Looky here, an update and after two months of absence! I guess I have some explaining to do, hmm?

To light the campfire and crack the nutshell, it's my final semester of university and with a combined mixture of packed schedules and other events, this update was inevitably delayed. I had exams, a new semester to deal with, more assignments, my beta had his exams too and to top it all off, his laptop was fried thus delaying the update. I don't blame him as technology has a tendency to never cooperate.

Also, my interest in the story is slowly diminishing (doesn't help that I've been sick like crap recently). Before you say that's bad news, note that it does NOT mean that I'll abandon this story. It just translates to the fact that updates will come slower than usual. Do not lose hope-I can and will finish this story, even if it means I'll be a 35 year old fart by the end. *crickets chirp mindlessly in the background*

Thank Tendou Souji for editing (and delaying us all haha) and making this better and more readable. I don't own Pokémon either because that becoming a reality is about as probable as finding a real life Pikachu and enslaving it to make the poor rat a power generator. Special mention also goes out to Dustchu for the consecutive reviews he's provided.

Chapter 27

Viridian Forest Frenzy

"Money and trophies may buy you fame and fans, but they won't get you any friends who truly see you for who you are on the inside, not on the outside." - Ash Ketchum, Pokémon Trainer

"Maybe one day, humans may respect their Pokémon as friends instead of weapons of war." - Jimmy/Krakatoa, former Pokémon Trainer

Team Rocket was defeated once again, and after their machine was destroyed by the combined efforts of Ash and his friends' Pokémon, they were sent flying towards the Mt. Moon mountain ranges. Somehow, the trio crashed at the peak of Mt. Moon and perhaps by a stroke of pure luck and chance, the trio landed into one of the many hot springs present at the summit instead of crashing face-first into the dirt ground, trees or any other hazardous obstacles. Despite feeling ashamed and beaten soundly after their loss, diving into the drink relieved them of the stress as they allowed the heated spring to wash away their worries in a comfortable, warm bath.

Unknown to the them though, the spring in which they landed was formed after the sapphirium mine was totalled by Raine's handiwork, causing the mountain to level slightly and release millions of gallons worth of groundwater as the seismic eruption generated by the exploding force of the entire UAAF complex created a natural lake of thermally-heated water. Everything that was once the mining compound was buried and drowned under fewer than millions of pieces worth of rubble and groundwater.

"I could sleep here for the rest of my life, especially after being humiliated by that twerp and his little gang of misfits…" Jessie sighed, never having felt so relieved after landing in the natural hot spring.

James took a quick swim around the small, naturally heated lake they were currently residing in. "Me too…Wish life was that easy! I always had to run from that creep Jessiebelle and I for one hope she gave up on her endless chase already!" he complained, spreading his arms wide as he floated on the surface leisurely like a lily pad drifting across a motionless, wave-lacking lake.

"Ah, this sure beats being blasted by that twerp's Pikachu," Meowth casually commented, forgetting about the shock-inducing torture they were always granted after having a run-in with the twerp's sidekick Pokémon. "Say, how did the kid become a Pokémon, and at the same time, have three legendaries side with him? And who the heck is the Latios Ranger?"

"Who cares?" the sole female member of the trio scoffed rather ignorantly. "We'll get them all someday but for now, this lady's not going anywhere until she's pampered by nature's finest leisure spots! Research and homework can come later, I'm going to spoil myself for now."

"I agree with Jessie here. Let's just relax for now!" James laughed, waving off Meowth's question without any care. "We're in the middle of a hot spring that doesn't come with a hefty admission fee or strict hygiene requirements, what more can we ask for?!"

The Scratch Cat Pokémon placed a claw on his chin and muttered to himself, "Wonder if it was one of Giovanni's antics again…but…who cares, he never lets me in on anything, especially with that spoiled and useless Persian of his loafing around on his lap!" He then pondered, "Just one day, I'll kick that pest of a cat into a dump and rightfully claim the position as my own."

Meanwhile, a familiar-looking creature observed them silently from the air. It was relatively pink in coloration, had a tiny body with comparatively small arms but relatively large feet, coupled with a long flowing tail. Its pair of cute-looking eyes kept track of the three Rocket agents in the hot spring, and it giggled at the sight of them.

"Ash was right, these three may be an idiotic bunch, but they're too adorable to be subjected to any harm! Well, it looks like Mewtwo won't be waiting all day! I have to check up on the grump and make sure he's not being a depressed slob again!" Mew giggled. She quickly turned tail and flew off as silent as a stealth fighter infiltrating through enemy lines in the blackest of night towards New Island and straight into an oncoming thunderstorm cloud.

Brock and Pikachu's theory of a guardian angel watching over the rather dim-witted trio was partially right—Jessie, James and Meowth were always watched over by Mew herself, and whenever they were subjected to potential risks of critical harm or death, the New Species Pokémon would teleport them to a safe location where their crash-landing procedure would be less "harmful", namely, they would land in water, a sandy beach, or a field of flowers. Because of this, it puzzled the three—Meowth in particular—as to why they would suddenly land in a flower field when they were clearly nose-diving towards a concrete-laden ground. But that didn't matter to the Rockets at the moment, for the natural spring placed them into a sense of relaxation, peace and security.

The trio was so busy enjoying themselves that they failed to notice a UAAF's soldier's helmet, its visor shattered by a type of blunt force and tinted with bloodstains, drift by a short distance away. Little did they know they were taking a dip over the graveyard of the hundreds of personnel that died when Raine destroyed the mine completely and left no survivors in the wake of the mine's destruction.

It was here where one of the surviving Rhydons from the cave in caused by Raine kept its preying eyes on the trio, readying a Hyper Beam from within its throat.

Viridian Forest

With a potentially dangerous storm front closing in on Ash and his travelling party, the group immediately made plans to reach Viridian City located on the far side of the forest—dubbed Viridian Forest—they were in as quickly as possible. As Ash was a forgetful youth that tended to have a bad sense of direction, Leon, Latios, Krakatoa and Blade took charge in terms of navigation, guiding their friends through the lush forest where the sky was obscured by towering trees, their branches and foliage concealing it above them. Although Ash recommended that anyone who had a Flying-type Pokémon or was capable of quick aerial travel to go on ahead of him, everyone rejected the recommendation as they wanted to travel as a party together, not to mention they were not able to take everyone with them in one flight. This was especially true in the case of Leon and Latios, as they both knew travelling alone could mean danger due to the potential hostility of wild Pokémon. Sure, some members of the party were powerful and skilled, but there was no harm in having friends watch your back while navigating through a dense forest where little sunlight penetrated to the floor of the terrain.

Due to the lack of potentially hostile humans in the forest, Latias and Latios enjoyed their freedom of being in their dragon forms, with the dragoness happily flying close to Ash while her brother acted as one-third of the vanguard, scouting for any potential dangers ahead of their path alongside Jimmy and Leon.

"Remember, you must transform once we reach Viridian, okay?" Ash reminded the Eon dragons travelling with them to ensure that their presence remained a clandestine fact. "You can have your fun and freedom at the moment, but keep that in mind. We can't draw too much attention."

"Okay!" Latias answered obediently to her trainer before she performed several loops and twirls in the air.

"You have my word," Latios promised, enjoying the time to get used to his Pokémon form before he had to disguise himself once more.

The team travelled in two parties: Leon, Latios, Blade and Jimmy led the way with Ash, Latias, Bianca, Brock and Raine in tow. As a precautionary measure to prevent ambushes of any sort, Blade and Krakatoa would periodically and alternately take the rear. While the humans called it a paranoid gesture, the Typhlosion stated that "One can never be too careful and it was better to be safe than sorry."

Wild Pokémon were problematic nuisances that bothered the team. Every able-bodied Pokémon was prepared for battle should it become necessary, but Leon took charge here in a completely different manner—he would "duel" the Pokémon in a head-on match with his capture styler, bringing them under his temporary influence and setting them free after containing them for a significant period of time with an energy lasso. Latios, in particular, noted his act as a noble approach in terms of handling wild Pokémon instead of beating them silly with brutality. As they were innocent local natives and not illegal convicts, he had to abide with the code of not bringing harm to anyone not affiliated with antagonistic factions.

"Well, that's another one," Leon noted as he tucked his styler back into the belt holster, setting several Raticates free after they engaged the forward group. It was revealed that the small gathering of Rat Pokémon had a nearby nest and saw the travellers as trespassers, thus instinctively choosing to attack them. A quick "battle" against them by the Ranger ended the feud shortly with no harm inflicted on either side. "Sometimes, these guys love to be territorial against anything bigger than them, and I can perfectly understand."

The large-sized rats gave thankful and apologizing chatters of some sort, and quickly scampered back towards their nearby nest on all fours.

"I suppose," Krakatoa murmured, watching the rather pudgy rat-like creatures scurry back to their nests at the base of a large tree. "If I fought here, I'd burn this whole place down so I'll stay out of any battles unless you wish for me to fight."

"Something we want to avoid. Remember that," Latios cautioned, rather uneasy with the Fire-type hybrid's unpredictable style of fighting. "Try not to cause collateral damage unless necessary."

"I hear you, Latios." The Ranger tucked his styler back into its holster. "This place is beautiful, if one takes the vicious inhabitants that mistake us for destructive creatures out of the equation. That and this is no place to be caught in the middle of a thunderstorm as flash floods can happen here." Leon couldn't help but wonder that something was terribly wrong with the natural environment. He wasn't sure what the real issue was, but it was just…there. Although wild Pokémon were very frequently encountered in Viridian Forest, he took note that the encounters were much larger in numbers than normal, not to mention the Pokémon were extremely aggressive until he calmed them down with his styler. "They're showing aggression similar to the wild Pokémon that Raine mentioned during her expedition to Mt. Moon. I should investigate this."

"Is there something bothering you, Leon?" Latios queried earnestly, sensing his inner turmoil.

"Yeah," he replied bluntly in response, not wishing to lie to his friend. "Maybe it's just me, but don't you think the native Pokémon here have been far more aggressive than usual? For example, every Pokémon except the immobile or sleeping ones has tried to fight us as if we're here to enslave or bully them." He pulled out his styler and checked the statuses of the Pokémon he had encountered and calmed down with his standard-issue Ranger piece of equipment. "In addition, I've been reading some anomalistic signatures from within these Pokémon. You can say it's the equivalent of a drunken human—they're intoxicated or something, but I can't get a clear reading on the exact cause. The styler's sensors can't track whatever is affecting these Pokémon, like how radiation and odd signals can interfere with communications." Scanning of the affected Pokémon ended in failure, as the system's AI stated the scans as "unknown signatures detected" in response.

"Interesting. Now that I think about it, I feel it too…They don't like us for some reason." Latios scanned his eyes around the forest. He could feel the presence of hundreds of Pokémon, just staring at them with a sense of unwelcoming, which greatly worried him. "Gives me more reasons to get the team out of here as soon as possible…or perhaps pack some serious power in the form of a strong defence."

"The rebellions might have something to do with it," Krakatoa supplied, suddenly recalling his time with the UAAF when he overheard some private conversations between their highest officers.

"Huh?" Leon prompted his comrade to elaborate further.

The talking Typhlosion cleared his throat slightly before he began his explanation of where it all began. "As you can see, Latios…Ever since you perished, Pokémon have been reacting strangely throughout the world. It was as if the balance of nature was altered significantly for some reason…Wild Pokémon began to attack people on sight, while some even deserted their former masters. It made world headlines, but the UAAF quelled it rather quickly with their violent armed movements. Regardless, it wasn't a pleasant time for about three years. Quite a few people died, although not significant enough to have a gigantic impact on the world but it could have if it wasn't for the United Aerospace Armed Forces' actions. But it greatly puzzles me that they managed to control something so effectively when it was something that even the Elite Four associations and Champions throughout all four regions could not handle. There's still a lot that I don't have knowledge about, so this is all an educated guess." He glanced towards the rear, noticing Ash, Latias, Bianca, Blade, Raine and Brock slowly catching up. Pikachu was perched on Ash's shoulder as always, since it was his preferred method of travelling with his trainer. "While the three of us can handle anything, they might not. They lack the combat skills the three of us possess." He wiped some sweat out of the fur that hung over his forehead. "Anyone have any water?"

The black-haired Ranger reached for the canteen attached to his belt at his rear, unclipped the container and handed it to the Typhlosion. "Here you go. I'm not thirsty at the moment, so drink your fill."

The Fire-type Pokémon nodded eagerly before he took the container, brought the opening to his lips and began to gulp down the moderately cold liquid rapidly.

"Now regarding your little tale…Your story does have some credibility." Leon analyzed his friend's words a bit and wondered aloud, "Could it be the UAAF's doings that the Pokémon were suddenly so violent, and the whole stunt was actually caused by them so they could utilize it to gain publicity or recognition?"

Latios shrugged, ruffling his fine feathers and stretching his bladed wings as a method to fight off exhaustion and fatigue. "Considering they supported Team Rocket's attack back in Charicific Valley and potentially provided them with altered Pokémon for battle, your little theory might ring true. As you see…well, what I am about to say is secret. Keep it as such, okay? It's knowledge that few should know."

Both Leon and Krakatoa nodded silently.

"During those violent uprisings or so you call them to be…well, Lady Ho-Oh tried her best to calm them down too," The Eon Pokémon explained his own side of the story, scratching his head slightly and wondering if he was sounding like a mad survivor in the aftermath of experiencing life-changing dangers. "As you see—"

Hearing yet another shocking revelation from Latios only made Leon even more flabbergasted. "Whoa, hold it right there. Lady Ho-Oh!? The great Rainbow Phoenix is a girl too!?"

Latios nodded, trying to smother his fits of laughter. "Yes. Why so surprised? You, of all people, should realize that considering you're a Ranger."

"I only saw her once from afar back in Oblivia," the corporal-ranked Ranger answered. "I did not even get a chance to interact with her."

If he didn't finish drinking, the Typhlosion was positive that he would have spat all the water out of his mouth in shock and surprise. "How'd you know that for starters?" Krakatoa questioned, rather nonplussed.

The Eon dragon rolled his eyes, but chose to keep with his patience to explain what he had truly experienced during his absence. "As you see, after my death, I had a chance to meet a few legendaries, Lady Dialga and Lady Ho-Oh, in particular. Aside from gaining new combat skills and experiences, I also learned a bit. As you see, not all legendaries, even classified as such, have the privilege of being a member of Arceus's higher ranks, but I'll speak of that another time when that day comes. Lady Ho-Oh also administered care as a foster mother for me and Latias, as you see, I never met my mother since she passed from birth complications. Can I continue?"

"Wow. I'd like to meet her sometime," Krakatoa remarked, wondering how the experience of meeting and interacting with a legendary face to face would be like.

The Ranger shrugged. "Yeah, sure, it would be one heck of an experience. You have a lot of explaining to do after this, though."

"Yes. Anyway, Lady Ho-Oh did attempt to quell the uprisings, as she is a guardian and respected figure of many Pokémon. The same went for Lord Lugia at the seafront, but the Pokémon, the ones you hypothesized to be influenced by the UAAF, attacked them from time to time. This forced them to retreat to a safer haven, as they couldn't fight them as it went against their laws and they didn't want to risk themselves to be subjected to grave danger, not to mention potential incarceration from the recently revived Team Rocket," Latios concluded his story. "Does that answer some questions? Considering how the UAAF isn't as benevolent as it seems considering the alliance with Team Rocket, I'd say your story holds some truth and facts." While he wanted to inform them about his mother too, he decided to withhold it—it was a very sensitive secret, and he did not wish to endanger her either until she was really needed. "I'll inform them all about Laia and Reaper once the time comes."

Krakatoa heaved a deep breath. "I just hope we're able to fend off anything we might encounter. Not everyone here is an exceptional combatant, such as your sister and Bianca. We may be able to fight effectively, but they won't. They're innocent and only wish to fight with us as they care for our well-beings."

"Then we'll do our best to keep them out of fights whenever possible," Leon stated, feeling a strong sense of duty as a Ranger. "They don't have to participate as we can handle it ourselves, don't you think?"

Both Krakatoa and Latios nodded silently, agreeing with the Ranger's words. The low, rumbling roar of thunder rampaging across the sky echoed throughout the environment, and luckily for them, it didn't rain yet but it sure did remind the team to get to Viridian City on the double.

The rear group followed the forward trio at a rather slow pace, given that they lacked the stamina to effectively keep up with them, but Leon, Latios and Krakatoa did not seem to mind at all.

"My, it's quite a lovely sight," Bianca commented, admiring the scenery around her. "I'd sit down here and sketch this place down for a future painting if we had the time."

Raine took off her bandanna and loosened her messy red-coloured hair that framed the sides of her head. "You seem to be a very artistic person, considering I always see you with a sketchpad."

"Art is my passion, like how Pokémon battling is to Ash, Jimmy, and you, while Ranger law enforcement is Leon's taste, apparently." she giggled slightly at her comparison with the others. "It's always interesting to meet new friends of different backgrounds."

"So, it must be awesome living with two legendary Pokémon, am I right?" Raine prodded, hoping to know more. She couldn't imagine how exciting and unbelievingly amazing to live and play with two creatures that most trainers would probably never ever set their eyes on in their lives. "I find it amazing you didn't go on an adventure with them."

Bianca simply shrugged her shoulders in a carefree manner. "Well, while I wanted to be a Pokémon Trainer to an extent, I was more interested in art. I never planned on leaving Alto Mare anyway, since my grandfather needs me there to help him from time to time. And I definitely couldn't leave Latias and Latios alone in Alto Mare—they're like another brother and sister to me." She stopped before giving Latios a quick glance, the latter laughing cheerily as he listened to Krakatoa's jokes. "Regarding your comment in terms of using them as Pokémon for battle, well, that never crossed my mind. I never anticipated on that. But yes, with great power that Latias and Latios possess…there's always someone ready to take it…"

"Ah, yes," Raine added. "Annie and Oakley. That pair of devious witches were all over the news after the museum fiasco in Alto Mare. I can understand why the group despises them so much…" The red-haired girl brushed some of the bangs out of her face before tying her hair back into a ponytail.

Behind her, Blade paced himself, surveying the area with his sharp eyes and honed inner senses. Noticing the gold-coloured Scizor's rather aggressive and restless self, Brock decided to calm him down slightly.

"Chill, Blade. If there's anything out here, the others would take care of it. You're not the only one here, so don't worry," the dark-skinned human spoke in an assuring tone.

"It is vital one must never let the guard down, Brock," the Pincers Pokémon answered telepathically. "Places like these are not a location to let your senses enter a relaxed state. Besides, I'm sure there's something out there watching us."

"You can't talk like the others?" he asked upon taking notice of his constant usage of telepathy.

"Like Latias, I suffered verbal problems ever since I was young, presumably due to prolonged exposure to biohazard by-products. This means I can only speak via telepathy," Raine's bodyguard answered.

"Interesting. I'll never understand the inner workings of how Pokémon think despite extensive studies on Pokémon biology and behaviours…" Ash's longtime scratched his head nervously. The scenery was so peaceful. How could it be possible that there were things lurking out there and watching them?

Latias and Ash, instead of feeling rather or wary that something was watching them in the rather eerie forest environment, were both in an extremely relaxed state of mind. While the Eon dragoness happily floated alongside Ash, the trainer steadily kept his pace with the forward party and couldn't help but feel calm-minded with Latias projecting such a happy presence on him.

"Excited to return to your hometown after such a long time?" Latias asked curiously, taking note of Ash's grin stretched across his visage.

"Sure thing," the trainer responded, keeping his eye on the forest path ahead with the three scouts of the team scanning the area. "It's good to meet some of my old companions again, not to mention introducing some new ones to them. Although, they might be surprised at my new…self…"

For Latias, who spent her entire life masquerading as a human and easily blended into the general population of Alto Mare for the last 500 years or so, it was not such an issue. Considering she often kept herself cloaked and hidden from all humans except for Bianca and Lorenzo, she didn't understand why Ash was feeling so jumpy and nervous about his transformation. "I'm sure everyone will understand! Look at all your friends—they accepted you for who you are. I don't care if you're part Pokémon and part human, as you'll always hold a special place in my heart. I'm positive that your mother will be the same!"

"I sure hope so too. My mom isn't exactly very accepting of my words until I really explain them to her in person." He continued following the group, with Latias calmly levitating alongside him and clutching his right hand tightly with her left claw. Both of them, however, failed to notice Bianca and Raine giggling at the loving and romantic sight.

"I should draw this down sometime. They're such an adorable couple together!" Bianca snickered in a rather girlish fashion, quickly drafting up a rough sketch of the couple. With the potential rain possibly ruining her artwork, she only made some rough sketches before she stored her sketchpad back in her bag.

Raine wasn't too impressed with the sight due to the embarrassment factor, but she was a bit mature to give too much of a care, not to mention she wanted to keep her jealousy instincts low. "You'd think Latias would pick someone else, like a dragon, but…eh, I have nothing to say."

Coming to a slope moments later, they realized there were no forms of any natural stairs that could allow them to traverse easily; the fact that the slope was soaked with rainwater did not help either. This forced the group into a small dilemma.

"Hold up, everyone," Krakatoa instructed as he held up a hand, signifying for the others to come to a halt.

"Something wrong?" Brock inquired, catching up with the group.

Leon surveyed the path and scratched his head troublesomely. "It looks like this path, which is a set of natural stairs, is obstructed due to a recent landslide." He looked at the mud and moss-covered slope and wondered how the heck anyone could possibly clamber up the diagonal surface and possibly not fall on themselves. "The ones capable of flying or sprinting up slopes like these should be easy, but for the others…well, it might be a bit difficult. We have to go one-by-one too, since this slope is too narrow."

"Not to worry," Krakatoa assured the group. "I can sprint up this slope in a matter of seconds while carrying someone on my back. I'm used to running across slippery surfaces, so this is nothing."

"I can take someone up there on my back, but only one at a time," Latios put forth, referencing his immense physical strength when it came to comfortable flight while carrying immense cargo.

"Wish I can help, but at the most, I can only carry Ash's Pikachu. I'm not big or strong enough to carry someone the same size as me. That would weigh me down," Blade spoke in an apologetic manner.

Raine called on her powerful Dragonite and summoned the overly friendly dual-type Pokémon. "Don't fret it. My Dragonite can take two of us up there at once!"

"So, does anyone have any objections then?" Ash asked. He already noticed Latias leaning close to him, meaning the Eon dragoness was probably going to shuttle him up the slope on her back.

No one said anything, but everyone replied with silent and wordless nods.

"Good. Krakatoa, I need your help here to provide rear security," Leon requested, hoping to be the one to go last after everyone was up the slope. "Can you do that?"

"Will do, Ranger," Krakatoa answered without objection. "Let's get going, everyone! Leon and I will be the one providing a watchful eye here until everyone is safe and sound on the other side."

One by one, the team began to go up the slope, which was at least two stories in height, in single-file fashion. Ash, along with Pikachu on his shoulder, was straddled on Latias's back and they were the first ones to move up the slope as she easily levitated herself over the muddy terrain, followed by Latios who was carrying Bianca. Unlike his sister, who had some difficulties due to her weaker strength, Latios performed his task at a much faster and unhindered pace. Then Raine and Brock, riding on the back of the trainer's ever-so powerful and friendly Dragonite, cleared the obstacle while Blade flew alongside them. This left Krakatoa and Leon at the foot of the cliff.

"We're clear!" Brock called from his perch. "Now it's just you two, so hurry up! We'll be caught in the middle of a torrential shower if we don't move it!"

His words became true in a matter of moments as a slight drizzle of rain soon turned to a rather pouring storm; water poured from the skies, coupled with the constant flashing of lightning followed by the sharp crackles and rumbles of thunder that roared in the pitch-black sky above them. The entire group soon had themselves all drenching wet as their clothes and hair were coated with freezing rainwater.

"We'll be right there!" Leon called back before turning his attention to the Typhlosion. "Are you sure about this, about me riding on you? You know that I can simply fly up there if I transform into a Latios."

The Fire-type hybrid laughed, dropped down to all fours and gestured the Ranger to hop onto his back. "You're acting as if I'm going to throw you off midway up the slope or burn you in the process! You know me and I've got your back for sure, so get on! Mud slopes are a walk in the park for me to navigate." Being about six-and-a-half feet tall, Krakatoa was a large Typhlosion compared to most members of his species.

Leon was hesitant at first, but quickly dismissed the fear of potential accidents from his mind and decided to trust the Fire-type Pokémon in the end.

The teen Ranger was just about to climb onto Krakatoa's back when a sharp shriek coupled with the sudden noise of aggressive hissing echoed throughout the area. This caught Leon and Krakatoa's attention as both individuals whirled their heads towards the source of the noises, and realized where they came from—a large flock of Spearows accompanied by a few members of their evolution, Fearows, while several Ekans and Arboks glared at the two hungrily, drool dripping from their fangs. Accompanying these Pokémon were even more Rattatas and Raticates, all taking stances in front of what was normally their greatest predators, as the Poison-type snakes were known to prey on the rats with impunity. The sight of the large, cobra-like monsters in particular made the Typhlosion cringe, but Leon tried to keep his cool as he took note of what caused the aggression of these creatures. "It must be the corruption, but I should be more worried on how to survive this wreck first!"

"Leon, we can't get away… Those things will chase us down faster than a Rapidash at the local race track in terrain like this," Krakatoa uttered silently as he tried to protect the Ranger by positioning himself in front of the human. "Arboks are shockingly fast when in hot pursuit of their prey, especially when slithering up or down a slope!"

"I know, I know. I'm trying to think of something!" his human companion grumbled nervously. "I can't send Sceptile out here as he's at a great disadvantage against these intruders!"

Nevertheless, the Forest Pokémon emerged from within his Poké Ball without his trainer calling it forth, as if the Grass-type had somehow sensed danger. He stood at his partner's side confidently and prepared to battle.

"No can do, master. We're partners for life, and it's my duty to help you," the Forest Pokémon spoke curtly, not seeming to care about his disadvantage against Poison and Flying-type Pokémon.

"You'll get massacred!" Krakatoa growled heatedly, shaking his body to dry himself. It was rather pointless as the continuing rain drenched his body once again.

Sceptile scoffed rather at the Fire-type Pokémon's comment. "I'd rather end up like that compared to watching my master being torn to pieces helplessly."

"Oh, confident are we, you corrupt cop?" several Ekans taunted as they slinked into various positions, surrounding the group and disallowing any chances of escaping.

"I think you're the ones who should keep your traps shut," Krakatoa shot back, cracking his fists. Despite his bravado, he couldn't help but feel rather apprehensive as he was forced to do without Fire-based moves here, given the nature of the thunderstorm that greatly reduced his power. If his predictions were right, his Blast Burns would be only half as effective in such weather.

"Brother, we have to help him!" Latias urged Latios, tugging at his right hand repeatedly.

"I know, but…there's too many of them!" Latios gritted his teeth in desperation. He wanted to assist the three at the bottom, but at the same time, he couldn't leave his team unprotected. Raine was a proficient battler, but her power could not be compared to the likes of Krakatoa or Leon's Sceptile. The fact they were greatly outnumbered by at least six to one did nothing to help their situation either. "I'll have to think of something, and fast!"

"What's up with the local Pokémon?" Brock asked. "Arboks are common here, but they're rarely aggressive unless they're hungry or someone disturbs their nests. One such Pokémon at that size is just inexplicable also!"

"I wish I knew, Brock, but…that doesn't matter. They don't look very happy to see us!" Raine observed, feeling extremely nervously. "We have to help the boys out!"

"But not all of us are capable of fighting," Pikachu remarked in his own language, noting the inherent non-combatants on their team, such as Bianca, Brock and Raine. "The more we hang around, the more dangers we'll be subjected to."

The corrupted native Pokémon, with their apparent hate for trespassers and Rangers in particular, kept their gleaming eyes on the three still trapped at the bottom of the slope. A large-sized Arbok, presumably the leader of the pack, moved forward with a menacing glare in its cold, dead eyes.

"Stand back!" Leon's Sceptile demanded as he drew out his dual blades composed of leaves. "I won't hesitate to slice you into two and serve you in a bowl of snake soup, you rotten serpent!"

This promoted the leading Cobra Pokémon to laugh mockingly. "Hah, so the cop's talking tough again. You know how much we hate those damn nature cops? You Rangers and those affiliated with them disgust me. Because of your acts of labelling us at the antagonists, we are forced to hide ourselves because of our vicious attacks on criminals! Our masters want you dead and nothing will change that!"

Leon gritted his teeth with a mixture of nervousness and uncertainty, unable to come up with a response. It wasn't like the aggressive creatures were going to be rational with his words.

"It doesn't matter either way as you wouldn't listen and deny it all nevertheless. Tonight, we're having you all for dinner," the Arbok hissed as he licked his fangs in delight.

To Leon, there was something definitely wrong with the Pokémon. Their eyes were giving off a gleam of bright blue, and parts of their body displayed glowing blood veins that were also blue. Other for that, their aggressive behaviour was the only other attribute that made them greatly different from the uncorrupted variant of them. "Was Jimmy right? Is it true that whoever is orchestrating this from behind the scenes is actually poisoning nature and making these Pokémon aggressive to begin with, thus starting the so-called uprisings?"

"They're corrupted, no doubt about it," Krakatoa muttered quietly to his friend, recognizing the indiscernible features that symbolized a state of intoxication from Phazon, the toxic substance causing all of this.

"Look over there!" a Fearow cawed. "We've got ourselves a pair of legendary Pokémon and several more humans ripe for the picking!"

"Well, means we get to feast on holy meat tonight!" a group of Spearows chattered in unison, glaring viciously at Latias and Latios. "Let me at the female so I can rip apart her soft flesh piece by piece!"

Krakatoa bit his teeth slightly. It was clear to him that these Pokémon were not only here to harm them, but kill them. Normally, he would not be intimidated but the sheer numbers that suddenly appeared to ambush them frightened his usually fearless self a bit.

"…We can't run, but how can we take them all on?" the Typhlosion grumbled silently.

Leon had already made up his mind, as he detached his styler and prepared for the upcoming brawl. "Then we fight them to the death. Rangers have limits, but when push comes to shove, the gloves are coming off," he remarked emotionlessly, his instincts as a soldier starting to kick in. "If I had my M4 rifle here, shooting these bastards full of holes would teach them!"

This prompted Latias to hide behind her brother, as she was rather timid and didn't wish to fight. On the other hand, Latios, Blade and Raine's Dragonite were prepared to fight them all head-on, but being greatly outnumbered and having to fight in a confined space of the forest meant they were at a grave disadvantage. Not willing to endanger anyone who lacked the capabilities to fight, Latios immediately urged Bianca, Brock, Latias, Ash and Raine to make a break for Viridian City, which he predicted was only a short walk from their current location.

"Hang on, Leon and Jimmy!" Ash cried as he tried to slide down the slope to help his friend, but Latios grabbed him harshly by the collar of his rain-drenched jacket and pulled him back.

"No. Don't. They're professionals and have the skills to back it up. You're not," Latios said sternly.

"But I can't just leave them like this and watch them be attacked needlessly by these Pokémon!" Ash shot back in protest.

"You don't have a choice—it's too dangerous. Alright, you four take Ash and get to Viridian as fast as you can. We'll catch up later," he commanded harshly, ordering the five to leave. For starters, he didn't want anyone here to witness mass bloodshed, especially Ash and Bianca, in particular.

His sister, however, immediately objected to Latios's plan. "No! I'm staying here with you!" Latias telepathed stubbornly.

"Don't be foolish and stubborn, sis!" her brother spat back defensively. "I need you to protect Bianca, Ash and the others. Do you hear me?! It's too dangerous here!"

While Latias wanted to mouth back a response to her brother's stubborn comment, he had a point. She didn't want to part with her crush either, leaving her with no choice but to abandon the fight. "Okay…but be careful brother. Please. I sense a great amount of malice emitting from within these Pokémon."

"I'll be fine, sister. Just protect the others while we hold them back."

"We'll handle things here! Raine, go with them. Dragonite and I will catch up with you shortly, hear me?" Blade informed her mentally as he prepared for battle.

"Just don't be too reckless, Latios," Ash muttered silently. He was hesitant to leave, but there was no time for arguments.

"Okay. Be careful, Blade!" Raine warned him. "Let's go everyone!"

As Ash, Pikachu, Latias, Bianca, Brock and Raine quickly made a quick escape under the cover of their friends who were prepared to meet the marauding hordes of overly aggressive Pokémon head-on, a small group of Fearows positioned at the top of some trees from quite a distance away kept their eyes on one particular human being—Ash. This made the ringleader of the Fearows chuckle.

"Well, it's about time I get some revenge for that bastard after he threw a rock at me six years ago," He cackled in a sinister manner. "I'm going to tear him to pieces as payback."

His followers cawed in agreement, but some of them still had questions to ask. "Hey boss, what about the others then? That Latias looks delicious, and I'm sure that brown-skinned human would make great dessert," one voiced out. "Same goes for those two girls."

"You'll all get your shares. After this is done…our master will be pleased. Nothing will stop us with the chosen ones dead and in our stomachs! Keep the dragons distracted while some of us go after the human. Don't worry, we'll all get our shares in the end!"

Without saying anything, the flock silently flew off, under the cover of the thunderstorm as they stealthily followed Ash's group, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Due to the relatively helplessness of the fleeing group save for the Pikachu and Latias that provided them with cover, they knew the job of killing Ash once and for all was going to be a routine task.

"MOVE OUT!" Leon yelled in a fierce war voice as the styler gripped in his hands displayed the energy whip-like extension.

The battle began.

Leon, Krakatoa, Sceptile, Latios, Blade and Dragonite were given no chances for any preparations whatsoever as the horde of vicious predatory Pokémon attacked them from all fronts and directions. With the drenching rainstorm coupled with the roaring of thunder smashing across the sky serving as the backdrop of the fight, the team of six went into battle, splitting up into groups of two to ensure they would be covered on all conditions should they be attacked from the rear.

There was no escape or surrender as the Pokémon they were up against were known to chase their intended prey to the ends of the earth. They had to fight it out here, and hope they emerged in one piece—or die trying.

"We have to find a way to beat them all at once," Latios respired worriedly. He was powerful and could battle multiple foes at once, but the sheer amount of enemies they were given and the constant task of having to keep an eye out for his friends meant this was something different. "We're greatly outnumbered here!"

"I'll try my best, Master Latios," Dragonite assured. "Your back is secure with me on guard!"

"The same goes for me here. But with the boys exposed down there, we have to ensure they're protected too," Blade pointed out, surveying the situation and analyzing any potential advantages that could be used in his favour.

"Rend them to shreds!" the lead Arbok shrieked. A reinforcing swarm of Beedrills soon entered the conflict and, with the other Ekans and Arboks, the Pokémon unleashed a rain of poison-coated needles at the grounded Pokémon from their arms and toothed maws, akin to soldiers wielding machine guns. "Kill every last one of those pathetic creatures!"

"Sceptile, Krakatoa, watch out!" Leon screamed over the pouring rain as he quickly detached his styler from his belt and activated a new function of the device, transforming it into a lengthy laser whip weapon of some sort. As these Pokémon were prepared to kill them, he had no choice but go on the offensive by repelling the attackers with an energized whip that was capable of causing painful lacerations and injuries. While hesitant at employing the potentially lethal weapon against these native creatures of Viridian Forest…he had no choice.

With one skilful strike, he knocked back several Raticates that were attempting to gnaw at his feet and arms with the single sharp tooth that protruded from the top of their jaws. The crackling noise of the whip making contact with the rats made them shriek and hiss in pain before they scattered and ran off in multiple directions, waiting for another moment to strike as they stayed at a certain amount of distance from their attacker.

"I'll drop the Raticates!" the Typhlosion barked, summoning a gigantic Blast Burn from his body. While it would have easily totalled the forest and decimated the weaker Pokémon in one raging inferno, the rain softened the power level of his most powerful attack. Although weakened, it wasn't a slouch at all as the towering wall of fire and heat knocked out five Raticates in one blow and at the same time, inflicted the burn condition on them. This prompted them to stay back as the status ailment began to overtake their bodies; although it weakened them, it did not knock them out.

Blade helped Sceptile ease the job of neutralizing the assault of poison-tipped needles by skilfully deflecting each and every one of them with his pincers with ninja-like speed and rendering them useless as the purple-tinted needles fell harmlessly to the forest ground. Due to his immunity to Poison-based attacks, they were nothing more than a mere tickle should any of the needles make contact with his armoured body.

"I owe you one, Blade!" Sceptile remarked, grateful for the backup. "I'd hate to be on the receiving end of those needles."

"The pleasure is all mine," the gold-coloured Scizor replied. "Let me handle this as I have increased resistance against these foresaken snakes."

The Forest Pokémon knew Raine's Bug/Steel-type bodyguard was either crazy or overconfident to take on that many foes at once. "But there's too many of them! You can't possibly take them all on at once!"

"Improvise. There should be a way to defeat them all. Look at the trees around you… Try combining your swift-cutting Leaf Blade with the trees in this area, and what do you get?"

Sceptile knew that Blade was referencing of using the environment to their advantage, by squashing the grounded Pokémon with the logs that would be used as trapping weapons against them. "Ok…give me a chance to set them up." He quickly scampered up some trees and prepared to sever large-sized branches as a method to crush the Ekans, Arboks, and Raticates that might be unfortunate enough to be right underneath them as they fell.

"Good. I'll cover you!" Raine's Pokémon gave one last answer before returning his attention to the battle at hand.

This didn't dissuade the Ekans, Arboks and Beedrills from stopping their attacks despite knowing what they were up against. They immediately focused on Sceptile, intent on sinking their poison-coated fangs into the Ranger Pokémon's fragile body and tearing out chunks of his flesh. Leon's Pokémon possessed the evasiveness, speed, and agility to dart in and out in order to avoid being their lunch…for now. Blade closed the distance with some of the Beedrills and began to viciously attack them with Night Slashes, allowing Sceptile to reach the treetops uninterrupted as the Ekans and Arboks were far too slow in terms of slithering up trees.

"These pestering bugs unworthy of my time are mine!" Blade shouted before he slashed through the swarms of endless Bug/Poison-types, driving them off. The unlucky ones lost one of their stinger-like arms, and this made them buzz in pain as they made hasty retreats.

The Beedrills were not reluctant to let this Scizor beat them to pieces while sitting down. The majority of them shifted their focus to Raine's Pokémon and relentlessly assaulted him with their stingers, hoping to drive their poisonous venom into his body with moves such as Pin Missile and Poison Sting. Needles the size of a one foot-long subway sandwich were launched from their stinger-laden arms and abdomens as the insectoid needles loaded with venom and poisons were shot at the Pincers Pokémon.

Blade didn't even bother to stop the missiles, although he did intercept several that were directed at his other allies who did not possess immunities from toxins, Sceptile in particular.

What they didn't realize was that the Scizor was immune to all their Poison-based attacks, given his Steel-type property which granted him invulnerability from toxins, venoms, and other corrosive materials that would be otherwise harmful or outright deadly to organic creatures. Exploiting this to his advantage, Blade fought off the endless swarms of Poison Bee Pokémon with little to no difficulties, all the while ignoring the needles that tinkered harmlessly off his armoured exoskeleton that protected his body. Using Night Slash as if he was a swordsman hacking his way through enemy soldiers, the Beedrills fell out of the sky or either retreated after receiving a good beating from the gold-coloured praying mantis.

"Raine would be so proud if she could see this," he mused mentally, effortlessly fighting off the never-ending swarms of insects that attempted to overwhelm and drown him out of the battle with their endless numbers. While the fight was easy for Blade, to an extent, it wasn't for his other partners—namely, Krakatoa and Leon.

The Beedrills, each and every single one of them in the forest called upon to attack the intruders as a defensive manoeuvre via a hive-mind structure, continued to arrive in droves—with each one that fell in the battle, three more replaced the fallen comrade.

With their uniforms and fur drenched in mud and water, Leon and Krakatoa fought the attackers like mad Arcanines on the defensive, whipping, punching, kicking, elbowing, kneeing and body-slamming whatever got in their way. It proved to be even more difficult than usual since the ground became increasing muddy and mucky, bogging down the two.

"Leon, transform into a Latios!" Krakatoa bellowed while delivering a swift Brick Break on a Raticate that was just about to deliver a bite into his torso. The Fighting-based move knocked the Rat Pokémon out cold with one strike to its forehead, and Krakatoa proceeded to grab another one with his other free arm before flinging the lunging Normal-type Pokémon back as if it was a rag doll.

"I can't! The forest is too cramped for free-space battling, which is something the alternate form of me is meant for!" the Ranger screamed in response, over the crying shrieks of more Raticates and Beedrills assaulting him mercilessly. His energy whip lashed them away as he wildly slashed the weapon like a pirate fighting through his enemies with his cutlass, but he'd have to be lucky to not become overwhelmed.

"That's a pathetic excuse. We're being swarmed to no end here, so use that power already! Wipe them out with one Luster Blast!"

"These Pokémon know Dark-type moves such as Crunch, don't you realize that!? And I already used it so I'm tired at the moment!" Leon did not wish to subject his body to greater strain than necessary.

Something hit Krakatoa's mind as he suddenly realized his partner was indeed correct; it was evident these Arboks and Raticates had attempted to bite them with their razor-sharp fangs and teeth.

Using a sharp burst of telekinesis, the blast of mental energy directed at his targets made their mark and flung all the Pokémon back, slamming them against several tree trunks in the process. This gave the Ranger a breath of relief, but all that changed when the leading Arbok ordered his kin to step aside as the gigantic cobra, averaging at least 15-feet long from head to tail according to Leon's predictions, slithered forward.

"So…you're a human that knows the arts of psychic, not to mention a skilled fighter. Those are rare these days," it hissed menacingly, the frightening visage and markings of its hood trained on the human. "Too bad I'm gonna beat the living life out you whether you like it or not, just like all those other foolish trainers, soldiers and Rangers that so dared to come into our turf."

Remembering the reports of noted disappearances of humans that ventured into Viridian Forest ever since signs of Pokémon unrest became apparent, Leon's blood boiled with anger upon hearing the Arbok's words of aggression against innocents. "So…you're the one responsible."

"Congratulations," the Cobra Pokémon mocked. "You have half a brain to figure that out, but I hope you have the other half to survive this fight. And yes, I did. They were delicious prey."

Leon gripped the handle of his styler tightly, realizing what would happen if he lost. He had to beat this Arbok alone, while Krakatoa was too preoccupied with the swarms of Raticates and Ekans. "It's normally against my moral code to kill, but you're an exception. If you live by killing then you should be prepared to be killed."

Screaming in a deranged manner, the Ranger charged at the gigantic Cobra Pokémon, drawing his weapon in a headlong fashion as he prepared to meet the vicious Poison-type Pokémon in a close-ranged struggle to the death.

With Jimmy, Leon, Sceptile and Blade fighting for their lives on the ground, Latios and Raine's Dragonite executed the battle up in the sky against the shadowing flocks of Spearows and Fearows. They had initially wished to assist their allies on the ground in the beginning, but the swarms of Pokémon tried to go after Ash and his retreating friends and this prompted both dragons to meet them head-on in the air in an attempt to intercept them. They were initially successful, but both of them failed to notice the other flock of birds that quietly fled the fight in order to attempt an assassination against Ash's relatively defenceless team, or so they thought. The sky battle was a breeze for both dragons, as they both possessed powerful Electric-type attacks.

Due to the nature of the battle, both Dragonite and Latios had to split up in order to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of vicious avian Pokémon threatening to rip them to shreds. As Dragonite fought them on its own with a myriad of elemental punches, Dragon Pulses, Thunders and Dragon Claws, the birds fell by the dozens but like the Beedrills, they were rapidly reinforced by more Pokémon of the same type.

"Sit down, and stay out of this!" Dragonite roared angrily as it fired a gigantic Thunder from the antennas that grew from its head, electrocuting multiple Fearows in one strike and sending them falling out of the sky before they crashed into the trees below.

Raine's Pokémon's efforts greatly inflicted morale damage to its enemies, but the corrupted state of the birds did not discourage them from continuing to battle. More of them rose to the sky to meet the pseudo-legendary Dragon Pokémon head-on, prompting the rather pudgy and friendly, but powerful dragon to sigh in pity and return to massacring the Pokémon head-on. "Poor things are probably so divulged in a state of bloodlust that they no longer have any sense of reasoning within them."

"Kill the legendary! I want his head on a plate, along with his holy blood in a grail!" the ringleader of the Spearow gang, a Fearow, shrieked. On his order, dozens—perhaps ranging in the number of one hundred—of Spearows charged at the lone Eon Pokémon, their beaks transforming into drill-like extensions and eyes bloodshot with the poisons that drove the desire to kill whatever their masters commanded them to do.

"I have to be careful in terms of conserving my energy," Latios thought and analyzed his available strategies. "There are hundreds of them, and only two of us. This fight is going to be a hard one…"

As dozens of Spearows dived at him, intent on tearing his soft body into pieces and lustfully eating his bleeding flesh, Latios's eyes glowed faintly before his body generated dozens of lightning bolts from his body as the electrical arcs of energy targeted the incoming Tiny Bird Pokémon.

"I thought I'd go gentle on you, but after that vicious Drill Peck you gave me in the chest, you leave me with no choice," he announced gravely. Although he had attempted to use a single Psychic to instantly wipe the swarms of Spearows out, he realized that the corruption they possessed somehow negated the previously effective attack.

"Could the virus be…evolving? Why are Psychic-based moves useless against them?" he pondered. Deciding to save the question of thought for another time, he went into battle as he rushed headlong at the divebombing Tiny Bird Pokémon before promptly severing their wings off with Steel Wing.

Latios pulled no punches here—the yellow-coloured lightning bolts were casted to a level of power and force so lethal, it caused the Pokémon that were hit directly by the them to detonate and explode into a shower of gore, bones and flesh. The sky above the annihilated normal/flying-types rained chunks of burned and fried meat, bone fragments and feathers, along with the blood that mixed with the rain as they fell from the sky. Although the carnage would become virtually unbearable for most Pokémon, Latios had seen enough violence and death lately, while the Spearows and Fearows that attacked him were so driven with bloodlust that fear was but a foreign feeling to them.

"Anyone else? I'll have no problems taking more on," Latios spoke fearlessly in the face of the Fearow leader that flew up to meet him head-on.

Flapping his wings steadily, the Bird Pokémon glared at Latios in a state of complete malice and utter hate. "So…today I have the opportunity to rip a legendary apart. You should feel honored to die at my talons."

"And who are you supposed to be? A Pokémon that was born in the wrong nest and needed something to take his anger out on?" Latios voiced back tauntingly. "You should have thought twice before trying to bully my sister and her friends with that attitude of yours."

"That's none of your damn business," the Fearow answered viciously. "The fact you're travelling with that Ash kid gives me all the more reasons to silence you once and for all!"

Latios paused for a moment and wondered what Ash ever did to this Fearow that sparked such a vendetta and history of hatred from within this despicable Pokémon. He should have asked him…but there was no time for that. The Eon Pokémon levitated calmly amid the raging thunderstorm as lightning crackled behind him, coupled with rain soaking the fine feathers of his sleek body. "I don't understand what Ash ever did to you to brew such a storm of malice, but considering you're well prepared to bring harm to both him and my sister, I hope you're prepared to feel what I have in store for you," he stated, his body crackling with power again.

Not wishing to fall prey to Latios yet, the Fearow leader called on more Spearows to absorb Latios's attacks as if they were expendable meat shields for the flock leader. To the Fearow though, this really was the case—his followers were nothing more than chess pieces that could be easily replaced, if not killed. Considering that the Spearows followed his orders obediently meant it was a mutual feeling between him and his subordinates.

Latios screamed in rage as the bolts of supercharged electrical energy were launched from his body once again, the streaks of lightning that numbered in the dozens locked onto the Fearow. To his disappointment, the bolts simply blasted more of the Spearows to shreds as they exploded into gory bits once more, the Tiny Bird Pokémon standing no chance against the legendary Pokémon's overpowering Electric-type attack as they dropped like flies from the sky.

"That's rather…interesting on your part," Latios observed. "I thought you would be a courageous leader that would come at me in blind rage, but all I see you doing is hiding behind your minions and letting them take all the hits for you." He wiped some of the blood that splattered on his feathers with his claws, and snickered humorously as if he was actually enjoying the slaughter.

"And you're a retard for falling into my trap! Attack him, my loyal minions!"

The sudden shriek of even more Fearows caught Latios by his ears—swivelling his head around in shock, he actualized the prospect that the lead Fearow was drawing him into a trap from the start. However, he was a bit too late to retaliate as the swarm of birds viciously drilled him in the back with vicious pecking moves, causing the Dragon/Psychic-type to screech in pain as he struggled to maintain flight.

"Who's laughing now, you legendary piece of shit?!" the Fearow cawed mockingly from up above him. "Rip him to shreds!"

While Latios was beginning to bleed from the continuous Drill Pecks, he was not willing to end up as bird food for these barbaric creatures. Multiple wounds were inflicted on numerous surfaces of his body, but he wildly flailed in response with Dragon Claw to ward off his attackers, and once they were within a reasonable distance from him, he proceeded to utilize Steel Wing as he performed a somersault and charged headlong at his attackers. He had definitely gained a lot of experience in close-range combat with his training sessions both during his absence and training with Leon, thus adding to the lethality of his attacks coupled with his already impressive Special-type attacks.

"Damn, I have to be a little bit more diligent to avoid being caught off guard again that easily…" he thought mentally. Closing his eyes to prevent being struck by any attacks, he used his other senses, namely psychic detection, in order to guide him through his slaughter of the numerous Spearows and Fearows that flew in the hundreds in an attempt to swarm him to feast on his flesh. As he flew, the bloodbath commenced—his pairs of titanium-tough sword-like wings severed the wings, heads and other body parts of the zombie-like birds mercilessly and killed them rather quickly.

"Good hell…and I thought this bastard was a weakling that couldn't do anything more than tackling his opponents…," the Fearow gasped in horror as he watched his minions be butchered by the Eon Pokémon.

The slaughter continued, with Dragonite observing. The Dragon Pokémon was spared from its battle after none of the other poisoned Pokémon targeted him, and noticing the leader Fearow rather keeping his guard down as he observed his slaves drop by the hundreds with each passing minute, Raine's Pokémon took the liberty to quickly intrude and shock the cowardly creature with a rude awakening. Dragonite was spared mainly because they were more focused on Latios instead of the pudgy and silly-looking dragon.

"Oh, they'll pay dearly for thinking I'm a fat harmless buffoon that's all about being silly," it thought angrily before flying up to the Fearow, both of its fists electrified in preparation for a shocking Thunder Punch.

Latios's slaughter was unbearably gruesome—his body became tainted with so much blood that the pristine, beautiful white and blue-coloured feathers were no longer visible. What replaced his figure was a bloodstained dragon soaked in red as he continued the massacre, killing everything that dared to fly into his path. The forest below him turned into a bloodbath, the Spearow and Fearows' blood and body parts tinting the trees, bushes, grass, and other forms of vegetation below with a hue of crimson red.

The Fearow was so horrified by the mass killing of his followers that he failed to notice Raine's Dragonite flying up towards him. It was only the swift crackling noise of a Thunder Punch connecting that shocked him out of his senses and made him realize that he was under attack.

"Pardon me," Raine's Dragonite growled angrily as it delivered a second Thunder Punch right into the Bird Pokémon's torso. "I suppose you've forgotten about me?"

This caused the marauding and viciously bloodthirsty airborne Pokémon to screech from intense pain due to the super-effectiveness of the Electric-type move. As high voltages of electricity coursed through his body, the Fearow took tremendous damage but quickly recovered from the strike, angered at the Dragon Pokémon for the sudden sneak attack.

"You spineless coward of a pseudo-legendary!" the Bird Pokémon screeched angrily. "I'll rip your skull out and peck out your eyes in the process!"

"Oh, I'm so scared. Where have I not heard that before?" Dragonite drawled. "Why does it not shock me that 90 per cent of all antagonists are all hypocrites with a knack of cowardice?"

The Fearow returned the Dragon/Flying-type's compliment with a Hyper Beam, the moderate-sized beam of yellow energy amassing in his beak before being fired at presumably Raine's strongest team member.

"Oh, please." Dragonite responded with a similar Hyper Beam, but instead, its variation was much larger in size due to her natural power and strength compared to the Fearow.

The Fearow widened its eyes in complete shock and dismay as he witnessed its own attack being engulfed by the opposing one. The Hyper Beam fired by Dragonite promptly converged upon him and engulfed its rather large-sized body, causing the being to explode into a hundred pieces of smoking meat and gore.

"…That ended fast," the Dragon Pokémon muttered.

Latios's rampage ended moments after the leading Fearow was defeated, and the bloodstained Eon Pokémon rejoined with Raine's Pokémon with his blood-drenched body. Breathing heavily with rage and desire to kill, he felt the adrenaline surge through his veins with his mind prepared for more slaughter should there be a need to do so.

"Oh my, Latios!" Dragonite gasped, shocked at how the normally peaceful Dragon/Psychic-type was in a complete state of uncontrollable rage. "What happened to you!?"

"Natural instincts, you can say." He looked down at the forest, where his friends on the ground continued their struggle against endless amounts of enemies. "We have to help—"

A piercing scream, eliciting from Jimmy or Leon presumably, echoed throughout the forest. This caused a bolt of fear to strike Latios's heart, for he feared the worst of what could potentially happen to his ally. His senses could pick up dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Pokémon that were currently attacking them.

"Shit…I hope we aren't too late…" He dived towards the ground with Dragonite following him closely. Funnily, at least in his point of view, that was the first time he swore in quite a while.

Outside Viridian City, Mud Swamp

Ash and the other five which made up the party had fled the battle and attempted to make a break for Viridian City in compliance with Latios's order. None of them were willing to desert their friends in the forest but they didn't have much of a choice. Ash, on the other hand, wanted to go back and help them, but Bianca, Brock, and Raine managed to knock some sense into the stubborn and hot-headed Pokémon/human hybrid and made him not diverge from their current path. Like refugees fleeing from a war-torn country, the group of six forced their way through the nearly non-traversable terrain that would easily stop even amphibious or all-terrain vehicles dead in their tracks.

"Well, that's just great. Looks like the path is flooded and we'll have to find an alternate way," Brock surveyed. The main path was flooded with waist-deep water, meaning the group had to find another path.

"It seems like our only choice is to struggle through some swamps. Not my preferred method of travelling, but beggars can't be choosers," Raine sighed as she placed her right foot into the squishy substance, drenching her red-coloured sneakers with wet soil and mud. "Let's get a move on."

The team had suffered immense exhaustion midway towards the outskirts of the city, their bodies drenched with rainwater and feet smothered in mud and gripe while traversing across the wet, muddy terrain. Ash in particular failed to comprehend as why they had to leave his other friends in the first place.

"Why did we have to leave them for starters?!" Ash demanded angrily, panting as he struggled to maintain his footing in ankle-deep mud. His fatigue was beginning to settle in as he stumbled and nearly collapsed face-first into the mud, but Latias tightened her grip around his waist and helped him maintain balance. On his shoulder, Pikachu hung on to his neck, trying not to fall into the mud himself.

"It wasn't like we had much of a choice," Brock returned calmly, his brown-coloured khakis coated with grimy mud. "We couldn't help out. They're experienced fighters, we're not."

The Pokémon Trainer knew he could have helped due to his ability to fight as a Pokémon, and used that as his evidence for defending his point. "Well, I could! I for one would never leave Latios and the others to fight against that horde!"

"Listen to me!" an outraged Raine, her clothes dripping wet with water, yelled angrily. "You're not trained to deal with such situations—the others, such as my Dragonite, are! You'll get yourself killed!"

"Your friends have a point!" Latias voiced into his head. "You need more training as a Pokémon if you plan to use your strength effectively!"

"I won't get myself killed! I'm always fighting with the best of my abilities!" Ash clenched his fists in anger. "This is just pathetic. We are letting them get harmed just because we can run away from danger? We should all be ashamed of ourselves for leaving our friends like that, not to mention they're taking the spotlight from us!"

Bianca immediately lost her mind with Ash's last statement as she struggled forward in the mud, with her pink shoes, knee-high socks and legs coated with mud, and delivered a sharp slap across the trainer's face in a state of disgust. "Stop thinking about yourself and your pride of becoming a Pokémon Master, alright!?"

Ash felt the sharp sting of her strike on his cheek, and he glared at her. "What was that all about!?"

"This is all about you and your selfish attitude of being a Pokémon Trainer. Our friends wanted us to flee for our own safety, and you're saying they're having fun in the chaos they're experiencing!? They're fighting for their lives and they wished for us not to be subjected to the type of harm they're suffering!" She bit her lips angrily, especially when Latios volunteered to stay behind and here she was, facing Ash who didn't seem to be grateful in the slightest for the Eon dragon's courage.

"Bianca…this isn't the time for an argument." Latias uttered mentally, placing a claw on her shoulder.

The girl knew what she was about to say, but quickly shook her head. "No. Ash needs to learn there is more to being a Pokémon Trainer than needless battling and violence." She waved some the brownish-red hair that obstructed her face and sighed. "Listen to me, Ash… If the others knew you were capable, they would be grateful for your help. But they're not. They wanted you to escape with us. Not just that, but…there's more to this than simply achieving fame." Her feet sunk into the goopy terrain as she struggled to pull her legs out of the muddy ground that threatened to suck her back in with every step she took. "I'm going to need an extensive shower after this."

"She has a point," Brock added. "You have to stop being so stubborn."

"Not to mention extremely reckless," Raine voiced in addition, reminiscing the battle with Team Rocket's Meowth Mecha that nearly resulted Ash in being flattened by the machine. "We know you want to help, but Latios wanted to send you with us for another reason and that is to watch over us. No offense, but your lack of discretion dampens your skills in battling." After all, it would be pretty unwise to send a portion of the team to escape without anyone who was capable of defending themselves should they be suddenly ambushed.

Raine's sentiments became fact as the squeals of Fearows sounded from above them, the squadron of agitated Bird Pokémon circling the group like buzzards waiting for a chance to dive in for a meal. The flock of hungry and mentally-ravaged birds observed the helpless targets down below with their beaks drooling for the taste of human and Pokémon flesh. Pikachu caught the noises with his sensitive ears, looked up, and dropped his jaws in absolute shock.

"I thought we lost them!" the red-haired girl screamed. At this exact moment, she truly wished that she had some firepower with her, let it be in the form of an able-bodied Pokémon or a submachine gun.

"It's them…the human and the Pokémon. What a perfect chance too… They're bogged down in a state where they are completely helpless. It is time to carry out our masters' wishes and end their pitiful lives once and for all," the leading Fearow spoke, his anger fuming to uncontrollable levels. He was distinct from his other members with a scar on his right eye, caused by a Pidgeot who struck him years ago with a powerful Steel Wing. Ever since that fateful day, he vowed to take revenge against both the bird and the human who owned the respective Pokémon.

"So boss, when do we dive in for the kill?" another member of the same species inquired.

"Anytime now," he whispered in reply. "We'll just wait…after all, patience is a virtue. Their protectors are too busy back in the forest and will likely be slain by our followers regardless."

The sight of the Fearows made Ash's Pikachu cringe—the very same Pokémon that attacked his trainer and him on the first day of their adventure were coming back, and this time, they were in full force instead of just a lone Fearow. "Oh no…," he uttered, realizing the identities of the Pokémon as he gazed at the stormy sky up above with a face of absolute shock. "It's them…"

"Who?" Latias asked curiously. "Do you know or have met them before?"

"Yes on both counts…but it was far from pleasant," the Mouse Pokémon murmured. "They tried to kill Ash on the first day he was a Pokémon Trainer, and I saved him. The same pirate of a Fearow came back for round two when Ash was about to depart for the Orange League. He had his Pidgeot to assist him then, but now…she's nowhere in sight. We're on our own!"

"Not if the two of us work together to stop these meanies!" Latias spoke courageously, prepared to defend her love and trainer at all costs. "We can stop them!"

Pikachu gulped slightly in response, but shook off any thoughts of nervousness and intimidation as he focused his mind on protecting his eternal friend at all costs. "You're right. Let's do this!"

Ash took notice of Pikachu hopping off his shoulder and onto Latias's feathery back, and it was here when he caught the sharp, ear-shattering shrieks of the Fearows above. His eyes widened in great fear…for he could recognize a particular one in the crowd anywhere, due to the scar it sported on its right eye. It was the same one that he faced on two occasions, one on his first day as a trainer, the other when he was returning home to celebrate his eleventh birthday just in time before he departed for the Orange Islands. And here the monstrous bird was back once more, for a third time, as it attempted to kill him again. The Pokémon Trainer thought about using his transformation technique to fight the bloodthirsty birds, but given the drenching rain, he realized it would do more harm than actual good.

"Don't worry, Ash!" Latias assured the black-haired human boy as Pikachu began to spark with energy. "Pikachu and I will handle this—just run!"

"But Latias—"

Her face turned from cute and loving into a hardened battle gesture. "It's my turn to protect you. Now move! Get the others to safety!"

"…I owe you one, Latias," he sighed in reply. "Come on, everyone! We have to move!"

"KILL THEM ALL!" the scarred Fearow screeched in bloodlust as he descended, his beak transforming into a whirring drill-like extension as he prepared to use Drill Peck on Ash. His partners followed him and mimicked his actions, but had their sights on Ash's other friends instead. "Rend them to pieces and strip their bodies until they have nothing left but bare bones!"

"…Wow, add that to someone hasn't eaten in a very long time," Pikachu joked despite the potentially bloody battle that was about to unfold.

Bianca, Brock and Raine also took note of the sudden divebombing movements of the Fearows, and the group, acting on an instinct of fright, struggled through the swamp as they attempted to flee the incoming slaughter.

"Find a way onto dry land somehow!" Ash urged as the group fiercely. "Latias, Pikachu, use a combination of Thunderbolt and Mist Ball to stop them while we move, got it?"

"You got it, Ash!" Latias telepathed in reply.

"I read you," Pikachu answered hesitantly but bravely.

Both Pokémon utilized the techniques that Ash ordered them to use. With Pikachu's body sparking with yellow-coloured energy and Latias amassing a sphere of red-tinted mist in her claws, they swiftly launched the respective attacks into the sky, like hunters shooting at incoming Flying-type Pokémon. The Fearows, however, were anticipating this, and thus they skilfully evaded the incoming blasts of lightning and psychic ball of energy aimed at them.

"Funny. I thought they would be more dumb than anticipated," Pikachu muttered, remembering how he was able to decimate entire flocks of Spearows with one Thunderbolt during his first day with Ash.

Although Raine wanted to contribute to the fight due to her powerful Pokémon, she made the unfortunate mistake of not healing them at the Pewter Pokémon Centre before she left. This meant her team was greatly weakened, and wouldn't contribute much to the fight except being easy prey to the gang of Fearows intent on ripping them into bloody shreds. She was forced to help Brock struggle in particular, as she took note of Ash's friend who was having difficulties struggling through the mud. Her Dragonite and Blade were not with her, leaving the trainer deprived of two strong battlers.

"Come on Brock! We have to go!" she urged, helping him slough through the grime. For some reason, she noticed the late teenager having difficulties keeping a steady footing.

"I'm trying! I think I pulled a muscle along the way… I need to sit down, can't go any further! Just leave me!" He winced a bit, painfully trying to keep up as he hopped on one leg.

"We can sit down after we're out of this mess! On your feet now otherwise you won't be getting much of a rest after this! We're getting out of here now!" she screamed over the combined sound of thunder rumbling and Fearows squealing and screeching in delight upon seeing helpless human prey. "No one is getting left behind!"

With all the force she could exert, the crimson-haired Pokémon Trainer helped him contend with the trek through the difficult terrain with all the force she could exert with her arms.

Bianca, however, wasn't so lucky. She had accidentally tripped over a submerged branch during her escape and she fell into the mud and, with her entire visage coated with brown-coloured grime, she forced herself back on her feet, only to feel the presence of a Fearow a few feet from behind her. She turned around, but was unable to get away in time as she was in the sights of the Pokémon.

Noticing her childhood friend in danger, Latias called to Pikachu for assistance as she was preoccupied with blasting several more Fearows in the process with an Ice Beam, freezing the attacking birds in one strike. "Pikachu, protect Bianca!"

"Got it. Pick on someone your own strength and size!" Pikachu defensively screamed from the back of Latias as he directed a Thunderbolt at the Fearow, blasting the Bird Pokémon with his signature move. Electrified and damaged by the unexpected move, it quickly backed away until it could discover another opening to dive in for the targets that were not able to fight back.

"Little rat…," the affected predatory bird hissed before backing away, its body paralyzed by the bolt of lightning.

"Come on, Bianca!" Ash encouraged her, grabbing the girl by her right arm and pulling her up. Her entire form, from her green shirt all the way to her pairs of pink running shoes, were stained and drenched with mud.

"…Thanks Ash," she spoke with gratitude. "Sorry I hit you earlier."

"Not a problem, but you were right. I was a little stubborn!" he chuckled before pulling his friend to her feet. "Are you okay? Can you walk?"

"Yes, I just tripped over something by accident," she answered, wiping some mud from her eyes with her right hand. "It's my turn to help out. Pidgeotto, go!"

Looking on in surprise, Ash witnessed Bianca call upon her Pidgeotto again, but this one, however, was a lot different from the varying species he'd seen in a while. This Bird Pokémon was about five feet tall, which averaged the height of most Pidgeots, the final evolution of the former Pokémon. The confident and normally calm-minded Pokémon took to the field and confidently faced down its natural rivals.

"Help out Latias and Pikachu!" her trainer ordered, realizing that Latias and Ash's Pikachu would need a little more assistance against the gang of nine Fearows.

Bianca's Pidgeotto nodded silently before taking off to engage the enemy Pokémon, despite being clearly outnumbered three to one.

"Come on, I'll help you," Ash offered, carrying Bianca at his side. With his heightened and newly gained strength of a Pokémon, it was somewhat easier for him to conquer the muddy terrain, but nevertheless, it proved to be quite a task for the Pokémon Trainer. The artistic girl's rather lightweight body meant he didn't have many difficulties in terms of helping her cross the muddy swamp.

"Ash! We need your help here!" Raine cried from a short distance behind him, the girl struggling in the mud with Brock slung over her shoulders. "Brock pulled a muscle and I need some help here carrying him across!"

"Things can't get possibly worse…," Ash thought in exasperation. "Okay. We'll move, and our Pokémon will hold them off!"

Latias, Pikachu and Pidgeotto, greatly outnumbered and being prime targets for the flock of Fearows, boldly faced down the Pokémon as they relentlessly attacked with all their energy. The Pokémon would occasionally target either Latias or attempt to knock Pikachu off her back but at the same time, they would try and dive in on the humans that were trying to escape the muddy swamp trap they got themselves submerged in.

Bianca's Pidgeotto, despite her courage, determination, and willingness to protect her friends with her life, was no match against the Fearows as she was still an unskilled Pokémon with little to no fighting experience. They assaulted her with countless Air Slashes, Drill Pecks, Aerial Aces, and a variety of other flying attacks that gravely wounded the Bird Pokémon. This greatly worried Latias as she noticed Bianca's relatively inexperienced Pokémon plummet towards the ground and into the mud with one large splash.

"This isn't good…," Pikachu panted as he began to become starved of energy after using continuous Thunderbolts and other Electric-type attacks. "We can't keep this up. They just keep on coming!"

Latias was in a state of dilemma now. She had to protect every one of her friends and teammates, but if she took off to protect Pidgeotto, her friends would be left open and become ripe targets for the attacking Fearows. On the other hand, staying in this position and providing cover for Ash and his friends meant that Bianca's brave and noble Pokémon would be a viable target for the Fearows. "I know, but…we can't just give up like this!"

She realized the dangers would be easier to handle if her brother was here, but even at this rate, she wasn't exactly sure if they were able to cope with the amount of enemies they were facing. In a lost state of mind, she wasn't even aware of an attacking Fearow that locked in on her, ready to strike.

"Look out!" Pikachu cried as a Fearow dived in from the rear, tackling the Mouse Pokémon off Latias's back. He hung onto Latias's wing in desperation as he tried to climb back on, while the same Fearow extended its talons and secured a firm grip on the Eon dragoness's back, its vicious claws digging into her body. This forced her to cry out in pain as it drew blood from the beautiful Eon Pokémon. Pikachu could do little in response, because if he used a Thunderbolt, it would also harm his female ally.

"Oh yes…you're so mine. Stay still and be patient, this will be relatively painless if you don't struggle," the Fearow hissed, licking his beak in delight as he prepared to rip a chunk of flesh out of the legendary with his serrated beak.

"Latias! No!" Bianca cried out in helplessness. "Please, help her!"

"LATIAS!" Ash screamed, not willing to accept his Pokémon being assaulted like this. He released his grip on Brock, focused his palms together as he tapped into his inner strength, and fired an Aura Sphere directly at the Fearow. "Stay away from her!"

The Fighting-type move homed in on the distracted Bird Pokémon, who was getting ready to mutilate Latias and had no idea he was about to be pulverized by an aura-based attack. The sphere made contact, and with one massive explosion, it caused the Pokémon to split into two perfect halves as gore and feathers splattered in multiple directions, causing both Latias and Pikachu to tumble and crash into the mud below them.

"Ew!" Latias grimaced in disgust as her pristine and soft feathers were mixed with mud and blood. She moved over to Pikachu, and pulled the little Pokémon out of the goop with her claws. "You okay, little guy?"

"Yeah," the Electric-type voiced in reply. "That was a close one, though. Are you hurt?"

"Yes…" She turned her head and noticed six freshly inflicted wounds on her back and rear, caused by the talons of the assailant. As rainwater washed over them, she winced in pain, trying not to cry from the stinging sensation that the injuries caused.

Throughout the battle, Bianca's Pidgeotto was also viciously assaulted, but after the Fearows were able to beat her out of the fight, they shifted their focus back to Ash and his friends. All nine of the lusting Bird Pokémon dived in on the now helpless team, ready for the finishing blow and a blood feast that waited after the fight. They made a grave mistake, however, as Bianca's Pokémon, while knocked out of the fight, was not defeated in any way. In fact, she was beginning its evolution process as her body was encompassed and blanketed by a curtain of golden light.

"I won't fail you, Bianca…," the injured but determined Pokémon spoke mentally.

Ash shielded Bianca and Latias, gritting his teeth and realizing that this was all over. Even if he transformed into a Typhlosion, there was no way he could take on a flock nine Pokémon and live to talk about it. With all the remaining strength and hope he could collect from his mind, he firmly held Bianca and Latias in his arms, waiting for the inevitable to come.

"ASH! Don't stand there! Get the hell out of there!" a shocked Raine yelled, oblivious to why her companions were frozen in place.

"…I failed. This is my fault," Ash whispered sadly.

"YOU'RE DEAD NOW, HUMAN!" the leading Fearow screamed as his compatriots homed in on them and prepared to rip Ash and his faithful companions to bloody ribbons.

It never came.

"STAY AWAY FROM HIM, YOU BLOODY RATTATAS!" an angry female-toned voice screamed in pure hatred and loathing. Upon hearing the voice, Ash and his friends opened his eyes and witnessed a brand new Pokémon, a different one, shield him from the slaughter as the unknown saviour tore through the Fearows with a lack of mercy using its wings composed of pure steel, severing body parts and breaking bones during the assault. It was a bloody sight that nearly caused Bianca and Raine to retch their stomachs.

Pikachu opened his eyes, hesitant to believe they were still alive, but they were at the moment. "…It can't be. It's Pidgeot… the one that used to belong to you years ago."

"I don't really remember…" Ash was speechless. Could it actually be the same Pokémon that was so loyal and devoted to him during the Kanto League prior to it being released, just so it could watch over a local flock of Pidgeys and Pidgeottos from the threat of the nearby rivaling Spearows and Fearows?

"Is my trainer seriously this dumb?" Pikachu questioned cluelessly.

The Pidgeot was soon joined by another one, but this one was mainly gold-coloured compared to the regular species found in the wild. The glow that the other particular one emitted could be considered holy and divine, according to the eyes of the humans.

"A Shiny Pidgeot?" Raine questioned, dumbfounded. "Where did it come from?"

Bianca noticed the new Pokémon, and suddenly realized it was her friend she caught at the beginning of her journey had achieve her final evolutionary stage.

While some of the Fearows were killed in the ensuing clash, four of them managed to regroup with their leader as they levitated in the air and faced down the rescuers of Ash and his friends. The leading Fearow, in particular, burned with absolute hate and malice upon noticing the same Pidgeot that scarred him years ago to be here again, meddling in his affairs. "You bitch…you dare fight me again?" His partners in crime hissed in an intimidating fashion, but both Ash and Bianca's Pokémon scoffed mockingly in reply, dismissing the acts as a childish attempt and cowardice.

"Someone has to stop you, one way or the other, you worthless scum," the Pidgeot that Ash used to possess in his team declared angrily. "The fact you tried to bully a kindhearted and sweet Pokémon like Latias gives me more reasons to kick your cowardly hind back to Mt. Silver." She cocked her head and looked down at Ash, but only gave a small sour look and frown to her former trainer.

"Mother, it is an honour to meet you again," Bianca's gold-coloured Pidgeot greeted as she bowed her head slightly, thrilled to see her parental figure after all these years.

"The pleasure is all mine, my child," Ash's Pidgeot voiced back in a tone of politeness. "I see you've grown up to become a confident Pokémon of one of my master's friends."

The Shiny Pidgeot nodded proudly. "Bianca may be learning, but with Krakatoa's guidance, she is becoming a confident and strong-willed trainer."

The gang of Fearows didn't give any opportunities for the pair of Pidgeots to regroup as they went on the offensive against both Pokémon. Both mother and daughter dived into battle against their natural enemies, ready to deliver swift justice and punishment to the lawless and bloodthirsty predators.

Brock, even though he was suffering from his twisted muscle, got a laugh or two out of the scene. "I'd never believe to see the day of seeing two Pidgeots fight side by side, more or less a Shiny one for starters! This is a rare sight indeed!" he laughed.

"Oh no!" Bianca yelped frighteningly as he noticed blood flowing from Latias's back, wading over to help the Eon dragoness on her wings.

"Don't worry Bianca," Latias assured her friend mentally. "I'll be fine, it just hurts a bit…"

"Won't do any good," Ash's Pikachu interjected. "Those wounds may become infected if not treated, given those Fearows' talons are probably germ-contaminated or something."

Ash was deeply worried about Latias, especially when he had promised Bianca and Latios that he would safeguard her with all his attention and strength, but here she was, wounded and semi-helpless. He hugged the Pokémon's neck tightly with his mud-soaked arms as he tried to comfort the Eon dragoness that everything was going to be all right.

"Take them to the Pokémon Centre immediately," Raine instructed, pulling a pair of Poké Balls from her belt. She released her Swampert and Infernape to help out with the carrying task. While both Pokémon were in no shape to battle, they had more than enough strength to carry the wounded out of the chaotic battlefield at this moment. "Swampert and Infernape, help them get to the Viridian Pokémon Centre!"

Both Pokémon answered with a grunt. "Consider it done," Infernape announced. The pair of creatures carried Bianca and Brock on their backs before quickly departing to the Pokémon Centre.

"I'll stay here with Pikachu to fight them off, if that's fine with you." She turned to the yellow-coloured Electric-type, and the relatively petite mouse confirmed with a confident nod.

"I'm staying too," Ash spoke up. "I'm not leaving anyone."

"Me too!" Latias cried out telepathically, even though her wounds were beginning to show her deterioration of health. "I'm not running from this one!"

Raine widened her eyes a bit as she felt her shoes flooded with muddy water, the wet, squishing sensation setting shivers up her spine. "Latias, don't be reckless, you're critically wounded—"

"I'm sticking with Ash until the very end," she firmly communicated, blood trickling from her wounds. Despite the injury, her face had a fierce and determined expression written all over it. She turned to Ash with a smile."…If we don't make it out of this alive, at least I'll be happy I had the chance to see your smiling face one last time."

"What are you waiting for?!" Raine screamed. "This is no time to enact a love—"

Right before she could finish her sentence, a Fearow fired a Hyper Beam straight at Ash and Latias, the sudden explosion throwing up copious amounts of dirt and mud as the blast of energy detonated upon contact with the muddy and swampy ground. The resulting blast sent the couple flying before they both crashed onto the ground, with Latias unconscious and Ash semi-dazed out. His increased resistance against Pokémon attacks meant he was able to keep with his senses as he hurriedly returned to his feet, and despite being weakened, he was still able to maintain his conscience, albeit barely.

"Crap…," Raine muttered.

While Raine tended to Ash and Latias, the pair of Pidgeots commenced a battle against the Fearows—an exchange of Drill Pecks, Aerial Aces, and Steel Wings became apparent, but with Ash and Bianca's Pokémon gaining the upper hand due to the pair of females' superior skills, training, and reflexes. The Pidgeots were relatively unwounded and undamaged, while their adversaries were either dead on the ground or bleeding from various wounds of their body.

"Just give it up already. You'll never best me or my mother, especially when we are fighting side by side. Your blind rage clouds your true senses and you never know when to flee," Bianca's newly-evolved Pidgeot chastised.

"So the little girl's getting philosophic, hmm?" one of the Fearows mocked. "Clearly you'll never understand, as the great poison makes us invincible! If you two ladies were wise, you'd join us as we become the top predators of Viridian Forest, and eventual subordinates of our future masters that will dominate the Kanto Region!"

"I always knew something was wrong with you," Ash's Pidgeot spat disgustingly in reply. "There was something more that drove your hatred of Ash and me, and I suspected it. You have fallen victim to the poison of those corporate rats that sport the UAAF words all over their uniforms!" She equally hated the corporate dictators just as much as Ash and his friends did, as she knew of their connections with Team Rocket and other criminal organizations.

"Yeah, so?" another Fearow laughed darkly. "You know the old saying—if you can't beat them, join them. And you bitches soon will become our obedient slaves too."

Bianca's Pidgeot rolled her eyes in response. "Once a coward, always a coward."

"Enough talk. It is time I bury the two of you in this storm, and what a glorious victory it will be!" the lead Fearow screamed in a complete state of rage and hate. "Everyone, rend them alive!"

The battle commenced once more as endless thunder continued to crackle in the sky.

"Come on, let's get moving, you two!" a familiar voice coming from a young man in his teen years urged the Electivire and Umbreon, the pair of Pokémon following their trainer through the rainstorm. Ignoring the rain that soaked his hair and clothes, the top-level Pokémon Trainer sprinted through the pouring weather, his two closest Pokémon keeping up with their master at a moderate pace.

"This weather isn't doing anything good to my fur," Umbreon scowled in her own language, irritated with her fur getting soaked.

"I love this thunderstorm!" Electivire complimented, raising the two wire-like extensions from his body as they gathered static energy from the violent weather. "It provides a good workout, so I think you have to cheer up sometime, you grump."

"Be quiet, I'm not an Electric-type!" the Moonlight Pokémon shot back. "Let's just be silent, alright?"

"Fine with me." The bulky, yellow-colored Pokémon shrugged as he continued his routine of gathering electricity from the raging storm.

While Gary Oak was currently spending time at his grandfather's lab on his leave from the International Police Force, his day on leave was suddenly cut short after Leon's styler sent a distress call to the lab during the battle in Viridian Forest. With Ash's former rival realizing that it was from one of Ash's new friends, not to mention the call was an urgent one that seemed to have involved the native Pokémon trying to devour them alive according to the transmissions and emergency messages, the trainer immediately went into action. As he was responsible for all security matters in the Western Kanto area, he was naturally the first one to acquire the call as he immediately rushed to the scene where the distress call originated from. He managed to receive a ride from one of Professor Oak's assistants via an all-terrain jeep from Pallet to his intended destination, but due to the terrain difficulties outside of Viridian City, he was forced to continue on foot upon making his arrival at the northern outskirts of the latter city. It didn't help one bit that he had to straggle through knee-deep water that overflowed the flooded natural path.

To soften up the problematic state of the situation, Gary had dropped by the Pokémon Center in Viridian and informed the local Nurse Joy working there to have several Ranger-class medics on site and ready to take care of the wounded, should there be any. According to him, it was never too safe to be prepared beforehand.

"Umbreon, can you sniff out Ash or his Pikachu's scent?" Gary asked. The main road was flooded and hidden from view, and thus it became extremely difficult to find the direction to Viridian Forest.

The cat-like Pokémon sniffed the ground and shook her head in a rather disappointed manner. It was just too difficult to home in on the scents of two individuals in a raging storm that blanketed the afternoon into a dark evening-like environment. However, she pointed one of her paws towards the direction of two approaching individuals.

Gary squinted into the distance, and saw an Infernape and Swampert carrying two humans on their backs, approaching rather quickly. "Hmm, what are two Pokémon that aren't native from the Kanto region doing out here?"

He signalled to the approaching Pokémon to stop by waving his arms frantically, and both of Raine's Pokémon came to a grinding halt.

"…Brock?" Gary asked, recognizing Ash's friend on Swampert's back. "The heck are you doing out here in this hell storm!?"

The former Gym Leader grinned faintly upon seeing an old acquaintance. "Gary, am I glad to see you!" He struggled off Swampert's back, but nearly collapsed before Gary's Electivire helped him stable his balance. "You have to help Ash and his friends!"

"I was on my way because of a distress call from a fellow colleague," Gary implied. "I didn't know you two were involved in this…"

A mud-covered Bianca climbed off Infernape's back and greeted Gary. "Brock here is injured. He needs help immediately…the same goes for my other friends currently in some serious trouble back there."

The troubled former rival of Ash sighed. Although he wanted to know who this girl was, there was no time for introductions or small talk. "Nothing is ever going right these days…okay, well, first order of business, you two have to get to the Pokémon Centre first, and fast. I have already arranged medics on site to help you there." He was relieved slightly, given his preparations before. "Get going! Viridian City is only several hundred metres beyond this flooded path."

Both Infernape and Swampert caught Gary's words of instructions and gestured their respective human passengers to hop on their backs once more. In seconds, both had departed for the Pokémon Centre, rushing as far as their exhausted bodies could take them.

"Hope we're not too late," Gary muttered. He continued to slough through the flooded path, with his Pokémon in tow. He could already witness several blips in the sky clashing with each other, and several more dropping from the sky as the fight unfolded between the Pidgeots and the corrupted Fearows. "Hang in there, Ash!"

"…I just hope he knows what he's getting us into," Umbreon muttered to herself. Being a highly introverted Pokémon that could give little to no care to others save for herself and her trainer, she wasn't one to lend a helping hand unless her master explicitly commanded her to.

Viridian Forest

With Ash, Latias, Pikachu and Raine observing the fight between their saviours and the attacking Fearows, the others were caught up in their fight in the forest. After the slaughter of the Spearow and Fearow gang in the air, the pair of dragons were able to lend support to their friends on the ground, with Raine's hulking Pokémon delivering brutalizing attacks that devastated the swarms of Raticates and Ekans, while Latios, with his desire to kill peaking, discarded all thoughts of using his mind powers to dispatch his enemies as he resorted to his Dragon Claws and Steel Wings to maim and tear the Phazon mutagen-infested Pokémon to bloody shreds, their blue-coloured blood pouring and spraying everywhere like leaky and rusty water pipes falling into a state of disrepair. The overwhelming might of the Pokémon team was spectacular as they swept a path of destruction through the savage wild Pokémon, but the endless swarms from which the lead Arbok had commanded them to assault with became a problem for the group.

Leon and Krakatoa were left to duel with the giant Cobra Pokémon, both Ranger and Pokémon dodging every poison-coated needle, bite or strangling attack that the massive snake-like entity attempted to kill them with. Due to the endless streams of Raticates and Ekans that kept on trying to swamp the team, Latios and Dragonite could not assist in tackling down the giant Arbok.

"Where in the good name of Giratina do these freaks keep on coming?" Dragonite cursed as the bulky Dragon Pokémon repeatedly stomped, kicked and flattened any Raticates that tried to gnaw at its heels and other parts of its body, while any Ekans that actually dared to attempt to slither behind the large-sized Pokémon were either smashed into a flattened pulp by its bulky tail or kicked away like nobody's business.

"Beats me, but that's not the biggest of our concerns at the moment," a blood-drenched Latios panted as he repeatedly slashed everything that came at him with Steel Wings and Dragon Claws. He was considered a prime target for many of the Pokémon as he was of a legendary status but the numerous pests that were foolish enough to attack him were promptly slashed into oblivion, or for the more unfortunate ones, bisected into two pieces as Latios reduced them into two portions with his Steel Wing. He felt his sister's life force greatly fading, but he couldn't rush there to help her out in time as he was caught up with his own battle.

"Please protect her, Ash," he prayed mentally as he grabbed an Ekans with his left claw and used the unfortunate Snake Pokémon like a whip, lashing the creature at its compatriots and forcing them to fall back. "Come and get it, you bloodthirsty bastards!"

Flinging the Ekans around wildly, he slapped everything in his path harshly with his improvised weapon, the rain slowly beginning to wash the blood off his feathery body.

Both dragons fought equally in terms of brutality and strength. Dragonite spared no mercy as the pseudo-legendary initiated Outrage and thrashed everything that wasn't a friendly in its line of sight, while Latios's mind, while in control, was filled to the brink with rage and hatred as he discarded all thoughts of mercy and remorse and delved his consciousness into a swirling storm of killer instincts.

As he was ripping everything in his way, an Arbok managed to sneak up on him and delivered a poisonous bite into his neck, thus forcing him to drop the Ekans he grasped as he yelped from the stinging sensation of the bite.

"Latios!" Dragonite called out. She tried to rush over to aid the Pokémon, but as always, the natives used their sheer numbers to force their enemies to divide up so they would become easier pickings.

The Eon dragon screamed in pain as he felt the toxins course through his body, but his reflexes and instincts overcame the notion of pain and fatigue. Angrily, he reached for the Arbok's body, grabbed it by the hood, and forcefully removed the Cobra Pokémon as the latter struggled to get out of his claws. Even though he was bleeding heavily from the bite, he ignored it as he tapped into his regenerating powers and recovered his injuries in a rather short amount of time.

"I despise sneaks, especially scum like you," he cursed, glaring at the helpless Poison-type who was trying to bite him again.

Without even thinking, Latios ripped the Arbok into two pieces, spurting massive amounts of blood everywhere as he roared out in a scream of madness caused by the primal slaughter. He discarded the body parts along with the others he and his companions had thrashed earlier.

"Cover me, Blade!" Sceptile yelled out as he severed a tree with one swift Leaf Blade. Behind him was Raine's gold-coloured Scizor, who was preoccupied with fighting off swarm after swarm of Beedrills. "Almost there!"

"Hurry it up! I can't hold them off forever!" Blade shot back desperately as he grabbed a Beedrill by its neck with his left pincer and flung the hapless Poison Bee Pokémon away as if it was a tennis ball. The Pokémon crashed into a tree trunk and fell down, unconscious and beaten. He was far from tired, but having to bash endless swarms of the same Pokémon made him feel more frustrated than ever.

More Beedrills flew up to meet the lone Scizor and Sceptile head-on, their piercing red eyes glaring at the pair of Pokémon menacingly as their wings flapped at a frequency which generated a droning noise akin to a million winged insects vibrating their wings all at the same time. Their stingers were all drawn at the pair of Pokémon before they promptly fired some of their Pin Missiles.

"Do they EVER stop coming!?" a frustrated Blade complained as he fended off the endless swarm of insects. He loved to fight, but not when it was an endless slugging match against overwhelming numbers of extremely weak opponents that were way out of his league. The Pincers Pokémon neutralized the incoming needles using Swords Dance before flying back into the air and hammering them all with Metal Claws, Night Slashes, and standard Slashes, all strengthened greatly by the stat-powering move he used earlier.

"Incoming!" Sceptile screamed as he pushed the tree trunk over that he had severed earlier, sending the large log of timber falling over on its side.

The gigantic wooden log crashed to the jungle floor and squashed several Pokémon in the wake of its blow, fainting or killing the unfortunate victims instantly. This greatly reduced the amount of attacking Pokémon, at least for the time being. Sceptile returned his attention to his master, who was currently caught up in a duel against the gigantic Arbok and was just about to jump into lend assistance when even more Beedrills attempted to stop him as they formed a blockade that prevented the Forest Pokémon from reaching the Ranger and the Typhlosion.

"Here I go again," he grumbled. He then cocked his right arm as if it was the loading mechanism of a machine gun, and began to blast the swarms of bees with explosive Bullet Seeds.

Leon and Krakatoa fought what was arguably the toughest battle of their lives, due to the difficult terrain that made it notoriously hard for good versatility and fast yet heavy hitting attacks. The giant Arbok, though, had no troubles combating the Ranger and Volcano Pokémon in such environments as he spat poison needles from his fanged mouth like a machine gun. Leon countered this by telepathically disabling the projectiles in flight and forcing them to drop harmlessly to the ground, but to his shock, he was not able to affect the oversized cobra with moves such as Psybeam or Telekinesis, despite the super-effectiveness of Psychic-type moves against Poison-type Pokémon.

"I never thought duelling with a Ranger would be this easy," the Arbok taunted as he lunged at the Ranger. Leon retaliated by whipping the snake with his energy whip, the electric sparks crackling against the Cobra Pokémon and intercepting its attacks from connecting.

"Save it for your funeral," the black-haired and uniformed boy snarled fearlessly, gripping the energy whip firmly in his muddy hands.

Krakatoa didn't falter in his contribution to the battle either—with the lack of effectiveness of his Fire-based attacks due to the rain and the increased resistance of Poison-types against Fighting-type moves, he was forced to resort to his Shadow Claw which he found to be notably effective in the battle. The occasional Raticate was treated to a Brick Break, knocking the nuisance out rather quickly.

Just when things were starting to look up, several Koffings entered the fight, the naval mine-like Pokémon diving at Latios, Dragonite and Krakatoa akin to homing missiles.

"Now what are they planning?" Dragonite yelled in confusion, having taken two Raticates in its claws and sandwiched them together with its claws arms before throwing them uselessly on the floor.

"Don't let them close," Latios advised, realizing the Gas Pokémon were attempting to use Explosion on them. Regarded as the strongest move in existence, it could knock them all out in one go. As it was crucial they received as little damage as possible, he did not wish to take any chances. "We have to stop them!"

"I'm on it!" Dragonite responded as it spat a Dragon Pulse from its maw, the ball of energy directed at the greatest concentration of Koffings. As soon as the move connected, it created a brilliant explosion that bent trees and swept lightweight Pokémon away due to the shockwaves generated by simultaneous detonations going off at the same time. Both Latios and Dragonite immediately shielded themselves with Safeguard as a measure to prevent any debris from colliding with them.

Latios blinked confusingly, rather shocked to see how effective their counterattack was after all the mine-like Pokémon exploded like fireworks.

Meanwhile, Krakatoa swept through the enemies like a lawnmower slicing its way through grass without mercy or remorse. "Die like the villainous rats you serve!" the Typhlosion roared as he slashed his way through several Ekans, severing their bodies into chunks as his claws sliced them neatly into multiple pieces. As he made his approach to assist Leon in the fight, he was forced, like everyone else, to fight through the various distractions that stood in their way. "You're mine, you slithery filth!"

The Arbok was well aware of the Fire-type hybrid making his approach, and in retaliation the Cobra Pokémon swept its huge tail at the approaching Pokémon. The hulking limb smashed against Krakatoa's chest area with a sickening crunch noise with the force of a cinderblock being smashed into a glass window as the Fire-type Pokémon spat out some blood from his bloody fangs. A strong sense of pain jarred his body into a state of paralysis as he fell down, clutching his chest. "…And stay down, you stubborn child," his assailant sneered.

With his body wracked in absolute pain, Krakatoa realized he had broken a rib or some sort—he couldn't battle any further. He could do nothing but look on helplessly as the advancing Raticates and Ekans closed in on him, ready to rend his body to pieces.

Blade and Sceptile, having cleared out their respective enemies earlier, immediately leapt into action as they aided the downed Pokémon/human hybrid. Dragonite and Latios provided cover with their combat skills being employed against the endless hordes.

"Get him out of there!" Latios shouted to the two Pokémon who tended to Typhlosion's injuries.

"Crap, you took a beating there," Sceptile pointed out. "Are you okay?"

Krakatoa coughed harshly as he winced in pain, clutching his chest. The pain was so great that he was not able to talk properly. "I'm fine…just a little scratch."

"This isn't good," Blade analyzed. "He's probably broken a rib and has plenty of other injuries all over his body. It doesn't help he was recently healed to acquire the injuries all over again. While he's not admitting it, it can't be hidden from us." He gently ran a pincer over the chest area of the Volcano Pokémon, and shivered upon realizing that his assumptions were true after all.

"Help…the Ranger…," Krakatoa uttered, knowing the Arbok was here to kill the Ranger. "…Forget about me!" Clutching his chest in agonizing pain, his vision began to blur as the conditions worsened for him.

With Krakatoa knocked out of the battle and a life-threatening injury inflicted on his body, Leon was now effectively on his own against the giant Arbok. Swiftly jumping around the forest terrain and making sure not to get himself stuck in any of the mud puddles, he used his styler whip as a grappling device to swing from tree branch to tree branch. The later Cobra Pokémon retaliated with several Poison Stings, all of which the Ranger dodged with little difficulties as he continued to swing through the jungle like an Aipom swimming from tree to tree.

"You have the aim of a butt-Mankey mongrel!" Leon taunted as he landed on the ground steadily and retracted the whip of his weapon. The Arbok gave him a glaring stare, and in a split second, he simply…smirked. The Ranger raised an eyebrow in confusion.

"Watch what you say, boy." The Poison-type's glare intensified as he focused the view into the Ranger's irises.

"Leon, watch out! That glare can paralyze you!" Latios warned. He knew the Arbok was going to try and paralyze him with Glare, and this would mean his apprentice and friend would become no more helpful than a flightless Pidgey grounded in a territory filled with its natural predators.

"W—what!?" Leon stammered, but for some reason, he couldn't stop staring into his adversary's eyes for some reason.

Suddenly, Leon felt his entire body freeze as if it was being seized by an invisible force. He forced his mind to undergo a transformation mode in spite of the apparent vulnerabilities that his Latios form brought, but nothing happened. He could not say anything or scream in rage and fear. He was unable to move any part of his body as the Arbok continued to glare right into his eye, the Cobra Pokémon chuckling darkly at his helpless prey. "You're mine now!"

A single poison-tipped needle was fired directly into the victim's arm from the Arbok's toothed fang, perforating into Leon's flesh and introducing a grave amount of poison into Leon's bloodstream. The stinging sensation caused no response from the human, as he was paralyzed and could do virtually nothing to protect himself.

"Easier than I expected," the mutant Poison-type Pokémon mused. "Time for the kill."

The Pokémon grabbed the Ranger with its tail and coiled his victim tightly, the paralysis spell broken off after the glare was broken. This didn't matter to the Arbok though, as he knew the battle was his. Bringing the trapped human up to his drooling mouth, he hissed amusingly, projecting his warm and vile-smelling breath on the suffocating human soldier. "You know, you fought bravely, but I have to announce that the show's over for you, boy. Too bad none of the Ranger dogs will be around to see this," he spoke sadistically before thrusting his jaws at the near-unconscious Ranger, ready to snap the human's head off in one bite.

Sceptile, noticing his partner in danger, fired an Energy Ball from his palms and into the Arbok's back, but the Grass-type move did nothing more than simply dissipate harmlessly upon making contact with the giant cobra creature.

"Latios! You have to help him!" Sceptile roared in anger and helplessness, taking note that Latios was the only one powerful enough to save his partner from certain death. "Forget about us! SAVE HIM NOW!"

While Latios was initially ticked off for being screamed at in such an unacceptable manner, he didn't hesitate to save his companion as he lunged at the Arbok with blazing speed, the pairs of wings on his body giving off a glow of silver as they materialized into blades hardened with steel. His body began to glow as he began to emit a streaking blue trail comparable to a comet observed through a telescope, and gritting his teeth in complete rage, anger, and desire to kill, he shot towards the hood of the Arbok with both of his eyes glowing brighter than a thousand suns combined. Even though his body was on the verge of collapsing from the previous exhaustion acquired via fighting and injuries from the wild Pokémon, he recovered his powers during his approach with a Recover, restoring some much-needed health and fighting energy. The Eon dragon only elicited a bloodcurdling scream as his mind was boiled down straight to a state of pure blinding and berserk rage, shooting himself at the Arbok at speeds equivalent of a bullet fired from a sniper rifle.

The Arbok turned around in confusion, only to see an approaching streak of light.

With one sickening splattering noise, Latios shot and perforated straight through the Arbok's hood, drawing out endless amounts of blood as the Cobra bellowed in pain. His move, a Zen Headbutt combined with the power of Steel Wing, transformed Latios into a flying blade of death that had pierced through his victim like a katana perforating through soft flesh. Sceptile, Dragonite and Blade grimaced in a horrified manner at the massacre as a gaping hole dribbling with blood and gore was present at where the once frightening-looking hood of the creature used to be.

"…Why you…bastard of a…," the dying Pokémon screeched in a combination of hate and weakness as he lost blood faster than his regenerative powers of the Phazon virus ravaging in his body could grant him.

The Eon dragon reverted to his normal state after the fatal strike, but he wasn't finished with his assault. His face betrayed no emotion as his eyes continued to glow piercing red, and he dived at the Arbok's head, driving both his sharpened draconic claws into the pupils of the creature. By this time, the victimized Pokémon was so weakened that it wasn't able to elicit the slightest noise from its throat anymore.

"Holy Mother…of Mew…," Krakatoa gasped as he observed the carnage unfold.

Latios roared in complete insanity and blinding malice as he proceeded to rip the Arbok into two pieces, the unbearable noises of bones cracking and flesh being torn apart sounding throughout the environment, coupled with the noises of thunder rumbling overhead and rainwater droplets splashing into puddles. Blood spurted into multiple directions as the mutilated Poison-type attempted to scream one last time, but all of that was drowned out by Latios's primal-like cry as he separated the Pokémon into two pieces and disgustingly flung the body parts aside, breathing angrily and uncontrollably in the aftermath. "And stay dead…"

Giving one last breath, he disengaged his powers before returning his mind to a state of calamity and tranquillity once more, but not before spitting on the corpse of the Cobra Pokémon.

"Unbelievable…," Blade spoke breathlessly at the massacre. "H—he combined two attacks and executed the beast in cold blood… It is unheard of in such a tranquil and kind-hearted species."

"Don't underestimate me or my kin for our gentleness," Latios uttered breathlessly, still feeling the adrenaline surge through his veins after his out-of-control rampage. "That thing was corrupted too, so mercy was pointless. It wasn't like it was capable of displaying it for starters."

Dragonite had taken the chance to quickly catch the weakened Ranger in its claws as Latios was busy brutalizing his victim in manners unthinkable, and the entire team struggled over to tend to the Ranger.

"…We did it," the Ranger weakly muttered, his face pale as the poison began to overtake him. He managed to crack a smile as his Sceptile took him from the Dragon Pokémon's claws and hugged his partner affectionately.

Latios rejoined with the group and closed his eyes, as if he regretted performing his gruesome execution procedure. "Sorry…it had to be done." He smiled slightly through his blood-splattered visage upon noticing Leon giving him a weak thumbs-up.

"I…I understand…," Krakatoa coughed. He observed the carnage around him—it was an absolute bloodbath that would take forever for nature to decompose all the dead bodies and other biological debris scattered in the area. Most of the surviving corrupted native Pokémon, upon seeing their superior master be gruesomely killed in such a way at the hands of Latios, had ordered a full retreat as the Pokémon all fled the scene in complete shock and horror, not wishing to end up in the same fates as their masters and partners. "Is everyone…okay?"

"I'm fine," Sceptile respired, absolutely drained. "We have to get to a Pokémon Centre as soon as possible though."

"I'll take care of it," Latios offered as he took the Ranger's body. "You okay, Ranger?" It was at this split second he noticed a small needle of toxins embedded in his apprentice's arm. "Not good…he'll die if this isn't treated." The Eon dragon removed the poison pin with a telekinetic manoeuvre, but he knew that he still needed aid.

Leon nodded weakly as his breathing turned extremely heavy, his heart heaving after a conflict that nearly claimed his life. "I'll be fine even though I feel like shit. Feeling dizzy and all… Sceptile, return."

The Forest Pokémon was returned to his Poké Ball as Latios clicked the button of the containment capsule attached to the Ranger's belt. Meanwhile, Dragonite carried the injured Typhlosion on his back, the extra weight not bothering the physically powerful dragon one bit.

"We must rendezvous with Raine and the others," Blade reminded, noting of how the rainstorm had somewhat died down slightly. "At least the rain squalls have ended, to an extent."

"Then we'll do just that," Latios spoke tiringly, his body aching from all the extensive fighting he had done. "Let's go. We need these two treated on the double."

The Pokémon capable of flight carried their wounded teammates out of the forest as they headed off into the sky and toward the direction of Viridian City, leaving the bloodstained battlefield behind them.

Outskirts of Viridian City

The slaughter of the Fearows became evident as both Pidgeots arriving just in time for the rescue of Ash and his friends proceeded to either kill or knock them out with cold blood. Throughout the struggle, both Bird Pokémon skilfully and ruthlessly dispatched the Fearows with extreme precision and sharpened skills, despite being clearly outnumbered four to one. Fear or intimidation had no place in their minds.

"I've never seen such unspeakable hatred and vendetta between these two groups… It's no different from the love-hate relationships humans have," Raine admitted silently. She was carrying Ash's weakened and tired out Pikachu in her clutches as she waded through the thigh-deep muck and grime, fleeing under the cover of the Pidgeots.

Pikachu chirped in agreement as his form of replying, as unlike the other teammates, Raine couldn't understand Pokémon speech.

"Just perish already, bitch!" one of the vicious birds screamed in bloodlust as he attempted a Drill Peck against Bianca's gold-coloured Pidgeot, his beak whirling into a rock-demolishing drill that threatened to gore the shining Bird Pokémon into a stream of blood and feathers.

She kept her mind in a cooled and calmed state before countering her incoming opponent's strike with a Steel Wing, her attack drawing fresh, red-coloured blood as her metal-coated wings slashed through her quarry's right wing while she evaded the drilling technique that was directed at her. The end result from this gruesome gesture was a wounded Fearow falling out of the sky and it eventually ended up in the muddy swamps with a giant splash.

While this was happening, Ash's Pidgeot finished the rest with one last Wing Attack, slapping a Fearow across the face who attempted to bring the fight up close and personal against her, and he eventually learned it was a very fatal move on his part. The sharp slap wiped out the relatively inexperienced yet violent Pokémon with one blow.

"I'll have to escape and come back with more reinforcements… This isn't over, you pair of bitches!" the vicious Bird Pokémon thought. Under the cover of the thunderstorm and his blindly devoted allies and followers, the Fearow who possessed a vendetta against Ash quietly glided away from the battle and back into the covers of Viridian Forest. He swore to the end of his life that he would return for round four some other time.

"He got away again," Bianca's Pidgeot muttered disappointingly.

"Expected of such a spineless coward," Ash's Pidgeot responded bluntly. "He'll come back, but for now, we need to handle the remaining Fearows here!"

The gold-coloured Pidgeot returned her utmost attention to the battle with a fierce determination on her face. "Right behind you, mother."

With the bloodbath behind him, Ash was finally able to reach shallower ground, where the path wasn't flooded too deep with mud and water. His body soaked beyond belief, he clutched Latias with his tired arms as the red Eon dragoness struggled to keep herself in the air via levitation due to her wounded state.

"Don't worry Latias, I'll get you out of here," the trainer whispered, forcing his feet through the muddy terrain.

Fortunately for him, he witnessed a familiar figure on the path ahead, accompanied by two Pokémon: one was a large, gorilla-like entity of a yellow-coloured scheme, and the other was a cat-like creature with gleaming eyes that were ruby-red in colour.

"For once in my life, I'm just glad to see Gary here," the trainer thought happily, a smile trickling across his weary face.

Without even thinking and only hoping to get aid for Latias before anything too serious happened to her, he struggled with all the strength that his weakened legs were able to exert and forced himself forward, through the mud and towards his childhood friend.

Liked this chapter? A little feedback and a favorite would be appreciated. As I mentioned many times before, it motivates me even more when there are readers out there that actually look forward to my updates.

Speaking of which, it would be awesome if this story got a page of its own on TvTropes. That site's chock full of humorous information that can help with writing stories, and I can only wonder how many I've used for this fic. Just something that crossed my mind

Hey, it would be a wonderful treat to my story, which is now two years old.

-Soldier of the Future