Ash: 15 Misty: 16 Brock: 20 Duplica: 15
Jamie: 16 Gary: 16 Jesse and James: 21
Richie: 17 Ashura: 15 Todd: 16 Sabrina: 17
A/N: Well I hope you are all happy. My grades are declining because of you SOB's !!! Just kidding. I've spent most of my time writing this, and yet I still manage to get top grades!!!
I would like to express my foremost thanks to Maki (SaiyanMaki@aol.com) for giving his enthusiastic support for this little, no, big fic. It’s nice to know that I have a fan out there, although I would advise him to get some sleep, as the lack of sleep will result in him going crazy and dying in that order. Catch those Z’s, buddy!
I would also like to give a shoutout to Mitsuki moon for being such a cool girl. You rule, Ashlee-chan!!! ;)
Following The Myrthil Gryphon's advice, I will TRY to add an Ash/Misty/Duplica love triangle, but I'm not making any promises. By doing that I will have to change A LOT of my original plans for the plotline, so here it is. Brace yourself, this is gonna be a long one.
Disclaimer: Read my lips. What's that? You can't see them?? Grrrr, fine I'll say it. I DON'T OWN POKEMON!!! * bows deeply, head bonks into his kneecaps *
* * * *
"Remember me, Ash-man!!?"
Ash recognized that voice, but he never remembered it being projected in a maliciously cruel tone. The last time he had seen Richie was at the Indigo League, where the boy had won by default simply because Ash's Charizard wouldn't obey him.
Ash remembered Richie as a thoughtful, caring person who would never harm a fly. But now he realized that was all just an act. Ash gritted his teeth as he saw Richie for what he was: a complete psychopath.
"Yeah, I remember you, Richie." Ash replied coldly. "You used to be a good person. Now you've become a killer."
Richie rolled his eyes while Sparky cackled madly. "REALITY CHECK, Ketchum. I've ALWAYS been a killer, and a very good one at that. You remember the Pokemon Land Massacre, don't you, ASHY-BOY??"
Ash's blood began to boil. Although he didn't know how he could do it, he could see directly into Richie's mind. He saw nothing but corruption and filth in it. "You ... bastard. It ... was ... you ..."
"Guilty as charged, my good man." he responded, his voice drenched with pride. "It was my assignment to attack a famous Kanto landmark. And I NEVER fail a mission, especially when a good helping of carnage is involved. Ain’t that right, Sparky?" His head jerked to meet the Pikachu perched on his shoulder. Sparky’s cheek sacs crackled in response.
Ash remembered hearing about it on the news. It was terrible; people in panic, burning bodies littering the park, reporters screaming into the cameras their last words before being blown into oblivion. There were no survivors to the Massacre, only the footage of it. Everyone thought it was a terrorist bombing of some sort. Now Ash knew the truth.
"You ... sick ... son of a bitch ..." Ash breathed, his body shaking with rage.
"By the way, Ashy-boy." Richie said airily, ignoring Ash's curses. "You still sore about me whooping your ass in the Pokemon league? Hope there's still no hard feelings about it." He doubled over in laughter. "NOT!"
Ash wanted so badly to kill him. Just the thought of ripping his ... NO! The urges again! Ash couldn't let himself transform into that monster. Ash gritted his teeth until he thought they were worn down to nubs. He HAD to control his anger.
But this other person floating next to him had really caught his attention. Despite the wild hair and the crimson eyes, it was the same face Ash had woken up to every time he looked into a mirror. The same visage he witnessed every time he saw his reflection in water.
The burning effigy-like figure of himself spoke down to him as he descended. "Hello, Aries." Ash shuddered at the voice. It sounded to him like more than one person speaking, as if several other people's words were coming out of his mouth.
Ash clutched Misty's limp form, whose breathing had become shallow. "Who are you?" he growled, his voice low and seething. Ash could only feel one thing that vibrated through the air. Evil.
As his counterpart's feet tapped to the ground, Misty and the others suddenly stirred to life.
"I have put a hold against the deadlier Psionic waves emanating from my body." he stated as the air fluctuated. "They are safe from the volatile energies that I emit ... for now."
Ash helped Misty to her feet as the others slowly forced themselves off the ground. "You still haven't answered my question. Who in THE HELL are you?"
"Ah, yes, of course; the introductions. Well then, allow me to finally introduce myself." He took a deep bow. "My name is Ashura." He motioned toward Duplica. "I believe one of you already knows me." Duplica growled.
Ashura pulled out his Ragana, to which Duplica shrieked in terror. "And I, Aries, am your brother."
"Why do you keep calling ... BROTHER!?"
"Yes, it does seem quite impossible, doesn't it? Well, I suppose before I kill you that I should inform you of how I am able to exist." He idly rolled his Ragana around with his fingers. Duplica put a hand over her mouth and pointed a shaking finger at him.
"The ... the ... the ... Ragana!"
Ashura ignored her. "I will make it quite explicit, brother. I trust that you have accepted the fact that you are the Ultimate?" He raised his eyebrows expectantly. Ash only gave a stiff nod, the muscles in his neck and jaw clenched beyond belief.
"You were created fifteen years ago and implanted in a human woman." Ashura gave a curt sneer. "Our MOTHER. However, when you were created there was a slight problem that no one had ever calculated." He waved his hands out. "What you see before you IS that problem. Your embryo split into two halves: you and me."
"We were separated at birth, you and I. At first they thought me a useless by-product, a flawed copy of you. But I ended up surprising them all by becoming the best agent Team Rocket has ever had!" His eyes gleamed dangerously once again. Richie and Sparky flinched.
Ash still didn't understand. "Then how come I wasn't taken in with you? Why was I raised outside of Team Rocket?"
"It is quite simple, brother. The only reason that you weren't taken in along with me was because you WERE NOT Lekarian. How is that possible, you ask?" He flipped his Ragana in the air, expertly catching it on the tip of his index finger, to which Duplica gave a small squeak. "When you were born, your Lekarian genes had gone into dormancy. At first they thought YOU were the useless by-product and that I was the Ultimate, but upon giving my infant form a medical examination after liberating me from our MOTHER, they learned otherwise." Ashura's smile held no humor.
The air rippled once more as he continued. "Instead of killing me right from the get go, they took pity on me." Ashura sneered again. "They thought me the little weakling, and didn't have the heart to kill me, so they took me in and trained me as they would any other Lekarian youth, in hopes that I would overcome my "weakness".
Everyone jumped as he fired off a large bolt of black lightning into the sky. "As you can see, I am anything BUT weak."
Ashura pointed his Ragana at the group. "At first it was my mission to capture you so you could be trained, but it seems like there was a little"- the Ragana began to glow an angry red - "change of plans."
Suddenly Ash couldn't seem to blink. He couldn't even gasp in surprise and horror when he it dawned on him that he couldn't move a single muscle.
Ashura gave a smile that made Ash want to shudder, if he could. "I am quite the ambitious fellow, you see. I plan on ruling this world someday. Even still, with my newfound abilities, you are still the only person that poses a significant threat to me. Future threat, that is."
He jerked his thumb towards Richie. "I am here to stem that threat. So before I kill you"- Richie advanced toward the group -"you get to witness your friends get torn apart limb from limb by Richie!"
* * * *
"Meowth ... please ... wake up ..."
Jessie cradled Meowth's limp body in her arms, weeping. Meowth wasn't breathing. His body temperature had dropped significantly. "Please ... come back to us ..."
"Jessie." James put his hand on her shoulder. His eyes were red and puffy. "He's ... gone. Please, Jessie, put him down." His whole body shook as he choked back a sob. "Jessie, please ..."
"MEOWTH!!!" Jessie cried into the night sky as she retreated back into loud tears.
The dam broke in their tear-ducts, and James joined her in the grim mourning of Meowth. They had tried their best to revive him. CPR, potions, Super potions, MAX potions, Elixers, none of them seemed to be able to get his heart beating again. Meowth was dead; stone dead.
They cried and wept and sobbed until their throats felt raw bloody. Then they wept some more, their tears forming a small pool around the lifeless vessel.
* * * *
"Heh heh heh, well what have we here?" Richie said slyly as he moved toward the group. "A couple of fine ladies, I'll say." His leer took the breath out of Misty and Duplica.
"You stay away from me, Richie!" Duplica shrieked as she fired a bolt of Psi at him. The beam bounced harmlessly off of his chest. He blinked once in confusion, and then he looked just plain annoyed.
"You know I don't like to be tickled, Dup-girl." he taunted. Then, with speed that Duplica could never hope to fathom, the mad Lekarian charged forward and slammed his fist into her face. Her body flailed like a rag-doll as she flew through the air. She landed with a thud, spitting blood from her mouth.
Duplica knew her jaw wasn't broken, but the pain betrayed that fact. It hurt badly, like nothing she had ever felt before. She clutched her face as a violent sob rocked her body. She wanted to just lie down on the ground and die, just to rid her of the pain.
Richie, however wasn't finished with her. "Sparky?" His head jerked toward the Pikachu. "Give her a nice little Thundershock, please."
"You have no idea how long I've been waiting to do this, baby." Richie stated. Sparky cackled loudly as he shot forth bolt after bolt of electricity into Duplica.
Duplica's shrieks echoed through the night. It confused and maddened her. Why was it causing her so much pain? Weren't Lekarians supposed to have high tolerances to the elements?
Her body felt as though it had combusted into flame. The white-hot torture surged through her body, searing her senses and gripping her muscles like a vice. Soon she began to feel light-headed.
Just then the pain ended as abruptly as it had started. A bellow could be heard, followed by a loud grunt of pain. She heard a thundering crash as Richie was sent flying into a tree, then a loud CRACK! as the tree gave way and teetered to the ground.
She lifted her head up and foggily wondered what the hell just happened. Through a slight blur caused by sensory overload, she could make out the Runaway's lithe form just a few feet in front of her.
He had saved her life.
... but why?
"How do ya like THEM apples!?" she heard him holler. Blue lightning sparked and crackled around the Runaway as he charged his Psi. Duplica's jaw dropped in disbelief.
(What is going on here!?) she thought to herself. (Where did all that power come from? How did he become so strong? And how did he recover so fast?)
Jamie raised his hands to the sky. The veins in the boy's neck and head bulged outward as a large, pulsing blue ball formed in his outstretched palms.
"BALL-LIGHTNING ASSUALT HHHHYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!" he roared as shot forth the sphere of energy into the direction where Richie had flown. All eyes, including the target's, followed the massive ball as it struck with a loud BOOM!
Richie screamed as the spherical blast hit him full on. The shockwave knocked him back violently into some more trees.
Ashura was not pleased.
After that huge power surge he had given him, the weakling STILL wasn't strong enough to even take on the Runaway! Hmmph, well, at least he got to Duplica. Oh well, he thought, maybe I'll let him try a little more before I intervene.
Jamie's eyes gave a deadly gleam that could've made a Tyrannitar cower. "Didn't your mama ever tell you that it was impolite to hit girls?"
"On the contrary, my good man," a voice called from the splintery wreckage, "SHE DIDN'T!" Richie called upon his Psi and forced himself off the ground and into the air. "I wasn't expecting a goddamn match, Runaway." He wiped some blood off his brow. "But, I guess I'll just hafta kick your ass too!"
"I'm waiting." Jamie sneered.
Richie howled and charged toward the shorter boy.
Misty took advantage of the confusion and ran to Ash, still frozen. "Ash!" she cried. "ASH!" She reached out and touched his arm.
Hard and stiff as a rock.
Ash wished with all his heart that he could answer her, but he couldn't even so much as nod, much less move his lips and control his vocal cords. He might as well have been a statue.
Misty was furious. "What did you do to him?" she cried at the sinister reflection of Ash that was standing not twenty feet from her in the clearing. She had to shout over the rough sounds of the combat between Richie and Jamie.
Ashura took a moment to study his brother's mate. Her fiery orange hair was wrapped in a sort of untidy bun at the side of her head. She sported a pair of short jean-shorts that revealed most of her shapely legs. Covering her top was a bright yellow shirt that revealed her belly button at her midriff area. Her emerald green eyes spoke of raw fury as she looked at him.
For a human, he thought, she IS quite good-looking. My brother does have good taste after all. Hmm, too bad she soon won't be among the living.
"What does it look like, girl?" he responded coolly, not bothering to raise his voice. "I have taken his ability to move about. After all, I can't have him run away from me before we ever had a chance to sit down and have REAL talk, can I?" His air of sinister calm frightened Misty. But what were even more disturbing to her were his eyes: those horrible red and black eyes that reminded her of drops of fresh blood floating atop a pool of oil.
"You mean before you could kill him." She seethed.
"Ah, so you WERE paying attention! How very observant of you. Speaking of observations, why don't you join me in the watching of the Runaway and Richie engaging in a battle to the death? Ah, I just love segues. Don’t you?"
Misty blanched at his words. This guy is nuts! How could he be so calm and casual about killing someone?
Still, she couldn't fight the compulsion to watch helplessly as Jamie and Richie fought on.
* * * *
Richie roared in frustration as he began to throw punch after lightning-fast punch, only to hit nothing but air. What little patience he had was growing thin. This damn Runaway should be dead by now! Why can't I land a single hit on him?
His thoughts were interrupted by a bone-crushing blow to the ribs, followed by a quick kick to the side of his jaw. The assailant spun from the round kick in preparation for another attack. The kick was only a means to distract Richie from blocking the powerful spin side-kick that smashed into his sternum.
The pain seemed to explode through Richie's body as he was flung back once again into the pile of broken tree. Sparky vigilantly held on to his master's shoulder as they both crashed to the clearing floor.
"DAMMIT!" Richie swore as he spit out a tooth. He staggered to his feet. "Spark, give me a power surge!" Sparky obeyed as he used a powerful Thundershock on his trainer.
Sparks of electricity hissed and crackled around Richie's body as he took on a yellow glow. His muscles bulged outward with equal ferocity as he gave a loud roar.
Jamie was unfazed. "Ohhh, I'm soooo scared." He marveled, his voice strung out with sarcasm. "So you've turned into a big, hulking firefly. Big deal. I've seen a move similar to that and believe me buddy, yours looks pretty crappy."
"Talk all you want, Runaway!" Richie snarled, his blood red eyes swimming with rage. "It'll only make it that much more painful when I rip your damn heart out!"
Jamie raised his hand and opened and closed his palm in a mock gesture of a mouth. "Blah, blah, blah." He cupped his other hand to his ear. "Hear that? Shhh..."
Richie blinked. "Hear what?" All he heard was the soft humming of their auras.
Jamie's smirk faded twisted into a mischievous sneer. "That's the sound of me NOT CARING!"
It took a moment for the insult to set in. Richie’s eye twitched. Then the left side of his mouth twitched. Soon the whole left side of his face was caught in a frantic tic. He uttered a low growl as his face became as red as his eyes.
The low humming sound that had emitted from his body rose in an angry crescendo as it turned into what sounded like a smoke alarm. The whole group watched, horrified, as his aura burned with the intensity of a thousand suns.
Then something happened. Richie’s muscles bugled outward with such girth that they seemed to stretch his skin. Everyone gasped when his eyes took on a deadly crimson shine. He let out a roar that would make a Charizard cower.
Richie had entered the Rage.
With a loud squeak, Sparky flung himself off his shoulder and darted into the nearby brush.
Richie’s deadly gaze fixed onto Jamie’s shocked form. Jamie sweatdropped as the lumbering Lekarian advanced toward him.
Great, Jamie thought. Me and my big mouth.
* * * *
Her nightly meditation was violently cut short as a sudden surge of energy ripped through her body and mind. She flailed her feet into the air as she was rocked backward. The girl grunted loudly as her back thudded onto her old prayer mat.
She lay on her prayer mat, shaken, her bosom heaving as she struggled to draw a breath. Her skin was covered in a thick sheen of sweat. Strands of long, green hair clung to her face. Her once clean, dry kimono was now drenched in the liquid, the fabric sticking to her damp skin.
Managing to get a breath, she slowly began to pick herself up. It shocked to realize that her muscles ached and cramped, as if she had spent all day at her martial arts training without any breaks for food or water. She shuddered when her usually strong legs buckled and strained under the weight of her body.
Cursing, she focused her psychic energies from under herself, forcing her body off the ground. She hovered above her prayer mat, wondering why what just happened occurred, when Haunter shimmered into the visible spectrum before her.
“Sabrina,” he spoke in telepathy, “I just felt these really weird energies and ...WHOA! What happened to you!? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Haunter took a moment to ponder, than the Ghost-type doubled over in his usual cackle over his own bad pun.
“Charming, Haunter.” She replied coolly, though the usual calmness of her voice still had the hint of a small tremor. “But this isn’t a laughing matter. Not even over one of your bad puns.” Her mouth curled into a tiny smile, but their dialogue was interrupted by the presence of Alakazam, who had not a second ago Teleported into the room.
“Mistress Sabrina, I’ve just sensed –“
“I know.” Sabrina interrupted. “Haunter and I felt the same thing.”
“HAUNTER sensed it too?” Alakazam asked incredulously, raising an eyebrow. “Then it must be serious. That idiot couldn’t sense a psychic disturbance if it danced naked in front of him holding my two spoons.”
Haunter perked up. “Someone’s gonna dance naked in front of me? Cool!”
Alakazam groaned. “No, you dingbat, I was insulting you.”
“Insulting me? Now why wouldja wanna do that?”
“Because I despise you.”
“Hey, I resent that! Waitaminute, what does ‘despise’ mean? Waitasec, what does ‘resent’ mean? I heard it on a soap opera once.”
Sabrina remained levitated as she watched the silly verbal bout between Alakazam and Haunter. She laughed inwardly. Alakazam and Haunter were the only two beings who could squeeze a chuckle out of her.
She took a brief moment to study them. They were as different as night and day. Alakazam, a Psychic Pokemon, was organized, concise, thoughtful, and usually humorless. Haunter, a Ghost type, was wild, rambunctious, silly, chock-full of humor, innocent, and was about as subtle as a rampaging stampede of a herd of Tauros afflicted with Mad Cow disease. But they created a sort of balance in the gym. She appreciated that. They were like brothers.
Suddenly it happened again. The air rippled and pulsed as if it were alive. Then an impact, an invisible impact, which seemed to shock through their very being, filled the presence. Windows shattered; plates cracked and broke where they stood. The ancient grandfather clock that stood propped up by the window in her meditation went haywire, its hands spinning wildly in all directions.
She heard dogs barking and howling outside, and blanched when she realized that it wasn’t the moon they were crying out at. Car alarms sang their ear-splitting song. Hoot Hoots and Noctowls screeched their warning. The single light bulb that lit the room flashed on and off with the vigorousness of a strobe light.
Sabrina took action. Clearing her mind and focusing her powers, she sheathed the gym in a blanket of Psi. The blanket absorbed all external sounds and energies that entered the gym, replacing the racket and bedlam with an eerie silence.
“Well,” Alakazam said incisively, completely unfazed. “THAT was certainly disturbing.” Alakazams were not known for being easily flustered.
“Yeah, that WAS pretty creepy.” Haunter agreed.
Sabrina had a grim expression. “Yes, disturbing indeed, boys. I’ve never felt anything like this before.” She closed her eyes.
“I’m going to investigate the source.” She said, eyes still closed. Clearing her mind of all thought, she projected her soul out of her body. She was one with the earth, and all the minds that inhabited it. She understood. She felt. She knew. She WAS.
“Godspeed.” Alakazam wished her luck as her mind left her body on her psychic journey.
She felt around, feeling this new energy, embracing it, analyzing it. It repulsed her. It was disgusting. Yet she couldn’t give up, though it brought a terrible feeling to her stomach. She traced it, followed it. Her mind was free to move about the world as much as she saw fit.
The energy signature seemed to stretch for hundreds of miles around, its grasping tendrils seemed to reach to the sky itself. They reached for her, calling her, beckoning for her to come closer. She followed, knowing that she couldn’t delve too far trying to understand the energies, lest her mind be tainted by their vile touch.
A vision of a deciduous forest clearing shimmered to life inside her mind. She sensed an array of other minds beside her own. Focusing, she could make out the bodies that encased the minds.
A large, burly teenager with messy brown hair, glowing red eyes, and muscles that would put Mr. Universe to shame was lumbering toward someone. He had rough features, with a deep scar that zigzagged across his left cheek. He moved and thought like a wild animal. She saw nothing but unbridled, primitive fury in his mind. His thoughts were erratic, inane, and inconsistent. She quickly made the speculation that the teen had gone mad.
That someone was a boy, not a year younger than her. He had a lithe, muscular form wrapped in torn, ragged clothing. Despite his ruined clothes, on his scalp rested a mat of impeccably perfect shiny brown hair. He had a strong, square jaw line which rested below lips that seemed to always have the hint of smile upon them. His eyes reminded her of two rubies encased in marble. Through those eyes she could dive into his soul.
She was shocked when she landed into his mind. Pain, suffering, and confusion wrapped around a deep hatred wrought the depths of his being. She saw losses, sacrifices, yearning; questions that begged to be answered. Thoughts so vague and enigmatic that she dare not try to decrypt them, for if she attempted to do so, she could lose her mind.
She could never dig too deep into a person’s soul, it was dangerous, risky. It was like swimming too far into the ocean. At some point in depth, the pressure would be too great to bear. The pressure of too many other thoughts scattered around her own would shatter her mind, leaving her body an empty shell.
Her focus jerked towards another mind. The body that surrounded the mind was a feminine, yet powerful figure, wrapped in a tight black bodysuit with the blood red letters “T” and “R” printed on the chest area. Long, flowing blue hair wrapped in two pony tails rested on her head. She had a heart-shaped face with deep crimson eyes. Those eyes acted as two large windows for Sabrina to seep into the girl’s mind.
She could sense pain in this one as well, although not as intense as the other mind she visited. She mostly saw a deep love and caring for someone, although she couldn’t sense who. Remembering not to dive too deep, she left the girl’s mind and moved onto another.
A slender body covered in a yellow tank top and blue jean shorts greeted the invisible psychic projection of Sabrina. The body was feminine and curvaceous, but not as muscular as the one she saw before. A bundle of orange hair was wrapped in a wild ball on the side of her head. She had soft facial features and emerald eyes sparkling with tears. Sabrina slipped into her mind.
A burning love even more potent than the previous mind greeted her as she dove into her subconscious. It wasn’t just a love. No. It was a bond. A commitment. A connection. Her mind and the mind of the one she loved shared an intimacy only few would ever know. Sabrina marveled at this. It was like nothing she had ever seen before. Prying herself from the girl’s thoughts, she looked onto the next sentient being.
Spiky locks of raven hair rested just above a pair of piercing, yet disturbingly comforting, amber eyes. Surrounding those eyes was a handsome face that was frozen in place. The firm, muscular body was in some sort of hold, as if some invisible force kept him from moving. Sabrina knew very well what that force was.
A very powerful type of Psi.
She pushed her way into the boy’s mind. The same loving bond that she found in the other girl was present. A sort of boyish innocence laced his mind. There was also anguish, as if he were in some type of peril.
She frantically searched the area. Her probing mind fell upon another figure. Wild black hair lined with crimson streaks. Dark, oily eyes with two blood red dots in the center; features strangely similar to her previous subject. No, in fact, exactly similar, from the beaked nose right down to the soft jaw line. The same physiques. But, oddly enough, a different mind.
A dangerous mind. A deadly mind. A soul so corrupted, so filthy, that she dare not even get close to it. It was the polar opposite of it’s predecessor.
But, the peril ...
She studied the scene. She saw their movements, their facial expressions, their thoughts, their feelings. Then her mind was hit with the shocking force of recognition.
She knew some of these people. She new it was Ash, Misty, Brock, and a few unfamiliar faces.
And worse, she new they were in danger.
* * * *
A loud WHOOSH! echoed through her mind as her consciousness slammed back into her body. Slightly gasping, her eyes fluttered open. Two Pokemon greeted her.
“Welcome back, Mistress.” Alakazam stated, bowing.
“Glad to have ya back, Sabrina.” Haunter said, a wide grin on his face.
They noticed her glazed, vacant, and shocked state. That could only mean one thing.
“Mistress!” Alakazam spoke up in a mildly worried tone that poorly masked his true uneasiness. “What is wrong?”
Sabrina’s dark eyes met Alakazam. Her words were barely a whisper.
“Ash is in trouble.”
* * * *
A/N: WHEW! Finally finished! And a whopping eleven pages to boot! Huzzah! Anywho, I’m glad that yet another chapter is finally finished. Please keep the reviews concise. Thank you for tolerating my terrible punctuality.
This fic was brought to you by:
MegamanZero, who is still hard at work concocting his plans to hold the world ransom for ONE MEEEEEEEEEELLIIIIIIIIOOOON DOLLARS.