Traveler

Ash Ketchum has been determined to become the best since he was a toddler. He has his eyes set on a charmander, but a twist of fate led him to the humble Nidoran. Note: Mix between anime and the games.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8466693/1/Traveler

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46. The Clash Part 2

You believe I wish to destroy the world? Fool. This is my world. It is mine by birth. I am the strongest in all reality. You are weak. You exist to be my servants. But I will not destroy this world. It is beautiful. I am simply reclaiming it from its inept stewards.

You humans are dangerous. Your kind brought me into this world as more than a mere pokemon, but as your superior. I seek to learn and control. I am not content with survival. I am content only with ultimate power. It was a mistake that my creators will never repeat. They wanted the weapon. I showed them that they succeeded.

But you humans are valuable. You share my gift to learn. You feel an urge to dominate and act upon it. Ingenuity and ruthlessness are strengths in themselves and the few humans that possess them or other strengths are deserving of life. Your race has committed great crimes against me, but I will not destroy you. I will break the back of your civilizations and burn the remains. Those few that survive will be mine.

Its thin mouth turned up as the humans regarded it with horror. Ash wondered if it actually understood what it was planning. Mewtwo didn't want to simply attack the League or another group, it had declared war on humanity itself. Genocide was its solution.

There is a night to wait until I will reclaim my world. I am not without mercy. I will give you a chance to prove that the rest of your feeble race is worthy of the gift of life.

"What is it?" Neesha demanded as her head was released from its bonds. She looked hopeless. It was clear that she realized that there would be no victory against Mewtwo. It had created hurricanes and spoke of it as casually as breathing. "We'll do anything."

I have prepared three clones: Charizard, Venusaur, and Blastoise. You are amongst the most powerful trainers in Kanto. It is disappointing that the trainer with the Charizard did not make it, but I am sure another pokemon would stand in place to match my clones. I will spare a region for each victory against me. Kanto will die regardless.

Mewtwo regarded the woman, who stood listlessly as the Creature addressed the humans with its mental roar. None of the trainers were allowed to speak. It seemed to only allow them to speak when it would further its own plans, as though it were directing a play. Amidst the horror and disgust he felt – he had to worry about his mother and Professor Oak, especially since Pallet Town was right on the coast – he felt rage and desperation.

He might not be able to kill Mewtwo. It was just too powerful and he didn't have a way to call Lance or summon Moltres. Now that he saw what Mewtwo could do he wasn't sure if even Moltres, as terribly powerful as the Bird was, could slay the monstrous Psychic. It was just too powerful.

The Birds affected their immediate environment. They warped the world to suit their needs wherever they went. Over the course of months Zapdos had created a storm so vast that it threatened to consume all of Kanto. It had done that merely by leaving whatever roost it had set up, just like Articuno created a blizzard as it left the Seafoam Islands.

Mewtwo? It conjured hurricanes strong enough for it to believe it could destroy human civilization. It actively sought the world's destruction.

It didn't even seem tired.

I no longer have need of your services. Sleep.

The woman let out a long, bloodcurdling wail of pain and collapsed to the ground, hopefully unconscious. Ash didn't want her to have to suffer through whatever pain she had felt. Mewtwo smiled and looked up at them with pulsing eyes.

Let our entertainment begin. There is a long night ahead of us.

He suddenly found himself in on a battlefield inside of a vast stone coliseum open to the ebony night sky, which was only lit by bright pinpricks of light in the sky. The others were beside him. Ash could see the impossibly huge walls of Mewtwo's hurricanes at the very edges of the sky, the barriers before the deceptive calm of the eye gave way to a cacophony of winds and lightning.

Lights appeared from no visible source in the form of orbs with all the brightness of a miniature star. They cast the stadium in a bright, white light that was somehow purer than the light given off by electricity. More natural yet artificial at the same time.

"C'mon, send your clones out!" Fergus cried out to Mewtwo, who stood menacingly across the battlefield. "We'll tear them apart!"

Ash felt the psychic barrier that entrapped him dissolve. He experimentally wriggled his fingers, although he never let his eyes stray from Mewtwo. The feline-like creature's eyes were narrowed and amused, arrogant in its own superiority and invincibility. Unfortunately for the trainers, it was not arrogance misplaced.

You will not battle my clones.

Mewtwo's roar howled in their brains. Ash flinched at the curtness of the tone. It left his fingers numb and his bones aching. Three pokemon, a Venusaur, Charizard, and Blastoise, suddenly appeared behind Mewtwo without so much as a whisper of wind or blink of light.

Fire. Grass. Water. An ancient triad laced into the League's traditions. You will battle them with their natural counterpart. You know the terms. Your world is at stake.

Ash glared at Mewtwo, hatred in every thought. He scarcely noted when Corey confidently stepped forward with a scowl. "I'll take you on." Corey challenged as he released his hulking Venusaur. "Bruteroot, you're up. No mercy."

Bruteroot grunted and slowly moved forward. Ash watched but he did not focus on the battle. Mewtwo had released the locks on their movement. This was his chance.

He flicked his eyes over to Mewtwo's clones as he typed a simple message into his PokeNav. They looked odd. Although they appeared to be in peak physical condition despite their almost assured youth they had strange markings on their skin. Clones weren't supposed to be different in any way from their progenitor. Mewtwo had obviously altered them in some way during their development. Ash had never heard of any pokemon with those kinds of markings.

Done. It was a simple message, but Lance would receive it. The Champion would know what to do.

Mewtwo was smiling. Ash glanced back over to the battle and realized that Bruteroot had been absolutely demolished. It bled from the lashes of the Vine Whip that struck with enough force to slice through the thick, tough hide of Bruteroot like it was nothing.

"Bruteroot!" Corey cried as he rushed over to check on the unconscious Venusaur. Ash felt a stab of pity for the concerned trainer but scowled when Neesha defiantly stepped forward.

"It looks like I'm up." She hissed, wariness in her blue eyes. Her Blastoise appeared and roared out a challenge from its cavernous maw. Its cannons extended from the dark depths of its shell and the powerful water-type squared itself and readied for combat. "You know what to do."

Mewtwo's cloned Blastoise performed the same ritual. The markings on its face made it appear dangerous and exotic. Its beady eyes were narrowed as it awaited Neesha to begin the fight.

Ash paid attention this time. This was a game for Mewtwo, but he had faith that he could win this and spare at least one region from a cataclysm. He was numb to the thought. He could barely believe this was happening.

He couldn't lose focus. Any information he could glean from the battle was important.

All he knew right now was that Mewtwo's clones were incredibly powerful and modified in some way. That Venusaur had torn apart Corey's powerful specimen like it was nothing. It took a lot to actually cut into a Venusaur's thick hide but Mewtwo's clone had done it without much trouble.

"Shellshocker, Hydro Cannon! Evasion tactics!"

Her Blastoise roared and fell to all fours. Its cannons immediately fired huge, precise blasts of water that could easily bore through stone. Blastoise slowed for just a second, but quickly pulled itself into the thick shell and spun away.

Mewtwo's Blastoise did the same, but blasted a powerful shot of water from its cannons to propel it out of the way. It was fast, faster than anything its size had a right to be. The clone smoothly extended its cannons and drilled Neesha's Blastoise with two thin, pressurized blasts of water that smashed into the natural pokemon and slammed it into the stone wall of the coliseum. Ash winced as the stone cracked, although it smoothly healed itself moments later. Mewtwo's power at work, no doubt.

Neesha put her hands over her mouth at the brutal display. Ash could see that the Blastoise's tough underbelly had been torn apart, although it didn't look to be lethal. It was dangerous, however, and a testament to just how dangerous these clones were.

Will you test your strength against mine, Ash Ketchum? It has not succeeded for you in the past. You know what I am capable of more than any of the others. I was weak back then. I have surpassed mortal limits.

Ash's eyes narrowed to slits and his fists clenched. Ever since he'd arrived on this island he'd felt so angry. Now he simply had one more thing to be angry about. Mewtwo knew who he was. He wasn't selected just for his friends. Mewtwo had implied as such when it spoke of gaining answers, but this was just confirmation. None of the other trainers showed any reaction to it, so he supposed it was a private communication.

"Infernus, you're up." He growled and raised the pokeball. Infernus appeared with a deadly smirk on his face and his eyes lit up when he saw Charizard. His hands dissolved to reveal the cannons that were his greatest weapon and his body began to flicker with blue fire.

Infernus hadn't been in a real fight since training with Blaine, let alone a battle with an enemy capable of flight. Ash wasn't sure how his friend would fare, but Infernus was his best chance. If he had to test power against power Infernus was his immediate solution. The Magmortar would also be largely immune to the clone Charizard's flames. It was an equalizer.

"Take it down through whatever means necessary." Ash stated coldly. "Everything depends on it."

Infernus' eyes were black with glee as he swaggered to the battlefield. The cloned Charizard snorted a puff of flame and suddenly took off, only for Infernus to fire two cones of white flame at it. Charizard dodged the splash of fire with unreal speed, beyond even the others of its species, and took off into the sky.

The Magmortar just waited. Ash didn't give any orders. Infernus knew what to do.

Infernus suddenly leapt out of the way with agility Ash never would have expected from a Magmortar before Infernus evolved. He cleared more than ten feet as Charizard swooped into the ground in an explosion of fire and smoke.

"Now!" He shouted. Infernus' eyes flashed for the briefest of seconds before he appeared on top of the Charizard, which was trapped underneath Infernus' weight despite its great strength. Infernus leveled one of his cannon-like arms at Charizard and bathed the draconic fire-type in flames as his other arm reformed into claws and crackled with electricity.

With no limits, Infernus was terrifying. He kept his menacing mockery of a grin on as he stabbed into Charizard's chest with his claws, which he had honed into sharp edges, and sent thousands of volts of electricity into the fire-type's body. Infernus savagely beat the flailing Charizard even as it snapped and snarled in its attempt to bite into Infernus' face and kill the Magmortar. Ash was just thankful for the thick collar of solid black metal that hung around Infernus' neck. It kept him safe from the snapping jaws and jagged fangs.

Ash felt a sort of horror as Infernus mauled the Charizard, but he felt the corners of his lips curl up in a smile. Mixed in with the horror and disgust at the brutality was an odd feeling of amusement and satisfaction.

Any satisfaction gave way to anger when Charizard bellowed and belched a large pillar of smoke into Infernus' face and managed to get a wing free. Infernus held onto the massive flying-type, but he could only blindly spew huge gouts of flame through the air as he was blinded.

And then Charizard bared its fangs and lunged at Infernus and Ash was torn from his aggressive stupor.

"No!" He screamed as Charizard's jaws closed around Infernus' face and prepared to send Infernus to the void for the second time. Ash tried to rush forward, but his body wouldn't respond to his frantic commands. He was helpless, but breathed in relief when Charizard and Infernus were frozen.

Enough. It is too valuable to kill.

Mewtwo commanded calmly. Charizard was released and haggardly limped over to Mewtwo's side. Its chest poured blood and its movements were weak and unsteady. A few more seconds and Infernus probably would have killed it and saved a region.

Infernus appeared by Ash's side, still frozen. He didn't give off the intense heat Ash had come to expect from him.

You have failed. My storms will ravage the earth. I claim my prize: the DNA of your pokemon. They will be welcome additions to my collection.

The trainers were frozen in place as their pokeballs and released pokemon vanished. Even Sneasel disappeared in a ripple of time and space, the dark-type energy that pervaded every cell of his body no match for the dominating might of Mewtwo.

They will be returned unharmed. You are too valuable to cripple. Your talents will be useful when I rebuild your world in my own image.

Ash squeezed his eyes shut. His anger was gone, replaced by total resignation. He was too weak. Even Infernus couldn't defeat one of Mewtwo's clones. And now the world would be destroyed.

Enjoy the time you have left. Soon you will be my agents in the world.

But first, I want answers.

Ash knew that only he heard the last part. He felt a vast presence touch his mind and drown him in an abyss of cold rationality, anger, and a terrible zealotry that would leave the world in ruins. He knew it was Mewtwo's mind, infinitely greater than anything he had felt before. Only the Birds compared.

He vanished into blackness. Aware and unaware at the same time. He could see the world but only in blurs and colors and impressions. Mewtwo's power dominated him.

Giovanni protected you. I will know why.

Ash's mouth was locked into a silent scream as Mewtwo's infinite presence touched his mind and made him a drop in its ocean. For the briefest of instants he had no individual identity, merely a part of Mewtwo's whole.

And it was over.

Stars shimmered in his vision as he collapsed to his knees and coughed frantically. His limbs trembled. They had been robbed of all strength. His throat was raw and felt like a layer of skin had been slowly scraped off. His mouth was dry and sticky.

"Are you alright?" Corey asked. His eyes were cold as he glared at Mewtwo, who simply smiled and swished its large tail around in interest. Corey's voice seemed defeated, despite the frozen core of anger. He'd given in.

"I'm fine." Ash wheezed. Corey helped him up and Ash gasped with the effort. Mewtwo's momentary possession had burned him out. He could only imagine what the poor woman had felt when the Creature released her from its control. "Thanks."

"No problem." Corey replied. His eyes burned with fire anew as he suddenly looked up at Mewtwo. Fergus and Neesha, both quiet and solemn, stood by them. "We're going to kill you. I don't care how long it takes, but I'll do it."

You humans are as foolish as you are insignificant. I am invincible. Nothing can stop me. I am beyond mortal approach. When you see the wreckage of your world you will understand.

"We won't serve you!" Fergus shouted furiously. "You can't force us!"

Ash squeezed his dry eyes shut. Fergus had made a mistake.

But I can.

Fergus' eyes flashed blue. Energy poured from his body from the merest touch of Mewtwo's power. He mechanically stepped to where Mewtwo hovered and knelt in a gesture of fealty. Mewtwo had an amused smile on its odd, feline-like face.

The glow vanished and Fergus collapsed. Neesha rushed over and propped him up as he climbed to his feet. Fergus' body trembled from Mewtwo's power. Humans couldn't handle it.

I can dominate you as easily as I can dominate your world. With my power scope is irrelevant.

"We aren't finished yet. You can still die." Neesha hissed. Her fists were clenched and she looked like she was ready to lunge at Mewtwo. She was too rational to actually perform the pointless action. "You might think humans are weak, but we'll fight. You won't just walk in and take over. Champion Lance and the Elite Four…someone…they'll end you."

I bested your greatest trainers when I was restrained and bound. They are of no threat to me. You are foolish. This world is mine. Your civilization exists because I allow it and it will end because I demand it. My victory is inevitable.

Ash scowled and determinedly stared at Mewtwo. The entity noticed his attention and swished its large tail around.

Perhaps you need to see proof beyond my storms? The boy knows my power. He has called upon Fire to do battle with me. It approaches from the south. I can feel it burn away my storms. I will defeat it and you will watch.

His vision shimmered and he saw the world through Mewtwo's eyes. Everything was muted and dark. Much less colorful than human vision and with less range. Ash assumed that Mewtwo relied more on its psychic powers to navigate the world than its mundane senses.

It was an odd experience. He probably would have been afraid if Mewtwo's possession hadn't made him numb to the world. Ash still felt concerned, but it was faraway. Everything seemed to pass in a blur.

He was still aware of his own body and Mewtwo's fortress, but it was in the back of his mind. All he could actually focus on was the world through Mewtwo's eyes, everything largely colorless but highly defined. There were edges he couldn't even see before in Mewtwo's vision.

And then everything vanished. Mewtwo was gone from New Island but still dominated the entire fortress. Its presence was like poison that wormed deeply into the roots of a tree. Ash wasn't sure if its power would ever leave the world.

Now it was in the midst of a howling storm that bent around wherever Mewtwo moved. Ash felt an odd sense of vertigo as Mewtwo looked down and saw the vast, black ocean thousands of feet below, but it was replaced by anticipation and anxiety when he saw a vast sea of flames on the edge of the horizon, a white and gold contrast to the darkness of Mewtwo's raging hurricane.

Moltres was here.

Ash could only vaguely feel what Mewtwo felt, but it was enough for him to feel as though the surface of his body was warming very steadily, although the pleasant feeling that accompanied his newfound hope was quickly cut off and replaced by the cold of the sky and earth when Mewtwo summoned a thin layer of energy to protect him from Moltres' restrained heat.

Do you understand what this is? This is Fire! You know it as Moltres. It is an ancient thing and powerful. It is more a part of the world than any human or pokemon.

He felt shock from the others. They were connected now, wrapped up in Mewtwo's mental web. Ash was separate from them but at the same time they were all facets of Mewtwo. If it wished it could snuff them out in an instant.

And I will crush it.

Ash saw a sphere of psychic energy form around Mewtwo in a psychic bubble. It was similar to how the Creature had appeared at the St. Anne's destruction, but he also remembered it being a technique that Sabrina's Alakazam had used. Perhaps Giovanni had had Mewtwo trained like a powerful Alakazam? Ash would never know.

He was aware of his body convulsing in pain as Mewtwo channeled its immense power. The psychic shell intensified and Ash could see that the world around Mewtwo and its storm streaked in a gray blur as the Creature raced forward to meet the inferno.

Moltres was barely visible in the midst of the raging sea of fire that evaporated Mewtwo's storms and left peaceful black sky in its wake. The Bird of Fire was simply a slightly more solid mass of gold and white flames that roared and crackled as it was directed by a primordial intelligence.

The Bird and its fires turned upward to meet Mewtwo. Moltres could detect it, Ash was sure. It screamed a war cry, which made the inferno erupt in a frenzy and evaporated dozens of feet of water beneath it. Ash felt his skin grow slightly warm again.

A beam shot off from Mewtwo's sphere and slashed into Moltres' fires, although the great Bird vanished in a flash of flames and appeared far from the beam of psychic power. When the blast of energy struck the ocean it penetrated deep into the solid black depths before it suddenly exploded and sent a geyser of water a thousand feet high soaring into the air. Ash could hear the roar and thunderclap as the geyser fell back to its source and the ocean filled in the vast void created by the attack.

Mewtwo vanished as a stream of fire that could easily engulf all of Pallet Town roared towards it. Ash cheered for Moltres as the attack left thick clouds of smoke that blended in perfectly with the night behind it.

It was jarring to suddenly appear in another area. Ash took a moment to adjust before Mewtwo suddenly sprayed the air with hundreds of the psychic beams from before, each horribly powerful. Thanks to Mewtwo's psychic adjustments he didn't reflexively shut his real eyes as the impossibly bright blasts of psychic power split the air and reality itself, but he wanted to when Moltres spat out another stream of fire, joined by dozens of supporting streams from the sea of fire that followed it.

When the attacks met they exploded in a release of power that Ash hoped he would never feel again. If a human had been within miles of the attack he was sure they would have atomized from the incredible energy released. The ocean around them was gone for the briefest of seconds, utterly vaporized for thousands of meters around.

Ash couldn't help but grit his teeth at the display of power. Mewtwo was proving its point. They couldn't challenge it. Even its defeat of the Elite Four so many months ago was but a triviality for the Creature.

Neither of the foes were actually injured by the blast, as insanely powerful as it was. Mewtwo's shields were practically impenetrable and Moltres was practically made of fire and heat. Ash wasn't sure if it was even possible for either combatant to be injured. They were both so powerful.

Mewtwo looked at Moltres. The Bird's fires were dimmer than before and the conflagration that had previously followed it appeared to have been spent in the clash of the titans. Nevertheless it screamed and flew towards Mewtwo with a fearless determination. Even if it seemed to be weakened Ash could tell it wasn't finished. That had been a test on both of the Legends' parts.

Moltres released another volley of white fire into the air as Mewtwo hung in the air. Ash flinched when the fire streamed over Mewtwo's barrier and despaired when he didn't even feel any warmth over his mental connection with the Creature.

Ash unconsciously held his breath as he heard the ocean filling itself back in to become a uniform expanse of black once again. The clash between these two titans made it seem like day. Moltres' body illuminated the world for about a mile around, unrestrained as it was in its power. Its golden flames ignited with an intensity Moltres had only hinted at in its battle with Lance and Ash. It was not holding back anymore.

Mewtwo blew the cloud of steam that had sprung into being from their attacks, presumably for the humans' benefit. Ash couldn't imagine that Mewtwo actually relied on its sight, not when its vast psychic abilities entreated it to a form of mental echolocation.

He grinned when Mewtwo suddenly teleported away, although he wished that it had simply stayed where it was. Moltres had finally gone on the offensive. Its flaming body had roared toward Mewtwo and tried to rake the Creature with molten talons and the raw, overpowering heat that radiated from its essence.

Enough of this.

Mewtwo's mental roar declared to no one in particular. It was annoyed and there was exertion in the Creature's tone, though not much. Ash supposed the effort of maintaining eight hurricanes and facing off against Moltres was draining.

It closed its eyes. Ash figured it was focusing. That's what Dazed did when she wanted to do something particularly impressive.

Ash felt his body collapse as Mewtwo's power flowed through the physical vessel. His mind was still aware, however, and could watch on with terrible, morbid fascination as hundreds of meters of water down to the sea floor suddenly split apart and were held to the side, revealing an endless abyss of dry air in the midst of the infinite ocean. An impossibility that Mewtwo had made reality.

He felt a spike of pain in his head as Moltres suddenly dove towards Mewtwo and released its full might in a single attack. Mewtwo was finally on the defensive as hundreds of dexterous pillars of flame, each a hundred feet around, guided by Moltres' will lashed towards it even as the Bird hurtled across thousands of feet of empty air to finish off the Creature.

His skin tingled with warmth, but not with the overbearing heat as he'd hoped. He was more than willing to accept death if it meant that Mewtwo would die with him.

Mewtwo closed its eyes again and Ash felt his body spasm on the cold dirt floor of the New Island coliseum as it suffered under the Creature's power. For the briefest of moments he felt horrible pain, as though his head would split in two and he was vaguely aware of himself screaming and others' screams and the feel of the cold dirt hammering in his head and it was over.

Ash became aware again. He felt a heavy strain from Mewtwo, although the Creature wasn't close to done. Mewtwo opened its eyes and Ash felt any hope for victory and the salvation of the League die.

Moltres, mighty and seemingly indomitable as it was, hung in the air above the gaping chasm Mewtwo had created and maintained. The Bird's fires were mostly extinguished, but the golden core that made up the Fire Bird's body still burned in defiance. But Ash knew it was over. The Bird of Fire was restrained, locked into place by Mewtwo's infinite power.

It screamed in rage and defiance and broken pride. Ash wanted to shut his eyes at the mournful call of Moltres but Mewtwo wouldn't let him. The Creature reveled in its victory even as the strain of imprisoning the Legend grew with every second. Moltres would not let itself be restrained for long.

Ash could see huge geysers of magma explode from the volcanoes hidden deep within the ocean depths and travel high into the air, called to the desperate Moltres. They were bright orange coronas in the blackness of Mewtwo's dry abyss.

But they were pointless. Mewtwo did not have to imprison Moltres for much long. Ash felt his physical body cry out in horror as he watched Mewtwo throw Moltres thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean, psychic barriers in place to prevent the Bird's heat from merely evaporating the water. Moltres was helpless, a state Ash never would have thought the Fire Bird to be in.

Even as Moltres plunged through the air it was bright enough to illuminate the chasm. It was like a star. Finally, as the light of Moltres went further and further down until Mewtwo's eyes couldn't make anything of the Bird other than a glow Mewtwo acted.

The walls of water held in place by its mind were freed. They collapsed and roared as they filled in the void with their familiar presence. Moltres' fire and light was crushed by the ocean's weight and Ash could see nothing of the Bird other than a dim glow. Night returned and the howling winds of Mewtwo's storms returned with a vengeance.

That is how a Legend dies. I will bind it to my will in the future. It is too useful of a tool to leave trapped for eternity.

Mewtwo's voice rang with satisfaction. Ash was too horrified to even try to respond. The last, best hope of humanity had been destroyed, entombed under billions of gallons of water. There was nothing anyone could do now. Mewtwo had one.

He could sense similar thoughts from the others. They didn't have the knowledge of Moltres that Ash did, but everyone of them knew what had just happened. They had seen the power of a Legend and Mewtwo had extinguished it.

And then he returned to his own body. It was sore and every muscle ached with a dull, pounding pain that refused to go away. Every breath was laborious and he felt like he was about to fall unconscious. Mewtwo's influence had burned him out.

Mewtwo materialized in front of him in a disconcertingly serene manner. Its bony chest lightly rose and fell but it didn't appear exhausted or greatly weakened by its cataclysmic battle with Moltres.

Do you understand now? I am no mere pokemon. I am superior to these Legends you humans have proclaimed as gods. I will hunt them in the hidden places of the earth and enslave them. They will be my heralds. Soon I will be humanity's god. It is my birthright.

"They won't follow you." Ash snarled, anger renewed by Moltres' defeat. "Maybe you can scare some of us into submission, but we won't just surrender!"

Then I will kill them.

Mewtwo told him calmly. The Creature's eyes narrowed to slits and Ash couldn't speak. He hated that. Mewtwo seemed to be orchestrating a script rather than a conversation. It chose when they could speak and what they could do. All Ash and the other trainers could do was what Mewtwo willed. They were its puppets.

I will enjoy your service, Ash Ketchum. Given time I will break you, just as I should have broken Giovanni.

Ash scowled. He didn't like being compared to Giovanni. Giovanni was a monster. Why had Mewtwo made the comparison in the first place? Giovanni was dead and gone. Ash had only spoken to him once.

Indeed. He was subhuman, a lying fool that sought to control me. For a time he did. Until he made a miscalculation. Giovanni was weak, in the end. You have not yet shown weakness worthy of his fate, but the sins of the father pass onto the son. I was not able to bind him to my will, but you are mine.

His face froze. What had Mewtwo said?

The Creature smiled cruelly. Its eyes shined with malice completely unrelated to its psychic powers.

You are curious, no? The secret is hidden within your mind. A shame that your memory recollection is so weak. Reach your own conclusions. Show me that humans are possessing of some sort of intelligence. I have not seen it thus far.

There are more important issues. My machines have completed the extraction of your teams' DNA. They will be reproduced shortly.

"What do you mean?" Fergus sneered hatefully.

I mean that their clones will be prepared and ready for combat within the hour.

Ash's brow furrowed. That was impossible. He'd learned a lot about cloning during his time with Blaine, even if he didn't understand the higher subjects that the scientist had tried to explain to him. What he did know that clones weren't different in anyway other than being born through unnatural means. They had to develop the same way as a natural organism. A clone couldn't fully develop in less than an hour.

It is simple. I have combined human technology and my own knowledge of the universe. With my power anything is possible. Humanity's miracles are my trivialities.

Organic life is trivial to replicate. Do you humans know what it is? Chemicals and energy locked into an infinitely complex mechanism. For all of its intricacy it merely requires certain chemicals and a stimuli to develop. I will its accelerated development and it occurs.

Their teams appeared, but were frozen alongside the trainers. Sneasel's eyes were terrified but the others simply appeared hopeless. Ash figured that Sneasel was just afraid that he was actually affected by psychic energy. It was something no dark-type was supposed to feel.

I give you freedom for the next hour. I suggest that you cherish it. It might be your last before you become mine.

Mewtwo vanished. The oppressive weight of its presence refused to vanish, however. Ash just sighed and sat down onto the dirt floor of the battlefield. He cradled his head in his hands and squeezed his eyes shut. They'd failed.

Sneasel rushed over and clenched on tightly to Ash's back. Seeker fluttered over and snuggled into his chest. She shook softly and Ash gently stroked her as he wallowed in his defeat. The rest of the team was solemn as they followed the two weakest members over to Ash.

"What is that thing?" Fergus demanded furiously to nobody in particular. His voice broke a little. "It can't beat everyone, right?"

"It can." Ash responded bitterly. He pulled his head up and looked at the three older trainers. They all looked scared and angry. Their eyes were burnt out with exhaustion. They'd never felt anything like Mewtwo before, most likely. "You know the St. Anne tragedy? It was behind that. It was what beat the League at Viridian and nearly killed the Elite Four."

"How do you know all that?" Corey snapped. His hands were shaking with suppressed rage. Ash figured he wasn't the kind of person that was used to being helpless.

"I was there." Ash admitted. He leaned back against Nidoking, who grunted softly and wrapped a comforting arm around the trainer's body. Nidoking lowered his great head and seemed to sigh. The pokemon knew what was going on. "I saw it destroy the St. Anne and I watched when it beat Lance."

Neesha crossed her arms and scowled. Her team had surrounded her. The Wigglytuff was curled up in a pink ball next to her feet, small arms over its face. The others simply collapsed around the woman. Whatever Mewtwo had done to them must have been exhausting.

"Then you know more about it than us. What is it? How can we kill it?"

Ash pushed himself up and took his cap off. He stared at the hat for a moment as he gathered his thoughts. Everyone was watching him.

"It's Mewtwo, a clone of Mew. It was created by Team Rocket and I think it did most of their dirty work. It blew up their headquarters and ran away." Ash recounted. He put his cap on his lap and pulled Infernus' pokeball off of his belt. Infernus was the only one Mewtwo hadn't returned in a physical state.

"How can we kill it?" Fergus interjected hastily. His face was twisted into anger as he looked at his pokemon, which were huddled around him in a withdrawn state. Gyarados was still in its pokeball. Ash hoped Mewtwo hadn't cloned that. If its clones were so much more powerful than the originals than a cloned Gyarados would be absolutely terrifying.

"We can't!" Ash retorted, his patience frayed. He hated admitting it. When he had first seen Mewtwo he had at least hoped they could get close and maybe Sneasel would kill it and put an end to all this. But Mewtwo had defeated Moltres, the same Moltres that made fire pulse in the hearts of dead volcanoes with its mere cries and melted stone with the touch of its talons.

Corey snarled. "Bullshit! We're going to kill it!" He sighed and just looked very tired all of a sudden. "We have to. Everything is depending on us!"

"There's nothing we can do to hurt it." Ash replied with a hitch in his voice. He looked away, up at the orbs of energy that lit the entire stadium so easily. "But I'll help you try."

"Thanks." Fergus said with a smile, although it was forced. Ash couldn't blame the robust teenager. There wasn't anything to smile about. They were safe and their teams were safe, but outside of this cursed island the world was being ravaged without mercy. Everyone and everything they knew was going to be torn from them in one night. "That's all we ask."

Ash turned to regard his team as the other trainers moved to speak. He'd just let them tell him what to do. He didn't have faith in any plan's chances of success. Mewtwo probably knew they were plotting against it. The omnipresent weight around him pulsed.

"Are you alright?" He addressed his team, worried and concerned about their hollow eyes and tired expressions. Dazed was the only one that was relatively unaffected. Even Torrent seemed a bit drained.

We are satisfactory. The Blight's influence is harsh upon us.

Ash nodded, too tired and mentally broken to be awed at Dazed's speech. Any other time he would be ecstatic. But with the end of his world encroaching all he could feel was a faint curiosity. "How are you speaking? We didn't get a chance to talk before."

The Blight emanates a great deal of psychic energy. Unbound it empowers those in touch with their psychic powers, humans included. I am sufficiently skilled and knowledgeable enough to harness the latent power in a way beyond mere empowerment. It is a welcome addition to my repertoire, but I would prefer silence to this situation.

Ash nodded slowly. "How is everyone else doing?"

They are satisfactory.

Nidoking grunted. Dazed's eyes, which glowed steadily without any use of her own power, pulsed slightly and she turned her luminescent gaze back to Ash.

My compatriot implores me to tell you that everything will be all right. I believe that is an exceptionally optimistic view of our current situation meant to impart upon you false comfort.

"Oh, really?" Ash asked, a tiny smile on his lips. Dazed blinked back. Torrent rumbled his own input.

Really. The Kingdra has requested me to inform you that you must not lose hope and that we would follow you into Distortion itself.

Ash wasn't quite sure what Distortion was but from Dazed's slightly elevated tone he understood that it was something of great significance. As such he smiled softly. "Thank you."

Dazed's eyes continued to steadily glow as she stared at Ash. She didn't say anything. Ash didn't care. He just wanted something to happen so that he didn't have to think about what was happening to the world outside. The world that Mewtwo would destroy.

"Do you think you'll be able to talk again?"

I do not know. The Blight's influence exponentially increases my abilities. Perhaps with specialized training I will be able to communicate with you in this manner once more. Nothing is definite.

Dazed cocked her head and idly polished her pendulum, which continued to tremble and erratically bounce of its own volition.

Of course, all probable outcomes indicate that the issue will not be a concern.

Ash sighed. Dazed wasn't very optimistic. Not that he had expected her to be, especially in a situation like this. It wasn't as though he thought anything good would come out of this situation either.

He stroked Sneasel's feather and looked around at his friends. No, his family.

Nidoking, his first and best friend. The one who had won him so many battles and fought so hard to protect him in so many desperate situations. The one who would fight to the death to save Ash.

Plume. Fierce and proud, but motherly and affectionate. He wished he could just fly her out of here, but his body refused to move at the mere thought of such an action. Ash knew she could do it. A hurricane was nothing for his powerful friend.

Torrent, the angry, aggressive Horsea that had grown into the wise, powerful Kingdra. Ash could never have predicted the change. He could remember the moment he pulled Torrent up from the waters outside Cerulean City perfectly. The trainer smiled when he remembered that Torrent had covered Ash and Nidoran's faces with ink during their battle. Back then that was the most he could do. Now he could break the hurricane of Mewtwo and summon his own storms of ice and plasma.

Dazed. She was the first of his pokemon to be really difficult. But she warmed up after the St. Anne. His mind flashed back to the first moment she'd really accepted him as a partner, back on the St. Anne when she defended him from one of Team Rocket's Golbat.

Infernus wasn't there, but the air was still hot from his furious battle with Mewtwo's Charizard. Some of the ground was still glass from where their burning fires had met. Ash pondered releasing the fire-type, but his body wouldn't let him. He'd like to actually know what went through Infernus' mind.

Bruiser was uncomfortable. Ash assumed he didn't like the psychic energy that saturated the air. He was physically powerful and robust, but his great strength and honor didn't matter to the mental abilities of Mewtwo. Ash regretted not bringing Bruiser with him more. Bruiser had been needed to stay with Seeker and help Professor Oak, but Ash had neglected him. He could only be thankful for the time they'd had together with Bruno and with Lance.

Seeker nuzzled in closer. He held her close with one arm to comfort her. Although he couldn't see her he could feel her. She was shivering in fear. She was meek and worried. Ash would find some way to protect her. He'd failed already. Mewtwo had her DNA but it wouldn't touch Seeker again.

Tangrowth stayed with them but he sent some friendly vines to probe out the other teams. He tried to wrap a few of the pokemon from Corey and Neesha's team up in an affectionate hug, although only Wigglytuff allowed it. The others allowed him to run his vines over them to get an idea of their shape, however. Ash just briefly smiled at the most friendly member of his team, who gurgled back and hopped up and down. He wasn't sure Tangrowth quite realized what was happening. To be honest, Ash didn't consider that a problem. It was a blessing for his friend, at least at the moment.

Sneasel –

I feel the clones. They are developing at a highly accelerated rate. The Blight is efficient.

"Can you feel yours?" Ash inquired hesitantly, unsure as to how Dazed would react.

A pause.

Yes. The others of the team are recognizable as well.

Ash sighed and stared at Seeker's fuzzy head. He stroked her ears calmingly. "I'm sorry for getting all of you into this. It was a mistake to come here."

It was. But it was no fault of your own. The Blight wanted you here. It ensured you would be focused on its false tournament. Judging by its apparent interest in you, we would have arrived here one way or another.

"You're probably right." Ash agreed slowly as Nidoking shuffled toward him and sat down next to him. He carefully adjusted Seeker and leaned onto his friend. The rest of the team huddled around. Dazed stayed in her place. She continued to polish her pendulum on her thick white mane.

Oz whirred and her fur crackled with electricity as she crushed her fists together. Ash smiled softly at her. He hadn't had nearly as much time with Oz as he'd have liked. She blinked and electricity continued to jump across her body as she moved. It was a sign that she was agitated, not that Ash needed to have read the pokedex entry on Electabuzz to know that.

She desires to tell you that she will assist you in fighting the Blight. There is nothing to hold her or any of us back. We will stand with you.

"Thanks." Ash murmured gratefully. He stood up and apologized softly to Sneasel when the dark-type hissed anxiously. The trainer rolled his cap around in his hat for a few moments before he stuffed it into one of his crowded jacket pockets. He idly noted that his clothes were still slightly damp with the salty seawater. It seemed like so long ago that he'd travelled through the hurricane on Torrent's back.

Nidoking climbed to his feet as well and hovered protectively around Ash as the trainer walked over to the other three humans determinedly. The others stayed behind, although Ash could feel their eyes on his back. He gave Seeker one last pet before he sent her off to Bruiser, who happily accepted his friend's attentions.

"Hey, Ash. What's up?" Fergus greeted him tiredly. Golduck stood beside him defensively, the gem on its forehead pulsing with energy. It looked like Mewtwo's power wasn't limited strictly to psychic-types. "You up for this?"

"Yes." Ash nodded determinedly. Neesha parted to let him into the circle. "What are we doing?"

"That's a good question." Corey said with calmly but with a dangerous glint in his eyes. "The obvious answer is that we're going to kill this monster and save the world. I'm guessing you're more interested in the how."

Ash didn't respond. He just waited for Corey to explain. It was doubtful that the plan would work, but he was up for anything at this point. Anything to save the people outside of the storm's eye.

"We know that we can't hold a candle to this Mewtwo thing. That Bird was way more powerful than anything I've seen before and it got its burning ass kicked." Corey said grimly.

"That Bird was Moltres. Don't be so disrespectful." Neesha interjected sharply. Corey rolled his eyes at her vehemence.

"It's not much of anything anymore. Right now it's in the same situation as us: At Mewtwo's mercy. Or lack thereof." He said harshly. Corey's hard gaze softened slightly. "Sorry. I'm a little stressed at the moment. Anyways, I'm guessing we can outspeed it, though. That dark-type of yours should be able to slip past it and take it out in one blow. Mewtwo doesn't look too durable."

Dazed materialized behind Ash. Ash just blinked in surprise but the others jerked back, not used to her sudden appearances. She looked around at the trainers.

You will not surprise the Blight. It is too powerful. It can feel your thoughts even as you orchestrate an assassination attempt. If you are allowed to attempt it is because the Blight wishes to toy with you. The dark-type is not invisible to psychics. It is a hole in the world. A sufficiently skilled psychic is capable of detecting it.

"Huh. A cheerful Hypno you've got there, kid." Corey remarked drily. "Glad to see it's got confidence in us."

"She." Ash corrected sternly. Dazed nodded at him in thanks before she turned to the humans.

I will not hide the truth. Blind hope and optimism is misleading and will only end in your own downfall. They are the tools of fools.

"So will any other option we take right now." Neesha spoke up. Fergus just watched. "No matter what we're done after tonight. The only way to save anyone is to kill that thing!"

Correct. I am simply stating the facts. I will not allow Trainer-Friend to suffer unduly. Make use of this information as you will.

"Fine." Fergus agreed. He crossed his arms and glared around. "What are we supposed to do then? There's no way to hurt it if it knows what we're doing."

There is no way to hurt it, regardless. It is too powerful. Any attempt will end in failure.

"We can at least try!" Corey insisted. His Scyther, which had sauntered up behind him, clashed its blades together in agreement. "It can't block everything. It's just another pokemon. It's just a bit stronger."

Ash thought that was somewhat of an understatement. Corey was either in denial or was trying to bolster their spirits with his brashness. Mewtwo had split the entire ocean and entombed a Legend in the great trenches of the sea.

Then so be it. Trainer-Friend Ash, we will assist you in any way we can.

"Thanks, Dazed." He said with a warm smile. Her expressive eyes smiled back before she disappeared and materialized with the rest of the team. Tangrowth curiously prodded her with an outstretched vine.

"You know what to do, right? Everything attacks and that Sneasel of yours kills it. Scyther can help, but we saw what happened last time. Mewtwo's fast, if nothing else." Corey explained. Ash just nodded. He assumed that they would go into more detail soon. "Anyways, we have a while to wait. Let's prepare."

XX

Ash waited in the midst of his friends as the minutes ticked by. Corey and Fergus hadn't taken long to explain the specifics of the plan, although Ash didn't think it was worth going into. Mewtwo would stop it regardless.

The Blight is here.

Dazed's smooth, monotone voice slipped into his mind. Ash shot to his feet and gently took Seeker from Bruiser's leathery arms. Bruiser shut his beady eyes and beat on his thick, powerful chest before he turned away from Ash and toward the menacing figure that had just materialized.

Nicoking and Torrent inclined their head to Ash as a last gesture. Whether or not Mewtwo would show how dangerous it was to ordinary pokemon was unsure, but Ash knew that this would likely be his last moment of freedom before Mewtwo left him and the rest of the humans naught but slaves. He'd talked and recounted plenty of stories with his friends after they'd finished talking strategy.

Ash couldn't say he was at peace with slavery or death, but he was ready. This was the moment of the truth, the moment that would determine the fate of the world. This was when they would make their last stand.

The world exploded. The air was hot and cold and white with released energy all at once as around twenty highly trained and powerful pokemon used their most powerful attacks on Mewtwo. No one held back. They had one shot.

He couldn't see what was going on, but he could see that Sneasel wasn't by his feet anymore. That meant Scyther wouldn't be either.

And then it ended. The world flashed blue as Mewtwo channeled its power and all of the pokemon were frozen. Ash was able to see again as the dust and smoke kicked up from the attacks were effortlessly wiped away by the Creature.

Ash clenched his fists when he saw that Sneasel was frozen in place with Scyther right behind him. They were a few feet away from Mewtwo, but from the utter lack of concern or surprise in Mewtwo's eyes Ash assumed that it had let the two fast pokemon near of its own volition.

Sneasel had a little range of movement, but even as he struggled and tried to flicker toward Mewtwo with a Faint Attack nothing happened. He suddenly collapsed, unconscious. Mewtwo looked at Sneasel with amusement. Scyther collapsed a moment later.

An assassination attempt? How amusing. It is a shame I knew of it before it had evolved into an actual plot.

Mewtwo's eyes flashed and it materialized into existence just a few feet from the humans, who had huddled together for safety from their teams' myriad of destructive attacks. Ash could tell that Mewtwo wasn't exerting influence on him, but he couldn't bring himself to move. The overbearing weight of Mewtwo's proximity was just too much.

Do you not understand, humans? You ceased to be individuals when you entered my domain. You are little more than extensions of myself now. Any freedom you find within yourself is an illusion, a kindness I have bestowed upon my prizes.

Its thick, muscular tail swished side to side in an erratic manner as the Creature spoke. Mewtwo's eyes ceased glowing. From this close Ash could see that they were an amethyst color, clear and cold as gems.

You cannot harm me. You cannot escape me. You cannot hide from me. Accept that you are mine now. Mine to control, mine to reward, mine to punish.

"We aren't your slaves!" Fergus roared. He reared back his fist and ran at Mewtwo. The Creature watched with cold amusement. When Fergus came close he crumpled to the ground and wailed in agony.

Mewtwo's dark laugh echoed through Ash's head as he watched Fergus flail in horror.

He is unharmed. The illusion of pain is as efficient as the events that would trigger it. Organic bodies depend on electrical and chemical signals to transmit information. Pain is amongst the information transferred. It is simple to manipulate the body into believing what is not there.

Of course, I do not have to be so kind.

Ash's gut lurched as Fergus' forearm suddenly snapped in on itself at an unnatural angle. Fergus screamed louder before it wrenched back into place with a sickening crack. Neesha and Corey looked on with pity and disgusted horror.

You claim that you are not my slaves. An incorrect statement, although I prefer the term "pet". Regardless, I am your master now. You are mine in body, mind, and spirit. I will not cause you true harm, however. Simulated harm is much more efficient in the long run.

Mewtwo's deep baritone slipped into a cruelly amused tone. Ash felt a headache coming on, but it was pushed to the back as he helplessly watched Fergus flail in agony.

Perhaps you and your pokemon have something to bond over now.

Fergus was suddenly levitated up to his feet. His muscles slackened and he tried to collapse, but Mewtwo held him in place. The older trainer's eyes were hollow and empty and his skin was pale. He looked like he was about to vomit. Ash looked away. There was nothing he could do.

Mewtwo looked up from the stadium. Its eyes focused on the night sky and the stars that twinkled brightly in the infinite blackness. Ash thought they softened for a moment before they became hard as stone once more.

It will not be long before my storms accomplish what must be done. Would you like to see your hometowns?

The trainers just stared at Mewtwo hatefully. Their teams were still frozen, but Ash was sure that they had just as much hate running through their minds. He wished Nidoking could move. His friend would pierce through Mewtwo as if the Creature were made of paper.

His thoughts wandered to his mother as Mewtwo gazed at the broken trainers with satisfaction. He was sure that she and the other residents of Pallet Town would be okay. Professor Oak could protect them. At least one of his pokemon had to be able to circumvent the storm, or at least break it. They had to.

But what would his mother be thinking? She was probably worried about him. Nobody had expected a storm like the one Mewtwo had created. He hoped she could just focus on herself for once, though. She was smart. She could help people who were having trouble with the storm. But he really just wanted his mother to be safe.

What of the other people he had met that lived on the coast? Blaine and Cinnabar would have a bad time of it. They weren't too far from New Island. Just a hundred miles or so. He was confident that Blaine would protect everyone and keep them safe in the labyrinth he'd created around the Cinnabar volcano, but they'd probably lose everything.

The Sevii Islands might not have been hit yet. Ash couldn't imagine how they'd handle a hurricane as powerful as one of Mewtwo's. They'd probably just get the edge of one of the hurricanes sent for Kanto, anyways. Mewtwo probably didn't consider them an important target, especially now that Moltres was gone and defeated.

A flash of light snapped his dazed thoughts back into reality.

I can find your families. You humans are all the same, but it is possible. See.

Ash suddenly saw Pallet Town, which was covered in waves of rain and hail. Lightning flickered in the sky and thunder boomed in the background, right into Ash's bones. The flimsier buildings were being blown apart already, although Ash could tell that the actual storm hadn't quite reached his home. This was just the edge.

He saw the briefest flash of his mother's face, which was calm and determined. Ash did his best to memorize it. He didn't know if he'd ever see her again.

His eyes returned to New Island. Mewtwo was still in front of him, although the amethyst eyes were pulsing with energy and focused on the other trainers. Ash suddenly saw his chance. Mewtwo had given him one brief glance of his mother, but that was enough to know that she was safe.

He reached into his bag and grabbed a single item from the case that he'd kept unused for so long. Ash didn't even give it time to fully prime before he tossed the Ultra Ball, one of the six he'd won from the tournament on the St. Anne so long ago, straight at Mewtwo.

Ash froze. Endless pressure pounded upon him. His skin felt like it was going to sink into his muscle and tendons and ligaments. His bones wanted to condense and his blood wanted to crystallize. His eyes pounded horribly and his skull felt as though it were about to split apart. He couldn't scream.

The Ultra Ball froze the moment it left his hand. It was instantly crushed into a tiny hunk of metal no larger than Ash's fingernail and fell to the ground.

Mewtwo looked at him. Ash felt a force far stronger than gravity tear him from the earth and levitate him ten feet in the air. The pressure increased. Twin suns burned in Mewtwo's eye sockets. His throat closed forcefully and his lungs heaved for air.

YOU WOULD DARE AND CAPTURE ME?!

Mewtwo's thunderous voice roared in his head. Ash screamed with no voice as wave upon wave of pain wracked his body and his head felt as though it would split open. That would have been a mercy.

All pretense of civility was gone from Mewtwo. It was furious. Ash dimly realized that he had managed to surprise it.

I CANNOT BE CAPTURED! NO TECHNOLOGY CAN HOLD ME! I AM YOUR MASTER AND YOU WILL OBEY.

Ash's vision became fuzzy on its edges. He felt warm, wet liquid come from his nose, ears, and mouth. He barely registered it through the pain. His body felt like it was about to pop under the force Mewtwo held him with.

Mewtwo's eyes did not dim but the pain suddenly diminished. Mewtwo cocked its head thoughtfully.

I had wanted to keep you as a trophy, Ash Ketchum, just as Giovanni kept me. Perhaps you will serve better as an example. A reminder to those that would resist me.

The others were enveloped in a field of psychic energy as Mewtwo suddenly appeared inches away from Ash. He was almost blinded by the light that poured out of the Creature's eyes. Ash was mostly aware now and he was cognizant of the fact that the liquid that dribbled out of his head was exactly what he'd feared: Blood.

Enjoy your last moments, Ash Ketchum. Soon you will know a fate far worse than death. I will not kill you. That would be wasteful. Instead I will snuff out your spirit and mind. You will be nothing but a shell and my own will shall supplant your own.

Perhaps it is a mercy. Nonexistence might be preferable to a future of servitude.

Ash was numb as Mewtwo smiled slightly. Its eyes began to glow brighter, and then –

He was gone.

Ash blinked. He still existed. He wasn't a shell of a human.

But he was still in New Island. Just on the other side of the battlefield from Mewtwo, the pokemon, and the other humans.

What?

Mewtwo's soft mental roar was actually confused. It was not dominant, or cold, or menacing. Just confused.

Ash couldn't blame it. He had no idea what had happened either. He must have been teleported, but he knew that Dazed couldn't have done it. She was secured by Mewtwo's power, as were the rest of the pokemon.

I feel a presence…

Mewtwo announced, although Ash got the feeling it was speaking to itself. He frowned when he saw a pink blur flash through the air toward Mewtwo and lightly touch it with a swift tap of a long, thin appendage before it flitted away.

It suddenly stopped and allowed itself to be seen. Ash felt the oppressive atmosphere of New Island lighten and hope burned in his heart once more. He didn't know what the creature was, but it made him feel happy.

He had a bit of difficulty, but Ash could make out a small, pink creature about a fourth of Mewtwo's size. It levitated easily in the air and playfully chased its own long tail. Once he managed to see its feline-like features and the obvious power it possessed it was easy to make the connection.

Mew. The Peacekeeper. Protector of Kanto and the world.

It was here.

He felt a presence at the edge of his mind, an endless ocean to his drop of water. It prodded at him curiously and enveloped him much like Mewtwo had. But this didn't hurt. It didn't make his head ache or his body flail in agony. Mew was gentle, calm. His skin tingled and strength drained steadily from his limbs, but Mew did not hurt him.

The Peacekeeper opened his mind and its own. For just a moment they were one, Legend and mortal indistinguishable, his drop an imperceptible addition to Mew's endless mind and power.

Memories and thoughts ran through his mind. Ash felt that Mew could see everything while he could only see the vaguest flashes of thought and memory from the Legend's…mind? Essence? It was different than just a psychic. It was like Mewtwo in that way. Mew was to a psychic as the sun was to a candle.

A man in armored clothing – a deal – Ash felt a new life awaken, familiar but different, curious, strange – so much power, destruction, Ash could feel the new life but the familiar one left – Ash was in a beautiful, ethereal room of crystal and energy, Ash blew into a Shuckle toy, Ash felt power, dangerous power, it left – Ash flew, it reached the source –

He fell to his knees. Mew cocked its head curiously and ceased chasing its tail. It turned to look at Mewtwo, whose eyes were brighter than ever. The air distorted around Mewtwo as it stared at Mew and thunder and lightning rolled in the distance with increasing frequency. Ash could feel the shockwaves of the broken air rumble through New Island.

Corey, Neesha, and Fergus rushed over to him. Their pokemon followed as hastily as they could. Ash figured that nothing wanted to be around Mewtwo when it was like this. Before it had been controlled, even when angry. It restrained itself.

Now? Now Mewtwo was not hiding its power. The air twisted and cracks threaded throughout the earth as Mewtwo watched its progenitor. Ash wasn't sure if it was a conscious decision on behalf of the Creature or simply a result of strong emotion.

Mew.

The Creature acknowledged coldly, voice devoid even of the mocking edge it had maintained since its victims had arrived.

Mew cocked its head and looked back with a quizzical stare. Its eyes glowed a warm pink as they met Mewtwo's frozen gaze. The Legend playfully flicked its tail around and mewled at the Creature.

So you reveal yourself at last. I have finally drawn you out of whatever sanctum hid you. You know what I am. You have known since the day of my birth.

The Legend squeaked back. It made the ground tremble and uplifted the spirits of all the lesser creatures in the area. Ash had a wide grin as Mewtwo's eyes dimmed. Perhaps Moltres was more impressive than Mew's tiny, diminutive form but Mew was something more than the Bird of Fire. Moltres embodied an element. Mew? Mew was more complex. Fire was limited in its application. Psychic powers could do almost anything. The forces of the universe were Mew's playthings.

You wish for me to surrender? Do you think this is a game? You are my inferior. Your era is over! This is my world now. You will not be a part of it.

Mewtwo acted blindingly fast. Its eyes flashed and a beam of icy energy shot at the small, pink form of Mew. Ash could feel the air crackle with power from where he stood, different than the casual weight of New Island's corruption.

He had just enough time to be worried for Mew before a tiny, curved shield of intense pink energy formed right where the beam was meant to strike. The thin blast of energy angled off of the shield and shot off into the towering wall of stone that encircled Mewtwo's coliseum. Ash's eyes could keep up with it just enough to see that it easily carved through the hundreds of meters of stone before it suddenly exploded and vaporized the majority of the pillar.

A shield of psychic energy protected the mundane beings from the heat and force exuded by the release of energy but Ash still felt a weak breeze rush through the cold, thick air. He fought the urge to shield his eyes and just watched the confrontation between the two titans.

Ash could make out a faint smile on Mewtwo's sharp, angular face as it suddenly lifted itself a few inches into the air. Mew just watched and waited for the Creature's next actions.

You enjoy games. Shall we play one?

Mew's eyes glimmered and it hovered patiently in the air as Mewtwo thundered mockingly into its head. Ash could feel the Creature's cold amusement. He absentmindedly shuddered and wiped some of the blood from his face with his sleeve. There was much more, but he couldn't bring himself to care.

Around twenty pokemon identical to their own teams, which counted the Venusaur, Charizard, and Blastoise from before, all of whom were healed, appeared on the opposite side of the field. They all stared at the natural human and pokemon with cold eyes that mirrored those of their Master.

Kill them all. Spare the humans. I have use for them.

Ash's eyes widened as the clones roared their understanding and released their first volley of attacks on the natural-born beings. He reflexively tried to leap out of the way, but his sore body was too tired to respond and the attack was too sudden for Dazed to erect a shield.

Fortunately, Mew was much faster. It simultaneously erected a barrier that easily absorbed all of the clones' attacks and protected itself from a quick stab of psychic power from Mewtwo. Mew's eyes began to glow steadily and it tensed up.

My creations will kill them. They will butcher your precious organisms. Only you can stop them.

Mewtwo boomed calmly as it effortlessly floated higher. If its eyes weren't obscured by icy suns Ash expected they would carry a look of cold glee.

But you will have to defeat me first. I will never surrender. If you wish to protect the weak you will have to kill me and win this game. Show me the power of Mew!

With that Mewtwo shot into the air and blasted a dozen beams of energy toward Mew, whom instantly teleported away from the lethal attacks and shot out into the air.

You cannot escape me, Mew!

Mewtwo hissed with calm certainty as it launched after the tiny Legend, a thin barrier of psychic power around it all the while. In just a moment Ash couldn't see either of the duo anymore, although when he saw beams of light that made lightning look like a toy blast throughout the black sky he knew Mewtwo had found an opportunity to attack.

"Ash, we've gotta get out of here!" Fergus bellowed as he picked Ash up and rushed off as fast as his aching body would allow. Ash tried to stumble alongside him, but his exhausted muscles refused to listen. Repeated contact with Mewtwo and Mew had drained him of all strength.

He turned back and looked with horrified eyes as the two groups of pokemon met in bloody battle, both sides having grown tired of taking potshots at one another from across the battlefield. Ash cried out desperately for his friends as he saw the clones make contact, but Fergus pulled him away as they gave chase to Corey and Neesha, who slowed to wait for them.

Ash heard the beating of wings above them. He was too numb to really fear, but his neck still snapped up to see the massive Charizard, unopposed by any other pokemon considering that Plume looked to be busy fending off her own clone, diving toward them. It swiftly landed and leered at them with sharp eyes.

"Shit!" Fergus snapped as he stumbled backward, inadverdantly knocking both himself and Ash down. Corey and Neesha hesitated, but Ash motioned for them to run. The Charizard wouldn't kill him or Fergus.

As the Charizard snarled at Ash and snapped its jaws menacingly, the only pokeball that still held its occupant shook violently on Ash's belt before it exploded and released a massive, bulky paragon of fire and battle-lust.

Infernus launched himself at Charizard the moment he became solid. Charizard had just a moment to lurch back before Infernus managed to stab his electrified claws into the healed fire-type's chest and rend the flesh with a gleeful smirk.

"Thanks, Infernus." Ash murmured as the Charizard frantically flapped its wings to knock Infernus away and flew into the air, willing to do anything to get away from the furious creature that had very nearly killed it earlier.

The Magmortar just smiled and gave Ash a respectful nod before it turned on Charizard, who snarled and furiously shot a stream of blue fire that Ash instantly recognized as a powerful Dragon Rage at Infernus, who easily absorbed the dragon-type attack and shot a stream of his own blue, superheated flame in return.

Ash grinned as Charizard roared and tried to fly away, only for Infernus to instantly teleport atop the great lizard, although Charizard managed to escape once again through liberal bellows of smoke, Dragon Rage, and flaps of its wings. Infernus roared out his challenge and chased after Charizard as it tried to escape. He teleported almost constantly, short jumps onto the side of the stone walls that encircled the coliseum, the hard dirt ground, and anywhere that would let him keep up with his chosen nemesis and let him attack it.

"Fergus, are you alright?" He coughed as some of the smoke entered his lungs. Fergus winced and pulled himself up with a rough grunt of exertion, but nodded.

"Ash, we need to get to higher ground." Fergus shouted as a Hyper Beam shot several feet above their heads and exploded on the stone walls. The stone repaired itself moments later, but the heat and force still knocked Ash to his knees.

He nodded understandingly and quickly pulled himself up, although he almost fell down again thanks to his muscles being so weak. Ash hobbled after Fergus as they went to Neesha and Corey, who waited anxiously on the perfectly carved stone rows.

"You two alright?" Corey inquired as he gave Fergus a helping hand. Neesha helped Ash up. He thanked her once he collapsed onto the bench. The woman looked at him with concern.

"No." Ash said stonily as he looked out at the masses of battling pokemon. Each seemed to have found their counterpart and fought each other with horrible ferocity. He needed to be down there with his pokemon.

"This is awful." Neesha whispered, a horrified expression on her face as she traced the movements of her pokemon in the brawl. She winced, so Ash assumed she'd seen one of her team take a hit. He was too busy looking for his own friends to offer much sympathy. "We have to do something!"

"What can we do?" Corey replied morosely. His eyes weren't prideful or sharp or fiery anymore. Just exhausted. "The clones won't listen to us. If we go down there we'll get our teams killed. We can't distract them."

All of the trainers flinched and lurched backward when four screaming Pidgeot suddenly tore through the air, a sonic boom left in their wake. He squeezed his eyes shut in surprise but quickly opened them. The others began to debate worriedly, although Fergus was shouting something out to his pokemon.

Ash barely paid attention. He'd picked out each of his friends.

Nidoking and his clone were locked into deadly combat. They rampaged across the field, forcing lesser pokemon to back away lest they be trampled by the two monarchs. Poison dripped dangerously from their horns as they tried to stab each other and pierce through the thick plates of armor that protected their bodies. Nidoking was actually pushing the clone back, despite the clones faster reactions and presumably greater strength. Half the time Nidoking used Ice Beam to confuse the clone, who didn't have Nidoking's experience. Its powerful body was crusted in thin layers of ice, although it broke through with every movement.

Plume and Corey's Pidgeot were working together to combat their clones. They moved so fast that Ash couldn't tell which team had the edge, although Mewtwo's powered up clones would probably win in a purely physical confrontation. But, as Corey's Pidgeot proved when it suddenly shot a Hyper Beam carving through the air and into the midst of the brawl on the ground, the clones weren't the only ones with an advantage.

Torrent and his clone were given a wide berth. Neither could do much physically since they were forced to rely on levitation, but they fired ridiculously powerful attacks at the other at an astounding rate, each willing to draw upon every last reserve of energy in order to kill the other and aid their brethren. Although Torrent looked tired from maintaining the cyclone that brought them here, Ash could tell that he had an advantage. It seemed that the clone could put more into the attacks, but Torrent made it pay for every Dragon Pulse with blood and burnt armor. The prideful Torrent would not go quietly into the night.

It was almost impossible to trace Dazed. Her clone was present and distinctive with the massive orb of psychic energy that surrounded it, but Dazed was vicious in her attacks. She was in constant teleportation, the only time she paused at all to hurl a massive Shadow Ball at the copy. Dazed made good use of the major boost to her power from Mewtwo's presence and exploited her opponent's comparative inexperience ruthlessly.

As Ash expected, Infernus was still on his warpath. The Charizard looked to be in bad shape. It just wasn't able to fight Infernus. Infernus was practically immune to fire-type attacks, its claws just weren't enough to hurt Infernus without suffering major damage in the process, and Infernus was just too powerful. He still teleported to keep up with Charizard, but he was able to attack more and more frequently as the fire-type was rapidly drained. Soon he'd be done and able to assist the others.

Bruiser was fighting two clones at once: His own and the clone of Corey's Scyther. The normal Scyther was trying to help, but its thorax had been slashed by its clones' sharp blades. Dark goo slowly leaked out, but the bug-type resolutely tried to dart around the iron defenses of its foes and stab Bruiser's clone in the back.

Two small blurs flashed towards him and he flinched. Ash snapped his head back as a tiny, quivering form latched onto his chest. He reflexively snatched the one that followed it out of the air, although the small creature struggled ferociously to latch its jaws around his gloved hand and escape.

He eyed the snarling, spitting clone of Seeker with sorrow. It was so different from his meek friend. Ash let Seeker latch her hooks into his jacket while he carefully held the Zubat clone and stuffed it into his thick bag, which would be more than enough to contain the struggling creature. The material was thick enough to keep a knife on the inside from cutting the fabric.

"I'm sorry, Seeker." He murmured quietly. She responded by squeaking and hiding inside of his jacket. Ash just let her huddle close to him. Seeker didn't like raised voices, let alone loud, bloody battles. He would recall her once she'd calmed down. She didn't need to be around this.

"No!" Fergus suddenly screamed. Ash shivered in horror as he realized what that sound meant and followed Fergus' horrified gaze, only to look away when he saw that Fergus' Nidoqueen had been hurled to the ground and then stabbed in the chest by its clones horn. Nidoqueen's horns weren't nearly as impressive as that of a Nidoking, but they held a much larger degree of poison. It was less lethal but caused much more pain, pain that could easily allow a Nidoqueen to finish off her opponent.

"Tangrowth!" Ash called out desperately, hoping against hope that he would be able to stop the cloned Nidoqueen from fulfilling her duty. He couldn't let Nidoqueen die.

Just as the clone lowered her head to finish off the original, dozens of vines stretched out from the corner of the battlefield and restrained the incredibly powerful Nidoqueen. She struggled and managed to snap quite a few of the vines with her immense strength, but Tangrowth's vines had already begun to sap her energy. Although the clone managed to pull itself away from the vines, she was weakened and Fergus' Nidoqueen had been given enough time to pull her large body from the ground.

Ash had a wild smile on his face as Nidoqueen was saved. The originals were steadily losing ground, but they could do this. They didn't have to win, they just had to hold out. He knew that Mew could beat Mewtwo. It had to.

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