Elizabeth Shelby walked around the camp, and
stared up at Sheer Cliff, looming over their camp, despite its being three
miles away. It was an impressive piece of geology. On the top, supposedly, the
legendary Allnian lived. She had been sent by the
Specter Shadow Warrior contingent to capture Allnian.
Five regular squads of AA men with twenty men each, and the
special squad. She was actually in charge of the special squad, but,
because of her training, she had been put in charge of the entire crew.
She had gotten word that both factions of Blizzards were running headlong towards her, and that made her very unhappy. Ghrenda had been supposed to take care of the Blizzards. Both the sniveling idiot Eltan and the only warrior she actually respected in this frozen wasteland, Gertal. She had to admit that she admired the leader of Team Blizzard, and almost wished that she could recruit him into the ranks of the Specter Shadow Warriors. But she knew, based on the profile she'd read of him, that he'd never join them.
But that hadn't been her purpose in coming here. Her purpose, one that had been hidden from Eltan, was to capture Allnian. After all, she was the ultimate weapon. She could spread disease upon the Shadow Warriors' enemies, and heal the Shadow Warriors at practically the same time. The only problem was that Allnian was extremely powerful, and not easily controlled.
But that wouldn't be a problem anymore. Not with the special Pokemon she had brought with her from Blackdawn. Allnian would be hers within two days. As soon as they found that blasted trio of Nuschantian Guardians.
Lorelei glanced at her Pokedex, and then looked ahead, towards the pillar of rock that rose sharply out of the ground. She grimaced. There it was. Sheer Cliff. Her entire trip had culminated in this single event. And now, it was just over the next hill. She paused. With any luck, she'd be able to make it to the top of the cliff in short order. She shook her head. It just didn't seem possible. It had taken her a long time and a lot of sacrifices to get to this point.
Lorelei felt her eyes begin to tear up as she remembered the Pokemon that had died while she had made this journey. She would never forget the Geodude and Duskull that she had lost in the
As if sensing her mood, she felt a paw stroke her hair. She smiled, tears in her eyes, and clasped the appendage. It belonged to Junior, of course, and was her only good hand. Most of her left arm was gone, as well as her Carentamous Assembly, the organ within all Pokemon that made their special attacks possible. That, in fact, was why Lorelei had come to Nuschantz.
Lukas walked up beside her and looked up at her expectantly, “Are you okay?” he asked, then grinned, “Or are you chickening out?” She glared at him, took a deep breath, and walked forward, to the crest of the hill.
The sight that met her eyes made her stop, growl, and whirl on her guide. “Lukas, Sheer Cliff has a teleporter station too?” she demanded, then whirled back to the sight that she had seen when she had come over the hill. A vast complex of buildings surrounded the bottom of Sheer Cliff, and she knew that where that many buildings were gathered together in Nuschantz, there had to be a teleportation station somewhere in the mix. “And don't tell me that we walked because it's more fun!” she snarled.
The boy seemed to shrink before her eyes, and didn't say a word, and stepped back. Lorelei's eyes narrowed, and she whirled back towards Sheer Cliff with a snarl. She couldn't believe it. The little wretch had wasted entire days of time that she could have spent traveling back to Kanto just because he thought that it was more fun to walk.
She heard Junior whine plaintively from her backpack, but she ignored her. Vulithe started to come close to her, but Frocarin forced the well-intentioned Pokemon away from her. It was probably a good thing, too. With the mood that she was in, there was no telling what she would have done. Golem, Senior, Duskull and Haunter knew from experiences past the same thing that Frocarin knew instinctively. And that was that attracting her attention when she was in this kind of a rage was a bad idea.
Lorelei ran down the hill and towards the nearest of the buildings, and burst through the door. She wasn't exactly sure what she expected, but what greeted her certainly wasn't it.
Beyond a greeting desk where a female teenager that probably made minimum wage sat, there was a museum. But it wasn't any old museum. It was a museum dedicated to Allnian. She stared, and walked forward, ignoring the young woman's proffered hand.
She glanced around, and saw that the museum extended for a long ways. She grimaced, and, realizing that she needed as much help as possible, started reading.
Two hours later, she was done reading, but didn't know that much more about Allnian. She had already known that Allnian was a legendary from Alto, but had at some time and for an unknown reason, had come to Nuschantz. She had learned a little bit more about the trio of quasi-legendaries that were essentially Allnian's lieutenants.
The older two, Austrealis and Borealis, were the female and male parents respectively of the third lieutenant, Auroura. It was said that only someone who had seen a Pokemon with a power and rarity level that was enough to classify the creature as a legendary Pokemon would be able to see them.
Lorelei wasn't sure if she qualified or not. That monstrosity that had appeared over the skies of
She felt someone's hand on her shoulder, and heard Falkner's voice. “Lorelei, you've got to get some sleep. I was going to remind you once we got here, but you haven't slept for a long time. Please, get some rest.”
Lorelei shook her head. “No,” she insisted stubbornly, “I've gotta find Allnian.”
Falkner sighed. “Look, I know a lot about bird types, all right? My family does too. We're supposed to be the experts in that, remember? Here's the deal. I get a conference call with my family about Allnian AFTER you get some rest. Deal?”
Lorelei made a face at him,. Then sighed. “Fine,” she muttered. “Deal.
The temporal agent peered over the hill, and immediately spotted the cluster of buildings that surrounded the bottom of Sheer Cliff. It would not be long now. He glanced down at his belt, and made sure that his gun was fully charged. When everything began, he'd only have a few moments to react. His partner was somewhere on the other side of Sheer Cliff, because they weren't quite sure where the Dark Master would come from. If they could stop her here, then their mission would be complete.
The agent ran a hand through his black hair and glanced around. He was in a small ice cave, one that was impossible to see unless you were very close and looking for it. It was here that he would wait for the Dark Queen, and from here, he would rush out to attempt to kill her.
He knew that once the battle began, he'd have only seconds to kill her before it was too late, and he knew that he'd have to kill her Pokemon too. If he didn't, then he would have failed, and the world would once again be the place that he had come from. He did not want that to happen. It couldn't happen.
He HAD to succeed.
The nomad barked out a quick word that experience told her meant that it was time for her to stop. He passed her some kind of water container, made out of some kind of skin. She accepted it gratefully and took a drink.
The liquid's sharp, biting sensation brought her back from the edge of sleep, where she now realized she had nearly fallen. She glanced back at the nomad, who was looking at her, probably trying to be impassive, but failing miserably.
His curiosity was evident upon his wrinkled face. He was obviously an old one, and the scars that showed on the few exposed areas of his dark skin revealed that it had been a bitter life. The strange, almost leather-like clothes that he wore surprisingly light, but kept out the cold extremely well. She glanced down at the brown coat he had given her, and moved her fingers over it.
That illicited a laugh from the man. She jerked her head up, expecting him to do anything. She was a very suspicious young woman. She'd had to be. Alto was, after all, a very important stepping stone for any invasion of Tintia, and, from there, Kanto and the other so-called “civilized” countries.
When she had explained this to him as best he could, he had looked at her strangely. Then he had treated her as something close to royalty when she tried to explain further about why she had to get back to Alto. He had something about a great bird, she thought. That was the only reason that she didn't set off on her own.
Well, that, and that wicked-looking knife he kept within easy reach.
Lorelei was first aware that something was wrong when she realized that she was no longer in a heated building. The second was when she realized that she was almost a foot off the ground. Something was carrying her. She couldn't see what, but she thought that she could feel something that felt pretty close to teeth gripping her light shirt.
With a sudden jerk, she wrenched herself out of whatever was holding her, ripping half of the back of her shirt off in the process, and found herself in a snowdrift. If there had been any part of her that hadn't been awake before, she was certainly awake now. She whirled around, and found herself staring into a tooth filled with sharp teeth. Her first instinct was to beat the living daylights out of it (even though it was in the middle of the night), but she restrained herself when she noticed two, larger figures behind the small but no less threatening figure in front of her.
She took a moment to analyze the situation before getting to her feet. Directly in front of her was a strangely cat-like creature covered in white and light blue along its torso, back, and hips, with black fur running down its legs, tail, and across its chest, with streaks of silver running vertically down at regular intervals. Its face, however, was a dark purple, with spots of dark green, light brown, bright white, and many colors that were nearly the same speckled across its face.
“The human delays us.” came an annoyed but unmistakably masculine growling voice from another cat, extremely dark, with streaks of white and silver running along its length and face, at least twice the size of the first cat. He stood to the left of the strange cat that stood in front of her, and his muscles rippled beneath his skin, clearly built for sheer power. “I told you I should have frozen her.”
Lorelei's hackles rose, and opened her mouth to retort, but before she could, a soft, feminine voice answered the male voice, “And I told you,” Lorelei shifted her gaze to the right of the cat that had carried her, and to the creature that was talking. Where the second cat had been tall, menacing, and looked like it could take on an entire army at once, this creature was small, supple, and looked extremely agile. If the voice was any indication, this was a female. She had surprisingly brightly colored compared to the other two. She was entirely white and light blue, although her tail was a dark gray, with only one strip of light blue running down its length. “That we should have explained the situation to her. I'm sure that she would have come of her own volition.”
Lorelei frowned and exclaimed, “Could you all NOT talk about me as if I'm not here, and tell me who to battle first?” she reached to her belt for her Pokeballs, and her eyes widened as she realized that they were no longer there.
“Yeah,” the creature that had carried her said, nodding its head, “It's REALLY annyoing.” This one's voice, if this species were the same as humans, was definitely a LOT younger than the other two. And definitely male.
The smallest of the trio noticed her movement, and replied quietly, “We could not take your team, I'm afraid.” she pointedly ignored the young-sounding Pokemon, “All Pokeballs have a trace metallic element that She traces. Once a Pokemon is caught by a Pokeball, the Pokemon have the element in their system as well. That's how they're kept under control. If She knew that you had left, she would use all of her resources to destroy you.”
Lorelei frowned. “Me?” she asked quietly, “What's so special about me?”
The large cat answered before anyone else could. “You're an Elite. That's why we have to prevent Her from making contact with you. She already has two Elites with her. If she got her hands on you...” he trailed off.
Lorelei frowned. “Who is this 'She' and 'Her' you keep talking about?” she demanded.
The three exchanged glances. “You really do not know?” the female asked, sounding a little uneasy. Lorelei shook her head. The female moved her lips in what could only be called an attempt at a smile. It looked more like a snarl to Lorelei, though. “She is Allnian. If she were ever to be free again, she would kill us all. And then you humans would have a tough time of it.”
Lorelei frowned. “So...how do I get Allnian to heal Sneasel?” she demanded. “Do I defeat her in combat or something?”
The female responded again, “Young human, maybe I haven't made myself clear. We are here to prevent you from being in ANY contact with Her whatsoever. I'm afraid that your Sneasel will have to continue as it is to the end of its days.”
Lorelei looked around the cave that the giant cats had brought her to. “What is this place?” she demanded.
“It his the Master's cave,” The medium felinoid that had introduced itself as Austrealis purred. “We shall take you to him in due time, but first, there is much history for you to know.”
Lorelei's eyes shifted between the three cats, knowingfull well that every one of them could rip her apart. And, without her Pokemon, there was no way that she'd be able to stand against them. Not that she would have been able to before, but...She looked up at the cat-like Pokemon. “Go ahead,” she said quietly.
Austrealis smiled, and ran one of her paws over her light-colored fur. “We shall begin at the beginning,” she said quietly, “Long ago, humans were the only creatures on this planet, except for a weaker version of us Pokemon. MUCH weaker. We didn't even have any powers. Back then, we were known as 'animals.' The histories aren't very specific about this time period, but apparently mankind is approximately what it is like today. Then something happened. Something so clataclysmic that it changed the very shape of the world, and wiped out every living thing that walked upon it..”
Lorelei blinked. “Why haven't I heard about this before?” she demanded.
Austrealis smiled. “My dear, because the world was created anew. It is hard to explain, but the Ascended Ones—you know them as the Titans—created the world over. Everything that you humans had done, they knew, would only ultimately lead to your own destruction once more. So, they wiped the slate clean, so to speak. They made a new world, an entirely new race of humans, and more 'animals.' However, this time, they gave the 'animals' special powers, something to unie the humans against in the beginning, so that the humans would not wipe each other out once more. The Ascended Ones then sent down guardians to protect the world from utter warfare, and from the Pokemon or humans from wiping the others out. You know them as Legendaries.”
Lorelei frowned, letting all the information sink in. “Wait a minute, “ she said slowly, “I remember a poem that Devon Harding wrote about them. Something about there being 40 Titans total, 20 Pokemon, 20 human?”
Austrealis nodded sagely. “That is correct, “ she said slowly. “There are forty, and it is split like that, but my story is not yet complete. The legendaries, you see, were entrusted with great power. There is a saying, or at least was, among the old humans. That saying was 'power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'”
“That certainly proved true,” the large, dark feline that had introduced himself as Borealis rumbled. “For one of the Titans themselves turned against the others in secret. He traveled to your world and set about corrupting the Protectors—legendaries. When he believed that he had enough on his side, he launched a massive campaing against the other Protectors. Billions of Pokemon and humans were killed in the war. Then, in a final battle, the Titans themselves came down to this world, and fought side by side with those still loyal to them. But it was not enough. The Dark Titan, a creature known as Lokrye, was simply too powerful. All seemed lost for the world, but Lokrye didn't count on humans. In his mind, Pokemon were so powerful that mankind wouldn't dare attack them.”
Then the small, youngest creature, Lorelei thought his name was
“Meanwhile,” Austrealis picked up smoothly, “Lokrye had killed all twenty of the human titans, and was concentrating all of his forces on the Protectors and the twenty Pokemon titans. Gerahid and his men swept in with a flanking maneuver, and decimated Lokrye's forces. Gerahid himself seemed to be invulnerable, and that is why he was given that name. He fought all the way up to Lokrye, and tried to fight him, but Gerahid's mighty axe was no match for Lokrye's power. With the last ounce of his strength, he picked up one of the human titans' weapons—we're not quite what kidn of weapon it was—and hurled it at Lokrye. Somehow, this drained Lokrye's power temporarily enough for the Pokemon Titans to banish him from this planet, and to a nether-dimension, as your scientists would call it, I'm sure.”
“Lokrye's forces were nothing without their leader, and quickly surrendered, and scattered to the most remote places of the world to hide from the Protectors and the Titans,” Borealis added. “There they stayed, until nearly two hundred years ago, Lokrye made a bid for escape from his prison. He would have succeeded, but another Gerahid, and a troop of young men and women known as the Gamma Legends defeated Lokrye, and sent him back to his prison. But, unfortunately, this only delayed matters. Lokrye WILL escape. It's only a matter of time.”
“Yeah,” the youthful
“Yes,” Borealis rumbled, “We will be ready for him. We have rebuilt the Human Titans from the Elites that popped up from time to time. There are now seventeen Titans. We need you to be an eighteenth, and destroy Allnian.”
Lorelei frowned. “I don't get it. What does Allnian have to do with all of this?”
The three looked at each other, uncomfortably, and Austrealis answered her after an awkward pause. “Allnian was Lokrye's chief executioner, and oversaw the executions of billions of Pokemon and humans. Allnian wasn't a healer, as you Altans mistakenly believe. Allnian is the single most dangerous plague to ever have been created by the Titans.”
Lorelei shook her head. “I don't know,” she said slowly, “It's a bit of a stretch for me,” she said, “But does being a Titan give me my own parking space wherever I work?”
Borealis shook his head. “Lorelei, if you choose to be a Titan, you will forfeit this life, and ascend to a higher plane of existence. You will cease to exist here. That is why the Titans allowed us to bring you back from death when you fell from the plane.”
Lorelei frowned. “So I DID die?” she asked. The three cats nodded. “Wow, and here I thought that I'd somehow gotten a parachute or something somehow. I'll tell you what. You heal Junior here, and I'll see what I can do.”
“If you help us destroy Allnian, we shall heal your Pokemon prior to the battle,” a low, rumbling, reptilian voice said quietly. Lorelei whirled around to see a huge face peeking around a corner of the tunnel. It was scaly, it was huge, it was scary, it was...the creature that all but destroyed Violet City!
“Murderer!” Lorelei screamed, and threw herself at the beast before she could form a coherent thought. There was nothing flowing through her mind but pure rage. This thing had killed two of her team, and he would pay, even if he was a hundred thousand times bigger and stronger than she was. She would make him pay.
“Stop, Lorelei!” Austrealis cried, and Lorelei could feel
“LIAR!” Lorelei screamed. “IT WAS HIM!”
“Lorelei,” a soft, male, HUMAN voice said, “It wasn't him. Please, I need your help.” Lorelei turned, still literally trembling with anger, to see the young man claiming to be the Tintian Gerahid that she had met while he had claimed that she was in a coma. She frowned. He was here. How was that possible? Austrealis and Borealis had assured her that no one would be able to get into the cave.
“It wasn't him, Lorelei,” Gerahid said, his soft voice like a bucket of cold water. “It looked like him, had his power, and, given enough time, would have acted like him, but the Drago that attacked
Lorelei paled. “She...She did this?” she asked, not wantign to believe it.
“Yes, Lorelei,” Gerahid said softly, “And unless you stop Allnian, then Lokrye will be released, and the world will fall into total darkness.”
“At least that's your story,” a harsh voice cut in. Lorelei, startled, looked back to where the giant dragon had been waiting patiently for her and Gerahid to finish, and saw that the giant dragon now had a gaping wound in the side of its neck, and a young woman with purple hair that she recognized from history books was standing beside it.
The young woman stared at him, her eyes dull and glassy, as if she were dead. “Won't the Titan Council flay you alive if you're discovered here? You know they will look, once they feel the death of a Protector. You better go, now.”
Gerahid swallowed, and tears came to his eyes. “Lorelei,” he said quietly, “Kill her. Kill her now or all hope for your world is gone. I have to go. Austrealis, Borealis, Aurora, this is her fight. Fight
Lorelei frowned. “What?” she asked, “What are you talking about?”
“You were called the Dark Queen, I've heard, in the future. But in this reality, you've gone soft, and you're on the wrong side. These Pokemon are evil. Allnian sent me to exterminate them, and any who were with them.”
Lorelei swallowed. This was surreal. Here she had come to Allnian, and instead she had come face to face with her all-time hero, not as a friend, but as a mortal enemy. And herem in short order, she would have to fight her. “Here,”
Lorelei heard a whisper of movement from the tunnel behind
The men, unsure of themselves in the face of this new threat, began pulling back, but none could escape. Lorelei tried to block out what happened next, but it would haunt her dreams for years afterwards, as
And then, just that quickly, Lorelei and