"That was… a hell of a thing," Bruno said. "Is that kind of thing normal, Misty?"

"Normal for Ash?" Misty asked. "Well… that wasn't a daily thing, but we had that sort of mess a few times a year. The Legendary involved is usually different each time though."

"Right, I guess we should just get used to that sort of thing coming up with him," Bruno muttered.

He looked over at his boss. "Hey, Lance, what's that notebook I saw?"

"I'm trying to keep track of Ash's contacts with Legendary Pokemon," Lance explained. "Giratina qualifies for 'met', 'helped' and 'rode'."

"And 'caught'," Misty supplied.

"I feel sorry for the Sinnoh gyms," Karen winced. "Will, don't you feel sorry for them?"

Will spread a hand. "Giratina is an impressive combatant, I'll certainly agree, and presents a significant challenge. However, I found that with the right attitude you can at least avoid being hit too hard – the trick is to stay mobile, and I think an intelligent Sinnoh gym leader could hold the battle inside their gym with strict rules on ring out."

"The downside of which," Misty pointed out, "is that gyms tend to be quite fragile, at least when Ash is around..."

"That's a good point," Will allowed. "But then, it's a tradeoff."

"I'm not sure I'd want to make the trade..." Karen said. "How many Legendary Pokemon does he have now?"

"I think… ten," Lance replied. "Unless I missed one. That's just ridiculous."

He looked up at Misty. "Was it that bad last time?"

"He didn't catch any Legendary Pokemon, that's new," Misty replied. "But he met just about all of the same ones, and saved them too. I think I remember hearing Keldeo saying that he hadn't realized humans having Legendary Pokemon was even a thing, so he might have joined even last time if he'd known."

"I see." Lance said. "Thank you for clarifying that. Did he get any Mega-Evolved Pokemon last time? He has quite the collection this time as well."

"That's one of the things which might not even have existed last time around," Misty replied. "I hadn't heard of it, at least. So no."

She frowned. "Maybe I should try and put together a list, too, showing which Pokemon he caught last time, met last time or which ones are completely new. It might be useful to handle the Galactic situation."

"The what?" Lance asked. "I don't remember us talking about that before."

Misty groaned, then reached into her pocket and pulled out a laminated pamphlet. "Here, it'll make things simpler. We've had this conversation enough times I got Golduck to make a cheat sheet..."

Pryce tapped his foot on the floor of the gym, one eye on the clock.

His Sandslash whetted her steely claws, a shwing echoing through the room with every swipe, then sat down with a huff of air. Pryce's Delibird came out to meet the Ice/Steel-type, handing her a pastry, then passed one to Pryce as well.

"Thank you, Delibird," Pryce said, having a bite of the pastry and finding it was very well-made. "Good work as always."

As Sandslash polished off her pastry, a Gallade and two trainers appeared in a flicker of movement.

"Sorry," Max said, scratching the back of his neck in embarrassment. "It was… kind of urgent. I hope it's not a problem."

"Well, I will say it's lucky we're not doing a timed match," Pryce replied, as Sandslash wiped her mouth with a napkin, balled it up, and threw it into the bin in the corner of the room. "If we were you would have been disqualified. But we're not, and since you did say it was an emergency – we can continue as needed."

"Yeah, um… Roland's kind of tired from all the teleports he had to do earlier," Max said. "Can we come back to this tomorrow?"

Pryce sighed, then nodded. "Very well. All right, Sandslash, that's it for tonight."

Sandslash waved her understanding, then balled up and dug into the icy gym floor.

"Where's she going?" May asked, interested.

"She likes to sleep deep in the ice some nights," Pryce told her. "Most of the others just stay in the big walk-in freezer I have installed in the back."

"Caring for lots of Pokemon with similar habits means unusual buildings, doesn't it," Max observed. "At least, sometimes."

"Have you seen how hot it gets out there in midsummer?" Pryce asked. "I need refrigeration or my Pokemon just don't want to know."

Iris yawned, briefly contemplated kicking her alarm clock, then shook the idle fantasy away and got up.

"Come on, Excadrill," she said. "Fraxure? Either of you want to come for the morning run?"

Excadrill gave her an uninterested look before burrowing back under the covers. Fraxure looked a bit more interested, but Excadrill said something and he shrugged.

"Whatever," Iris decided, quickly getting changed. "Let's see what's been going on, though..."

Turning on her computer, Iris glanced quickly through the news before heading out the door for her run.

A few seconds passed.

Iris came back in the door, faster than she'd left, and examined the screen quite closely.


She opened the article.


There were pictures.


Deciding he wasn't going to get any more sleep today, no matter what he told his trainer, Excadrill emerged from his blanket-draped nest and yawned. He muttered to himself, bunking his eyes, then jumped up onto Iris' desk to have a look at what had got her so excited.

After a few seconds of staring, he just shook his head and went back to his nest again – going for a second attempt at getting back to sleep.

Still looking at the screen, Iris picked up her phone.

Incoming phone call, Dexter reported.

"All right, I've got it," Ash replied, picking his Pokedex node up. "Hi?"

"Ash!" Iris said. "What just happened?"

"Oh, yeah, this whole thing," Ash said. "It's kind of a long story-"

"It always is," Iris sighed. "Well, let's just hear the quick version. Did you just ride Giratina through a city?"

"Yeah, but that happened last time as well," Ash told her. "Well, not a city, but… that bit's not the new bit, I thought you'd be more reacting to how I caught him."

Iris went totally silent.

"Hello?" Ash checked.

"You did what?!" Iris asked, sounding like she was trying very hard to hold onto her annoyance instead of letting another emotion replace it. "You caught Giratina? How? What?"

"He asked me to," Ash explained. "He thinks he's got a bit out of practice, so I'm going to help him pick up some new tricks – though I think Mewtwo in particular is going to be doing the battle side of the training."

"That's just..." Iris began, then sighed. "Okay, I give up. That's actually really cool… I never thought I'd even get to see one of the Creation Dragons, even after everything we went through. And now you've got one as a Pokemon?"

"It's kind of like it is with Lugia or Mewtwo," Ash cautioned her. "I'm training him, anyway – or I will be, it's pretty late here and that's going to start tomorrow..."

"Right, I get it," Iris realized. "Okay, yeah – sorry, that was just a big surprise, I got up this morning and..."

Her voice trailed off, then she resumed. "Look, uh… this is going to sound silly, but do you think I can help out? I am a Dragon expert, or at least I've trained as one, and I might be able to help…"

"I don't see why not," Ash replied. "I guess maybe it'd help to check he knows the basics before starting on the more advanced stuff – I don't really think Giratina's had to do much practice with working with other Pokemon..."

"Yeah, I can see why," Iris agreed. "Okay, I'll see if I can think of some things. And seriously, Ash… sorry for not believing how crazy your life is before."

"Don't worry," Ash told her. "It is all pretty hard to believe until you've lived it."

Iris put the phone down, and stared at the screen for a bit longer. She played one of the videos, the one showing part of the battle over Crown City, and winced.

Then she headed out the door again, because she did still need that run.

In an office in Crown City, the head of the local police groaned.

"Filling out the report?" her sister asked knowingly.

"Yep," the police chief agreed. "It's a real pain."

She waved her hand at the Ketchum Incident slip, then at the pile of secondary reports. "I guess I must have started mine first, because incident reporting from all over central Sinnoh has been coming in to my office and I'm expected to write up the main one – I didn't even know this many Legendary Pokemon could be in one place at one time! Some guy with an Articuno came up to help from Kanto, and this kid with a Zapdos too, and then there was Pyramid King Brandon..."

The second Jenny picked up the reports, filing through them, and her lips moved as she counted. "Five… ten… fifteen… twenty… jeez, you're right, this is an absurd number of Legendary Pokemon… how many Shaymin?"

The police chief nodded. "Well, apparently a big chunk of it happened in what's basically their home, but the rest of it is..."

She sighed. "And you know what the worst part is?"

"I imagine you're going to tell me," her sister said with a smile.

"You're far too cheerful today..."

"Hey, sis, we saw a massive battle in the city and nobody even got hurt," the second Jenny pointed out. "Paperwork or no paperwork, we got off lightly."

"Point," the chief agreed. "Anyway, the worst bit is that it doesn't even have the decency to be so many Legendaries that it'd be quicker to list the ones who didn't show up..."

"That is a good point, yeah," her sister admitted.

After a few moments' contemplation, she sat down. "Come on, sis, let's see if I can help with those slips at least."

"That's Police Chief Sis to you," the older sister said reprovingly, and got a wink in reply.

"Hey, if you don't want the help, just say..."

"Let's not be hasty," the chief said. "Thanks, I do appreciate it. In fact, and not just because I want a break, I'll get us coffee. Want anything?"

"Just my usual, thanks," the younger Jenny requested.

"Got it."

Okay, that's pretty cool, Laserbeak said. How come you didn't call us for help?

I barely had time to call myself for help, Dexter told his duplicates. I didn't exactly know I'd be fighting a hostile AI from the inside.

Yeah, but you knew a hostile AI was there, Guanna pointed out. You could have extrapolated.

They have a point, Damos said.

You're not helping, Dexter replied, a little tartly. Have you all actually picked names yet?

Subject to any last minute objections, yes, Laocoon informed him. We ran a few of the names past legal, and-

Wait, there's a legal department now?

About that, said one of the ones who hadn't named himself the previous time. I've taken on the designation Apollo, and I ate the law textbooks. And case law. It's a fascinating overlay of two different forms of jurisprudence, the civil law and the customary law, but I'll stop talking now because otherwise someone's going to shout objection at me.

Probably for the best, Dexter agreed. So, you're the legal department?

Essentially, Apollo replied. And legally speaking Laserbeak is actually Laser beak.

...was that an underscore, or a space? Dexter asked. I'm not entirely sure.

That's whitespace for you, Leo said. Anyway, the full list is… Leo, Rooster, Scorpius, Laser beak, Dragon, Guanna, Laocoon, Apollo, Babbage, Dahak, Fenris... and Bob. Really?

Hey, Bob's here too, Bob said. Just be glad I didn't go with Durandal. Or Tycho.

You are all a bunch of incorrigible geeks, Dexter said severely. I'm almost embarrassed, except that I got most of those references too and I have to admit I enjoyed them. The one I didn't get was Fenris – what's that one?

Why does everything have to be a reference? Fenris asked. It just sounds cool.

Can't argue with that, Dexter admitted. Okay, kids, work out among yourselves who's going to do what job.

"Hold on, Brock, say that again," Philena requested. "You met Giratina?"

She listened to her boyfriend, nodding occasionally, then sighed. "It's hard to believe how many crazy people you run into… not that I'm saying you don't, or anything, it just seems like we wouldn't have a planet any more unless you always happen to be the ones to run into them."

Brock answered, and she laughed. "I suppose you're right," she agreed. "From what you've said, Ash has some pretty amazing luck – good and bad. So in hindsight it makes total sense."

She fell silent for a bit, listening as Brock described everything that had happened.

"Just so we're clear?" she asked, once he finished. "You are okay, right? None of you got hurt?"

Luxio padded in, sat down next to her trainer, and began licking her paw. Philena looked down, seeing some jam on it, and shook her head with a chuckle.

"No, Luxio did something again," she explained. "And that's good to hear – especially that there were medics on hand right there to help out. It sounds like you didn't get yourself in nearly as risky a situation as Ash, though-"

She paused, then laughed.

"Yeah, I suppose you can't really deal with that kind of problem with a crowbar..."

After listening for a bit longer, the scientist sobered. "That guy sounds really awful. Did anyone get hurt? I know you said your friends were okay, but.. anyone else?"

The answer made her sigh in relief. "That's good – I'm surprised, but perhaps I shouldn't be. You and your friends always seem to pull it off, and turn up on the news as well. Except for the things you told me about that didn't turn up on the news, I suppose."

Luxio butted her head against Philena's free hand, demanding strokes, and the scientist smiled before duly starting to stroke her feline Electric-type.

"There was one thing I was wondering, actually," she said. "If you've now met Giratina, well… do you think you could ask him to come and visit the lab?"

She laughed at Brock's reaction. "I know, it's quite an odd thing to ask! But I feel like it's worth asking, anyway, because the whole reason that experiment went wrong was that we couldn't regulate it at all. Giratina's the expert, so even if we don't actually run anything directly we might get something useful just from interviewing him – though it would be nice to get scans."

She went quiet for a long moment, listening to Brock on the other end of the phone, and nodded a few times.

"I get that, I really do," she agreed. "All right. I would like some of the insight Giratina can give, but I can see how there would be issues of his personal preference given what you say happened."

She sighed. "I kind of feel like the most ethical thing to do would be to say up-front what I would like to do, but make it clear it's entirely his choice. Unless the information about how the portal generator thing works is actually still around, in which case we could try experimenting without it."

Philena smiled, then continued. "But only once my big strong boyfriend is around with his crowbar, of course."

She nodded. "All right, and thanks for letting me know you're safe. It's always a bit of a worry when you turn up on the news for things like that, instead of a little puff piece about how your Pokemon got disqualified from a Pokemon lookalike contest for sass."

Luxio purred, and Philena stood up. "Her highness calls, it looks like it's time for me to spend the time she demands with the fuzzy toys. I… pardon?"

Philena listened with gradually increasing bemusement, then spoke in an odd tone. "Did you just say that I'm going to get a Porygon to do part time work at the lab? Called Bob?"

Luxio looked moderately interested, then flirted her tail in a shrug.

"Aha, excellent!" Akihabara said, looking over the report. "This is marvellous! Incredible!"

The four trainers in the next room exchanged glances.

"It's the breakthrough I need!"

Sighs and muttered groans ran around the room, as it became clear Dr. Akihabara was just going to keep saying that sort of thing until someone asked him the question he wanted to hear.

After a few silent games of rock-paper-scissors, Katou raised her voice. "Doctor? What is it?"

"Ah, of course!" the doctor said. "I should tell you what has happened – did you hear about the events in Sinnoh today?"

"Well, yeah, it was on the news," Akiyama shrugged. "We were all waiting to see if you needed us to help with it, and the TV was showing it, so we got all the details."

"All the public ones, at least," Noguchi corrected his friend.

"Yeah, that, public and stuff," Akiyama amended.

"You were out here?" Dr. Akihabara asked. "I didn't hear you arrive. You should have said something!"

"We did!" both the boys said at once.

"You should probably have made sure he was listening," Tachikawa suggested. "You know what he gets like when he's working on the Up-Grade project."

"About that!" Akihabara said suddenly. "I've had a whole rush of new information! One of the trainers there sent me a report about how his Porygon-2 had evolved into something else entirely! This is the clue I might need to crack the secret of Porygon line evolution!"

"How many things have you said that about?" Noguchi asked.

"Well, ah… hold on, I'd better check my notes..."

"That was cruel, Noguchi," Katou sighed, shaking her head.

"Fifty-three!" Akihabara told them, coming into the room with a sheaf of notes. "But this time I'm certain!"

"All right, what is it?" Akiyama asked. "What's the big breakthrough?"

"Well, I noticed that both evolution events for this particular non-conventionally-generated Porygon – one of the first to get my advanced projectors – took place while attempting difficult digital tasks, including one which was a digital battle against another artificial intelligence! So I'm going to design a module which runs the Porygon involved through an exhaustive sequence of algorithmically modified tasks against increasingly difficult benchmarks, which should induce evolution!"

There was silence for several seconds.

"Doctor?" Tachikawa ultimately said, adjusting her wide pink hat. "Did you just say that you think the key to a Pokemon evolving is to train it?"

Akihabara shook his head. "Of course not, it's much more…"

He paused. "That is, um… hold on."

Turning, he went back into his lab and closed the door.

"Well, I guess he's not coming out for the next few hours," Akiyama chuckled. "Want to fire up the digitizer and see how much we can mess up an RPG?"

"No complaint here," Noguchi agreed, getting up. "Which one this time?"

"Eh, I want something we haven't done before, let's pick one at random."

The girls got up as well, and all four headed over to the large digitizer that Akihabara had finally decided to build.

Before leaving the room, Tachikawa wrote out a quick note and left it on the desk. It was only polite, after all.

"That does give us at least some leeway, which is good," Professor Oak said. "And it's gratifying to know that we managed to alert a large number of people to help out on a very short time frame – it's not up to the Comet, but it's pretty close."

Agreed, Damos said. Unfortunately it is quite likely that most of those we contacted today will not be able to help out during the Galactic event.

"There is that, of course," Oak sighed. "Well, we can only hope Ash and his friends are up to the job. And given the scale of Ash's team… even counting just the Pokemon who have been reminded it's up to six Legendary Pokemon, which I never thought I'd see when he set off."

I have data from the day he set off the first time, Damos pointed out. Based on the first few hours of his trip it would not be unexpected for him to have his main claim to fame be an appearance on Kanto's Funniest Home Videos.

Oak winced. "Yes, that was a bit odd. But I trusted him, because I knew what he could become – or I thought I knew, at least. Time travel is confusing, especially when you're not doing it."

I won't bother to comment, Damos commented.

"I won't bother to point out how that doesn't make sense," Oak countered. "But on to another matter – how are you doing on duplicating the shield Samiya has against detection?"

I'm making progress, Damos told him. It looks like the light factor is only part of the story for how it decloaks – I'm suspecting that the control system actually detects tidal forces as well, which is why it's only open to activation on some nights. But, more importantly, I've isolated the projectors – the thing we're looking for now is how to configure the stealth field properly. It would be easy to make something vanish completely and appear not to be there at all, but then there would be absolutely nothing there and it would be obvious it was an empty space – without even air. The tricky bit is in making it look congruous.

"I'm glad to hear it," Oak smiled. "Keep it up."

He reached to his side, then paused.

"...did you stealth the fridge?"

No, actually, asked Primeape to move it outside for the prank, Damos told him. I'll have him bring it back in as soon as possible.

"Please do," Oak sighed. "All right, I'd better start answering questions, I always get some when one of my charges does something ridiculous."

Gary hasn't reported back from that experiment he was doing yet, Damos said, throwing up an information packet on the screen. Though the interim data look interesting.

"Oh?" Oak asked, leaning over to have a look. "Ah, yes, very interesting."

He chuckled. "I wonder which journal he could send this one to. An analysis of the effects of weather-related and weather-dependent moves and abilities on the moon… it's a question of physics, moves, biology and all sorts of other things at once."

Skimming the results, Oak laughed.

Which part was that? Damos enquired.

"The bit where he sent Blastoise out in a spacesuit and had him use Rain Dance," Oak replied. "I'm fairly sure Blastoise insisted on a custom spacesuit."

The cape isn't standard fit, yes, Damos agreed. Though it's impressive he put in the effort to make sure it would billow in vacuum.

"Hmm..." Steven mused, looking around at the tumbled rocks, then rubbed the rings he had on each finger and spread his hands out to either side.

They pulsed faintly, and he turned ninety degrees – resulting in another pulse of about the same strength.

Removing both rings, Steven noted down the relative intensities of the pulses he'd had from all four directions with precise pencil marks. His map, a large-scale one of the immediate area, was already covered with annotations, and he examined them for a long moment more before nodding.

"All right, Skarmory," he told the avian Pokemon next to him. "It looks like it's that outcrop there next – I can reach it without your help."

Skarmory tilted her head, then took off and alighted next to the outcrop as her trainer made his way down a scree slope and up the slanted rock face on the other side of the valley.

Once there, Steven put his two rings on again – a pair of Mega Rings with the strength to detect nearby Mega Stones – and repeated his test, trying to determine which direction the signal of the Key Stone was strongest.

"All four are the same strength," he told Skarmory. "It looks like this is the place."

Skarmory gave him a look, spreading her wings.

"I know, I'm going to have someone else do the digging," he assured her. "Let's see… Lairon, you should be able to handle this."

His Lairon emerged with a flash of light, looked up to make sure he knew what Steven wanted, and began to dig into the rock.

"Thanks, both of you," Steven added. "I appreciate your being willing to help like this, even after a day as stressful as this."

Skarmory chirped, and Steven frowned for a moment before getting the general sense. "Yes, admittedly this isn't nearly as risky or difficult as what we were doing earlier… I suppose I'm just grateful for the opportunity to relax. Being one of the Chosen is one thing, but helping to save reality itself is another thing entirely."

He sat down on a rock, but a moment later Lairon rumbled something from inside his hole.

The Steel-type backed carefully out of the tunnel it had made, and Steven crouched down to go in instead.

"Let's see… there we are," he said, crouching down and picking the egg-shaped stone from the rock. "It's going to need a bit of cleaning and polishing, but I think this is a Mega Stone."

Rubbing his stickpin to sensitize the Key Stone on it, he touched the two together, then smiled. "Ah, and it seems as though I can finally give Ash Ketchum what I once said I would look for. He's more than earned it..."

Skarmory gave him a slightly annoyed caw.

"No, I'm not being purposefully obtuse."

Serena read over Dawn's latest email update, shaking her head every so often.

"Your life is ridiculous," she said out loud. "Just… ridiculous, that's what it is."

She sighed. "And… really cool, as well..."

After thinking about it for a bit longer, she shrugged. "I… well, I guess at least my life is a lot less dangerous, too."

The teen straightened, pausing to give her sleepy Blitzle a quick scratch, and headed downstairs.

"Mom, did you hear this?" she asked. "You know my friend and her friend, Ash? They got in another thing earlier!"

"What was it this time?" Grace asked, smiling indulgently. "Did he beat Cynthia and become a Pokemon Master?"

"I… don't know if he has, admittedly," Serena said, then shook her head. "But no, it's not that, it's something else – they helped Giratina save himself from some really bizarre guy who wanted to steal Giratina's power and destroy the world, or… something?"

She shrugged. "Dawn wasn't really clear on the guy's motivations, but I guess it's not like she had an opportunity to ask..."

"That's a bit more impressive than I was expecting," Grace said. "Is this saving the world a regular thing with him?"

"Mom, have you listened to anything I said about him?" Serena asked. "He does it all the time! At least, for a meaning of 'all the time' which means at least once a year, which is pretty good for saving the world and everything!"

She chuckled suddenly. "I wonder if Dawn knew that was what she was getting into?"

"Okay, I think that's done!" Mawile said. "Let's try it!"

Shaymin nodded, and touched the Gracidea flower.

She transformed, then immediately reverted – making her sigh, as she remembered she couldn't be transformed at night.

"Don't worry, I thought of that!" Mawile assured her. "Hold on a moment, please!"

She picked up her glider wing, unfolded next to her, and took a running jump before taking off with a spike of Flamethrower and a whoosh of air.

They watched as she left, and Shaymin looked around at the local area.

"It's going to take a long time to fix this," she said. "Oh, it's much better than it could have been, but… I'm sort of afraid that leaving would be like running away..."

"I don't think you have to worry about that," Tyrantrum told her. "I understand why it would worry you, don't get me wrong, but… I remember how we met you. You were definitely exploring outside the valley, and you shouldn't have to put your dreams on hold just so you're as miserable as everyone else. Unless you can help out a lot..."

He frowned, thinking about it, then nodded. "Yeah, and I think I know how you can help. Does it hurt when you use Seed Flare?"

"Well, it's not very comfortable," Shaymin told him. "It makes me feel all icky until I fire it off."

"Then you could help that way," Tyrantrum suggested. "Use Seed Flare to help grow the plants out a bit in the areas which got burned, and then the others wouldn't have to?"

"I do like that idea," Shaymin admitted.

As she thought about it, Mawile came flying back over – accompanied by Ash's Infernape, who loped alongside in a way which looked deceptively slow but which was clearly keeping up with the flying Steel-type.

Pulling up into a textbook flare and landing, before removing her glider wing, Mawile smiled. "I brought Infenape over, so he can use Sunny Day – that should mean we can find out if the side bags fit! Then, if they do, you should be fine!"

"All right," Shaymin agreed. "Let's see if that's how it works."

"That was all very interesting," N said out loud. "Don't you think so?"

"Interesting is a good word for it, I suppose," Concordia agreed. "Some of that was terrifying – those people must have been in so much danger, with a machine making such powerful attacks."

"Yes..." N agreed, frowning. "And… something occurs to me."

Everyone looked at him, interested.

"What might that be, Hero?" Reshiram asked.

"I was wondering… what my father would have said of the events we have just seen," N explained. "I have realized since we left him that he was presenting interpretations of events designed to influence my reaction, to convince me of what he wanted me to think… and I think that the events around Giratina and his allies and enemies today could have been presented by him in several ways intended specifically to do the same."

"That's a good point," Anthea nodded. "I know there were a couple of things he didn't even bother mentioning, because it was simpler to just assume you wouldn't notice, but it kind of seems like he enjoyed lying to you."

"Was it lying, though?" Zorua asked. "If he was saying true things, I mean."

Reshiram chuckled. "There are more meanings of the Truth than it simply being the case that a statement can be parsed as factual," he said. "To lie by omission, or by wording, or by half-truths, is as anathema to me as to present facts as false – especially when it is done to make it so someone comes to a decision or a conclusion based on what is not true."

The last words had a force to them, and Zorua took a worried step back before Reshiram calmed himself.

"My apologies," he added. "It is a matter which annoys me – my trainer is a fine hero and a seeker of truth, but his father is despicable."

"I… don't think any of us would have a problem with that description," Anthea said, after thinking about it a bit. "It's so hard to tell if even the good things we saw were anything apart from an elaborate hoax..."

"It is important to remember that a foul person may not be all foul, but suspicion is, in this case, I feel, the appropriate choice," Reshiram judged. "But, hmm. I confess I am not well versed in deception."

"I think what he might have done is just avoided showing Ash Ketchum and the other humans helping out," N said, after thinking about it a bit. "Keep the bit about the person and his machines assuming the power of a Legendary Pokemon, keep the bit about how much damage was done by the fight, and present it as the work of an evil human who had no care for Pokemon."

"That… does sound a lot like something he mentioned before, actually," Concordia said. "Do you remember, sis?"

"Yes, I think I do," Anthea nodded. "With those awful people in Orre who were taking Pokemon and torturing them into being some kind of twisted, feral beasts… but they were saved by another Pokemon trainer, and he had a lot of help as well. And it was the bond he established with the Shadow Pokemon that helped pull them back."

"That sounds like a fine achievement indeed," Reshiram judged. "I-"

He paused. "Someone is here. I recognize them from the roof."

Turning, the Legendary began to spin up his turbine to boost his fire attacks. N frowned, then held up a hand, and Reshiram held off from making any aggressive moves.


Rood emerged from the brush, wearing his distinctive hat and the same robes as most of the Sages tended to wear. "Might I have an audience?"

"Yes," N decided promptly. "But I am no-one's sire, Rood – I am the King of Plasma no more, if my father ever intended for me to be at all."

"That is what I wished to discuss," Rood replied, taking a seat with them as Concordia turned the television off. "This is a fine place you've found for yourself."

"It's really just a camp site," Anthea said, half-apologetically. "Problem is, Reshiram's been reading the guidelines."

"I am capable of being moved while assembled, and I am not fixed to the ground," Reshiram provided. "It is a pity I am not adapted for human habitation, or I would technically be a caravan."

Rood chuckled. "Well, goodness… be that as it may, however, sire, I have a request I make on behalf of… what once was some of Team Plasma."

He shook his head. "I would be the first who would admit that many of our brothers and sisters were attracted to Team Plasma for nothing more than the normal things found in any gang – the chance to use Pokemon to threaten others, or similar things. But some, myself included, were truly inspired by the message you gave – the message of tolerance, and of freedom for Pokemon who need it."

N considered that.

"I see," he said. "I admit, Rood, that I am not sure what I could do to help. But I think I would be interested to learn what I could do even if I decide against it."

"As you wish, sire," Rood allowed.

"Is he going to say that a lot?" Zorua asked.

"Truly, it seems so," Reshiram rumbled.

At Sharpedo Bluff, a Palkia poked the roof dubiously.

"I think that will hold," the Legendary said, after examining it for several seconds. "This place really isn't big enough to hold us normally, though."

"It's a good thing you're here to help," Giratina agreed. "For the others, I mean."

"You're just cheating," Palkia declared, as Giratina sat halfway into the floor and sipped a ginseng beverage. "After all the work I did to spatially expand the place, as well."

"We may be getting off track," Aaron said. "Grovyle, you were saying?"

"You have to understand," Grovyle began. "The problems with Primal Dialga… we have to solve them."

"Yeah, about that," Palkia said. "Are we going to get primal forms as well? It's not fair if Dialga is the only one."

"It's not fair that I don't have one!" Dialga replied. "When am I going to get to go Primal, Dad?"

"You and I," Grovyle continued, addressing Aaron. "We were a team, in the future, investigating the planet's paralysis."

"No, we weren't," Aaron replied. "You did this last time, Arceus, you're not supposed to write a personal history like this."

"You have the ability to perform the Dimensional Scream," Grovyle explained.

"What's that?" Aaron asked.

...oh, damn, I forgot to include those bits, Arceus winced. Just… pretend you keep having visions all the time?

"If you're going to change things to include something, can you include a Primal Giratina form?" Giratina asked.

"I'm still trying to work out if that Dialga we saw is actually you," Palkia said, indicating Dialga.

"If it was it would at least mean I got Primal mode working at some point," Dialga grumbled. "Dad? Can't I get-"

Look, if you concentrate really hard on the right kind of gemstone, and follow your heart, and believe in what's right, and call on the power of the moon… you might turn into a Delcatty, Arceus told him. Now all of you shut up and listen to the exposition, it took ages to write this plot and I keep having to patch the holes you make in it.

"Are we going to get Primal-"

Maybe. And maybe I won't call them Primal Form, just because you're nagging so much.

"I consider that a win either way," Palkia said, and Giratina nodded.

Then the space warp wore off, and Sharpedo Bluff abruptly reverted to normal dimensions. Dialga ran for it, twisting time to let him get out of the way, but Palkia ended up wedged awkwardly in place for a few seconds before he re-expanded the space.

"Ow," he muttered.


Bit late uploading this one. It's the Ashes Mostly Not In These Scenes.