Pokemon Fan Fiction / Pokemon Fan Fiction / Fan Fiction ❯ Dragon Realms ❯ Railway Showdown! Contest of Speed! ( Chapter 28 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
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Railway Showdown! Contest of Speed!
“Aw crap!” Alken frantically glanced around.
The second's delay had cost him greatly, now leaving the soldier with the daunting task of catching up to a moving train. Alken forced back the instinct to give chase on foot, knowing that it would do him no good. Neither would shouting and screaming help, for that would just draw unwanted attention to himself.
Alken watched as the train sped off…and suddenly rounded a bend. The soldier almost wanted to slap himself for not noticing it earlier.
The tracks were laid out in a U-shaped pattern, so the train had to make a turn before it could leave the station. And the other arm of the `U' was just several hundred feet away.
Despite that, the train was moving fast and Alken realized he had to push himself to his limits if he was going to make it in time. Racing through the tall, shoulder-height grass that separated the two parts of the track, the soldier almost fell several times in his mad dash.
I'm not going to mess this up! I won't let everyone down! I won't let Nala down either!
He didn't know why, but there was just so much he wanted to say to Nala. Perhaps…perhaps it was because he hadn't had the guts to do so all this time…
“Rrarrggghhh!” Alken made it to the end and prayed that he'd timed his leap properly.
The stunt got him onto the side of the fourth carriage from the end, where Alken was able to grab hold of a handle on its outer wall.
With his feet balanced on the edge of the platform, Alken pressed his body against the wall and barely avoided being knocked off by a signal pole close to the track.
“Whew…” He panted, taking the moment to catch his breath. The soldier's muscles felt like they were on fire, with his lungs ready to give out any time.
At least he was on the train…for the moment. A sudden creaking sound had Alken's eyes glancing at his handle in shock.
It's coming loose…
His brain barely had time to register that thought before the prediction came true. With a loud wail, Alken was tossed off his perch. However, he did manage to grab hold of a dangling rope and used it to swing himself onto the metal bar connecting his carriage to the one behind it.
In his attempt to pull himself up, Alken lost his footing and slipped. Alken slid between the gap and almost hit the railroad tracks below. Almost, for he managed to grab hold of the cables at the bottom of the carriage.
Finding a solid metal bar to press his feet against, Alken held his body, precariously balanced, in that horizontal position for all he was worth.
Small sharp stones were being thrown against his back, cutting through his jacket and into his skin. However Alken didn't dare look. The soldier knew that his back was very close to hitting the railroad's surface.
And allowing his body to be dragged beneath the train would undoubtedly rip the flesh off his bones, granting him a very painful death.
I won't let it end like this! Come on!
Forcing his worn muscles to work, Alken stretched out one hand, taking hold of another cable, and carefully pulled himself along. Although he had to go through the painstaking process of finding new handholds and foot grips with each movement, Alken was able to drag himself along.
After what seemed like ages, his fingers finally felt the edge of the train's platform. But to get himself up would require a huge effort.
(Go.) Skiar's deep voice echoed. (Free your body and mind from all doubt!)
Taking a deep breath, Alken dropped his feet from their holds and twisted his body. There was a brief moment, when Alken changed grips, which had him suspended in mid-air. The soldier kicked his entire body weight off the adjacent carriage and at last hurled himself up onto the safety of the platform.
Exhausted, Alken could do nothing but lie there, panting.
His hands were red and sore, muscles aching and burning like fire. Alken's back was also covered by various cuts, where stones from the road had been thrown against his back. His jacket now had dozens of bloodstained holes in it and Alken pulled it off to wipe himself off. The white shirt he wore beneath looked no better either.
But as long as the injuries weren't life-threatening, they wouldn't stop him. The soldier was quite used to pain in his time.
“Thanks Skiar.” Alken gasped. “You were…channeling some of your energy into me, were you?”
(This dragon does what this dragon can.)
“It's much appreciated.” Alken got to his feet.
With no other way around, Alken had to pick between going forward into the fourth carriage from the end or going backward into the third one from the end.
Making the decision to go backwards, he reached for the door that led into the carriage and pushed it open slightly. It was dark inside and Alken opened it wider to get a better look. A sudden jerk knocked the door out of his grasp and sent it swinging inwards, slamming against the wall.
A little too late, Alken realized that the dark room was where the Mightyena and Swellow Pokemon troops were sleeping. At the loud bang of the door, all heads immediately snapped to Alken's direction.
“This is not my day…” Alken moaned.
“Alken!” Tanya yelled. “Alken!”
“We can't be yelling too much, or they'll hear us.” Abetos placed a paw on the Salamence's uninjured shoulder.
“But I…” Tanya opened her wings and suddenly grimaced in pain. “Rarrggh! My wing still isn't…”
“Don't push yourself. Alken will find a way to get there.” Abetos answered confidently. “I know he will.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“It's just…something I feel, between the two of us.”
“I don't understand.”
“Hmmm…like you, I was merely a servant once. But our relationship `evolved' over time.” Abetos let off a soft chuckle. “Alken's had a rough life, but I've been the one to stick by his side all this time. We're comrades…brothers-in-arms…and nothing's going to change that.”
“So, it is this friendship that gives you the instinct?” Tanya blinked.
“Yes.” Abetos turned towards the door leading into the carriage. “Alken wanted to save his friend Nala, and I'm going to support him in any way I can.”
“Allow me to take the front.” Tanya offered.
“Well, all right.” The Houndoom stepped back. “Let me know what you see.”
As silently as she could, Tanya pushed the unlocked door open and peered inside. Dozens of boxes and food items were dumped messily around the area, but otherwise there were no signs of any enemies.
“All clear.” Tanya reported.
Despite that, the two Pokemon crept amongst the boxes, least someone or something come in through the door on the opposite side. Nothing did however, giving the pair clear access to the second carriage.
Once again, Tanya peeped through a gap in the unlocked rear door.
“Five guards this time, three Mightyena and two Swellow. They seem to be guarding some bluish dragon in a cage that's against the far wall.”
“Bluish dragon?” Abetos wondered.
“A friend of yours?”
“Possibly, but we need to get rid of the guards first.” Abetos instructed. “Plus, prevent them from sounding any alarms.”
“If you know the Smog ability, then this should be easily done.”
“Smog? Ah yes, I get what you mean.” Abetos nodded. “All right, get ready!”
Taking a deep breath, the Dark-type blew a foul-smelling blackish smog through the gap in the door. The poison cloud quickly began to fill up the rear of the carriage, attracting the attention of the guards.
Suddenly, Tanya pounced through the smoke, taking the entire group by surprise. The Salamence caught her first victim, a Mightyena, by clasping her jaws around his neck.
The panicked hyena found himself violently shaken up and tossed into one of his kin.
The third Mightyena came at Tanya with a ferocious growl, forcing her to rear up and use her front legs to block. Unfortunately, she felt her injured paw crack and jerked back in pain. Taking advantage of her wound, the Mightyena shoved Tanya onto her back and pinned her down.
Abetos then dashed across the room, leaping and stomping on the Mightyena's head. He proceeded to slash a Swellow in mid-air, and as he landed, seemingly vanished from view. Tanya realized that he had used Faint Attack, clearing the last few feet in the blink of an eye and ramming the final Swellow into the wall.
The bird had barely even hit the ground before Abetos sprayed it with a fiery burst of flames.
Watching their charred comrade go down, the remaining three guards hesitated, exchanging worried glances between their group.
Tanya had managed to scramble to her feet by this time and briefly accessed the situation. Their three opponents stood in a line with Abetos and herself on either side. One of them was the Mightyena who had gotten hit by his comrade's body earlier, while the second Mightyena and the Swellow were the ones Abetos had managed to stun in his dash across the room.
None of them were very badly injured, but Tanya herself was panting and moving with a limp.
In a flash, the lead Mightyena turned and attacked Abetos, sinking his fangs into the hound's shoulder. Howling in fury, the blind Houndoom did the same whilst trying to claw his opponent off.
The other two apparently decided it was better to take out a wounded opponent, and came at Tanya with the Swellow in front. As Tanya braced herself, the Swellow simply flew past.
Stunned, Tanya tried to focus on the Mightyena, but was rammed from behind by the Swellow. The bird Pokemon had used Aerial Ace to trick her, flying in a partial circle before moving back into his attack. The Mightyena wasted no time and fired off a dark orb, Shadow Ball, from his jaws.
Tanya did her best to dodge and was partially helped as the train rounded a bend, sending her skidding across the ground. The Salamence called upon one of her elemental breaths, Flamethrower, and fired it at her opponents.
Thanks to the train taking another corner, her shot went wide, with Tanya skidding again and being thrown against the cold, hard metal of the dragon's cage. Frantically, she struggled to get up, knowing that her opponents were readying another series of attacks.
“Get down!” Ordered a feminine voice from the rear.
Some instinct just told Tanya to obey and an icy beam shot just above her head. The Ice Beam literally froze the Swellow in his tracks, encasing the bird in a large ice cube. Even though the blue dragon in the cage had every limb and wing chained down, she had still been able to move her head into position and fire the Ice Beam from her jaws.
The Mightyena panicked and tried to break off his charge halfway, but now it was Tanya's turn to take advantage of his distraction and slash twice across his face. The hyena stumbled and Tanya whipped him against the wall with her tail, knocking the dark-type Pokemon unconscious.
Abetos had a bit more trouble with his opponent, but the brutal struggle finally ended with him pushing the Mightyena into a corner. Making use of the fact that the hyena still had his jaws clamped around his shoulder, Abetos shifted his body weight and pounded his foe's head into the wall multiple times.
It hurt his shoulder terribly and stung his muscles, but finally the Mightyena lapsed into unconsciousness.
Upon hearing Tanya's groaning, Abetos leapt over the fallen bodies of their foes and rushed to her side.
“Hey, are you all right?”
“I've been better.” Tanya gritted her teeth.
(Abetos? It really is you!) A telepathic voice sounded, causing them both to jump.
“Who? It that… Hazuki?” Abetos gasped.
(Yes, it's me! This Dragon, Asiyu, is my partner.) Hazuki's voice explained. (Is Alken here too?)
“He tried to get onto this train to rescue Nala.” Abetos said softly. “But he didn't make it on, and…”
Suddenly, the Houndoom jerked his head up. Sounds of fighting could be detected from the next carriage, where a familiar gun was being fired…accompanied by loud shouting, roaring and screeching.
(Am I right to say that it sounds like Alken?) Hazuki asked.
“Hell yeah!” Abetos blurted out. “I knew he wouldn't let me down! But sounds like he's in trouble, and I…”
“Just leave me…and go…first…” The blue dragon, Asiyu, muttered weakly.
“I smell a lot of blood on you.” Abetos said grimly. “How badly injured are you?”
Tanya could see that it was probably a lot worse than Abetos' nose told him. The blue dragon was covered in blood and scars. Her tail and both her hind legs looked twisted at odd angles while her wings had been ripped to shreds.
“You go after Alken.” Tanya spoke up. “I'll look after her. I'm still aching from the last fight anyway.”
“Thanks Tanya.” The Houndoom nodded. “Listen, Hazuki and whoever's with you, I'll help Alken out and then we'll be back for you. I promise!”
With that, Abetos dashed out the rear door and towards the next carriage.
“Erm…” Tanya glanced nervously towards the wounded blue dragon, not even sure where to start.
All right, I'll search the guards and hopefully they'll have a key and some potions.
(Hey, how about some introductions for me too?) A second telepathic voice called. This one wasn't the person called Hazuki or the blue dragon's, but a third entity.
(Hang on a bit Gwyen, don't confuse her.)
“This is going to be a long day…” Tanya sighed.
Abetos barged into the carriage…and into a scene of chaos.
This particular carriage was normally was a resting quarters for the crew, but the Pokemon here were certainly doing anything but resting. No one seemed to respond to Abetos's entry, so the Houndoom crouched down low and listened as best as he could.
His current condition had forced him to become more of a silent assassin rather than a frontline attacker, but even his keen sense of hearing couldn't make much out of the noise. There were just too many voices shouting at once, too many energy attacks being thrown off, plus the sounds of Alken's gun mixed in.
One more thing being blind had taught Abetos was patience.
And as he calmed his nerves to focus, Abetos noticed a pattern. First, he would hear Alken's gunshots mixed with all the various Pokemon attacks. Then, he would feel a strong vibration in the ground, accompanied by the distinctive sound of metal slamming against metal.
There would be no more of Alken's gunshots for a while, until he heard the metallic creaking again.
Alken's fighting in the doorway! Abetos realized.
Indeed, his partner was using the metal door as a cover, peering through to take a few shots and ducking back out as the retaliatory attacks came. Now the only problem was how to get to him. He could try a mad dash across and take the high risk of being blasted in the process. Or he could try…
Abetos felt a draft blow past his ears, for he'd forgotten to shut the door on his side.
Wind…that's it! The roof!
Hastily, Abetos backed out of the door and stood at the rear section of the carriage. A faint scent of rust drew him to a ladder, which the Houndoom first tested for stability.
Hang on partner, I'm coming!
Scrambling onto the rooftop, Abetos kept his body as low as possible and dug his claws into the wooden planks there. With the train moving at such a high speed, the rush of wind around his body was tremendous, but Abetos held on tight and crawled at a slow, but steady pace.
“Abetos? What are you doing up here?” Alken suddenly yelled. Judging the approximate distance of his voice, Alken was probably just at the top of the ladder at the other end of the roof.
“Alken? Hey great to hear from you, but what are you up here for?” Abetos called back.
“Trying to escape! And you?”
“I came to rescue you!”
“Well you have to take care of yourself first! Shadow Ball! Shoot it right behind you!”
Taking his partner's warning, Abetos cranked his neck and discharged the black ball of energy. He heard a howl as a Mightyena was knocked off the ladder behind him and sent flying off the train.
“Crap! They're coming up on my side too!” Alken growled furiously, clambering up onto the roof and firing his gun downwards.
“Stay right there and prepare to Dragon Meld!” Abetos hollered. “I've got an idea!”
“Wait! What are you…”
“Yarrrggghhh!” Abetos threw his body forward and slid across the surface of the roof. In the midst of that action, the Houndoom turned his head and fired off a Flamethrower attack behind him, using the blast to project himself forward.
“Whoa! Whoa! Dragon Meld!” Alken shouted just as Abetos crashed into him.
The two went rolling in a flash of purple light, knocking a flying Swellow out in the process, and landed on the connecting rail of the third to last and fourth to last carriages as Skiar.
“This dragon feels the way you do things is very illogical.” The Legendary Dragon muttered, dusting himself off.
The all enemy Pokemon stared in shock for a moment, a mistake that gave Skiar a bit of a head start.
“Twister!” In one motion, Skiar extended the sickle-like blades built into his hands and slashed them through the air. The resulting effect created a miniature tornado that knocked three of the lead Mightyena off the train.
“Alken! Up here!”
Using Skiar's special form of vision, Alken saw Hazuki and Tanya, both of whom were cramped onto Gwyen the Suicune's back. The quadruped water type dashed across the train's roof in the blink of an eye and leapt gracefully onto the roof of Skiar's carriage.
“Cut the couplings!” Tanya ordered. “Hurry!”
“Understood!” A wide smirk crossed Skiar's face as his blades flashed once again.
The result was instantaneous, with the rear three carriages rapidly falling far behind into the distance…along with all the enemy troops onboard. That left them with three carriages and the train engine itself.
“Asiyu showed Tanya how to do an energy transfer and Tanya used it to give us a boost!” Hazuki explained.
“Yeah, Asiyu was so badly beat that she didn't have the strength to de-meld us earlier.” Gwyen added in. “Plus there was the chains and all…”
“I'll be fine if you're going to ask that.” Tanya groaned, although she was visibly more tired.
(I'm glad to hear that.) Alken replied. (But don't let your guard down! We're not out of this ye…)
CRACK! The position that Gwyen was standing on abruptly gave way, sending the Suicune and riders plunging into the carriage below.
Skiar wasted no time in barging through the door.
“Hm? I wasn't expecting so much company.”
The carriage looked very much like the previous one Asiyu had been kept in, only that there was a different metal cage at the far end. This one contained a dark brown, hydra-like dragon with three heads. And she was just as covered in chains as Asiyu had been earlier.
In front of the cage stood Citraz, the Gale Dragon, who'd just made the taunting remark. Sano and Uno, the ever-persistent Aggron and Rhydon duo, had their backs turned to Skiar for the moment, but only because they were staring down at the fallen Hazuki, Gwyen and Tanya. The pair of dinos were the ones who'd smashed the hole in the ceiling, dropping Hazuki and the others into their clutches.
Erizar was definitely trying to say something, but with her jaws muzzled shut, she could only utter muffled growls.
“Crap, not you bozos again!” Gwyen cursed. “Don't you know the meaning of give it up already?”
“Hey, you're the ones that are annoying girly.” Sano growled.
Skiar hesitated, not entirely sure what do to. His allies were scattered all around and using any massive explosive attacks could very well hit them. But the enemies were everywhere too…
(We have to wait for a chance.) Alken muttered tensely.
“Seems we're all at a stalemate here.” Citraz remarked, shrugging his shoulders and whipping his tail against Erizar's cage.
“Hey, let me say something here!” Hazuki suddenly called.
All heads turned towards the blue haired girl as she got into a sitting position.
“Guess again! Hargh!” With a fierce swing, Hazuki thrust the bottom end of her Ankh into Uno's knee joint, one of the parts that wasn't covered by his natural armor.
“Garrgghh!” Uno stumbled, grabbing onto his buddy for support.
Unfortunately, Sano wasn't the least prepared for it and went off balance too. In a flash, Hazuki, Gwyen and Tanya had scrambled for cover.
“You idiots!” Citraz yelled, clenching his fists. “No wonder Juncan had you two kicked out of his unit!”
Skiar saw his chance and pushed himself off the ground, using the Extreme Speed technique to zoom past the dinos and pound Citraz in the stomach. The green scaled dragon had the wind knocked out of him, but quickly bounded back kicked Skiar at the left side of his neck.
Now it was Skiar's turn to draw back in surprise, for he hadn't been expecting the Gale Dragon to be so swift. Citraz threw his arms out, sending off a series of star-shaped energy projectiles. Skiar had no choice but to take the hit and let it fuel his rage.
The sickle-like blades emerged from his claws as the dark-type leapt towards his foe, only to have a rising uppercut stuck neatly beneath his chin. Skiar hit the ground with a grunt of pain.
His energy was directly related to Alken and Abetos', and at the moment, neither of the two were feeling too good.
“Whoa! Whoa!” Hazuki dashed between the crates that were stacked along the wall with Uno hot on her heels.
The Rhydon definitely was not happy with Hazuki's stunt earlier and his indifference in smashing up all the crates in his way certainly showed it. Finally, Hazuki dashed behind one crate that was made of metal, with the loud clang of Uno's fists sounding behind her.
“Grrr…come out you little brat!”
Heart pounding, Hazuki knew she couldn't hide there for long. Uno was already beginning to shove the crate against the wall, forcing her to dash around it. Unfortunately, she chose the wrong side to move to because Uno broke off from pushing the crate and blocked her path, grinning evilly.
However, because of her smaller size, Hazuki realized there was one escape route she could use. Dropping to the ground in mid-run, Hazuki scraped her Ankh against the flooring and froze its surface. With the thin layer of ice, the blue haired girl was able to slide across faster than Uno could react.
Hazuki wasn't done there, for she was aiming to slide between the massive Rhydon's legs. And as she did so, Hazuki thrust her Ankh, with a ball of icy energy ready, upwards.
“Gwwwaaaggghhhh!” Uno's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets.
“Learnt that one from my previous fight with Kioi.” Hazuki grinned as she sprinted around the crates to where Gwyen was jumping from side to side and dodging Sano's stomping.
The agile Suicune skipped around another of Sano's tail sweeps, further frustrating the steel-type. But the dino failed to pull his tail back and Gwyen literally ran up it and bounced off the top of his head. Sano looked up just in time to get hit in the face by a Hydro Pump attack.
“Gwyen! Get ready to pick me up!” Hazuki yelled, tapping the ground and freezing it behind the stumbling Sano.
As predicted, the Aggron slipped and skidded backwards. Hazuki ran to get some distance away, but Sano was still headed directly towards her. Running along the walls, Gwyen was able to reach Hazuki quicker and dragged her partner to safety.
It so happened that the moaning Uno, clutching his groin area in pain, stepped out and was promptly smacked by his comrade. The screaming dino duo rolled head-over-heels and right out of the carriage, hitting the railroad tracks outside with a loud bang.
“Oh yeah!” Hazuki and Gwyen gave each other high-fives.
Once again, Tanya found herself fumbling with a lock. The dragon captured within didn't look as badly injured as the other one, but there was no key this time. And Tanya neither had the brute strength, nor the energy left to use any beam attacks to break the lock.
With a satisfying click, Tanya withdrew her claw as the lock came loose. Having successfully picked the cage's main lock, she still had the lot of chains within to undo, and that could take some time.
However, the dragon was gesturing to Tanya to get its muzzle off. It was just a leather strap, allowing Tanya to rip it off easily.
“Hey thanks, I really needed that.” The poison dragon, Erizar breathed.
“It could take me a while to free you, unless you know where a key is.” Tanya told her.
“Oh just step back and I'll manage it.” The main head then spoke to the other two, on either side of it. “You two better close your eyes.”
Taking a deep breath, Erizar sprayed a wave of acid from her jaws. As Tanya watched in amazement, the chains and leather muzzles simply melted and fell off.
“Couldn't you have done that earlier?” The head controlled by Riot muttered.
“Probably not with all those guards ready to jab us with stun rods.” Nala replied.
“Ok, point taken.”
“Where was Alken?” Nala asked. “Wasn't he fighting right…”
WHAM! Skiar was suddenly hurled across the room, smashing through the door at the rear of the carriage. With a furious howl, Citraz spread his wings and followed, completely ignoring everyone else in the area.
“It's Skiar, and I think he needs help.” Erizar remarked.
At that, the hydra-like dragon glowed and changed into two smaller forms. Nala was easily able to scramble out, but Riot found her wings caught in the remains of the chains.
“Nala! Wait for me!” Riot yelled. “Hey!”
“Alken!” Nala dashed past Tanya and peered out the new hole in the back of the carriage.
Skiar and Citraz were now fighting on the roof of the next carriage, locking claws and shoving at one another whilst trying to keep their balance.
Nala immediately drew both her pistols and ran across the connector to the next cart. This one was a storage cart that didn't have anything inside it other than rows and rows of boxes.
Loud thumping sounds were coming from the roof above, but there was no way to tell who was who. Frowning, Nala squeezed in-between the rows of crates and threw the nearest window open. But even sticking her head out of the window didn't give her a clear view.
No, I'm doing things irrationally. Nala told herself. I'm getting too emotional over Alken. Yeah, I should wait for the others to…
CRASH! Skiar's body suddenly smashed through the roof, sending pieces of wood flying everywhere.
Citraz came down immediately after and stomped on the weakened Skiar's chest, cracking several of his ribs. The Gale Dragon clamped a foot talon around his dark elemental counterpart's neck, leaving Skiar choking and gasping for air.
“Humph, you're just too weak!” Citraz snarled.
“Oh I don't think so!” Nala leapt out from behind her cover, letting her shots fly.
One of the energy bolts caught Citraz on the left wing and another on the right knee. Enraged, the Gale Dragon threw his head back and fired off a brilliant white Hyper Beam.
Nala screamed as the explosion threw her across the area, ending with her smashing through another window.
(No!) Alken hollered as Nala's body disappeared outside the train.
Skiar responded to that emotion with a burst of energy and heaved up, throwing Citraz off. The green-scaled warrior broke his fall with a roll and was back on his feet by the time Skiar lunged for him again.
Locking claws, the two dragons rolled and struggled over one another. The brawl took them all the way out of the storage carriage and onto the connecting platform. Unfortunately, Skiar ended up at the bottom of the pile as the vicious Citraz began pushing his head towards the wheels of the train.
“Rarrggghh!” Skiar howled and struggled, but his opponent still had the upper hand.
Citraz jerked his head up and gasped. There, riding on Riot's back, was Nala. Although she was beating her wings as fast as she could, Riot seemed like she was hovering on the spot as she kept pace with the train.
“Take that!” Riot opened her jaws, revealing a white light within.
The dactyl's Hyper Beam merged with Nala's energy shots, creating a bloody wound on Citraz's left shoulder. But the enemy commander didn't have time to scream for long, for Skiar seized the advantage and pulled his arms down, throwing Citraz against the train tracks.
Citraz's roar of fury was abruptly cut off as the wheels ran over his body, slicing it into several bloody chunks. The reddish blood splattered all over Skiar as the exhausted dragon pulled himself to the safety of the opposite platform.
“Alken!” Nala jumped off her partner's back as the Aerodactyl landed on the same platform.
With a firm nod, Skiar broke into a purple light, revealing Alken and Abetos lying there panting. Nala threw her arms around Alken's shoulders and hugged tightly.
From the other carriage, Hazuki, Gwyen and Tanya all watched and nodded to each other. However, viewing the scene brought up a little bit of sorrow in Tanya's heart.
“Guess she's the one that needs you more, Alken.” The Salamence whispered.
Back on the railway track, Sano and Uno had managed to drag themselves to the side and lay there in defeat.
“Hey bro…maybe we're just not cut out for this.” Uno sighed.
“Yeah, I know what you mean.” Sano nodded.
“Why don't we just quit and find another job?”
“Hey yeah! After the way they've been treating us…” Sano fumed. “All right, we quit!”
“Yeah, both of us!” Uno agreed.
The two put their fists together and then flopped back against the grass.
“Hey, is that your stomach rumbling?” Sano suddenly asked.
“Not mine!” Uno shook his head. “Is it yours?”
“Hey, I think it's the ground.”
“Huh? Why the ground?”
“Probably cause this is a cliff.” Sano gestured. “Look! The sea is just below us.”
Suddenly, both sprang up and glanced at each other in shock.
The cliff finally gave in to their combined weight and broke off, sending the dino duo plummeting into the sea below.
“I've checked out the engine.” Nala gestured. “And…well…this thing's designed to look like and old steam engine, but…”
“But?” Gwyen asked impatiently.
After finding no one else onboard the train, the group had moved into the engine room and was currently standing there examining the controls.
“This…” Nala ripped off one of the floorboards, revealing a complex set of machinery beneath.
“The vehicle is really electronically powered.” Alken nodded.
“That explains the small number of crew I guess.” Abetos remarked.
“Not only that.” Nala frowned. “But I think this system is also on auto-pilot.”
“And where is it taking us?” Riot queried.
“There's really no way of knowing.” Nala shrugged.
“Can you all feel that?” Hazuki suddenly spoke up.
“Feel what?” Tanya growled.
(Again, that dark aura.) Asiyu's voice sounded.
(I haven't felt it for a long time. A long, long time.) Erizar added in.
(This dragon feels the same way.) Skair voiced his thoughts, a rarity even now that he did talk.
“It's Kaiser, isn't it?” Gwyen leaned over Hazuki's shoulder.
(He's calling us, waiting for us at the end of this track.) Asiyu said grimly. (He probably has everything he's been looking for now…and we're the final pieces.)
“Yusia…” Hazuki muttered. “Yusia's there too…”
“Then we're not backing down.” Nala declared, receiving a unanimous response in the form of nods from the rest of the group.
“Hang on Yusia…” Hazuki gripped the railing. “We're coming…”
“What the hell?” Firestorm blurted out.
After returning from the Sacred Fields, the group was looking forward to a warm meal and cozy bedding back at the labs. What they found instead was a blackened crater where the building used to be, along with several of the adjacent houses torn to pieces. Even buildings further away were charred and some still had fires on their outer structures.
Various Pokemon were running around and dousing the flames with water-based attacks. Others were shifting through the rubble and providing aid to the wounded, but none of them paid any attention to Kris' group.
“How could we have missed all this?” Nightslice shook his head. “This couldn't have happened more than a few hours ago.”
“Then…did Cid and the others?” Jade glanced around. “I don't see…wait! Over there!”
The four ran over to the side of the road, where Cid was leaning against a fence. The old human looked fine, but was still in a state of shock.
“Cid? Cid are you all right?” Kris knelt by his side.
“Kris? Oh it's good that you've come back.” Cid looked up. “But too late I'm afraid.”
“What the heck happened?” Firestorm demanded. “Who did this?”
“It was Kaiser…” Zian poked his head out of a brown knapsack lying next to Cid.
While Firestorm wanted to make some remark about Zian's rather undignified mode of transportation, the look in the crippled dragon's eyes caused him to shut his jaws. In fact, it would probably have been Zian himself who would be complaining about anyone carrying him in a knapsack like this.
The psychic dragon had regained much of his cheery personality and sarcastic demeanor, probably the only things that kept him going even in his miserable state. But now he looked very much like when he'd first gotten his injury.
“Hey…” Jade leaned by his side. “It's not your fault that you couldn't do anything.”
“If I'd been smart enough, I could've prevented all this from happening.” Zian muttered. “Everything from the start, even getting you guys involved!”
“No point lamenting on the past since it's already happened.” Nightslice told him. “But I promise you that we'll make him pay for all this!”
“The Spirit Crystal…” Zian looked up. “I think Kaiser was after it. Epsilon teleported us out and tried to fight…but…I don't think he made it.”
Everyone fell silent for a while.
“Kaiser took the crystal too.” Zian continued. “While Cid carried me and ran. It was all we could do.”
“Did you see where he went?” Jade asked. “Or did he say anything? Taunt us with a location or something?”
Zian shook his head.
“I think I know…” Kris spoke up, arousing astonished glances from the group.
The ninja was holding up the sword that contained Bahamut's Spirit Crystal. And the weapon was glowing with a whitish light.
(I can sense his power…) Bahamut informed those present. (Kaiser…he's calling us…)
“Calling us?” Jade wondered. “But why only now?”
(I feel it too…that same dark aura we caught wind of, back in the Silph Building.) Lombadra added in.
“It must be something about Yusia…” Nightslice suggested. “Considering the information we got out of Juncan. Perhaps he's gotten all that he was looking for…and now he's just left with us…”
“Hey, if he wants a fight, we'll go give it to him.” Firestorm growled. “Guys? You all with me on this one? We can take him! We've done it before, and we'll just beat him to the ground again!”
“I don't know Storm, it sounds awfully suspicious.” Jade muttered. “I don't know if we're really ready…”
“Actually, I think I agree with Storm.” Kris decided. “We can't keep running forever. We'll have to face Kaiser sooner or later.”
“Yeah, you're right.”
“Let's head to the teleport point in the mountain.” Kris stood up. “Somehow…I feel like I know where we need to go…”