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Chapter 22: The Best Laid Plans (2)
Northern Norstad - The Fairy King's Tower
Several days had passed since the fall of the World Eater. Alex, Jess, and Connor had all been welcomed as heroes in the hall of Faarangar, and had earned the aid of Shor as well, should they one day require it. Naturally, Alex had been fascinated with the 'god', for upon getting a proper look at him, not distracted by a major battle, he'd discovered that he too had a dual typing. Fighting, and electric.
Shor had soon realized that humans were no longer as…gullible as they had been in the past. They had grown up, fallen, and then rose again. Even the Earth was vastly different to how he remembered it. Eventually, after several mugs of mead, Shor hinted that his origins were in the stars, but beyond that, refused to reveal more. That night had been spent singing songs, drinking mead, smoking plants, and enjoying the hard-won victory against the dragon, and the Prophet. The fact that he'd retreated at all still nagged at Alex, but he
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Chapter 22: The Best Laid Plans (1)
Chapter 22: The Best Laid Plans
Norstad – Valaskjalf's Main Hall
Alex and Jess looked up at the sky, as the clouds had suddenly turned dark, not dissimilar from when he used the Strunzul. Then, the sounds of battle became clear. Heavy booms of thunder echoed from the gap in the newly formed door behind the village's main hall.
Alex shouldered his way free of Lokra's grip, and met her gaze. "No offense to your…king, but Pravus is our quarry on this hunt."
He glanced at the sky again, as the clouds arced with streaks of lightning. He remembered then something his granduncle had told him once about this particular weather formation, when he'd been younger. When the clouds boomed and lightning cracked the sky, it meant Thor was hammering away at something. Growing older, he'd learned his ancestors had also considered it a sign of rage sometimes, and a bad omen at sea.
Jess picked up on his thoughts, and the same underlying excitement w
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Chapter 21: The World Eater
Chapter 21: The World Eater
The World Forge – Mountain Adjacent to Hrothofkiin, Several Weeks Earlier
"Show me what you already know. Let me taste of your Voice, 'hero'." His Rayquaza's semi-mocking tone echoed throughout the volcano. For some reason, he could not sense the Legendary Dragon, and it made battling him much more difficult. Even Shruikan could not follow his stealthy movements through the smoke-filled air.
The inside of the volcano was largely obscured, and had Alex not spent so much time around smoke, both from the Leaf and a certain super powerful dragon, he likely would've coughed himself raw, but it didn't seem to bother him. Whatever the Graybeards had done had changed him, it seemed. He was eager to test his new limits.
Suddenly, Alex's vision shifted, and he recognized sight through Leo's eyes, which cut through the obscuring smoke, and were all but immune to trickery. Alex gave the mental equivalent of a glance to his Luxray, who preferred to ke
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Chapter 20: The Way of the Hyper Voice
Chapter 20: The Way of the Hyper Voice
Hrothofkiin – The Seidr's Isle
On the Seidr's Isle, there is an order of men, rather than Pokémon, who make their home in the volcano-riddled hell-scape, and use the power of their Voices to keep the elements from annihilating their fortress. It is known, as Hrothofkiin.
Pokémon do inhabit this fiery island. Species like Magmar, Magcargo, even a smaller breed of Charizard, but they take little notice of the humans within their midst. Indeed, most have no idea what humans even look like. It's one of the last places on the planet free of their meddling.
In this high fortress among the volcanic peaks of flame and ash, the 'Graybeards' as the locals call them, watch over their homeland of Norstad, from one of the three highest locations in the region, the other two being Ymir's Wahlom, and Valaskjalf, the home of those who ride Articuno.
It is as their nearest and greatest of volcanic peaks erupts, wit
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Caleb Pravus, The Prophet by PokeFan1337 Caleb Pravus, The Prophet :iconpokefan1337:PokeFan1337 1 0 So this happened. by PokeFan1337 So this happened. :iconpokefan1337:PokeFan1337 1 0
The Trainer Exam
The Trainer Exam
Gilroy Redwood was in another after-hour session with his grand-nephew, Alex. The boy was twelve now, and his brother Eric was ten. He'd also just gotten a Squirtle, while Alex remained Pokéless.
But, his Gruncle was telling him, there was a chance to earn one, perhaps, and convince his parents to let him keep it. Legally, they were the only ones who kept him from owning a Pokéball.
Every trainer, around the ages of five to ten, was tested for their aptitude in battles, and based on that, they would either be advised to become a trainer as soon as possible, in some cases sixteen, or be directed to find another path, one that didn't involve professional training. Given the culture of their world, almost everyone wanted to become a Trainer. There was an entire industry around professional battling, and if you were good, no job payed better.
If they passed, they, at the very least, received a Trainer ID, allowing them to travel to all the countr
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Chapter 19: Save the World, 'Dovahkiin' (2)
The two trainers shared a look. "Seems like an invitation to me." Jess nodded in agreement, and Shruikan began ascending towards the landing. The wind was fierce as they landed, and Alex recalled his dragon, then took Jess' hand and made their way towards the entrance at the top of the tower. Their guard went up as the wind wall they'd seen before returned once they'd landed, and shrouded the tower once more in fierce wind.
He walked towards where he assumed there was an entrance. It looked like a wall of mahogany brown metal, but as they approached, battered by the ever-increasing wind, the wall seemed to split in half, and opened to admit them.
Neither one of them could see the interior, but Alex trudged forward anyway, suddenly glad he'd swapped out his hat for the gifted helmet. It wasn't getting blown away in the fierce wind, as it was made of iron, and he rather liked how it fit. He didn't care that Jess kept mocking him, mentally, almost every time she looked at him. They might
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Chapter 19: Save the World, 'Dovahkiin' (1)
Chapter 19: Save the World, 'Dovahkiin'
"Fine. It's a deal." Caleb Pravus glared at the man across the unnecessarily long mahogany table that sat him, and the rest of his followers with room to spare. Those that had managed to climb on Yveltal, anyway. He could send someone to retrieve the others later. If they were even alive still. There was a time when he wouldn't have left anyone behind, but he'd long since stopped caring about which of his sentient pawns lived and died.
They were expendable, after all. And irritating. Always whining, complaining about morale, or the weather, or their lack of time with their family. He was quite sick of it, frankly. He pulled the enhanced Dark Ball from the magnetic clips that held his other sentient tools on the inside of his suit jacket, and tossed it to the man.
He had to hold back disgust as a psychic aura of pink surrounded the ball, and levitated it towards the man, who examined it with a sigh. "Shadow-infusion, hmm? How
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The Norstad Region by PokeFan1337 The Norstad Region :iconpokefan1337:PokeFan1337 2 0 Pokemon World MK3 by PokeFan1337 Pokemon World MK3 :iconpokefan1337:PokeFan1337 2 0
Chapter 15: The Castelian Civil War (2)
Alex raised a brow. "War? Between who?"
It was Jess' turn to chime in again. "Probably between the Arceans and Tao's followers. Once you left, he let quite a few people stay at his tower, and maintain it, as he meditated. They've been planning a rescue attempt ever since. Supposedly. Nate and Rosa have been organizing local trainers while Hilda has been here, defeating challengers of the League. Nobody has managed to get past the Four, however."
Alex stroked his bearded chin as he eyed the burning city. "And Hilbert? He should've been back by now. He left weeks ago. He's definitely strong enough for Ghetsis, after the training we had." Hilbert had arrived at the Sage's home a week after Alex, battered and bruised, but alive, and sick of Vegemite sandwiches. He, Red, and Alex had often relaxed together when they had a free moment.
Jess shrugged again. "Nobody has seen him. He does have a tendency to vanish, though."
Alex swore, and mounted Blaze again, who was already ready to go. He wa
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Chapter 14: The Foggy Swamp Sage (2)
Dinner was simple fare, some bread, some rice, and a banana. The Sage gladly took the fruit from those who abstained from eating it. Alex had no desire for it either, but he knew he'd need more than bread and rice before long. His body was large, and required quite a bit to keep it running at the level he knew he would need. Thankfully, the Sage informed him that they could indulge in as many helpings as they dared.
Wary of the master's word choice, he settled for seconds, and didn't take more after that. Some other trainers did, however, one in particular, a trainer with a red jacket and sandy blonde hair who was clearly from the Fornia region, Unova's equivalent on the western coast, helped himself to four rounds of rice and bread, eating as though he'd been starved for months.
The others, Alex included, had watched for the consequences of so much gluttony, but the Sage had seemed to ignore him. Indeed, he ignored them all most of the time, preferring to spend his day meditating on h
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Chapter 13: Unova, Part 3 (2)
Feeling exhausted and frustrated at his lack of progress on finding out anything more about this Swamp, he went to bed. His relative had stubbornly refused to talk about the Swamp. He was 'on his own for that nonsense'.
He slept for almost a full day, recovering from the three harsh days of work, and sex, with no sleep. Tao's energy had sustained him, and though he could still feel himself slowly growing more exhausted the further he went from Unova. He awoke to find that Arthur had taken care of the rest of the team, letting Hydrus and Terra out to lounge around.
Blaze was practicing aerial maneuvers, with his weights on, and Alex was surprised his team knew how to attach them properly.
Impressed with his responsibility, Alex sparred against Arthur, something he often lost at, but knew his Pokémon enjoyed immensely. They both had rough, untrained styles, and were both complete amateurs. Still unable to properly control his Sword Arms, Arthur took every chance he could to try and
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Chapter 10: All the World's a Stage (2)
As he and Jess left Nimbasa and began traveling down the Join Boulevard, it took him a minute to realize they were getting looks. Well, more looks than usual. If he was honest, he'd won half of his random road battles thanks to them being distracted by Jessica's looks. That applied to both genders.
Elesa had, at his request, personally admitted to making up the rumors from the last broadcast, but hadn't given them any new information on this trainer either. Thus, the local hotshot trainers in the city decided to keep an eye out for him, if only to see if the hype was real. As they walked further down the absurdly large tunnel, packed to the brim with shops for literally everything, the going was slow.
Like most women, his was not immune to the lure of shopping, and given that she'd coaxed a certain black piece of plastic from her father, her spending was wild. Naturally, Alex ended up shoving half of it into his bag. It was bigger on the inside, a 'Redwood tech trick' as his Gruncle ha
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Chapter 9: Aftermath (2)
Arthur's sense of satisfaction spread to his trainer, manifesting as confidence, renewed after being literally shattered by his trials on the mountain. He had the girl he'd dreamed of for years, he had the makings of his team, and already three of them were fully evolved and powerhouses in their own right.
He could handle addressing the media circus. He met Jess's gaze again, and nodded, lifting his hat and turning it backwards. "Right. I think we've kept the jackals at bay long enough. Are you sure you don't want to join me? After that kiss, they're going to want to hear from you, I think."
She waved his words away, laughing nervously. "Ahaha…no. I'll be in enough trouble for that kiss. If not from mother, then definitely from father. And Connor might be annoyed as well…no, I'm in enough trouble already without adding a bunch of media rumors. They'll probably assume I'm pregnant already as it is. All they do is make up baseless rumors…I'm rambling. Go get'em,
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TAOP Episode 36: The Finale!
  “Hello, little sister. It’s so nice to see you again.”
  “What are you doing with Mom and Dad?” I demanded.
  “Oh, nothing. Just using them as hostages.”
  “Why?” I asked. “The Clor’th attacked our village. They’re trying to kill and enslave us.”
  “Trying to kill or enslave you. I made a deal with them.”
  “Don’t do that!”
  “Bit late. Should have told me before they INVADED OUR VILLAGE.”
  He grabbed Mom and held her over the side of the cliff. Muffled screaming ensued.
  “No! Please! I’ll do anything! Just don’t kill her!”
  “Alright, then. Join the Clor’th.”
  “Ok. I will.”
  “Good.” Mom wiggled.
  “Stop struggling, Mom!” He said. “I’m going to have to fuse you with a human later. I advise you accept your fate
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Pokemon Rangers Layla and Zangoose - RotGRS -0
Pokemon Rangers Layla and Zangoose
Ruin of the Go-Rock Squad

   Ever since I was little, I pondered the question. What did I want to be when I grew up? All the other children at the preschool knew what they wanted to be. From trainers to professors to coordinators to breeders... Everyone knew what they wanted to be.
Not me though.
I was always rather smart growing up, so a scientist seemed like a good fit, but I wasn’t quite that smart. I was very pretty, or so a lot of people told me most of my life, so many thought I'd be great as a coordinator, but I didn't see the point of contests and I didn't like fancy or elegant events.
Now, being a trainer did sound tempting, since I did like pokemon and I was very brave, plus I was rather good at battling with strategy. Sadly, I was never the friendliest person. I wasn't any good at making friends, so going on a journey that revolved around making friends didn't work out for me. I wa
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Scales - Chapter 1
I heard the door creak open behind me while I was stuffing food into my bag. “No way,” said a familiar voice in excited disbelief. I whipped my head around to see my old friend staring at my bag with wide eyes. I quickly kicked my backpack underneath my bed. “Oh, don’t try that garbage!”
“Nice to see you too,” I joked. It had been a few months since I last saw my Malia. “And don’t try what?” I said, trying to play it off. She caught sight of my neutral face and raised an eyebrow at me. One of her signature “oh really?” glances was enough for my serious demeanor to crumble into a toothy grin. “I, uh, I heard about a bagon nest last night, and I was just trying to see if--”
“You were going to try to catch one, I know.” She rolled her eyes. “Some things never change, don’t they?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but Malia took the opportunity to rush up and embrace me in a hug.
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[Comic] Goddess of Life X God of Dead 10 by vavacung [Comic] Goddess of Life X God of Dead 10 :iconvavacung:vavacung 246 42 Pokemon White by Eclipse4d Pokemon White :iconeclipse4d:Eclipse4d 75 3 Pokemon Y by Eclipse4d Pokemon Y :iconeclipse4d:Eclipse4d 110 12 Pokmon X by Eclipse4d Pokmon X :iconeclipse4d:Eclipse4d 105 27 Legendary Birds by Eclipse4d Legendary Birds :iconeclipse4d:Eclipse4d 111 5 Ho-oh and the Trio Beast by Eclipse4d Ho-oh and the Trio Beast :iconeclipse4d:Eclipse4d 116 17 Let there be light by Haychel Let there be light :iconhaychel:Haychel 4,141 273
Claudius and the Pokemon Colosseum - Prologue
Prologue - The Desert Rouge
    The land was vast and rocky with stout mountains and cliffs all around. In the midst of it sat a strange old, rickety building. Inside, a bunch of tough, bald men went about their business. A large, muscular man with very long brown eyebrows and mustache sat quietly, watching them work.
Just then, there was a huge explosion in the building. The shock caused the whole building to shake. The muscular man looked angry as he stood up, “Find out what that was! Now!”
Where the explosion happened, a figure stood in the large hole it caused. He was a young man with short blond hair and dressed in a red, black, and white uniform. He walked into the room, where a strange arm-styled machine was hanging. He pulled his goggles up on his head as he walked up to it. He grinned, “Excellent.”
Then he heard men rushing to his location through the halls. He smirked, “Idiots.” He slipped the device under his arm and hurri
:iconsonicranger-1:SonicRanger-1 3 11
Fire Blast by Quirkilicious Fire Blast :iconquirkilicious:Quirkilicious 27,254 1,846 Hydro Pump by Quirkilicious Hydro Pump :iconquirkilicious:Quirkilicious 21,666 1,225 Solar Beam by Quirkilicious Solar Beam :iconquirkilicious:Quirkilicious 17,812 836 Legendary Encouter by Clapiart Legendary Encouter :iconclapiart:Clapiart 46 10
Pokemon: The Unforeseen Friendships Pt.1
I always expected my life to be normal, but today changed my opinion about my future.
My name is Kye and I am 15 years old, I have a normal family, a mother, father and a sister named Jane. I am tall and I would call myself averagely smart. I am the type of person who is shy and is afraid to talk in class, and very logical.
“Another day, another bore...” I said struggling to get myself up out of bed. I strolled into the kitchen and got myself a bowl of cereal as my mother turned up to the room. “Hey honey, how was last night?” she spoke enthusiastically, “Restless” I responded, with a low tone in my voice. Everynight I struggle to get to sleep because I stay up too late browsing Youtube and the like.
I finished eating so I got ready and started to head to the door, right before my sister shoved me out of the way and squinted down the street. I sighed as I locked the door and sprinted after her.
The path that me and Jane have to walk is a nice pathway
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Who stays up till 4 am on his birthday to finish this fucking re-write?

This guy.

What can I say except, you're welcome.

It was supposed to take a few days, but who knew eight hour shifts could turn days into a month. And who knew DA would make me split six of the rewritten chapters? Yay tiny word counts.

Anyways, the beginning of the story has changed. A lot. But at least it makes sense now, and is less cringey. Now, finally, we can continue on with the main story. As soon as I find some cannabis. Stay tuned lads, because we're going full Skyrim. Visk Nau Joors!
  • Listening to: Viking Gods
  • Reading: My own stuff four times.
  • Watching: Pfft, watching requires free time.
  • Playing: lol, I wish
  • Eating: Buffalo chicken strips.
Welcome. This is where I post the majority of my fanfic, and things relating to it, like my feeble attempts to draw maps in paint.

Any feedback is appreciated.


PokeFan1337's Profile Picture
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
I'm a writer, writing as more of a hobby than anything else. Apparently I'm good at it, so I figured I'd try some fanfiction.

If you read anything I write, you should be able to figure out what I'm into. I drop references all the damn time.

If you draw my OC trainer I'll love you forever, alas, I have no money, so I won't be commissioning anything.



The story you are about to read is a prologue to the following chapters, which are set quite a few years in the past, at the beginning. If you'd rather not go through the wonder of gyms and early Pokémon, there will be a recap, right before the story starts to focus on more important things. Old readers should know that as of May 2018, much of the early parts of the story have been re-written, and in my opinion, improved. New readers should know that, due to time constraints, new chapters usually take a month to write, edit, and publish. Hence why the Prologue took until July 2018 to get its own proper update.

It is important to note that while I will attempt to make everything as 'canon-friendly' as possible in this story, I will not always succeed. If you notice any errors in my 'lore' that clash with what's established, feel free to PM me and let me know, all feedback is appreciated. Also note that much of this is headcanon, and is subject to change if Nintendo ever gives us information on areas of the world mentioned in the story.

The world featured in this story is meant to be a fusion of our world, set many, many thousands of years in the future, and the Pokémon world. This will be elaborated on in the future, but for now, go forward understanding that some of the people, regions, and names may be identical or similar to the real world's. For example, Kalos may sometimes be referred to as 'France' as well, but the people living in that region don't quite remember why. It's just the name that's carved into a bunch of ancient ruins. Most people in the era the story takes place in refer to it as Kalos.

Also important to note, much of the information about the 'ancient world' (specifically the numerous pop culture references) is only available to these characters because of the 'PokéNet', a similar and futuristic version of the internet. When it was created again, much of the data from the 'ancient world' was lost, but not all, and between books and several websites, the people of this time know a bit about the planet's ancient history. Again, it will be elaborated upon. Eventually.

I will try to avoid making 'fakemon' a part of the story, with some exceptions as you'll soon see, but don't assume that this means other regions all have the same Pokémon. They're around, but unless Nintendo adds them in, I probably won't mention them outside a vague reference. I also have a series of short stories set in this same world that take place at different times, with different characters, so if that's of interest to you, you can probably find it by clicking on my name. They're all going to be canon, unless marked otherwise, and the ones important to the plot will be threaded into the main story.

Finally, the story will contain very obvious references to a particular semi-legal herb, and some not-so-subtle innuendo of the sexual nature. Graphic sex scenes, should I write any, will be marked at the beginning of the chapter that they are in. This is a story with mature themes throughout, set in the Pokeverse. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under 12 (In the U.S. at least), so be warned kids, mom and dad probably wouldn't want you reading this.

Without further ado, enjoy.


The Gohara Desert – Plateau in Central Eurafricasia

He'd underestimated the locals when they'd told him how high the plateau was. Even with all his skill, it had taken most of the day to finally reach the top of the massive plateau, known in these parts as the 'Master Plateau'. There was a reason nobody climbed up here. The wind was too strong for most flying types, and though several of his teammates had been eager to test that, he had ultimately decided to test himself against nature instead.

Nature, for her part, was pushing back. The wind almost reminded him of Norstad, but it lacked the bitter, freezing cold. Looking around, he didn't see or sense anything for miles. He was alone, on the top of the world. He stared at the fiery horizon for a moment, and then turned his deep blue eyes back to the barren emptiness around him. This was, as promised, the ideal place to train his team. At their level, a sparse field in a forest simply wasn't going to work. They were too destructive, if they wanted to train seriously.

The wind gusted suddenly, and the man growled in irritation, one large hand clamping his back and gold hat down against his head before it could fly off. The hat itself was a throwback, to several years earlier. Most trainers would recognize the style as Unovan. It was an ordinary Trainer hat, really. Black in front, gold in back, with the symbol of his homeland on the middle. The symbol of eternal balance, a Taijitu sphere of black and white.

His hair, as always in a constant state of 'needing a trim', curled up over the edges of the hat, and he knew he'd need a comb after he was done up here. He hated when the wind messed with his hair, but there were more important things to deal with. Training in this kind of wind was going to be a problem.

At a height of 6,5, the trainer usually towered over most people he met. He wasn't fat persay, but if his clothes were baggy enough, he could appear that way thanks to his body type. His current attire was the opposite of baggy however, as it fit his form with a tightness he wasn't used to, and highlighted his musculature far more than what he usually wore, but only when he moved. Earth fabric simply wasn't as comfortable as what his friend had given him early in his training, but one simply did not turn down the attire one earned at the World Tournament.

The black and gold robe whipped wildly in the fierce wind. The same symbol on his hat was stitched onto the back of it, and underneath, he wore a plain black shirt with a green Pokéball symbol etched onto it. His pants, he'd kept unchanged, as he saw no reason to change them out, and he still enjoyed wearing the otherworldly material around his more…sensitive regions. They were black going up to his waist and crotch, as well as along his inner thigh, but the outer edge was white all the way down. As his robe was tied usually, nobody really saw his pants.

His undershirt clashed with his new attire, which he'd been told was called a 'Haori' back in Japan. Given the nature of the World Tournament, the foreign attire hadn't really surprised him. The Japanese Leagues were incredibly popular, and easy to watch. He did genuinely like the robe, which came down to his ankles, or would have, if not for the wind, flaring it out behind him. He would've felt epic if he wasn't struggling to keep his footing.

While mostly gold, by request, he'd asked for a black flamelike pattern on the bottom of his relatively new attire. An obvious homage, and a subtle reference to his not-so-secret weapon. The wind gusted again, and as he felt even his large form lifting from the ground, he decided enough was enough. He focused his mind, and let the breath build within his lungs, but before he could do anything, the wind suddenly ceased. He exhaled softly, somewhat disappointed. He liked clearing the skies.

Ceased was the wrong word, for the wind still moved his attire with a light breeze, a credit to its strength, given that Air Lock was supposed to remove all weather effects. He looked up to see the long, snake-like form of his Rayquaza, arcing through the clouds. He was, as far as he knew, the longest on record. It made sense, for he was also the first, and therefor the oldest. Or so the dragon had told him. He gave the Rayquaza a nod of thanks, and he could've sworn the dragon was smirking at him. He had no earthly idea as to why.

After he adjusted his hat, the trainer once more surveyed the area, and began mentally setting up locations for where his team would train, and with whom. As he reached for the camouflage patterned Pokéball, as always, in point position, a voice interrupted him mid-throw. He turned, and stared the intruder down, slowly raising an eyebrow at what his sight revealed. To all appearances, a perfectly normal looking human.

Normal, in this case, was a term he applied to the general masses of humanity. Even amongst them however, this man would've stuck out. The shape of his body was round at the bottom, and thin all the way up. His first thought, by pure reflex, was how similar it looked to a bong, a glass instrument used in the smoking of Leaf, a herb this trainer was particularly fond of, but not reliant on. Trainers the world over, particularly those with grass types, often shared it at Pokémon Centers, and he was, at his core, a grass type trainer.

"Well well." The strangely shaped man said, "It seems the rumors are true after all. Unova's Rayquaza has a new Tamer." Alexander Redwood raised a brow at the man approaching from about a Pokéfield length behind him. He'd had his Rayquaza for years. Most people knew that. Rayquaza appeared in the clouds again. The dragon coiled his massive body in the air, resting on said coils, and watched him. Alex knew that through that dragon's eyes, his other mentors were likely watching him as well. Bunch of old crotchety bastards. He did like them, even if they drove him nuts.

"He found me worthy." Alex said as the man across from him stopped, and put his hands on his hips. His attire didn't help his oddly shaped body. His bag stuck out from his overly round hip, not unlike the slide one filled with Leaf before smoking it. Alex resisted chuckling, despite the absurdity. There was something off about this trainer, but he couldn't quite figure it out.

He wore a robe similar to Alex's, so similar in fact, that it was uncanny. It was white, rather than gold, and a swirl of artfully woven red lines moved to Alex's right around the bottom. When the garment shifted, they appeared to swirl, almost like water, or smoke. His shirt was a plain, smoky gray, and his pants were white cargo shorts, several years out of style. Even his head fit the uncanny similarity to a bong, for his hat was white with an open top, which revealed an entirely bald head underneath.

The symbol on the hat was green, but rather than the normal leaf symbol, or even the spiky variant found in Grassium crystals, this leaf symbol had five prongs, each looking slightly serrated. He shook his head, and bit his tongue. His eyes were probably red as well, and though it was hard to see at this distance, he knew that look, the look of someone who was enjoying the highs a bowl of the Leaf gave. This had to be a prank. He was about to tell the tourist to kindly piss off, when he noticed a familiar, if a bit outdated, stone on the strap of the man's bag. A legitimate trainer, apparently, despite his appearance.

"I assume you're here for a battle, then?" Alex smirked. He heard Rayquaza in his head, offering to deal with the intruder via their linked telepathy. He wasn't the only dragon requesting a chance to drive this strange man off, but Alex ignored them, for the moment. The fact that he hadn't sensed this man had piqued his interest, something many trainers unfortunately failed to do these days. Being in the world's top tier of Trainer could be rather boring, and after the World Tournament, many people recognized him, but only a few actually wanted to battle. He couldn't really blame them.

The man nodded. "My name is Clarence. Grass type user. The best grass type user, I'd wager. I've beaten all the others that are of note. All except you." Alex nodded, understanding. Of course. He was here for Terra. Everyone wanted a piece of the fabled 'Yggdrasil', and his legendary defense.

"I'm not strictly a grass type user." Alex said, flaring his robe open as he began reaching for the power, deep within. He kept his eyes from flaring blue though, he had just enough for a battle connection with his first Pokémon. Clarence eyed the collection of balls on his belt with a cursory examination, but his focus was on the camouflage patterned one still in Alex's hand.

"I'm aware…your team is rather impressive, I admit, but I've seen plenty of impressive teams. You heard me, Redwood. I didn't come to this Arceus-forsaken wasteland for your Charizard. I want your Torterra." The man was smirking, but Alex pinched his brow, and sighed.

"Everyone thinks they can handle my Torterra." He said, looking up again, and then gestured at the field. "But, you're in luck. This is actually a battlefield that could handle him. He might only break half the plateau."

The smirk disappeared, and what replaced it was hard to make out. Fear, perhaps? Constipation? "Break half of the Master Plateau? You're overselling, Redwood. I'm ready to buy, too much, and I'll lose interest. And then who will be left to challenge you? Who would take the risk?"

The smirk left Alex's face as well. "You incorrectly assume that the rest of my team is as wild as Shruikan. He's a dragon. Honestly, it's like you people forget what they're best known for. Ferocity in battle." The mood had shifted, at least for Alex and his team, who were connected by a series of mental links, stemming from their Trainer. They did not take kindly to people who insulted members of their family. Alex kept their anger in check, however. There would be time to use it.

Before more words were exchanged, Clarence drew, and threw his own Pokéball. "Brute Root! This is the trainer. Prepare for battle!" The Venusaur let out an impressive roar as the flash of light that accompanied its arrival faded. It was certainly one of the stronger male specimens Alex had seen, and unique in that his ten serrated-edged petals were a deep forest green, rather than pink.

A quick glance told Alex that this Venusaur, for whatever reason, was a pure grass type. There was no poison typing with it, which only further increased the strangeness of this trainer. Pure grass type Venusaur weren't unheard of, but they were usually ancient, wild, and responsible for breeding many Bulbasaur. Such offspring would then go into the world, and usually acquire the poison typing from the pollution human cities still produced, despite their best efforts to stymie it.

"Impressive," Alex said, nodding at the Venusaur. Old memories of another Venusaur, who had, now that he thought about it, also been a pure grass type, rose to the surface of his mind. Sadness accompanied them. "I still don't think he can handle Terra, though…recall him. I don't want to hurt such a unique Venusaur. They're a favorite of mine…"

Clarence's expression shifted to a grin. "I know." Before Alex could ask what that meant, the Trainer opposite him pressed two fingers to his key stone, and Alex sighed. Evidently, this battle was happening, despite his warning. Oh well. He'd tried.

"Respond to my heart! Beyond Evolution! MEGA EVOLVE!" Clarence shouted, as his Venusaur climbed to the next level of power in a long, drawn out sequence that really wasn't needed.

"Are you done?" Alex asked, once the Venusaur was finished. It certainly looked impressive, and he had to admit he was curious as to why it radiated a familiar Stunky-esque scent from its newer, larger petals, but he still knew it was no match for Terra. Then again, he'd been wrong before.

"Saaaauuuur!" The Mega Venusaur roared a challenge that one didn't need psychic powers to interpret. Alex glanced down at his belt, feeling a twitch from Terra's ball. He'd been called out by a fellow grass type, and was more than willing to put this Venusaur in its place.

Alex shrugged. "It seems Terra wants to accept your challenge. Very well." Clarence raised a brow as his opponent snapped his fingers, and in a flash of green, a large Torterra appeared on the barren, rocky field.

Terra was everything one expected a titanic earth turtle to grow into. Like his Trainer, he had grown larger over the course of their adventures, and had to be pushing, in Clarence's estimate, 800 lbs. Minimum. His legs were not dissimilar to the species of tree in his Trainer's surname. Large, thick, and sturdy. His shell was massive, easily large enough to ride, or camp on. The Ash tree on said shell was also large enough for a pair of Decidueye to roost comfortably, and the massive spikes on the right side of the shell were mirrored by three more on the left. That, more than anything, set Terra apart from his species, though such growths weren't unheard of. Moss covered each spike, and gave the massive turtle the appearance of a Pokémon in his prime.

Despite all of that, Clarence appeared undeterred, as did his Venusaur. As impressive as Terra was, he was still just a Torterra. Terra looked back at its trainer once it took stock of its opponent, and was seemingly unimpressed. "Torterra?"

Alex shrugged. "If you want. There's no reason to restrict yourself this time." "Terra." The earth turtle nodded, and then began to glow green, as a green light surrounded his Trainer, and then himself. With that, the already massive Pokémon began to evolve.

His form shifted in the light, the tree on his back moved to the center of its shell, expanding into a passible depiction of Yggdrasil itself, additional spikes appeared around the entirety of the shell. The white horns on either side of his head grew longer, sharper, and the green that usually covered his head became white, connecting to his new head spikes, and formed a helmet of sorts. His tail lengthened as well, and a pair of deadly looking spikes on either side of the now clubbed tip shot out, just as long and sharp as the pair on his head. The massive Torterra roared, and slammed the ground with said tail.

"Last chance." Alex said, grinning as the entire plateau seemed to shake. "I really don't want to injure your Venusaur. Now you know I'm not overselling. Recall him, and we'll enjoy a bowl instead. Something tells me you'd like that." He couldn't help chuckling now, this was too ridiculous.

Clarence's hand moved, by pure instinct at the offer of Leaf, towards his Venusaur's ball, and then it stopped. He grinned. "Fascinating. No Key Stone…no command…it just changed on its own. I didn't believe it. I guess Plate Crystals can cause Mega Evolution."

Alex raised a brow from under his hat. "This isn't exactly new information…people have been using plates and crystals from said plates for this for…years, now. Have you been living under a rock?"

Clarence stiffened, and his Venusaur looked back at him. "Something like that… years, eh? Hmmm…let's just say that, where I come from, Mega Evolution in general is…a touchy subject."

Alex nodded. With the explosion of new Mega Forms had come new problems. That much energy coursing through a Pokémon, the energy of the Alpha Pokémon himself, could have damaging side-effects. Without proper mastery, the Mega Forms could go berserk, and long-term usage could even, in the case of Scizor, cause fatal melting.

As he'd had something of a hand in making Mega Evolution so easily available, Alex had also taken steps to find a solution to that particular issue. It hadn't been easy, but the results spoke for themselves: a world in which a Trainer, once they had a proper bond, could Mega Evolve their beloved partner without worrying about killing them. Normally, the influence of one trainer wouldn't have much of an effect, but after it was discovered that his method actually worked, many Trainers chose to learn it, rather than risk hurting their Pokémon. Those were the people he gladly taught the technique.

Those who only cared about using their Pokémon as a weapon, with unlimited access to the most powerful evolution phenomenon yet discovered, and there were many, had not been taught the technique. He had suspicions a few had found ways around that, but for the most part, the scum of the earth was kept from limitless power. Many countries had still opted to forbid Mega Evolution in their Leagues, but he hoped that someday, they'd change their minds. He'd travel to all of them, if he had to. Everyone deserved to battle on the same level, if they could handle such a thing.

"I understand." Alex said, finally, "But where I come from, it's been found to be harmless, now that we understand it." The problem with energy had been a uniquely crystal/plate based phenomenon. Several Kalos trainers had discovered that using Mega Stones limited the damage their partners sustained, enough to be safely ignored. That had, if he was being honest, been what led Alex to his own discovery of keeping the power of Arceus from melting his creations. Either way, they were still outdated.

"I will admit…" Clarence said, eyeing Terra, "I was seriously tempted to take your offer. That Torterra is…well, look at him!" Terra slammed the ground again, though whether it was for effect or a result of impatience, Alex couldn't tell. Probably a bit of both.

"Impressive as you both are, it's not important. I don't care how many badges you have, or how many regions worship the ground you walk on, oh future Tamer of Arceus." Clarence said through a smirk, "I will have the battle I came for!" "Saaauuuur!" Brute Root echoed his trainer.

Alex sighed again. They really weren't backing down. "Alright. Fine." He said, finally giving in. He turned his hat backwards, the Grassium and Groundium crystals that were a part of the strap that held the hat in place, now obvious. He gave his usual smirk as he spoke. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

The Redwood Saga (Prologue)
This is a prologue about one trainer's journey from starter to master.

I should warn you all that some parts are going to get a bit graphic, both potentially with violence, and romantic scenarios. DA also doesn't seem to like it when I mark it as mature, so fair warning, don't read it at work. Just to be extra safe, any chapters/stories with such content will be very obviously marked.

Feedback is appreciated. If you feel inspired to draw anything based on this story, I'd love to see it.

I'll always put the links to new chapters at the bottom of the story.

Next Chapter:…

Pokemon (c) Nintendo
So I'm halfway through the next chapter, when I realize I could totally do a close up of Unova, as it is in-story. I mean, we keep going back there, and will probably keep returning for the next few...bits? Arcs? Arcebits? Arcebits.

Gonna go procrastinate in paint for a while, but I might actually have time to finish up this week. Arceus, two chapters so close together? I'm overachieving, clearly. /sarcasm

Northern Norstad - The Fairy King's Tower

Several days had passed since the fall of the World Eater. Alex, Jess, and Connor had all been welcomed as heroes in the hall of Faarangar, and had earned the aid of Shor as well, should they one day require it. Naturally, Alex had been fascinated with the 'god', for upon getting a proper look at him, not distracted by a major battle, he'd discovered that he too had a dual typing. Fighting, and electric.

Shor had soon realized that humans were no longer as…gullible as they had been in the past. They had grown up, fallen, and then rose again. Even the Earth was vastly different to how he remembered it. Eventually, after several mugs of mead, Shor hinted that his origins were in the stars, but beyond that, refused to reveal more. That night had been spent singing songs, drinking mead, smoking plants, and enjoying the hard-won victory against the dragon, and the Prophet. The fact that he'd retreated at all still nagged at Alex, but he was too comfortably numb to care at that moment.

Then, when the dawn came, they'd met once more with Xerneas, who offered Alex and Connor a reward for their part in keeping herself and her home free of the shadow's taint. For Connor, she gave a Firium crystal, and though it wasn't immortality, he still appreciated it. He'd been given an Icium by the riders, and had two more for his allies as well. A gift from the village they'd helped defend. For Alex, Xerneas' gift was a bit different. For each of his team, she gave a gift of strength, a reward for their part in bringing down the World Eater.

Shruikan received enough energy to forgo recuperating and adjusting to his new size entirely, while Blaze had been healed, and had grown several feet taller as well, reaching a new height of fifteen feet, such was the power of the Life Pokémon. Shruikan and Blaze had, naturally, begun to spar, eager to test their new strength. Despite it, Blaze remained more than a match for him, for he was a cunning flier, and by far the best battler on their team. In his opinion at least.

Terra had received power as well, in his Mega Form, and the tree upon his shell had grown. He had grown bulkier, and was now easily one of the largest Torterra on record. He'd nicknamed the tree 'Yggdrasil', after Xerneas, which was what Shor called her. Much like Nidhogg, she had many names. Hydrus had been given a similar boost, and now the massive mudfish was large in his own right. He was now as tall as his trainer, who had gained three inches of height himself, from drawing power from Alduin. They were both 6,5 now, and Alex guessed correctly that his Mega Form would be even taller. His little Mudkip wasn't so little anymore.

Leo had accepted a healing from the Life Pokémon and had filled out with muscle as well, but otherwise was content with his strength. Upon hearing Blaze's 'best battler' thought, he'd joined in the sparring match between the two fliers, and had brought both down rather easily, demonstrating that Shruikan had not mastered his electric power as well as he thought, and Blaze would always be weak to it. Though their pride had been bruised, the lesson appeared to stick.

Arthur had been a different story altogether. He asked not for healing or power, but rather knowledge. Unfortunately, Xerneas had not been able to answer his questions, which were focused on his true identity, or his mother's, but with her latent psychic ability, she pointed him towards one who did know such things. The Foggy Swamp Sage. Needless to say, he was now even more determined to get back to the Swamp quickly. Out of all of them, the Sage had taught him the most, and after battling that Zoroark, he knew he needed to get stronger.

Before they could all return home however, they had one last thing to take care of. Xerneas accompanied them to Percival's tower, and a trail of life stretched all the way from Valaskjalf to the circular northern wind wall. It would no doubt fade, in time, but wherever Xerneas walked, life followed. Once the three humans and the Legendary Pokémon reached the wall of wind, Xerneas took the lead. She summoned a wind of her own, and opened a path through the howling barrier. As she passed through, it faded entirely, and they continued north to the tower.

That too was surrounded by wind, but this time, Xerneas approached the north-western side of it, and waited. Then, after several minutes, the wind rapidly increased. The circular tornado surrounding the tower moved, condensing, and reaching far into the clouds. A figure descended from them then, spinning rapidly in the wind. Down it came with blinding speed, rising again just above the group as it spread its wings. The red-finned Lugia responsible for keeping Percival and his descendants behind the wind walls appeared, and dispersed the last wall of wind with ease.

"Yggdrasil. You come, at last. The king suffers. I did not think you would jail him for so long." The Lugia's telepathy reached all of them, and his baritone was soothing, and full of concern.

Xerneas responded in the same manner. "I was…waylaid. Shortly after I left, my Kalos counterpart was awakened early, forcing me into slumber. While that region grew lush, ours all but died…the time has come for Norstad to be reborn…and I would have Percival's help…if he allows it."

The Lugia descended as she spoke, and then landed, folding in his massive wing-arms. He briefly glanced at the humans, and then ignored them, focusing on the Life Pokémon. "He may not…long has his hatred of his jailors burned…he wants nothing more to do with me…" The Lugia looked down, but the expression of sadness was easy to read.

"He may have spoken out of desperation, Sea Guardian. Do not lose hope so quickly." The white Pokémon seemed to perk up slightly at her words, but the look remained unchanged. The three humans watched quietly, but said nothing. Alex noticed Connor fidgeting, and guessed he was eager to finally capture a Lugia. This one, however, already seemed to have a trainer.

"I will open the tower…but do not expect warmth from him…being imprisoned for so long has…changed our king." The Lugia turned then in a single graceful motion, and raised its arms. Alex held onto his hat, as he could guess what was coming next. The air moved rapidly as the Legendary Pokémon flapped its wings, and the resulting wind forced the tower's lower doors open in an instant with a loud boom.

Then, they waited. Several minutes later, Percy appeared in the doorway, Kurama was behind him, tails extended. The fire fox snarled, but Percy patted him. He stayed put as his trainer walked out of the tower, or rather, stopped at the very edge. As he did, a faint barrier of pink energy appeared. It had been invisible before, and now began to glow in front of him as he approached. He was still trapped, for the moment.

Xerneas started forward as she saw him. "Percival…" She stopped as she noticed a Pokéball in his hand. It was entirely black, and disturbingly similar to the one that had entrapped her.

"Xerneas…you finally come…but what brings you, I wonder? You are not in a ball…nor do you appear forced…have you come to gloat, then? To mock your trainer as he rots in this Hel?" Alex and Jess shared a look as they noticed his body language. He was tense, like a coiled spring. Or a trapped animal. Connor reached for Gren's ball. He had no doubt they could strike before this 'fairy king' tried calling out whatever was inside that ball.

Xerneas seemed to sigh, and then, her deep blue horns began to glow gold. The barrier of pink energy appeared in its entirety then, and it encased the whole building. Then, it began to shrink. The energy flowed into Xerneas' horns, and once it had faded entirely, the Life Pokémon looked renewed. To Alex's eyes, she'd seemed fine, but only now did he realize how strained she'd been. And she'd bore that strain for millennia. The power of Legendary Pokémon never ceased to amaze him.

Percy stepped into the snow, and gave a short bark of laughter, his expression one of disbelief. He then looked up at Xerneas. "Why…why, Yggy…why set me free now? I could be just as evil as before for all you know…just as twisted…"

Xerneas' horns glowed with psychic power then. A Heal Pulse. It washed over Percy, and he visibly relaxed. "I did not wish you entrapped for so long…there was a war, in Kalos…my counterpart was awakened, and thus, I was…"

"Turned into a tree…" Percy finished, sighing. "Of course…nobody could reach you while comatose, and I would guess you only awakened recently…I took your silence as a sign that you were ignoring me, content to let me rot, but you had no say in any of it…"

Xerneas nodded. "Several years ago, I awoke once more…but I was drained. It took a long time for my form to adjust to maintaining this barrier, and staying awake…I am sorry, Percy…you did not deserve to be trapped for so very long…"

Percy looked down. "I didn't…but that's just how things happened…and nothing can change it now." He met the Life Pokémon's gaze again, and pocketed the Dark Ball. "It matters not, I suppose…I am immortal, after all…what's a few millennia to someone like me?" He managed a weak smile.

"A very long time…" Xerneas said, and she brought her snout to his forehead. "Far too long…I knew you would snap out of it eventually…now, we can finally bring our family back together." She gave a meaningful look towards the Lugia, who still sat several yards away, and kept his gaze fixed on the ground.

Percy walked over to the Lugia, and gave a sad smile. "You deserve an apology old friend…the things I said to you…I was not myself. Will you join me once more on our journey?"

The Lugia regarded him for a long time, and then nodded. "That is all I have longed for over these long centuries…" Then, the Lugia brought one of its large hands forward, and with a blink of psychic power, three Pokéballs appeared in his hand. Percy took them, and put them on his belt, before finally regarding Alex and Jess. He didn't even glance Connor's way.

"You two made good on your promise, and for that, you have gained an ally." He took his hat off, and bowed low. It was formal, perfect, the kind of bow one gives to a king. "I am at your service, whenever you require it."

Alex nodded, and Jess thanked him. Alex spoke then, "You should know, Percy…there is a condition to your release…if you turn out to have not changed at all, if all of this is a trick of some sort…" He leaned in close to the man's face, eye to eye. "I will jail you again myself, in a much, much smaller prison. Do you hear me, Fairy King?"

Percy grinned, despite the chills running down his spine from that glare. "Ooo. The little dragon has teeth now…very well. I've no desire to be imprisoned again, nor to make an enemy of a Dragonborn. I'll be on my best behavior…" He offered his hand, and Alex glanced at it for a moment, before grasping his wrist. They shook once. "One final token, Dragonborn." Percy said, reaching into his pockets. "A reward for setting me free." He pulled out a white crystal, with the symbol of flying types within it, alongside a pink one with the symbol of fairies. "Flying for you, and Fairy for your lady. Make good use of them."

Alex eyed the pale crystal even as Jess eyed hers. "Oh…I intend to…" He could already feel Blaze's excitement. Being the only one not able to use a Taijitu move had been…irritating for the proud Charizard. Now, they could finally practice combining the two types.

Percy brought out a blue and white Luxury Ball then, and offered it to Xerneas, who entered willingly after bidding the foreigners farewell. He hopped on his Lugia then, and called down to them. "I'm leaving, I've spent far too long in this frozen hell. You have my number. If you need me, I'll be in Alola!" By that point, Kurama had been recalled as well, and with his belt now five members heavier, Percy took off on his Lugia, and shot into the sky with a loud whooping shout, arms stretched wide as he breathed the free air again.

The three Unovans decided to leave as well then, and they traveled aboard Shruikan's now much roomier metallic undercarriage. Once they'd made it halfway down the trail of life Xerneas left, Connor announced that he had a few more loose ends to tie up, and that he was leaving. He wished his sister good luck with school, gave Alex a nod with the promise of seeing him soon in the Swamp, and then leapt off of Shruikan, and into the air. His Garchomp appeared then, mega evolved, and carried him southwards, towards Valaskjalf.

The flight back to Unova was a long one, but since they were no longer in a hurry, the massive Salamence took his time. His speed, when moving in a single direction at least, had increased as well, but the whole trip still took several hours. Several hours less than it previously had. Alex knew traveling the world would be much easier with such a fast flier.

Once they were back in Unova, Alex did much the same as Connor did in Kalos. They'd had a chat in Faarangar after the battle, and had agreed that they needed to cement their reputations as Champions in their respective regions as soon as possible. Both Alain and N were still around, and they knew from past Champions that the passing of that torch would not be so easy. They were both legends and heroes in their own right. They agreed that Unova and Kalos should remain friendly rivals, but Connor made it clear that he had his own path to tread now, and he wouldn't be following Alex and his sister everywhere like a third wheel.

Unova had, thankfully, been calm in the month or so that Alex had been gone. N had only remained for a few days after the New Year, before leaving to travel the world. With him gone, Tao had kept the region in balance, and the region had prospered as a result. Ancient ruins had been cleared out and raised, old buildings repaired, and expanded upon. Unova had always had a knack for building, but with the return of their dragon, the desire to regain their position as the head of a legitimate continent-spanning empire had returned.

Since there was yet a month remaining before Alex had to return to the Swamp and the University's second half began, he spent the time resting. For about three days, he and his team recuperated from Norstad, mostly by sleeping. They were still recovering from the effects of Tao's world as well, and Jess did the same thing he did, as did her team. Folokraan was the only one who wanted to be awake, but she learned to be patient in those long days. With nothing pressing to deal with, they and their Pokémon enjoyed a well-earned break.

Eventually, they'd started to get fidgety, it was back to training. The training weights returned, and once they were adjusted for size, Alex realized there was a limit to how effective their original method would be. At some point, the weights would simply be too heavy to transport, and even now, they were already incredibly hard to move. Still, they trained with them daily, both at the Redwood's ranch, and across Unova.

Alex and Jess had gone to Castelia first, and spent three days there in a spare room that John Crimson offered them. It was there that Alex first got the news. His granduncle had finally passed on. It was a sour blow after all he'd accomplished in Norstad, and he realized just how distant he was from his relatives once he understood he had nobody to call home to. He returned home then, and his better half kept his family distracted as he went to have a chat with his brother.

Eric was, as usual, at the local swimming center, riding around on his Blastoise. When he saw his brother, clad in strange white and black clothes, arms crossed by the edge of the pool, he'd guided Squirt over to him, and gave the water turtle a rest. The pool was only so big, but they often swam hundreds of laps, which tired out even the strongest of his swimmers.

"Let me change. Then we can talk." His brother blew past, and headed to the locker room, while Alex was left to stand awkwardly beside his Blastoise. Several minutes passed in silence, and eventually, Squirt leapt back into the water with a content sigh.

Once he'd changed, his brother returned, wearing their granduncle's lab coat over his usual blue attire. He'd gotten glasses as well, and almost looked like a Professor. He was still too young to pull it off though. Alex also spied a familiar diamond-shaped blue crystal pinned by the collar. It seemed the new method for mega evolution had reached even their backwater region.

"Where the Hel have you been?" Eric said, arms crossed. Alex raised a brow. He could count the number of times Eric had actually been angry with him on one hand, but he still knew that look.

"Norstad. There was…pressing business to deal with, after the New Year. Maybe you missed it, but the Arceans decided to give Ghetsis an airship, and throw him at us. Along with the forces of nature." Eric pinched his brow at his brother's word, and Alex only smirked. Even that looked grim, however.

He'd been more depressed than usual of late, but had put off proper mourning. Castelia had been full of fans, friends, and trainers he'd battled on his first pass through the region, and Unova had required their Champion to keep his composure.

"You missed the funeral, you know. You missed quite a bit, actually. Malina came back, and she wasn't the only one wondering where you were." Eric's tone wavered as he spoke, and Alex looked closer at his brother. His cool demeanor was gone, and then he realized, this was hitting him just as hard. He supposed it would. His Gruncle had taught many trainers, and had been hard not to like. He and Alex had been close, but so had the rest of their generation. The Professor had taught all of them.

Alex sighed, and they stood in silence for a moment, before he gestured for his brother to follow him outside, behind the pool building. Their conversation had been attracting too many eyes for his liking. It was especially unnerving since he knew many of those who were staring. "How did it happen?"

Alex knew he'd asked the right question as he saw his brother wince. "I…found him. He'd been missing for several days, nothing new, but he missed John Crimson's news report. Twice. When I went into his lab, I knew…I could…smell him."

Two weeks. It had taken two weeks for someone to notice the Professor wasn't around. Alex fought down the sudden rage that had been mixing with his sorrow for the past three days at the thought of his favored relative literally rotting, alone and forgotten. He fought the emotions down as Eric continued, "He opened the old door to his room in the basement…I found him in the bed."

Alex stayed silent for a long while. They were outside now, and he stared at the countryside of their hometown. The sky was gray, but the grass had remained gold, even under the harsh snow of winter, which was now almost entirely melted. "This is the price. He said being Champion would come with a cost. I'd even bet the old bastard knew this would happen. I'd be off on some epic journey, and he'd pass on while I was away." He swore silently.

"Have you been home yet?" Eric asked, his eyes also on the countryside. Alex shook his head. "You should go home…Malina might still be around. She missed you."

The thought of facing his favorite cousin after missing her father's funeral was too much right then. He shook his head again. "No…I'm going to leave again. Soon. There's nothing left for me here. I should've moved out years ago anyways."

"So you're just going to leave your family behind?" Eric said, turning to him.

Alex sighed. "No. Not entirely. I'll keep in touch, specifically with you. His lab is yours now. Go home, clean it up, use it. He left it for you, and knowing you, it's still a dusty mess covered in white sheets."

Eric shifted in place uncomfortably. Once more his brother's words had been unerringly accurate. "I'm no Professor…" he mumbled, "And you should stick around."

Alex let his eyes flare blue, and his voice came out changed. His brother flinched. "I have larger concerns to deal with now." He let the power fade just as quickly as it came. "He knew that. You should all know that too. N was always the one keeping the region safe, and not just ours. The entire eastern half of the continent has been saved by him, and the other Champions. More than once. That's my job now. Keeping the world in balance."

Eric rolled his eyes. "And who gave you that job? Does it pay well? What do you earn in a year? Will it pay for the house? How about the ranch? The lab?" Alex raised a brow, but his brother continued his tirade. "You have responsibilities here that you haven't even begun to deal with, brother of mine. You need to take care of those, too."

Alex shook his head. "No, I don't think I do." Eric opened his mouth again, but Alex cut him off, "You have always been the favored son. We both know you are first in line to inherit the house. Not me." Eric pinched his brow again, and turned back to the view. "And yes, it does pay rather well." Alex said, resisting a smirk. While his allies in Norstad didn't use traditional currency, they had given him several artifacts that were useless to them, but were priceless to the right collectors, or museums.

He watched as his brother looked up again. His demeanor had changed. The cool façade was back. "I've been meaning to talk to you about that…the whole 'favorite son' thing." Alex stared him down now, arms crossed. He'd been expecting something like this for a while, now that he'd essentially proven his skill. "You're right, of course…in hindsight, you've been right quite a few times. You are the better trainer, Pokémon listen to you more than they do with me. You have a talent for this…and I should've helped you out a long time ago. I'm sorry."

Alex let his eyes soften. Eric had turned to him as he spoke, and Alex waved his words away. "You had your own pressures to deal with. I understand the fear of dad's wrath quite well. Even if you had gotten me a Pokémon or something…we both know what he would've done with it." He offered a hand then, and Eric went to shake it, but Alex shook his head. "Not like that. Here…"

He showed his little brother how men shared a sign of trust in Norstad, and then began regaling him with the tale of his adventure. He hadn't seemed too interested at first, shifting uncomfortably at his harsh words towards the Arceans, but after he mentioned a certain hammer-wielding 'god', Eric's attention was hooked.

Once they'd finished talking, the two brothers went home, and set about cleaning up the lab. Eric agreed to take over maintaining the PC dimensions holding their other Pokémon, something he'd been doing anyways since the Professor passed. They both avoided the basement. Alex did so because he still couldn't stomach the thought of his Gruncle rotting down there, Eric did so because he hated the stink of Leaf and dead human. Eventually he'd brought in their cousin's Bellossom to fill the basement with a more tolerable odor, but without windows, it would likely hang around for a while.

The rest of the family welcomed him home, as Jess had used her charms to cut through their anger, and explain why they'd needed to be away from Unova. What had started out as a trip that would take a few days had extended once Pravus had disappeared, and Nidhogg had woken up. His own parents were noticeably quiet, distant, and it took Alex a whole evening to realize they were avoiding him.

He guessed correctly that they were somewhat ashamed for holding him back for so long, something he'd confirmed after briefly sensing their thoughts, but he made no effort to forgive them for it. He'd spent most of his life ostracized thanks to them, a guilty conscience was the least they deserved.

He spent the next several days resting more, between bouts of training, alone in the lab's basement with Jess, and sometimes Eric. The door to his granduncle's room had been shut once more, and he had no desire to open it. He was more determined to fill the room with the stench of the Leaf, and after a few sessions with his Gruncle's old bong, the room returned to its usual odor. For him, at least.

He and his team had been home for a week when Leo discovered something that would once more further their journey. He'd been prowling through the barn behind the house, enjoying the unease he caused in the Tauros, Miltank, and Bouffalant. It was only right that prey should fear him, after all. That was when he noticed a pair of sad yellow eyes watching him from the rafters.

A quick sniff told him it was a Noctowl, and he briefly recalled hearing that his trainer's now deceased relative had owned one. He was by no means the most articulate member of their little family, but he felt he should at least try to say something. Reaching out with telepathy was Arthur's domain however, so instead, he settled for 'Pokéspeech', the universally understood tongue that only Pokémon could truly speak.

"I heard of your loss, feathered one. You have my sympathy." The eyes blinked at his series of growls, and a voice echoed in his head as the Noctowl responded.

"Thank you…my trainer had something for yours. Some…information. Papers. That sort of thing. He tasked me with passing it on before he…" The voice trailed off, and even Leo's usually cold hunter heart lurched for the sadness emanating from the bird.

Before he could try to comfort the Noctowl, it fluttered down from the rafters, a wooden box in one taloned foot. "Here." Came the voice again. "It is his. Now…leave me to my grief."

Leo moved towards the bird, and gave a low, rumbling purr as he nuzzled it. It was his kind's way of sharing affection, and the electrical current, while normally damaging to a flying type, only brought warmth then. The owl blinked again in thanks, and then flew out of the barn, and into the night. Leo then began the arduous task of trying to lift a large, square object with his fangs, but found his mouth too small.

He mega evolved then, and picked the box up, lifting it easily. His actions did however, draw notice from his trainer. He brought the box outside the old man's lab then, and soon, his trainer appeared from within. The rest of his team were asleep in their balls, as only Leo ever prowled around at this hour. He dropped the box before Alex, and then let the power of the Electrium fade.

Alex gave the large cat a thorough scratch as he wiped the slime from the box, and opened it. Once he saw what was within, he walked into the abandoned lab, and took a seat in one of the lounging chairs by the back window. Inside was what the Noctowl had promised. Documents, yellow with age, but atop them was a much newer device. A Holociever, the resulting combination of the cross-transceiver and Lysander's Holocaster technology. Alex had one of his own of course, everyone over the age of thirteen usually did, but this one was the familiar mahogany brown of his Gruncle's.

His team had taken to lounging around outside their balls since coming home, and all of them focused as Alex got their attention. Terra and Hydrus woke from the naps they'd been taking in the puddle of mud they'd made just outside the lab. Shruikan opened one giant, yellow eye which was visible from the lab's window, and though he was otherwise occupied, Blaze paid as much attention as he could.

Arthur and Leo usually stuck by their trainer. Arthur did so because he was fond of speaking with the other humans, especially the little ones, and Leo did so for much the same reason, though he was mainly after belly scratches and fond petting. Alex looked up at his Gallade, who had just taken a decent hit of the Leaf, and had put a sword-arm on his shoulder. The Holociever was, of course, capable of recording messages as well as sending them, and as Alex powered it on, his Gruncle's voice filled the room.

He heard dainty footsteps rushing up the stairs from the basement, and he looked up to see Jess. He paused the message, and started it over for her. He hadn't really listened anyways. He wiped away the tears in his eyes he hadn't even noticed had formed, and then played the message again, for them.

"Alex…by the time you hear this, I'll likely be gone. Cliché, I know, but it is the truth, and a sad one at that. I can only imagine what you've achieved in Norstad. Knowing you, it's something you're not ready for, but have already somewhat mastered." Alex fought down a laugh as the holo-image of the old man coughed and wheezed, then looked at the hand that had covered his mouth. He wiped the bloody smear on his coat absentmindedly, and continued on.

"I can only hope that what the Dragon taught you has helped you survive that barbaric land. And yes, I was the one who asked him to train you up. He thought you needed more time to mature, but I know better. I've seen how you get when you have new knowledge to devour. Just remember that not everyone is used to seeing supernatural power. Humans have a history of persecuting those with psychic abilities, so keep them secret."

The old man coughed again, and thumped his chest. He took a hit then, and Alex realized he'd recorded this in the very chair he now sat in. "Ah…I've so much to say…and not enough breath to say it. Good thing these silly devices don't have hard time limits." The bong in the image went away, and the Professor entwined his fingers. A serious look came over his old, haggard face, and Alex leaned in subconsciously. He knew that look. What came next was important.

"I don't need psychic power to guess that Pravus wormed his way away from you. He's escaped professional Pokémon Rangers with ease, and Fornia is essentially a fortress. Try not to dwell on it. I can say that if he did retreat, it's because he found a way to get what he wanted. Eternal life. Don't look so surprised, he's been after that for years." Jess chuckled then, as they had both looked surprised by the Professor's knowledge. "Listen. If he gets what he wants, then our species is doomed. Pravus has mastered the art of indoctrination through his cult, and once he has this continent, he'll move on to another. He already has roots in Sinnoh, but that's Japan's problem. Let their Champions handle it. You have more important things to do."

Alex raised a brow, but the Professor continued on, "In this box, and in my room, are several hundred hard documents that are essentially a record of what that bastard has done. You'd think anyone with a brain would burn that kind of information rather than record it, but that's just how the Arceans operate. They record everything so they can use it later. On their enemies, and their own. It's part of what keeps people in their cult. Blackmail and fear are powerful tools…but you know that."

A Noctowl flew into the scene then, and landed on the chair. The Professor gave him a scratch, pondering his words before speaking again. "I tried exposing the Arceans for what they were, and was labeled a pedophile because of it. But this isn't about my name anymore. After this latest attack, Unova has a good idea of what the Arceans are about, and that means the end-game is coming. Unova was never meant to be indoctrinated, it was always a scapegoat. A focus for loyal Arceans to center their hatred on. Ghetsis was supposed to lay the foundations for future conversion of Unovans, but you stopped that plan cold when you united the dragons. Now that Tao is back, Unova will never follow Pravus. He learned that the hard way when he captured Tao, and started a war."

The Noctowl hooted once, and the Professor nodded. "I'm getting to that, Soren." The old man shook his head. "I've already told Tao of this, and he assured me that Unova would be ready for a surprise invasion. He said he could rally the entire eastern coast if needed, but that remains to be seen. In any case, it's not where you're needed. You need to travel to Fornia, and expose this bastard for the slime he is. Without the support of his people, his empire will crumble. Pravus has always underestimated the value of his own supporters, and that is the weak point that you need to strike at."

The Professor made an imitation of a building falling with his hands. "Expose Pravus beyond the shadow of doubt, and the entire thing comes crumbling down. The trick, as I'm sure you know, is getting Arceans to see, and believe, that their Prophet is a lunatic. I can only give you the tools lad. You'll have to figure out the rest. My advice? Start from the ground up. Most Arceans have never seen the PokéNet. They have no accurate idea of how the world sees their home. From their perspective, their cult is helping people all over the world, rooting out 'psychic warlords', and even curing addiction. You'll understand how deep the indoctrination goes once you get to Fornia, and meet them."

The Professor let out a hacking cough again, and frowned into his hand. Blood trickled from either side of his mouth, and he wiped it on his sleeve. "It seems my mortality is catching up with me, so I'll end this, and hope you return from your journey alive. I've recorded other messages on here, for the rest of the family. This is the last. Pass them on once you're done with this." Soren hooted again, and it was a low, mournful sound.

The Professor leaned back into the chair, and sighed. "I don't know what the future holds for you, lad. All I can do is help you with this enemy, but you need to understand something…there will always be another Pravus. Another madman, another power-hungry intelligent being bent on dominating the entirety of mankind. Knowing you, you're going to stop quite a few of them, but eventually, one of them will find a way to break you. This is a task too big for one trainer, even a Champion, to handle alone."

Soren's eyes widened, but the Professor continued on, "The Pokémon League has a group of people within it, specifically, people who run things behind the scenes, and operate in the shadows against other, more…dark-minded people, in the same shadows. There's a reason only a limited number of Mewtwo clones were made. There's a reason there always happens to be a heroic Trainer at the right place, at the right time, to stop a disaster. Someday, this group is going to contact you, as they did me, and when they do, I'm going to ask you to do something I told you never to do. Trust them. They may not be perfect, they're as human as we are, but they're the best hope for our race's future. At least in this old man's opinion."

The old man coughed again, and gave a weak smile to the camera. "I can't guide you on your future adventures…but they might be able to help. Good luck, lad…remember what I taught you…keep your greed in check…and don't spend too long mourning my wrinkled ass…I've lived long enough." He held up his right hand then, and split his pointer and middle fingers from his ring and pinky finger, making a V-shape as the thumb curled up against his hand. He winked. "Live long, and prosper." With that, the recording ended.

Alex choked back a laugh. Tears had started flowing down his cheeks, and his repressed emotions were rapidly demanding a release. "I can't…did he really just…ugh…he would go out on a note like that…old bastard…" He wiped his face dry, only to look up and see that Jess and Arthur had done the same.

"I…I do not understand his last sentence." Arthur said, tilting his head at his trainer. He'd tried mimicking the symbol the old man had made, but it was hard to do with three fingers.

Alex laughed again. "Don't…don't worry about it." He shook his head, and met Jess' gaze. "Shall we have a look in the basement?"

He could see the worry she was trying to hide. She more than anyone could feel the emotional turmoil within him, but as always, his practiced stone-faced façade stayed passive and unreadable. Only his eyes gave him away, as he had to blink back more tears. "Sure…" she said, after a long moment, "Let's…see what the old nerd left for us."

Alex raised a brow towards her as the four of them headed into the basement. "Does that mean you're coming with me to Fornia?"

He knew the slap was coming, but didn't dodge it. It was a good distraction from the pain everywhere else. The back of his head still hurt, though, and he adjusted his hat. "Like you even have to ask. That old nerd should've predicted I'd be going too. Besides, I know how golden coast girls act around trainers like you. I'm not letting you out of my sight."

The four approached the door, and as they entered the old bedroom, Leo snarled in disgust. It was faint, but the smell of decay still lingered. To his keen senses though, it seemed almost fresh. Alex gave him a pat. "Wait upstairs…but lend your eyes. I'll need them." Leo did as he was bid, and soon, the night hunter's vision became Alex's.

With a glance, he could now make out shuffling foot marks on the old brown carpet. The indentation on the bed where his granduncle had laid down. There were clues all around the room to his hiding spots. A hand on his shoulder brought his focus away from the bed, and to the closet instead. It had been opened recently, judging by the pattern on the floor, and he knew nobody but his favored relative had reason to go digging in there.

Within, he found a much larger cache of papers, and after a bit more searching, found back-ups as well. He wouldn't have hidden them all in the same room, but it was good enough. He dug through the first box, and at the bottom, found a folder labeled 'Elaine'. Within, he discovered why his granduncle had been so hel-bent on bringing the Arceans into the light, if not bringing them down entirely.

It was clearly a covert report, detailing the actions of one 'Doctor Ein' as he infiltrated a large soon-to-be-purchased hospital in New Tork City in an effort to collect more stem cells for shadow infusion into Pokémon. Apparently, something had gone wrong while he was collecting from an unnamed 'female subject', but Alex could guess who they were talking about. The fools had even listed her room number, if not her name. Given the number was manually highlighted, Alex guessed his granduncle had known it was his wife's.

He shared what he'd found with Jess, and they both agreed then. These people needed to be stopped, or there would be more cases like Elaine's of collections gone wrong. For all they knew, there already had been. They hid the back-up caches away in different spots, and made digital copies as well. It was as they were finishing up that Alex decided to check his Gruncle's Holociever for other messages.

There were indeed more as his Gruncle had promised, including a smaller text based one for him, apparently. It read "Send these to their intended recipients lad. No peeking." There was one for everyone in the family, even his father, and he had to resist the temptation to open that one. He could only imagine what the old man had to say to him. He did as the note instructed, and knew it was likely to cause a stir in the main house.

Once everything was ready, Alex and Jess agreed that they'd need to leave at the start of the summer. That would give them time to finish school, study with the Sage a bit more, stock up on items, and prepare disguises to enter Fornia with. The last few days of their break went by swiftly, and though parting again was sad, it was made bearable by the fact that they could, if needed, reach out telepathically to each other, despite the distance.

Alex had an idea to solve the issue of distance, and after he'd helped her move into her room for the latter half of the semester, he began traveling south along the coast once more, heading the for the Swamp.

Chapter 22: The Best Laid Plans (2)

This was originally part of the next chapter, but it was getting comically large at that point, so I kept it in this one.

Next Chapter:

Pokemon (c) Nintendo

Chapter 22: The Best Laid Plans

Norstad – Valaskjalf's Main Hall

Alex and Jess looked up at the sky, as the clouds had suddenly turned dark, not dissimilar from when he used the Strunzul. Then, the sounds of battle became clear. Heavy booms of thunder echoed from the gap in the newly formed door behind the village's main hall.

Alex shouldered his way free of Lokra's grip, and met her gaze. "No offense to your…king, but Pravus is our quarry on this hunt."

He glanced at the sky again, as the clouds arced with streaks of lightning. He remembered then something his granduncle had told him once about this particular weather formation, when he'd been younger. When the clouds boomed and lightning cracked the sky, it meant Thor was hammering away at something. Growing older, he'd learned his ancestors had also considered it a sign of rage sometimes, and a bad omen at sea.

Jess picked up on his thoughts, and the same underlying excitement was shared by her as well. She'd heard the same legends, and the chance to see one literally smiting evil before their very eyes could not be passed up. She gently moved the Chief's hand as well. "We will try not to interfere with, or disrespect your king…but Alex is correct. Pravus is the sole reason we came here. We cannot let him gain what he seeks."

Lokra sighed, and then shrugged. "Fine." Then, she jerked a thumb at the red haired, red bearded figure behind her, still grinning, and still encased in ice. "What do we do with this?"

Alex opened his mouth to say something, but Arthur popped free of his ball instead, his voice echoed to all within earshot, but his mouth did not move. His arms extended into swords as he glared down at the figure. "I will handle this." His eyes narrowed, and Alex raised a brow as he sensed his partner's thoughts. "I am well acquainted with the trickery of Zoroark…the one thing they can never hide is their foul stench."

The man hissed at Arthur's words, and then, changed form. As the form that had been entrapped was rather bulky and muscled, the lithe form it took then was easily able to slip free of the ice, but not before Arthur had mega evolved, and leapt after it, arms shining gold. Naturally, the Zoroark had not been the color most of its species shared, appearing instead with fur that was black and purple. It had also appeared infected with shadow, but of all of his team, Arthur was best prepared for that. His sword arm had, after all, stabbed Alduin's ball of dark matter, and dissipated it.

"I…think he can handle it." Alex said, watching as the malleable form of his Gallade caught up to the creature easily, and delivered a spinning roundhouse kick to its jaw, sending it sailing into one of the many rock cliff faces that surrounded the village.

The women nodded, and Lokra spoke then, "If you are intent on intruding upon the king's sport, I shall go with you. He is not aware that you are allies…and he sometimes sees treachery where there is none."

Alex and Jess shared a glance. If the legends were true, the god in question had a 'brother' well known for mischief and redirection. The excitement only grew, and they had to struggle not to fly ahead, propelled by their power. Lokra could've kept up with them regardless, as she was quite fast, and ran in a manner similar to Connor, though where his form was perfected, hers was somewhat unsteady.

Eventually, they came upon a sight that awed them, as it seemed straight out of an old legend. It was indeed Thor, or Shor, as the locals had named him, and he was going blow for blow with Pravus, whose form had…mutated, into an approximation of himself, and what looked like parts of a Darkrai.

Massive fists of dark energy met the thunderous fury of what could only be Mjolnir, and as the three watched, smiles slowly came to their faces. The God of Thunder was toying with the man, laughing as he swung away at the energy hands. As they arrived, he glanced their way, eyes widening as he saw Lokra. The glance was exactly what Pravus had been waiting for.

The wind picked up and howled with ominous fury, as Pravus' arms, which were purple and identical to a Darkrai's, spun in slow, circular motions as balls of pure black energy formed within them, and then merged together, growing larger. Alex's eyes widened, as he recognized the move. "Watch out! That attack will put you to sleep!"

The ball of darkness shot forth, and Shor swung his hammer, sending it skyward, where it dissipated harmlessly.

Snarling in irritation, Pravus glanced his way, noticing the intruders for the first time. His eyes were blue now, not unlike a Pokémon using Psychic, but the irises were still human, and still as dark as ever.

The God of Thunder gave him what seemed like an appreciative nod, and Alex had to fight down the fanboyish excitement. It was just a nod. No reason to lose his cool. "If you start calling him 'Senpai', we're over." His love's mocking tone echoed in his head, and he fought down a chuckle.

Instead of rushing forward with his hammer, Shor raised it above his head, and began spinning it by the leather bit attached to the handle. "You like to play with the wind…let us see if you truly know its' fury…" At his words, a tornado rapidly formed and surrounded the pair, almost obscuring them from sight. Thankfully, Leo was interested in watching as well, and he shared his sight freely. He was an electric Pokémon after all. This 'God of Thunder' could be a fantastic opponent.

Pravus and his opponent glared at each other, and slowly, a black haze began to fill the swirling air, coming from Pravus' own body. Even to Leo's sight, it made things murky. It seemed that the Prophet had yet more up his sleeve.

For his part, Pravus had deemed this whole venture a failure. He had not expected a god, or whatever this red haired being was, to be waiting at the threshold of his prize. He was so close, he could feel the Fairy Aura. It permeated everything in this place. Life bloomed all around him. He needed that power.

At that moment, two things happened at exactly the same time. An airship, no doubt Percy's borrowed one, de-cloaked over the forest, further in, and dark figures began dropping from it. Pravus grinned. Perhaps his minions weren't as inherently useless as he'd thought…though he'd need to keep their task from being interfered with. The Unova Champion and that older woman with him were fierce fighters. He did not recognize the brunette beside the Champion, but assumed she would be capable of defeating his people as well. Why else would they bring her?

As he took a moment to ponder his options, his Darkrai's instinct caused it to suddenly shrivel up, and fade back into his shadow. Pravus fell to the ground, powerless, and snarled at his shadow. Then, he noticed. The area around himself and Shor had turned pink and glowed with the power of the fairy typing. He recognized the move as one of Xerneas' own.

Then, it appeared. The clattering of hooves echoed through the glade, and a kind, almost motherly voice echoed to all within earshot. "You come for that which your foul form cannot take in, human."

Shor looked up as well, at the topmost roof of his hall, and he caught his hammer, causing the tornado to fade as well. The gold and red leaves of the glade swirled atop Shor's Hall in a miniature cyclone, and slowly, a form manifested within them. Within moments, Xerneas, she who gave life eternal, stood upon on the hall's roof, and gazed down at them with x-shaped irises.

She was, in a word, lovely. White fur, light blue in some places, and deep blue horns that lacked the rainbow coloring at that moment. Xerneas' grace was unmatched as she leapt down to the pair of fighters, and trotted right up to Pravus.

Nobody moved.

"You have gained the dark typing. My power would drive you to utter, crippling madness. Forever. Take your forces, and leave. I will not have fighting in my own grove." The hind spoke, and as she did, Shor grimaced, but otherwise stayed silent.

Pravus stared at Xerneas, his own expression unreadable, save for an eye twitch. Here she was, the one Pokémon capable of granting him what he'd sought for years, and now, it was beyond him because of his past choices. He was furious. His shadow formed a perfect circle around his feet, and the air grew colder. The stench of death filled the area, and the pure, undiluted rage that was of his very core, surfaced.

"It…matters…not…" Pravus snarled, glaring at the Life Pokemon. "I will draw what I need from you by force…if necessary. Or, you could give me what I seek, and I shall leave…"

Xerneas stared the human down, towering above him. "Your kind has not changed. You do not listen. You do not pay heed. You are as greedy and vile as every other human who has come here before you, seeking my power, all but drooling at the thought of living forever…" The hind lowered her head to Pravus' height, meeting his gaze directly. "You know not what you meddle with…" Her horns began to glow, and Shor stepped back several paces. "It is better for all, if you simply…cease."

"You Legendaries are all the same…" Pravus said, looking down at the pink terrain surrounding him. "You think you have a choice in any of this…you think the decision is yours…" He looked up again, and Xerneas flinched, visibly. His eyes burned with red energy, radiating from them in wavy lines of power. "You are tools on my belt…nothing more…" He drew a Pokéball that was entirely black from his pocket. "Now, get into your ball…"

The Life Pokémon brought her head up again, horns radiating with power. Being so close, Alex resisted the urge to fidget. Then, he remembered. Fairy types and dragons mixed poorly. What she said of Pravus was likely true of himself, as well.

The sky, for once, cleared over the area above them, and Xerneas was no doubt responsible. From behind the clouds, the moon appeared, despite the ever-present light of the sun during this season. It was full, and seemed to glow as Xerneas drew more and more power.

"Cease." An orb of light blue, similar in appearance to the moon in many ways, formed between Xerneas' horns, and at almost point-blank range, the Life Pokémon launched the Moonblast at Pravus. The man grinned, and opened his Dark Ball.

Much like the Ultra Ball, the Dark Ball had undergone a series of advancements as well, despite being highly illegal. In the Fornia region, they had increased its ability to capture Pokémon beyond that of any other Pokéball, going as far as to include move-dampeners, and not even require it to touch the Pokémon it was aimed at. The first one it absorbed would be the one it caught, and Xerneas was directly in front of him.

Pravus grinned as the ball began to drag the massive hind towards it. The fairy type attack had been completely swallowed, and it looked as though the Life Pokémon would be as well. The four onlookers leapt into action, as they'd been waiting for the man to either retreat, or try something.

Alex and Jess, having expected Pravus to attempt a final, desperate act to catch Xerneas, launched a combined Psychic attack at Pravus' ball. It was the immediate threat, after all, but it was intercepted as his Darkrai rose from his shadow, and canceled the attack out with a Dark Pulse.

Jess' eyes widened as she met the Darkrai's gaze. "Wait…that Darkrai is-" Her words were cut off by the sound of thunder, booming almost directly beside them. Both Shor and Lokra had leapt into action as well. Shor's hammer created a fissure in the ground, and Pravus' Darkrai retreated into his shadow once more, levitating him above the attack.

Xerneas' hooves dug deep into the lush grass, but the ball's pull was incredibly strong. It had been made with the thought of capturing Legendary Pokémon, and Alex began to understand how the Arceans always seemed to have a Legendary up their sleeve. Even Tao would be susceptible to such a thing, if his defenses were down.

Seeing his attack had failed, Shor spun the hammer quickly, and let it pull him through the air towards his target. Lokra, for her part, had kept her spear handy, but the dark limned man moved away from it easily as she cast it towards him. She pulled it back to her hand with a yank upon what looked like a rope of some kind, but was pure white. Fallen tail feathers from Iizlokraan no doubt.

The ball pulled Xerneas ever closer, and the Life Pokémon became truly desperate as her capture became inevitable. Before anyone had time to do anything more, she turned into a swirl of red light, entered the ball, and after a violent series of shakes, was caught with a ding that sounded more like a tolling bell than anything else. Pravus grinned, eyeing his prize, only then remembering that an increasingly furious 'god' was hurtling towards him. The fun was over now, and it was time for this foul entity to feel his wrath.

Shor's hammer smashed into the Dark Ball with unerring accuracy, causing it to smoke and spark in Pravus' equally smashed hand. It released its occupant as the man dropped the ball, and snarled in pain. The Life Pokémon appeared again, horns once more lacking their golden color. She was motionless, and her head was lowered, but she seemed unharmed.

With a battle cry that echoed through the glade, Shor brought Mjolnir around in all its sparking glory once more, intent on finishing this, but Pravus dodged it gracefully in the air, and once he did, a familiar looking hand reached out from Pravus' knee, and grabbed the god's leg. Pravus spun, and the hand threw Shor towards his hall. The armored form of the Thunder God's body sailed through the air, and smashed through the wood of his hall easily, and he disappeared from sight.

Pravus' triumph was short lived, however. Alex had called out the first ball he reached for, which meant Terra was now on the scene, and had mega evolved. An Energy Ball containing the power of the ground and grass typing slammed into Pravus, and with its sheer size, drove him into the air, and over the trees. He snarled and pushed, but could not free himself from the massive, spinning Taijitu sphere of condensed green and brown energy. Of all his team, Terra remained the best at condensing the layers of his Energy Ball.

All eyes went to Xerneas, but she hadn't moved, and looked more like a statue than a living Pokémon. Her x-shaped irises didn't move either, her gaze was locked on the spot Pravus had been. In the distance, they heard a pained yell, and a loud boom. Then, from the trees, a pillar of swirling dark energy rose into the sky. They could all guess its source.

Dark energy began to rise from Xerneas' form in small wisps, but before anyone could notice, Pravus once more appeared in the air, furious, and hurtling towards them. He was changed again. Alex began to wonder just how many transformations he had.

Dark energy covered his body like a robe, flaring out behind him as he flew through the air towards them, eyes burning with rage. Literally. The sound of splintering wood and thunder boomed from behind them as once more Shor flew into the air, and met the man wrapped in darkness. Finally, Mjolnir met its' mark, and Pravus sailed towards the ground, impacting with a boom that shook the area.

Shor followed, as did more thunderous crashes, the sound of truly titanic combat. It said much that Pravus was able to hold his own at all against a being that was called a god, and had, if the legends were to be believed, been alive for countless millennia. The sound of cracking branches filled the area near them, and seconds later, the two men came hurtling out of the nearby forest, and back to the front of the hall. Pravus' jaw was askew, and already bruising, no doubt from a hammer blow.

Pravus bounced across the grass once Shor stopped, and groaned as he slowly rose again. "I don't know…what you are…but you will not…win this…" He raised both hands towards the red-haired figure, and a look of pure rage came across his frightening countenance, black and red lightning arced from each fingertip towards his quarry.

At first, Shor laughed, loud and booming, until the first sparks touched his form. His visage grew grim then. "You meddle with power you do not comprehend…" He spoke through gritted teeth, and slowly raised Mjolnir to intercept the streams of burning plasma. Though it arced across his skin, it left almost no trace upon it, in fact, his skin appeared more like metal than anything else, in that moment.

"I am Power!" The lightning grew larger, more uncontrolled as Pravus poured everything he had into it. It was striking Mjolnir now, and Shor was doing everything he could to not be blown away by the ferocity of the attack. It had definitely caught him off guard.

Xerneas watched the display while remaining motionless.

"Qo! Ner! Kaask!" The Storm Voice boomed through the glade, louder than anything so far, and the power of it warped Pravus' lightning back on himself. It formed a spherical cage of volatile plasma, and burned both the ground and the air as it entrapped Pravus. He turned, slowly, towards Alex.

"You…are going to die…slowly…" His entire form was trembling, and small cracks had appeared by his burning red eyes, sundering his very skin. Blood had begun to drip from each of them. Finally, he was reaching a limit of some kind. Hopefully.

"Not today…" Pravus' head turned suddenly to behold Shor, hammer in hand, smirking. With another mighty upwards swing, Mjolnir sent the spherical cage of lightning into the air, but this time, in the direction of Valaskjalf itself.

Pravus gripped the electric 'bars' of his cage, searing his hands as he screamed at them in a manic frenzy, "You will all perish for this! Grrrraaagh!" He shook the bars with a rage that could only be described as manic, but the Storm Voice had effectively entrapped him. For now.

"For the Prophet!" A new cry from a new voice came from their left, in the woods, and from the trees came Pravus' lackeys, surrounded by their Pokémon. By this point, anything resembling the 'rules of battle' had long since been discarded. Every Pokémon they had was out, and the sheer numbers looked to be ready to overwhelm them.

That is, until an enormous beam of ice formed a massive wall in front of the newcomers, and around Shor and the three humans. Iizlokraan's telepathic voice echoed to all, "They are safe, begin the purge!"

The four looked up as the sky filled with what seemed to be all of Valaskjalf's riders. Ice Beams and flying type attacks began to rain down upon the comparatively small group of Arceans. Hydrus and Leo joined Terra, as they were the ones with the most energy left, and soon the Arceans had once more been effectively corralled by the riders.

More than a few openly and loudly complained about being frozen in the same manner twice, but before anyone could give orders for what to do with these new captives, a blur of black and purple zipped through them, freeing many of the trainers, but only some of the Pokémon. As before, many had been cleansed of the shadow's influence by the Articuno, but those who hadn't were now free, and were quickly recalled as cries of "Retreat!" echoed through their ranks.

A green and white blur followed the black and purple one, and they began to clash atop the wall of ice. It was, of course, Arthur, still engaged in battle with Pravus' Zoroark. At first it had seemed at a disadvantage, but now, the cunning foxlike creature was taunting the Gallade, who despite his speed, could not land his sword strike on it.

In seconds, Leo joined Arthur atop the ice wall, and with a combination of Iron Tail and Sacred Sword, kept the Zoroark from escaping. The tail of Leo's Mega Form, when using Iron Tail, became shaped like a scythe. He also gained saber-teeth, which made his Thunder Fang quite a bit stronger. He was even just as fast as the other two, a fact the Zoroark soon became aware of.

Alex glanced at how the dark fox fought, and then noticed something. It was using Night Slash to cancel out Leo's Iron Tail, but the other claw was bright with white energy, which parried the Sacred Sword, and kept Arthur at bay. Of course it knew Aerial Ace.

Iizlokraan landed before them, and Lokra hopped on her back, and then nodded at Shor. The god gave a nod as well, and then the Chief joined her fliers in the air. Various fire and rock attacks kept most of the Articuno at bay, but the dwindling group of Arceans soon found themselves between two walls of ice, as Iizlokraan created another, and prevented retreat into the forest.

The few who had gotten away were dropped back amongst their fellows, and their hard landings caused havoc and broken bones as they slammed into their comrades. It was as close to attacking the trainers as the Articuno came. Seeing the tide turning, the battling Zoroark suddenly vanished as Sacred Sword and Iron Tail bisected the dark, grinning figure. It vanished in a wisp of darkness, little more than an illusion. One that had fooled even Leo's eyes. The sly fox appeared again atop the Thunder God's hall, and let out a chilling howl that echoed for miles.

Arthur and Leo quickly leapt after their prey, only to find it recalled into a Dark Ball. They looked up, and beheld a very haggard, very burned Caleb Pravus. He called down to his minions, "Enough. We have what we need. Retreat." With that, the man, who was still clad in a robe of dark energy, flew further upwards, before vanishing entirely.

Leo shared his sight with his trainer, and Alex grimaced. "Their ship is above us."

"Not for long!" Lokra and Iizlokraan launched into the air beside Shor, at the same time the Arceans were ascending towards the ship as well. Some had what appeared to be jetpacks, but most rode their Pokémon up.

"Sandstorm…" The air around the ship became filled with harsh sand, enough to make even the massive Articuno, and Shor, pause. "Power Gem." The voice was Pravus', and it echoed through the area, but the Pokémon launching these attacks was nowhere to be found. Thus, the rock type energy slammed into Iizlokraan from seemingly out of nowhere, and brought the massive bird down, hard. She was wounded, by the joint that connected her left wing to her body, but she managed to land relatively safe on the grass below.

Shor, for his part, had smashed the beam meant for him away with Mjolnir, and continued upwards, towards the faint outline of the ship in the whirling sand. Suddenly, with no warning, a massive Gigalith appeared above Shor, and though he paused for a moment, he continued towards the dropping mass of rock Pokémon.


The grin on the god's face faded as the Pokémon did the only thing it could do: obey. A massive explosion usually would not have harmed him so much, but at that point, it was too close to avoid. Shor took the hit full force. The sound of jet engines burning filled the air as the smoking form of Shor fell earthward, alongside the fainted form of the Gigalith, which slowly faded into nothingness as the shadow energy claimed another life. Pravus did not even bother trying to recall it. There were plenty, in the Fornia region. The ship powered through the fading vestiges of the Sandstorm, and then, was gone.

Before Alex could spring into action to save the Thunder God, he felt a soft hand on his shoulder, and glanced at Jess, who pointed. In the ensuing battle and confusion, Xerneas had been momentarily forgotten. Now, it was evident that had been a mistake. The Life Pokémon was almost entirely dark purple, and shadow was radiating from her form. Her white fur was slowly turning purple, and still, she remained utterly motionless.

Alex moved towards Iizlokraan, potion in hand. If anyone could cleanse the Life Pokémon, it surely would be this Articuno, but another of the Legendary Birds got to the massive hind before he even reached her, and her rider. Up above, a pair of riders caught the falling form of their king, and carried him to the ground. He too would need healing.

Jess and Folokraan approached the Life Pokémon. She remembered the last time she'd faced down a Legendary Pokémon battling with the corruptive power of the shadow. The Life Pokémon's horns glowed with a dark power, and a ball of bluish-purple energy formed between them. Jess' eyes widened. She'd recalled reading about Xerneas being able to use Outrage, but nobody had ever survived seeing such a thing. She'd hesitated the last time, against Tao, when Alex hadn't. She would not make the same error twice.

She nodded at Fo, and despite being young, the little Articuno flapped towards the Life Pokémon, and touched her beak to the hind's snout. The purifying light was all Xerneas needed. The orb of dragon energy faded back into her body, and the shadow burned away in the face of her multicolored power. With her horns once more golden, the giant deer shook her antlered head before regarding the ones who had saved her.

"Thank you, little ones…I almost lost myself…" She looked between Jess and Fo and almost seemed to smile.

"We should've acted sooner…we're sorry for not doing so." Jess bowed low, and her Articuno copied her as best it could.

The Life Pokémon eyed them for a long moment, and then seemed to nod. "I understand, human…things often become confused in battle…now tell me…why do you and your mate wear a veil of Percival's power atop your clothing? What has the trickster done now?"

Jess began explaining the events leading up to the most recent battle, while Alex tended Iizlokraan's wing with a Max Potion. Soon after, he rejoined Jess, patting the smaller Articuno once he did. She chirped, and pushed into his hand. It was nice to see even Legendary Pokémon enjoyed it when he patted them. Magic fingers indeed. "…and that's how we ended up here." Jess finished.

"Percy asked us to try to convince you to end his imprisonment…" Alex said, picking up the conversation, "He wanted us to capture you, but I have a feeling doing so would be the wrong way to free him."

The large Pokémon brought her gaze to him now, eyes widening slightly as she saw his typing. As with all Legendary Pokémon, she too had the sight psychic types used. "And do you believe the Fairy King has changed? Will letting him out benefit, or cause strife to the world? From what I heard, you have not known him long."

Alex shrugged. "I can't claim to understand fairy types, but I do know this: His mind and mine touched, briefly, and in that moment, I saw true, honest regret. It's buried, but it's there, and he feels it daily. He's desperate to be free again…desperate enough to ally with a lunatic like Pravus, and convince him to bring you to the tower. The thought of freedom consumes him. If he was actually released, he'd probably be fine." Alex looked down for a moment, subconsciously stroking his beard as he thought. "How about a compromise? Free him, and if he returns to his darker persuasions, I will personally help you jail him again, in a much smaller tower."

Xerneas took a moment to think as well. She had curled up on the grass as Jess had told the story, and then, finally, nodded. "Very well, Dovahkiin. If you speak true, I will release him from his imprisonment…in truth, I did not intend it to last so long…but I was…waylaid. If you speak true, and he has repented, I shall grant him his freedom. But I will need to see this for myself, before I believe it."

Alex nodded, glad that they'd at least managed to fulfill one mission successfully. He had no idea why Pravus had suddenly retreated, but it couldn't be a good thing. He wasn't the type to leave empty handed. "Thank you…I'm sure he will do anything to avoid imprisonment again…now that's settled…can you make these outfits disappear?"

The Life Pokémon seemed to chuckle, a light huffing sound, and then nodded. Her horns glowed for an instant, and Alex and Jess sighed in relief as the armor faded away. They made a show of stretching, and Alex shoved his now once more iron helmet into his bag, trading it for his hat. He avoided making eye contact with Jess though. Now that they were free of the armor, weeks of suppressed urges were rapidly bubbling to the surface. The danger was gone, but the adrenaline was still pumping.

Xerneas stood and a small smirk appeared on her mouth. "I will grant another favor. To the both of you." She focused her x-shaped irises on Jess. "Your mate has acquired the immortality of the dragons. For saving me from that…pestilence, I grant you the same. You can still be wounded, maimed, or slain, but should you avoid such things, you will live a span of years akin to Percival's." The antlers upon her head began to shine. "Be warned, human. That which I give, I can also take. Do not squander this gift. And always remember…every living thing has an end…do not think you have avoided death. It comes for us all, eventually."

Jess knelt, both knees resting on the grass. "I understand. You have my word…I will not waste my chance for longer life."

The golden light flared, and from each of the seven multicolored orbs on Xerneas' antlers, a drop fell to the ground, halting before it hit. Slowly, each drop formed above Jess' head into a multicolored orb that radiated life energy. It was pleasant, warm, but inherently infused with fairy power. It descended into Jess' head, and then she began to glow as well, though it soon faded.

"It is done." Xerneas said, looking slightly exhausted, "Now pardon me…I must see to Shor."

Alex thanked her again, and then knelt beside his love. "How do you feel?"

She shrugged. "Rejuvenated…but otherwise…the same."

Alex nodded, smirking. "I felt the same way. Who knew immortality would be so easily found…"

Jess raised a brow at him. "You call all of this easy?"

He shrugged. "No…but think about it. Some people spend their entire lives seeking out what we've gained in the space of a few weeks…

"The difference is obvious, love." She put a hand on his cheek, "We weren't looking for it. You gained yours to fight Alduin and save the world. I gained mine by keeping the balance in check. A shadow-infused Xerneas awake at the same time as Percy's Yveltal would bring even more death to this land…" She looked at the white and light blue hind. "The balance would've been disrupted, and the repercussions…worse than I can imagine, I'm sure."

Percival's Airship – Somewhere Over Norstad's Western Edge

"S-sir? Not that I'm not glad but…why did we run? Xerneas was righ-" The sentence was cut off as the haggard looking Prophet of the Arceans struck his lieutenant across the other side of his jaw. Now he'd have matching bruises.

"Listen when I speak, Samson. I said we had what we needed." Pravus grinned. The cloak of shadow was gone, and the streaks under his eyes had scabbed over, the blood that had wept from them had also been washed away, yet he still knew he would need time to recover. His hands were a mess, but he had repaired them. Somewhat. Battling Shor had been more taxing than he'd anticipated, and the 'god' had very nearly killed him. The bruise on his jaw from that damnable hammer still throbbed with pain.

Pravus held up an object then, and Samson managed a small smile as well. It was damaged, sparking, and utterly useless for its original purpose, but they'd done more with less. His favored Zoroark had, out of all of his tools, performed the best. Not only had he deceived the riders, and kept the Gallade with the irritating sword at bay, he'd retrieved the Dark Ball from where Shor's hammer had knocked it to the ground.

This new generation of Dark Balls was tied directly to their lab back home, and sent a full genetic profile of whatever it captured to their lab in Sacreus. They didn't often try cloning Pokémon from said profiles, as it was a long, arduous process, but in this case, the replication of the Life Pokémon would be worth it. Though it was no longer bound to the ball, Xerneas had been within just long enough to be infected with shadow. The ball had finally run out of power once Xerneas cleansed itself, but that no longer mattered. They would make their own Xerneas, and from it, draw the secret of immortality.

Chapter 22: The Best Laid Plans (1)

And so ends our time in the land of ice and snow. For now. Already writing the next chapter, but given a lack of time (and cannabis) it may be a while. But who knows, I've been wrong before.

Pokemon (c) Nintendo

Chapter 21: The World Eater

The World Forge – Mountain Adjacent to Hrothofkiin, Several Weeks Earlier

"Show me what you already know. Let me taste of your Voice, 'hero'." His Rayquaza's semi-mocking tone echoed throughout the volcano. For some reason, he could not sense the Legendary Dragon, and it made battling him much more difficult. Even Shruikan could not follow his stealthy movements through the smoke-filled air.

The inside of the volcano was largely obscured, and had Alex not spent so much time around smoke, both from the Leaf and a certain super powerful dragon, he likely would've coughed himself raw, but it didn't seem to bother him. Whatever the Graybeards had done had changed him, it seemed. He was eager to test his new limits.

Suddenly, Alex's vision shifted, and he recognized sight through Leo's eyes, which cut through the obscuring smoke, and were all but immune to trickery. Alex gave the mental equivalent of a glance to his Luxray, who preferred to keep his eyes closed and napping.

"Teach me this 'dragon-tongue' of yours and Shruikan's. In return for my Sight Beyond Sight." Alex rolled his eyes. He was really nicknaming his ability. He wasn't the only team member to do so. Blaze echoed that he wanted to speak it as well. The fact that he couldn't speak the language of what his own species supposedly was, was irritating.

Arthur wanted in as well, and soon the entirety of their team had made their wish to understand this strange tongue for themselves known. They had second-hand knowledge of what was going on in this region from Alex's interpretation of what he saw and shared, but it wasn't enough.

Eventually, Shruikan caved to their wishes, and shared with all of them, the trick many dragon types used to make themselves seem Legendary. Not the Hyper Voice, but the tongue it used to shape reality. Tao informed Alex that he would be drawing on his knowledge of this tongue as well. It was a strangely familiar toy, but it was also new and unexplored. He could only imagine how the white scaled behemoth was using this new power.

Alex glanced at his disguised staff, wondering if what he sensed about Tao, and this language, was true, but he put that thought on hold for now. Tao could wait, his patience was literally infinite. It was good that he focused, for as his eyes had moved, distracted by his internal shenanigans, Rayquaza had decided to strike his distracted pupil, and his Dragon Tail, limned with pure green energy, came hurtling towards Alex.

He was reminded of Lizardon's attack, and had a feeling the similarities were purposeful. Using his borrowed visual prowess, he dodged the tail, which seemed to move in slow motion to Leo's vision. It really was almost unfair how much slower everything else was to him these days. No wonder he napped so often.

His eyes tracked the Rayquaza, and as requested, he unleashed his Hyper Voice. "Yol! Toor! SHUL!" The Rayquaza raised his brow at his pupil's choice of words as a torrent of bright flame, on par with a Flamethrower, not an ember, hit the dragon squarely in the face.

He was singed, clearly, and even had small, but still irritating burns. So much for fire not harming dragons. The burns healed instantly, but the dragon was still impressed he'd even needed his regenerative ability at all. Every human he had trained over his long life had always started with small Voices.

Then again, he realized, he had never actually properly felt the Voice of a true Dragonborn. They were rather rare. He'd been in their presence, but none had unleashed their power on him. It sent a chill through his ancient bones, bones so similar to his apprentice's attire. This power, unchecked, could devastate his race. He grumbled. Tao had been right, the Sages were indeed crucial to dragons, and every other living thing on the planet.

They kept events like that from ever occurring, trusting that their powerful human pupils would not, if put in a true position of leadership, abuse the powers that set them so far above most of their kin. Oranguru had told the dragon, on his latest visit to the Swamp, of the human from Unova and his potential, and so far, he had been correct. The human showed no signs of dark temptation. Yet.

He was calm, easygoing, sarcastically witty, and clever. When he needed to be. His use of this newest power would be a truer test of his right to rule. Dragonborn always had an inborn desire to lead. Power was intoxicating to them. That did not always end well for them, and more than one empire had been founded by such a person.

"Good. Very good. You understand the flames well…" The dragon eyed his pupil and Alex shrugged, smirking.

"I had the Graybeard who collected me share his knowledge of stringing a few particular words together…though, I knew what these, when combined, would do." The dragon raised his brow further, and Alex chuckled once more. "Well…it was more like an educated guess."

The dragon stayed silent, hovering in the air as he usually did, resting on his coils.

After several long minutes in the sweltering heat of the volcano, he finally spoke. "I see. That silly game has prepared you already, somewhat, but you must have noticed by now. The reality of using the Hyper Voice is a bit different, isn't it."

Alex nodded. The first chance he had, he'd tried breathing ice, electricity, speaking words of death, combing words of death into three-word Shouts that, usually, were devastating. Many had not worked. The few that did either did something completely different, or didn't have a visible effect.

Moreover, there were words in Norstad's tongue that he simply didn't recognize the origin of, though he knew the meaning. Many times, as he'd examined his new vocabulary, he had noticed that there were often two words, with identical meanings, but were definitely not rooted in prior languages, like so many other tongues were. The most universal was 'Common', originating from Albion, but it was standard practice to teach youngsters the language of their homeland as well as Common. Thankfully, Unova had always spoken it.

Tao's voice echoed in his head again. "When your kinsmen worshiped me, and followed my guidance to govern them, they too spoke the dragon tongue…my memories of that time are…fuzzy, however."

Alex focused on the dragon, as he was being unusually talkative. He'd sensed Tao's thoughts, more or less, through their bond, and this 'dragon tongue' was naggingly familiar. "I shall help you gain clarity…when I return."

He heard the Tao's chuckle echo in his skull. "If you return. You've stepped in it this time, apprentice." His unease swelled, but the First Dragon continued, "But, you are more or less prepared…or you will be, once Rayquaza trains you. Listen well, do as instructed, and you will find victory again."

The large, coiled green dragon sighed again. "You are not the first human to have some prior knowledge of this power, but you need to listen, and listen well. This is not the Shouting you know, forget everything you were taught by your fantasy world. The real one is quite a bit different, and if you continue blindly with guesses and improper verbiage, you are going to kill someone."

Alex stared at the dragon in return for a moment, and then nodded, deciding to trust Tao's advice as well. Neither of them had steered him wrong. He regarded Rayquaza again, and for the first time, sensed just how much stronger the dragon was. He was a dragon type now as well, but Rayquaza was far older. Wiser. And his looks matched his typing. Alex still appeared as a normal human, albeit one in heavy bone armor.

Alex bowed in the Unovan style, fist to palm, towards the dragon. "Teach me properly. Master."

The dragon grinned, and acquiesced.

Over the next several weeks, Rayquaza began molding the flood of knowledge Alex had gained, giving it the structure of an actual language. The difference between learning this one and, say, Japanese, was that after each lesson he could use these new words in varying combinations. Between that and repetition, his Hyper Voice grew stronger at an alarming rate. The Graybeards would have feared such rapid progress, but Rayquaza had other fears. Nidhogg, Alduin, The World Eater, this being had many names even amongst dragons. Even with such rapid progress, he feared it would not be enough.

It was through this mostly borrowed tongue that Arceus had imbued his dragons with the ability to manipulate their world with ease that no other Pokémon type had. With naught but their Voice, they could stop natural disasters, provide water for humans and Pokémon alike, even heal.

The Hyper Voice, when empowered with draconic energy, had the ability to manipulate the other types, provided there was a source for them. He then realized that his crystals could serve as such sources, and just like that, he felt the need to collect the rest. He knew he'd need them, but had put them from mind when Tao warned him of greed.

With this great ability, the dragons of their world had kept the peace, devastated violent armies bent on conquest, and had even battled against the Betrayer's minions. But few of those yet lived, and those that did, did so in prisons no mortal was likely to find.

Unless they gained knowledge from a fairy king and flew to one such prison that happened to have a village around it.

Nidhogg was another subject of his training, for the human had blundered onto him, and the imprisoned dragon had finally sensed a source of raw, unrefined power that he could use to regain his rule. Even when newly formed, Dragonborn had immense power buried within them. Alex had felt it during the long hours of training under Rayquaza. The dragon warned him that it was indeed finite, but even after hours of Shouting, he felt he could do more, if he needed to.

To better prepare him against his foe, Rayquaza gave the human and his team a crash course in history. Not human history, full of holes, inaccuracies, lies, and agenda's, but history as viewed through the very eyes of the Sky Guardian, and his kin, over uncountable years.

He started, with Giratina. Ever since the discovery that the white Arceus both did exist and were actually clones of the true Arceus, which presumably resided within his own dimension, the rumors and legends around the ghostly dragon had only increased.

Some said he was the destroyer, the opposite force of Arceus, who brought creation and life. That could only mean Giratina was the harbinger of death and destruction, surely. The truth was much more complicated, and as they were short on time, Rayquaza gave the young human just enough to whet his appetite for the full legend.

Arceus was as much a force of destruction as he was creation. He did as he pleased. He was the Alpha. There were twenty-three other such powerful Pokémon, or so Rayquaza said, each coming from a piece of Arceus' infinite power. Despite some being older and some younger, they were all more or less matched when it came to power, but all fell short of Arceus. Twenty-three beings on Tao's level was still a lot to grasp, but Alex filed much of this information away for later. His Gruncle would love it.

Giratina had been designated the Omega, but instead of being created last, had spent much of the early ages of creation as a valued, loved, and trusted friend of the masters of reality, time, and space. Then, came his betrayal. For reasons Rayquaza had glossed over, despite loud protests from the human and his partners, Giratina had been imprisoned.

This imprisonment came with a cost, however. Beings that held his kind of power were not so easily un-made, as Arceus soon learned, and thus, an entire dimension had been created to imprison Giratina. From there, he could watch as creation grew ever-brighter. That hadn't been enough for Giratina though, Rayquaza had said, so he had used his dimensional prison to his advantage, infecting one world after another with the essence of his own power. Shadow.

All throughout creation, aberrations began appearing. Pokémon sometimes turned inexplicably dark, enraged, powerful, but the cost was high. Their very minds were warped by this new force, and often, those infected with the shadow would eventually fade back into the nothingness from whence they were created. Some Pokémon possessed the ability to cleanse them, but they were usually on par with Legendary Pokémon, and as such, weren't around. Much like their creator, they required long naps to keep their power from fading entirely.

This 'shadow' energy was not like the dark type energy some Pokémon had, and such Pokémon were not, automatically, drawn towards those with evil intentions. In reality, it was the very antithesis of existence. Anti-matter. The domain over which Giratina claimed lordship, for not even Arceus could handle the volatile substance with ease.

Nidhogg was, in Rayquaza's own words, a 'unique' situation. As a Black Salamence, he had been extremely strong, especially amongst his own kin, and like most dragons with such an advantage, had come to rule over them. Norstad had, once, been green and lush, with marshes, ancient forests, and fertile coastal islands.

A human wielding the power of Giratina had come then, and through trickery, infused the beast with darkness. Unlike the Arceans, this wielder had known what she was doing, and thus, the shadow and the dragon became one.

Nidhogg, then named Alduin by the locals, had been unstoppable, a true tyrant, a second tyrant, for he first appeared not long after Arceus had Judged the primitive human warlord from Norstad, his Tyrantrum, and his army of bloodthirsty conquerors. Up until his infusion, he'd killed the humans that tried to slay or tame him, but otherwise let them go about their lives in relative peace. Dragons did not often concern themselves with the opinions, or lives, of humans.

Rayquaza had been tasked by Tao with helping to put him down once it had been devised that the Betrayer's Shadow had infected him. Indeed, forces from across the planet had united, at the Sage's behest usually, and the battle had been epic…but costly. Norstad had become a frozen wasteland after that conflict. Xerneas had gone to sleep, expending her remaining energy to save her land from becoming entirely desolate, and the Dark Times had begun in earnest.

Alex had been eager to know more, but his mentor would not budge. The rest of that tale was too long to speak of at the moment. He knew what he needed to know about Nidhogg. Now, he would gain the power that might suffice against his weakened, imprisoned form.

Rayquaza warned that even with the Strunzul, Nidhogg was unlikely to be an easy opponent. He was not at his peak, but each moment he spent free of his cage would see his dark power restored. This would not be a battle to the faint. There was only one outcome now.

In truth, they had simply not possessed the strength to end Nidhogg back when he was imprisoned. He had been too unstoppable. After millennia in the Hvergelom however, he might be weak enough for a Dragonborn to handle. Taming, subduing, and in unfortunate cases, slaying, was something they were literally born to do. A counter-balance to the dragon's powerful Voices, so that one evil minded dragon did not dominate humanity with no hope of ever unseating such a beast.

Slowly, Alex began to grasp how to properly wield the dragon's tongue, and with that understanding came a new level of strength. The entire fiery island had quaked as he practiced his Hyper Voice, and eventually, even the sky thundered at his words. That was when Rayquaza had deemed him ready.

The red scaled Rayquaza, now somewhat healed after a few items from Alex's bag helped stabilize him, had vacated the pool of blue lava in the caldera known as the World Forge. Rayquaza claimed to live here, but Alex didn't entirely believe him. His mentors were sly, and the details they gave about themselves were usually lies to avoid the question entirely.

The two dragons circled the mountain's peak, and once more, the Graybeards had gathered in their courtyard. Something was about to happen, they just did not know what, exactly. "Step into the lava." The green dragon called down, and Alex nodded.

He would've stripped, but aside from his helmet, his armor was thoroughly stubborn when it came to removal. He'd found that it would shift when he needed to badly relieve himself, but then it would reform shortly after, and once more be unmovable. As it was, he'd left his bag with Shruikan, as well as his belt.

His team watched him now, from the relative safety of the rock surrounding the pool of strange blue lava. Whatever this was, he'd said, he would face it alone. He'd kept his staff however, and it still looked like a Greatsword, strapped to his back.

He'd expected heat once he stepped into the pool, but was instead met with a tolerable, invigorating warmth. "You know the words." His Rayquaza thundered. "Use them."

Alex glanced at the sky then, and inhaled slowly, then exhaled. Using this attack, he'd learned, required near-perfect breath control. Something he'd long since unknowingly mastered thanks to his shenanigans with the Leaf.

He drew in a deep breath then, and the clouds darkened. His Rayquaza smirked. It was time. Alex's trained voice rocked the skies. "Naal viilut do dii sos, faal Strun Du'ul engein wah zey!"

The clouds parted with each word of his Hyper Voice, forming a circular hole in the storm. Then, from the center of the hole in the dark clouds, a massive bolt of lightning shot down, striking his form. As his mentor had instructed, he called upon both his psychic and dragon power for this moment. It was a good thing he had, for his form was still very much susceptible to that much power, and being torn apart by it.

He looked down as the pool glowed bright with a fierce bluish-purple color, electricity sparked over it and his own body, and Alex lifted his head to the sky again. A torrent of flame erupted from the volcano as his human yell became something much deeper, a true roar.

He looked down again, but aside from a few admittedly cool looking sparks of electricity arcing over his armored façade at various points across his body, there was no physical change. Mentally though, he felt renewed. The long green form of Rayquaza, followed by the red-scaled form of his younger western counterpart, descended to the pool once more.

"The Storm Crown has accepted you, Dragonborn. Cherish it, for in these times, you will be challenged for it. Unique individuals are appearing all over the world lately, even in Norstad." Alex nodded, listening to the dragon carefully. Rayquaza was usually not so forthcoming with facts like this. More and more he had a feeling there was some sort of global communication setup used by Sages and other such powerful Pokémon, but he kept his curiosity in check for the moment.

"So what exactly does this 'Storm Crown' do?" The dragon sighed at the trainer. Humans truly understood little, and always having to re-educate them was tedious. Then again, now, this one would actually live long enough to pass on this knowledge to many generations. Dragons, while immortal, could still be slain.

"You are a newly formed Dragonborn, and while your Voice is strong, it alone is not enough. The Graybeards awakened your potential to wear this, and now that you have it, you can truly tap into your dragon type abilities." The large green snake brought his giant eye so close to Alex, it towered over him. This seemed to be some sort of 'thing' dragons did for emphasis in Tinvaak.

"I know of the Sage's reluctance to enhance your psychic potential. Dragons, however, are beholden to no psychic type. And you, now, are a dragon as well. Until you age a few centuries, this 'crown' will keep your body from degrading. It takes time for humans to gain the immortality of this typing, and many Dragonborn before you have failed to attain it. Mostly because they tried building an empire too early, and were slain in the name of greed."

Alex looked down, but even then, the giant eye was unavoidable. He started to understand. To dragons like Tao and this Rayquaza, he was a hatchling. All dragons helped younger ones, when they were this small. It was a general fact amongst their kind that their numbers had dwindled during the Dark Times. All newborns needed to be given the chance to fully mature, at least. Where they would live was another matter, but any dragon worth their scales could defend their territory from a young upstart, and if they couldn't, many simply disappeared to pass on quietly, knowing their time was ending. This behavior had been observed by the humans, of course.

Once the Pokédex became a standard item to hand out to new trainers, many of the myths about dragon types had faded. Professor Dracaena, of Fornia supposedly, was the one responsible for discovering most of the new info on them. Nobody knew where her lab was, though. For beginners clever enough to find her, it was rumored she gave out rare dragon types.

"So…it makes me immortal? Just like that? I don't think I believe it…" He met the eye's stare, then.

"You were just struck by the natural fury of lightning and lived, unscathed, while standing in a pool of molten rock." The dragon smirked as he spoke.

"Good point…" Alex sighed, and Rayquaza rose again as he spoke. "Moreover, you can now summon the power of your crystals, with naught but your voice. You won't have to rely on your own power to fire beams of energy at my scroll reader."

As Alex awkwardly chuckled, he noticed six bright flashes from the ring around the pool of lava he still stood in. He smirked. His team had, upon hearing this news, attempted to speak the name of the elemental type they controlled, and the result, had been Mega Evolution. He grinned.

No longer did they have to wait for him to connect them to the power. They were always connected, and as long as the stones were on his person, they could draw from them. Only Terra and Blaze had done this previously, on their own, back when they'd faced down Kyurem, but they'd both admitted it had been pure instinct, and had been unable to do it again.

Alex looked up at the large green dragon once more. "This will likely make us stronger, true, but from what you told me, it took an entire planet's worth of unique and powerful Pokémon to bring Nidhogg down before. How are seven of us going to manage that?"

The dragon again smirked, and then, hatched a plan.

Valaskjalf – Present Day

Folokraan and Chari launched into the air, and since Fo was still too small to ride, Jess remained on her almost red Charizard, who even then, mega evolved as they headed towards Alex, and the monstrous outline of Alduin in the clouds. The rest of her team had followed her orders, joining Connor's below against the horde of ice and poison snakes.

Delphi alone was making short work of them with her cunning mind. Her flames bathed the cliffs in fire, and when that wasn't enough, she and Gar combined their power to rain fiery boulders on the lake. Along with Sophos, she was also distributing items to those who needed them via telekinesis. With the cliffs out of the fight, the snakes soon found themselves in a very large barrel, and many fled beneath the water before ice or fire or ground attacks could make them faint. Getting her own stash of healing potions and elixirs had been the first thing Jess had done once she'd left Alex for the first half of her own final semester, and now, the decision to build up her own stockpile was paying off.

As her Charizard took her up into the dark clouds, she came upon a sight straight out of a legend passed down from her ancestors. Many Unovans hailed from the supercontinent, and in the northern parts, full of mountains, snow, and danger, the people had, in the absence of society, reverted to following the religion of their ancestors.

It was in this way, with a bit of help from the Old Net, that the stories of the 'old gods' as they were commonly called, lived on. Now, she saw the bone-armored form of the awkward, tall farmer next door facing down a dragon that could probably eat a mountain, and still hunger.

There was something different this time though, and as she took a closer look at Alex and his dragon, she sighed. He'd gotten stronger. Again. Just when she finally had an edge thanks to Delphi, he'd gone and unlocked something new.

Then, she saw it. Her own psychic power had given her vision akin to a psychic type’s, a useful trick for someone who hadn't memorized the Pokédex. Unlike some trainers, she had had a social life, while her brother and Alex spent their days playing games in between bouts of extensively reading Pokédex entries. They claimed it was the best way to study. Given their grades, she couldn't really argue.

The plan they'd cooked up rather quickly soon became void as she realized even an ice attack from Fo would do next to nothing against a beast like this. She felt her lover's focus turn to her for a moment, as his dragon continued the admittedly beautiful spectacle of dodging and weaving between Charge Beams that could likely tear apart mountain ranges. With each dodge, a Dragon Pulse would slam into Alduin's face, hitting his eyes or nose. It was full of soft parts, and breaks in the armor that was his massive scales.

"Don't worry, the plan will still work. Find Terra below. Rayquaza gave us a strategy to bring him down, and we're going to need ice." His focus shifted again as Alduin's maw lit up with electricity, and the dragon, enraged, charged at the irritating gnat with enough persistent rage to keep him attacking constantly. Seeing this, Shruikan began flying ahead of him, only outpacing the massive beast thanks to the speed of his Mega Form.

While Jess was initially worried for him, she'd felt better once she'd heard his Rayquaza returned, and had trained his 'voice'. Whatever that meant. She'd tried using it too of course, but nothing had happened. She looked down again, and spied the three riders that Lokra had left to keep 'Shor' confined. He was, to all appearances, still encased in ice.

Nodding to herself, she took off towards where she sensed Alex's earth turtle was patiently waiting in the cold. He'd been reluctant to come out during this adventure, as he had no desire to experience winter, and while he had Thick Fat to protect against attacks, that did little to mitigate the freezing temperatures of Norstad. He was, after all, still a grass type at heart, and they hated the cold.

While his lover may have been worried about the gargantuan dragon snapping at them now, it was in truth what Alex and Shruikan had been goading the shadow-infused dragon into. Blind rage.

In this way he would hopefully waste his power, enough for their final attacks to bring him down. For once, his belt was empty, as the rest of his team was positioned around a perimeter that was several miles long, and just outside the sacred forest. He'd been leading the dragon from the Hvergelom for several long minutes now, mocking him with each missed bite from the massive Thunder Fangs. Just one hit was likely to seriously injure both of them.

He glanced back again, and the scene had not changed. Nidhogg was still furious, and still using his Thunder Fang to snap uselessly at where he thought his opponent would be. He was having a hard time adjusting for the speed of Shruikan's Mega Form, and while he was smaller, he was definitely faster.

Finally, Alex took Shruikan down below the clouds, emerging right over the remains of the Arcean's ship. He felt his team sound off as they caught sight of them, and then felt the numerous reactions to the sight of an enormous Black Salamence descending right behind them from the clouds, attacking with blind fury.

"He's using a Charge Beam!" The warning came from Arthur, who had perched in one of the forest's trees. Already in his own Mega Form, as were the rest of them, he began moving towards where he felt the dragon was likely to fall. His role was the most important, for out of all of them, only he possessed a weapon capable of truly ending Alduin's rage.

Now only feet from the snow-covered ground, Shruikan turned in mid-flight, and saw the familiar build-up of the move in question. He launched his own Charge Beam into the sphere, and the cancellation of the moves caused an explosion within the beast's mouth. The dragon roared in pain, and Alex spied serious burns on the insides of his mouth. "Hmm…not so fireproof on the inside…noted."

Pained as he was, the angry, hungry, and now wounded dragon slammed into the ground, from his perspective, out of nowhere. He let his left front limb stop his momentum, and as he slid along the frozen tundra, he made giant hills of ice and dirt in his wake. He looked around, and what little of his former self that remained stared in horror at the wasteland his home had become. Even when he'd been locked away, it had never been this bad. What little ember of hope had remained for his homeland faded. It was all dead. There was no point in holding back anymore.

The dragon's shock was short-lived, as he felt a super-effective attack slam into him. The gnat had launched a Dragon Pulse, rather than use his own electric power against his. If he wanted a battle of type advantages, that was no problem for Alduin. He raised his massive, spined tail, and it began to glow with the purplish-blue energy of dragon type moves.

"Dragon Pulse!" The command came from Alex who, atop Shruikan's head, had a good view of the dragon. Shruikan, Blaze, and Chari all responded, and as the Dragon Tail came moving forward, it faltered, and the power faded as Alduin's tail was left minus the power he'd summoned. It slammed into the ground uselessly, as Shruikan once more avoided it.

The dragon's sparking eyes looked around, but failed to find the source of the other two pulses. Then, he remembered he was on the ground. His wings rose to propel himself up once more, and then stopped, frozen in place. He looked up only to find his wings lifting into a Blizzard attack, followed closely by three more Dragon Pulses. The attacks tore through the thin wing membranes, and he roared in pain. A quick look at the damage told him he wouldn't be flying for a while. That was fine. These gnats would taste just as good on the ground.

Another Charge Beam lit the area, as the dragon shot in vain at where he suspected his enemies were hiding. The massive torrent of electricity tore an almost circular shape in the landscape, but Blaze and Chari had kept moving as soon as they'd attacked. Because they had such useful moves, they were key to bringing this dragon down. Now that he couldn't fly, Alex felt victory was more realistic. When he'd seen the sheer size of the World Eater, he'd been convinced they would fail, and everyone would die, but now…they had a chance.

As the Charge Beam faded, the Dragon Pulses came once more, from three different directions. Furious, Alduin ignored the other two, and charged the one he could see. Shruikan. Alex and his dragon had chosen their location for a reason, though.

The earth shook whenever he breathed, and after millennia of such things, Alduin rarely took notice of it anymore. He flew in battle, and did not fear ground attacks, he'd grown in Norstad, and did not fear the ice, and dragons alone could not hope to outmatch him. Not with the power the witch had bestowed on him. He'd been reluctant to accept it at first, but he could not, in that moment, recall why.

It was as the ground shattered that he remembered the warning of the Black Witch. If he stayed on the ground against clever opponents, he would die. She had seen it. Suddenly finding himself knee deep in rubble, and at least fifty feet below the surface of Norstad's tundra, the dragon snarled, deep and low. Deep as the hole was, his head still poked out of it, and he glared at the smaller Salamence, and his rider. He was tiring of these games. This Dragonborn had more than one creature at his command, and this fight, while initially in his favor, was rapidly turning.

He saw the earth turtle with the massive Ash Tree in the center of its shell stomp out through the snow, where it was soon joined by four others, all surrounding the new pit the turtle had created. It was large, for a gnat, and powerful judging by the size of the Earthquake it had caused. But that would not be enough.

Shadows began rising from his scales, and a purple fog leaked from his mouth. He'd never gotten a chance to truly use the dark powers the witch had granted him, but now was as good a time as any. He would not be imprisoned again, and if he was truly to fall here, he would make the songs of his death worthy of his glorious life.

The dragon roared, and a foul stench filled the air, one Alex, Shruikan, and Blaze were all instinctually familiar with. They'd scented it before, though this was far more…pungent. Lizardon had given off a similar stink…right before mega evolving.

"All of you! Attack! NOW!" Using his Voice rather than telepathy, there was no hesitation. Even Fo joined in with her own Ice Beam alongside the Taijitu swirls of numerous type combinations that were even then slamming into the dragon. Many had a type advantage over him…and yet, they did little to stop him.

One massive black claw gripped the edge of the pit. Then another. The dragon's head rose further from it as well, into the sky, and where once there had been remarkable eyes of pure electricity, there was now only two vacant sockets leaking what could only be described as pure Shadow energy. Rayquaza had been correct then. Someone had infected Alduin with it, and now, he was benefiting from it.

Alex raised a hand, and the attacks stopped. The dragon continued to rise over them. His wings stretched once more, and blobs of shadow filled in the holes in his wings. "Umm…Alex…do something!" Jess' voice filled his mind, but he stayed motionless. They needed perfect timing. There wouldn't be a second chance.

The dragon rose further, and his horned head blocked out the midnight sun of Norstad, blanketing the upturned snowy battlefield in darkness similar, but different from the night's. The dragon opened his maw, and a ball of pure black energy formed within it. Anti-matter.

Basic physics was a staple of any education in their world, and one did not need to be a scientist to know that an attack composed of antiparticles slamming into normal ones would create an explosion far greater than one caused by slamming a single regular particle into its' opposite. The ball forming in this dragon's maw would, quite possibly, literally eat the world, and at the very least, decimate Norstad.

Alex nodded at Shruikan. Now was the time. He raised a fist, and from the sky, a bolt of lightning struck and illuminated both of them. "Dragon Rush!" Shruikan shot forward, sparking all over, and limned in the energy of his kind, straight towards the dragon, but as he came close, his trajectory shifted, and the attack shot past the dragon's head with no effect.

Jess stared for a moment, shocked, awed, and then terrified. The attack had missed, and that ball of death was only growing. Yet, all she sensed from Alex was calm, and intense focus usually only required for Taijitu moves…suddenly suspicious, she glanced at the massive dragon's neck, and grinned.

While Alex wished to comfort his lover, and the few others he sensed watching this battle, he didn't have the luxury. He and Shruikan had a part to play, if Arthur was to have a chance. The electricity still sparked over them, and Shruikan held the power.

Then, with a roar of 'Dovah', the smaller dragon shot back towards Alduin. Instead of a Dragon Pulse or Claw however, his fangs were limned with the bluish-purple energy this time. They sank into the scales of the dragon's neck easily, and then, Shruikan's form began to grow. Fifteen feet…twenty…as he absorbed the millennia of built up draconic energy, Alduin rapidly shrunk. Rayquaza had not lied when he said the prison had weakened the beast. Only consuming a Dragonborn would let Alduin's body stay as large as it had been. Now, Shruikan and his rider took a piece for themselves, leaving the dragon withered.

He was still large, almost forty feet tall, and as Shruikan's fangs left his neck, he began to plummet into the pit. Arthur, who had jumped onto Shruikan and then Alduin, suddenly found himself without a dragon to stand on.

That too however, was part of the plan. Sacred Sword alone was not enough…but a Sacred Sword attack from several stories up might be. Arthur glanced at the shriveled dragon below him. He was smaller, his muscle gone, and his skin hung on his frame loosely. Their eyes met, and the World Eater closed his. He knew this was his end. Arthur grinned. His friends had given him a perfect target. Now, all he had to do was let gravity make the hit connect.

He poured as much power as he could manage into his right arm, and then combined the fighting type energy with his psychic power. Neither had an advantage, but Sacred Sword was not a normal move, and the additional psychic power only sped his form towards his target. He was a streak of blue and blinding gold in an otherwise gray sky as he shot down towards his prey with a burst of speed.

He drove the sword home, into the dragon's skull right between his massive horns, and his Sacred Sword cut through shadow, scale, sinew, bone, and then brain. With a final, terrible, almost pitiable cry, the World Eater departed from the mortal plane.

Alex recalled the rest of his team, save Arthur and Shruikan. His Gallade floated victoriously over the pit, Excalibur raised in victory, as Shruikan landed beside Chari, Folokraan, and her rider. They had all had attacks hit the dragon, the victory belonged to all of them. Alone, they would've surely perished.

As Alex dropped from Shruikan's new lofty height of thirty feet, at his best guess, and landed on the snowy ground with a thump, he felt himself immediately tackled into it by a familiar presence, in feel if not looks. "Forget what I said earlier. I'm glad you got stronger. You had me worried for a minute…"

Alex sighed, relaxing into the snow which, against his otherworldly garb and 'enchanted' armor, felt cool, not freezing. He brushed a brown lock of hair from her face, only to realize it was mostly braided now, not unlike the other riders.

"Pfft. No need to worry. This is what top-tier trainers do." He let his speech switch to telepathy, which was by its very nature, far more intimate. "Besides…you should know by now, I'd die, gladly, before I let anything harm you. Even world-devouring dragons." She rolled her eyes, but her face flushed regardless, which was all he'd been trying to see, really. A few weeks apart hadn't seemed all that long, but he had, quite literally, missed her face.

Once the following session of intense kissing had ended, the two headed towards the pit, and looked down. Shruikan and Arthur joined them. Alex spoke softly, glancing down at their fallen foe. "I know he was destruction incarnate…but it's still a shame such a powerful dragon had to die like this…"

A mental voice thundered in their skulls, and the four looked up to see a pair of Rayquaza descending from the clouds. "Do not mourn him. His tale may seem tragic, but that traitorous egg-breaker deserved this. We will take care of his remains." The green dragon winked at Alex as he and his red counterpart used their combined telekinesis to lift the massive form from its grave. "We will bury him where he hatched. It is the very least we can do…and even that he does not deserve." As they eyed the body, Jess winced in disgust as the green Rayquaza reached a claw into the dead dragon's skull, through his eye socket, and pulled from it a small, shining orb. He tossed it to Alex, who pocketed it without a word.

Alex and the pair of Legendary Dragons had discussed what was to be done in the event of their success. They had also made contingency plans for failure, but those were no longer needed. He had been the one to argue against burning the corpse. Dragons had their own rituals for death, and while he did not know them, Tao had offhandedly mentioned it during the training on his extra-dimensional plane.

With the body safely handled, Alex and Jess headed back to Valaskjalf on their Charizard. Shruikan was exhausted, and needed time for his body to adjust to the sudden growth spurt. The rest of his team was tired as well, but Blaze always had strength to fly with Chari. Many of his partners had fired multiple Taijitu attacks, and Alex had no illusions that, without them, and the final Sacred Sword, it wouldn't have been enough to end Alduin.

The village was mostly intact, save for where a few of the ice snakes had climbed up. As they reappeared, Alex withdrew the orb Rayquaza had tossed to him. Jess eyed him quietly, as he'd promised to explain it later. As they flew over the Hvergelom, every eye in the village once more was drawn to the lake.

The orb in Alex's hand flared, and then shot forward, arcing over the village, and slamming into a stone wall behind the main hall. Runes appeared around it, a door became visible, and the massive stone slabs that comprised it slid open.

"Behold, Riders of Valaskjalf! The way to Uppsalir is open once more! Your charge remains the same: guard it with your lives." His Voice reached all of them, but none moved towards the shining doorway. Beyond it, even more red and gold leaves could be seen. Green, untouched grass made a path through it, but beyond that, the view was obscured by light.

Lokra's massive Articuno met them over the lake. "You…you retrieved Woden's Eye?" Alex nodded, and the Chief Flyer looked him over again, as if just then gaining a measure of true respect for him. Both siblings had spoken of his strength, but Lokra was the kind of woman to believe what her eyes told her, and the trainer had not appeared all that intimidating when they'd first met. Strong, yes, enough for breeding, but respect was another matter entirely. "You will be sung about for all of our days…Dovahkiin."

Alex chuckled. "Thank you. I've always wanted that, honestly. Your songs will outlive all of us. They've done so before."

Lokra glanced at Jess then, and sighed. "You were right. I will not doubt your words again. All of you, despite being foreigners, did everything in your power to keep this village intact. You may consider the Riders of Valaskjalf your friends until your days end."

Alex grinned, and enjoyed the moment, but soon, the grin faded to a look of dark determination. "There is one more matter we must address…the changeling in your midst…"

The two women followed his eyes, and Lokra's narrowed. "Aye, you speak true. The deceiver will pay for his crimes…"

The three flew towards where Folokraan had imprisoned the 'mighty' Shor with her Ice Beam. The armored man stayed silent as they landed, and then grinned, showing blinding white teeth once he saw Alex.

"You've much to answer for, Pravus." Alex said, lifting the helmet off. "You can't wriggle free this time. Unova knows your true colors, as does Kalos, and by now, the world. Your cult will never recover from this."

"Won't it?"

The voice came from behind them, and not from the figure trapped in ice. Alex turned, and glared. Of course he'd escaped. They always managed to slip free. "No tangible evidence exists to tie the deaths in Kalos to me, or my people. They’re casualties of the mighty Yveltal…and as for Unova…well, the world knows how you people view my glorious western coastline." Pravus was floating as he spoke, and the disguise was gone. His figure was outlined in darkness, and his grin was entirely too confident. "Imagine what they'll think when they hear fair, equal Unova has denounced Fornia for their beliefs."

Alex raised a brow. "We haven't-"

Pravus cut him off with his sinister, almost greasy baritone. "Oh but you have." He held up a black baton that had hung at his side, and presumably served as a base for the hammer he'd used earlier. He clicked a button just above the handle. Alex's voice came out, easily recognizable, but filled with pauses, and clearly out of context. "I- swear, I will- see- the- Arceans- fall! Their- cult will never recover from this!"

The Prophet laughed as he saw the rage in the boy's eyes. "You must thank your granduncle for me, he gave me the idea. Having recording devices on hand is so very convenient…"

"Yol! Yolos! Sook!" Though his Shout was quick, Pravus' form easily moved to the side as a spinning torrent of flames shot up around the space he'd just been floating in. "I see you've learned a new trick…irritating, but it matters not. You cannot hit me…and I have better places to be."

He moved like Arthur did in the air, quickly, and able to suddenly adjust his trajectory. In the space of an eye blink, he was out over the Hvergelom again, and heading straight for the newly made door. Alex made a move to follow, as did Jess, but Lokra held them both back with a hand on their shoulders. "Patience, young ones. Do not think us unprepared for filth of his kind."

Alex looked at her. "He's after Xerneas! If he gets through that door, he may very well attain immortality!"

Lokra shook her head. "You should listen well to my words, Dovahkiin. I know my home better than you do. Besides…our king wishes a word with that one."

Alex and Jess shared a look. "King?"

Faarangar, Hall of The King

Pravus sailed victoriously through the gap in the stone walls. He'd discovered the spot days earlier, but had known it needed a key. He'd wheedled the information from some of the more infatuated riders, about the key's location. The dragon Nidhogg held it, and had done so since his imprisonment. The way to Uppsalir had been closed for millennia, and though the riders were loath to admit it, without the Life Pokémon's power freely flowing from that sacred place, Valaskjalf would eventually suffer the fate of the rest of Norstad. Only the Articuno had prevented it thus far.

He ignored the beauty of the place, the large, gorgeous trees with their equally gorgeous leaves, the warm, green grass that seemed to invite him to lie upon it and rest. His Darkrai, ever present in his shadow, propelled him through all of it, until they came before a massive hall. "What is it? Xerneas? Why do you stop?" Pravus' words were directed towards his 'mount', but his questions were answered as thunder boomed, and lightning cracked the sky.

A massive torrent of volatile plasma arced downs from the top of the hall, and slammed into the ground before Pravus' hovering form. It was a figure, male, by the build, clad in a dark cloak in hood. He rose slowly from the smoking crater his arrival created.

Pravus glared at the man. "Who are you, to bar my way?"

A light breeze blew the hood back, revealing an all-too-familiar face. Long, red hair, a long, red beard, and burning crimson eyes met his own, and for the first time in a long while, fear crawled up Pravus' spine. The man grinned, letting the cloak fall behind him, and as it fell, he drew a weapon.

It was, of course, a hammer. The hammer. The true God of Thunder raised it towards the ever present gray clouds that surrounded Norstad, and bolts of electricity arced down towards it. Electricity sparked over the god's form, and he gripped the hammer by a sturdy looking bit of leather hanging from the short handle. The weapon began to spin, glowing with the white-blue shine of lightning as it did, and Pravus swore, silently.

Chapter 21: The World Eater

It took a while, but I finally finished this. I'm irritated lately, as I have plenty of ideas, and cannabis, but no bloody time to write anything. Hopefully the next chapter won't take years to come out. ;)

Pokemon (C) Nintendo


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Romy-Sunflower Featured By Owner 10 hours ago  Student
Thank you for the Llama!
Eveeka Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for tha llama! :D
PokeFan1337 Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
taotd Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
ty for the watch :3
PokeFan1337 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome
FurryGirlSylvy45 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018  Professional Writer
Aw, thanks for the llama! ^-^
PokeFan1337 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
No problem
DragonManipulator372 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the :llama:!
PokeFan1337 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
fallensoldierofhaven Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
thanks for the watch dude :D (Big Grin) 
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