FINAL CHAPTER. Five and Epilogue. Hope you've enjoyed reading Number Seventeen!

Chapter Five

Dawn shone over the mountain range. I woke up, still on top of twenty-two, and she was still asleep under me. She was so beautiful, as though she were. . . one of the stars of the night, come down to the earth to be with me. Yes. . . that was what she was. A beautiful star. She was more beautiful than the oceans. . . the most precious gem in all eternity. She was. . . well, quite frankly, she was too good to be true.

But that suddenly started me thinking.

Max had taught be a bit about logic, but I could see, now, anyway. How did twenty-two get out of the laboratory, if there were goons sweeping the entire forest? And why was it twenty-two? She didn't seem much more powerful than me, and she wasn't as learned as me, so why would she be an exception?

Unless Marcel had something to do with it. Did he release her, having known my feelings for her? He must have seen the pictures Max smuggled out of the lab. . . more of my fingerprints must have lingered on twenty-two's photo. And that would mean that they were going to trace her somehow. . . and that would mean. . .

A sound echoed through my mind, one that came from directly behind me. The unmistakable sound of a cocked pistol. I stood slowly, and turned around. A bald-headed, large henchman-type was standing there with a .44 aimed at my head.

"Got 'im, boss." He spoke into his walkie-talkie, "Bait woiked. The boys'll be here shortly."

"I suppose you've won, then." I had to concede defeat. After all, it was a failure on my behalf. . .

"You talked!" The bald man exclaimed, "You did talk! And I taught dat was just a roumor!"

"Yes. . . yes, I talk. What of it?"

"Nothin, I s'pose. Anything yous gonna be saying 'fore wes drag yas back to de labs?"

"Yes, your diction is terrible."

He growled.

"I suppose there's not going to be any way out of my current position, is there?"

"Yous can bet on that."

"Please stop spitting when you talk. Your breath is also quite unbearable." Actually, I wasn't trying to be rude, just making a point. He was obviously mad at me, but said nothing and kept the gun pointed straight at my skull. Right then, Twenty-two woke up.

"S. . . Seventeen? What's happening?" She whispered in the Pokémon language as she rose to a sitting position.

The henchman spoke again, "You too, stand up."

She stood up, suddenly terrified when she saw him. She could understand commands like that in English, but it was rooted almost subconciously in her, like all the other test subjects. I held her close to me, as this might have been the last time I'd ever see her.

I heard voices coming from downhill. They were here. . . and I was returning to the eternal torment which was known as the laboratory.

The lab was as dark as I had remembered it being, and probably just as frightening, as the halls still cast eerie dim lights at all the wrong intervals, and the shadows concealed who knows what. How anybody could work here was beyond me, but it did give the place the evil atmosphere it needed to hold on to the lives of countless Hybrids like myself. As the hallways twisted and turned, I looked over at twenty-two, whom they drugged and were carrying, still bound with ropes like me. Had she known she was helping trying to fish me out? I doubted it, she was as innocent as a person could get. She wouldn't even understand why she was let go. . .

I thought about what happened last night. I would do it again if I had the chance, and run away with her to the outer edges of the world, had I not been tied to my task of trying to defeat Marcel. I didn't have any idea what to do, even then. . . I hoped to whoever was still good in this world that the situation would present a solution to itself. . .

They tossed me and twenty-two in a cell. "The doc'll be here in five minutes. Enjoy your time alive." The goon squad left, much to the relief of my olfactory senses.

I had evolved since I had last been here, but the drugs they put in me were still effecting my muscles, and my strength wouldn't be any good, so I'd have to use my wits. I remembered reading in a book in the library about knots. They tied me up with something that looked like a square, but the loop didn't seem to catch right. I tugged at the loose area that bound my feet, and it came undone quite easily. I used my feet to escape the knot that kept my hands together, and I was free. The jail-type bars that separated me from the hallway were still to strong for my weakened state, so I approached twenty-two instead.

"Can you hear me?" I whispered to her in my natural language.

"Seventeen. . ." She replied, "I'm sorry. . ."

"For what? You couldn't have known what was happening. . ."

"But I did. . ."

I was in shock. "How?"

"I overheard them while they kept me in the release chamber. . . they said something about being able to find you, but I didn't know it was to bring you back. . ."

"It's alright. . ." I held her head against my furred chest, "It's not your fault. I was trying to find a way back, anyway."

"Why's that?"

"I'm going to destroy the laboratory."

"What? How?"

"I. . . don't know. But I'm going to put a stop to everything wrong Marcel has done."

"He'll kill you before you got a chance!"

"He doesn't know me that well."

Footsteps sounded, alerting me that someone was approaching. I grabbed the ropes and loosely hung them around my feet and hands, to make it look like I was still tied up. Marcel himself entered the room, In his white labcoat, and standing in the shadows of the poor lighting. Always like himself.

"Seventeen! Well well well. . . I always knew good things were to come from you, but this! This just takes all. . ."

"What do you mean, good things?"

"I see Max spared no expense in teaching you English, so I might as well divulge to you what you want to know. It is, in fact, a good thing that you escaped. I was afraid none of my experiments were going to be intelligent enough to learn their own ways out of the tightest of secured places. . ."

"If you wanted intelligence, why force all your experiments to only fight?"

"My dear seventeen, intelligence is so much more than book-smarts. It was the conditions I wanted my experiments to grow up and despise the lair they were made from, and for only one goal. . ."

"You mean. . . you meant for all your experiments to hate you?"

"I am a scientist after all. I minored in psychology so I know a thing or two about how the mind works. This environment was purposeful so when the experiments were released, they'd run at my very sight. . . oh yes, and it will be only the first of a long series of conquests. . ."


"Yes, The experiments only know how to fight and destroy! I only have the power to stop them, and with that I will be the most well paid exterminator on the Earth. . ."

"But there's more."

"Much. The released will be laced with an airborne virus that will undoubtedly turn humans into Hybrids, themselves. . ."

"And me?"

"You're to be destroyed, and your DNA fused with mine after twenty years, when the world is only Hybrids. I would not be traced as a destroyer of the new species, and I would retire comfortably as I always dreamed. . ."

"A Hybrid."

"Yes, my dream."

"And how many lives have you sacrificed for your 'dream'?"

"At least a few thousand."

"Won't you need time to synthesize the virus? If you created us all, then. . ."

"Oh, the virus was the first thing made. I must have forgotten to tell you: you used to be human."

I gaped in shock. I used to be human? He stared down at me, pleased by my reaction. He's been planning everything! He knew all I was going to do, because he altered my mind that way! He made me think I could get the upper hand! And above all, I was someone else. . . I was someone else. . .

Or was I? Was I really someone else? Maybe he was trying to make me. . .

Yes! Marcel was trying to make me despair! He wanted to think I had no hope of getting out, and no hope of ever stopping him! Or maybe. . . he wanted me to think that I would know this. After all, he did just tell me his entire plan. . .

Maybe I was supposed to know that. . . It was a paradox.

"I see you're confused." He said, "Good. . . you were supposed to be. Guards!"

However, the drugs also ran their course through my system. I simply flippedkicked him in the jaw. He fell over quite undramatically, but I didn't care. I needed to take twenty-two out of here.

Up came the henchmen. I quickly took them out via a quick punch to either of them. I grabbed twenty-two by the hand and led her out into the hall. "Idiots! After them!" Marcel called out.

We'd been running for an hour or more. They almost caught us about sixty nine times, and it was getting exceedingly difficult to keep away from them. Then it happened. Everything happened.

I was finally captured in a trap that was set up in a dank hallway almost on the bottom floor. And they dragged me through the dark halls to somewhere I had never been before. It must have been the heart of the operation, in the room that glowed green and was filled to the brim with machines and devices that didn't seem to have any useful purpose. Where they took twenty-two, I'll never know.

I was attached to a large machine in the middle of the room, and Marcel stood behind a control panel. "That was some kick you gave me." He said, "I could have died. But I didn't. Now, this won't hurt a bit. . ."

"Wait." I said, "You didn't expect that kick."

"No, that was unexpected. Why? Do you think that'll have any bearing one what will happen now?"

Bing! All my hopes rested on the fact that Marcel was still human, and still capable of mistakes. I knew what to do now. . . and I knew I was going to die doing it.

"It won't. But this will." I took a deep breath, and energy started pouring in around me.

"Wha. . . What's happening?!"

"Hyperbeam. You can thank Max for planting a book on attack moves in your library." I didn't care I was going to die. I should have never existed. I should have never been subjected to his experiment. I'll never know what my past was, or if twenty-two would ever survive. But I finally had my revenge.

"Max. . . NO!" Marcel ran to the doors, but they were locked, and he had ordered no one to disturb him, no matter the noise. I had him where I wanted him.

Max. . . this is for you.


Experiment number seventeen did not survive. Marcel was killed, and the lab collapsed completely. All members of his organization were arrested, and no evidence of the Hybrids remained.

But number twenty-two survived. And. . . she had a son.


The end of a great story. Be sure to catch the next one coming up: Final Fantasy: The Last Hero! Check my author page for details. Ciao!