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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 40: Hellfire Peak

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey A warning that bigger plans were in the works comes true. The Sevii Squad must now face off against the most dangerous of Team Triad's schemes.
Chapter 40: Hellfire Peak

It was a beautiful spring morning; the sun was shining, there was a cool clean breeze, and the scenery around Five Isle Meadow was green and beautiful. That was why I decided that my Pokémon and I were going to eat our breakfast outside this morning. The seven of us sat around a blanket having ourselves a wonderful picnic. And the day would only get better from here!

After booting out Team Rocket, we spent the rest of yesterday renovating the Warehouse and looking for clues as to where Aqua and Galactic are hiding. And we succeeded! Teams Aqua and Galactic were occupying a mansion north of the island in an area known by the locals as Resort Gorgeous. We would make our raid of the mansion first thing after breakfast.

As we finished our meal and started packing everything up, we were joined by Zack and Raiden. Since we had ransacked an enemy base, the Seateds decided it would be prudent to have two sentinels guarding the perimeter at all times just in case of retaliation. They had the morning shift.

“Morning gentlemen!” I greeted cheerfully. “How goes the lookout?”

“It goes.” Zack shrugged. By his and Lloyd’s expressions I could tell it was as boring as I thought it would be. While I hadn’t had my turn yet, I dreaded the time when I would. Hopefully we can eliminate all of Team Triad before that time comes.

“Are you ready for today?” Raiden asked me.

“Who are you talking to again?” I replied sarcastically. Before Raiden could say anything else to me his phone started ringing. At last! Ass whooping time!

“Third Seat Arka speaking.” he answered professionally. “What kind of problem?” he asked with only slight concern. After a long pause of what must have been whoever was on the other line explaining the problem, Raiden’s eyes got wide with dread and his jaw dropped slightly. “…What?” he said in almost a whisper. Seeing my Master with such an expression made me incredibly nervous. Any news that could break Raiden’s composure like that was obviously very bad.

“And… you are sure about that?” he questioned trying to sound calm. During the pause he closed his eyes, breathed deeply, and clenched his other hand into a tight fist. “Have you informed First Seat Feng and Second Seat Eirwyn yet? …Good. If your information is correct then we do not have a moment to lose!” he said before hanging up.

“Master Raiden?” I asked nervously.

“Zack! Do you still have your Capture Styler from when you were a Ranger?” he inquired urgently.

“Yeah why?” replied Zack warily.

“Get it now! Bring it with you! We are probably going to need it for this mission.” he requested.

“What is going on Master?” I demanded in frustration. Raiden sighed as he ran his hand through his hair.

“We have made Team Triad very desperate. They are going after a Legendary Pokémon.” Raiden informed glumly.

“What?” The word just fell out of my mouth. No tone, just the sound of that single syllable.

Shit.” Axel said in the same deadpan tone.

“Get ready to leave. Everything will be explained on the way.”

Within moments all 25 of us were in the air flying in the direction of Knot Island. According to the data found on Team Rocket’s computer, they had been tracking the migration patterns of the Legendary Bird of Fire, Moltres. The Victory Road of Kanto, Mt. Silver in Johto, occasionally Sinnoh after a particularly harsh winter, and Mt. Ember in the Sevii Islands were all known Moltres nests. If they got ahold of a Legendary Pokémon, then our lives were about to become a living hell. Even if Moltres wasn’t one of the powerhouses like Lugia, it would still take a considerable effort on our part to subdue it. This must be what Ariana meant when she said Team Rocket had bigger plans. I thought it was just empty boasting at the time. What a fool I was.

“Zack. How does your Styler work anyway?” I asked him. He tightened his grip on the device in his hand. It was black on bottom, red on top, and had a yellow antenna. In a white circle on the top was what looked like a blue gem. I can only guess that was the Ranger emblem.

“Basically it conveys feelings of friendship to whatever Pokémon I use it on to show them I’m not a threat and hopefully convince them to fight on our side.” he explained. “Still, I am nervous. I’ve never used my Styler on a Legendary before. Never seen one either to be honest.”

“Don’t worry. We’ve got your back.” I reassured.

“Yeah. Besides, I’ve wrangled a Tyranitar before. How much harder could Moltres be?” said Zack confidently.

“Why are we getting so worked up over them catching Moltres anyway? I mean, yeah it’s Legendary, but it’s still a Flying-type and Third Seat Arka uses exclusively Electric-types right?” someone asked.

“You dumbass! Do you really think it will be that easy?” shouted Feng angrily.

“Um… yes?” he said meekly.

“Whether or not we can defeat Moltres once captured by Team Triad is not the issue.” Raiden said. “The fact that they are bold enough to go after a Legendary in the first place is why it is absolutely critical we stop them.”

“He’s right.” added Skylar. “Say we do nothing and Team Triad catches Moltres. Sure our combined efforts could defeat it, but now our enemies are emboldened. They know they can catch Legendaries. Who’s next? Articuno? Zapdos? Or maybe they decide they want bigger prey. How would you like to tangle with a Latios? Or Regigigas? The point is we need to stop them at all costs so they realize that they can’t get away with this!”

That shut the idiot up. A little while later Mt. Ember finally came into view. Even though it was midmorning, the sky around the mountain was bright orange, contrasting greatly with the blue sky around it. As we got closer to the mountain, we could hear the angry cries of a large bird along with the sound of Pokémon attacks.

“We are too late!” Raiden yelled. “Zack! When we land, you know what to do. Brian, Eve, Chane! Cover him! The rest of you, wipe out Team Triad!” he commanded.

“And who gave you permission to give orders Arka?” demanded Feng irritably.

“This isn’t the time to argue Kenny! We have more important things to worry about!” chastised Skylar. He growled bitterly in response, probably because he knew she was right. He then turned to look at me, Zack, and Axel riding Aerodactyl.

“You there! Your name’s Kaguya right?”

“Yes sir.” Zack answered.

“We’re counting on you. Don’t fuck up.” Feng told him in a subdued tone before pulling ahead on his Skarmory.

Now that Mt. Ember was in full clear view I saw I tall bird covered in flames. The flames on its body were small enough that its yellow feathers could be seen while the flames on its wings, head, and tail were as intense as Axel’s flame. Maybe even more so. Surrounding Moltres were dozens of Rocket, Aqua, and Galactic Grunts. Between the grunts and the bird were a wide assortment of Pokémon of all different types and species. Each one was launching attacks at the Legendary Bird on the command of its master.

Ass whoopin’ time!” yelled Axel pounding his fists together. All of our flyers dove onto the mountain causing the monkey to grab me for dear life.

“Aerodactyl! Steer us towards Moltres!” I commanded. The King of the Skies let out an eager screech as he broke away from the rest of the team. “Ready Zack?” I asked.

“You bet!” he said holding Lloyd’s Pokéball in one hand and the Capture Styler in the other. Aerodactyl landed between Moltres and its assailants, intimidating them with a loud shriek.

“Team Neos?! Here!? How did they know?” cried a Rocket.

“They probably found out after taking your base!” yelled a Galactic accusingly. Jace landed beside my Fossil Pokémon unloading Chane and Eve.

Out of the corners of my eyes I saw Feng unleash Magmortar, Metang, Tauros, Yanmega, and Machamp to join his Skarmory. Not just that, but he also took out his scythe, Reaper. Skylar sent out Jynx, Mismagius, Crobat, Lapras, and Persian along with her Altaria. She too felt it necessary to get out her weapons, the duel wave swords Ice Fangs. Raiden joined his cohorts with his six Electric-types and his spear, Raikou, which was charged with electricity thanks to one of his Pokémon.

“Ready ladies?” I asked with a wild grin while holding my four remaining Pokéballs. There was no way I was going to let my superiors show us up! The three of us sent out all of our Pokémon forming a barrier around Zack, Lloyd, and Moltres. Our job was merely to keep them from getting attacked and lending Zack any assistance he needed while everyone else kept Triad away from us.

“Moltres! We’re here to help you, so please lend us your power!” requested Zack launching the Capture Disc. He made jerking movements with his arm which in turn caused the disc to circle Moltres leaving a beam like trail of blue light behind it. The Legendary Bird followed the beam trail with its eyes before getting fed up by it and blowing a tongue of fire at it. Without a word from Zack, Lloyd spewed Hydro Pump at the Flamethrower turning both attacks to steam.

“We can’t let the beams break!” Zack told us without turning away from target. “Weaken Moltres’s fire with Water Sport!” The Golduck did as requested by spraying a light stream of water over himself and the area surrounding Moltres. A few sprits splashed up on the Flame Pokémon causing it to shriek in annoyance.

“You can do it Zack!” encouraged Chane.

“Yeah, no problem!” he said confidently. “Moltres! Please cooperate!”

I noticed two Rockets, an Aqua, and a Galactic break from the first encirclement to charge us head on. The first Rocket sent out an Absol and a Hitmontop, the second a Kangaskhan, a Mismagius, and a Stantler, the Aqua unleashed Gyarados and Lanturn, and the Galactic sent out two Skuntank.

“Let’s get these Neos n00bs!” declared the Galactic foolishly.

“Whatever happened to Neophyte?” I asked rhetorically with a shrug.

“These guys are complete idiots! We have twice as many Pokémon as they do!” Eve chided. She then got a wide malevolent smile. “Are those white barbels I see on that Gyarados? Luxray dear!” she practically sang in excitement. Luxray crouched low giving the Atrocious Pokémon a murderous glare while growling. She then pounced and bit at the leviathan with Thunder Fang.

“Lanturn! Git dat thing offa Gyarados wit Bubble Beam!” called the Aqua. Eve yawned mockingly.

“Roserade, pop those bubbles with Magical Leaf.” she said boredly. The Bouquet Pokémon shot a flurry of rainbow colored leaves from her flowered hands destroying most of the bubbles leaving the remainder as merely a harmless nuisance to Luxray.

“Axel! Double Kick Kangaskhan! Riolu! Use Force Palm on Stantler! Piloswine! Use Earth Power on one of the Skuntanks!” I commanded.

“I’ll help too! Please use Silver Wind on Absol Celia! Use Wing Attack on Hitmontop please, Jace!” Chane beseeched. Our Pokémon landed their respective attacks while our enemies retaliated with their own. If we kept this up, it would just be a normal Pokémon battle where we each fought one-on-one with our own respective opponents. I was done playing fair. Eve said it herself, we have twice the number of Pokémon they do. I wasn’t going to let that advantage go to waste!

“Aerodactyl! Snorlax! Beldum! Get in there and help your comrades! Use Wing Attack on Stantler, Body Slam Kangaskhan, and attack Skuntank with Iron Head!” I commanded my remaining Pokémon. I too jumped in the fray and swung a right hook at the nearest Rocket. I promised Raiden that I wouldn’t use my Dragon-Forme anymore, but even as a human I still pack a powerful punch!

“Why you bastard!” yelled the Rocket grabbing me by the shirt collar and punching me in the face. I gave him an evil grin before headbutting him and kneeing him in the stomach. A Pokémon is only as strong as its Trainer after all. I was done standing back idly and letting them do all the work.

Yeah! Go Brian!” Axel cheered on.

“You bitches gonna follow his example?” I heard the Aqua accuse.

“Are you kidding me? I’ll break a nail.” Eve said pompously. I rolled my eyes. That’s not how it went yesterday when she got in a fight with Ariana. “And if I sent in all of my Pokémon at once, that will be less time I have to play.”

“Play wit dis den! Gyarados! Blast dat bitch wit Hydro Pump!” commanded the Aqua. The Atrocious Pokémon gushed out a massive deluge of water from her mouth but missed Eve completely thanks to Steelix ramming her jaw with his Iron Head. Instead the Hydro Pump splashed all over Moltres. The Legendary Bird gave a furious screech while spreading its wings wide, then exhaled a breath hotter than the most scorching summer days in Hoenn. The power of Moltres’s Heat Wave was enough to burn away the five loops Zack had made around it. Everyone in the area had lifted their arms or lowered their heads to block the intense heat of the attack.

“Guys! Keep the battle contained! Do not let them get near Moltres!” Zack snapped at us. It was strange hearing someone as carefree as Zack sounding so tense but I guess trying the capture a Legendary was more stressful than we realized.

“You really should have made sure you subdued all of my Pokémon before coming after me Neophyte.” taunted the Rocket I had been pounding on. Before I could even respond to his boast, I was enveloped by incorporeal ectoplasm. Shit! I hadn’t gone after his Mismagius! I struggled to free myself, but it was no use! “Throw him off the mountain!” the Rocket ordered with an evil smirk before wiping blood off the side of his lip.

“BRIAN!” Chane screamed.

No you don’t!” yelled Axel running towards the Ghost-type with his feet and fists blazing with fire. Out of nowhere, he was tackled to the ground by the Galactic’s other Skuntank. Yet another Pokémon we weren’t engaging.

“Get off!” I demanded still struggling to break free of the witch’s grip. Just before we reached the edge of the cliff, the Magical Pokémon’s expression turned to one of pain as an explosion of darkness erupted from its back. It looked as if it had been struck by Shadow Ball. The attack had weakened Mismagius’s grip on me enough that I was dropped to the ground no worse for wear.

“You’re ok!” Chane cried with relief.

“Of course I am. It takes more than that to kill me.” I boasted giving her a thumbs up. Another Shadow Ball struck my would-be assassin causing it to faint. It was then I noticed the attacks were being launched by Diva.

“Can I assume you’re the one who saved me Eve?” I asked getting to my feet.

“At the cost of all of the fun I could have had with that Mismagius, yes.” she responded.

“Thank you. But this still doesn’t make up for almost killing me!” I told her straightforwardly.

“Geez. And I thought Diva held grudges.” said Eve jokingly.

“Guys! Above me!” Zack shouted desperately. I looked up at the sky to see a Gliscor zipping in fast heading directly for Moltres. “Blast it out of the air with Ice Beam!” he commanded Lloyd. The Golduck shot off rays of frozen water but the Fang Scorpion Pokémon was moving too fast and too close to Moltres. I could tell Lloyd was intentionally trying to miss the Legendary.

“Aerodactyl! Get it! Kill it if you must!” I commanded quickly. “Aerodactyl?” I called again when I didn’t get a response the first time. I turned to my Pokémon only to see him sleeping. That damn Stantler must have used Hypnosis! Why now of all times!?

“Jace! Please go after that Gliscor!” Chane called. The Pidgeot knocked out his Hitmontop foe with one final Wing Attack before taking flight after the enemy Pokémon. As the Gliscor continued to maneuver through the sky I could see a Rocket riding on its back.

“Hahaha!” laughed the other Rocket who I had not been thrashing. “It doesn’t matter if you out number us now! That’s one of the best Pokémon Catchers in Team Rocket! She’s going in for Moltres and you won’t stop her!” I glared threateningly at the Rocket. We would not lose! Not to them!

“Jace! You have to keep Gliscor and its Trainer away from Moltres! I know you can do it!” Chane encouraged her Pokémon.

“I don’t think so! I always keep a spare, n00b!” bragged the Galactic throwing another Pokéball. Emerging was a bird with a robust build, long sharp talons, dark grey feathers covering most of its body, and a long red fringe hanging over its face. “Staraptor! Go Take Down that Pidgeot!” The raptor shrieked loudly as it took off with incredible speed to attack Jace.

“Bite it with Thunder Fang Steelix darling!” called Eve. Steelix gave a deep roar as electricity started crackling around his maw. Using his size to his advantage, the Iron Snake Pokémon lunged at Staraptor to snatch it out of the sky.

“Agility and Double Team Staraptor!” yelled the Galactic. Staraptor sped up leaving a trail of after-images in its wake. Steelix chomped on one of the fakes creating a metal pang with a thunderous echo as his jaws snapped shut. The brute let out an angry roar that his opponent had gotten away from him. Staraptor zoomed into Jace with such speed that both birds let out painful cries. The attack also had the effect of knocking the Pidgeot away from Gliscor as he was now caught in an aerial battle with the Predator Pokémon.

“Axel! Riolu! Switch targets! Axel! Finish off Stantler! I’m waking up Aerodactyl!” I shouted giving my orders.

You got it!” complied my monkey. He Blaze Kicked Skuntank in the face before back-flipping away from it. “Tag in Rio!” he said slapping the Emanation Pokémon’s hand. Riolu then dashed away from Stantler to engage Skuntank. The Infernape then started to bash the deer with Close Combat.

“Aerodactyl! Who the hell gave you permission to sleep at a time like this!?” I yelled at the Fossil Pokémon giving him the hardest punch I could muster to his skull. It probably hurt my knuckles more than it hurt him. It did do the trick though as Aerodactyl began to open his eyes.

“Morning sleepyhead! We have a Gliscor to kill!” I told him matter-of-factly. Aerodactyl was more than happy to oblige. He gleefully flew off after his next meal.

“NO!” I heard Zack scream! I turned around just in time to watch Gliscor do a midair corkscrew and strike Moltres with Aerial Ace causing Moltres scream in anger. The Flame Pokémon spread its wings wide then thrust them forward creating gale force winds that once again dissolved Zack’s rings while also blowing away Gliscor and its Trainer. The Rocket landed on the ground with a loud thud while the Fang Scorpion was thrown further away. Moltres then reared back its head with flames appearing around the sides of its beak.

“Moltres don’t do it!” I screamed in horror knowing what was about to happen. Moltres let loose a raging Flamethrower that engulfed the Rocket. She screamed in agony as her flesh was ignited by the intense flames.

“Stop it…” I said distantly. It was the Rocket screaming but it was a different voice I heard. The Rocket stumbled aimlessly towards me as her sense of reason was lost to the grip of imminent death.

“Stop it!” I yelled as the putrid scent of burning human flesh entered my nose once again. The Rocket finally collapse leaving her corpse to burn away to ash. Only it wasn’t the Rocket I saw!

“STOP IIIIIIITTTTT!!!” I screamed. The memories of that horrible day on the Whirl Islands were hitting me with full force. Madison’s screams as she was burned alive. The grotesque remains of her charred corpse. The stolen life of a wonderful sixteen-year-old girl, who I loved like a little sister, who I failed to protect!

I fell to my knees and gripped the sides of my head in my hands. It was my fault! I was supposed to look out for her! If I hadn’t gone for that walk, if I had stayed with her, I could have saved her! She’d still be alive! I was more than capable of beating those damn Rockets! Madison… I’m sorry…

“It’s ok!” Chane said crouching down and embracing me. “It’s ok.” she said gently trying to comfort me. I didn’t respond. Madison’s death was weighing so heavily on me that I felt like I was kneeling outside that cave watching her burn all over again. “Come on! Snap out of it! We need you! Your Pokémon need you! Zack needs you! I need you…” she told me hugging me closer and laying her head on top of mine. Madison needed me too but I still let her die. Chane then let me go and slapped me. I blinked in shock. She really did just slap me!

“Stand up, be strong! Remember those words? They’re your own! They’ve given me confidence to fight even the most terrifying battles!” Chane told me as she started to tear up. “Or rather you’re the one who has inspired me. If you can’t even follow your own advice then you’re just a hypocrite and a liar! And then what’s left for me? I’ve followed your example by always believing in myself and my Pokémon. You may have done so many unspeakably cruel things to Team Rocket, but you’ve always shown me nothing but kindness. Don’t make me one of your victims too.” she pleaded with me. Chane then yelped and fell into me.

“Chane?” I asked in a whisper.

“One down, two to go!” bragged the Rocket I had been fighting earlier. In his right hand was a large rock that he must have used to hit Chane!

“Hurt… her…” I mumbled. Madison. Chane. “You hurt her!” I said louder. Team Rocket killed Madison! Team Rocket hit Chane! “Do not hurt her!” I roared furiously jumping to my feet. Sorry Raiden, but the Dragon was awakened by vengeance! It is the manifestation of my love, my anger, and all of my sorrow!

“What the hell!?” the Rocket yelled. He swung at me with the rock but I caught his wrist in my right hand and thrust my left palm into his elbow causing it to shatter and his arm to bend the opposite way it was supposed to. The rock dropped to the ground as Rocket screamed in agony from the destruction of his elbow. This was familiar. Yes. I killed one of the Rockets on the Whirl Islands just like this! I picked up the rock and bashed in his face with it. The Rocket staggered back screaming in pain holding his bloodied face. Come to think of it, he wanted to throw me off the cliff earlier, didn’t he? I grabbed his shirt collar and lifted him up.

“No please!” whimpered the Rocket. And how many people begged for their lives at your mercy? I threw him but unfortunately he didn’t quite make it to the edge. I let out a rage filled war cry as I gathered draconic energy into my right hand. While the Rocket was still airborne I blasted him with Dragon Pulse. I gathered more energy into my left hand and blasted him again. Right! Left! Right! Left! I aerially juggled the Rocket until his now mutilated corpse was finally flung over the edge.

I turned to the other Rocket with a wide malevolent grin. The Aqua and Galactic were also cowering at the display of my power. They would have their turn soon enough.

“Enough!” I felt someone throw themself into me from behind. “I’m alright. You can stop now.” Chane said walking around to my front. “See? I’m fine. It’s just a little bump.” she consoled pulling her hood back. On the right side of her forehead was a nasty looking cut that was still bleeding. Something I wouldn’t call a bump. “You don’t need to use your Dragon-Forme just for my sake!”

“For your sake? This isn’t just about you Chane! This is for everyone! All of the people who have suffered because of Team Rocket. The ones who were hurt. Who were killed! I destroy Team Rocket for the sins they’ve committed in the past and to stop them from ruining anymore lives!”

Hey Brian!” Axel called putting a hand on my shoulder. I turned to him only to get punched in the face by his free hand! That damned simian bastard! He is so getting an ass whoopin’ for that! “I miss her too.” he said before I could retaliate against him.“But Madison would have wanted her Onii-chan looking out for her, not some wild monster. Even on that day you were still the one calling the shots. Master Raiden told you, didn’t he? Control the Dragon, don’t let it control you!

“Axel.” I sighed quietly. I then punched him in the face. “Stop being smarter than me.”

Eh… No problem.” he grunted holding his nose and glaring at me. I knew that look. He was challenging me. When everything was done here, we’d be beating the crap out of each other.

“I’m so glad you’re back to your senses.” Chane sobbed in tears.

“Thing is, we’re not done here yet.” I pointed out bitterly. However, when I looked around the battlefield all that were left were the three Grunts. Once Gliscor had been dealt with by Moltres, Aerodactyl had gone to assist Jace with Staraptor, my other Pokémon had finished off their respective targets, Eve had dealt with the Aqua, and Celia had apparently fainted the Absol while I was having war flashbacks. The rest of our unit was successfully holding off the remaining members of Team Triad. At least the ones who weren’t staring in my direction.

“What? You never seen someone have a mental break down before?! Finish off those damned Triads!” I yelled at them. I turned to Chane with a despondent look on my face. “Master Raiden’s going to kill me for this isn’t he?” I asked her quietly.

“Um…” she stammered shifting her eyes side to side trying to come up with an answer.

Just let him try!” Axel promised punching his fists together.

“Well I guess before I get punished we should finish off those three.” I said looking over at the Grunts. “Piloswine! Kill them with Ice Shard!” I commanded nonchalantly with a wave of my arm. My wooly boar grunted as he exhaled a cold wind that rapidly froze the water vapors in the air into fast-flying sharp fragments of ice that impaled our foes like knives before they even realized what hit them.

All of a sudden, Riolu started looking apprehensive. He turned to the edge of the mountain and started barking. His cries were answered by a loud humming sound.

“What now?” I asked exasperatedly. I got my response in the form of a black helicopter marked with a red ‘R’ rising up the mountain. The remaining Triads began cheering at the sight of the aircraft. The side door opened revealing even more Rockets, Aqua, and Galactics!

“Great. Just what we needed. Reinforcements.” Eve snarked.

“Aerodactyl! Snorlax! Blow those bastards out of the air with Hyper Beam!” I commanded. Like hell I was going to let them interrupt Zack! Both of my Pokémon opened their mouths wide launching powerful energy blasts at the helicopter. Unfortunately, the pilot was too good and was able to pull up and to the left just enough to avoid both beams. I snarled furiously at them. It would still be another few minutes before my Pokémon could attack again.

“Keep them occupied just a little bit longer!” requested Zack.

“Piloswine! Try knocking them out of the sky with Blizzard!” I called.

“You too Walrein!” added Eve sweetly. Our two Ice-types let loose a combined winter storm that would probably make Articuno jealous. I tightly hugged myself to conserve as much of my body heat as I could in light of our bone chilling combo attack. The helicopter tried to evade us but two Blizzards at once made it very difficult. Chunks of ice banged against the cockpit, tail, and blades causing the helicopter to swerve about. I watched it intently just waiting for it to crash!

“Got it!” shouted Zack exuberantly. I turned towards him to see Moltres glowing white. The glow only lasted for a second and when it faded the Legendary Bird spread its wings wide giving a loud cry. It certainly looked calmer than it was moments ago.

“Moltres, we’re here to help you! Please lend us your power in getting rid of Team Triad!” the ex-Ranger beseeched. The Flame Pokémon lowered its body as if inviting Zack and Lloyd to ride it. “Thank you.” said Zack graciously taking the bird’s offer.

“Zack! Do what you need to do, but don’t set them on fire. I don’t know if my remaining sanity can take it.” I requested.

“You got it! That’s not really my style anyway.” he responded with a thumbs-up. With a mighty flap Moltres took to the sky. As promised, the Legendary Bird only attacked with its non-Fire-type moves. It swiped its wings sending blades of air at our foes slicing them with Air Slashes. Moltres slammed its talons into the rock face crushing them with Ancient Power. The Legendary Bird took on an ominous glow before dive bombing its assailants with Sky Attack knocking several off the mountain. The Flame Pokémon turned its attention to the helicopter and flapped its powerful wings to whip up another Hurricane.

“We can’t win! Retreat!” I heard someone shout. I couldn’t tell which team the voice came from but it was obvious that Team Triad realized they were out matched. We’d won!

“Retreating isn’t an option for you I’m afraid!” Skylar denied. “Kill them with Dragon Breath Altaria!” The Humming Pokémon shot a powerful blast of draconic energy at the fleeing enemies. My throat hurt just remembering the time I tried and failed to use Dragon Breath myself.

“Please! We surrender!” a Galactic begged.

“You were planning on capturing Moltres! If we hadn’t intervened, you would have succeeded. Would you have shown us mercy?” demanded Feng angrily.

“Yes?” responded the Galactic sounding unsure.

“Well too bad for you, Team Neos isn’t as forgiving!” With a swing of Reaper, the Galactic was cleaved in two. “Tauros! Machamp! Magmortar! Rock Slide!” he ordered. His three Pokémon slammed the ground in front of them sending cracks tearing through the ground under the rest of Team Triad. The ground gave way sending our remaining foes falling down the mountain in an avalanche. If there were survivors they’d probably be too battered and broken from getting crushed by rocks to make it back to civilization on their own.

“Sorry guys.” Zack apologized as Moltres landed. “The helicopter got away. Given everything we threw at it, that must have been one skilled pilot!” I growled in disappointment. They should have been killed, but I guess it couldn’t be helped. In any case, if those reinforcements were from Resort Gorgeous we’d simply kill them tomorrow. The Legendary Bird crouched again allowing Zack and Lloyd to dismount.

“Thank you Moltres. I’m glad we were able to save you.” said Zack petting the Flame Pokémon’s face. Like most Fire-types, it was obvious that Moltres could control the temperature of its flames. “Well, you’re free to go now!” he said cheerfully. The Legendary Bird gave a loud shriek before flapping back into the sky.

I heard the sound of something whizzing through the air before a round sphere struck Moltres. It cried out as its body turned into a red light and was sucked into the capsule. When the ball fell to the ground I realized from its black top marked with a yellow ‘H’ that it was an Ultra Ball. The Ultra Ball shook violently as Moltres tried breaking free, but it was too tired out from the day’s battle. The Ultra Ball locked signifying that Moltres now had a new Trainer.

“That… wasn’t… supposed… to happen…” Zack stammered in shock with a look of disbelief on his face.

“Who threw that!?” demanded Raiden angrily.

“I did. What of it?” Feng proudly confessed stepping forward. “Team Triad tried capturing Moltres so that they could use it against us. And you were just going to let it go? That’s bullshit!” he berated walking to the Ultra Ball that now contained the Legendary Bird. He picked it up in his right hand and held it with his arm stretched forward. “If we let this thing roam free, what’s to stop them from trying to capture it again? It’s ours now! We can use it against them! This will be our new weapon to use in our war with Team Triad!”

“Y-you’re wrong!” Chane yelled. “P-Pokémon aren’t w-weapons! Th-they’re our f-friends!”

“Ridiculous!” Feng scoffed.

“You had no right Feng! Moltres was exhausted, it could not defend itself from your cheap shot!” Raiden reprimanded.

“Ha! You would have done the same if it were Zapdos we were involved with!” Feng said superiorly. Raiden clenched his fists tightly. Feng obviously struck a nerve with him.

“I will not deny that I would like to catch Zapdos, however, I will only do battle with it in a fair fight where both of us are at full strength. That way, when I catch it, I would have earned its respect by defeating it. I would never try and catch it while it is wounded or weakened from a battle like what happened today!”

“Heh! You’re so weak it’s disgusting Arka!” the First Seat ridiculed. “In fact, your entire squad are a bunch of softies.”

“Only my sexy body is soft.” Eve cut in while rubbing her cleavage seductively. Feng walked over to me and stared into my eyes. It was a good thing I had reverted back to Human-Forme.

“Except this one. Just what the hell are you? Don’t think I didn’t see that display of yours.” he questioned.

“I’m a patchwork crazy Matryoshka.” I answered sarcastically keeping a straight face. Feng in turned glared at me in annoyance. Technically I was telling the truth. My genes could only have been put together by a mad scientist, my sanity is questionable on a good day, and I have two layers of Formes.

“You jackass! You should show more respect to your superiors!” he chastised. Feng looked like he wanted to hit me. I stared back defiantly just daring him to.

“That’s enough Kenny!” Skylar interjected putting a hand on his shoulder. “It’s been a long day for everyone. Ember Spa is just at the foot of the mountain so why don’t we all go for some rest and relaxation?” she suggested with a smile.

“Fine.” he growled. Then he got a wide smirk. “After all, I do deserve some kind of a reward for my accomplishment today.” he said looking at Moltres’s Ultra Ball. He was clearly only doing it to screw with Raiden and Zack. As the rest of our unit boarded their Flyers to head down the mountain, Skylar came back to us.

“Zack Kaguya. Great job today. Keep up the good work.” she complemented with a smile.

“Ummm… Thanks.” he said still sounding down about letting Moltres get captured.

“Hey now, I told you I only date strong Trainers. Look sharp!” added Skylar with a wink. That seemed to get his attention.

“Second Seat Eirwyn, this is highly inappropriate.” Raiden objected.

“No need to be so formal Raiden. All of you are free to call me Skylar. I’m not as much a stickler for rank as Kenny.” Raiden could only sigh at how seamlessly she brushed him off.

“Well then Skylar, you better watch me when we take on Resort Gorgeous tomorrow then!” he told her confidently. Lloyd quacked happily and gave his partner a proud slap on the back.

“That’s the spirit! See you guys at the spa!” she said hopping on her Altaria and diving off the mountain.

“Brian.” Raiden said in a measured tone. Oh crap. Here it comes. I reflexively gulped nervously.

I’ve got your back!” Axel reassured.

“What the hell happened today?” he demanded while maintaining the same tone as before.

“That happened.” I said pointing over to the charred remains of the Rocket. I could barely look at it without thinking of Madison. I tightly closed my eyes trying to push the memories away for now.

“It was a Rocket though. I’ve seen you do plenty of nasty things to them. What made this one different?” asked Eve callously.

“It’s because of all the creative ways I’ve killed Rockets, have you ever heard me order Axel to burn them alive? Not once! It is by far the absolute worst way to die. It is the one line I will never cross! I would rather tear a person apart with my bare hands then go through that.” I confessed.

“You went berserk because you watched a Rocket get immolated? What are you not telling us?” Raiden questioned. Heh. So he saw right through me and realized there was more to the story.

“With all due respect Master Raiden, do not ask me that. If you ask me, I will tell you, but do not ask me.” I begged. Reliving that was enough for one day. If I had to go over those events one more time, I’d probably break.

“Very well.” Raiden said backing off. He must have realized it was something I couldn’t really go into. “However, this is not an order, but I implore you to get a psych evaluation in the near future. This is the second time you have lost control of your Dragon-Forme resulting in self-destructive behavior. What is worse is that Feng now knows about you. Get it together!”

“Sorry.” I apologized rubbing my eyes. I hadn’t realized how tired I was. That was when I felt something warm and sticky on the sides of my head. I looked at my hand to see my fingers coated in blood. “Am I ok?” I asked pulling back my hood. By everyone’s shocked reactions I already knew my answer.

Nope. Not at all.” Axel said straight forwardly.

“Dude, I think you were Dragon Clawing yourself.” Zack analyzed. It must have been when I was gripping my head when I had those flashbacks. Blood loss would also explain my sudden fatigue.

“That settles it. You and Chane are coming back to the Warehouse to get your wounds treated. Zack and Eve, you two are welcome to join the others at Ember Spa if you desire.” instructed Raiden.

“Think I’ll pass.” said Zack dejectedly. “While I would love to flirt and check out the ladies, I really don’t want to deal with Feng anymore today.”

“Oh so I’m the odd one out? You’re going to make me out to be the bad girl if I go down there on my own?” Eve complained.

“Not at all. It is your choice if you want to go with us or stay with them. Whatever choice you make is your own.” Raiden clarified. Eve only crossed her arms and shook her head.

“Everyone else has already left and you guys are my ride. If I decided to go, I’d have a long trip down the mountain all by my little lonesome. I’ll go back with you.” she said in defeat.

When we returned to the Warehouse it was only mid-afternoon but we spent the entire day resting and recuperating from the morning’s mission. Chane and I got our injures treated while Zack stared at his Styler probably contemplating the battle. The rest of our unit returned two hours later in good spirits looking completely refreshed compared to us who looked like we had been to hell and back.

The following morning, we attacked Resort Gorgeous before dawn and completely annihilated the Aquas and Galactics staying there. They didn’t stand a chance with our combined might and the power of Moltres. When we had gotten there, most of their stuff was already packed up indicating that they were getting ready to relocate. They probably knew that their hideout had been compromised when we captured the Rocket Warehouse. I was actually surprised that they hadn’t fled for their lives yesterday after we obtained Moltres.

The following day, Skylar made good on her promise and let Zack take her out on a date. I decided to stay out of that one. Then for the next couple of weeks our unit vigilantly patrolled the Sevii Islands looking for any remaining members of Teams Rocket, Aqua, and Galactic who were up to no good. There was no trace. As far as I was concerned, Team Neos had finally cleared the Sevii Islands of Team Triad for good!

Word of P_M: Brian has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of Madison's death.
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