand. "Wait, why?"

"Did you have something important to tell her?"

"No," Daniel responded blankly, not getting the slight sarcastic joke.

"Well, I didn't call you back here for a reunion. This sort of thing required you to come here to see for yourself. Plus, after everything you had just been through, do you really want me to bring Shiki here?" Daniel immediately registered what Fuuta was implying and quickly shook his head from side to side. If there was one thing the two trainers hate, it was making Shiki worried.

"Okay, good. Now let's go back to the hotel. There were a couple of cute girls there that I still need to flirt with. And you need a nice long bath." And without a single glance back at his friend, Fuuta walked down the stony path where the white snow had been scuffled around by boot prints and such. Daniel followed, but his pace was lively and jumping with excitement – like a hyper child.

"What's up? Why did you want me to come back so abruptly?"

"Well…" Fuuta fell silent; deciding the best way to say what was on his mind. "A couple of weeks ago, there was this Pokémon Contest I was in." Daniel didn't really respond and merely waited for Fuuta to continue.

"And I met a kid there. And… how should I say this…? He looks like your long lost identical twin."

"Identical twin? But I'm an only child. At least… that's what my parents told me… Unless… Gasp, was I cloned? If I am, then am I the real Daniel? Or is this all just some sort of bizarre dif-"

"No, you were not a clone and I know you're an only child," Fuuta quickly said, knowing his friend was prone to freak out rather quickly when he couldn't understand something, "Maybe identical is too strong of a word. What I meant is that he looks very similar to you."

"You mean like same age and height and hair color?"

"Yes and no… he's younger and there are definite distinct differences…" Fuuta fell silent. Those differences were what made the kid different from Daniel, but they also seemed familiar in Fuuta's mind. He wasn't sure why.

"So like a brother? Wait… was this the surprise? I have a new baby brother?! Is his name Frank?!"

"Daniel, I think your parents would tell you the news, not me if that were the case… And where did you get the name Frank?"

"Because it's a cool name… Plus, everybody seems to be calling me that…" Fuuta had a hard time to keep himself from rolling his eyes. He kept forgetting that Daniel made conversations more complicated if they did not get to the point.

"His name is Lucas."

"Lucas?" Daniel looked puzzle now and a brief flash of recognition of the name.

"What? You know him?" Fuuta could feel some strange emotions running through his friend's face.

"N-No. It's nothing… I just think I heard that name before." Daniel didn't elaborate, but the look on his face was unsettling.

"What? Where?" Fuuta could feel a prickling feeling of uneasiness as well.

"Hmm," Daniel scratched the back of his head as he tried to dig deep into his mind. "Ummm… Errrrr… Uhhhh… Welllll… I don't know…"

"A typical Daniel response," groaned Fuuta after waiting with anticipation.

"Hey!" Daniel said to his psychic friend who was shaking his head from side to side. "I've been kidnapped. Cut me some slack, will you?"

"SHHH! Don't say that out loud for everyone to hear!" The two fell silent for a moment and continued to walk before Fuuta just had to ask.

"When we were on the phone… you mentioned you were kidnapped… Care to ex-?" Fuuta abruptly stopped talking and his entire body tensed. Daniel had seen that look before. For a second, he managed to catch a glimpse of Spiritomb before it turned invisible again.

"What's wrong?" Daniel asked; his eyes widened.

Daniel, Fuuta replied calmly through the psychic link. Don't panic, but we're being followed.

Daniel panicked. His eyes widened with shock. He was about to say something, but Fuuta gave a hard cold stare and Daniel managed to clamp his mouth shut.

Fuuta knew the dangers of doing a psychic link with his friend, who had zero compatibility. The last time Fuuta attempted to teach Daniel to open his side of the psychic communication, Daniel ended up with a bloody nose… along with a two-day stay in the hospital for a blood transfusion. It wasn't that Daniel couldn't attempt; it's just that the consequences were far too great. In fact, that was the only time Daniel could recall Shiki genuinely mad at Fuuta.

Luckily, in case of emergencies, Fuuta was talented enough with his powers to force open a link which usually required two parties to contribute their time and part. Fuuta explained to Daniel that a psychic link was like calling someone on the telephone; it can only work if both parties were on the phone line.

Are you sure? How many people? Should we run? Are they people we know? Once he started interacting through this link, Daniel could feel the blood draining from his head and felt that familiar awful dizzy spell. The terrible side effects of communicating through a psychic link were affecting his visions and Daniel prayed that he wouldn't collapse like last time though the snow might cushion the fall better.

Stop talking! You know the consequence. I only made this link because I was afraid we're being overheard. Just remain calm. I'll take care of everything. If things get bad, run. Before Daniel could demand for answers, Fuuta immediately cut off the link and continued to walk briskly to the hotel. Daniel quietly tried not to act out of the ordinary as he felt his body slowly return back to normal state. Despite being told to remain calm, his eyes darted around but he didn't see anybody suspicious.

There were some kids running around and playing in the fresh snow. Older teens had snowboards or skis and were walking to the direction where the ski lifts were. Many others were in the quaint coffee shops where the smell of hot cocoa and chocolate blended into the icy air every time someone opened the doors. With so many people outside on this sunny day, surely the people following them wouldn't try to do anything.

Daniel was right. It wasn't the ones who were following them that he should've worried about.

Lake Valor

"So, Crasher Wake is back?"

"Yes," the young man in the early twenties replied on his cell phone as he stared in disgust at the nature around him. His science lab attire seemed out of place with the beautiful sparkling lake and luscious forest surrounding it. "And it seems he was siding with the activists against the construction. Of course that is no surprise there."

"The boss is not going to be happy about this. And we've already tried to rush the plan after he left to deal with that gym leader in Sunyshore."

"It looks like the Commander is going to have to go back to the original plan. But still, this is a perfect."

"How so?"

"Because," the man grinned as he inspected his fingernails for nonexistent dirt, "this is an opportunity to distract the gym leader from the real plan."

"Excuse me!" The mysterious man, irritated that he was being interrupted on his "private" conversation, turned to see the mayor of Pastoria City standing impatiently behind him. "I have done everything you have told me to do, but why do I have to be the scapegoat for this? Honestly!" This thirty year old or so woman obviously didn't like to be ordered around by someone who was more than ten years her junior.

"Patience, Miss Mayor," the guy sighed, still wondering why Commander Saturn had to include this woman into the plan, "We're going to get this done. And when we do, you'll be leagues above that gym leader."

"Hmph, you better be right. I still don't see the point of all this, draining a stupid marsh. Even if your company funded the project I still don't see why you need it done."

"Oh you'll see." The scientist flashed a small smile to himself. If only she knew what they were really planning to do. But then again, after what all the whining he had to endure, Erik couldn't wait to see the horror on her face when she finally found out what was in store.

Author's Notes

Well, okay that was a terrible April's Fool spoiler "joke" but I couldn't come up with anything.

Just like to point out that Erik had already shown up in Reverse Time chapter. Anybody know which chapter? You win a cookie if you answer correctly. ;)

And what do you know? Damion unexpectedly caught a Pokémon that is definitely nothing like him. And Daniel is finally back in Sinnoh. Hopefully, he doesn't teleport Fuuta back to Johto.

I noticed that there are several anonymous reviewers out there with questions so I'm going to answer the ones that seem to be repeated continuously.

First off, this story, though a shipping story, is not focused solely on romance. I'll try to add more romance but I don't feel like the storyline so far should go that way just yet. And I'll confess, I'm just not confident at writing teenage romance.

Second, as most of you know, I don't really have the time to update daily like I use to. I don't cancel a story without letting readers know. I have encountered school work, writer's block for several of my stories, and other commitments that results in a longer wait period. I'm sorry, but that's how it goes.

Anyways, thanks for the review and I'll see you in the next chapter.