COPYRIGHT NOTE: Nope. I still don't own Pokemon / Pocket Monsters or Resident Evil / Biohazard. After this crazy fic, I don't think people would want a psycho like me to own those series, either, heh.
COMMENTS: Story Revisions Complete: Summer 2010 – So yeah, to be honest…I'm shaking. I'm a nervous wreck right now. You guys have no concept of how skittish I am that this is the last chapter. I actually wrote and then re-wrote Ch.18, which partially explains why it took me so long to finish this. The version you're reading is the one I was happiest with. I'm crossing my fingers (to the point of losing circulation) and praying everybody likes this (because you see, your idiot authoress worries about the stupidest, most cockamamie of things). But it's now or never, isn't it? So I'm taking a deep breath, making my leap of faith, and let's do it!
I'm saving most of my obnoxious babbles for the ending notes. All I'll say for this chapter's opening A/N is that, as the title says, this episode is meant to be the epilogue. It's meant to be shorter than typical CN chapters (yeah, I know: shocking that Aiselne can write something shorter than 40 pages! Though, this episode isn't "exceptionally" short, but it's a helluva lot shorter than Ch.17). Nevertheless, I hope Ch.18 will be worth everybody's time.
So, without any more delay, Aiselne hopes you enjoy the very last episode of "Carnage Necropolis"! ^_^
FILE #018: "Epilogue: The Last Ones Standing"
Time and history enjoyed repetitively mocking themselves. Twelve hours ago this nightmare began. Twelve hours later, it ended. Somehow, the time span felt longer, much longer, and perhaps longer than the lifetime of any young girl.
The first thing Misty noticed was smoke. Fetor of charred rubble and death was unmistakable, burning the girl's nostrils and encouraging her to swallow backlogged acid. Blurred aquamarine eyes fluttered open, leaking smoke-induced tears. Flat on her back, the girl stared aimlessly into the dome-like sky. Behind the girl's liquid-rippled gaze, Misty saw the heavens blemished by thick black clouds. Smoke continuously rose to the heavens, taking with it the lives trapped in the Team Rocket Valhalla base.
It took a few additional seconds for her to realize it. But eventually, Misty soon acknowledged that she was not one of those lives ascending to the smoky heavens. Yet, her survival seemed almost too good to be true.
I…I'm alive? But…but how-?
Her memory was hazier than smoke. But somehow, as Misty drifted away from unconsciousness to full reality, more unwanted memories resurfaced. The redhead remembered killing Vincenzio, and not one shred of guilt was pinned to her conscience. Misty was unsure if her guiltlessness for murdering a man was good or bad. Alas, Vincenzio was a "monster," not a "man." If Misty felt zero shame in murdering zombies, there was no reason to mourn Vincenzio's killing. She was too numb to care anymore. Besides, a person cannot "kill" something that is technically dead. Misty's only solace was in knowing the infamous Dr. Nicolas Vincenzio finally got what he deserved. Perhaps, at long last, the troubled old man was at peace as well.
The rest of her recollection was vague, but chaotic. At the time, there was no opportunity to take a mental picture for personal memoirs. Misty knew she would be lucky to forget what transpired these twelve hours. If given the opportunity, she would rather forget than remember, so Misty never bothered to pay attention to her fleeing of the Valhalla base.
Run! Run! RUN!
Misty had grabbed onto Togepi and Meowth, and pumped adrenaline into her weary legs. She was too busy panting to talk, but her mind continuously screamed at her to hurry! Move FASTER! Don't stop! Don't talk! JUST RUN! All that mattered to her mind was getting the hell out of there, running into the woods. She direly needed to get as far away from the blast as possible. MOVE! MOVE! GO! Misty would continue to run until her legs snapped, and even then, she would keep crawling until her arms snapped. The red-haired girl's obsessive will to survive became a dead-set compulsion. Keep running! RUN! FASTER! FASTER! RUUUNN! Misty became a machine that just kept sprinting until the marathon was over.
The Valhalla Timberland attempted to foil her escape. Aboveground tree roots nearly toppled Misty like tripwires. Scraggly branches tried to grab her like skeletal zombie arms. The boughs scraped Misty's bare arms and legs, speckling the ground with blood droplets. Vein-like rivers of crimson tattooed Misty's bruised limbs. Nevertheless, she bit her tongue, ignored the pain, snapped the obnoxious arm-branches, and kept moving. Keep running! NEVER stop! Go! GO! Blurs of trees, shrubs, and boulders brushed past her like a fast-forwarded movie. Streaks of greens, browns, grays, and reds combined into a dizzying mélange. Furthermore, Misty's wounds and lethargy began to warp into a hindering lightheadedness. For a moment, the hyperventilating girl could not tell which way was up or down.
Fortunately, Misty learned very quickly which way was down.
For a moment, the lightheaded Misty felt herself flying, floating weightlessly into the air. Everything around her got inordinately bright, and she was almost certain she was on her way to Heaven.
Are you there, too? Are you waiting for me…Ash? Indeed, he probably was waiting for Misty. Ash would be ready to greet her with his beautiful smile, and ready to catch the redhead into his warm embrace. All Misty needed to do was reach out to him…
…But just before her fingers could meet Ash's…Misty's body became heavy. Gravity dropped the redhead like a stone cast into a river. The yelping girl passed out the moment her head hit the ground.
Thereafter, it was all over…for a moment.
Now after the fact, and after she realized she was still alive, Misty stared aimlessly up into the smoky sky. Gradually, feeling started to find its way back to her body, following her brief "out of body experience." Her bruises ached and her cuts stung. As a pained moan escaped her lips, Misty attempted to raise her hands to wipe her weepy eyes. Each arm felt as heavy as an elephant's trunk, and it took a greater amount of effort for Misty to lift her hands before her glassy eyes. The palms were caked in filth: the top layer poorly concealing the blood underneath. Misty had a feeling the rest of her body was once again covered on gruesomeness. So much for my cleaning at the Rocket base. Then again, it was only natural to look like hell after narrowly escaping it.
Knowing she would be stupid to wipe her eyes with bacteria-infested fingers, Misty released her arms, letting them heavily flop back to the ground. Her head was hammering a hangover-sized migraine, and Misty wondered if she suffered a brief concussion. Nothing on her body felt broken or paralyzed, which was a blessing, but Misty doubted she had the strength to run like a maniac anymore. At least she was out of any immediate danger, along with Meowth and Togepi-
Wait a sec… Misty suddenly realized, blinking once while raising her arms again. Only now did it finally dawn on Misty that her arms were vacant, no longer holding the cat and egg Pokemon. Even though her head felt like it housed an operational jackhammer, the panicking Misty started turning her head from side to side. She winced during every turn, and almost certain her skull would explode. However, the pain in her chest was starting to take dominance as Misty soon realized Meowth and Togepi were not nearby. Surely, Misty escaped with the Pokemon. Did she only 'imagine' taking Meowth and Togepi with her? No. Misty was certain she remembered them. She was positive!
But then…oh God…where are Togepi and Meowth?
Misty was unsure if she really wanted to find out.
The echoes of ground dirt piqued Misty's ears, coercing the girl to blink and turn her head towards the sound's direction. Her eyes were still blurred, but she could make out two figures walking towards her. Oh, thank God, she smiled in relief, blinking back grateful tears as the two figures came closer. Misty's tears prevented her from fully identifying the transients, but she assumed there was no need. Who else could be approaching her? Togepi…Meowth…
Too bad Misty forgot how suicidal it was to "assume" something.
"Well, well, well…what do we have here?"
"She's that girl from the hospital, isn't she?"
The voices were familiar, but to Misty's displeasure, the newcomers' voices did not belong to Meowth or Togepi. Only then did the disoriented Misty blink away as many tears as possible, clearing her troubled vision. Once the images cleared, the girl's aquamarine eyes widened in unprecedented shock at the two Rocket agents standing above her. Those agents were not Jessie and James, either.
Perhaps Misty still was hallucinating. Maybe she did have a concussion and was imagining the Rockets. Par usual, both Butch and Cassidy were wearing haughty expressions on their faces, Cassidy especially. Misty could think of far better people to dream about than these cocky idiots. The girl might have trusted Jessie and James, but the same could not be said about their dark counterparts.
"Helluva mess you brats made," grunted Butch, before folding his arms over his chest. Still not quite absorbing the situation, Misty did not realize what Butch was implying until he opened his raspy mouth again. "Not that I'm surprised. You kids always enjoyed meddling with us. I guess this'll teach you to keep your noses outta' other people's business."
Is he…blaming US for this incident? Misty could hardly believe, before swallowing phlegm and huffing coarsely. "T-Team Rocket only has themselves to blame for this," the girl replied, narrowing daggers into Butch, even though the action caused Misty's headache to pound mercilessly. "Don't bother making me the scapegoat of a mess you made."
"Hey, it wasn't our faults, either," Butch countered matter-of-factly, though Misty was not convinced. People like Butch and Cassidy did not exactly carry imaginary signs labeling their innocence. "The boss just decided to go off the deep end."
"Yeah," snorted Misty, painfully rolling her blue eyes. 'Going off the deep end' was a gross understatement to describe what happened to Giovanni. "No shit."
Hearing vulgar language from such a young lady perked Cassidy's interest. "You're that loudmouthed girl who used to tag along with the bratty Pikachu trainer, aren't you?" the woman's catty voice suddenly observed, tearing Misty's glare from Butch to the blonde. Amethyst eyes locked with aquamarines, Cassidy finally recognized Misty. Just as Cassidy suspected, this girl was indeed the annoying redhead who owned the Togepi Jessie, James, and Meowth 'caught' earlier. "I thought so."
Misty was not overly fond of how Cassidy condescendingly referred to Ash as "the bratty Pikachu trainer." He has a name, dammit. Then again, Ash had a habit of attracting rude nicknames. Before last night, Jessie, James, and Meowth always called Ash "twerp." Then there was Gary and "Ashy Boy." Misty knew she coined a few not-so-nice names for Ash in the past, too. Considering his selfless efforts in Acheron, Misty knew Ash never got the credit he rightfully deserved.
"His name was Ash," Misty snarled, sounding as though she wanted her voice to etch the name into Butch and Cassidy's memories. Glaring daggers into both Rockets, Misty balled a dirt-filled fist. She continuously fought bittersweet tears as Misty defended the dignity of the life that was her beloved Ash Ketchum. "And he was a better person than either of you could ever hope to become!"
Butch and Cassidy never tolerated people ballsy enough to attack their pride. The arrogant Rockets believed they were far superior to everyone, especially spoiled little kids. Particularly, after escaping the Valhalla base long before it exploded, Cassidy and Butch were feeling exceedingly full of themselves. If there was anything the Rockets loved more than escaping scot-free, it was rubbing their victories in the faces of lowlifes such as Misty. If a person dared to criticize them, Butch and Cassidy made damn certain the person would never insult them again.
However, neither Rocket could help but notice Misty's words, specifically one word she happened to say twice. "'Was'?" the blonde raised an eyebrow at Misty's past tense. When the redhead realized what she said, Cassidy exchanged a knowing grin with her partner. Neither Butch nor Cassidy was blind to the fact that Misty happened to be alone at the moment.
"Speaking of which, where is your bratty friend, girlie?" the blonde bitch happily rubbed salt in Misty's wounds, causing the girl's eyes to liquefy more fervently. Misty did not have to answer Cassidy's question for the woman to know the truth. Taking a step closer to Misty, Cassidy stared down at the laying girl. The child looked damaged in more ways than one. How pitiful…
…Not that Cassidy gave a shit. After the frustrating events of the last few hours, the blonde was rather eager to take out her angers. Misty just happened to be in a convenient position. "Aaw, don't tell me your brainless little boyfriend finally kicked the bucket," Cassidy sneered, causing Misty's tear-filled eyes to widen in hurtful fury. The woman could care less if she offended Misty. After all the headaches and humiliations those twerps caused Butch and Cassidy, the blonde was itching for payback. Giovanni was not the only Team Rocket member who lived under the assumption that everyone was at fault…except himself.
"How sad for you. So, sooo sad," Cassidy taunted via a mocking sniffle, noticing Butch stifle a few snickers. Enjoying herself, Cassidy leaned over the silently fuming Misty. The redhead looked like a time bomb ready to explode, seconds away from unleashing a tirade of obscenities. Shifting her leg, Cassidy then glared her own daggers down into Misty.
"It's about damn time you good-goodies learn life's not a free-for-all," the blonde Rocket spoke with a pint of jealousy. Cassidy abhorred people who thought the world revolved around themselves. She was too arrogant to realize she was one of those people, too. The Rockets enjoyed watching the Valhalla base go up in flames, viewing the show from a safe distance in the Valhalla Timberland. Everything was so amusing. "I'm glad the tables have turned. For once, we are the victorious ones. With the S and G-Jects, Butch and I will cash in on this disaster." Naturally, Misty blinked via Cassidy's last statement. How the hell-? Paying no mind to the redhead's wondering, Cassidy shifted her leg again, suspiciously. "Meanwhile, you can finally savor the taste of a crushing defeat. It serves you right!"
And before Misty had the opportunity to scream expletives, Cassidy's suspicious leg launched forward. The black-heeled boot struck the midriff between Misty's tank top and shorts. Unprotected, and certainly not expecting the underhanded attack, Misty gasped a cry before flipping over, landing on her hit stomach. Harmless acid dripped out the corners of the girl's agape mouth. Nausea, agony, but mostly rage welled inside the moaning girl's tense body. Sadly, Misty was too weak to stare up at her enemies anymore. Doubling over and shedding two silent teardrops, the girl clutched her flat tummy. Misty could only pray Cassidy never succeeded in breaking or rupturing anything vital.
The redhead discreetly felt around her midsection, trying to estimate any damage, along with ensuring her own Ject sample was intact. Plus, Misty sure as hell did not want Butch and Cassidy to have a complete set of Vincenzio's Khimaira-Jects. Fortunately, she could feel one pocket contain a bulge from the small vial, while the other pocket contained…nothing?
Wait…what happened to my pistol? At this moment, Misty had no clue if she dropped her 9mm during her escape of the Valhalla base, or if the gun was knocked out of her pocket thanks to Cassidy's blow. It no longer mattered, through. Like it or not, Misty was unarmed against the overbearing dark Rockets. The worst part was that Cassidy and Butch would clearly stop at nothing to take out their angers on the defenseless girl. Sick, twisted assholes.
Somehow, despite how she never expected Cassidy to kick her, Misty was not 'overly' surprised. After all, Cassidy and Butch were as low as the rest of their despicable organization. Jessie, James, and Meowth were the sole Rocket agents with hearts. Ash was not the 'only' person who was better than Butch and Cassidy could hope to become. Alas, Misty was too distracted to voice such a pride-bursting opinion, especially since her stomach felt like it might be the one to burst. That never meant Misty did not seek vengeance upon Cassidy. Though, the redhead had to admit that she was undecided regarding which pissed her off more adamantly: Cassidy's abuse…
…Or the dark Rockets' insistency to insult the honorable young man Misty loved.
Butch was the one to snort this time, not that Misty could see his crooked grin. Both he and Cassidy towered over the wounded Misty, staring down at her like gloating demons seeking to dice what little will she had left. For the first time in their lives, Butch and Cassidy were the winners while the twerps were the losers, and there was no greater joy. "Psh, death couldn't have happened to a more deserving kid." The redhead's eyes widened to the point of almost popping blood vessels. "I'm just sad it didn't happen sooner. I hope that obnoxious little shit got exactly what he deserved."
Misty was too stunned with rage to verbally speak.
I hope you two…and ALL of Team Rocket…I hope you fuckin' bastards burn in Hell!
…And a gun fired.
Actually, a gun fired twice.
Just before the redhead could explode in fury, she lifted her heavy head. Seconds after the twin shots, thuds hit the ground simultaneously. Before Misty's blinking eyes fell the once-overly-proud bodies of the dark Rockets: Butch to Misty's left, and Cassidy to her right. Both facedown, the brown dirt nearest their faces darkened maroon, whilst the backs of the fallen faces sported small blowhole-like spouts of blood. Like everything else that transpired during the last twelve hours, Butch and Cassidy's deaths happened too quickly for Misty to even realize they occurred. By the time her brain processed and absorbed the situation, Butch and Cassidy were dead.
Misty could not say she felt sad, but she definitely felt confused. But…HOW?
A gun clicked, followed by the crunching sounds of approaching footsteps. The mysterious gunslinger was obviously making his or her way nearest Misty. There was no guarantee that Butch and Cassidy's killer came to rescue Misty, either. After all, it was a wee bit too late for some cliché "knight in shining armor" to gallop onto the stage. Nevertheless, Misty dared to be brave and face her approaching hero, or enemy.
Click. The gun clicked again, this time indicating it was empty. Tossing the useless weapon, Misty's rescuer then scoffed to the Rocket corpses. "Yeah, and I hope yous two basta'ds get exactly what ya desoive, too."
Misty only needed to blink once more, before the image of the heaven-sent cat finally registered into her chaotic mind. "Me-Meowth?" she choked, before coughing on phlegm credited to Cassidy's veritable low blow. No longer carrying the gun, Meowth's paws picked up the Togepi standing beside him. Using her hacking fit as their cue, the feline and egg rushed over to the injured Misty. Spitting out a combination of red and silver fluids, Misty's groggy voice attempted to cough, "W-wha…you…doing here?"
Softening his face, Meowth set Togepi down beside Misty. The infant instantly toddled over to its wounded mommy, provoking Meowth to bite his lip for a second. "Ya blanked out for a moment," the cat reported, recalling how panic-stricken Togepi behaved when its dear mother refused to wake up. Even though Misty was unconscious for a minute, it felt like much longer for Meowth and Togepi. "So me an' Togepi went ta go look for help. We hoird da' commotion and ran back…" and the rest of the story was lying in bloody heaps on the ground. "I took ya gun…just in case…" he trailed. For obvious reasons, Meowth took Misty's handgun to protect him and Togepi during their trek through the woods.
However, the cat also harbored an additional, albeit unspoken, reason for stealing Misty's gun. The last thing he needed was for the girl to awaken and find out she was all alone. The traumatizing effects of Acheron City, the Valhalla base, combined with being alone…Meowth shuddered at what Misty might have done in her hysteria. There was a small reassurance in knowing she would be unarmed in the event the girl gave into her rightful despair.
Knowing she owed Meowth her life, Misty just smiled "Thanks" and did not bother broaching the gun subject. Swallowing to clear her throat, Misty then climbed to her knees, still doubled over and clutching her bruised abdomen. Misty would have been lying if she claimed she was 'sad' to know Butch and Cassidy were dead. God only knew what those jerks would have done to her, especially in such a secluded area. Getting kicked in the stomach was miniscule compared to getting raped or killed. There was relief in knowing the dark Rockets could no longer harm her. However, that did not mean Misty relished the idea of laying between carcasses, either. After the last twelve hours, Misty believed she lived in the company of death for long enough.
On her hands and knees, the redhead crawled a few feet away from the dead Rockets. Spying the nearest tree, Misty sat against its trunk, breathing heavily and needing a few minutes to recompose herself. Togepi faithfully went to Misty's side, though the baby was leery about jumping into Misty's arms, mindful of Mommy's hellish tummy ache. Instead, the infant remained by Misty's legs, placing a tiny arm on the girl's knee as Togepi's only reassurance. "Togi…"
Smiling softly, Misty placed one hand on Togepi's ticklish spikes in silent appreciation. "Have either of you…found James yet?"
Meowth and Togepi did not expect that heart-wrenching question. Admittedly, though the cat and infant went to go look for someone to help Misty, they also wanted to find the missing member of their party. It was still anyone's guess regarding whatever happened to James. Exchanging depressed sighs, the cat and egg glanced down at their feet.
Not expecting Togepi to reply, Meowth unwillingly did the honors. "We didn't find him, Misty," he shrugged, fighting off tears. There was no point in crying until Meowth knew with utmost certainty that James was dead. However, nobody saw James emerge from the Valhalla base, and Meowth and Togepi had yet to find James in the forest. Valhalla Timberland was a massive mountain forest that could take days to scour. However, Meowth assumed if James did flee into the forest, he would probably be in the vicinity. After all, James fled behind Misty's group, so he probably emerged last and would be closer to the base than Misty's position. "But I'm sure he's close by. He's gotta' be."
Placing a hand delicately atop her tender belly, Misty tiredly closed her watery eyes. "I hope so, Meowth."
The girl took the words right out of Meowth's mouth. But now was not the time to worry about James. James was older and Meowth knew the young man could take care of himself. However, Misty was injured thanks to those Rocket assholes. The girl probably needed medical attention, but what could Meowth do? The Valhalla Timberland was out in the middle of no-man's land. The nearest city was thirty miles away. Furthermore, that city happened to be Acheron, and it went up in smoke! Crap, we're screwed, but Meowth refused to speak such fatalistic words and worry Misty or Togepi.
"The authorities are bound to show up soon," Misty figured. She even went further to assume cops would arrive in the very immediate future. It had been a few hours since Acheron's nuclear decimation. The Pokemon League, police, army, and government were bound to know about the incident and send troops ASAP. And since Acheron City was near Valhalla, the self-destruction of the Team Rocket Valhalla base could not possibly go unnoticed. Without a doubt, Team Rocket would not get away with what happened these past twelve hours.
Then again…Giovanni covered his tracks. By nuking both Acheron City and his Valhalla base, all the evidence necessary to dissolve Team Rocket was obliterated. Just because the locations were gone did not mean Team Rocket ended. Misty did not even know what happened to Team Rocket's boss, but even Giovanni's death did not guarantee dissolution. Like any organization, government, or mafia, if a leader suddenly died, a new leader was quickly appointed. Team Rocket was too well organized to let even their boss' death jeopardize their futures. For all Misty knew, a new boss was on his or her way. Giovanni's throne would not remain empty for an extended period of time, especially with the Pokemon League breathing down Team Rocket's throat.
Unfortunately, if evidence of the Khimaira-Ject outbreaks were destroyed, then there would be nothing the League could do to stop Team Rocket from resuming power. Then there would be the possibility of this nightmare resurrecting all over again. After all, mediocre sequels tended to follow a mold: flashier, more expensive, more excessively violent and gruesome…and eventually turning into a ginormous mess compared to their predecessors. Misty could not let that happen.
Fortunately, hope was not lost just yet. Misty still had the L-Ject, after all. Plus…
"Meowth…" the girl whispered, barely audible for Meowth's ears to notice. Taking another deep achy breath, Misty pointed her free hand towards the Rocket bodies. "Search Butch and Cassidy's pockets."
Blinking at the strange request, the cat could not help but ask "What for?"
Misty was not in the mood to argue. "Just do it," she ordered gently. "You'll understand afterwards."
Knowing he could only trust Misty's words, the cat shrugged and did as he was told. Granted, Meowth could think of better things to do than loot carcasses. However, his paws willingly fished through the bloody pockets. Holding back gags, Meowth searched every visible pocket across Butch's body. When the cat's claws tinked against a familiar-feeling glass vial, that was when the cat understood Misty's intentions.
"No way…" Meowth muttered, before pulling out the red G-Ject from Butch's back pocket. The cat almost accidentally dropped the sample, hardly believing he was holding such an invaluably volatile substance. He did not even bother asking what the hell Butch was doing with the Ject in the first place. Misty's intentions clear as crystal, Meowth almost anticipated what he would find in Cassidy's pockets. After searching the blonde, sure enough, into Meowth's other paw went the blue S-Ject. "No freakin' way!"
Misty remembered the Rockets bragging about their possession of the S and G samples. Naturally, the girl had no clue 'how' Butch and Cassidy acquired the virus and vaccine. Though she did not physically show it, Misty was just as stunned as Meowth. However, if Misty knew the dark Rockets, then she knew Butch and Cassidy must have stolen the Jects. Probably for their own selfish needs, Misty assumed with a scowl. They were probably smuggling Jects, just like Vincenzio assumed I was doing in Acheron. Greedy bastards.
Frankly, Butch and Cassidy's worries were over, and their reasons for possessing S and G were unnecessary. The bottom line was "Now we have all three Khimaira-Jects," Misty softly confirmed, reaching into her pocket to showcase the purple L-Ject. Once Meowth returned to her side, all three Jects went into Misty's hands. Handle with utmost care, Misty warned herself, because you're holding weapons of potential biological warfare. Of course, Misty had no intentions of igniting war. Her reasons for obtaining the three Jects was much simpler, and better.
Nearly reading the girl's mind, Meowth swallowed. "Da' poifect evidence…" Those three Jects were the only proofs to indefinitely end Team Rocket's nightmare. Surely, the escapees' troubles would be over once they brought the S, G, and L-Jects to the authorities. Then the survivors could find piece of mind.
Though for Misty, she had a feeling her wounds would take a very, very long time to heal. She was not referring to her physical wounds, either. It was as Ash said back in the Acheron Chemical Planet. Even if Team Rocket was dissolved and sued for every cent, justice would be served, but it could not revitalize the fallen. Yes, possessing all three Khimaira-Jects was a godsend, but…
"Too many people died for these samples, Meowth," Misty unemotionally murmured, blinking before she slipped the Jects into her shorts' pockets. Shaking her head sorrowfully, images of her Pokemon, Brock, Pikachu, Nina, Ash, Jessie…everyone…flashed before her watering eyes. "Nothing 'perfect' is worth that much blood, Meowth. Nothing."
Feeling his own blue eyes prick, Meowth nodded wholeheartedly. "Yeah."
An awkward pause of silence then engulfed the heavy-hearted trio. It was strange. Now they possessed the means to end Team Rocket, but none of the survivors knew what their next move should be. Meowth was worried about James, Togepi was worried about Misty, and Misty was worried about…everything.
Once more, the redhead stared heavenward, desperately searching for a small hole between the distant smoke. There was no rain, so Misty assumed beyond the veil of smoke laid a clear blue sky, white puffy clouds, and golden sun. Heaven, maybe? Come to think of it, Misty vaguely remembered hearing how 'Valhalla' was synonymic for 'Heaven.' Then again, 'Acheron' held the same relation to 'Hell,' but Misty already knew that through first-hand experience. At least the hell that was Acheron City was gone.
So then…why did Misty feel tears brimming her eyes?
Maybe it was because Misty knew that Acheron City's decimation was not the most benevolent of blessings. Yes, the city's viral outbreak no longer threatened the world, and that was reason enough to rejoice. However, the city's obliteration not only suggested the potential of Team Rocket getting away scot-free. With the city's evidence eradicated, such also meant the bodies of the fallen were eradicated.
Only now did Misty realize I can't even…bury them. Give Ash, Brock, Pikachu…everyone a proper farewell…the farewells they deserve. And, oh God, how will I explain it to their families? The thoughts alone almost drove Misty to break down entirely, forcing her to painfully clamp her eyes shut. None of us can say goodbye.
She did not want to bear it.
Brock's poor little brothers and sisters…they're too young for something like this.
And Mrs. Ketchum…Ash was her only child. Her only family, too.
So consumed by grief and past horrors, Misty just wanted to block everything and drift into oblivion.
How can I p-possibly tell the families that their sons di-?
…I…I c-can't handle that! Dammit! I just CAN'T!
…All…a-all in time.
Yes, Misty was still scared. Yes, she was even sobbing, though the girl never realized it. Drip after drip, countless lines of tears were squeezed out of Misty's shut eyes. Her heaving chest doubled the pain in her stomach, almost coercing the girl to vomit. Unfortunately, Misty knew no matter how hard she cried, or how long she retched, nothing would change the fact that she was left alone in this world. Like Ash said back at the Pokemon Center: nothing was "okay" about any of this, and nothing would be "okay" for a very long time, if ever.
However…there was a sliver of comfort in knowing that someday, somehow, Misty's life might be "okay" in the future. Better yet, the lives of the rest of the world would be "okay" thanks to the efforts of so many courageous heroes. Acheron's fallen were soldiers killed on the battlefield, killed in the most honorable of ways. For those reasons, Ash and the others deserved every tear shed from Misty's eyes. But at least the heroes' suffering was finally over. Misty no longer had to worry about Ash being uncharacteristically silent, crying, or hearing him depressively hating himself. Their pain was over.
It's over…for now…
For the first time in what felt like forever, Misty did believe the odds were finally in her favor. She possessed the ultimate evidence at the highest cost, and surely it would not go to waste. The dawn of Team Rocket and Khimaira's viral reign was over before it started. Like it or not, that was a victory. It would not resurrect the dead, but it did make the deaths more valuable. True, this was a far cry from any "happy ending" Misty would have preferred to experience. There were no hugs, kisses, and smiles. It was depressing, really. However, Misty took a small reassurance in knowing not all hope was lost.
Because in actuality, people were indeed looking after Misty and her friends.
"Misty? Misty! Hey! Hurry up an' open ya eyes! Ya gotta' see dis'!"
She ignored Meowth. Misty's world started fading into a long overdue slumber, deeper than she received at the Valhalla base. Even so, the girl found herself remembering memories she preferred to forget. Misty was afraid of the future, which was arguably more terrifying than the hells from which she emerged. Misty did not want to face Ash and Brock's families. In fact, the girl would prefer to get locked in a psychiatric ward for all eternity, as long as it meant she would not have to relay the tragic news. Unfortunately, the families deserved to know. Someday, somehow, Misty would cross that bridge, though nobody said it had to be immediately.
Someday, somehow, Misty would make sure Ash and Brock's memories were remembered, too. They deserved monuments in their honors! Then again, Ash, Brock, and the others would not want elaborate funerals or tributes in their memories. Stopping Team Rocket would be more than enough.
"Misty! Hey…come' on, open ya' eyes!"
But something was telling Misty, that above all, her friends would want her to continue living. Yes, stopping Team Rocket was a goal worth fighting for. However, Ash and Brock were not selfish enough to hope Misty would end her life on account of their deaths. They were still encouraging her to keep moving, not just to escape a death-defying adventure or go to the authorities.
Keep moving…and move on with my life. It was easier said than done, and Misty doubted such would happen anytime soon. At least there was comfort in knowing there would be others grieving her pain. Surely, Brock's family would help in any way possible. Plus, Mrs. Ketchum would more than happily do anything for Misty, whom the mother obviously considered to be a daughter she never had. Meowth and Togepi were still here, too.
I'm not alone.
Once she realized this warm reassurance, Misty finally went to sleep.
"We interrupt this program for breaking news from the Valhalla Timberland in Johto. Valhalla News Channel 7 has been informed of two cataclysmic explosions from that area. Here now is Kathleen with the details. Kath?"
"Thanks, Rick. I am reporting from outside the Valhalla City Police Department station, where Chief Marcel has just finished speaking to the press. According to the reports, a type of explosion decimated Acheron City. Presumably, the blast was nuclear. Another blast also destroyed the Valhalla Logging Co. building approximately twenty to twenty-five miles away.
"As of yet, investigators have not confirmed or released any concrete details. It was first believed that Acheron fell victim to a nuclear reaction from its famed chemical plant. However, in light of the Valhalla Logging Co.'s explosion shortly after Acheron's, investigators suspect the incidents may be connected. The V.P.D. and Pokemon League now believe these explosions may be more than mere accidents, and terrorism is suspected. Detectives seem to believe Acheron was targeted first, and the logging building second. Estimated times of the explosions range from six o'clock this morning to nine o'clock, but neither times have been currently verified.
"Chief Marcel of the Valhalla Police Department issued this statement at ten o'clock this morning, regarding the two incidents:
"'Right now, the V.P.D. is doing everything in their power to contact Acheron's department. Unfortunately, we have not received any word, even from the A.P.D.'s Chief Ulisse. I also had two of my own men recruited to investigate Acheron, and I have yet to hear from them as well. Based on the amount of damage, it is unknown yet if there are any survivors in Acheron City. Currently, no survivors have been found in Acheron's blast zone. Rest assured, the V.P.D. will do everything in its power to search the remains of both explosion sights. We will be working with the Pokemon League and numerous Johto police districts to ensure this matter gets rectified as soon as possible. That'll be all.'"
"At ten-thirty, Pokemon Master Lance voiced the League's concerns on this matter:
"'This is truly a tragic event, but it has not gone unnoticed. I have already spoken with Johto's President and we intend to get to the bottom of this affair. All of Acheron and Valhalla will be quarantined, and the army has been commissioned. Under the circumstances, all Johto Pokemon Gyms and stadiums are to be closed for the safety of citizens. As of this moment, if terrorists are at fault, then they are still at large. However, I assure you they will not be for long. We at the League will not let the lives lost in Acheron and Valhalla die in vain. Thank you.'"
"Aside potential terrorism, reasons or motives for the incidents have yet to be confirmed. The logging explosion is believed to be random and with little explanation as to why terrorists might attack it. However, as viewers may or may not be aware, Acheron City was well known for its chemical plant. A few years ago, controversies arose regarding the suspicious shutdown of Acheron Memorial Hospital, alongside the sporadic construction of the chemical plant. Before the citywide destruction, Acheron's chemical plant was the highest-grossing research facility in the Johto Region, though its research was strictly confidential. This leads investigators to wonder if the Acheron chemical plant could have been a factor in its city's crisis. However, I repeat that nothing has yet to be confirmed, and these are mere speculations on behalf of the detectives."
"At ten-forty A.M., we interviewed Officer Jenny Leighland of New Bark Town. She is one of the many officers commissioned to investigate Acheron City and Valhalla Timberland:
"'Right now, my squad has yet to find any survivors in Acheron City. However, we did manage to find two civilians a short distance away from the logging site. One was a young girl, pre-teens, and the other was a young man who appears in his late teens, early twenties. There were also two unharmed Pokemon, presumably the girl's.
"'The child received minimal cuts and bruises with mild smoke inhalation. Unfortunately, the man suffered a broken leg and several broken ribs. We also found his body closer to the logging explosion sight, whereas the girl and Pokemon were about two miles from his position. He was in critical condition when we found him, but medical teams report his health is slowly improving. Both victims are currently receiving hospital treatment, but Chief Marcel has ordered that the locations of their hospitals remain confidential until a later date. The V.P.D. and Pokemon League would prefer to keep any further details about the survivors confidential until better evidence may be obtained. I'm sorry, but I'm not at liberty to answer those questions.
"'Um…yes…you are correct, I've been told the V.P.D. did indeed receive an anonymous phone call pertaining to Acheron City. All Chief Marcel told me was that the phone call asked for the V.P.D. to send backup ASAP to Acheron. This message was received approximately two hours before the city's presumed explosion. All I know for certain is a man called, and he asked for V.P.D. squads to search for someone named 'Neen.' The police weren't able to identify him. We're assuming this was a victim's 911 call before the explosion. It hasn't been verified just yet. After all, stations get prank 911 calls all the time. We can't afford to send an entire squad without verification. None of us suspected anything like THIS to happen, though. I'm sorry, but it's obviously too soon to tell what happened in Acheron. It would be best to just let the V.P.D. and League do their jobs right now. No more questions, please.'
"Valhalla News Channel 7 will be continuing coverage of the Acheron and Valhalla disasters as more information arrives. Viewers concerned of relatives or loved ones in the afflicted vicinities are urged to call the toll-free emergency hotline at 1-800-"
"I'm toirnin' off da TV. Dis is depressin' and Misty needs her sleep."
Once the wall-mounted TV went black, the band-aid-clad Meowth and Togepi remained silent at the foot of Misty's hospital bed. A gentle breeze swept through the silenced room, swaying white curtains framing an opened window. Through there, afternoon sunlight shined and displayed the magnificently beautiful city of Valhalla. The sun shimmered off the city's tall skyscrapers, causing everything in Valhalla to look ethereally like the 'Heaven' the city was named after. After running around Acheron's hell, Meowth almost forgot how lovely a lively city could appear. If only Misty could see this gorgeous urban panorama.
The bandaged redhead had been totally unconscious, miraculously oblivious to what transpired after her escape of the Valhalla base. Now, the survivors were being secretly protected in the arms of the V.P.D. in the Valhalla General Hospital. Guards were stationed outside Misty and James' separate rooms, ensuring the poor victims could recover. The only reason Meowth and Togepi were permitted into Misty's room was because she was in stable condition, better than James. Plus, the cops and doctors assumed Meowth and Togepi belonged to the little girl. As long as the Pokemon behaved and let Misty sleep, Meowth and Togepi could wait at the girl's beside for moral support. Doctors assumed a scared child like Misty would appreciate the gesture. Poor James was not so lucky to be in friendly company, but at least he was recovering, and not dead.
Drawing Togepi into his arms, Meowth sniffled soft sobs, thanking every spiritual entity for ensuring James' survival. The moment he heard James was alive, never mind expected to make a full recovery, the cat fell to his knees and wept. Reversing roles, it was actually little Togepi who comforted the crying Meowth this time, instead of the other way around. Though he lost so much in Acheron and Valhalla, Meowth also realized he had to many reasons to be grateful. Meowth could hardly sit still and wait for the doctors to tell him James was stable and could be visited. The cat was desperate to run to his old friend and bury his wet whiskers into James' chest. For James to have narrowly escaped the Valhalla base's explosion, and still be alive, was surely credited to an angel.
Meowth knew which angel to personally thank, too.
Tank' you, Jessie.
In fact, though Meowth was not overly religious, he had to admit that he believed several guardians were watching over the escapees. Many people believed deities like Ho-Oh watched over the suffering. A Pokemon like Meowth naturally respected the legendaries. Even so, the cat was not inclined to believe the 'guardians' who protected him and his friends were omnipotent Pokemon, either.
Vaguely, Meowth recognized the name "Neen" mentioned in the television broadcast. Didn't Nina's boyfriend call her dat'? Perhaps that jerkoff policeman was actually a halfway decent guy after all. Tauris obviously would not have secretly called backup if he did not care about Nina. True, his backup failed to save Nina. However, it was the same backup that eventually found the sole survivors of Acheron in Valhalla Timberland. Misty had passed out in the forest, and for a moment, Meowth freaked out, not knowing what to do. He even briefly feared the worst, but the cat did not dare speak such in weepy Togepi's presence. But then the V.P.D. came with other Johto authorities, with another Officer Jenny no less. If that was not a 'sign,' Meowth did not know what was. For all he knew, the police rescue was thanks to both Tauris and Nina.
Tauris watched over Nina to the bitter end.
Nina mightily protected the younger escapees.
Jessie was James and Meowth's guardian angel.
All the fallen Pokemon died for them.
Plus, Brock, Pikachu, and Ash were looking after Misty and Togepi.
For now, the worst seemed to finally be over, and it was about damn time.
So far, no connections had been made regarding Team Rocket, but Meowth knew they could not hide for long. After all, the grinning cat made certain Officer Leighland, Chief Marcel, and Lance received the three Khimaira-Jects. The cops did not quite understand "what" those vials were, but police officers could not be expected to understand, either. Lance was a different story. After all, the Pokemon League had suspected Team Rocket's dirty business for quite some time. It was agreed to leave the Jects in the League's hands, and that was more than enough for Meowth. Once the chemicals reached League scientists' jurisdiction, it would only be a matter of time before all those uncertainties on TV became answers.
It's in dere' hands, now, Meowth knew, actually breathing a small sigh of relief. The cat knew he could not wash his hands, or paws, of what happened in Acheron City and Valhalla Timberland. But now that the League obtained the necessary evidence, Team Rocket was as good as dead. And it soirves Team Rocket right!
Until then, Meowth and Togepi turned to the unconscious Misty. For safety's sake, the doctors 'wired' the girl with various tubes for breathing, blood, and nourishment. Acheron's adventures clearly took a considerable toll on Misty, and the doctors deduced that she was suffering a very low level of smoke inhalation, malnutrition, and severe fatigue. Plus, there was Cassidy's "gift" to take into consideration, but no broken bones or ruptured organs were found. Misty's health was not a challenge for doctors to solve. Alas, Meowth knew Misty was suffering far greater problems than a sleepy head and achy stomach. He already heard doctors discuss eventual psychiatric evaluation, too. It was a necessary evil, unfortunately.
Biting his lip, Meowth closed his eyes sadly. I really wish, when she wakes up, I could just tell her, "Hey, it was just a dream, Misty! Now prepare for trouble!" But that would never happen. Still… the cat prayed, snuggling Togepi and locking his hopeful blue eyes on the bedridden redhead. I hope she and Jimmy have sweet dreams until dey' wake up.
Undeniably, it did not take a genius to know what, or who, James was dreaming about.
"I love you, James."
The same applied to Misty.
Surely, things happened for a reason. Misty would probably take greater comfort in that belief later on, when the wounds did not bleed so profusely. Right now, she needed to rest. She had not rested this deeply and peacefully in twelve long grueling hours. Frankly, Misty was afraid to sleep in Acheron and Valhalla, afraid to never wake up. Or worse, to wake up and realize matters were in worse condition than they were when she closed her eyes. That happened after her unpleasant nap in the Valhalla base, and Misty did not want to experience such again.
At least now…the girl knew she could keep her eyes closed, drift to peace, and know the nightmares of Acheron and Valhalla would be soon be over upon reawakening.
"Misty? Hey Misty! Wake up!"
"Hmm? A-argh! Ash? Aaash! Q-Quit it. Lemmie sleep."
"No way! It's a bright day and you know I've gotta' get to the next Gym."
"Argh, then go right ahead. Brock and I will catch up."
"Oh Ash, quit whining and let me sleep. Jeez, you're a pest."
"I gotta' agree with Ash, Misty. It's too nice a day for you to stay asleep."
"What? Oh sure, Brock, take HIS side! Dumb boys."
"You, too, Pikachu? Togepi? Dammit, why are all of you ganging up on me? It's rude to pick on girls."
"Yeah, well, you're not much of a girl…"
"WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY, ASH KETCHUM? Hey! Get back here so I can mallet your face, you little-!"
"Well…that's one way to get Misty outta' bed."
"Togi, togi, pirrriiiii!"
Those days were over, but Misty would make sure not to let them go to waste. After all, it was thanks to those who sacrificed themselves that Misty was still alive, not merely because they took the falls instead of her. Rather, it was because their strength made her strong. No doubt, that same strength would imbue her with the power to face Ash and Brock's families, along with exposing the dark truths of what happened twelve hours ago.
I'm alive, and all of you are still alive in me.
Once a person survives Hell, there really is nothing to fear about the future.
Indeed, arms were around Misty, though not in a literal sense. A warm breeze combed through her untied hair, but Misty doubted it was real wind. Fingers stroked her fire-red locks tenderly. She knew that touch, and such was why one salty tear skimmed down her cheek. A loving kiss caught the tear, vanquishing it as gentle arms affectionately squeezed her. She did not have to cry anymore. Misty's little hero was beside her every step of the way.
We'll get through this. I know it.
A/N: Is this really happening? Am I actually DONE with this ginormous fanfic? It hasn't hit me quite yet (and it probably won't hit me until three weeks from now ^_^;).
Well, first of all, I certainly hope everybody enjoyed this hellish ride. In particular, thanks to everybody who put up with all my delays. I can only hope this story's finished product was worth the waiting. I also hope this fic has inspired readers unfamiliar with Resident Evil to check out some aspect of the series. Better yet, I hope this story brought back fond memories for RE vets (because I know CN was a nostalgic experience for me). For the Pokemon fans, I hope you've enjoyed reading my macabre, dark, no-way-this-would-ever-be-approved-for-the-kiddy-dub twist on our favorite anime. And for fans of both series, I hope CN was the best of both worlds (I know it was for me ^_^).
~ Special Thanks ~
To be honest, I don't do shout-outs very often. However, I am stunned with utter amazement over the reception this fic received. I mean, when I originally posted Ch.1, I was actually tempted to delete it because I doubted anybody would like the nasty twistedness of CN. This entire fic was a total gamble, but I think it was worth the risk. I'm still floored over this story's reception. No matter how many times I flood reviewers' inboxes with thank-yous, it's never gonna' be enough to express my gratitude towards everybody's support. However, I do think it would be exceptionally inconsiderate of me not to acknowledge this fic's devout reviewers in some little way.
So, special thanks to all of my beloved readers who sent reviews. The least I can do for my most devout reviewers is offer them this shout-out. Names are listed in alphabetical order. First, extra special thanks to the readers who sent me the largest number of overall reviews: AMG22/Autumn, dello11, Distant-Moon, Domino Shelby, eevee-love, JustWhatIWant, Kios, Kyarorain, Leone the Infernal, Magus Black, pokeshipper409, Spruceton Spook, Steveaaml, The RoseBlade Ninja Alchemist, Thunder01, Tylida, and tytim01. Some of you have been sticking with this fic since Day 1, and some even reviewed each and every chapter! *^.^* You have no idea how big of a confidence-booster that is for me. Secondly, special thanks to my more frequent reviewers who have come aboard the CN trip most recently: CaptDutchboy, Cardente, DanielNieves, Mr. Dynasty, and Zombiedude1274. Particularly, these last few chapters/weeks have been nightmares for me to write, so getting devoted newcomers has significantly helped encouraged me to actually finish this story. Furthermore, many of you guys have sent me additional support via PM, and everything combined to help me get to this monumental final chapter. If it weren't for your support, I wouldn't be writing this message.
I also want to send my sincere thanks to the talented artists Mr. Dynasty and WolftenDragon, who generously sent me fanart/illustrations for this fanfic! The artists' URL links are available on my profile, so be sure to check them out!
From helpful writing advice to confidence boosters, ALL reviewers have helped this story in some small or big way. To everyone who has read and reviewed this story, whether they are listed above, read/review in the future, alerted/favorited CN, or forever remain anonymous, I sincerely thank you for reading "Carnage Necropolis." I'll admit, this fic had its moments where I contemplated the pretty "delete" button. But I will also admit that now that CN is over, I'm going to miss this story (and I'm gonna' especially miss hearing from my faithful reviewers! *sniff* I really enjoy hearing from you guys each week!). That's the beauty and the bitch about endings: an author can be both happy and sad to see a story (especially one as big as this) come to its close.
Of course, I can't promise that this will be the last time you guys hear from me, either. As far as my next Pokemon story/stories, I'm not entirely sure yet, but I have every intention of sticking with this website for a while. Until then…what more can I say? It was my greatest pleasure to share this story with everyone.
Thank you so very much for reading and for helping to make "Carnage Necropolis" a success!
- Aiselne Phoenix Nocturnus