Sam left Alexandra, feeling a bit rejected. He knew that she was right. What he had done was indeed foolish. Pidgeot continued his flight back to Saffron City. "Pidgeot, thank you for coming with me to see Alexandra." He rubbed the bird's neck.

"Geot!" Pidgeot cried and flapped his wings. He reached Saffron and began to slowly descend down to the earth. Once close to landing, Pidgeot flared sharply, brought his talons forward and landed neatly on the ground.

Sam got off of Pidgeot and noticed that John was standing outside the building, glaring at him. "Hey, John. What did you decide?" Sam asked, trying to sound perky.

"Where did you go? You were gone for a long time." John asked sternly. He narrowed his eyes.

Sam smiled, "Just went out flying. I was trying to clear my head. So what's the plan?" He had to lie. If John had known where Sam had flown, it would be the end of him. He couldn't allow John to know that he visited Alexandra.

"Well, we've decided to attack tonight. We will have the cover of darkness that will allow us to move in close to the target."

"Oh? Tonight?"

"Yes. I've already gathered Kanto's army. We will go in together."

Sam gulped. He did not expect them to attack so soon. "Excellent!" Sam said enthusiastically.

"Good. Glad to see that you are ready. Come, we begin our march immediately." John pointed toward the mass group of humans and Pokèmon that surrounded John's lab. Charles, Crystal, and Giovanni waited alongside the troops. "Come on, Sam. Let's go."

Sam watched as the men began to march and fell into step. What did I just get myself into? He wondered.

Meanwhile, several hours later, at Mount Silver, Alexandra and Mario were talking. "Mario, I think it would be wise if I scout ahead. See if there is anything suspicious happening in the canyon." Alexandra stated.

"Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all." Mario agreed. "But be careful. It's nearly nightfall. You don't want to get lost in the darkness."

She laughed, "Aerodactyl has wonderful night vision. I am not afraid of the dark." She began to leave but stopped suddenly. She had a bad feeling. "Mario?"

"Yes?"

"Be careful." She told him as she left the room. Alexandra's stomach felt sick. What is going on? Why am I so nervous? She wondered, walking toward the landing platform. Aerodactly was waiting for her.

"Aero?" He asked her.

She patted his head. "I'm fine. Let's fly." She got on his back and Aerodactyl began to flap hard. Since there were no thermals at night, he had to work to get into the air. But once they got into the sky, Aerodactyl used the air currents in the canyon to allow him to pick up speed that he could use to shoot himself into the sky.

"Dactyl!" He cried, soaring high above the base.

Alexandra looked down. There was nothing strange happening in the canyon. But the sick feeling did not go away. "Something bad is going to happen. Stay on your guard." She ordered.

"Aero." He agreed.

They continued to head north, unaware of the danger from the south. Both Aerodactyl and Alexandra were safe. Mario, however, was not. At the base, Mario peered into the darkness. He felt uneasy now that Alexandra had left. "Maybe I should have told her to stay." He muttered to himself as the watched the guards outside chance shift. Now a new set of guards would keep the base safe for a few hours.

Mario sighed and walked away from the window. His shoulders slumped slightly. He wasn't an old man, in his thirties, but he felt ancient. The first war was bad, but this was worse. Probably because I'm a leader in this war. He thought with a grunt. His shoes clicked on the floor as he entered his office. A map of Johto sat spread out on the table. There were various pen marks on the map from planning. Alexandra had a habit of writing on maps.

He glanced at the clock. It was about nine o'clock. Alexandra didn't say how long she was going to be gone. Hopefully she doesn't go out joy riding. Mario thought. He considered making a pot of coffee but decided against it. Too late for coffee. I don't want to be awake all night. He thought.

Then he heard shouts. "Now what?" He grumbled, walking toward the shouts. Hearing shouts did not worry him. Could be Alexandra playing a trick on us. Or it could be a fight amongst my men. It was when he heard gunfire that he became scared.

The men were returning fire. "What is going on?" Mario shouted over the sounds of guns. He saw his men. One had been wounded in the shoulder, but he continued to fire. Mario leaped toward the ledge and looked down. He gasped. Where did they come from? He thought, biting his lip. A massive army was firing on the base. Then he saw Blastoise shooting water toward his position. He dropped to the floor to avoid being blasted by water. His men, however, took the hit.

"Ahhgggrr!" The men cried. Some lost their footing and fell off the stone deck. Mario did not want to think of what was going to happen to them.

After returning to his feet, Mario cried, "Crystal! I should have known that you would join forces with Kanto! Damn you!"

Crystal laughed from far below and yelled, "Fool. You stand no chance!"

"You honestly think I'm going to surrender from the likes of you? If you want me, you'll have to have me dead! There is no way I'm giving up this base while I'm alive!"

"Dead it is, then!"

Mario dodged another blast of water and threw out a Pokèball. "Steelix! Get rid of them!" He bellowed. The massive steel Pokèmon roared.

Mario saw a man stand in front of Crystal and yell, "Gallade! Go!" A tall green and white Pokèmon appeared in front of the man. "Gallade! Use Close Combat!"

"Gallade!" The Gallade leaped at Steelix. In seconds, Steelix was defeated.

Mario could not believe his eyes. "No!" He cried, stunned. The enemy raised their guns to fire at him. He did not care. At least I'll be free.

Meanwhile, Alexandra and Aerodactyl flew higher in the sky. "Aero!" Aerodactyl cried. He heard the sound of gunfire from a distance.

Alexandra heard it as well. "Oh no! We have to get back now!" She shouted. Aerodactyl turned and sailed back to the base. Both saw hundreds of men surrounding the base, shooting. "No." Alexandra whispered. Aerodactyl landed in the shadows to avoid being seen. Alexandra leaped from him and ran, turning to yell, "I might need your help. Be ready!"

"Aero!" Aerodactyl cried.

Alexandra ran down the halls. She was in panic mode. Her eyes were wide with fear. "Help me, guys!" She threw out her Pokèballs. Charizard, Dragonite, Salamence, Flygon, and Garchomp were already in the air and flying toward the exit. "Get to Mario!" She cried.

Finally, all reached the exit. She saw Crystal standing over Mario, who had been captured. He was bleeding badly from several gunshot wounds. Fury burned in Alexandra's eyes and, without thinking; she leaped over several protective fences and dodged enemy gunfire. They were shooting at her! Once Alexandra was in range, she leaped into the air to kick Crystal away from Mario.

"What the?" Crystal yelped, looking up from her assault on Mario. Mario was barely breathing. "Ahhh!" She cried as Alexandra's foot hit her face.

Alexandra dropped gracefully and yelled, "GET AWAY!" Her voice was filled with anger. "That's my friend you're screwing with." She lowered her voice. Then she grabbed her gun and pointed it right at Crystal's head.

"Go on. Shoot." Crystal taunted. Alexandra narrowed her eyes and, quickly, fired into Crystal's knee. "AGH! MOTHERF—" Crystal cried, falling. She grabbed her knee and wailed in agony. Her knee was now a bloody mess.

Alexandra pointed her gun at John. "Get out." She growled.

John glared at her, then called back Gallade. "Alexandra. This is not over."

"No. It isn't." Alexandra hissed. Her eyes darted toward Charles and she snarled, "You too. Get the hell out! Mark my words, though. I will have my revenge."

Slowly, slowly, the Kanto army began to retreat. Crystal had to be carried by Blastoise and she continued to scream various insults at Alexandra. Sam watched from a distance as Alexandra leaned over Mario. But he was shoved back into the ranks by another soldier.

Alexandra placed her hand on Mario's head. "Mario? Can you hear me?" She asked, worried. Blood was split all over the rocks. Mario's face was badly beaten and pale. But he was still breathing. Barely. "Come on!" Alexandra commanded.

Mario coughed up blood and opened his swollen eyes. "My…Pokèmon….." He winced and continued, "Take….take….and…re…release…"

"Release your Pokèmon?" Alexandra echoed.

"…you…..thank you…I…I have…failed you…." Mario coughed again.

"You did not!" Alexandra cried. Her Pokèmon gathered around her, along with several of the NDSJ troops.

Mario looked into Alexandra's eyes. He was tired. So tired. I hope that one day you forgive me for abandoning you. Mario thought weakly. My sweet girl. My friend. My ally. His eyes started to shut.

"Don't you close your eyes!" Alexandra ordered.

Can't. I can't stop. I'm so tired. So tired. All I need is a little sleep. Remember sleep, my friend? Remember the time when we played hide and seek as children and I found you sleeping…wait….no…that wasn't you. That was someone else. Mario's mind began to fade. He was growing confused. Remember…remember….remember….

"Don't you die on me!" Alexandra apparently had Charizard carry him back into the base. Mario felt like he was flying.

Remember….remember…..remember me….Alexandra… Mario convulsed in Charizard's arms and began to vomit up blood.

Alexandra heard the sounds and turned. "Mario! Mario!" She cried. Her hands clutched his shirt and she shook him. There was no movement. "Oh god. Oh my god. He's….he's dead!" She began to cry. Tears began to pour from her.

The NDSJ members lowered their heads. Alexandra dropped to her knees and cried. Then she screamed, "You will pay for this, Crystal!"

END OF VOLUME ONE