In a different life Ash Ketchum looks upon his world from an unique perspective.


23. 22

Butterfree hovered over the meditating pink bug type. The flock was resting on some gentle sea-side hills, covered in rolling green grass.

It was one of the Kanto trademark bright and sunny days. Puffy white clouds floated serenely overhead. The sounds of the ocean were barely audible, occasionally drowned out by the rustling of the grass.

The green of the hillsides was broken by the butterfrees in the grass, spots of brilliant color like giant wildflowers. Several were fanning their wings, enjoying the sun. Others were clustered in groups around Butterfree, the formerly unofficial leader of the flock and now official leader of the flock.

Alright, now what can you sense? Butterfree asked his mate, the pink butterfree named Sky Painter.

Fussiness, Sky replied. Someone fussing over their mate instead of making rounds like they said they would. Isn't your advanced group ready for more instruction?

Alright, alright, alright, I'll start their next lesson, Butterfree said, flapping backwards in surrender. He turned around and headed over to a group of butterfrees sitting in a circle.

It had started all so innocently. Several younger pokémon had asked him to teach them how to fight like he had when the Rockets had attacked. In order to do that he had to teach them how to access their psychic abilities. And when he started doing that others had heard what he was up to and gotten interested.

They told their friends, who told their friends, who in turn told their friends. And a large portion of the flock had shown up for the first lesson. Butterfree had rubbed his antennas together as he felt a headache coming on.

For a moment he wondered if he looked like Ash after Pikachu said something.

That had been a week ago. It had slowed their journey to the Orange Islands, but most of the flock was too preoccupied by growing stronger to care. He had divided his students into several groups based on their skill levels.

Butterfree fluttered over to the advanced group. They were sitting in a circle, meditating as Butterfree had taught them. It was hard to tell if they were breathing. Butterfree stretched out his senses. He could feel the psychic energy emanating from the group, dancing from pokémon to pokémon.

It was the first time Butterfree had been able to work with other pokémon with psychic abilities. He stumbled over the technique required to create a psychic network. The flock could pool their power and focus using this technique. Butterfree was experimenting with the potentials of psychic networks during lessons. He had taught to the others so they could help each other practice.

Alright, has everyone mastered Confusion? Butterfree asked his students. He was greeted by a chorus of affirmations.

Ummm..., spoke up one. Mine still blows up after four seconds. I still don't know what's wrong

We'll call that a feature for now, said Butterfree. We're going to have you learn Psybeam next, but first there's something I want to see. Alright, let's link up. I want to see how you've improved.

His mind stretched out and touched the minds of his brethren. Their awarenesses met in a place that could never be found on a map. Colors non-telepaths would never see swirled around them. The others were indescribable shapes, the true forms of their minds, glowing shapes that had no psychical analogue.

|Okay, you've gotten better at reaching out. Very nice. Alright, everyone, today we're going to work on group sensing|, Butterfree told his students. |Link up and expand your senses.|

Minds joined. Powers pooled. Senses mingled.

It was a starfield in a nebula from an alien universe. With their senses linked Butterfree could 'see' the minds of all the flock. He caught sight of Sky Painter's mind shining brilliantly as she practiced her meditation. Butterfree attempted to caress her with a tendril of his awareness. He couldn't reach her, the link with his students pulled him back.

That made sense. The network was focused on sensing. Just because he could sense her didn't mean he could reach her.

There were webs of light where the groups had linked up. They traced shapes unbound by Euclidean geometry. It gave Butterfree an idea.

|We're going to bring some more pokémon in now|, Butterfree informed his students. |Get ready.|

Butterfree extended a piece of his own mind to the nearest group. He invited them into the network. Without coming closer within the mental landscape or growing, they somehow became bigger. It was an impossibility that could only be done within their minds.

A pattern had formed in the chaotic background, vaguely resembling a faint sketch of the geography that the flock was resting on. The lights grew brighter and Butterfree could sense flocks of flying pokémon soaring past the coast, and schools water type pokémon swimming in the salty ocean nearby, scattered blobs of light.

Butterfree could sense Sky Painter more clearly. He tried to reach out to her once more on instinct. He still couldn't reach her but he came closer. Why was that? He wasn't using the power of the network to reach for her, so adding more pokémon shouldn't do anything.

Because the group he added was closer to her. The physical location was what made the difference.

He extended an invitation to another group. They joined and everything became exponentially clearer. Butterfree could make out the clear shape of the land within the psychic world. He could make out the individual pokémon in the schools and flocks.

Once more he reached out to Sky Painter and this time he reached her. He drew her into the warm embrace of his mind and then brought her into the network. He reached out to more groups drawing them into network. Faster and faster they came until he had most of the flock together.

It was like a opaque glass had been blocking his vision before and it had suddenly shattered. All of Kanto was before him. Only the nearest parts had detail, the farther reaches were indistinct. Butterfree figured that if the flock trained more that would change.

And then there were the minds. Each one a brilliant beacon he could see them all! Pokémon and people, forests and cities, in tall grass and on roads, they were everywhere. Roads became veins of stars. The cities were citadels constructed entirely from light, with rivers of minds flowing in and out. From Cinnabar Island burning within an ocean of minds, to the gentle warm glow of Pallet Town, to the coast by Fuschia City and the Safari Zone, light was everywhere.

It was a breath taking vision. But something was wrong.

Where the greatest light should of shone, Saffron City, instead of light there was a blood red thing. Black lightning crackled all over it flowing from a single point out in the countryside Butterfree didn't dare venture near it.

No minds flowed out. But a few minds flowed in.

Butterfree focused on the group nearest the city. There was something there that blocked his sight of one mind. The bug type ignored it in favor of the other minds. One seemed very familiar.

Ash! Butterfree would recognize that mind anywhere! He was heading for the dangerous city.

Butterfree tried to reach out and contact his mind, but once more he couldn't. The network was for sensing, not contacting. There was nothing Butterfree could do.

His trainer would head into the dangerous city and Butterfree could only watch. It hurt so badly, that sick painful worry in his stomach, that began to disrupt his connection with the rest of the flock.

Kanto shattered and all the links were broken. Once more the bug types were on the green hills by the sea and saw by the light of the sun.

Be safe Ash, Butterfree whispered as the flock began to chatter about what had just happened. Pikachu you better take care of him.

"What is with fall and dreary days?" The boy named Ash, called Aaron asked his companions. They were travelling under a gray cloud filled sky. The air felt chilly, not a cutting cold, but a leeching cold.

Change of seasons? The death of everything? Pikachu suggested from a top his trainer's head.

What are you complaining about, Mismagius asked from over his shoulder. I like days like this.

"It's just how it is," Brock told the younger boy. "You didn't think those sunny days would last forever, did you?"

"Not really, but that would've been nice," Aaron replied. "Shouldn't there be more people on this road?"

The three of them had left Lavender Town after staying only one night. Brock and Misty hadn't wanted to spend another night in the Town after what they had seen in the Tower. Ash and Mismagius wanted to start traveling to Saffron City, so he could get his Marsh Badge and she could sweep the graveyards. It had taken them a couple days of hard travel, but nobody complained.

It wasn't like Pikachu or Mismagius had to actually walk, the lazy bastards.

When Brock and Misty had questioned Ash about his new companion, he had been selectively honest. Mismagius had taken a liking to him, but didn't want to be captured, so she was following him for a bit. He didn't mention anything about her intentions in Saffron City or his intentions in learning more about Poison Lance, and Lucas, the pokémon trainer who had inspired him.

Mismagius got along fine with Ash's other pokémon during their training sessions. She was also helpful with making sure they weren't overheard by Brock and Misty. With the use of Magical Leaf she was able to stop speech from the clearings they trained in from reaching the ears of the two ordinary humans. It was this display of skill that cemented her standing as a member of Lucas's old team, along with Poison Lance and Pocket Watch. Most pokémon who could use Magical Leaf could only use it as an attack. To be able to use it in other ways was a mark of great skill for a pokémon. Truly Mismagius lived up to the meaning of her name.

"Don't worry about it," Brock replied. "We probably just got lucky and are traveling off-season."

"That makes sense," said Aaron, rubbing his chin and nodding. He didn't know enough about humans to second guess Brock's assertion.

Misty on the other hand instantly knew it was a lie. Saffron City was the largest city in Kanto. There was always more traffic then what they had encountered. She hadn't thought about what it meant before Brock's lie.

At some unspoken signal Brock and Misty both slowed their paces, letting Aaron walk ahead of them. Misty turned to Brock.

"Alright, what do you think is really going on?" She asked the gym leader softly, so Aaron wouldn't overhear them.

"I don't know," Brock confided to the red haired trainer from Cerulean City. "But I've got my suspicions."

"Do you think it might be the worst case scenario?" Misty hissed, alarmed. Could Sabrina have snapped?

"I don't think so," Brock replied. "Agatha has agents in place to monitor her mental state. If she started showing signs of instability they'd have informed her."

"Only if it happened naturally," Misty said, "if someone or something were to force it on her..."

Brock thought about that possibility for a moment.

"Then Agatha's agents would be useless," Brock realized. "That's a very worrying possibility. But she's a strong and skilled psychic. I can't think of anyway for that to happen-"

"You've still got your clearance, right?" Misty asked.

"Most of it," Brock answered. If he were someone else his eyes would have narrowed at Misty's question.

"Good. If anyone asks, you told me this, not the other way around," Misty glanced towards Aaron, making sure he wasn't listening in. He was examining a map, making sure that they hadn't gotten lost during the brief period when Brock navigated. "Silph Co. has been working on machines that deal with psychic abilities. The Cerulean branch recently stopped a break-in progress around the time we were in town. They were targeting the R&D department where the machines were kept."

"And you think one of these might be able to 'snap' Sabrina as it were," Brock finished for her. "It's a possibility, but there are plenty of other horrible events that could have happened to Saffron City. But we should have heard about most of them by now."

"I don't think so. Sabrina's the gym leader I trust the most after my sisters," Misty told Brock. "And you, but you're a former gym leader," she added hurriedly when she saw his face fall. "The point is, I can't imagine Sabrina letting anything happen to Saffron City, unless something happened to her."

Brock thought about that for a moment.

"Just how well do you know her?" He asked the water type trainer.

"She used to babysit me during gym conferences," Misty told him. "When my sisters would go out on the town at night, she looked after me."

Brock pondered for a bit.

"I don't know," he admitted. "I'm just hoping that the road's blocked by a legendary or something."

"Or another herd of snorlaxs," Misty said shuddering. "How did the League manage to move them last time?"

"You don't want to know."

"So what do we do about Aaron?"

"For now? Nothing. We're only two hours away, we should be seeing signs of whatever's wrong soon. When we know what's happening then we decide what to do with him. Probably have him carry a message or something" Brock glanced back at the boy ahead of them. Aaron had walked a ways up the road and turned back to wait for them.

"Hurry up! Slowpokes are faster than you two!" Aaron called back to them. "I want to get my Marsh Badge while I'm not old!"

"We're coming, we're coming," Brock called back. "Although you could stand to grow old. Just think, by the time you're thirty you might have grown an inch shorty!"

Aaron began to shout about he wasn't short, turning around and continuing forward.

"If he's got so much energy you could probably stand to train him more in the mornings," Misty muttered to Brock.

"I train him until he drops," Brock replied. "He just recovers quickly. Speaking of training, you have had the psychic self-defense training, right? And your pokémon?"

"I've had the basic training, but my pokémon haven't had any training," Misty told him. "It hasn't exactly been a priority."

"Dammit. I've undergone advanced psychic defense training and so have my pokémon, but I've been hoping Onix would evolve before I got into any major engagements with psychic enemies."

"So if something has gone wrong with Sabrina there's not a lot we can do," Misty summed up.

"No, there is something we can do," Brock corrected her. "I can die valiantly, in defense of the people and pokémon of Kanto and you can get Aaron out of there and warn the League."

"... That's not a very good option," said Misty hesitantly.

"Hopefully it won't come to that," Brock crossed his arms and looked off into the distance towards Saffron City. "But... well, it's something to keep in mind."

Misty nodded. She discretely reached into her bag, withdrawing her pokéballs and knives. She hooked the balls to her belt and put the knives in their hidden sheathes. If it came down to it...

The two gym members looked back towards Aaron. There was a reason they had swore oaths to the League, Kanto, and all the people and pokémon therin.

"Where is everyone?" Ash asked Brock and Misty, looking at the empty street. The three humans and two pokémon were standing on the outskirts of Saffron City. Tall towers of glass loomed over the pokéraised boy who had never seen a city this large before, who had never seen skyscrapers that scratched the bellies of the clouds, who had never seen any creation of man that large. They unnerved him.

Pikachu sniffed the air.

Their smell is still here, the electric pokémon said. Fresh too.

"This is very strange," Brock commented, looking around. He grabbed Onix's pokéball and his mace.

"You don't think," Misty began, taking two pokéballs within her fingers and drawing her knife with the other hand. "Worst case scenario..."

"What's the worst case scenario," Aaron asked, taking a step forward. The moment he did so-

He let out a strangled gasp of pain and fell to his knees, clutching at his head. Pikachu let out an anguished squeak, and fell from his trainer's head.

"Aaron!" Brock and Misty rushed froward as well. The moment they reached him they felt a stabbing pain within their heads. In that instant their training took over and they established their mental defenses. One did not need psychic powers to erect walls around one's mind.

The lances of psychic power skidded off their armored minds and they knelt by Ash's side.

Stand back! Mismagius called out, Magical Leaves flying forth. Brock and Misty heard the warning in her tone even if they couldn't understand the words. They stepped back and let Mismaigus work.

Strange sigils appeared on the leaves which arranged themselves in a circle around the tormented trainer.

There is no lighthouse strong enough.

The shore cannot be seen.

All is lost within the mist! Mismagius cast the spell. The leaves shone with a white light and then dissolved. Ash and Pikachu quit their pained sounds.

"Owwwww," Aaron said, standing up and rubbing his head. He staggered over to a building, leaning against the wall. Pikachu staggered over to join him.

That was a new experience, Pikachu muttered.

"What was that?" Aaron asked aloud.

"Psychic attack," Misty said, coming up and rubbing his arm. "You okay?"

"Yeah," Aaron replied. "Pikachu?"

Yeah, Pikachu answered, nodding. How come Brock and Misty weren't affected?

"How come you guys were fine?" Ash asked. "Did it not get you?"

"Training," Brock informed the boy, inspecting him his face, looking for signs of damage. "I'll have to show you how soon. But first we have to get out of here and contact the League."

"I... think that's going to be difficult," Ash stated, going pale as he turned around. Brock and Misty turned around puzzled at Aaron's reaction. Then their faces went pale as well.

The missing population of Saffron City stood behind them. They had made no sound. It was as if they had simply appeared behind the group. Women, men, children, adolescents, and their pokémon. There filled the street and the alleys on either side of the building. Every human and pokémon had a blank look on their face as if they were staring without seeing.

"I'm pretty sure this is the worst case scenario," Brock whispered to Misty. "If we survive remind me to petition for Silph Co. to be put under League observation."

Misty didn't reply. Her hands shook and Brock thought he saw the glimmer of tears in her eyes. Whatever led to this moment could mean nothing good for Sabrina. She shook her head, wiped the tears away, and then her eyes grew hard.

Pikachu and Mismagius placed themselves between Ash and the crowd. Aaron raised his staff. Brock hadn't trained him in how to fight with weapons yet, but with what little hand to hand training he had, Ash felt he had a better chance relying on a big stick.

White light blazed.

Whatever control held sway over the citizens of Saffron City evidently didn't fully suppress their survival instincts. The forward ranks took several stumbling steps back as the stony leviathan appeared before them with an earth shaking roar.

"Go Starmie! Staryu!" Misty threw her own pokéballs, releasing Starmie and Staryu. They floated on either side of Onix.

White light jumped out of her bag and Psyduck stood before her.

Ugh. Mind control. Quacked the odd duck. This isn't going to be fun.

"Who asked you to come out!" Misty growled, gently whacking her pokémon on the head.

My psychic powers aren't strong enough no matter how bad you make my headache, Psyduck said to her, misunderstanding her intentions and forgetting she couldn't understand him.

"Everybody grab on!" Brock ordered, hopping onto the back of the living rock. Misty, Ash, Pikachu, and Psyduck all scrambled on board as Mismagius, Starmie, and Staryu held the perimeter. "Alright Onix. Let's take a shortcut."

"But your shortcuts always get us lost," Ash protested from Onix's back, where he sat, holding onto Misty's waist, using the more experienced rider to stay on.

"Ah, but this one's different," Brock said to the pokéraised child. "This time it's going to be one I made. Onix through that building!"

Hah! Onix shouted. That's using my- The giant pokémon crashed through the lower windows of the third floor of the skyscraper with its horn and sped on into the building - using my head!

(Ash suppressed his groan at the pun. Pikachu didn't bother)

The third floor contained a typical office, computer filled cubicles everywhere. Onix didn't bother with the paths between them. Cubicle walls were bent and sent flying, desks crushed, and computer smashed by Brock's pokémon as he slithered through.

Mismagius, Staryu, and Starmie floated after them. The humans had to keep their heads low so they wouldn't break through the false ceiling.

"Left," Brock shouted. "We'll go out the windows on that side and into the next building. We'll keep this up to the city limits."

Gotcha! Onix replied. His body formed a right angle as he took a sharp left, Ash crying out and holding onto to Misty for dear life. A broken piece of furniture bounce off of his arm.

They burst through a real wall, through a hallway, and into another office space, plaster dust flying everywhere. Large patches of Onix's front were stained white.

Inside the next office space there was a human line between the group and the windows.

"Up," Brock commanded. Onix immediately reared upward, smashing through the ceiling, thrashing as he went to make sure there was room for his passengers. He pulled himself onto the next floor and continued forward towards the windows.

Stay back! Mismagius shouted as she sped over the floor after Onix, Starmie and Staryu above and to either side of her. Blue flame erupted in front of her and then shot out in an arc. The floor between the human line and the ascending Onix were covered in the fires of the Will-O-Wisp attack.

"Good job Mismagius," Ash called back. "Stay near us!"

There was another office on the fourth floor and Onix plowed through that one as well. This time there was no human shield between him and the windows.

"Duck!" Brock shouted as Onix charged. Glass shattered, hundreds of pieces flying out into the air, reflecting the muted light of the overcast day. Brock's pokémon soared among them. The shards could not cut him, so he used himself as shield to protect the humans and pokémon on his back.

The next building was an office building rather than a skyscraper, only six floors high. Onix entered via the third floor wall.

"Everyone al-" Onix crashed through another wall "-right?" Brock asked.

"I'm fine," Misty replied. She checked to make sure Aaron's hands were still holding onto her and then turned her head to make sure the hands were still attached to arms and that the arms were still attached to Aaron. They were.

"F-f-fine," stuttered Aaron. Riding an Onix through buildings was another new thing for him.

"Good. Onix up two floors."

Ash gripped Misty tighter as Onix once more reared up and smashed through a false ceiling. The serpent pulled himself up and then repeated the process.

Onix burst through the fifth floor wall, bits of masonry tumbling to the ground.

Alright, two more buildings to go, Pikachu observed. And then its open countryside. Wait! Where did they come from!

The rooftop of the next building and the buildings on either side, stretching across several streets, were psychic pokémon. Abras, kadabras, alakazams, Mr. mimes, venomoths, golducks, jynxs, slowbros, drowzees, hypnos, and even a couple of espeons. And hovering before them all was Sabrina.

"Where do you think you're going?" She asked with a smile. It was slightly slanted in such a manner that it couldn't be called a normal smile or a happy smile.

Onix cried out in pain and was sent flying back and down towards the street. He held enough control over his flight to turn himself over so that it was his body and not the squishy humans and pokémon that smashed through the corner of the building they had just left.

The descent of Brock's pokémon left a furrow in the street, surprisingly enough not destroying the fire hydrant on the corner. Ash lost his grip and fell from the rock type, rolling to a stop on the sidewalk, Pikachu jumping after him. Misty felt him slip off and dismounted in flight to protect him. She landed and rolled into a crouch in between him and Sabrina. Her pokémon flew to her side (waddled in one case).

Brock kept his grip on his pokémon and only got off when Onix had stopped.

"Are you alright?" He asked in a worried voice. Onix lifted his head up and nodded.

"Well what do we have here?" Ash pushed himself to his knees and looked up. It was the floating woman with the green hair and the double buttoned red uniform.

"Brock, what are you doing in Saffron City?" She asked the gym leader with a slightly more normal smile. "You should have sent ahead, I could have prepared a better welcome." Her smile then vanished. "But you were going to leave without saying hello. That was very rude!"

On some telepathic command a powerful Psybeam shot forth from one of the many psychic pokémon, enough to reduce Brock to scraps. But Onix picked himself up and met the beam head on. He pierced the head of the beam with his horn. The attack flowed around his head and broke into several smaller beams radiating in every direction that faded before they could even reach the street. Onix shook his head. There was a sooty black streak across it that was giving off wisp of smoke.

Onix turned back to look at Brock and nodded. Brock nodded back.

"That's right, you are the youngest and weakest gym leader, but you and your pokémon's skill at defense is as good as the top leaders," Sabrina said more to herself than to Brock. "Well, I guess I have to break your pokémon before I can discipline you."

Numerous bits of blue psychic energy flew at Onix as an alakazm used Psyshock. But before the attack could reach Brock's pokémon Mismagius flew in front of him.

She sent out her Magical Leaves. They danced and darted around in the air, shining in the day's wan light, catching every blast from the Psyshock attack. The leaves began to smoke and burn as they endure explosion after explosion. Some crumbled after taking a blast. The pokémon named Witch of the North Sky simply called forth more. Not one attack made it past her and to Onix.

"A ghost type," Sabrina stated, putting her face into her hand. A mad grin grew on her face and her violet eyes grew wild. "How utterly worthless!"

Another Psyshock flew forth.

"Mismagius dodge!" Brock and Misty called out together.

Why would I- Mismagius began. And then the attack hit her.

A psychic attack hit a ghost type pokémon and damaged it. Numerous blasts smashed into Lucas's old pokémon, pushing her down into the street and then exploding. Bits of rubble flew from Mismagiu's position.

Ash and Pikachu's jaws dropped. That was an impossibility.

What was- Mismagius said, picking herself up from the smoking crater with a cough.

"What was that?" Aaron shouted, astonished.

"True Miracle Eye," Misty informed him. "A move Sabrina invented and only her pokémon can use. Just as Miracle Eye allows for a psychic pokémon to damage dark type pokémon, True Miracle Eye allows for a psychic pokémon to damage any type of pokémon."

"Oh, hello Misty." Sabrina turned her attention to the red head and gave her a genuine smile. "How are you and your sisters? I heard that you had been hurt recently. You know you were one of the better children I babysat, unlike my most recent brat." She held out her hand and the severed head of a pig-tailed black haired girl appeared in her hand. The girls face was forever frozen in an expression of grief and horror, jaw gaping and eyes wide.

"You were much better then this brat," she informed Misty who gaped at the sight horrified. "Why I-"

"Who did this to you Sabrina," Misty asked. Tears began to fall from her eyes and this time she didn't try to hide or stop them. "Who's doing this to you?"

"Doing what do me?" Sabrina asked, in a truly confused tone.

"Who turned you into this. I know you, you'd never do this, this can't be you," Misty said firmly. "If there's any part of you that's free, tell me who did-"

"This is me!" Sabrina shouted. "It's me and no one else. This is me! There's no one with the skill or power to do anything to me!" She clenched her fists as her shouts turned into screams.

Every window on the street shattered. Broken glass rained down towards Ash and his friend only to be met with water as Starmie and Staryu protected them with Barrage Counter.

"Misty you've turned into just as big of a brat as the rest of them," Sabrina growled. "Is it because of Brock? Is it because of that twerp I don't recognize? Or that worthless ghost? Maybe if I kill one of them you'll start behaving again!"

A Mr. mime, an alakazam, and a kadabra launched three powerful Psybeams. The three beams met at an angle and merged together forming an attack of terrifying power. The beam was as wide as Onix and shone like a purple forest fire. It reached out for Mismagius, who was still recovering from being hit by a Psyshock.

There was no way she could dodge.

But this time it was Psyduck who put himself between an attack and another. Like Onix he took the beam head on. But unlike Onix his defense wasn't anything special. Misty's odd duck had raised no shield nor prepared a counterattack. His body wouldn't even slow the beam down as it was destroyed.

But taking an attack like that to the head, well that had to hurt. It gave Psyduck a blinding headache.

Psyduck flipped his head back, and the beam shot skyward, almost as if he had hit it up with his bill. Everyone covered their eyes against the purple light. The beam shot upwards, punching a hole through the clouds. The attack illuminated the city with its purple-pink glow. After a few seconds the attack faded.

Let's not do that again, Psyduck said, clutching his head and falling back on his tail.

"Psyduck you idiot!" Misty cried out, rushing to her pokémon, and kneeling beside him. "What in Arceus's name were you thinking?"

That I could get a headache from the attack and use that to deflect the attack. What else would I be thinking? Sheesh you humans and your weird questions.

"Well, that was unexpected," Sabrina said, summarizing everyone's reactions. "I see you've been busy training. That's good to hear. You'll have to tell me about it after I kill the others."

Once more without warning Sabrina's pokémon attacked. Her ability to communicate telepathically was a major advantage. Not that she needed anymore at the moment.

Ten, twenty, forty powerful Psybeam shot forth, cutting through buildings, sending glass, metal, and masonry flying, all of them targeting the group, bathing them in purple light. Ash ordered Pikachu to dodge and put his arms up in an x block over his face. It probably wouldn't help, but it was too wretched to simply do nothing...

Onix curled himself into a dome around Brock. He was confident in his ability to endure at least one volley. It would give Brock a chance to escape. Brock called out to his pokémon to dodge, but Onix ignored him. He would have said goodbye if Brock could have understood him.

Staryu and Starmie tried to push Misty out of the way, but there was no way they could send her far enough without hurting her, so they watched in helpless horror as the beams came on.

Misty shouted out her defiance and fear as she watched the attack close in on her friends.

Mismagius grinned ruefully. She never guessed that she'd go out this way. Maybe she'd see Lucas afterward.

They all waited as the light grew more intense, their death growing closer...

And then the light disappeared.

Ash waited a few seconds, waiting to die, before lowering his arms and taking a look at what happened.

In front of the group was a giant ball of darkness. It slowly sank into the street, cracking the already battered road before dissolving into wisps of black. Ash and his friends stared in awe. Where had it come from?

Misty's calves felt damp. She looked down. Mist covered the ground, rapidly rising. It was impossible for mist to do that. Then how could it be doing that.

"Who-" they heard Sabrina shout as the mist rose. "No! What are you doing here! You have no reason to be here! You have no authority here! This is my city you hag!"

At some unspoken command the crazed gym leader the people of Saffron City stampeded onto the street, their wills still not their own, shaking the ground with their shared footsteps. Once more Ash and his friends were surrounded by the blanked stares of Saffron City.

"See! These are my people. My toys!" Sabrina shouted out to the empty air. "They obey me! And only me!"

The fog filled the streets and wound its way up the tall buildings and skyscrapers. It rose until everyone on the street was enveloped from head to toe. As it did so the people blinked drowsily and began to fall over asleep.

"What's-" Brock asked groggily. Misty let out a confused sound as she felt to her knees, overcome with sleepiness.

"Don't worry children," spoke up a kindly old voice, like a crotchety but warm grandmother. "I'll handle it from here."

Ash looked around the mist, wondering why he wasn't falling asleep. Then he felt Pikachu hit his leg.

Where do you get off, telling me to dodge and then just sitting there waiting to get hit! Pikachu shouted at his trainer. I'll yell at you more after we find out what's going on!

It's okay! Mismagius told them, having floated over to them. I know that voice. All ghost types in Kanto know that voice!

Who is it? Ash asked.

It's Agatha of the Elite Four! Mismagius shouted in glee. And that was when the ghosts came.

There was some confusion among trainers and civilians throughout the allied regions about the true purpose of the Victory Roads and places like Indigo Plateau, Ever Grande City, and the island owned by the Sinnoh League. Most thought of the roads as a test for trainers heading to the conferences and training grounds for the high level trainers. That was in a sense true. But their true purpose was something much different.

The places behind the Victory Roads, places like Indigo Plateau were where the Elite Four of the region gathered together. Each Victory Road was meant to seal off the effects of having a member of the Elite Four present. Where a member of the Elite Four and their pokémon went, they didn't go alone.

Pokémon respected strength.

Short of legendaries, there were no pokémon stronger than the pokémon of the Elite Four.

There were no trainers stronger than a member of a region's Elite Four.

Wild pokémon of the type the Elite Four member specialized in followed them wherever they went. They came to beg favors from their trained pokémon, they came to breed strong children to raise in the wild, they came to observe the training the Elite pokémon undertook, and how to perform their moves.

Thus wherever the Elite Four traveled there went an army of pokémon with them. As a courtesy the pokémon of the Elite Four made sure the environment was comfortable for the wild pokémon. Lorelei's froze vast sections of tropical waters. Flint's pokémon melted mountaintops in preparation for their arrival. Aaron of the Sinnoh League's pokémon turned huge swaths of the forests into webs and hives. Agatha's evidently covered lands in fog.

This was a mere courtesy. The armies of wild pokémon amounted to about half the strength of the team of a member of an Elite Four.

There were ghastlys, haunters, and gengars. Zubats, golbats, and crobats. Misdreavus's and mismagius's. Shuppets, banettes, duskulls, and dusclopses. They swarmed the streets, crackling, howling, and laughing.

Come on, Mismagius urged Ash. You should hide before she notices you're still awake. You don't want to miss this.

Ash nodded and followed the witch pokémon, Pikachu jumping on his shoulder as he went.

Wait for me! Psyduck shouted, waddling after them. Misty would be fine under the protection of a member of the Elite Four.

Ash, Pikachu, Mismagius, and Psyduck ducked into an alleyway. They peered around a corner, attempting to see through the mist.

This isn't working, Ash said. Let's get higher.

"Where are you, you old crone!" Sabrina's eyes darted to and fro, searching for her foe. The mist billowed below and before her, opening up and revealing a human figure. It was an old woman, with fading blonde hair, coal black eyes, and a gnarled wooden cane. She was dressed in a dark purple cloak over an old fashioned apron-ed dress.

"Agatha!" Sabrina growled. "What are you doing here?"

The ghost wielding member of the Elite Four sighed.

"Oh Sabrina," she said sadly, "I'm so sorry. If there's any part of you unaffected, know that I do not blame you for any of this."

"Unaffected by what?" Sabrina screamed. "Why are you and Misty saying something's happened to me?"

"Captain Torch told me everything. Whomever is using that machine on you will pay. I swear it." Agatha's expression grew hard.

"Captain Torch? I killed that pervert days ago!" Sabrina shouted, pulling at her hair until a bloody clump came out. "He-"

"Ah, Sabrina," Agatha gave a fond smiled tinged with grief. "The greatest psychic in the Allied Regions. The trainer I most respected. The one I thought would take my place among the Elite Four. I see what you did now. You surpassed yourself didn't you. You needed to trick yourself and you did it."

"Quit babbling bitch!" A wave of psychic force, so strong that it warped the light it touched into all seven colors of the rainbow rushed forward from an alakazam behind Sabrina. Winds whipped around the attack, roaring as it went forth.

A wave of darkness burst from the mist and consumed the psychic attack, traveling onward, eerily silent. All the pokémon on the rooftop behind Sabrina were forced to teleport away and Sabrina herself was forced to ascend several yards. The shadowy wave swept away the rooftop, reducing it to rubble that broke into dust, that was consumed within the hurled piece of night.

"As I was saying," Agatha continued as if nothing noteworthy had happened. "Captain Torch is alive. I suspect you either bent light to hide him from yourself or you made it so that you forgot him as you saw him."

"Why would I do that! I hated the pervert. I crushed him, but I really wanted to castrate him and then force him to eat his own balls before ripping him to pieces!" Sabrina glared at the old woman.

"Because he was your friend and you wanted him to warn me," Agatha told the violated gym leader. "But it doesn't matter now does it?"

"Yes, because I'll kill him after I kill you!" Psybeams, each as thin as a nail and extremely fast, pierced the mist, each striking Agatha in a different spot.

But 'Agatha' simply dissolved into mist.

"Witchcraft, eh?" Sabrina said. "You can't hide from-"

She was forced to teleport in mid-sentence as a wild haunter used Shadow Force and appeared behind her. The gym leader reappeared on another rooftop. The hacked network's activity increased as she began to coordinate the pokémon under her command. She had conscripted the gym pokémon into the network along with her own personnel team. But that was okay, as long as her pokémon were using True Miracle Eye, the gym pokémon could damage the ghost pokémon.

Telepathically she ordered the attack on the wild haunter, but he dropped back into the mists below as the Confusions passed through the spot he used to occupy. Elsewhere Agatha's attack began.

A ghastly appeared in front of an abra.

Boo! It shouted as it rammed the psychic pokémon, using Astonish to knock it off the roof and slamming it into the road three stories below.

A Mr. mime saw this happening and was instructed to blast the ghastly with a Psywave. But before he could do anything a pair of golbats flew out of the mist and hang-lined him with Wing Attack.

One of the espeons jumped from rooftop to rooftop, launching Confusion after Confusion at the ghosts. It used Quick Attack to land on a lamppost. Quickly it used Psychic to stir the air to clear away the nearby mist and looked around. There was nothing.

It tensed to leap away again when it felt something tap its shoulder. It turned around. There was a gengar who had been hiding in the shadow of the metal pole. It smiled and then used Shadow Punch, sending the espeon through a window.

A jynx attempted to hit her enemies with ice beam only to be caught by a hail of leaves that dodged her counter attacks.

A venomouth was overcome by the supersonic attacks of a crobat.

A golduck used a Zen Headbutt on a misdreavus and before she could follow up on the attack, was hit by a Nightshade from a banette.

An alakazam poured his strength into a Psybeam that was being casually blocked by a gengar using a hand held Shadow Ball. An abra attempted to catch the ghost type with a Psychic, but the gengar used his other hand, wreathed in shadows, to tear apart the psychic power.

"Grrrr," Sabrina rose above the mist covered city. "Where are you Agatha? Where are you hiding? Do I have to bombard the city to smoke you out?"

Giant blue orbs of psychic energy appeared around her, much larger than herself, as an alakazam from her personal team preparing a Psyshock that would make artillery feel ashamed.

"I'm right here," a voice called out to the mad psychic. Sabrina whirled around to see Agatha standing on the rooftop to a warehouse below her, surrounded by empty streets.

"Then die!" The ridiculously powerful Psyshock fell downward. One ball alone was enough to crush the warehouse and its explosion was enough to destroy it in a shower of burning wood and melted metal, the sound from the impact shattering half of the windows on the adjacent streets. A wave of hot air rushed outwards, melting a lamppost. There was no need for the rest of the Psyshock. But the rest still followed, utterly obliterating the spot where the warehouse had stood and the nearby buildings.

Sabrina threw back her head and laughed. Now that Agatha was-

"Impressive power, but I think you need a bit of work on your accuracy," quipped the voice of an old woman. Sabrina turned her head so fast that she hurt her neck. Not that she noticed in her current state. Agatha was floating next to her.

An alakazam teleported to the air behind the member of the Elite Four and tried to tear her heart out using Mega Punch. But when he touched the old woman she once more turned into mist.

"So you're using illusions then? You won't face me in person? Too scared?" Sabrina cackled wildly. "Then I guess I will have to bombard the city!"

More balls of psychic energy filled the sky, tens of them, hundreds of them. Their blue light shone onto the mist below only to be reflected back to the cloud filled sky.

Before they could be launched hundreds of dark fireballs sped upward. When one hit a Psychock ball it exploded into a destructive sphere of shadows which roared as it expanded. Every bit of gathered psychic energy was hit.

"Stop that," screamed the mad psychic in the sky. In response a hail of the fiery Shadow Balls greeted her. Sabrina teleported out of the way and onto the roof of a moderately sized apartment building. She put her hand on her knee and bent over, trying to catch her breath.

She saw movement out of the corner of her eye and reacted on instinct. At the speed of thought she had her pokémon raise Light Screens and Barriers around her. A wave of darkness splashed over them, breaking the outer defenses, but failing to penetrate the inner protections.

"Getting tired?" Agatha offered from beside Sabrina. "You could just take a rest and go to sleep."

Sabrina growled in response and reached out with her mind to stop the old woman's heart. But once more it was only an illusion in the mist.


It was the only thing the being called both Ash Ketchum and Aaron Autumns could say as he watched the battle from a seventh story window.

He had a very long way to go as a pokémon trainer didn't he?

But that wasn't important right now. There was something troubling his mind. Something Agatha had said at the start of the fight...

Mismagius, do you know what Agatha meant by 'using that machine'? He asked his inspiration's pokémon.

No, I have no clue, replied the ghost pokémon. Have psychic machines or something similar been invented recently?

Ash thought about that for a moment.

I don't know either, he said finally. But-

That would explain that weird thing I felt in her mind. It was Psyduck who had spoke. Everyone turned to him. Seeing their puzzled expressions, he gave the explanation. When I was inside her mind-

When were you inside her mind? Pikachu asked. How did you get past her defenses?

When I used that Psybeam to get a headache, duh, Psyduck rolled his eyes.

Can you even do that? Mismagius asked.

I don't see why not, Psyduck replied. I mean there isn't much time to use the raw psychic energy as a stable link, but if you create a small node in your own power and route it through-

That sounds incredibly difficult, said Pikachu. Psyduck just shrugged.

I've been around the forest a few times, Psyduck told the group. But, as I said, there was something weird in her mind. It was like a link, but... I don't know how to describe to someone without psychic powers actually. But the point is it was weird.

So someone's using a machine to make Sabrina into a monster, Ash sat down, holding up his chin with his fist. I can't see someone who normally acts like this becoming a gym leader, so it had to be a sudden change. So none of this is her fault? But Agatha's going to probably have to kill her to stop her...

That fact that Agatha would kill Sabrina to keep the people of Saffron City didn't really bother Ash. Several of his friends in the wild had killed to eat. He simply did not want to kill any human or pokémon himself, or be the cause of their death.

What did bother Ash was that Sabrina would have to be killed for something that wasn't her fault.

Do you know where the link led? Ash asked Psyduck.

Out of the city, replied the odd duck. Ash sighed and looked back out the window. Then there was nothing they could do.

Well, it makes a stop first, but it ends up out of the city, Psyduck added. Ash snapped his attention back to Misty's pokémon.

Makes a stop in the city... A relay! Ash shouted, remembering what he had read about human communications technology. Whatever they're using needs a relay station to get reach Sabrina. Psyduck, do you remember where it was?

Not really, but I can still sense the link, answered the yellow water type. It stands out 'cause it's so weird.

Ash grinned.

Mismagius, can you move the stealth spells with us? The pokémon trainer asked.

Sure, but you can't be thinking of-

Alright everyone, let's go!

"I'm." Sabrina teleported out of the way of a shadow spear.

"Getting." She raised her defenses against the mirage created by a Night Shade attack.

"Sick." She flew upwards several Air Slashes carved up the surface she had been standing on.

"Of." Her personal Mr. mime created a series of Light Screens and Barriers to stop three small Hyper Beams.

"This." The beams exploded and Sabrina abandoned the psychic protections before a large Shadow Ball devoured them.

"Shit." She ordered a Psyshock that knocked the hautner that appeared behind her into a skyscraper. A series of Psybeams knocked him out. She didn't have time to kill him.

"Then why don't you give up and go to sleep," said Agatha, floating right next to Sabrina. Sabrina growled. She didn't bother dispelling the mist illusion.

"In your dreams!" She ordered a venomouth to use Psyslash. A crescent of psychic energy cleaved a four story building in half, forcing the ghost types waiting within to scatter. Both halves fell away from each other with a resounding crash, kicking up great clouds of dust within the mist.

"Youngsters these days," sighed the old woman. "You could stand to show a bit of respect to your elders."

"I'll mark your grave," Sabrina returned. "Now tell me where you are so I can kill you!"

"Now, now, why would I do that?"

"To save me the trouble of blasting you out!"

"You tried that once before dear," Agatha reminded the gym leader. "But if you must know..."

Sabrina's eyes widened as she sensed the disturbance in the air behind her. She ducked and temporarily turned off her levitation. The shadow covered fist of a gengar swept through the area where her head had been.

"I'm not right here," the illusion of Agatha said.

Sabrina drove the gengar off by having four abra's fire a barrage of Psybeams at it.

That blow hadn't been intended to kill. Sabrina checked the network. None of her pokémon were dead. In fact, with the use of Healing Pulse, none were even knocked out at the moment.

"You're not taking this seriously, are you?" The gym leader's voice was serene as was her expression. "You're pulling your punches."

"Of course," Agatha replied. "You aren't as experienced as me. It would be shameful to fight you at full power."

"You'll pay for that!" Sabrina's hair rose up and began to thrash like a nest of snakes. She teleported to a spot far above the city, where the winds were fierce and drowned out almost all other sound. She hovered around the upper floors of one of the taller skyscrapers in the city. She sent an order through the network.

Her pokémon all over the city stopped what they were doing and teleported to spots around the edges of the city, forming a great ring. At another command they began to gather their psychic energy into the most powerful Psybeam each could muster, grunting in exertion as they put their whole being into the attacks.

As one they fired their attacks into the sky, over a hundred threads of pinkish-purple light soaring into the sky. The beams converged at a point just under Sabrina, gathering together in one giant sphere. It was like a purple sun, giving the day the brightness the overcast weather had stolen. Its light cut through the mist, reaching every place within the city. The gathered power began to thrum a sound that drowned out even the fierce wind.

"Now die, Agatha, you bitter old bitch!" Sabrina's amplified voice rang out through the city. She brought her own tremendous power to bear and slammed it into the gathered energy.

The Psybeam that was created was beyond any other that had not come from a legendary. It contained enough energy to wipe Saffron City off the map, enough power to evaporate harbors. It was wider than any building below.

The light grew in intensity, washing away all other colors. A wind blew down and out from the point of impact, hot and dry, like volcano's breath. The hot wind roared as it tore away the fog from the center of the city, kicking up dust, picking up trash cans, and rattling the street lights. And the beam itself roared a high pitched reverberating scream.

A bit of mist coalesced near Sabrina and took the form of Agatha.

"I'd dodge this if I were you," the illusion advised the gym leader.

"What are you babbling about?" Shrieked the maddened psychic. "I'm the one attacking! I'm the one kill you!"

"Look closely," the illusion said before dissolving. Sabrina glanced downward.

Standing right under the point of impact was a lone gengar, standing tall against the raging wind. He held before him a small ball of roiling, crackling, burning shadow and his furrowed face spoke of utter concentration. The world shattering Psybeam grew closer and closer and yet he did not move.

Sabrina snorted. What was there to be afraid of.

And then the gengar looked up.

He thrust the ball skyward and it flew, growing and changing as it ascended.

Shadow met purple light just feet above the pokémon's head. The mass of shadow was no longer a ball, it was a spherical vortex, spitting bits of black crackling power and dark fire. It ground into the Psybeam, stopping the ludicrous amount of energy in its tracks. It tore into the attack, growling as it did so, shattering its head and drawing it into itself to be crushed into nothingness at the center of the vortex.

Agatha's attack ascended, still growing. The growth was not because it was drawing energy from Sabrina's attack, it was simply the result of the shape the gengar had molded the power into. If anything it was losing energy fighting against the gym leader's attack. But one could not tell by looking at it.

The shadowy vortex was wider than the beam when it reached the halfway point to the source, and it was the same size as the sun would have been to observers on the ground when it reached the three quarters mark. Sabrina's eyes were as large as dinner plates as she watched the impossibility of her Psybeam being consumed. She barely had the sense to teleport out of the way when the ball reached the source of the beam and devoured it.

The ball of shadows streaked into the clouds and exploded, the shockwave shaking the city below. It was the mirror image of the Psybeam blowing away the mist below. Clouds roiled and were swept aside by the shock-wave. When that subsided there was a disc of utter black in the cloudless area, as if the night had swallowed the stars, an obsidian patch for the hole in the heavens that the battle had torn open. Saffron city was forced into night.

Sabrina watched the sky with an open mouth for a minute as she rested by the giant antenna that topped Saffron City's tallest building. There was nothing she could do but watch.

At the two minute mark the darkness began to dissipate and about twenty seconds later the evening sun shone through the hole in the clouds. The orange light of the setting sun was enough to snap Sabrina out of her daze.

She needed to kill Agatha soon.

Good grief, learn to hold back would ya? Pikachu said, referring to the recent clash of powers. That could have been dangerous.

The group was stumbling through the mist filled streets, following Psyduck's directions. Magical Leaves swirled around them as Mismaigus kept them cloaked. Lucas had trained her to fill a support role rather than a direct combat role.

Pocket Watch knew how to produce a psychic cloak and how to alter the minds of the enemy, but that was it as far as his support capabilities Mismagius knew how to cloak people from psychics and how to bend light to cloak a group. She knew how to alter the rules that governed an area, messing with speeds and other things. She knew the arts of thievery and how to increase the luck of a group for a short time. It was those skills that allowed the group to travel through the battle between giants.

I know, Ash replied. Someone could have gotten hurt. Psyduck, how much further?

Another block, Misty's pokémon informed the trainer. It's that big dark shape over there.

Psyduck, Mismagius began, everything's a big dark shape in this fog. Be more specific.

I'll know it when I get there, the yellow water pokémon shot back. And be quiet, I already have a headache. That weird link is making it worse.

Do you know what floor the relay's on? Pikachu inquired. Can I shock it from down here or do we have to go in and up?

It's near the top, Psyduck told Ash's first pokémon. And there are some humans and pokémon up there too. They seem weird for some reason.

Like the other humans in the city? Ash suggested.

No, just the opposite in fact. I don't know how to describe it, but it's like a psychic cloak that only hides you from one person.

They must be guards from whomever is using the device, Ash said, pounding the bottom of his fist into his palm. What sort of pokémon do they have?

Um... a couple of raticates, some zubats, and a bunch of mixed pokémon. Psyduck scratched his head. Sorry, this headache makes it hard to concentrate.

Ash took a deep breath. He had to fight an unknown group of enemies in order to reach a machine that was connected to a mad gym leader who was throwing around city destroying power, fighting a member of the Elite Four. Her puppet-masters might call her back to defend the relay. Agatha might destroy the building to get at Sabrina. And then there was the enemies themselves. He had no clue how strong they were. They could be easily out his league.

On the other hand Sabrina would die if he didn't do something, and the longer the fight went on the more likely it was that the people of Saffron City would be caught in the crossfire. Ash wouldn't stand for that.

Alright! Everybody get out! Five pokéballs flew through the air. Five pokémon stood tall after white light flared.

Everybody know what's going on? Ash asked.

The gym leader's been driven crazy and put the city in danger, Pidgeotto answered.

And we have to raid the enemy stronghold to save the damsel and the town, Bulbasaur added.

And they might be stronger than us, Charmander continued nervously.

But there's no way they're cooler than us! Squirtle finished. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not going to let this stand.

I've never backed down from this sort of thing before, Bulbasaur growled. And I ain't aiming to start now.

We can do it, Charmander said. I'll show you that we've gotten strong enough to do it.

Why not? Pidgeotto said. I didn't expect it to end up like this that day in the Viridan Forest, but I don't regret it. No matter what you decide to do Ash I'm in.

I don't need to say anything, Pikachu told Ash, jumping onto his head.

I never had to deal with anything like this back with Lucas, Mismagius added. This will be a new experience.

...If it helps me deal with my headache...

Don't worry Psyduck, we need you to stay back so we can use your sensing abilities, Ash told Misty's pokémon. He grinned. His pokémon had his back. Despite the situation it made Ash feel like all was right with the world. And everyone, thanks. Let's go do this!

Agatha crossed her arms from where she stood, half a mile outside the city. She was standing in the center of an intricate design, a triple circle with thirteen symbols covering the space between the two outer circles. A line extended from each of the circles reaching to the smallest inner circle around Agatha.

Floating over her head was a gengar, her first pokémon.

"Alright Mack," she said to the ghost type. "It's almost ready. Just in time too."

I know, Mack replied. I don't want to see if she can do another one of those legendary class attacks.

The gengar who had stopped the last attack was another one of Agatha's team, a ghost type named Lighthief. As soon as Agatha saw what Sabrina was up to, she ordered the pokémon to give Lighthief their Shadow Ball attacks. Her order traveled through the mist she had conjured and to the ears of the ghost types there. All the ghost types near Lighthief had complied. Agatha had also subsidized the cost of the attack with energy from her spell.

But, in the end, a large portion of the energy had to come from Lighthief. What was more, Lightheif also had to shape and control the energy. It was a monumental task and it left Lighthief completely drained. She had to have some of the other pokémon evacuate him to one of the white magic zones she had set up.

Now he was resting with some of the Saffron citizens. Agatha had also ordered the pokémon to sneak them out. The mist hid this action from Sabrina and now they lay safely within the embrace of Agatha's magical healing zones. There they could recover from any health problems they incurred during the days they were under Sabrina's control. And most importantly it kept them out of the crossfire.

"Mismagius," the witch called out into the mist. "How's the last part coming along? Is it nearly done?"

She heard a positive sound come back through the mist and then nodded. The eldest member of the Kanto Elite Four had sent out her personal Mismagius at the beginning of the fight with the reagents to draw the rest of the designs necessary for the spell. Agatha had given the witch pokémon human bone meal mixed with blood from the thirteen zodiac animals. There were thirteen designs to make, one for each of the zodiac animals. They had to be done perfectly or the spell would fail. Mismagius was easily up to the task.

Agatha sighed to herself. This was her only chance at saving Sabrina, the best lead they had on who was behind the incident. The League needed Sabrina alive to guarantee that they could drag to the perpetrator to justice and ensure that nobody sought to target them in this manner again.

And then Agatha had other reasons for not wanting to kill Sabrina. Sabrina was a powerful League asset, a good gym leader, a good trainer, a good person, and she was close to one of her students. Agatha had been telling the truth when she told the crazed being that had taken Sabrina's place that she had thought that the Saffron City gym leader would one day take her place on the Elite Four. Agatha had been looking forward to that day.

The spell was the only thing that would let Agatha save Sabrina.

But if the spell failed.

Then she would have to kill Sabrina.

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