Rakai gasped and, for a moment, lost focus. But a moment was all Dash needed. He sent the Weavile sprawling across the floor until he collided with the wall opposite them. Dash hastily followed his path of destruction and before Rakai could gather his bearings, pressed a clawed foot firmly against his throat. He glared at him with utter hatred, bending down until he was at eye level with the Weavile.
“I may never have what you had. I may never gain her affection, approval, or any of that. But I don’t need it. I only want what is best for her, and whatever makes her smile is what I smile to as well. Seeing you dead would make me only too glad, but I know that is not what Tali would want. See, she still has it in her head that she’s got a thing for you. She’s still hoping you’ll come back around to your old self some day.”
Rakai spluttered against the force of his foot and groaned, but Dash only pressed down harder. “But you and I know better. You’re so far gone, you’ll never find your way out from this madness now. I will let you live, but only for Tali’s sake. However, I will not stop trying to convince her you’re gone. I will not let her throw herself away for you. Even if I have to give my life, I’ll make sure you never lay a claw on that Buizel.” Dash lowered his face further, to Rakai’s ear, and whispered. “And that is the difference between you and me. You may have her love, but I have her heart. I have her trust. And I may be stone cold in my grave, so far gone from this world, but I will always find my way back to make sure you never touch it again. Just a friendly warning.”
He slapped Rakai’s cheek with a claw and then ran his other down his shoulder, hitting a pressure point, and causing the thrashing Weavile to pass out. His days training as an agent hadn’t been for nothing. He’d leave the body here for some wandering Missionary guard to find. He doubted Rakai would come after him again with that threat in mind. The Weavile may be stupid and psychotic, but he could tell Dash wasn’t lying; he was smart enough for that. And despite what the Weavile thought, Dash could also tell he feared him. And it was because he held the Buizel’s heart.
Satisfied with his job, Dash turned back to Lani who was unconscious yet again. This Houndoom really didn’t seem to have good luck. Heaving the poor Pokemon over his shoulder, he made his way steadily towards the direction of the med bay, hoping he could find someone in there who would be able to help him before Virok was alerted to their presence. He would have preferred just to make a run for it, but the Houndoom’s condition demanded medical attention right away. It was times like these he cursed himself for not paying attention in Medical Biology. A healing spell or two would surely have come in handy right about now.
There were so many twists and turns within the Missionary that my head was beginning to spin. Turn left, turn right, turn right again… It was all too confusing. And yet Eon seemed to have a good grasp of the place, especially since she said she hadn’t been here since she was a child. I was no closer to learning why she refused to talk about Kryal, however, but I didn’t press her for it. It wasn’t polite to talk about a dead relative, and I wasn’t nearly that heartless. So I was content enough with following the Larvitar through the confines of the white prison, and much more eager to escape it.
There had been no sign of Virok since he’d ordered Nadal to ‘escort’ me to the dungeon, which wasn’t a good sign. It left me wondering what he was up to. And Tali seemed to be keenly wondering about Rakai, or to be more accurate, keenly worrying about whether he might pop up again. I hoped for both our sake’s that neither Pokemon would grace us with their presence. And on top of that, the Missionary seemed eerily quiet, even though it was night time. From what little Dash had told me, the Missionary was supposed to be buzzing with activity, even at night. But this clearly wasn’t the case now. It left me worried.
“The exit isn’t too far from here.” Eon’s voice drifted lazily back to me. “We won’t use the main exit, though; that would be rather stupid. There’s a tunnel leading off from the right that goes further underground. It’s dark and wet down there, but we shouldn’t run into anybody. The old tunnels have been deserted since ye’ old days.”
I snorted at the accent the Larvitar placed on the last few words and earned a glare from the Pokemon in question as she turned her head in my direction.
“With any luck, we could run into the others while down there. I know you can use a mental link, Pikachu,” Eon said to me. “If they trained you in the ways of the rescuer, you should have no trouble being able to contact one of your friends. There is a catch, however. I’m sure you know that-”
“’There’s a chance while probing the minds of those around you that you could run into an enemy’,” I recited the lines Codan had once told me. “Yes, I know, and I’ll be very careful. But I just need to know that the others are alright.” I need to see them again,
I thought. It had been too long, and I wanted us to be back together safely. I was almost willing to risk exposure just for that. My mind cursed me for my foolishness, but I pushed the thought back. Instead, I decided to have a light conversation with Tali. We weren’t friends, as such, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t talk to her.
“How’s it feel to be back in the Missionary?” I asked the Buizel under my breath, not wishing for that lunatic of a Larvitar to overhear our conversation.
She merely stared at me for a moment, a blank expression on her face, then shrugged. “It’s okay, I guess. I never really wanted to see this place again, to be honest. But…” She drew silent as we both came to the same conclusion. She wanted to return because of Rakai, and now she had all the closure she needed. “I would like to see Dash again,” she mused. “That guy acts all high and mighty, but I bet he’s actually struggling. He’s like that, you know. Hides everything underneath a layer of macho talk.” A slight laugh escaped her lips before Eon interrupted us.
“It’s just this way. In the middle of this next room lies a secret trapdoor.” She grinned. “Of course just because it’s a secret, doesn’t mean that has ever stopped me from finding it…or using it.”
Tali and I exchanged glances. “Of course.” I was beginning to see similarities between the two females. Both held a certain disregard for rules.
The room Eon led us into wasn’t overly large, nor exquisite. It was one of the old underground rooms the Missionary now used for training. It was almost pitch black, although from what little I could see, white lines covered the rocky ground to mark the perimeter of an arena. My eyes caught a glint from the ceiling as I looked up to see the same orbs that had been in Altair’s temple; the ones used as mechanisms for lighting. I let out a small jolt to a few of them, none too surprised when they began to glow. Eon however, cocked an eyebrow.
“You know how those work, Pikachu? I’m ever so slightly impressed. No one uses these anymore, not since way back. It’s all done at the flick of a switch these days.”
But Eon’s rambling was broken by the gasp of horror that issued from Tali’s mouth. I turned to the Buizel with a ‘what?’ look on my face, only to follow her gaze to the opposite end of the room. Dread immediately clutched the pit of my stomach at the sight. Standing at the base of the arena was Virok, a smile etched to his face. Tali stumbled backwards a few steps and Eon drew herself into a defensive stance. I remained motionless, as my feet had seen fit to root me to the spot. Virok’s maniacal laugh echoed around us from all sides, seeming to hold us in an inescapable cage.
“You are too easy to follow,” he commented, giving us each a glare in turn. “I had Rakai track all of you. And you didn’t think for a moment that we were using surveillance cameras? Tsk, tsk, you three are quite the fools, aren’t you?”
Cameras! Of course a place like these would have tonnes. Why didn’t it ever cross our minds? Because we were too busy trying to save everyone,
I told myself. We forgot the most important things. Stupid!
“Ah, how good to see you again, Eon. Have you come back for the same fate as your dear brother?” Virok’s grin widened at the Larvitar, but my mind was thinking of something entirely different. That was it; she couldn’t deny it now. She had to admit she was Kryal’s sister. Even Virok said she was!
“…What?” But the Larvitar still looked puzzled. “What is with everyone?! I DON’T have a brother. I’ve never had a brother! So stop with the conversation already! If you want to kill us, get it over with. But I have no intention of going down without a fight!” She clenched her paws by her side and glared.
“No brother…?” Virok raised a paw to his chin and shrugged. “No matter what you say, you will not fool me with such talk. Now you two,” he pointed to Tali and Eon, “step aside so I can claim the Light Pokemon. She is the only one I want.”
I willed my feet to move and, for once, they obeyed. “W-why do you want me?!” I tried shouting towards him, but my voice came out in a husky whisper. It was obvious to even the most dim-witted fool that I was scared. But this only pleased Virok.
“Why? Why else? To destroy Deoxys! When I inject you with the powers of a Dark Pokemon, the result will be miraculous! Both a Dark and Light being, you will be unstoppable! Better even than my dark armies. The strongest hybrid shall defeat Deoxys and we shall be saved! All my research will have paid off!”
“Research?!” Tali stepped up to my side, fur bristling. “You call what you did to Rakai and the other Pokemon RESEARCH?! You’re just as insane as I thought. No, you’re even more insane! You MURDERED countless Pokemon! You don’t deserve to live!”
“TALI!” I cried out to the Buizel as she ran at Virok, head on, but she ignored my warning.
She dodged his incoming paw and countered with an Aqua Jet, spinning rapidly towards him. But Virok was stronger. Flexing his arms, he grabbed Tali on impact and let out a deafening Thunderbolt. The Buizel’s screams mingled with the crackling electricity. When the white light subsided, Virok tossed the burnt Buizel to the floor towards us.
“Tali!” I ran to her side, hoping I could do something with my healing powers. Her fur was a crisp brown colour, singing the tips of the once orange hue, and she was rendered unconscious. Focusing all the energy I had into my right palm, I placed it above Tali’s chest, willing it to heal her. Once again, the light power Altair had given me activated, my paw enveloped in a white light. Eon and Virok watched in silence as the light flowed through Tali’s fur to her skin, being absorbed into her body. After a minute or so, I raised my paw, panting heavily. Healing so much had drained a lot of my energy. But it was well worth it to see Tali’s eyelids flutter open.
“Zanna…?” she whispered up at me, blinking. “What…?”
“Stay still,” I muttered gently through my smile, resting a paw over her body. “You’re hurt, so don’t try to move.” There was no argument from Tali on the matter. She was strictly confined to the ground for the time being.
“Miraculous!” came the booming voice of the Electivire as he brought his hands together. “THAT is the very power I want; the power that I NEED. And it shall be mine!” Stalling was now out of the question; Virok’s patience had worn thin. He drew towards me with glee on his face, closer every second. I could only peer at him in horror.
“Stop right there.” Eon had placed herself in front of Tali and I, arms spread wide.
“Wha-?! Eon! Get out of the way!”
“Shut up, Pikachu!” she snapped at me. “Your life is the only one that matters, so let me handle this.”
“But…” I trailed off. It was no use; I knew she wouldn’t listen to me. This Pokemon was just as stubborn as Tali. One step closer and Virok would be upon us, but Eon stood her ground, not wavering. Except was…was that a rumbling sound I heard?
I glanced upwards just as a crash came from above as the ceiling broke in two, rubble suddenly falling and surrounding us. Virok was quick to jump back as rocks tumbled just inches from where he stood moments before. Eon placed herself over Tali and I latched tightly onto the Buizel. At least now that Electivire could keep his filthy paws off me. It was slow to react, but my mind lurched back into action as the ground rumbled from the turmoil. I rose and hastily stepped back, trying to keep my balance on the slippery marble floor. But even though I was doing one thing, my mind was wondering what had caused the ceiling to break in the first place. The timing was just too perfect to be a coincidence.
“Look out!” Eon’s voice snapped me from my thoughts as something pushed against my side, knocking me from my feet. I landed on the ground a moment later, tumbling to a halt a way from where I had originally been.
“What was…” I raised a paw to my head as I drew myself into a wonky sitting position. Through my dazed vision I saw Tali laying a few feet away and Eon… “EON!” The Larvitar was surrounded by a pile of rubble, crushed underneath it. No sound issued from her at my response. Eon had risked her life to save me. Before my mind could register what had just happened, a deep cry came from my left.
“Pikachu!” Virok’s voice forced my eyes to swivel towards him, gazing up as he reached a large hand out towards me.
“Ah!” I gasped and drew back, surprised at how he could still regain his balance over the sudden quake. “Get away from me, you creep!”
I shot sparks out at the Electivire but he easily absorbed them. Electric, of course. It was not the first time I forgot about type advantages and weaknesses, but it was the first time I truly cursed my folly for it. My attacks would only serve to give him energy.
“Wah!” I stumbled backwards, finally losing my footing as I tripped over a rock, falling to the ground in a daze. I was dimly aware of the grinning face of Virok as he strode my way, reaching out again. Any second now and I would be in his grasp. It was too late. My eyes widened in fear, but a brilliant flash of light illuminated the view before me.
As more rocks tumbled from the ceiling a figure fell downwards, landing deftly in front of me, a paw held to the side to steady itself. Virok jumped back again to avoid the sudden attack. Dust surrounded the newcomer’s body, but it lay low, crouched in an offensive position. Was it protecting me?
I flicked out my ears, sensing the tiny vibrations in the air. Perhaps I could tell who it was by the way they moved around the form. After a few seconds I stopped short, a silent gasp flowing from my mouth. I eyed the figure as it rose fluently, still retaining the offensive position, this time arms raised. Virok blinked, a surprised expression etched to his face. He made to step forward but the figure let out a low, deadly growl.
“Stay where you are.”
I was not mistaken; my head was swimming. How…Why?
It was as though what little energy I had left abated me, my body suddenly feeling faint. The haze had almost cleared and a familiar scent reached my nose, tickling it with a faintly sweet aroma I’d almost all but forgotten. I licked my lips, opening my mouth to speak, but no sound came out.
The figure turned its head slightly towards me but refused to glance any further, keeping its gaze locked on Virok. The Electivire’s face had changed, a smirk appearing in place of shock. He chuckled to himself and stood tall, eyeing the body standing low in front of me.
“Well, well, I never thought I’d see you again so soon,” he almost crooned, the figure hissing in response. “Oh, come now!” Virok snapped. “Is that any way to greet your father!?”
A husk of a laugh escaped Rye’s lips. He lifted his head to meet Virok’s eyes, gazing with force. “Hello, dear father.”
Virok seemed to relax and take a step forward, but it was never Rye’s intention to let him pass. The Elekid swiftly struck out an arm, a barrier forming behind it and enclosing me. The Electivire halted as he hit the light, unable to get through the rippling shield. He twisted his head towards Rye who smirked back, still holding his arm in place. “Why you-”
Virok struck out, intending to hit Rye and send him sprawling, but the Elekid effortlessly caught the incoming arm and latched onto it tightly. The Electivire’s eyes widened in surprise and a steel glint appeared within Rye’s grin. In a swift movement he brought the paw creating the barrier forwards, sending it crashing into Virok’s chest. The impact sent the Electivire flying. The wind was knocked clean from his body as he slammed into the opposite wall and slid to the floor in a daze, eyes fluttering closed as he lost consciousness.
It was an understatement to say I was shocked. So much power… Where had that come from? But every question was blown clean from my mind as the Elekid lowered his battle stance, relaxed his muscles and turned to face me. Rye’s expression remained emotionless, but somewhat grim as he caught my gaze. His eyes were still the bright emerald I remembered, but my mind really hadn’t done them justice. I, myself, was too surprised and confused. So many things were happening within me at once; anger, frustration, joy, hurt, sorrow, fear…
All the hurt he’d caused me seemed to rush to the fore of my mind and I grit my teeth, clenching my paws. Anything to stop the tears that willed for release. I would not give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry.
Rye hesitantly took a step forward and opened his mouth when a blur rushed past. The instant the both of us turned our heads another blast of white-hot electricity slammed into Rye, forcing him clean off his feet. Virok had risen once again and was a force to be reckoned with.