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  1. #31
    Platypus Saleswoman Ahnyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly


    Night Terror


    The syringe rested in Colby’s open palms. He gently moved his arms skyward, regarding the object as if he had uncovered a sacred artifact. There was a glint of astonishment in his big, honey brown eyes. Caught up in his sheer fascination, he struggled for breath.


    “What the hell is wrong with you?” Aurelia’s harsh tone rose above the young trainer’s wonder. “Have you lost your mind? Do you have any idea what you’re about to do to yourself?”

    Fear veiling his expression, Colby slowly faced the girl. He wrapped his fingers around the vial protectively, afraid that Aurelia would snatch it from him.

    “Look into my eyes, you idiot.” She arched her back, threateningly fixing her intense stare on the boy. “You think being a hybrid would be cool, don’t you? Does it look like I enjoy being a hybrid? What’s so wonderful about going through the agony of having your bones bend and your flesh twist? What’s so amazing about becoming a dangerous monster that’s incapable of talking and doing simple tasks? What’s so great about living with the constant misery of not being able to return to society? Being a hybrid isn’t a blessing—it’s a living hell. Why is this so hard for you to understand?”

    Colby’s knees wobbled as he timidly backed away from the infuriated hybrid. The syringe slipped from his grasp and shattered instantly when it hit the tiled floor. Startled, the boy watched as the oily formula seeped between the cracks.
    “Good riddance,” Aurelia spat, turning to Destiny. “See? What did I tell you? We can’t trust this kid. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if he was alone?”

    Destiny smiled meekly. “Yeah, that was a close one.” The other hybrid’s words had a dampening effect on her thoughts. Stinging memories pulsed through her mind, and Destiny dug her nails into her head in a vain attempt to drive them away. Blackness abruptly overtook her vision, and she gagged as the stench of blood filled her nostrils. A blurry white shape emerged from the darkness and gradually molded itself into the bloody skull of a Lugia. Its jaw was unhinged, as if it had been caught in the middle of a scream, and its little tongue was visible in the back of its mouth. Mangled flesh sagged from its face; red droplets trickled from its ruptured throat. Soulless eyes peered out from deep sockets.


    Springing awake, Destiny flew to her knees. She frantically sent panicked glances around the hall, gawkily taking in her surroundings. The hall’s bare walls stood around her, locking her in a dungeon of nightmares; a horrible mingle of odors wafted through the air. Crestfallen, she let out a dejected sigh when she realized she had been dreaming. When did she even fall asleep? Everything was a blur—the world had become foggy and surreal, and it seemed like time had slowed. After discovering that Colby was dead, nothing felt real—it was like a fragment of reality had slipped away.

    As much as she wanted to fight off Aurelia’s theory, Destiny knew the Arceus hybrid had spoken the inescapable truth. Nothing else could explain the young trainer’s disappearance, or how the corpse possessed several of Colby’s features. Destiny just couldn’t accept that he was gone; that his bright and hopeful future had been shattered in such an atrocious manner. Even more, it was impossible to accept that she had been responsible for his death.

    Destiny could hear her chiding words echo in her head: So you think fictional movies are a reliable source of survival tips? It seemed like a harmless statement at the time—in fact, Destiny didn’t even expect the headstrong Aurelia to act upon it. These words had melded themselves into a dagger; a dagger that cut Colby away from her; a dagger that stabbed Colby in the heart and sliced his body into tiny pieces.

    Letting out muffled sobs, the hybrid set her back against the wall and closed her eyes. She was helpless—suffocating beneath the burdens of guilt and regret. It would be so easy to give up and be crushed beneath them, but something in her wouldn’t let that happen. It was as if her fear had materialized into a mesh canopy over her head—the only thing keeping her from letting go.

    A chill enveloped Destiny, and she let out a shaky breath as she hugged her arms around herself. She was startled to find that her breath had taken on a milky green hue. The hybrid watched in disbelief as the colored air swirled and expanded, molding itself into the figure of a boy. Like a Ditto, his form was fluid and indistinct; he would fade in and out, and his shape briefly flickered into that of a sea beast every few seconds. Nonetheless, it was impossible not to recognize his smiling visage. “C-Colby!” Destiny let out a choking squeal. “A ghost? You’re a ghost?”

    The specter retained his gleeful expression. “I am.” His voice had a certain quality to it that hadn’t been present when he was alive. He sounded disturbingly sure of himself; frighteningly confident and collected.

    Destiny could feel warm tears sliding down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered weakly, “so, so sorry.” The sight of the apparition overwhelmed her senses—she had forgotten how ghosts and spirits weren’t supposed to be real.

    Colby shrugged. “It is a little too late for that, I’m afraid.” An unnatural grin crawled up the sides of his face as he extended his arm towards Destiny.

    “What do you mean?” Destiny wailed in horror, instinctively trying to back away. “What are you doing?”

    The phantom pressed his hand, which was surprisingly solid, against her chest. “You put me through hell. I can’t leave you unpunished.”

    “No!” the girl cried as an icy sensation gripped her body. “I said I was sorry! Colby, please! Please forgive me!” She could feel things shifting inside of her, and suddenly became aware of how she could no longer move. Destiny tried to keep screaming for mercy, but was met with silence.

    Colby wordlessly floated backwards with an unsettling look of satisfaction on his face, growing fainter until he dissolved into a fine mist. He had acted so strange: did Destiny twist the sweet little trainer into a demon? The girl glumly realized that she deserved what Colby was sending her way. Visions of her body being destroyed like Colby’s were already flashing before her eyes.

    Spasms lurched through her, just as they had when she morphed into the bipedal insect. Her bones snapped and broke, carrying her into a world of pain. Her features bulged and contracted, lengthened and shortened. Something was pushing at her skin—a monster striving to break free. Her torso rose and grew and swelled and convulsed as it struggled, until it finally exploded into a crimson shower.


    Destiny jolted awake again. Another dream? Why… how is this happening? Terror buzzing in her mind, she immediately examined her chest. The hybrid’s heart skipped a beat when she saw that her body had been covered in metallic purple armor. No… dear Arceus… please, no! She stood up unsteadily, letting a miserable noise escape: “Wrrrooogh!”

    She forced herself to calm down for a moment. Wait a second. The last two times something bad happened, it turned out they were just dreams. Maybe this isn’t real. I’ll just wait it out and see if I’m dreaming. The hybrid took restless strides back and forth, nearly tripping on several occasions.

    Destiny’s patience quickly began to wear thin. She dropped to her knees, her back aching from the weight of the cannon. Something doesn’t seem right this time. Dread welled up in the back of her throat. The insect despondently flattened herself against the ground, shielding her unblinking red eyes with her arms.

    She raised her head when something brushed over her back. Here we go again, she thought, bracing herself. I guess this is it. Destiny swung her head from side to side as she tried to get a glimpse of whatever had touched her, but her inability to move her eyes left her blind in several areas. She finally focused on a shadowy shape, which she quickly identified as the Darkrai the Ditto had changed into. It was staring at her in shock, and seemed almost perplexed by her appearance.

    Destiny was hit with sudden understanding. That explains everything! Darkrai, a nefarious being from Sinnoh mythology, was known to induce horrible nightmares and hallucinations upon those who came near to it. I’m trapped in a cycle of night terrors. I’ve got to get that Ditto to turn back to normal if I want to be free. She still didn’t like the idea of approaching the volatile Transform Pokémon, but her desperation drove her forward.

    An idea popped into Destiny’s brain. What if all of this is a nightmare? What if Colby never died? Nervous excitement rocketed through her heart. Or, what if I never met Aurelia, and never turned into that monster? I doubt it, but it’s still possible, isn’t it? Feeling motivated, she sat up and looked the Darkrai in the eye. “Wrrruurrgh aaagghh!” the insect begged, trying her hardest to sound out her words. Turn back!
    The transformed Ditto questioningly approached Destiny, mesmerized. The hybrid screeched in frustration. Gah, no! Why can’t you understand me? I hate this. Why can’t I talk like Aurelia does? It’s not fair! Anger boiled inside of her, flowing through her veins like magma. I’m done with this. I just want this to be over with! Her arm flew forward, striking the Darkrai’s side like a bullet. It was satisfying—the same kind of satisfaction she experienced when she was trying to scare Aurelia.

    The Darkrai growled in surprise, but didn’t retaliate. It gazed at her somberly, quivering with a growing sense of mistrust. Destiny made a shrieking noise and jabbed at the black creature with her claws again. If you’re not going to listen to me, I’ll use force. I’m not afraid to fight. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, she felt safe beneath the insect’s sturdy exoskeleton. Transforming into the Pokémon not only changed the way she looked, but it also allowed her to change who she was. As this creature, she could do things she would’ve never dreamed of doing as a human.

    The Darkrai floated backwards, balling its hands into fists. It was evident that it was beginning to lose its temper. Snarling, it shrank into its original gelatinous form.

    Yes! Destiny chimed mentally. Does this mean I’m free? She glanced around warily. Her surroundings were exactly the same, and she was still in the body of the purple insect. The girl was struck by a surge of disappointment. At least I won’t get any more nightmares. She sank onto the ground, bittersweet thoughts swimming through her brain.

    Once it was back in its normal shape, Destiny had turned her attention away from the Ditto. The Transform Pokémon was livid—it felt hurt, as if it had been betrayed. Enraged, it stretched and shifted into a quadruped animal with shaggy brown fur and a billowing white protrusion sprouting from its back. The Entei roared with a voice as powerful as a volcanic eruption before exhaling a plume of fire towards the metal insect.

    Destiny screamed as the flames licked her back. Burning, stinging pain wracked her body; it felt like her exoskeleton was melting into her flesh. She collapsed onto her face, a seemingly endless stream of fire blanketing her figure. Mercy! Destiny wailed in her head, her voice giving out. There was no way this could be a dream—the Darkrai had been dealt with. This was real pain; real fire ravaging her body, real smoke filling her lungs.

    She held on for as long as she could, until darkness finally swept over her consciousness.
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 9th June 2013 at 01:05 AM.



  2. #32
    Platypus Saleswoman Ahnyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    Substitution

    There was a blank expression plastered on Dragon's face. "I'm sorry; I don't think I heard you correctly. Could you please repeat that?" The grunt knew very well what his leader had said, but the words weren't anything he would've expected to have directed at him. Said to contain the soul of the Legendary Pokémon Reshiram, the Light Stone was a fabled relic that was supposedly locked away in a hidden location. He was aware that N had an interest in this artifact, but why in the name of Arceus would the king of Team Plasma instruct Dragon, a lowly grunt, to find it for him? Weren't there better people for the job?

    Maybe, Dragon thought, it's because he's afraid to trust anyone else. After discovering that the Seven Sages were working on several controversial projects behind his back, it'd be no surprise if N was reluctant to ask the higher-ups for help. Out of all the people he had spoken with upon returning from his research trip, Dragon was the only one who was truly loyal to him. It's bold of him not to suspect me of anything, though. What if it turned out that I was lying about what happened to Genesect?

    "I want you to get the Light Stone for me," N repeated with added zeal. "I know this is sudden, but I'd like to see my dream come to life as soon as possible. Now that I've found an alternative resource to use in place of the Dark Stone, we're this much closer to making it happen." He motioned toward Ben, who shook his head resentfully. "Once the Light Stone is in my possession, I'll have access to all the required materials I need to construct my new world."

    "You're going to use the hybrid as a replacement for the Dark Stone?" Dragon blurted, eyeing the Zekrom apprehensively. There was something strange about his leader's plan—just moments ago, he had flown into a rage over how the genetically modified Genesect was supposed to be used to accomplish his goals. What made the hybrid different from Genesect? In the end, he was still using a scientifically altered organism to get what he wanted. Dragon didn't like the idea of the nonconformist king succumbing to what he so defiantly opposed.

    Ben chortled throatily. "That's what he thinks. The guy's mad, I tell you. I've been trying to explain that it won't work, but he doesn't want to listen. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose." He wasn't concerned in the slightest that N was right in front of him.

    "Ah, but, my friend, you've closed off your mind from creativity in all its forms!" N retaliated in a sing-song manner. "You let only what you've learned guide you—you aren't willing to draw upon what you know to formulate new ideas. The world holds many mysteries; there are so many things that haven't been discovered yet, and it would take only a pinch of imagination to find them. You said you wanted to be a Pokémon researcher, a scientist, didn't you? What good is a scientist who refuses to experiment?"

    "I think you're missing the point," Ben grumbled, edgily tapping his foot against the floor. "Your way of thinking is as illogical as giving an Everstone to a Magikarp. There comes a point when things go from rational to ridiculous, and you've transcended that boundary."

    "You're right; it doesn't make sense. But if you stop and think about it, there are so many other things that are the same way. For example, how can a human transform into a Legendary Pokémon? It wouldn't seem possible, but it is. On a greater scale, why was I born? Why am I Natural Harmonia Gropius, the king of Team Plasma? Why does our world, our universe exist? We're all caught up in an intertwining web of enigmas, and because of that our world is so beautiful and mysterious. Take a good look around you—really think about what you see. There are some things that science just can't explain. I am so grateful that I am alive, and that I am able to witness these many mysteries with my own eyes. But at the same time, part of me loathes this world. It is tainted, impure—but then again, that's part of the system. There is no good without evil; no lies without truth; no white without black. It's all relative—we live in a world of balance."

    The Zekrom shook his head in annoyance. "I've noticed you have a problem with rambling. You start talking, and then you just don't shut up. What's worse is that you speak faster than anybody I've ever met. When you're into it, I can barely understand what you're saying."

    "It's a bad habit of mine," N said as he turned to Dragon, eager to end his pointless debate with the hybrid. "Well, what do you say? If you're not up to it, I can get somebody else to do it."

    "I-it would be an honor, my lord," the grunt answered nervously. He had no idea what he'd have to do to get the Light Stone, but after losing Genesect, there was no way he could afford to fail his king again. Dragon was still uneasy about N's plan for Ben, but he decided not to dwell on it. He said himself that nothing's purely black or white. If he wants to make the world a better place, I guess not everything can be perfect. Using Ben is probably a better idea than using Genesect, since there's no way for Genesect to speak its mind. Ben doesn't seem very happy about this, but it looks like he's still willing to work with us.

    "Excellent," N praised, beaming. "I've learned that the Light Stone is hidden within the Dragonspiral Tower, north of Icirrus City."

    "Why, would you look at that? The place has your name right on it," Ben commented slyly. "I'm from Icirrus. I never would've suspected that the Light Stone of all things was kept in that old, crumbling castle. Perhaps that's why it's strictly off limits. The kids at school used to say the place was haunted, and that anyone who trespassed would die a horrible death. They'd say a friend of a friend sneaked in one night and never returned. I should've known there was a better reason for no one being allowed to visit."

    "If that's true, won't I get in trouble?" Dragon asked worriedly. I don't want to be a criminal. Maybe I'm not the right guy for the job after all.

    "Well, it's not like they've got a guard standing out there twenty-four seven. It's pretty much common knowledge that you shouldn't trespass. The place is dangerous, y'know. The old thing might collapse any day now, and who knows what kind of Pokémon could be lurking in there." Ben had his arms crossed. "If it wasn't obvious, it's still not a wise idea to go snooping around in there. What's more valuable to you: your life, or a dusty old artifact you won't be able to do anything with?"

    "I think I'll take the risk," Dragon answered huffily, sticking out his chest. Someone's already threatening to kill me if I say too much. What's to lose? I'm ready to do whatever it takes to prove my loyalty to Lord N.

    "I greatly appreciate it. You'll see your efforts pay off when black and white are truly separated, and Pokémon are ensured liberation and salvation. With your help, my dream will finally be in reach!" There was something satisfying about seeing his leader so ecstatic and joyful, especially after he learned he had been betrayed by the officials working under him. Dragon shared N's jovial smile. "We should return to headquarters. I've got a lot of announcements and preparations to make."

    Dragon grimly glanced down at the Poké Ball on his belt. "Archeops is tired, though. I don't think he'd be able to fly me there."

    "No need to fret. There's enough room in the plane for a few extra passengers," N explained. "I don't believe in using Pokémon for transportation, anyway."

    "What about me?" The Zekrom resumed tapping his foot on the ground. "I have a suspicion that you wouldn't be okay with me flying there by myself. Even then, I don't think my wings are exactly in shape for flying, thanks to Dragon. I can't say I'm comfortable with flying yet, either."

    "I'm sure there will be enough space," N insisted.

    Ben snorted, "I hope so."

    N led the grunt and the hybrid out of the laboratory and to the plane. It was smaller than Dragon had expected, and Ben appeared to be distraught by its size. Eying the tiny door grouchily, he hollered, "There's no way I'm going to fit in there. It's just not happening.""I'm sure you can," N encouraged cheerfully.

    "Fine, fine, I'll try. But if anything breaks, it's not my fault." Ben reluctantly stomped up to the plane. Folding his wings, he twisted his torso sideways and squeezed through the entrance. The little plane bounced with each step he took as he hauled his heavy body into the back. Dragon let the king of Team Plasma board next, and then he hopped in himself. He immediately looked at the pilot's face, eager to see her reaction to watching a Legendary Pokémon enter her plane. To his surprise, she didn't look the slightest bit alarmed. Dragon thought the magenta-haired young woman looked familiar, but he couldn't put his finger on where he might've seen her before.

    The passenger area resembled the inside of a posh school bus, with two rows of burgundy leather seats and small porthole windows. Dragon's face instantly crinkled into a look of ridicule when he caught sight of the Zekrom in the back row. Lying on his belly, his massive form took up all the seats. The side of his face was pressed against a window; his breath had fogged up the glass. His limbs limply dangled at his side, and the tip of his tail scraped the roof. He gave a cheeky grin when he noticed that the grunt was staring at him. Dragon rolled his eyes and sat across the aisle from N in the front row.

    The entirety of the trip was silent. N had pulled out a stack of papers and flipped through them restlessly, and even the loud-mouthed Ben managed to keep his trap shut. Dragon nearly drifted off to sleep on several occasions—much like Archeops, he was exhausted. He found the ride to be relaxing; it was much smoother than riding on his Pokémon's back.

    "Where exactly are we?" Ben anxiously demanded when the plane landed, his eyes glued to the window.

    "We're by the Pokémon League," N told him, setting aside his papers. "In fact, the Team Plasma headquarters are right beneath it.""So, you're literally an underground organization? I like it." Ben stretched as he began to stand up, only to smack his head on the ceiling. "Ow, that's the second time that's happened today. I ought to learn to be more careful." He glanced at N. "Where am I going to be staying? I don't get my own room, do I?"N chuckled. "Don't worry; I have something in mind for you."

    Dragon gave his leader one last look as he exited the plane. Could it really be true that he's just a figurehead? He's clearly doing something. I wonder if Ghetsis even truly knows what he has planned. What will Ghetsis do when, or if, Lord N succeeds? He walked toward the headquarters at a slow pace. I wonder if I made the right decision in not telling Lord N about what Ghetsis said. I don't see the harm in not telling him. One way or another, Lord N will stop at nothing to accomplish his goals. It's already pretty clear to him that he's been deceived.

    The first thing Dragon saw when he entered the base was a blonde-haired grunt. She was leaning against the wall, a scowl creasing her face. She took one look at him and scoffed, "You look pretty beat up. Dare I ask what the hybrids did to you?"

    Dragon narrowed his eyes. "Nothing happened to me. The hybrid I caught gave me an easy time, actually."

    The female grunt wrinkled her nose. "Oh, so you're the kid who caught the Zekrom hybrid? Tch, I thought you'd be more to look at. They call you Dragon, right? How unfortunate. My name is Lynn."

    Dragon frowned. "Does that mean no one else has had any luck catching any?" If I'm the only person who's managed to capture a hybrid, maybe the other grunts will think I'm a celebrity. This chick doesn't, but she also doesn't seem to be in a very good mood.

    "Surprisingly," Lynn muttered. "Everybody's getting hurt. I encountered a couple of hybrids, but one of them nearly killed my darling Galvantula! The poor girl's been left with brain damage, and she's blind in one eye. I can't believe those monsters! What's worse is that the hybrid wasn't even transformed when it dealt the blow—I can't imagine what would've happened if it was in its Pokémon form. It was an Arceus hybrid, too—that's gotta be worth a lot of points."

    This is just wrong. People and Pokémon are getting injured over this? How did I manage to get so lucky with the hybrid I found? Dragon's frown grew bigger. The way she's treating this job is disgusting. She's making it sound like the hybrids' lives are equal to points in a video game. She's completely disregarding that they're still living things. They're not monsters; they're people like us. It's no wonder that they're hurting the people who are trying to capture them. They just don't want to die. The grunt winced as he thought back to when he first caught Ben. I treated him like an animal, too. I was the same way. But once I got to know him… once I realized he was human, everything changed. I wish everyone could experience what I went through.

    Dragon's expression abruptly curved into a meek smile. "I should be going. I've got a lot to do tomorrow."

    Lynn closed her amber eyes. "Good luck, I guess."

    Dragon yawned as he slunk off towards the dorm rooms. I'm certainly going to need it, he thought. He was still apprehensive about the assignment, but he figured it would be better than hunting down more hybrids. Anything's better than that. I don't want to hurt anyone; I definitely don't want to kill anyone. All I want is to make a difference in the world.

    The grunt pulled out Archeops's Poké Ball as he flopped into his bunk. Tucking himself in, he sent out the feathered creature. Archeops stood on his bed post, tilting its head to the side as it eyed its trainer curiously.

    Dragon grabbed a plastic bag from underneath his bed. "I know we didn't catch Genesect, but that's not our fault. You did an awesome job today, buddy. You deserve this." Archeops licked its lips as the grunt scooped up a handful of Babiri Berries. The First Bird Pokémon glided up to Dragon's hand and swiftly devoured its favorite fruit. After its trainer patted its head, Archeops curled up at his feet.

    "Get lots of rest, Archeops. We've got a big day ahead of us."

    Last edited by Ahnyo; 31st August 2013 at 10:59 AM.



  3. #33
    Platypus Saleswoman Ahnyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    Reflections


    The steadfast Gigalith held itself in an eager position, its crystalline eyes flicking back and forth between its trainer and the Gym Leader. It lifted one of its rocky feet from the ground in anticipation, edgily waiting to see what kind of Pokémon it would be up against.

    Skyla withdrew a Poké Ball, beaming with confidence. "A Gigalith, eh? Sending out a Rock-type first isn't a bad idea. I'm not scared, though. I'll let Swanna demonstrate the versatility of Flying-type Pokémon!" A long-necked bird covered in white and pastel blue feathers sprang from the object, fanning its wings aggressively.

    Aurelia scowled in frustration, burrowing her hands into her jacket pockets. Swanna is half Water-type, isn't it? Great, I wasn't prepared for this. She glanced at her Gigalith, who was beginning to grow tense. "Well, this should be fun," she muttered apathetically. "Try using Stealth Rock, Gigalith."

    Before the monster had a chance to attack, Skyla ordered, "Swanna, use BubbleBeam!" Her Pokémon trumpeted noisily, its chest expanding as it took a deep breath in preparation. It then exhaled a mighty jet of pressurized bubbles, its body sliding backwards from the force. Gigalith roared in agony as it was blasted head-on. The feeble creature's knees buckled and it was forced onto its stomach. It winced as it mustered its last ounce of strength and pulled itself off of the ground.

    Damn it, Aurelia thought, clenching her teeth. That thing is a lot more powerful than it looks. Gigalith would be down already if it wasn't for his Sturdy ability. She exploited his low special defense by hitting him with a super effective special attack. The trainer had been hoping that Skyla would deploy a physical attack—Gigalith's high defense would've kept it up long enough to bombard Swanna with a devastating blow on top of its initial strategic move. If I use a Potion, I'll just wind up in the same situation. There's no point in wasting my supplies.
    "Huh," Skyla mumbled, seemingly disappointed. "I was sure that would knock it out right away."

    "I thought you would've known that Gigalith can't be taken down in one hit," Aurelia explained condescendingly, eying her weakened Pokémon. The Compressed Pokémon mashed its foot against the ground, and an array of spiky shards bulleted from the earth and surrounded Skyla's Swanna. The avian creature ruffled its feathers, swinging its head around to observe the field of floating pebbles.

    "Ah, yes. I forgot about Gigalith's Sturdy. My expertise revolves around Flying-type Pokémon, you know," Skyla giggled. "That's not a problem, though. Swanna, finish it off with Aerial Ace!" The White Bird Pokémon launched itself towards Aurelia's Gigalith and jabbed its chest with its pointed beak. Gigalith moaned as it collapsed again—but unlike the first time, it didn't get up.

    "Well, you tried," Aurelia mumbled as she called back her fainted Pokémon. Gigalith was my only hope. There's no way I'll be able to win now. She peered into her bag, studying her remaining two Poké Balls. Darmanitan shares Gigalith's low special defense and weakness to Water, but he's even worse off because he doesn't have the Sturdy ability. He's probably not as fast as Swanna, too. And I only just caught Axew, so I don't know what she's capable of yet. Seeing as she hasn't evolved, she probably isn't very strong. Closing her eyes, she pulled out Axew's Poké Ball. I've still probably got a better chance with her than I do with Darmanitan. "Get out there, Axew!"

    The Tusk Pokémon emerged from its Ball and gazed at its opponent, its eyes wide with fright. It looked up at its trainer timidly, as if it had no idea what she expected of it. "Kyyyeehh," it cried in a nervous voice.

    "It's as clear as the sky on a cloudless day that you and your Axew haven't formed a very strong bond yet," Skyla commented. "In that case, Swanna and I shouldn't have a hard time taking you down. Now, use Air Slash!" Swanna threw back its wings and gave them a forceful flap, conjuring a wicked blade of air. Axew stood petrified as the attack sliced through its thick skin. The little dragon stumbled backwards, squealing as stinging pain leaped through its body.

    "Hang in there, Axew!" Aurelia yelled. "Use Dragon Claw, and give it all you've got!" While Swanna wasn't weak to the Dragon-type, Dragon Claw was a powerful move that took advantage of Axew's superb physical attack stat. She waited for her Pokémon to strike, but to her puzzlement it didn't move. "Hey, snap out of it! What are you doing?"

    "That's what makes Air Slash such a useful move!" Skyla exclaimed gleefully. "It has a chance of making the opponent's Pokémon flinch. Handy, isn't it?" Her Swanna folded its wings and held up its head arrogantly.

    You're kidding, right? Aurelia decided that any chance she might've had at winning had just gone down the drain. Axew didn't look like it would be able to take another hit, which meant it wouldn't be able to deal a blow of its own. She was already aware that sending out Darmanitan against the dual-typed Pokémon would only result in disaster on her part.

    "Air Slash again, Swanna! That should do the trick!" The White Bird Pokémon whipped its wings a second time, knocking Axew off its feet. The olive green creature slammed into the ground, defeated.

    Aurelia growled quietly as she made Axew return. Well, this is it. She cynically reached for her last Poké Ball. "Come on out, Darmanitan. Try to stay conscious for at least one turn, okay?"
    "Ooh, a Fire-type?" Skyla squealed as the Blazing Pokémon was sent out. "Ha, you won't stand a chance!"

    "That's what I figured," the trainer sighed, rolling her eyes.

    "I think you already know what move I want you to use, Swanna," Skyla laughed. "BubbleBeam now!" The bird released another stream of bubbles, and, just as Aurelia expected, Darmanitan fell immediately.

    "All out of useable Pokémon, are you? Aww, you didn't even have a chance to see my other two partners!" Swanna waddled over to its trainer, content with itself. "I noticed that you have a very distinct strategy that might work wonders elsewhere, but puts you at a severe disadvantage when you're up against me. All of your Pokémon are very talented physical attackers, but they're crippled by their slowness and frail special defense. You have nothing to make up for your Gigalith and Darmanitan's weakness to the Water-type, so Swanna's speedy BubbleBeam attack put you in a tough spot. That's something you definitely need to work on."

    "I think I've got that covered," Aurelia stated matter-of-factly, shoving her Poké Balls back into her bag. Damn, I can't believe it. All three of my Pokémon were crushed by her Swanna alone. I can see what I did wrong, though—my tactics are fully to blame, not the structure of my team. Reconstructing my party is unnecessary, and my Pokémon don't require anymore training. All I need to do is rethink my initial approach, and victory will be mine. Once my Pokémon are all rested up, I'll be ready for another go.

    As the trainer turned to exit the Gym, Skyla interjected, "Hey, hold up. Another thing I noticed is that you and your Pokémon don't share close relationships, and I'm not just talking about Axew. You never give them praise and helpful support, but you scold them and act frustrated if they do something unsatisfactory. You seem to treat all of them like possessions rather than companions—it's a bit jarring. You have to remember they're living, breathing, thinking creatures with complex emotions, just like you! It's easier to communicate with your Pokémon when you've formed friendships with them, and it's much more satisfying to celebrate victories than it is to wallow in disappointment. You should lighten up and see your Pokémon for who they really are—that's what being a trainer is all about! In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter if you win or lose. What really counts is the powerful bonds you develop with your Pokémon!"

    Aurelia cast the Gym Leader a contemptuous glare, anger flickering in her eyes like strands of emerald fire. Bitch, you have no right to judge how well I treat my Pokémon. This is the first time we've met. You don't know anything about me. I bet you don't even know my name. What the hell makes you think you know me well enough to make an imprudent statement like that? My Pokémon and I get along well enough, thank you very much. I don't need to shower them with sing-song extolments to get them to listen, and I don't need your fanatical optimism to get me to win! Without saying a word, she stormed out of the building. You can bet that I'll be back, and I'll show you not to make such conceited judgments!



    "Go, Gigalith!" A new day had settled upon Mistralton, and Aurelia was raring to finish what she had started. If everything goes as planned, this won't take very long. Of course, unlike last time, the outcome will be in my favor. Now that she had invested faith in her reformed strategy, she was ready to put her embarrassing defeat behind her and leave the city for good. Skyla was the sixth Gym Leader in the Unova League, which meant that once Aurelia had won the Jet Badge, there would only be two more Gyms in her path before she could take on the Elite Four.

    "Oh, you're using Gigalith again? Hee-hee, this is gonna be great!" Skyla gazed at her Swanna, which was roosting by her side. "Swanna, water it down with a BubbleBeam!" The feathered Pokémon snapped awake and strutted towards its opponent before prying open its beak and unleashing the Water-type move.

    Aurelia bit her lip as the Gigalith took the toll of the attack. Once it had recovered, she instructed, "Gigalith, use Rock Slide this time!" The monster roared fearsomely as it pounded its forelegs against the ground, dislodging dozens of heavy stones from the earth and flinging them at its foe. The White Bird Pokémon squawked as it was pummeled.

    "Swanna, no!" Skyla cried, rushing over to her Pokémon. She sucked in a breath, noticing that it was unconscious. "You did a good job! Return now and get some rest." The Gym Leader turned to Aurelia as she called back her defeated Swanna. "Wow, impressive! You've certainly turned the tables this time around!"

    Aurelia hid a smile. Yeah, that's right. It's amazing how one tiny change can ultimately decide the victor of a battle. Sometimes, sheer force is the best way to go. Her Gigalith was panting and struggling to hold up the weight of its bulky body. It's obvious that he won't be sticking around for much longer. Hey, wait a minute! Hit with a realization, the trainer pulled a small container filled with bright pink liquid out of her bag. Now that I don't have to worry about Swanna's BubbleBeam anymore, there's no risk in using a Hyper Potion. Surely whatever she sends out next won't have a type advantage over Gigalith?

    "The battle isn't over yet, though! Unfezant, I choose you!" Skyla yelled as she sent out a mottled gray and brown raptor with piercing gold eyes. "Use Quick Attack! That should do the trick!" Unfezant warbled and glided forward, but before it made contact with its opponent, Aurelia spritzed her Gigalith with the Hyper Potion. A cloud of pink mist enveloped the rocky monster, seeping into its wounds and replenishing its energy. Gigalith barked proudly, a fervent light burning in its eyes. It stood still as the bird raked its chest with its talons, nearly completely unaffected.

    "Gah, I didn't see that coming!" Skyla shouted in bewilderment. "Don't lose hope yet, Unfezant! Strike him with an Air Slash!" The Proud Pokémon gave its wings a mighty beat, unleashing sharp bursts of air. The attack buffeted off of Gigalith's sturdy body, doing very little damage to the beast.

    That's more like it! Aurelia did a small fist pump. "Rock Slide again, Gigalith!"

    The rocky goliath launched another volley of stones, only for Skyla to scream, "Dodge it, Unfezant!" The bird cawed and soared out of the way in the nick of time, narrowly avoiding being crushed. "Air Slash, let's go!"

    It's always Air Slash, Air Slash, Air Slash. Doesn't she have any other moves in her arsenal? As dull as the battle was turning out to be, Aurelia was glad that the not very effective Air Slash was the best Skyla's Pokémon could manage. While it was a special move, Gigalith's resistance to the Flying-type countered any weaknesses it may have had to it. "Give it another Rock Slide, Gigalith!" Aurelia seemed to ignore the fact that her commands were equally repetitive. Since Gigalith's attack was its highest stat, the physical Rock Slide was a potentially lethal move.

    Unfezant attempted to wheel out of the way, but this time it didn't manage to escape from the battering downpour of stones. The winged creature vanished beneath a tomb of rocks, only for it to unearth itself a moment later. Unfezant wobbled about on unsteady legs for a few seconds before it finally crashed to the ground. "Agh, Unfezant! You should've been able to endure that!" Skyla cried as she called back the fainted Pokémon. "But that's okay! You were still great!"

    "Gigalith must've landed a critical hit," Aurelia mused, crossing her arms. Skyla said she had three Pokémon, which means she's onto her last one. I've got two Pokémon with full health, and Gigalith doesn't look like he'll be down for a while. There's no way I can lose now.

    "You've certainly been hit by a spell of luck. I would've never guessed your second match would go so smoothly," the Gym Leader sneered. Frowning, Skyla pulled out her last Poké Ball. "Looks like it's time for me to play my trump card. Give it your all, Swoobat!" She released a bright blue bat Pokémon with leathery black wings, a wild ruff of pale fur around its neck, pointy ears and fangs, and a distinguishing heart-shaped nose.

    So, that's her last resort? Aurelia studied her opponent's final Pokémon intently. Another glass cannon, it would seem. As long as Gigalith endures whatever attack it sends his way, the thing will be down in no time. If I'm remembering correctly, Swoobat is a Psychic and Flying-type, so it shouldn't pose any inherent threats to Gigalith.

    "Take it down with an Energy Ball!" Skyla directed. The Courting Pokémon squeaked loudly, a sphere of harsh green light materializing in its mouth.

    Oh, hell. Why in the world does it know that? Wincing, Aurelia watched as the attack collided with her Gigalith. The monster staggered backwards before falling onto its side, and she resentfully called it back. Great, so much for that. I'm still winning by a long shot, though. It shouldn't matter if I use Darmanitan or Axew, since they're both resistant to the Grass-type. Darmanitan has more experience, so I should probably use him. She let out the fiery ape, anticipating Skyla's next move.

    "Psychic now, Swoobat!" A quiet humming noise emitted from the bat's body as its eyes glowed a bright cyan. Darmanitan made a choking noise as it was knocked onto the floor, its bones creaking as Skyla's Pokémon twisted its limbs with its mind. When it was freed from the fierce attack, Darmanitan stood up agitatedly.

    "Try a Fire Punch!" yelled Aurelia. Flames shooting from its fingertips, the Blazing Pokémon balled its hand into a fist and swung its arm back before leaping up and slamming Swoobat with a devastating blow. Swoobat cried as its body smashed to the ground, but it swiftly climbed back into the air. Seriously? I thought Darmanitan was tougher than that.

    "Good job, Swoobat! Let's see some Acrobatics!" The Courting Pokémon nimbly dove forward and tackled the primate. Darmanitan, unable to withstand the toll of the strike, fainted instantly.

    Aurelia gritted her teeth, returning Darmanitan to its Poké Ball. As long as that thing doesn't know any Ice or Dragon-type moves, I'll be in good shape. Darmanitan already did a lot of damage, so if Axew hits it, it'll all be over for Skyla.

    As soon as the Tusk Pokémon was sent out, Skyla ordered, "Attack with Psychic again!" Axew squealed and tried to flee before it lost control of its body. It stumbled onto its knees when Swoobat took over, its head reeling back until its neck nearly snapped. It crumpled to the ground, twitching uncontrollably.

    "Get up, damn it! Get up!" Aurelia screeched, consumed by rage. The Tusk Pokémon pathetically rose to its feet, quivering with nervous energy. Thank Arceus! Aurelia gave a grin of relief. "Dragon Claw, use Dragon Claw!" she commanded impatiently. Axew yelped and started to charge at its opponent.

    "Quick, Swoobat! Get out of the way!" Skyla exclaimed a second too late. The little dragon launched itself at Swoobat, blue fire burning at the tips of its claws. It hooked them into the Courting Pokémon's skin, ripping it from head to toe. Swoobat plummeted from the sky, defeated at last.

    Yes, I did it! Now I can finally accept my Badge and leave this silly little town. Without saying a word, Aurelia put Axew back into its Poké Ball

    "Oh, Swoobat! Victory was so close!" the Gym Leader whined, staring at her fallen Pokémon in shock. Withdrawing Swoobat from the battlefield, Skyla stepped closer to the trainer. "What a nerve-wracking match! You certainly stepped up your game. Above all else, you deserve this." She pulled a small drawstring bag from her pocket, reached into it, and slipped a metal object into Aurelia's open palm. It was a gold-rimmed turquoise charm shaped like a feather with a soaring bird at the bottom—the Jet Badge, proof that she had beaten the sixth Gym of the Unova League.

    "Thanks," Aurelia said unenthusiastically, taking out her Badge case and pressing it into its indentation. "I'll take my leave now."

    Skyla uneasily rolled the Poké Ball in her hand as the trainer made her way towards the door. "Sometimes I wonder if I'm actually suited to be a Gym Leader," she mumbled quietly, not caring if Aurelia was listening. "When I really think about who I am, it makes me feel like a horrible person. They say the sky's the limit… birds should be able to fly free and go wherever they please. They shouldn't be kept in tiny cages, or used for transportation. We've reached a level of technology where that's no longer necessary."

    The trainer rolled her eyes. Not this bull again. I'm outta here. She let the door slam behind her, keeping her back turned to the Mistralton Gym as she headed for the Pokémon Center.


    Aurelia absently stared at the ceiling, a feeling of loneliness heavy in her heart. She was sitting in the storage closet, her only company being the boxes of food that surrounded her. After finding Colby's corpse and watching Destiny have a breakdown, she had lost all determination to find her bag. She had already accepted the fact that she was never going to find it.
    My badges, my trainer ID… everything that made me who I am, gone forever. I'll never see my Pokémon again, either. Guilt piled in Aurelia's chest as she remembered her apathy towards them. Maybe I wasn't that great of a trainer. They depended on me… they were the only ones there for me, and I still let them down. There's no way for me to fix that, though. I'm not a trainer anymore. I'm the Pokémon now. Maybe this is fate's way of punishing me for what I did. I wish I could go back in time. What if I could prevent all of this from happening somehow? Is fate really to blame for this, or was it my own personal choices that got me here? She let out a haggard sigh, closing her eyes. As tired as she was, she knew she wouldn't be able to get any sleep. Today's been such a painfully long, eventful day. It's like it never wants to end. But if things work out the way I know they will, tomorrow will be even worse.

    The scream of Destiny's Pokémon form pierced the silence, shaking Aurelia from her thoughts. At first, she didn't care. She must still be freaking out. I bet turning into that bug thing only made things worse for her. She narrowed her eyes when the odor of burning metal drifted into her nostrils. Well, that's a little weird. Maybe I should go check on her. The idiot probably set the building on fire somehow. Yawning, she stood up and began to pace down the long hallway.
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 9th June 2013 at 01:06 AM.



  4. #34
    Ankh-Morporkian Citizen. The Patrician's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    That's OK, take all the time you need. We'll just wait patiently here until you're done.
    "This isn't the time to make hard and fast decisions, it's the time to make mistakes. Take the wrong train and get stuck somewhere great. Fall in love...a lot. Major in philosophy because there's no way to make a career out of that. Change your mind and then change it again because nothing is permanent. Make as many mistakes as you can. That way, someday, when they ask you what you want to do with your life, you won't have to guess. You'll know."

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    President of everything. Headless Whoreman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    This is an excellent story. I'm surprised that you don't get many reviews for it.

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    Platypus Saleswoman Ahnyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly


    Retribution


    A kid who can turn into a god reluctantly agrees to work with you, and you throw him in a dungeon. I’m astounded by your hospitality.

    After they had entered the Team Plasma headquarters, the leader of the organization led Ben down a flight of stairs and into a dank, musty-smelling room with moss-covered stone walls and a dirt floor. There were no windows, and only a dim, flickering light bulb provided brightness. Iron bars stretched from the ceiling to the ground in one side of the room, reminding Ben of a jail cell. The dark and miserable place’s atmosphere seemed to conflict with N’s unnervingly cheerful mannerisms.

    What use would a Pokémon rights activist group get out of something like this, anyway? Is this where you lock up trainers who abuse their Pokémon, or is it just to go along with the dorky knight costumes everyone wears?

    Unhinging the cell door, N said, “I can’t say I know the purpose of this place—it’s never been used before. Containing you may have been its destiny all along. There’s no need to worry, though. I promise you’ll be treated like a king. After all, you’ll be just as much of a hero as I will.” He stepped aside, gesturing for the Zekrom to enter. “I’m truly sorry about this. I’d let you stay somewhere else, but something tells me it wouldn’t be the greatest plan to let you mingle with the grunts.”

    I can see why that would be a bad idea. Hey, man, I don’t mind. I did ask for my own room, didn’t I? As long as I get free room service, I’ll be as happy as a Clamperl.” Ben approached the entrance, only to find that it was even smaller than the plane door. “Geez, why don’t the architects ever think of us Zekrom? Not everybody’s less than seven feet tall.” He gawkily wriggled through the opening, taking care not to hit his head. “So, got anything I could eat? I’m starving.

    “I’ll see what I can do,” N replied, shutting the door.

    Ben sat on the ground. “How sweet is this? I’ve got a king as a servant!

    “I have no choice. Again, it would be risky if I let a grunt do the job.”

    The hybrid watched as N disappeared up the stairs, and then glumly lowered his head. What in the world was I thinking? I knew this was a bad idea from the start, so why did I agree? There had been something oddly comforting about the king’s offer to spare him, especially since he had been informed that he’d be killed moments earlier. The threat of death had been so close, so real; Ben didn’t want to imagine what would’ve happened if he had declined. Well, it could definitely be worse. I’ll bide my time and make the best of the situation, and hopefully N will let me go when he realizes how crazy he is.

    He lifted his arms and dug his claws into his palms. Since I’ve got nothing better to do, I might as well do some practicing. Ben had no real reason to learn how to hone his electrical powers, but the thought of being able to conjure lightning and storms was very appealing to the boy. He shut his eyes, focusing on only the energy that flowed within him. Crackling blue spheres of electricity appeared at his fingertips. Grinning with satisfaction, he let go and launched them into the wall. That was pretty neat, but it pales in comparison to that move I pulled off before I got captured.

    “Bravo,” a voice called from the darkness. “Just try to be more observant of your surroundings, all right? I never had the chance to see my creations in action. It’s amazing how far I’ve come. Truly stunning.”

    What?” Ben whipped around, his face hot with embarrassment. “Who said that?

    A sigh sounded. “You’re painfully oblivious. I suppose we both have that trait in common. The boy who calls himself king isn’t much better. I would’ve preferred not to alert you of my presence, but it was inevitable that you’d discover me eventually.”

    The hybrid directed his gaze over to an old wooden chair in the corner of the cell, which seated a middle-aged man. Auburn hair hung over his piercing blue stare, and stubble covered his tired-looking face. There was something disquieting about his rugged, weary countenance—it appeared to be scarred by some kind of traumatizing event he couldn’t bring himself to let go of.

    Son of a bitch! How didn’t I notice him? Ben froze, absorbing what the older man had said. “Hold on a second. Did you just call me your “creation”?” He stepped closer to him, both awestruck and appalled. Dragon told him that the scientist had been captured; was this where he was being held? Could it be? Is this really the nutcase who got me into this mess? Part of him wanted to take advantage of his hulking form and tear the treacherous man limb from limb, but he had a stronger desire to find out what exactly had been going through his mind.

    The red-haired man hesitantly raised his hands in a yielding position, surprisingly calm about being confronted by a Legendary Pokémon. “I’m sorry,” he pleaded in a voice drained of sincerity, as if he was uncertain about his statement.

    Yeah, you better be. Who do you think you are? What gives you the right to kidnap teens off the street and make them into monsters? Do you have any idea what you’ve done?” Ben aggressively curled back his lips and gnashed his pointed teeth.

    “I’m sorry,” he repeated in an equally unconvincing tone. “I’m so, so sorry.”

    Okay, I get it. Apologizing isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got a lot of explaining to do. I want to know everything. It’s not like we have anything better to do, so get talking.” The Zekrom swished his large tail back and forth like an irate cat.

    “I don’t know where to begin.” The scientist dejectedly covered his face with his hands. “It’s all a big, convoluted mess. I admit that I’m equally interested in finding out what the leader of Team Plasma wants with you.”

    Ben glared at him coldly.

    The man lifted his head grudgingly, acknowledging that there was no way he’d be able to avoid answering the hybrid’s questions. “My name is Dr. Kelvin C. Frater, but you should just call me Kelvin. After all that I’ve done, I’m not worthy of a title. I know it may mean nothing to you, but once again I want you to know that I am truly, deeply sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking. When one’s love intervenes, men become beasts. I suppose it is just human nature to use irrational means to set things right. Murder, crime, revenge… oftentimes, love is the force that triggers these heinous acts. It’s a very profound emotion—it’s impossible to understand unless you have been drawn into its illusion.”

    What does love have to do with any of this? Dragon said he was on bad terms with Team Plasma. Ben had never thought about love before. He decided Kelvin was right; it didn’t make any sense to him. The hybrid waited for the scientist to continue speaking, but to his frustration he remained silent. Ben noticed that he had turned his attention to something on the other side of the room.

    “Is everything all right down there?” N returned, gripping a wide platter stacked high with an assortment of food in his hands. “I thought I heard something.”

    Ben scowled at Kelvin before approaching the iron bars. “I’m fine. I was just having a conversation with myself.”

    “Good to know that I’m not the only one who does that,” N laughed, to which Ben responded with a look of derision. The king of Team Plasma opened the gate and slid the tray onto the cell floor. “I brought you everything I could scavenge from the kitchen. I assume this will be enough to sate your appetite?”

    The Zekrom eyed the food, saliva welling in his mouth. “Yeah, and then some.

    “Splendid. I’ll make sure to check in on you every so often. With luck, it won’t take very long for Dragon to retrieve the Light Stone.”

    Once N had left again, Ben grabbed a hold of the platter and brought it closer to Kelvin. Gazing at him expectantly, he picked out a cheese and tomato sandwich and crammed it down his gullet. “Do they feed you in here?

    “Ghetsis’s cronies provide me with sustenance every few days, but as you might guess, it’s not even close to the amount you were given.” Kelvin raised a brow. “I hope you’re planning on saving some of that for later. You wouldn’t want to overeat.”

    You’re not the boss of me,” Ben sneered, wolfing down a couple of biscuits. “Besides, I’m Zekrom. I have a larger body than a human, so consequently I have a greater stomach capacity. What you might consider unhealthy is probably only a snack to Zekrom. I bet you just want me to leave you something to eat.” He took an orange and, having no desire to peel it, swallowed it whole. “Now, why don’t you get back to talking? You still haven’t given me any answers. Why were you going on about love?

    Kelvin rolled his eyes and shook his head. “To put things simply, Plasma turned my love into a monster.”

    Hoo boy, I can see how that could break a relationship. Those crazy activists take their work way too seriously, and it’s even worse now that they’re trying to murder us hybrids.” Ben munched on another sandwich as he wondered, Is that really why he did this? He kidnapped and destroyed the futures of fifty-something kids just because he was upset about his girlfriend joining Team Plasma? Tearing out the man’s throat seemed especially tempting to the hybrid.

    The scientist sighed again. “That wasn’t a metaphor. Plasma literally turned my girlfriend into a monster.”

    “… Oh.” Ben stopped chewing. “Considering what you did to me, I shouldn’t have expected anything less. Why in the world would Team Plasma get involved in something like that, though? The leader seemed pretty distraught when he found out that a certain someone had created half-human, half-Pokémon hybrids. Then again, I can’t make sense of anything that organization does. Why they would revive a long-dead insect and install a fricking cannon on its back is completely beyond me.

    A hint of a smile poked at the man’s face. “Ah, so you’ve met her? It doesn’t surprise me that Plasma’s using thinly veiled excuses to hide who she really is.”

    You’re telling me that GMP156 was your girlfriend?” the Zekrom hollered. “But that doesn’t make any sense! I saw that thing, and there was nothing human about it!

    “You can’t always trust what your eyes perceive,” Kelvin scorned, looking somewhat offended. “One may argue that you can no longer be considered human. But although you look like a beast, you still have a human soul, and my love is the same way.”

    Ben glanced down at his body, as if he had forgotten that he was assuming the shape of a Pokémon. “What is she? Is she a hybrid like me? Can she turn back into a human?

    “I suppose you could consider her a prototype hybrid,” Kelvin explained. “I can’t say I know why, but it was one of Plasma’s goals to create a Pokémon with human intelligence. As a genetic engineer, that’s where I came in. We were trying to design a formula that could allow a human to freely switch back and forth between his or her human shape and the shape of a Pokémon while retaining his or her intelligence. Our initial attempts were highly problematic—there was some kind of terrible malfunction in the formula that would result in a person’s bones changing at a faster rate that the rest of his or her body. As you might guess, this was immensely painful and always resulted in death no matter what the shape of the Pokémon: those fused with large organisms would experience their bodies stretching until they could no longer withstand their rapidly expanding skeletal structures, and the skeletons of those fused with smaller creatures would penetrate or crush their internal organs as they shrank. It was a horrible, terrifying sight to see, and it was even worse to imagine the agony the volunteers went through.

    “After losing a number of subjects, we began to reconsider our project. What would humankind want to gain from intelligent Pokémon at the price of so many lives? Alas, a handsome paycheck wiped away any doubts we may have had. We concluded that our only option was to use a creature that lacked an internal skeleton and was similar in size to the subject. Rather than using an existing Pokémon, we created an amalgamation of DNA from various Bug-type Pokémon with traits that would best benefit our project. Our creation was named GMP, which simply stands for Genetically Modified Pokémon. Though it would’ve actually had the index number 155, it was to be the one hundred fifty-sixth Pokémon registered in the Unova Pokédex.

    “We were absolutely positive we would be successful this time, but in spite of this, we had no volunteers. On the day we were going to test the GMP156 formula, I was ill and had to stay in bed. If there’s something I regret the most, it’s not showing up for work that day. When I returned, I was met with a sight I will never forget. Her alterations made her barely recognizable, but I knew without a doubt that the misshapen mess before me couldn’t be anything but my love. She was hooked up to an IV, on the verge of death. Her beautiful body had become withered and deformed; she wasn’t quite human, and yet she hadn’t turned into the Pokémon we designed. She was trapped in some sort of revolting intermediate stage—her internal skeleton had broken down, and a thin, translucent exoskeleton had grown over her. Her lower body had taken on the appearance of an insect’s rounded abdomen. They ripped apart her vocal cords out of fear that she’d tell someone what happened to her and who was behind it. Those were the only changes; all in all, the formula was still a failure, the only exception being that the subject survived. I don’t see why they didn’t just kill her. I guess they thought she’d make a good base for the next stage of their disgusting experiment.

    “It makes no sense why they decided to use her—a forty-three-year-old woman is hardly the optimal choice for an experiment of the type. It was as if they were trying to spite me for some unknown reason. I remember seeing her eyes… there was a pleading, sorrowful expression on her face. I vowed to avenge her then and there, and that was when I left Team Plasma for good. I knew those bastards were corrupt lunatics from the beginning, but this was completely unprecedented. Their sins wouldn’t be left unpunished.”

    Ben resumed eating, trying his best to follow along with the words the heartbroken scientist was spouting. “Your description of GMP156 doesn’t match what I saw at all. It was a purple robot-looking thing with bulging red eyes and a cannon, not some kind of woman-insect crossbreed.

    “Precisely,” mumbled Kelvin. “They continued to modify her long after her initial metamorphosis. They hid her broken body beneath a metal shell, modeled after what we intended for the GMP156 formula to produce. What you saw was a mere façade—those awful red eyes she seems to possess are only windows for her true eyes. The bulge atop her head houses her cranium, and her ear-to-ear grin is deceptive of how she’s really feeling. The cannon on her back is what connects her body to the suit of armor she’s been forced to wear, and it’s also equipped with a number of devices that manage to keep her alive without the use of several of her organs. In a way, Plasma succeeded. They created a near perfect replica of GMP156, and gave it human intelligence to boot. Of course, the torture they put my love through to reach this is unforgivable.”

    Anger burned within the Zekrom’s throat. “Please,” he hissed disdainfully. “You’re even more of a hypocrite than those Team Plasma goons. What about all those test subjects who were killed by your faulty formulas? Did their lives not matter? And how about us hybrids? Isn’t it funny how you completely disregard ruining so many lives, but the moment your girlfriend gets involved, you jump to call Team Plasma evil? Hell, they didn’t even kill her!

    “This is exactly what I meant when I said love turns men into beasts. I know what I did was horrible, and if I haven’t made it clear enough, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t hesitate to reverse all of this if I could, but alas, that’s impossible. I’m paying the price; I deserve to be locked up in here.”

    If I had my way, your punishment would be infinitely worse than this.” Ben fearsomely bared his teeth once more. “Why are they even keeping you alive? What would Team Plasma want with a murderer like you?

    “They want to know how I made the formula,” Kelvin insisted. “They think they’ll be able to squeeze that information out of me. If it wasn’t obvious, I made some major improvements to it between when I saw what happened to my love and when I was captured, which is why you look the way you do. I managed to achieve results that met our aspirations nearly identically by altering the formula ever so slightly.”

    I was wondering how you managed to fuse kids with Legendary Pokémon. Go on.

    “The Pokémon Ditto is capable of rearranging its entire genetic structure to match what it sees. While most Ditto can only transform into something if they have a living model in front of them, a select few have evolved so that they may improvise. This enables the Ditto to turn into a very close replica of an organism if it is presented with, say, a photograph or video clip depicting the creature. I was able to obtain a pair of Ditto with this ability, and I used them to produce makeshift samples of DNA from each of the discovered Legendary Pokémon as well as a recreation of GMP156’s DNA. As Ditto are naturally adept at smoothly changing between forms, its genetic information also helped me get past the issue I initially faced involving the organisms’ skeletal structures.”

    Does that mean I’m not really Zekrom?” Suddenly struck with a surge of disappointment, Ben lowered his head. “But if what you’re saying is true, how would a Ditto know that Zekrom has Electric-type powers based on just a picture of it? I doubt those things are that smart.

    “Correct. Technically, you are a Ditto hybrid,” the red-haired man confirmed. “I made some adjustments to the formula that allow you to access the same kind of abilities Zekrom had, or else I trained the Ditto to add the desired moves to its repertoire. They are nowhere near as powerful as the moves a real Legendary Pokémon would possess, however.”

    No wonder I’m so weak,” the hybrid grumbled. “What compelled you to kidnap random teenagers? I understand why you wouldn’t want to look for volunteers, but… why me?

    “I felt as if using adolescents was the best choice for a variety of reasons. Firstly, people around your age are nearing their peak physical potentials. Additionally, most teenagers are off on their Pokémon journeys. It wouldn’t be very suspicious if a number of them were kidnapped, because they’re not expected to be at any particular place at any particular time. It’s highly possible that some hybrids’ disappearances still haven’t been acknowledged. If I worked with adults, there’d be a chance that I’d be abducting a young child’s mother or father, and that would be a problem.”

    I guess that makes sense,” Ben snorted. “Shame I’m not a Pokémon trainer. I’d hate to know what my parents are going through.

    “I wasn’t responsible for the actual kidnapping, so I couldn’t guarantee that all of my abductees were Pokémon trainers. I was happy with whoever I got. The men who brought me my subjects weren’t cheap.”

    Hired thugs, eh? Smooth.” Ben turned his back to the scientist, signaling that there was nothing else he wanted to ask. The hybrid was having a hard time taking in everything Kelvin had thrown at him. GMP156 is really a middle-aged woman… I’m fused with a Ditto… I’m locked in a cell with a dude who’s killed countless people. He wanted nothing more than to get some rest so he could fully process everything he had been told, but the idea of sleeping with Kelvin watching over him made him uncomfortable. I hope N will show up again soon. Maybe I can get him to do something about this freak. Keeping a watchful eye on the red-haired man, he lowered himself onto the ground and flipped onto his side, and was immediately struck by a wrenching pain in his abdomen.
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 12th July 2013 at 11:25 PM.



  7. #37
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    This is a very good story. Rich characters, a very descriptive and well thought out plot, and very sound and smooth sounding prose. Well done.

    Don't get discouraged with lack of reviews. You are clearly very talented at writing and sky's the limit for you, so keep going!

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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    A Sin Deadlier Than Gluttony


    There was something distinctly different between the last time Ben had transformed and now. For one, the hybrid had never experienced excruciating pain in his gut before—only a churning, tugging sensation, like someone was gently kneading it. This time, he felt as if something were clawing at his innards, kicking and scrambling like a wild animal in a tiny cage. He treaded backwards, forcing himself onto his back before the paralysis set in.

    The pain sharpened. Ben could feel his stomach squeezing and tightening, and he realized at once what was happening to him. D… damn it. It suddenly became clear to him why Kelvin had warned him not to overeat. While he did in fact have a greater stomach capacity as a Zekrom, he remembered too late that his human body wouldn’t retain his Pokémon form’s large belly. Since all the food I ate isn’t part of me, it isn’t going to be affected by the change. This… won’t end well. He had eaten enough to satiate his Zekrom shape’s huge appetite—an amount no human stomach should’ve been capable of holding.

    Numb to the transformation of the rest of his body, Ben silently screamed as his belly continued to agonizingly contract around its contents. He felt a wave of nausea between intervals of fierce pain; his body knew it couldn’t handle the mass of food he had stuffed himself with, and it wanted to expel the contents as quickly as possible. The hybrid instinctively wheezed and coughed despite his frozen state, but nothing came out. N-no… this isn’t happening, Ben cried in his mind, tears welling in the corners of his eyes as he continued to let out choking gasps. Why didn’t I see this coming? Why did I have to be such a smartass? There’s no way I’m going to survive this! I can’t take this… my stomach is going to split open!

    The food he had devoured was pushing against the walls of his stomach; he could feel the leathery rinds of oranges he had swallowed whole, and the thick crusts of sandwiches he had forced down his throat. They dug into the lining, gradually drawing it apart as it struggled to shrink. The hybrid started to feel as if his stomach was breaking, the fleshy tissue stretching and tearing apart like pieces of cloth. Right when Ben was sure it would burst, the feeling abruptly came to a halt. The contents of his belly shifted, no longer under pressure and constrained. He could feel the battered organ expanding like a latex balloon as the food repositioned itself.

    Ben experimentally tried to lift his head off of the floor, figuring that his transformation had ended. Tears trickled down his face as he gradually raised it, the sensation of an intense cramp still fiercely throbbing within him. He howled in horror when he caught sight of his distended abdomen, letting his head crash to the ground.

    “You should’ve listened to me,” Kelvin sighed, shaking his head as he walked closer to the agonized boy. “Believe it or not, I actually know what I’m talking about. I was the one who cursed you with the ability to turn into that monster, after all.” The scientist winced as he studied the bulge that had formed under Ben’s black sweatshirt. “I can’t imagine that’s very comfortable.”

    “Yeah, you think?” Ben snapped, furiously attempting to sit up. “Why didn’t you tell me this would happen? How in the world was I supposed to know what you meant when you told me not to overeat?”

    Kelvin shrugged. “I thought you would know better. Don’t forget that I did warn you. I think you’ve learned your lesson about being ignorant in the face of someone clearly much more intelligent than you. Though, I suppose it goes to show just how dangerous poor communication can be. Now, you better stay still. Moving around will put stress on your body, which could cause your stomach to rupture.”

    He’s right. No one is to blame for this but me, but why should I let him know that? He’s done enough to torment me. Ben relaxed his muscles, trying to ignore the stinging pain that persisted in his stomach. “Dude, I could’ve died. Hell, maybe it just hasn’t killed me yet. It wouldn’t be much of a lesson if I didn’t live through it, hmm?” He groaned miserably. “You know, I’m pretty sure it already burst. What difference is it gonna make?”

    “I doubt you’d be talking to me so casually if it had ruptured. You probably just irritated the lining of your stomach,” Kelvin chided, sitting down in the chair. “I understand that it’s painful, but it shouldn’t be fatal. My best advice is to rest and pray you have a fast metabolism.”

    “Easier said than done,” Ben murmured seconds before he felt ill again. He rolled onto his side, heaving and retching unsuccessfully. It was as if the food he had eaten was firmly lodged in his stomach, or it couldn’t fit back through his esophagus. The hybrid began to feel something unpleasantly warm rising in the back of his throat, and he coughed as he attempted to eject it from his body. A sour taste entered Ben’s mouth as a syrupy fluid gushed from his throat. Gagging, he extended his tongue and let the liquid pour from the corner of his mouth. The blood oozed into the dirt floor, staining the ground dark red. I’m going to die, he decided in horror, shock overcoming his trembling body. His wide, dark brown eyes vacantly stared towards the legs of Kelvin’s chair as he whimpered softly.

    I want my mom and dad. They’d be able to help me. They always know what to do. The pleading words circulated through Ben’s mind like a mantra. He had always been very close to his parents. As he had decided not to start his Pokémon journey when he turned ten, he had never been away from them for long—and consequently, he never realized just how important they were to him. It had become ingrained in his mind that they would always be there for him, willing to offer him help and support with whatever troubles crossed his path. Ben never fathomed what his life would be like without him, because up until now he had no reason to. He had grown so used to having them by his side that he felt lost without them.

    The older man tilted his head back, forlornly gazing up at the dungeon’s stone ceiling. Uneasily gripping the chair’s wooden armrests, he whispered, “Perhaps this is Arceus’s will. Arceus doesn’t want to watch an innocent child like you suffer. I am the only one who deserves to be punished, for I have committed crimes against humanity.”

    Ben curled his lips back in a snarl, which wasn’t nearly as intimidating now that he had reverted to his human shape. “Don’t you dare bring religion into this. Arceus is dead. It has no involvement in fate or destiny or any of that bull. Quit trying to shove the blame into someone else’s hands. You did this to me.” His faltering speech was abruptly interrupted by a violent coughing fit. Wiping a smear of blood from his face, he wheezed, “You just said I wasn’t going to die, but now you’re giving me the opposite message. What’s the deal?”

    At this point, Ben knew his death was inescapable, and frankly, it didn’t surprise him. He had already accepted the idea that he wouldn’t live much longer when Ghetsis told him he was going to be killed. His initial shock still endured in the back of his mind, but it was buried beneath a series of disconcerting questions. He wondered what it was like to die, and if there was an afterlife, and what would happen if he somehow managed to survive. The questions charged through Ben’s head like a herd of stampeding Bouffalant, and he couldn’t get himself to relax and think through them rationally. The distressed hybrid’s worrisome thoughts did nothing to distract him from the unbearable pain in his abdomen, and he was sure he wouldn’t be able to handle it much longer.

    “I just don’t know anymore,” Kelvin murmured, clutching his forehead. “Arceus detests those arrogant enough to claim the title of god for themselves, and I’ve done just that. By creating these abominable hybrids, I’ve meddled with its divine work. The things I’ve done are atrocious, and I deserve to face Giratina’s wrath in Hell for all eternity for my sins.”

    “Now, let’s put things into perspective,” Ben groaned irately. “I’m on the floor, dying slowly because my stomach split open. And you? You’re sitting in a chair, whining about how miserable you are and how you’re such a horrible person. The only one suffering here is me, especially if you’re gonna make me listen to any more of your nonsense. If what you’re saying were true, you’d be in my shoes.”

    “There are some things worse than death. When you’re dead, you’re dead. There will be no more pain, no more suffering—only eternal bliss, unless you’ve wronged Arceus like I have. I’m being shown the extent of my inhumanness. An innocent child dying before my eyes because of what I did… it’s a living nightmare. Words cannot begin to describe the pain I feel when I remember that there are so many others like you out there, all going through the same thing.”

    Ben scoffed, “Please. You could’ve easily prevented this from happening if you didn’t try to “teach me a lesson”. Honestly, I’d rather have to live through my nightmares than go through this. At least I’d be alive! No one truly knows what you can expect when you die, so why take any chances? Comforting yourself with a false sense of security is a stupid waste of time.”

    “For someone lying on his deathbed, you’re awfully talkative,” the scientist mused, moving his hand down to his chin. “Your lack of empathy makes you appear arrogant, and that is never a wise path to follow. They say a man’s pride is his most dangerous vice; something I should’ve learned much sooner. If I hadn’t been so overbearingly confident in my abilities, none of this would’ve happened. I’d be with my love, you’d be in school, and neither of our lives would be flipped upside-down. One thing always leads to another; the tiniest action could create a calamitous impact on the world around us. There is always some underlying reason behind each move we make and every word we speak. Nothing is truly spontaneous.” Kelvin placed his hands in his lap. “Arceus works in mysterious ways sometimes, though I’m sure there is a reason behind each of its wills as well. You never did tell me what N wanted with you.”

    “And is there a reason I should?” the hybrid growled. He paused for a moment, fighting back another spell of nausea. “If it’ll get you to shut up, then whatever, I’ll talk. It’s not important to me, anyway. N is going after Reshiram, and he thinks he’ll be able to combine it and me with Kyurem to recreate the Great Dragon. It’s a load of bull, if you ask me. You seem to know a lot about fusing people with Pokémon. You don’t think that would work, do you?”

    Kelvin’s eyes lit up, as if he had been crossed by a fond memory. “Kyurem, you say? Growing up in Lacunosa Town, I’ve heard more than a few stories about that monster. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard that one, though. How exactly does he plan on combining three separate organisms into one? That’s inconceivable. I don’t think that foolish boy knows the danger he’s getting himself into. The formula I designed was created to insert specific genes into each and every one of a fully developed organism’s cells; my knowledge pertains to something much different from what you described.”

    When he’s speaking sensibly, he’s somewhat tolerable, Ben decided. He had never stopped to consider just how unrealistic the idea of fusing three different organisms together was. Since he knew practically nothing about the beast called Kyurem, he assumed N’s theory was automatically correct and that this was something it was naturally capable of. The only thing he questioned was the idea of him fusing with it in place of the real Zekrom. As far as he knew, there was no solid proof that Kyurem could meld itself with other organisms, let alone that it was actually once part of the Great Dragon. “He claimed to have undergone extensive research on the subject,” the hybrid reported. “So, to your knowledge, Kyurem has nothing to do with Reshiram and Zekrom, and it doesn’t have the power to combine with other Pokémon?”

    The red-haired man replied, “I haven’t heard anything that points in that direction. Granted, Kyurem is a Legendary Pokémon, and what’s more is that its violent reputation makes it excruciatingly difficult to study. We know only so much information about it. The Kyurem hybrid I created reflects my limited knowledge of the Pokémon; I know it is of the Ice and Dragon-types, and that is it. If N really did get an opportunity to research Kyurem, it’s plausible that he may have discovered something new about it.”

    “That’s certainly reassuring.” Ben’s concern was masked with a thick layer of sarcasm. Hell, what does it matter? It’s not like I’m going to make it through this. Maybe I really am better off dead. If N’s plans are actually possible, I want no part in Team Plasma’s nonsense. The things he wants to accomplish will end in disaster, and I don’t want to be responsible for that. That dude’s messing with some serious stuff. Arceus or no Arceus, he shouldn’t have the right to change the world in such a drastic way. Straining, hopeless frustration wracked the boy’s brain. There was no third option: if he died, he’d be dead, and if he lived, he might be forced to watch the Unova region crumble around him as the result of his own doing.

    It was never set in stone that N’s theory is true. Kelvin said that he couldn’t disprove it, but he also said that it was highly illogical. The order of the Unova region could still be at stake; it would be selfish to keep myself alive if it meant everyone else would suffer. In the end, does my life even matter? The world is comprised of billions of people, so what difference would it make if I stopped existing? We’re like rocks sitting in a quarry: if you remove one, nothing will happen unless that particular stone happens to be at the bottom of the pile. Kelvin’s girlfriend was one of those rocks serving as a foundation for the mound. When she was taken away, dozens of stones toppled onto the ground, and I was one of them. If my rock was stolen, the pile would remain unchanged because I’ve already been knocked out of it. Only a few people would be affected—if N was truly set on using me to attain his goal, he’d be crushed, and of course my mom and dad would be miserable as well. Things would be different at school, but I doubt anyone would miss me. An impending feeling of despair rose in Ben’s chest as he came to the conclusion that his life was worthless. Upset with himself, the hybrid’s views were overcome by cynicism.

    Why should I care what happens to the Unova region? I know well enough that the place is crawling with bigoted morons and people who have far more power than they know what to do with. If I ruin the lives of genuinely good people as well, what does it matter? Why should I feel the need to defend them? I’ll die someday no matter what, and when that happens I’ll fade into nothingness and I’ll have no recollection of what I did in this world. Guilt and grief, sorrow and sympathy—those are all human emotions, and they won’t be there when I’m dead. I won’t be able to experience, or even see the impact I left, and I won’t be able to witness what will happen in the future. What is the purpose of life? To… exist? If that’s the case, shouldn’t I make the best of the time I have in this world?

    The boy released a ragged breath, attempting to clear his mind. It’s not like I have control of what happens to me. If this kills me, then that’s that. I’m not dead yet, though. If I’m going to die, my body sure is taking its sweet time. His stomach still ached horribly, but if anything it was losing its edge. Maybe… just maybe I’ll pull through. Ben dug his fingers into the dirt and carefully pushed his upper body off of the ground, his usual smirk returning to his face. Glowering at Kelvin, the hybrid announced, “Tell Arceus it can kiss my ass. If my death is its will, it’s gonna have to try harder than this.”
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 12th July 2013 at 11:39 PM.



  9. #39
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    I made an account here just to say now much I love this story. It's one of the best fanfics I've read in a long time. Love the characters and love the writing style. I was hooked by the first chapter. It's that awesome to me.

    I've been reading silently and am a huge fan of this story. I keep checking this and the page for it on fanfiction.net everyday just to see if a new chapter is out. Keep up the awesome work. Even if few are commenting, you certainly do have some silent fans who adore this story. I'm a huge fan of mutation related horror, so this story is right up my alley.

    Love how you are able to keep a balance between the darkness of the story's subject and the lighthearted nature of Pokemon. Great job on making the detail of the story well written, by the way. I would continue gushing on how much I like this story, but I'm sure you get the idea that I am a fan of this story. Heh.

  10. #40
    Platypus Saleswoman Ahnyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    @KlawedFlaw - Aww, thank you! I'm flattered to know you're such a big fan of my writing. x3

    Before I get working on the first chapter of part three, I plan on releasing a one-shot involving a character we didn't know for very long. It should hopefully be finished in a day or two.



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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    Concern


    Swiping its tongue around its narrow jaws, Krookodile hungrily eyed Brian as he hauled a massive sack up to its pen. "Great Arceus," the sandy-haired boy huffed, exhaustedly dropping his hands to his knees as he let the bag sag to the ground. Casting his Pokémon a scornful glance, he scoffed, "I should really consider putting you on a diet. This stuff isn't exactly cheap. We could easily make it last a little longer if I started giving you smaller portions." Gripping the opposite sides of the sack, Brian tore it open. "Besides, you're getting a bit tubby."

    Krookodile gaped angrily and let out a venomous hiss. Defiantly crossing its arms, it turned its back to its owner. Rolling his eyes, Brian scolded, "Oh, knock it off. You're spoiled, you know that? You're living a life of luxury! You don't have to battle or stay cooped up in a Poké Ball or anything: all you ever do is laze around and play with Stoutland. C'mon, you can afford to do without those big meals."

    Unlike his younger brother, Brian had no interest in taking part in the Official Gym Challenge. He readily accepted that he wasn't set out to be a strategist, but his desire to work with Pokémon led to him assuming the role of a breeder. He took up residence in a small apartment in Striaton City, where he cared for his Pokémon and bred them in hopes of producing offspring with valuable traits. His main source of revenue was from selling these selectively bred Pokémon to families with children who planned on becoming trainers, or anyone looking to purchase a special addition to his or her team. He aspired to save up enough money to buy a larger plot of land better suited to his career choice; his apartment granted him little space to work with, which made his job exceptionally challenging at times. Brian didn't mind that his life lacked a certain quality of adventure; he was perfectly content with the occupation he had chosen for himself.

    The breeder unhinged the gate to Krookodile's pen and stepped inside. He grabbed an empty dish that had been lying on the floor and shoved it into the sack, scooping up enough dry pellets to fill it halfway. After he set the dish back onto the ground, he stepped over to Krookodile and gave it a pat on the head. "Try to cheer up, okay? You're acting like I'm never going to feed you again! If you stop pouting and turn around, you'll see that I just filled your bowl." The Intimidation Pokémon turned its nose up in response.

    Sighing, Brian trudged out of the pen. As he reached for the lock mechanism on the gate, he was suddenly interrupted by a loud ringing noise. "Aw, drat," he spat crossly as he instinctively dropped his gaze to his forearm. To his surprise, his C-Gear wasn't there. I must've taken it off when I was washing my hands and forgot to put it back on. He hurried into the bathroom, and surely enough he found his C-Gear resting on the counter. Slapping the watch-like device onto his wrist, he swiftly opened the Xtransceiver function. The boy, who had been expecting to be greeted by a potential customer, was startled to see an image of his mother pop onto the screen.

    "Mom?" An uncomfortable feeling spread over Brian as he looked her up and down. The camera was shaky, but from what he could tell, she was frazzled. Her light brown hair was tangled and unkempt, and creases under her eyes denoted that she hadn't been sleeping well. To see her so far from her usual cheer disposition set off an alarm in the boy's brain: something must have been wrong.

    His mother sucked in a nervous breath, cradling her trembling arms. "Have you spoken to your brother lately?"

    Brian blinked, taken aback. "No. Is there a problem?" The last time he had said anything to Colby was when he wrote him the letter packaged with his birthday present. How could he have spoken to him? He didn't have his number registered on his C-Gear. He doesn't even have a C-Gear. Then again, his birthday was a few days ago, and it's practically a requirement for trainers to have C-Gears.

    "We made sure he had more than enough money to purchase a C-Gear, and we told him to buy one as soon as he could. He promised to give us a call when he got it." His mother let out a muffled sob. "It's been three days since he turned ten, and we still haven't gotten a call. Your father is speaking with the police right now. I know you never gave Colby your number, but I thought it would be worth a try."

    He felt a knot tighten in his stomach. There certainly was something strange going on: Brian couldn't imagine Colby rebelling against his parents and ignoring their instructions. Colby had always been a very compliant child—in fact, his brother thought he was too eager to follow others' orders. He never protested if his friends bossed him around on the playground, which allowed them to easily take advantage of him. This submissive attitude worried Brian slightly; he'd never say it to his face, but he didn't think Colby was ideal trainer material. It was as if he had decided to follow that path just because he wanted to conform to what society considered the norm. He'd be much better off as a breeder like me.

    His mother's teary eyes made it obvious that she had been going through the same thoughts. She was well aware that she'd get nothing out of talking to her older son, but her reluctance to accept that something might have happened to Colby drove her to do anything she could think of. Brian couldn't bring himself to remind her of what was very likely the truth, nor did he want to dwell on the possibility. "I'm sure he's fine," Brian said, trying his best to hide his uncertainty. "Maybe he just forgot to buy a C-Gear? He was super excited about starting his Pokémon journey. He'll probably remember when he runs into another trainer with a C-Gear."

    "I knew I should've reminded him again before he left," Brian's mother murmured with little conviction. "That's not the only thing that has me worried. There have been numerous reports of missing children lately; far too many for it to be a coincidence. There must be a kidnapper on the loose. It disgusts me to think that someone could be preying on those whose Pokémon aren't strong enough to defend them yet." She abruptly spun away from the view of the camera, sniffling uncontrollably. "How could… anyone even consider doing that to… my little boy?"

    Brian bit his quivering lip, his heart growing heavy. It hurt him to see his mother reduced to such a state of despair, but he was having difficulty taking in what she was saying. Everything felt unreal, especially since he was having the information thrown at him instead of seeing it with his own eyes. She was volleying so many words full of frightening meaning that he struggled to register any of it. My brother might be gone, he realized, overwhelmed. I could never see him again. The breeder attempted to relax his tense muscles, rationalizing his frenzied thoughts.

    "Mom," he spoke in a somewhat assertive tone, "this might come off as a bit harsh, but maybe… maybe you should just let it go. Colby's not a baby anymore. Now that he's a Pokémon trainer, he gets to choose what and what not to do. You can't try to get so involved in his life; he has the right to make his own decisions. He might be too busy to give you a call, or maybe he just doesn't want to—and there's nothing wrong with that. He knows what kind of people to stay away from. You watch too much TV, Mom. You're getting stressed out over something you don't know for sure. You said Dad was talking to the cops, so if something did happen to him, they'll take care of it. Come on, Mom. Have some faith."

    Brian's mother brought the camera back to her face, her reddened eyes squeezed into a pained expression. "Damn it, Brian!" she wailed, unable to restrain her burst of rage. "You don't know anything about what it's like to be a parent! I gave birth to that child! I dedicated ten years of my life to showering him in affection and making sure he turned out all right! I spent so many sleepless nights worrying about him and his future! How dare you tell me I should "just let it go"! Colby will always be my baby, and it's my job to be there for him!"

    Aghast, the breeder stood with his mouth hanging open. It was incredibly off-putting to hear his mother yell, especially since he felt like she wasn't acting like herself to begin with. Before Brian had the chance to even think about formulating a response, his C-Gear's screen went black. His heart sank. No, no! Brian cried silently, too shocked to put down his arm. I didn't want that to happen! I just wanted Mom to calm down, but all I did is make everything worse.

    Brian forced himself to leave the bathroom and stumbled down the hall as if he were in a daze. Krookodile, who had escaped from its open pen, had its face buried in the unguarded sack of Pokémon food. The gluttonous creature lifted its head and seemed to flash a taunting smile at the boy, but to its dismay he wordlessly walked past it. Krookodile dejectedly stuck its snout back into the bag and resumed stuffing itself.

    Colby's brother miserably threw himself into an armchair before tucking himself into a ball and burying his face in his lap. I'm her son, too. But the way she acted… she didn't even say "I love you". His mother's words hurt him nearly as much as his hurt her. What's wrong with me? I should've kept my stupid mouth shut. My little brother's gone missing, and all I can do is make my mom upset. Arceus… what if something really did happen to Colby? Please tell me he's okay… he has to be okay.
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 9th June 2013 at 01:08 AM.



  12. #42
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    Ambivalence


    Dragon woke to see Archeops standing on his chest, the plastic bag that had once been filled with Babiri Berries dangling from its jaws. "What do you think you're doing with that?" he moaned drowsily. "Aww, don't tell me you ate the rest of the berries. Those were supposed to be for special occasions, Archeops."
    The First Bird Pokémon playfully cocked its head to the side, the plastic bag rustling in its mouth. "Come on, now. Give that to me." Dragon reached for the bag, only for Archeops to take off in a flurry of feathers. It floated above its trainer teasingly, its head swaying back and forth. "We don't have time for this. We can't leave Lord N waiting."

    Archeops sulkily dropped its gaze to the ground, the plastic bag slowly drifting towards the floor. It flapped over to the bed post and began to preen its feathers as Dragon got dressed. When the black-haired grunt was finished, he stepped over to his Pokémon and ran his fingers through its silky plumage. "I'm sorry I snapped at you, boy. We just really need to get going. This is super important. You understand, don't you?" He spoke in a gentle tone as he petted it softly.

    Dragon laughed as Archeops closed its eyes and made a quiet purring noise. "That's what I thought." He patted its head. "Are you ready to leave? You've got a bit more flying to do, but it won't be nearly as much as yesterday. We need to go to Icirrus City, which is only a few towns away."

    Archeops bobbed its head eagerly, as if it recognized just how important its trainer's assignment was to him. Dragon had always admired his Pokémon's unyielding loyalty. It always readily complied with what he said, never protesting or turning away from his commands. Archeops was a very special pal to the grunt—a little brother of sorts who happened to be covered in feathers. He felt like it truly understood him, unlike most people he encountered on his journeys. It never judged him, or called him a hypocrite, or made fun of his self-appointed name. Dragon's yearning for a companion like that was subconsciously part of what had compelled him to join Team Plasma.

    Quiet and aloof, Dragon never had a lot of friends when he was little. Most of his interactions with other children comprised of him defending himself against their jeering teases, which usually only ended in more embarrassment for him. No matter how hard he tried, there seemed to be no way for Dragon to appear daunting and tough. When he spoke in a harsh tone, his words sounded unconvincing and forced, and he immediately felt guilty about his insolence. His compassionate, softhearted disposition was firmly woven into his nature, and it bled through any disguise he attempted to hide behind. Blind to his inabilities, Dragon vowed to prove his bullies wrong by doing something big—big enough to change the world.

    When the boy heard whispers about an organization that sought to bring revolution to the Unova region, he opted to join at once. He readily adopted some of Team Plasma's beliefs even though he was generally unacquainted with its morals and values. Dragon had no prior experience with Pokémon—since he had never been exposed to the profound bonds between humans and Pokémon, he thought them to be largely trivial. Archeops, who was said to have been confiscated from an abusive trainer unable to tolerate its Defeatist ability, was given to Dragon upon his induction into the organization. It was his responsibility to take the badly shaken First Bird Pokémon under his wing and nurse it back to health so it could work alongside him to enforce Team Plasma's ideals. Finally making use of his mildness, Dragon easily made friends with his new Pokémon. They accepted each other's flaws and built up their relationship until they became inseparable. Ironically, the grunt's allegiance to the organization taught him the opposite of the views he was supposed to advocate—sometimes Pokémon and humans truly could work as equals, sharing mutual bonds of love and respect.

    Fate had somehow swung in his favor, letting him securely grasp his dream of becoming someone great. The king of Team Plasma himself had requested that he retrieve the relic needed to carry out his goals, which meant that he would be partly responsible for the change that was to sweep the Unova region. It would give his name meaning—he would be remembered as the one who located the remains of the heavenly dragon Reshiram. He would be a hero, or at least that was what N wanted him to believe. Now that he understood the true ties between humans and Pokémon, and now that he had been shown the secrets behind N's purported regime, he realized that what he'd be doing would only spell out disaster for the Unova region.

    When Dragon had gone off to search for the wayward Genesect, Ghetsis appeared before him on the back of his Hydreigon. The official audaciously revealed that he was the true head of Team Plasma and that the work the organization was participating in behind the scenes contradicted the ethics it supposedly stood for. N was merely a puppet whose purpose was to win favor from the masses. Even though the boy king was ambitious and had a good head on his shoulders, it was very likely that Ghetsis and his followers would intercept his plans. Dragon didn't want to think about the danger that could arise if an artifact containing a godly being fell into the wrong hands.

    Despite this, the grunt couldn't resist sympathizing with N—perhaps because he reminded him of himself. Although he was somewhat awkward and eccentric, the king was a well-intentioned and resolute individual who appeared to be pure of heart. Dragon wanted to be able to stand up for him, proving his loyalty and showing that not everyone in Team Plasma had turned on him. Since N had presented Dragon with the opportunity to fulfill his dream, the grunt also wanted to repay the favor as a display of his gratitude.

    Dragon scowled as he ambled out of his dorm room, Archeops gliding along behind him. He couldn't make sense of his thoughts; they all pushed in opposite directions, creating anarchy within the confines of his brain. He had spent a good portion of the night mulling over what was on his mind, but he still faced wearisome uncertainty. Gloomily looking over his shoulder, Dragon uttered, "I wish you knew how to talk, buddy. I could really use a second opinion." The winged creature trilled contemplatively in response.

    It makes me wonder what it's like to be a hybrid… to exist on the boundary between humans and Pokémon… to live in two separate worlds. Dragon cringed when he thought about the fifty-something teenagers who had been unwillingly turned into monsters and were being hunted down for no fault of their own. He was relieved to at least know that Ben, the hybrid he had been responsible for catching, was being given a second chance. As much as he thought it was strange that N had suddenly changed his mind about using genetically modified organisms, he admired his perseverance and ability to craft a plan that would save Ben from the expense of death all the while benefitting his project. If only the same could be done about every hybrid. But I'm not sure if that would be possible… Ghetsis is a terrible person, but he did have a point. Most hybrids just shouldn't exist in this world; Ben is a special case. Chances were that Team Plasma had quickly picked up on the location of the hybrids and had already begun to ruthlessly massacre them.

    Even with the knowledge of what was really going on in Team Plasma, Dragon couldn't think of why someone would use such abhorrent means to exact revenge on the organization. It didn't add up. Considering that Ghetsis and his comrades were in on the creation of Genesect, it made no sense why the so-called traitor would produce genetically modified organisms of his own to oppose them. Could it be possible that he wanted to fight them for another reason? Like Dragon had originally believed, maybe he simply disliked the idea of Pokémon liberation. The grunt knew he shouldn't jump to conclusions—just because Ghetsis told him the truth about Team Plasma didn't mean everyone was aware of it.

    No matter what his reasons were, what he did is wrong. None of the hybrids deserve this. Each and every one of them had a dream, and they'll never have the chance to fulfill it. Me, on the other hand… I'm lucky enough to have the ability to live my life the way I want, and I shouldn't let that go to waste. I need to do this, for the hybrids. It's all I can do. Maybe… if the Great Dragon has the power to create new worlds, then maybe it would also have the power to help the hybrids. If Lord N can follow through with his plan without Ghetsis interfering, then perhaps what I'm doing is good. But humans and Pokémon… how will they be able to exist in complete separation?

    Dragon would have never expected that Team Plasma would do something so radical to ensure Pokémon liberation. He thought it was merely a group of activists—when he first joined the organization, its sole focus was to launch campaigns and publicity stunts in hopes of bringing Pokémon abuse and mistreatment to the public's attention. Very little was accomplished through these projects; few people agreed that the mishandling of Pokémon was a serious issue. Until he learned of N's plot, there seemed to be little hope for Team Plasma. Using a Legendary Pokémon to force the king's ideals upon the region would certainly be more dynamic that anything else the organization had attempted thus far, but Dragon felt there were some definite problems with that idea.

    In a way, it's just like what the scientist did to the hybrids. There are some people who deserve to be with their Pokémon, and they shouldn't be punished for what other people did wrong. If the world is split in two, some people's dreams will be crushed. I guess they should just learn to embrace the change. As vital as the bonds between humans and Pokémon are, no one will die if we are divided. We can adapt and continue to thrive without having Pokémon by our sides, and maybe it's true that Pokémon will be better off without us trainers. A revolution as extraordinary as this might actually do us good; we could all profit from starting anew.

    Dragon slowed to a halt as he began to near the base's exit. Even though he had convinced himself that fetching the Light Stone was the right decision, the realization that he'd have to part ways with Archeops turned his heart to stone. The grunt knew from the start that he'd have to say goodbye one day, but it had always felt a million miles away. If his leader succeeded in reviving the Great Dragon, he too would immediately be forced to give up his Pokémon. I need to learn to embrace the change, he echoed solemnly. It's often necessary to make sacrifices for the greater good. Lord N has already shown that he accepts that; as much as he dislikes the idea of using altered organisms, he knew that working with Ben was the best choice. I've got to strive to be like that.

    Unaware of its trainer's troubled musings, Archeops gave him a light nudge. Dragon spun around, smiling faintly. "This is going to be our final adventure, buddy," he told his Pokémon calmly. Archeops feebly tilted its head, and for the first time ever it seemed as if it didn't understand its trainer's words. Hiding his hurt behind his forced expression, Dragon whispered, "I'm sorry if this is sudden, Archeops, but it's something that needs to be done. When Lord N resurrects the Great Dragon, you'll be free. You won't ever have to listen to me or go into your Poké Ball again; you'll own the skies and be able to do whatever you like. Maybe you'll even find a nice lady Archeops. Isn't that what you want?"

    The First Bird Pokémon gave Dragon a vacant stare, sinking to the floor as it flapped its wings listlessly. Archeops probably doesn't remember what it's like to not have a trainer. He'll be happy without me. I'm sure of it, Dragon unpersuasively reassured himself. "Please don't drag your feet. This is the last time we'll be together, so we've got to make the best of it. Come on, let's head out." Groaning pitifully, Archeops ascended and followed the grunt out of the building. "That's the spirit," Dragon praised, reaching to pet his feathered friend. I truly hope I made the right decision.
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 9th June 2013 at 01:08 AM.



  13. #43
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly



    Fight or Flight

    Bursts of water cascaded off of Destiny's head, dripping down her bulbous eyes and seeping into the gaps between her teeth. The hybrid wheezed as her consciousness gradually returned, struggling to expel the liquid from her lungs. Blistering pain continued to fiercely throb throughout her body, which felt as if it had become twice as heavy. A figure was crouched in front of her, but she couldn't make out what it was through her blurry vision. Destiny lifted one of her arms and attempted to rub her eyes, only to remember that it had become metallic and inflexible. "Grrrghh," the insect groaned in frustration.

    Darkness enveloped her sight, and Destiny realized that the figure was dabbing at her face with something soft. Surprisingly, she didn't find it irritating or uncomfortable; her unblinking red eyes were not sensitive and appeared to be made out of the same material as the rest of her body. The figure pulled back, leaving misty smudges across her vision. "You've got some freaky-ass eyes, you know that?" It took her a few seconds to identify the speaker as Aurelia. Hearing the other hybrid's voice made everything come back to her; memories of Colby's disfigured corpse and the enraged Ditto's fiery assault were sent tumbling through her brain. Overwhelmed, Destiny let out a strangled cry.

    Aurelia, who was gripping a half-empty bottle of water, exclaimed, "Calm down, will ya? What in the world happened to you? Did you spontaneously combust or something?" It was odd to see the unfriendly hybrid showing concern for once, as if she had no recollection of her furious outburst. Destiny wasn't sure if she could forgive her for that. Her injuries must have been terribly severe if the spiteful Aurelia felt the need to tend to them, which wasn't a pleasant thought. "You'll probably be fine; my Pokémon have gotten hurt like this plenty of times before, and they turned out all right."

    Where is the Ditto? Paranoia spiking in her heart, Destiny slid her head from side to side as she tried to survey her surroundings. After seeing what the Transform Pokémon did to the Suicune hybrid, she was sure it would have made a meal out of her as well. Then again, Destiny was covered from head to toe in sturdy armor; since the Ditto already had two fresh carcasses to feed off of, it probably wouldn't be worth the trouble of peeling off her exoskeleton. Not knowing where the Ditto was still made Destiny ill at ease. There was something distressing about the thought that the malevolent creature could be anywhere, assuming any shape...

    Imposter! Destiny let out a panicked screech as she lashed out at Aurelia, grazing her ankle. The way she had been acting was awfully uncanny, which gave the insect hybrid all the more reason to believe something wasn't right. However, as she knew very little about Pokémon, she failed to recognize that Ditto were typically incapable of human speech no matter how well disguised they were. It also hadn't occurred to her that it would be equally unlikely for the destructive Transform Pokémon to want to help her.

    "Hey! What the hell was that all about?" Aurelia yelped, staggering backwards as she inspected her wound. She then set her cold jade gaze on the other hybrid. "Look. I know you're mad at me, but I'm trying to help you, damn it. You would've been burnt to a crisp if I hadn't stepped in. I'd prefer not to share this place with three dead bodies; it's going to start to smell."

    Destiny apologetically bowed her head, frightened by the girl's harsh tone. Only Aurelia would say something that insensitive. I guess that means she's the real deal. Debunking her theory did little to reassure the metal insect; the Ditto was still missing. "Wrrriiiooooggh," she warned timidly, carefully annunciating each syllable.

    "Pardon? I don't speak giant bug." Aurelia winced as she applied pressure to her sore ankle. "If I can use telepathy, you probably can, too. It's not too hard to figure out; it's like talking, except you don't use your voice."

    Destiny was unfamiliar with the term "telepathy", but she guessed that was what let Aurelia communicate in her Arceus form. How could someone speak without a voice and still be heard? She didn't bother questioning something she knew so little about. Very few things about Pokémon made sense to her, which made her glad to have decided against becoming a trainer. Can you hear me now? Destiny thought as she visualized the words slithering out of her head and into Aurelia's. She expectantly stared up at the girl, who retaliated by mirroring her expression.

    "Well?" Aurelia impatiently crossed her arms. Destiny lowered her head somberly, to which the other girl murmured, "You're hopeless. How good are you at charades?"

    I barely know how my body works, so what makes you think I'd be able to do that? The insect's stiff joints and lack of digits greatly limited her movement, which made even walking a difficult task. As demonstrated earlier, the only form of communication she was capable of was scratching words into the dirt, but that was out of the question seeing as the floor was covered in marble tiles.

    Destiny knew that they needed to leave the building as soon as possible; keeping safe from the dangers lurking behind every corner far outweighed the promise of a full belly. At this point, she could care less whether Aurelia came with her or not. While her Pokémon expertise was valuable, Destiny would've loved to put as much distance between the two of them as possible. She'd work on figuring out what to do for food and shelter later.

    At that moment, the hybrid was crossed by a memory from when she had first encountered her two companions. After meeting up with her and Colby, Aurelia immediately asked where they were. The now deceased boy reported that they were in a forest north of Mistralton City, which was where Destiny lived. If she could find her way back to civilization, perhaps she could seek refuge in her house. Surely her parents would accept that their daughter had turned into a human-sized insect? There's a reason why I chose not to go off on my own earlier. It's risky, but it's gotta be a better option than sticking around here. Heading home may be my only hope.

    She stretched her leg, trying her best to ignore the shooting pain. Slowly rising to her feet, Destiny did everything she could to avoid collapsing. Why was this creature's upper body so disproportionate to its other half? It made her wonder how actual members of the species lived with the awkwardness. I can see why this thing apparently doesn't exist in the wild. Once she was standing on two feet, she began to laboriously lumber down the hall.

    "Where do you think you're going?" Aurelia inquired halfheartedly, effortlessly catching up with the other hybrid. Destiny rotated her head and shot her a look of annoyance. "Going to get a snack? You're probably hungry, since you, ah, lost your supper. How does that bug-thing even eat? I've never seen you with your mouth open."

    Destiny's lingering hunger pangs were the least of her concerns, especially since it was true that her mouth was permanently sealed in a grin. This furthered her doubt in the creature's ability to live a normal life. She loathed this particular trait of its appearance more than anything else—its expression remained dreadfully gleeful no matter what thoughts were circulating under its metal shell. This perpetual smile had undoubtedly been carved on her face when she was first met with the horror of her transformation, when she was forced to sit through Aurelia's pitiless mockery, and when she was set ablaze by the rampaging Ditto. The thought of it frustrated the hybrid to no end.

    Without acknowledging Aurelia's comments, Destiny wordlessly made her way down the main hall and limped into the next corridor. Relief fluttered through her heart when the set of doors leading to the forest came into view. Enthusiasm returning to her weary mind, she picked up her pace. Just a few more steps and I'll never have to look at this hell house again.

    Aurelia froze, tilting back her head. Beaming sardonically, she shouted, "Ah, I was wondering where you disappeared to. I can't say I missed you very much, though. You didn't raid the storage closet while I was gone, did you?"

    Destiny's heart dropped. She didn't have to look up at the ceiling to know who Aurelia was talking to, and frankly she didn't want to. Why does this have to happen? Destiny begged, taken over by a crushing feeling of defeat. I was… so close! It's all over now. If that thing attacks again, there's no way I'll make it through. She despondently let herself crumple to the ground, her limbs splaying out and her torso slamming against the hard tiles.

    "Hey, Des? You okay? It's just the Ditto. I already told you that he has no reason to hurt us." Aurelia bent down and began to prod at the other hybrid's shoulder, only to be interrupted by a vicious growl. The lavender blob, who was hanging from the center of the ceiling, stretched its gelatinous body as it began to ooze towards the ground. It hissed sharply as a draconic snout protruded from its face and extended into a serpentine beast with cunning yellow eyes and radiant emerald scales. Releasing a grumbling roar, it gaped as a sphere of cyan light materialized in its cavernous maw.

    "Oh, son of a bitch!" the brunette screamed, diving into a nearby room and slamming the door shut. "Of course… I'm such an idiot. The Ditto was what set you on fire—but why in the name of Arceus would he do that? Did you do something to make him mad?"

    Destiny could barely hear Aurelia's voice over the noise generated by the Rayquaza's attack. She knew inside that she was to blame for the Ditto's brutal behavior, and she regretted attacking it wholeheartedly. She'd rather suffer through countless nightmares than have to deal with what was about to be thrown at her—as real as they felt, dreams were merely illusions. The hybrid knew well enough that the Ditto's attacks induced real pain.

    Her only hope of avoiding the transformed Ditto's attack would be joining Aurelia in the safety of the room, but there was no way she would be able to lug her bulky body there in time. The insect braced herself, preparing to be swamped by another devastating wave of flame. Reaching its limit, the Rayquaza unleashed its mighty attack. The force of the blow rammed her into the floor and swept over her like a wicked gale, but aside from minor soreness, the hybrid was unharmed. … That was it? The Ditto eyed her suspiciously, nearly as stunned as Destiny was.

    Aurelia peeked out from the room, examining the scene blankly. "Damn, it didn't vaporize you? Props to you. You look like a Steel-type, so that would explain your resistance to what I can only assume was a Dragon-type move. You should probably think about attacking it before it uses something more effective. Try shooting it with your cannon; it would be a shame to let that thing go to waste." She promptly closed the door again.

    What does she think I am, her Pokémon? Destiny was mildly offended, but she accepted that Aurelia was a seasoned trainer and knew better than she did. It surprised her to hear valid advice from her rude companion. She probably just wants me to save her ass, she concluded. The insect was clueless as to how her cannon worked—it was certainly different from simply jabbing at her foes with her claws. The hybrid leaned forward and aimed the barrel at the Rayquaza, silently wishing that something would happen. She locked her focus on the cannon, imagining a powerful laser flying from its mouth and singeing the bloodthirsty Ditto just as she had pictured her telepathy successfully working. Destiny could feel heat gathering beneath her armor, which made excitement burst through her veins. I think I've got this!

    Destiny let loose the energy seconds before the Rayquaza howled ferociously and charged her—but to her astonishment, the blast escaped from the soles of her feet instead of her cannon. She was forcefully propelled forward, sending her skidding beneath the serpent's belly as sparks leaped into the air. Great Arceus! Destiny cried mentally before she collided with the pair of doors at the far end of the wing. The jets at the bottoms of her feet shorted out as she dazedly recovered from the crash. What in the world just happened? Momentarily distracted from the Ditto, she quickly sat up, lifted one of her legs, and examined her foot. She had never taken notice of the odd circular devices implanted in her soles, which appeared to function similarly to rockets. Well, that's pretty useful. Why didn't I know about this earlier? It struck her that this was most likely the creature's main mode of transportation—although it was challenging to control, it gave her much more momentum than when she used her legs.

    The Rayquaza's tail slapped against the wall as it swerved, its long body snaking behind it as it bolted in Destiny's direction. She ineffectively scrabbled at the door's handle, throwing herself into the soft grass when she finally managed to get it open. Charging up another round of energy, she pointed her feet at the building as she prepared for takeoff. The Ditto abruptly smashed through the wall, hurling rubble into the air. Startled, she involuntarily launched herself forward. Twisting and careening to avoid running into trees, the hybrid screeched as she soared through the forest. Scraggly stems whipped her face as her body grinded against the uneven soil. Destiny veered to dodge a large rock, but miscalculated her distance and ran it over. The insect was sent tumbling out of the woods and into a patch of weeds.

    Her body aching, Destiny fought to pull herself up. Good Arceus, I wish this thing had brakes; seems like the only way to stop is to hit something. She regarded her surroundings, letting out a joyful squeal when she realized she had made it out of the forest. Aurelia was nowhere to be found, but it didn't matter. Civilization, and the prospect of returning to the safety of her home, was only a few strides away. Deciding not to resort to using her jet propulsion devices, the hybrid eagerly stumbled through the field. As she started to near the edge of the patch, she was greeted with a thunderous roar.

    Destiny made a choking noise. He's… still following me? How did he find me? I was sure I lost him! The Rayquaza dove at her, sweeping her off the ground in its monstrous talons. The insect struggled and cried as the dragon held her up to its mouth, its hot breath buffeting off of her armor. The transformed Ditto opened its jaws and clamped its fangs around Destiny's head. A creaking crunch sounded as it bit down, driving its teeth into her exoskeleton. The hybrid let herself go limp; she knew this was a battle she wouldn't win. I tried, she pitifully told herself as the beast increased its pressure. At least I tried. A gunshot rattled the air.

    The Rayquaza made moaned horribly as it plummeted to the earth, letting the petrified Destiny slip from its grasp. The life draining from its body, it reverted to its true form before splattering against the ground. The insect landed on the corpse, her fall partially cushioned by the Ditto's soft body. Too shocked to process what had just happened, she kept still, her red eyes staring up at the night sky.

    "Damn monsters still haven't learned their lesson." The voice sounded strikingly familiar, but for a moment Destiny thought nothing of it. As a tall figure began to near her and the slain Ditto, a revelation surfaced in her mind. … Dad? Dad, is that you?

    He was a stern, heavily built man with scruffy blond hair and a thick beard. Dressed in a sweat-stained white t-shirt and a pair of jeans, he had a shotgun in his hands. Seeing him wield the weapon so freely made Destiny uncomfortable; hunting was a hobby of her father's, but it was unlike him to do it so close to the city. As far as she knew, no one was authorized to hunt there. Couldn't he get arrested for firing a gun in such a metropolitan area? He bent down, sticking his finger into the gelatinous remains and swirling it pensively. "Huh, never seen this happen before."

    Dad! Destiny exclaimed silently, her grin reflecting her feelings for once. Dad killed the Ditto! He saved me! Disoriented, she stood up and toddled over to him, her arms stretched wide.

    The man lifted his gaze and knit his brows. "Good Arceus, another one? Don't know how I didn't see it. They just keep coming, don't they?" Destiny's heart skipped a beat when her father pointed the gun at her forehead. Dad, what are you doing? Dad, no! It's me, Destiny! It took her that long to remember that there was no way he would be able to recognize her—and now that it had occurred to her, there was no way for her to tell him that his daughter was beneath the insect's metal armor. She had a suspicion that he wouldn't wait for her to scribble a message in the dirt. After all she had been through, was she really going to die at the hands of her own father? It would take too much time to fire up her jets; she had no choice but to watch as the man prepared to pull back the trigger.

    Pounding footsteps and a frantic yell broke the tension. "Put that down! Don't shoot! That's my Pokémon!" Panting, Aurelia flung herself onto the scene. How in the world… why would she do this? I thought she hated me! First Aurelia had tended to her wounds, and now she had saved her life. What had caused her to change her attitude?

    Alarmed, Destiny's father lowered the shotgun as the girl hurried over to his daughter. "Is it? Uh, I apologize, miss. There've been so many monsters showing up in the outskirts of the city… hard to tell 'em apart from regular Pokémon sometimes, and I don't want to take any chances." He gave the two of them a closer look. "Never seen a Pokémon like that before… and you don't look much like a trainer to me. What were you doing in the forest? Didn't you see that dragon? You sure you're telling the truth? Those monsters are real tricksters… can't trust anyone with 'em around."

    "Whoa now, what's this about monsters?" Aurelia had a genuine look of bewilderment on her face, which reminded the insect of when she had tricked Lynn into letting her attack her Galvantula. It was sometimes difficult for Destiny to tell when she was acting and when she was being sincere, which made it even harder for her to believe the farfetched tale about her family. "I didn't see anything. I was doing some training, that's all. My Pokémon is a rare species that only lives in the Kanto region, which is why you've never seen anything like her before. She's not very smart, and she decided to wander away from me when I was trying to catch a Pidove. I had to drop my bag and run after her when I noticed she was gone." Laughing nervously, she glanced at the hybrid. "Ha, that was a close one, wasn't it?"

    Ignoring the subtle insult, Destiny played along by replying, "Wrraaaggh." If only Aurelia would make the connection between her and her father! She admitted that they only had a few physical traits in common—the mild-looking Destiny barely resembled her gruff and burly father. She remembered telling Aurelia that she lived in Mistralton, but that meant absolutely nothing. Although it wasn't an enormous city, its population was far from miniscule. This man could have been anyone.

    "Monsters…" Destiny's father mumbled with little emotion, "… don't know why they're here and what they want from us, but they keep crawling out of the woods and showing up here in Mistralton. Far as I know, there ain't any Zoroark dens 'round here… must be some kind of shapeshifting forest demon. They disguise themselves as human children, and once you let your guard down, they change into Legendary Pokémon. Seen at least five of the things today, and I shot down all of 'em. Things are dangerous… they stole my little girl; probably skinned her alive and gobbled her up. That's why I've made it my personal mission to kill every last one of 'em. Gotta avenge my daughter… gotta keep my city safe."

    "Wrrrllggh!" Destiny yowled, unable to restrain herself. I'm okay, Dad! I'm right here! It filled her with horror to discover that her own father had slaughtered several of her kind, all over her disappearance. He almost murdered her for the same reason. Finding out that he was claiming innocent lives and risking getting in trouble with the law pierced the hybrid's heart like a bullet. Her father wasn't a criminal! Knowing that there was nothing she could do to intervene hit her even harder. She wanted to bury her face in the grass and weep, but she couldn't bring herself to do even that. Destiny prayed that the other hybrid would put the pieces together.

    "Guess that means this nut isn't working with Team Plasma. Maybe I can talk some sense into him," Aurelia muttered under her breath, shaking her head solemnly. Bad move, bad move! Don't do it! Destiny screamed in her head. Her father was a notoriously stubborn individual who rarely let others shape his opinions. Raising her voice, the Arceus hybrid argued, "I have no clue what you're talking about, but have you actually seen the hy—monsters doing any of that stuff, or are you just making assumptions? You can't just go around killing things because they're strange and different."

    The man narrowed his eyes, a scowl forming on his face. "Say no more. I ain't stupid. I know you ain't who you say you are. Nothin' but a couple of monsters, that's what you really are." He threateningly held up his shotgun and got ready to shoot, but then hesitated guiltily. "If you value your lives, get the hell out of my city and don't even think about showing your faces here again. If I ever see you two in Mistralton, I'll make sure both of you suffer. Get out before I change my mind and shoot you now."

    "Will do, sir," Aurelia said calmly, disguising any sign of fear. She had learned better than to fight with a man bearing a gun. Glaring at Destiny, she wordlessly grabbed her arm and pulled in the direction of the forest, but the insect didn't move an inch. Overcome by weakness, her legs buckled. Hearing such threatening words coming from her father's mouth was too much to bear. Why did he choose to spare them? She wished she could wrap her arms around him and cry, but at the same time she wanted to get as far away from him as possible. Not being able to say or do anything was maddening.

    "What the hell's the matter with you? Do you want to be killed?" Aurelia hissed, tugging harder. The man drummed his fingers against the shotgun, growing impatient. Too devastated to resist anymore, Destiny submitted and stumbled after the rash girl. Staggering sideways, she kept her eyes on her father, who scornfully observed them for a few moments before turning his back to them and walking away. The hybrid whimpered sorrowfully as he disappeared from sight.
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 9th June 2013 at 01:08 AM.



  14. #44
    Platypus Saleswoman Ahnyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly


    Sentinel


    Partially submerged in motionless blue water, the ancient Dragonspiral Tower stretched into the clouds. A half-rotted wooden walkway trailed from its gaping entrance, and a graffiti-ridden sign reading NO TRESPASSING VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED dangled from a chain link fence that closed it off from Icirrus City. Dragon swallowed hard as Archeops descended upon the bridge, praying that no one was watching. Fortunately, the crumbling ruins were hidden in the moor far beyond the edge of the city. Ben was right. Security isn't really tight out in these boondocks.

    The grunt hopped off of hisPokémon's back, landing on the black walkway with a thud. The old structure had sustained serious water damage, and Dragon wouldn't have been surprised if it caved in underneath him. He edged toward the castle, the wooden planks creaking beneath his feet. Soaring a short distance behind its trainer, Archeops grumbled apprehensively. The abundance of decay paired with the knowledge that the place was off limits gave it a disconcerting, perilous aura. Dragon had never gone spelunking before; this was an entirely new experience for him.

    Most of the castle's interior was underwater. Marble statues of Pokémon littered the lakebed, barely visible beneath the dark water. Arceus help me if the Light Stone's down there, the grunt thought, crouching down and peering in. A narrow path of damp jade tiles stretched along the wall, leading to a steep staircase. Dragon took caution not to slip as he made the trek. I wonder how many floors this place has; it's massive. Something tells me it's going to take me a long time to find the thing, if I even manage to locate it at all. He reluctantly groaned before scaling the stairs.

    Dragon appreciated that the next floor was much dryer. The air had a rather stale quality to it. The ground was coated in dust and debris, and broken columns were stacked on top of each other. He pulled himself onto a fallen pillar before cupping his hand over his eyes and scouting the area. Dragon admitted that he wasn't exactly sure what he was looking for; he didn't know the size or shape of the Light Stone, or even what color it was. What could the petrified soul of a divine white dragon look like? He imagined it as a smooth, glowing oval, but he had a feeling it wouldn't be that convenient. Its name at least signified that it was light in color, which would most likely allow the colorblind Archeops to distinguish it from other rock fragments.

    A burly creature was nesting on the apex of a pillar that remained largely intact, its thick limbs and tail hanging from the sides. Its blood-colored head stood out from its calloused cobalt body, looking as if it had ripped the face off of another monster and decided to wear it as a mask. Thorny wings that didn't look large enough to support the monster's weight were neatly folded against its back. It snored as it restlessly shifted in its sleep.

    That's a Druddigon, isn't it? Dragon gazed up at the creature, mesmerized. There was something he admired about the power and might of dragons, which was why he had given himself his nickname. It seemed like everyone besides him had a dragon to call his own—Ben could turn himself into the Legendary Zekrom, Ghetsis worked with a menacing Hydreigon, and N was soon to become the master of Reshiram. This Druddigon was right in front of him, just waiting for him to throw a Poké Ball at it. As tempting of an opportunity as it was, Dragon restrained himself. Once he found the Light Stone, all Pokémon would be liberated from their trainers—why would he want to catch a new one? He was having a hard enough time accepting that he and Archeops were going to be separated. The grunt forced himself onward, taking one last glance at the snoozing beast.

    I wonder what this castle was like in its glory days. According to Unovan mythology, the two brothers who united the region and their sons ruled from the Dragonspiral Tower. It fascinated Dragon to think that he was walking where such important figures once stepped. Maybe when I become a legend, I'll have a castle built in my honor. Now that he had arrived at the location, the excitement was starting to get to his head. Lost in his fantasies, he never once looked at Archeops.

    The Pokémon didn't understand: its trainer promised they would make the best of their last adventure, so why was he ignoring it? He had left its Poké Ball at his dorm to reinforce the idea that the First Bird Pokémon would soon be free; was this another reminder that they'd part ways? Archeops didn't like it. It longed to hear Dragon's kind voice, but it didn't want to distract him from his job. It loyally trailed behind him, still slightly unnerved by the old place's sinister atmosphere.

    Dragon's legs ached by the time he reached the final level of the tower. Like the rest of the castle, it was in ruins. Two dusty thrones that hadn't been occupied in centuries, one black and one white, sat against the wall. A towering, lifeless automaton stood in the center of the room, watchfully looking over the desolate grounds. A skylight had shattered, leaving shards of glass scattered across the floor. Aww man, I could've flown right in through here if I had known about this. He had thoroughly investigated the entire tower to no avail—unless N was mistaken, the Light Stone had to have been somewhere on this floor.

    The grunt approached the archaic automaton, marveling at its imposing size. The golem had been carved out of clay and slathered with thin layers of cyan and ocher paint. Its body was weathered and uneven, but it still retained a humanoid shape. Its broad torso was supported by a pair of massive legs, and two colossal arms rested at its sides. Even though it clearly hadn't been used in ages, Dragon felt uncomfortable in its presence—the Golurk looked like it would spring to life at any given moment. He didn't know a lot about technology, but he thought it was impressive that something so large and complex had been constructed long before modern times.

    Dragon walked up to the twin thrones, taking notice of an oxidized silver chest between the two of them. He pried it open without thinking, the hinges creaking as the inside was exposed to fresh air for the first time in hundreds of years. Dragon gasped at the sight of a milky white orb about the size of his head, which was resting on an azure silk pillow. This is it! This is the Light Stone! I found it! He laughed merrily as he scooped it up in his arms. Its texture was similar to blown glass, and despite its size it was exceptionally light. It appeared to be filled with a swirling, gaseous substance—was this Reshiram's soul?

    "Hello, Reshiram," the grunt whispered amiably, cradling the relic. He wondered if the disembodied soul could hear his voice. "I hope you've slept well, because the hero you've been waiting for has arrived. I'll bring you to him." Dragon wished he could be the one to awaken Reshiram, but he understood that he had a different role to fulfill and he was glad he was at least able to hold the Light Stone in his hands. Before he could turn around, Archeops abruptly barreled into him and knocked him off his feet. The white sphere flew from his grasp and rolled into the wall.

    "What in the world has gotten into you, Archeops?" Dragon rebuked. His gaze flew to the relic, and he was relieved to see it was still in one piece. "Be careful! What would I tell Lord N if I returned with a broken Light Stone?" The First Bird Pokémon warbled frenziedly in reply, but it was cut off by an earth shattering crash. To Dragon's horror, the Golurk's fist was entrenched in the floor right where he had been standing seconds ago. The automaton, which slowly raised its arm and straightened its back, was lit with a pale yellow glow. Its hand was laden with razor-sharp fragments of glass, but it didn't appear to be in pain. The grunt's immersion in his discovery had left him deaf to the behemoth's dragging footsteps. Good Arceus, I should've known this wouldn't be so simple! Now that he thought about it, it seemed strange that the Light Stone hadn't been stolen in spite of the smashed skylight. This Golurk must have been terribly formidable if it had managed to keep intruders away for such a long time.

    "YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE HERE. EVACUATE THE PREMISES IMMEDIATELY." The automaton spoke in a booming, mechanical-sounding voice. It relayed the phrase with each step it took, its speech never stalling or faltering. Because of this, Dragon inferred it was a recording; there must have been some kind of sound-playing device attached to the Pokémon. The amount of technology these people had back then is mind-blowing.

    "Quick, Archeops! Grab the Light Stone! We need to get out of here!" Dragon yelled, hurriedly backpedaling as the Golurk uncoordinatedly lumbered in his direction. Archeops cawed and made a dive for the relic, but it was thrown aside by a blast of energy before it had a chance to clench it in its mouth. The Automaton Pokémon then stomped on a floorboard, which popped up and launched the Light Stone toward it. The orb rolled by its feet, and it arched its back as it bent over and gently picked it up.

    Just perfect, the grunt muttered in his head as he rushed over to his Archeops. How in the world are we supposed to get it away from that thing? We don't stand a chance! Even though he knew the Golurk was unrivaled in strength, Dragon refused to let it best him. He had come so far to find the Light Stone, and there was no way he'd allow his struggles to be in vain. It will be a challenge, but maybe Archeops and I will pull through if we give it our all.

    "Crunch now, Archeops!" he ordered boldly. Golurk was partially Ghost-type, so Archeops's mighty Dark-type move would be strong against it. His Pokémon screeched and whipped around, lunging at its enemy with its jaws wide open. Before it had a chance to strike, the Golurk forcefully slugged it in the chest. The feathered creature shrieked as blood spurted from its wound, which was torn and embedded with tiny pieces of glass. It's using the broken glass as a weapon! Dragon realized in dismay. If we're not careful, Archeops could end up seriously hurt! We need to attack it from a distance, where it won't be able to hit him. Since it moves so slowly, we should be relatively safe.

    Panicking, Archeops panted as it inspected the wet feathers at its breast. Was it worth it to put his Pokémon in so much danger over something like this? It made Dragon feel selfish and cruel, but he decided it needed to be done. "Back up and try DragonBreath! You can do this, buddy!"

    Archeops moaned as it soared to the other side of the room, its body near to the floor. It halfheartedly exhaled a breath of flame, fighting to keep itself from being grounded. The Golurk defensively blocked its face with its gigantic hands, and it began to lumber toward the First Bird Pokémon after it had finished its attack. The timid Archeops whimpered and floated away fearfully, keeping a vigilant eye on its opponent.

    It uses its hands both offensively and defensively, Dragon observed. If we strike it where it won't be able to reach, we might be able to inflict some damage. He shouted, "Use DragonBreath and aim for the legs!" Nervously hovering in place, Archeops hesitantly spat out a burst of violet fire. The flare rocketed toward the behemoth's feet, and, despite its efforts to dodge, exploded into a torrent of flame. The Golurk staggered, its lack of a voice keeping its cries silent.

    "That's it!" Dragon was beaming. "Keep it up, Archeops!" The grunt's enthusiasm did little to influence his Pokémon's apprehension. Archeops's movements continued to slow as its injury got the better of it, but the strong willed creature pushed on. It unleashed a volley of fireballs, each one colliding with the Golurk's enormous legs. Even though it was clearly at a disadvantage now, the automaton continued to defend the relic with all the might it could muster. It released a series of energy beams, but they were all deflected by Archeops's attacks. The Golurk was a titan when it came to physical strength, but its special attack stat was piteously frail.

    Confident in his strategy, Dragon proposed a new idea that he hoped would speed things up. "Get down low and use Crunch on its knees!"Archeops froze, dropping to the ground as it failed to beat its wings. For once, the Pokémon held back—there was a genuine look of fear in the creature's slanted eyes. The grunt frowned in frustration, but used a gentle tone to address his Pokémon. "Don't be scared, Archeops. I believe in you!"

    Archeops dipped its head submissively, letting out a wheezing purr. It glided up to the automaton, ducking to narrowly avoid being swatted by its giant hands. The First Bird Pokémon stood on its talons to ensure that no pieces of glass would become wedged in the soft soles of its feet. It unhinged its jaws and reeled its head back before swiftly snapping at the Golurk's leg, which was diminutive in comparison to the rest of its body. It plunged its teeth into the dry clay, tossing its head from side to side as it fastened itself to the limb. The automaton frenetically waved its arms, despairingly doing whatever it could to try to ward off its attacker. Archeops remained firmly attached to the golem's leg, harnessing its considerable bite force to crack the sturdy pillar of clay. With one last powerful heave, the limb crumbled and broke in half. Archeops could only watch in pure terror as the Golurk's unbalanced body collapsed on top of it, shattering into pieces as it smashed against the ground. The Light Stone rolled away from the wreck, not even a scratch marring its resplendent form.

    "Oh, Arceus, no!" Dragon wailed, throwing himself into the rubble. Archeops screamed as it madly flailed about on the floor, its wing trapped underneath a chunk of the automaton's torso. Bits of crushed glass sliced and penetrated the Pokémon's body, and the dusty tiles began to turn red as Archeops smeared the steady trickle of blood flowing from its cuts against them. "Calm down, buddy, calm down! I'll help you! It'll be all right!" The grunt's frantic exclamations did little to ease his Pokémon.

    Dragon pressed his palms against the Golurk's remains and pushed with all his might, but they would not budge. He rammed his shoulder into it, shoving until his muscles gave out. Why didn't I bring Archeops's Poké Ball? I've got some empty ones with me, but those won't do me any good. Using technology that was beyond Dragon's level of comprehension, the spherical devices were capable of pulling in and storing a Pokémon no matter the circumstances. Poké Balls were human inventions—if people and Pokémon were divided, Pokémon would no longer have access to these valuable tools. Potions, Pokémon Centers, and medical clinics were all created by humans as well. If a Pokémon were to be injured in a world without people, what choices did it have? Not only did humans depend on Pokémon for money and entertainment, but Pokémon benefitted from human equipment and medicinal treatment far too advanced for them to develop on their own. Without intervention from trainers and health specialists, many Pokémon would have perished from maladies that were easily preventable.

    His face damp with sweat, Dragon gave up. Archeops continued to thrash wildly, oscillating between stressed breathing and tortured cries. There was no way he'd be able to move the heavy torso, which comprised most of the automaton's weight. What could he possibly do to rescue his feathered friend? Since he couldn't fly out through the broken skylight, it would take a long time for him to travel down the stairs and leave Dragonspiral Tower to seek help. Additionally, if he let anyone know that he had been trespassing in the old castle, he'd have some major problems at hand. It was all unimportant in comparison to his beloved Pokémon's wellbeing, but it would be so much easier if he could avoid such a big hassle. If only Dragon was stronger, or had another Pokémon to count on….

    That's it, he thought as he was struck by an epiphany, the Druddigon! The Cave Pokémon's body bulged with muscles; it would certainly be able to free Archeops. Since he had a number of unoccupied Poké Balls at his disposal, he would have no problem getting the Druddigon to aid him. He had sworn off catching it earlier, but this situation required desperate measures.

    "Hold tight, Archeops," said Dragon, unsure of whether his Pokémon could hear him or not. Not wanting to let Archeops's courageous efforts go to waste, he seized the Light Stone and placed it in his bag. He then darted away from the wreckage, praying his Pokémon wouldn't think he was abandoning it. The grunt vaulted down a seemingly unending series of stairways, nearly losing his footing on several occasions in his haste. He felt like he would pass out by the time he reached the level where the Druddigon was nesting. The brawny creature was in the same position as he had last seen it, leaving it vulnerable to a surprise attack.

    Here goes nothing. Catching a Pokémon without weakening it first was quite the endeavor, but he had no choice. Arming himself with a Poké Ball, Dragon crept up to the slumbering Druddigon. When he was a reasonable distance away from it, he hurled the round object. The Poké Ball whizzed toward it, colliding with its rock-hard head. Before it knew what hit it, the Pokémon was dragged into the Ball. The device rolled off of the column and onto the floor, tossing and turning as the Druddigon fought to free itself. It sprang from the Poké Ball in a matter of seconds, raising its arms above its head and roaring aggressively. It fanned its wings to make itself look bigger and clawed at the air as it angrily stormed up to Dragon.

    The grunt backed away slowly, not wanting to upset the monster by making any sudden movements. "I don't want to hurt you!" he told it in a hushed voice. "Please, I just need your help!" He thought of pacifying it with a tasty Babiri Berry, only to remember that Archeops had devoured all of them. The Druddigon hissed venomously, vomiting a glob of foul-smelling acid that came inches from spilling onto Dragon's foot. Knowing he'd be in danger no matter what, the grunt sprinted and ducked behind a nearby pillar, narrowly dodging the Pokémon's fiery breath.

    I can't do this without Archeops! Dragon realized, preparing to take off again. He wasn't a Pokémon, nor was he a hybrid—he was a defenseless sack of flesh whose only weapon was his brain. Superior intellect just wasn't the answer in some situations, though, especially since Dragon was far from being a genius. There were times when brute force was the option, which was another reason why it was so common for people to partner with Pokémon. Their array of awe-inspiring powers, paired with their natural tendency to be unyieldingly loyal, made Pokémon exceptional guardians—it was because of this that parents felt comfortable letting their ten-year-old children roam the streets. The guidance of trainers also allowed Pokémon to hone their abilities and unlock potential that they may have never been able to find by themselves.

    The Druddigon swung its arm around the column, tearing through a corner of Dragon's uniform with its razor-sharp claws. The hulking beast chased the boy on its stocky legs as he fled, its tail thudding against the floor. The grunt took shelter behind another pillar, drawing a Poké Ball from his belt. I've gotta keep trying. I don't care how many Poké Balls I have to go through; I don't care if I get hurt. I can't let Archeops die after all he's done for me.

    The Cave Pokémon leaped onto the pillar with a flap of its wings, and then lowered its head and snarled at Dragon. He pitched the Poké Ball before it had a chance to attack, nailing it in the chest. The grunt crossed his fingers as the Druddigon was pulled into the object, taking a few steps back in case it emerged again—which was exactly what it did. Enraged, the scaly creature stomped on the Poké Ball and snapped it in half.

    "Come on," Dragon begged pathetically, scared to think of how Archeops was faring. "I'm sorry that I woke you up! I didn't want to catch you, but I have to! My friend is going to die, and you're his only hope!" He knew his words wouldn't have any effect on the exasperated Pokémon, but his hope was wearing thin and there was not much else he could do. "Please, I'll do anything!"

    The Druddigon scoffed at his offer and swung its arm, attempting to slash at him. Dragon continued to pace backwards as he withdrew a third Poké Ball, noticing in dismay that his supply was running low. No… please, no. Overcome with worry, he threw the object. His heart pounded against his chest as he watched the Poké Ball shake in silence. It rocked back and forth, veering left and right for what felt like an eternity. It then stopped dead, indicating that the Pokémon had been captured.

    The grunt let out a joyous cheer. I did it! With a relieved grin painted on his face, he approached his newly caught Druddigon and picked up the Ball containing it. "I'm so sorry I had to do this," he whispered apologetically. "Don't worry. If everything goes as planned, I won't be your trainer for long."
    Not paying any mind to his aching legs, Dragon returned to the pinnacle of the tower as fast as he could manage. Archeops, who had quit struggling minutes ago, lay in a bloody heap, its chest rapidly rising and contracting as it fought to breathe. Aside from a pitiful whimper, it was unresponsive to its trainer's arrival. "I'm here, boy, don't worry. I'll get you some help."

    He held out Druddigon's Poké Ball, releasing the monster from the tiny capsule. The Cave Pokémon grumbled and flared its nostrils, intently surveying its new environment. It swiped its tongue around its toothy jaws as it caught sight of the trapped Archeops and promptly marched up to it. "That's a good girl," Dragon praised, impressed that the Pokémon seemingly knew what to do without instruction. To be safe, he commanded, "Druddigon, please push the rubble off of Archeops. Thank you so much for working with me!"

    Druddigon stood over the First Bird Pokémon, gnashing its teeth and snorting. Dragon grew concerned when the creature failed to follow through with his order. "C'mon, girl, we need to get Archeops out of here as soon as possible. We don't have time to stall!" Druddigon shot him a quick glance, and then lunged at Archeops. It bit down on the other Pokémon's shoulder, sinking its fangs into its already torn flesh. Archeops squealed in agony, beginning to thrash again.

    Dragon gasped, "Druddigon, stop! Good Arceus, stop!" The Cave Pokémon ignored him, ripping a tattered strip of tissue from the shrieking Archeops. It whipped its head back, letting the meat slide down its gullet. Druddigon attacked a second time, planting its jaws at the base of Archeops's buried wing. It violently shook from side to side, yanking the First Bird Pokémon's tender flesh from bone. The monster stumbled backwards with Archeops in its mouth, the creature's now severed wing still stuck beneath a crypt of clay.

    "Oh… Arceus." The grunt fell to his knees, feeling ill. He shakily pulled out Druddigon's Poké Ball, calling it back before it had an opportunity to devour more of Archeops's body. Once the Cave Pokémon was securely locked in its Ball, he ran up to the dying creature. He wrapped his arms around its trembling figure, pressing it against his chest in an embrace. Sputtering miserably, Archeops gave him a pleading look before shutting its eyes and setting its head on his shoulder. "I'll get you out of here," Dragon choked, bile rising in his throat. He cradled his Pokémon's limp body, blood soaking his filthy uniform. "I'll get you help."
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 9th June 2013 at 01:08 AM.



  15. #45
    Platypus Saleswoman Ahnyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plasma's Folly

    Trial and Error


    A full night’s sleep did nothing to alleviate Ben’s quandaries. When he woke, he was still plagued by feelings of lethargy and bloating. His figure, which had once been notably scrawny, was now spoiled by a grossly swollen abdomen—Ben thought it looked like he was in the process of digesting a partially deflated basketball. The skin covering his bulging gut was stretched taut, concealing a stomach that felt compacted and surprisingly rock-solid. It churned and gurgled raucously, seemingly complaining about amount of food its owner had stuffed it with.

    It was painful to look at; to accept that he had done this to himself. If only he had gotten off his high horse and listened to Kelvin’s advice, no matter how vague it was. He had always been brashly headstrong and haughty, but his rebellious attitude had never once landed him in a situation as troubling as this. Perhaps he did have something to gain from Kelvin’s so-called “lesson”, even if he refused to confess that he was wrong.

    When the scientist, who was leisurely reclining in the wooden chair, noticed that the boy was awake, he remarked, “Good morning. You changed twice overnight, and you slept through both transformations like a baby. It was quite the spectacle.”

    Ben scowled, disgruntled about the thought of the older man watching him in his sleep. That was just one of the many reasons he disliked Kelvin, even though the two of them had more in common than either would’ve liked to admit. Though their theological beliefs differed considerably, they shared a fondness for knowledge and science, particularly the field of biology. The two of them were intelligent people, but their deep investment in certain problems left them unmindful to others. They were also both fervidly arrogant, although Kelvin was at least modest enough to point out his flaws. Having to deal with an older, wiser version of himself greatly upset Ben; no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t win if this man had anything to do with it.

    “I want to know more about the formula,” the Zekrom hybrid announced boldly. Until N returned, there was nothing for him to do—he might as well take the time to learn about the project that had started this mess, if Kelvin was willing to oblige. He couldn’t help but be fascinated by the scientist’s work; from what he understood, nothing like this should have been remotely possible. How could someone alter the entire genetic makeup of an organism composed of trillions of cells by injecting it with a diminutive amount of fluid?

    “Why?” Kelvin retorted apathetically. “I already told you everything you need to know. The rest is all technical and it would go over your head. I don’t even want to burden myself with thinking about that abominable concoction anymore.”

    “You were awfully skimpy with the details. Yeah, I get the part about having a gene from a fake Zekrom, but how did you do it? Do you expect me to be satisfied with only knowing that you squirted a vial full of Ditto DNA into my blood and I suddenly gained the ability to morph into a Legendary Pokémon? Frankly, I find that hard to believe. What do you take me for, an idiot? Simplify it if you must, but I require some more thorough clarification,” Ben demanded.

    “I must say, kid, I do admire your hunger for knowledge. Certainly more favorable than your voracious appetite for sustenance, wouldn’t you agree? But too much ambition, if it is not properly controlled, can also be a dangerous thing. How do you think I wound up like this?” The red-haired man shook his head gravely. “I suppose I should be grateful for your company, even if you’re an obnoxious little asshole. Arceus knows the next time I’ll have someone to talk to, and a person slightly more intelligent than a Pidove at that. You know what Pokérus is, correct? Oh, forgive me, of course you do.”

    “It’s a rare virus that benefits both itself and its host,” Ben replied matter-of-factly, not quite sure what Kelvin was getting at. “Pokémon infected with Pokérus are known to grow at a faster rate.”

    “Yes, good,” Kelvin mumbled, giving a halfhearted nod of approval. “Though they are often referred to as microorganisms, being viruses, they are not technically living things. But like all viruses, they contain genetic instructions. Viral DNA is no different from the DNA of living organisms in some respects—for one, it can still be manipulated. Viruses reproduce by altering DNA found in the cells of living tissue, meaning that if they were engineered in a certain way, they could potentially replace a creature’s genes with those of another organism. That is precisely what my team tried to accomplish with the GMP156 project. Purchasing an ample amount of preserved Pokérus specimens from various laboratories was a costly investment, but in the end it allowed us to further our project more than any of us thought was possible.

    “As you may recall, I did not work with Ditto from the start. My colleagues and I originally went after the genes controlling the process of stimuli-based evolution in Pokémon. Using a Minccino, which evolves into Cinccino when exposed to radiation from a Shiny Stone, we were able to isolate these genes. We then altered the instructions that cause Minccino to evolve into Cinccino by removing the latter’s genetic information and implanting that of our entomological mash-up in its place. Once we had nested these modified instructions in the DNA of the Pokérus, we put a small population of the viruses in a solution containing a powdered sample of a Shiny Stone—this would trigger an immediate response from the host organism. As viruses lack the enzymes needed to act upon these instructions, they were unaffected.

    “We eventually discovered that there were numerous flaws with this approach. As it would turn out, the messages emitted by this strain of Pokérus corresponded only with the receptors in bone cells. This is why my love’s skeleton was the only part of her affected by the formula, other than the exoskeleton the Pokérus also managed to synthesize over her body. Secondly, evolution is a onetime process—once a Pokémon has evolved, there is no way for it to return to its previous shape. Because of this, my love has been permanently trapped in the shape of that wretched insect. Though it was able to produce some results, our initial concoction, which I have dubbed the Type I Formula, was riddled with failure.”

    “So that’s why you thought of using Ditto,” the hybrid commented, enthralled by Kelvin’s explanation. “Not too shabby.”

    “Indeed,” the scientist responded. “Using genetic information from Ditto solved not one but three of the problems my team initially encountered. The gene controlling Ditto’s ability to change its cellular structure formed the foundation of the induced transformation, allowing infected individuals to return to their original shapes. Furthermore, this same gene enabled me to create a strain of Pokérus capable of changing the type of messages it secretes to match the receptors of any bodily cell in the same fashion Ditto can morph into what it sees. The abilities my special Ditto possessed gave me access to the improvised DNA of any creature I could imagine. As disappointing as it was that they could not perfectly replicate the extent of a Legendary Pokémon’s power for my Type II Formula, obtaining authentic Legendary DNA would be nigh impossible. I did have an opportunity to work with the DNA of a particular Legendary Pokémon, but I blew it. That was before I developed the Type II Formula… if only I had waited a little longer.”

    Something was bugging Ben. “If a virus is what causes me to transform, is it contagious? I’ve come in contact with several people since the first time I changed. Are they going to end up as hybrids, too?” He would have been lying if he said he disapproved of the prospect of spreading his miserable fate onto Dragon and Ghetsis.

    “This strain of Pokérus only spreads through bodily fluids,” Kelvin explained. “As long as you’ve abstained from intercourse or becoming blood brothers with anybody, you’re good as gold.”

    “So what you’re saying,” Ben snorted, “is that this hybrid thing is an STD.”

    Kelvin closed his eyes in scorn. “To put it crudely, yes, it is.”

    The boy let out an uneasy laugh. “You’re telling me that if I get laid, the chick will be stuck turning into Zekrom, too?”

    Kelvin gave Ben a quick glance, and then smiled impishly. “You shouldn’t have to worry about that ever happening,” he affirmed.

    “Wow, man, that was harsh.” Ben narrowed his eyes, affronted. He didn’t think the scientist was particularly good-looking himself: was that why he was so desperate to avenge the one woman crazy enough to fall for him? Dude, she’s a giant bug. Maybe you should just let her go. “I don’t suppose there’s a cure for this virus, is there?” He had never considered the possibility of being able to receive treatment for his condition; this brought new hope to the hybrid.

    The red-haired man shrugged. “Beats me. Pokérus is generally welcomed in its hosts, so no one has ever bothered to waste time producing a cure. I did contemplate developing an antidote, but Ghetsis’s band of fools captured me before I had the opportunity to get anything started. Since Pokérus operates in a way that causes it to terminate after a certain number of days while its positive effects remain permanent, treatment would have to be administered prior to when this has a chance to happen. Even if this were to have failed, I may have been able to devise a method of reversing its effects if I were given a sufficient amount of time. Alas, I don’t have access to my laboratory in this hellhole.”

    Ben had a dumbstruck expression on his face. “Then… why didn’t you work on creating a cure for your girlfriend instead of dragging me into your stupid little scheme?”

    “Did I not make it clear what Team Plasma did to her?” Kelvin snapped. “They went beyond simply injecting her with the formula. They grafted an artificial metal exoskeleton onto her body. They tore out her vocal cords. They surgically removed her limbs and reattached them in different positions. They shut down several of her vital organs. That detestable suit of armor and cannon are the only things keeping her alive; even if I were to restore her human body, she’d never be the same. The tortured existence they’ve forced her to lead can never be fixed.”

    “Then how about you bust the hell out of here and get to work on the antidote for the Type II Formula?” the Zekrom hybrid suggested crossly. “You kept saying that you were “so, so sorry” and that you would undo all of this if you could, so what’s holding you back? You’re not under surveillance. No one even knows you’re down here except for Ghetsis’s buddies and me. If you broke out, nobody would notice.”

    The scientist raised his hand to his face. “Kid, you don’t understand. I’m wanted by the police; I’m the prime suspect in a homicide, and for a good reason. I’m a murderer. Remember when I told you that I blew my chances at using the genes of actual Legendary Pokémon? It’s because I killed the researcher who lent me the DNA. She willingly volunteered for the experiment, and it failed.”

    “I guess that’s a problem,” said Ben casually. He knit his brows. “But wait a second. You told me that Team Plasma’s experiments claimed a bunch of lives. If you’re wanted for killing one volunteer, why the hell hasn’t that organization been shut down for all the deaths it’s caused?”

    “See, this is where my obliviousness comes in. The volunteers my team worked with when I was part of Team Plasma were forced to sign dozens of consent forms. These guaranteed that the subjects we experimented on wouldn’t have anyone looking for them if they suddenly vanished one day. If someone were to acknowledge their disappearances, we were given permission to rule their deaths as either accidents or suicide. The researcher I tested the formula on… she had a husband and a young daughter, and she was a member of a small team of marine biologists in the Whirl Islands of Johto. She never told her family and colleagues that her vacation to the Unova region might end up being a one-way trip, and I’m to blame for that. I promised her that I had perfected the formula. Like I told you, pride is the deadliest of sins.

    “Dr. Kinsey fell in love with the Legendary Lugia when she was a little girl, and she went on to devote her entire life to researching it; that’s what she told me. She was quite the chatty woman; she practically told me her entire life story over the course of our discussions. I can understand her infatuation with the sea beast—it is a very impressive, majestic creature. She said she cried tears of joy the day she saw Lugia breach. Being able to collect a sample of the Pokémon’s genetic information was her proudest accomplishment, and when I told her I could possibly give her the unique opportunity to see out of Lugia’s eyes, she was more than willing to share her prized DNA with me.

    “That was a decidedly daring move; though her detailed reports on Lugia had gained some notability in the scientific community, she did not hold a lot of seniority in her workplace. Most of the other scientists scoffed at her and thought she was an oddball. While her team was interested in researching Lugia, their principal tasks involved more reasonable matters: keeping a census of the native Chinchou population, tagging and tracking Mantine, and searching for marine life that hadn’t previously been documented in that area. To see Lugia breach was a chance encounter and the senior staff were convinced that none of them would witness such a thing again. Kinsey, who was only an intern at the time, had more faith. To the chagrin of her colleagues, she made it her personal mission to study Lugia. If it weren’t for my offer, she may have never had another opportunity to learn about the beast. She agreed to participate in my experiment without question.”

    “I’m inclined to agree with her scientist pals,” Ben mumbled when the man appeared to have finished speaking. “Treating her family like they’re second-rate so she could pursue her obsession? That’s gotta be unhealthy. What a lunatic.” Could she have been in the same position as he was? Perhaps she too had come to the conclusion that her own happiness was the only thing that mattered in the end. What made them so different?

    “Were you even listening?” Kelvin growled with a hint of belligerence. “I lied to her: I persuaded her that the formula would work without a doubt. She believed that she would be able to return home with the ability to change into Lugia as she pleased. To be fair, I had myself convinced that it would be successful as well. I didn’t even consider failure, and it was wrong of me to assume that. When I was forced to listen to her tormented screams; when I watched as her skeleton ripped through her body while knowing there was nothing I could do to save her—that was when I realized I was terribly mistaken.”

    “All right, but something still smells fishy,” the hybrid contended adamantly. “If police are investigating the Lugia aficionado’s death, then why are they neglecting to look for suspects in your girlfriend’s disappearance? Judging by what you said, she didn’t sign any of that paperwork. She was dragged into it against her will, no?”

    “That is correct,” Kelvin confirmed. “She has no family to speak of, or at least none that she’s told me about. She worked as a secretary for Ghetsis’s branch of Team Plasma, meaning that all of her coworkers were in on it. Though she was otherwise unfit for the experiment, I suppose those qualities outweighed the negatives. The only person who would think of filing a report to the police was me, and my colleagues knew me well enough to safely presume that I wouldn’t. If I were to inform the police about Team Plasma’s experiments, I would be apprehended alongside my coworkers. As much as it hurts to admit, I am equally, if not more, responsible for the fate of my love and the deaths of all our volunteers. Incidentally, I did not think being thrown in jail would be an adequate method of exacting revenge.

    “That brings me back to your ponderings about why I’ve refrained from trying to escape from this cell. Since I am the only one who holds the key to unlocking the secrets of the Type II Formula’s success, Ghetsis has no choice but to keep me alive until he can get the information out of me. Is that ever going to happen? Goodness no, not if I can help it.”

    “And assembling an army of pubescent freaks was a better strategy? You’ve certainly got a convoluted set of values. Man, get your priorities straight,” Ben barked derisively. “You owe us hybrids big time. What makes you think you deserve to stay in the safety of this dungeon? Don’t give me the “I’m paying the price for my sins” bull—you clearly think of this place as a refuge. If you were truly sorry about what you did, you’d pay no heed to what would become of you if you became a fugitive. If you truly wanted to seek redemption and mend your mistakes, you’d get out there and work on putting together an antidote. You’re perfectly capable of fixing what you did—you just don’t want to.”

    Though Ben failed to realize it, the heartbroken scientist’s ethics mirrored his own in nearly every respect. His overpowering yearning to survive was the basis behind his reasoning to side with N; he had chosen to save himself and bring about suffering over sacrificing his life for the good of the Unova region. In the grand scheme of things, he thought, the only life that mattered was his own. Because he’d have no way to see from the perspectives of the people affected or witness the toll of his actions firsthand, the injustice of what he planned to do to prolong his existence was unimportant to him. Similarly, Kelvin thought little of the lives he had destroyed for the sake of avenging his girlfriend and keeping himself alive. The geneticist claimed to feel remorse toward the young adults he had dragged into his plot, but Ben knew his words were insincere. Kelvin’s attempt to acknowledge the wrongfulness of his crimes was nothing but false reassurance.

    Agitated, Kelvin rose from his seat. “All of this… was my intention,” he disclosed boldly. Stress had turned his face a searing shade of red, and sweat clung to his brow. He froze as if he regretted speaking up, but after several moments he resumed. “Did you really think I turned fifty kids into monsters to send them to war against Team Plasma? Even a fool would know that’s absolutely absurd! There is no logic in the notion of convincing a band of rebellious teenagers to fight an organization they had nothing to do with. It was all a cover-up; a trick I knew Team Plasma would fall for. They thought I’d be too consumed by my own ego to do anything about the torture my love was put through! They underestimated my ingenuity! Oh, no, I didn’t want to physically annihilate those bastards; I wanted to tear them apart from the inside out.

    “I sold my soul to singlehandedly produce the formula Team Plasma had so badly craved for years. To use this formula to destroy the lives of so many hopeful young people—it was all a pompous exhibition to make Team Plasma regret wronging the love of the man who had advanced their outlandish schemes by leaps and bounds! If they had kept me on their side, I could have done so much for them! If they thought you hybrids were a threat to their precious organization, they’d be forced to obliterate the creations that never seemed to be in reach. All of you hybrids were supposed to die! It’d be the icing on the cake—if Team Plasma got involved in the slaughtering of innocent children, their approval ratings would inescapably plummet, especially if their foolhardy figurehead had anything to do with it. If that N kid turned on Ghetsis and his friends, Team Plasma would collapse absolutely. You hybrids weren’t supposed to be my soldiers—you’re my weapon!

    “What made it all even better was the fact that I knew they’d be obligated to keep me alive. Ghetsis is a persistent demon of a man—he wouldn’t be above sheltering the force set out to crush his organization if he thought he could get what he wanted out of it. Bribes, threats, restraints—I’ll endure it all to avoid facing the death penalty or a life sentence in prison. Conditions in this cell are abysmal, but this place is a haven compared to the punishment I deserve. Ghetsis won’t kill me until he finds out how to produce the Type II Formula, and I’m the only person who possesses that knowledge. I planted outdated instructions, a vial of the formula that killed Dr. Kinsey, and a defective Ditto in the location I hid you hybrids to instill false hope in Ghetsis and his cronies. That place wasn’t my top-secret laboratory; I actually wanted to draw Team Plasma to it. My love is the only one who would know where I kept the real plans, and why in the name of Arceus would she give Ghetsis that information? Even if he thought of a way to get it out of her, he’d find that his decision to cut apart her vocal cords was ultimately counterproductive. Everything has flawlessly fallen into place—Ghetsis may think he’s pulling Team Plasma’s strings, but the true puppet master is none other than yours truly.”

    Vehement resentment burned in Ben’s mind, but in spite of this he addressed the narcissistic man with a cool and collected tone. “Why, how kind of you to tell all of this to someone who can turn into a Legendary Pokémon.” He balled his fist threateningly. “I might not be able to do anything now, but do you really think I’ll show you any mercy when I get Zekrom’s strength back? Gee, for someone who came up with such an intricate plan to keep himself alive, how did you not realize that this would backfire on you? Hey, man, you’re right—having a big ego can be deadly.”

    Kelvin strode over to the immobilized boy and kneeled by his side. “Do you not realize,” he hissed, “that if you were to kill me, you’d be no better off than I was. Ghetsis wants me alive. If he found out that you murdered me, he’d be sure to make your death as painful as possible. I know what you want, kid. You’re just like me. You don’t want to die. N has so graciously promised to spare your sniveling existence, and you’re going to let that go to waste? Also, kid, you may be able to turn into Zekrom, but the key factor is that you’re not a Zekrom right now.” The man stood up and placed his foot on Ben’s distended abdomen. The boy wailed and grew queasy as he gradually pressed down, squashing the contents of his bloated stomach. He gagged and turned his head as a mass of bloody vomit was forced out of his body. “It looks as if your rash decision to gorge yourself has worked to my advantage as well. You’re too full to move, making your defenseless human body even more vulnerable than it already was. If you truly plan on letting your threats become anything more than empty words, I won’t hesitate to make sure that never happens. I’ve already bloodied my hands; what’s one more victim? Ghetsis will let me get away with it. Now, kid, do you still think killing me would be a good idea?”

    Ben hysterically wheezed, “No, no, get off of me!” The scientist obediently eased his pressure, and once the hybrid was free, he snarled, “I may not be a religious person, but I’d gladly start believing in Hell if it meant you would go there. You… you’re a monster.”

    Kelvin laughed, returning to his chair as if nothing had happened. “Oh, Hell is real all right, and I’m doomed to spend all eternity there. That’s why I want to draw out and make the best of the precious time I have left. If people get in my way, why should I bother feeling repentance if I have to tear them down? It’s a waste of time. You and I… I think we can both agree on that.”
    Last edited by Ahnyo; 15th June 2013 at 09:02 PM.



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