All of S-EARL might face significant changes shortly. By 'significant', I mean it involves removing 7 of the 15 Dex Holders. Check the General News section under the News category on my profile for details.

And S-EARL will go through little to no changes to reflect Volume 42 of Pokémon Special. Volume 42 kind of screwed with the first part of SA (will be worked around). I just hope Volume 43 doesn't do the same with the second part.

And for those who were worried that I cancelled SA… Like I said, I can't cancel SA anymore now that it has… 9 (quite possibly 10 soon) faithful reviewers. I've just been a little occupied with SR's Containment series that's more related to SA than it appears.


Chapter 25: Uprising

August 17th, 6 am, Route 31, Johto…

The Dex Holders passed the blockades set up by the Johto Gym Leaders and had a slight reunion once they were safe. Apart from Green, Blue, Yellow, Silver, and Ruby, all the Dex Holders were present. Black and White were quite happy upon reuniting with their seniors, as they were worried about the fates of the Dex Holders who have entered the quarantined Violet City.

Diamond and Pearl supported Platinum from either side, ensuring that she was perfectly okay. Emerald was busy talking to the 'infamous' four hell raiser orphans he had heard so much about from Crystal. Sapphire was explaining to Black and White about her 'mask' thing. Gold simply stared at Crystal silently, who was still asleep in Red's arms.

"Hey Gold, do you want to take over?" Red asked as he looked over at his junior.

Gold still stared at Crystal for a second before he slowly shook his head. "No… I think it'd be best for Crys if I stay away from her."

"Come on, Gold. If you were controlled, you can't be held responsible for what you did," Red said. "It's not your fault."

"Crys said that too," Gold muttered. "She said that it wasn't my fault. But no matter what anyone says, there is no denying. It was my fault. It is my fault. If I had listened to her and paid more attention to my surroundings… I wouldn't have been infected by those things and Crys wouldn't have gotten hurt."

Red was about to say something when Crystal suddenly gasped and groaned. He looked down at her and saw her clutching her shattered leg with her good arm.

"Crys, you okay?"

"N – No…" the girl gasped out. She still had her eyes clenched shut as she tried to withstand the pain. It seemed that once the painkiller wore off, the shattered leg was causing too much pain for her to remain asleep.

Everyone in the vicinity all gathered around her to see if they could help with anything. Gold, however, kept his distance. He put his hands in his pocket and turned away, unable to watch Crystal suffer because of him.

"Hey Emerald, can you get the Hoenn Pokémon Association blimp over here?" Sapphire asked. "I know they have something like a portable hospital there."

"Yeah, sure." Emerald quickly took out his Pokégear and started to call.

"S – Someone… get… Parapeon…" Crystal said weakly in between grunts.

White reached into Crystal's bag (she was 'voted' to be the one carrying all the bags…) and took out Parasect's Pokéball. Once the Parasect came out, it immediately started to mix various spores to create another powerful dose of painkiller. The Parasect soon released a small cloud of the mixed painkiller directly at Crystal. All of the other Dex Holders held their breath so that they wouldn't be affected by the spores. Crystal inhaled the spores and steadily calmed down. Once the spores dissipated enough, White approached Gold who still remained as far away from Crystal as possible.

"So… what exactly happened?" she asked. "I heard some details, but…"

Gold sighed and quietly began to explain what happened on the top floor of the Sprout Tower. He let out another sigh before the finish. "… I threw her off the tower…"

White seemed quite surprised, but tried her best to comfort her senior. "It sounds to me that you actually saved her. This Unown virus was trying to kill her but you saved her."

"Don't try to convince me, Bossy Gal," Gold muttered as he walked away.

"… Bossy?"

Gold only took a few steps before he stopped. He wasn't going to leave Crystal. He was going to stay around and make sure no bad things happen to her, but he would keep some distance in case the 'bad thing' was him.

Within 10 minutes, the Hoenn Pokémon Association's blimp landed next to the Dex Holders. Being the most familiar with the people on the blimp, Sapphire ran towards the door. The door soon opened and someone came into view. The Hoenn Dex Holder gasped in shock.

"… Coach?"

From the doorway, Winona waved at her pupil with a bright smile. "Hi, Sapphire!"

"I thought you were dead!" Sapphire yelled happily as she ran towards her coach. She gave her a bone-cracking embrace, as she wasn't accustomed to the third stage of the Unown infection that had boosted her strength and reaction…

"Ow, ow… Sapphire, take it easy," the Fortree Gym Leader said as she tried to loosen Sapphire's grip. "Sorry I couldn't let you know sooner. We were all very busy for the past couple of days."

"But you're okay! That's all I care about!" Sapphire said happily. "I wanted to return to Hoenn as soon as possible when I heard what happened, but…"

"Oh, you know that it wasn't a good idea." Winona looked at her pupil intently. "Sapphire, what's with the… mask?"

"I've been… um… infected by the Unown," Sapphire answered truthfully. She removed one of her gloves and showed the back of her hand to her coach. "But thanks to my previous… experiences, I'm immune to their mind-control capabilities."

"Well… it looks like you've been through quite a bit yourself then," Winona muttered. "I'm proud to know that you're doing so well here."

Soon, various volunteers from Hoenn came out of the blimp and introduced themselves to the Dex Holders. Sapphire recognized the Gym Leaders, but not some of their assistants and other volunteers.

"Sapphire, where's Ruby?" Wallace asked as he came close.

The girl's expression slightly darkened as she thought about Ruby who was still deep inside the ShadowNet building in Goldenrod City. "He's pretending to be on ShadowNet's side so he can destroy them from the inside. He said he'll contact me when he's ready."

"Ruby's on their side?" someone asked as he came close.

Sapphire looked at him. The boy appeared… a little sick. He had green hair, green eyes, and wore clothes that had a slight shade of green as well. "Um… who are you?"

"I'm Wally. Ruby's friend," the boy said after a cough. "Is he really on their side?"

"Oh, so you're Wally," Sapphire said. "Ruby did talk about you every now and then. And no, he's only pretending to be on their side. If you're his friend, then would you like to come with me when he contacts me?"

"Sure. I'll gladly help if I can."

There was a sudden static in Sapphire's headset. She pressed a button and soon heard Ruby's voice in her ears.

"Sapphire, I think it's time. Wait outside the ShadowNet building and begin your attack once you hear an explosion in 30 minutes."

Sapphire looked at Wallace and Wally. "Ruby says it's time. So we should head for Goldenrod right now."

"Very well then," Wallace said. "Winona, you stay here and focus on recovering. But as always, you're in charge of the other Gym Leaders, so do as you wish."

"Oh yeah, Coach?" Sapphire said as she looked at the Fortree Gym Leader. She took out a Pokéball from her bag and handed it to her. "Here. I think I should return your Altaria now."

Winona took the Pokéball and looked at the Altaria flapping its wings happily at her. She smiled and it and looked at Sapphire with a warm smile. "Thanks Sapphire. And good luck."

Once Sapphire, Wallace, and Wally left for Goldenrod City, all the other Dex Holders entered the Hoenn Pokémon Association blimp and headed back towards Pallet Town. Crystal was immediately taken to the medical unit on the blimp for a series of operations on her shattered leg. While Gold and Emerald waited outside the medical unit, the other Dex Holders tried to get some rest on the way towards Pallet Town.

An hour later, Pallet Town, Kanto, 7 am…

The Hoenn Pokémon Association's blimp landed next to Professor Oak's laboratory and the Dex Holders soon scattered. Crystal was asleep/unconscious in the medical unit, while the volunteering doctors from Hoenn operated on her shattered leg and checked on the dislocated shoulder that had been roughly jammed back into place by certain hell raiser orphans. Gold and Emerald remained rooted outside the medical unit, waiting for the results of the operation.

While Black and White explained to Red what happened since he left for Violet City a while ago, Diamond and Pearl took Platinum to another room. The 'outer' reason was so that the heiress could explain to her two friends what she had gone through in Violet City. The actual reason was so that Diamond could have his second chance in telling Platinum how he felt. The heiress didn't notice anything, as she was still way too glad to see her closest friends again.

As Platinum described her mission in Violet City, Pearl gave her an approving nod while Diamond looked at her with worry. Pearl was quite proud that the heiress single handedly succeeded in such a difficult task while Diamond was relieved that the girl survived but was still worried about her getting hurt.

"I'm really glad you're okay, Lady," Diamond said as he held her hands. "If you got hurt again, I would never forgive myself."

Platinum gave him a bright and warm smile. "Thank you for your concern, Diamond. I really do appreciate it."

Pearl gave Diamond a series of signals with his eyes. Platinum didn't see them, as she was sheepishly looking into Diamond's. Diamond took a deep breath and held it out of sheer nervousness. Platinum looked a little confused as she stared at his face. His face was turning a little red from lack of air…

"Diamond? Is something wrong?"

"N – No," the relaxed Dex Holder said after releasing his held breath. "B – But there is something I really need to tell you."

Platinum observed his expression and appeared a little anxious. "What is it?"

"I… really like you."

The heiress smiled. "I know. You have told me once before. It means a lot to me to know that you appreciate me as much as I appreciate you."

Pearl gave Diamond another eye signal. He then quickly turned away from his two friends so that the two would feel as if they were alone.

"No, what I mean is…" Diamond said even more nervously.

"What?" Platinum asked. She was looking at him quite intently and it made him really nervous.

Diamond gently rubbed her hands and took a nervous gulp. "I… lo-"

"Platinum," Black said as he suddenly barged into the room. "Your father wants to talk to you in private over the picture phone."

"Oh. Thank you," the heiress said. She looked at Diamond with an apologetic expression. "I am sorry, Diamond, but I must go. We will continue our conversation later," she said as she let go of Diamond's hands and rose to her feet. She headed towards the room with the picture phone and closed the door behind her, as her father wanted a private conversation.

Once Platinum left, Pearl smacked a hand on his face. Diamond let out a long sigh. The two instantly glared at their older junior. Black looked back and forth between his two younger seniors, noticing the fiery anger in Pearl's deadly glare and ice-cold rage in Diamond's.

"… What?" Black asked as he took a step backwards. "Did I… interrupt something?"

Meanwhile, Sandgem Town, Sinnoh…

"What are you doing?! Unhand me, you criminals!"

"Quiet, if you know what's good for you and your daughter."

"What? My daughter? What about her? If you want money…"

"We don't want money. We want your daughter's life."

"What? Please do not harm her… I-"

"You shouldn't beg us for your daughter's life. After all, you were the one who took it from her."

"I… do not understand."

"You will shortly."

A few minutes later, Pallet Town, Kanto…

Red, Diamond, Pearl, Black, and White were sitting around a table, discussing future actions. Since Blue was missing and Crystal wasn't in any condition to move, White was in charge of interpreting ShadowNet information and trying to trace any hints to the ShadowNet boss. And so far, the Unova Dex Holder found exactly one piece of information. The small bug Silver planted on one of the ShadowNet grunts was transmitting a signal back and forth between the Lake of Rage and Route 43 in Johto. But with multiple Dex Holders being injured, missing, or scattered here and there, there weren't a lot of options. Green and Yellow have gone to Celadon City to make a broadcast all around Kanto to convince the people to trust them. Gold and Emerald were at the Hoenn Pokémon Association blimp, watching over Crystal. Sapphire had left for Goldenrod City to help Ruby, leaving only a handful of tired Dex Holders in Pallet Town. Red eventually decided to give the rookies a try. They were the only ones who weren't tired at all and never really partook in any mission. He was going to send Black and White over to Route 43 and see what ShadowNet was up to while he tried to do something with that Unown-infected girl that White had brought over. Sure, he had no idea how to use the research equipment in Professor Oak's laboratory, but he could just watch the infected girl's behavior and see if he could detect anything.

Just then, Platinum came back out, having finished the phone call to her father. Diamond looked over at her and realized that she looked absolutely devastated. He quickly ran over to her.

"Lady, what's wrong?" he asked as he held onto her hands.

Platinum didn't answer him and instead, used him to maintain balance. She appeared very unsteady on her feet. She staggered towards Red, who was looking at her with a worried expression.

"Platinum, what happened?" he asked.

"S – Senior," Platinum muttered out. "Do you remember what I said to you earlier today?"

"That you look up to me like a brother?"

"No… the other…"

Red had to think for a second. The other important thing that the girl said to him that day… He soon remembered. Technically, Sapphire started it and Platinum just added to her statement.

"… That you won't be disgraced by death while I still need your help?"

Platinum nodded. "Yes… Please… please tell me that you no longer require my assistance…"

The four other Dex Holders all jumped in surprise. Red and Pearl quickly ran over to her while Diamond was stammering in panic. Black and White both approached their younger senior while thinking of what to say.

"L – Lady, wh – what are you saying?" Diamond stammered out.

Platinum looked into his eyes and he was able to see exactly how troubled she was. She was trembling quite badly and appeared to be on the verge of hyperventilation. She returned her focus on Red.

"Senior… please. Please tell me you no longer need me…"

"No. Platinum, I still need your help, and I always will."

Platinum's lips started to quiver as she looked at her senior rather spitefully. "V – Very well, then…" She broke free from Diamond's practical embrace and glanced at all of the other Dex Holders. "I – I am already a disgrace… There is no possible way I can be disgraced even more…"

Before she finished, she ran towards the kitchen. The other Dex Holders hastily dashed towards her when the girl took out a knife from the kitchen drawer.

"Lady, no!" Diamond yelled in panic as Platinum proceeded to stab herself in the heart.

But luckily for him, and perhaps unfortunately for the girl, the knife didn't touch her, as it was successfully deflected by the RLS system. Platinum clenched her teeth and tried again and again, but the shielding system still deflected the blade. She then tried slowly this time so the sensor would not trigger the shield. Thankfully, Diamond quickly took the knife away from her before the blade could touch her and Red dragged her away from the kitchen.

"Platinum, calm yourself," Red said with a stern expression. He grabbed onto the girl's arms so that she wouldn't be able to do anything. He was careful to avoid putting pressure on her right forearm, due to her injury. "Now tell me what's wrong."

The girl kept her head down but didn't respond. She was trembling even more now as she fought the urge to cry.

"Platinum," White said nicely from the side. "Come on. Tell us what's bothering you. You can't keep these kinds of thoughts to yourself. You have to talk and let it out."

The Sinnoh girl glanced at her once but still refused to say anything. She looked down at the floor and started to sob. As the surrounding Dex Holders tried to calm her down, she eventually couldn't resist and burst into tears. She dropped onto her knees and wailed, to the point where she couldn't breathe. Diamond knelt in front of her and tried to calm her down. Pearl decided to take advantage of this situation and pushed Red, Black, and White away, leaving Diamond all alone with Platinum.

"Pearl, why are we out here?" White asked once she was out of the lab. "Shouldn't we be trying to calm Platinum?"

Pearl shook his head. "No. Right now, Dia's the only one who can calm Miss Lady down. And he's the only one who should try to calm her down. We should just use this time to deal with ShadowNet or something."

"I don't think I can go all the way to Route 43 right now, knowing that Platinum just tried to kill herself," White said.

"What do you think is bothering her that much?" Black asked. "I mean, it had to be pretty big for her to try to kill herself."

White sighed. "No matter what happened, it's still not right for her to kill herself. What about her family and friends? Is she going to kill herself without even explaining why? Doesn't she care about their feelings?"

"We'll let Dia find out what exactly is bothering Miss Lady. He's kind of good at that, really. He's good with emotions and stuff, which is probably why Mesprit picked him during our travels."

Inside the lab, Diamond sat in front of Platinum with a box of soft tissues. The girl showed no signs of calming down anytime soon, however. So instead, Diamond figured the best course of action would be to let her cry all the sorrow out of her system. He shifted his position so he was sitting right beside her. Platinum continued to weep and didn't seem to care about the tears streaming down her cheeks and soaking her scarf. The relaxed Dex Holder took a tissue and tried to wipe away Platinum's tears as they formed. The girl turned away from him, however, so he stopped.

But as Diamond put his arm around Platinum's trembling shoulders, he couldn't help but wonder what happened to her. She even tried to kill herself and was weeping nonstop. Did her father die or something? Was he infected by the Unown virus? But that wouldn't explain why Platinum would consider killing herself. And what did she mean by being a disgrace? Since Platinum wasn't going to talk anytime soon, Diamond tried to piece things together given the hints.

The girl appeared perfectly happy before the private video phone call with her father, and appeared absolutely devastated afterwards. But since she did call her father, it was clear that nothing bad had happened to Sir Berlitz. So she must've been devastated by what her father had said to her. Platinum said that she was a disgrace and tried to kill herself. Given her proud personality, she would only consider such a thing if she felt that she was put to shame beyond reversal. But given her father's personality, there was no way that he would say anything extreme to her…

An hour later, Platinum seems to have finally calmed down enough to care about her scarf getting drenched in tears. She seemed even more unsteady than before as she struggled up to her feet and headed towards the nearest washroom to try to calm down. Diamond cleaned up the tears that got on the floor before he followed Platinum. He waited outside the washroom for the girl to come back out. While waiting, he could hear her continuously sniffling and whimpering. She came back out after 10 minutes, having removed all traces of dried tears on her face.

"Lady… Are you doing okay?" Diamond asked nicely.

Platinum didn't say anything, but shook her head as a reply. Diamond looked into her eyes. She appeared to be very tired, given the dark circles and bloodshot eyes. So he gently led her to the rooms where Blue team slept. Since Blue's room was the only one with a bed, Diamond took Platinum there. His senior was missing, but he was sure that she'd understand if she returned anytime soon.

Platinum sat on the bed and took off her hair clips. Diamond took off her scarf and put it on the small table next to the bed. He was about to take the girl's hat when she simply lied down. She turned her back to him and began to crawl up into a ball. Diamond really wanted to find out what Platinum's father had said to her, but he decided that the girl's comfort was more important and let her sleep. He tucked her in as best as he could and sat on the floor on the opposite side of the room. Since Platinum was very distraught, there was no telling what she might do. And as such, Diamond decided that he was going to have to keep an eye on her at all times. It really pained him to see her so devastated. Even as she was trying to go to sleep, she continuously sniffled and occasionally whimpered.

And although Diamond despised himself for this, he was going to take advantage of Platinum's distress. This was an opportunity for him to stay with the girl and comfort her. And by doing so, she would perhaps begin to love him as well. Even if she doesn't, it was still a nice opportunity to get even closer to her.

1 hour ago, Goldenrod City, Johto, 7 am…

Sapphire waited anxiously on top of a tree that was north of the ShadowNet's HQ. After a short discussion, it was decided that Sapphire would move in from the north, Wally from the south, and Wallace from the east. But because the Hoenn Dex Holder was the only one with a headset for fast communication, Wallace and Wally were going to remain outside the ShadowNet building so that they would be able to escape quickly should the building collapse. Their role was to attack the building from the outside and gain the attention of as many ShadowNet grunts as possible so that Sapphire could easily go inside and assist Ruby without trouble.

Sapphire stared at the ShadowNet building intently, waiting for the explosion that Ruby said was going to occur. She contemplated in contacting Ruby, but decided against it, seeing how that would compromise his cover. But before too long, the explosion did occur. Something exploded in the second floor of the ShadowNet building, blowing out a big chunk of the wall.

Sapphire quickly jumped down from the tree branch and dashed straight towards the ShadowNet building. She could hear lots of fighting from inside the building. Ruby did say that quite a few ShadowNet grunts were going to revolt, so Sapphire assumed that the fighting was between the revolting grunts and ShadowNet loyalists. She tried to open the door in the northern exit, but of course, it was locked. So she gave it a kick and it burst open. The hallway was narrow, so Sapphire didn't send out any Pokémon. She simply ran, using her hearing to follow the source of the fighting from ahead.

As she ran, a door opened from the right and a couple of ShadowNet grunts appeared, each carrying a Spike Cannon weapon. Before they could aim at Sapphire, she rammed into one of them shoulder first and punched the other in the face. She hammered the guy she punched with both hands to knock him out and delivered a kick to the head to the guy she tackled. Once she was sure that no one was conscious, Sapphire continued to run.

Soon, she arrived at a large room that appeared to be some kind of a cafeteria. There were two large groups of ShadowNet grunts fighting each other. Their Pokémon were all fighting each other in a large cluster while the grunts themselves fired their weapons. Sapphire scanned them all but didn't find Ruby. She didn't want to participate in this massive fight, so she simply kicked down the entrance doors to the cafeteria and grabbed onto the handles. Using the doors as shields, Sapphire ran through the center of the cafeteria, blocking incoming Spike Cannon shots and other Pokémon attacks with the two metallic doors.

A ShadowNet Scyther suddenly jumped in her way, swinging its scythes at her. Sapphire blocked the incoming scythe with one door-shield and used the other to swat the Mantis Pokémon away. The Scyther didn't give up so easily and swung both of its scythes at her. Sapphire blocked the incoming attacks, but her door-shield was cut into three pieces. She still held onto the piece with the handle and used it to whack the Mantis Pokémon in the face. While it was dazed, Sapphire dropped the intact door-shield and ran through another doorway.

With the small piece of the door-shield, Sapphire ran down another hallway. She stopped at a fork in the hallway and sniffed around. She could detect Ruby's perfume (that sissy always wore a small amount) from the left, so she took that path. She ran into another group of ShadowNet grunts in that hallway.

The grunts fired their Spike Cannon weapon at her and Sapphire blocked the shots with her door-shield again. She charged straight for them while blocking the oncoming spikes with the door-shield. Once she got close enough, Sapphire threw the door-shield at the nearest ShadowNet grunt. The piece of the door hit the nearest grunt in the stomach, forcing him to double over. Taking that chance, Sapphire used him as a step while running and used the momentum to ram her knee into the second ShadowNet grunt's head. Because of the proximity, the remaining ShadowNet grunts couldn't aim their weapons at the Dex Holder. Sapphire used that to her advantage and knocked down all four ShadowNet grunts.

Before long, Sapphire came across another large cafeteria. This time, she could see Ruby's Swampert and Milotic battling a handful of ShadowNet grunts' Pokémon while the grunts themselves fired their Spike Cannon weapon at a toppled table. Sapphire quickly sent out her Blaziken and Aggron to attack the ShadowNet Pokémon from behind while she charged towards the ShadowNet grunts. She picked up a chair from behind the grunts and used it to knock them out quickly.

"Ruby? You there?" Sapphire asked once the ShadowNet grunts were down.

Ruby soon got out of his cover and straightened his clothes. "Yeah. Thanks for coming, Sapphire."

The two Hoenn Dex Holders gave each other a quick high five.

"Alright. So let's get out of here," Sapphire suggested with a happy smile (not that Ruby could see, thanks to the Unown energy-mask).

"Not yet," Ruby said.

"Huh?"

"There's something we need to take care of."

"What?"

"There is a small section in the middle of this floor that basically supports this entire building," Ruby started. "If you destroy one section with Blast Burn and I destroy another with Hydro Cannon, we can bring this whole building down, effectively destroying all of ShadowNet in Johto."

Sapphire returned her Blaziken and Aggron. "Alright then. Let's go."

Ruby returned his Pokémon and started to run. Sapphire quickly followed. The two Hoenn Dex Holders did their best to avoid as much conflict as possible. It wasn't hard, since the entire building was in turmoil due to a revolt. Within a couple of minutes, Ruby and Sapphire found the main supporting pillars of the whole building. There were two large ones and several smaller ones scattered around.

"Okay, we need to destroy all these at the same time," Ruby said. "Otherwise, we risk having the building collapse on us while we escape."

Sapphire nodded after taking a look around. She got her Blaziken to charge up Blast Burn in front of one of the large pillars and had her Aggron and Donphan prepare to smash their way through two of the smaller pillars. Ruby got his Swampert to charge up Hydro Cannon in front of the other large pillar and had his Milotic and Mightyena prepare to destroy two others.

"Okay. At the count of 3, destroy the pillars," Sapphire ordered.

"One," Ruby started to count.

"Two…" Sapphire counted afterwards. All six Pokémon prepared their attacks…

"Three!" both Hoenn Dex Holders yelled in unison.

In that instant, the Blaziken blasted one pillar with fully powered Blast Burn, Swampert did the same to another pillar with Hydro Cannon. Sapphire's Aggron recklessly charged headfirst into one pillar and her Donphan smashed another with Rollout. Ruby's Milotic destroyed one with fully powered Hydro Pump while his Mightyena destroyed another with Hyper Beam. The moment all six Pokémon destroyed a pillar each, the two Hoenn Dex Holders returned their Pokémon and started to run.

The entire building seemed to shake as the ceiling of the room and thereby the entire building started to collapse. As the two Dex Holders ran, they could hear ShadowNet forces still fighting amongst themselves, providing the two an easy escape. The two ran into one ShadowNet grunt in one hallway, who seemed to be trying to escape as well. The grunt saw the two Dex Holders and quickly reached for his Pokéballs.

Ruby and Sapphire each grabbed the grunt's arm with one hand, moving with perfect symmetry. They both pulled the grunt towards them and punched him with their other hand at the same time. Once the grunt was knocked out by the punch, they both kicked him away before resuming their dash for the exit. They didn't try to blast their way out, as it would make the building collapse even faster.

Within a minute, the two Hoenn Dex Holders successfully escaped the ShadowNet HQ just as it completely collapsed. As it collapsed, something exploded from within, sending both Dex Holders flying in different directions along with pieces of the building's walls and a massive cloud of dust.

Ruby got to his feet first once the dust settled. He did his best to brush away the dirt on his clothes and took a look around. The ShadowNet building was completely destroyed, but he couldn't see Sapphire. He started to worry if she had been lost in that explosion, but it was unnecessary. Before he even took three steps, he spotted Sapphire pushing off a large piece of the wall as she got up to her feet.

"Sapphire, are you okay?" Ruby asked as he walked towards her.

Sapphire didn't bother brushing off the dirt on her clothes as she walked towards him. "Yeah. I'm perfectly fine. How about you?"

"I'm fine too."

The two Hoenn Dex Holders observed the carnage caused by the collapsing ShadowNet HQ and gave each other a high five. Satisfied with their work, the two started to walk away.

"I'm really glad you're back, Ruby," Sapphire said as she stretched her arms.

"Thanks," Ruby said with a chuckle. He looked over at Sapphire and saw that her clothes were just… filthy. They were completely covered in dust… "Sapphire… I think you should wash your clothes."

Sapphire looked at her clothes and shrugged. "Eh, whatever."

"What happened? Why did they get so dirty?"

Sapphire shrugged again. "What can I say? It's been a hell of a day so far."

"When we get back to Pallet Town, I'm washing those clothes," Ruby declared. "So change into something."

"Just let it slide, you sissy," Sapphire said with a sigh. "It's just dirt. It's not going to kill you."

As the two Dex Holders walked (and argued), Sapphire heard something. Something… ripping through the air at high speed, coming closer. She glanced backwards and saw a big spike flying closer. Near the remnants of the ShadowNet HQ was a lone grunt with his Spike Cannon weapon.

The spike was flying towards Ruby, and he didn't seem to notice at all. Sapphire instinctively knew that Ruby didn't have enough time to dodge. There was only one thing she could do…

Sapphire pushed Ruby out of the way, using her entire body so that she would be able to do it quickly. There wasn't enough time for her to dodge as well so she turned to face the oncoming spike and attempted to catch it, using her enhanced strength, speed, and reflexes.

Ruby hit the ground hard and he turned to look at Sapphire, wondering why she suddenly pushed him. He froze when he saw Sapphire trembling on her feet, her hands firmly grasping a big spike from a Spike Cannon… which had stabbed completely through her chest and out through her back. It seemed that Sapphire had caught the spike a little too late…


Hmm… I just realized that White was the one in this chapter with the whole "anti-suicide" line. How ironic, given SL… Ignore this if you haven't read SL. The Favorites and Follow numbers of SL are WAY below SA at the moment, so I don't expect a lot of people to know about it. Of course, this is because SL just started… so… Advertisement!

Current Dex Holder KIA/MIA list: none.

Sapphire's not dead yet, which is why she's not on the KIA/MIA list right now. But the fate of the 5th most favorite character in all of Pokémon Special, and the cause of the most favorite scene of all time (vote results were posted on the official site a long time ago) is set for SA. All you can do is hope that the fate is a good one.