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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 34: Combined Threat

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey We return to Brian's snarky perspective in time for a mission that will change everything.
Chapter 34: Combined Threat

As the months continued to pass, Team Neos became more of a dominating force. It was not long before membership was in the tens of thousands. The villainous Teams that used to control the majority of the crime in their respective regions were losing profit by the day thanks to the continued interventions of Neos. Their control was slipping fast. And then the event no one imagined was possible became a reality. On March 10, 3009 Team Neos won its first major victory: they defeated Team Magma!

The Hoenn branch of Neos was able to locate Team Magma’s stronghold in Mt. Chimney and raided the base without warning. There were casualties on both sides of the battle consisting of both human and Pokémon, but in the end it was Team Magma that was crushed. Magma Admins Courtney, Tabitha, and Mack were all defeated and executed on the spot. Because Team Magma Leader Maxie’s body was never recovered, it is rumored that after Maxie was defeated he was thrown into the Mt. Chimney volcano to become one with the land he so reverently wanted to expand. With its chain of command eliminated, Team Magma was forced to permanently disband.

When what happened in Hoenn went international, the world was taken by storm. Granted, Team Neos had already long since established a name for itself, but this simple act had made world history. However, while the members of Team Neos across the world rejoiced over their collective accomplishment, darker things were in the works. Those who thought things would only get easier for Neos would be proven wrong. Dead wrong.

Team Galactic HQ—Veilstone Building

Sitting at a white circular table in what must have been a conference room was a man with spiky pale blue hair, cold blue eyes, and a permanent scowling expression on his face. The man wore black pinstriped pants, white shoes, and a grey shirt with black sleeves that resembled his pants. A stylized yellow ‘G’ was emblazoned on the man’s shirt over his heart indicating that he was associated with Team Galactic. He sat with his elbows on the table and hands folded in front of his face as if waiting for something.

The man’s wait came to an end when the door to the conference room opened and a younger man entered. This one had darker blue hair styled to look like cat ears, sapphire colored eyes, and wore a uniform similar to the older man’s, however the shirt was simpler in design and the ‘G’ emblem was in the center of his chest.

“Cyrus. Your guests have arrived.” the younger man informed.

“Very good Saturn. Escort them in.” Cyrus ordered. Saturn lowered his head in compliance and left the room. When Saturn came back, he was accompanied by four individuals. Cyrus stood to properly greet his guests as they approached the table.

The first was Archie, the Leader of Team Aqua. He was a man with black eyes, a scruffy black beard and mustache, and short black hair covered by a blue bandana marked with an ‘A’ written in a style to represent bones. He wore long black pants, black shoes, a golden chain necklace, and a long-sleeved black shirt with a high collar and open around the chest. Just below the opening was an ‘A’ like the one on his bandana.

Joining Archie was his top Admin Shelly. She had long poofy red hair, brown eyes, and wore long blue pants with red rings on the side of the legs, heeled red shoes, blue gloves, a black sports bra, a blue vest that came down to the base of her ribs, and a blue bandana like her boss’s complete with the Aqua emblem. Shelly was holding her arms close as she was unused to, and improperly dressed for, Sinnoh’s cold climate.

Cyrus’s second guest was known as one of the most dangerous, yet most underground, of all of the crime bosses. He was Team Rocket’s clandestine Leader Giovanni, a man with short black hair, black eyes, and a face as hard as the earth. He wore a black suit marked with Team Rocket’s signature red ‘R’ and a white dress shirt underneath.

Escorting Giovanni was his most trusted Executive Archer. He had short teal hair and wore a white suit marked with the red ‘R’ and a black shirt underneath.

“Welcome my fellow Leaders.” Cyrus greeted politely. “Please, have a seat.” he offered. Giovanni took the chair directly across from Cyrus and Archie took the seat on Giovanni’s left so that they both could look the Leader of Team Galactic in the eye. The three second-in-commands each sat next to their respective leaders leaving only the seat on Cyrus’s left empty. “I am sure you all are aware as to why I requested this conference.” alluded Cyrus.

“It is because Team Neos is becoming a threat to our very survival.” Giovanni surmised.

“Correct. They started off as only a mere nuisance, but quickly grew into an irritating itch, then a thorn, and now they are quickly becoming a plague.” the Galactic Leader stated.

“I would have thanked Team Neos for getting rid of those damn Magmas for me, but those bastards have been causing Team Aqua just as much trouble. We’ll probably get hit more frequently now that there aren’t two of us in Hoenn anymore.” Archie said bitterly.

“Then what does Team Galactic propose we do?” inquired Archer.

“The reason I asked for this audience is to ask for your help. Time and again Team Galactic has been thwarted in our schemes and has watched our hard work crumble before our eyes thanks to Team Neos. I am sure the same can be said for Teams Aqua and Rocket. Unless you want to one day suffer the same tragedy as Team Magma, I suggest we pool our resources and crush Team Neos once and for all.” advocated Cyrus. The Galactic Leader held out his hand. “I feel it is in our best interests if we join forces and work together.”

“Team Aqua should have been the ones to defeat Team Magma. They were our rivals for years, and then Team Neos comes in and takes them out first. You have Aqua’s support Cyrus.” Archie declared shaking the other Leader’s hand.

“Team Rocket controls the most territory, yet with all of our resources and man power Team Neos continues to spoil our plans. Perhaps this union will be fruitful to our goals as well.” Giovanni sneered also accepting Cyrus’s offer.

Back to Brian

“Finally! It’s about damn time I can talk again!” I said indignantly. I blame Raiden and Axel for this. I had a bet going on with Zack, Chane, and Eve that I could name all the Pokémon in National Dex numerical order. My self-imposed penalty for failure was to be silent for as many species as I missed in minutes.

Unfortunately, Raiden asked me a question not aware of what I was doing which threw me off. Then Axel had to keep shouting ‘Infernape’ at me because I wasn’t at his species yet which threw me off more. As a result, I had to keep quiet for almost two and a half hours. Damn people didn’t even let me finish because I missed too many thanks to those interruptions. I could have shaved off at least two hours if they had only let me progress passed the Sinnoh Pokémon.

“It’s your own fault for being overconfident in your abilities.” Eve criticized.

You should have said Chimchar, Monferno, and Infernape first.” scolded Axel. Just because I could, I smacked him upside the head.

“This is half your fault Axel. You know that right?” I told him unamusedly. I slouched into my chair with my arms crossed to show him how unpleased I was.

But you still love me anyway right?” he asked sarcastically.

“Depends on what you do for me.” I said playfully.

I’ll fling poo at Team Rocket in our next mission.” he proposed.

“It would be funnier if it was flaming poo. Unfortunately, we don’t even know when our next mission is.” I reminded. In the two weeks since Team Magma was eliminated, Team Rocket has been laying low. They must be afraid of our superiority. I actually wish they would do something so that I can have the same pleasure of wiping them all out that my colleagues in Hoenn got.

“What if I were to tell you our next mission was now?” Raiden informed coming into the room. “Our intelligence has reported that Team Rocket is on the move again. They are heading for the Safari Zone, most likely to poach the wild Pokémon living there. Since we are already in Fuchsia City, the job goes to us.”

“‘Bout damn time.” I said getting up and quickly making my way to my room to get my uniform on.

Once we were all suited up, we headed to the north of the city where the entrance to the Safari Zone was located. When we got to the gate, the guards were already unconscious meaning we were too late to cut Team Rocket off.

“That’s not a good sign.” Zack said stating the obvious.

“This could be troublesome. The Safari Zone is a big place. Team Rocket could be anywhere by now.” said Raiden with annoyance. “When we get in, split up to cover more ground. If any of you find Team Rocket do not engage them, radio the rest of us for back up.” he commanded. When we entered, we were greeted by a lone Rocket who must have been charged with keeping watch over the entrance.

“Oh shit! Team Neos! I must warn the others!” he cried running away into the vast grassland. There were a few trees here and there, but the majority of the Safari Zone was open plains.

“Forget the last strategy! After him!” Raiden ordered.

“The idiot’s going to lead us right to the main group!” Eve laughed. Sure enough, there was a whole team of about a dozen Rockets in a clearing by a lake full of reeds not far from the entrance. They must have arrived only moments before us.

“We are Team Neos! Now prepare to die!” I announced evilly.

“Only five of you? No, I think you’re the ones who are about to die.” threatened a particularly bold Rocket. What a fool.

“Incompetent creature! I’ve killed more than this on my own before.” I bragged.

“Really? Prove it then!” he insisted snapping his fingers. All of a sudden, people dressed in blue pants, black and white horizontal striped shirts and blue bandanas emerged from the lake throwing aside the reeds they had used for air. Then coming from behind us were people dressed in black and silver space suits with ridiculous bowl cuts. They weren’t alone at all! This was a fucking ambush! But who were these new guys?

“May I introduce Team Aqua and Team Galactic. They will be assisting us from now on in eliminating you Neophytes.” the Rocket taunted. No doubt, this guy was the one in charge here. Kill him and the rest will fall.

“Pentagon Formation now!” Raiden ordered. The five of us put our backs to one another to cover all possible blind spots so enemies couldn’t attack our backs. This formation also required the use of at least one Pokémon each to work. I of course had Axel, but I added Beldum to cover the air. Zack used Lloyd, Eve summoned Steelix for size, Raiden called out Electrode for speed, and Chane used Luna.

“Show them the combined might of the new Team Triad!” ordered the lead Rocket. The now thirty some enemies we were facing all threw their Pokéballs unleashing a wide array of Pokémon species. Aside from the usual suspects we normally see from Team Rocket, the Aqua Grunts were using Poochyenas, Mightyenas, Carvanhas, and other species of Water-types, while the Galactics were sending out Stunkys, Glameows, Bronzors, their evolutions, and other Sinnoh native Pokémon.

“Strike down one of the Tentacruel with Thunder Bolt!” Raiden commanded. Electrode’s body sparked as it gathered electricity. It then released its gathered bower at the nearest Tentacruel. The lightning attack however was redirected, weaving through the enemy Pokémon until it hit a Rhydon’s horn. “Well that is troublesome.” said Raiden disappointedly.

“I’ve got Rhydon! Water Pulse Lloyd!” Zack called. The Golduck blasted sonic waves of water from his bill at the Rhydon only for his attack to get drawn to a Gastrodon. “Did these guys plan this or something?” he questioned.

“I’ll take Rhydon then! Someone else can get Gastrodon!” I volunteered. “Axel! Mach Punch! Beldum! Iron Head!” With blinding speed, Axel punched Rhydon as hard as he could, followed next by the Iron Ball Pokémon headbutting Rhydon.

“Way ahead of ya! Use Slam on Gastrodon Steelix!” commanded Eve. The metallic serpent smashed his large head on top of the Sea Slug Pokémon.

“Luna, please use Hypnosis on that Skuntank!” Chane called. The giant crescent moon stared at the Skunk Pokémon using its psychic powers to put the enemy to sleep.

“Gang up on them so they can’t defend!” shouted the Rocket in charge. “Rhydon! Knock that Beldum out of the air with Hammer Arm!” The Drill Pokémon slammed its arm into Beldum with incredible force.

“Get Beldum with Flamethrower Houndoom!” ordered a Rocket Grunt. To protect his teammate, Axel willing took the hit instead since he was more resistant to fire.

“If it’s pain you want monkey, we’ll give you some! Use Crab Hammer Crawdaunt!” commanded an Aqua. A large lobster punched Axel with its water-soaked claws.

I am so cracking you open for that!” Axel yelled engaging the Crawdaunt in Close Combat.

“Dig Steelix!” Eve called to protect her Pokémon from the barrage of Water Guns he was receiving from Team Aqua’s Pokémon.

“Use Reflect Luna!” Chane shouted as her Pokémon was also being viciously attacked by two Stunkys, a Glameow, a Raticate, and two Koffings.

“Flatten these miscreants with Rollout Electrode!” Raiden ordered. His Electric-type did as told rolling here, there, and everywhere hitting multiple enemies. “Come out Jolteon!” he summoned throwing a Pokéball to release the yellow Eeveelution.

At the same time, Steelix emerged under the Water-types that had been bothering him earlier, grabbing a Whiscash in his mouth as he rose. Without mercy, he crunched down hard sending the fish’s lower body and tail falling to the ground.

“This is getting out of hand! There’s too many of them!” Zack shouted worriedly.

“We just need more ammo!” retorted Eve sending out Walrein and Diva.

“She’s right!” I agreed sending out my four remaining Pokémon. “Piloswine! Watch Zack’s back for me! Snorlax! Use Belly Drum, Rest, and Sleep Talk in that order! Aerodactyl! We need to take out that Rhydon! Fly Riolu over there so he can use Force Palm while you use Iron Head! Go!” I commanded. “Beldum, if you can hear me, Zen Headbutt one of the Croagunks! And Axel, crush that Crawdaunt!”

While my Pokémon did as told, I looked around the field at some of the other battles going on. Jace was having an aerial battle with a Fearow while Celia sucked the life out of a Lombre with what was either Absorb or Mega Drain. Not a good sign was Kermit getting beaten down by a Rocket’s Muk.

As Luxray had recently joined the battle, she was engaged in a cat fight with a Purugly the same time Diva was struggling with a Sharpedo. On top of that, Steelix had met his match in both strength and size with an Aqua’s Gyarados.

Meanwhile, Lloyd had moved into the lake to trade blows with a different Golduck. Unfortunately, the location also put him at a disadvantage to other Water-types like Seaking, Staryu, and Carvanha. Simultaneously, Raiden’s Pokémon had to resort to their non-Electric-type moves because Rhydon was still on the loose. Jolteon was Double Kicking a Mightyena, Electrode was still bowling enemies over, and Magnezone was floating high above sniping enemy Pokémon with Mirror Shot.

As for my Pokémon, Piloswine was bulldozing opponents down around the water’s edge to protect Lloyd from other enemies as instructed. Axel had torn the claws off of Crawdaunt and was now assisting Aerodactyl and Riolu with that bothersome Rhydon. He was even using a Crawdaunt claw to beat the bipedal rhino. Snorlax had ended up Sleep Talking Rollout which had him bowling over enemies like Raiden’s Electrode, and Beldum had just KOed a Croagunk.

“We can take them out easier if they’re separated and can’t work together! Break them up Koffing! Get between the Trainers and use Self Destruct!” commanded a Grunt. The cowardly bastard! A floating purple mine marked with the skull and cross bones floated towards us. The Poison Gas Pokémon’s body was already beginning to throb as it was preparing to detonate itself.

“Walrein! Kill that thing with Sheer Cold!” Eve ordered. The cold air the walrus blew from his mouth was so bone chilling even I could feel it. I instinctively held myself as I shivered under the wintry blast. The enemy’s Koffing was reduced to a floating popsicle, however the energy it had built up did not go to waste. The moment Koffing hit the ground, it violently exploded.

While the detonation wasn’t as bad for us as it could have been had Koffing been closer, it did kick up a lot of dust and create a lot of smoke completely obscuring our view. Still, as long as we remained in Pentagon Formation, no enemy could attack us from behind.

“What the—AAAHHH!!” Zack screamed. I turned to his direction, but he was already gone! I then heard Chane scream as she too was pulled away! What the hell is going on!? All of a sudden I felt my body grow lighter as a blue glow surrounded me. I was getting pulled against my will towards a giant blue bell with glowing blue eyes!

“Axel! Blaze Kick the Bronzong that’s using Psychic on me!” I commanded. The Infernape yelled as he jumped in the air into a flying kick. His out stretched right foot caught on fire just before the kick struck Bronzong. The Bronze Bell Pokémon let out an echoing cry as it fell to the ground freeing me from its hold. I didn’t get a chance to congratulate Axel before a Galactic came up from behind and wrapped his arms around me to constrict my movements.

“Gotcha!” he said as if a pathetic grip like this could ever hold me. I activated my Dragon-Forme and used the strength boost to break the Galactic’s hold on me. On previous missions where Raiden had instructed me to keep the body count low, I would have just punched the assailant in the face. But the time for a “peaceful” surrender was over! I surrounded my claws in draconic aura. Before the Galactic could react I impaled him in the stomach with a particularly lethal version of Dragon Claw I came up with.

Wait a go Team Numb-nuts. You’ve gone and pissed him off now. I hope you all know that none of you are getting out alive now.” Axel said dryly. I pulled my blood soaked hand out of the former Galactic and cracked my knuckles.

“Who’s next?” I dared menacingly with a sadistic grin.

“Ahhh… Drifblim! Constrict that man!” ordered a Galactic nervously. A purple balloon like Pokémon that had red eyes, a yellow ‘X’ on its face, and a white cloud on its head sent out long purple streamers with yellow tips to tie me up. I stood still allowing the Pokémon to wrap me up. I had been confident that I could break free of the attack, however it was proving to be more difficult than I originally predicted.

“*Ack* Piloswine! Ram Drifblim with Ice Fang!” I commanded as I struggled to move. Note to self: Never let the enemy ensnare me like this again. My wooly boar charged into the Blimp Pokémon with his tusks coated in ice. Drifblim was weakened enough that I could wriggle my way free.

“Don’t let that loser beat you Drifblim! Use Shadow Ball on Piloswine!” the Galactic controlling it ordered. Drifblim gathered the shadows cast from the sun light above between two of its streamers. When the darkness had swirled together to create a sphere, the Ghost-type launched the Shadow Ball at Piloswine. He recoiled with an angry grunt on impact.

“Attack Piloswine as well with Brine Sealeo!” I turned to my left and snarled at the Aqua. A plump blue seal Pokémon that was similar in appearance to Eve’s Walrein, only smaller and lacking tusks, opened its mouth and blasted spiraling salty water at the Swine Pokémon. Piloswine reacted with more disdain to that attack; shaking his head trying to get the water out of his thick fur.

“Stay out of this!” I yelled blasting the Aqua with a Dragon Pulse shredding her uniform. “Aerodactyl! Crush all enemies with Rock Slide!” I called. The ancient flyer dive bombed the ground from high up in the sky. By slamming his head into the ground at such a high speed, he caused the surface to break apart sending numerous shattered rocks at Drifblim, Sealeo, the Galactic Grunt, and the Aqua Grunt. With Sealeo and its Trainer being the one’s closest to Aerodactyl, Sealeo was fainted while the already injured Aqua was impaled through the torso by a sharp stone. The Galactic was lucky enough to only be knocked unconscious.

“Now Piloswine! Finish Drifblim with another Ice Fang!” I commanded. Piloswine once again stabbed the Blimp Pokémon with his tusks, only instead of fainting, the Pokémon exploded taking Piloswine out with it! Damn! I should have anticipated the Aftermath Ability! I returned Piloswine before any more harm could come to him.

Alright Snorlax!” cheered Axel. I looked around noticing that Snorlax had woken up and had summoned a giant wave with Surf. Said wave crashed down on Rhydon and several other Pokémon along with their Trainers washing them away. When the water subsided back into the lake, Rhydon was revealed to finally have been taken out.

“Good work! Now, Jolteon! Raichu! Use Thunder Bolt on that Machoke and that Purugly respectively!” Raiden called now having the use of his Electric-type moves.

“Two can play this game! Come out Electivire!” called the lead Rocket. A taller, hairier, and uglier version of Electabuzz emerged from the Rocket’s Ultra Ball.

“I will take you on! Electabuzz! Low Kick!” Raiden commanded. As much as I wanted to watch their fight, I had my own battles to deal with. Namely Riolu getting KOed by an Aqua’s Wailmer leaving me down two! Never have we done so poorly!

“Beldum! Attack Wailmer with Zen Headbutt!” I yelled angrily. The Iron Ball Pokémon’s head took on a blue glow as it charged through the air at Wailmer like a missile.

“Mightyena! Use Crunch on Beldum!” ordered that same Aqua. A wolf Pokémon with coarse black fur and a maw filled with sharp white teeth jumped in front of Wailmer taking Beldum’s attack instead. Thanks to typing, Mightyena didn’t even feel Zen Headbutt which made it all too easy for the Bite Pokémon to pin down Beldum and sink its teeth into my Pokémon.

“Iron Defense now!” I called. Beldum’s body turned silver as it made its metal body denser. Hopefully Mightyena will break its teeth!

“Izzy! Help Beldum with Mach Punch!” I heard Chane cry. A green blur whisked by slamming her fist into the wolf causing it to jump back with a yelp. Before I could thank Chane, a giant purple scorpion with a segmented body, two huge claws, a formidable looking tail and rows of sharp teeth jumped into the fray.

“You Neophytes shouldn’t be ganging up on people when there are so many of us to deal with! Use Poison Fang on Breloom Drapion!” ordered a Galactic Grunt. The monster scorpion sank its long fangs into Izzy injecting her with poison.

“No Izzy!” Chane screamed as she quickly returned her Pokémon.

“Hey, how many are you down?” I questioned urgently.

“Three; Izzy, Kermit, and Lucy.” Chane said. She was barely better off than me.

“I never thought I’d owe one to Team Galactic.” thanked the Aqua.

“Consider it a favor in taking out a common enemy. I hope you can repay it.” the Galactic replied curtly.

“I will! Wailmer! Finish Beldum with Water Pulse!” he ordered. The whale blasted sound waves of water at Beldum fainting it. Oh that’s it!

“Die!” I ordered racing at the Grunt. He had just enough time to put on a look of fear before I grabbed his throat. I lifted the Aqua off the ground as I squeezed tighter and tighter. As soon as my claws sunk deep enough to pierce the skin, blood spurted everywhere.

“What are you, some kind of demon!?” cried the Galactic fearfully. I turned to her with a murderous look in my eyes and a sadistic smile.

“Yes.” I answered simply. “The Rockets have taken to calling me the Demon of Team Neos! Not that you will remember it!” I threw the dead Aqua’s body at her knocking her to the ground. I ran in her direction, jumped up, and landed on top of her chest. I felt myself sink as her ribs shattered under my weight. The Galactic coughed up blood from her pierced lungs.

“Shit! This isn’t good!” I heard Zack scream. I looked in his direction to see him return Lloyd to his Pokéball. With Lloyd fainted Zack was helpless!

“Aerodactyl! Take care of Zack! Zack! Use Aerodactyl as you see fit!” I called to them. A loud roar alerted me to Steelix finally succumbing to Gyarados’s power. This can’t be! We can’t be losing!

I hate to say this Brian, but I think I’m just about spent!” lamented Axel wearily.

“Not you too!” I shouted in disbelief.

“Keep it up everyone! We’ve almost got these guys!” encouraged a Rocket victoriously. Hearing them so cocky, so proud, was infuriating!

“No! The one’s who will fall are you!” I roared. In all the time I’ve known about my Dragon-Forme, I have only ever relied on Dragon Pulse and Dragon Claw. Now I was about to attempt something I’ve never tried before. I concentrated my energy into my chest the same way I concentrate it into my palms. It stung a bit actually because I’ve never done this, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

“Dragon Breath!” I yelled focusing the energy up my throat into my mouth. I opened my mouth only to blast out a small burst of energy but a good bit of blood. I tried to scream, but that only hurt more. I fell to my knees holding my neck in pain. The inside of my throat burned as if I had chugged a cup of boiling water. No, it was more intense than that! It was like I swallowed fire! What went wrong? It should have been no different than shooting a Dragon Pulse. Is it just that the inside of my esophagus is too tender to handle draconic energy? Am I not strong enough yet? This hurts so fucking bad!

“Brian! Are you okay?” Chane asked frantically.

“Ffff… ahk…” I choked. Even talking hurt right now. How could I have been so careless? How could I allow myself to appear vulnerable in front of our enemies!?

“This is not good! Everyone! Retreat!” I heard Raiden announce. No! We can’t! We can’t just stop now! We need to end them!

“Come on let’s go.” insisted Chane. But I wasn’t having any of it. I got up and charged at Team Rocket and their allies. I won’t run away! Not from them!

“Brian, get back here!” ordered Raiden.

“I’ll stop him! Hit Brian with Ice Beam Walrein!” Eve commanded. What the hell did she just say!? I spun around to see a frozen white beam coming at me. Primal fear took hold of me as I instinctively realized this was not going to be pleasant.

The moment it struck, I screamed in agony as I fell to the ground and curled into the fetal position. The pain was unreal! It was so intense that I forgot about the pain in my throat from my failed Dragon Breath. S-s-s-so… c-c-cold… It was like being thrust into a frozen hell to which there was no escape. I could almost feel my blood crystallize in my veins as my heart rate slowed to one beat per minute. My mind was getting all kinds of fuzzy. I thought I heard people calling my name, but their voices were so distant. It felt like the world was spinning around me. Was I about to lose consciousness?

Then I felt it. Warmth! Something soft, and more importantly, warm, had taken hold of me and was no carrying me off. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I clung to it practically snuggling against it. So soft. So comforting. So warm.

Back at our room I was slowly recovering from my agonizing ordeal. My feet were in a tub of hot water, about bath water temperature, I was wrapped up in heavy blankets, I had a hot towel on my head, and in my hands was a hot cup of herbal tea that I slowly sipped at. The tea was supposed to both help my throat and keep my insides warm.

When the water got too chilled, Axel would spit Embers into it to warm it back up. As I figured out when my mind was coherent again, he was the one who carried me back. We agreed that my snuggling him was a result of delirium induced by the hypothermia I was experiencing.

Another thing I surmised was the reasons behind that Ice Beam having such a severe effect on me. First of all, it’s Super-effective against my Dragon-type, then there’s the natural strength of the attack, the STAB bonus it got from Walrein, the power bonus from how well trained Eve’s Pokémon is, and based on the bruise on my chest, it was a critical hit. A recipe so deadly, I’m lucky I came out of it with only a really bad case of hypothermia and not frostbite or death.

But above all, I was absolutely pissed off! Not only did we get our asses handed to us by those inferior creatures, but my own teammate turned on me! Eve knows I’m a Dragon-typed human, so of all the potential ways to subdue me she chose the most lethal method! That I cannot forgive! Paralysis or sleep would have worked just as well! Worse yet, if our enemies were smart enough to get reinforcements to ambush us, then surely they will be smart enough to figure out that me plus ice equals vulnerability!

As Axel explained to me, escaping wasn’t easy. Teams Rocket, Aqua, and Galactic had completely blocked off all possible escape routes on land so everyone had to pile on Aerodactyl, Jace, and Magnezone to escape via the air. Of course our enemies tried pursuing us and shooting us down, but our fliers were able to fight them off enough that we got out without any casualties.

Feeling better?” Axel inquired worriedly.

“You know how you feel after getting mind-raped by Psychic attacks? It takes more than an hour to fully shake the numbness.” I replied dryly. The way Axel cringed at the acid in my tone told me he knew I was in an extremely foul mood. Fury so great that the next person to get on my bad side would be lucky if I left their body recognizable as human.

During my recovery period, I had no visitors namely because I told everyone except Axel to leave me be. The only one who did come in my room was Chane, but only to return my Pokémon that she had taken to the Pokémon Center for recovery.

By the time I was able to stand without needing support, my mind was made up. I was taking a break from all of this. I got dressed in my usual civilian wear, made sure my Pokémon were ready and that all my stuff was tucked away safely in my backpack, and then put that in its Item Ball for storage.

“Come Axel. You and I are going out.” I told him.

Where to?” he questioned.

“Anywhere that isn’t here.” I answered bitterly. When I opened my bedroom door to leave, Eve was there waiting for me. The very sight of her filled me with rage.

“Brian, I--” she started. I cut her off by swiftly raising my arm with my claws pointing only inches from her face.

“Save it! I don’t want your excuses!” I snarled. She gulped nervously not even bother trying to hide her terror.

“Settle down! That is no way to speak to your comrade!” ordered Raiden strictly. I lowered my arm back to my side. She wasn’t worth the effort right now anyway.

“You’re right Master Raiden. That is why I’m requesting a leave of absence.” I requested casually walking up to him.

“Request denied. There is too much going on now for you to not be here.” he shot down. Not the answer I wanted.

“Then let me make this easier for you to understand.” I said sternly. “I’m walking through that door, and no one is going to stop me. Kay?” I said pointing to the apartment door. I waved bye to everyone as I continued out.

“Brian!” Raiden shouted.

“Don’t go!” pleaded Chane. I didn’t turn back, I just kept walking. I hated going against my friends like this, but if I stayed I would only endanger them.

So when do you plan to come back?” Axel asked.

“After I’ve had a chance to unwind a bit.” I replied. I still had no clue where I was going, but it’s more fun to let life dictate that road. One thing was certain though; I had to make sure I was at my best the next time I went on a mission.
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