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Ariana clung to her Crobat fearfully as they neared the island. She just couldn't shake the feeling that he was waiting for her. The man from that night in the alley in Goldenrod. That wicked smile full of hate... She felt a chill run down her spine. Her stomach was doing backflips over the ordeal and she had to struggle to hold down the urge to throw up. Add to that the fact that some kid beat them all again... It wasn't even supposed to be possible. Archer had been meticulous in making sure the kid wouldn't be able to stop them. She glanced over at Petrel. He is the only one who doesn't seem to be affected by this... What is he up to? Proton had gone berserk over the ordeal. Feeling the bile surge in her stomach again, Ariana let her thoughts go and concentrated more on not throwing up.
The great flock of Crobat and Golbat landed on the beach of their island and moved out of the way so all the other grunts could land. Archer had the unmistakable air of defeat around him. Ariana pushed her way to him. "Now what do we do?"
All the grunts were listening to what he had to say. Archer turned to face them all. "I'm sorry... I failed. We have a ship to take us back to Kanto- Madame will be there. Just go back to the lab, heal your Pokemon, and we'll leave this place."
"Why do we have to go? It's not like the Guild is after us," one grunt in the crowd asked.
"No... But I can't lead you anymore. We were safe and flourished in power under Madame's rule- Let's just go back to where we can be strong again. Maybe Giovanni will be able to find us there." Seeing no need to argue with the ruler who had at least tried to keep them safe. The grunts all trudged back to the lab behind him. None of them had any idea who was waiting for them to do just that.
Hayle sent a hand signal to Danatalion as soon as all the grunts disappeared into the lab. Danatalion passed the signal to Koga who shot off through the forest to tell Sam.
"They're all inside."
Sam picked up the walkie-talkie with a devious smile spreading across his face. Scyther had a smirk. Mewtwo stood beside him, swirling his great tail impatiently. "Release them all," was the single command given. Across the island, Gyarados were released into the water to destroy the ship and guard the waters so no aid could come and no one could try to swim from the island. A legion of Rapidash and Ninetails were set out into the wild to burn the trees and foliage so there wouldn't be anywhere for Team Rocket members to hide. Electrabuzz and Ampharos were sent on a similar arsenal mission. Finally, an army of Nidoqueen, Nidoking, and Machamp were discharged to break windows in case of poison gases and knock down trees for easier burning as well as block the exits with dirt, logs, and rocks to keep the Team Rocket executives in for as long as possible.
Hayle, Danatalion, and gym leaders from not only Johto, but Kanto as well were placed at various positions for when the swarm came. Sam, Red, Blue, Mewtwo, Scyther, Tao, Koga, and Sabrina were all going in. They were in front of the back door. Sam eyed the lock carefully. Sabrina pulled her charcoal black hair out of her face impatiently. "Can you pick that lock?"
"I can... But it'd take too much time. It's too complex," Sam responded. He pulled out his new, sharp, black dagger and slammed it through the steel door and simply cut the lock out and opened the door. Koga laughed at the action, greatly amused by Sam's improv. Tao smirked and giggled. Sam tipped his hat and winked at them. He opened the door wide for them. "Ladies first."
Sabrina snorted and stormed in with Tao close behind her. Once the rest of their crew passed him, he ghosted in behind them and closed the door quietly.
Ariana was packing her bags unhappily when she caught the smell of smoke. At first, she thought it was just her nerves- but her nerves got the better of her. She ventured out into the silent hallway- all the grunts were milling around packing things up. She strode down the hallways to the southern end of the building where the security room was. She knocked on the door and waited for them to open it like they were supposed to. After standing there for longer than she believed necessary, she opened the door for herself.
"Just what do you lazy-" Ariana cut off her scolding when she turned around one of the chairs and saw the grunt slumped in the chair; his throat cut wide open. All five grunts were dead. She looked at the security monitors in fear. One screen showed the fire spreading rampant through the island, another showed Gyarados attacking their ship viciously, another one showed her staring at the screens in fear, yet another showed the intruder. He was dressed in all black. As she stared at him in horror, he looked up and flashed a bone-chillingly evil smile at the security camera as if he knew she could see him. Icy fear coursed through her veins. Then she realized that that security camera was just down the hall. She turned on the alarm system and then threw herself from the room and ran down the hall calling for help.
Ariana never saw the barbed trip wire, only felt it rip through the flesh of her ankle. She hit the ground hard. She tried to roll over to try and free her foot from the wire. Standing right in front of her... Looking down at her with a cruel glint in his eyes was Sam. He didn't even pause for a second. She tried to scream, but he cut her off forever by slamming his blade through her forehead.
With the alarm going, grunts were coming out of their rooms. He cursed under his breath. The Rockets knew they were here now, though he knew he'd be discovered eventually. Scyther came to his side, panting heavily with the excitement of battle.
"Arceus, Scyther, don't have a heart attack," Sam scolded him with a smile. Scyther clashed his blades together as a quiet substitution for a war cry. The flow of grunts coming towards them dismissed the idea of further banter.
"Intruders! There they are!" one particularly loud grunt yelled out. A large number of grunts pulled out Poke Balls and prepared to release their Pokemon. Sam pulled out several of his throwing knives and threw them at the forerunners of the pack with accuracy and speed. That made the rest hesitate, and that hesitation was all Sam needed. Both he and Scyther carved a bloody gash through the Rocket's ranks. Most were dead before they hit the ground. Grunts towards the back decided to high-tail it way from the man in black and his scyther. Within moments, the rest of the crowd that had stayed or weren't fast enough to get away perished. Leaving a job well done, the two shadows disappeared into the darkness and continued down the hall after checking every room to ensure that no one was left.
Red and Blue had decided to stick together. They had both realized that when it came to something like this, petty rivalries were the least of their concerns. They didn't have the capability to kill another human being, necessarily, but Koga was close behind them and he cleaned up what they left behind. Niether boy wanted to think about what happened to the Rockets they left in their wake. Sabrina had gone off on her own. They could hear the barbed whip crack and the screams of her victims as she lashed out at them. Mewtwo was on his own, but chose to be nearby Sam in case one needed the other. Tao was hell-bent one thing and one thing only- getting Arthur. No one knew where she'd gone, but it was obvious that she was hunting Arthur.
The alarms started going off. A whole legion of grunts ran out of their rooms and quickly recognized Blue and Red, even without the hat. In a fair fight- you only used one Pokemon. Red decided that this wasn't supposed to be fair. He pulled out all his Pokemon and released them.
Blue stared at him in shock. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Forget the rules, Blue."
Koga chipped in as he released all of his Pokemon as well. "He's right. You guys couldn't take out all of their Pokemon within a year even if they had them stand in single file line."
Blue scowled. Playing dirty wasn't his thing, but Koga was right. No one was playing fair here. "Alright, let's go!" He released all seven of his Pokemon- Machamp, Gyarados, Rhyperior, Exeggutor, Arcanine, Tyranitar, and his old trusty Pidgeot. It was Red's turn to stare in shock. Blue shrugged. "What? I wanted to be prepared, so took seven Pokemon." Red shook his head in disbelief.
Despite the huge and on going fray, Red and Blue both noticed that the Team Rocket grunts were falling suddenly and quickly. Red's Pikachu let loose a huge burst of lightning that reached all the Pokemon by chain reaction. The small mouse Pokemon was thoroughly tired at that point, but it cleared the air. All Pokemon left were wiped out by a large blast of psychic power that cut them all completely in half. Standing on the other side of the battlefield was Sam, Scyther, and Mewtwo.
"Sam! I've never been so glad to see you of all people," Koga said with a laugh.
Sam smirked in the shadows. "Koga, you old dog, I thought you could handle something like this. I'm disheartened to see I was wrong."
"I wasn't about to walk through that battle just to get to those Rocket worms," Koga stated. Sam walked towards them. As he got closer and stepped into the light, they realized that he had blood all over him. Koga looked at him with something like concern. "Are you okay? You're drenched in blood."
Sam looked down at himself then back up with at them with an oddly cheerful grin. "It's okay. None of it's mine."
Red and Blue stared at him in shock and a bit of fear. Both of them also felt a great deal of respect for him at the moment. Koga grunted. "Koga, go find Tao for me. I don't want her out there alone. I don't want to lose anyone to this mess. Red, Mewtwo will go with you. Between you guys, take out any grunts you see. Just keep walking down the main hallway; don't bother straying from it. There has to be some type of commence somewhere where they'll try to make a stand- we'll meet up there. Blue, you're with me. Disperse." Koga nodded in agreement to the plan and disappeared. Red followed Mewtwo, who'd already started walking away.
Blue stared at Sam nervously. "What are we going to do?"
Sam smiled. "You're going to help me find Ditto." Blue's eyes widened. "I'll need a good trainer I can trust watching my back- So let's go." He began walking away.
"Do you... Have any idea where to find him?" Blue asked as he followed quickly. He had to jog a little bit to keep up with Sam's long strides.
"There's got to be blueprints somewhere... They might be in the security room- that's where we'll check first." Blue nodded. Ditto... In all the excitement, I'd almost forgotten why Sam is even doing this... I hope Ditto is okay.
As they walked through the halls, Blue saw all the dead Rockets everywhere. He blanched and paled as he realized that Sam and Scyther had done it. The Scyther was walking behind them, lagging a bit. Blue could hear his ragged breath and felt a pang of sympathy.
Sam opened the door to the security room and went inside as he told Blue to wait outside. He came back out with the blueprints and laid them on the ground. He studied them carefully. "Hmm... Looks like I was right about the commence. It's near the entrance to the building too. They'll definitely put up a fight there... And here- this must be the Laboratory." Sam looked around getting their bearings. "We're here which means... We need to go that way." He pointed to the hallway to his left. Blue left figuring out the proper route to take to Sam. He looked at that map and saw nothing but senseless squares and rectangles. Finally, Sam stood up and took the hallway to the left. He turned at various intersections, but never faltered in his decision. They met little resistance.
"It's quiet..." Blue commented.
"Yes... it is. I'm not sure I like it. They've probably moved towards the exit or fled the building... I'm sure the captains outside are getting the fight of their lives," Sam responded. As they passed a room with the door wide open, Blue peered inside. There were several desks and the soft glow of computer screens. Sam looked to see what had stopped Blue. "What is it?"
"I guess it's where they do their research..." Blue walked to the nearest desk and flipped through the papers. There was a checklist of some sort. Blue took it out of the room and into the hallway to where he could see it better.
Sam looked at it. "It's... A list of Ditto."
"They have over a hundred," Blue commented. All the Ditto were named with a number, so it was imposible to tell one from the other with just a sheet. Some names had big X's by them and five had check marks. "What do you think the checkmarks stand for?" Blue asked nervously.
"Well, if you consider that they took over the Radio Tower to broadcast a message to Giovanni... My guess is that they completed his dream for him. Five more Mew have been added to the world," Sam answered emotionlessly.
"... What will you do if... if your Ditto was turned into a Mew?" Blue asked nervously, tripping over the words. He wasn't sure how Sam would react to a question like that. Blue watched him closely.
Sam stared up at the ceiling for a moment, considering the possibility. "Well... I guess I'd have to think of a proper name for him."
"What? Why on earth would I keep calling him 'Ditto' if he's a Mew? Doesn't make any sense. I'd have to think of real name for him."
Blue processed the logic. "You... wouldn't be bothered by his new form?"
"Were you bothered when your Growlithe evolved into an Arcanine?"
"Exactly. It's the same Pokemon, just a different form... Which hardly makes a difference to me since Ditto never stays in one form for too long anyway." Sam walked away from him at that. Blue tossed away the clipboard and followed Sam. At the end of the hallway was a big, steel double-door. Sam stopped in front of it. His hand had a hold of the handle. Every fiber of his being wanted to believe that Ditto was still here, but he refused let his hopes get high. It was that damn optimistic hope that had crushed him last time. He let out a slow breath and opened the doors to the laboratory.
Cages lined the walls on every side containing hundreds of Pokemon. Sam looked around him and saw all of their scared, hurt faces and saw the all the pain in their eyes. But more than anything, he just wanted to find his Pokemon- Ditto. But he couldn't just abandon these Pokemon, even for a second. The cages were built in columns and one lever controlled the whole row along with individual levers. Sam started going down the line, releasing all kinds of Pokemon. Many were too afraid to come out of their cages. Sam picked up his phone and dialed Hayle's number.
"Sam? What happened?"
"Nothing happened... But I'm releasing Team Rocket's stolen Pokemon. I'll see if I can find some Poke Balls, but some may have to just run free outside for awhile. I don't want you to hurt them."
"Right. Got it." Hayle hung up. Sam put his phone back in his pocket. Blue continued pulling levers and freeing the Pokemon. Sam took care of one side of and Blue worked the other, but there were easily a dozen shelves.
"Damn... We need some extra hands," Blue commented. Hearing this, Blue's Machamp joined in, wanting to help his master. Sam sighed, but kept going. They heard someone come in. Sam had a dagger out and was posed to strike at whoever it was. A Machamp was standing there. Sam recognized it as his own and the same one who'd helped him and in truth, saved his life in the burning hotel. Sam put his dagger away. The big Machamp saw what they were doing and picked up work speedily. He ran from one lever to the next. His effort brought a smile to Sam's face. He looked at Blue. "How's that for an extra hand?"
Blue and his Machamp started working faster as well. Eventually they turned the corner and looked down a little hallway dedicated to nothing but dittos. Sam looked around him. Machamp gave Sam a sympathetic look.
The Machamp continued pulling the levers, releasing the Pokemon quickly. Sam didn't help this time. He just walked down the aisle staring at every ditto in turn. Some of the cages were already empty. He's not... here. Sam whirled around, checking every ditto again desperately. Sam finally slowly looked around, searching for a cage that had been attacked viciously in some way. Ditto would never just sit here... He would have tried to escape. None of the cages had much damage done to them.
Blue thought about asking Sam if he saw his ditto at all, but when he turned around to do so- he saw the pale and distraught look on Sam's face and decided that it was a bad idea. Sam walked down the row of cages slowly. Blue watched as Sam ran a hand through his hair and look at the ground, defeated. Scyther, who'd been resting at the laboratory's entrance most of the time, stood beside him. Then, the old Pokemon leapt off with a cry of what sounded like hope. Sam looked up and finally noticed what Scyther had seen- the obvious sign he'd been looking for.
In the corner of the lab was a giant steel cage with iron bars that were easily two inches wide. The cage was built to keep a real monster in. Blue anxiously approached Sam, who was standing in front of the cage with his back to him, one hand covering his face and he was shaking. A nervous Blue got closer and soon realized why Sam was laughing.
True enough, the cage had been built to contain a monster- but Ditto had been far stronger and far more terrifying than the Rockets had given him credit for. The thick iron bars were twisted and broken everywhere. The iron top was bent and ripped. Ditto had made his escape the moment he sensed his master's presence, knowing that there was a battle to be fought and won.
Ditto had been held in captivity for far too long. As much as he wanted to (and could have) escaped much sooner, he couldn't leave all his brothers here. They were suffering too, though whether they understood that or not was hard to tell. Sometimes he wondered if they knew what having someone as kind as his master was like.
He missed Cat a lot, even though it was her games that got him in this mess. He found that lately, he had the capacity to think more and understand things... It was weird, but he rather liked the change. He'd properly terrified all of his enemies here and when he growled, they jumped. He loved it...
But he missed Master.
Even though he hadn't seen him, he knew that he would be looking for him- he just had to wait and hold out and everything would be fine. Ditto had felt his master's presence in the Pokemon Mansion too, but the stupid mint enemy took him out of there too soon. Where they'd gone after that and where he was now, he didn't know.
Now, Ditto could feel his master's presence again... He's here...! He found me! And Scyther will be with him! The excitement had gotten to him, he didn't want to wait in his cage, he wanted to go find Master and Scyther... The problem was, that even though he could sense his master somewhere- he couldn't pinpoint exactly where.
So he transformed into an Arcanine and started sniffing around. He caught Scyther's scent, so he followed it. That led him to Master's scent and trail. Ditto followed it excitedly. The trail led to an open door that revealed the burning woods beyond... Master... Did not leave... I went the wrong way. Ditto growled menacingly with his frustration. He would have to refollow the trail.
He did, but the eventually, Master's trail was covered with the heavy scent of blood and it was lost. Ditto was forced to turn back and try to follow Scyther's trail- which led him to a great battle scene between his enemies and people he recognized as comrades... And Mewtwo. Finally!
Red was fighting the countless Rocket's as well as he could, but his Pokemon were starting to get tired. He'd found that Mewtwo, despite the fact that he scared absolute shit out of him at first, was an nice and almost reasonable companion. Neither of them had any interest in speaking to the other, it was pretty great.
Koga had found Sabrina while looking for Tao. In turn, they'd found Tao trying desperately to cut through the army of Rockets to get at Archer. Koga finally convinced her to calm down and try to work through them slowly. As she cut down Rockets with her blades, she sang out to Archer all manner of threats. "Oh, Arthur? I'm here! And I've missed you soo much... I have so much planned for you for when I get my hands on you again! I have the scalding hot water ready... The Scavenger's Daughter and the Streetsweeper's Daughter, both are cleaned up and absolutely ready just for you... I pulled my Witch's Chair from the basement... I don't even know what to use first! I even got the Head Crusher from my mother!"
Across the room Archer turned an unhealthy green color as he listened to his swan song. He sent several of his best grunts to fight to try and kill her so he could at least die at somebody else's hand... Anyone who wasn't Tao was fine with him.
Red tore his gaze from the train-wreck type situation with Tao as a Pidgey flew in and landed on Mewtwo's shoulder, who was holding his ground not too far away. The Pidgey on his shoulders chirped like mad, apparently telling Mewtwo something. Mewtwo seemed to understand what he'd said and responded. The little bird seemed to scowl before it flew out quickly the way it came. The randomness of it almost struck him as funny- almost.
A few minutes later saw most of the combatants on the Guild's side tired and injured in some minor way. Tao was the only one who was still fighting with the same amount of energy, but she seemed to have tunnel-vision and was taking several wounds without really noticing the impact of them.
One grunt got behind her and was about to slam a knife into her back. He didn't make it. A well-thrown dagger appeared to grow out of his temple and he fell. A tidal wave of Pokemon appeared on the field. The army of ditto transformed into all manner of Pokemon and started taking down anything in their way. Sam and Blue had finally shown up.
"Where the hell have you guys been?" Red yelled at Blue.
"Freeing caged Pokemon so we'd have more on our side," Blue said with a cheerful grin. Red scowled. Both watched as Mewtwo went over to Sam to tell him something. Sam smiled and shook his head in response. Sam directed Scyther to stand by them and protect them. Sam himself moved to stand over by Tao on the front lines. He cut down Rocket after Rocket like they were nothing. If Tao was good, Sam was an undisputed master at the art of fighting.
Tao smirked at him. "It's a good thing I never challenged you to fight. I would have lost!" She laughed.
Sam smirked back. "More the pity for me. I would have enjoyed proving a friend of mine wrong. He thought you could beat me."
"Maybe... If I was having a really good day and you were having a really off one!" Tao laughed. "Actually, all this blood reminds me of Arthur and how much I'd like to get my hands on him... Any ideas on how to speed this up?"
"Watch my back for a second, I may have something that can clear a path for us pretty quickly."
Tao did as he asked as pulled a Poke Ball out of his pocket. "Us? Who are you after?"
"Lance." There was a flash of light as he released his silver Rapidash. The grunt around them backed up nervously. The Rapidash reared on its powerful hind-legs and slammed back the ground with enough force to cause it to vibrate. Sam pointed straight infront of him. "Charge all the way through to the end, if you would be so kind." He turned to Koga quickly and shouted to him, "You're on your own again. Make sure nothing happens to Red and Blue!"
Rapidash charged through the sea of black and purple Pokemon, Sam and Tao followed behind her. Archer saw what was happening and fled. Lance had fled a long time ago, as soon as the man that he recognized as Sam appeared and started helping Tao.
Mewtwo had told Sam that Ditto had been there just minutes before he arrived, but Sam couldn't do much about it. Ditto was looking for him. And he would probably have better luck considering that Ditto could transform into something with a great sense of smell and track him easily enough. For now, Sam had decided to just find Lance. Unfortunately, Lance wasn't about to make it easy for him.
After recognizing Sam, Lance fled down a hallway and to the small little crawlspace disguised as a vent. He removed the vent cover and slid inside the cramped room. He replaced the cover and curled up quietly with a dagger at ready.
He didn't have to wait long. He heard the footsteps down the hall within a few moments. Lance held his breath as Sam got closer and closer. Finally, he stopped just in front of the vent. Lance could tell that the boot he was wearing was armored for protection, but there was a chance there would be a weak spot just below the ankle for mobility.
Lance took that chance. He lashed out through the vent and slammed the dagger home, right through the boot. Sam hardly had time to react before Lance shot out of the crawlspace and knocked him off balance. Sam hit the wall on the other side and Lance ran off down the hall.
Sam cursed repeatedly under his breath as he tried to pull the dagger from his foot. As the blade slid out, blood started leaking from the stab wound. He cursed under his breath again and slid the blade back in to block the blood flow. He took out his own daggers and cut off the handle on the one in his foot. Unable to run with the injury, Sam followed as quickly and quietly as he could on the gamble that Lance would slow down if he thought that Sam wasn't following anymore.
The arrival of all the freed Pokemon and Sam's powerful Rapidash turned the tables quickly. Within ten minutes, the battle was almost won. The battle had taken its toll on the Pokemon, but they had grown so much at the same time. Koga and Sabrina glanced at each other and exchanged silent communication before approaching Red and Blue.
"Look, boys, me and Sabrina are going to make sure Sam... And Tao are alright. Just stay here and keep up the good work. You've got Scyther here and Mewtwo to protect you but don't be reckless. Kay?"
Red nodded, but Blue had other ideas. "I want to come too. My Pokemon don't need me to tell them what to do..."
Koga was going to argue with him, but Sabrina over ruled him. "Whatever. Just come on." She turned away. Mewtwo cleared a path for them quickly. Red watched them go nervously. Sure, the Scyther had protected him numerous times so far, but the old Pokemon sounded terrible and Red wasn't sure he could count on him anymore.
Then, the Pidgey returned, this time from the same hallway Sam had come through minutes before. The little bird saw Scyther and hovered in front of it. Some type of joyful conversation passed between them and ended when Scyther pointed in the direction Sam, Tao, and the others had gone. The Pidgey darted off quickly.
Ditto followed Sam's trail all the way to the room of cages and saw that all of the Pokemon there had been freed. Ditto also knew that his master had lingered in front of the cage before leaving. Ditto kept following his trail desperately, and he wasn't the only one. Blue was there as well as two others he knew. He hovered over them, watching what they were doing... There was blood on the floor. Ditto transformed into an Arcanine again and pushed them aside to sniff at the blood.
Koga was shocked at the appearance of the giant dog Pokemon. It sniffed around the blood. It put its ears back and growled angrily before bounding off down the hallway, following the blood trail Sam had left behind. Koga and Blue looked at each other in shock and confusion.
Sam kept following Lance and, like he'd hoped, Lance had slowed down and sauntered around carelessly as he collected items he thought he could escape with.
Unfortunately, Sam was also slowing down. The blood flowing from the wound was increasing and he could tell he had lost a bit too much. His foot had gone numb, he felt a lot weaker, and he had a little bit of double-vision.
Lance had gone into some type of room that seemed to be Archer's office. A dizzy spell hit and Sam staggered and had to pause to lean against the doorframe before stepping inside.
Lance was hurriedly stuffing anything expensive into a bag. He turned around to leave Archer's private quarters and saw Sam in the doorway. He wasn't scared at first since he could see that the damage he'd managed to inflict had been enough to significantly weaken him. "Oh, look! It's you, Sam. You know, you caused me quite a bit of trouble in Pokemon Mansion... I had to kill several grunts to make sure they wouldn't hear about how you got lucky." Sam glared at him, but swayed on his feet as another dizzy spell struck.
Lance went on as he stepped closer to Sam with his dagger out. "It was rather inconvenient... And you killed my gengar? That was just mean... But on the bright side, I got your precious little Abra." Lance smirked. Sam hadn't even heard the comment since the dizzy spell was blocking out almost everything around him, but there was someone who had.
Lance was about to strike Sam when darkness started to swirl around him, as if the shadows reacted to him. Lance paused nervously. Slowly, Sam seemed to get bigger... Lance stepped back, he wasn't sure what was happening. Sam didn't know either. He could see the illusion of himself getting bigger around him and the shadows surrounding him. Not wanting to break the illusion, Sam stood still. Lance kept backing up until he was against the wall.
Ditto, furious at Lance for hurting Cat (he'd understood that much), and for hurting his master, was using Night Shade to fend off his now sworn enemy. Master didn't move. Ditto transformed into a Pidgey and flew over his head and then transformed into his favorite Pokemon: an oversized Eevee with extra sharp teeth and a larger jaw for good measure.
Sam saw the Pokemon in front of him and couldn't help but smile at his Ditto's use of disguises... He hasn't changed.
Lance was too focused on the ever-growing illusion of Sam. He couldn't figure out why that was happening. In the end, he couldn't tell what baffled him more; the illusion or the snarling Eevee that ended his confusion forever.
No longer able to keep standing, Sam slid to the ground. Ditto bounded up to him and rushed into Sam's arms, happily snuggling up with his master. Sam smiled and hugged the Pokemon a little tighter. "You couldn't just wait in your cage for me, could you?"
"You took too long." Ditto responded in the voice of a soft-spoken child.
Koga rushed in after realizing that the blood was Sam's. He was worried partially because he did care about Sam's well-being, but also the fact that the Thief Lord wanted him to make sure that Sam came out alright. He saw Lance first, slumped over with his neck ripped out and vicious bite wounds to his stomach. Then he noticed Sam sitting on the floor beside him with a small pink cat-like Pokemon that had blood all over its mouth. "Is... that... A Mew?" Koga asked in disbelief. Sam nodded in response. "Aren't they... supposed to be kind, benevolent Pokemon?"
Sam chuckled. "I'm sure the lone and natural one is a very sweet creature... But this is Ditto... He appears to have... Evolved, I suppose."
"I see..." Koga said, though he didn't truly understand. Seeing the blood seeping from Sam's boot, he remembered his original objective. "You're hurt?"
Sam finally remembered the wound. The fact that he wasn't standing on it anymore helped significantly. Ditto was still clinging to him as he sat up a little straighter and leaned over to get a better look at the wound. "Not badly. I got stabbed just below the ankle... Might have nicked an artery. I left the blade in to block the blood flow. If you can find a first aid kit, that'd be ideal."
Koga nodded. Sam's face was a bit pale, but he seemed to be holding out okay so Koga left him in search for the item in question. He returned with it quickly.
Blue had been told by Koga to wait in the main hallway and he was happy to do so. All the blood around him was starting to get to him. Sabrina and Tao appeared with a Houndoom Archer in tow.
"Where are Koga and Sam?" Sabrina asked him, her voice carrying a demanding tone.
Blue pointed down the hallway. "Down there." Sabrina nodded and strode purposefully down the hallway. Blue looked back at Tao and her charge. Archer had been completely and utterly captured with a thick cord binding his hands behind his back and collar/noose around his neck with a leash that Tao had a fierce hold of. Archer had the look a dead man walking. I wouldn't want to be him.
Finally, Koga came back supporting Sam who was limping pretty heavily. A Mew with blood all over it was curled up around his shoulders and clinging to his clothing tightly. Blue stared at it. "Ditto?"
Sam smiled. "Yes."
Ditto stared at Blue with its sweet and innocent-looking baby blue eyes, but they had a deep look of intelligence to them. "... Blue? ... And Red is here as well? Where is Scyther? Is he still with Red?"
Right... Scyther. Ditto doesn't know... "Sabrina, take Blue out of here. Tao, take your prisoner as well. We're done here." Sabrina, despite being older and technically Sam's superior officer, obeyed instantly. She grabbed Blue by the arm and proceeded to drag him from the building.
"Don't over-exert yourself, Sam. You don't look so hot," Tao warned with a casual wave. "C'mon, Arthur. My babies are just waiting to make you scream." She tugged on her leash and Arthur followed obediently. Tao's Houndoom pranced around her heels and nipped at Arthur happily. Sam and Koga watched them go.
"What are you planning on doing now?" Koga asked.
"Get my Scyther. C'mon, don't make me walk there by myself," Sam said grimly. Koga sighed but nodded and they turned back to where the commence was. They got there, though Sam was slowly becoming more and more reliant on Koga. When they got there the battle was over. Mewtwo was standing awkwardly off to the side, as if not sure what to do. Red was kneeling down beside a fallen Scyther. Sam felt Ditto's hold on his shirt tighten and the little Pokemon tense up like he wanted to go to him, but refused to leave Sam for any reason.
Koga helped Sam maneuver through the countless fallen bodies of Pokemon and Rocket alike. Koga muttered under his breath, "Damn... Did that old boy take them all down with him?"
Sam smiled sadly. "Probably." Red was still kneeling down in front of the Scyther. Koga turned away after leaving Sam standing beside his fallen Pokemon. Koga hardly knew Scyther, but had felt a great deal of respect and even affection for the old battle-scarred Pokemon. Sam knelt beside Scyther. Ditto slipped from his shoulders and sat on his knee, staring at the still Scyther with wide-eyes.
Sam saw the tears streaming from Red's eyes. "I'm... I'm so sorry! If I would have been paying more attention and seen that... Arbok a little sooner... He wouldn't have... He protected me!"
Sam looked around- It was obvious that Scyther had taken more than his fair share down with him and his last fight had been fierce battle with a worthy opponent; a powerful Arbok that Scyther had still managed to take down with him. Sam reached out and ruffled Red's hair. "Don't worry about it, kid. I'm sure he wouldn't have preferred it any other way. I told him to protect you, and he did just that."
"He was old, Red. There's nothing to feel guilty about," Sam said. Ditto had heard what he'd said and slowly climbed back up to his shoulders. Ditto was clearly very upset, but seemed comforted by Sam's logic. Sam started to get up and Koga quickly turned around to help him. Red stood up as well.
"What... Will you do with him," Koga asked carefully.
"I don't want to leave him here... I want to give him a proper burial... But I don't know that we have much choice. He's too heavy to carry and I don't have a Poke Ball for him at the moment." The Machamp that had been standing nearby, the same one who'd been helping Sam all day, walked over to the Scyther. Sam watched silently as the powerful Pokemon picked up his comrade carefully and respectfully and turned to face him with a grim face. Sam managed a slight smile for it. "Thank you..." The Machamp matched his eyes and nodded a simple understanding of gratitude.
Sam turned away and Koga was forced to turn with him and they walked away, leaving a slew of fallen Rockets in their wake.
It was over- finally.
AN: Chapter 17 is next and then that is the end of Johto, my dear readers! On to Hoenn! Where everything is light-hearted and fun!
Thanks to DarkAngelTorchic, my awesome beta. And Soulmaster!
Thanks to Fearless Neko for Lizeth Cole and JestieUchiha for Tobi. Neither were mentioned in this chapter, but they still deserve their due credit. :)
Always accepting OC's :)