Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ A Blond Ray of Sunshine ❯ Chapter 18
While Fireball continued to look off in the direction that Antoshi had gone, Serenity unexpectedly appeared beside him.
“Hello again, Fireball,” she said, warmly.
Fireball jumped in surprise, looking at her in disbelief. 'Whoa,' he thought, 'where the heck did she come from?'
Serenity gazed off into the distance. “Looks like the two of them are getting ready to square off again. It's hard to see anything from here, though. Would you like to move somewhere else to watch?” Fireball nodded with enthusiasm. Serenity smiled and held out a hand to him. “In that case, grab on.”
Fireball hesitantly placed a claw in her hand. She took hold of him, and the two slowly ascended together. The larger Typhlosion flailed momentarily in a panic while she guided him through the air.
'She can fly too?!' he thought. Serenity brought him up to the roof of a nearby building. They were in a direct line of sight of where the two boys faced off.
“I think is much better, don't you?” she asked. Fireball nodded to her, his eyes wide with surprise. She gently laughed in response.
“So,” Latoshi continued, “I can see you're not here to take me up on the offer I left you. You're not going to score any bonus points trying to look tough in front of me or your Typhlosion pet. Where is he, anyway? Trying to get the jump on me or something? … Come on out, Fireball!” Latoshi looked around with a smirk.
“He's not here,” Antoshi replied, bringing Latoshi's focus back to him. “I'm giving you the chance to make peace. Latoshi, I promise that I'll accept you as my brother, as long as you agree to stop this insanity.”
Latoshi was thoroughly surprised. “Wait, you'd … actually do that?”
‘I wonder what it would've been like,’ Latoshi suddenly recalled his thoughts from over a week ago, ‘if I … had actually gotten to know Antoshi instead of fighting him. Maybe the two of us could be talking about Pokémon stuff right now. That would be pretty normal. Kind of like … a family.’
Latoshi looked away. ‘What was that? Is Antoshi messing with my head with some new power? Or was that a m— a memory? …’ The sable-haired boy shook it off, turning to his rival with a bitter glare.
“Tell me, Latoshi, what are we fighting for? We've got to end this war!”
Latoshi scoffed. “Don't start thinking that sentimental crap will work. It might work on your pet, but, not on me.”
“I already know about Lazarus,” Antoshi said. Latoshi tilted his head curiously. “I know that Lazarus is controlling you. He's manipulating you. This isn't who you really are. Fight against it, Latoshi! Listen to me, and get Lazarus' influence out of your head!”
“Oh, man, whoa!” Latoshi replied, sarcastically, pretending to stumble around. “You—you got me, Antoshi! I—I can feel myself coming back to normal! You saved me! Oh, you saved me!” Latoshi made a bursting motion with his hands next to his head, and an exploding noise with his mouth. Antoshi scowled, unimpressed, while Latoshi laughed at him. “Gee, you sure have everything neatly figured out, huh?” he asked, amused. “But, there you go, again, trying to be the moral authority, thinking you know what's best for me. What kind of epiphany did you have to figure me out so perfectly?”
“I have a new ally now. She told me all about Lazarus and who—err, what it is.”
Latoshi scoffed. “Some girl? You're following the words of someone you don't even know? Someone you can't even trust?”
“You mean like you and Lazarus?” Antoshi shot back.
Latoshi was surprised at first that Antoshi would reply so impertinently. He narrowed his eyes, coldly. “You dare speak down about Lazarus? If not for him, I would still be locked up in that damn prison cell! He's done a hell of a lot more for me than you have, Mr. High and Mighty! Lazarus taught me everything I needed to know to earn my freedom — and, here I stand now, on the cusp of greatness.”
“You don't look all that great,” Antoshi replied, “especially not with some voice telling you what to do, rather than thinking for yourself.”
“Shut your mouth!” Latoshi shouted, vengefully, his irises flashing black. “I will kill you where you stand, Antoshi! Don't test me!”
“You couldn't go through with it last time, Latoshi. You had too much remorse, and you spared me. What I've been saying all along is getting through to you, so, I know you won't do it this time, either.”
Latoshi narrowed his eyes in confusion. “What the hell are you talking about? I didn't have remorse for you. I left you with one last chance to think things over and join me. Looks like you blew it.”
“Something is wrong,” Serenity said, shaking her head. “I witnessed their fight. Latoshi showed genuine concern in the moment just before he was about to kill Antoshi. He most certainly would've remembered that, and yet he doesn't. That means Lazarus is suppressing his memories.”
Fireball looked at her with shock. 'Suppressing his memories? It can do that? Man, Serenity really does know a lot about Lazarus. … But, how the heck can she even hear what they're saying from all the way up here?'
“I know you want to end this, Latoshi,” Antoshi said, “and I still want to help you. Helping you regain your memories and finding your family — I'm still willing to do that. I know it's what you want, too.”
Latoshi furrowed his brow and looked away. ‘What is he talking about? Help me find my family? Why don't I remember him saying that? …’
'Antoshi is just trying to distract you!' Lazarus shouted, startling the boy. 'Do not take your eyes off of him! He has your guard lowered and will go on the attack!'
Latoshi panicked, taking a battle stance as his aura flared to life. He fired a blast of energy at Antoshi, in response to Lazarus' presumption. The blond-haired boy swiftly avoided it with a tall leap. The subsequent explosion caused a crater in the sand.
Antoshi landed on his feet. He looked back at the aftermath before looking at Latoshi, taken aback. The sable-haired boy was still unnerved for a moment; staring, wild-eyed, at his adversary. He exhaled slowly, stood up straight, quickly regaining his cool.
“Nice try,” Latoshi said, uttering a soft chuckle. “I see what you're doing, and it's not going to work.”
“The only thing I'm trying to do is avoid another fight,” Antoshi replied. “I'm still willing to find a peaceful resolution, just like before. I don't want to fight you, Latoshi. I never wanted to fight you.”
“And, just as I made it clear last time, you're not going to change my mind — no matter what you say.”
Antoshi hung his head and sighed, before giving a nod of understanding.
“At least tell me … why? Why would you would be so cold as to kill all those people?”
“As if their pathetic lives even mattered. I'm ascending to godhood where I belong. They're just insects that have to be crushed along the way.”
“Insects?! You killed hundreds of people, Latoshi! Innocent people who had nothing to do with you or your 'ascension'.”
“'Innocent?' Well, that's just silly. They were all parasites and criminals. But, there you go again, trying to fill my head with lies that—”
“I'm not lying to you, I—”
“With lies that only serve to impede my glory. I see past you, Antoshi. My eyes are open. My path is clear. The only voice I listen to is that of Lazarus.”
“It all comes back to Lazarus again, huh? You just believe what he says without question.”
“You think that Lazarus isn't taking advantage of you? You think that Lazarus isn't leading you astray?”
“Of course. Lazarus doesn't lie — certainly not to me.”
Antoshi scoffed in disbelief. “It's incredible how blind you are. The truth is right in front of you and you can't even see it. You refuse to see it.”
“I don't care what your version of the 'truth' is, Antoshi.”
“I don't know what's happened to you, Latoshi, … but I know this is where your campaign ends. You have no remorse for anything you've said or anything you've done. Consider this an intervention. I'm going to stop you from walking down this path.” Latoshi laughed, hysterically.
“That was a good one. Still, think about this for a minute, Antoshi. Just consider what it is you're trying to stop.” Antoshi tilted his head, eying him warily. “I'm offering a world free of violence and evil, where no one preys on the weak. Peace and harmony for everyone. You're the one standing in the way of this just cause. Yet, you refuse to back down and then call me the 'blind' one?”
“Like you said, we already had this conversation before,” Antoshi replied. “This isn't the way to go about your ideals. There are so many better options that don't involve senseless killing. You could use your powers to do so much good for people. That is something I would gladly work with you on.”
Latoshi scoffed again. “Do you really think all those horrible people are worth saving?”
“Yes. I do.”
“What a shame. Still as naive as you were before. People never change, Antoshi — you're proof of that. Your idea is a waste of time.”
“Then that's where we disagree,” Antoshi said. He limbered up his legs, taking a battle stance, keeping one fist in front, the other fist at his side. “This time around, I'm not afraid to stake my life on stopping you. I'm also not afraid to end you.”
“End me?” Latoshi replied with a laugh. “You're trying to be threatening now? You really don't scare anyone, Antoshi — certainly not me. You're too much of a bleeding heart; a boy scout. You care too much, you cry too much. You don't have what it takes to get rid of me. You look like a harmless child in your little fighting pose there. Oh, and, need I remind you? The last time we fought, I left you in a pool of your own blood. You can't beat me, Antoshi. You never will.”
“Shut it,” Antoshi snapped. Latoshi grinned in amusement.
The two boys flared their auras out — an initial display of their power. Neither one was impressed or intimidated by what they saw from their opponent. The boys had naught but the pale light of the full moon to illuminate the dark beach. It was more than enough light, as both of them were fully capable of sensing each other's energy. The staredown between them lasted for a few moments, witnessed intently by Fireball and Serenity on the rooftop, as well as the mysterious, trench coat-clad person.
“You have no idea what you're getting yourself into, Antoshi. You have no idea how powerful I really am.”
“The same goes for you, Latoshi. You have gotten stronger, Latoshi — I can tell. But, so have I.”
Latoshi swiftly flew at his rival. Antoshi shielded himself with his arms crossed over his face, while Latoshi punched at him, laughing wildly. Their eyes shone brightly with their respective colors. Antoshi grunted as he was pushed back with each hit. The scenario was not unlike how Antoshi trained his defense with Fireball
‘His strikes are so intense,’ Antoshi thought, ‘even after all that training Fireball and I did. I have to do my best to keep away from him, if I want to gain the upper hand.’
Latoshi suddenly darted behind him, catching him off-guard. Latoshi kicked his counterpart's back with intense force, sending Antoshi diving into the sand, a short distance away.
“Well, that was disappointing,” Latoshi remarked, standing tall. “I thought you were supposed to be 'stronger' now.”
Antoshi climbed back to his feet, slowly. He took a moment to brush the sand off his clothes. He recomposed himself, looking at his foe with a confident smile. He wanted to make it clear to Latoshi that this fight was only just getting started.
“I sure hope you weren't holding back just now,” he said, “because that wasn't very impressive.”
Latoshi was befuddled. ‘That hit had enough force that would've instantly ended our last fight,’ he thought. ‘I guess he has gotten a bit tougher.’
'Do not dwell on it,' Lazarus said, 'and do not let up! Keep the pressure on him — now!'
Latoshi gave a shout, going on the offensive once again. Antoshi's eyes glowed brighter, opting not to defend, but to evade. He continuously hopped backward, weaving back and forth to keep just out of reach of Latoshi's swift, powerful punches. Latoshi clenched his teeth, snarling furiously, as he put more effort in his attempts to land a single blow.
Antoshi's eyes remained wide, carefully studying Latoshi's attack pattern. ‘Watch him,’ he thought. ‘Focus, stay calm, watch his movements. That's how you'll beat him.’
‘What the hell?!’ Latoshi thought. ‘Why can't I hit him?! There's no way he should be able to keep up with me after all that insane training I went through!’
Latoshi held his hands out in front of him, summoning his energy forth. He aimed for a moment, before firing a blast of energy. Antoshi gave a shout, launching his own energy blast to cancel it out. The colliding red and black energies exploded, creating a brief cloud of smoke. Using said smoke as a diversion, Latoshi managed to dart behind his rival.
“Remember this one?!” Latoshi shouted. He threw a punch into the small of Antoshi's back. His fist, unexpectedly, went through nothing more than a blurred image of Antoshi's body, making no contact. Latoshi was stunned.
'Behind you!' Lazarus shouted.
Before Latoshi could react, Antoshi countered with a strike of his own to Latoshi's spine. The sable-haired boy groaned in pain, hunched over while holding his back.
“Yeah, I do remember,” Antoshi replied, acrimoniously.
Latoshi seethed in rage. He grabbed handfuls of sand before slamming a fist into the ground. He was being made a fool of, even after the gains to his power and skill. “Damn it!” he shouted. Latoshi leapt back to his feet, turning to Antoshi with a bitter scowl.
“This isn't some game, Latoshi,” Antoshi said, “and I am not your pawn.”
Latoshi spat on the ground. “You're never going to convince me to back down and see things your way. This whole stupid, naive ideal you have of 'everyone deserves to live' makes me want to retch. You have no idea who I am, or what I'm capable of!”
Latoshi took aim at his foe with open palms once again. He shouted, angrily, firing off a multitude of energy blasts, forcing Antoshi to leap high to evade. The explosions kicked up sand dangerously close to the mysterious onlooker, who gasped and turned away, shielding their face with both arms.
When the sand settled, the onlooker, Latoshi, Serenity, and Fireball all gawked at Antoshi. Instead of landing, the boy remained stationary in the air. He glared down at Latoshi, his red aura flickering wildly.
'Antoshi is … flying?' Fireball thought, awe-struck and grinning. 'He hasn't done that since he saved me from Team Rocket. … Awesome! I finally get to see him flying!'
“So you can fly,” Latoshi remarked, ascending slowly into the air to match Antoshi's altitude. “But, are you as swift in the air as you are on your feet?”
“Why don't you find out?”
Latoshi sneered for a brief moment, before seemingly disappearing. Antoshi's eyes narrowed, glowing bright, following Latoshi's movements as he moved so fast, it was as if he blinked around through the air. Latoshi laughed, his voice coming from all directions.
Antoshi's gaze snapped upward, throwing a jab that connected with Latoshi's own punch. They were both surprised, finding their fists in a deadlock. The two boys threw rapid-fire punches at each other, connecting one after the other with near-perfect precision. Fists striking fists, they both gave a long cry as their auras flared out and their strikes became more intense. The shock waves from their attacks caused the sand below them to kick up.
“Do you see that?” Serenity said to Fireball. “Their skills become more obvious the longer this goes on. Latoshi has been struggling to land a blow, but, when he does, the impact is much more intense than when Antoshi strikes. That means Antoshi is faster, but Latoshi is stronger. Speed versus power — it's an interesting dynamic. Both of them came prepared, and I think their unique skills put them on equal footing. This is going to be much harder to call than their previous fight.”
Antoshi's spirit burned with vengeance. His attacks became much faster, managing to slip a punch through every so often that struck his rival's face and chest. Unlike before, Antoshi was now aware of how to weave his Ki into his strikes — thanks, in part, to Latoshi's previous gloating over his own ability to do so. It caused Antoshi's strikes to have immense impact as compared to before. The burning Ki seared at Latoshi's flesh, tearing away at the very essence of his black Ki, gradually wearing the sable-haired boy down in a way that Antoshi could not do in their previous showdown.
Latoshi roared, incensed, suddenly grabbing Antoshi's fists. Antoshi was stunned, taken aback by the overwhelming grip strength keeping him in place. As they struggled for control, their shimmering eyes glared at each other. Their respective red and black auras clashed with each other; vying for dominance, while sending flares of colored energy outward.
Latoshi pulled him closer, suddenly ramming a knee into Antoshi's stomach. The blond-haired boy's eyes went wide, groaning as the wind was knocked out of him. Latoshi laughed, releasing him, kicking his adversary's chest hard enough to send him plummeting toward the ground with a large impact.
Antoshi coughed as he sat up. He held his abdomen, staring up at Latoshi, who hovered high above him with a proud smirk on his face.
‘Okay, so, testing his strength was definitely a bad idea,’ Antoshi thought. ‘I really do have to avoid his grabs and strikes as much as I can.’
In an instant, Antoshi was airborne once again. He weaved around in random patterns around Latoshi, using his superior speed to misdirect the sable-haired boy, and find openings to strike at his unguarded areas. Latoshi struggled to block or deflect. The scene was similar to their first fight, only in midair.
‘He's like an annoying gnat!’ Latoshi thought, before he also opted to fly around in a likewise pattern. The two boys clashed each time they got close, trading quick jabs and blocks. To the spectators, their auras appeared as red and black streaks darting around in the night sky.
'Enough fooling around!' Lazarus spoke. 'Use the upper limits of your strength and put this fight to an end!'
“He's not worth that much effort!” Latoshi replied. Antoshi narrowed his eyes, realizing his rival was conversing with Lazarus.
'Do not be a stupid child!' Lazarus snapped, surprising the boy. 'I am your master, and you will follow my orders! Is that clear?!'
Latoshi's concentration was broken upon suddenly remembering the first time Lazarus yelled at him. ‘This is my life!’ he recalled himself saying. ‘You aren't going to tell me what to do forever! I'm the one with limitless, ultimate power — remember?’ Latoshi stared blankly, bewildered by a memory he was unfamiliar with.
'Pay attention, you buffoon!' Lazarus shouted at him.
Latoshi gasped, shielding himself with one arm, just before an energy blast collided with him. The subsequent explosion pushed him back, slightly. He growled in frustration, glancing at the noticeable burn mark left on his arm. He turned a cutting glare to Antoshi, before flying into him. The two began another deadlock of punches and kicks, using their superhuman speed to avoid the other's strikes.
“For someone who's been opposed to fighting,” Serenity remarked, “Antoshi certainly has a natural talent for it. They both do.”
Just then, she noticed a couple of young people strolling across the beach together with a Pokémon. They were unknowingly headed in the direction of the fight. Her gaze suddenly shifted to the other side of the beach, where another small group of kids were also making their way in the same direction.
“That's not good,” Serenity remarked. “Antoshi must have told you to stay behind, didn't he?” Fireball nodded in response. “Well, it seems there are some innocent bystanders down there.” Fireball looked along the beach in shock. “This stretch of the beach is supposed to be closed to the public after sunset. I guess they didn't get the memo, … or, they don't care. They're going to be hurt, or worse, if they get too close. But, I think there is a way you and I can help Antoshi during his fight. …”
Antoshi and Latoshi struggled for dominance once again. Their hands were clasped together in another test of strength. They scowled at each other, trying to push each other back. Their auras burned against each other, sending off more flares of energy. However, Antoshi found himself once again on the losing end of the duel.
‘I should really stop getting lured into these situations,’ he thought. He gave a long shout, amplifying his aura severalfold, and increasing the output of his Ki to the point where they remained deadlocked. His eyes abruptly widened in surprise, sensing something peculiar. ‘Fireball?’ he thought. ‘Serenity, too? Why are they both getting closer? And why can I sense them getting closer? … No, it's not just them. There are … some other people around. People visiting the beach. I can't even see them, but I know they're there. That's crazy. I'm totally aware of everything around us, while still focusing on the fight.’ Antoshi strained with effort as Latoshi clamped down on his hands. ‘Serenity … and … Fireball are trying to get those people away from here. I have to help them. I need to bring Latoshi someplace where innocent bystanders aren't going to see us, or get hurt.’
Antoshi gave another shout, conjuring dual blasts of energy to his palms. Latoshi looked on helplessly as the boy's red Ki shined bright between their hands. He cried out in pain; the resulting explosion burned his palms. Antoshi used the brief distraction to quickly fly away, over the open waters.
'Stop getting outclassed!' Lazarus shouted. 'You are letting him make a fool of you! Now, go after him!'
Latoshi gave another frustrated shout, taking off after his counterpart.
Serenity, having landed out of sight, walked up to the pair of young people and their Pachirisu. “I'm sorry, folks,” she said, in an authoritative tone, “I'm afraid you're going to have to go back the way you came.”
“What?” the young man asked. “Why?”
“Yeah, this beach is public property,” the young woman added, flippantly. The Pachirisu on her shoulder complained, loudly.
“We're fully aware of that, but, unfortunately, a large toxic spill was just found on this beach. It's been shut down by order of the Goldenrod City police.” The young woman was shocked.
The young man, however, found her claims suspicious. “I don't see anyone else here,” he said.
“That's because we've cleared the beach of any civilians,” Serenity replied. “Cleanup crews are on the way.” Serenity shooed the two away, insistently. “This area is extremely dangerous right now. For your own safety, you must leave immediately. Failure to comply will result in your arrest.”
The two muttered to each other, while Serenity stood tall with her hands folded behind her back.
“All right, fine,” the young man said, before they turned around to leave. The Pachirisu turned to Serenity and stuck its tongue out. Serenity chuckled, quietly, before looking to the ocean where the two boys were.
‘Well, this area is extremely dangerous right now,’ she thought. ‘That much is true.’ She noticed, and turned her attention to, the mysterious onlooker in the trench coat. “Hey, you!” she called out, startling the person. “This beach has been shut down by order of the Goldenrod police! Please leave right away!” The person turned away in a panic, shuffling away.
Serenity turned to leave as well, but stopped, suddenly. She looked at the stranger with an inquisitive expression. She glanced down at her palms, rubbing them together to remove some moisture. She hummed, thoughtfully, before jogging down the beach.
On the other side of the beach, Fireball ran out on all fours to greet the group of incoming young kids.
“Whoa, it's a Typhlosion!” one of them said. The others fawned over the rare sight.
Fireball, however, glared at them, menacingly. He slowly advanced toward them, growling loudly, baring his teeth, and igniting the fires on his back.
“It doesn't look too friendly,” another kid remarked, nervously. Fireball stood up on his hind legs, boasting his exceptional height. He took a deep breath, and exhaled a powerful stream of fire onto the sand in front of them.
“Run away!” one of the others said. The kids screamed and ran away as quickly as they could, leaving Fireball to roar at them from afar.
Once they were far enough away, he sighed in relief. 'I hate to do that to those kids, but I don't want them to get hurt. I know Antoshi doesn't want that, either.'
Serenity met up with Fireball. They nodded to each other before they headed further inland, away from the fight.
Latoshi let out a long yell as he closed the distance between himself and his foe. Antoshi turned around, just before his rival struck him. Latoshi ended up going through another after-image, his fist striking nothing but the light of the moon before him. He stopped, shocked that he'd been outmaneuvered once again. Antoshi suddenly flew at him from above, delivering a powerful heel kick to the back of Latoshi's head. The sable-haired boy shouted, briefly, sent deep into the water with an enormous splash.
Seeming to have a moment's respite, Antoshi sighed, looking out to the shore. ‘I can't sense those people anymore. That's good. Fireball and Serenity must've gotten them to safety.’
In the dark, under the water's rippling surface, Latoshi was fuming with rage. His facial muscles twitched, scowling, while a school of Remoraid calmly swam by him.
‘I won't be made a fool of like this,’ he thought. ‘I'm going to make him suffer before I kill him!’
He turned his attention upward, able to make out Antoshi's image hovering in the air. He took careful aim, holding both hands out, firing off another barrage of multiple energy blasts that swiftly tore through the water. Antoshi was taken by surprise, shielding himself with both arms, the blasts colliding with his aura and exploding.
Latoshi capitalized on the distraction, appearing before Antoshi with a cruel smirk. He spun around, striking at Antoshi with the back of his elbow. Antoshi barely managed to block the attack with his hands, but was still sent soaring a short distance away from the intense blow.
Latoshi quickly sped after him, breaking waves on the surface of the water with his momentum. Antoshi came to stop, facing his advancing foe. Latoshi threw a volley of rapid punches at him, each of which were swiftly evaded or deflected. Antoshi suddenly grabbed Latoshi's arm, turning around and throwing him over his shoulder with a loud shout, sending him back toward the shore.
Latoshi spiraled through the air for some time, finally regaining control by the time he was over land. He hunched over as he hit the sand, his hand raking through it, sliding to a halt. He stared down his counterpart with contempt. Antoshi flew back to the shore, landed, and stood before him.
The bitter scowl on Latoshi's face abruptly softened into amusement. He placed a hand on his forehead and started laughing, hysterically. Antoshi remained unfazed, keeping a stern, serious expression. He wasn't going to fall into some kind of distraction by Latoshi.
“You think you have the upper hand now, huh?” Latoshi asked, amused. “Don't bother answering — it was a rhetorical question. It was rhetorical because I'm about to show you exactly why you're wrong.”
Latoshi threw his arms out to the side, grinning smugly, summoning forth a larger volume of energy from his deep well of Ki. Antoshi took a defensive stance, while Latoshi's aura flared out intensely. Latoshi let out a loud shout, creating countless energy orbs that hovered around him — the same attack he'd practiced. Antoshi's eyes widened in disbelief. The onlookers were equally stunned as him.
“While you were off doing your own so-called 'training',” Latoshi said, “I was pushing myself beyond your comprehension. This is a little attack I created myself. I call it 'Shooting Stars'. Make a wish!”
Latoshi swiftly clapped his hands together. In response, the masses of energy were sent careening toward Antoshi at blistering speed. Antoshi gasped, his eyes going wide. The internal engine that was his spirit revved up with blazing energy, causing his irises to burn red-hot, pushing his abilities further. Rather than fleeing or defending, he instead charged directly into the swarm of Ki. He instantaneously stepped, hopped, and pivoted around the blasts as they darted past him. The boy's body blurred in and out of the oncoming field of black orbs, managing to evade every one of them.
Latoshi was left in shock by Antoshi's incredible speed and dexterity. His shock, however, quickly turned to anger.
‘This can't be!’ Latoshi thought. ‘There's no way he's gotten this good!’ As Antoshi continued to maneuver around the energy, Latoshi clenched his shaking fists. ‘I won't let you, Antoshi. … I won't let you win!!’
Latoshi shouted in rage, firing a much larger blast into Antoshi's path. Antoshi gasped, unable to react in time. The attack exploded in his face, violently, sending him flying backward into the sand. The previous attacks he'd dodged erupted along the beach, kicking up sand in all directions. Countless small craters were left in their wake.
Antoshi cried out in pain, his hands cupped over his eyes. He got back to his feet slowly, his hands falling away to reveal burns around his tightly shut eyes. He groaned weakly, straining to open them.
“Aw, what's the matter, Antoshi? Can't see anything?” Latoshi asked, in a patronizing tone. “Well then, this just got a whole lot more interesting.” Antoshi clenched his teeth, trembling in pain while taking a defensive stance.
Having gotten close enough to see the fight more clearly, Fireball cried out in horror at the turn of events. Serenity remained stoic, carefully watching every detail of the encounter. The trench coat-clad spectator had returned, in the same spot as before, to continue watching the fight unfold.
Latoshi, meanwhile, laughed at his foe's misfortune. Oozing arrogance as usual, he raced toward Antoshi. Though unable to see, Antoshi still sensed Latoshi's energy nearing. He attempted to block, but his body was suddenly racked by the blunt pain of Latoshi ramming a knee into his gut.
As Antoshi hunched over, straining to breathe, Latoshi clasped his hands together and raised them high. He slammed his fists down, across the back of Antoshi's head, viciously driving his opponent to the ground. The blond-haired boy shouted in pain. In an instant, Latoshi punted him like a ball across the beach. His body violently rolled around in the sand, ending face-up. Latoshi kept up the pace, hovering over Antoshi and delivering hundreds of punches to his rival in a matter of seconds. Latoshi laughed wildly, Antoshi's body being thrashed around from the ferocity of his assault.
Fireball swallowed a lump in his throat, his claws anxiously fidgeting. He wasn't sure if this was the end, but seeing his friend being brutalized still terrified him, regardless.
Antoshi groaned, weakly, once the barrage was finished. Latoshi, however, left one last statement in the form of a hard knee to his stomach once again. Antoshi croaked loudly, coughing up blood.
Latoshi hovered himself back up to a vertical base, proudly looking over his handiwork. “Now, everything is as it should be,” he remarked, smirking cruelly. Antoshi coughed weakly, holding his midsection with both arms. “Antoshi, I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to see you as pathetic as you are now! I knew you were no match for me — I just needed to find that one opening. Now, here you are, at my feet and at my mercy, yet again.”
'End him this time,' Lazarus instructed, sternly. 'Do not let him rise from the ashes once more!'
Latoshi smirked as he held a hand out, summoning forth a large amount of Ki into his palm. It was enough energy to make his arm tremble at the sheer power he was holding. “Don't worry, Antoshi,” Latoshi said coldly, “I'll put you out of your misery quickly. That's just how benevolent I am.”
Antoshi trembled and clenched his teeth. ‘Damn it, not again,’ he thought. ‘I have to fight back, but … in my condition, he can just put me down if I even try to move. I can't run; I can't defend myself. He has the advantage. I'm not sure what moves I have left here. It's over for me…’
Fireball suddenly raced toward them. "Antoshi!" he called out. Serenity continued to remain behind, watching from afar.
Latoshi turned to the Typhlosion, scowling. “So, your little pet did come with you.”
Antoshi panicked, uncertain of which way Fireball was coming from. “Fireball, no!” he exclaimed, in a raspy tone. “Get away from here, now!”
Latoshi shifted the aim of his palm from Antoshi to Fireball. “A little target practice, huh? Why not.”
The Typhlosion gasped in shock, just before Latoshi fired a blast of energy at him. The resulting, large explosion sent Fireball soaring backward — right into the arms of Serenity, who caught him just before he hit the ground. As with Antoshi, Fireball's weight was like nothing to her.
She laid him down, letting his head rest on her lap. Fireball's body was littered with injuries, groaning in pain, just as Antoshi was. Latoshi narrowed his eyes in confusion, left to wonder who the girl was. He correctly assumed that she was the girl that informed Antoshi about Lazarus, but, he had no idea how she could know, or anything else about her.
“Just stay put, Fireball,” Serenity spoke, gently. “I can heal you like before.” Her irises and hands glowed with the pink hue of her aura. She started to treat Fireball's wounds, simply by resting her hands on his chest.
"Antoshi is … going to die!" Fireball said, his eyes welling with tears. "Please — you have to save him! I know you can!"
Serenity offered him no response, only watching the scene unfold with the same, seemingly detached demeanor.
“It's okay, Antoshi,” Latoshi said, turning his attention back to him, “you're just a failure. You did a lot better this time, but, once again, you're nowhere near as good as I am. Don't worry, though. Once you're dead, I'll make good on my promise and kill everyone you know so that they don't have to grieve over you.”
Antoshi gasped in a mix of horror and rage. The engine, which had been stalled out from Latoshi's assault, began to sputter back to life, and shift into overdrive. His blood felt like like it was boiling, his body surging with power. A sudden, massive rush of Ki swelled to life within him. The resulting wave of pressure was enough to cause Latoshi to stumble backward. The sable-haired boy grunted, shielding his eyes with one arm, as he looked on in bewilderment.
Antoshi was actually rising to his feet.
“Latoshi, …” he said, his voice trembling, clenching his fists tight, “You're not … going to have your way again!” His vengeful cry was accompanied by another wave of spirit pressure that pushed Latoshi back even further. Latoshi snarled in frustration, struggling to keep his footing. “I'm not going to let this go on any longer! I won't let you hurt anyone else — especially not my family!!” His red aura exploded in a wild frenzy that was beyond anything the others had witnessed from either of the two. All of the muscles in his body tensed, visibly bulging around his lean frame.
"Whoa!" Fireball exclaimed, shielding his eyes. ‘Strong emotions tend to heighten a person's spirit,’ he recalled Serenity explain to them. ‘Strong emotions tend to heighten a person's spirit and can, therefore, make the strength of your spirit energy explode in a pinch — like gasoline on a fire.’
Antoshi's aura whirled and surged brightly far outside his body. His bitter, glaring eyes glowed intensely as he slowly opened them. Latoshi looked on in disbelief. Antoshi had regained his eyesight. It was as if every bit of damage he'd done to Antoshi had been undone.
“What's happening?!” Latoshi shouted. ‘This—this pressure! It's unreal! How … when did he gain all this power?!’
'I don't remember Antoshi ever being this strong!' Fireball exclaimed, in thought.
“Finally,” Serenity remarked with a smile, “he's discovering how to tap into the energy of his emotions.”
Latoshi turned his gaze to Fireball and Serenity. With a devious grin, he held out an open hand toward them. Antoshi's eyes went wide in shock.
“So much for all that power you have,” he exclaimed, firing a large blast of energy. “I can just exploit your weaknesses instead!”
As the attack neared, Serenity calmly closed her eyes, while Fireball panicked and shielded himself.