Hello everyone and welcome back for another installment of the Sinnoh arc. I'm finally over halfway done with this arc and this was an interesting one to write. A lot of thought and research went into this chapter and the next and some hard decisions had to be made. The polished work that is waiting ahead of you is thanks to Zarrelion who beta'd this chapter.

With regards to the Poke wars Universe circle of writers, NobodiesHiiro's story: Fool's Paradise, has updated twice in the last few weeks. Give it a look when you've got a chance and leave a review if you can. I personally enjoyed the change in perspective and the writing is excellent and I think you'll enjoy it too.

Noaj T, writer for the Convergence sends his apologies for the lack of updates as his computer has been damaged to where he's been unable to write for the past few months. Luckily he's come into some actual employment and plans to funnel most of his earnings to repairing or replacing his laptop.

With classes out of the way Violet604 plans to get back into working on Victory Road. If you haven't given it a look yet, that's another one I recommend for you to check out and leave a review to share your thoughts. The author would love to hear how you feel about the story and characters.

It's taken a while, but after all the years of writing this series I'm actually coming to the point that I've wanted to get to since I started doing different perspectives of the undampening. The other arcs, including ones from the extended universe, will now be converging into the same stories. Maybe not all at first and maybe not right now, but eventually you'll be seeing a single arc that includes a lot of characters from the other writer's story and my own. If you don't wanna get lost with some of the characters that will be playing active roles in the future arcs, check'em out in the meantime and let your thoughts be known. Don't be afraid, we don't use Bite, we forgot that move ages ago. (We replaced it for Crunch)

Strips of black and purple carapace littered the embankment. The railway and grass were coated in a thick, viscous green film. An arm here, a bobbing piece of head there and several other pieces were decaying beneath the swamp's murky waters. Several shadows converged upon the macabre scene; whatever had killed the Drapion had made sure to eviscerate it with gusto.

The alpha Drapion peered into the distance, following the string of innards that traced the railroad. He turned to face the horde of Drapion behind him, patiently awaiting his next command. The alpha ogre scorp raised his long and spiny arms and rotated the upper half of his body until he faced away from the swarm.

In single fluid motion he brought his claws down on himself, his hardened exoskeleton cracking under the mighty blow. The others in the swarm nodded and began to do the same, turning around and striking at the closest adjacent Drapion once they finished their own strikes.

The grotesque cracking echoed around the dismal swamp as Drapion struck their pressure points with such gusto they shattered their own exoskeletons. The few minutes of power their act of self-mutilation had bought them was enough time to find their prey and kill them. Like a purple breeze they moved through the swamp, leaving the body of their fallen comrade amidst the tufts of dirt and grass that sprayed through the air.

Suffice to say, Paul was actually feeling fairly good about himself. He finally felt in control of his situation and things seemed to finally be going his way. Their defenses were set into place and the Drapion chasing them had yet to appear. Even if they did, there was little chance of them outrunning the train and tipping them over. Additional layers could be applied to their defense before they were completely spent.

That said; the sudden sound of a hundred needles deflecting off their rear barriers had forced him to back away from them. Everyone's hearts seemed to seize at the concerto of pings. Fear froze them in place as the barriers withstood the assault. Paul began to relax; but not too much. He had considered that the barriers may fail, requiring him to dodge the lethal barrage.

Paul's carefully gathered confidence dissolved to the sound of one of the side windows shattering. The Sinnohvian trainer's muscles tensed as he prepared to dodge. He never got the chance. Before his head moved a millimeter, Infi's mechanical arm shot forward and caught the glowing purple projectile meant for his head. Without a word Electivire cast another Light Screen over the opening in their defenses. Torrents of fire flew to the Drapion that attacked them. The Drapion ducked under the river of flames and slowed down, letting the train's own speed turn what was certain to be a direct hit into a miss.

"I…I miscalculated." Paul's eyes widened as he lost his balance and fell to the floor. Infi would've offered him a hand up were it not for another needle flying through the thin metal wall and towards Gary. Lacking the reach, she threw the poisoned needle clutched in her arms towards the speeding projectile. It was a direct hit; upon impact, both lethal needles veered off in a safe direction. Another torrent of flame licked the landscape, missing its intended target once more as it retreated back to the horde.

"How did you…" Gary shook his head in disbelief. He could barely speak from the shock of nearly being skewered by the needle and the utterly superhuman task he had just observed Infi perform.

"Tracked the velocity of incoming needle, calculated its trajectory, determined force needed to cause deviation in safe direction and calculated velocity of own projectile required to impart said force," Infi replied.

"They're not supposed to be this fast," Paul muttered, apparently unimpressed by Infi's superhuman precision.

"Agreed. Even with potential speed and strength boost from limiter removal factored in, their movements exceed known and even estimated parameters. I detect several punctures in their exoskeleton along the spine. Angle of incision and residue from claws suggests the wounds are self-inflicted."

"Acupressure. How could I've been so stupid!?" Paul growled, getting to his feet. He took care to avoid the walls despite the layers of Light Screens that served as armor plate.

"Acupuncture?" Gary asked.

"Acupressure, although it's almost basically the same. It's a pokémon move that Skorupi know before they evolve into Drapion. It gives whoever's struck a large temporary boost to a stat or accuracy if you know where to hit. They must've done it to themselves and each other," Paul replied. His brain seethed as he formulated, analyzed, modified and discarded battle plans, taking this new and dangerous discovery to mind.

The Drapion were upon them without warning. One second the swamp stretched into the distance; the next a purple horde materialized around them. The plethora of smells from the surrounding swamp had hidden their presence from Houndoom. The shattering of glass alerting him that he was too late to stop their initial strike.

The scent of fresh blood being spilt had yet to reach his nose and while that fact provided him some small comfort; the speed with which the Drapion moved did not. A wall of fire rose from the path of his Flamethrower attack, succeeding into forcing one side of the swarm to retreat, but creating an opening for the others to move in.

Umbreon had started placing barriers over the shattered windows and to the rear of the train, lest they become pin cushions in the next few seconds. The unending assault on the rear of the train shattered her barriers just as quickly as she made them. Another column of flames licked the open air, the glow and heat of the flames being the only things to reach the ogre scorp as it cartwheeled out of the way.

Blades of air carved into the marshy landscape, missing their intended targets as they deftly dodged out of their destructive path. The Drapion below had no such problems, though their attacks eventually proved to be equally futile. Poisoned or not, their needles pinged harmlessly off Skarmory's metallic body. After centuries of nesting in thorn bushes, Skarmory gained bodies as hard as the finest steel.

Umbreon could only watch Houndoom continue his attempts at funneling the horde into Skarmory's supposed killzone. Aside from keeping their eroding defenses up there was little Umbreon could do offensively. Most of her moves were physical ones and the ones that weren't would do little against their opponents. The few ranged attacks she had would only miss — if her comrade's attempts were anything to go off of.

As a result, she eyed the swarm's movements, watching them endlessly advance and sneak in an attack before they were forced to retreat. Houndoom's breathing was started to grow more and more ragged with every Flamethrower he unleashed. It wouldn't be long before he ran out of strength to keep up the onslaught going but the Drapion looked no worse for wear.

Taking a chance, he reared his head back, and a roiling sphere of fire appeared in his toothy maw. Skarmory watched the Fire Blast fly from him and into the midst of the tailing horde. The massive cruciform fireball swallowed the slower half of the horde along with several meters of swamp behind them, igniting a surprisingly large brushfire. A weary smile curved along Houndoom's bowed head. Anything that survived the direct blast would be roasted by the brushfire. Any survivors of the two fires would be left with burns that would never heal — courtesy of Houdoom's flames.

A handful of Drapion had ducked and cartwheeled ahead of the attack, keeping up with their uncanny speed. If losing their comrades had affected them in the slightest they did not show it. For good measure, Skarmory threw several volleys of wind blades into inferno for good measure. Umbreon stared at their remaining pursuers, satisfied at the much more manageable number.

"We just might make it out of this okay. We might just win this!" Umbreon thought to herself as one of the Drapion broke rank and fell behind the rest. Its actions were not lost on the dark Eeveelution. She kept her red gaze in on its stationary form as it shrunk into the distance while the rest of its brood advanced.

Its arms were stretched out in from of its face, the claws at the end of each limb linking together at the tips and forming an oval within the gap. The Drapion's tail stabbed into the ground as its head reeled back, keeping its head level with the gap in its claws. It wasn't until it was already too late that Umbreon realized the arms were forming a reticule.

She heard the attack sheath into its target before she saw it. She turned quickly and found Houndoom still standing beside her, his lifeless eyes gazing forward. Tiny beads of blood formed between his brows. A gentle thump was heard as his legs gave way, letting his body slump lifelessly. Dark red blood pooled out the side of his head. Red droplets flew like rain as the rushing wind whipped his blood into the air.

"But…how could...?" Her mind scrambled as she looked back to her barriers, finding cracks already beginning to spiderweb from the point of impact. She could see the pinprick sized indentation in the shimmering walls. A slight jostle from the train proved enough to shatter all three of her layered barriers, leaving an open window for the Drapion.

Umbreon was suddenly thrown back by a massive impact. She gasped and grunted as she tumbled along the length of the carriage's roof. With her heart pounding painfully against her chest and her vision beginning to blur, she struggled to stay awake as she gazed down.

A glowing purple spike was embedded in her fur

Skarmory swooped down on the Drapion sniper only to be knocked her out of the air by one of its companions. The armored bird slammed into the embankment and skidded against the railway. Her iron talons tore through dirt and wood as she fluttered to her feet, knowing she needed to take to the air as soon as she could. The ogre scorp barreled towards her in much the same way she had seen Electabuzz move with his knuckles to the ground.

She gave a single flap and watched the Drapion tackle the empty air where she'd been only a second before. She'd only made it a few meters off the ground when she saw a pair of Drapion no longer chasing the train in the distance. A third Drapion stood a ways away from the duo before closing the distance with alarming speed.

The trio dipped their bodies and rotated back, shifting forward in unison when the blurry figure of the other Drapion made his way over their lowered arms. In a single fluid motion they lifted their brother into the air just as Skarmory felt something hook and drag her back down. She glanced down to find the drapion's tail claw clamped onto her ankle, wriggling towards the earth in hopes to anchor her once more.

With little time to think and plan, Skarmory frantically flapped her wings and shook her leg in vain hopes of dislodging her newest unwanted passenger. Their combined weight was too much and the Drapion sunk his claws into the ground, rotating his upper body to twist her around. The airborne Drapion tackled the iron avian to the ground more, wrapping his thick arms around her neck.

The other two Drapion were at her side in a matter of seconds, each one taking a metallic wing into their claws.

"This one's smells like wunna us," one of the Drapion hissed.

"Ya reckon she tore our scout apart?" another roared.

"Figure she did. You know what I say boys. One good deed deserves another. Let's show her why it ain't nice ta pull otha folks apart!" a third one screeched, his shivering jaws curling into obvious mirth.

"Dibs on the last leg!" howled a fourth one, his claws clicking against her only free limb. Skarmory struggled helplessly against the grasp. Her fears were confirmed when she began to feel them all pulling at her at once.

"No, no, no, no, no, no! Please—noImsorrynople—I—letmeg—noImsorry—it hurts! Pleasdon't—Ahaaaaaaaaah!" Skarmory's pleading was cut short by the sound of her own screams. Her metallic skin whined in protest at first, eventually screaming louder than her own choked voice. Metal-laced muscle and metallic skin were soon stretched to their tensile limits as the Drapion began pulling harder. Soon, the whining of tortured metal was replaced with rapid-fire metallic pings as her skin and muscle began to snap like the strands of an overstretched cable

And then with a metallic snap like a gunshot, metal-reinforced tendons and ligaments gave way as steely bones were torn from their mountings. Blood spewed onto the Drapion as they wrestled the limbs off her body, the crimson spray coating their open mouths and bodies, goading them into pulling with more fervor.

All the while the Drapion that held her head stared down at her. He smiled as he drank in her agony. Her tortured screams never made far past her throat, the arms that choked her allowed her to breathe but locked her in place while the others pulled.

In the burning-white pain that filled her mind she realized why he hadn't joined in on the tug of war with her body, why he hadn't pulled off her head with the rest of her body. They wanted her to live through this for as long as she could. In the voiceless pain that blanketed her thoughts, only one managed to pierce the hazy cloud: please let me die.

"Infi, how long can you keep this up?" Newton murmured as the metallic appendages whirled around him, looking more like grey fans than spindly metal arms. A pile of the lethal purple needles was scattered around his feet. Several more were scattered throughout the carriage. The darts that she caught were used to knock other oncoming projectiles out of the way. The ones that couldn't be caught were simply swatted out of the air.

"Not long," Infi replied. "Moving at this speed drains your backpack's internal battery. Without direct sunlight to recharge it, I won't be able to keep up this much speed for much longer."

"Newton, we need Shieldon out now!" Paul yelled from around Gary's Nidoking, his thick and powerful arms now wrapped protectively around the trainer and his master while the needles pinged harmlessly off his thick purple hide.

"Okay!" Newton yelled back, fishing through his cargo pants for the sphere and casting it between them. The shield pokémon appeared from the flash of light and was greeted to a small salvo of needles from all sides. Shieldon made no move to dodge, not that he needed to, considering the attacks deflected off his body without so much as leaving a scratch.

The entire carriage rattled as the ceiling groaned; something heavy had boarded them and there was little mystery as to what it was. Electivire surged forward, barreling through his own Light Screens where the door had once been and swinging himself onto the rooftop.

"Damn it! What does he think he's doing!?" Paul hissed and shook his head. "Infi, calculate where the Drapion's head would be and have Shieldon aim a Flash Cannon attack there. Make it count! We might only get one shot!"

"On it," she replied. Electrons surged through her processor cores as she devoted one of the few cores not occupied with point-defense to calculate Drapion's location.

Umbreon watched the remainder of her barriers shatter when the Drapion slammed through them; the carriage's roof sank beneath his weight. Two other Drapion darted in and out of her darkening vision. The sounds of punctured metal and exploding glass marking their every disappearance from her view. The ogre scorp's hulking shadow drew her attention back to the here and now.

His beady black eyes flitted back and forth between Houndoom's body and her own. There was a glint of wicked amusement that was almost palpable as it stood there. Umbreon's eyes were slivers of crimson as she lay there and pretended to be dead. Having silently decided on his next course of action, the Drapion began to move with newfound purpose and out of Umbreon's line of sight.

Adjusting her head even slightly would've given her away. She was fortunate enough that the occasional jostle from the carriage masked her carefully concealed intakes of breath. All that was left was to do was to wait and hope Houndoom had been picked over her. The thought left a bitter taste in her mouth. But as bad as she felt for thanking the Drapion for desecrating his body — and buying her a few more seconds alive; her desire to live outweighed that guilt. Comrade or not, Umbreon's experiences with Houndoom had been few and far in between. While his sudden passing had certainly shocked her, his death had not overcome her with grief.

Given time — if her body could combat the poison surging through her veins — there could still be a chance for her to fight another day. That shining prospect was growing dimmer and dimmer for every second she fought to keep her eyes open. Her body was no stranger to poison, glands on her skin oozed toxins as a secondary line of defense for when her luminescent rings failed. A dark thought entered her mind as she waited, straining to hear the Drapion's movements and get a feel for his next action.

Even if her body could break down the toxin, then what? She was outclassed in nearly every way. Even if she was in tip-top fighting shape, what could she do against a pokémon of that size and power? Her vaunted speed and evasion had done little to help her dodge the earlier attack; her physical strength would hardly put a dent in their bulky defenses.

"Where's Electivire? Don't they know we're still up here? Are they using us as bait? No! Gary would never do that. But that other man…I only listened to him because I felt it would keep Gary alive. Is this all part of the plan? Will he live if I die here and now?" Other morbid thoughts flitted through her mind.

A large thud dragged her back to reality; her spirit instantly plummeted as she feared that another Drapion had joined the first one on the carriage's rooftop.

"Shit! Umbreon! Please tell you're still alive."

"Electivire!" Umbreon's previous doubts dissipated with the sound of the thunderbolt pokémon's voice.

"She's fine." The Drapion chuckled, hoisting Houndoom's limp body by the scruff of his neck between his claws.

"Let him go!" Electivire growled, assuming a battle stance and awaiting the Drapion's next move.

"What for? He's already dead." Houndoom's body was shaken in the air for emphasis, droplets of blood taking to the air as the carriage raced down the rails. As if to further prove his point he opened his mouth and unleashed a salvo of spikes into Houndoom's corpse.

"We mean you no harm. Just let us leave." The thunderbolt Pokémon spoke through gritted teeth.

"Harm's already been done, buddy!" the ogre scorp replied with far too much jocularity for someone who had just defiled a corpse by using it as a pincushion. To further add to the insult, he gently shook Houndoom's body like some grotesque piñata.

"How about this…no one else needs to die today," Electivire growled. A storm of lightning raged within his crimson eyes.

"Just back off with your buddies and let us leave. Enough blood has been spilt today. We're sorry for the losses your side sustained but you killed one of ours first. We're willing to let that go. So please, be reasonable.

"Surely you have a mate and your own young to look after? We can go our separate ways and live. Or we can keep fighting. No one will make it out of here alive if we go that route. I can promise you that." A sliver of lightning slithered from one of Electivire's hairs to the next as he finished his ultimatum. His gaze did not waver nor did his stance had not shift.

The Drapion's smile was slowly swallowed for something more stoic, his eyes flitting back and forth between the surrounding lagoon and the apparent electric type. Houndoom's body was lowered; the other two Drapion were now trailing steadily behind the carriage, but had stopped taking potshots at them.

"Well when you put it like tha—"

A column of glittering silver fury tore through the carriage's roof and shredded through the drapion's skull. Severed from the head, the arms hit the rooftop with a dull thud and rolled off its surface and into the swamp. The rest of the body toppled back and fell over, shifting gradually towards the carriage's edge and leaving a trail of fluid that spurted occasionally from the shredded stump. Seconds passed before Electivire registered what happened, the other two drapion sharing in the moment of confusion.

"No. No! I told him—I promised him he could…No. No!" Electivire thundered. A tiny part of him marveled at the fact that he was actually mourning the death of his master's attacker. His arm was outstretched as what was left of the Drapion's body slid off the carriage's edge. Confusion quickly gave way to seething rage; the remaining ogre scorps were no longer in the mood to play with their prey. With practiced ease they jabbed each other with their claws before bolting forward in a blur of movement, flanking the carriage from both sides.

"Take the one on the left! I'll handle the other one!" Umbreon ordered, earning a startled stare from the thunderbeast.

"Umbreon, you—"

"I was playing dead. There's no time. Move it!" she barked, already on all fours and darting to intercept the other Drapion. The screeching of rent steel reached his ears and spurred him into action. Umbreon's target Drapion leapt into the air, dodging another torrent of silver that tore through the carriage's wall but shredded through its back stinger. The dark Eeveelution saw her chance and fired a Shadow Ball, only to watch it get torn apart between the Drapion's slashing claws.

She chanced a peek behind her. All she saw was Electivire dangling from the roof with his twin tails. Beyond that, all she saw was a maelstrom of yellow fists and purple claws. She would get no help from him; she would need to handle the Drapion on her own. Not keeping an eye on the Drapion proved almost fatal when she glanced back at her opponent and found a claw mere inches from her face. She ducked and rolled, her own momentum coupled with the wind and slick surface nearly taking her off the edge of the carriage.

The ogre scorp landed, sinking its claw into the ceiling and carving through the metal like it was paper. Its body swiveled around, ripping off a wide strip of the carriage's ceiling and casting it to the wind. Umbreon pounced, the only weapon left in her arsenal being her teeth. If she couldn't stop it; at least she could draw its attention and annoy it until someone else came to help her.

The Drapion's black and beady eye caught a glimpse of her in the midst of its turn and saw fit to surprise her further when he continued to rotate and faced her completely. One second she was staring at the Drapion and its blurry right arm, the next second the world became one of movement and color while the Drapion spun back into place, hurling her into the carriage.

Pain suddenly entered the equation, arcs of hot lightning lanced throughout her back and rendered her vision white. Blue spots began to peek through the white blanket of pain. As more of her vision cleared she realized she was staring up at the sky from inside the carriage.

"Umbreon!" Gary's voice called out to her from beyond her range of sight, her focus busied with the dark figure eclipsing her view of the heavens above. She knew she needed to move. To crawl. To roll. To do something before the Drapion landed on her, but her body was too paralyzed with pain. Darkness descended upon her until crimson light bled into her vision and the world was gone.

The ogre scorp's landing made the entire carriage rattle; Gary quickly pocketed the pokéball that now held his wounded Umbreon as Nidoking shoved Paul and him back. The carriage was now divided in two. One side held Newton, Infi, Shieldon and Eugene, while the other had Paul, Gary, and Nidoking. Electivire and the other Drapion had taken their fight back the carriage's roof, their roars and screeches serving as the soundtrack to their battle and giving no clue as to how the battle was fairing.

"It's a wonder they haven't knocked the carriage off its tracks. It's not they can't pull it o—" Paul cut his own sentence short as his eyes widened upon striking a horrible realization. The past few minutes brightened in newfound and horrifying clarity. "They haven't done it not because they haven't considered it! They don't want to! They wanted a chase, a moving target, a challenge. They could've killed us a while back! But that's not as fun as watching us cower and scramble for some illusion of safety! All my planning and knowledge, all that preparation, what was it even for!?" He stared through window, its glass long shattered and into the dismal swamp.

The bulky two-fingered arms emerged from the backpack as Infi calculated her chances of victory — with Newton unharmed — if she engaged the Drapion with the arms. Her calculations were complete — and they foretold an undesirable outcome. Had she still worn the avatar from the Megarig, a scowl would have adorned its face.

The Drapion's exoskeleton would provide no resistance for a set of arms capable of rending steel. But they were too far to reach the ogre scorp. And getting closer was not an option lest it become aware of their existence.

Infi retracted the powerful manipulators. At close range, Infi could use her heavy manipulators to maim or even kill the Drapion, but her lighter, more nimble arms couldn't be deployed at that range. Without them — and the heavy manipulators were far too slow for such a purpose — she could no longer parry the Drapion's projectile attacks. One lucky shot at Newton and he was dead. Shieldon's attacks would take too long to unleash and with no way to tell how many Acupressures had been done on its body, anything was possible.

"Which wunna ya bastards blasted my buddy up there!?" the Drapion snarled, swiveling gradually in place. "Was it you?" He turned to face the purple drill pokémon, thinking him the most likely out of the group.

"Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. What're you going to do about it!? You're outnumbered!" Nidoking rumbled back, shifting slightly to block Gary from his view. The action wasn't lost on the Drapion and a smile formed on his face, one that Nidoking immediately felt uncomfortable with.

The ogre scorp lunged forwards, claws raised into the air as he sped towards Nidoking. The drill pokémon braced himself, confident that the claws would not pierce his hide or affect him with their shared element. It wasn't until the Drapion was nearly on top of him that Nidoking realized he was never the intended target. Those behind him were.

Nidoking moved quickly, shifting his weight as he spun in place and threw a vicious roundhouse kick into his opponent's midsection just as a single needle threatened to leave his purple maw. Warm air and spittle washed over Nidoking's face, the Drapion's eyes now wide as the air was knocked out of his lungs and a sickening crack filled the room. Nidoking worked quickly, having no guarantee that the Drapion would stay down after that blow.

The drill pokémon kept turning, feeling the floor beneath him beginning to give out while he reeled his leg back, letting the momentum fuel a second blow from his tail.

With an even more massive impact, Nidoking's tail slammed into the ogre scorp's side. Newton watched the Drapion fly into the wall. He found himself surprised to see the Drapion still in one piece upon impact. A surprising feat, considering that Nidoking could snap a telephone pole in two with almost no effort.

Despite the Drapion's continued integrity, the same could not be said for the wall that bowed outwards. With an earsplitting screech, the wall ripped free, taking a hefty section of the carriage with it. The ravaged train compartment rocked chaotically, threatening to derail or shake out the rest of its passengers. Electivire swung down from the top, scanning the war-torn interior, his golden fur splattered with splotches of green fluids, marks of his apparent victory.

"You took care of yours too?" Nidoking asked.

"Thanks to your assist," Electivire replied.

"Wasn't intentional."

"Regardless, thanks to whatever you di—" The thunderbeast's eyes suddenly widened, his gaze carrying over Nidoking's purple shoulder. The sounds of ragged breathing reached Nidoking's ears. Once he turned, the sight leeched the heat from his blood and the air in his lungs.

Gary gripped his trembling left arm at just above the elbow. Protruding from his hand was a glowing purple needle.

His skin began to blacken around the wound as the venom rapidly killed his flesh. Screams fled from his lips as he frantically jumped from face to face around the room. Newton's face offered nothing but horror. Paul's shocked expression held no remedies for him. In the yawning silence Nidoking felt himself get shoved aside, Gary's body now eclipsed by the thunderbeast's bulk.

"Help me!" Gary cried, the spreading death now consuming his wrist.

Large and trembling hands floated over the infected flesh. As powerful as they were, they could not undo the damage that was being done. What did it matter if Electivire could burn down an entire landscape with a simple motion? Holding the reins of nature's greatest forces was utterly useless if it couldn't save the fleeting life in front of him.

He chanced a glance at Nidoking, still frozen to the spot where from where he had been shoved. If Electivire was so afraid of doing more harm to Gary with just his sheer strength, how tortured must Nidoking have been from where he was? Poison was his element. And now it was killing the one they served. Anything he did could potentially worsen the situation, leaving him to stand paralyzed and stare speechlessly.

Electivire stared back at Gary's arm as he frantically searched for some solution to spreading necrosis. In those few seconds, the corruption had now taken half of his forearm. All of his life's obstacles had been solved through either one or a combination of his speed, strength and lightning. Speed appeared to be his only ally. But not in the physical sense through which he prided himself in, but in the mental one.

Thoughts rampaged through his brain as he tried to come up with something.

"Shit, it's got half his arm!

"Dammit. Fuck! I need to stop it. But how? How!? How?!"

He took a deep breath to calm himself.

"No. No! Stop. Stop! Stop! Calm down!

"I can't lose him! Not now, not after everything we've been through!

"What can I do!?

"Why is this happening? Why him?

"He wasn't supposed to—what if I shock only his arm?

Burn out the poison from the heat. Could I stop it from spreading to the rest of him?

"No, that's stupid! I could kill him.

"He's gonna die anyway if I do nothing.

"I've never—but I've gotta—I could kill him faste—No, he'd lose the arm from the dama—"

It was then Electivire's frantic thoughts came to fruition. "Lose the arm. Lose the arm. The arm… I…"

Electivire backed away and watched Gary's gaze lift to meet his own. All he saw were hopeless and pitiful windows to the trainer's soul. Did he think the step back meant he was being abandoned; that nothing more could be done for him? Did he think this was the end for him? Did he rage at his fate or was it muted by the deafening focus of his arm that was now his entire world.

"I could save him.

"Am I saving him?

"His life, if he lives.

"If he lives. Will he have a life after this? What kind of life would that be? Am I only delaying the inevitable?

"Will I have to do this again? Will he hate me for this? Would it be kinder to let it end here?

"I…I don't know. I can't know. This is the best I can do. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry Gary."

The thunderbeast's eyes shimmered, his right hand wrapping around the brunette's pale bicep. He jerked his body around, aiming the dying hand towards the end of the carriage. Gary's eyes widened as he realized what was going to occur. It was too much for him to take; he went limp. At that exact moment, a Light Screen appeared, with Gary and Electivire on one side and the rest of Gary's arm on the other.

The rotting arm had yet to even hit the ground when Infi's spindly hands flew to Eugene and ripped the shirt from him. Her heavy arms slammed into the ground, leaving two deep dents on the steel floor as she launched Newton forward. A dull thud from Gary's arm briefly intruded on the droning clatter from the tracks that permeated the room.

Newton landed and slid until he was beside the thunderbeast who held up Gary's unconscious body with his other hand. The arm that held Infi's eye swung into view of the open wound, the purple glow of the light screen in her way dimmed until it died completely. A quick scan revealed that no poison had made it to the other side of the arm; Electivire's quick thinking and precision had probably saved the boy's life. Gary's earlier vice grip on his arm probably helped lessen the damage by slowing the venom's progress.

Infi moved quickly, wrapping a torn strip of Eugene's shirt as a makeshift tourniquet around what was left of the youth's limb. Once her hands were free they swiped at Electivire's fur, freeing golden clumps of hair that collected onto what was left of Eugene's shirt and eventually pressed against the bleeding stump.

In theory the tourniquet and hair would slow the blood flow until they could be sewed shut. The hard part was keeping the wound from getting infected until Gary could get some kind of attention. Seeing as they were in the middle of swamp, Infi did not like the odds. That percentage dropped to into the negative range when a chorus of roars ripped apart whatever sense of stability they had frantically scrounged together.

"It can't…we…for fuck's sake!" Newton's cry degenerated into a roar. Infi had never known her maker to curse but even she couldn't help but do the same. Albeit silently. The Drapion wasted no time in slamming against the train and the carriage simultaneously, lifting it off the track. Nidoking practically threw himself into Paul and wrapped him in his embrace as the carriage began to teeter at dangerous angles.

Infi returned Shieldon with Newton's pokéball as she began to calculate how they would land and the best way to mitigate the damage sustained from the impact. Electivire swept Gary into his arms, bracing himself for the roll that would come. With no one left to help him, Eugene wrapped himself around the only standing pole that had survived the onslaught.

The Drapion watched with malicious glee as their target rolled off its tracks and tumbled into the swamp. Part of the alpha wanted to give the order to bombard the derelict carriage with their Poison Stings and Pin Missiles and finish them off; they had lost far too many on what was supposed to be a simple hunt. But the other half of him wanted something to crawl out of the metal husk; something they could slowly tear to pieces and extract every ounce of pain and suffering.

The latter half of that mind was winning and was quickly rewarded with the sight of a hulking purple figure making its way out of the wreckage. As one, the Drapion calmly and casually drew closer to their beaten prey. They could take their time now, gutting their entertainment like they had with the carriage.

"Not one…of you fuckers…is gonna get… past me!" Nidoking growled. The Drapion swarm chuckled amongst themselves.

"Well lookie here boys, we gots ourselves a hero. Let's show him what we do to heroes!" The alpha cackled darkly.

A wave of fists simultaneously slammed into the alpha's side, caving in his exoskeleton with spurts of green oozing from the cracks. The other Drapion paused to stare at the black and blue blurs that had crushed half of their leader's body; the confusion rendering the other blurs converging on them practically invisible. Nidoking could only watch in morbid fascination as the Drapion were decimated before his eyes within a matter of seconds, hoping that whatever was slaughtering their pursuers would not turn a hungry eye towards them.

Next, Chapter 7: Swamped.