THIS certainly took a while. Don't know why. Even though it may not be as good as some of my other chapters, I still had fun writing it. I guess I'll just have to say that I got a lot of work done and did a lot of reading. Oh, AND I got Pokémon X, but who cares about THAT, right?

Part Four: Legendary Spirit

Chapter 24

Electric Warden Rotom

The first part of the battle was fairly easy.

Most of Giratina's garrison had left with him to go meet whatever Mew had cooked up, so there was barely even a skeleton crew holding the fortress. The shades, led by Latios, swarmed over the lower levels like a flood, wiping out any guards by sheer strength of numbers. A few of the stronger ones, however, hung back to guard and guide us. Though, they weren't really necessary since Seth was already leading us through the winding passageways up to one of the four main causeways. These 'raised roads', he explained, were positioned like the four points of the compass and would allow us the quickest route to the central tower, where Giratina's throne room and the portal lay. Once we'd seized that, the various defense mechanisms installed in the fortress would be ours to control.

However, it was not going as well as we had planned. Though the shades were incapable of 'dying' in a literal sense, alone they were still no match for even the weakest Ghost. There were a few exceptions, of course. Latios' legendary speed was still his and he used it to great effect, weaving in and out of the guards and slicing them in half with his wings, bombarding them from the sky, and often drawing large groups of them away from our other forces to be picked off one-by-one as he saw fit.

As for us, we were made good progress once we got to the Western Causeway. It was just that, a wide, stone causeway with tall, stone railings on either side that led straight to one of the four main gates to Giratina's tower. I was in the lead, striking out with my darkness-charged blade at any Ghosts-types that got too close. I was very effective at destroying them, let me tell you. Rio has his eyes closed and his…dreadlocks floating in mid-air. Apparently, this was a form of 'foresight' that was called 'Aura Vision' and allowed him to strike the Ghosts with Fighting-type attacks. Psi rode on Syoran's shoulders while Nine walked beside him, her red eyes glowing brightly as she sent ghosts flailing through the sky, faces contorted in agony.

"How is this only part of the garrison?" Lady Glacier shouted over the din of battle.

"They're all concentrating on us…" Seth muttered, "Because we're the biggest threat… However, the good news is that we caught them by surprise, so they aren't very organized."

It was true. The guards may have been focusing on us, but they couldn't for the life (or un-life) of them form up and attack as s single unit. It wasn't even much of a challenge to swat the ones that appeared, leaving a trail of them behind in out wake. One particular enterprising Ghost circled around and tried to attack from behind, but one of the shades guarding us, a Kabutops, tackled it and held it down while the others tore it to shreds. I shuddered. They tore it apart brutally, not sparing any pity on it. In fact, they seemed almost to be laughing at it.

Rio shook his head, temporarily disengaging his Aura Vision. "There's a lot of hatred here…" he muttered.

"No kidding," Pikablu said with a bit of sarcasm, not even bothering to look at the three enemies he was frying. If you were to take stock of our situation solely by his attitude, you'd think we were out for a stroll in the forest or a nice, pleasant hike up a mountain of sweets. "I see only tidings of comfort and joy. Like over there." He pointed off to the left. "Watch as that Dusclops gets torn to shreds like the wrapping paper on a kit's Naming Day present. There's happiness everywhere you look, Rio."

"I don't think that's very funny, Pikablu," Rio muttered, reactivating his Aura Vision.

"Sure it is!" Pikablu retorted, "It's a veritable bundle of joy and happiness!"

I shook my head and sighed. Whatever resistance the garrison might have offered was disintegrating now under the sheer masses of shades attacking them. I think there were even more now than there were the night Latios had taken us to meet with them. Seeing them tear their captors to shreds was quite intimidating. Some of them kept doing it even after the Ghost was long gone and only the shade it was made form was left. Watching them, I suddenly remembered something that had been bothering me for a while.

"Seth!" I called during a lull in the fighting. We were getting pretty close to the central fortress now, and surprisingly few guards there were trying to stop us. Perhaps they were all caught up in trying to suppress the shade revolt.

"Yes?" he replied, floating up near where I was.

"If Ghost Pokémon turn back into shades when they are 'killed', what was Reaper?" I asked, thinking back to the time where I'd seen him outside of our room. He was the strangest of them all, but I couldn't help wonder what was going on inside his homicidal brain, if Ghosts have those.

Seth remained silent for a long moment. I was about to repeat the question when he sighed. "Reaper…" he said, "He was an E-Eevee at one point. Someone convinced him that he would save the world one day, but he was killed very young before he could do so. He…he thought Giratina's offer would let him d-do that. Instead…they tried to make him forget his old life and his dreams. It's the f-final stage of the process. I-I don't even remember my life as a human, only faint impressions and…well, this…" He held up the mask he always carried with him. "This is what I looked like. Anyway, Reaper…he…he resisted, but the process was already begun. As a result…he became an empty shell, devoid even of the emotions G-Ghost Pokémon normally have…"

"He has some emotions though, right?" I said with a growl, "After all, he seemed pretty eager to kill me."

Seth sighed. "Perhaps…" he muttered, "But no matter what, he is not in c-control of himself. Hecate has him in a-"

An energy ball made of shadows landed right in front of us. Instinctively, I leapt back with a yelp. Several more came zipping up from above, slamming into the floor and blowing craters in the causeway. We looked frantically around for cover and in the end just had to dash behind a few small projections in the wall that provided just enough protection so we didn't get creamed.

"What's going on?" Z shouted over the sound of explosions, "Who's shooting at us?"

"Look!" Seth ordered, pointing ahead. I briefly stuck my head out, pulling it back again almost instantly when an explosive sphere nearly blew it off, and cursed.

"They're on the wall above the gate!" I announced, "They have a perfect shot at us from there. We'll never get anywhere as long as they're up there! We're stuck!"

"In retrospect, I should have seen this coming…" Seth muttered, "Sorry…"

Z sighed and stepped out into the open. "Z!" Syoran called, "Watch out for…" One black sphere struck the Zangoose and dissipated instantly. "…the enemies on the wall…"

"This type of energy won't affect me," he said calmly as the barrage focused in on him to no avail. He unsheathed his claws. "I'll take care of the guards if someone can get me up there."

Syoran processed this slowly and grinned. "One problem easily solved. Well, Psi? Think you can teleport Z up there?"

"Yeah!" Psi said eagerly. In a flash, he appeared on Z's shoulders, hiding behind him from the shadow barrage. "Hang on tight!" In another flash, they both disappeared. We waited in silence for something to happen. Then, we heard scream of pain from the guards and the shadow balls slowly stopped coming. There was a sound of battle from atop the wall, but it died out quickly. We waited apprehensively for the result, but were soon relieved of anxiety when the gate slowly swung open and Z came out to meet us, looking a bit beat up.

"I hate Confuse Ray…" he grunted. Psi popped into existence beside him. "But thanks to your training, Syoran, though I'd more likely call it abuse…"

"Yes?" Syoran said with a pleased grin, "I bet it helped, right? I told you all."

"I only came close to killing myself five times," Z finished.

Syoran was not nearly as pleased to hear this. "Well…" he said with a slightly disturbed look, "At least you didn't. Come on, everyone. Let's storm the castle!"

He led the way this time, hefting his spear like he knew how to use it. Which he didn't. Just wanted to point that out. I fervently hoped we wouldn't get ambushed because if we did, he would get clobbered.

My prediction was all too accurate. The instant he had stepped through the gate, a loud roaring like a rocket shook the ground around us. We looked around wildly, but saw nothing that could possibly be the source of it. That is, until a giant, metal robot burst out of the ground and knocked Syoran onto his butt.

"What the…?" I exclaimed, now thoroughly discombobulated. Ghosts, shades, giant gods of death, these all belonged in the Reverse World. Metal robots twice the size of Syoran did not. Especially not ones with the Team Rocket logo emblazoned on the front. "Where did that come from and what is it?"

"Try to take over my master's fortress, would you?" Rotom's voice cackled from inside the robot, "Well fortunately, I have access to a more formidable body than some stupid appliance! Rotom Security is on the job, protecting your evil lair with our twenty-four hour surveillance and suppression technology!"

"Is that a Team Rocket Mech?" Syoran asked in disbelief, scrambling backwards away from it.

"No! Well, yes, it was," Rotom replied, "But now, the R stands for Rotom, defender of the Hall of Ending!" He struck a dramatic pose, which looked thoroughly ridiculous with his clunky body. Needless to say, none of us were impressed and there was a hefty round of sighs.

"Get him!" Rio shouted.

"Wait!" Syoran shouted, "I didn't give any…" Ignoring him, we all charged toward him, preparing various forms of attack, but he raised his hands and fired a shock wave of ghostly and electric power at us, alternately blowing us back or stunning us. "And that's what happens when you don't listen to me," Syoran sighed.

"Well," Pikablu said, dusting himself off, "That didn't work. Let's try something else." Sparks began flying across his body as he counted up the levels of his charge. Unfortunately, Rotom never gave him a chance to charge it all the way up, instead choosing to fire a missile from a launcher in the machine's wrist at him. Pikablu was forced to unleash it prematurely to detonate the missile before it blew him into nice, gooey chunks.

"Rotom Security, the right choice for all your wrongs!" Rotom declared.

"Please," I growled, "Shut up now."

"Rotom Security…"

"NOW!" I roared, leaping forward with a Dark Pulse active. It trailed behind me like a cloak of darkness as I flew toward the robot. However, Rotom didn't even bother to move out of the way and let me strike him head on. I bounced right off, a bit dizzy from striking my head against his steel hide.

"You fool!" he cackled, "My body is entirely made of steel! You can't hurt me now!"

"Steel, huh?" Syoran said with a grin, "If that thing is steel, then perhaps a few Fighting type moves will beat it into shape. Rio! Aura Sphere!"

"Um…Aura Sphere…right," Rio said, hesitating. He hastily formed the attack in question and fired it, but a green shield surrounded Rotom, completely nullifying the attack.

"Ha, HA!" Rotom cheered, "Surrender now! You cannot win against me! I have enough power stored in here to keep this shield going all night!"

Syoran pretended to think it over. "Um…how about no?" he said, "Is 'No' an okay answer here?"

"NO!" Rotom shrieked, leveling a rocket launcher strapped to his arm at Syoran.

"So…no is a good answer?" Syoran said with a sly smirk.

"Syoran! Look out!" Nine shouted in warning. However, as Rotom fired another missle, Syoran merely dropped to the ground and it flew over his head, exploding somewhere in the distance. Rotom prepared to fire again. Syoran immediately got to his feet again, tripped over the armor he was wearing, got up a bit slower than he originally intended, and shouted, "Lady Glacier! Some ice would be nice right about now!"

"I don't take orders from you, Syoran!" she huffed.

"It was a suggestion!" he shot back as he dodged another missile. Several of us tried to attack Rotom, but we were rebuffed by his shield. It was steadily getting more annoying as the battle went on. Seriously, not even Pikablu could penetrate it.

"Oh, alright," Lady Glacier sighed. Inhaling sharply in preparation, she sent out a wave of frigid air that froze whatever it came in contact with, including…

"Hey!" Rio shouted, shivering, "Watch where you're aiming!"

"Sorry," Lady Glacier giggled, "You look cute when you're shivering though." I sighed and shook my head in disbelief. Even now she…never mind…

The upside to her attack was that it had created something of an ice sphere around the borders of Rotom's protective shield. Which was great for containing him, until he blew it apart with another missile. Suddenly, Psi appeared on his head. "Take this, you meanie!" he shouted as fiercely as he was able, stabbing his psi-blade into the machine's head.

"OW!" the electric ghost shouted from inside the machine, "That hurt, you brat! You almost took an arm off!" He swiped at Psi, but the Abra vanished and reappeared by Syoran. Enraged, Rotom aimed his weapon at him. "Please note that an Abra was hurt maliciously and with great satisfaction in the making of this production!"

"Oh no you don't!" I shouted, leaping in front of them, "You're going to have to go through me first!"

"A package deal then! Gladly, I accept!" Rotom replied, activating rockets on the back of his body. He shot into the air, heedless to the electricity, psychic energy, icicles, and other such attacks being hurled his way. I backed up, unable to reach him in the air and stood by Syoran.

"Any ideas, Seth?" Syoran demanded, keeping his eyes fixed on Rotom in expectation of an imminent attack.

"He's only as strong as the machine he possesses…" Seth replied. He winced as Rotom opened fire on Rio. Fortunately, he was a bad shot and Rio was managing to dodge most of his strikes. "Unfortunately…that doesn't help us right now…"

A look of fear went over Syoran's face. Then, inexplicably, he started laughing instead . "If that was a Team Rocket mech, it just might!"

"How so?" Seth asked in surprise.

"Well," Syoran said with a grin, "Team Rocket was never the most careful when building their machines…"

I grinned. "Well, too bad for them, then," I said, "What's your plan? Am I involved?"

"As a distraction," Syoran told me. I growled. I hated being a distraction. The distraction always had something nasty happen to them. "Now, run and get Psi, would you? I need to explain my plan to Seth."

I wanted to protest, but seeing how Rotom was easily holding everyone off (but still failing to do anything significant in return) I didn't bother. I could complain later. If Rotom did land a direct hit, then we were in for trouble. So, I ran forward, dodging a stray rocket. Well, I didn't really dodge it. It was never going to hit me anyway unless I jumped into its path.

"Stand still!" Rotom ordered irately, "I did not provide the extended ammunition plan and if you aren't all pacified by the time Giratina returns, I'll be forced to give him a refund!"

"Oh, how tragic," Nine drawled, "I feel so sorry for you."

"Now you're getting on my nerves!" Rotom shouted.

I ran up to Psi, who was catching his breath sheltered in a crater. "Psi!" I called. He looked up sharply but relaxed again when he saw it was me.

"Hi, Spi'it," he replied, panting, "I'm tired already…"

I frowned at him. "You can be tired later! Right now, Syoran wants you for something," I instructed him. He nodded compliantly and teleported away just as a rocket landed four feet from our location and threw me to the ground. "Okay," I growled, "Now he's getting on my nerves!"

"Level Four Release!" Pikablu shouted, lighting up Rotom's shield. It barely caused it to flicker, though the ghost did stop firing while the attack lasted.

"Confuse Ray!" Nine added her attack to the barrage, but it too was deflected. Rotom cackled, the sound laced with static and very creepy.

"You fools!" he shouted, "I can sit up here all day and nothing you do will penetrate my shield!"

"Not true!" Rio shouted, "Psi can! He can teleport!"

Rotom paused, staring blankly at Rio. Then, with a start, he realized Rio was right and began looking around for Psi. He didn't have to look far, since the Abra appeared right in front of his face with Seth in his grip. "Gah! That is a cheap trick! I hate teleportation!"

"You…you'll like this less!" Seth said, defiance overshadowing his fear. He reached into the robot's head, phasing through it like it wasn't there, and began tearing things apart from the inside.

"Hey! Stop it! Get out!" Rotom screamed, swiping futilely at him. He launched a rocket, but Seth quickly got out of the way and he blew his body's own head off instead. "AH! I can't see!"

"Then come on out and you'll see j-just fine!" Seth said coldly, reaching in again. He strained, attempting to pull something out, as the robot began to spark and malfunction, small explosions and fires breaking out like a rash all over it. Its flight became unsteady and Rotom screamed in pain from within.

"Look out!" Lady Glacier shouted.

"I don't want to be crushed!" Rio screamed, dashing as far away as he could. In one way or another, we all got clear of the area before it slammed into the ground, kicking up an enormous dust cloud. However, there was no spectacular explosion, which was a bit disappointing. Considering that we were in a semi-confined space, it was probably a good thing though. When it settled, we saw Seth holding a small, orange ghost and wrapping it in black tendrils, much like an ancient mummy.

"Is that…Rotom?" Nine asked in surprise, "But it's so weak!"

"Isn't every evil thing weak when we see it for what it is?" Z growled, glaring at Rotom, "It's strength lies in appearances, not reality."

"Wow, Z," I drawled, "That's very philosophical of you."

Just then, Latios flew in, a big grin on his face. "We did it!" he announced, "The garrison is defeated! Only a few pockets still remain in some of the lower levels! We've won!"

We raised a cheer. It was good to see everyone smiling again, and this time for a real reason. We had done what we planned to do. Now, we just had to help the shades set up fortifications and go home.

"You think you've won?" Rotom cackled as Seth continued wrapping him up, "This battle is only beginning!"

"You've lost!" Rio shouted, pointing at him, "The fortress is ours now!"

"Not for long…" Rotom cackled, "Before we fought, I sent a message to Lord Giratina…" A deathly silence and a horror settled over us. Rotom's smile was the most horrifying thing I'd seen in a long time, not because it was threatening, but because he was so confident that it killed whatever hope had just been rising. "He's coming back… You all are going to die."

Anyone who reviews doesn't get killed by Giratina!

Giratina: You cannot review your own story.

Rolf: Um...crud! Gotta run! Bye guys! See you later! Hopefully!