Chapter 25:

"It has come to this at last..." Black Crystal said as the sharp light that had flared up around Triaton slowly began to die down "This man must be defeated, or else the World as we know it will be forever lost."

"I know..." Max said as he looked steadily into the light "Cause if we don't beat this guy, then that means these creeps will have everything they need to make that Reaper-meteor smash into Earth…And we can't let that happen!" Both Rex and Zoe nodded in agreement as they stared into the light as well.

"The last of the Ancient Emperors..." Zoe said. Max turned towards her. Despite her voice being steady he couldn't help but noticing her hand was shaking slightly... "So what kind of dinosaur do you think he's got...?"

"I think we're about to find out..." Rex said, and no sooner had he said it before they heard what sounded very much like a growl coming from within the light...

Max quickly turned towards the sound, placing his hand to his Card Holder, and in the corner of his eye he saw Rex and Zoe do the same thing. Black Crystal also turned towards the sound, but unlike the rest of them he didn't show any signs of being worried or surprised. At the same time Chomp, Ace, Paris and the Nanotyrannus all stepped up beside them, none of them moving any further as they faced in the direction the sound had come from. None of them seemed to be able to even draw for breath as they stared into the slowly fading light...

The light kept growing weaker, eventually fading completely, but as he saw what was in front of them, Max immediately had to blink:

The dinosaur now standing in front of them was small, tiny even, from the looks of things not measuring more than one metre in length, and in terms of height it didn't seem to reach higher than the height of Max's knee. The dinosaur itself had a rather short, pointed head. Its eyes were bright red in colour and its neck was just a tiny bit longer than its head and was pretty thin. Its front legs were barely half the length of its hind legs, which were rather thin and slender. And its body was covered in pale purple scales giving off a rather faint rainbow-like glow, while the scales on its belly and the underside of its tail were a much darker purple. As Max kept staring at the small dinosaur it suddenly turned its eyes towards him and the others. It opened its mouth, revealing several sharp, but very small needle-like teeth and it let out a very unusual sound; almost like a shrilly, high-pitched squeak.

"So…That's his dinosaur?" Max said as he stared at it. For some reason he couldn't help but feeling a slight sense of disbelief as he looked at it: After having seen Creaton's Giganotosaurus and Juraton's Brachiosaurus that they had fought against during their previous battles, this really wasn't what he had expected from Triaton, seeing as he was supposed to be the man behind it all...

"Yeah…" Rex said as he took step forward to get a better look at the mysterious dinosaur as well "Not really what you would have expected..."

"So what kind of dinosaur is it?" Zoe said as she looked at it as well "I know I've seen it somewhere before... But I just can't seem to place it..." Neither Max nor Rex said anything.

"Eoraptor Lunensis." Black Crystal suddenly said, surprising Max very much "And I must admit…That this is a sight even I wouldn't have expected to see..."

"Eoraptor?" Max said, and suddenly a feeling of recognition struck him, and he quickly turned toward Rex and Zoe "Hey, isn't that dinosaur one of the earliest known dinosaurs ever to exist?"

"Yeah." Rex replied "Scientists believe that the Eoraptor was the first dinosaur ever to live on Earth." Zoe nodded.

"And some even say" She added "That it's also believed to be the ancestor of all other dinosaurs to come after if..." Max stared at them before quickly turning towards the dinosaur standing in front of Triaton again.

"The first dinosaur ever to live on Earth?" He said breathlessly "Man...This guy actually had something like that..."

"I believe we have had enough talking..." Triaton suddenly said with his deep, dark voice as he took a step forward, now standing right next to the Eoraptor. For some reason it didn't move. It was almost as if it was waiting for Triaton to tell it what to do "Let us not waste any more time...Time is running out...If this world is to be freed from its pain...The rebirth of this world...Needs to take place now..."

"You know, I'm really starting to get sick of hearing that now!" Max said irritably.

"Yeah" Rex said "You want to destroy Earth and all life on it, yet you keep going on about how the world is in pain and need to be saved! That doesn't make any sense!"

"It's one thing if you think Earth isn't a good place." Zoe said "But to think that gives you the right to destroy it, along with everyone and everything on it...There's no way we'll let that happen!" Triaton just quietly eyed their angry faces with his one, grey eye.

"This denial...This ignorance of the truth..." He said darkly "It is truly...Sad to behold..."

"What was that?" Max said angrily "I've really had enough of..." Before he could continue he felt something on his shoulder and whirled around, immediately realising that Black Crystal had walked up behind him, placing his hand onto his shoulder.

"Just calm down...Don't let this man get to you, or this battle may be forever lost..." He said, once again in a serious and stern tone, but despite that Max also noticed there was also something sad to it "While it is true that this man needs to be stopped at all cost, you must not allow for your rage to cloud your reason. Never forget: This man's sole wish lies in the destruction and domination of this world. All that you treasure is no more than a pile of trash to him. And the only way to conquer such desires to destroy what is dear to others is for you to show equally strong desires to protect those things and keep them out of harm..."

Max just looked at him for a short while, then he nodded resolutely.

"Yeah, I know." He said, immediately feeling calmer "Don't worry, I haven't forgotten why were here: We came here to stop these creeps from carrying out their crazy plans. No way am I letting this guy get to me!" Black Crystal nodded, removing his hand from Max's shoulder.

"Good." He said as he turned the other way, walking back up beside the Nanotyrannus "As long as you remember that, there will always be hope…"

"I have to say… " Triaton said, this time turning his eye towards Black Crystal "That your reasoning surprises me...For one that admits that he holds no knowledge of the enemy...The most logical way would be to flee the battle...Would it not...?...By remaining...Is it not likely...That you would simply end up weighing down those you see as your allies...?" Black Crystal turned towards him.

"I'm afraid that such a thing would be impossible for me at this point." He replied "The mere knowledge of what would happen to this world should this battle go badly is enough reason for me to remain here to see it to the end. Also" He said, turning towards Max, Rex and Zoe "Ever since we first me, I have been under the impression that these children alone posses the power to put an end to your schemes, and now I have no doubt that my reasoning was correct. That is all the reason I need." Triaton simply eyed him quietly.

"I see…" He said darkly "I believe that means…I will have no other choice but to destroy you along with them…It truly is...A shame…" And with those words he once again stepped up behind the Eoraptor, which seemed to realise something was about to happen and once again it opened its mouth, letting out its high-pitched squeaky growl, and in the next moment it turned its red eyes straight towards Max and the others.

"Guess there's no turning back now!" Max said as he quickly turned towards Rex and Zoe again "I say it's high time to finally put an end to these creeps!" Both Rex and Zoe nodded again.

"Yeah." Zoe said "It doesn't matter how strong this guy is! We can beat him as long as we stay together!"

"That's right." Rex said "We've come this far. There's no way we can back down now!"

"Then what are we waiting for?" Max said "Let's put an end to these Ancient Emperors and their twisted plans, once and for all!"

"Yeah!" They all cried in unison. Just like before Black Crystal didn't say anything, but once again he nodded slowly. Chomp and Ace once again let out a loud roar, and Paris gave a loud cry, signalling they were all ready for the final battle with the last of the Ancient Emperors...

"Very well…" Triaton said, and suddenly he closed his one, grey eye, surprising Max very much "But like I said…I abhor fight and conflict…More than anything else…This battle will indeed be…Painful…"

"Would you stop that already?" Max said angrily "You can drop the mind-games, they won't work on us!" Triaton didn't say anything else, but simply remained unmoving where he stood, his eye still closed.

"Man..." Max said irritably "This guy's really starting to get on me…"

"Forget about that now, Max." Rex said as he stepped up behind him "Right now we should just focus on taking this guy out before he and his."

"Yeah, good idea" Max replied "The sooner we beat this guy, the sooner we can be absolutely sure their crazy idea never happens!"

"Hold on, guys" Zoe suddenly said. Both Max and Rex turned towards her "Don't you think we ought to be more careful? I mean: We don't know anything about him or what kind of abilities that Eoraptor of his has..."

"Yeah, that's a good point..." Rex said slowly.

"Come on, guys!" Max said impatiently "We didn't know anything about those two creeps from before, but we beat them easy enough!"

"Yeah...But still..." Zoe said.

"He's right." Black Crystal suddenly said "If we wait for the enemy to make the first move we might indeed learn more of his battling technique. But it also means we'll be putting ourselves at a great risk should his power be too much for us to handle..." They all looked at him, and then they all nodded.

"Yeah, you're right..." Zoe said quietly "I'm sorry...I didn't..." Black Crystal simply shook his head before turning away from her, now facing towards Triaton again.

"Concern for your friends is not a sign of weakness." He said without turning around "You of all should understand that..."

"What do you mean?" Zoe said, surprised at his words "What does that have to do with...?"

"Come on, Zoe!" Max called, snapping her out of her thoughts "It's time to get this whole thing over with!" And with those words he turned towards Chomp.

"I and Chomp will take this guy on!" He said "Should something go wrong I want you guys to cover me!" Rex and Zoe both nodded.

"We'll be right here, Max!" Rex said.

"Go for it!" Zoe said. Max nodded at them before turning towards Chomp again.

For a brief moment their eyes met, and then Chomp quickly rushed towards the Eoraptor. Without opening his eye Triaton suddenly made a leap backwards, landing several metres away from the Eoraptor as Chomp quickly approached it.

"Go get that Eoraptor, Chomp!" Max called "Take him down!"

Chomp sped up, his horns pointing straight towards the Eoraptor. But when he was just a few feet away from the place where it stood, he suddenly stopped.

"Hey, Chomp what's wrong?" Max called worriedly.

"Hold on, Max…" Zoe said as she gazed in Chomp's direction "It's…It's not there anymore!"

"Yeah, you're right, Zoe!" Rex said as he too looked towards the place where the Eoraptor had been standing as Chomp rushed back up beside Max "I can't see that Eoraptor anywhere…"

"But that's impossible!" Max exclaimed "It was there just moments ago, so how could it…" His words where suddenly drowned by a loud roar coming from behind him. He turned around in surprise, just as Paris fell crashing to the ground in front of them.

"Paris! No!" Zoe cried as she whirled around, rushing up to her "Are you all right?" Paris groaned as she rose back to her feet. She didn't seem to have gotten injured from the fall, but she was clearly badly shaken from getting so suddenly knocked over by whatever unseen force that had struck her.

"Thank goodness, you're okay…" Zoe murmured.

"What was that?" Rex said "How could she just fall over like that?"

"I don't know…She just…" Zoe started, but before she could finish there was another loud roar and they all whirled around, just as the Nanotyrannus that had been standing next to Black Crystal fell crashing to the ground.

"What the…?" Max said as the Nanotyrannus struggled to stand back up "Again? Just what was that?" The Nanotyrannus rose back to its feet, letting out a loud roar as Black Crystal walked up to it, apparently to make sure it hadn't been hurt, before turning around, now facing straight towards Triaton.

"Such speed..." He said, and Max almost immediately noticed there was something tense and serious over his voice "It's almost unreal..."

"What do you mean?" Max asked, taking a step towards him "What is it...?" But before he could finish Chomp suddenly let out a loud roar of pain, and he quickly whirled around as Chomp began to wildly shake his head, almost as if trying to shake something off of his head...

"Chomp, what's wrong?" Max said worriedly "What are...!" He interrupted himself as he realised what had caused Chomp to roar out the way he did: Clutching onto one of its horns and biting into his skin with its small, needle-like teeth was a tiny dinosaur covered in pale purple scales...

"What the..." Max said incredulously "How did it...? When did it...?" He shook his head. He realised that right now he needed to focus on getting that dinosaur off of Chomp, so that they could fight it without risking that he got hurt.

"Let's teach that dinosaur not to mess with us, Chomp!" Max said as he reached for his Card Holder, pulling out the Lightning Strike-Card again.

Almost as if the Eoraptor knew what was coming, it suddenly released its grip of Chomp's horns and quickly jumped off of his head, landing on the ground in front of him. As soon as its feet touched the ground it quickly leaped backwards, this time landing back where it had been standing in front of Triaton.

"Well…What are you waiting for…?" Triaton said, turning towards Max but still not opening his eye "Are you not going to strike…?"

Max didn't answer. The Eoraptor had once again returned to staring at the group, but somehow Max knew something wasn't right. Just a moment ago the Eoraptor had caused both Paris and the Nanotyrannus to fall helplessly to the ground, despite them being several time larger than it, and on top of that it had just made Chomp roar in pain as it bit him, although its teeth clearly hadn't had neither the size or sharpness to do any kind of damage to him, and as if that weren't enough it had happened while Chomp was in his Evolution state; not even Creaton's Giganotosaurus had been able to do him any damage at all to him while he was in that state back during their last fight…

"I thought you said...That you would put an end to us…" Triaton said, once again without opening his eye "Come now…Attack me…And I will let you know…The true meaning of hopelessness…"

Max still didn't say anything. Could he really afford to take such a risk...?

"Or is it…That you are afraid…?" Triaton said as a faint smile suddenly spread across his face "It that your problem…? Perhaps you have finally begun to realise...That no matter what you do...There is no stopping what is meant to happen..." Max could hear Triaton's words echoing through his head, and suddenly a wave of anger welled up inside him.

"Listen…" He said through gritted teeth "I'm not scared. And I'm certainly not afraid of you creeps!" The faint smile on Triaton's face grew wider.

"Good…Good…" He said, and this time there was a clear hint of amusement in his voice "That is truly good…Now take all of that rage...All of your hate towards me...Aim it at me…Hold nothing back..."

"I've had it!" Max said furiously "Let's go, Chomp! Lightning Strike!" He called, swiping the card. Chomp immediately began to glow in a bright, white light, and in the next second he fired a large, shimmering burst of lightning from his horns.

As the blast quickly approached the Eoraptor Triaton suddenly opened his eye up wide, and once again Max could see, almost as in slow motion, how he put his hand into his cloak, pulling out a card, and then immediately placing it to the metal plate covering his eye. No sooner had the card touched the plate before the Eoraptor let out a sound that didn't sound anything like the high-pitched squeak they had hear before; this time it sounded more like a deep, rumbling roar...

In the next second a bright, purple light suddenly surrounded it, and at the same time the Lightning Strike collided with it. There was a sharp flash of light followed by a deafening noise as the lightning hit the Eoraptor. As the light began to die down Max looked towards the place where the Eoraptor had been standing as shards of stone and concrete kept falling towards the ground, apparently having been torn out of it by the Lightning Strike. There was no sign of the Eoraptor.

"Yeah! Nice shot, Chomp!" Max cried, clenching his fist in triumph.

"So did it work?" Zoe asked.

"No..." Black Crystal said. They all turned towards him in surprise.

"What do you mean "no"?" Max asked in surprise "That was a clean hit, so it must have done something!"

"No…" Black Crystal said again, and Max suddenly realised his voice seemed to be shaking "That dinosaur…Isn't even hurt…"

"What?" Max asked in amazement "What do you…?"

"Hey, Max! Look!" Rex suddenly called, pointing towards the place where the Eoraptor had been standing. Max quickly whirled around, and as he saw what was there he once again had to blink: The ground where the Eoraptor had been standing was almost completely torn apart, shards of concrete and stone laid scattered all around what looked almost like a big open hole in the ground, but in the middle of the hole was something that looked almost like a purple, glowing sphere…

Max just stared at it. What was that? And what had happened to the Eoraptor? Was that strange sphere its work or…?

Before he could think anything else, the sphere suddenly seemed to crack and break apart, and in the next second it evaporated into thousands of purple particles of light, quickly fading away, and as it did they could all see what had been hiding inside it.

In front of them now stood a four-footed, rather stout dinosaur with a rather small head, its back covered with short spikes and at the end of its tail there was a large, bony club…

"What the…?" Max said incredulously as he stared at the dinosaur in front of them.

"It's..." Zoe said in shock.

"It looks like…" Rex said, clearly completely amazed "A Saichania!"

It was definitely a Saichania, just like Tank, but as they stared upon it they quickly realised there was a big difference: Rather than the purple scales that Tank had, this dinosaurs entire body seemed to be covered in jet-black scales, almost as if what was standing in front of them was simply a shadow of rather than an actual dinosaur…

Max was just about to take step towards it when, suddenly, it let out a deep, rumbling roar, and in the next second its body seemed to slowly begin to grow smaller, and as it shrunk the black scales covering its body slowly began bleaching, slowly turning into a pale purple…

Max had to blink again. The Saichania was now completely gone, and where it had been standing stood the Eoraptor. The dinosaur suddenly looked towards them, once again letting out its high-pitched, shrilly squeak…