The Storm Breaks
So… The reinforcements were here at last.
My hand had cooled to a point where I had shaped it so it was closer to normal. It still throbbed, but I could move my fingers and make a fist now, and that’s all that mattered. I struck out at Vanyu again, Thunderpunch after Thunderpunch. He was on the defensive now, but every once in a while he’d back up and prepare a dark orb of energy just in front of his gem; the Shadow Blast that had taken Sentii’s life, and had nearly taken Marigold’s.
I growled as I dodged the black ray. I could tell that something was terribly, terribly wrong. I felt as if I was being watched, but all of the other Shadow Pokémon present were busy. A Manectric was snapping at Reeah, who writhed to knock him off as he clasped her tail in his powerful jaws. Meanwhile, a fierce Linoone was slashing frantically at the snarling Houndoom. Mica drew her head up angrily and released a breath of scorching flame, but the badger Pokémon only ducked out of the way with a growl.
A whack of one of Vanyu’s points to my bad hand, and I gasped in pain. I drew back for a moment, holding the deformed hand. I clenched my fist and discharged electricity from it. The Thunderpunch almost seemed to charge me up, and I countered the Starmie’s next strike with my attack.
“Dang it,” I hissed, ducking and weaving back toward a rock. “Can’t you just give up already?”
“Nope,” Vanyu replied, launching a Shadow Blast.
For a moment, I swerved in order to avoid the black beam. Darkness swarmed around me, and I felt a tendril of fire twining around my neck, forcing me against the rock. I gagged as I thrust my head forward, but I was trapped. The beam headed straight for me, striking me full in the face and chest, and I felt myself slip away from the battle, from life… I heard a scream, not knowing if it was one of the team’s, or my own. I expected to die then and there, and prepared myself for it. However, I opened one eye, seeing Vanyu’s gem still shining black after the attack, and I managed to gasp in a hoarse voice.
“Oh, my God.”
Intense pain shrieked in every muscle of my body, but I opened up my other eye and pulled away from the fiery rope that bound me to the broad gray rock. Snarling, I whipped my head around, striking at Vanyu with bared fangs on the powerful steel jaws. I was still bewildered; I was alive. The blast, which had nearly ended a lot of our team’s lives, struck me but didn’t kill me. Was I immune?
Fear gripped me for a moment, and I looked down at my skin, expecting to find black, gray, or purple. Had I changed into a Shadow Pokémon? For a heartbeat, I saw a dark violet-black patch around my heart, like a small splash of dark paint, but the rest of my skin was the normal tan-yellow and black of any other Mawile. The black splotch worried me, but I couldn’t concentrate on it now. Vanyu’s gem glittered eerily—was it a sign of satisfaction?—but his voice held no trace of emotion as he echoed my frustrated growl.
“Can’t you just give up already?”
“Nope.” I laughed, aiming more punches and kicks at the star-shaped beast.
I was aware as Marigold wrestled with a black Pikachu. Both females were very formidable in battle, I noticed. While the golden sheep Pokémon’s long neck and slender form wasn’t very impressive next to the powerful muscles rippling under the mouse’s violet stripes, her light electricity cut easily through the black. I watched them for a moment longer before turning back. I knew that Marigold could take care of herself.
“Come on, Odd,” Vanyu taunted, plowing toward me. “Afraid?”
“This isn’t the time for snappy dialogue,” I pointed out lightly.
The Water-type produced a blaring sound in answer. He released a Shadow Storm attack, causing dark winds to whip up around me and scratch against my steel skin as it they were razors. Gasping for breath, I moved back, but I was left battered and bruised.
Meanwhile, Dalinto and Mica had paired up again. They stood, silky cerulean scales brushing against short black fur, charging forward as one. They matched each other’s pace step by step. Teeth bared, the Vaporeon flipped over onto his back as the Shadow Linoone sprang at him, and pushed him away with all four blue paws. This left the enemy open for attack by Mica. She let her Flamethrower start at the fallen ferret, then rise up to burn a hovering black Glalie.
Reeah seemed to be suffering the worst of all. The Electric-type dog had her grasped in his teeth, and he shook his head wildly. The snake hissed faintly and writhed frantically to escape. I backed up toward them in order to help the Arbok out. However, what I saw next made me freeze in my tracks.
Daisuke, the Nidoking, had caught sight of his friend. His claws were grasping the Ursaring’s, but now he roared and twisted his head around to bury his teeth around the juncture where the bear’s neck met its shoulder. With a bellow, the great purple beast tore his head up and hurled the Normal-type Shadow Pokémon’s body to the ground. He then turned to the Manectric, who looked scared stiff as he dropped Reeah. With another earth-shaking roar, Daisuke took a step toward the dog. The Manectric didn’t have a chance.
Shuddering, I ran toward the Arbok’s side. She lifted her head weakly to look at me, and her lips creased in a smile. “Thank you, Odd,” she whispered. She curled her tail closer to her bleeding body, resting her chin on her coils. “I’ve avenged my losses. I may die happily now, in battle, just as I wanted to.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but Daisuke crouched near her, the light of battle dying from his eyes. He wiped blood from his claws and jaws and bowed his head to the cobra. “Come on, Reeah,” he growled. “Get up; we have to keep fighting.” He reached out to touch her violet scales comfortingly. I could only watch helplessly, hovering near the two and keeping an eye on the rest of the fight.
“Daisuke,” Reeah breathed, squinting with pain as she uncoiled herself. She turned herself around to face him, and he smiled broadly. The cobra flared her hood out and hissed, “I’ll fight…to my last breath…”
“That may come sooner than you think!”
I turned only to be knocked aside by Vanyu. Daisuke lashed out at him with a powerful hand, and Reeah managed to find enough strength to bare her teeth to bite. The Starmie shouted angrily as he jerked himself away.
I could tell by the dulling eyes of the two Poison-types that they wouldn’t last much longer without a rest. Dalinto was limping heavily on a bleeding paw, and Mica’s expression was tired. My hand burned with pain, and Marigold had to retreat now from the Pikachu to set up a Reflect to protect herself with as she checked briefly over her wounds.
We were going to lose…
However, a sudden light from behind me gained my attention. A jagged beam of ice ripped through the air, and for a moment I wondered if it was Borealis, come back from the dead…but that was impossible. The shape that appeared over the side of the mountain was smaller that a Walrein by far, with a build only a little bit bulkier than the Vaporeon.
“Odd! Team Fang!”
The familiar voice hit me. I laughed aloud, tears coming to my eyes, as the Pokémon stood in a firm stance. Another one approached its side, its pale fur brushing against dark fur. The first fox looked like the other’s shadow as it stepped forward, its scarlet eyes shining.
Marigold turned her head to cry out cheerfully. “You’re alive!”
The two Pokémon darted toward us, lithe bodies nearly touching, their paws working to propel themselves forward in long, elegant strides. The Shadow Pokémon faltered as the first black shape fired another Ice Beam. These were our friends, our friends we thought we had lost weeks ago into another great battle with Team Mist. Bu they were alive, and they were coming now. The Umbreon and Espeon launched into battle.
“Dalinto,” Mica gasped. “Kyosan and Win-Chun; they’re here! They’re alive!”
There was no time for reunions, and none occurred. The Dark-type gave a quick nod as he tackled into the Linoone, a whirlwind of dark fur. Win-Chun, the Espeon, laughed happily as she delivered a Psybeam. We turned toward the Shadow Pokémon with new strength in our bodies, and ran back to attack again. Maybe we wouldn’t lose this fight. If it was our last, then it would be because we defeated the Shadow Pokémon, once and for all.
Yeah, like that was going to happen.
I clenched my fists in Brick Break, smashing into Vanyu’s side. He retorted by swinging around, striking me in the stomach with a point. I fell back, winded, and before I could get up I heard a snarl. I turned myself over as Kyosan distracted the Starmie by burying his teeth into the tough skin.
A black figure streaked across the battlefield. I could see where its red eyes were pointed toward. Marigold had the Pikachu pinned on her back, discharging almost white electricity into her. The Shadow Pokémon snarled with pain and wriggled to escape her foe. The golden creature wouldn’t give up, though, and she narrowed her dark eyes down at the Pikachu.
The figure bowled Marigold over with a heavy paw, and I stifled a gasp, wondering if she was hurt. The Ampharos stood right back up, though, preparing a Thunderpunch with each paw, until the electricity flashed and disappeared. Sparks leapt all over the Pikachu’s fur as she pressed closer to the new Pokémon, and I recognized him a heartbeat before I heard Marigold’s helpless murmur.
Rage built up in me, but I suppressed it, looking for the Zangoose’s reaction.
Nakkura was staring at him with eyes that couldn’t have been stretched lighter. His jaw hung slightly open in shock, and he took a step back. The Pikachu wasn’t as impressed, only narrowing her ruby eyes at the Ampharos before glancing up at the Zangoose in a look of confusion and concern. She whispered his name, but the mongoose wasn’t listening anymore.
“Marigold?” he rasped. “You’re…alive…” He swayed on his paws.
The Shadow Pikachu’s fur bristled, and she snapped at Marigold. “Who the heck are you?” she demanded angrily, flashing unnaturally sharp white teeth. She didn’t seem to like being ignored. When neither Pokémon would answer, she flashed Nakkura a look of pain and frustration and sprang off to join in the rest of the fight; that was where the action was, and where she was sure her enemy was going to really fight against her.
“Nakkura?” Marigold started again, staring sadly at him.
He was about to explain himself, I assumed, but he turned his head and fixed me with a stare full of stunning anger. Then, he came toward me, ignoring Marigold’s cry of shock. I felt blood seeping from my arm as he lashed out at me, even through my steel skin.
I was absolutely terrified. The strongest and smartest member of the team, maybe a friend, was upon me as my worst enemy. I couldn’t fight back as he lifted me up by the throat and stared into my eyes, his own a fiery red. He hissed, “Odd…” in a voice that was full of so much hatred that it sent involuntary shivers through me, and he unveiled his claws again to end me there and then. Even if Vanyu’s Shadow Blast hadn’t killed me, I wasn’t so sure about Nakkura’s claws…