Well, it's Christmas once again. Who knew this year would go by so quickly? Just last year, this special has been the longest one-shot (or two-shot if you're nitpicky) that has ever been established by me. However, as this fic is currently a rough celebratory sequel of Pokémon Heroes: Uprising, it means that this story did not supposedly cover all the characters that are intended to be introduced. For one thing, I got…lazy (it's difficult having to write for an entire cast, duh!) and didn't really shed too much light into the characterization of other legendary Pokémon such as Reaper, Epsilon, and various other characters that I have planned. Well, this is exactly what part three of this story is. It expands a bit to accommodate the new characters that are soon to arrive in my main story.
A warning before you jump in: there will be no peace, no celebration, and no happiness for the characters here. This year's Christmas is different!
I don't own Pokémon or any of the characters that don't belong to me here. I've also uploaded a new piece of cover art for my story. The picture is by shadowhatesomochao from Deviantart and I have received permission from the artist to use the image. Thanks once again for granting me the permission!
We Wish you a Legendary Christmas! (Part 3): Preserving Peace
"Celebrate? I barely have time to catch sufficient sleep these days, even during the holiday seasons." –anonymous Pokémon Ranger
"A fire will rise. And we will be there to extinguish it." –anonymous Arcean soldier
Hall of Origin, One Year Later
One year had passed ever since the last Christmas celebration that Arceus hosted in his prestigious haven of the divine. The year was fairly uneventful; the world was still undergoing reparations, remnants of the enemy were being snuffed out, and most if not all of the veterans of the previous war received their much-needed rest after their contributions approximately three years ago.
The holiday season was once again approaching rapidly and as most of the visitors to the Hall of Origins were able to visit and spend their holiday seasons celebrating at the kingdom of the legendaries during their impressive stay at the divine palace, Arceus couldn't help but wonder how the others that he had invited to the celebration but had their own reasons of declining the invitation were doing. This brought a great amount of stress upon the Overlord's shoulders as he wished to see his followers feel relaxed for once in their lives. "I don't mean to sound like a grump or anything, but it does not please me one bit that so many were not able to make it to the event. Sure, Dialga, Palkia and Giratina are not attending this year because they had their own reasons to attend to their kingdoms, but they have their explanations. I really wonder how they're doing for these last few months."
Earth was still under a reconstruction phase and while the menace that legendaries, mortal Pokémon, and humans had all feared was now nothing more than content and research material in the historical archives of both mankind and deities alike, it was clear to him that the planet would have a long way to go in terms of restoring itself to the life-filled blue planet it once was. In a world where governments were toppled and law was barely holding itself together, it was a land of dreams for outlaws and corrupt figureheads alike. "I do understand that the Pokémon Ranger Corps and the Kanto Defense Force are constantly battling these threats and I appreciate that they do not require too much of our help. But as long as there is civilization, there will be rampant corruption ready to destabilize it."
His thoughts were interrupted seconds later as a familiar face, one that he was all too acquainted with, darted through the front doors of the Hall of Origins like a haywire missile and flew right up to his face.
"May fate have mercy on me because I can expect her to interrogate me with countless questions that can't be answered…" the Pokémon god groaned tiresomely inside his heavily burdened mind. He was anticipating on dismissing the rather talkative New Species Pokémon from his presence quickly. "What brings you here, Mew? I thought you were supposed to be teaching Ash on how to manipulate his newfound powers at the Tree of Life in Kanto."
"Trying to change the subject again? I can see that you're not following my instructions of calming your heart down again!" Mew pouted, a displeased expression written on her petite-looking face. "What did I tell you about being stressed out, Arcy? And I heard that you said I was annoying! I'm only concerned about your mental well-being lately," she expressed as a way to defend the reason why she was always constantly bugging the Alpha Pokémon.
"The definition of stress varies among different types of individuals," he recited with a noble voice before surrendering the notion of trying to stop the mother of all life on Earth from badgering him with a constant bombardment of questions. "What may be a great burden to your mind may not be for me and vice versa."
"If I was in your position, I'd be much more upbeat and positive with each day that passes. Are you growing that old to the point where you need a temporary replacement?" Mew teased as she tried to hide and stifle her giggles with her tiny paws.
Arceus rolled his eyes. "That is certainly not an amusing statement. Perhaps when you're my age, you'll understand why."
Mew happily flew up to the top of Arceus's head before settling herself down comfortably. "I can sympathize with the situation at hand, but dwelling on it isn't going to help. It's good to speak out your heart to someone who can understand you, like me!"
"Fine, I'll tell you," the Pokémon that had the capability to adapt to any typing informed with a tone of surrender. Mew then proceeded to wait patiently as the supreme legendary started his explanation on why things were so difficult for him to handle for the last few days.
The Alpha Pokémon breathed deeply before answering the pint-sized legendary with, "Mew, you do know that this is an important celebration that is a part of our ancient traditions. For the last several billion years, my ancestors would gather themselves together as a way of providing gratitude to their family and friends alike. I did not personally force anyone against their will to attend, but you do understand that they could use a break right now and I do wish to thank them for their contributions they've made for us all." He took mental note of the various individuals that had missed the Christmas event before turning his vision to Mew once again-perhaps he could garner some information and somehow provide them with a token of appreciation. "Mew, can you bring me up a detailed list of why some individuals did not show up to the event both this year and last year?"
"Oh, so that's the reason? Hmm, perhaps you do need a replacement to take your spot sometime, because all of this management is definitely starting to take a toll on your physical and mental self." Mew raised an eye before releasing a small giggle to comply with Arceus's request. "And sure!" She quickly pulled out a mental list and began brief yet detailed explanations as to why some of the individuals that were invited failed to attend the event that was well over a week ago.
Although most of Arceus's subordinates, followers, and disciples managed to find some time off to participate in the Christmas festivities that the Alpha Pokémon and the last successor of the ancient Arceans had placed so much time and effort into organizing, a good majority were not able to participate in the event. While the last two weeks of December were supposed to be a time where no one had to work, this was not always the case for a certain number of individuals that were dedicated to certain tasks that kept them busy during the last few weeks before the New Year arrived.
Leon's older brother, Kellyn, was among one of those individuals that were unable to attend. As a prime Pokémon Ranger representative that possessed great command influence and assumed the responsibility of finishing all the required paperwork and other duties that his commanders had assigned him, he was far too occupied to attend the festivity that Arceus had personally invited him to. However, he always understood that there would be another time that he would be able to travel to the Hall of Origins and simply let his spirit free for once in his life.
Reaper, the specialized ancient Latios that was among one of the first individuals to survive being corrupted during the ancient invasion of Alto Mare and an emissary for Giratina herself, disliked social events. He preferred to spend his times alone while coldly staring at the endless horizons of the Pacific Ocean from one of the secluded islands off the coast of Kanto and Johto. Loud music, boisterous play, and gluttony were traits of a party that he certainly did not enjoy. This was the same for Mewtwo as he would rather prefer to celebrate his free time in seclusion from his classified haven on New Island, the location of a former Team Rocket genetics research facility that was abandoned and demolished several years ago.
Then there was Epsilon, the "adopted" Deoxys that served gratefully under the Arcean Empire after his acceptance into Arceus's ranks. Because he was one of the few DNA Pokémon that was truly clean of the Great Poison that plagued most members of his species, this made him a unique individual as he eventually fought against his masters after he discarded Entity Three's beliefs of complete intergalactic apocalypse and damnation. His eventual defection and rescue from his former masters meant that he was accepted rather easily into the legendary ranks, but this was met with great opposition from the more ancient members, such as Dialga and Palkia. The gentle-mannered Deoxys didn't let this bother him one bit as he continued to serve with distinction.
Riley, one of the last few Aura Guardians in existence, spent his holiday working with Cynthia with restoration programs and volunteer efforts to restore the Sinnoh region. The prefecture was absolutely devastated by the Uprising War and while it was the least affected since the UAAF and Team Rocket focused most of its efforts and operations into Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn, it still required a great amount of labour to restore the province in the north. The trainer eventually departed to the Tree of Beginning with Ash and Latias, where he was responsible for training the human/Pokémon hybrid originating from Pallet Town, with the latter training to accept the task of becoming a fully-fledged legendary Pokémon. To this end, Raine replaced Riley in the recovery effort as the Pokémon Trainer, later revealed to be a Team Rocket manufactured clone, assisted Cynthia in rebuilding Sinnoh with vast sums of money won through Pokémon League tournaments. Erlade, a Pokémon that was the end result of the experiments by the UAAF and Team Rocket, also remained in Sinnoh to provide aid relief and support for the clean-up operations that were being managed by the Pokémon Rangers and the Kanto Defense Force's subdivisions.
Finally, there was the enigmatic Zephyr. While little was known about his life and the legendaries were keen on preserving the privacy of those who did not wish to have their lives revealed and documented, it was discovered that the dark-oriented Pokémon Trainer from the distant region of Unova did not exactly have a pleasant childhood life. Nevertheless, Mew knew he was somewhere in Unova or Orre, continuing his ever-desired hunt of those who were responsible for most of the misery on Unova's minor populations. It was quite difficult trying to keep track of someone who chose to lay low from both mortal and immortal sights.
"That's the list. It seems like our friends are a bit busy lately so I guess that sums up the reason why so many left so early or never showed up to begin with," Mew concluded after projecting the descriptions into Arceus's ancient, calculating, and wise mind. "Of course, you do know that Lugia, Ho-Oh, Kyogre, Groudon and Rayquaza did not show up as they are the Administrators and Guardians of the Earth. It's not exactly a good idea to leave your position where your absence can result in uncontrolled and wild climates!"
Arceus chuckled mildly at her amusing comment. It was true-the five Guardians of the Earth, each representing an element, had very little time on their hands for leisure activities. While the Creation Trio embodied the very elements of the universe itself and were able to control their very essence from their bodies, the Administrators could not. They were constantly busy and even if a single member was absent, the stability of Earth's environments would be disturbed. If the issue was left alone, there was a good chance of apocalyptic changes that would devastate the planet. This was the issue learned during the Uprising War: after Team Rocket and the United Aerospace Armed Forces successfully imprisoned Lugia, Ho-Oh, and Rayquaza with their shackles of corruption and the Great Poison, Earth began to fell into a decline as violent weather and climate change overtook the planet. Because of this, the Arceans immediately launched several operations to assist the humans and their Pokémon allies before the situation spiraled too much out of hand.
"Ah, well that's something I cannot change but I suppose a thank you gift to them will suffice," Arceus settled in negotiation. "As much as I would like to invite them here, a gigantic storm the size of an entire country devastating entire human nations is not something I wish to hear about during this time of the year."
As the two legendaries continued their conversation with each other, a stream of images that kept track of important members under Arceus's command soon floated into existence against a star-littered void of nothingness. These images were often projected as situations that required immediate attention or were simply just events out of the ordinary that the legendaries or their human allies were experiencing.
"Hey, check this out!" Mew pointed out as one of the drifting images that circled around the Hall of Origin caught her attention. It was currently displaying a rather violent situation that was unfolding in the peaceful Ocean Metropolis of Alto Mare. Two Pokémon Rangers were currently in pitched combat against an unknown enemy as the former were locked in a snowmobile chase against the outlaws along the surface of the frozen water canals. "It looks like the so-called descendants of Noriko are really answering the call to responsibility, even during the holiday hours." She stared at the chase scene that Kellyn and Leon were participating in, the two Pokémon Rangers periodically ducking behind the protective transparent shield of their vehicles and shooting at their targets with submachine guns. "Oh that looks so fun!" she squealed with delight.
Arceus sighed in a rather downtrodden fashion upon hearing the mention of the now deceased heroine-the last human being that had managed to fully gain his trust before the arrival of Ash and his companions. While the Alpha Pokémon had given the ancient samurai a chance for immortality, the great unifier of Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh and later on, the defender of the four regions against Entity Three's massive invasion of Earth, wished to move on to the afterlife after she grew old, weary, and tired of conflict. Arceus and the other legendaries certainly did not reject her choice and as a result, she was put to rest peacefully and her body and legendary armor was preserved in one of the most sacred sepulchres in Arceus's realm of the immortals. Two of Noriko's most entrusted (and surviving) generals of ancient Ransei, Kenshin and Mitsuhide, stayed on guard duty as they protected her tomb from any potential infiltration-while it was theoretically impossible for anyone to penetrate into the realm of the gods and goddesses, one could never be too careful. Arceus was willing to take advanced steps to make up for the blunders that had caused his followers to suffer for his mishaps in the past. "Noriko, a fine example of how a young child can grow up to become a fair-mannered yet fierce heroine…"
"Are you missing her, Arcy?" Mew asked as she scanned Arceus's mind without permission. Since the New Species Pokémon always worried for the health of the Alpha Pokémon, she would often break some rules just to ensure that everything was alright.
"A bit," Arceus pronounced with a partially tired voice. "She brings back memories of an age where humanity would unite and take up resistance against a common threat, a time where survival was a collective trait. Today, it's all about survival for the benefits."
Mew had to partially agree with her father, especially after surveying most of mankind's behavior lately. As the human race became more reliant on technology and pursue of individual happiness, the desire for greed and personal benefit began to plague the species like a never-ending virus that would multiply to unprecedented levels. Even after the Uprising War, most of Earth's civilization failed to learn its lessons and thus, it was only a matter of time before they would annihilate each other once again. "History repeats itself. Just like how Ho-Oh abandoned the Sacred Tower in Johto, it is a sign that mankind has a lot to learn about the fact they can coexist with us and Pokémon peacefully…it's just the leaders that refuse to accept that proposition."
"Yes," a resentful Arceus approved of her words. His eyes were locked onto the image of Kellyn and Leon chasing the criminals across the frozen canals of Alto Mare. "I can say…those two Pokémon Rangers are about to teach those dunderheaded humans a lesson that those who attempt to disrupt the balance of peace will pay the price."
Although both legendaries currently viewing the scene disapproved of the notion of killing, this was an exceptional point. The pair of divine beings knew these individuals on the run from the Pokémon Rangers were ex-soldiers from Team Rocket. After their inevitable downfall, they managed to find jobs under the employment of various companies. Ranging from private military firms to splintered criminal organizations attempting to make a quick buck in a recovering world, there was never a better time to cause chaos when law enforcement was at its weakest.
Unfortunately, they never anticipated on facing the descendants of Noriko, the ancient heroine that was the last recorded human being to fully earn Arceus's trust in an age when Earth was plagued with war, famine, conquest, and death.
In another scene presented by the drifting projections, another image projected a friendly competition between three legendary Pokémon that attempted to best each other in a match to see who was the better fighter overall. The final image depicted a young boy in training with a Lucario, two legendary Pokémon, and another youth in his early twenties that bore a great resemblance to Sir Aaron, the legendary Aura Knight.
"This is also crystal-clear evidence of how they're all fit to join us!" Mew added.
"…what? Can you repeat that?" Arceus requested, his mind focused on some other subject of matter while the Psychic-type legendary was providing him an explanation of accepting future recruits.
"Just watch and you'll know why. For now, let's see how our Pokémon Ranger friends perform on their mission to repel threats in Alto Mare," she continued, ignoring the Alpha Pokémon's statement without a second thought.
The Water Capital that was considered the sacred shrine of the gods and goddesses themselves was a favorite vacation spot for tourists and Pokémon Trainers alike. In spite of its lucrative attractiveness for those who wished for a clean getaway from the everyday stresses of life, it was also a superlative destination for illegal criminals that participated in the arms trade and Pokémon theft given the wealthy population that lived there. And it certainly was an eventful day when an unidentified crime syndicate sent a sizable force of its goons to attack the Alto Mare Ranger Naval Base-since most of the Rangers was on holiday leave, there was minimal security available to protect the floating paradise of Alto Mare aside from the local police force.
"They picked a good day to attack Alto Mare. Out of all the days they can invade, they strike when they believe their chances of success are at their highest," the brown-haired figure spoke coldly, his gloved hands wrapped around the handles of his snowmobile. "And they'll pay dearly for desecrating the peace of this sacred city."
"I agree, although bringing along some backup from higher positions wouldn't hurt," the younger sibling of the duo commented. "But should I shift into my-"
"No. It's not exactly to fight in that form in such cold weather. And we also promised him that we'd let him enjoy his break while we carry the load of defending this city!" The individual pointed his MP5K submachine gun and drew a bead on his nearest target, but he was promptly forced back down to cover behind the windshield as the escapees began to fire at them again.
"I understand. Now let's give them a taste of how we serve up justice! Watch your back, brother!"
The Almian Pokémon Ranger at the rank of Warrant Officer smiled with a mixture of pleasure and sadism before giving his younger brother a thumbs-up.
The two Pokémon Rangers were visiting their friends in Alto Mare prior to their departure to Unova for another deployment, but the passive moment was interrupted when they received a call of an ambush by unknown perpetrators at the base. Since they were the only two that were on-call, they had no choice but to accept the task. And now, they were proving to the bandits that crime does not pay, especially when there were two accomplished off-duty Rangers chasing them down like a pair of rabid Arcanines pursuing a thief that had just mugged its beloved master and had its mind focused on repaying the criminal with blind rage.
"Hurry the fuck up! Those Ranger dogs will turn us into burnt flesh if we don't move our asses!" a gunner onboard one of the four snowmobiles urged as he unloaded his submachine gun onto a pair of incoming vehicles of the same type, except they were the ones with the Pokémon Ranger Corps logo emblazoned on their sides.
The driver of the same vehicle revved the engine before hitting top speed. "Shit, we sure picked a good day to attempt to use Alto Mare as a smuggling point for these weapons…PTI's probably just too afraid to handle this situation on their own with their own avaricious private military corps."
"I don't care! The only thing that matters is that we get back to the warehouse and provide the access codes for the stolen KDF tanks and Armored Mobility Suits, along with that dormant Future Tank X-0 prototype! Then we'll make that salad-haired kid cough up his money for the shit we always do for him!" the gunner yelled once again, reloading his automatic machine pistol with a fresh magazine.
"Couldn't the CEO of Pokémon Tech Industries wait for another day? I mean, out of all the days we could have chosen, it has to be the day when two veterans of the Uprising War are in the city!" the pilot complained tirelessly while ducking his head to avoid a flurry of bullets that whizzed inches above his head. Seconds later after he concluded his sentence, he heard a pained yelp entering his ears from his compatriot in the back seat and when he turned, he was no longer there.
He was shot directly in the heart and killed instantly-this caused the man to dismount from the vehicle before rolling onto the icy surfaces of the canal.
"Shit, shit, shit! I've lost him! This piece of crap can't go any faster, Arceus damn it-"
The driver did not have any time to finish any of his thoughts as the distinctive sound of a typewriter going off rattled into the cold post-afternoon air. Several rounds drilled into his body like nails being driven into wood and killed almost instantly, he lost control of his snowmobile before it slammed into the concrete sides of the waterways as the vehicle exploded violently as a result of its fuel tank rupturing upon collision. This left three more snowmobiles, all of which were in desperate condition to escape after they learned of the identities of their pursuers. Both the Ranger riders sped past the burning mechanical carcass as they resumed their pursuit-they were positive that their commanders would clean up the mess later. "HQ is so going to question me for this again, but they somehow can't understand that law enforcement in this era requires superior firepower and violence to resolve."
"This blows dead Noctowls," the squad leader spat in disgust, reloading his stolen M4 carbine rifle as he unloaded a full magazine at the siblings' snowmobiles without scoring a single hit. "PTI mentioned that there would be no Rangers in this city and now we've got two of them that'll do Arceus knows what to us!" He took a momentary view at the destroyed snowmobile that was burning in flames and hoped that the sorry bastards that fell so quickly would receive Giratina's mercy. "Alright, so how long until we reach the warehouse that's containing all the surplus KDF and Ranger hardware?"
"About fifteen minutes," the riders of another fleeing snowmobile replied via the radio. "But we're not going to accomplish anything if these two snotty-nosed brats continue to harass us! Send them face-first into the ice already!"
"Then take them out! Less talk, more shooting!" the third snowmobile's shooter yelled, throwing away his empty submachine gun before pulling out a .44 magnum revolver and blindly firing it at Kellyn's snowmobile, the heavy firearm discharging several gold-colored bullets that could easily blow a human's head clean off.
Kellyn gritted his teeth as he ducked for cover against the bulletproof windshield as the high-caliber bullets flew by him while some shots inflicted spider web-like marks on the composite plastic buffer. All he could deduce with his eyes now past the moderately-blinding blizzard was the faint blips of the snowmobiles in front of him and the periodic muzzle flashes from the weapons that the soldiers of fortune continued to unload onto both him and his brother. He was just grateful that he and his younger sibling received a new type of firearm that didn't require reloading-all they needed to do was wait until the gun's magazine recharged itself and they would be able to continue shooting again.
As Kellyn was forced to slow his vehicle down as a means of putting some distance between his quarries since the Sword of Deimos snowmobiles' shooters were all focused on taking him out, it gave Leon an opportunistic chance to quickly speed up in preparation to perform a drive-by attack on the criminals that had the nerve to break into one of the most secure naval bases in the Kanto and Johto prefectures. Speeding up his vehicle as he aligned himself with one of his intended targets, he announced the Ranger's order for the enemy to lay down their arms.
"This is the Alto Mare Pokémon Ranger Corps and Law Enforcement Division. You are to lay down your arms, exit your vehicles, and surrender peacefully to us. Otherwise, we will use lethal force!" he declared in a yelling but clear voice. Never in his life did he expect to deliver the order for the enemy to surrender, as he was rarely in charge of such situations where he'd have to holler such a command via a megaphone.
"In your fucking dreams! I'll see you in hell!" the gunner in the closest snowmobile yelled as he cocked his combat shotgun, drew the bead at Leon, and fired the weapon.
"Bad choice on your part, amateur." Leon didn't even bat an eyebrow at the notion that he was about to be splattered into chunks of burned meat as he placed his mental focus on the shotgun that had just ejected its buckshot round that contained approximately thirty smaller lead balls. With a psionic burst of mental energy, he managed to suspend the projectiles in midair and after a second or so, released his mental grip as the pellets clattered harmlessly on the icy surface below. "Heheh, thanks for the power boost, Latios and Dialga. I certainly owe you something for the newly-gained powers that you've provided me with," he mentally thanked with gratefulness. He turned to Kellyn, who simply gave him a face of encouragement for toying with death and succeeding…again.
"Shit! It can't be! A psionic Ranger! I thought those bastards were only an urban legend along with the cyborg soldiers designed to scare the recruits!" the shotgun-wielding felon yelled before he pumped his weapon and fired again, only to miss by a long shot due to the fact he was panicking from the fact his opponent was basically the fabled soldiers that the PRC's enemies had always feared ever since their introduction. Though they were rare, it was not uncommon to see them be employed as a means of engaging their enemies in a manner other than using bullets and stylers.
"Just don't let it go to your head kid because what goes around comes around," Kellyn deduced. After the pressure was relieved off of him, he drew out his MP5K and fired again as the gun rattled pugnaciously in his right hand, a stream of golden-colored shells flying out of the ejection port of the portable firearm. Much to his dismay, no bullets found their mark. "Damn. I have to get closer if I want a clear shot. Too bad I don't have a helicopter gunship or Rayquaza's adopted daughter here to help me out here, because this would be a cake mission then."
Much to his unexpectedness, a single round managed to puncture the fuel tank of the vehicle that Kellyn was targeting earlier-the two Sword of Deimos mercenaries had no idea what was going on as their motor vehicle detonated into a gigantic fireball that resulted in a rain of debris and wreckage alike. The two passengers of the vehicle were sent flying as a result of the explosion and flew right into a building like a wad of saliva-soaked gum fired from a high-powered slingshot. From Kellyn's point of view, it would be miraculous if they didn't acquire any injuries from the "accident".
"That went well…certainly didn't expect such a lucky hit," he cogitated to himself before focusing his sights back on the narrow frozen waterways of Alto Mare.
His younger brother finally decided that their targets were not willing to surrender peacefully. And while he wanted to wipe them out with his Latios-based powers, it also meant exposing himself to great damage to the winter environment as being part Dragon-type had its own sets of serious drawbacks. Without any further doubts, he leveled the aim of his submachine gun at his assailant and allowed fifteen or so rounds to fly from the barrel of his automatic weapon, the firearm jerking and recoiling violently as it discharged the rounds, an equal number of spent shell casings flying out of the receiver at an uncountable pace.
While the shotgunner and his driver had a bulletproof vest that protected them from small-caliber rounds, the additional gear they wore on their fragile bodies was useless in the face of the impeccable aim that Leon possessed with his firearm. Several rounds of 9mm ammunition found their marks on the heads of the two Sword of Deimos snowmobile riders and upon being struck repeatedly, their bodies flopped rapidly like Magikarps being speared in the torso. Falling from their vehicle, they met the same fate as their other comrades as their bodies slid across the ice while leaving a bloody trail in their wake. The very means of transportation they were riding on swerved out of control before it slammed into a wall and was partially ruined. It was probably still functional but it was safe to assume that it would need a costly form of repair sometime soon.
"Well, another one bites the ice," he mused to himself, even if it happened to be an incredibly bad pun. "Now time to get the-"
"Leon, keep your damn eyes on the road! You're about to hit-"
The Pokémon Ranger caught the words of his brother calling out to him, and he looked towards him-he was so preoccupied with shooting the attackers earlier that he had failed to notice a sharp left turn up ahead. He slammed on the brakes and just in time too-his vehicle skidded to a halt as it was within centimeters of slamming into the brick wall of a building that was built directly on the canal. Coming completely to a standstill, he hyperventilated repeatedly as he noticed the last two snowmobiles make their getaway before Kellyn joined up with him at his side. "Well shit, I shouldn't have let that gone to my head," the Corporal criticized himself as he noticed his older brother pulling up on his vehicle.
"You okay, little bro?" Kellyn asked, slapping the snow-drenched back of Leon's jacket. "Like I said a billion times already, just because you're blessed by a legendary's powers doesn't mean you should go on an all-out rampage. I am too, but at least I know my limits."
"Yeah, I'm fine. I was completely focused on trying to stop them before they got too far," he responded in a somewhat embarrassing manner. If he had actually flown smack-dab into the wall, it was likely that he was going to be the laughing stock for pulling off something so reckless. Turning his head to the direction from which the Sword of Deimos-aligned bandits fled, he slapped himself mentally before berating, "Damn it, they got away! And to think that we would have pegged their leader right in the back with a clean shot…"
Kellyn shook his head as he revved up the engine of his Ranger-issued snowmobile. "I have a clear indication of where they are. If we continue along this canal, it's perfectly possible that we'd find them there. Now let's go. You did a good job taking those goons out with that drive-by style of yours, even though you were doing it more for show than an actual fulfillment of duty."
Leon shrugged. "I have to hone my powers every now and then."
The two brothers moved out on their snow-based vehicles, following the tracks left behind by the last two surviving targets they were pursuing earlier. With luck, they would be able to catch them in the act before the security codes were handed off to whoever they were providing their services to. It wasn't long before they found the abandoned snowmobile they were chasing earlier-parked outside a warehouse that had its roofs coated with a thick layer of snow; it was easy to predict that their targets were inside as both siblings detected them from within via their aura and psionic drives.
"I'll take point. Cover my back and warn me if you detect anything," Kellyn recommended. Readying his submachine gun, he crept forward as Leon covered his rear, using his psychic powers to track the two targets that were making their way into the warehouse. They were within range of being shot and taken out quickly.
The younger brother of the duo leveled his machine gun at the targets, but the Warrant Officer raised a hand in gesture for his sibling to cease the assault. "Not yet. I want to know who they're providing services for."
Leon nodded as he lowered his weapon, feeling slightly frustrated as he just wanted to get this job over with before heading back to Bianca's house to grab a warm meal. After all, it was Christmas and he was celebrating with close shaves of death with crazed mercenaries that didn't know the difference between making a quick buck and death. "If Havoc, Reaper, or Latios was here, they would have cleaned up the task before these idiots even made it out of the perimeters of the base after committing theft of the codes. Those three know how to handle business the efficient and special way."
Abandoned Military Warehouse, Alto Mare Docks
"I think we lost them. Those damn kids…I just wonder what PTI or our masters will think now that there's a psionic Ranger and the little hero from Almia now in the act," the driver of the leading snowmobile grumbled.
"Whatever the case, we managed to secure the security codes that'll allow us to activate the KDF and the Pokémon Ranger Corps' stockpile of extra hardware as long as the PTI submits their payment to us," the squad leader assumed with great confidence. "I sure as hell ain't coming back if their law enforcement involves two crazy trigger-happy kids! Now let's go, the sooner we hand off the codes, the sooner we can get off this island with the imbursement they promised us."
The two Sword of Deimos mercenaries quickly made their way into the warehouse where their customers were waiting for the codes to control the abandoned KDF and Pokémon Ranger Corps vehicles to be handed over in return for a cash offer. The Sword of Deimos was an organization that shunned the usage of Pokémon for extremist means-they believed that the humans were getting lazier with each passing year as they learned to harness the unimagined power of the magnificent creatures. Rejecting the acceptance of living with Pokémon peacefully, they would exterminate any they came across but after the Uprising War, they were forced to go underground after capitulating from various defeats from their enemies. Now, they were nothing more than a rather meager organization that offered its mercenary services to anyone that paid the right price.
"Well, so you've made it here and in one piece too," an arrogant and snide-sounding voice greeted the two guerrillas. "So where are the other guys?"
The squad leader and his fellow soldier, both donning winter combat gear that consisted of arctic camouflage fatigues, brought out the briefcase that contained the control codes for the dormant M1 Abrams Tanks, Armored Mobility Suits, and a Future Tank X-0 that was laying still in the vast and chilly warehouse. "In this case is all the data you need to fulfill the final process of the theft. Bring the vehicles online via hacking methods and you'll be good to go…trust me. It's almost like stealing rare candy from a baby Pokémon."
"Hmm, jumping to conclusions so rapidly?" the leading figure for Pokémon Tech Industries asked. "I have to ensure that there are no…outsiders attempting to steal a piece of my business. There's a reason why I wanted you to commit the theft today, because law enforcement would be at its most lax during this time of the year. And I'm not taking any fucking chances at the prospect of a cybernetic Ranger showing up here."
While the Sword of Deimos mercenaries and the PTI associate, escorted by four bodyguards equipped with similar heavy weaponry that was comparable to the Pokémon-shunning organization and just about any other paramilitary group, Kellyn and Leon had inaudibly slipped into the warehouse via one of the back doors as they spied on the conversation from behind the cover of an M1 Abrams tank. While it shocked them that a benevolent organization, or at least that was what the media and advertisements told them, was attempting to steal military hardware from the government, it was the representative figurehead of Pokémon Tech Industries Limited that shocked them to the core of their very souls.
"Wait…isn't that…Drew!?" Leon whispered in a shocked tone but made sure to keep his voice levels low. "That guy…I see him in the newspapers all the time, considering his constant participations in Pokémon Contests and whatnot. Will there be a time where they won't cover events that are trivial and uninteresting?"
"Looks like it," his brother responded grimly. "Even the most magnanimous figure that loves his fans like his own family can harbor some extremely shady and dark secrets such as illegal weapons trade, laundering of cash, and sale of illicit Pokémon enhancement products. The media covers him a lot but I suppose that's what happens when your father happens to be a manager of an extremely wealthy enterprise. And don't count on it. If it can make money, they'll keep on printing story after story of this guy even if it happens to be him taking an unusual explosive dump on the toilet. It makes me hurl my stomach just thinking about it."
"As much as I'd like to cap this motherfucker, PTI will serve my rear end on a silver platter if I killed one of their manager's sons," Kellyn pondered, remembering how many Rangers were lost due to PTI's partial control over the Pokémon Ranger Corps due to internal corruption.
While Kellyn was quite the wealthy individual himself due to his reputation and success in the Rangers that definitely benefited his salary, he had a general hate towards other rich figures that had a tendency to side with the darker ends of morality. It wasn't the sole fact that Drew was rich that drove him to hate and hunt the individual whenever he got the chance-the son of a PTI official was a bad-mannered, egotistical, stuck-up, and spoiled miserable human being that was solely only there to give beings lower than him in social status a difficult time with their lives. "Maybe one day, I'll infiltrate a magazine publishing firm and leak those photos of him smoking Pokémon herbs with a local gym leader during an exchange regarding classified law enforcement files. Maybe I should be glad that I chose this line of work and didn't end up as a celebrity whose voice hasn't even cracked yet at the age of seventeen."
Both Rangers continued their surveillance of the soon-to-be trade-off between the two parties. While the siblings could use their unnatural powers to quickly silence their opponents and retrieve what was stolen from their organization, they weren't willing to risk it. Since their knowledge of Pokémon Tech Industries was very minimal, it was wise for them to not attempt anything reckless. The fact that they had promised to safeguard the legendary Pokémon caste's secrets from normal humans meant that they would be interrogated for their links should they be captured.
"Great. A visit to Alto Mare turns sour just because these fools are trying to make a quick buck on the grounds that happens to be sacred property," Leon complained in his mind, his body shivering slightly from the numbing cold air that was contained from within the warehouse. "So what's the plan?"
"Observe. We'll take them out once I decide the time is right," was Kellyn's vague-sounding answer. The sight of a newer model of an Armored Mobility Suit that was resting by caught the attention of his eyesight but this one greatly varied from the models that the Pokémon Ranger Corps fielded. "Hold on a minute, that AMS is not a model from our ranks. It's a Silph Co. model. Why does Drew have possession of one?"
This variation of the powered armor unit was drastically different from the version that was fielded by the Rangers and the KDF. The latter two factions' model basically acted as a mobile armor platform that allowed the pilot to deliver heavy ground support from the platform of a hydraulic unit, but the Silph Co. manufactured model was essentially a full-body armorsuit that basically transformed the operator into a gigantic soldier standing at a height of about ten to fifteen feet tall. The suit's controls were all joined with the user's arms and legs, which allowed said pilot to control the machine and fight in a fluid and unparalleled manner in comparison to the older models' rather cumbersome fashion and sluggish speed. Equipped with two heavy automatic cannons, an advanced targeting user interface, and a fully-secure cockpit that protected its user from biological and chemical hazards, the Silph Co.'s advanced version of the AMS transformed the definition and nature of the human infantryman forever. Because of its bear-like appearance due to its brown-colored scheme and bulky construction, it was often referred by allies and foes alike as the "Ursaring Suit".
"Speaking of which…" Drew laconically spoke as he flipped through the briefcase of documents. "Rumor says that there are cryptograms capable of taking command of a cyborg Ranger. Perhaps you would enlighten me? I'd like to get back at that corn-fed Havoc for the damage he's done to my organization."
The cultist mercenaries shook their heads. "We only stole what we found. Nothing more-we didn't want to hang around in the event of being shot up by the base's sentries."
"Pathetic," the Pokémon Coordinator sneered, spitting before closing the metallic case. "Maybe another day then…"
The conversation shocked both brothers who were observing the tradeoff. Was Drew really planning on getting back at their de-facto commanding officer?
"Well, that gives me another reason to pop his face apart," Leon whispered.
"Not yet. We can't be reckless here. It looks like we'll have to crash this party before they hand off the codes, but I've got a feeling that Drew will make a jump into the Silph Co. model of the AMS. Let's wound Drew before focusing on the other goons because if he leaps into the suit, we've got nothing to dent it," Kellyn articulated with a barely audible voice as his sharp eyes were dead focused on the conversation. Leveling his MP5K at Drew's left leg, he was just about to squeeze the trigger and incapacitate the crooked Pokémon Coordinator when he realized the laser sight on his submachine gun was giving his position away to the opponent.
"We've got cops here!" Drew professed before drawing out his personal sidearm and targeting the dark portion of the warehouse from where the thin, red line of laser was being projected from. His command immediately sent up a wave of panic and rage as he, along with his four bodyguards the two Sword of Deimos operatives, emptied their automatic firearms at the supposed hiding spots of the two Pokémon Rangers. "Come on out, you Groudon-damned Piloswines!"
The two siblings immediately dove for cover behind another dormant main battle tank and it came to realization that the laser sights on their portable machine guns had given away their presence. Haranguing himself mentally, Kellyn had to admit to the notion that a simple and trivial mistake of forgetting to switch off his laser sights eventually sent their advantage of surprise down the drain almost immediately.
"The blame's on me this time," Kellyn coolly articulated. "I won't let this mission fail as I'll just lose more sleep from the scolding we'll receive from our superiors."
Leon remained silent as he checked the surroundings. There was no time to argue something as trivial as making a simple mistake that could potentially cost them their mission and their lives. So he did best what Rangers were trained to do in hot situations like this-suck it up, shut up, and deal with the mess.
Just as things couldn't get any worse, twenty more or so of the same goons that donned the uniforms of Drew's bodyguards appeared through the front doors of the warehouse, each and every one of them carrying assault rifles of various models. It was apparent that there was an entire detachment of privately-owned soldiers on location as a means of counter-surprising those who attempted to show up as surprise but uninvited guests of the dealing.
"What's the plan, kid?" one of the armed bodyguards asked.
"Eliminate them that has so dared to infiltrate this dealing. And as for you two…you have outlived your usefulness. Considering you both know so much and the fact you led the cops to our location…I'm afraid your time has come," Drew hissed before he pointed his handgun at the two Sword of Deimos mercenaries and shot them both in the head, the handgun recoiling twice in his left hand. Once he made sure they were dead, he bent down and was about to pick up the codes for the suitcase…only to have a single bullet graze through his flesh in the right arm. Reeling back in pain and howling from the burning sensation of getting shot, he had realized that the dying mercenary had managed to release one last shot from his handgun before his body functions ceased to be active. As the sights of his bodyguards met his eyes, he gave them the most obvious order that they would expect.
"Don't just stand there!" he yelled with an infuriating voice, clutching his shoulder as blood leaked out from the wound. "Find those two Rangers and take them out! I don't pay you to act as pseudo-statues for my photo shoots!"
The twenty-four bodyguards quickly panned out to various areas of the warehouse as they began combing every square inch while searching for the two Pokémon Rangers. As they combed for the hidden law enforcement officers, Kellyn and Leon had already thought up of a plan to deal with the savage mercenaries that were hunting them like Houndooms on the prowl.
Kellyn tapped a few buttons into his gauntlet-mounted styler as a combat blade composed of pure plasma energy slid forth, acting as a stabbing and slashing claw for the Ranger's right hand. "Split up. I'm pretty sure we can take these fools on if we've survived direct battles against Team Rocket's feared Red Exterminator troopers. While a twelve versus one battle may seem ridiculously unfair on our part, these guys are in for a really rude awakening," Kellyn ordered quietly before slipping off to one of the alcoves between the parked tanks.
Leon nodded without saying a word as he copied his brother's actions. With the same model of the Ranger's energy blade in one hand and the MP5K in another, he crept off and made a rapid turn around the corner…only to run face to face into one of the armed professionals. Just as the stocky man leveled his assault rifle at the Ranger's body, the Corporal squeezed on the trigger of his machine pistol and hammered his target with approximately half a dozen rounds of lead.
Flopping from the impact of the bullets like rag doll, his target went down without delay and remained silent permanently.
"Too easy. One down, twenty-four to go," Leon spoke with a rather amused tone before he backed himself against a shipping crate while silently tracking his enemies through his enhanced senses. He patiently waited for the next unsuspecting mercenary to stumble around the corner, hoping that said enemy believed that they had the Ranger pinned down in a perfect kill-zone. "If Alto Mare's SWAT Team was here, this task would be over before anyone could say anything…but heh, I'll have to make do with what I have on my hands. For two Ranger operatives, the thought of calling for backup from the local police force would be a partial embarrassment."
He retrieved the fallen man's assault rifle and decided to opt for a different strategy-sweep and murder every last one of those bastards that never seemed to learn the fact that crime did not pay.
At the opposite end of the warehouse, Kellyn was locked down in a fierce gun battle with five of Drew's bodyguards. While his target was quickly attempting to bandage himself up and make a quick escape with the Silph Co. AMS unit, the Almian Pokémon Ranger had his instincts firmly focused on retrieving the briefcase that was abandoned on the ground. He was not about to let the control codes fall into the enemy this easily.
It wasn't going to be a walk in the park. He'd have to be fast on his feet and hope that his assailants had horrible marksmanship training if he was to get in, grab the briefcase, and get out while taking a few down during his escape if necessary. Clearly, it was a suicidal chance unless he tapped into his unnatural senses. "No need to take unnecessary ventures. If these hooligans find out about me and my brother's unnatural powers, I can expect them to abduct us before we even hit our next birthday," he analyzed rapidly before popping out of his cover behind several steel crates and unloaded the remaining magazine in his MP5K submachine gun. The end results were three of Drew's bodyguards toppling over as the bullets perforated through their suits and knocked them down as if they were living bowling pins. He was about to simply sit back, wait for his gun magazine to recharge, and ambush any unwary mercenaries with his Ranger-issued combat knife when a single tagline he was all too familiar with rang into his ears.
"Fire in the hole!"
Acting quickly, he leapt out of cover just as a frag grenade flung by one of the aggressors replaced his current position moments later. The two remaining bodyguards thought they had Kellyn in a vulnerable spot as they leveled their M16 assault rifles at the youthful Ranger, ready to hammer him with approximately forty rounds worth of lead.
Kellyn was inevitably faster at the end of it all.
As he dropped his MP5K after the weapon was out of ammo for a temporary moment or two, he reached for the .45 handgun that was in the holster from where his old styler used to be before it was replaced with the Top Ranger's gauntlet model. Pulling out the pistol with almost lightning speed, he tracked his targets and fired off four clean shots into the heads of the goons. The two men that thought they had the Warrant Officer in the bag didn't even get a chance to react as the four rounds punctured their skulls, killing them instantly.
Landing on the ground, he was about to scramble back to his footing when he found himself staring at the boots of another mercenary. Looking up, he realized the soldier had the Almian Ranger pinned down as the assault rifle's barrel was aimed right at his face.
"Game over kid," the man laughed in a diabolical voice.
Kellyn smirked as he sprang back up using a martial arts technique he had learned back at the Ranger Academy and performed a sweeping kick with his right leg-tripping his attacker to the ground, knocking the mercenary on his back as he dropped his assault rifle. The man released a pained grunt, but he could only scream in a bloodcurdling manner as the Pokémon Ranger drove his gauntlet-styler mounted blade right into his chest, the action mortally wounding the human almost instantly as the hot blade seared through the bone and organs of the rapidly-dying human and blackened them to heated organic waste.
"Next time, think twice before you celebrate," Kellyn scolded coldly to his downed adversary before finishing the job with one shot to the man's head using his pistol. While he reloaded his .45 handgun and retrieved the submachine gun that he had abandoned earlier, there was little time for him to settle down and examine the circumstances. His ears soon caught the loud chattering of several more opposing members that were trying to terminate his life and mission and a quick glance revealed that there were three more bodyguards advancing up on a catwalk that provided a full view of the vehicle warehouse. It also meant that they were completely unprotected from gunfire from virtually any angle.
Kellyn raised his submachine gun and hosed the catwalk with the newly recharged magazine of his single-handheld weapon, dropping the trio almost immediately. "Perhaps I should focus on retrieving the briefcase instead of trying to turn Drew's goons into grounded Tauros beef," he thought to himself. He just hoped that his younger brother was doing a good job at keeping himself alive.
As Leon continued to clean the house with his brother, he realized that Drew's bodyguards, despite their physical appearances and brute combat tactics, were highly undisciplined and poorly reflexed even when compared to the typical new KDF squaddie on the battlefield. After the elimination of roughly half of the soldiers that were in charge of entrusting the security of the Pokémon Tech Industries official, the remaining survivors had pooled themselves up in a defensive position in the hopes of catching the Rangers in an open spot. At the start of the battle, they were the hunters but it soon came to light that the Rangers were now hunting them.
"Screw this, I want out!" one of them yelled, his hands shaking nervously as his digits were wrapped around the handle and barrel of his assault rifle. "Someone else go kill them!"
"Are you nuts!? That's Kellyn, the legendary Almian Top Ranger! He'll kill us even if he was equipped with a simple handgun! I saw him slash two of our men to death with a prototype plasma combat knife!" another one yelped in fright. He certainly did not care if Drew was going to punish him for this-they were effectively in a suicidal mission where the odds of winning were about as plausible as trying to survive, let alone win against a Snorlax in a body-slamming competition at their physical state.
"What about the other kid? Where the heck is he?"
"I don't know, but someone else can go check. I'm staying here until we're allowed to leave this position! Arceus-dammit, if we only brought some Pokémon for the job, but that would only draw more attention!"
"Attention or not, blame our employers for disallowing the usage of Pokémon."
Leon knew his older brother was going in to retrieve the authorization codes that were stolen earlier, meaning it was now his responsibility to eliminate the last squad of Drew's bodyguards. Much to his fortune, the last soldier he had taken out with a single stab from the plasma combat knife he wielded possessed a belt of grenades-the Corporal didn't think twice about abandoning such useful loot that would easily turn the tide of the fight around. As he surveyed on the terror-stricken bodyguards, he pulled the pin from one of the explosive cylindrical-shaped canisters and rolled it over to the credulous group that were absolutely oblivious of his presence.
One of the mercenaries heard the metallic clanking of the explosive device. "Hey guys, do you hear-"
He was unable to conclude his sentence as the grenade blew the entire squad to oblivion, the lucky ones sent flying like ragdolls from the explosive force while the less-luckier ones were blasted into unidentifiable pieces of burned meat.
"That was fun," Leon winced a bit from the rather ugly sight, the scent of burned human flesh assaulting his nostrils like a vicious odor from a dumpster full of unprocessed trash. "Is this my Christmas present? A slaughter fest of security mercenaries working for some spoiled brat? Being a Pokémon Ranger sure is different compared to the times when I first submitted that application form to sign up."
While Kellyn and Leon dropped his entire detachment of bodyguards as if they were saplings at the mercy of a hurricane, Drew paid little heed to his dying men. They were expendable, anyways-all he needed to do was file a request with his father and the powerful associate working at PTI would be able to provide him with a fresh squad of mercenaries entrusted to defend the youth's life. But what was done was done. He didn't expect anyone except for him to leave this mission alive-at the end of the day, he'd destroy the entire warehouse after he rigged it with tons of explosive charges. If he was not able to claim what he desired, then no one would get it.
After bandaging his wounded arm up, he decided to make a daring escape in the Silph Co. AMS unit that he had brought with him. While it was intended to be a token of appreciation for the Sword of Deimos mercenaries that accepted the task of thieving the control codes, he promptly changed his mind after the group had led two unwanted Rangers into the trade and thus, further exposing his connections-something that he would not allow to see the light of day.
Activating the systems and bringing the advanced walker online, his arms and legs were secured by the armor plates as the suit concealed its pilot, rendering Drew virtually immune to almost all types of small-arms fire. Since he realized that the Rangers did not possess heavily caliber weapons, he estimated that their brave yet foolish matchup against him would be a suicidal act on their part.
But he was so preoccupied with securing his own assured escape that the control codes were no longer in sight. Instead, he found Kellyn trying to bring the only dormant Future Tank X-0 online in the room.
"Sit down!" Drew yelled from the safety of his walker as he raised both automatic cannons on his Armored Mobility Suit and saturated the Almian Pokémon Ranger's current position with heavy gunfire.
Kellyn displayed his impeccable reflexes once more as he dove for cover behind the futuristic Ranger-manufactured combat vehicle, the rounds impacting against the tank's composite armor and inflicting indentations. From the safety and cover of his position, the Warrant Officer considered his options. "Drew's got a fully operational Silph Co. AMS that's virtually impervious to any sort of small arms fire. I'd need something like a rocket propelled grenade or a powerful Pokémon attack to put a dent in it…"
Drew cackled with insanity as he began to drench the entire warehouse with his AMS's autocannons. He no longer cared about trying to hunt down the two Rangers that had so woefully (at least on Drew's part) disrespected him with their incompetence and meddling in his affairs. All he cared about was meeting the sight of the two specially-trained law enforcement officials in a pile of chewed-up flesh and immeasurable amounts of blood and the glorifying explosion of the warehouse going up into flames.
"Gotcha in my sights."
He was so absentminded from his assault that he failed to notice Leon tracking him with a stolen RPG launcher he had salvaged from one of the weapons cache that the bodyguards had been guarding earlier. While definitely ineffective against newer vehicles, the crude yet reliable and effective weapon was often more than enough when it came to dealing with softer targets. And of course, the Ranger decided to use it to wreck Drew's AMS.
Clenching the trigger of his launcher, the explosive warhead flew from the launcher as a cloud of smoke trailed from the unguided missile. It was only after when the warhead exploded against Drew's armor suit and damaging the right arm of the AMS when he realized that one of the Rangers had scored a successful hit on him. The gun-mounted arm was badly damaged yet the suit managed to remain fully operational.
"They may be one step ahead of me this time, but I'll come back and harass them for another day. I'll be back, you fucking Arceus-damned Swinubs!"
Cursing and coming to the understanding that attempting to defeat the Rangers in his current state could mean potential capture or death, he decided to let the explosive charges to do their job. Activating the jump-jets that were mounted on the back of his exosuit, he flew through the thinly-armored roof of the storage building, the sight causing Leon to smirk as he abandoned the now empty rocket launcher and rejoined his brother with relief.
"Well, that certainly didn't go too well…but I guess you retrieved the codes, right?" he questioned, kicking at the discarded bullet canisters that were scattered on the floor around him.
Kellyn nodded as he opened the case with a delighted smile on his face. "Seems like this was it…but heheh, I guess they didn't realize that what they stole were nothing more than a recipe for exploding cigars. Wouldn't it be funny if that brat gave one of those to his old man or the other goons at PTI for Christmas? I'd say we'd get a news report of an 'accidental' explosion take place at PTI headquarters on the following days."
Leon blinked in a rather blank fashion at what his brother had just said. "Pardon me? You mean this was all just a setup for them?"
The Warrant Officer nodded his head emotionlessly. "We were one step ahead of them of course," Kellyn vaguely explained before closing the briefcase once more. "Do you honestly believe that we would let such sensitive codes fall into enemy hands that easily? What we did was ring the false dinner bell so the ones we wished to arrest would come streaming in like a mob of Rattatas that haven't had a bite to eat for days…and from there, we initiate the arrests. But I guess we failed our last objective here but at least they didn't learn that we had established a decoy for them. Basically, they fell into the old trap that used fool's gold as bait."
Just as the brothers began to laugh at the fact how their enemies they faced earlier lacked some serious common sense, the distinctive tone of beeps caught their ears. It was steady, monotonous and easily recognizable to anyone that had witnessed warfare.
"This place is booby trapped. Let's bail!" Kellyn yelled, already making his way to the nearest exit as his younger sibling quickly followed suit.
The two brothers did not waste any time as they quickly evacuated from the warehouse and approximately twenty seconds or so later, the shelter that shielded stockpiles of surplus vehicles was reduced into a brilliant fountain of flames and debris.
As the Alto Mare Police and Fire Department soon moved in to investigate and quench the fires, the two Pokémon Rangers had departed from the scene without leaving a single trace. After what they had experienced for the day, the last thing they wanted was an interrogation session by the law. They had done their job to the best of their abilities and were most certainly not looking forward to hearing any criticisms of their handiwork that occurred today. Both brothers were covert Rangers so they were allowed to undertake missions their own way. This was also one of the primary reasons why the two brothers did not utilize their unnatural powers as it would draw almost immeasurable attention from the media.
"Think we've seen the last of him?" Leon asked, slinging the submachine gun over his shoulder as he shivered slightly from the bitter winter air.
Kellyn shook his head with an unfulfilled facial expression and answered his sibling with, "Doubt it. Knowing him, he'll simply try to draw us into another fray as a means of bringing the media's attention onto us. We are different in our own ways after all…now come on, let's get back to Bianca's house. I can sure make good use of a hot meal along with a well-deserved rest right about now."
"How are we going to explain all of this to the others, though?"
"I don't have a single clue in all the world, little bro. But whatever the case, we'll say it had to be done in the line of duty."
Opinionating on the recent chain of events inside his head, Kellyn realized that he would so rather read a magazine article regarding the culture of legendary Pokémon or the sighting of a psionic Pokémon Ranger in battle than the typical one about Drew being spotted in public with a new girlfriend or the fact he was caught in a cheating scandal of some kind.
"They occur more than the number of rounds I shoot off at the firing range every day, if anything. Maybe I should be happy that Leon chose the path of a Ranger as opposed to a talentless and rich snob like that undisciplined freak. My brother's rather fragile personality and heart would be vulnerable to the exploitations of the media elites…"
"So this is how we'll put ourselves to the test, hmm? One honorable fight that will end with no bloodshed or any casualties?" Epsilon asked, looking forward to putting his skills to the test after approximately two years in activeness in combat. "That certainly sounds like a promising proposition."
Reaper smiled with pleasure as he cracked his claws in the fashion of a human or Fighting-type Pokémon cracking their knuckles. "Precisely. It's about time to put my darkness to the test. Giratina never gives me the permission to make the souls of the damned miserable with a taste of my own violence anyways. Besides, it's a good way to kill time without actually taking any lives. The irony baffles me at times though."
"Fighting on the grounds from where it all began for me approximately ten years ago or so too. This'll certainly be most interesting. The three of us locked in a battle to see who comes out as the best…" A nostalgic feeling, if not a pleasant one, washed over Mewtwo's extensively powerful mind. While nature had mostly reclaimed the island, decommissioned defense turrets that belonged to Team Rocket in the past littered the isle. The Genetic Pokémon born on this very island chose to keep them there as a memory of the past.
The three legendary Pokémon did not attend Arceus's party mainly because they were the sub-guardians of their own regions. With Mewtwo residing in Kanto, Reaper in Alto Mare, and Epsilon in a secluded island somewhere in Hoenn, they too had just as much responsibility of adhering to their respective regions while protecting them in a world that was in need of restoration and the aftermath of the Uprising War certainly didn't help in giving the three a break once in a while. However, today was their day off and they decided to burn it out with a match that would make them fight to the inch of their lives.
While Mewtwo and Epsilon prepared themselves, Reaper turned his cloaked figure towards the direction that led to Alto Mare. Laughing to himself mentally, he was wondering how the humans that submerged themselves with greed and voice were trying to cause trouble in his hometown. "Thank fate that you're dealing with Rangers instead of me and Laia's older kid, heheheh. Consider yourselves lucky that destiny has a much less severe punishment in mind for you," he chortled darkly at the Sword of Deimos mercenaries and their Pokémon Tech Industries customers.
Detecting a faint signature that was flying away from the isle at high speeds, he savored the day where he would be able to torture the occupant inside the Armored Mobility Suit for all of eternity once his time came.
Several hundred kilometers southeast from Alto Mare, a completely different scenario was unfolding on the relatively desolated environment known as New Island as three legendary Pokémon were pitting themselves against each other in a battle to prove their power. Although it was a friendly scuffle, the collisions of energy and attacks that the three divine beings tossed at each other was anything but soft. Detonations of massive energy, ranging from moderate psychic blasts to miniature black holes, created shockwaves that vibrated throughout the island while sending waves of water to ripple aggressively outwards into the Pacific Ocean with every blast of attack that exploded with brilliant force and precision.
Mewtwo, Reaper, and Epsilon were locked in a three-pronged battle or which every Pokémon was left to fend for himself. It was a match from which all rules were off the table with the exception of not taking each other's lives being the only restriction in effect.
"You think Mew or any other legendary will attempt to punish us for this?" Mewtwo questioned as he utilized telekinesis to levitate several car-sized boulders to protect his relatively frail body (at least when compared to other legendary Pokémon) from a bombardment of knife-like projectiles crafted from ice that Reaper had conjured up from the snowy environment they were battling in. "I'm pretty sure Lugia or Ho-Oh won't be pleased with the chaos that we're causing with our techniques, especially during the holiday seasons."
The evil-looking Latios laughed darkly at the Team Rocket-made legendary, knowing that it was probably an excuse that the Pokémon was using in an attempt to leave the fight. "This zone is classified as training grounds for us. Besides, our techniques aren't strong enough to cause cataclysmic damage, so let loose your shoulders and come at me!" Raising his claws, he conjured up two grey-colored Dragon Pulses before throwing them at his quarries. "This fight seems like it's slowly crawling towards a two versus one battle that's not in my favor, but then…I am possibly the most powerful one out of the three here. If Laia was here, they probably wouldn't be able to even inflict a single scratch on her."
"Not this time!" Mewtwo retaliated before quickly charging an Aura Sphere via focusing his three-fingered hands. Once the orb of pure fighting energy grew to a satisfactory size to the Genetic Pokémon, he flung the explosive sphere of Fighting-type energy at one of the draconic rounds of energy. The collision resulted in an explosion as the two attacks made contact with each other and reacted violently. "Not bad for a servant of Giratina…but you'll soon see that Mew has trained me well enough!"
On the other hand, Epsilon shifted into his defense form-a trait that most Deoxys were well known for. They were able to shift into four different combat forms at will, allowing them to augment their battle tactics as a means of adapting to different situations of combat.
"You think your little defense form will save you from my specialized Dragon Pulse?" Reaper jeered in a sinister but friendly manner as he watched the grey-colored projectile soar towards the Deoxys. "Just don't blame me if my attacks hurt more than normal…being someone in your own class most certainly has its benefits."
It became clear to Reaper that he partially underestimated Epsilon's potential. The moment his Dragon Pulse was about to make contact with the DNA Pokémon, the orange-colored legendary Pokémon raised both of his bulky arms and effortlessly swatted away the Ghost/Psychic/Dragon-type's attack as if he was smacking away a Spearow that thought it had found some easy prey. This caused Reaper's projectile to fly harmlessly into the sky before it dissipated from a lack of energy. However, he didn't give his intended targets any time to collect themselves together for a counterattack as he focused his energy and materialized three psionic shurikens in his right claw. Once they came into existence, he flung them at the two psychics.
Mewtwo and Epsilon reacted just in time to avoid being hit directly by the lethal projectiles-as they sidestepped in opposite directions to evade the fast-flying shots. All three of Reaper's razor-sharp assassination weapons failed to find their targets as they impacted the ground and created miniature detonations of abhorrent energy.
"Well, you're much stronger than I anticipated even after all these years," the ghostly Eon Pokémon remarked. "Now let's see if you can survive this!" Focusing his energy while snarling a bit, he unleashed several bolts of violet-colored electricity. Just like Laia, Reaper was an Eon Dragon in his own class with techniques that only he was allowed to utilize. This made him a formidable opponent but he had a long way to go before he was able to best Laia in a battle. After all, he was an ancient Eon, but he was certainly not the first one.
"Come on Reaper, is that the most I can expect from a Pokémon that claims himself to be an ancient Latios that survived the curse of the Great Poison? Your bolts of electricity are pathetic compared to Zekrom's!" Epsilon commented with a gentleman's voice but at the same time, added a slight tone of mockery to his statement. Dodging the streak of purple-colored thunderbolts, the Deoxys effortlessly evaded the Eon Pokémon that donned a tattered cloak before returning the compliment with a Shadow Ball.
"I wasn't even trying my best. Any amateur can neutralize the most overrated move ever recorded in the history books with enough common sense." Reaper smirked devilishly at the incoming Ghost-typed technique that the former soldier of Entity Three's forces had flung at him. Without saying a word, he allowed the glob of vile energy to make contact with his body and instead of causing tremendous damage to his body due to the typing he possessed the attack was seemingly absorbed into his cloak without any signs of the attack actually harming him. Smiling with a sense of malicious pleasure, he allowed his tattered cloak, which strongly resembled the Reaper Cloth item that allowed Dusclops to achieve evolution into their Dusknoir forms, to flap gracefully in the wind.
"Thanks for the much-needed energy boost. It was most certainly generous of you to provide it for me…and now, it's time to return the favor." He was about to summon his most powerful attack at his disposal, but then decided to "toy" with his opponents a bit more-the battle was just far too fun to end this quickly. After all, he was probably the most experienced Pokémon on the battlefield at the moment-being related to not one, but two Arceans had its own benefits. Add to the fact of status of having survived the influence of Phazon had its bonuses too as it made him far more resistant than a regular Latios while eliminating some of his major natural weaknesses. "That was close. Without that cloak, Ghost and Dark-type moves can easily put great pain in my body."
Just as Epsilon and Mewtwo were about to hurl another long-ranged projectile-based move at the airborne legendary when said Pokémon held out his right claw as a way of signaling them to pause their attacks for a moment. Both Psychic-types immediately ceased gathering energy for said moves as Reaper began voicing his plan to the two grounded Pokémon.
"Say…how about we change the game rules a bit?" the dark-themed Latios suggested, levitating in the winter air steadily as he lowered himself to the ground to meet up with the other two legendary Pokémon.
"Hmm?" Epsilon narrowed his right eye in questioning. "Wasn't this a no-rules match, save for the exception that we do not claim each other's lives in cold blood?"
Mewtwo shrugged a bit with a small grin on his usually emotionless face. "I'm fine with that, although I'm almost certainly positive that Mew, Laia, and Ho-Oh will be complaining that we're practicing the art of killing just for fun. Heh, Team Rocket really wanted me to have a killer instinct…"
Reaper released his signature dark-toned chuckle at the two Psychic-types before offering his intention. "Well, seeing how you two clearly stand no chance against me for obvious type-advantage reasons, how about we redraw the battle lines a bit? I'll let the two of you team up against me in a two versus one match. It's only fair because I am directly related to two Arceans, while one of you is a mere clone and the other has a genetic defect, which clearly reflects your inferiority when it comes to comparing our backgrounds. How about it?"
Both Mewtwo and Epsilon turned their gazes to each other before wondering why the Ghost/Psychic/Dragon-typed Pokémon would provide such a ludicrous idea. They possessed great power for legendary Pokémon and while they didn't really see Reaper's full potential during the Uprising War unless the situation really called for it, they were almost certain that the shadowy Latios had more cards to play than possessing the power of death and the shadows. It didn't help that Reaper possessed a type advantage over the two Psychic-based legendaries. But was Giratina's emissary really planning to fight against odds that would almost certainly mean suicide and ultimate defeat?
"…come on, you do realize that this is a friendly battle and there will be no harm done. I only want to put my skills to the test. You do know that Giratina is not a lenient legendary when it comes to testing her followers. If I do not meet her expectations, I can expect quite the questioning from her. She does not take slackers for an answer," Reaper elaborated, hoping to convince the two legendaries somehow.
The two legendary Pokémon took a moment or two to contemplate Reaper's offer before nodding their heads, the responses giving the ghostly Latios an almost evil-like grin.
"Just remember, I won't pull any punches on you. I'll fight to the best of my abilities and knowledge," Epsilon warned as he sharpened his instincts for battle.
Mewtwo nodded his head in agreement before his eyes gave off an intimidating gleam of red, a sign that he was tapping into his psychic powers. "You can expect utmost brutality from me in battle."
"I expect no less from worthy opponents such as you two considering your performances in the Uprising War against our mortal and destined enemies," Reaper declared, zooming into the air as he commenced the battle while looking forward to a worthwhile match against the two Psychic-typed Pokémon he had trained with for the last few years. "The first move is all yours. Come on; show me what you've learned. Once again, I will treat this as the battles that I've fought in my past, including the First Battle of Alto Mare and the Uprising War."
Realizing that the advantage was all but on their side, Mewtwo and Epsilon took to the skies with their psychic-based levitation abilities in order to fight on more or less equal grounds against their airborne adversary. To start the battle, both Pokémon hurled barrages of Shadow Balls at the lone Latios, approximately half a dozen globs of eerie energy being hurled by both Pokémon. They hoped that the salvos would knock Reaper into submission, granting them a relatively easy win.
Reaper smiled in an almost savage manner as if the incoming globules of undead energy were locked onto him with ferocious speed and accuracy. He mentally focused on the incoming projectiles and once he acquired a firm lock on them, the Eon sent forth a telekinetic wave that caused them explode prematurely and harmlessly in the air. "Is that how you roll out the red carpet? You'll have to try harder than that," he sardonically recommended towards the pair of Psychic-types. "Now it's my turn after you've fired off the first shot."
"I have a feeling that he's toying with us already…" Epsilon presaged as he felt the presence of immense amounts of dark energy emanating from Reaper.
Mewtwo snorted as he shifted into a battle posture, ready to counter whatever attack his opponent was going to hurl at him. "Then we'll wrap up this battle quickly. It's a two on one, so the advantages are in our favor."
Upon catching note of his comment, Reaper smiled sadistically and could only reply with a single thought. "Pathetic amateurs."
Raising both of his draconic claws and directing them at the ground, Reaper proceeded to telekinetically raise two gigantic blocks of ice that formed near the coastlines of the deserted island below. Being the size of houses, it was hard to imagine how anyone would be able to lift them with conventional methods but to Mewtwo and the Deoxys, it was most certainly expected. Both Pokémon decided to counter with the same strategy as each one of them raised boulders that lined the rocky cliffs of the island. To the three Pokémon, it was pretty much a gigantic snowball fight but with snowballs that were anything but soft and painless.
"Copying my tactics, hmm?" Reaper asked with disappointment. "I thought you two would have better ideas of how to counter my telekinetic throws."
"Fight fire with fire, like they always say!" Mewtwo returned his statement before forcing the boulder to fly straight at his target. Epsilon mimicked his actions, hoping to somehow hit the Latios head-on with the second boulder.
The colossal-sized boulders didn't even cause Reaper to blink before he threw the two ice blocks he had in his mental grasp right at the inbound objects, and the collision caused a sizable detonation that caused bits of dirt, dust, ice, rocks, and minerals to fly in all directions. "Time for a small change in my strategies. Starting fights at a Slugma's pace has never been a preferred strategy-it just gives them time for me to analyze my weaknesses. A little shock and awe should knock some senses into them and send a message that they've made a very fatal miscalculation in challenging me. Fighting them with expected tactics is pointless," he deduced quietly in his psyche. Sure, it had been well over two years since he had seen Mewtwo and Epsilon in battle but it wasn't a surprise if the pair of Pokémon learned new battle strategies that could potentially counter his own.
As the cloud of debris from the collision of the four projectiles continued to obscure the battle area, Reaper quickly vanished from the sights and senses of both of his adversaries. Once a gust of wind blew by and cleared out the visual obstructions, his opponents were no longer able to sense his presence in the area, let alone see him to begin with.
"…where'd he go? Did he run away in fear?" Mewtwo amusingly commented. "What a disappointment! I guess we won the battle, huh? But without doubt, it can't be this easy!"
"Oh, no…not in several million years," Epsilon warned with an extremely cautious tone as he was able to trace down Reaper's energy signatures from all directions. "If anything, he expects us to think that way. Psychological tactics are among one of his favorites. He wants us to believe he deserted the fight."
The island environment soon descended into a state of complete silence as an eerie atmosphere drifted by. The shadow Latios was nowhere to be seen and both Psychic legendaries were whirling their heads around in confusion while trying to pick up the slightest trace of Reaper's life force. It was only a few moments later when Epsilon realized the horrible truth behind the disappearance of the Eon Dragon. "Wait a minute…I've seen this somewhere before. Only the most powerful Ghost-types can learn such a move, and with Reaper among one of them and his affiliation with Giratina as the goddess of death, it means…he's about to use that one move!"
It was clear that Reaper was about to execute his own version of Shadow Force, a technique that was only available to Giratina and her most trusted disciples. Epsilon's estimation was confirmed to be correct as a ripple of dark energy opened up from behind him and Mewtwo, a single figure flying forth but this time, the stature of the being was seen to be wielding a sword-like weapon of some kind.
"Mewtwo, defensive countermeasures, now!" the Deoxys quickly warned as he shifted into his speed form. After completing his transformation, he decided to arm himself against the threat by morphing his right arm into a blade-like weapon composed of pure psychic energy.
Mewtwo managed to catch his partner's order just in the nick of time and he too summoned forth a psychic-like broadsword that he wielded with both arms.
"Not bad. I thought they would panic from my disappearance. Shame that considering psychological ops combined with assassination-style techniques is surprisingly effective if pulled off correctly," Reaper thought while flying full speed towards the two DNA-related legendary Pokémon as his right claw brandished one of the two weapons of his choice. This time, he decided to stick with a katana that he referred to as the Eclipse Razor.
"So, he knows how to wield swords too, it seems…I guess that evens the ground on our part. Projectile-based battles are disinteresting to me anyways!" Mewtwo remarked fiercely as he charged at Reaper and swung his psychic-energy based broadsword at the ghostly Eon Dragon. Reaper returned the compliment with a swift block that quickly intercepted the Genetic Pokémon's own melee-based weapon, and the collision between the two weapons caused another violent reaction that released a bright spark of energy.
"Impressive display, but a weapon is only as useful as the skill of the wielder, and the wielder is only so powerful depending on the experience one possesses," Reaper advised as he and Mewtwo were locked in a fierce brawl of who would perform better with swords.
"The humans made me for war and I'll prove it to you why that is the indefinite reason!" Mewtwo fiercely snarled back as he knocked Reaper's sword out of his hand with an unexpected surprise blow, causing it to fly out of his grasp as it flew through the air. The successful scene of actually being able to disarm his opponent for once gave Mewtwo a small sense of accomplishment as he prepared to deliver the blow right into his quarry's head. "You said there would be no punches pulled, so don't complain if this hurts a little more than normal!"
Reaper blinked a bit from the brute violence that Mewtwo displayed, but was clearly unimpressed by the setup. "He clearly thinks this battle will be over in a blink of an eye. I can't blame him, but it's time to make him face the dark reality."
As the sword descended from the air and towards Reaper's head, the Eon Dragon released a sinister smile before stopping Mewtwo's finishing blow…with his bare claw. The Genetic Pokémon's expression transformed from a confident one to a facial look that clearly screamed confusion as he was no longer able to force the sword-for some reason, Reaper actually managed to stop a weapon that could sear through an Aggron's thick armor with nothing more than the two nails on his claws! "…wh…what!?" Mewtwo uttered with shock, wondering how it was even possible to stop a sword that would easily cleave through most types of material like a chainsaw through butter.
"You seem to have missed my point. Your skills are inadequate and you are overconfident in your abilities. I certainly expected better from you," Reaper recited his line from earlier before unleashing a powerful telekinetic wave that forced Mewtwo to fly back at least thirty feet from his current position. The sword's blade remained in the grasp of the Ghost/Psychic/Dragon-type, the blade not inflicting any sign of damage in his grasp save a tiny trickle of blood that oozed from an insignificant wound that was invisible to the naked eye.
Reaching out his other free hand, the Eclipse Razor flew back to its owner as if it possessed some degree of sentience and the handle of the legendary blade of the deceased was once again in the grip of its rightful possessor.
Mewtwo huffed and panted with slight exhaustion. While the enemies he fought in the Uprising War were merciless and skilled, Reaper made them look like a day's worth of field training. The shadow Eon was basically mocking the born-to-kill legendary Pokémon with his display of attitude and behavior towards him!
"I think this belongs to you," Reaper coolly spoke before throwing the sword right at Mewtwo, the latter catching it by the handle as he felt great anger and discontent towards his opponent. "Was that the best you can do? If that's the case, then I'm afraid you've already lost the battle."
"The battle has only begun!" Mewtwo growled as he fired off a Psycho Boost, a pulsating orb of psychic energy channeled into a destructive sphere of power that was similar in fashion to an Aura Sphere. "Stand and survive this attack if you dare!"
"Self-indulgent fool…" Reaper sneered, his right claw firmly clenched around the Eclipse Razor. While he could easily cause the signature move that could only be learned by Mewtwo himself or Deoxys to detonate in midair or have it absorbed/deflected via the tattered cloak he wore, he decided to put on a display of power of just how much potential he possessed.
While Mewtwo was anticipating the sight of a fallen Latios having been annihilated by his dreaded Psycho Boost, Epsilon looked on with an anxious and tense expression. Was it truly possible that Reaper was really as powerful as Laia? The Eon Dragoness, despite her grand beauty and motherly personality towards her closest companions, was borderline immortal and proficient in battle should she need to rise up and contribute to a conflict even though she was clearly a peacekeeper. She could easily defeat any opponent with her light-based moves-now Epsilon was wondering if Reaper was just as skilled and near-invincible as the legendary Arcean Goddess, if not stronger.
As the aurora sphere of psionic energy closed in on Reaper, he delivered the slash and caused Mewtwo's attack to explode with unmatched force, throwing up another obscuring cloud that was composed of choking smog.
Mewtwo laughed with a triumphant tone as he felt his target's life force diminish. "Well, I suppose I win this match. You shouldn't have gotten so cocky, Reaper. Did you honestly think your sword could save you from my secret technique? You made a horrible mistake thinking that you could match us-"
He wasn't able to finish his sentence as Reaper darted from the blur and right at him, sword raised.
"W-what!? He stopped my Psycho Boost and survived a detonation of it right up in his face!? Just how many tricks does he have?" Mewtwo was starting to show signs of panic against an enemy that was so unrelenting and skilled in his trade but nevertheless refused to simply fall over and admit defeat without a serious battle.
"Are you afraid, Mewtwo? Are the psychological impacts of this battle finally wearing you out? What happened? Where's your confidence and oh-I-am-so-sure-of-myself personality of yours?" Reaper criticized with a mixture of mockery and anger as he forced Mewtwo on the defensive again with his barrages of sword strikes. "The shadows are on my side now…and they will consume your very soul once this battle's curtains lower in conclusion."
"Yes, but they will also be your downfall!" Mewtwo shot back before attempting to seize Reaper's figure with a telekinetic grab, only to fail. The Emissary of Giratina projected a black aura around his body, nullifying all Psychic-typed attacks and giving the Genetic Pokémon further disenchantment.
As Reaper simpered at his opponent with sadism, Mewtwo raised his sword and hacked it against the force field…only for it to send off a repulsing wave that forced the Team Rocket mutant clone to be forced back again. The grey-furred Latios dropped the defensive barrier, wondering if his two allies were doomed to defeat at his hands.
Mewtwo began to feel slightly queasy after expending so much energy in a fight that was comparable to supersonic speeds in terms of the battle's pacing. "He's more powerful than I anticipated him to be. I suppose that's his secret…he trains in absolute secrecy and seclusion so no one is able to learn the clandestine tactics he has up his sleeve. He may not have received much training, but I do have to give him credit for being a survivor of the Great Poison, or as the humans and the wretched Team Rocket and the UAAF named it, Phazon…"
"Think fast!" Reaper called out without warning as he flung two psionic shurikens composed of wraithlike and spectral energy from his claws and straight at his target.
"Curses…" Mewtwo hissed as he darted to his right side to quickly evade the sinister projectiles that harmlessly flew by him, but it was a close call as one threatened to sear straight through the skin on his left arm. "He can even throw sneak attacks at me without delay! Sure, I'm not even ten years old, but truly, he's clearly holding back his power…there's just something about him that many of us fail to understand, but I won't let that dishearten me from wiping that smirk off his face!"
He didn't have any more time to continue reflecting the current situation of the battle as the Latios rushed headlong at him again and forced Mewtwo into another swordfight of his life.
While the battle continued to rage between Mewtwo and Reaper, Epsilon was stuck between fighting morally and seizing the advantage on his part. He could easily ambush Reaper in the back with one swift strike of his own sword arm, but that would mean playing unfairly. He was an honorable Pokémon that fought with honor and he certainly would never take unfair advantage over his opponent, especially not one who was a faithful ally to him. However, a chain of events caused him to conflict between his own ideals and the outcome of the match, especially after how much close calls in regard to Reaper striking vital organs on Mewtwo's body, including the tube-like extension on the back of Mewtwo's head.
"Epsilon, help me out here!" Mewtwo yelled in desperation while attempting to ward off the deadly blade that Reaper wielded, which was met with rather inadequacy on his part as the Eclipse Razor that the cloaked Latios wielded threatened to rend through his skin viciously. "Strike him in the rear already!"
"Your deficiency of skills in swordplay is disappointing me Mewtwo, and I wouldn't be so confident in launching successful sneak attacks on me. I didn't challenge you to a two versus one battle without planning ahead!" Reaper mordantly commented as he repeatedly parried the clone of Mew's slashes and returned with strikes that threatened to sear through the flesh and bone of the legendary Psychic-type. Since it was a friendly match, he ensured that no physical harm would be inflicted but the drainage of energy and exhaustion was still possible. With every slash that Mewtwo managed to score, Reaper caused five more hits to land on the Pokémon. Even though the reflexes of the Team Rocket biological weapon were working at their prime levels to battle, it was clear that Reaper was the better individual in terms of the art of sword-fighting.
Mewtwo's death-inducing glare never left Reaper's own dark expression as he continued to fight with everything he could possibly utilize. But since he needed a good amount of time and space to charge up much-needed projectile attacks to a significant level, he had to resort to circumventing incoming strikes from Reaper's Eclipse Razor using his own psychic broadsword or his iron-hard tail. "Damn…he's powerful…I always knew he was an expert with the traditional attacks that his family is well known for, but this is just outright insane! I can't keep this up forever!"
Epsilon balled up his left tentacle into a fist, and finally decided to join in on the battle. He couldn't just stand by and watch Mewtwo get pummeled into the dirt even if it meant it was a friendly battle. He rushed forward as his right blade-arm was drawn and at the ready to send off a deadly blow.
It wasn't even a surprise to Reaper at all that the Deoxys would eventually join the battle sooner or later-as a matter of fact, he was rather disappointed in the fact it took so long for the DNA Pokémon to make up his mind. Smirking with deliberately cruel pleasure, Reaper tapped into his inner powers and decided to quickly add his own twist to the fight. "Now it gets fun. I can only imagine if a shadow copy of me is able to successfully fend off a full-fledged legendary Pokémon that's on par with Alto Mare's Latios."
Just as Epsilon was about to make contact with his psionic arm-blade, a shadow copy of Reaper leapt out from the original shadowlike Eon's body and intercepted his blow with another duplicate of the Eclipse Razor. The former servant of Entity Three widened his eyes with a combination of awe, shock, and terror. A completely black figure of Reaper had managed to stop him dead in his tracks as if he was fighting a perfect clone of the original Latios himself!
"That's…that's the exact same ability that Laia possesses!" Epsilon gasped with shock. He remembered how the ascended Arcean Goddess was able to produce perfect copies of the dragoness and while each individual mimicked copy was nowhere near the power of the progenitor, they were still effective combatants when pitted against human weaponry and mortal Pokémon. Laia often used this ability to deceive and confuse her opponents and it was generally effective since with each clone that was defeated, two more would take the fallen illusion's place. But now, it was definitely newsflash that Reaper himself possessed such a unique ability that was technically the divine variation of Double Team.
The shadow facsimile swatted Epsilon's blade out of the way before delivering a blunt strike with the sword's handle, causing the Deoxys to recoil as the blade struck his gut. While he wasn't harmed, he was certainly jarred as every cell in his body rang out in numbness. "And the shadows are perfectly capable of fighting just as effectively as the original one himself. I am stunned."
The shadow copy flung a new projectile weapon towards the DNA Pokémon. It was identified as a razor-sharp knife-like weapon that was identified to be a psionic kunai. Epsilon quickly sidestepped to avoid the incoming blade, the assassination tool flying by harmlessly before dissipating into the air. "Now kunais? I suppose Zekrom wasn't the only legendary out there that loved to use his own sets of customized weapons!"
The original Reaper wrapped up the first round of the battle as he shattered Mewtwo's sword with one swift hack that reduced the psionic-reinforced blade into nothing more than multiple shards of pink-colored glass. Shocked at how his weapon was reduced to nothingness, the Genetic Pokémon had his mind thrown into a chasm of doubt and uncertainty as Reaper struck him once more with a blunt strike. Knocking his adversary back, the almost phantom-like Latios spun his sword in a manner similar to an expert gunfighter toying with his prized revolver on the onset of a gun-duel in the old Wild West. "Well, that's round one for you. Have you had enough, or do you desire for more misery and pain? If that was the best you were giving me, I'm afraid that you have a lot more training to undergo. But since you're both amateur Pokémon…that is an exception I can understand on my part." The shadow duplicate of the ancient Latios sided with its original master as it floated silently, waiting for its next order.
"I refuse to give in like this," Mewtwo announced as two auras of psychic energy began to form on his alien-like hands. "I am still certain that Epsilon and I are able to defeat you and even if we don't, I've got plenty of energy left within me."
Epsilon didn't say anything but from Reaper's point of view, it was clear that he was also unwilling to leave the battle without trying.
"That's the spirit," Reaper complimented with a positive-sounding voice. "Now, let's change the situation once again…I hope you're prepared for my next attack, because I'm sure the Administrators and Guardians of the Earth would certainly be displeased if I misused this attack."
Mewtwo and Epsilon continued to observe what the Ghost/Psychic/Dragon-type Latios had in mind. Stashing his Eclipse Razor securely back into his cloak, Reaper rechanneled his energy into delivering the next move that was possibly one of the strongest Dragon-type attacks in existence. As he collected a mixture of both draconic and spectral power from the very veins of his body, the shadow version of Reaper merged with its original creator as the eerie glow continued to intensify with great power to the point where it inflicted pain on both Mewtwo and Epsilon's eyes for simply staring into the sinister projections of light. Considering the time it took so long to charge the attack, both Psychic-type Pokémon were now aware that Giratina's most entrusted servant was about to summon the ultimate move by Dragon Pokémon-the one that was greatly feared by those who had seen in action as it could easily clear entire armies with one swift bombardment and lay great devastation to major population centres.
"…he's about to summon Draco Meteor!" Epsilon gasped with shock. "We have to counter and evade somehow, but it's by far one of the most difficult moves to avoid in existence!"
Mewtwo, having known the attack all too well, had his eyes firmly locked on the abandoned assortment of defensive systems that were left behind by Team Rocket. While he had left the lab in utter ruins when he first fled from his accursed birthplace, the defenses were largely left untouched after Giovanni's officers ordered a full evacuation of the island. Ever since the island became a natural sanctuary for the Genetic Pokémon and any visitors that he welcomed warmly, he eventually learned to remotely control the turrets as a means of deterring unwanted invaders. "Take control of the gun turrets via telekinesis. Use them to shoot down the Draco Meteors. Then we'll move in for the finish, as Reaper will be weakened upon using the energy-draining move. On our own, the mass number of meteors raining on our heads will make it far too difficult for us to take them all down while avoiding the projectiles at the same time."
Both Epsilon and Mewtwo quickly descended towards the ground and took control of the two dozen weapon systems that were scattered throughout the islet. While they were dilapidated and were likely to be in poor condition considering their age, they still worked and were effective deterrent against most threats, especially airborne ones.
Reaper ejected the sphere from his chest as the globe of Dark and Dragon-type energy rose steadily into the air. He observed his two adversaries with interest as he noticed them taking rapid control of the Team Rocket land-based weapons and couldn't help but congratulate them for their ingenuity. "A most interesting yet impromptu tactic. They'll only learn how powerful my Draco Meteor is, even though it isn't even close on par with Lord Rayquaza's."
The violent orb that resembled a miniature dark sun detonated like a red giant entering its supernova stage, and with a blinding explosion, approximately forty smaller projectiles that were shaded in a dark hue of purple and black descended across the battlefield, ready to saturate what remained of New Island into absolute oblivion.
Mewtwo and Epsilon immediately manipulated each and every active weapon on the island as a hail of bullets, lasers and missiles rose from each and every system to meet the incoming meteors. Smaller explosions erupted in the evening sky as both sides' attacks met with each other with unrelenting onslaught. Some of Reaper's meteor strikes managed to get through the defensive field of human-manufactured ordnance and this prompted both Psychic-types on the ground to abandon their efforts to bring the Draco Meteor strikes to a dead halt.
Both the Genetic and DNA Pokémon took off into the air as a wave of massive explosions laid waste to most of the island's natural structure, leaving nothing but steaming craters in the wake of the impacts from the smaller Draco Meteors. Levitating to the level of Reaper, they came to the realization that the only way to defeat the Eon Pokémon was to engage him in close-ranged combat. If they could not counter his Draco Meteor in any way, then there was no hope in terms of indirect engagements for the duo.
The two had failed to stop the bombardments even with the aid of the natural environment around them. Now the pair of Psychic-type legendaries could only ponder so deeply as to what Reaper had ready to throw at them next.
"Ah, so you two have come to your pathetic senses that fighting me in ranged combat is futile. A wise decision, I'll say…perhaps I should finish this quickly and be done with it. If you cannot survive my Draco Meteor, then your loss is all but reality. Now, prepare to meet my ultimate move…Shadow Eradication!"
Both Mewtwo and Epsilon raised their eyes as they looked on in absolute shock-it was clear to them that the spectral Eon was about to use his own customized variation of Luster Purge. While an attack of the same name created a massive explosion of pure psionic energy, Reaper was able to customize his own attacks as he saw fit due to his uniqueness. As his eyes emanated a gleam of blood-red from his pupils, a massive amount of mental and dark energy was drawn from his body to immeasurable levels. Once he felt it was sufficient to deal enough damage to his two adversaries, he unleashed a black/violet-shaded orb that repeatedly continued to collapse on itself like a miniature black hole, the swirling vortex moving forward while causing unstable distortions in the air as if it was draining the very oxygen from the environment it was slowly consuming.
The pair of Psychic-type legendaries immediately attempted to throw a pair of Psycho Boosts to halt it somehow, but their energy balls of psychic energy was quickly devoured by the relatively-slow paced black hole as it moved in on them.
"…that's not good," Mewtwo muttered, fearing for the worst. "It consumed our Psycho Boosts like a full course meal!"
Epsilon didn't say anything as he shifted into his defense form again, crossing his fingers and praying that his advanced anatomy that was built for survival would protect him from the massive detonation of mysterious energy that made up Reaper's signature attack. For some inexplicable reason, the approaching attack had them locked down and unable to flee-in reality, the minuscule black hole actually prevented them from escaping.
As his two opponents expected the worst, Reaper detonated the black hole as a gigantic force of unstable energy knocked Mewtwo and Epsilon to the ground, causing every cell in their bodies to ring out in pain from the damage inflicted. Grunting the two legendaries shifted back to their feet and was able to continue their resistance when an unexpected visitor interrupted their three-way battle.
"That's enough training for one day, Reaper. Aren't you afraid that you might beat those two poor guys into submission? That Shadow Eradication of yours might be a bit too strong for training usages," a soothing yet authoritative voice commanded.
Having recognized the voice all too well, the shadow Eon Dragon disengaged almost immediately before returning his mind into a relaxed but partially alert state. Helping Mewtwo and Epsilon to their feet, he congratulated them with a look of proudness for being able to last that long against him, despite their level of experience when compared to his.
The trio of legendary Pokémon caught the voice in their ears before they turned their attention to the speaker of the message. At first sight, the three had thought that Lord Rayquaza had arrived on the scene to punish them for the catastrophic damage they had caused on the island, even if it was legitimate training grounds. However, upon closer inspection, Reaper came to realize that it wasn't the Great Dragon Emperor of all Dragon-type Pokémon that inhabited Earth but rather, his adopted "daughter". While there were little aesthetic differences between the two, she donned a pair of pink-colored ribbons that flowed from her armored fins on her head and there was also a butterfly-style bowtie in between the section of her body that joined both her arms. On the other hand, Mewtwo and Epsilon were utterly terrified of Rayquaza upon seeing him-or at least, something that resembled him.
"Oh crap, I knew this would happen," Epsilon groaned with a slightly bored-sounding voice. "Are you here to blow us away with a Dragon Pulse just because of the collateral damage we caused?"
"No, I'm not Rayquaza, you big dummy. I'm her adopted daughter, Oichi!" the dragoness bluntly answered. "But I am here to give you all a small talk on behalf of Lord Arceus himself."
"Well, at least it's not Mew. I hope," Mewtwo sighed with relief. Every time the pint-sized legendary made her appearance and gave her speeches, he could expect to go home with a serious migraine that would last for weeks.
"Fancy seeing you here," the shadow Eon Pokémon politely greeted and disengaged his cloak and with the Eclipse Razor, they dissolved into nothingness. The fact he had taken off his threadbare cloak was out of respect-what stood before the eyes of everyone on the scene was a Latios with grey-colored fur as opposed to the bluish scheme that the male side of the species was well known for. "Uh…sorry for the destruction here, but you know how messy training sessions often end up."
The dragoness giggled a bit before gesturing the three Pokémon to land on the island. "Well, I think I need a word with you three regarding what happened today. Don't worry; I'm not here to punish you. Because my father would be here instead if that was certainly the case!"
Without saying a word, the three Pokémon descended to the ground before making themselves comfortable, and the female Rayquaza coiled herself down as a means communicating with the smaller legendary Pokémon.
"So, what's with the urgent message?" Epsilon queried as he shifted back into his normal form.
Oichi held both of her claws together with a small smile of delight. "Well, Lord Arceus wishes you all a Merry Christmas. Considering you three never showed up to his party twice in a row, he was not pleased about it. The same was for Lord Rayquaza but his reason was legitimate since as you know, he has very little time to focus on relaxation."
"Yeah, about that…" Reaper nervously chuckled, trying to find a reasonable way to counter the statement. "You can say that celebratory events are just not for those who dislike social events."
"You seemed to take the training session a bit too seriously though. Shouldn't you loosen up a bit with the training? I could hear you criticizing Mewtwo and Epsilon's weaknesses from two hundred miles away!" Oichi laughed. To the dragoness, if there was one individual that was able to potentially best some of the best drill instructors that served under her father's command, the recognition would definitely go to Reaper himself.
"He is a bit strict, I'll admit. But I've seen worse," Mewtwo admitted, remembering when he spent a day under Lord Rayquaza's command after he started a fight with Darkrai as an act of revenge after the Sinnoh legendary would never stop attempting to pick a fight with him over something he couldn't bother to remember. "That was some training you gave me there so thanks, it's much appreciated. Although I do want to learn some of your secrets behind that Shadow Eradication move of yours…"
Epsilon slapped the back of Reaper with his left limb with a welcoming manner. "Aye, but next time we have one of these sessions, be a little gentler please? You should learn how to fight in a nobler manner, because you had me worried there with your constant sneak attacks!"
Reaper laughed a bit as he wondered how he was going to reply to all the statements. "To start things off, thanks for your appreciation of the training session-glad you enjoyed it. And Oichi," he turned to the Sky High Pokémon before continuing with, "Brutal training produces fine warriors and that's a known fact. If you think I'm harsh, then you should spend a day in one of the Reverse Realm's military camps. I make their strictest drill instructors look gentle! And Epsilon…I'll take your recommendation sometime but get with the facts; I'm Giratina's Emissary. She expects me to be sneaky and change the rules to my favor. But if you want a more fair battle next time, then I'm all ears. But then, with all the peace and stability for the last few years…I do wish there was some threat that actually stood a chance against me." The shadowy Latios inhaled a deep breath of cold air and turned to Mewtwo. "And nope, the secrets of my signature move will remain clandestine with me."
"It's that much of a hidden truth?" the Genetic Pokémon asked.
Reaper simply eyed at him with his crimson-red pupils. "Can't answer that. I'll leave that as a riddle for your mind. It's been a mystery for well over a thousand years and it will continue to remain so."
The four legendary Pokémon continued their discussion late into the night, where they eventually decided to stay on New Island for the rest of the evening before finding something else to do in the following morning.
It was what Reaper requested from his legendary friends that surprised them. Never in the hearts of Mewtwo and Epsilon would they realize that the phantomlike Latios would be performing such an act of goodwill. Oichi was a bit surprised too but since she knew the Eon Dragon for quite some time, it was expected from him.
Tree of Beginning, Undisclosed Location
Although Ash and several of his friends wished to continue their Christmas celebrations with endless meals and plenty of relaxation, fate had something completely different for the Pokémon Trainer as he was soon assigned to continue his training at the unnamed natural reserve in the northern region of Kanto. This area, left almost completely untouched by civilization save for the few environmentally-friendly human settlements in the area, was the home to the Tree of Beginning-a sacred location from which all of Earth's life force was contained at.
During the Uprising War, it was another vital target for the Team Rocket/UAAF alliance. The destruction of the consecrated site would surely mean the destruction of all life on Earth, as the Tree of Beginning was one of the last few original points on Earth that provided much-needed pure energy for all the living beings of Earth. With its importance to the legendaries and their allies alike, Giovanni and Zetta opted on a full-scale air assault on what was thought to be a lightly-defended area with almost no resistance whatsoever. However, what met them was possibly the fiercest form of defense imaginable. A collection of Pokémon Rangers, Kanto Defense Force battalions, wild Pokémon, and several legendary Pokémon had awaited the arrival of the air fleet that threatened to scorch the source of most life on Earth into the ground.
While the battle was inevitably won with unavoidable casualties, traces of the great conflict could still be found in the sector from which the battle was fought. Wrecked vehicles and their debris of both ally and enemy origins could be found around the sites while graves for those who had fallen in the battle were established. As nature and few traces of human habitation was beginning to restore the battered environment to its healthy state, Ash and several of his friends decided to pay a visit not for vacation, but to train. Of course, since it was during the winter season, the lush, green terrain was replaced with endless dunes of snow that covered the entire environment.
"Come on, Ash. You can do better than that. Use your mind and channel your Aura into moving those rocks over there. With your capabilities, I am positive that you are more than capable of levitating them into the air without too much trouble," Ash's instructor encouraged after he witnessed the trainer's failure to successfully move the obstacles with the power of the Aura.
"I know Riley, but it's such a difficult task! I mean, Larissa and Lachlan make it seem so easy but in this case…it appears to be a lot more difficult than it actually looks!" Ash huffed as a result while his body sweated profusely after exerting so much power. "I suppose that's what happens when I spend three years off doing nothing but trying to win yet another league."
The Aura Trainer hailing from Sinnoh chuckled at his remark. "Since you were off duty, I don't think it would be fair that you would have to take part in our cleanup operations. But then, it is a shame to know that your control over the Aura has diminished ever since you stopped utilizing them."
"Which is the exact reason why we have to bring you back into shape," his Lucario added. "We can't have your body stay at an inferior level when there are plenty of responsibilities waiting for you to be taken care of. Even in times of peace, there is no reason to lean back and become accustomed to a lack of productivity."
"I suppose…" Ash trailed off as he perched himself on a rock, grumbling a bit as his body began to feel more and more tired with each passing second. "Am I the only one that's not having fun right now!?"
"Not one bit," Laia answered his question as the Arcean Dragoness's feathers gave off a faint but warm glow of golden-colored light. "Quite a few of our friends have other tasks to adhere to, so don't feel alone. Even then, my daughter and I are willing to bear with your training, so can you let off on the complaining a bit once in a while?" She giggled warmly upon completing the last sentence of her statement.
"Mom's right!" Larissa added. "I'm willing to train with you, so why not treat it like an excursion? Besides, it's nice to visit the Tree of Beginning and see some beautiful scenery once in a while."
Ash leaned back and looked at the clouds that drifted by the sky up above. The daughter of the first Latias did strike a point here-it did indeed feel refreshing and rejuvenating to visit the origin from which all life started on Earth. The fact that it was one of the last few such sites in the world meant that its importance was increased tenfold, as the other sites throughout the planet were destroyed by human expansion and industrialization. The legendaries themselves did not intervene-they would know that mankind would learn its lessons soon enough for its destructive measures of expanding their vast empire. Simply inhaling a breath of fresh oxygen generated by the massive tree brought a sense of freshness and relief that washed all the impurities of his body away almost instantly.
"Since I'm feeling a bit tired too, let's take a break, shall we? I suppose it's not a good idea to follow Reaper's style of training…" Laia recommended, wondering how Lord Rayquaza's oldest child was always so harsh and demanding with his recruits.
"Good idea," Riley's Lucario added.
As Larissa and her mother continued to playfully converse with each other while Riley's Lucario meditated to stay in tune with his Aura, Ash turned to Riley, the latter who was staring blankly at the distant vegetation growth in the distance. The Tree of Beginning itself was colossal as it easily rivaled the sizes of the skyscrapers that made the majority of Celadon City's skyline. "Thinking about him, Riley?" Ash asked.
Riley nodded a bit as a small but visible smile drifted across his mature and pale-looking face. "Yes. It's hard to wonder that you and I are both descendants of the great Sir Aaron, the legendary Aura Knight. But I suppose it's a difficult feeling to accept at times. Even Kellyn himself was flabbergasted when his linkage with Noriko were discovered. How can I complain? Life can really throw some unexpected curveballs at us. I suppose that's the reason why I stepped up to help Havoc in his efforts to liberate Sinnoh prior to the Uprising War. I just hope how the old man's doing, haha." Both he and the Pokémon Ranger had grown to become close friends and would often meet up with each other whenever either of them had some free time on their hands.
"So do you think you'll be able to go back to your old life of Pokémon research?" Ash queried.
Riley shook his head with an uncertain expression. "I doubt it. When you're constantly working in joint operations with the Pokémon Rangers and other forms of law enforcement, it's highly implausible that I'll be able to go back to my original field of work. What about you, Ash?"
"I'll probably continue to travel as a Pokémon Trainer, I suppose! But I'll keep track of my training for the day I eventually become a legendary myself." Compared to his other allies and teammates, Ash was never a person to focus too much on the negative aspects in his life. Even as a teenager, he was constantly cheerful and upbeat but this had the unfortunate side-effect of constantly annoying his teammates. This was probably because the Pallet Town native's life was trouble free for most of his years-he didn't have to deal with the darker sides of life. On the plus side, though, this meant that he was a trusted figure and while no one, humans and legendaries alike, would ever put him in charge of great responsibility he was often a good motivational figure, if a not-so-successful one.
After the Uprising War, it was clear that a new generation of guardians would have to supplement the other legendary Pokémon that were already in charge of ensuring the stability of the planet. Upon victory of the series of vicious battles, it became clear to Arceus that all the individuals that fought against the Team Rocket and United Aerospace Armed Forces menace were the ones that would become the next delegates. Just like in ancient times when Noriko united various warriors and commanders of different backgrounds to bring forth an age of prosperity and stability to the region, it was necessary for the legendaries to form everlasting relationships with those who treated them as friends and loved ones as opposed to tools or something to be feared.
Of course, it would require training and tests that would push the body, mind, and will of the individuals to the limits before they would be allowed to achieve the status as legendary Pokémon.
"So Riley…about the legendary Pokémon thing and whatnot…" Ash mumbled a bit, wondering how he was going to word the question in a proper format. "Are you going for it?"
Riley shrugged his shoulders and leaned back on the snow-covered grass. "That is a question that I will not be able to provide a clear answer to for a very long time. It would be hard to adapt to the new life, but it sounds like an experience that is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Of course, I have to train, just like you. Then, I'm sure Arceus and the rest of the legendary caste will give you plenty of time to make your final decision, so don't stress about it. In the meantime, why don't you enjoy what you wish to pursue? And of course, make Larissa happy while trying not to set her on fire. I can't stress that enough!"
"Yeah, very funny…" Ash muttered with a tint of red in his cheeks. It was a common running gag within his circle of friends, much to the Pokémon Trainer's dismay.
A short distance away from the pair of conversing humans, Larissa was having fun in the snow as she quickly constructed a figure from the material that resembled Groudon himself. "Hey mom, how does this look? I built a snow figure in the image of Groudon himself!"
"Oh sweetheart," Laia giggled as she saw her daughter's handiwork. "It looks fine and all, but I believe you made his head a bit too small in comparison to his body!"
Both mother and daughter couldn't help but laugh at the silly mistake. They had to admit, seeing Groudon with an unusually small head was quite the amusing sight. The pair of feminine Eon Pokémon took their time to construct several more snow figures until they managed to finish quite a sizable collection that composed of a wide variety of wild Pokémon that would occasionally come by and greet the visitors. Many of them were appalled by the fact that two of Sir Aaron's descendants were present but it was the beauty and grace of Larissa and Laia that awed the wild Pokémon.
"They must think we're here to bless them," Laia commented tenderly as she winked at some of the Pokémon that were absolutely stunned by her figure. "Well, I certainly hope that our visit will bring a type of fortune to their lives."
"So mom, how come the Tree of Beginning has such a great significance on our history?" Larissa asked her mother with a tone of curiosity and sweetness.
"Have you forgotten already?" the ascended Eon Dragoness asked with a small giggle. "You certainly are a forgetful one."
"You do know that kind of stuff is never important, so I don't bother remembering it all! History is boring and interesting at the same time!" she admitted with a girlish giggle at the end of her mental comment. "So can you tell it to me again?"
Laia sighed with a sense of distress, wondering if her daughter would ever grow up to learn that there was more to life than simply having fun when she didn't need to step up to combat threats alongside her allies. "Oh, alright…I suppose it wouldn't hurt to tell the story for the hundredth time."
While the ancient Eon told the story to her beloved daughter, Riley and Ash simply kicked themselves back in relaxation as they observed the two psychic dragonesses with a sense of gratefulness. For one thing, the Aura Trainer from Sinnoh couldn't help but wonder if Ash was just lucky or fated that he would always come into contact with these magnificent creatures. Just like all the other members he worked with, simply being able to admire the beauty of the goddesses was enough. He didn't believe in capturing and holding them against their will, although they were more than willing to act as Pokémon battlers for him, or any of his other friends for that matter, should they need a little extra support in their teams.
Mass Cemetery, Levis Town, Unova
"Continue to rest in peace, brother. May the souls of the afterlife continue to keep you company."
The crimson-haired teenager placed a bouquet of flowers on the tombstone of where the remains of his fallen brother were stored. While they were nothing more than the ashes of his sibling, he was still able to sense his presence even though he was living on in the afterlife. Staring up into the sky, he watched the grey clouds roll by in the cold winter sky before releasing a breath of tiredness, the white-tinted vapor drifting into the air before disappearing into nothingness.
The cemetery he was currently visiting was a vast grave for all the individuals that had perished in the Uprising War. Civilians, combatants, humans and Pokémon alike were either buried or had their graves established in a wide area that was roughly the size of a football field. It was a standing piece of testament to just how many lives were taken by the one conflict that united mortals and immortals alike in a last stand for their fight for survival.
Zephyr's mind embroiled itself into a mixture of both bitter and sweet feelings upon thinking about his brother. The part human/part Zoroark hybrid had to berate himself that his younger sibling by the name of Zargabaath (at least that was what the official sources referred to him as) was brainwashed by Red Falcon, a terrorist/criminal syndicate that had extraordinarily strong ties with the UAAF. A series of conflicts and encounters eventually led to the two brothers to engage each other in a duel to the death. While he had the opportunity to liberate his younger sibling and bring him back to his family, the opportunity was all but a lost hope when both were critically injured when the very facility they were fighting in began to collapse on itself. Although Zargabaath's Pokémon lived to tell the tale and Zephyr had given them to two Pokémon Rangers he entrusted considering the righteous hearts both individuals possessed, the owner himself didn't.
As he eventually joined up with other members that were fighting on the side of the legendary Pokémon, Zephyr parted with the two Pokémon that belonged to their former master. Keeping them was only a dark reminder of the past of how he inevitably failed to protect his brother when he needed the aid the most. However, both Pokémon promised that they would visit the brother of their now deceased trainer as often as they could, and of course, the two Pokémon Rangers that were taking care of them lived up to that promise.
"And I have to owe Xander my life…" Zephyr reminded himself quietly as he placed a hand over his chest. The Zoroark, being one of his most dearly loved Pokémon, sacrificed himself too to save his master by combining the essence of his soul into his master's body. "While I continue to elude death like a divine wind, there will come a day where I will not be so lucky."
When that day will be was only a question of matter. As he was prepared to depart, four unexpected visitors greeted him and the sight of the individuals brought a warm smile to the estranged young adult's expression.
"Hey Zephyr. Since we'll be in Unova for a while to serve in one of the bases in this region, I thought I'd bring some old friends along," Kellyn greeted, a Lucario donning a white pauldron on his left shoulder at his side.
"Good to see you again master," the Aura Pokémon greeted modestly.
Leon simply performed a friendly wave as an Espeon that had a white-colored scarf wrapped around her neck locked her spooky-looking on her master with a sense of happiness.
"It warms me up that you're remaining healthy," the Psychic-type evolution of Eevee spoke via telepathy, happy to know that her deceased trainer's brother was still looking healthier than ever both in the physical and emotional sense.
"Kellyn, Leon, Xavier, Psi…" the human/Zoroark hybrid recited their names emotionlessly. "I am glad that you managed to spare some of your time to visit me." He then turned his heed to the two law enforcement officials before complimenting them with, "Of course, I owe it to you two for taking care of the Pokémon that I entrusted you with. Have you been treating them well?"
"Of course," Kellyn answered his question with utmost honesty. "It's our duty as Pokémon Rangers. Not doing so would mean breaking our code…even though the image of our organization has been tarnished by various scandals that I'm sure that you're very well aware of. That and it's probably a token of apology to how we were not able to compensate your losses in a rightful manner…" The Warrant Officer kicked at the snowy ground with a rather unhappy expression on his face. While the Unova branch of the Rangers agreed to help with the reconstruction of Levis Town while protecting it from potential Red Falcon and Cipher assaults that might have gone underground, he couldn't help but feel that he should be doing a lot more.
"Hey," Xavier voiced as he placed his paw on Kellyn's shoulder. "Don't feel too bad. You did your job and gave us a home and place of belonging. That was what our master wished for. The notion that you live up to me and Psi's promises is standing proof that he is grateful for what you've done for us two."
Kellyn nodded as he wore an indistinct smile on his appearance. "I appreciate it, thanks."
The neutral expression of Zephyr continued to overtake his dark-like presentation. "Ah, yes…it is just standing proof that even the purest and most honest form of benevolence can be tainted with the darkest desires imaginable. My sincerest apologies to hear that some of your leaders went against the very codes they established and their attempts to silence dissidents like you and your brother."
"A most unfortunate event, but it does not dampen our trusts within these two boys. They have proven themselves to be exceptionally trustworthy and it is only fair that we give credit when it is due," Xavier commented, reflecting on just how deeply he trusted the older sibling of the duo. Although he and Psi's loyalties were firmly secured with Zephyr, both listened to their temporary Pokémon Trainers without a fault.
Both Kellyn and Leon bit their lips in dissatisfaction. While the Pokémon Ranger Corps was among one of the most respected law enforcement organizations in the world, the betrayals caused by the ones in the higher positions of the organization during the Uprising War meant that many members defected from their moralities out of fear or were simply just following the orders of their superiors. The more noble and daring Pokémon Rangers decided to permanently desert the organization while seeking shelter under new forms of authority but it was only after the war when the chain of command was completely reformatted and the union was back on its feet. While most of the members were forgiven by the victors of the war, the memory of a single scandal on what was otherwise a perfect, clean record of a trusted military/police force meant that it would remain in the hearts of those who remembered that even the most honest would fall to corruption and other forms of dark desires.
"Hey, you two, go ahead and take your time to spend some time with Zephyr," Kellyn urged to Xavier and Psi. "We'll only be here for a day or two before we have to sign in to the base, so make it count."
"You're sure, right?" Psi questioned skeptically, wondering if she was allowed to spend more time with the older sibling of her now deceased Pokémon Trainer.
Leon smiled warmly as he stroked the velvet-like fur of the Espeon with a loving gesture. "We've taken you two to Unova whenever the opportunity presents itself, even if our schedules are a bit tightly packed. A promise is a promise." He recalled an incident where he and Kellyn both had to sign up for temporary leave after Zephyr fell ill from stress, just so the two Rangers could fly to Unova and allow the two Pokémon to visit their master. In the process, they also brought the much-needed medication to help their newfound ally regain his health faster.
The two Pokémon Rangers turned to their respective Pokémon and gave them a silent nod. The two Pokémon quickly moved over to Zephyr before embracing him with multiple gestures of affection as a way of displaying just how much they had missed their caretaker after several years.
"Say, where's Terios?" Leon asked as he tried to look for the Umbreon that always accompanied his trainer. It was a strange sight to him that the Moonlight Pokémon was not accompanying his trainer.
Zephyr paused for a moment as he turned his attention to the Pokémon Ranger. "He is currently in Levis Town. Ever since the events of the past that resulted in the destruction of my hometown because of a lack of security, I left him there to ensure that such an event will not happen again. I am in charge of protecting the town as I am the most skilled Pokémon Trainer there along with the local police force on station there."
"Ah, I see," the Corporal simply responded with a small sense of insecurity of how to continue adding to the question. Being the modest person that he was, he did not wish to offend anyone that he had friendly relations with. "Oh, and Arceus and his subordinates also informed me to wish you a Merry Christmas, considering you didn't show up to his event."
The twenty-two-year-old individual stared at him with his cold-looking eyes as a warm smile drifted across his face. "I appreciate your wishes and please send my regard to him if you have the chance. Of course, I was not able to attend mainly because I cannot leave my hometown for long periods of time. I do hope that Arceus and his subordinates can understand that…along with the fact that I'm not a big fan of social events as you're all probably aware of already." The reality of that he didn't have a wide variety of companions until the Uprising War made his social skills to be rather inadequate, but he didn't let this disturb him one bit.
"Don't worry about it. They do," Leon assured his companion. "Any plans for the future? You can't just lull around in a depressed manner. Shouldn't you start over with a clean slate or something similar?"
Zephyr shook his head as the two Pokémon that formerly belonged to his brother patiently waited at his sides. "Maybe sometime, but I do have unfinished business to take care of. As always, I have to continue hunting the individuals that were solely responsible for my peoples' death." The mere thought of Red Falcon was enough to bring his cool and collected attitude into a full-blown state of rage.
"Well, that's what they called us here for…" Leon revealed. "The Unova Marine Corps believe that a bit of Ranger reinforcements would help out in uprooting the organization."
"Most interesting…but you can never be too careful. Ghetsis's organization is still at large out there and it is never wise to rest on your laurels. This is the reason why I wish for you to keep up with your training, because rumors say that Team Plasma is still at large and will continue their attempts of insurrection across this region. It would pain me to hear that one of the few people that accepted my company shook hands with Giratina just because he couldn't flee from a rampant wild Pokémon…" the twenty-two-year-old young adult advised, placing a rather strong and possibly intentional sadistic-sounding emphasis on his last sentence.
Leon nodded with a combination of confidence and slight nervousness. "Don't worry, as you can count on us two as a fine example of the Rangers!"
The red-haired teenager faintly smiled at his upbeat comment. "You never cease to disappoint, Corporal." He pulled out a small bottle of pills before popping them into his mouth, which concerned both Kellyn and Leon.
"It's not a good idea to drown your problems out in drugs," the elder brother of the duo recommended. Leon looked on with concern as he was well accustomed with those in the Ranger Corps that uses drugs to suppress their mental issues.
Zephyr swallowed the pills before discarding the bottle back into his pocket without too much care. "I'm used to it. It's the only method I can use to eradicate thoughts I just don't want in my head."
As the trio of individuals continued to engage in a relatively quiet conversation, Kellyn fell into a state of silence as he scanned his eyes across the tombstones of the massive cemetery. Such a sight made him mildly depressed but he could only wish that they too were resting peacefully in the afterlife while celebrating the joyful festivities that were always held on the last two weeks of December. It pained his heart to see those he fought along to come and go, but the best he could do for the now deceased souls was to thank them for their contribution before their departure from the living.
Kanto Orphanage, Celadon City
While Reaper wasn't exactly an individual that wanted to celebrate Christmas in a festivity-type method given his dislike of social events, he had a soft spot for children who were far less fortunate than the humans that had befriended the legendaries. With some donations, a little shopping, and some assistance from Mewtwo and Epsilon, the Eon Pokémon was able to purchase a sizable amount of presents that would be given as a token of goodwill to an orphanage in Celadon City. About a week or so before Christmas, the trio of legendaries quickly decided to deliver the presents as they entered the city on a snowy night. Although the streets were relatively devoid of any people and Pokémon, Reaper had to adopt a disguise as a grey-feathered Latios would definitely induce some confusion and potentially fear within the hearts of those he wanted to bring happiness to.
As Mewtwo and Epsilon watched the legendary transform, a wave of grey light overtook Reaper's body before the physique of a male in his mid-twenties replaced the sleek build of a Latios. His clothing was mainly a set of Special Forces fatigues that was black in coloration that was not unlike those worn by UAAF and Team Rocket commandos in the previous war, with the only difference being that his outfit lacked the emblems, coat of arms, and other symbols that were sewn on or attached to the battledresses of the corporate militaries' soldiers. His hair was grey and was moderately spiky while being quite messy while a ragged piece of cloth acted as a scarf and facial obstruction that allowed him to keep his vapor breaths low. Black-colored combat boots made of leather and metal protected his feet from the freezing cold, and a bulletproof vest was slung over his torso-but of course, it wasn't meant for protection. It was actually his preferred method of carrying his set of psionic shurikens and kunais.
"Well, I wouldn't call that a gentleman's preference of clothing…wearing a United Aerospace Armed Forces commando's uniform isn't exactly a good idea," Epsilon complimented, hoping not to sound too negative or sarcastic in his remark.
Mewtwo widened his eyes slightly as he picked up the sinister energy waves that were emanated from the arsenal of weapons concealed from within Reaper's vest. "And I thought I was prepared for any situation."
Reaper shrugged as he lowered the facecloth that masked the lower portion of his face. "If you have any better ideas, I'm all ears. Besides, I lost the emblems and coat of arms that are usually displayed across their outfits so they probably won't feel hostile."
The Deoxys rolled his eyes for a moment or two before changing the topic, as he wasn't really in an exact mood to argue with the Eon. "So is this where you want us to drop off the presents?" Epsilon asked as he kept a ring of carefully-wrapped boxes levitating around him.
"Yes. Just leave them here. I'll deal with the rest, but I do have to thank you two for helping me with my shopping," Reaper thanked in earnest before dismissing them. "You're free to go."
Stacking the gifts in a neat manner atop on each other, the two psychic-types departed quietly into the night. Once Reaper felt that it was safe to knock without inducing any alarms due to the presence of two legendary and hostile Pokémon (at least in the eyes of the mortals), he walked towards the front door and gently knocked on it several times. "Hope that my act of goodwill doesn't raise alarms of the fact there's a UAAF commando in town," he prayed as his teeth chattered a bit.
Moments later, an elderly woman, most likely the owner and manager of the orphanage, opened the front door answered his signal with a humble smile. "Oh, a visitor? What brings you here?"
Reaper gave off a warm smile and greeted the manager, sighing a bit with relief that his disguise didn't give off the vibe that he was a hostile individual for the time being. "I'm a former Team Rocket mercenary that's here to provide gifts for the children that lives here and I wish to provide a generous donation to this very orphanage," he explained, trying to sound his best without giving off any impressions that he was lying. While he hated presenting himself under the guise of a soldier of fortune working for Giovanni, it was the best excuse he could think of.
The old lady smiled modestly before replying with, "Oh, that's very sweet of you young man. The children here have just finished dinner and are in the living room. Please, make yourself at home." She had shown no negative emotions about the fact that Reaper had just admitted himself to be a former soldier belonging to one of the most hated organizations on the planet.
"I guess they're more open regarding the visitors. Strange…I thought they'd call the police on me the moment I admitted myself to be a Team Rocket Elite," Reaper thought in a semi-blank state.
The disguised Eon Pokémon nodded with a faded smile before he telepathically lifted the humongous stack of presents that was set out behind him and proceeded into the shelter. As he brought the stockpile of gifts into the orphanage, he noticed that the elderly manager hadn't really paid attention to the fact that the visitor possessed unnatural psychic powers-a quick scan of her mind from Reaper revealed that she was just grateful that someone was willing to give so generously to the establishment, since it rarely got donations from outsiders aside from the commonplace police officer, Pokémon Ranger, or the travelling civilian that had a heart of good.
"Someone needs to warm up the holidays a bit after all," the Ghost/Psychic/Dragon-type admitted mentally as he entered the living room.
As the elderly administrator and several volunteers of the orphanage managed to arrange the kids in a proper and settled-down manner, Reaper brought forth the gifts he had with him and presented himself to the homeless children. He waited for the youths to calm down their excitements first before he began a quick speech-once again, none of the human children were frightened or unsettled by the intimidating set of clothes that the disguised Eon Pokémon wore. Perhaps it was because they were so excited about the fact that there was a visitor here to make their holidays a bit more comforting.
"Good evening everyone," the cloaked Reaper began, grumbling to himself mentally as he forced his mind to speak as much kind-sounding words as possible. "Christmas is a time where you get together with your family and friends, but unfortunately that is only a dream on your parts. However, it is also the reason why I am here-to make your holidays brighter. I've brought with me plenty of presents of all types for you all."
Upon hearing his last sentence, the orphaned children went up into a state of excitement and frenzy but Reaper quickly held up his right hand as a gesture for them to settle down once again, which was achieved a few seconds later.
"Thank you," the disguised legendary returned. "Now before I hand out these presents to you, you have to promise me on several things."
"What are they, mister?" the children chorused. From their tone of speaking, it was crystal clear to Reaper that they were extremely anxious to receive their presents but the Eon had to give them credit for not mobbing him in a complete state of uncontrollability. Not that it mattered or was a concern on his part, anyways.
Reaper chuckled warmly before beginning his sentence with, "You must promise me to share these offerings with your fellow housemates. There's plenty to go around so please do not injure each other out of petty fights and other meaningless conflicts. Secondly, continue to behave and obey your supervisors and I'll definitely come around once again next year with even more presents for you all. And lastly, work hard. Whatever you wish to be in the future, I can guarantee you that you'll be able to reach that destination as long as you persevere." He sighed to himself before remembering how Kellyn and Leon had both shown him just how much a persisting human could accomplish impossible deeds. "Those two never gave up on us and are a favorite among the legendaries, especially the females."
"We promise!" the kids chorused once again, and the supervising adults laughed warmly at their gesture.
"Good. Now please line up in a single-file formation as I give you the presents," Reaper instructed.
The youths all lined up and patiently waited for their turn to receive something from the visiting individual that was dressed up in what was perhaps the coolest human outfit they had ever seen. As the masqueraded ghostly Latios handed out presents that ranged from candy to toys, many of the children requested to take a picture with what they believed to be their Santa Claus for this holiday season. Reaper was fine with it but it partially annoyed him when some of the children wanted to pose on his shoulder for a picture.
"Wow, are you really Santa Claus?" a little girl asked in amazement as Reaper handed her a box enclosed in colorful wrapping paper. "Where is your shiny red nose, the big round belly, and most importantly, your sleigh and the flying Stantlers?"
Reaper scratched his head with a nervous laugh and quickly responded with, "Oh, I'm a volunteer for Santa Claus. He accepts assistants of all backgrounds and it just so happens that I wasn't busy so I was able to help out. Anyways, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"
"Thank you, Santa's helper!" she voiced back with gratitude before the next child met up with him with an anxious face. Reaper spoke his usual greetings and wishes before handing off more presents (and of course, the occasional photo-taking opportunities that the kids didn't want to miss) and by the end of it all, he was all but a burned out legendary Pokémon that needed some immediate rest. Thankfully, by the end of the present distribution, the volunteers of the orphanage had sent the children off to sleep and thus, it provided Reaper a sense of silent tranquility as he leaned back against the comfortable sofa with a sense of tiredness.
"I'm glad you showed up to cheer up the children that live here," the aged manager of the orphan home thanked as she handed Reaper a mug of warm coffee.
Reaper smiled as he accepted the drink. While he wasn't exactly one to accept gifts or tokens of appreciation, he was just far too exhausted to care anymore. "Well, I have to spend my money somehow and the thought of seeing children that never met or would never see their parents again in their lives live through a holiday season like this depress me. I suppose that I had to take action, even if it meant that I was posing as one of Santa's little helpers," he laughed sarcastically at his statement.
"So…you're a Team Rocket mercenary that happened to work in conjunction with the UAAF Commando Corps?" the lady asked with a mixture of interest and surprise.
Reaper nodded, of course keeping the real truth hidden. "Yes. But do not worry, for I am not armed. I've been living low to avoid the law. Just a question though: why aren't you frightened? After all, Team Rocket and UAAF commandos were among the most feared human beings of the Uprising War." He sipped his coffee to relieve some of the thirst he was experiencing.
"Because," the orphanage manager trailed off with a neutral expression while a tear formed in her right eye. "My two sons ended up as Team Rocket members themselves. I wish that wasn't the truth…I haven't heard from them ever since they left the house in anger when I opposed their ideals of joining the criminal enterprise."
The ethereal Eon Pokémon immediately felt guilty as a lump formed in his throat. While he hated the organization and mercilessly slaughtered countless soldiers for their atrocious crimes committed during the conflicts, he didn't know what to say to what was potentially a mother of someone he had slain in cold blood. "Uh, that's most unfortunate…I'm sorry to hear that. Perhaps should they be captured, they will be given a fair trial and hopefully be re-released back into society with a new image." He paused, took another drink from his mug and resumed with, "I've taken away loved ones of all types with my actions. The countless sons, daughters, husbands, wives killed at my cold hands…my cruel actions have brought misery on thousands just because I followed Giovanni's orders. The thought of meeting someone whose loved one was murdered by Team Rocket pains me." "While it's mostly false, the reverse is true. Out there, there's probably an enraged parent of a son in Team Rocket that was butchered by me and their sight of me would only infuriate them all the much more."
The wrinkled elder nodded silently as a means of saying that there was no need to feel sorry for what had happened in the past. "It's fine. You shouldn't blame yourself for actions that you didn't choose to perform on your own instincts. Just one thing bothers me though. What drove you to commit this deed? There has to be a reason."
"The sights of children's smiles and laughter acts as a medicine for the depressed path I follow, even if it happens to be a form of temporary relief. Other happy sights, such as seeing a couple get married and bonded together until their deaths, just don't bring the same type of emotion to me for some reason," was Reaper's vague-sounding answer to the orphanage owner.
Silence continued to dominate the atmosphere for a minute or two before the ethereal Latios decided it was time to depart. Passing the mug back to the elderly lady, he proceeded to dissolve into shadow particles before vanishing from sight.
"Maybe it's just me and my frail senses getting to me…but thank you, Reaper. Thank you for your act of goodwill," the owner mumbled gratefully, remembering seeing the same individual on television when the victory parade took place in the streets of Saffron City.
Hall of Origin
"So Arcy…is that standing proof that all these individuals are fit enough to join our ranks as sworn guardians?" Mew asked eagerly after displaying all of the
Arceus immediately shook his head id disapproval. "You can't jump to conclusions, Mew. These decisions can easily take well over a thousand years to decide! Besides, I'm a bit skeptical of introducing controversial members into our ranks, such as the Pokémon Rangers and the lesser followers that live and serve under our command. You know how reckless some of them can be."
"Aw, come on! I want them as playmates! They're all so youthful and full of vigor! Can't you come up with the conclusion already? They've proven themselves to be responsible youths that will loyally follow us, no matter how dark the situation may be!" the New Species Pokémon protested with a pouty voice.
Arceus released a groan of further stress. The world might have been at relative peace for the last few years, but he certainly wouldn't be for quite a long time. It was times like these when the Overlord could experience some vacation time for once.
"There you go again, complaining that you never get a break," Mew criticized, pointing out his flaws once again. "Perhaps one day, we should switch places so I can show you the joy of freedom from all kinds of negative feelings for once. That and I can just show you how stress-free your job can be."
"I'm starting to feel that I wasn't the first one who had that idea," the majestic Pokémon god muttered in his head, wondering if it was just coincidence or not.
Once again, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Although my beta has declined from editing this due to his exam-packed schedule, forgive me if this update isn't as good as you initially expected it to be. But hey, he's been anticipating this for the addition of Kellyn and Reaper, both of which are characters he's grown to appreciate…once again I hope you enjoy my portrayal of these two.
Since I'm prepared for the bombardment of flames for why I made Drew a complete asswipe, well, here's your answer: I don't like him and he's an overrated jerk. Putting him in the shoes of a spoiled brat is a perfect fit. And for those who's going to call me out for it: be grateful he's even IN my story to begin with. I normally don't speak like this but there are people who immediately put on the hate helmet the moment this happens.
That's it! Hope you liked this update and I'll report to you all once the second anniversary of Uprising hits! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
-Soldier of the Future