The Trainers of Canalave City were done for.

The constant battles had worn down on all of them. Even those who had taken it in their stride at first were beginning to struggle to keep up. It had been an inevitable thing really, that they wouldn't be able to keep it up, but none of the Trainers wanted to admit it.

In the three and a half months that Canalave had been taking Trainers in, there had barely been a day when there hadn't been fighting in the streets, be it Galactic, training or simply the brawls that were bound to erupt when you stuck too many people in too small a space. The city hadn't been big to start with, a thousand or so people at most, with most of its occupants seafaring folk or those who only had a second home by the sea. It was probably only classified as a city rather than a town purely because it held a Pokémon Gym. With all the Trainers pouring in from every corner of the globe, the city had become crowded and tempers had frayed. The longer this had continued the worse the situation had gotten.

Between the brawls that were beginning to erupt among Trainers much more used to only spending a huge amount of time around others like them during League Conferences and the Galactic sympathisers that were slipping into the city and setting up camp, the support network that held the city's defences together had slowly started to fall apart.

Even Byron, the tough but fair Leader of the Steel type Gym couldn't keep track of the trouble anymore, and not for lack of effort. During the first month or so he'd been able to stop the attempts at infiltrating the city purely because he had been able to go around and meet most of the new Trainers that had signed up under his banner. But too many Trainers and not enough time, combined with the ongoing siege of the city had rendered the Gym Leader unable to stop the sympathisers getting in.

They were fighting on two fronts, trying to deal with both the Galactics who were invading and the sympathisers who were attacking those who had thought they were among allies.

Still, it might have been winnable. Unfortunately Galactic had a second ace up their sleeve to go with their Palkia.

Cypher had finally agreed to help them deal with the situation and joined them for the attack. Shadow Pokémon were dangerous enough as it was. The Shadow Legendaries that were sent into battle wiped out Trainer after Trainer, but that wasn't what caused the city's defences to finally fall.

That was caused by a Dragon-PKNE Positive teenage male from Pallet Town who had been forced through the Shadow Process, just like any Pokémon, putting him firmly under Cypher's control. He only needed two Pokémon to destroy his opponents – his loyal Pikachu, shadow processed within minutes of his own transformation, and Team Cypher's pride and joy;

XD001, Shadow Lugia.

With his help and that of the Shadow Trio, Suicune, Entei and Raikou, no Trainer could stand against Palkia long enough to prevent what happened.

"Palkia, Spacial Rend!"

LINE_RECOGNITION_HAS_GONE_AGAIN

Miko had hurried into the urgent meeting with Dartz, having only heard about it minutes before it was due to start. To her surprise her mentor, Alister was already there but Dartz was yet to be seen.

"Alister, do you know what this is about?" Miko asked, frowning slightly and glancing around.

"I have no idea, four eyes." Alister shrugged, lounging in a VP's chair. "Dartz'll let us know when he lets us know."

Dartz entered the room in his typical dramatic fashion not through the front door, but from the secret entrance behind the projection screen attached to the back wall. "Ah good, both as prompt as usual. I've got a mission for the pair of you, one of utmost importance." He looked at Miko, "How much do you know of the Pokémon Champion who's been helping the Pharaoh?"

Miko frowned slightly, pausing in her bid to sit down to look at her current boss. Djinn, her Shedinja, hovered by her shoulder, refusing as ever to enter a pokeball, but she got the feeling the bug wasn't too keen on the silvery blue haired man.

"Jamelia Francis of Littleroot Town, Aspiring Champion of the Sinnoh League." She parroted. "She has a pretty strong team... she's far above my level."

"Useless bug." Alister muttered, shaking his head. "She's cute. Hair's bluer than yours though." The last was said irreverently to Dartz.

"Indeed." Dartz nodded, unconcerned by Alister's attitude, "I do not mean it as an insult Miko, but I've been watching her since she arrived. I don't doubt that someone who can take down five of your former comrades in a row without pause would be difficult to defeat. That is why this mission is so important. Were you aware she has a younger sister?"

Miko hesitated. She had known, of course, but shook her head. "No, sir. I had no idea. I never even faced her as an enemy while I was still serving Mercury."

Dartz grimaced slightly at that but the look was only there for a few milliseconds before it vanished, hidden behind a small, smug smile. "No matter. Lizabet Francis was caught in one of the Rends that Team Galactic have opened recently. I want her on our side. That is why I'm sending you two out. You're to convince her that joining our side would be beneficial."

"That shouldn't be too hard." Alister snorted. "Little girl lost all alone? I can take care of it and be back for dinner.

Miko frowned, wanting to object, but not willing to speak over the louder minion.

"This girl could be the best way to remove one of the Pharaoh's strongest guardians, Alister. I want her on our side." Dartz warned them. "Of course if it's impossible, then that's where you come in Miko. The girl will have no deck, the card with the Seal will be worthless, but your Sealballs will still work. If she refuses to join us, then take her soul. Either way, Jamelia will bend to us."

"I think I can do it." The former member of Team Galactic replied, nodding. "No... I'm sure... this is within my small ability."

"Oh, great. Are you sure I have to take her with me? I can just grab the kid." Alister grumbled

"Alister, the girl doesn't have a deck but she does have her Pokémon with her. How exactly do you plan on dealing with them?" Dartz asked, his tone making it obvious that he didn't appreciate being questioned. "Team Galactic made the mistake of attempting to 'just grab' the girl and she slipped out of their grasp. We need her to come to us willingly."

"Fine." He sighed, long-sufferingly. "You better not slow me down, four eyes."

"Of... of course not, Alister-sempai. I'm ready to go as soon as you are." Miko stammered back,

"There's a helicopter waiting for you on the roof." Dartz informed the pair, ignoring Alister. "I would prefer that this was done quickly and quietly. The last thing we need is attention now. Now go, and call when it's over, one way or the other."

"Got it." Alister grumbled, sweeping out and not waiting for Miko. The girl nodded, before hurrying to catch up with him.

The helicopter ride passed in uneasy silence, until the pilot informed them that they were near the target area.

"Don't mess this up, bug." Alister told her, coldly. "I don't want to have to waste my time on your mistakes."

"This is a mission from Dartz-sama." Miko replied, softly. "Just because Kaiba-san isn't the enemy here doesn't mean it isn't important." Alister's only response was to let out a derogatory snort. Miko didn't try again, instead she allowed the silence to stand between them, keeping an eye out for any sign of their target.

It took a while but before the silence between them could stretch too far the pair of them saw smoke rising from a small campfire which was hidden amongst the trees below at which point the pilot informed them that he was going to have to land in a clearing nearby and that they would have to go on foot the rest of the way.

Alister, of course, was less than amused by that news. Miko on the other hand just shrugged and waited.

LINE_RECOGNITION_HAS_GONE_AGAIN

"Tag! You're it!" Jamie laughed as she darted around Maelstrom, her newest Pokémon, the Floatzel who had helped her out a couple of weeks ago, and tapped it on the head.

Maelstrom rolled his eyes, having tried to avoid getting drawn into the playful antics of his trainer and the other Pokémon and chased after Tinder, Mai's female Ponyta, who reared up, neighing playfully and cantered away.

The other Pokémon were just as keen to get away, with Bolt, Mai's new Pachirisu, racing up the nearest tree and chuckling at the twin tailed water type. Maelstrom didn't dignify the electric squirrel's giggling. Instead he used his Aqua Jet to catch up to Aisu, Jamie's Glaceon, and bop her on the ear.

"Float, zel float."

"Hey, watch it!" Mai chuckled as Maelstrom nearly knocked her over as he dashed past, Aisu in hot pursuit, "I'm trying to cook here."

"Sorry, Mai." Jamie chuckled as she darted away from her Glaceon, refusing to be caught a second time.

"No you're not." Mai responded, glad to see her friend relaxing and enjoying herself. It was good to see the Pokémon Trainer, who had been rather upset in the last few weeks since they'd left the small village near the Windworks Rend Point, this happy.

Mai couldn't help wondering how much of it was because of the Rend Point they were due to reach this afternoon. They had had a phone call from Mokuba a couple of days back asking them to take a detour from their planned route as a new Rend had come up on the Kaiba Corp satellites and it looked like a whole town had been deposited in their world. Luckily it had been in the middle of nowhere, but the pair of them should probably check it out before they progressed any further.

Though it could just be the place, the air and the journey were clearing some of the old worries away. They hadn't been found once by Galactic in the entire time they'd been travelling, which was coming up on a month and a half now, they'd settled down for lunch in a rather picturesque little clearing, the Pokémon were completely relaxed and had tamed to them nicely and it was, for the moment, a perfect afternoon.

She could feel some of her own troubles melting away with the last of the cheese in the pot too. Though she hadn't forgotten what Marik had done to her, being trapped in your own worst nightmare wasn't something she could forget quickly after all, compared to Jamie's troubles it wasn't much at all.

It helped that Jamie had been slowly helping her with the fear of defeat that appeared due to the Penalty. The constant goading into Pokémon Battles and Duel Monsters matches, which, to start with she had turned down but had slowly agreed to more and more of them, had boosted her confidence with each win and blown away a little more of the fear with each loss.

She grinned as she helped Jamie dish out the food for the Pokémon. The last Rend point had had a market who had been more than willing to sell the pair of Trainers proper Pokémon food in exchange for the money of this world and getting them in contact with Kaiba Corp. Mai still couldn't believe how small the food, called Pokeblock, was. It could be quite easily stored in their bags even though they had to carry different foods for each type of Pokémon, and allowed a lot more room for 'proper' travel food.

"What's up?" Jamie asked, sapphire blue eyes dancing as she finished up by feeding Aisu. The Glaceon practically dove into the bowl as the pair of girls moved towards their own hot food.

"Huh?" Mai replied eloquently, confused by Jamie's question.

"You seem..." Jamie froze and wheeled around, moving in a burst of speed that startled Mai and shooting over to her Glaceon's side, letting out a disgusted sound as something purple splattered against her skin.

Then and only then did Mai see and hear what Jamie had already reacted to. The more experienced Trainer's senses were sharper than Mai's and she'd heard the incoming attack before she'd known what the attacker was.

Mai had no idea what the huge, purple, cobra like snake was called but Aisu had already launched a counter attack, attempting an Ice Beam on the cobra, which was being directed by a tall woman with dark purple hair. The attack narrowly missed as Jamie staggered to her feet, looking woozy.

What had been in that purple goop?

"Found you at last, Francis. Knew you'd head for the biggest Rend this side of the Pacific, it was just a matter of watching and waiting for you." The blonde haired man with the woman smirked, electricity crackling around him, "Hand over the Master Ball and we might consider letting you live."

"Ha." Jamie's laugh sounded a little hallow as she wondered if Mokuba had known he was giving her the directions to a trap, "Never going to happen."

Jamie's Pokémon were gathering by their Trainer as she spoke and Mai's raced over to her, growling and glaring at the newcomers.

Then it hit her, who these two were, the guy with the lightning who had just sent out a huge, yellow and black electric Pokémon and the woman in control of the snake. She didn't know their names but she knew who they were.

Team Galactic members. Probably two of the PKNEs Mercury had warned Yugi about.

Jamie glanced towards her as the Electivire stepped forward, a worried expression on her face and Mai realised that this was what the Trainer had been worried about, not just that they'd get caught up to, but that Mai would be there when the Galactics finally reached them. Jamie was worried that she hadn't trained Mai well enough, that she wouldn't be able to protect herself and her friend...

"So..." Jamie asked, "Do we get to know your names, or do I just refer to you as..." She didn't get to finish her sentence as the Electivire attacked Aisu and her Trainer.

"Tinder, Flame Charge!" At Mai's command the blue flamed Ponyta sheathed itself in fire and tackled the huge Pokémon, which was knocked back a couple of feet. The snake tried to bite at Tinder's ankles but Aisu was faster, moving between the fire horse and the striking snake and throwing up a Barrier that stopped it in its tracks.

"I didn't realise that Glaceon was that high a level." The woman commented, eying the icy blue Eeveelution with a little irritation, "And as for our names, I'm Venom and this is my Pokémon, Arbok."

The cobra hissed at Aisu who growled back.

"While I'm A.C. and this is my Electivire." The Pokémon in question shot off a Thunderbolt attack that struck Tinder hard, causing the Pokémon to go crashing to the ground. Pyre rushed over, the red flamed Ponyta nudging its blue flamed herd mate before Mai returned it to its Pokeball.

"Mai..." Jamie's face had a horrid purple tint to it and her breath was coming in short gasps. Mai's eyes widened as she realised that if the snake belonged to the woman and the woman's name was Venom, that purple goo had probably been poisonous, "Run."

"Yes, run." Venom smirked at the blonde, "You're boring. Your Pokémon aren't all that special, your skills as a Trainer are lacking and most importantly, you don't have the Master Ball."

Mai saw Jamie's shaking hand go to her belt and rest on the Pokeball in question. Jamie didn't want her here trying to help and the ease with which Tinder had gone down suggested that she couldn't be any use here even if she tried. At the same time she couldn't just run and leave her friend behind...

Electivire attacked, attempting to hit Aisu with a Thunderpunch. Aisu narrowly dodged only to get hit by a Glare from Arbok that paralysed it on the spot.

"Gale!" Mai called to the Staraptor, who swooped in, wings glowing and knocked the snake away from the small canine like creature.

"Last chance, Valentine. Don't get involved." A.C. informed her.

Venom had no intention of letting Gale get away with clobbering her snake and she glared at Mai before sending out her Weezing, who hovered in the air belching poison gas, and smirking slightly.

The only hint they had of her intentions was that A.C. swore and recalled his Electivire, and then they didn't have enough time to react before Venom gave a command.

"Explosion!"

The poisonous gas exploded, sending everyone and everything flying. Mai crashed hard into the ground a few foot away and by the time the dust had cleared enough for her to see, Venom had stalked over to Jamie and ripped the Master Ball from the semi-conscious Trainer's belt.

"I have it." Venom sounded delighted as Jamie groaned in protest, "I have the Master..." She pressed the button on the ball, expecting it to grow and release Dialga, only for the top layer of paint to break off, revealing a plain old Pokeball underneath and an empty one at that. "What?" She yelped, "Where's Dialga?" She demanded, seizing the Trainer by the collar and shaking the girl.

"Don't know can't tell." Jamie replied with a smirk, "Haven't touched a Master Ball more than once ever. Why? You lost..." Jamie let out a pained yelp as Venom dropped her and a second emerged when the woman kicked her in the stomach.

"You think you've won, but you haven't." Venom chuckled viciously at her as Mai pushed herself up, noting that Aisu was staggering to her feet at the same time. "All we have to do is report that you two don't," She paused to consider Mai carefully, "Actually..."

A.C., who had already checked the packs down by the still blazing fire where their food was now burning, moved towards Mai, who swiftly pulled her Pokeballs out of her pockets and showed them to him, well aware that she couldn't take him in a fight and she shouldn't try, not when Jamie would need her awake and coherent once these two left.

Though the amount of Pokeballs she held matched to the amount of Pokémon she had, A.C. grabbed Mai's arm, making the Duellist turned Trainer shriek in agony as lightening jumped from him to her. It lasted less than thirty seconds, but in that time A.C. had checked her pockets and let go.

"It's really not here." A.C. sounded surprised as Mai collapsed to her knees, still shaking from the after effects.

"Then I guess we'll just have to inform Mars. I guess it's finally open season on the other Trainers." Venom on the other hand was delighted, "Spectre will be happy, for once."

"N...No..." Jamie managed to force out, attempting to struggle to her feet only for Venom to push her back down easily. The Trainer hit the floor with a yelp of pain, a second, louder one emerging when she hit her head against the floor and a third, much more panicked cry erupting only to be cut off when Venom straddled her chest and wrapped her hands tightly around Jamie's throat, purple clawlike nails digging into the dragon positive Trainer's neck, dripping in poison.

"You've been a thorn in our side for too long Francis," The older Trainer growled as her nails pierced the skin and Jamie, who had been trying with what little strength she had left, to wrestle Venom's hands away from her throat, managed to just about let out a panicked, agonised whimper as yet more noxious chemicals entered her system, "And since half of this trip has been a waste I'll enjoy the other..." Venom didn't get to finish her sentence. Aisu leapt forward with ice coated fangs and sank her teeth into Venom's right arm.

Venom shrieked as she recoiled, releasing her prisoner, who passed out as the new venom mixed with the toxic chemicals she'd absorbed through the goo still clinging to her. The Poison type Trainer wheeled around to face the Glaceon, getting to her feet as she did so, only for it to start hailing.

"Bloody thing has Snow Cloak." A.C. scowled as he tried to locate the swift but silent, high powered Glaceon.

"Leave it." Venom scowled, glaring at the blood bubbling from her pierced skin and the ice shard embedded in her arm that was slowly melting away. "I don't fancy fighting with something that's..." Her words were lost in the blast of snow that pummelled her with ice and snow and knocked her away from Jamie.

A.C. launched a Thunder attack in the direction it was coming from, only to let out a startled yelp as the attack came straight back at him. The electric type screamed as his own attack hit him instead of its intended target.

"Sod this." Venom bellowed over the increasing snow, "Barrier, Mirror Coat and Snow Cloak? Just leave it. Francis is as good as dead anyway and while I'd rather stay and finish the job personally, I refuse to put up with any more of this crap."

A.C., who stumbled as he got back to his feet, couldn't agree more. Mai bolted to Jamie's side as the pair left, pulling the unconscious girl free of the snow that had landed from Aisu's attack, pack in hand, as she searched for an Antidote or Pecha Berry, only to swear profusely when she couldn't find one.

She didn't know what to do. The Pokemart they'd run into hadn't been able to sell them any Revives and the only Pokémon that wasn't unconscious was Aisu, she needed Pyre or Tinder to get them to the next town in time and both were...

She tensed as she heard the sounds of cussing as someone made their way through the nearby trees, getting to her feet as the owner of the voice emerged from the trees, still cussing about blasted tree roots. Aisu darted between her and the newcomer and growled threateningly.

"Easy." The man held up his hands, showing he was unarmed, "Are you lot alright?"

There wasn't time to be too wary. He'd come from the opposite direction to the Galactics, didn't seem to want to attack them and seemed concerned. And Mai needed the help. "We need to get to the next town, we were attacked and..."

The man was rummaging around in his coat before Mai had finished, having taken in the scene surrounding him, "Here." He shoved his hand in front of Mai's face causing her to recoil, as a pair of strong smelling stones was shoved under her nose, "Revives. Take them. I'll look after your friend." Mai didn't know the man, didn't trust him either, but the brown-haired, blue eyed man just smiled reassuringly as Aisu sniffed him curiously, "Go, they won't trust me like they do you."

Wondering if this guy was another of the wandering Trainers that they'd come across regularly as those who had been Rended explored their new surroundings, Mai darted over to Tinder and revived the fainted shiny Ponyta before moving over to Pyre and doing the same.

In the meantime the man had recalled almost all of Jamie's Pokémon, including Aisu who had only allowed him to do so because he'd promised to send her back out the moment they hit the Pokémon Centre in the next town. As Mai explained quickly to the two Ponyta, the man, who was stronger than he looked, scooped the poisoned Trainer up and moved over to join her. To Mai's pleased surprise, Pyre allowed him to climb on once Jamie had been balanced over the Ponyta's shoulders, and as she mounted Tinder she asked a question, "Who are you?"

"My name's Valon." The man said with a small grin, the green stone on his ring glinting in the light, "And I'm a friend."

LINE_RECOGNTION_HAS_GONE_AGAIN

Alister jumped out as the helicopter approached the ground, Miko waiting until it had settled down before following. They walked through the wood at an easy pace, although Miko wasn't happy at the amount of noise Alister was making tramping through the woods so loudly.

The woods were quiet except for the scattering wildlife, the sounds of something cooking and Alister's tramping. However something was following them through the trees. It was difficult to hear and see as whatever it was only stayed still for a few milliseconds at best. Miko asked Djinn to check out the surrounding area as she ran her fingers over her Pokeballs to make sure they were still secure, peering around.

The ghost/bug Pokémon had about as much luck as its Trainer, managing to hear a faint call amongst the trees and spot a flash of green in the branches.

Miko swore softly as the Pokémon's voice reached her, and she tugged on Alister's sleeve, before pointing.

"Try to be quieter." She murmured. "We don't want her to think we're a search party."

Alister scowled, but shrugged and followed her, walking as quietly as he could. Prideful and arrogant he was, incompetent, however, he wasn't.

A little further into the woods, the green flash settled on a branch, revealing itself to be a rather dirty, tired looking Vibrava who glared at the pair of them. "Vib, rava vibrava." It sounded like it was trying to warn them off.

Miko stepped forward, hands spread. "We're not here to hurt you." She told it, gently. Even though it looked like a bug, she knew it wasn't and had no idea how it would react to her.

"Vibrava." The Dragon/Ground type complained at her, glancing in the direction of the smoke before taking off, a loud high pitched Screech hitting the pair as it does so, and darting off towards the campfire. It took a few moments, but once her ears had recovered from the shriek, Miko followed swiftly, keeping her eyes open warily as Alister followed with his hands in his pockets.

The moment they stepped into the clearing it was obvious that the Vibrava had warned it's team mates as all six of the Pokémon belonging to the Trainer they'd come to find had placed themselves between her and them.

"If you're with Galactic be warned," The Trainer, who could easily have been mistaken for Jamelia had she been a little older, was in as much need of a bath and a proper rest as her Pokémon. When she spoke her voice wavered, revealing her fear and exhaustion, "Tide will wipe you out!"

The Swampert in question bellowed at them angrily, keeping itself between her and them but obviously ready to attack at the slightest provocation.

"We aren't with them." Miko replied, eying the gathered Pokémon nervously and holding her hand up for Djinn, who landed on her finger. She brought her hand down in front of her, protectively.

The icy blue haired Trainer watched them warily. She looked more frightened than angry, like she didn't know who to trust. Thrust into a strange new world without either of the friends she'd come to rely on she didn't know what to do.

Her Umbreon stepped forward, growling slightly as he sniffed at Miko, circling her first before doing the same for Alister, as if seeing if he could scent Galactic on them.

"Were you rended at Canalave too?" The girl asked, still wary but confusion overriding fear. Galactic would have attacked her or tried to capture her from the start so obviously there was something going on here, but she didn't understand what.

"No, I've been here a while." She shook her head. "This is Alister, he's a local who's been helping me out."

"Hi." Alister scowled, leaning on a tree.

"My name's Nanoha Miko, I'm from the research centre at Goldenrod originally. Can we join your fire?"

"I'm Lizabet Francis of Littleroot Town." Lizabet introduced herself, "And as long as you don't plan on attacking us, sure. I might have enough to spare."

At her words her Pokémon backed down, still watching the newcomers warily but willing to let them come over to the campfire if their Trainer had given them permission. The Vibrava from before settled at Lizabet's side as she started tending to the food again while the Swampert, obviously the most dangerous member of her team glared at the pair as he sat at her back, unwilling to relax at all.

"Ignore Tide," Lizabet advised, gesturing to two places next to the fire, "He was my sister's starter Pokémon and well..." She trailed off, looking awkward.

"I understand." Miko nodded. "Demise is the same way for me, although it was her mother who told her to look after me." She let out Demise and Sora the Ninjask, who eyed the other team suspiciously

Lizabet's squad settled around their Trainer. Having nearly lost her when Canalave had fallen, they refused to stray too far from their teacher, Trainer and friend. Tide glowered at the pair that had been released from their balls but at a sharp call from his Trainer, the Swampert settled for watching rather than doing anything else.

"I'm sorry if Sahara startled you earlier." Lizabet smiled sheepishly at Miko and Alister while gesturing to her Vibrava, "She's my scout. She makes sure nothing sneaks up on me."

"When we saw the flashes, we thought you might be in trouble." Miko admitted, nodding as she sat. Alister followed, awkwardly, before eyeing the Swampert and pulling out his deck to shuffle.

At the words "thought you might be in trouble" Tide rolled his eyes and spread his arms apart, gesturing to the Pokémon watching him that it wasn't just a small amount. Demise seemed amused by the gesture.

"Lots of bad sh.. stuff been going down since your lot started showing up." He grumbled.

"Don't blame us!" Lizabet growled at him, bristling, well aware that her sister had been one of the first to appear in this world, "It's Galactic's fault! They're the ones wrecking everything!"

"Yeah, well, the boss decided to help her." He pointed to Miko, "Might do the same for you." Alister grumbled.

"He probably will." Miko nodded. "Dartz-sama is a powerful man here. He's like President Sylph."

"President Sylph?" Lizabet blinked, recognising the name, "Why would 'Dartz-sama' help me? And how? All I want to do is find my sister."

"Because he's the kind of person who helps people." Miko replied, smiling slightly. "He had no reason to take me in when I was running from Galactic, but he did. He likes helping people in need... he wants to make the world a better place." She paused, holding up her hand. "Not like Galactic who want to replace it with a new one, but just by helping people, one at a time."

Lizabet frowned slightly. "And what would he want in return? I have nothing to offer. I have no money, no hidden knowledge and I have people chasing me because they want to use me as bait to kill my sister. How could I possibly be of any use to you as I am?"

Miko laughed, softly. "You don't have to. I'm not strong, or brave. Any one of your team could probably crush me. I was only a part-time lab assistant back home." She sighed, pushing her glasses up her nose. "What I do know is that he can protect you... and help you become strong for yourself..." She shook her head.

"I just want to help my sister. That's it." Lizabet sighed, her shoulders sinking, "I've heard the rumours coming from this world. About dark powers, godlike Pokémon and how my sister's mixed up with them. I want to protect her, like she protected me."

"Then we can definitely help." Alister spoke up, his voice soft. "When the tanks rolled in and my brother was killed, Dartz was there with the relief efforts. He pulled me from the rubble himself and asked if I wanted to become strong."

Lizabet looked at him for a few moments, absorbing his words, then offered him a bowl of noodles, "My friends call me Lizzie. If you really think your boss can help me find and help my sister, then I think we have a lot to discuss."

He took it, then nodded.

"Definitely." Miko spoke up. "He's already helped me." She told her, stroking Shedinja's head idly. "When this one rose, he had a strange symbol on his head. Dartz-sama explained what had happened and why it was a good thing... I was terrified before that."

Lizzie offered Miko a bowl and looked embarrassed, "Sorry, I don't have any for your Pokémon. I barely managed to make the Pokeblock I had stretch between my six." She examined the Shedinja as she scraped together her portion, "Why was it a good thing? If you don't mind me asking. I mean I know nothing of what's been going on here bar the rumours that have been flying and the fact Galactic want to kill my sister along with some friends she's made in this world. Oh, that and that Galactic are being helped by some guy who can use 'dark magic' and can summon monsters out of cardboard to aid him." She stopped and scowled slightly, "Sometimes I wonder if the rumours got so warped that no one knows what reality sounds like any more."

"They play a game here, a card game with monsters." Miko explained.

"It's all holograms, up until recently." Alister put in again. "Your sister is the champion girl?"

"That's how he's summoning monsters? Holograms?" Lizzie looked a little relieved at that, "Yes, my sister is Jamie Francis. Her team is amazing. She was Aspiring Champion when she got Rended but everyone just calls her a Champion now."

"I know of her. I don't know how true the rumours are, but..." Miko smiled. "If they are, she's incredibly strong."

Lizzie nodded proudly. "She is but... I still want to help her. Maybe with both of us working at it, we can find a way home and stop Galactic's plans for their 'new world'."

Miko smiled. "That's a dream worth following. At least come and meet with Dartz-sama with me. We were heading back there when we encountered you."

Lizzie paused and considered herself, "I uhhh, could you give me a chance to find a stream so I can clean up first? I look a mess."

"If we still haven't convinced you," Alister gave her a slightly disgusted look, "we have hot showers at the office."

"No, no, I want to come and talk to your boss but would you want to make a first impression looking like this? Miko doesn't count, she's probably seen Trainers in a much worse state. And you, apparently, don't care." She pointed to herself, making sure to gesture to the mud coating her legs and embedded in her hair. "I look like I've been dragged through Viridian Forest backwards and forwards. If you have a shower I can use before I meet him, then I'll come with you now."

"We do." Miko smiled. "And it is glorious."

"Shedinjaa..." Her companion agreed.

"Then I guess I'll come and talk to your boss. I don't know if I'll join up with you guys if I don't like what he has to say, but I promise to come and talk to him. Even if it is just for the free shower." There was a joking note to Lizzie's tone.

Miko smiled. "You won't regret it."

Alister just made a softly derisive sound and ate his noodles.

LINE_RECOGNTION_HAS_GONE_AGAIN

Author Note: Muahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Shit go boom?

Sooo... Long time no update. When my PC went it took my entire plan for Sheer Cold and Sacred Fire with it. So this is my official notice on this fic, please note that I am posting the first chapter of 'Relic Song' at the same time as the last chapters of both pre-mentioned fics. That is the next story in the series. You're not missing anything with me ending Sheer Cold and Sacred Fire early, it was going to be all original stuff, including generic Pokémon journeys and generic OC villains that were after the Puzzle/Yugi's magic/soul/underwear for some generic reason.

Editor's Note: Yay, generic. :p This chapter wraps up Sacred Fire and sets the stage for Relic Song, so everything's good to go for next time. See you there. ^^