Dusknoir crushed the Teleport Gem in his hand. A bright light surrounded him, Grovyle, Verity, and the Sableye. The Sableye were all shrieking in fear, no doubt terrified of light after Breloom momentarily blinded them with his Flash.
The light cleared. Grovyle looked around and saw that they were in Dusk Forest. Luckily, Celebi didn't seem to be around. Verity was laying on the ground next to him. It seemed that she had fainted when they teleported. There didn't seem to be any way out of this, but at least Celebi would be able to get away. Maybe it was like she said and she really couldn't be caught.
"It looks like no one's here." Dusknoir said after a while of waiting. He turned to the Sableye. "Three of you stay here. You know what Celebi looks like. When you see her, ambush her and bring her to the prison. Then we'll get rid of all of them together and be rid of this problem once and for all."
"Weh-heh-heh-heh!" The Sableye all jumped with excitement. Three of them hid in the trees while the other three stayed with Dusknoir.
Dusknoir picked up Verity and half dragged her along the ground as the three remaining Sableye led Grovyle. Grovyle had walked and ran farther than this with Verity, but it felt like they were moving so slow. If time wasn't stopped before, it definitely felt like it was now.
They finally arrived at the prison. The Sableye tied both Verity and Grovyle up on the poles. Grovyle was tied up so tightly that he couldn't move a fraction of an inch.
"You said you weren't going to hurt Verity!" Grovyle shouted at Dusknoir. "You said you needed her for something, so why have you tied her up here?"
Dusknoir didn't answer for a while. It was obvious that he was just trying to get Grovyle worked up. It was working. "Well there comes a time when everyone has to admit to the things they've done. In Verity's case, there have been a few times like that. I don't think she likes it anymore. The fact that so much hate has been directed towards her over the years has finally gotten to her."
"You know what she's been doing, so what is there for her to admit to you?" Grovyle shouted. "Maybe if you were a bit nicer she wouldn't have betrayed you and run away!"
"Nice?" Dusknoir laughed. "And how far does nice get you? The only time your mother ever acted nice around me was when she was saving your life. That was the only time she ended up dead, wasn't it?"
Grovyle was struggling as hard as he could against the ropes, trying to break free. Dusknoir laughed again.
"Oh, will you look at that?" Dusknoir said. "It looks like our friend is finally waking up."
Verity looked up at Dusknoir, a bit confused obviously. She finally realized who she was staring at and what exactly was going on. She started struggling, but she was tied just as tightly as Grovyle was.
"Please, try to calm down." Dusknoir said. "You should be commended for all you've done for us."
Dusknoir gestured to one of the Sableye. The Sableye jumped at Verity. At first Grovyle thought it was going to attack her, but then it slashed at the ropes and cut her free. It jumped back to give Verity a little room to stand up and regain her balance. Grovyle looked back from Verity, to the Sableye that had freed her, and to Dusknoir and the two other Sableye. He realized that he was the only one tied up now. Then he realized what Dusknoir had said: "You should be commended for all you've done for us."
"What's going on!" Grovyle shouted at Dusknoir.
"What's the matter, Grovyle?" Dusknoir asked in a mocking voice. "I thought you wanted me to free Verity."
"Verity?" Grovyle turned his head as much as he could while tied up in her direction.
Verity averted her eyes from everyone. Dusknoir, the Sableye, and even Grovyle.
"What's this about?" Grovyle shouted louder than ever.
Dusknoir laughed again. This time, the three Sableye joined in. "You've been conned, that's what. A library filled with information from all over the world? A human who has done extensive research on the Planet's Paralysis? Do you really think that no one would want to check it out for themselves? That you were the first?"
"What do you mean?" Grovyle asked.
"What was your name last time again?" Dusknoir asked Verity.
Verity didn't answer at first. "Luna."
Dusknoir smirked. "And the time before that?"
She still wasn't looking directly at anyone. "Lily."
Dusknoir turned back to Grovyle. "Amazing how much a name can change a person, isn't it? Change their name and that person would never be recognized, even if they're the only human in a world full of pokemon."
Dusknoir stared between him and Verity, not understanding what was going on at all.
"Do you still need me to spell it out for you?" Dusknoir asked. "Funny, isn't it, that the whole time you were together she hasn't mentioned anything she knows about the Planet's Paralysis?"
Grovyle hadn't even thought of that. Verity was being forced to research the Planet's Paralysis for Dusknoir, so why hadn't she told Grovyle anything she knew? "How do you know that!" Grovyle asked.
Dusknoir laughed again. "Because she doesn't know anything about the Planet's Paralysis! I've made sure of that! Do you really think I want to have someone else learn everything for me, just for them to use the information against me? Of course not! It was all a trick! You weren't the first pokemon to 'rescue' her from that library!"
"What!" Grovyle looked over at Verity again.
Verity glanced up at him with a mix of nervousness and guilt. She quickly averted her eyes again.
"Do you see what I meant now when I said that she's had to admit to some things she's done before? And that afterwards hate had been directed towards her? I wasn't talking about her admitting things to me, I meant her admitting things to gullible pokemon like yourself! And how successful you've been this time, my little friend! Tracking down the location of the Planetary Investigators' hideout, leading Grovyle around thinking he had a slimmer of a chance of restoring time, and even getting that Teleport Gem to lead me to Celebi. You've done well."
"NO!" Grovyle shouted. "THAT CAN'T BE TRUE! VERITY'S NOT THAT KIND OF PERSON! SHE WOULD NEVER HELP SOMEONE LIKE YOU, DUSKNOIR!"
"It's always the same way." Dusknoir said. "So much fun to crush a pokemon's hope right before their final moments. It is true, Grovyle. Surely you've heard about a supposed 'curse' that comes with having a human partner? Every pokemon that's ever investigated the Planet's Paralysis and had a human partner ended up meeting their end here. Why do you think that is?"
Grovyle didn't want to believe it.
"That's why I was so interested when Breloom mentioned that supposed curse." Verity said quietly. "All of those humans… They were all me, just going by a different name each time…"
"WHAT? VERITY!" Grovyle was stunned. He hung hid head and looked straight at the ground. It was one thing for Dusknoir to say those things… Verity had admitted to it… Grovyle's best friend was really a con sent to get rid of him and anyone else researching the Planet's Paralysis. Suddenly so much made sense.
"Verity, or whoever you are." Grovyle said. "Tell me which side of the double edged sword you would be on?"
Verity's lip twitched, as if she were about to smile, but it passed. "Does it matter? Either way, everyone gets hurt in the end. I'm sorry Grovyle, I really am!"
"Yea right…" Grovyle looked away from her. "And that first mission we went on? That 'trust building mission' you wanted us to go on together? That was fake?"
"What else would it be?" Verity asked. "My job is to learn everything I can about what traitors know before leading them into a trap set by Dusknoir. For that they need to trust me. I come up with a mission like that every time."
"I don't believe this…" Grovyle said. "I should have seen it. All of those times you seemed distracted by something… Like when we were headed to the desert! I brought up that double edged sword, but you acted like you didn't know what I meant! You said that you were thinking about something else but it wasn't important! This is what you were talking about, wasn't it?"
Verity sobbed and turned away. "I'm sorry, Grovyle. I really am, you have to believe me. If only I was a little stronger, I would stand up to Dusknoir, but I just can't…"
"What are you talking about?" Grovyle asked. "You've been working with him from the start! You're not sorry about anything!" Grovyle looked up at Dusknoir. "You said you were going to get rid of me, didn't you! Why not just get it over with!"
Dusknoir laughed. "Oh, but this is so much fun! But if you insist. You are my honored guest here after all. My little human friend, don't you want to watch this? I remember you used to love watching. The excitement in your eyes said it all."
"My name is… Verity." She said to Dusknoir.
Dusknoir stared at her, a bit confused for a moment, then shrugged. "If that's what you prefer. I admit, it was a nice touch naming yourself after Grovyle's mother. It did catch me off guard though. When my Sableye told me it was Verity who was helping him, for a second I though somehow she had escaped again. Very clever. The emotional blow was probably even worse than usual!"
"I don't believe you…" Grovyle said. "I trusted you. You were my friend…"
"I feel the same way…" Verity said under her breath.
"It isn't the first time you've grown attached to a traitor." Dusknoir said. "Remember what I told you then? Let it go. They shouldn't have betrayed Master Dialga's wishes in the first place."
"Now, Sableye!" Dusknoir shouted. "Get rid of this traitor once and for all!"
All three Sableye ran towards Grovyle, their claws bared. Grovyle closed his eyes and waited for the impact. He heard a cry of pain from in front of him. He opened his eyes and saw Verity standing in front of him. She had taken all of the Sableyes' attacks for him!
"WHAT'S THIS!" Dusknoir bellowed. "YOU TRECHEROUS LITTLE…! HOW DARE YOU BETRAY ME!"
"I didn't know how to feel at first." Verity said in a weak voice. The Sableye had retreated from uncertainty, but she was still badly cut up. In spite of this, she stood there between Grovyle and the Sableye, refusing to move. "Celebi told me to help Grovyle. I thought there was something in him that she saw that I didn't notice. Sure enough, I realized on our first mission together that there was a better side to him; a side most pokemon in this twisted world don't have. He protected me from an enemy's attack, in spite of being at a type disadvantage. That's when I started to feel so uncertain. After that, my Dimensional Scream ability activated for the first time. It's an ability that can only be activated when standing by a trusted partner."
"I don't believe this!" Dusknoir said. "After all I've done for you, you would betray me like this?"
"You gave me a place to live and gave me a chance to play an important role and really do something with my life." Verity said. "So did Grovyle. But he did more than that. You did those things for me just to use me for your own underhanded tricks! Grovyle and I have worked as mutual partners to help pokemon everywhere! There's been enough death already! It ends now!"
"Is that really how you feel?" Dusknoir asked. Verity still refused to move. "Fine. Sableye! Get rid of this traitor first!"
The Sableye attacked her fiercely. No matter how badly hurt she got, she didn't move. She might as well have been tied up like Grovyle was.
Grovyle kept struggling and eventually managed to free an arm. He used Leaf Blade and cut the ropes away. Then he attacked and knocked out all three of the Sableye. Verity collapsed on the ground. Grovyle faced towards Dusknoir.
"Just you and me, Dusknoir!" Grovyle shouted. "Give me your best shot!"
Dusknoir used Shadow Punch. Grovyle dodged and used Dig. He came up from under ground behind Dusknoir and used Leaf blade. Dusknoir used Ice Punch and knocked him across the stockade. Grovyle struggled to his feet and used Quick Attack. The two of them were fighting as hard as they could, yet they seemed perfectly matched. Dusknoir hit him with another Shadow punch. Grovyle attacked with Leaf Blade, but Dusknoir was able to dodge and counter with another Ice Punch. Part of Grovyle's arm was frozen now. He jumped back to avoid any of the attacks that Dusknoir was planning on using.
"What's the matter?" Dusknoir asked. "Getting tired already? Just give up now!"
"Never!" Grovyle attacked with Mega Drain. He was able to hurt Dusknoir and restore some of his own energy. He used Leaf Blade, but missed again. Dusknoir used Shadow Punch. Grovyle dug under ground again and came up on Dusknoir's left. This time he was able to land a hit. He staggered back and fell to the ground.
Grovyle wasn't far from Verity. He ran over and picked her up and ran as fast as he could towards the exit before Dusknoir could pick himself up from the last attack.
Dusknoir was chasing after him soon. Normally Grovyle would have stayed to fight, but both he and Verity were pretty badly hurt. He ran and tripped when he entered a cave. He fell into a deep chasm.
Dusknoir stood at the top of the chasm and looked down. "There's no way he could have survived that." He started to float down to the bottom of the chasm just to make sure. When he got there, he looked just in time to see Grovyle rounding a corner and running out of sight.
"I should have suspected as much from a pokemon that lives in the forest." Dusknoir said. "If it were any other pokemon, they'd be dead." He started to follow after them.
Grovyle ran as fast as he could with Verity on his back. She was still conscious, but was so badly hurt that she wouldn't be able to help at all.
Luckily the area started to seem a bit familiar. He recognized the hill he had crossed the last time he had gone to visit Celebi. They were close to her forest now. He ran though the forest while avoiding as many enemies as he could and eventually came to Celebi's forest clearing.
There he saw the most unusual sight: Three Sableye were laying unconscious on the ground and above them floated a pink fairy-like pokemon, drinking what smelled like apple juice.
As soon as she saw Grovyle she started to cough on it and had to she her drink down. "My dear Grovyle! And Verity too! What's happened to you?"
"We can't talk about that now." Grovyle said. "Dusknoir's coming."
"Don't worry about him." Celebi said. "It will be very hard for him to find this place. After all, he never has before. Even though he was teleported here along with the two of you because of the Teleport Gem, the ever changing dungeon will be enough to confuse him."
"I hope you're right." Grovyle said.
"Celebi…" Verity said in a faint voice. "I'm sorry…"
"Don't talk now!" Celebi said to Verity. "Hang on, you two. I'll have you patched up in no time!" She used her Heal Bell to help heal their wounds and then brought them a couple of berries, including an Aspear berry to heal Grovyle's frozen arm.
"You seem upset." Celebi said to Grovyle.
"Verity's a traitor." He said.
"I saved you didn't I?" Verity's voice was still very faint even though her wounds were healed now.
"That doesn't change the fact that…! All of those pokemon… before me… AND WE WERE JUST A COUPLE MORE VICTEMS TO YOU!" Grovyle snapped at her. "I trusted you and this is how you repaid us!"
"Hold on!" Celebi said. "I'm afraid I don't follow what's going on here. Could you please explain?"
"I've done some horrible things." Verity said. "Grovyle, I'm sorry. Please, you have to forgive me!"
Grovyle turned away from her. "I'm sorry, but I can't. Because of you, Ninetales… and everyone else…" he turned to Celebi. "Verity was working for Dusknoir from the start. She pretends to be people's partner and then leads them into Dusknoir's trap, each time using a different name so no one would catch on."
"Is that true?" It was obvious that Celebi had been really taken aback by this. "Verity, it couldn't be true!"
"It… yea." Verity said. "Listen, Grovyle. Before you came along, there was someone else. Like all of the others, I led him into a trap. Dusknoir told him that I was a traitor and I just stood there smiling, expecting to see him suffer from this revelation like all the others. But he didn't. He said he forgave me for everything I did and that he wasn't mad at me." Some tears formed in Verity's eyes. "After everything I did, he still didn't hate me. Everyone else had always hated me whenever they found out I had tricked them. That's why I was loyal to Dusknoir. He never acted that way. He sometimes got mad, but he never actually hated me. But he just smiled that entire time. Even when the Sableye attacked him, he was still smiling. The last thing he said was 'I was lucky to have known you. Even if you didn't see me as a friend, I have never met anyone like you. I know it wasn't just an act.'"
"But it was, wasn't it?" Grovyle snapped at her. Celebi was still staring in disbelief.
"That's what I thought too." Verity said. "Until I met you. I really trusted you, unlike anyone else. Even Dusknoir. That's why I only then found out about the Dimensional Scream. I kept thinking about it as we traveled together. I kept reminding myself that you two were nothing but traitors, but we kept getting closer. At one point I realized that if I had to choose between you and Dusknoir, choosing you would be the easiest thing I've ever done. I still couldn't tell you though. For the first time I finally admitted to myself that I didn't like it when people hated me. I couldn't tell you for fear that you were the same. I was scared of losing… the only friend I've ever had…" She was crying heavily now and was having trouble speaking through her sobs.
Grovyle suddenly felt pity for her.
"The double edged sword I was thinking about before we left for the desert was friendship. It was the greatest thing ever, but it would hurt so much if anything happened to you. When we were caught by Dusknoir, I thought it was all over. I though I might as well just give up. But I didn't want my only friend to hate me, and I thought that if anything I could keep you alive even if it meant sacrificing myself. Grovyle, I'm so sorry! For everything! I admit at first I was determined to lead the both of you into a trap, but I've changed! I've—."
Grovyle cut her off. "That's enough. You've said enough."
"I don't think I have…" Verity said. "Dusknoir found me when I was really young. What he taught me was all I had ever known."
"Even if he hadn't forced you, it was all you had ever known." Grovyle said. "You would have been forced into it no matter what."
Celebi was crying almost as hard as Verity was.
"Are you still ready to risk everything for this world?" Grovyle asked.
Verity nodded. "I wish I could just forget everything about my life, but if I disappear that would be the next best thing. I'll dedicate the rest of my life to restoring time. Neither of us has nothing to go back to, so what choice do we have?"
"Wait, does that mean you've found a way?" Celebi asked.
"We have!" Grovyle said in a determined voice. "Celebi, we'll need your help for this."
Grovyle explained about how they had tracked down the locations where five Time Gears had been hidden in the past using Verity's Dimensional Scream. He told her that they needed her ability to travel through time to go back in time to collect the Time Gears and take them to Temporal Tower. He explained that once they were in Temporal Tower that they could stop the Planet's Paralysis from ever happening, but it would also mean that everyone from this time would disappear.
"Is that your whole plan?" Celebi asked.
"That's the gist of it." Grovyle said.
Celebi nodded. "Disappearing from this dreaded world of darkness… I would have it no other way! If my role in life is to help the two of you in that mission, then I will gladly give my life to fulfill that role!"
"Thank you, Celebi." Verity said. "Can you take us back now?"
"Not yet." Celebi said. "For such a large journey through time, it will take me a while to prepare. I'll have to open the Passage of Time so the two of you can go into the past. Take the time to look around the clearing for any items that might help you. Then take a bit of time to rest."
"We'll do that." Grovyle said.
The two of them gathered up some items in silence, then when they were fully prepared, they sat and waited for Celebi to finish. A sphere with electricity dancing across the surface appeared in front of her. She threw it at the ground and a couple of arches appeared.
"Behold! The passage of time!" She said. "If you are ready to go now, you should get going before Dusknoir and the Sableye get here."
"Thank you, Celebi." Grovyle said. "For everything."
Celebi smiled. "You've changed, my dear Grovyle. I like this nicer side of you."
Grovyle looked at her awkwardly and turned to Verity. "You ready to go, partner?"
Verity smiled and nodded. "Ready when you are!"
The two of them stepped towards the Passage of Time and a light appeared at the end of the archways. Celebi stopped them again.
"Wait, a second!" She said.
"You know that's technically impossible for us." Grovyle turned to her and got a bit of surprise. Celebi flew up to him and gave him a small kiss on the nose.
"Just… Something for good luck." Celebi's face turned a darker shade of pink. Verity laughed at this. Grovyle seemed just as embarrassed as Celebi was.
"Let's get going." He was obviously trying to act as though nothing had happened, but he failed miserably. Verity was feeling a lot better now than she had been earlier. The two of them stepped forward and entered through the Passage of Time.
The Sableye started to stir. Celebi had almost forgotten about them. With the wave of one of her arms, she closed the Passage of Time and hid herself. What she didn't know is that one of the Sableye had been awake the whole time. When all of them were awake, they rushed off to find their master.
Verity and Grovyle were spinning through space and time on their way to the past. There was a sudden strike of lightning that damaged part of their time travel path.
"Whoa!" Verity grabbed onto Grovyle's hand and he tried his hardest to hold onto her.
Up ahead he could see a light. That had to be the exit! Lightning struck again and Verity screamed.
"Are… Are you okay!" Grovyle asked fearfully.
"No!" Verity's grip on Grovyle's hand was slipping. "Don't let go!"
"Just a little longer…" Grovyle said with his eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel. "Come on! Hang on!"
"N-No! I can't… hold on…!" Verity shouted. She was about to slip. If they were separated like this, what would happen!
Lightning struck again and cut their time travel path in two. There was a burst of light. Grovyle couldn't see what had happened, but he heard Verity scream. The light was so harsh. He looked around frantically but couldn't find her anywhere. His consciousness was slipping. It was too much for him.
Grovyle woke up a while later on the edge of a cliff above a small forest. He got up and looked around. A breeze blew past. It was chilling. The trees were covered with leaves. It was still so cold, and still so dark… This couldn't be the past… Hardly anything had changed! Time moved, but it was still a world of darkness, aside from a few small specks of light in the sky.
"VERITY!" He shouted out over the forest. A few pokemon got spooked and flew from the trees, but Verity was still nowhere to be seen. He looked around frantically. Then, to his right, he noticed the world wasn't so dark after all.
There was a small bit of light poking up from the horizon. He looked at it and realized that it was moving slowly and the sky was growing steadily brighter. Then it happened: the sun rose. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He felt the warm light shining on him and saw the light from the sun casting shadows on all of the trees. All around him the pokemon of this world were starting to stir.
"Amazing…" He realized that he was crying. "I hope… Verity's watching this… Breloom, Ninetales, my mother, and Celebi… What would they all say?" But he was at a loss for words. He realized they would probably be too. "What would Verity say?" He thought about this for a moment. "Time might be like a double edged sword, but there are some things that just can't be preserved." That's what she would have said. Time no longer seemed like a double edged sword. It was a blessing, not a curse. Grovyle wished he could live in this world forever, but then he realized that if he didn't disappear, this amazing sight would be gone forever.
Grovyle wiped the tears from his eyes. "Verity, I know you're out there! If we both look for the Time Gears, we're bound to run into each other again! So let's both do our best!"
He jumped off of the cliff and through the trees, off to find the Time Gears and save the world.
Back in the future world of darkness, Dusknoir looked up the steps of the library where Verity had lived for so many years.
"Lord Dusknoir, what are we doing here?" The Sableye asked. This had immediately become his favorite Sableye after he explained the plan that he overheard Grovyle telling Celebi. Now Dusknoir knew everything. He even took to letting this Sableye ride around on his shoulder.
"Isn't it obvious?" Dusknoir asked. "Master Dialga has ordered us to go to the past and bring the traitors back to be rid of them. That's what we'll do. But while the two of them have done all of their running around, I doubt Grovyle has learned anything about the past. Verity, on the other hand, probably knows a great deal. If we are to catch them, we must know everything we can about the world we are going to."
"I get it now! Weh-heh-heh-heh!" The Sableye said. "You're a genius, Lord Dusknoir."
"I will use this library to learn all there is to know." Dusknoir said. "I'll know more even than the pokemon of that time. Then… Grovyle and that traitor Verity won't stand a chance."