Pokemon Adventures: Hunt of the Plates

Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon Adventures/Special.

Well, here we are, the last chapter of Arc 2. Like forewarned I'll be going into a minimum 100-day-long hiatus, so I'll have to beg for your patience yet again... Arc 3 is where everything comes into light, so almost all the questions formed in this arc will have to wait until they're all solved there. So bear with be again...

Began writing on July 1st, 2012. Drafting paused.

Chapter 32. Vs. Dialga: End of the Hunt

- Viridian Forest -

There had been two instances when Ruby had felt the most helpless in his life.

The first was almost a decade ago, when he was blankly staring at the young Sapphire backing away from him in terror. The realization that he'd just shattered the purity in her heart, and that nothing he could do could change that fact, was enough to make him forget even the blood pouring out from his injured head into his eye.

The second was five years ago, after his worst and largest fight with Sapphire by far. The hurt received from all her rage and insults, and the knowledge that she was completely justified to do so made him feel pathetic and miserable, destroyed a part of him that he failed to recover for quite some time.

Now he was having the third and the worst moment of enervation, as he could do nothing but sit there and watch Sapphire die - and hate himself for it.

"Please, please just a little more..." His moaning plead was meant for many - to himself, to Sapph, and to Ruru and Mimi, who were struggling to heal her as best as they could. Drained as she was, Ruru couldn't heal her inner injuries in fear of hurting her even more.

Why was fate doing this to him?

A crash of Energy Thunder exploded from somewhere not so far, causing the rest of his and Sapphire's Pokemon to tense up their guard. Already they've been exposed to one bolt of energy, which Zuzu had thankfully managed to deflect.

"Yellow-senpai, Red-senpai, please make it fast..." prayed Ruby, feeling each of Sapph's labored breathing add to his burden. If they're to be too late...

"They won't be coming, Wind-Soarer."

"What?" Exclaimed Ruby as he leaped to his feet, only to feel his blood freeze in horror as he saw the massive Titan that appeared out of nowhere and towered over him and his Pokemon.

It was Palkia.

At once the young Dex Holders' Pokemon leaped into action: Toro launched herself straight at the Spatial Pokemon, while Mimi let loose a powerful Hydro Pump from Ruby's side.

"Spatial Warp: Refraction," muttered Palkia, flicking one finger sideways. Immediately the Hydro Pump swayed following, striking a surprised Toro straight in the side and throwing her straight into a tree dazed.

"Get away from her!" Ruby yelled, quickly barring the Titan from Sapphire's body with their Pokemon, creating a living barrier between deity and Dex Holder.

"That won't do any good," pointed out Palkia with a roll of her eyes. "My vision sees through all dimensions. Even now I can clearly see every bone, every organ inside your friend's body - and half of them are broken."

"No thanks to your lot!" Snapped Ruby, even as hear swallowed his heart; HALF her bones were broken?

"Harming you was the last thing on our minds," admitted Palkia, and to Ruby's surprise she bowed her head in genuine apology. "I can say nothing on this part but to beg you pardon. But it's important to both of us that this child survives, and I can assure that of her."

"You... Will you heal her?" Gasped Ruby, disbelief mixing with desperate hope. Would she, technically an enemy, truly do it for them?

"By the Highest Power I swear: I won't let her die," stated Palkia as she raised her palm, observing Sapphire's body more carefully. "But by heavens, it was close. One brush from Regirock can cause this... half the ribs, left thigh, right arm, one knee and both shoulders dislocated, even her pelvis... and internal damage to the organs..." (#1)

Ruby shut his eyes, feeling another groan building up inside. He didn't want this, didn't want to hear how terribly she'd been wounded in his absense. If only he'd been stronger, if only he'd come more quickly... He could finally understand the pain Sapph had went though all those years ago, the feeling that her weakness had hurt him.

"I suggest you hold her still," put in Palkia as she spread out her fingers wide. "What I do is piecing the broken organs together so that they'd heal naturally, and it'll feel as if she'd being eaten alive by little knives. If she thrashes too much her bones might end up bursting her skin."

Ruby approached Sapphire carefully, wondering how he was supposed to hold her without touching her injuries - or suffering a mental breakdown himself. Unfortunately, Palkia refused to wait for him to find out.

"Sptial Warp: Shift!" Declared the Titan, bending one finger inward as if casually pushing a chess piece across the board.


"AAAAAAAHHHHHH!" Sapphire suddenly screamed, convulsing madly on the floor as her eyes snapped open and her right shoulder hitched up with an audible click. Before the terrible sound could subside another snap came, this time from the left.

"Sapphire!" Cried Ruby as he knelt down beside her in alarm, but now Palkia was picking up speed. As if playing with strings her fingers danced across each other in the air, and each on of those movements were accompanied by the sound of the young girl's bones being snapped into place.

"It hurts! It hurts!" Wailed Sapphire, her eyes wide, unfocused and overflowing with tears that made Ruby feel even more helpless. What could he do, when she had to suffer so much to be healed?

"I've got most of her limbs, so I suggest you hold her now," muttered Palkia, pausing her hands briefly. "I need to get on with the more vital parts, and it's gonna hurt like there's no tomorrow."

Then, after spreading out all her fingers wide, the Spatial Pokemon clenched her fist tightly enough to shatter a rock -


"AH - " Sapphire's scream hitched and broke, and her back arched as if she'd been electrocuted - her pelvis had found its place.

"Sapph, it's okay!" Ruby yelled, wrapping his arm around her back and pulling her up into a tight embrace. "It's fine, it's fine, you'll be okay! I'm here, I won't let you down this time! I'll be here for you!"

Sapphire continued to hiccup and scream and weep, but Ruby could tell that she heard him (or at least vaguely heard his voice) from the way she pressed herself desperately against him. They were so close together that Ruby could literally feel Sapph's fractured ribs moving inside her flesh.

"Hang on a bit there; you're holding out well," commented Palkia as she readied two of her fingers in a tweaking position. "Now just this small part of her spine - there!"

"Oh!" Sapphire gasped, suddenly stiffening against Ruby. The young boy quickly pulled her off in horror, thinking that something had gone wrong. Instead he found Sapphire's eyes slowly closing in exhaustion, letting out a relieved sigh - the sign that the pain was gone - as she leaned back into him asleep.

"No doubt she'll recover on her own in time," said Palkia as she drew back her arm with a satified look. "But I'm afraid I don't have time to wait for that. Even now our Enemy continues to gather his forces. The sooner I take you to the Hall, the better."

Ruby kept Sapphire in his arms as he looked up at the Titan, unsure of what to think. How could he refuse when Sapph owned her life to her? It wasn't as if they had the option to say no anyway.

"Since you probably won't tell us why you're doing this, let me ask you just one thing," he said, unable to stop the bitterness seeping into his voice. "You said Yellow-senpai won't be able to come. What have you done to her and Red-senpai?"

"Haven't I told you that we don't want you harmed?" Palkia asked back with crossed arms. "Before I take you I'll answer that: I just know who went to fetch them, and they'll be wishing it was anyone BUT him."

- Saffron Gym -

"Vee, use Shadow Ball!" Red commanded smoothly, letting the Espeon launch a powerful orb of shadow energy at Carr's Steelix. The Iron Snake Pokemon, exhausted as he was, had no chance against the attack as it smote him on the head, and promptly collapsed in defeat.

"Damnit! Steelix, return!" Cursed Carr, angrily recalling his Pokemon while whipping out another Pokemon with his left hand.

"Oh, no you don't," sneered Sabrina as she abruptly Teleported behind him, quickly pinning the Rocket Executive down with her psychic powers. "Not so fast - you've got a long talk to share with me first." (#2)

"Won't envy you, Sabrina," chuckled Red as his and Yellow's Pokemon gathered around their Trainers, having made quick work of the Rocket Grunts. "Good luck with him. Maybe you'll see what kinda asshole he is even quicker than I did."

"As if I haven't already - " Sabrina suddenly broke her speech, her eyes suddenly widening in horror. At first Red thought it was all the Team Rocket grunts surrounding them, but he remembered that they were all disarmed by Yellow and their Pokemon.

Which could only mean that she'd forseen something that terrifed her.

"Run, both of you!" She cried in a shrill voice, quickly Teleporting out of the place and taking Carr with her in an instant.

"Huh? Hey! What - "

"Time Warp: Superaccelerate!"

A not-so-unfamiliar mental voice slammed into Red's brain, at the same moment all the Rocket grunts suddenly froze in place, disintegrating into dust before his and Yellow's horrified eyes.

Their lifespan had been sped up so fast, they've lived their entire lifetime plus more in less than half a second.

"What was that for, Dialga?" Shouted Red in outrageas he turned back, using one arm to shield a trembling Yellow from the Titan that had appeared just behind them. "You didn't have to kill them all!"

"You betray you ignorance of our Enemy, Fiery One," sneered Dialga, kicking away the bits of dust that used to be the black-suited men. "I cannot kill something that was never alive. Most of these 'mortals' that you've fought are nothing but puppets, a crude mockery of Arceus' creation."

"Riddles again?" Grumbled Red as his and Yellows' Pokemon joined them in an offensive formation. "You know, Dialga, you owe us a lot of explanation, starting with why you suddenly turned on us! Don't you have better things to do?"

"Please, can't you tell us why you're doing this?" Pleaded Yellow, and Red felt a weird pang in his heart as he saw her eyes watering. "This isn't right! We shouldn't be fighting among ourselves, not when there's a greater enemy to face."

For awhile they stood like that, as Red and Yellow tensely waiting for Dialga's response. Even tenser were their Pokemon, clustered tightly around their Trainers just in case.

"As hot-blooded and warm-hearted as everyone remember, I see," muttered the Titan eventually, and Red blinked in surprise as he even cracked a small smirk. "Very good - that nobility tells me that I haven't made a mistake. You're the ones we need - except that the universe needs you more. Pity, pity..."

"What does that have to do with kidnapping us?" Asked Red, feeling that it was about time he defogged some mystery from the whole situation.

"Everything!" Declared Dialga hotly, his crimson eyes flashing. "It is of utmost importance that you all be brought to the Hall. This is not a matter of suggestion. I WILL take you there, no matter the circumstances!"

"But - "

"Why do you insist on resisting us?" The Temporal Pokemon pressed on, cutting off Yellow's protest mercilessly. "It is understandable that our assault has offended you, but do you not trust us to do the right thing, to know what must be done that you don't? You know that we must do this to protect the world you live in. Isn't that good enough for you?"

"This isn't about us being offended - it isn't even about us being hurt!" Red exploded, unable to hold in the words any longer. "This is about trust, Dialga! Why can't you see that?"

He heard Yellow gasp behind him and saw all their Pokemon stiffen, but couldn't stop himself. Dialga's words made him feel as if a certain part of what he was has been challenged, and he was ready to defend it.

"Continue," grunted the said Titan, narrowing his eyes with an unreadable expression.

"Thanks," said Red, feeling the need for at least a little courtesy. Then with a stronger voice he continued: "It's been nine years since the first Dex Holders - me included - came to know your kind. Since then many of us made contact with you and fought side-by-side as comrades, no matter the differences in power or values. No matter what happens that memory will never die, forming a bond that connects us in many ways."

"And you know what? I was really glad when I found that out. It shows that you trusted us to be worth fighting alongside you, just as much as we trusted your strength and knowledge. It's just like the bond between human and Pokemon: a relationship based on trust, which develops into loyalty and friendship."

"So when you suddenly attacked us with no apparant reason, I was shocked - and after that I felt betrayed. Not just because you turned your back on us, but because you didn't trust us enough to listen to you willingly. You thought you had to force us into submission, so either you doubted us or you expected us to doubt you. What happened to the trust that kept us allied, Dialga? Things shouldn't be this way..." (#3)

Red let his words trail away, feeling a little awkward at having spoken so much. Glancing back at Yellow for a feedback, he felt even more embarassed to see that she and their Pokemon all looked touched.

"... Well spoken, mortal," Dialga's rumble made Red look back at the Temporal Pokemon, who looked grim and serious after hearing his little speech. "True to your origin, you and your friends are as noble as all our credits deserve. Even I feel almost sorry that this must be done."

Almost. Which meant he'd still do it anyway.

"I know we well deserve your resentment - and even hate, if you possess any. But I say this in our defense: you don't understand our status as protectors," continued Dialga slowly, letting every thought seep into Red and Yellow thoroughly. "You have the luxury of following your heart. We do not. If a terrible and disgusting deed must be done to perform our duty, then without question it must be done. And one more thing - "

As he said this the Titan suddenly lowered his stance, fangs bared and backplate partly unfurled in obvious hostility. At once the Pokemon reacted, preparing to launch their quickest attacks at him before he could unleash his.

Not a very good strategy when facing a deity of time itself.

"No, wait!" Yellow cried hurriedly, but -

"Time Warp: Lock!"

At once the Pokemon all froze, some of them in a charging position (like Poli and Dody) or even midair (like Aero and Kitty). It was as if someone had paused their video - or in this case, time.

"I respect and honor your passion and purity, but I fear I must defeat it today," rumbled Dialga as Red and Yellow turned their dismayed eyes on him. "So I tell you this now: you have reached the limit. You are all great among mortals, but there is a realm no mortal can hope to reach, no matter how much talent or effort is deployed. Yet, there are few who do dwell in that realm... that would be your definition of a deity."

"You and your comrades know us better than any mortal, so you would know who we are. We are the most fundamental order of the universe, and also the force to keep it stable. Time, space, death, energy... can you imagine existence without it? Would you be so folly as to challenge it? Choose wisely, for by defying us... you defy the rest of the universe."

Red looked into Dialga's burning eyes, then at his petrified Pokemon, then finally the look of hopelessness in Yellow's shimmering eyes.

They could only be brave when only each of their life was at stake.

- Hall of Origin, Circle of Life -

"I'll show that scum next time," snarled Giratina to himself, cursing the aches all over his body as his feet touched down on his pillar with a loud slam. Looking left to Kyurem's place the Renegade Pokemon noticed that Reshiram and Zekrom looked even gloomier and more downcast than their brother in front of them - as if he couldn't guess why.

The battle in the Distortion World hadn't gone bad, as he and Kyurem had succeeded in annhilating most of the chaoslings from the site. Of course doing so cost both Titans a lot of minor injuries, but those were ones he'd take gladly any day over seeing his realm ruined.

Raising his head to scan throughout the circle of pillars, Giratina was surprised to note that most of the deities were already present - the only ones absent were Dialga and Palkia, along with the never-present Mew.

But when he looked more closely, none of them exactly looked good; most of them were depressed-looking, no surprise there, but there were other things. Darkrai looked as if he'd let Regigigas slug him around for half an hour. Below him Uxie looked half out of her mind from stress and tears, with Mesprit and Azelf the only things keeping her sanity intact. Reshiram had claw marks and burns all over her, and she and Rayquaza were awkwardly avoiding eye contact with each other.

"Well, well, it looks like it's been a messy operation," commented Giratina with a click of his tongue, inducing an annoyed growl from Groudon. "Hm, no matter. So is it done, then? Do I have a good reason not to fly back to my realm?"

"We'll find out when Dialga and Palkia arrives," replied Rayquaza coldly, crossing his arms contemplatingly. "This has all been for nothing unless ALL of them are brought here... so we'd best pray that they do not sway."

"Oh, you only wish."

Giratina heard Dialga's sneer before he saw him, entering the Cirlce through the portal gate rather than straight onto his pillar. Palkia was a few steps behind him, muttering to herself in displeasure.

"Our first task is done," stated the Temporal Pokemon as he leaped up to his pillar beneath the Empty Seat, scanning the gathered deities with a sweep of his blazing eyes. "The Hunt is over."

"And that's a load off our shoulders, now that we've prevented the Enemy from finding them first," added Palkia as she took her place on the other side, leaving Giratina between his siblings.

"Indeed," growled Dialga as he bowed his head - he looked rather tired, an expression he rarely displayed. "What must be done... must be done. We will give them time to settle down. But after that... it's about time we recover our Mother's relics. By the name of the Highest Power, we shall not make their sacrifices go in vain!"

In a place where nothing material can exist...

Sleeping, sleeping...

Sleeping since the youth of the universe...

Sleeping, but listening... sensing...

Heartbeats... sixteen heartbeats...

So close, so close...

A pair of crimson eyes shifted...

So close, so close...

To the place where she sleeps...

Soon, soon...

"My children..."

Well, there it is, the final chapter of Arc 2. Makes me feel a bit hollow now that it's actually done, but then again there's plenty more to come. Just... not now.

#1. I'm pretty sure no normal human can survive from this kind of injury... I guess Sapph isn't that normal after all.

#2. I sort of recall how loyal Sabrina was (and still is, I'd like to believe) to Giovanni, so to her the guy who betrayed him would look like a total bastard. Go get him! XD

#3. It's been a while since I wrote one of those long speeches that N, Reshiram and Zekrom were so fond of! Though it seemed a little off the Red would be the one to make one...

scizorstrike, let us see if it indeed is the truth, early on in Arc 3.

MewbladeXxX, N probably doesn't have a PokeDex in the manga (the pain it gave me to get him one in my plot!), but White recently received one from Bianca after hers was fixed. Thank you! Though it's not about vacation but academic stuff...

kinglugia, we'll see, we'll see...

FrozenDawns, thanks for the compliment! As for your questions, well... maybe. The main plot is already set, but some points may be altered to adjust to newly revealed changes in the game or the manga. For example, I've decided to included White's new teammates from the manga into the story starting from Arc 3, namely Jessica (Deerling/Sawsbuck), Dorothy (Stunfisk), Nancy (Alomomola), Yunibo (Solosis/Duosion), and Barbara (Vullaby/Mandibuzz). Also I'm giving her other Pokemon nicknames, starting with Jason (Samurott), Freddie (Gigalith) and Vanessa (Unfezant).

G.F.T.W, let's hope. I'm a sucker for happy endings, if that'll serve as an assurance... but I'm still being careful not to spoil.

ZXCVBNMEM, I bet there'd be tens of theories out there. Within four months we'll be seeing which one is right... or more than one.

ti-quan-doe... awesome. I was secretly wondering if anyone would catch those little snippets. As I've said before, there's a reason why my fic should be read thoroughly; every little sentence may have implications! XD

Namine Rose25, so you've noticed? The new Pokemon were sort of an alert sign for that purpose, so I'm glad you saw through it. But I'm afraid you're still free to wonder what it implies until we progress into Arc 3!

Um, whoever the guest was, it's for academic purposes. Speaking no more on that point... that's why I upload so seldom, but since I've already drafted all the way up to Arc 3 it usually takes about a day to upload one chapter. Answer enough?

sonofthetrigod, gawd, I forgot to check that one. I was so sure Registeel was capable of it... my mistake on this part. Thanks for pointing it out.

Points to take notice of in this chapter:

1. Well, that settles it. Palkia heals Sapphire through telekinesis (sort of), literally patching up her broken bones together without even using painkillers. Ouch... And THEN she kidnaps her and Ruby (...)

2. Red defeats the jackass Carr and Sabrina captures him (good riddance), but she quickly flees with him just before Dialga arrives and turns all the grunts into dust. Mind what he said when Red protested about it; it may serve as a clue.

3. Dialga proves himself a master of threatening! Red and Yellow are the last to be brought to the Hall. Yep, that's the end of it. The Hunt is indeed over...

4. Remember what Giratina said by 'that scum' and 'chaoslings'. Their identity will be revealed in Arc 3 as well.

Wow, that was a lot of reviews. I guess just a month of hiatus does that. So what the heck's gonna happen if this one's three-months long? For I probably will, and Arc 3 will begin at mid-November at earliest. There's a very slight chance that I may be able to sit here again sometime in September, but I don't have high hopes on that. So this will probably be farewell for now... Thank you all for those who stuck with this fic this far, and I ask you to be ready when Arc 3 finally hits you at the end of this year, with the truth at last... Until then, R&R!

Writing completed on August 1st, 2012. Aw, Red's birthday's in seven days! This is Yowl of Time, out.