A/N: Well, hello, everybody! csigamer1990 here with my next update! Hope you enjoy it, it's full of lots of butt-kicking action! :D

And I just want to add that I've once again decided to break up A Night of Blood and Tears. This chapter deals with a good three quarters of the battle between the Latis and Team Rocket. The conclusion will include the rest of the battle as well as the terrible aftermath, the majority of which I already have written. I just need to write the rest of the battle and finish up the ending for the conclusion, so hopefully you won't have to wait too long for it, although when it comes to me and my many interests, I have little to no idea as to the timeframe to give you, but trust me when I say that the conclusionary chapter will be my longest chapter I'll have written up to this point, so take comfort in that fact, at least! :P

And lastly, to quote one of my favorite Simpsons characters, Krusty the Clown, I'd like to wish everyone reading a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwazy Kwanza, a tip top Tết, and a solemn and dignified Ramadan. :P Enjoy the holidays, everyone! :D

Now, on to the action!

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon or any of its characters.




Chapter 3

A Night of Blood and Tears pt. 2

"In a battle all you need to make you fight is a little hot blood and the knowledge
that it's more dangerous to lose than to win."
–George Bernard Shaw

Latios and Latias turned to face the lineup of Pokémon before them, the rain falling down across their forms and their faces, their eyes narrowed and their expressions hard and intense, their claws still interlocked. Every inch of their streamlined bodies were tensed and ready for battle as they faced off against their opponents.

Across from them, the Grunts' Pokémon, which consisted of, from left to right, of an Ariados, a large spider-like Pokémon colored red with black stripes along its abdomen, four spindly legs with purple and yellow bands along them, two thin wing-like appendages colored and shaped the same way as the legs, a pair of powerful looking mandibles along its jaw, and to top it off, a massive horn jutting from its forehead which no doubt was very poisonous; a Croagunk, a small amphibian like Pokémon which oddly resembled a toad, its body colored a deep blue, with banded marking along its middle, one small black stripe which also ran across his upper arms, and two large white stripes, its hands and feet were mostly black, although the middle digits on each of its hands were a striking orange color. There were two orange sac-like pouches on either cheek, and its eyes were yellow with black bands around them; a Pidgeot, a majestic eagle-like Pokémon with an impressively wide wingspan, with a cream colored underside and brown feathers on top, while its tail feathers were red in color. A long, majestic red and yellow crest ran across its head, trailing back almost the entire length of its body. Its eyes were narrow and sharp, able to spot prey from over a mile away, with black markings running across the eyes and down towards the end of the neck. Most importantly, though, were its sharp, hooked beak, and its powerful, wickedly sharp talons; a Golbat, a rather large blue bat-like Pokémon with long, membranous wings which seemed to be constantly beating in the air in order to keep it airborne, a large, wide-open mouth with four pointed fangs inside; and a Raticate, a large rodent type Pokémon with brown and cream colored fur, a long rodent-like tail, and two large, oversized fangs inside its mouth, also were prepared and eager for battle, glaring menacingly at the Legendary Eon dragons before them, the rain falling on their forms causing them to look all the more threatening and sinister.

It was much the same with the team of Grunts standing behind their respective Pokémon, each of them tense and prepared to give orders to their Pokémon, rain dripping off the edges of their brimmed caps, their faces tense and slightly nervous; after all, these were two legendary Pokémon they were taking on here, it was impossible to not feel more than a little nervous when facing two legends of the Pokémon world.

Oakley stood at the Grunts' sides, a cruel, eager smile across her lips, strands of hair hanging across her face as drops of rain collected at the ends of them and fell off, her soaked, disheveled appearance making her appear even more demented and half-crazy. Her gun was back in its holster by now.

Annie was still lying at the foot of the tree, although she was making an effort to get back to her feet. Her back and side was still in quite a bit of pain, however, so getting up was proving difficult.

For a few moments, time seemed to stop as the combatants gazed at each other, neither side moving, as the rain fell down from the heavens, making the very air surrounding the combatants seem to palpitate with tension and untold epicness.

Then a bolt of lightning lanced through the sky, illuminating the battlefield and the combatants, and as an immense boom of thunder shook the sky above, Oakley raised her hand and roared out one word: "ATTACK!"

But even before the Grunts could even start acting on Oakley's word, Latios and Latias' wings began to glow as they hardened to the properties of steel, and in the blink of an eye, they both rushed forward at near supersonic speeds, a loud sonic boom echoing behind them from the sheer speed of their sudden move, buffeting the air surrounding their path as their dual Steel Wings smashed into Pidgeot on Latios' left side and Golbat on Latias' right, doing major damage and knocking both flying Pokémon out of the sky, both of them hitting the ground hard with cries of pain, small splashes heralding their arrival as the Eon dragons soared past, disappearing into the murky night.

The Grunts and their Pokémon had turned away as the buffeting wake hit them, the Grunts raising up their hands to shield their eyes from any debris which might come their way, the wind causing their soggy clothes to billow slightly and for a couple of the Grunts, namely the ones who commanded Pidgeot and Golbat, respectively, to have their caps blown off their heads. When the wake subsided, the Grunts turned to see what had happened, only to gape in shock as they laid their eyes upon the stricken Pidgeot and Golbat as they moaned in pain and struggled to get to their feet. The two Grunts who commanded them called out their names in alarm and came over to their sides to help them get back to their feet (but nothing more than that).

Meanwhile, the other Grunts and their Pokémon as well as Oakley were all looking this way and that, wondering where the twin dragons had gone to. The Croagunk's commander shouted out, "What the? Where the hell did they go?" in a slightly fearful tone.

The Ariados' commander answered back, "Beats me! I can't see a damn thing in this rain!"

Oakley's eyes narrowed knowingly and she called over to the Grunts, making her voice loud enough to be heard by all of them, "They must've turned invisible! Keep your guard up!"

Hearing this, the Grunts began to look this way and that fearfully, their Pokémon doing the same, searching in vain for the hidden Eon dragons, their panic making them forget their commanders' instructions given to them before the battle. Oakley, however, was scanning the area surrounding them carefully, looking and waiting for any oddities or irregular shapes to appear in the curtain of rain around them.

Meanwhile, Latios was floating high above the group of humans below, hidden in his cloak of invisibility between two trees located to the left side of the shrine, while Latias floated across from him, also cloaked in invisibility, floating between the trees on the right side of the shrine. Now that they were both in position, Latios called across to his sister using telepathy, saying, "You ready, sis?"

Even though she knew he couldn't see her, Latias nodded and replied, "Yep, I'm ready! Let's put a hurting on these goons!" in an enthusiastic tone.

Latios smiled inwardly at his sister's enthusiasm, and instructed, "Okay, I'll go first. After I make my pass, you go ahead and do yours. Make sure to remain hidden and make your attacks as hard, quick, and as brief as possible. Give them no chance to react to our speed."

Latias nodded again and responded by saying "Okay!" in affirmation, and waited for her brother to make his pass, already picking out a target for herself and deciding on how best to attack it, steeling herself in the meantime and making sure to calm her nerves, as this was her first real battle and she couldn't help but feel just a tiny bit nervous at the prospect. Sure, she had trained for this moment along with her brother, but that was training, this right now was as real as it gets, she was battling for her life now against Pokémon who had no compulsion or intention to lower their blows' intensity, unlike the sparring matches she'd been having with her brother up until now; they wanted to really hurt her. She was a little bit frightened, yes, but at the same time, she couldn't help but feel a thrill of excitement at the prospect of finally being able to put her skills to the test, to prove just how strong she was to both her brother and to Team Rocket, to show she wasn't completely helpless anymore!

Latios prepared himself as well, having already picked out a target, as the Golbat and Pidgeot got back on their feet and into the air. He would show these thugs not to mess with him or his sister! He would give them a beating the likes of which they had never felt before! And then he would teach Annie and Oakley to never again come back here; oh yes, he would give them such a lesson in pain that they would never show their faces in Alto Mare ever again! His right claw began glowing in a bright green hue of light as he powered up a Dragon Claw attack, and with one final check on his target's position, he flew forward in an arcing dive towards his target, his sharp, glowing claw held outwards in preparation to strike. As he passed to the left side of his target, the Golbat, his claw slashed across the bat's unprotected back, leaving three long bloody furrows along Golbat's backside and causing it to emit a loud shriek of pain as Latios soared past, his attack complete, and so fast as to remain unseen by all, getting back towards the hidden safety of the trees.

The Grunts were taken aback as Golbat shrieked aloud in pain, they hadn't seen any attacks land. "What the hell!" one of them exclaimed, looking around in alarm.

"Your turn, Latias!" Latios exclaimed telepathically as he stopped among the trees and swung around to face Team Rocket again.

"Okay!" Latias called back. She then took a quick breath and rushed forward, and as she reached the line of Pokémon, her eyes glowed lightly as she quickly focused her mental powers and brought them to focus just as she passed by her target, hitting the unaware Raticate with a powerful blast of Psychic energy that sent it flying back through the air, where it collided forcefully with its commander, impacting him in the stomach and driving the wind out of him, and sending him and his Pokémon flying backwards before impacting the pavement hard on his rear.

Latias stopped in the position her brother had just been in and swung around, just in time to hear the unfortunate Grunt cry out, "Owww, my ass!" in considerable pain and anguish. Latias couldn't help but giggle slightly at that.

"Hehheh, good one, sis!" Latios called over to her. "But I think I can one-up that. Watch this!" With that, his eyes started to glow and suddenly, both Ariados and Croagunk were surrounded by similar blue auras, and with a forceful mental push, Latios sent Ariados and Croagunk smashing into each other, their bodies colliding painfully causing super-effective damage for both, especially so for Croagunk, whose Poison/Fighting type was doubly weak against Psychic attacks. Both Ariados and Croagunk stayed smashed into each other for several seconds before slumping down slowly to the ground, both of them sporting pained looks on their faces. Latios and Latias both laughed inwardly at the successful and fairly comical attack.

Now the Grunts were in full-blown panic mode, their Pokémon were getting creamed and they had yet to land a single attack on their targets; they hadn't even been able to locate them in the first place as they flew by so swiftly that any chance for a counter-attack was basically nil. In desperation, the Pidgeot's commander called out to Oakley, "Commander Oakley, we're getting pulverized out here! What should we do?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe start by following the advice I gave you ninnies before coming in here and start actively searching for your targets? That's what I've been doing!" Oakley growled back sarcastically.

"That's proving to be difficult, ma'am! The targets are flying by so fast that we barely have a chance to counter!" Croagunk's commander shouted out.

"Then do your best to hold them off, dammit! And keep your eyes peeled, they're bound to slip up and reveal their location eventually!" Oakley called back.

However, it was at that moment that Golbat was struck by not one, but two hard edged Steel Wing attacks by both Latios and Latias, with one hitting right after the other. These two unprotected attacks, along with the initial Steel Wing attack from Latias and the Dragon Claw attack from Latios, proved to be too much for the battered Bat Pokémon as it gave out one final cry of pain before falling limply to the ground below with a splash, where it lay, its feeble actions indicating it would not be getting up again anytime soon. This sent a rush of fear throughout the group of men; not only had their group just suffered its first loss, but now all of their Pokémon had been hit, some of them hurt more so than others, and they had not yet landed a single hit! It was only then that they realized just how in over their heads they all were; this wasn't a battle, this was turning out to be a rout!

The Golbat's commander raised up a Pokéball and shouted, "Golbat, return!" as a thin red beam shot out of the device's center and hit Golbat, sucking the defeated Bat Pokémon back into its ball. With a shaken look on his face, he then placed it back on his belt and grabbed his last remaining one off of it, enlarging it and then tossing it, shouting out, "Go, Marowak!"

The ball opened, releasing a fierce, intimidating Pokémon that almost looked like a small dinosaur, with brown skin and a scaled underbelly, a spiked tail, and most notably, its head was completely covered by a large skull which was generally believed to be the skull of its mother, worn since its days as a Cubone. In its right hand it gripped a large femur bone, which it proceeded to twirl expertly before entering into a combat stance, clearly displaying the Marowak's skill in using it in battle. "Alright, Marowak, your targets are invisible, so make sure to keep your eyes and ears open, but also make sure to keep your guard up!" the Grunt commanded. Marowak nodded and changed his stance to a more guarded position, although he still gripped his bone club tightly at his side, ready to bring it into play at a moment's notice. He blinked to get the rain out of his eyes as the rain fell on his skull helmet, turning it from its normal bleached white color to a wet, dull gray.

Meanwhile, Oakley was still searching for any sign of the Eon twins, something, anything that would reveal their location to her. Her eyes roved to her right side, scanning the treetops, but no, she couldn't see… wait! Her eyes quickly scanned back to a point where she could've sworn she'd seen something appear in the murky darkness and ever-present haze of the rain, in between two trees situated on her right side. Where was it, she knew she had seen… 'There! There it is again!' she exclaimed in her mind. Her eyes could just make out a faint outline of something in the rain, or rather, it looked like there was nothing there, but the falling rain seemed to make a strange void in this spot, as if it was falling down on something, something invisible. As she watched, she could see something building up in the spot where the void was, it looked like a big energy projectile of some sort was being built up in preparation to fire on them, she quickly realized with a flash of fear. Almost immediately, she quickly turned to look at the nearest Grunt, the one commanding Ariados, and yelled, "You, quick! Order your Pokémon to attack on that spot!" pointing at the spot where the anomaly was hovering, "Do it, now!" she yelled frantically.

The Grunt nodded and yelled, "Ariados, quick! Pin Missile at three o'clock!" pointing at the spot his commander had indicated. The Ariados hurried to obey its master's direction, quickly turning to the right and letting loose a volley of sharp Pin Missiles from its mandibles at the spot his master had indicated.

The sharp needle-like energy beams moved fast through the air, reaching Latios faster than he could charge up his attack, impacted him just as he was just preparing to fire the Luster Purge attack he had been building up, causing him to cry in pain and lose his concentration, causing his Luster Purge to go flying off target, the large purple and white beam flying off to the left, where it impacted a large oak tree dead center (far from Latias' position, thankfully), creating a bright white light that flashed across the battlefield, causing Latias, the Grunts and their Pokémon, and Oakley, to turn their heads away and shield their eyes with an arm against the harsh light. After a moment, it faded, revealing a large chunk of the sturdy oak's body had been blown completely away, not enough to threaten its stability, but more than enough to be impressive.

Being hit had caused Latios to drop his invisibility. He clutched the spot where the needles had impacted his chest, grimacing in pain from the barrage of super effective Bug-type needles. 'Arceus, that stings! First attack I'm hit with and it just has to be Pin Missile! And now I've lost my invisibility, damn!' he thought to himself.

Oakley grinned triumphantly. "There he is! Hurry, press the attack! Don't give him a chance to turn invisible again!" she shouted.

Latias, seeing her brother in pain, began to fly forward towards him. "Latios!" she called out loud in worry.

Unfortunately, this cry was not missed by the keen ears of Marowak below, whose eyes immediately turned to where the noise had come from, and seeing the hidden form of Latias in the rain, he immediately brought his bone behind him, and carefully judged his targets' movements, as well as taking into account the other environmental factors, such as wind speed velocity and the rain, much like a military sniper, before bringing his arm forward and whipping his bone into the air, where it flew, boomerang style, towards the unaware Latias.

The Bonemerang impacted Latias in her side, causing her to emit a cry of pain as the bone continued past her, and then again as it looped around and hit her again in the other side, causing her to drop her invisibility as well from the force of the double hit, before returning back to Marowak, who snatched it out of the air and smirked triumphantly.

Latias grimaced at the pain in her side and murmured, "Oww…" before hurriedly flying out of the way of another Bonemerang the Marowak had sent her way without pause. She then gazed down at the team of Marowak and Raticate below her as Marowak caught the bone out of the air and both of them gazed up at her, their eyes narrowed. Latias quickly took the time to call over to her brother mentally, "Bro, you alright?"

By now the pain had subside in Latios' chest, although he made a promise to himself to try to avoid getting hit by that attack again in the future. "Yeah, I'm fine sis. What about you?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine, but I was just hit with a Bonemerang, and last time I checked that was a Ground-type attack. Aren't we supposed to be immune to Ground-type attacks?" she asked confusedly.

"Just because our levitating ability allows us to avoid most Ground-type attacks like Earthquake and Magnitude, which are delivered through the ground, doesn't make it so for Marowak, whose attacks can be delivered through the air, like the Bonemerang you were just hit with. And just because it's a Ground-type doesn't make it impossible for Marowak to simply jump up and smack you with a bone," Latios explained.

Latias nodded. "Ah, good point," she replied.

Latios turned his eyes to face the trio of Ariados, Croagunk, and Pidgeot who were gathering to face him. "Well sis, looks like now the real battle begins. Do you think you can hold off things on your end?"

Latias nodded again. "Yes, I believe I can handle these two. You just make sure to watch yourself, okay, bro?"

Latios smiled. "Right, sis. Let's show these clowns what we're made of!"

At that point, the Ariados' commander decided to kick things off by shouting, "Okay, Ariados, let's give him another Pin Missile!" The Ariados complied immediately, raising its head and once again unleashing a barrage of pointy ultra-thin needles at Latios.

Latios immediately executed a quick barrel roll to get out of the way of the Pin Missiles, and spat a stream of DragonBreath at Ariados in return.

The Ariados and Croagunk next to it hurriedly jumped backwards and to the side, respectively, but not before the white hot flames managed to scorch Ariados' front and Croagunk's side somewhat. However they managed to ignore the immediate pain, keeping their focus on the Eon dragon.

The Pidgeot's commander then shouted, "Okay, Pidgeot, let's get in there! Use Wing Attack!"

Pidgeot shrieked an affirmative, and then, in a tremendous amount of speed which surprised even Latios, she rushed at him, in front of him before he knew it, and brought back a large wing, intending to smack him with it.

Latios gasped and quickly ducked out of the way by lowering the power of his levitation slightly, the wing whistling over him, causing droplets of rain to hit his face on the side from the momentum of the wing. He quickly attempted a counter by slashing Pidgeot's chest with a Dragon Claw, but it wasn't a direct hit, more of a graze, but it still left three small, shallow scratches across Pidgeot's chest which started to drip blood.

Pidgeot shrieked in rage and drew back her left wing across her body, and then brought it forward, and this time, Latios was not quick enough to dodge it as the wing hit him full-on in the face, the force of the blow sending him reeling and causing him to drop a little in altitude. Lights danced in his vision as he hurriedly shook his head to clear his senses. When he had done so, he glared up at Pidgeot, and with a roar of rage, he flew up at her, his right claw out at his side, glowing as he powered up a Dragon Claw.

Pidgeot was prepared to meet him, though; as Latios came at her, he swung his right claw in a powerful sweep at her head, but she managed to duck under it just in time. Latios, undaunted, brought his left claw up to bear, and swung that at her, but Pidgeot, with a skillful bit of flying, avoided it by pushing backwards just as the claw swiped across, just millimeters from touching her chest. Wasting no time, she then rushed Latios at the super-sonic speeds of an Aerial Ace, crashing into him and sending both of them flying forward, ending with Pidgeot slamming Latios up against a tree behind him, her talons holding him up against the tree trunk. Latios cried in pain before growling in rage as his eyes glowed white, surrounding Pidgeot with a blue psychic aura, and proceeded to send her rocketing away from him with a powerful blast of psychic energy, making her impact the hard stone ground below and skid along it for a good ten feet as the Grunts and Oakley watched in shock. Latios flew forward, shaking off the numbness from the impact. While that impact hurt, he still felt like he could take a lot more. With a fierce battle cry, he faced off against Croagunk and Ariados while Pidgeot tried to get up, shaking off the cobwebs of the impact.

Meanwhile, Latias kicked off her battle by flying forward at Marowak, her wings shining with the glow of Steel Wing, but Marowak nimbly dodged out of the way in time as Latias whooshed by him and Raticate, Latias quickly stopping and turning around to face them after her missed attack.

The Marowak's commander shouted, "Alright, Marowak, Bonemerang, now!" Marowak then brought the bone back over its shoulder and released it at Latias. But Latias smirked and said, "Oh, no, I'm not getting caught by that again." Her eyes then glowed and all of a sudden, the bone stopped in mid-air of its own accord, surrounded by a blue aura. Marowak and his commander's jaws dropped open in disbelief. Latias just grinned and shouted, "Take this!" and sent the bone flying back towards Marowak at an increased speed. Marowak was too stunned to react as the bone promptly clocked him right in the gourd, causing him to fly off his feet and land hard on his back on the rain-soaked ground. The bone clattered noisily to the ground beside him. His commander gave a cry of, "Oh no, Marowak!" in worry. Marowak had been temporarily knocked senseless, but he showed no signs of fainting yet.

Latias laughed openly at her successful and admittedly hilarious counter, but while she was laughing, she did not hear the Raticate's commander issue a command, and did not see Raticate rushing at her with a Quick Attack until it was too late. The Raticate slammed into her, causing her to go flying back a little. She eventually stabilized herself, and glared angrily at the Raticate, who almost immediately regretted attacking, a look of intense fear spread across its ratty face as Latias growled, "Why you little!" before inhaling deeply and then releasing a stream of DragonBreath at Raticate, who could not move in time and was hit by the stream of flames, causing it to cry out in pain as its fur and skin was scorched, and it was sent flying back from the force of the flames. It hit the ground on its side, patches of fur on its front either horribly charred or burned off completely. It struggled to get to its feet as Latias' wings started to glow white, showing she was preparing to use Steel Wing. The Raticate's commander's face went tense with fear; if that attack hit, it would surely cause Raticate to faint, as it was clear that Raticate was now badly hurt and was on its last legs. The Raticate's commander quickly shouted out, "Quick, Raticate, get up! Come on, hurry!" The Raticate, hearing its master's frantic urges, increased its efforts to get up, and finally, it managed to do so, although it was panting heavily and the burned areas on its front side appeared to be quite painful. The Raticate's commander's eyes flashed fearfully towards Latias, who looked about ready to charge. He then turned back to his Raticate and shouted, "Quick, Raticate, use Hyper Fang!" in hopes that the attack would manage to prevent Latias from defeating his Pokémon.

At that moment, Latias charged, aiming directly for Raticate. Raticate, unable to meet the charge head-on, decided to go with its next best option. As Latias closed, Raticate opened its jaws wide as both of his upper fangs glowed slightly, focusing intently on its target, and just before Latias could reach him, Raticate acted. Chomp!

As Latias flew by, she immediately turned to see if her attack had caused Raticate to faint. Much to her surprise and confusion, Raticate seemed to have disappeared into thin air. Just then, she became aware of a weight on her right wing. Turning to look over her shoulder to see what it was, her eyes widened in shock and her jaw dropped. There, clinging onto her still glowing wing with just its teeth, was Raticate, its body, feet, and tail dangling freely in the air. Latias' shock was almost immediately replaced by consternation and annoyance as she once again yelled, "Why you little!" She then did a quick somersault through the air, trying to dislodge Raticate from her wing, but Raticate remained firmly attached, the grip his teeth had on Latias' wing not seeming to loosen in the slightest. Latias' annoyance quickly rose at this. "Get off of me, you little pest!" she yelled angrily as she then proceeded to do more acrobatics through the air, trying every move in her flying repertoire in her attempt to dislodge Raticate, somersaults, dives, loop-de-loops, spins, but nothing seemed to work; Raticate still held on firmly throughout it all, his body swinging around comically with Latias' movements.

Below, the two Grunts and Marowak, who had since recovered, looked up at the spectacle unfolding above. All of them seemed to be struggling to hold in their laughter at the sight, but eventually, their efforts proved futile; the Marowak's commander couldn't take it anymore and burst out laughing, prompting the Raticate's commander to come out in sympathy, both of them doubling over in laughter. Even Marowak joined in, although he made sure to keep his mirth more restrained, as he still had to keep his guard up against Latias in case she tried to attack.

Latias was getting tired of this, this Raticate was proving to be extremely problematic, plus, despite her wing still being hardened by Steel Wing, she could still feel the pressure of the Raticate's bite, and it hurt! 'The Raticate's bite force must be extremely powerful,' she thought, 'if it is able to make itself be felt, even through Steel Wing.' Her eyes narrowed. 'That does it!' she thought angrily. She then stopped and turned around to look over her shoulder at the still dangling Raticate. Her eyes then glowed white as she surrounded Raticate with Psychic, putting his body under her control. She then caused Raticate's jaws to open, finally dislodging him from her wing. She then brought Raticate around to face her, his body floating in midair. As Raticate stared fearfully into Latias' fierce, glowing eyes, Latias then growled two words: "Get. Lost."

And then, with a powerful mental exertion, Latias flung Raticate away from her with tremendous force, causing him to impact a tree behind him with bone-shattering force. He then fell limply to the ground on his front side, impacting the wet grass without a sound, as he had mercifully fainted into unconsciousness when he had impacted the tree. Latias paused. 'Why didn't I do that from the beginning instead of becoming a laughing stock? Oh well,' she thought to herself. Latias then turned to look at the stunned Grunts and Marowak, who were no longer laughing, just staring fearfully at Raticate's thoroughly battered form. "Next," she said coolly to all three, causing them to shift their gaze over to her. What they saw was a completely different Latias; her normally bright and playful eyes were now hard and steely, and her demeanor had changed from one of reckless, playful exuberance, to one of cold, fierce determination. It was clear that she was no longer messing around, now she was battling for real.

The Raticate's commander raised up his Pokéball, pointing it at the defeated Pokémon and cried, "Raticate, return!" and returned the Normal-type back to its Pokéball. He glanced worriedly at it for a bit, as he realized that he and his partner were both on their last Pokémon now. Gulping to swallow his nervousness, he placed Raticate's Pokéball back to his belt and retrieved his other one before tossing it into the air, shouting, "Alright, Murkrow, I choose you!"

The ball opened, releasing a small crow-like Pokémon into the air. Its plumage was jet black, its large tail feathers giving off the appearance of the end of a broom when viewed from the side, and the feathers around its head were almost shaped like a hat, with a sort of brim running around its head, and three long, pointed feathers in the middle. Its feet and talons were rather short and stubby, and its beak seemed rather large and ungainly to be seen on such a small bird, but these traits did not hinder its battle effectiveness in the slightest. Finally, its eyes were rather spooky to stare at, with red irises and a white pupil in the middle which made them seem like they were burning when you looked at them from certain angles. It emitted its harsh cry as it flapped its wings to maintain altitude and focused its oddly burning eyes on Latias, giving her a wicked glare as it prepared to do battle.

For the first time during the battle, Latias experienced a twinge of fear, she knew perfectly well what a Murkrow was, having seen plenty of them flying and roosting around Alto Mare, and what kind of attacks it was capable of. 'Murkrow is a Dark and Flying type, and I remember brother telling me that Dark type attacks are super effective against us, and also that Psychic type attacks don't affect them at all. I'll have to be super careful when dealing with him, I can't allow too many of his attacks to hit me or I'll be in big trouble. And since I can't use my psychic attacks, I'll have to be a little more creative in dealing with him. There's also still that Marowak to deal with, which could pose a problem if I have to divide my attention between the two of them.' She paused and then a grin crept over her face. 'Still, that doesn't mean that Marowak is invulnerable to my psychic attacks." She then focused back on the battle at hand, ready to get back into the fray.

On the other side of the battlefield, Latios hurriedly dodged another barrage of Pin Missiles from Ariados, and then wasting no time, rushed forward and engaged Ariados in close combat. Ariados rose up to meet him, his upper body raising up in the air, his front two legs in the air. They each exchanged a flurry of blows, some of them hitting (mostly grazes, though), but most missing. Latios' claws gave Ariados a slash across its upper abdomen, opening up three big cuts along its upper exoskeleton, causing oddly colored blue blood to leak out of them, and Aridos' legs opened up a small cut across Latios' left cheek, and another across the upper portion of his chest, but they weren't that serious. After another flurry of slashes, Latios managed to land another swipe clean across the space in between Ariados' eyes, opening up three more slash marks across Ariados' face, causing more blue blood to leak across Ariados' eyes.

Meanwhile, Annie had finally shaken off her dazed state and had gotten back to her feet as she now walked over to stand beside Oakley, who was watching the exchange intensely, a hand clutched around her middle, which was still in quite a bit of pain, which caused Annie to grimace with every step. As she reached her sister's side, Oakley made a quick non-committal glance over at her sister before turning back to the battle. "Back among the living, I see?" she tossed condescendingly over at her sister.

Annie's eyes narrowed and she bit her lip to avoid the nasty comment she had been about to say. "Yeah," she growled contemptuously. "Thanks for all your help, sis," she said as sarcastically as possible.

"Oh, shut up." Oakley said back.

The Ariados' commander could see that Ariados was losing the exchange; it wouldn't last much longer in a head-on exchange, so he quickly called out, "Ariados, use Fury Swipes! Get Latios to back off!"

Ariados immediately complied, as the tips of its front legs began glowing before all of a sudden, launching into a mass flurry of attacks, almost too fast for the eye to track, lunging forward at Latios.

Latios was immediately driven back by the fierce onslaught; no matter how many of the attacks he dodged, they were all coming at him so fast, it was almost impossible to dodge them all. A few of the hits landed, creating small scratches across his chest, before he finally broke off his contact with Ariados and flew back to get some space between them.

Latios panted as he fought to catch his breath as Ariados did the same, each of them glaring at the other. Latios grimaced inwardly; this particular matchup certainly didn't bring back any pleasant memories…

He was lying on the cold hard stone of the garden's walkway, a glowing red capture device wrapped around him, which was draining his strength. As he grimaced in pain, he was suddenly aware of a presence near his side. As he turned to see who it was, he immediately shuddered and drew back as much as he could in fear. Standing right next to him, eyeing him with a cold, hungry gaze, was Oakley's Ariados.

"You know," Ariados began in a low, grating, insect-like voice, "I don't think I've ever tasted dragon blood before. But I bet it tastes absolutely exquisite, more so coming from a Legendary Pokémon." Ariados' eyes danced with a scary eagerness as she skittered a little closer to Latios' side, causing him to try to scoot even further away from the predatory spider. This only seemed to amuse Ariados, who gave a dark chuckle before saying, "I'm sure my master wouldn't mind if I opened up a minor cut here and there along your body so I can taste it for myself," as she reached out a spindly right leg towards Latios' neck area.

Latios thrashed about, trying to scoot away while at the same time straining his neck back and away from Ariados' slowly approaching leg. "Aaaahhhh! Stay away from me! Don't touch me!" he yelled fervently and fearfully, struggling helplessly against his plasma net restraints.

If Ariados had a mouth instead of mandibles, she would've smirked. "Struggling won't do you a bit of good, my tasty-looking dragon. There's no chance of escape for you now."

As Ariados' leg got closer to Latios' neck, Latios finally couldn't take it anymore. With a snarl, his head lunged at Ariados' leg, who only just barely brought her leg back in time to avoid Latios' snapping jaws as he closed them over the area her leg had been just a second ago. His eyes blazed fury and hatred at Ariados, who couldn't help but quail slightly under the intense, burning glare of Latios. Recovering quickly though, Ariados said, "Well, well, well, looks like we got ourselves a feisty one here! Good. I like it when my prey puts up a fight."

Just then, Annie's Espeon, who was sitting serenely nearby, called out, "That's enough, Ari." in a stern, reprimanding tone.

Ariados paused and turned back to look at her partner in crime. "Aw, Espy, but I was having fun!" she whined.

Espeon turned to look at Ariados, her eyes narrowed. "I said, that's enough. We need Latios to be in a fit state for transport back to the masters' boss, and that won't happen with him thrashing about in a mindless rage because of your tormenting him. You know the parameters of the mission," she said crossly.

Ariados gave a disappointed sigh. "Fine," she grumbled. She then turned back to Latios and said, "Guess it's your lucky day, little dragon. You get to keep your blood… for now."

Latios glared at his captors. "You… you just wait until my sister gets back!" he growled.

Both Ariados and Espeon laughed openly at this. "Oh really? I seem to recall that she fled from here like a whipped Houndour!" Espeon said haughtily.

"You'll see. She'll come back, and she'll be bringing some help along with her!" Latios shouted back angrily at Espeon's tone.

Instead of causing them to worry, as Latios had hoped, this comment actually made Ariados' eyes dance with delight. "Really? Oh great, that's perfect, then! Maybe I can eat them instead!" she said eagerly. Her eyes then glowed with a much more sinister tone as she said, "And then maybe afterwards, once we have captured your sister, while no one is looking, perhaps I'll be able to sample her as well. I'll bet her blood would taste much sweeter than yours," she said chillingly.

Latios' eyes went wide with fear, only to be replaced seconds later by irrepressible fury as he thrashed against his restraints, lunging with all of his strength at Ariados, wanting to rip her, tear her, utterly annihilate her. His eyes were crazed, and were filled with the most intense fury you could imagine. "YOU BITCH!" he screamed at her. "NO ONE THREATENS MY SISTER, YOU HEAR ME? NO ONE! I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU!"

Ariados laughed openly at him, only enraging him further. She then glared at him, not backing away from his crazed, rage-filled look. "I'd like to see you try, little dragon," she said contemptuously at him before turning away from him and heading back over to Espeon's side.


Latios quickly pushed the memory back and brought his focus back to the battle. Once again targeting Ariados, his wings started to glow as he made ready a Steel Wing, and he rushed forward at Ariados, aiming for him on his left side.

Ariados saw the attack coming, however, and jumped out of the way, but not quite fast enough to avoid the extremely fast dragon-type, and was grazed along his left flank along his abdomen, which immediately started to sting like hell as it left a thin bloodied line.

Latios turned around and prepared to face Ariados again, but before he begin to plan his next move, he was suddenly hit in his left side by a sharp, searing jolt of pain which seemed to run across the entire length of his body from the point of origin.

Latios cried out in pain and looked down and to his left to see what the cause of it was. He was both angry and annoyed to find out that the cause of the pain was Croagunk, who had stuck him in his left side with a powerful Poison Jab attack. The anger was at himself, for letting himself become so distracted by Ariados and Pidgeot that he completely forgot about Croagunk, and the annoyance was, well, based on the simple fact that it was Croagunk who had attacked him.

And now, Croagunk was stranded out in no-man's land, so to speak, with nothing in between him and an extremely pissed psychic dragon (very bad position for a Poison/Fighting type), which Croagunk only just realized the moment after he had made his attack, as he fearfully began to back away from Latios, his arms held up in a placating gesture, but it was all for naught. Latios' eyes began to glow and Croagunk found himself engulfed in a blue aura as he lost control of his body and was lifted off the ground, and with an extremely powerful mental exertion, Latios flung Croagunk away from him, causing him to impact with (yes, you guessed it) one of the humongous oak trees on either side of the altar with tremendous force. Croagunk gave one last cry of pain before falling limply to the ground, the doubly effective Psychic attack knocking him out for good this time.

Latios' eyes returned to their normal color as he started to turn his attention back to Ariados. "That'll teach him not to sneak…" he began, but just then, he was shocked to see Ariados lunging up towards him, mandibles held wide, aiming for his neck. In the space of a second, a surge of adrenalin coursed through Latios as his eyes went wide, bringing his claws up in a flash to defend himself, but that was all he had time for before Ariados' mandibles closed around his neck, or attempted to, as Latios' claws were now held in between mandible and neck, preventing them from closing around his neck, a move which would've certainly spelled the end of the battle for Latios. Now he was stuck in a fervent power struggle between himself and Ariados, Ariados struggling to break Latios' grip on his mandibles and close them the rest of the way over his neck, Latios fighting fervently to pull Ariados' deadly mandibles off of him, two combatants struggling to overcome each other in a test of strength and will as the rain poured down around them and lightning cracked the sky, highlighting the struggle between aggressor and defender.

Meanwhile, Latias started off the second phase of her battle by firing a stream of DragonBreath straight at Murkrow, but the Murkrow's commander was ready and quickly issued, "Murkrow, use Faint Attack!"

Murkrow cawed an affirmative before he was suddenly engulfed by the white-hot flames. But for some reason, no shriek or caw of pain could be heard.

Latias cut off the stream of DragonBreath to see what kind of damage she had done… only to find to her immense shock and confusion that the Murkrow had abruptly disappeared!

'What the… where did it go?' she thought to herself while looking around for any sign of the crow-like Darkness Pokémon. She couldn't have burned it to a crisp; her flames weren't that strong… were they?

But all of a sudden, her question was answered as she was suddenly hit in the side, causing the most intense pain she had ever felt in her life to course through her body, causing her to scream in pain as the aftereffects of the super-effective Dark type move rippled through her body and mind. She gritted her teeth and clutched her side where the attack had impacted her, remarking, 'So that's what getting hit by a Dark-type attack feels like… it hurts almost as much as brother described. This pain is unlike anything I've ever felt before! One thing's for certain, I can't allow too many more of those attacks to hit me.' She then turned her gaze back to where it had been originally, where, surprise, there was Murkrow flapping loftily where she had thought she had incinerated him, grinning smugly (or as much as a bird could with its beak), and now proceeding to infuriatingly stick its tongue out at her. Latias' blood boiled at the taunt, almost making her want to charge and wipe that triumphant smirk (or again, the bird equivalent of one) off of that stupid crow's face. But just in time, she remembered her brother's words to her, about how she should never rise to someone's taunts in battle, as that would just allow her opponent to better take advantage of her. Thus calmed down, Latias realized that she needed to think of something that would allow her to take Murkrow by surprise, since she couldn't use Psychic to immobilize him due to him being a Dark type, and she couldn't risk getting in close when he had a bead on her, as he could probably dodge every close-quarters attack she threw at him, due to his small size. 'Gotta think of something,' she told herself. She then narrowed her eyes at her two opponents before her. 'Until then, I've gotta hold these two off as best I can, and try not to take too much damage from that Murkrow,' She then flew in to engage her opponents once again, while her mind tried to come up with a solution to her Murkrow problem.

Latios and Ariados continued to struggle against one another, neither one of them seeming to get an edge in the power struggle.

However, Latios' arms were now starting to feel numb. He could feel his strength diminishing with each passing second. Holding off Ariados was taking a lot of energy out of him, he couldn't keep this up forever, he needed to get the infernal bug off of him!

He opened his eyes to glare at Ariados', his teeth bared, his claws the only thing held between him and an almost certain end to the battle for him. As he glared his defiance at Ariados, his mind then turned to his sister, who he knew was giving her all on her side of the battle, and that she was doing it because she cared about him, wanted to protect him, just as much as cared for and wanted to protect her. She was fighting to prove herself to him, this he also knew, wanted to prove herself capable in his eyes, that she could be just as strong and brave as he. If he fell now, there would be nothing to stop the rest of Team Rocket's Pokémon from ganging up on her, and they most certainly would capture her, as well. There would be nothing to stop them from hurting her; he wouldn't be able to protect her. He could not allow that to happen, he had vowed long ago that he would always be there to protect her. He could not fail her now, not now, not ever! He could not fall here!

A large burst of hidden power suddenly coursed through Latios, seeming to come up from his very soul. Suddenly, to the immense shock of Ariados and the humans onlooking, the mandibles that were nearly closed around Latios' neck suddenly seemed to be moving outwards as Latios' claws strained against them. As the draconic power coursed through him, a low growl started to build up in Latios' throat, which eventually transitioned to a full-throated roar as Ariados' mandibles inevitably came apart, unable to resist against such immense power.

As Latios held Ariados' mandibles apart, he then pulled them up and away from his neck. Now with Ariados' head and mandibles away from him, with Ariados' chin looking upwards, Latios then made an almost impossibly fast transition, quickly letting go of Ariados' mandibles and giving a two-fisted claw strike to the bug's vulnerable chin, sending Ariados reeling backwards.

Then, wasting no time, Latios followed up by quickly gathering his mental powers, his eyes glowing a searing white, and then, pushing his left claw outwards, he released the psychic force he had built up, sending a wave of invisible psychic energy towards Ariados, which collided dead-on, sending the spider Pokémon flying backwards before hitting the ground, tumbling and sliding across it, before finally having its progress halted by colliding with the base of a tree. It lay against the tree, its body severely injured in multiple spots, giving every indication that it had fainted. The Ariados' commander shouted out, "Oh shit, Ariados!" in almost-faux worry.

Latios panted to regain his breath and to get his thoughts under control. The sudden burst of power he had just felt had vanished from his body almost as suddenly as it came, leaving in its wake a sense of weakness and making Latios feel quite exhausted. Still, he was glad he had been able to power out of that situation. Although that struggle had taken a bit out of him, Latios knew he had to stay strong, as he had a feeling that this battle was far from over.

Almost as if to prove his point, Latios suddenly sensed a presence coming at him from behind. He quickly adjusted his levitating trajectory to float higher, just in time to avoid the recovered Pidgeot's Quick Attack.

As Pidgeot broke off her attack and wheeled around to face him, Latios fired a stream of DragonBreath downwards at her.

Showing the skill in flying for which her species were renowned for, Pidgeot executed a quick barrel roll in mid-air, avoiding the white-hot flames almost completely, save for some minor scorching on the tip of her right wing. Wasting no time, Pidgeot then gave one tremendous diagonal flap of her wings, which sent her flying upwards and towards Latios, giving more flaps as she went to increase her momentum.

Latios gritted his teeth and fired off another burst of DragonBreath at the incoming Pidgeot, who dodged it effortlessly using a graceful mid-air loop and continued towards him, shrieking her battle cry and preparing herself for close combat.

'Crap, she's getting too close!' Latios thought to himself. Seeing there was no more time to fire another DragonBreath, he assumed a combative stance, ready to meet the oncoming Pidgeot, himself roaring a fierce battle cry.

They collided amidst a shower of wet feathers, Latios avoiding the brunt of Pidgeot's charge by moving sideways at the last second and grappling her by the side as she passed, sending them both spinning in mid-air. Now in close, Latios wasted no time in raising his left claw and slashing Pidgeot across the black marking around her right eye, just below the eye itself, clawing three rather deep grooves across that spot which started to bleed freely. Pidgeot shrieked in pain and brought it back by savagely pecking Latios several times in the middle of his forehead, causing Latios to break off the engagement lest one of the pecks find his eyes, and then he and Pidgeot circled each other, each of them judging the other, looking for any sort of weakness that they could exploit.

As the mid-air battle raged overhead, the Ariados' commander hurried over to check on his Pokémon's condition, and the Croagunk's commander returned his fainted Pokémon to its Pokéball. Reaching for the last Pokéball on his belt, he was suddenly stopped by a hand on his. He turned to look at his commander, Oakley, who had a stony look on her features. "No. Save it. Better to wear down the Eon twins as much as possible before calling in our power players. Let's let the battle unfold as is for right now, and if the Eon twins prove victorious, then we'll bring in the big guns. Sound good?" she said.

The Grunt blinked once before replying, "Sure, whatever you say, boss," and brought his hand back to his side. Oakley then turned her attention back to the battle above.

Meanwhile, on Latias' side of the battle, things weren't going so good for the red dragoness. So far, any attacks she had sent Murkrow's way had been nimbly dodged, and she still hadn't thought of a way to beat the Dark-type. She only barely managed to avoid the counter-attacks sent her way by both Murkrow and Marowak, and it was getting tiring for her. She was lucky that Murkrow had been unable to land any more Dark-type attacks so far, but unfortunately, that luck was about to run out.

Latias gritted her teeth as she charged up another Steel Wing attack, and proceeded to charge at Murkrow, but Murkrow, being ever so annoyingly nimble, dodged the attack with ease, and before Latias could recover, she was hit in the side, and once again the tremendous pain of the super-effective Faint Attack coursed through her, causing her to scream in pain.

Finally, mercifully, the pain subsided, although Latias could still feel the aftereffects of the dark energies coursing through her body, making her feel nauseous. She fought the urge to throw up as she gathered her wits just in time to avoid a spiraling Bonemerang attack from the opportunistic Marowak, quickly dodging to the left as the bone spun past her and back, returning to its master, who snatched it out of the air.

Latias panted openly as she could feel sweat run across her face, masked by her feathers and the falling rain. Her face felt hot and her entire body felt weak and numb, and her very arms felt like they could drop off her body. She realized that she was in quite a predicament; she needed some way to turn this battle around, and fast! 'But how?' she asked herself, 'How can I possibly turn this battle around when they can dodge every move I throw at them and counter attack so effectively?'

Just then, a flash of lightning lit up the sky, illuminating the battlefield briefly with its stark white light before fading out of existence, but in that flash of lightning, Latias suddenly found that there was a way in which she could turn the battle around! The answer was impossibly simple: she needed a distraction. And that bright flash of lightning had provided with the perfect idea on how to create said distraction, but in order to accomplish it, she needed her brother's help.

Using her telepathic link with her brother, Latias called mentally over to him, "Brother, can you hear me?"

Latios was momentarily caught off-guard by his sister's sudden words in his mind, but thankfully, not enough to distract him from his battle with Pidgeot. He carried on his battle with the Bird Pokémon while answering, "Yes, I can hear you, Latias. What's wrong? Are you alright?"

Latias winced a little at the pain which was still only gradually residing from her body and replied, "Ugh, yeah, bro, I'll be fine, but things aren't going so well for me over here, none of my attacks are landing. I need your help, bro."

Latios quickly ducked under a Wing Attack sent his way and countered with a Dragon Claw of his own before replying, "Uh, I'm a little occupied at the moment, sis. I don't think I can break free from it right now."

Latias quickly flew out of the path of an incoming Bonemerang herself and said back, "I'm not asking you to come over and help me with my battle, I just need your help in setting up a… distraction, so to speak."

"A distraction? What do you mean? What kind of distraction?" Latios asked quizzically, his eyes still locked on Pidgeot so as not to lose her from his sight for a single second.

"I need you to fire a Luster Purge at my side of the battlefield. The plan is that the light from the Luster Purge will blind Murkrow and Marowak, and while they're distracted, I'll turn invisible. Then I'll be able to land attacks more easily, as they won't see me coming," Latias explained.

"Wait, did you say a Murkrow? Latias, you know we're weak against Dark-types! Are you sure you're all right?" Latios asked worriedly.

"Ugh, didn't I just say I'll be fine, bro?" Latias said frustratingly. "I've taken a few hits, but it's nothing I can't handle. But it's proving hard to land attacks on Murkrow, he's too small and fast for me to hit. That's why I need your help. Now, can you please help me?"

Latios sighed mentally. "Okay, sis, I'll help, just one sec," he replied.

Latios then focused his attention completely back on Pidgeot as the Bird Pokémon charged at him with a Wing Attack. With his swift maneuverability, Latios moved sideways and out of the path of the charging Pidgeot, who flew past him, just barely missing him.

Before Pidgeot could turn around and prepare another attack, Latios' eyes began to glow before releasing a large blast of psychic energy at Pidgeot, which struck her head on, causing her to be pushed back a great ways, tumbling head over tail feathers.

Having succeeded in pushing Pidgeot away from him for the moment, Latios then turned to face his sister's portion of the battlefield and quickly took aim, aiming at the spot between his sister and her opponents. Gathering his mental powers, he gathered them to form what appeared to be an intensely bright purple ball in front of his mouth. Wasting no time, Latios then fired the Luster Purge, the great purple and white beam streaking towards its destination. Sensing the Luster Purge coming, Latias then quickly turned away to shield her eyes, while her opponents were unaware of the impending blast until it was too late.

The Luster Purge struck at the point Latios was aiming at, directly between Latias and her opponents, and immediately a bright searing light erupted around the impact zone, temporarily blinding Murkrow and Marowak as well as their commanders as they instinctively turned away from the bright flash. The blast also created a great blast of wind and a small storm of debris which flew out from the point of impact, showering Marowak and the two Grunts with bits of dirt and stone (Murkrow was flying too high up to experience any debris). And while her opponents were distracted, Latias quickly turned invisible once again and flew off to the side of the battlefield.

Finally the flash dissipated, and Murkrow and Marowak were finally able to see again, but when they turned to face where Latias had been, they were shocked to see that Latias was no longer there.

The Pokémon's commanders were even more shocked. "Wha… where'd she go? She was just there a second ago!" one of them shouted.

Suddenly the other Grunt realized with a sense of dread and fear what had just happened. "Oh crap… I think she's turned invisible on us again! That flash of light was meant to distract us so we wouldn't see her turn invisible!"

The first Grunt's eyes went wide with fear. "Oh, fuck… we're in trouble now," he moaned plaintively.

The second Grunt sighed. "Typical."

From her point of hidden observation, Latias gave a small grin at the Grunt's words. 'Oh, you have no idea…' she thought to herself coolly. "Thanks for the help, bro, I can take it from here," she then telepathed over to Latios.

"No problem, sis. Just make sure to watch your back, okay?" Latios called back as he prepared to turn his attention back to his battle with Pidgeot.

"Okay, you too," Latias replied. Turning back to her own battle, she began charging up a Steel Wing attack, her invisibility thankfully keeping the glow of the Steel Wing hidden as well, and giving a small grin of anticipation, she charged forward at her target, the unaware Murkrow, and smashed her steel-hard wing into the small and fragile bird, doing a lot of damage and temporarily knocking the bird senseless, causing him to fall slightly towards the ground before regaining his senses and correcting his flight pattern. He shook his head and moaned in pain, but before he could even recover, he was hit again, this time from the opposite side. The force of the impact caused rain to fly off of Murkrow's feathers in all directions as he screeched in pain as the hit from the Steel Wing once again caused him to temporarily lose his flight path, causing him to struggle to right himself again.

Latias once again turned around, her Steel Wing still in effect, and charged again at the helpless Murkrow, not intending to let up her attack for a second. She wasn't about to slow down and allow Murkrow to get a chance to locate her and counter-attack; the rain falling down around her invisible form meant that she couldn't stay in one place for too long, she needed to keep moving if she wanted to make the most of this advantage.

Down on the ground, the Marowak's commander pointed frantically up at the scene above. "Oh no, look!" he shouted fearfully.

Murkrow's commander looked up just as Murkrow was hit for the second time by a fast-moving, unseen force. He watched in terror as Murkrow screeched in pain and fell towards the ground before struggling to right itself. "Murkrow!" he shouted fearfully in concern. "Damn that Latias!"

The Marowak's commander said over to his companion, "He's getting pulverized out there; he won't last much longer at this rate!" as Murkrow was hit once again up above. "What do we do now?" he asked fearfully.

"I don't know!" the Grunt snapped back at his companion, as Murkrow took another hard hit above. Thinking desperately, the Grunt decided that the best course of action was to get Murkrow to cover, as he was much too vulnerable out in the open. Hopefully with some cover he'd be able to better avoid and combat the invisible Latias, although it was a desperate plan at best. But with no other option, the Grunt had no choice but to go with it. It was either that, or watch Murkrow get pounded into oblivion out here. And so the Grunt called out to his Murkrow, "Murkrow, quick, get to the trees! Use them for cover!"

Murkrow, hearing his Trainer's frantic command, quickly turned towards the trees located on his right and flapped towards them as fast as he could, hoping that he still had enough strength in him to make it over to them.

As she observed Murkrow flying towards the trees, Latias couldn't help but give a small nasty grin. 'He thinks the trees will protect him? Ha! Little bird, you've just sealed your doom…" Latias thought to herself as she quickly flew after Murkrow, entering the tree fringe stealthily from a different position than Murkrow had entered. 'This is going to be fun.'

Meanwhile, the fierce battle between Latios and Pidgeot continued to rage. The two combatants squared off briefly before both of them charged at the other, both of them colliding in mid-air, the momentum from both of their full-body Tackles colliding with each other head-on serving to create a force between them which blew them apart, pushing them backwards. Both of them shook their heads briefly to clear their senses, the rain which soaked their faces (and every other portion of their bodies) flying off their faces in small, miniature droplets before once again leveling their equally intimidating glares upon each other.

Down below, the Pidgeot's commander shouted, "Pidgeot, use Air Slash!"

Hearing this, Pidgeot brought both of its wings back, both of them starting to glow a light blue, and then swiftly brought them down, one after the other, in a diagonal slashing motion, creating two blade-like arcs of pure air energy that sliced towards Latios, leaving in their wake a trail that seemed to cut the very air itself.

Latios, however, was unfazed. Raising a claw as his eyes began to glow white, he then swept his claw sideways, causing the arcs of energy to dissipate into nothingness with a thought. Smirking, Latios said, "You'll have to do much better than that," towards a stunned Pidgeot before launching a stream of DragonBreath at his opponent, who recovered her senses fast enough to just barely dodge the attack.

Acting quickly, Pidgeot once again brought both her wings back before giving them both a tremendous thrust forward, creating a tremendous blast of wind from her powerful wings that shot towards Latios.

As the Gust attack neared him, Latios once again called on his mental powers as his eyes glowed and he released a blast of invisible psychic energy which collided with the Gust attack, causing the two attacks to cancel out, the wind from the Gust attack blowing off to the sides, which caused the Grunts below to hang onto their hats while Annie and Oakley shielded their eyes as their sodden hair was blown back.

Now Latios' wings started to glow as he prepared a Steel Wing attack. The Pidgeot's commander, noticing this, shouted up to his Pokémon, "Pidgeot, use your Steel Wing as well!"

Complying, Pidgeot's wings also began glowing a steely white. Pidgeot emitted a shriek of challenge at Latios, who actually started grinning, a dark, malicious grin which thoroughly unsettled Pidgeot for a moment. Her eyes widened in fear for a moment at Latios' utterly cold, intimidating stare. Those blood-red eyes danced with an almost bloodthirsty eagerness; they seemed to bore into her, filling her very soul with fear…

Shaking off the fear (with some considerable effort), Pidgeot then charged at Latios, with Latios doing so as well. As lightning ripped through the sky, the two combatants collided, the raspy sound of steel upon steel sounding along with the thunder as their Steel Wings clashed against one another, creating a shower of sparks. The clash was brief as the wings slid off to the side of each other as the combatants passed. No sooner had they passed each other, though, than each of them turned around, preparing to engage once again, Pidgeot charging at Latios with Quick Attack, colliding with the Eon dragon as another brutal exchange of close combat began to take place.

Down below, the Ariados' commander held off in his tending of Ariados to observe the fierce aerial battle going on above. As he stared at the combatants, blinking rapidly at the rain falling on his face and into his eyes, the Grunt was suddenly struck by an idea that could possibly bring an end to the battle. Smiling, the Grunt brought up a hand and wiped it across his face, wiping the excess moisture off of it, the Grunt then turned to his Ariados and said, "You ready to get back into the battle, Ariados?" to which Ariados nodded in the affirmative. Nodding himself, the Grunt then said, "Good, cause I think I got an idea that could put an end to this battle. Now listen up, here's what I need you to do…"

Meanwhile, on the other battlefield, Murkrow had flown to a point where he was hovering among the branches of a large oak tree, the small crow Pokémon's wings feeling heavy and slow due to his exhaustion as he panted heavily, creating a small cloud of wispy breath each time he exhaled, the air being noticeably chillier due to the rain. He looked around nervously, the foliage of the tree seeming to rustle ominously as the wind and rain impacted the leaves and branches. A streak of lightning lit up the sky, causing the Murkrow to jump with fright and making him change his location, flying quickly as he could to an adjacent tree before hiding within its branches. He then alighted upon one of the larger branches, wanting to rest his wings. He then became as quiet as he possibly could, hoping that his black feathers would help him to blend in with the darkness and that his breathing or even his rapidly beating heart wouldn't give him away. His mind was shielded from psychic detection, this he knew, but that didn't mean that Latias couldn't detect him by other means.

Looking around nervously, Murkrow listened to the rain pouring down on the foliage surrounding him, the sound of the rain impacting the leaves sounding ominous in the murk of the stormy night. Murkrow quickly shook his head, trying to shake as much water out of his feathers as he could, and started muttering in a frightened, panicked voice, "Oh, Arceus, how'd I end up getting into this mess? Why'd my master have to be assigned to this unit, of all the stinking… Those two women must be out of their minds; they seriously expect us to fight two Pokémon of legend?" Murkrow ruffled his feathers angrily. "I know I'm a Dark-type and all, but I can't hope to match a Legendary in battle!" Going back to looking around his perch, Murkrow muttered, "All I can do now is hope that she doesn't find me… yeah, just got to stay here, be as quiet as possible… and if she does find me… well, uh, maybe I can appeal to her better nature and all that, and if that works, give her a sneak attack while her guard's down. She doesn't seem the type to hit an apparently defenseless opponent…"

But at that moment, Murkrow heard a voice emanate from behind him, speaking in a tone cold enough to freeze his blood, "Well, you'd be dead wrong there."

In terror, Murkrow turned around quickly, and found himself face-to-face with none other than Latias, who was at that moment looming slightly above his position on the branch, her left claw shining brightly in the glow of Dragon Claw, her eyes hard and narrowed, her teeth bared. "Take this!" she snarled angrily at him.

The Murkrow only had time for a last cry of terror before Latias charged downward at him, her claw coming forward and smashing against Murkrow's face. The force of Latias' momentum, coupled with the power of her Dragon Claw attack, proved to be too much for the branch supporting Murkrow to handle. It snapped in two as easily as one might break a toothpick, sounding a loud crack that echoed throughout the garden. Latias' charge carried Murkrow through the snapped branch on the weight of her driving claw, bits and pieces of splintered wood flying from the impact zone as the outwards portion of the branch began to fall alongside the duo, even as Latias heedlessly continued downward, smashing the helpless Murkrow through three more thick branches on their downwards descent before finally impacting the ground at tremendous speed, casting up a layer of water-soaked grass and mud around the impact zone along with the audible whumph of impact.

The two Grunts and Marowak stood stock-still in shock and fear, emotions which were also clearly depicted on each of their faces, each of their mouths hanging open in disbelief at Latias' brutal act.

As the last of the mud settled, they saw Latias floating at the epicenter of a sizable crater blasted out of the muddied ground, which was already starting to fill up with rainwater. Within the crater they could just make out the small, broken form of Murkrow, who did not seem to be moving at all. Seeing this, Murkrow's commander was struck with inexpressible fear, and hoped fervently that his Pokémon was not dead.

Looking down on the battered form of Murkrow, Latias gave a small unimpressed scoff and said, "Just be grateful I didn't add enough power to kill you." to the severely battered, and apparently unconscious Murkrow. Then, raising her left claw and giving it a flex, Latias then turned to look at the terrified Grunts and Marowak, her battle-hardened glare almost rivaling her brother's in its intensity, which was quite the feat for Latias, indeed.

Somehow, the commander of Marowak managed to find his voice enough to stammer, "M-Marowak! Use Bonemerang, quick!"

The Marowak, doing his best to steel himself from the fear, then brought his bone club back and forward, releasing in in a spinning arc towards Latias.

Latias, however, was not worried. With a calm confidence, she dodged out of the way of the incoming projectile, which kept spinning forward until it clattered against a sturdy oak tree directly behind her, halting its momentum and causing it to fall harmlessly to the wet grass below, effectively disarming Marowak.

This fact caused the Bone Keeper Pokémon to curse loudly, but that was all he had time for before Latias retaliated by sending a large stream of DragonBreath towards him and the two men behind him. Both of the men's and the solitary Pokémon's eyes widened in alarm as all of them literally dove headlong out of the way to avoid the fiery blaze, the men towards the right and Marowak towards the left. The inferno missed them all by mere inches; the scorching heat from the fire giving them clear indication as to how narrowly they had escaped being potentially burned alive.

As the flames died away, quickly extinguished by the falling rain, both men and Pokémon scrambled hastily to their feet and turned to face the spot where Latias was… only she wasn't anywhere to be seen!

The now weaponless Marowak turned his head this way and that, looking futilely for the Eon dragoness. Suddenly, he was hit with a sense of impending doom; the feeling was almost palpable in the Marowak's mind. The Marowak's shoulders slumped, and with a small, inward sigh, muttered simply, "Crud."

Almost as if knowing where to expect the hit, the Marowak turned an about-face, and was almost immediately struck by an invisible force going which carried him forward at a tremendous speed, until his progress was painfully halted by his back being slammed harshly against the unyielding surface of a tree. As the shock of the impact receded, the Marowak then registered an invisible force up against his throat, choking him and holding him up against the tree's surface.

Then, the air in front of him shimmered, and the Marowak found himself staring into the hard, narrow amber eyes of Latias, whose right claw was held sideways across the Marowak's throat. Marowak started struggling to break free, but already in his mind, he knew it was useless. The grip Latias had on him was strong and unyielding.

As lightning lit the stormy sky above, Latias' elbow began forcing Marowak higher and higher up against the tree trunk, his feet leaving the ground completely, until his head was at a point slightly above Latias, his hands gripped around the elbow held to his throat, his feet kicking helplessly in the air.

Then, almost methodically, Latias raised up her left claw, which began shining with the properties of Dragon Claw, which immediately caused the Marowak's eyes to widen in complete terror as his struggles increased. Holding the claw up in front of Marowak's face, Latias then said in a light apologetic tone, "I'm sorry I have to do this, but you don't give me much choice. I hope you can forgive me later."

Then, bringing the claw back, Latias swung it across Marowak's skull helmet with tremendous force, so much so that it caused a small crack to appear at the point Latias' claw impacted it, and immediately knocking the Marowak into blissful unconsciousness.

With Marowak knocked out, Latias released her hold on him, but rather than allow her unconscious foe to impact the ground hard, Latias courteously used her psychic powers to slow Marowak's descent to the ground, lessening the force of the impact with the ground so as to not hurt him further.

Panting slightly, and regarding the unconscious form of Marowak, Latias briefly reflected on her actions during the battle so far. While battling certainly wasn't in her nature as it was for her brother, she also certainly wouldn't shy away from one, not when her inaction could mean serious harm for her brother, and especially not against people like Annie and Oakley, who she knew with great certainty would take great pleasure in harming her and her brother. Still, she thought with a tinge of regret, she almost certainly wouldn't want to be in another battle anytime soon. She then spared a glance towards the crater she had made with Murkrow and then back at Marowak, realizing that had she wanted to, she could've gone so far as to kill both of them, something that scared her, she didn't want something as dreadful as that weighing down on her for the rest of her life…

Meanwhile, while the final exchanges between Latias and Murkrow and Marowak were taking place, Latios and Pidgeot had broken off their combat temporarily to gain a breather and to size up each other, both of them planning their next moves. Both of the Pokémon were panting rather noticeably now, the results of their bouts of close combat finally starting to wear on them. Both of them had scored some hard hits on each other by now, although Pidgeot was by far the worse looking of the two. While Latios had been scored and nicked in several places, with several painful looking scratches around his face and neck, some of which had a small, faintly noticeable trickle of blood running from them, the results of Pidgeot's fierce Peck attacks, and also one or two spots along Latios' body where Pidgeot's talons had managed to rake him, leaving him with several deep and painful scratches, each of which oozed blood, turning the color of the white feathers surrounding the scratches to the rather pinkish color of washed-out blood, this was nothing when compared to the state of Pidgeot.

Numerous portions of the Bird Pokémon's chest and also the majority of her face were covered in a grim plethora of scratches, cuts, bruises and burns. Several areas of her creamy colored underbelly were stained with blood coming from deep cuts inflicted by Latios' claws. A large patch of these chest feathers had also been burned off when Pidgeot had been a little slow in dodging one of Latios' DragonBreath attacks, causing it to singe her chest, resulting in the unsightly pink patch of bare skin now visible almost in the direct center of her chest. Also, the tips of her wings and tailfeathers had also been scorched by the dragon's fire, burning a few of the feathers in those regions and resulting in those areas being marked with unsightly black scorch lines. But by far, the worst injuries Pidgeot had suffered had been the ones to her left eye and her neck. The eye in question was currently squeezed shut tightly, although that did nothing to stop the flow of blood that leaked past the eyelid, running down the left side of Pidgeot's cheek, giving the appearance that Pidgeot was crying blood. However, if Pidgeot were to raise her eyelid, it would be quite a horrifying and ghastly sight. Essentially, Pidgeot's left eye had been slashed to ribbons by Latios when he clawed Pidgeot across the eye in question, and Pidgeot, not having enough time to close her eyelid, was unable to stop the sharp claws of Latios as they raked across her eye, tearing the soft, sensitive flesh of the eyeball itself. It was quite simply the most intense, excruciating pain that Pidgeot had ever felt in her life, and the shriek of pain she had emitted was so loud and high in pitch, that it had caused Annie, Oakley, and the two Grunts below to cover their ears. Even now, the wound was still sending sharp spikes of pain to Pidgeot's brain, and Pidgeot knew with absolute certainty that if she survived this battle, she would never be able to see with that eye again. She had effectively been blinded in that eye, and considering how important a Pidgeot's eyes were to their species, allowing them to sight prey and opponents over exceedingly long distances, this was a most grievous wound, indeed.

As for her neck, one needed only look at the sight of the raggedly torn skin and the sizable amount of blood emanating from the savage looking wound to get a clear sense of just how serious the wound was. This wound had been dealt shortly after Latios had clawed out Pidgeot's eye, during the same exchange, in fact. As Pidgeot had been preparing a Wing Attack, in an attempt to drive Latios off of her, Latios had then done something that completely shocked her as well as the onlooking humans below. Rearing back his head slightly, he then opened his mouth, filled with sharp, pointed teeth, and then he rushed forward and bit Pidgeot hard and savagely on the neck, attempting to tear her throat out.

This completely unexpected attack had caused Pidgeot to go into full-blown survival panic. This was no ordinary Bite attack; Latios wasn't trying to just hurt her here; no, he was trying to kill her! Never before had Pidgeot been attacked like this; Pokémon don't seek to kill each other in battle normally! She didn't realize, though, that Latios was in fact a wild Pokémon, and wild Pokémon, unlike captured Pokémon, still retained their territorial and killing instincts that are normally removed whenever a Pokémon is captured. And as with any wild animal, when a wild Pokémon feels its territory and/or its family being threatened, they will have no compunction against attacking and subduing that threat however they can, and killing that threat is the most direct and preferred way most wild Pokémon chose, and for Latios right then, his killing instincts were in full swing, the fact of Latios being a Legendary Pokémon making it seem all the more terrifying.

Frantically, desperately, Pigeot brought her wings forward and buffeted Latios with all her might, as well as bringing her beak down to Peck Latios as hard and savagely as she could on the dragon's forehead, trying with all her might to dislodge Latios' potential death grip his teeth had on her neck, fighting with the desperation of a creature fighting for its life.

Thankfully for Pidgeot, her buffets and pecks finally had an effect on Latios; the Eon dragon couldn't take any more blows without risking suffering serious injury to himself, so, with some reluctance, Latios released his grip on Pidgeot and quickly backed away, but the damage had been done. It was a miracle that none of Pidgeot's major arteries in her neck had been severed, as that would've surely meant the end for her. The amount of blood lost from a severed artery would've caused the bird to rapidly go into shock and subsequently lose consciousness from excessive blood loss. Death resulting from cardiac arrest would soon follow, in the space of five to ten minutes. As it was though, the neck wound was still severe and poured blood at a sizable rate. If Pidgeot didn't receive medical care within the next few hours, she would almost surely die.

Currently, Latios taunted the bird by saying, "How's that eye of yours holding up, featherbag? Or wait, I guess the more appropriate phrasing would be 'holding on', wouldn't it?"

"Piss off!" Pidgeot screamed in response, the verbal barb only serving to stoke the immeasurable fires of hate she now had for the Eon dragon that had taken her eye and very nearly taken her life.

Latios merely smiled disconcertingly, the rather fresh bloodstains around his mouth making it all the more disconcerting, and said, "No, thanks. I don't feel like it." He then raised his head slightly and gazed at the bloody neck wound of Pidgeot. "Although, from the way your life is pouring out of you, I very much doubt that you'll even be able to remain airborne for very long now, much less continue fighting against me, and I don't wish to have a Pokémon throw its life away fighting me simply out of a misguided sense of loyalty, so I'll give you a chance: Give up. Quit now and I'll let you return to your master," Latios saying 'master' with a clear sense of disgust, "without any further harm on your part. You have my word I won't further attack you if you do so. You've already lost one eye, why risk losing more, just to satisfy your master's evil wishes?"

However, Pidgeot was only paying half-attention to Latios at that moment. Her gaze was much more focused on the activity occurring behind Latios. On a branch situated directly behind Latios was Ariados, who had stealthily crept up the tree while Pidgeot and Latios had been busy battling. The Long Leg Pokémon was now currently spraying silk from its mandibles, shaping it into a distinctly web-shaped pattern, using the branches above and below it as tethers for the web's ends. The work was accomplished with rapid speed, and as the Spider Web neared completion, Pidgeot could already grasp the plan. Taking care not to give any indication to Latios, Pidgeot couldn't help but smirk inwardly. That Latios was as good as caught now, and afterwards… oh yes, then she would take great pleasure in pecking out both of Latios' eyes, and let him know what it feels like!

The Spider Web trap completed, Ariados quickly scuttled out of the way, nodding darkly to Pidgeot as he did so. Preparing herself, Pidgeot then said to Latios, "You know, I think I got a better idea: How about you just DIE! Aerial Ace!" she yelled before charging forward at Latios, intent on smashing him into the trap waiting for him, her remaining eye focused on Latios' face; even now, going at near supersonic speed, Pidgeot thought she could still make out the features on the Eon dragon's face: The small, narrow, angular shape of his face in general, his teardrop shaped pattern on his forehead, his straight, almost wing-shaped ears, and his eyes, the most striking and intimidating feature of them all, narrow and blood-red in color, an intense fire lurking behind them, and the threat of something discernibly more… sinister…

The eyes… burning into her very soul…

The eyes… they seemed to be pulling her in…

The eyes…

Eyes the color of blood…

The battlefield seemed to be frozen around her. There was no sound at all, no sound of falling rain, no booms of thunder, no sounds of battle. The rain was also frozen in midair, the droplets of rain looking almost crystalline in their state of suspended animation, almost like the snowflakes, that alternate form that rain seemed to turn into during the winter for reasons unknown to Pidgeot.

Pidgeot's body was also frozen, suspended in a state of mid-charge, her wings tucked to her sides, her body straight as an arrow. Puzzled at this, she tried moving her wings, and was shocked to find that she couldn't move a muscle! She tried moving her head, same result. Then she tried her talons, no such luck. Even her beak seemed to be frozen shut. 'What the… what the hell is going on?' she thought frantically to herself. But then, her attention was drawn to the figure in front of her.

To her shock, she saw that Latios was now moving towards her, a sole moving figure in the frozen environment, and as he came towards her, she saw the droplets of rain break apart as he moved through them, turning into countless smaller-sized rain droplets that seemed to shiver and bounce around erratically, as if announcing their displeasure at being disturbed from their perpetual frozen state.

Finding herself utterly terrified of the approaching dragon, Pidgeot struggled frantically to tear her gaze away from his, to break her body free so as to defend herself, but no matter how hard she struggled, her body remained steadfastly locked in place. Even so, she still struggled, her mind screaming at her body to move, move, dammit! Terror gripped at her very soul at the utterly defenseless state she was in.

Then she heard the sound of Latios' voice echoing through her mind via telepathy, saying, "It's no use. You cannot break free from this, so you might as well cease your attempts to do so."

Realizing that Latios was right, Pidgeot finally decided to give up, although her terror still remained. 'What is this madness? What have you done to me?' she yelled in her mind at Latios, since she was incapable of speaking normally.

Latios, who was now directly in front of her, seemed to have heard her, though, as he replied, "Oh, this? Just a small trick I picked up from a passing Pokémon during the year my sister and I were training. A most unusual encounter, I must admit, but then again, he was a most unusual Pokémon. I had never seen one of his kind before, and he never gave me the name of his species, for that matter. I encountered him one night as I was wandering around the garden, and gave me quite a scare, I might add, for he was a rather scary-looking and intimidating guy. Said he was just passing through the area, though, and didn't want any trouble, so I took his word for it. Then we got to talking, and he eventually revealed how his species were the masters of these things called 'illusions'. I asked him what an illusion was, and so he showed me. I was… intrigued, to put it lightly. So I asked him if he'd be willing to teach me how to create an illusion, and to my surprise, he agreed. Said something about how I looked like a 'natural-born illusionist'. And so that night he taught me the basics on how to create and maintain an illusion, and although I wasn't very good at them at first, before he left, the Pokémon said to keep practicing them, and I would eventually get the hang of them. As you can see, I did. Considerably so." he finished with a smirk. "Still, the ability has its limits." he added as an afterthought.

Capable of only staring fearfully at Latios, Pidgeot thought, 'A-are you going to kill me?' she asked in a queit mental tone, her voice trembling with fear at the prospect that her life was now hanging in the dragon's claws.

Shaking his head, Latios said, "Kill you? Unfortunately, no. The illusion prevents me from doing so. But I can still hurt you, just not in the traditional sense." flashing her a nasty grin as he finished.

'How?' thought a thoroughly terrified Pidgeot, wondering if she truly did want to know the answer.

At this, Latios gave a cold chuckle. "You'll see," he said darkly. He then raised up his left claw, which began glowing ominously. As Pidgeot stared wide-eyed at the claw, Latios said, "Oh, and if I may offer a final piece of advice, don't ever think to pull a trick like the one you were attempting on a Psychic again in the future. It almost never works." He then drew back his claw, and before Pidgeot could even begin to scream, he slashed her across her remaining eye…

"AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHH, MY EYE!" Pidgeot screamed as the pain erupted across her brain as she felt her one good eye get slashed to ribbons by Latios' claw, permanently blinding her… or so she thought. While the pain she felt was most certainly real, the damage to her eye wasn't. It was still perfectly fine; Latios' illusion had only given her the pretense that it had been slashed.

But all that was lost on Pidgeot as she found herself totally blind. That and her pain-racked mind caused her to lose control of her sense of direction as she zoomed by the completely calm Latios by mere inches. Being completely (or at least in her mind) blind, Pidgeot continued to zoom heedlessly forward… straight into the Spider Web trap that was originally intended for Latios, trapping her instead! Even entangled as she was, Pidgeot thrashed around in a pain-frenzied state in the web, screaming, "MY EYES! OH ARCEUS, I'M BLIND, I'M BLIND!" along with other incoherent statements and babbles laced with pain and suffering.

Ariados, to put it lightly, was stunned beyond belief. Too busy staring with a mixture of shock and horror at the insane thrashings and ramblings of Pidgeot, Ariados did not feel the pull of Latios' Psychic attack until it was too late. All of a sudden, Ariados was lifted upwards at a tremendous speed, his upper body impacting painfully with the solid, unyielding wood of a tree limb directly above him, causing him to cry out in pain. Almost immediately, he was then brought back down at the exact same speed, his lower body impacting the limb he had just been standing on, a fresh cry of pain emitting from Ariados' mandibles.

Repeatedly Ariados was smashed like a ragdoll into the upper and lower boughs, like a grim and painful elevator ride, Ariados' screams of agony echoing across the battlefield as his body was ruthlessly battered into submission by Latios, the majority of the human observers below watching on with expressions of helpless horror, while a certain blue-haired woman rather watched the unfolding beating with a swiftly escalating sense of inexpressible hate and rage.

Now tiring of smashing his helpless opponent between the boughs, Latios decided to end it. Bringing Ariados forward off the branch until he was floating in open space, held in place by Latios' psychic powers, with nothing below him but a roughly thirty foot drop to the wet, muddy, yet discernibly still hard-looking ground below. Barely conscious, this fact barely registered in the battered Ariados' mind, which was clouded over with enough pain as it was.

And then, as the humans below watched in shock and horror, Latios gave one final savage downward thrust of his mind, sending the Ariados rocketing downward, impacting the ground in much the same way as had Latias and Murkrow, sending up a curtain of grass, mud, and water along the sound of the terrible impact.

When the debris cleared, one could clearly see Ariados lying in the middle of the impact crater, clearly (and admittedly, miraculously) unconscious. Seeing his Pokémon knocked out so savagely and in such critical condition was almost too much for Ariados' commander to bear. Raising his hands to grip both sides of his head, the stricken Grunt screamed out his Pokémon name before rushing hurriedly over to it.

Then, wasting no time, Latios turned his sights on his remaining target. As Pidgeot continued to struggle vainly in her fear and pain-induced state in the web, Latios once again called upon his psychic powers, preparing to channel them into his most powerful move.

Rearing back his head, Latios then opened his mouth as a bright purple and white sphere of pure psychic energy began to gather there. It continued to increase in size, until it was at a point that was slightly larger than Latios' head. It was only at that single dramatic moment that Latios' head snapped forward, and the large purple-white psychic orb flashed forward, turning into an immense purple-white beam that seemed to radiate an intense light, in the attack that was known only to Latios himself: the Luster Purge.

The beam collided with Pidgeot, where it immediately proceeded to erupt in an intense explosion of white light that seemed to radiate outwards in all directions, causing all onlookers to turn their heads away. The impact also stirred the air around it, whipping it and the rain into a frenzy, which was also felt by the humans watching below.

When the light faded, the members of Team Rocket once again turned their faces upward, although in their minds, they already knew what they would see.

In the center of the now considerably blackened web hung Pidgeot, who was completely motionless, her ceaseless thrashings of just a few moments ago now eerily quiet, her wings outstretched, her head slumped forward in unconsciousness. A faint trail of smoke rose from her figure, as well as the discernibly acrid smell of burning feathers, of which quite a few could be seen among various parts of her plumage.

Then, all of a sudden, the web strands supporting Pidgeot seemed to disintegrate, the silken strands' strength having been melted away due to the intense heat generated by the Luster Purge. They literally fell apart into nothingness, and as they did so, so too did they release the support they had on Pidgeot, causing the unconscious bird to fall, first impacting the tree limb directly below her, and then proceeding to free-fall the rest of the way down to the sodden ground below, her outstretched wings serving to slow her fall down somewhat, which undoubtedly saved her life, although her impact with the ground was no less hard or terrible for it.

Nothing could be heard for the next few moments other than the constant sound of the falling rain. The group of humans said nothing; nothing needed to be said, all of them, save Oakley, just gaped and stared in shock, disbelief, and fear. Even Oakley found herself a touch unnerved by the brutal display from Latios, although that was quickly brushed aside by the seething anger and frustration she felt. Her plans for revenge were falling apart before her very eyes! Those two damnable dragons!

Next to her, the Pidgeot's commander raised up Pidgeot's Pokéball and said in a rather subdued voice, "Pidgeot, return." as a red beam emitted from the ball's center and hit Pidgeot, returning her to the safety of the ball's interior. Likewise, Ariados' commander had done the same before returning to the group's side, as well as the commanders of both Murkrow and Marowak on Latias' side.

The Eon twins were now currently floating side by side once again, in the same spot as they had been in at the start of the battle, having rejoined after recognizing the temporary lull in combat as the various commanders recalled their Pokémon. They had taken that time to check on the other, and reassure themselves that their respective hurts were not that serious. Latias especially had been extremely worried about the scratches and talon marks littering Latios' face and body, but Latios had assured her that they were none too serious. "Besides," Latios said to her via telepathy, "from the look on Oakley's face, something tells me that things are about to get a whole lot more difficult."

"Heh, she looks like an Exploud who's about to use Uproar." Latias commented.

"A most astute observation, my dear sister." Latios chuckled. Then, expanding his mental voice so as to be heard by the group of humans in front of them, Latios said, "Well, Oakley, Is that it? Got any more Pokémon for my sister and I to clobber?"

True to Latias' observation, Oakley did indeed look like an Exploud about to blow its top. Gritting her teeth in anger, she managed to growl between them, "Grr… why, you insufferable wyrms! Nobody makes a fool out of me!"

"Seems to me like we just did." Latios observed wryly.

"Yeah, and then some." Latias added with a smirk.

At this, Oakley finally lost her cool and exploded, screaming, "THAT'S IT! You think this is all over, you think you've won? This battle is far from over, Latios and Latias!"

"Yeah, we kinda guessed at that." Latios quipped mockingly. "Typical."

"Yeah, bring it on, you old biddy!" Latias said insultingly.

"Oh, you may have defeated all of our Pokémon so far, but I think you'll find these ones to be much more of a challenge!" Oakley boasted with a slightly manic smile across her lips.

It was at this point that Annie decided to interrupt her sister by leaning over towards her and whispering to her in a sideways manner, "Uh, Oakley, if it's all the same to you, don't you think it'd be best if we got out of her while we can? It's obvious now that the Latis have improved in combat considerably, and I'm not sure if even our strongest Pokémon could best them… we might have lost our dignity, but I for one would still like to crawl out of here with my life intact."

However, it was at that moment that Oakley snapped her head towards her sister, glaring angrily at her and saying, "Shut up, Annie! I don't care how powerful they've seemingly become, I came here to capture these damn beasts and get my revenge, and that's what I intend to do! There will be no retreating, not while we still have Pokémon at our disposal to fight with! Do you understand?" she finished pointedly.

Annie merely blinked before proceeding in order to cross her arms, close her eyes, lower her head, and give it a small shake, before giving a small sigh and saying in a resigned voice, "Yes, sister. But I was just want to make myself clear, this is your vendetta, not mine."

"You should listen to your sister, you hag." Latias commented telepathically.

Latios nodded in agreement. "You REALLY should, Oakley."

Ignoring her sister's and both dragon's pointed comments, Oakley then turned to look at three Grunts in particular to her left side, and said in a cold voice, "Slice them to pieces."

The three Grunts nodded before they each pulled a Pokéball off their belts, their final Pokémon for each of them as well. They then stepped forward and stood in front of the waiting Latios and Latios, who were floating resolutely, determined to face and defeat whatever was sent their way.

Then the Grunts brought their Pokéballs back and whipped them forward, the balls soaring forward before opening in mid-air, as Team Rocket's final combatants were released onto the battlefield…