This is a Roleplay. Duh.



  • Groups and individuals with no discernable stance
  • Groups and individuals against the destruction of Celrest as well as against Vahashii's rule
  • Groups and individuals for the destruction of Celrest
  • Groups and individuals for and within Vahashii's rule
    • Vahashii's Gang
      • Vahashii
      • Orion's Gang(still loyal to Orion, but answer completely to Vahashii)
        • Honedge Guards
        • Doublade Guards
          • Maim
          • Slash
          • Shred 
        • Gengar Guards
        • Khan
        • Ceph
        • Other of Vahashii's soldiers
        • Psynes

Commander Lightning

  • Groups and individuals against the destruction of Celrest, as well as against Vahashii's rule
    • Uopanosguhi
    • Kolsohte
    • Xorack Otoriszu
    • Aroido Webuhimo
    • Team StormBlitz
      • Pikachu XXV (Pikaichichu)
      • Lieutenant General Magneton Jr (Zaffre)
      • Burasuiakeru (Clinger)
      • Kakegakoto (Latchgrip)
      • Aphioco
      • Chirshigana
      • Pikaichichu's Courier
    • The ProtoVordartrian Empire
      • Sovereign Commander Vykhtor Lighsttrom
      • R7-T7
    • IACPF
      • Inquisitor Melanecto
      • Cireituri
    • Allied Mercenaries
      • Hro'tav Rh'iizh
  • Groups and individuals for the destruction of Celrest
    • The Cavriluon Army
      • Major/Colonel Slarnik
      • Captain/Lieutenant Colonel Haksal
      • Colonel Odnhusio
      • General Dhiifoye

Chapter One: The Third Beginning

Cerin He walks along the road, feeling that he'd done this many times before, but the fact is that he has rarely gone to Central Celrest in the past.

A Wooper is walking much slower, in the opposite direction. She stumbles, and falls on the ground, coughing.

Cerin He walks faster to where the Wooper is. "Are you okay?"

"N-no." She coughs again, then slowly looks at Cerin.

Cerin "What's wrong?"

She struggles to get up. She is unable to do so. "I-I cannot move..."

Cerin "Does this happen often? Umm..." At a loss for what to do, he kneels next to the Wooper, preparing to lift her.

She slowly shakes her head. "N-not unless you g-get hurt badly..."

Cerin He lifts the Wooper easily, no doubt due to his odd modifications. "Where do you need to go?"

Too injured to wonder about the ease Cerin lifted her with, she just answers "Anyw-where I can rest."

Cerin He walks to a bench, and sets the Wooper down. "What happened to you, may I ask? I don't mean to be rude, a better first question would be "who are you", but I'm much rather interested in what happened."

"They...they attacked me...for saving someone from being robbed. I-I took down two of them, but was injured by another one." She answers, coughing.

Cerin "Well, who are you? What exactly are you doing in Celrest?"

Uopanosguhi "My n-n-name is Uopanosguhi. I was visiting, I'm not f-from here. I never knew there were s-so many vicious criminals in Celrest City. Who w-w-were th-they?"

Cerin "Likely Vahashii. Unless Orion's gang has broken from her service, but I find that unlikely."

Uopanosguhi "Vahashii? O-Orion's gang?" She asks, nervous, but faintly curious at the same time.

Cerin "Vahashii is an odd Gardevoir that took over Orion's gang a couple months ago."

Uopanosguhi "Sounds dangerous." She looks at Cerin. "W-wait. You never t-told me your name."

Cerin "Oh, I'm Cerin. Why did you come here in the first place?"

Uopanosguhi "I was visiting." She coughs. "I didn't expect any of that to happen. It is my first time here."

Cerin He looks confused. "Do you have family here or something?"

Uopanosguhi "W-when I think about it, I'm glad they don't live here. That city is not like what I was t-told."

Cerin "Oh, that was just Central. The rest of the city isn't that bad..."

Uopanosguhi "Oh..." Wincing, she slowly looks toward the direction Cerin was going. "Were you on your way somewhere? I'm so s-sorry for hindering you."

Cerin "I was just on the way to my girlfriend's house. I'm not expected there, though, and I was seeing if I could buy her a gift."

Uopanosguhi "A gift?"

Cerin "A necklace maybe."

Uopanosguhi "Oh." Her eyes are now half closed from fatigue. "Maybe you'll s-see it on the way."

Cerin "Do you just want to stay here, or what?"

Uopanosguhi "I d-don't think... ...i-i-it would be s-safe to....." She is unable to stay awake any longer.

Cerin "Oh, it's alright. You're out of Central."

She hears this, but has fallen asleep, so she cannot respond.

Cerin "I hope she has shelter..." He walks away.

Two figures watch as he leaves. One of them turns to speak to the other figure. "Sounds like they know about a gang of criminals, who are said to be dangerous. One of them seems to have had a rough run in with them." "The other one knows a lot about that gang. Their types, how strong they are, and of much they have." The other voice answers, clenching a sharp claw, before continuing. "Let's go. Quickly." They follow him, being careful to find cover wherever they can. One of them stops next to the bench for a minute before quickly running to catch up.

A purple Gardevoir watches, invisible to all eyes. "Hmm... Very interesting....", she says.

Chapter Two: The Vengeance of Marc

Cerin arrives at Lace's house and went inside, disappointed that he hadn't found Lace a gift.

Lace had been laying face-down on her bed, half-unconscious, after a very long day. She hears the door open, and stirs.

Cerin "Lace! I was going to get you something, but I couldn't find anything," He says this first with a yell, then later with a normal tone, as Lace appears at the door, looking very sleepy.

Lace "I wasn't expecting you..."

Cerin "I know. I hope that doesn't mean that you're not happy to see me..."

Lace She smiles, then yawns. "Of course not. Come over anytime." She bows woozily, stumbling as she does so. "My home is your home."

Cerin He frowns, confused at her stumbling. "Are you drunk?"

Lace She grimaces and yawns again. "No, just sleep-deprived."

Cerin "Then sleep! Don't let me disturb you. I'll just leave, and..."

Lace "No!" She interrupts. "Don't leave me!"

Cerin He raises his eyebrows. "It still sounds like you're drunk."

Lace "I've just been without sleep, or comfort, for a week. Please stay."

Cerin "Don't have to tell me twice. I didn't want to leave."


Tails "Oh, Arceus, this is bad! The timelines are disintegrating! These people don't even exist anymore! In any timeline!" The Elders look at him bemusedly.

Elder "Calm down and start from the beginning...."

Tails "Okay, okay, you remember this guy, here? He's gone. From all timelines. And he's not the only one. Also, things are... repeating... somehow."

Elder "I'm sure it's alright...."

Tails "No, damnit! I'm tired of this! You never take action! I'm fixing this, myself!"

Elder He looks bored. "You have disgraced the Council, you are hereby Banished." But Tails has already disappeared, and the Banishment fails.

Back outside of Celrest City, a Swadloon is going along the road. He notices Uopanosguhi asleep on the bench. He moves to the bench, deciding to keep her company for now.

A strange Pikachu that looks very similar to Tails appears behind the bench suddenly, surprised to find someone there. He winces, hoping that no one had seen him appear.

Pikachu "Can you help me?"

The Swadloon turned to see the Pikachu. With a gloomy expression, he mumbled "What do you need help with?" The words could barely be heard.

Pikachu "There's a certain someone that I'm looking for. One by the name of Cerin." He then mumbles something about repetition.

The Swadloon thinks about it, but he hesitates, as he is unwilling to leave Uopanosguhi alone, especially in Celrest. Another question comes to mind, he speaks louder, and says in his now noticeable accent "Wait. Who are you?"

Marc "I'm Marc. I'm ummm, a traveler."

The Swadloon responds in turn, without giving any hint of suspicion, in his usual quiet and gloomy tone.

Kolsohte "...Kolsohte."

Marc "Kolsohte... Kolsohte.... No, never heard of you. Anyway, how did you come to be here?" He walks around to the other side of the bench. He looks left and right suspiciously and sits down. Snow begins to fall.

Kolsohte "Well...when I..." Before he can say anything else, he sees the snow falling, and looks at a snowflake drifting down.

Marc He watches the snowflake disinterestedly, then crushes it. "Please continue."

Kolsohte He frowns, then continues talking. "When I first came to Celrest, I heard that something was amiss. It wasn't until I went into Central Celrest that I found out just how bad things are. That Wooper on the bench? I couldn't leave her alone out here, especially not with those injuries, so I decided to stay by her for now."

Marc "Yeah, Central is bad, isn't it?" He smirks, and brushes snow from his oddly sandy hair, "But before that, where did you come from. Where were you born?"

With this sudden line of questioning, now Kolsohte is getting more suspicious of Marc.

Kolsohte "What does that have to do with the one that you are trying to find?"

Marc "I might be in a different ti--, uh, place then I thought I was." He winces again. "Okay, look, just forget I said anything. Have you seen a Pikachu named Cerin? Or...another Pikachu with tannish fur like mine? Goes by the name of Tails?"

Uopanosguhi is slightly awakened enough to speak.

Uopanosguhi "Don't know about...Tails. ...Cerin...helped me..."

Marc "Oh, isn't that a surprise. Do you know where he lives?"

Uopanosguhi "Not...really..."

Marc He hesitates. "Which direction did he go...?" What looks like a dagger appears in Marc's hand, held behind his back.

Uopanosguhi falls back asleep before she can say anything else. Kolsohte shrugs, so as to say that he does not know.

Marc He disappears once Kolsohte looks away, and then reappears suddenly further down the street by accident, in complete view of Kolsohte.

Kolsohte is now fully suspicious of Marc, and moves toward him.

Marc "Umm...."

Kolsohte looks at Marc disapprovingly, as if he knew what he was planning to do.

Marc "Umm, "I'm just going to the uh, store," He curses and winces again.

Two figures approach behind Marc. One of the voices asks "You weren't going alone, were you?" followed by a more aggressive sounding voice. "You know how dangerous it is in Celrest!"

Marc He spins around. "Aaah!" He falls to the ground. "Holy...Dammit!"

One of the figures is a Drapion, with claws and a tail that are unusually sharp. This is the one that has been speaking in the aggressive tone, and is laughing really hard from scaring Marc. Next to him is an orange-eyed Ariados, who is getting quite a chuckle from this, too. "Well? Were you?" The Ariados asks again.

Marc "No, as a matter of fact, I was..." Then he gets a good look at the Ariados. "Hang on, I know you... And not from here. I know you from one of the Eld--, I mean a, uh..." He trails off, then mutters, "Dang, how does Tails do it?"

The two share a glance before looking back at Marc, and the Drapion proceeds to ask, "If you weren't going to the store, then where were you going?"

Marc "I was going to find someone, okay!" Then he mutters, "I hope that I don't have to resort to using any powers."

"Well, if you want to know, we were on our way to find someone as well." The Ariados answers, and the Drapion grinning and following with, "He knows about the criminals in Celrest."

Marc "Who.... I know of no such person. Unless...."

"Unless?..." They both ask.

Marc "Unless it was Cerin that you're talking about. But I think that it's mostly rumours that he knows anything about Vahashii."

They are surprised that Marc is looking for the same one that they are following. They immediately ask, "You're looking for Cerin, too?!"

Marc "Apparently so, yes."

After several seconds of thinking, the Drapion nods to his partner, who says, "If you want, you can come with us. He went further down this road, so he should be somewhere around there."

Marc "Okay, sounds good."

Without saying anything else, they both turn and walk down the road.

Chapter Three:  The Beginning of the Strike

Cerin awakens from Lace's bed, hearing something strange. He gets up and walks to the door.

The Ariados says to Marc "We'll know where he is when he comes outside." The Drapion replies "Then we can get the information."

Marc, however, is getting more and more nervous as Cerin approaches the door, and he doesn't know why.

Cerin He opens the door. "What the...?"

The other two are nowhere in sight. They are in wait.

Marc He mutters "Oh, put me on the spot, do you?" Then in a louder voice he says "Um, hello, uhhh, Mister Cerin."

Cerin "Mister.... Uh, huh?" He stares, dumbstruck, at the tan Pikachu.

The two watch from the shadows. As with Kolsohte earlier, these two are suspicious of Marc. "Did you hear him back there, Aroido? 'Rumours', he says. Hah. Sounded like he was trying to throw us off." The Drapion whispers to Aroido, who whispers back to him, "I don't like the looks of that one, Xorack. It looked and sounded like he has something different in mind."

Xorack He answers in turn, whispering "Of course he does."

Marc He twitches, then half-smiles, for the first time in his own environment. He prepares to attack, to finally put his grudge to rest, after Marc's own son was killed by Cerin's son. Cerin's son had vanished, so Marc decided to kill Cerin instead to enact vengeance. But Marc was never able to kill Cerin in any timeline..... until now. But suddenly a whooshing noise sounded out, and something tapped Marc on the shoulder.

Tails "Well hi there, Marc."

Marc He spins around. "But... how.... this timeline isn't..."

Tails "Not quite. Actually, meeting you about to strike is just a coincidence."

Marc "Liar."

Tails "Maybe."

While surprised by Tails's sudden appearance, the word "strike" also gets Xorack and Aroido's attention.

Aroido "He was going to kill Cerin..."

Xorack "Now we know why Marc had that dagger..."

Marc "Dagger?  There's no dagger, it's a SWORD!" A sword materializes and strikes at Tails' face.

Tails He pushes Marc backwards and melts the sword.

Cerin "What the..?"

Marc "Damnit, why can I never surprise you.."

Tails "Because I'm, oh, what do my admirers say?  Badass?"  He kicks Marc into the wall of the building.

Aroido shoots a web right at Marc.

Marc, for now unconcious, is stuck to the upper wall of the building.

Cerin "Wha- what the hell is going on?"

Tails "Just go back to sleep. Unless of course these two have business with you."

Xorack and Aroido approach them.

Aroido "We were on our way to see you, Cerin, but then Marc tried to kill you."

Xorack "What do you think we should do with him?" He raises a claw threateningly at Marc. "He did try to kill you both, so I think it's fair that we punish him." He laughs maliciously.

Marc He struggles to conciousness at these words. " That's....impossible for you..."

Tails "But not for me.."

Cerin "What did you want?" he says to Aroido and Xorack.

Xorack He retorts aggressively. "Shut up, Marc."

Aroido He calmly answers Cerin and asks "Two things, Cerin. 1: Why was Marc trying to kill you? And 2: What happened to that Wooper back there?"

Cerin "For your first question, I have no answer, because I have no clue. As for the second, she was attacked by criminals, or something of the like. Why?"

Aroido "She looked badly hurt."

Xorack "Attacked by Vahashii's gang, right?"

Cerin "Yeah, probably former members of Orion's gang. They say that Vahashii took over Orion's gang single-handedly. I don't know how true that is."

Aroido "Neither do we. What is true, however, is that it is dangerous out here."

Xorack "And not just because of him..." He points at Marc.

Aroido "If that Wooper was attacked all the way out here, then these criminals must have a greater reach than most think."

Cerin He yawns. "Oh, come inside, you two. I'm not going to stand around here."

Xorack "I thought you'd never ask. Come on, Aroido."

Xorack and Aroido go inside.

Tails and Marc are left outside.

Cerin He sits at the table with a mug of coffee. "So, what is it that you want?"

Xorack "Okay. We know that many of the criminals that operate in Celrest were once run by Orion, and are now run by Vahashii, or so we have been told."

Aroido "We also know that their most recent victim was that Wooper. Looking at her, she was hurt badly."

Cerin "Most recent victim? I find that unlikely. They would've attacked again by now."

Xorack "I see. It's because they're always finding more in the city, right?"

Aroido "And it's a very good thing that you don't live there."

Cerin "I don't understand. Why are you two here? Simply information?"

Xorack "'Simply information?' You wish it was simple."

Aroido "After seeing Marc try to kill you, I would say it's anything except simple. We can see that even just outside the city, you're likely to run into trouble."

Xorack "Just like everyone else around here."

Cerin "So.... you want to know why I attract trouble? And I'm not going to lie, I am a magnet for that."

Xorack "That only gives us more reason to be here, since you say that you frequently run into trouble..."

Aroido "Especially with those criminals running around in Celrest."

Cerin "Just ask me whatever you want to ask me, so we can be done."

Xorack "Okay. Here's my question, and I hope you can answer it. Where in the city do they most often attack?"

Cerin "Maybe the outer edge of Central?  I know that the base is in, well, Central Central."

Xorack seems satisfied with this answer. As far as he is concerned, they now have enough of the information that they were looking for.

Aroido "You have been quite helpful with your information."

Xorack He mutters to Aroido, "Aroido, get the tent ready."

Aroido "Hai. We cannot let another attack happen here again." He goes outside, and sets up their tent.

Xorack "So we're keeping watch for now."

Cerin "I'm not so sure about that..."

Xorack "You wouldn't want to end up like that Wooper back there, would you? There's nobody else here to keep you from getting hurt."

Cerin "Look, you know I attract trouble. I'm alive, aren't I? I don't think I need your help. Also, how do I know that you're not with the criminals?"

Xorack is angered by this question.

Xorack "You better not be calling us criminals, Cerin!"

At that same time, Aroido comes back inside.

Aroido "If we were with them, then we wouldn't need to ask about their whereabouts. We would not even bother saving you if we were with those criminals."

Cerin "Okay, but I'm not going to let you set up shop right next to Lace's house."

Aroido "Then we can move it, but I still say that what happened here is very concerning." He notices Xorack's frustration rising. "Thank you for your time, and I'm really sorry for this inconvenience." He bows in courtesy, and quickly brings Xorack outside.

Lace walks in.

Lace "What's going on?"

Cerin "Some Pokémon want to set up a tent beside the house!"

Lace "What!?"

Cerin "I know, right!"

By now, they are already moving the tent a short distance from the house. When they set it down, they go inside the tent.

Xorack "So, here's what we'll do. We stay here, until an hour before sunrise, then we raid those thugs."

Aroido "I like that plan, Xorack."

Tails He has already taken care of Marc, and he overhears Aroido and Xorack as he is walking, preparing to leave. "Hmm, I wonder what effect this'll have..."

Aroido looks around and sees Tails.

Aroido "Oi! Tails... it? Thanks for stopping Marc's attempted attack."

Tails "Oh, no problem. I have a feeling that you'll see me again in the future, though. Wherever trouble no one else can handle arises, I show up."

The two look at each other and nod, as if to say that they will remember that.

On the bench, next to Uopanosguhi, Kolsohte continues to watch the snow fall. He watches a snowflake fall to the ground, and sighs...

Cerin "To think, the rumors of Vahashii and her followers coming to Outer Celrest might be true..."

Lace "We can handle ourselves, I'm sure," She gives Cerin a kiss on the cheek.

Cerin "But what if we can't..."

Lace "Then may Arceus help the world, 2 unknown figures have died." She smiles at her grim joke.

Cerin "Along with the rest of the city..."

Chapter Four: The Venture into Central

Later, Xorack and Aroido quietly pack up and head out toward Central Celrest, one hour before dawn.

Tails He stands atop a tall building, watching Xorack and Aroido's progress.  "I wonder if it really will end up with their deaths..."

When they get close to the city, not uttering a word, they go into the shadows for cover.

Tails "I wonder if anything's even the same as it should be."

They continue to sneak around as they enter the city, both looking around, watching out for trouble.

A patrol of Honedge pass right by Aroido and Xorack.

They both stay hidden, and Aroido checks to see where they are going.

"You," says a Honedge to one of his brethren, "Go check out over there, we've had some reports of, ahem, victims from that area for several nights now."

Xorack moves behind a wall, clenching one of his claws. Aroido climbs a wall of one of the buildings to get a higher vantage point, still in the shadows.

Honedge "I don' see anybody over ther', boss." He floats closer to the hiding spot.

Suddenly, Xorack, using one of his claws, reaches out, grabs him, and pulls him out of sight.

Honedge "Agh, what the hell's got me?"

Xorack He says quietly, but aggressively "Shut up, or I'll knock your lights out."

Honedge "Damnit, I never catch a break...."

Xorack "Neither does anyone that you attack in this city. Now, quiet."

Other Honedge "'Ey! Scout! Come back in an hour if you don't find anything!" He floats over to where his brethren had disappeared.

Xorack walks back further in the shadows, grinning as he waits for the other Honedge.

Other Honedge "Where the hell'd he go.."

Aroido shoots a web at him.

Other Honedge He mumbles curses and struggles, then cuts free of the webs. "Where'd tha' come from?"

Aroido sprays more webbing, then jumps right at him with the intent of tackling him.

Honedge He attacks Aroido with his blade edge.

Aroido is hit, but by quickly shoving the Honedge backward with his kunai, he is left with only a minor wound.

Aroido "A lucky strike..." He points his kunai at the Honedge. "...but it is going to take more than that."

Honedge He charges again.

Aroido jumps over him, then dashes toward him. His first attack is a horizontal slash.

Honedge He blocks it with his own body.

Aroido moves right and slashes again.

Honedge He is hit by the attack, but not affected.

Seeing this, Aroido sprays more webs at him, this time, continuously.

Honedge He is hit in the eye with some of the webs, and flails wildly about.

Aroido continues spraying him with webs. Xorack watches this, and grins.

Honedge He slows down, still trying to move forward, but becoming so matted with webs that he cannot cut through them.

Aroido continues his web spraying attack. Xorack laughs.

Honedge "GAH!" He shoots a wave of energy from his blade, destroying most of the web.

Xorack "Aroido, step aside. I'll take him down."

Aroido moves aside. Xorack runs toward the Honedge, jumps at him, and swings one of his claws, intending to smack him down.

Honedge He starts to vibrate, increasing the sharpness and efficiency of his blade.

As Xorack strikes, though his decision was risky, his attack narrowly avoids the bladed edges and hits the flat side.

Honedge To the Honedge's dismay, Xorack hits the top of the side of his blade, and it breaks, not a lot of it, but almost all of the tip.

Xorack "Didn't feel so good, did it?" He grins. "The next attack will hurt even more if you keep trying to fight us."

Aroido picks up the tip that broke off.

Aroido "...And he means it. You really should give up."

Honedge He growls menacingly.

Xorack growls back at him, then he slowly grins and looks at his captive, then back at the other Honedge with a short laugh.

Xorack "Just in case you get any ideas of attacking me, know that if you try to attack me, you'll hit your accomplice instead."

Honedge He prepares to charge, but when he shoots forward it is away from Xorack and Aroido, He disappears before long.

Aroido "He got away..."

Xorack "But not without losing one and a tip." He grins. "When we set up our hideout, we'll have a lot of questions for this one." He laughs as they head into the city.

Tails He is still watching from above. "Hmm, that was different then I remember....  I wonder if it's a good thing."

Chapter Five: The Bane of the Council

A few hours later, Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte are already off the bench, looking around and seeing all of the snow on the ground.

Cerin He awakes again at the usual time, despite not getting much sleep at all.

Uopanosguhi "...I can't believe I missed this. Did you see any snow falling?"

Kolsohte nods.

Cerin He goes into the kitchen and decides to make an early breakfast.

Minutes later he can hear a knocking at the door.

Cerin "Again...? Who would..." He opens the door.

Uopanosguhi is there with a smile when she sees Cerin, and Kolsohte next to her, his usual gloomy expression contrasting with hers.

Uopanosguhi "Ohayō gozaimásu, Cerin." She bows in courtesy.

Cerin "Oh, hello! I'm fluent in around six languages, but I have no idea what you just said. Sal, sueg ammu? No? Yeah, wrong language. Anyway, would you like to step inside?"

Uopanosguhi "Gladly, and what I said was "Good morning". It is a language spoken in all four regions of the country I come from. Thanks for your offer." With that, she walks inside, with Kolsohte alongside her.

Cerin "Oh.  I suppose I'm overdue to learn said language then."  He moves to a table and pulls out three chairs, sitting in one, and sips his coffee. "Please, have a seat.  Oh, and if you were wondering, the language I was speaking was known as Nyman.  Des detoul vem des lunu, the person who taught me the language called it.  Ironically, a title that the long-dead speakers would probably dislike.  But that's not important.  What are you two here for?"

The two oblige and and sit in the chairs, listening to what Cerin says. The two of them still seem a bit unsure of what the Nyman language was, as neither of them ever heard of it. Few, if anyone at all on this planet, or on Earth, would know of it. Then Uopanosguhi answers the question that Cerin asks them.

Uopanosguhi "I want to thank you for helping me yesterday, Cerin. You're really kind, you know that?"

Cerin "I try to be, I guess. Though despite that, I've made quite a few enemies."

Uopanosguhi "Vahashii's gang, right? We both made enemies with them. They asked for it, though."

Cerin He frowns. "Oh, I wasn't even counting them. And they do deserve it."

Uopanosguhi "Well, who else would have wanted to hurt you other than them?"

Kolsohte shakes his head, disagreeing with that question.

Cerin "I'd rather not say."

Uopanosguhi "I understand. I don't like dwelling on that subject either." She decides to move on to another subject. "Say, did you see the snow outside?" Her expression turns into one of joy and excitement.

Cerin "That I did.  I don't have memories of snow.  I grew up in a warm region."

Uopanosguhi She frowns slightly. "Oh. So this is the first time you've seen any snow? I wish I could have seen it fall yesterday."

Cerin "It's odd that it decides to snow now."

Uopanosguhi "From what you just said, does it ever snow here? I'm new to Celrest, so I don't really know much about the weather here."

Cerin "It gets cold enough, but it very rarely actually snows." Lace walks in.

Lace "What... who are these guests?"

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte turn their heads and see Lace.

Uopanosguhi She nervously asks "You live here, too?" She quickly calms herself. "I'm Uopanosguhi, and this is Kolsohte."

Kolsohte "Hello."

Lace "My name is Lace, and this is actually my house.... officially. Cerin just lives here most to all of his time because we're engaged to be married.... His house is really too close to Central to be safe. In any case, it's nice to meet you, though I am a bit surprised to see you here."

Uopanosguhi "Oh..." She remembers what Cerin said to her yesterday, and now knows that it was Lace that he was seeing. "Well, it's nice to meet you, too. We came here because I wanted to thank Cerin for helping me yesterday. I was badly hurt by a gang of criminals, and it hurt to walk after that. Thanks to Cerin, though, I'm fine now."

Lace "Oh, Vahashii/Orion's gang have been getting more... daring. The boundaries of their territory; Central, widened quite a bit recently." She sighs. "This city really is crap. I wish we didn't live here. But it's quite a long way to the nearest city, Speaking of that, where did you two come from?"

Uopanosguhi "I come from central Johto. The Ruins of Alph, to be more specific."

Kolsohte, on the other hand, decides not to be as direct.

Kolsohte "You saw the snow, right? Where I come from, we have a lot of snow."

Cerin "Ruins of Alph?  That's odd...."

Uopanosguhi "Well, my parents live there, too, Cerin. In fact, many of my kind live there."

Lace "Snow?  Oh, wow, that's amazing!  I've only seen snow once before."  She peers outside.

Uopanosguhi After hearing Lace talk about the snow, she sighs. "I guess you were right about the snow being a rare sight here."

Cerin "Ah, I guess you'll miss it if you stay too long. Speaking of that, how did you get to Celrest? I don't mean to be invasive, but we hardly get people in or out, because of distance."

Uopanosguhi "I got lost after being carried out into open ocean by some unusually strong currents. I should have known that swimming near Olivine City at night was a bad idea, especially for the first time. I was so tired that I was unaware of where I was going, and sometime later, I was washed up on a beach in Celrest. That's how I ended up here."

Cerin "Oh, that's pretty bad..... I'm afraid that I can't help you to get out of this place in any way. I could find you shelter here, though."

Uopanosguhi "Thanks, Cerin. We wouldn't want to be of any trouble to you or Lace. After all, you did help me out yesterday."

Cerin "To be honest, you two staying here for a day would be much easier.  I really don't have time to find a house for you today.  I have paperwork to fill out.  Lots of paperwork.  More than I expected."

Uopanosguhi "I understand. The house can wait. Like I said, we wouldn't want to be of any trouble to you."

Cerin "Sounds good to me.  We have a guest bedroom this way."  He leaves his chair and walks down the hallway, leaving Lace to watch the snow fall.

Uopanosguhi hops off the chair and follows Cerin down the hallway, Kolsohte following her.

The room is bland, with barely any furnishings except a bed and a bunk bed.

They both look around the room, and after a minute, Uopanosguhi turns to Cerin.

Uopanosguhi "The beds look nice." She says to him with a smile. "I'm glad you found us a room to sleep in. Thank you very much, Cerin."

Cerin "You're very welcome."

Uopanosguhi "If there's anything I can do for you in return, just let me know." She bows again.

Cerin "That I will."

With that, Uopanosguhi hops out into the hallway and goes to look out one of the windows, Kolsohte following.

Lace She passes Uopanosguhi in the hallway. "Cerin? There's a commotion outside."

Cerin "What?" He walks to the kitchen.

Uopanosguhi looks out the window. Kolsohte decides to do the same.

Many figures mill around in the plaza not far from Lace's house.  The people inside the house could hear indistinctive talking, but could not pick out any words.

Uopanosguhi "Cerin? Lace?" She turns around. "There's something going on outside."

Kolsohte He turns to Uopanosguhi. "And it wasn't that way minutes ago."

Cerin "Yeah, but what?"

Uopanosguhi "I don't know. I can't understand what they're saying over all of the commotion."

Cerin "Maybe we should go out there..." He sounds unsure.

Uopanosguhi "Is it safe to go out there?" She turns back around to the window.

Cerin "I mean, there's a chance that they could be rallying against us.." He laughs. "But that's very, very slim."

Uopanosguhi walks to Cerin. Kolsohte does the same.

Uopanosguhi "If you're going out there, then so am I."

Kolsohte nods in agreement with her.

Cerin "I'm going out there." He walks outside. Lace follows.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte immediately go outside with Cerin and Lace.

Here, the sound is clearer, but it still just sounds like ranting.

Uopanosguhi "There's so much noise, so much talking over one another that I still can't understand what any of them are saying."

Cerin "Closer?" He sounds wary.

Uopanosguhi "If we're going closer to that clamour, then we should stick together."

Cerin "Alright." He walks toward the crowd.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte try to listen in on the crowd as they walk closer.

The voices become clearer, or rather, a main voice stands out.

Speaker "This city is done. There's nothing for us here!!!!!! Let's just leave. Just go. All of us."

Cerin "That's ridiculous, and the inhabitants must know that.... Are they actually listening...?"

Uopanosguhi "I don't think they're listening to us, Cerin..."

Kolsohte shakes his head.

Cerin "We've already tried getting out of here.  It's too risky.  And the government doesn't care enough to send someone over."

Kolsohte whispers to Uopanosguhi.

Uopanosguhi "Oh." She nods. "Cerin? Going by what Lace said, if all we do is leave Celrest, Vahashii's gang will just keep widening their territory to keep their hold on us."

Cerin "That's true. If anyone actually considered this, they'd be dealt with by the gang. I don't expect this guy to live until tomorrow..."

Uopanosguhi "We have to do something and convince them that this is not the solution, or else we're all in big trouble."

Cerin "I agree, but I don't even know who's speaking. How are we going to get to them if we can't even see them?"

Lace "Nothing I can do..."

Uopanosguhi "Maybe we can try to get their attention?"

Cerin "How do you propose to do that?"

Uopanosguhi "I..." She pauses, then she hops up repeatedly, yelling "Oi! Oi! Koko ni! Koko ni!"

Cerin "What..."

Speaker He looks around in confusion. "What the..."

Uopanosguhi Still hopping up, she yells "Over here!"

Speaker "What's going on there?"

Uopanosguhi "I know you're trying to speak to everyone about leaving, but this isn't a good idea!"

Speaker "Oh? And why is that? Enlighten me." As the crowd parts, the speaker is visible. He is a strange creature, blue and rabbit-like. None of the crowd recognizes what he is.

Now having an open path, Uopanosguhi walks up to the speaker. She bows in courtesy before speaking.

Uopanosguhi "Running away from our homes won't solve the problem. Vahashii's gang won't just let us go. If we run, they'll just claim more and more as their territory, while keeping up with us. We'll still be in their hold, as if we never left. Don't you understand that?"

Speaker The thing stares at her. "I'm afraid that's incorrect. We plan on bombing Celrest, with Vahashii inside."

Cerin, Lace "What!"

Uopanosguhi "What?!"

Kolsohte runs to Uopanosguhi's side.

Uopanosguhi "By destroying Celrest, you'll only make things worse!"

Kolsohte shakes his head at the speaker, disapproving of this course of action.

Uopanosguhi "Who are you, anyway?"

Speaker "They call me Viera, scourge of the Council, but I don't suppose that you know what that means."

Kolsohte "Viera? Scourge of the Council?"

Uopanosguhi She continues with rising anger in her voice. "Right now, I'm more concerned about you considering destroying Celrest just to get rid of Vahashii. That's a terrible idea!"

Viera "I don't see why it's such a bad idea." He smiles, a demonic glint in his eye.

Uopanosguhi "Of course you don't, because you don't care!" She answers angrily. "You don't care about what happens after Celrest is gone! You don't care about any of us at all!"

Viera "I do care.... about those who agree with me."

Kolsohte glares at Viera.

Uopanosguhi "Celrest can still be saved, and I'm not letting you destroy it just to get rid of one criminal!"

Viera "What of the countless minions?"

Uopanosguhi "And what of the many innocents still in the city?! You'd be killing them, too!"

Viera "And why do you think I'm having this, if not to convince as many people as I can to leave?"

Uopanosguhi "Listen. Your plan is not the only way to deal with this." She walks closer. "I fought three of Vahashii's thugs at once, and what I can say is that they're vicious, but they're not unstoppable. We can defeat them without having to destroy Celrest!"

Viera "And you want to do that? Go right ahead.."

Uopanosguhi "We will."

Kolsohte nods firmly.

Viera "And what's with your little minion?"  He points at Kolsohte.

Kolsohte "Anteeksi?"

Uopanosguhi "Minion?! He is a friend of mine, and as you've noticed, he wants to help us defeat them."

Viera "I don't understand half of the the people that come through here...."

Uopanosguhi "Once we save Celrest, you may understand then..."

Viera "You? Save Celrest? Bwahahaha!"

Uopanosguhi "Doubt it all you want..." She turns to face the crowd. "...we're going to save Celrest!"

There was some muttering from the crowd.

Cerin "I sorta think that might not be the best approach...."

Uopanosguhi "What? But why?" She asks in disbelief. After hearing Viera's plan, she did not expect those words from Cerin.

Cerin "Look at these people. They're not exactly supportive."

Uopanosguhi "They're not?..." She looks around at the crowd, then at Cerin, nervously.

Cerin "Not in the slightest."

After three seconds, Uopanosguhi gives a small uneasy smile, laughing nervously. Then she frowns and hangs her head down in embarrassment and sadness.

Cerin "Personally, I think we need to change the crowd's mind."

Uopanosguhi "I can't do this...alone." She mutters.

Cerin "Exactly."

Uopanosguhi slumps to the ground. Kolsohte turns to face Cerin.

Kolsohte "You could help out here..."

Cerin "Oh, you misunderstand. I meant that I'd help."

Uopanosguhi lifts her head up and smiles at Cerin.

Kolsohte "It was your responses before that made us misunderstand."

Cerin "I guess I wasn't clear enough."

Uopanosguhi quickly stands up.

Uopanosguhi "Thank you!" She hops up repeatedly with joy.

Cerin "No problem.  If I had a guess, I'd say that we should..."  He pauses.

Uopanosguhi "Should what?"

Cerin "I have no idea. I just forgot what I was talking about...."

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte "What?!"

Cerin "I have no clue..." He happens to glance at Viera. Viera is smiling very peculiarly and maliciously at Cerin.

Chapter Six: The Misled Sentinel

The beach is covered in dense fog. Within the fog is a group of Pokémon near a small amphibious transport, though they cannot be identified in such conditions. Another one goes over to them. "Have you received new information?" "Yes, sir. Two members of Vahashii's gang were ambushed and since then, one of the two is missing." "A positive development." "However, the situation is still getting worse. Viera intends to destroy all of Celrest, completely, and he seems eager to do so." "I will inform headquarters of the situation immediately. Continue." "Yes, sir."

In one of the buildings in Central Celrest, Xorack and Aroido are interrogating the Honedge that they had captured earlier on.

Aroido "So, how many people have you attacked recently?"

Next to Aroido, Xorack grins at the Honedge.

Honedge "Why'd I tell ya that? I don' even know, anyways."

Xorack "Then tell us this: Who did you and those other goons attack most recently? And where were you planning on causing trouble this morning?"

Honedge "Hey, I'm just onna patrol. I dunno nothin about whoever we're sposeda be attacking."

Xorack looks irritated.

Xorack "They don't tell you anything?"

Honedge "Not at all." He looks proud of himself.

Xorack With a mildly annoyed look, he says "Don't look so proud just because they don't tell you anything." He walks up to the Honedge. "It doesn't change the fact that you're a criminal."

Honedge "I'd sure hope not, I have too much stoke on bein a criminal."

Xorack looks straight at the Honedge with an increasingly sadistic grin.

Xorack "Then let me tell you how I get my stoke." He smacks him hard across the face. Aroido winces slightly at this. "Pounding criminals into a pulp, raiding their hideouts, and taking everything they have."

Honedge "Heyyy, you stand no chance against the Purple Lady!"

That sentence has Xorack and Aroido laughing uproariously. When they are finished laughing, Aroido asks the next question.

Aroido "While we're on that subject, what do you know about Vahashii?"

Honedge "Nothin. Nothin but rumors."

Aroido "Well, what were those rumours? What did you hear?"

Honedge "What interest do you have in any simple rumors that I might've heard?"

Xorack "We don't care how simple those rumours are. Answer his question."

Honedge "Well, they say she's an alien and all that."

Aroido "Simple or not, that actually sounds interesting."

Xorack "That it does. What else did you hear?"

Honedge "I heard that she came to go against the natural course of this world's history or somethin. Wait. The actual word that was used was timeline."

Xorack "What?!"

Aroido "Are you trying to say that they think... ...that she may be trying to ruin the timeline?..."

Honedge "Somethin like that."

Aroido "......That sounds really bad, especially if that rumour turns out to be true."

Xorack "Knowing that, it wouldn't be enough to say that she's crazy, now, would it?"

Aroido "No. It wouldn't."

Honedge "What?"

Aroido "If this is true, then everyone is in danger now."

Xorack "Including you and the rest of that gang."

Honedge "But it's just a rumor, ain't it?"

Xorack "That doesn't mean we can just ignore it and move on."

Aroido "Rumour or not, that's serious."

Honedge "What are you doin here anyways?"

Xorack "We were doing what we usually do."

Aroido "But now, considering what you told us, things are a little different."

Xorack "Taking down Vahashii is now more important than going around mugging and pounding those in her gang at different times of the day or night."

Honedge "I would like to see the Purple Lady go down after what she did to my boss. Unfortunately, you two stand no chance."

Aroido "You see two of us in front of you."

Xorack "But it's not just the two of us." At that second, he is interrupted by a rapid beeping sound. "Aroido, get that."

Aroido "Hai?" He listens. Suddenly a look of alarm comes across his face. "That's not good... ... ...Okay. Thanks for telling me." He stops the communication there.

Xorack "What happened?" Aroido cannot bring himself to say anything at first. "Come on! Tell me! Tell me!" He jumps up impatiently while saying this.

Aroido "It was from ten of them." He pauses for four seconds before saying "They told me that someone named Viera plans to destroy Celrest..."

Xorack "Plans to WHAT?!" Before Aroido can say anything else, he slams his claws down on one of the tables next to them, breaking it in half.

Honedge Through this exchange, the Honedge continues to look increasingly puzzled.

Aroido "...There's more, though."

Xorack "Tell me."

Aroido "They also told me that a few had volunteered to fight Vahashii instead of letting that happen, after one of them spoke out against Viera."

Honedge "Who's Viera, and why does that name sound familiar?"

Xorack "I don't know."

Aroido "Neither do I. Right now, all we know are the name and the intentions."

Honedge "And whaddo I do? Sit here or somethin?"

Xorack "Right now that seems most likely. You were involved in a criminal gang that causes serious problems for Celrest."

Aroido "However, you also want Vahashii gone, and you did give us some useful information."

The two walk to the middle of the room and have a quiet discussion. Then Xorack turns to the Honedge with a grin.

Xorack "Say, how would you like to do something better and more interesting than go on a lousy patrol for that lousy Vahashii?"

Honedge "It sounds like a good idea to me."

Xorack "I thought so. It involves disrupting Vahashii's operations in Celrest."

Honedge "How, exactly?"

Aroido "First, we're going to find out where she is in this city."

Xorack "And to do that, we have to capture another member of her gang, more than one if we have to."

Honedge "That shouldn't be too hard."

Xorack "I know." He walks over to a door that leads outside. "There's no use in wasting anymore time. Let's go." He says bluntly as he opens the door and walks outside.

Aroido "This way." He walks to the doorway.

Honedge He follows.

As they go outside, Xorack turns his head around to face the Honedge.

Xorack "Wait. This whole time, we never got your name. ...What is it?"

Honedge "Slice."

Xorack "Okay. That's what we needed to hear. Aroido, get up there and see if anyone's nearby."

Aroido "Right away, Xorack." He climbs to the roof of one of the buildings to get a good vantage point.

Slice "I doubt there'd anyone here at this time, but I could be wrong. I never memorized the entire thing."

Xorack "Given what you told us, I'm not surprised." Using his communicator, he asks Aroido "See anyone?"

Aroido "Not yet. Still looking."

Slice "Try the uppermost octant, there's always a patrol there."

Xorack "Right. Try the uppermost octant."

Aroido "Got it." He swings to another building, then climbing to the roof.

Xorack "Come on, Slice." He goes to keep up with Aroido as he continues swinging from building to building until he gets close to the aforementioned octant.

Slice "This octant is always patrolled, because it's closest to the most rebellious part of the city."

Xorack "Sounds like the part of the city that gives Vahashii's gang trouble." He speaks into his communicator. "See anyone?"

Aroido "Hold on, Xorack." He climbs onto another roof. "Okay, I'm looking now."

Slice "I definitely heard somethin."

Xorack "Me, too. Let's listen."

They hear a shuffling noise, and some voices.

Slice "What the- it's not a Honedge patrol."

Xorack "...Doesn't sound anything like a Honedge patrol." He replies quietly and continues listening.

Slice He listens closer.  He can hear faint whispery noises, as well as footsteps. "I think it's a Gengar patrol."

Xorack "Aroido, do you see the patrol?"

Aroido "Yes, Xorack. I see it." He answers just as quietly.

Slice "I never could remember my type advantages when I was in school. Who has the advantage?"

Xorack "We do. We both are a type that hits them hard, and a type that resists theirs."

Slice "That's good."

Aroido "You still need to be careful, though, Slice." He says through the communicator. "There's more to it than just type."

Slice "I know."

Xorack "Aroido, how many are there?"

Aroido looks around.

Slice "Fou-" he begins "Wait, why're there five?"

Xorack "You did say that this octant is closest to the most rebellious part of the city."

Aroido "I see five of th-"

Xorack "I know. Slice told me."

Slice "No, somethin must be goin on... Each patrol would still have four, there'd just be more patrols."

Xorack "It's a good thing we brought some of our own here for let's find out what's going on, shall we? On my order, they'll smokescreen the area, and I'll knock out the first three. You and Aroido will take down the other two."

Slice "Okay."

After 30 seconds, Xorack gives the order.

Xorack "Now. Smokescreen."

Smoke is sprayed from four directions, covering the immediate area around the patrol with it.

Slice He begins to panic. "Gah, what am I gonna do!?"

Xorack "Stop it." He slaps him. "They're spraying the whole patrol with smoke, giving us cover."

Slice He calms down a bit. "So, what am I going to do?"

Xorack "Okay, like I said, I'm going to knock out the first three. You and Aroido will take down the other two. He'll let you know when." With that, he jumps into the smoke-covered area, and attacks.

Slice He stands and waits.

Gengar "Hey, what the hell's going on here?!"

Xorack strikes the Gengar with Night Slash.

Gengar He is hit and temporarily disabled by surprise. The others who can tell what is going on attack.

Xorack jumps at them, using Night Slash again.

Gengar (not the first one) He summons a ghostly ball of fire and casts it at Xorack.

It hits, and though it does some damage, he seems more annoyed by the attack than harmed.

Xorack "Looks like someone really wants to get hurt..." He mutters under his breath and turns to his attacker. He opens his mouth and sends a Dark Pulse his way.

Gengar While Xorack attacks the other Gengar, he recovers and jumps Xorack.

This enrages Xorack. He turns around and slashes at him, then uses Dark Pulse again.

Aroido "Okay, Slice. Let's go!" He sprays webs at them, then jumps into the fray.

Slice He engages with a fat-looking Gengar, and slashes above his head.

Fat Gengar He retaliates by sending a wave of energy at Slice.

Aroido engages with another Gengar. He throws a Sucker Punch, then sprays him with webs.

The webs interact strangely with the Gengar. They appear to not touch him, yet it still seems to hold him down.

Aroido notices this as well, but looks satisfied that the webs are holding him down. He launches a Shadow Ball against the fat Gengar to assist Slice. Xorack, still enraged from being jumped, continues attacking his opponent, using Night Slash.

Slice Two Gengar have ganged up on him, and his furious attacks do nothing but partially block the attacks.

Aroido launches another Shadow Ball, and goes to assist Slice.

Aroido "It looks like you have their attention."

Slice "That's for sure..."

Suddenly, Xorack jumps one of them, using Night Slash.

The other Gengar turns sideways, and Slice cuts him through, severely wounding the Gengar.

Aroido sprays webs at the wounded Gengar.

Slice He turns and creates a vibrating wave of energy that passes through 2 Gengar.

Aroido continues spraying webs at them. Xorack sneaks up and grabs one of them by the arms, with a short, malicious laugh.

Xorack He says to any Gengar that are still fighting them "We can keep this up, unless you want to give up now."

One battle-willing Gengar remains. The others have clearly given up.

Xorack nods to Aroido, who shoots webs at that Gengar.

He does a teleportation-like move, though he could've just been moving really fast, to avoid it.

Aroido "He does not want to cooperate."

Xorack "Get him."

Another smokescreen covers Aroido's approach. When he gets close, he throws a Sucker Punch.

Gengar He is thrown backward, but is otherwise unharmed. In fact, that actually helps him, because he can now shoot ghostly energy at Aroido.

Aroido "He still wants to fight..." Wasting no time, he uses Double Team.

Gengar Not giving up his chance, he shot more energy at Aroido while he does this.

The attack almost misses, but it hits Aroido's left foreleg. For this, he retaliates with Night Shade.

The Gengar is hit, and moves in closer to Aroido.

Aroido watches his movements.

Aroido "Don't make this difficult on yourself."

Gengar He does not reply.

Aroido "Continuing this fight will not do you any good."

Xorack watches impatiently.

Gengar He grunts angriliy. "What do you expect me to do?"

Aroido "I never expected you to cooperate." Webs are sprayed from several directions. "That is why I'm having them do it for you."

Gengar He is trapped.

Xorack "I guess we can start with this one." Some other Pokémon appear. He turns to three of them. "Get him out of here."

They are some of Xorack and Aroido's henchmen. One of them, a Cacturne, responds "Yes, boss. Right away!" as two Sneasel, one male and one female, restrain the Gengar by the arms. "Come on."

Xorack turns to the rest of them.

Xorack "You get the others moving along. We'll start asking them questions when we get there." They nod and motion for the other Gengar to go with them.

Slice "Are you part of a hit team or something?"

Aroido "Actually, we lead it."

Xorack "You two, let's go." He turns to walk off with the others.

Aroido "Hai. Come on, Slice. By the way, that was warukunai for your first day with us."

Slice "Warukunai?"

Aroido "It means 'not bad'."

Slice "Ah. What now."

Aroido "Well, you heard Xorack. Come on." He starts to follow them.

Slice He comes along.

Chapter Seven: The Attack of the Cavriluon Army

Several Elders look upon Viera's crowd. These elders are much younger and more charismatic than the others. Two Pikachu of Tails' and Marc's breed watch as well, one male, one female. One twitches nervously.

First Pikachu "There he is. Again. We're in for the fight of our lives."

Second Pikachu "Come on, Liam, you don't seriously think we can't handle him after what we did to him last time?"

Liam "He's obviously got someone else on his side. And what's this 'we'? That was before your time, Sylla."

Sylla She crosses her arms. "You make a good point. I'm sure Viera is incapable of this." She gestures towards a hidden screen.

Elder "And we don't have Tails, this time."

Liam He frowns. "Why not?"

Elder "He is.... preoccupied. In any case, you two need to go down there."

The two obey, and vanish, reappearing in a shadowy corner. Sylla moves off towards Central, having a plan. Liam moves towards the commotion within the commotion, aka Cerin and the rest.

Uopanosguhi "Cerin? Lace? Do you think we could, maybe, get anybody in this crowd to help us?"

Cerin opens his mouth to respond, but before he does, Viera turns to his left and sees Liam in the crowd. His eyes widen, and as Cerin opens his mouth, Viera casts something bright and purple onto the ground near Liam. Around 20 members of the crowd die instantly, and many more are burned, while the rest run screaming. However, Liam seems barely harmed, and he was in the epicenter. Cerin "What the...hell..."

Viera's action strikes Uopanosguhi with horror. She immediately turns around, angry, with tears in her eyes.

Uopanosguhi "What did you do?!!" She yells, trying to keep herself from crying "We're supposed to be saving them!!!" Kolsohte taps her, getting her attention. "What?" When she turns back to the sight, this time she notices Liam. "......Who is that?"

Liam He stands up, and with a single, fluid hand motion, he erects a barrier around the gang and himself, as well as a couple stranded members of the once-crowd. He walks over to Uopanosguhi. "Sirs and madams, you should not be here."

Uopanosguhi "Why shouldn't we be here?" She tilts her head slightly. "And if you don't mind me asking, who are you?"

Liam "I am Liam, and I'm here to do something about Viera. And you shouldn't be here because this is about to be the site of a massive battle."

Kolsohte has already moved aside, having distrusted Viera from the start. Uopanosguhi, after seeing Viera's actions, is in no position to disagree. She nods, and steps aside, before running to Cerin and Lace, Kolsohte following.

Cerin "What is going on, exactly....?"

Uopanosguhi "Liam is going to fight Viera in the middle of the plaza."

Kolsohte "We need to get everyone that is still alive out of here, and fast."

Cerin "Sounds like a plan, but I still have no idea who the hell these people are."

Uopanosguhi "I don't know either, Cerin, but I'm more worried about what might happen here."

Cerin "You make a good point."

Uopanosguhi turns around to speak to Kolsohte, only to find that he is not there.

Uopanosguhi "Kolsohte?" She looks around, and sees that Kolsohte has already started with the plan. She runs to where he is to help.

Cerin He and Lace are arguing with a senile old Pinsir. Finally, he decides to leave with them. Cerin and Lace share a look of relief.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte continue to help the others that are still in the plaza, Uopanosguhi urgently telling them to hurry.

Uopanosguhi "Isogu! Isogu!"

Liam He is now straining to maintain the barrier that he erected with such ease before. "Could you guys get a move on?"

Uopanosguhi "We're trying!" She and Kolsohte start nudging the remaining few along.

Kolsohte "Hurry! We do not have much time!"

Cerin "Hey Lace. Don't you feel an urge to watch?"

Lace "Kinda...."

After they get the last of them out, Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte run to Cerin and Lace.

Kolsohte "We have to get out of the plaza!"

Cerin "Yeah, sure, let's go."

With that, they quickly run out of the plaza. Minutes later, distant dull sounds can be heard from above.


Liam These noises, magnified by his hearing, cause Liam to falter. He loses the barrier, and immediately an onslaught of energy rains upon the plaza in a fusillade.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte turn around. As they watch this happen, a shot from above hits the ground, knocking them off their feet. As they get back up, they look up and see two craft appearing from the clouds. Within seconds, both craft start firing at them.



They leap out of the way just before the shots hit. The two craft fly over them, and begin turning around for another attack.

Cerin He angrily runs towards the craft, and blasts an electrical charge at one of them.

The electrical charge destroys its left wing and engine, sending it spinning out of control skyward before exploding. The other ship turns around to attack Cerin.

Uopanosguhi "Cerin! Lace! Look out!"

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte shove them out of the way before taking cover themselves just as the ship launches two missiles and strafes the ground near them, flying over them again.


Kolsohte gets up and faces the craft. As it comes around, this time flying lower, he attacks it with Energy Ball, twice. It has been damaged, having lost its left cannon, and is now flying slower and more unstable, its right engine having taken heavy damage as well. It launches a missile at Kolsohte, who quickly runs and takes cover before it impacts and explodes. He looks up and sees the ship turning around for another run.

Cerin He prepares another attack, but Lace is faster.

Lace She sends a psychic wave at the ship.

The wave destroys the already damaged engines and damages the hull even more. The ship crashes. Its wings break off, and what remains of the fuselage, including the cockpit, tumbles toward them. Uopanosguhi shoots a forceful stream of water at it, slowing it down until it comes to a stop right in front of her.

Cerin "What the hell was that!?"

Uopanosguhi "I don't know, but I do not like it." She says, trembling from nearly getting slammed.

A voice growls at her from the cockpit. "That's right, you ugly, mud-coated filth. You should be scared."

Uopanosguhi stops trembling. She is enraged from this insult. She starts attacking the canopy, kicking at it and smacking at it with her tail. Then she uses Aqua Tail and breaks a hole in it. She is suddenly shot in the foot, and yelping in pain, falls onto the ground.

Cerin He ducks to the ground. "Are you okay!?"

Uopanosguhi Wincing, she says "It looks like a human... ...but he does not look like any humans that I have seen."

The attacker raises a pistol from the hole. Uopanosguhi notices this and angrily shoots a stream of boiling hot water, burning his hand, and causing him to drop the pistol in pain. The pistol discharges, burning his arm.

Uopanosguhi "Now you know how it feels!"

The assailant picks up a device, and presses a button. A beeping sound can be heard. "Do you know what happens when you fight the Cavriluon Army?" The beeping becomes increasingly faster. Hearing this, Uopanosguhi limps away from the wreckage. Kolsohte backs away, too, glaring. "Soon, you will be dead." The device is now beeping at a rapid rate.

Kolsohte "I think not." He yells to the others. "Run!"

Cerin and Lace run. Meanwhile, Viera and Liam are battling, the latter oblivious to the other situation, the former confused.

Viera "I am sure that this has nothing to do with me..." he mutters.

Kolsohte helps Uopanosguhi along as they run. The device, a detonator, explodes, engulfing the ship in flames, along with the Cavriluon assailant.

Uopanosguhi "Arigatō, Kolsohte."

They soon hear the same sound as before. The two turn in dismay to see three more Cavriluon fighters, one of them more dangerous, approaching to continue the attack.



However, something else gets their attention: Three more fighters flying in faster. They open fire on the attackers, destroying them before they could attack, then fly back into the clouds.



Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte breathe a sigh of relief.

Cerin "I need to know what's going on."

Uopanosguhi "I don't know anymore about this than you do. One thing is for sure: Vahashii and her gang aren't the only ones that we have to worry about now."

Cerin "Where can we get answers?"

Kolsohte He says to Cerin with his usual gloomy expression "I think those pilots who saved us have answers, and we do know that we just survived an attempted killing by soldiers of the Cavriluon Army." He turns around. "Though this means we have to be even more careful from now on."

Cerin "What exactly is a Cavriluon?"

Lace "Yeah, what is that?"

Kolsohte "'A Cavriluon'? I would say that it is part of the army's name, since Uopanosguhi said that the attackers looked to be humans."

Uopanosguhi "You know, if we can't find answers around here, we can try getting some answers elsewhere."

Lace "I am a Pokémon, and a Kirlia, so why can't a human be a Cavriluon? I thought it was a nationality or something."

Kolsohte "Maybe we'll find out more about them as we go, but we can't wait around, just talking."

Uopanosguhi "And Vahashii is causing a lot of trouble in Celrest, and we still don't have anybody else to help us stop her."

Cerin "The way I see it, I have two options."

Uopanosguhi "Oh? And what are they?"

Cerin "Figure out what is going on from these weird Pokémon, or from someone else. Two Pokémon visited me, and from what they said, they are planning to attack Central and wrench control from Vahashii or something. Maybe we can go help."

Uopanosguhi "If we're going into Central, then we need to be really careful." She turns to Cerin, with a small smile. "Still, hearing what you said gives me more hope than before. I'm with you on this." Kolsohte nods.

Cerin "Then it is decided. To Central we go."

Chapter Eight: The Interrogation

The sky is darker over the fog-covered shore with offshore storms approaching. The same group of Pokémon continues to observe, when they hear sounds of vehicles coming toward them. "That's them now." One of them says as a group of transports and amphibious vehicles lands on the beach, and some Water-type Pokémon swim ashore. Someone (or three-in-one) approaches the observers, then speaks in what sounds like three of a single mechanical (non-monotone) voice speaking at the same time. "Good job keeping the beaches secure." "Glad you could make it, General. The situation in Celrest is getting worse." "We heard all about it." The officer answers. Near him, someone gigantic responds, in a high pitched, squeaking voice, with an echo. "It's a very important reason for us to be here and for him to be here. With danger all over Celrest, we cannot take any chances. Saving Celrest is one of our highest priorities right now." The officer then adds "With Celrest under threat from Vahashii's gang and the Cavriluon Army, he has decided to command this campaign personally." "We're ready to begin immediately." The group responds and salutes them.

In an empty building, Xorack, with Aroido and Slice next to him, stands in front of the captured patrol.

Xorack "We're going to ask you some questions. Who wants to answer the first one?" He says with a grin.

None answer, but a couple stir nervously.

This catches his eye, and he walks up to one of them.

Xorack "So, what were you and the others doing in that octant of the city?"

The Gengar he is closest to stutters.

Xorack "What were you doing there?" He asks again.

Gengar "It was just a goddamn patrol, what do you expect out of us!?"

Xorack "Who sent you on that patrol, and why?"

Gengar "We were told that that octant was gonna be attacked. But you clearly came from behind."

Xorack "That's called 'surprise'." Aroido nods. "So who sent you on that patrol?"

Gengar "I dunno! Probably Ceph, or one of the Purple Lady's goons."

Aroido "Slice, do you know anyone named 'Ceph'?"

Slice "Yeah, big general sorta guy, if that exists in a gang situation. Anyway, it's fairly weird that he'd be sending orders to patrols."

Aroido "Yes, weird, unless it was really important..."

Xorack "I see." He turns his attention back to the Gengar. "Where did you meet with him when he gave you those orders?"

Gengar He grunts. "Where this octant meets the Centre, like we always do."

Xorack "Where it meets the Centre..." He turns to Aroido, grumbling. "Now we know where they last met with him." He grumbles. "Not that it really helps."

Aroido "Not unless he's often at the octant."

Xorack "You said it."

Aroido "Do you know where he usually is?"

Gengar "Why should I know what goes on in the Centre? You wanna do something to Ceph or the other generals, then find em yourself, goddamnit!"

Xorack hisses angrily at him. All the while, Aroido has taken out a map and is looking at it. Before Xorack can smack the prisoner, Aroido interrupts, walking over with the map, putting it on a table.

Aroido "Xorack, look at this."

Xorack "What is it?" He asks in an annoyed tone as he looks at the map, more specifically the area where Aroido is moving his foreleg around.

Aroido "There is a possibility that Ceph could be hiding around here. If he is, we won't have to worry about a long search."

Xorack "Good. The quicker the better."

Aroido "Slice, do you know what Ceph looks like?"

Slice "No. His name would imply that he would have a big head, or am I gettin word roots mixed up?"

Aroido "Okay, so you only heard of him." He speaks to the Gengar. "What about you? I know you don't like answering questions, but can you describe what Ceph looks like, since you met with him?"

Gengar "He's a weirdly-colored Rampardos, do I have to paint a picture?"

Slice "Heh, I was right."

Xorack "I like getting straight answers."

Aroido "And it's better to know for sure who we're dealing with." He says before receiving a call. "Hai?" He goes to the other side of the room so as not to interrupt them.

Xorack "Saves a lot of time and patience, it does." He begins pacing back and forth. "Now for the big question. Do any of you know what Vahashii is planning?"

Gengar He does not reply.

Other Gengar He mutters under his breath, "Sure as heck something more than what she sends us to do..."

Xorack "Because from what we've been hearing, she has something in mind that will put everybody in danger, including you."

Slice "This is news.... She seems a little half-witted with her random plans."

Xorack "Half-witted or not, she still poses a threat, and from what we've been hearing, we can't ignore this."

Slice "But... you aren't locals, and all Vahashii cares about is Celrest, so..... Am I missing something here?"

Xorack "Of course we're not locals, but you did say something about her going against the timeline, right? In that case, it wouldn't really matter if we were locals or not."

Slice "I still feel like I'm missing something, but whatever. So, what do we do next?"

Xorack "We find Ceph and capture him, that's what we do next." Aroido runs over to them. "What is it?"

Aroido "There was a big fight in the plaza. To make matters worse, Outer Celrest was attacked, but it was not by Vahashii's gang." With anger, he says. "Let me tell you who was responsible." He whispers to Xorack.

Xorack "WHAT?!!" He yells with rising rage.

Slice He is floating with an air of anxiousness. "What is this, now?"

Xorack He turns to Slice and speaks his mind. "A bunch of psychopaths and killers called the Cavriluon Army. They're back again!"

Slice His eye flicks back and forth. "Never heard of 'em."

Aroido "Years ago, some members of our team, some of them we knew for a long time, were killed, along with some innocent people, in a bombing attack by that army. Many others were injured. But, with some help, we drove them off before they could kill anyone else."

Slice "Interesting, but why are they here?"

Xorack "To cause suffering."

Aroido "There was something else I wanted to tell you. You know those few that volunteered to fight Vahashii? They are coming to Central right now."

Xorack "Oh, they are?"

Aroido "Hai."

Slice "A welcome change. How long ago did they leave, when'll they get here? Do ya suppose it'll be soon?"

Xorack "There's one way to find out." He grins as he goes to the door. "Come on." He opens the door, then he and Aroido go outside.

They can see a small group heading towards them. What they cannot see, however, is another watching them.

Tails "Isn't this odd? This is not supposed to happen....." However, there is another that even Tails is unaware of. Sylla stands nearby, on another side of the street. However, she pays no mind to the group, and is jumping across buildings, headed Central-ward.

Ten Cavriluon fighters approach a starship in the southernmost part of the asteroid belt.

Captain Haksal "This is Captain Haksal. Major Slarnik, we're bringing data received from our surveillance ship just before it was destroyed by Imperial fighters."

An officer in a uniform that looks somewhat tattered, oversees the bridge.

Major Slarnik "Upload that data quickly, and don't waste my time."

Captain Haksal "I wouldn't waste time that could be used for bloodshed, Major."

Major Slarnik "You're wasting my time just by talking, Captain. General Dhiifoye and Colonel Odnhusio are getting really impatient. ... What did you bring me this time?"

Captain Haksal "This shows two of our light fighters that were ordered to strafe and kill the protesting Wooper. That Pikachu blasted one of them, and destroyed it. The other one was shot out of the sky by a Swadloon and a Kirlia, while the rest of the flight, including the surveillance ship, was destroyed by Imperial fighters."

Major Slarnik "First deal with that Pikachu. It took out one of our fighters in one shot. Have it captured, then have its friends captured."

Captain Haksal "What do you have in mind for them?"

Major Slarnik "Torture."

Captain Haksal "I like that..."

Major Slarnik "Watching and waiting for Celrest to be destroyed isn't an option anymore, because they ruined that chance. So we'll do it ourselves, and burn everything, just as they have desired."

Captain Haksal "I look forward to it."

From the shadows on one of the higher ledges, Xorack is watching the group.

Xorack He whispers "What do we have here? Aroido?"

On a rooftop, Aroido is also watching the group, the slightly darker sky giving him more cover.

Aroido He whispers, answering "I see them, Xorack."

Slice "Remind me again why we're here?"

Xorack "To meet with the...volunteers."

Slice "So they're going to help us fight?  This is the group from Outer, right?  These are the same species that you mentioned...."

Aroido "You would be surprised."

Cerin and his group have just entered the area, and they, are, in fact, who the others were watching.

Cerin "I feel like we're being watched..." He glances around nervously.

Uopanosguhi "I always get that same feeling whenever I'm in Central Celrest."

Kolsohte nods.

Lace She stops walking and shivers.

Cerin "You okay?"

Lace "N-no..."   She sends a faint wave of psychic energy in all directions, a trick she learned in her youth, a way of detecting hidden enemies.  While she does this, her eyes are closed.  Then her eyes spring open. "There's someone, a few someones, watching us." There is fear in her voice.

Cerin Electricity crackles around him, while he looks around, alarmed.

Xorack "And you're right!" They hear him say.

Uopanosguhi looks around, when suddenly Xorack drops down in front of them. She jumps, startled.

Xorack "Boo."

Uopanosguhi backs away from Xorack, Kolsohte stepping in front of her. Aroido then jumps down from a rooftop and lands behind them, startling her again.

Aroido "Surprise." He says with a mildly sinister tone.

Uopanosguhi backs away from Aroido, looking left and right. She stays close to Kolsohte.

Slice He instead descends slowly.

Cerin "Who the hell are.... oh, hi, uh, I never got your names."

Aroido "Allow us to introduce ourselves, then."

Xorack "Xorack Otoriszu."

Aroido "Webuhimo, Aroido."

Xorack "And this is our newest addition to the team..."

Slice "Hey. I'm Slice."

Cerin "Nice to meet you."

Lace She whispers in Cerin's ear: "Should we trust him?"

Aroido "It's interesting that we see you here, Cerin."

Uopanosguhi "Wait. Cerin, you know them?"

Xorack "Of course he does! We talked with each other in Outer Celrest before Aroido and I went to Central."

Aroido "And it is quite a thing that we meet again." He then looks at Uopanosguhi. "And we see you again as well."

Cerin "It's not so much of a coincidence as you might think.   We came here to find you.  Some serious shit was going on-"

Slice "We know."

Xorack "We heard all about it. You're looking for help in taking down Vahashii and her gang."

Aroido "And help you will get. We were about to go hunt down somebody named Ceph, a high-ranking member of Vahashii's gang."

Xorack "We heard about him from these Gengar that we questioned. And that's when we got a call about the attack on Outer Celrest and the plaza getting blown up, and also got word that you were coming here."

Cerin "Alright, how are we gonna do this, and who will take care of Viera?"

A figure suddenly appears beside them.

Sylla "For your second question, I will. I came here to try to get another of my breed to help with just that."

Lace "What..... who...."

Uopanosguhi tilts her head. Aroido speaks to Xorack.

Aroido "That one reminds me of Tails, the one we saw before leaving Outer Celrest."

Xorack "I see what you mean."

Slice "Not following."

Sylla "My breed refers to-"

Suddenly, Tails appears.

Tails "Sylla! What are you doing here! I haven't seen you in millennia!"

Lace "Millennia!?" She mutters.

Uopanosguhi "Millennia?"

Sylla "Hello, uncle." There is no enthusiasm in her voice.

Xorack "Well, speak of the Chu."

Aroido "Not only do we meet Cerin again, and see the rest of his friends, but we see you again, Tails!"

Xorack "And we meet his niece, Sylla, on the way." He says to Aroido.

Sylla "Indeed. Anyway, Uncle, there is a situation in the Outer Center that requires your assistance."

Tails "Sylla, have you run off with those hippie New Elders?"

Sylla "Hippie....?"

Tails "In any case, I have something that must be done here. And, Cerin, Lace" he proceeds to name everyone there save Sylla "I apologize. As you might've guessed, we aren't normal. In fact, we are-"

Sylla "We don't have time for this...."

Xorack "I was hoping to hear the rest of it." He mutters.

Aroido "We heard about the situation with Viera."

Xorack "In fact, we also heard about the attack on Outer Celrest."

Aroido "Since you are both running short on time, we will let you be on your way. I hope we meet again at some point."

Uopanosguhi "Me, too."

Tails He grins. "Perhaps we will meet again." Then he turns serious. "But don't die." Then they both disappear.

After this, Uopanosguhi asks a question.

Uopanosguhi "Do you think Liam could be related to them? He looked very similar."

Kolsohte "Maybe."

Aroido "Either Sylla could have two uncles, or Tails could have both a nephew and a niece."

Xorack "Okay, that's enough fooling around! Let's get moving and find Ceph."

Cerin "To Central Central we go."

Chapter Nine: The Lines of Defense

By this time, Liam and Viera had destroyed most of the plaza, neither getting an advantage over the other. Then Sylla and Tails came, and the battle went in their favor. Until Marc decided to help Viera.....

Aroido "Now, they said that he was last at the octant that meets the Centre." He points to the indicated location.

Xorack "If they're right about this, and it goes well, once we capture Ceph, they could prove to be a good addition to our team."

Cerin "What is our full gameplan? Just what are we going to do once we find this Ceph?"

Xorack "We know that he's a "weirdly coloured Rampardos", so attacking him head-on, or hitting him on the head for that matter, is out of the question."

Kolsohte "Rampardos are well known for their strength, so we need to be careful if we end up fighting him."

Cerin "Agreed."

Lace "Surely he will have minions..."

Xorack "So do we, Lace. We've been through that situation many times."

Aroido "We also need him to answer some important questions, so if we end up fighting him, we'll have to subdue him without completely knocking him out."

Lace "I could do that. But he needs to be weakened, first."

Aroido "Types often play an important role in that."

Xorack "And I see two that have a Type advantage." He laughs to himself.

Slice "Who?"

Xorack "They're with us right now. And I know you have a Type advantage, as well, Slice. So, that makes three." He laughs again.

Cerin He frowns. "To be honest, I doubt that a type advantage would be very helpful, he's sure to have something for that..."

Aroido "We can set a trap. It worked with many that we dealt with."

Xorack "Do you have any ideas, Cerin? We can't be the only ones."

Cerin "As bad as it is, my only idea is to attack from behind."

Xorack "Well, it's better than attacking head-on. Lace, you got any of your own ideas?"

Lace "I've been perfecting something, it might work."

Uopanosguhi "Is it like what you used against one of those creeps that tried to kill us?"

Lace "Basically."

Kolsohte "Then it should work."

Aroido "Xorack, we could cover the octant in smoke, then ambush him, just as we did last time."

Xorack "When we find him, Aroido."

Slice "I'm willing to bet that the whole of Central is on alert."

Cerin "From what I know of what's gone on, I'd agree. Anyway, let's keep going, we're almost there."

Xorack "Right, so everyone, quiet." He says as they get closer.

Voices can soon be heard.

"...coming here." Says a deep, male voice.

"They won't leave... 'least not alive." Says another.

"Get Ceph on it."

"....and Khan."


Xorack gestures to Aroido, who nods and creeps around to another side of the octant.

Cerin He whispers to Lace, "Get out of view and attack from there."  Then he moves closer to the group, for there is a group of 4 high-ranking Doublade.  He is followed by Slice.

Xorack goes elsewhere and gets into position, backed by some of his henchmen. Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte take their positions as well.

Cerin He prepares an attack.

Doublade He notices Cerin, and he says "Uh, Maim..."

Maim "What do you want, Slash?"


Cerin He jumps at Maim with electricity crackling around him.

Maim "Get Khan....AAAAAAH" He is blasted backwards with the force of Cerin smashing into him.

Before Slash can do anything, Aroido sprays him with webs.

Xorack "Guess it's pointless to do the smokescreen now."

Cerin He winces. "Sorry 'bout that, Xorack!"

Doublade "I am Shred, and I dare you fools to come at me."

Cerin "Challenge accepted."

Xorack "With pleasure. We'll see who the fool is when I'm done with you." He leaps into the fray.

Shred He engages Cerin and Xorack. He swings at Cerin's head, but he ducks and electrocutes Shred.

Xorack jumps at Shred, swinging his claws, intending to smack him down.

Shred He swings, at Xorack this time.

Xorack's claws strike against the blades. He engages in close combat with Shred, claw against blade, swinging and striking repeatedly.

Shred He is battered backward, still entangled with Xorack.

Cerin Trusting that Xorack has the situation under control, he moves to attack another Doublade.

Uopanosguhi shoots a stream of water at the Doublade that Cerin is about to attack.

Cerin He takes advantage of this, and sticks his hand in the water stream, electrocuting it, under the false notion that this would deal more damage than a simple electric attack.

Uopanosguhi continues her attack. Kolsohte fires Bullet Seeds at the same Doublade to cover Cerin.

Cerin He starts barraging the Doublade with supercharged headbutts.

Xorack shoves Shred, and goes on the offensive. Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte continue their attacks.

Shred He goes to help the most attacked Doublade.

Xorack "Oh no you don't!" He chases Shred and lunges his tail at him.

Shred He trips and falls over, sliding across the asphalt.

Slice The entire time, Slice had just been standing uncertainly, mostly ignored in the fighting.

One of Xorack and Aroido's henchmen stands by Slice to ensure that nobody attacks him. Xorack continues chasing Shred, then grabs him, laughing.

Xorack "I'll be ready for Ceph when he arrives. And Khan, whoever that is..."

Aroido moves on and shoots webs at the Doublade that Cerin is fighting.

Then a loud voice rings out over the battlefield. "God, you all suck." The voice came from an Aegislash, and a Rampardos stands next to him.

Xorack and Aroido turn and face them.

Xorack "Look who's here."

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte turn their attention to them, too.

Uopanosguhi "Those must be who they were talking about."

The Aegislash changes his stance, and the Doublade edge away from combat. It is a standstill.

Xorack "Don't even bother with that...Khan." Some of their underlings block the Doublade. "How about you and Ceph come with us quietly? It'll save a lot of trouble."

Ceph "How the hell do they know our names?...."

Khan "It should be obvious. They've brainwashed our guards into giving them information."

Xorack and Aroido look at each other, mouthing "What?", before looking back at Ceph and Khan.

Xorack "Well? Are you two gonna come quietly now?"

Khan "No."

Aroido "I don't think 'No' would be a good answer. You should do as he says."

Khan Stance change."I said no."

Ceph "Don't piss him off."

Aroido "That's what you both are doing to him."

Xorack "By not cooperating." He says, losing patience.

Slice "Oh for God's sake just attack.."

Aroido "Now."

Smoke is sprayed around Ceph and Khan, as Xorack and Aroido go on the attack. Aroido shoots a few webs, then he and Xorack strike.

Cerin He leaps into battle to attack Khan, who is also fighting Xorack and Aroido with Ceph.

Xorack runs at Ceph from the side and attacks him. Aroido uses his Kunai to fight Khan.

Ceph He swings his head around to batter Xorack.

Khan He strategically uses stance changes to attack and defend almost perfectly, Aroido and Cerin only getting a few hits in.

Xorack is knocked on his back. He gets up, snarling, and bashes Ceph. Aroido maintains his focus, parrying Khan's attacks and striking when possible.

Khan fights calmly, easily, perfectly opposite to Ceph, battering things around randomly.

Slice He finally enters the battle, helping Xorack to fight Ceph.

Aroido shifts around and tries to strike faster. Xorack swings his tail at Ceph, hoping to give Slice a chance to attack.

Ceph He headbutts Xorack.

Slice He attacks Ceph from behind, but he spins around and batters Slice like he did to Xorack.

Xorack is knocked backward. He recovers, hissing and snarling at Ceph. He sees him batter Slice, and is enraged. He runs at him, and bites his right leg, and stays low to avoid being headbutted or battered again.

Ceph spins around, trying to dislodge Xorack, but Slice takes the opportunity and slashes Ceph along the body. He roars in pain, and topples over.

Cerin attacks Khan with electric attack after electric attack, but they are somehow ineffective.

Xorack tries not to look impressed with Slice, but this façade drops in less than ten seconds. Aroido, despite making little progress, continues fighting. Uopanosguhi intervenes by shooting a stream of water at Khan.

Ceph is disabled for the moment, and thus Slice attacks Khan, though he seems to be taking minimal damage.

Xorack keeps his eyes on Ceph, as some of his henchmen surround him. As Aroido continues fighting, he tries to slow Khan down with his webs.

Khan still seems to be nearly invincible.

Cerin "What if we tried more power?" He gathers energy into a sphere in his hands, and throws it at Khan. Finally it seems to damage him, and he is blasted backwards.

Aroido "Since it's working, we can try that." He strikes with his kunai at Khan, then throws a strong Sucker Punch at him.

Khan He changes stance to deflect the attack and succeeds.

Kolsohte fires Bullet Seeds at Khan as a distraction, while Aroido moves around him and tries again.

Khan He changes stance again, and attacks Aroido, ignoring the Bullet Seeds, but being hit by an attack from Slice, who has joined the battle.

Aroido blocks the attack, but the blow knocks him back. This convinces him that his current tactics are not working against Khan. Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte immediately enter the fray. Kolsohte sends an Energy Ball at Khan, while Uopanosguhi leaps into the air and spits high-speed mud projectiles at him.

The energy attack from Kolsohte seems to damage Khan, it at least blasted him backwards, but again the projectile attack doesn't seem to bother him.

Cerin "Guys, he's weak to energy attacks!"

Aroido "Energy attacks..."

Kolsohte sends another Energy Ball at Khan, while Aroido launches a Shadow Ball at him.

Khan is blasted backwards, but he recovered.

Uopanosguhi sprays Khan with Water Gun, running around him, though not getting too close, while Kolsohte and Aroido continue their attack.

At this point, Lace attacks Khan as well, staying hidden. No one else notices, due to the type of powers she has, though it certainly distracts Khan.

With Khan distracted, Kolsohte and Aroido move in closer and attack with more power.

The others continue to attack Khan, and he begins to tire.

Aroido "He can take a beating, but at least he's getting weaker now." He says before using a beam of Night Shade on Khan.

Cerin sends a wave of energy at Khan, augmented by Lace's psychic energy, and at the same time as Slice. This onslaught seems to break Khan, and a long crack goes through his blade.

Behind him, Uopanosguhi jumps up and smacks him with Aqua Tail.

Khan slides backwards and to a stop. He says "I surrender," and his voice is grating, different than before.

Xorack "Finally."

Aroido sends some in, and they restrain Khan.

Xorack "You see what happens when you force us to do it the hard way? You should've done as we said." He turns to his henchmen. "We have some questions for them, so take them to that empty building over there." As they move all 6 of them along, he looks up at the sky, dark clouds approaching. "And quickly." He calls one of the guards at the hideout that he, Aroido, and Slice left. "This is the boss. I need some of you to come meet with us, and bring those prisoners that we just questioned, too. ... That's right. ... Meet us at..."

Aroido "All of you, great work in that battle."

Cerin He is breathing heavily. "What now?"

Aroido "Now that we have Ceph, not to mention Khan, and their underlings-" He is interrupted by Xorack.

Xorack "We're going. Come on." He turns and walks off, and Aroido follows him.

Uopanosguhi sighs as she and Kolsohte start walking.

Cerin, Lace, and Slice walk after them.

Cerin "What is it?"

Aroido "When we get there, we are going to get answers from them. Every, single, answer."

Kolsohte "We will need all the information that we can get from them."

After 2 minutes of walking, as they go further along, sounds can be heard - distant, constant, and from the air.

Uopanosguhi "Anybody hear that?"

Kolsohte, who was just about to ask the same thing, nods.

Cerin "I hope it's help."

Xorack "That's a nice thought..." He says sarcastically. "...except our help is coming on foot. We didn't call in anyone from the air."


Aroido "...Cerin, I wish it was what you were hoping for, but that sound is not help. And worse... ...I think they found us." He says this as Xorack's expression becomes one of rage.

Cerin He goes onto alert, and sparks fly from his body. "Who?"

Two ships fly in overhead, flanking them from both sides, while three others pass over them.


Xorack "It's them. Those thugs from the Cavriluon Army." He growls.

A hatch opens on one of the ships, and a gun lowers from it. It is aimed at Cerin. Uopanosguhi turns around and starts running toward him. A shot from above barely misses, but the impact knocks her off her feet. Kolsohte runs to help her. Captain Haksal, from his fighter, gives the order.


Captain Haksal "Fire."

Uopanosguhi "Cerin, look out!"

The ship's turret fires, sending a net falling toward him.

Rather than trying to run to escape the wide net, he jumps, and Lace uses telekinesis to propel him upward, and the small spike on his arm tears through the net in midair. This entire thing was previously created and rehearsed to be used in the future several years ago.

The net falls to the ground with nothing. Kolsohte throws an Energy Ball that explodes above the gun, disabling the hatch, and breaking the gun off of the ship.

"What the hell?!" Haksal's lieutenant yells as the gun and net lines fall uselessly to the ground.

Kolsohte "Cerin! The turret hatch is jammed!"

Uopanosguhi "It can't close!"

Captain Haksal "Light bomber, kill that green thing and the blue phlegm near it." He says, speaking insultingly of them.

The light bomber craft flies in and fires its cannons. Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte run for cover, dodging the shots, and barely avoiding a bomb dropped from it, the explosion injuring three of Xorack and Aroido's followers. This angers Xorack and Aroido, who climb one of the smaller buildings, and move into position to attack as it turns around.

Cerin fires a lightning bolt into a breach in the armor of the ship, while Slice jumps atop another, having scaled a building somehow.

The ship, heavily damaged by an internal explosion, loses control. "There goes one utility speeder." Haksal's subordinate says as the airspeeder wildly spins out of control, and crashes into the approaching bomber, the explosion sending debris everywhere. The other airspeeder moves and tilts left and right, trying to shake Slice off.

Aroido "Slice, be careful on there!"

Xorack and Aroido turn to see Haksal and his subordinate flying right at them, each launching a missile. They quickly jump off the roof before the missiles hit and explode, the fighters flying over and ascending. They end up on top of the speeder that Slice is on, and try to avoid being shaken off.

Xorack "Hold on tight!"

Aroido "I am doing exactly that!"

Slice "AAAAAH!" Blue energy surrounds him, and he plunges himself into the speeder, cutting through it easily.

Aroido "Xorack, it stopped shaking us around."

Xorack "I see that."

One of the crew charges at Slice, growling, with a crudely-made bludgeon in one hand and a pistol in the other, but not risking in firing it and damaging the vehicle. He raises his bludgeon as he gets closer.

When Slice had cut himself into the vehicle, he only plunged hilt-deep, and therefore he could not tell what was happening.

Xorack and Aroido hear this, and run over to Slice. Not wasting time, they both pull him out quickly right before the crewman can strike him. Xorack, seeing the opening Slice left, pries it open further, and jumps in. The crewman is only able to get one shot in, hitting the shoulder, before Xorack knocks him down and viciously attacks him. Then, he raises his tail and lunges it at him.

Aroido "That was close. He almost got you, Slice."

Slice He is blinking furiously, having scratched his eye somehow. "Who?"

Aroido points to the Cavriluon crewman that Xorack killed, then looks at Slice.

Aroido "Your eye. It's scra-"

Suddenly, the airspeeder jerks to the left. Aroido grabs Slice, shoots a web, and hangs on to keep from falling off as the ship moves around. Xorack is knocked against a wall. He recovers, picks up the dead crewman's pistol, and shoots the pilot dead, and the speeder stops moving around. The gunner readies the turret, but gets shot and is too wounded to operate the gun. Aroido climbs onto the left wing and lets Slice go, but he notices three more fighters approaching.

Captain Haksal "Destroy that speeder. They have failed me."

Xorack notices the approaching fighters. He picks up the bludgeon, knocks out another crewman, and jumps out through the opening.

Aroido "Xorack, you are just in time. They are going to destroy it!"

Xorack "I know! We have to get off before they do! And what happened to Slice's eye?"

Aroido "Maybe when we're on the ground, you can ask that." He says as he holds Slice.

Xorack "Okay. Now!"

Xorack, and Aroido, holding Slice, jump off the airspeeder as the fighters launch their missiles. They land on the ground just as the speeder explodes. With them on the ground, Aroido lets go of Slice.

Xorack "Seriously, Slice, what happened to your eye?"

Slice "I used some kind of freaky new ability, I used way to much force, and the material of the ship cut my eye!"

Aroido "That must really hurt. We need to take care of that."

The fighters ascend, and turn for another attack. Then, a huge bolt of electricity blows them to smithereens.



Cerin "What the hell was that!?"

Uopanosguhi cannot bring herself to say anything. However, she is both surprised by the sight, and relieved that their attackers were dealt with.


Captain Haksal "Damn it! Because of them, this plan is ruined!" As he and his lieutenant fly off skyward, he yells through a speaker "This isn't over!!" and they disappear.

Cerin "Alright, what now?"

Xorack "We keep going. But first, we need to make sure that they are accounted for." He looks to those that were injured.

Aroido "You, get over there and help them." He points to the wounded, as a few others run over and carry them along.

Xorack "Now we keep going, until we get there." He says as he and Aroido start walking.

Uopanosguhi "We could use a break from the fighting right now." She responds as she and Kolsohte follow.

Cerin "Untactical." He, Lace, and Slice follow.

When they arrive at the building, Xorack opens the door and goes right in. Aroido waits outside, keeping the door open for the others.

The others enter.

Aroido goes inside, the doors closing behind him.

Aroido "There are some tables over there to sit at in case you do not feel like standing."

Xorack stands outside a room's doorway.

Xorack "You, fix Slice's eye. I can't take the constant blinking!" He says, sounding annoyed.

"Okay, boss. Okay. All you had to say was "fix Slice's eye"." The underling responds. Xorack then walks over to Slice impatiently.

Xorack "Okay, it's time to get that eye fixed." He points to the room he was standing outside of.

Slice nods, and heads towards the room. Cerin and Lace head to the table and sit down.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte go to the same table, while Xorack and Aroido converse with each other.

Xorack "He showed quite the skill."

Aroido "Not to mention the power he showed in cutting through that hull. Did you notice that he's been speaking more clearly now?"

Xorack "Yeah. Being on our team benefits him well." He says, grinning. "Speaking of which, they should be here in a few minutes."

Uopanosguhi starts off a conversation.

Uopanosguhi "I never thought that today would be so...hectic."

Cerin "You get used to it, Uopanosguhi..."

Lace nods in agreement.

Uopanosguhi "I don't find that to be so easy, especially after what happened yesterday and today."

Cerin "Well, it isn't."

Uopanosguhi "And how. Getting beat up to the point that you can barely walk, getting attacked out of nowhere, getting shot, knowing that we're not only up against Vahashii's gang, but the Cavriluon Army, too. Hijō ni konnan."

Kolsohte sighs.

Cerin "Do you want to resolve this, or not?"

Uopanosguhi "Of course I do! Just because I was talking about how hard yesterday and today so far were, doesn't mean I don't want to."

Cerin "Good. We need as many men.... er... women..... er..... Pokémon as we can get."

Uopanosguhi "Too bad nobody in that crowd wanted to help, and we didn't even get the chance to ask any-"

She is interrupted by the sound of knocking on the door. One of the guards checks. "Boss, they're here." Xorack walks over to the door and looks. He turns to the guard.

Xorack "Let them in." He says, then walks back to where he was.

The guard opens the door. Outside are some of their henchmen, and they walk in. Among them are the same Cacturne and two Sneasel, and with them, the five Gengar from earlier. The guard closes the door behind them. Xorack grins.

Cerin He stands. "Hello. I'm Cerin." He says to the henchmen.

One of them, the Cacturne, turns to Cerin. "Cerin, huh? So, you're the volunteers that they were talking about earlier?"

Cerin "Apparently so."

Uopanosguhi "Hai."

The Cacturne turns to Uopanosguhi "And you are?"

Uopanosguhi "Uopanosguhi."

"You don't sound like you're from around here." The Cacturne notes.

Uopanosguhi "I'm not. I am from Johto."

Aroido "That is where I am from."

"We're finished now!" The same underling in the other room calls out.

Xorack "Good. Slice, come out here!"

Slice He exits, and seems surprised to see more people there than when he entered the room.

Xorack "Now I had you brought here for a reason. Aroido?"

Aroido "Yes, Xorack." He speaks to the Gengar. "Earlier, you told us about Ceph and where he might be. You turned out to be correct. Not only did we capture Ceph, we also captured Khan, and their minions, too."

Xorack "Six for the price of one." He mutters to Aroido.

Aroido "Therefore, we have decided that you are now part of our team."

Gengar "You aren't gonna execute us?"

Xorack starts laughing.

Xorack "For what? You handed us two high-ranking criminals and their cronies! And you think we're gonna kill you for that?" He continues laughing.

Gengar He turns to his brethren. "I told you!"

Xorack "You see, the two of us agreed that if you were right, and if we caught Ceph - which we did, the five of you would become part of our team. And you gave us not only one, but two high-ranking criminals, and the four goons with them." He turns to Aroido. "Speaking of which, they're waiting for us to ask them questions." He walks toward the room that Ceph is being held in.

Aroido "Right. So, congratulations." He bows. "Slice, if you want to come with us to question the prisoners or stay out here and talk with the others, feel free to do either." He says, then walks toward the room that Khan is being held in.

Slice "I'm not sure that I could help at all."

Aroido "I understand. Especially with what we had to deal with today, you deserve a break." He says as he and Aroido enter the rooms, closing the doors.

Uopanosguhi "This table is still open." She says, smiling.

Slice He walks over to the table.

Uopanosguhi "I hope your morning wasn't as much trouble as ours." She yawns.

Slice "But it most likely was..."

Uopanosguhi "I was afraid you would say that." She hears a rumble of thunder, then continues. "It's not easy for anybody around here, is it?"

Cerin "Not really, no."

Uopanosguhi "It makes me wonder what it was like in Celrest before the gangs took over."

Kolsohte pats Uopanosguhi on the head, then leaves the table and goes upstairs.

Uopanosguhi "Ara..."

Cerin He frowns after Kolsohte. "Where is Kolsohte going...." Then he turns to Uopanosguhi. "That was before we came here."

Uopanosguhi "Still, I wish I knew what it was like before that happened."

Cerin "Probably was just a bustling entrepreneur's town."

Uopanosguhi "Then someone decides to ruin everything. Figures..."

Chapter Ten: The Introduction of Team StormBlitz

Xorack "Hurts, doesn't it? You see, that wouldn't have happened if you just came with us when we told you to. So, what is Vahashii up to?" He asks Ceph.

Aroido "Where were you two at before you came to the octant to fight us?" He asks Khan.

Ceph sits quietly.

Khan "I don't understand. You're here, right here!? Why don't you just go and knock upon The Purple Lady's door."

Xorack "I asked you a question. What does she plan to do?"

Aroido "There are a lot of doors in this city, so where would that particular door be?"

Khan He seems surprised. "That's what you wanted to know? But it's so obvious! The center of the circle!"

Aroido "Obvious indeed." He nods. "Speaking of 'The Purple Lady', do you know what she is planning to do?"

Khan "Ah, yes. Not that I agree with it, but.... it's too late."

Aroido "Khan, listen to me. Vahashii is putting everyone in danger with her plan to ruin time. That includes you, me, Xorack, Ceph, Slice, and so on. I'm not about to let such a disaster happen."

Khan "Just because time will be ruined for you doesn't mean that it'll be unbeneficial."

Aroido "You know what she did to those in this city, and how many got hurt." He goes to the door. "It is not hard to see what she has in mind."

Khan "..."

After giving a short glance, Aroido leaves the room, closing the door behind him. He sees Xorack come out of the other room and slamming the door, frustrated.

Xorack "He knows how to keep his mouth shut, but he does it at the wrong time!"

Aroido "We already have what we need to know. According to Khan, she's at 'the center of the circle'. Then what I heard next was bad."

Xorack "What's wrong?"

Aroido "What we were told earlier about Vahashii's plan is true."

Xorack and Aroido walk over to the table. Uopanosguhi comes back downstairs after briefly talking to Kolsohte and returns to the table.

Uopanosguhi "He's okay. He probably just wants some time alone."

Xorack "Fine, whatever. We just got done questioning the prisoners, and we got some important information to tell all of you."

Cerin "Alright."

Aroido "We know where Vahashii is now. According to Khan, she is at 'the center of the circle', which can only mean that she's at the center of this city."

Lace "It kinda makes sense, if you think about it..."

Xorack "It's not as simple as it sounds, Lace. There's also the part of getting past whoever's protecting her."

Aroido "A familiar scenario in our line of work."

Uopanosguhi "Your line of work?"

Aroido "We worked as bounty hunters and mercenaries. Our targets were mainly criminals."

Xorack "They always liked to hurt and steal from others. What we did was put them on the receiving end of that and then turn them over to the police."

Aroido "The results were good for our clients and for us."

Uopanosguhi "Oh. Okay."

Aroido "Now, we also have some bad news."

Cerin "And that is?"

Xorack "Slice, what you told us is true."

Aroido "Vahashii plans to ruin the timeline."

Uopanosguhi "The timeline?" She asks with worry.

Slice "I never knew the entirety of the plan."

Cerin "Isn't Tails always going on about timelines?"

Lace "When'd you hear that?"

Cerin "I dunno."

Xorack "And that niece of his, Sylla, shows up." He turns to Uopanosguhi. "Then we hear about this Liam from you and how he may be related to them."

Aroido "And Tails mentions something about those...'New Elders'."

Xorack turns to Aroido.

Xorack "This gets crazier every minute."

Cerin "Indeed.   So, what preparations do we need to make before we attack Vahashii?"

Xorack "Do you and Lace have what you think you'll need for that fight?" He asks while Aroido takes out their map.

Cerin "Definitely."

Xorack "Good! Because you'll need it."

Aroido "Slice, I need you to look at this map. Out of all the paths that lead to the center, which one is the least patrolled?"

Slice "Eh, I don't think there's going to be any more stealth here. I'm fairly certain that Vahashii was alerted. A full force probably stands around the core building."

Xorack "So much for sneaking up on them. But that must mean she now considers us a big threat."

Aroido "With the building heavily guarded like that, there's no way for us to sneak our way in. What about distraction?"

Slice "That's easy enough.  Just make them think we're attacking in full force from the front entrance, and sneak in through the back.  Of course, that means that we'll have to sacrifice some power for the P- Vahashii."

Uopanosguhi "The fight could be tough if it's only us here. If-"

She is distracted from hearing the window to the right open and what sounds like vehicles stopping near the building.

Xorack "That window shouldn't be open!"

The guard at the door goes over to the window to close it, then sees someone beginning to climb in. "Hey! You can't come in here!" The struggle is quick. The guard ends up shoved away, falling onto the floor. He gets up, and this time, he stays where he is.

Cerin and Lace stand at the ready.

Cerin "Who goes there!?"

A Beldum stays outside while some other Pokémon climb in, among them two Breloom, one of which stands near the table. The side door to the left is forced open by an armed Bisharp with another one standing to his right, causing the guard at that door to stumble forward. Both of them move aside as a section of twelve Pawniard, also armed, enter and spread out around the room.

Uopanosguhi "I-I think you have y-y-your answer." She says nervously to Cerin.

Cerin "Who are you!?"

One of Xorack and Aroido's younger underlings tries to attack one of the Pawniard...

Aroido "Matsu! Sutoppu!"

...but ends up electrically paralysed by a Magnemite, who floats closer to him and says "Do not try that again! We did not come here to fight."

Lace "Then why are you here?"

"You will know soon." The Magnemite responds to Cerin.

As all of this goes on, Kolsohte walks down the stairs. Uopanosguhi sighs in relief that nothing happened to him.

Uopanosguhi "Kolsohte, you're okay. When this happened, I was worried."

Slice "Why are all of these Pokémon here?"

Both of the Breloom turn around and notices Kolsohte. When he looks at them one at a time and nods, they come to attention and salute him, which takes Uopanosguhi by surprise. Four Seedot come downstairs following him.

Uopanosguhi "You?..."

Kolsohte "......Yes..."

Cerin "Oh, well that slightly makes sense."

Kolsohte "Voit odottaa ulkopuolella." He says to a few Ice-types about to climb in. They do as he says and stay outside.

Aroido "Gomennasai." He apologises to the Magnemite, as he tends to the paralysed underling.

Uopanosguhi "Are you part of a team like they are?"

Kolsohte "Kyllä. I am an officer of Team StormBlitz, in Branch C. The two you see in front of you, the four behind me, and some of those Ice-types outside, are under my command."

Uopanosguhi "Ara..."

Cerin "Well then..."

The front door opens. In front is fellow officer Aphioco. With him is the same blue-eyed Venomoth that accompanied him before: Chirshigana. Also with him are a Crustle, a red Clauncher, and some others.

Kolsohte "Aphioco."

Aphioco "Kolsohte."

The two salute each other.

Aphioco "All of you are to come outside at once."

Uopanosguhi "Ima sugu?"

Aphioco "Hai."

Cerin looks at Lace, who shrugs.  The two step outside.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte follow them out, seeing more waiting for them. One APC, two IFVs, and another armed vehicle with an enclosed cuboid wagon locked in place behind it are there, all being guarded.

Uopanosguhi "They're taking this matter really seriously."

Kolsohte "Sinulla ei ole aavistustakaan."

Xorack "You guys get the others!"

Some of Xorack and Aroido's henchmen go to the three holding rooms. "Ceph, let's get going." "Khan, it's time for us to go." "Alright, everyone! Let's move it! Come on!"

Cerin "What, are we going to blow up the central building instead of fight Vahashii herself?"

Lace "Actually, that's a good idea.  That removes the need for sneaking, or anything."

Slice He exits.  "Nope, the only way you could do that is from the air, and they have precautions against all that."

"You have the wrong idea." Above them, they hear what sounds like three of a single mechanical voice speaking. "We are not blowing up any part of Celrest."

Cerin "Whoa, who're you!?"

They see what looks like three dark blue Magnemite close together descending, each one lacking the front screws. It is actually a Magneton.


Lt Gen Zaffre "Lieutenant General Zaffre. Team StormBlitz: Branch A. And you must be the ones that volunteered to fight Vahashii's gang."

Cerin "Yeah."

Lt Gen Zaffre "I was told that you did very well today."

Kolsohte "They did, sir." He pauses, then continues. "Cerin, Lace, Uopanosguhi, Xorack, Aroido, Slice, and the others all did very well today."

Cerin "Hopefully we're all about to do even better."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Yes..." He says agreeingly.

Two Octillery show up on their left. The shorter, orange one speaks. "And we know you will. My name's Kakegakoto. Most call me Latchgrip. And this is my cousin, Burasuiakeru, also known as Clinger." Clinger waves.

Lace "Hello, Latchgrip, Clinger." Lace waves back.

Uopanosguhi "So did you run into any trouble getting here?" She asks Zaffre while walking to the right, still looking at them.

Lt Gen Zaffre "We had our share of fights and arrests today."

Latchgrip "And not just within the city."

Clinger grunts affirmatively.

Lt Gen Zaffre "Vahashii's not giving anyone in Celrest a break."

Uopanosguhi "Kanojo no gyangu wa, kubi no itamidesu."

Latchgrip "Wakatteimasu."

Not paying attention to where she is walking, Uopanosguhi bumps into someone.

Uopanosguhi "Gomennasai." As she turns her head around while saying that and faces forward, she finds that she has bumped into someone's foot, which alone is much larger than her. She walks backward, then looks up, and sees that it is another Pikachu. This one is gigantic, rounder, and has an unusually long tail. "Wā..."

Lt Gen Zaffre "You need to watch where you're going."

Uopanosguhi "Sorry! I was distracted talking."

Cerin He looks at the Pikachu. "Uh.... Well, hello there."


"Hello." He responds in a high pitched, squeaking voice.

Uopanosguhi "Who are you?"

Pikaichichu "My name is Pikachu XXV, or Pikaichichu, as my family, and many I greet for that matter, call me."

Cerin "Hello, Pikaichichu, it seems we have quite the team."

Pikaichichu "Yes, we do, Cerin."

Uopanosguhi "Sorry for bumping into your foot. Watashi no bukiyō sa."

Pikaichichu "Sore wa daijōbudesu. Wareware wa, subete wa, machigai o okashimasu."

Uopanosguhi "Hontōdesu."

They both chuckle.

Xorack "Come on. Come on!" He says to the underlings as he and Aroido come outside. They follow as quickly as they can. "Well...I see that they brought some familiar faces here."

Cerin "So, you know some of these here Pokémon?"

Aroido "Yes, we do." He then says to Zaffre "Nice seeing you and the others again."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Likewise."

Xorack "As you can see, we're as busy as always."

Latchgrip "So are we."

Clinger nods.

Lt Gen Zaffre "So, are you ready to go?"

Uopanosguhi "I'm tired."

Lace "A sleep couldn't hurt."

Cerin "Yeah, it...." he begins, but is silenced by a look from Lace.

Pikaichichu "We understand. It's been tough for you today."

Lt Gen Zaffre "You may as well rest. We have orders to return to base. Fortunately, it takes us a bit closer to the central building. Therefore, after that, it would take us less time to get there."

Cerin "I honestly don't need to rest now. I can keep watch."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Fine with me. So, are all of you ready to go?"

Lace "Yeah, there's nothing we really need."

Slice "An army is all we need, and we pretty much do have that."

Xorack "That we do, Slice."

The others come outside, some of them returning to the vehicles they arrived in.

Pikaichichu "Okay. Let's go!" He says, and with that, they start moving.

Cerin "So, this is uh, new."

Lace "Yaknow, Cerin, I miss our old missions. Like, before Celrest."

Cerin "Shhh. Maybe once we leave this city behind, after we make it a better place."

Slice "You two aren't staying in Celrest?"

Cerin "No. We never meant to come here in the first place. It's a long story...."

Uopanosguhi "Neither did I, and yet here we are now." She laughs softly, then yawns again.

Clinger mumbles unintelligibly.

Latchgrip "Sometimes, things can turn out that way."

Cerin "Ugh, this place never ceases to be annoying. Vahashii is the eighth gang leader I can remember since we came here. Orion was the longest-lived, I'm fairly sure."

Uopanosguhi "Eighth?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "We were told that this has been going on for some time now."

Cerin "It has."

Pikaichichu "We'll put a stop to it, so that nobody in or around Celrest has to live in fear of those gangs again."

Cerin "Yeah. Then it's out of here. Could you arrange flight transport for us after this, anyone?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "I could call in a helicopter from Aevaroen after all of this is over, if that's fine with you."

Cerin "Yeah. That'd work."

Lt Gen Zaffre "And so it will."

Cerin "Well, now it's Vahashii or death, I guess."

Latchgrip "And we plan on taking her down before she can do that."

Clinger grunts.

As they get halfway to the base...

Lt Gen Zaffre "Missiles detected! Incoming!"

Pikaichichu "I know!" As a swarm of missiles fly toward them, he and Zaffre destroy the missiles with blasts of electricity.

Latchgrip "Take cover!"

The others take their positions.

Cerin "Why am I not surprised?"

Slice "I don't know. Stupid question."

Six Cavriluon fighters fly over them, Pikaichichu roaring at them as they pass, with six more approaching.


Pikaichichu/Lt Gen Zaffre/Latchgrip "Haksal!"

Clinger growls.

Pikaichichu "And there's twelve of them now!"

Lt Gen Zaffre "With six more of them with him, this can only mean one thing..."

Pikaichichu "Slarnik is helping him this time..."

Cerin "Who?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "No time to explain! We'll talk about it when we get to base!"

On a rooftop, Aroido dodges a shot, only to be caught by a metal net from a utility speeder.

Xorack "Hey, you let him go!!!" He chases the airspeeder around, trying to grab the net, dodging the turret's shots.

Through a built-in speaker, Haksal speaks to them.

Captain Haksal "This must be really inconvenient for you, and I hope it is!"

Cerin He gathers electricity. "Oh, put a cork in it!"

Captain Haksal "Not after you got in our way since this morning! Did you think we were going to let this all go? I had hoped that those missiles would have settled it, but then Shokdengemus, that miscoloured pile of metal scrap, and the rest of StormBlitz interfered!"

Four more Cavriluon utility speeders show up and surround them.

"But this time, we'll get you, and you'll be out of the way." Haksal's subordinate says to them.

Cerin "Yeah, wonderful. Why are you even in this city in the first place is what I'm wondering."

Captain Haksal "This city is going to be destroyed, either by them, or by us." His fighters turn, now flying toward them. "We can't have you getting in the way any longer."

Before they can fire, two of the fighters are destroyed by lasers, and they scatter. One of the utility speeders is hit by a missile, sending it crashing into the one across from it.

Cerin "You can't have us getting in the way? I could say the same to you." He propels an electric sphere at a fighter.

The shields take some of the damage, but one of the engines is taken out, slowing the fighter down. The ships arriving to assist the group finish it off. One of them breaks the net with lasers, freeing Aroido, then destroys the airspeeder.

Uopanosguhi "There's the same ships from this morning."

Latchgrip "It's Hro'tav Rh'iizh."

Uopanosguhi "And there's more with them this time."

The teams fight the Cavriluon forces. The IFVs and APC fire their guns and cannons at the closest airspeeder, destroying it. The same cannot be said for the larger, more heavily armoured, heavy utility speeder, armed with three net guns - aimed at Cerin, Lace, and Uopanosguhi.

Captain Haksal "Get them!"

On command, the heavy utility speeder launches metal nets with resistant lines at them. Uopanosguhi runs, but she is caught by one of the nets, and lifted into the air.

Uopanosguhi "Tasuketekudasai!!!" She screams.

Another of the nets aimed towards Lace misses by several inches, but Cerin narrowly avoids being captured by another.

Cerin "Hang on, Uopanosguhi!"

Kolsohte runs, jumps, and grabs one of the lines just before the two nets retract for the gunners to try again.

Kolsohte "Let go of my friend!!" He yells angrily, while holding onto the line of the net that has Uopanosguhi. He fires Bullet Seeds at one of the net guns, damaging some of the mechanisms, and causing it to launch the net uselessly down to the ground.

Xorack and Aroido rush toward the heavy utility speeder, but a Cavriluon assault fighter blocks their way and starts shooting at them, forcing them to evade and take cover repeatedly.

Captain Haksal "As for you...'re going to pay for ruining our plans on Diurek!" Two more fighters and one assault fighter attack Pikaichichu and Zaffre from a distance before they can help out, occupying both of them. Zaffre dodges before they can hit him.

Cerin "Did you get Uopanusguhi, Kolsohte? I'm a bit busy here!" He yells.

Before the other net gun can launch its net again, Latchgrip melts it with Flamethrower. A gun turret lowers from the forward hatch, and aims at Kolsohte. As it starts shooting, he raises a protective field around himself to block the shots. Then he carefully goes around the net, dodging the shots, and at the same time, causing the shots to steadily break the net. He throws an Energy Ball and blows the turret up.

Kolsohte "This way! Hurry!"

Uopanosguhi jumps out, and Kolsohte catches her.

Uopanosguhi "Thank you, Kolsohte!"

As the airspeeder ascends, they loose their footing and fall off. Chirshigana catches them and flies them down near the ground, where they disembark.

Cerin "We aren't safe yet!"

Chirshigana "We know, Cerin." She replies.

Rh'iizh flies in and fires at the heavy utility speeder.



The Cavriluon airspeeder explodes into many pieces.

Xorack and Aroido are still pinned down. Clinger and Latchgrip wait for the fighter to come into their line of sight, then attack with Aurora Beam. The attacks hit its fuselage, damaging it. A Galvantula shoots an electrified web onto the exposed hull, disrupting the engines and shields, and holds on.

Cerin "Lace! Remember Tahm City? Do that again, please!"

Lace She turns to Cerin. "You sure?"

Cerin "Yes!" He jumps in the air, and quite a high jump at that. At the apex of his jump, he yells, "Now!" Then Lace propels Cerin forward with a telekinetic push, and he is sent flying towards one of the fighters. When he lands upon it, he begins to attack the fighter with rapid weak shocks.

Down below, the damaged assault fighter is soon destroyed from the others' attacks.

Xorack "Finally!"

Aroido "Arigatō!"

The pilot notices the shields weakening from the weak, but rapid shocks. He notices Cerin, and tries to shake him off.

Cerin tries increasing the power of the shock attacks, but they slow. He isn't sure which is more efficient, but he is beginning to tire.

The effort seems to be paying off, as the repeated shock attacks are disrupting the systems. The engines and turning are slowing down considerably. The craft begins to go into a dive.

Cerin "Hah!" He puts one final strong shock into the ship and leaps off.

The Cavriluon fighter crashes into the ground and explodes in a fireball.

Lt Gen Zaffre "Four left... ...wait. Four more incoming!"

Two of the defending craft are destroyed by the new contacts. From one of the Cavriluon ships' built-in speakers comes Slarnik's voice.


Major Slarnik "So, you're the pests that have been causing all the problems around Celrest for the Cavriluon Army since this morning!"

Cerin "And we'll continue to!"

Major Slarnik "Then this will be the last time you do."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Do not count on it, Slarnik!"

Aroido "His voice, it sounds just was him. That bombing attack, and those killed in it." He says, with rising anger. "It was Slarnik."

Xorack "Slarnik! It was YOU!!!" He is furious.

Cerin "Bloody terrorists."

Clinger growls.

Latchgrip "You said it."

Aroido "You killed innocent people and some members of our team!"

The others are visibly angry.

Major Slarnik "The only problem is we didn't kill enough of you during that attack. No matter. These should get rid of you. Since I have more important matters right now, I can't be here to personally dispose of you."

One of the newly arrived Cavriluon ships turns to attack. Zaffre causes considerable damage to it with Tri Attack. Xorack, in his rage, wastes no time in following with a strong Dark Pulse, destroying the ship. Another one flies in to attack, but Pikaichichu smashes it to pieces with a swing of his tail. The other two are distracted by Rh'iizh and the defenders and subsequently join the air engagement.

Cerin and Lace attack another newly arrived ship with lightning and psychic energy, with Slice also fighting, trying to gain an advantage by latching onto one ship, but all he is succeeding to do is be a distraction.

The heavy assault fighter is significantly damaged from the combined attack, and one of the defending fighters makes short work of it.

Haksal sends one of his fighters after Slice, in an attempt to pick him off...

Xorack and Aroido "Slice!"

...but Rh'iizh intercepts it.

"Stay out of this, Rh'iizh!" Haksal's subordinate yells.

Slice "Come and attack me, why don't you?"

As soon as he says that, Haksal and the other two move to attack.

Aroido "Slice, watch out!"

The defenders block their way and scatter them.

Xorack "Slice, get down from there!"

Slice "Gah, I'm trying to help here!"

Cerin "Don't get cocky, goddamnit!"

Pikaichichu "You did help."

Aroido "Now get down from there. Please."

Slice "Eh. Fine." He leaps from his perch to the ground.

The fighter opens fire on the two with its cannons. Zaffre dodges the shots, and while he does, he fires a Flash Cannon at the ship, damaging it. As it passes them, Pikaichichu exhales a stream of electricity, which destroys it.


Uopanosguhi and some others are dousing the fires caused by the Cavriluon attack.

Rh'iizh and the defending craft destroy another of Haksal's fighters, leaving only him and his subordinate, who turn and fly upward away from them.


Captain Haksal "I can't believe they beat us again!!" He yells angrily.

As the others turn to pursue, Haksal presses a button that shuts down his subordinate's engines. Then he detonates an explosive planted on his subordinate's fighter, destroying it in an explosion. The others break off just in time. Haksal boosts away and escapes from the fight alone.

Cerin "What the...?"

Rh'iizh and the rest of the defending fighters leave as well.

"Boss, we lost four of them. Six are hurt, one of them injured badly."

Xorack and Aroido walk over to them. Xorack is filled with rage.

Aroido "You, come over here! They need help!"

"Okay! We'll be right there!"

"Sir, five have sustained injuries from the attack."

Aphioco "Get them to the medical vehicle immediately."

"Yes, sir!"

Uopanosguhi and the others are finished extinguishing the fires.

Uopanosguhi "......That...was tense..." She says, exhausted.

Cerin "Uopanosguhi, don't get discouraged. This is a straight shot to fixing Celrest. Vahashii or Death is our new motive."

Lace and Slice are talking within earshot of some of the others.

Lace "You said that they said that the battle in the plaza back in Outer is over and only a crater was left?"

Slice "That's what they said."

Lace "A very interesting development..."

Chirshigana "I do not like how Viera is so determined to destroy Celrest."

Kolsohte "Neither do I, Chirshigana."

Uopanosguhi "And neither do I."

Cerin "And beyond disliking it, I don't understand it. What's the motive?"

Pikaichichu "We heard about what Viera did. We're not letting him have his way."

Latchgrip "We're going to prove that our way of taking down Vahashii is better."

Clinger grunts in agreement.

Cerin "Is it time for the final battle, or to your base?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "We do still need to get back to base. To make matters worse, while we were fighting off Haksal, each of us received a transmission that the base was attacked."

Uopanosguhi "You mean Haksal wasn't just trying to get us?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "He was also stalling us so Slarnik could send his bombers without us there to stop them."

Pikaichichu "Fortunately, no one on our team was killed, as they were called back inside the base just in time."

Cerin "Alright, to the base then."

Uopanosguhi "Yes. To the...base." She cannot stay awake, and falls asleep from exhaustion, but Kolsohte keeps her from falling down. Chirshigana decides to carry her as they go along.

Chapter Eleven: The Organization of the Strike

The group reaches the base. It is heavily defended, and there are guards and patrols everywhere.

Lt Gen Zaffre "This is the base that our team set up, with help." He says as two fighters fly over them.

Cerin  "With help from whom?"

They hear an eerie, calm voice. "Well, it seems all of you are here..." A Lampent approaches them, with troops behind him, and a Beheeyem next to him.

Cerin "Hello!   I'm Cerin."

Lace "I'm Lace."

Slice "I'm a nuisance."

Aroido "A nuisance? Slice, after the help you gave us, we wouldn't call you a nuisance."

Xorack "What he said."

The Lampent sees that Uopanosguhi is asleep. "Cireituri?"

The Beheeyem, Cireituri, mentally forces her awake. Instead of looking drowsy, she seems alert.

Uopanosguhi "Nani? Doko...?" She looks around. "This must be the base."

Chirshigana "Hai. Desu." She lands and lets Uopanosguhi go.

Melanecto "I am Inquisitor Melanecto. I was informed that you would soon arrive here."

Cerin "Hello.  What exactly do you mean by Inquisitor?"

Melanecto "I have been given the task of searching out and arresting those corrupted by crime. Orion starting a criminal gang and taking over Central Celrest was bad enough, but the increased corruption brought about by Vahashii's hold on the disturbing."

Slice "Only the Psynes like Vahashii.  The others just put up with her, or are too scared of her to do anything."

Cireituri "Quite the knowledgeable one here."

Melanecto "Yes...and I am certain that he would like to hear what else all of you have to say."

Slice "Oh?"

Melanecto "He is waiting for you in there." He points to a large dome-shaped structure in the center of the base.

Cerin "Well, okay then."

Melanecto "I will not delay you any longer. A pleasure meeting you." He turns and floats off, Cireituri and the troops following.

Cerin "I guess we should head for that structure then."

Lt Gen Zaffre "And you guess right. Come on." He and a few others lead the way.

Cerin and the rest follow.

When they get there, they are forced to wait for a very short time in front of two wide doors. The entrance is guarded by a complex security system and wall turrets, the entire dome itself heavily defended. The entrance doors open automatically after they are confirmed. Beyond the doors, it looks pitch-black, with nothing in sight. Branch A enters, and they seem to disappear. Aphioco and Chirshigana follow shortly after, along with those accompanying them. They, too, seem to disappear.

Kolsohte "Mennään." He says to those under his command, then goes in, with them following, and Uopanosguhi walking in alongside him.

Cerin and the rest enter the dome, Slice a bit wary.

Xorack and Aroido go alongside Slice. Once they are inside, they can see the entrance around them. It is a large white chamber. Uopanosguhi is looking around.

Cerin "Huh."

Uopanosguhi "This place really looks different from everything I have seen in Celrest."

Cerin "Yeah, I don't know how I didn't know this was here."

Pikaichichu "It wasn't here, until our arrival to Miato."

Cerin "That's fairly interesting.  What is the purpose of this thing?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "A crucial purpose." He explains while Clinger and Latchgrip go through two lit circular doors to the right, which then close. "You are in the entrance of this base's command center, the primary command center for this campaign."

Cerin "So, how long did it take to build?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "To be honest, I don't know exactly how long it took, but the construction time probably wasn't long at all. It was brought here. I was not present for its construction. I only saw it after it was finished. And that was before the events on Diurek."

Cerin "Diurek?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "A dry planet consisting mainly of deserts. It is close to the asteroid belt, and has frequent meteor showers."

Lace "So... frequent interplanetary travel is your thing?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "We do that whenever we have a reason to. Diurek was under attack at that time."

Pikaichichu "I should mention that some of our kind live on Diurek."

Cerin "That's amazing."

Uopanosguhi "It is."

Pikaichichu smiles.

Clinger and Latchgrip return.

Lt Gen Zaffre "They're back now."

Pikaichichu "It's our turn. Let's go."

Pikaichichu and Zaffre go through the doors on the left, which close when they enter.

Xorack "Nobody ever told me what it was like on there."

"Actually, boss, there were some talking about it. You were just too busy with other things to hear it."

Xorack "Who asked you?"

Aroido rolls his eyes. Clinger mumbles.

Latchgrip "Well, at least now you have an idea of it."

Xorack "Whatever."

Lace "I for one would love to travel throughout space... ...but then again, this planet is just as beautiful in places."

Cerin "I'd agree with that."

Pikaichichu and Zaffre return.

Uopanosguhi "Kotodatta kuikku."

A light around a large doorway in front of them, also circular like the other four, illuminates.

Slice "What is that?"

The doors open, revealing a passage with a four-way intersection. At the end of it is an enclosed platform.

Lt Gen Zaffre "Access has been granted."

Cerin "This seems... weird." He walks towards the doorway.

Latchgrip "We'll be closer to where we're headed by going through there."

Lace She steps through. "Let's go then."

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte go through the doorway, followed by the rest of the team. Xorack and Aroido go through, and with the exception of Slice, their followers are blocked by guards. A Metang says to them "You will wait here." This annoys Xorack a little.

Xorack "...Fine. Listen. All of you be ready to go when we get back!"

"Yes, boss!"

"We'll be ready!"

Cerin He glances behind him. "That's odd..."

Clinger shakes his head.

Latchgrip "Not really."

Cerin "Just high security?"

Clinger nods.

Latchgrip "Yes."

Cerin "Oh. Shame, I know a lot of people whom high security was their downfall. Then again, the opposite is true more often. It doesn't pay to be lax."

Lt Gen Zaffre "What you bring up about being lax, you are correct. Team StormBlitz and my Security Police in Aevaroen find it better to prepare ourselves than wait for trouble or disaster to hit."

The platform doors open.

Cerin "Ahah. Here we go."

Branch A boards the platform. Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte follow.

Cerin, Lace, and Slice all board.

Xorack and Aroido board, then the rest follow. The doors close.

Lt Gen Zaffre "We are now moving."

Uopanosguhi "Kii na. It doesn't feel like we're moving."

Pikaichichu "Don't worry. That's normal."

Slice "Cool."

On a planetoid in the asteroid belt, the ProtoVordartrian Empire and the Cavriluon Army are at it again. The response to the attacks by Major Slarnik is an imminent retaliatory bombing and ground attack.




"All ground units are moving into position to attack. Hailfire Tanks will commence volley in 43 seconds."













"Incoming enemy bombers!"




The assault is swift, and the facility completely destroyed.

It does not take long until the doors open. Two more doors in front of the platform open, revealing a large, heavily guarded corridor. At the end of it is a set of large, dark doors.

Slice "Goddamnit, another door."

Cerin grins at Slice.

Xorack "So it's not just me thinking that?"

Uopanosguhi, however, is nervous.

Lace "This is excessive."

Aroido "I know, Lace."

Xorack "Yeah, we went through enough doors."

Cerin He is still grinning. "I, for one, find it kind of funny."

Pikaichichu giggles, and Uopanosguhi gets a chuckle in. Xorack groans.

Xorack "Let's just go already..."

Pikaichichu "Zaffre?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "Right. This way." He takes the lead again, going down the corridor.

Cerin "Let's go then." He and Lace walk out, with Slice following several seconds after.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte go alongside Cerin and Lace. Xorack and Aroido lead Slice. The rest follow them through the corridor. They are joined by others, including two Magnezone and two Metagross.

Cerin He puts his arms behind his head. "This is great, eh, Lace? I mean, to think, soon we will be free from Celrest!"

Lace "I've been thinking about that. Where do you want to go?"

Cerin "I don't know."

Uopanosguhi "You'll probably know where you want to go sooner or later."

Kolsohte "Or at least have some ideas."

There is a pause, and then Cerin speaks up.

Cerin "Hey Lace, Argent-Verdantia is pretty this time of year."

Lace "Argent-Verdantia is pretty every time of year."

Cerin "Exactly."

Lace "I'll think about it."

At the same time this conversation is going on, Slice says to Xorack and Aroido...

Slice "Hey. Do you have any sort of suggestion on how I can improve my attack?"

Aroido "Precision and timing are two important things to remember, as well as focus. As good as your performance was back there, I still think it would help to prepare yourself as much as you can, especially for the fight ahead."

Xorack "Not to mention knowing when to deliver hard strikes. I would say to work on not hurting your eye when you lodge yourself into things like vehicles, but I was told they already took care of that with the protective covering they put over your eye."

Slice "Yeah.. Hmmm..." He remains silent for a while.

When they reach the end of the corridor, it is only seconds before the huge doors quickly open. They split into sections as they open. The same happens with the next set of doors after them, then the set of doors after them. The distance between each set of doors is minimal. Only one set of doors remains closed. One of the two Magnezone behind them says "Enter."

Uopanosguhi "Did you send for them?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "No. They are part of Branch B. We have no authority over them. Come on." He continues to lead on, Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte following him.

Cerin "One effect these doors certainly have added is a sense of, well, foreboding. Let's go."

He and Lace follow.

Xorack "Let's get moving." He says as he and Aroido follow.

Slice "Hopefully this is the last goddamn door." He follows.

The rest follow after them. The first doors behind them close, and the last doors open. It is dark beyond the threshold, and once everyone goes through, all of the doors close behind them. It is pitch-black all around them. Seconds later, they are illuminated by a strange light, but all they can see are themselves and each other, nothing else, not even their immediate surroundings.

Cerin "What the hell?"

Uopanosguhi "Cerin...y-you were right about it...being f-foreboding." She is shaking.

Soon, dim lights turn on and reveal a large circular chamber. It is very dark, a near-contrast to the white entrance, and the center remains obscured in darkness. The chamber is bristling with defenses and there are guards everywhere: troopers, security and combat droids, and others.

Cerin "Someone has an Obsessive-Compulsive-Security Disorder, or something."

Xorack "Good one." He laughs, until what happens next.

They see what looks like three eyes appear, each purple with white pupils, the center eye larger than the other two. The center of the chamber lights up, and Uopanosguhi gasps and jumps back. This seems to be a Magnezone, but this one is different. This one is black, larger than a normal Magnezone, even more saucer-like, and with a black cape. There are only the two forward magnets, and each one ends in points. On each side, instead of a screw, there is a light, both off.

Lace "Who...?"

The soldiers and officers that followed them in salute him.

Latchgrip "That's our team leader." He says aside to Cerin and Lace.

Lt Gen Zaffre "We brought them here as fast as we could, sir!"

The leader responds. His voice has a distinct accent and a slight echo. The lights blink with each syllable (by his will, of course, so they do not blink all the time). "Well done as usual, team. You brought them here safely, as I had hoped that you would."

Slice "H-h-h-h-hi." He backs up into the far wall.

Aroido looks over in concern.

Lt Gen Zaffre "Get him back here. We cannot delay this."

A Magnemite goes over to Slice, and says "We cannot wait."

Slice "O-okay..."

The Magnemite calmly takes Slice and brings him back to where he was.

Xorack "It's been some time since Aroido and I last saw you."

"Yes, we meet once more... ...So, each of you has volunteered to fight Vahashii and save Celrest. Cerin, Lace, Uopanosguhi, Xorack Otoriszu, Aroido Webuhimo, Slice, and others."

Cerin "Aye. I believe our new motto is 'Vahashii or Death.'"

Lace She whispers to Cerin. "A bit grim."

Cerin He whispers back. "It's a grim situation."

"And you will need as much help as you can get, especially during dangerous times like these." He descends from the platform in the center.

SouvKom "And help is what we will provide to you. The situation has reached the point where military force has become needed. I am Sovereign Commander Lighsttrom, leader of Team StormBlitz and the Vordartrian Empire. And we have been expecting you."

Cerin "Why have you been expecting us?"

SouvKom "Part of that would be that each of us was informed in advance. I heard about your day so far: standing up to Viera and volunteering to save Celrest, defeating some of Vahashii's thugs, and fighting off Cavriluon elements led by Captain Haksal, thrice, even when he was reinforced by those serving under Major Slarnik on his third attack..."

Cerin "Uh huh. Well, this operation, this 'Central Strike', I guess you would call it, should be started by tomorrow. Even helpful reinforcements can be a hindrance if it affects readiness. Are your soldiers ready to go?"

SouvKom "We have been considerably busy with tasks of our own. Securing the beaches, arresting any criminals we came across... ...and razing Slarnik's facilities on a planetoid before taking it over - you know, after he attacked us." He approaches them. "And yes, we are ready. We always have to be, especially since we are at war."

Cerin He looks around at the group behind him. "I think we are ready, as well."

SouvKom "Considering the threats we face, all of you need to be ready for them."

Cerin "Of course we do."

Uopanosguhi "Ts-tsune ni..."

SouvKom "Hai. Tsune ni."

Uopanosguhi swallows nervously.

Cerin "I'm sorry?"

Uopanosguhi turns to Cerin.

Uopanosguhi "That means "always"."

Three crewmen lie dead from Slarnik's tantrum over the destruction of his facility, minutes before Colonel Odnhusio and his subordinate officer arrive on the bridge.

Major Slarnik "What do you want now?!"

Colonel Odnhusio "You know why I'm here. General Dhiifoye is not pleased with your performance in Celrest City. You have proven yourselves unable to wipe out the inferior worms that populate Khalein. Now I'm taking over command."

Major Slarnik "Seems like you've thought it through, except there's one thing I'd like to point out." He walks up to Odnhusio, quietly reaching for his dagger.

Colonel Odnhusio "And what's that?" He asks with his usual arrogant tone. Suddenly, he feels a sharp pain, then falls to the floor in front of Slarnik.

Major Slarnik "You were too weak to command our mission on Diurek, and that will never change. So I'm taking your place." He finishes Odnhusio off, then turns and shoots the subordinate dead. Then he picks up his communicator.

General Dhiifoye "Colonel Odnhusio, have you removed Major Slarnik from his command?"

Major Slarnik "Actually, I have removed Odnhusio from his. He was too weak. You can call me Colonel Slarnik now."

General Dhiifoye "Why are you wasting our time?!"

Colonel Slarnik "It is Odnhusio that wasted our time! Everybody on Diurek would've been dealt with, and the planet would be ours if he wasn't so weak! And with his death, he gave me just what I needed for the next step: the command needed for a large-scale bomber attack."

General Dhiifoye "... ...When you get everything else that's needed, you will move forward with the mission we assigned you. That's an order, Colonel Slarnik. They want you to leave nothing left standing."

Colonel Slarnik "As you wish. I'll do that, and a lot more." He turns off the communicator. "Get Captain Haksal, or should I say Lieutenant Colonel Haksal. He may still be useful for the next attacks..."

Lighsttrom turns and hovers over to another area of the chamber where a large screen appears behind him.

Lace "What's this?"

SouvKom "I will show you, Lace. And the rest of you here."

Immediately after he says that, the screen shows Celrest City.

SouvKom "This is the city where you, Cerin, and Uopanosguhi ended up, and where some of you simply traveled to. Before I continue, I will assert that everyone must pay attention."

Cerin "Done."

SouvKom "All of you have been aware of what has been happening here. Orion had been causing trouble with his gang, then Vahashii took over, spreading crime all over Central Celrest. We sent some of ours from Branch C to subdue the criminals and restore order. At first, this was going to be a smaller-scale operation..." An image of the crater in what used to be the plaza is shown on the bottom right corner of the screen. "...then we heard about the deaths and the destruction inflicted by Viera in a plaza in Outer Celrest. Reinforcements became necessary. Within minutes, the situation became even worse." An image of Cavriluon ships attacking appears on the top right corner. "We were not going to leave anyone at risk of being killed by Slarnik or his subordinate, Haksal, so we decided to lead the Celrest campaign personally. And it will go hand in hand well with what you call "Celrest Strike"."

Cerin "A most efficient alliance."

SouvKom "Exactly, Cerin. Efficient, effective, and committed."

Cerin "I appreciate the help. Is there anything else you wanted to tell us?"

SouvKom "Yes. The central building will be heavily guarded, as you know. We should expect increasingly heavy resistance the closer we get to Vahashii. If Viera is in the vicinity, do not allow him to cause anymore destruction. Also, watch out for any possible Cavriluon attacks. They are cruel, violent terrorists, especially their leader, Skcrulnelac. Since each of you are known to Slarnik and Haksal, and thwarted their attacks on each encounter, they will do everything they can to get rid of you, and us."

Lt Gen Zaffre "So with that in mind, remember to keep your eyes open."

Cerin "I completely agree."

Xorack "It looks like that snowstorm going on over Celrest could slow her goons down."

Aroido "And if so, that could give us extra time."

SouvKom "Which still must be used wisely if it does."

Cerin "I'm not worried. I'm determined to get out of here. Nothing is going to stand in my way. I'm sick of Celrest, it's time to give it a change for the better."

Pikaichichu "And that's exactly what we're going to do, make things in Celrest better. A lot better. Just as those that were confined in Poké Balls, forced to fight each other and even serve disturbing ambitions, were freed many years ago, we'll save everyone in Celrest by defeating Vahashii and stopping her plans."

Cerin "Aye."

SouvKom "R7."

An astromech droid, black with green sensors, trundles to his side.

SouvKom "Before you entered, R7-T7 and I had discussed this matter. He has elected to participate by transmitting information when necessary, such as when updates are needed, which, considering the circumstances, is highly likely during the operation."

Cerin "A bot. Okay, that's fine with me."

SouvKom "Each of you must decide on a route to take."

A coloured hologram of Celrest appears before them on a low elevated platform, and next to it, a virtual map.

Lt Gen Zaffre "Yes, so we can better coordinate this operation."

Xorack "Yeah. Aroido, get out the map."

Aroido takes out their map for him, Xorack, and Slice to look at.

Slice "Is that upside down? Oh wait, it doesn't matter."

Cerin "How's our intel at the moment? Deciding which route to take without precise guard movement knowledge seems risky."

SouvKom "I will not leave that out. Look. Information from Hro'tav Rh'iizh has provided us with the locations of the patrols in the city, as well as those of the guards at the central building."

Uopanosguhi turns to Kolsohte.

Uopanosguhi "Sounds like a very reliable one."

Kolsohte nods to her.

SouvKom "Yes, he is. Now look it over carefully and decide on which route to take."

Aroido "Is this better?"

Xorack "You've been in this city longer than we have, Slice."

Aroido "And quite resourceful when it comes to Vahashii."

Xorack "That, too. Which route would you take?"

Slice "Hmm, if you were to come in from here," he indicates a location with only a few guards, "Then you would encounter no resistance, but, it'd be really easy for everyone to get to you because the way the alleys are built."

Cerin He listens to Slice. "What if we sent a team through there as a decoy, then sent another team right through the front door?"

Slice "It'd have to be a pretty big decoy. They wouldn't be able to get out with the size you need..."

Cerin "But it's the only way, looking at how the guards are spread out..."

Slice "He's not wrong."

Lace "Cerin, you're suggesting.... sacrificing individuals is the only way to get to Vahashii?"

Cerin "Of course, there are many other things we could try, but this idea has the highest success rate..."

Uopanosguhi "If only it didn't involve that sort of detail..."

Latchgrip "We could go with that idea, but what if we lured the guards into a trap with that decoy? That could save us a lot of trouble."

Lace "Look, guys, the only way for that to work is if you sent an entire group of troops to die! How would you choose who gets that honor!?"

Cerin "Lace, sometimes these things are necessary...."

Lace "I won't stand for it."

Latchgrip "I never said anything about sending them to die! That is not what I had in mind!"

Pikaichichu "None of us are sacrificing our own teammates or allies."

Latchgrip "I was talking about knocking out and capturing the guards before they can attack."

Pikaichichu "And, Slice wasn't that exact with some of his words. All he said was "It'd have to be a pretty big decoy."... ...and that doesn't have to mean sending an entire group and putting them in danger."

Cerin "I don't know. We could pull it off, but the most likely way is through sacrifice. I don't like it myself, but it feels like suicide any other way, too."

Pikaichichu "It doesn't have to be that way. I could lead the diversion. All we need is a very small group that can project illusory copies of themselves to make it look like a large group. Those images can act as the decoys that draw them in and distract them, then I can act as the decoy to distract them to allow all of you to get to the central building. And once they're taken care of, we can join up with you."

Cerin "Hmmm, Okay. I'm good with it."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Now, with that settled, each of you decide on the route that you're taking, and remember to look over the map carefully as he has instructed."

Cerin "I want to take the main route."

Uopanosguhi "I'll go with you."

Kolsohte "Then so will I."

Lace "I hate such large-scale combat... Can I be part of a support team?"

Cerin "Lace, I need you to help with some of my attacks though. You won't be doing much hardcore combat, just helping me out."

Aphioco "Since Kolsohte will be going with you, we will take a route adjacent to the main route."

Chirshigana "That way, in case you need any assistance, we can provide that assistance without much delay."

Aphioco "I will be sending some that are under my command on separate routes so that we do not draw much attention."

Slice "Hey, Aroido, Xorack, I'm with whatever you choose."

Aroido "We could try going through this way." He points at a very narrow path through that resembles a long alley. "It's narrower, and almost completely covered by the shadows of the buildings."

Xorack "We won't be exposed so easily by the patrols if we go through there. We could surprise the guards there, too, and maybe even knock them down before they get a chance to fight back." He laughs.

Slice "Okay, fine with me."

Clinger speaks unintelligibly.

Latchgrip "Clinger says we could both take this route."

Lt Gen Zaffre "That puts you in a good position to flank them. Good idea. I'll take the route adjacent to the route that you two are taking." After a few minutes, he turns to the rest. "So, has everyone made their decision?"

Cerin "Yes, I think so. Haven't we?"

Uopanosguhi "Hai."

Kolsohte "Kyllä."

Similar answers of agreement are heard from the others in Team StormBlitz. Then Xorack answers.

Xorack "Of course we have!"

Aroido "Hai."

Slice "I guess so then."

Lace "Yes."

Cerin "Sounds good."

SouvKom "Then it is decided. We will converge on the central government building from the routes that each of us has selected. Cerin, you said that you wanted to begin the operation tomorrow. That is acceptable, but later than tomorrow."

Cerin "Perfect."

Chapter Twelve: The Strike Begins

The next day, a group of Branch B soldiers stands outside, guarding the command center. Inside the entrance, someone from Branch C approaches Zaffre.

"Sir, are they ready to go?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "Actually, they should be ready right now."

Cerin walks near.

Cerin "Ready indeed."  Lace stands behind him.

Xorack "So are we."

Uopanosguhi "Us, too."

Kolsohte stands beside her. Behind them are Aphioco and Chirshigana.

Latchgrip "Good to hear. We're equipped and ready as well."

Clinger nods.

Pikaichichu "And so are we." With him are the Pokémon that have decided to go with him to carry out the diversion, including his courier, the same Galvantula from before.

Slice He walked out with Aroido and Xorack, but he wasn't paying attention; he was reading something.  "Oh, sorry.  I'm ready too."

The entrance doors open.

Pikaichichu "Since everyone's ready, then let's go."

Instead of the doors leading outside as they should, there is another large, fully enclosed interior.

Uopanosguhi "I thought this was supposed to take us outside."

Latchgrip "Well, it was."

Aroido "I guess there must be something important going on."

Latchgrip "There is. Look."

There, they can see the team members and Branch B soldiers assembled. Lighsttrom is there, speaking to them, with R7 by his side.

Cerin  "Hello?"

Someone says to Cerin "Wait."

SouvKom "Today, Vahashii and her gang fall. And today, we free this city from the plagues of crime and corruption. A new day shall come for Celrest City, and in effect, Miato, and all of Khalein!" These words are met with cheering from the team. "Team StormBlitz, move out!"

The team members and soldiers proceed to leave through the doors, which lead outside. Once they are gone, he speaks to the group.

SouvKom "Excellent. I see that all of you are ready for the operation to save Celrest."

Cerin  "I feel this has been long in coming."

SouvKom "You were waiting for this a long time. Well, now the wait is over. Each of you remember the plan, and the routes you chose. We meet at the converging point, the center of the city. As soon as you are out those doors, "Celrest Strike" begins. Now, we must go, so I can command my part of the operation and R7 can begin transmitting information. Keep your eyes open at all times." With this, he disappears in a sphere of light, taking R7 with him.

Cerin He looks ahead.  "Well, what are we waiting for!?  Let us go!"

The different members go out on their decided routes.

Uopanosguhi looks back for a moment, and notices that the base has disappeared. She is mystified by this, but remembers to stay focused on the task at hand.

Cerin, Lace, Uopanosguhi, and Kolsohte all are heading down the main way.  They come in view of something odd.  An entire line of Pokémon, what looks like all three evolutionary stages of Honedge, all evolutionary stages of Ghastly, and all evolutionary stages of Beldum.

Cerin "What the...  They were waiting for us!?  How!?"  His cheeks spark with electricity.

Uopanosguhi "Either they decided on this route, or Vahashii might be after the four of us." She prepares to fight.

Kolsohte "Pidä kiirettä, Pikaichichu..." He mutters to himself.

Cerin "Well here goes nothing..."  he says as he runs toward the Pokémon.

Lace "Wait, Cerin!"  She runs after, panicked.

Uopanosguhi "Wait!" She runs after them, Kolsohte following.

A hellish grinding clank can be heard from the Pokémon ahead, made by all the Honedge line preparing for battle.  Quite far away, behind a veritable army, a Gardevoir cackles with insane laughter.

Cerin  "This changes nothing," he thinks to himself.  He gathers an unprecedented voltage in his paw, and flings it at a Pokémon in an ill-advised attack.  The aforementioned Pokémon is disabled or killed, but it pales in comparison to the many more behind it.

Uopanosguhi "Wā..."

Kolsohte sends a message to the others on the team.

Lace moves up behind Cerin, and prepares to attack.  Several Honedge rush towards the two, and they engage in combat.

On the route next to them, Aphioco and Chirshigana have already been alerted from the sound of the attack due to close proximity.

Many Pokémon, as it seems, go through on the very lightly guarded route. Pikaichichu and his courier are nowhere in sight, yet.

Zaffre and his accompaniment take their positions. On the other side, Clinger and Latchgrip take positions along opposing walls. All three of them receive a message.

Lt Gen Zaffre "Danger sighted at the main route?!"

Latchgrip "Kiken?"

Aroido crawls along the walls of his, Xorack's, and Slice's route, while remaining in the shadows, scouting for any possible trouble. He gets a call from one of their henchmen on his communicator.

Aroido "What? That's not good." He hits a switch to speak to Xorack. "Listen, you know the way that Cerin, Lace, Uopanosguhi, and Kolsohte went?"

Xorack "Yeah."

Aroido "I think they are in a lot of trouble."

From the north, Branch B soldiers and vehicles move through the city on Lighsttrom's command, this time with assistance from IACPF armoured fighting vehicles.

Uopanosguhi assists Cerin and Lace by shooting a Honedge with a forceful stream of water. Kolsohte fires at another with Bullet Seeds.

A Honedge breaks from the cluster around Cerin and Lace, and heads directly for Uopanosguhi.

Uopanosguhi leaps into the air and spits mud projectiles at the Honedge.

The Honedge retaliates using a spinning roll to end up closer to Uopanosguhi, and swings his blade at her.

She tries to avoid the attack. The blade misses by a millimeter. She gasps from it being so close and loses her footing, falling down onto the ground. Kolsohte sees Uopanosguhi on the ground, thinking that she was struck. For this, he faces the Honedge and attacks him with multiple sharp-edged leaves. Then he sends an Energy Ball at him.

The attack is a certain kill.  The Honedge's blade is cracked in half, and it scatters across the ground.

Kolsohte runs to Uopanosguhi and helps her up.

Kolsohte "Are you okay?"

Uopanosguhi "I think so. The blade came really close."

After a few seconds of looking at what is left of the blade, they resume assisting Cerin and Lace in the fight.

Cerin and Lace are back to back, using special moves, making quick work of the Honedge.  Then, several Ghastly, several Metang, more Honedge, and a Doublade approach.

Aphioco and Chirshigana arrive. Chirshigana flies over the attackers, and scatters a paralysing powder. Aphioco releases his Stun Spores at them as well.

The paralysing and stun powers seem to do nothing.  Suddenly, Lace collapses.

Cerin "Lace!!?  Are you okay?"  Lace is unresponsive.  "Oh god, no...   Wait, she still has a pulse...  What could..."

Uopanosguhi stops what she is doing and checks on Lace with noticeable concern.

Aphioco and Kolsohte both send an Energy Ball at their targets. Chirshigana whips up gusty winds with her wings to try and slow them all down.

Cerin  "I think a strong psychic-type got rid of those Pokémon's effects, and took out Lace somehow."

Uopanosguhi "If that's the case, then how will we be able to do anything against them with just five of us? Even if Lace gets back up, I doubt that six of us will be able to do much against them, either."

From the side, the line is barraged by a series of Water, Steel, and Electric attacks.

Cerin "Looks like we may have that solved."

Uopanosguhi turns and sees Zaffre and his group on the attack, Zaffre leading off with a triple Sonic Boom. Clinger and Latchgrip are on the rooftops, choosing their targets and attacking them.

Suddenly, more of the main group, a huge circle of them, come towards the attackers, splitting and surrounding each one seperately.  The battlefield is a blur of Honedge and Ghastly.

Cerin fights to protect Lace's unconscious body, keeping everything away from her.

Uopanosguhi assists Cerin in protecting Lace. Aphioco, Chirshigana, and Kolsohte defend the three as well.

Lt Gen Zaffre "If they want to make this harder for us, we'll do the same for them." He and some of his officers split into multiple illusory copies of themselves, and continue their attack.

The illusory copies initiated a sort of division of the attack; they would take less damage, because it was spread to the copies.

Despite this, Zaffre and his group, along with Clinger and Latchgrip, press on with their efforts. Zaffre and many in his group are flying all around them, attacking continuously.

Cerin "Goddammit.  Could you just....   die!?"  Cerin is attacking with strong bursts of lightning continuously, and is beginning to get tired.

Uopanosguhi is faring worse than Cerin. She is struggling to keep going with her attack. Then, without warning, a Doublade is caught by a web from Aroido.

Xorack "You were right. In Celrest, you really are a magnet for trouble."

Cerin "This.... is..... insane."  There are multiple deep slices along his body, but he continues to fight.  It is clear that the Pokémon are focusing mostly on Cerin, the largest crowd is around him.  He continues attacking, not allowing Lace to be hurt.  Then, he is almost stabbed through the chest by an exceptionally slender Honedge.  Cerin starts to slow.  It looks like the end is near.  Cerin hears a rumbling from behind him.  The sound of hundreds of feet.

What looks like all of the civilian population of Celrest runs toward the opposing army, armed with unprecedentedly deadly weapons, and some powerful-looking Pokémon at the forefront.

Uopanosguhi turns to see them.

Uopanosguhi "Cerin, look!"

Meanwhile, one of Xorack's and Aroido's henchmen remarks on this.

"Well, it's about time they decided to show up. Right, boss?"

Xorack "Tell me about it. Aroido, Slice, everyone, come on! Let's get in there, too!" He jumps into the fray, followed by Aroido.

Slice "Yeah!"  He begins his attack.

The crowd reaches the enemy army.  Cerin is saved, and he carries Lace to safety, exhausted.  After a few more minutes of fighting, after which the front lines are annihilated, he joins the attack again, leaving Lace in the care of some of the supporting, yet weak healers from the civilian group.  In the next wave of enemies, there are considerably less Pokémon, but they are all stronger.  Several purple Kirlia are among them, but keep disappearing, and not taking part in the fight.

While fighting alongside Cerin, Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte take notice of those Kirlia, as do the rest of the team. The Pokémon under Aphioco's command and those under Kolsohte's command arrive to reinforce the team's positions.

Clinger jabbers to Latchgrip and points to several enemies. Latchgrip nods and fires at them with Octacannon.

One of the underlings asks Slice about the Kirlia. "You think they might have some sort of connection to Vahashii?"

Slice "Those are the Psynes, the closest guards of Vahashii."

"Oh... we know just what to look for."

One of Zaffre's officers says "Psynes have been detected among our targets."

Lt Gen Zaffre "I know, so watch out for any attacks that they try."

Cerin "Psynes, eh?  I wonder...."  He shakes his haed and continues fighting.

From the shadows, the courier shoots an electrified web at several of his targets, hoping to catch one of the Psynes with them.

The web doesn't seem to hit the Psynes, but it does hit something.  What looks like a psychic barrier blocks the projectile's kinetic energy.

Uopanosguhi "Do you see that? They're the ones blocking our attacks!"

Slice He stops in realisation.  "They'll block our entry too!"

Xorack "Then I'll go and take them down. Psychic powers can't stop me." He laughs.

Before Xorack can make his move, a huge bolt of electricity slams the barrier.

Cerin "What-what was that?!"

Uopanosguhi notices Pikaichichu, seeing that he and his group have arrived, behind enemy lines.

Uopanosguhi "Why don't you ask him?"

Cerin "We need to get through that barrier..."

Lt Gen Zaffre "We are on it."

Pikaichichu, Zaffre, and the courier launch an attack against the Psynes from both sides. Some under their command join the attack.

Cerin He backs up and disengages himself from the main fight, and starts a long-range electrical strike against the Psynes.  At the moment, it seems to have no effect, in fact, the Psynes seem to brace themselves, and the barrier's strength is increased.

Pikaichichu swings his tail at the Psynes, and Zaffre tries to break through the barrier with more of his shockwaves.

Cerin "We can get through this, guys!  Keep going!"

Pikaichichu "Right!"

Pikaichichu, Zaffre, and the courier continue attacking them.

Cerin thought he might have been hallucinating, but he thought he saw the barrier flicker for an instant.

Xorack "Our turn, Aroido."

Aroido "Slice, feel free to assist in this attack. In fact, that would boost our chances of knocking down the barrier."

Xorack and Aroido get into position and hit the barrier with a Dark Pulse and a Shadow Ball.

Slice "I don't exactly have an attack that would work..."

Xorack "You will, once the barrier's down."

Xorack and Aroido continue their attack.

The Psynes appear and disappear more and more rapidly.

Lt Gen Zaffre "Come on..."

Pikaichichu "One more time!"

Pikaichichu, Zaffre, the courier, Xorack, and Aroido launch their attacks.

The barrier goes down.  Several Psynes fall to the ground, while the others leap at the attackers.

Uopanosguhi "Yatta! They took it down!"

Kolsohte "Look! Here they come!"

Uopanosguhi shoots a strong jet of water, while Kolsohte attacks with a Signal Beam. Pikaichichu swiftly catches a Psyne with his left hand. Zaffre waits, then hits one with a close range Thunder Wave. Aroido and the courier spray their webs. Xorack leaps directly into the path of a Psyne, claws extended, ready to grab and tackle.

At once, the Psynes discharge some sort of psychic electrical force, and the attackers are pushed back.  Each Psyne clusters with the others defensively.

Uopanosguhi "How?" She gets up. "How are they still so strong after all of this?"

Aroido "And never have I seen any Kirlia do that. Not once."

"Does it have anything to do with those rumours?"

"Do you think maybe those 'simple rumours' weren't just rumours after all?"

Aroido "If so, then we may have our answer to how these Psynes are holding strong against us despite all that we threw at them."

Slice "While I had never witnessed the Psyne's power firsthand until now, I had heard many stories."

One of the underlings asks "What were some of those stories that you heard?"

Slice "Let us just say they're more than formidable opponents.  Both bodyguards and assassins.  Terrible foe."

Another one asks "And possibly aliens? Like you said that Vahashii might be?"

Slice "I never believed that.  I mean, it's suspicious, but..."

Xorack "We'll know soon."

Uopanosguhi stands her ground alongside Kolsohte. Then they see some in Vahashii's gang getting knocked out by stun blasts from two IFVs around a corner.

Most of Vahashii's forces had disappeared; fled, killed, or retreated, leaving only a small force, and all of the Psynes.

"Pursue and capture all of the stragglers. Do not allow any of them to escape." Two armoured cars and one light tank pass the area.

One of Xorack's and Aroido's henchmen remarks on the vehicles. "You know, maybe it's me, I used to live outside of Castelia City long before joining; but I thought they'd be...louder, and produce smoke and fumes."

Aroido "I understand these have been your first days seeing them in action. These are different from what you were used to seeing."

Four tankettes appear from another corner and join the IFVs, flanking them. Branch B soldiers on the roofs take their positions.

The Psynes smirk, and several chuckle.

Cerin His eyes narrow.  "They know it'll be difficult for us to take them down."

Kolsohte "The Commander never said this was going to be easy, so we should expect this to be difficult."

The soldiers on the roofs attack. The armoured vehicles open fire with high-speed particles and stun blasts. They concentrate on the Psynes nearest to them, instead of spreading their attacks.

Several Psynes jump towards the armoured vehicles and begin a barrage of psychic energy, while the rest erect a protective barrier around themselves, somehow different than the first.

Two tankettes are heavily damaged, but in turn, four Psynes are subdued with concentrated stun blasts. The others with them are attacked in mid-air by eight Pawniard and three Beldum. The armoured vehicles continue their attack.

Xorack "Not this again!! Let them have it!!!"

Aroido "Bring it down!"

Their followers start attacking with everything they can throw at them.

More Psynes remove themselves from the main group.  One challenges Aroido, and one challenges Cerin.  The others attack some of the lesser soldiers.

Meanwhile, the crowd rallies near the Core Building, away from the entrance blocked by the Psynes.

Aroido "You want a fight? Then you have it." He jumps in a diagonal motion and attacks quickly.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte get ready to back Cerin up.

Branch B and armoured IACPF forces are setting a perimeter around the center of the city, starting from where the routes end, to the Core Building, with close air support. They have caused little damage (if any at all) to the city. They are also protecting the crowd rallying near the Core Building. An IACPF fighter aircraft flies over the area. "Perimeter around objective set."

The Psyne attacking Aroido makes no defensive moves, and attacks recklessly, in a deadly flurry of mentally-augmented slashes and psychic blasts.

The Psyne against Cerin takes a more cautious approach, and creates itself a psychic shield as well as giving itself a "blade".

Aroido tries parrying the slashes with his kunai, then quickly jumps out of the way to avoid the psychic blasts. He retaliates by spraying numerous poison needles.

Uopanosguhi "Be careful, Cerin!"

Not a single needle from Aroido's attack misses.  However, few of the Psyne's strikes are completely blocked.

Cerin "Will do!"  He throws something electric at the Psyne, then rushes in with a punch augmented with electrons.  The Psyne blocks the punch, but it was taken by surprise with the quick electric attack.

Aroido, seeing how many hits the Psyne inflicted on him, tries another tactic: slowing it down. He shoots webs at it before going in for his next strike. Meanwhile, Kolsohte begins barraging the barrier with Seed Bombs.

Cerin attacks with another shock, then bashes the Psynes across the head.  It falls backwards, stunned, and Cerin attacks it with a large discharge.  It recovers, and attacks Cerin again.

The Psyne isn't held down by Aroido's attack for long, but it does give him an opening.

With his web attack having the intended effect, Aroido rushes at the Psyne, and strikes.

The Psyne is struck by Aroido, and it is injured badly.  However, despite this, it continues attacking, still with vigor, worsening it's wounds.

Cerin dodges the Psyne's attack, and puts a palm on the Psyne's chest, discharging many volts of electricity into it.  The Psyne writhes around in pain, and then is still.

Aroido jumps back to distance himself, and uses Night Shade.

The Psyne attacking Aroido falls to the ground before the Night Shade can take effect.

Aroido sprays his webs to make sure that it stays down.

The Psyne tries to claw it's way out, but there are gashes all over it's body.  Eventually it gives up, and dies.

After a few seconds, Aroido moves on to attack the barrier.

There are still about 20-so Psynes in the barrier, and three more exit.  Two attack Aroido, and one attacks Cerin.

Xorack runs at one of the two Psynes and knocks it across the ground.

Aroido "Thanks, Xorack."

Uopanosguhi assists Cerin by jumping at the Psyne and headbutting it.

Both Psynes that were hit slide across the ground.  They don't get up.  Suddenly, Cerin realises something.

Cerin "They're weak to cranial trauma!"

Xorack "You hear that, Aroido?"

Aroido nods and attacks the Psyne, throwing a swift sucker punch.

The Psyne quickly throws up a psychic shield, but it is just a bit too late, and it's skull is struck.  It crumples like the others.

Uopanosguhi "Well, now we know how to beat them faster once they're out of that barrier, Cerin."

Cerin "Indeed."

Several more Psynes leave the barrier.  It is clear that they are trying a different tactic, rush with a larger force. 

Two attack Cerin, and three attack Aroido, Xorack, and Slice, the latter of which had just returned from fighting the last of some of his brethren.  Two more Psynes head for the rallying crowd.

Uopanosguhi jumps to slam into one of the two Psynes attacking Cerin.

Aroido "Good timing, Slice, because there's three of them now."

Xorack "Let's get them!"

Xorack and Aroido go on the attack.

Pikaichichu blocks the way of the other two, not letting them get to the center, while the courier and a few others attack them.

Slice attacks one of the Psynes rather recklessly, with a swift, unprotected strike.  The Psyne sidesteps and psychically throws Slice several meters, and attacks Aroido.  One other Psyne attacks Xorack, and the last one attacks Slice where he landed.

The Psyne being attacked by Uopanosguhi moves to the side, and grabs her.

The other Psyne attacks Cerin with rapid bullets of psychic energy.

The final two outside of the barrier, the ones confronting Pikaichichu, rush him at once, then begin to attack from two sides.

Aroido "Slice!" He slows down the attacking Psyne with a web, then rushes to the aid of Slice and tackles the other Psyne.

Xorack lashes at the Psyne attacking him. He swings his claws at it in slashing motions.

Uopanosguhi "Let me go!" She struggles to break free, and sprays the Psyne in the face with scalding water.

The Psynes attacking Pikaichichu have much difficulty. His size and high defense are making their attacks have very little effect. The courier jumps and bites one of them, while Pikaichichu swats the other one away, knocking it far across the ground.

Slice, as well as the Psyne, get up quickly, and Slice thrusts at the Psyne, who parries.

The Psyne that attacked Aroido gangs with the other Psyne on Xorack.  The Psyne Xorack attacked is scratched several times, and returns with a slash from a psychic sword.

The Psyne restricting Uopanosguhi lets go of her, but immediately slams her with the psychic shield.

Cerin manages to dodge most of the bullets, and trips up the Psyne.

The Psyne Pikaichichu swatted bangs its head on the ground and is unresponsive.  The other is damaged by the courier, but continues attacking Pikaichichu.

Aroido whispers to Slice.

Aroido "When you see a clear opening, you strike."

The psychic energy does little to nothing to Xorack, but that slash is still enough to anger him. He takes out his bludgeon and bashes the Psyne that slashed him.

Uopanosguhi is knocked backward and falls into the snow. Kolsohte, already alerted from the struggle, attacks the Psyne with an Energy Ball aimed at the head.

Pikaichichu waits for the courier to jump off, then swats the Psyne away as he did with the other one.

Slice nods in agreement.

The Psyne Xorack attacked dodges.... right into the bludgeon, and falls onto the ground.

The Psyne Kohlsohte attacked also dodges, this time more successfully.

The Psyne Pikaichichu attacked hits its head also, and becomes unresponsive.

The Psyne attacking Cerin hits the ground, and Cerin punches it in the head, winning the battle.

Kolsohte watches its movements and attacks again.

Slice attacks the Psyne when he thinks there is an opening, and this time, he succeeds in hitting it.  There is a brief skirmish, and Slice comes out on top.

Eventually, only Kolsohte's enemy remains.  The Psyne dodges Kolsohte's attack, and swings an psychically-augmented fist at him.

Kolsohte, having paid careful attention, dodges to the side, barely avoiding being slugged in the face. He decides to hit the Psyne with many high velocity seeds, and he fires.

The Psyne blocks the seeds with a quickly-created psychic shield, then charges Kolsohte with the shield in hand.

As the Psyne is about to hit Kolsohte, Chirshigana flies in and slams it with one of her wings.

The Psyne is knocked backwards, but gets back to its feet, and throws some kind of psychokinetic energy at Chirshigana.

Chirshigana is hit, but she has covered herself with a strange veil, softening the impact. She responds with gusty winds and flashing beams.

The Psyne has some trouble attacking through the light and wind, but manages to cast a beam of energy at Chrishigana.

Chirshigana flies to the side, but gets hit on the edge of the wing. While this is going on, Kolsohte attacks the Psyne with a Signal Beam aimed at its head.

The Psyne is taken by surprise and falls to the ground.

Uopanosguhi gets up, shaking the snow off. She returns to where she was before the Psyne grabbed her. Kolsohte moves by her side.

Cerin "Just a few more Psynes to take out."

Four strange-looking Whirlipede roll in at high speed, one of them rolling right into a Psyne and knocking it away. Once in position, they extend two extra feeler-like appendages, highly flexible, one on each side of their bodies, both pointed forward. They put up protective fields of their own, and open fire on the Psynes with rapid shots of Bug-type energy.

The Psynes fall rather quickly, and, at long last, there is no longer a barrier.

Cerin ''He looks on in awe.  ''"Who...?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "Now! The barrier is down!"

Xorack "Let's get moving!"

"Right, boss!"

Elsewhere, Lace awakens.  The civilians are not able to answer her questions, so she heads towards the Core Building.

Lace "What even happened?  Why did I pass out?"

Cerin "LACE!  Thank god you're okay!"  He embraces Lace.  Lace hugs him back, confused.

Lace "But... what?"

Cerin "My guess is that the Psynes put you to sleep, they didn't want a rival psychic-user."

Lace "Aaaaand.... you killed them?"

Cerin "Tealli."

Uopanosguhi "Lace, I'm so glad you're okay."

Lace "Thanks, Uopanosguhi."

The rest of the team and the others have arrived.

SouvKom "Now we can proceed."

Cerin "Indeed.  Let us finally defeat Vahashii!"

Uopanosguhi "Hai. I'm with you, Cerin!"

Aroido "So are we."

Clinger cheers unintelligibly.

Latchgrip "Let's go."

As they go on, Uopanosguhi decides to say what is on her mind.

Uopanosguhi "I know this might not be the right time, but I feel that I just have to say it now. Even though I ended up in Celrest at a bad time, when I think about that night that you - Cerin, helped me, and when I later met Kolsohte, Lace, and everybody else here; I cannot say that it was all bad."

Cerin "Aye.  I have met good friends in this city.  Let's see if we can make this place better."

Chirshigana "That is what we're here to do."

Kolsohte nods.

Cerin heads for the entrance of the Core Building.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte go alongside him toward the entrance.

The others follow(yes, all the others wishing to enter.  You may edit this and add phrases if neccessary.  If not, simply edit out this message.) into the Core Building.  Cerin is the first to trigger the automatic door, somehow unlocked.  Lace stops to speak to the crowd amassing outside, and eventually persuades them that they had done their part, and to return home, the battle was won.  Of course, the battle was not won yet, there was still a certain Gardevoir to take care of.

Chapter Thirteen: The Fall of Vahashii

Within the building, there is what looks like a deserted reception room.  Papers litter the floor.  The room is lit, but all other doorways just open up into unlit expanses.  Something purple flashes near a stairwell, but maybe it is just a figment of the imagination.

Cerin "The pinnacle is where she resides, one would assume."

Xorack "They sure know how to make a mess of the place."

Aroido "You can say that again."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Pick that up, but quietly."

Three of his officers go and start picking up the papers.

Uopanosguhi "Did anybody else see that?"

Clinger tilts his head.

Latchgrip "What?"

Uopanosguhi "Near those stairs. It was purple, I think."

Slice "Purple.....    It is her color.   I saw it as well, but I wasn't gonna say anything."

Cerin "Aye, I also saw it.  I suppose we should head to the top...  Slice, is there no elevator?  This is a pretty tall building..."

Slice "Vahashii can teleport to her room, I hear, and no one I know really goes up higher than the third floor, there's no elevators that I've ever seen.  Though I do seldom visit the Core Building, and never been past the first floor myself."   Slice laughs nervously.

Latchgrip "Or if there was, then it was probably destroyed."

Uopanosguhi "They really like to make things harder for us."

Xorack looks annoyed. Aroido goes toward the stairwell and looks up to see how high it goes.

The stairwell climbs all the way to the top of the eleven-floored building.

Aroido goes back over to them.

Aroido "This place has eleven floors, and the stairs go all the way up."

Cerin "Eleven floors.  That's not too daunting, we just dealt with Psynes.  If stairs defeat us before Vahashii, I will jump out of a window."

Uopanosguhi "Then let's go."

Latchgrip "This isn't new to us, so we'll be fine."

Zaffre is talking with Pikaichichu on the communicator.

Lt Gen Zaffre "...Okay." He presses a switch on the communicator. "It is open. Go ahead."

Pikaichichu "Remember to be alert at all times when you face Vahashii. I wish I could help you, but since she is inside, there's no way for me to help you directly." He sighs sadly.

Cerin "Well, we might as well start this climb. C'mon." He heads up the stairs, followed by Lace.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte follow them up the stairs. Clinger and Latchgrip follow them, and are followed by Xorack and Aroido. Zaffre floats upward, but staying at the same pace as the others.

Eventually, they reach the top floor. They are in a hallway with considerable space, but all the doors are painted over but one.

Uopanosguhi "Looks like the only way we can go is through there."

Cerin "I know. Look, guys.... We might not all make it through this.... None of us might make it through this...... Of course, ideally, all of us will escape unscathed. But that's likely not going to happen. All I know is that I will fight as hard as I can, and that I will go in that room with no thought of walking back out. But if any of you do, I would never dream of holding it against you. In fact, I encourage you to try to preserve your own life. Vah-"

Slice Slice cuts Cerin off,"Vahashii is the most difficult enemy most of you have ever faced. Her powers are stuff of legends. She has no easy weakness, like the Psynes, nothing we can exploit. She is, well, for lack of a better word, overpowered. You should have seen her defeat Orion. Orion was powerful too."

Lace "Cerin... We will make it through this...." Lace turns to the others. "We will all make it through this, I'm sure of it. But I don't want any of you entering that room without giving it your all. I know I will. For Celrest. For Cerin. For the sake of everything. I was taken out too easily by the Psynes. Before this fight, I have fortified myself. What happened back there will never happen again."

Xorack "At this point, I'm way too mad to care if she is as strong as you say. I'm fighting her. You got it?"

Aroido "After the losses we suffered yesterday, we have not the slightest intention of leaving. We will honour them by finishing the job. Only then will they be at peace."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Team StormBlitz has been in such situations facing powerful opponents before. We did not back down then, and we are not about to back down now."

Clinger and Latchgrip look willing, too.

Uopanosguhi "I was already convinced that it won't be easy. Fighting through all of her guards made it clear that this is going to be tough, but I'm still going to do this." She looks at Cerin, then Lace, then Kolsohte, then the others. "It may have only been a short time since we met, but I'm glad to have friends like you. I am going to give it my all, and see this through."

Cerin "I had a feeling all of you would feel that way. After all, we haven't reached this point for nothing." Cerin enters through the door.

Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte go with Cerin through the door. The others follow them.

Within is a dark, circular room. In the middle of the room, under a spotlight, a purple gardevoir stands. She smirks.

Vahashii "The Psynes are idiots. I had figured they would stand no chance against you. Well, I do say, you will have quite a harder time with I. You all will die. Every last one of you. Celrest has become cancerous. Breeding such friendships as yours, it's hellish poison. Matter that truly must be eradicated from the city. I only hope that you are stronger than Orion was. I haven't had a good fight since Saturnia."

Uopanosguhi "Your words are so hateful, Vahashii."

Lt Gen Zaffre "The only thing cancerous around here is the corruption. The poisons are the crime and the senseless violence."

Latchgrip "All of that has worsened because of you."

Vahashii "You probably think so, with your minds as corrupted as they are. All you want is me gone. Fight me, you corrupted fools."

Cerin "Gladly." Electricity gathers around him.

Vahashii pulls an iridescent katana-like sword from a sheath on her back.

During this verbal exchange, Xorack and Aroido have taken the time to get into position. On the left side of the room, Xorack, already having his bludgeon out, prepares to attack. On the right side, Aroido draws his kunai. Clinger and Latchgrip cover the group from both sides.

Psychic armor appears around Lace, while Slice narrows his eye at his former boss. Vahashii shows no surprise to see Slice there.

Cerin gathers electricity into his palm, while Vahashii just stands there. Tension gathers in the room. Everyone can feel it. Finally, Cerin casts the ball of electrons at the Gardevoir. Vahashii swings her sword almost too quick for the eye to follow, and it hits the electric sphere. Suddenly, the sphere is gone, almost as if the sword absorbed the electrical energy instantaneously without any harm to the user. In fact, that was exactly what happened.

Uopanosguhi, despite the initial surprise by this, attacks second. She shoots a strong jet of water at Vahashii.

Vahashii puts a hand up, and the water sprays around her, not doing any harm. Cerin then throws a lightning bolt at Vahashii, and she spins her blade, and the electricity dissipates to nothing. Cerin gasps in surprise as Vahashii smirks and blasts him with a burst of telekinetic force.

Uopanosguhi gasps with concern. Xorack and Aroido attack Vahashii from both sides, Xorack swinging his bludgeon at her, and Aroido ready to slash her. Clinger and Latchgrip prepare to attack.

Vahashii snags Xorack's bludgeon with the flat of her blade, then throws it back at him. Lace attacks Vahashii with bursts of psychic energy, which, for the most part, are dodged by Vahashii.

Xorack is struck on the head, and this enrages him even more. He picks up the bludgeon, then swings one of his claws at Vahashii, attempting to slash her, while Aroido attacks with slashing motions with his kunai. While this happens, Clinger and Latchgrip launch hard rocks at her.

Vahashii ducks under Xorack's attack, and blocks Aroido's attack with her blade. Slice decides to enter the battle, and attacks Vahashii directly with a charge. Vahashii sidesteps and continues fighting Aroido. The stones are only a minor annoyance to Vahashii.

Aroido continues his attack against Vahashii, while being careful to parry any strikes from her blade that she tries. Kolsohte throws an Energy Ball at her. From an elevated position, Zaffre attacks her with his shockwaves. Uopanosguhi goes to Cerin's aid, and Kolsohte follows.

Uopanosguhi "Cerin?"

Cerin "Uopanosguhi, try being annoying to Vahashii! We can only hope to distract her!"

Uopanosguhi "...I'll do it. Just watch out for anymore of those blasts." She runs into the fray, spraying water at Vahashii and running around her. Kolsohte provides cover.

Cerin gets up and attacks Vahashii again with bursts of electricity, which she dodges. However, after the onslaught of different enemies attacking her, some attacks are hitting her. She is taking damage, if not much.

Uopanosguhi continues to distract Vahashii, and Kolsohte fires at her with high velocity seeds. Xorack and Aroido step up their offensive.

It is clear that Vahashii is prioritising defense against Aroido and Xorack, and only defending against the other attacks if it means she can still block Aroido and Xorack's attacks.

Clinger and Latchgrip waste no time in seizing their chance. They shoot at her with beams of cold aurora. Zaffre attacks with Zap Cannon.

Vahashii takes the assault with cold determination, and continues fighting Aroido and Xorack.

Xorack fights on against Vahashii. Aroido jumps back, and launches a Shadow Ball at her.

Vahashii slices the Shadow Ball, and absorbs the duisterne. However, she is open to attack thus.

Xorack and Aroido act quickly. They rush forward and they both attack her at the same time.

Vahashii is hit by the attack, but then is angered, and slices Xorack across the face.

Xorack recoils. He feels the gash left on his face, and growls. He lunges his tail at Vahashii.

Vahashii jumps, and kicks Xorack across the room.

Cerin had been preparing a large attack, and waiting for the right moment to release it. Here he does so, and a large ball of lightning flies into Vahashii's back. Vahashii flies across the room, damaged, then recovers and stands up.

Seeing Xorack get slashed across the face then kicked across the room, Aroido is livid. He sprays Vahashii with webs, strafes around her, then jumps on her back and bites her with his mandibles. Uopanosguhi and Kolsohte continue attacking her, this time with more power.

Xorack winces and gets up.

Xorack "...Now she's really asking for it." He returns to the fray.

Vahashii picks Aroido off of her back with surprising ease, and throws him into the ground. However, in the moment she is untangling herself from the webs, Slice slices her across the chest. Vahashii lets out a small scream and clutches her chest, it seems as though this was her first painful wound. She psychically pushes Slice into the far window with extreme force, and it shatters, Slice tumbling through the air.

Pikaichichu sees Slice getting knocked through the window and catches him.

Xorack is furious with Vahashii, seeing her actions against Aroido and Slice.

Xorack "You're gonna pay for that!!!" He unleashes a Dark Pulse against her.

Zaffre closes in on Vahashii, with a shadowy glow around him.

Vahashii slices the dark pulse, then blocks against Zaffre.

Lace, who had been assisting the others beforehand, decides in this moment to fight against Vahashii as well. Instead of creating psychic energy to attack her, decides to enter her mind herself and see what damage she could do. Once she connected with Vahashii, she was surprised at how strong her psychic barriers were, even though she was actively fighting. She tries to get into Vahashii's mind with all of her strength.

Slice lands in Pikaichichu's grasp.

Slice "A-agh... I cannot fight..." Cracks and chips are all over Slice's body, and his eyelids are drooping.

Pikaichichu "Slice, I'm sorry I couldn't help you, any of you. Please... ...hold on."

A medical transport arrives in the center of the city, near the Core Building.

Xorack charges at Vahashii, intending to bash into her. Zaffre attacks her with a wave of Shadow energy. Uopanosguhi attacks her with a forceful stream of boiling hot water. Kolsohte has positioned himself near the window. Clinger and Latchgrip shoot at Vahashii with flashing beams of light.

Vahashii sticks her sword point-first in between her and Xorack.

Xorack stops short of the blade, and shoves it aside with one of his claws.

Xorack "I don't think so!" He swings his other claw, smacking and at the same time slashing Vahashii across the face.

Vahashii reacts by blasting Xorack away with a psychic pulse.

The pulse pushes him away, but he is unharmed by the psychic energy in that attack. He responds by blasting Vahashii with a beam of darkness.

Vahashii swings her sword in a spiraling arc that absorbs the darkness, then curves it back to face Xorack and releases the dark energy back at him.

Xorack glares venomously at Vahashii. From the side, Zaffre rushes at her at high speed, with Shadow energy around him.

Vahashii As Zaffre speeds towards her, Vahashii just smiles a small, humorless smile. "You few test my patience." She teleports away from Zaffre at the last second to where Uopanosguhi was. Vahashii thrusts the sword towards her, but at the last second, she falls to the ground, clutching her skull. "Agh! Who is in my head!"

Uopanosguhi is shaken from how close the sword was from her, then tilts her head when Vahashii falls to the ground. This also gets the attention of Aroido, who gets up.

Vahashii "GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" She thrashes around.

Aroido takes advantage of this, and starts covering Vahashii with his webs. Xorack laughs maliciously.

Vahashii ignores Aroido and his webs, and focuses on fighting Lace mentally.

Zaffre attacks her with bolts of electricity and waves of Shadow energy. Clinger and Latchgrip continue their attacks as well.

Vahashii is very clearly suffering, but she is devoting all of her energy into fighting Lace. She picks up her arm slowly, and fires a ball of energy at Lace, but the ball is halted in its progress, every now and again pushing up closer to Lace. Finally, Vahashii screams in frustration, and Lace then falls to the ground. Vahashii has regained control of herself, but her arm hangs limp at her side. The energy ball dissipated.

Cerin "Lace!" He runs towards her, and picks her up in his arms.

Lace "C-cerin... I can't feel my legs... or my arms...."

Cerin "Oh-oh God, L-lace... I'll get you to a hospital..." Cerin runs out of the door, carrying Lace gingerly.

Chirshigana flies down near the medical transport, where they are working on Slice, and waits for Cerin and Lace.

Eventually, Cerin arrives with Lace, and runs up to the transport.

Chirshigana "Hayaku."

A few others carefully take Lace in, and they get to work. Chirshigana nods to Cerin.

Cerin "I-I'm staying here. What if something goes wrong?"

Chirshigana "I understand, Cerin. We are not shooing you away. You may stay here all you want."

The rest of the group prepares to attack Vahashii all at once, as they, most notably Uopanosguhi, have had it with her. Kolsohte is glowing. He was standing near the window to absorb sunlight. He blasts her with a solar beam.

Vahashii is taken by surprise by the Solar Beam, and is knocked backwards, damaged thoroughly. She then shatters the window behind Kolsohte with her mind, and coalesces all of the glass fragments into Kolsohte.

Kolsohte acts quickly and puts up a solar-enhanced protective sphere around himself that the glass fragments shatter against. Vahashii is suddenly struck on the back by a sharp and painful blow.

Vahashii is knocked across the floor. She flips onto her back, then begins to get back up.

SouvKom "You should stay down...Vahashii."

The attacker is Lighsttrom. He is looking directly at her in the eyes.

Vahashii "What is this, then?" she spits with contempt. She throws a psychic energy burst at Lighsttrom.

While that attack would harm others, it does nothing to him. He telekinetically throws Vahashii into a wall.

SouvKom "As I said, you should stay down."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Everyone stay back!"

The others promptly fall back from the fight.

Vahashii is taken by surprise. She does not get up, but begins to laugh.

Vahashii "Stay down? Bwhahahaha! Why? This fight has not gone your way, it never had. What will change? Who of you have the capacity to defeat me?!"

Down at the medical transport, there is a sudden panic. Slice has disappeared, and the medical staff that were working on him were all knocked out.

Chirshigana explains to Aphioco about Slice's disappearance. Aphioco takes some in his group to search for him. The others on the team are notified.

SouvKom "Much has changed within these days. We were very busy thoroughly removing all of the crime and the corruption - that you had spread throughout the city!"

Vahashii "Nothing started with me. My quarrel isn't even with you. You could have just stayed away and never would've had to face me."

A figure appears in the doorway. It is Slice, bruised, battered, but determined.

Slice Slice begins to speak. "Her quarrel is with me. It always had been."

Vahashii "Ahah. None of the others know of the curse."

Slice He looks around at the members on his side there. "You guys, I am afraid that I have lied to you. This fight, with Vahashii was always mine, and only mine. I stole the only thing that can harm her. I almost killed her in the previous fight, but I hoped that it would never be used. And besides, she could fee in this instant had we not weakened her. Lace played the most part in that."

Vahashii groans, her leg is torn.

Slice "You see?" There are tears in Slice's eye. "I'm going to have to ask all of you to leave. This isn't your fight. Never was."

Vahashii "I won't let you just do this!"

Slice "Vahashii, you know what I have. Had you not decided to pursue that Shadow, the curse would never be upon you. Be happy that you'll be liberated.... in death."

Vahashii "Even you have underestimated me. I can still fight you, and I can still win. Even if you do have the item."

Slice "We will see about that." Slice again turns to the friends he fought alongside. "Again, I ask you to leave me for this battle. I need... the utmost concentration. I'll... see you in a few minutes. This won't take long."

Aroido "There was even more to you than I had previously thought."

Xorack "No wonder you could hold your own out there."

Uopanosguhi "Are these the reasons why she decided to terrorise everyone in Celrest?"

SouvKom "...I am reluctant to have everyone leave you alone, but since concentration is what you need... ...we will let you have that."

Aroido "Slice, may your skills and our training be of the utmost help to you."

Xorack "And please tell us what happens."

Lt Gen Zaffre "Slice, good luck."

SouvKom "Everyone, we must leave..."

Lighsttrom and Zaffre lead them out. As the other six leave, they look back for a few seconds, before slowly closing the door.

They walk all the way back down to the ground to join the others.

Vahashii "You know my secrets. You have decoded even what I could not. Scum."

Slice He laughs feebly. "If you knew what I knew, you would have known you wasted your time."

Vahashii She ignores this confusing comment. "I should have payed more attention to you. Regardless, you will die here."

Slice "You don't know what I know." Slice grins, and his body is enveloped in light. "An attack I've been working on."

Vahashii She struggles to her feet. "I may be weakened, but I am still vastly stronger than you."

Slice "Vahashtly stronger?" he says, hovering into the air in an attack position, then striking at Vahashii.

Vahashii She sidesteps, and shakes her head. "You think you're in a position to be making jokes?"

Slice ignores her, and loops back for another attack. Vahashii's sword clashes against Slice. Slice thrusts towards Vahashii's chest, but she parries. Oddly enough, Slice is the aggressor here, and repeatedly attacks Vahashii, while Vahashii makes no move towards his eye, or uses any psychic powers. Perhaps she is afraid of Slice using her secret, the one Vahashii didn't even know herself, against her. Slice thrusts, she parries. Slice gets a few cuts in. Finally Vahashii ups her game, and jumps back with psychic blasts that head for Slice. Slice cuts right through them, streamlined and improved by his move, which was indeed draining his energy. Vahashii uses stronger and stronger Psychic blasts, but few actually damage him. However, the ones that do, do a lot of damage. From Vahashii's perspective, she was losing. But Slice was taking a bigger beating. Minutes passed, and Vahashii was getting frustrated, and Slice was getting tired. Slice knew he could count on Vahashii never getting exhausted, but he believed that perhaps she would slip due to something else. Anger. So Slice becomes the defender, the evader, letting Vahashii try to hit him. Eventually, he starts to see it paying off. Vahashii's sword strikes are more restless, more aggressive. Slice makes a point to seem lazy in his motions, though in reality, it is taking every ounce of his strength. Finally, the moment.

Slice swings with sudden strength and speed. The sword is knocked out of Vahashii's hand. Instead of jumping after it, or using a psychic attack as she should have, she just stared. She was too surprised, too taken aback by the fact that someone had gotten this far. Then Slice plunged into Vahashii's heart. Even her blood was purple. But Slice was too thorough. He sliced from her heart to the outside of her side, cutting Vahashii almost in half.

Vahashii of course was in much pain, but she could not die. She had cursed herself to life several months ago. There was only one way to kill her, and Vahashii didn't know it herself. What Slice had stolen was not an item, but information. Information even Vahashii could not unravel. But she had one more trump card. Vahashii pulled a detonator from her pocket and pressed the button. You see, in her mind, she believed that she could eliminate Slice in this way, getting out with only injuries and a broken pride. Slice could never finish whatever it was he had to do to kill her. But what Slice had discovered was that the only way for Vahashii to die was for her to die by her own hand. By making Vahashii detonate herself, she would in fact take her own life despite her curse.

The entire top of the Core Building exploded outward in a fireball, taking Vahashii and Slice with it.

Epilogue One: The Aftermath of the Strike

Cerin stared at the explosion with awe and horror.  Shrapnel rained around everywhere, yet, miraculously, no one was hurt.

Cerin "S-s-slice just...    he..."

Xorack and Aroido drop to the ground.

Xorack "Why?! You told us that you were gonna come back!"

Aroido "We were going to do so much together, Slice..."

Kolsohte holds a sad Uopanosguhi.

Pikaichichu looks on somberly.

Latchgrip "He sacrificed his life for us, for Celrest..."

Clinger groans sadly.

Lighsttrom is silent. Zaffre sighs.

Lace Lace begins to awaken. "Guys... what..?  Is it over?  Goddammit, my mind was taken again-" she stops at seeing everyone's downfallen faces.

Cerin "Lace... Slice sacrificed his life to defeat Vahashii.  I don't know why, I don't know how, but we won.  Sure as hell doesn't feel like a victory."

Lace gasps.  "H-he did that?"

Cerin nods at Lace.

Cerin He sighs a deep sigh.  "Well, the city is freed from Vahashii's grasp, the goons are dead or arrested, and...  Well, what of us?  What next?"

Uopanosguhi takes a breath.

Uopanosguhi "After all of this, I...I would like to least a close-enough-to-ordinary day in Celrest, one where we don't have to constantly be in fear and we can go on about our lives. You understand what I mean?"

Cerin "Honestly, Celrest won't be normal in a very long time.  This rubble has to be cleaned up, we have to elect a leader, and to be perfectly honest, I don't want to be a part of that hell.  Now that no one has a strong grip, a lot of civilians will leave.  And maybe this explosion will make the government wonder what the hell is going on, they'll help get more people out.  Celrest was ridiculously overpopulated, the city will be left with less than a quarter of its population after this incident, in all likelihood.  It'll take months to get through."

Uopanosguhi "Ohhh..."

SouvKom "Until this city can properly run itself again, we will remain here to maintain order."

Cerin He nods. "Sensible.  I would have suggested it myself, in fact."  He turns to Lace.  "Are you okay?"

Lace "For the most part, yeah.  I have a feeling that I'll be stuck with this headache for days though.  No, I'm not going to get out of this bed."

Cerin "Let's move inside.  Xorack, Aroido, I want to speak with you two."  Lace is moved to a stretcher, then everyone is moved into a small building by the Core.  Cerin turns to Xorack and Aroido, then remembers something else and turns back to all the others. "As you might know, me and Lace are going to be one of the ones getting out of here," Cerin says to no one in particular.  "The roads will be hell...  Is anyone here willing to provide aerial transport?"

Lt Gen Zaffre "I already made the arrangements, Cerin. The helicopter should be here soon."

Cerin "Good."  Now he turns to Aroido and Xorack.  "You two, I have some - a favor to ask of you."

Aroido "What kind of favour...are you talking about?..." He is still facing down.

Xorack "What?" He is facing away to wipe his eyes, then he turns to Cerin. "What is it?"

Cerin "Not even a favor.  I found this...   Come here.  It's something... something you should see."  He takes Aroido and Xorack to a less conspicous part of the room.

Aroido "What is this about?..."

Xorack "What'd you want to show us?"

Cerin hands a small black box to Aroido.  Atop it is Slice's name, etched rather haphazardly.

Cerin "I found this in Slice's bed after he - after he left to fight Vahashii.  I didn't open it.  I think you two were meant to have this."

Aroido "He...left it there?"

Xorack "F-for us?"

The two look at the box that Aroido is holding, then carefully open it.

Inside, there is a small hologram disc.  Beneath it is a two inch long golden rod.

After four seconds of looking at it, they activate it.

A small hologram of Slice appears above the disc.  The hologram is of poor quality, and the projection lines can clearly be seen.

Hologram "I have risked too much to allow this to fall into the wrong hands.  Viewer, place your hand upon the golden rod.  It will only activate for two people.  There are others who can hear this, still a select few, but if these two are not here, there is no point."

Aroido "What do you think?"

Xorack "...Why don't we give it a try?"

They both grasp the golden rod as instructed.

The hologram Slice shudders and fades, then comes back.

Hologram "You two.  I suppose you want some answers.  I recorded this to give you that.  Before I tell you my story, I would like to say that I loved working with you guys.  I couldn't have done it without you.  And Cerin, and Lace, and Uopanosguhi, and Kolsohte...  everyone.  But especially you two."

Hologram "I suppose you definitely need to hear the truth.  I never did work for Vahashii.  I was planted in Orion's army by my father before his death, three years ago.  I was an undercover agent, and I thought my purpose was to make sure Orion didn't interfere with the government, or something.  But that was never the case.  Orion had a certain object that he did not know how to work.  Only three individuals knew how to work that object.  My father, Vahashii's employer, and Vahashii.  My father was given a prophecy to act upon, years prior.  He knew that Vahashii wished to get the object.  I was put in place to make sure Vahashii did not get it.  That was my final mission from my father before he passed away.  Locate the object, keep it away from Vahashii.  And the way I did such was to become Orion's right-hand man.  Orion trusted me with the location of the object, in case he ever was to be defeated.  The day came when he was defeated.  By Vahashii.  Vahashii expected the other Pokémon under his command to spill the beans.  I never did.  The only reason Vahashii even remained in Celrest was to determine the location of the object for her employer.  But I have reason to believe that she wanted the object to herself.  She stayed in Celrest far too long, made too many of her own decisions.  Then when I heard of Viera, I knew.  Vahashii had indeed gone rogue.  And she knew I had the object since the beginning.  But she also knew that I had received the information of how to defeat Vahashii from my father.  Well, she knew I had the information.  She thought I had stolen it somehow.  In any case, the object is safe.  Vahashii's employer thinks she has lost it.  His plan now hinges on something else.  But.  I know where the object is.  The box this disc came in?  It has a false bottom.  Open it up.  I cannot tell you what to do with the object, but this story is not over.  There is still a battle to be fought.  Keep the object close.  And remember, the tan pikachu are not always your friends."  The hologram then fades.

The two are taken by feelings of surprise, curiosity, and puzzlement, but they understand as the hologram goes on. They are also touched by how Slice felt about working with them. They look at the box again, and the false bottom that was mentioned. Carefully, they open it.

Within is a ornate silver object.  It is very embellished, but it resembles a key.

Aroido "Cerin, I wish we could tell Slice this personally. This means so much to us."

Xorack "We were going to talk to you about repaying us, but this is more than enough. It's much better."

Cerin He bows his head.  "I think that that key there most likely has something to do with whatever Viera wants, wherever he went.  Is that where you'll go?  Follow Viera?"

Xorack "Viera?!"

Aroido "You mean the Viera that tried to destroy Celrest?"

Xorack "Tail him to wherever he's going, whatever he's trying to get? Oh, you can count on that."

Aroido "After what we heard, we're not letting him get it."

Cerin "I have a feeling that's what Slice'd want you to do.  Good luck."

Aroido "You too, Cerin. Wherever you and Lace are going..."

Xorack "Yeah..."

Cerin "Thanks, guys.  I have a feeling that none of us are done with our adventures..."

Uopanosguhi "Cerin, and Lace. Such great friends." Her eyes wells up. "I'm going to miss them."

Kolsohte "I am still here, Uopanosguhi."

Uopanosguhi "I know, and thank you for being here, Kolsohte." She walks close to him so he can hug her.

A blade tip falls and bumps across the floor. Aroido chases it and picks it back up.

Uopanosguhi "What was that?"

Aroido "A piece of a Honedge's blade."

Uopanosguhi "Where did you get it?"

Xorack "We came across one that morning, when we captured Slice. I broke the tip off of him."

Aroido "Then he escaped before we could get him. Then we went from there with Slice, who soon became part of the team..."

Xorack "I wonder what happened to him since then..."

Lt Gen Zaffre "He was captured by our team."

Xorack "He was?... ...I want you to have him brought to us."

Aroido "Please."

Lighsttrom turns to face them.

Xorack "You know how we got repaid for the jobs we did many years ago? Well, instead of the usual, let this be our reward this time."

Aroido "That's all we ask for this time."

SouvKom "If this is what you want, then it will be granted."

Minutes later, Melanecto and Cireituri arrive. They are holding the Honedge that lost the tip of his blade during Xorack and Aroido's morning raid.

Aroido "Hai. He's the one."

Honedge He looks oddly somber.  "What is it that you want...?"

Aroido "I guess he knows what happened to Slice, too."

Xorack "We all did." He sighs. "Listen. How would you like to do something better and more interesting than be stuck in prison for your past involvement with Vahashii?"

Honedge "Anythin's better than prison.  I have a feeling that I'll be made to eat my words though.  What is it?"

Xorack "How'd you like to be part of our team, whatever your name is?"

Honedge "The name's Stab.  And yeah."

Melanecto and Cireituri release Stab.

Aroido "Then welcome to the team, Stab. I know you will do well, just like Slice did."

Stab He looks very surprised at mention of Slice's name.  "You know who-"  Then it dawns on him.  "Did he...  did he join you?  Did he tell you of his mission?"

Xorack "At the end he told us."

Latchgrip "And after that, he sacrificed himself to defeat Vahashii and save Celrest. A brave act that he did."

Aroido "Now, if you would like, we can get to work on improving your skills and abilities at any time."

Stab "Yes, let's."

Xorack "Welcome to the team."

Xorack and Aroido walk off with Stab to somewhere else in Celrest. Lighsttrom disappears, returning to the base. Melanecto and Cireituri leave the building and rejoin their troops. Uopanosguhi, Kolsohte, Zaffre, Clinger, and Latchgrip leave the building, Pikaichichu waiting for them. They leave the center of the city just as the others did.

Epilogue Two: The Pursuit of the Shadow Continues

That night, Viera and a tan pikachu walk amidst the rubble of the Core Building.

Viera "I'm still finding it hard to decide whether or not this worked out in our favor.  I mean, Vahashii is dead, but Celrest still stands.  Eh, I suppose it doesn't matter."

Pikachu "What of Marc?"

Viera "He is not on our side.  He just wants personal vengeance from Tails, and from that mortal pikachu."

Pikachu "Why are we here, amidst this rubble?"

Viera "I want Vahashii's sword.  It is sure to have survived this rubble."

Pikachu "Also, would you really take the word of those idiots that Vahashii is dead?"

Viera He snarls.  "No.  But I can feel it myself.  She is gone.  I do not know how, but she has departed.  Ah, yes, here is her sword."  He picks a sword from the rubble.  "Hmm?  This is not the source of power in these ruins?  It is more paragonistic than I had thought."

Pikachu "Then why do you want it?"

Viera "The Rule of Opposites, by Vykeli."

Pikachu "What?"

Viera just laughs, and then he kicks something with his foot.

Viera "Hmm, what do we have here?  Yes, this will do nicely.  It will restore the original, but definitely worth it.  I never expected to recover...... Say, remember when I told you that Vahashii's worst crime against us might go unpunished?" He waves the object he found as the Pikachu nodded. "Perhaps with this it may change. Of course, you don't know what this is. Heh. In any case, now, we must move on to wherever the Shadow falls."

Epilogue Three: The Children Recalled

The next day, two female Meowstic and an Emolga sit around in one of the apartments in Outer Celrest.

Meowstic "Imouto, why won't we be leaving with the others?"

Other Meowstic "We really have no reason to, until we're called somehow-"  At that moment, they are called out of Celrest.  A video phone rings from the kitchen.

Meowstic "Kiha, grab that, will you?"  The Emolga glides to the kitchen, and returns with the phone.

Other Meowstic She answers the phone.  "Moshi moshi, Emmes desu-   WHAT!?"  The Meowstic then engages a rapid conversation in two languages simultaneously.  When she is done, she hangs up the phone and turns to the other Meowstic. "Elles?  Grab your stuff, we're out on the next truck."  She grins.  "That was Mom calling."

TO BE CONTINUED IN.... Roleplay: Paragon, Shadow, and Temple!

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