This should be the last chapter, and so I feel inclined to say a few things of actual relevance this time around.
First, this is not the end of the General's story, just like it wasn't the beginning. He's 170 years old, and he's still got a few centuries left in him. So there will be a sequel. Circuit's just likely to be in the spotlight a lot less.
Second, I've gotten a couple of comments stating confusion. If there is anyone who feels something's wrong with the story PLEASE tell me so! I can't get better if you don't complain!
Also, I'm doing my best to wrap everything up in this chapter, but I may have gotten a bit out of hand with the sheer number of characters in the story, so if you feel I missed a vital detail, or you're just curious, feel free to ask. If I get enough questions I may do a final, "Ask the Characters" chapter, so if you want to ask the characters directly, feel free! I can do that, right? There may also be, I don't know, a trivia or character bios page. I think I heard there was a rule against that or something, so someone tell me if there is.
So, as always, Pokémon doesn't belong to me. The characters do.
Share and Enjoy.
Picture the scene…
The Amp Plains. A vast, golden stretch of grassland, home to so may Electric-types that the air tingles and the very ground is known to spark. Ravaged. Sinkholes pocket the site of the battlefield. A few explorers work with the locals to restore the land and repair the damage done.
It's going rather well. An Alakazam in a smart tuxedo and top hat stands at the treeline of Mystifying Forest. Standing behind him are a blue-grey Tyranitar with moss on his shoulders, a Golette in a strange mask, and a Blaziken in a grey hoodie. The Alakazam turns to the trio and nods. They salute and step behind a tree, and just as suddenly they are no longer there. The Alakazam watches the workers go about their business. He closes his eyes and waits.
Several miles north the plains end, giving way to mesas and badlands. At the center of this area, the largest mesa lies shattered. In the broken butte's central area, where a stable spit of land still lies, is a raised mound of dirt. A grave. A large, round stone, still covered in dirt from having been dug up, has been stuck half its length in the ground as a headstone. Inscribed in hasty but still halfway neat letters:
Here lies Lord Burne.
Proof of the evil inside us all.
The Alakazam sensed a presence and opened his eyes. "Ah, General. I thought you might like a word with me."
The silver-striped Electivire leaned heavily on his cane. "I wanted to think you for helpin' me." He frowned. "I'm honestly not sure how much help you all were, but-"
"I saved a score of our number from the sinkholes when they collapsed. Mr. Ignition took down three by himself and aided five others in their battles. Telsa defended the camp where we kept the injured. Mr. Slate was responsible for saving Raquayza from the Steelix."
Circuit nodded, satisfied. "Speakin' of, anyone see where the legendaries run off to?"
Presto rubbed his mustache. "Raquayza stayed until it was all he could do to stay aloft. He fled shortly before Team Firewall's sneak attack."
"Glitch and Defect. They led the charge."
"Ah, is that their team name? Good."
"The various other legendaries accompanied Raichu and Magnezone, to help escort the outlaws to prison. Darkrai in particular. Cobalion wanted me to tell you that he is no longer in your debt, but that doesn't mean he won't come to your aid again should you ever need him."
Circuit smiled. "Good man, that one. Not as difficult as Virizion, not as stubborn as Terrakion, not as naïve as Keldeo."
"Quite." Presto turned to leave. "Warp sent me a message saying sorry he couldn't come. If you want, he's willing to come and restore the status quo."
"No. This happened because history wanted it to, so I'm gonna do it the right way. I don't cheat."
Presto smiled. "I told him you'd say that. Now, I think I'll treat myself to a little break. If you need me, I'll be back in Virtue Village with my nephew."
The Alakazam teleported. Circuit grinned. "Heh. You do that."
He turned around and watched the Pokémon filling in the holes for a moment. Then he left. There was still work to be done.
Picture the scene…
A beautiful beach, south of Treasure Town. A small cave lies at its western edge, a much larger cave at its northeast edge. The beach looks out at a lovely bay, and the horizon holds the most beautiful sunsets imaginable. It was sunset now, and as such the Pelipper were flying overhead, some still carrying mailbags from a hard day's work. The Krabby had come out and were blowing bubbles, furthering the scene's splendor.
A large sailing ship, a galleon with blue trim, is docked at a hastily-made pier. Several Pokémon sailors scurry about on board, scrambling to ready the ship for departure before the captain returns. Three Clefairy, one with a camera hanging from her neck (in this case being the space above her shoulders) are sitting in the shade of a palme tree, chatting excitably about their cruise ride.
A Blastoise plods onto the sands and gaze at his ship with an almost tender look in his good eye. His silver shell gleams, his shell and arm gleaming after being replaced and upgraded, due to damage from the battle. He tips his hat at Miss Lapras as he passes, and blows a few bubbles from his pipe.
Following him are his friends: a Blaziken in a navy fencing vest and cape, with a wide-brim sunhat with a Moltres feather stuck in it. The Blaziken's wife, a lovely female with a waist-length haircut and a casual tank top. Perched on her shoulder is their son, a young Torchic, small for his age but makes up for it with sheer enthusiasm. Behind them is a Sceptile with a naked tail. A pair of goggles sit on his forehead, and his trench coat is filled to the brim with all manner of odds and ends.
Team Triumphant exchanged their farewells.
"Leaving so soon, Cannon?" Blaze asked. "I hear that Togekiss is throwing some kind of party to celebrate the victory."
"Yeah!" Torch piped up. "It'll be awesome, with music and games and food and all that stuff!"
Cannon chuckled. "No thanks. The sea calls me." He pointed a thumb over his shoulder at the Clefairy. "Besides, I had a mission sitting in my Job List that was about to expire. Their offering too great a reward to just let it fizzle."
"Oh?" Forrest asked, folding his arms. "Where to?"
Cannon shrugged. "Oh, they want to go to Mossdeep City and see the rockets."
Forrest nodded. "Typical Clefairy. Make sure they don't try to steal one."
Flare frowned. "Now Forrest, that's just rude."
Cannon smiled too. "Don't worry, We'll be back in a few days, and we can all get together then."
"A few days?" Forrest asked, raising an eyebrow. "Mossdeep hundreds of leagues away!"
Cannon winced. "Please don't pretend you know what leagues are."
"My point is only the fastest motorized boats could make it in a few days. An old ship like that should take at least a month."
Cannon smirked. "On a ship crewed by humans? Yes. On one crewed by Water-types? Not so much."
The cyborg turned to the S.S. Shellshock. He cupped a hand to his mouth. "Fang! Celeste!" The activity on the deck came to a halt as the crew stopped to listen. "We're shoving off in five minutes!"
The flurry of activity resumed, more frantic than before. The Clefairy jumped up and ran to the ship.
Cannon turned to his friends. "See you later, guys. Miss," he said, giving a slight bow to Flare.
Picture the scene…
The moon hangs over a sprawling forest, one side dotted with the blue of Oran berries, the other sprinkled with the red of apples. A tiny mesa that wasn't there a month ago stands near the middle, where it rises just above the tree line. A small, brand-new house lies at the mesa's center. A small Natu hops out the door and stares at the horizon. Her eyes fog up as she falls into a trance. A few minutes later she turns to look down at the town below.
A half-mile west of the mesa is a sizeable clearing. A stream runs through it. Trees stand in choice locations, far enough part to keep it a clearing and not another stretch of forest. There's also, of course, a town.
A small town, shining and brand new, lies in this clearing. A shop with a sunshine motif boasts a wide selection of items, and the proud owners enthusiastically deal with customers. In front of their shop is the town square, at the center of which is an ornamental statue, depicting a legendary rescue team leader: the Great Lucario. A large, sturdy bench sits under the statue's gaze. Next to the shop is a Kangaskhan Storage facility, where the owner was amiably chatting with her good friend, Miss Beedrill. South of the square is the daycare, run by the young Happiny twins, eager to get back to their safe and non-violent egg-sitting. Right next door, in one of the largest trees on this side of the forest, is a tree house, in which is the Togekiss Café; come in and recycle items with Plusle and Minun, or have Togekiss make you a drink. The place was packed to capacity, such that some of the Kricketot working there were setting up tables outside around the base of the tree. Inside, the café entertainment, the talented Hitmonband, was taking requests. They had even convinced their younger brother to perform with them, giving them a whole new octave to work with. They were doing very well.
On the other side of the stream is Honchcrow Bank. The owner looks shifty, but he would never take your money, except for storage purposes, of course. "What, no tip? Oh, that's all right. Run along and join the party, kids, you're money's safe with me."
Just next door, to the east, is Grumpig's Link Shop. The owner woke with a start and looked around. Where's that music coming from…? "Did I miss something?"
South of these two is Slowking Appraisal. If ever you find a chest while exploring, and you just can't get it open, bring to Slowking and, for a small fee, he'll open it for you. Business is slow today, but that suits him just fine. It gives him a chance to catch up on his studies. Slowking paused. Presto was still in town… "I wonder if he'd like to have a friendly game of chess?" Slowking grinned.
Back on the other side of the stream, near the clearing's north edge, a large pagoda building stands, walls adorned with a tasteful fire motif. This is Infernape Dojo, where one can train his body, his mind, and his soul. Master Shizaru pulled the doors open and shuffled inside. His old body was sore from a day of fighting. This was unacceptable. He'd let himself get soft! He dismissed his students, some to go to the party, though others preferred to turn in for the night. Shizaru climbed the stairs to his room at the top floor. He would train himself harder than ever. He could not allow himself to become weak.
Now we turn our attention to the unique building at the clearing's southwest edge, the third and newest addition to the region's Explorer Union. It is built into a hill. The hill was split down the middle, the two halves pushed twenty feet apart. The fissure between the two halves is 150 feet long, and it is into the faces of these rock walls that the entrances were built. On one side of the canyon, a massive, wrought-iron gate stands tall. A grate lies in the ground in front of the gate, just as one lies in front of the Wigglytuff Guild's main (and only) entrance. The gate leads into a three story facility for explorers. On the first floor, the guild's assembly hall. This is where the apprentices come every morning to be given their duties for the day. The second floor holds the boards and recruitment center. The message board is where any recent events of significance are posted so that explorers are kept in the loop. The Job and Outlaw Boards, where explorers can take missions of all kinds, be it escort, search and retrieve, or hunt down a crook, are almost bare; they're due to be updated. The Recruitment Center, where Exploration Teams can add members, is closed at the moment. The third floor holds three rooms: the Guildmaster's study, the Library, and the medical facility. The other Guilds didn't have those last two, but the Guildmaster thought that was stupid, so he'd had them put in. After all, many a life had been lost due to inadequate information, and you never know what kind of accident is lurking around the corner.
The other side of the fissure hosted the living space. Opposite the main gate stood a set of massive double doors, decorated with an outlet insignia. The doors were eight feet tall, so that the Guildmaster could comfortably enter without ducking. His chambers included three rooms on the first floor and two rooms on the second. Next to the Guildmaster's door stood two smaller, normal-sized doors, one on each side. They each opened to a hallway with three small rooms for the apprentices, and at the end of the hall, both opened up to a set of stairs to the second floor, which, aside from the Guildmaster's rooms, consisted of the dining halls and the kitchen. The third floor was where Noctowl, the Guild's Head of Intelligence, had his chambers. A door opened out into the fissure (he could fly, after all) and he had three rooms to himself. The rest of the floor acted as storage, where apprentices would keep mementos of their many adventures. There was a glass case at the far side of the room, built to hold the Guildmaster's personal trophies. The emerald sword, newly rust-free and given a nice polish, hangs on the wall over the case. There's a conspicuously empty raised dais in the center of the case. The Guildmaster's first Explorer's badge was not in it's usual place.
Circuit and Furnace sat together on the bench under the central statue. Circuit leaned his cane against the statue's stone platform and then leaned himself back with a small grunt. Furnace's fire had returned to it's usual white glow.
Furnace was wearing a black blazer and fedora. The flame on his head was lying low against his back, giving it a slicked-back look under the hat. He wasn't wearing his black pants, but nevertheless had a belt around his waist.
Circuit was still wearing his favorite green army shirt, unbuttoned and hanging open, but he'd left his hat off. The silver band around his eyes shined in the moonlight. He also had a pair of baggy green camouflage pants on.
Sitting together, the two looked like a pair of old men sitting in the park. Which, of course, they were.
The two looked up at the café treehouse and watched the flashing lights for a moment.
"Party sounds like it's going to go all night," Furnace observed.
"They'd probably love to see their leader make an appearance."
"Yup." Furnace pulled a small case from his inside pocket and lit a small cigar. "Don't give me that look," he said, noticing Circuit's appraising look at the cigar. "I'm a Fire-type. A pure Fire-type. I can handle a smoke every now and then."
Circuit raised an eyebrow.
"Oh stop it. I know they're bad for me. It's not like I have twenty every day."
"Then why you havin' one now?"
Furnace shrugged. "It's a special occasion." He took a pull at it and blew a few smoke rings.
The two fell into silence again. They listened to the music. After a moment, Furnace asked, "Nice song. Know what it is?"
Circuit screwed his face up in thought. "Sounds like a piece called, 'He's a Pirate.' Good song. Fit's the spirit of explorin' nicely."
Furnace glanced at his friend. "Are you okay, Circuit?"
Circuit blinked. "Eh? Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"
"You seem to have something on your mind."
Circuit shrugged. "Just wonderin' what I'm gonna do now."
"Well, what were going to do before this mess with Burne started up again?"
He waved the question away. "That's not what I mean. I mean, yeah, I'm gonna take care of the Guild, but I'm talkin' about… well, Burne's gone. I think I'm still trying to process that."
Furnace tilted his head, puzzled. "You? If anyone should be getting distant over that it should be me." He looked up at the starry sky. "For the first time in… well, a hundred and fifty years, I mean, to me it just feel like forty but that's still a lot-"
"Sorry, right. For the first time in decades, I have my head all to myself. I'm in control of my own body, and there's no voice in my head trying to get me to kill everyone or take control of my body. I don't have to worry about him anymore. All my stress is gone, Circuit. I'm free," he breathed. "Wow. I guess I hadn't realized the implications." A joyful smile spread over his face.
Circuit chuckled at his friend. "Good for you, pal. But what I mean is that I'm gonna get bored. I know that sounds terrible, but when I'm facin' a threat like Burne, I feel alive. Adrenaline, I think, but I'm no psychologist." He turned in his seat and looked up at the statue's face. Furnace followed his gaze.
Circuit pulled a small piece of metal from his shirt pocket. An Explorer's badge, with Team Storm inscribed on it. He gripped it in his hand.
"Furnace, I don't think I know what to do with my life. I love the kids an' all, and I'm lookin' forward to trainin' them up, but it's like there's somethin' missing. I've given up hope of ever finding' a worthwhile fight, but there's gotta be something for me to do."
Furnace blinked, then turned his had and looked at him incredulously. "Circuit, are you honestly telling me that you, of all people, Pokémon or what-have-you, feel unfulfilled?" He shook his head. "Circuit, I'd think that if anyone in the world had too fulfilling a life, it'd be you."
Circuit smiled faintly, but didn't otherwise respond.
Furnace looked back up at the statue. "Perhaps you could take up painting."
"Or you could write your life story, for future generations to read."
Circuit cracked a grin. "Ha! Yeah, right. With all I've packed into my life crossed with how long my life's been? It'd have to be five hundred pages. Each, across ten volumes. And that's still have to leave details out."
The two fell silent again. Furnace let his gaze drop down the statue, and saw something he hadn't noticed before. At the Lucario's feet were three smaller Pokémon. They looked quite young. A shy-looking Magby peeked from behind Lucario's legs, and in front of them stood an excited looking Elekid, his arm pointing in front of him as though something amazing stood in his gaze.
"Like that' do ya?" Circuit asked.
"A very nice touch. Though I'd have preferred the Magby portrayed as braver."
Circuit grinned. "Yeah, right. Don't even try to deny it, Furnace."
The Magmortar put his hands up in defeat. "Very well, very well."
Furnace paused. "I think you left one out, old friend."
"No, he's there. Look, curled up around his other leg, sleepin'."
There was, in fact, a stone Dratini curled around the leg that the Magby wasn't behind. Its eyes were closed.
"Oh yes. I see him now. He did do that a lot, didn't he?"
"I wonder whatever happened to him. I was Burne at the time, so it was hard to keep up with current events."
"Beats me. He just up and disappeared one day. Went on an exploration, never came back."
"A shame. He was such a great explorer. Better than we ever were."
The two old Pokémon turned as a scream came from the café. They relaxed as a round-ish figure was thrown out the window.
"Nothing to worry about."
"So is everything at The Forge worked out?"
"Oh yes. Mason is working on repairing my throne room, so it should be back to normal in the morning. When did you take that wall around the town down?"
"What? Oh, that. I took it down before you got here, while you were still at The Forge."
The two nodded to each other and fell into another silence.
The moon disappeared behind a cloud. For a moment the only light was the strobe lights from the café.
As the moon reappeared, something occurred to Circuit. "Furnace, that's a very good question."
"What did ever happen to ol' Drake?"
This is Virtue Village. A town of secrets and mystery. A town of endings and epilogues. A town of continuation, of returning friends, and a town of perseverance.
This is a town of new beginnings.
Yikes. I... yikes. This is a milestone, I think. This is my first complete story. And it's Electivire Guild. My baby. I... I think I might cry. I need a moment...
Please comment. I hope I didn't rip anyone off with the ending, and again, if I missed anything or did anything wrong, PLEASE tell me. I want to get better, and so I need someone to tell me how.
Thanks for reading, everybody.